Saturday, February 28, 2009

SEWING SET ASIDE


It's been a little while since I have shown any of my sewing projects. There is a reason.



We have a little friend of the family, Grace. For her birthday last April, her family went together and bought her the Kit doll from AG. I had made Grace a dress for her birthday which you can see here. When I discovered that she had gotten the doll, I designed a matching dress for Kit. (Which I sent to her SEVERAL weeks after her birthday.)



So when Christmas came around this year, I decided to make her another GIRl/DOLL matching outfit. I finished Grace's dress in time to be given for Christmas. True to form -- Kit's dress was designed and partially sewn (but not completed in time for gift giving.) Again, my plan was to complete it in the next couple of weeks and mail it to her. She lives out of state.


Here's the pic of Grace's dress. . .




Here are a few more pics of the detail work. I had made a few design changes to the pattern to make it a "little more special", and I was so pleased with how it had turned out and was anxious to finish the doll's dress to match.


I had completed this much of the doll dress bodice, and had the sleeves ready to set in, and the skirt portion ready to sew on.


It was then that I decided to pause from the doll dress project to participate in a "show and tell" at another blog I enjoy. It would be featuring home-made ribbon socks. After all, I was almost finished with the dress, and it would only take a evening to make the socks. I wanted to do something a little different, so I thought I would serge a strip of fabric and use it in place of the ribbon.


As I was serging the fabric, I heard a "kinda SNAP" that sounded like the needle had broken. However, when I checked, there was NO broken needle. "Oh, good," I thought and proceeded to finish serging the fabric. However, although the machine was going through all the motions, it wasn't finishing the edge of the material. "Hmm... must have broken a thread," I mused and began the task of re-threading the loopers and needles. (A task that I do not enjoy, by-the-way). Serge again - STILL NOTHING! 3 more times I went through these steps with NO positive results. Then it dawned on me (I'm a little slow on the up-take) that the SNAP I had heard must have come from the internal mechanism of my serger. Heart sinks. Not MY SERGER*.


I have had the use of my serger for the last 17 years; I love how it make such a nice finish of the seams - no more raveling in the wash. Right now my serger sits unused awaiting the funds to see if it can be repaired. And so, I have not been sewing much of anything important lately. Instead, I've been finishing some WIP cross-stitch.


It's a good thing doll's don't grow, because it may be a while until I can finish Kit's dress!



* In a post in the not too distant future, I'll explain why losing my serger is a double-blow due to sentimental reasons.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hope

The kids have all been having their turn at sniffles, headaches, sore throats and queasy stomachs for the past few weeks. The girls have been the hardest hit with it. I've only been on the fringe of it (just head-achey), but we are all feeling fairly lethargic. Hence the reason for my lack of blogging. It seems all I can do just to muster the energy for schooling and housework, and the latter has been more like a lick and a promise than true cleaning.
This time of year, I begin to long for spring and for the outdoors. I have been checking for any bits of green outside my door for several weeks now. Last week my vigil was rewarded by this. . .


This is the result of some bulbs I planted last spring. I planted daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, and tulips in little sporadic patches (like little bouquets).

There's not much peeking through yet, but it gives me hope that SPRING is surely on its way, and it won't be all that long now.

How marvelous it is that God grants us such a beautiful image of the newness of life that we will experience after death! And that is TRUE HOPE!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE . . .

Okay, here it is -- (drum roll please) -- a picture of my first ever homemade bread baked in my oven!!! To say I'm a little excited is an understatement of the greatest proportions. Now I know that for many of you (whom I envy and who put me to shame), you are probably saying to yourself, "What's the big deal about that? I bake bread from scratch all the time." Well, I'm not always the best of cooks, and baking bread is completely new to me.

My in-laws had given us money for Christmas (yeah, I know, I'm still talking about Christmas). We decided to buy a bread maker. I have made all of our bread since then, with the exception of hot dog and hoagie rolls. Several times I wanted to mix it in the bread maker and then bake it in the oven. Each time I would get the bread pan all ready, but when it would come time to take it out of the bread maker and put it in the pan I would panic. What if the kitchen is too cold for the bread to rise? And believe me, the kitchen is cold. What if the bread pan isn't the right size? I don't know what temperature at which to cook it; I don't know how long. (You're right, rather pitiful, huh?)


Today, I was mixing 100% whole wheat & honey bread, and again I got a bread pan all prepared to bake it in the oven. This time I DID IT! I actually put it in the oven. WOW! I tried something I had read about, that gave me that extra little "push" I needed. I put the bread in an unheated oven and set the temperature at 170 degrees. When the bread was increased double in volume, I turned the oven up to 375 degrees and baked it until it was done. (No more worry about the house being too cold for the bread rise.)


I will definitely be using this method again. Whahoo!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

It is said that confession is good for the soul. Okay, here it is . . .
I am being very selfish today. Usually, I write my posts with you - my friends and family - in mind. But NOT TODAY -- oh no, not today. Today this post is ALL for me. Yes, me, me.me.
I'm getting just a little tired of cold and colorless. I want to remember the color that bloomed outside my door months ago, so very many months ago. Yes, and I want to remember leaves on the trees . . .lovely green leaves. And so I have posted these pictures here just so I can bask in the color and remember the fragrance and (dare I say it?) the warmth of the sun.
So I beg your indulgence and forgiveness, but today I am posting pictures of what I want to see, with not a thought of anyone else.




So there you have it, now you know my dark side. Perhaps, you'll catch me in a more gracious and sharing mood the next time I post. ;D

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

American Girl Doll Caps

Aunt Naomi was easily my favorite of my mother's three sisters. With my cousins, it was a toss-up between Aunt Naomi and my own dear mother for their favorite aunt. On one hand, Aunt Naomi had no children of her own -- on the other hand she held the hearts of everyone else's child. Like my grandmother and my aunts, she was an excellent needle worker. She sewed, crocheted, tatted, and quilted along with many other such works. She was extremely giving and gave away far more of her projects than she ever kept for herself.


Aunt Naomi often made her own patterns or "picked" them off of the already completed work of others. One favorite story my mother told, was of a time in the 1930's when she and my aunt were walking down a crowded sidewalk in downtown Akron. Quite a few paces in front of them was a woman wearing an attractive crocheted hat. My mother off-handedly remarked to my aunt something to the effect of "I love the hat that woman is wearing; I wouldn't mind having one like that myself." That's all it took! My little aunt (about 4' 9") grabbed my mother and began dragging her along as she hurried to catch up to the woman and get a closer look at the hat. After trailing the poor lady for several blocks and through one store, Aunt Naomi decided that she had figured out the pattern. Several weeks later my aunt presented my mom with a copy of the hat she had admired.

I first heard that story when I was a very young girl. I guess it rather inspired me, because I have been copying things ever since. Below are a some pics of the latest Brambleberry Cottage version of a couple American Girl doll caps. Maybe you'll recognize them.



This is Marisol's cap - Brambleberry Cottage style. Marisol was the 2005 Girl of the Year doll for AG dolls.





The second pic is of the Julie cap in the traditional color. Julie is AG doll's Historical Doll for 1974. This is about the time I graduated from highschool, and I remember making and wearing similar caps.



The great thing about "copying" is that I can get the style I like for less and in the color I like -- say PINK for instance.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ribbon Socks Show & Tell

Heather over at Bless Your Family did a great tutorial on Ribbon Socks last fall. Today she is having a Show & Tell of some of the socks that her readers have made following the instructions given in her tutorial.



Perhaps you are wondering, "What are Ribbon Socks?" They are the socks with ruffles sewn around the ankle that look so cute and frilly on little girls. They are usually overpriced, but with a pair of plain socks and a piece of ribbon, Heather shows you how to make these adorable socks, customized in the color and patterns you want and at a much lower cost.



Pop over to Bless Your Family and check it out.
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