Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How Do You Know?

How do you know if you are a good friend, wife, mother, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, etc? How do you know? By the people around you? By the way people treat you? By the comments that people make? By the way people talk when they are with you? By the fact that people even want to be with you?

How do you know?

Now I don't want this post to turn into people saying "oh, Karen you are a good...". I am just posting this because I feel like I don't know. I feel like I am looking for reassurance, but it seldom comes. OR I only hang my hat on the negative comments and then try to figure out how I can make it better or change it. Focusing on the negative, not the positive. Why?
Then when someone whose comments should mean the most, tells you that you are a good..., why don't we believe it?

I guess I don't really expect an answer. I just wanted to ask the do we know?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I can't stop!

I just can't stop playing with the fabrics and making these bags! So here's the latest In Town Bag from Amy Butler, with her Midwest Modern Fabrics, by little ol' me. Pretty, huh?

I made this for a special lady for Christmas. I think she will love it, don't you?

Now, what next?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Messy Eater? Little Drooler?

No problem! I found this pattern in the book Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. It is a simple bib pattern that I used to make bibs for one special baby I know, for Christmas. I used my new fabrics again from Heather Bailey and Amy Butler. Not typical baby fabrics. Which I love. Plus this was the first time I ever used a snap tool to put the finishing touches on.
These are "Chic Bibs". Don't you agree?I am very much a fan of handmade gifts. Always have been. Now I have a way to try some new things and give gifts truly from the heart.
Now if only I could start a business doing what I love?!?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Creation!

Ok, so now I'm addicted!! I can't stop making bags and other goodies that I hope to giveaway to friends and family at Christmas. This is a bag that I finished last weekend, but hadn't had a chance to take the photo.I used the Amy Butler In Town Bag pattern and two coordinating fabrics that I "won" on ebay, from Heather Bailey's Pop Garden fabric line. So pretty, wouldn't you agree?

It has two pockets inside, which actually were a little easier to make this time, than the last time I made a bag. Plus this bag is definitely smaller. A little more sophisticated, rather than real functional.

Then for the closure, I added a decorative button and some ribbon. It really is a fairly easy pattern to follow, if anyone out there is interested in giving it a try.

I really love how it came out. And I think I need to make more. I am having a blast with all this fabric and all these new patterns. Somebody Stop Me!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Trancending with Friends...

I found this You Tube Video by Kelly Corrigan and found it so moving, that I had to post about it. I thank God for my friends every day. You know who you've helped me through the tough times and laughed with me through the happy times too. I love you guys!

It's is worth a watch.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


One, 1, single, solitaire...all words meaning the same thing. One seems so small, and almost insignificant. But not today. Not for us. Not for Ian. Today marks his first birthday. One whole year has passed. I remember that day like it was yesterday.
I had been having contractions off and on for over a month. We were finally going in to be induced and meet our new little one. We had to be in by 7am.

One whole year ago on that ride I talked to you. I told you how much I loved you. I told you how anxious I was to meet you. I told you to be patient with us as we made the transition of having you -- another little baby; a new person; a new member of our family. I told you that it was the holidays and what that meant. I told you that I was ready for you when you were ready to join us. And, I told you that this holiday season, we were extra thankful for you.

One whole year ago, Nana came over and stayed with your sister.

One whole year since we arrived at the hospital, scared, excited, and anxious at a very early hour of the morning.

One whole year since your Daddy coached me along.

One whole year since Dr. Mihalek asked Daddy to cut the cord.

One whole year, since he did!

One year passed in a blink of an eye!
Happy Birthday Ian!

I am just as grateful for you today as I was that day one whole year ago.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for the cuddles, giggles, and smiles.
Thank you for reminding me about the small things in life that we could miss otherwise.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


So for a few years now, my older sister, my Mom, and I have gotten together on the weekend after Thanksgiving and made Peanut Brittle. It is a "family" recipe that involves a candy thermometer, constant stirring, to a specific temperature, add more ingredients, and stir some more, thenquick spreading with a fork, while trying not to get burned...and spreading on a cool surface. We have a special "heirloom" that we use as our cool surface...
Let it cool, then break it up into pieces! Yum!
In years past we have had others join us, join the fun, and craziness that is making peanut brittle. This year, both my sisters and my Mom and I were there, along with some of our kids. Craziness, but a lot of fun too.

Tradition! You don't monkey with tradition! :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful for...

Well, here it is...Thanksgiving. I love this holiday, although it got alittle tainted 8 years ago. When I think about giving thanks, I can't help but think of all the wonderful little things or even big things that I have in my life. I decided to focus on the happy things this year. What makes me tick? What makes me thankful? What are the things that make me who I am? got me thinking.

I came up with this list of five things I am thankful for this year:
1. My husband and marriage---Gordon, you are my best friend. I would not be the same without you. You make me smile everyday. We are truly partners in this marriage. We look to each other for guidance and strength. Equal partners, equals in every way. You are the most special gift that I am thankful for. Thank you!
2. My Kids---There was a time in my life when I thought I would never be a Mom. Well, God just had a different plan for us. Now I have the most wonderful little ones. I remember when I was pregnant with Ian, good friends told me that it is amazing how much love you have for kids in your heart. I worried I wouldn't have enough for two...but boy do I!
3. My Family---Mom G, Mom D, Dad D, Char, Sue, Chuck, Keith, Eric, Andrew, Amy, and Sarah!!! Plus all the wonderful nieces and nephews I have, and extended family...aunts, uncles, cousins. I am surrounded by people who love me. Even if I don't see or talk to them everyday, I feel their love!
4. My Friends---I am so lucky to have many great friends in my life. Each one of you teach me something about myself everytime I see you, talk to you, or just think of you. Each of you contribute to who I am...make me stronger each day. Thank you for your love!
5. My Health---I recently had some scary things related to my health, that I will continue to struggle with, but for the most part I am a healthy, happy 35 year old. I need to remember to be thankful for this too.

I'm sure I could go on and on about my gifts in life that I am thankful for, but these are the ones that are foremost in my mind. If I kept listing, I'm afraid you all would stop reading.

So, tell me what five things are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Look what I can do....

Well, I finally did it. Something different with my sewing machine. Something different than quilts and potholders. In a previous post I wrote about winning some new books and fabric on ebay. These are two fabrics I won and a pattern from Amy Butler's book Little Stitches for Little Ones.
The fabric is from Amy Butler's Belle line. So pretty...don't you agree?

I actually had this bag finished for alittle while, but I didn't want to post about it until I was able to give it to it's new owner.
I love these fabrics! It is the Everything Bag pattern by Amy Butler. I think I am becoming more and more of a fan of hers.
It was the first time, not only that I made something like this, but the first time I used interfacing, and made elastic pockets and dividers. It was fun for sure!
But even more fun to give away!

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Dad

Well, it's been eight years, since the darkest day of my life thus far. My Dad passed away suddenly. I have never been the same since. I can't seem to forget the events, the different specifics about that day...that sometimes I wish I could forget. I don't know if it ever gets easier. I think about him so much, especially this time of year.
One of my best friends said something to me about losing a parent that has stuck with me. She said it doesn't get easier, it is just something we learn to accept. I miss him so much. I have lost a number of people in my life, but there is nothing like losing a parent. And a father daughter relationship is something special. Or atleast it was for us.

I want to take this post and remember how wonderful he was. He was so much fun! A great sense of humor, and a way of making people feel comfortable. He knew how to have fun. Many people tell me that I am like him in that way, and I can only hope that is true.

I remember when Gordon, my Mom, my Dad, and I all went to Washington D.C. to see his favorite team the Washington Redskins play. We even got to go on the field before the game. One of my best friends had gotten us the tickets. My Dad was beaming the whole time. I will NEVER forget his face, and how excited he was.

He knew how to live life. How to love life! I know alot of people say things like this about people after they are gone, but those of you who really knew my Dad, I think would agree.
I would love to hear any and all memories that anyone out there has of this remarkable man that I miss, and I know many of you miss as well.
Please tell me.

I love you Daddy, and miss you everyday, not just on November 22.

PS I just posted this at 9pm, and a commercial came on the tv, when I hit "publish post" about Johnnie Walker...coincidence, I think not! :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another Chance to Win!!

Another way to win! I can't get enough of all the talented people out there. I have been following the Old Red Barn blog for awhile now, and this extremely talent person is giving away three quilts! I can't even imagine how great it would be to own one of these works of art. She is so talented!! Just look at these...
I can only hope to be as talented too one day. I'm working on it. :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

First Steps!

Today Ian took his first steps! Just eleven months old. How fast he has grown? Almost one year old, climbing everything, and now beginning to walk...too fast.

He literally is too fast, it is hard to get a photo of him, and he seems to be growing even faster.

He took his first steps the same spot Charlotte did. It, of course, made me cry. I am a sap, or I like to think of it as sentimental...sensitive, but in a good way. Such an exciting thing, learning to walk.

First steps. Where will they lead? It makes me think of his future. What does it hold? How will I keep up? How can I be sure to savor these small steps, when soon they will be so big!

Off and just try to keep up! (photo from

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

There are no words...

I recently learned of another giveaway that I had to check out. But in checking it out I found it is so much more than a giveaway. I have no more words to say than what is written about Baby Mia on this A Mama Drama Blog

Also there is a blog just about helping this sweet baby and her family.

Check it out. It's a tear jerker. Consider donation.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Vote!

It's funny how living in the USA gives us so many freedoms that we take for granted. Of course today is election day, polls closing here in CT in approximately 5 minutes from now.

As I waited in line for my paper ballot, I was thinking about who to vote for. What are the things that matter to me and my family? How will this election effect the future of our country? The future our children will inherit? I took my ballot to my little partitioned desk. Picked up the marker. And stared at the names on the ballot. I stared for a while. Thinking about everything that I have heard on the tv, radio, read in the paper, magazines, etc. Trying to make sense of it all again in that moment. These names on the paper can effect my life and the lives of my kids, my Mom, my "other" parents, my sisters, brothers, everyone I know and love. Do you think they know that the little people like me struggle with giving them that power?

Ok, I know some of you are thinking..."Karen, you're one vote is not that powerful". But to me it is. I am an American. Proud to be one. I have the freedoms that come with living in this country. And the responsibility to vote for the leaders that are in charge of our country and our states.

So, it's out of my hands. I've picked my candidate. Now we watch and wait.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


We have had sickness in our home for almost three weeks now. We seem to keep passing it back and forth between us all. yuck! I think I started it all with some sinus allergies, or was it more. Then taking a ten month old for a chest you might imagine...not so fun. Came back negative, Thank Goodness..but ear infection instead. Then just when we thought we were all on the mend, my three year old spikes a fever...bronchitis. Ugh! It is no fun seeing little ones sick. (almost as bad as a grown man being sick... :))

And to top it all off, I end up back with it and a sinus infection.

So, now that I am feeling a little bit better...I am cleaning like a mad woman. All the sheets, all the towels, everything. I need to get it out of my house!
We are now all hopefully on the mend!

It is amazing how much you appreciate your health, after you've been sick. One not so small thing to be thankful for, but we take for granted when we are healthy. hummm...

Friday, October 24, 2008


Well, I'm officially freaked out. We recently had another home invasion in our neighborhood. YIKES! Is the only word I can describe how I am feeling.

About a month or so ago we had another one here too. What is happening to our world? How do you explain things like this to our kids?

When I was a Freshman in high school, my sisters and I were home when a man broke into our house and started ransacking the place. He never knew we were home, Thank God, and he was arrested in our kitchen. I will NEVER forget the sound of the police shouting "Freeze, Newington Police". And I think I have never been the same.

Now we lock our doors, set safety locks on the windows, dead bolts everywhere and our trusted Sophie barking...why? Because these brazen criminals think they can just invade our homes, even when we are home!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I win!!

I recently joined ebay in hopes to see what was out there for fabrics and such, since many quilt shops here in CT don't carry the Amy Butler and Heather Bailey fabric that I am beginning to love. I am also looking for inspiration to hone my quilting and sewing skills. I love to do it, but feel like I want to expand what I can make and all that good stuff. There are so many talented people out there, and I want to be one of them. Plus giving away all my projects is something I love to do. I love when people I love get gifts that I have made. It warms my heart.
So, on ebay...I WON! I won two packages of fat quarters of Amy Butler's Midwest Modern and Heather Bailey's Pop Garden fabric. Which came in the mail a week or so ago! yea!
Plus two books...I had them on my Christmas list, but couldn't resist bidding on them now. One is Bend the Rules Sewing, by Amy Karol and the other is Little Stitches for Little Ones by Amy Butler. I can't wait to try out some patterns with my new fabric! ooo...imagine the possibilities. Now I need to find the time. And hopefully soon, I will have something new to post!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pigtails and Snails

I found a blog called Pigtails and Snails, where the author is a quilter that I can only describe as WOW!
And well, I am shamelessly posting about a beautiful quilt that Elizabeth Cranmer is giving away. She is so talented, wouldn't you agree.
I added the link to the sidebar, if you want to check it out. I am going to try to win it. I can't believe she is giving it away!
I can only hope to do a giveaway like this one day. Although, I guess giving all my quilts and projects away up to this point, is kind of like the same thing. Check her out, she is quite talented!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What to do?

A new life, new hope, new prayers....

Here's a link with at least something else you and I can do.

Consider it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

For Luck!

I appliquéd this shamrock onto a quilt project that one of my best friend's sisters is making for her, because she and her husband wanted one.

The shamrock has been an Irish symbol for good luck forever.

The luck of the Irish, I am sending their way tonight.

Rath Dé ort!

Bail ó Dhia ort!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nineteen Minutes

Well, I just finished another book that has me wanting to share with all of you my own rendition of a book report. With everything that is going on in my life right now, I have found some escape in books. Maybe I have taken some cues from Charlotte, but I am really enjoying myself.

Anyway, Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult was another recommendation by some friends. This is another one that I couldn't put down (once I found the time to sit and read). It is a novel about a small New Hampshire town that is rocked by an act of violence in its high school. The shooter, a "victim" of bullying. The victims, everyone else, from the children who died, to the teachers, the policemen, the parents of the children who died and this shooter. It was a great book that I would recommend to anyone. There is a trailer for this book and you can read an excerpt online at Jodi's website. It's a gripping story about something that is in the forefront of the minds of parents of teenagers and those of us who work in high schools across the country.

"In nineteen minutes you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes you can bake muffins, get a tooth filled by a dentist, you can fold laundry for a family of five. In nineteen minutes you can stop the world..." or change it for everyone around you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Tonight I feel helpless. I have three friends, who I love very much, going through some pretty terrible things in their lives.
I want to help and don't know how. I don't even think there is a way. There is nothing I can do to take away the pain. There is nothing I can do to make it better.

All I can do is be there for them if or when they need me.

Life is so unpredictable.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sew, Stamp, Sew!

This weekend I did SO much with my sewing machine! I just love it. I have been trying to think of new fun things to do on it that would be fun quick projects. It was such fun.
First, I made some cards. As many of you know I love to stamp cards and such, but this weekend I decided to combine my two crafting loves. Stamping and sewing. I made these two cards. I'm happy with them. I think the next time I do it, they will be better, but I am happy with how they turned out. What do you think? This picture makes it tough to see, but the stroller and the balloons are fabric and the legs of the stroller and the strings of the balloon are stitched. It was pretty cool to do.

Then I made some headbands. There is a tutorial on the Old Red Barn Co. Blog. I followed it mostly to the tee, made two headbands that fit me, but were too big for Charlotte. So today I modified the pattern and made alittle bit smaller one and here's how it turned out. Pretty cute, if I do say so myself.
It was such a fun crafting weekend! Now back to the grind.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

So another attempt to escape from the stress of work I have begun to read again. Based on a recommendation from a very good friend, I read the book called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See.
I couldn't put it down. It is a novel based in 19th century China. And the premise of the book is two friends or laotong, "old same", who are paired together at a very young age and live their lives together in all senses of what that means. The two girls had to match birth dates, be in the same birth order in both families, have the same size foot, etc. They became emotional matches for life. In addition, the book introduced me to nu shu, which was the secret writing of women in the Chinese culture. Women would literally paint these words to each other in secret. Men of this time did not read nu shu. It was just for women. A way to share their hopes and dreams in a world that did not value women, except to bear a son.
The book follows these two girls through their lives, from footbinding to marriage, and having a son, which is only what made their status in the household more important. It was an extremely interesting read, with quite the story of friendship and how things can become difficult or strained in a close relationship, just because of a misunderstanding.

If you are looking for a good book, I would recommend this one.

Aunt Gene's Pear Bread

By popular's the recipe and a photo that is a couple years old from Aunt Gene's 85th birthday!

1 cup grated pears (although I just chopped them small, skin and all)
1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup buttermilk (although Aunt Gene told me to just use regular milk with alittle lemon juice, which I did)

Mix it all together. Bake at 350, in a greased loaf pan for 55-60 minutes!!!
Yummy!!! Love you Auntie Gene!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I have a wonderful aunt, who I know will never really read this, because I don't even think she has a computer. She is one of my Dad's six older sisters. She is a very special lady. Anyway, she has a pear tree in her yard that every year yields tons of pears. This year she called us to come and take some if we wanted. We did! Yum!! We took a bunch and I have been making her
pear bread recipe now almost every weekend since then. It has been great fun making them with my daughter and the fact that it was this special lady's recipe makes it even more special.

I love this bread and I think I could eat it everyday.
Thanks Aunt Gene!

If anyone wants this easy recipe, let me know and I'll post it! Yummy!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

What truly matters?

I got one of the best pieces of advice yesterday at work. One of those 25 special education teachers told me to just "stay here" (as she pointed to her heart). I totally needed that. As I sit here at the end of a LONG day...where I feel like giving up...I am reminded of that comment.
Then this song, In My Daughter's Eyes, came on in the car. Love it!
My kids, husband, and family are all that truly matter.

Click here to see and hear Martina McBride sing it live.

In My Daughter's Eyes lyrics:
In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the
world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me gives me
strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It's hangin' on when your heart
has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

I love you Charlotte!

(photo courtesy of

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


So I am sitting here watching the end of the new 90210 on CW20. Now I must admit I was a 90210 junkie when the original came out in the early 90's. Actually, I started watching it in syndication. I became obsessed with Brandon, Brenda, Kelly, Andrea, Dylan, Donna, Steve, David, and Valerie. Plus who could forget Nat and the Peach Pit. (right Phil?) Anyway, I fully admit that I was into the whole thing. Maybe alittle sad, I know, but I was. Episodes like "Donna Martin Graduates", "Brandon's proposal to Kelly", and some others. I know some of you out there are laughing to yourselves (right, Phil?) But anyone who watched this show, or any show that was somehow iconic in someway, has memories behind it. Memories that we don't soon forget or come rushing back at these triggers.

Now this new cast and show, has some of the old characters, but much older. Like Kelly and David's half sister Erin is now in West Beverly Hills High. Weird, but still interesting to watch. Kelly (Jennie Garth) and Brenda (Shannen Doherty) are making special guest appearances. Even Nat (Joe E. Tata), made an appearance. So crazy!

So my stress relief for tonight, has been reliving some old memories, and laughing while writing this post and watching this new show.