July 2016 “American Quilter” Article

I get so very tickled when I see a new issue of American Quilter magazine show up in our mailbox!  My articles in them for 2016 are all written toward a personal passion of mine.  The July issue’s “Year of Giving” article focuses on “No Foster Child Left Behind.”  As many of you may know, I was a foster child from the age of 11 until I turned 18.  There is no better reason to jump in and make quilts for foster kids – they need them, they treasure them, they provide them with a sense of security and they are *always* cherished and loved.  I pray my fellow quilters can join the cause to leave no foster child behind.


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    Baboom! Baboom!

    Our second daughter was a tiny little thing, weighing in under six pounds when she was born. She joined us just a few days before Christmas in 1997 and I was bound and determined to host my husband’s family for the holidays. BC was amazing – sleeping when she should, eating when she needed to and not fussing while the family passed her around.

    But, for the first year of that child’s life, she was just not happy unless someone was holding her. It didn’t matter who held her, as long as they held her close. She wasn’t comfortable enough to sleep unless she was swaddled very tightly and held very close to her daddy – under his armpit was the best!  When little beads of perspiration formed on her nose, she was finally able to doze off. And if you kept her warm enough, she slept for a good six hours!

    Alas, though, BC never smiled! It did not matter what you did, that baby just had no smiles in her. We’d play with her, all of us laughing and giggling, and she’d just stare at us, like we were from outer space! Sourpuss, that’s what she was.

    We’d planned a five-day trip to move from Texas to Utah, where my husband had accepted a new job. I planned and packed and planned some more, as we now had three children from three-years-old to the month-old baby, to care for.  BC was 16-months-old.

    On the first day of our moving adventure, BC and her sister were trussed into their car seats, which were strapped into the back-facing third seat of our SUV. They only had each other and the road behind us to entertain themselves.

    Mind you, BC not only didn’t smile, she didn’t much talk, either. Her first word was cookie, and that has perfectly suited her personality as she’s still our “eat dessert first” kid. Why eat dinner when there’s dessert? Her second word was daddy. That was it. She had no other words that she spoke, even at 16-months-old.

    KB decided she’d have some word fun with BC while we were driving down the Interstate – she’d say a word and wait for BC to repeat it. She started with simple words like cow and car and barn and truck because those were the things she could see out the window. No dice. BC just stared at her big alien sister without making a peep. Then, KB picked up a book that she had and she was showing BC the animals in it, pointing to them and identifying them. She came upon a new photo and said BABOOM. Lo-and-behold, the next thing out of BC’s mouth was BABOOM. We all got excited about this new word that BC had picked up, and that made BC SMILE!

    And then it truly got out of hand. For FIVE DAYS, all I heard from those two giggleboxes in the back of the auto was BABOOM, BABOOM, BABOOM! It wasn’t until we reached our final destination that I finally explained to KB that the real pronunciation was BABOON!

    We still laugh at how BC’s world changed because of that trip, once she started talking and smiling!

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      Stupid Tammy Tricks: Dog 1, TK 0


      Meet Phydeaux (pronounced Fido).  She’s a 13-year-old yellow lab who was a birthday gift to our son when he was just three-years-old.  Son has three sisters, he needed a dog as a faithful companion – someone to pal around with, run in the fields with, sleep with and be loved unconditionally by.

      Phydeaux has lived a pretty good life.  At this point, she’s beyond the ‘normal’ age range for labs.  She’s had a stroke in the past two years, she cannot run around without taking a few hours to finally catch her breath and her tummy is not very stable – but she’s still a pretty good dog.


      This past weekend, my husband and kids went camping, leaving me home alone with minimal supervision (my MIL was just up the hill from our house, if I needed anything).  Which left me in charge of all of the family pets – two dogs and a turtle.  I’m a champ when it comes to taking care of the turtle!  Feed him twice a day, turn on his light in the morning and turn it off in the evening.

      Our other dog is our oldest daughter’s dog.  She is a scrappy terrier mix who was a rescue.  She’s six-years-old and still has a lot of vim and vigor in her.  She’s not too difficult to supervise, especially when there’s treats and lots of belly rubs throughout the day.

      Now, once a day, my husband lets the dogs out for something he calls a fun run.  He doesn’t supervise them very much but lets them have some time outside to burn off some energy, chase rabbits or armadillos and just give them a chance to sniff everything and anything.  The only reason he may have to call one of them back to the house is if they are headed to our compost heap.

      When I am in charge of the dogs, they rarely listen to me.  They go out and come back in pretty quickly in the mornings and then in the evenings (when they know there are food or treats involved).  It’s those hours between breakfast and bedtime, when I’m home alone, where they challenge my authority EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

      Last weekend?  Phydeaux was the naughty doggie.  ARGH

      I let the dogs out before lunch on Saturday. Now, having MS, I’m not too steady on my feet when I’m not in the house where there are things for me to hold onto – and I cannot use a cane because the right side of my body will always be out of whack from of a huge dead spot in my brain. I could see Phydeaux over near my husband’s garden but every time I called her, she moved further and further away from me. I finally got off the deck and go to get her. And the closer I get, the further away she went.

      Her goal? The compost heap, of course. And with her rumbly tummy, I was *not* prepared to clean up dog gak all weekend. Her stroke has affected her hearing in one ear but the other hears just fine…when she wants to.

      I start walking perpendicular to her and almost catch up with her…when I realize that at some point, my slipper fell off of my foot. I don’t have much feeling in my feet so is easy to throw a shoe without my knowing it. I look back and see my slipper – except it’s turned the wrong direction for me to slip my foot into it easily and it’s also surrounded by thistles. I finally deduce that I can take one or two steps toward it and then pick it up and put it back on my foot. Well, then I encounter MS issue #gazillion – if my head gets lower than my hind end, I get extremely dizzy (again, that dead spot in my brain is the cause). And just like that, I got dizzy and literally fell on top of my slipper as well as the thistles.

      And Phydeaux is still taking a leisurely stroll toward the compost heap. ARGH

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        3 Fathers, 3 Sons & a Lifetime of Friendships

        My husband, JD, met two special friends through Boy Scouts – when all three boys were in junior high, about 40 years ago.  One friend, DW, he met when their Scout troops participated in an adventure together and eventually, DW joined JD’s troop.  The other friend, ST, he met at Bear Creek Scout Reservation in Hunt, Texas.  JD was in charge of something to do with the commissary and ST was one of his staff members.  They both worked at that Scout camp for two additional summers – again, both while in junior high school.

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          Join Me for a Super Bowl Mystery Quilt at BOMquilts.com!

          While others are watching the Super Bowl, let’s make the most of our quiet time (HA!) while they are otherwise occupied to make a Super Bowl 50 Weekend Mystery Quilt!


          Finished Size:  60″ square
          Finished Block Size = 15″ square
          Unfinished Block Size = 15 1/2″ square

          Skill Level:  Confident Beginner

          Click Here to Print Off the Fabric Requirments!

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