Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - A year of ups and downs

My goodness, 2013 has been a whirlwind year of ups and downs.

Since January 28th ~ the night the Lord called Daddy home ~ life has not been the same. It never will be again. It’s different, and that’s the way life goes. To say the least, finding the new normal for us left behind has been challenging. I know time heals. I’m sure once we get through all the “firsts” the dealing of our new life will get easier.

I spent the month of February and a bit of March away from the studio, helping my mother. Although I had temporarily closed my ArtFire shop, I received a special order request via email for four “cupcake” half aprons. It was a timely Godsend distraction. I was so grateful to work, to create something, to sew, to think about something other than missing my Daddy, and what my momma must be going through after almost 66 years of marriage.   

Upon my return home, and back to my studio, I was able to focus on something I’d never done before! It was certainly an “up” moment! I had been invited to give a book review of my first novel, Where Forever Begins, A Simple Love Story!
Available for Kindle, too! 
Amazing! Folks said I did a good job. I don’t remember much as it’s a blur!

I did sell and sign quite a few books (a good thing!) and someone invited me to speak for another group in 2014!

Then, Momma's refrigerator started leaking & flooded her kitchen floor... so, back to Dallas and my sister & I spent Easter Sunday replacing her flooring!
I think we did a pretty good job!
Looking back over this blog, I didn’t write much this year. Things kept happening and it was hard to stay positive, upbeat, and inspirational.

In March, I remember working on a quilt kit my sister had given me, and wrote a bit about it. It was great sewing therapy for me as I didn’t have to come up with my own design… simply follow instructions.

Then I found out my baby niece had melanoma.
(I’m happy happy happy to report after surgeries & treatment, she’s doing great!)
2008 - at her PhD reception! 
It was hard living miles away from her, during this discovery, surgeries, and healing time. I wanted to make something to give her, to give her hugs, to comfort her. A long time ago, she turned me on to working Sudoku puzzles. So, I made her a mini quilt wall hanging depicting a completed Sudoku. To help me stay focused and positive, I wrote a tutorial how I designed and created the wall hanging.

In April, Momma came to the country for a nice visit...

Love when she uses her watercolor pencils and creates a lovely picture!
And, she's able to relax!
And, begins to sew again!

And, examines the Keyhole Garden!
I was “up” again when planning for the Lampasas Spring Ho Parade and making all the dolls new clothes to wear!

This was during the time momma went to Hawaii, joining my oldest niece for a week in paradise!

And I managed to design & create an apron to enter in the Lampasas County Fair, as well as the State Fair of Texas.

Then ~ July 9th ~
Momma slipped attempting to get on a massage table... ambulance ride to the hospital…

Back to Dallas to help…

After spending a few days in the hospital after surgery to repair her broken femur, then to a rehab facility, I did make a quick trip back home for a few days and participated in the Lampasas Spring Ho parade.

We did win 2nd place in our category!
(NOTE TO SELF: Walking a parade route, pulling a garden wagon – July in Texas – must re-think next year!)

Back to Dallas... 
The neglectful rehab facility almost killed her… four days without the ability to swallow, take meds of any sort (especially pain medication)… we got her out of there and to her gastro doctor. He sent her straight to the out-patient clinic for an upper GI Endoscopy and found the obstruction, got it taken care of, then another one several weeks later for check up – meaning three doses of general anesthetic within two months… not a good thing for anyone, much less someone 84 years young!

Well, we got through August. After spending ten days at my sisters, Momma & I came back to her house for continued at-home therapy and recuperation time... 

and, that's when I started my first Quilt of Valor quilt while she and a friend worked on their drawings...

Because September is National Sewing Month, and in between caring for Momma, I forced myself to write an article per day… it was such a struggle to stay positive, hopefully share something of interest.

When I got home in October… back to the studio… I managed a few more articles, and sewing projects that I had previously written about – trying to stay focused and positive.

It’s then I can see my priorities changed.

Lanetta’s Creations ArtFire shop will remain open, praying the inventory of aprons, doll clothes, and other items offered will eventually sell. I can’t see making any new items for my shop.

I just don’t have it in me any longer to market like I should.

I will gladly do custom orders, or special requests for items in specific colors and sizes.

This doesn’t mean I won’t be sewing! I love to sew! It’s my stress reliever! It’s the way I keep sane. My dream has changed a bit, yet the focus remains…

In 2014 and beyond, I will sew to help others, to bring them comfort, to offer warmth and joy.

Thanksgiving was held here, at the country, with Momma, Bud, and my girls...

And we had a very nice Christmas at Momma's
Especially because my sister & I decided to focus totally on Momma this year...

Then the next day, baby niece & her husband, one of her son's (tallest), and his friend, came over to celebrate another day of Christmas! Before the festivities began, the boys escorted Momma across the street to deliver homemade cookies fresh from the oven to our dear neighbors and friends. (First time Momma's walked across the street since before she broke her leg!)

We had a great extended Christmas this year. We missed Daddy terribly, but we found great comfort knowing he was spending his first Christmas with Jesus.

I am thankful for my loving, sweet momma,
who taught me to sew, how to love unconditionally, and for her never ending support.

I am thankful I had a loving, kind, gentle Daddy for almost 60 years,
who taught me courage, gave me strength, and love of my country.

I am thankful for a loving and supportive husband,
and the beautiful daughter he brought into my life.

I am thankful for my sister,
especially for giving me two sweet dear nieces
I feel as though they are my own daughters.

I am thankful for my extended family,
and the friends I have in my life
- past and present!

I am thankful for my two girls, Beth and Anna,
for the joy they bring to my life.

And, most importantly,
I am thankful I know God.

Through all the ups and downs, I am blessed.

May you have a fabulous 2014! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chasing Dreams

The vision was nice while it lasted. I’m awake now. Sometimes dreams don’t work out… that’s life. Move on. Deal with it. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What Can I Do?

Thursday I went to a meeting. While waiting for all to gather, the lady sitting next to me began sharing how she was part of a volunteer group that spent the day before helping a family displaced by a house fire. Everyone got out safely, but the fire totally destroyed the home. Long before the large emergency agencies arrived, her group saw to it the family had the basic needs – a place to stay, food, and some clothing. My heart and prayers goes out to this family. My heart swells with love knowing this group quickly took care of them.

What can I do?

I can make quilts!

In between creating Quilts of Valor for our Veterans and Wounded Warriors, I can make quilts to wrap around those facing unimaginable loss. Yes! I can help fill the trunks of first responders with quilts of all sizes and colors.

I made this quilt, then realized the size doesn't meet QOV minimum requirements.
It's tied, which is also unacceptable for a QOV. It's somewhere in my sewing room.
I'll take it apart and quilt it once I have a long arm machine!
Someday, it will be perfect to wrap around someone's shoulders needing a hug.
Until then....

Creating a quilt top is cutting out fabric then basic sewing with a sewing machine. It’s the quilting process that gets tricky. The process of tying a quilt is okay, but it will not last for generations. I physically cannot hand quilt, and is why I need a long arm quilting machine.

Folks experienced with long arm quilting machines report a queen size quilt takes maybe 8 hours to complete. Lap quilts would take much less.

Although I couldn’t be at the heartbreaking scene, a quilt would give them my hug of comfort. That’s what I can do.

Will you help me help others? Please, consider donating any amount to my funding campaign for a long arm quilting machine!

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