Saturday, January 31, 2009

We're Buying A House!

It's official people: We're buying a house!

I thought of waiting until escrow closes, but I can't wait any longer! We've been in escrow for over two months and thought we would be moved in by now, but eventually this house will be ours! We've been house hunting for a while, looking for the perfect house for our family. We finally found this one, a beautiful Victorian built in 1900. I love period homes and was elated to come across this one. It is everything we need in a house and is very roomy - it is 2000 square feet and has: 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a big kitchen and dining room, a living room, laundry room, and a very large yard for Ron to garden to his heart's content in. The greatest thing about the house is that we're getting it for a really good price, (a steal quite honestly), one that is affordable and won't stretch us financially.

We can't wait to get into the house and start painting and making it our own. I love interior decorating, so I will be in my element. It will be so wonderful to be able to do whatever we want with the painting, decorating, etc. One of the things I love so much about the house is that it is large enough for entertaining, which is one of the things Ron and I enjoy most. Another great feature is that one of the bed rooms is large and can serve as a sewing/art room for me as well as an office!! No more sewing in the kitchen; I think I'll be in heaven, as will Ron because he will no longer have to maneuver around me and my sewing apparatus when he cooks!

We are so grateful to God for providing this wonderful house for our family. We can't wait to move in - can you tell?! I'll keep updating the progress and will show the interior before and after process as we move along, so stay posted!

The Future Alexander Home

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Devotional for All of us Invisible Women

Here I am on graduation day oh so long ago. I graduated from our local community college - with honors. I ended up with two degrees: Associate of Arts, and Transfer Studies. It was only a two year degree, but I still graduated with high honors! I'm still proud of that to this day I must admit. I love being a mother, but I must say I miss school quite a bit. I'm one of those weird people who loves to be a student. I love studying, reading, and being in the classroom environment. I plan to go back to school again someday to finish my degree up. I'm on the twenty year plan, slow and steady wins the race!

A friend gave me this devotional for mothers, and I could relate so well with it on many levels. It talks about how even the smallest sacrifices a mother makes are important. We feel over looked and unappreciated at times, but God sees it all and values everything we do.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously, not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England .. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To My Dear Friend, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.' In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.' At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're going to love it there.' As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Coat for Emmiley

I made this little coat yesterday for a baby shower gift for a friend of mine. It's the "Cute As A Button Baby Jacket" by Jackie Clark, (Scottie Dog Quilts.) It is so quick and easy to make! The pattern was a tad short, so I added 1 1/2 inches to the length. I chose corduroy for the exterior and lining, so it will be nice and warm for winter. I used some vintage buttons for the front and I love how they pop against the grey. Now, if I can just find this pattern in my size!!


The other night my mom's group did a craft/sewing night at the quilt shop. The socktopus was our project for the evening - isn't it cute?! It's very easy to make, you just need 2 pair of socks, (long or short), some stuffing and a ribbon to tie around the neck. You cut the socks in half down the middle (the middle of the sock if you had it on, not the sides - hope that makes sense!) Then you cut the tip of the toes off. You stitch one end, and stuff the socks, then stitch the other end closed. One sock you only cut 3/4 of the way down. The remaining end piece is the octopus head. You sew up both legs and leave an opening 1-2 inches below the head for stuffing. Then you put all of the leg ends into the hole below the head, hand stitch it closed, and tie a ribbon on the neck. I think it's better to embroider the face first before stuffing the head, so the knots don't show. I did it after it was all sewed up, and it still turned out ok, so either way is fine. You can also embroider a piece of felt for the face, add the cut off sock ends for a cap, and add leg warmers to the legs - the sky is the limit! I made this one for Sarah and she loves it! She drew a picture of the features and I copied it onto the face and embroidered them - fun!

100th Blogaversary!

This is officially my 100th blog post! It's hard to believe I've been blogging this long, wow. I had no idea when I started blogging that I would love it so much. I've always loved to write and take pictures, but there is something wonderful about sharing your life with the outside world. I enjoy reading so many blogs on various topics. They enrich my life and give me a new perspective and view on the world. I think too that as a mom it's a great outlet for me to have - a way to express myself to the world in a language other than toddler talk which is so refreshing. I hope my writings and posts are as encouraging and interesting to my readers as the blogs I read. I want my blog to be a place where people can come to find inspiration and joy as well as creativity. Thanks to all of you who have posted comments and feedback, I really appreciate it and this encourages me to keep blogging!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sister In Law Bag

My mom's group had a sewing/craft night last week at Scottie Dog Quilts and I made this adorable "Smart Bag" by Quiltsmart. The fabrics are the oh so luscious Amy Butler beauties. It is super fast and easy with a cute result! My sister in law Melinda's birthday is coming up, so I thought I would send her a little hand made bag. Now I'm going to make myself one. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Visit to the Grandparent's Ranch

On Sunday we went out to visit Ron's Grandparents, and we had ourselves quite the adventure! They live on an 80 acre ranch in Freshwater where Ron grew up. It is a beautiful place, and the day was so pretty! Ron trimmed their apple tree and the kids and I hung out in the sunshine. One the way there we came across some cows who had escaped. We had to sit in the road for a few minutes until their owners came out and rounded them up. Ah, the joys of living in a rural community!
Our brief encounter with cow escapees

A shot of the ranch

Here's Ron, perched up in the apple tree, chainsaw in hand

Great Grandpa Les and Grandma Frances with Justin

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Square Deal" Pin Cushion

I'm on a crafting roll now, watch out! I made this adorable Heather Bailey pin cushion last night at the girls sewing night at Scottie Dog Quilts. It was super easy and fun to make. I used repro retro prints and vintage buttons. My tomato pin cushion had worn out completely and I'm enjoying the new upgraded version! You can get the pattern from Heather Bailey's site.

I had to show both sides so you could see both buttons!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Vintage Style Apron

I've been itching to get back into crafting after the holidays! I picked up a book called Bend the Rules Sewing - I love this book. Some of my friends use it and really like it, so I thought I would check it out. I made this apron as a thank you for a domestic diva friend of mine who loves to cook and wear aprons. The book has a great section on vintage style aprons, one of which was made out of a kitchen tea towel. I thought it would be cute to incorporate my vintage tea towel, (thrift find), into the apron. I did french seams for the first time and they weren't that bad! The apron didn't take long to make either. I think I'll be making more of these!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Baby Blue Eyes

A friend of mine, (Molly) took this adorable pic at my mommies' group yesterday. I love it! I had to put it up here and show off my adorable little guy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Mysterious Male Guitar Obsession

Justin got an electric guitar for Christmas from my brother Eric. The thing is bigger than he is, and yet it had to be done...that is, the guitar obsession had to be started - it's becoming a male tradition in my family. The boys in my family love guitars, and it seems that Justin is being added to that legacy, at the age of 2. My younger brother Geoff is a real musician. He's "hung out" with Phil Keggy, no big deal! He told my brother that he was good, brag brag! He had a band called Athanasia that just ended, sad, but it had a good run. When we visited for Christmas I heard guitar playing and asked why the radio was up so was Geoff playing his Martin - he's that good. He's teaching my older brother Eric how to play now. He's into the electric guitar and just got a really nice new one for Christmas. So, what to do with his older one? He decided to pass it onto Justin of course! I told him "Thanks a lot!" I'll be ordering head phones asap I can assure you. Ron got even more excited about the guitar than Justin. He got this gleam in his eye, although I doubt lessons will be happening any time soon. The guy is obsessed with music, loud music. Whenever the kids and I leave the house he cranks up the stereo as loud as possible and is in heaven. His CD collection is huge and he loved rock music from the time he was in high school. So, I guess Justin comes by it rightly.

Boy and guitar

"Mom, where is the amp for this thing anyway?" "Dunno honey, can't find it...."

My bro Geoff preforming at the Hard Rock Cafe in Sacramento with band Athanasia

My bro Eric with his new upgraded electric

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 - The Year Of Change

First of all, Happy New Year! It's hard to believe yet another year has passed us by, isn't it? In reflecting about 2008, I have to say the theme for us was change. I don't think any of us like change. I know I am very opposed to it to say the least! It's comfortable and easy when things stay constant and dependable. I think the older I get the more I want things to stay on an even keel! But, life changes, and we change with it. I had been feeling for the past few years that some big changes were coming for our family. God is good about preparing us for these things, thankfully! I had no idea how major those changes would be. I think if I had I wouldn't have handled it so well, so it was a mercy.

The first thing that changed in our lives was our church. We feel so blessed to have found a really amazing church. First of all, it's a wonderful family church, and the kids both love it, (especially Sarah.) Another thing we really love about it is that it challenges our faith on a deep level. I've always been the kind of person who wants to be challenged spiritually, and I get bored with my faith when there isn't a challenge going on. (Sometimes I think - "Why did I pray that God!" as the challenges are a bit more than I had expected!) Our church is very involved with justice issues and has a real heart to serve the poor. We have the same vision, so it has been a good fit for us. We have found new and wonderful friends at our church, and have been involved in ministry there. We look forward to seeing what God has for us there in the future!

The second big change in our lives was Ron's job. He had been working as a coffee shop manager. That job ended, but God opened up the most amazing job we could have imagined! He now works at a hospital as the material's supervisor. It is a perfect fit for him in every way and he looks forward to going to work every day. He loves the staff he works with, and they value his contributions to the company. The job also has excellent benefits, which we have never had and desperately needed. It is awesome how God has provided for us in an economic down turn - He is faithful!

The third big change that took place in 2008 was launching my children's clothing line - April Diane Designs. It was a leap of faith, and so far my clothes are selling and people like them! This has been a dream of mine for quite some time, so it is wonderful to see it happening. I'm looking forward to expanding the line this year, so stay posted!

The fourth big change is still in process, so when it comes about I will revise this post - but it's another big one! Since it started in 2008 it will be the third big transition in the year for us.

Amidst all of the changes I am grateful for one thing - that God doesn't change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. This gives me strength and hope for the future. No matter what crazy changes occur in my life He is my rock and my anchor. I look forward to seeing what God does in our lives in 2009. After this year, the sky is the limit!