Saturday, January 30, 2010

Still A Little More Progress.........

I have decided to do a scalloped edge along the back center. I have bought pink flower shaped buttons to go in each scallop. They may be too big though. We'll see.

A made a normal puffy sleeve with a cuff that is edged with the piping.

Decisions have to be made about whether I want a collar or if I'm going to put piping around the neck edge. Remember that I am planning to make this reversible using the floral print. I think the piping neck edge would look good on either side and a collar would probably add too much bulk. Hum.....?
I haven't done a good pressing of this yet, especially on the sleeve cap. I need to get my ironing ham or my sleeve board out for that.
Go to Crazy Mom Tats's blog. She's having a giveaway to honor her 100th post. I have decided to give this dress in honor of all my blogger friends and in honor of my 100th post. I hope that's ok with all of you.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A little progress.....

I've made a little progress on the auction dress. As you can see, I set-in the smocked section into the bodice. I just cut out the bodice from a pattern I have and laid it on top of the smocking. I then cut inside the smocking borders. Next I cut a straight piece for either side panels for the skirt that were 3 times wider than the side pieces of the bodice. I gathered those and stitched them to the bottom edges of the bodice sides. Then, I ran the piping all the way from the hem, up around the smocked part, and down to the hem again. Going around the corners at the top was a little tricky. So far, so good, as for how I have this envisioned.
When do you do your best envisioning? I do mine after I go to bed at night. Sometimes I will lay there for an hour, two, or more, thinking about my projects and what I want to do with them.
Do you like seeing your blog's title on people's sidebars? It always makes me smile and startles me somewhat to see mine on other blogs.

My Auction Dress, So Far.....

This is what I've gotten done, so far, on this dress that I'm going to donate for the charity auction. I see some of my smocking stitches that don't look so good. It's funny how the camera shows you things you can't see in front of you, or at least that's how it is for me. I have never gone by a smocking pattern. I guess I probably should.
I plan to use this floral fabric to make piping and to line the dress. I've had a couple of my facebook friends tell me that if I make a size 5 they may show up at the auction to bid. I was thinking a 5 would be a good size anyway, because, then, if someone has a smaller child, they might still bid on it to put up until the child grows into it. But, if I make it really small, only people with little bitties will bid.

I actually plan, as of right now, to make the dress reversible. I may change my mind as I get into it. I am pretty much designing this dress as I go. I know in my mind what I want it to look like, and, of course, there are no patterns like what I'm seeing. Therefore, who knows what it will end up like. This is pretty much how I make all of my things. I have had people tell me that I should start a business in which I design the children's clothing and hire people to sew for me. That would be fun, but I would have to do the sewing some, as well.
I want to apologize to those of you who have been commenting on my blog lately. I have not had much time on the computer, and I'm way behind in replying to comments. I love comments, so keep them coming. I promise I'll get back to you soon.
I've been busy smocking, as you see.
My mom has had a rough week, so I've been going more than once a day most days.
I am in charge of a skit that our children are doing in church on Sunday to remind our members to bring in cans of soup on Super Bowl Sunday. I wrote the skit and I've had to tweak it twice so far, once to include another little girl who has started coming, and another time to take out two little girls who haven't been there in weeks.
And, my cousins' aunt (on their dad's side) died, so one of my cousins and his wife from out of town came up and stayed with us. I am so glad they did. This is my cousin who is just 2 years younger than I am. He, his sister, who is slightly older than I am, and I played together all the time when we were kids, that is when we weren't fighting. I remember getting into an actual fist fight with him once. I would tell you that I won, but I don't want to embarrass him! LOL Most of the time 2 of us would gang up on the other one and just be mean for a day or two. We played like we were the Three Stooges a lot. I guess that was a fairly appropriate thing for us to play!!! We don't get to see them often.
I've known my cousin's wife as long as I can remember, and have been friends with her forever. That's one great thing about a small town; you know everybody. We used to go out to her house when we were teens, when it snowed. She lived on top of a very tall hill. We would sled, play football in the snow (it really used to snow a lot more here than it does now), go in and play ping pong, and just hang out in her basement. Fun memories.
My sister is coming today. She'll be here through the weekend. When she's here, I don't visit Mother as often because she does, so maybe I'll get more done on my sewing. I cannot sew a stitch more, though, until I straighten up my sewing room.
I only have a little bit of time to work in my sewing room before it's time for Mother's lunch, so I'd better go.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I wasn't planning to post on my blog today, but I just visited my blogger friend and mentor, Martha's, blog and just had to tell you about her giveaway. I really don't want you to enter, though because I want to win these wonderful hangers!!! She has made some and purchased some, but they are all so beautiful that it's almost a shame to cover them with clothing!!!

Since I'm already on here I might as well tell you what I'm up to now. I am making a smocked dress to give to a local charity that is having an auction. I hope that it will bring a few $$ to help them. This organization began because a lot of the local churches had food pantries. At some point a hand full of people decided that they could do so much more if they joined forces and worked together. They started out in the back of a store downtown. They purchased a building later on and have had to double it's size since then. Now, they need even more room!!! They have food, of course, but they also have clothing, house hold items, etc... People pay nominal amounts for things or some get stuff free. I don't know exactly how it works. Several people in my church are involved. The vision began with one gentleman in our church who talked with other folks from the other churches, etc..... Anyway, you understand, I'm sure how much of a need there is for a place like this. I am just trying to help in my own little way by making this dress. I may try to do another thing or two.

I am using a pale yellow fine welt corduroy as the main dress. For the lining and piping I am using the floral cotton shown here. These are the colors of floss, along with some yellow that I forgot to photograph, that I'll be using for the smocking. I tried to pleat the corduroy with my pleater (I've done it before and not had a problem), but my pleater did not cooperate. This fabric is very soft and fine so I really thought I wouldn't have an issue. But, I decided that I would need to pleat by hand. That's what I used to do before I had a pleater. I went over and under every third welt after marking the lines so I would keep my rows straight. You can see where I did this at the bottom of the photograph. I really like to hand pleat stripes and checks anyway because they don't always line up straight in the pleater, at least for me. If any of you know how to get your fabric to go through the pleater perfectly straight, please pass on this information to me.
Working on this smocking, watching basketball with my in-laws, visiting my mom, and trying to fit in some reading are the things I'll be doing over the next few days. We're getting snow flurries today, after several days of RAIN, RAIN, and more RAIN! Did you get the idea that it's been raining alot here the past few days! There's been a lot of flooding in some areas. Our field looked like a small lake yesterday. It looked like a river flowing through one part of our back yard. The other night we had very strong winds. I noticed a roof, on a house down the road from us, that looked like a sardine can that had been opened, earlier today. We're having strange weather this year, huh?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

One Year of Blogging!

I just realized that today is my blogging one year anniversary!
Actually, it's not. I actually started blogging in December of 08, but I decided that I didn't really have time to blog! So, I deleted everything I had posted, which wasn't much anyway, and quit. I only quit for a few days, because I realized that I could make time for the things I really enjoyed, and I was really enjoying my blogging. So, I started back on January 23, 2009.
I have a confession to make. I promised to make 5 blankets for the Linus Project in honor of my followers and my grandchildren when I reached my 100th post and my 50th follower. I have not done that! So, now I am PROMISING that I will do that and make a smocked dress for the local food bank's (really it's way more than a food bank) annual dinner and auction. I'm starting it today. Afterall, I am a lifetime Girl Scout. "On my honor....."
I will also have a giveaway, but I'll have to think about that. This date slipped up on me, and I haven't given any thought as to what I could give away that anyone would want. Can you give me suggestions as to what you would want in a giveaway by me based on what you know I can do? Just remember to keep it realistic, please. LOL!

Below is my second "first" post. I can't show you my first "first" one because I deleted it.

I'm starting over. I decided I didn't have time to blog, but in just a couple of days I realized I missed it too much to stop. So, I'm starting again. I don't know if my previous posts are gone, or if my links still work, but I guess I'll find out soon.
This is our cat, Vanilla Ripple. She is almost 18 years old. She's been sick some in the past year, but for the most part is still going strong. She still runs around like a kitten trying to catch a spool of thread, etc.., just not as often as she used to.
This is all for today. I want to check to see if all I had before is lost, etc... I also want to see if my old links still work. I'll probably be back tomorrow.
Vanilla is still with us and as healthy as ever at nearly 19 years old. She's very skinny, now, but she can still jump up on our kitchen counter, which drives me crazy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Take Your Time, So You Don't Waste Your Time!

I finished Little E's new Little Orphan Annie dress. I made this one from two cotton t-shirts. I had to remind myself of my sewing motto, which is: "Take your time, so you don't waste your time." After I sewed the cuff around the bottom of the first sleeve, I realized that it was too wide, so I was cutting it down, when, yep, I cut the sleeve itself. I was hoping that it would be low enough down on the sleeve that the cuff would cover it, but, of course it wasn't. Luckily, I had the extra t-shirt, so I cut a sleeve out of it and replaced the one in the dress. Why, oh why, do I do things like this?

I simply cut the bottom of one of the shirts from the underneath of one sleeve across to the other. I stitched it to the other shirt where I think (I hope), Little E's waist is. If you look very closely you can see where this seam is in the picture below.

I cut a collar, cuffs, and belt from some white cotton blend scraps that I had in my stash. I used fusible interfacing in each of these. I used purchased black piping for this project. I was afraid that after I sewed the collar on that the neck wouldn't stretch over her head, so I made a little key hole slit with a button-loop fastener. I used a ponytail rubber band to make the loop. I bound the slit with leftover fabric from the extra t-shirt.

I also used leftovers for the binding at the collar. I just cut a piece on the bias. I didn't want Little E's neck to itch from a scratchy collar.

I made the belt a little narrower for this version of the Annie dress. I put four buttons and button holes to allow for growth.

Here is a black and white photo of Jenna that I used to make a scherenschnitte. (Have you noticed how much I love that word?) I am not real happy with this one, and I'm going to do a new one, but I thought I'd show you this one anyway. Now, that I think about it, I may do Kellen's over, too. I have gone back and doctored the photo a little more so there's more contrast in the shades of white, gray, and black. I'm not adding the tiara, even though, that "is Jenna". She is a little princess. In this photo, she's holding her baby cousin, Little Man, for the first time on the day he was born.

I do need to get to a craft store that has better paper and glue than I am presently using. Maybe I can go to Hobby Lobby tomorrow.
I had some leftovers from our Wednesday night supper at church, so tonight we are sharing with my in-laws. My husband will go over and warm up the meat and get things ready, while I go feed my mom.

Now, tell me, do you ever have times that you messed up because you were in a hurry to get something done, and it ended up taking you more time than if you had taken your time? I'd love to know I'm not alone in this.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Little Man will Steal Their Hearts!

He's already stolen mine! This first sweater vest is the one I made to start with. I decided that I really don't like it as much as I thought I would. Don't pay attention to the little pieces of white fuzz on it. Those are all over my house, along with little slivers of black and white paper. I guess they stick to my clothes and I deposit them wherever I go.

So, I decided to make him a new vest. I had enough (barely) of the solid red sweater that I felted to make this new vest. I was lamenting to one of the nurses at the nursing home that I couldn't really put hearts on his vest. I don't think his mom and dad would like that very much. She suggested trucks, etc... I was going to do a truck, but when I had it cut out, it looked more like a train, so I tweaked it here and there, and this is what I came up with for the Little Man. This is what I mean about not being very precise like you quilters have to be. I change my mind too often. When you are working on a quilt with points that have to match up, etc... you can't do that. I am so very impressed that you ladies and gents can do things that perfectly!!!

Here it is with his pants. I fudged on these. The zipper and pockets aren't real. I just didn't have the time or the "want to" on these to do all that detail work. I'll do it the right way for Easter. After all, he's not really putting things in his pockets or potting training, just yet. I was in the middle of hemming these when my husband yelled down the stairs that he needed his camera. (He's going to list a house and needs to take pictures.) I had to hurry to take these photos and get them in the computer, so the pants are only partially hemmed.

Today's things to do: (I'm typing this for my benefit, so I won't forget to do some of these things.)
1. Finish hemming Little Man's pants Yea! This one's done. How do I strike through words?
2. Write a skit for the children to do at church the Sunday before the Super Bowl to introduce the Souper Bowl project that we are doing (I have it in my mind. I've just got to put it on paper. It's really simple.)
(We are collecting cans of soup to take to the local food pantry.)
3. Fix the waist of Kellen's skirt (I've decided it's too big.)
4. Help Mother with her lunch
5. Meet my friend for lunch (We try to go every Wednesday.)
6. Go grocery shopping for tonight's family night at church ( We meet every Wed. night, and someone different provides the food each week.)
7. Make taco sauce, cut up tomatoes and lettuce, etc... for tonight
8. Print off some more black and white photos of my grands for making their 3 color portraits (I may not get this done today.)
9. Be at the church by 5:ish to set up for supper
10. Serve food, etc....
11. Have older youth make Valentine's for the nursing home residents (maybe? I may have them do that next week.) (We may just work on puppet skits for upcoming events. We are in charge of a workshop for the entire district in April!)
12. Work with all youth on Souper Bowl skit
13. Choir practice
14. Home, sit, relax, bed, sleep
Thank you to all of you who gave me compliments on the paper cut portrait of Kellen. You have no idea how much fun that was. It's really pretty simple. I learned from Dude. There's a link to his site on my last post. I just can't wait to have time to make the other grands' portraits.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm So Excited About This New Scherenschnitte!

Yes, I know I just posted yesterday, but I did this last night, and I'm so excited about this new technique I learned from Dude Craft. A couple of months ago, he posted a tutorial on how to do these paper cut portraits. Mine doesn't come close to being the quality that his are, but for a first time, I am pretty happy. Below, is a photo of Kellen that I made into a black and white, then played with a bit to make a lot of contrast in shades of black, gray, and white. Then, I used his ideas, and .........

this is what my result is!! I see things that I should have done differently. Dude used an Exacto Knife. I used scissors. I feel that I have more control that way. Now, I can't wait to do one of each of the grands. I wonder if anyone would buy these of their children and grands. If so, I wonder what they would pay. This is truly more fun than (so I dare say it?) sewing, for me. I didn't think I would ever find something I liked as much as sewing, let alone, more than!!!

I think I'm addicted!!
Don't forget to check the post I put up yesterday, if you haven't already. It shows two more of the Valentine outfits I've made. I have Little Man's pants made, except for a hem. I'm working on a new vest for him. I just don't like the first one I made him. I guess he'll get both and him mom and dad can decide if they like the first one enough to let him wear it. If not, they could put it on the stuffed bear I gave him for Christmas.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Hopes! Organized? Me? Nah! Valentine Outfit Numbers 2 & 3, and What do you do with your Christmas photo cards?

Before I go into my sewing, etc.... I just want to say that I hope that our nation and our world will soon become colorblind and that the racial injustices that have occurred throughout history will end. I don't think it matters what your race, religion, gender, etc... is, I think it only matters that you are a good and decent person. God doesn't see our outsides, just our inner thoughts and feelings. This is my prayer for everyday, but especially for today being Martin Luther King Day.

Someone commented that I am very organized to already be starting on Valentine outfits and that I always get started early for each new set of garments for whatever the occasion for my grandchildren. If I was organized, I wouldn't have to start so early. I get distracted very easily. I didn't used to be this way. It's driving me crazy. When I'm working on one project I have the next 2 or 3 running through my brain. I keep starting and stopping. I used to sit down and sew until I was through with what ever I was making. I have 5 grands to sew for, and if I don't start early I won't get done, or I'll be so stressed at the last minute that no one could stand to be around me.

Here's Kellen's outfit. I guarantee it's going to look better on her than it does hanging on this form. She's outgrown the size of form I have. Her vest, as you can see, is a pullover. I bound the neck and made the hearts from the other sweaters that I felted. If you haven't been reading my blog lately, I'll catch you up here. I bought some $1 sweaters at the Dollar Tree. They were all either 80 or 100% wool. I washed and dried them several times, until they wouldn't ravel when I cut into them. They are now felted. Thank you to Gwen for telling me how to do this. I have used yarn to stitch on the hearts, to make the seams, and to bind the armholes.
The first one I did is pictured in my last post.
The skirt is made from a pinstripe (white and red stripes) wool blend. It didn't have enough wool in it to be felted; I tried.
Kellen's skirt is cut on the bias, except for the pleated part at the bottom.
Here's a couple of close ups of the vest.

And here's a peek at the inside of the skirt which I lined with a red cotton so it wouldn't be itchy on Kellen's legs. I'm hoping to find black, gray, or red leggings or tights for the girls.

I just finished Riley's skirt. Here it is with her vest. I didn't buy her a shirt because, for one thing I couldn't find one in her size and for another, I just bought her a red long sleeved shirt for her birthday.

Her skirt is pleated in the front and has a gingham lining. I am using fabrics from my stash for the linings. Little Man's pants are going to be lined with the checked fabric, too. I have decided that I don't like his vest so I'm going to try to get a new one made for him tonight. I'm pretty sure there's enough of the felted wool left to make one for him. I think there's enough of the solid red, actually.

What do you do with photo Christmas cards? I used to just put them away and never look at them again. But, a few years ago, I started putting them on this bulletin board. Next year, when I start getting new ones, these will go in an album which I started keeping a couple of years ago, too. Here I have blurred the faces of all except Kellen, Jenna, Riley, and Emory. Some of these are family members and some friends. The newspaper clipping on the side is from when Kellen was born, and there were two sets of 5 generations still living in my husband's family. Both of his grandfathers were still alive. The black and white photo is of my in-laws taken when my husband was just a little boy. They owned a restaurant and this is them standing in front of it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I Got the Camera Back!

Here's the first of the five Valentine outfits for my grands. I have 3 more vests done, 2 more skirts, and one pair of pants cut out. I'm going to make a new Little Orphan Annie dress for Emory. She has almost outgrown the one I made her for her birthday in August. Since she lives out in the warm climate of AZ she doesn't need a wool sweater and skirt. Plus the fact that her skin is sensitive to all fabrics except for cotton. I am planning to use two red t-shirts to make the dress. Emory likes to wear her Annie dress nearly every day. Her mom tells me that she wears it to the doctor because it makes her feel just a little bit sassy (not rude, just confident), and when you are only 2, a little timid about needles, etc... being a "little" sassy is okay.
I've already shown you this vest, but I thought I'd show it to you with the shirt under it and with the skirt. This is for Jenna. Kellen and Riley's vests are similar, and their skirts will be, as well.

I lined the skirt with red cotton. I thought that would be more comfy next to her legs than the wool fabric would be, and it gives a little more body. The thread is gray. In this photo it looks white. I should have used red thread on the bobbin, but since the inside won't be seen, I didn't think it would matter so much. I'm hoping the girls have red, black, or gray leggings. I can't find any here. Pink sparkly leggings are all they have in my little town. I haven't looked for tights, but I will.

I've also been doing more Scherenschnitte (paper cutting). This is so much fun!!! It makes a mess, though. I am finding little bitty pieces of black paper all over my house. It's like when you sew with a fuzzy fabric and little bits and pieces end up everywhere!
This first one is not one of my best. I have some more roses cut out, just not glued to a background yet. I think they will be better.

This one is actually for a blogger friend who sent me a gift not too long ago. Some of you may recognize who this is. Of course, it isn't an exact copy of her blog photo, but it is similar. I haven't sent it to her yet, because I want to mat it for a frame, and in my little town there are none to be bought. I will need to get on up or down the highway 40 or more miles away to find one. Our Walmart used to have them, but no more.

This is a copy (sort of) of one of my Christmas tree angel ornaments. The ornament has lots more detail that I'm not able to do, yet, but maybe someday......? I have an idea of what I want to do next. I'll just have to get to a store that sells more than our Walmart does. I love living in a small town (I hate fighting traffic), but let me tell you, there are times when it is a huge disadvantage.

My husband and I did go to Knoxville last night to see "Avatar"(great movie, amazing how they made it)! My girls are probably shocked because their Daddy and I don't go to movies (the last movie we went to see was "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" ), and we've been to two in the past week. We saw "Blindside" last weekend. We also went out to eat at Outback both times. Yum! We went there because we had a gift card. We forgot to use it last week when we paid, so we went back last night and remembered! LOL! I didn't get to go shopping, though. It was too late. I'll go back soon..
Below is a t-shirt that I designed a few years ago for the school system where I taught. I've been lucky to have designed several t-shirts over the years. I sleep in this shirt lots! I happened to have it on this morning when I was taking pictures, so I thought I would take one of it, too.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

American Idol Country Gal

If you are an American Idol fan you have to read this and go to the site linked below.

Yep, this here gal is frum not too fur frum me here in East Tennessee. Vonore ain't my town, but I drive thru it if'n I'm a-goin sumwhur else sumtimes. If'n any of you'uns don't believe she's the genuiine thang, ya'll kin trust me she is. Evun tho most of us'uns down here in the south ain't nearly that kuntry, there are bunches who are. I luved her, and I fur one, hope she does ok out thar in Kaliforn-i-a. I'm afeered that she'll git chewed up and spit out once she gits thar, though. She's nevur been on an air-o-plane (her word). She ain't nevur been nowhur but rite thar in Vonore, TN.
Vanessa Wolfe – Audition – Wagon Wheel
Vonore is a very small town that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 20 or so years because of the damming of the Little Tennessee River. There's a huge industrial park and a couple of very ritzy, gated communities. Lots of people from all over the US have moved there. However, this young lady obviously grew up there, as did her parents, grandparents, etc..... I don't know her personally, but I know others just like her. Most of us East Tennesseans aren't quite as country as this, but you know what, I think it's charming. She is definitely talented, and this could be her way out to make something of herself, if that's what she truly wants. I think she will be shocked by this big wide world. I just hope she doesn't get so discouraged that she won't keep on singing. I'm thinking she should go to Nashville first.

(Yeah, I'm sewing some, but my husband keeps taking his camera to work with him. How dare him! LOL I've finished 4 of the vests I'm making from the felted sweaters. I'm going to start on the skirts and pants today. I've got to decide what I'm going to make for Emory. She lives in the desert so doesn't need something this warm, and her skin is sensitive to wool anyway.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Putting Things in Perspective!!

This photo is of Lane Kiffin, who until yesterday was the University of Tennessee's football coach. He has only been there for one year. He decided to take a job with Southern Cal where he had been the offensive coordinator for about 6 years earlier in his career. He reminds me of some of the spoiled, immature little sixth graders I taught, who thought that because they were really good athletes they deserved to be treated more special than others. Now, mind you, not all, or even most, of my athletic students felt this way, but there were those who did. We, at UT, have had recent incidents of both football and basketball players being arrested for armed robbery and having marijuana, a gun with the serial number filed off, etc..... These incidents have been an embarrassment to the whole state. Thankfully, the young men have suffered the consequences of their actions.
Kiffin is a young man, only 34, who doesn't know what loyalty means just yet. However, he may have just made the best decision of his life and for UT, as well. Perhaps we will get a much more mature and loyal person to take his place.
I think the thing that bothers me the most, is not that he's leaving, but that he is taking other coaches with him. Orgeron, who has been doing most of the recruiting for UT has supposedly texted some of the recruits and told them not to go to UT but to go to California instead. I think that is shameful. I have nothing against California, even though the last time we played them they beat us. But, to me this is a matter of ethics.

Okay, now to put this all in perspective:
This is just college football, a game, and is not something that is going to change the world for the good or the bad. Kiffin is just a man, however delusional he is; he is only human. I just hope he realizes that. lol
This stadium is a place where I have spent many a Saturday cheering on the Vols. I will continue to go there on fall Saturdays and have a great time.

This is our adorable mascot.

But...... to the people of Haiti, is any of this important?
What about to my 50 year old friend who was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma and is to start the first of her 30 chemo treatments tomorrow at Vanderbilt Hospital? She goes for 5 days, comes home for 21, then goes back for 5, home for 21, etc... 6 times until this part is over. Then, she has to go for a whole month when she will have some kind of bone marrow, stem cell treatment. She has two children who are still young and has learned that this is genetic, and she could have passed this on to one of them.

What about to my mom and my mil who are suffering from Alzheimers?
What about to the family of the young man in the town where we used to live who was murdered the other night?
What about to all the folks who are lined up at the food pantry that is up the street from my house?
What about to the parents of the children with Autism?
What about to the children who are being treated at St. Jude's Research Hospital in Memphis?
Do you think any of this UT stuff matters to them?

Yes, I love UT sports, and I am sad that Kiffin is leaving, well sort of, but when I look at the large picture, I realize that it really doesn't matter. I hate hearing bad news about the university in any way. I get upset when we lose, but I get over it, and the world goes on.
My daughters are probably going to wonder what's happened to the mom they know who has UT paraphernalia all over her house, especially in the family room in the basement, and whose classroom was all decked out in orange, as well! I've seen the light, and realized that even though it's all fun, it doesn't really make a difference.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Crocheting! Me?????

Crochet is such a beautiful word, like most other French things: the food, the people, the scenery (even though I've never seen it in person), etc.... I learned years ago, from my aunt, the basic chain stitch and how to do a double chain? etc... However, I never learned how to "make" something with crochet stitches. I don't know how to read a pattern, because I don't know the terms, etc....
However, I decided that I knew "enough" to try to lengthen this sweater. I really like this sweater, but I don't like its length. It hits just below the waist, and I'm always pulling on it to make it longer.
So, I started with a yarn that was the closest I could find at my local Walmart. It picks up the turquoise in the sweater, so it works. I then started attaching a row of crochet around the bottom. I just kept going for about five rows. I decided this would take all day and night and maybe even a few more days and nights the way I was going. The yarn I bought was all nubby so it was hard for me to tell where the stitch was that I was supposed to go through next. So, I thought I could speed things up by making long 10 stitch chains, loop them back and stitch them to the last row. I did that all the way around the bottom. My thinking was that I would then go back and attach a straight row by catching the fifth stitch in each chain, chain one or two more stitches and then catch the next loop. Does this make sense? Anyway, I started to do that and it really looked ok, but then i decided I kind of liked this ruffledy look. Or, maybe I was just tired of crocheting. I decided that the sweater needed a touch of this color yarn around the neckline too, so I did the loopy thing again, but with only 5 stitches in each loop. I like the way it looks, until I put it on. The ruffles around my hips look like a miniature tutu!!! Maybe if I was a few????? inches smaller through the hips it would look ok. Perhaps if I had made it longer before adding the ruffle it would look better. Whatever, I will probably wear this around some to places where I really don't care how I look, like to the nursing home to feed my mom.

It looks like a really warm sweater but the stitches are loose and the wind cuts through it. I usually have to wear a camisole under it. Oh well, it was worth a try, i guess. It was something different for me to try. I really would like to learn more about crocheting and knitting.

Please continue to pray for my mom and my mil. They are both having so much trouble with confusion lately. My mil's is a steady decline due to her Alzheimers that was diagnosed years ago. My mom's is due to ????? It's probably Alzheimers added to UTIs, being nearly 86, being in a nursing home, and who knows what else. She is having very vivid dreams about her past and thinking it's now. She wouldn't let them put her to bed the other night because she had a "paper" to get done. She's had lots of "appointments," "conferences, " "reports," etc.... to get to because of her work with foster care children and families. I told her that she shouldn't be having so much work to do now that she's retired. She said, "I think I need to retire again." She worked with abused and abandoned children for over 20 years. She's also having conversations with her mom and siblings who have been gone for years. That makes me wonder if she is really seeing them in some way in her dreams. Mary at Sewfast said she had a very vivid dream about her mom the other night and that it seemed so real even when she woke up. Hum...???? I've never been one to believe in things like this, but who knows?

Oh yeah, and what about the Tennessee men's basketball team beating the number one Kansas team, even without the four team members who were arrested a couple of weeks ago for gong 80 min a 40 zone, having open containers of booze, marijuana, and guns (one with a filed down serial number). One of the players, the best one of course, has been thrown off the team for good. He apparently was the most guilty. I think the gun with the filed serial numbers was his. They other 3 are indefinitely suspended until the investigation is complete. These three were sometimes starters and always played in the games and were big contributors to their success. But, it appears that UT's men don't need them afterall. They have played and won two games without these guys, and like I said beat the number one team last night. I am so glad that these four guys are seeing that maybe they weren't needed so much and that there are consequences to their actions. I just hope these younger athletes are seeing this and understanding that just because they are gifted in sports doesn't mean they can do what ever they want. I love sports, especially college level football and basketball (men's and women's) but these players are just people who happen to be more talented in this area than most. They are equal in God's eyes. It bothers me when a player who makes a great play points to Heaven, as if God cares who wins the games and helped him score that touchdown or whatever!!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bald River Falls - Frozen!!

This water fall is about 40 minutes from where I live. It is beautiful!!! I have seen it partially frozen before, but it has been years. This was posted on my friend's facebook. I hope the video works on here. Well, the video doesn't work, but you can see the beauty of the forces of nature just from the picture.

01-06-10 - Thousands of gallons of water a minute make the nearly 100 foot drop into the Tellico River below. It's a rare occurrence to see it frozen like this!
The snow this morning looked like glitter falling from the sky. The flakes were tiny, and the way the sun was shining on them made them glimmer!!

I got up to go to the bathroom at 2:30 am when something in my lower back snapped. It felt like a bolt of lightening had stuck it!!! It's done this before, but not this badly!!! I have 2 bulging disks. I think they are more than just bulging now. I am trying to keep from moving to quickly or bending the wrong way, etc... today. I've taken over my husband's recliner and using heat.

I am actually crocheting today. I'll show a photo when I finish.

Oh yeah, I have another book to recommend to everyone. It is titled, Still Alice, by ???? Genova. It is about a 50 year old woman who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers and is told from her perspective. Be prepared to cry. Have the tissue box handy. This is an amazingly well written book, and really seems to get inside the head of this lady who is a Harvard professor. I am taking it to my mom's nursing home and asking the staff to pass it around.

Friday, January 8, 2010

And the Green Grass Grew All Around, All Around.... And a felted vest!

This is the view from my front door during our snow "storm". I use that term loosely, because I know that many of you live above the Mason Dixon Line and would not consider this as snow at all, but here in the South, it really is! Actually, the snow is still falling today, and it isn't quite as easy to see the grass. This photo, though, shows that the snow did lay on the driveways, roads, etc.... right away. Actually, it's more like a sheet of ice!!! It crunches when you drive on it!! It is really cold; it hasn't been above freezing for over a week, now!

This photo is the view from the front of my house to my in-laws' house, next door. As you can see, we drive through the field between our houses when it's really cold out, or raining, or dark, or when we just don't feel like walking that far! LOL! It really does help my fil when he brings my mil over to our house, too. Of course, we could drive over on the highway, but they increased it from 2 lanes to 4, and we now have to turn right out of our drive, go a short way up the highway, cross over to the other side, drive down the highway to the next cross-over, which is across from my in-laws' drive. That's just too much trouble.

I have actually started sewing again. Well, I did make those curtains, but I don't count that as real sewing. I guess I would if I liked doing it and could do a better, more creative job when making them. Anyway, I posted a few posts back, a photo of some one dollar sweaters that I bought at the Dollar Tree. They are all either 80 or 100% wool. I felted them per Gwen's directions! Thanks Gwen. I cut out 5 vests, one for each grand child, from the sweaters. This is the first one I've gotten done. This one is for Jenna. The sweater started out as a dark gray with a pale gray window pane design on the front. In each corner, where the light gray lines cross, is either a red or a blue spot of color. I have one sweater that is solid red. I decided to save it to cut from for the designs on the other vests. Some of the hearts I cut out are from that sweater. Some are from scraps from some of the other sweaters. One had a really bad 80's design on the front with blocks of pink, turquoise, etc.. that I can cut from to make designs for the vests. I cut out one pink heart from that sweater. One of the sweaters has blue, hence the blue heart. As you can see, I used buttons from my button collection to decorate some of the hearts. I used embroidery floss to stitch everything by hand.

Since the fabric is felted, it will not ravel. I just butted the sides and shoulders together, and used a blanket stitch to join them. I used a blanket stitch, whip stitch, crisscross stitch, or whatever to attach the hearts.

I stitched one large heart on the back. The gray fabric with the white and red pinstripe is going to be used for a skirt, pants, etc... for each grand to wear with the vests. I was hoping I could felt it, too, but it must not have enough real wool in it.
I bought it at this little family run fabric store down the road from me. The cardboard it was wrapped on was labeled 100% cotton, but I knew better. The lady who runs the store told me it was wrapped on a cardboard left over from another bolt of fabric. Anyway, this is one of those stores that used to buy all of their fabric from factory overruns and seconds. Some of the fabric in the store has probably been there for 20 years. Some of the tables have fabric piled on them higher than my head. I have to hunt through the piles sometimes. However, they have recently been updating, buying much better quality fabrics (still at reduced prices compared to everywhere else), organizing, displaying the fabric so that it can be seen more easily, and generally making it a better place to shop. The lady who runs the store is the mother of the owner. She is in poor health, so sometimes I cut my own fabric. I always put away my fabric, etc...... They also have a barrel of buttons that you can buy by the cup full. They have vintage patterns, etc...... I have almost always found what I want when I go there looking for something I can't find anywhere else. This is actually where I bought my curtain fabric. I once was looking for fabric to make a tin man costume for my daughter. They had this shiny silver backed curtain fabric that was perfect! I have bought mermaid fabric that looks wet and sparkly and fishy, there. I always go there if I need any kind of costume fabric. I have bought fabric to make a turtle costume, all kinds of princess type costumes, wooly animal costumes, furry animal costumes, you name it. Lots of quilters go there because they sell great quilting cottons.If you are ever going to be in SE TN and want to find this store, email me and I'll tell you how to find it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Scherenschnittes, The Ugly Curtains Replaced, and What's The Big Deal About a Hotdog!

Thanks to Gwen I found out that the paper cutting I've been doing is really called Scherenschnittes. This is a combination of a Swiss and German art form. I looked it up and found several websites that feature this type of art. All I know is that I am having fun with it. I would like to keep practicing until I'm good enough to frame some and maybe even sell them. I don't know if anyone would buy these, but I know I have seen paper cuttings in gift shops, etc.... Who knows? For now it's just fun and something I can do in the evenings while watching tv with my husband. I need to find a better glue that won't be so messy. Right now I'm having trouble trying not to get the glue on the front of the cuttings.

My husband has been wanting me to make or buy new curtains for this sliding door that leads out to our deck from our family room. I wonder why he thought we needed new ones? Lol! First of all, I washed them not too long ago and they shrunk so they don't cover the doors anymore. Second of all, they are just ugly. But, the main reason he wanted new ones is that we do have neighbors on the other side of the woods that edge the back of our property. Now, we can't see their house, but at night sometimes we can see a light on in their house through the trees. If we can see their light, they can see ours, so we need to black out this door. My main reason is that new curtains may help hold the heat in during the winter and keep us cooler in the summer.

This is the far end of the room. You can see that I like green. It's hard to tell, but the walls are kind of a khaki green kind of color. My cousin made that gorgeous quilted wall hanging. Those are pictures of my daughters when they were little. On the table are photos of some of the grands. The dark green chair is actually my mom's. It is one of those motorized lift chairs. It really takes up more room than I would like, but the few times she's been able to come to the house since she's been in the nursing home, it has come in handy. The tan chair is my husband's favorite.

This love seat actually sits across from the door that needs curtains. You can see my brother-in-law's grandmother's treadle sewing machine in the corner to the left. Behind the love seat is a small little desk that is my mom's. The ladder back chairs are my mom's too. My kitchen is in the background. You really can't see it in this photo.

This is the fabric that I found to make the curtains from. This is really the backside of the fabric. When the lady was cutting it for me, she asked which side I would use. I really meant to use the other side, but it is really dark, and I decided that this side matched the love seat, walls, and other chairs better anyway.

Here's the after photo. Those pictures on the wall are my girls' senior casual pictures. I blurred their faces because I didn't ask permission to show these. I didn't blur their little girl pictures because they don't look like those anymore. My husband hasn't been home to see the curtains, yet. I hope he likes them. I do not like to make curtains!!!

Now, for the hotdog story. I was at the nursing home today at lunch time. I go at lunch or dinner time every day to feed my mom. Today they were having hotdogs. My mother loves hotdogs so she was excited. I mean, when you are in a nursing home and you can't sit up, stand up, walk, or really do anything by yourself, there's not much to get excited about. So, when she saw the hotdogs she really was happy. A few months ago I asked if they could start chopping some of Mother's meat up somewhat because she was having trouble chewing it. She does not have trouble chewing a hotdog, however. I knew that when they brought hers to her it would be all ground up, though, so I asked them to please be sure she got a whole hotdog. The girl who is over the food department came out to tell me she wasn't allowed to give Mother a whole hotdog because she might choke on it. I told her that Mother didn't have problems with choking, just chewing tough meat. But, when they brought Mother's it was ground up. I asked Mother if that was ok and she yelled, "No, but I want a hotdog!" LOL!!! They had offered her a substitution. So, I went to find the girl in charge of the food again, and she told me she was sorry that this was just the way it was. I told her that, no, this wasn't the way it was and that I would take full responsibility of Mother choking, if indeed she did, which, of course, I knew she wouldn't. Anyway, I had to get pretty ugly before Mother got her whole hotdog. But, she did get it, and no, she didn't choke. Come to find out there was a regional food person at the nursing home today, and the girl in charge was afraid she would get in trouble of she let Mother have the hotdog. She wanted to call the doctor to ask permission. I told her that would take a couple of hours and Mother's lunch was already late. I told her that I was sorry, but that I would do whatever I had to do to take up for my mom, even if it was over "just a hotdog!" Mother has been having more and more days of really bad confusion, and on those days she wouldn't know the difference, but this was a good day with clear thinking. I was not going to let this happen. My cousin was there and he was offering to go get her something else to eat at his restaurant, which was really sweet. He's great. But, by this time it was the principle of the situation that mattered, not what she ate. I didn't get really ugly, but I was about to when they gave in and brought her the hotdog. I know this is a long story and rather rambling, but I wanted to tell it to make me feel better, and I do!

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