{tractors and dr. pepper}

It was a requirement that I have Dr. Pepper on hand at all times for whenever Uncle Mel would come over to our house.  He loved that stuff.  Trust me, after all this work he did for us for Quilt Market, I had a case of Dr. Pepper on hand!

And he loved tractors.  And his dogs.  And we love him.  Oh, how we love him.

Absolutely drops me to my knees and tears fall when I read this post.  Because my gardener retires this year.  And this is exactly what he had in mind – to hang out with Uncle Mel, build stuff, garden, sell at the farmers market.  They had plans together.  We had plans.  Plans involving our families and work and spending time together.  Plans.

Uncle Mel wasn’t a whole lot older than my husband or his 3 other brothers.  They were like brothers.  Best friends.  And in most recent years, he’s been more to us.

On February 1st, my husband gave a letter to Uncle Mel from the two peas.  We had not been able to see him for the last several months because he was keeping everyone away.  He didn’t want us to see him.  He was sick and he wanted to protect us from that pain.  On that day, the letter told Uncle Mel how much the peas loved him, appreciated him for all that he had done, thanked him again for the great time they had staying at his house over Spring Break, told him how the thing they loved best about him was how he took care of Aunt Carla, and that they knew he knew this already but they wanted to tell him again – that Jesus loved him, and to be careful on his way to heaven.

They couldn’t get Mel home because he was on a ventilator – which was a result of him collapsing at home 2 days prior.  His diaphragm muscles finally quit working.  For the last couple of years, we had been trying to help get him with the right docs to figure out what was wrong with him.  Everyone said he was fine.  But he wasn’t fine.  Turns out, he had ALS and I think in his heart, he knew something was drastically wrong.  And as the disease progressed, he just didn’t want us to see what was going on.

He just wanted to get home.  My husband told Carla – but he is going HOME.  “And home maybe not be the house he shared with you but he is going HOME.”  And they made arrangements to bring his favorite dog to the hospital.  And Jake sat on Mel’s lap, and Mel spelled out that he had a great life.  And that he loved everyone and then lifted his finger and pointed at Aunt Carla, his son, my husband and Carla’s brother who was there.  And then my sweet husband left him alone with Aunt Carla and Mel’s only son and Jake, his dog.  And then he asked for the tube to be removed, and he went HOME.

So me, my husband, my girls and our extended family – we aren’t quite up to par just yet.  I’m not even sure how to get back to my blog because the words just won’t come.  I just need some time.



new year resolutions…kinda sorta


I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  I figure, what’s the point?  It’s not like I’m actually going to make some dramatic changes or anything.  I mean, let’s be honest.  Change is hard.  And I’m pretty settled in my ways.

But, this year…I’ve been thinking.  I really want some things to change.  I’m tired.  And I think I’m at the point where change is necessary or else.  This is the year.

This list, might not be of any interest to you…but if I say it, I’ll do it.  And I’m gonna say it aloud so I take some action.

1) My business, this whole Two Peas thing…my “hobby”…this is the year I decide to either keep doing it publically or go underground and just sew for fun without the business aspect.   I get emailed lots and lots of questions about how to do what I do and I thought it might be good to share what my pea brain knows thus far about what I’ve been doing and I’ll do that more here in 2012.  It just seems like there are some crafters that seem to find instant HUGE success and can make this whole handmade thing their bread and butter to provide for their family.  Wish I knew their secret.  To sew and craft for a living – like actually make a living at crafting, dream!  DREAM!!  I’ve certainly enjoyed success, and I am so humbled and thankful for the successes I have had and…I can’t quit my day job.  I’m pretty sure because of benefits like health insurance, I won’t be able to.  Ever.  I’m patiently waiting to see where God will lead me in this decision.  Plus, I love my day job too (working in higher ed and for the environment – we’re tree huggers in case you didn’t know).

My business is more than a business.  Which is maybe not good business?  It’s my love.  My passion.  Lifelong passion, truly – I love sewing and art.  Have loved it since I could hold a crayon in my hand.  I love what I do and love sharing with others what I do.  I spend a lot of time on my business and the whole point of creating “two peas” was to afford me a small income so that I could be available to my family, AND get to do what I love.  I mean, isn’t that THE DREAM?  When I was a park ranger, somebody PAID ME TO RIDE MY BIKE IN THE PARK ALL DAY.  Serious.  It was the best!  If I’m spending time away from my family in order to work my business, it needs to be worth my while, worth my absence.  You know what I mean?

But I suck at it.  At least at staying focused because my babies are only babies once, and I’m so easily distracted for one more hug, for a quick bike ride on the driveway, for snack time, etc etc etc.   My hubby says my “business” so far is still just a hobby.  And a hobby would allow me to make different decisions with my time.  Does that make sense?  I mean, if it was JUST a hobby, then to heck with deadlines, marketing, bookkeeping (oh I hate bookkeeping) blah, blah, blah.  Heck, I tell my husband all the time…I just want to sew and draw and paint and glue things together and create.  Can’t somebody else do all that other number crunching stuff ?  I’m just not sure I have what it takes to be so driven to make my hobby a true business.  I love what I do – too much – and sometimes I feel like I’m sacrificing the love of it for something else.

Maybe this is “taboo” – things you shouldn’t say in business publicly but I’m just being honest with myself.  I’ve been at it commercially for one year.  They say it takes 2-3 years for a business to hit its stride.  Being a one woman show is taxing – and I’m not sure if this is what God had in mind when I felt pulled this direction.  Anybody else feeling this way with your business?  Please tell me I’m not alone.

So my resolution here is to full on do the things I originally set out to do.  I’m going to hit it hard this year!  Sky is the limit, pie in the sky, dream the big dream, shoot for the stars.  That way, I can have no regrets.  No.  Regrets.  I’m going to figure out how to manage to balance my time so that I’m happy with my creative time, family time and business time.  No.  Regrets.  This time next year, I want to decide if this is for me or not.  Did I mention my young husband who is a law enforcement park ranger is retiring THIS YEAR.  Those law enforcement guys have a good deal going and he was recruited very young.  See…I think this is at the root of my turbulent thinking because of this drastic change for us…lots to figure out what are we doing, how we do it, where do we need to be.  It’s really weighing heavily on me.

2) This is the year I vow to lose the *cough! cough* twenty pounds, give or take a few, that I gained while Sprout was having a rough go last winter.  She is still considered to be in an “ongoing diagnostic” phase as they found some neuro abnormalities but can’t pin it down especially since thus far, her neurological and other developmentally milestones are all being met, thankfully.  She’s even a little advanced in some areas. Funny thing, when you quit eating from stress and nerves, you gain weight, quick.  Bummer.  But this looming, waiting for the other shoe to drop feeling, kinda starts to get old after awhile.

We have been very blessed because our family received a scholarship from the Y for my girls to be on the swim team and I have access to classes and 6 hours of personal trainer time to help me figure out how to get on track with diet and exercise.  I want to get my flexibility back that I lost after having my last baby, I want energy, and I want to be able to button my pants so I don’t have to buy new ones.  I’ve got a serious muffin top thing going on with my jeans right now and I do NOT want to spend any money on clothes.  Today, I quit drinking pop.  Cold Turkey.  I made it all the way to 3:34pm.  Then I had a Coke.  I’ll try again tomorrow.  Wish me luck on that one.

3) I want to be a better steward in faith – I want to be sure that in all that I do – I do it for the right reasons.  I want to do more than just enough to get by, I want to be more centered and focused on my relationship with Christ.  I keep reminding my girls, and in a way, reminding myself, that a sin is a sin is a sin.  It doesn’t matter how small, God doesn’t say well, murder is REALLY bad but  lying is not as bad so…OK, you’re in!  I want to live my life with God at the center of EVERYTHING I do.  Taking care of myself, my family, people around me – it all plays into where I’m placing my priorities.  First and MOST IMPORTANT, I don’t want to just get by.  I want to do more.  I’m not sure what that means just yet…

4) I want to be on time.  I’m late for most everything.  I hate that about myself.  And yet, for like 20 years, I can’t seem to improve it.  I’m going to set my alarm more often.  Try to keep a better, stricter schedule.  Refer back to #2.  I think that will help.  All about physically and emotionally, being healthy.  I mean, it’s so bad, my friends actually tell me to be places 20 minutes early – they LIE to me, so I get there on time.  It works.  Most of the time.  But then I’m worried that if my friends are LYING to me, they are gonna go to hell (see #3).  I’m just kidding about that part.  But I am going to do better this year about being on time.

5)  I want to catch up on my laundry.  In a house of 5, it never, ever, never, ever stops and I’m always like 7 loads behind the eight ball even when I do a load or two EVERY DAY.  Ugh.  I vow to declutter our laundry heap, simplify our clothing choices, and use those vaccuum storage bag things so I have a space to put off season clothes away (did I mention we live in a small house with very small closets…love the house, hate my closets.)

6) I want to simplify.  I’m tired of having “stuff”.  I want less “stuff” and more open space.  Refer to #5.  I decluttered every room of the house this year and finished just before Christmas.  I’m going to do it all over again…and really pare down.  Almost everything we own is a hand me down and I have a hard time saying no – I’m a flea market, thrift store, junk loving kind of girl.  But I need to simplify.  PURGE will be my favorite word for January and February and March and April and….

7)  I want to be a better friend, reconnect with old friends.  There are people that used to be really important in my life and they have faded away.  I want to reconnect.

8. I want to be a better wife.  I pray about this ALOT.  I try to practice submission with my husband (well, the kind where I tell him he’s the head of the house and he has the final say but really, I pretty much always get my way, kind of submission.  Right?  That’s how it works isn’t it?  I really do let him lead but we are 100% a team).  I want to be everything he needs me to be and support him as best I can.  I want to always make him happy and feel loved and appreciated.  I want to say “yes” more than I say “no” because that always ends up working in my favor anyway.  What?  Oh, come on girls.  That is not a secret. Right?!

9)  I want to volunteer at my kids school while I can.  5th graders, this is their last year in elementary school.  Can I put them in a bubble and stop them from turning into teenagers?  Please?  I know I still have 2 years and 2 months before they hit their teens but I’m working so hard to keep them little and age appropriate in a world that wants them to to be 17 when they are 10.  It’s such a battle – and I mean, one that I wield a shield and sword for – to keep images, music, television, and situations, age appropriate to MY standards.  To hell with the standards of the world, it’s our rules, our standards.  It requires me to preview movies, google search lyrics to songs before they download them, and it’s sometimes freaking exhausting.  But they are the sweetest, most compassionate, generous, loving, faithful, inspiring, energetic, appreciative, down to earth girls I know.  And that has nothing to do with me…that’s all them.  I don’t want to miss a moment of any stage of their life.  Even, gasp, the teen years.

10)  Become debt free.  This economy sucks right now.  This goes back to #1 and the hubby retiring.  Debt free will do much to alleviate my anxiety over our future.  Pipe dream maybe because I’m talking the whole she-bang.  Mortgage and all.  I guess I better start playing the lottery.  This one is maybe less of “resolution” and more of a dream.

I think that about covers it all.  Wait, I want to drink more water too.  Anyway, just a few little resolutions…How about you?  Make any resolutions this year?

{Ho! Ho! Homemade!}

It’s kinda nice when Christmas lasts more than just one day.  We have family here in town and elsewhere across the state and our “Christmas” lasts at least a week.  No complaints from the Peas or Sprout, for sure.

We visited with my Mom and Dad last week.  It was “Ho! Ho! Homemade Holidays!” for sure.  My parents are both in their late seventies and honestly, what the heck do you buy when truly, they either already have it or they don’t want it.

I’m very blessed in that my parents take very good care of themselves.  My Mom will see some older person, shuffling along slowly, and she will lean over and say, “I don’t ever want to be like that”.  So my Mom and Dad, work out.  At least twice a week or more, they go to the gym and do the weight machines, walk the track, treadmill, etc.  And they don’t skip for nothing!  When the peas were visiting with them, they packed them up and had them come along.  It’s really important to them to keep it up and I’m so thankful for their good health at this stage of their life.

I digress.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, homemade holidays…can’t buy them anything, yadda, yadda, yadda.

So, as I do for most celebrations with them, I make something.  Here’s a few of the oddities and such I gifted them this year.

  • A pillow made from my Farmhouse Funk pillow pattern.
  • A quilted wall hanging.  I added family photos to it and some other tidbits like lace, yarn, buttons, etc to it as well.  I used that computer fabric paper stuff.  THIS is what I used.  My parents really loved it.  It was pretty quick to make too!  The photos were hard copies I put on our printer and made color copies of using that printable fabric.  Could not be easier!
  • Love the stuff Joel Dewberry has out right now.  I made this little travel pouch and a patchwork scarf for my Mum too!   I won’t tell you EXACTLY how old my Mom is but does she look like she is in her very late seventies?!  Heck no!!  She looks fab!

I had a bunch of other things I gave her too like a cool paper garland, some mason jars covered with a felted sweater and appliqued, and a bag…you know when you’re little and you make a picture, how exciting that was to give to your parents and they would tack it up on the refrigerator?  That feeling never grows old.  I love making stuff for my parents.

Remember me talking about the meltdown Sprout had about wanting a bike at our North Pole party?  Guess what?  The grandparents came through and man, was she one tickled little girl!  She wakes up and says, “Can we go out in the ga-rawg so I can wing my bell?”.  Too cute!!  She had been eyeing this old fashioned display that was in the window of our local hardware store – 2 years running now – with all the retro Radio Flyer toys.  She’s been dreaming of this little red bike for a long time.

We’ve enjoyed our time off from school and work.  Lots of fun sewing, hiking and visiting with family and friends.  It was actually pretty warm over the holiday and we enjoyed being outside.  Love hiking over at “Daddy’s park” where he is a Park Ranger.  (Note my sewing assistant taking a break – normally, while I sew, she stands behind me and twirls MY hair while she sucks her thumb.  It’s a pretty good system we’ve worked out)

As I sit here and type this morning, the snow is flying and we are all so glad to see it!  Hope it dumps on us and stays for a long time!  Hiking in the new snow is way amazing and I miss it.  AND…We are ready to pull out the sleds and cross country skis for sure!

Did you sew up anything for the holidays?  Do share!  Would love to see what you crafted up over the holidays!