Easter Egg Colored Dresses

Easter is here! And I’m making dresses. What a joy! I now make a dress for granddaughter and great-granddaughter. I can’t even tell you how much fun it is to make matching dresses for two such lovely, happy girls.

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The oldest one Marie loves dresses that have a big “twirl factor”. When she first gets a new dress, she spins around in it to see if the “twirl factor” is satisfactory. In fact, she has been known to wear three dresses at a time and spin around gleefully for more than an hour. Seeing that is all the thanks I need!

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Younger great-granddaughter Karla is just learning the ropes from Marie, but she definitely knows about “twirl factor”. The two of them together in matching dresses, twirling around a room are a sight to behold. And cute? Oh my goodness!!! It’s better than a hug!

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This year the dresses are the color of Easter eggs –  pink and lavender. The front lace panels were sewn one strip of lace at a time to another strip of lace or entredeau. The same with the bottom lace strips. They are time consuming, but definitely worth the effort.

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A piece of piping was added to the bottom of the front panel to finish it off. Puff sleeves and generous ties in the back make these dresses worthy of Easter photos. Oh and don’t forget the full skirts (two fabric widths) for dancing around a room.

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The dresses are done and ready to send off. I can’t wait to get my pictures of the two girls in their Easter finery with big smiles on their faces and skirts atwirl.

 

I Remember

Aren’t memories wonderful? They connect us to the past in such a unique way. In fact, they almost give the past a purpose, by making us what we are today. They can even become teaching tools for our present behavior. To remember is to honor. To honor is to value. What we value shapes who we become.

Memories can bring out our sense of gratitude and thanksgiving. They can become priceless moments we savor for years and years after the actual event. “We do not remember days. We remember moments.” – Cesare Pavese. Aren’t we all so thankful that we have that old photo or letter from some distant relative that freezes that moment in time for us?

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Memories, good and difficult, unite and strengthen us. Who can forget the assassination of JFK or the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11? The remembrance brings us all to one moment on one day and unites us in our sorrow and national pride.

Memories give us a look into the past that is unique to each individual or group. No family remembers Christmases past like my family . . . . or yours. When my kiddos were little, we had a picnic under the Christmas tree after we had decorated it. We sang carols and talked about previous Christmases. Each picnic was a memory in itself and brought up other irreplaceable recollections of other picnics, gifts, surprises, Santa Claus stories, Christmas trees, decorations and hidden treasures.

Memories also remind us that the future brings more moments of remembrance. We can look forward to each new precious time that will become a future recollection that will feed our souls just as each past memory has done.

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Memories for children are vital and necessary. As grandparents, part of our job is to provide those wonderful little moments of fun, joy, learning, surprise and hope.

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Just by spending time with our children and grandchildren, by sharing our lives, our values, our loves and our treasures we give them small pictures etched in their minds for a lifetime. And the value of memories increases over time. What may seem trivial today could become priceless tomorrow. What may be a split second today may become a world of joy tomorrow. What seems meaningless today will become everything tomorrow.

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So take that photo, write that letter, record that moment, celebrate everything, dress up, blow up balloons, light candles, set off firecrackers, make up a story, tell a joke, laugh, hug, bake a cake and always include the kids.

And you know what? Those moments become memories for us too!

 

A Too Cute Tutu

How much fun is a pouffy, fluffy tutu! You can spin, twirl, dance, leap and sing in a tutu. It brings out all the make believe fairies and pretend princesses hidden within. Tutus are beautiful and magical and special. Nothing forces oohs and aahs from little girls like a tutu.

IMG_0885So, of course, I made a tutu for granddaughter Mary and great-granddaughter Kay. (They are only two years apart in age!). It was lots of fun and very very easy.

To make one: cut a 2″ wide ribbon the length of the child’s waist plus enough to make a bow (about 30″). Tie a double knot 15″ in from each end.

IMG_0887Decide how long you want the tutu to be (mine is 12″) and cut 6″ wide tulle into lengths twice that long i.e.. 24″ for mine. Then fold the tulle and tie over the ribbon. Do this from knot to knot until the area is full. Voila! You have a tie-on tutu!

IMG_0888Use any color combination you can imagination and it will look spectacular. I used three different pinks plus one glitter tulle. Add a crown and you have an instant costume.

IMG_0889I can hardly wait to get the photos of my two too precious girls in their too cute tutus!

 

 

T-shirt Dresses Galore

What can a person do with a t-shirt? Wear it with jeans, wear it to bed, wear it bowling. Maybe jazz it up with lace or fabric and make it less t-shirtish. Of course, there’s always paint, iron-on transfers and embroidery to change the look of a plain t-shirt. Some people rip off the sleeves, cut holes and shred the bottom edge to make it look unique.

Me? I have found a great new technique to make a t-shirt something really special – add a skirt and make it into a dress. Yes, there is a dress hiding in almost every t-shirt, a unique, individual, one-of-a-kind dress.

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The skirts can be long, short, tiered, ballooned, anyway you want. The trick is simply attaching the skirt to the t-shirt and voila, a dress is born!

Recommended reading: Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses by Sweet Seams. This book has more than 25 ideas with patterns for t-shirt dresses of all kinds.

I have been in the sewing room creating dresses galore for two granddaughters, Marie and Kay. I got the t-shirts either on sale or at Goodwill (which means they were very inexpensive). Adding the special skirt to enhance the shirt makes the dress completely personal. And it becomes almost addictive! I can easily make a dress a day.

Here is one week’s work:

IMG_0060    IMG_0061Wouldn’t it also be fun to take a loved and favored t-shirt and make a dress out of it? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful gift for a special child or grandchild?

Celebration Of A Graduation

imagesIt was a not-too-hot Friday afternoon in Phoenix when hundreds of students walked across the stage to accept a diploma and shake the principal’s hand. We sat in the auditorium watching our grandson Brad become a graduate.

 

 

handshakeAt age eighteen, an adult in some arenas, he was still a boy to us. As others saw a tall, slightly bearded, almost man reach out for the rolled up sheepskin and continue to stride across the platform; all we saw was a boy learning to walk. ride a bike, talk to a girl, and make equations come out even. His whole life passed before us as he took that short walk from senior to graduate, from boy to man, from almost to there. What a magical few steps for him and for us, his family.

A graduation is a ceremony of an event that only happens once. Finishing high school is truly a big deal. High school itself is a big deal. It’s a turning point in everyone’s life. For Brad it was great, wonderful, difficult, too long, too short, an agony, an ecstasy, the best of times, the worst of times, all the extremes it was for all of us.

 

graduatesBrad made some of the best friends he will ever have. He learned the basics he will need to survive in the world. He practiced social graces he will find useful the rest of his life. That’s the purpose of a high school education – to get a kid ready to become an adult. And the culmination is graduation.

A graduation is a great celebration. It involves lots of family, all telling the graduate how proud they are, how grown up he looks, how wonderful his future appears. Who wouldn’t love hearing all this from twelve or more people?

It also involves special food, usually the new alum’s choice, which probably means burgers and fries. Our burgers and fries were especially good.

Then there are all the extras, such as gifts, flowers, balloons, cards and cakes. There’s no limit to these, as it is a life-altering event deserving of all manner of frills.

The following morning we all, including said graduate, were in serious conversation re: what happens next, what colleges to apply to, is a trade school better, should our student work while in school. Oh my, reality hit! Celebration over!

Mary’s Bohemian Dress

I spotted a dress like this in a catalog for about $80. I was stunned! It was made out of cotton fabric, had cotton trim and a fabric bow. I thought it was so cute and I knew I could make it for less than $18-$20. And I did!

IMG_0809I added ribbon bows on the shoulders instead of fabric bows. There are six different fabrics in the skirt, which gives it the Bohemian look.

IMG_0810  The bodice fabric contains all the colors used in the dress. Cotton trim was added under the bodice and at the hem.

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I used purple buttons on the back to match the ribbon.

IMG_0812All in all, I think it is a pretty cute little dress. And now that I think about it, cuter and certainly cheaper than the catalog dress.

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The Joys Of January

Can you believe January is already over? I think I need a seat belt to keep up with the speed of time these days.

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January was designated as “The Joy of Love” month. I set four personal goals to strengthen the love relationship I have with Gramps. It’s now time to assess my activity in those areas and see how close I came to reaching the best.

Goals:

1 – Be patient – I was very open with Gramps this month and didn’t expect things from him that I didn’t verbally ask for. He didn’t have to read my mind at all. And I allowed him to speak his mind. Listening is a true gift you can give someone you love. It turned out to be a pretty relaxed four weeks.

2 – Give proof of love – This required some work but was worth it. After so many years you might think we just know the other person loves us but seeing proof of that is a real treat!

Gramps likes a home cooked meal most evenings, so I made a concerted effort to cook almost every day. I made extra efforts to dress nicer every day even when I wasn’t going out. And Gramps especially likes to watch car races with me, so I happily sat with him and joined in the fun of speeding vehicles every chance I had. I also made sure I told him I loved him everyday at least once.

My reward was a sweet, happy, loving husband who hugged and kissed me often, said he loved being with me, and bragged about me often to others.

3 – Let it go – I wasn’t quite as good in this area as I was in the others. I definitely improved, picked fewer arguments and nagged less over small things. I did, however, let the moment overtake me a couple times and get upset over a minor insult that Gramps wasn’t even aware of.

Being aware of this goal did help me let go of the anger quicker than I previously would have, so I can see the positive influence.

4 – Give praise – Showing kindness and gratitude to Gramps was easy. He is a very sweet thoughtful man who just naturally does kind things for me and others. I found myself saying “thank you” to him several times a day. I always felt the gratitude but didn’t speak it out loud. Believe me, it makes all the difference.

January has been quite a month of exploration and learning. “The Joy of Love” hopefully will be more evident in our home and maybe even become a habit. With daily use, some things may require less work and planning, and may feel more natural.

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Looking forward to February “The Joy of a Good Attitude” month.