Monday, February 28, 2011

Children's Corner Hillary

Hillary, by Children's Corner, has always been a favorite of mine!
I made this little version several years ago, using a floral print (no longer available) and a coordinating gingham.
I have fabrics pulled to make another Hillary, but still attempting to clean and organize my sewing room.
I may just have to admit defeat on the cleaning and organizing and start sewing!

The square neckline, and combination of pleats and gathers in the front, make this design a little different from most basic square yoke dresses.
I adore turn cord bows.  The front of this little dress just seemed to beg for one.
After all, everything is better with a bow!

Sweet design touches continue on the back of the dress, with a v-shaped neckline and yoke overlap.
It is the perfect spot for a decorative Mother of Pearl button!

I also used the gingham for the skirt placket, just to add another small and special touch!
Sorry for the fuzzy pictures.
I think my camera is suggesting that I need to continue cleaning and save photography for another day!

Whether cleaning or stitching, may it be a good Monday for you!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Every word of God is pure:
he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
~Proverbs 30:5~

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rochester Report

Artwork honoring nursing professionals at Mayo Clinic, Rochester

Our recent trip to Rochester was timed perfectly!
A few days with highs above freezing had melted some of the snow.  Temperatures during our stay were not  nearly as numbing as during our last visit.
The day we left, a winter storm warning was issued.  The following day set records for snow accumulation in a 24-hour period.
By that time, we were well on our way South toward family and friends!

Once again, I was touched as I walked the halls of the clinic.  Being the Friday before a holiday weekend, the whole complex seemed a little more quiet -- except for the carillon bells in the Plummer Building tower. We arrived in downtown Rochester just in time to catch the end of Friday's regularly scheduled concert.

Although I arrived at Mayo 7 West early, I was quickly ushered back to the treatment rooms.  One of the medical students from my previous visit is still on rotation within the Ophthamology Department.  I enjoyed hearing of his current studies and plans.  It is encouraging to know the future will provide physicians to treat conditions such as mine.

My surgeon is pleased with my progress.
Most likely, I will always have some double vision when looking certain directions, or when shifting my gaze too quickly..

I need to channel some of this wise one's traits,
and remember to turn my head, more than quickly moving my eyes.
Unfortunately, my neck does not operate quite the same!

The water soluable sutures in my eyes have finally disappeared after two months.
Permanent sutures remain hidden beneath my lower eyelids.  They will add stability to the optic muscles.
During this visit, those sutures were adjusted and trimmed.

One of the biggest problems I now experience is dry eyes.
Thyroid disease alters the composition of natural tears.  They become less viscous, and do not lubricate the eys as well.  Artifical tears have become my best friend and constant companion.
In an attempt to help my eyes retain more moisture, plugs were inserted into my tear ducts.  I can discern a slight improvement in the moisture of my eyes, but still need to supplement with eye drops.
Should the problem continue, and cause additional damage to the corneas, I may need to consider eyelid retraction surgery.  We will revisit that possibility when I return to the Mayo next November.

My depth perception is improving, and could continue to improve over the next few months.
Dark blobs and floaters will most likely remain, but I am slowly learning to ignore them most of the time.
My vision acuity and peripheral vision have decreased significantly.

My life has changed.
Many things are no longer a part of it.

A few weeks ago, I forced myself to clean out my bathroom cabinet and drawers.
The contacts and contact solutions were pitched, along with the eyelash curler and other eye makeup.
Due to last summer's orbital decompression surgeries, I can no longer use an eyelash curler.  My eyes are now more deeply set, and no curler "fits".  It was a strange, and somewhat sad, realization.  We take so many of our daily routines for granted.  I must now treat my eyes more gently.  There can still be makeup, but just in different forms and methods.
I figure the amount of money I now save on cosmetics can be spent on favorite flavor milkshakes or cute new glasses.

Thank goodness for today's fashionable eyeglasses.  I can hardly wait for my new cool specs to arrive in a few weeks! 

I will not miss what I saw with wonky eyes:  the mishmash of shapes and objects, the inability to walk a straight line or drive a car.
I pray I never forget how I saw with wonky eyes.
I viewed life very differently during that time, and it was a great blessing.
I have always considered myself a compassionate person.  I am trying to be even moreso now.

I have always believed that we must suffer loss in order to appreciate abundance.
We must experience pain to recognize the gift of good health.
We must overcome sadness to feel joy.
We never fully understand faith until it is the only thing to which we cling.

The last two years held all those feelings, and so much more.
For one year, I dealt with a thyroid gone crazy, heart palpitations, decreased liver function, loss of my voice and difficulty in swallowing.
Just when I thought I had endured it all, my vision was threatened and my eyes crossed.
Now, I stand on the brink of renewed health and restored vision.
I never want to forget.   Yet I do not want to keep longing back.

While waiting for doctor appointments, lying in hospital beds or recovering at home, this song has been played nonstop on my iPod.
It is a new day.
For the first time, in a long time, I know I will be OK.
Even if wonky eyes return, I will be OK.

My prayer has always been to accept my path and any limitations with grace.  God has granted so much more, and now I pray to remain forever grace-filled and grateful.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for every prayer, message of hope, and word of encouragement.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


May your unfailing love rest upon us oh Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
~Psalm 33:22~

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Time for a Check-up!

We are headed to Minnesota and Mayo Clinic again,
and there is no snow in the forecast this time!
Actually, the daytime temperatures should be above freezing while we are there!

This is my first post-surgery check up.
I am eager to hear my surgeon's thoughts about my current condition and future treatment.

I have the little bishop* from yesterday's entry packed, and plan to do some smocking as we drive.
Or, I may just enjoy gazing out the window and not thinking about a thing!
If all goes according to plan, we will take a few detours on the way home and visit with family and friends.
I think both my husband and I are ready for a little vacation.

I might check in and maybe share an adventure or two from the road.
Otherwise, see you back here soon!

* I referred to the bishop as "tiny" in my entry yesterday, and a dear reader wondered if I was using a special pattern for small sizes.  It is a size 0-3 months from Ellen McCarn's regular Baby Bishops pattern.  It is just much smaller than anything I have stitched recently!  I usually make a larger size for baby gifts, so the baby will have something to wear later.  This time, I wanted to give something that she might be able to wear home or for Easter.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Soul Soothing Smocking

Yesterday morning this pulled up in front of my home.

Several hours later, I was the proud owner of approximately eight feet of new PVC piping,
and my bank account was several thousand (yes, more than one, two or three thousand) dollars lighter.
Needless to say, the rosy sweet glow left from Valentine's Day quickly dimmed.

Some form of soul soothing distraction was desperately needed!
With my wallet much lighter, I decided maybe spending money on a favorite flavor milkshake from a favorite chicken sandwich restaurant was probably not the best solution.
I turned to some soul soothing smocking, instead.

My husband's assistant is expecting a baby girl in April.
I expect she will be sweet and petite like her mother!
I selected white Skip Dent fabric for a tiny little bishop, using Ellen McCarn's Baby Bishops pattern.

The term "skip dent" refers to a type of weaving that produces a design in the fabric, such as the stripes in this piece of fabric.
This particular fabric is a polyester/cotton blend, but feels and behaves much like an all cotton fabric.  I enjoy working with it, and a new mother will enjoy its easy care.

Angel Baby is a smocking plate by Crosseyed Cricket, designed especially for tiny bishops.  The design covers approximately seven half-space rows.
I have changed the colors and am using a very pale blue, instead of pink, and a slightly different green.
Since this is a tiny little gown, and the fabric is also delicate, I am smocking with only two strands of floss.

As I discussed in this blog post, I have recently discovered that a larger needle aids in picture smocking since more strands of floss are required.  However, for geometric smocking on delicate fabrics, I still prefer to use a Crewel 8.  Lately, I have noticed Richard Hemming has retitled their Crewel needles as Embroidery needles.

I am thankful all my plumbing fixtures are now back in operation, and a little stitching soothed my soul!
I certainly hope you do not have plumbing issues, but I do hope you find time today for a little stitching!

Skip Dent fabric, pattern, smocking plate, floss, and needles available at BessieMary.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Hearts

Love puts the fun in together,
the sad in apart,
and joy in the heart.

May your day be a sweet one!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Funny, how sometimes it is only imagining loss
that I can see my abundant reality.
~Ann Voskamp~

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Cost of our Craft

My grandmother and mother likely saved a little money as they stitched quilts, garments and other items.
I am not sure that is necessarily true anymore.
Most of my friends and customers sew for the love of it.
Stitching soothes many of our souls.
The creations springing forth from our machines and hands are the legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren.
Our God given talent is a way of giving back, as we stitch Wee Care gowns, quilts and blanket for homeless shelters, or head coverings for cancer patients.
We stitch for many reasons, and saving money may not be at the top of our list.

As a consumer, I cannot help but notice rising costs in all areas of my life.
As a shopowner, I cannot help but hear customers' concerns about the rising cost of fabric and other sewing  notions and supplies.

To help all of us better understand, I wish to share the following articles.
Jim Salinas, in a recent issue of American Quilt Retailer, explains why cotton prices have increased and how this impacts the price of fabric.
His article may be read here.

In addition, American Quilt Retailer, invited industry leaders to share their vewpoints on the current pricing of cotton commodities.
Their comments may be read here.

As many of the industry leaders ommented, the price of fabric has increased little when compared to the rising costs of other items.
We may not follow in the footsteps of our grandmothers and mothers who saved money when sewing.
We can continue to follow in their footsteps to leave a legacy and spread love with our stitching.

May your stitches soothe your soul today, and may the product of your sewing make someone feel special and loved.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


For some, it has been a bleak winter week --
not only in the weather, but also in many hearts.
There has been doubt,
and the loss of dearly loved ones.
The big picture is fuzzy and out of focus.

It is difficult to be thankful when your heart is breaking.
Yet, there is a plan, even if God is the only one to see it.

We must continue walking forward, greeting each new dawn with grateful and grace filled hearts.
Until at last we, too, see more clearly.

In Memory of
The Rev. Dr. Lee Miller
1938 ~ 2011
We celebrate and give thanks for a life well lived.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day Sewing and Sweets

We are still experiencing snow and ice, so I am staying inside and stitching!
This little jumper, with its sweet heart design fabric, will be perfect not only for upcoming Valentine's Day, but also beyond.

I used Bonnie Blue's Jordan's Jumpers and Dresses for the pattern.
The fabric is from the Moda grouping Sent with Love.
I selected the flat front for the jumper, ruffles on the shoulder straps and cute little gathered pockets.

The slightly gathered back will allow more ease for an active little girl!
With our unpredictable Texas weather, it can be worn with a turtleneck or as a sundress.

Stitching was not the only thing going on here today.
There is something about cold and snowy weather that always makes me hungry for warm homemade bread.

I happened to have the ingredients for these, and they made me and my tummy very happy!

I followed the recipe from the blog,  StoneGable.
 I did find it better to reduce the cooking time to 10-12 minutes, instead of 15.

If you want to kick it up a notch, try the yummy version

Wishing all of you a sweet weekend!

Linking to Sew Darn Crafty at
Sew Many Ways!
Moda Fabric and Bonnie Blue Designs pattern available at BessieMary.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Missing Charleston

Normally, I would be strolling the streets of Charleston, a city for which I have a major affection.
I would be joining friends for four days of hand embroidery, fine food, conversation and laughter.
It is always such a treat to escape the usual routine of home to enjoy warmer temperatures and different views out the window.

With eyes still recovering from surgery, I will not be joining the fun this year.
Instead, I send wishes for safe travels and a fabulous time for all my friends.

I am already planning on joining you, as usual, next year!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter White

We woke to winter white this morning!
While it is nothing, compared to what much of the country is experiencing, it means our part of the country is pretty much shut down.
There is a layer of ice under much of the snow.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was closed earlier this morning for the first time since 9/11.  Some flights are now beginning to resume.
Schools, universities, and many government offices are closed.

However, if you are a Packer fan, your team has safely arrived at Cowboy Stadium for Media Day.
Four buses, carrying the team, were escorted to the stadium by a Department of Transportation sand truck!
The Steelers will have their turn in front of the cameras a little later today.
They most likely think it is ridiculous that a few inches of snow and sub-zero wind chills converts a bustling metroplex into a ghost town.
They are also probably a little disappointed they were not here last week while we enjoyed Spring-like sunshine and highs in the upper 70's.

It is a good day to stay inside!

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