Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hems! Are you tired of these dresses yet? And... a little man's shirt begun

This is the last time I'll post about these two dresses, I promise. I got them hemmed and wanted to show you how I did it. On this first dress, I barely had enough length in the skirt. Jenna has apparently grown!!! So, I cut a 5 inch strip of the fabric to go around the bottom. I sandwiched the ribbon in between the dress and this strip. I stitched all the way around, of course, and then turned the strip, ironed, and hemmed it. I'm showing a peek of the crinoline that I added the other day.

On Riley's I made 3 tiny tucks all the way around and then used a decorative stitch to do the hemming.

Here's a peek at the lining of her dress. You can see that I made French seams (on both dresses), and I made a tuck above the hem of the lining. I have the insides facing each other.

Little Man's shirt needs a pocket (for his hanky or ink pen, etc...) and buttons and button holes, and then it will be finished. Since there are no patterns for a dress shirt for a little one this size, I actually bought a shirt at a consignment shop for $3.00 to look at and go by. I've made him a couple of other shirts like this before, but it seemed easier this time. I hope to get his pants made tomorrow or Monday.

My high school class is planning our 40th reunion!!! 40th!!! Has it really been that long? It sure has; we graduated in 1970! A few of us got together today to plan. My husband and I were in the same class. We started dating our senior year. We are the only couple from our class that is married to a classmate. There were a few others, but we're the only ones who have endured this whole time! LOL! I sure hope I can get some more of these pounds off before the big date. It's in a couple of months. We are coordinating with a reunion dance that a band of our classmates had during our h.s. years. They were awesome then, and they have gotten back together after all of these years to play again. Fun!!

Friday, February 26, 2010


I won Kim's giveaway!! When I checked my mail today I had a package. Inside were these two beautifully wrapped gifts and this sweet card!

Kim makes beautiful miniatures. This little puppy, that I have named Puddin, was made by her with a punch needle felting technique!!! I absolutely love him! I hope to learn how to do this type of felting! The little box of candy was also in my package. Since Kim and I are both working on getting healthier, she sent just a wee little box that had two pieces of candy. Did you catch that I said DID have two pieces of candy? That's right, I ate them for my lunch today!! Some healthy eating!! LOL!!! I'll make up for it tomorrow, I promise!!

Some ladies at my church are starting a Prayer Shawl Ministry. They are going to knit and crochet beautiful shawls and lap blankets for people who have a need for them and for prayer. My Mother was the first recipient!!! As this was being made the sweet lady who made it was praying for my mom and for me!! I nearly cried when she gave it to me to take to Mother. Mother was so happy and touched! The four stripes represent the four gospels! There was a lovely poem with it, too. I put it up on Mother's bulletin board so she can remember who made this and why.

I am so blessed with wonderful friends.

Fat Fighting Friday!!! And a few other things.........

Alright, here goes!!! My blogger friends, Kim and Laura started a "getting healthy" program last week. They are blogging about it on Thursdays. I decided to blog on Fridays, because I didn't start till Friday and because I didn't like the number on my scales yesterday, due to the pizza I ate Wednesday night. I thought I'd give it one more day. And, because I like the title, Fat Fighting Friday! Ha!
Anyway, here goes........My husband and I are both working very (well fairly) hard on getting into a healthier shape! He really started all of this, and I'm following along. It's easier that way, since he does most of the cooking, etc..... Last Friday when I read Kim's and Laura's blogs I decided to join along with them by posting about it on my blog.
As of this morning I was 2 pounds lighter!!!! Last Friday my scales said, 1_7 and today they said 1_5! One day this week they actually said 1_4!!! I was really excited that day, but then I ate pizza and a couple of other things the scales didn't like it!!!!
We have mostly eaten lots of veggies and fresh fruits. My husband has roasted a variety of veggies like, broccoli, potatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, onions, sweet potatoes, etc..... These really are good. He used olive oil, pepper, a tiny bit of sea salt, and other seasonings. I'd have to ask him what all he put on them. These lasted for a couple of days!

On Monday, my husband had a stress test done, which meant he couldn't have coffee or food until afterwards. I supported him by not even brewing the coffee or eating. I went with him, and after he was finished he asked if I wanted to go to IHOP!! Of course I did, but I really thought I would blow it and eat pancakes or something, but we were both really good and ordered veggie omelets. I could only eat about half of mine. They served a small bowl of fresh fruit on the side. Yum! Since we ate breakfast so late, I didn't have lunch that day. I did snack a little that afternoon on dried cherries and nuts.

However, I did blow it on Wednesday night. We eat together at my church on Wednesday evenings. The couple who was supposed to provide the meal this week called me on Tuesday night to tell me they weren't going to be able to be there and asked if I would just order pizza. Of course, I'll order pizza! I also got chips and cookies. I did buy some fresh cut veggies, like celery and carrots to make a show of providing something healthy. I didn't even think twice about eating some of everything!!! Oh well, I guess one meal out of a whole week isn't going to ruin me.
Exercise has entered my life again!!! Not much, mind you, but a little more each day. I'm anxious for warmer weather so I can go to the park and walk!!!

On the sewing front. I added a bit of crinoline to Jenna's dress. I just gathered up a 2 /12 yard length of netting that was doubled and sewed it to the lining between the lining and the dress so it wouldn't scratch her little legs. I think it made a difference. I like it. Jenna will, too, I think. I will get it hemmed if I ever find out the length measurement.

On the back of Riley's I decided not to use buttons, but to use this ribbon that matches the colors and little flowers in the smocking perfectly, instead. I made rosettes from the end of a long streamer of the ribbon. I stitched them on at the edge of the back neck line. Then, I tied a little bow leaving the ribbon streaming down the back. I like this look. Hers isn't hemmed either. I like the way the lining is working in this dress. I don't think I would line a bishop style dress if the fabric was any heavier, though. This fabric is very thin and soft.

I had to make hair accessories for the girls. Riley's is the bow. I will buy a clip to sew to it. The other two are purchased head bands that I have wrapped ribbon around. Kellen's is the darker pink. I don't know if you can see the green stitching that goes down the center of the ribbon or not, but it matches the green of Kellen's dress. I decided she needs a little pink to help coordinate the looks. Jenna's has the light pink ribbon.

Today is the day to actually start Little Man's outfit. I got it cut out. He's getting tan slacks and a blue dress shirt. I will also make him a tie, but I haven't chosen the fabric for that yet. I probably have something in my stash that will work. I'm thinking of making him a hat, too, but not like the golfer's hat I made last year. He may not wear it with this outfit, but he'll have it to wear whenever he needs it.

And....... I have the pleating done on Little E's dress. As you see, it isn't blocked properly yet, but at least my pleater is working!!! Hers is an orange and white stripe. I'm not sure about the colors for the smocking yet. I'm going to look at embroidery thread either today or tomorrow. I'll take a sample of the fabric with me to help me choose. This fabric is so soft. I want to wrap up in it. It isn't heavy, but it does have more body than Riley's green does, so I probably won't line it. I'll make a slip for it. She will definitely get a hair bow!

And..... to change gears once again...... My puppet team is going to be doing a workshop in April for churches from all around the conference. We decided we need t-shirts that tell who we are. This is the design for the back of the shirt. It will have the name of our team, "Heavenly Hands Puppet Team" encircling the design. This is not the design that my kids really asked for, but the one they want has a copyright on it. I checked on it and was told we could use part of it, but that we could not put our name around it. So, I drew this design. I think my kids will like this just as well, if not better, anyway. I sure hope so. Our shirts will be turquoise with the design in black.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sister Dresses

I am showing you a picture of the Easter dresses for my 3 grand daughters who are sisters. I didn't even realize when I made the plans for these that they would coordinate colorwise. I made Kellen's on the far right from one of my old dresses that she fell in love with. It is made from raw silk brought back from Japan by my cousin in about 1970 or so. The pink, purple and green is for Jenna and is made with woven ribbon and a cotton print. Then the bishop is for Riley. I just really like the color of this cotton batiste. I used the pink and white on the smocking because of a crocheted antique doily that I have that I am thinking of cutting apart to use as trim on the sleeves and hem. I'm not so sure of that, but we'll see. Anyway, I was about halfway through the smocking when I realized that these colors all work together.

I'm only showing the tops of these dresses because Jenna's and Riley's aren't hemmed yet. Riley's doesn't have buttons on the back either. I need to get some pretty hangers for photographing my dresses. I guess I could make some. I just never seem to have any extra time to do anything like that.
It looks like God has been baking here. It looks like He has sifted powdered sugar on everything. It's been snowing all day, but there's only a dusting. It is cold!!! My fingers are freezing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A peek at Riley's Easter Dress

Here is a picture of the smocking on Riley's bishop sytle Easter dress.

I haven't made but a couple of these style dresses before. When I have, I've never lined them. I really wanted to line this one, though. It just gives this soft, fine fabric, a little more body and fullness. So, after smocking it, I folded it at the center front and put it on the fold of the fabric. I cut a yoke to fit the smocking part. I then cut the skirt using the same idea. I gathered the skirt top and sewed it to the yoke. The only place I have stitched it to the dress is around the sleeve. I just tacked it in a few places across the top and whipped it around the rest of the sleeve. It is basted around the neck. I will sew it into the binding around the neck and the back opening, as well. I'm still debating about a couple of other things that I might do with this dress.

I have lil E's dress pleated. Yea! My pleater is still working just fine!!! And, I will be cutting out Little Man's outfit later today. Next Easter I'll be making 5 little dresses and a boy's suit!!! Gosh, I'll have 6 Halloween costumes and 6 Christmas garments, Valentines outfits, etc....... Whew! I'll be busy, but I can't think of a better way to stay busy, can you?

I'm on my way to a Lenten luncheon at the local Methodist Church today. Some of the churches take turns on Wednesday's during Lent to have soup lunches. The friend I usually eat with on Weds. is helping with today's lunch. I'll take soup to Mother.
By the way, do you give up something for Lent? I started doing that many years ago when my children were little. They still practice this, too. This year, since I am working on getting back into shape, I've decided that I am giving up sitting in my chair so much. Instead, I'm getting up and exercising.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Look What I Have On My To Do List!!

Not this exactly, but you get the idea, right!? Yep, it's another baby grand daughter to add to our little family!!! She's not due till the end of July!! I am so excited. My daughter just found out yesterday that we would be using more pinks than blues!!!!

Big Sis is dancing for joy!!! She knows how much fun sisters have because she has watched her mom and aunts and cousins in action. Poor Little Man - So out numbered!!!! He'll have to be wary of the nail polish and dress up clothes that all these girl cousins are likely to want to put on him!!

Thanks to all of you who had confidence in my things selling at the auction. I really almost decided not to go, just in case they didn't sell and I would be embarrassed! Whew!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

They Sold!!!!

Yea! My auction dress and the paper cut portrait both sold at the auction. I don't know how much they brought, but they sold!!! Whew!!! I was really scared that they wouldn't. I saw a lady carrying out the dress. I spoke to her, and she told me she was buying it for her grand daughter. I also spoke to the lady who bought the paper cut portrait (sherensnitte) and found out she wants one of her grand son. She'll bring me his picture. I talked to a man who is from Germany, and he told me that sheren means scissors and that snitte means cut. So, that is what this wonderful word means. Doesn't snitte sound like the sound that scissors make when they cut?
In case you don't know what I'm talking about, here are pictures of the dress and an example of the portrait. This one is my grand daughter. I don't think I've posted this one before.

As you can see the picture is flipped. I'm not wild about how the lips came out. There was a shiny spot on her lower lip that I tried to capture, but it just looks a little strange, so this one will be done over. Actually, I think I want to do all of them over, now that I've had more practice. I believe I'll make them a little smaller. Gwen suggested that I hang them at my house rather than give them to my girls. I may just do that, in my hallway!

This little princess went to a daddy/daughter princess dance last night. She got to meet Belle, Cinderella, and other real life princesses!!! She wore the dress that I made her for Christmas. Boy, does that make Granmomma feel good!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Now that my PLEATER is back in shape.........

It's time for me to get that way, too. My husband went for a physical a couple of days ago, and so far all the news has been great. He has lost 11 pounds since his last visit a month ago. His ekg and chest xrays were really good. He's going for a stress test next week. I'm sure he'll do fine. The reason for this check up was because the cholesterol medicine he was on was causing him to have leg cramps. So, the doctor took him off of it and told him to watch his diet and get moving. He has really been working hard in both regards. He hasn't heard what his cholesterol levels are yet. We are very anxious to see how he has done without the medicine.

I have sort of, kind of been going along with him, but only half-heartedly. After visiting
this blog and this blog this morning, I am determined that I am going to fight this funky body I'm in to get it back in shape. Gosh, how long has it been since it's really been in shape. Uh, never.....? Back when I was a teen, I was very thin, and I was very active. I was on the basketball team in high school, and I swam as often as possible. My family and I had some kind of activity going on every day of the year that the weather permitted and there were enough of us around. On other days, I shot basketball after basketball or played ping pong with one of the cousins. But, was I really in shape. I guess so, but I was always one of the slowest on the basketball team, and I was usually out of breath, so I really don't know. I was definitely better off then, than now.

In college, I walked all over campus every day. My classes were always on opposite ends of the campus and back-to-back on my schedule, so really, I guess I jogged rather than walked. If you've ever been on UT's campus you know that the "Hill" is where a lot of classes are held. I didn't have many classes on the "Hill", but mine were always on either side of the "Hill" one after the other. I don't know how my schedule ended up like that every quarter.

I got married while we were still at UT. Our married student apartment building was at the top of 17th Street, which, trust me, was like hiking up a mountain. I don't think I could do it today.

Then, it was motherhood time. I had my first when I was 24, the second at 27, and the last at 30. I absolutely was determined each time to loose the baby fat. And..... I did! Each time! But, it always slowly crept back on when I wasn't paying attention!
After my third child, I did lose the weight, but not for long, and then I gained it back, plus the weight that I had gained with each of the other two on top of it!!! Well, not quite that much, but it felt like it! I also never got exercise, except for chasing after my kids. Some moms swear that that alone takes off their weight, but not mine.

I had never had to watch what I ate before, and I didn't begin then.

So, now, after my kids are grown and have their own kids, and I've been through times of being way overweight and not so overweight, but always overweight, it is time. It is time to get into shape!

I am not going to try to get back to my high school body, ha; like I could anyway. But, I am going to try to get to a weight that makes me comfortable. I need to lose about 20 - 30 pounds to be there. However, just losing the weight isn't going to do it. I need to move, move, move my body!!!

When I visit my mom at the nursing home and realize, that will be me in about 20 or so years, if I don't change my ways, I get scared!!! I am now officially scared enough to do something about it.

I go to the doctor for a check up in March. I am going to set that day as a short term goal to have lost at least 5 pounds and to be exercising at least 30 minutes a day.

In my defense, I do have problems with sciatica. If you've never experienced this, you cannot imagine the pain it causes. I seem to have it under control for now, though, and if I'm careful I won't cause it to flare up again.

THE TIME HAS COME FOR ME TO TAKE CARE OF ME!!!! I want to be healthy and vibrant for my grands!!!!!!!!!!

If you are one of the few who has actually read all the way through this, why not join me? We can encourage each other. I'm going to post about my progress at least once a week. I know, I know this isn't about sewing, writing, or creating in anyway, except for creating a new me!!! I would love to read about your progress, too. I think it would help me to know there are others out there who are struggling the same as I am.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Waxpaper Fix!!!

Thank You! THANK YOU!!! thank you!! Thhhhhhaaaaaannnnnnnkkkkk Yooooouuuuuu!
Do you get the idea that I am grateful to those of you kind souls who offered suggestions for how to fix my smocking pleater needle breaking dilemma?
I tried each of the suggestions, and the wax paper seems to have done the trick!!! I also ordered more needles, but it will be a few days before they come. I practiced on these two pieces of fabric. I'm playing around with the green one. I'm going to try some new stitches on this one and the pink. There was not a pucker nor a skipped stitch to be seen. But, best of all, there were no broken needles, well, there was one, but it must have been bent out of shape. Hey, that's funny, because that's what I was, "bent out of shape"!!! I'm all back to normal (whatever that is) now!!
Again, thank you! What would I do without my blogger friends? I even found a new one today through all of this drama over at sewNso. Thanks Sara, Martha, Crazy Mom, Rachel, Cheryl, and Faye!!! I knew I could count on you to help me!


I have a 24 needle Amanda-Jane pleater that I've had for years. I think I paid about $60 for it!! I must have gotten it on sale, because these things cost lots more than that now! Anyway, mine keeps breaking needles. I blamed it, the first time, on the fabric that I was trying to pleat; it was a little heavier than fabric that is usually pleated. I changed out all of my needles and tried to pleat a very light weight, thin cotton fabric; it happened again. So, I ordered all new needles and changed them again. When I tried the light weight, thin cotton my needles started breaking again. Not only that, but sometimes it will skip a stitch and make a pucker instead of a pleat. I thought perhaps some tiny fibers were clogging up the bars someway or other. I scrubbed them with a toothbrush, but that didn't work either. If I just have the needles in with no fabric the bars seem to turn just fine. Do I need to buy a certain brand of needles? Help me, please!!! It is my plan to make two bishop style Easter dresses. One is a stripe and would be fairly easy to hand pleat, but give me a break, that would take hours, or maybe days!! I just hand pleated the belt for Jenna's and if you go back one post, you'll see that it didn't work so well. I wasn't able to smock it. I even used the holes that were made when I ran it through the pleater, but I ended up with pretty gathers, not pleats. It went almost all the way through before the needles started breaking. The other is a solid, and short of buying and ironing on pleating dots, I don't think I could pleat it by hand.
Why is it that when I see photos of things I've made, I see mistakes that I didn't see before. The belt looks wanky. I'll have to go see if it really does, or if it's just this photo.
I decided that I need to put a little bit of a crinoline slip under this dress. It looks like it wants to stand out a little. I have even given thought to doing a scalloped hem with piping inserted. That would be pretty. Do I have time?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Easter Dress Number Two Done - Well, Almost!

Jenna's Easter dress is finished, except for the hem. I'm waiting on her mom to get a measurement for me before I hem it. I see that the sleeve on the right looks cockeyed, but I promise it's not. I intended to smock the front of the belt, but my pleater has not been cooperating. I'm hoping that the new needles that I ordered will help. Anyway, I ended up pleating this by hand. Then I embellished it with ribbon rose buds and piping.

Close up of the sleeve and its binding

Close up of the neckline piping


You might be able to see the sash carriers are made from the narrow pink ribbon.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I've Been Thinking......(that could be a dangerous thing!)

I have been thinking about starting another blog that is totally different from this one.
I will definitely keep this one, though.
It has been so much fun to meet all you wonderful sewists out there.
If I start a new blog it would be about "grammar". Yes, you read it correctly, "grammar". I am very distressed at times when I read facebook comments, blogs, and even the newspaper to see all kind of mistakes. Now, I'm not saying that my writing is always perfect, but I did teach language arts for many years. I'm just wondering if there would be an audience out there for such a blog. I would try to tackle common mistakes that I see, two or three times a week.
I also have an idea for a blog to help parents ensure that their children are successful students. When I taught, I always started the year with a unit on study skills. It really seemed to help at least a few of my 6th graders. I would have given anything to have been taught some of these skills when I was a student and when I was raising my daughters. I'm actually thinking that these two subjects could be combined into one blog. What could I name it?
How does a blog with sponsors work?
Send me some feedback, please!
I've been thinking about writing a book titled, Happiness is the Definition of Success.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Visits From Some Big Celebrities!!

Elvis entertained at our church Valentine Dinner. He sang, "Love Me Tender".

Taylor Swift sang, "Jump, Then Fall".

We got to be entertained by the song "Mickey" which was dedicated to none other than Mickey and Minnie Mouse, who were our guests.

And, here's one more Scherenschnitte portrait. I'm hoping the mom of this handsome lad will recognize him. I need to get this one framed.

On to working on Jenna's dress. I've been slowly but steadily been making a little progress.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine Royalty, Vintage Valentine's, and the Easter Dress bodice

Royalty was crowned at the nursing home yesterday. They did this the way we used to do in elementary school. Whoever raised the most money won!! Of course, it was family members who voted with their pennies. The guy on the far right was crowned king! He wasn't sure he wanted to leave the table where his cake and cookies were in order to be crowned, but he did. I didn't even vote with my pennies for Mother because they are going to take the winners on a field trip and there's no way she can go anywhere, and because she's been so confused lately that I didn't know how she would be on the day of the party. Now, I'm kind of sorry because she was ok yesterday.

The next four photos are of actual Valentine's that my mother received when she was a child. She had these framed years ago for my girls and me.

These next three are 3D and in shadow box frames.

The next pictures are all out of any kind of order that makes much sense, but here goes.......
This is Jenna's Easter dress from last year. The sleeves and scalloped hem are from an antique tablecloth. Some of you may remember it.

I hand embroidered flowers in each scallop.

This is how I made Kellen's bodice last year. I used pins and a cardboard base to hold the ribbons in place as I wove them.

Then I sewed a backing of lining fabric that was already cut to the bodice pattern piece, and then I cut it out.

For Jenna's this year, I used this large square plastic tray.

I taped the ribbon to the sides as I wove it. Then I sewed the little bitty buttons on at most of the intersections.

Again, just like last year, I cut the bodice from the lining fabric and sewed it to the back of the woven ribbon. Then, I cut it out.

Here it is ready to be made into a dress. But, first the rest of the pattern pieces must be cut out. Ugh..... my least favorite part of sewing.

Tonight is the church's Valentine banquet. My puppet group is the entertainment. I'll get some photos. We are having a guest appearance by Elvis and Taylor Swift, Mickey and Minnie, etc.......

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