Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christmas Reading


Today we gathered together our favorite Christmas books and tidied the children's book shelves while we were at it! I thought I'd make a list of what we will be reading for the next month or so throughout the day and as we put the children to bed. We have been very blessed with books! Our basket overfloweth! Both children love to be read to and with each changing season the assortment in the book basket changes, so we don't ever get tired of the same stories. We are indeed rich in books, however not all of these books are from a Christian perspective. Some might even be in the 'twaddle' category, but our family has appreciated each book for it's own merits. Enjoy!

Christmas Reading
Jotham’s Journey by Arnold Ytreeide
Jacob’s Gift by Max Lucado
What Nick and Holly Found in Grandpa’s Attic by Melody Carlson
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
The Stable the Bob Built by Big Idea Books
Once Upon A Christmas by Alice Gray
Ivy’s Icicle by Gary Bower
Jingle Bells a Candy Cane Book
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Christmas Songs a Happy Day Book
Mary’s First Christmas by Walter Wangerin
My Father’s Angels by Gloria Gaither
The Gift of Father Christmas by D. Morgan
The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne
Clopper The Christmas Donkey by Emily King
Cow and the Christmas Surprise by Todd Aaron Smith
Mary’s Story an Arch Book
Snow Puppies by Disney
I Wonder … Did Jesus Have a Pet Lamb? by Janette Oke
Favorite Christmas Carols a Happy Day book
The Night Before Christmas
A Christmas Longing by Joni Eareckson Tada
The Indescribable Gift by Richard Exley
Spunky’s First Christmas by Janette Oke
The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne
Polly’s Christmas Present by Irma Wilde
Baby Jesus is Born an Arch Book
The Star of Christmas a BiggIdea Book
Ordinary Baby, Extraordinary Gift by Gloria Gaither
The Pinetree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs
Mole Hole Holiday - a Little Golden Book
Sing a Song of Christmas
The Littlest Christmas Tree by Thornton W. Burgess
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
If You Take A Mouse To The Movies by Laura Numeroff
Annika’s Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis
The Quiet Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott
The 12 Days of Christmas by Helen Haidle
The Night the Stars Sang
The Candy Maker’s Gift by Helen Haidle
A Child’s Christmas by Thomas Kinkade

I especially wanted to mention Jotham's Journey, An Advent Adventure by Arnold Ytreeide. We read this for the first time last season and we were so taken with the story - we were on the edge of our seats! We laughed, cried and were completely terrified at a few points in the story, and the ending is just so heart warming. The truth of Scripture is woven throughout the tale and it really made us focus our hearts on the Christ Child. As a side benefit the far reaching and often catostrophic results of the sin of one small boy are clearly depicted, and our children were amazed to know that they too can affect the lives of others with their wrong choices. We have decided to read it again this year and can't wait until Sunday to get started!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Home Sweet Home


I am unexpectedly home this evening - and shamelessly breaking Brenda's rules about tea at the computer. I should be at AWANA with the children tonight, but I have completely run out of steam. Thankfully, The Historian has come to the rescue and wisked them off for a rare treat, namely 'fast food' at Culver's and he will take them to AWANA afterwards. I suspect that he'll drop out to Farmer Dave's and watch him milk and feed the cows while he waits for the children to be finished. The Storyteller has worked really hard this week and had three memory verse sections to recite and The Dreamer will hopefully finish her book tonight - and maybe even get the next one so we can get started on it! She struggles with memorization terribly, so is a bit behind the other children, but she loves AWANA!

I am too tired to read tonight, but maybe I will watch a video that The Historian brought home thinking it would appeal to me. I think it is called 'Christmas Child' and is based on a Max Lucado story. Perhaps it will help to motivate me to get up in the attic tomorrow and get out the Christmas bins. 'Fall' is safely tucked away for another year, but I have not had the energy to give the house a good cleaning and then start the decorating. The posts of others have really inspired me, so hopefully I will have some new ideas for using our decorations in a different way this year! We have a multitude of decorations!
I was explaining to my friend that that is what happens when beloved family members die and you are given all of their precious Christmas momentos. It is a bit overwhelming! Every year we sort through again and try to keep just those that hold special memories and pass the rest on. Every year the letting go gets easier.
We are in the market for an artificial tree this year. We strongly suspect that Our Dreamer has allergies to the real trees we have always enjoyed, but we can't pin point one species that has caused her to have an asthmatic flare up, so as much as we hate plastic, we are looking at artificial trees. I need to decide soon I guess, since we usually decorate December 1st.
My tea is finished - with no spills, thankfully, and I must rest now! Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day and my strength will be renewed by The One who gives me strength for each new day!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Hold Still?


Lest The Storyteller feel left out of Mommy's blog, I'll put a picture of him on Thanksgiving Day here for good measure! I have decided the 'sport' setting on my camera is best for our Storyteller, since action is his middle name and holding still is a fate worse then death for this active little fellow!

I, on the other hand, am almost falling asleep here while I impatiently await the good news .... your images have been uploaded to blogger ... after clicking done you can change your post or publish ...! I am watching for a good deal on high speed internet now that our computer is more up to date!

Poppa's Dollie Dot


This picture was taken on our walk on Thanksgiving Day as well. It was warm and lovely, so we thoroughly enjoyed the great outdoors! Grammy was taking a picture from the front of Poppa and The Dreamer, so I thought I'd try a long distance side view. My dad is thinking of getting me 'Digital Photography for Dummies' for Christmas - since my camera's owner's manual is 4 pages long and basically tells you how to put in the batteries, I'm thinking it could be really helpful! As always ... so much to learn!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Quiet

We had a wonderful week with my folks last week, and a very nice Thanksgiving, but we are very tired. Dad and Mom are on their way home and we are praying for their safety on the long journey. It is so wonderful to just enjoy a restful Sunday together - to quietly relax and reflect after worship and fellowship this morning, and to honor our 'Sabbath Day' as a day set aside for the Lord. We looked at this verse in Sunday School this morning.

Isaiah 58:13
13 “ If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the LORD honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
or speaking your own words,
14 Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
As New Testament Christians, we generally celebrate Sunday as the 'new Sabbath', because it was on the first day of the week that Christ was raised from the dead. However, I believe that it is not the specific day that honors God as much as setting aside one day each week for Him, for the refreshment of our bodies as well as spiritual encouragement. What an amazing reward He has for those who put aside their own pleasures for one day to call the day the Lord's and delight in Him. He will hide us in the safety of His hand in the high places and cause us to find our joy and contentment in Him. Priase the Lord!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Winter's Coming


If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.


Anne Bradstreet, 'Meditations Divine and Moral,' 1655

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Day Walk


We had a very wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving Day! It was such a blessing to have my Dad and Mom from Canada here for a visit! We had a relaxing brunch in the morning and then my mom and I strapped on the aprons and got to work in the kitchen. She is an amazing pie maker and had the pumpkin pie whipped up and in the oven in no time! She is unaccustomed to my 'tools' and doesn't really like my marble rolling pin, so it didn't go as well as she would have liked, but my it was tasty!

When the rolls were baked and the turkey in the oven, with my Cranberry Pecan Dressing tucked safely inside the bird, and the bird roasting in the oven, we went for a walk!

We are so blessed to have a Nature Center near by! Membership is inexpensive and helps to support all of the wonderful educational programs there. The buildings were not open, of course, but the trails and grounds were perfect for a good long walk. We had a great time and I took the opportunity to try out my new camera more. I am finding that I still have a lot to learn, but it is fun! I do love the 'delete' button!

With a hearty appetite, we came home and put the finishing touches on our meal and then sat down together to enjoy it. We 'plated' the meal, since there were only the six of us, and passing hot dishes with certain energetic young ones can be dangerous.

We are overwhelmed with thanks to God for all of His wonderful gifts to our family! Just being together for a small family celebration is a rare and special treat! We have much to thank God for each day, but it is wonderful to set aside a whole day of thankfulness. I hope your day was as blessed as ours.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fresh Air

They love the 'holding hands' mitten! It is one mitten with two cuffs for holding hands!
The Dreamer's eyes are usually so bright, but not with a cold!
No one can say this little girl doesn't love her brother!

Yesterday afternoon the children were begging to go outside to play. Even with colds, I believe in fresh air and the benefits of playing outside! Warmly dressed with hats and mittens, warm socks and rubber boots because our yard is a mud puddle, they ventured out for some fun. Marbles on a slanted driveway turned out to be a real giggle - I could hear them chasing them all over the driveway! Despite the cool, damp air, they were warm and had a great time! I called them in and their cheeks were pink and eyes were shining. They both slept really well last night! Their colds don't seem any worse this morning, but we are home from church to help keep from spreading them to the other children at church.



My parents left their home in Northern Ontario this morning for the 10 hour drive to our home. We are really looking forward to their visit, but I pray the children don't give them their colds! Our Storyteller is a 'kiss on the lips' kind of guy, and our Dreamer is a 'cuddle in close' kind of gal, so we have warned them that they are going to have to be careful to keep washing their hands and stay out of Poppa and Grammy's faces! We are praying for their safety today on the roads and for protection from germs when they get here!

We are looking forward to a lovely visit!

Friday, November 17, 2006

My Little Hero


The other morning when The Dreamer and The Storyteller both decided they were not feeling very well, The Storyteller grabbed this get-up from the dress-up wardrobe! He went all through the house growling and pausing, perfectly still for a full 30 seconds! When I asked him what he was doing he said ' I'm in a great battle, and must save sister and the rest of the family from the dreadful germs! I am scaring them from the house with my most ferocious growl!' 'Well,' said I, 'why are you pausing so often?' He looked at me as though I had lost my mind and quickly said, 'Every great battle requires a lot of prayer Mummy.' And then he was off! I grabbed the camera, than grabbed him for a hug, and asked to take his picture. Do you think maybe God was sending me a reminder in Superman jammie's and a lion mask? I wonder.

Comfort Food


Whenever our children are under the weather they ask for this super simple favourite.


French Toast


5 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup milk or light cream

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

dash of salt

1 loaf of slightly stale french bread - we prefer whole wheat, cut in thick slices

sprinkle of confectioner's sugar (we keep it handy in a shaker from the dollar store)

real maple syrup


Preheat griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees. Whisk eggs, milk, sugar and flavorings together thoroughly. Dip bread briefly, drip drain and fry on a non-stick griddle or frying pan. Watch carefully and turn down the heat if they are browning too quickly. When lightly browned, turn over toast to brown the other side. Garnish with a shake of confectioner's sugar and a dab of real maple syrup. Enjoy hot!



Washday


This morning was bright and sunny - a perfect day for hanging a few loads of washing on my clothesline. Believe it or not, this has become my favorite morning task! This past spring my father came and installed this clothesline for us, and I love it! We had a hard time finding the equipment that I desired, so he ended up buying everything in Canada and bringing it with him. I like a pulley system clothesline where I can stand in one place and hang out the loads quickly. I also wanted a clothesline elevator to hoist my clothes high in the air out of reach of little hands and out of the way of the lawn mower and veggie patch. This proved difficult to find here in the Midwest – not even the kind folks at Lehman’s Hardware knew what I was talking about, but it was readily available in Ontario, thankfully.
My dad installed one end of the heavy duty pulley high in a sturdy tree after trimming a few lower branches. The pulley and elevator end he attached to a tall 4x4 post, strung the clothesline wire (plastic coated) and voila! I have a clothesline!
I love to pray for each member of our family as I hang their items on the line to dry. Our 6 year old Storyteller gets the most prayer these days since he is our little dirt magnet! I always hang the dark clothes inside out to dry since they fade more quickly. I love having crisp towels – it eliminates the need for expensive exfoliating shower gels! I know that my dishcloths are sanitized by the sunlight – they never smell moldy or get slimy when they have spent the day in the sun. My whites are so white that they sparkle! There is something absolutely luxurious about a bed made with cool cotton sheets, rinsed in lavender water, dried on the line, and given a quick rub over with the iron - the ironing part isn't fun, but well worth it on a warm summer night!
My only complaint about my line is that it is too short – only 75’! My father couldn't quite understand why I would need more room then that, but he forgets just how much washing a young family can produce! The good news is that our wash dries quickly in the morning breezes and often I can hang a second load or two in an hour! I will probably hang out all winter here, something I was unable to do in Ontario since it frozen stiff before I could get it up! I love the smell of clothes dried in the crisp early spring. Autumn air is intoxicating, and even if the neighbours are burning leaves, the faint hint of wood smoke is pleasant.
I origionally submitted these thoughts to New Harvest Homestead for the spring/summer issue of their e-zine, a publication that I thoroughly enjoy. It's almost time to bring in the washing now, though the sun is well hidden in clouds, I think everything will soon be dry! I know it will smell delicious!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

If you don't have anything nice to say ....

don't say anything at all! We are having a difficult week this week, and I just have not had the mental energy to put my thoughts together to blog! My mum always said to keep silent if I couldn't find anything nice to say, so rather than fill up my posts with all of the trials we face, I have spent my time praying for strength and wisdom. When I have been tempted to be very discouraged, I have asked the Lord to bring comforting Scriptures to mind, and He has! I thought I would share this one with you tonight:

Psalm 42
Prayer To Be Home Safe Again
As the deer desires rivers of water, so my soul desires You, O God.
My soul is thirsty for God, for the living God. When will I come and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
These things I remember, and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with many people and lead them to the house of God, with the voice of thankful joy,
among the many happy people.
Why are you sad, O my soul? Why have you become troubled within me?
Hope in God, for I will praise Him again for His help of being near me.
O my God, my soul is troubled within me. So I remember You from the land of the Jordan and the tops of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Sea calls to sea at the sound of Your waterfalls. All Your waves have rolled over me.
The Lord will send His loving-kindness in the day. And His song will be with me in the night,
a prayer to the God of my life.
I will say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why do I have sorrow because those who hate me come against me with power?"
As a breaking of my bones, those who hate me speak sharp words to me.
All day long they say to me, "Where is your God?"
Why are you sad, O my soul? Why have you become troubled within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my help and my God.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sunday Dinner Rolls


Kelli's pictures of Dot's rolls on Kelli's Blog Sunday reminded me of this simple but yummy recipe. They are no-fail and very easy! Enjoy!


Sunday Dinner Rolls

1 package dry yeast dissolved ( or 2 1/4 tsp. bulk yeast) in ¼ cup of very warm water
½ cup light organic sugar
2 eggs
1 cup warm water
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

Add sugar to yeast and water. Beat eggs in warm water and add oil and salt. Combine with yeast mixture and gradually add flour, mixing well. I use the dough hook on my stand mixer for this job. This dough is very sticky and does not require kneading. Use a very large greased bowl ( it rises to at least double it’s size). Cover with a damp tea towel. Let stand overnight in a draft free place and in the morning dump unto a floured board. Divide into 4 parts for small rolls or 3 parts for larger rolls. Pat or roll each ball into a flat circle and cut like a pizza ( I actually use my pizza cutter) - 6 or 8 slices depending on the size you like. Roll from the large end to the small end and place on greased cookie sheet turning the ends toward one another to make a crescent shape. Let stand until you get home from church. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Adapted- origional recipe from 'The Original Sunday Dinner' compiled by Lora Lee Parrott

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Jumper for The Dreamer













I have a dream - to take a whole month away from our regular routine and just SEW! Since it just isn't at all practical right now, I have been trying to get at my sewing a bit at a time. I have actually been craving sewing time!
My Nanny's work ethic has been a bit of stumbling block though. She taught me that I must get my mending out of the way before starting on any new projects. The last three times I have taken the time to sew, my mending pile has taken over my entire sewing time! We go through seasons of being really hard on our clothing and my mending pile seems to grow daily - we must be in the midst of one of those seasons now! A pillow, a doll, a doctor's costume, and little girls tote bag, and a vest all needed my attention!
However - yesterday I made short work of the mending and this afternoon while the house was quiet with slumbering children, I made this jumper for The Dreamer!!! It is long, the way she likes them and fits very nicely. She has three or four 'hand me down' long sleeve knitted tops that will look nice under it, so she is really pleased. I like to fancy up a simple wooden hanger to go with her dresses and jumpers. This one was already covered in pink ribbon, so it just needed some trimmings! I often sew a spare button to the hanger to have on hand when needed, but I had no spares this time.
As you can see, I'm still learning the digital camera and have some unfocused spots on both pictures. Also, don't look for this pattern! It is a current pattern - Simplcity 4839, but I cut it at the 'natural waistline' and added the seam allowance, sewed it back together and topstitched for detail, and I added a placket to one side to make a button-down- the side jumper. The Dreamer requested the front pocket and I could not resist a bit of rick-rack! I have made the vest from this pattern and it turned out nicely for The Dreamer in lilac corduroy with pale pink overall embroidery. It is in the wash again because she likes it so well!
Well, there are a few more hours before bed, so it is back to the sewing corner for me!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cuddle Time



There is something so delightfully wonderful about a freshly scrubbed and washed boy in crisp line dried flannel p.j.'s sitting cozily on his Daddy's lap for stories and a devotional before bed. This is one of the many things I love about The Historian - he takes the time to read to our children daily, and he often reads to me at night. The Dreamer gets to cuddle with her Daddy each morning before he heads to work. She usually begs for a chapter or two of a favorite historical fiction. She also enjoys stories and a devotional each night with her Daddy, though she thinks she is getting too big to sit on his lap so she cuddles very close instead. The Storyteller grabs a place on his Daddy's lap before supper for a story or two - current favorites still include 'Amelia Bedelia' and 'The Berenstain Bears', but there is always room for 'Watch Out For Joel' and 'Christopher Churchmouse' too! We are a book loving family for sure, but more importantly we love to read together! I do all o our read alouds during the day, and our lunch time devotions. When someone is under the weather we snuggle on the couch and read until I loose my voice! I know we will remember the times we have spent reading to our children as precious and dear when they are grown and gone!

Judy




The is something very motivating about making yourself a dressmaker’s Judy.
I discovered this last night when The Historian finally pealed the too tight t-shirt and paper tape form from my torso. I felt so free! After two hours of feeling trussed up like a turkey and expressing great sympathy for my corseted great great grandmothers, it was wonderful to get the form off. However, it was quite an eye-opener!
I generally look at myself in the mirror head on - and not very often at that! I get dressed, make sure that everything is covered and don’t get back to the mirror for the rest of the day until I rush in to brush my hair, brush my teeth, and apply a bit of lip gloss if I'm having a great day, before The Historian arrives home. Having a three dimensional form of my figure is really un-ignorable. There I am - large as life!
Honestly, it is a great motivation to get back to my walking program and cut out a few more calories from my diet. I have lost 40 pounds in the past year - very slowly to be sure, but this time it seems to be staying off, so I am pleased. For the last few months I have been ’stuck’, and I’ve become a little slack. No more! I can see clearly now the areas I need to work on - even with my old robe keeping my double modest, I can see it is time to get back to work! The good news it that I am about 8" taller then Judy, so I have the height advantage, as they say!
I am so glad to have this fitting assistant - I really have no excuse not to make a new dress for myself for Sunday’s now, and maybe even something a bit fancy for the Christmas season. I can take in my too large skirts with confidence and find the most flattering fit for some baggy blouses that need a tuck here and there. All in all, it is wonderful to have Judy hanging around my sewing corner!

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Two Happy Discoveries

Well, I am still wading through all of the e-mail, but I thought I'd post about my two happy discoveries this evening - both very insignificant to most of the world, but lovely for me!

First of all, the delight of finding forgotton chocolate! I know it is very frivolous, but for special occasions we sometimes order chocolate from Wilbur Chocolate - milk chocoate 'Buds' to be exact. They remind us of a wonderful time in our marriage when we lived in Pennsylvania and enjoyed travelling the countryside discovering out of the way places and making special memories. To commemorate our 15th wedding anniversary, I recently ordered a small supply to surprise The Historian. Unfortunately, we now have to share - with the children! Needless to say, they began disappearing quickly! I took evasive action and hid the remaining supply, and promptly forgot to tell the The Historian! Today, what was lost was found! Much to the delight of all, we once again have this special taste treat - of course, when the children find out in the morning, we'll have to share!

The second discovery is that I am not allergic to paper tape! There is good reason for my excitement! We recently dicovered in a local antiques market, a dressmakers 'Judy' - made in the 1940's with paper tape and attached to a crude handmade base. It came complete with a vintage dress - size 12 and in great shape but desperate need of a washing - all for $10! I am not a size 12, but we plan to make a paper tape form of my torso to layer over this slender Judy so that I may have my long dreamed of 'fitting assistant' for sewing projects. Anna, from Pleasant View Schoolhouse gave me the inspiration with her duck tape version. The problem is, my dear Historian, while willing to do the paper tape form, was very concerned about an allergic reaction. He had visions of an all over rash, or worse! So, after wearing a piece of paper tape on my forearm all evening with no ill affects, we are ready to move forward with this project!

Two happy discoveries in one day, a computer that is running along with a internet service provider that is back online - a beautiful warm sunny midwestern day - so many blessings to count!

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Quiet Sunday

We have enjoyed a quiet Sunday - what a blessing! This morning was a bit of a rush since I needed to get up earlier than usual to put an Apple Kuchen in the oven for our 'Friend Sunday' carry in harvest celebration dinner at church. I forgot how long the Kuchen sometimes takes to bake and this morning it took an hour and a half. I should have chosen something that could have been made the night before - but it was worth the wait! Mmmm! I tasted about 3 bites - sharing with The Storyteller is getting harder! His little lips were just smacking! I'll have to make another one soon - and I forgot to take a picture with the new camera! I used my home canned apple pie filling so it was really yummy. It sort of tastes like shortbread wrapped pie filling - a cookie and a pie in one bite! We had a wonderful turn out for Friend Sunday - and can the ladies at our country church cook! I have never seen such a wonderful variety of foods in my life! They outdid themselves - everyone was more than satisfied.

Our Pastor was talking about the letter to the Ephesians, and how the Judizers were trying to add Jewish kinds of things to salvation - as if Christ alone were not sufficient - that there was something more to salvation that was required. I thought it was a great message for Friend Sunday, since I think there were many there who have the impression that is true today. We are so quick in Christian circles to add our ideas of what a Christian's should or should not do, when really salvation is only about what Christ has already done for us. It was a good reminder for 'the regulars' in the pew too! In Christ alone!

I have more new technology to grow accustomed to. Tonight we have just unpacked a new computer and so I am trying it out. I have no idea how we will get the information from our old computer transferred, but at least I was able to find my blog! We have been talking about a new computer since last December - can you tell I hate to spend money on something I know nothing about? We finally decided to stop talking about it and just buy something! It was so confusing - everyone has an opinion and the three models we had chosen during that time had already become obsolete - as I'm sure this one will be in a few weeks as well! It seems to be much faster than our 6 year old model and that is without high speed, so that is a blessing! We were so limited with the older model and since we are using it more and more for homeschool and life in general, it was high time!

I do love the peace and quiet of Sunday in our home - it is a blessed rest before the week of business. As I get older it seems like the days between Sunday's go faster and I need the precious time of rest and reflection even more!

Saturday, November 4, 2006

The Historian

This morning, fortified with steaming stacks of The Historian's internationally known blueberry pancakes with warm blueberry 'compote', we ventured forth to purchase a few items - one of which was our first simple digital camera! At last! I am very pleased, but of course, there is a lot to learn. Since the children were producing only silly faces and goofy grins, I decided I would sneak in for a photo of The Historian. This was my 5th try, and already I have learned something new! A moving target is much harder to photograph than a still subject!

The one big drawback of not having cable or satelite t.v. is that college ball games are sometimes unavailable. We have a 5 inch (that is not a typo!) color t.v. with an attached antenna for the sole purpose of watching the local evening news and football games. The look on the historian's face when he realized that football had been pre-empted for golf was priceless! It reminded me of The Storyteller with a mouth full of brussels sprouts - a bit hard to swallow! Nevertheless, there is always radio, so The Historian took to his comfortable office to listen and to work on his 'history hobby project' on the laptop. I'm not sure of the outcome of the game, but I'm pretty sure his favorite team was winning - again!
I think I am going to like the digital camera. It wasn't expensive, I am not a great photographer and have no experiance with digital, so I'm sure my pictures will be pretty poor until I learn more, but it is fun to deleat the goofs and try again. This way I can share some pictures without waiting until the roll of film is complete, and I don't have to pay to print my mistakes. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The Art of Pressing

On Tuesday's my good friend comes in the afternoon and makes her best attempt to tackle my ironing basket, or mountain as the case may be. This week it was a mountain. With temperatures fluctuating and an abundance of mud in the back yard, we seem to be washing more clothing. Combined with the fact that there is more fabric to long sleeves and pants, and the fabric of our dresses is heavier this time of year, the mountain has grown rapidly. I am unable to tolerate polyester next to my skin, so my family is forced to wear natural fibers if they want to have their laundry done and spend time cuddling with me! We hang out, or hang up so everything requires some pressing. My favorite iron is in for repairs, so she has been working with the 'back up' and doing a great job, but I'm sure she will be glad to have the heavier professional iron back, as will I.

I have been trying to do some sewing, but have been very tired in the evenings. We are going through some real discipline problems with both children right now, and I find that remaining calm, consistant and gracious is exausting. Flying off the handle and loosing my cool are equally exausting and require repentance, confession and forgiveness! Timeconsuming business. However, I am trying to save enough of myself to sew. I am missing my regular iron terribly. My Nanny taught me that a good seamstress is only as good as her pressing technique. I learned to sew with her guidance, and with the straightforward instruction of The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction published in 1959. This book, along with a trunk load of fabrics, pressing hams, notions, a White sewing machine in good order and patterns (oh, how I wish I had those patterns now!) were my paternal grandmother's contribution to my sewing education, and eventual addiction. She died when I was 5 but by the time I was 11 her trunk represented great joy and satisfaction to me. A good book and a sewing project - what more could a shy girl of 11 require?

So here is a little instruction in the art of pressing for your encouragment! It really makes a huge difference in the professional look of a finished sewing project if you take the time to press properly.

To be able to iron is not necessarily to be able to press. Ironing is using the hot iron in a lifting, sliding, pushing motion with long strokes across washable fabrics to smooth and dry them. Pressing is using the iron in a lifting and lowering motion to smooth or block an area or to flatten edges. Pressing exerts pressure down on fabric; ironing carries pressure across fabric. Pressing is the method or the skill you use most when you are sewing. In developing the art of pressing you must learn not only to press on grain, but also when and how to press each part of the garment, and how to handle various types of fabric. All the skills cannot be learned on one or several garments, but to help assure the final sucess of your sewing, you must begin to develop professional pressing techniques.

From Bishop Method of Clothing Construction published in 1959 chapter 9 Pressing Techniques