May 12, 2019

The past few years Mothers Day has been really hard for me. It felt like I'd roller-coaster between happiness and grief. This year seems to have just been happy and nostalgic. Grieving is never really over, it just changes and this year I found myself enjoying memories instead of heart-wrenching pain from all sorts of triggers.

It has been 4.5 years since I lost my Mom to cancer. My husband, who also lost his Mother to cancer as a teenager, carried me through those difficult years of slowly losing her. Since then we have suffered 3 miscarriages. My miscarriages were early in the pregnancies so we never knew genders. I spent a long time trying to be faithful, to just accept God's will and didn't bother seeking answers to questions let alone thinking about what questions I actually had. I had researched different doctrine on miscarriages at various points, but found little consolation or understanding in that search. When does the Spirit enter the body? Is there even a specific moment? I think because of those unanswered questions, I avoided many others I felt were impossible to have answered. I would just trust Him and trust that someday I would see Him face to face and then I would be provided with answers.

One fast Sunday (fasting is a monthly occurrence in The Church of Jesus Christ) I awoke with the distinct impression that I should pray for answers to my questions, specifically about my children. I sat there and wondered what that even meant. I had started fasting and praying for some other reason, but in my continued prayer I asked for clarity and spent time pondering what questions I really even had.

At church the Relief Society lesson was all about prayer. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinkley, Chapter 6, How Mighty A Thing Is Prayer) Coincidence, I think not! As I sat through the lesson, some specific questions started forming, but I still wondered why I was feeling this prompting and how it would help when I already knew most of my questions were un-answerable. Wasn't trusting Him enough? But I listened intently to the lesson, searching for new clarity from it. When the teacher asked someone to read a specific paragraph it was like everything froze and my "Ah-Ha" moment arrived. President Hinkley taught:

"Pray to the Lord with the expectation of answers. … The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering groceries—we place our order and hang up. We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 1:18)" 

I sat there and realized I wasn't asking Him questions I wanted answers because I had already deemed them impossible to answer! I would never get answers if I prayed expecting that He couldn't answer them, or even closer to truth - just didn't ever ask them of Him, because it never occurred to me to ask Him!

A few hours later, I knelt at the side of my bed with my thoughts still somewhat jumbled and my heart chastened. I humbly asked him questions. Not every single question I had, but the ones I felt most important at the time. Of those miscarriages, were there any that had been spirits and continued on to the next life? Did I have children waiting in Heaven for me? If I did, what was their gender? And were they OK, were they being cared for? For the first time in a long time, I prayed expecting answers, I knew He could provide them, and I knew these were the questions He wanted me to ask. Then I sat and listened and waited. To my mind came the image of my Mom kneeling on the ground with two little girls running around her laughing and playing joyfully. Nearby stood my husband's Mom, smiling as she watched and in her arms was a precious baby boy. All my questions were answered by that one image in my mind!

Shortly after that I shared this with my husband and asked him to consider commissioning someone to draw it. I had an artist in mind but I told him I wouldn't go ahead with it unless I knew he felt right about it. Months went by and he never said a word about it. Last Christmas one very large gift arrived a day late. When I opened it I recognized it was a large 24x36" painted canvas then noticed grass, it hit me then. I looked up at my husband startled and said something like "You didn't!" By the time I could see the whole thing what hit me most was the fact that the scene was not only what I had seen but in our own backyard and behind our angel children and Mothers was the garden we had planted in memory of them! To say it brought tears would be an understatement. I sobbed. I turned away sobbing and was choked up for quite some time. He had sent photos of our Mothers and the artist captured them beautifully!
Painting by Abby Sanders of Abigail J. Studio
Often I choose not to share moments like this. Answers to prayers I keep sacred and private and close to my heart. For a long time I have kept His answer treasured up and only shared it with a few people. But as I have stared at this painting and pondered on this experience, I have known that eventually I would need to share it. Trusting Heavenly Father is essential and a very key component of His gospel INCLUDING trusting that He will answer our questions! Not all questions can be answered right away, but He will answer them. Do you have unanswered questions? Perhaps you have questions you haven't even thought to ask? Pray to the Lord with the expectation of answers. Meditate, contemplate, consider carefully what you pray about and for. Then converse with Him, not as you would a stranger, but a close family member. Let your heart spill over and allow Him time to answer. He can and will. I know it with all my heart.

September 25, 2016

I knew the end was drawing near - but with cancer, "The Big C" as she called it, you never know how long it will take. I just knew eventually it would take her. When she went to the hospice for the first time I was preparing for Christmas. I wanted to get my sewing done early that year. I bought bright, pretty Tula Pink Moon Shine and Riley Blake Swiss Dots fabric to make my Mom a quilt for her room in her hospice. It was already a beautiful room and she was in the best of care but I wanted to make her something beautiful one last time to comfort her and bring her joy.

I remember choosing the Moon Shine fabric line because the green in the fabrics went well with her room. I chose a pattern and planned to work little notes from the grand kids into each block as well as quotes from her favorite hymn. Then things changed rapidly. I spent several weeks traveling up to help my Dad with my Mom in the hospice. I had no time to sew. I came home from her funeral early December, my heart shattered and unable to accomplish much at all. It took me a long time to want to sew. Every time I saw that stack of fabric in my sewing room I got really emotional. She taught me to sew. Both my grandmothers had helped me learn to quilt. That was supposed to be for her. It was the gift I would never give and it broke my heart.

The fabric sat there then I moved it into the closet - but it tugged at my heart strings any time I remembered it. Finally, as I started working through the emotions of her loss, I read that completing things could be healing. I pulled out the fabric and pattern. But it just didn't seem right. That pattern was meant for her and I just couldn't make it. I sat there thinking about it and realized it had to become a gift for someone else. It just felt right. As I considered what to do I felt like it would be good to use it in a quilt for my sister. She spent countless hours of her time helping Mom and Dad and caring for them whatever way she could. It would be my "Thank-you"gift to her. As I thought about it I realized it would be a gift from Mom for her. That felt even more right.

Once I decided it was for her I searched for a new pattern. I found the Twizzle Quilt pattern for free on Craftsy.com. Heidi over at Buttons and Butterflies made the gorgeous pattern and has some helpful information for making this just right! It was so pretty and I felt like my sister would like it too. Soon I started sewing the top. It went together slowly but I fell in love again with the colors of the fabric and enjoyed being back doing what I love. Yes, there were some emotional days... but the heartache was slowly healing and the emotions became easier to control.

Twizzle Quilt Half-Rectangle Blocks

Twizzle Quilt Block Close-Up

Twizzle Quilt Block

Twizzle Quilt First Two Rows

Twizzle Quilt Top Unquilted

Once I finished the quilt top I took my time finding a pattern for quilting. I wanted this to be personal for her. When I stumbled across the Studio In C pantograph pattern I was so excited. My sister is a piano teacher and I knew she'd love it! I loved how the angle of the Treble Clef complimented the angles of the rows. I also love the how all the circles and swirls balanced out the straight lines and points. I quilted this on a Crown Jewel.

Twizzle Quilt Treble Clef Design

Twizzle Quilt Treble Clef Design

I used a Simplicity Bias Tape Maker to speed up the binding process as well as The Binding Tool to get the binding to fit just right. The first quilt I ever bound - the only one my Mom saw - and said "Cute, you need to work on your binding though!" I was determined it would be perfect this time and it turned out great. Even if it took a long time to hand stitch. So worth it!

Twizzle Quilt Making Binding

Twizzle Quilt Binding On

Twizzle Quilt The Binding Tool

Twizzle Quilt Binding

Finally, after months of working on it I was able to give the quilt to my sister. It was supposed to be a sort of surprise. I showed her the finished top - then didn't tell her more until I took it to her. Of course - my sister that rarely goes on social media never told me that she opened up my Instagram feed every once in a while to see what I was up to - so no surprise there! Ha! But she still loved it.

There is a song written and performed by Calee Reed called "She Put the Music In Me" that is absolutely perfect at describing our Mom. We heard it at Calee's first Time Out For Women and we heard her story of losing her Mom to cancer. That was around the time we had been told Mom had 6 months left. Needless to say we BAWLED like babies. Then, for the first time in our lives we actually went up and met and thanked Calee. We felt like she wrote our song. We decided that night to learn it. My sister accompanied me while I sang it at Mom's funeral. After I finished the top my husband mentioned that it looked like DNA strands. When I finished quilting the notes and treble clefs into it I felt like the perfect name for the quilt would be "She Put The Music In Me."

Twizzle Quilt at Piano

Twizzle Quilt Front

Twizzle Quilt Back

Finally giving the gift felt so healing. It was different than I expected. Instead of feeling like I had finished what I had wanted to make for Mom it felt more like I was doing something for her. Something that she would have liked to have done. The gift I never gave somehow became one of the most beautiful gifts I've ever been able to give. It felt amazing!

Twizzle Quilt Back

I still have scraps of that fabric lying around. They don't hurt to see. They remind me of the things Mom taught me to love, of the things she made for me and the things I made for her. Most importantly they remind me of the gift I never gave and how it became the gift she gave to me.

February 28, 2016

You might go into shock when you see that I've published a new post. Yes I'm really here - I'm still alive and I actually have some really amazing things to share with the world wide internet. I've just been so very very busy. Let me explain... Last year my kids all went off to school in September and I looked around and decided - it's high time for a renovation. And not just any renovation. Let's put in the basement we've always talked about. So late September we started on our basement. It was "supposed" to take 2-3 weeks. Look - I'm not a fool and I know things go wrong. So I planned on it taking 4-5 weeks in my mind. Oh man. 4 months later I was nearly kicking and screaming to get contractors out of my house. I have had the most horrible of experiences when it comes to renovations and I don't  know where to start telling the story. I'd like to say I'm glad it's done. But I actually had someone outside doing yard work today who noticed one more thing that wasn't finished! I don't even have it in me to sit down and cry anymore. It's not worth it.


Oh yeah, I almost forgot why I got on here to write a post. I got an Instagram Account for the blog! Because I'm not that great at posting about all of the things I'm doing - I figured this might be a more simple way to post about some things. Although I will still blog and I will still share posts overloaded with photos. But on the off-chance that I don't - now you know where to find me.

August 31, 2015

A few years ago I was admiring a bunch of Cathedral Window Quilts. I think they are gorgeous. I thought it was such a shame they were so much work - because I just don't have the time for all that work right now. Maybe someday. Then I realized it wouldn't be too hard to make a rag version of it and searched online for tutorials. There were a few out there, most using denim. While I love the look of denim, it is heavy and not as soft for a baby blanket. So I decided to make one using Minky on the back. I love how it turned out.
(Moda Sweetwater Charm Pack)

After I had the second one all together I felt that a Satin binding would finish it off nicely. It's not required, and I don't do it on every one of them but I think it looks so good that way.


(Charm Pack from Joann Fabrics)

I've made a few of these now using several colors of Minky. I have loved each one. I did try making one with Cuddle Soft - which is very different from Minky. Instead of stretching it tends to shrink so you have to adjust the tension differently. Lesson learned the hard way!

I decided to make a pattern for the blanket available free to anyone interested in making it. Hope you all enjoy! There are lots of tips in this pattern for making the sewing easier. Please read through it well. (And if you see any typos or have any problems, please let me know.)


DOWNLOAD PDF FILE HERE


FREE FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY - By downloading this file you agree to the following terms: This pattern is for use in your own projects; not for commercial use. Please do not distribute these files to others, but refer others here to download for themselves instead -- these files are given freely for download from my site only. Thanks for your understanding! Your own designs created with these files may be submitted to magazines, contests and Internet galleries, with proper credit given to Maggie Muggins Designs. If you have questions about the use of a file please contact me through email.

August 18, 2015

On occasion I doodle at church while my kids color. It began as doodles for the kids to color, It helps them to keep quiet and I actually think they listen more to talks when their hands are busy. At least I like to think that.

I've also recently started learning a little bit more in the way of doodling using ZenTangle and other fun methods. It's really fun to draw something like this and then color it in. Of course, my children like to do that as well.

As a challenge to myself last week I decided to try to turn my rushed doodle into a digital coloring page. It was really fun challenging my Illustrator abilities and learning a few new things. I think I'll be making more of these.

(Part of the original doodle - colored by my son.)

This coloring page has a phrase from a very popular LDS Primary Song - "Families Can Be Together Forever". It can be colored as is, but I left white space for you to add your own flair to it. Have fun! Feel free to share your finished work with me. 
The printable is designed in 8x10" for you to print, color and frame if desired.

DOWNLOAD HERE

FREE FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY- By downloading or printing this file you agree to the following terms: This file is for use in your own creative projects; not for commercial use. Please do not sell or offer these downloads as your own creations. Please do not distribute these files to others, but refer others here to download for themselves instead - these files are given freely for download from my site only. Thanks for your understanding! Your own designs created with these files may be submitted to magazines, contests and Internet galleries, with proper credit given to Maggie Muggins Designs. If you have questions about the use of a file please contact me through email.



March 30, 2015

These Spritz Jumbo Easter Eggs caught my eye at Target a few weeks ago. (They have Black and White as well as Pink and Blue - all sold individually.) At $3 each I just couldn't say no! Target also has chalkboard paint, decorating kits and more to go with these eggs but I had different plans the minute I saw them. I picked up these two:

Jumbo Easter Eggs

I quickly got to work on my Silhouette Cameo and cut out simple shapes in Silhouette Gold Vinyl.

Vinyl Jumbo Easter Eggs

These were just so easy to make and I love how they look!

Flower Jumbo Easter Egg Decor

Chick Easter Egg Decor

The only other Eggs I've seen this size are carvable ones at Hobby Lobby but they weren't on sale and cost $13 each. Looks like they are $5.99 each on sale this week.

Silhouette Shapes:
Chick Silhouette #17101
Flower Medallion #12628

March 23, 2015

I was at Hobby Lobby a while ago and this really cute chalkboard there tempted me. I loved it - but in between putting it in my cart and the checkout I for some reason briefly forgot my disdain for chalk. I REALLY dislike it. I don't even want to touch it. So imagine my surprise that a chalkboard made its way to my house.

You all know what happened right? It sat blank for weeks until finally I bought a liquid chalk marker and attempted to write a nice little quote on it in chalk. That was messy and funny looking. So I searched for a printable but it's a weird size frame. I actually found a few prints with this quote from Corrie Ten Boom: "Happiness isn't something that depends on our surroundings... It's something we make inside ourselves." I wound up just making a printable because of the odd size.

Happiness Chalkboard Printable

Happiness Chalkboard Printable

How Do I Make My Own Happiness?

Last week as I was preparing for my lesson in Relief Society (this is the lesson here) I was reminded of this printable I made. The lesson was on Living Joyfully in Troubled Times. Am I living my own troubled times? Yes. Am I living joyfully? I like to think I am or that I'm at least trying to. But I still needed this message.

Heavenly Father has blessed me with so much peace and happiness even though my Mom only recently passed away. I loved this quote from the lesson:

"Happiness here and now consists in freely, lovingly, joyfully acknowledging God’s will for us—and doing it in all ways and all affairs big and small."

For me accepting His will does not mean that I understand it - it means I trust in Him to make all things work out for my good - even when that seems impossible. I trust His promises. I believe in Him. That can be difficult for many people. Faith can take effort to grow. I don't understand why my Mom had cancer, why she had to leave this mortal existence so soon. I do believe that Heavenly Father has a plan for her and a plan for me (and all of us), I believe that I will someday be reunited with her. I also believe that as I obey His commands and try to do His work that He will bless me with happiness, peace, and perhaps understanding. I have to make that happiness for myself though. No one can make it for me.

I didn't have time to play this video during my lesson - but Elder Nelson shares this message so beautifully that I hope you take the time to watch it...


Want to print this for yourself? Think of anyone who could use this reminder? You can download the printable below.

FREE FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY - By downloading this file you agree to the following terms: This file is for use in your own creative projects; not for commercial use. Please do not sell or offer this download as your own. Please do not distribute this file to others, but refer others here to download it for themselves instead -- my files are given freely for download from my site only. Thanks for your understanding! If you have questions about the use of a file please contact me through email.


DOWNLOAD HERE: 8.5x11" OR 8x10" OR 11x14"


Enjoy the file. If you use it please send me a photo or share the photo in my Flickr Group here.