Desperately Seeking Sweet Sweater Pumpkins?!

It's THAT time of year again....
My stats are blowing up with visits from ALLLLL over,
from people searching for my original creation,
'Sweet  sweater pumpkins ' TM
Since 2007, they've been a HUGE hit!
Every fall, my blog is inundated with hits for the tutorial that I shared here years ago.
MANY people have bought it and made their own sweet pumpkins.

When I started up a new DIY seasonal home decor blog in the fall of 2012,
relocated the tutorial over there to sell it.
Now I offer it free!

You'll find my Sweet Sweater Pumpkin Tutorial HERE
If you want to see more of my original Sweet Sweater Pumpkins 
on HOMEWARDfound, click here!

May I just take a moment to thank you all 
for your continued kindness, appreciation, and good manners?
So many of you have generously shared the link to my tutorial over the years,
and shared my photos of my pumpkins and your photos of your own pumpkins.
I am so appreciative to those of you who have credited me - 
class act, ladies!

(There are the other kind of people, too, but let's just let them stay in their corner...

Sweet Sweater Pumpkins are my THING! 

 I created the idea of making them from sweaters in September of 2007
(as opposed to actually, you know, KNITTING them - because Deb don't knit!),
and shared them here on Hummadeedledee,
then made and sold them from 2008 until 2014,
at shows like Glitterfest, Farm Chicks, BarnHouse, Retreat Vintage Market,
and Remnants of the Past vintage & antique shows on the west coast.

I created a cashmere sweater pumpkin especially for Rachel Ashwell 
when she visited Remnants of the Past in the fall of 2010...
 The Queen of all things Shabby Chic pronounced them to be 'So dahling!

My pumpkins have been published in:

Fall, 2009 PORCH Magazine

Fall, 2011 FOLK Magazine

Fall, 2013 Better Homes & Garden's
special publication 'Halloween Tricks & Treats'

 Fall, 2013 Romantic Homes Magazine

Fall, 2013 Creating Vintage Charm Magazine

Fall, 2013 SheKnows Canada website

Product design, 'Sweet Sweater Pumpkin' name, and tutorial
Copyright Deb Kennedy 2007-2015
All Rights Reserved


Walking Through the Valley...

I came here to write about something on my mind, 
and discovered that I never shared photos and news from our family reunion last July. 
LAST July. 
But a lot has happened since then, and I guess it all plays into the same story....
 You've probably heard 'The Lord's Prayer' at some point in your life, right?
I discovered a hidden meaning in one of the verses in that prayer over the past few months...
The line was 'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death....'

I've been on that path before. I've had loved ones die, and had to face life without them after they were gone. But over the past few months, the experience that my Mom, my sisters, and I went through has re-defined the term 'The valley of the shadow of death' for me. Now, it doesn't refer to the aching loneliness, the lack of laughter and joy, the absence of the person you love and the deep ache in your soul after loss. No. Now, it refers to the achingly time-bending, unreal experience of waiting for someone you love to leave. The ticking clock and the passing minutes, hours, days as they slowly slip away from life toward death... with no control over the timeline.

That is when that 'shadow of death' comes.... 
it falls over everything, shading it in subdued hues with a chill in the air. BEFORE death, not after.
As my precious Daddy slowly slipped from this life into his eternal home in Heaven, following a quick and ferocious battle with cancer that proved futile, my Mother, my sisters Stacy and Linda, and I cared for him here at home. Over the course of a month, his condition worsened rapidly and we watched him deteriorate. His ability to communicate was lost far before he left us, and all we could do was hold his hand, kiss his cheek, and whisper words of love and devotion to him, in gratitude for all he has done for all of us. We let him know it was okay to stop fighting, and to go on to Heaven without us.

The horrific heartbreak was doing this over and over and over, every day and every night, knowing that it could be his last...... and then it wasn't. We repeated the words every single day, day after day, releasing him... going to bed at night, trusting the hospice nurses to call us if anything changed, and rising in the early mornings with dread. The day my sister Linda had to return home to Wisconsin before he passed was one of the saddest days of my life, because she knew she would never see her Daddy alive again. My heart broke for her.

And then, it came...

On Easter Morning, just before sunrise, my Dad breathed his last breath here on Earth and simultaneously his first in Heaven. He chose a glorious day to make his journey, a day that we will never be able to be sad on, that we will never lose the ultimate meaning of. This Jewish man who became a Christian chose an Easter Morning immediately following Passover to meet his Savior face to face..... how amazing is that?
But the memories.... ah, the memories of the last year and times before that, of such special precious moments we've spent as a family.... they carried us through the last part of death's shadow. Photos of our reunion and drawings by grand- and great-grandchildren filled the wall next to his bed, reminding us and showing the hospice nursing staff just what a remarkable family we have with this man as our Papa. They didn't know him before the pain and silence and waning energy... they didn't see his smile and humor and gentleness. The photos showed them that.
As he went to Heaven that beautiful Easter morning, the sun rose over the mountains in the East - and the shadow of death was lifted from our hearts and our home. He, like his Savior Jesus, is not dead, but he lives! And he lives on in our memories and our hearts as we continue to walk out of the valley of death.
I am beyond grateful for the blessing of having had our family reunion last July.... of almost every member of our family gathering together to celebrate Mom's birthday and the importance and love of each other.
That Dad was there to enjoy those special moments, and that none of us even suspected that he wouldn't beat the cancer just as he had the heart disease and the kidney failure in years prior. That he wouldn't be with us just a year later now seems inconceivable to me....
Those days will never be repeated, but their meaning leads us forward to create more memories together.
Thank you, Dad, for everything.
And I know..... "I will always be with you." There's more to that story, too... 

 The loss of his presence here in the house, and in our family, is still fresh, new, raw, and painful. We still cry and ache and miss him deeply. We know we will for years to come. His mark on the house, on us, is everywhere. My Mom is a woman of faith and strength, and she amazes me every day as I watch her learn to navigate this world without the man who was her everything. Four of his five kids were somehow able to stand and honor him at his service, to speak through the pain and tears so that we could share our remarkable Dad with those gathered to mourn his loss... his influence on us was that profound. For me, this man, who didn't HAVE to, became the Daddy I so desperately yearned for and needed.  
He loved me and healed the broken places in my heart that other men damaged.

My sweet friend Julia, a fellow cast member at Disneyland, 
took the family photos at the Park on the day of our family reunion trip there.
I am so very grateful.