Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornado Warnings in NY??? (and Memories of Tornadoes in Kansas)

The day was mostly sunny and gorgeous yesterday while i sewed on the porch. But, in the late afternoon, dark clouds started rolling in...

(forgive the blurry photo. I took it with my phone and the focus isn't working right for some reason)
I kept expecting it to storm, but it didn't rain until just before CJ came home around 5:30, and then it downpoured. It only rained for a short time, but in that short time, the power went out in the whole town. We suspect that the wind blew a tree down into a power line or something. So, we decided to go into Medina for dinner. By the time we came home, the power was back on.

I heard there were tornado watches and warnings for Western NY, but they weren't near us. (I suspect we somehow have living so close to Lake Ontario to thank for that) Thank goodness! Living in Kansas in my childhood has made me really freaked out by tornadoes. I checked out some news articles on my phone while we were at the diner, and just the tornado precautions (ie: the safest place to be is in a basement, stay away from windows, etc) gave me anxious shivers because I remember all of the "what do do when a tornado is coming" stuff from childhood.

Of course, I know I shouldn't worry. God will take care of me (He has so far!) and whatever happens is His will.

*FYI: A tornado WATCH is when the weather conditions make a tornado likely. A tornado WARNING is when a tornado has actually been sighted. Watches don't scare me...warnings do!

But the funny thing is that the house we lived in in Kansas didn't have a proper basement...all it had was a crawlspace with a dirt floor! But when a tornado watch was in effect, friends of ours from church, who had a finished basement, would call us (knowing we had nothing but that crawlspace) and say "Tornado party at our house!" with the husband in the background, yelling, "Bring food!"

I never really saw a tornado, but I saw the damage that they did and saw the videos on the news. There was a big Tornado in 1991 in Wichita (not far from where I lived) that ripped through the Air Force base that my Dad worked at. It missed all the planes and weapons, but it demolished the base hospital where my mom worked (neither of my parents were there at the time). There is a video that a guy who lived in the barracks took of the tornado. It sticks in my mind (y'know...besides the tornado being SO CLOSE!) because you can hear a guy in the background yell "My car!!!" (skip to 2:21 on the YouTube video to hear it.) FYI: There's also a lot of swearing in the video (y'know...young, gutter-mouthed, military guys)...which I don't remember hearing as a kid, but I always saw it on TV, so all the cursing was edited out. Just watching it makes me tear up, thinking how terrifying being that close to it must be.

And the day before yesterday marked 20 years since it happened. I was 8 years old.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sewing on the porch...

I swear that Western New York really only has two seasons...Winter and Summer...and Spring and Fall just gets crammed into a few days between the two. Most of April has been very wintery...rainy and cold...and even some snow. Today was one of the first days it was nice and warm. It was in the upper 70's all day. So rather than sitting inside in my craft room, I decided to sit on the porch to enjoy the warm breeze and work on some hand sewing that needs to get done before Mayday Underground on Saturday.

It was so warm that I busted out my favorite summer dress that I got at the Lilac Festival last year. (I'd love to get some more of them this year!)

Some owls that need their heads sewn up...and a monster that needs a pucker in his lips.

My animals seemed to enjoy being on the porch too. Luna, for some reason, decided that her favorite spot was right under my rocking chair.

Terra loves the porch...since we've decided to keep her an inside cat and the porch is the closest she ever gets to being outside. She was in a few different places...on the window sills watching and "chattering" at the birds outside the blue "telephone chair" that I picked up off the curb this past fall and am planning on refinishing this summer...

But her favorite place was on the floor in the sunbeam. I got on the floor and took some really nice close-up pictures of her....but I'll share them tomorrow.

Art Lesson With Eli: Drawing Garfield (Session 1)

I'm still doing weekly art lessons with my friend's son, Eli. Last week I decided to try and move on to trying to teach him to look at something and draw what he sees. I have a memory of my 9th grade art teacher telling us "Draw what you SEE, not what you THINK you see." That statement has really stuck with me through the years and it really made me think differently about drawing/painting.

He's been really into my Garfield books I've been letting them borrow lately, so I figured we would start with trying to draw Garfield...since it's always more enjoyable to draw what you enjoy and are passionate about. When I was about 11 or 12, I was obsessed with The Lion King and drew pictures of the characters all the time. (I still have a lot of my sketches. I'll have to scan them and share them in another post).

I brought over a "new" Garfield book and had Eli try to copy an illustration of Garfield. I drew too, to try and help guide him, since the idea of "Here, draw this thing." seemed a bit intimidating to him, since he didn't really know where to start. I have to remember that he is only 5.

My drawing is on the left...Eli's is on the right. I think he did a pretty good job! My plan is to have him draw this same picture every week. My hope is that the repetition will help him and that he will keep improving and learn the value of practicing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reupholstered Chair

CJ picked up this pair of chairs off the curb back before we got married. They have a modern look, but aren't TOO modern. They are sturdy and surprisingly comfortable. Upon close inspection, you can tell a cat tried to use them as a scratching post once upon a time, but they are still good chairs. The picture below is when we had them in our old apartment...

A few years ago, my mom bought us some fabric to reupholster them with. I had chosen the fabric back in our first year of marriage, but never really expected to get any. It was more of a dream project. But one day while shopping with my mom at JoAnn Fabrics (our favorite store!), she saw it in the clearance section and commented on how nice a fabric it was. I told her it was the fabric I had wanted to use to reupholster our chairs, so she said she'd buy it for us for Christmas!

(I think it was even cheaper than that. I think it was an additional 50% off and turned out to be like $4.50 a yard! That's quite a deal for home decor fabric! Mom bought us 10 yards.)

That was about 3 years ago. And we have finally gotten around to reupholstering one of the chairs!

The reason it's taken so long is that we were really just too intimidated to do it. We had even considered just taking the chairs and the fabric to a professional upholstery place. But 2 weeks ago, CJ had a vacation week from work and while he was in super-DIY-handy-husband-house-project-mode, he figured out how to take the chair apart, and we found out that it wasn't so difficult! Just unscrew a few screws, take out the panels, cover panels with fabric, reinstall panels and put the screws back in! It's so simple! So during his vacation, CJ busted out his screwdriver and staple gun and finally reupholstered one of the chairs!

I'm really loving the look of the chair now! I'm looking forward to when we have time to do the other one!

And Terra seems to approve as well. She went and curled up in the chair as soon as we were done!

You can lay on it...just as long as you don't scratch on it, kitty!

Treasury Tuesday: Tell 'Em You Got it In Rochester!

I was featured in an Etsy Treasury that highlights lots of spring items from some Rochester artists. And a lot of them will be at Mayday Underground this Saturday! (Me included!) So come shop around for some great handmade goods, and when someone asks you "Where did you get that?", tell them you got it in Rochester!

Make sure you click on over to this week's Treasury Tuesday post on the RNEST blog for links to more treasuries! (there's one all about Angry Birds on Etsy!)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Images of Faith...

Happy Easter.

‎"...The sun as it rises,
The stone that's rolled away
The dancing of the faithful
On resurrection day!

The leaders and the spirit,
The gardener and the vine,
The breaking of the holy bread,
The drinking of the wine.

Images of Faith,
Pictures that run deep,
Within the hollows of our hearts,
And in the dreaming of our sleep."

- "Images of Faith" by Marty McCall

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Hunt Cookies

I've been busy tidying up my house today, since my Grandma is coming to visit tomorrow. It will be her first time seeing our house since we moved in (she's seen it once, but it was before we moved in) so I want it to look nice for her. But in the midst of cleaning today, I got the urge to bake. (I don't like to cook, but I like to bake!) I found a recipe for these cute "Easter Hunt" cookies the other day on the Made blog. The idea is that they look like easter eggs hiding in the grass.

Butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, peanut butter...and green food coloring...

Add in the oats & flour mix...

And...last but not least...the best part!...M&Ms!

Before baking...
After baking...

Mine didn't turn out exactly like Dana's. Hers seem more flat. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that I used regular flour instead of grinding oats into flour (because I didn't have enough oats on hand). I also used less peanut butter. Oh well...they're still delicious!

I put some of the remaining dough into my mini bar pan. I put the pan in the fridge and am going to bake it off tomorrow before my parents and grandma come over, so they're nice and warm. The cookies, I'm planning on bringing to our friends' house on Easter when we go there for dinner. I'm sure their kids will love them! :)

Good Friday...

I have a vague memory of when I was a child...hearing about "Good Friday" and finding out what it was about...and wondering why they called it "Good" Friday when that was the day Jesus died. As a child, I recognized death as a bad thing. And Jesus was so good...wouldn't the day he died be a bad day? It wasn't until I was older that I realized why Jesus' death was a good thing. A needful thing. He died for us. A picture of the spotless lamb sacrificed for Passover. But instead of sacrificing a lamb yearly, He sacrificed himself once for all of us. We just have to accept Him.

I know some people don't understand or accept this. And I pray that if you are one of those people, that you will understand someday.

(image credit: Ashley Clark)

These are the words of an old hymn that I love. The words bring me to tears because I feel so unworthy of such love and so many times fall prey so much to "all those vain things that charm me most." and yet, Christ loves me anyway and gave himself for me.

When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all!

There is a Celtic Christian band called Iona that does a version of this hymn with a different melody than the original. I am usually resistant to musicians messing around with the arrangement of classic hymns, but their version is beautiful. I also like the contemporary version "The Wonderful Cross" by Chris Tomlin, which has the same melody as the original, but adds on a chorus. It's just a wonderful matter the arrangement.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RNEST Monthly Challenge: April (Japan/Japan Relief)

This is my entry for this month's RNEST Monthly Challenge...Kiyomi the Geisha. The theme for April is Japan/Japan Relief. I got the name "Kiyomi" from one of my Facebook fans after putting a call out for pretty (but not cliche`) Japanese names. It means "pure beauty".

This piece was inspired by the "Panda Buns" project in the Wee Wonderfuls book I got from the library a few months ago. I actually used the pattern as a base for this design, and (as usual) tweaked it to suit my vision and make it my own.

I feel extremely accomplished after finishing this (it took me most of yesterday afternoon/evening to complete). This is the most sophisticated piece I think I've done to date. I've never made removable clothes for any of my plush before, (with the exception of that skirt I tried making for Mika the raccoon.) so this was a big challenge. I'd also never worked with bias tape before in this way. It was a challenge, but I definitely prefer using the bias tape over dealing with trying to hem raw edges.

I improvised the hair and designed it myself.

Here she is without the kimono. I felt the need to give her a modest, sewn-on undergarment so she wasn't naked underneath.

I wanted the obi to be attached to the kimono itself...since I know how little girls are, and if I'd made it a separate piece, it would ultimately get lost. Although...the shoes will probably get lost. My dolls were always barefoot when I was little, unless the shoes were sewn on. For my next geisha doll (yes, I will be making more!) I want to get a little crazy and actually make little wooden sandals out of balsa wood (that was my husband's idea!).

The original "Panda Buns" project has "pajamas" instead of a kimono (and I believe is intended to be Chinese instead of Japanese). To make the kimono, I just lengthened the pajama top pattern and improvised for the obi (the sash around the middle). I also give my husband credit for suggesting how to do the obi.

The obi wraps around and is attached in the back with snaps. (this was my first time using snaps too).

Here is Kiyomi with my very first geisha doll that I made about 4 years ago. I had thought about entering the "Sock Geisha" in the Team Challenge, but was insecure about the stitching...since I made her back before I had a machine, when I sewed everything by hand. Plus...she is one of the pieces I'm attached to and want to keep for myself. But I also didn't want to put something on Etsy with inferior stitching.

I still have a ton the blue asian brocade one of my next geisha dolls will definitely have a kimono made from it! Even with as much work as Kiyomi was, I am really looking forward to making more of them with different kimono, learning from my mistakes and honing my skills. Practice makes perfect right? :)

Of course, Terra jut has to explore my little photo shoot area I have on the porch. My husband popped his head in and laughed at my little staging area and props like the parasol and paper lanterns! He thought it was adorable!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fabric Flower Hair Clips

I made some fabric flower hair clips at church tonight. (sewing keeps my hands busy while I listen. Surprisingly enough, it helps me pay attention!).

For this clip, I had the flower made already and just needed to sew it to the clip. This little white flower was really just an experiment originally. I'm not even sure I can remember how I made it! I think it had to do with folded circles though.

When church was over and we were just all hanging out, I called one of the little girls over to try it on her so I could take a picture. And after that, more of the little girls wanted to have a turn trying on the clip and having their picture taken!

Even the little one-year-old wanted a turn! I had to have one of the moms distract her to get a picture of the side of her head though...since she kept trying to look directly into the camera, no matter what angle I turned! Sorry sweetie, I want to take a picture on the side of your head so I can actually see the flower! LOL!

Then I had them try the headband...

How nice to have such willing little models! :)