Thursday, November 21, 2013

She Said...

Hubby asked who her best friend is.
She paused and thought.  Then...
"Mommy's my best friend," She said.
So I'm her Best Friend. That will change.  Perhaps today. Or tomorrow.  (Because, of course, I'm her parent.)
But for now, this type A Mom is reminded that the pile of laundry that I need to fold and put away, the floor I'm dying to vacuum and wash, the dessert I'd like to bake, the quilt I want to start, the backbends and splits I should work on, the cupboard that I should organize, the letter I need to write, the email that I should send....
Can Wait.
While I hang out with my Little Best Friend.
Deep breath.
Take Time for Important Things.
I remind myself.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

And Baby Makes 5

In June, we had another child.  During the months of waiting for him, I enjoyed reading the Birth Stories of other women.  There is a link up of them here at Camp Patton. Birthing is a tricky business and I respect all who have done it; no matter what their path looked like (natural, c-section, etc...).  I love to hear other women's experiences.  Birth is such a fine, raw line between New Life or End of Life; a dangerous, miraculous balance for Mom and Baby.

Meanwhile, it inspired me to write the story of Birth Day for each of my children.  I haven't yet...(I will).  I've been enjoying the journey and the sacredness of ushering our little boy into the Beginning of his Days.

I've been Quiet...just living and thinking in my heart.

Strapping Young Lad and Baby Girl were born prematurely and we walked down some shadowy roads until they were safe at home with us, in our arms.

So this time, with a healthy baby, and a (barely) timely birth...
I mean, I spent 2 of some of the best days of my life just holding him in the hospital. The nurses would ask..."Are you sure you don't want us to put him in the nursery so you can rest?"

"No, no, that won't be necessary."

For two days, I sat quietly with him.  And smiled.  Beamed, rather.  Didn't sleep much, didn't need to;
 I was resting.

And the beauty of him
The tremendous gift (and responsibility) that is him

When I came home from the hospital with him, I found myself wishing for Ceremony
Some way of prostrating myself Face Down
To show my Deep gratitude 
to God

Looking for Some Act
Like the Israelites did
with a sacrifice or memorial
So as not to forget
What God Did Here
(for me, for us, for him)

Maybe that's why some people plant trees in honor of a new baby...

Anyway, I'll post more about The Day later.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

DIY Painting a Bamboo Mat

When Hubby worked in the US VI, I bought a beautiful bamboo mat.  After one warm season on our porch, it had mildewed and gotten "ugly."

I washed it well with bleach and soap, taped off the fabric borders, and went to work with a big paintbrush and "chicken house" blue primer (chicken-house-blue b/c that is what color we painted our chicken house and 2 gallons of paint later...there are A LOT of things around here that got painted chicken-house-blue as well).

I love stripes, so I carefully taped lines at random intervals and painted different colors with various paint that we have on hand.

You can see where the paint bled a bit under the tape where I got heavy-handed with the paint application, so that would be my only words of light coats of paint as opposed to heavy.

Not perfect..but better than the mildew-stained look.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Creme D'Mentia, Anyone?

I  pulled this concoction together to steep for a few days. 

I have a jam-packed file folder full of clipped recipes"filed" to try, and stumbled upon this recipe again while leafing through my mess.  And since I have the fresh ingredients in bountiful in my backyard (except for the sage), I decided to give this a try.
 (I regularly read cookbooks and peruse through my clippings, just for pleasure.  Weird, huh. Anyone else do that? ...It gives me new inspiration and ideas everytime.)
Here's the recipe:
(and no, I don't know who Jim Duke is...this was a magazine clipping)

Jim Duke's Creme D'Mentia

Mix 1 c of 80-proof vodka with 1 c water. 

Add 1/4 c fresh lemon,

4 T rosemary leaves, 6 T lemon balm leaves, 4 T peppermint leaves,

and 2 T sage leaves. 

Add sugar to taste.

Steep for 3 days.

I'll have to let you know how it turns out.
It smells delicious sitting next to the sink.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Rabbit and The Bear

“For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.  Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:19-21

My gentle son.  
He has a knack for finding broken creatures.
He tries to fix The Broken Things.
He has a tender heart.
I remind him that Someday, All Things will be restored.  Even the little creatures.

And I think of another gentle Son.

The following are the lyrics to "Rabbit & The Bear" by Josh Garrels.
I first heard his folksy music in church...its in stark contrast to some of the somewhat whiny/sing-songy praise songs that I dislike.  Hear this one for yourself here: Rabbit & The Bear

Run, run so fast

Over fields and grass

At last, at last

We escaped from the trap

With the rabbit and the bear

And the sparrows of the air

Come one, come all

The hunter is gone

And this is our chance

To crawl under the wire

Through the darkest wood

On up to the mountain of fire

Where everything is free

In the light of the sun

Where every creature sings

Oh Lord, you rescued us all

Don’t listen to the snake

For he lies and he takes

Your hope, your faith

Away from you

But when the lion come around

With his claw and his crown

Follow, follow

His every move

(Do you see the fragile creature tenderly clasped?)

In the song....
Garrel adds (instead of merely "Oh Lord, you rescued us all..")

"Where every creature sings,
Praise God, you rescued us all..."

So yes, Praise God.
Someday it will all be restored.

I remind myself of The Restoration when something such as a Broken Creature hurts our hearts.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Boho Fairy Dresses

I used the Juliette pattern by Violette Field Thread to make two sets of this little slip/cover-up.
The yellow/cream/green was for Baby Girl.
The shabby chic pink and green was for my little niece.

The slip for the pink set was made from an embroidered tablecloth.  I love the detail.

My critique for this pattern is "critical" for the sizing and slip-design.  Baby Girl wears a 3/4 and we had a fit of frustrated anger as I had her try my niece's size 5 on...because her elbows got stuck and we couldn't wedge the slip on or off.
So I added a side zipper, which isn't part of the pattern.  But I can't imagine these girls getting them on and off without the zipper.
And there is something...lacking...about the slip.  It should be fuller, perhaps have side slits.."something"...; it is somewhat confining in its "cut."
But the set is very darling once on the Little Miss, flaring temper and ease-of-fit issues aside (ha ha!!).
And of course, I had to make garlands from silk flowers to go with each to complete the affair.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Boys Hoodie Tunic

I made this Hoodie for Strapping Young Lad using the Luka Hoodie pattern from the book Sewing for Boys.

I made this using "recycled" fabric from other clothing.  The flannel liner is a purchased fabric.  I wouldn't want to make this using expensive quilting cotton...I could buy it just as easily as make it for less money than if I had bought the fabric.  It uses quite a bit of yardage!

The pattern directions were obtuse for a few steps and there was one actual error.  I googled this pattern and found that I wasn't alone in my frustrations regarding pattern errors.
But if you have some sewing experience, you wouldn't have a problem completing the jacket by relying on basic skills (knowing how to add the liner, etc)

It is sized as a 6/7 and I would say that it is generous in size.  I'm pleased.  My kiddo is pleased.

The project is not difficult, but I'd not recommend it for a beginner though only because of the pattern's lack of clarity. 
And as for the finished product, I'd wear it if I could. :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Flannel Pinwheel Quilt

 So this was the year of "Finishing." Finishing large projects, miscellaneous projects...
This pinwheel quilt is for Baby Girl's twin-size bed.  She just turned three and in defense of the timeframe for completing the is very, VERY difficult to find flannel fabric that isn't plastered with ducks, teddy bears... or pink.
I found between 2-3 fabrics a year that fit into the color scheme so I just had to piece it as I found more fabric.
I quilted it simply "in the ditch."

And I have become very fond of a pieced backing for quilts.  Economical and far more interesting than a solid piece of fabric.
I really wanted something pretty and soft for my Precious Girl, and this quilt is very much what I had in mind.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Doll House DIY

I got the idea to turn this:
Into this:
From this little website:
  I basically did the same thing for the construction, but I used fabric with mod podge instead of paper.

This was for Baby Girl's birthday present.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Finished: The Message Quilt

The Message Quilt has been finished for a few months, but it was difficult to find cooperative weather for a photo shoot.

The pictures don't do it justice; but I don't have the energy to do another photo shoot. :)

This is my first hand-quilted quilt.  I quilted it "modern" with DMC embroidery thread and larger stitches.  I wouldn't change a thing and found the hand-quilting process therapeutic. (This quilt has seen many an hour being quilted in various waiting rooms...)

And so, the quilt has been finished for Strapping Young Lad.  He expressed more appreciation and enjoyment of it than I would expect from a young boy; it covers his bed.
We still have not seen justice, in regards with what has happened to him and us.  To the contrary, we continue to pay dearly in our fight for protection and what is right.
We wait.  Looking at the ways to be content in the turmoil as we can.
"I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Man Bag

 Strapping Young Lad needed a bag to haul his karate stuff around in.  My miscellaneous bags are mostly too feminine.

I used two quilt blocks that didn't make it into his Message Quilt, for each side.
An old shirt of mine that was in good shape for the liner.
And a pair of linen shorts for the green borders.

I "boxed" the bottom of the bag for ease of use/stuffing.
Strapping Young Lad is very pleased with it.  Its the perfect size.
The only thing I would do differently would be to sandwich interfacing between the liner and bag, for the whole thing.  I did use interfacing for the top and bottom, but would do the whole bag if I could again.
And originally I wanted to make him a Messenger Bag, but I didn't want to purchase a pattern for it, and I didn't want to spend a lot of time figuring out my own pattern.
So I just did this basic bag.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Girl Tunic

This is the Sis Boom Sophie Tunic Pattern.  I've made about 8 of these; modified slightly for manliness for Strapping Young Lad.  (FYI, this is a simple, accurate pattern to follow. I do reccommend it.)

Meanwhile, this is the first such tunic that I've made for Baby Girl.  She loves purple right now, and of course I don't really have any purple except for the scrap of the lining that you can see I used.

I love it for a swimsuit cover-up.  Or any number of things really.  I can see it smeared with marshmallow as we spend quality time around a bonfire.

She is a size 3T and I did make this in a 4T as sometimes I've had a difficult time getting this particular pattern to pop over Little People's heads.

 Though in fairness to the pattern sizing,  Baby Girl's head size is in the 80% (according to her pediatrician), so it might be more accurately sized for people with smaller heads!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


A long time ago, my Mom took a picture of me wearing a Mennonite empire-waist dress in front of a wild clump of tiger lilies.  I wore braids and was barefoot.  I was grinning like a fool.
The dress actually belonged to my best little girl friend....there were two of these dresses and we matched.  We both had deep roots from Lancaster Cty, PA and a family history of "Plain" or Mennonite.
The dress was a bright green calico.  I have kept an eye out for a similiar fabric ever since I began sewing in earnest in my adulthood... the bright green calico is nostalgic to me of braids, barefeet, and the easy happiness of matching your like-minded best girl friend.
Meanwhile, I've not stumbled across anything quite like that fabric.
I decided to make Baby Girl a play dress from a dark, green floral fabric that I've had for years and years.  (Now, mind you...there's no comparison to the calico-from-the-past; the one I used now borderlines on army-drab-green, but I think I threw enough other color elements/patterns in there to balance that)
This is a ModKid pattern: Isabel.  I've used it before and like it.

I was hit with an urgent need to make a few Wearables for Baby Girl, this winter, and this was the first of a long line of things that were made.
I also behaved myself and used only fabrics from my stash and repurposed old clothing. (No new fabric purchases!)
The dress turned out sweetly, I believe.  It's cuter in real-life.  It'll hold up well to grass-stains, mud, and the stains that come from taking a bareback ride on a not-so-clean hairy horse.
Which suits Baby Girl just fine.