Monday, November 29, 2010

Advent Blessings


note: This post was scheduled yesterday, the first Sunday in Advent. Due to unforeseen computer glitches, it didn't post. The sentiment remains the same. 

Advent, the time of waiting and expectancy. It is one of my favorite liturgical seasons. It marks the beginning of the new liturgical year. Happy New Year! No champagne needed. We don't put up our Christmas tree for a few more weeks. As young parents our goal was two fold. One it allowed us the opportunity to celebrate and share with our children the holy season of Advent, and it also allowed us to keep the "Gimme!" frenzy under control with four small children. For years we used a book that was written for young families to pray with our Advent wreath. They became so attached to this little book, they were older teenagers before we were able to get them to let it go. They were a bit old for "be kind to your brother" for an Advent reflection. We use more adult materials now. It has become a well loved tradition in our family.


An Advent reflection
Gift of Wonder 
   "Each year, God asks us to shed one more coat of awareness, one more dream state and come alive to the vision of God’s plan for each of us and the world-at-large.
   "The older we get, the harder this is to do. As children we had a sense of wonder. Our eyes were wide open and drinking in the fascinating gifts we beheld…Our thirsty souls could not have enough of the wonders of creation.
   "Then, somehow, we grew too old to dream. We tired of the abundance of the world, or at least grew weary of keeping up with the feast of life, and stepped away from the banquet of life.
   "The natural gift of wonder God gave us as children was meant to be kept alive.…Instead we let wonder go to sleep. We entered the typical dream state of most humans.
   "Why else does Jesus tell us today, ‘Stay awake!’…Advent says, ‘Wake up and realize the gifts of love you have received.’
   "…Psychology says, ‘Let go.’ Spirituality says, ‘Wake up.’ In both cases there is a withdrawal from the busyness of daily life (our dream state) and a waking up to the subconscious and spiritual depths of ourselves."


. . . . . . . . . . . Rev. Alfred McBride, O. Praem


Advent blessings to you, faithful reader. May this time of waiting, of looking for light in the darkness, of the coming of the Incarnation richly bless you in the days approaching Christmas.
 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sweet simplicity

Jesse Wilcox Smith

It is the simple things in life that give us life. I love this sweet picture. I stumbled across this website several months ago. I love this artist's depictions of children involved in child like pursuits. This sweet mommy is sewing for her dollies. She is so intent as they all patiently wait for their new dress. I love her reticule in the foreground of the picture. I wonder if hers is as stuffed as mine. 


I hope those that ventured out yesterday survived. 


Me? I shopped a tiny bit with my fingers, in my pajamas. You couldn't have drug me to a mall for all the tea in China.


I hung out with this chick instead.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Let Christmas Begin

I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday. Ours was tasty and fun. Surrounded by almost all of our kids. A few were missing, but they were remembered. Dinner was on the table right on time. Yummy!!

If you haven't already, it is time to start the Christmas stitching in earnest! I stumbled across this cute embroidery and wanted to share.I love the one with ear muffs. So cute.

We needed ear muffs and hats here yesterday. Chilly brrrrr.

What do you have planned to stitch for the holidays this year? My list is always longer than time permits.


A parting shot, a little frost on our little punkin'

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

All American Holiday Wishes


I love to perpetuate fictitious stereotypes, especially around the holidays. What is wrong with this picture? Well the kitchen is clean during the preparation process, the mother is dressed in her best and it is clean! and the child commandeered to do the dishes is smiling! All of that is about as believable as


the turkey flying himself in for dinner!

Like all good holidays, it starts the day before in the kitchen. That is where you will find me today. I'd rather be stitching. I am not an anthropologist by a long shot, but I am sure the new trend of bar-b-qued turkey arose from wives wanting their husbands to help with holiday cooking!

All kidding aside, I would like to wish you faithful reader,



May your turkey be juicy, your silver sparkling, your family harmonious and the noise in front of the game be a dull roar.




Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Window on Italy


Buongiorno!!!! We are home. Exhausted but home. I could fill volumes but instead, I will let the pictures tell the story.



















And some smocking too! Saw this sweet dress in a shop window in Venice. Sadly I didn't see any anywhere else. I may have to copy this precious little dress.


Hopefully tonight my body clock will realize I am stateside. Until tomorrow faithful reader.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hmmmm, I wonder-again

First posted here


Do you sometimes scratch your head and say "Hmm?" I had to chuckle when I saw these pincushions.

I thought of a couple of things. First, my husband, bless his heart, (where I am from you always know someone is getting ready to say something less than edifying when prefaced with "bless ____'s heart.") has this saying when something is less than optimum but better than dismal. "Well it is better than a sharp stick in the eye." I mean really? Isn't ANYTHING better than a sharp stick in the eye? I asked him once if he had ever been stuck in the eye with a sharp stick in order to know this. Or even a dull stick. How do you know if you have never experienced it?

The second thing I immediately thought was, "How could you stick pins in that? Its an eyeball for pete's sake!" Didn't our mothers tell us for millenia "Be careful you're going to poke your eye out!" I don't think I could stick pins in one of these pincushions. Gives me the heebie jeebies.

The Daily Pincushion

Now THIS is a pincushion I could enjoy!!! I love cute pincushions. You can never have too many. I have several. Though I did think I had misplaced most of them for a few days. My daughter, aka "Attila the Hun Organizer", put them all away in one box together! I was adrift not being able to have all dozen of my pincushions in use simultaneously. Organizing can be overrated.

I'll be home soon. I wonder if it is possible to be sick of pasta? Nah, I didn't think so either.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Closing Out SAGA Convention


The last two days of convention I took classes from Jeannie Baumeister of the Old Fashioned Baby. Saturday's Class was Petticoats for Babies and Toddlers. This is a picture I took recently. Sadly my camera card had a hiccup a I had limited photo capabilities the last few days.( A situation that was remedied before we left for Italy.) As you can see I didn't get much accomplished in class that day. I had entered full-on panic mode over the christnening gown. So I was "one of those students" who marched to my own drummer that day. I was smocking and featherstitching. It was a very useful class. I was listening and learned a lot, just didn't get a chance to execute it while there. I promise to finish it soon.

Saturday night is a highlight of the week, banquet. And while everyone enjoys seeing the new board installed and saying farewell to the outgoing board, what they really want to see are


is their name drawn for the many coveted raffle baskets. Members, businesses and chapters donate baskets each year to be raffled at convention. It is one of the highlights of the week. Unless you are like me and they didn't call your name! Oh well, there is next year.


Sunday's class wrapped the week up again with Jeannie Baumeister with a hand embroidery class called Flower Initials. Very sweet embroidery on a linen hand towel that will be made into a gift for someone.

All in all it was a wonderful week. I learned a lot and had great fun.


But hands down what makes the week for me are the people. It is like one great big slumber party with eating and stitching thrown in. These are just a few of the faces I look forward to seeing each year and this is a fraction of them. Until next fall when I will zip off to California to do it all over again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twisted


Twisted Cables that is. Friday of SAGA convention is a short class day, just 3 hours of class. That is because the afternoon is blocked off for a retail market. A wonderful mecca for those who have no local heirloom sources. It is wonderful to see fabrics, laces and buttons first hand instead of only online. As well as new patterns being released. But who among doesn't love to shop for what we love most, fabric!?


My Friday morning class was with Judith Marquis. It was my first class with Judith. This class was inspired by the cabled knitting patterns Judith had seen. She wanted to know if she could translate this concept into smocking. I could never have arrived at this. It was more of a sampler/notebook class as opposed to a project. I like the ways the tones of colors play off of one another. Thank you Dawn for reading the class supply list correctly and sharing your supplies with me.

For the first time in many years, I was not one of the first ones in the door for market that afternoon. There were many reasons, one there wasn't a thing I needed, but more importantly I was entering into full on christening gown panic by then.


It was 9 days until baby's christening and this was all I had to show for it. I borrowed a friend's machine and was upstairs in my room feverishly working on lace placement for the front skirt.

I did get a chance to run downstairs and quickly meet Laura of Ellie Inspired. She is just as nice in person. Oh, and I did make ONE purchase. No convention is complete without some of what I call, Jeannie buttons. I loved antique mother of pearl buttons and Jeannie B. of The Old Fashioned Baby never lets me down. She was shocked to find out I use them. What did she think I was doing with them? Stashing them? Well of course I stash them, but I do use them as well. It makes me smile to see those beautiful MOP buttons on garments I have made.

My Jeannie buttons live in a basket all their own on the shelf. When I moved my sewing room my daughter was loading up the shelves. I showed her the basket and reminded her she had to save a spot for them to be close at hand.

My covention report is almost complete. I hope you are stitching on something fun, faithful reader.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sweet, Sweet Wee Care Gown


I have written here before about Wee Care and how near and dear to my heart it is. One of the highlights at SAGA covention every year is the Wee Care Trunk Show as well as the collecting of Wee Care gowns from chapters and members from all over the country.

Each year at convention members/chapters bring or send gowns. blankets and bonnets to be collected at that convention and donated to a local hospital in the town where the convention is held. I believe this year that the 1100, (yes you read that right, ELEVEN HUNDRED) items collected were donated to the NICU units at  Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters and Portsmouth Naval Hospital1100 items. That is remarkable. Stitchers have the biggest hearts.

Posted at Chadwick's Heirlooms

The little gown above really caught my eye. I just love its sweetness. It is reminiscent of Sarah Howard Stone's "Babette" pattern. In a teeny tiny version.


The precious contrasting ruffle, trimmed with ecru laces and finished off with three sweet teeny bullion roses. It looks to be made from Swiss batiste. Only the finest for these precious angels.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How Does your Garden Grow?


How does my garden grow? Well this second day of classes at SAGA convention it was growing with Gail Doane. I wrote about my day here as well. Gail is another great teacher SAGA has been blessed to feature. If you get a chance to take a class with Gail, don't pass it up. One of Gail's hallmarks is that she sews real clothes for real children but with fabulous finishing techniques. The things she makes need to hold up under the rigors of childhood. She wants good looking clothes, with good design and a bit of whimsy that will survive on the playground if need be. Not every project is going to be a First Communion Dress to be worn once.


My dress bodice traced and ready to start stitching. They look a little like alien flowers at this point. The dress fabric is pique and will be trimmed in gingham. Can you go wrong trimming with gingham? I don't think so.


I'll share one little tidbit I learned during that class. I have been very vocal on my thoughts about how tracing with pencil is evil. I know a bit of a strong viewpoint, but mine none the less. Gail did share a tip about tracing the pattern piece outline with pencil but still tracing the embroidery design with blue wash out marker. That way if you need to wash your embroidered piece before you begin construction, you won't lose your pattern piece marking. Because we know that pencil is not coming out!






Here is my garden in its present state. Not bad for a day's work. I probably would have gotten more done if I had not been visiting with my neighbor(s). That is the downfall sometimes of taking class surrounded by friends. We have talked about the kids, the husbands, the state of the world at large, friends that aren't there; you get the picture. That cuts into your stitching time.


Also too this purple flower about kicked my rear. I don't remember what the stitch is called off the top of my head, but I was all thumbs. It needs about 7000 more petals before it is done, (just kidding) but I was done with it that day. One of my table mates, the stitcher who made the precious red/white bishop posted a few days ago, was whipping through this purple thing like it was nothing! She kept declaring how easy it was. I wanted to smack her.

I am anxious to finish this project. Hopefully before Gail visits my local chapter in January. We are very fortunate that she is coming here to teach for us. We'll see if that goal is achieved.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Beautiful Bows for a Beautiful Baby


This was me after I returned home from SAGA convention. Except these people are walking too slow. My feet hit the ground running and my fingers were flying to finish the christening gown. After all of the rush was over, I realized I never shared with you, faithful reader, about my classes or any pictures of the wonderful time I had in Norfolk.


I did describe my first day of class here, with all of its typos, but no pictures. My first class as I reported earlier was Beautiful Bows, with Judith Adams. This is not the best picture of Judith, but I wasn't on my A-game that day. Remember, that was the day I had to go to the dentist.


This is the sample for the class. Judith's dress is made from teeny pique. The over lay is English netting. So pretty.


This is my project. I have taken it on my trip with me. I got pretty far considering I missed half of the morning with an unknown dentist in my mouth. It also helps that I am only making a size 6-9 months. I only have one row of bows. I am sure it will be smocked before I return home. There isn't much left to do. The fabric I chose is Swiss flannel in a light blue. I was in a rush and it was what I grabbed from the stash. Plus it pleats like butter. It looks really nice with the champagne colored English netting. It will be a pretty dress for our baby.