Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Girlies

Here they are.
My Sweetie Pie Girlies.
My Biggest Fans, Moral Supporter, Defenders, Encouragers, Rebukers, Audience, Best Friends
The Loves of My Life.
And here we see Baby Girl, Great With Child. And here is Eldest/Admin holding The Most Adorable Granddaughter Ever.  Do not try to argue this point with me.  I have affidavits.  I have witnesses.  There are professional Baby Observers that will state that this is true.
And here they all are in one sweet photo.
Let me tell you a little back story on The Maternity Top that Baby Girl is so proudly wearing:

The Maternity Top That Saved The Day

Once upon a time, long, long ago, (nearly thirty, Eldest Son!) a young mama to be had a very overwhelming winter.  Not only was she pregnant with Child Number Two, but she was recovering from a very virulent flu virus.  Not good for a Preggo.  Then to add to the fun, the sewer line to her house collapsed.  She had to move her grand, full, constantly peeing body to her mama's apartment, where she slept on the floor for two weeks, with a nearly potty trained little girl.  I say nearly, because while she was installed at mama's, Grandma, (Maga, to the little girl) decided to try to potty train her.  No stress there.  Her Hubby was working two jobs and trying to fix the sewer in the freezing cold and snow.  Sigh.  Ah, memories.  By the time Spring started to bring it's breeze of hope, Little Mama was growing quite large, getting closer and closer to her due date in late April/early May.  And as so often the case, Young Mama felt herself akin to a whale/elephant/dinosaur and really, really tired of her heavy corduroy/denim/wool jumpers that she had lived in for nearly 6 months.  As spring dallied around, the air fresh and breezy, Mama whimpered that she really needed some different to wear.  Something light, something pretty, something to get her through her warring self esteem issues the last six weeks of her 'containment'.  Hubby, Practical Man that he was,(is) could have argued that if I just toughed it out for a little bit longer or that it was just too impractical to buy a Maternity outfit so late in the day.  He could have, but his mama did not raise no idiot.  He knew that his Very Large young wife who was busy setting up a nursery and chasing a two year old, did not really need to hear practicalities.  She needed indulging.  So one day, one lovely spring day, he took her to the only Maternity Shop in town.  Her greedy, gleeful eyes scanned the new Spring Clothing line and she nearly swooned.  But finally, a sweet little top, one with a self belt for Post Maternity and the lightest fabric ever caught her eye.  She felt light as air and very summery in the sweet floral fabric. Young Mama came out of the dressing room, wearing a smile larger than her belly, Young Hubby, wisely, threw the budget out of the window and nodded in a appreciation and approval and drove home a very renewed and happy soon to deliver mama.  Young Mama wore that top during the next two pregnancies and even in between, the memories of it still making her smile.  Eventually, it was packed away with other memorable clothing only to be unfolded and unpacked when her eldest daughter first found out she was expecting.  Gladly, Number One daughter embraced the blouse, remembering her mama wearing it during her pregnancies and in between.  The soft fabric floated over her growing tummy and she felt rather nostalgic being able to wear it.  Then one hot summer day, she carefully packed it away herself only this time it was going to another home, not a box in a basement.  This time it was going to her Baby Sister, the one she had diapered and fed and babysat many, many time.  This time, it was her Baby Sister whose tummy was growing and who was uncomfortable in the heat of the season.  Big Sister knew just what she needed and she took it to her.
And you get to see her wearing it in the photo above.....
Little family legacies.
The End....(Hardly.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Teaching Appetites

Eating issues usually plague all young parents.  Too much?  Too little?  Too junky?  Too healthy? (really?)  We spend a lot of our time trying to figure out how, when, what and even where we should feed our children.  This issue can bring division amongst parents, grandparents and peers.  And it really shouldn't.  Today's lesson will help give you some suggestions, ideas, thoughts about the Feeding of Your Progeny.  Who knows?  You might even pick up some applications for yourself!
Just so you can rush ahead to the end of the chapter, let me tell you that my kids are good  eaters. Have always been so. We all enjoy food; the planning, the preparation and the partaking.  This did not just happen.  Their attitudes about food was intentional and instilled at a young age.  This plan has worked with them and I hope will inspire you.  Let's Begin.

1. Reduce the amount of exposure of salt and sugar early on.  Salt especially.  Pretty addictive and sets the standard for cravings for the Love of Salt pretty early.  Also numbs the palate for the freshness of vegetables and reduce the needs for fresh foods to be 'doctored'.
2.  No eating outside the boundaries of meals. That means no grazing, no snacking, no in between meals eating.  Your digestive system needs a break and allowing grazing only keeps the stomach constantly in a state of digestion, not allowing a true appetite to develop.  Now, did I starve my kids?  Silly.  There are approved foods: whole wheat bread, fruits and juice, carrots etc.  But in moderation.  It doesn't take much to stave off hunger for a few hours.  And remember, when they eat well at their meals, they snack less.  The adjustment to a new routine will be interesting, but well worth it.
3.  Notice the plates in the photo.  The small one is a bit smaller than a dessert plate.  The white one, a dinner plate and the Blue Willow (nice, huh?), a platter.  I served my kids on the smallest plate. And in way small amounts.  A tablespoon of vegetables, a few cut up pieces of meat, a scoop of potatoes. Do not overwhelm them.  Cruel?  No, manageable to small tummies!  Much better to have them ask them for more than for you to keep at them the whole meal to eat their food.  Less stress; better appetite.  Picture yourself eating off a platter every night.  That is what a standard dinner plate looks like to an average toddler/child.  On the day that they 'graduate' to a big plate, what an accomplishment that is!
4.  And speaking of plates, use them.  A few years ago, when a trio of junior high girls came to my house after school for supper and church group, I had to literally teach them how to use utensils!  Their typical fast food diet had them eating with their hands most of the time.  One young girl admitted that her mother still cut her meat.  I taught her how to hold a fork and use a knife.  14 years old.  Sit at the table with your children, making dinner an event, a celebration of the opportunity to nourish your body for service.  If children get used to seeing meal time as a privilege and not a chore for their over taxed digestion, their appetite will increase.  And their cravings will be for better things. 
5.  I always told my kids that a good meal was a ticket for all the dessert they could eat. And I usually had dessert of some kind.  Real desserts; cakes, ice cream, cookies, brownies.  And I meant it.  But I knew that their appetites brought on  good eating of good food and there certainly were times that dessert was refused.  Amazing but true.  When all the cookies they wanted was offered after a day of good eating, maybe three were taken. Documented.
6.  No candy was ever permitted in the morning (or sugared cereals; might as well give them candy!) Only after lunch or supper.  When my kids were old enough to go on youth retreats, I remember them being appalled that anyone could/would eat candy and drink pop first thing in the morning.  They're still pretty careful about their morning fuel.
7.  Night time snacks kept them for the night, especially if there was outdoor summer night's play going on.  A tray of fresh fruits, crackers, cheese and juice after their baths, kept their engines purring until the Breaking of the Fast.  And it was a great way to unwind with their days.  They would sit on our porch, all sweet smelling from their baths and shampoos that Dad would supervise, while I would be making the tray.  Sometimes the only way I got them to come in after a  long day of summer time play, would be to promise A Tray.  They loved the ritual.  They still talk about it as adults.

This is but a sampling of Handy Ideas To Defeat The Food Struggle With Your Young Children.  Not exhaustive but primer-like.
Bon Appetit, my little friends!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hubby Hiatus

My husband was born a hard worker. His working career started with a  job as a paper carrier then as a babysitter. His first full time job started at age 14 at the Icy Root Beer Stand.  And he has seldom stopped since then. He has been a pizza maker, print operator,a factory rat; working up the ladder to a position that is designed for a college degreed person.  He does not have that paper.  His desire to be a State Trooper stopped his college adventure due to a matter of height.  A giant to me, he was sadly a fraction of an inch too short for Illinois State Trooper qualifications at that time.  Without any other direction, he left college and entered the workforce with his father's recommendation, as a Machinist with Allis Chalmers.  Operating every machine he could train on, he became particularly adept at the up and coming NC machines, computer technology, just starting in the machining industry. Self taught on these machines, he was able to obtain a job with the government at a time when farm machinery production had started to decline and layoffs abounded.  Seamlessly, he continued on, working hard to provide for our one income family.  Relocation due to downsizing in the government facility that he worked for nearly 17 years, brought us to our present home on the cusp of 9/11.  His working world has not been the same since the crisis.  My Man, a most patriotic sort, has always felt that he had a call  to serve his country.  He missed Vietnam by mere months, so the work that he has done for his nation through artillery production, is  considered his mission for these past nine years.  .  I have understood from the start of the war, that he would work the overtime and do the long commute if he considered it his 'military service'.  And so it has been.  I let him go and let him do what he needs to do. But as our bodies age, the hard physical labor of the machinist and the stress of a supervisor, started taking its toll on his body. A myriad of symptoms and pains brought on tentative diagnosis.  One visit to an orthopedic surgeon brought the question, 'Mr. Cory, when did you break your back?'  Could he answer that?  No.  Somehow, in all the years of dangerous work,he had managed to break his back,.   So when Hubby is down, it is not only rare but it is downright scary.  He does not allow things like pain to get in the way of a goal or a plan.  Except last week.  The pinched nerve and bulging disc in his back had obviously done some pretty funky things to his extremities, specifically, his left foot.  Severe pain was keeping him from being able to walk well.  When Hubby calls in to work, saying that he does not know when he will be back, I take notice.  Every year, for decades, the amount of sick leave he's accumulated has been astounding.  And here he was, finally stating to his boss, 'I'll have to let you know when I'll be back, after I see my orthopedic doctor.'.....    We have enjoyed being able to keep in close contact on a 24 hour basis, something that rarely happens around here.  I enjoy knowing he is in the next room while I work,  Despite his pain and frustration at his inactivity, we have had a good time, just catching up each other with our lives that get separated by long hours.  Lots of thoughts on both our parts are going on too, those unspoken things about aging and the future; lots to dwell on......But in the meantime, we shall just enjoy each other's company on Hubby's Hiatus.....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Simple Sewing Saturdays: Volume Seven: Completely Easy Towel/Bib

Purging my kitchen with extraneous items last week, I stumbled across something that I had not seen nor thought about for some time.  It was a handy little towel bib that I made eons ago for Eldest/Admin, who is now 31 years young.  It's survived the many Tempera Painting Events that happened regularly around our house. The little terry bib was perfect for covering everything and it was handily handed down to each of her siblings.  Little Visitors to my home enjoyed the fact that Mrs. Cory was not afraid to use real paint, not the poor excuse for paint in those little Child Box of Paints that people are so fond of, the ones with the pitiful brushes. No indeed.  I would place the paint on a ceramic paint in great appealing globs, demonstrating for my own selfish enjoyment, the unbridled joy of mixing colors and the brilliance of adding white to change the tone.  And I made sure that we had decent brushes, for crying out loud.  Have YOU ever tried to paint with those things?  Impossible.  Get good tools so that your children feel successful, not blighted with poor equipment.  Anyway.  I digress.  Again.
For those children that need a little protected cover for the times when really good clothes need to be covered, this little gem is it.  Made of a towel, it washes well, absorbs too and slips easily over pony tails. So let us continue on.  You might need a quick gift this afternoon, and this just might be it!
Use a towel from  your closet.  Okay.  You can actually buy one, but isn't it more convenient to use what you have on hand?  Of course it is. And used towels are softer and more pliable. Use a hand towel, good size for a toddler/young child.  Fold down a third way down, as in the photo. Right in the center of the fold, mark a spot two inches down from folded edge.  On four inches on either side of this mark, place a pin.  You will be making a semi circle to make the neckline.  Using a pencil or fabric marker, mark the dot two inches down and join the curved line on either side to make a nice curved neck.  There is a nice little way with string and a compass to do this, but this is just a short walk; you can do it free hand.
Cut out the neck on the line formed by this curve.
We will edge the neck with good ol' bias tape. We shall not even unfold the tape for this go around, it is that simple.  Just sew the folded edge of the bias tape to the raw edge of the neck line, right sides together, leaving a bit of a tail. Now just roll over the bias tape to the other side of the bib and top stitch close to the folded edge, folding under the extra tail and stitching right on top of it.  Finished neckline, quick, quick!
With right side of the bib up, measure six inches from the shoulder.  Mark with a pin close to the bib edge.  Stitch horizontally about 2 1/2 inches, toward the center.  This makes the 'arm holes'.
Never to leave something alone, I make a little pocket to go on front.  You could make an initial, simply zig zagging around a cut out letter you did free hand with some fabric and your scissors.  As you can see, I think that I can do it without a template.  It turned out a bit wonky, but doesn't everything I make have a bit wonkiness to it?  Perfection is not my strong suit.  No comment.

I sewed two hearts together, sewed them wrong sides together and stitched around, leaving 2 inches open to be able to turn it.  See how you trim around curves?  Outer curve; clip and open V shape; inside curve; clip.
And here we are, less than an hour later with a fine little gift or a handy little cover up for your budding artist!  Now wasn't that fun?  The options are only limited by your towels in your linen closet!  Just remember if you do actually buy a towel, to make sure you have good paint supplies available and shun the pitiful offerings of paint kits that they make for children.  Give them good stuff; they have their cover up all ready!  Happy Sewing!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Findings

Friday morning and the 2 G's mama and I have nothing else on our calendars.  Rare. Good garage sales are out there and we are on it.  But wait a minute!  Looks like there's just one G here!  Yes indeed, the Male G is at home with daddy, having a little guy time.  Little Miss GeeBee is out to get her girl on by purchasing a purse, right off the bat.  She's getting it. 
Let us see what the day produced:
1.  A box of organic soap supplies.  Both my girlies have expressed an interest in this.  Hmmmmmm.And the lavender is plentiful this year.
2. The Crafting gods were smiling! A sale with  rolls and rolls of handmade ribbon from years ago.  And fringe.....
3.  And shiny, shiny trim...Lots of it...Now Deb, you say, what ever will you do with that?  I have no idea but I know swell vintage shiny when I see it.

4.  Here you see my porch table laden with the Craft Goodness.  Zippers, trims, Velcro, doilies, yards and yards of old eyelet trim.....Such grand things...There was also yards and yards of polyester fabric, but I refrained....

5. What about these goblets?  Six of one kind, four of another.  Stout, well used and absolutely me.  Snatched so fast I nearly dropped them.

6.  Several yards of this patriotic LARGE rick rack will be put to some good use in the week ahead and 'something' is having  a birthday soon.....

Shirts for the Hubby, a sweater and tee for me, a Vivien dress for years to come, small animals for little hands that visit me at my house....And this was just some of my collection...The 2G's mama did so well for herself that her Little Van was full; both GeeBee and I had things on our laps! With our pocketbooks a little empty but hearts thrilled with the 'Twelve Point Buck' that we bagged, we were Happy Campers.....
Ah, the thrill of the hunt.....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Good To the Last Drop...

Probably not a good idea to come to my garage sales.  By the time I'm through with something, it is really done.  It's probably been morphed into something twice.  Or more. And then I still think about it as I put the sticker on it.  Then wonder as the new owner carts it down the driveway. So far, I have not chased after someone for something that I had second thoughts but I have had lingering 'what ifs'.  Today was a work day, meaning I have a deadline and a goal to reach and a number to create by those other numbers.  I needed quantity to my quality and I needed cheap.  Time to go through the mama's collection 'Cannot Throw Away, But Is It Really Good Enough To Keep' bag.  And here's what I came up.  Pieces of 50's toweling that a lady in a cafe that I was remodeling, had brought in for rags.  I calmly suggested that if I brought in some other rags, could I have the pile that she brought in?  Looking at me incredulously, wondering why I was lathering over a pile of old cotton rags, shrugged her questioning shoulders and responded,' Sure, why not?'  Why not, indeed!  Could she not see the value in these historic pieces?  Printed linen/cotton from from a pre dishwasher generation, when a towel had to perform lintlessly and absorbingly.  No, she did not get it and I quickly squirrelled my trade off to my pick up truck.  Today that treasure became a pocket on a market bag.
And the bag itself?  Crazy Dee was going through extra things while I was redecorating her living room last fall.  She hands me a pile of sheets and pillowcases and pronounces them, mine.  Won't you need them?  Won't you want to make them into something else?  Of course not!  That's what she has me around for!  So today, snip, snip!  Cut, Cut!  Sew, Sew! and so far, two new market bags are made from throwaways.  Not one dime was spent in the production of these useful products.  Even the interfacing was bought at a yard sale, three abundant yards for a mere 50 cents! Could that even be considered a cost?  Thread?  Negligible.  Electricity? By not using my television, I save more than most.  I proclaim it a Free Market Bag and I'm off to produce nine more!
It's exciting looking through my fourth time usables to see what zany inspiration these scraps of history will  become.  A pocket?  Trim?  Lining?
I cannot wait.....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Biding My Time Well....

I needed a place to keep Miss Dixie corralled while Bob the Counter Man worked in the kitchen yesterday.  Miss Dixie, Guard Dog that she is, does not cotton to Strange Men in her house.  She is pretty protective of her "Mom". If someone gets in between her safe parameter of the three feet that she allows, she will warn you of her displeasure.  And most of the times, I correct her; letting her know who is 'permitted'.  But workers in my home, strangers that I pass on a late dog walk, salesmen that think maybe it's a good idea to come to my door; she can bark all she wants at them.  No correction.
So, BCM got her corralled but not necessarily corrected.  I just decided that if I had to keep her away from the workers, I would just join her.  My upstairs sewing room would be the perfect place.  I could put the baby gate in the doorway so I could hear if BCM needed my input but yet keeping Miss Dixie carefully barricaded.  Oh, and did I mention that it would not bother me In The Least, to be absconded to my beloved Work Room?  With no interruption by the things of the world, since I had to be attentive to the Kitchen Progress.  Yes.  Nearly three hours to play with my fabrics and sewing machine, with my faithful, yet barky assistant, next to me, protecting me from who knows what. I had recently purchased Anna Maria Horner's newest book, 'Handmade Beginnings' for my newest Grandbaby's Mama to be.  Just as I went with Amy Butler's book for her big sister's pregnancy, I saw that Anna Maria was simpatico with Baby Girl's eclectic taste. I do believe I could start right through the book, creating beautiful things from Anna Maria's wonderful patterns.  I began my journey with the Early Empire Cinch.  Extraordinary.  Drawing attention to the Burgeoning Belly, not hiding it as in days past.  Wonderful idea!  Let's get that Baby Out There and Celebrate His/Her Journey from the Beginning!   It was with great enthusiasm that I started on my first project for Baby Girl's first baby. The thoughts that went through my mind as I created this wonderful accessory for My Second Grandbaby's Wonderful Mama.  I thought of all the ways that she would wear it, even after the pregnancy.  I thought of the expanding waistline and all the implications of it.  I thought of all the many sewing projects that I will have with and for my grandbabies.  I thought about all the many dresses that I had made for Baby Girl, real and dress up. The simple act of creating something with detail and practicality and good design for a celebratory occasion, certainly is balm for the soul.  I couldn't have been more content.  It was a good day.  First Item for the New Grandbaby.  New Counters.  Faithful Dog.  Room to Sew in.  It's all Good.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

'Lady, You've Got Too Much Stuff!'

The above quote was spoken to me from a frustrated, overworked, underpaid professional mover/packer eleven years ago.  Apparently, her 'estimator' ran through my house a bit too quickly and grossly underestimated the amount of 'stuff' I was capable of hiding.. By the time another truck had to be arranged (and filled to the brim), she was about ready to bean me.
To my credit, I had warned the hurried estimator, that all 45 of my kitchen cabinets were full.  That my buffet, china cabinet, garage and most nooks and dang near all of the crannies were artfully filled to the brims. She offhandedly waved off my concerns with a 'Yes, dear, we are quite used to this kind of move..We do it all the time.'  Warned her.
I can fill a semi in nothin flat.
Now the down side to My Ever Increasing Collection.
When Bob, the counter installer, called me yesterday to arrange a time for the install of my fetchingly beautiful Tur Quazzie counter, I thought to myself: preparing for this shouldn't be a big deal.  Just clear out those things that could in the way or broken by those that do not take my things seriously. Once I started, the refrain of the poor young packer of years ago, kept playing in my brain...'Lady, you've got too much stuff!!!' I do believe the chorus was even played in a minor key, just to add to the solemnity of it all.
I covered my rather large dining room table.  And the chairs.  And I went out to the garage/storage to bring in a folding table to make more table space. (You did know that I have five card tables, right?)  That filled, I started placing things in my laundry room and library.  Things started spreading out like slow moving lava and seeing it all out like that I gotta admit, I kinda got a little scared like it was the red hot stuff....Maybe the thought of Hubby seeing some of my well hidden treasures all exposed, might
jeopardize any future foray into Yard Sale Land. So I was a little anxious.

Daunting, isn't it?  Laden Counters, well packed cabinets, top of microwave, any horizontal  space is fair game for my 'collections'....Doesn't even Marjorie, my cookie jar, look a bit claustrophobic?  I reassured her that her New Happy Place would be forthcoming, that this temporary discomfort shall last but an evening....
By the end of the afternoon, Bob the Counter Man and his assistant Ryan, had completed their task and brought my kitchen into the 1950's...Retro Update; a bit of a contradiction, eh?

In all my appreciation for this most generous gift, I am vowing to be selective when returning things to their place.  I am proud to report that I have a box (albeit 'small') of things that will need to find another home. Maybe. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Oldie But a Goodie...

Have you noticed when you go to potlucks, pitch-ins, communal dinners, that it is always the Women with Years that bring in Deviled Eggs?  I may be terribly wrong in this assumption, but in my range of experience, this is the case.  So I say to you Younger Readers, Let Us Bring Back the Deviled Eggs!  Let us Preserve Egg Farms everywhere by living retro with the recipes!
And you don't really have to fear the cholesterol and calories; there are 'modern' ways to get around that....And just how many half eggies can you eat with a meal?  Maybe two?  So get your protein and preserve the favorite potluck food of Your Grandma's Generation!
Here's the recipe that I made up the other night:

Sparky's Deviled Eggs:

*1 dozen eggs, hard boiled *
1/2 cup light mayo or miracle whip
1/4 cup mustard
2 tbsp horseradish
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp season all
1 tsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh chives (optional)
1 tsp dried minced onion (real onion makes it too soggy)

Half the hard boiled eggs lengthwise and place the yolks in a bowl.  Mash with a fork.  Add the ingredients, mixing well.  Go to a Yard Sale and find a dandy vintage deviled egg plate.  Or borrow one from an elderly, neighbor, friend or relative.  Yeah; they'll  have one.  I had two until Eldest Son took off with one my Mother in law gave me years ago.  It had a chicken on it and I believe he was going to try to find a small football helmet to fit on the chicken.  True Story.
Place approx 1 tbs of mixture into the well of the egg white.  Sprinkle with paprika and some parsley.  Sweet.  You'll feel like donning your best apron and serving them for supper (baked ham, sweet potatoes, wilted lettuce and orange jello salad with shredded carrots in it)

* This is the way my mom fixed hard boiled eggs; it rarely fails me.
Place the desired amount of eggs in a saucepan.  Cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Cook for about 3 minutes.  Turn off heat but leave the pan on the burner. Cover.  Go vacuum or clean your bathrooms or sweep the kitchen.  Run the pan of eggs over cold running water.  Crack the eggs well on the edge of the sink till they fall off sweetly.  Perfect hard boiled eggies, right?*

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Reflections...

These two men had a lot to do with the woman I am today...As is with most fathers, they can either kill us or cure us. And was the case with my father...Part of his instruction to me was examples of How Not Live; errors made, mistakes made and words either spoken too harshly or not enough.  I have no idea what kind of father he was to my sisters as the years amongst the three of us kept us on different playing fields. I do know that I was the last of three, another girl to the trio and his last chance at doing it right.  And he tried.  My Dad was a humorous man, a practical joker, a sensitive man damaged by the ravages of war before Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was diagnosed or treated.  We had a connection; I was the tomboy/helper that I thought he needed.  He was the affirmer, the complimenter, the gifter that he knew was way too hard for my Mom.  We were buddies.  Which worked out for him in his last years, when life's toll on his neglected health, brought him to live with my family.  It was our close relationship and crazy humor that kept us going the Long Year that I  lived with him in the cottage on our property.  During that time, in the wee hours of the morning when the world was far away, we had many opportunities to share our lives.  I had the chance to get really angry with him with my upbringing and he had the chance to ask my forgiveness.  On the day he died, he waited till I had left his 24 hour vigil, to leave this world.  A daddy still protecting his little girl......Then there was my Other Dad.  My beloved Father in Law.  The Man that helped form My Beloved Hubby's character.  A man of principles and  faith.  A man with a strong work ethic and community responsibility.  The man that most would call when they needed help. His hugs would drain your lungs of air.  They were warm and intentionally memorable.  Like My Hubby.  Oddly, the very things that bugged me about FIL, became crystal clear when I accumulated some years and helped me understand him even more.  My Father In Law liked me.  He would smirk at my sarcastic comments.  He would smile at me with approval when I put someone in their place.  He approved of my kind of mothering and I don't believe he ever raised his voice to my children. We both had a love of plants and he always willingly shared with me.  Once, when he and my mother in law were working on 'downsizing' their belongings, I admired an antique iron stove that he kept his plants on.  I told him that I loved it and that he could put it on My Hubby's List of Things to Inherit.  He asked me what I would do with it, odd thing that it was/is.  I told him specifically, my plans for it.  He tells me, 'well, get your husband to strap it to the top of the car and take it with you now!'  I said, 'Isn't that 'against the rules?' He replies with a grin, 'No one will ever know....'  And to this day, I think of that dear man every time I look at my Rare Iron Stove.

Ah, the complexities and the comfort of Our Father's Love....On this day, whether your reflections are difficult or lovely, glean what you can, keep the good and learn from the rest.....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Simple Sewing Saturdays: Volume Six: The Useful Curtain

Today on Simple Sewing Saturdays, we are going to explore the very simple yet useful skill of The Basic Cafe Curtain. With all the '50's Turquoise Themey thing going on around here, it is just expected that my New Kitchen Curtain should be in that genre.  I was contemplating the style of the window treatments (never called that by the way, then) that graced the kitchens of yesteryear.  And truthfully, I could only come up with the Cafe Curtain, my mom's personal favorite.  Of course, in the pre-polyester blend days, I spent quite a few of my Saturdays ironing the blessed things, ruffly and pure cotton and abundant.  So not to drift to far from The Original, I shall utilize the style and even the fabric of the day, to decorate my very 21rst Century Dandy Window.  So your thinking, 'Deb!  Where did you get such wonderful fabric?!' In honor of my New Counter tops, new window and dare I say it, my new kitchen floor, I found myself cutting into one of my precious Vintage Tablecloths, which whittles down my collection to a mere 20....or so.....I had used this beauty outside one summer, so it has battle scars: a bit of rust from a pot, grayish hem for being outside with it's skirts dipping into rain...It has seen better days. This table cloth was a smallish one and cutting it in half was going to give me enough fullness for my window.  If you're starting with fabric from the bolt, you just need to measure the window's width and double the amount for the width of curtain for fullness.  I'll cover this mystical feature on another SSS.
. First things first:  I trimmed off some of the Nasty Bits, taking with it, it's own nice little hem, so the first thing we'll have to do is make new hems.  Top Photo: Press under 1/2 inch.  Then do it again  Stitch close to the folded edge. Do this to all four sidesOn the top of the curtain, you will then fold down, again, approximately 2 inches, depending on how much you want to ruffle at the top of the rod.  Again, you stitch about an inch (I wanted a more subdued 'ruffle' above the rod.)  Then, stitch again another 1 1/2 from that stitching to make the pocket for your rod.Lookit here!  I'm using a measuring tool!!  Okay, it was just for you guys.   I have uncanny ability to 'guess' at measurements.  But I'm usually off a teensy bit. .  For a bit of flourish, I decided to place some of my vintage bias tapes and ricky rack to complete The Look.And as it goes with using rare, older materials, you sometimes run out.  See how close I came to reaching the end?  See the rusty pin holes in my tape?  The rusty holes in the tablecloth/curtain?  Doesn't bother me a bit.  85 % of it is gold so who am I, one who is less than 85% good, to criticize or throw out that lovely 85%?  Nope.  Comes with the Vintage Territory. As you can see, I just folded under the end of the tape and inserted another piece to reach the end.  So you ask, 'But Deb, what if you didn't have anymore of the 19 cent Turquoise Bias Tape from some unknown decade?  No Prob.  I would have just used another color.  That's right.  Tis how I roll.I always like to check on my closeness of hem and in this case, the run of the rick rack and bias tape.  Once the curtain is hanging, it's nice to have a good flow of closeness.Here we are, all pressed and practicing how to hang the finished product.Of course, they won't actually get hung until the Turquoise Counter top is in.  This is just for you. 
What have we learned?  Do not dismiss those lovely vintage things just because they have bad spots.  Work around them, use them in another manner (i.e. place mats, tote bags, etc...) and use their beauty...They won't come around again.......Enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Garden Exchange met at Rabbit Rita's this week. And what a treat we were in for.!...RR has amazing energy, resourcefulness and creativity.   Under her guidance and hard labor, her Forest Home has become a showplace for her landscaping skill. We ooh and aahed over the planting and the blooming going on amidst the towering tree neighbors that she has all around her.  It was beastly hot and humid and a portent of storminess was in the air, but by the end of the tour that ended us up by her lovely fish pond/fountain, we really didn't care. Then to outdo her gardens, we got to enjoy her refreshments, which included, for me, the first time to experience Cushaw Pie. Extraordinary. A lighter pumpkin type pie, perfect for summer. Here is a similar recipe; she promised to bring her personal recipe at the next GE .  The company was relaxing and entertaining and RR's countless stories of her travels, kept us all engaged and lighthearted.  RR also provided one of the sweetest melons that I've had this season as well.  Her homemade bread made the chicken salad special and yummy.....One of the nastiest storms of the season kept at bay till most of us were safe in our cars and homeward before it got terribly scary.  I was repeating thankfulness that I was in a Land Rover on the winding, flooding country roads, with trees looking like they might shed some pretty strong branches upon my roof.  I was busy praying for my other friends on their longer routes home....What we gardeners do for  the chance to look at plants, flowers and landscaping......

And I'm sure after eating Cushaw Pie, still warm, and viewing the Heavenly Blue Hydrangeas, you all would agree.......

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