Saturday, March 28, 2015

Photography Challenge

Take one photo each week for a year.  Sounds easy enough or so it seemed when my friend Becky of Rub Some Dirt On It blog fame told me about the My Four Hens Project 52. "You should do it, Laurel".  Each week, Sarah puts out a theme and members (like me) post a fresh image taken that week that relates to the theme. The kicker is that it's supposed to be a new photo, not one of the cool ones you took on your French vacation last year.

I might add that there are over 2500 members, many of them professional photographers.  So there are a lot of stunning photos posted each week, many of them of people. I don't have any cute kids hanging around everyday to capture in mega pixels, so my photos tend to be more about translating what's going on in my life into a single image.

Trust me, it's harder than your think.  Especially when you get the bright idea that you will chronicle your life in photos and publish a coffee table book in December. So I can't just go out and snap any old photo, it has to be relevant to what's happening in my life.

I'm twelve weeks into the challenge and I thought I'd share what I have so far:

Fresh: Last of the oranges off our tree

Storytelling: Sewing this week

Light: Church on Sunday

A Part of Me: My feet (I always photograph them)

Small: I had been playing my piano this week

Happy: Happiness is making a cake for a friend.

Pastel: No relation to my life, but I was desperate for an image. 
And this one was chosen for M4H's weekly "Eye Candy"

Perspective: Eggs were declared good for you and not bad for cholesterol??? I love eggs.

Shapes: My mini-me Colette got a new friend this week - Zanikan.

Nature: Another UTI this week, so lots of fresh, pure water!

Reality: I dreamed of red 6" heels one night, but the reality is that I can't even wear my wedding heels

Shiny: Dave was a little over-zealous while washing my windows - that be a shiny crack!

Not to make too great a point of it, but it's tough trying to be witty and artsy all the time...I considered scrapping the whole thing, but it's a challenge, Laurel!  Oh, did I mention that I'm taking most of my photos with my iPhone, just to make it harder, cuz that's way I roll! 

What would you have photographed for each of these themes?


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Old friend...

Years ago, Mom gave my sister our old family sewing machine - a Singer Centennial that she purchased in the 1950s.  Mom made most of our clothes and taught both my sis and I to sew.  Years later she took up quilting, but gave it up as it was hard for her to see...and after all "how many quilts can you make anyway?"

Recently she ventured into sewing again, making some PJ's with a borrowed machine. It was frustrating as her old machine was so much easier to operate.  At Thanksgiving my sister hauled the old Singer in the back of her truck from Utah to our 90 year old Mom. It needed a little work so I dropped it off at my local Singer repairman to get it rewired and cleaned up.  It took weeks, but they did a great job, carefully cleaning the rust from the motor, replacing the wiring, etc.

Yesterday I hauled it back up to Mom's and we set it back in the cabinet (it weighs a ton!), which she had refinished in a pretty turquoise chalk paint.  I plugged it in, wound a bobbin, threaded it and stitched a few lines on a scrap of cloth.  I had forgotten the sweet hum of this machine that I first learned to sew on when I was 10.   Though the smooth rhythm of needle going up and down reminded me that it once went clean through my index finger (it sews through anything!), we were still old friends.

I remembered a suit I made in high school, back when a field trip to San Francisco required heels and gloves. I remembered my first apron in 4-H and the frustration of learning to gather a skirt without breaking the threads. I remembered my graduation dress from high school with its little embroidered daisy trim.  All that from just listening to the hum of Mom's old Singer.

She told me that I could have it after she was done sewing.  At the rate she's going, it will be quite a while before it comes to Fair Oaks.  Meanwhile, she is as happy as if she just bought a new Bernina and had 5 yards of Duponi silk to sew.

Laurel. Sewing goes on forever!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Vintage Fabric Stash

A friend of mine lost her mother about one year ago and the family is still trying to go through her belongings to get the family home ready to sell. Weeding through boxes and boxes of memorabilia, kitchen gadgets, old photos and craft supplies is somewhat painful, trying to decide what to keep and what to toss. Everything brings back a memory.

After a couple of estate sales and the piles are still huge, it gets to be too much and you're just ready to junk it all. My friend, knowing that I make little dresses for Dress a Girl Around the World No. CA asked if I wanted any of her Mom's fabric stash. We met yesterday afternoon and I went through each box, looking for cotton fabric for our upcoming Sew Fest. It was amazing to see the variety of fabrics in her stash, many of them from the 50's.

If you are a sewist and are my age, you may remember that many of the huge retailers "used to" sell fabric. The way they prepared remnants isn't that different from the way we see them now, but check out the prices!

Seeing these, I thought of FabricLadyand her Dad. I'll bet he has stories to tell about being an independent fabric store owner going up against the big guys.  I think that Walmart is the only national retailer that still sells fabric by the yard, though I am Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics girl all the way.

Amy's Mom had a whole box of 9" squares (quilting?) all cut out - they are perfect for trimming into pockets for the DAG dresses.  But as is common with stuff that has been stored in cardboard boxes for 20 years or longer, the fragrance of the fabric was a tad musty.  The squares filled up my entire front loading washer. And naturally, they all raveled and wrinkled coming out of the dryer, so I pressed every one of the squares so the volunteers could easily cut the pockets.

Other pieces of fabric weren't big enough to make a whole dress, but will become pockets or shorts for Dress a Dude, DAG's new "fashion line" for little boys. I'm joking about the fashion thing, but whenever a missionary takes our cute little dresses to the field, the little boys are heartbroken because they didn't get a new outfit...hence Dress a Dude.

Evidently Amy's Mom was a giver as well - I found ready made cotton bags for the Senior Gleaners that she made regularly for that group. There were a few pieces that weren't suitable for our purposes - a lot of older polyesters, knits, etc. But there were some real treasures in Mom's stash...vintage fabric big enough to make a big girl dress for yours truly.

I see a fifties style dress with a full skirt - I think they call them "midi skirts" these days. 
It's a soft cotton.

And this print is a shiny acetate, perfect for a sleeveless lined sheath dress.

And since I'm not a brown person, this cute print had enough yardage to make two DAG dresses!

I washed, cut and ironed everything I brought home, so needless to say I was exhausted by dinner.  And I remembered how much I hated to iron as a teenager and I have to say, it's even harder on your back as an old lady! Today I will serge up the dresses and get them ready to be put into a kit to be sewn by the women volunteers who lovingly give of their time and talents for Dress a Girl every month.

Thank you Amy for your generosity.  Your Mom would be happy.

Laurel. Ready for Saturday's Sew Fest with DAG
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