Our 12 Favorite Charities


On our journey traversing the medical world with our daughter, Jenna, we’ve been honored to be assisted by and involved with some amazing charitable organizations. In the spirit of the holidays (and Giving Tuesday), here are our favorites. All are wonderful organizations worth donating to… HopeKids__HopeKids__Restoring_Hope__Transforming_Lives


HopeKids provides ongoing events & activities and a powerful, unique support community for families who have a child with cancer or some other life-threatening medical condition. They give our kids something fun to look forward to amidst all the doctor visits and hospital stays.

“We surround these remarkable children and their families with the message that hope can be a powerful medicine.”




Signing Time! Foundation

The Signing Time Foundation is dedicated to making sign language fun and accessible to all children. This foundation fundraises and supports for the Down Syndrome Association, Autism SpeaksCouncil for Exceptional Children, and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, among others, and helps deaf children in Ghana attend school.

“We are committed to a vision of the world in which all children can express themselves and be understood.”



Primary Children’s Hospital Foundation

100% of donations made to Primary Children’s Hospital Foundation help children and families cared for at Primary Children’s Medical Center through Charity Care, Pediatric Medical Research, Hospital facilities improvements, Music therapy, art therapy, bereavement counseling, Medical equipment, and Toys for the playrooms.



Reliance Children’s Foundation

Reliance Children’s Foundation assists with the financial needs of terminally and chronically ill children and their families. By working directly with children’s hospitals, Reliance is able to find and assist families in critical situations. Financial support from Reliance helps families pay for things like utility bills, groceries, gas, bus rides, mortgages, and transportation to and from medical visits.


Intermountain Liver Families Foundation

This is a new foundation, formed just this year, to assist with the financial needs of children with liver diseases and their families in the intermountain U.S., as well as fund ongoing medical research and studies related to pediatric liver disease and treatment.



Histiocytosis Association

Histiocytosis Association is dedicated to raising awareness about histiocytic disorders, like Langerhans’ Cell Histiocytosis, which our Jenna had, as well as providing educational and emotional support, and funding research leading to better treatments and a cure for these rare disorders.



Camp Hobé

Camp Hobé is a special summer camp designed for children with cancer, and their siblings, who are often forgotten in the cancer experience. Camp Hobé gives kids the opportunity to participate in camp activities just like healthy children whose families are not affected by cancer. “Throughout their time at camp, Camp Hobé kids are allowed to play outside with other children, to discover the joy and freedom of being away from the confines of the hospital, and to temporarily displace the fears that the future holds. This is their chance—sometimes their only chance—to “just be kids” and to escape the grown-up realities they face everyday.”



Children and the Earth

“The mission of Children and the Earth is to provide underprivileged and at-risk children with special opportunities they would not normally receive, while creating a positive environment for mankind. Not only to give disadvantaged children special consideration, but also to create an opportunity for these children to take part in environmental projects, building an awareness and a conscience, with respect and regard to our planet Earth and future generations.”


And here are some favorite charities we have supported in the past…


Safe Harbor Crisis Center

Safe Harbor provides shelter, supportive services and advocacy to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as education, awareness and resources to our community.

“Our dedication to these objectives reflects our belief in the right of all individuals to a self-determined life free of violence.”



Heifer International

“We empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – but our approach is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty.”

“Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.”




Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Inc.

“The mission of Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Inc. is to serve those whose lives are touched by the tragic death of a baby through pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or in the first few months of life.”



Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders delivers independent emergency medical care to victims of armed conflict, brings relief in the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters, and fights deadly epidemics in nearly 70 countries around the world.



We wish you and your families a Happy Holiday Season!



December 6, 2014 P.S. And 2 More… (How could I forget?!)


Make-A-Wish Foundation

They’re sending our family on Jenna’s wish trip this Spring to swim with dolphins! What an amazing organization!




Friends of Multiple Sclerosis

We donate frequently to this charity because I have 2 dear friends with Multiple Sclerosis. Every little bit helps to find a cure.



And that is all… for now!  = )



Posted in Blog Posts, Fabric of Life, LCH and Chemo, Liver Transplant Tagged with: , , , , ,

52 Pillows – #39 – Outdoor Grouping


Fulfilling on my year’s goal to use up my stash of fabrics and not buy anything new, this outdoor pillow grouping uses up fabric I bought at least 3 years ago, for myself. I planned to make new cushion covers and pillows for our outdoor furniture, which had really deteriorated. I wish I had taken a picture of our old cushion covers – the fabric was so thin in places it had worn through and the birds were pulling out the filling to use in their nests. (I’m serious.) Anyway, a lot of life happened and I never got around to making the new cushions. And then my dear mother-in-law bought new cushions for us which are lovely, but don’t match the fabric I had. So here I’ve used my fabric for pillow #39, a varied grouping of pillows for outdoor or in…


Symmetrical or


(Whichever appeals to you)


And lots of different sizes and types of pillows to choose from – bolsters, lumbars, 12×12 solid or stripe, 14×14 solid or solid with stripe trim. I’ll be selling these in my shop as soon as I can get more photos…



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The Summer of Learning to Live Again

View from the Queen Mary deck

The summer of our Learning to Live Again project was kicked off with a trip to Long Beach, California, for my birthday. We haven’t flown anywhere in about 2 years, not since Jenna has had a feeding tube. We weren’t really sure how traveling with all her meds and feeding tube accoutrements would go, but, in the spirit of Learning to Live Again, decided to give it a try. Also we were flying standby… All uncertainties aside, we got there without a hitch and it was totally worth it! Four days, 3 nights, staying on the Queen Mary and spending time on the beach every day, going on a boat tour and spending a day in the Long Beach Aquarium…

View from the Queen Mary deck

View from the Queen Mary deck





Best. Vacation. Ever!

The week after our son went to Camp Hobé, a camp for kids with cancer and their siblings, manned by volunteer doctors, nurses and just really great people. Awesome. Ryan hadn’t slept away from home for more than one night before, so we were all a little nervous about this, but he had a wonderful time and is already talking about going again next year. If you’re looking for a great cause to donate to, Camp Hobé is it!

Also about this time, Jenna had an MRI of her brain. During our vacation she was shaking, sometimes uncontrollably, and was so seemingly dizzy she would cling to us. At the time, since nothing else had changed, we decided to just wait it out. But when we got home and it continued, we called her doctors who recommended the MRI to check for active LCH in her brain or neurological damage from chemo. Over a week later we were finally able to get her in for the scan but by then she had basically returned to normal. Normal being random hand tremors and vertigo. The scan showed no abnormalities or LCH, whew, and now in hindsight we believe she was just afraid. She has led a very sheltered life so far, going mainly between our house, Grandma and Grandpa’s house and the hospital. I think the huge leap from this lifestyle to going on an airplane, in a taxi and buses and around tons of people in strange environments was too much for her. In spite of whatever was going on though, she did have fun.  = )

A week later my husband, who worked for one of the airlines, was unexpectedly let go. He hasn’t liked this job from the beginning and has kept it to keep Jenna insured. Not surprisingly, my initial reaction was to completely FREAK OUT! But, honestly, for many months I’ve been thinking that we all deserve to be happy, all of us. So on the flip side of freaking out, I was happy for him and relieved that he would be around more. Just like so many things in life, there are pluses and minuses to his not having this job…

Plus-I have help getting the kids to bed and with the nighttime routine with Jenna’s meds and feeds.

Minus-No steady paychecks (small as they were, they helped).

Plus-I have only had to cook dinner 4 times since then! (Double plus!)

Minus-We’ve had to find alternate insurance for ourselves, except for Jenna who is still covered by her secondary insurance.

Plus-My husband is happy.

Plus-I get to sew more.

Plus-We spend more time together…

Here’s what we’ve been up to…

• We rode horses and held baby animals at Arrowhead Stables, a HopeKids sponsored event (another charity worth sinking your donation dollars into!) Jenna hardly cracked a smile, but each time her ride was over, she wanted to ride again. Over and over and over.


• My husband and son have been hiking a lot together


• We’ve been walking a lot in the evenings and trying new trails in our area

• We’ve been swimming a lot and jumping on the trampoline at dusk (when I say a lot, it’s 3 or 4 times a month, which is a lot for us)

• We went to the 4th of July parade in our town (it was kind of a bust – our son is at that age where he doesn’t care anymore and Jenna isn’t quite old enough to get it – but we did score a ton of salt water taffy!)

• We went to a huge charity event at FantasyCon – WOW! – This was an event involving many other charities for children with life threatening diseases or disabilities, including HopeKids. We were a guest of Make-A-Wish at this event. So fun!!


• And we played with the solar oven we’ve had for years in our basement


In July Jenna had her first oncology follow-up and ultrasound. She got a big thumbs-up and “Great progress!” Hurray!

Somewhere between Jenna’s brain scan, freaking out about my husband losing his job, Jenna’s oncology follow-up, and feeling drained by the heat, I lost the momentum for our family project. In fact, I hardly thought about it at all. Mostly I was thinking about how we were going to pay bills, making sure we had insurance, especially Jenna, and trying to entertain the kids during the hottest/sunniest part of each day without going outside. In August we had several cooler days and I swear my brain started functioning normally again. I remembered – Oh yeah, we have a family project! After reviewing our “list”, I saw we had hardly made a dent in it this summer. We decided to ramp up again and end the summer with a big splash, so to speak. So here’s what we did to round out the summer…

• An evening at Cherry Hill floating in the lazy river and other fun stuff

• A visit to Ogden Nature Center (another great organization worth donating to!)

• More swimming, more walking and more hiking

• An outdoor concert

• An evening at Cowabunga Bay Water Park, a private event for HopeKids, sponsored by eBay

• And a family reunion

All of which we managed to do without getting any pictures. Oh well…

And, just like that, our Summer of Learning to Live Again was over. Jenna starts preschool soon and homeschool for our son has begun. In hindsight, I think we’re getting used to living again, as a family. I admit I wasn’t always in the spirit of our project, going along physically but preferring to stay home and read a book. But when I found myself telling a friend recently that we hardly get out, I realized as soon as the words were out of my mouth that it just isn’t true anymore. We may not get out everyday, but our lives, unlike a year ago, or even 6 months ago, don’t revolve around the hospital. Living is becoming normal. We’re making progress!

And so the Learning the Live Again project continues… until next time!…

Posted in Blog Posts, Fabric of Life Tagged with: , , , ,

More Paisley for Mom


Awhile back I made a valance for my mom’s kitchen, and later, oven mitts. She has fallen in love with the fabric.

green paisley oven mitts

Who wouldn’t, right?… She loves it so much we covered a canvas with it to make a wall hanging, and I also made matching potholders. The most recent thing she asked for is a basket liner.

She’s had this basket for napkins lined with a dishtowel for a looooong time. She wanted a new basket liner with the fancy green paisley fabric, reversible, with the brown cord trim like I used on the valance.

Here’s what it looked like before (sans napkins)…


And… after (also sans napkins)


And from the back…


And settled in my mom’s kitchen…

Settled into its new home...

This was a fun project that stretched me a bit. It’s not often I get to use these pattern-making/design skills. Thanks Mom!  = )



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52 Pillows – #38 – Christmas Tree


I know, another winter-themed pillow during the hottest part of the year! What am I thinking?!?…

This heat is suffocating!


That’s what I’m thinking.

Maybe you’re like me, feeling like the summer will never end? Well, look at the Christmas tree pillow and imagine yourself under a full moon on a brisk winter night…

christmas tree IMG_281752P38

christmas tree IMG_281052P38

Don’t you feel cooler already?…

You’re welcome.

= )


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now for Shameless Plug~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you like this Christmas Tree pillow, I have coordinated Christmas stockings and an ornament available in my shop. Get one made to order just for you, or learn to make your own with one of my downloadable ePatterns. It’s never too early to prepare for the holiday season!






Posted in 52 Pillows Project, Blog Posts, Christmas Decor, Decorative Pillows and Bedding, Holiday Accessories, Home Decor Tagged with: , , , ,

52 Pillows – #37 – Mitered



One of a set, Pillow #37 is a mitered pillow using a stripe in yellow, green and blue. Four other pillows in various sizes, each with the stripe on one side and the butter-yellow solid on the opposite side, accompany the mitered pillow. (The photographs, unfortunately, really don’t do them justice.) Another satisfied customer – hurrah! And one pillow closer to #52!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in 52 Pillows Project, Blog Posts, Decorative Pillows and Bedding, Home Decor Tagged with: , , ,

Tiny Sparrow Foundation


Earlier this year we became a recipient of Tiny Sparrow Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides enduring memories through the beauty of photography to families with children who are facing life threatening diseases. By coordinating with photographers nationwide, they gift each family with a beautiful album full of captured moments of love and joy. In May we met with our amazing photographer, Gina, from Little Lubby Dubby Photography, who specializes in special needs, newborn and children’s photography. She was… Amazing! I just had to show off some of her work…

















Not only is Gina’s work amazing, she is kind and compassionate, someone who clearly has a huge, open heart. We are so grateful for these beautiful photographs of our Jenna and for this amazing experience working with Tiny Sparrow Foundation and Little Lubby Dubby Photography!

Posted in Blog Posts, Fabric of Life, LCH and Chemo, Liver Transplant Tagged with: , , , ,

52 Pillows – #36 – Shams



Pillow #36 marks my return to custom home decor work. While my daughter was in treatment, I only did a few very small custom jobs from my online store. It’s a small start, I know, and I don’t plan on taking on any large jobs like window coverings or duvet covers for at least another year. We could get “the call” for our daughter’s liver transplant anytime and I’d feel bad if I wasn’t able to complete something for weeks later than promised… Anyway, I made these king shams for one of the Ethan Allen interior designer’s clients. (Thanks Lynette and Teresa!) Feels good to be expanding this part of my business again, even if it’s just a little bit.



Posted in 52 Pillows Project, Blog Posts, Decorative Pillows and Bedding, Home Decor Tagged with: , , ,

Kids Art Show


The school year came to an end so quickly, before I knew it there were only 4 weeks to plan the kids’ art show for our little homeschool class!… We decided to reserve the library auditorium – plenty of space, chairs and tables, sound and video system included, really inexpensive. The downside of the library auditorium was we couldn’t hang anything on the walls or from the ceiling, which presented a real challenge for an art show. I looked around for kids art show ideas other than displaying on easels. What I found was the Art Show Guidebook on deepspacesparkle.com, a 38-page downloadable book on how to organize your own kids art show. While the guidebook is geared toward school teachers who have to handle many classes or an entire school worth of artwork, I found some good ideas and great pointers.

First though, here are the invitations we made…





I printed out the basic invitation on card stock then the kids cut out paint chips for the flag. The example I made for them (not shown here) had perfectly shaped triangles (ugh), because perfectionism just takes over me sometimes. But when the kids cut out their own triangle flags, each had their own style of shape, color and pattern. I sewed the flags on as instructed, and you know, theirs were much better than mine. I just loved what they created!…

Anyway, back to the actual art show… Here’s what I ended up doing. I mounted each art piece on colored poster paper/board with rubber cement (the guidebook suggested Elmer’s Glue but I didn’t want their work to wrinkle. I ended up going through 3 bottles of rubber cement… but nothing wrinkled!)

For the displays, I used cardboard boxes of various sizes, cut the top and bottom flaps off, wrapped each box in black paper (from the school supply store, sold by the yard, 36″ wide). I then mounted each piece of art on the black-paper-wrapped boxes, either taped or stapled. I did all this in my basement. The day of the show, the boxes were carefully collapsed and stacked in the car, then at the library the boxes were opened again and stacked on top of one another (shown below). It wasn’t pretty/perfect, but it worked really well. And overall it looked pretty cool…




The larger art pieces were displayed on easels borrowed from a neighbor.



The tin-can robots were displayed on a table in front of metallic poster board (below far right) and smaller pieces were displayed on easels (left), in front of the projector screen where we showed a video of photos from the school year.



This large display was made from a bathtub box salvaged from a neighbor’s bathroom remodel project. I cut off the end flaps and one long side to create this display below. Last minute entries were laid on the floor.



What a great way to wrap up a great school year, give the kids a chance to show off and take pride in their work – A fun time was had by all!


Posted in Blog Posts, Fabric of Life, Homeschool Tagged with: , ,

52 Pillows – #35 – Skiing Snowman


skiing snowman pillow

The temperature today is a balmy 90 F, so why a skiing snowman pillow for #35? Am I dreaming of cooler weather? Am I fantasizing about fluffy snowflakes falling from the clouds? No. I just couldn’t get this guy out of my head. From a sketch I did a few years ago, before our life was turned upside down, when I planned to expand my Christmas line, this is one of a set of pillows. My favorite actually. It’s taken awhile obviously, but I’m happy to have him out of my head and in the real world.

I’ll be offering this cutie in my store soon as a complement to my Skiing Snowman Christmas Stockings and Snowman Christmas Ornament.

Skiing Snowman Pillow ©2014 TiffinyDesigns


Posted in 52 Pillows Project, Blog Posts, Christmas Decor, Decorative Pillows and Bedding, Holiday Accessories, Home Decor Tagged with: , , , , ,

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