Monday, April 4, 2011

Reach for the Sunshine; Stand Tall

I love this family. If you've seen any of the crazy music videos on my blog, you may recognize some of these women.

Here we are seated at a restaurant on a recent outing together. I am in the back left and my sister Marva Lu is seated across from me. These other beautiful gals are her daughters and one of her three daughters-in-law. They are darling and hilarious, and simply great people. It is such a joy to be around them.

And is this the cutest baby quilt you've ever seen? Marva Lu made one like this for her daughter Kelsi and gave it to her at her baby shower recently. Kelsi is the baby of the family and having her first little boy here in a few weeks. When she opened this gift from her mom, Kelsi's older sister Annie exclaimed good-naturedly, "Well, we can see who the favorite daughter is!" (After five babies of her own, my sister had never made a baby quilt for Annie quite like this!)

Little did Annie know, but Marva Lu had in the works 6 additional baby quilts similar to this one to give to each of her seven children. She had planned on giving them to her other children in the near future when she was able to finish them. Well, when my other sister Pam heard this comment from Annie, she told Marva Lu that she needed to finish up each of those quilts to give to her other kids at a family gathering they were having in two days, so they would know they were all her favorites!

So like sisters do for each other, the three of us and a friend of Marva Lu's spent all the next day putting the finishing touches on each of those 6 quilts. It was such fun! We felt like we were part of an old-fashioned quilting bee. One by one the quilts got finished and wrapped with festive bows. She was able to give them all to her other daughters and daughters-in-law the following day, and each of them were so surprised.

One of the things Marva Lu loved about this quilt pattern was the cute giraffe of course, but the sentiment of "standing tall". She wanted each of her twenty-something grandchildren to understand what that really means in life. She wrote the sweetest letter to each of her daughters and daughters-in-law beginning with, "To my favorite daughter So-and-so". She then expressed her great love for each of them, and her desires that they teach each of their children this important principle.

She also added in her letter: "Standing tall means to be courageous in decision making, not compromising principles, not violating spiritual values and not shrinking from responsibility. Basically, standing tall is doing what is right. Jesus Christ is our perfect example of one who always stood tall. He is the one who personifies integrity, strength, and courage.

Gordon B. Hinckley said, 'Every one of us needs to STAND TALL and be strong and faithful and walk in the footsteps of the Master.'

Teach those little children to STAND TALL. They can be someone to look up to no matter their height. They can learn to stand tall for righteousness.

May the giraffe always be a reminder to 'stand tall' and 'reach for the sunshine.'."

I love all of that. What a sweet message for each of those children to grow up learning in a day when these pure and simple principles seem to be missing everywhere we turn. What a great message for me. After seeing these quilts, my own daughters were requesting one of their own to hang on their bedroom wall. I'm hoping I can get to it while it still has meaning for them!

This quilt pattern is available through You Can Make This and was designed by my good friend Kris, who is one of the brains behind the DIY Dish. She has simple instructions that even a beginner can follow. And if you need assistance, she is more than happy to help you, and I would be happy to help as well. Just shoot me an email at the address on my side bar. You can find the pattern here, and you can see the twins in crafty action here at their site. They never cease to amaze me.

Wishing you a wonderful week, and plenty of spring sunshine!


  1. Shelli, I know I post on every single one of your post but it is because I love you like a sister. ;) I LOVED this. Just this weekend during General Conference I was telling Kevin how much I missed hearing you teach. How many presidencies did we serve in together? SEVERAL! And my favorite part was everytime you taught. You have such a gift of teaching and putting things together that make such a difference in perspective. I can see your sister also has this special gift. Just Friday I was sitting in my car and found the packet you gave me the day I left UT. Elder Hollands talk "Remember Lot's Wife." I was sitting waiting for kids at school and had a few moments so I read it again. Of course having been here 4 months I have a little experience on all of this. But I sat there and cried again. Of course grateful for such a dear friend that always reminded me of the important things and I missed you even more. But I love you so much and I am grateful we can write and talk often. You are great and don't EVER forget it. You are truly an example of "standing tall" no matter where you are. Love You Forever Friend, Dana...

  2. That was hilarious when Annie said that! I laughed so hard! My first question to my mom when she gave the rest of us the blankets was, "What did Annie have to say?" So funny! We loved having you be with us on our girl's trip. You really do feel like one of "my" sisters. We love you and love to be with you and your family!

  3. i luved this gift, i cried when i read the letter. i will cherish it! are one of the girls, luv LUV you!!!
    pss im back!

  4. Those are so cute!! Now did she hand embroider all of the quilts too? Darling.....darling!

  5. Dana, I love you like a sister too. Thanks for the sweet words! You have a gift of teaching yourself---always loved your lessons.

    Katie and Cami, you gals are the best. I love hanging out with you! Thanks for being my sisters as well. Love you!

    Candice, I think ML's friend hand embroidered the blocks for her. She is so speedy, and kept pushing ML to help the quilts progress. Pam and I just had to hand sew the giraffes into place and bind the edges. I did sew another quilt top too. We missed you and Ronda!

  6. I must ask... What was used for the fluffy fur on the back of the giraffe? It looks like that is not a part of the original pattern, but it really "makes it". I would love to know how it was done. I just happened on your site searching for giraffe quilt patterns. Thanks!! - Amy Jones

    1. Hi, Amy! My sister's friend is amazingly creative, and she crocheted the giraffe manes with fuzzy, thin yarn and attached it to the giraffe body somehow. It sort of looked like a fuzzy braid when she was finished. I wish I knew more details of how it was done, but I don't crochet... but that is the general idea. I does make it, doesn't it? I'm sorry that explanation isn't more help, but perhaps it can spur your own creativity and give you a starting point? Good luck and I'm so glad you stopped by!


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