Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8~

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pictures I Meant To Post

In my previous post, I shared how I had changed some curtains in the kitchen and living room. I neglected to take pictures but I was able to do so today. Another reason I like using only toppers is to allow more light in. Those rooms face south, therefore light is good only in the morning. Now, with these light gauzy curtains, I can also get a glimpse of the outside world.

This view looks into the living room from the kitchen.

This is the shelving unit we bought at Home Depot. I wish it was white, but black is fine since it matches my baker's rack. I also keep my Senseo coffee pot on it when not in use. My kitchen is very small.

I made these white cafe curtains for the kitchen window topped with a store bought valance.

These are just the latest hummingbird feeders we purchased at Home Depot. I like that they have an ant moat to keep out those pesky ants.


And finally, a picture of my favorite apron smock, which I also wrote about. Here it's fully deconstructed. I figured out why I couldn't get it to work. I need to use 58-60" width fabric. Most of the fabric available in our local stores is 45" wide. Amazing, I have a huge stash of fabric, but not any in the wide width. However, I'm going to look for a pretty tablecloth to make it out of. That will work and make for a more durable material.

Pictures tell a story better than words sometimes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Indoors

On a warm day like today, with temperatures in the mid 90's, I stayed indoors. Pollen counts were high, so being indoors was best for me. I did manage to change curtains in the kitchen and toppers in the living room. I don't like to put curtains in the living room because my Sweetie and I both enjoy watching the birds through the windows. At times I do hang valances, but a simple topper is all I usually put up. As soon as the hummingbirds show up, we'll place the nectar feeders where we can watch when they approach for their feedings. It's been rather chilly all month, but now that temps are warming up, it shouldn't be long before we have sightings of the hummers and the martins.
Some ironing was also in order, and the usual daily chores. Tomorrow will see me busy doing more house cleaning. Hopefully there'll be some time for sewing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lessons From An Apron

I have this apron, which is really more of a smock, that I've had for years. It's my favorite, and the first thing I grab when I go in the kitchen. Well, it's become rather threadbare and worn. For some time now, I've been meaning to visit the woman who sold it to me here in town. Since I don't have any pattern drafting skills, I figured I'd try and learn from her how she made my favorite little apron. As it turns out, years ago, shortly after I bought it, I did stop to buy another apron for a gift, and while there, she demonstrated how she made mine. She did not use a pattern. She merely folded the fabric a couple of times, and indicated how she cut into the fold for the yoke, and then the bottom. When I got home, I tried replicating her technique, but came up with a rather unsightly sample. So, I thought to myself, someday I'll visit her again to get it right. Well, a couple of days ago I did finally stop at her place. Her Son answered the door, and I inquired whether his Mom was home. He answered that she had passed away quite some time ago. I was mortified. I expressed my sorrow at his loss, and shared with him how much I appreciated the work she had done on the aprons she had sold me, and what a great seamstress she was. He was very nice and understanding, and I'm sure he realized I felt rather bad about the whole thing.
But I did come away with a lesson. When you have people around you who are talented and gifted in their craft, never take them for granted, nor assume they'll always be there. Of course, it goes without saying that it applies to our loved ones as well. But on this occasion I single out those people who enrich our lives with the work of their hands. I don't mean to sound comical or blase in the use of these terms, but I have a new regard and respect for the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker.....artisan craftsmen if you will. They possess skills which if not passed down, would be lost. In my town, there are a couple of actual shoe cobblers. The old man makes leather belts and makes repairs on shoes and boots, and his Son runs the business, and also knows the craft of his Father. I guess I am in awe of these people because I've become so accustomed to just dashing to the big stores for any number of needed items. When you see the love and pride they put into their work, you know that mass produced is not as good.
When my Grandmother was alive, she told me stories of how she made hats out of palm fronds when she was young, in early 1900's Mexico. Now I wish I had asked her to teach me how it was done. She also knew drawn thread embroidery, but I just never took the time to have her show me. Fortunately, there are some skills we can learn via tutorials on the Internet. But there others which must be passed down from one generation to the next.
In conclusion, my old apron lies on my work table, fully deconstructed. I undid the binding, and now have the original 'pattern'. But oh how I wish I knew how to put it together the way Senora Morales did, by just a flick of the wrist, folding the fabric into place. I'll study it some more, I think I can get it figured out, but I should have paid more attention the first time......

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Did You Say Aprons?

There's nothing like a good book or magazine to get you inspired to set to work. I've been putting off a lot of projects, but when I took a look at this book, it very much put me in a sewing mood.


This is just a new magazine that came into print recently and it's all about aprons. I bought it during a trip to San Antonio, because our local Barnes & Noble didn't have it. I found out about it on one of the apron blogs. Boy! The things you find out visiting blogs! It has some nice apron pictures, but I would just recommend spending your money on the book. The magazine is not cheap ($14.99), and for the price of the book ($17.95) you will get more inspiration and even patterns, although they must be enlarged. I feel good about the book purchase, since I was able to get 50% off on it at Hobby Lobby.

So, book great!....magazine just OK.

And to further show that I do have plans to make some more aprons, I bought this fabric for $2 a yard at Hobby Lobby. I like the bright cheerful colors.

This is an apron I made using a pattern from Retro Aprons, a small booklet by Cindy Taylor Oates. Fabrics are from Hobby Lobby. This is a closeup view of the lower section:


I love the sassy little flounce. And the rickrack? Oh, my goodness, it uses so much rickrack! Lucky for me it was also on sale at Hobby Lobby.
This is the back view. Mona is very modest. She refused to remove her muslin coverall.


This is an apron made using a pattern from Mary Jane's Farm magazine. It's called the "Fancy Work Apron". Fabric is from old stash I bought at WalMart.
And there you have it. I'll be busy for a few days, and I hope to post about more aprons soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Random Musings

Today en route to visit my dear Sister, we passed through an old neighborhood here in town. She lives in another little town, but we had to pass through this particular neighborhood. It is an old established area, which looks much the same way I remember it when I'd be in the vicinity as a child. However, there were areas that had changed, if only by the absence of buildings and homes which had long been there. A lot of the houses are now more run down, with many vacant lots overrun with weeds. These were houses which in their heyday were well cared for and pleasing to see. Now they are the hollow shells of grand dreams. It got me thinking about change, and how as we go through life, we affect not only our environment, but those who traverse the road simultaneously. I couldn't help wondering the whereabouts of the people who once lived there. Yet like the saying in Spanish goes "Unos vienen, y otros se van", 'Some arrive, and others leave', such is life, I always say. More random musings from yours truly.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Trying to Tat

Well, it's very late and once again I'm up late like a night owl. My Sweetie is working nights, so since I cannot sleep, I'll have to get some of my 'creative' work underway. In one cluttered corner of my sewing room I've got fabric ready to be cut into an apron. But what has been holding me hostage are my constant efforts at learning to needle tat. I've searched for any youtube video on needle tatting, but alas, could not find even a single one. All the videos I found are for shuttle tatting. I would like to learn that as well, but for now, I want to tat with a needle. It's not hard actually, as it involves only one basic stitch. But then you have to learn now to form rings and chains, and that is where it gets challenging. Here's one of the videos on shuttle tatting:


I honestly don't want to sound as though I'm making excuses for myself, but I can truthfully say that ever since I underwent the craniotomy years ago on the right side of my brain, my left hand has a little bit of a hard time feeling certain textures. It feels as though there is a blockage of sorts that won't allow a complete 'connection' in sensing like I used to. For example, if I close my eyes and a coin is put before me, I can fully sense what it is with my right hand. If I feel it with my left hand, I can feel most all about the coin, but I would not be able to have a complete tactile experience. There would be elements about the coin that would be lost on me. I might know that it's a coin, but not certain about the type of coin. So with tatting, for example, the ease and fluidity of the thread on my left hand becomes a jumbled mess of string. I might have a few seconds where I have to 'figure out' how to manipulate the thread for my brain to comprehend completely what I'm doing. That is why I love needlework. It forces me to use both hands and brain and to continually use those nerve endings which may have been compromised. For some reason, knitting and crochet have never been a problem. I suppose because for the most part, the right hand does most of the work. In needle tatting, both hands must manipulate the thread and needle. In any case, it's always good to learn something new, especially when you're my age. Must keep those brain cells working!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Blustery Day

Here in my Hundred Acre Woods, it's been a very blustery day. I had not planned to be out and about, but the kitchen clutter necessitated the purchase of a shelving unit. So out to Home Depot we went, where we were pleasantly surprised at the checkout to find it was $20 less than what we thought it cost. A couple of hummingbird feeders, a rosemary and a lavender plant later, and I was set to go.....for now anyway. I know we have to purchase some tomato and pepper plants later on. It was just too windy to really be in a gardening frame of mind.
Although it was a balmy 78F, the gray cloudy sky and strong gusts blowing all the leaves and debris around had me thinking it was cold. It felt like we were still in January somehow. If I was twenty pounds lighter, I know I'd look just like Piglet being blown around by the wind. But I do like this weather. There'll be a lot of leaves to rake tomorrow, that's for sure. Yet anything but the atrocious Summer heat we always get is just fine with me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Winner Takes It All

What an outstanding version of ABBA'S song "The Winner Takes It All" as sung by Meryl Streep:



What a beautiful song among such amazing scenery. The pristine blue waters off the Greek islands is amazing! And that magnificent sunset! Just as she is near the end of the song, the sun starts to set at just the precise moment making it look almost surreal. Can you tell I'm a hopeless romantic? Great movie for ABBA fans!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Praying For Our Husbands

Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom has asked us to join with her in a month of prayer for our Husbands. Being that February is the month of love and romance, it is only fitting as a show of true love to pray for a beloved Spouse. In keeping with the same theme, I was also touched by a post made by Lisa from Extravagant Grace, who has also joined and added her name to the linky provided by Sandra. Lisa shared her thoughts on how the Lord opened her eyes to how the Scripture Ephesians 5: 21-33 applies to our lives as Spouses.

I know that many times I forget the great burden that a man carries in not only supporting his family, but being able to face each day with strength and resolution to carry out his commitments. Each day when he steps out of the house into the world to earn the daily bread, he will likely face stress, workplace politics, exposure to disease, and depending on his job, even a risk of injury or death. Yet each day fearlessly he strides out on a quest so as to keep his family fed, clothed, and supplied with all their needs. And he does so without expecting recognition for his role. So yes, I think a conscious effort of setting aside time to pray for the men in our lives is a good thing. It is Scripturally sound as well.
I know that in praying for my Husband, I honor him and I honor Christ. I am submitting to the Lord, knowing that he alone is the source of our well being. I do want to thank my Sweetie for being such a thoughtful and loving Spouse. Above all, I acknowledge that ALL good things come from God.
As per Sandra's blog, there is no need to make a post about it if you decide to join in prayer. All you need to do is sign up on her linky. Today is day 3, so it's still early in the month. Hope lots of Wives join in prayer as well!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Checking In

I've been away from blogging for a bit now. I think it's all part of the effects of a chilly January. In the spirit of being frugal, I only once or twice turned on the central heat. We managed to stay warm with just a couple of burners of the gas range on during the day. At night, we just piled on extra blankets. Of course, I imagine this is only possible when your lows are in 40's. Were it actually freezing weather, I probably would opt for turning on the heat. Funny though how the chill has an effect on you. Somehow, it has felt as though I'm in slow-mo. I can't shake that 'blah' uninspired feeling. Now with February upon us, I'm hoping moods will improve.

Our Arizona Ash trees are budding. That usually means one thing for me: pain and allergy discomforts. I'm suffering from chest congestion and coughing even with the allergy prescription. So although I'm dying to be outdoors watering plants and puttering around, I am just staying indoors for awhile. Every year it's the same thing. I have to make a choice between being outdoors enjoying the warmer weather but suffering for it later, or staying indoors cooped up but comfortable. I do have lots to do indoors, but with my Sweetie working the night shift, he doesn't have much time or desire to work outdoors in the garden. So inevitably, I end up going outside anyway to water all the plants. I guess you could say that in part explains my absence from blogging. That and the allergies are enough for me right now.

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