Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Design!

Whenever I'm feeling bored--which is often, I need to do something new. Break the routine, you know? If I've been on a writing jaunt, it's time to switch to sewing, or take some pictures and play with them, or make some jewelry. Yesterday, I had the urge to sew something new, so I designed a cropped cardigan--or bolero--or shrug. Does anyone know the difference? I looked them up in the dictionary and they all seem to describe the same thing: a short women's jacket worn open in the front!

I used an old top to get the neckline and shoulder shape, made dolman-style sleeves in a three-quarter inch length, cropped and curved the front pieces, added a buttonhole and a vintage 1 1/2" button, and this is what I came up with:

Isn't it cute? It's constructed from a black, open-weave knit with sage and cocoa-colored threads forming the crochet-look pattern. It's lightweight, but not as sheer as that last picture makes it look! I'm going to make a couple more in different fabrics today. Maybe I'll put a ruffle on the sleeves, or a collar or something to make it interesting. What do you think?

Here's a picture of it with the button fastened. It's a little snug on Marie Antoinette (that's my headless mannequin's name) but you get the idea.

Here are some pics of the side and back, and I took another inside just to get a different view of the fabric. The slight sheerness didn't show up outside, but with the flash it looks more see-through than it is. Geesh!

I just love this!!

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Musings

Another holiday passes like the wind.

I started the day with twenty minutes on the treadmill--not enough, I know, but at least I did it! Our daughter and her family arrived around noon-ish with food to prepare. She made a scrumptious ham with pineapple, and cherries,basted in a yummy sauce of maple syrup and brown sugar, some potatoes, carrots and onions, and sweet potatoes. (I may be leaving something out.) I made a green bean casserole and some brownies. While the feast simmered on the stove, we had an Easter egg hunt for The Littles. Here are some pics:

That isn't our house, by the way. It's a playhouse my husband won from the State Fair last summer. Isn't it cute? And the girls had to wear boots outside because we still have a little snow and aLOT of mud!!

The kids used my market bags for their hunt--much nicer than plastic bags!

I made stuffed bunnies for the girls, and a bear pillow from a vintage panel I've had forever for my grandson. More pics:

Okay, I've got to say it. Aren't these some of the cutest Littles you've ever seen? (I'm talking about the children.) ;D

Anyway, we played lots of music: the Wonder Boys soundtrack (if you haven't heard that you should. Great Bob Dylan songs!), Neil Young, Grateful Dead, Michael Franti and Spearhead. And we danced a lot! Four-year-old R especially loved the way the skirt of her new Easter dress twirled. She challenged me to a few moves she learned in ballet class and I did them, but then I hurt my ankle! (Those of you who know me are not surprised, are you?)

Speaking of those dresses, what a sewing nightmare! I cut the tops out of some old rib-knit I've had for ages. I'm really trying to reduce my stash. But this fabric had some stains on it and I thought I'd worked around them. After sewing the bodices together and finishing off the neckline with fold-over elastic, I noticed a very slight stain in one. Then I checked, and a similar stain peeked out from the back bodice piece on the other. Grrr . . . !

Well, I washed and bleached the faulty fabric, but had no luck. And since I didn't discover the spots until Thursday evening, I began to panic. I had to meet my daughter Friday afternoon and give her the dresses so the girls could get dressed on Sunday! (We live about an hour away from her.) Oh, what to do? I didn't have any more coordinating rib-knit in my stash, and there was no time to get to the fabric store for more material.

Bingo! I'd purchased some t-shirts a few weeks ago. I measured them and found that the white one was too big for R, but the blue was just right for little R. I cut the white top apart and re-worked it to R's measurements, adding some gathering to make slightly puffed sleeves. Then I chopped the bottoms off of both shirts, sewed some tiers together and attached them.

Voila! Here they are:

The only thing missing to make the day perfect, was my son and daughter-in-law, who currently live in Hawaii, and the rest of our extended family. It's always better when we're all together. Which is why I'm looking forward to summer!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Relics: An Alternative Obituary

Harold J. Crompton died at five a.m. on Friday, April 3rd. His obituary says he is survived by his wife, Lorraine, and their children and grandchildren. What the announcement does not say is that Harold had another family. Before his second marriage thirty-eight years ago, he had eight children with his first wife. Those children, Sandy, Kathy, Mike, Gail, Bonnie, Brenda, John and Pam have twenty-six children of their own, and three grandchildren. They never harmed Harold or his new family in any way, but for some reason, Harold and Lorraine hurt this first family over and over again.

Through physical violence, overlooked birthdays and Christmases, lack of child support, missed weekend visits, and his prolonged and permanent absence from their lives, these children survived. They each grew into intelligent, compassionate, and productive adults, no thanks to their father.

Now Harold is gone. The chapter is finished. And although Lorraine spoke to Sandy on more than one occasion in these recent weeks, she didn’t think to include Harold’s first children in his obituary. When approached by his son, John, Lorraine coldly and cruelly refused to allow a corrected obituary to be printed–even when John made it clear that he and his siblings would finance the new announcement.

And there it is, a fitting finale. One last blow for eight human beings who did nothing to this woman but exist. We do exist Lorraine, no matter how you try to forget. Shame on you.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Creative Soul

Sewing, crafting and writing are always good for my soul. Whenever I feel down in the dumps, I sit at my keyboard, or pick up some fabric or beads (or both) and my troubles take a backseat in my mind.

After starting yesterday with a sad post, I began work on reconstructing a vintage hippie-chic skirt. The waistband on the skirt was so tiny, I don't think it would have worked for a 10 year old. I studied and pondered (yes, pondered) and decided to cut the top 18" off the skirt. I made a channel for a drawstring and sewed in some nice, sturdy buttonholes. To add a little pizazz, I beaded the ends of the drawstring before knotting them.

What do you think?

Here's a close-up of the beads:

I forgot to mention that the beads are from a vintage necklace I've had laying around forever. Most are wooden, but there are a couple of darkened silver tone discs on there, as well.

I love this skirt. The purples and blues are so Spring-y! I'm going to list it on Etsy, but I'll definitely make another for myself!

And now, I'm off to reconstruct the top part of the skirt. It's going to be a child's ruffled, twirly skirt. Cute, huh?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Unmended Fences

I'm feeling sad and conflicted today. Last night, I heard from my so-called father's wife. She said he is very sick and has one to five days to live. Since I haven't seen my father in about eighteen years, and only a handful of times in the twenty years before that, it's like hearing that a stranger is very ill and will die any day. Then she adds that his short-term memory is gone, but his long-term is intact. He kept calling his first daughter from his second family by my name. In a way, I wish I didn't know that, it causes me great pain. But in another way, I am grateful that I do. At least he remembers my name, right?

The part that causes me enormous sadness is all the years he threw away. I can't do a thing about those wasted years, and I don't feel compelled to rush to his death bed and make amends. I've tried to do that more than once over the years, so my kids could at least know they have a grandfather. We never had a falling out or anything. He simply abandoned us. He went on to have a second family with this woman, and found it easier to pretend we didn't exist, I guess.

I often chalk it up to him being emotionally stunted or empty. I wonder if he has regrets, if he intentionally let those years go by, or if they piled up without him noticing. Was he just lazy, or did the time pass and then it became too difficult to face us? I suspect that he is simply a weak person.

Thank God I am not like him.

We spoke on the telephone a few months ago after many, many years of silence. He asked about my mother and all my siblings. He even said to say hello for him and tell them to call him anytime if they desired. I asked him to call them--I said he owed it to them, but he said, "Oh no! I can't do that."

And here's the kicker, the big slap in the face: He and his wife had kids of their own, adopted another, and fostered others. Let me be clear. This man abandoned eight children and then proceeded to make more and take more into his home. I wonder if those kids got what they needed in terms of fatherly parenting? We sure never did.

And now it's done--almost. It's left to me to break the news to my siblings. I wish I could keep this to myself and spare them the heartbreak, but they are all adults and have the right to know.

Thanks, "Dad." Once again, and I guess for the last time, you aren't there for me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Am Woman, Watch Me Tow

Forgot to mention this.

Remember I said I couldn't sleep Sunday night because I worried that my husband might start his day kicking out a window in his car to escape the quicksand sucking his vehicle down into middle earth? Well, he made it out that morning, but Monday afternoon after even more rain, he drove about halfway into our driveway and--thwuck! The mud grabbed hold of his little Hyandai Accent and pulled it in up to the bottom of the car's frame. (Told him!)

After a brief moment of "I told you so's," I kicked off my moccasins and shoved my feet into my Muck Boots--the ones with the studded bottoms. "What do you want me to do?" I ask.

"Okay, you're gonna pull it with the ATV," he tells me.

"Me? I get to tow?" I am stunned. I've never been the tower before, only the towee. I hop on the four-wheeler, drive to the car, and wait as he hooks up the tow-chain.

"Okay, keep the chain taut and give it the gas slowly."

I'm nervous but I follow his instructions. The machine's tires spin at first and I think it's not going to work. But all of a sudden they grab hold, and as they dance side-to-side flinging mud in their wake, I pull that sucker all the way back to the beginning of the driveway. What a feeling!

While hubby wraps up the chain and cleans the mud from his windshield, I take the four-wheeler on two victory laps up and down the road. With windblown hair and a smile on my face, I pull up and let my love climb on the back of the machine. We head back to the house and I sing: "I am woman, watch me tow!"