Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Vintage Lace Prayer Cards - Heartfelt Blessings

 If you love to create & give beautiful things from your heart & you want to make it count, then you (and your heart) are in the right place. And, if you're at a loss for inspiration, then maybe this will inspire you...

Vintage Lace Prayer Card for my Mother
I love to make beautiful things that will inspire or tell someone how much they are loved. I put my heart into everything I do. If you are at a loss for inspiration-- my advice is to do what you love. This is especially true if you're going through a tough time in your life, or you're ill and trying to get your mind off the negative things. Channel your energy into something positive and beautiful. Going through my cancer was hard. I was diagnosed with two cancers four months apart and it was traumatizing. I chose to dive in and do what I love instead of wallow or be afraid. I made the decision to re-focus my thoughts & choose joy -and to help others.

My little Angel of Hope & heartfelt cards from dear friends--
she watches faithfully over me at my desk, a happy reminder of the love I am so blessed to have 

It is the little tokens of love & support from family & loved ones that can get one through and make them smile...a thoughtful card, flowers or a little Angel of Healing who arrived one day at my door to melt my heart and make me smile.

Don't give up on what you love. Sewing and creating helped save me from myself. It is very healing.  Keep creating, sew, craft, pray, write, read, send a loved one a note, pray some more...just do what you love --it will keep you strong. You will find that you are more inspired and creative than you thought you could be.

"Little Blessings" from Angels in a vintage style tag lovingly tucked in to the lacey back pocket
This dear, lace Prayer Card & it's Angels will soon be on it's way to bestow heartfelt blessings
My inspiration comes from my heart & soul, my love for others in my life and my experiences, good or bad. This is what inspires me to create "Prayer Cards". It had occurred to me that there are many others out there who need love, support and a heartfelt reminder that they are not alone.  These tokens from the heart may help a loved one find those lost words and show their support when they aren't sure what to say. Illness can make things so hard for people and it can be lonely. Through a heartfelt prayer card, you can tell a loved one they are loved, or help ease someone's fears, comfort broken hearts or give someone their faith back when they are struggling and may have a long road ahead of them. Our world needs more of this.

A little bit of old & new accent my Prayer Cards...Images from vintage postcards or from the beloved Graphics Fairy; a new, vintage-style hairpin in the form of a bow with a 1920's look; old & new buttons, vintage lace, trims & fabric flowers & more.

I love sewing these little inspirational lace gift prayer cards or "cartes de prière" (as they say in French--everything sounds so great in French, doesn't it? The dirtiest or most boring words and expressions probably sound beautiful in French :-). They allow me to be as mushy, romantic, expressive as I want to be, and even better, they express so much love or support for someone who may need it.

Materials: My prayer cards are made with mixed textiles, old linens and buttons, vintage & antique lace, trims, fabrics, and other meaningful finds along with some newer materials. I machine sew, hand sew, glue, rig and do whatever it takes to create a scrumptious, lacey, heartfelt confection such as this. The little blessings tags tucked in the back are printed on cardstock and are about the size of a business card.

My heartfelt best to you ~ thanks for being here 0:-)



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Little Book of Friendship (Petit Livre de L'Amitié) - So Much Lace, So Little Time

A Heartfelt Memory Book for My Dear Friend
Vintage Fabric, Lace, Buttons & Roses
This is a fabric memory book I am sewing for one of my best friends. I have known Barbara since I was 10 years old. Some of the best years of my childhood were with Barb. We lived outdoors, played in the Florida woods, rode everywhere on her horse & rafted on the St. John's River between her house & mine on a large, wooden raft, with our dogs on our heels, and on the horse! We were tomboys through & through. Who knew that we would be such girly-girls one day-- crafting, sewing and raising our own children?

I like fabric memory books. They're sentimental & meaningful. They are something soft to cherish and behold--and something to hold onto. They hold our most precious memories and the love we have for a friend, a sister, a brother, husband, a mother or father.
Petit Livre de L'Amitié - Little Book of Friendship (Just click on any photo to enlarge them)
So, I have a stash of antique lace, trims and fabrics that I've wanted to do something with. This was a good project to start with. I have so much vintage & antique laces accumlated. I never seem to have the time to sew things with them. I chose light cream lace, trims and fabrics which are offset by aged, vintage-style fabric roses & sepia images.

 My friend Barb is a beautiful, sweet woman, mother and friend. We live far away from each other and even though we haven't seen each other in ages, we always pick right up where we left off as if we saw each other yesterday.
Barb & me on her horse with my beloved dog - that's me peeking out from behind Barb.
 I am making this little book for my friend because I want her to know how important she is to me and how much I have always loved her. When we were were younger and I had to move away, we were very sad. I think we thought it was the end of the world and I was heartbroken. Barb said something to me the night before I was leaving. We were standing on the bank of the river behind her house and there was a brilliantly shining full moon. Barb said to me "Whenever you see the moon, think of me and I will think of you"--and I never forgot that. I always thought of her and I always think of my old friend to this day when I see the moon. Tonight there is quite a bright, full moon peeking out here and there. (Thinking of you friend...)
When I found the rubber stamp image of the girl with the horse "by the light of the silvery moon", I knew I would sew this little book for my friend. It was meant for her. So, I stamped it onto some canvas fabric and sewed it onto vintage damask fabric and trimmed the book out in old lace trims.

 This is the inside of the book...still work to be done.

 I still need to add the finishing touches, and the faded photo of Barb and me on old Brownie with my dog--he went everywhere with us, always with us. I'm so glad I have this photo :-)
The original. I love the color of this, too. It really captures the feel and color I remember in the horse, my dog, the landscape around us then.

I experimented with the photo effects on my photo editor. I ended up with a sepia-toned image for the book but I love the color and the vintage style & colors of the original.

I will post a pic of my little book of friendship when it's finished in the next day or two. 

Heartfelt thanks for being here~
Kimberly xxoo

A Note about the fabrics, trims, supplies curated for this project:
Most are found fabrics & laces from local antique malls and from my big-hearted, big sister Carol. The beautiful spool of vintage, aged fabric roses trim (2nd photograph above) is from my one of my favorite suppliers Val over at Linen-Chic . Here's a link for Linen-Chic's  Aged Organza Rose Trim. Val has a way with things. Everything she makes, alters or ages has such a sweet, vintage appeal. You can find the rubber stamp for the woman with horse & the moon here at JackJakeGrif Rubber Stamp Emporium on Ebay. This favorite supplier has a large selection of vintage-style rubber stamps.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Thoughtful Heartfelt Gift - "Scentimental" Lavender Gift Sachets

Gift giving...It feels good to give a gift from your heart or bestow a thoughtful thank you present.

It personally gives me alot of joy and pleasure to share a little gift--and to receive gifts, too! What to give and how do we make it count? How does one convey that even the smallest of gifts are from the heart? These are things I think of when I want to show someone how special they are--affordably. Offering a personalized, heartfelt, handmade gift speaks volumes. Even it's just one little gift for a friend who needs cheering up or just because.
Bundles of Love
Vintage French Style Sachets by TheJoyfulHome

Customized lavender sachets are affordable, pretty little gifts to give to anyone. Include a personalized message on the back or on a little tag and you can say so much in the space of a beautiful, thoughtful little gift that will last for years. Dressed up sachets are pretty perched on a dressing table, or tucked into a lingerie drawer or wardrobe--and there's always the memory of the occassion this gift commemorates, bringing a smile to a loved one or friend.
 Three pretty French Vintage Style Sachets, ready to give
 Lavender Sachet Gift Bundle - by TheJoyfulHome
The sachets pictured here are an example of "lavender sachet gift bundles" I enjoy sewing. It makes me smile to customize a gift for someone that includes an expression of love or gratitude. Afterall, I am a bleeding heart romantic and I live for this stuff!
Here's another style I think would be so nice to give to a favorite bookish friend:
Jane Austen "Janeite" Sachet
Jane Austen Lavender Sachet for the "Janite" by TheJoyfulHome
 The Jane Austen sachet would be a clever gift for a book club or the book club hostess...and, of course, the devoted Jane Austen fan would appreciate this one. And, yes, Janeite really is a word. It came about back in 1890's to describe Jane Austen fans. Who knew?!
My sister's summer vacations at the beach with her friends was the inspiration behind my Shabby French Beach Friends Sachets. The colors really convey a vintage beach style and the little friends are so sweet there on the beach with their little buckets and shovels in the sand at their feet. I stitched an embroidery stitch for the border in aqua to bring out the aqua color tones. I had fun making this one. Most of the sachet designs I come up with are curated from vintage postcards I collect or vintage postcards and graphics I purchase with rights to use. Never get enough of vintage postcards!
Gift for a friend to keep memories of summer vacations 

ShabbyFrench Beach Friends Sachet by TheJoyfulHome (Vintage postcard graphics by French Kissed)
 "Dearest Friend" in sepia tones
"Dearest Friend" Sentiment on the Shabby French Beach Friends Sachet
  I Love You Dearly - Shabby Pink Roses Sachet
Shabby Pink Catherine Klein Roses Sachet by TheJoyfulHome
A heartfelt sentiment
I used to collect antique postcards with artist Catherine Klein's rose renderings. Klein was a popular Victorian era artist who painted true to actual roses. She is an absolute favorite of mine. Several of the sachets I have made are from those postcards as this one above. 

 That's it for now...I have more sachet styles to "give" or to share here with you--so, will post more here next time.
Heartfelt thanks for being here
Kimberly xxoo

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Shabby Cottage Quilt - Sewing Patience & Peace

What is your favorite way to relax? Do you craft, sew, go for a walk with your dog? I enjoy all of those things. These favorite hobbies of mine have saved me many a day when I had too much on my mind or needed a way to focus away from stressful issues--and I am always glad I gave myself that nudge to go to my craft room and do something creative. Hence my foray into quilting. I have always admired a good quilt and marvel at the patterns quilters create and wondered how they sew the fabric blocks, borders and patterns to achieve the beautiful designs in quilts.

Photo by Magrieta's Quilt Shop

I mentioned in my last post that I am learning quilting & am following up with you on the progress of my first quilt. I enrolled in a beginning quilt class at Magrieta's Quilt Shop, a lovely quilt shop here in the historic district of St. Augustine. I want to do this right as I want to learn the tricks and tips from an expert quilter and put those quilting skills to good use in future sewing projects. I couldn't have found a better, more wonderful teacher, Magrieta. From the moment I walked into her shop and settled into my first class, I felt at home. I have a great sense of peace and comfort when I am there and as always, sewing and creating give me that peace. Magrieta is a good and patient teacher. I wish you could meet her and see the quilts she has made. They are beautiful. There are many talented quilters there and it's this amazing, little community in itself.

This is a classmate working on her quilt. The owner of Magrieta's is explaining how to square up the uneven edges of the sewn together strips of fabric. The uneven edges will be trimmed so we don't leave them uneven like that :-)

My classmate is smoothing out her fabric here & has squared up some of the edges. There were 4 of us in this class spread out over large work tables with our fabric, cutting mats, sewing machines, etc...

Planning, Cutting & Sewing My Shabby Cottage Quilt  
There are 7 different fabrics here that were cut into strips then sewn together in a sequence of 1 - 7 or A, B, C..., then another sequence of the same 7 strips were sewn together in a reverse sequence. We then cut these by cutting horizontally across the sewn together fabrics as shown in the next photo.
Here are those cut strips with the 7 different fabrics. They are numbered or lettered here according to the sequence for the planned pattern so we keep them organized as we put them together to sew. See how in the previous photo they were all just long strips of the same fabrics but now they look like little charm squares that were sewn together? It's only due to the way those long strips were cut horizontally across that gives the strips this look now. I know! Confusing, right? If someone were explaining this stuff to me my eyes would have glazed over & I would have been lost way back... :-) 
The quilt's pattern is emerging here as the sets of cut strips that were put together are ready to be sewn. I love the white eyelet/ruffle/crochet fabric in this quilt! This is actually the top half of the quilt. Another set of these strips were sewn to create the bottom half of the quilt.
Here's a peek at how my quilt is coming along. It will be a lap size or crib size quilt. I chose the fabrics for it from my fabric stash I had on hand plus I bought some as I needed a little extra here and there. Most of the fabrics are from Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic Treasures line that I had. Magrieta carries some of this line as well. It's a girly little quilt with a Shabby Cottage Chic style. (Apologies for the icky photo--it's a rainy, cloudy day here. I really need to improve on the photography)

The bottom & top halves of the quilt are sewn together here. This will be the front of my Shabby Cottage Girly Quilt. The two borders will frame the quilt. You can see some of the cut border pieces next.  

Notice the pattern the sewn strips result in-- See the design of a square in the center? 
This is the center square that is formed when all the fabrics in the pattern are sewn together. I am amazed at how it all comes together & I didn't mess it up too much! I did have to pick some stitches out and align misaligned strips so the squares would better line up--this is where the "sewing patience" comes in!
The Borders
Just last week I learned how to cut the fabric that will make the 2 borders of the quilt and the binding--an inside border and a wider outer border and the binding. The binding is the fabric that runs around the edge of the fabric "bindng" the quilt together. I need to finish sewing the outer border and binding fabrics together this weekend so they're ready when I go back to class. We will then sew these to the quilt face.

There are 2 different borders for my quilt: a textured, white border with beautiful lace & tiny ruffles. The other border is a complimentary floral-patterned Shabby Chic brand fabric (long floral strips shown to the right of the rotary cutter). 
Love, love, adore this fabric! This is what I call the "Oooh & Ahhh" fabric because everyone who sees it oohs & ahhhs over it. This will make a unique, beautiful border on the quilt.
The backing for my quilt is very similar to the oohh-ahhh fabric above. It too has a touch of tiny ruffles. This fabric also receives it's share of ooh's & ah's. Love! I will share that photo here once I complete the quilt.
Quilt Labels
I have learned that quilters will make a label to sew onto their quilts which states who the quilt is made for if it's a gift, who made the quilt and the date made. So, I embroidered a label using an embroidery design from that's especially for quilting labels. This site has a selection of quilting labels and they even have a large selection of quilt blocks and design packs for quilting. Love this site!

Image & Label by
This is the Birds & Bloom Label from Embroidery Library. I love roses & birds. This label is perfect for my Shabby Cottage Quilt. Here's the link: Birds & Bloom Label from Embroidery Library

Also, here's the link to Embroidery Library's Quilt designs department if you would like to check them out: there are so many different designs & themes. You can design an entire, beautiful quilt by embroidering quilt blocks from this site. Quilt Designs
Remember how I said quilting gives me so much peace & comfort? It helps me let go of the things that may be stressful in my life, like the "Big C" and it allows me to just focus on something I enjoy. But, I think the best thing is that it also teaches me patience. Quilting takes gobs of patience and thought. You have to pay attention to your design, measuring, cutting, sewing & honing your problem solving skills to fix little's an art to be sure but it takes time to do it right and all of this takes patience. Anyone who knows me knows that I can be impatient. I want to get things done and I don't like waiting. I have come a long way though and have slowed down and learned to be more patient in these recent years. Learning that good things do come to those who wait--well, in my case, I don't really wait, but I take more care and time in the process ;-)  So, when I am sewing my quilt I think of it as "sewing patience" into my quilt and myself.

Quilting is teaching me skills I will put to good use in my other sewing projects and I "can't wait" to get started on those. So much for patience! :-)

Heartfelt thanks for being here~

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Spring - The Big C, Healing, Creating & Moving on with the Business of Life

Foxgloves in my yard last Spring--and a busy bumble bee.
 “Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Even though I live in the beautiful middle of nowhere in St. Augustine, Florida, I wait for Spring just as my family & friends up in the cold north. We have chilly mornings & nights but the days are perfect. It's just knowing that we're still in February that has me looking forward to March & April- true spring here for me.

I now find myself impatient to get on with the business of living--  healing from a stunning diagnosis of the Big "C", planning, creating, making, sewing, learning to quilt & spring cleaning my home! It's been since November that I last posted here. It's been a long winter for me. When I began this blog I promised myself I would stick to creativity and the love for vintage things. I wouldn't get personal, but creativity is personal and life inspires what I create, makes me who I am. So, here goes...just this once.

Getting to know my family & me-

Me with my husband & twin boys at our oldest son's wedding last year

My oldest son & his beautiful wife on their wedding day at Maymont Gardens

My daughter & twin sons - this was taken at my daughter's place. She & her fiancee live on this beautiful spot on the inlet from the intracoastal waterway & the Matanzas River here in St. Augustine. This was low tide but the views are always so pretty here. When the boys & I visit her, we all just sit outside & love this view.
I am a mother first and foremost and a wife. My life and every breath I take revolves around my children, my husband, my darling dogs and my love for vintage everything. I love my life & love where I live. I am blessed & I am lucky. I have two grown children, my daughter is an ICU nurse & will soon be a nurse practitioner (Proud Mama of all my kids!); my oldest son is an IT specialist and my two youngest are twin boys in middle school. They love music & play several instruments. Illness has fallen on our family in the past few years & very recently. We are still smarting from the sting of it but, we are moving on & happy. One of my young twin sons has a brain angioma and the other one has pediatric Crohn's Disease which is really tough for kids. They are both doing so great. We have spent many nights & days in hospitals, prayed down on our knees in hospital chapels while our son had surgery or procedures, taking them to doctors and just caring for our sons the best we can. It hasn't been all shabby pink roses for us. And, my husband has had to do it all many days on his own with me ill or hopitalized. We have held onto each other and know who our friends are and who loves us. We have turned to our faith more than ever and thank Heaven for everything we have (like our kids, friends, our lives, vintage postcards, sewing, creating, blogs...ha ha!  :-)  We can't thank our friends & older children enough for the help they have given and for caring for our twin sons when we needed their help.

My twin sons & me - a fun side trip to the aquarium during our trip to Cincinnati Children's Hospital last Spring to get a second opinion on treatment for our son who has Crohn's Disease. We were tired here but glad to be somewhere fun that day!
I was recently diagnosed with the big "C" as in cancer as in GIST sarcoma = Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor. About GIST. It set me back a bit. I had to place my Etsy shop The Joyful Home on hold for a while and couldn't do what I love. But, I didn't wallow in self-pity or even cry...I was angry! I had been ill off and on for 5 years with chronic anemia, hemorrhages, hospitalizations, misdiagnosis, bad, pompous doctors, IV infusions of iron, blood transfusions, countless lab work, tests, scans, 7+ endoscopies, ...all of which never found the tumor until a couple of weeks before Christmas. You get the idea. I am doing really well now but like I said, it was a long winter...

So, on Christmas Day I left my precious family to fly to the big city--me & my little monster tumor all by ourselves. My husband stayed with the boys until he could fly up to NY to be with me. I never leave home. I don't fly. I live in a bubble. It was one of the toughest things I've ever done.

So, on the plane, I met this amazing woman--I think she was an angel. She is a pediatrician (definitely an angel) & we're the same age, with grown kids & such. As the plane taxied out to the runway tears welled up and I just cried. I think because the realization had hit me that I was in for quite a ride (pardon the pun)...I was afraid of leaving my family on this trip; afraid of being sick, not getting better, flying on airplanes, having surgery, everything just overwhelmed me. My new plane buddy was awesome & comforting & when the flight got bumpy we held hands so tight that we had sweaty palms! We held hands pratically the entire flight! Kind of corny (and comical) but sweet, too. We laughed about that and we cried together as she shared her heartbreak of losing her dear son last year & as I shared my story. I mention this because she made me realize I wasn't alone. And, I have felt very alone some days. But, I would be staying with family on Long Island while in NY going through this crazy business so I was going to be ok. My brother & his family were so loving and sweet. They carted my daughter & me to appointments in the big city, fed us, and took great care of us. My beautiful daughter had traveled on Christmas Day to be with her Mom--how sweet is that? It is good to know there still are kind, real people out there & my kids are goodhearted. So, if you ever feel alone, know that I am here for you and you are not alone.

My loyal dogs - the sweetest girls I know! always with me - my other children

The next day I was at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to meet with a wonderful doctor, Ronald DeMatteo who specializes in GIST or soft tissue sarcoma. Ronald DeMatteo, MD, FACS. He is a surgical oncologist. I have a ton of respect for Dr. DeMatteo. He is professional, soft spoken, very experienced & educated in GIST, a researcher of sorts with tons of publications on GIST. Doctors like this have worked tirelessly for years to become educated and help people like us. He did my surgery on New Year's Eve Day. He & his team at Sloan Kettering took great care of me. They know their stuff there & hey, they came in to work on a major holiday to help me part ways with my little monster so I am ever so grateful for their caring & expertise. 

I like to pretend that the thing flying out of the patient in this silly cartoon is my little monster tumor--good riddance! I actually donated little monster to Sloan Kettering's research lab so hopefully they will find a cure for this stuff.
You can read here about GIST: GIST Support International or - GIST Cancer Sarcomas are rare cancers or "orphan cancers" as they are called.Only about 1% of the population is diagnosed with GIST but I suspect there are a lot more people running around with GIST and have been misdiagnosed like I was. I want to help bring awareness about GIST so others may not go through what people like me have, hence why I chose to include this in my blog. I don't think there will be a lot of 10K runs, wristbands or Kumbayah comraderie for us GIST patients until there's more awareness but there are people out there fighting the good fight & fundraising like Tania Stutman with the GIST Cancer Research Fund.

I feel better than I have in 5 years since they got this thing out of me. I am looking forward to "normal". The treatment for GIST is surgery when possible, which I had with great success. Then there's the drug Gleevec. GIST does not respond to conventional chemotherapy nor radiation. I am still awaiting another opinion on whether or not I will take Gleevec. Even though I know the recurrance rate for GIST can be fairly high, I am moving on and won't let this monster keep me from what I love anymore. I may be one of the lucky ones. So, I will hope & pray & I will get back to the business of living, planning, creating, spring cleaning and doing what I love.

NOTE OF HEARTFELT THANKS TO TANIA STUTMAN, Founder of GIST Cancer Research Fund. Read about Tania and all the good that she has done to help people with GIST - Tania Stutman's Story  and  GIST Cancer Research Fund. Tania has been a great source of support, information & education for me. Tania is an angel. She referred me to Dr. DeMatteo & she "gets it". Tania is a well of strength, love & knowledge--a rock. Love & blessings to you Tania.

Thanks from the heart also to Bill Smith, GIST survivor for putting me in touch with Tania and for lending your "earmail" (ear via email)....You have been so kind & a great source of support & information, too! Love & blessings to you, too Bill. Bill Smith - GIST survivor -
Thank you for being here everyone~
My first quilt - A Shabby Cottage Quilt - week 2 - cutting, measuring & planning the quilt
Please come back very soon to check out my first quilt. I am very inspired by beautiful quilts so I enrolled in a quilting class recently--these are wild times for me ;-) Stay tuned dear friends...