Monday, August 24, 2009

A Very Productive and Fun Mess

Matt was gone again this weekend at merge camp for the junior high kids and Cole was with as one of the campers, so I was able to hunker down and get some fun new things designed and finished for the shop! But oh my, my studio looked like a bomb went off in it! The funny thing is, the mess, for once in my life actually fueled my creativity! I am most of the time, unfortunately distracted by messes. There are some pros to this, in that, for the most part, I keep up with the messes in my house just simply so i can function. But it can be a downfall for me as well, when I am not able to just let something go and enjoy something or someone that is more important to my time and effort than cleaning! I am trying to win that battle more than I lose it! I am a real work in progress, for sure. Anyways, I thought I would let you take a peak at how my workspace looked before I tidied up tonight. And then show you what I have been working on!
I just got done with my folding party, loud music an all. All set to change gears tomorrow when we begin back to school here. Hopefully my littlest man will cooperate with his sisters and brother all getting back to their studies, could be interesting!

I am a bit compulsive when I get an idea of something I want to make, one is just never enough because the possibilities are endless and I want to try them all out. I have crates filled for each of these ideas, but enough is enough! I finally broke down and decided no more coming up with new ideas until I actually work through the ones that have been waiting in crates. So, the fun mess I created from all these crates and bins, became bibs, quilts and bean bags. I know, not much rhyme or reason to it, but I did finally give purpose to all the pieces of clothing and linens I had stashed. I finally put my line of eco friendly bibs together and I am so amused with them. All of the bibs were made from clothing or linens, with a few dashes of reclaimed vintage fabric. Here are a few of them that are in the shop.

This one was made from two men's dress shirts.
This one was made from a variety of bed linens.
All made from vintage bed linens-very shabby chic. Almost too pretty to use.
ET phone home! Love it-made from vintage bed linens.
One part vintage mumu, one part Vera bed linens.
The timeless sock monkey made from a pair of Nick and Nora PJ's.

Both sides of this one are made from vintage tablecloths.
This is another one made from a vintage tablecloth.

These bean bags were made from the same Pj's I had made the bib from. But sorry, they sold within a few hours of being listed in the shop!
I was able to use the left over quilt squares from redoing my basements TV room pillows. It turned out to be a fun baby quilt.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

In His Steps

There has been a battle waging in my thoughts recently more than ever before. A question of "Do I really get what it means to live for Christ?" I have been asking the Lord to open my eyes to ways of life that I have been selfish in, or somehow have justified as being deserved. I have even begun to really wonder if the "American" dream or lifestyle has become a cage for the Christian and the church. What real blessings have we missed out from giving everything to the Lord. To putting our money where it counts! I have totally missed the boat on this one! And today as I read this passage below from the old book "In His steps", to my girls, I just lost it and wept, and then I read it to my husband and son when they got home from camp, and I wept again and poured out my heart to Matt a bit later. Matt and i read this book together with the staff the summer we worked as Lead Counselors at Shaminaeu just after we had gotten married. The book had gained a new popularity with the "What Would Jesus Do" slogun. The book did effect me some, but now as I read it again aloud to my kids, it hits so hard at a time when that area of my life needs a drastic overhaul.

Here is the passage that stirs me, it is coming from a man who is homeless, jobless, and has suffered great loss. He is standing before a church congregation at the end of a sermon about following Jesus. This is a congregation full of comfortable people, people with good stature in the community and even a preacher who has maybe forgotten a bit about who Jesus is and what our purpose here should be. I unfortunately could fit into this bunch a bit too often, and am greived by this. For this I am so sorry.

"I have been wondering since I came here, if it would be just the thing to say a word at the close of this service. I'm not drunk and I'm not crazy, and I'm perfectly harmless; but if I die, as there is every likelihood I shall in a few days, I want the satisfaction of thinking that I said my say in a place like this, and before this sort of crowd."

I'm not an ordinary tramp, though I don't know of any teachings of Jesus that makes one kind of a tramp less worth saving than the other. Do you? I lost my job ten months ago. I am a printer by trade. The new linotype machines are beautiful specimens of inventions, but I know six men who have killed themselves inside the year just on account of those machines. Of course, i do not blame the newspapers for getting the machines. Meanwhile, what can a man do? I know I never learned but one trade, and that's all I can do. I've tramped all over this country trying to find something. There are a good many others like me. I'm not complaining, am I? Just stating facts. But I was wondering, as I sat under the gallery, if what you call following Jesus is the same thing that He taught. What did he mean when he said, 'Follow me?' The minster said that it was necessary for the disciple of Jesus to follow in His steps, and he said the steps were obediance, faith, love, and imitation.But I did not hear him tell you just what he meant that to mean, especially the last step. What do you Christians mean by following the steps of Jesus? I've tramped through this city for three days trying to find a job, and in all that time I've not had a word of sympathy or comfort except from your minister here, who said he was sorry for me and hoped I would find a job somewhere. I suppose it is because you get so imposed on by the professional tramp that you have lost your interest in the other sort. I'm not blaming anybody, am I? Just stating facts. Of course, I understand you can't go out of your way to hunt jobs for people like me. I'm not asking you to, but what i feel puzzled about is, what is meant by following Jesus? What do you mean when you sing, "I'll go with him, with him all the way." Do you mean that you are suffering and denying yourselves and trying to save the lost, suffering humanity just as I understand Jesus did? What do you mean by it? I see the ragged edge of things a good deal. I understand there are more than 500 men in this city in my case. Most of them have families. My wife died four months ago. I'm glad she is out of trouble. My little girl is staying with a printers family until I find a job. Somehow I get puzzled when I see so many Christians living in luxury and singing, "Jesus. I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow thee,' and remember how my wife died in a tenement in New York City gasping for air, and asking God to take the little girl too. Of course I don't expect you people can prevent everyone from dying of starvation, lack of proper nourishment, and tenemant air, but what does following Jesus mean? I understand that Christian people own a good many tenemants. Amember of a church was owner of the one where my wife died, and I have wondered if following Jesus all the way was true in his case. I heard some people singing at a church prayer meeting the other night

'All for Jesus, all for Jesus, All my being's ransomed powers; All my thoughts and all my doings, All my days and all my hours.'

and I kept wondering as I sat outside on those steps just what they meant by it. It seems to me there is an awful lot of trouble in the world that somehow wouldn't exsist if all the people who sing such songs went and lived them out. I suppose I don't understand. But what would Jesus do? Is that what you mean by following in His steps. It seems to me sometimes as if the people in the big churches had ggod clothes and nice houses to live in, and money to spend for luxuries, and could go away for summer vacations and all that, while the people outside the churches, thousands of them, I mean, die in tenemants and walk the streets for jobs, and never have a piano or picture in the house, and grow up in misery and drunkeness and sin. " -Charles M Sheldon(In His Steps)
Here is what I do believe.... Jesus is still the ONLY one, the ONLY way who can make change happen and heal the ills of this world, not christians. But we, as christians can sure follow his example better and be a tool for his purpose and plan! Maybe we need to take a harder look at what it means to follow in his steps! Just thought I would share something a bit more personal tonight, didn't really feel like I could lay my head down on my pillow to sleep without sharing the stirring in my soul today. Goodnight my lovely family, friends, and customers, you are all a blessing to me!

Summer is Coming To An End.....

Counting the blessings from summertime today. The Lord has provided a wonderful harvest and some beautiful flowers to soak in. He also gave us some wonderful kitchen treasures for baking and preserving our bounty! I did not go garage saling at all this summer, but I was actually able to go to the annual Great American Yard Sale that I look forward to all year!!! I thought I would share a few pictures of the event! We have learned to get there before it opens and hang out in line. There are an amazing amount of people at this event and it's easiest to find what you are looking for if you arrive early. The older kids come and help me right away in the fabric and linens tent, I need the extra arms! I pay them a little bit for their wonderful services, and they are happy for the extra spending money. Then we hit the book tent and end up back there about 2 or 3 times-I love books! Matt heads straight for the tools and appliances and usually scores us some great goodies. This year beat out all years for sure-I will share in a bit what he found.

Here we are anxiously waiting for the doors to open. Cole does actually smile when the camera is not pointed his way! We are at war over this!:)
This is the line in front of us! The line behind us is actually longer than the line in front of us!!! But when those doors open, you have to just about run to keep up with how fast they let everyone in. Hey, at least we are not the only crazy people happy to be waiting for a yard sale.
This is how far we are from the tents in the line. Gives a bit of perspective about how large this event is!
Here are some of the fun "new" reclaimed linens for the shop. Very fun! These have added some awesome color to the fat quarter bundles.

Oh my , it has been a lot of cutting! I have actually worn holes through my cutting mat! And this is the 3rd one this year!! I did not even know that was possible until I began with these fat quarter bundles!

So after Cole was able to stock pile his collection of Garfield comic strip books, Madison added to her American girl library as well as finding a very old copy of Little Women and Little Men in one book, I found some great school books for Joslyn, and the wee ones got some talking books to keep them occupied, there is one find that Matt acquired right away that left both of us just giddy! It was an awesome heavy duty Kitchen Aid free standing mixer!! We have waited 13 years to have one of these and it was well worth the wait! This was always a luxury that was just never in the budget! What a blessing! It came with it's instruction book and all the many utilities. I got the chance to use it yesterday for the first time to make some cookies and I could have cried when I was done because my hands did not hurt terribly ! I have arthritis in my hands and stirring anything is painful, but with this, my hands are spared.

Oatmeal cookies-my favortie!
-can't wait for all my Christmas baking now!

Our other kitchen goodie came a couple weeks ago while Matt was on vacation. We went to the river walk for the afternoon one day, but I of course had to stop at the little Pennywise Thrift shop on the way. All of us shuffled in on a mission to find a treasure. Matt was the king of this one as well! He managed to find an old pressure cooker that was still in perfect condition. Just in time for saving our grapes! And it was only $4.00!!!!!
So that night before Matt went back to work, he just had to try it out! It became a late night grape fest in our kitchen. We put on the soundtrack from Chocolat and danced around while mashing grapes for jam.

The kids took turn with Matt in mashing out the juice from the grapes for jam.

The sweet ladies at the thrift store gave us two huge boxes of canning jars for free. What a huge blessing! We ended up with more than we needed this year for canning, but have put the rest to use as drinking glasses. Glass glasses seem to never last in our house but these jars last forever!
We were able to get a great first batch of six jars of grape jam. The rest of our grapes will be ready very soon.

Today was a wonderful afternoon to just enjoy the time outdoors. Matt and Cole just got home from Merge camp, so we all hung out in the backyard. I wanted to capture some of the newest blooms since summer is disappearing. This is one of the first summers in a long time that I am actually sad it is ending. It has been full but also refreshing. Last year by this time, all my hard work in the garden had been cut short. During a freak storm, the transformer in our back yard got struck by lightning! I was standing in the kitchen looking out at the backyard when I should have been in our basement. The sound and sight was crazy! That ended up leaving us without power for 3 days and nights. Life had changed drastically for those 3 days having no power! One of the biggest obsticles was our deep freeze and frig. We had to go out and buy mega coolers and keep them stocked with ice. A lot of our deep freeze food fortunately was able to be stored at my Grandpa's and Grandma's. But we lost so much food, and had to start over with so many basics. By the time Com Ed came out to put up a new transformer, they ended up bringing 8 trucks and 15 men! Now wonder it took so long to get back our power! All the men decided to stand and watch the two men working up on the pole, from my garden! I stood in awe as they trampled every plant that had taken all summer to grow. Looking back now, I should have opened my mouth and asked for them to be careful or something! So the end of the summer last year was a bit of a sting and I was anxious to start over this year! And these are some of the blessings I have been able to enjoy this year.
Beautiful large sunflowers that always make me feel like a kid with how big the get!
I can't believe we actually got some big pumpkins this year! I cannot wait to bake some yummy pumpkin seeds!
Melons that are almost ready to eat!
Lots of yummy squash for Thanksgiving!

I put in a white border in the large garden and plan on doing it again next year. I really enjoyed mixing flowers and veggies together. Was fun to watch them grow in the same place.
My potting bench out by the gardens.
And Cole enjoying a nap under the tree. Ah peace! Does summer really have to end!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Simple Joys....

I am definately a small joys or simple pleasures kind of person. I love the little details and finding joy in things that could easily be passed over. I have seen this beginning in my girls especially and it has been pretty fun to watch. For Bell, all it takes is a silly pair of socks and she feels beautiful. It doesn't matter that it is extremely hot out or that they do not match, she exudes joy when she has these on! And that makes me smile and appreciate the little gift's from God, even if it is only a pair of socks with a hole in them!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New In the Shop

It has been awhile since I listed anything in the shop that I have made. Today we were officially back to work, Matt and I. And I have one week before starting back to school with the kids. I have enjoyed working through my sewing pile this afternoon. I was able to get three new pillowcase dresses listed for girls between 4 and 10 years old. I was also able to get a tote bag made as well. Here are some of the pictures.
All of the new pillowcase dresses were made from 100% recycled materials. All being from vintage bed lines. Soft and sweet for the perfect sundress. You can see pictures of my girls in some pillowcase dresses I have made for them with the same design. All my girls swap dresses with each other. They also use them in the winter with a shirt and leggings underneath .

This tote is from my library toes line. They are not too small and not too big. Works wonderful for kids to carry their toys, books, or snacks in. As you can imagine, my girls and I have ended up with quite a few of these that we share. We use them for Bible totes at church and awana, a small diaper bag since we are no longer in the baby baby stage requiring us to carry around an arsenal of baby equiptment:), snack bag for road trips, toy tote for errands, gift bags for hospital visits or baby showers, the art bag for avoiding boredom when we have to sit quiet and still, and of course the all important WEBKINZ collections that must travel everywhere with us!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Some New Pillowcase Dresses-What To Do With Vintage Linens #10

After getting home from the Memorial for Kate's mom, Matt and the kids worked on getting the tent up in the backyard to camp for the night. That gave me some time to sit down at the sewing machine, it has actually been awhile! I pulled out 3 vintage pillowcases that I had been saving to make the girl's some new nightgowns/dresses out of. All of the pillowcases were white and each one had some embellishment at the hem with blue in it. I made the dresses a little differently than the pillowcase dresses I have done before. These were not lined and I used elastic at the top for gathering instead of making a tube to pull the ties through. The ties I attached in the same way I bind my quilts. I have ended up really like this way of doing the dresses. Bell's ended up a little big and the elastic isn't as forgiving when it comes to size as a draw string is. But I think I will make some adjustments instead of waiting for her to grow into it.

Now for the kids to camp out with Dad. I think that is the only way you can wear white on a camping trip-WHEN IT IS IN THE BACKYARD!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Blessed Saturday

One of my most precious friends lost her Mom to cancer this past year. It was only days before Christmas and after attempting to find a miraculous way to get down to the funeral, we had no options. I really grieved over not being able to be there with her during that time. And yet I know she holds no ill feelings for me not making it. It is interesting how many momentous things in our lives have happened and we have not had the luxury of being there for one another in body, and yet, somehow I always know she knows exactly how I feel, and no matter the changes that occur in our lives the friendship just gently rolls along with them. I really think that our friendship took root during a time that Kate and I's foundations were solidifying, somewhere between childhood and adulthood, and the friendship was sealed in that foundation and weathers all of our life changes.

Kate is the friend that my soul aches for when I am struggling or overjoyed with something. There are countless letters written to her and even more started waiting to be finished. She is the friend of my youth and one who knows my heart so deeply. We have gone through really good times and some really hard times and found our friendship stronger for it. She is the one that can make me cry by just saying hello after not seeing each other for a year. She is the one who can scribble a note to me on a napkin , send it in the mail, and I will walk around with it for days reading it over and over. She has a beauty that just continues to grow with age, both inside and out. I have always felt her love for me , even when I was difficult to love, and I have the letters to prove it. She has the gift of gentleness and compassion for others that is so contagious. Kate is the one who I could spend hours talking with but could also be alright just to sit in silence with.

We met amusingly enough my first year of college and found out that we grew up only 20 minutes away from each other! Here we had to go 600 miles to meet, the Lord certainly has a sense of humor! But how right the timing was! Road trips home from school together became one of the things that entwined or hearts, 12 hours of conversation both ways, lots of coffee, music and laughter! I believe on one break, her car was not going to make it home and my folks were going to send me the bus ticket to come home -I protested and said not unless there is a ticket for Kate too! We were a two for one deal at that time!

Well, Matt's vacation came to be such a blessing.We were able to go to a postponed memorial service for Nancy today, Kate's Mom. Kate and Jay traveled down here from Minnesota to spend the day with family and friends who were unable to make it to the funeral in Missouri . Nancy was honored in memory today with wonderful stories shared. It was so good to see Kate and Jay and hug our old friends. And I am so blessed to have gotten to know her mom over the years of our friendship and it was neat to see how so many of Nancy's strengths and gifts have been carried on in Kate. I am forever grateful for the love Nancy had for Kate and how she raised my sweet friend! What a fun afternoon to get to hear all the fun stories about Nancy and how deeply she touched the lives of others. It was also a wonderful gift to hear Kate sing a song she had written for her mom before she died. Kate! Do not forget to send those lyrics to me! I wish I could have seen your mama's face when you gave her, her own song! Your sung beautifully, just as always! Some day-we will do our duet!

And despite how hard the loss of Kate's mom has been and will be, it is good to know she is with Jesus,who she had a deep love for. And one day Kate will see her mom again. It was a good day, one I am so glad that I can say, I saw my Kate.

After dinner, I went to dig through some old photos from college, to find some fun pics of Kate and I. What fun remembering those days, with a bit of heartache, wishing we were closer to spend more time together. Here are a few of Kate and I over the years....






Kate, I found these pictures of you and your mom at your wedding. Thought you may like to have them.