Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No Tricks…Just Treats

There hasn’t been a dull moment around our house in months.  I’m not one to sit idle, else I start to go crazy, but I think I might enjoy an idle moment or two at this point…

Lately I’ve been busy getting ready for Halloween.  It is one of my favorite holidays…not for the scariness of it, although I do enjoy a good scary movie now and then.  But it has long been a favorite, for one simple reason…CANDY!  My parents nicknamed me “candy Kathy” when I was a kid, because I am SERIOUSLY addicted!!!  I do love seeing all the little kids dressed up and having so much fun trick-or-treating too!

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Nalley and I decorated our house this week, and we made treat bags for her preschool class and her teachers and babysitters.  I used my Cricut and Make-the-Cut software to cut and print the cute little ghosts from Boo to You by Mindy Terasawa.  (Yes that is the digital kit that was used for the Riley Blake Boo to You fabric I used for the kids Treat bags found here.)  I used clear thread to hang them from the tops of the bags.

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The other cute little treat holders were inspired by these made by Kim at Stampin’ by the Sea.  She used the Stampin’ Up dies to cut out the shapes and tape them together to make the holder…but I just made a custom shape in Photoshop and created a cut file in Make the Cut to make it lots simpler and cheaper for me because I didn’t have to buy the die.  It is a super cute treat holder and I was pleased with how they turned out.

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I used some yummy Swiss chocolates I got from Costco to cover and put inside.  I used digital papers and printed them out…most are Shabby Princess.

Speaking of Shabby Princess…I am VERY sad to say that I resigned from the team this week as a result of all of the stressful stuff going on in our lives right now.  I didn’t have enough time to commit to doing the kind of job i wanted to, or to meet all of the requirements for the team.  I have shed many tears over it, but I know in the end, it will take a little pressure off of me during this time in our lives..and SP made it easier by being so understanding and supportive…but that is just the kind of wonderful person she is!  Girls, I will miss you and miss being a part of the wonderful team!  Love you!

I have made both girls’ Halloween costumes this year, the first time I’ve ever made a costume!  Nalley is going as Little Miss Muffett, so I made her a peasant style dress with a mop hat, apron, and ruffle cuff bloomer pants…it is adorable, if I do say so myself!  Maybel wanted to go as Dorothy Gale, from the Wizard of Oz.  After checking the local party store for a costume, and realizing I wasn’t paying $40 for a cheap looking dress that would fall apart before we got home from Trick or Treating, I went and bought some fabric.  Now…I didn’t buy a pattern…no, I am winging this one…how brilliant.

She isn’t here this week for me to fit it to her, so I’m just crossing my fingers, but so far it is looking pretty good for someone who has no idea what they are doing…LOL!  I guess we’ll see!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Soli Deo Gloria

To God be the Glory.

After reading an e-mail signed “Soli Deo Gloria”…I immediately googled for a translation.  I melted into a puddle and wept.

I received a comment on my blog this week from the mother of a baby that had received a Quilting for Babes quilt and sleeper from the IMCN.  She asked for my address so that she could send a proper thank you and picture.  I eagerly obliged, and also got the following e-mail from her.  I know all who have participated and followed this project will be equally as touched as I was…

“Hi Kathy,
M***** is our second living preemie.  She was born on June 18th via an emergency c-section because the Drs. found that my uterus was rupturing.  She is a miracle...a few hours more inutero or Drs. that weren't really on top of things medically and she would not be here with us.  We are blessed.  I am so thankful to God for allowing her to stay here with us.
M***** is our 3 1/2 year old who was a 30 week preemie...he is excited to see his sister wear the cupcake sleeper that we received from you!  (No dull moments with him!)
We have two daughters waiting for us in heaven.  M***** was 28 weeks gestation when she had the world's first inutero open-heart surgery at Stanford University...she did not survive the surgery.  A***** died at 35 weeks when my uterus ruptured without warning.  There were years of tears...  So thankful that we are blessed with two living children :)
Thanks for your time and energy in making the quilts.  They are beautiful!
Soli Deo Gloria, T***** and A****”

I see a family with amazing perspective, gratitude to a loving God who is surely getting all the Glory from their situation.  My heart breaks for their years of tears, and rejoices for their 2 little miracles. 

Soli Deo Gloria.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jocelyne’s Quilt

I have blogged about Joce numerous times.  She is one of those gems of a friend, the kind that everyone wants to have.  Our story starts almost 6 years ago.  She is one of the very first people I met after moving here to Winnipeg.  She and her husband Travis (love him too) were neighbors of Shayne’s before I moved here.  We invited them over for dinner a couple of weeks after I moved in, and I hit it off with them immediately.  Joce and I are so much alike, interested in so many of the same things, etc…  In fact, we have an “imaginary business” together.  One that likely won’t be realized for a few years yet, but it is in the works.

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I am only a few weeks older than Jocelyne, and we always celebrate our birthdays together.  She has talked about me making her a quilt for a couple of years, and I have always said I would, but never have…what a friend, right?

I recently made her 2 year old a small quilt, but couldn’t spill the beans that I also had one in the works for her 35th.  I bought this fabric a loooong time ago, and loved it.  It is was a layer cake in Moda’s Arcadia by Sanae.  I also bought some yardage for binding and such.  I picked these fabrics for her because her birthday is in the fall…and I just liked them.  I kinda made up the pattern as I went…because it didn’t go as I originally planned…LOL!

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I pieced the back with a few of the leftover blocks and some of the additional prints I bought, and I think I like the back equally as much as I like the top.  I just love white in a quilt.  I quilted it with simple vertical lines following quarter inch away from either side of the seams.  The quilting is soooo not perfect, but neither am I, and Joce loves me for me…so I’m sure the imperfections will just add to its character for her as well.

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Over all I was quite pleased and mostly, just happy I got it finished before her actual birthday on the 27th…yay me!  I hope she and her family will get lots of good cuddle time in with this quilt.  It couldn’t go to a sweeter girl!

Thanks to my hubby for patiently being my quilt holder!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Whew….

First let me say that this is a PICTURE HEAVY post.  I have been absent for quite some time now, and a LOT has happened.  We have been enduring a rather large personal “storm”…one that has shaken us down.  I don’t talk about my faith much on this blog, not because I am ashamed of it, quite the opposite, I prefer that my life be the example.  I prefer not to be “preached” to by my peers, I go to church to hear that from our pastor…so in turn, I try to keep my “preachy-ness” to a minimum.  However, I also feel that it is my obligation to give credit where credit is due…and our family would likely not have made it through this time in our lives with out a very real and personal relationship with God.
Our family has been under attack.  I believe with all my heart that Satan has been on a war path to destroy us, but he has not been successful…and we are stronger than ever because of the strength that God has given us.  We are imperfect and don’t always make the right decisions, but we are seeking to do the right things, to live our lives with dignity and respect, with integrity and honor…and it is my sincere hope that all who know us (either in our “real” lives or through our blogs and businesses) would see that lived out.  Enough about that.
So…during the “height” of our personal crisis…I ended up in the hospital with a bout of “female” pain.

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While I was in the hospital, I sent Shayne home to be with the kids because our week of personal drama had affected them.  About an hour later, I heard Shayne and Nalley walking down the hall…so I thought to visit me.  Instead, Nalley was my brave neighbor in the room across the hall…she fell and split her chin wide open and needed to have it closed up.  They gave us the option of stitches or glue, knowing that if the glue didn't work, they would HAVE to give her stitches.  We opted for glue and thankfully it worked.  She was SOOO brave, and such a trooper.  That was 3 weeks ago today, and it is healing nicely.  She will have a scar there, but not bad.
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Nalley started preschool on the 16th…so we made cupcakes to take to “Meet the Teacher” night.  I also made cupcake boxes and decorated them in an apple/school theme.  They were cute and Nalley had fun baking and decorating with me.
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Bun Bun (Nalley’s lovie) has been more comfort to Nalley recently than ever.  There have been lots of changes (mostly all of them positive), but new things require some extra love and attention.  If you notice, she is in the pack-n-play, or as we call it “baby jail”…our place for Lawson when we have to get something done.  She loves being in there with him and they surprisingly will play together in it for an hour or so at a time…go figure!
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Now really…have you EVER seen a cuter face???  He is so busy, and so rotten, and INTO EVERYTHING lately, but when he flashes that toothy grin, all of that doesn’t matter…in fact…nothing else in the world matters other than attempting to get a baby kiss…  If you are successful, it is usually promptly followed by a slap in the face…don’t ask me where he got that from, we’re thinking it’s just being a 14 month old little BOY!
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Nalley on her FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL…*hack…choke…tear*…I cannot believe it, it makes my stomach hurt.  But no, I haven’t missed her yet, I’m just happy to have a break from all of the incessant “WHY” questions…I am having a really hard time answering some of them…and hearing them all the time too.  Besides, she’s having so much FUN, hardly looks back to see me or wave.
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Baby Lawson had to get in on the first day pics…athough he was off and at it soon after.
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His first few steps, since then, he’s become an official walker…such a big boy!
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Mommy and Daddy each got their pics in with Nalley at her school on the first day.
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Standing in line against the wall waiting for her teachers.
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And now, for some crafty fun!  An apron I made for our next door neighbor who is the sweetest person.  She just found out that her brain tumor has returned…for the 4th time.  She is only 30, and quite devastated…we love her so much and I wanted to do something to let her know we were thinking of her.  She loves to bake and I thought a cute apron would be just the ticket to cheer her up.

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Some trick-or-treating bags I made for the little kids with some ADORABLE Riley Blake “Boo to You” fabric.  Mindy Terasawa is one of my FAV digital designers and I was so happy that they made this fabric out of her kit.  Yes, I do have the kit and I am (and already have) used it for some other halloween treat stuff…I will post that stuff soon…
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I hand embroidered their names (only my second attempt at that).  I found a really cute font that looked kid-ish and modified it a bit.
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Over all I was quite pleased and can’t wait for them to use them.
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I used the same Keyka Lou pattern to make the Halloween bags, as I had used to make this bag a couple of months ago.  If you haven’t used any of her patterns, they are GREAT!  I have bought several of them, and love them.  With the one below, I modified the handles and made them a little longer.  I used a dish cloth from a pack I bought at Costco a while back to make some market bags…I still haven’t made anymore with all that has been going on, but I am planning on it.  These bags are roomy and sturdy and soo cute!  Someone stopped me in the grocery store recently to ask about it, I was so pleased!
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I have been on a quilting streak lately.  3 baby quilts complete (only 2 pictured here) and another lap quilt for one of my best friend’s 35th birthday…happy birthday on Monday Jocelyne (I’ll show the others soon)!
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Love this Riley Blake Wheels line…made another top for a drag around for Lawson, but others have taken priority, so it’s still just a top.  Don’t you love the label…matches so perfectly (used some Shabby Princess stuff…Smarshmallows and Things That Go).  I used my favorite iron on transfer from Dharma Trading on some white Kona cotton to make the label.
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Another one for Brooke…Terine’s (another of my dear friends) daughter just turned ONE and had to have a cute quilt.  Terine is Jocelyne’s sister-in-law, and they have adopted my Southern self.  Great friends make the best “family”, especially when yours is so far away!
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There is lots more to catch up on…I still haven’t posted Lawson’s birthday party pictures…from TWO months ago.  I am terrible…but busy.  If you’ve made it to the end of this post after all that rambling…and actually want to come back…I’ll post some of the other pics this week…I hope!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Class Schedule

Due to some major unforseen circumstances, I am going to have to cancel my fall class schedule all together.  I will likely teach some classes in the future, however, I am unsure of when that might be.  I will be issuing a refund to everyone who has registered already.  Thanks to you all for your understanding, and again,my regrets.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

All about my Cricut…

I am NO expert on the subject, by any means.  I am really just learning about all that it can do…and what it can be made to do via other software programs.  I will welcome any comments on the subject, as I am writing this post by request from some of the readers of the Shabby Shoppe blog who saw that I had cut out the Strawberry boxes for Nalley’s birthday invitations on my Cricut.

I bought the Cricut Expression in January, and got the Sure Cuts a Lot (SCAL2) software to go with it at the same time.  SCAL is a software program that overwrites the Cricut’s need to cut with the cartridges that are made for it.  You must have a cartridge, any cartridge in the machine in order for it to work, but SCAL reads .svg files (scalable vector graphics) as well as .scut (SCAL’s file designation) files and any true type font that you have installed in your computer. I should add here, that using the SCAL software with the Cricut, WILL void the manufacturer’s warranty, so if you are worried about that at all, you should wait until your warranty has expired to use the SCAL software. 

You can download any number of .svg or .scut files on the internet at many different blogs and cut file websites.  Many digital scrapbooking sites also have “d-cut” files or “digital cutting” files available for purchase too.  However, if you are clever and somewhat proficient with photoshop, illustrator, or inkscape (and even if you’re not, there are MANY tutorials out there to catch you up to speed), you can create your own cut files and let your Cricut do all your detailed cutting for you.

For the strawberry boxes I used for Nalley’s invitation, I simply isolated the box shape in Photoshop, filled the “shape” with black and saved it as a .jpeg file.  From there, I used the Trace Image option in SCAL2 and scaled the cut file to fit on my 8.5 x 11 page that I had printed my red and white damask paper on.  I enlarged it to be as big as I could fit on the page.

I did the same thing with the strawberry cap for the box and just printed them on the green polka dot paper.  I saved the scraps and used them for the other parts of the invitation.

There are so many tutorials available for Photoshop as well as Inkscape and Illustrator (they are both vector graphics programs, Illustrator is Adobe’s version, and is quite costly, but Inkscape is a free program and you can download it here).  There are also lots of tutorials for SCAL, as I mentioned before.  I am not a great help when it comes to this stuff, I do LOTS of trial and error…and usually have a lot of error in my quest for success…but it has been lots of fun and a good investment for me.

i hope you’ve found this somewhat helpful, and if you have questions, I’ll do my best to help.  But please, if you are knowledgeable in this stuff…there are lots who want to know about it, so leave some comments for us!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy FIRST Birthday, Little Dude!!!

I seriously CANNOT believe that my little baby is ONE today!  This picture was taken yesterday by a staff photographer from the Winnipeg Free Press.  A follow up article will be printed in today’s newspaper, covering the presentation and donation of the quilts we are taking down today.  What better way to celebrate Lawson’s birthday???

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / JULY 15   2010 - 100715 - Sandi Klowak story-  Kathy Murray with son Lawson age 1, is leading a group that makes quilts for babies  at  the intermediate care unit  of  Women’s Hospital . They provide support families of sick babies , and are presenting 190 quilts to the hospital  Friday . People from all over the world have provided  quilts , squares , and baby sleepers
 

After a few more quilts trickled in through out the day, I counted them all as I was sorting them last night, and I have 173 in my house, and another 31 that have been made, but not delivered yet.  Our grand total is 204 baby quilts, and 80+ sleepers. 

Now, here are two pictures that reminded me about exactly why I began this journey…my heart still hurts when I see it.  I remember so profoundly how my heart felt like it would break just looking at him, and feeling so desperate to have him home with me.

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To think that he fought so hard to get well, and today he is a VERY BUSY, healthy and happy little boy…I am so thankful and so blessed!

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Thank you to all who have contributed to Quilting for Babes, in each and every way, it could not have been done with out you!!!!  And Happy Birthday Lawson, I love you more than you will EVER know!!!

Strawberry Shortcake Party

When Nalley started playing with Strawberry Shortcake stuff this year, I was in my glory. I still have all of my Strawberry Shortcake dolls...and they STILL smell. I played with them for HOURS at a time when I was little, and so does she. So, I just HAD to throw her a Strawberry Shortcake party. I promised myself I wouldn't go over board, I would keep it simple...all 3 of our kids have birthdays within 6 weeks of each other, and this year is Lawson's big FIRST birthday party. It was the least stressful party I have EVER planned. The food was simple, there were NO planned activities, and I was happy...and when Momma's happy, everybody's happy!

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When I started planning the party, I just KNEW that I had to use these A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E strawberry boxes from the Shabby Princess's XOXO Confection Collection. Now I did alter them slightly, in that I enlarged them to be as big as I could. I cut them on my Cricut Expression...what a DREAM! It was soooo simple, and they were just perfect!

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I filled them with strawberry and cream flavored jelly beans in a cello bag, then tied them up with a length of white grosgrain ribbon. With the leftover scraps from the strawberry box, I punched some scalloped circles. I layered the scalloped circles with some green cardstock and added a cute strawberry on top of that. I attached them to a simple folded 2x2 invitation that I printed off on the computer, and VOILA...you have a really cute invitation.

I hand delivered these invitations, as I couldn't (and wouldn't have wanted to) send them through the mail. I opted to make these the invitations instead of the favors because it wouldn't require as many, and I wanted a really unique invitation...mission accomplished!

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Of course Nalley had to have a cute strawberry outfit to wear on her special day, so I used the same digital papers from the strawberry box, from the Shabby Princess Sweetie Pie collection, to create an iron on transfer for a plain white shirt. I made a REALLY simple twirl skirt and matching headband in a cute red and white polka dot (have I told you how much I L-O-V-E polka dots?) fabric. It really couldn't get much simpler than that. Oh, and there isn't a picture of it, but the white shirt was too long, and detracted from the skirt, so the morning of the party, I came up with a really easy solution. I covered a button in the red/white polka dot fabric, and attached it to a white pony tail elastic and tied up the shirt in the back. It gave the shirt a kind of gathered look to the front and was really cute in back. I LIKE EASY!

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I like the old strawberry shortcake better, this is the new one...but it's all they had in the way of plates at the party store...so, that's what we had.

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Again, I went simple on the loot bags, a coloring book, crayons, some strawberry candies, a party blower, and that was it!

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The table needed something more, so the morning of the party, I used some of the leftover papers I'd printed for the strawberry box invitations, and punched some large scalloped circles. I cut out a "3" on the cricut in pink and a shadow in red cardstock and attached them to the circles. I then adhered them onto bamboo skewers that I cut to size, stuck them in a champagne glass filled with leftover jelly beans and tied some ribbons on. I put one on either side of the veggie tray and it added a cute little decoration. Again, simple!

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I covered some strawberries in white and milk chocolate the day before, made some mini strawberry muffins the morning of and the rest was hot dogs, chips, veggies, and then of course cake and ice cream.

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I found this cute panel at the fabric store for $4. I saw it a while before and didn't buy it, then the week of it was still there, so I took it as a sign that I was supposed to do something with it. I cut a piece of pink Kona cotton for the back, and hand tied it (I've never tied a quilt before...it was fun) with red crochet cotton and machine bound it with the same pink Kona. It was easy and cute. Nalley sat on it while she opened her presents. And she loves it!

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She had fun opening her gifts, but was a little overwhelmed I think. The sweetest thing though, was that she said her favorite part of the whole day was the cake! Mine too...the apple (or strawberry, if you will) doesn't fall far from the vine.

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Here she is enjoying her favorite part of the day...the cake!  Life is sweet!

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Head on over and see a similar post today one the Shabby Shoppe blog…