Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Retirement has finally arrived!

Today was my last day and tomorrow the paperwork, then I’m history and a name plaque on the retirement wall.

In the past 29 years with the BOP, I have been blessed with many good coworkers and a few good supervisors -- People whom I knew I could trust to have my back and friends who gave me support in the tough times.

It’s been a long climb since starting out as a GS-1, and worked my way through every step to finally retire as a GS-9. Several times the ladder rungs took a beating, but I just hung on for dear life and kept inching my way forward. It’s said that good things come to those who wait, so I did my share of waiting. My words of wisdom are to put God and family before your job, keep your values and integrity out in front and put more effort into keeping friends instead of making enemies.

USP Leavenworth has definitely been an experience, from cats falling through the ceiling to the ceiling falling in over my desk and the unforgettable day the ceiling fell out of the entire kitchen. I’ve had to dumpster-dive for office furniture and drive the old delivery truck that has no windows, no door handle and only one side mirror which makes backing up an adventure. At Springfield I saw things no one can believe, especially back when I worked in the Operating Room and the Psychiatric Unit. Believe me when I say they can put a tattoo absolutely anywhere. I can definitely say my least favorite job of all was notifying the family after an inmate died and how could I ever forget when a doctor at Springfield told me I sounded a lot better over the phone than I looked!!

I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years, some good and some not so good. If you stick around long enough, you see the changes that didn’t work in the past tried all over again. The good thing about working for the Bureau of Prisons is it paid well, I’ll have a retirement check every month, I can keep my health insurance, and I had plenty of vacation time, so it was worth it. One thing I always say is where else can you work and have so much entertainment.

Now I start a new chapter in my life, one that will enable me to enjoy my family more, put my creative abilities in action, and do a lot of things I have put off and put on hold simply because there just was never enough time.

There will be some things I’ll miss, but a lot I definitely will not; getting up at 4:30 in the morning, standing on the dock with the wind blowing snow and ice in my face, and I’m definitely not going to miss coming home very day smelling like what we cooked for lunch. One of the big things I won’t miss is sitting in my office above the kitchen knowing that if anything happened the only thing I could do would be barricade myself in my office and hope there wasn’t a fire.

Now all that is behind me and I have so many plans and new adventures a head of me!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Father's Shirts

I believe this is my biggest project to accomplish so far. David Wright passed away is 2007 and I was asked to make a quilt using his shirts for his son Christopher and his daughter Emily. I have finally completed the quilt for Christopher and it took me about 2 years! This quilt was made using Davids work shirts and polo shirts with a few of his t-shirts as the main fabric in the stars and square blocks. I also added personalized embroidery is some of the squares as he was a soccer coach and an avid golfer. Since I wanted to use as much of the shirts as I could I took the cuffs complete with the buttons attached and sewed them all around the boarder of the quilt and I'm planning to use the collars of the shirts around the boarder of Emily's quilt.

I did one embroidery square for Christopher's birth date and the memorial square with David's dates of birth and death.

The biggest challenge for this quilt was the fact I quilted it on my regular sewing machine, but due to the size of the quilt (100 x 100) I had to use my dinning room table and draped the quilt over the table, the chairs,and my shoulder while I was free motion quilting. I had to quilt a little at a time because my shoulders and back would start aching after a while! My next step is to make a quilt for Emily, but fortunately this one sill be a smaller size. I'm almost done designing her quilt on graft paper and I'm about ready to start cutting and embroidering. Sine I'll soon be retired I'm confident her quilt will be done a lot sooner than two years from now!!

Last year because I was feeling so bad about not getting anything done for her I made a pillow from some of the shirt scraps left after cutting the squares of Christopher's quilt. I entered it in the Platte County Fair and was thrilled to get a blue ribbon. When I gave Emily the quilt I let her have the ribbon since I felt it went with the pillow. However, she had other ideas and decoupaged the ribbon onto an old small wooded ironing board I had asked her to decorate for me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The carpet bag

This is one big purse, it's a large tote bag made from a vintage vest and some upholstery fabric. I made this one for a shop owner in Smithville. I went into her vintage and antique shop the other day to look around and she asked me about the purse I was carrying. I came out of the shop with this vest to make a purse for her. She wanted it to resemble the large carpet bags, which I think it does.

Today I made a purse for myself!! My friends keep telling me that I need a new one since all summer I've been using the purse I made last winter from a sweater, so today I made one that will be great for fall. I love the colors and I used the yellow striped fabric on the inside. I used one upholstery sample for the outside, fabric from a mans shirt for the inside and then the top and the handle are pieces of denim for a old pair of jeans. I used the wrong side of the denim because the right side was rather ratty looking. The button came from my stash so it's 100% recycled.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Labrador purse

This is my latest purse, I'm adding embroidery pictures to them now and made a little coin purse to go with it. I used my favorite creative supply of old blue jeans and upholstery fabric samples.