Friday, May 27, 2011

New Tanks at Ruffled Feathers Company

I got a creative bug this week ... and I have to share the joy.
The Ruffled Tank: What could be more perfect for summer?!
Tell me what you think. Comments welcome! Any idea on what the price should be?

They pair beautifully with twirly skirts too!
Check 'em out soon at

Single Ruffled Tank with Fabric Roses

 And if you like a little more poof to your floof, how 'bout this?:

Double Ruffle Tank
(Back View) 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer is Here!

Or so the calendar says ... it was a cold and rainy last day of school. And believe it or not, with only ONE snow day this year (amazing!) and having started classes last August 17th, the boys' last day was yesterday. yes, STILL in May! That hasn't happened FOREVER it seems!

Last Day of School
And did you notice on the other side of the school bus, our neighbors waiting to welcome the boys home too?
These are HUGE horses that are so gentle (I hear anyway) and beautiful. They are half-siblings to our younger horse, Scout, whom Jeff took later in the evening to a trainer who will be keeping him for a month until he is "green broke"--which I think translates to, "someone is able to ride him, but certainly not me!"
No, I don't ride ... although Jeff would love it if I would. Ug. I guess I would if we had a gentle, dead-broke horse I'd be okay!
Anyway, our 18 year old horse, Bubba, just was so frantic being all alone with Scout gone. And of course it was a windy night which didn't help his mood. He was neighing and neighing to these neighbor horses ... and they would neigh back running up and down their pasture. I'm not sure of the conversation, but I think they may have been looking for our horse?

Here's to the start of summer. Did I mention that it's day one of break and Brayden has already attempted to build a BOAT out of plywood in the garage? Oh my! Luckily he came in before he found the caulk or the nails (ack!) And Nolan has already ripped the Slip N' Slide after only 10 minutes of having it up? It could be a long summer!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Adding to my resumé as a Super-Mom ...

So I was doing my part to save he Earth yesterday ...
and decided to hang some of the sheets out on the sunny deck instead of drying them in the dryer.

(View from our deck
This is going to be a cornfield this summer HONEST! 
... it JUST is coming up and it's barely visable 
... and also note the padded rocking cow.)
Our deck is above our walk-out basement and therefore is pretty high up. And since we're very conservative with our dollars (ahem) understatement!!--when we built our house we decided that we'd save a few dollars and wait to put in the stairs. I mean ... at that point we didn't even have a lawn! The corn field came practically up to our backdoor. We didn't exactly need stairs to go down and enjoy that.

Well, that was 11 years ago and we still don't have any stairs although we DO have a pretty big lawn back there now. However, it's like a really large, sunny playpen ... and with 3 kids it has actually been a handy and safe place to let them go play kickball or eat popsickles or crumbly cookies.

Well, back to me hanging laundry. I had gone out a couple of times and each time of course Nolan was right at my heels not wanting to miss one exciting moment of Mom at work! (I do actually love that! Easton and Brayden have long grown weary of that fun.) On the third time out to hang up one last sheet next to the padded rocking cow, Nolan tore across the house and burst through the door ... and the door slammed shut in the wind.

oh no.

We've replaced this deck door 3 times in the 11 years we've lived here ... it tends to catch the wind and rips from its hinges. Well, the last time we replaced it Jeff flipped the direction it opened hoping to avoid the breezes that have been especially cruel. Unfortunately, now it has a "catch" every now and again when it gets slammed really hard and then it won't open from the deck side. Like right then.

So there I was, with Nolan, out on our deck ... 12 feet or more in the air ... locked out of our house ... no windows open ... no phone ... no bigger kids to coach through how to take the screen out of the windows and rescue us. And it was 1 pm ... at least an hour from when B and E would come home early on the bus.

What's a mom to do?

I had to go over the deck rail, shinny down the railings while hanging down to get as close as I could to the wall below so I could then swing myself backwards, drop, and then catch myself (barefoot mind you) on the stone retaining wall so I could run around the house and let Nolan in.
Sounds like something James Bond would do.
Easier said than done ... especially for me who is REALLY scared of heights! But what other option was there?
(View down. Nice dandelion by the way--ug!)
I calmly started my adventure, getting a little worried only after I was hanging over the open side right there next to the satellite dish ... wondering how reinforced that railing was after baking in the sun for 11 years.
Was it really meant to hold up a mom, repelling over the side, who had eaten way too much chocolate earlier in the day?
Did I really calculate how far I'd need to swing backwards to catch the wall and not land on the rocks filling in behind it ... or skin myself down the front of it?

Well, it really all happened so fast to those outside my brain (it was all slow motion inside of my head) and other than a hard landing on my bare feet (oh ya, and my arms are now 5" longer after hanging there) it went really well ... like I'd rehearsed it before or something.
This photo does not do the distance justice! Even at my height of  5' 9" PLUS my extended-hanging- arm-length there was a good gap to jump/fall between the last place to hang onto the railing from the deck down to the retaining wall ... OR the ground!
I'm really thankful for that retaining wall!
And I'm hoping that Nolan wasn't watching TOO closely. I don't need to have him choosing that moment to emulate what mom was doing! AND thank double-goodness the bigger boys weren't here. I can totally see Brayden trying this in the future.

And that last sheet that I put out to air-dry? I did have to end up drying it in the dryer. (sigh)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eight Years Ago ... Tomorrow

First of all, thank you to everyone's sweet words during our LONG sickness! I just finally started feeling "normal" again yesterday afternoon and had lunch (Ramen noodles) around 3pm. How good it is to feel the feeling of "hunger" again after nearly a week.
Oddly, I've lost no weight during this episode. My goodness ... with all the yuckiness there could at least be a little slack in my jeans couldn't there? Oh well ... I'm just glad to have everyone on the path to wellness.

So, back to the title. Eight years ago tomorrow I became a mom for the first time. It was a journey that I liken to a potter. Seriously. This potter however had work to do! And as I was spun on the potter's wheel to be fashioned as a "mother" I think I had to be smashed down and reformed quite a few times in the process. The morning sickness was long and grueling, the idea of the path to motherhood wasn't exactly what I imagined it would be ... in fact even the delivery was LONG and unbelievably hard--I know, that's why they call it "labor" ... but mine was three days long. THREE. DAYS. LONG.
And I am NOT embellishing here. It started on a Friday and Brayden was born early Sunday morning. It was over 36 hours of HARD labor. And after birthing 2 more children I realize what the hard labor section of labor is and I look back on Brayden's story and I am in awe and thanksgiving that all ended up well for both Brayden and me.

I have no doubt he was in distress for quite some time--even before they put the monitor in his scalp while he was still unborn!--even before the monitors would start beeping wildly every time I would push as the cord was around his neck and pinching off blood and his heart rate would crash. Even when they finally admitted that there had been no amniotic fluid around him for quite some time making it difficult for him to move down to be born.
In retrospect I know it was part of a process. And I choose to see it as God forming me to be what it would take to parent this child.

I love Brayden so much!
He made me to be a mom.
He was my first boy.
He is so sports minded. And so very smart.
And he has a fierce thread in him!
Oh I'm learning to be light-hearted when we bump heads and to have patience knowing that his strong will is being sharpened and focused for something wonderful and so made just for him!

I pray that God will fashion and mold all that he is and all that he has to bring Him glory!

Yes ... eight years ago tomorrow Brayden was born.
And he made us a FAMILY.

Friday, May 13, 2011

overwhelmed and discouraged

i hate days like these when the sun has disappeared and the warm weather is gone. it's damp and cold and i really don't even feel like finding the shift key to capitalize where i should.

wednesday was so beautiful outside. summer was here by-passing spring, ruffled feathers was the focus company of the day for the sparrow fund, my house was clean, i felt so in control.

go ahead and laugh here ... 'cuz you know it's going to change in the next sentence.

then nolan woke up early from his nap. odd. he's usually a good napper. he laid down in the living room and i finished up my project upstairs ... then i heard it ... that nasty sound that makes mothers cringe. he was throwing up.

i dashed downstairs but it was too late
on the couch cushion
on the might-as-well-be white carpet
on himself

goodbye clean house
goodbye control
goodbye nice day

poor buckaroo.
but he was playing again and light-hearted.
i thought he had to be done and so i packed him in the car to get his brother to baseball practice on time. nope. he gerfed on the 7 mile car ride there. smooshing his face in the soaked towel.
he was fine at the outdoor practice where there was plenty of green grass and lawn to "use."
of course we got back into the truck to return home and he gerfed again. this time turning the bowl upside down on his head. oh yes ... a shower all over him and his carseat.
poor kid [gabe] who was ride-sharing with us that day--he was sitting next to him.

[you know it's bad when i used the shift key]
we got home and brayden fell ill--taking after his brother but thankfully being much cleaner about it all but so much more of a high-maintanance kid.

by evening i wasn't feeling well but it didn't truly hit until ... you'll never anticipate this ... the electricity went out on me. oh yes, right at that moment. i didn't know if i should laugh or cry ... but there was not time to do either as the boys started on another round themselves. by morning and several more rounds later jeff had succumbed too and i was able to send our only "well" child to school and go back to the house of 7up and soda crackers. at least it was sunny and hot.

today i thought all was well even if it was cold and rainy. however ... nolan has gerfed all morning long, pretty much dry heaves at this point, playing in between but really not able to focus on much.
i'm wiped out and overwhelmed and really discouraged on so many fronts.
if you see the sun and could send it my way i'd appreciate it.
oh yes, and there's a new skirt posted at the ruffled feathers site. but it's too beautiful to post here today.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Asian Sunshine and Grandma's Flower Garden

A Two Skirt Kinda Day!
You'll see that Ruffled Feathers is the featured Shop TODAY for The Sparrow Fund. Click HERE to read about it and to see the other 33 fabulous shops donating 10% of sales during the month of May to The Sparrow Fund!

#1: Asian Sunshine
I love the fabrics of this skirt. They are the softest cotton, like the cotton of your grandmother's guest room pillowcases! And the Asian characters and designs on them are tossed across the happiest shade of yellow. In China, yellow is respected as a "nourishing" color--perhaps like the warm hug of early summer sunshine.
(Click on any image to see it larger.)

The bottom layer is a crisp white cotton with colored diamond tendrils of cornmeal, sweatpea and avocado which all complement colors found in the top fabric. The edging is in a black Kanji.
This particular skirt that is ready-to-ship is a size 3T ... but is available in other sizes upon request!
Scroll down to see previous posts of skirts and dresses still available or view the gallery for past creations.


#2 Grandma's Flower Garden
My grandma was mom to two boys ... but she really deeply would have delighted in raising a girl as well. In fact, they did have a young girl live with them for several years, however she was never adopted but returned to her relatives (sigh.) But when I see flowers I can't help but remember my grandma. She always had the most beautiful flower gardens! She also was a huge influence on my love of quilting and sewing. So in honor of my grandma ... here is "Grandma's Flower Garden."

This skirt is ready-to-ship in a 4T size, but is available in other sizes as well as in other styles upon request.
This is a super-duper FULL twirly-girly skirt! In fact it has two layers for maximum fluffiness. 
If your girl is a twirler ... this is the skirt she will never want to take off.

The top layer has a hot pink waistband with colorful hearts and the coordinating top layer of fabric is a garden of sweet cheerful flowers in hot pink and bright lime against a field of black.
The bottom layer has a juicy ruffle that reminds me of summertime watermelon with stripes of hot pink, lime and white. The fabric is from the Hugs and Kisses Collection.

Be sure to check back for the next featured skirt/dress!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

LizzyBeth ... Rippee

The day has finally come!!! The Rippee's FINALLY received their LOA (Letter of Acceptance) and have permission to share a photo of their new daughter!! 

"Dang Yue Jing" --Also known as Elizabeth
(Look how much she's grown and changed from when she first was whipping up a pie with Carrie when she first arrived at ND and was recovering from her heart surgery! She's so little!)

Did you anticipate who she is? Are you totally blown away? Is that not some of the sweetest news ever?
And boy, I didn't have to wait long after the LizzyBeth post yesterday to have the opportunity to come clean about this skirt name did I?:
Yes, this skirt that I named "LizzyBeth" is in honor of Elizabeth/Yue Jing Rippee

You see, one year ago this week I went for a run. 
Yes ... something I need to do again on a regular basis ... but to be honest I'm a little afraid to go there, and not only because I'm sorely out of shape. 

You see last year on that run down our gravel road I had similar intentions of getting back into shape ... but instead, I had one of those "God moments." You know the kind when you know that He's "talking" directly to YOU. And I don't want to freak anybody out 'cuz it wasn't like I heard his voice,  didn't see a burning bush ... but it was something so much more "quiet" and deeply felt/moved in the heart and something so very not. my. idea
I guess that's why I'm so sure it was Him. 
I had this "thought" arise ... this "gut-feeling in my heart" that I was going to help someone fundraise for an adoption.

WHATEVER!!!!! Are you kidding? me?

I know zippo about fundraising and not much more about adoption.
What a crazy idea! But I remember saying outloud, "Okay, whatever it is I'll do it, but you're in charge because I'm. clueless."
(Yah, I'm sure He needed that info and permission. NOT.)
And then the next day in my email In-box (pretty much out of the blue) was an email from Rita asking if I would consider helping her fundraise from The States for the adoption of their hope-to-be daughter Elizabeth.

Can you  imagine?
You see ... I'm not long-time friends of the Rippee's having "met" Rita only 6 months prior to May when I signed up to be a ND Updates editor for the sponsored children. However ... in that short time ... I had emailed her a few times about Elizabeth knowing that she was her "foster" mom at the time ... and about her adoption status and things she liked to do so I could send her a few things. She was on my heart so much for some reason since the May of the year BEFORE when God really moved my heart for orphans and I was able to share this with my husband through her story and how God had used it to truly break my heart ... (I wrote a post about that but can't seem to locate the specific one I am thinking of. But there also was an apron and doll and doll apron that was made for her and perhaps was the first inklings of my LOVE for sewing little-girl-things!) 
(Notice the name of the doll on the box ... "Lindsey"--isn't that cool?!
 God obviously was working long before moving Rita's heart to ask me if I would help. He had been preparing me through these email conversations with her and the littlest of things even before then. And that just moves me SO MUCH! To think that HE saw a speck in me that He could use to bring Him glory. To bring a little one to Him. Wow.
So humbling and I'm so very blessed!
And to see now those little seeds of preparation that were being sewn without me even knowing what would grow from them. wow.  What a lesson in patience.
(I LOVE this photo of Samuel and Elizabeth!)
It's one of those times where I was overjoyed and scared and reassured and overwhelmed all rolled up at once. But excitement was clearly there too. 
And after asking my husband if it would be alright if I accepted this position as fundraising chair we moved forward and Blessings A Hundred Fold was born!

It's been a LONG year of waiting and growing ... and LOTS of praying!
And when I had to step down as the fundraising chair at the beginning of the year at the request of my own family and their needs (which was a difficult decision,) seeing now this day come, knowing that He had the perfect person in Lindsay to take over when I had to step back and how He had this orchestrated from the beginning of time and always in His control, and so full of HIM and all that He has done to make this happen is SOoooo SWEET!~
A true, deep answer to prayer!
I can only imagine how hard it has been for Rita and Randy not to SHOUT this from the rooftops long before today!--especially for the sake of fundraising. Try fundraising without a photo of the child you want to adopt! Especially since you not only know who she is but to have her living with you daily! Now that is HARD! 

They still have funds to raise before they complete this adoption. They are still hopeful that they will receive some grants (they have 2 requests still to hear back on) to help pay for this adoption ... And yes, they DO need to travel back to U.S. soil to make the adoption complete ... so it's not going to be cheaper because of their location (bummer!) But I'm prayerful that NOW that the word is out about who they are adopting that the blessings will truly flow to them! 

They are volunteers and do not make an incredible amount of money beyond what they need for their daily lives--they truly give from the heart and walk by and in faith. And as you soak this all up today and celebrate with them I ask that if you feel led that you might help them complete this journey in bringing closure to this adoption by donating to their adoption fund!  

And me?
I think right now I'll go for another run ;-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

LizzyBeth Dress--Today's Featured Skirt

Did you hear?
I won the gift card give-away at A Beau Ideal! What a super way to start out a weekend that included our anniversary, my mom's birthday AND Mother's Day. (whew. I'm celebrated out.)

And it totally makes up for the excessive hockey that was played all weekend, Jeff spending the afternoon and night farming on Saturday and Easton hurling on the bathroom floor at the restaurant when we went out to eat for Mother's Day last night. (oh the joys of being "Mom!")

These bows/hair clips/brooches at A Beau Ideal are SO unique and adorable. They would totally match my little girl skirts so well! And since they're not your average bow they are sure to stand out and make an outfit special! I'm thinking something in red/mint/pink would go well with the skirt below. However ... my gift card? Well I'm fulfilling that with something special for me :-)

This week contains yet another special day for me ... and in honor I present "The LizzyBeth Dress." I have my reasons for naming this skirt this way, but I'm not sayin' right now. Don't get overly excited it's nothing earth shattering, but it is meaningful ... to me. And I simply love this skirt and hope you do too.

The LizzyBeth Dress
4T size ready to ship 
(12" length, 20" unstretched waist) (also available in other sizes and styles)

Okay, this is actually a skirt ... but "Dress" rhymed a whole lot better. It is today's featured skirt at Ruffled Feathers Company for The Sparrow Fund. (You can view many previously featured skirts/dresses that are still available by scrolling down through the previous posts or online at Ruffled Feathers Company.)

This skirt combines a striking bold Asian print over a swirly cucumber mint print. Gold metallic accents pop against the inky black background and also on the swirly red edging. This would look refreshing paired with a minty green tank top or very dramatic with something black! It either dresses up or down with just enough poof to twirl without being too huge.

(my new found spur-of-the-moment model ... our globe)

This photo is a bit washed out, but shows the beautiful way the skirt drapes and flows.

Friday, May 6, 2011

An anniversary and another dress

It's our 11th anniversary today. Yay!
Love you honey (wait a second, I don't think Jeff reads my blog--ha!)
Oh where did my waist go? I look at this photo and wish I still had my figure! (sigh.)

The Royal Wedding last week brought back so many memories from our wedding--I guess for many reasons. The time of year. Marrying my prince who I waited a LONG time for! And who doesn't feel like a princess for their wedding?
And yet, the sadness of not having Will's mother there for him echoed in my heart how much I missed having my Dad walk me down the aisle. It was all so fresh for me at the time as he had a heart attack that called him home to Heaven only 5 months before our ceremony. I question why it was so important at the time for me to be engaged for a year and a half! Ug. I guess I wanted everything to be "perfect." I am so thankful that Jeff had driven to my parent's house (unbeknownst to me) and asked my parents for my hand in marriage BEFORE he proposed to me at Christmas of 1998. That meant so very much to me at the time and even more now.
He truly is a prince!

I also remember a CD that a co-worker had given to me in those months between the funeral and the wedding. On it was a song by Chris Rice about a wedding feast. My selfish sad heart didn't want to "get it" at the time--but I do now. I love that song so much and I look forward to a greater wedding feast to come! And I can't wait to see all my of family and friends there!
BTW--Did you notice the detail on my dress--oh I love it a lot! My love of dresses has a long history. Hmmm, wonder if I'll have a granddaughter someday who will want to wear it? I always dreamed of a daughter wearing it.

So funny--
but weddings are about dreams aren't they? Dreams and promises, faithfulness and love.

SO ... in honor of our anniversary and my love of dresses and of Jeff ... I'm going to post another dress for The Sparrow Fund through Ruffled Feathers Company.

Zaza Blossoms Apron Dress
3T size
Another featured skirt found at Ruffled Feathers Company.
This dress BEGS for summer with it's wild blooms.
And little tan arms after a summer swim at the pool would be perfect in it!
It can be worn with a shirt underneath (even a long sleeve if it gets really cool) and leggings if it's Fall or winter, or just bare simply as a summer dress on a hot day! And truly? You could simply sew a button on each of the strap ends to make them longer and get years and years of use out of it by using it as a apron shirt if your sugar plum grows up but not necessarily out! Talk about versatile! (click on any of the photos to see them larger.)
 I just love the fabric on the top of this dress! It has pizzazz. And I have more if you need it in another size or style.
The straps are fuchsia and aqua-marine and the skirt is emerald on lime with a fuchsia stripe that matches the strap ties. The flowers in the bodice unite them beautifully!

Be sure to check back for the next featured dress/skirt!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Asian Fans Skirt

Another featured dress from Ruffled Feathers:

Asian Fans Skirt
2T size
Another featured skirt found at Ruffled Feathers Company.

(Click on any of the photos to see them larger)
This fabric of this side-split double layer skirt is so beautiful. Fans dance harmoniously displaying beautiful oriental ladies and Asian patterns of flowers and scenery. There is metallic gold highlighting the entire design in the fans as well as in the red and gold piping along the edge. The second layer is white Kanji lettering on a black background.
If you like the fabric and would like the skirt made into another skirt design or an Apron Dress I would be happy to make something special just for you! Simply email me at almquist at fmtcs dot com or leave me a comment. Also, if you would like to purchase this skirt please go to the Ruffled Feathers site or leave me a comment. Or just leave me a comment ... I love comments :-)
Be sure to check back for the next featured skirt/dress!
And scroll down one post if you missed the apron dress I posted earlier today.

Chocolate Hearts Apron Dress

I have several skirts that are being featured at Ruffled Feathers Company this month!
Please check them out by checking back often or bookmark my page! 
All featured dresses and skirts can be made in other sizes as well ... just shoot me an email or leave me a comment. I have added PayPal buttons FINALLY to the Ruffled Feathers website for convenient checkout! If you would like to order something leave me a note with your checkout or simply email me: almquist at fmtcs dot com

Also, if you have ordered previously and were waiting for those PayPal buttons, you can find a checkout button reflecting your order and the "Early Editions pricing" near the View Cart button. If you don't see a button that describes your purchase, let me know and I'll happily make one just for you!! I'd love to follow through on my promise of giving to The Rippee's Adoption for sales made through 2010 especially since they are so close to needing those final funds!) 
Here's the first new dress to unveal.

Chocolate Hearts Apron Dress
size 3T (adjustable 24" length) (available in other sizes upon request)

(I got a little bit artsy this morning and thought I'd take a few photos of this one outside in the Plum Blossoms that are just appearing. It started to sprinkle so I finished the photos inside.) 

To see any of the photos larger please click on them.

Squares of turquoise hearts, airy scrolls and and lime leaves over a chocoate brown background, all tumble across the skirt of this Apron Dress. The bottom is edged in a strip of chocolate and white hearts with an accent of lime. This fabric is echoed in the apron dress ties at the top that peek out against the fuschia leafy scrolls of the bodice. (Colors: Fuschia, Turquoise, Lime and Brown)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Flowers

I'm so excited ... soon ... maybe tomorrow I will post some ready-made skirts for purchase. The fabrics are really neat-o. I only wish I could sew faster!

Please remember that 10% of all Ruffled Feathers Company sales during the month of May will be donated  to The Sparrow Fund!

Please go see all the shops supporting The Sparrow Fund this month by clicking HERE


The family

The family