Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dress Upscale

Between Pintrest and various fashion blogs, it seems to me that upscaling clothing is the thing to do these days. Since I love sewing and FINALLY got a dress form (which I love) I thought that I should try my hand out at the upscale thing.
I did manage to make a dress without a pattern recently, but the pictures aren't on my laptop right now.
Last Saturday night I volunteered at a gala for our local orchestra. Everything was pretty fancy so I needed and even gown. My problem is that I like sewing costumes and none of them were appropriate for the occasion. My Mom had just gotten a few bags of clothes from a friend and she mentioned that there was a pretty black dress in there. When I first tried it on, I was less than optimistic. It was big. It had no form. It was cold.
But it had a pretty floral design on the front which kept me from throwing it back in the bag.
I purposely intended this to be a horrible picture - which was easy to do. :-)
The dress was a size medium, I guessing about a 12/14.
Like my purple socks??? :-) They add such an element of charm to the photo.

I put the dress on my mannequin and took in the waistline to give it some more shape and form.
Then I went to the store and bought some white satin and some black lace. I then cut a slit into the dress and added a triangle of the satin with black lace overlay.
I really liked the way it looked.

Yes, it was cold, but I worked underneath a heating vent for most of the night, so it was all good.
The orchestra concert was amazing. They played several selections with a masquerade/carnival theme to them. They played a medley of "Phantom of the Opera" songs and I about flew to other universe it was so lovely.
The swing band afterwards was equally amazing.
It was so fun to watch the couples swing dance. There were several times that I wished my brother was there so we could go dance a couple songs, but swinging around by myself was still quite fun.
Had some photo booth fun with a friend.
It was quite a wonderful evening and I did get lots of compliments on my dress.
First upscale project: Success!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Frail Faith and a Strong Savior

I know I haven't blogged very much lately. Life has been busy and full. A few days ago I was sitting on my Mom's bed telling her how adult life was much more difficult than I thought it would be.  There are many decisions and choices that one has to make. Some are easy, but many are not so simple. I think I was going through a mental overload - inflicted on me by myself. :-) The fact of the matter is, I was frustrated because I felt like I wasn't getting answers to the questions I was asking of God. I like to know what's going to happen next, or what the right choice would be. However, I was unwilling to wait on the Lord for those answers. My frustration was bogging me down and causing me to neglect my prayer life.
Think about it. When you are annoyed with someone you typically don't want to have a heartfelt conversation with them. That was my issue and it was wrong. My heart was wrong, my motives were wrong and my thought process was wrong. Who am I to demand answers from God?
So, because of my wrong attitudes I had turned to my own self for answers. Let me tell you, if you find life confusing and slightly difficult don't ever go to yourself for answers. That just furthers the confusion and difficulty. That is why I was dealing with a self-inflicted mental overload. :-)
At church yesterday, the sermon was about frail faith and a strong Savior. Never could there have been a more timely sermon. I just want to share the four main points of the sermon because they were so good.
(The text was Mark 9:14-29)
1. The absence of faith displeases God.
In the midst of my frustration I had slowly lessened my faith in God and in His sovereignty. Of course I wasn't finding the answers to my prayers. I was blinded to the answers because I didn't believe that they would come.
2. The presence of faith makes all things possible.
Jesus' goal is not instant ease of our discomfort. He can do all things. With a snap of His fingers He can solve the problem, grant health, give prosperity, make all things happy and dandy, but Jesus desires us to have faith in Him as the Son of God.
3. The object of our faith, not its size, directs its power.
I can have faith that my problems will go away, that all will be well in the world, and my faith will be pointless. Am I in control? Am I all powerful? Of course not. So, why should I think that I can control things by having faith that I can. Only having faith in Jesus Christ can accomplish anything. He is in control and all powerful. A frail faith pointed to a strong Savior is far better than a huge faith in myself.
4. The fruit of faith needs dependence on prayer.
This is probably the biggest area I have failed in. I wasn't praying hardly at all. I was neglecting my time with the Lord. Acting like a spoiled child, I was ignoring the One who has given me more than any other, simply because I was frustrated. Prayer shows our dependence on God. I was depending on my undependable self.

Once I acknowledged this issue in my life a certain, indescribable peace filled my heart. I don't feel like I need all the answers to my questions right away anymore. Somehow, He has showed me that the answers will come if I am willing to place my faith in His will. I feel free. 
I know I have a frail, weak faith. But with that faith pointed to my strong Savior, I don't feel confused; I feel strong. He has lifted me up when I was falling.
He did all this for me. My question now is, where does your faith lie?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Week 4: Baby Showers

Alrighty, I am officially claiming Baby Showers as my topic for the week. My sister Leah is expecting a baby boy and we were throwing a shower for the baby.
Now for me, learning how to throw a baby shower is a very practical skill because I have quite a few friends, and I am sure that I will eventually have to host a baby shower for someone - not to mention I have 4 sisters. :-)
I'll share what we did by the pictures, which are in no special order because I simply don't feel like going through the effort of rearranging them right now. :-)
Okay, this is the blue punch we made. Note for the future, the ducks do not always float upright like the ones on Pintrest. Our ducks liked to float on their sides.

No baby shower is complete without chocolate, and I adore making confectioneries and dipping chocolates, so that was my department. I dipped pretzels, strawberries and cake balls.
Seriously, I would do this for a wedding or any other type of party! I love dipping chocolate things.

One of the most difficult parts of planning a baby shower is coming up with fun games to play. In this game everyone had to put a paper plate on their head and draw a baby. It was pretty funny, but let me tell you, finding a reasonable, fun game was not easy.

We picked a theme for our shower: Basketball.
I think Leah's ball is a little bit bigger than Moshe's. :-)

Favors, another thing that is difficult to come up with. These are little candles with a saying.

Basketball cake ball. Three words:
They were cute and delicious, but they were nightmares to make.

Gifts. An easily forgotten, essential part of a shower. I forgot about the fact that I needed a gift till the week of, so then I ended up staying up till midnight the night before trying to finish this blanket.
Personal Note: Plan gifts ahead of time!

Ahh yes, finding foods that fit the theme. Since we were doing a basketball theme, we did a nacho bar for the main food. Then we saw this idea on Pintrest. Thus I spent a half and hour turning clementine's into basketballs! They were so fun and cute!

Friends <3 p="">
Another game. Mom would read off a word that had to do with labor or being a mother and the guests had to guess which candy bar best fit that word.

And the nacho bar.
Hosting a shower is a lot of work, but my Mom is incredibly organized. The biggest thing I learned was that you really need to be mentally prepared with a plan. Also, everything works best if you can get lots done in advance.

Week 3: Flax Seed

Ahh yes.....Venice to flax seed. This is the story of my life, one extreme to the next. :-) I didn't read a book on flax seed - I was smart enough with my New Years Res to know that I wouldn't always have time to read a whole book. I read some articles online about it though, and they proved to be just as helpful.

My Mom has been reading  "Trim Healthy Mama," which is a really good book, so we've been eating a little bit differently. The hardest part for me is it is very low in, no grain. Now anyone who knows me well knows that I LOVE bread and pasta and pretty much anything loaded with grain and gluten. :-) Thus it has been a bit difficult to let the carbs go. Anyways, I was having a "I-NEED-a-cookie-or-muffin" moment and all I could find was flax seed meal. Now obviously, that is not a replacement for flour, so I didn't get any cookies or muffins out of it, but I did do some research and found out that putting flax seed in dishes that you make can help you feel more full and satisfied.

Flax seed is really high in vitamin B and fiber, but the best part of flax seed is that it contains Omega-3 fatty acids which sounds really bad, but they actually help against inflammation, which in turn helps prevent different types of arthritis, asthma, diabetes and other issues.

It's a pretty special little seed.
Oh, it also works as an egg replacer if you are making a batch of muffins or cookies and don't have any eggs on hand. Of course, I won't be making any muffins or cookies for a while, but you might find this little piece of info to be useful.
(By the way, don't feel sorry for me. I've felt great eating grain free. :-) )

Week 2: Venice

I realize that it is not the 2nd week in January, but I'm behind on blogging and I suddenly have a semi open afternoon to write these posts. They will be short and sweet partly because of time, and partly because I'm starting to lose the composed blog posts that were in my head after the initial studying of the subject.

So, without further delay, here is week two: Venice
Now I understand that Venice is probably one of the most impractical subjects I could choose, but I was at the library and suddenly, as if a spotlight was shinning down on it, my eyes fell to a book in the new section and I just knew it was the one.....(sappy, seriously)
Anyways, I have dreamed of going to Venice ever since I was 8 years old and listened to a Classical Kids CD about Antonio Vivaldi. Since then, I have had an obsession with the city to the point that I have a picture of the Grand Canal hanging on my ceiling above my bed.

The whole purpose of reading this random book about Venice was that I wanted to learn about it's history. However, I found the art of the city to be so fascinating that I can't remember much else from the book. :-)

Being that the roads in Venice are all water ways, water plays a huge part in art and architecture of the city. Many paintings depict Biblical accounts that have to do with water, such as Moses parting the Red Sea, Jesus calming the waves, Jesus walking on water etc.
Much of the marble used in the city, has a special design on it intended to depict waves.

I found it interesting that the author spoke of Venice as being its own world in a way. It is obviously a city in Italy, but in a way it is it's own place. It is Venice. It is part of Italy, but it is not Italy. I wish I had the book in front of me to quote some of the magical descriptions used. It sounds like such a mysterious, enchanting city.

Someday I'll go there....just not yet. I met a lady at the Reformation Day Faire last year that was telling me how her husband had a business trip to Venice and he took her with. She told me that you never know when God is going to surprise you with something you've always dreamed of.
So, for now I'll just keep dreaming, in a contented way of course. I'll survive just fine if I never actually go there, but it's fun to dream. :-)