Today, Memorial Day, is not just about fallen soldiers of wars gone by;
elderly gentleman saluting the colors, bedecked in medals worn proudly;
nor small flags snapping in the breeze around many neighborhoods.
Its not about majestic monuments
and it is certainly not about politicians stumping at picnics and nursing homes.
It is about heroes. It is about not only those lost, but those left behind. I don't know who this young woman is or if she is aware that her photo is all over the internet. I do know, she is a hero. Not only did her young soldier pay the price for our freedom, so did she. Take a moment to remember her as well and give a prayer of thanks. A prayer of thanks for all the freedoms we enjoy and for those who bought those freedoms. None of them came without a price to be paid.
I can almost taste the cherry popsicle and see the cherry red smile. Adorable and perfect for summertime. I have this fabric in another color way. Something like this could make it to the que for summer. We will see.
Were you watching? I was. I was very happy with the result. I sure hope the "former paint salesman" moniker can be dropped now. Poor guy, he is more than a paint salesman.
That aside, this was the best moment of the night. The best, hands down. (Click on the pic to watch on YouTube.)
I feel like I have neglected you, faithful reader. I feel like I have neglected me too! I have only picked up a needle to move it in the past week and I am starting to get a bit cranky about it. I did spend an afternoon showing my daughter how to make piping and do buttonholes. But that has been it. So what have I been doing?
Well I have been gathering bids for this
Enticing pictures like this are what suck you in. (This is NOT, so NOT, my house!) Because like childbirth, there is a lot they don't tell you or remind you of when you embark on this endeavor. And that is you are going to have to clean out your closets and generally wreak havoc in your house! I don't clean out closets, I move. See there is an upside to being married to a military guy all those years, you move just about the time your closets and basement need a good overhaul. We have been in this house ten and half years. I have NEVER lived in one house this long. Never.
The closets and basement have taken on a life of their own. It is horrendous. And the thought of cleaning them out is just overwhelming to me.
But today is what my best friend used to call a pajama day. Don't call and ask me to lunch, I will have to quickly come up with a plausible excuse as to why I can't go. I have scurvy, vampire syndrome, jumping man disease. Anything. I am not getting dressed or leaving my house. I don't know if I will get a chance to stitch, but if you aren't home, you never get a chance. Wish me luck.
I leave you with a happy. How can Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma not make you smile? Enjoy!
No I have not gotten lost. First no internet, then no air conditioning. Today, a baby momma that feels kind of puny. In other words, life.
Since having internet back this morning seemed liked having a new toy, I browsed through Flickr and found this beauty. Isn't it pretty? Just a something sweet in one of my favorite color combos, pink and green. Love it.
Hope life is treating you well in your corner of the world.
Will you be watching tomorrow night? This guy gets my vote!
First of all, thank you, to everyone for the blogoversary wishes. You make me blush. I truly appreciate your kind words. You're the best!
Now onto the post at hand. Does this picture not make you just drool? I don't know how I got to this blog but I had an immediate split personality when I landed there. First, pure delight at the beauty of it. Second, pure green eyed envy at the fact it wasn't mine. I will freely admit that I don't have much room to grumble. I am fortunate enough to live in a 3 bedroom house with a sewing room versus the 4 bedroom house we bought. That was not always true. For years my sewing room was the end of the dining room, the corner of the bedroom, a corner of the family room or a portion of the basement. Now I have a dedicated sewing room.
I realize that I am fortunate. I would have to admit that I am also very selfish with it. When we first moved into this house 10 years ago, I squished all three girls into one bedroom so I could have a sewing room. In my defense, that was about 12 weeks before oldest child was leaving home again. And I did take the smallest bedroom available at the time. I mean, geez louise!
I will admit that every time a child has left a larger room unoccupied I am quick to take over. Sadly, I didn't move quickly enough when youngest child flew the coop. While I was still pondering moving my sewing room, she came back! I won't make that mistake this next time. She is moving out again at the end of the month. I am getting set to make my move. I am gathering ideas. (It has been speculated that if my husband were to leave this earthly home, I would have my sewing room moved in next to my mahagony poster bed before the flowers died. Why would they say that about me?)
I have always said that I must not have passed "classification" in first grade. I am the chick who always ends up with several drawers for "miscellaneous" because I don't know what to do with one of something, or three apparently non-related items. This room is so stinkin' organized. Scrapbookers I think are inherently well organized. I my defense, it is much easier to organize flat paper than folded fabric, but still.
And why has Ikea not come to my town? Is a population of over 1.5 million not enough? Surely you can trap enough people inside your store when there are 1.5 million to choose from. My son is sure that part of their retail success is based on the fact that once you are in the store, you are trapped. For. Hours. That is his story. I have never been to Ikea, so I know not of what he speaks.
For sure I am NOT sharing my sewing room with a washer and dryer! Gives me nightmares to think about it. In the first 25 years I was married I WORE out 4 washers from all the stinkin' laundry. I am sure not sharing my personal paradise with a damn washing machine. The warmth of the dryer in the winter would be a nice touch.
I am going to apologize right off the bat, my photo taking mojo is not working at all today. Bad lighting, gray day. But all that aside, I finished up the flying bishop yesterday. All in all it turned out okay. Not fancy, not special occasion but pretty. I am so glad I figured out how to pipe the neckline of a bishop. I really like that look. The cording I used is tee-tiny.
I rarely smock the sleeves but I did this time because I wanted the ecru lace. I usually finish them with a bias binding so I decided to step out this time. I had bought this as a kit. I replaced the white lace that came on it for ecru lace.
I also replaced the white buttons for antique mother of pearl buttons. The buttons didn't look ecru until I put them alongside the ecru smocking. So perfect. I wasn't going to add a snap at the neck but I may now that I see it gapping a bit in this picture.
I had a heck of a time getting decent pictures today. Still not totally happy with them. Could it be I was distracted
by this guy? Looks cute, doesn't he? NOT! He would never mow down those two weeds right in front of him, no siree bob! He will mow down mucho bucks worth of bedding plants though.
Here is his friend/sibling. They know I am not a fan, see that side eye look I am getting? Must be a teenager. Next on the agenda, a couple of quick gifts and then all of these dresses need slips. I have four slips to make. Then onto the gown I think.
Isn't this gown exquisite? (This is NOT stitched by me.) The creator has a lovely description in her Flickr post, but since I barely speak English, I have no idea what it says. It looks like it is made from silk. I normally go for pure white, off white gowns but I will say that touch of ice blue across the bottom of the bodice is quite beautiful.
I need to start compiling supplies for a very special christening gown. I think it is going to be an adaptation of OFB's French Acadian Christening Gown. The things we know so far is it will be longer, and pretty sure that the yoke will be adapted to add smocking. I need to work on an embroidery design(s).
What ever this day means to you, may it bring you joy, peace and comfort. It is the best job I have ever had. I am grateful every day to be called Mom. On this day, I say "Thank You." Thank you to my children for making me a mother.
Like I asked before, how long does it take to smock a baby bishop? One transatlantic flight and a layover. The only thing missing are the bullion roses around the bottom. Those are almost done now. Here it is waiting to dry after I blocked it.
A close up of the smocking. My daughter wanted an ecru and white bishop similar to one she has seen on Sara's blog. And I realized I had not done a bishop for the baby yet. This one was pleated already so I pulled out my trusty Anchor color card to choose floss colors.
Since I didn't have a lot of extra time when I was preparing to leave town, I used a kit I had purchased a while back from Australian Smocking and Embroidery. The dress is called Beginnings from issue #73. It is a poly/cotton fabric. I love using Swiss voile, Swiss Batiste etc, but sometimes I think a new mommy might appreciate something a bit more wash and wear. This mommy is not adverse to ironing, but everyone needs a break now and then. An added bonus? This design stitches up crazy fast! So I am off to finish up the roses and do construction.
As I wrote in my previous post, I didn't really buy a whole big bunch while I was across the pond. I did have the pleasure of visiting Liberty of London. Liberty prints have long been revered and sought after. I am no different. Many fabric retailers carry Liberty prints. Even Target as recently partnered with Liberty to offer a line of Liberty items in their retail stores.
Understandably the LIberty items offered at Target are not made from the same long staple cotton or silk available from the regular Liberty line but they do offer a glimpse into Liberty that many people may not have seen.
I loved the silk scarves at Liberty. I was tempted to splurge but fought off the urge.
I did get two prints that I think will be sweet little bishops. The rose print is very similar to a calico print I made into a bishop for my daughter when she was about 3. She loved it and literally wore it out. Hopefully these little bishops will be much loved as well.
These could have been the sounds heard when I laid down in my much missed bed Sunday night. Our trip was wonderful, but English hotel beds are brutal. In case you were wondering, red-eye flights are for the birds. Great in theory, awful in practice. We slept our first day in England away. I am okay with it, otherwise I would have been drooling on myself in public. It is much better to do it in a dark hotel room.
Hyde Park Gate Lodge
This was our first glimpse of the things that awaited us. The weather was glorious, sunny most every day and mild temps. I am told that this is unusual in springtime England. I will accept it as a gift.
Beefeater sharing a word with young visitors
We saw the Tower of London, Big Ben, the Crown Jewels, etc. and lots and lots and lots of people. Taxis by the thousands and buses everywhere in London itself. Not as much in Cambridge.
Liberty of London
Of course a visit here was necessary. I didn't buy but two pieces of lawn. I bought prints I really liked, but the fact that we are such a global economy means that there is always another day to buy more. It is only a mouse click away when I want it. The store is a treat though. We tend to only think of Liberty of London as fabric, but it is so much more.
A pub catering to tourists expecting to find 221B Baker Street.
(Psst, the address is as fictional as the character)
We did the bus tour and this was a sight we saw on the way.
Unusual seating at an outdoor cafe.
We also went to the Camden Market. Oh my! All I can say is, "Toto, we aren't in Kansas anymore."
King's College Chapel at dusk
Our trip then took us to Cambridge. LOVED Cambridge. Loved.
A few of millions
Two words would describe Cambridge, antiquity and BICYCLES! Bicycles everywhere. They are leaning against almost every building, speeding down every lane, passage and roadway. I will say though, they are mostly polite.
King's College Chapel
To think that Henry VIII could come back and find this chapel unchanged, is mind boggling. The fan vault ceiling is much more impressive in person. As was the sight of seeing Anne Boleyn's crest and initials in the carvings of the organ screen. I took the opportunity to attend Evensong one day. The choir was wonderful and the spirit of the place was awe inspiring.
King Henry VIII over Trinity College Gate
Of course college students can universally be
Is something amiss here?
pranksters. Instead of a sceptre, he is holding a chair leg! Early last century a student took away his kingly sceptre and replaced it with a chair leg. Any bets on whether he had partaken of a pint or plenty?
Clare College gate
Punting on the River Cam
There is much to see in Cambridge and it can be done leisurely.
We returned to London for a few days and a trip to London is not complete without a stop at the world famous Harrod's.
Harrod's Food Hall
Harrod's and Selfridges both are HUGE. Both stores are known for their luxury goods such as Prada, Chanel and Tiffany's. What many don't realize is, after you purchase your £50,000 diamonds downstairs, just jog upstairs and grab cereal and milk for breakfast in the morning. The food halls in both stores have exotic foods from all over the world right alongside the milk, bread and cereal.
I could NOT convince my husband that our baby needed one of these to the tune of £2500! At today's exchange rate that is almost 4K. He thought that was a tad indulgent. Men!
The Orangery at Kensington Palace
I did drag him to afternoon tea again though. Sadly, I may have played that card for the last time. He is just not a big fan of tiny sandwiches and tarts. I am not really sure where his mother went wrong in his raisin'; he just doesn't take delight in that ritual as much as I do. I will say, the tea!!!!! Was. Delightful. No matter where we went, I didn't have to ask for cream/milk. Ever. It was assumed that I would want it. Of course I did! It was brewed just the way I like, hot and strong. And those cordless kettles, heaven.
Changing of the guard
Can any trip to London be complete without a trip to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard? I say NO! Of course this shot doesn't include the throngs of people there with you.
There is a drawback to a trip to England..
it will make you want to come home and plow up your yard!!!!! These are formal gardens, but the gardens everywhere were beautiful. Tidy, precise, green and flowering; whether it was a palace or a small back garden seen from the train.
I am home again and in case you were wondering how long it takes to smock a baby bishop? One transatlantic flight and a layover in the sweltering Philly airport. I hope to get the construction finished on it and the coming home dress this week.
You were all missed and I am glad to be home.
And just a tiny FYI, it is time to register for SAGA National Convention. I have chosen my classes, have you? I will be spending my week in classes with Judith Adams, Gail Doane, Judith Marquis and Jeannie Baumeister. I hope to see you there. Perhaps my poor stumps, aka feet, will have recovered by then.
"Southern Matriarch" that is what my oldest daughter has dubbed me from time to time. What she really said is "You have not lived until you have been raised by a Southern Belle with strong religious principles." Some kids have it tough.
This Southern Matriarch has been married for 35 years and mother of four great kids, three sons in law and three of the most beautiful grand-babies on the planet. I believe in southern charm, manners and family connections. God has blessed my life.
My passions besides my family and faith are just about anything that involves a needle and thread. Have been sewing almost my whole life. I love heirloom sewing, smocking and hand embroidery. My #1 favorite project to do is a christening gown. There is no greater joy than to create something memorable for a baby's most important day.