Sunday, September 9, 2018

My Best Friend

NOTE AFTER WRITING THIS POST: This is going to be a long one. If you’re sensitive or if you’re one of Mandy’s friends or family, you may not want to read this. If you do, have tissues. I wanted to write this to share with everyone who she was, what she meant to me, how she changed me, and how much her home-going affected me and still does nearly 5 years later. Today would have been her birthday, and I miss her more than words could ever describe.


Today’s post is going to be a difficult one to write, and I’m sure there will be tears as I’m writing this. I’ve been trying to do this for nearly 5 years now but just couldn’t get it out. Now maybe I can.

You see, it’s about this girl I met about 22 years ago on the first day of my Senior year of high school. Her name was Amanda, and she was a quiet, shy little thing, totally opposite of me (I’m only quiet until I get to know you, then, well, I’m not to put it mildly). My friend from church knew her and introduced us, as well all three had lunch together. They were freshman that year. When I met her, she just smiled a little, said hi, and immediately clammed up.

Ok, I can relate. Like I said, I’m the same way until I get to know you. Turns out she was too.

Two weeks of lunches later, she finally starts talking some instead of Sarah and I carrying the conversation. The longer we having lunch together, the more talkative she gets. By Christmas break, we’ve become good friends. Good enough that other kids started calling us the three musketeers because we were always together.

Sometime after Christmas break, and I don’t really know what started it, Mandy, as I called her, invited me to church with her and her parents and brother. At the time I didn’t have a car, and my parents and sister went to church but I wasn’t that happy at mine. It was too big and the youth group full of loud, popular kids (of which I was far from being). Her mom agreed to pick me up and take me home after evening service, and I could just spend the day with them. I should probably mention at this point both their church and my parents were Baptist churches, just in different towns about 30 miles apart, and I lived about 15 minutes out of town, in the opposite direction of Mandy’s church, so her mom really went out of her way so I could go to church with them.

During the next 9 or 10 months, I spent every single Sunday with them, and Mandy and I grew very close. We became best friends, and our moms were like second mother’s to each of the other of us. When we went places together, people mistook us for sisters, not just best friends. I even had an annoying little brother in Mandy’s brother, Paul (who went by Allen at the time)! My sister even hung out with us sometimes, and we all got along pretty good.

I went off to Dallas to art school in October, she started her Sophomore year. We stayed in touch, seeing each other on weekends at church whenever I was home, and when I came back home I still went to church and hung out all day with them. We saw each other through our first boyfriends, breakups, and even family deaths. We truly were best friends.

When Mandy graduated, I went to her graduation, thenshe went off to college in Florida for her first year and I only got to see her for Christmas break. Imagine my surprise when she walked into the restaurant I was working at at the time! She had just got home from the airport and had her parents bring her by before she even went home so we could see each other.

 She changed her mind and finished school at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas. When she graduated I was supposed to go but was unable to get off of work. We had somehow grown apart during that time. I don’t even really know how that happened. I think life just got in the way as it often does. She was away at college, making new friends, and I had gotten married (she and my sister were co-maids of honor of course!) and moved an hour from where we grew up, and we just kind of lost touch.

Then one day out of the blue I get an invitation to her wedding! Imagine my surprise! She had moved back home and started dating a cowboy she met at the local coffee shop she helped a family friend out with. I’m still not sure how she found my address, but I am eternally thankful she did! My sister and I went to her wedding that May 1st, but we arrived an hour early so Mandy and I could catch up a bit. I took a ton of photos that day, helped serve punch, and came close to tears several times from the joy of both getting back in touch with her and seeing how happy she was with Andrew.

Over the next 4 years or so, we stayed in touch, mainly through facebook and texts and calls, as we were both crazy busy and we lived 6 hours or so apart. She and my family were there for me through my divorce and when I met my now husband in 2009. He hadn’t met her but she still friended him on facebook then proceeded to threaten him within an inch of his life if he so much as thought of hurting me.

 I was one of the first few people she told when she first found out she was pregnant with Claire. She knew I was at my work’s Christmas party with friends that night, and when I heard my phone got off with a text I didn’t think much about it and checked it. I hollered loud enough to surprise several people at the party when I realized the picture she sent me was of a pregnancy test that clearly read ‘pregnant’ on it!

But as usual I didn’t get to go to her baby shower, or much of anything. Again, life got in the way, along with my job, and I didn’t get to go, but I saw lots of photos. She also invited me each year to the local quilt show, but I never ‘found the time’ to go. I have so many regrets of things I missed with her. So many things I can’t go back and re-do, or I totally would. You see, her wedding day was the very last time I got to see her.

February2014, I believe the 26th, she and I had been texting back and forth between her taking care of Claire and me on breaks and lunch at work about my upcoming wedding. She was to be one of my now matrons of honor (again, along with my sister) and Claire my flower girl. We were discussing the dress patterns and fabric I had sent her that had arrived that morning (she was making their dresses) and their shoes and the plans for the wedding weekend. I signed off shortly after I got home that night with a ‘night, talk to you tomorrow.’ That was the last time I talked to her.

The next evening I hadn’t heard from her and I had had court that day plus late notices and calls, so I hadn’t really had a break or much of a lunch past a hurried bite at my desk. I got home, exhausted, changed out of my work clothes, and got dinner in the oven, then went back to the bedroom to talk to my husband while he was changing after getting home from his work.

I was scrolling through facebook and saw a post from a mutual friend of ours (Mandy’s and mine) from the church were our friendship grew so strong. Her post simply said ‘You never know what will happen each day. One minute you’re on your way to meet your husband with your little girl and the next you’re walking through the gates of Heaven, leaving them behind. Tell your family you love them every second you get, because tomorrow isn’t promised.’ I immediately got this cold dread feeling inside. At the time my head had no clue who or what she was referring to, but my heart did. I immediately commented on the post, ‘Lark, what happened? Who are you talking about?’

I guess Paul saw my comment (the annoying little brother who I never got along with). The next minute I had a private message from him with his phone number to call him. That’s the second my brain caught up with my heart. I just knew, without having heard from anyone, that it was Mandy. I called him and heard the worst news I’ve ever heard in my life, even to this day.

Mandy and Claire had been going to a stock show to meet Andrew. They were sitting at an intersection and Andrew happened to be at the same intersection at the other side. Then everything changed. A guy going about 70 miles an hour (per police) rear-ended Mandy’s car. There were no skid marks, he never even attempted to stop. (The speed limit in this area was 35mph). It was never proven, but completely suspected that he was either texting or about to make a call (never sent either so no record) as he was running late to work in the company truck when he hit them.

I’m not sure of all the details, and some things I have only recently learned, but I know Mandy was basically killed instantly with a broken neck and several arteries being severed. Paramedics kept working on her and got a heartbeat back, but she was without a heartbeat and oxygen for about 20 minutes. When I called Paul, she was in the hospital on a ventilator but the doctors did not expect her to survive and suspected she was brain dead.

To my understanding, because honestly those next few days were a blur, they did two brain activity tests and both came back no activity. Her mom and husband made the decision to let her go home to Heaven I think 6 days later. Again, I was unable to go to see her one last time.

Thankfully Claire survived. I believe her car seat ended up in the front seat. She had a broken leg that wasn’t found for a couple of days after the crash, but thankfully that was all that was physically wrong. To this day though, she doesn’t like to lose sight of people she loves, and Mandy’s mom, step-dad, and I (and probably others) think it’s because she lost her Mom at just 3 years old.

 When I called Paul and he told me that, all I could do was scream ‘no!’ and cry hysterically. I don’t really even remember much about that day or the next few, except for Rob, my husband, being there for me and keeping me from falling down right there in the bedroom floor. I couldn’t eat (bad for a diabetic), couldn’t sleep, couldn’t stop crying. I just held my phone because that’s the last thing I had talked to her on I guess. I don’t even know what honestly. I just remember thinking (and probably saying often) how this couldn’t be real. I know Andrew called me at least once during those next few days, and he was the one that told me when she went home.

Now I know what I’m about to say, that I was crazy for thinking it, but at the time, all I felt was wrong and guilty and anger. Guilty that here I was with no kids and perfectly fine, but Claire had to grow up without a Mom. Anger at the guy that took her from us. And wrong for hurting so bad and being so sad when I hadn’t actually seen her in nearly 4 years, that I had no right to hurt that bad, that only her family had that right. But it didn’t stop the hurt.

Now, I’ve lost family before. Very close family, my grandfather and grandmother who I grew up living next door too for some time, and my cousin who was barely and adult at age 21. But somehow this was different, this seemed to hurt worse. Maybe it was because the pain from those losses had lessened over time and this was fresh, so it wasn’t really more. Or maybe it’s because, for those family I had lost, though I was very close to them, they had all been sick with cancer or parkinsons for some time and wasn’t completely unexpected or such a sudden shock. I have no idea.

I went to her memorial service. My parents, sister and her then husband, and my then fiancĂ© went as well. I held it together on the hour long trip to the town we grew up in, but I lost it as soon as we got to the church and I saw her photo.  I cried the whole service and most of the way home. To this day I still can’t listen to George Strait’s ‘I Cross My Heart’, Willie Nelson’s ‘Seven Spanish Angels’, or Alan Jackson’s ‘Sissy’s Song.’ I still felt guilty and wrong for hurting so much, for missing her so much.

But life goes on, no matter our heartbreak.

Our wedding was approaching. I wasn’t even going to have a flower girl, because that was Claire’s spot and I wasn’t giving it up to anyone else. Then Andrew called me and told me if I still wanted Claire at our wedding, he’d make sure she was there. And he did. He even walked her down the aisle with Mandy’s bouquet. We set up a short pedestal with her photo, a vase for her bouquet, and a candle on it where she would have been standing to honor her. I’m not one that usually cries, Mandy was. (Apparently she left that emotional state to me when she left us, because now I can cry at the weirdest things and easiest reasons!) I almost lost it during my own wedding because I glanced at her place on the way up the aisle. That was May 31, 2014. Not even 3 months after we lost her. At our rehearsal dinner, I gave Claire a quilt made of star blocks that my online friends whom I haven’t even met in real life, made for her as a special gift. I also had some photos printed and framed for her mom and husband, along with letters. There were a few tears that night as well.

But still, life goes on.

So here we are, on her birthday. She would have been I think 35. I’m honestly bad with ages, even my own sometimes! She was this amazing, Godly woman who really came into her personality even more as she got older. She was the first to tell others about Jesus, the first to comfort those who were hurting, the first to pray for others, and the first to defend her family if needed. There will never be another woman like Mandy, just not possible.

 I still miss her every single day. I still remember her phone number. I still go on her facebook to look at photos she’d posted. I still even post a message to her page occasionally. I know she’ll never see them, but it helps sometimes when I’m really overwhelmed. I still see articles online that I know she would have liked that I would have shared with her, or ones she would have shared with me. I also still get a shock sometimes when I randomly decide to scroll through the day’s memories on facebook and see a post or comment from her. And whenever I look for a card for someone at Walmart, I can still easily find those black and white ones with a little pop of color of two little old ladies who are best friends, and sometimes I buy one, because that was what Mandy and I did. Every card we sent to each other was one of those kinds.

I now have Mandy’s first quilt. It’s what started me on my quilting journey, started this passion I have for quilting. She and her mom took a class, she showed it to me, and I was hooked. I made my first quilt in the same pattern as she did, teaching myself how to quilt (I had learned how to sew at age 12), all because she showed this one set of blocks to me, and showed me how they went together. She never finished that quilt top. Sheila said probably because the instructor was discouraging to her.

So Sheila has entrusted me to finish piecing it for her and to quilt it. Then it will be put up for Claire’s wedding day, so she’ll have a part of Mandy there.  I haven’t started on it yet. There will surely be many tears while I’m finishing it.

 I still miss her. I always will. And I no longer feel wrong or guilty for missing her. I’m even able to talk about her with Sheila now, without crying, though barely. Mandy was a big part of my life, at a time when I had very few to no other friends. Now I just hope I can be a good ‘Aunt Michelle’ to her little girl.
I miss her.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Never a Dull Moment!!

Oh the life of a business owner! Who can relate? Never ending to-do list between family, business, and friends.


But I love it! I wouldn’t do it otherwise. Right now though, I have been getting overwhelmed. I even took a couple weeks off to just read and relax. Not that that actually happened though! The last few weeks I’ve tried to get a little ‘me’ time each day, but I’ve still been busy.

So I guess those who follow this sporadic blog (hoping to get better about that too!) know I’ve been helping to care for my husband’s grandma who has dementia. I’ve recently started being at her house longer hours on my days I’m there, and more days as well, as this horrid disease progresses.

Then my mother-in-law had been having some shoulder pain and trying to get an MRI done. Long story short, after about 4 months complaining of pain she finally gets a referral to get it done, and her doc says there isn’t anything wrong, she just needs to do some physical therapy.

Fast forward 3 months later, the PT isn’t helping, only making the pain worse. Her doc finally gives in and refers her to a surgeon specializing in shoulders and sends the MRI to him. He calls, says she actually has a torn rotator cuff (keep in mind this was shown from the MRI taken 3 month’s prior!) and that he wants a new MRI and an x-ray done to have current information and sets her a referral for surgery appointment.

Two weeks later I drive her to the city (Oklahoma City) to her appointment. She goes back, comes out about a half hour later all upset and says ‘I don’t want to talk about it, let’s just go.’ Halfway home she finally tells me the original MRI showed a torn rotator cuff but her doc either misread it or ignored it thinking PT would correct the issue and didn’t tell her, but if she had been referred to the surgeon then he could have fixed it.

Now, because of all the PT she went through and being told to just go ahead and use her shoulder for the last 3 months and 2 weeks, the rotator cuff is no longer torn, it’s shredded and can’t be surgically repaired, there are 3 bone fragments floating around, and several small tears in tendon and muscle. He gave her a cortisone shot and set a surgery date of Oct 9, the earliest he had. This was all end of May/first of June timeframe.

Then, a month ago, she tripped and fell on her good shoulder and had some horrible bruising and a huge lump near her bicep. Doc sent her to get an MRI right away, no tears just a blood pocket and it will heal on its own, just be careful using it.

Now the bruise is gone but her good shoulder has been steadily hurting more. So her doc sent her back to get an MRI on the good shoulder 3 days ago. She emailed me last night that the MRI shows that shoulder has a torn rotator cuff. So now I’m taking her for a surgeon appointment for that shoulder a week from Monday, where we’ll find out the new timeline for the originally bad shoulder that requires a total reverse joint replacement and for the repair for this shoulder.

It’s insane! Since I’m the only daughter-in-law (she only has my husband for living children), I’m going to be helping her as much as I can (and as she’ll let me) with her general housework, errands, an anything else she will let me do.

Plus my business is (thankfully!) growing, so I have more to do with it. Add all that to my helping to care for my husband’s grandma and I’m really busy.

So after a lot of time and thinking and trying to figure out a way around it, I opted to step down as chair of our guild’s upcoming quilt show (in June, before the second shoulder injury, and knowing what all I had coming up with just the original shoulder issues). I hadn’t even been able to attend a guild meeting since January and haven’t had nearly the time to devote to organizing it that it needed and deserved to do a thorough job like I had the show previously, so I made the responsible decision to step down.

Lo and behold, you’d have thought I’d tried to murder someone or something with the way the majority of the guild reacted! Especially my co-chair who knew how crazy it’s been! It really showed me who my true friends in the guild are, because they are the only ones who not only stayed and supported me and the decision I had to make, but they defended me to the others as well, and I will forever be thankful for them.

So, now with this second shoulder injury, I’m not sure where all my crazy life will lead. I know I have one more show this year-in 3 weeks!-that I have to finish cutting and packaging fabric for, then I am supposed to teach a weekend retreat Portrait Quilt workshop in Guthrie the weekend after, but right now no one has signed up to take the class, which really saddens me.

I’ve already begun working on contracts and paying fees for shows and retreats to attend next year and take my shop. My goal is to have one show each month and one class/workshop each month, February thru October next year. So far I have a show each month except for March (retreat), June, August, and October (retreat) but no classes scheduled thus far for next year. My plan is to type up an announcement letter regarding my workshops and send them to guilds and quilt shops and see if I get any bites. If anyone is interested in a workshop or having me at their show, please go to my website at and fill out the ‘Contact us’ form!

My next post should be in a week from Sunday on September 9, if I can bring myself to write it. I want to honor my best friend on her birthday.

Until next time friends.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

....and, Life Happened.

Hello Everyone!

I'm sorry its been nearly four months since I wrote an entry. Bad Michelle! As the title says, Life Happened.

It's been a crazy busy few months, filled with caretaking of a family member, doctor and dental appointments, and prepping for two big quilt shows, plus trying to get some work done on my guild's quilt show.

So I guess I should give some bits of what's been going on. For one part, lets just say my part time, 2 day a week caretaking of a family member has increased in both hours per day and frequency. Having had the same schedule for a couple of years now and having that running like a mostly well-oiled machine with the rest of life, the changes threw a monkey wrench in the schedule and I had to re-figure out some things.

Then another family member found out her 'sore shoulder' that physical therapy wasn't helping turned out to be not just a torn rotator cuff, but a shredded rotator cuff, tears in muscles and tendon, and three bone chips floating around. This is requiring a total reverse shoulder replacement in the next couple of months or so, with me helping with driving to doctors appointments and her household chores and day to day life.

Added in to all of this, plus my own family life and household chores, I had two big quilt shows to dye fabric for. I ended up dyeing close to 700 yards. Then I had to wash, dry, iron, cut, and package all of that yardage!  Did I mention I only has six weeks to do all this in, along with everything else going on?

This resulted in late nights, early mornings, and not much time to spend with my husband.

So fast forward to the first weekend in June. My husband took off of work so he could go with me because I had to leave and set up my booth on the same day as our four year wedding anniversary! We borrowed my mom's SUV, loaded up, and headed out early on May 31.

We arrived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, found the venue (thanks to GPS, because I'd probably end up in Missouri without it!), and unloaded. Grabbed lunch at this amazing local Greek place (Thanks Memorie!) and went back to set up the booth.

I had gotten new grid walls and had to put the legs on and figure out the details of my new set up, so we were there until about 5pm. That was a LOT longer than usual! Finally done, we took off to check into our hotel and settle in, then went out to dinner for our anniversary. We were supposed to go see Solo at the theater as well, but decided to see it the next day because we were both exhausted. (just PSA, if a GPS takes you to a location with a mall and says 'you have arrived at your destination' but you don't see it, the location is probably inside the mall and you'll have to drive around until you actually find it! Ask me how I know this :) )

The next two days were slow unfortunately. We didn't have near the sales or even attendance to the show that we were all hoping for, so sadly I won't be able to go back to the show unless attendance improves greatly. But I did get to pick a winner for a shop-sponsored ribbon! I was so excited and I got to meet the lady who created the art quilt! That was an amazing experience!

Saturday we loaded up and went back to our hotel after grabbing dinner. We had originally decided to leave the feet/legs on the grid walls and just hang them off of the edge of the cargo area into the floorboard of the middle seats (they folded down), but there wasn't enough room since there was a gap between the back and middle seats when they were laid down. (Remember this for future reference!)

We had discovered a little pizza shop that had amazing food (also thanks to Memorie!) and went there and the Greek place twice in the four days we were in town. If you ever get the chance to go to Zoe's Kitchen or Andolini's Pizzeria, do it!

Sunday's trip back home was uneventful. We got home, loved on our 5 dogs we missed, unloaded, and relaxed. The next day it was back to work for Rob and a trip to take my mom's SUV back then on to show prep for the next show in less than three weeks!

Fast Forward to June 18. I head to pick up my mom's SUV again, back to the studio, and load up. This is when the gridwall leg story from Tulsa comes in. When I opened the side door to put the poles for the "walls" of my booth in the gap between the middle and back seats, there was no gap! Imagine my surprise when I realized the middle seats can be moved back, created plenty of space to hand the feet of the gridwalls off the edge and into the floorboards! I went back in the studio and put all the legs on al five gridwall sets then! If only I had realized this when we loaded up after Tulsa!

The next day my friend Amanda (who is from England and I learned a LOT about London ways and the Queen's English on the trip!) and I left out about 10 am to drive to Wichita, Kansas. After the Tulsa trip I learned to drive up the day before set up instead of the same day.

We get there, check in to our hotel, and discover they don't have elevators. For someone with hip problems, no elevators can pose a problem! Thankfully they were able to switch us to a first floor room. Then the hilarity ensues.

We were told about a back door that we can use our key cards to enter that is just about right across from our room. We drive around, park, get some of our things out..and can't get the door unlocked! It didn't matter which key we used, it just wouldn't open. Back to the front we went, got the cart, and unloaded our stuff. We told the lady at the front desk the door wouldn't open. Sure enough, it opened for her without problem.

The next day we headed to the venue about 9am, unload, and set up. The entrance for us was up a fairly steep and long ramp. Thankfully they had large carts for us to use to unload our vehicles, so it only took us three trips instead of the usual fifteen or so, but that ramp was a bear getting up it with heavily loaded carts! We got set up shortly after noon and headed to grab lunch then back to the hotel.

Finding ourselves with two-thirds of a day to do nothing, we decided to check out a local 'Wonder's of the World' museum in downtown Wichita. They had a lot of things from different periods of history, including Greek and Roman pottery with really interesting (and inspiring!) designs on them....and two real mummies! It wasn't a large museum but it was interesting!

This was the first three day show I had ever done, and I was expecting a lot of sales. The first day was super disappointing, but the next two went pretty good and I'll be going back in two years with they have their next show!

That first day though, I had signed up to do a demo. I hadn't done one before, and had only even spoken to a group or in front of a small crowd (aka, my local guild or retreat group) a couple of times. I was a nervous wreck already. Then I get there on set up day and realize not only do they expect a large crowd for demos from the looks of the chairs there, but I had to get up on a stage AND have a microphone! Never have I done either of those!

But thankfully the demo went off without a hitch. I was shaking nervous when I got up there, but as soon as I started speaking I relaxed and just went with it. It turned out wonderful, I got some sales and art quilt workshop interests from the demo, and had a good sized crowd-probably around 50 people!

While we were in Wichita, we discovered a local Italian restaurant called Marchellos that was amazing. So good, in fact, we went there three times for dinner! We also discovered a place called The Spice Merchant that sells all kinds of flavored coffee beans (or freshly ground!) and teas! We went there twice as well, and you can order online, so I got an ounce of several different teas and some coffee to try and will be ordering larger quantities when I discover my favorites!

We had a couple of GPS mishaps while we were gone. The first was after dinner one night, we decided to find a Cold Stone Creamery. The address of the nearest one we entered into the GPS took us to a neighborhood and someone's house instead! Thankfully the second address was literally five blocks away and we got there fine.

The second mishap was my own fault. I put in W for West when it should have been E for East and we ended up on the wrong side of town! Ooops!

The trip back was way more eventful than the Tulsa trip though. We checked out about 10am Sunday after getting some much needed rest, went across the highway to IHOP for breakfast. While eating we noticed the sky was getting a darker blue on one side, but we didn't realize that was the way we would be headed! We leave IHOP, make a quick stop by Starbucks, then begin the 4 hour drive home. It just started sprinkling as we got back in the car.

Well, you guessed it, it rained almost all the way home! That 4 hour drive became a 5 hour drive due to heavy rains. We saw I think 5 cars that had slid off into the ditch between Wichita, Kansas and Chickasha, Oklahoma when we finally got out of the rain and onto dry roads. There was also a bad wreck in Oklahoma City on the ramp from I-35 to I-44. Two 18 wheeler trucks with the box style trailers had jackknifed, and somehow ended up with the back ends of the trailers facing each other, on a two lane ramp that went over the highway below! I was so worried about hydroplaning because some of these roads don't exactly drain well.

We finally got home about 430pm. I dropped Amanda and her things off and went home, but my work didn't stop of course.

The next day I took my mom's SUV back and picked up my car. Then I had to hurry back to Lawton because, on the way home from Kansas, in the midst of all that rain, one of my crowns on my tooth fell off! Thankfully my dentist was able to work me in at noon on Monday. But, what I expected to be a quick appointment to re-cement the crown back on turned out to be a hour and a half long experience where they had to numb my gum and lip and pallet.

Why? Because my gum had grown under the crown, which caused it to work it's way off, and said gum tissue had to be burned off with a laser in order to reattach the crown. Needless to say my mouth did not feel good when the feeling came back!

The next day it was back to household work, including all the laundry from the week I was gone plus grocery shopping for the pay period. I had originally planned to do nothing but read or watch TV and relax that Wednesday. Nope! Grocery shopping trip turned into a 'lets make up some stuff with these deals we found for the freezer' trip, and I ended up spending Wednesday prepping 24 ears of candy corn, 2 pans of enchiladas, and 60 veggie egg rolls for the freezer. I'm still not done either. Tomorrow I have 2 watermelons to cut up (one for freezing for smoothies and one for dehydrating), 10 can of pineapple rings to dehydrate, and two bags of spinach plus a pound of Roma tomatoes to puree and spread out to make veggie tortillas in my dehydrator for lunch wraps. Plus my house needs a serious deep clean!

My husband asked me the other night, 'When are you going to take a break?' I answered, 'umm, never?'

My calendar is already filling up for next year with quilt shows, plus I have Art Quilt Workshops to teach, retreats to demo and sell at, and still two more shows just this year alone! And in September I find out if I got in to QuiltCon in Nashville! I so want to go, but don't know if I'll be able to swing the $700 booth fee by the end of September if I get accepted since Tulsa greatly underperformed. We shall see, and I will try to do more blog posts. Until next time Quilters!

Friday, March 2, 2018


I am so sorry! I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted! Life has been crazy and it totally slipped my mind that I hadn't posted.

So, Life. Yep, that's been a crazy ride this last month. First I had a baby quilt to make quick for my husband's cousin who's new little boy is due next weekend, then I got all ready for an event in Bethany, OK, about an hour and a half from home, had my car loaded and my husband even took off work for the day to help.....and it decides to start sleeting two hours after I loaded the car.

You guessed it, I didn't go. It was too icy here. So I felt really bad having to send a message to the coordinator for the guild meetings to say I wouldn't be able to attend to bring my hand dyed fabrics. Thankfully later that day I got an email from her saying the meetings for the next day had been canceled because they had received ice there as well! So all turned out good in the end, and I got rescheduled for August 23!

That's the first opening they had where I either wasn't already scheduled for an event and thought I would have new stock made (I have two large shows in June back to back and hope I sell out at both!)

Then I took our oldest pup (nearly 14) to the vet to see if it was old age or a UTI that was causing her to have accidents in the house at all hours of the day and night. After a urinalysis and bladder ultrasound, all was negative. So doc took some blood and sent it off to the lab.

The next day I get  call that he wants to do a STEM test of some sort and a liver ultrasound because she has elevated liver enzymes, and he's suspecting Cushing's disease. So I took her back in the next day for that, and we're waiting for test results (should be in today) to see what's wrong with my girl.

Then if that wasn't enough, the new fish that we had purchased less than two weeks before started dying! I called the pet shop because they have a replacement guarantee and was told to bring in another water sample (tested perfect the day we bought the fish) and the dead fish and we should be reimbursed or can get new fish.

The next morning, another dead fish, and I had to go to my husband's grandma's that day to care for her, so I couldn't go to the pet shop until that evening. I called again, talked to them, and discovered some white gunk on my living fish, even the ones who were still breathing but sitting on the bottom of the tank!

Turns out the lady at the pet shop suspected Ich or a fungus. So I go to hubs' grandma's house, fully expecting to have no fish still alive when I got home nearly 8 hours later. But guess what, they were almost all still alive--except one!

So I take the now 3 dead fish and a water sample and off I go back to the pet store. They look at the fish, test the water, and the water is still almost perfect, but the Ich or fungus explains the slightly off pH of the water. So I am directed to which treatment to get and to add aquarium salt to the tank. I get the stuff, head home, and treat the tank with the first dose of meds.

So we now have a tank that instead of clear water has water that is stained a lovely clear acid green! I have to treat it again in 48 hours, then wait another 48 hours to put the carbon filter back in and do a water change. So we wait and see how the fish do. So far so good, as the ones left are all still alive and mostly swimming around. I do have a couple that stay mostly on the bottom even though they come up for food, so I don't know if those two will survive or not.

 On top of all that, I'm teaching an art quilt mini class next weekend at a quilt retreat and I'm still trying to get the class samples finished and get all the fabric dyed and fusible web put on it and everything kitted up and I only have 4 days to get it all done before I leave early Thursday morning (I have today and Sunday with hubs' grandma still ). So lots to do and I'm feeling so overwhelmed!

After the retreat, I have two client quilts to quilt and by then my large fabric order should be in so I can start dyeing fabric for my shows this season. My first show is just next month!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Prepping for the new month!

Oh how busy have I been!

Life has been crazy busy, as it always is when you juggle home duties, family, pups, and a business! These last couple of weeks have been my crazy life as usual. But I actually got a lot accomplished!

I have discovered how wonderful written to do lists are for me. I have had so much stuff in my head-tasks that needed completion, orders to make, food to put on the dehydrator, and many small little ten minute tasks-that I seem to get nothing done. I start something and then remember something else I need to do and move to that without finishing the first task. Or I'll remember something I need to do while I'm out, promptly forget, then remember as I'm trying to get my mind to shut off at night so I can sleep.

So the other day my head was so full of things to do, I decided to write them down to hopefully stop feeling so frazzled and focus. Do you know what? It worked! I wrote down 23 things in about ten minutes that I needed to get accomplished. Of course I knew not all of them were going to get done that day, or even that week, but having them written down allowed me to focus on one task at a time and to actually get things completed without trying not to forget something else I needed to be doing.

To my amazement, I knocked out ten things in that one day! Granted a couple of them only took five minutes or so, but still, they got done! I felt so good going to bed that night at seeing a visual list of what I needed to do plus having those things accomplished that were then marked off the list, I was able to fall asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow! It's a great feeling!

Now, a week later, I've got a one subject, college ruled, spiral notebook that is just my on-going to do list. So far there are 53 items on that list, but 16 of those items have been marked off! Just today before noon I'm about to knock off three more items! By the time this afternoon is over, I should have another (large) task marked off! I love having this tangible reminder of not only what needs to be done but of what I have been able to get done as well.

Why don't you try it? You may find you rest better, focus easier, and get more accomplished with a dedicated to do list. I don't put due dates on anything unless I have a specific due date (like a quilt that I have due to be returned to my client) but I find I don't need them as much because I don't forget to do something and have to do it last minute now. I know I've just been doing this for a week or so, but the amount of tasks I have been able to complete during this short time has been wonderful and motivating! I hope you'll find it as successful a tool as I have!

Next month is sure to test my new to do list. I have my first event, a vending opportunity at two quilt guild meetings. Hopefully it will go well as I gear up for quilt shows this year. I hope to see you at the shows! For a list of where we'll be, please visit the website at and check out the bottom of the first page. If you visit a quilt show let me know you follow my blog!

Have a great day! Maybe next week I'll post pictures of my (finally organized!) quilt studio I've been working on these last two weeks! Have a great week!


Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Less Exciting Days of Business

Hello Quilters!

I hope you've all gotten to do a lot of quilting this nearly two weeks since I last posted. It's been a really busy time for me, but not much quilting done unfortunately.

I love owning my own business with my only bosses being my amazing clients! Except, that is, for the tax season part. Can we all just join in a big Ugh!

So the last two weeks I've been compiling my tax information. You know, all the income, expenses, and sales taxes collected over the year, so that I can do my year-end tax report and payments (yuck!). I am happy to say that as of an hour ago they are all completed and I have everything set for this year to (hopefully) be a bit smoother and easier!

Now, on to more fun stuff. I'm nearly finished (just 64 butterflies left!) quilting a quilt that my sister made for our mom for a church friend of hers who always gets cold during the service. Its a pretty dark purple cross on a cream-on-white background with a frame of light purple and light blue lattice work. Very pretty! It's all made of 3 inch finished squares, and each square (288 of them!) is being quilted with a coordinating color thread with a butterfly in every block.  I'm so thankful I have a computer guided long arm! I expected to be done last night, but a storm rolled in ahead of the cold front and I won't run my machine or even leave it plugged in during a storm just to be safe, even though I have a great UPS system for it. I just don't want to take the chance!

So the craziness that is my life continues. Yesterday I was out tossing the Frisbee to Luna and the wind caught it. But instead of it going up and over the back yard fence as usual, it slipped the Frisbee under the edge of the platform we have our storage shed sitting on! The poor pup of mine was pawing and whining at it trying to get it out, so I had to go rescue her....after I stopped laughing at her spinning in circles trying to locate it!

We've been having some trouble getting Cameo to eat. No idea why, as she'll eat anything you give her except her regular food. This went on for 3 days and I was getting concerned and was about to call the vet when I saw another poster on a pet page on Facebook mention she had been giving her dogs coconut oil for allergies to help. Since Cameo and Luna both have allergies, I decided to ask the vet and do a lot of research on my own. I spent most of the day researching and learned there are a lot of benefits of taking a measured amount (based on weight) of coconut oil daily for both humans and dogs.

Now, I'm going to stop right here and say I'm in no way encouraging you to start eating coconut oil or giving it to your animals. If you're interested, do it right and research and talk to your vet and/or personal doctor before you do anything different first.

So anyway, I started giving each of our girls a bit of melted organic virgin coconut oil drizzled over their food twice daily (amount for each depends on their weight). They all, including Cameo, took to it like crazy, begging for more and loving every bite! It's been a week, and Cameo and Luna are already itching less and the redness on their skin is less and Chella has been getting around a bit better. I can't wait to tell my vet how well they're doing since he ok'ed the oil!

Hmmmm....well, that's about it for these last twoish weeks. Just a lot of the boring side of business and worrying over Cameo not eating and a little quilting.

Tomorrow I hope to finish this quilt because I need to take it back to my sister Saturday when my husband, his cousin, and I head to Wichita Falls for a WWE Live event show. I can't wait to go! My favorite wrestler should be there, Finn Balor. It should be a great night of fun to celebrate my birthday (it's the 16th).

Then next week its back to work to finally get my studio in some kind of organized mess instead of just the disaster mess it's in. Once that's done I hope to finally be able to pull out my new Silhouette Cameo cutter and play with it (aka. learn how to run it)!

So I guess that's it. Back to work with some of the fun part of business ownership---making new labels for my product line! Hope you enjoyed this post!