Summer’s in Swing

The Hunk and I  just returned from a trip to Louisiana to do some work for the folks at First Baptist Church of Chalmette. This is the same church we helped rebuild after Hurricane Katrina all but washed it away.  Our roots are in that church and they’re family now, so when Brother John sent out the call for summer help we timed the trip so we could celebrate our anniversary where our story together began.
He spent the week repairing a stone wall. I painted the foyer, did some cleaning and whatever else I was asked to help with. Not most folks’ idea of a romantic getaway, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

My hard working man. :)

The week wasn’t all work. I met up with the Domino Divas for some cutthroat domino play and didn’t come in last, which is saying something.  One night we saw the local high school’s production of  “Anything Goes” with some of the ladies from the church who paid our way as an anniversary gift.  And we didn’t leave without spending a day in the French Quarter, perusing the French Market and eating. Beignets, anyone?

Beignets at Cafe du Monde

I’ve been sewing up a storm – quilt tops are piling up waiting to be quilted. It feels good to be on a roll. I finished the quilt for my new cousin, Lily, and I was able to deliver it to her in person on our way to Louisiana.


This week’s ta-da:  I finished the “forever” rug! I call it that because it has taken me, well, forever. Four years, actually, I think.  Now it’s home in my kitchen where it belongs! It feels like luxury on my toes.  I marched that thing out into the mudroom to showcase it on the beautiful brick steps the Hunk built. Isn’t it lovely? The red pops against that brick, doesn’t it?



Summer marches on. One day I might actually get to the beach!

Have Computer, Will Travel

September is one of my favorite months. Crisp breezes, open windows and the smell of apples wafting through the kitchen invigorate me like nothing else. I still can’t believe it’s here already. Friends are posting their fall decorations while I’m going, “Wait! It’s still 90 outside!”  This September will be even warmer than usual for me, because I’ll be spending it in Florida. My brother-in-law had a bone marrow transplant Friday, and I’m going to hold down the fort at my sister’s house so she can tend to her man.  I like to love on people in person, so I’m grateful for a job I can take anywhere.

I’m also going to a quilt retreat with a friend smack in the middle of my visit, so packing has been a challenge. I want to bring it all!  I’ve started a pile, and most of it is quilt-related, except for the bin with the yellow top. It’s full of art supplies for  this online class which I can’t wait to tackle. (That basket of quilts isn’t going, either…that’s just where they live)


I’m a little dizzy with all that has to be done before I leave so not much is happening in the studio.  I finished this tote for my swap partner, and she likes it!  I kept changing my mind, so it has a couple “extras” that aren’t usually part of the design like the pieced straps and a pieced edge inside that doesn’t show here.


AND I finished the tote I started at Quilt Camp last month. I matched up these cute birds from my stash, and I love it! The top didn’t turn out right, but I’m not ripping it out.  My paper stuff gets to travel with me in style.


My computer and all its gadgetry get packed up tomorrow.  I think I will enjoy being unplugged for a couple days. Happy September!

Quilts for Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City MQG is collecting quilts for victims of last week’s tornado. Last night the Oklahoma City area, including Moore, was battered by more severe storms and tornado activity.

For those who have quilts you’d like to donate, or the desire to make a quilt specifically for those affected, the OCMQG requests you send your quilts by June 30th. You will find all the details on the Oklahoma City MQG site. 

Oklahoma on Our Hearts

The images coming out of Oklahoma give me itchy feet. Helping others rebuild is where my heart beats strong.

The Hunk and I actually first met back in 2007 on a construction site in Chalmette, Louisiana, where we worked to rebuild a church decimated by Hurricane Katrina. We returned to work on that site the following two years and had the honor of attending the opening service in the sanctuary we helped build. After sweating, crying, hoping, building, laughing and ministering together, we have a forever family in Chalmette and some stories you wouldn’t believe.

The hunk did a lot of that brick work, and built the sign out front (left). 

We want to pick up and go when the call comes. Not just once a year, but regularly as the Lord calls. As we embark on an empty nest, I want to be more intentional about ordering our life in a way that makes us even more available to serve.  It’s not out of reach, but it will take planning and focus to put feet to our hearts’ desire.

Fortunately, there are organizations in place that do just that – organize and plan to make the most from our offerings. If you have an itch to help, but don’t know where to begin, Ed Stetzer posted a great intro to getting involved in disaster relief.  His tips hold true for any kind of rebuilding mission.  This is HARD work, y’all, but the most rewarding work we’ve ever done.

Ready to roll up your sleeves? You can sign up with Samaritan’s Purse volunteer network.

Lastly, do not underestimate the act of giving financially. It takes money to rebuild. Lots of money. There is no such thing as a “small” contribution. Here are some wonderful folks who will handle your donations with integrity:
Disaster Relief Oklahoma 
Convoy of Hope
The Salvation Army
Operation Blessing

Rebuilding takes time, and our friends in Oklahoma will be picking up the pieces long after the rest of us have fallen back into our normal routines. Each visit we made to Louisiana revealed how little could change while so much was being accomplished. And they continue to re-build.

If you have a heart to serve in any capacity, can I encourage you to take the next step toward action? I don’t want to sit on my couch wishing I could do something. I want to be ready to do something. Will you join me?


Dresses for Africa

My friend, Lynne, came over to get my help whipping up a couple samples of these little pillow case dresses her congregation will be making to send to Africa. Oh. Em. Gee. they are all sorts of adorable. And addictive! Once we started sewing we saw oodles of creative possibility to make them special.
This was our first attempt –  it is a large. We used the extra-large arm hole size because the pattern looked sooo small, but once assembled we realized the pattern makers knew what they were doing. Imagine that. 😉

There is also a pattern to make shorts for boys from a t-shirt and some elastic.The beauty of this project is you don’t need to be part of a group or make a minimum to participate. You can find all the details on the Little Dresses for Africa site.

More Ways to Help

I received an email from Quilting Gallery asking for volunteers to make blocks for Sandy victims. They also provide a list of other sites offering ways to help.  I won’t reinvent the wheel by listing them all again here – click on the image below to read all about it!

Sandy Quilt Block Drive

Needed ASAP: Quilts and Blankets

The Hunk and I had a WONDERFUL trip north! Our friends live in a wee place called Breinigsville, PA among rolling farmlands. Beautiful. We arrived just ahead of Hurricane Sandy. The men watched football and we gals sewed until the power went out. My friend and I wondered if her Amish neighbors were shaking their heads as people scrambled without electricity. 

The Hunk and I finished our vacation in Massachusetts with more friends. It was NICE to relax for the week and just enjoy each other. The crisp fall air and colors left me invigorated and inspired. 

Traveling up and down the coast we saw cherry pickers from power companies around the US…  Tampa (FL), Michigan, Texas… it choked me up each time to see the generosity of other cities rushing to where help was needed. We passed gas stations with lines that stretched for miles. On the ride home, New Jersey was only selling gas to cars with even numbered tags. My tags have no numbers! We waited and gassed up in Delaware.

We arrived home to life as usual, aware that so many are still reeling from Sandy and, now, this recent Nor’easter. 

Victoria Findlay Wolfe of the NYC Mod Quilt Guild  has put out a call for blankets to distribute to families left in the cold from Hurricane Sandy and this most recent Nor’easter. Blankets/Quilts can be store-bought or homemade – and any size.
If you’re concerned about who you send your quilts to, Victoria is has established ties with the people who can distribute these quilts. She’s the real deal. 
You can find the details HERE. Make sure to follow the directions carefully – I know you want your quilts arrive in the correct hands. 

I’d like to get this out to as many quilters as possible, so please pass it on
I know the media shows the worst on TV… and sometimes it’s tempting to downplay the severity of a situation. But we watched the local news while we were there – the stories you DON’T see when you’re hundreds of miles away. Not only is the devastation real, it’s worse for some than you can wrap your head around. 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and all we take for granted, please give generously.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

National (not really)-Take-a-Risk-Day

The Nester dubbed today “National (not really) Take A Risk Day”. Readers were encouraged to take at least a small risk in our homes – something we’ve wanted to try or paint or do that involved risk on our part. You can read more here. I didn’t take any decorating risks, per se, but I did take a creative one. This weekend some of my colleagues needed a location to film some important footage, and we agreed to let them use our home.
What’s so risky about that, right?
Usually, nothing…  but I can be am pretty OCD when it comes to my home, and I had an idea of what I might agree to before film’s end, and there lied the risk. Sometimes film-making is a risky business. When asked if we were sure, I told the producer, “It’s just paint.”
We let them sand the walls to give them a worn, battered appearance.

They covered the windows with cardboard and duct tape to complete the look. The first round of footage didn’t read the way it needed to, so the Hunk and I quickly agreed to whatever it took to meet those needs.
In the end, freshly-painted walls were sanded, painted and smeared – real dirt from the yard was rubbed across new windows (it could be removed easier than paint).
I can’t reveal the full set, but the empty room looks like this:

We then relocated to a hotel for the weekend to let them work their magic.  The film‘s creators aim to raise awareness of the growing problem of sex trafficking in the United States. The climactic scenes needed a location that would read true on film and not detract from the seriousness of its message. It’s a message the Hunk and I believe in strongly, and we felt God calling us to put our beliefs into action.
As I told the producer – it’s just paint, right?  Right?
UPDATE: You can watch the completed film, “Alone”, HERE. Yes, that’s me playing the grieving mother. 😉

A Summer of Firsts

It was an incredibly busy, busy summer and an even busier busy… end of summer. (I was going to say fall – but it isn’t even fall, yet!)
This summer has been filled with lots of firsts for me, most the result of my new No Fear policy.
Some of them would sound dumb to other people, but they are monumental to me.
A BIG first was the mission trip I went on.
I spent a week in Louisiana helping rebuild a church there post-Katrina.
Awesome trip. As a handy-man’s daughter, I felt at home in my own skin. I was on familiar territory doing what I love.

I will certainly be taking many more trips like this one. I’m hooked…. I loved the work, loved the fellowship, and loved the fact I was thinking about others – which is easy to forget when we’re so bogged down in our own “stuff”.
I made some wonderful new friends – many who live here in the Tidewater area. Go figure – I had to go all the way to Louisiana to meet them. 🙂

I’m on campus this semester – another first. I’ve been knocking out classes online to save gas and time, but this semester I desperately needed a change, so I decided to take a couple classes on campus and have some fun.
That was the best decision I could have made! I am SO in my element – I love it.