Where does the time go?

Monday, March 31, 2008

What is a flour sack?

The Flour Sack by Colleen B. Hubert
When girls' dresses were made from flour sacks... In that long ago time when things were saved,
When roads were graveled and barrels were staved, When worn-out clothing was used as rags,
And there were no plastic wrap or bags, And the well and the pump were way out back,
A versatile item, was the flour sack. Pillsbury's Best, Mother's and Gold Medal, too
Stamped their names proudly in purple and blue. The string sewn on top was pulled and kept -
The flour emptied and spills were swept. The bag was folded and stored in a sack
That durable, practical flour sack. The sack could be filled with feathers and down,
For a pillow, or t'would make a nice sleeping gown. It could carry a book and be a school bag,
Or become a mail sack slung over a nag. It made a very convenient pack,
That adaptable, cotton flour sack. Bleached and sewn, it was dutifully worn
As bibs, diapers, or kerchief adorned. It was made into skirts, blouses and slips,
And Mom braided rugs from one hundred strips. She made ruffled curtains for the house or shack
From that humble but treasured flour sack! As a strainer for milk or apple juice,
To wave men in, it was a very good use; As a sling for a sprained wrist or a break,
To help Mother roll up a jelly cake, As a window shade or to stuff a crack,
We used a sturdy, common flour sack! As dish towels, embroidered or not,
They covered up dough, helped pass pans so hot, Tied up dishes for neighbors in need,
And for men out in the field to seed; They dried dishes from pan, not rack
That absorbent, handy flour sack! We polished and cleaned stove and table,
Scoured and scrubbed from cellar to gable, We dusted the bureau and oak bed post,
Made costumes for October (a scary ghost), And a parachute for a cat named Jack,
From that lowly, useful old flour sack! So now my friends, when they ask you
As curious youngsters often do, “Before plastic wrap, Elmer's Glue
And paper towels, what did you do?” Tell them loudly and with pride don't lack,
“Grandmother had that wonderful flour sack!”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Suit Yourself

Here is a riddle for you: My hips are wider than my waist, my waist is larger than my hips, I have a bust that would split a tent & 2 pickles are my legs? What am I?
(I am a 56-yr-old woman being forced to buy a new swimsuit.)
Anxiety & stress are the emotions that come to mind when I think of shopping for a swimsuit. I have worn the same one for most of my married life to avoid going to the store. There is NOTHING like this experience to expose the flaws, both real & imagined, that drive me crazy! Just the thought of it breaks me out in a cold sweat.
I just skimmed an unhelpful article about "The Suit That Suits You." Apparently, the right swimsuit can make a woman look chic, comfortable & confident in or out of the water... no more "ride ups," wedgies, or unsightly readjustments when exiting a pool... just a matter of knowing what to minimize, enhance or conceal...
This has to be a thin person's joke. It calls to match body type to a description on this list:
Inverted Triangle: Shoulders &/or bust are wider than hips.
Rectangle: Same hip & shoulder width without a defined waist.
Triangle: Hips are wider than shoulders &/or bust.
Circle: Waist is larger than bust & hips.
Star: Entire body is of equal proportions from chin down.
Well, sheesh, all of the above apply to my shape! I must be an Inverted-Triangle-Rectangle-Triangle(again)-Circle-Star-Body-Shape! It never mentioned that a girl like this is out of luck & that any suit on the rack will sink to the bottom.
Instead, there was a note of hope... find a style that will be seen all at one time; thus blending the wearer, unobserved, into the crowd... avoid blossomed suits that make eyes bounce from flower to flower like a bee, hanging for a long look. (Oh, man...what a slam on my old suit!)
The article left me with only 2 possible outs... buy enough of a suit to cover myself & ACCESSORIZE! (shapely necklines,empire waists, princess seams, high backs, wide straps, side stripes, skirts, boy-cut legs, industrial bust support, dark colors, ruching, draping, & shirring at the waist ... cover-ups, sandals, hats, sunglasses, beach totes, towels, flamboyant embellishments, large lawn chairs & my 2 personal favorites... camouflage & a fake-ID)
Obviously, bikinis should be left to the young & wearing a one-piece makes it easier to keep on - as long as ties are avoided... but what is there left for me? I'll tell you what! As Maxine says, "I don't skinny dip.... I chunky dunk."
I just have to swallow pride & step up to the skinny, little girl at the ca$h register. "Please," I will say, "put it in your smallest sack... just mash it up if you have to & don't worry about the wrinkles... I certainly won't."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pirates of the Sewing World

What do these 2 pictures have in common?

I just read something that compared quilters to pirates... it made me smile. It may be true... lol! Quilters, as well as, embroidery enthusiasts, knitters, crocheters, paper crafters, etc. do not sail the seas looking for loot, but instead, fill trunks with bounties of ideas & treasures, following maps from one quilt shop to the next, coveting projects of fellow crafters, thumbing magazine pages, reflecting on history, & surfing the Internet. Quilters are like sponges always thirsting for something new... & always sure it can be made a better way!

If indeed, handwork junkies are pirates of sorts, it started with generations of women before 2008.... when patterns & homemaking ideas were passed by word of mouth, written letters, crudely penciled diagrams & templates cut from newspaper. In colonial times, women thought of patterns as community property... it was neglectful not to pass them from old to young! In the age of prairie women, it was a matter of survival to spread them... in the Retro-years, sharing was taken for granted... Now, in the 21st century, it is taboo to even discuss sharing patterns because of copyright infringement issues.
Of course, the creators, manufacturers & sellers of patterns & craft articles are due respect & just revenues.... this cannot be bypassed or denied either morally or lawfully. Modern day patterns are works of love & art with striking pictures, detailed instructions, convenient templates & handy hints contained in sleeves of resealable plastic or published in expensive printed forums. Quilt shops are amazingly comfortable & inspiring islands offering not-inexpensive-stages for women to gather, enjoy & gleen from storehouses of products. All of thi$, quilter$ are happily, willingly $ enjoyingly $upporting...
but oh, brother... please continue giving crafters a generous break! Afterall, there is such a fine line between pirating & traditional-sharing... educating-novices & infringing... stealing & being creative... making one & making enough for local craft fairs... etc., etc., etc. It all boggles the minds of stitchers!
Thank goodness that the gray oceans of the Granny Pirates are broad.... how many prisons it would take to house the crafting-bootleggers if they were all hauled in! With that being said, "Mums still the word, sewingrooms with shades pulled are still the places, & yes, patterns & ideas are still never shared in the 21st Century." However, just in case a sewing granny is lurking about, "The only way to keep an idea or pattern off the radar is never to make it or show it even one time!"

Monday, March 24, 2008

Country Cooking Recipe

STRAWBERRY DAIQUIRI CAKE 1 Box of Strawberry Cake Mix 1 (14oz.) Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk 1 (14oz.) Container of Cool Whip 1 Container Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri Mix thawed and drained 1 large container of Frozen Strawberries, drained well

Bake Cake according to the box, after cake bakes, let cool 10 minutes. Turn cake out on cooling racks or however you prefer and let cool cake cool completely. Split cake in half with sewing thread. Put the bottom half back into pan and lay the strawberries on top.

Stir the sweetened condensed milk and daiquiri mix together and then fold in the cool whip. This is your icing. Put half on the strawberries and then your top cake on, put the rest of your icing on and refrigerate. This cake gets better & better, so it may be made ahead. You may decorate with more strawberries.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Support Crafters & Artisans

I have always had tense passages in my life when I run short of time, energy, or expertise. This is when I look to the handiwork & talent of others...
I love to support my fellow-crafters if I can't make it myself.
What greater way is there to promote handcrafted than to buy it? Buying handmade reconnects with the past, & it certainly feels good to the spirit. It is highly possible that handmade may lower blood pressure.
Yes, I believe that buying handmade is better for everyone concerned. It is communicating to someone that he/she is deserving of one-of-a-kind, made-with-care & carefully selected gifts. It conjures up the warmth of the pioneer spirit, the melodies of Woody Guthrie, & the love of family. Supporting crafters is better for the environment than buying into the harmful environmental repercussions of mass-manufacturing contributing to global warming, pollution, & ulcers from stress. Every handcrafted product strikes a ding against global demise & tension.
Large American retailers & chain stores brainwash & inundate us with the status quo... the same products over & over, slickly packaged, & staged for consumers to easily snap-up the bait. This serves a purpose in that it is convenient to quickly buy deodorant, underwear, plastic wrap, cereal, toothbrushes, over-the-counter meds, socks, trashcans, dog food, etc, etc, etc... consistently under 1 roof. It just makes sense to buy routinely consumed blah, blah, blah in this way... when you use it up... you need it again... go get it... end of story... get on with your life... but wait... is it absolutely necessary that the same curtains, placemats, pillowcases & decorating items be in every household? Where is the creativity & personal expression in that?
Handcrafted is always the result of skill & craftsmanship that is so blaringly absent in large-scale manufacturing. The supply & demand-follow-the-leader-manufacturer-retailer-consumer relationship is a necessary evil but falls short when it comes to tender sharing.
Handmade makes for better gift-giving.
Save the mundane for consumable items.
Unique, one-of-a-kind presents say, "I care enough to honor this occasion with a token that is only for you." This is the ultimate expression of thoughtful friendship, honor, &/or love. It is like saying, "You are special enough in thought, word or deed to warrant my going the extra mile... I thought about your individuality & spent time on just YOU! Yes, I acknowledge you as worthy of my undivided attention."
It is prudent to buy selectively from chain stores, rounding out packages of handmade fair with M&Ms, screwdrivers, measuring spoons or whatever else is not easily made... & Gift card$ are the greatest things since sliced bread. Give them when someone will benefit more from extra $$$ to spend or will find great fun in a $hopping spree... but always find creative, interesting ways to present that plastic buying power.
My point in a nutshell is,
"Make your own or support your local crafters, artisans, & small shops. It will make you feel better, & it will convey goodwill all the way around!"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

6-Pocket Tote

In April, dh & I are taking a road trip to Arizona... I am so excited by the prospect of flea markets, museums, rock shops & quilt shops between Missouri & there. I am already getting our things ready to go.

Here is my new trip-purse with a Southwest flavor.
I purchased the print from a Hancock Store that was going out of business last year, & it was just perfect for what I had in mind. After searching through bag patterns that I have collected, I selected this 6-Pocket Tote.
I stayed fairly close to the instructions except for adding pockets on the inside, a few buttons & a velcro closure. My bag is constructed with heavy batting & machine quilting for extra strength. I also made straps instead of using webbing as the pattern suggests.
The turquoise pin is attached for a little extra color.

Now, I just need to load it with trip $$$ !

Jarring Thoughts

What ever happened to the great American basket.... you know, the one that wives used as a collecting tool... no respectable, pioneer woman would have kept house without a basket or an apron..... the baskets were long gone by the time my mother was raising me.... I do know that my grandmother used one as I still have it, hanging from my ceiling... it has a nice patena from years of hard use, but it has not seen an honest day's work in almost a century!

I recollect that my mom did use jars, jars & more jars... ball jars, mason jars, pickle jars... Growing up, these jars were actually hoarded, & it was an unspoken truth that the wife with the most jars was by far the best homemaker in the county! I remember women borrowing jars from each other in a pinch, & an accountability talley was kept on the wall. I would have been afraid to take a jar without asking Mama first, & I had to have a darn good reason before being awarded one... after all, a sound home depended on these containers.
The definition of a jar is simple, straightfoward, uncomplicated & mundane... a cylindrical glass with a threaded mouth & no handles or frills, & they were once found in abundance in all American homes as a recycled commodity. It seems like I still actually have a few of those around somewhere.... maybe under the sink...
When I was a kid, jars were used in relationship to food & liquid storage... a fruit jar, mayonaise jar, canning jar... but it has never just been about food as I recall, but more about managing a household.
Perhaps the most & maybe even the first mass-recycled object in our society, the quart jar made a passable depression era-workingman's-thermos if wrapped generously in newspaper to insulate cold or heat. With its simple design it lent itself for everything from icebox storage containers, measuring, canning, extra glasses, collecting bugs, storing money, sorting nails, sprouting seeds, dispensing medicines, selling moonshine, all the way to the infamous, though unpopular term, slop jar.
Humor me & consider the possibility that with the disappearances of the baskets, aprons, & then the jars, the quality of homelife has suffered progressively serious blows? Can a healthy home be a realilty if there is nothing concrete for gatherering, storing, preserving, working, & holding on to.... ?
The recent, stingy economic trend of manufacturing jars from cheap plastics or reducing them to foil pouches has been linked, in theory, to the fall of American, domestic values... it is possible that quality family homemaking has been pushed down a slippery slope due to fewer glass jars coming into a household & being made available for canning. It may be that the rapid disappearance of the glass jar has indeed been the final death-blow to the natural cycle of women growing, gathering & preserving to feed their families. The domino effect of this might be that women now have more free time to spend away from the home, taking the focus away from the main things... nurturing, comforting activities that produce safe, quiet nests to rear healthy families that in turn will begat more happy families.
Clearly, we are now womenfolk with more "me" time on our hands. Appliances for every job, shortcuts for every process & grocery stores stocked full. We think of containers as throw-away, & more & more jars are being found on flea market shelves as collectibles. Comically, we make the obsolete jars that have survived into flower vases, decorate them, create quilts in jars, present gifts in jars, & fill job jars with slips of paper tasks to be performed by the dhs & children of our households so as to appear impartial in assigning tasks.
Entire books have been written on collecting jars, creating gifts in jars, & some articles have addressed the sociological implications of democratically assigning chores through the fairness of the job jar distribution system. An Internet search on "job jar" will result in several computer programs for $ale that do away with the physical jar entirely & replace it with printed job strips being spewed forth in a democratic order!
I don't remember political correctness when my mom told me to do something.... it was just a chore... it had to be done... I had to do it... & if I complained, I was smacked (which really cut down on the complaining....lol!) Are we raising kids to actually believe that work is just a choice, & that all work has to be fair, or it is invalid?
It is much too late to revive the basket for practical purposes, the aprons as uniforms of honor, or the jars as primary containers, but give me a break.... how about everyone holding up their end of the deal & getting the jobs done that will make this America strong again? I admit that baskets, aprons, & jars may be more symbollic in the scheme of things than actually responsible for good results, but let us all consider for a moment that the responsibilities are still very real......parenting, homemaking, decent values, & work ethics can still be taught effectively in new & improved kitchens... in fact, education still starts at the kitchen table.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Italian DOW

These DOW towels are machine embroidered with the days in Italian.

Sew Power...

Unless you're going to spend March in a warm climate, it can be the drab tail end of winter doldrums. Gas prices have put most trips to Florida on the back burner....
but if you sew, you have the power to turn up the heat in your own home. It is as simple as sewing something new!
Are you tired of those dining room curtains... start some new ones... add color to the couch with fresh pillows... change the look of a room... create a beach bag for the kids... springy placemats for the table... capri pants for yourself... get the creative juices flowing with bright colors, cool cottons, & a variety of threads... the sewing table is your oyster... or something like that...

Projects can be as simple as tying strips of cloth or fibers onto a pair of flip flops.

You have the power to change your world, Girls.....


St. Pat's

Happy St. Patrick's Day to Ya!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Country Cooking Recipe

Lemon Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 tsp pepper, 2 tablespoons butter or oil, 1 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/4 cup green onions (Optional: thin lemon slices cut in half &/or brown sugar to taste with a generous splash of soy sauce)

Stir together flour & pepper. Generously coat chicken with this dry mixture. Cook chicken in butter or oil over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning once.

Mix broth, lemon juice, & cornstarch & optional ingredients (except lemons) if desired. Add to cooked chicken. Cook & stir until thickened & bubbly then stir for 2 minutes more. Stir in green onions. If desired, top chicken with lemon slices. Spoon sauce. over chicken. Serve with rice. Makes 4 servings.

Hold the Lemon!

I love lemons.... few calories, tangy taste, the color of sunshine ...a real pick me up in a drink ... . I enjoy the zip of a lemon!
At restaurants, I always order lemon, "...tea with lemon, please... water with lemon, please... " My dh even orders lemon so that I can have his......... what a guy!
It turns out that a lemon can be a real lemon if it is not handled right.
I was stunned by this video..... from now on, I will say, "Hold the lemon.... I brought my own!"

My younger daughter's opinion on this: "I think bacteria is good for you. I can't say I've ever had food poisoning or anything like that, and I use a lemon in my tea or water at every restaurant I go to. "

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How to Fold a Shirt

This how-to-video will change your life!

Mother's Day Brag Bag

This is a free pattern from SEW NEWS. You can download it here. http://www.sewnews.com/pdf/0408bragBag-spread.pdf

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hand Embroidery Fever

I am so excited....... the hand embroidery craze has hit me big time! I have spent days researching & collecting the knowledge & tools needed. In the pic above, I have taken a flour sack towel, added a print corner, & put it on my light box to trace an embroidery pattern.

I have 7 of these towels ready for embroidery.... what fun!

What time is it, really?

Twice each year, I live in a house divided by DST which is a great deal like PMS due to the depression & head-bloating it causes. (I would like to find the man who decided this plan was such a good idea!)
As far as I can see, Daylight Savings Time causes nothing but bi-annual, marital confusion. Dh changes the clocks he thinks he is in charge of the night before. I, on the other hand, am perfectly content to pretend that nothing is going to happen. The clocks he assumes that I know I am responsible for... do not forward or fall back. This results in our home being divided into different time zones.
Not knowing what time it is can turn a gentle, kind man into an irritable, old worry wart. How strange it is that 1 hour either way can determine a man's disposition... apparently, dh does not transpose well, or he just cannot keep things straight. He cannot figure out & remember which clocks in which rooms are 1 hour ahead, 1 hour behind, or just right on the money! It is a simple matter of memorizing & transposing. Bless his heart, he just can't do it.
It is simple... as simple as knowing your right from your left. In our bed for instance, if I face dh's clock, I can see the new time according to the unknown man who implemented DST as a mandated change. If I turn my head to the right, I can see my which is actually, in my opinion, the real time.
I must admit, that I finally even get myself confused. What time is it, really? It's time to synchronize my clocks to the ones around me... it's just not worth the fight!


Crafts. sewing, quilting, machine embroidery, soapmaking, cooking, homemaking, watercolor & commentaries on life....Jana in Missouri invites you to sit down with a cup of coffee!

This is the SGF companion blog, but membership is not necessary to enjoy. Application may be made at sewgoodfriends@yahoogroups.com , but please keep in mind that the SGF List flows smoothly. Bickering & swimming upstream salmon-style are not tolerated & may result in an unsub ... Jana (List Mom)


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