Thursday, June 30, 2011

One Week. One Year.

It's been one week since I headed off to Louisiana and the Old Fashioned Baby Sewing and Spiritual Retreat.  I must still be on vacation mode.  Not much has been accomplished since my return!
My project is still in pieces:  a sweet yoke embellished with yummy Swiss embroidery, French lace and tucks, and a skirt embellished with more tucks and Swiss edging.  The end result will be a darling little slip dress with delicate embroidery above the skirt's tucks. 
It will be finished someday soon, I promise!

The retreat was three blissful days of fun, friends, fellowship and stitching!
Jeannie and Belinda did a fantastic job of spoiling each and every one of us.  These are just a few of the special favors and mementos.

There was also time for Bible study, a renewal and strengthening of faith and spirit.
It could not come at a more appropriate time for me.

It was one year ago today that I underwent the first of three eye surgeries.
I try very hard to put this all behind and forge ahead.  I do not want to dwell on the past.
However, it has been on my mind so much as this anniversary approached.
I want to forget the anger, fear and pain.
I want to open my eyes each morning and not be afraid.
I am not sure that will ever happen.
There is so much goodness I want to always remember.
I never want to forget how I was held in the strong and loving arms of a great God.
I never want to forget how so many of you reached out to me and my family, surrounded us with your prayers, and carried us when we stumbled in our faith and hope.
I still miss my contact lenses!
I still hate to wear glasses.
I am so thankful for the vision I have.
I am becoming used to dark dancing blobs, and don't try to chase as many imaginary creatures darting across the floor, or swat as many fantasy flies.
Artificial tears have become my constant companion, as has smudged mascara!
All in all, I am blessed.
Each of you are part of that blessing.

The following verse became one of my favorites this past year.  It was also one read this past weekend.
Maybe so, or maybe not.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
~Matthew 6:34~

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Bags are Packed

My sewing machine is in its pretty purple traveling case.
Sewing supplies are stowed in a favorite tote.
Jammies and clothes are in my trusty carpet bag.
I am ready to go!

Heading over to Louisiana, I will join my friend, the Southern Matriarch, for this year's Old Fashioned Baby Spiritual Sewing Retreat.
Please visit Jeannie's blog to view this sweet confection we will be stitching.
I hope the wonky eyes are up for the challenge!

Be back soon -- and maybe with at least a partially completed project!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dad . . .

Tom and Martin, May 1985

To be your father is the greatest honor I have ever received.  It allowed me to touch mystery for a moment, and to see my love made flesh.  If I could have but one wish, it would be for you to pass that love along.  After all, there is not much more to life than that.
~Kent Nerburn~

Daddy, Amsterdam 1995

To all fathers . . .
Those with us today, and those who live always in our hearts,
Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Something old, something new . . .

Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

Once, it seemed that June was the month for weddings.
Now, the other eleven months of the year are almost as popular.  We will be attending no June weddings this year, but there are several planned for later in the summer.

It also seems many of the long time traditions are giving way to newer traditions.
During some recent cleaning and reorganizing of my sewing room, I discoverd this garter made several years ago.

Many of the recent weddings I have attended, do not include the traditional tossing of the garter.
Since I love ribbon, lace and traditions, there is still a place in my heart for the traditional wedding garter -- even if it is not tossed.
It can simply be something kept, as a reminder of a joyful day.

This particular garter was created with white French laces and ecru silk satin ribbon.
I usually make the elastic casing out of lace, also.  It looks as pretty from the inside, as the outside!
A knotted rosette embellishes the front.

A knotted rosette or frou-frou is made by tying loose knots at equal increments along a length of narrow ribbon.  The ribbon is then gathered and tied into a rosette.  These types of rosettes are also seen on baby bonnets and other types of heirloom clothing.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Magnolias for Karen

A few weeks ago, I mentioned my magnolia tree and a special story behind it.
We once lived in a neighborhood with a wonderful tradition.
Each Spring, magnolia trees were presented to residents who had welcomed a new addition or bid farewell to a family member during the previous twelve months.
In the Spring of 1998, I received a tree in memory of my sister Karen.

Karen was my only sibling, and two years older.
She was the typical big sister, always teasing me, telling me what to do, and how to do it.

She was always pretty as a picture!

We stood by each other's side as vows were repeated.

We became mothers and watched our children grow.
We were very much alike in some ways, and very different in others.

Those differences became very real as we dealt with and grieved our mother's death from cancer.
Two years later, Karen's diagnosis with cancer would bring us full circle.
We both swallowed our pride and buried our bitterness and differences.
I was by her side when she left us to join Mother.
Only eight months had passed since we first learned of her cancer.
I could not believe that we would not grow old together.

In the months that followed her death, we placed our home on the market and made plans to move to a different part of the metroplex.  The magnolia tree remained in its container and followed us.
It now is planted in our front yard -- a reminder of a special neighborhood and a special sister.

Today would have been her 59th birthday.
I miss her more now than that day we said farewell.
Happy Birthday, Karen!

Passing time can never fade
All the special memories made;
Loved ones never really part
For they live inside your heart.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Simple Summer Sewing

Yes, I do still remember where my sewing room is.  I even managed to remember how to thread the machine!  I am sure it was beginning to wonder if it would ever be used again.
It seemed wise to begin with something rather simple.  To make it even more simple, a pattern that I have used previously.

The top is cut in one piece.  Cannot get much more simple!
The pocket is gathered with elastic across the top, creating a tiny ruffle.
The cutest part is in the back, with bloomers peeking out!
Even more cute, would have been some ruffles across the back of those bloomers.  Need to remember that for next time.

Now, that I have one completed project under my belt, maybe I am finally ready to tackle a few more.
It felt good to be back in the sewing room!

We seem to have already settled into sweltering summer temperatures.  My days of playing outside may be over.  Hopefully, that means there will be more time for playing in my sewing room!

Linking to Sew Darn Crafty Party!
;sew many ways

Pattern is Mary by B&B's Blueprints.
Floral fabric is Corner Florist from City Weekend by Oliver +S, a Moda Fabric collection.
Lining and bloomers are Cottontail Aqua stripe.
Trim is Ice Aqua rick rack.
Pattern and supplies available through BessieMary.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Your life will be richer if on this day
You will make an effort to:
Mend a quarrel.
Search for a forgotten friend.
Dismiss a suspicion and replace it with trust.
Write a letter to someone who misses you.
Encourage someone who has lost faith.
Keep a promise.
Forget an old grudge.
Examine your demands on others, and vow to reduce them.
Fight for a principle.
Express your gratitude.
Overcome an old fear.
Take two minutes to appreciate the beauty of nature.
Tell someone you love them.
Tell them again.
And again.
And again.
~Author Unknown~

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sweet Summer Fruit

The heat, humidity and high cooling bills are a few things I do not like about summer.
The abundance of sweet fresh fruit is one of the delights!

Last week's plans included joining friends for an evening of discussion and nibbling.
I was all set to take a plate of strawberries, cantaloupe and blackberries, dressed up with a sweet dip on the side.
Unfortunately, our local skies and weather had something else in mind.
The storm warnings and wailing sirens had me heading toward the closet for shelter, instead.
We survived the storms just fine, and I enjoyed all the lovely fruit myself!

The dip is a variation on a strawberry dessert that I often served for brunch.
I discovered it is just as delicious with other types of fresh fruit.  For ease in serving, fruit kabobs can be made using small skewers, or small picks can be used for dipping pieces of fruit.
For me and my leftover fruit, a bowl and spoon was just fine!

I did sprinkle a little brown sugar on the fruit pictured, but that step can be skipped when the fruit is being skewered and dipped.

Rose Hill Strawberries
8 oz sour cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 pints whole strawberries, washed and hulled
2-1/2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

Combine sour cream and maple syrup, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Arrange strawberries in 8 dessert bowls.  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over strawberries and chill.
Pour sour cream mixture over strawberries and serve.
~From Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi's cookbook, "Come On In!" ~

Hope your summer is off to a sweet start!

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