Archive for the ‘Sew Thankful Family’ Category

The best intentions and adjusting when reality sets in…

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Last week I had one of my best ideas yet for a new free pattern/project. It has all of the characteristics I love for free projects:

  • The project is quick and easy — perfect for beginners
  • It doesn’t require any unusual materials
  • It’s useful — virtually EVERYBODY can use the finished product

Because it’s such an easy project I *thought* there wouldn’t be any problem having step-by-step pictures prepared and instructions ready by yesterday. So, of course, I announced that in the eNews last weekend because I was so excited to have a new project to share with subscribers.

I was so excited.

Then reality set in. What was I thinking?!!!  The required 6 – 8 hours a day I have to spend attached to a CPM machine (no, that’s not me in the video) for my knee rehabilitation in addition to the extra physical therapy has seriously diminished my available time.

As much as I hate to admit it, my body is still recovering from the trauma of surgery and the painful rehabilitation.  Just completing the normal, required personal, family and business tasks each day put me past my limit.  It’s frustrating and disappointing.  But it is what it is.

I’m not seeking sympathy nor am I making excuses. I’m human and this situation is what it is. An honest reality check that I can only do what I can do. I don’t want to get bogged down in self-pity or become depressed.  I must keep moving forward, adjusting as I go.

First, I apologize for not being able to meet my own publicly announced deadline.  Second, I am forgiving myself so I can accept the lesson and adjust. Third, I am moving forward.  The project is still in the works and I am making progress on it, even if it seems SO slow.   I am getting stronger every day and as I become stronger I will begin to have more time to spend.  I truly *hope* that it will be finished by next Saturday/Sunday but I can’t promise that (yet). I don’t want to rush and risk errors or poor quality.

I can only say for certain that I will announce it and provide the link in the FREE eNews just as soon as the project is ready.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

In the end, circumstances are temporary and we can choose how we deal with them. We can give up or we can adjust as necessary and keep on going.  I have decided that I will not let what I can’t do today get in the way of what I can do today.

My ACL Repair – Post Op Update

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

If you’ve been a SewThankful eNews subscriber for a little while you know that I tore my left ACL (ligament in the knee) in early January this year. After several weeks of strength training and stabilization of the muscles surrounding the knee, I was scheduled for surgery to repair/replace the ACL with an allograft.  My surgery was this last Wednesday (March 3rd) and I am very pleased to tell you it was a success. I was able to have same day/out patient surgery and sleep in my own bed that night.

As was expected, the first few days were the most challenging for the body to adjusts and recover from the surgical trauma (the new graft & screws), anesthesia,  pain medications and regaining strength.

I am very thankful for Jeff (my wonderful husband), our sons and our fantastic employees.  Jeff, Jared & Jacob have taken such great care of me. They make sure I have everything I need every day and they are patient when the pain becomes difficult.  Jeff and our amazing employees, Cindy and Heather, continue to keep SewThankful running smoothly while I’ve been confined to the bed and limited to working on the laptop.

My mobility and strength increase more every day and I am looking forward to returning to full function (business wise) next week.  I have an appointment early in the week to have the incision clips removed and set up my rehab plan.

In the meantime, I am focused on recovery, recovery, recovery.  I’m having fun using my crutches dressed in Quilted Crutch Coats and  I have come up with a new FREE project idea to share with you (no, it’s not the quilted crutch coats–it’s something else but it is very practical and virtually everybody can use it)If all goes well, I will have the pattern/instructions finalized by the next eNews, so be sure to stay tuned! If you’re not an eNews subscriber, be sure you sign up to receive the link to the free project.  Click here for the sign up page.

Valentine’s Sweet Treats

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

These delicious cookies are our family Valentine tradition.

Chapman Family Valentine Cookies

I make the dough — Jared & Jacob help me cutout & decorate the cookies.  Once baked & decorated, these cookies never last long!!  Click here for a printable file of the recipe.  It’s a fun family project.

NOTE:  The recipe file link is a PDF which requires a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, available for free from .

Chapman Family Valentine Cookie

Click here for a printable file of the recipe.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Also required: 1 heart shaped cookie cutter

Allow butter & cream cheese to soften at room temperature at least 30 minutes.

Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl until evenly distributed.

Use an electric hand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Beat in sugar until well mixed. Add vanilla and egg, beat well.

Use low to medium mixer speed and gradually add in flour/baking powder to the butter/cream cheese/sugar mixture. Mix until completely and evenly combined.

Divide mixture into two even parts.

Wrap each part in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator approximately 2 hours or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove chilled dough from refrigerator.

Roll out to approximately 1/8” thickness on a well-floured surface. Cut out heart shapes with cookie cutters. Place on un-greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for approx. 8 – 10 minutes (time may vary depending upon your oven, altitude, etc.).

Remove from oven. Cool completely, spread with your favorite icing & sprinkles, as desired.


Click here for a printable file of the recipe.

…and sew on…

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

For those curious about the status of my knee:

I’ve been off crutches for over a week.  I’ve had the MRI and a follow up with the surgeon.  The ACL is total blown but thankfully the meniscus still looks good.  I will have same-day surgery in March to replace the ACL.  In the meantime,  he (the surgeon) wants me to spend lots of time pedaling on a stationary bike.  And I can swim. Music to my ears.

After the surgery I will have a couple weeks of earnest down time so I’m working on a list of sewing and quilting projects I can work on either from bed or limited mobility (chair with leg elevated).  YAY…I’ll have yo-yo making time!

This all means a bit of re-juggling business ideas and plans but I am confident that it’s going to come together just fine.  I am thankful for every day and every opportunity to learn, love and grow.

Life is REALLY good…and sew on… 🙂

Jared & Jacob costumes 2009

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

This year the boys told me they wanted to be characters from Naruto (a Japanese cartoon series) I was a little flustered.  We looked for ‘commercial’ costumes and those we found were quite costly and unimpressive (according to the boys).

You know what that means.  Time for me to put on my costumer hat and get busy. Thankfully, I was able to google some images for Naruto and Sasuke.

Here is what I came up with:

Jared and Jacob costumes 2009

Jared and Jacob costumes 2009

Thankfully, the “look” of the characters made it easy — sweats as a base layer would work pretty well.  No problem there with Jared’s Sasuke costume in dark navy and gray — navy and gray sweats are readily available.  Jacob’s Naruto character was a little more tricky.  I couldn’t find orange sweats (or white ones in his size) anywhere so I did what my grandmother taught me to do: use what I have.

I purchased gray sweat top & bottom and turned them inside out. The inside is fuzzy white.  Then I got out my Tsukineko Ink (tangerine) and painted the inside orange using a sponge brush.  A couple bottles of ink later, we had orange sweats!

For the royal blue trim (on both costumes), we used colored duct tape (Duck brand).  The cream colored neck roll was constructed out of batting and secured with the duct tape. Duct tape sticks nicely to fabric and removes easily when you are finished.

For the headbands, I used leftover scraps of a tone-on-tone mottled dark blue fabric. Then I took scraps of Shape-Flex and painted them a metallic silver color using Shiva Paintstiks.  After heat-setting (simultaneously fusing the Shape-Flex pieces to the blue strips), I took out my black Fabrico marker and free-handed the emblem.

To finish it off, each boy received a quick spray of temporary hair color (black for Jared; gold for Jacob); and Jacob’s cheek stripes were applied (just a bit of eye-liner).

Both boys were thrilled with their finished costumes and totally got “into” their characters.  To keep them toasty, each wore a pair of long underwear under the costumes. They stayed comfy warm the entire time they were out hunting treats.

I had a blast putting it together for them.  It was a great feeling to be able to use some of my “stash” fabric/art supplies in a fun way for my guys.  The benefits were many:

  • I saved a LOT of money money compared to $40-$100+ per flimsy commercial costume,
    • Including the new sweat tops & bottoms, colored duct tape, and hair spray color I spent approximately $30.00.
    • My art supplies came from my stash, but *if* I would have had to buy new ones, they would have cost less than $25.00 retail, bringing the grand total to $55.00 for TWO great costumes.
  • We have GREAT memories AND we still have something of practical use — they both have a new pair of sweats to wear for play over the cold winter months
  • I got to be a hero at least for a day or two–they think I can work magic when it comes to making cool costumes.

I’ll let them believe that a little while longer.