What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Show and Tell Day 4: Peasant Shirt

This is the last of the yellow~ but you KNEW I had to go there. I mean, I am a matchy matchy kind of gal. And I am a gal. SO I needed to match the girlies TOO right?!

Well, it was a nice thought.

Made from a thrifted sheet, and enhanced with the same polkadot ribbon as Adele's pillowcase dress, the pattern came together beautifully and was simple to follow and to sew. I was super excited because, FINALLY, I was going to succeed at making something for myself.

Every attempt to make myself something to wear up until this point has failed miserably. Crashed and burned. I guess my body is too....lumpy and odd shaped. And truth be told, I am not so great a seamstress that I can alter patterns to fit my bodies' creepyness. (Oh, how I wish it weren't so!) Do you realize how DEPRESSING it is to spend hours on a project just to have your time and energy thrown to the wind (or the garbage can?) If not, I hope you never find out.

When the last stitching was in place, the little details finished, and care had been taken for quality---I was SUPER excited to try it on.

Corynn, too, thrilled at the prospect of Mama matching the girls.

So, I tried it on and....

it looked........





and Unflattering.

Turns out, my long torso was too long and my bust was too big for this particular shirt. It looked like a shapeless tarp hanging from...well. It just looked bad.

It wasn't the shirts fault. The shirt really did turn out beautifully and I was thankful to recognize that my sewing skills are improving with each new bit I sew.

But alas, I will not match the girls after all.

AND~I feel like the last possible thing on earth that I would want to do is to begin another project for myself because surely I will fail at that too. Miserably.

Every time I fail at sewing WEARABLE clothing for myself, I don't attempt it again for about a year.

So, that pretty much stinks.

Here's to next year....

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Show and Tell Day 3: Pillowcase SKIRT

Whoopsie. The day slipped away from me! Here it is almost my bed time and no show and tell!

But "late" is better than not at all...am I right or am I right?!

Today's show and tell is...

you guessed it!

MORE YELLOW! Ach! Sick of it yet? Not I.

This time the recipient is Corynn. Eldest. Five year old. Girlie Girl. Dancer.

The object originally was for matching outfits for the girls, but the more I thought about it-the more I envisioned matching in color but not necessarily in style.

I love pillowcase dresses, but I wanted something different. Something unique.

Something EASY (noticing a pattern here?).
In case you haven't noticed, my first week with a working sewing machine was fast and furious.

I was like a fat lady who needed to snarf a tub of Ben and Jerry's.
Like a smoker who had gone cold turkey a week ago.
A bunch of old hens needing some scratch grain.

I NEEDED not only the act of sewing, but the admiration that only comes after completion. And I needed it now.

(That's why all my projects thus far have been super duper easy and fast.)

I decided I was going to try something new and exciting-I was envisioning a skirt. But it couldn't be straight and stoic . What I neededbecause that just doesn't seem to represent Corynnmaking a fluttery, twisty, twirly pillowcase skirt. I've seen it all in the blogosphere (or close) and this just ain't there. My own design. My specialty.

Scrunched my lips and brow in contemplation for a few nano-seconds and then, I took the first cut. It was a done deal, no turning back.

But I am glad I did. It came together easily and was a cinch to make. I really like the skirt and I love that Corynn now has a skirt that can fit her scrawny waist without constantly showing panties from falling down.

Final product ended up twirly, fluttery AND twisty. Three for three. Ain't bad at all.

Anyone interested in a tutorial? If there is interest, I'll put one together. If not, I won't waste my time! :-)

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Show and Tell Day 2: Pillowcase Dress and Bonnet

One of the things I was itching to do MOST with my newly restored sewing machine was to make some matchy-matchy stuff for the girlies in the family. I LOVE matchy matchy and now...I have TWO girls! Wa-HOO!

Incidentally, last year I bought several matching vintage pillowcases (starched and pristine, btw) at a yard sale. You know...just in case I should ever need matching pillowcases for a project...

Happily~ I had some yellow polkadot ribbon, bias tape and lacing that I could put to good use. I love it when a project just comes together easy peasy, without a need to run to the fabric store for something as it is being created.

I just love chubby baby legs so I wanted to make the dress a bit more Shirley Temple. Easy access to roll-pinching, a favorite pasttime of mine.
Since Bunkin is still so small, a pillowcase is too much fabric. I used some of the leftovers to create an elastic waistband for Corynn's project (to come tomorrow) and make a coordinated bonnet. I'd likely have enough to make matching booties too, if I could bring myself to cover up cute toesies-which I can't.

The pattern on the pillow had a scallopping on the edge which I used. I didn't HAVE to hem it (the joy of using a pillowcase) but I wanted to. So it's my fault I made more work for myself. All in all~ I think yellow suits her.

Had to include this last shot for no other reason than I love my Dad's face. There is a reason I used to call him Papa Bear.
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Monday, April 27, 2009

Show and Tell Day 1: Tozy PJ Pants

I promised to share some of my recent sewing projects with you before, and now is the time. I got a wee bit carried away the past few weeks and have accumulated a pretty good list of completed projects (at least for ME, the slow-as-molasses sewer); enough, in fact, to share a project a day the whole week! So~this week is going to be Sewing Show and Tell week here at Renaissance. Call it show and Tell. Call it Ode to a working Sewing Machine. Call it the prodigal machine. Whatever you call it, it's here.

If you have no desire to see stitching projects, come visit NEXT week. And if you want to share some of the projects YOU have been working on~leave me a link in the comments section: I'd LOVE to see!

My first sewing project started the day after I got my machine back. (I was a wee bit itchy to get that needle bobbing...) and Panda's PJ pants had all turned capri. Of course, they had cuffs on the bottom that would ride up and then his pants-turned-capri would turn into pants-turned-capri-turned-shorts after five minutes of walking around.

I guess he shot up there without my notice! He was in dire need.

This was about two weeks ago. Way back when it was cold and dreary and chilly and...brrrrr. Today it is going to reach 90 degrees. Don't ask me how that works.

Well, anyway, I decided to use what I had and found some cozy fleece to make his pants with.

I didn't use a pattern, just traced his own pants. Blonde moment: traced the pants that had turned capri length without adjusting for added length---HELLO! They needed to be longer! (Hence, the orange strip at the bottom! haha)

Coincidentally: this crazy gal just a couple days ago posted a pants tutorial that explains the process well. You know, for anyone who gets a hunkering to make some pants.

I added a bit of color to the back pockets with some random circly stitching. Maybe it was a way to somehow draw the orange fleece into the project a bit, or maybe I just wanted sew a bit crazy. Maybe a bit of both, but it adds something, anyway.

Andrew loves his pants and asks to wear them all the time. Even in 90 degree weather. He says they are "tozy".


Friday, April 24, 2009

A Recommended Read

Nancy Wilson wrote a wonderful blog post at Femina that I just had to recommend here.

It speaks to the unmarried woman, who is struggling to be fruitful in her present circumstances. As I read it, though, I could not help but realize, if viewed as such, the great wealth shared for those who are struggling with infertility or other circumstances preventing children.

I know several women who struggle in both of these situations and would highly recommend you heading there for the full article. You know who you are.

It just occurs to me:

God calls us to be fruitful AND multiply~ not be fruitful WHILE multiplying; which means, multiplying is not the ONLY way to be fruitful.

Some of my favorite quotes from her article:

"In your thinking, do not let marriage become an end rather than a means. Marriage is a means of glorifying God, not an end in itself. Determine to use your unmarried state as a means of glorifying God as well, and don’t allow marriage to become something other than what it is in the created order. In other words, don’t let it become an idol, something that has way too much importance to you, so that you believe you are only half a person or that you are being held back spiritually because of your unmarried state." ~paragraph 2

"What kind of man do you want to marry? A good question to follow this one is, what kind of woman would that kind of man want to marry? Are you that kind of woman? What can you do to become that kind of woman? These are helpful questions to process." ~paragraph 4

"Next piece of advice: be fruitful. Whatever God has called you to do right now, do it eagerly and with thanksgiving. Look around and find ways to be productive; don’t be waiting around for the next thing. Get out and about. Look for opportunities and use your gifts. Cultivate your gifts. Learn some new things." ~paragraph 5

You know what? On second thought: just read the whole thing!!!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The sweetest kind

Before I get to posting about MY projects, I thought I would share my girls' recent sewing project.

I have tried to encourage her to begin hand sewing rather than beg for her little sewing machine, just because, well...even though she still has all her fingers~I still get nervous. There wasn't as big an appeal to hand sew as their was to machine sewing....UNTIL her friend Millie did it.

Now~the girl is all ABOUT hand sewing.

I give in to begging when it has to do with hand sewing much faster than to machine sewing because there is less at stake and more ability to leave her alone with it, so when she begged to sew "in the circle" it didn't take much prompting on my part.

I asked what she wanted to make: "A toy for Adele'"
I asked what KIND of toy: "A ball"
I asked what she wanted to embroider on the ball: "A duck"

So she did.

The finished product was pretty great~ and she didn't sew around the edge a single time. Progress!

Of course, she didn't quite "get" how a square piece of flat fabric would turn into a ball-but she was pleasantly surprised as it transformed. (I sewed the ball together.) But even more fun, was watching her sort through my scrap fabric baskets and pick out eight pieces of "just perfect" fabric, fringe, ric rack, and all sorts of ribbon to make tabs.

Besides the machine sewing, she was start to finish the creator of this project. She even added a few jingle bells (for ringing) and a popped helium balloon (for crinkling) to the stuffing (her ideas, all).

SO---wondering how the reception was?

A happy baby and a happy big sister. Well done!

For anyone interested: a free ball pattern is HERE at Grand Revival.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Isn't it ironic?

I read an advertisement recently encouraging you to "GO GREEN" for Earth Day. The ironic thing was: they were selling paper plates. Paper napkins. Paper cups. and random other paraphernalia. (It was all made from recycled materials, though!)

Wouldn't a more "green" response be to use NON-disposable items and WASH them?

Green clothing has to be organic~but to me, a more profitable response to buying a new organic wardrobe would be to go thrifting and repurpose.

"Organic" foods prepackaged are selling themselves as best, but wouldn't it be best to grow your OWN?

"Green" Home makeovers spend tons of money, energy, and fuel to create brand new homes that are solar powered, using recycled materials but instead: couldn't we just live in a smaller house that already exists?

Does this all seem ironic to anyone but me?!?

Truth is, "Green" is a gimmick.

A "Green" crowd is the cool crowd, and because it is the new cool, it has become a buzzword to tout around. And sell.

Buying a bunch of stuff to throw away in order to "go green" is just plain hypocritical.

Now lest you think me an absolute pessimist, I know that there are true blue save-the-earthers out there who do their part (and mine, while they are at it) and do so because they feel it is vital. And I can only compliment them on their diligence and forthought. I wonder, though, if they are the minority of the "green-goers".

I am all for saving the earth-it is, after all, God's creation. It is also, a means by which he declares His glory and presence. But let's do it with a vengeance, and for the right reason, not to keep up with cool crowd!

To do it the right way, we don't need to buy into the hype. We don't even need the label.

All it takes, plain and simple, is for us to be good stewards of God's gifts. We as Christians are held even more to the task, because what we do is a reflection of God and our God is not a God of destruction, but of creation; a God of beauty, not ugliness.

May today (and EVERY DAY) you be given eyes to realize the gifts before you and hands to bring glory and honor to GOD through the care of those gifts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Things I love about nursing:

~the deep-throated contentment moans Adele' makes when she is on the brink of milk utopia

~floppy, bendable ears available for play

~they way she folds her hands together while she nurses. Almost always.

~the way babies "need it" like, yesterday, but the moment they latch on~all is forgiven.

~legs curled into a ball

~baby breaths and Mama breaths becoming one

~it allows you those brief moments of stroking the deliciously rolled and wrinkled baby necks that are normally hidden. And maybe taking a nibble, or two.

~baby milk breathe

~they way her eyes roll back in her head as her eyelids get heavy...that, to me, is the look of sheer bliss.

~a totally dependent little being, and me-being able to provide what she needs.

~curling corners of a baby mouth-smiling, but not big enough to let go of the loot.

~finger paths woven among baby wisps on top of the softest, roundest head you've ever felt.

~Being able to give her something no one else can.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Maybe its the Daffodils

I bought this sweater vest at a craft show for Corynn. I fell in love with the bright yellow color, but it was the owls that really did me in.

Since I don't yet know how to knit, I did not feel guilty about purchasing it, except for the fact that I bought it for less than the yarn alone probably cost.

It seems this spring, I am really drawn to and inspired by the color yellow.

Maybe it's the daffodils...but soon, very soon...my sewing machine will stop humming and I'll be able to share some of the sewing projects that have been keeping me busy.

Incidentally, they all share in one characteristic.


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Friday, April 17, 2009


I have three children. I have three children who were born with dark skin, black eyes, and heads full of black hair.

I have three children who put me through the trauma of having to assure nurses these were, in fact, my children.

Coincidentally, I have a stinker of a husband who enjoys nothing more than poking fun about the situation with raised eyebrows and feigned concern about the identity of the father. That man is insufferable.

As my babies grow into their skin, so to speak, I begin to see *slight* resemblances to me; they shed their dark wisps for light ones and they have the same wide nose that I always liked to think made me half-black. And of course, they begin at an early age to tower above their peers. That too, comes from me. But other than that, there just ain't a thing! The dark brown eyes my two eldest possess blind observers to the previously stated commonalities and no one can see what I WANT them to see. That my children at least look a LITTLE like me!

Miss Adele' on the other hand, has come quite close. The closest one yet.

Don't believe me? Let me show you...

Not brown eyes. Granted, I don't know WHAT color they are-but they aren't deep chocolate! SO, that should count even if they aren't BLUE, right? I thought so.

Slightly balding. Check.

Non existent eyebrows. Check.

Matching bags under the eyes.

Double chin.

Wide set nose (and eyes for that matter).

Naturally curled eyelashes.

Chubby cheeks.

And the MOST obvious resemblance? The quintessential, impossible-to-argue commonality?

We both spend most of our time sporting the very same, identical blank stare.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chomp Chomp

A few weeks ago a well-intentioned woman asked whether or not Adele' had been put on cereal.
I laughed. LOUDLY.

I knew, just knew, what her reply to my answer would be. And sure enough...
"Oh my! Well. MY granddaughter went to the doctor and he told HER mother...."

She's only four months old! And let's not KID anyone here: she is not malnourished. I make heavy whipping cream for my babies, as is evidenced by that double chin.

Right. Down. There.

Oh yes. Malnourished my children are not.

Besides, babies don't eat real food. And Adele' is my BABY.

Nibble Nibble

Slobber, gum, gum

suck, slurp, suck

gnaw, munch, snarf

A baby, who I think is teething.

THAT, my friends, is just NOT COOL.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

He is risen, indeed.

On Easter evening, I found myself in the quiet of the living room as excited voices faded way into rhythmic, slow breathing, and as I sat I rocked. Rocking....rocking...nursing sweet Adele' into a warm and satiated sleep and recalling in happy exhaustion the days events.

Taking extra care to don the finest clothes, hoping to bring glory even more than the lilies. Worshipping, praising and heads bowed in prayer. A Church, triumphant!
The eggs had been hid and joyfully rediscovered just as we joyfully rediscover the truth of a resurrected life, plucking from the muddied everydays and thrusting them into the sunshine for all to see.
The feast had been prepared, the table set worthy of a palace and we ate our fill. We ate, knowing that Christ alone enabled our feasting.

That powerful day long ago, one of Jesus' first acts after being resurrected was to break bread and give thanks, revealing himself as he passed the food along. Just as He broke bread and gave blessing within the Emmaus house, so we broke bread and gave thanks in ours.

Reading again, discussing again, rejoicing again by bringing our hearts and mind again to the truth in God's word. Because the highest point in history deserves to be lingered over.

We did as we always do, each Easter, and yet, something was different. Something seemed different to me...what was it? Then I realized. It wasn't just our family celebrating these things after church and in the days leading up to it. This time, we shared our celebrations with a community of believers. There was a time when we worshipped in a body of believers where no mention was made of Easter or the reason behind Easter. People celebrated quietly in their homes, perhaps, but within God's house it was not recognized. Similarly, Christmas passed by unnoticed within the four walls of church~even as families mailed Christmas cards and decorated Christmas trees. Why this was, I never understood.

This church is the first of which we have ever attended that draw our hearts and minds back to these celebratory times, renewing in us an understanding and reigniting the flames of passion that come with those long ago, life altering moments in history. It loudly proclaims these holy days and truly sets them apart. Never before have I rejoiced so very much in these holidays, never before has my mind turned as frequently to the Truth.

What a blessing indeed. I am so very thankful.

Squirming to get comfortable again, babe in arms drew my attention again to the sleepyheaded nursling in my arms and I began to stroke her head with my fingertips, playing with her now-blonding few wisps. Her eyes fluttered and began again to roll into sleep and I studied her face.

My child. My darling. My Adele'.

It was for her that Jesus died. It was for me. Jesus hung on the cross, fulfilling destiny and becoming a perfect sacrifice not just for the Jews. Gentiles. Not just for his disciples or the long-departed saints. It is easy to think He was dying for those who lived during that time, and He did. But not just for them, Omniscient One. It was Adele' that was on his lips. It was Rebecca. Corynn. Andrew. Matt. YOU. And if it be in His will for me to have more children~ He did so for them too. While he hung on the cross~it was with us in mind and in his heart. He wasn't dying just to "cover" all believers, in the past and in the future. No. He knew us by name, even as he hung.

He went to hell, doing so for His Adele. For His Rebecca. We were yet unborn, and yet~He knew us by name. He sacrificed himself and endured hell for US. For Corynn's children. For Andrew's. I know them not, yet He does and did-even while dying on the cross.

I was struck by the truth. Deeply pained and deeply moved. It is not a generic God we serve, but a PERSONAL Saviour.

A Saviour who now sits at God's right hand and intercedes for us, praying not just on behalf of "his people". No, He prays for you. For me. For my someday children and my childrens' someday children. He prays for us, individually. He knows us. He loves us. Our names on his lips.

Praise be to God!

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Frankly, to me, the eggs are just naturally beautiful enough.

But to keep them this way is not NEARLY as fun.

And so they became colorful, bold and just plain crazy. (By "they" I mean, eggs, fingers, towels, and counter. Of course.)

They were also splotched and dotted and dripped with wax. My little pyros just loved that.

Then finally, touched with gold.

Turns out, fancy can get fancier.

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The hunt

The egg hunt is always fun, as much for me as for them. This year, though, I had ample space to hide them and the children had ample helpers---in the form of chickens. Those silly chickens follow us around wherever we are, hoping to beat us to the goodies or begging for us to share our goodies with them.

And if it isn't the chickens, it's the dog!

"Why Henny! Did you EVER see such eggs? How *very* brazen the chicken who laid them."

"Oh my goodness! Well, I never!"

And they clucked on and on about the travesty of it all, while simulateously wishing (albeit secretly) THEY could produce such lovely eggs.

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