Thursday, October 1, 2015

Grandma's Apron

On the back of the door to Grandma's broom closet hung a beige apron -- maybe it had been pink at one time, but it had aged to a soft ecru. It had a bib, like overalls, and a round opening that went over her head, and two ties that met in a bow in the back. When Grandma put on her apron, good things were soon to be -- sugar cookies, cinnamon rolls, cream cake, chicken with homemade noodles, or jars of wild plum jelly and pear honey.  

As a young wife, I considered aprons "old fashioned" and wouldn't consider wearing one.  But, with age comes wisdom, and I finally wised up to Grandma's ways and I now have four aprons hanging in my broom closet - two were gifts, one I purchased and one I made myself.  I like them all, but I have never been able to find one - premade or a pattern -that matches the style Grandma wore.  

I ran across this reminiscence about "Grandma's Apron" and wanted to share it.  The author is listed as "unknown" but it is based on an original poem by TinaTrivett, which you can find here

Grandma's Apron

The principle use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less fabric to make.  But Grandma's apron wasn't just for baking.

It served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Today's moms would go crazy trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron, but I never caught anything from Grandma's apron, but love.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sisters, Sisters . . .

Sisters come in all shapes, sizes, personalities and relationships.  There are The Three Weird Sisters in Shakespeare's Macbeth:

Double, double toil and trouble -- fire burn and cauldron bubble . . .

There are the three Weird Sisters from the book by Eleanor Brown:
See, we love each other.  We just don't happen to like each other very much.
There are close sisters, like Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy in Little Women, and some who don't quite see eye to eye, like Cinderella and her Wicked Step Sisters.

There are even twin sisters who are separated at birth then meet, quite coincidentally, at summer camp ten years later, despite the fact that they live on separate continents.  At least that's what happens in The Parent Trap.

My favorite sisters in film are the Haynes Sisters from White Christmas, played by Vera Ellen and Rosemary Clooney:  

My sister, Teri, and I have a lot in common with all of these famous sisters - well, except for the magic spells and the separated at birth thing.  And the ability to sing and dance.  Well, really, nothing except the bond of sisterhood.

This past weekend was our 2nd Sisters Weekend.  Sisters weekends are  loosely organized 48-hour periods in which we share craft ideas, gifts, laughs, and some deeper moments.  Each sister provides a craft project (including supplies), an activity (such as jigsaw puzzle, coloring books, or a walk) and, if they choose, a Bible lesson or topic of discussion.  Throughout the day we take turns selecting the next item on the itinerary.  

Prior to Sister Weekend, Teri suggested we participate in Just One Word for 2016.  The idea is to select one word - just one - to be my focus for the new year.  It's harder than it sounds!  Teri shared a worksheet that uses thought provoking questions to guide you in narrowing the scope until you find just one word.  I'll share more on my chosen word in December or January.

We made these Scripture Rings - eleven verses framed with scrapbook paper and glued to shipping tags.  The verses all pertain to our "one word" and are meant as an easy visual aid to keep them fresh in our minds. 

While we were being introspective, we made an "Owl About Me" art project.  The basic outline was intended for grade-school children, and I think an 8-year-old would find it easier than I did to list "Things I'm good at" or "A dream of mine". 

We tried out the latest craze - adult coloring books; made bookmarks; and had a lesson on another new trend - Bible journaling. In between there was a lot of laughter,  chit-chat on topics we haven't had time to keep up with, and evenings of relaxation by the fire pit or in the hot tub - or both.  

If you are fortunate to have a sister, book your own Sister Weekend - even if it all you can spare are a couple hours. 
 A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost. ~Marion C. Garretty

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

All Wrapped Up In One . . .

Creativity isn't just about the finished project,. Crafting, painting or sewing can create moments of beauty during an ugly time; memories with a good friend; or cheer during moments of loneliness.  All of those things were created at my house over the past few weeks.

While Amanda was home for her grandpa's funeral, she made me this beautiful sunflower wreath.  She had made one for herself - a little reminder of her Kansas roots while she's living in the dessert - and I requested one for my door. 

And speaking of Amanda, when she is at home in the dessert, she works with abused children.  With some help from my mom and my sister, we are furnishing each girl (and boys, if they choose) a doll and doll blanket.  This week I ran across kits for a "self-binding receiving blanket".  I didn't want to pay the price for the kit, but I found the instructions on YouTube from Missouri Star Quilt Co.   They advertise it as a 10-minute project.  It's closer to 30 when I'm doing it, but it's still a quick, easy way to make a binding with mitered corners.  I used the technique to finish some doll-size quilt tops, then made one from this adorable penguin flannel.  A yard and a quarter of both the flannel and the coordinating fabric makes four doll blankets.  I also threw in a few "dolly diapers".  

You had to know there would be a bag of some sort in my crafting.  This basket is just the right size to hold pencils, sewing notions or the TV remote.  My sister requested two to use as Easter baskets.  I found the pattern on Riley Blake Designs via Pinterest.

I cleaned out and sorted my fabric stash according to size - then went in search of projects on my Pinterest boards to use up some of the small pieces.  Some were more successful than others.

First up was this fabric "lily plate" from Michelle Made Me.  This project turned out to be more complicated than I expected.  I am marginally happy with the results, but I will make some adjustments in the technique before I try again. 


Fabric Christmas trees were a bust. They looked so cute in the pin from this blog but not so at my house.  Part of the problem is that I chose fabrics that are too similar and thus the tiers have very little definition.  The majority of the problem is that I thought it would be cute to fussy cut the top tier and center Santa's face.  It's not.  My trees look like The Nightmare Before Christmas meets The Coneheads.  I'll try again - some day - in better fabric choices.

My favorite new pattern was for these simple potholders.  These are a great way to use up scraps - especially leftover 2" strips - and there are dozens of color/arrangement combinations to make them unique. Best of all - no binding! 

For the top potholder, I used 4 strips each of three different fabrics, plus a fourth fabric for the center hexi and backing.  For the bottom version, I used two strips each of six fabrics and lined them up so that like fabrics touched.  I intend to make more of these and will probably add a second layer of Insulbright batting.  One layer isn't enough heat protection if you have to hold the pan for more than a few seconds.

There was more crafting as part of a Sister Weekend, but that's a post for tomorrow.  

This post is linked to Needlework Tuesday (hosted by Heather at Books and Quilts), Inspiration on Monday (hosted by Trish @ Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity, and Fall Pin It/Do It, also hosted by Trish.  And all of them at least a day late!  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I'm Just Done!

I am plum tuckered out!  Dog tired! I've got one wheel down and an axle dragging!

Dave's step-father has been in the last stages of cancer for awhile now. Within the last month, he had progressed to the stage that he needed someone with him 24/7.  His sister and daughter covered the majority of the time, but I got called to fill in for a weekend. Nurse is high on the list of things I will never be.  Thank heaven for hospice nurses and aides that handle that area.  Preparing meals, doling out medications on schedule, and washing bedding are things I can do well, so I was happy to take my turn.  

During my visit, he experienced a time of increased pain that the medication wasn't handling so, to comfort him while we waited on the nurse, we read scripture, prayed and discussed his faith and his assurance of where he was going.  This is not a side of my father-in-law that I've seen a lot and I feel blessed that we had that time.

That bout with pain was the beginning of a downturn and a few days later, hospice suggested that time was short.  Our daughter who lives in New Mexico wanted to come for a visit and we had her on a plane within a few hours.  I spent the next week driving --- to the airport (90 minutes), to my father-in-law's home (4 hours), home, airport, home, father-in-law's, home, airport . . . He passed away on Wednesday the 2nd and the funeral was a couple days ago.  

Yesterday I returned Amanda to the airport.  On the way, she received a text that her flight was delayed 2.5 hours!  It used to be a joke that Amanda's planes were always delayed, but it's not that funny any more.  Albuquerque and Kansas City are both small airports and many of the flights in and out are "commuter" flights - small planes run by subsidiaries of United, US Airways and American Air.  Evidently they are all incapable of running on schedule, staffing reliable crews, and maintaining a fleet of planes.  Yesterday was the last straw.  I called United and asked for my money back - which they agreed to.  In fact, they even agreed to refund the "change fee" they had charged me because THEIR ineptitude meant Amanda would miss her connecting flight in Denver and had to be rescheduled.  And they saw nothing ironic or wrong with that!  From now on, this family flies Southwest exclusively.

Today I woke up with a mongo head cold and sore throat.  I am supposed to get back into my car for a trip to Omaha (90 miles) and a doctor appointment for a completely unrelated issue.  I debated rescheduling to avoid the drive and spreading my germs, but I finally decided to just get it done.  Armed with Day-Quill, Kleenex and hand sanitizer, I'm headed out shortly.  

I'm three days late getting started on the Re-Readathon hosted by Bex @ An Armchair by the Sea.  But when I get home, I plan to collapse on the couch with a comfort book and a cup of tea.  I'm starting with "Out to Canaan" by Jan Karon - the first of my favorites I'll be re-reading.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's In the Bag

My fascination with sewing bags and totes continues.  I completed two bags this week - one is adorable and one not so much.

The adorable is the Origami Bag from The Crafty Mummy.  It's about as simple as a bag can get:

  • Sew 2 18" squares together - turn, press and top stitch
  • Fold all four corners toward the center of the square, pin and stitch 1/2" from the folded edge to form the casing.   (The amount you fold determines the size of the "ears" and the depth of the bag.  Mine are 5", measuring from point to top of the casing.)
  • Thread ribbon or cord through the casing and voila! - an adorable drawstring bag.  

The not-so-adorable bag is this "teacher's bag", the first of two I'm making for my nieces. The bag is designed to hold a Rubbermaid file holder, which functions both as an organizational aid and as a framework to give the bag shape.   As my luck usually runs, Rubbermaid has discontinued them.  I found an office supply site that offered the rack below as a replacement with a promise that the measurements are the same.  The width is adjustable and the sides fold in. 

 With careful arrangement, the completed bag doesn't look too bad.

But what woman is going to take the time to pose her bag every time she sets it down??  Under normal use, the bag looks more like this:

The sides of the plastic file holder are not high enough to give structure as it appears on the pattern, and the sides of the holder do not lock in place, so they have a tendency to fold inward. It's inconvenient and makes it harder to load papers, etc.  Although it's a usable bag, it's not what I want to give my nieces.  Fortunately I have enough fabric to begin again with another pattern.   This time the bag gets it's shape from heavy-duty interfacing.

So, it's "back to the drawing board" or, in this case, the cutting table.

This post is linked to Needlework Tuesday, hosted by Heather and Quilts & Books.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Retirment Fantasy: Bout of Books Day 3

Today's challenge is hosted by Sarah @ Rocky Top Real Talk.  As a child of the 90's, she remembers playing the MASH game.  Although it wasn't called MASH, we had something similar in my childhood.  Girls will always find a way to fantasize about their future.  Sarah's challenge was to put our own twist on the game.  She suggested using fictional characters from our favorite novels as the leading men, fictional locations as our possible hometown, etc.   Since I've been married for better than thirty years, and the number of children I will have has long since been decided, my sister and I decided to take our own twist.  So here is my Retirement MASH:

I will retire in a   [type of dwelling]    in _[place]____, with my husband, Dave.  We will have __[#}_____ grandchildren, who visit frequently.  I will drive a ___[type of vehicle]______, to my __[hobby]_.  I will have free time to read _____[#]     book(s) per week.

M-A-S-H (MASH stands for Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House.) 

Place                            #Grandkids             Car                     Hobby                #books
Hutchinson Is, Florida           7                  VW Bug          Greeter @ Wal-Mart          2
Outer Banks, NC                   5                  Mercedes        Bowling                            1
Bar Harbor, ME                    10                 HoveRound     Photography                     4
Manhattan, KS                      6                 Range Rover    Shopping                           3
So, there you have it - my retirement plan according to the MASH game.  MASH normally stands for Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House. 

Dave and I retire to our split-level home in Manhattan, KS (home of Kansas State University.  Go Cats!).  Our 10 grandchildren will  visit frequently to attend games with us.  I drive my VW Bug to take my award-winning photographs of the tall-grass prairie and flint hills surrounding Manhattan.  All this keeps me so busy I only have time to read 1 book/week.

Wait just a dog gone minute, Tami - S is supposed to stand for Shack.  

I know, but I chose to reject that plan and substitute my own - which is to live in a lovely 4 bedroom, split-level home with in-ground swimming pool.  

But that's cheating!  You can't just make up whatever future you want.

That's true.  Even the best laid plans sometimes get hit with unforseen circumstances, but this is my retirement fantasy and, to paraphrase Evelyn from Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg, "Face it girls, I'm older.  I have more 401K" 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bout of Books - Day 2

Forces have conspired to keep me from getting much reading done - work, a sewing project on deadline, a car that needed to go to the shop . . . wasting time with games on my phone.  I promise to do better the rest of the week.

I have managed to find time to enter today's Book Scavenger Hunt hosted by The Book Monsters.  Here are my finds:

Books beginning with the letter B

Blue Books

A book I hope to read during the readathon:

Books from my favorite genre - Mystery
     - I included the entire series that tops my fav list.  

My TBR shelf -  At least 5 of those are Dave's, so it's not just me.