Lost Articles Found

August 2010

When I sew...
Memories flood my mind whenever I'm sitting at the sewing machine, handcrafting a special item for the women in our lives. As a very very young woman, I vividly remember sitting on my mother’s lap while she sewed, helping her push the fabric through, always hearing her say, “Don’t get your fingers too close to the needle.”

I’m blessed to have grown up in a family of women artisans! Both grandmothers, all six aunts combined, in addition to a special Great-Aunt, all created crafty items and unique fashion attire!

My mother, an artist and designer, received a fashion design scholarship to Southern Methodist University in DallasTexas. She's won esteem recognitions several times from her fashion entries in the State Fair of Texas. A wedding dress she designed for me, I modeled at the fair during the competition and within a few months, a bridal shop’s window featured the same design!

I remember clearly the excitement surrounding the events – driving to the fairgrounds, completing the forms required, seeing her model the creations when they were for her, and celebrating afterwards. My daddy was a jewel in all the support he gave, and continues to give her!

I remember a short time while growing up, I longed for a “store-bought” dress … until the time I did receive one but then a classmate wore the same one!!! I was devastated! Never again did I covet clothes off the rack… no, it was then I wanted / needed my own designed, handmade – created by my mother!

Ah, now to remember when I sew, warms my heart. I’m thankful for what my mother taught me - for her patience, and the love she shared for the value of handmade, crafted items.

Thank you, Momma!

Let Them Know

On July 28, 2010, I ordered custom made sew-on garment labels for my aprons and doll clothes. I believe having labels adds a classic touch and took great strides in selecting, what I thought, would be the perfect label.

The company I ordered the labels from has the work done in Europe (discovered this after the fact), so it took almost a month for them to arrive here. Each passing day I became more excited, anxiously checking the mail each day. When they did and I opened the envelope, my heart sank. All enthusiasm faded.

The ordered white background and red lettering spelling out “Lanetta’s Creations” looked like the red faded on the white. I now had pink background with the red lettering. The continuous thread used for the lettering against the back caused a faded/pink appearance. They were much different looking than what their website advertised.

I didn’t do anything other than have teary eyes while attaching the labels to the aprons. I simply decided never to order from the company again. Then I realized, every time I messed with the labels, I felt myself getting more and more upset. So a couple of days ago, I wrote them, explaining I’d never order again, and why. I was nice. I simply told them that I thought they should know.

Within 24 hours I received a very nice email in return. First they apologized for my disappointment, then gave a brief explanation, and then made an offer to re-make at no charge as they do not want an unhappy customer. I’ve taken them up on the offer.

Knowing what I now know, I selected a true pink background with grey lettering. I’m hoping the grey thread against the pink background won’t show through as badly. We’ll see.

Moral to this story: If a company, even an online company, does not provide the merchandise as advertised, let them know. Give them a chance to make things right. This applies to Lanetta’s Creations as well. For example, if an apron length is too long, let me know and I’ll work out a way to take it up for you!

Buying Craft Supplies Online vs Brick and Mortar Store

When dealing with fabric, I would rather touch the cloth before buying it. My preference is 100% cotton, but not all cotton has the same feel. Some wrinkles horribly when I squeeze a handful and others are soft and inviting. Also, colors change from monitor to monitor, so I can’t really tell what I’ll be getting for sure. I won’t say I’ll never buy fabric online, but it will be rare.

That’s just me.

But for other materials (not fabric), supplies, tools, and a multitude of other craft necessities, I don’t have a problem shopping/buying online. In fact, with the price of gasoline these days, it’s a smart/green thing to do!

At times, because of the limitations of what’s readily available (i.e. Wal-Mart!), I have no choice but to order some things online. For example, the garment labels I have to put in each apron – “Lanetta’s Creations” – was ordered via a company off the Internet.

What happens if there is a problem with an online order? I wasn’t pleased with the first batch of labels I received. I wrote them an email with my concerns and they immediately rectified the problem without additional charge. I would think the majority of all companies working online would have a similar attitude. Keep the customer happy!

A couple weeks ago, while looking through a magazine, I saw something I wanted to use in creating something special (full disclosure coming soon!). But because I didn’t realize I was coming to Dallas, I had searched, found, and bought what I wanted via the Internet. I'm told it has arrived, but I’ve not yet seen it since I’m still in Dallas!

All in all, it was a good thing I ordered it online because I’ve looked in three places here in Dallas and have not found it! Everything works out!

To name a few of the places I've shopped online (or will because I know their product):
Ruby Jane's
Hobby Lobby
Calamity Jane's Cottage

Shopping the Internet has its advantages and disadvantages, just as going inside a brick and mortar store. Which do you prefer?

September 2010

First thing's first
Originally published on 09/01/2010

September is National Sewing Month. What a great thing to celebrate – the art/craft of sewing!

I cannot go into a fabric store, even with the mindset I only need something as simple (and inexpensive) as thread, without finding a beautiful piece of fabric I just can’t leave without!

I usually buy 100% cotton fabrics but an occasional cotton/poly blended fabric will catch my attention. Jo-Ann’s and Hobby Lobby are my favorite places to shop. I usually purchase fabrics made in the U.S.A., designed by Americans.

After I’ve spent time (and usually too much money!) buying the perfect fabric for a new creation – or two or three – I head back to the house.

The first thing… absolutely the first thing I do is:

Wash and dry all the like-colored fabrics together – as if washing a ready made garment. I only use cold water in my wash/rinse cycles – always – it’s the “green” in me! I also use a medium heat cycle for the dryer. Pre-washing is so important…
… it removes the sizing product manufacturers usually apply to preserve the material in their warehouse before shipping. This product may ruin a sewing machine and/or iron in a heartbeat.

… any shrinking will occur and colors will (usually) set.

Once totally dry, I neatly fold the fabric, smoothing out any wrinkles or creases. All are stacked, on my kitchen table, waiting for the tomorrow I begin their creation!

Recipe for Patterns
Originally published on 09/02/2010

Although I’ve tried several other brands, McCall’s and Simplicity patterns are my favorite. What can I say? They are reliable to have all their pieces included, the instructions are clear, and I love/appreciate having pictures to go along with the written words!

It's easier on me to set aside one day and “prep” any new pattern(s) (I can’t ever buy just one!)… here is my recipe:

  • Pattern
  • Clear tape
  • Sandwich baggies
  • Scissors

Prepping one pattern at a time, pull all contents out of one envelope.

Using clear tape, I tape along both sides of the envelope, making sure the flap is open and enough tape extends to fold on itself to reinforce the opening.

I put the instruction sheets back inside the envelope.

Get out enough sandwich baggies for each pattern “view” (I have been known to combine the similar views into one baggie, and annotating as such).

With a permanent marker, I write:
  • McCall’s or Simplicity or whatever
  • then the pattern number,
  • then V-1 or V-2 or VA & B, etc., whatever it happens to be.

I then begin to cut the pattern pieces out from the massive sheet that it’s printed. Noting on any pattern, that might have been too small for the printer to print, the information provided.

As I clear a piece from the others, I “sort” putting all the V-1’s together, all the V-2’s together, etc.  NOTE: Many times, they use the same pattern piece for different views. I will decide which view I most likely will use and group with that one.

Once I have all the individual pieces cut out, I fold them up all together as neatly as possible, smoothing out any creases along the way. When the folded V-1 is small enough to go into its designated baggie, I put it inside, and only seal a little bit to keep the pieces from falling out, but I don’t seal it tight – the air must escape! There isn’t any reason to seal it tight, because once all views are in their own baggie I put them all back inside the envelope. Trapped air in 3-4 baggies won’t fit back inside the envelope! Trust me! Learned this one very quickly!

Repeat as necessary! Enjoy! 

That’s my recipe for patterns! Has this helped? What do you do?

Where to cut?
Originally published on 09/03/2010

It’s raining outside. It’s a good day to cut fabric. Actually, any day is a good day in my humble opinion!

I learned early in my sewing life to never let the fabric hang off something while pinning the pattern to the fabric, much less when the cutting process begins. It’s a tricky thing to do when you don’t have enough room anywhere, but it is manageable.

Pinning the pattern to the material and cutting the fabric can be hard on the back. I take every precaution not to cause injury! A sore or a “sprung” back won’t make sewing fun.

Since we’ve moved to the country, I fortunately have access to a smooth surface kitchen island that is almost waist high, about six foot long, and a little over three foot wide.
    Before I had this perfect cutting station, I used the dining room table.
    Before the table, I had a “Wrights Cardboard Pattern Cutting Board” that would fold out across the bed.
   And, when I was oh-so-young, I used the cardboard cutting board on the floor. Not anymore! It pains me just thinking about what I did to my back and knees… but I wouldn’t listen to my Mother's warnings.

Sorry, I’ve regressed. Needless to say, get to the highest point possible!

Based on 44” – 45” fabric (the normal width of 100% cotton):

This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway… if the fabric is badly wrinkled, quickly iron over it now, will save heartache later!

Lay out the fabric, *usually the opposite sides of the selvage edges are together, careful to square up the fabric (remembering the folded side is the center of the front and center of the back of your patterns, so you don’t want the fabric off kilter). I fold my fabric with the “fashion” side out. I want to “see” what I’m cutting! And, I place the fold side closest to me.

*Sometimes the print design calls for folding the fabric opposite than previously described (that is, the same side selvage must meet together). This is the case with a piece of fabric that has a border print!

I posted some pictures here.

And, if the fabric length is longer than your surface, remember to simply fold the end up onto itself. As you pin the pattern on, fold the pinned end on itself and unfold the opposite as needed; I know that was clear as mud!

Now that the fabric is on the cutting surface, all nice & neat, it’s ready to pin the pattern pieces to it…that's tomorrow!

Where do you lay out your fabric to cut?

Remember, it's September National Sewing Month!  

In Pieces
Originally published on 09/04/2010

Resting on the highest plane available – the pre-washed, perfectly smoothed out fabric, neatly folded with selvages together – waiting for the pattern pieces!

Now that I’ve used all the “P’s” possible, let’s get to it!

A few recommendations that make my life easier …

Ø     Straight pins – needless to say, all pins will do the job but I’ve found the flathead “Flower Head Pins” type pins work the best while pinning the pattern on the fabric, then later during the sewing process. 
                 TIP: Anytime a pin hesitates going through fabric, 
                         run the pin through your hair! It works!
Ø     Ruler – yes… a plain ole fashion 12” ruler
Ø     Pin cushion – rather than simply a bowl or saucer of pins, the pin cushion serves at least two functions: 1) it keeps you from sticking yourself when picking up a pin and 2) the internal filling will help keep the pins sharp.

     TIP: If you should prick your finger & get blood on the fabric, don't fret!
                        Your own spit will dissolve your own blood! 

I can’t think of anything else I do/use during this process…

The pattern instructions provided by McCall’s/Butterick, Simplicity, and Vogue are all wonderful in showing “pictures” of how they suggest placement of the pattern on the fabric. A few other lesser known brands, in my opinion, fail miserably in this area.

Tip:  Keep in mind, if the print is a one-way design, PLACE ALL pattern pieces going the same direction as the design! It’s not fun when you realize too late all the trees are upside down!

I personally place the largest piece first (usually on the fold) then work the other pieces in and around. Pin the pieces securely, especially around curves and 90 degree corners, keeping in mind the cutting line (not to overlap – that’s heartbreaking!). Pin close to the cutting edge, but not too close so the scissors have to compete.

Speaking of scissors, I’m partial to 8” Gingher scissors/shears. I only use them to cut fabric, the thin pattern paper, and thread… nothing else! No one uses my sewing scissors but me!

What is the ruler for?

Pattern pieces (unless it’s to be put on the fold) will have a long line with an arrow at each end indicating it’s to be placed with the grain of the fabric. You’ll need a ruler, making sure both ends of the line are equal distance from the selvage!

Now let the cutting begin!

Last Chance
Originally published on 09/05/2010

Something I haven’t shared, because I rarely make any…

Before cutting the fabric, actually before pinning the pattern onto the fabric, it’s the time to make any pattern adjustments.

Because I focus my sewing on creating Aprons and Doll Clothes, the only adjustments I ever make maybe in the overall length of an apron. I personally don’t care for aprons hitting my knees, so sometimes I must shorten the pattern.

I’m sure there are ample resources on the Internet that provide good directions how to alter a pattern for garments. I have no clue! I have a mental block going on when it comes to detail alterations!

Anyway, to shorten an apron pattern… make a fold crosswise/perpendicular to the fold line of the main pattern piece, somewhere below the waistline marking. Bring the pattern up however much the decrease needs to be for the overall length.

For example: to shorten a pattern by 2” – make the first fold, then bring the pattern up 2” and make another fold. Another use for the ruler… make sure it’s 2” from the pattern’s “place on fold” direction line all the way across the cutting edge of the pattern piece! Either pin securely together, or use clear tape (which will make it permanent!) to hold the folded section together.

It’s now time to cut the fabric!

Cut it Out!
Originally published on 09/09/2010

Sharp pointy scissors is a must! Don’t get me wrong, you physically can use dull scissors. It’s just like a tomato can be sliced with a dull knife but it’s not a pleasant experience either for you or the tomato!

       Some folks use a rotary cutter or electric scissors to cut out the pattern/fabric,
       but I find I lack control using either product while cutting out patterns for
       an apron or doll clothes.

In this virtual world, I’m using a pattern that will create a waist apron. In constructing this apron there will be four pattern pieces: Skirt, waistband, tie, and pocket.

I personally begin cutting out the largest piece – the skirt – the one that’s pinned to the fold. But, it doesn’t really matter which piece you cut out first!

Once cut out, I go back and snip out small V-shaped cut at the edge of the fabric – no more than 1/8” into the seam allowance area – to indicate the small and large circles/dots the pattern piece will have for later matching to another piece. I also snip out a small V at the center fold while the fabric is still flat on the surface. These markings will come in handy when the matching process begins! I do this for all the pieces.

NOTE: Rather than snipping out the markings, there are products available such as: chalk or soap, fabric-marking pens, tracing paper & wheel, tailor’s tacks. Each product will come with how-to instructions.

TIP:  I remove all the pins except one to keep the correct pattern piece attached to the fabric. In my opinion, (actually, everything in these posts are my opinion!) it’s not necessary to keep all the pins used in this piece after the cutting & marking process is over. With all the pins still on the pattern/fabric set, there is a greater chance of one dropping out onto the floor (which is not comfortable when you, your loved one, or pet finds it via their foot!).

Fold the cut out fabric/pattern and set aside and out of the way. Continue cutting, removing majority of pins and all are neatly stacked together.

Is there a pattern piece that needs more than two pieces? Many times the pocket instructs us to “Cut 4”. This is what I do: keeping the original cut out pieces and pattern piece together (the set), place the set back on the fabric and re-pin and cut out the second set of two.

NOTE: Many times the waistband pattern piece says to “Cut 1” but I go ahead and cut two instead of unfolding the fabric to get to one layer. It’s easier for me to do it this way, and you never know when you can use that extra waistband piece for another apron!

In addition, the waistband normally calls for a single layer of interfacing. After cutting the fabric, I then place and pin the pattern (still attached to the fashion fabric) on the interfacing. The fusible (iron-on) lightweight type interfacing works best for me.

Once the interfacing is cut out, I trim off about ¼” of the interfacing all the way around. The pattern instructions also recommend this trimming. It will benefit in the long run when layering the seam thicknesses. Layering seams is a process I’ll talk about later, in another post!

YEA! The cutting out is done! It’s time to head to the sewing machine!

Is there something you do differently? 

Sewing Station
Originally published on 09/07/2010
Location * Location * Location

Excellent lighting and ample surface space are two highly important aspects to consider when finding the perfect location for your sewing station.

I primarily use a Pfaff table-top sewing machine. I absolutely love it and it has served me nicely for many years. I grew up with Singer’s.

An early memory is helping my grandmother while she used the old-style (non-electricity powered) machine. It was woman-powered! I would sit on the floor and use my hands to make it go, go faster, slow down, or stop, all on her command. She said I had good rhythm that would make even stitches. Once my legs were long enough for my feet to reach the pedals while sitting in the chair, I lost all rhythm! Praise the Lord I don’t have to sew with a pedal-powered machine as I have no coordination!

My mother recently loaned me an inherited Singer Featherweight 221. I’ve not yet used it. I can’t until I receive the replacement belt! I’ll share in another post, the story behind the Featherweight and another inspirational lady that influenced me with the love of sewing, and helped me grow in so many ways.

There is a Serger, in its box, buried in a back closet that I plan to get out soon. I so hope it will still work! I have a plan… a plan I’ll share in yet another post!

I used the kitchen table as a sewing station for years, and it served me well. Now I’m in my office/sewing room/guest bedroom using my grandparent’s Mahogany dining room table. After covering with the protective pad especially made for the table, I placed a quilt handmade by my great aunt long before I was born. I can feel the energy she spent in creating the quilt even today. I love the inspiration it brings while I sew.
“A creative mess is better than tidy idleness.” Author Unknown 

I'll admit, I’m a messy seamstress. Tiny notched-out pieces, trimmed threads, snipped off corners, etc., all usually end up on the floor. I do try to hit the little trashcan located next to my sewing chair, but I don’t fret over it one bit. Thankfully, this room has mock-hardwood floors and that’s what a broom/dust pan is for – later – when I’m finished with the project!

Where is your sewing station? What does it look like?

To Each Their Own
Originally posted on 09/08/2010

Owner’s manual needed!

Like people, each sewing machine has its own needs and wants – how to be cared for and used. Too bad people don’t come with an instructional manual!

***Use the machine with care, treat with respect, and it will last your forever.***

The owner’s manual

Ø     TIP: If you’ve lost the manual, or you’ve also received an inherited machine without the manual, don’t fret! Simply do a search on the Internet with the make and model number and you’ll most likely hit the jackpot! I found one for the Featherweight! And, also learned the machine was built between May and October of 1951!!! What a treasure!

I cannot stress enough – READ the manual! Learn the particulars of your individual sewing machine… take advantage, and be thankful for, the instructions provided.
For example, some machines want the needle inserted facing this way or that, and it will make a huge difference how it works – good or bad!

Ø     TIP: I always do two specific things for my machines: 

1)    Once I thread the machine, when I go to remove the threaded thread (like to change colors) I always cut near the spool and pull the thread out through the needle’s eye. In other words, never back the thread out! When you draw it forward, any dust or lint collected on the thread will fall off outside, not inside on the gears!

2)    Also, each time I change bobbins, I spray *air* into bobbin case & housing. Globs of lint usually fly out when I do this! Lint and sewing machines are not friends! So, I keep a can of compressed air (something like Dust Blaster for computers) next to my machine! But, I NEVER shake the can before using! It’s not a can of spray paint!
What do you do regularly for your machine?

Ironing Station
Originally published on 09/09/10

Essential elements in creating the perfect ironing station:

Good lighting
Sturdy ironing board
Steam iron
Clean, well-fitting padded ironing board cover
Located near the sewing station

I don’t have a “fancy” ironing board, one where I can adjust the height. I’m using the one my mother got soon after she & Daddy married… over 63 years ago and still counting! I can’t begin to count how many times over the years she used this board while making outfits for my older sister and I, and her expert line of fashionable clothes for our dolls. I wouldn’t trade it in on an adjustable for the world.

Here is a list of “accessory” items I keep around my ironing station to help in the process of creating aprons, doll clothes, other sewing projects:

Ø     Pressing cloth (but a paper towel works in a pinch)

Ø     Mini Electric Iron (for those tiny places inside doll clothes that a regular iron can’t reach)

Ø     Seam Roll (Ham)

NOTE: This is how Dritz explains the Seam Roll: A long, rounded pressing surface designed for hard-to-reach areas. Use for pressing seams open on long and narrow areas such as sleeves and pant legs. Tailor’s Hams and Seam Rolls help prevent a pressed-in ridge created when layered items are pressed on a flat surface.

Ø     Oven Glove (a fingered glove – not a mitt. It works perfectly for an “iron” glove)

NOTE: I use an oven glove mainly when creating doll clothes. For example, I can slip the glove on my left hand (I’m right handed) then stick my index finger up a little sleeve to press the tiny seam open.

TIP: Check your particular iron… does it call for regular tap water or distilled? Use only what it wants/needs!

TIP: Using a hot iron, iron over a piece of wax paper to remove residue picked up from fabric.

TIP: Clean the water compartment of your iron regularly, following the guidelines that came with your iron.

TIP: Trust me, ALWAYS unplug the iron when you’re finished using it – don’t simply turn it to the “off” position! Sometimes “off” doesn’t work!

What ironing “accessories” do you use?

Sifting Through the Stuff with Sister
Originally published on 09/10/2010

Ah! What wonderful stuff!

Each time I visit a fabric/craft store, images flood my mind. Over and over, I tell myself, “Oh! This would be perfect fabric as an apron for so & so and wouldn’t that lovely piece of fabric make a cute one for …” Even while standing in line, waiting for my – carefully pondered – narrowed down – chosen pieces to be measured off and cut, I see what others selected before me and cry silently, “Ah, I love that piece, too. I want some!”

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending all day visiting with my sister in her home and seeing firsthand her sewing craft projects and how she has her sewing things organized, then we visited three fabric stores together! We went to Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann’s, and Hancock’s! Oh! My! Goodness! Did we have a splendid time!

In between store one and two, we shared lunch at the Olive Garden. My sister recommended their Ravioli di Portobello: Portobello mushroom-filled ravioli in a creamy smoked cheese and sun-dried tomato sauce. It was an excellent recommendation! By us splitting the lunch, it gave us enough energy to continue shopping rather than wanting/needing to take a nap! That’s always a good thing when there is fabric to touch, notions to sift through, and new ideas to muster!

Several days beforehand, while planning and plotting our “play date” – our sister’s day out – she did her excellent research by gathering coupons and noting who was having what sales where. Thankfully, she’s a very smart, frugal shopper! Knowing this adventure was in the works, I also – before leaving the country place, traveling north to Dallas – began my list of “needs” to finish some projects, and specific fabric and “stuff” to begin a few new projects I’ve had in mind.

I’m glad I had my sister with me. On several occasions, she gave this gentle whisper in my ear, “I think the next store will have that item on sale. If not we can always come back.”

I’m glad I had my sister with me. Many times, I asked her opinion/advice whether something matched.

I’m glad I had my sister with me. Period.

I’m thrilled to report: I did not get anything that was not on my list! It was tough and excruciatingly painful, but I managed.

Although, I will confess…. there was one thing… at Hobby Lobby… just after arriving in their fabric department and standing a distance away, I looked up and saw high on a display shelf against the wall… I’m thankful I have good peripheral eyesight because I never looked where I was going on my way over to the wall… I exclaimed to my sister all the way over, “Oh! Look! That would be perfect to showcase my little girl’s aprons!”

It was the cutest ever ironwork body form for a little girl!

Once I saw the price, even the sale price, I decided to contain myself and move on, concentrating rather on my list in hand. But then I had to take a bathroom break – which the restrooms were on the opposite side of the store! When I got back, the ironwork body form was in my sister’s shopping cart! As my big sister’s been known to do… she made the telephone call to momma and told her of my reaction and that it would be their perfect Christmas gift to me.

Thanks to my loving sister, and my gracious parents, “Lucy” is home with me now!

I can hardly wait to get back to the country and re-take pictures showing Lucy wearing the children’s aprons!

Ah! It was a marvelous day stiffing through the stuff with my sister!

“A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit,
a golden thread to the meaning of life.”  ~Isadora James

Indeed, Ms James!

Thank you, Sister!

Joining Pieces
Originally published on 09/11/2010

Today is Patriot Day
     I encourage us all to take a moment of silence at 9:46 (CST), to honor those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. May we never forget!
    "The sewing machine joins what the scissors have cut asunder,
plus whatever else comes in its path." Mason Cooley 

Don’t sew your finger! Trust me, it can happen! To avoid this, I use an *awl to gently push the fabric, to get it started stitching.

(An *awl is a metal pointy thingy with a handle available at most fabric stores. Or, a seam ripper would work, too! Most anything will work that’s strong, flat, and with a short handle to keep your fingers from getting too close to the needle!)

Following the pattern’s instructions, you’ll usually pin right sides together to sew the seams. Carefully match the notches and edges of your pieces. Accurate sewing will save time and frustration later. Most patterns call for 5/8” seams, unless otherwise noted. I measure from the needle to the right, where most machines have line markings on the plate, and make a mental note which one is the 5/8” mark. (For doll clothes, use ¼” seam allowance)

TIP: I’ve put electrician tape (because it’s black) along where the edge is on the 5/8” mark.

TIP:  Never EVER sew over a pin! Pull the pins out as you come to them! Sewing over pins can cause the needle to break or cause a “spur” or dull the needle!

An old saying goes: “Check twice, sew once.” But, if something does happen, and there is an “oops” – don’t fret – the handy seam ripper is your new best friend!

TIP:  Press stitches to “set” or “meld” then press open, or to one side, according to the pattern’s instructions.

Now you’ve joined two pieces together… 

Number One Gadget
Originally published on 09/12/2010
Back to work on the virtual apron, let’s sew the ties…

Pinning right sides together down the length (you will sew the length and across one end), leaving the opposite end open.

Sew along the 5/8” guideline, stopping 5/8” from the end. Leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot, then pivot and sew across the end… back up a couple of stitches to lock in the threads.

After pressing to “set/meld” the stitches then trim the sewn end at its corners (don’t clip through the stitches!!!) to avoid bulkiness when you turn it right side out.

It’s time to turn it right side out.

TIP:  The best tool/gadget EVER invented, and I’ve recently added to my sewing kit, is the “Quick Turn” tool made by Dritz. It’s a TOTALLY awesome gadget and well worth whatever I spent on it (which was not much)! I’m not even going to go there with alternative methods I’ve suffered through for years to turn a tube of fabric right side out … it’s not worth it! Invest in this tool! It, too, will make you a very happy camper!

Now that I’ve thoroughly showed my excitement over a little gadget… back to the tie!

It’s turned right side out, so now poke the corners out using the pointy end of the tool, or a pencil, careful not to push through the fabric. Flatten out and press! There ya go!

Do you have any sewing gadgets that you can’t/won’t do without?

The Plan
Originally published on 09/13/2010

It’s been five full days since I’ve sat at my sewing machine! Although it’s been a fabulous vacation, I’m ready to get back to the actual, physical creative process!

On the way home, my thoughts filled with gratitude for the time I was able to spend with family and friends.

Tomorrow… what to do first? And, I’m not talking about the loads of laundry, but maybe I’ll start that process early so I can throw in the wash the new fabric I bought while in Dallas! Yes! That’s the plan…

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a splendid evening and we’ll get back to the sewing machine tomorrow!

Back to It
Originally published on 09/14/2010

Okay… yesterday I made a plan for today… to start washing loads and loads, and throwing in my new fabric along with the clothes… Plan A is going nicely!

After spending too many days away from the sewing machine, or doing anything crafty (I don’t think shopping for and buying more fabric, additional patterns, and/or awesome beads qualifies) – how do I get back in the groove of sewing? I don’t want to delay a minute longer! It's then I look around the house, and in my office/sewing room, and see many other things that should be/needs to be done around here.

Guilt will not keep me from sewing! It’s “my time” and we all need hefty doses of “my time” to live a healthy, happy life!

I don’t know about you, but I need better organization to fill my days with everything I want to accomplish, and that includes sewing! As the FlyLady recommends, today I’m setting a timer. By the way, if you’ve never been to her site, I highly recommend!

If you were a fly on the wall, you would see me working in 15 minute intervals doing a specific task! It is my pledge to concentrate on one area at a time rather than fluttering about, forgetting what I was doing. One of those “tasks” will be using the sewing machine for several 15 minute segments throughout the day! Hope you do, too! After all, it is National Sewing Month!

Between chores, set aside a couple of 15 minute segments to do something needed on the virtual apron… we need to hem the sides and bottom.

This is what I do: On the skirt piece, using the longest stitch possible on the machine, stitch down both sides and across the bottom along the 5/8” mark that’s found on the machine’s base plate. Now fold in along the stitch line, pressing as you go. Then go back and turn in, pressing again. Readjust your stitch length to use a regular length stitch (as if sewing a seam). From the top/right side, sew all the way around 1/4" from the edge. This will make a nice clean hem with no fabric edges showing when someone sees the back side of the apron!

We can do everything we want to do in one day… and plan for the next day to boot!

What’s your plan? Your pledge?

Pick the Pocket
Originally published on 09/15/2010

“Sewing washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” (Author Unknown)

Now that I’m a bit more organized around here after the last few hectic days, it’s time to create a pocket for the apron!

We’ve hemmed the sides & bottom of the apron skirt, right? Right! I find it much easier to apply the pocket now, rather than later, before putting gathers in across the top edge of the skirt.

I do my pockets differently from how the pattern instruction’s explains the procedure. Although it takes a tad more fabric, I find my way is much easier & quicker in the long run!

The pattern instruction’s usually tells us to “Cut 1” of the pocket piece. I cut 2… either from the same fabric or from a scrap piece from something else to complement the “fashion” fabric.

Taking both the pocket pieces, with right sides together, I start along the side of the pocket, about mid-ways (take a couple of stitches then back up a couple to lock in the stitches) and sew 1/4” all the way around BUT stopping about an 1 1/2” from where you started. Again, back up to lock in the stitches.

Press stitching to “set” the stitches. Trim the corners, then turn right side out. Poke the corners out into a nice, neat corner. Press flat. Don’t worry about hand stitching the “hole” as you will press it down, even with the rest of the side, and topstitched down on the apron itself.

Place the pocket on the apron skirt wherever you think you’d like it, keeping in mind the distance from your waist, and the bottom of the skirt. Pin securely in place.

At the edge of the pocket, begin a tad below the top of the pocket’s left side (right side as you’re looking at it), and reverse stitch until you’re one stitch off the pocket, then go forward, carefully turning at the bottom corners. Once you’ve sewn all around and have one stitch off the pocket, reverse a few stitches to lock it in.

Wa la! You’ve got a lined pocket on your apron skirt! 

Shapely Body
Originally published on 09/16/2010

Creating a shapely body… isn’t that a nice thought?!

If only I could manage it as easily and nicely on my own body as I do in creating an apron! It’s much easier to have a firm waistband on an apron than firm abs on my body when I sew all the time! But, that must change and is another subject (exercise!) for a later post!

Interfacing gives the waistband shape, to maintain throughout years of dedicated service. As I’ve mentioned before, I use the lightweight fusible type of interfacing. And, back when – when the waistband was cut out – the interfacing was also cut out, and then trimmed 1/4” all the way around.

Reiterating, and in addition to, the manufacturer’s directions:

NOTE:  You may want to test join a scrap piece of fabric and a scrap of interfacing. Make sure the iron setting is hot enough, but not too hot. Manufacturer’s suggests using the “wool/steam” setting.

TIP: Dampen a paper towel (squeeze out all excess water) and place between iron and the interfacing/fabric set.

TIP: Never slide your iron while fusing the interfacing onto the fabric. Pick up the iron, overlap it slightly where you just had it, place back down and hold again the 10-15 seconds.

Mindful of the above note & tips, the next step is putting the two together.

Place the waistband piece down on the ironing board, wrong side UP.
Lay the shiny side of the interfacing face down to the wrong side of your waistband.

Remember, the edges of the interfacing will not match to the edges of the waistband because we trimmed off 1/4” all the way around. Simply center the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric.

Place the damp paper towel on top, then press firmly down on the iron and hold for 10-15 seconds. Pick up the iron and repeat the length of your waistband. You may need to occasionally mist the paper towel with water to keep it damp.

DO NOT LIFT/TOUCH/MOVE the set until it cools completely!

If you have an “oops” and the glue stuff from the interfacing gets on your iron, don’t fret! Take a sheet of wax paper and place on the ironing board. Iron the wax paper and the glue comes right off!

There is one more step needed to totally prep the waistband…

One long side of the waistband has notches, the other side does not. Again using the longest stitch available, sew along the un-notched side at the 5/8” seam line. This stitch line is simply a go-by, a fold line, like doing the first step to the side and bottom edge hems. Press in the fold, then set the waistband off to the side until the skirt is ready…. and that’s tomorrow!

Gather the Skirt
Originally published on 09/17/2010

Gathering the fabric and attaching the skirt to the waistband is not difficult, just a little time consuming. It’s a necessary step in the process of making a lovely apron!

This is my method, one that has served me well for years:

Using the longest stitch available on the sewing machine, I sew a straight line (of course, all my lines are straight ;) – at least, as straight as possible!) across the top of the skirt piece just an itty bitty tad inside the seam allowance area along the 5/8” mark.

I then sew another line, about 1/4” away from that stitch line, but not touching, the original line of stitches – between the 5/8” mark and the cut edge.

NOTE: On both rows of stitches, when you come to the end, pull out about 2” thread tail before cutting, releasing from the machine.

With right sides together pin the skirt to the waistband, matching the center markings, then on both ends leaving 5/8” on the waistband free (to attach the ties later).

Wrap both threads from only the BOBBIN stitches around a finger and start gently pulling, gathering the fabric as you go. Once I reach the center, I stop pulling from that side and go to the other side and repeat the process. (Before I learned to do this, I had a tendency of pulling the thread totally out from the opposite side! That’s not fun because the entire process must begin all over again!)

Once the fabric is gathered, adjust to fit the waistband in between the original three pins, adding more pins as needed. My pins are about 2” apart, if that!

Using the regular length stitch, sew along the 5/8” seam line, careful not to “pleat” the skirting fabric. Don’t forget to remove the pins when the needle gets close!

After setting the stitches with a steam iron, press the entire seam toward the waistband,

The apron is almost done!!!

Lucy, I'm Home!
Originally published on 09/18/2010

While in Dallas last week, my parents gave me an early Christmas gift. I wrote about finding “Lucy” several days ago. She’s the perfect size to display the children’s aprons I’ve created!

Rather than spreading the small apron out on the floor to take a picture, Lucy now wears an apron constructed especially for children! Of course, with her wire framing, everyone must use some imagination as to how it will look on a “real” Lucy!

You can see on my "For Sale" page, "Studio Section" click on Aprons, I’ve added additional pictures with Lucy wearing the Holly Hearts Bib Apron with Skirt for a toddler to 6/7 years old! Although the Holly Hearts Bib Apron A-Line is more like for a 7 year old up, she still looks much better wearing it than the apron simply on the floor!! Now I’m really excited to create more children’s aprons because Lucy can model them for me!

I know having good pictures of offered products is a vital tool in marketing. Capturing the true essence of the work – using the best lighting possible, arranging attractively, and having the right backdrop –is challenging as I'm not a professional photographer! But, Lucy will certainly help with two out of three! And, we're doing the best we can!
Be Still
Originally published on 09/19/2010

When I started this website, I wrote in my “Studio Announcement” that I prayerfully create all my products. While creating the projects, I pray for those who will someday use the book thongs, hold the prayer beads, wear my aprons, dress their dolls, or read my books. In the last paragraph of this opening announcement, I also included a verse that I keep close to my heart:
"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT).
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, I am a Christian.

Not because today’s Sunday – the traditional Protestant Sabbath – it just happens when I wanted to write about the subject of "Be Still". And, here, now, I offer my thoughts and ponderings.

“Be Still” doesn’t mean not doing any work. For me, it’s stilling the mind, so I can hear His teachings, learn His wisdom, feel His grace, and embrace His love.

For example, I truly believe one can do things like work in the garden, mow the yard, sew, make crafts, wash windows, whatever – and Be Still all the while. The key is in the state of mind – cleared of clutter with no interrupting inner dialogue. Focus. Concentrate. Hear Him.

Certainly, there is a physical need for rest, and that, hopefully, is done on a daily basis. The mental need for rest is equally vital for our total well-being. Trust me. I find it in this “Be Still” time.

I’ve often pondered why folks are taught to “rest” one day a week. If we get our physical rest daily, then why don’t we get our mental rest daily? Why wait for one day a week? Isn’t mental rest – of “Be Still” – as important, if not more than, the physical rest?

My thought is to practice “Be Still” several times a day. I’m not saying any set time. Simply whenever I’m rattled about something, joyous over something else, or feel the need, the longing to be closer to God, that’s when “Be Still” and getting my mental rest works best for me.

Shhhhh. Be Still. While you rest, you, too, will know that He is God.

End of Machine Work
Originally published on 09/20/2010

Attaching the tie to the waistband: the final step using the sewing machine in constructing the virtual apron! Yes!

Although your pattern instructions explain this step very well, this is what I do:
Working with one end of the waistband, fold it in half, right sides together. Press the fold just a tad, enough to use the fold line as a marker, then flatten out the waistband.

With right sides together, place one side of the unfinished tie end against the fold (then back off just a bit to allow for the folding over & the thickness of the tie), with raw edges of tie & waistband together. Slip a straight pin to hold in place.

The waistband fabric on the skirt side – that’s sticking out, that was ironed up – hold up with your finger. Place the other side of the fold edge of the tie against the skirt seam, pin in place, securing the waistband to the tie. If there is any excess from the tie’s width, make a single tuck close to the skirt edge. Pin in place, with the waistband’s fold also aligned.

The tie is pinned to one “side” of the waistband – the side attached to the skirt. Now bring the remaining waistband piece down over what you just pinned. It’s already un-notched folded/press edge should line up perfectly over the edge where the skirt & waistband are joined. Matching raw edges at the end, double check the tie is not crimped at the fold area. If it is, re-do that step, backing it away from the fold just a tad more!

Now it’s time to sew it all together! Place the needle a few imaginary stitches away from the fold and make one stitch, then back up, all the way to the fold, then go forward. When at the opposite side, go off a tad, then back up a few stitches to lock everything in place good and tight! Remembering the waistband/tie joint is the most stressed area on the entire apron, it’s always a good idea to reinforce the stitching.

Pull on the tie & it should pop right-side out from the waistband, making a nice, crisp junction between waistband and tie. NOTE: I leave the full fabric inside, that is, I don’t clip these corners, or layer the fabric. I want the most fabric there to last and last!

TIP: A great tool to have during the next step is a “self-healing” rotary cutting board. I put mine down on the ironing board when pinning things together. It’s frustrating to get through pinning and go to lift up and the blasted thing is pinned to the ironing board cover! I’ve done this more than once before I broke down and got a small board!

That’s it… with the sewing machine, that is!

Finishing the apron requires handwork to make a nice, clean look, and that’s tomorrow!

Hand Stitching
Originally published on 09/21/2010

                  I cannot count my day complete
                  'Til needle, thread and fabric meet.
                                                   ~Author Unknown

Oh, my, goodness! It’s the final step in creating the apron! Not only will our day be complete, but the apron will be, too!

When we pulled out the ties (see yesterday’s post), it caused a natural cupping over of the waistband.

From the back side and beginning at the center, pin every 1 to 2 inches across the un-notched – folded – pressed down – edge to the seam line where the skirt is attached (raw edges inside the band area). We refer to this back side of the waistband as the “facing” because that’s what it’s doing! It’s facing the waistband, hiding the seam created when we attached the skirt.

TIP: Insert pins so the points are above the facing, not down into the skirt fabric. After all the hard work, it’s the pits when pins snag the fabric!

Measure out thread using the waistband as a guide, then double the amount. Thread the needle, then tie a knot in one end, leaving the other end unknotted and about 3/4” way up from the needle. This is so all that thread isn’t getting in the way, catching on pin heads and getting tangled up on itself. As you make progress, gently pull on the thread, giving more to work with. Don’t fret if you need more thread before getting to the other end. Before running out, stitch a knot, trim thread, and simply repeat the process, measuring from the ending to the end, doubling.

I’m right handed and this is how I position the apron in my lap, preparing to hand stitch (tack-down) the facing:

Back side of the apron is facing me. The waistband is going up & down (north and south), held by my left hand (I’ve flipped the tie back, out of the way) and the skirt is off to the right (toward the east)!

To hide the thread’s knot, I take the first pin out, pull the facing away a little bit from the waistband and take a stitch in between. Re-match the facing along the seam line of the skirt and insert the needle. Make the first stitch! Make two more stitches (read the tip!) before heading south.

TIP: With each needle placement, I check the right side – making sure the needle didn’t come through to the front. If it did, I pull out the needle and try again. It’s tedious work, carefully going through the seam thickness of the skirt and waistband without going through to the front, but it’s worth it in the long run!

TIP: Pull pins out as you get to them!

TIP: Use even stitches across, pulling in securely, but not too tight. Don’t leave them too loose either! Thread will snap and break when too tight. Loopy loose threads will catch everything.

When you near the end of your thread, or end of the facing, take a couple of tiny stationary stitches, looping the needle through each time before pulling the stitch in tight as this will lock in your stitching. Trim thread close to the knot.

There ya go! We’ve created a fabulous virtual apron in honor of National Sewing Month!

I would love to hear how your apron turned out…

Can I do it? Yes! I Can!
Originally published on 09/22/2010

Appreciating the physical, emotional, and mental benefits of sewing is not just from my own perspective and experience. Research shows when a person sews it lowers stress and perspiration rate, and their heart rate decreases – even for a novice seamstress!

Yet, while spending time at the sewing machine, there are some things I need to do. How about you?

What are you doing right now? This very minute!

I know… I know… you’re reading this!

What is your spine doing?

Is it straight? Are your shoulders back, tummy tucked in, and chin up as much as you can? But, please look where you’re sewing!

Your lower back, is it in line, too?

I must remind myself and concentrate on keeping good posture while either at the sewing machine or here at the computer, or watching television, or eating! Let us both spend the rest of this short time together maintaining good posture! I promise I will! Hope you will, too!

While sewing, it’s a good time to breathe!

I know… I know… if we’re sewing, we’re breathing. But, is it the healthy, healing way to breathe? There are awesome breathing techniques explained all over the Internet! Rather than repeating them here, I highly recommend taking the time to research and practice the exercises offered. Proper, concentrated breathing is beneficial “for both short and long term physical and emotional health.”

An interesting article I found brought my attention to how often I catch my breath & hold it while doing a task… my bad. Take a look at the article and you’ll see what’s wrong with the way we breathe!

Can I do this? Yes! I can! You can, too!

Design My Own
Originally published on 09/23/2010

I have a nice selection of apron patterns. Actually, I have an excessive amount of aprons patterns! But, nothing is the exact one I want to make. I’ve designed one in my head and I’m pondering how to create the pattern to make it happen!

When I was young, I would explain to mother what I wanted and how/what I wanted a dress to look like… this neckline that sleeve, etc. As an avid artist, Mother would sketch the design until it was exactly the way I had envisioned. Then with her magic, she did this countless times with Easter dresses, prom dresses, wedding dresses, and every time in between when a “special” dress was needed.

It was my mother who taught me to mix and match pattern pieces to create a custom designed something. She taught me to modify a pattern to fit my needs or desires. As an example, if you have more than one Simplicity pattern, you’ll see the notches are basically located in the same place. Its shoulder seam notch will usually be the same measurement away from the sleeve side in all Simplicity patterns that have shoulders. Also, the markings where the waistline is on different patterns will be the same across Simplicity patterns! Isn’t that clever!

Another quick/easy diversion from a manufacturer’s apron pattern, for example, is simple when cutting out the skirt. Sometimes I don’t want it to be squared off at the side corners and bottom hem line area. I’d rather have a soft curve. After I cut the pattern as directed and remove the paper pattern from the fabric, I take a plate, or a bowl, the size of curve I want, line it up between the bottom and side edges, draw a line around the curve with a pencil, and then cut it out! No big deal, yet it creates a wonderful different "attitude" for the apron!

Now I’m figuring out how to create the design I’m mulling over. I want a slip-over-the-head neckline, no long straps around the neck that I have to tie. I’ve made an apron with this neckline. Okay, check. I have that piece of the puzzle. The body part of the apron, I would like an A-line bib (no waistline), but with more “wings” on each side. I’ve made the A-line before. Check, another piece of the puzzle.

This is what I’m planning to do: I have some plain white butcher paper (I should think wrapping paper would do as well) that I’ll roll out on the kitchen island, then place the two pattern pieces I have (using the edge of the paper as the fold line and matching up the waistline markings provided on each pattern). I then will hand draw the “wings” to extend the sides like I want.

I’m thinking this will work! It should. I’ll see and report back, hopefully with a picture of my newly designed, created apron!

As I attempt this project, I’ll remind myself a quote I read the other day by an unknown author:  There is no such thing as screw-ups in sewing. There are only design opportunities.

What do you think about when you're sewing?
Originally published on 09/24/2010

Someone asked me this question yesterday…

It's a mixture of thoughts.
If I'm working on a project for a specific woman, I focus totally on her throughout the process. From selecting the perfect fabric and pattern, then cutting out the apron, I constantly wonder how she would like this or that. I also plot and plan what else I can do to make it extra special, especially for her. With the individual woman in mind, I customize the apron to fit her needs.

If it's a project I'm doing to hopefully sell, someone I know comes to mind, thinking and hoping they will like it. There’s no commitment to purchase. It’s simply me envisioning that woman wearing and using the apron. It can be the fabric print, or as simple as the apron’s length, that will bring to mind a special woman I call friend. I can see her mixing a batch of cookies, or walking around her home picking up things here and there. In everything she does, she’s doing for her family, even if the family is one, herself.

Whether it’s someone I know, or one I’ve not yet met, creating aprons for a special woman is something I love to do.

For when…
an apron I’ve created is mailed, it always comes wrapped with love.
an apron I’ve created is given as a gift, it’s doubled in love.
an apron I’ve created is passed down through generations my love will never end.

How cool is that?!

What do you think about when you’re sewing?

Seize the Moment
Originally published on 09/25/2010

In a previous article, I mentioned the benefits of maintaining good posture and the importance of proper breathing while sewing. When sitting in the chair at the sewing machine, there are a handful of exercises that can be done! Seize the moment and keep the body moving!

Have you ever tried to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time? For those of us “coordinational-ly challenged” it is difficult (I realize "coordinational-ly" is not a proper word, but should be!). It's the same for me when working the foot pedal control of the sewing machine and attempting to do a toe-heel stretching movement with the opposite foot. Too challenging! So, when I’m not sewing, maybe readjusting pins into the next fabric to sew, or clipping corners, or the like, I keep my legs bent, but extended a bit with toes up, then press my toes against the floor. I do this 10-15 times and can tell a difference in my shins, not to mention keeping the circulation flowing in my legs.

Since both hands are used to guide fabric through the machine, I seize the moment and gently stretch my head to one side (like my ear is trying to touch my shoulder, or I’m free-hand holding a telephone) and hold for a few seconds, then I raise my head slowly back up straight, then repeat for the other side. Ah! This feels so good!

I like to take a ball, like a soccer ball (a tennis ball would work, too), and place/hold it between my knees while sewing. A variation is squeezing, releasing, squeezing, and hold for a count of 10. This works my inner thighs and core nicely. After working my legs a bit, I place the ball between my back and the chair’s back. Pressing against the ball, I move around, rolling the ball around my back resulting in a nice, soothing massage.

I seize the moment and make the time to get up from the sewing machine and do something physical. Like walking (other than simply taking a bathroom break or getting a refill of coffee) or using my Tony Little’s Gazelle – an awesome machine for me – I’m doing something to keep the blood moving around my body, especially the area where legs and hips meet. That constant sitting, the bend created, will cause me problems later on if I don’t get up and stretch and move! I know, the same thing happens to me when I ride in a vehicle too long without stopping, getting out, and moving!

How about you? How do you seize the moment while sewing?

Tie One On
Originally published on 09/26/2010

National Tie One On Day – the Wednesday before Thanksgiving!

I discovered this annual event quite by accident. While searching the Internet for different apron ideas, I came across EllynAnne Geisel’s book, “The Apron Book: Making, Wearing, and Sharing a Bit of Cloth and Comfort”. I love how Amazon.com provides the “Look Inside” feature (if the author allows). After looking through and reading all the pages available, it didn’t take long before I ordered the book for myself. What I held in my hands when it arrived exceeded my expectations!

She has other lovely books that I hope to eventually add to my own library someday. They’re all on my wish list. Maybe Santa will bring!

Anyway, while chatting with my sister, I had to share about the book. During the conversation, she asked if I’d checked out the author’s website. I hadn’t. She had and sent me the link. Oh, my, goodness, what a delight, what a find!

EllynAnne Geisel created National Tie One On Day “as an annual opportunity to return the “give” to Thanksgiving by sharing our good fortune with someone in need of a kind gesture.”

She goes on to explain: “Participation is simple. On the day before Thanksgiving, November 24th this year, pause in the preparation of your own meal, wrap a loaf of bread or other baked good in an apron, tuck a prayer or note of encouragement in the pocket, and tie one on…an apron, of course! and deliver the wrapped bundle to someone without your bounty… a neighbor, friend or family member in need of physical or spiritual sustenance, a bit of recognition or just a kind word.”

What a fabulous idea!

Will you give someone a loaf of bread wrapped in an apron with a sweet note in the pocket?

Lining or Seam Binding?
Originally published on 09/27/2010

I’ve shied away from the binding process simply because I didn’t really know how to use binding. But, it’s time I learn how.

I’m on a Google mission. I want to find simple instructions how to apply the pre-made, packaged bias tape using the “Extra Wide Double Fold” product made by Wrights.

What I’ve found so far:
One side is a tad wider than the other. Apply the wider side to the wrong side of the fabric. I can remember the “w’s” go together and stitch down first.

I found it amusing, after all the sites I looked at… Mother explained it quickly…Unfold the wider side of the binding and place the right side of the binding against the wrong side of the fabric, lining up the raw edges.

Over to the machine:

NOTE: I am creating a cobbler style apron, meaning only the front and back is sewn together at the shoulder seams. Some type of tie will be applied at the waistline holding the front & back close to the body.

Okay… on to the seam binding:

I’m working around the neckline, which can easily get stretched out of shape, so I first “stay stitch” around the opening, using a normal stitch length about ¼” from the raw edge.

Next, starting at the back, I pin the right side of the seam binding to the wrong side of the apron. But first, fold the end of the binding back about ½” on itself. Continue placing pins about an inch apart and through the width of the opened binding to keep it out of the way.

Once the binding is pinned, overlap the starting point about an inch and cut the binding. Now, stitch in the first fold, which is ½” from the edge.

Did it!

Before continuing, from the right side of the apron, carefully snip the inside curve… up to the stitching line just created. Then fold the binding over onto the front side – using all pre-folded pressed in lines – pinning about 1” between each pin to hold in place.

Begin sewing near the overlap of beginning/ending of the binding. Slowly sew around the edge, removing pins just before the needle reaches them. I did a pretty decent job for my first time in years! Yes! I can do it!

I’m so glad I took the leap and learned how to do this again! Will you try it?

My Inspiration
Originally published on 09/28/2010

Back on August 3rd, my first blog post on ArtFire, I wrote “When I sew…”

It was before National Sewing Month began, so it’s fitting to re-post here now, during the month the nation celebrates sewing!

She is my inspiration ….

Memories flood my mind whenever I'm sitting at the sewing machine, handcrafting a special item for the women in our lives. As a very young, growing and developing woman, I vividly remember sitting on my mother’s lap while she sewed, helping her push the fabric through, always hearing her say, “Don’t get your fingers too close to the needle.”

I’m blessed to have grown up in a family of women artisans! Both grandmothers, all six aunts combined, in addition to a special Great-Aunt, all created crafty items and unique fashion attire!

My mother, a designer and creator of her own style, won esteem recognitions several times from her fashion entries in the Texas State Fair. I remember clearly the excitement surrounding the events – driving to the fairgrounds, completing the forms required, seeing her model her creations, and celebrating afterwards. My daddy was a jewel in all the support he gave, and continues to give her!

I remember a short time while growing up, I longed for a “store-bought” dress … until the time I did receive one but then a classmate had the same one!!! I was devastated! Never again did I covet clothes off the rack… no, it was then I wanted / needed my own designed, handmade, and unique styled outfit – created by my mother!

Ah, to remember when I sew warms my heart. I’m thankful for what my mother taught me - for her patience, and the love she shared for the value of handcrafted, handmade, crafted items.

Thank you, Momma! 

It's Never Over!
Originally published on 09/29/2010

Although National Sewing Month will end tomorrow night, the celebration of sewing is never over for me! I have so much more to create, learn, and share! Everyday is a new possibility.

Today I’m reviewing each article I posted this month, listing the major points. I hope this quick reference guide is beneficial for you, as it is for me. Over the past few weeks, I’ve detailed how to make a waist apron. Between the writings of what I do, the tips I’ve offered, and the pattern instructions, hopefully you’ve also made an apron! Or, will very soon!

September 1 – First thing’s first
Wash/dry new fabric before cutting.

September 2 – Recipe for Patterns
How I organize the pattern itself, prepping for future use.

September 3 – Where to cut?
Place the fabric on the highest plane possible – save the back & knees!

September 4 – In Pieces
Pin pattern pieces to the fabric.

September 5 – Last Chance
Make pattern adjustments before cutting!

September 6 – Cut it Out!
Using sharp scissors, cutting notches, and unpinning as you go.

September 7 – Location * Location * Location
Lighting and surface space, critical aspects of the physical sewing station.

September 8 – To Each Their Own
Read owner’s manual for individual sewing machines.

September 9 – Ironing Station
Essential elements needed while ironing.

September 10 – Sifting Though the Stuff with Sister
I shared a lovely day of shopping for fabric and notions with my sister.

September 11 – Joining Pieces
Sewing accurate seams together, not the finger!

September 12 – Number One Gadget
The “Quick Turn” tool… a simple, fabulous tool to use when turning ties.

September 13 – The Plan
Even if I’m away on vacation, I’m always thinking of what to do next.

September 14 – Back to It
Spending 15 minute intervals on necessary household chores, and still getting the hem done on the apron!

September 15 – Pick the Pocket
Lining the pocket is easier for me.

September 16 – Shapely Body
Using fusible interfacing

September 17 – Gather the Skirt
Making gathers, preparing for attachment to the waistband.

September 18 – Lucy, I’m Home!
The perfect “model” for the aprons I create for children.

September 19 – Be Still
Taking the time to listen, getting mental rest.

September 20 – End of Machine Work
Attaching waistband to the skirt is the final step in machine sewing the virtual apron.

September 21 – Hand Stitching
A little hand sewing on the waistband facing finishes the apron!

September 22 – Can I do it? Yes! I Can!
Maintain good posture and proper breathing while sewing.

September 23 – Let Them Know
Telling vendors when product doesn’t meet your expectations.

September 24 – Design My Own
Mixing pattern pieces together to make own design.

September 25 – Seize the Moment
Exercises while at the sewing machine, but also the importance of moving, doing something more physical in between sewing seams!

September 26 – Tie One On
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving… National Tie One On Day started by EllynAnne Geisel… put the “give” back into Thanksgiving – give a loaf of bread wrapped in an apron with a special note to someone who needs encouragement.

September 27 – Lining or Seam Binding?
Another technique in finishing an apron: seam binding.

September 28 – My Inspiration
Thankful what my Mother taught me. 

Last Day
Originally published on 09/30/2010

The National Sewing Month for 2010 comes to an end today. I did research, wanting to know how this recognition came to be, and discovered President Ronald Reagan declared it so back in 1982. He stated: “In recognition of the importance of home sewing to our Nation.” What an awesome tribute!

Throughout the month, I’ve gone to many websites and found helpful in my quest for knowledge and inspiration. Here, in this final post during the official National Sewing Month, I would like to share some of my findings with you.

Click here for National Sewing Month – official site!

With over 20,000 members, The American Sewing Guild’s purpose: “Advancing Sewing as an Art and Life Skill.” And they are, “Dedicated to people who believe sewing is a rewarding and creative activity.”

At Sewing.Org you’ll find an awesome list of information. They offer written instructions/guidelines in areas such as sewing tools, notions, different how-to, hand and machine stitches.

Sewing At About is packed full of just about anything you’ll ever want to know when it comes to sewing, techniques, notions, what’s new, etc.

Simplicity online provides more than simply patterns! Their sewing tips and techniques help even the advanced seamstress become a better one!

Sewing.com beautifully states their mission: “Women sharing their experiences and knowledge through their passion for sewing, building fulfilling relationships, and connecting their communities worldwide.” Check out their posts for different projects, tutorials, and a sewing dictionary! They also provide a links list worthy of checking out!

I hope you enjoy visiting the websites as much as I have!  

October 2010

Clear Sky Expected

I’m participating in the annual Lampasas Herb & Art Fest is this Saturday (10/09). According to the 10-day weather forecast … sunny, 84 high, 0 chance of rain! Perfect!

I think I’m ready. I’ve spent the last few days gathering things together. I have a canopy – which is nice protection from the sun. I have more tables than needed. And yesterday, I figured out a nice way to display all the aprons! Mine and Susie’s!

Yes, my friend and neighbor & I are sharing a booth this year. It’s not sharing the cost of having a space that makes it nice. It’s the company, the extra set of eyes, and the relief for breaks that makes sharing a good thing. Although she too has made aprons, her sewing technique and fabric used is much different than mine. This will give folks a nice assortment to look through and select an apron that meets their needs and expectations.

It’s been a challenge to come up with a way to effectively display the Book Thongs and Christian Prayer Beads I’ve created. I must consider surface space and how to catch the eye of a strolling person – all to entice them to enter the booth, to look at the items closer, and hopefully buy something! I hope what I’ve done works!

When Susie and I got together last week to go over everything, we both wished we knew what folks wanted these days. Both of us would gladly create whatever it is! We are both excited and looking forward to see what Saturday brings.

Pricing is another aspect to consider. What is fair to the customer, and for me? It’s a fine line. I talked with another friend over the weekend about just this. When I told him I’m not looking to make a living off my handcrafted items, especially the aprons, he couldn’t understand! As I told him, I hope to re-coup the fabric/material costs so I can turn around and buy more!

While I’m sewing an apron together, I’m simply filled with joy knowing someday someone will wear it while preparing their family a meal, or some type of treat. While the apron’s under construction, I say a prayer for the woman – that future woman wearing the apron – and include something like: may she never burn the food, forget the egg, or dump the food onto the carpet while serving her family. All things I’ve done before, before I wore an apron!

The Day After

The Lampasas Herb & Art Festival was a success. It was worth all the effort!

The planning and creating I did days and weeks before certainly paid off. Success is measured, however, beyond the monetary gain, that is, recovering expenses incurred plus some! I measure success when the day is well spent. Yesterday was a successful day!

Experiencing surprises …

Meeting new friends …

Chatting with visitors …

An awesome successful day, indeed!

Signature Collection

Yesterday I introduced the “Signature Collection” – a style of apron that I believe complements a woman’s figure. In addition, the design allows a woman to simply slip the neckline over her head, then a quick tie in the back (or front on some) for easy convenience.

Over the past several months, I’ve utilized several patterns making different styles – waist, bib, cobbler, and chef aprons. I believe this Signature Collection, whether slim, ample, or in between, the flattering curve lines will please all ladies, and all who see her wearing the apron!

True. The basic lines are the same within the Signature Collection. Yet the aprons have differences to make each one unique just as the individual who wears the apron is a distinctive, unique, inspiring woman!

November 2010

Blessed Family

In a prior article, I described how I planned to set up several work stations to have ready for different sewing applications. I have done this, with help from my family.

1) The primary station is my Pfaff as the “normal” stitching – straight, zig-zag, or the many decorative stitches available within the machine.

2) Another station is using an inherited vintage Featherweight with the gathering attachment to make ruffle trim from fabric, or simply a quick method to gather the skirting piece before attaching to the waistband.

3) The final station is a serger, an overlock type machine for rolled hems, and serging seams together.

I originally attempted to use an inherited machine from my aunt that was at least forty years old. This machine gave me fits. I was about ready to toss it in the stock tank, but decided the cattle could get hurt stepping on it.

After posting my frustrations on Facebook, and finding and posting my “dream” serger, my sweet sister (unbeknownst to me) began her research on why I liked the new Baby Lock brand of sergers. In addition, I found out a few days later, she also began a discussion with our parents.

Bottom line: With the legwork help from my sister, Mother bought a fabulous new Enlighten Baby Lock and I get to use it until next year! Although it’s technically on loan from Mother, she’ll love the ease in using the serger, whenever I let go of it! It is an amazing machine!

Yes! I am blessed with a loving, caring, thoughtful family! I am reminded daily, hourly, every second just how lucky I am to have been born to my parents who had already blessed me with a big sister. I cannot imagine a more supportive, encouraging family. I am truly blessed. 


Every time I walk into my parent’s kitchen, I see the waist apron I made for Mother over twenty-five years ago. She keeps it handy, easy to get to and put on, to wear whenever she prepares meals for my daddy, her husband of sixty-three years. It brings warmth to my heart whenever I see her using the apron I designed and created especially for her. Because I live three hours away, and don’t get to see her/them only once a month, I’m told she wears it often. This also brings a smile to my heart.

Another apron I made for Mother about twenty years ago only sees the light of day at Christmas time. Yes, it’s made out of a holiday print she keeps stored with the house decorations. Along with the apron, I made a coordinating patchwork table runner that matches the bib of her apron. Every year, pictures are taken of Momma preparing something in the kitchen for our main meal celebration, or near the table with the bounty placed along the runner. Ah, such memories we create, to hold dear to our hearts forever.

I recently saw the apron I made about forty years ago for my sister, my only sibling. It’s not used as an “apron” any longer because she simply hates wearing aprons that must be tied! Rather than a construction flaw, it’s a design issue that stops her from wearing that particular apron. Instead, she uses the cobbler style apron as a cover over her sewing chair. I’m told she does this to bring her closer to me and is another cause for my heart to be filled with warmth.

It’s no secret. My sister is getting another apron for Christmas this year! She selected the fabric and pattern, and we’ve had lengthy discussions on its design. Well, it’s done and made to her specifications. Already in the box, the only thing that prevents me from wrapping it is that the new garment labels I’ve ordered have not yet arrived. Her apron will be the first!

Enough reminiscing, it’s time to make another apron, for another family to begin creating their own memories!

December 2010

Shop Handmade in USA & Go Green!

When online shopping via ArtFire.com, two great things can happen: you’re supporting items Made in America and helping the environment, too!

At ArtFire, not only can you find handmade items of all varieties, but you can also shop for “local” artisans! Supporting the community crafter is always a “good thing” as Martha would say! It's a one time set-up and this is how you do it:

Go to ArtFire
Scroll down to “Shop for Gifts By:” located on left side of page
Click on “Advanced Search”
Then “Choose a Category:” select the category you’re looking for, such as “Handmade”
“Search For:” put in the specific item, such as “Apron”
“Sort By:” use the down arrow and select “Best Local Match”
A rolled down area will appear.
Click on “Set My Shopping Location” then enter your zip code on the pop up screen.
Click “This is where I want to shop” to set the location in memory.
Click the green button to continue shopping.
Complete the “Distance From Me:” for mileage distance of your choice.
Hit “search” and there you go!

Enjoy and have a blessed Christmas!

2010 Reflections - 2011 Predictions

Sew, Mama, Sew! asked for 2010 reflections and 2011 predictions. These are my thoughts…

Looking back on the sewing scene of 2010, what trends stand out in your mind?
In my mind, the sewing scene of 2010 saw an explosion of handcrafted Aprons!

What were some of your favorite things? (Trends, fabric collections, patterns, blogs? Whatever you really loved.)
While writing a daily blog for September’s National Sewing Month, I realized how many quality free online videos are available depicting sewing techniques and tips! I appreciate how others love to share their knowledge and skills!

What was your very favorite fabric collection or print? (If not listed above.)
Although there are luscious collections and prints available, I’m constantly drawn to the Debbie Mumm’s collection.

What was the best thing you made in 2010? (Be sure to share a photo!)
My niece collects anything Penguin! I found the perfect fabric to create a personalized apron based on a style she thoroughly loved. Constructed using 100% cotton, it slips over the head and ties at the waist. Two pockets are matched within the print. Using a poly/cotton blend, the apron is fully lined.

What is one of the best things you saw that was made by someone else?
My older sister dusted off her sewing machine after decades of non-use and made beautiful Thanksgiving table runners! I’m excited she’s returned to the craft as she’s very talented!

What do you think 2011 has in store? (Again, trends, fabric, patterns, etc.)
I think we will see even more Aprons in 2011! I know I plan on making more! Fun practical bags, totes, and purses will also be a growing trend in the New Year.

Anything you’re ready for the sewing world to get over?
I can’t think of anything… why muffle creativity?

What’s on your sewing agenda for 2011? What are you excited about? What would you like to learn more about?
My agenda for 2011 includes mastering the art of making the perfect button hole! I’ve been hesitant for too many years!

I’m excited about making more Aprons and creating doll clothes to fit 18” dolls like the American Girl! A few weeks before Christmas, I began making messenger bags. I’m experimenting with different types of fabrics and styles, and will include purses in 2011!

Read, then Read Again!

I’m a collector. I have a passion for crafting, sewing, and quilting books. It’s always, “Someday I’ll make this or that.” I dream - a lot.

Plain and simple, I love books. I love to learn, to see what others are making and doing. Books fill me with inspiration and challenges!

Have you ever received or bought a book, read it, placed it in your personal library, and then read it again several years, maybe even a decade, later? I always learn something new each time I re-read!

Over the Christmas holidays, I browsed the titles I have on my bookshelf and selected one to again enjoy – twelve years later! Organized by Nancy Zieman (from the PBS show “Sewing with Nancy”), in “501 Sewing Hints” (published by Oxmoor House in 1995) is where she compiled hints and tips from her viewers across the United States and Canada. The six chapters include: Organizing (what I need most!), Notions, Getting Started, Basic Sewing Techniques, Embellishments, and Specialized Sewing. And, concludes with a nice Glossary of Notions before the Index.

As I read, and continue to read, I didn’t/don’t remember most of the hints, maybe because it didn’t apply to me at the time, or I’ve slept many times since then! I highly recommend this book!

 – I just checked Amazon.com and it’s still available – some “used” for a penny (plus shipping)!!! A fabulous bargain for the wealth of information between its cover!

Which crafting, sewing, or quilting book(s) do you enjoy?

January 2011
Little Women

Many are blessed with having little women in their lives. Mine have grown up, and now they all have boys!

When I glanced over ArtFire, Etsy, and other websites of “Made in America” handcrafted aprons, I’ve seen matching aprons for a Mom or Granny and then little ones. They are adorable!

Although I would love a particular apron, I would pass over the ones that are considered matching. Even if the limited aprons are sold separately, I would move on to something else. Doing this leaves the opportunity for someone with little women to buy them. Does that make sense?

Now as I make my aprons, I note when I have extra fabric that can be made for a certain size depending on the age of the little woman. With the limited fabric I have from creating an apron, I don’t want to make an apron for a little woman that’s ten when someone has a three year old with her own little kitchen, or who is a big Granny’s helper!

For example, a customer interested in a specific apron style & fabric that I had used sent me an email asking if I had any more fabric! She has two granddaughters that she wanted aprons for Christmas. One is 7, the other 3. I happened to have one already made and online for the 7 year old. She asked if I had enough fabric to make the younger one an apron to coordinate with the others. I did. I made it. And, she bought all three!

Point of the story:  Simply ask me! Little women need an apron, too!

February 2011

A Baker's Dozen

A while back, a customer contacted me and asked if I would make thirteen waist aprons for her daughter’s 5th birthday party! She was planning a cooking theme, knew I made aprons, and thought the aprons would be perfect as party favors!

Oh my goodness! I was thrilled! I could design and create each one different, unique as the little woman attending the party!

I started immediately! After completing a few, I decided I needed a “clothes line” in the sewing room so I could better see what I had already done. My sweet husband worked it out for me!

Go to Lanetta’s Creations to see all the aprons! I would love to post the pictures I received of the actual party, but for privacy reasons I can’t. Suffice it to say, their little expressions told me they were having a blast! Everyone looked so cute in their aprons, too!

(If you’re interested in custom made aprons for your next cooking party, send me an email! I would love to talk with you about making them for you!)

I’ve found several websites that share how to pull off a cooking party for the little woman in your life:

At Disney’s Family Fun website, some of the info they provide is a step-by-step timetable, a download for creating recipe card invitations, instructions to make chef hats, and personalized placemats for each guest.

On the All Star Activities site, besides suggesting decorations and a few cooking games to play during the party, I love their suggested wording for the invitation:

Recipe for a Birthday Bash at "Stephanie's Kitchen" on "DATE"

Handful of special friends
1 cup of laughter
2 cups of fun
Pinch of imagination

Mix friends and 2 cups of fun together. Slowly add 1 cup of laughter and a pinch of imagination. Blend until laughter bubbles to the top. Bake at (address). Serve from 5:00 - 8:00 pm

Please join us for a cooking extravaganza at Stephanie (Last Name's) Cooking Academy.  All creations made will be served to junior chefs.  Attire: clothes that you don't mind getting a bit messy. Call Master Chef (Parent's Name) at (phone number) by DATE to make your reservation.

Isn’t that clever! Just love it!

This one isn’t really about how to throw “birthday cooking parties” but I must share the Dollhouse Bake Shoppe blog! I know something on this site can be incorporated into a birthday party!

Oops! The “Nilla Wafer Layer Cake” would be perfect! Anyway, the site is fabulously filled with “creative baking inspirations, whimsical decorating ideas & bit size treat tutorials”!!! I never would have thought about making “sunny side up eggs” from white chocolate and M&M’s !!!


March 2011

March is National Craft Month

What is a craft?

Journalist Phyllis George once said: “Crafts make us feel rooted, give us a sense of belonging and connect us with our history. Our ancestors used to create these crafts out of necessity, and now we do them for fun, to make money and to express ourselves.”

When I think of “crafts” working with textiles comes to my mind first: sewing, crocheting, knitting, tatting, felting, spinning, dyeing, and weaving.

Yet there are so many others:
- paper crafts – greeting cards, papermaking, paper-mache, calligraphy, creating collages
- decorative crafts – stenciling, stained glass, basketry, toy making, metal work, screen printing
- accessory crafts – making jewelry, handbags, hats
- functional crafts – making soap and candles, working with pottery, wood, ceramics

What about the painter, writer, dancer, singer, musician, actor, and athlete? They all hone their craft, too!

I believe the following are also considered crafts:

  • Gardening
  • Photography
  • Flower (fresh/dry) arranging
  • Scrapbooking
  • Cooking

I can’t imagine my life if I didn’t do something creative (crafty) with my hands. In doing so, it also naturally keeps the ‘ole mind working!

In this month long celebration/awareness, March is an excellent time to think outside the box! Try something new… learn a new skill… work with your hands… exercise the mind! You have a gift! Let it shine!

Caterpillar to Butterfly

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you its going to be a butterfly.”
- Buckminster Fuller

If you will, picture in your mind –

a block of clay
a blank piece of paper
a tree branch
a handful of shells
a bolt of fabric
a skein of yarn
a blank canvas

Have you ever walked the aisles of a craft or a fabric store, or places like along beaches, or in a woodland area, and asked yourself, “What could I create” with this or that? Or, “How can I describe in words what I’m seeing so a reader would also see?”

Remember the handprints in clay we made in our youth? Wouldn’t grandkids love to have our handprints now? What a treasure it will be in years to come, when they place their hand within the impression. It would be like holding hands again. Wish I had thought about this for my grandparents!

Did you know? A piece of driftwood is a face to be revealed once the excess is removed! A talented man I know could see the “faces” and has created some fabulous pieces of artwork from leftover cedar branches that wouldn’t burn. I have one piece he did hanging in my kitchen and has worked much better than a kitchen witch!

When I shop a fabric store and see wonderful bolts of fabric, I select a few favorites and place in my cart. I give them a ride until I’m inspired to create something specific. Like yesterday, three bolts rode while I browsed the aisles for other things. But, like yesterday, sometimes the perfect idea doesn’t come to mind so they were placed back on the shelf. And, that’s okay. After pondering overnight, inspiration has come and I’ll go back and get the pieces I need in order to create their butterfly!

Imagine, be inspired, and create!

April 2011

Trade Shows

I began participating in trade shows after I wrote and published my book, Where Forever Begins. I shared that first booth with a delightful experienced lady, Betty Rials, who creates fabulous soaps and other skin products at My Momma’s Soap. I’m grateful for all the information she shared.

I’ve done a handful since then. A couple of times I shared the booth with a neighbor, and the last one, with my sister. Through this experience, I learn more and more of what to do, and not do! In my humble opinion, the most difficult thing about a trade show is offering items people are in the market to purchase! I always wish for a magic wand!

This was the last one, April 2011:  
A constant I do: no matter what the season, I use the same fabric to cover the tables. I hope by doing this folks will recognize my “store”!!! I also made socks to cover the canopy poles. No matter what the weather forecast, I can count on wind gusts to try and take the canopy away! What was done to help keep it in place: my husband & I filled 4’ PVC pipes with cement and at each trade show, I duct tape the PVC to each pole. Well, I knew that would look tacky, so I made the socks! Works nicely, if I do say so myself!

      April 2010               October 2010
  image(pictures later!)

  • Each time I’ve added new products with varying prices.
  • Each time I try to have every person leave out of the booth with my business card in hand.
  • Each time I look at the other vendor’s booths to see how they have their wares set up.
  • Each time I make a list of what I can do better, differently next time.

It’s a continual learning process. Whether you are an experienced or novice vendor, check out The Ultimate Craft Show Preparation Link List for tips and suggestions!

For me, the greatest joy in participating in a trade show is visiting with the people! Seeing friends and other vendors and meeting new folks makes everything… all the pre-planning and creating and the set up/take down… totally worthwhile! I love it!

The Mind Game

I recently discovered April is Stress Awareness Month. I’m so totally aware of the stress in my life! I don’t need a “month” of awareness! It’s 24/7. BUT, and this is the kicker – the discovery – I now don’t let stress run my life! It’s not the way things have to be, the master or ruler of my life.

Stress is a mind game. When I’ve let the stress take over my mind, my body suffers. It’s amazing what stress can do to the body! I know this. I’m aware! For me, it’s not so bad now that I’ve taken to heart the Serenity Prayer. In fact, it’s become my mantra. Whenever something happens and I feel the stress beginning to build, I stop and take a deep breath, and mentally recite the prayer’s first paragraph:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

The rest of the prayer I read over and over:

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr

Back in 1992, The Health Resource Network sponsored the national month-long recognition. Since then, April (must correlate with the Income Tax deadline) has been the month to focus on stressors and what we can do to eliminate stress from our life. Rather than eliminate, as I feel that’s an unreasonable goal, I’ve found ways to manage the stress that pops up simply by living life! Besides taking a deep breath, and going over and over the Serenity Prayer, I concentrate on the positive steps I can do to make the “whatever” situation better. Sometimes that means focusing on things like sewing, writing, or creating beaded bookmarks for the women in my life… some I’ve met, some I never will.

I’m fully aware stressing over things I cannot change is not productive and only hurts me physically and mentally. What I could (and did!) change is from within, that is, my way of thinking, accepting, and moving on. It was simple as that! What a difference it has brought to my life and is why I believe that stress is a mind game no one has to play!

Not User Friendly

If you're looking for me, I'm at blogspot!

ArtFire's blog site is not user friendly when it comes to uploading pictures. I've tried and tried uploading four (small kb's) pictures for an article I wrote. I've created another site and will be posting there until things are worked out here!

My "Dreams (aka Wish List)" post and pictures are out in the Internet universe...

"Keep your dreams alive.
Understand to achieve anything requires faith
and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication.
Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”
Gail Devers

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting, it makes my day!

Total Pageviews