Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Upcycled Dresses

 If you have watched me shopping at a thrift store the past months, you may have seen me looking through the extra large skirts. I was searching for long full skirts, with only side seams, in fun prints, in non-wrinkling, stetchy fabric.  

My little girls needed play dresses, and I found that I could make a simple dress in a few minutes from a large skirt. I printed off the pattern for the play-all-day-dress and taped the pieces together. Then I laid the skirt out flat and folded it in half, which made four thicknesses of fabric. I laid the pattern on the skirt on the fold line (not the side seams) and cut it out. 

In the photo above, the fabric on the right is the extra. On the left is the folded dress piece. Since the skirt was folded, I had cut both the front and the back at the same time. Then I slimply stiched up the side seams, stiched the shoulder seams, and hemmed the neckline. I used a zig-zag stitch so that the fabric could stretch without breaking the thread. I kept the original hem and didn't bother hemming the sleaves since the fabric wouldn't ravel. I also didn't put any elastic in the waist.

By the time I had made my second dress, I had gotten even faster.

My girls love having new play dresses. And I love having so little time and money in a dress.

Do you have a favorite upcycle project?

Sunday, October 18, 2020

What a Saviour!


Yesterday, the ladies at my church enjoyed a one-day retreat in an old barn.

God gave us a lovely fall day to enjoy time in His Word and fellowship - as well as crafts, yummy food, and a holiday from the demands of normal life.

Even though I arrived home late (and still haven't loaded everything out of my van) I felt refreshed and prepared for our communion service this morning.

One of the songs I remember singing as a girl at communion is Man of Sorrows, What a Name, and I was glad we sang it this morning. I like how many names of Jesus are mentioned in this song, including Son of God, Saviour, Lamb of God, Glorious King, and, of course, Man of Sorrows.

I had procrastinated a long time (over a year) before ordering Ed's headstone. (It is daunting to plan something that is written in stone for possible generations to read.) Because of Covid, the process was delayed further. But after church I found that the headstone had been installed in the church cemetary this week. 

A heastone gives a solid, cold, and a uncompromising finality. While I'm glad to honor Ed, a headstone feels permanent. I've had seventeen months to learn about the lifechanging and irreversable ending of life, but moments like this drive the reality deeper.

Which is why I'm glad to be reminded this weekend of God's faithfulness, His plan of redemption, and the Son of God who became our Saviour.

Man of Sorrows, What a Name
by Philip P. Bliss

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned he stood,
Sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

Guilty, vile, and helpless, we;
Spotless Lamb of God was he;
Full atonement! can it be?
Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

Lifted up was he to die,
"It is finished!" was his cry:
Now in heav'n exalted high:
Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

When he comes, our glorious King,
All his ransomed home to bring,
Then anew this song we'll sing:
Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

You can also listen to Man of Sorrows, What aName.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Is He Worthy?

My family enjoyed a day at my parent's house yesterday. 

Eating great food, then burning calories at spike ball and bucket ball.

Playing games (and guitars. Not sure why the roof.) 

 Hugging squishy babies.

My family doesn't pretend to have oodles of musical talent, but we enjoy singing together. So last night ended with all of us squashed into the living room, belting out worship music. 

Two songs that we've recently learned and sang last night are Is He Worthy and Never Once. Even though I appreciate old hymns and the depth of their message, worship songs like this have been especially meaningful to me this past year.  

I've missed sharing songs with you here on the blog each Sunday and hope to stop by some more Sundays with the songs that are presently meaningful to me.

Is He worthy? HE IS! He is Faithful!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

5 Books on Managing Technology

Because I was asked to speak at a workshop on the topic of Mothers and Technology, I read a number of books this summer on the topic of technology.

The summer of 2020 was the perfect time to study the topic of technology. I was ready to face my personal social media habits and consider the example I'm setting for my children. It is a challenge that I'll continue to face, as all of us do in this age, and I'll probably be writing more about what I'm learning in future posts.

If you want to evaluate your technology and phone use, here are five books that I recommend.

Note: This post containes affiliate links.

Surving the Tech Tsunami by Gary Miller

When I finished reading this, I said that every Christian should read it. Miller's research meant that reading this book made me feel like I got a synopsis of many books. The style of the book is very practical and readable. At the end of the book, Miller shares his personal research in interviewing Anabaptists leaders and youth from across the US. His findings are sobering, and he gives us a call to action to find ways to survive the tech tsunami.

How to Break Up with Your Phone: The Thirty-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price

I ordered this book from Amazon on a whim. In the first chapters Price writes about the current research on technology and why we should be concerned. In the second half of the book she takes us through a thirty day step-by-step process to gain control of our phone. She is practical and shares simple ideas that would have never occured to me but that made a real difference in my phone use. Lots of value packed into a short book.

12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You by Tony Reinke

This book, like Surviving the Tech Tsunami, asked hard questions about how our phone is affecting our relationship with God. Saturated with Scripture, I found this book challenging my attitudes and habits and asking how they line up with the goal of glorifying God.

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Atler

I had this book reserved at my library and finally got it two weeks before my workshop. I didn't think I had time to read all of it so skipped to the chapters I thought were most applicable. But this book lived up to its name, and I couldn't lay it down. As I learned about addictions and the deliberate design of social media to capture more of our time and attention, I became angry.

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

The goal of this book is to help us declutter our lives so we can focus on what we truly value. A mix of practical tips, motivational insights, and research, this book helped me see what I'm losing when I'm constantly surrouned with noise and distraction. 

Do you have a favorite book on technology that I missed?  

Thursday, October 1, 2020

A Glimpse of September

Sunset in a field of goldenrod

 I didn't intend to take a blogging break but the life was busy for a few weeks, and then it felt hard to get started again. I've been having a lot of trouble with spam in the comments, so I had shut off all the comments. Thanks to those who emailed me to ask how we were doing. I'll be turning the comments on again.

Here is a glimpse of our last month.

On Labor Day, we traveled north to Lake Erie to vacation with two of my brothers. Our rental house was within biking distance of Presque Isle.

The children were excited about playing in the waves with cousins.

Some of the week was cold and rainy, but we had enough sunshine get sunburnt.

Singing together was a highlight, and we learned several songs that week.

Some of us watched the sunrise while drowning worms.

And almost every evening ended with a campfire on the beach.

The advantage of vacationing with other adults is that I could take a solitary bike ride along the bay. Delightful.

The next week found my sister-in-law and I taking to the skies. We flew to Georgia where I was asked to speak at a ladies' seminar. I felt out of my comfort zone, but the ladies were sweet, and we enjoyed the weekend.

Other events in September was the local townfest where my daughter set up her knitted hats.

We finished the rental apartment. Here are some before/after photos.

We had an early frost in September so we brought in the last of the garden harvest. The candy roaster squash went a little crazy, so if you need squash, please stop by.

I am loving this fall weather. And I'm not sure there is any place as lovely as an apple orchard in the fall.

With a bunch of help from family, we picked many bushels for applesauce and cider. I have a few more tomatoes to can, but hopefully I can soon put my canner away for the season. 

I love summer, but I'm looking forward to cooler weather and time for focused school work and neglected housecleaning. October holds several anticipated events with family and friends, and hopefully there will be quiet evenings with a good book and a cup of tea. 


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