Hit the Ground Running for Lucky '13

Hello, my lovlies. Hope your holidays were wonderful! A belated Merry Christmas to you all and I sincerely pray for all of you a joyous and blessed new year!

I have a lot to tell you. Some major stuff has been happening here  - some of it good and fun, some of it sad and tragic. I'll take you through it in chronological order....

First, let me tell you about the quilt I made for Joann Fabric stores. They commissioned F+W Media {my publisher} to write a pattern for a sampler quilt from Rosemary Youngs series of Civil War Love Letters books. The idea was to make it modern. The project kinda fell in my lap - serendipity I guess.  I've been showing little sneak peeks of it and I wanted to show you the finished quilt. It turned out kinda cute. I would have liked more time to finish it - I had 24 days from buying fabric to dropping it off at the F+W offices - so the construction of it is...um...not stellar. This pattern will be available in Joann stores in the Spring.

I *love* decorating the Christmas tree. We bought ours from the same farm we've been going to for almost 20 years. My husband insists on a real tree, which honestly I'm okay with . But we can only have firs - specifically a Frasier fir. That's the only tree I'll buy. Why? Well, I think they're the prettiest. And the needles are soft and short which makes it easier to decorate. And most importantly - I seem to be allergic to every other kind of pine tree. I break out in a rash all over my body!! So, Frasier firs for the Johnsons.

And this is one of my favorite ornaments. It's from my Aunt Judy, who is one of the most creative people I know. It's kind of rusty and tarnished and the label got a little smudged, but it's my Christmas goose. She got all of the grand kids ornaments every year and when I moved out and got married, my mom gave them to me. I still have many of them.

So if you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that my friend Ali had breast cancer last year. During Ali's treatment, a group of my high school girlfriends had started getting together and catching up, loving on our Ali and really making an effort to reconnect. It's been really fun in the last year or two finding these ladies again and knowing them as women, as mamas. I got married young and had babies young, so I lost touch with them early, which has always been a sore spot with me. I've missed them. A lot.

At a graduation luncheon in 1991.
From left: Kerry, Beth, Krissy (seated), Ali, me (seated) and Kathy. Yes, we look like an ad for Laura Ashley.

At the party after graduation day. At our high school, girls wore white dresses and guys wore tuxedos with white dinner jackets for the ceremony.
From left: Jen, me, Lori, Kerry, Jody, Ali, Krissy, Kathy and Beth.

Beth, who was always in the middle of every party, every outing, every event, was really the one driving this reconnecting thing. She planned brunches, dinners, lunches. She was definitely the glue that was being applied to hold us back together. I got to go to her baby shower in October, a very elegant and lovely event hosted by her mom and sister.

I made a girlie set and a hipster set for the shower.
 Beth is a wildly funny person, always in the know and is notorious for telling it like it is - both verbally and with her body language and facial expressions. You know where you stand with Beth.

On Sunday Dec 15, Beth died very suddenly. It's thought that she died from complications from a c-section she had 10 days before. She had a baby girl, who she named Shelby. She also had a son, who is 6 years old.
This is Shelby, Beth's little one.
Her death really threw me into a tail spin. It's so shocking. Just shocking. I really couldn't function most of the next week, which is a big reason I've been quiet for a few weeks. I can't express how sad this situation is - a little boy who lost his mother, a baby girl who will never know her, a husband loses the love of his life and mother of his children. Just heartbreaking. If you would, please pray for this family.

So, last week my husband  and my son go to "meet" the Stanley Cup. For any hockey fan,  this is a thrill. This also rights a wrong, according to my husband. I'll make this very long story as brief as possible...

Many years ago, we were staying at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC. Listings of events scheduled in the hotel are prominently displayed on digital screens near the elevators and lobby. We noticed early one day that one of the events scheduled was a Canadian hockey dinner thingy. We really didn't think much of it since we'd never heard of the group. After returning from dinner that evening, we got in the elevator to go to our room and in the elevator was Scotty Bowman. My husband was standing next to a hockey legend. Holy cow.

This little encounter made us curious about where he was going. Ah - he must be going to this Canadian hockey thing. So we decide to do some snooping and went down to the ballroom where this event was. We turn the corner, and holy crap, there's the Stanley Cup in the lobby area of the ballroom!! And in the ballroom, seated at dinner and listening to THE Rocket Richard accepting an award, are probably 150 current and retired Canadian NHLplayers and coaches.  And because the ballroom doors were open when we walked by them, every person in that room saw my husband freak. out.

To this day, my husband thinks that he had a missed opportunity to touch the Stanley Cup at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC . So, when the Cup came to Cincinnati for a minor league hockey game, you're darn skippy my husband was there. And so, last week, a wrong was righted. Thank the Lord.

And this is the view from the 5th floor of Cincinnati Children's Hospital., where I work in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Let me remind all of you quilters who live in the Cincinnati area, CCHMC uses handmade quilts in patient rooms everyday. Our linen cart is stocked everyday with quilts that were donated to our sewing department. They're simple little things - sometimes they don't even have batting. Some are pieced and some are just two pieces of fabric sandwiched, quilted and bound. All different sizes and colors. But the kids  LOVE them. Love them. Please consider making a few and donating them to this, or any children's or VA hospital.

So here's where we get to talk about what's coming up in the next few months!  Kelly and I have lots of projects coming up and we're pretty darn excited about them.
 First, we're planning some quilt alongs from our book for 2013. We thought about doing one a month, but then decided that might be little too ambitious. We're going to have some guest bloggers and some guest "artists" with some of these projects. So excited about this!
Second, Kelly and I will be featured in some publications over the next few months:
Stitch+Craft+Create, Quilty and another secret project that I'll reveal later!

And I still haven't picked my word of the year yet. Still thinking.
What are your resolutions this year?


  1. Am so sorry to read about your friend. How completely heartbreaking!!! Congrats to your hubby on the Cup fondling...

  2. P.S. The new quilt is excellent xox

  3. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend and the impact it will have on the family. I will keep them in my prayers.

  4. My heart breaks for your friends family. What a shocking event. I feel really sad and sorry for you, as well. Also sorry that you've been spending a lot of time at the children's hospital. I hope everything is ok? I had a giggle at the 1991 pics. I was in year 9 then, and yes I had a floral button through dress with a large collar!

  5. Andy,
    I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend, Beth. It is wonderful that you got to reconnect before she passed away.

    Sending healthy thoughts in the direction of Cinci Hospital too.

  6. Read your whole post and congrats on the modern looking quilt for JoAnns. Nice! So sorry to hear about Beth...so sad and sudden which is shocking. Maybe you have already thought of it but make a tape, or video or little book of memories of Beth for her children...they will so appreciate one day. Thinking of you and Beth and family today even though I didn't know them...prayers go up!

  7. My heart is crying for you over the loss of your dear HS friend. Our circle had a similar thing happen in 2012, within months of adopting the baby girl they had prayed and longed for for seven long years the new mother died of a complication from a simple, seemingly insignificant illness that we all consider common. My heart still breaks for that mother, her husband and the precious little girl who will never know her.

    God Bless and prayers for you tonight (and tomorrow, and however long it takes) that all the other struggles improve soon.

  8. Oh Andy - I am so sorry to hear about your friend Beth. What a sad time, and those poor little kids. I will keep them in my prayers, and you with your visits to the hospital.

    I am excited about some -alonging with your book this year! Love your book.

    Happy new year - hope 2013 brings happiness and good health.

  9. Andie, 2013 is going to be an exciting year for you! I am so happy. How sad about your friend, Beth. I will pray for her family to feel peace and strength.

  10. Andie, so sorry for your loss. I have another friend who is friends with Beth's husband. I'm so glad he has friends and family to support him...and people who are praying for their family. That is completely heartbreaking. Hugs to you. And your quilt, the bib sets, and your tree are all beautiful!

  11. Andie, I'm so osrry to hear about the loss of your friend. I can't imagine how devastating it must have been to everyone who know and love that family. I hope your 2013 will be filled with wonderful, happy, and joy-filled moments.

  12. Andie - really sorry to hear about your friend! And her poor little girl, never knowing her mother - can't even imagine :( Hoping 2013 brings you more good news than bad!


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