Monday, June 18, 2018

Spur of the Moment

It was a rough parenting week a few weeks ago, and to combat the depressing feeling that nothing would ever be right in the world again, I decided it was time to sew. So I got out any fabric that I had in the stash that looked like it would go together. It was time to use up anything and everything I could.

Turns out I had lots that would work together. I simply cut strips or squares with it all, straightening out the edges and randomly slicing bigger pieces wherever I felt like it. Then with almost no plan at all, I sat at Sally and sewed. It was lovely to bring some order into the world in the totally random construction that was this quilt top.

After a bit of sewing, I did lay out what I had and did some organising. I realised I had some nice pieces of the beautiful Crib Companions print (that I had previously used to make this dress), so I placed them out as features and padded them out to be roughly the same size so I could join things together easily. Shout out again to my friend Rachelle's work at Crib Companions, she did all of the artwork of those beautiful animals with their party balloons.

I had a fair bit of fabric left, so I added a strip set on the edge to us it up and make the quilt that little bit bigger. Sorry about the photos, I feel like they are really dark, afternoon in the winter is a shady time of year for photography. Again, as with many of my scrap fabric creations, I love looking at this quilt and seeing the different fabrics and thinking about their history.

I love the random stuff I can see, like the flying geese blocks (that's the yellow and pink triangle ones) from the Block of the Month Quilt I made in 2013. I had heaps of those left over, because after making them, I decided I didn't like them. I used some up here, in this cot bumper, but I still had some random ones left. They are used now!

There are quite a few fabrics that were left over from that Block of the Month Quilt, as well as some some from the mermaid tails I made for the girls dolls, some cloud print that I'd used as lining for this dress, some of the plain fabric from making these baby quilts, some of the pink and strawberry check is from the supreme shorts that I made last year. On the edges, that Japanese doll fabric my mum has used to make a dress for Sophie for too. Some of the fabric was simply gifted to me in 2013 when I made a slew of quilts for church. Ahh fabric memories, that I guess mean almost nothing to you... sorry I'm nostalgic. 

Anyway, quilt top finished in two days, ready to be sandwiched and bound in the future. When I look at it, I think it's perfect for a baby girl, but who knows when one of those will come along (and certainly not from me!) For now, something beautiful has been made in a world that all too often is full of rubbish, and I am happy once again.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Love Wins

This post has been hard to write, but I am convicted to get it out. God is teaching me, now more than ever. I am pretty convinced that a lot of my teaching has to do with the fact that I am now a parent. Not to say that God isn't or can't teach people who aren't parents, but it has certainly given me a new perspective and understanding of late. Let me share.

"The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart." Genesis 6:5&6

Never before had this passage from Genesis ever resonated with me, as much as it did the morning, when my daughter had an absolute shocker of a melt down. It was right after swimming, I had all four children that I usually look after, and all of a sudden, for absolutely no apparent reason (and we still don't know the reason), there it was: a full blown kicking, screaming, scratching, biting, hitting tantrum.

The worst things she could think of to say (with her vocabulary), were said. It's weird to say that I'm glad it was all directed at me, because I was so emotionally, spiritually and physically hurt by it all, but I'm glad none of her anger was aimed at the other kids. 

It was awful. Simply awful. Even now, two weeks on, I'm saddened by the memory. It took her nearly and hour and a half to calm down enough to talk to me.

In the pain of watching all of this unfold, I had a moment where I regretted having children. Gosh that's hard to write and please don't stop reading, because there is so much more. Suddenly, the verse from Genesis 6 came into my mind.

"The Lord regretted making humans. It broke his heart."

And I knew that feeling. I knew what it was to watch someone I love unquestionably, turn and become a monster, and do all they could to hurt me in every way they could think of. I had a glimpse of what it was like for God, that his heart would break at what his people had become. My heart was broken to watch my little girl act so destructively and hatefully towards me, when all I want for her is only the best.

I sat on the swing in the playground with the other children waiting for the tantrum to subside and I wondered what to do. Was I the worst mother in the world to have regretted my children? But even as I thought it, I knew that every parent would have a moment like this, even as God did when he saw his creation in Genesis.

What would I do? I would do what God did. I would look again. I would remind myself that no matter what happens, I am committed to love these children, to fight for them, to teach them, to want the best for them. I want to see the potential they have for love, kindness, generosity and compassion and continue to help these things to grow in them.

At the end of the day: love wins.

Sure, without children I might have had more time to share the gospel with people, more resources to support others in mission work, or go on mission my self, but with these children, God is changing my heart to remind me that love wins. Love won for God, and the story didn't end in Genesis 6 with a sudden flood that finished the world. Love won, and the story keeps going to Jesus. Love won, and the story keeps going for me too.

If you are in the midst of wondering if there is anything good, please know that love wins. God is totally committed to us, to his people, to see us become the amazing compassionate kind and loving people he made us to be. He is committed in a way that I can only glimpse when I look at my own daughters. God is good. Love wins.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Friday, June 08, 2018

Shirt Shirt

I have been inspired to sew a lot lately, though still trying to cross things off my list rather than start new things, or intentionally use up material that is in the stash, rather than let it sit and languish longer. With this in mind, I pulled out a dress that I wore ten years ago that didn't fit any more. I had put it away because it had lots of material in it and it was a beautiful print, so I figured I could use it for a girls dress somewhere along the line.

I took the thing apart, put it back together to fit Sophie, realised I should have paid a little more attention to the bodice section and decided it would be a good dress up dress. At the end of that day, I was a little disheartened. So was Sophie. 

So I got out some other things from my stash, including this stripy Ralph Lauren shirt that had once been my Dad's. It had loads of material in it that was much less fiddly than the dress had been, and I was sure I could make it into something. As always, I wish I had taken a photo before I took it apart. Here it is laid out on the floor minus sleeves, collar and yoke.

I liked the wavy hem and the working buttons, so I kept all of that. I saw this photo in Pintrest that I really liked. I would link to where it came from, but the Pintrest link is broken, so I actually have no idea.

Transformer la cravate en accessoire mode

It took a little while for me to decided on which tie would match, but I did have lots to choose from, so soon we were on a roll.

Of course, I didn't think enough about how things were going to come together, so I did have to do some unpicking - and here is proof!

Steve teases me that I never unpick (I'll admit, sometimes I just use scissors...) but there you have it people: unpicking proof. Anyway, I gathered it, bound it, and hand stitched it on to the tie. And now I have a shirt shirt.

 I possibly should have ironed or pressed it at some stage... especially before these photos... meh.

Because it's winter, I'm wearing it for these photos with a long sleeve underneath. Obviously, this is more of a summer shirt. I love that the tie is still functional, so I can retie the shoulder whenever I like. And the buttons at the back are also still functional... should I need to unbutton them... which I doubt... anyway!

Here is a photo of me in my shirt shirt riding my five year old daughters bike on the street that I grew up. Yes, I'm crazy. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

A Question of Ties

I have a collection of ties that have been given to me by various people. Mostly my Dad when he retired. There is so much fabric in ties and they are so pretty, but I don't really know what to do with them. There are a lot of people who just sew the ties as is into dresses or skirts, which is really funky, and then there are other people who meticulously take apart the ties and use all of the fabric in other ways.

I like both of these, for different reasons. I like using the ties as is, because then everyone can see that they were ties! It's a statement about re purposing in a very disposable culture. But it's also not the most efficient way of using up the fabric. You can get that fabric to go much farther if you take it apart.

What to do, what to do!

I really don't know. So I'll just go back and forth in my head about what I want. Admittedly, there are possibly enough ties to do a project of each type, but that's probably more tie projects than I really need right now.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Feed the Birds

I'm not sure why, but every now and then I scroll through Pintrest. Usually I pin a whole lot of things that I don't ever bother making and it's easy to get depressed about all the things I'm not doing, or angry, because of all the things I want, but don't have. Maybe there is another way to use Pintrest, because I don't think I'm doing it right. 

Anyway, sorry for that sad introduction, the last time I was on Pintrest, DIY bird feeders and houses popped up. I liked the idea of these things, so I thought about it for a while and looked at different types, and a few weeks later, actually made one. 

It's loosely based on one I saw online, but of course, I just used wood we had lying around, and just cut it to fit what I had. When I came to screw it together, I found we didn't have clamps big enough to hold things, and nor did we have any liquid nail. What we did have was some silicone, which, for all intents and purposes, would do just the trick. 

So I siliconed it together, waited a few days, screwed it together and then siliconed the roof on top. That roof stuff was $2.50 from Reverse Garbage. Win.

Not sure if the roof needs reinforcing, but we didn't have any roofing screws handing, so we are just winging it and seeing how it goes. If it falls off, we will fix it.

The finished product is hanging up in the tree, full of seed, waiting for birds to discover it soon. I hope after the birds find it, I can relocated it to a lower position, because at the moment, it is very hard to refill.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Baby Quilts

When I told the girls that two of their aunts, both of on Steve's sisters, were pregnant, they were pretty excited, but it was hard for them to get interested in things like baby wipes and laundry detergent, which are my go to presents for baby showers. I can't go past them though, boring they may be, practical they are. 

Anyway, I knew the girls wanted to give something too, so I thought of a way to include them and make something extra special for the babies. I was lucky enough to be at Spotlight when they had a sale and picked up some nice panel fabric to use. Wanting to keep it simple to feature and highlight the kids contributions, I just grabbed a matching colour for the back. 

Then I used some plain fabric I had at home, cut some squares and had our girls as well as their cousins (Steve's brothers three kids) each draw on two of the squares. At first, the kids were a little confused as to why their crazy mum/aunt was getting them to do this, but I think they appreciated the end product. 

Sophie and Rachel helped me to sew it all together. I just pieced the kids coloured squares with some extra monkey fabric that I had, and then sewed that into the back colour. After that, sandwiched the batting in, quilted it in sections (to match the kids panels) and then bound it all up. 

I think it's really special that their new cousins will get to have these quilts. I think there is something so lovely about seeing kids drawings in a practical way that will last for a long time. It's a real snapshot in time. I hope the babies that these are for get some good use of these and know that their cousins who live in Brisbane love them too. 

Now that these quilts have been given, I'm finally able to post about them! (Remember I was sewing them back in March?) Here are five excited cousins ready to give their special present to a mum to be.

And here they are with each of the mum's to be. It was special for all the kids to be there, and they were all so proud of their gift. Yay!