All who Dwell in my Heart

Finished the Robyn and Neal block…can you believe I didn’t have enough mint or chocolate ribbon?!? Yeah I was shocked too…really broke my heart to go to JoAnn to find the perfect ribbons… hand embroidered Robyn / Neal in chocolate floss…just waiting for the ice-cream man for some mint chocolate chip in a waffle cone! Pattern: ‘crazy hearts’  Completed July 25th 2013

Attached the ultra teeny diaper to the good works block and added some super cutie patootie ribbons…bummer couldn’t locate ribbon with socks or better yet sock monkeys on it…oh well…this works pretty good. Hand embroidered ‘good works’ on this cotton and flannel heart. This heart is for God’s Tiny Angels, Operation Sock Monkey, Hands for Haiti, Clowns without borders and Teeny Tears! Pattern: ‘crazy hearts’  Completed July 26th 2013

The very last block, number 20, for the quilt All Who Dwell in my Heart…there are pieces of antique lace and some of my favorite light colored fabrics in this block.  All hand embroidered just like all the other blocks in the quilt.   Pattern: ‘crazy hearts’ Completed July 27th 2013

All who dwell in my heart quilt top is complete…and I only need to tear off one ribbon that I inadvertently melted when I was ironing the top…still can’t figure out how I managed to iron on the fusible batting to that block without melting the ribbon in the first place…nonetheless it is as fabulous as I always thought it would be! It’s taken me a wee bit over 3 years to complete this eye scalding quilt of love and happiness.  Once totally done it will live on the wall right next to Jim’s Tumor Start Quilt. Life adventures in warm lovie form.  When complete it will be approximately 36 inches by 45 inches.  I figure I’ll machine quilt it for longevity, haven’t decided on the backing yet, but I have quite the assortment of slabs of fabric to contemplate. Pattern: ‘crazy hearts’  July 28th 2013


sewing nook taking shape


The sewing nook is complete but for adequate lighting.  Already using it when I have a chance…contemplating the rearranging of the many bins as I noticed I have orange cotton in 3 different places…can’t have that! But Shamus approves…he came with for a sewing moment and finally stopped pacing and laid behind my chair once I put in Evanescence and got to sewing… May 27th 2013

My cluttered mind

So much to do. So much left to contemplate.  Most of which is on the QT…so I can’t really splash it all over the headlines at the moment. Let’s just say my address will be changing…for the better.

Natalia heart

I’d really like to sit at the sewing machine and finish the pile of diapers sitting there, or better yet do the top stitching on the stack of receiving blankets.  But I don’t.  I look at the sewing table a mere 6 feet or so from my chair with the piles of flannel and cotton beseeching me to sew and I can’t make myself cross those 6 feet to just do it.  I know once I sit over there I can accomplish the lot of it in a few hours, then I can throw the blankets in the wash and then pin and package the diapers, have those piles completed and out of my mind…it’s those 6 feet of space and the overwhelming jumble of thoughts crowding my mind that keep firmly in my seat watching the TV blindly.


monkey madness

monkey madness

What do I keep, what do I donate, what do I give to someone I know, what do I unceremoniously throw away?!?  Have been living in this little death trap for 20 years.  Wow. I type that 20 years and I realize I have aged as healthily as the craptacular abode I’ll soon be escaping with its 70’s linoleum and so many horrible memories.  Do I pack the memories too? Will they slither along with the boxes of books and breakables to take up new residence? Of course they will.  Natalia’s memory came with to this trailer from those apartments.  Oh to just erase all the bad and just keep the good…deal with it, cope with it, accept it…sigh.  I’ve been living with so much tripe taking up space in my mind and heart for so long I’m tired of it.  Oh I’ll hang on to the memory of Nat even if I have to have the memory of her death.  I’d like to totally loose all memory of the first marriage mistake but keep all the memories of the lovely children that occurred because of that union.  I’ll give up the memory of the ridiculous rebound marriage too, but keep the memories of my girls and the birth of the sweet grandson. It’s a shame you can’t have selective memory loss…of course no offence meant to anyone’s anyone suffering from memory loss.

Natalia N Tabitha

See it’s all these stinking memories clogging my mind when I’m busily cramming more stuff in there: appointments to get to, things to remember to ask at said appointments, things to revise, things to do.  Pay the property taxes ASAP, pay the rent, pay the medical bills, oh go to work and be productive so you get paid.  Clean the fish tanks, yeah plural.  Feed Akmed. Feed Helga. Make Shamus’ vet appointment…find out how much that will cost.  Hey that big bag of chopped up monkey bodies…sew those together you freak! Ship out boxes to the 4 corners of the planet…gotta keep acquiring that good Karma, I’ll need it this coming year for sure.


Lists. Post-its. Scribblings on napkins, envelopes, sketchings of furniture placement, contemplations of decorating in a cool yet not really ‘me’ way.  Can’t be wicked cool…will have to be subdued…ugh…dare I say adult.  Unhappy face.  What of my posters? Yeah, SO juvenile but they are so cool.  My muses to keep me going, the rainbow happiness surrounding me goading me to sew, create, envelope me with busyness…a frappe of color and texture…now white…a blank canvas I can’t paint. So very empty of expression.  What of dangling deals in the windows from the ceiling moving slowly in the air currents that surround the life living there?  Dare I hang the witch’s ball in the window? That I do. Shhhh. Perhaps no one will notice.  But the rest, the wind chimes, the mobiles, the oddness hanging from string will all have to go else where with someone else…or in the trash. Another unhappy face.


Garage sale of things I really don’t want to see go? How does one price items they still like? I’m probably a hoarder of some sort, without the dead flattened animals under piles of refuse.  I just like weird stuff.  Odd ash trays (I don’t smoke), weird mugs I’ll never drink out of, postcards from places I’ll never go, statues, glass things, stuffed beasties, spooky dolls.  Things I don’t need but I like to have.  I like to look at.  How do I choose?  Do I keep the weird doll mom made in the 70’s, named Ruthie with the blue face Stevie ‘adopted’, or do I keep the black Kewpie doll? If I keep both do I then get rid of the Shamus dog collection? I can easily say good bye to the crockery and silverware, glasses cups rugs, towels nondescript furnishing and appliances we won’t need.  I can even be OK with giving/selling the Halloween collection I won’t have room for, perhaps even the Giraffe family with their friends the rhinos…but my zombie dolls, Oonies and sock monkeys…I just don’t know if I can part with them…they aren’t essential like oxygen, but they make me happy…too damn many thoughts…too damn many things to decide about.  Which books can leave? OMG…don’t get me started on books! They’re as prolific as DVDs, CDs, records, yeah vinyl, even cassettes…OY, guitars…playable ones, ones left to be built, bodies painted fabulous but that no real hope of completion any time soon…do people buy guitar parts at garage sales?  Unhappy face once again…

pained grin xmas 2009

I’m happy to move, happy to live in a solid actual house.  HAPPY damnit.  This is a good thing for all of us.  A really healthy change for all of us, have to get happy about it.  Fresh start, out with old in with the new.  New is so scary though.  Oh no…here come the what-ifs…they suck as much as the thoughts of getting rid of things.  What if this doesn’t go smoothly?  What if we end up hating each other?  What if this causes more stress and friction in this tinderbox of a family?  What if we all don’t bend and cope and accept life together? This can’t possibly go in a perfectly ordered tidy calm way.  Look at us, a family of freaks with our menagerie of freaky pets, all of us on different schedules for every thing, we’re all odd and don’t even blend with each other much less mashing us with another human being who’s a bit less malleable than any of us could hope for.  Well, guess we’ll aim for a forced frappe, blend this family like no other before it.  Now to just teach Shamus to be incredibly happy in a quiet way and set all the TVs to be read rather than heard…this new chapter will prove interesting if nothing else…and I will be happy about it…damnit…slightly less unhappy face


some cheese with your whine?

Jim’s surgery is in 4 days…4 entire days…96 hours give or take…I am so stressed…scared…unhappy…weirdly lonely…terrified…but I don’t get to show it…oh I get to cry in the shower since I’m basically alone…Shamus is usually on the heat vent but he doesn’t tell on me for not being strong…I am a wimp…this whole strength thing is a very weak opaque facade I am an emotional pile of whiny goo…I feel like crying in the car, at work, in the waiting rooms…every where it seems some creepy mean little thought will enter my head all coated in failure and alone forever and the tears will fill my eyes…deep breath…look up…nope those tears are still there threatening to run over and down my cheek for all to see…then the seething anger lumbers in…what, you’re crying? WTF for…stiff upper lip…you’re the woman, you must be strong for all those who depend on you…if you falter in front of them how will they ever cope…if you’re weak it means that you are not going to be there for everyone’s everything…you’re not dependable…you’re not the rock you pretend to be… whiny me whimpers back that I’m tired of being the rock…I want to be a squishy feather pillow and just lay there waiting for someone else to do everything…I want to sit back and watch for a while…the thick of things isn’t nearly as enjoyable as I pretend it is…I want to sleep for days and let someone else do it all, schedule everything, get everywhere in the nick of time, take the notes, remember all the numbers and important names…I want to be a content calm ‘everything-will-be-ok’ lump.  I grow weary of all this adult responsibility crap…I am still terrified…can I still do everything with this idiot grin of bliss on my face? Will I eventually just come out and say my day sucks…I’m sick of this and your banal questions are driving me insane?  Yeah I am working hard and hardly working…what of it? Want a fist in your face? And I’m a pacifist to many people’s guffaw…can I continue this fake happiness?  How comfy is that rubber room and can I bring my sewing machine? I really want to remain strong…be that dependable rock with all the answers and keep that tighter than a gnat’s ass schedule without loosing my whiny wimpy cry baby mind along the way.  UGH…just ugh…

There it’s out there for all to see…and ya know what…I still feel like crying…

just a dollop will do you

I don’t normally really share what is going on in my life…it’s rather overwhelming on a good day…I’m not healthy, we’ll leave it at that…I help raise my grandkids, Oliver has Autism and is in therapies after school 4 days per week.  Olivia is 14 months and a little babbling tornado…so there’s that.  Jazmin my youngest daughter is 22 and Autistic…lets just say of the three kids I care for she is the most difficult because she can talk and she breaks my heart on a daily basis with her inability to cope with anything.  My oldest daughter Tabitha (25) works full time 2nd shift, may be going back to 3rd shift. She’s dandy but really depends on me allot with the kids…I take Olie to most of his therapy appointments.  I take Jaz to all her therapy appointments.  I work full time…sigh
My dear husband of just over a year has a tumor in his middle ear.  I find out today when he will have surgery to have it removed.  The only place in Minnesota he can go for said surgery is the U of M in Minneapolis.  We live in upper armpit Minnesota better known as Watertown, so it’s about 1/2 a tank of gas for a round trip.  I haven’t slept in days, I really need to go to the cardiologist for my own issues…lets just say driving into a bridge abutment has come to mind a couple times…the only one near is on a curve and is a 35 mile per hour zone…all I would do is really hurt my Jeep… not on my list of things to do…
DH surgery is 8-10 hours long, he will be in ICU for 3 days, in the hospital for at least 7 days and then I’ll find out if he will come home with me or go to rehab…I think I may be on the edge of Autism or have gotten a bit of it by osmosis…I hate not having a schedule set in stone, can’t stand living without knowing what’s next, surprises, spur of the moment…not me at all…so with this surgery, the kids, the therapies, the schedule all blown to heck I feel I’m loosing my mind…dump in there that I am a terrified driver so driving from my hovel in Watertown to the Beeg Ceeties on a daily basis for a week will surely find me in a rubber room…
Forever it seems I’ve been the go to guy for everything in my family…you need something call mom, gotta get somewhere, call mom…need to cry vent complain accuse whine berate…call mom…I’m pretty sure I will survive this trial be surgery and I will help my husband recover…it’s the rest of my insane life I worry about…mostly I worry about the little kids…I am a giant parts of their lives…the only days surgery is done is Mondays and Fridays…Monday I take Olie to school and after school take him to speech therapy and take him home with me over night…I have absolutely NO idea who I can shovel all my responsibilities onto…Who would want to even attempt my really stressful insane life…
thing is I love my life…it stresses me out to no end but I don’t know what I’d do if I ever didn’t have all this stuff to do…I love helping Oliver discover himself and grow into a great little guy…I love that I get to watch Olivia learn to walk and babble and be a wee toddler…I can even cope with putting up with Jazmin being disrespectful and mean (I’d rather not but I do)…I just hope all these people in my life can figure out how to cope without me while I’m helping my husband…I really love him too…
guess I just needed to get this all out…I have no idea what I hope to get from this rant…
thanks for listening!

twas 10 days before Christmas

Oliver’s fabulous crabby patty cake December 15th 2012

Olivia trying to escape Neena’s claw like holiday grasp December 15th 2012

Liv has a bow blue and all December 15th 2012

Having a seat in her lovely gown December 15th 2012

Olie just knows this gift is clothing! December 15th 2012

Secret Santa Monkeys for Brendan and Max kiddles of my secret Santa girl! December 15th 2012

Shamus no likes his new Frankenweenie outfit December 15th 2012

Olie and the fabulous cake! December 15th 2012

Contemplating the pile of goodies December 15th 2012

Oliver with his yippee Spongebob Lego kit December 15th 2012

Shall I spin for you? December 15th 2012

Shamus…has gone from dislike to loath…remove this fabric torture! December 15th 2012

Chew toys totally wipe out Shamus December 16th 2012

Olivia can walk this way December 15th 2012

Assorted wee ones awaiting their final destination.  I’m thinking the red white & blue one will go to my niece Meg in the Army.  The pink with the kitty button will go to Judi…the rest…well we shall see! Pattern found in the book: Stray Sock Sewing, Too: Super Cute Sock Softies to Make and Love by Daniel December 17th 2012

Choices so many Choices, Oliver has to choose which wee man will go to his friend Neal in Burnsville…the blue 3 buttoned one won! Pattern found in the book: Stray Sock Sewing, Too: Super Cute Sock Softies to Make and Love by Daniel December 17th 2012

One newborn sock can make one fabulous wee person in about 1 ½ hours! Pattern found in the book: Stray Sock Sewing, Too: Super Cute Sock Softies to Make and Love by Daniel December 15th 2012

A small gathering of wee ones Pattern found in the book: Stray Sock Sewing, Too: Super Cute Sock Softies to Make and Love by Daniel December 16th 2012

in memory of Natalia

In memory of Natalia Tatianna Grace Edna (those were all her names) we just call her Natalia or Nat

Natalia N Tabitha

I sew these wee teeny diapers thinking of my 2nd beautiful daughter.

In 1988 (had her in 1989) the pregnancy was a surprise which all of my babies were but this one…wow…my 1st daughter Tabitha was all of 9 months old of course in diapers, with bottle in hand not walking yet and wham the stick turned blue…but…hey I had one baby how difficult can another be?


Having no medical insurance at the time I went to one prenatal appointment where I was told well you had one healthy baby, this one should be just fine as well, no need for an ultrasound, just take your vitamins yadda yadda yadda…((sigh))


Almost right on time perhaps a week early I went into labor. My first baby was about 3 ½ days worth so I really wasn’t looking too forward to this aspect of the adventure; my labor didn’t progress so I was given pitocin to get the show on the road, no one bothered to tell me this might hurt a bit.  Finally the moment came after 11 hours of back labor another sweet baby girl was in the world, but she was purple and had a very quiet breathy cry. To make matters worse I was bleeding quite a bit so was left on the pitocin for another 11 hours. Needlessly to say the breast feeding didn’t happen since I couldn’t sit up for the pain. When I finally held my tiny daughter she was less purple but not by much, we were told she had a heart murmur and a little jaundice and we were sent home. Still without insurance and concerns I had about my baby’s weak cry, not wanting to eat, and not sleeping well was just put to me being an over anxious mommy…


After 28 days of seeing my baby loose weight, and basically being told to calm down and change formulas I brought my baby to the ER, mind you still no insurance, we were left in the waiting room for almost an hour until a man with a huge cut to his hand was called and he told the nurse my baby could take his turn. Natalia was turning blue, the jaundice wore off and my baby was blue. While we sat and waited for the doctor to see her she finally drank a full 4 ounces of formula…I was elated…little did I know…


They did a chest X-ray thinking perhaps my asthma was passed on to Nat, it wasn’t. My tiny daughter who lived this long had only half of a heart, half of her heart never developed. This deadly defect sounds like a slight murmur looks much worse; Natalia had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  As we live in a farming community with just a regulation hospital at the time, my baby was bundled up and sent to Children’s Hospital & Clinics in Minneapolis where we learned even more devastating news.  Her defect was fatal if left untreated and we were actually told we could just let our baby die if we wanted to…um…let that sink in…let my baby die?!? Is that really an option?!?  Then we were told had we insurance Natalia could be put on a waiting list for a new heart but since she was so small and had struggled for 28 days out of the womb there was no real hope a heart would arrive in time.  Then onto option # 3: surgery with a 30% chance of survival. Well we chose door # 3. After a very long but basically successful surgery we got to see our super tiny baby again. She was no longer blue, in fact she had pink little cheeks, and she was beautiful. Even with the machines, tubes, and the owie running down her chest, she was perfect in my eyes.  We were pulled to one side and told they couldn’t stabilize her after the surgery, she had tried to survive untreated too long. After 2 hours of them all trying to stabilize Natalia, she slipped away on her 29th day of life having never opened her eyes again.


We waited patiently in a little room to say good bye to Natalia, so tiny, she finally arrived, no more tubes no screaming machines, just her with her Kewpie doll curl of black hair, her tiny nose, perfect chin, rose bud lips in a massive t-shirt, probably newborn but by now she had shrunk to less than 4 pounds, almost swallowed up in a big warm blanket. It was hard to find her tiny hands and feet so I could count her tiny perfect fingers and toes one last time.


She was quite teeny, thankfully my older daughter had a baby doll almost the same size as Natalia, so I took off the tiny flannel nightgown and sent it to the funeral home with a diaper for her to wear for the viewing.  The diaper was massive even being a newborn size, had I thought of it I would have sewn up a tiny diaper, I had all the ingredients but go figure I didn’t think of it till much later.


Now so many years later, I’m a mom to 2 beautiful adult daughters and 2 gorgeous grandchildren.  All healthy! I witnessed my grandbabies born, pudgy pink and screaming…such a sound of rejoice! With every new pregnancy I have the same worries about their hearts, thankfully with my youngest daughter I got an ultrasound to look right at her heart so I knew it was all there and in working order.  We did the same with the grand kids…better safe than sorry!


I’ve been sewing for a group called God’s Tiny Angels based in West Virginia for oh 3 or so now.  We sew for at risk preemies and newborns across the country, also making burial outfits and blankets for the teeny babies that don’t survive.  I’ve also made Angel Pockets, a tiny square blanket of flannel with a built in pocket to hold tiny stillborns that I send to HCMC here in Minnesota as well as God’s Tiny Angels.  I found Teeny Tears almost by accident when I say it noted on a friends blog.  All I can say is THANK YOU too all the angel families who make these teeny diapers for all of the teeny and micro teeny babies to wear so their mommies can count those perfect fingers and toes before saying good bye.


~Elaine, Mommy of an Angel

into the bowels of monkey madness

fallen into the bowels of monkey madness…

monkey madness

well assorted repurposed foot gear beastie insanity…they’re coming! all the sock creatures to smother me in my sleep…yeah silliness I know and Shamus McSuchy-Myhre was busily mauling my foot as I don’t normally sprawl on the living room floor with a heaping serving of sock beasts…I needed a new photo anyway…

OH and massive happy 3rd birthday to my sweet schnauzer Shamus!

hmmm I’m a fawn swamp…

Originally an Old French form of Helen, but now generally regarded as an independent name. The Greek and Latin forms of the name had a long vowel in the second syllable, which produced this form (as opposed to Ellen) in Old French. In Arthurian legend, Elaine is the name of one of the women who fell in love with Lancelot. The name occurs in this form in the 15th-century English Morte d’Arthur of Thomas Malory. In the 19th century it was popularized in one of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (1859). Most of the characters in Arthurian legend have names that are Celtic in origin, although subjected to heavy French influence, and it has therefore been suggested that Elaine may actually be derived from a Welsh word meaning ‘hind’ or ‘fawn’.
Norwegian: habitational name from any of numerous farmsteads named Myre, most from the dative case of myr ‘bog’, ‘swamp’ (Old Norse mýrr). Compare Myhr.

just a whiny rant

Look close…what do you see…I see blue grey eyes looking back at me…(ugh I rhymed…so didn’t want that) I try not to take in the entire picture so I don’t feel too bad…yup one of those broads who doesn’t like her looks to the point of not looking in the mirror…except to part my hair…sigh…


And what to others see? No idea…afraid to know if ya want the truth…I try hard to see the best in people, trying not to take the book for the cover…but I don’t think others look at me like that…I get the sneaking suspicion they can see straight into my soul and see everything that’s there…the good, the horrid and the oh so ugly…


When I was really little I didn’t see much in the mirror or in others eyes…just me…toe headed…didn’t look like my mom really…didn’t know what my dad looked like so I figured I was the spittin’ image of him…the older I got the more blanks were filled in…dad was a thief…dad was a felon…dad was a cheater…dad was a wife beater…dad was a drug addict…this was my biological dad mind you…the one that donated ½ my genes…and then left me because I had the wrong plumbing…my little juvenile brain tells me this because everyone at least knows what their dad looks like and maybe even sees him occasionally…I’ve never met my dad…he died before I could at least see his face in person…I’ve figured out just about everything now that I’ve grown so I get it…I do look like my dad, a chick version of my dad…I am not my dad…I am not my mom for that matter…I am me…the child of a few divorces, no siblings that are really mine, all halves and steps…too many schools…too many pie in the sky hopes and dreams…really should have been put in my place growing up so I’d have an inkling as to life was really going to turn out to be…


I grew up middle class even before mom met dear old dad…I don’t remember going to garage sales or thrift stores for my clothing…never went to food shelves or subsisted on food stamps…I didn’t know what it was to go to bed hungry or cold…we never had the utilities shut off for non payment…never went without medical care, medications, personal hygiene stuff…perhaps if I had I would be better prepared for adult life…I grew up in an adequately happy family…alright maybe not even adequately…but we put on a good show…Mom was always depressed although she’ll never admit it…dad (now this is step-dad, keep up) liked to drink and get mad…me…I tried my damnedest to just be unnoticed…I wouldn’t tell them if I was sick, injured or anything till it was so bad it couldn’t be ignored…I faked my way through school not knowing half of what was being taught but passing with a fabulous C average…as long as I stayed in school I could continue to live at home…I didn’t want to live on the street not that I had any idea what that would be like…so I just plugged along…wanting to be an artist and get as far away from Minnesota as I could…I couldn’t type very well so I couldn’t grow up to be mom…I was dumber than a box of rocks when it came to math so I couldn’t grow up to be step-dad…so I had no goal…there was no light at the end of the tunnel…my tunnel was bricked over and forgotten…


I married the 1st unsavory character who asked just to get out of the house…major mistake number…oh Maude I’ve lost count…stayed married to him trapped financially for 16 years of extreme hatred…pretty sure I loved him for the 1st year…after that…seething hatred…anger at his cheating…anger at his unfeeling piggishness when death visited us…hatred when I or my children would go without a doctor visit or a needed medication because he was busy supporting a few other families…vehement hatred every time I would have saved up enough money in secret so my girls and I could escape him and he would let the utilities get shut off…let us almost get evicted…get caught driving without insurance…MAUDE how I hated that man even before I knew how he was damaging my daughters who I love more that the world…and surely more than I ever loved him!


What do I see…never ending failure…I believe in Karma…think I did before I knew what it was…I try so hard to be a useful human being…perhaps not putting a MASSIVE mark on society…but I behave…follow the rules…keep most angry thoughts to myself…try not to hurt anyone’s feelings even when mine are usually being dragged behind a car over jagged glass…(imagery…) say thank you no matter what…thanks for giving me more work…thanks for not giving me a chance to succeed…thanks for telling me I do a bang up job at my job BUT…no really thanks…I love thinking for an entire second that I’ll finally get that recognition that everyone craves only to have it yanked, paper cuts and all away like a cruel game of keep away…


Perhaps this is it…my never-ending hatred for that man has put me here…(but I’ve always been in this dark place…even before him) how do I forgive the unforgivable even if it would make my life miraculously better? Guess my black little angry heart is what I see in the mirror…think I’ll quit parting my hair then I can never look in the mirror again…momentary slip in my façade complete…I’ll return you all to your regularly scheduled jovial me in 3….2….1….