Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Greeetings to all my visitors

I've just checked the report from Sitemeter, which is very cool. It gives me a statistical report of the number of visitors to the site, but most cool is the world map that pinpoints where my visitors live.

So good morning and hello to those of you in Ireland and Mozambique and Indonesia who have visited today! And hello to my U.S. visitors in Sherman, Texas; Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif., and Sioux City, Iowa!

It is amazing how electrons can make the world a smaller place -- a neighborhood. Welcome, neighbors.

And now, I must be off to work! Back later!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Morning Rain

It's raining this morning. It's that glorious sort of "break-the-August-heat" rain that drops the temperatures about 20 degrees and makes the hot pavement smell so good.

On days like this it is really hard to come to work. These are days for reading in bed, with a window open slightly (just enough for the smell and sounds to come through without the water.)

It's the kind of day for baking bread, making soup and sewing. Or ironing.

Yeah, I said it. Rainy days are perfect days for ironing. I really kind of like ironing, when it's not overwhelming or urgent. I did quite a lot this past weekend. Now that I have the ironing board set up in my dining room it's easier to throw something on there and give it a good steamy press.

My closets are filled up again. Sometimes I don't realize just how many clothes I have when everything is stuffed into hampers and baskets or living in the dryer. When everything is pressed and organized in the closet, it is easy to be grateful for the blessings of plenty. And how nice it is to have sections of skirts all together and sections of slacks and then shirts. I am grateful indeed.

Do rainy days trigger memories or attitudes in you like this?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Searching through the stash

Not what some of you may be thinking -- it's the fabric stash! Here's a photo I took last night which shows just a fraction of my stash:


(click to see the full photo)

I also pulled out another big stack from a box still residing on my back porch. One piece was sadly sun-faded where the light has leaked in over the past year. I am hoping I can still use most of what was there.

Along with the fabrics I've rediscovered armloads of patterns for things never made (yet). I ache to do some sewing! Even if it's a simple skirt or a pillowcase for ConKerr Cancer (A Case for Smiles).

Since I'm in the midst of re-collecting and re-organizing my stash, however, I've not made it to the sewing process this weekend. It is unbelievable the things I own that I have forgotten about -- and the things I remember that I have not yet found again. I do not know which pain is worse.

I have an idea for a stash challenge, however. In addition to making pillowcases, I'm feeling impressed upon to issue myself a "100 skirt challenge" to make 100 skirts in various sizes for girls served by one of our church missions. I'd like to be able to do it with what I have in hand -- I think I could make a big dent in the project with what's in the pipeline.

I've read of another woman who did a "100 skirt challenge" like this. She paired the skirts with coordinating T-shirts in matching sizes to provide a complete outfit for each girl in her project group. I forget now who her beneficiary group was, but it was a children's home of some sort with her religious affiliation. It really doesn't matter because there is always, always a need somewhere for such kindnesses. Even if it's the local clothing closet for a public school, there is always a child in need somewhere nearby.

I remember so very, very clearly when I was in grade school. My sixth-grade teacher and the janitor's wife worked together to make sure everyone in our school had appropriate clothing to wear in order to attend. On top of that, my teacher and her sister made clothing for the Baptist Children's Home. Every morning before school she would make a dress for a girl. Every single dress she made was completely different from every other dress she made, so the girls wouldn't feel like they were just getting some mass-produced cookie-cutter outfit. They had different materials, different patterns, variations on the patterns and different trims. One dress, every morning, from each of the sisters. Imagine making nearly 400 dresses (maybe more -- in the summers they had more time for sewing!) each year to clothe a girl in need!

The thing is, they didn't stop with the girls. They also made shirts for the boys, back when boys wore woven shirts with buttons and collars.

What discipline -- and discipleship -- these women modeled.

More about ConKerr Cancer -- a Case for Smiles. This is a project in which the participants make pillow cases for children with cancer. Upon each child's admission -- every admission -- to the hospital for treatment, they are allowed to select a new pillowcase made by one of the volunteers in the project.

I started out as the state chairman for Oklahoma, but I am having to pass this responsibility on to someone else because of my difficult work schedule and my distance from Oklahoma City, where Children's Hospital is located. I've collected a lot of pillowcases locally, and several have been sent to me from people who aren't local who read about this project in a national sewing magazine or through Martha Stewart's show and magazine.

I have real mixed feelings about not working on this project. It needs to be run by someone with the time, as well as the desire. I have the desire but not the time. I can do my part by doing some sewing and preparation of pillowcases and by getting out of the way to allow someone else the blessing of coordinating the state program. I have two people in mind -- one in Oklahoma City and one in Tulsa. I am checking with the originator of the project to see if we can have two groups in Oklahoma, one in each of the metropolitan areas.

This project started with Cindy Kerr, whose son was a cancer patient. To learn more, please check this link: ConKerr Cancer

A great, fun, colorful, cheerful pillowcase for a sick child is such a small, easy thing to provide. If you'd like more information, please feel free to leave a comment here if the linked site doesn't answer your questions. The reward for this is HUGE compared to the minor effort.

I'd also like to hear from you in the comments if you've got a project of your own that uses your creative gifts to help someone else. What are you inspired to do to make the world just that much better? Speak up! You never know what idea you might trigger for someone else!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

To the Farmers' Market!

Click to see the whole photo.

This morning's haul from the farmers' market about three blocks from my house. Some of these items will find their way into a 15-bean soup planned to cook later as it cools down from today's expected high of 103. The rest will probably go into a large salad. Together these will feed me for most of the week, I expect. The jar of chow-chow? I bought that as a sentimental purchase because it reminds me of people I knew in my childhood -- neighbors who canned and made such things. I'm not sure this recipe is anywhere close to what they made, but my memory from being a 10-year-old is a might lapsing when it comes to homemade relish recipes. I seem to remember the chow-chow of my youth being heavy on green tomatoes. We'll see later if the taste of this jar brings back memories.

There are still some things I need to pick up at the store which aren't available at my local farmers' market. After all, it's just a tiny market. Today was a big day with MAYBE 8 trucks set up. What peaches were available were small and wormy. No pie from them. Makes me miss my peach tree at my last abode.

We tend to be heavy on things like squash, cucumbers, cat-faced tomatoes and onions. There are a few bakers who tempt me with homemade rolls, cinnamon rolls, loaves of fresh bread. I can make my own much more cheaply. I might whomp up some nearly kneadless bread today so I can bake it tomorrow. I've posted the recipe before, I believe. At least I posted photos of making it. Home Made Bread
Looks like I'll have to dig up that recipe since I didn't post amounts... what kind of recipe-sharer am I? I'll post if I bake it.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday evening

Ah, yes! We made it through another week without murder! Yes!
It was a nice, abbreviated work day. Friday is our day when we get breakfast at the office and four of us, at least, eat together. Usually I'm the runner who goes to pick it up at the cafe, so that gets me out for a little while. Then the eating thing is a little more time away from the desk.

I got a few things done in the rest of the morning, then had a meeting at city hall with the historic preservation advisory panel. It's one of my favorite city committees. It meets at noon. Today's meeting was very interesting -- and it was over by just after 1 p.m.

I grabbed an icy drink at the cafe catty-corner from city hall then headed home to lounge, to nap, to read on a novel by one of my favorite writers. It has done me good.

Tomorrow is one of my rare Saturdays off, so there will be more lounging, more napping, more reading. And perhaps a few other enjoyable diversions. It will be nice to have some long hours of solitary time. I think that people need more time and distance apart when it's this hot and humid. And it is ALWAYS humid here. Having people nearby is just too much of a stressor on top of the climate.

Maybe this weekend will give me enough time to patch myself back together to face another week.

I've also got a lot of topics in my mental notebook that I want to mull over this weekend too. It's nice to be able to make an appointment with myself for mulling.

Hope you all are having a pleasant Friday evening and are looking forward to a restful weekend.