Blessings & Flaws

On my way home from the gym this morning I had a thought-I am blessed with bad knees and jiggly arms. You might think I have lost my mind as you read this but please let me explain.

As I finished my workout in the pool and headed to the locker room, I noticed a beautiful woman fixing her hair and probably soon heading to work. As she put on her finishing touches she spoke kindly to another gym member and all of a sudden I was focused on her inner beauty and not how she looked. I soon finished up  and as I headed out, said good morning to a slim and fit woman who merely scowled in return. As I was driving home I noticed an older woman briskly taking her morning walk  and I thought how nice it would be to be able to walk like that. Another walker I observed was obviously very out of shape but she was giving it her all and that is when I had an epiphany!

I have arthritic knees with one knee replacement under my belt and another looming on the horizon. For the most part these aching knees get me where I need to go (even if sometimes not quite where I want to go)! My knees remind me of the many miles they have traveled, the ropes they have jumped, the hopscotch they have hopped, the runs to a crib side,  and the bending and stooping they have endured for the past 60+ years. If they need a little relief from time to time, who am I to complain? I have abused them too. Carried too much weight, not exercised them enough,  and in general took them for granted.

My jiggly arms are part genetics but  mostly too many years of not enough dedicated attention. These arms have hugged loved ones, cuddled babies, waved goodbye, and carried just about anything I have asked of them. I am thankful for their years of service.

So what would my world look like with good knees and firm arms? Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that poor exercise habits are to be commended. Not at all. In fact, I do work out fairly regularly. I am saying this is where I am in life and I have decided these flaws are a blessing after all. I spent years covering up these flabby extremities and now I wear the clothes that I want to wear. In the past few years I have decided to focus on the person I am rather than my physical self. I wonder why it took me so long to figure these things out? Would the sun still rise tomorrow if the world got a glimpse of my arms? Would I be judged by those I care about? I think not. Would I be looked at by a stranger who might snicker? Maybe. If they saw my inner self would it change their opinion? Maybe, maybe not. Does it really matter? I hope not. Can I learn humility and work as hard on being the person I feel God called me to be? Even if this does not fit the image the world might expect of me?

Will my knees still scream for mercy sometimes and will I miss that hike to the top of the mountain? Probably. Will they still carry me to my husbands waiting arms or for a walk along the sandy shore? I think so. If someday they give out all together can I sit along the shore and just enjoy the crash of the waves, sit in a forest and appreciate the song of the birds and the whoosh of the breeze in the trees? Absolutely! Many have endured much more.

Will my beloved Thommmee lean over to offer a kiss? I know that he will.

No, I am still too proud to post a picture of my flaws-so perhaps I still have much to accept. I don’t run and hide when they pull out the camera anymore. I want people to someday reflect on me in these photos…. to remember the mom that  I was, the role of grandmother I so treasured, the friend, sister, wife, and the smile and kindness I offered to those around me. That is my prayer. Let me make a difference and someday be remembered for the person and not the body.

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If we can appreciate the beauty of each flower and not the flaws of each petal, what would our world look like? What have you been blessed with?

 

Summertime!

I have been a bit absent and distracted from my blog for the past few weeks. I have tried to keep up with my favorite bloggers but may may have missed a few of you. It might take me some time to catch up.

What have I been up to????

Well…

I have been granddaughter and doggie sitting for a few weeks.

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 (while their parents have been in Alaska!)

A few beach trips…

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 …and poolside with grandkids or my swimming buddy.

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Giving sewing lessons…

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My recent project of sewing 150 zippered bags is complete and they are now finding new homes across the globe.

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Making more strawberry jam.

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(seems I give it away almost as fast as I make it…or eat it!)

 Hitting a few yard sales. Picked up this great rattan chair.

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 (One of the cats thinks we bought it just for her)

Planning a trip to Idaho via Yellowstone and the Tetons later this month. (Did I say road trip?)

 Heading to Big Bear Lake in the local mountains for a 3 day camping trip.

(No campfires allowed due to the drought and high fire danger)

 Catching up on some housework

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 with a little help.

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 And summer has only just begun!

Happy 4th of July!

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I am very grateful today. I’m grateful for the sacrifices that have been made by our military forces. I am grateful to live in a country that allows me to worship my God, to express my feelings freely, and offer me opportunities that I choose to pursue. I am grateful to live in the United States of America.
God Bless America!!

A Father’s Day tribute to my Dad

mommermom:

I posted this on Father’s Day last year and felt it was worth repeating. I miss you, Dad.

Originally posted on mommermom :

Father’s Day is a bittersweet day for me. Without a father to celebrate with it is just not the same. It does, however, allow me to reflect on the wonderful father that I was so blessed to have.

I am the oldest of 6 children. We are a very close group!  Although very close to both of our parents, the relationship with our dad (and I am sure I can speak for all of my siblings) was very special. He was the soul of the family, the hugger, the kisser, the listener, the head of the family.

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Dad and I had our share of battles during my teenage years. The issues were nail polish, make up, dating, and all the other rights of passage. My mother (sweet incredible woman that she was) was somewhat old-fashioned in the sense that Dad had the last say on most issues. I am sure she was a…

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Camping-Silverwood Lake

We finally decided to take out new tent out for a trial run.  Since we had not been out for a while our tent had languished in its original box for about 5 months. In our area it is very difficult to find an open camping spot without advance planning so we chose a mid-week trip to a nearby lake. You should understand, lakes in this part of California are few and far between, so they are usually full of boaters and crowds.  Mid week and before the kids were  out of school we had no problem getting in and very few neighbors. Even the park ranger looked  surprised when we arrived, no reservation, and asked to camp for one night!

We chose Silverwood Lake in the almost high desert located in the San Bernardino National Forest.

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This would not be a place I would venture to mid summer as temps can hit the 100’s quite often. I am also afraid of rattlesnakes (well to be honest, any snakes) which are quite common in the desert heat.  The other draw for this spot is the less than one hour drive to get there.

When you think of desert camping you don’t often think of trees…

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…which they had plenty of…

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…or water…

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…or beaches.

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They had plenty of that too.

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We had a lovely campsite, plenty of room for multiple tents.

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(Site 41)

It was a little breezy and mildly warm temperatures.

A homing pigeon stopped by for a rest on his way to wherever.

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Thommmee was so excited when he saw an eagle scoop up a small squirrel in its talons and fly off. Of course we didn’t have time to get a picture of nature in action.

The desert has a variety of beautiful and unique flowers.

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We didn’t get many pictures because I actually turned my phone off for 24 hours!  Yes, it was hard but it was also very relaxing. No internet, no connecting with anyone else or thinking about anything else except enjoying God’s beauty and spending time with Thommmee.  I had time to be alone and reflect.  We took a few little hikes to appreciate the exquisite diversity of the desert scenery. Although it was only one night, there was something about the quiet time that replenished me.

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It was just what I needed.

All is quiet on the home front

I suppose it happens to the best of writers, the novice writers, bloggers, and just about anyone else that writes. Now It has happened to me. I have nothing to write about.

I stare at the blank page and try to think of something interesting to say. Unlike  Gwendoline, excited about an actual book she is having published, I cannot even seem to complete an actual post much less an entire book! With my very generic name-mommermom-I could write about anything really. I was going to update my cheesy-zucchini-rice. Getting all excited about sharing it, I took pictures and wrote down the changes but then it hardly seemed worth mentioning in a full post. If I were a more confident seamstress I could post another sewing tutorial or offer an update on the project I am currently working on-sewing 150 of my zippered bags.

wpid-20150605_080640.jpgIf I were a true gardening blog, I would tell you marvelous stories about our little garden and how exciting it is to cook up some fresh zucchini.

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(which I may still do as the garden yields more veggies). Sarah over at Coffee to Compost helps to keep me motivated.

I could share the sad saga of our cat,

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that we had put down after 16 years of being a faithful and beloved pet. There has been no vacation this year as we stayed home and nursed our ailing Kitty Boy until the end.

If I were a great photographer like Two Trails One Road ,  I might share some amazing photos.  I could post about the weather (again) but with all the heartache, flooding, and weather related tragedies going on in so many places, it seems a little shallow to talk about the May gray that is now turned into June gloom.

I take time to read many blogs and have chuckled to wonder what happened to Marlene’s grinder  or the next gorgeous painting taking shape over at The Contented Crafter, what adorable sewing projects Scooby or Sewlovable have stitched up or delightful recipes Rosemarie’s Kitchen has shared. Masgautsen might have taken another delightful trip or an enjoyable long weekend. She always seems to have such fun.  Lani recently got back from a beautiful Hawaiian vacation and I envy how comfortable she is in far away lands! I could tout the joy of retirement (which only gets better) but that can soon become an old topic for those who have been at it awhile or those who get up early to head off to work. Colin is no longer tramping in the woods but has moved on with an exciting new blog and Stonecrop Sister is also making changes to her blog. I too would like to make changes but am at somewhat of a loss as to the more technical aspects of WordPress.

Actually, life is good. Thommmee, 12 grandchildren, 6 grown kids, our large family, wonderful friends, church activities, gardening, sewing, cooking, catching up with many more blogs, and life in general keep me plenty busy! I have even started reading again.

Right now…

I just don’t seem to have much to say…

Sewing tutorial-zippered pouches

Sewing is a passion of mine. Looking over my blog one might not know that as I don’t share many of my projects. I don’t consider myself to be a great sewer and feel a bit apprehensive sharing my stuff.  During my high school and college years, I sewed almost all of my clothes.  Later I sewed for my children until they reached an age when they did not want to be seen in ‘homemade’ clothes anymore-instead striving to be just like everyone else. In the past few years I have rekindled my love of sewing but now focus more on home décor and craft items.

One of my most popular posts, surprisingly, is my Fabric Origami Bag which is one of my favorite crafts to sew. It is easy and would be perfect for kids, simple projects, or beginning sewers.   Last year I began sewing zippered pouches.  I make cosmetic bags, coin purses, and pencil cases. These are fun (and easy) projects too!  I enjoy putting together color combinations and adding the little extras.  Selecting fabrics, cutting, and picking embellishments takes more time than the actual sewing. Since we live in an instant gratification world, these bags are perfect! You have a finished piece in a very short amount of time.  Like most sewers, I have a stash of fabric around as well as extra zippers…

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…which I order in bulk on Amazon.

(Much cheaper that way!)

I have decided to try another sewing tutorial (and you will need a sewing machine for this)

Supplies needed:

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2 small pieces of fabric  (cotton or cotton blend)

a 10 inch or longer (longer is better) nylon zipper (you will be cutting the zipper so nylon is a must)

some type of craft interfacing or stabilizer. I use a medium weight stabilizer. It can be an fusible but I prefer to just use a glue stick appropriate for fabric)

matching thread

scissors

pinking shears (not required but nice)

craft or fabric glue

First select 2 contrasting fabrics.

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For this purpose I am making a pencil type bag which will be longer and more narrow

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Approx. 8 inches wide x 10 inches wide

These measurements do not need to be exact and I seldom measure (instead just using whatever I have lying around)

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Next cut a piece of stabilizer, the same size.

Glue fabric to each side of stabilizer so you now have a two-sided piece to work with.

That means you have the stabilizer sandwiched between 2 pieces of contrasting fabric.

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 (not the same bag but to give you a different look at your glued rectangle)

Using pinking shears, cut the edges around the outside of the rectangle.

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Next lay you zipper across the widest side of your finished piece-zipper facing down.

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If you lay the zipper on the shorter side, you will end of with something more of a glasses case or (or what they used to call a cigarette case). This is ok too but for this tutorial we will stick with the pencil bag size.  You can use your glue stick to lightly glue your zipper into place or pin. I like to sew it with just the pinked edges poking out for a more decorative look even though this will be on the inside of the bag, This bag is not lined so you will get an occasional glimpse of this when opening and closing your bag.

Machine stitch and if you need to-use a zipper foot attachment to get close. Unless I am working with a very small bag, I don’t usually switch to my zipper foot.

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Using your fingers, smooth the zipper up so that it is now facing up as it should be in the finished bag.

Topstitch the to keep it in place and to avoid snagging when open and closing your bag. Keep the topstitch  1/8 inch or so from the edge and to catch the pinked edge underneath.

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Now fold the bag so that is inside out. The next step is to stitch the zipper to the other side of your piece. Again, allow the pinked edge to peak out ever so slightly. Sew into place and again top stitch. If you use to small of a zipper, it makes top stitching this side more difficult.

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You will now have an inside out bag, top stitched on both sides and believe it or not we are almost done!

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The next step is sew up the sides. If you would like to have a little handle now is the time to get that ready. You can either use a piece of ribbon, cord, or create your own using the same or contracting fabric. I usually use the same fabric as the outside of the bag. Take a piece of fabric approx. 8 inches in length. Fold in half and stitch up the side. Turn using a safety-pin (or a fancy turning gadget)  so that you now have a neat little strip. Press, Fold in half.

I always take a moment to look over my project at this point, double check to see my zipper moves smoothly and check for any mistakes. If I am going to catch a mistake now is the time to do so!  Turn you bag inside out and we will now stitch up the sides. The zipper will fall onto the front of the bag-not on the top. Depending on the size of the bag, I like to fold over about 1-2 inches.

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Anything less than an inch will allow too much of the unlined bag to show when opening and closing. If you have decided to use the strap/handle, now is the time to insert. Place strap inside the bag so it will be laying against the outside fabric with the edges matched up to the edge of the bag.

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See the ribbon on the inside?

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Or if you are using a matching fabric strap.

You can pin into place. These bags are so small that it is not difficult to hold in place but pinning is a good idea. Now stitch up that side. Don’t forget to leave the zipper open so you can turn you bag and make sure your zipper pull is within the area of the bag.

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Be certain the zipper teeth are held/pinned together when sewing. Yes, you can sew right over the zipper! I like to go over the strap and zipper several times to make sure it will hold. Don’t worry about the excess zipper hanging out at this point.

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Flip your bag around and stitch up the other side taking care that the zipper is centered evenly on both sides so you do not get a crooked bag. This is one of the few time I actually do measure!

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Taking your pinking shears, trim off the zipper on each side.

Really-go ahead!

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It is now a good time to use those shears to tidy up the sides of your bag.

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Now turn you bag right side out.

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Yes…finished!

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(with a fabric strap)

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(with a ribbon strap)

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Now I love embellishments so I usually add a zipper pull using a length of ribbon with beads attached.

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It just depends on how long you want your zipper pull.

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I like to use a variety of beads and ribbon or cord.

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This is a great way to use up small pieces of fabric and leftover ribbon. My bags are always different sizes depending on which scraps of fabric I have lying around. I keep a few bags  around for birthdays or hostess gifts.

They are also good as a gift card holder!

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Beads, ribbon, and strap are optional.

Happy sewing!