~Simple sewing~

   ~I tackled this pattern yesterday. Honestly it only took a couple of hours. Very easy to put together.

I made this for my precious little niece Caroline, who is probably have way to 20 by now, I haven’t seen her in a few weeks.  Each time I see her she is so much bigger. Her little eyebrows and eyelashes have come in.  She is more beautiful each time  I see her.

This was fun to make.  I intended to add the ric rack and a grograin polka dot ribbon, but this pattern just did not work for that.  It is made with  a lining and perhaps I could have figured it all out, but not this go around.  The last jumper I made really allowed me to add those little extra’s very easily. I am sure I could do it with this pattern~ maybe not just the first time around.

I do think this is cute, but maybe a little boring??  I was thinking of doing an applique heart  or a crochet heart ?  Then again, maybe simple is the way to go. 

~A. if you see this, let me know what you think!!

Have a good weekend!!

~Sewing for little ones~

Unfortunately I am sick, but I won’t let it stop me.  I am still sewing..

This is the cutest little pattern.

My version:

~Cute! But, I think it’s too big and not really proper for Feb. weather… is it?
Too white I think.

Love the little hem design.. can you see it?
I love gingham!!

Here is another that I tried.. it came out more like a top because I used home dec weight fabric and it just would not shirr. I ended up shirring with elastic, and it works .. kind of.

Next up is this pattern— for a girl of course…

I love pink and orange! hopefully it will fit. Sewing for little ones that are not yours, is tricky… you forgot how tiny/big they are.  It’s been almost 7 years since my littlest was a baby. How quickly time goes by..

Now, back to my chicken soup…

~did a little sewing~


So, if you remember in my last post~

I wanted to try to make an outfit like my little niece Caroline had on.  My sister said I could totally do it..

So, I did some sewing yesterday while my littlest was ill..

I think I am in LOVE!

~try not to notice my plaid does not  match up~

~and all of the little strings I missed~

~so hard to get a good photo…

The winter light is killing me… I am ready for Spring!!

~Remembering my dad~

img023  ~ my family at the beach, dad in red shirt~

When  I started my first blog back in  June 07 it was mostly  a way for me to deal with my grief over losing my little brother Robert.  I had never blogged before and looking back over some of my early posts, they are quite silly.  Through the first yearI worked through much of my grief and I moved on to other share other parts of my life through this blog. I really try to focus on good things here.  I try to keep things light and cheerful even when I am struggling with other issues in my life, but yesterday I was brought back to a sorrowful place… I need to try to begin to understand my feelings of loss and desperation, and the overwhelming sadness that has once again returned.  So please bear with me…

This post is for my dad~   

Robert Joel Benn, Jr.


On the very same day my sister had her first baby, my father was killed a few hours later by a drunk driver in Austin, TX.  He had just flown in that evening for work the next day.  He  picked up his rental car and was heading to his hotel.  He never made it there.

here is what happened  ~ you can listen to the video….

Apparently the wreckage was so bad, they could not identify him at first, they did not notify his wife until the next day at work – of all places.  How horrible for her to recieve the news over the phone by a complete stranger when she was all alone.


  (my dad with his wife Sherrie, & the girls-  Katie & Peggy Sue)

My dad was a very kind and gentle man. He was not loud, he rarely raised his voice. In times of chaos he would remain calm.  He was always on your side.


I remember growing up  my mother would often  say “Your dad always helps the underdog” or something to that effect.
I was not always certain why she would say that, but thinking back it is a very true statement.  That is one way to describe my dad.
He always felt the need to help those who were in need or who were having a hard time.  If someone was down, he would try to  help them to help themself so they could find their way back up.  He was a teacher, he always tried to find a way to encourage your to do your best.  If you were sad, or stressed or mad he would find a way to make you feel better.

He was an encourager, he was an inspirator, he was empathetic and he would always try to get me to see the other side of a situation and he would ask me – what do you think you would do, if you were that person.  He would ask me how do you think that other person feels?  He would force you to examine an issue from all sides.  He would always tell you that you could do whatever you set out to do.

I remember when I was 18 or 19 not long after I had graduated from high school,  feeling that I was not smart enough to go to college, and I felt  my parents did not really have the money to pay for me to go to school.  Whether that was really true or not, I am not sure, but at the time this is what I believed.  They just finished going through a stressful divorce and all I really wanted  was to be on my  own.  I remember as I was working my first full time job that it did not take too long to feel a bit down and discouraged.  I felt like I was going down a career path that I did not particularly want.   While I was grateful for the opportunity it was not exactly what i wanted.   I knew I wanted to do something I thought was  important, something that I felt would matter in the bigger picture. I wanted to make a difference.  You know, I wanted to “help” people.  I began talk to my dad about my feelings (as he worked at the same company.)   He began to encourage me, little by little I began to listen to him and to believe in what he was saying.  I started very slowly one class at a time but eventually I reached my goal and I graduated from nursing school in May 1993.  I made it because he believed in me (as well as my mom.)  Now it is 16 almost 17 years later I am still a nurse.  I know without a doubt I have provided care to people who were in great need, and I know I have made a difference in many lives.   I know this because many have come back and told me so. Which obviously is very gratifying to me.

Thank you Dad.   You believed in me and you knew I could do it even when I was very unsure.  I don’t know if I ever actually told him thank you. 

  ~Dad with Ginger~

When I was five yrs old my dad walked me to the bus stop on the first day of school with our dog Ginger. I remember getting on the bus and some mean boy said, “Cute dog but not a cute  old man!” I was so mad and upset I am sure I cried because that boy said something mean about my dad. Of course I never said a word about that to him I did not want to hurt his feelings.. He probably would have just chuckled about it really.

    ~my dad with Sara 94~


I remember another time when my dad found out that my husband and I were preparing to pack up and move to Portland, OR with his 2 1/2 year old granddaughter he came dashing over to our house, he sat at our kitchen table and as he put his hand down on the table he set it in a little  glob of jelly ( it had fallen off the toast my daughter had been eating) and he kind of shook his hand and as he looked down at he said without missing a beat, “Look if this is about money, I will give you whatever you need, you don’t have to go all the way to Oregon for money..”

It was very sweet. Of course we went to Portland, because we wanted to move there. It was a beautiful city and  we have beautiful memories of our time there. My dad and his wife actually came out and visited us, and he LOVED it there. He really dug that city.

This morning as I was driving  I remembered  a time was really young maybe 2 or 3 -I remember  we were either driving to my grandparents house or driving home from visiting them, I was so sleepy and I  had laid my head on his chest while sitting in his lap as I began to fall alseep  I remember  listening to his voice while he talked.  It was way down deep in his chest and  it was musical  It put me right to sleep.  I clearly remember feeling very safe and warm at that time.


Some of my favorite sayings come from my dad..
“The waiting is the hardest part” (told to me by him as I waited for my turn to have my tonsils/adenoids out as I was the last of the 3 kids to take my turn, my mom had us all go at the same time!!)
I have told that to so many of my patients I don’t even know how many times it could be.  I have empathized with my patients many a time as they waited scared for their procedure.  I always think of him when I say that.

He also told me after my brother died, “It is always hardest on those left behind.” That is so true.
Of course I have many other wonderful memories but these few have crossed my mind today as I have been trying to absorb his loss.

My dad was devastated when my brother died and he was very sad for quite a long time.  I know he held his grief close to his heart. He kept it inside himself.  He withdrew for a time.  Over this last year or so, he really seemed to find himself again. He seemed much more at peace and more content. He began a mid century modern redesign of his home, he dearly loved that time period. He sought out specific pieces of furniture that would fit and he drove all around to find them. In fact he drove to Chicago to purchase a chair, brought it home and said, “I wish I would have bought that other chair he had for sale, I am going back.” And he did, he drove right back up there and got that other chair all in a week’s worth of time.  My dad was always working on something, he always had projects, he was always looking for his next interest.   That sounds a little familiar actually..

The  part that is hardest is that he was a road warrior, he spent years driving  for his work. We moved to TN in 1979, so he could go to work for my uncle, and he drove back and forth each and every week. He drove all over  Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.  He traveled all the time and was always very safe.
He was laid off from his job in December and this was very hard on him.  He loved to be busy and he loved his work. He had just started working for a Canadian company at the State of TN.  Then  they  sent him to Austin, TX for another project.  He was very happy to go. He was doing what he did best… however he never got the chance.
He was killed by a very senseless act of fear and despair.  A young man thought it was better to run from the police and in the process killed my dad. He was observed throwing beer bottles/cans out of his Lincoln Navigator. My dad was t -boned and he never stood a chance. I fear you can see his blood on the front of that man’s Navigator.  They will not release that man’s name… there is talk that he is influential or something of that sort.   As much pain as all of these details cause, it is a small thing compared to our great loss.   Edited to add: they did release the man’s name and it turns out he has 3 PRIOR convictions for driving while intoxicated.  3 are you kidding me? They have charged him with 1st degree murder.
I am praying for peace .  I think the worst is knowing when I got into bed Monday night after having so much joy for my sister, about 10pm, at that very time my father was brutally killed and destroyed and I had no idea. I did not know. I could not feel it and that just saddens me so much.
I pray he felt no pain, and had no idea of what happened to him. I pray he knew what to do, and I pray my brother reached out his hand to him and said “Come on Dad, let’s go!”.. and I know that somehow the boys are back together again.

~(one of the few times we where ALL together as a family…(my dad is the one at the end..)~

One thing is true, my dad was very traditional, he loved his family and was very diligent in honoring his commitments to his parents, wife and family.   I have many things left to talk to him about. I was not ready. Of course you never are.. I am praying for grace for myself and my family to get through this time.   We really need that right now.

Please keep us in your thoughts and if you have made it this far.  Thank you..

~Baby Shower check!~

So, I spent all week in suspense.  We had the shower for my sister… yay! Now I can show what I have been working on.

I made a decision to change from my hexagonquilt, to a string quilt.  I honestly was feeling uninspired for some reason. I also was seeing some flaws with my handsewing that was beginning to make me crazy.  Plus it has been a while since I made my last quilt so I was itching to get back to what I know I can do. For the fabric selection… it is a mix of  fabrics. My sister picked out her main fabric.. the lindley yellow check and a blue floral “Lucinda” from Covington. Originally to work off of the colors, I chose Tanya Whelan prints from the Darla collection. I love that line. It is very soft and girly. However, I felt like I needed some zip. That is where the Good Folk fabric came in. I just love the colors and the way they all seem to work off of each other. I was inpsired by this and thisquilt. I used a 2 inch white kona cotton strip in each block. I chose a large block to show the fabrics off. To finish the quilt I used this tutorial I like the idea of a handwritten label for my niece’s first quilt.

To finish it all off I made a little coordinating envelope quilted pillow. Love the back!


I will still complete the hexagon quilt, I just have to be inspired again..  I encourage you to make a string quilt.  It is kind of magical when you trim down your block. The whole thing just transforms.

  ~ love love love this itty bitty dress pattern!


I also made the itty bitty baby dress from Made by Rae  Omg!!  I love love love this pattern. I love it because it reminds me of when I first learned to sew, my daughter was just a few months old. I really wanted to be able to make her clothes. I signed up for a class at our local college. My husband bought me a little Viking and it was a workhorse. We got to pick out a pattern and we worked our way through it. I picked a dress and it was a lined bodice with a gathered skirt. This pattern just brought me back to the beginning. It made me so happy!

I ended up making bloomers from a pattern I had at home. I love the fabric I used the Anna Marie Horner Good Folks collection. Wow~ what a great line! I can not say enough about the fabric. I love the weight of it. I love the way it sewed up and how it look after I pressed. It has a very rich feel to it. Love love love it.
If you notice it coordinates with the quilt ever so slightly.
Finished off with a few burp cloths using left over fabric scraps.

 One cozy blanket and that finished up the gift. I loved every minute I spent on these little gifts.. thinking about this little one who is yet to be born. Who will she be, what will she be like??   Right now it just does not matter.. I am just ready to meet her when her time comes.


more pics in flickr

~A Little bit of this and a little bit of that~

We are into a new month and I feel so behind!  Hello July! Happy Birthday America, we love you and we are thankful for you~~!

  ~ I have taken a break from the cute little hexagon quilt. I just needed a break.  You know how it is when it is full steam ahead and somewhere along the way it kind of wears down a bit..  I have no problem with that, I just move on to a new project.

This is a baby slip, I can’t give much information yet as I am so fearful I will hit a wall and run out of ability.   I will not be lying by saying this project will stress me to the max, but in a good way..

~ I will be learning many new techniques that I have never done before, but if not now then when?   So, I will continue on. I  started with the easiest component and I will try to work my way up.   One guess who this is for??

oh well, I am excited can you tell? Well wouldn’t you be?

baby caroline

Here she is at 30 weeks.  I got the pleasure of going to her 4d ultrasound.  The miracle of life it is really awe -inspiring.

  ~ if you crochet, then you must try the Tiramisu Baby Blanket from Alicia of Posie gets Cozy I just love this pattern!   I used Lion Brand Organic Cotton I have to say I am very surprised how much I loved this cotton yarn. Really really nice yarn, I can’t say enough about it. It has a really nice feel to it. I used this ribbon from Farmhouse Fabrics . I think it is the perfect finish to a cozy little blanket.

I also want to mention this pasta I made for supper the other night~  (sorry for the blurry picture)

  ~ this recipe is from Heather of beauty that moves~ my gosh, it was so good. I have a really picky 6 year old and she ate 2 bowls full. All I can say is YUM!  It was a hit!   She also has an amazing giveaway going on right now.. go quick and check it out!


I have one more little bit to talk about…

A  long while back I won a free episode of Bommerang from Blair of WiseCraft I’m so sorry it has taken me so long to talk about this.. We chose the episode of Jacques Costeau and it was just  wonderful. We have had some major computer problems that resulted in a new motherboard~

but trust me it was so cool! You have a choice to either download to your computer or MP3 player, or you can purchase the CD. We went with the computer download, but after doing that I should have done the MP3 player. My daughter is 6 and she is a girl on the go.  The cd would have been a good choice for us as well as she likes to listen to the NPR/Classical station when she goes to bed.  (They share the same station.)

I love the format, it is presented by kids for kids. It is part humor, much education and really well done.   Now that I am pretty sure our computer problems are behind us, I need to go get another episode.  Thank you Blair! Please forgive my tardiness!

Wow,  such a long post for me, thanks for hanging in there! See you soon!

Wow, long post, who knew I had so much to say, thanks for haning in there!  See you next time!

~A little bit of baby bedding~

Wow, major computer issues~ Major! Oh well, apparently I am back on..!

Ok, now to my post …

15 years ago my stepfather made a baby cradle with the hopes of having many grandchildren to grace it. We welcomed our first daughter soon after. She slept in the hand made cradle for the first few months of her life.  It was wonderful literally having her right next to us. Over the years it traveled to Indiana for another little one, then back to us in 2003 for our second daughter. Once again when our little baby was too big we packed up it and returned to our family.  Packed away until it is needed again.   In January when my  sister told us she was expecting  and soon after my mother brought out the cradle for baby Caroline she also brought out the cradle bedding.   It is practically fifteen years old and not only was it showing its age, it is not exactly heirloom quality.  No worries~

 I knew just what to do! I did what any good aunt would do, I started sewing.  Now baby Caroline will have just a little bit of bedding to keep her cozy.  I hope she knows how much her Aunt Jen loves her already!

 ~ coverlet made in with the floral fabric, reversed in the pink check made with a tan-ish ruffle

  ~ the bumper is the pink check with the floral piping..

Now, if I could just find some organic flannel for the cradle sheet I would be good to go.. any ideas? I just want an off white ~or  cream color..