Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"You look like Miss Lynch!"

“You look like Miss Lynch!” Paul said as he walked in the door and saw me wearing a floral print apron over my work clothes.   “That’s just the look I was going for – vintage!” I responded with a grin.  Miss Lynch was one of several elderly school teachers we had while attending Junior High at the old Central High School in the late 1960’s.  Each one had a seemingly endless wardrobe of blue floral print dresses – some with matching jackets, hence Paul’s observation.
I had ruined one too many blouses by coming home from work and going right to the stove to cook dinner – grease on a silk blouse that didn’t come out despite serious hand washing and a trip to the dry cleaner’s was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.  I decided I needed an apron that would cover not just the skirt but also my front.

So I searched the internet and found an array of patterns – many for free, and started tracing them out on sheets of newsprint before sewing them together from  vintage-like fabric.  The one Paul admired was even trimmed in bias tape, further enhancing the retro look.  I bought a cute old pillowcase from the thrift store and made an apron from that – the decorative hem of the pillowcase became the hem of the skirt, and the waistband and ties were cut and sewn from the other end.  The one I like best is cut from just one yard of fabric, but on the bias.  It wraps around to my back, and meets the criteria my friend said an apron requires – covering the backside where she wipes her hands when cooking.  
The blessing in all of this is a return to the sewing machine.  It’s been sitting unused for some time – which is a big change from my junior high and high school years when I sewed nearly all my own clothes.  When the kids were going to Halloween parties, I sewed a number of costumes, the most memorable being Big Bird for pre schooler Heather and Cookie Monster for toddler Jason.   In more recent years I’d use the machine to make an occasional Christmas gift – like the year I made a nightshirt of wild bear printed flannel for Heather in remembrance of her encounter with bears while backpacking the previous summer. 

Heather says she and her friends lament the fact that their generation seems to have lost the art of taking care of themselves – many don’t know how to cook from scratch, sew clothing, can vegetables, or grow a garden.  I was blessed to have a mother who taught me to sew – I still laugh when I think of her teaching me to match plaids by telling of a jumper she made with matching plaids, but the zipper installed inside out so she had to pull it closed by reaching INSIDE to pull it up.  I guess it was such an ordeal that she was reluctant to take it apart for fear she’d never get those plaids to line up again!
In my current apron sewing spree, I’m discovering a renewed love for sewing - the act of taking a piece of fabric and cutting and sewing it to fit around the body to make something pretty and practical all at the same time.  Eventually I’ll lose interest in sewing yet another apron design, and move on to other creative pursuits.  In the meantime, I’m blessed by my time at the sewing machine as I put creative juices to work making aprons – that make me look like Miss Lynch!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's Like Herding Cats

Apparently I started this - in January 2011 and never published it.  We eventually did end up reading the book and enjoyed it, as well as the snippets of videos by Patsy at the beginning of each class.  Our group of women has increased and we've continued to study books, including the most recent one, Stained Glass Hearts, also by Patsy Clairmont.  We've grown closer to one another and drawn closer to Christ as we've studied and laughed together.

Our Women's Sunday School Class is like herding cats!  And that's my blessing from yesterday.

(Google "herding cats" and watch the video of cowboys herding cats.  This was a commercial for a software company meant to reinforce their ability to pull all the pieces together and make order out of chaos. Being a cat lover, and having tried many times in the past to geta group of people all moving in the same direction, I find this hilarious!) 

Our group started with a dozen who had prepurchased the book Kaleidoscope by Patsy Clairmont and grew the first week to include several more.  We had to drag an extra table into our room.  Like little kids, we played with my friend's collection of kaleidoscopes, and laughed ourselves silly watching a video of Patsy at a Women of Faith Conference a couple years ago.  We had yet to actually STUDY a Proverb, but during the week, several more signed on and we ordered still more books.

Yesterday we had 17 ladies there, with 3 missing - due to illness and snow filled driveways (that driveway is like climbing Mount Everest - I wouldn't drive up or down it until summer if I lived there!) We talked about Proverbs 27:1 - and got a little sidetracked into diversity until one lady gathered us back - just like the cowboys herding the cats.  We spoke of the difference between bragging and boasting, and humility, and ended by talking of planning for tomorrow and what we would take with us into a new day. 

Because we had to drag in still another table to make room for everyone, we've decided to move the class upstairs to a larger space next time.  Hope everyone in the group finds us in our new location!

And the Farmers That Grew It!

We have a friend who ends each table grace with thanksgiving for "the farmers that grew it!"  He's been involved in agriculture since college - probably before that, since that's what he studied in college.  So he's especially aware of what it takes to be a farmer.  Tonight I thought of Terry as I ate my first bowl of lettuce from my garden this year.  In other years I've grown enough spring lettuce that I could hardly give it all away.  Not so the last couple years - just can't seem to get it going.  My Simpson Elite sprouts but won't grow - maybe I need to water a little more carefully?  Perhaps it's been too hot?? I have a single square foot of mixed greens and one of arugula - both are doing well, and I harvested enough tonight for two bowls.  Mmmmm!  The spicy taste of arugula and the peppery mustard greens -  Delicious!  Sorry, Wegmans - your produce department just can't compare!

So I'm saying a prayer of thanksgiving for farmers, knowing that if I relied on myself to FEED myself, I'd quickly grow hungry!  (Or more serious about gardening!) The Auburn Farmer's Market opens this Saturday and I hope to be one of the early customers.  Will there be lettuce for sale?  (My little bed of mixed greens isn't going to fully satisfy my desire for salads.) What about spinach or garlic scapes - a new culinary discovery from last year!

I thank God for the farmers that grow our food!