Mexico 2014

It's been well over a year since I posted here. 2014 was just insanity! So many things happened and I just never got on here to talk about them. So, here goes...

View of Cumbres neighborhood of Tijuana from our second worksite.
 Mexico in February was amazing. We worked on three sites during the week and got to see so many amazing things. The hibiscus above is what was growing next to the house where we made blocks. The first site we worked on was laying the floor and walls, here we made blocks, and the third site we worked on was digging the trenches for the foundation. All three had wonderful people to meet and work alongside. It was absolutely amazing!

House near our first build site - loved all the flora and fauna!
We went to the Pelican (the grocery store [which is more like Wal-Mart, but it's not Wal-Mart because they have that too] but it is actually called the Comercial Mexicana by name, but we call it the pelican because their symbol is a pelican...) and picked up some baby items because the daughter of the first home we worked on was pregnant! We had such a great time. And, as it turns out, her daughter's birthday is the same day as mine so we got to celebrate together. :)

Birthday girls!
As always, we stopped in to see Christina and Juan. Our group worked on two houses for their family - one for Christina and Juan and one for Christina's children. I wasn't there to work on either house, but I have grown to adore Christina, Juan, and the kids in the subsequent years.

We had such a great time visiting with them and we also took a trip to the beach! We love checking out the beach at Rosarito.

AJ and me with the Pacific Ocean in the back.

The 'young' crowd of the trip. Kevin (the whale we saw and named) is in the background, too!
We also took a trip through La Gloria (the town where the posada [the place where we stay] is) and stopped at the panaderia to get some treats on the way home. We also stopped at the swap meet with it's strange dinosaurs, etc.

 We saw some goats at a veterinary hospital on our way home from the swap meet. We love goats. :)
And we got to see the TJ soccer team play. They're called the Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente. Super long name...they're nicknamed the Xolos (pronounced sholos). The xoloitzcuintli is a dog that is hairless and a native of Mexico.  We had such an awesome time at the game! I'm hoping maybe we can rope our way into another one this year.

Here are a few more assorted pictures from that trip:
The border. There is lovely art on the MX side and a sign that says there are sharp impaling things out in the water so don't even try to get around the wall that way.

Our first build site.
Making blocks.
Torta. No other words are necessary. :)
So there's Mexico 2014. Some time I'll get around to 2013. I've got a lot to catch up on. :)



I've started this post about 1.3 million times. Every time I start it, I just can't. So I don't. I'm going to be stronger this year, so here it goes.

Last year when I was in Mexico (which may be part of the reason for the lack of posting those pictures and stories), I was able to keep in contact with my parents and pup by FaceTime since we all got iPhones. It was great. I was so happy to see his face. Especially since he wasn't doing well without me. Before I left, I took him to the vet to see if he was ok because he was acting funny. Vet said some titers were a little high but still normal and everything else was ok. I left for Mexico thinking my baby boy was just fine. But he wasn't.

While I was gone, my parents took him back twice. They thought he wasn't eating because I was gone, but he was used to their house so that made no sense. Then maybe something was wrong with his stomach. Maybe he was in pain. Still no answers.

When I got back, I took him in again. They re-did the blood test and it turned out that he had advanced kidney disease and it was rapidly shutting down his kidneys. He had about 20% effectiveness by then and I was heartbroken. Absolutely smashed. This boy that I didn't even want, but turns out I needed, this boy who helped heal my mom, me, my dad, and everyone he met, was sick. I just couldn't.

We decided to do treatment for a time and see how he responded to it. He did, but not as well as we would have liked. So on March 9, 2013, I took my best friend in for the hardest choice I ever made. He went peacefully and surrounded by we who loved him.

I think I cried for three straight weeks. I couldn't sleep, because he was always there to keep me warm and safe. I stopped walking, so I gained weight. I was just unhappy. I never realized how lonely I felt until there wasn't a happy face to greet me when I got home. My cats are awesome, but they're not snuggly (Tigger was - boy, do I miss that cat!) and they don't really care when I'm home, just so long as I feed them.

This went for about a month and I just couldn't take it. I looked and looked to see who I could see on the Paws and Prayers website and I found my new little man. Eons ago I had watched The Matrix (and loved it!) and decided that I wanted a dog named Neo someday. Just so happens that they had a litter they named after Matrix characters. And one was named Neo. Kismet? I think so.

Neo is a St. Bernard/Red Tick (English) Coonhound mix. He's big, awkward, crazy, and the love of my life. I never set out to replace Raj, but to replace that hole he left in my life. Neo is very little like Raj, except he loves. All. The. Time. He is happy and waggy. He is sweet and crazy. He is my boy and I love him. I'm back to walks almost daily (we've even started running again!) and I sleep. Oh, how I sleep.

Neo at Howl-o-ween in his Neo costume.
I never thought of myself as a dog person but now after having the best dog in the world, I can't imagine my life and my home without one. They bring such joy and comfort.


Baby Quilts

Ok, so it has been about forever since I posted here. I'm terribly sorry. I haven't even posted my pictures from last year's trip to Mexico!!

Anyway, I'll start on the back log of what I've been working on this past year and promise to be better about blogging. :)

Last year I had two friends have babies. I had never made a quilt before, but it was on my 2013 resolution list to make one top to bottom. So, I made two.

The first was a Jelly Roll Race Quilt. I got a jelly roll of a really cute line from Riley Blake called "Saddle Up" and I used the girly colorways from it and then mixed in some Kona solids to break it up and add to it. I didn't do any sashing because I didn't know how yet, but I think it turned out ok anyway.

I used a Denyse Schmidt that I got at Jo-Ann's for the back and I just did some straight line quilting to add some bulk to it. This was the first time I used my walking foot, too. I used pre-fab quilt binding and hated it so now I only make my own binding.

I also added a little label that I made from grosgrain ribbon and fabric ink and stamps.

The second quilt I made was from a pattern called On The Boardwalk by It's Sew Emma. My cousin used it for her niece's quilt and I loved it so much I asked for some help to make one for my longest friend's first baby.

The fabric I used was a FQ stack of the Mo Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (from the Fat Quarter Shop - love them!). My friend and I are big readers and baby E is going to be too. This is one of my favorite children's stories so I jumped at the chance to use the fabric. (My mom gave the book at the shower so she got a bag with the quilt, its pillows, and books.)

I used the multi panel from the stack for the backing - it was a tight squeeze, but I was determined to make it work. I did straight line quilting long the boxes on the front and bound it with a dot print (by whom, I now forget).

Along with the fabric was a panel that had two pillows and a hand puppet. I made them all pillows, though. I used some of the leftover fabric from that panel for one of the pieces on the front. (Thanks to my girl Yvette for helping me with all the cutting - I never would have finished it!)

So, there you have it. Two baby quilts done. I'll do another post about my Lorax Quilt and the one that I've got in the works now. I also did a tshirt quilt (which, coincidentally, is the largest quilt I've ever made) so I'll post about that one too.


Akron Glassworks Christmas Ornaments

I have a wonderful group of friends and one of those lovely ladies is Helen. She's a real treat to be around. She's fun, spunky, and just a joy to be friends with. 

Akron Glassworks does classes a few times a year and she had taken one before and asked if I wanted to join in on the fun for the Christmas ornament class. Oh yes! I had blown glass before during a school trip or something like that (terrible memory) and I love the look of blown glass, so I was eager to be a part of this.

We got to make two ornaments. One clear, and one colored. It was a lot of fun!!

We are going to make heart paperweights on Sunday, and I can't wait!!

The below picture is rolling the color onto the glass.

Helen working the pincher things (which is not what they're called, but that's what we call them).

Finishing up.

And here is what my ornaments look like after cooling. I love them! I may leave them up all year 'round!

Pink Stitches Love Day Swap

I had a blast with this swap. I usually enjoy the swaps I do, but this one was extra fun. My partner, Yvette, is a really fun lady and has a lot of the same interests as me. I hope we keep in touch for a very long time! In our emailing, she told me how she loves bicycles, and red and teal, and she's not a big fan of purple (if you know me in real life, you know that purple is the one color I really don't like)...it's like we were destined to be friends.

While shopping around with Brandi to find some ideas for the swap, we found this really cute bicycle embroidery kit. I snagged it (and later sent my mom back to get another one so I could make it for my aunt who rides her bicycle for many, many miles a year) and decided to make this the first hand embroidery-sewing project that I start and finish in a timely fashion. Boy, am I glad I did! She said that she had been eyeing this very kit and wondered if she would actually do it - I'm so glad I got it for her! It's like destiny. ;)

I also was told that she likes coffee (I also am rather obsessed with coffee - I drink a lot of it, and I get mine at www.kirkjeffery.com - check out his selection, very good coffee, roasted in small batches, and comparable price to the pounds you get in store, but much better quality. Ok, moving on...), so I made her a coffee sleeve using Red Heart Blue Hawaii and Red Heart Cherry Red (I use acrylic yarn on these so they are easily washable and go back to shape quickly). Funny thing is, after I had made this and put it with her other gifts, she sent me a text message saying she wanted a coffee sleeve because she loves these ones that we have in the shop. ;)

I made her a fabric basket using a bicycle burlap I found at JoAnn's and this lovely 'love' print I also found at JoAnn's.

She has two daughters, so I used some of the leftover love fabric and made them little chapstick pouches and put some yummy looking chapstick in there for them. She said she's holding onto them to put in their lunches on Valentine's Day. Ahh! How sweet. :)

She also has pets, like me, so I sent along some treats for her kitties and a toy for her dog. That dog toy is almost too cute to be a dog toy, though! Throw in a few candies, cute tissues, and some heart socks, and there you go!

I really enjoy doing the swaps over at Pink Stitches. She really does a fine job organizing it and setting it all up. I can't wait to see what's next!!

It's also through one of the Pink Stitches swaps that Brandi got paired with Ros from Sew Delicious. We love Ros and have participated in her first swap, a sweet pouch swap! I sure hope that my friendship with Yvette turns into the same kind of friendship that Ros, Brandi, and I have!

You can check out the progress of the Sweet Pouch Swap on Flickr! Both Brandi's and my pouches are there. We're almost ready to send them, just need a few more sweets to put in!