Monday, February 27, 2017

Ay Chihuahua!!!!

If you've read my last post you'll remember I was trying to keep busy while drinking that horrible prep liquid for my colonoscopy.  Well, one good thing came of it.  Actually two.
1.   My results are good, and I don't have to do it again for ten years!
2.  I designed an adorable quilt that I am in love with!  

I wanted to share a picture with you so you can see the end result.  I still have one partially finished on a blue background, but here's what I have done so far!

 The second pic is just a close up of that sweet face.  This quilt was inspired by a little chihuahua named Winslow who visited me recently!

I put the quilt in my shop on my website,  
Even if you don't want to see the quilt again, please stop by the website and visit.  I'll be posting there as well and offering tutorials, stories, freebies,  and all kinds of fun things!  Don't forget to join the mailing list so I can keep you up to date!

I hope you enjoyed the quilt, I sure had fun making it!    PLEASE share, pin, post, any kind of social media you do.  I'm trying hard to be seen and finding out it's not easy!!  I would appreciate it.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


I'm trying to think of a word that would adequately describe the feelings I was having last night.  Yuk isn't quite strong enough, life-ending is a bit of an exaggeration, so for lack of anything better I'll just stick with "ughhh".  If that is even a word.

Have any of you had the pleasure of that really fun medical screening, the one you get when you are getting old? Yep, you guessed it.  Colonoscopy.  It hurts me just to type the word. I've put it off for far too long, and after losing my mom recently I was thinking how I don't want my kids to go through losing their mom any time soon. My dad died too young.  My kids remember him more through pictures and stories than actual memories.  I wish they could have known him better, longer. Sad.

Last night I began drinking the liquid prep at 7:00 as instructed, but didn't finish till 3:00 a.m.  It said to drink an 8 ounce glass every 10 minutes.  I got the first few glasses down, not easily, but down.  After that it wanted to come back up.  I had that feeling you get when you have a stomach flu and the worst is about to happen.  My husband kept encouraging me to just chug it, and I tried to explain to him if I didn't go slowly I would lose it all.  Seriously, just typing this is making me nauseous.  Ughhh.  Yuk.  Badness. 

I was feeling quite sorry for myself, wondering what cruel and inhumane person decided this was the best way to prepare. I finally got to sleep at around 4:00.  I know it is a lifesaving screening and I should have done it sooner, but I was dreading it.  People talk you know, and it didn't sound like fun!
Let me go on record admitting I am a big baby when it comes to medical things (and dental as well), but I'm trying to put on my big girl panties and deal with it! 

On a cheerier note, I knew the only way I could survive this prep was to be distracted, so I put on some good shows (not my beloved Pioneer Woman this time because the sight of food was not a good thing) and decided to make something new, which always makes the time pass quickly for me.  

My son's girlfriend was over the other day with her little chihuahua, Winslow, and I thought it would be fun to make a little baby quilt with a chihuahua. I sketched it out on brown craft paper, picked out fabrics, arranged them, working till almost 4:00.  Somehow my obsession with creating helped me to survive the night. 

Here's a picture of what I have finished so far.  I'm thinking I'll make two baby quilts, one for a boy, one for a girl.  Or maybe just two different color backgrounds and leave the dogs gender neutral.   Usually I decide as I go, it's always fun to see what I end up with.  I have a couple hours to kill before I leave for the procedure so I'm going to keep working so I don't just sit and think about it.

Please get your medical screening tests done. . . if not for yourself, for those who love you!

Sunday, February 12, 2017


I truly never thought I would be saying these words, but my website is finally done!  That's what the "ta-da" was all about.  It's named after my great-grandmother, fannie jane.  

Here's the link if you want to visit:

I've been trying to get this up for so long, but life kept getting in the way. That sounds like an excuse, but it really did.  Things that I had no control over took priority over the website.  

Anyhow, here we are.  The website is up, and far from finished, but so far I'm pretty happy with it. I have a lot of content to add, but for now I think you will see where I'm going with it.

I was bound and determined not to be a store; yet I needed to be able to sell my handmade items.  Hmmmmm, I figured the best thing to do was make it a blog/teaching/inspiring website and oh, by the way, I do have a few products for sale if you're interested!

My dream for all these years has been to promote handmade.  To teach, encourage, motivate, and showcase both old and new handmade treasures. I'll be making tutorials on all kinds of handcrafts and put them up, hopefully encouraging others to try something new. Originally I planned on just selling patterns for the designs, but I've decided to start with the finished products and see how it goes. 

I feel like I did a pretty good job of being very true to myself.  It is hard not to be influenced by other websites, but I just designed it so that if I happened upon it randomly I would absolutely love it. There are plenty of us out there, and the common thread is we love handmade.  We love to collect it, we love to create it, we love to share it.  

By the way, the absolutely adorable little girl on the home page is my granddaughter.  She's standing on a handmade quilt from my grandma and her sisters from downhome.  The outfit little Ellie has on is one of my original designs.  All the adorable props are vintage, some with a makeover by yours truly, like the buggies.  

I hope you can visit. If you believe in handmade, like I do, then you should enjoy it.  If you love it please join my mailing list and I'll keep you updated.  

I'm so excited I actually squealed this morning.  Have a wonderful day!!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Stop the clock please

Oh my goodness, time just keeps marching on doesn't it?  

I really can't believe it's 2017.  I think back to all my resolutions from last year and am trying to see if I kept any.  As usual, I made a little progress here and there but all in all I fell short. 

This year I am kind of forced to make some changes.  Bloodwork revealed extremely high cholesterol - and I refuse to take drugs unless there are no other options - so I have to change the way I eat, exercise, and drop 10 pounds.  In a way, this lifestyle change will pretty much accomplish all my usual resolutions so I guess there's that.  I'm just trying to find some positive in the negative here friends.

Another change is my husband's Parkinsons is slowing him down to the point where he needs to retire, like yesterday.  So, this means I need to start bringing in some money - especially since waiting for disability to be approved could take a year.

Again, let's look for the positive in the negative.  I have always dreamed of resurrecting my pattern design business, and now I must do it.  I've kind of been working on it for years, but now I feel a sense of urgency.  I tried working on it over the years but taking care of mom was a priority. 
Sadly, mom passed late summer.  I'm still grieving and adjusting to her being gone.  When I think of her I still tear up.  I have no regrets about putting her first, but now I'm ready to devote my time to what I want and need to do.   

Here's what I've done so far: 
I've turned some of my designs into PDF patterns. It might not sound like a big deal but it took me over a year to learn Illustrator well enough to create a really good pattern.  I'm patting myself on the back because I'm super proud of what I've done in that department.  Being a perfectionist tends to slow me down, but I'm happy with the patterns and feel they're good enough to put out there.

My main love is dreaming up new creations, quilts, bibs, dolls, embroidery, etc.,  but I would say my obsession is "handmade" in general.  I really want to promote handmade - the passing down of skills nd encouraging others to try. I want them to have the joy and pride I feel as they create their own heirlooms.  I want to promote the appreciation of handmade things as well. I'm hoping this next generation won't look at an antique crocheted doily as some $2.00 item they will get rid of at a garage sale.

It didn't take but a second to figure out the best way to reach a lot of people is to create an online community where people like me can gather. I want it to be a place where we can meet new people, learn new skills, support each other with our projects, and appreciate handmade things overall.  Not just sewing, I'm talking about gardening, baking, cooking, you name it!

Hopefully I'll be able to launch my website by the end of the month, and boy am I excited!  It has been a good distraction for me - keeping me from dwelling on sad things.  

My website (and business) is called fannie jane. Here's the link: 

I already have some things in my Etsy shop for now, but I'll also have an online shop on my website.

I'm on facebook as fanniejane.handmade 

pinterest as fannie jane.  

I also am going to give myself time to go visit blogs of friends I've met over the years.  I've met so many wonderful people who I truly cared about, but let life keep me so distracted that I lost touch.  So don't be surprised if you all start seeing my stop by your blogs.  I'm super excited to see what everyone has been up to!

I wish a happy and healthy new year to every single one of you!  I can't wait to see what this year holds for all of us.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Happy new year!  I wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy new year.   

As always, I have my list of resolutions.  Perhaps I should just write "ditto" since they are always the same as the year before.  I wonder why I still even make them.  Do you?  Maybe the fact that we try to improve and better ourselves is a good sign, because if we didn't at least try it might indicate that we have pretty much given up.  

For some reason, possibly insanity, deep deep inside my heart and soul I always believe that amazing things can happen, that I can achieve my dreams and goals, and that all things are possible. Well, most things. I realize I won't grow 2 inches so I won't have to lose 5 pounds. Most likely my husband will continue to bang his head on kitchen cabinet doors left open and trip over my shoes lying in the middle of the mudroom where I kicked them off.  I really try to remember, but usually I'm somewhere else in my mind and just forget to do those little things! 
What does this year hold in store for all of us? Perhaps its best we don't know. And maybe, just maybe, it all depends on how hard we try to achieve our dreams.    

So, my dear friends, although so much has changed since my regular blogging days -  in some ways nothing has changed at all.  I am always embarking on many new adventures and would love to share them with you, if any of you are still out there.  Please let me know, because if you are and would care to hear my silly ramblings, I would love to again share my world with you!      

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Simple Things

Going through my day, I feel stress, a sense of urgency, and exhaustion.  Stress from trying so hard to get my business going. Urgency, because the clock is ticking. I have bills to pay and my husband needs to retire. Exhaustion.  I begin my morning in my sewing room and keep at it pretty much all day, going back down after supper until about 8:00.   

Climbing the stairs from my basement sewing studio for about the 20th time, the angel food cake pan I left soaking from yesterday greets me.  Rarely do I leave dishes for the next day - not because I'm such an amazing cleaner, but because I hate waking up to any kind of mess.  I'm not a morning person, and it doesn't take much to get me crabby in the morning - at least until I've had a few cups of coffee!

Looking at that pan, wishing it was already clean, I decided to use psychology on myself.  Speaking right out loud (don't worry, nobody was home but the dog) I said: "Julie, quit being such a whiner and be thankful you have a pan to wash, a stove to bake a cake in, and a comfortable home to live in".   

It seemed like it was working -  a little, so I kept talking  . . .

"Before I can wash dishes  I need to scrub out the dish pan".   Note:  My husband has a habit of throwing things in there to "soak" which means they are left there for me to clean, and the pan is always dirty.  :) Bless his heart.

I scrubbed out the sink and the pan. As I filled it with hot water and dish soap, the billowing bubbles exploded with a lovely, somewhat familiar smell.  I grabbed a clean washcloth, deciding on one I knitted while watching tv. Admiring the pretty shade of peach as I dipped it into the bubbles, I got to work washing the counters, the stove top, and the microwave.  

As I thought about how I am always rushing, worrying, and planning in my head, I realized I'm never really in the moment.  Instead of   "thinking"  about everything and anything,  I should just "be"   - be in the present, with my hands in the lovely bubbles, enjoying the warmth and smell.  As I washed each glass, plate, and coffee cup, I tried to feel gratitude for each item.  Then I broke my favorite coffee cup I've had for about 20 years.  "Rats.  Oh well.  It had some cracks in it anyhow, probably not safe." 

Being super sensitive to chemicals, I try to use homemade cleansers made from nontoxic  ingredients whenever possible. Last
 month I brought home what was left of the Dawn dish soap while cleaning out Mom's house and figured I'd try it.  "Guess I might as well use it - not be wasteful. " Yep, me talking to myself again. I must say it smelled really nice.

It was kind of an amazing moment, realizing how enjoyable washing dishes by hand was. Ok, not like going to a quilt shop, but still. It seems like the dishwasher never gets them clean anyhow.   Then I really got carried away washing every thing in the dishwasher - which was completely full.  I put on an I Love Lucy rerun and laughed at her antics. Imagining being back in the 50's, I wished I had put on an apron.

After Lucy was over I decided to turn off the tv and work in silence, trying to stay in the moment. From start to finish it ended up taking over an hour.  My feet, legs, and back hurt. I must be getting old because being on my feet for a while gets me tired. Still, I felt happy.  It was relaxing, and I think it brought me happy memories. It took me back to when I was raising kids and my role was clearly defined - being a stay-at-home mom, cleaning, cooking, taking care of the family. The realization hit me that not only do I need to do more of the simple things in life - I need to actually be present to enjoy them.  

As my sister and I chatted about my little epiphany she said she had just washed out some coffee cups at work using Palmolive and was taken back to childhood.  She wondered if Mom used that brand, and we assumed she did because the smell seemed so familiar.  We talked about the old Palmolive commercials and she reminded me of Madge, the "beautician" doing a manicure.  Do you remember "It's Palmolive - you're soaking in it"?  Funny.  I seem to remember Mom using Ivory, but I can't say for sure.  You can bet your life when I go to the store the next time I will buy a small bottle of each and an old fashioned dish drainer.
Now . . go put on a pretty apron and wash some dishes.  And as you work, please enjoy yourself!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Here I sit with my cup of coffee. I am in my lovely sewing studio, in my wonderful house, as happy as can be.  Feeling safe and sound, I have no desire to leave. Why the sudden appreciation for home? Let me tell you. I wasn't feeling so happy a few weeks ago.  

My husband earned two free plane tickets and had to use one of them before February.   Knowing my absolute dread of flying and the fact that I get anxiety traveling, he decided not to tell me until the last minute.

He booked a flight to visit his sister in California.  If I wanted to go all I needed to do was say the word.  A free flight, our own little studio apartment - what more could anyone ask for?
A dream come true, right?  
So what's the problem?

I wavered back and forth between being excited and having near panic attacks.  I talked myself into it, then out of it, then into it. Once I committed to go I was literally sick for three days - feeling anxiety, dizziness, hot flashes, up at night,  just plain feeling awful.  A phrase I took from my daughter when she was little was "badness".  A pancake I made her wasn't completely cooked, and she told me there was "badness" in there.  I had badness in me. Lots of it.  

I really, really would love to go.  The last time I was in California I was 16, on a family trip to San Francisco.  I want to redo everything I did back then -  take a trolley to Chinatown, visit Fisherman's Wharf , and see the sights.   My son moved to California last year. I would love to visit him, as well as my West Coast relatives. Visions of the beautiful wineries in Napa Valley taunt me.

So just go, right?  I can hear you now.  I told myself I would go and I know I would enjoy it.  
But . . .the stress I was having and what I was putting myself through was just not worth it.  After several heart to heart talks with my sister and myself, I decided not to go. 

Why? My dream of going out to California was to drive. Crazy, yes.  But I want to plan my trip and try to see as many states as possible. I want to visit every quilt shop and antique store and see all the beauty our great country offers.  We'll stop at every Mom and Pop diner and small town bakery, sampling our way through the states.  I want to drive to the upper West Coast and work my way down.  I want a leisurely pace, not determined by flight deadlines. 

My dream is to get a vintage trailer and be like Lucy and Ricky in "The Long, Long Trailer" but my husband says it would be cheaper to get hotels. We'll see about that!
I  like being able to stop the car whenever and wherever I want.  Being on a plane, train, or bus makes me feel claustrophobic, like I am trapped.  Anyone that deals with anxiety issues will be able to relate to this. I haven't flown for over 10 years.

Because we were so close to the actual date, we would have had to pay an additional 600 dollars round trip, so this actually wasn't the opportunity of a lifetime I was making it out to be. 

I felt disappointed in myself for not embracing the adventure. What an idiot.  Who in their right mind would pass this up?  

This idiot, that's who.  Here's how I made peace with myself. 

This wasn't my dream trip. We can still drive to the West Coast someday, but we can't afford 600 dollars right now. This isn't a good time for me to try to squeeze in anything else because  I am smack dab in the middle of trying to get my business up and running.
I thought:  I hereby give myself permission to pass on this opportunity.  I am going to release the "badness" I feel about myself for not being able to do it. The stress I am putting myself through is not worth it.  And I'm not an idiot.

I felt such a sense of relief when I made that decision.          

Will I regret it?  Am I ashamed for not being able to face my fears?  I don't know.  What I do know is if my sister, daughter, or friend was trying to make this decision, I would tell them to not be so hard on themselves.  So I took my own advice . . . this time.

P.S.  I think I'll watch "The Long, Long Trailer" tonight.