Sunday, April 27, 2014

Like a Weaned Child is My Soul Within Me



On this beautiful Lord’s Day, I’m here at home with my girl, Sophia.  Glenn and the kids have left for church, but Sophia hasn’t been feeling well. 

She’s been coughing and crackling for about a week now.  Nothing serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor.  But in the last couple of years, when she has a respiratory virus, involving extended periods of coughing, she has tended to wind up with pleurisy.  Pleurisy is inflammation of the pleural lining around the lungs.  Inflammation can occur due to excessive and extreme coughing, usually associated with a virus, of course.  I’m not sure, but maybe she is susceptible to it more now than when she was little because she coughs harder.  The first time it happened, I didn’t realize what was going on.  I think it was Colleen who suggested pleurisy.  The doctor agreed after an examination, and since then, we treat her preventatively a few days into a virus.  The cure is simple – Ibuprofin. 

Last night I turned in bed and woke up.  Within a few seconds, I heard Sophi breathing loudly and sighing over the monitor. Then she said, “I need you, Mommy. Can you come here, please.”  I hurried upstairs, but I figured it was going to be chest pain, since she’d had a little off and on the last few days.  Sure enough, it was.  It wasn’t too terrible at this point, and after a dose of Ibuprofin and a breathing treatment, I read to her and she fell asleep.

Having a child with special medical needs can be a little overwhelming at times.  Especially when she was a baby, and we had so much to learn about her.  We spent much of her first few years in the hospital.  She’s had many surgeries and illnesses and although she’s so much stronger now at 10 than she ever has been, she is still considered medically fragile.  Her pulmonologist and other doctors say they don’t know of other children like Sophia.  She’s unique!  So it’s hard for them to predict what her needs or issues may be in the future. 

But we’re not afraid of her future.  We trust that the merciful God Who created her in such a special way, and has taken miraculous care of her all her life, will continue to do so.

Recently we learned that a friend of a friend has a terminal form of cancer.  The girls are making cards to send to her.  I read Sophia’s last night.  It caused such a swell of gratitude in me!  Gratitude for how God has been teaching her empathy and compassion for others that comes from her own experiences of pain and illness, and knowing the Lord’s compassion herself.

She wrote sweet encouraging words of comfort and hope. 



Psalm 131:2

“Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul. 

Like a weaned child with its mother.

Like a weaned child is my soul within me.”



I pray your Lord’s Day today is full of refreshment and gratitude.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Navy Blue Dots



One of our nieces on the Orr side, Kelsey, is getting married to her Love in just a few weeks!  We are all very excited and praying for beautiful weather for her special day.

We are also having pictures taken the day before – of the entire Orr Clan!  That’s something like 45 people!  We haven’t done this since the twins were babies.  For the big group picture, we ladies thought it would be fun to mark the separate families by choosing specific colors per family.  I ended up going with navy blue for us.  And I loved the idea of polka dots!  Navy polka dot is such a classic fabric, and it will read as a solid (mostly) when we’re bunched in with all the other Orrs.  For the guys it’s easy, we can get navy short sleeve polo-style shirts.

But for me and five girls ranging in age from 16 down to 7!?  Even though I half-heartedly attempted to look online for navy dresses for us – not even matching, just navy colored – I assumed we were going to end up making them. 

Thankfully, Kate and Alix are going to be a big help since they’ve had a lot of sewing experience with crafty things for themselves and their cousins, plus they’ve helped before with skirts and dresses.  And it will be a good opportunity for the little girls to learn some more of the basics.

I have a pretty pattern for Alix, that I will probably use for myself too, and which I can adjust to make more in the lines of this for Kate:

vintage 1950s dress . floral cotton . sequins by millstreetvintage


I don’t have a picture of Alix’s pattern (I ordered it online a few weeks ago), but this dress is similar to it –  with a different neckline and small sleeves. 

Get the Free Pattern for this 50's inspired dress + 7 more free clothing patterns, all w/instructions and in pattern sizes S-XL. More cute dresses, a playsuit, skirt, cape and shorts ~ all free!


For the twins I’m going to try to draft a pattern based on this sweet dress I pinned from Pinterest:

Classic A-line Satin Communion Dress - LDS Baptism Gowns for Girls


Although I don’t have a pattern for the exact dress, I have one similar to it which I think will be a help, and I can take a few of their measurements to accommodate the differences in length for the dress and the sleeve style.


For Olivia I found this cute little dress!

Beautiful classic girls boutique dress in by emaleighscupboard, $40.00


I love the fabric on it – but I think the navy dots would look sweet in this style, too.  I’ll use a pattern I already have which has the crossover bodice, and then for the skirt I’ll take Olivia’s measurements for length and waist and add extra for gathering.  I definitely will do some white eyelet trim as shown on this dress – I think it is adorable.  And although I love the sash on this dress, I think I will do one slightly longer and a little narrower for Olivia. 


When the girls were younger, I usually just used one pattern to make all 5 dresses.  Like these I made a couple of years ago – they were the same style, but I let them choose the fabrics from the same fabric designer.



But now that they are a little older, although I might use the same fabric, I try to choose styles of dresses that are more in line with their tastes and personality.

So now it’s just a matter of taking 22 yards of this:


and turning it into some pretty things for my girls!

I’ll keep you posted.


Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Parchment Paper Pattern


I started sewing when Luke was a baby.  Even though I did the required Home Ec. sewing classes in middle school, I didn’t exactly love them.  But then I had an adorable baby boy and something in me wanted to make cute little outfits for him, and boyish bed spreads for his toddler bed.  Of course, once I had Alix, followed by more beautiful little babies, the desire just blossomed.  And it expanded from clothes to include furniture slipcovers, napkins, linens, curtains, pillows, etc. Although sewing isn’t necessarily inexpensive – and sometimes it’s actually more expensive than buying things – the ability to make something just how I want it, in the fabric or color I want, inspires me to keep doing it.  Plus, I admit, I am a student.  I like to learn.  There are so many styles of sewing and techniques to do things, that I am continuing to learn year by year.

In the last few years, I have started to do more of my own pattern-making.  It was intimidating at first, but I read a lot of tutorials to see how others were doing it.  And I learned that taking careful measurements made all the difference in the final outcome. 

The old adage, “Measure twice, cut once” comes to mind.  Winking smile

Initially I used tissue paper (the kind you tuck around gifts in gift bags) to draft the patterns, and then I moved on to wrapping paper, muslin, or old sheets.  But recently I started using parchment paper.  The kind that I also use to drop chocolate no-bake cookies on to set up.

When it comes to drafting patterns – parchment paper is perfect

It’s flexible. It doesn’t tear easily. It is mostly transparent – so I can transfer lines for seams and darts very easily.  It’s inexpensive. And best of all – I can even stitch it together!  This means I can do a trial of the pattern, without wasting costly fabric. 

For our ballet recital in May, I am making two little boy vests.  I have no patterns, just one larger boy’s vest to use as my example.  So I took one of Olivia’s shirts and traced around the neckline and the underarm seam down to the waist as my sample size. 

Once I stitched the shoulder and underarm seams, I had Olivia try it on.  She is about the size of the two little boys who will be wearing the vests.  While she was wearing it, I was able to adjust the seams under her arm, which were a little too tight, by simply pulling the paper apart and stopping at a point which seemed more comfortable for her. 

Then I took it off of her, and went back to make adjustments.  When we tried it on her again, it was just right. 

Now instead of making a vest which may or may not fit the little boys, I will take my parchment paper vest and have them try it on; make adjustments, and then sew the vests using the parchment paper pattern pieces over my fabric.


Here’s a look at the “vest”.

The front side – overlapping because I am going to put a couple of buttons on the final fabric vest.




And a look at the back, which will have two darts.




And I thought you might enjoy this one of my lovely assistant modeling the “vest”.








Although my assistant is indeed quite lovely, she was less than thrilled to be wearing this “scratchy” vest.  What she really wanted to do was finish her Math homework.

Now how could I argue against such brilliance of preference and motivation for learning?


So she’s back to her Math!


Have a lovely day! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just a Little Conversation and Catching Up



Little by little, warmer days are coming.  Our little crocuses are blooming their hearts out, and the stiff, deep green stalks of our daffodils are clustered in happy families, here and there around the yard.  Soon they’ll lift bright yellow blooms toward the sun, along with the sweet pink and yellow tulips thoughtfully planted unknown seasons ago, before we came to Kenilworth. 

Many of the trees have tight little buds, some with streaks of color showing more and more clearly through their plump tufts.  The grass is green again, and getting greener each day. 

It’s almost as though the plants share our feelings of anticipation and excitement and change.

School is keeping us very busy – which is primarily why the blog posts are few and far between.  We’re working hard to finish as much as we can, so that we will have more freedom in the summer months.  We will continue to do some school throughout the summer, since I learned years ago that much is forgotten in a short time.  But we plan to have fun, too!  The kids love playing outside with their bikes, and on the zip line.   And then there are sure to be Runaway games, reading in the hammock, and time on the swing set, and playing with the animals. 

Of course there are a few projects on the horizon.  Like a low stone wall which will span the length of the front yard; this may be a project which doesn’t get finished for quite some time. But I’m excited to get it started. 

(I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who is excited about it)

We’re hoping to tear down the cobhouse and build another, larger structure where it stands.  It won’t be our future garage/barn – which we’re saving up to pay for with cash.  But it will help give the animals a more insulated home, and provide some much needed storage space for some of the things we’re currently storing elsewhere. 

Lord willing, we will get the doors finished for the mudroom closets and maybe the bench and shelving units in there, too???? 

And let’s not forget trim. Smile 

I also have a few things to do in the laundry room before I show you some pictures. But I need to finish a line-up of sewing projects first, including dresses for the girls and me to wear for our niece’s wedding next month, and the second little nightgown and a couple of boys’ vests for the ballet recital.

We need to figure something out for the boys’ room – which continues to get wet when it rains.  Since Glenn installed a sump pump last Spring, there hasn’t been any more flooding, but there still is an undetermined way that water leaks down under the flooring panels.  We don’t panic anymore; we just pull back the thin indoor/outdoor carpet and turn on the floor fan.  Once it dries out, everything is back to normal. But it would be nice to get to the bottom of it, fix it, and do something a little better for the flooring.


Anyway – these are the things we’re thinking about here.  What about you?  Any projects, big or small, on the horizon?