Thursday, April 26, 2007

A project of a different kind

I recently finished my electronic portfolio. This is my summation of the work I've completed for the past 2 and a half years in the Learning Systems Design and Development master's program at The University of Missouri - Columbia. I had to provide sufficient evidence to my advisor and two other faculty members that I am competent in the program's objectives. And I got the good news yesterday - I am! I'll finish up my last class next week.

I'm happy to be finishing and a little sad, too. I really enjoyed all of my classes and learned so many interesting and useful things. I owe a big THANK YOU to Kevin - for always encouraging me, for letting me finish this degree after I became a housewife, for helping me with all that PERL programming, and for taking care of Caroline on deadline days! Couldn't have done this without you!

I'm sure I'll find something to fill my time - playing with Caroline, smocking, giggling with Caroline, crafting, reading to Caroline, sewing...

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. - Psalm 28:7

Visual DNA

This was a pretty fun way to kill a few minutes. (The only thing I didn't agree with was that I'm a "High Time Roller" because I picked wine twice. I just like red wine - I'm really not livin' the night life!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ride on the slide

Caroline wanted to slide at the neighborhood Springfest. How can a dad refuse that request?
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Two projects

Some little pink elephants found their way onto some burp cloths and onsies. We hope our new little friends Libby and Claire will love them.

And I'm so excited about making this little summer bubble for Caroline! It will be sleeveless and collar-less. The flower fabric will be the body and the green is for the bias around the neck and armholes. There are 2 inches of smocking on the front, too. It's cut out, pleated, and ready for smocking!
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Random moments from our week

I found this neat little online photo tool. I think it's kind of fun. It's a good way to showcase more than a couple of photos. There are two pages of photos here - just click on the downward-pointing caret to navigate between the two. When you click on a photo, you can get some additional info about it.

I'm also putting the photos in an online album just in case a Mimi/Lee-Lee/Grammy wants to save one or two!

Monday, April 09, 2007


The dress
The girls - both in lavender!
Caroline and Daddy ("DADA!")
Blowing a kiss - so sweet!
I love setting the table with our china. It always makes me think about the table Jesus has lovingly set for us. I know that my Savior has taken even more care and time setting his table than I take setting ours. I'm so grateful for that!
Roses from the backyard

Brined pork tenderloin, sauteed green beans, rolls, macaroni and cheese, deviled eggs,
and cupcakes! I thought that since we girlies wore lavender, the cupcakes should have lavender flowers and sprinkles.
Caroline wound up with a happy plate, as did Mama and Dada!
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Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy Easter!

Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands,
for our offenses given;
But now at God's right hand he stands,
and brings us life from heaven;
Wherefore let us joyful be,
and sing to God right thankfully
loud songs of Alleluia!

Then let us feast this Easter day
on Christ, the bread of heaven;
The Word of grace hath purged away
the old and wicked leaven.
Christ alone our souls will feed;
he is our meat and drink indeed;
Faith lives upon no other!

Words: Martin Luther
Hymn: Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands, music arranged and
harmonized by J.S. Bach

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Behind the scenes

My good friend and fellow blogging mommy Rachel asked about my smocking - if I have a special machine that does it and if I made the baskets by hand. And the answer is yes! Maybe you'd like to start smocking, too, Rachel?

I start by cutting out the pattern. Here I'm using a lovely lavender scrap. Wonder what that's from? ;-)
Once the pattern is cut out, there are a couple of different options for pleating the material. There are iron-on transfer dots or the dots can be carefully drawn on with a fabric marker. Then the material is gathered by using a running stitch. Or the material is run through a pleater. I'm lucky enough to have the use of my mom's pleater. Some fabric stores offer pleating for a fee. That's the pleater on the left and spools of thread on the right. My dad built this board to hold both the machine and the thread. It really makes this process very smooth.
This is a Sally Stanley pleater. Those are the needles on the left. I didn't get a picture of those, but they have a crook and fit between two of the rods. You insert as many needles as you want rows of smocking. I want 5 rows of smocking, so I've inserted 5 needles.
Thread the needles.
Pull plenty of thread through the needles. That's where the fabric winds up.
The fabric gets wrapped around a wooden dowel.
Here's the knob that turns the rods.
The material feeds into the pleater...
...and onto the needles.
Gently pull the pleated material off of the needles and onto the thread.
See how the machine makes the running stitch that gathers the material?
Here's a pleated piece of material.

Cut the threads, leaving plenty on either side of the material and stretch/shape to whatever you are making.
Now the fabric is ready to be smocked. The green threads are called gathering stitches. Smocking is done on top of the pleats, using the gathering threads as guides. It's very much like learning to write on ruled paper. There are some websites that outline the basic stitches.
Stitches Link 2

I have a couple of books that serve as inspiration and instruction for patterns (like the baskets). Sometimes I just do my own thing. Luckily, it's easily pulled out and redone if you make a mistake (as I am prone to do!) or don't like the way it looks. There are also smocking plates.

Are you thoroughly bored now? I think smocking is great fun and I love to talk about it. In fact, I think it's time to start a new project!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A tisket, a tasket

Yellow flowers in Caroline's baskets!

Ta-da! Caroline's Easter dress is finished! You can't really tell from this horrible picture, but the dress is lavender with brown baskets - 11 to be exact. Each of those baskets has 5 flowers (the center one has 6) and I really thought I'd be doing lazy-daisy stitches until the end of time. Pictures of our girl in her dress are coming soon.
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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Trip to Mayfield

Trip to Mimi and Papa's house

Be sure to watch the jumping on the bed video. It's fun and silliness that can only come from two girls.