Inspiration, Under the Bed

Thank You From the Bottom From Our Hearts!

After the responses we received about Gluten Free Living, it just didn't seem like enough to leave a "thank you" comment. Not only were we blown away by the wealth of information and ideas we received, but by the thoughtful, caring nature of our wonderful readers. We know you all took time to put together your comments and emails. Plus, the words of encouragement and support were heartening. We know this is a road most of you have gone down yourself. We hope you had as much support as we have had when you started your journey.

We feel blessed to be surrounded by such a supportive community. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Michelle and Kimara 

Fleece Applique Blanket

We get tons of emails from our readers. Sometimes they have questions, sometimes their kind words make us blush, and sometimes they simply WOW us! This falls into the category of WOWing us!

I got this email from Jane:

I thought you might be interested in the blanket I made as a Christmas present for my eight year old granddaughter. I made it with your free appliques on fleece. It turned out beautifully, and have had rave reviews. I'm very proud of it!

I used one block for my "personal signature". I took a piece of my daughter's wedding dress lining material, cut it into the shape of an unrolled scroll, sewed it onto the blanket, then used a permanent marker to write a personal message, write the year, and signature from Oma & Opa.

For fun, I also put a "secret code" in the blanket from me to my granddaughter:

Cupcake = You add sweetness to my life

Stars = You brighten my life

The last row, I sewed together person/heart/person and then the scroll. The person/heart/person stood for "Oma loves Mikayla". She seemed to enjoy the idea.

And after we asked for permission to share this on the blog, we got this response:

After all the months I worked on this blanket, I would be honored to have you share it with your readers! I'm so pleased you think it worthy. There is one hitch, though. I'd like you to tell me when you have it posted so I can see it "on the web!" and read any comments you receive. No, I don't have a blog.

By the way, I had never appliqued or embroidered before. Nor had I ever made a quilt. This was all new to me. The computer was my teacher.

If the blanket wasn't impressive enough, the fact that Jane has NEVER appliqued, embroidered OR made a quilt before should be sufficient incentive for any beginning crafters that are apprehensive of tackling big projects!

We are very grateful that Jane took the time to share her project. We get so many emails from people saying they love our appliques but are looking for ideas on how to use them. Well, if you are ambitious enough, here is a lovely idea. A beautiful, heirloom quilt, filled with love, and sure to be treasured by one lucky little lady for a lifetime! 

If you have any comments or questions for Jane, please feel free to leave them. I'm sure she would enjoy hearing from you!  

A Tad Bit Obsessive

Tim and I have had one of those rare weekends that we stayed home... alone. Doesn't happen often, and it is also the beginning of a week long vacation for Tim. YAY! Being behind after the trip to the kids, I finally got Halloween put away, and we decided to kind of skip over Thanksgiving and shift directly to Christmas. Tim has long since given up trying to understand my obsession with Christmas, and simply good-naturedly, indulges me. Between working on a craft I hope to publish tomorrow, I've slowly been getting out some Christmas wrappings. I must admit, my holiday preparations have been trimmed back the past few years as we've become semi-empty nesters, BUT I still love every moment of the holiday season, and can't seem to focus on anything else. Today I was reminded of a blog I wrote for One Generation to Another back on December 4, 2007. I hope you enjoy!

“You’re nuts,” she said.

“Yep,” I agreed.

“No, I’m serious. You have a problem,” she continued.

“I’m not arguing with you. You’re right,” I concurred.

“You should get help,” she belabored the point.

“Probably,” I acknowledged.

“Does look great in here, though,” she conceded.

“Thanks,” I said, as I continued to swag say, hmmm, at least a mile of evergreen roping on my living room rafters.*

She was referring to Christmas, or more to the point, my obsessiveness with the Holiday. I will be the first to admit I’m obsessive, but genetically speaking, it’s in my blood. My father was obsessive…just ask my mom; use to drive her to distraction. Didn’t matter what he got interested in, he obsessed. It could be his new stereo, playing bridge, collecting big band music, outwitting neighborhood squirrels or to her total vexation, “That damn computer!” Obsessive people totally get it when others become fixated on their latest interest, but non obsessive people (yes, I would go as far as calling them “normal” people) don’t understand how we lose the total capacity for rational and appropriate involvement with our most recent pursuits.

Case in point…my daughter, also possessing the obsessive gene, has recently become fixated on baby carriers, even after using them and making her own for several years. Undoubtedly, the general public would say it isn’t necessarily time well spent. This particular carrier is for her third child, she doesn’t plan to have any more, and her toddler will only be in it for the next couple of months, BUT, to an obsessive person, this doesn’t matter. Once bitten, all that matters is that she acquires information and an impressive understanding of the structural, historical, safety, and fashion worthiness of ALL carriers; past and present. She can identify which styles originated in Central America, the Far East, or with the Plain’s Indians. She knows which carriers are manufactured in this country, those hailing from China or Europe (ah, those elusive and highly sought after Scandinavian models), and those being sewn by half-crazed women trying to find ways of making money, while staying at home with their children. These women, btw, are the ones that she prefers to support, herself being a half-crazed women trying to find ways of making money, while staying at home with her children! Birds of a feather!

Anyway, most obsessive people could give you a fairly comprehensive list of their lifetime obsessions. For the non obsessive, let me explain that there are two distinct forms of obsessions. The first is what I refer to as “A passing fancy.” These are the interests that totally consume us for a time; you might say they are the spice of life, providing variety and interest, not sustenance. In days of old, these obsessions lead us to libraries and museums or taunted us to take classes and consult “professionals”. Today, the Internet has eliminated the necessity of moving from the comfort of our homes as a world of information is now available for the taking 24/7. If you live with an obsessive individual, you can wait for these phases to pass. Sooner or later, usually sooner, when we’ve acquired enough information to sate our curiosity and provide us with just enough data to be hence forth insufferably knowledgeable on the topic, we become bored and move on to our next fascination. The more diabolic of obsessions, which I refer to as “life long passions”, do not go away; EVER! These are seen in the guy next door that loses sleep because a mole has attacked his perfectly groomed lawn or the woman who would rather miss her child’s graduation than the latest issue of People Magazine. (Good Lord, how would you know whether or not Angelina Jolie’s new tattoo is written in Arabic or Swahili?) Then there is the guy who will play golf in a thunderstorm, or yours truly, who goes slightly (uh, slightly, extensively, why quibble over semantics, right?), overboard preparing for Christmas! (Ah, bet you never thought I’d get this back to Christmas!)

But there you have it. I totally and completely obsess over Christmas. (A book is required on that topic, a weekly blog simply won’t do!) But who can blame me? In my opinion, Christmas is the ultimate legal, feel-good, addictive drug. I love the colors (uh, my house is predominately red and green, so you kinda feel like you’re at the North Pole, even in August!), I love the smells, and I love the way people act. To quote Frank Cross in the movie Scrooged, Christmas is…”the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we-we-we smile a little easier, we-w-w-we-we-we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be.” And that, my friends, justifies all the prep and planning. While preparing for Christmas, I enter a euphoric state. I think of how people will feel when they’re snuggled on the couch, wassail in hand, taking in the room. I can hear friends and family giggle as they unwrap gifts. (I wrap EVERYTHING separately…even dividing up pairs of socks into individual boxes…let’s face it, opening gifts is as much fun as owning what’s inside!) And I love how the child in all of us surfaces each Christmas Eve as we slyly scan the evening sky, still wanting to believe! And although the Holidays can stress us out, there is indeed something magical about the season. Strip away the commercialism, extended visitations with in-laws, and increased waistline girth, and the essence of the Holiday shines through, like the Christmas Star. Christmas is a time for all of us to be the people we always hoped we would be. Come on, obsess a little or a lot…it’s allowed, and in my opinion, desired!

*That year I hung EXCESSIVE amounts of greenery from the rafters, filling the room with not only the smell of the great outdoors, but enough allergens to keep us rubbing our red, itchy eyes throughout the month! BTW…Safety note…NEVER throw what amounts to a quarter acre of dried boughs in a fireplace and try to burn it all at once. This falls into the realm of scathingly brilliant mistakes and fodder for a future blog!


Thirty-two years ago today, I gave birth to my first born and best girlfriend! She taught me the meaning of unconditional love and how to be a mommy. Love you Little Miss!


{photos of Michelle at 3 years old and 17 :: seems like yesterday}


History has a way of repeating itself. Having just returned from our trip to Wisconsin, (Miss you so much Little Lady!) and with our 20th Annual Pumpkin Carving Party fast approaching, I felt like I woke up this morning running. As I was trying to finish up a project I wanted to share on Wee Folk Art tomorrow, I realized I was deriving no pleasure from the experience. As a matter of fact, my back was killing me, but I was pushing myself to get it done. Then I remembered writing a post about this very same thing, just 2 years ago. So, I closed up my bucket of paint, cleaned my paint brushes, and decided to attack the project in the morning when I could enjoy the process. I then dug out this article, first posted October 16, 2008, and marveled at the similarities. I needed to reread this. I hope it speaks to you, too. Wishing everyone an "Unhurried" day! 

I love to bake. As a matter of fact I like cooking in general. Whenever I hear someone say they find the task of making dinner an unsavory experience, I get this idiotic look on my face, my brow wrinkles, I turn my head sideways like our dog Scully when she's trying to process "STAY". To me cooking and baking is anything but mundane. It's's rejuvenating...why, it's downright fun.

So, today, when I burnt a batch of Oatmeal Scotchies, I knew that something was amiss in my day. I've got a million things going on right now. The parent situation has calmed down, but in its wake are all the neglected tasks that normally get done weekly. So I'm trying to catch up, but at the same time, ready my house for next week's 18TH ANNUAL PUMPKIN CARVING PARTY and the weekend visitors that come with it. I've got the party down to a science, but it still involves plenty of time. So, here I am, trying to get some cookies made before the grandbabies show up for lunch, finishing up a craft project for Wee Folk Art, doing a couple loads of laundry, and slowly piling party necessities.

Normal multi-tasking, right? The thing is, I was allowing myself to stress. Running from room to room, picking up, sorting, baking, folding, and all the while not enjoying a single thing I was doing! Life's too short not to enjoy what you're doing. Restating...I love to bake. Instead of taking a few minutes, to truly relish the experience, to drink in the sites and smells, the task got heaped into my pile of "to dos". WRONG!!! How much time would I have lost from my day, if I chose to sit while my cookies baked? 10 minutes? Let's say I decided to make 2 batches...what...half an hour? If I had savored the experience, and sat at the dining room table, waiting for the cookies to bake, while guilt free flipping through one of the new crafting books I got this week and still haven't been able to crack open, the world as I know it would not have ended, and my disposition for the rest of the day could have been enhanced instead of frazzled!

So, I feed my garbage disposal the inedible confection...btw...not even my dogs would eat them...scooped up a new batch...and picked up one of the books. True, there were a few things I could have accomplished during that time, but the time was not wasted. When the perfect batch of cookies was taken from the oven, and put on cooling racks to, well, cool, I felt good, even revitalized. I am now ready to move on to the next task, which turned out to be writing this blog, but I managed to UNHURRY my day. UNHURRYING your days is about embracing everything you do and giving it attention and appreciation. It is a choice, and given the emotional well being it provides, well worth putting it at the top of your "to do" list!

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