Thursday, January 27, 2011

Home is where your heart is

  Yesterday, our house was officially listed for sale.  With Chris being away for a couple of weeks, I'd pretty much lost track of the appt. we had set up with the realtor to sign papers.  That was Saturday.  I also completely blanked on the fact that they would be taking photos to upload onto the Internet that would entice others to buy our house.  My house is not typically very organized on Saturdays.  I think I would have taken the time to tuck away my denture case (that my Invisalign trays soak in) and properly make Josh's bed (instead of letting him do it, assuming he called that doing it) and maybe stuff the extra bedding that was sitting out in our laundry room somewhere else, if I'd been thinking properly.  Truthfully, I would have changed something in every picture if given the chance.  More Mary and less Martha, I have to keep reminding myself...
  I suppose that since the rest of the world (potentially) has access to these aforementioned photos, my loyal followers should be privy to this info, too.  After all, I've been good enough to highlight all the extra stuff you should spot!  ;) 
  The good thing about being completely horrified by these photos (though I think I'm over it now) is that it took some of the shock out of "virtually touring" our own home, though I must say it was still rather surreal.  Our first home in SC sold a while after we'd moved back to New England so we felt quite removed from it by then.  We were blessed to have close friends purchase our previous Rochester home.  It was truly a double blessing as we, in turn, got to build this home.  Our stamp is all over it.  It's actually the first place where we committed to painting bedrooms especially to suit each child, not to mention a tranquil blue kitchen and my beloved coral sewing-turned-homeschooling room.  It has a fire pit in the backyard with 1-2-3-4-5-6 little logs to sit upon -- just right!  It has the built-in's Chris fashioned in our mudroom area with four assigned cubbies and lots of room for many  shoes.  It has our very children's handprints indelibly impressed in the cement of our garage pad.  Chris & I spoke of growing old here, even joked about passing the house along to whichever of our children gave us the most grandchildren.  :)  I find myself trying to untangle fond memories and future dreams from the siding and sheetrock.  It's just a house, and we've only lived in it five and a half years at that!  Where is all this nostalgia coming from anyhow?  Perhaps it's because I'm such a visual person, that I haven't been able to really picture us somewhere else yet so I naturally feel attached to here.  I should confess that I don't get out much, and I'm well-suited to being a homebody.  I'm really very content in NH, and feel very much at home.  Which is a good thing since I've been "stationed" here, but if I now prefer to stay here instead of going on to where God is leading, it ceases to be a good thing.  So there's the struggle.  I've never even been to Texas, unless you count a couple of plane layovers in the Dallas-Fortworth airport, which I don't.  It's not familiar, not home -- yet.  Thankfully, Chris & I will be taking a trip together so that I might become acquainted with Austin.  His parents have graciously agreed to take care of the children during that time.  I think the trip will help immensely in that aspect, though in the end it's my heart attitude that matters most.  I suspect my emotions will continue to sway, but thankfully, God is immutable!  Did I mention that today (after listing it only yesterday) we already have TWO showings booked?!  Wow!  In all this, I am so thankful the Lord goes before us.  It's easy to get my eyes off Him and become overwhelmed with it all.  I'm very suited to that, also.  Do pray for me, please.  There is so much room for growth, for becoming more at home in Him.  I've been meditating on the hymn, Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting, that we sang for our recent ladies' meeting.  The third verse is my heart's desire:
"Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
 I behold Thee as Thou art,
 And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
 Satisfies my heart;
 Satisfies its deepest longings,
 Meets, supplies its every need,
 Compasseth me round with blessings:
 Thine is love indeed!"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Back in the saddle with sewing

My dear friend, Karen, has inspired me yet again.  Although we are kindred spirits, she's clearly been the catalyst in my life to actually turn ideas & dreams into reality.  In fact, I like her ideas so much that I often shamelessly copy them.  This new blogging thing could serve as Exhibit A.  :)  Anyhow, after fashioning my sewing area into a school room back in Aug. 2009, I have not done much sewing even though I love it.  It's such a waste, since I've amassed a great collection of equipment & supplies through my bargain-hunting which could transform me into a very talented seamstress (one can dream) if only I'd  work on these skills.  Practice, practice, practice!  So, after recently seeing several amazing posts of what Karen has been sewing, I was itching for a project of my very own.  Knowing that dusting off the sewing machine (cough, cough) and getting myself reacclimated to sewing was going to be a labor in itself, I knew I had to find a quick project to keep me motivated to do press on.  Doing some minor tailoring to a thrift store find was just the thing.  I found a corduroy jacket made by Talbots for about $5 at Savers.  BTW - Savers is turning into my new favorite store.  Bargain clothing arranged by color -- I love it!  It's probably a good thing it's not located a mile away or I could see myself nickel and diming our budget a bit.  Anyhow, the jacket was a tad wide, but knowing it was a good brand, I thought it would be worth trying to tailor it.  Not that I have too much expertise in this area, but figured it's good to experiment on a small investment.  Worst case, I'd be donating the jacket back to Savers if it still didn't fit following my efforts to improve it.

    First, I took the side seam completely out with my trusty Clover seam ripper.  Next, I layered the seam edges to be offset a bit since I needed more taken in from the front than the back.  I pinned it in place and sewed a new seam just outside the original stitching to nip it in a bit, starting and ending at the original seam so it would still flow nicely with the rest of the construction.  The picture to the right shows the original seam marked by the purple pin and the new seam marked by the teal pin.  After trying it on for fit, I realized one side was great but the other needed to come in a bit more.  Funny how these things happen when you eyeball something as opposed to actually measuring...
I sewed that side again with a bit more curve near the waist, not bothering to take out the previous stitching since it was so close.  Best part comes next!  I got out my serger to give it a professional finish.  The Baby Lock Eclipse serger I got (resale, of course!) several years back was an amazing aquisition from our local sewing/vac shop, Auger & Sons.  I highly recommend getting refurbished machinery, as you can benefit from far better prices, though it will still be something to save up for.  I definitely had sticker shock when I first browsed.  However, it's an investment as the right equipment will help your sewing turn out better with less frustration in the process.
  Since I haven't used this complicated machine in quite some time, I was a bit rusty when it came to rethreading all 4 spools.  I ended up with a giant bird's nest of thread not once, but several times.  Were I not so determined (or is that stubborn?)  I might have given up and left a raggedy edge.  Thankfully, I realized I had to adjust the dials a bit from whatever I'd previously set and then it ran like a charm.  Operator malfunction continues to account for most of my sewing mishaps.  Though I love these fancy-schmancy machines, there is a small amount of fear and trepidation that accompanies using my serger, since it cuts away the excess fabric as it encases the raw edges.  I'm gotten plenty of practice with my seam ripper undoing sewing mistakes, but one can't undo serger mistakes quite so easily once the fabric has actually been cut through. 
Thankfully, there were no mishaps this time.  I'm still not sure how to start and finish the seams so they don't stick out at the top like in the photo, but that may be because the seam would normally be done before the cuff so it was inevitable.  Since it will be hidden inside, I'm not bothering about it. 
    You know, I may just have a book I could read to learn that skill...   

I'm thankful for my finished product!
As evidence of how long it's been since I've done any sewing, my daughter came into the room to see what the noise was.  Ha ha!  I was able to detain her as my photographer. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Here goes!

With nervous anticipation, I'm launching into uncharted territory -- starting my own blog!  I've so enjoyed reading blogs of my dear friends that I thought I should try it out for myself.  I'm thankful for a savvy husband & kids who can help guide me through this newest endeavor into the world of technology.  Now all I need to do is provide colorful content!