What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

Ellee Nay

I wonder how many children are given their nick names by an older sibling?  Right now Ellee RenĂ©e is Ellee Nay, thanks to big brother, Kyle.  I love it and plan to keep it until Ellee's old enough to tell Lollee to stop calling her that!

Soon after Abby and Jonathan left for Africa, I started the nursery-sewing in earnest.  Abby and I Skyped several times to discuss what she was thinking for Ellee's fabrics.  She wanted girly-girl, soft, sweet and cottagey.  Knowing in your head what you are picturing and actually locating it are sometimes two different matters.

Hill Farm by Lecien

Thankfully, while staying in Kenya, Abby had a free, good quality internet connection which allowed us to actually look at the fabrics and discuss them "in person" a couple times.  This gorgeous line named Hill Farm was just what we were searching for.  I ordered 20 fat quarters and a nice cut of the big blue floral for a quilt back from a shop on Etsy.  From those fabrics, I've been able to create a crib quilt, wall hanging, some bibs, a pillow, diaper bag, and bunny dress.  And I still have a good amount of this fabric left in my stash.

This is Ellee Nay's bunny, Eliza Jane.  Aunt Lacy crocheted her and I dressed her.  

The crib quilt all pieced and ready to sandwich and hand quilt.  
I especially like the prairie points along the border of this quilt.

Bib #1

Bibs are fun to make and more addictive than chocolate chip cookies.
I'm dreaming about the next one before the first one is finished.

Bibs #2 and #3

Ellee's Good Morning pillow.  

I've had this pattern for ages.  I made one for Maggie many years ago and she sleeps with it every night.  She's literally loved the stitching right off.  It is darling made in Ellee's fabrics.  (I added in some lavender.)

I worked like a mad woman finishing the diaper bag the eve before Lacy left for Africa.  Thus, the photo is a quick one I snapped just to have a record of what it looked like.  It really is much prettier in person.

You might remember Jeremiah's alphabet quilt from an earlier post.  You might also remember that I tried my hardest to make the same things for both babies.  

Time out for adorableness.  
Hi, Ellee Nay!!

That's pretty much it for the sewing projects.  These tiny 3X3" stretched canvases that Holly drew and we both painted should fit on even the smallest wall space--since they still don't know anything about permanent housing in Lesotho.

Determined to finish this dress so Lacy could take it to Africa, I sat down one day with this as my only agenda item.   Meanwhile, Abby Skyped me to say she was pretty sure she was in labor.  Everyone in Aiken knows we thought Hannah was in labor that day, too--made for a very interesting day and evening.  Since Ellee came two weeks before her due date, she obviously didn't get to wear her dress home from the hospital.  I was able to get it finished just in time for Lacy to hand-carry it.  Ellee's wearing it in the photo way up at the top.

I leave for Lesotho in eleven days!  The only thing I have left to do is the hand-quilting for Ellee's crib quilt.  I made huge progress on it yesterday, so barring any unforeseen delay, it should be finished and ready to fly with me!

Up next, Jeremiah's nursery.


Happy Father's Day

My father and me.  Mountain View, CA

I'm one blessed daughter.  I did nothing to deserve such a great father, but I thank God that He saw fit to give me one!  My father is a godly man of integrity, setting a wonderful example of honesty, faithfulness, and strength for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  I've always been able to count on him for anything.  I can't think of even one way he has ever let me down.  

On this Father's Day, I thought I'd share some snapshots of my dad over the years.   

Alfred Brinson, USAF First Lieutenant- early 1950s

Just look at that handsome face.  No wonder my mom fell for him!

 Engaged!  ~1954

 A youthful father of three. ~1962

England ~1964

My Dad is wearing his "bloke hat" as he called it.  I can hardly remember ever seeing him out and about without one, unless he was in uniform or maybe at church.  When we lived in England, we loved to picnic.  We'd pull over on the side of an English country lane and haul out the lunch!  (I see I already had a taste for Chicken in a Biscuit at the tender age of three.) 

The three of us children had the best birthday parties--nothing fancy, just games and cake at our house every year.  Dad enjoyed dressing up and joining in the fun!  He was the life of the party!

Here is a favorite memory from California.  It was summer, but we found snow at the top of a mountain.   Of course, Dad had to go sliding.  Dad could turn any outing into big fun!

Dad and I often palled around together.  When we lived in Japan, out of the blue he would decide he wanted to go somewhere on the train.  So, we'd usually head toward Tokyo and end up at the zoo.  Dad loves a zoo--any zoo.  We used to tease him that he just wanted to visit his ancestors.  We visited zoos all over the US and on two other continents.  I inherited his love of zoos, and my children have inherited it also.

While I don't have any photos of us at the zoo, I did find this one where we are having a little photo-booth fun one day in downtown Tokyo.  He and I loved to jump in those things and snap a shot together.  Dad was always game for a photo op and to this day still loves to have his photo taken!

 Family vacation to Panama City Beach when I was about 19.  

My wedding day: June 11, 1983.  

Dad is crazy about his three children, fourteen grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren!   And the feeling is mutual, I can assure you.  Here he is recently, goofing around with Caleb while we were at the beach.

Granddaddy and Kyle ~Fall 2012

Over my lifetime Dad has taught me many valuable lessons.  He taught me to honor God, to respect my parents, and to cherish my family and friends.  He taught me history and law and how to read the funny papers.  And he showed me by example what sort of man I wanted for a husband-- a kind, dependable, hard working and rock solid family man.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.  I'll always be your baby.


Quilting the Blues

~We interrupt the regularly scheduled blog post to bring you this baby update.~   

Baby Jeremiah made his grand appearance on Thursday morning, June 6, 2013.  He weighed 7 pounds and 0 ounces.  He is 20 1/2 inches long.  Lollee is completely taken with him.  What a sweetheart!

Jeremiah was six days early.  Everyone I know who has had a baby in the past month or so has come early by at least six days, most by at least two weeks.  That's at least seven people.  What is up with that?   

So here he is in all his adorableness.  Hannah's labor went fast, and she did great.  I am so blessed to have a daughter-in-love who wanted her mother-in-law in the delivery room with her along with her own mother and Brad.  I will cherish those hours together for the rest of my life.

Brad, Hannah, and Jeremiah are at home settling in nicely.  They even hosted a cook-out last evening to celebrate with the families. 

OK. The quilt.

Forty-eight ladies told me they wanted a shot at the Blues quilt.  I was a little surprised so many people liked my impromptu scrap-happy quilting diversion.  I smiled as I wrote each name on blue paper, thinking what each might feel if her name were drawn.  I admit that getting ready to draw a name is always nerve racking for me.  I would love for everyone to win.

I never can locate a hat; we settled for this tin box.  Worked in a pinch.

Valerie Potter--you win!

I was especially thrilled when Tom drew the name this time because this gal and I go way back. Valerie and I met a little more than 26 years ago in Knoxville.   At the time she was pregnant with a baby girl, their first.  A few months later, little Natalie was born still.  It was probably the saddest thing I'd ever experienced.  She and her husband handled Natalie's death with such grace and faith.  I learned a lot from them about trusting God during the darkest of days.

Later, God gave them two healthy boys, both grown-up young men now.

A few years ago, Valerie was involved in a terrible automobile accident.  She has undergone many surgeries, but still experiences terrible pain much of the time.

Valerie, it is my prayer that this quilt brings you happiness and comfort whenever you use it.  Message me your mailing address so I can get it right out to you!


P.S.  Bella says to tell you it's a great napping quilt.  

um, hello

This is the long, rambling catch-up post that is ridiculously overdue.  I just noticed that my last post was back in February!  How pathetic!

Not that I haven’t had anything blog-worthy to post.  I have been sewing like a maniac for the past couple months.  Enough projects there for a dozen blog posts at least. 

So, where to start?  How about babies?  Let's start there.  

With both Abby and Hannah pregnant at the same time, due within days of each other, I started working on their babies' nurseries in earnest probably three months ago.  Hannah has a bona-fide nursery for Jeremiah, so that planning was relatively easy.  Abby wasn’t sure how much room she’d have for Ellee’s nursery, so we did the pared-down, abbreviated version for her.  Hannah needed everything from curtains to bumper pads, to changing table cover, quilt, wall-hanging, diaper bag, and other stuff I’m likely forgetting.

Abby’s essentials were quilt, diaper bag, a couple crib/ bassinet sheets, and a smocked dress for Ellee girl to wear home from the hospital. 

I must pause here and inform you that Miss Ellee decided to surprise everyone by arriving a full two weeks before her expected due date.  If you want to read that story and see some exquisite photos, check out Abby’s last blog post if you haven’t already.

So, yes, busy-busy with sewing and quilting and getting all-things-baby-boy made for Jeremiah's nursery.  All-things-baby-girl were packed off to Africa with Lacy, who left on May 27th to stay with Abby and Jonathan for two months.  Incidentally, the smocked dress did not make it in time for Ellee to wear home from the hospital, but it did appear in her newborn photo shoot.  Precious!

More to come about all the baby items, but for now, I'm going to finish with what I've been up to the past couple days.  You see, I was just a little stressed about getting all the parts and pieces in place in time for both babies.  Just when I'd finish one thing, I'd start another, switching back and forth between babies like a good Lollee.  A bib for Ellee, a bib for Jeremiah.  Piece Ellee's quilt top, piece Jeremiah's quilt top.  Make Ellee's diaper bag, make Jeremiah's diaper bag.  You get the picture.  To top it off, the girls kept thinking of additional items they needed.   After Abby issued an SOS for burp cloths, I was literally sewing burp cloths for Ellee the day before Lacy and I headed to Charlotte for her to catch the plane.  (And I won't mention that Hannah just brought me the cushions from Jeremiah's rocking chair, needing a fabric upgrade.)  It's been fun.  It's kept me busy.  It's been rewarding.  

It's been stressful.

So when I finished Jeremiah's crib quilt the other day, I decided to de-stress by doing the most random sewing project I could think of.  It involved digging into my blue fabric scraps and sewing together whatever two pieces I came out with that were relatively the same size.  Over and over and over I did that until I formed a slab of fabric in all shades of blues and aquas.  I kept going, making it bigger, and crazier, and funkier as I went along.  Anything in the blue scrap bin was fair game.  It had to be predominately blue and squarish or rectanglish, but other than that, there were no rules.  I broke all the rules.  

It felt great.

The whole time I've been sewing blue scraps together, I've been listening to a country music CD.  That might not sound like any big deal to you.  That just shows you do not know me very well.  I don't like country music.  At all.  I avoid it whenever possible.  Look over there on the side-bar at my favorites.  Do you seen any mention of country music?  Didn't think so.

But,  you see, my eldest son has turned a county boy, for lack of a better description.  His favorite show is Duck Dynasty.  He has grown a beard and drinks tea from a Mason jar.  And he bought Jeremiah some overalls.

Yeah, I know.  But, it gets worse.

He now likes country music.  Hannah got him started on it.  Thanks, Hannah.

Not only that, he was sure he could convert me.  He and Hannah put together a Country Convert Mix and handed it to me grinning from ear to ear.  I, being the sweet mom that I am, accepted the challenge--twenty songs carefully chosen to win me to their side.

So while I sewed blue fabric, I listened to that CD on my computer, over and over and over.  I'm willing to concede that they did a pretty good job.  While I'm far from being a country music convert, I do admit to some toe tapping and humming along.  I even caught myself once or twice singing along to the lyrics.

This is what it looked like last night when I stopped.  Since then, I've sewed the last piece in place.  I'm ready to get this thing quilted.

That's where you come in.  If you made it to the end of this long, rambling post, you deserve a chance to win this dubious piece of artwork, if you want to call it that.  Think of it as a sort of Picasso of quilting.  You might sell it one day and become rich.  But I wouldn't count on it.

I call it Quilting the Blues.

It's a good-sized lap quilt.  If you'd like a stab at winning it, leave me a comment here or on Facebook or email me at:   thomas temple @ bell south .  net  (remove spaces).

 I'll get a finished photo up here in the next day or so.  Then I'll draw a name and announce the winner.

Laura Lee