Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Re-emerging Spring

The third day of sun, the temperatures are warming up significantly and the trees are showing tiny emerging buds.  And just like Spring is making herself known again, so am I reappearing on my blog.
 I wish I could say that I fell through a looking glass, or into a rabbit hole.  The truth is, I simply haven't made it a priority to take the time to sit down and write a blog entry. 

From January to the end of March I was busy with sewing classes.  During that time, I took two one-day workshops:  An “Improvers Sewing Techniques” class; and a “Design a Bag in a Day” class. 
During the “Improvers Sewing Techniques” class, I learned about continuous zip, how to use it in soft furnishing projects.  I ordered some from the internet and am looking forward to using it on some sewing projects for Christmas.  The thing about continuous zip is that you measure the zipper to the length you need—with an inch to inch-and-a-half added.  Then you have to thread the zip pull/tab onto the zip; a skill that takes patience and perseverance, concentration and a gentle but firm touch. 
 Another neat technique I learned involves a thumb-tack, duck tape and the sewing machine.  (A flat-headed push-pin, thumb tack and a drawing pin are all the same thing.   I’m sure you’ll figure it out from the photo.)  Place the tack/pin into a piece of duck tape and place it near the needle on the sewing machine.  Place your material onto the pin and make it smooth on the feed-dogs.  Now sew your circle onto the material.  You can use a decorative stitch to make it even more interesting. 
We used this technique to make a pattern on a small hand-bag we produced. 
The other one-day workshop was in March.  I wanted to make a   I’ve made small hand-bags for my step-daughters.  But, I wanted to find something appropriate for the boys.  Sally Beer, (yes, that’s really her name), the class instructor, had a pattern that I drew off and used.   I got a good start on the bag during the one-day workshop, but because of the size and complexity, I had to bring it home to finish.   
heavy-duty bag, for one of my grandsons.
If I were to make this bag again, I would probably approach it differently, as the instructions are peculiar.  Not only were they not written clearly, but the instructions had what seemed like a back-ward approach.  Therefore I am thinking of finding a different bag pattern for the next bag. 
In addition to the workshops, I took two courses over a series of weeks:  Beginning “Dressmaking” and “Making Soft Furnishings”  I chose to take the beginning class, because I thought I might learn some techniques I had never done before—like sewing with elasticised thread for creating shirring, and gathering.  However, a different instructor taught the class, so it was less about techniques and more about learning to measure and make a top pattern.  It was a good review class.  I did end up making a cute top.  Now I want to find some purple material to make some matching trousers.
Pillow Cover
The “Soft Furnishings” class included learning how to use a self-healing mat and rotary cutter.  I learned how to make bias tape, and why one uses bias tape.  Sally Beer also taught this class.  She had us make notes and put together a booklet of instructions of the techniques she taught us.  Besides all the techniques I learned, I brought away a pillow as well. 
The next series of classes begin the week of 29th April.  I am thinking I will take only one—the soft furnishing class.  I hope to learn more about quilting. 
So, what else besides sewing has been occupying me?  I’ve created a new role for myself in the Parish.        Since I was a small child, I’ve been passionately interested in mission work and missionaries
        Not being a life-long Anglican, I found I had to adapt to different ways of operation.  While other churches dedicate one service a month to focus on international missions, the Anglican church seems to be less obvious or conspicuous.  The parish invites guest speakers—Fair Trade, Street Angels, Deng David Maker.  And of course, fund raising events in support of Save the Children, Open Doors, Macmillan Cancer etc.  Yet, somehow, I had no idea that the Parish financially supports twelve core charities.  I wondered how many other people in the parish knew only about missions or missionaries they supported personally—but had no idea about the other organisations they contributed to by way of the annual gifts given by the parish as a whole. 
        At the 2012 Parish Away Day, I found myself wondering what I, personally, was supposed to take away from the day—how I could serve the Parish in a way that allowed me to use my talents, share my passions and make a difference.  From conversations with different people, it occurred to me that perhaps I could edit a magazine or booklet that brought the core Charities into clearer focus.  By co-ordinating information and providing it in a “hands-on” format, it would be a resource people could use to discover even more on their own and pray.  Over the next few months, I hope to produce a bi-monthly booklet that will give a basic introduction to each of the core charities—which can be found listed on the parish website.  And, I will also include information about other individuals and organisations that we have taken up offerings for, or have come to speak to us.
          My prayer is that this booklet will be informative, interesting and a practical tool in helping people pray more effectively. 
   On Wednesday, 27th March, I climbed on a National Express bus and went to Anglesey, Wales.  I was privileged to spend two weeks with my step-son and his family.  When The Maverick and I married, “Noddy” and his family lived in Finland.  Last autumn they came back to the United Kingdom.  I’d so wanted to get to know them, and this was a special time. 
        While I was there, I did a bit of sewing—making a dress from two pillow cases.  I had started a 2nd dress, but the sewing machine stopped working properly.  No amount of fiddling or adjusting the tension was able to repair it.  So, I’ve brought the dress—which has been cut out—home to put together. 
        Since I returned from Wales, (10th April) a virus created a cough and headaches.  In addition, I also developed a kidney infection.  So I’ve been on antibiotics for a week.  My energy levels have been at the level of a cooked noodle. 

As you can see, not only did I escape the rabbit hole, and stay on this side of the mirror, I was not hi-jacked by pirates either.  The sun is once again out today and it’s warm as well.  So, all-in-all, things are improving. 

God bless you,
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene”