Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Hymn

We sang this hymn today in church. It was traditionally part of the New Year's Eve service in years past (we no longer have that service). Anyway, the words are good, real good, so I thought I would share them:

Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
On Jesus' bosom naught but calm is found.

Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they.

Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.

It is enough: earth's struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus call us to heaven's perfect peace.
Edward H. Bickersteth, 1875

To all my readers, I wish you a Very Happy 2007.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Our new "pet"

You may recall that I have this dream of raising Alpacas as a family business with my children. Well, my folks gave me my very first Alpaca for Christmas. I've decided to name her "Felice". I had thought of calling her "Fleece Navidad" but thought that might be a little too corny. She is a very good "pet," since no one has to clean up after or feed her and she is only about a fifth the size of a live one. At least her fleece is real and oh, so soft!


Monday, December 25, 2006

The Night Before Christmas, I was stirring...

I had a really lovely day, Christmas Eve. I was blessed to share a good portion of the day in the company of some close friends at my kitchen table over some brunch. Perhaps the two cups of coffee I drank with my Bavarian Cream Puff as evening approached are why I am awake right now. Or perhaps it is because my bedroom is aglow with the Christmas lights outside and so I don't have the usual degree of darkness which I prefer for sleeping. Maybe it's the little tiny Prettiness who is sleeping in the very center of my bed, perpendicular to me, feet poking my side. Or maybe I just can not quiet my mind. Too many sugar plums dancing.

So instead of lying in bed awake, I decided to get up, have a little snack and read a chapter or two from Andree Seu's, Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. I just read the essay entitled, "Omega Point, What are we working for?" and thought particularly of two brothers I know. For them and the rest of you, I want to share this excerpt. I found it quite meaningful and heartening as well. The essay begins:

Sometimes, in mid-footfall, I get confused: am I rushing about my work so that I can eat, or am I eating so that I can work? All this striving, where does it tend to, where is the payoff, the "meaning"? "All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; ...All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied" (Ecclesiastes 1:7; 6:7). Thus the intellectual pursuit of fractions of seconds at traffic lights, or while removing lint from the dryer lint trap. And then I submerge again beneath the surface of thought into the vortex of quotidian events. Till next time.

All this was grievous to me until I considered...
A man in the Russian Gulag had had enough. He decided he'd carried his last stone from pile A to pile B for his tormentors in this Sisyphean farce. He laid himself down to await execution by shovel blade. Just then a fellow prisoner sidled up and, wordless, traced the shape of a cross in the dust; walked away. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn then gathered himself together and scooped up another rock- this time knowing why.
The rest is history.
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation," quoth Henry David Thoreau. But I know a better quote: Malcolm Muggeridge said the happiest person in the world is the woman who sweeps out her house to the glory of God. She is not aware of the grievousness of her days because she has transcended them with knowledge; she has "overcome" and will receive the hidden manna and also a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to her (Revelation 2:17).

... "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Scene 1: Willy Loman, working for Willy Loman, walks in, stage right, carrying two large sample cases: The Death of a Salesman.
Or imagine: Willy Loman, working for Jesus now, walks in, stage right, carrying two large sample cases: new play.

The whole collection of essays is definitely worth reading, and it's quite a small book, unfortunately, but it is meaty. While I have nothing more to add to her words, I will leave you with this seasonal message:

"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
(Luke 2:14)

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ta Da!

The dress that had been consuming all my free time and creative energies (hence no new posts) is finished and much to my great satisfaction, also was an apparent hit at the Christmas party. Merci bien! MK, for letting me put these up! You rook mahvelous!

Okay, so about the dress. MK was inspired to have one similar to one she saw at Anthropologie. I developed a pattern, made a mock-up and once I established a good fit, we decided to raise the waistline a bit in front and remove the skirt gathers at center front to make it more flattering. The fashion fabric is a white taffeta flocked with black velveteen and the sash is black cotton velveteen cut on the bias and hand stitched in place. I underlined the fashion fabric of the bodice with white silk organza to give it more structure and less transparency in the white areas. The bodice is also supported with boning along all the seam lines except center back where there is an "invisible" black zipper. The dress is fully lined in white to maintain the "whiteness" of the taffeta. Because I was working with a limited amount of fabric that MK had purchased prior to the designing of the dress, I chose to add a black point d'esprit petticoat layer to give the dress a little more length and oomph. I'm especially proud of the motif matching I was able to achieve considering the limited yardage and a few fabric flaws I had to work around.
MK purchased the shrug and then doctored it up a bit with her crochet genius. She also made her beautiful choker and handbag! I expect this won't be the last time we combine our creative talents...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Juror #0

A few weeks ago I received notice that I had been selected for jury duty. And I know it's my civic duty and all that, but really, it's completely impractical for me at this point in my life. I filled out the form with my reasons why I couldn't do it (single-homeschooling-mom of 3 and jury duty would disrupt my children's education and providing childcare for them would be very difficult for me, etc), and today I was relieved to see that I have been excused......this time.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

fire and ice cream




Your Icecream Flavour is...Neopolitan!
You aren't satisfied with just one flavor. They say variety is the spice of life and this shines through in your Ice cream of choice! Just don't eat all the chocolate and leave the strawberry and vanilla behind!
What is your Icecream Flavour?

Find out at Go Quiz

Monday, December 04, 2006

girls in white dresses with pink satin sashes

I actually made three of these little white eyelet dresses for the grand daughters of my neighbor for a family photo op. If my own daughter wasn't so particular about what she wears, I'd make her one too.

My most current project is a retro inspired cocktail dress for my dear friend MK. I'm hoping she'll let me post the finished results here. I'm making good progress with it, and it's a good thing since she'll be wearing it to a party on 16 December.

Also I have the hankering to make loads of p.j.'s which are another favorite garment of mine to make. They are quick and fun to wear. I found some extremely delicious fabric at WalMart (of all places) for a buck a yard! If I get my rear in gear and get them photographed before I ship them off and give them as presents, I will also post them here.

My sons have expressed an interest in learning how to sew, so I have begun to teach them the basics. They made some robes (with help) from fleece fabric they picked out.

Ebay bug

My sister likes shopping on ebay. I have on occasion tracked items and looked at prices and then become overwhelmed and just went to the store to find what I needed. But today I made my first ebay purchase. The boys and I have been watching some lego star wars minifigures and sets that they would like to add to their growing collection. I've lost several bids so far, and last night I thought I had lost, but today I was given a "second chance offer". Apparently the seller actually had two of the same set and offered it to me also as the second highest bidder. So I bought it, and K still thinks I lost so he will be pleasantly surprised when he opens the Emperor Palpatine and throne seat. The set we are most anxious about "winning" is the new and hard to get X-wing fighter with six minifigures: Leia, Chewy, Han, Luke, Antilles, and R2. I tried to order it from and it is backordered until April. Which means it wouldn't even be on time for K's birthday.

This whole concept of "winning" (buying) and "losing" (not buying) is an interesting twist to shopping. It makes a game of shopping, and I can see how it becomes highly addictive and expensive. It's amazing what some people will pay for a 2 inch high piece of plastic, and by "some people" I mean myself.