Sunday, 30 May 2010

Aprons Again

I seem to have a "thing" for aprons.  I love designing them; I love making them; I love wearing them.  (My clothes love it when I wear them, too; I am a very messy cook!)

All this to say: I made another apron!

This was another stash project; the main fabric I picked up on sale last winter, the muslin for the binding I always have on hand, and the gingham was actually an old shirt I made five or six years ago.  It never fit quite right -- an Empire waist that hit mid-bust, sleeves too short -- and so I rarely wore it.  But it was perfect for this project!

This is also the first garment I've drafted entirely myself, and I'm pretty happy with the way it came out!  The skirt is a half-circle, and I discovered in designing it that most of my high school geometry skills (inconsequential to begin with) had deserted me, so it was quite a lot of trial and error.  The bodice I just sort of made up; a few body measurements, some newspaper to draw a rough pattern on, and then a couple of mock-ups until I got it right.  There are still some issues - the bust darts are a little high, for example - but it's wearable and I think for the first time it turned out pretty well :-)  I love it -- the skirt and the full bodice provide full coverage, which is just what my messy self needs!

I also met my goal of finishing at least one project this week, so I'm pleased with that as well.  And the sweater I started for my younger brother before I even entered college, and finally dug out again this week, is progressing nicely as well; I finished knitting all the major pieces last night, and today they went for a swim and were pinned out to block.  Hopefully tomorrow or Tuesday I'll be able to embroider the dragon on the back and sew it all up.  I'm so glad I planned to make him a bigger size than he actually wore three years ago!

The pieces of the sweater (a kimono-style) pinned out to block and dry.

One last thing: for some reason I'm not even sure of myself, my dad and sister managed to talk me into running a 5K tomorrow.  (For those of you who are non-runners, that's 5 kilometers or just over 3 miles.)  Now you have to understand: I am not a runner!  I can manage one mile with minimal distress but I am dreading this race tomorrow.  I'm just praying I make it through; I couldn't care less about making a good time!  Oh yes.  And did I mention it starts at 8 in the morning????

I'll report back tomorrow if I survive my own insanity ;-)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


After a grueling finals week (I do NOT want to spend upwards of 40 consecutive hours awake again for a very long time!) and a long drive, I'm finally home for the summer.  The last couple days have been consumed with sleeping (very important!) and unpacking (likewise important, but much lower on my priority list!)  But finally my room is beginning to look less like a tornado zone and more like a bedroom, I managed to squash all my books on my bookshelves, and it's beginning to feel like summer.  The kids even dragged me for a swim in the lake this afternoon, although I've been in Tennessee so long that 75 degrees no longer feels like swimming weather!

This will definitely be a working summer, as I'm studying for three CLEP tests, researching and beginning the application process for graduate school, and working on music for my senior recital -- not to mention researching and beginning a massive paper for the scholarship symposium at school next spring.  They're not calling it a thesis but it might as well be one!  I'm also still hoping to find a summer job -- I've picked up a few pet-sitting gigs already and applied for a child-care job, and I hope to find a few voice students as well.  A "traditional" job just doesn't seem like it's going to happen this year, as the economy in Michigan is so bad that most of the jobs normally filled by college students have been snagged by adults who are temporarily out of work.  I don't grudge them the jobs - but I do need an income!  So it looks like odd jobs for me this summer.

I'm also hoping to work through a significant portion of my stash and my UFOs this summer.*  (I figure maybe if I write that here, for all the world to see, I might actually be motivated to do something about it!)  I'm tired of having crates and boxes and bags full of partially-finished projects, and I'm tired of the stash that's overflowing every available receptacle.  I've pledged myself to finish AT LEAST one project every week, whether it's sewing or knitting, and the more the better.  We'll see how that goes!  This is part of a sudden disgust for clutter and my hoarding tendencies, brought on by the realisation, as I packed up the dorm room to come home, that I have way too much stuff.  I really want to work on clearing out this summer.

I'll also be working in the garden; maybe I'll be able to keep it at least mostly weed-free this summer!  Well.  Probably not.  But one can dream!

Since I found my camera charger - the day after I ordered a replacement** - I'm hoping there will also be photos of the finished projects, garden, and whatever else I deem fit.

Oh - and forgive the footnotes!  I picked that up from Robin McKinley's*** blog, and it's just such a handy way to fit in the odds and ends that break up the flow of a post that I couldn't resist.


* This is part of a sudden disgust for clutter and my hoarding tendencies, brought on by the realisation, as I packed up the dorm room to come home, that I have way too much stuff.  I really want to work on clearing out this summer.

** Well.  At least it was only a $3 replacement.  If I'd paid full price I would never forgive myself!

***  She's one of my very favourite fantasy authors, and her blog is a hoot.  Check it out some time!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Small Trials, Large Mercies

I keep being tempted to tell people I've had a horrible week, and it's only Tuesday.  Between spending half the weekend in the tornado shelters, I think to myself, between that and my massive paper due tomorrow, and sleeping through a test this morning, and being sick, etc, etc - I've had a horrible week.

But really, I haven't.  I spent the weekend in tornado shelters, yes, but we didn't have a tornado.  We didn't even experience major flooding, as so very much of the state did.  (Pray for TN, people.  You might not think 12 inches of rain over a 2-day period is so much, but it does TERRIBLE things to rivers and to low-lying areas.)  I have a 10-page paper to write, but I don't have the presentations that so many of my friends must give.  I slept through a test, but the kind professor is letting me make it up.  And I may be sick - but it's only a mild cold, nothing debilitating or life-threatening.

I have to keep reminding myself that though I have my small problems, I must not let myself blow them out of proportion.  Compared to so many, many others in this world, I have a wonderful life.  And even when I have my problems, I have my God too.  And He is good.

Now that's a comforting though.

Monday, 3 May 2010

This is Just to Say...

... that we survived without any tornados on campus - in fact campus is just fine - but the rest of the state isn't looking so hot.  South Jackson experienced some pretty bad flooding; Nashville seems to be pretty well completely underwater; and lots of the little towns got hit really badly.  Travel is difficult due to roads either still underwater or completely washed away; bridges are out, there are sinkholes everywhere, and fields now look like small lakes.  We are fortunate to have escaped so lightly on campus - other than two nights of interrupted sleep, and some minor electrical damage from a lightning strike, we've sustained no damage.  But I know the rest of the state would appreciate prayers; for the waters to recede, and for repairs to be swift.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Travels and Tornados

Last week I went on choir tour with my university choir, main destination being the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.  It was a great trip - four evening concerts, three high schools, and two Sunday services - and we got to spend almost two full days exploring D.C.  Of course, one could take two months and not see the whole city!  Unfortunately I did not have my camera, so the few photos I may post will be borrowed from my friends' facebook albums.  The one above is of our whole group in front of the high altar in the Cathedral.  The concert was a very moving experience - to be able to sing, and to worship, in a place of such beauty and grandeur, somehow made God seem very near.

Of course we missed an entire week of classes for this trip, and no one can do successful work on a touring bus, so when we got back I had two near-sleepless nights trying to catch up in homework (mostly successful).  These were followed by our spring Choral Concert last night, with all three choirs - all of which I am in.  I started coming down with a cold, and I had to put myself on voice rest for the entire day beforehand to have even a chance of being able to sing, but it went remarkably well.

And then.  I put myself to bed about 1:30 am this morning, with a dose of Nyquil because of feeling sick.  Around 3 am I slowly surfaced and realised that the tornado sirens were going off, people were running and slamming doors, the RA was shouting outside, and something was being said over the dorm. intercom.  I finally woke up enough to realise that there was a tornado warning and we were being told to get downstairs.  I grabbed a sweater, my computer, and my phone and we hurried down to the apartment below us, where we sat for the next 3 hours.  Nothing happened except a lot of rain.

About 6 am the RA said we could go back up.  Up we went, and I went back to bed -- only to be awakened around 8:30 by the same thing.  I had taken some precautions after the first time; packed medical supplies, water, a blanket and pillow.  This time we were downstairs until about 11, but still no tornados.  (We've had incredible amounts of rain though - 12 inches in 12 hours - and the south part of town is experiencing massive flooding.  There are photos of semi-trucks in water halfway up their doors, Sonic parking lots submerged, and roads not only underwater, but in some places broken, the earth underneath them washed away until the pavement crumbled.)  They let us out eventually and I went back to bed and slept until 4:30.  So much for the highly productive day I needed to have.

Now, they're predicting more bad weather for this evening, anywhere between 11 pm and 5 am, possibly even later.  They suggest we "remain awake and alert" during this time in case we have to take shelter.  And while I appreciate their concern - the RAs and RDs who are working to keep us safe -- I just want a good night's sleep!  It's been weeks.  I've pulled all-nighters before but never ones that were enforced by the school!

I think everyone is hoping that classes will be cancelled on Monday.  I don't know of a church in the area that is having services tomorrow, and I know the entire campus was awake most of last night and probably will be awake most of tonight.  Class on Monday would be a waste of time, full of people so tired they can't concentrate.

Anyway.  It is quiet here right now but we are expecting more bad weather.  I know we would all appreciate prayers that we do not have a repeat of the tornado of February '08!