Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tie Up the Year!

Never am I happier in the sewing room than when I am repurposing. 
 I love the challenge of taking a throw away, overused, over loved, cherished something, and extend it's life by making something new out of it.  This has happened with old quilts, old sweaters, old blouses, skirts and this past holiday season, I took on ties.  I credit my pastor with this last foray into re purposing.  Last summer in a sermon illustration, he mentioned his large collection of ties.  Being a professor and minister and former coach, he is used to having ties handy for all those professional appearances.  And he stated, he likes his favorite old ones but he does like receiving new ones as gifts.  He said that he really doesn't like to get rid of them and his ample collection showed that completely.  Exiting the church that morning, I told him, while shaking his hand, that I was the woman for the job.  I almost challenged him to bring on his tired, his poor, his huddled masses of used ties into my very eager sewing room.  I would show him that most things can be made new again. 
 Including his rather humbled parishioner.
 Fast forward to this fall.
The pastor's father in law became very ill and after a few months of terrible illness, he died.
Pastor's Wife, working through her grief and father's possessions, had a remembrance of my Tie Challenge issued to her husband.  The next Sunday, she brought to me a very large shopping bag FULL of an assortment of lovely silk ties. In deep appreciation for the care giving that she gave her father (because I took care of my father for three years) and just wanting to do something special for the whole sweet family after an intense year for them, I set to plotting my next repurposing project.
 For days, I played with the ties.  I looked over each one and wondered what was their story.  I pictured the ceremonies, the business appointments, the church dinners, the family gatherings that these ties visited.  I checked out the labels and content.  Then during the night, after a Menopausal Wakeful Event, I had the Eureka Moment!  I knew that a mama's collection Family Birthday Banner would be the perfect gift for all of them and for many birthday events, Grandpa/Dad would be in attendance via his Tie Collection!

I had received from the owner of a bed and breakfast I visited ( this past fall, a stack of jewel tone shirt remnants which made the perfect backing.  A package of vintage blanket binding made the perfect hanger ribbon. A scrap of vintage velour made the perfect little storage bag and an additional tie made a monogram for the bag, just to be swanky.  Because this family has a collection of the dearest blond haired girls, a bit of whimsy was accomplished by little bells, courtesy of Pauline's Vintage Auction Opportunity, and the Tie Birthday Banner was complete and ready for Christmas Gifting!

Just because I wanted to see how the ties looked as a quilt project, I even used some for a pillow top! Seems that there is an endless use (2) for the silky, well interlined pieces of former gentleman's fashion accessory.

Before you throw out.....Anything....give it a second glance, give it a different eye, then give it to me.....!
Second Chance Sewing....Gotta love it...!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Two Years Ago

 It was a very different Christmas that year.
We took down our Christmas tree on Christmas evening.
The weather was a very unseasonable 70 degrees.
Last minute touches were made on The Dress.
Furniture was put in hidden away places while rented folding chairs came in.
Beautiful young ladies came in and out and wonderful young gentlemen played football outside.
Friends brought food and good wishes.
Greenery from the garden was trimmed destined for vases and bunting inside.
Laughter pealed through the open windows.
Twinkling lights were placed appropriately.
The most wonderful wedding photographer shadowed and documented.
A blazing fire stood waiting as the focal point.
The minister walked from his home down the street to join us and them.
Well wishers drove by and honked.
Lanterns and torches led the way.
An acoustic guitar prepared us for the arrival of the bride and her attendants.
She descended the stairs to her daddy's waiting arm while her expectant groom gasped in audible approval of his lovely bride.
Tears of joy.
Exclamation of the uniting of a destined relationship.
Overwhelming, surreal emotion on a most lovely, lovely wedding day....

Thank you Lord.......

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Christmas House

 A mellow, snow-sprinkled, hearth centered Christmas Time....
Love to you all....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When All is Said and Done...

 The packages are wrapped, cookies and goodies are made, the groceries are procured and the larder is packed good and full.
The littles are scurrying and not quite sure while they can't quite settle down.
Smiles come a bit easier and generosity is contagious.
Familiar locations look festive with their holiday decor.  Even the bathroom bears the insignia of gaiety, smallish trees and bright red ribbons.  Neighbors visit, bearing goods and words that never seem to get shared at any other time of the year.  Cards and wishes are sent miles away that would normally be stalled out on some To Do list.

It's All About the Baby.

The flurry of excitement that fills a family as the expectation of a New Life, is palpable through the miles. In the most modest of homes, celebration for a new member is acknowledged if not able to be wildly celebrated.
It just is the Joy of the Freshly Born that fills all of us, with few exception, with wonder, hope and anticipation of what the next generation shall bring.

And on Christmas, we all get to share the Wildly Exciting Expectancy of The One that will save us from this crumbly thing call The World. Leave it to an Almighty God to package His Savior in a small, newborn baby, knowing how we just cannot resist the freshness that is a infant.  We are drawn inexplicably to the joy that the Newborn of Christmas represents.  How else would this crazy season of Good Will survive in the midst of all the turmoil that this globe struggles with?  Why else would we be so enamored with the season if we realized that it would all be over in couple weeks?  We know, oh yes, we know, that the Spirit that exists in jolly December is available all the time, everywhere, to everyone, deep within our hearts.

But make no mistake, this sweet little Newborn did not stay that way and He is not done with us.  When He returns, we will all certainly recognize Him in all His royal, regal, majestic entrance back to the world that He created and made a plan of saving us from.  Just as an ignored child from a nasty family split, He will remember who attended His life long Birthday Celebration.  It will be interesting.
So as you wrap up your holiday preparations, remember Who the whole hoopla is about and why.  Whether it's the Winter Solstice you celebrate, Kwaanza, Hannukah, or ignore the whole experience, it all comes back to The Birthday Boy.  Every bit of it..

Reflect, peruse and celebrate deep within, the Author of it all......
Most lasting joy and internal peace upon you and yours this Christmas....

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Best Gifts...

 Let's face it.
You reach a Certain Age and all the gee-gaws and tchotchke's that you ever wanted, you've pretty much received in one way or another, or you have grown up and the necessity of the obtainment of that particular item just isn't what it used to be.

Okay.  I'll admit to still wanting a good deal of gees but the gaws have gotten under control.

Certainly, the quality, not the quantity of the gifts are weighed in a much different paradigm.
Even though my family does not exchange gifts, I truly don't know what I would request if they ventured to ask.  My level of contentment these days seems to have tabled out from the outstanding amount of greed that I embraced in my early years.

This year, with the crazy distraction of  the overdue delivery of Baby Girl's Baby Girl, I am hard pressed to even keep my thoughts straight, never mind trying to focus on gifts or gifting.

Then last week, I received a most precious gift.
It was with a scheduled visit from Spiderman, (you know I cannot reveal his identity) and when arriving to pick him up (you don't expect Spiderman to drive around out in the open do you??) I found him at his door, holding a crayoned greeting, which he was sure to point out before I gave him any praise or thanks, that his sister (yes, Spiderman has family) was the one that was gifting me with a most lovely drawing and note.

 I hope you can read this because I would tear up if I tried to repeat it to you.
It touched my heart to the very core.
This little girl that has been my friend since her baby days and still counts me as a special person in her life even with an abundance of grammys, nanas and mamaws in her life.  We have shared semi monthly visits for most of her life and watching her grow into a kind of little girl that would relate this kind of intentional greeting to a non related Older Lady, overwhelms and lightens my full heart.  I can picture her setting out to create a kind of picture that she would know that I would love.  After all, we have shared many an art session together.  Then to see her set out with pencil to largely lined printing paper and to express herself so sweetly (with accurate spelling!) well, the whole picture fills my Little Emotional Tank to way past Full.
And just to punctuate the whole lovely gift, Spiderman came home with me and shared more of love that apparently he inherited osmosisly from his older sister.

How possibly can one woman be so blessed, I tell you.

Love my little friends....
Many, many Merry Christmases to you, my loves.....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Simple Sewing Saturdays: Fun, Festive Crocheted Flowers

 I don't think I have ever purchased a bag of those pre made, pointy star like bows, the one with the peel back sticky attachment thingy.  Now, Back in the Day, when the bows made their premiere into Christmas Package Decorating Society, they came with the most intriguing pointy button like attachment, that made the most marvelous, POP when you pierced the box that you were decorating.
 My dad was the official Christmas Wrapper in our house.  He was known for his outrageous gift decoration, notorious for taping all. around. the box, just to drive us crazy.  He would not use just one bow. Oh, no, not him.  He would color coordinate and group them together atop a splendidly ribboned arrayed gift.  I would watch him on all the Non Me packages, watching in awe and admiration, his skill and flamboyant gift wrapping ways. If I didn't pester him too much, he would allow me to press down carefully to attach the bows with that button popping sound.
We always knew if mom wrapped something, in it's dullness and sameness.  She withstood a good deal of teasing.  Dad was a hard act to follow.

When we were first married, my Christmas Wrapping Procedure bordered on Obsessive/Crazy.  I would spend hours selecting JUST The Right wrapping, discarding roll after roll till I found the right combination of color, design and theme.  Drove Hubby crazy.  Of course, no store bought ribbon or bows for me.  I would by yards of calico and gingham to cut strips for ribbon and bows.  Back In The Day, decorative ribbon had not yet be invented.  We had ribbon to be curled and large spools of shiny ribbon and you could buy satin and grosgrain by the yard, but it was expensive just for wrapping, so I jumped ahead of the game, and made my own fabric ribbon.  In our Earlier Years, when we had just a few nieces and nephews, I would make all their gifts as well.  One year, I made my niece, Angela, a Holly Hobbie Dolly then searched for Holly Hobbie wrapping to do it all up it properly.  I think she was not even two and probably was not very impressed.  I was.

Years passed and due to the volume of wrapping that parenting four children presented, my standards worked it's way down the ladder.  Hubby was allowed to wrap but I always had the final fussy to put my signature on.

This year, while visiting Eldest/Admin, I became enamored with the Simple Crocheted Flower.  I made some for a project for her then proceeded to make some for Miss Vivien's small pink Christmas tree that stands in my dining room.  The plan is that every year, I will make/buy ornaments for the pink tree and when Christmas is over, Miss Viv will have her own ornaments for her tree at her house next year.  Each year will have a theme that best represents her interests.

The other day, it dawned on me as I was attaching the Fun Flowers to the pink tree, that these little fleurs would make dandy package embellishments!   A simple note on some simple paper with fabric ribbon and Bam!  You have impressive!  They take all of 5 minutes if you know the chain stitch, single crochet, slip stitch, double crochet.

Certainly you have a special package this year, no?
Grab some yarn a smallish hook, maybe a G and let's get to it!

Fun Festive Crocheted Flowers!

  • Start with chain 6
  • Slip stitch to the first stitch made to make a circle
  • Chain two 
  • Add approx 18 double crochet into the circle (enough to fill in the circle well)
  • Slip stitch one to connect the circle
  • Next Row:
  • 2 sc in each of the double crochet
  • Slip Stitch to connect the circle
  • Next Row:
  • Ch 2
  • 3 dc in same stitch as chain
  • Slip stitch in same
  • 1 sc in very next stitch
  • 4 Dc and slip stitch in next sc from previous row
  • 1 sc in very next stitch
  • Continue around till you meet the beginning of the petals.
  • Slip stitch to finish off.
  • Cut yarn and weave the cut yarn with the crochet yarn for neatness.
  • Attach to a package, tree, knitted project, hair, headband....The list is endless!  What doesn't need a Fun, Festive Flower on it for the Holiday Season!!


I think Dad would be proud.....!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Top 10 Ways to Let You Reach 38 Years of Marriage With No Regrets:

You would think that in thirty eight years of marriage, I would have gotten it.
But no, but no.
I am still learning, each day.
Probably because we are ever changing entities, prone to the variances of hormones, weather, location and peripherals.
That said, there are absolutes.  There are those things that I have ticked off as necessary for survival of this thing called marriage.
Since my Hubby is a big part of my global thinking and wisdom, we sat down, on this day, to peruse, why, how this thing called our marriage, has worked.  Worked well, joyfully and enjoyably despite it's many detours and trials, for these many years. 

Here is our compiled list:

10.  Love is not a feeling.  It is a choice, a daily choice.  So is long term commitment.  You have to establish from the beginning that this is For-ev-er.

9.  Love each other more than your own passions and desires.

8. Accept how your spouse is wired.  Obviously, (hopefully) your spouse is different; that's why you like him. He completes you.

7. Laugh. A. Lot.

6. Grow old gracefully.  Enjoy each other's extra weight and lines and wrinkles as growth rings that you both had a part in.

5.  Acknowledge each other's strengths and help each other with their weaknesses.  Without judgment.

4.  Be crazy complimentary about each other.  Note extra labor, kindnesses, thoughtfulnesses, good judgment.  Be verbal about your compliments and generous with your hugs. Let your children hear you compliment your spouse and make sure you sing praises of your spouse to your children.  Conversely, do not complain and whine about your spouse to your children or others.  Keep your business, your business.

3.  Anticipate the needs of your spouse.  Be the best student of each other.  Know the warning signs of stress and intercede.  Provide a good meal for a long day of work.  Or treat out when that is needed too.

2.  Be content.  Live within your means.  Be frugal.  Be accepting of your financial situation without trying to make it otherwise.  Have dreams and hopes but live correctly in the present.  Be creative and joyful in what you have.

1. Gotta have Jesus in your lives.  Period.  You have to have the strength and wisdom of a Divine, Perfect Counselor to guide you and your imperfect selves.

May you be blessed on your journey......

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gracie Beth is 2!!

 I was with Gracie Beth's mama when she took her pregnancy test.
I was snug in bed on that cold, snowy December Night when GB's daddy called to let me know that Big Brother Grant needed a babysitter at 4:00am.
I was cozy on their couch at 6:30am when her daddy called to tell me that she had arrived.
I was the one that had the privilege of having the Celebratory Breakfast with Big Brother Grant when he woke up to the news.
 I was the one that rounded up BBG, Baby Girl , Hubby, Youngest Son and myself into a teeny little car on that cold, snowy December 15th, to introduce BBG to his baby sister.
 We all got to watch the sweet introduction of Big Brother to Little Sis.
I got to hold her at less than 8 hours old.
 I got to sneak a peek at her two day old self when bringing chickie pot pie to the little family.
 I got to watch the fun first year and all it's ups and downs and boo boos...
 I was joyful as one of her very select first words was 'Nana'....
 I got to have a traveling secret with her....When we went anywhere, I got to hold her little hand and rub her palm to calm down reverse car seat agitations....It calmed her right down....
I got to help feed this voracious appetite some of her first solid food.....And thoroughly enjoyed it......
And last year, I got to make her first doll for her first birthday....
So it was with lots of sweet memories, that Nana sat down to her sewing machine to create a most special Library Book Tote for such a big girl. I included flannel from her reverse seam quilt and fabric from the summer britches I made her last year.  I even included bits of her mama's mama collection purses in the mix.  And since she will be joined by Baby Brother Liam in April and hedged on the other side by Big Brother Grant, I thought it only fitting to douse her with pink and frou-frou tutu to ward off all the boyishness that will surround her soon....

My sweet little Gracie Beth...Your hugs are the best......
Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


 We knew that the weather would be tricky.
We knew that we knew the route like the backs of our hands.
We knew that we had a small window to return home before leaving again for northern climes and New Life.
We knew we had to make a break for it.
And it was a memorable travel time.
Lots of time for silence, white knuckle gripping of the steering wheel throughout the wonderful scenic meanderings of State Route 50 in Southern Indiana.  All times of the year, the gently rolling hills make for entertainment of what could be a way too long journey to Miss Vivie's home or returning thereof.

But this Sunday Drive was a bit more of a challenge than we bargained for.  As swiftly as we left the interstate system in Ohio to the slower two lane way of Indiana's State Route, the weather shifted to treacherous and we held on for the ride.
Hubby says that the weather and driving hazards were nothing compared to the freaky ride with a hypersensitive co pilot with absolutely no driving skills.  And I completely agree with him; I even scared myself with my crazy edge of the seat- swervy- nervy.  Whew.
 As we slowly blew into the nearest city to our little home town, our contact with Youngest Son found him at a local restaurant/bar, watching the Bears in weather worse than our own.  The restaurant was directly in front of us so we pulled into the blustery parking lot with it's neon sign beckoning the wayfarers in from the winter storm.  Few cars were in attendance and for a minute we wondered the prudence of even stopping, given the quickly moving front. But Hubby, needing a break for his bulging disk worn back (and from the whiny pants next to him in the front seat) we blew caution to the wind and sought out nourishment and a hug from a very missed Youngest Son.  Our arrival was akin to the kissing of the tarmac after flight turbulence.  Very appreciative for the landing.
We entered this little restaurant warmly received by the hostess even though we have seldom visited.  We were intrigued by the gathering of patrons, riveted to the weather channel on the big screen TV in the corner.  Christmas Decorations and the scene outside the many windows made for cozy camaraderie, as each guest was asked about their story venturing out.  Seeing our son and updating each other on our time apart, instantly calmed us down and we were ready to order a meal for which we didn't even think we were hungry for.  The warmth of the room, the friendliness of the staff, the good choices for our varied appetites turned this rugged journey into a very pleasant Christmas Story.  The owner/chef came out to the dining room to check out the customers stories and to relay his appreciation for our attendance despite the weather.  When my dessert came (include with the special) an extra was brought for Hubby, even though he went for lighter fare. The waitress stated that she just didn't want to see him have to watch me eat dessert by myself.

Soon, this little group of people, joined by bad weather and hungry appetites, all started to leave for home, each one was bidded journeys mercies and safekeeping....We said adieu to our son and his buds as they watched the Bears struggle and we faced the blizzardy parking lot in the light of the Christmas lights flashing around us.

Be grateful for the blizzards in your life...They make the respites ever so sweet....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sle-eep In Heavenly Peace.....

I fought them in my tiny-ness only to want to call them in when reaching a certain age that needed more sleep than nighttime provided.
My firstborn seemed to follow that pattern as well, and she is still unable to nap during the day.
Now, I get to witness a third generation of Nap(sleep) Rebels.

Miss Vivie, like her mama, is all too aware of the fun of consciousness.  She is sure as shootin thinking that all the fun in the world is going on while she is off to the Land of Nod.  Cannot convince her otherwise.
She doesn't get terribly crabby, just insistent that sleep is not necessary.

So it was with great effort that I decided to help her see the joy of napping. After all, I could have earned a PhD in the varied techniques that I have honed through my adult years in the Fine Art of Sleeping in Varied Circumstances and Locations.

 With a great deal of confidence and willingness to sacrifice some wakeful time, I set out to Show Her The Way.
In my research, I discovered that her little 21 month old resolve is stronger than all the Nap Tricks that Mimi could pull out of her...ear.

Her little will manages to conquer the strongest of three adults attempts to convince her otherwise.  Tag teaming, threats, indulges, sound machines, lined curtains, seemed to be repelled by her invisible Sleep Shield.  If she, by chance of the napping gods, does fall asleep, too often she is somehow informed by her automated Sleep Police that she is indeed, asleep, an unseen alarm goes off, weeping ensues and we are again back at square one.

I tend to blame this all on my mother.
She was the one, after all, that cursed me, with sleepless children.  Mom, did you really extend it to the following generation?  C'mon.  Let's cut Eldest/Admin a break and withdraw the Curse of the Sleepless Children.

But, when the planets line up, when the favorite books of my Young Mama's Time, have worked their charm, when the pacie that is only permitted in her room is in place, when Mimi's quilt is snuggled around, when Mimi made dolly, CoryAnne, is nearby and sleepy kisses and huggies are shared and sleep is around the corner, ah, it is bliss.  Mimi stayed in her room extra long to just watch this little angel sleep in heavenly peace.

My little sweetie, indulge yourself in the blessing of nurturing sleep...Too soon the alarm will go off to go to work/school/appointments/life and you will wish for those comfy, cozy days of endless naps......

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not a Creature Was Stirring....(apologies to Sweet Sharon)

Cats and their perches.
Around our home and especially our neighborhood, their perches can be just about anywhere. Neighbor Cats insist that I have need for a new cat since the demise of  Miss Kitty last spring.  Do cats, like hobos of old, mark the house as 'Suckahs'?  Do they know that they only cats I've owned have been those that adopted me? I keep looking for a banner, a 'serving number 53' device by the back door, or some cryptic carving informing all of Catdom that I could be swayed. Nevertheless, my garden, my outdoor wicker, patio furniture will, on a good weather day, be upholstered with the finest of Cat personages.  Mostly unknown to me.  They will even look at me, annoyed, that I would even question why I should disturb them.  I started leaving them alone long ago.  I have accepted that foreign cats will decorate my yard, porch and patio.  The hanger ons will go pretty predictable for awhile, then out of the blue, I find a ball of fluff in the least likely place.  Ditzy Stella has a record for the Craziest Cat Perches Ever.  Indoor and out.  This week Stella has approved of the newly installed Christmas Tree and it's silky skirt.  She has spent a good deal of each day this week in this exact position.  Last night, whilst Blogging, she was actually snoring.  Good ol' Stella.

However, unlike my feline buds, roosting in one place very long is not on my agenda this week.  Tomorrow, Miss Vivie calls me for a week of hijinks and conversation in her nearly two year old communicative way.  Mimi is abandoning the calls of the Pre Christmas Sewing Room to a higher call- helping Eldest/Admin for the week.  Packing for the week long trip includes extree things IN CASE a certain other Granddaughter decides to make her appearance and Mimi needs to greet her.  Ah, the blessedness of being needed by BOTH daughters and granddaughters at the same time!!  Tough, huh??!

So this blog shall take another rest while caregiving and fun and frivolity take place, followed by prep for Vivien's First Christmas at Mimi and Papa's.

Welcome December!
We have been waiting a l-o-n-g time....!!

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