In 1972, I purchased this McCall pattern 3356, to make the eyelet trimmed comforter for Hubby's Cousin, who was having her first baby. With my very new sewing skill right out of the gate, I set forth in youthful cockiness, to have the only handmade gift at the baby shower. Crafting was selective then, mostly mod podgey decoupage, which my sister and I embraced with abandon. But on the cusp of all things crafty, sewing was on the horizon on the 'new' thing to do, and I was going to be on board.
I can remember selecting the quilted gingham cotton from the fabric store where I worked, and purchasing an abundance of gathered eyelet lace. I loved gingham and eyelet; my wedding dress was white bordered eyelet lace, and I still love it today. This pattern was put away, not even seeing daylight with my own children. Mothers of newborns that make handmade bonnets and little sleepers are perhaps out of a realm that I am aware of. I know they are out there, I just can't imagine the energy that it must take to be a new mother and seamstress for the new little bundle. I digress. Of course.
Then Baby Girl, The Accessory Queen of the House, let me know that a Proper Easter Bonnet would be needed for her Baby Girl! In the small corner of my brain that hides silly little details, I remembered that once upon a time I had a pattern that had a bonnet included with other things baby. In my searching, I did indeed still own it. Score one for the Pack Rat!
I removed the ancient tissue pieces in the yellowed pattern envelope, getting more excited at the anticipation of creating a garment like thing for Lil' Lady. I have made outfits for Miss Viv and a quilt for BGBG and several maternity things for her mama, but this was the first apparel that I made for Grand Baby number two. I had BG measure her sweet little noggin and started raiding my supply of suitable fabric. BG had asked for eyelet, since she is an Eyelet Fan as well. As things go, last summer, some other Eyelet Fan was dispensing of her BIG collection of all things eyelet and I 'just so happen' to be in the thrift store the day it was donated. Took it all. The bordered, the linen, the ivory and creamy shades of the prettiest eyelet ever. There was even large lengths of the same bordered eyelet that my wedding gown was made from! Amazing. Lining her bonnet with her quilt backing material just seemed the perfect thing to do. And yellow twill tape ties. Satin is much fancier but doesn't stay tied very well.
I am always overwhelmed by the messages that He sends to me in my little life.
Why would the King of the Universe care? Why would what I do matter in the universal scheme of things. But it does and He cares. Awesome.
One way that His love for me is shown is the different relationships He bestowes upon me. Throughout my life, He has afforded me the right people at the right time. People for me to learn from, to grow with, be chastised by, rebuked and warned. I have laughed hardily with some pretty witty people. I have been blessed by the intercession from some pretty strong prayer warriors. And then there are the Special Surprises. I have a new friend and our relationship fills me with such joy; I just know that she has been sent to me from God to see things with a different paradigm, a viewpoint from a perspective that I have not experienced before. Let me tell you about her.....
I have known of my new friend for many years. She lives near me and our lives have intersected many times. But it wasn't until I signed up for the mentor program at our local elementary, that I became formally introduced to her. When I signed up, I certainly didn't expect to be assigned in Math. Dearie me. I lost track of math somewhere near the fourth grade, which ironically, is the grade the Math Buddy is in. Funny how God works these kind of things. My weekly visits to her classroom morphed into homework sessions at my home. This quiet little girl would come in, sit down, respond to her work, answer questions presented, then pick up her pencil and leave for home, few words shared. That was last fall.
As her trust of me developed, our sessions became filled with more and more conversation. I would ask her if she would like to share supper with me, and with few words, she would agree that maybe that was all right. I would walk her home after our sessions and walks lead to talks and she started offering more about herself. Both of Math Buddy's parents are deaf mutes. Some of her social difficulties can be, I'm sure in part, due to this. But do not think for a minute that she is not intelligent. Conversely, her silent life has led her to a great deal of introspection and maturity for a ten year old child. She observes keenly and has a quiet wit that is charming. Soon, we were sharing longer dog walks together, chatting away as we followed the dogs.
A reward system was developed for multiplication facts mastery. We had a good time coming up with proper rewards for the systematic accomplishment of each set of facts. In doing this, I got to find out what she likes and finds interesting. Our interests reveal so much about who we are. In all my crazy house, the one thing that she finds so intriguing, is my ancient books. She told me, as she thumbed through a 1883 copy of Longfellow, "I don't really like to read the books as much as I enjoy thinking about who owned this book then and what they thought of it and who they were." See? Brilliant..
Of course, this endeavor has been bathed in much prayer, by me and my intercessory friends. Partly for the poor child that has the misfortune of being tutored by this mathly deficient person, (sometimes she says quietly, when I am stumped by fourth grade math, 'Maybe your son can help us?' ) but mostly, that this little girl can feel Christ's love for her in this person that she depends on for math success. In doing this through prayer, I had an inspiration one day. I told her that I would love it if she would teach me sign language. She asked me, 'So you can talk to my mom?' And I saw that this was very important to her. I agreed totally, that getting to know her mother would be a lovely thing. The next day she showed up with Lottie Riekehof's book. MB was ready and willing to take on this challenge. She was strident in my homework assignments and demanding in perfection. I got graded, rated and corrected. She understood my struggle, comparing it to hers in math. We would laugh at the boo boos that we would make and then go forth together. This week, I had the joy to actually 'speak' to her mother without MB's help! I could sense the happiness in both of them as I intentionally entered their world. I received kudos from MB for 'speaking' so well to her mama and I was so thrilled I could hardly stand it.....
Math Buddy has nearly mastered her times tables. She is getting probability and early algebra and geometry. And she is getting me as well. In fact, she knows me very well, showing up at my home this week with this tiny porcelain sewing machine to hold my pins, she says. I did have to do a perfect sign alphabet before she would surrender it to me, however. As I walked her home the night she presented the little trinket to me, I told her once again, thank you for the gift. She grinned back at me and said 'Too bad it's not real; you could make tiny little clothes on it!' And I responded in my best old Seinfeld episode quote, 'We could make teeny squirrel clothes!' We both smiled as she walked inside her house.....Priceless.
Math Buddy likes to write. Her stories are horror filled, scary and bloody. This week as she made her first batch of chocolate chip cookies with me, she shared her bound book, courtesy of Young Author's Week at school, with me. As I grimaced about the content, I made her promise that her next book would be light and cheerful and have a happy ending. She grinned and nodded, so we shall see....
Maybe it will be about an older friend that had a hard time with math, owned some pretty nutty doggies, had a house abounding with interesting things but the little girl knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was loved and cared for.....And this was all through her older friend's lovely Lord, who has done much for her.....
'To much is given much is required....'....... Thank you Jesus, for Your precious care......
All the sweet enjoyments of a new season can simply overwhelm our senses. You yearn to be outside enjoying all that spring has to offer yet there are still indoor things to do. What do you do?
Do the inside things at night or on a rainy day. Take advantage of the daylight hours to slurp up the freshness of the day. Or you can try to do it all by having a tea party outside.
On my weekly visit with Thirdsie Grant, we decided after taking the dogs for a walk, that an outdoor tea party would fit the bill for a compromise. At the store earlier that day, we picked up TG's favorite treat: mini Oreos. Perfect for our pretend crumpets/scones. They fit on the teeny plate and a handful can jump in your mouth without much effort. So TG and I shlurped and poured and munched without the pesky worries of spills or uninvited puppies. However, Stella the Cat had to bring her curiosity every now and then. And I'm certain that the ants appreciated TG's generous sugar portions ...
Yes, the best of both worlds; the joys of tea with the pleasure of a spring day.....
Today, I noticed the first of many iris blooming away..(Some around here call them 'flags'.....).
And on a purpley note, the wisteria ain't doin' too bad either! I wish you could take a whiff of this sweet flower...My bee friends have arrived and I believe are having a family reunion! Many Bee Buds!
Today was Fleur de Lis Day. Ninety Four Year Old Ruth hosted today. Yes, she made this cake, pineapple frosting and all. Crushed strawberries on the side. With ice cream. When you are 94 you can eat this in the afternoon too.
We were twelve this day. I come away with the most amazing tales of days past and a most positive perspective on the future.....Wonderful ladies...I had mentioned the tables that our hostess had put together for the occasion. She told me that her husband had made the one large, gate leg table. They had bought property near a lake and began to build by thinking of the furniture needed to host the family. She found a table in a magazine that she liked but he was overwhelmed by the price. He found the pine boards to fabricate this amazing table. It easily seats a passel of people, with two side drawers for utensils and linens. Did I mention that he also built grandfather clocks? Yeah, a visit with NFYOR is always a treat for me....
Last weeks rainy days found me in the sewing room waiting for interlining for some Diaper Bags to Be...In my piddling around, I figured it was a perfect time to make a quick top for the summer. I made sure it met the requirements for the perfect top. Love it. Took two hours to make. Ka-ching.
Last week, YS and I walked downtown to check out the thrift store. We might have taken the weensiest of detours to the cafe to sample it's new soda fountain offerings. A good idea...
Hubby and I took TG to the Methodist Monthly Outreach Luncheon last Thursday. I love getting to visit with my Fleur and Garden Exchange Buds. TG got to visit with his real Nana and we got to enjoy the culinary expertise of the Methodist Women.
Good to have a Walk up Drive up window for the Discount Tobacco store. Do not want to waste time stocking up on your nicotine.
Yes, a lot of Out and Abouts recently. It's a good idea to go prepared for trips around. Safety seat; check. Sun hat: check. Flowered pants: check. Huge, over the top sunglasses that nearly covers your teeny nose: Double check.
Have fun Out and About this spring. And don't forget your sunglasses.....
It is true that all that you ever needed to know you learned in kindergarten, it is even more true that the rules of life are refined in first grade...
On my weekly visit to my local First Grade, I found evidence that there are some philosophically important Rules of Life prominently posted on the walls....
A good rule: Always be nice to your family. Always.
I find this one more difficult but probably good to remember: Always behave when you are bad.
This one was at my local Hallmark Store. Fortunately, I do not have an Ex Mother in Law, but apparently there is a need to reach out and touch those in our extended, extended families...Remember, Always be nice to your family. Even Dad's Wife......
And this rather scary bluebird, (that perhaps looks more like a crow?) Reminds us that when you talk to your mom and send her hugs and kisses on a scary, blood spattered (?) crow, always get her attention first. Hey.
I read recently that menopause is actually just one day.
There are stages leading up to The Day; pre menopause, peri menopause and the ever popular Post Menopause.
I believe my self has been trying to cope with all the ramifications of the season of change in women, by trying to accept all that it means.
I have worked this out in as many stages as there are names for it.
Some of has been fun, some sad and most just...life changing.
So here's the deal:
When 'they' call this period of life in a woman's life, they mean just that. Change.
Nearly every single, and I mean every single, aspect of my life has undergone a Change or Adjustment and it has been interesting.
A Non Exhaustive List of My Changes (with the exception of the obvious)
I am now patient with sewing, crafting and animals (still working on the human adult variety)
I like more colors
Food selections are different. While I love chocolate, other candy looks kinda icky to me...I can crave healthy food like my body is trying to atone for it's past years of poisoning
I really don't care what I look like in public as much as before. Case in point: This week, I had an ice cream need. Grabbed truck (another topic) keys and headed to McD's for a sundae. While ordering inside to keep from being caught in the very long drive thru line, I realized that I had my very shoddy paint clothes on. I had put down my brush and zipped out the door without a moments notice. No wonder the stares. I thought it funny, not embarrassing.
I willingly wear comfortable shoes, done with being worried about style
I am less judgmental. Much less.
I don't mind being alone
I do not recognize my skin; it's texture, it's fickle unpredictability
I will listen to all sides, completely convince that in this,the most knowledgeable time of my life, I really don't know squat (hence the name of this blog)
I embrace the fact that there is less of my life ahead than there is behind me
I would rather listen than talk these days
I have become very clumsy
I don't trust my judgment on many matters
I can acquiesce to new opinions and time frames like never before
While parts of this list seems depressive or maudlin, do believe me when I say that it's all good. Having the rare privilege to have yourself repackaged, redesigned and reinvented is an interesting thing. It only gets difficult if you rale against the tide of life's patterns and work to stem the flow of progressive growth, emotionally, physically and mentally. There was a time that I figured that aging was for someone else. I arrogantly thought that those that wore socks with there sandals or elastic band slacks were just giving up too soon. I thought that if I just tried realllll hard, I would escape this thing called aging. Well.
So this is being said to encourage you. To encourage those on the cusp of this time of life. To encourage those in your early twenties that think this stage is brought on by weak temperament or poor lineage. To encourage those with small children, that life's phases are just that: Phases. And like the moon, it comes around predictably and quickly.
This Time of Life is swell despite it's need for glasses. Dear Nellie observed recently in my handwritten note of last week, 'you seemed to have found contentment in this stage of your life'....Very astute, Dear Nellie....
And if I could bestow this mantle upon all that graced the portals of this blog, I would willingly, gladly, abundantly ...
Now go. Embrace Your Phase. And bless you in doing it....
Even though it's been nigh onto a week since I last appeared here, believe me when I say that I have not been sitting on my hands. It's been one of those blissfully busy times that when I had to choose, sitting at the computer came in last. Never mind that our area had a large peek into the next season. That alone will bid me outside to play in dirt. Never mind that the living room makeover has peaked and seeing the next move up the staircase is close by. Never mind that said staircase and painting thereof, nearly did me in as I rather carelessly talked on my phone whilst upon a ladder upon my highest landing. I shall not do that again. I promise. Spilling over a gallon of paint onto my wood staircase and covering just about everything in earshot in a nice color of mellow yellow, afforded me a lesson I shall not forget. And I am painfully thankful that I am alive to report on myself.
Not even the arrival of our new Kitchen Aid, that appears to make the dandiest Italian Cream Cake ever, was reason enough to keep me from being here.. .. Last week, my mind was busy with being the Nana On Call. The 2G's mama is pretty faithful to her due dates and it was nigh. Her diaper bag was completed last week, yet her (his) quilt was not yet done. My mind was on the Phone Call that was sure to come, but my body was in the sewing room, utilizing every spare moment I could to the accomplishment of a Baby Lamb's very own quilt. (Sister G cannot completely say 'Liam', but it comes out adoringly as 'Baby Lamb'..I love it) You see, as a Thirdsie, I am aware of the importance of New Things. I spent years hating my rusted JC Higgins bicycle that I inherited from my two sisters, but because it still 'worked' it was not put to pasture. On my magical tenth birthday, a new bike arrived but not after years of hearing, 'Quit complaining about the bike; it is fine....' Ha.
So it was important for Baby Lamb to have his very own bankie from Nana Deb, Thirdsie Extraordinaire.
After a lovely visit with the 2G's and their mama, in celebration of the oldest G's birthday, I went home to feverishly complete The Quilt. One look at their mama and her distracted facial expressions, I knew it was time for this Nana to get her bag packed to be ready to run over to baby sit the G's while Baby Lamb made his arrival... Twasn't two hours later the tentative call came and like a shot I was out the door, willing and able to watch and wait for another Thirdsie to enter this world.
Whew. He came fast and furious and my time with the G's was delightful and fun. As always. I was able to inform them first thing in their early morning, that Baby Lamb had arrived and was tickled to hear the oldest G's concern about the color of his eyes. He was concerned since his beautiful hazel eyes had to compete with the other G's brilliant blue. The jury is still out on this one.
And this is his introduction to The Quilt on this fine day and this is how my busy day started.
I came home to see that Dear Nellie had not only written a genuine paper and ink letter,but had included in her lovely missive, a most delightful dresser scarf that looks perfect on my entry way table. I shall think of her each time I grab my keys. (Pay no attention to the smattered paint on the staircase; who know what direction that may take....)
Not too long after Hubby was on his way to work, did my other Thirdsie friend show up for a twice delayed play date. I do believe most people make play dates with their children with other children. Not me. My play dates are with me. And this particular Thirdsie will keep me in stitches for a long time, so why should I share him? We drew dinosaurs and played games and when I brought out toy dinosaurs from long ago AND my two grown up boys Super Friends, well, you had thought that I was Santa. He mentioned to me while he was washing his hands, 'Debbie, you sure have a lot of toys!' I told him that I have four children and lots of little friends. He said, 'Four Kids! Wow!' Despite that fact that that is just one more from his own family's child census. Several times, during the course of our visit, he told me that I was a Good Debbie. I was glad to hear it, since holding up the integrity of a silly name like Debbie, is hard work.
Lo and behold, in the midst of our Tea Party (standard issue play date stuff), Fourth Grade Friend came by for help with her math homework. We certainly could not stop our Tea Time, so we invited her to join us. We thought that our play date was a good time to share some new nail polish colors that I had purchased for her for such a time as this. She didn't seem to question the fact that this Interesting Lady, just happened to have green sparkly nail polish hanging around our math supplies. I guess it just seemed normal for around here. After all, we were having a Tea Party with Real Tea AND Very Real Sugar....
Miss Dixie was not invited, to the Tea Party, however, but due to her amazingly good manners this time, we shall next visit. She is known for sneaking our snacks when we go to the kitchen for more paper towels. And that happens a lot.....:D
While we played and giggled and laughed and computed math and painted nails, The Thirdsie's mama, who just started a Weed Pulling Business, 'Barefoot Blessings' (genius), was out in my tulip bed, cleaning out the old and welcoming the new, all for the simple barter of new kitchen curtains and a few pillows for her new couch! Brilliant!
Just thinking about the glory of this most fun day, tires me in such a peaceful way... I have much more to share in the week long lapse,, but only so much for one day.... My heart is full and I should go breathe now.....