Wednesday, June 26, 2013

She's Back!!!

My sister is shown in the brown outfit towards the center of the group.
What an adventure my sister had on her recent trip to the Congo!  I am so thankful she is safely back, along with all her team members.  The stories she tells of her experiences there have been truly amazing...stories of sadness and poverty and stories of hope and joy.

I am loving hearing about her journey of a lifetime.

Photographs to go along with the stories and faces are my favorite way of encountering her journey.
Below are some of the special photos she shared with me.  She says that most people loved getting their pictures taken.

Diann brought me back some pieces of her journey in the way of fabric lengths. She met a seamstress named Euphrasie.  As a sewist myself, I am especially honored to "meet" her!

First, meet her daughter:
 Euphrasie has 6 children  Shown here - her daughter wearing the liputa (wrapped skirt) and kitambala (head wrap.)

  I am intrigued by the patterns on the fabrics and want to learn more about the African wax techniques. A bit of research I would now like to share with you, too.

African wax fabric refers to the batik-like process for printing the designs on the fabric.

Origins for the technique seem to come from Indonesia and the Dutch. 
China now imports some of the fabrics to back to Ghana. Many designs are renditions of plants and animals.

Now, meet Euphrasie - a woman of joy who loves God.

Euphrasie sold a few fabric lengths from the home of short-term missionary Christine Buettgen.
With a tape measure around her neck, Euphrasie operates the hand-powered sewing machine while her sewing students look on.  I remember my Grandma using a machine like this.

 Fabric designs can tell stories of relevance to the wearer.
Examples of significant events are depicted below:
Take a close-up look: Covenanters will recognize our denomination logo in this picture!

Proverbs, poems and fables are represented by the designs in the fabric.
An example of this was found  at
(WREN blog)
when the author wrote about "Ahonnee pa nkasa" which translates to
"Precious beads make no noise." 
The meaning:  a good person needs not blow her/his own horn.

Another proverb example:

"Sika wo antaban" meaning "Money has wings". This warns people against lavish spending and also suggests that careful use of money can bring success.

This is a photo of a fabric market in Gemena.
 Colors in the African wax fabrics can represent social standing in the community.

(In the picture, below, my sister and I are standing by a pool.She and her trip team members had just presented their experiences, comments and slides to a very interested congregation at Naperville Covenant Church.)
Euphrasie made this liputa especially for Diann.

Thanks, Sis, for these special fabrics you brought back for me!
It's going to be so much fun to figure out how to use them.

For more information about African wax prints,  just go online to the search engine of your choice.
There's a lot of interesting info out there!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Snapshots of a Wedding

(Polka-dot dresses seemed to be a popular way to dress for the wedding!)


  This past weekend we were wedding 
guests for a couple of
 Yooper Love Birds 
who were married in the church where the Bride spent her youth.

Let these snapshots tell the story.

(It was a very lovely wedding service, but I am not showing ceremony pictures here.  Just pictures following the ceremony.)


Bridesmaids model their dresses and bouquet flowers.

Megan helped to get the Flower Girl  posed for this picture.  So cute!

We were so lucky to be able to be outside for the appetizer/drinks reception.  The weather had been iffy in the forecast.
Katie, Anne and Kari pose in their pregnant glory! (That's our grandson in the far right!!!)

Following the time outdoors, we headed inside to find our table  I loved the guest names presentation!

Passing by the buffet tables on our way to our seats - looks like it is going to be a wonderful meal.
We found our table...festooned with pictures of the happy couple at age nineteen.
Our table group poses with the parents of the bride.
Following dinner, we were treated to a very special "Sweets" bar.  Yum!
Recognize these Anderson ladies  in their Photo Booth disguises?
The new Mr. and Mrs.!!

Congrats, Lisa and Paul!
Thanks for letting us be a part of your special day. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The "I Spy" Quilt

When the joyful news was announced that a new "Grand" was on the way, I knew just what kind of welcoming quilt to make:  an "I Spy" quilt.  Remember that game you used to play as a kid that went something like this:

"I spy with my little eye something that is ___."

(Name a color.  Name an animal.  You catch the drift, right?)

This quilt will have tiny little pictures to search for in its fabrics.
Lord knows I have plenty of fabrics.
Do not notice that I am wearing a robe.  Instead focus on the little pumpkin on the lower left corner.

Let's talk about putzy sewing...each of the 32 "I Spy" blocks has 25 1 inch (completed size) squares! (Yes, that's 800 little squares.) These were done by hand and carried along on trips (Argentina! Minnesota!) and represented a lot of time watching TV. My bad for that...
Not every "I Spy" block has a special picture to find.  But all have solid colors and prints.
 Here is the block with Percy the Train.

On the quilt backing, I embroidered all 39 picture clues.
See the word  Percy?

All 831 pieces are finally sewn into a completed quilt top.
Once all the "I Spy" picture blocks were sewn together, it was time to set them in a checkerboard fashion with the larger farm animals blocks.
I have no shame apparently - I do a great deal of my "work" in my p.j.'s.

Putting the quilt top, backing and batting together is the most challenging part for these old bones of mine. Somehow the floor method works best for me.  All 3 layers are basted together by hand.
In process:  hand quilting with o's on the farm animal squares and x's through the "I Spy" squares.  Get it??

Following the quilting, a binding is sewn all around the edges of the quilt.  
And now it is SHOWER READY!
See the sailboat on the little shirt?  It was cut down to size from one of John's shirts worn as a baby.
The little quilt is tucked into this box along with a companion printed book with pictures of all 39 items to find. Add a little boy doll (Wee Wonderfuls "Eddie" pattern) to top off the gift.
Here is the finished quilt!

I Spy a very happy event!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Onesies+burlap+corrugated cardboard+fabric "paper"+guests+food+games+mom2be = SHOWER!

The time is getting closer for the birth of our new Grandson!  Our son and his wife anticipate his birth later this summer. Before the busyness of summer is fully underway, the two Aunties - sister of the Dad (Anne) and sister of the Mom (Brittany) - planned a shower held last weekend.  They worked hard on the invitations, food and games and I got to do the decorating --- my favorite thing to do!
I knew just the right supplies to use:
corrugated cardboard for banner backgrounds, color-copied fabric onto paper for accents and burlap!

And off to work I went!  With a stop at Dollar Tree for the clothesline and clothespins and glass vases.  With a stop for burlap and new onesies at a thrift store.  With a prowl through my vintage linen collection drawers to find just the right blue table vintage cloth to go over the burlap-looking new tablecloth.

The dining room window had a clothesline strung from side to side with onesies in blue and green clipped on with wooden clothespins..  The window sill was the perfect spot to place gifts.

The fireplace with its swag banner "B-A-B-Y  (shower invitation in the center)  B-O-Y !"
See the little black and white sonogram between the two white onesies?  It's the Little Man in his cozy fluid growing home!
Following the brunch (assorted coffee cakes, fruit "buggy" and breakfast burritos), it was time for some fun and games.
Activity #1 led by Anne:  a fun purse challenge.

Activity #2 led by Brittany - frost a "onesie" cookie...yum! 

And, of course, there were gifts to be opened!  J and K got so many essentials for their little guy
AND he is going to be one well-dressed Husker Fan with his various outfits!!!!
                In the next blog post, you will find out what I gave to the Little Mister.

The Mom-to-Be holds court with  her guests. Sister of the Dad-to-Be to the left and sister of the Mom-to-Be to the right.

We can't wait to meet you Little One!