how my husband taught us all the greatest lesson in love

I’ve been largely absent from this space.

When you take a leave, it’s hard to know what the right words are to re-enter.

But what I wanted to share was not about tragedy but about brightness that comes from dark days.

We have had our fair share of dark days in the last few months. And talking about it in a place that is your creative space and outlet to talk about business ventures hardly seems “fun” or even appropriate. But I think the lesson of love is worth sharing.

When my twins were born, my Mother-in-law was the first person waiting in my room when they wheeled me back from delivery. Without fail, she visited with all of our children, at least once a week until several months ago. She was ever present in our lives everyday.

She was my youngest, my Sprout’s very best friend. When you would ask Sprout where she wanted to go on a day off of school – the zoo or Grandmas….she excitedly would yell, “GRANDMAS!”. They had a very special relationship.

My Mother-in-law has battled two different types of cancer in her lifetime. And when they told her for the 3rd time, they thought she had cancer – she politely said No Thank You to cancer and just lived and loved the most that she could in the time she had left.

She was really good at that.

So these last few months over the winter when she became very ill, my husband (with help from his brothers and a cousin who is really more of a sister than a cousin) became her full time caregiver.

What my husband did during those 56 days of her acute illness was teach our daughters a lesson in love that was priceless and irreplaceable and will stay with them as they grow and have families of their own someday.

My daughters watched their Dad tenderly care for his mother, love her, hold her hand, prepare meals for her, help her in every possible way you could imagine and well beyond.

They watched their Dad and their Uncles be vulnerable.

They watched their Dad be strong and at the same time, weak from exhaustion and sadness.

They watched their Dad put all of his energy into loving his Mother as much as he could every day. Not just when she was sick. But everyday. He always has.

It took a fair amount on everyone’s part to care for Grandma. There is not an ounce of it that any of us would trade for the world.

We were reminded that we are never closer to God than we are when we are with someone transitioning from this life to the next.

Our daughters saw their father’s faith in action and unconditional love and sacrifice.  I’m not sure what better lesson they could ever receive than to see how we care for one another above all other things.

It’s all that we have and it’s all that matters. Each other. Here. Now. For Always.

It’s the greatest lesson in love I think they may ever learn from their Dad. Not by his words but by his actions.

In that darkness and sadness of saying goodbye, there was so much bright light and love that I know it will carry our girls all the rest of their days until they are reunited again.

We are celebrating this sweet woman’s life soon with our family and while I know there may be tears, there will be so much love and laughter. There will be hugs. There will be stories. It will be beautiful.

And my daughters will see just how great this love is for family and it will become part of who they are, how they love, forever.

What a gift.

 

 

[ infinity scarves ]

My two peas are pretty obsessed with scarves right now.
I can’t keep up with how many they want to buy so I decided to make them a few.

Turns out, I’m equally obsessed. Warm, comfy, and a hint of color with jeans and tee…they look fabulous on dreary winter days. Found this plaid flannel recently along with 4 other plaids that the girls loved.
They go with almost everything.

They are the perfect quick sewing project and fabulous gifts too.
This is for sure my go-to gift giving item for Valentines Day.

So simple to make.
You’ll need a nice continuous 2 yards of fabric (or patchwork piece some fabrics together for a really eclectic look).

  1. Cut fabric 64″ long x 22″ wide.
  2. Right sides facing, sew the long edge, starting and stopping 2″ from the ends.
  3. Turn right side out. Bring your two short ends together, match the end points, right sides facing.
  4. Pin.
  5. Sew all the way around from point to point. You will be left with a gap open where the long center seam stopped.
  6. Your scarf is now in a continuous circle.
  7. Pull everything right side out and stitch your opening closed either by hand or on your machine.

{sewn on the Bernina B580 – which I love love love….I have her on a test run through this Spring, thank you Bernina USA. Good luck to the UPS guy who comes to reclaim her. I may ignore the doorbell. Forever. She totally rocks.}

If you’re not so much into sewing and would like one of these extras I have on hand, let me know.
Um, I did over buy on plaid flannel a bit and have roughly 6 or so extra scarves.
email me at info (AT) twopeasinapoddesigns (DOT) com
I will be selling a few of the extras at one of my fav boutiques, Georgie Emerson Vintage too.

[ trusting in your talents ]

“Your talents are a gift. Are you just going to drop them, hoping that someone will give you your dream job and a fat salary just for being you? Or are you going to take responsibility for what you’ve got and really push yourself to do something great with those gifts? You have to believe in yourself enough to know that you’ve got talent and that you are worth the investment of time and effort. God valued you enough to give you those abilities. Value yourself enough to grow those talents to become great.” – Michael Oher in “I Beat the Odds”

One of my friends posted this quote on Facebook this morning. Michael Oher is the kid who found a forever family, football fame and had his life story made into the movie, The Blind Side.

I’ve had this mental block for awhile now since I finished writing my book. I’ve found it hard to even organize my thoughts. I’m not sure why. I’ve had plenty of time to decompress and move forward.

I think partially, it’s fear.

I’m not sure what is next. I don’t know what God has planned for me. I don’t know where to focus. Many days, I feel pulled in far too many directions. I think this is natural for a lot of people. You can’t be on your game all the time.

This quote just gave me an “Ah-ha” moment this morning.
Each of us, me, you, all of us…are born with talents. To teach children, to help people manage their finances, to care for people when they are sick, to build buildings, or make art…each of us has a talent.

How we will use it, share it, hone it, work on it, let it be of service to the greater good…all depends on believing in ourselves. And trust. Trusting that God knows what he’s doing and that our hands will do His work, whatever our work may be.

So, although I may feel like my brain is working in a vat of molasses…there’s a process and a reason and an opportunity for me, for you, to grow in who we were made to be.

I think I should get some gummy bears, coffee and ponder this thought a bit more. Gummy bears and Coffee always seem to make things better.

| under the sea – a work in progress |

Finishing up the text for this fun bag pattern that involves patchwork and zippers into a cross body bag. I have loved these prints from Mo Bedell from her Full Moon Lagoon line and couldn’t wait to use them in lots of ways. Mo has another great line of fabric out that is equally bright and fun. Both are great prints to shoo-away the winter blues.

Look for this sometime in the future on the We All Sew website as a free pattern….I’ll keep ya posted when it’s live.

{Say hello to Oliver while you are here – my little kitten who I adore. And there might be a sneak peek of a cute apron that will be a free pattern too – just in time for Mother’s Day crafting!}

 

:: Frozen Snow Day ::

Been a lot of naps here lately.

Yawn.

Staying in our PJ’s all day.

Enjoying new toys from Santa.

Too cold for kitten to go out and play.

Snow Days. Here’s to lazy days and long winter naps. Yawn.

(Clearing out boutique items from the shops in town putting them for sale in my etsy shop. New items being added daily. Get 25% off through January 12th. Use code SNOW25) Pass the word.

 

 

 

 

{ Letting go and giving in }

This came in the mail today. From someone I haven’t met that goes to my church. It spoke to me in such great volume. And brought a tear to my eyes.

I haven’t blogged here for a long time on a consistent basis. I have been busy writing my book. Being with my family. Keeping my head above water trying to work at my day job at the university and keep food on the table. Like all of you.

For most of this year, I have heard this voice inside me say, “Who are YOU? Who do YOU think you are to be in THIS place? To say…WHAT? Who cares? Who even is listening?”. I let some negative forces that breeze in and out of all of our lives, make me believe that what I was doing was just self serving and not worthy. I kept to myself mostly. I kept quiet. I just froze.

And then this Sunday.

At church. 3 different people came up to me to tell me how much they appreciated the writing I shared in our Advent Devotional book.

And today. This note. From someone I’ve never met who thanked me for sharing what I wrote in that devotional and what a blessing it was to them.

I pulled my notes out of my purse today that I wrote while in church on Sunday (yes I WAS listening Pastor Tim). It was about THIS PLACE. This blog of mine.

I was jotting notes that read:

Why do I journal here?

Do I even care who my audience is?

Bigger than my “biz” – there’s more to it.

It’s my own personal letter – to my kids, to myself, to YOU, to someone who needs to hear it today because God gave me this place.

I think I have felt guilt over pursuing success in this sewing / design industry. Guilt over working outside the home in my day job. Guilt over wanting to make a better life for my kids rather than being in the moment, content and thankful for what I already have. I think it’s not enough but it is. Most things do not come easy for us these days financially with a family of 5 and my part time job and my husbands retirement. But we have enough. We have MORE than enough. I forget this so often.

I have felt vain. I have let others make me feel less than what I am. I have compared my own talents to others and wished that I had their successes.

The truth is my success in this design industry, take it or leave it, does not define me. Who I am, how I live, and my CONNECTIONS TO OTHERS does define me.

That connection to one another gives me purpose and hope and happiness and makes me feel grateful. So very very grateful for those around me.

When I let go of overthinking who I am, what I’m doing, and what’s next – what naturally rises to the surface is peace.

Peace in knowing that God has a plan for me and rather than trying to define myself by my successes, I will define myself by the company I keep and the relationships that arise and the love that swells in my heart knowing that each and every day, I am HIS.

I have a purpose to serve and if I’ve been blessed with creativity and a joy to share and inspire it here, then I will. I will speak what comes to my mind, I will write a letter to myself, to my kids, to YOU.

I want to write. I want to write here freely. Not just about sewing. But about my life. About what is important to me. About everything in life and faith and relationships AND sewing and art and crafting and inspiration and color and fabric and nature and so much more.

Read if you’d like. Share your stories with me too. This is just a letter to me. To my kids. To you.

And that devotion I wrote for church, here’s a piece of it:

1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

……Let’s call it a “mid-life” crisis. Or something like that. I’m half-way through my life and all I could think about was “I don’t want to miss these moments”. There is only just this one day my littlest will be 5 years old on November 5th or whatever day it happens to be and I don’t want to miss it because I’m at work.And so, with that tugging on my heart, I started a new routine for my mornings to try and change my attitude. Everyday, on my commute to my job, to work in advising and counseling students on their career paths in the environmental sciences, I pray this prayer,

“God, please use me today to do YOUR good works. Please help me to be everything YOU need me to be today to whoever comes through my door”. 

I kept saying the words each day but, I didn’t feel them.

Then late in the summer, I hung a cover from one of the church bulletins on my office wall that had a painting of Jesus on it that says, “Who do you say that I am?”. I noticed that a lot of students would look intently at that picture and a few have opened up about how their faith life was very important to them and how they want to incorporate it into their career path. Not a single student has ever mentioned their faith to me in the 15 years I’ve been at the university – until I posted that picture.

One day, about 2 weeks ago, I had an attitude changing moment that rocked me. I was meeting with a student and we were discussing academic courses and plans for internships. Our appointment time was over and he says to me, “So, I wanted to ask you a question. Who do YOU say that Jesus is?”. I just stared at him in this moment, with a very surprised tone, and I put my hands to my chest pointing at myself, taken aback and all I could say was, “Me?? Who do I say Jesus is? Like, MEWho do I think He is???”.

  • Public school institution
  • Am I being punked?
  • Maybe he’s an atheist and he wants to argue with me
  • Can I really talk about this here?
  • Am I going to get in trouble if I talk about this HERE?

In a matter of like 3 seconds, all those thoughts raced through my mind and I looked out my office window, sat back in my chair, and looked at him and said, “Jesus to me, is my Lord and Savior. That’s who is to ME.” I then was breathless because I had said it. Out loud. It felt really powerful to say it when questioned in a moment I least expected it. And the student responded, “Cool. He is for me too.” and then we spent the next 20 minutes talking about Jesus, God, who Jesus was to other religions, specifically how He is referred to in various scriptures…and I was completely amazed.

These college students I work with are away from home. For many, church is a 2nd home for them. Like it is for my own children. A place where they feel safe. A place where they are with God. And I think, that picture on my office wall makes them feel safe with me at that moment. It calls to them a reminder of a part of their life that is the most meaningful.

I am often the person who helps a student choose a major and determine what they will do for their lifes work and I think – I know – that God has called me to this place at this time. To be with His children. Not just my own. I know that what I do here is more than a job. God is using me in unique ways with gifts He has given me to help others. For that, I give thanks, in all circumstances, for the opportunity to be His hands, to share His word. At times when I least expect it.

So, that’s it. Speaking from my heart freely. I hope to be back more often with more to share.

Glamorous Fair Wear – Part 3

I’ve been sharing all this week a fun refashioning project that I was working on for our county fair with my kids. Be sure you check out part one HERE and part two HERE. You’ll find the “what I did” to refashion my big girls outfits…

I saved my favorite for last. Sprout and my husband, The Gardener, competed in the pairs class for the Guys and Gals Lead Lamb show and since we are in the heart of Buckeye country (that would be in reference to THE Ohio State University Buckeyes for those of you not in the know on the scarlet and gray) I choose a sophisticated game day look for the two of them.

I started with this large stash of sweaters from the thrift store. That awesome scarlet and gray striped sweater could not have been more perfect. But it fit me. I wear a size LARGE women’s…Sprout wears a size 5 toddler. So getting it to fit was a challenge.

In order to get that large sweater to fit Sprout, I had to cut the side seams and arms. You can see how I did it HERE on this post where I performed the same sizing down on a sweater for her last year.

Here’s how I refashioned that pile of sweaters for outfit #3:

  1. I sized down the large sweater to fit Sprout. I added an appliqué using my Bernina 580 to add the text “OHIO” and a little buckeye. (it’s a poisonous nut from the Buckeye tree which happens to be the “mascot” for The Ohio State University Buckeyes). What I loved about using my Bernina is that you can adjust the stitch width and length to the extreme detail. For instance, I satin stitched this using a zig-zag stitch – using the turn dial, I can adjust that stitch to exactly what I need. You can go from a stitch length of 3.5 to 3.4, 3.3…and so on. It’s a great feature!)
  2. With some of the left over wool sweater pieces, I made Sprout a facinator. It is a HUGE bunch of rolled roses with pearls added to a headband. It got really heavy and I had to add a few hair pins to it to help hold it in place BUT it was so cute!!
  3. THE SKIRT! Oh the skirt! Inspired by a cute skirt I saw at the Country Living Fair this fall, this skirt started with a single wool sweater. I cut it into a very slight A-line, using one of Sprouts other skirts as a guide.  I cut the sweater so that I used the finished hem of the sweater as the hem for the skirt.  I left the skirt at this point, unsewn on the side seams while I added all of the fringe (in other words – it was a rectangle shape).  That fringe is a lot a lot of wool sweaters cut into pieces of various lengths and widths. Then I started at the bottom on one side and just kept adding and filling in until I had the entire skirt covered.  Next, with right sides facing, I sewed the side up to create a tube and create the skirt. Next, I used knit to create the waist band. I added in elastic to the waist band to get the perfect fit. This skirt was so cute on her and had the perfect “twirl” effect

For the Gardener, I found a great wool coat in perfect gray color. On the inside of the coat, on one side, I appliquéd the letters “O-H” and on the other side “I-O”. If you are a Buckeye fan, then you know this is a cheer you hear often…when someone says “O-H!” the proper response is “I-O!”. So when it came their turn to spin on the runway, he looked at the audience and opened up his jacket, flashing everyone. Ok, not exactly FLASHING but you get the idea! It was hilarious!

Did they win? No. But they did come in 3rd place and they won $14! Sprout was over the moon. She promptly asked if she could spend her money on a funnel cake and ice cream. I love this outfit and it will get a lot more wear this year as we cheer the Buckeyes on! (Ranked #4 currently in the nation….I feel an awesome National Championship title coming this year!)

Have you done any great refashioning projects lately? Share a link to your projects in the comments section. 

Glamorous Fair Wear – Refashioning part 2

I’m sharing this week about my refashioning project from our recent county fair…If you missed the first part, check it out HERE.

One of my peas wanted a casual look for her sheep show…and I obliged.  Although the class says they are looking for an elegant look, I think we compromised with this casual elegance.

We started with a wool tweed coat and a cream colored wool hat.

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Here’s what I did for outfit #2 to refashion it:

  1. Lavender Tweed coat – we added vintage lace to the collar.
  2. I added rosettes  and these flowers made from wool sweaters and felt leaves all along the hem of the coat. Then I added pearl beads and other pretty buttons into the mix.
  3. I made a wool belt from one of our thrifted sweaters. We topped off the knot with a pretty vintage brooch.
  4. All the way down the side seam of her jeans, I fused with Steam-a-Seam, wool patches from our thrifted sweaters.
  5. We topped it off with that cute creamy wool hat I found at the thrift store.

This outfit came together pretty quick. I love the flowers along the hem of the coat and I think this is a super cute way to add some whimsy to an old coat.

The belt was a fail in my opinion. To use the wool and sew it into this long skinny tube and turn it for the belt…it didn’t flow right and I wasn’t crazy about it. We had to pin it down to get it to lay right.

The wool patchwork jeans were a big hit. My daughter loved the look and they looked cute with her boots! It was super easy to do. The Steam-a-Seam has paper on both sides. I peeled back one side and placed the wool. Cut it out around the patch, removed the other paper backing and then placed it on the jeans seam. I used a cotton pressing cloth and steam pressed the patch. It turned out perfect. I LOVE Steam-a-Seam for applique and patchwork projects like this one.

Do you have any fun refashion projects you’ve done? Share a link in the comments section! I’ll be back on Thursday to share the final project of this group, and it’s my favorite one!

Refashion Wool – Glamorous Fair Wear

I’ve been largely absent from this space. I may have mentioned…I wrote a book. A crazy process that has kept me quiet here while I tinker away and try to keep up with my kids at the same time. No easy task. I’ll be stepping back in here time and again with a whole mess of fun projects and tutorials in the months to come.

I’ve missed sharing and sewing in this space. So, what’s new with you?!

Me? Well, since you asked…

The nice folks at Bernina have treated me to the use of 580 machine to use while I work on my book and to try out for a year. It will be hard to let it go next Spring as I have quickly fallen in love with all she can do and with what I am learning to do with all of these features.

I put her to good use this month while I worked away on a refashion project for my Two Peas and Sprout. They participated in a fun show to promote the Lamb & Wool industry at our county fair earlier this month.

It’s called the Guys and Gals Sheep Lead. Each contestant leads a lamb around the show ring past the judges and wears an outfit made of wool. They hand off their lamb to the Lamb & Wool Queen and then take a spin on stage while the announcer gives the details about the outfit they are wearing. They are judged on their handling of the animal and also on their outfit.

You can see our refashion project for this show from 2012 right HERE and from 2011 HERE.

This year, my trip to thrift store yielded some great finds for our show. I talked over each outfit with my girls and they picked out their favorites. Funny thing, my pea that picked out this first outfit, in the end, decided she liked her sisters outfit better and wasn’t thrilled about hers. Guess who won 1st place? SHE DID! She loved her outfit after that plaque was handed to her!

OUTFIT #1.  I started with this….

An Ann Taylor LOFT long sleeve wool blazer and J. Crew wool pants. The pants turned out to be way too big – more than I felt comfortable adjusting so we ended up opting for an ankle length wool pencil skirt.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I added black lace all along the blazer collar.
  2. I shortened the sleeves to 3/4 length and also added the same black lace at the cuffs.
  3. I removed one of the buttons that was not covered by the lace and replaced it with an antique earring that served as a button and added glamour.
  4. On the collar of the blazer, I neatly folded a vintage lace hanky and pinned it to the blazer with an antique brooch.
  5. We added a simple cream colored grosgrain ribbon around the waist for a belt.
  6. The skirt had been ankle length. I hemmed it to just above the knee. I added a double layer at the hem. One layer of a creamy gray cotton ruffle and then underneath the cotton, a layer of the black lace that was the same as the lace used on the blazer collar.
  7. We embellished her skirt with a trio of rosettes made from wool and layered on top of lace and pleated satin.
  8. Her final accessory was her headband that was made from one of our thrifted wool sweaters and edged with lace trim.

It took me a total of about 2 hours to play around with the design and then implement it. My Bernina was a work horse with this wool fabric. She didn’t hesitate a bit and handled these super heavy duty layers on the blazer with no hesitation.

(I only wish I had a better camera than my circa 2001 Kodak Easy Share 4mp (yes, FOUR MP) but I think you get the idea.) Refashioning is fun and affordable and I’ll tell ya what, it sure satisfies my creative side. I really enjoy it.

I’ll share more on Tuesday this week about the other peas outfit plus the outfit I made for Sprout that was a big hit! Here’s a teeny sneak peek!

Are you a refashioner? Share in the comments links to your refashion projects!

Test Post

My two peas are pretty obsessed with scarves right now.
I can’t keep up with how many they want to buy so I decided to make them a few.

Turns out, I’m equally obsessed. Warm, comfy, and a hint of color with jeans and tee…they look fabulous on dreary winter days. Found this plaid flannel recently along with 4 other plaids that the girls loved.
They go with almost everything.