Monday, February 6, 2012

Happy Crafter!

I have decided to follow up yesterday's grumpy post with a happy one! So, ENJOY!

I have always loved blankets. Not only blankets, but quilts as well. Especially quilts. There is something unbelievably special about a quilt. Not the store bought ones, although they will keep you warm ... they are just different. There is nothing like curling up with a quilt that was given to you by someone you love. Knowing that they thought of you with every stitch. As a quilter (I will call myself one for now because yes, I have finished a few quilts of my own!) .. I know how many thoughts that adds up to!

This is Kaelyn's Cross-stitched quilt

Noah's ark fabric that I fell in love with and just had to have on the back!

I even used rainbow colors for the border to make it look like the rainbow God sent after the flood!

With my two older girls, I made them an easier blanket that went together fairly quickly and then quilted those with really big stitches (Jordyn's is still being quilted, but it is together ... Kaelyn's was finished before she was born). I also cross-stitched a quilt topper and backed it and quilted those as well. Kaelyn's I started when I was pregnant with her, but did not finish it until she was 6. I procrastinated a teensy bit on that one. Jordyn's I started and finished all the cross-stitching AND all of the quilting before I had her. So, yes, hers was done before Kaelyn's. In my defense, I was working full time and going to school when I was pregnant with Kaelyn and worked up until she was almost 3! Then, by the time she was a little over three and I was pregnant with Jordyn and couldn't wait to get started on a new one. But, either way, they are both finished now and I am so happy with the products (many, many pictures to follow). 

 This is Jordyn's cross-stitched quilt. I love looking at this one because I worked on it while Mike was at Boot Camp for the Air Force. It reminds me of how much I missed him and how happy I am that he doesn't have to leave us for long periods of time anymore.

This is the stars and moon fabric that I found for the back. It matched PERFECTLY!

Then, along comes Kynslee! I actually started working on her blanket AND her cross-stitched quilt before she was born. Her blanket was cut out and machine quilted (quilt-as-you-go) before she was born, I just had to sew the pieces together. I finished it a few weeks after she was born. So, that wasn't too bad. Especially considering that she was 3 weeks early! So, in my opinion, I finished it right on time. The cross-stitched blanket I chose is a bit harder. With the two older girls I found a "quilt topper" that is just the top material stamped with your cross-stitch pattern. With Kynslee, the one I wanted to do for her, was the pre-quilted kit that I really do not care for. The fabric seems stiff and scratchy and it is already backed with boring white. With my older girls, I found fabric that went along perfectly with the theme of the cross-stitching on the front, and I wanted the same for Kynslee's. 

Here is the stock photo of Kynslee's cross-stitched quilt.

This is the fabric I chose for the backing.

It is hard to see, but this is the sparkly fabric I found for the front!

My mom had mentioned that her friends have felt the same way and purchased nicer fabric. Then they used a light box to trace the X's from the pre-quilted to the fabric of their choice. I picked out a really cool princess kit and then found some sparkly white fabric that looks perfect for a princess. Then, while I was pregnant, spent days upon days drawing these X's. You really don't realize how many there are until you are drawing each one. Anyway, task complete and now it is time to start the stitchin'!

Here is a picture of all the x's I transfered.

The rest of the pictures are of the blankets that I made for each daughter. I am so pleased with each one of them!

This is Kynslee's Kitty rag quilt. It is machine quilted as you go. And, MASSIVE! 

She was a little over a month and a half in this picture!

This is Kaelyn's. Feels like ages ago when I made this. Almost 10 years!!

This is the back. I also made a matching bear. I should find him!

And, this is Jordyn's. I used different textures of fabrics for this one. It turned out great. The picture doesn't do the colors justice. I really need to take a better one. But this is good for now! This one is all backed and pinned together. I even have a line quilted. It won't take long once I get to it. I just have so much other stuff to work on. Like, blogging! :)

I absolutely love the buggy fabric on the back. I bought that before I even had a project in mind. I saw it and loved it and bought 4 yards ... just so I would have it! And I found a perfect use for it!

So, anyway, those are it for now. Thank goodness I am only having 3 kids! I can only imagine how my Mom feels! She made quilts for each of us growing up. She also made one for each of us when we graduated college and another on our wedding day. Just when she thought she could make some for herself, we gave her 9 grandkids! (hey, come on, we spread them out over 11 years). Her quilts are awesome - I will have to collect those and make a post dedicated to her awesome work ... she is the reason I am so crafty! ( My husband blames her, I thank her! ) Such an awesome talent to have. Off I go to work on my awesomeness.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What makes me a good Mom!

I haven't written in a few days ... OK, maybe it has been over a week. Whoops! I have been completely checked out. Not sure what was going on. Pure exhaustion and pain. And honestly, very little brain function ... thus, no blog post. But, I am back, and full of wisdom and thoughts. OH BOY, I hope you are ready!

Even though I haven't been writing, I have been reading. Reading up on lots of blogs. I really enjoy reading what others think and feel about being a mother, or a wife, or a crafter. 9 times out of 10 I really get something out of what I read. Insight on what I could do better, or even sometimes a pat on the back for something I feel I am doing right!

Then, there is that 1 time out of 10 that I stumble upon a blog posting that really bothers me. Something that really doesn't help anyone better themselves or really shed a positive light on life. All the blog post does is glorify the writer. Now, I completely understand where blogging can kind of be a "look at me" type of land. Just like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace (does anyone still use this?) ... it is a great way to show our accomplishments, praise our loved ones and keep in touch. I use these for all of the above ... and even to brag on how I have the best husband in the world, but only of course, because I do in fact, have the best!! (hope you are reading this Mike). But, some go beyond.

I have noticed this in life lately also. A few different groups of Moms that I have been with seem to get like this too. Conversations almost turn in to a competition between Moms and/or Wives, especially those that stay at home. It turns into a "Well MY husband does this, or MY kid can read and he is only 2 or MY house is SO big or MY car is SO great!" If your husband has a great job, I am the first to congratulate you! If your son/daughter can read by 2, that is incredibly impressive! If you have a huge house or big expensive car, good for you! That is awesome! But does that make you a better mom or wife? I can understand these things coming up in conversation, but does it need to be the introduction or basis to discussion? I don't believe so!

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not coming at this from a place of jealousy. Trust me. My husband has a great job that allows me to stay home with our three daughters. Our oldest was easily reading by the age of 3 and memorizing books cover to cover before that. (our youngest will be lucky to read by 2nd grade -- just joking .. I hope!) We have a decent size house, well at least what I consider decent (especially when I am cleaning it ALL THE TIME). 2,000 sq ft upstairs and a full 2,000 sq ft downstairs (unfinished at the moment but the upstairs is plenty large for our family of 5). I drive a nice SUV, our kids go to great schools and we can afford to dress them in nice clothes(maybe a size or two small) and feed them at LEAST once a day! (again, just kidding.)

I guess the point I am trying to make here is that people are different and want different things. I don't understand how hanging out with a bunch of Moms turns into a competition (maybe it is the catty girl trapped inside of us). It really shouldn't! Tonight, I had a great time hanging out with a group of women, most of which were Moms. They were all wives of some of the men my husband works with and they all have the opportunity to stay at home. We had a great time giving advice of "this helped me when I potty-trained mine" type of advice, not "well, mine was potty-trained by 6 months". (darn it Kynslee, you are 7 months and still in those diapers?!?!)

The only thing in my list of what I have that makes me a better mom to MY children is that my husband has a great job that allows me to stay home with them. And, I say a better Mom to MY children because that doesn't work for every family. Some Moms do more for their family by having a job OUTSIDE of the home. I have said it in many of my previous posts that God put me on this great earth to be a wife and a mother. It doesn't make me any better or worse than the next Mom/Wife ... just different. It works for my family. And, on top of all that, I am NOT in high school anymore. The bragging and boasting on what I have and you don't seems like high school garbage to me. Maybe even worse, Jr. High. I am certainly beyond that. And I am trying to instill much better view points in my child. What you have or don't have does NOT make you a better person. It is who you are on the inside. It is how you make others feel when you are around ... that is what makes people like you.

I think as women and mothers and wives, we need to come together as a support group!Our husbands, as much as they do for us, just don't understand how a woman feels on some things.  I guess that is what I envisioned a "moms group" to be! I am a part of our local MOPS group and I have just that with them. The moms are so inspirational and helpful. No one brags about what they have or what they can afford. It is just a group of women, getting together to support one another through the harder parts of motherhood. And there to be joyous together in times of happiness! My Bible Study group is this way as well. I don't feel like I am any better or worse of a mother than them when I am around them. We can talk about things that really matter!

Maybe these groups are different because the first and foremost reason we are together is God. We pray for each other and put Him first in our meetings. Maybe I am wrong, but that is what I am noticing.

Anyway, so enough of my ranting for now. I know most of my other postings were more positive and upbeat but this blog is for me to write about my feelings and my views and my opinions. And, this is one that has been weighing heavily on my heart and my brain. So, now I got it off my chest and I can breath again!!

Does anyone else notice this in their playgroups? Am I the only one? Does it feel like a big competition or am I reading to far into these conversations? Let me know your thoughts!!