Monday, July 23, 2012

My Birthday

I reached a new milestone in my life and can now check off the box marked 50 and over.  I'm not sad about it.  In fact, I'm VERY happy because it means I've lived FIVE YEARS past my initial Stage III Colon Cancer diagnosis in 2007.  Ecstatic!  Take that, doctors and nurses who told me I wouldn't make it!  Bam! Pow!

I had an awesome birthday!  My parents came up for my party.  Both my sons and their families were able to attend, and my mother in law was also there!  Phil had the week off for vacation and we shopped for food and cake on Friday.  Went to Sam's Club and bought way too much food.  I picked up the cutest birthday cake.  I love pink and all things girly.  I had the cake decorated with my name in pink.  We took lots of pictures.

I hadn't had a birthday party since I turned 16.  This was even better!  I'm looking forward to what God has in store for me and I thank him every day for giving me additional time to enjoy with my family.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We take so much for granted!

I've been thinking that we take so much for granted each and every day.  Family and friends. Life in general.  That we have a job or will continue to have a job.  A roof over our head.  Good or somewhat good health.  Could be worse, right?  You could be diagnosed with cancer or some type of debilitating disease.

The mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. sustained one tremendous storm with tornado-like winds called a Derecho and rain on June 29 toppling electric transmission towers and knocking out power to many counties including almost the entire state of West Virginia where most of my family lives. 

My parents in southern Maryland were without power for two days and were lucky to have friends that they could stay with, however, everyone in Summers County (WV) were without power for 12 days.  TWELVE DAYS!  Yesterday afternoon was the first time that most residents in the county had their electricity restored.

Phil and I used to do living history (pre-1840 time period) and would camp out for a weekend or an entire week on rendezvous (rondyvoo) when the boys were small but that was by choice.  We enjoyed portraying historical events.  Yet when we left and got into our cars we could drive home and have running water and air conditioning or heat depending on the time of the year.  Imagine if this had happened during the winter!  A lot of homes these days do not have a fireplace or woodstove to heat since almost every home has central heat.

During the last 12 days the weather has been sunny and hot with temperatures above 90 for most of the past week.  Imagine not being able to run water from the spigot in your kitchen to get something to drink.  Imagine that everything in your refrigerator and freezer was ruined after 24 hours.  What would you eat?  How would you keep things cold if you didn't have a bag of ice in a cooler?  If you think you could just drive to the grocery store what if the store didn't have a generator to run the store?  All of their food would spoil, too.  If you did have a generator at your home what if you ran out of gas?  What if the gas station ran out of gas?  You couldn't go anywhere and, besides, the power lines were down on most of the roads anyway.  How would you get through 12 days to take care of your family?

I read somewhere that almost all of the employees of the electric companies were working 24 hour shifts just to restore power.  This including management.  Thank goodness the union didn't decide that this would have been a good time to strike because the results could have been much, much worse.

Just remember, no matter how bad you think your day or week was, somebody had it worse.  And, be thankful what you have because it could be taken away.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony

Today we had a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of Peggy Shaw at the Middle Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Mount Pleasant.  She was only 12-13 years of age when she was shot by a war party from Fort Niagara on July 13, 1782 at Hanna's Town (outside of Greensburg, PA) after rescuing a small child.  Peggy died from her wounds two weeks later.  Hanna's Town was the first seat of government in Westmoreland County.   There's an interesting write-up about her which can be found here.

Our local Children of the American Revolution society was founded and named after Peggy Shaw in the 1950s.  A bronze marker was placed at her grave on October 14, 1954 by the Peggy Shaw Society C.A.R. and another one at the fort at Hanna's Town.  This was the first grave marker ceremony by a C.A.R. society within the state of PA.  Our ceremony today marked 58 years since that bronze marker was placed there and 230 years since Peggy was killed.  It was a joint collaboration between the local society and Braddock Trail Chapter NSDAR which sponsors our society.

After the ceremony we drove to Hanna's Town where we had a picnic lunch followed by a meeting where we installed new society officers and then enjoyed a tour of Hanna's Town.  Even at 94 degrees it was an enjoyable time.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sewing for Me

I wanted a sundress to wear during the summer. I can't ever find what I like in the stores. I like feminine dresses. Things with roses and ribbons, lace and flounce. I'm definitely a 70s kid.  I bought a vintage pattern (McCall's 5843).

I ironed the Provincial Garden fabric this afternoon and then cut the pieces while I was waiting for Phil to get home from work.  I started sewing after dinner and I finished my dress at 10:30.  It looks nice and I'm very happy with the fabric and the zipper went in very easy.  The directions were very easy to follow.  I didn't have any problems but I used the pattern pieces for a C cup and think I should have used D even though I do not wear a D cup bra.  The straps don't feel right and my bosom feels smashed.

I realize the model in the above photo is probably a size 6 and I usually wear a 12 but I wanted it to be a little roomy and comfortable so I made a 14.  I'll have to wear a minimizer bra to fit in the dress unless I magically lose weight overnight.  I wish I knew how to modify a pattern to fit my body.  If someone knows how to do this, please let me know.

Because I am short I didn't put the flounce on the bottom of the dress.  I went with version B and also made it to stop just below the knee.  Phil said it looked nice but he might just be humoring me because he was sleepy and wanted me to turn the light off.

I planned to wear the dress tomorrow to our C.A.R. event.  We are having a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of Peggy Shaw who was the young girl who was shot during the British & Seneca Indian raid at Hanna's Town.  Our C.A.R. society is named after her.  It's been 58 years since the original members of the Peggy Shaw Society C.A.R. dedicated a marker at her grave in Mount Pleasant.  Afterward we'll drive over to Hanna's Town and have lunch then tour the fort and the buildings and later we'll have our meeting to install new officers.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I was so excited today when I went to the post office to pick up our mail.  Two packages for me!  One was the Ashland dress pattern from Sew Liberated.  Yipee!

The other was a toddler dress pattern (McCall's M6529) and gorgeous rose fabric that I ordered from Auntie Chris Fabrics at Artfire.  Actually, two sets of gorgeous rose fabric!  One is Nanna's Garden and the other is Provincial Garden.

I danced around the house a little bit and then threw the fabric into the washer so it will shrink prior to cutting and sewing, and now it's hanging on the clothes line to dry. 

Fingers crossed that I am able to cut out the Ashland dress pattern and then the fabric to begin sewing.  Would love if little fairies were to come into my house and have it sewn up for me by Saturday.  giggle

Our July 4th

Yesterday started off as a beautiful morning.  The hubs brought home McDonald's biscuits which I do love.  I decided to work on an outfit out of the curtain fabric for Dixie to match her sister Jassmine's dress.  Hubs decided to cut grass.  Herein lies the problem.  He didn't use the riding mower instead he used the Swisher which looks like a push mower and is like a weed eater in that it uses a plastic-type string to cut.  He either got too close to the egress window in the basement or a piece of gravel kicked up and hit the window.  Whatever happened, the window is broken. 

Our windows were installed when we built our house in 2001.  Pella 30x36 inch casement windows.  I called Pella and they have a repair center in McMurray/Sewickley.  I called this morning and am waiting for a return call. 

When we built the house we intended for there to be two bedrooms in the basement which meant there had to be at least one egress window in each room.  It's now 11 years later.  The basement is framed but is not finished.  There's no one sleeping in bedrooms in the basement so Phil asks why we can't use glass block windows to replace the broken one.  That's a good question and, depending on how much the cost is to replace the broken window, we may very well do that. 

I have to say that I was not the kind, sympathetic wife when this all happened.  Phil was probably wishing he could take back 25 years of his life and have a do-over.

We had grilled hot dogs, french fries from the oven and microwaved veggies.  I finished the pinafore dress for Dixie.  The next one I make will have elastic in the skirt band and I'll line the front of the bodice and yoke area.  It feels flimsy.  That may just be the fabric I used which was poly-cotton.

We spent the remainder of the evening watching the National Geographic channel's Independence Day programs on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  We had thunderstorms and heavy rains which knocked out the satellite dish for a while.  I kept waiting for the electricity to go out but other than a flicker off and on it never did.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Today I dropped by to see Jess, Ralph and Lilly.  I planned to drop off Lilly's dress that I made for her second birthday party.  I held it up to her and just to see how it looked and the skirt hit the floor.  So did my face.  Ugg.  Ralph asks, "Ma, how did you get so far off from your measurement?"  No idea.  I brought it back home and spent two hours with the seam ripper.  I finally had it apart and ironed all the pieces to flatten them out.  I cut each of the three tiers from eight inches down to four and a half, then sewed the three tiers back together.  I placed the seam at the back of the skirt and then fit the skirt onto the shirt.  It looks much better now.  I think Jess will be happier now that the fullness has been taken out of the skirt.  I still hate the orange fabric but hey, that's just me.  Elmo's nose is orange so the orange fabric does go well overall.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dress from Curtains

Last week I bought those awesomely cute pink gingham polyester cotton and lace ruffle curtains at Salvation Army thrift store intending to cut them up and sew into dresses for the granddaughters.  I cranked out one dress today using a free pattern I found at the Sew.Mama.Sew! blog.  The pattern was for a nightgown but I wanted to make a dress.  I like the pattern and it was a super quick sew so I will make nightgowns, too.

Here is the dress.  It's a size 7/8 for Jassmine.  I thought it needed a ribbon at the bodice to break up all that pink gingham.