Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Off to El Salvador!

In five days I'm off to El Salvador! Yep, I'm going on another mission trip!
About a year ago I went to Guatemala. Going to Guatemala had been on my heart for a few years, so when the opportunity arose I took it. I considered going back to Guatemala, long term, to start a goat ministry. Well, as you know, I'm still here, in the U.S.
I have been praying for direction for over a year now, and I'm still not sure what I'm doing. I'm involved in good things here that I feel God has led me to be involved in. Guatemala, though, or some foreign mission field, is still on my heart.
So, that brings me to El Salvador. The church my youngest brother attends youth group at was planning a trip to El Salvador. My mom heard about it and suggested I see if I could go. I figured, why not? So, one week, I dropped my brother off at youth group and asked the youth pastor if it might be possible for me to go on the trip. He said he'd check and get back to me. So, I waited. Finally, three weeks later, he called to say, if I was still interested, I could go! Yes! I was going to El Salvador!
I am really excited about this! Of course my main goal for this trip is to demonstrate Jesus' Love to others, but I have another hope too. I am really hoping that this trip, going on another mission trip, getting out of the country again, will give me some more perspective in whether or not I am supposed to go to the mission field somewhere for an extended period of time. I want answers, and I'm hoping a change in setting will being me closer to those answers.
Now, what will we be doing on this trip? Well there are three separate teams within our team. A medical team, a construction team, and a street team. I'm on the street team. We will be sharing the Gospel with kids in different areas through songs, skits, and stories. I love kids so I'm rather excited about this!
So, in less than 5 days I will be on my way to El Salvador. I humbly ask for your prayers while I'm gone. Prayers for safe travels and health, but mostly prayers that Jesus will touch the hearts of everyone involved, those of us on the team and those we will be working with. Prayers that we will be able to effectively present the Gospel. It is our job to go where we are called, it's God's job to work through us.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Asymmetrical Swiss Dot Dress

I finally finished it! Back in January I picked up the fabric and pattern, last month I cut it out. Weeks ago I mostly sewed it together. Then, at last, I hemmed, zippered, and pocketed it last week. (It honestly only took about a day to make this dress, but I never had one entirely empty day to do so, thus it took for-ev-er.)  What am I talking about? This dress, my asymmetrical swiss dot dress.

As you may remember, I picked up the fabric and pattern on a whim. I was only supposed to be buying thread and buttons, but the fabric was too pretty to leave behind, and the pattern was just too perfect for it.

I bought the fabric before finding the pattern. When I pulled the pattern out of the envelope and saw the size of the skirt pattern pieces I got a little worried. Would I have enough fabric? The skirt is a full circle (well oval actually, to achieve the asymmetrical look.), so very full, fun and swingy, but, requiring lots of fabric. Thankfully, three yards of fabric was just enough!

I got the entire dress sewn together, minus the hem and zipper, and then realized I'd forgotten to add pockets! Now, I know me, a dress will get worn very little if it doesn't have pockets. So, adding pockets was a must.

This pretty fabric being rather thin and delicate, I didn't want to add side seam pockets. I was afraid of the stress they would put on the skirt fabric. But patch pockets. . . those wouldn't look quite right. So I came up with a hybrid between the two.

I opened up the side seams a few inches at the top of the skirt and hemmed the edges of the opening. Then, I sewed patch pockets onto the muslin lining at the side seams. I can reach the pockets through the side seam slits!

Pockets done, I was ready to attach the zipper. I decided to try a technique I'd never attempted before, a lapped zipper. It turned out pretty darned well for my first ever attempt, if I do say so myself! Just as nice looking as an invisible zipper, I do believe.

I put on my new dress to wear to church yesterday, and decided it needed a little something else, a belt.  The fabric belt I made to go with this dress was the perfect color, so on it went and off I went to church.

After Church I got to drive my firefighter brother's new car. That was fun!

This car is fast and it has a 6-speed manual transmission. So much more fun than his old car which was an automatic! Maybe I should sell my 5-speed pick-up truck and get a car like this! Or maybe not. . . not getting speeding tickets and being able to haul goats and such, yeah, those are good things. I think I'll keep my truck.

However, driving a fast car in a pretty dress, that's fun!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

One Lucky Goat

Meet Lucky.

Lucky is. . .well, Lucky. A home bred, home raised buck. The great grandson of my first ever buck, Louie. 

Louie with Lucky behind him, hanging out in the buck pen last fall.

Also, the great grandson of my oldest goat, Stripe, Lucky's mother and grandmother were both of my breeding.

Stripe (right) hanging out with Ratatouille last fall. I got her as a 5 y/o, now at age 11, she's the oldest goat in the herd.

Lucky's sire, Tempo Aquila Freedom Reigns, was quite a buck with quite a pedigree. Unfortunately we only had him for one breeding season before he died. (Sadly, he was rather old when we got him.)

Upon Reign's death we decided to keep one of his sons for stud, so not to lose those bloodlines. We picked out two of his bucklings at birth, deciding to raise both of them then pick the best to keep. Well, neither one turned out too great, dang. Back to the drawing bored we went. We looked over the remaining bucklings that fall and decided Lucky was the best looking of the lot. Thus, Lucky got lucky, we kept him for stud rather than castrating him and sending him off for meat.

Now, fast forward two and a half years to yesterday. Lucky's got a few offspring out in the pasture and I decided to show him for the first time in his life.

He got a hair cut, behaved half way decent in the show ring, and then. . .

He won Reserve Champion!!

Yep, I'm pretty happy with him! Lucky is truly one lucky goat.

Lucky's daughter, Sapphire, as a kid last fall

Now, out in the pasture I have two, very promising, dry yearling daughters of Lucky, whom also happen to be Sombrita's granddaughters. I cannot wait to see how they turn out after freshening next spring!

Monday, May 23, 2016

She Made it Herself!

Why wear something store bought if I can wear something I made myself?
This has pretty much become my attitude, and a couple weeks ago my sister was able to share that sentiment with me when she made herself not one, but two simple dresses in one afternoon!

I had a rare day off work thus decided to get some much needed sewing done, a supply of summer shorts for my sister. (Not the most exciting sewing, but definitely needed.) My sister was hanging out, watching me and helping some, when she decided she wanted to work on her own sewing project. (Like I said, shorts are not the most exciting thing to sew, or help sew)

So, out came a too-short t-shirt. I supplied a wide strip if fabric off of the top of a jersey knit sheet I was turning into shorts.
My sister sewed the strip of fabric into a loop, then gathered the top edge. After several unsuccessful attempts at gathering it became apparent that corded gathers would be easiest. I showed her how to carefully zig-zag over the thin cord and soon she had a gathered skirt, ready to attach to her shirt.
Onto the shirt the skirt was sewn and my sister's first ever self-made dress was done! She was thrilled!

The shirt had started out a little on the short side, but the weight of the skirt lengthened it some (quite a bit actually) so that the dress came out with quite a dropped waist. That just means this dress will fit my sister length-wise for a good long time!

Upon finishing her dress, my sister was shocked by how easy making a dress could really be, and asked if she could make another. Of course! She went off to find another t-shirt. I supplied another strip of fabric.

This time the skirt was made from actual fabric rather than a sheet, so a new hem was needed. Once that was done, this dress went together just like the last one and my sister was just as thrilled with the result!

Now, I wonder what she will decide to sew herself next?

On another note, I want to thank you guys for the kind comments I received both here and on Facebook after I shared about the loss of my Sombrita. It was comforting to read the kind words and know I'm not entirely alone in my grief. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Farewell Sombrita

Sombrita. My Brita Baby. I lost her late last Thursday night to pneumonia. I'm heartbroken. I tried everything I could to keep her alive, but it wasn't enough.

She was 10 years old, which is about the average life span of a goat, but that doesn't make it any easier. Sombrita was the one goat who was really my pet. She could sense my emotions. She would always come up to me when I came out to the goat pen. Milking her was relaxing, in a way that milking no other goat is.

She knew she was mine, I was her human. She might misbehave and be as stubborn as can be for my family, but for me, she would always do whatever I asked.

The first time I took her into the show ring she was 3 months old, and walked perfectly in the ring, despite having been stubborn at home. She loved being in the show ring. She won that first show. It was a tiny 4-H show. There were only 3 goats, but I was the happiest girl in the world that evening. I knew I had an awesome goat. 6 years later she won my last 4-H show, the summer after I graduated high school. There were more goats that time, but she could hold her own against the competition. 

Sombrita was always hungry and ready to eat.

This is the last picture I ever took of her. It was a couple months ago, right after she kidded. I'd left her on the milk stand to finish her grain while I filled buckets to feed the rest of the goats. Well, she finished her feed, and then came to find more grain.

Sombrita was such a good mama. She always took great care of her babies. 8 kiddings. 17 kids. 6 daughters, 11 sons. Sometimes out of the buck I wanted her bred to, sometimes not. Sometimes in the correct month, sometimes not. Sombrita was going to get bred to whom she wanted to get bred to, when she wanted to get bred, regardless of my plans. 

In my herd currently I have one of her sons, Domino (2015), two of her daughters, Candy Cane (dec.2010) and Giselle (2016), four of her granddaughters, one great granddaughter, and several great (or great-great) grandsons. Her bloodlines and some of her personality traits are well represented. But I still miss her. Her descendants aren't her.

Good-bye my Sombrita, my Brita Baby. I loved you. I miss you. Thank You for being mine. You were one of a kind and can't be replaced. Thank You for your daughters, your sons, your loyalty. You won't be forgotten.


My Fat, Stubborn, Ornery, Sweet, First Ever Goat.

March 1, 2006 - May 12, 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Comfy, Flowy, Need-To-Use-This-Pattern-Again, Summer Shirt

The past 48 hours have really, really sucked, thanks to some goat stuff. I'm incredibly sad, heartbroken, and just trying to mentally process things. In the next week or so that processing will probably result in a blog post about it, featuring lots of pictures of happier times, but right now,  I just need a distraction. So, while looking through my pictures today I was reminded of a couple projects I completed, photographed, and never got blogged. (Sewing time lately has taken priority over blogging about sewing.) So, here we go, finished several weeks ago, a comfy, flowy, shirt for my mom.

Back in February, when my mom, brother, and I went to Indianapolis, my mom and I hit a couple fabric stores. My home town has a very, very, limited supply of fabric stores, so when ever I travel to another city, I have to see what sorts of fabric stores that city has to offer. One little fabric store we went to in Indianapolis had amazing, too-expensive-for-me-to-afford, fabrics. Wools, silks, laces, cottons, and blends of all of the above. It was great! I love admiring fancy fabrics and touching them, just to see how the texture and hand differs from what I'm used to working with. Now, in addition to all the amazing fabrics, this store also had a great selection of indie patterns and a bin of clearanced McCalls, Butterick, and Vogue patterns. My mom and I may have come home with a few new patterns. (how could we not?)

One of the patterns my mom picked out was this one. Butterick 6215

She thought it would make the perfect summer shirt, so I promised to put it to good use as soon as we found some suitable fabric. Shortly after that I found a soft, flowy, poly-crepe at Walmart. I picked up a couple yards and got to work.

The shirt itself went together easy enough, but then I got to the neckline. A simple V-neck with a facing. No problem, right? Wrong. I made a couple mistakes. First I really should have stay-stitched the neckline before trying to apply the facing. That little step would have saved me some trouble. My biggest mistake though was what I cut the facing out of, the same fabric as the shirt. I really, really should have used a more stable fabric, or at least some interfacing, but I failed to do so and just could not get the neckline to lay right! Finally I shirred the neckline with a couple rows of elastic thread, then cut a slit down the center front a couple inches and narrowly hemmed it. That worked! Nothing at all like how it was supposed to look, but now the neckline lays well, and that's the main thing. (plus I learned a thing of two about how not to face a neckline.)

Now the biggest question, how does my mom like the shirt? Well, as she wears it at least once a week and has requested another shirt of two from this pattern, I'd say she likes it!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sleeves Needed: A Peasant Top

Approximately 90% of my summer shirts are sleeveless. That's just what I'm most comfortable in all summer long. Occasionally, however, the need for sleeves arises. For example, the dress code at the place I volunteer, it requires sleeves. That was easy enough while it was chilly outside, but now that it's warm? Not so much. A few summer shirts with sleeves were needed, so to my refashion bin I went.

This peasant top caught my attention. Given to me by a friend, it was several sizes too big and rather unflattering. The elastic hem was especially annoying as it liked to ride up. The shirt needed help, but how could I make it more "me"?
A couple Pinterest searches for "peasant top refashion" turned up almost nothing useful. Lots of how to turn something else into a peasant top but no how to turn a peasant top into something else. Hmm, that was annoying.
A few of the "refashioned into a peasant top" pins were rather cute, however, so I took my inspiration where I could find it and got started. First that annoying elastic hem was chopped off, then the sleeves were partially removed with a seam ripper and the sides were taken way in.

Once the sides were taken in it was time to reattach the sleeves, as they were pretty much the entire point of this refashion after all. I played around with a few different ideas and finally settled on this.

I just pleated the extra fabric into the armholes and hemmed the sleeves edges. This gave me butterfly-like sleeves. Once the sleeves were sewn back on, I hemmed the shirt and added the finishing touch. 

I trimmed off part of the original elastic neckline and added some pink bias tape for some extra stability and embellishment.

There, all done. Cool and comfortable with sleeves! Perfect for everyday stuff like milking goats and playing with kids.

No complaints about how this refashion turned out! The peasant top went from "maybe I'll wear that someday. . .or not. . ." to a favorite shirt. Turns out sleeves are very useful in preventing sunburn, and if they're light and flow-y enough they don't add any extra warmth.

I might just have to do some more digging in my refashion bin in order to investigate this sleeve thing farther. 

So, off to do that I go!

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Molly Pitcher Dress

Pick a person from history. Research them. Become the class expert on that person. Write a paper on them and present it to the class. That was my sister's school assignment, and she did awesome!

She picked Mary Ludwig, aka Molly Pitcher, and spent weeks researching her. Molly carried water to the solders on the battle field during the Revolutionary War, and even fought in place of her husband when he was injured in battle. 
On the day she was to present, my sister got up in front of her class and the parents of her classmates and spoke loudly and clearly as she told us of the life of Molly. There wasn't an ounce of stage fright in her!

Now, as you may have noticed, one of the fun parts of this project was dressing up as the chosen person from history. My sister needed a late 18th century dress, and she had it all planned out when she asked for my help. She wanted the dress to be blue with white lace, and she wanted to dress as Molly would have when she was young, rather than later on when she was on the battle field. That was doable, but first we needed to do a bit of research. What would a young girl's dress from the 1760's have actually looked like?

Something like this,

children's clothing 1780 | Found on museodeltraje.mcu.es
Or this,

Child's dress, Great Britain, c. 1740. Brown wool, silk. Met Museum
As Molly's family was rather poor we decided linen would be the best material for the dress, as it was the most readily available and affordable material of the time. Walmart happened to have a pale blue linen/rayon blend on their shelves for the amazing price of $3 per yard. You can't beat that! (Now, of corse rayon wasn't around in the 18th century, but 100% linen today is rather expensive) We brought home everything that was left on the bolt and I got to work.

I used Simplicity 3725 as my base pattern. I changed the shaping of the center front bodice panel and how it attached to the skirt in order to match our inspiration dresses. I trimmed the dress with pleated self-trim and white cotton eyelet from my stash.

The apron is made from an embroidered (extremely soft) cotton sheet I picked up at a thrift store. The shift, worn underneath the dress, is made from the remainder of that sheet. 

On her head my sister wore a white eyelet cap I made a while back. On top of that, a Bergere hat that I decided to make last minute. 

I found these straw hats at a thrift store the weekend before my sister's presentation. 

I removed the decorations from the blue hat, soaked it in water to re-shape it, then re-trimmed it to match my sister's dress.

Being made last minute, some of the trim really ought to be re-attached a bit better, but the over all look really completed my sister's outfit!

Also, March's Historical Sew Monthly challenge was protection. I didn't complete my planned project, but Bergere hat's were worn to protect ladies from the sun. So, as it was made in March, I'm calling this hat my entry. 

What the item is: Bergere Hat

The Challenge: #3, Protection

Fabric/Materials: Straw Hat, Blue Satin Ribbon, Lace Trim, Eyelet Trim, Silk Flowers

Pattern: None

Year: Late 18th Century

Notions: Thread

How historically accurate is it? Not very. The look is right. The hat itself is made of straw, which is correct, but all of the other materials and the method of construction are modern.

Hours to complete: About 3, one Sunday afternoon.

First worn: March 14th, for my sister's school presentation.

Total cost: $4 for the hat, everything else was stash, either given to me or leftover from another project, so $0.

This was a very fun project to work on with my little sister, and I was so proud when she got up to present her paper to the class! I'm looking forward to several more years of helping her with fantastic school projects! (meanwhile, now I really want to make myself a historically accurate 18th century dress!)