Saturday, December 31, 2011

Women or Faith

In October I got to go to the Women of Faith conference in Tampa - along with a long time friend from my college days. I was blessed to be given free event tickets for me and a friend - that would be Diana with me. The stipulation was I had to blog about it. That was in October and I know I should have written the entry then - but I had a bit of trouble processing the event - and truthfully - I still am. But I do not want to go into the New Year with this obligation still weighing me down. Yes, I could have come back and said - "Great time - you should go", but that would not have been fully honest or transparent.

The transparent answer is, I have never been to an event like that. At first I was very uncomfortable. Diana couldn't come until after the first afternoon sessions were over. I was in a large crowd in a big city. It took me awhile to settle down and "Let God." But when I began "Letting God minister to me", it was not the usual expected way.

Diana was wonderful and I so enjoyed getting to spend time with an old friend. There is something to be said for someone who has known you a long time. Even with big gaps in our communicating with each other as we were in separate cities and busy with families - it was just like falling back into the same place we had left off. I was so blessed by that.

Then there was the speakers. I am not sure this will make sense, but they were so different than my expectation - and so transparent. I suddenly knew what has been missing for so long at these types of conferences - - "Realness!" While I did not necessarily agree with all that was said, nor all the music played, I was truly blessed and ministered to. I am afraid I am not such a good writer to be able to express in words what my spirit felt. I only know it has stuck with me and made me different than I was before.

So let me sum it up - Great time - you should go!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review ~ The Help

I just finished reading The Help. I thought it was a wonderful book with a compelling story.

Things I liked:
*The plot.
*The historical significance of the subject matter.
*The way real-life happenings of the time were woven into the fiction.
*The principle characters were full and interesting.
*There was not a "perfect" wrap up (just like life). I want to know if Minny had twins!
*The book-within-the-book style of writing. I loved that.

Things I didn't care for so much:
*Most of the secondary characters were a bit wooden and flat. There was no reason to even include Stuart except to bring a tie in with a powerful political figure. I felt it was clumsily done.
*This book needed about 300 more pages to really make the characters shine.
*While overall the author showed skill in believably diving the plot, there were still some places I had trouble making the leap in plot development. I am still not 100% sure that these domestics would open up to a young, aristocratic, white girl.
*A lot of it was predictable.
*I felt that it was written more in a manor to make it a sell-able movie as opposed to "literature".

None of my "dislikes" were enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book. And several of my "likes" made it amazing. An excellent book of significant value to understanding others.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Women of Faith - 2011 Tampa

I'll be there! October 14 and 15. I am looking for a blessing ~ growth ~ and opportunities to serve. Are you going?

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Summer Dress - Completed

I did a full review at Pattern Review.
(and eventually it shows up at my Pattern Review sidebar.)
One side note to follow up from Part 1 - since the bodice of this dress is fully lined, I did not do any seam finishes for the bodice seams in either the main fabric or the lining fabric as they are completely enclosed.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

HP 2001 Mr. H.P. Straight-Talking Straight Leg Jeans - HotPatterns

HP 2001 Mr. H.P. Straight-Talking Straight Leg Jeans - HotPatterns
This is exciting news! There are hardly any men's patterns to be found that have any real style to them - make that - hardly any men's pattens even without style. I hope that with the trend back to more home sewing this line will sell well. I pre-ordered my men's jeans pattern. And I requested that they take the gradng down to a size 32 - I hope they will be able to do so. Sure I can take them in, but it is easier to start with the correct size and all the proportions and pockets will fit correctly. If all goes well, they are expecting to ship by September 1, and sometme this fall I can have a pair up here to show you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Northwest Passage by Kenneth Roberts

I tend to read an eclectic assortment of books and this is an odd one for this day and age. First printed on June 25, 1937, I have a 2nd edition printed July 1, 1937 by Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc. Garden City, NY. If you click the link above it seems that Buddy Ebsen had a movie or serial based on the book as well. I have never seen that so can't tell you if it was any good.
~ however~
I loved the book! I do have a thing for books written in the first half of the 1900s and this one did not disappoint me. My husband preferred the portion about Rogers in North America, originally released pre-1937 as a serial under the title of Roger's Rangers. Yes, I can see that he liked the battle action best - but I had no trouble enjoying the later section from London just as much. I think I might even make this one of the few books I will read a second time.
As with books written during this era, don't expect them to be politically correct or careful in dealing with sensitive issues.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Half Slip

I am so blessed to be able to make a half slip for a dear friend. I am not especially experienced at this - yet - but with the quality of nice RTW lingerie going down and the prices going up, I will be making many more slips in the coming years, I am sure.
Here is the slip.
The fabric is a brand called Whisper II, a very soft 4-way stretch. I found it through an on-line seller at, what was, Lucy's Fabrics. Lucy has since liquidated fabrics from her inventory. I bought quite a bit at that time. (I hope when my stash runs out I will have found other nice lingerie fabrics.)
I used some 3/4" picot trim elastic from an on-line store called Sew Sassy. I was very pleased with their service, product, and prices. I am not sure the "correct" way to apply the elastic, but I just folded over the top and stitched it on. I divided the garment top edge and the elastic into quarters and stretched it as I sewed.
For the hem edge I just turned it up twice and stitched. It would be nice to use some pretty lace here, but I don't have any at this time for the champagne color requested by my friend.
I used a stitch on my sewing machine called "straight-stretch-stitch." It goes in nicer than a zig-zag and stretches beautifully. It also looks prettier than a zig-zag stitch. I also used a stretch needle.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Summer Dress - Part 1

The Princess wanted a couple summer dresses. I am currently working on Butterick 4443. I am doing View "C" which is the yellow one in the middle - but with sleeves as shown on View "F" (the green one on the left).
I am doing the skirt portion first. I learned from a sewing blog I enjoy that on a bias skirt it is best to sew it first and let it hang at least overnight so that any potential fabric stretching will fall out. If you don't do this step and just go ahead and hem it, you can end up with a hem that falls unevenly, especially at the sides.
Anotehr tip I have learned is to put a 1" strip of fusible interfacing along the seam area of the zipper. This dress will have a zipper that extends from the bodice into the skirt portion. Here I have fused the interfacing strip to the skirt and basted the zipper area closed. The zipper in this dress is one of the last steps, but the area is now all prepped.
And my last tip for this entry is my seam finishes. There are many ways to finish a seam, but whichever way is chosen, the seams really need some type of finish in order to hold up over time, otherwise they fray and just plain look ugly. Many people use a serger to finish the edges, but this is not currently an option for me. Other methods include overcasting the edge, zig-zagging the edge, or just using pinking shears. Bias binding and a really nice technique called a Hong Kong finish are other choices. They all have a place and depending on the fabric and garment usage, I have used some of these choices at various times. My favorite seam finish, and the one I am using on this dress, is to just pink the edges and then sew a line of stitches along the edge of the pinking. I have found that just using pinking shears alone can still allow some fabrics to unravel over time so the line of stitches prevents that from occurring. This finish also lies very flat and adds no bulk. The down side is that I do have to sew down each seam 3 times - once to join the seam and then along the edge of each pinked side, but it isn't hard and the results are worth it.
Here is a picture of the seam finished, but unpressed. It bubbles a bit until it is steamed flat.
And now pressed flat.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hallelujah Acres Diet

Dh and I have almost done it - we are hovering close to the brink of veganism! H-Acres has a free program for 60 days of weight loss, and one for optimal health (and one coming soon for exercise.) There is no spiritual or moral message from me here - we are just tired of being sick and tired. I have studied healthy cooking for a number of years, and that path has slowly led us to less and less animal products. I do still have some beef from the half steer we bought from a known source last year, and I would have dairy goats again in a second if possible, but for the most part we are sticking to veganism and as much raw food as possible - and we are liking it!

Our first motivation to take this step is Dh's high cholesterol. Cholesterol only comes from animal products, so it makes sense to remove these from our diet for at least the next several months (He was not going to make this dietary change on his own.) And I need to loose weight. While I had seen some (tiny) past progress, I was stuck for a month or so at the same weight, and I still felt sluggish and tired a lot.

We are now on Day 36 or the 60 days and feeling great. I am sleeping better, have a lot more energy, and am losing weight. Granted we aren't perfect in keeping to the diet - but then they do say that we need to fit the diet to us - not be a slave to the diet. We will see in June when Dh has his cholesterol rechecked how we are really doing.

Even if you don't use the full program - if you click on the title above it will take you to the HA site and they have scads of great, healthy recipes. Even just adding in a few of these changes is beneficial. The green smoothies are fantastic and so good for you.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand.

This book was suggested to me by a friend - I had not heard about it - though my history teacher Dh had it on his "To Read" list. Since both of us wanted to read it, we went ahead and bought it.

I was amazed by the depth of research in this book as well as the author's ability to make put it all into a great narrative. I am not especially grounded in the details of history - but this all made sense to me as I read it. I was sad by the depth of depravity to which some men sunk, but encouraged by the bravery and determination of many others. I think this is a "must read" biography that will inspire thankfulness for the sacrifice of all our men in uniform.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Resurrection ~

Several months have flown by - and this poor blog has languished. It is time to resurrect it. What have I been up to, you ask? (maybe you ask...or maybe not, but I will reply anyway!) The Princess is well established at college (that was hard!) the boys (#'s 1 - 3)are all doing well. And the Husband is nearing retirement, not sure how I feel about that one - it is looking a bit nebulous right now. I am also going to work on my homeschooling blog (Homeschooling....Imperfectly). I have wavered back and forth on that one - for various reasons - but I think I do need to do it and just not worry about the things that were holding me up from it.

Just a head's up as to what is coming down the road - blog-wise, that is.