Friday, November 2, 2012

Tuesday is . . . favorite day of the week.

I was up at midnight to welcome in the day.  I watched Switched at Birth.  I read a little bit with George.  I let the dog out.  I let the dog in.  Out.  In.  Out….  You get the picture.

I went to bed around 12:30.

In the same bed with my husband, who was snoring like an elephant (which is why I was up at 12:00 to begin with!), and with my son (thunder was rolling in!).

I crawl in the bed, and ease myself down.  Adjusting the covers just right so that I am not terribly hot or terribly cold.  I balance myself on my side—just right—so that I am not falling out of bed.  (I mean, c’mon! These guys are not small.  Nor am I.)

And I get to THATPLACE where you know you can settle your brain for a long fall nap, when Darla-the-Devil-Dog comes in to say she’d like to get in bed too.  She’s worried about George.  And Kent.  She’s pacing and looking through the house for George.  She doesn’t like the thunder, and she keeps putting her feet on top of my hip: her way of saying “I’m over here.  Let me in.  Hold my paw.”  And with each scrape of her unbearably long nails (don’t get me started on that!!) she leaves behind a grain of sand.

A small grain—smaller than a mustard seed—can keep me awake for hours!  I have to get out the packing tape and get it off my sheet.

I yell at the dog.
Kent tells her to lay down.
And she does. 

Guess she just wanted to hear his voice.

And at 6:01 my clock goes off.

I get up, and frantically clean up my craft space because I promised to make ten Halloween invitations for a girl at work.  Yes, I could have done it last night.  But why do it then when I knew I could do it later?  “Hello.  My name is Margie.  I am a procrastinator.”

The alarm goes off at 7.  Time for George to get up.

The alarm goes off at 7:23.  Time to take George to school. 

My hands are covered in orange and pumpkin and black ink.  But who cares!?  It’s CRAFTY!!

I take the boy to school.

On Time.
On Time for breakfast.

It’s a miracle.

I go back home.  Finish coloring some parts of the cards.  Stamp the envelopes.  Blow dry my hair.

Add some glitter to the cards.

Put in some hair gunk.

Put on eye liner.

Blow dry the glitter I put on the cards.
It’s 8:30.

I’m officially late for work.

Leave the driveway. 

Hello fresh air!

I roll down the windows.

Turn on the tunes!  Bubba can’t come in this morning so I switch to another station.
I turn on the heat.  Floor only.


The radio DJ says something infinitely funny.

I call my work voicemail to recite what the DJ says.  I’ve gotta write that down when I get to work.

Can’t hear my phone, so I roll my window up half-way.

Leave the message.  That was a good one! 

I’m loving technology!  What an amazing time we live in! 

How fantastic is our God that he allowed us to be born in America!

I tell myself I am OK with paying $200/month for our cell phones.  I love having it!
Turn the heat up, it’s getting chilly.

I hock a luggie. (How do you spell Loogie?)

It must come out.

I spit out the window.


It sticks.


To the INSIDE of the window.


…and so my Tuesday begins…. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Quilt As You Go: the New Hobby

I think I mentioned that I have like so much creativity bottled up inside me lately that it's hard for me to settle down and actually complete a project.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you my new love of sewing!  Let me begin by saying that my mom is this phenomenal sewer.  In fact, she can do anything.  But for her birthday in March, I determined with myself that I would make a quilt for my mother.  Not a full-size quilt, but a lap quilt.

I found a lovely pre-cut pack of squares at a small fabric store in Jackson, MI, called Country Stitches.  (Who wouldn't love a store called that!??)  Then one day while waiting for my favorite deli Hillsdale Filling Station ( I walked over to the sewing machine store there in downtown Hillsdale and was pleasantly surprised to find that they had the little square packs, too!  A treasure, in my own backyard.  I had no idea!!  In fact, Trevathan's had TONS of different fabric CHARM PACKS, but this one from MODA just spoke to me.  So I bought some and headed home.

I was terrified to begin....
Am I really going to try this?

But I knew I had to do it.
For better or worse.
And since I am already poorer,
I dove in.....

I sewed my mom's quilt top.  


We received this iron as a wedding gift in 1993. I loved that I was ironing every single seam with the same iron I'd used for almost 20 years.
I thought of my mother each time I ironed a seam.  How she toiled and cared for us growing up, never complaining even one time.  How she spent countless hours at her own sewing machine to create the most beautiful and custom-made clothing for her little girls.  How she could design and sew anything my heart could imagine!
But I realized very quickly that I didn't know how to actually quilt.  Time ran out and I had to wrap it as it was.  Still, it was beautiful, and I loved creating it.  (I hope she loved it as much as I loved making it.)

That project inspired me to make one for my daughter, who was soon moving away.  But this time around I was determined to do the WHOLE THING.  So I squared my shoulders and decided to make a lap quilt using the QUILT AS YOU GO technique!

It was UH-MA-ZING!!!
I was addicted from the start!!
I made a third quilt before I finally hit pause!  (I'll post pictures of that gem below.)

For Vanessa's quilt, I first began by sewing together the charm pack blocks that I wanted to use, and also chose a coordinating fabric to add more contrast to the quilt.  I cut those into strips, and was ready to begin assembly--the step before sewing begins!  

Step One:  layer the backing fabric, the batting, and the quilt top together.  It's important to line up the top of the quilt.  The sides don't have to be even because you can trim them up later on.

Use lots of pins!

 Step Two: You make your first seam across the top, using a 1/4 inch allowance. Sew all the way across.  Add your next strip on top of the first strip, right sides together.  Pin all the layers together, then stitch this all the way across.  Take the layers to your ironing board and on the right side, press down the second strip of fabric.  Add your third strip, right sides together and repeat until the quilt is the size that you want.

Not a problem!!

Step Three:  Trip up the edges so that all four sides of your quilt are even.  You can see in this photo that the edges are even.Like magic, your quilt is almost complete!

Step Four:  Apply binding.  I chose to make my own.  THIS TOTALLY ROCKED!!

Using the scissors that my sister gave me about five years ago for the very first time, I cut fabric out and sewed it into strips.

 Pressing it half then sewing the raw edges to the quilt.

Final Step:  By hand fold over and blind stitch the binding to the front of the quilt. If you do it right, you won't even see your stitches.  I did not do it correctly.

With each stitch I took I thanked God for the precious gift he had blessed me with so many years ago.  My baby girl.  Born with personality and confidence and a joyful heart.  She has blessed and touched so many lives.  What a gift that was!


And here's a quick peek at the quilt I made for Lynn.  She asked me to make her a lap quilt for an upcoming trip, picked out the fabric herself.  I was nervous to make something requested by someone else.  Especially using a fabric I'd never used before, but it was great.
So sassy!!  Sew Sassy!!

In my hands you can see the fourth quilt I made.  This is more of a receiving blanket--no batting involved.  It's super-fast.  I love love loved it and can't wait to get some gorgeous flannel and try one for real.  This one was for her dogs.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Days ago, I was sitting at my craft table, trying to chat with my cousin when an ant runs across my table. The little bug! I smush him with a business card. 
Take that!! 

A little more chatting with Sandra and along comes that bug's brother! 
I tape him to a piece of Scotch tape. 

Which gets me to thinking about bug spray, as I'm pretty sure that I wasn't invited to the family reunion that's going on somewhere in the nether-lands of my craft room.  And when I crash that reunion, I want to be prepared!

So I'm sitting here, and what I want to know is where my son left the bug spray. He's at his grandma's, about 90 minutes away.

So I call him.

"George, do you know where the bug spray is?" I ask.

He said, with total confidence, "Next to the microwave." 
Nope, not there.

Confidence again, "In the broom closet."
Nope, not there.

"Is it in the coat closet?"
"On the shelf, maybe."
"On the bookshelf."
Nope, nope, nope.

Finally, I say, "so what you really mean is you don't know where you left the bug spray."
And he says, "that is right."
With confidence.

AHHHHHH!!! He's not even a teenager yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I See the Light

We all deal with goodbyes differently.  This weekend, we're saying goodbye by sharing our creativity!

My daughter is moving next week--about 6 hours away from us.  Before leaving she came to visit for a couple of days and we decided to do some crafting and creativity while she was here.  She decided to antique a frame to hang above her bed at her new place.  Here she is, pausing her painting to pose for a picture.

So beautiful.

She then painted my lampshade for me while I was painting the base.  I found this on clearance at the Big Store, and plan to use it in my kitchen.  (Actually, we began our weekend by meeting up at a local store that specializes in primitive and Americana style--right up my area.  Bretty's has some great stuff, and you should definitely check them out!  It was there that I was inspired to move forward with my plan to ROOSTERNIZE my kitchen!!)

The lamp met my criteria: it was small, and it was cheap.  $4 cheap.

(Let's not talk about the lovely King Tut Gold paint the way it came....)
I began by taping off the black base.  I wanted to keep the project within my budget of $5, so I used the paint I had at home:  Spray paint left behind by previous inhabitants.  But since the paint was a brighter and more orange-y version of fire engine red, I also used some of my son's flat black paint that he used to paint his bicycle.
Painting the lampshade.   

Let dry overnight.  Then I stamped using Close to My Heart's Friendship Bouquet set (page 142 of the Spring/Summer 2012 Idea Book) sunflowers.  Let me say, the stamping was awful!  Lots of problems there, but in the end, I love it.

Just remember as you create:
          we create with LOVE and JOY,
               not with perfection.

She's Gone

Is it too early to say "She's Gone?"

I just watched my daughter drive away, heading back to her grandparents' home.  She'll be there another 4-5 days and then will leave for Louisville, Kentucky.  Five hours thirty minutes.  Three hundred fourteen miles.  Two interstate highways.  Two states.  Away.

I want to sink down to the floor and bawl my eyes out.  If I were in a movie, I'd have done that.  Grabbed a box of tissues, leaned against the front door and slowly and gracefully sllllliiiiipppppped my way down to the floor, pulled my knees up to my chest and began to weep.

After a while I would have blown my nose loudly and let my head roll to the side of my shoulder.  I'd close my eyes for just a moment, and take a deep cleansing breath.

I'd open my eyes, and it'd take a moment for them to focus, as my head is still sideways, but I would find myself looking at my bookshelf where -- miraculously -- sit photo albums displaying images of her life.

I'd open the album that caught my eye and I'd see her as a baby.

There'd be a lovely montage with equally lovely music as I peruse the photos.  They would end with a fabulous picture of her wedding day, where the photographer caught a special moment exchanged just between the bride and groom, allowing the on-looker a small glimpse of the joy and adventure that await them.

In the movie,  I'd close the album and hug it in my arms, tightly to my chest.

And I'd smile.

The music would continue to fade as the scene fades black and credits begin to roll.

But this is no movie.
And my body shape won't allow me a graceful slide to the floor.
And I'll be in my grave for years before I'm able to pull my knees to my chest.

So, what I actually do is stand on the porch with my door open, letting out the airconditioning and watch her drive away as far as I can see her.

I come in, take off my shoes, take a deep breath, tell myself I'll see her on Wednesday--it's her birthday, afterall.  I can cry then.  I take another deep breath, and refuse to allow myself to crawl into bed with her dad and break down.

Instead, I run into my craft room to record this memory here.  Because my baby is leaving.  And threehundredfourteenmilesisveryfaraway.

But I am proud of them, for who they are and who they will become.  For facing this adventure despite their anxieties.  For going forth and LIVING their lives, not watching it out the window or on the television.

Proud of them for not settling for jobs that just make money, but for wanting more out of life.  For knowing what they want to become, and working their way to get there.

Good bye for now, Goose.  Mommy loves you.

My babies:  Vanessa and George.  At cousin Angie's wedding in June 2012.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Left Behind

I'm sitting here in my craft room, making out my wish list for Close to My Heart.  I don't have a comprehensive list and am sure I need one.

A little bit ago, my son came in the house and asked for permission to ride his bike to the gas station downtown for some jerky.  This is a momentous thing for an eleven year old.  A couple of his buddies were going and even though his dad said there's too much traffic, I felt that he was ready for the responsibility.

I gave him a couple of dollars so he could buy a bottle of water at the store: I knew he'd be thirsty.  It's still about 90 degrees, and it's 8 PM here.

He kissed me goodbye and was off with his buddies before I could see them ride away.

I sent him a text telling him to let me know when they got there and when they were on their way back.  I heard nothing from him, but wasn't worried.  I usually reach panic mode, but wasn't there yet.

Then a bit of red caught my eye out the window.  It was his two buddies riding up the incline on the sidewalk that leads to our drive way.  And I don't see George anywhere.  I watch the boys.  One looks behind him, but the other doesn't even look.  They are on a mission.  Heading home, or to the first boys' house, which they are known to do.

And 30 seconds later, I see my son.
Riding along at his own pace.
And I say a small prayer:
"God, please don't let him feel like I feel for him."
Like he was left behind.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hot and Cold

Hot and cold used to refer to coolers and insulated thermoses.
Now it refers to me.

Meno-pause.  Mental-pause.  Men-Oh-Pause.

It's wonderful to be over forty.


Pinterest. Need I say more?

Pinterest.  Now that's a word that no one would have thought about using in daily life even a year ago.  Today, most of the women in my life think about it.  And once they get on it, they get sucked in.  And they come out of the zone an hour -- sometimes more -- wondering what they've been doing for all that time!

And you can lump me into that pot. 

I'm always multi-tasking.  And Pinterest helps with that.

For example, I'm currently posting on Facebook with my cousin's daughter, Morgan.  Talking about living close to your family.  I'm also instant chatting through FB with my Uncle Lonnie.  Chatting about Aunt Mary eating ice cream and me wishing I was there.  I'm also building a wish list for Close to My Heart products.  Their new stamping and scrapbooking catalog will be released August 1.  I want to hold and close a party by August 2.

I'm also texting with Tammy.  Lots going on there.  She's a joy to me.

I'm also creating a log of the CTMH stamps I've already purchased.  You do not want to know!!!  :)

I am also trying to upload a pin to Pinterest and it won't go through.  Maybe the file is too large?  So I figured I'd post it here on Porch Swing and then pin it from the Internet. 

And so I've wasted about 30 minutes here (now I'm also chatting with my sister).  So I'm going to attempt to post the photo of the card I made here.  Wish me luck.

This is the card I created from my Close to My Heart "Friendship Bouquet" (S1205) stamp set.  I sent it to my sister, but I'm dying to use it on a dish cloth!

Friday, June 1, 2012

New Hobby

My mother was a professional seamstress.  At one point in her career, she worked at what my family always referred to as "The Factory."  The Factory was a place where they made bras.  I believe it was -- at least at one point in time -- called Warner's.  At least two of my aunts also worked there, though I'm clear on whether or not they all worked there at the same time.  I think my Aunt Polly was the last to work there.  Aunt Polly and I click.  She gets me.  The Factory is closed now, and time still marches on.

Anyway, my mom not only sewed there, she was a tailor, a designer, and seamstress.  She can do anything.  Reupholster furniture, tear down walls, make baby clothes, quilts, coats, dresses, pants, etc.  The most memorable -- and the tale I tell most -- is the time she sewed for a rock band:

It was the 70's.  I was probably ten, and I remember vividly watching my mom sew this amazing silver fabric with fringe all week long.  And finally, there in my kitchen stood a real-life rocker.  Guys who sang the kind of music that my best cousin would listen to five or six years later.  Guys with long hair--before Bon Jovi was around to make big hair cool.  There they were, in my kitchen, trying on these cool outfits with fringe on the arms that swayed when they moved.  It was awesome.

Because my mom is awesome.

And probably that is why I never learned to sew.

Oh, I took Home Economics in junior high school.  South Junior High School in Belleville, Michigan, thank you very much.  We were to sew several projects.  A bag, using a drawstring closure (my sister has the one she made--and was using it just four days ago!!).  And an item of clothing.  I chose a dress.

I chose this lovely, perfectly-purple knit fabric.  I wanted a dress that looked like T shirt, with a belt to tie around the waist.  But I was terrified of a pattern.  Terrified.

And I remain that way today.

In junior high I used STITCH WITCHERY to hem my dress.  It's this product that lets you iron together pieces of fabric.  My teacher was not impressed.

So, here I am.  Sitting at my computer ninety minutes after I entered my craft room to begin work on a quilt. But I'm terrified of a pattern, and I can't figure out what a selvage is.  Pathetic.

What I wonder is: when my mom was creating all those magical things with her Singer, why wasn't I paying attention to the how-to?  Instead, I was dreamy eyed by the creative end!

So, instead of sewing, I'm typing.  Cause I love to write.

But I'm determined to love to sew.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I’ve always known that God has a sense of humor.  Which surely must be why I come from Disappointment Hollow.  And why Disappointment is the place my heart calls home and the place I would most want to spend my vacation.  I was born miles from Disappointment in Barbourville, Kentucky, and most of my family still lives in that area.  The house my mother grew up in is nestled back in the holler, and I spent many summers of my youth visiting my grandparents there and roaming the hills searching for adventure. 

Sometimes It's Not the Journey that Matters...

Sometimes, it's important to just get in, get it done, and get it out.

My son is ten.
My husband is 4...let me use the husband will be 49 in May. 
This year they got a dog.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Seriously late.

Is it possible that it's been an entire year since I posted on my blog?  Seriously?

In my mind, I'm writing posts all the time.

But I stop by today to check out the look of my blog because I vaguely remember that the blogdesign I used before wasn't working last time I stopped by. 

And wham! That date of January 2011 was mocking me.

Time to get it together.