Thursday, August 26, 2010

I love marbles.
I love the colors, the randomness, the feel of these seemingly insignificant objects. I have collected them for as long as I can remember.  For some amazing reason, I always seem to land in a home that has hidden a few of them inadvertently and my gardening adventures has me unearthing them years, decades after the marble ring has been put away.  I love the discovery.  I dig my trowel deep down, usually hiding a tulip bulb for it's winter sleep and while breaking the clods of dirt, a eureka moment of the find appears.  In the darkness of the soil, the shiny, colorful glimmer from a jewel of childhood appears.  I sit back on my heels, clean the marble on my jeans,and examine it closely.  Depending on the milkiness of the design, you can generally tell the decade from whence it came. Then, once I determine that, then the stories of it's journey into my hands begin.  I often wonder about the little guy that owned one.  He is counting his marbles and checking to see which one of his collection he lost to his buddy at their game after school.  Sadly, he notices that several are gone and he wonders how he lost so many to his friend.  Unknowingly, the elusive marble rolled away from the marble ring, and throughout the game, got walked into the earth by he and his buddy.  The years, the rain, erosion, sends it deep into the ground.  Until that day when I am gardening and discover the near pristine age old marble appearing in my tulip bulb hole.  If he knew the thrill that I get from each find, he wouldn't have been so sad to have lost it.  My collection does not just sit there.  My little visitors to my porch completely enjoy handling and rolling these little gems.  They too are entranced with the colors and the smoothness.  And being modern children, they have no concept of the game that the marbles represent.  Until they visit Nana/Mimi/My Debbie.  I will tell them about the rope circle and show them my large shooter marble.  I tell them of the dreaded Keepers, when you take big roulette type risks.  I show them my marble/jacks leather pouch that I have had in my possession for 50 years.  And thus another generation will leave their mark on the earth.  The rolly marbles that leave my porch and fall into my flower beds will no doubtedly end up in some other glass jar years from now.
And that is exactly how it should be.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Silver Friend

It is so like God.  Just when you think that you are past being pleasantly surprised, He shows up and does something sweetly unique and encouraging.  He lets you know that He knows your needs and the desires of your heart and that He has a plan in it all even in the smudgy, inky times.

I have known of Sculptor Friend for many years.  Our paths crossed like a crazy crossword puzzle.  But we never took the time to pay attention.  We waved and spoke quickly as our lives ran parallel courses.  Until now.  Now, we are at cross paths and have bumped into each other on our destinies.

Gardening brought us together.  Our passion for our art and our business will keep us united.  SF has years of experience in the business of home ran craft and I am newbie supreme.  SF has a desire to teach others that are where she was years ago and to integrate all the new technology that aids and abets that kind of home industry.

So it was with a great delight that I was invited to enter her studio and to sit with her for hours while we shared stories, amazed at the similarities.  While she painted and I shot questions and concerns at her, she quickly reassured me that I can do this.  That I can start a business with what I have, what I do and what I love.  I watched and listened in awe of her tenacity and determination and was glad that I felt a kindred spirit it to it all.  I cam home pleasantly, overwhelmingly exhausted, like one becomes having drank in an ocean of information and ideas.

A Silver Friend, that's what she is.  Valuable as gold to me.
Thank you Lord for how you work and who you use....
May I be worthy....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Beautiful Views

Kindred Spirits friend is an artist. I have seen her work in many mediums but by far, her work in stained glass is my favorite.  I was the very pleased recipient of one of her first works years ago.  On my stay at her home this past weekend, I was able to catch up on all her current works.  I get lost in the talent, the color, the design the soul that she puts in to each work.  I've owned my piece for nearly 12 years, and I still stare at it. She has this uncanny ability to interpret a thought, idea into the slimmest of pieces of glass and join them together to create a work of art singularly hers.
This one is called Deb's Garden...She interpreted in glass, my curved garden path created by BG's  Hubby and my propensity for nasturtiums.  I would know it anywhere....

You know what?  Her talent is only superseded by her wonderful, loving self.....
And I am blessed to count her as my Kindred Spirit Friend.....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Old Friends

" Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold"
(Old Brownie Scout song)

This weekend was an extravaganza of emotions.
I traveled to Baby Girl's home with Pretend Daughter Emily and shared a gamut of emotions with her.
I arrived at the most lovely Baby Shower for my BG, given by and attended by the most wonderful of friends.
I got to spend playground time with The Most Cherished Vivien.  I got to feel the wrap of her little arms around my neck as she greeted Her Mimi.
I got to stay in BG's new Married Housing apartment on Purdue's campus.
I got to surprise Old Friend at her 50th Birthday celebration.
I got to spend wonderful time with Old Friend and Her Precious Hubby, Kindred Spirits Friend and Her Extraordinary Hubby and most of their Amazing Children, all grown up and fabulous in all their varied ways.
I spent 12 hours in a car with Hubby and most of that time with BG and HH and had more fun than most should have in a car ride.
I experienced the joys and sadness of visiting our long ago home.
I had the heartache of saying good bye to all of them, knowing that our visits are few and far between.
I let my mind go to the past 27 years of our friendships and all that transpired in that time.  The baby nurturing, the toddler hood dilemmas, the teen age tragedies and the marital ups and downs. 
Sharing ones life with trustworthy people who love you more than their luggage is an amazing thing.
I feel honored to be a part of friendships like these.
I am humbled that they love me, let alone like the likes of me.
I am honored to be a part of their and their children's incredible lives.
I am in awe of how life works and how joys and heartaches keep us buoyed in God's grace.

I am thankful today.....

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Had one of those days.  The Come Down after a visit from my children. This past weekend, Baby Girl and Her Hubby returned from a vacation.  They were able to make an overnight stop with us, which thrilled Hubby and I.  As we prepared for bed, BG came into my room and laid across the bottom of our bed like she has done on many, many occasions.  This time, it was different.  This time, she had a very active in utero daughter tossing around within.  And Grammy got to witness it all.  BG and I have had some extraordinary discussions in this very place in my room, but this sweet little visit had to exceed them all.  We have talked about school, dance team, boyfriend issues, friend situations, matters of faith, fashion, homework, going to college, going to Africa and marriage.  But here we were, silent in our observation of this newest member of our family, introducing herself to the Visit to mama's Bedside at Night.  Stunning in it's simplicity and meaning.
Baby Girl and Her Hubby left the next afternoon to life back in college and parenting preparation.  But then came the call from Eldest Son.  His new job has brought a need to visit our hometown a bit more frequently, and this night he was to be coming on business but including supper with us as an added bonus.  As I wave BG and HH off, I slip into the next gear of entertaining ES.  We had a pleasant supper, unique in that it was me and 'The Boys', Youngest Son was off of work early and was able to join his brother, dad and mama.  Rarely happens; wonderful in the opportunity.  As I watched ES take on a fourth helping of Pepper Steak, I quietly said a prayer of appreciation for the man he has become.  He spoke glowingly and sweetly of his wife, the pride of his life.  He told us of her proficiency in taking care of children and his enjoyment of watching her in the church nursery the Sunday previous.  Lesson 342 on How To Please Your Parents:  Speak Glowingly of Your Spouse.
We ventured out to the porch for we had Frozen Novelties to enjoy.  Cory Rule: If you have a Frozen Novelty, you must enjoy it on the porch. And yes, after four helpings, ES did indeed have room for an ice cream sandwich.
Our conversation drifted in and out of many topics, all set to the steady rhythm of the swing.  Too soon, he needed to head home to Lovely Wife
The next day was Quiet Day. The joy of having four of our kids in our home in a 24 hour period can make me giddy and that giddiness can lead to a pleasant tiredness.  Not overwhelming- can't- move- tired, just peaceful, content, pleasant tired.  The tired that makes you go in slow motion and observe things like you're looking through a lens.
So as I went about my chores and errands, I observed the quiet in the still house.  The air conditioning off , and the windows open, sounds missed by motors, allowed another reverie.

I found the quiet spots in my home so enjoyable, I grabbed my camera to share them with you....
May your life be full of quiet still thoughtful moments......

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Miriam Gets the Job

One of the reasons I love vintage fabrics is the stories they tell. 
These fabrics take me to places in my imagination that fuel my brain for a good story.
Take the above piece of Writer's Fodder.
I was going through some of my vintage pile for Baby Girl's Baby Girl's Quilt.
I pulled out this nice brown and white plaid, folded up small so I couldn't see just how completely incomplete is was.  Once I started unfolding and saw this little piece of someones history, the cogs started rolling.Here was this hand made, tattersall plaid from another era.  An era where shirtwaist dresses were de rigueur for daily wear for ladies.  An era when sewing your own clothes seasonally, was what you did.  When matching plaids and utilizing all kinds of sewing interest, was a signature of your skill.
So I did what all sewists do when an archival piece of sewing history is put in your hands.
You iron it carefully, paying attention to the details and admiring the structural skills of some unknown, smallish young lady of yore.
Then the writer takes over and the story begins:

Miriam Gets the Job

Miriam Wilkerson graduated top in her secretarial class.  She was highly skilled in Gregg shorthand, Dictaphone and transcription.  The other girls in her class envied Miriam her skills, but the jealousy ended there.  Miriam was a shy girl and self conscious of, what her aunt called, 'strong features'.  Miriam was aware that she seldom drew the attention of boys her age and she accepted that dating opportunities were slim to none.

Miriam applied for the job at the firm of Clairmont & Styles two weeks after she graduated from school.  Her teacher, Miss Portsmouth, personally recommended her to Mr.Clairmont and the interview was forthcoming.
Miriam's classmates were eager to leave town for more interesting sites, but Miriam was content to stay nearby her family and to familiar things.

Miriam surpassed Mr. Clairmont's expectations and her start date at the firm was one week from her interview.  Miriam's parents were thrilled with the results of her appointment and invited her out to dinner at The Front Porch Diner, her favorite place.  Mrs.Wilkerson fussed with pride over Miriam's achievement.  "Just think, Daddy, our little Miriam is going to work for the most prestigious firm in Winnebago County! Didn't we just know that she would do so well!  Our little gem!"  Mr. Wilkerson smiled sweetly at his youngest daughter and patted her hand.

Mrs.Wilkerson was eager to send her daughter off into the work a day world in a fine array, so she arranged a shopping date uptown the following Friday.  Miriam had learned to sew from an assortment of ladies in her life; her mother, her home economics teacher, and her 4H leader.  Despite her youth, she had skills that surpassed many in her community.  When Miriam received her mother's invitation for a shopping date, she knew that it meant to the fabric store.  Anything the Wilkerson women would wear would most certainly come from their sewing room.

Miriam and Mrs. Wilkerson arrived at The Corduroy Cottage prepared to select material to sew a small wardrobe for work, fitting for a professional woman.  Mrs. Wilkerson was very knowledgeable about fabrics and she helped Miriam in her decision for the three shirtwaist dresses that she intended on making.  Summer time demanded cooler fabrics, but Miriam wanted to maintain decorum by not giving in to sleeveless dresses like some of the more modern young girls were doing these days.  She felt that a capped sleeve or a shorter sleeve was more appropriate for the workplace.  She added fabric to all the dresses she made to keep a modest length.  Her mother had knitted her several little sweaters that she could toss on her shoulders, attached to her sterling sweater catcher, that her grandmother bought her for her last birthday.  When the days grew cooler, her shirtwaist dresses would look swell with a cardigan.

Miriam enjoyed sewing her work dresses almost as much as she loved her job.  Her bosses were amiable and almost father like and her older coworkers were congenial to the young employee. Miriam's clever sewing skills brought her compliments on her daily wear. This encouraged her to pursue her craft and deepen her interest in sewing and design.  The one dress that brought on many comments was the brown and white tattersal plaid cotton that her mother bought her for her at the beginning of her career.  The double breasted bodice with the double tucks and the notched collar, set off Miriam's features nicely.  True to her principles, she added a nice cuffed short sleeve, setting off the bodice nicely.

As the years passed, Miriam's advancing secretarial skills offered many promotions.  She kept current, taking business classes once a year at the community college and workshops when her employer offered them.  Parallel to her office skills, her sewing skills kept right up with the times.  Miriam was the first in her town to buy the newest technological advanced machine and she found that younger women were coming to her to ask for sewing advice. Her days were filled with work assignments, tutoring young girls in private sewing lessons on Saturday mornings, and church league activities throughout the week.

Miriam stayed with her parents till they left this earth, taking good care of them and their home.  She stayed in her neighborhood, even when the changes from a sedate older block turned into a younger, family oriented group of people.  Miriam found that she enjoyed having these families, particularly the little children, around her.  She liked being asked for donations for school activities and handing out treats at Halloween.  Miriam found herself being drawn to one little neighbor girl in particular.  Amy reminded Miriam of her own shy self as a child and that kindred feeling toward her grew over time.  Amy was entranced by Miriam's old fashioned house and her plethora of sewing paraphernalia.  She enjoyed fashioning Miriam's old scraps into items for her stuffed animals and dolls.  Scarves, hats, diapers, and crude little dresses were designed by Amy in Miriam's sewing room. Miriam enjoyed her chats with Amy's mother when she came to gather up the little girl for bedtime.

It was during one of the chats that Miriam discovered that Amy was adopted.  She came to her family via a local adoption agency that had worked with a pregnancy center nearby.  Amy's biological mother came to that center as a fifteen year old, scared, overwhelmed and twelve weeks pregnant.  The help that she received at the center allowed her to seek an adoptive family for her unborn baby and Amy was allowed a life of loving care in the arms of her loving 'adoptive' parents.  Amy parents had tried for years to conceive but after many avenues were explored, they decided on adoption. Linking the two situations together proved to be an answer to prayer to both families and to Miriam.

After forty years of service to Clairmont & Styles, Miriam knew that it was time for her to relinquish her job to a younger person.  Her dreams of retirement were as humble as the life she lead.  She was content to putter in her garden, entertain the neighborhood children, teach sewing and of course, continue on in expanding her sewist repertoire.  It was on an early fall day that she decided to start on a quilt as a winter project.  Miriam opened her fabric closet and inspected a vast assortment of colorful scraps that she had saved throughout the years.  She was amazed that even some of her mother's scraps had been included from the long ago sewing adventures with her.  Miriam knew exactly what she would do with these lovely pieces of her life.  She would place them together in a kaleidoscope of color and warmth for the new babies that came through the pregnancy center in her town.  She would think of and pray for the young moms that entered their doors needing the counsel and direction that Amy's mother received.  She would use up all her fabric and pieces of memories and place the finished product in the arms of a new mama.

Miriam decided, as she began to take apart a bodice of a still bright, brown and white tattersal plaid shirtwaist, from another time, that the first quilt would go to Amy........

The End

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Singing in the Rain

Imagine my delight Saturday afternoon, to hear the unfamiliar patter of rain against my sewing room window.  Imagine my delight, when raising my blinds to view the rarity, seeing this sweet sight.
Neighbor Nancy, hosting her Two Grandgirls, allowed them, as a good Grammy should, the incredible fun of playing in the rain.
Prior to this interlude, NN tells me that they were in a bit of a tiff.  Ah, leave it to a change in weather to neutralize the spirits.  You couldn't have proved it by me.  These girls were twirling, running, singing and in generally speaking, enjoying this ten minute reprieve from oppressive heat.  I had to quit enjoying them from my second story window to scurry down to capture this bit of Summer/Sister memory making.

As I chatted with NN, I remembered those rainy day escapades of my little children years ago.  The rule was, if it wasn't lightning, they were permitted to have at it.  The neighborhood would empty out its contents of children, and the curbs and potholes became instant fun.  We had a  caved in like depression in the street across from our house that would fill rapidly. The kids could not wait to kick up and splash each other with the deepening rain.  Earthworms were collected and the squishiest of mud would seethe through their toes.  Prissy girls became boy like in their delight of all things squirmy and slimy.  Their giggles and shouts would bring me to my front porch, enjoying the rainfall and delighting in their simple pleasures.

Funny how a single scene can transport you to another time...
Thank you, girls, for reminding me...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Simple Sewing Saturdays: Volume Eleven: Acceptable Bias

Nothing adds as much shwankieness to a pillow or cushion as bias piping.  A/k/a Bias trim or bias cording, it can add the contrasting interest to your decorating. And it is so easy, thus it is with that statement that we add this tutorial to our SSS Volumes.
Step 1.  Fold your fabric on the bias, at a 45 degree angle from the selvage. Diagonally.  Begin to cut approximately 2 inch strips, depending on the diameter of your cording.  Depending on the length of cording you need, will depend on how many strips you cut.  The strips will get shorter as you get to the edge.
2. Do not worry about the short pieces; you are going to join them together to form one long strip.
3.Place right sides together and stitch straight across where both pieces completely come together. Do not put the raw edges together, just right across.
4. Trim the extra fabric in the seam allowance and press open.
5.  Fold the long strip in half and snug the cording into the crease. Make it tight. Replace the standard pressure foot with your zipper foot.  Sew as close to the cording as is possible on top of the bias strip.
6.  Pin the newly bias corded strips along the seam line of your fabric to be corded, clip out the corners to ease in the cording.  Fold under the ends, preferably in the middle of the edges instead of the corners.  Stitch all the way around.
7. See? Your shwanky pillow top is ready to have a back on it and stuffed properly. Be prepared for oohs and ahhs about how brilliant you are.  Act humble and enjoy your new cushion.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mutual Admiration Society

It has been a week since Vivien left for home.
In Grammy years, that adds up to about 6 months.
I have left some of her toys out and the high chair is still at it's post as if I expect her for lunch.
But she is at her home with her Daddy and Mama and that is how it should be.
But oh, how I miss her.
As you can see from the photo of us on Mimi's swing, we are both holding onto each other for all it is worth.
So today I get a call from Eldest/Admin.
She asks if I could Skype awhile.
It appears that Miss Viv was walking around with her pretend phone and rambling to an unknown person.  Her mama asks her, 'Vivie, do you want to talk to Mimi?', she responds by running to the staircase toward the front door, calling, "Mimi! Mimi!" Thinking I was coming to visit.  E/A thought that since she obviously wanted to see me, a Skype might be in order.

Vivie and I talked for awhile, me asking her if she likes her new toddler bed, if she had fun with her daddy at the pool the other night, if she enjoyed playing with her buddies, Ollie and Will the other day.
I am told that there was quite a bit of smiling and nodding on the other end.

Vivien and I had a Vulcan Mind Meld from the time I first laid eyes on her and her slightly impaired newborn eyes laid a peek at me.  We just get it.  We just know that we belong to each other.  When she reaches for me as I pass by, when I hear her cry my name when she is getting 'disciplined', I melt.

I was in the grocery store today and overheard this conversation a few check out lanes from me.
Small child,' I want to go to Grandma's house!'  Heart melted.
Harried mama in loud voice: 'SHUT UP!'  Heart broken.

There is indeed a hallowed relationship between a Mimi and her grandchild.
If you have none, please find one today.
You might check in the grocery store.....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Reading

Summer Reading is different from Winter Reading.
There is a lighter, quicker approach from the 'sit for hours next to the fire with a huge novel' type of read in the winter.

I found these two books fitting the bill for my Lighter Summer Reading Fare.

A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove by Laura Schenone came to me via Pretend Daughter Kris during the Retreat.  She had brought it with her to finish up and nosy me, always interested in a new book, picked it up and found it fascinating. My local library system did not have it, but thanks to a wondrous loaning system, I received a copy from Indianapolis in no time.  The book is awash in stories of women and how and why they do what they do in the kitchen from time immemorial.  I can pick it up, read a section, look at historic photos, then put it down.  Then another section in another part of the book.  Not even in order.  A perfect summer ADHD read.  Thank you, PDK, for reading it and bringing it to my attention!

The second one, I found out about on the radio.  Our local Moody Radio Station ( )carries Nancy Leigh DeMoss ( in the morning, usually when I 'm sewing.  I found the interview riveting and very relatable to my place now in life.  I'll read through it once, then go through and go over all the reflection and action sections in each chapter with Crazy Dee.  Not actually a technical Bible Study; merely a direction, advisory book with thought provoking questions determined to keep you from wasting your second half pining away for what was.  Good read.

Find a porch with air conditioning and spend some time in a book today.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Whatever! Stuffed Peppers

/Funny Thing: After making this dish, Hubby and I were watching Christina Cooks on Create PBS, and she made a very similiar recipe for Stuffed Peppers  However, Christina is Very Vegan and I am a very liberal carnivore.  This recipe rates a happy moderate with high ratings from Youngest Son.
Whatever Stuffed Peppers: Here's the thing, most of this recipe is made from leftovers that I had in my fridge.  But you might have something that is similiar that would work as well.  Let us see....
3 cups long grain rice (wild or brown would be good too)  I used leftover rice from a turkey kielbasa recipe that I made Monday for supper.
1 cup of cooked chicken (leftovers from Sunday Dinner)
4 Green peppers from the FM on Saturday; 4 for a 1.00 (Christina used roasted red peppers) Cut from the top and clean out well
1 small onion chopped
1 can tomato sauce
4 basil leaves from your garden, chopped nicely (don't you just love the smell of chopped basil?? heavenly...)
1 tbls chopped oregano from your garden
2 tsps parsley from  your or someone else's garden (:D)
2 tsps raw sugar
2 tsps sea salt
1/8 cup red wine
1 clove garlic, crushed

Parboil the peppers in a small amount of water (don't mine look particularly attractive in my red pot from Crazy Dee?) Parboiling is cooking/steaming just a bit to soften but not mushing the peppers; makes them pliable
Mix the sauce ingredients (in green print) I just use the can to mix it all up in then stir it with a knife. Just do it to save clean up. I know.Combine the rice and the chicken and the onion together; add a third of the sauce to the mixture; stuff the peppers with the chicken/rice/sauce mixture.

Place the peppers in an oven proof casserole and add the rest of the sauce and rice mixture if you have more than you need to stuff the peppers.  I sprinkled some Italian Bread Crumbs over the tops then added about a cup of shredded mozzarella over it all.  Bake at 350 degrees till cheese is melty and a bit brown.
Peppers will be very hot for some time after removal so be careful!
And enjoy you not-very-vegan meal!
(We added some of our Farmer's Market corn on the cob to round out the loveliness....!)

p.s.  Would you like the Turkey Kielbasa recipe too?? An oldie but a goodie....!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Farmer's Market Bag!

Every Saturday, as I get ready for the Farmer's Market, I think of how fortunate those of us in isolated Southern Indiana are to have such an assortment of fresh grown, mostly organic produce.  The FM is truly a highlight in these southern counties and I for one like to celebrate it.  While getting ready for The Retreat this summer, I thought it was only fitting that my guests should have their own Market Bag to corral all their purchases.  It was during that process that I received my first copy of MaryJane's Farm magazine.  Within it's wondrous innards, I was pleased as punch to find the pattern for the Perfect Market Bag.  Sensibility told me that to make eleven of them in time for The Retreat, was a bit of a stretch.  But maybe one.  Maybe mine, could be the first of many MaryJane Farm's Upcycled Market Bags!  It got taken out for it's maiden voyage this past Saturday.  I must say, I felt rather proud wearing an official Market Bag.  Especially when a lady in a crocheted products booth was eyeing it carefully.  I could see her trying to figure out the pattern from where she sat.  This little sweetie is embarrassingly easy and you can bet that there will be more to come.  Eldest/Admin wanted it terribly, but she saw that the practicality for her, armed with baby paraphernalia, would probably not be doable.  She did, however, order one with longer handles for her Mama Multihanded Needs.  Could I alter the pattern?  With sisal twine invested, you can't really waste for the effort!  I shall attempt this challenge!
So my Little Market Bag shall accompany me every Saturday.  I shall trade my blackberries, corn, tomatoes and wee little Amish pies soon for squash and more autumnal veggies.
But probably not the books.  As you can see, Youngest Son, scored quite a pile again this week.  He's on his own carrying his Book Obsession. 
Or maybe.  Maybe he needs a Mega Mama Made Market Bag for his book purchases.....!!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Sewing Projects, Past, Present and Future

The Past:  Eldest/Admin, Miss Vivien and I discovered a treasure trove of little dresses on one of our travels last week.  Adorable, HAND MADE dresses for a mere dollar each!  This little beauty kept my mind engaged for quite awhile while I contemplated who, what, where and when of the secrets behind it.  The teeny tiny one that we selected for Baby Girl's Baby Girl, is particularly interesting.  There were two, identical, and both displaying a sweetness of detail.  Soft little prints, careful stitching and delicate lace.  Someone thought much of the unknown twins that were the recipient of these lovely creations. My mind goes to the 50's maybe 60's.  I shared with E/A that Back in the Day, when all little girls wore dresses most of the time, the affirmation to purchase, was Just How Big Was the Hem?  I remember my mother checking out the hem of a dress before we would consider buying it.  It had to have at least a 2 1/2" or 3" hem to make it worth your financial while.  Little girls will shoot up in height before their shoulders, arms and tummies start to fill out.  A ample hem could keep a little dress in circulation for quite a few seasons.  In fact, one of the dresses that we bought for Miss Viv, we did just that!  A cute little gingham number fit well except it was just a bit too short for My Girl's lengthening legs.  Out came the seam ripper!  Out came the threads!  Zoom, zoom on the sewing machine, and Miss Vivien was tooling around in the cutest little vintage dress ever!  Mimi .Melted. Again.Here is a simple little utilitarian dress with lots of detail for how small and basic it is.  I adore the rick rack.  The wee little buttons all down the back. (for show; the real fasteners were little snaps).  And the tiniest of floral material.  Can you imagine a Grammy of today investing the time and energy into such a basic little fashion statement?  Fancy dresses, sure, maybe, but a 'Play Dress'?  I absolutely love that a long time ago, a mama, probably another relative, sat down and put together this little bit of fluff for their sweet little girl.......The Present: While E/A was visiting, The Heat Wave to End All Heat Waves was undoing us. Yes, yes, we were in air conditioning, but the poor a/c had worked very hard all month and being Energy Conservationists (!), we kept it at a restraint, temperature wise.  It was best to keep our minds off the heat and our hands busy.  So while I humored The Most Wonderful Vivien, E/A worked on this project for her little girl.  Sweet little bean bags from the link in a previous post.  Adorable?  Add beans, stitch the opening and Vivie is ready to learn her numbers in a very kinisthetic kinda way.And back to the future:
Baby Girl's Baby Quilt in progress!!  Mimi is using only scraps from her abundant collection to create the bankie for her newest granddaughter!  A lovely legacy of love for each grandchild; memories of Mimi's Prayerful Pregnancy Program.  With each square, I reflect on the new little one's life.  I think of her life, being so involved now, yet, knowing that the shank of her life will be spent without me.  I pray that she will know my love and hopes for her osmosisly through the hand stitching and fabric selection.  I want her to feel warm and protected and comforted.  I want her to take this to college with her.  So I cut carefully, sew watchfully, pay attention to the sturdiness of the fabric and cover the project in prayer.  Can it be four short months away till I get to meet this new life?
Better go sew.......

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Simple Sewing Sundays: Volume Ten: Tricky Terms

Let's face it.  Sometimes the reason that we get stuck in sewing is the terminology used in patterns.  Then, once we look it up, we ofttimes are more confused than before.  Sometimes you just need a bit more detailed description in perhaps simpler terms.  Today on Simple Sewing Sat...Sundays (ah, the joyful distractions of summer!) we will seek to remedy those pesky vague Sewist Terms that can trick us up....
  • Basting Stitch:  No, you don't have to keep moistening your fabric!  But what you do is first set your sewing length to the longest stitch on your machine.  See?  I showed you on mine.  Big stitches are needed to be able to pull the threads so you get a nice gather for a myriad of applications; sleeves, fullness in yokes, etc etc.  Typically, you run two rows of long stitches (top photo) to get a full effect.  Once you have made the stitches, leave the threads a bit long to be able to pull them to get the puffy effect of gathering.  Pull gently; you don't want to break the threads!  Even out the gathers and when you see how much fullness you need for the application, tie off the ends( the two threads at each end) to make it stay at the desired length.  Ease the fullness into the sleeve, yoke etc etc...So now you know when a pattern tells you to make basting stitches, that is what you do!
  • Bias:  Again, so many puns could be made....But I will go forth onto business...Cutting on the bias is utilizing the stretchiness of your fabric for different apps, i.e. yokes, skirts with a certain fit, maternity panels..anything that you need a bit of a give to.  In the photo with the sweet little pink and white stripe, you see the straight fabric then the fabric folded on a 45 degree angle.  If you took the long points and pulled in the opposite direction, you'd see that the fabric stretches.  That is the proverbial 'going against the grain'.  While we're on the subject, I might as well address the word 'Selvage'.  The selvage is the edge of your fabric that runs along the length.  Usually, it is finished and sometimes, on good fabric, it will bear the name of the material, it's designer and manufacturer.  Knowing your true selvage will help you in laying out your pattern.  Know that arrow that runs the lengths of your patterns?  That arrow on one end should be the exactly the same at the way end of the other arrow from the arrow to the selvage, in order to be on a straight grain.  So you ask, Deb, aren't you being a bit picky and precise?  And I say, yes. Normally, I would say, oh have at it.  But things of grain can make the difference between a wonky dress,blouse or skirt or slacks and a swanky one.  In order for things to hang well, the grain really has to be respected.  Now back to the bias.  When you cut on the bias, you want your pattern arrows to go 45 degrees from the selvage.  On the diagonal, as it were.  You want the wonky (stretchy) in certain applications.  Bias is the pull of the fabric when you pull it 45 degrees from the selvage.  Bias tape strips are made this way: cutting inches wide strips on the diagonal from the selvage to do clean edge necklines, armholes, bindings. Any circular opening that needs some give.
  • And while we're on the subject of armholes and necklines, always remember this:  If a curve goes outward, you cut out little v's randomly, to give some ease.  If a curve goes inwardly, make little clips for the same ease.  Outward: V's; Inward: clips.

Well, that is about all my none technical, somewhat aloof sewing mind can handle for today.  Do you have other vague sewing terms that befuddle you and are afraid to ask others lest they point and giggle at you?  Have no fear in approaching the most lackadaisical sewist there is!  I probably don't even know the answer, but at my age, not much embarrasses me anymore, so I will ask some wizened supreme sewist poobah for you!
Happy sewing!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Yummy Lemonade Time

Let us just pause and drink this in.  Let us just think about 8 degrees.  Let us revel in the wind chill factor that we so rebuffed in the gales of winter. Ah.  Refreshment....Lest we forget....

Now that we are all cool, let us see what we do with lemons: Unrelenting Heat Wave and Temporary Home Displacement.
 Eldest/Admin is thrilled with a bath remodel in her lower level.  As goes all redos, there is pain before progress.  Concrete jackhammered, water turned off and plumbers in and out. Air Conditioning turned off to keep just cleaned ducts sorta clean.  Plaster dust and (gulp) old mold is stirring up things that asthmatics oughta not be breathing...
So they pack up quickly and high tail it to Mimi's House.  Mimi's has it's share of allergens, dust bunnies alone never mind animal hair, but we do have functioning a/c (thank the Lord) and good company.
What ever do we do to have fun at Mimi's?  We eat eggies for breakfast.  We warm Mimi's heart by calling her name when nighty time is over.  We make BLT's with the best homegrown maters ever. (Thank you Lovely Lisa!)
We try on Mimi's baby shoes, the very ones that she walked in 56 years ago...And they fit!  We go to Lost River Deli and Market and sit in a regular chair like a big girl, eating good and singing along with Mimi, The Rainbow Song while mama and Mimi shop in the wonderful store.
We shop at The Little Closet and find dandy finds.
We take walks at night with Mimi's doggies, when the temperature is not yet napalm but far from temperate .
We curl up in bed with Mimi and Papa while mama showers in peace and quiet and play with Mimi's Bedside accouterments.
Mama works on the cutest little bean bags that are here: while Mimi gets to rock and sing me to sleep.....Bliss....

We laugh and talk and sit and swing and enjoy each other's company immensely....
Sweet Lemonade from The Crazy Lemons of Summer......
Stay Cool!

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