Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Out With The Old; In With The New

Change and technology are challenges for me but I stumble along and do my best. Ever wonder about the simplistic style of my blog - it is a wonder I even have a blog! Much of the wonderful things I see others do on their blogs, I have not yet stumbled on how to do that, so it is left off from my little corner of blogdom. Centered pictures, a few words - that is about my limit. So - on to the phones. I have been using, for years and years, my wonderful and faithful StarTac phone (on the left above). Granted I have never been able to figure out how to get a message off from it (I warn friends don't leave me messages on the cell, they are lost forever on there!) But I can make it call friends and family when I need it. Alas, it is analog and soon doomed for oblivion with the digital changeover deadline coming up soon.

But cell-phone-man, #1 son, is looking out for him mom! For Christmas I got a new, easy to use phone (on the right above). No fancy gimicks - I could never learn them anyway. I don't text and I don't snap pictures - so that is all a waste for me. I have committed to learn how to retrieve a message on this phone, however! It is the least I can do. And since my phone is so often dead when I go to leave the house, #1 also got me the car recharger - a must for me. They all know me so well!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

Well, maybe "Christmas Tree" isn't such a great title for this post - mostly this is Fluffy enjoying the warm sun and a little Christmas spirit.  Our best tree putter-upper and decorator is #3 son. He has always taken to this task with great ideas - I will forever remember one of his first - the "Toilet Paper" tree - rolls and rolls of it stuck all over the branches that he could reach (it was one of those giant packs). Not unwound or anything, just the full rolls looking like big snowflakes! I think he was only about 6 years old and I was taking too long getting the ornaments out for him, so he improvised.  Now #3 not only decorates (minus the TP), but sets up the tree and gets the ornaments out of the garage  -  And to accommodate the cat, we placed a tote in the window next to the tree with his "pillow" on top of the tote. Do we spoil our cat?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Hoodie - Final Chapter (Almost)

Well, this one for the Princess is done. Just in time - we have some cold weather that is supposed to be coming in by tomorrow.  I do have one more to make as a Christmas gift - but that one is already cut out and should go up faster. I worked out some bumps with my "trial run". I will be writing a review of the pattern at http://sewing.patternreview.com/ This came out so-so, but the princess likes it and I try not to look at the errors. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

T-Shirt Dress Update/New Ministry

The Holt family recently visited our church. They are Baptist missionaries to Sierra Leone, Africa - and they want to take along a box (or several) of the girl's T-shirt dresses that I have been making when they go back to Africa to be distributed to the girls in the Children's Home they are establishing. So I now have another project - and I am so excited about it. I am collecting up remnants of cotton fabric and thrifted T-shirts as I find them in the local thrift stores, and accepting materials from others that can't make the dresses, but wish to help with finding the materials. I have it down to about an hour a dress, so I can do up a number of these over the next several months (in between my other projects!) I am also willing to take ready-made ones to include in the box I send to them. (Make them pretty, modest, and cool - Sierra Leone is hot.)

Sierra Leone is ranked by the UN as the worst county on the planet to live (Yes, the worst - whole planet). The people are in desperate need. Over 40% of the population is under the age of 15 - the long civil war (now over) left many orphans. The Holt's can easily take the dresses with them when they go back later this year - as opposed to me shipping them and having it cost a small fortune. I need to send the dresses on to them by about June - so from January to June, T-shirt dresses are a priority.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Ministry of Suffering

Poor little Snowman. He was accidentally dropped into the oven while the Princess was removing a pan. No one noticed his plight until the flames were visible inside the oven door and the smoke detector went off. I had originally planned to write a funny story about the ensuing circus of events - but every time I look at this Snowman's face smiling above that charred mess, I keep thinking of the spiritual lesson there. And then this morning in my daily Tozer on-line devotional I read this:

December 12
Trials and Pain: Forced to Our Knees
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. --2 Corinthians 12:7

The experiences of men who walked with God in olden times agree to teach that the Lord cannot fully bless a man until He has first conquered him. The degree of blessing enjoyed by any man will correspond exactly with the completeness of God's victory over him....

We might well pray for God to invade and conquer us, for until He does, we remain in peril from a thousand foes. We bear within us the seeds of our own disintegration.... Deliverance can come to us only by the defeat of our old life. Safety and peace come only after we have been forced to our knees. God rescues us by breaking us, by shattering our strength and wiping out our resistance. Then He invades our natures with that ancient and eternal life which is from the beginning. So He conquers us and by that benign conquest saves us for Himself.
The Pursuit of Man, 45,50.

I certainly don't enjoy suffering, but I love (really love) the results it brings. It is tough to stay focused sometimes on that end result. I think that is why sometimes the Lord sends these little mercies, like this smiling snowman combined with the Tozer devotional, to remind me that the fruit will be worth all the toil.

Truthfully, I am not suffering more than a few minor inconveniences. I have friends that are blessing me in the midst of their very difficult circumstances. And I often think and pray for those Christians in parts of the world that are truly suffering for their faith.
See: http://www.persecution.com/

So I rejoice in the head cold I have, the financial challenges, the time crunches, and decisions regarding the future. I rejoice in some of the trails I have already walked through (there were some biggies there) and I rejoice that there will be others to come. All refining me in order to love and serve my Lord even more.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Sewing With A Purpose. This is a sewing contest held at the Stitcher's Guild Sewing Forum found here: http://artisanssquare.com/sg/index.php#6 You just click on the SWAP 2009 tab and I am entered under the title: Fourkid 2009 SWAP - Skirtin' The Issue .

Anyone can enter, you just sign up and say you will enter. I am doing it with no expectation of winning anything - although I understand if you finish the requirements within the time frame everyone does get a small prize. I entered because this year's parameters fit my needs very well, and I am always putting off sewing for myself. I need some new, everyday clothes! I have always been motivated by these types of events. I am very non-competitive against others, but I love a challenge to myself.

So from now until April 30, 2009, I will do updates on my progress, both here (under the SWAP title), and at the Stitcher's Guild Forum. The official rules are at the website noted above, but the gist of it is to complete 11 garments in the allotted time frame. Of the 11 pieces, 6 must be tops, 4 must be bottoms, and one outer garment. All individual pieces must be able to be worn with each of the other pieces. The pieces must reflect your everyday weekly lifestyle.

I have chosen to do 2 or 3 skirts and 1 or 2 jumpers. Either way it will end up as four bottom pieces (jumpers can count as a bottom piece as long as every top can be worn with it.) My colors for the skirts and/or jumpers will be navy, dk. brown, tan, and blue denim. For the 6 tops, I am still in limbo on most of them, but to get started I have chosen to use the pattern pictured above in the maroon cotton fabric also pictured. This is an OOP (out of print) pattern I found at a thrift store for 10 cents. The fabric I bought new at Jo-Ann's.

For my outer garment, I am tentatively planning to knit a shawl. I found some attractive and easy free patterns on the web and have wanted a shawl for some time.
This is my most likely choice to make as of now:

Christmas sewing has pushed my personal projects to the back burner - but I am hoping to have this top done by Jan. 1, and all my other SWAP projects decided on, patterns ready, and most fabric in hand, also by Jan. 1.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hoodie - Part 2

No, this isn't the Princess's hoodie - yet. This is our 2nd (and final) mock up cut from an old sheet and basted and pinned together. Before cutting into the more costly fleece, from which it is very hard to pick out wrong stitches, I wanted to check the fit. I have blended 3 sizes - extra small sleeves (they run very full), to small shoulders and then to medium at the hips. The first mock up had the shoulders droop way too much. So I took an inch from the length of the shoulder seam. This also pulled the sleeve up a bit shorter (which it needed). I think the shoulder seam is still a little long, but this is where it stays. The fleece should cover some of this up, and if I fiddle too much I will undoubtedly make a bigger mess than I am trying to fix. The bottom length is right where she wants it, so I will add an inch and a half hem allowance to the front and back pattern pieces. The mock up sleeves currently have no hem, so when properly done, they should be just about right. I am hoping to get the fleece version cut out tomorrow - but so far, none of this project has gone as I planned - we will see what the morning brings.

Sew Much Comfort

From their website:

Serving Those Who Serve Us
Sew Much Comfort provides adaptive clothing free of charge to support the unique needs of our injured service members from all branches of the military and national guard. The need for adaptive clothing continues to grow as American military members are injured serving their country. Each week, many wounded military members arrive in the States from Germany for extensive medical treatment for bullet and shrapnel wounds, burns, head and limb injuries and amputations, while tens of thousands are still in the recovery process. These medical conditions require large fixator, prosthetics and casts that are too bulky to fit under ordinary clothing or underwear. Sew Much Comfort is the only organization providing adaptive clothing in large volumes to attempt to meet those special needs. 

I am a volunteer sewist for this organization. They need more sewing vounteers, donations of goods or cash, and most importanly - if you know of any veterans that need their adaptive clothing, please refer them to the Sew Much Comfort website. You can link to it from the title of this blog entry, or from my "favorites" sidebar. I only know how to make the pants right now - but I just took a "working with knits" on-line class, in part, so that I can learn how to do more adaptations. 

Here is a 6 minute video (the address just below) that documents the care wounded veterans receive. The crew in this case is flying into Bagram air base in Iraq. #2 son has been to that base many times. He would pick up and deliver the night vision equipment (among other things) for repairs. 


**side note - I once asked #2 son why the night vision equipment broke so often. Were they made of inferior parts or design? His reply - No, they are fine - they just don't work too well as a football! 

Friday, December 5, 2008


Singing.......definitely not my talent. I have other talents, so I don't feel to badly about not being able to carry a tune - except that I love to sing. My mother says I am always flat and a half beat behind - she is correct. My mother can sing and so can the Princess, but they don't like to sing like I do. I sing a lot. I can really ratchet up the volume too (I learned how to do that while working on a bus route to carry kids to church.) Only the family gets to hear the song of the Valkyrie, but it is legend. It does seem to get kids up out of bed in the morning, and the dog doesn't even howl - oops, we don't have a dog!

Back in the college years (and those bus route years) I was actually in a church choir and a college glee club! I had two really great friends (they would have to be!) that made sure they always stood next to me and we had a hidden signal (elbow in the ribs) whenever I flatted out. I even learned to do some songs pretty well. In college I sang in a Christmas special with all the combined school choirs. I sang the alto part of Handel's Messiah - the whole thing - and only got a few elbow-to-the-ribs during that entire performance. Granted my little voice was only one of about 300, but in practices it was only one of about 40. That could have created havoc.

Are you ready for the irony? My mother actually named me Patti Page! Really. Not even Patricia - but Patti - right there on my birth certificate. Such a cruel twist of fate - or was it hope? Well that hope was dashed at an early age. She knew by the time I was three I couldn't carry a tune. How you ask? (You did ask, right?) Because my grandfather had a state of the art sound system in his home and in the early years I was often asked to sing "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window" for any and all guests. It was blasted to every nook and cranny in his very large home. By the time I was five, such requests for the "doggie song" grew rare - they learned - I did not live up to my namesake.

Plus side to being Patti Page:
I was never anonymous - I was the first name every teacher knew on the first day of school.

Down side to being Patti Page:
I was never anonymous - I was the first name every teacher knew on the first day of school.

Biggest annoyance to being Patti (you don't need the "Page" for this part):
All those insistent teachers and rude "official people" that think I don't know my own legal first name. "No, I am not a Patricia; my name is Patti (with an "i"). Would you like to see my birth certificate?"

I e-mailed Patti Page a while back. I told her I had the same name as she did. (She wasn't actually born a "Patti" like me - I didn't say that to her, though.) She was very nice and wrote me back - though of course I didn't print it out before I lost my copy in a computer crash, oh well. I am on her mailing list for her maple syrup products, and I visit her website from time to time. I even have some of her CD's. I am not too keen on the "doggie song", but I love the Tennessee Waltz - that is probably my favorite of her songs. I don't have her Christmas CD - I probably need to get that one soon.

For me, heaven will be full of songs - fun, glorious, on-key, right pitch, correct timing, very loud songs!

(btw - since 1980, Dh has robbed me of my fame. I can no longer claim to be a "Page", but I do still get the snide remarks asking for my "legal" first name - "Are you sure you aren't Patricia?")