Monday, October 16, 2017

Tour of a Ronald MacDonald House

Yesterday I was treated to a tour of a Ronald MacDonald house near a hospital where a family of a "preemie" was staying.  I thought you might like to see how nice it is!
Situations like this are so traumatic for the families, that every comfort has been afforded!  I see why so many individuals, private groups and organizations continually contribute to The care and maintenance of the Ronald McDonald houses.
View from dining to one patio.
View from dining to other patio.

Kitchen: each side has the same thing: dishwasher, sink, fridge, stove, etc.

Small corner sitting room next to inside play area.
Quilts donated to the babies and families of the preemies:

Inside one of the bedrooms: extra daybeds, trundle beds and fold out couches.

Very nice arrangements done by different decorating companies:

Laundry room: when the preemie is discharged from the hospital, the family has to wash all the bedding and towels from their room, clean the room, and check off the list of chores.

Another very comforting room. Each room is done up by a different decorator and all the furniture is new but donated.  I could live here!
The coffee table centerpieces are seasonal:

Hmmm..  It looks like Papa has moved in!  He is taking his nap so he can drive back home.

Stan says he doesn't mind if his picture is on the web, because he has already "been insulted by experts over the last 50 years" and doesn't think much more damage can be done. 😉 He was surprised there were no fries in the kitchen.  He wanted to know how it could be a Ronald MacDonald house with no fries.

The family and the preemie went home so we didn't get to stay long and get more pictures but if I ever get another chance to visit one of these houses, I certainly will. Everyone is well cared for here.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Just For Today

All pictures on this post are from Pinterest.

The first thing I do is look out the window:

Above: from a hotel tea room in England.

I like taking refreshments in such settings!

The sandwiches look colorful and nutritious.

From a Victoria Classics Tea issue.

Below: I like this Arabian proverb. I should have learned this from an early age, to help devop a positive outlook to delays!

Please remember to look after yourself, eat right, rest well, dress your best or a way that gives you the most confidence, enjoy your work, pray instead of worrying, look for the truth, and be focused.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sewing With Bamboo Fabric

Hello Ladies,

After eyeing and stroking  several bolts of soft bamboo flannel, for almost a year of visiting it in a fabric store, I finally bought some.  
Several years ago I was in a shop that featured bamboo products from clothing to household goods, soaps, candles, furniture, and more,  I remember how soft the towels and sheets felt, but the oh, the price, so I put it out of my mind. 

Lately, the fabric stores have been selling a bamboo flannel fabric and I have noticed how much softer it felt to the touch than the other natural woven fabric flannels normally used for nightwear.

Preparing the fabric: after washing and drying the fabric, the cut edges became very shredded, stringy and knotty. It was wrinkley but easily ironed, and would wrinkle every time it was moved. After discovering the method of creating "permanent press" I don't mind wrinkled fabric at all. It has less chemicals in it.

Laying out and cutting:  Bamboo fabrics come in many different weights and types, and not all of them are flannels. I used the metal weights to hold the fabric and pattern steady while I cut. The fabric was kind of slippery but I was undaunted in my enthusiasm for the finished garment. It cut very easily with sharp scissors and behaved like a fine cotton.

Machine sewing: It was more like working with rayon or a polyester, because it had bias all through it and a lot of stretch. That made it easier to match up some notches and seams.  I could have used a special ballpoint machine needle for knits. Although it was a woven fabric it was slippery like a knit.

Hand sewing: holds together better with machine stitches.

Un-picking: While it is easy to unpick stitches on stable cottons, unpicking this bamboo flannel was more difficult and it was easy to put a hole in the fabric. It is delicate, yet strong.

Ironing: hot steam pressing worked well and didn't melt the fabric.

Warmth and coverage: this could be worn in summer and not feel too hot, as the fabric is thin.

Prior to sewing, I did not even think to look up how to sew bamboo fabrics, so I probably missed something.

However, the garment is holding together fine and is very soft. It wrinkles a lot more but straightens out when hung on a hanger for just a few minutes.

The fabric is thinner than flannel; more like muslin.  On the bolt it seems thicker but once it is washed and ironed it seemed a lot more delicate. 

As this is made for someone else, I have not worn it. It is so incredibly soft and natural I know it will be very comfortable.

Other news: (You can tell there isn't much drama in my life)

I was straightening up the phone table where I keep my phone list paper and pencils. We had just had a visit from the grandchildren. As they fancy themselves artists and architects, they used every pencil in the house for their constant creations, including the pencil stash in deep storage. (Mother's know what that is.)

This is the only pencil they left me to make my shopping and to-do list.  Have you ever had to write with a carpenter pencil? I must say, we aren't very advanced. My father and grandfather used these, and STILL there is NO SHARPENER  invented!  The common kitchen paring knife just does not do it well, and the old fashioned pocket knife is what they used.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Finished Garment and a Pattern Review

We had some trouble with a camera and were unable to get very good images of me in the dress but were able to use a cell phone. It was a nice day and I have a few outdoor pictures.

The fabric: dusty Rose on cream white background is such a soft appearance!

I made an underskirt for the dress, and hoped it would look like a layer of fabric similar to a ruffle, attached to the  dress, but I will have to work on that. I was trying to make it look like a multi layered skirt. 

It was fun to wear gloves  and a hat with this.

Now for the pattern, below.  

I am glad I only paid 99 cents for this because it was not an easy pattern and it did not fit well at all. 

I added my own sleeves, and had to remove the tucks in the front to make the bodice lay smoothly.  The instructions were not simple and for such a casual dress it requires French seams, bias binding on the edges, and some strange tucks that aren't flattering to the dress at all.  I tweaked and added and altered until I got it to fit better. 

I was attracted to the pattern because it had only two pieces: a front and back, and I am always looking for something that doesn't have a lot of little pieces and will not take too much time.  This one had no zipper or buttons and I thought it would take less time to sew, but after all the adjustments, it was more time consuming.

The dress is not well-fitted and has a few billowing areas that make it feel sloppy. I won't be using this one again, but I will wear the dress a lot at home.  The reviews online are not all favorable, and some pieces of the pattern were reported missing, as in my copy as well. Most sewists complained that the tucks pulled the dress in such a way as to create a frumpy look.

The design looks great on paper but the darts and tucks were "off" and the dress did not drape well, plus it was not flattering,

The dress looks "okay" on me but the style is a bit too bohemian for my taste. The fabric is very casual looking but it dresses up well when accompanied with accessories.  

The dusty rose colors of the dress and hat goes well with the old brown truck so I will be planning to add a picture with the truck as a prop, to bring out the best in this dress. 

 The dress is comfortable to wear since I changed a few things. It feels luxurious and I will be looking for more of this fabric.

Thanks for visiting.  I am going on to my next project.

Sewing: I Am Almost Finished

Hello Ladies,

You were probably wondering how I was going to make this unusual print into a stylish dress. So was I and that is why I spent too much time eyeing it and folding it to get the print right-side-up.  It is called "Correspondence" from a company called Essentials. Since it is over 100 inches wide, it  is used by quilters for quilt backings, and it comes in blue and mint green, although those colors were not available at Joannes when I got this. 
 I have put it on the dress form and made some extra tucks to give it better shape. After that, the dress needs to have the elastic in the sleeve cuffs and the hem ironed up and sewn.

Don't worry: it will be nicely pressed for the model.
At this point, it looks very industrial, like a merchandise bag from the early 1900's from a cargo shipment of grain, but I have great plans for it to make it look more high-end with some accessories. Let's hope it doesn't look like a sack of grain when I wear it. At any rate, the fabric is a dream to wear, and feels like silk!   If it turns out too embarrassing to wear in public I can wear it at home.

The weather is beautiful and as soon as I can get it finished and my hair fixed I will find a wandering photographer and if I can catch him, (Mr. S. is always busy, and I sometimes can chase him down) will get some fashion pics for you. Oh yes, we will change the face of fashion with this one, haha.

In case you think it is all very dull, here is some brighter fabric I have in the queue for summer clothes. I have already made  some of it into clothes for descendants, so now it is my turn. I do not use yellows and oranges much because they don't do well with my complexion, but with a white blouse or white collar near the neck,any color works.

I also have one unfinished gown from fabric sent by a friend and I am excited about it because it is  nearly finished too! I will be showing that one soon.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Something Nice from Cork, Ireland

Hello dear Ladies,

Thank you for stopping by. Without your viewership, there wouldn't be as much motivation for a blog.

Hopefully I will have a finished sewing project to show you very soon!  I have indeed sewn all year long but not as much for myself as for others in the fam. And, also I keep thinking I will get thinner and better looking for the modeling of the garment. A good friend emailed me and told me to stop cheating by showing the finished dress on the dress form. She wants to see me in it. So that is just what I will do. You can always tactfully say  I look okay for my age!

Above: My teacup is Stechol Gracie China from Homegoods/TJMax. These teacup sets usually cost about $3.99 and sometimes less if they are in the discount shelf. They are not as fragile as the antique cups but are light as a feather with a delicate feel and a very glossy finish, so nice to the touch. Although they are dishwasher safe, I notice the dishwasher eventually causes the color and the picture of the peony to fade after a lot of use so lately I have been hand-washing these teacups with a little soda-bicarbonate made into a paste. 

For those of you who think there is just nothing better than that mellow golden blend of Yorkshire Gold, (not Yorkshire Tea, but Yorkshire Gold) but are finding it scarce in local stores, I found something quite interesting today at the grocery store, which cost all of $4.00.

Someone mentioned this to me awhile back and my ears started ringing the minute I saw it, because I remember I had nodded politely and never followed up on it. I had made up my mind nothing was as good as Yorkshire Gold. I mentally brushed off the suggestion to try Barry's Tea. The ingredients are Rwandan and Assam, the same as Yorkshire Gold. The package first attracted me because of the word "gold" which indicates lack of bitter tanic acid and not much caffeine, plus that beautiful color.

Well, as you serious tea-ers know, Yorkshire Gold is a careful blend of Kenyan, Rwandan and Assam tea leaves. It seems to lack that bitter tanic acid taste found on ordinary teas and doesn't have the caffeine after-effect.  Someone once told me never to drink it because I would never be content with any other black tea.  That is exactly what happened.  We even started stocking it ourselves at home and selling it to friends.

Also, the painting of the Yorkshire Dales on the box was so pretty I always used the empty boxes for little tea-treats and sandwiches to give to people for their car trip home. A few years ago the company changed the painting and that is when I noticed a slight change in taste.

I must mention Yorkshire Tea in a red box that none of my friends, who were my customers, liked, due to its hard taste, and I couldn't even give it away. Sometimes I thought there was a bit of Yorkshire Tea (the red box) in the Yorkshire Gold. 
Lately, though, the company seems to have changed their formula and my customers and I both notice it. Some of us had a tea tasting, with samples of tea from older shipments, and from the individually wrapped tea sachets (also different in taste), the loose leaf, and the newer shipment of plain tea bags.

Everyone agreed there was a difference in taste.  We stopped ordering the big shipments and started buying it again by the small box when we could find it locally.

Mr. S. and I have done a taste test with two cups of tea each, using Yorkshire Gold in one and Barry's Tea in the other.  We think Barry's tea is our new fave and we will be deciphering the taste over time. It is delicious! There is a difference but possibly, if Yorkshire Gold had stayed the same in taste, they would have been the same.  Barry's tea claims to be rich in antioxidants. It tastes as good as Yorkshire Gold. I feel "well" after drinking it, as if I had taken a dose of vitamin C.

Also, I like that the box shows it is packaged and distributed from Cork, Ireland. It feels exotic to  have  something in the house from Cork.

Below, you see a cookie tin my husband brought home from England 30 years ago (when he went without me) and I get a smile out of that boy waiting with a grimace for the little girl to get out of the phone booth. He might be waiting to make his own call, or he could be waiting for his sister so he could accompany her home again.

Mr. S. Has a famous saying, "I will make it up to you some day," so he owes me a trip.
Since I also like tisanes and fruit infusions, herbal tea, I was looking around for a pumpkin flavored herbal tea.  The local grocery store had none. I noticed a white tea sold by Starbucks called Youthberry Tea. The name itself made me smile but I was not brave enough to buy it. The ingredients were:

An Infusion Of [Water, White Tea, Candied Mango Pieces (Mango, Sugar, Citric Acid), Candied Pineapple Pieces (Pineapple, Sugar, Citric Acid), Rise Hip Peels, Apple Slices, Hibiscus Flowers, Red Currants, Artificial Flavor, Rose Petals, Açaí Fruit Powder (Açaí, Maltodextrin)

On second thought, I might be able to make something like it at home. I was trying to avoid the sugar. Those fruit ingredients look good!

I believe Celestial Seasonings has a pumpkin tea but it would require a longer trip to a more specialized grocery store. I am stopping at home  and will stay stopped until my sewing is finished.

Thanks again for stopping by.  

I better get back to my sewing. If the sun shines tomorrow I will try to get a good picture at a great distance of the new garment....I heard a person looks thinner and younger at a distance 😉


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