Sunday, January 31, 2010

… January's blessing

January is such a month of clarity. . . don't you think?

Perhaps it's because of it's place on the calender - first month of a new year -  but somehow causes us to sit back & re-evaluate what is really important . . . & focus on becoming a little bit better person. Whatever it is. . . I have always loved January.

Perhaps also because after it has called us to attention - & after we have set (or re-set) the bar for ourselves & our goals . . . & just as it gets ready to say goodbye until the next year. . . on this last day, I celebrate a true blessing, as today is my Dad's birthday.

Today my Dad (Aaron) celebrates his 82 birthday. This photo was taken at the airport in Chicago - as Dad & I were flying home from a trip to the Minneapolis last spring. I have loved being able to do some traveling with Dad. . . & it still reminds me of the first time we ever travelled on a plane. That was way back in the early 70's (the DC-10 had just been introduced!). . . & when you travelled - it was special occasion - you dressed for it. . . (& you actually looked forward to it!) A bit different than what airline travel can be these days. But - when I travel with Dad - I'm taken back a bit to those days. You will notice that Dad still 'dresses up' a bit - with his suit-coat & pocket hanky. (What you aren't seeing in this photo are his tan dress pants, subtle argyle socks & dress loafers with tassels. . .) Very debonaire - my Dad is. 

That's one of the things I love about Dad. . . even now - just like the month he was born in - he quietly calls me to be a little bit better than I might settle for. He sets the example. . . quietly  - just by being himself. I love that.

Lately, we have been planning a few more trips for the year. In the next few weeks -  it will be a trip to San Diego - to visit the newborn great-grandchildren . . . (there are now two!. . . a boy, & now a girl - born just a few weeks ago!) . . . & then in the spring we are going across the country to Virginia & then Washington DC. I'm really looking forward to these trips, & I'm so grateful that Dad is able to travel. . . in many ways it is like we are taken back to times past. Most everyone else may have changed their attitudes towards flying & travel. . . but my Dad still can make it special.

As I right this, Dad just popped into the office & told me that he was leaving to go out. We didn't go to church this morning because he is going to sit with a friend. . . a friend who has Alzheimer's & is in the hospital with pneumonia & not doing well. He has visited his friend & wife daily for the last several days. . . I knowing my Dad. . . he will continue to go daily. That's just Dad. . . 

Our birthday meal may have to wait a few days. . . but we will celebrate.  . . Celebrating this very special man. . . this man that I am blessed to call "Dad".


Saturday, January 30, 2010

… a little bit of 'Whimsy'

I was finally able to spend yesterday afternoon in the studio. . . where I (finally) got to cut into this adorable pile of fabrics. These fabrics are from Joanna's (Fig Tree & Co.) next line (soon to be in shops!) - 'Whimsy'. It is so sweet. . ! (& so Joanna!)

At Fall Market - I got a peek of the new fabrics in Joanna's booth as we were setting up our booths. . . & I knew immediately what I would use it for. . . (I love it when that happens!) . . . so I made sure that I got a bundle of it at Sample Spree. Today I'm putting the borders on & I'll snap a little peek of it for you before it goes off to my quilter. . .

Hope you have a great weekend!
(p.s.. . . I haven't forgotten about the rest of the quilt show photos. . . I'm still sorting though them. . . Just wait until you see who I saw there!)

 ♥ Bren

Thursday, January 28, 2010

… a bit of fun at the quilt show

When I first started designing, I also did several quilt shows each year. . . but as the designing has taken over my time, I only do one (retail) show each year, & that one is the one in the city right next to where I live! It's perfect! . . . so close I can drive & simply unload my vehicle, . . . & I get to go home each evening & sleep in my own bed! Also - I just love the show - the Tucson Quilt Guild puts on a wonderful show & are so friendly & fun. They make doing the show such a joy. (I also feel so lucky to be in the show - as it is hard to get in to. . . many vendors know how good a show it is!)

The show is in January - & took place last weekend. It rained the first day - so we didn't have the usual 'madhouse' on the first day - but the busy-ness was spread out over the entire weekend. I - as usual - forgot to get a photo of the booth on the morning of the first day. . . but I did finally remember to take a few photos on the second afternoon . . . (where much was already gone. . . but you get the idea. . .)

The Tucson Quilt Show is held downtown at the Tucson Convention Center, & it is a really nice venue. But, what I love the most. . . (besides getting to sleep in my own bed each evening!). . . is the people that I get to see year after year. My booth is kind-of unique at the show - as my color palette is quite a bit lighter that the rest of the booths & there are some dear folks that tell me that they peek through the upstairs windows (that give a view onto the convention center floor) - to see where I am & come directly to my booth as soon as they get in the doors. See?!? It's a wonderful show!
I also get to meet some sweet (& fun) new friends each year. This sweet little girl came with her Mom & Grandma on the last day & found many things that took her fancy in the booth. . . including one of my display chairs!

Then there was this fun lady. . . who took everyone by surprise with her purchase at another booth. . . She brought even more 'sunshine' to the booth. . .

 . . . how fun is she?!? I kept thinking that I wish I had a 'hat' like this when I used to teach art! 

I have a few more photos from the show. . . & I'll post those soon!

Today I get to get back into the studio.  Everything I've done in there lately was in getting ready for the show. . . & the new designs are about to jump out of the sketchbook. . . so I'd best get in there & get busy! It's a rainy, drizzly day. . . the perfect kind of day for sewing (. . . & a café mocha . . . or two!).

Hope you have a wonderful day!


Monday, January 25, 2010

… daybook ::4::

for today  ::  January 25, 2010

outside my window. . . a clear blue sky. . . & lots of snow on the mountains! (so pretty!)

I am thinking. . .  of working on my own designs/projects. . . it's been too long since I've be able to work on any!

from the kitchen. . . coffee. . . (so far). . . I have a feeling today will be a day of lots & lots of coffee.

I am wearing. . . pink t-shirt, pink sweater, & my pj pants (. . .still!. . . they're so comfy!), & slipper socks.

I am creating. . . order back into the studio & office. (After the quilt show this weekend - they both need it!)

I am remembering. . . how much I enjoy doing my local quilt show. So fun to see such lovely friends!

I am going. . . to run errands later this morning & then starting a new quilt this afternoon. (I can hardly wait to get it started!)

I am reading. . . Tilda books. . . as many as I can collect!

I am hoping  (still) . . . that  the world will hang there with giving for Haiti. . . & then will ask. . . "who next?"

I am hearing. . . the heater humming. . . working to warm the house. (It was freezing (literally) last night!

around the house. . . baskets & containers from my house - that I used in my quilt show booth - just waiting to be put back where they 'live'. . . (I was too tired & too hungry to put them back in their place last evening.)

one of my favorite things. . .  a week full of possibilities.

a few plans for the rest of the week. . . sewing, stitching - more sewing & stitching

from my picture journal. . .

This is the new little baby panda at the San Diego Zoo. (Soooo cute!)  I grew up in San Diego, & we had year round passes to the  San Diego Zoo & Wild Animal Park. . . & oh how I miss getting to pop in to see little miracles - such as this.!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

… little opportunities

First I want to thank so many of you for your comments &  emails about my post a few days ago about following my heart. Your comments & encouragement mean so much to me.

After watching many hours of coverage . . . I also knew that I wanted to do more. . . so I want to let you know that for the next week - the proceeds from the sales of all items on the website will be donated to World Vision for their ongoing relief work in Haiti.

Also, over on the Jolly Jabber, (Fat Quarter Shop's blog) - they are auctioning off many quilts & donating the proceeds for relief work in Haiti. . . so please be sure to check it out!

Thanks for all your help, & your prayers. We need to remember that this is a long term need of our compassion.


Monday, January 18, 2010

…daybook ::3::

for today  ::  January 18, 2010

outside my window. . . everything is wet! (we get quite happy about that here in Arizona)

I am thinking. . .  of how thankful I am. I am so blessed.

from the kitchen. . . coffee. . . & oatmeal. . . this is definitely an oatmeal kind of morning.

I am wearing. . . white t-shirt, pink sweater, & my comfy lt. green J.Jill knit pants, (. . .& I need to get socks on!)

I am creating. . . little fabric 'cuties'. . . for the quilt show this weekend (& then for my home!). (photos coming!)

I am remembering. . . that God's blessings not only meet - but exceed my humble efforts.

I am going. . . into the studio today. . . & the market has a good chance of a visit for this afternoon.

I am reading. . . Cure for the Common Life, by Max Lucado

I am hoping. . . that  the world will hang there with giving for Haiti. . . & then will ask. . . "who next?"

I am hearing. . . the pitter patter of a very soft rain. . .

around the house. . . there are containers & 'stuff' for the weekend quilt show. . . all over. Time to pack it up!

one of my favorite things. . .  rainy mornings.

a few plans for the rest of the week. . . finishing up everything for the quilt show. Thursday we set up!

from my picture journal. . .

…one of the stitcheries I will have  kits for at the quilt show (It's Kathy Schmitz' Spring Home)

**A special note. . . for the entire week - all proceeds from the sale of all items on the website - will be donated to World Vision & their relief efforts in Haiti. Thanks for your participation!


Friday, January 15, 2010

… following my heart

Two times in my lifetime, I have had the privilege of serving overseas in third-world countries. These experiences have changed my life forever. . . not only in being there, but also in coming home. For when I came home. . . the culture shock of how extremely wealthy we are (even in times of economic struggles) - compared to the countries I visited really hit me.

So as I watch the situations in Haiti. . . my heart breaks. . . & there's a part of me that wants to go volunteer & help. . . but I know that because of the situations that exist  - it would not as much help as what I can do here. . . To send what I have & pray.

I wasn't sure if I would share this. . . but I have been shown in the past few days. . . to follow my heart & so I have decided to go ahead & share.  . . . When I heard about the devastation in Haiti, I remembered what I knew about the country from when I was working within a hunger & relief agency & I knew that the conditions were already desperate. I am on the emailing list with several of the relief agencies that I support & immediately the call went out for help. . . & for prayers. So immediately I began to pray. . . but part of my prayers were my conversation with God - that I wanted to do more. I wanted to give money. . . but, because of a snafu with the IRS - taking what has seemed like forever to send a much needed needed letter - so that I can be paid some royalty payments. . . finances here have been really. . . really tight.  (. . . As it has been for many . . ) But. . . as I was making a prayer list of the needs that was hearing on the tv & reading about - some Bible verses & stories kept popping into my mind. . . especially some of Jesus' words from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6: 25-34). . . & I knew although it might seem that I couldn't do anything financially to help. . . I also knew that I was much better off & couldn't not give something.
So my prayer changed a little, & because I knew that World Vision was already active & set up in Haiti (& has been for years. . .) I made a donation . . . of the amount that kept popping up in my heart. I'll be honest. . . my head questioned it. . . but I decided to follow my heart.
I finally went to bed (I had not been able to sleep. . .) & when I woke up the next morning. . . & checked my email. . . two of the emails were from my website host, notifying me that two of the quilts that I have for sale on my website had sold overnight. Then. . . (& I have to smile at this. .  because it was almost as if God was putting a little exclamation mark on it. . .) as I was still looking though my emails. . . the little "ping" sounded - alerting me that another email had come through . . & as I checked it . . . yep.
Another quilt had sold.
More than enough . . . I saw that He had provided more than enough for what I gave the night before.
I was so humbled & so thankful.
Why do I write all this . . .? Mostly just to share. . . but honestly, I want to encourage you to give. . . give what ever you can. . . & maybe give even more then what you think you can. We live in such a blessed nation & the need is so great in Haiti. . . more than what we can even imagine. I know that God knows. . . & I believe that our gifts will be blessed & multiplied.
We just need to be willing.
It's humbling. . . but it's what loving each other is really all about.
Below is a short little video from Rich Sterns from World Vision. I have been a supported of World Vision for years - as they are one of the relief & development agencies that I really respect. World Vision is already there in Haiti. . . they have been there - helping, assisting, caring for many years.

Thanks for letting me share. . . (if you have read this far!)
And . . . in advance. . . thanks for praying & for giving.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

… cutest little flowers. . .

I just had to share these photos I found online. . . (somewhere. . . & I'm sorry - I can't remember where!)

Aren't they just the cutest little flower arrangements?. . .

 Now if only I could figure out why they tickle me so!. . .

Hmmm. . . .

Oh yea. . .

 . . . that's why.


Monday, January 11, 2010

… daybook ::2::

Good morning all! . . .
Today I am starting something I have seen on other blogs. . . & I always enjoyed reading them, so this year I am joining in! (I missed the first week of the year. . . but that's okay. . . I'll just start at week 2 . . .!)

It's called 'The Simple Woman's Daybook'. . . & each Monday - I will post my daybook entry. I love the idea . . . after all that's what blogging is really all about, right?. . . a web-log of the events in our lives. . . Our days. 

for today  ::  January 11, 2010

outside my window. . . is the oak tree my dad planted. . . just for me. (. . . & lots of sunshine!)

I am thinking. . . of going over my to-do list for the week. . . again.

from the kitchen. . . coffee. . . & I'm ready for my second cup(!)

I am wearing. . . my jammies. . . (still. . . it's one of those wonderfully casual kind of mornings)

I am creating. . . kits & bundles for next weeks quilt show.

I am remembering. . . my Mom, & how much she loved to do crafts.

I am going. . . to my quilters - later today. . . (after I get out of my jammies!)

I am reading. . . Loeta's Garden, by Francine Rivers

I am hoping. . . that I will not catch the 'lazy bug' this afternoon, like I did yesterday.

I am hearing. . . the wonderful music selections from Dawn's blog. (I often keep the window open to her blog . . . just so I can listen to the beautiful songs she features on her blog.)

around the house. . . Baily is snoozing, Dad is reading the paper, & my studio is calling my name.

one of my favorite things. . . getting to make mocha's at home. . .!

a few plans for the rest of the week. . . stitchery, making tags & labels for quilt show, walking.

from my picture journal. . .


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

…time to say goodbye!

There are times. . . when it stares you in the face. . . & then suddenly. . . finally. . . you realize that you can no longer avoid it. . . or put it off.

That's what has happened to me. . .

. . . with these. . .

This is just the tip of the 'quilt iceberg' that I have. Quilts that have been made as quilt samples. . . & are done with their days of traveling in trunk shows. . . & as much as I love them . . . they now need new homes.

I use quilts all throughout my home. . . but as a designer, & after several years of making quilts for my patterns & books (sometimes more that one version!). . . the quilt stack can get kinda high.

Over the years, several of my quilts have been given to family & friends, & several have been donated to causes that are special to me. Then, as I was talking to a blogging friend. . . she asked why I didn't put them up for sale on my website?. . . & then within a few days, another friend mentioned that she knew that another designer had done the same. . . so I decided to sort through the quilts. . . 

. . . & I picked a few that I would make available on the website. . . (gosh that was hard!)

So, if you are interested in having an 'Acorn Quilt & Gift Company' quilt. . . but not have to make it yourself. . . you can find them here

(** Hope those of you in the midwest & eastern portions of the US. . . are staying warm!!! Take extra special care. . . okay?!?)

xo, Bren

Sunday, January 3, 2010

… just so precious

We had a wonderful visit over the new year. My niece Kristen, her husband Mario, & their adorable little two month old son, Gavin, came over from San Diego. We kept it a secret from my Dad (Great-Grandpa!). . . & the timing couldn't have been better. . .

It was the sweetest imaginable way to start the new year. . .

with smiles. . .

. . . & an abundance of giggles & coo's. . .

. . . yep. . . you could see that coming. . .

. . . & yep, those two - Gavin & Dad . . . they had that special kinda thing going on - that only can happen between a Great Grandpa & his Great Grandson. . .


(They left yesterday, & just for the record. . . I am now in serious 'Gavin withdrawal'!)

Such a great start to this new year . . . one filled with not only fresh new promise. . . but also the experience & blessing of time. . .

Wishing you the best in this new year!

xo, Bren