Applique Pattern and Tutorial
Here’s a sweet way to brighten up a spring day! Inspired by the gorgeous Ginger Blossom line of fabrics by Sandi Henderson, this appliqué pattern is just perfect with any of the Ginger Blossom fabrics. Or any fabrics at home in your stash! I’ve been working on creating little projects that you can do using scraps of fabric you already have on hand, and something that you could finish up in an afternoon while the kids are napping or off at school. So, if you are wanting to tackle a small project to get started sewing, or if you are just looking for a simple, fun, quick and easy project . . . . this is perfect for you!
You can find the complete tutorial, including directions and instructional photos, on the "Flutter Flower" Applique Tutorial page.
“It requires much more courage to stand and wait and still not lose heart or lose hope, to submit to the will of God, to give up opportunities for work and leave honors to others, and to be quiet, confident, and rejoicing while the busy multitude goes happily along their way.”
from Streams in the Desert
The other day I said to my husband, "If I could just figure out what God is leading me to do, I know I could just let go of all this anxiety and worry." The problem was, and is, that there is no shortage of things that COULD be done, or even things that SHOULD be done. The problem is that I simply don't know which one of the multitude of opportunities in front of me is the RIGHT one . . . . especially in light of the fact that it would also help if whatever it is that God wants me to do could help us pay the mortgage and feed the kids! But then, I must remind myself, God knows THAT, too.
So, it is beyond my human comprehension that this particular quote was chosen for this particular week. I'm clueless. All I know is that God has put on my heart the need to pursue the opportunities that have "accidentally" dropped in front of me, but where that will lead and how that will benefit my family financially, I don't have the slightest idea. And with my personality, and my determination not to ask anyone else to do for me what I really should be doing for myself . . . . well, waiting is really very, very difficult for me.
"Give up opportunities for work" is the part that is the hardest . . . not because I want to "work" for any particular award or recognition. It is just that "work" is part of the way I was brought up and "work" is something that we all should be doing everyday. Whether it be the "work" of caring for my home and family, or the "work" of teaching a Sunday School class, or the "work" of just doing the task at hand. So it is all very confusing to me, to suggest that it is actually OK for me to stop "working" so hard. Now where does that leave me?
Because I KNOW that we don't have to "work" in order for God to bless us or to accept us or to love us. But this whole business of "not working" is a pretty huge obstacle for me, especially right now, with the economy the way it is and so many of us struggling financially.
So, the way I see it today, through my faulty vision of God's plan and purpose, I would love to be still and wait, not to lose heart or to lose hope, to be courageous in the face of uncertainty, and to submit to the will of God . . . but since I'm still trying to figure out what God's will is for me in this situation, I find myself wandering around trying to figure out if there is even one more thing I am supposed to be "doing" to get there. And when I am fearful and wandering around clueless, it is really not possible to be courageous, brave, and hopeful. I'm not looking for honors, just honest "work" that honors my Heavenly Father. . . .and helps pay the bills. I'm trying to relax, really! ;o)
Please visit our hostess this week for "In Other Words," Tami at The Next Step, where you will find the links to the other participants this week. Then leave your link and we'll come by and visit you to read your thoughts on this week's quote.
Because of my job as editor of Ruby for Women, I am frequently out and about in cyber space, cruising around the mommy blogs, looking for intriguing writing, ideas, and personalities. And I frequently find them! There are SO many amazing women out here who write from the heart, who share honestly and even boldly, telling their stories and sharing their wisdom. One thing that remains constant, however, is an ongoing version of the "Mommy Wars." Now, if you are younger that 35, or maybe even 40, you probably don't remember the early days of the "Mommy Wars."
Perhaps these little spats have been going on throughout all of history . . . although I wouldn't be surprised if women of long ago really didn't have the time or energy to worry about whether she measured up to the neighbor lady. For many centuries of world history, women have been so consumed with survival, for themselves and their families, that they frequently had to figure out how to get through a day without dying. And they didn't always succeed at that. But in more modern history, we have the time, energy, education, and permission to consider things such as: "Am I a good enough mom if I can't provide my children with the latest designer clothing?" or what about the mamas who worry about having to choose between working away from home (and consequently having their children in day care) or having enough money to keep a roof over the heads of family members?
And of course a HUGE issue among mommies is the topic of education. Of course, we all want the very best for our children. That's the way God made mamas - and so we struggle to figure it all out. And sometimes we get it right and sometimes we discover that we THOUGHT we were doing the right thing, only to find out years later that, unfortunately, we made a mistake about something. It's definitely a good thing that there is God's grace, or we would all be in a pretty bad situation.
But the question that really haunts me, and has for many years, is why we seem to bring all of this guilt into our lives and into the lives of others. I'm sure we don't really mean to drag all this load of guilt around with us . . . . and I would have a hard time believing that anyone would intentionally drop that heavy load right on top of another mommy's (probably already) broken heart. But it does happen. And now that I am a "vintage mama," I have the advantage of being able to look behind me with a little different perspective than when I was right in the middle of being a young mom, trying to "get it right."
Now, as an older mom with young children again, I've discovered a couple of things that I wish I had know back when I was struggling with trying to "measure up" to all the other "perfect" mamas I encountered all around me. If you are interested in this conversation, Sarah Mae has started a discussion here where you can share your thoughts on this subject. But for whatever it is worth, here are some things that I have learned from being a mama, from watching my children grow up, and now being a mama again:
1. You aren't perfect, so don't pretend. I'm not perfect, and pretending for all those years almost destroyed me.
2. Mamas make mistakes. The sooner you accept that truth, and teach it to your children, the healthier you all will be.
3. God forgives. The sooner you accept that truth, and teach it to your children, the healthier you all will be.
4. Guilt will break you. It will break your heart, it will break your spirit, and it will eventually destroy your health.
5. If we could be perfect, God would not have needed to send His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins. He could have just told us to figure it out for ourselves, and then He could have done something else for all of eternity.
6. We ARE perfect, however, through the grace and forgiveness of God. The difference is that we are perfect positionally, not existentially. All that means is that in the physical, material world where we live right now, our human experience will defy all efforts to "get it right" all of the time . . . but that does not negate the reality of our position in Christ as being perfected because of His sacrifice.
7. If children are allowed to grow up believing that they are "special" (which of course they ARE!) without learning the correlating truth that everyone else is special, TOO, they will be deceived into thinking that everything in their life SHOULD be perfect . . . . . and if someone else (usually mommy) does not MAKE it perfect, then we can blame mommy for all of the bad things that happen in life.
8. As mamas, we are given the privilege and opportunity to train our children, protect them, and give them the "tools" that they need to be safe and successful in life. It is NOT our job to make them "like" us - if my four year old is "mad" at me because I tell him he cannot climb onto the roof and run around naked . . . . he'll get over it. But he might not get over a two-story fall into the rose bushes.
9. Your gifts are different from someone else's gifts. If you are a home schooling mom who runs a home business while writing the next best-selling Christian novel, sings and plays piano every Sunday and writes music that moves the congregation to tears, has a perfectly tidy home and garden, and sews a gorgeous wardrobe for all of your 12 children . . . . . that is a good thing. But most of us are just regular moms, struggling to keep clean clothes on those little bodies and nutritious food in their mouths. All the rest is just . . . . well, the rest.
10. Finally, get over it. My mistakes and failures are NOT the main event. My failures not that important in the big scheme of history. I mess up every day . . . . I forgot to mail a birthday card to my son-in-law, I haven't bought a Mother's Day gift for Grandma yet, my kids ate Cheerios for supper last night, the flower gardens need to be weeded, and I STILL need to get the garden planted. If I get to it at all, this year. Fortunately I remembered to buy toilet paper before it ran out, and I did manage to mow the lawn. I'm normal, and so are you. Normal does not equal perfect. Write THAT on the back of your hand!
The bad news is that you aren't perfect, and neither am I. But the very Good News is that we don't have to be. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, our every day mistakes, our failures and shortcomings. Own it, admit it, confess it, and get over it. God has. And if there are other people in your life who aren't ready to "get over it," well, I'm sad for them and I pray for them and I love them . . . but I'm done hauling around this great big load of guilt. So, I promise, I won't ever dump it on you. But, on the other hand, if you try to hand me a load of guilt, I'll just turn around and walk away. Because I believe that when God forgives, I'm not exactly the right person to question His gift.
Mommy wars . . . . why do we do this to each other and to ourselves? If you are striving to honor God in your daily life, and honest and sincere in seeking His wisdom and guidance, you will be doing EXACTLY what you should be doing today. And tomorrow. Don't let false guilt suck the soul right out of you.
Do you ever feel like you are completely "lost in the crowd" while you are out here in the ever-growing world of cyber space? This "village" is so huge that you wonder if you will ever be "noticed" for all of the great work you are doing? Well, it is just like that wherever you go! We can't connect with everyone in the entire universe, and we don't need to. We will all find our little "niche" in the world of online business and community, and I've learned that it is not just having a million and one "friends" (although obviously quantity is important if you want to build a business) - but if you don't take the time to nurture the connections and new friends that you make while you are out and about, you have really missed an important part of this endeavor.
Of course, if we want to gain a following for whatever little business we are trying to build, we need to get the word out to as many people as possible. That's where running a successful advertising / information campaign on Facebook and Twitter is great. But along the way, it is so important to connect in a meaningful way with some of the wonderful people you meet in your online travels. I have had the privilege of "meeting" so many amazing people, and of course we don't have time in our lives to build life-long relationships with everyone who comes along - even if we really, really like them a lot. But take the time today to recognize the accomplishments of someone you have "met" in your travels. You never know, it just might be that they need a kind word, a bit of acknowledgment, a touch of encouragement, or just a friendly reminder that they are important in this great big world marketplace.
One of the people who has come into my life recently is Sue of Indiesmiles. She has been such a wealth of information and advice, enthusiasm for the work of independent business women and other artists, and kindness in unexpected ways. And then, as is always the case, when you take a minute really to listen to what another person is saying, I discover that she has had her own moments of struggle and discouragement. And I feel completely welcomed into the world of real people, with real lives, real hopes and dreams . . . . those "hidden" things that do not always come through in an email or a blog post. It is easy to hide behind our online persona and give the impression that we've got it all together and that everything is "perfect" in our life. But in the REAL world that is just not the way it is.
That is one of the reasons that I am working on my Journal of Gratitude. And that is the motivation behind my determination to include a column in the upcoming issues of Ruby for Women that will focus on the struggles and triumphs that various women have experienced through the grace and mercy of our loving Heavenly Father. Someone has to start saying it. Someone has to begin to speak the truth about the realities of life. Someone has to have the courage to be first. We're working on it here at Ruby for Women. But in the meantime, please visit Sue at Indiesmiles where you will find an incredible group of indie artisans who have created a community of celebration for those of us who work out here, sometimes in the silence of our homes, but always with the opportunity for connection through the Indiesmiles neighborhood.
If you want to read my blog post for which I was honored with the "Top Columnist for the Month of April, 2010," you can go here. But mostly I want to encourage you to join a community where you will be welcomed, embraced, nurtured, and encouraged along the way on you journey to reach your dreams and goals for 2010. When you stop by Indiesmiles, be sure to tell Sue that I sent you!
I hate to admit it, but it is true . . . . the work I am doing has created a situation where I am completely dependent on my computer. So, when my regular computer crashed and burned two weeks ago, I was lost. There's a wonderful computer fix-it guy not too far from my house, so that's a good thing. I called Jack and explained what had happened, and he said, "Well . . . . bring it in and we'll see what we can do." That didn't sound good, so I asked if whatever had happened had completely destroyed my hard drive. That would mean, I guess, that I had lost all of my pictures and all of the documents that I've been working on for the past several years. All of my eBook patterns, all of my articles, and all of the documents that I need to create each issue of Ruby for Women. He was rather vague in his response, but it sounded like that was not the main problem. Is this good or is this bad?
So, I loaded up the computer and drove over to the shop. Jack was very friendly and cheerful, I think partly because he was afraid that he was going to have to give me some bad news. I came back home and waited. I felt like I was waiting for a baby to be born or something. Of course, there was a lot of work to do here around the house, but I really, really needed to get some of my computer work done. Jack called the next day and said, "I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that your hard drive is intact, but the computer is completely worn out." I guess I've been working it too hard. So we discussed the options . . . . until my husband reminded me that his computer (which he was not using regularly since we got the lap top) was in perfectly good shape, and could Jack just put the hard drive into THAT computer? Good idea!
I called Jack back and asked him if that would work and he said to just bring it over and he'd take a look at it. OK . . . . another day of work sucked into the big black hole of "running around doing errands." Because, of course, since I was going out anyway, I would just make a few quick stops. The post office, buy a few groceries, go to the bank, stop at the eye dr. to drop off the broken glasses. That kind of thing. After looking at the working computer, Jack informed me that the hard drives were not compatible. BUT . . . . he could take all of the data off of my hard drive, copy it to a disk, and put it all on the hard drive of the working computer. Whatever it takes. I need to get back to work. That would only take a couple of days and I should be good to go.
By then it was the weekend, so I knew nothing was going to happen in a big hurry. Over the weekend, we decided that I should use the lap top and try to work on that while I waited for mine to be fixed. Good idea, except that ALL of the information that I needed to work with was on the other computer. But I could at least take care of the piles of emails that were accumulating, and I could get started on a few new projects, and I could even recreate some of the stuff that I needed. Well, if you are used to working on a regular computer (with a mouse) and then you try to switch to a lap top (without a mouse . . . . just that little pad that you have to mess around with) you know how annoying it is. Suffice it to say, I did manage to get some work done, but seemed to experience an ongoing sense of desperation, kind of like a low-grade fever over a very long period of time.
By Monday, I was really ready to get this show on the road, so I called Jack's shop. I thought it rather strange that he had not called me, because he had been pretty snappy the previous week. There was no answer, so I left a message, thinking that he would call me back later in the day. When I didn't hear from him for a couple of days, I really began to be concerned. Finally, on Thursday night I got a call around 9:00 p.m. from Jack's daughter. He was in the hospital, in ICU, recovering from some kind of aortic aneurysm that he suffered the previous Saturday. Oh my goodness!
Now the condition of my computer seemed to become instantaneously insignificant compared to Jack's health. His daughter told me he should be out of the hospital by Saturday, and that he would call me on Monday. That made me feel a bit better about his prognosis, but I certainly did not want him worrying about my computer when he needed to be investing all of his energy in getting healthy. Sure enough, Monday morning at about 9:03 a.m. Jack called. He sounded OK but tired. He said that he would be in the shop on Monday and Tuesday, but had to go back into the hospital on Wednesday (today) to have something else done to fix the problem. He will probably be out of the shop at least until the end of next week, and then restricted activity for at least six weeks.
But Jack is a trooper, a kind and gentle man, and totally trusts that God is in control, no matter what happens. So, today I am praying for Jack and his family. And I will call him the first part of next week to see how he is doing. I did drive over to his shop on Monday, picked up the resurrected computer, and now I can finally get back to work. All of my stuff has been located and rescued, and I'm burning up the keypad trying to catch up on so many projects. But my little encounter with Jack and my broken down computer over the past couple of weeks has definitely brought me back to the reality of life. Really . . . . sometimes there are things that are more important than a computer, email, Facebook and Twitter. Yes, building my business is important to my family, but there are bigger issues in the world. I can't let my computer control my life, even though I am grateful for the gift of being able to work at home that my computer offers.
Actually this post was going to be about my Journal of Gratitude. That's why the pictures are here, because I want to document my progress which has been minimal while I've been messing around with the computer situation. But I am also reminded to be grateful. Today I am grateful for many things, but especially I am grateful for my friend Jack and his steps toward recovery. And I am grateful that, so far, my family is healthy. That's truly a gift! Are you working on your Gratitude Journal? Making progress? I'd love to see your pictures!
This was a custom order but I wanted to share it with you in case you are thinking of making something special for a Mother's Day gift. These crazy patch journals are fun, easy, and can be as elaborately embellished or as elegantly simple as you want to make them. I've already sent out lots of the eBooks for making these crazy patch journal covers, but if you want a copy of it just leave me a comment. I'll be working on several more in the next few weeks, so when they are finished I'll post pictures of them right here for you to see. They will also be available in my Etsy shop if you would like to purchase one, but really they are great fun to make. No two are exactly alike, so this is a unique gift that will be treasured by the recipient. You might even want to make one for yourself!
Don't forget that there is a FREE quilt project tutorial on the Ruby blog. It is an appliqued bookmarker and all the instructions and templates are right there for you to print off and make your very own Berry Berry Bookmarker, designed by Rochelle Martin of Cottage Quilt Designs.
And then, you will want to get the next issue of Ruby for Women because Rochelle will be starting the first block in the "Gardener's Delight" quilt project. It will consist of eight different blocks, with all instructions available in the next eight issues of Ruby for Women. When you finish this project, it will make a gorgeous throw or wall hanging for your home. Oh, and one more thing . . . we now have a Facebook Fan Page for Ruby for Women. Stop by and join our fan club and we'll keep you up-to-date on all of the exciting events going on at Ruby for Women!
Now that I have finally finished editing the spring issue of Ruby for Women, I can work on my next ebook. I had so much fun with the writing and editing project that I just couldn't quite let it go . . . . I just kept going back over it and over it, and of course every time I went through it again, I would find one more tiny, little thing that needed to be corrected. OK, so I admit I have perfectionistic tendencies!
That's the bad news, but it is also the good news, because once it is finally finished, whatever I am working on usually looks pretty good. But there comes a time when you have to let it go, decide that it is "finished," and not stress about whether there might be ONE more tiny flaw that was missed. But even after I felt the document was as close to "perfect' as I was going to make it, then I had a new problem to solve. Which is one of the things at the top of my TO DO list for today.
Apparently the PDF creator that I am using (it really is old, and I need to update it) causes the pages to load so slowly that it makes you crazy if you are trying actually to read what is in the magazine. That's not a good thing! After all, lots of people have worked very hard to write and edit all of these articles, photos, devotionals, tutorials, puzzles, and recipes . . . . now is NOT the time for a technological glitch to cancel out all of the fun stuff that is available. So, first thing I will be doing is checking out a few other alternatives, see if I can update my Adobe creator, and hope that helps. It did help to find a different PDF viewer, but I don't think that will work for everyone. I need to go right back to the original document and figure out a better way to convert to PDF.
The thing is, I really have other projects that I need to move on to this week. So I'll just say a little prayer that my brain will function efficiently, and that I will be able to solve THIS problem so that I can move on to the next event on my schedule. If I can get that problem solved, I wanted to finish up this ebook pattern this week: "Dolly Dresses Wall Hanging." I made this sweet little decoration for Annie's bedroom when we painted it last year, and then I also sold one in my Etsy shop. I really want to try to make up a similar version of this wall hanging in a variety of colors and styles.
It would be really cute made up as a baseball jersey, either for a boy or a girl, with the name and number of our budding athletes. It could also be made up as a ballerina tutu for a tiny ballerina, or it could even be created in bold colors with a few feathers and a little bling for our favorite teenage diva. Or your sister, cousin, aunt, mom, grandma . . . . all in fabrics and trims that would reflect each individual person in your life who deserves a bit of celebration. For now, however, I'll just finish up the ebook with this design, and then work on making a few different ones later this week. But whatever design you might want to use, the same technique will work!
So if you want to give this project a try, just leave me a comment and I'll send the ebook out to you by the end of the week. It shouldn't take me all week to figure out this silly Adobe program! Have a great Monday, and don't forget to check out Ruby for Women . . . . . . you can purchase a subscription here or you can buy a single issue here. Also, be sure to let me know if you want to join Team Ruby for Operation Pillowcase. We'll be sending at least 25 pillowcases to our troops in Afghanistan. This is just one small way we can say Thank You for all that they do to keep us safe. I'll be posting more about that project later this week, so let me know if you want to join the team! ~~ Nina
This business of working from home is so attractive. I love it. It is such a gift to be able to get my girls up in the morning, have breakfast together, sometimes read together if they aren't goofing around TOO much. And then I drive them to school out here in the middle of the cornfields where we watch the sun coming up over the trees with their bare branches, while we talk about life and our anticipation of spring when those bare branches will begin to reveal the new life that will burst forth.
Then when they are safely deposited at the doorstep of our little country school, I head back home for a second cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast. A quick shower, throw in a load of laundry, and I'm off to my little corner office. All of that is how it goes when everything comes together just right. But then there are mornings when the phone rings and I have to listen to a friend (which is a good thing), or I realize that I really have to call the dr., dentist, eye dr., bank, and the car repair shop . . . . all before noon.
Sounds so easy, but then you get put on hold for 20 minutes with the first phone call and when I finally get to talk to a real human being, I discover that in order to take care of THAT particular situation, I have to make three or four other calls first. One step forward and three steps back. So, I move on to the next call on my list and wait on hold for another 15 minutes, only to be told that I will have to call a different department. Of course, they will put me through to that department, so I wait, and wait, and wait . . . . and after another 10 minutes the line is disconnected.
By now it is 10:30 a.m. and I am starting to feel a bit anxious about all of those projects that I promised I would have finished by tomorrow. After about an hour of all of this waiting and not accomplishing very much, I decide to give that a rest and go into my office and get something, anything, done. I just get started, and I'm right in the middle of a great idea that I need to capture in writing before it escapes my brain . . . . and the phone rings. "Did your realize that your daughters only received ONE H1N1 vaccine this past year?" says the lady from the health department. "It is very important that you get them back in for that second shot as soon as possible." OK, so I'll add that to my TO DO list.
Lost my train of thought, so I decide to go out and put the laundry in the dryer, and while I'm out there I might as well sweep the kitchen floor. In the middle of sweeping the floor, the phone rings again and it is a friend from church. "Want to go to exercise class with me tomorrow?" she asks. Now, that really is something that I'm trying to fit into my routine, but if I do that, I probably won't have time to finish the project before the deadline. What should I do?
By this point I really have completely lost all idea of what I was even trying to work on earlier in the morning, and it is now almost lunch time. I'm suddenly feeling the "Clock Monster" breathing down my neck, because I will have to go pick the girls up from school in about two hours and I STILL haven't made much progress on whatever it was I had planned for today.
On my way back to the office (with another cup of coffee), I discover that there are a few bills on the kitchen table that I was supposed to get out in the mail today, and a birthday card for Aunt Sue that should have gone out yesterday. Well, I guess I better get that taken care of so that I can run into the post office while I'm out getting the girls from school. I finally get the bills and the birthday card ready to go, and I notice that I didn't get anything out of the freezer for supper, so I quick grab some chicken and put it in the sink to thaw out.
I start for the office again and remember that I agreed to bake cookies for the school carnival tonight, and I know that if I wait until after I bring the girls home, they will eat all of the cookie dough before I can bake it into cookies. And if I actually manage to get some of them baked, they will probably eat all of them before I can get them to the school carnival. By now it is 1:30 p.m. and I look at the clock. I realize that, if nothing else happens, I still have ONE good hour before I have to leave to get the girls. I sit down at my computer and pull up the project that I started at 8:30 a.m. and don't have a clue what I was doing, where I am going, or how in the world I will EVER get this finished on time.
After I rack my brain for 5 minutes, some of it suddenly comes back to me. I start writing, frantically trying to capture my thoughts before they are dashed out of my brain again . . . . . and the phone rings. "Hi, Honey," my sweet hubby says. "How's your day going?" "Great!" I say, because I am completely exhausted and don't have the energy to try to explain it all. So we chat for a while, and he tells me all about his day and who said what, and how that all sorted out, and what's next on the schedule. My hubby is a "chatter" which is a very good thing - it's just that there are certain moments in time when my brain is just in overload, and he is very gracious and understanding.
When he sees my eyes glaze over and I am staring into outer space, and when my best response is a one-syllable utterance, he knows that things are not going well. "Gotta run, Honey," I say, "It's time to pick up the girls." "OK, I'll call you later." And on my way to the school, the post office, the bank, and then the grocery store, I remind myself how fortunate I am to be able to work from home, in my little corner office with a view of the lake. I love it here. When I actually get to STAY here and accomplish something.
Just a quick reality check for those of us who dream of working from home. Rule Number 1: Somewhere, somehow, in the midst of "LIFE" you actually have to get the work done. And I'm still not sure how to get there from here. Have a great Wednesday, and I hope you get lots accomplished today. Don't forget to have some fun along the way!