Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hello, dear friends!

I thought about coming into Webland last week, to wish you a merry Christmas, but I didn't think many of you would be visiting my little corner of the web when there were so many other fun things to do... I didn't. But merry Christmas, anyway! I hope you had a lovely one. I had one so lovely that it almost felt too perfect. I savored every minute.

I have shown up to with you a happy New Year, however. Aren't you proud of me? I also must tell you that I have a new blog series in the works that I plan to launch in January - three of the posts are already written. The reason I'm mentioning this is two-fold; one, to encourage you to stick around and not put me on that list of "blogs-to-never-bother-checking-'cause-they-never-update," and, two, because if I tell you about it, I'll have to publish the posts, and I need the motivation to publish. I'm feeling shy about the topic.

F0r those of you who have blogs, do you ever feel nervous about broaching certain topics, or writing certain posts? Are there some that are so intimidating, you've never written them, though you've composed them in your head?

But I'm getting away from my point. This is New Year's Eve. Almost New Year's Day. What are you doing tonight? Are you staying up until midnight? I usually don't...and I wasn't planning on it tonight...but it looks like I might end up doing it just because I haven't caught up on all my computer work yet.

Let me encourage you to take a moment and look back on this past year, before looking forward at 2011. Take some time to discuss the last twelve months with God, and ask Him what He thinks of how you spent them. Thank Him for His blessings. Remember the lessons He taught you. Rejoice in His goodness.

Here are some questions to get your memory kicked into full gear:

~ What was the most challenging month for you this year?
~ Did you make any new friends?
~ Read any new books?
~ What did you write?
~ Did you start a new hobby/work?
~ What new skills did you learn?
~ Where did you travel?
~ Did you have an opportunity to do something you had always wanted to do?
~ Did you conquer any special sins or temptations this year?
~ How much Scripture did you read this year?
~ How many people did you witness to?
~ What were the darkest hours that God brought you through? How did they challenge you, and mature you?
~ How has your family changed this year?
~ Did you smile enough this year? Laugh enough? Work enough?
~ What did you do to bring beauty into your home?
~ What season did you like best this year?
~ Did you try any new foods this year?
~ Has your prayer life grown this year?

Those are just a few random questions to help you get started thinking. It's always good to look back and see where you've been; it helps you get your heart set correctly on where you should go. Besides, it's fun!

Do you have goals for this new year? Would you mind sharing some?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yesterday and Today

I had a rotten day yesterday.

You think I got online just to tell you that, don't you? Not really. Yesterday was awful, and I expected today to follow suit.

I decided to expect that just seconds after waking up - right after I bounced out of bed and landed - smack! - on the floor. As I sat on the floor beside my bed, head spinning, stomach feeling queasy, and my entire left leg asleep, I thought to myself "I thought yesterday was over!"

But my stomach improved, my leg woke up, and my head finally got oriented about twenty minutes later.

But I had to leave the house in about 1.5 hours, and I still had to eat breakfast, shower, get a package ready to ship, fix my hair, and spend time in God's Word. I was supposed to be headed to the Crisis Pregnancy Center, where I volunteer once a week. In about 2 hours, I would be talking with women who need hope and help. When I read this morning, I assure you that I was looking for a verse to grab onto, to get me through the day.

I read 1 Chronicles.

Every read 1 Chronicles? The first nine chapters are genealogies. Hardly inspiring, at first glance.

But lo and behold! In chapter 5, I found my verse: "..for they cried unto God in battle, and he was entreated of them; because they put their trust in him."

Now that is not what I got online to tell you, either, but it's not a bad thought, is it? All it takes is trust. And Who is more worthy of our trust than God? He's proved that over and over.

What was I going to tell you?

Oh yes - even with a verse to hold on to, days can get rough. (Even when they're better than the day before.) But deciding to praise God in the midst of difficulties makes a world of difference. I re-discovered today that you can't complain while praising.

Try it.

That's what I wanted to tell you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sewing, fashion, and what I was up to a month ago

This post has been a long time in coming.

a) I've been telling y'all for ages that I'd update you on sewing projects, and,
b) I started this post several nights ago. ...and I almost never take three sittings to write a post.

But here I am, at last. I'm sharing two projects with you; both were completed at least a month ago, and both of them are my favorite "genre" of sewing; alterations.

Project #1 - Striped Shirt
Don't you love thrift stores? I went through my closet the other day, and counted the number of things I've bought or had given to me that were brand spanking new - I think the number was 8-10 items. Everything else is either hand-me-downs, freebies, or (most numerous!) from thrift stores. I love it!

Of course, when you do so much shopping at second-hand places, you have to be careful that you don't lower your standards too much. It's tempting to buy a shirt that you would have loved when it was new...even though it definitely shows signs of wear now. Unless you need paint clothes, or have a ton of extra money to get rid of, try to stick to items that feel and look like they've got miles of wear left in them, and then treat them as if you paid full price for them. Quality counts more than quantity when it comes to clothes, folks.

All that being said, I've picked up many items from Good Will that weren't in "wearing condition." I promised myself I'd hem them, lengthen them, take the seams in, ....whatever it was that was needed. Most of those projects never made it to my closet.

So I've learned that when planning a "Good Will" project, as I term them, I need to stick to these basic guidelines:

1) Item must have good bones. (Fabric feels new, plenty of ease to play around with, etc.)
2) The needed alteration must be a day-long project or less. (No week-long jobs!)
3) If it doesn't meet these two rules, DON'T BUY IT!

Sticking to those rules makes things SO much simpler. Saves me a lot of money, too. And things actually get done this way! Take my first project, for instance.

Here is the shirt as I bought it. ($3.50)
I loved the colors, stripes, 3/4-length sleeves, and yoke.
It fit me well, but the neckline was a little too low.
Not good when I bent over. :)
What to do? I was so sad - such a nice shirt!
Did I have to put it back, just for a measly 1.5"?
I picked up some stiff, wide, black ribbon from WalMart ($2, I think)
I had plenty left over when this project was done.

And here's what I did:
The wide ribbon added just the perfect amount of height to the neckline.
It took FOREVER to iron it into pleats, but it sewed on zippy-fast.
The flower was the inspiration of a moment, and took only a few minutes to make.
It's safety-pinned on, rather than sewn, and I've worn it in my hair with other outfits.
Love it!

What'cha think? I love it when I can make clothes work, that at first I thought were unwearable.

That's how I also feel about my second project:

Project #2 - Ruffle Plaid Vest

I'm going to confess it; I'm interested in fashion. Not obsessed, I hope, but interested; enough to know that plaids and ruffles are both "in" right now. That's fine with me, because I like plaid, and ruffles are very feminine.

Sometimes, however, lovely plaid fabric just doesn't look appealing, because of what it's made into.

This jumper, for instance, didn't match me:
(The picture was taken after I'd already cut it in half.)
It was in a bag of hand-me-down clothes, from a friend, so it was free.
I liked many things about it.
The color. The buttons. The Princess-seam style.
I didn't like the skirt part. Too narrow.
Didn't fit me. Wasn't "me" anyway.
The top part reminded me of a vest.
I hate vests.
...Don't I?

I have no idea where the inspiration came from.
Probably browsing clothes on the web.
But I hate vests.
...Don't I?

I thought I did.
But I like this!

There was enough fabric in the skirt to create the ruffles, with generous scraps - and several buttons - leftover. I never would have called this outfit "me," but once it was on, I liked it a very much!

This las tpicture was taken right before bedintme and as hyour ca =n see by this ytpeing (which I am, not, byt the way, doign on purpose), I it is rather late, and I really ought to go do to bed. Honestly , this paragraph was tpyed without any backspacking to fix erroesrs, and is an example of how thankful I am for backspace buttons wh on nights when I am to o tired to type straight.

Whew! Aren't you glad all my blog posts aren't like that? :) :) :) The above paragraph was written the night I was trying to load all these pictures.

Now you know why it took three sittings to write this post.