Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fun in the Fall

Brendon, Kaden, Me and Caitrin posing on a log in the wood of Tippecanoe River State Park.

A couple of weeks ago, we took our annual trip to Tippecanoe River State Park in Winamac, IN. Every year we hiking along the trails in the woods when the leaves start turning colors. The first thing we do is climb the firetower. This year Brendon was the only one who made it to the top. During our walk we stopped to pose for photos (taken with our phones/iPod). We made full circle back the firetower and stopped to see some horses that were hitched on a post. One of the owners so graciously let Caitrin sit on one horse and the other lead Brendon around the area on the other.

Caitrin on a horse.
Kaden posing on a log.

Starting a new tradition this year, my mom took Brendon and Caitrin to a nearby nursery for a hayride into a pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin. Kaden wasn't feeling well that day, so we stayed home and waited for the pumpkins to arrive. Picking pumpkins wasn't the only thing they did at the nursery. 

Brendon and Caitrin on Hensler Express at Hensler Nursery.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Caitrin, the cool witch, and Kaden, the sheep, are ready to trick-or-treat.

Here they are! Caitrin is so proudly wearing the cool witch costume she designed. I'm merely the seamstress. She picked out all the fabrics. Most of them are remnants we had been gathering for about a month and I purchased the silver for the bodice. We had a witch hat but it kept falling off so she decided to go with a side ponytail and I sprayed it purple.

Kaden is a last minute Shaun the Sheep. He is also very excited. He was originally going to be a super hero, but we couldn't get the mask over his glasses. He LOVES Shaun the Sheep. He watches the episodes from 2006 to 2007 over and over on our Netflix. It cracks me up to listen to him giggle. None of the characters talk -- even the farmer mumbles -- but the expressions on these sheep's faces are priceless. If you've never heard of Shaun the Sheep, you can find episodes on YouTube.

The making of the costumes and trick-or-treating seem to the kick-off to the holiday season. It won't be long and I will be stuffing myself with turkey and all the fixins, then spending many sleepless nights listening to Christmas music and sewing Christmas presents. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Caitrin's Costume

Fabric remnants for Caitrin's costume.
 I was sitting outside yesterday enjoying the last day of our warm weather, reminiscing about trick-or-treats gone by. I was thinking about all the Halloween costumes I've made over the years. For Elizabeth I've made a puppy, a bunny and Dorothy; for Auston I've made blue Power Ranger and Charmander (that was awesome); and for Mikaela I've made a lamb and Winnie the Pooh to name a few. Then I started thinking about the costumes I've made for Caitrin -- a few princesses, a rock star ...

The skirt.


Oh no, trick-or-treating is this Saturday!! And I hadn't even started on her costume.

I don't know how I pulled it off, but I sewed my fingers off last night and voila!

Caitrin's witch costume.
She picked out all the remnants and the pattern. I love it when I can find great remnants. It's like digging for treasure! I'm not really crazy about the silver, but she insisted.

She woke up this morning to find it all finished and she said it looks awesome! She didn't have time to try it on yet, but I will definitely be posting pictures of her with in on after trick-or-treating.

Now on to make Kaden's costume. I'm going to take that lamb costume pattern that I used for Mikaela and turn it into "Saun the Seep" (Shaun the Sheep). He's so excited. I'll be posting pictures of him too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Helpers

Caitrin and Kaden in a photo shoot.

Taking a second to take Kaden's picture.
These are my little helpers behind the scenes of Sew Endless.

Caitrin, 7, models my children's bags for me and she's such a natural. Kaden, 4, is my QC. Everytime I show him a bag he grabs it, checks it over and says, "Oh wow Mom. Is so purfect!"

Kaden loves the camera. When I get it out to take pictures of my bags, I have to take one of him too.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New in my Shop

Children's Chalkboard Bag in Love to Rock fabric

For the last few weeks I've been working on Children's Chalkboard Activity Bags. It took me a few tries, but I have them just the way I want them.

These bags make awesome gifts. The chalkboard surface is sewn right into the flap with pockets for four pieces of chalk and an eraser on the front. They keep kids busy in the doctor's office and restaurants or anywhere they have to wait. For small spaces like in the car, the flap flips over to the back. They are just the right size to hold coloring books, library books and there is an inside pocket for a box of crayons or other small toys.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Meeting up with a CAST friend

Kristine, me and Kaden

This is the awesome gift she brought.
It isn't everyday you get to meet one of your Etsy team members. Last Friday I had the privilege of meeting Kristine from gulickkr.

She posted on our CAST Team chat thread she was going to Wisconsin to visit her sister. She said on her way home to Michigan she could stop in Valparaiso, IN. I was so excited since I live only 40 minutes from there!

So we made our plans to meet and I suggested Steak N Shake of course since it's my son's and my favorite restaurant.

On our way there, Kristine called and said she missed her exit and the poor girl ended up in Chicago traffic. I love Chicago, but its traffic is the worst. No worries, there was a Walmart next door and where there's a Walmart there is always something to buy.

It didn't take her long to get to Steak N Shake. She walked in a few minutes after we sat down. I didn't even have time to order drinks -- perfect timing. We had an awesome visit and talked for about 2 hours. It sure didn't seem like it. She even brought me a gift. I felt terrible because I had every intention of making her something but just didn't have enough time. (That's OK, I know her address.) Kaden was perfect as usual but started to get a little antsy and we knew it was time to go.

Kristine said we would have to do lunch again on her way through to visit her sister and I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Photo Accessory Collection

5-Photo Ruffle Bag in black and white
After I introduced my photo ruffle bags last year, they became a big hit at Christmastime. I can't wait for the orders to come in. Not only for the revenue of course, but because I have made a lot of friends along the way. Working with people on their orders is the best part. I love seeing all of the happy family photos and baby pictures. I love how excited they get and can't wait to give them as gifts.

This year, thanks to creative custom requests, I have added a photo necktie and photo billfold wallet to the collection. These are also available in color and touched with color. Other bags in the collection include the 10-Photo Ruffle Bag in black and white, the Patchwork Photo Bag, and the 5-Photo Ruffle Bag in color

These are all handmade and I carefully print all images onto the photo fabric that I make myself. The photo fabric is chemically treated and the images will not bleed so each item is hand washable.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Butterfly Bush

In the fall of 2001 when my kids and I moved into our house, Francis, my elderly neighbor across the street, came over to tell me I needed to cut my butterfly bush down to at least 12 inches. It was so tall and beautiful, it didn't seem right to cut it at all. She said she would have cut it herself, but thought she had better ask first.

So her being older and much wiser than I, I cut it down every fall. It never grew to be as tall as it was when I first moved in. I thought maybe I was doing something wrong.

She was like that -- always watching out for us. She would always report to me if she saw anything suspicious out her kitchen window. I had the kids go get her a few times to catch bats that had sneaked into our upstairs. She used to leave snack cakes on the door with a sticky note that said, "Brush your teeth!" until she couldn't get up the steps very well. But she would still give candy to anyone who knocked on her door.

Francis became very sick and died a few months ago and do you know that butterfly bush grew to be about 7 feet tall this year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Customer

I received a message from a customer a few weeks ago about a custom order. She ordered a custom bag last year for her daughter who was going into second grade. Maggie picked out the fabric and it was mailed to me to do my thing. She sent me a picture of her with her new bag on her first day of school.

This year she is ordering two custom backpacks for Maggie and her sister. This is what she had to say:
"I've got to tell you your bag was THE hit of the second grade classroom! Maggie loved it and her friends (and teacher) did too! Last week was the last day of school and that bag came home looking just as good as the day we got it - incredible! And, it took some heavy duty abuse too - heavy books, twigs, rocks and other treasures too. Thank you!"

Maggie's and her sister's new backpacks.

Hooked On Treasuries

This treasury is inspired by all the storms we've had in the last couple of days.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Back to School Already?

I can't believe it's almost time for the kids to go back to school. Our start date here is Aug. 17

Back-to-school in my house will be different this year. My oldest will be moving into her apartment next Friday and start college classes the following Monday to begin her journey as a psychology major. She's been packing up boxes and buying everything she needs with the money she has saved since she was just little. I didn't really think much of it when she told me she was saving for college all these years until I found out how much she put in her savings account. Good for her!
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
I've been telling my kids since kindergarten that they have to go to college. As they grew older, I explained that they won't be able to reach their goals without it. Brendon wants to be a "general practioner" (he's very specific) when he grows up. Mikaela wanted to be a veterinarian until she took a couple of "farming classes" (as she calls it) and realized it wasn't for her. Auston is thinking about being a teacher. He's a junior this year and I've been drilling in his head all summer that he needs to start getting serious about his grades and starting thinking about what he wants to do. Caitrin wants to be a fashion designer. She's a chip off the ole block. Kaden is 3 and can navigate his way around the computer better than I can, so I have my predictions.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What's on your fridge?

I was getting my breakfast this morning and thought "Man, I need to clean off this refrigerator."

Then I realized it has all this great stuff. It has become a collage of accomplishments.

There is a very detailed fish bowl that Elizabeth made a few years ago at Boys and Girls Club out of perler beads. Hanging next to the fish bowl is a flower for Mother's Day from Kaden that he made in class at church with his picture in the middle.

Caitrin made a card for my birthday in February with the help of her very artistic sister Mikaela. Some of the letters are backwards -- so cute!

There is a Lifeskills Certificate that Brendon earned last school year for "Having a great SENSE OF HUMOR!". Under that is his basketball schedule and a certificate for completing a Junior Achievement program. Mikaela's National Junior Honor Society certificate is hanging at the bottom along with Brendon's "Caught Being Good" certificate and a heart he made for me out of perler beads.

Elizabeth hung her French quiz with 20/20 in red at the top, which shows you're never too old (she's going to college in a few weeks).

Then there's the school calendar, lunch menu, Auston's and Mikaela's orthodontist appointment reminders and more of Caitrin's artwork.

There is so much to be proud of and I couldn't possibly clean it off.

So what's on your fridge?

(Written Dec. 3, 2010)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Escape

Where do I go to unwind? The beach. My most favorite place to be is Indiana Dunes on Lake Michigan. On a clear day, across the lake you can see Chicago. Every time I walk down the beach I think of the Footprints in the Sand poem.

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I need you the most, you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, Is when I carried you.”

--Mary Stevenson

Hooked on Treasuries

It's been so long since I've made a treasury. This treasury is inspired by the Harvest Festival that is held every August in my hometown. It features all Etsy Cast Team members.