Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

All Creatures

This is the mission where I work in the summer.  UMCOR Sager Brown is a little town in south Louisiana - a typical southern small town that looks like this in the historic district:
Like most places in the south there can be great beauty.
This is my office at the mission where I greet our volunteers, type their name tags, answer the phone and generally see to their needs in the dorm.
The residence hall is right on the beautiful Bayou Teche - such a wonderful place to spend the summers!
Our volunteers do lots of wonderful work putting together health kits, school kits, baby layettes, cleaning buckets, birthing kits and sewing kits that are shipped all over the world to places in crisis.  They also go out into the local community and build wheelchair ramps and paint houses.  This is our goal and our mission and our motto - painted on the wall of the depot.
We not only try to nurture people but also all of God's creatures.
Well maybe not all.  I'd just as soon this one went on his merry way and didn't hang around out there by our gazebo!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Old and New

I know I've said it before but....I love working with wool!  Just as it is with cotton though, not all wool is the same.  I don't know where I got this little kit for a Holly Leaves Candle Mat but the wool was a little stiffer than I usually get.  Even so it cut easily and stitched up beautifully.  It's a perfect size to sit a fat candle on it this winter and was fast enough to make that I wouldn't mind making several for gifts.  I've had the kit for this for a couple of years...something old.

Remember me telling you I bought an old purse at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago because I liked the handle?  Well this is the old handle and the new purse!  I took the old purse off and cut a pattern from it.  It was simple enough to do that I hope to make several to interchange.
One of the nice things about this handle is that it had a long cord so that you can make it a shoulder bag, or you can tuck the cord inside and just carry it by the handle.  The cord that was on it was beige so I took it off and put white cording on to match my red and white polka dots.  Something new AND something old!

I also cut out this quilt top this week.  You may not be able to see but it's called Diggers and Dozers because the fabric has bulldozers and trucks and tires and even a rolling hillside for those dozers to dig on.  I think it's going to take less time to sew it together than it did to cut it out!  This will be a Christmas present for my youngest grandson - something new!

And this is the cause of the NEW pounds added this week!  You know it as Hershey's Kisses.  I know it as Addiction.  Get thee behind me Satan!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Weekend Work

This purse was a quick sew - fun to make and pretty easy too.  I love the size of it.  The pattern showed bought handles but I didn't have any so I just made my own.
The lining on this purse isn't gathered like the outside, which means that things won't get lost down in those folds.  :)
I also finished the second baby bib I wanted to do and took those to the grandmother-to-be.
And then I did the handwork on this little winter pillow/pincushion.  I don't have any stuffing here with me so it isn't finished yet.
I stopped in at Goodwill last week and bought a purse that was faded and almost ragged but had great handles.  The handles were removable so this weekend I'm going to try to make a pattern from the old purse so I can make a new purse to go with the handle.  I'll let you know how I do.  
I've got several other small projects with me so I'll work on one of those this coming weekend - it feels great to get a few small things done even if I can't work on a big one!

Friday, June 17, 2011

One Thousand Blessings - Day 25

836.   Really good, sharp to the point, scissors
837.  A cool breeze on a hot, muggy day
838.  Seeing an alligator on the OTHER side of the bayou
839.  The sound of children laughing in the hallway of the dorm
840.  A beautiful young woman singing "Be Thou My Vision"
841.  A small boy sharing that his blessing of the week was that his whole family got to come - every one of them
842.  Two college sophomores in one week telling me they were going to be teachers and sharing their excitement about that
843.  Text messages from my children
844.  Facetime on my IPhone
845.  Hearing the Cajun dialect spoken when I'm out shopping
846.  A volunteer who gives chair massages just because she wants to bless others
847.  Green trees against a blue sky seen outside my office window
848.  The scent of gardenias
849.  Books written in a series
850.  Periwinkles (Vinca)
851.  Vitamins that come in small sized pills
852.  The scent of bread cooking
853.  Big front porches with rocking chairs
854.  Freshly washed windows
855.  Newly sharpened pencils

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

With A Little Help From My Friends

 I borrowed a sewing machine, a ruler, a rotary cutter, a mat and a pair of scissors!  I told you I bought a purse pattern I wanted top make, right?  This isn't it.
This is about number 25 Everything Bag that I've made but I wanted to try out the machine on something I was comfortable with before I tried the purse.  I love making these bags - they're really simple and I use them for everything from groceries to library books to my Bible study or library books, and even use one for an overnight bag.  I guess I got a little overconfident because when I finished the bag I discovered I'd put the pockets on upside down.  Good grief!  It wasn't easy fixing that mistake but with a little unsewing and a little hand stitching I made it work.

I also did a little embroidery this last week.  I bought this bib at Hobby Lobby and found a font on the computer that I liked and traced the word Baby onto the bib and I was in business.  I added a little decorative stitching around the outside of the bib part because it seemed awfully plain.  I'm working on a yellow one too - these are for one of the ladies here who is expecting two granddaughters in the near future.  

I've been working on Twas The Night Before Christmas for at least a year!  I love this quilt but this is just one panel and it has four!  The embroidery goes all around the outside and the inside has some pieced blocks.  I stitch a while, get tired of it and put it away for a while, then drag it out again a few weeks later.  There are only a couple of inches left on this panel so I hope to finish it this weekend so I can start another side.

And the machine I borrowed?  It's a brand I've never used and so it sounds different, threads differently, and feels different but it sews a great seam.  I didn't realize how spoiled I was to "my" machine!  It's good to do something a different way or in a different order or with a different machine just to make you pay more attention to what you're doing.  But I should have a lot closer attention apparently so that pockets would have been right side up.  :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Only Friday

There's a wonderful Christian video/audio called "Sunday's Coming" and all through it the reader says, "It's Only Friday."  It's a pre-Easter video that reminds us that no matter how bad things were/are "It's Only Friday" and "Sunday's Coming."  If you haven't seen/heard it go here and listen; it's amazing.  I don't know why I thought of that this morning when I realized that today's Friday except that it's kind of become my mantra - Sunday's coming and what a great day that will be.  But when I started downloading pictures for this post I thought to myself, "it's only Friday and I've already been to one quilt shop this week and am going to another tomorrow - I could get in trouble quickly!"  I'm sometimes off on Wednesday afternoon and that was the case this week so I made a quick trip to Lafayette.  I confess my primary purpose was to pick up some Tazo Chai Tea from Barnes and Noble, the only place around here I've found to buy it.  I brought a couple of boxes of the liquid concentrate that I exist on love with me but I knew I would need some soon.  And, of course, on the way I stopped at The Borne Quilter, one of my favorite shops.  I picked up this Riley Blake Hooty Goes Night Night quilt kit and I have a really good excuse.  These young people, they keep having babies!  I'm going to need a baby quilt or two in the very near future.

I browsed the patterns and ran across this one - The Bungalow Bag by Abbey Lane.  I confess I skipped over it.  I'm not a brown person and the fabric they used in this picture didn't hook me.  But then when I was looking at fabric I saw the shop sample made up in this fabric:

It was love at first sight.  Now ya'll know I didn't bring my sewing machine with me.  What in the world am I going to do?  I want this purse!  Do you think if I hand stitch it that it will be strong enough?  Or must I go down to the sewing room and push aside one of the ladies working on school bags?  I don't think my boss would approve of that.   :)

Aren't these gorgeous?  My boss/friend Dianna had these on my desk when I arrived last Sunday and they're still pretty today.  They make my office so warm and inviting.

And look at these beautiful, and very fragrant, gardenias.  There are several bushes of these outside one of the buildings here.  It seems to me that I used to root these just by sticking them in water.  I hope I'm not mis-remembering because I'd love to have a start from them.  How about it some flower person out there - will this work?

And look at this cute addition to my kitchen - a steal for $5 at the dollar store.  Our facilities manager came and hung it for me after I took this picture.  Perfect for a retired educator, don't you think?

That's pretty much been my week.  Not one stitch taken.  :(  But this weekend, which for me starts about 2:00 this afternoon, I'm going to start the hand quilting on my jelly roll quilt.  I'll show you a picture next week.   I haven't tried to hand quilt in a long time so I'm going to load up on Ibuprofen before I start...we'll see how far I get.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Does Anyone Remember?

Last summer my husband and I worked for four months at UMCOR Sager Brown in Baldwin, Louisiana.  This is a Methodist mission where churches from all over America send teams of "weekly missionaries" to work in the kit ministry for a week.  They put together health kits, school kits, baby layettes, cleaning buckets, and birthing kits that are shipped all over the world in times of crisis.  This year, as you can imagine, thousands of cleaning buckets have been delivered to different states who have had devastating floods and tornadoes.

We're back at Sager Brown working, this summer for just two months.  It takes a bit of planning to get things ready at home to be away for that long but I'm so blessed with people that help that it really becomes almost too easy!  Our daughter is house sitting for us - she thinks it's a cush job because we live on a lake but trust me the watering is a job.  One grandson does the mowing.  And my neighbor/best friend checks the mail, takes the trash can to the street, checks the house (if daughter has to be away) and generally oversees everything at home.  Without her help we couldn't do the job we're doing - she is God-sent for sure.

There is a residence hall here that's just like the old time college dormitory with bathrooms in the hall and three beds (at least!) in each room.  Jerry and I have a two room apartment there and I am the Hostess (dorm mother!) while he works out in the heat in the community building wheelchair ramps, painting houses, rebuilding "soft" floors, etc.

My job is easy...but I thought I'd tell you a little about it because I won't be posting as often as I like and this are my excuses.  :)  The internet connection here is as slow as Christmas so I sure won't be uploading a lot of pictures.  :(

I get up at 5:30 during the week and walk for 35 minutes.  That's about a mile and a half and even though I'd like to do a little more, that early in the morning it's all I have time for.  And it's too doggone hot to walk later in the day.  We eat all our meals during the week in the cafeteria so I shower and dress and meet everyone for breakfast at 7:30.  I spend the morning in my office doing paperwork...I make name tags and door tags and do room assignments...that kind of thing.  I open our gift shop from 11:30 until 12:00 and again from 3:30 until 4:30.  Lunch is at noon and supper at 5:30.  If I have any work left from the morning I work on it in the afternoon but if not then I hang out at or near my office in case someone needs me and I read a book (or blogs) or do a little stitching.  It's pretty quiet during the day because everyone is working but in the evening people are back in the dorm so it's a little busier.  Everyone is supposed to be in their rooms by 10:00 when we lock the doors; lights out at 11:00.  I confess that I'm so tired I usually go to bed about 9:00 and Jerry does the locking up.  He doesn't mind sleeping in his recliner for a while, then getting up to lock up before he comes to bed.

This year we're only staying two months - June and July.  And I know it will be hard to believe but I didn't even bring my sewing machine!  I did bring a big basket of hand stitching projects - embroidery, applique and a quilt top to hand quilt.  I probably won't get two of them done but at least I have a choice of things to work on.  I'm still working on Twas The Night Before Christmas which is a redwork quilt top.  I've sandwiched a jelly roll strip quilt and it's waiting for me to buy the thread to quilt it with.  I'm about halfway through with the Down on the Farm wool applique table runner I posted about earlier.  I traced the twelve blocks to embroider for HocusPocusVille (and three or four other small embroidery pieces) and also brought a couple more small wool piece.  I know, I know...I'm only going to be here two months and you'd think it was going to be a year!  I did bring fewer clothes and shoes than last year.  :)

Saturday a couple of the other women and I are going hunting for a fabric shop we heard about that I didn't find last year.  I'll let you know if we're successful.

Anybody else going fabric shopping this week?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Flowers and Dresses

Madame Samm over at Sew I Quilt has given us a new drawing and I couldn't wait to try it out.  This is my test block but I think it's pretty cute!  I used a plain white back for this but I think a tone on tone will be my final choice for the background.  I did a little embroidery stitch on my machine around the neckline and a zigzag stitch to make a belt.  I think that belt might need a little rhinestone buckle.  :)  And I can see one with a little lace peeking out of the neckline, or a matching scarf around the neck.  I sure wish I had some fabric that looked like these flowers in my yard:

I don't exactly have a green thumb but I do like to grow a few things.  Some years my herbs do better than others but these aren't bad:
The Lemon Balm comes up in a surprising place every likes to travel.

This Dill is just a baby.  I planted it about a month ago but I'm afraid it's not getting enough sun to really mature.

Now the Oregano, it can take on a life of it's own when it's happy!

And this thyme is about 3 years old.  At first it just sat there like a bump on a log but this last winter it sort of "came into it's own" and started spreading.

Basil has a problem.  It's pretty but I'm afraid it wants more sun than it's getting to even have enough to pick.

I even planted a few onions this year and they're doing well.  That Rosemary back there, it's my always-grows herb.  And I also have 3 garlic plants almost ready to dig.  I've never grown garlic so I'm pretty excited about it.  What are you growing in your garden this year?