Monday, February 28, 2011

Sweet birthdays at home

It was kind of by accident, but our little family's birthday tradition has become streamers and scones at breakfast... Today was no different for me, except that Daddy couldn't find the streamers and instead he fittingly decorated with my polka dotted ribbon and giant ric rac!
The kids whisper-sang to wake me up and gave me the book I'd asked for as a gift from them... A book about American heroes and all that today's children can dream for, written by President Obama, called "of thee I sing: a song for my daughters" The artwork is stunning, the message is lovely, and as we are on the search for books in our home that represent our colorful palette of skin colors... It fits in perfectly.
Thank you, my sweet little family!

Are you kidding me?

Today is my un-birthday. (I'm a leap year baby)... And though I don't make a big deal out of my own birthday myself, I've been getting lots of love! My dear hubby knew what would mean more to me than a party and spread the word to everyone he could think of to send me a piece of snail mail sharing why I mean something to them. I've been crying over letters in the mail now for 3 days straight!
Then a reader sent me a beautiful package of scraps today (angela, you rock!) and I'm so super touched! I'll be thinking of you for years to come as I use your fun fabrics... THANK YOU!
Though I spent my morning dealing with Medi-Cal insurance problems and haggling at the childrens hospital with insurance people, that can't take away these lovely feelings.
And oh, and I came home to my messy home to find my dear friend Kendra - who's lived with us for the past 3.5 years - had cleaned it... Talk about feeling loved...
To all of you who've been a part of my life - in person and online, blog readers, flickr friends, quilting guild and bee friends, neighbors, fellow artists, customers, church pals, near and far... You all bring so much joy to my life.... Thank you for all you are and all you bring into my life. I celebrate this birthday rich with friends.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Birthday gift (cont.)

Z decided after seeing mom's handiwork for a friend's birthday, that she also needed a gift from his hands. "a stuffed animal!"
We made her a birthday cake pal. He did the sewing, Mimi picked the face buttons and helped me sew them on.
I love these creative kids.

Birthday gift

Someone's birthday is this weekend. Yes! Mine, but that's not who this is for. This is for an especially fabulous 18 year old I know, who has more love, kindness, and creativity in her heart than any girl her age that I have ever met. Everyone who knows her agrees. She deserves a special birthday and this is what her friend Libby made for her. (shhh! Don't tell!)

Bee season

It's my bee season! January was when I sent out my urban neighborhood requests to the members of "Bee Happy" and then in February it was my month for "Seams Perfect" (my new scrap bee)...
Here's what I have on hand from the oh-so-talented ladies in both bees. I'm so excited about all these squares and can't wait to turn them into big amazing quilts!
(the Scrap bee squares are made with OH FRANSSON!'s Mod Mosaic tutorial. Members were given the white and one piece of fabric - the deep brown morroccan tile pattern with red and green- to place in their square and also use as a color guide. Its a tricky color palette, but all the squares are looking great so far!)
I love my bees.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Prayer changes things

I was driving a friend to an errand the other day in downtown LA and saw this old sign on the side of a building. I can't believe the pic came out, considering I snapped it only once at a stoplight...
If you have read the past few entries, you'll know my last few weeks (about 6) have been pretty brutal... And just this week I'd asked God for some kind of hope - I'd been relating too closely with "hope deferred makes the heart sick"... And though nothing has officially changed for us, there's been some real indication that things are moving. One very close friend, who has been facing major giants with me at her side - had some crazy amazing clarity come to her this week and is making plans to step out in faith and new levels of courage... So exciting... And I feel like my spirit has been growing as a mom and foster mom - as I pray for all my kids and I see things about them that encourage me, even as we plod ahead one step at a time.
Today we went sledding as a family and Mimi ran into a tree and got a concussion. It was scary. I ended up in the freezing car in the snow, helping her get sick while holding the baby with my other arm and then slipping on the ice, myself. My sister in law - who managed to see me at the side of the road while she and her family coincidentally drove up - prayed for us and 3 hours and an EMT checkup later, Mimi has a bruise on her face, but is playing on the swingset happily with her brother.
I know prayer changes things. And for those of you who pray for our foster situation- please please keep it up. We need it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Limited Edition Collages available

I've been meaning to post this for a long time - wanted to show images from the art shows that we had, but there weren't a lot of really great images from the shows themselves (see them below)... and then it was the holidays and busy life....

 well, I was finally able to list the collages onto etsy, since a lot of people had asked about buying editions of them and having copies for their own homes.... here they are... now available in large scale museum quality giclee on canvas prints. All will be limited editions. (click this link to see all of them)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bracelets in bulk

Its been a hideous few weeks. The stress I've been under from many angles has kept me from being myself. I was really discouraged when I realized it's also kept me from being the kind of friend I like to be. I felt really low. (on a side note, my kids are getting the good effort and they're having a grand time lately and being my chief entertainment for smiles...) But as a friend... I've been showing up lately with "tales to tell" (not usually my style)... I fear perhaps being a bit of a debbie downer.
So I'm working it out. I'm refocusing... Knowing peace doesn't come when we focus on our pain, turning my eyes back to the skies... And working at being the thoughtful friend I want to be.
Last night that involved me sitting down to make some belated Valentines for my mates at MOPS. I wanted to make them each something that showed them I love them, that they are beautiful and unique and precious to me. Bracelets were the order of the evening. It felt good to focus for a few hours (had to make 10!) on others and not myself. It felt good to give them today with the explanation I just gave you... And an apology for having been a self-centered friend lately.

Tonight as I was folding laundry while the kids ate dinner, Mimi said, "mom, why do you do all the work and we do all the playing?" and just an unselfish sentence like that from my six year old felt like a gift bracelet for me to put on.

It's good to love others.
I want to love well.
I don't always. In fact, I fail daily, but if there is one thing about me... I keep trying.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Hi there. I saw this funny way to say "HI" to you.
I realize I've been quiet this week. J was out of town and I've been
sick, taking care of all the kids, a sick baby and a violently sick
dog... but I wanted you to know I didn't forget about you!
I also have some fun stuff that I've been working on... sewing,
collage, and stash-busting (i.e. anyone want more fabric?) to share
with you.... but right now I have my normal Monday cleaning morning
and trying to get some V-day stuff squared away!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Huge order of doorstops

How cute do these all look together???? I got an order for 30 doorstops this week and had a lot of fun making these and imagining them representing me at the Florida hotel that will be their new home.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's Black History Month

February is Black History Month and though I have respected it, I'm embarrassed to say I haven't ever participated. Mimi's school (which is truly multi-cultural, and mostly African American) embraces the occasion to really celebrate this month.... It's exciting to see her learning from the perspective of her African American teacher and I love knowing that her teacher can teach things we cannot. Our life is very mulit-cultural. I was always a minority in every school I went to up until college. Our neighbors do not look like us, but they embrace us and we are surrounded by people that help us to see outside of ourselves.

I've been reading "Same Kind of Different as Me" and I took a detour and just powered through "The Help."  I'm proud to read books like these; books about change, progress and paradigm shifts from a very checkered and embarrassing past.  It's important to remember that just a few years ago, things were still REALLY bad.  *Oh, and another amazing book I read a few years ago is this abridged (though not short!) version of Nelson Mandela's Autobiography. * Times have changed, but there still is a long way to go. I'm writing this from what many people consider "the hood" - the church that holds the preschool my son attends was the first church in Los Angeles to integrate.  MLK Jr himself used to visit there regularly in the height of the civil rights wars. I don't live far from where the riots occurred in LA during my senior year in high school - things are definitely changing, but we are foolish to think that everything is hunk dory. I have race issues that play themselves out on my front lawn. (Don't think that I am kidding about this, I mean literally on my front lawn).  Two of the six people who live in my home are African American. I can't pretend this is not a part of my world.

 I'm not saying that the entire month of February needs to be a focus on one thing... Valentine's Day and my Leap Year Un-birthday are also in this month, too... but I think from now on, I am going to try and read at least one book on Black History every February.  I've also been talking to some of my neighborhood activists about what I can do - and what we can do as a family to support those in our community who need an extra lift.

I encourage you to pray about what you can do. Or maybe, just read a book that opens your heart.

Friday, February 4, 2011

making a quilt

In the fall of last year, I had some of you fill out a survey to ask you what you liked/loved/hated about my blog - the answers were so very encouraging to me and I have really let go of some of my unrealistic expectations for myself because of them... (i.e. BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY! BETTER CONTENT!)

I did end up though, really wanting to offer some fun tutorials and was just wrapping my head around that and then a little package showed up on my doorstep (a starving 3 week old foster baby!) that really threw most of my goals out the window for a long time. Then I had Christmas and the art show and I've been playing catchup ever since.

That doesn't mean I don't want to still do those things - my current schedule, though, gives me so little actual free time at the computer - if you're reading a blog post, it's usually from the park or the car as I am waiting in the carpool line at the end of school. It's just the season of life.  I do keep up my sewing, but that's because I think I would go crazy without it. I make art and sew to keep my sanity... everything else is gravy...

So this morning I had a rare 20 minutes to poke around some of the blogs that I like to visit every once in a while, and I realized that the best tutorial that I could ever do wouldn't come close to the wealth of information on this blog. I wanted to make a tute that was entitled - "your first quilt" and show you the simplest most easy way to try something - because I needed people to hold my hand through my first attempts... but instead, I am going to point you to this page with the most lovely and thorough tutorials... I think you will really enjoy them if you have a beginning interest in sewing a quilt at all.

Diary of a Quilter

Also - this gal also has the most fabulous blog post about how she gets everything done - which makes me think that she might be the bizarro world version of me - minus the people who work for her that do her quilting.

So - that's one post that I am now not going to do and I am considering myself off the hook as you tour the Diary of a Quilter... I think you'll enjoy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

When in stress..

Things have been REALLY stressful this week. ........
Well, you know what I do when I am
stressed... I sew.

I recently got orders for 5 beanbag doorstops and apparently that was all I needed to get myself started. I coped with my stress today by cutting, sewing and filling more doorstops... All said and done, I think there are 16 finished and 14 unfinished. I have no idea as to why I made that many. That's just plain old excessive. But at least it's better than over-eating or binge shopping... And now I can list them on etsy soon... And they are cute... Cute does seem to help a little...

awards shows and the glamourous life

this was from the photo booth at the holiday party last december...

Most of my days are spent in the minivan, driving little people to their various appointments... Feeding, cleaning and helping them do life.
Then there are the rare days where J's work has fun events or awards shows where we get to dress up and act all "Hollywood". I laugh when I think about how there will never be an awards show for motherhood, or most of what I do, but it is really fun to see my hubby recognized for his good work... (watch FRINGE on Friday nights on FOX!!!)

Last night was one such night. Though, sadly, J's nomination for
"Undercovers" didn't win an award, we still got to go out all dressed up and have a fun evening together. Considering we are the parents of 3, that's something to be proud of, in my book.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grapevine wreaths

As an artist, there is a fine line to walk between collecting and hoarding. Too many ideas for castoff junk and you end up on that tv show everyone is talking about... (minus the dead animals)... And yet, you know how much I love to repurpose things.
It's tricky, though, when I'm dealing with the design director. She errs on the hoarding side... I mean REALLY.
I fear this craft was super fun for her, but didn't reinforce the ability we have to toss some things out...
We were in the backyard on Sunday and I decided it was time to prune the grapevine - which grew vines like crazy, but no grapes this year... We were hauling the dead vines to the green can when I remembered how we'd requested grapevine as part of our wedding flowers 10 years ago. "wait! I have an idea..."
15 minutes later we had 3 lovely wreaths.
Fun, easy.
I don't love the idea of adding flowers or something froufy to them... And am not yet sure their next step, but for now, they are pretty lovely. And truly homegrown.
Now I have to find another way to teach the lesson to Mimi.



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