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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The longest nightmare ever....

I have had so many sweet people ask for updates on the situation with my mom, so I thought while I had a second I would post. My mother was taken to the emergency room on Mother's Day around 4am after starting to feel sick Saturday afternoon and declining as the night went on. Once she got to the ER, she was fairly quickly diagnosed as septic. Sepsis is a dangerous situation no matter what the age, but as an older woman with other health issues - it is very often deadly. Once they got her to a room in the ICU, she started to crash and went into what they call 'Septic Shock'. This is where organ systems begin to shut down. At that point, she had to be intubated and put on a ventilator and life support measures started. The next several days were a roller coaster of whether or not she was going to live or die. She eventually started to respond to the antibiotics and began showing signs of improvement. Fortunately, she was able to come out of kidney failure without having to be on dialysis. She also ended up needing a platelet transfusion and fortunately her platelet production has improved. As of today, she in no longer deemed "critical" and we had to make some decisions about what to do. She is still on the ventilator and her doctor did not feel like she was strong enough to take her off. So, we agreed to let them do a tracheotomy tomorrow. Also, at this point, they have decided the best potential for her recovery is to go to a long term rehabilitation facility that specializes in ventilator weaning and physical therapy. The infection has left her very very weak. The doctor said she cannot guarantee my mother will make it off of the ventilator and if she can't we will make decisions appropriate to her wishes at that time. For now, though, she will get the trach tube tomorrow and a gi tube directly into her stomach so she can get the tubes out of her nose and throat. Then, once she is stable, she will be moving to the rehab facility. If you are the praying sort, please pray for her recovery. We would so love to have her back home. This has been a horrible experience for our family. She and my dad have been married 52 years and he really wants her home. We all do. We are all exhausted, mentally and physically. And, we all still have a long road left to go. Our prayers are since God brought her through the infection and other complications we have had on the way, that He will continue to bring her through this.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

<3 you all ((hugs))


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Best laid plans....

Outfit 129 - 2013-14 School Year

I'm a planner. I have my lists in my head of everything. I know what each of my kids has on any given day all of the time. I plan vacations. I plan holidays. I have control issues. I have been learning a tough lesson this week - life doesn't always care about your plans. Tomorrow, she was supposed to go to Stone Mountain in Atlanta for her 5th grade end of the year field trip. It was cancelled due to weather and rescheduled to next week. We were supposed to leave Friday for a trip that has been in the making for a year. That is all in the process of getting cancelled. We were supposed be having Mother's Day dinner Sunday at IHOP. We ended up in the ICU waiting room with my mother fighting for her life. But, one thing I planned worked out and that was my handmade challenge. I have been so frustrated trying to find blogs that talked about sewing for older kids. My frustration turned into drive as I started this blog and committed to sewing her clothes this school year. Plans have come and gone and lots of life happened along the way. I never planned to break my shoulder in September, I never planned to sew through fevers, ridiculously busy times, or sewing through my mother's illness. However, I have made it to the end of this journey. Along the way I have met amazing people - pattern designers who are cranking out awesome patterns for tweens, seamstresses interesting in sewing for their tweens, and friends who were just curious whether or not this day would come. That the Handmade Challenge would be started and completed. Since our vacation plans have changed, she actually will continue on through school through next week. However, since they are having field day, the field trip and other non-school days, I decided that sticking to today would be best. Also, with the situation with my mom, it is a good place for me to rest. The blog is not leaving by any stretch of the imagination. It is just getting started. Now, I will have time to work on tutorials and patterns, and I will be able to make more elaborate things where this year I typically only had a day to get garments constructed. I am so grateful for everyone who has come on this journey with me.

My 'plan' had been to end on an amazing high note with something elaborate and amazing. Well, you see what has happened to my plans. So, we are ending on a note that I think will resonate with all of my sewing friends. Sometimes you have to sew something that is quick and works. My friend Astrid from SIG Creations came to the rescue with her newest tween pattern - The Amalie Ruffled Bloomers. This pattern comes in sizes 6-14 and has insttructions for a circle with an anchor applique included.

I paired it with a pre-existing nautical shirt I already had because by the time I got home from the hospital last night, it took me until around 130 to finish. 

Friends, I present the 129th outfit to conclude the end of our elementary years.

This challenge has definitely been a challenge. But, I have grown as a seamstress and a blogger. I have this memory with my daughter that neither of us will ever forget. We have also generated many large bags of clothing donations for a local women's and children's shelter, as we donated the items she didn't want to keep. 

Sometimes the best things in life aren't the things that we plan anyway. I don't know what path this detour is going to take us down. My mom is still in the ICU. Her infection looks to be better but her kidney failure is worse. We met with the nephrologist today and he is going to be watching over the next 24-48 hours to see if we need to start dialysis. She is still sedated on the ventilator. They were able to get her off of one of her blood pressure medicines, but we still have to get her off the other and have her hold her pressure before we can try to wean her off the vent. But, I am continuing to pray for a full recovery. 

This is my mom.

As I said, the blog isn't leaving, but I am definitely going to be taking some time to focus on my dad and hopefully supporting my mom as she continues to recover. We are praying fervently that she will come home. 

Thank you for coming and thank you for your support. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have....

Outfit 128 - 2013-14 School Year

Okay, before I delve into what I really want to type, let me get the good and positive thing out there. We have a winner from our Little Lizard King Blog Tour $35 giveaway. Beth Usselman! Thank you for entering and you will be hearing from Little Lizard King soon.

Onto today's blog.

If you stopped by yesterday, you know what is going on. Last night was one of the hardest nights of my life. I thought about never hearing her voice again, never getting another Facebook message saying 'Night, night <3 ya!', never being irritated at her for giving the kids junk food, never having dinner with her again...all of the nevers. It was almost more than my heart could bear. And I prayed. I prayed more truly and deeply than I have in a long time. It at times was a prayer with no words, just the groans and aches of my heart. Prayers in the shape of tears hit every surface. Petitions being raised up for not now, please longer.

At the hospital today, I heard the words my heart had been longing for - improvement. The nurse told us that they really thought yesterday she would be gone. Today, she has had all of her meds reduced, the vent has been reduced, her temperature has dropped on her own, they have taken her off of the sedative and she is more responsive and tonight before we left, it looked as if she might be picking up her urine output. She had response to touch and for a brief moment, I got to see her eyes. She fluttered them open. I honestly didn't know if I would ever see them again. And it was beautiful.

I know you always hear never take anyone for granted. And when everything is going fine, that phrase doesn't apply to you, right? You get irritated, angry, annoyed. People get on your nerves. Maybe you take for granted everything you have with them. And then, sometimes, its taken from you and you realize - people aren't a perfect box. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have - the Facts of Life. I would be the happiest girl in the world if my mom was handing my daughter a gummy worm even though she knows she has braces now. The doctor told us that while we do have improvement, we are not out of the woods and I know that she is still in critical condition and all of this may change overnight. But, tonight, I'm claiming this healing. Tonight, I am thanking God for intervening on the behalf of all of the prayers being lifted for my mom. And I promise, if I am given the chance to have her home again, I will NEVER take her for granted ever again. And she will know every chance I have to let her how much I love her. I am so blessed that I have had thirty six years to call her my mother and it is with every fiber of my being that I pray to have more.

I know this isn't a supposed to be an about me blog, but this is where I am in my life right now. And it is what is impacting my sewing. That being said, today we went back to our Boo Designs Skater Skirt pattern from yesterday. A.) The pattern was cut. B.) It is so blinking fast to put together C.) I had amazing fun fabric to play with to make it. She loved this skirt today. Here is our version 2 of the Boo Designs Skater Skirt

This skirt is so much more amazing in person. The actual fabric looks to be black and silver, but the silver is holographic and reflects rainbow colors. It twirls, it swirls, its lots of fun!

Here is the information on the pattern.
Purchase it here:

Thank you all for your prayers and support. Tomorrow will be our last official outfit for the school year. Even though our trip is off - I feel like its a good place for me to pause and fully focus on my mom and dad and family through this storm we are in. I hope you will consider coming by tomorrow to cap off the 2013-14 school year with me.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Twirl in her Step and a Tear in Our Hearts

Outfit 127 - 2013-14 School Year

Friends, my family's world was turned upside down yesterday morning. One of my biggest fans of this blog, this project and my sewing is hanging on to life right now with the odds stacked against her. My mother has been one of my biggest supporters. Every night when I post the blog, I would Facebook her and say pics are up and she would always have a compliment about how C looked. She is currently in Intensive Care at a local hospital and is in septic shock and renal failure. Septic shock is a hard thing from anyone to bounce back from, but add in 71 years old with other health problems and you end up with more cards stacked against you. She had a very touch and go night but she did make it through the night. My dad and I spent the night up there in the ICU waiting room. I came home for a little bit to sleep some and to make tomorrows outfit. I know she would want me to keep sewing. Some nights, she stayed up late just to see the pictures of that days outfits. I was just with my mom Thursday  night at G's Little Mermaid production. She looked so pretty and she really seemed to enjoy the play. We were supposed to go to IHOP for dinner with her last night. Instead, she is currently sedated on a ventilator and more bags of drugs than I have ever seen. The doctors are doing everything they can. They can't really say right now what is going to happen. They were going to try to wean her off some of her meds today to see if some of the antibiotics have been working. They are hoping her kidney failure is temporary. I am so overwhelmed, I can hardly breathe. More than likely, we will be cancelling our trip to Europe. Whether my mom passes or makes it, I will probably need to be here. If you pray, please lift her up for healing. I know God is still in the prayer business and still can do miracles. He can work through these doctors and sustain her. If you know anyone else who is a prayer warrior, please ask them to add her to their lists.

 I hate to bring you such a beautiful pattern with such a heavy heart. I have seen many people rave about the Boo Designs patterns. They are an Australian company with very cute designs. You can see the whole pattern collection on their Etsy site at Today I am going to show you our Skater Skirt from the "Design your own Skater Skirt" pattern 

This pattern comes with many cute options, like the one above. You can make coordinating suspenders, the skirt can have a zipper, buttons or a wide elastic band. Fortunately, I had this made on Saturday, so I was able to get pics and everything done while I was at the hospital. So, here are pics of our first (and certainly not last - that might be foreshadowing) Boo Designs Skater Skirt.

This is an easy skirt that has lots of options. It has great twirl. And as you can see from the pattern pic, looks amazing with a pettiskirt under it. 

Thank you for all of your prayers and support.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Blue Ribbon Dress and a Giveaway for You!

Welcome! I am honored to be the last stop on the Little Lizard King blog tour. First, before we go any further, to all of you who are mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, like a mother, or anywhere in between, let me wish you

I was asked to review the Blue Ribbon Dress Pattern in a size 14. We are going on a cruise a week from Monday, so I picked some fun sea life inspired fabric for our version. Here is our interpretation!

She loved the dress and I loved the pattern. It has so many options that make it really versatile too. First of all, the size range is from a 12m to a girls 14. Also, it can be a tunic, which you can see in a girls sz 14 at Leighlee's blog from the blog tour, or a dress. As a dress, the twirl volume is amazing. I think all girls (including us older ones) love to twirl. There are also several sleeve options, and since it is pushing 90 here in the south, we went with sleeveless.

We <3 this pattern and many other Little Lizard King patterns, which is why I am so excited to announce that Little Lizard King is being SO generous and has given us a $35 gift certificate to giveaway. You can enter via the Rafflecopter below and the drawing will be on Tuesday and will be announced on my regular blog post that evening. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also check out the Little Lizard King blog to learn more about them and also to see links to all of the other talented seamstresses in the blog tour. Thank you to Little Lizard King for asking me to participate and offering this awesome giveaway and also thank YOU for coming by! See you back tomorrow as we start our last week of school with only THREE outfits to go.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Under the Sea

Outfit 126 -2013-14 School Year

Todays outfit wraps up our last full week of school for the 2013-14 school year. Next week we will only have outfits Mon-Wed as she is going on her 5th grade end of the year field trip on Thursday. Then, Friday we will start Sewing in BeTween the Travel Diaries. But, we do have something special coming up on Mother's Day. I have been asked to participate in a special Blog Tour by Little Lizard King. I will have a special dress to share with you and there will be a giveaway from Little Lizard King as well. I am so honored to be presenting my blog entry for them on Mother's Day as this journey of the Handmade School year has been so special for me as a mom. It has meant so much to know that a little piece of my heart is with her every day, as every garment has been made one of a kind, special for her. She literally has been wearing my heart on her sleeve. The ending of the Handmade School year is bittersweet. On one hand, it will be nice to be able to focus on bigger sewing projects, hopefully getting in better shape, and maybe cleaning my house (don't get too greedy now ;) ). However, I think to some degree I will miss this project. It will probably be a little bit like childbirth itself. The process is so difficult at the time, but the result numbs the pain in your memory. Time has certainly flown and I am awed that next Friday I will be the mom to two middle schoolers. Here is some information about the Little Lizard King blog tour and I encourage you to stop by some of these other blogs to check out their handiwork. I am in amazing company.

And here is the website for the Little Lizard King blog Don't forget - here, Sunday, pattern review and giveaway!

So, let's get on with today's outfit. Yes, it is 9:42 EST and I am just getting home. The boy had two shows tonight of The Little Mermaid Jr. production he was in. I went to the 530 show with the family and I had to work backstage for the 730. It was amazing. Our co-directors did a great job! So, of course she had to have a Little Mermaid dress. So, it was back to upcycling and we upcycled our shirt using the Funktional Threads Rachel pattern

Of course, living in west central Georgia, the closest thing I have to a sea is my pool, so we will just pretend its the beach :)

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me through this journey. Sewing in BeTween won't be going away. I am still going to be sewing up a storm and advocating tween sizes in sewing. I know some people doubted I would finish, but we are going to finish strong next week and I thank you for coming with me. Don't forget, this Mother's Day, swing back by and check out our Little Lizard Blog tour post and enter to win our giveaway!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Frolic through the flowers

Outfit 125 - 2013-14 School Year

Happy Hump Day! The work/school week is over halfway done now. The weather sure is warming up here in the south. We have been flirting with the 90s! It's been great having these sleeveless knits to make so she can stay cute and comfortable in the heat and humidity. So, this dress may look really familiar since you just saw it yesterday. But, really, look at it - while its the same pattern, fabric makes it completely different. And she was cute, springy-summery, and comfortable. It's the California Girl from Everything Your Mama Made and More
I did the shirring again. And as I made these two at the same time, I learned that if you are going to shirr, you might want to consider taking it down a size. At least I think that is what would fit best in our case. Leaving the regular size was a good choice for the elastic waist option as it gave that blousson effect.

Well, here is today's super cute Everything Your Mama Made & More California Dress

Tomorrow my son's play - The Little Mermaid - starts. He will have shows Thursday and Friday. So, tomorrow's outfit will reflect the show. I thought she could wear it tomorrow and then on the Disney Cruise. Come back tomorrow to check it out!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

When you wish upon a star

Outfit 123 - 2013-14 School Year

The clock is ticking....I checked our cruise check in and there are only 13 days until our transatlantic and only a week and a half until we leave to go to Disney for a few days prior to the cruise. We are excited and nervous. One thing I have always loved about Disney Cruise Lines cruises is the horn. Most cruise ships just blow their horns when they leave port, Disney Cruises leave with Magic.

One of the songs they play is "When You Wish Upon a Star." Everytime I hear it, it just makes me realize how blessed I am. I am blessed with my family, I am blessed to be able to travel, so many blessings. I know this time of year is so hectic and crazy, but if you slow down and just look at the blessings - it might help you breathe a little easier as you are baking your teacher appreciation cupcakes, washing those muddy clay white baseball pants and helping kiddos study for finals. 

Today's dress captures a little of the Disney Cruise Line magic. When I saw this knit fabric show up on Purpleseamstress Fabric on Facebook  

I knew I had to order it to make something for this trip. So, when it got in my grubby little hands, I knew it needed to be a maxi dress. And so, we made it into a Everything Your Mama Made and More California Dress

I decided to try the shirring option to gather in the waist. I think if  when I make this again, if I shirr I would probably go down a size. But, I still loved it and she got tons of compliments. I think she will look cute as a button when she boards that ship! 

Thank you for stopping by and we hope to see you tomorrow!