Friday, April 30, 2010

$20.00 Worth

The planets lined up today.
You know the kind of day when it just works.
Morning started with a superiorly good long walk with the doggies.
No deadlines or appointments.
Freelancing Homemakerhood.
Is today the day that I wash the bedroom curtains and wash aforementioned windows? Good strong breezes will dry/iron them in no time.
Yep today it is.
Neighbor Nancy calls and gives me the heads up on her church sale and she has an inside scoop on the mother lode of polyester knits. She looks out for me that way. Wouldn't be caught dead with any of the 'junk' that I collect, but she's glad that someone does it for the common good.
Noted and on the non list for the day.
Do you make deals with yourself? Kind of an Adult Reward System? I tell myself if I get this or that bummy task (i.e. clean bathroom, take down curtains, start laundry, you get the drift..) I get reward as a Good Girl. And today's Gold Star: GARAGE SALES!! Of course. What else gets me little heart thumping in spring other than the abundant flora? Ah, yes! Those little handwritten, scribbled, misspelled lovely Beckoners of Bargains, the garage, yard, tag sales of spring!
And here is what my allotted 20 bucks acquired for me today: Lots and lots of Vivien clothes!! Little smocked dresses, skirts, jeans, tops, all kinds of cuteness for the Queen of Cute, my little redheaded sweetie pie. Do you know I actually smile when I pick out things for her? I just have to picture that most wonderful grand baby and I just smile away....
And new porch figurines! Developing quite an extensive (big surprise) collection of these kind of beauties. It appears that each Porch Season, a new one joins the group. These little lovey duckies just drew me. 50 cent.

Two very nice quilted place mats for summery fare. Could be that it could become a zippered make up bag like one I saw this week in one of my many blog travels, but sadly I can't find it now to link you....I'll keep trying.
If you peek behind these violety sweeties, I think you'll see glimpses of an amazing green LL Bean cotton sweater. The kind I covet in the real catalog but cannot justify the price. 3 dollars I can accept. Sold. A buttery yellow zip up Christopher and Banks hoodie as well. I know, right?!
Also trying to get in on the photo op to the right, is one of two lovely printed in Thailand scarf edged skirts. Heaven knows that they would never work for me, but someone will enjoy them. As a skirt or a lovely bag. LOVED The fabric and at 50 cents, why not?

Then, of course, the Neighbor Nancy Tip Off Deal of the Day: A huge shopping bag filled with polyester knits! Yes, the very kind that I uncrated, priced, draped and hated in the 70's when I was a Fabricland Employee, has come on board to the mama's collection fabric collection. I get the hint whilst touring other blogs that it's return is imminent and always being on the cutting edge (right.) I thought I should be prepared. Pictured above is the yardage/sale tag still on it after ALL these years. Who can even remember Kresge/Jupiter stores yardage department? Few who read me will have ever heard of Kresge/Jupiter stores. Please let me know that I'm not the only one! I can still remember reciting from constant requests of 'Now, just how much do I need of 60" material to make a pair of elastic polyester knit slacks?' I would inwardly roll my arrogant, snooty, young eyes, smile nicely, and remember to never wear the ugly things when I became these poor old people's age (I am probably older than most of them were then). And here I am; purchasing a huge bag load of the very ugly stuff destined to become something great. I'm sure.
Thanks Neighbor Nancy. It sure looked pretty on the line today. Like the orange?

Golden days. Two Long Walks. Good Gets at Garage Sales. Hours in the Garden. Clean Bedroom Curtains and Clean Bedroom Windows. Baseball Games after Grillin our Grass Fed Hamburger.
Still smiling......

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Break Out!

Sometimes, you just gotta do it.
An idea is just floating around and fabric is just too fun, that something, something not pre ordained or manufactured, pattern-wise, just has to pop out.
2G's mama was needing a summer bag.
2G'S mama loves Amy Butler fabric.
2G's mama is an appreciative audience.
So off I go to the sewing room, eager to produce a One of a Kind design.
Did I have a design in mind?
Just stood there looking at the fabric, waiting for the direction. Thought about her needs. She likes puffy, fleece interlined, soft formed bags. Her mama needs dictate that there are lots of pockets, making, keys, pens, change, crayons accessible. Her little shoulders tell me that her shoulder strap should be narrow and strong for all the dinosaurs and dollies and books that will get crammed in for the road. A stout magnetic snap to keep the contents together when she has to throw it down to chase after an errant child bent on destruction.
But it must be pretty as well as utilitarian. Lightweight and feminine. A girly workhorse of sorts.

And so the process begins as the framework and objective is established.
The first cut is made and I follow the needed design from my heart and mind to the cloth.
From that point of committment, it all flows.
From picking out a coordinating lining, to how to finish the pockets, it just flows.
I realize that this in not much help for those of you that rely on pesky things like measuring tape, rulers, algebra and geometry (I kinda just shuddered just writing those two words) but that is how I roll. Experience, familiarity with how things go together and a clear desire to want to make something.
Crazy, huh?

But with time, patience, testing, and a lot of hopeahoping, it starts to take shape and tells me how it should be finished up.

And then the best part.
Giving a bag that has been designed specifically for her, with her needs and likes in mind...
Ah, that is the best part...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Everything Old is New Again Again...

Time to look around us and see what we don't need around our abode and how it can transmogrify into something else.
A crafty kind of hide and seek.
You know how you clean a closet.
You sort into Will Wear Again, Will Never in a Thousand Years And What Was I Thinking, and Donate and Throw Away.
Mighten I suggest that you have another pile.
The "How Great is This Fabric and What Could It Be Because I Don't Really Want To Part With It" pile.
Let me show you some ideas:
Sunshiny Sally (she always greets me so warmly) from my Garden Exchange, showed up on a cooler Garden Exchange evening with this jacket. I kept looking at it, quietly inspecting the little details. During our Refreshment part of the evening (is there any point to going to any gathering without refreshments? I think not.), I approached SS and asked her about it. I told her that I was admiring it from afar.
It was then that Sunshiny (a wise woman of the generation above me) stated proudly, that her well made jacket was a Repurposed Project!
She told me that she had attended a class on this very subject and the attendees were to bring an used article, prepared to make it into something else.
Sunshiny Sally brought in three pair of jeans.
Adding some nice knit ribbing around the neck, bottom edge and cuffs (I might inject that SS is quite an accomplished seamstress and maker/designer of quilts) and some very fine applique and voila! A very, very unique jacket to wear on the cooler Garden Exchange Club Nights.
I was impressed. And where did this clever little apron come from?
Once upon time, long, long ago in the late nineties, a dapper little straight skirt came to me via a second hand store far away.
To be honest, I didn't think it fit me very well but I just loved the fabric (key!)...
I wore it and wore it until it starting looking very much like I had landed in a 90's closet freeze.
I put it away with off season clothes and each season as it rotated up in the storage bin, I would sigh, put it in the giveaway pile then at the last minute, I would pull it out, thinking someday.....

Then a Customer that shall remain nameless because the apron is a gift, asked me to make a birthday gift, an apron and could it please be on the budget side?
Knew from the very beginning what fabric I would use!
The feminine floral was on the heavy durable side and could stand up to a lot of laundering.

Got out an Easy Shemeasy Pattern from the 70's (They really made patterns easy then; wish they still did the step by sub step by assuming nothing type of patterns for sewing neophytes)
Added a bit o' flourish, lining pocket with some of Paulina's Gingham and making the adjustable straps with another gingham, and it was done. I even used the original hem, thus aiding in the speed of it's completion.

What have we learned here?
Before we toss anything, be it a towel, blanket, clothing, sheets, check it over carefully. How wonderful is this fabric? Durable? Could it be pockets or applique on something new? Is there enough in it to make something for Baby? Reflect carefully and repurpose it happily.
Or give it to me.......

Monday, April 26, 2010

The 'Tween Season


Do you hear that?

It's the Quiet of the Tween Season. The quiet that comes from the next season not completely committed to appearing and the last vestige of the previous season begging to stay on.

It's the craziness of picking a huge collection of Lily of the Valley in the cold rain, gathering my now blooming Korean Lilac, bringing them into a cool house (we turned the heat off last week) and awaiting their perfume to permeate the rooms they're placed in.

And now, starting a fire in the not-yet-cleaned out fireplace. (Last year's last fire was in May)

Soon the wood smoke will mingle with the freshness of my favorite flowers and I am at peace.

The absurdness of this kind of day, makes it seem like a vacation to me; a vacation in a familiar but oddly askew land. Eager to understand it, but more eager to take advantage of the overlap.

The warmth of a hearth fire with the ambrosia scent of fresh flowers, newly picked.

Knowing the porch is ready, but the season is not. Knowing the garden is producing blossoms as well as an abundant of weeds but as for today, I am excused from attending the gardens burgeoning needs by the cold and the wet plants.

So what to do?

Another pleasure.

Sewing a re purposing task for the 2G's mama. A well loved but outdated skirt becoming a gifted apron. Another overlap. Another glee.

Further along in the day, when I am tired from all this gleeful overlap, I shall retire to my fireplace with my newest book, ' Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. Hot off the press.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer; a kindred spirit of mine....An overlapper of sorts. See?

After the misty rain calms down a bit, I'll take the two beloved doggies for a walk, enjoying the damp cold, knowing that my Warm Fire of the Overlap awaits me....

The Tween Season; embrace it.....

Friday, April 23, 2010

Evelyn Rose loved to sew.
Evelyn was known for her talent making aprons and pinafores for her friend's children.
She would dawdle in the fabric section of the Kresge and the Five and Dime three blocks from her home.
She knew that the gingham went on sale for .59 per yard the week before Mother's Day and she prepared her budget for the event.
Evelyn made plans to cut out several aprons for that week, knowing those in her church would inevitably ask her to make something special for their mothers at the last minute.
She had a way of knowing people that way.
She knew that most people don't plan that well for Mother's Day. That is the nature of mamas. They are used to taking back seats to others. That is how they are wired. This year, it was going to be different for Evelyn.
She had been saving and the pin money in the little ceramic sugar bowl in her kitchen cupboard was growing and Evelyn nearly had enough.
Last year, she found this pattern. It was .50 full price, but as luck would have it, that day it was featured in the Kresge as a Summer Sewing Special and Evelyn had the amount for the discounted pattern.
Evelyn had wistfully viewed a lovely summer shorty nighty set at the downtown Neumode store, but with a price of $7.50, she knew it was just wishful thinking to ever own such an extravagant item.
But then the pattern opportunity appeared and Evelyn placed it away for the chance that some day she would obtain the fabric to sew it.

Evelyn did indeed have apron orders. Three from unexpected sources. One kindly woman purchased the needed fabric for Evelyn for her special order. And after completing the very festive apron for the customer's mother, using the provided material with some of her own rick rack and her own embroidered embellishment, Evelyn wrapped it up in tissue and presented it to the kindly customer. Since the customer was unaware with sewing amounts, she had overbought by quite a bit, but Evelyn folded the extra material neatly with the crafted gift apron.
Kindly Customer was well pleased with the detail and workmanship. In her delight, she paid Evelyn the amount she required and as she started out the door, she handed Evelyn the extra fabric in the tissue, smilingly stated that Evelyn certainly could use it for something, couldn't she?

One cannot properly understand the glee with which Evelyn felt. Knowing that she could create her longed for Summer Shorty Nighty with a minimum of inconvenience to the budget, filled her with a sense of independence and competence. And quite a bit of happiness.
Setting aside a time after the children were in bed and hubby was busy with a book, she entered her sewing area in the basement with a determination and pride.
Her knotty pine sewing area, off the laundry room was quiet and small. Surrounding her, was the tools of her trade; her mother's old Singer sewing machine, her baskets of trims and tapes and her rows of colorful threads. All these things inspired Evelyn and she set to her task with a bit more energy than usual, given the time of the day.
Evelyn prepared the fabric and unwrapped a package of wide bias tape to finish off the scallop of the top of the shorty top.
It was there that, for the first time, she read the Wright's Guarantee included on the wrap around package:
' This material is fast color and perfect in workmanship. Should it be faulty in any way, we will reimburse you for the reasonable cost of your labor and all materials used in making the article on which it is applied.'
Evelyn put down her scissors and sat back in her chair.
What if the Wright's tape did not perform as expected time and time again?
What if her longed for creation did not meet expectations due to faulty trim?
Would she have to cash in the guarantee to be compensated for the damaged goods?
Surely, an opportunity to make something so special for herself would not pass this way again.
God Forbid, the tape should fail her, she would have to take advantage of the most generous guarantee provided by the Wright's Tape Company. She would have to.
Therein lie the problem.
Evelyn could not for the life of her, figure out just how much her work was worth.
She knew how to figure for fabric and notions and patterns, but when it came to charging her customers, she was totally lost.
This thought plagued her and she needs your help.
Just how much is our crafting worth monetarily?
When a creation is made and some of our soul and spirit is put into it, just how do we figure a price?
Let us help Evelyn figure out how much her work is worth......
Leave a comment with your insights and formula.....
Evelyn Rose Thanks You.....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ageless Friend

Fleur de lis Day in April.
Time to decorate with lilacs and the prettiest miniature ruffled daffodil. Set out the good dishes and don't forget the Cheetos! (An inside joke of the Fleur De lis Kind!)
View the artwork around the hostesses living room. Yes, she did this one.

When we're here, we always get homemade angel food cake with fresh strawberries and ice cream.

And who is the hostess this month? Not me.
My dear Ageless Friend who turned 93 *NINETY THREE* very young years old last month.

Dearest of Dears, AF hosts each April with absolutely no signs of slowing down. Her house is clean and pleasant and she goes all out serving her Fleur Friends, down to the decorative napkins and floral table arrangements. She walks to the grocery, paints, writes poetry, has stories of growing up at the turn of the century and lovely, wistful tales of her marriage to her best friend.....
I am so thankful that I know and love three nonagenarians. When I am with them, I feel like I've traveled far and wide and that an implant of wisdom has been bestowed upon my brain.
They are precious, valuable jewels to me.
And I wanted to share them with you......
Lovely. God Bless Them always.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Porchin It!

( Grandpa Murphy's Boot bench. Stayed near the back porch of their home forever. Grandpa would change his work boots to his slippers when he came home at the end of the day.)
(Two little odd tables that were purchased different years but just seem like sisters.)

(The sun drying of the wicker after a good wiping down)

(Baby Girl's cast off paint came in handy as the transformation begins!)

Since the first memories of my grandmother's porch, I have been in love with the thought of the comfort of summer outdoors. It has been my seasonal goal to create the lovely atmosphere that I experienced in my grandma's cozy summer porch. Her broad, screened-in area covered the whole front of her tiny house. It seemed huge to my seven year old eye, yet comfy in all it's chintz and mission style porch furniture of the day. Two rockers, one settee, two straight chairs and odd little tables, appropriately placed for our 7-up floats. We would watch the hummingbirds visiting her honeysuckle and feel the coolness that her massive hydrangeas created for privacy. The whole sensory experience stayed with me all my life.
And I sought out this memory to create it for my family.
From the time that we shared in a windowed in front porch in our first married apartment, to the wide, shaded veranda that we now own, I have sought to create a haven of summer comfort for all that would pass my way.
While the winter winds would blow, I would start dreaming up the 'theme' for that summer's porch. Some years I went colorful, like the Mary Engelbreit year where each peace of wicker was a joyful spill of color. Some years I went earthy. My old wooden porch in the northern house was known to have a different color of porch paint each year. Neighbors and friends would inquire if the porch was 'open' for the season or not. I would usually announce that we were 'porchin it' to anyone interested in settling their late spring warm self into the comfort of a a overstuffed wicker sofa or rocker. Pillows abounded and candles kept just enough light to see one an other's smile or tears from the day.
Last week, as the temps climbed, I turned on my outside water, attached my hose, emptied the accumulated dirt from last year's porch upon my yard, while I purged the beloved area with a good soaking/scrubbing. Something so very satisfying, that first wash. It feels like a cleansing of the soul; an almost spiritual experience. Running my bare feet over the clean cool concrete of my porch, testing out the strength of my bare tootsies of the season, I feel a rite of passage of the season that pretty much dominates all other preparations of the season.
I cleaned off all the furniture. I shook out all the cushions, I took the assortment of last fall cleaned pillows out of their 'sealed for your protection' bags and evaluated the furniture needs.
This year, my Shabby Chic odds and ends auction cast off tables, needed some attention. Shabby Chic can only be as good as they survive with the minimum of paint required for the look. This year would be the little piece's swan song if they didn't get some protection from a good coat of free paint. (Baby Girl's cast offs from a past apartment). Usually, fabric will mandate the paint color, but this year it was the free paint color that predicted the 'theme' for the year.
That's the word.
The stash from Miss Pauline's Auction last fall, should do most nicely.
So the transformation has begun.
Furniture is painted, cushions in line for a recover, lamps and candles in their places, odd crazy cat figurine that Baby Girl's Hubby hates, all ready for the piece de resistance: The Floral Display.
I have been known to receive poems and small essays regarding my porch.
Here is one of my favorites from my wonderful Kindred Spirit friend. It was written after a nice, springtime visit. That year, she helped me paint wicker and pick out fabric. A really grand time:
Prayer for Deb's Porch
May your steps be always stepped upon
By feet that bring good news.
May tears and laughter grace you,
May you comfort, bless and soothe.
May potted plant and flower
And fragile twisted vine,
Cheer your sills and railings
While spring and summer shine.
May you celebrate the holidays
With banner, wreath and flag.
May children use you for home base
When playing games of tag.
May lovers rock and swing here,
As they whisper and they woo.
May promises avowed here,
Be heartfelt and be true.
May friends and family congregate
To find sustenance and rest
And may Jesus Christ remain
Your most invited Guest.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Simple Sewing Saturdays

Welcome to a new segment of So Now I Know: mama's collection....

Simple Sewing Saturdays!!

Each Saturday at this location, we shall endeavor to clarify those pesky simple things that just can be our undoing.(and I do mean 'our') You know, buttons, zippers, terminology, grain, nap, all those Terribly Mystical Sewing Things that most books/patterns assume you know.

This Saturday's Segment is dedicated to the most misunderstood of all:
Rick Rack.
Back in the day, way before my day, apparently, Rick Rack was a panacea for Wardrobe Expansion. It appears that you could take an old skirt and embellish it to the point that no one would notice that it was 'Last Year's' Skirt!! Imagine!! Cle-ver!

However, more than likely, those of us that are quite happy with Last Year's Skirt, would be looking for a more simple decorative application of the beloved Rick Rack Trim.
Maybe something like a pillow for your porch swing? Don't you always like a perky Rick Rack little scallopy look peaking out of a seam of a pillow?
Well, it just so happens that I have the very thing on my To Do List today!

Hint #1. If you can't follow a seam allowance (5/8") carefully, you might want to stitch a 'follow line' before you apply the RR. (NOT rail road:D)
2. Beginning on the RIGHT side of the fabric, sew the RR, catching the very tip of the RR on the stitching line.
3. Place the other right side of the other piece of fabric that will be the other side of your pillow, even with the RRed piece of fabric, right sides together.
4. Sew your normal seam allowance, usually 5/8", connecting your two pieces of fabric, a front and back.
5. Continue on the other three sides with the RR application.
6. Stitch the other three sides together, raw edges even.
7. Turn the pillow inside out.
8. See the dazzling little scalloping RR's peeping out your seams and making you all happy.
9. Press the edges nice and sharp.
10. Finish the pillow by stuffing and sewing up that last side with a blind hand stitch. (What? I have to tell you about that too? OK, next week......)

You might want to consider this other very cle-very Rick Rack application!
Who knew that scraps of RR could be so very valuable!
If you are indeed thrifty enough to want copies of these most vintage of patterns, I shall see to it! I might even feature you and your shwanky earrings and updated Last Year's Skirt in a blog post.
I might even purchase them from you!!!
OK, probably not.
Happy Rick Racking!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Son Shines Bright.....

After two days of persevering, the photos uploaded!
The morning after I made the first Sunny Shiny, this is how I found it in my sewing room the next morning....
..... Completely back lit from the glorious early morning sun of a beautiful spring day! The little felt sun just glowed and I smiled to myself, thinking of it as an affirmation from the Main Creator.
It's been a hoot to cut out the thirty main pieces/60 side pieces along with the 180 little rays..(thank you 2G's mama, for your generous assistance with the Ray Cutout!) I so love yellow and I so love felt that the effort seems most effortless....Take that into consideration, with the open windows in the sewing room, the chirping birds entertaining me, the light, inspiring...Well, I could do this for a long time.....

It just started with an 18x8 inch oval..
Side pieces of nearly the same dimensions...(a little wider to allow for the curve)
And six little trapezoidal shapes that formed the perky little points that will be gently stuffed for a more dimensional affect..(template made by Hubby remember; if it was up to me, I would have free-handed all of it, having 30 completely unique and probably wonky suns at an otherwise lovely banquet...

Love it when it comes together.....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Heavenly Sunshine

(Editor's Note: Due to Blogger's annoying new layout, interesting photos that were to accompany this blog would not upload even though I tried a multitude of times......grrrrrrrr. Hopefully, The Blogging gods shall permit such a thing tomorrow.  Sorry for your non visual post.  grrrrrrr again....)

How would you make a shining sun?
Has to be cheap, abundant and sizable.
Doesn't felt always fit the bill?

I am in the middle (beginning?) of making table decorations for the annual Youth for Christ Banquet next Friday.
I shoot for decorations because I really am not comfortable making calls or soliciting donation requests. Just give me my felt, some poster board and foam core board and I will work away.  Just keep me away from the phones.  Bound to be a problem with that.
This year, there will be a Silent Auction prior to the dinner.  This Year, mama's collection shall donate a bag to be auctioned off.  First time I've done this.  I have this concern that if the starting bid is 3.00, the end bid could be 3.25...Scary, huh?  Just hope it helps the ministry....

Hubby, the engineer and I put our very complimentary heads together and walked around Hobby Lobby, weighing our options.  Thirty tables is no small feat.  We wanted to be frugal, creative, large (10 foot banquet tables) and get our message across as well.  And we were shopping after the aforementioned 'procedure' so I was a bit fuzzy as well from anesthesia.  I must say that we got a bit silly in the pursuit.  We soon came to realize that all our grand plans were for naught when the totals were coming close to 300.00+.  Not very non profit friendly.

Then we landed in the fabric department.
Of course.
Why did I not go there first, O Fabric Lady that I am?  Anesthesia after affects?  Let's blame that.

I started the plan:  An oval base. Extended Cone Rays. A table runner of sorts to set it off and the words: Who Will Connect Them to the Son? Photos of  some of the 100+ plus teen age attendees attached to the base of the sun at each table....

First prototype failed miserably and Hubby had to intervene.  He and my well used friend, Mr. Seam Ripper.
Hubby drafted a template and specific directions regarding how he would build it.
I heard but I did not listen.
 A very good show on PBS on how a group of Arabs aided the Jews in Northern Africa during WWII, was vying for my attention.
So the next morning, I was on my flibbertigibbet own again, trying to pull his instructions from the base of my brain, desperately seeking his well thought out plans.

Despite my own best attempts, I could not remember but set off on my own, waiting to hear from the Engineer just how wrong they turned out.

But it did not happen!  Hubby approved of how it turned out so now I have only 29 more suns, including 180 rays, plus a large foam core sun for the front of the stage, to complete.  In a week.

So off I go to cut more sun bases, more D-shaped side pieces to stuff with tissue and fiberfill and felt scraps (cannot throw anything away!) and search for a suitable table runner and to primp the prototype for the Banquet Committee meeting tomorrow.....!

Let us hope the Son/sun shines next Friday night!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Unconventional Way

The Spring Giveaway Tote bag of the Greatest Kind is finished.
Shouldn't there be some grand 'TA DA!!' or some such excitement??
Shouldn't I be placing asterisks and exclamation points all around this blog.

You'd think.
This bag was a pickle.
It sounded so fun in my mind.
It felt so perfect on my cutting board.
I would get a bit giddy heading to my Work Room, awash with new ideas to implement.....Cutting the lovely linen and the cool tropically print, I started to regret that I had announced it as the Giveaway Bag...Must admit some coveting was going on to a yet unknown recipient.  Strange huh?

Then it happened.
EVERY SINGLE TIME I worked on the previously Wonder Bag (now Thorn In My Side Bag), something went wrong.  I lost track of how many times I have ripped apart each element of The TIMS Bag.  My seam ripper is tired and the amount of used thread on my floor lies in testimony of the whole irritating process.

Now, let's us review this situation:  Wherever did I go wrong?  Material? No, good quality, prewashed; good thread, interlinings approved by Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.  And lots of it.  Magnetic clasps; zippered pocket; 5 other pockets; a pen/pencil pocket for goodness sakes.  Two narrow but sturdy handles reinforced hardily.  Side panel pockets for water/baby bottles...Yep...covered a bit of everything, even a dandy polished stone on the zipper pull....

Guess I really know the problem:
It's Me.
Me and my unconventional way of doing things.  Me and My Desire to sew/design on my own with a Fly By the Seat of My Pants mentality.  Could I even begin to tell you how the TIMS Bag was created?  But no, but no.  It really just happens.  I have a long history of sewing with patterns and learning from errors...many errors....The mind hearkens back to my first big doozy....I was sewing a summer nightgown, determined for it to be done correctly (unlike my other sloppy, impatient attempts) and it was going well...The fabric was a dream, an open weave leno weave with the fairest of flowers in the palest of blues..I got relaxed just sewing on it.  But then came the fateful blow: Whilst cutting an errant thread, I inadvertently cut in half, one of the narrowest of narrow spaghetti straps that I had labored on with great patience..Cut it in Half!  It took quite awhile for the destruction to sink in, it was that bad.  I remember silently crunching up the nightgown, turning off my sewing machine and swearing specifically at my own stupidity and rash behavior.

That's how I learn.  That's how I sew.  I took no lessons.  Have no idea how to measure properly. (just what are all those little lines on a measuring tape?) I barely can even take advice.  I just get an idea and make it work.  In silence and privacy since if anyone actually SAW how I do it, they would be aghast and appalled.  I can't explain it but it works.  Or it don't.  I rejoice when it does and when it doesn't, I just learn from the errors and go to the next project. 

Doesn't really make sense does it?
But it's very much the way I do about everything. Forging forward without much sense and accepting the outcome, knowing that if I didn't at least try, I would always wonder....

So what do you take from my interesting Sewing Tale?
Take risks, sewistically.
I can still remember when I needed a costume for my dance class in high school.  A red circle skirt.  Simple.  But having a mother that had a hard time sewing hems and buttons, I knew I was on my own.  Grabbed an old wool coat, that was the needed red, and began whacking away at it till I thought it resembled what was needed.  Did it work?  Heaven's no!  And I probably destroyed a perfectly wonderful vintage coat.  But I tried it.  I made the first cut.  And saw what DIDN'T work.  And then I let my best friend's mama sew a sweet little can can skirt with lots of tulle, for me. 

So play with fabric.  Follow easy patterns. Let me help you with some handy tips on making pockets, handles, lining.  Study what all those weird words mean, like bias, interlinings and facings and play with them.  Get over the Fear of the Project.  Just do it. (did i just quote Nike?)  Then throw it away if it fails.  There is plenty of material out there for you to play with , destroy or make the most amazing thing in the world to you or someone else.  Take the risk.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

RIP, Miss Kitty

I watched her from my kitchen window.  Any mother of a six year old daughter knows that it is inevitable when a stray cat enters your yard, that you are stuck.  I watched her as she knelt down in the grass and spoke kindly to her.  I watched as the young kitty wrapped in and around her legs that she was also winding around her heart.  And mine sunk.  It was very hard to teach compassion to our children then live it, especially when we were all allergic to cats.  It was hard to tell her to be kind to animals but to then tell her that we had to let the abused cat return to it's lousy home.  A quick prayer for wisdom was answered with a providential plan.
We were leaving on a 10 day camping trip to Colorado and packing for all 7 of us (yes, that was the year Lory Cory came with :)) left me with a wonderful excuse to postpone adoption.  Surely, when we returned  many days later, the cute little kitty would have surely found more suitable digs. Ah.  Love it when it works that way....
On the way home, Baby Girl mentioned that she hoped 'her' kitty was waiting for her.  We all smiled wisely, knowing that cats can be pretty fickle, especially when it comes to eating.  She would have moved on.  Surely.
The morning after our first night home, I headed to our kitchen to see if I remembered how to cook with actual running water and electricity.
Pouring the milk on my cereal, I heard it.
A plaintive little kitty size meow coming from the patio facing our kitchen window.  Surely not.  Surely not all this time.
A furtive peek out my window reveals the very determined kitty, staring a hole through me, as if to ask, 'Where have you been and where is my little girl???'
I sighed a deep sigh of resignation, knowing that a promise is a promise and we would have to work this out some how.  I slowly warmed a bowl of milk in the microwave and headed to the patio to serve the persistent, apparently new member of our family.
Baby Girl could see from the stairway window that she had returned.  She ran outside in her jammies and warmly embraced her new buddy.  I shook my head and started the grand detail of unpacking after a long camping trip......
Miss Kitty was first christened Scarlet,named after the occupant of Tara, who proclaimed to all who would hear: 'As God is my witness, I shall never be hungry again!"  The tenacious little kitty had spirit, spunk and an attitude that was much more suiting to a pedigree dog.  We were all nice to her but distant, a feared of an allergy attack.  Except Baby Girl.  She was immune to the dander that caused such problems for the rest of us.
Kitty seemed content to have her place be in the garage. When the winds of autumn turned cold, Baby Girl was known to go out to the garage to do her school work to be with her....She would grab her jacket and an extra quilt and head to the garage, workbook and theme tablets in hand.  She was known to eat her lunch with the demanding cat, much to the delight of her siblings.  They intermittently thought she was nuts or adorable.  It was cold out there, after all.
Northern Illinois Winters can come pretty brutal.  We tried our best to protect the poor cat.  An old army blanket placed over the table and many layers of flannel was placed on our front porch.  Still, Baby Girl would check on her many times during the day and with a look of concern, ask imploringly, 'Are you sure you're allergic to cats??'
When a three foot snow and -30 degree weather howled at our door, Hubby declared,  'We have to bring that cat in; she is going to freeze.'
And we did.
And we weren't her.  For some crazy, providential reason, we were not bothered by our 'acrylic cat'.
As does happen, Baby Girl found her times with Miss Kitty becoming less of a priority. When BG did slow down, a nap would usually include her old friend finding her and curling up next to her.  The sound of Baby Girl's voice after a long absence at high school, would find her rousting from her sunny resting spot, to her favorite person in the world.  Miss Kitty loved everything about Baby Girl yet was never reconciled with the fact that she was growing up and away from her world.  I believe that during her Kitty Naps, she would remember singing duets with Baby Girl, having a an affinity for the way Baby Girl sang 'You Light Up My Life'...Miss Kitty would come from faraway reaches to join her near the stereo, as she wound around and purred and meowed with Baby Girl's clear young voice....She would dream, I'm sure, of her old friend, our beloved dog, Tessa...It was Tessa who taught her how to survive living in a house with four children and countless childhood friends coming and going all the time...She watched how Tessa operated and she did likewise.  They slept together, shared food and enjoyed each other in our busy home.
After our move from the Quad Cities, Miss Kitty was never the same.  Our household altered and changed to a point that she found hard to accept.  She didn't like to go outside much and when her beloved companion, Tessa, died, she was bereft.  She would spend hours just staring out the window, pining for her northern home.  When Stella joined us, she was a bit put out having to share her space, but Stella engaged her more in life.  Stella loved Kitty, even on her last days, licking her ears and face in a sweet gesture to her sister.  Molly the Beagle was a bit of a challenge and Kitty seemed to know that she was transitory.  She dismissed her with an air of superiority and judgement.  Molly was no Tessa.  Miss Dixie was looked on as a noisy oddity.
And then, Scout joined us.
It was then that she threw up her paws in submission as if to announce that she had had it.
She was done.
She was not done 18 months ago when I took her to the vet to be put down due to her incontinent ways.  No, it had to be her way.
No intervention.  No bothering.  She wanted to go her own way.
And she finally did this morning.
I told her that she could go.  That Baby Girl was married now and that she knew that her hubby was someone she approved of.  I petted her still cute little face and thanked her for her years of service.  I thanked her for sleeping with sick children and keeping them company.  For getting up with me when I could not sleep.  For gardening with me and entertaining us with her attitude and prissy ways.  For teaching us that when things seem absolutely unlikely,to give them a chance anyway, for God has a plan and a purpose.

As I dug deep underneath the forsythia bush this morning, as I prepared her resting place, it seemed so odd that she entered our lives via our backyard at a faraway location, that 16 long and busy years later, she would finish her time on earth in the same way.  She would have liked it that way since she did not cotton to change much.  I wrapped her still, tiny, body in a white pillowcase, and placed her deep within the earth near the blooming wisteria on the pergola.  A fitting place for the private cat that she was.

Each year as the forsythia blooms and the fragrance of the wisteria wafts across the garden, I will remember the gift that Miss Kitty brought to all of us that knew her.  And I will be thankful.....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Updates and Announcements and World Peace

It has been brought to my recent attention by a rather reliable source, that, I, I fear, am a Creative Flibbertiejibbit. I know, I know, I accept your sympathies, but I just have to face the facts: I am definitely Flibberty. Have been all my life, but now due to the Internet, the Whole World knows it. This does not sit well with Those That Make It Their Job To Corral My Flibberty Ways. Bless Their Hearts. It is a Big Job. But I am mending my ways and I Promise to seek to be more clear about Giveaway Bags, less babbling on, more Fun, Interesting, and Comment Worthy....Yes, indeed a NEW LEAF!
But I shall wait until Monday....
Until then, I shall indulge myself and you, dear reader, in rapturous Flibberty Randomness....

First Up: Colonoscopy Prep: Two words that strike fear in man. Fourth time around for me. Colon Cancer in the family, so every three years is my sentence. The thing that moves me (sorry) forward, is knowing, knowing that if my dad would have had this done when he had symptoms, or even when he turned 50 when it is recommended, his life would have been different. And mine. So, on behalf of my children, I shall run ahead (sorry again; Gatorade overload) and do what I can toward prevention.

Second Randomness: Hubby's Crab apple is blooming! Concerns abounded last spring when a paltry few buds popped. It is on the verge of wonderfulness as we speak. Took my camera around my land the other day to document this abundant spring.

Third in Line: The first inner pocket of the Spring Giveaway Tote bag!! Also known as the Summer Bag Giveaway of the Grandest Kind! (See what my Creative Corraler means? I drift....)
More to follow on this Wonderful Opportunity,!!
And are you still having trouble leaving comments? I know I always face a new set of requirements for each comment I leave on other blogs.....Don't give up!! Try Again!!
Fourth Down: Went to the Elementary School yesterday to update the Valentine/Shamrock/tree into an instant Dogwood Tree!! The children loved the flowers, picking out their fave one...Next week, they shall make umbrellas to place on their April Showers Bring May Flowers tree.

Fifth and Final Flibbertieness For the Day: The outer front pocket(s) of the Giveaway Bag. Just the outside has five pockets! The lining shall have more! Including a zippered one (see above photo) What about vintage buttons? hmmmmmm....Drifting, aren't I?.....
So I thank you so much for graciousness with my diverse ways.
In keeping with a New Leaf, please let me know what else you would like mama's collection to cover...Tutorials? Step by Step? Re purposing projects??

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


As goes the world of free blogging, you have photos will just not download and your layout takes on a life of it's own....

So went the earlier blog.

So here are the photos of the dinner that went with the previous post.

Angel food cake, box style, with frozen strawberries....Easy.

Helpers for the Egg Dying event....(Good Job, Pretend Granddaughter!)

And a sweet little fellow obtained from a garage sale long ago....

A work in progress...

And the aftermath.....ahhhhh....yummmm....

Oh What a Day....!

Love the holidays.
Believe I 've mentioned that once or twice.
Big or small, I love them all.  Special days set apart in celebration of something.  Opportunities for gathering.
Opportunities to share a segment of time and our lives with others, with those we care about, those we love.
Opportunities to celebrate the occasion and each other.  Gifts of time to others.  And then to make it special by a certain meal, music, settings, desserts, now you're talking.
Take this Easter Celebration.
Not all my children could attend. And the two that could be in town, had to be at the other family's home for the actual day.
But never no mind.
We are flexible.
Let us have our Easter Meal on Saturday Night.  The Watch night. 
I had a quiet Saturday afternoon to craft the meal that I would serve.  Everyone else was busy with their own diversions and I was pleasantly preoccupied with the solitude of creating The Event that is the celebratory dinner of the holiday.
When I prepare a special occasion dinner, I love the working of the setting.  Coming up with a 'theme', table- wise.  Tablecloth or bare table? Color scheme or random collection? Casual or dressy? Fresh flowers or plants? Which container? Candles? How many leaves in the table?  Which pitcher for the beverages?  Which beverages?  Vintage platters or more serviceable everyday?  Butter knife. Salt and Peppers. Small bowl of lemons. Sugar bowl. Serving bowls.
All this is really never thought about till the moment I begin to clean the table.  I consider who will be in attendance and match it up with their likes and comfort level.  For the meal Saturday night, I wanted it comfortable, focusing on the food and how it's colors and textures will complement whatever place settings I can put together. A Spring Celebration. Actually, every time you can serve family and friends in our frenetic times, it is a celebration, worthy of our best efforts and best possessions.  A time for china/stoneware, good napkins, our best silver and stemware. (you do know that Dollar General sells some nice glass goblets for 1.00 each?)  No paper and disposables for me.  Don't know when I last bought paper plates.  Food tastes better on the real thing.  Beverages are downright festive in glass/porcelain/stoneware.  And of course there is the environmental thing.  And the savings thing.  Most have dishwashers these days so let's put it to use; full loads make for better efficiency anyway. (and if you're very fortunate, you have a daughter in law that cleans up after you! )  And the affect is wondrous.  Your guests feel as special as they are..  You have created a memory and your children see the importance of 'Setting a Table'.  Sadly, the art of creating a table is somewhat foreign to children today.  I have had junior high girls in my home that did not know how to use utensils, cut their meat or basic table manners.  Their meals came out of boxes and sacks and served in front of the television.  But they loved it when Miss Deb made things 'nice' for them.  It was my gift to them.
Try it some time soon if it's not your habit.
See how your people respond.
Receive the joy of treating those you love and care about, that they are worthy of the special effort.
It is memorable for both the receiver and giver.  Win/win.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Resurrection Day!

'This is the day the LORD has made...Let us rejoice and be glad in it....'

             Psalm 118:24

Truly this is a day to reflect, celebrate, praise and be thankful.
For there is hope.
That hope did not rot in a tomb.
Did not lie to His disciples.
Did not forget His promises.
He was the fulfillment of Words spoken since the dawn of time yet relevant today.
He is eternal.  Everlasting.
And because of what happened on this day thousands of years ago, it is ours today.
Not stuck on this earthly sod nor condemned to repeating lives bound for nowhere.
No indeed.
We have the hope of eternity with the One that created us.  The One in His sovereignty, has designed a plan for us.  We only have to strap on, listen, trust, obey and walk His way with His help.

I stand in awe of the Hope of the Resurrection.  The defeat of death and sin and pain.
I pray you reflect on all that He offers today.....

And be at peace.....
Blessed Easter greetings to you, my friends...

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