Recent Adventures in Cross Stitch

For the last several months, I have picked up cross stitch and I have really enjoyed it. I have a project from Christmas that I will be sharing soon (it will get sent out this week). These are two projects that I finished in the last couple of weeks.
HappyEaster

The Easter pattern is from Sewing Seed and was free for newsletter followers. This was a simple pattern, and I was able to finish it up in about a week. I used a vintage floral pillowcase and tore some strips to wrap around the hoop and to use as a tie. This is now hanging in our house ready for Easter next week.

DSCN3913This pattern is the Spiderman and Friends from Wee Little Stitches. I framed the cloth in a floating frame, which creates an interesting dimension to the piece. I am currently working on a corresponding pattern with the Sinister Six, so look for that in the next month or so.

I have a number of other projects that I am excited to get started on, including some more superheroes, Harry Potter, and maybe some princesses even. Thanks for reading!

Something New

Things are changing again. We have decided to start a separate blog just for all of our personal happenings. I have imported all of the previous posts, so it already seems full.

The year has been eventful so far. It started with Aaron and I driving back from Utah to Alabama. We both got sick soon after, and I had  the flu, a cold, and mono. I am finally feeling better, but then life happened. I am trying to write every other week with updates, including our projects, gardens, goals, and just daily life. Thanks for reading and wanting to share our lives with us.

And don’t forget to check out our professional sites, www.ilenebooks.com and www.actaylordesigns.com

Just a heads up!

Just letting everyone know that its NaBloPoMo (that’s National Blog Posting Month). I have been rather slacker about the website lately, and I have been completing some rather cool projects. I am not promising a post every day, I still have 5 1/2 weeks left in the semester, but I do want to do updates.  So look forward to some historical structures, lots of leather (and I mean lots), some awesome sewing, printing a long book, and some store updates.

And because almost no post is complete without some pictures, here is some old Halloween fun. Enjoy!

Pioneer Day: Bennie Taylor

I know this is several days late, but I had one more person I wanted to recognize. This person is some one that I have never met, but to whom I will forever be indebted. Bennie Louise Taylor was born in 1928 here in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 
Prior to adopting Aaron, she had met some LDS missionaries and joined the Church. Aaron was the only child that she ever adopted, and she raised him as a single mom. She knew there was something special about Aaron, and made sure that he was steered down a righteous path. Bennie encouraged Aaron in school, church, and sports, and helped him prepare for a mission, college, and marriage. She taught him so many things for which I am grateful, including laundry, cleaning, and patience. 
I know that Bennie faced many trials throughout her life, including cancer twice and hardships with her kids, but she remained strong. She kept the faith, and taught Aaron to do the same.

This is Aaron and Bennie when he was still young.
Aaron with his sister, Adrienne, Bennie, and cousin when he got home from his mission.  
Everyone who knew Bennie absolutely loved her. She was kind, funny, and a true Southern lady. I am immensely grateful that Bennie joined the church, and strove to provide a better life for Aaron. She was a pioneer within her family, and continues to have an effect on their lives. I am looking forward to one day meeting this wonderful woman.
Tommie

Pioneer Day: Chester McBride

Another one of the pioneers in my family is my great-grandpa, Chester Laverne McBride. Grandpa Chet was born May 14, 1917 in Minnesota. Married in 1940 to Juanita Monte Lewis, they had one daughter, my grandma Nita. Grandpa Chet played the trumpet in bands at the clubs, and always had such a lively spirit.

Grandpa Chet is someone who followed his heart when he knew what was right. About 10 years ago, my grandparents moved to Utah and brought Grandpa Chet and Grandma Juanita with them. After moving to Utah, Grandpa Chet starting taking the missionary discussions and decided to join the LDS Church. He was baptized on May 14, 2004, which was his 87th birthday. He faithfully attended church every week in his bolo ties, and went through the temple a year after he was baptized. It is amazing that even though he had lived a long time, he still was willing to change and improve his life.

Grandpa Chet died in 2008, about 4 years after Grandma Juanita. He had a lively spirit and was happy, even when life got hard. I miss Grandpa, and I am glad I will see him again one day.
Tommie

Pioneer Day: Thelma Haase

Yesterday was Pioneer Day, so I decided in celebration I wanted to post about some of the people I consider to be pioneers in my own family history. Pioneer Day is a celebration of LDS members about the day that Brigham Young entered the Salt Lake Valley. He entered on July 24, 1847 and so every year on this day we think about all pioneers, but especially the LDS pioneers, who crossed the plains of the United States, starting in 1847 until the completion of the railroad in 1869. Although none of these early pioneers are my relatives, I still have a deep appreciation for the sacrifices that they made the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Although I am not related to the early LDS pioneers, I have had a number of individuals in my family who I believe are pioneers and have made possible so many of the wonderful blessings that I enjoy. One of these individuals in my great-grandma, Thelma Vernal McFarland Haase. She was born in 1921 in Oklahoma, just years before the start of the Great Depression. When Grandma was just a little girl, her family moved from Oklahoma to Northern California, where she met Willis Franklin Haase. They got married and had three little girls: Patsy (who died as an infant), Shirley (my grandma), and Peggy.

Grandma Thelma is a pioneer in my mind for several reasons. Although she did not make the trek west in the 1800s, she did move to California during the Great Depression, which was similar. She always worked hard to provide for her family and better their lives. I am very grateful for the opportunities that she provided for her girls. Grandma Thelma’s dad did not believe that girls should be educated, so Grandma never even graduated from high school. She encouraged her girls to get an education, who then encouraged their kids for more education. I am the first person in my family to earn a Master’s degree, and I am grateful for that opportunity and that Grandma started the change with her kids.

She loves Nascar and watches all the time, even though she is legally blind now.

Last week, Grandma Thelma fell and broke her hip. We are grateful that she had surgery immediately and  is feeling better. I love my grandma so much, and I am grateful that I have been able to know her. She is super funny, has weird sayings, and is a total Okie. I hope she is around for many more years and can continue to be an example to all of her posterity.
Tommie

Independence Day

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Independence Day. We are spending the day relaxing, cleaning and organizing, and having a BBQ later tonight. It should be lots of fun and its awesome to have a day off from work. But even more important is remembering all of the freedoms that we are blessed with and the importance of fighting for your rights. This world is becoming crazy, and we all need to take a stand and defend our rights and not let others dictate our lives. I am grateful that God takes an active role in preserving our freedom and that He directed the founding fathers, including the writing of the Declaration of Independence. I am also so grateful for all of my family and ancestors who have served and are serving in the Armed Forces.

Have a great 4th of July and remember what today is all about.
Tommie

Home: Wall of Family

I have not done any posts about our apartment yet, mostly because I don’t totally love our decor and there are lots of little things I would love to change. However, there are some things I absolutely love, and I decided to share them. One of the things that I love is left over from our wedding reception (like most of our decorations). Its a wall of photographs of our family. There are pictures, mostly of my ancestors, around the time that they got married. There are two pictures of Aaron’s mom, two of my parents, my maternal and paternal grandparents, two sets of great-grandparents, and three sets of great-great-grandparents. The center frame is a wedding present and includes pictures from our wedding of family at the temple. 

And the two window frames on the side are actually old cupboard doors. The image on the left is the original color, which would have been fine without the ugly gold. So I painted them black and added some green grosgrain ribbon left over from our wedding. I use them for wedding invitations or cards, which adds extra color and variety.


I just finished the wall because I needed to replace two of the frames (the others would not hang on the wall), and I finally got some wedding pictures to put in the collage frame. I absolutely love having family photos around our dinner table and in the center of our home to be a constant reminder of the importance of family and the ancestry that we have. This will be something that I want to always include in any of our homes to have the physical reminder. Enjoy!
Tommie

Sewing: Black Gathered Skirt

I have been looking for some easy projects for making some new Church clothes, so when I stumbled upon this great black and copper fabric, I had an immediately idea. I bought the fabric at a yard sale for 50 cents. I am not sure how much fabric there originally was because I used most of it for the skirt. I believe that it previously had been used from some project because there were traces of gathering at the top, but it had never been finished.

I brought the fabric home, washed and ironed it. It had a tear about 8-10 inches long in from one of the edges, so I trimmed that piece and plan and plan on making something to match from it. I sewed the two sides together, and had one humongous tube. I initially gathered the top of the skirt and found it was much too long. I could not cut off the bottom because of the design panel. I cut off 3-4 off the top and regathered the whole thing (there is quite a bit of gathering). I cut a piece of 3″ elastic to fit around my waist and stitched the ends together. I matched the gathered skirt to the elastic in four places, and basted the elastic in place. I then used my double needle (first time ever and it worked great!) to stitch two lines to hold the elastic to the skirt. I finished the skirt off by using the double needle again to make a 2-3 inch hem along the bottom. The length was a little weird, which is why it had such a large hem.

And Aaron decided that he could only take one picture, so this is it. So far I have loved this skirt. It fits great, came together super easy, and I even had a shirt that matched. And it is something that I can easily wear in summer or winter, and is loose enough that I can also use it when I eventually start having babies. The only thing I might change for next time is the amount of gathering. There is a ton of gather material, which creates some bulk around the waist. Otherwise, its just great. Thanks for reading,
Tommie