Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sweaty Ribbons


Sweat and ribbons?  I know.  It sounds like they don't belong together, right?


That may be true, but to my athletic and active nieces, the use of an elastic, hairband to keep the hair off their faces has become as much a part of their activewear as spandex and jog bras.

There are many types of elastic hairbands but the ones that are super popular right now are called Sweaty Bands and cost anywhere from $12-$15 apiece!

That's a lot of money for two strips of ribbon and a bit of elastic.  

So when this niece turned sixteen this past Summer, I offered to make some non-slip, sweaty headbands to add to her sports arsenal...


One of the key differences of sweaty bands is the velvet on the underside of the ribbon...  


The nap of the velvet keeps the ribbon from sliding off the head while you're scoring goals, running a marathon, or jumping out of an airplane...


Ribbons can be found at your local craft store but I used the "gift" as an excuse to order some designer ribbons from Renaissance Ribbons...


If you've never checked out Renaissance Ribbons, give yourself a treat and browse around.  Many of their ribbons are designed by artists such as Amy Butler, Laura Foster Nicholson, Kaffe Fassett, etc.

Hey, my niece needed to have choices, right?

The project was fairly quick and easy...


I found two tutorials online that helped with sizing and tips.  

I followed this advice of Gladys of Desert Chic blog who suggested fusing the velvet and ribbon together before sewing (which I did) as well as using invisible thread in the bobbin (which I also did).  Likewise, I found this tutorial from the Undomestic Goddess to be most helpful in figuring out sizes.  I have one niece who finds that the standard size headband is too small and gives her a headache so I made a couple bands one inch larger for her.

All in all I think they're great as gifts, stocking stuffers, teammates, etc.

Today I'm working on making leaves for Mrs. Rose.  It's a gray, rainy day so I'm wearing white to help with the low light...but roses seem to grow faster when it rains.

Tell you about that next time.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Summer Flashback: Expression of the Day


Sour...









Brought to you by Katie, Linz and Jack's favorite candy...Warheads.
August 2012 -- Jack Pre-Beard

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Blue Butterfly

A few weeks after my mother died, I received a card in the mail from one of her friends, Nancy.


Nancy wrote how her mother Anna shared my mom's love of the color blue and how her mother was close to butterflies.   After her own mother's passing, Nancy found great comfort when she would see a butterfly and could feel her mother's goodness and blessings in those moments.

Inside the note she had tucked a handkerchief of her mother's.  It was embroidered with a blue butterfly, intended to wipe my tears and to remind me that there would be many times in my life that I would, once again, feel my mother's grace.



I kept it out for a long time until one day it seemed time to put it away in a treasure box for safekeeping.  And it stayed there, out-of-sight, out-of-mind...

Until two years ago.

On Labor Day in 2012, I was vacationing at the beach with my family when I had a seizure.

It happened early in the morning while I was getting a drink of water.  I had never had one before and the men were all asleep when Jim heard me hit the bathroom floor.  I'm pretty sure I frightened the heck out of Jim, Jack and my Dad that morning...what a way to wake up!  They did what any right-minded men would do...and got me to the closest regional urgent care center.

Jim stayed with me for hours while I was evaluated and slept.   I was dreadfully tired and felt like my brain had run a marathon.  After four hours of observation and tests, they found nothing immediately wrong and discharged me, instructing me to follow up with my physician when I got home.

It was midday when Jim and I walked back through the waiting room, my arm tucked through his elbow for support.  The waiting area was completely empty except for the sound of our feet crossing the linoleum floor.  

How strange it felt to see an empty emergency room...it's almost an oxymoron: empty emergency room...and it added to the surrealism of my already fuzzy brain.

We stepped slowly toward the automatic door, Jim taking great care with his wife who seemed to be more fragile than he might have thought just 24 hours before.  The door opened for us and we began to walk through but pulled up short when we saw what was on the ground in front of our feet.

There on the sidewalk, smack dab in the middle of our path was a black and blue butterfly. 


Quite still and gently pulsing its wings, it seemed to be waiting for us.  

We might have stepped on it if we'd been moving at our normal pace but this day we were walking more slowly to match the cadence of my tired brain.

It was so strange to see a butterfly surrounded by all that concrete and asphalt...so out of place that we did nothing but pause and take it all in.   "Wow." Jim said.

Like a sunbeam, it warmed us and its beauty and glory were part of our world.  

It wasn't frightened by our presence and sat long enough for the event to be remarkable in our memory.

Then it started to flit about like a flower on the wind, dancing around and around the two of us and kissing me on the shoulder before it flew away. We watched it go until it was no more.

When we finally turned to look at one another, a knowing passed between us.  It was her.  My mother.  Come to tell us everything was alright.  

The butterfly displayed her favorite shade of blue and the visit was too extraordinary to be anything different.  

I never told anyone until today.  I thought no one would believe it...and I'm not sure we would have believed it either had we not been there together.   

When I got home, I looked up what type of butterfly it had been, not recognizing it as one that I had seen very often.  

Papilio Troilus...


The Spicebush Swallowtail...



As time went on, I put that story away too, until my BNF (blogging needle friend), Gerry Krueger, asked me to embroider a butterfly for her.

See, Gerry is heading to the International Quilt Festival in Houston where her quilt, It's a Man's World Unless Women Vote!, is a finalist in the 2014 IQA fall judged show, Quilts: A World of Beauty. Woot!! Woot!!

I had the honor of watching Gerry's quilt come to life on her blog, Older Rose over the course of the past year or so and it is a brilliant piece of work.



As is Gerry!

She's a naturalist, a bird lover, quilter, a teacher, a humorist, a dog lover, an embroiderer, and a conservationist and the list goes on and on!

This woman who has a rich and accomplished history herself created a quilt to honor all the suffragettes who fought for our right to vote.



And she is headed to Houston in a few weeks to see her quilt hang in a juried show.  It's a big event for anyone but for Gerry it's monumental.  And for me too. 

Because she's taking me with her!

Gerry is making a Vest of Resplendence, a Coat of Many Colors, a garment worthy of a grand occasion...and she's piecing it and embroidering it with all the motifs that are important to her...and that is where I fit in.  

I will not be in her suitcase but I will be there in the spirit of this blue butterfly who will light on her vest.  And I will see her quilt hanging there and I will dance when she dances and bring all the beauty and glory to the moment that only this spicy swallowtail can bring.


And she will be glorious.  

Not just because of her quilt or her garment, although they're pretty glorious.  

But because of all the women who made it possible...all those who suffered and fought and cried and fought some more...and all the women who honor them...and all the women who bring us to this moment...our prededessors,  the pioneers, our mothers...They will all be there.

As will my mother, my mother's friend Nancy and her mother Anna...the women who helped me make a blue butterfly, a Spicebush Swallowtail, to dance for Gerry and her quilt.


Bravo Gerry!!

P.S.  As for the seizure thing, I'm fine.  Evidently, there's a 1 in 10 chance that a person will have one seizure in their lifetime.  I've had mine.

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