Easter outfits 2014: part 1

Once upon a time, I had an idea.  What if I made Easter dresses/outfits for my grandkids every year?

This was a great idea…..when I had only one grandchild. :)

Just kidding! I truly enjoyed sewing for all three grands. It just took a bit more time and planning and effort.

(As my friend Rebecca says–it may balloon to sweatshop-type work if/when all of my kids have children of their own.)

At least I started planning early.  I got these 3 Oliver+s patterns during a 50% off Black Friday sale! Yay for 50% off!


I also had the advantage of Easter falling rather late this year–April 20.

But that really doesn’t help you, if you still procrastinate. Ah, well.

I got them done on time, in spite of myself, and even sent in the mail with time to spare!

For Adeline, I chose the Library Dress pattern. I had purchased this garden/veggie print fabric from Ikea a long time ago, knowing that Addie would love to have something made out of it. The veggies are so cute with their little faces.

For the contrasting waistband, I had “imagined” in my head a gingham-type print in blue, but not really a traditional gingham, more of a modern look to it…..
Lo and behold, I found what I was looking for at a (fabulously well stocked) local fabric store. A Lotta Jansdotter print! (Olavi in Blueberry in the Glimma line, for anyone who cares.) It was perfect.
And it would be just right for a vest for Townsend. Matching, but not too match-y.

The dress went together pretty well with few issues (there are always a few issues, but you know…that’s what seam rippers are for ;)).

addie dress I was really pleased to find that I had 8 vintage blue buttons from my grandma’s stash that worked out just right, down the back of the dress.

addie dress 2The buttonholes were harder than usual; I had to use my Bernina machine with the old-timey way of making buttonholes, since my newer Baby Lock machine is acting funky again (the 0 and 1 buttons to push to do different stitches will not work :P). But I managed to make them work okay.  Hopefully they won’t unravel until after Easter. :)

I do regret not putting a lining in the dress; the pattern did not call for one, and I didn’t realize until later that the fabric was a little more sheer than I thought. With the colorful pattern, however, it probably won’t be a problem. (Tights? Shorts?  I’ll let her mother come up with a creative solution if it’s needed. :))

I used the Art Museum Vest and Trousers for T: the Jansdotter print for the front of the vest, and chambray fabric for the back of the vest and lining, and the pants. There was a lot of fiddly parts to these: the welt pockets, lining, regular pockets plus a welt pocket on the pants, a faux fly…..In retrospect, I probably should’ve just made the vest, and then a more simple pair of pants. But I was pretty proud of the welt pockets. Lined with chambray on the vest!

welt pocket

vest welt pocket

lining vest

IMG_4597IMG_4596I had a bit of trouble understanding the directions on the waistband of the pants. I ended up doing them wrong; however, they will still fit/work on T. They just aren’t very pretty on the inside—lots of threads, etc. I think that in the future, when I don’t understand a direction, even though I have read and re-read the instructions, I need to take a break from the project. It seems like usually my mind can eventually figure it out. But I was feeling pressed for time, and forged on, when I should’ve taken a breather. Live and learn.

interior waistbandSee what I mean?  Liesl would be disappointed, no doubt.

(For a look at how the inside waistband should  look, see Froo and Boo’s Art Museum Trousers.  Ah.  Perfection.)

Maybe the next time I make them….

I only put one welt pocket on the back (because seriously, how many welt pockets does a 6 month old need??)

IMG_4603And there’s the faux fly.  Not a real one, thank goodness.  That probably would have added 10 hours on to the project.

faux fly(That left side pocket looks a little funky, too.  I really do need to make these again, just to fix all of the problems.)

Here’s the vest and pants together.

IMG_4595And Adeline’s dress with Townsend’s outfit. Look how cute they are together!


Ambrose’s pattern was a more simple one: the Playtime Dress and Tunic. I found this sweet fabric at the same quilt fabric store as the Jansdotter print; it is Potluck by American Jane Patterns; Sandy Klop for Moda. I made the sleeves short instead of long, since Rosie lives in Texas. One of the details that was really sweet is the contrasting thread used to make a faux collar of sorts. See the blue thread?

IMG_4614back rosie's dressI used snaps instead of buttonholes, because I was so. done. with the buttonholes. :)

Rosie dressThis post is Part one, because of course, you want to see the kids in their actual outfits, right?? As soon as I get photos from their mamas, I will post them, so you can see for yourself either a) what a great job I did, or b) the outfits don’t fit at all, or c) something in between. :)

I did get a preview text of when Rosie got her dress. She looks excited about that fabric!

rosie and dress


And a preview of Townsend!

t vest

(He may want to reconsider his shirt choice. :))

Full photos of all three in Part 2!




“Would any of you like to say something at the service?”

The pastor looked around at us.

I knew what my answer would be.  There were lots of things that I wanted to say about about my mom—but there was no way that I thought I could actually get the words out, and not just end up standing up at the podium, crying my eyes out.

( I know –this goes against my general reputation of being dead inside. :))

My sister had asked me to write up a little something, to fill out the back of the memorial service bulletin. She gave me an example of something she had seen at a friend’s funeral.

I wrote. But it was far too long for the back of the bulletin.

I suggested we edit it down (even though I didn’t really want to :)).

Or (I said) maybe we should do a bulletin insert, and leave it the length that it was.

My sisters agreed to it.

The baby of the family got her way, again. :)


As I re-read later what I had written for mom’s service, I realized that perhaps it could appear that we all thought Mom was perfect, or a better person than most, or something.

Not true.

Mom had her faults.

She could be stubborn. I can remember the set of her chin and mouth when she was unwilling to concede a point.

She could be sharp with her words with my dad.  I remember her asking me to pray for her in this regard. (His not being able to hear her, in spite of his hearing aids, and her frustration with this, seemed to be a common irritant for both of them.)

She had her down days, contrary to her usual positive nature.

But she was generous. She loved celebrations and birthdays, and celebrated her own birthday with her friends the entire month of April. She was interested in her kids’ and grandkids’ activities, and tried to continue to connect with adult grandkids–even when it was more difficult than when they were little kids, running around at grandpa and grandma’s house. She gave visitors to her church homemade bread (well, made from frozen bread dough purchased at the supermarket.  And laughed and enjoyed it when people asked for her “recipe”).

She showed people Christ, in her, every day.  His perfection shone through the cracks in her “jar of clay”, and pointed people to Him.


Even though I didn’t get up and speak at her memorial, I got to say most everything I wanted to say–through the bulletin insert, and through this.

Except for this last thing: my mom was a special person, and one of my best friends.

I am going to miss her.  A lot.

I am thankful that this is only goodbye for a little while.


The following is what I wrote for Mom’s memorial service insert.


Dee had a joy that the Lord gave her, and it spilled out naturally to those around her.  Her positive attitude was a light to everyone around her.

Psalm 118:24—This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.

Nehemiah 8:10—The joy of the Lord is my strength.

Psalm 30: 5—Weeping may tarry for a night, but joy comes in the morning.


Dee was a great encourager, and always was urging us all on, no matter what difficulty we might find ourselves in.

Isaiah 35:3—Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.

1 Thessalonians 5:11—Encourage one another and build each other up.

Proverbs 17:22—A joyful heart is good medicine.


Dee was a hard worker with a can-do attitude. She not only helped Arn get into the rental business, but started and successfully ran two businesses (preschool and daycares), which helped put their kids through college, as well as supplementing her and Arn’s generous giving.

Prov. 31:16; 20, 27-28—She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard…She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy….She looks well to the ways of her household and dos not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.


Dee’s creativity was a reflection of her Creator. Whether it was in decorating her home, doing crafts, flower gardening, playing the piano, or writing her monthly e-mails to friends and family,  she poured out beauty, and glorified her Lord through all of it.

Colossians 3:17—And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Dee’s faith in her strong Redeemer kept her close to his side. She was a woman of prayer and the Word. Throughout her life, in the midst of the normal trials and joys, as well as the deeper suffering of cancer, she was steadfast and persevering, holding steady to the hope of Jesus.

Isaiah 43:1-3—Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Romans 8:37-39—No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels not rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.


Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of Dee’s life, in all of ours.

random thoughts, once again

Random thoughts—on a Wednesday this time, just to mix it up…..

  • Got back from a medical meeting trip to West Palm Beach, Florida, where it was sunny and gorgeous every day we were there. A welcome shot of vitamin D in the midst of winter! And I was able to connect with an internet friend, Kate, and have the best key lime pie ever. Yummmm.
  • High school basketball season is over; Matt played enough varsity to earn a letter, and also was a “scholar-athlete” (3.5 gpa or above).  Although the team was less successful than hoped, he still enjoyed the season. 
  • Zach got a job at Ferino’s Pizza. Meal provided by employer when you work a shift = decent perk for a teenaged boy.
  • There are a couple of us here that have been Nebraska men’s basketball fans for quite awhile—we even had season tickets a couple of years. So it’s exciting to see the season the Huskers are putting together. We are on the bubble for the NCAA tournament—unbelievable.  Coach Tim Miles is doing a great job.  (I’m sure the new arena isn’t hurting things, either.) Even Marc has jumped on the bandwagon. :)
  • Anna is doing a showing of her art with another fellow artist, March 7, for First Fridays in Lincoln.  6-9 pm at the Redeemer building at 8th and D. So excited for this opportunity for her to show her pieces!
  • Had a 4 hour layover on our return trip, through Dallas, so we were able to connect with the Odums.  It was Rosie’s 6 month birthday.  She celebrated by scowling at us. :)  
  • My finger is healing well; going to physical therapy twice a week, and seeing improvement in my mobility.  I get to have my splint off when I am doing “sedentary activity”.  Which for me is about 80% of the time, so that’s cool. :) Exercises and heating pad 4 times a day. Maybe my finger will look straight and not curved, eventually, some day.
  • Started sewing Easter dress for Adeline; vest and pants for Townsend, and a dress for Ambrose, to follow. Excited to use the excellent patterns from oliver + s; so well designed and with clearly written directions and drawings!  What a novel idea. :P
  • Also need to get started on tax prep. Not so excited about that……
  • It’s a beautiful, clear, sunny day again here, after many days of rain.  Sunrise behind the Cascades as we got up, a glorious view of the Olympic Mountains as I crossed the Hood Canal Bridge–will I ever tire of these mountains??!  (I don’t think so.)

handmade Christmas 2013

Broken finger or no, I am going to attempt to post my handmade gifts for Chirstmas. Because my discriminating readers are probably dying to see them all.

Or else they have forgotten that I even know how to sew, since it’s been so long since I posted anything in that regard.

On with the review!

I already showed you the soft play balls I made for the babies; they are a hit as they are soft enough for infant fingers to grasp (once they start grasping  things, that is), and good for general chewing upon.

I love to re-purpose old fabric or clothing items. I sorted through a bunch of the boys’ clothes in their closets with them, and saved some good stuff out to re-use, before donating the rest.  One such item proved perfect for a cardigan for Townsend (his mama had requested a cardi for him).


I used a Schwin and Schwin vest pattern that I used previously. I wasn’t planing on lining it, but then the fabric was pretty thin, so I followed the original vest instructions.
I added in sleeves, made out of the original sleeves, and managed to ease them in without it looking like too much of a mess! The knit seemed a bit tricky to add buttonholes, so I used some of the neck binding to make a couple of button loops instead.IMG_4348


And here’s the little man himself!


Next up is my reworking of a Nebraska long-sleeved tee into a short sleeved tee for Ambrose.  Her other grandparents are from Georgia, and had given her a GA stocking cap.  Of course, with the Husker-Bulldogs game coming up on New Year’s Day, we had to make sure that she was properly outfitted with attire from her mother’s alma mater.


The original shirt had this cool embroidered logo on it, and I wanted to incorporate it into the new shirt if I could.

I made an envelope tee from Growing Up Sew Liberated ( Meg McElwee), and used Wonder Under fusible stuff to attach the logos. Then I stitched with a zigzag around it, to secure it firmly. White knit ribbing, and zigzag hems finished it off.

IMG_4238 IMG_4239

She wore it during the game, with her Georgia hat. (Glad the shirt prevailed!)


Go Big Red!

For Addie, I found some cute fabric from Girl Charlee that I knew would be perfect for my animal-loving granddaughter.


I made pajamas for her from the same Sew Liberated for Kids book.

IMG_4346 IMG_4364

She loved them!

(I did, too.  They turned out so nicely!)

Girl Charlee also has this awesome moose fabric.  Maybe some matching pjs for Townsend and/or Ambrose??

For the girls, I made zippered pouches from this pattern by Noodlehead.  My mom had given me a bunch of zippers from her stash, and they were great for these. I was able to use up a bunch of scrap fabric as well.  It was fun to get them out and see what fabrics might go together for the lining and outer fabrics.

IMG_4345 IMG_4256

For some of the guys, I made ties, from a pattern from the Purl Bee.

They ended up being a little more intensive than I thought they might be, mostly because there is very little machine-sewing, and a lot of pressing and hand-sewing.  Having said that, they weren’t as hard as I thought they might be.

Image 2

It was also interesting because I used a different type and weight of fabric for each one.  The orange one is a sort of linen; the multi-colored stripe is a fairly heavy cotton; and the tan and blue stripe is a softer, lighter cotton.  All three had their pluses and minuses, but the linen was probably the easier to work with for this particular project.

The last handmade project was not a Christmas gift, but came about because Sarah mentioned that Ambrose needed some kind of soft shoe, to keep her feet warm when it was chillier out, instead of just having socks on.  I immediately said, “I can make that!” (nothing like an overconfident attitude) , and set about to find a pattern to do so.  I  ended up using this pattern from Schwin and Schwin, and used some heavy gray flannel-ish fabric along with some dark green vinyl for the sole.

I have to say that the instructions and photos on the shoe pattern aren’t the clearest, but after a bit of monkeying around with it and turning it this way and that, I figured out how to sew it all together like it was supposed to be.

We did have a bit of trouble with one of the shoes wanting to slide off of her foot, so I hand-sewed a bit of rug-grippie stuff to the inside heel of the shoes.


Snaps sewn on the inside of the flap help keep it all in place.

They worked out so well, I made a pair for her cousin, too. ;)

Next up on the sewing horizon: Easter outfits for the grands.  I got these adorable oliver + s patterns for 50% off on their Black Friday Week sale!


Hoping my recovering finger won’t impede me too much.  Stay tuned!


I am not a big New Year’s resolution person. I am not sure that I ever have formally made such a resolution. However, in pondering it over the past few days and weeks, I have realized that we are attracted to these, because they represent a fresh start, a new page, a re-boot.

Who doesn’t want that? At least on occasion.

The problem with resolutions is they tend to be based largely on willpower.  Hence the ever popular variations on “eat healthier, exercise more, save more, spend less” resolutions.

Not that they aren’t good things to pursue.  Not that there aren’t ways to successfully implement them into our lives.

(And frankly I hope to do “all of the above” in the coming year.)

But as I pondered, I realized that the things I want for the new year are mostly things that I want to let go of.

Things like regret. Bitterness. Frustration. Worry.

As I have been thinking about this, I realized that all of these have a similar component: control.

As in, I want to be in control of what happens in my life.

I think I know best how things should go.

If they haven’t gone My Way in the past, I experience bitterness and regret. “If only!”  “Why??” Self-blame (regret).  Others/God-blame (bitterness).

If they aren’t going My Way in the present, I experience frustration and annoyance.

If only other people could do things they way I want them done, in the time frame I want them done.  If only the circumstances of this situation were different.

I have ideas about how things should go in the future. And I worry that they won’t go that way.  And then what will I do????

Anxiety ensues.

All of these responses and feelings are because I want to be in control. I think I know things, like what’s best for me and the people I love and the country and the world.

Pretty egotistical.

Definitely prideful.

And not unlike our first parents, Adam and Eve, who, when presented with the option of trusting God or wanting to be in control of their own lives and make their own choices outside of his wisdom, chose the latter.

They wanted to be like God.  Or, more accurately, they wanted to be God in their lives.

Why not that tree? It looked pretty good. Did God really say that? Does He really know what’s best for us?

Independent. Making their own decisions. Directing life the way they thought it should go.

I am no different.

And yet, in my more humble moments, I want to be.

I want to rest in the assurance that my life is held by Someone who has all knowledge, power, and wisdom.  Who knows far better than I what is best for me.  Who is lovingly crafting a life for me in which nothing is outside of his control.

Believing God’s truth of his word, and turning from the idol of control in my life–that is my hope and goal for this new day/new week/new month/new year.

It is not a resolution made on an arbitrary day, and then cast away by the next month. (Or at least, I hope and pray not.)

It is something that I have to pursue, to apply, to preach to my mind and heart and soul, every day, sometimes every minute.

I pursue it by reading the truth, the Word, the one who became flesh for me, who bids me come and feast on him.

Daily: in prayer and reading the Word, in the ebb and flow of the daily rhythm of work and rest and play.

Weekly: with his people, in his sacraments, in listening to godly teaching, in communing with one another.

Through the church calendar: Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Advent.

Yearly: through the changing-yet-the-same seasons, reminding me of his faithfulness, unchangeableness. His control and sovereignty over all creation.

Even me, and the little slice in which I live.

This is my resolution. Every day, and every day, and every day.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a control-worshipping sinner.


Tim Keller: “Worry is not believing God will get it right, and bitterness is believing God got it wrong.”

Paul Tripp:  “You don’t need to have control over people and situations because everything in your life is under the complete control of your Savior.”

Matthew 6:25-34:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 Forthe Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

medical update

This may be a short post.  I am finding out how difficult it is to type with only one hand plus a finger.

(I have contemplated leaving in all the typos so you can see, but my inner editor won’t let me.)

I am in the post-op phase of my finger injury.  To catch you up, I went to the hand surgeon in Seattle and she confirmed that it was a bad break, but hopefully she would be able to push everything together and put a bracket-y thing on it. But if not, she might have to graft a bone from the back of my hand on to my finger.

Guess what. :)  I have less bone in my hand, and a new one in my finger now.

Surgery went well (the surgeon was even able to get my wedding ring off without cutting it! Yay).  I woke up rather nauseated. After awhile in recovery, I finally threw up (unfortunately getting part of it on my dear husband–he looked as if he’d had a massive pants-wetting), and then felt much better.  Evidently if you have problems with motion sickness, which I tend to have, you may also have nausea after general anesthetic.

We traveled to the ferry (did you know they give you a jump to the front of the line card if you’re post-op?) and then the rest of the way home. I don’t remember much, as I slept the majority of it.

I had my post-op appointment yesterday in Seattle, and everything looks good.  Well, good  for a post-op pinkie–swollen, discolored, lots of stitches.  (I’m not posting photos because I normally am the type of person who really doesn’t enjoy that.  I am surprised–but thankful– that looking at my own finger doesn’t make me queasy.) I have exercises that I have to do, 4-6 times a day, plus massage it and ice it when I can. That adds up to about every 3 hours or so.

(This is really going to cut into my bonbon eating time.)

Nobody has given me an estimated time of when I will be all done with this.  I’m guessing that means it might be quite awhile.

In the meantime, I am grateful that I only hurt my finger instead of something worse, and that it is my non-dominant hand; for good care by the professionals, and the people at home. :)

Time to exercise.


breaking news

I have a different post half written.  It’s been floating around in my head for awhile, but what with a lot of guests over the holidays, there hasn’t been much time for sitting and ruminating. 

And then, just when it was looking like there might be (time to ruminate, that is), I fell.

I slipped on our back steps, and jammed my left pinkie finger into the steps.  Hard.

I hoped that it was just a sprain.  After all, I could still move it.

 A little. (Those crunchy sounds probably didn’t mean anything…) 

I put ice on it, and made a homemade splint out of a popsicle stick.

But by the end of the day, I agreed with my husband that i needed to get it x-rayed.

We went into the walk-in clinic (tip: if you go on a day when there is a big NFL playoff game for your local team, you will probably encounter a mostly empty waiting room), and the x-ray confirmed that it was indeed broken.

And not just an ordinary simple break. It was, as the orthopedist called it, “nasty”.

He recommended that I skip the part where I come to his office, and go straight to the hand surgeons in Seattle.

They were able to get me in today, and I now have a surgery scheduled for Thursday morning.

And i also got a nifty new, custom-made non-popsicle-y splint, that will probably be my close companion for quite awhile to come.

My other blog post ( plus my post-Christmas homemade gifts post!) may have to wait. 

Or maybe not.  Can I get used to typing regularly with my right hand, and only my left index finger? 

(Ouch. My pinkie hurts. )

In the meantime, I am going to work on getting my wedding ring off, so that they don’t have to cut it off on Thursday.

(The ring.  Not the finger.)