Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Baby Bonnet

In the previous post I wrote about an heirloom style baby quilt that was made years ago at a Martha Pullen school. I also made a baby bonnet during those three days of classes but it wasn't ironed when I wrote that post. A little spray starch and quick touch up with the iron and it is as pretty now as it was 20 years ago. 
I went to the Martha Pullen school three times in the 90's with a different focus of techniques each time I went. I think of one year as the year of buttons because of all of the pewter and hand painted ceramic buttons I bought. The year of sewing baby items was my year of lace.

There isn't lace shaping in this bonnet but I did learn that and learned that typical lace won't work. Without boring those who don't know what I'm talking about, the lace needed has a thread along the edge that you can be pulled to gently gather and thus shape the lace. It is finer and just plain beautiful. Comparing the lace that is sometimes on sale at 3 yards for a dollar is like comparing the store's brand of Oreo-like cookie to an exquisite pastry. The inexpensive has its place, but it doesn't knock your socks off the way the pastry or French lace can. 

Knowing that this lace can be difficult to find near me in Michigan, I bought quite a few selections while in Alabama that year. A small bag, the type you might get when you buy a few greeting cards, had $100+ of lace and Swiss insertion in it. Swiss insertion is the embroidered strip with rose buds on this bonnet. 

I've told my sweet daughter-in-law that I know these items might be too fussy for her taste, but they are hers and her daughter's now and all I want is one photo of our Princess with these items. 
The Princess, just a few days old
Do you believe in kismet? When I took the quilt, sweaters and bonnet over to their house yesterday, my daughter-in-law showed me the gown that she wore when she was christened. The jacket and bonnet are missing. Out of my bag came the white sweater and bonnet. Kismet!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Heirloom baby quilt

On May 8th, a healthy, beautiful granddaughter entered our lives. She and her mommy are doing well, as are her daddy (my older son) and her 5 year old brother.

Her arrival along with the urge to do some spring cleaning led to cleaning out the rooms that had been our two sons' rooms. Furniture was washed, polished and rearranged. Clothing that was gender neutral from the Prince of Sweetness has been laundered and put away for the Princess. I'm not sure what title she will have in future posts but I'm avoiding using their actual names.

Most items that I unpacked were fondly remembered. A few items weren't used by the Prince, but I remembered making them long before he was born, back when I was still capable of producing my own royal babies. One item came later and I had completely forgotten about it.

Sometime back in the mid-nineties, I attended heirloom sewing classes at the Martha Pullen school which at the time was held in a hotel in Alabama. While learning various heirloom sewing methods, we students each made a baby quilt. How could I have forgotten this? Out of sight, out of mind and busy with other things I guess.

Here it is, freshly washed and dried without any touch up ironing that a few appliques could use:
I am going to admit that some of my work is/was far less than perfect as are my photos. I should have waited for better lighting and possibly placed the quilt elsewhere. I won't point out which flaws are real and which are bad camera angles.
Closer views of the top row's squares from left to right:

Middle row, left to right:

And the bottom row:

My daughter-in-law is welcome to this but it may not be her style or she may think it is too fussy. It probably does seem that way by today's standards, but I would like a photo of the Princess with this. It is hers to do with as she pleases.

These sweaters weren't forgotten but were never worn. The white one, with the pattern and sheen in the wrap to the yarn,  didn't seem gender neutral after it was made. The pink sweater and hat was something I just wanted to make and was done after my baby making days were done.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Coincidences that are making me happy

Are there coincidences in life or do we just notice things and call them coincidences? Maybe you call them cowinkydinks if the spirit leads you down a silly path. I'm noticing coincidences between creating and losing weight.

What the heck do these seemingly unrelated endeavors have in common? One thing is that both make me happy. I feel better when I create and I feel better physically with some of my excessive weight gone. I have always thought of myself as a happy person. I accepted how I felt both emotionally and physically as ok, good and normal.

Since taking monthly classes and working, if not harder at least more often, toward creating art on paper or from the points of knitting needles, I have realized how much I enjoy the process. If someone oohs and aahs over the end product, that is well appreciated but the process and my own oohing or uh-oh at the end is what keeps me going and makes me happy. Even the big Uh-Ohs can make you happy if you learn from them, even if the lesson is that you hate working with XXX (product or medium) and will never do that again.

Since re-joining Weight Watchers last June, I have lost 65 pounds to date. I don't think it is boasting to say that I'm proud of what I've accomplished so far, but more important, I am so happy with how I feel physically. I didn't realize before that my previous normal wasn't written in stone.

I don't think my creations will land me in a museum or newsstand, and losing weight won't make me a model or turn any clocks back 30 years, but that isn't my goal. I am the best I can be today and enjoying it. Learning what works, what needs more practice or attention, and what just plain doesn't work for me is an ongoing process.

No matter how long we may live on this earth, life is too short. Don't be afraid to try because someone might not like your creation. Don't be afraid to try because you might not be as successful as you think you should be. Don't be afraid to try because you might create a holy-cow-that-is-an-ugly-mess or might gain instead of lose at a Weight Watcher weigh in.

Encourage yourself, do it and be happy.

* Published also on this date on my weight loss blog: My long and winding road