A Birthday gift to me

Friday was my birthday. My 36th birthday. Which meant three things. The first was that I got notifications all day long from Facebook, people wishing me a happy birthday. Lots of people that I love and care about… and some people that I can’t remember why their on my friends list at all! Each Facebook message – and each phone call from family – was a precious reminder that I’m loved.

The second thing that happens is that I make a call to schedule my mammogram. I’m 36, and my two closest female relatives have battled breast cancer. For those of us with a family history, we start making our annual dates with this pretty machine when we turn 35.

The mammogram machine

Yup, that’s the photo I took last year, on my first date with the mammogram machine. It wasn’t so bad. There were no flowers or chocolates… but I also was told not to put on deodorant. Any date where you don’t put on deodorant as part of the getting-gussied-up process is going to have a different bar for success, don’t you think?

It isn’t a coincidence that the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and MomSelect reached out to me to share this important message in February. For me, a mammogram in February makes sense because it coincides with my birthday. For you, it might make sense because of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s day is a great reminder to get an annual check. While you’re in the changing room trying on something lacy – make a quick phone call to the doctor to make sure that the curves that fill out that lace and trim is healthy – and stays that way! And if you’re not in a situation where you feel compelled to buy some lingerie mid-February, maybe you just need a reminder that your breasts need a little squeeze. A mechanical hug, if you will…

Love yourself - Schedule a Mammogram!

Last year I went for my mammogram, I was a little scared. It was like part of me was admitting that breast cancer could happen to me. And running away is so much easier, y’all. Thinking that everything will be fine. But getting the report back, confirming that everything is fine – that feels so much better! If you’re nervous about getting your first mammogram, check out the CTCA website and type “mammogram” in the search box. You’ll find lots of information on what mammograms are all about. Or, feel free to ask your questions in the comment section below – I’m no expert, but I’m happy to share what I know!

So, what is the third certainty that comes with having a birthday? Blowing out the candles and making a wish. A birthday isn’t a birthday without getting to make an annual wish while blowing out those dancing flames. I can’t tell you what I wished (or it might not come true!), but if you know me you’re probably guessing that I wished for something along the lines of a happy and healthy future for myself and my family. And you’d probably be right.

Yes, I received compensation for this post as part of a promotional program with CTCA and MomSelect. I am thrilled to participate because Mammograms are important.

Girl Scout Cooke Time!

Blog Tour Image 2

When you’re asked if you would like to buy Girl Scout Cookies – you’re being asked to support an organization that helps young women find a place. I know from personal experience – growing up, I was one of those scouts.

If you’ve met me in person, you probably know (or could easily guess) that I was a Girl Scout. I started in 3rd grade, and stayed in Girl Scouts until I graduated High School. That’s 9 years of Girl Scouting, on two continents. And a whole lot of Girl Scout Cookies. Because selling Girl Scout Cookies funds Girl Scouting.

Nine Years of Girl Scouts

Did you know that 65-75% of the retail price of Girl Scout Cookies stays at the local level? That is every penny after paying the baker. The local council determines how the money is spent – on maintaining camp facilities, supporting the troops, and recognizing individual scouts, among other things.

As a lifetime member, I can tell you some of the ways that I was impacted by Girl Scouts growing up.

I made new friends. I learned how to set goals and achieve goals. I learned how to set a budget. I learned how to coordinate groups of people. I went camping. I cooked. Lashed together bridges. Traveled. Biked. Sang Songs. Sat around Campfires. Learned how to interact effectively with people of different ages and from different backgrounds. Developed leadership skills. Volunteered in my community (and have hundreds of recorded hours). Learned how to run a meeting, including Robert’s Rules of Order (which has served me so many times).  Developed basic life skills. Tested career opportunities. I could go on, but you get the picture. Many of these opportunities were funded by Girl Scout Cookie sales.

I had experiences I would never have had otherwise. My Cadet troop took a trip to Oregon that included 24-hours on a train (one way). I got to go to camp almost every summer – I went to theater camp, cycle camp, horse camp and crafting camp. I later became a camp counselor and got to lead groups of amazing young ladies as a camp song leader. When my family moved overseas, in the first weeks my mom set up a day for me to meet with another US Girl Scout, and I had an immediate friend, even though I was a continent and an ocean away from any home I’d ever known. That is a small thing that made an overwhelming transition so much more manageable. Thank you, Girl Scouts.

Girl Scout Cookie Patch

As an adult, I have had jobs in sales. I have joked that I started my sales career at age 8 when I sold Girl Scout Cookies. People laugh, but one of the toughest challenges in my “early sales career” was being a 15-year-old outside of K-Mart selling cookies. No longer the cute Brownie Scout, selling cookies wasn’t as easy as it had been. Which is why if I see a girl in a blue uniform (the Cadets and Seniors), I’ll buy a box of cookies from them, no matter how many boxes I have in my cupboards.

Join the largest Virtual Girl Scout Cookie Party

Though a lot has stayed the same since I began in Girl Scouting – the focus on the girl, and providing amazing leadership and learning opportunities – a lot has changed as well. It has to, because our world is changing. For example, there is now a Girl Scout Cookie APP! Yup, you can find out where your local Girl Scouts will be selling cookies, and show up with your cash in hand! They’re also hosting a Twitter party at 9pm EST (that’s 6pm for all us PST folks) on February 5th. Just follow #cookieboss on Twitter.

If you’d like to learn more about the History of Girl Scout Cookies or find out how you can Volunteer, check out GirlScouts.org. You can also find out more about cookie sales on the Girl Scout Cookie Program Facebook page.

In the coming weeks, as you see Girl Scouts selling cookies, buy an extra box. Know that you’re supporting an amazing program for young women… and that finding a box of Thin Mints at the back of the freezer on a hot August day is like a little piece of heaven.

2014 Word of the Year: Forward

Always Expect Moore Word of the Year - Forward

With the new year comes a new word to guide me, and keep me focused. This year’s word of the year was very easy. It just came to me. My word of the year for 2014 is: FORWARD.

Merriam-Webster defines forward as:

: near or belonging to the front part of something

: moving or directed ahead or toward the front

: moving toward the future or toward a more advanced state or condition

I think all of these define where I want to be and what I want to accomplish over these next 12 months. I want to be near or belonging to the front of the craft blogging movement. It is part of why I’m working with Angie on Crafty Hangouts, and focusing more on Google+. I want to keep moving ahead – finding that next project, that next creative endeavor, and tackling it head-on. And I want to move towards the future. I have big plans. Moving forward, I’ll make them all happen.

Stay tuned.

Engaged over the Holidays

When Clever Girls and Shane Co. asked me a post about getting engaged over the holidays, I knew exactly the story I wanted to share. My own engagement story.  I’ve never told it here, but I promise it is worth settling in for.

After we got engaged, J and I shopped for wedding bands at Shane Co. We had a great experience ring shopping together – picking bands to celebrate our commitment to each other. I still remember walking between the showroom cases trying to figure out what we wanted, and trying on rings to determine what fit “us”… and while we were at it checking out all the other great sparkles… but I’m getting ahead of myself…

J and I met in college. After 5 years of dating, I was ready. I was 25 years old. We both had solid careers, we knew what we wanted out of life, it was time to make a decision.

ShaneCo Successful woman

This isn’t me. But it could have been. Just swap out the phone with one about an inch thick (hey – it was 2005).

For Christmas, we were going to Alabama to visit J’s aunt and uncle. It was a full house – aunts, uncles, cousins. The five of us “kids” slept on air mattresses in the living room. I was sure that this was going to be IT. I was getting a diamond for Christmas. I was so certain of it that before flying to Alabama I gave myself an ultimatum. If I wasn’t engaged when I left Alabama, I was finding my own apartment, and moving out.

Christmas morning came. We all sat around the tree to open gifts. There was no ring.

That night I silently cried myself to sleep. J and his family were staying in Alabama for two more days. I was flying home in the morning. That would give me enough time to be moved out by the time he got home.

The next morning I lay on my air mattress. Getting up meant facing the day – and all the days to come. I wasn’t ready.

As I lay there I heard J speaking with his grandmother in the kitchen. I eavesdropped as he told her that he was planning to propose on my birthday less than two months away.

My heart leapt, soared, and did every other cliche dance that a girl’s heart does when she realizes that fairy tales can come true. He did love me.

About a month later, J asked me about my diamond preference.

Engagement rings that ‘Wow’. Shane Co. offers designer looks not sold anywhere else with a lifetime guarantee that cannot be beat!

This was it. For real this time.

Two days before my birthday I came home to see J on the computer, playing video games. On the bed was a teddy bear with a small, wrapped box. Without pausing his game, J told me that I could unwrap the gift. I did.

Pendant from ShaneCo

A warning to any men reading this: giving your girlfriend a necklace when she expects a ring will result in tears. But she’ll still treasure the necklace forever.

Mumbling thanks, I went upstairs to the guest room. Curled up in the furthest corner of the closet, I called my friend. Through my sobs I told her, “He (sob) gave (sob, sob) me the (sob, sniffle) diamond (sob sob sob).”

“Why aren’t you happy?”

(sob, sob) It was (sob, sob, sob) in a (gasp, sob) necklace.”

He didn’t really love me. I needed to find an apartment. For the next week I was completely depressed. I needed to figure out how to tell him.

I couldn’t. I loved him.

February 20th, J came home from work, and suggested we grab a bite. In need of a giant margarita, I took a quick shower and got dressed.

Two margaritas (for me) and some fantastic enchiladas later, we were back in the car, on our way home. I needed to tell him. As I was trying to find the words, he missed our exit. We weren’t going home.

J drove on and parked on a shady street. He told me that I was his best friend. That he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Would I marry him?

Six months and six days after telling him yes, I became Mrs. Moore as I told him “I do.”

It was a perfect day. I wore my mother’s pearls, and the veil from her wedding. My dad walked me down the aisle, and our parents sat in the front row as we promised to love and to cherish, ’til death do us part.

ShaneCo Pearls

On my wedding day, my something borrowed was my mother’s pearls.

Eternal and timeless, pearls never go out of style! Shane Co. cultured pearls are matched by hand for exceptional luster.

We have been married for over 7 years, and I’m still not sure how I feel about him torturing me… though I did get an extra diamond out of the deal.

But I do have eerie confirmation that we really are meant to be together. That confirmation came on February 25th – just 5 days after our engagement. We were having a celebratory drink with friends as I told them how close I was to moving out, but overheard the conversation he had with his grandmother.

He interrupted to say that he didn’t tell her his plans. He hadn’t told anyone. I heard a conversation that never happened.

… and it gives me goosebumps every time I think of it.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Sunshine Quilt

This post has been about a month in the making… and really the story isn’t finished yet, but I don’t want to wait any longer to share it. I got to check something major off my bucket list in October. Quilters, prepare to be jealous…

I had a quilt hang at market.

Diamonds Quilt at Marketpicture courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics

Yup. No joke. I made that quilt hanging right there.

For anyone who has “get a quilt at Market” on their bucket list, I can tell you that for me the process was a little bit of luck and whole lot of work… with a dash of insanity thrown in.

After making the Roots and Wings Quilt, I had a bit of a “lull” in my schedule. And by “lull” I mean no major trips out of town or massive projects due. Just my steady stream of crafting and watching the kids with Halloween costumes and Christmas projects needing to get done. So I asked the folks at Art Gallery Fabrics if they needed anything done for market. They needed a quilt and a pillow, and we were off and running.

I’m not going to say that there was a major snafu with the postal service that delayed the fabric getting to me for over a week, or that I had to take a trip out of town for about 24 hours right smack dab in the middle of making the quilt. But I will say that getting to work on a project like this is better than getting a full night’s sleep. Well, I’m pretty sure. I haven’t actually gotten a full night’s sleep since 2007, and I really don’t remember it being that special.

Anyway, I got her finished, and I love her. Here is the front.

AGF Quilt Front

I cut, placed, and pieced each diamond. There are all kinds of crazy bias edges in this quilt. I had learned about glue basting the week before starting it, and that is probably what kept me sane… and made my points line up. Oh – and I quilted and hand-bound it as well.

I love adding some personality to my backs, and a variation on a stacked-coin back is my favorite way to go. I mixed it up a little this time by using the selvedges. This took a little planning – I actually cut all the selvedges from the fabric before cutting the diamonds, and set them aside to use in the backing.

AGF Quilt Back

After finishing the quilt, I still had a little steam, and a little time, to make the pouf pillow. Here it is unstuffed.

AGF Pouf

The circles are all done with reverse-applique and I inserted a big zipper around the bottom to make it easy to fill. Zippers and I usually get along, but after gettting that zipper into a curved seam… zippers and I weren’t on speaking terms for a little while.

And although you can’t see my pouf in this post (she is there though, just hiding!), here is a photo of the whole booth…

Art Gallery Fabrics Booth

picture courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics

Why isn’t this story finished? Well… I have the blocks of a second quilt, using the scraps from this quilt, up on my design wall right now. I just need to find some hours to spend sewing, and then maybe I can show you another golden beauty…


ps… if you want to see more of the great Art Gallery Fabrics booth, you can read about it in their Market Wrap-Up Post.