Saturday, March 07, 2015

We Interrupt Our Normal Programming . . .

I was going to have a new Worth the Read post ready for you this morning, but we have some important news that's much more interesting than that. At least to me it is.



These two are having a baby!
Our first grandbaby!

A few facts about this sweet little development: 

Baby is due September 27, 2015
Juliana is doing fine, mostly evening sickness, and the pregnancy is progressing well


This will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family
On the Hutchens side, it will also be the first great-grandchild
It will also be the first great-great-grandchild for Wesley's grandparents
We hope to get a five-generation photo after Baby comes, Lord willing


This baby will be my parents' third great-grandchild

My youngest sister, who got married last March, is also expecting her first baby . . . 

the same week!

I, the oldest sister in my family, will become a grandmother the same week that Rebekah, the youngest sister, will become a mother
How's that for family history in the making?!
Rebekah's baby will be our parents' 16th grandchild
I am so pleased to share this special time in our family with my youngest sister!


Here's how Sam told us about the baby . . . 
I was already texting him about a picture he had posted on Facebook, and he asked if I'd seen the other one he posted
I said no . . . 
and that boy sent me THIS


Wes said that was one of the few times in my life I was speechless
Samuel had not posted it to Facebook, of course,
and he immediately called us through FaceTime on his iPhone to tell us all the details
He almost got himself in big trouble with that one!

So we are excited 
and incredibly blessed 
to know that our first precious grandbaby is on the way!
We love him (or her) already
and I can't wait to hold it and plant kisses in its sweet little neck!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Road Trip Case

A couple of weeks ago, I found a treasure trove of DMC embroidery floss at the thrift store. I snatched it right up, but when I got home I realized I didn't have anywhere to store my sudden wealth of floss. I had found a storage box with the bunch of floss I bought, and I had one already at home, but I quickly realized I was going to need about 4 boxes to store all this floss. I also have a new floss goal: at least one skein of each color floss that DMC makes! Anyway, storing all that floss in boxes is no problem, but when I'm working on a project (like Keeping Room), I don't want to cart 4 boxes of floss around the house and have to constantly open different boxes to find the floss I need. And there was no way I could - or would - take all that floss with me on a trip, which is one of my favourite times to work on cross stitch projects!


So I began a search online for a pattern to make an organizer that would hold floss, scissors, needles, hoop, pattern, and the actual project. I wanted something I could use at home as well as away from home, and cute wouldn't be bad either.



The pattern I bought is Noodlehead's Road Trip Case. It has a clear vinyl zippered pocket, plus 4 more pockets to store extras. I made the 4-pocket alternate version; the original version was made for rainbow loom supplies, with the long, slender pockets with elastic at the top. For my case, I used an embroidered denim for the outside and inner pockets, an apple print for the inner lining, handles, and pocket flaps, and a red & white plaid for a finishing touch here and there. I quilted the outside, but the embroidery was already done - several friends have asked if I did the embroidery too.


I made the case in about 3 evenings spread out over the course of a week. It's not a difficult pattern, but I did have to make sure I understood exactly what the purpose of each step was and how I was supposed to achieve it. I'm familiar with sewing, but not as familiar with items like this, so I had to pay close attention to where the pattern was headed with each step. There were several times I started out putting something together backwards!


I was nervous about sewing on vinyl, but I was pleasantly surprised to find all the steps with vinyl to be the easiest ones! The pattern mentioned that the vinyl might stick to the presser foot, and what to do if it did (use tissue paper under the foot, then tear away after stitching). I only had to use the tissue paper once, while sewing on the binding. Most of the time, there was fabric between my foot and the vinyl. Also, this was the easiest zipper installation I've ever experienced! Don't be afraid of zippers in pouches and things like this case; they are much easier than putting a zipper in a dress or skirt! The hardest part - and even this wasn't all that hard, just fiddly - was binding those curved edges. Of course, I used bias binding, and it turned out ok, but I'm going to have to practice curved binding! You may not be able to see it, but there are places where it's rippled and twisted just a bit, and I'm not quite happy with that.


This case was my "test run," with fabrics from my stash. I like it well enough to use it myself, but there are several things about it that make me hesitant to put it in my shop, all mistakes that I made (like those spots of ripply binding!). Anna gives permission to sell items made from her patterns as long as they aren't being mass-produced and pattern credit is given to her - both of which I'm fine with! I'm going to make another one soon for myself, out of some designer fabrics, and I'm planning to make several for my shop, some from designer fabrics and some from vintage sheets and/or fabrics. This would be fantastic for kids' toys or craft supplies, as well as sewing or embroidery supplies, or for art or journaling supplies. Or letter-writing supplies - pens and stickers and stamps for writing and sending notes and postcards on a trip! Whatever small things you want to organize on the go, I'm thinking this bag would be just right.


Do you like to carry small crafts with you on trips? Are you able to work on crafts or read while you ride?

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Trip of a Lifetime: London - Westminster Abbey and Churchill War Rooms

Continuing on in sharing our trip with you, today I'll show you pictures from Westminster Abbey and The Churchill War Rooms.

This day was rainy, and we stood outside Westminster Abbey for probably 30-45 minutes for the tour.  It was a pleasant morning of exploring yet another famous historical landmark. The Abbey was built, as were many other landmarks, over 1,000 years ago. While the architecture was absolutely amazing, what I found most interesting were the hundreds of people buried inside the building! There are quite a few "chapels" containing the remains of various members of royalty, but the floor is also full of graves! I knew there were graves at the Abbey, but I assumed there was a cemetery; I had no idea people were buried in the floors!

Waiting in the rain
We saw the graves of many famous people, but the one we most enjoyed seeing was the grave of missionary David Livingstone. I wish we could have taken a picture of it, but again, there were no pictures allowed inside. You can see the memorial inscription inlaid in the floor at the link above, which also briefly tells the story of Livingstone's life, the transportation of his body home to England, and how his grave site was chosen. We were pleased to see that it was in the centre of the Nave, the large room where weddings, funerals, and coronations take place. Also buried in the Nave are other famous people, such as Sir Isaac Newton and, ironically, Charles Darwin!

I loved standing in the Abbey and imagining the royal weddings and the Queen's coronation taking place there - and I was standing in the same spot! It was definitely a beautiful building, but so full of tradition and man's religion.

We walked a few blocks from Westminster Abbey and visited the Churchill War Rooms, which was the actual bunker for Churchill and his War Cabinet during World War II. All the rooms are set up exactly as they were during the war - offices, briefing rooms, living quarters. I found the personal living areas most interesting, especially the room Mrs. Churchill occupied when she was in residence at the bunker (which wasn't very often). It was (almost) a home away from home! Never mind there were bombs exploding above your head! There is also an interactive Churchill Museum that I enjoyed very much; again, finding his personal life most interesting. He was an amazing man with much drive, determination, and wisdom, but he also had his faults - like cursing and drinking. I was inspired by his life and thankful for his leadership during the war, even though it was 20 years before I was born. Think what our world would be had Germany and Hitler had their way!

Trip of a Lifetime!
South Africa
London - Windsor Castle
London - Tower Bridge
London - Tower of London
London - Buckingham Palace
London - Westminster Abbey and Churchill War Rooms
London - Bunhill Field

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Book Review: One Perfect Word



During January, I read the book One Perfect Word by Debbie Macomber. I don't know where the practice began of choosing one word to focus on during the new year, but apparently this author has been doing it for quite a while - all the way back into the 1990s!

I love the idea of choosing a word to focus on for a year, but each year that I've done so, I've ended up just choosing the word that sounded good to me . . . and nothing happening from there. This year I wanted my word to be chosen more deliberately, and I wanted it to be something more from my inner heart than in years past, something that had personal meaning for me. Debbie's book definitely helped me learn to choose my word with deliberation, and to choose it with my heart in mind rather than my outward life. The funny thing is, the word I chose this year will affect my heart, and as a result, it will affect my outward life.

In One Perfect Word, Debbie describes in detail how she has chosen some of her words for different years of her life, and how those words have changed her and shaped her life each year. I enjoyed reading her insights into various words, developed as she studied, prayed over, and journaled them each year. Each chapter includes her suggestions for discovering your word for the year, how to explore and study that word, and how to apply the lessons you learn from studying your word for the year. She offers excerpts from her personal journals, and gives tips for transforming your word from an abstract concept to a tangible part of your daily life. Each chapter also has a theme Bible verse for the word highlighted.

I enjoyed reading her personal stories of how her word for the year played out in her life in ways she never expected. Some of her words are things I would not naturally choose, like "obedience" or "hunger." But God used those words in her life to teach her throughout the year exactly what obedience and hunger are biblically. Several chapters contained practical advice for words such as "balance" or "goals." I especially enjoyed the chapter on "purpose." I love that God has a purpose for each person's life! I'm sure that there will be at least one chapter that will resonate within your heart; I found several that touched my heart!

The quote I most enjoyed from One Perfect Word was in the beginning of the book:

"When we choose one single word from His Word and spend a year with it, I've found that the Lord takes us by the hand and walks us through the year, teaching us about that word, about ourselves, and even more, about God Himself." Page 11

I found One Perfect Word easy to read, with plenty to think about, but not so heavy that you have to spend a lot of time digesting what you've read. I would recommend it if you're thinking of choosing a word as your theme for a new year, or even just for quick tips on how to study a word in-depth. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Making

Even in the midst of busy times, I'm still pecking away at crafty things! I'm not a super-achiever, by any means, but I'm learning that even a few minutes a day can lend progress to all my little crafty
irons I have in my fire. Here are a couple of recent finishes, and one project I'm working on this month.


My first finish for 2015 was this patchwork heart from Lovely Little Handmades that I started two years ago and loved at the time - and said I would finish at the time. I was going to make it into a pillow cover, but decided to make a table topper instead. And I hate it! LOL I finished the back with a plaid fabric that I had in my stash, and tried to give an "interpretation" to my quilting on the front. I was going for an arrow look through the heart, like Cupid's arrow, but I just winged it and didn't get everything arranged like I had it in my mind. And the colors and fabrics are not much my style anymore. I will use them for things for others, but I'm not fond of this color scheme myself. So this one will be chalked up to "don't work on it if you don't like it." Lesson learned. Maybe another color scheme would work, and just plain quilting. I don't know. I just know I don't like how this one turned out.


My next finish is one that I love, though! It's a table runner I began several years ago, before we moved from North Vancouver. The fabric is Nostalgia by April Cornell. At the beginning of the year, All People Quilt magazine offered a 2015 UFO Challenge for finishing your WIPs (Works In Progress) or UFOs (UnFinished Objects). Each line on the worksheet has a number 1-12, and each month, All People Quilt will choose a number. That number will correspond to the WIP you work on finishing that month. This table runner was my assignment for January.


When the month started, the table runner was basted into a quilt sandwich with top, batting, and backing. All I needed to do was quilt and bind it. This runner was begun early on in my quilting journey, so I found that the backing was too small and would draw up as I quilted it and wouldn't fit under the top. So I found another backing piece. It wasn't wide enough or long enough, but it was one of my bigger pieces that I felt would work with the top, so I pieced it with some leftovers from the top.


Then, even though I really want to learn free-motion-quilting, I haven't done it yet, so I had to do straight-line quilting with my walking foot. Except I tried something I'd seen someone do on Instagram: I quilted with a wavy line that is one of the stitches on my machine. And I love it! I chose to make my binding from the backing of my very first quilt, a blue and tan floral. I really enjoy binding my projects for two reasons: (1) I find the handwork of binding to be relaxing, and (2) binding is the last step of the process and the project is done!


This month's WIP for me is a cross-stitch project I began while we were in South Africa. I always think I can get a cross-stitch done a lot faster than I can. Which is why I have several of them in the WIP stage! ;) My favourite cross-stitch magazine is Cross Country Stitching (which is sadly no longer being issued), and this project is Keeping Room from the February 2008 issue. 

I'm working on it in the evenings. I don't know if I'll be able to finish it by the end of the month or not, but I'm giving it my best try. It will at least have more done than if I hadn't put it on my WIP sheet!

What kind of crafty things are you working on right now? I'd love to hear about them!

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