Friday, 25 December 2009

Joyeaux Noel!

Wishing you all a most blessed and wonderful Christmas Day! For unto us a child is born... unto us a Son is given! Rejoice greatly!

Happy Christmas, dear ones!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Sometimes...

I'm staying in a friend's apartment this week prior to returning home on Sunday, since the dorms closed last Saturday. And sometimes, when I'm left alone with few commitments and a lovely kitchen on my hands, things happen.

Sometimes, this happens: lovely sunlight breakfast, with candles just because I can.


Sometimes this happens. Dinner made for a friend is always better than dinner for oneself.


Sometimes, these happen. Such a silly name, monkey bread, but such a sweet treat.


Or this. Oh, this is just one of the best cakes I've ever tasted.


And sometimes, I have time to knit an entire sock in the space of two days.

Sometimes.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Christmas Meme

Well, I was looking for something to post on my blog, and as both Sarah Jane, Rachel, and Serena have posted this meme in the last few weeks, I thought I'd give it a go :-) I enjoyed it - I hope you will as well!

~~Christmas Meme~~
1. Eggnog or hot chocolate? I enjoy eggnog sometimes, but hot chocolate is always a favourite. It's best when it's made my dad's way: sugar and cocoa powder blended together and heated, on the stovetop, with milk. (As we got older, sometimes he'd add a splash of peppermint liqueur - fantastic!)

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? We never really "did" Santa Claus - we joke about him, but I don't remember a time when I thought he was real. But our presents are always, always wrapped. (The last several years, I've helped my mother wrap the family gifts - we spread out the wrapping paper, ribbons, boxes, and tape in the basement, pop in a movie, and set up a screen between us while we wrap each other's presents - the screen comes down when those are finished.) In my family, everything gets wrapped - even the things that go in stockings!

3. Colored lights on the tree/house or white? Always white. We tried coloured lights one year but none of us care for them. (I like them on other people's trees, though!)

4. Do you hang mistletoe? We never have at home - I'd like too, though. (Funny story: my freshman year of college, my friend Shannon and I hunted all over town for mistletoe, eventually settling for a poor imitation from Hobby Lobby, and hung it in the doorway of the student lounge in the music building. Neither of us got kissed, but a few other people did!)

5. When do you put your Christmas decorations up? At home, the tradition is to do it on the afternoon of the first Sunday of Advent (then they stay up until the 12th day of Christmas, in January!) This gets shifted around depending on schedules, of course, but that's when I like to do it. At school, it happens whenever we get time (sometimes not at all, but we did get lights and a wreath up this year!)

6. Favorite holiday dish? Probably the roast beef and Yorkshire puddings that we traditionally have at Christmas - drowned in gravy, and oh-so-bad for my hips, but one of the best things I've ever tasted.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Some of my favourites are of putting up the tree every year; we had such a system. Daddy always put up the lights, and Mummy did the "cranberries" (strings of wooden beads painted a rich deep red.) Then we children were allowed to help with the other ornaments. As we got older, my big brother took over the lights, and I inherited the cranberry strings - now probably the younger two do it. But we all still help with the ornaments. I love, also, the nightly Advent readings, and the songs that went with them, and especially the lighting of the candles in the Advent wreath, every Sunday until Christmas.

8. When did you learn the truth about Santa? We never really did Santa - it was sort of like the tooth fairy - we joked about them, but knew they weren't real.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No, although if someone gives me a gift before Christmas I'll usually open it then, if I'm not going to see the person again for a while.

10. How do you decorate a tree? We always have pure white lights, the afore-mentioned cranberry strings, and an odd collection of ornaments, some boughten, some home-made. The thing I love most about our tree, though, is that everything on it has to have something to do with the Biblical Christmas story - if we wanted to put something unusual on, we had to be able to make a convincing case for why it had something to do with Christ. So we don't have any "souvenir" type ornaments - it's very classic.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I love, love, love snow. I never get enough of it. The sight of a snowfall always makes me feel Christmassy - even if it's October, or March! I love waking up to a new fall of snow, too.

12. Can you ice skate? I'm not great at it - I can get around passably, but skating backwards is out of my skill level! I love it though. We've lived across the street from a tiny lake for the last ten years; it freezes solid in December and remains that way until March or so, so we've all learned to skate on it.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I can't think of a single "favourite" gift - I have loved them all, I think! Some stand-out ones are when I was 11 and received my very first teacup... then a few years ago when I was given a lovely fountain pen... and throughout the years, many of my very favourite books and CD recordings have been Christmas gifts. (Oh! The year my mother made me a "Ravenclaw" scarf was pretty great too! I love that scarf, I wear it all the time.)

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? Absolutely tops is the focus and attention on the very first Christmas; I love church during Advent and Christmas. I love spending time with my family, and I love how many traditions we have, that I don't even think about because I'm so used to them, until I'm away from home and missing them.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? It'll be a three-way tie between some of our traditional Christmas cookies - brandy balls, ginger shortbread, and the Russian Teacakes (affectionately known, in my family, as "Swedish Meatballs" - because of their passing similarity in appearance to that delicacy! We blame Daddy for that one ;-) )

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I've mentioned so many already - decorating the tree is definitely a favourite, as are the Advent wreath and readings. The cookie-baking extravaganza, which always involves six or seven types of cookies, numerous tins, more pounds of butter than I like to admit, and the entire family, is also a favourite - I have so many good memories of that!
17. What tops your tree? It's been a star of one form or another as long as I can remember.

18. Which do you prefer-Giving or Receiving? I must admit I love receiving gifts, but I derive a great deal of pleasure from giving gifts as well, especially if it is something I have made myself and know the recipient will enjoy (and some people are so joyous in the way they receive gifts! They are so fun.)

19. Favorite Christmas song? Oh dear! This question isn't fair... I have so many! To begin with the ridiculous... I love Baby, It's Cold Outside - not strictly Christmas, I suppose, but close enough. White Christmas and I'll be Home for Christmas are also dear to my heart. On a more solemn note, I love almost all the good old sacred carols... some of my favourites though are In the Bleak Midwinter, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, Of the Father's Love Begotten, Lo, how a rose e'er blooming, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, and things like The Coventry Carol and some of John Rutter's gorgeous choral carols.

20. Candy Canes-Yuck or Yum? I love peppermint, so I give them a "yum". It's hard to eat round the crook without getting sticky, though!

21. Favorite Christmas show? I don't really watch shows... but I think "White Christmas" is my favourite Christmas movie.

22. Saddest Christmas song? I'll be home for Christmas always makes me a little sad, but that's about it. (Well, some of the weird/corny newer songs make me sad... that anyone thought them worth recording!)

I'm keeping Rachel's added question, too:

What is your favourite Christmas book? There aren't lots that I've read, but I loved our beautifully illustrated copy of the poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas". I also love reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Christmas-time, and I love Connie Willis's collection of short stories about Christmas, Miracle.

This was fun! Have a happy Christmas, everyone :-)

Bits and Pieces

This is just to say: I am FINISHED with finals!

I have had one of the longest semesters of my entire life (rivaled only, perhaps, by last spring) but I am happy to report that I have survived with my sanity and my GPA both still intact. I'm spending this next week in a friend's apartment before going home; I'm entirely alone, which I love -- nothing to do unless I want to do it, nothing to keep me from sleeping when and for how long I want. In celebration of this I went to bed at 6:30 last night.

That was probably the best thing I've done in weeks!

In other news, I found my camera charger (logically, in the front pocket of my camera bag, where I haven't been able to find it for three months) so hopefully I will soon have some pictures to share with you! I find I blog more regularly if I have photos to share.

In the mean time, I hope you all have a lovely day and a blessed third Sunday of Advent!

Friday, 20 November 2009

The Brass Hussy GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

The Brass Hussy GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Gorgeous jewelry! Go check it out and link for a chance to win this gift certificate yourself!

(And one of these days I promise to write a proper update. I promise!)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Rough Week


This has been a very difficult week for me... on top of the usual stress of 18 credit-hours of classes, and the unusual stress of the weeks leading up to the opening of the musical, my paternal grandfather passed away on Tuesday. We were aware that this could likely happen at some point in the near future but I know I at least was not really prepared for it... and added to that the sorrow that he was not (so far as we know) a believer, and I've not had a very good week. I'd appreciate prayers for my family, especially my dad and his brother, as we grieve and work through this. Also I covet prayers for my grandmother, who is suffering from dementia, wanders in her mind a lot, and most likely does not have too much more time in this world.

I'm attaching the obituary Daddy wrote for his father: it says things better than I can.


Rest in Peace, Dad

Andrew Joseph Frank, 84, of Woodbridge, VA died Tuesday, November 3, at Birmingham Green Nursing Home.

Andrew was born on October 2, 1925, in Paterson, NJ. He served in the US Navy during WWII, reaching the rank of Hospitalman Apprentice First Class. He maintained a deep love of the Navy for the rest of his life.

Andrew married the former Alice Berg, of North Haledon, NJ, in 1948. They were a lifelong couple.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in Education from New Jersey State Teachers' College (Paterson, NJ) in 1951 and his Master of Arts (Montclair, NJ) in 1955. He began his teaching career in Florida's elementary schools, working for five years before becoming principal of schools in Nokomis and Sarasota, FL. In 1964 he moved back to New Jersey as principal of West Ridge Elementary School in Park Ridge, where he worked for twenty years, retiring in 1984. He is fondly remembered by thousands of his former students and staff.

Andrew is survived by his wife, Alice, his brother, Robert, his sons, Harry and Michael, and six grandchildren.

A final committal ceremony will be held at Quantico National Cemetery, 18424 Joplin Road (Route 619), Triangle, VA, on November 17th, 2009, at 11:00 a.m. Donations in lieu of flowers should be sent to the Navy Memorial: 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 123, Washington, D.C. 20004-2608, or www.navymemorial.org

(Daddy says: I'm not sure when this [photo] was taken, but it's how I remember my dad looking when I was one of the kids in his school.)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Lovely!

I read Grosgrain's blog frequently, sometimes for the giveaways but more because I am absolutely in awe of her creative genius and the fabulous things she makes. This time though I'm linking to a giveaway, because these are just too cute! If you like red jewelry too, check out this link :-)

Becky Mae Poppy Fields Necklace and Earring Set GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Monday, 21 September 2009

The problem with college...

...is that I never seem to find time to update my blog. *Sigh* I promise, I have been doing very many memorable and possibly document-worthy things in the last month or so; so many in fact that I have not made time to come and tell you about them. I do apologise. I shall try to do better in future.

The other problem with college is sleep deprivation.

Briefly, then, here are the things that have been happening in my life:

1.) 18 credit hours, consisting of 10 classes/applied lessons, all but one class of which are music and happen in the music building. I love it!

2.) Opera Workshop. It counts as one of those 10 classes, but has taken on a life of its own quite apart from class time. I'm singing the role of the young up-and-comer in Mozart's one-act opera The Impressario, and I'm terribly excited about it!

3.) The musical! Union's theatre department is staging "Zombies from the Beyond" this semester, and I got a leading role in it. (Don't write it off immediately - it's really incredibly clever and cute and well-written!) The cast is fabulous, Mr. Burke and Dr. Blass (stage and music directors respectively) are wonderful, and I get to play an "intergallactic strumpet on the prowl", to quote one of the characters. Yeah, I'm the alien queen of a zombie planet coming to Earth to wreak death and destruction - and collect men to revive my alien race. Uh, yeah. Don't ask. I promise it's not too skanky!

4.) Arguments with a professor, stemming out of points 2) and 3) above. I really hate arguing with professors.... but this particular one wanted to be argued with. Suffice it to say that he tried to say I couldn't do both Opera Workshop and the musical, I said I could too do them both, we had a lot of long discussions in which I mostly held my tongue and let him talk, so that I would avoid telling him what I really thought of him, and in the end he took what I'd been telling him, turned it around and said it back at me as if it was his own idea. So I guess I won?

5.) Rain. There's been a lot of it lately.

6.) Finally started writing again tonight. It feels good!

7.) Recital. My junior voice recital will be next semester, so I've been choosing repertoire and trying to memorise it NOW so I don't have a mad scramble later. I think I'm finally learning.

8.) Friends. This is the best! I love being back with some of my favourite people in the world... late-night deep conversations with roommates, hilarious movie nights, Bible studies, midnight frolics in a downpour of rain... these are the things I live for, the reasons (beyond homework) why I am chronically sleep-deprived, and why I don't care in the least. Oh God, thank you for my friends!

So this is what I have been doing lately. I could come up with two more points to make it an even ten, but I feel this is long enough already. I'll try to be more consistent with posting so that I don't have to write a novel every time I update!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Packing

I missed out taking WIFD photos yesterday - sorry! And I'm not sure I'll get to them today either.

You see, tomorrow I leave for another year of college, 12 hours and about 700 miles from home. Which means that when we drive away tomorrow, my whole life has to be in the car - books, clothes, music, kitchen stuff, sewing and knitting supplies... everything I'll need for the next 9 months or so.

And this being me (Procrastinator Extraordinaire) I neglected to start packing until this morning.

(Feel free to insert incredulous laughter and copious scolding, here... I'm sure I deserve them.)

Anyway, it's going fairly well, I suppose. All the clothes and books and bedding and kitchen odds and ends are packed up (along with a sampling of home-made jams), and I'm down to sorting through my yarn stash to decide what I'm taking, and rounding up the odds and ends in some semblance of order. That's always the part that takes longest, though. I was going for down-sizing this year and only taking the essentials, but I'm not sure that I've achieved that - and I won't know until I try to pack it all into the van when my mum comes back from running errands. If we can get it in without removing one of the bucket seats (the back bench seat always comes out; that's a given) and with a little room to spare so that the rear-view mirror is useful, then I'm doing well!

I should get back to work; I have apple pies to make and bathing suits to finish up today as well as the packing. But I just had to sit down, have a rest, and write about this all first; if I write it up, it seems humourous and then I don't get overwhelmed! But for now, back to the chaos ;-)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

WIFD Day Four

Today was a going-out day; we made a stop at IKEA on the way to the airport to pick up my brother, who has been in Arizona with relatives for the last two months. Boy, was it good to see him! He hove into view looking like the stereotypical beach boy... cargo pants, loose, brightly-patterned shirt (untucked), his hair shoulder-length and topped with a backwards baseball cap, and very "cool" sunglasses. My little brother's getting all growed up! But he's still the same David - silly jokes, unique mannerisms, charming smile and all. I'm glad to get him back!

Here are photos of the day's outfits for Kate and me!

My skirt is a $2 find from Salvation Army this week, but the tag says Covington. It's a wee bit on the short side for someone of my stature, but I really love it - I just wear shorts underneath.


Kate's shirt is a hand-me-down; the tag says "Wayne Diamonds Designs". Her skirt, also a hand-me-down, is minus the tag so I can't help you there!


My top came from Target, I believe, about 5 years ago. It has this fabulous drapey cowl neck, and it looks like a sweater but is really thin, so I can wear it in summer. Earlier in the day I was wearing my black Sketchers - they're almost a Mary-Jane style, though the strap crosses twice - but they're brand new and after four or five hours they'd rubbed my heels raw, so I discarded them before the photos were taken.

Yes, I like trees :)

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

WIFD Day Three

Well, yesterday I didn't take pictures, and anyway I just wore jeans, but today I took double-duty photos!

Double-duty, because they are both photos of what I wore today, and documentation of another newly-completed sewing project! (Please excuse the photo quality; I can't find my camera charger and my mother's was objecting to the dusky lighting outside.)

Here it is: Simplicity 4086, view B, in a lovely, slightly stretchy denim. I flat-felled all the seams and topstitched in a tan thread, so it has a "storebought" look, but nicer! It fastens with pewter buttons and is very comfortable and fun to wear.


About the rest of my outfit, for the WIFD: I wore a black knit shirt from Old Navy (a size small, but strangely it fits me!) over a camisole from Kohls; the sweater is a garage sale find, perfect for cool summer evenings as it's mainly openwork, and the sandals (which I shed to climb our apple tree) are from Sketchers; I bought them on sale this summer for about $15.

Considering that I have size 11 feet and can almost never find cute shoes to fit me, this was a bargain!

Katie opted to join me for WIFD today. Her knit dress is a hand-me-down from somewhere or other, and I highly doubt she wore shoes at all today. I only did because I went out for the afternoon.


Here's a better view of the skirt - it has a lovely drape and flow. My hair I twisted back off my face and fastened - with a flat clip and two bobby pins, and my bangs *still* fell in my face! Ah well ;-)


And yes, in case you were wondering, we did both climb the apple tree in skirts to take pictures!


Sunday, 16 August 2009

WIFD Day One!

This being the first day of the "Week In Feminine Dress" over at the S&S forums, I thought I'd get in on the fun and post some pictures here!

Here's the dress I wore today: Vintage Vogue #2858 in $1.50/yard navy crepe from Wal-Mart. I made it up a few weeks ago and despite having to size the pattern up it went together like a dream. I love it!
It's a 1944 pattern and it just cried for a hat. A couple weeks ago when this first photo was taken I wore an old hat of my grandmother's - probably circa 1950, although I'm no judge of hats.

This one's actually from today, again with a hat! This one I made myself, with leftovers of the dress fabric and using a Vogue pattern. It was quite a challenge - buckram is quite interesting to work with! - but I got through it and I love it.
My only disappointment is that this style of hat does not look good with straight hair. And mine is certainly not naturally curly. So I take advantage of the days when I sleep on hard plastic rollers to wear my hats - and take photographs! :D


And now for something completely different! This probably ought to be a separate post but I've already uploaded the photos and I'm too lazy (or let's say, tired) to wait and do them again. So here we go!
These are a couple of my other recent sewing projects - a blouse and a skirt. The blouse is from a "New Look" pattern (I *think* -- I'll check on that tomorrow (It's tomorrow, and I checked! The pattern is New Look 6599, more or less view C)), with some alterations - I added tucks and lace insertion, and lengthened it some. It went together well but came out just a wee bit small; but if I lose the few pounds I'm hoping to it should be fine. It's made in fine cotton voile with bought lace insertion and trim. I hope in the near future to get some "close-up" shots of it!

The skirt is another matter. I drafted it myself - the first garment I've ever tried that with. It's a simple 6-gore skirt, with darts front and back for a closer fit, and a wide waistband. I made it in the most heavenly chocolate brown moleskin fabric - it was like sewing with kitten fur! The waistband is interlined with a stiff, canvas-y fabric from my stash, as well as interfaced; I didn't want it collapsing on me. The skirt fastens with a side zip and two hooks and bars. Overall I'm extremely pleased with how it came out!

So, one last picture just for fun! (The loops on the back of the blouse are supposed to have ribbon through them - but I forgot to put it in! Ooops...)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

I find I've been quite lax in posting lately, for which I apologise!  I have, however, been busy in other ways, so I have several sewing projects to share with you over the next few days (whenever I can find my camera battery charger so I can upload photos!)  My 1830s stays are all but finished (must sand the busk and stitch the openings for it and the two back stays), and I have a lovely 1940s dress to share as well.

I also spent a good part of yesterday and today cleaning, tidying, sorting and organising my bedroom, and I'm SO pleased with it now!  It's been terribly untidy all summer - I got home from college, half-way unpacked, got distracted and never finished, so it's been full of piles and half-emptied boxes and clutter all summer.  It's so nice to have the floor free, the tables and my sewing machine clear, and everything in place again!

So - I hope to upload some photos of my latest projects over this weekend.  I'll try to be more regular in posting in future!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

My White Knight

"As knights in shining armour on white chargers go, mine seems to be the lowest of pages clad in a rusty tin can, and rides a black donkey.

Okay, okay.  Maybe that's not quite fair.  Maybe my knight hasn't gotten here yet, and all I've run into is his advance entourage.  Maybe I just need to be a little more patient.  But if this is the case, then what it means is my knight is hopelessly, irrevocably and forever lost in the forest.  Probably fell asleep astride his horse, got the reins tangled in a thicket, and hasn't been able to extricate himself yet.  Now there's a comforting thought."

~excerpt from my latest attempt at novel-writing, "My White Knight".


Sunday, 19 July 2009

Cole Porter

As I mentioned singing in my last post, I thought I'd put this up for you!  This was with the jazz band at my college this May - it's not opera, but it's a start ;-)  



This is Cole Porter's classic "I Get a Kick out of You" (with all references to champagne removed because it's a Baptist college!)  I had a blast singing with the band and I hope I get the opportunity again! 

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Honest Scrap Award!




Clare gave me this award - thanks Clare!  I'm sorry it took me so long to get to it, but here goes at last!

The Rules:
* Thank the person who gave you the award
* Post 10 honest facts about yourself 
* Pass the award on to 7 others  - we'll see if I can find 7!


1.  I am first and foremost a musician (after, of course, being a Christian!  Which is so much a part of me that I almost forget to mention it...).  Specifically a singer.  I cannot imagine life without song... and I want to pursue that passion to the opera stage.  We'll see!

2.  After singing, my other great passion and delight is writing.  I write fiction, and I write all sorts - from fantasy to historical fiction to "romantic comedy" type stories.  I'm nearly finished with - not my first novel, for I started 3 before this one! - but my first that has any promise at all; I'm pretty excited about it!

3.  Anyone who's spent any amount of time with me knows I can't go without needlework - whether it be knitting, crocheting, or sewing!  I knit whilst I read, during Bible studies, in college classrooms... I sew every chance I get.

4.  Historical fashions fascinate me; particularly Tudor fashions, the "Romantic" period, early 1900s, and the "Swing" era.  I've done a lot of historical sewing and plan to do a lot more!  My friends think I'm peculiar but I couldn't care less ;-)

5.  I'm so close to 6 feet tall that I call myself that.  (This is very useful sometimes - as when one needs to reach the back of a top shelf - and very, very frustrating other times, as when one auditions for a play and is relegated to the chorus because all the men are 6 inches shorter!)

6.  I can sleep anywhere, anyplace, anytime.  Apparently it worries my friends - I fall asleep in the car even on short trips, in the dorm sitting up... (Maybe this would be less likely to happen if I slept more at night?)

7.  I decided I wanted to sing opera before I'd ever seen one performed - but I certainly didn't change my mind after that first performance...!  If anything I fell more in love with opera as an art form.  (La Boheme and Le Nozze de Figaro are probably my favourites.)

8.  I was born in Greenoch, Scotland, though I'm a U.S. citizen.  Related: my birthday is in July, which I always used to like because it meant no school on my birthday!  Now it makes me a little sad, because it means none of my friends from college - dear, dear friends! - are around to celebrate with me.

9.  I get really irritated with people who bash the Harry Potter series without ever having read them.  No, it's not a perfect series.  No, the writing is not deathless prose.  But please, please, please give them a chance and don't just write them off on hear-say!  

10.  I firmly believe that the little twinkling lights visible on summer evenings are not, as popularly supposed, fireflies, but rather fairies come out to dance.  Nothing will ever shake this belief!


And now for the tagging!  Most people I know who have blogs have been tagged already... but:

Have fun!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Thoughts on Clothes

Reading through my blog subscriptions, I came across this post (http://amaidenswreath.blogspot.com/2009/07/be-beautiful.html) by my friend Clare.   Read it.   You'll get something out of it.


I hope you've read it now - my post was sparked by it.


I've experienced something of the same thing Clare did... when I went to college two years ago (a small, conservative, Baptist college, let me add) I was a little nervous about "fitting in".   So I wore all my jeans and little knit tops and things for the first couple weeks, leaving all my homemade skirts and Regency dresses buried in the back of the closet.   A little ashamed of them perhaps.


And then one day I said "Ah, who cares.   I want to wear a dress today."   So I pulled out one I'd made, pink and flowery, full-skirted, using a vintage 1950's pattern, and wore that.


And I got the same reaction as Clare and her friend did.   *Everyone* looked at me.   People I'd never spoken to in my life stopped me to say how they loved the dress, how great I looked.   I hadn't worn it to get compliments, certainly - in fact I'd expected strange looks and ridicule.   But the day I work a cute, modest dress was the first day anyone at school told me I looked good.


That made me think.   I'd worn jeans, and some tops that maybe didn't quite fit my standards of modest, so that I could "fit in" and look like everyone else and not be called a freak.   And I was invisible - I fit in so well that no one noticed.   I was sacrificing my ideals essentially for nothing.   But when I dressed as I wanted to, I brought smile to others' faces and happiness to my own heart.    People thought it was "cool" that I still wore skirts and dresses.   People said "wow, I wish I had something like that."


I didn't enjoy that day because I got attention.   I enjoyed it, and remember it still, because it showed me that I can make a difference.   Not by following modern fashion and dressing to the norm, but by following my standards, and God's, and showing girls that it really is possible to be cute and attractive without sacrificing modesty. 

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Happy Independence Day!

I feel that I ought to write something profound today... but I am not good at profound, so I'll merely say that I am glad that our founding fathers built this country on such a solid foundation... and God help those who are trying to govern it now!  God bless America!

I seem to have a knack for not being home on the 4th.  Two years in a row now I've accepted house or pet-sitting jobs over this weekend.  Last year was great - I'd just gotten my driving license, and I had a job, and I borrowed the car, so all in one fell swoop I acquired a car, a house, and a dog!  Independence day for sure ;)  This year the experience is not quite so thrilling, although it is novel - I'm sitting for a family with a dog, a cat, two guinea pigs, and somewhere on the order of 50 chickens.

I really love house-sitting.  I get a chance to be completely alone for a period of time - just overnight, or a whole weekend.  I get time to write, to sew, to read, all interrupted; most importantly though I have time completely to myself: just to be quiet, or to pray.  This I prize.  Can I house-sit every weekend?

'Scuse me while I go gather eggs.  This weekend, I'm a farm girl.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Music in the park


Hello again!  I have a picture-heavy post today - I couldn't decide between them, so you get the lot!  Before you accuse me of false advertising, I promise you there was music in the park - but as it's impossible to photograph music, I haven't any pictures of it :)

These photographs were all taken in the Kensington Metro Park, where my family and I went for a picnic and to enjoy the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's "concert in the park" this past Friday.  The weather was perfect - warm, but not stifling, just the tiniest whiffle of a breeze - and I could not resist taking photos of the lovely parklands!
The lakes were so still - everything reflected in them!  Trees, clouds, road signs... 
And the lighting was incredible.  Every new vista looked like it could be part of the setting for a rural, romantic film!
Here is my dog, enjoying the attention of my father after our picnic but before the concert started.  There are advantages to a dog who is going blind and deaf - she doesn't get worked up about the other canines in the area!  I am not sure she even noticed them, and she was perfectly well-behaved the whole night.  Not a yip out of her.
And the crowd!  This is not even a third of the people who were there - packed in on picnic blankets and with their folding chairs.  It was wonderful to see such a good turn-out for a classical music event!  And I loved to watch the children - it's so informal, and they could just enjoy themselves.  Every time the music was upbeat and lively, all the little ones I could see would get up and dance!  I loved to see them enjoying the music.  (One little fellow was even conducting - very seriously, with huge dramatic cutoffs at the end of phrases!)
This is beauty.  This is bliss.  I could sit and look at this view all day and never grow tired of it.  Natural beauty, combined with excellent music - what more could one want?

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Apron Giveaway

These are TOO cute!  I don't link to too many things but I love these :)   If you want a chance to win it yourself, follow the link to Grosgrain's blog and link to it yourself :)

Boojiboo Flirty Apron GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Most Peculiar...

I didn't think our lake was infested by piranhas - but perhaps I'm mistaken?

Let me explain.  My sister and I went swimming today, out to the raft/diving tower in the middle of the lake.  We like to hang out under the raft -- it's supported by air barrels around the edges, but the middle is clear, and is a good cool place out of the sun.  Well, we were there today, and all of a sudden something touched my shoulder.  I turned around, and there was a fish.  A little lake fish -- I couldn't tell you what kind -- no longer than my hand.  He showed no signs of fear, swimming around me once or twice.

And then he bit my leg.

I was - um - astonished.  It didn't hurt - his teeth aren't made for puncturing human flesh, apparently.  But that a little fish like that would try to bite me!  And not only once, either.  He followed me around for a while -- every so often our splashing would scare him off, but he was always back for another nibble -- my knuckle, my arm, even once my cheek.  It was the most peculiar thing!

(Interestingly, he only nibbled my sister once, and apparently he didn't like her.  I wonder if it was my sunscreen that was attracting him?  I can't think why he would find it appealing, but why else should he go for me and not Kate?)

Anyway, we couldn't get over this fish!  After the first startled silence, Kat and I would've fallen over laughing, had we not been floating in water.  And the laughter continued as the fish followed me around.  I joked it was stalking me, but it really did seem to be!  Certainly not our usual swimming experience.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Utter Exhaustion...

I am so tired.  My legs, arms, and lower back ache.  I might have a sunburn.  I could just sleep for hours.

But it's all in a good cause!  I have a job!!!!  I'm working in the garden of an old lady about a mile down the road, digging, weeding, doing all the heavy lifting.  Her garden is wonderful - occupying the whole of her back yard and a good portion of the front as well, she has orderly rows of irises - rows and rows and rows! - lines of day lilies, and a wonderful confusion of flowers, both annuals and perennials, in the middle.  She's been working on this garden for 30 years, she says; used to be she did all the work herself, but now she's getting older and can't handle bending and stooping, carrying heavy buckets and managing overflowing wheelbarrows.  So I have a job :)

I enjoy it.  It's not easy work - it involves a lot of bending, and quite a bit of hot sun.  My hands are almost-but-not-quite blistered from the clippers I used for nearly an hour.  I think I will permanently have dirt under my fingernails.  But it's satisfying to look along the garden and see straight paths, newly coated in grass clippings, and edged by tidy rows of lilies that one has trimmed back oneself; to cast an eye over the iris bed and see a notable absence of weed and dead leaves.  I think I'm going to enjoy this.

And, of course - apart from the sunburn, which I'm doing my best to combat with heavy coats of sunscreen - it's very healthy work!  Outdoors, fresh air, and lots of exercise!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Prayer for my family

I'd appreciate if you'd pray for my grandmother (my dad's mother). A couple months ago she fell and needed hip surgery - she's been in hospital and rehab ever since. Mum told me tonight she's not doing well at all - she's not comfortable or happy in the rehab place, and so she's just not getting better.  Apparently my uncle called my dad to tell him this tonight.

If you would, pray for several things: that Grandma would be able to be comfortable, and would recover physically. And that she would through this come to know Christ - neither she nor my grandfather are believers. I am so frightened that they will die without salvation.... my grandfather is not in good health either. My dad would also appreciate prayers for peace and wisdom; his parents are a good 11 hours from us, and he is trying to decide whether he needs to take leave of work to be with them.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

New Blouse

This is the beginning of what I hope will be a long line of completed projects this summer!  I've made it my goal to work through both my stash and my (very large) collection of UFOs this summer.  Here is the first!

I cut out this blouse last summer but never got around to making it.  The fabric is a mystery blend - probably cotton/poly? - from the remnants rack at JoAnn Fabrics.  I think there was just over a yard, maybe 1.5 yards.  I used Simplicity 4077, altering the sleeves to be longer, fuller, and have a sleeve band.


I decided to flat-fell the side and shoulder seams, as my fabric is quick to fray; this gave the seams some nice definition, and achieved my goal of avoiding fraying.


I also added white rick-rack, which I found in my stash, to the collar and cuff edges -- I think it really pulls the blouse together!  The buttons - little white flowers - were also from the stash.  They were originally bought for a dress my mum made me for my cousin's wedding, back when I was six, but I found exactly the right number (scattered in three different button boxes... but they were there!)

I'm very pleased with the way this came out, and the pattern was quite easy to work with - nothing complicated, and the fit is good.  Altogether, a good pattern, which I will most likely use again.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Oh look! a camera cord!

Since I've now found a camera cable (although not mine) which is compatible with my camera, I thought I'd share some photos!

Here was my progress (a week ago) on the 1830s corded stays I'm working on.  Someone needs to explain to me why I decided to do these entirely by hand, because I certainly don't know!  I've made a lot more progress since then - the upper half of the left front/side is completed now.

Irises decorating the "teacup shelf" in the dining room.  We've had a bumper crop of them this year - I filled the house with them for two weeks.




This is just silly - David drew a face in the dry ingredients of corn bread, and I was amused so I took a photo.

This is my first time trying to do photos on blogger, and while it's quite easy to upload them, I need to work out re-positioning!  Maybe it would be easier to upload all the photos first and put text in afterwards, instead of trying to juggle photos around existing text?

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

This is just to say...

... that I have not in fact dropped off the face of the planet!  

I would have photographs to share with you - of my little garden, of my corded stays progress, of my dear family - only I cannot find my camera cable and therefore cannot transfer them to my computer.  Perhaps one of these days.

(Incidentally, can anyone answer for me WHY I thought it was a good idea to make a corded petticoat, even by machine?  Or 1830s corded stays, entirely by hand?  Didn't think so - I can't either.)

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Beauty

Sometimes there is nothing for it but a good quote from Shakespeare.  I can't help it -- this particular scene gets me every time.  Someday, someday, someone will say to me, as Benedick says:

Benedick:  I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is not that strange?

Beatrice:  As strange as the thing I know not.  It were as possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing...

Benedick:  By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.

Beatrice:  Do not swear, and eat it.

Benedick: I will swear by it that you love me; and I will make him eat it that says I love not you.

Beatrice:  Will you not eat your word?

Benedick:  With no sauce that can be devised to it.  I protest I love thee.

Beatrice:  Why, then, God forgive me!

Benedick:  What offence, sweet Beatrice?

Beatrice:  You have stayed me in a happy hour: I was about to protest I loved you.

Benedick:  And do it with all thy heart.

Beatrice:  I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.

(Much Ado About Nothing, Act IV, scene I. Wm. Shakespeare)


*Sigh*  Something about that last line resonates with me.  "I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest...."  What deep and thorough love this is.  What joy, to have such a love for another human.  Yet at the same time -- what a good picture of how we ought to love our God -- with so much of our heart that none is left for the speaking of it.  I pray that I may grow towards that love.

And I pray, also, that someday the one will find me who can and will say "I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is not that strange?"  And I will find nothing strange about it.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Prettiness :)

You know how it's hard to find ready-made dresses that are actually modest, comfortable, and not too short?  Shabby Apple fits the bill.  Their dresses are utterly adorable, completely stylish, and - hey! - long enough and modest. 

Grosgrain is doing a giveaway of one of their dresses, and it's just too cute.  Check out the giveaway at the link below, and be sure to check out Shabby Apple's website too.  It's worth it!

Marseilles Dress SHABBY APPLE GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

News-ish

Reposted from my old blog - this is the only one I'll do that with, promise!

Much has happened since last I posted, but little of it is material for the public eye - sorry. Suffice it to say, this past semester has had both some of the best and worst moments of my entire life; times of great joy and peace, times of incredible pain and suffering. Through it all though God has been faithful, and it is evident to me that he's been using it all - the joy and the sorrow - to grow me in faith and trust. I can say with complete confidence that without prayer and without God's steadfastness I would not have made it through these times with any sort of emotional and mental wholeness. He is good.

I'm home now for the summer, and have spent this week sleeping in (noon every day? yikes!), settling back into home life, reading YA fluff just because I can, and doing some gardening and sewing. I varnished the picnic table and made myself a blouse -- and filled out more job applications than I ever wanted to look at. Unfortunately, that task is not done yet - Monday morning I'll be out bright and early, canvassing the neighbourhood - or rather downtown - for anyone, anywhere, who might be looking to hire an eager, capable 20-year-old willing to learn to do practically anything!

The other thing I'm doing this summer is consciously and deliberately weeding out and disposing of things I no longer need; organising those I do keep; and in general clearing out. As an aid to that general endeavour, I've made myself a promise: I'm not to buy any new fabric or yarn *at least* until I have completed every single UFO I possess. (UFO in craft-speak = UnFinished Object.) I'm photographing the results as a way of encouraging myself, and many of them will probably make appearances on this blog, so keep an eye out for photos!

I might, if I feel led, also do book reviews. More on that if I have time and inclination!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A new blog!

Well!  I have for the past several years been blogging on livejournal - modestly and rather privately, as I believe I *may* have 3 readers!  In any case, from convenience, for more visibility, and simply because I know more people using blogger, I've decided to switch over.  I'll probably repost my latest blog from the old one, but from then on it'll be new, fresh material.  

What do I blog, you ask?  Well, it varies!  Sometimes just a brief news update; sometimes a longer reflection on some issue or question that I've been wrestling with.  My favourites are probably the photo posts though: either a brand-new creation I can't resist sharing, or photos of my garden, or places I've been that were too gorgeous to keep to myself.  There should be a good variety, and I hope it is interesting!

I'm excited for this new blog.  It's easier to navigate (and to remember to go to!) so I hope blogging will become more frequent and less boring for my readers ;)