health · stress free zone

We Did It!

The Dinner Club Runs!

We ran (I use that word loosely) a 5k yesterday!  It was 75 degrees with 88% humidity and most of the time I felt like I was going to pass out or die, but we made it.  My goal was to finish in 40 minutes or less, but with the heat, I couldn’t force myself to go any faster than I was.  No kidding, I was seeing spots.  We did finish in 45:15, which isn’t too bad for my second race ever.

My husband is amazing.  He could have ran it twice and still beat me, but he stuck by my side and give me all the encouraging words to keep going when all I really wanted to do was lay down on the sidewalk until a golf cart picked me up.  I’m one lucky lady!

Here are some photos.  They are not great quality, but thought I would share.  Doing more 5k’s was on my goal list and every single day I’m chipping away at that list to become the person I want to be.  I’m happy I was able to take one little step, but it felt huge.  We can all do anything if we set our minds to it.

Michael and Me before the race.
Michael and his sister and one of my best friends, Carrie
From left to right: Carrie, Darla, Amanda, Me, Paula (The Dinner Club)


Halfway mark and I was dying! It was so hot!!
DIY · Sewing

Jewell Quilt

This quilt! Oh, how I love it. First, let’s start off with the fabric. This is probably my favorite to date. It’s Desert Bloom by Moda and I adore every design in the collection. I had a jelly roll I purchased from Missouri Star Quilt Company and I went on the search for a pattern a quilter like me, a semi-beginner, could tackle. I came across the Scrappy On Point Triangle Quilt Angela Walters posted on YouTube.untitled-1-88

I downloaded the free pattern on Craftsy and got to work. I did add to the size as I knew I wanted it for a summer blanket on my bed. This sucker ended up being a whopping 72”x77”. The top was a breeze. What was not a breeze was fitting that humongous quilt under the neck of my little sewing machine. I’m going to be honest and tell you the “straight line” quilting isn’t so straight. Actually, it’s pretty much a wave all the way through.


The neck of my sewing machine is about three inches long. There wasn’t any amount of rolling, tugging, and crying (yes, there was a point I was in literal tears) that is going to give me straight lines on this big girl. So, I did the best I could all the while swearing and shaking my fist in the air like Scarlett O’Hara that one day I’d never have to quilt on this sewing machine again. I can’t tell you guys how many times I’ve looked longingly at sewing machines with an eight inch neck. All that space? I would be unstoppable. Anyways, I digress.

See what I mean about the straight lines?  I should have color coordinated my backing thread…


I made the binding using the continuous bias binding method that’s just too simple for words and hand sewed the binding to the quilt. Even with all its imperfections, I love this quilt. I named it Jewell because the pattern reminds me of little jewels. My grandmother Jewell, would have loved to see this quilt, but I’ll think of her every time I see it. I miss her so much.



Product List

Fabric – Desert Bloom by Moda. 1 jelly roll

Background fabric – some white fabric I had on hand.

Backing – Desert Bloom by Moda. 5 yards.

Thread – Amann Group, Isacord 40 Col. 0015 A7611 (100% cotton)

Pattern – Craftsy Scrappy On Point Triangle

2.5 inch binding – Continuous Binding Tutorial

DIY · Sewing

Lil Red

untitled-1-57As soon as I saw this panel by Susan Hsu for Moda in my local fabric shop I had to get it. The colors are vibrant and the pattern is simple and cute. It’s adorable and I know Harper will love playing with it in a year or so. For now, she will get to look at it from the shelves in her room.  I found the panel on Amazon if you would like to make one yourself.  Here


I’ve worked on it and put it aside to do other projects numerous times, but with having an extra day off work this week I finally had enough time to get it finish. It was nice to have a switch from a large project and nonstop quilts. It was also fabulous to work in my new office/sewing room. I can’t believe how much easier it was to get it finished when everything I needed was in one place.


It also happens to be my first mini-quilt. It called to sew the quilt right sides together and flip it inside out, but I decided to make it like a regular quilt and did a binding. I made the binding out of the red edging that framed out the panel. I’m not going to say it went smoothly, because it didn’t, but I do like that it has a red border around the quilt.

It’s definitely time to get my scissors sharpened, buy new needles for the sewing machine, and a new blade for my rotary cutter. I guess the two half-hexi quilt tops (I’ll be posting those soon) I finished has dulled all my cutting utensils. Though, I do think someone in the house has been using my scissors for something other than fabric!

Things that have been going on lately:

  1. My husband is currently tearing out the ugly rock fireplace so we can rebuild it the way we want. My house is covered in dust right now.
  2. I finished two half-hexi quilt tops. A twin size for Harper and a full size for a friend. I’m looking for the perfect backing for each then I’ll post about them.
  3. We painted the downstairs room which is now my office/sewing room. The paint alone made it look like a completely new room.  I still have a long way to go to make the room the way I want it.
  4. Emily (my daughter) and Liam (my 8 month old grandson) are down for the week and it’s been a blast!
  5. My friends and I had our monthly dinner club meeting and the host blew us away with her menu AND she did all that for us on her birthday!
  6. I have spring fever!  I’m ready for camping, kayaking, and fresh flowers on my table.

As always, life has been hectic, but it’s been great.  I’m learning to embrace the crazy and enjoy the moments of quiet peace when I find them.  I’m working hard on achieving my goals for the life I want and love being able to see the monthly progress we are making.

What have you been up to?  Any spring plans?  Any projects?


Life · stress free zone

One Hour Early


Trying to find time for myself in this season of my life is difficult. My days seem cram packed with work, cooking, cleaning, and babysitting. While I’m at work I imagine all the things I’m going to get done when I get home, but as soon as I clock out I have so many things to do by the time I can take a breath, it’s 9pm, I’m wore out and ready for bed.

Thanks to some advice from Rachel Hollis at The Chic Site, I’ve been waking up an hour early every morning (even weekends). I’m actually writing this post during one of my early mornings.   I’m surprised how much I can get done in one single hour while everyone else sleeps. I’m not talking about cleaning, laundry, etc. I’m talking about achieving my goals.

Every morning I sit down with my notebook containing my goal and all the thing that will have to be done to meet my goal and decide what I can do in that one day to get just a little bit closer to accomplishing it. My goal is huge for me. It’s a goal I have dreamed about for years now, but didn’t see a way to get there with my life the way it is right now. Things simply aren’t working the way they are now. I’m not happy in this season and neither is my husband. Happy with each other, yes! Happy with the direction we’re going in life, no. So you know what? It’s time to change my life to meet my goals.  That first step is waking up an hour early so I have the time to really look at myself and my day and make it happen.

I’m a month in, and though my goals are going to take a long time to achieve, I’m seeing small progress. Far more progress than I was at a month ago. In addition, I feel better about me. I’m becoming more optimistic about my dreams that I worried would never be fulfilled. Instead of dreading the day, I’m eager to get going and conquer the day. In general, my attitude toward myself and others has been far more forgiving and more pleasant. The people around me are noticing the difference also. I don’t know how many times in the last month I’ve been told it’s good to see the old me coming back to life. For over a year I’ve been in a complete fog and the light has finally started to clear the haze.

I’ve worked hard this month to create a good foundation on which I can build on throughout the rest of the year and the rest of my life. I’m more excited than I’ve been in a long time and can’t wait to see where this leads me.

Tell me what you would do with your hour?

DIY · House

The Seven Year Quilt

Seven long years ago I had this great plan. I was going to make my mom, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law quilts for Christmas. It was early November that fateful year and I thought I had plenty of time to get them finished. Oh to be young again….well, younger.


I finished all three quilt tops, but only managed to completely finish my mom’s quilt (I never took photos of it). My sister-in-law’s quilt looked a total mess so I scrapped it. My mother-in-law got to see the quilt top I made her that year with a promise that I would get it finished ASAP. What I hadn’t planned on was moving to Arkansas, working far too much overtime, my youngest getting sick, and my other kids becoming teenagers. I had no time to think, much less time to sew.

This year I told myself to get it done. The quilt top had stared at me year after year, begging to be used. And after three broken needles, I DID IT! I finished the quilt. The center is a simple tumbler with wide borders. Mind you, seven years ago was when I made this and had just started quilting, but I’m proud of it. It’s cute and festive and I know every Christmas when my mother-in-law pulls it out, she’ll think of me.



Food · House · Life · stress free zone

The Dinner Club


After years of talking about it and never following through, I finally had a dinner party. Why you ask that I waited years to get together with my friends at my house? Because I’m a perfectionist. I have always had it in my head that everything in my house, everything on the table, everything we wear has to be perfect and if I can’t make it perfect, then I can’t do it. Because of this I’ve missed out on the kind of fun and pure enjoyment that I had last night.

I’ve worked hard on myself for the last year. I’ve tried to recognize my own faults and fears to see what I can do to get past them and to a place where happiness is within myself. Being perceived as perfect (which I know no one else actually sees me as, but in my mind, that’s what I want them to think), is one of those issues. So, me being me, I decided it’s time to work on it. I text my two close friends and said, “Hey, I’m throwing a dinner party next month and this time I mean it.” I imagine they rolled their eyes and decided to leave that date open on their calendar for when they expected me to say a week later that I wasn’t going to do it. Nope, not this time. This time I immediately sent out a group text to all five friends and said we’re doing this on Friday 13th. It just might end up being a nightmare, but we’re doing it anyway.

I ended up changing out the center piece, but you get the gist.


While planning I made a pact with myself that I wasn’t going to go overboard. I wasn’t going to panic. I wasn’t going to try to make it perfect. In some ways, I failed at all three, but in others I let go and let be.

I love to decorate. Love it. It brings me joy. So, I went full steam ahead on the table. Other than these plates I ordered (which I was planning to order anyway), I used only what I already had to set the table and decorate it. How I limited myself is I didn’t go out and buy a new dining table and chairs. Yes, the old me would have had to have this done before ever inviting people to come over. My husband is planning to build me a dining table and I’m going to purchase chairs, but I made myself wait until we could actually afford it and not just break the bank because I wanted the people I was having over to only see the best. Is anyone else like this or am I on a lonely island over here?


The panicking side I did really well on….until the day of the party. I was all good until I came home and started getting everything together and kept noticing things around the house out of place or something that was messy. I started to panic thinking what will these people think of me when they come over and see the vacuum hasn’t been put away yet. No kidding I started sweating so bad I had to take an extra shower. Seeing what I was doing, I left that freaking vacuum sitting out where it was so I could prove to myself that it doesn’t matter. If my friends cared that my place had things out of place, then I don’t need those kinds of friends. (no one cared!)



For six people, that’s a lotta cheese and bread! 🙂


You know what? It wasn’t perfect, but it was a blast. We laughed loud, ate too much, drank too much wine, and it was everything I hoped it would be. I actually had so much fun that I forgot to take photos of the food, but it was easy and delicious and I’ll leave the Roasted Chicken over Red Potatoes recipe video from Honeysuckle Catering here.  I sautéed fresh green beans as a side and that was it. Since we had a ridiculous amount of cheese beforehand I knew the dinner didn’t need much to fill us up.

Now we are planning on having a monthly Dinner Club. Once a month we’re going to go to one of our houses, eat, and enjoy each other’s company. One thing I know for sure is we women need each other. We need encouragement, acceptance, and love for one another.  In this time in my life, I need it.

Books · Life

From Sand and Ash

“With our hands, we reach for things we shouldn’t have and grab what isn’t ours. The way I have always reached for you.” Eva Rosselli, From Sand and Ash


This book is one for the ages. I’ve read Amy Harmon many times before and had no idea what From Sand and Ash was about when I purchased it on audible.  All I knew was she is a good writer and I would enjoy it.  It didn’t take long for me to realize I was listening to a story which would stay with me forever.

From Sand and Ash is one of the best books I’ve listened to in years. Considering I listen to about 200-300 books per year, that’s saying a lot.  As soon as I finished reading this book I bought the paperback so I could have it in my house to read over and over again.  Amy did a fantastic job making Eva Rosselli a normal, relatable girl who lived an ordinary life until the unimaginable happened to Italy and the world and Angelo Bianco a man who fought within himself what was expected from him and what his heart desired all while feeling powerless to protect the ones he loved.

What amazed me about the story was how it was written. How life changed in small bits for Eva (and all Italian Jews) in such a way that by the time they realized what was really happening, it was too late.   Though Eva and Angelo’s story was fictional, it was so wonderfully woven into real life events that it felt incredibly true.  Their love was timeless.  I don’t know how else to explain it.  It was simply beautiful.

“Confession: I’ve never hated anyone before.  Not a single soul.  But I’m learning.”  Eva Rosselli

The story gave a whole new picture of the Holocaust to me. Amy Harmon was brilliant in telling the story from the lives of two different religions, but the same love.   Not only was this a book about love that can survive all odds, but a quest to find happiness in a world filled in fear.

“You love Eva. And she loves you.  You’re a priest and she’s a Jew.”  Camillo Roselli (Eva’s father)

Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I’m desperately wanting for From Sand and Ash to be made into a movie or television series.