Sunday, November 29, 2009

'Tis the Season of Busy

I feel like I haven't been on here forever -- mostly because, I haven't. Things have been absolutely zooy here at our house. The biggest time-taker is done: I made it through student teaching! August seems like so long ago. I've got two more weeks of observations, then I am completely, utterly, forever finished.

This holiday season has already presented some unique challenges and opportunities. The first is that since we're going to Liberia in January, Shaune has no days available to take off. So, he'll be working until 5pm on Christmas Eve and have to return right away on Monday morning. It isn't ideal, but it does allow for us to take our two and a half weeks in January for our missions work.

The second kind of ties in with that. Since we can't go anywhere, we have both decided to accept seasonal positions at the nearby shopping mall to bring in a little extra income. I'm working at The Glass Gallery selling hand-blown glass. We're working together at Hickory Farms with cheese and sausage gift sets. They're paying us to work side by side in a slow moving mall. It's the best of all worlds -- working with Hubby, getting a little cash, and filling in the time between graduation and traveling.

So, hopefully I'll be able to pop in a little more regularly to update on our family's first Christmas here at home. Last year we were out of town on our honeymoon, so this is the first time I've gotten to decorate, bake, and all those other wonderful warm-smelling house things. The tree is up with lights and I'm working on the decorations this afternoon, all to the sound of Manheim Steamroller Christmas in the background. Gotta love this time of year!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm Hooked on Phonics

I swear, my students think I’m crazy.

For the first time today – in my entire life – I get phonics. I get why we say “plain” like “plain” and not “plah-in” or something else bizarre. And that everyone in the Midwest calls those things in the center of every hallway at the mall “kEE-osks” when they’re really “kI-osks.” And when I finally had this revelation, I may or may not have shouted out “I GET IT!” fairly loudly into the fairly silent Reader’s Workshop…

Phonics may just make sense after all.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What I've been so busy with

Friday was (finally) the Medieval Fair at school. That means I only have 8 more days of teaching! It's shocking -- it seems like it has been forever, but then all the sudden it is almost over. I finish being "in charge" on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I'll be observing again in this room and various others for my last two weeks. I'm so grateful for this experience. And, I'm so tired and ready for it to end.

This is a picture from the end of the fair. You can't see it, but I'm wearing a full medieval princess gown made out of silk (um... cheap not-real-silk stuff from the $1 bin, but I told the kids that it was silk since "that is what they used") and a heavy pink something that was also in the $1 bin. I made it 7 years ago for my own medieval fair in high school and have been looking for excuses to wear it ever since. I'm in the middle. I'm so proud of my kids!

We also had our open house today. It was small but fun. I think more people would have came if it hadn't been raining and cold. I made a table full of treats and had some great conversations with friends from church and a couple of neighbors.

But I wanted to show you something exciting! I actually, in this new wonderful house, have a place to call my own for sewing:

The table is small, but very sturdy. The dresser is full of my patterns, fabric, and notions. Things actually feel organized. I'm glad I won't be sharing the kitchen table for my sewing. It is less than ideal for both purposes: when I was going on a project, I didn't want to clean up to eat, and I didn't like having to get my machine out, move the centerpiece, and get it all set up whenever I wanted to sew. Now there are seperate spaces on seperate sides of the house. Perhaps more of both will happen this way.
See that floor space in between the sofa and the dresser? That's where my much-hoped for Christmas present will go (if it can happen). I very much want a dress form to help me with my fitting. I've been having a nightmare of a time with a jumper I've been working on. The straps keep coming in at strange angles. Hubby's tried to help me at the bathroom mirror but the pins always seem to move when I pull the dress off again. Things like that always seem to happen. I know exactly HOW to make fitting happen, but I don't have enough hands. I believe a dress form will help with those things. SO! Do you ladies have any suggestions for a brand or model to look for?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Fast-Approaching Deadline

I always have the best of intentions. Start a new dress that will become a wardrobe staple. Plan a menu and only grocery shop once a week, or even every other week. Move into a new house and make it a pretty home...

The problem is, life tends to get in the way and my big ideas get put on the back burner. Well, this time, I refuse! I'm not living in a half-unpacked house any longer. How am I going to ensure that? By having an open house. On Sunday.

It seemed like a good idea when I first planned it. I will be motivated to keep pushing on and get the house ready. We'd rush to move in then have a lovely party to celebrate. But... life got in the way, in the form of sickness, job projects, family commitments. And the house got put on the back burner. So... me being me... I set a deadline. Of Sunday. As in, three days from now. And my in-laws are coming over for dinner tomorrow night.

I'm not sure what posessed me, but it's coming like it or not! Some of the ladies from Bible study are helping with the treats, at least, but my dear friends will hopefully have a giggle at my half-hung pictures and un-curtained windows. Unless a miracle shows up between now and then!

Wish me luck! And, since everything will be done (theoretically), there will be many more pictures of our little paradise very soon!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Road Trip of Great Joy

I was approached with an unexpected and massively wonderful offer through Craigslist a few weeks back: If I would go visit this lady, she would give me all of her patterns from the 1950's. When yesterday proved to be a lovely, sunshiny, great for driving day, my darling beloved husband agreed to drive me just over an hour north to Peoria so that I could recieve these:

Arlene was in high school in the mid 1950s and made nearly all of her own wardrobe. She's been hauling these patterns around for the past 50 years. She and her husband just recently moved into a new, smaller home and she wanted to get rid of them. I happily obliged. She's a tiny, vibrant, active woman -- I was shocked when she told me these were hers, not her mother's! I didn't believe she was in her 70's.

I'm torn as to which of these to make first:

2958, from 1959

4743, I can't find the year. If you know, please tell me!

They're both a good bit small. Looking at the back of the patterns, sizes were about 2" smaller all around than they are now. And I'm a larger size than this anyway. All of them will need scaled up -- I *think* I know how to do that. It'll take some experimentation. Look at the bust on the second picture: a size 11 was a 29 inch bust! Thankfully I'll have tons of time after graduation -- only a short 5 weeks away now!

There's 15 more patterns beyond these 10, but these are the ones I'll be playing with first. The others are mens and childrens, and some from the 1960's - 70's that I'm less interested in. I'm so blessed by her generosity. These patterns can't be found anymore. It's an honor to carry on their tradition. Yay! Dresses!

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Clothes

I've been quiet lately because I've been beyond swamped with constant work. But I finally had a day to run down to the city with my best friend and do a little shopping. I'm so happy that finally the major stores are selling clothing that covers! (At least for the most part). I was able to find some lovely sweaters and long sleeve tees to replace those pieces in my wardrobe that have bit the dust. My dear friend also bought me these lovely hats:
I've never considered myself a hat person before, but these are charming. And warm! I think I'm hooked...
My dear mother also gave me this lovely fabric. Each piece is becoming a skirt. Specifically, they're for my trip to Africa in January, since the women in the village we're visiting don't wear pants. However, I'm also looking to incorporate more skirts into my wardrobe, so I'm excited to add these to the closet. They'll go nicely with my new tees... and hats! They were each $2.25 a yard at Wal-mart, 100% cotton.
The pink circles are going to be a three-tiered skirt like I saw on Sarah's blog a LONG time ago -- if I can find the post again, of course. The plaid is going to be an ankle length A-line. The purple flowers are going to be a full wrap skirt based upon a pattern of my mom's from the 1970s.
Funny story about this flowered fabric: when I was in 3rd grade, my very first ever historical costume was made out of this fabric. It was a Little House on the Prairie dress with a matching bonnet that I wore ***all the time*** I swear it was my favorite outfit for several years, until I way outgrew it. I still have the bonnet, even though it is too small. When I saw this fabric again at the store, my heart was stirred! I couldn't walk out without it! I don't need another prairie dress at this point in my life... but I'll have another favorite outfit. How funny the way things work out.