Monday, May 21, 2012


Our city has a very nice community garden where we acquired a 10x10 plot, perfect for the family who has not grown a salad in a long time.  The kids have never had a chance to plant a seed and patiently watch for it to come up, water and weed, and finally eat the fruit of their hard labor.  We have a lovely row of lettuce, one of carrots, and one of beans.  There is a hill of bush cukes with empty space next to it for a tomato.  This won't produce enough to put up a harvest, but it will be fun to eat our own home-grown salads.  

Elisabeth is my would-be nature lover, and she REALLY wanted her own little plot. The community garden is filled up, so she went in search of a good piece of ground in the vicinity of our townhome. I was away one morning last week, and when I came home, voila! She had planted a little garden in the empty lot a block away!  She had a wonderful sense of accomplishment.  Her story is here.

Betz's garden is not visible from the road, but there is sort of a path that goes by it... and I was a little bit concerned that some vandals would find it and destroy it. They left it alone just until the baby cucumbers began to peek out of the soil, and then blam!  This evening we discovered teenage boy-size boots have clomped and kicked through the dirt, doing their best to destroy the well-beloved little garden.  :(  Don't you just wonder why some people get a kick out of destroying the nice things that other people do??  There was a bit of tearful mourning.  

Nothing like this has ever happened to my kids before, and this is a real-life test of our Christianity! The Millers or the Moodys would have made cookies for the naughty fellows and returned kindness for meanness, but we don't know who the culprits are.  What would Jesus do? And if he humanly couldn't do anything, how would he feel and react? Would he want to go knock those boys' blocks off, or would he just say, "Oh well"?  Would he plant the garden again or leave it a mess?  More important, what would be the condition of his heart?  Would this little episode serve to draw him closer to his Father? Would he be able to forgive the vandals and let this disappointment make him stronger?

It's easy to talk about turning the other cheek and all that good Beatitudes stuff, but living it is a different story.  That is a challenge for the new man.  :)

But I say unto you which hear,
Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Bless them that curse you,
and pray for them which despitefully use you.
And as ye would that men should do to you,
do ye also to them likewise.
For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye?
for sinners also love those that love them.
 And if ye do good to them which do good to you,
what thank have ye?
for sinners also do even the same.
And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive,
what thank have ye?
for sinners also lend to sinners,
to receive as much again.
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend,
hoping for nothing again;
and your reward shall be great,
and ye shall be the children of the Highest:
for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
Luke 6:27-35

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Transfer a Pattern and Keep the Larger Sizes

Lots of sewing has been going on here lately, and this is one area where I do know what I am doing. Most of the time. Enough that I could be a help to someone who doesn't know what they are doing. I have a few tips to share with beginning seamstresses, and there is a slight possibility of me starting a sewing blog... but not tonight! 

We grown ladies don't want to ever need the larger sizes when we are sewing for ourselves, but if you are sewing for a child, you probably want to be able to reuse your pattern when the child has grown. A jacket for Betz is in the works, and she is a size 14 girls. This pattern goes up to size 16, and I don't want to just cut those size 16 lines off and throw them away. If this dress and jacket combo turns out nicely, I might want to make it again sometime. This tutorial is on how to cut the smaller size of a pattern out without losing the larger sizes. 

When you are cutting out a straight seam, just fold back the pattern tissue to the right size, like so:

But for curves such as sleeves and necklines, that doesn't work. Instead, do this. Using a pencil or a water-soluble marker, dot on your fabric the cutting line you need, under the pattern piece. Start at one end of the curve and fold the pattern piece back a bit at a time, making a dot every inch or so where the cutting line meets the fold of tissue. Like so:

You may have to continue from the other end of the cutting line when you get to the deepest part of the curve:

When you finish, cut on the dotted lines.  Your cut piece is now the right size, and you can save that same pattern for a few months down the road, when your darling child has grown to the next size.

You can see I used only four pins here.  Don't go pin crazy. The more you put in to begin with, the more you will have to remove while you are marking!

This transfer method also works well to mark darts, button holes, button placement, notches, and small/large pattern construction dots. You will want to do that before you remove the pattern piece. Water-soluble marker (found in the notions section) is great, especially if the person you made the garment for is extremely anxious to wear it. :)  But because marker may become difficult to remove if you accidentally iron over it, I prefer to use pencil.

Happy sewing!

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
Proverbs 31:13

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's Here!!

Kim and Kioko, Betz Johnson's long-awaited literary work, has finally been published!  Books are available for purchase, and book signing by the famous author will take place after church on Sunday (but only if you come for the preaching).

No, just kidding. My Father's house is not an house of merchandise.

She has been smiling like this all day. :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mission Accomplished

It seems like such a long time ago now, but last November my Betz, age 12 (then 11), wrote a 30,000 word novella for NaNoWriMo's (National Novel Writer's Month) Young Writer's Program. When she learned that CreateSpace was offering five free copies to finishers, she was determined to have her book printed!

That was not an easy task.  It required designing a cover, proofreading and re-proofreading the text of her book, formatting the text, titles, headings, and artwork to fit within CreateSpace's parameters, and doing some desperate magic tricks with software file formats. What a great education!  And Betz's determination paid off.  Her book is at the printer and will be shipped this week.  We can't wait to see it!

I am pretty pleased with my sweet girl.  :)

Of making of many books there is no end, 
Ecclesiastes 12:12

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