Book Review: The Dressmaker’s Gift

9 Apr

Dressmaker is a term that is no longer in our contemporary vocabulary.  A century ago, it was a profession with formal training.

The American College of Dressmaking in Kansas City published The American Dressmaker textbook in 1906.  I assume this instruction became part of Home Economics curriculum some decades later.

I digress… the title The Dressmaker’s Gift understates the powerful story of women in Paris during WW2 resisting the domination and occupation of Nazi Germany.

From making custom dresses/gowns in Paris, to being held at a location for political prisoners (Fresnes), then transferred to Dachau…shocking!  In 2012, I was on the grounds for a walking tour.

The author accurately related the horrors of life in the concentration camp.

Read for yourself how it is possible to reconcile the trauma, not only for one’s self but also one’s children and grandchildren decades later.

 

Book Review: Code Girls

6 Jun

This is an amazing “behind the scenes” story, only recently declassified. The subject and situation are both very complex. I look forward to a film version (like the movies Hidden Figures and Green Book set in the 1960s).

Personal Note: In 2008, I joined a reunion of Marines with my father-in-law who fought on IWO JIMA. We met in Washington D.C. It was an honor and a privilege to tour the WWII memorial with veterans as well as join them for other activities. Their experiences fighting in the Pacific were profoundly life altering.

Other books with personal/behind the scenes accounts of WWII are

The Alice Network

PT109

Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II

The Dressmaker’s Gift

I recommend them all.

Happy Mother’s Day!

9 May
Christmas 2020 came and went with NO sign of a BLOOM. It must have been waiting for Mother’s Day! Best wishes!
This amaryllis bulb was a gift from a neighbor Christmas 2019. It first bloomed for me Jan 6 (Ephiphany) 2020.

DfGI or Days for Girls International

29 Apr

Founded in 2008, DfGI is a global network connecting teams and chapters of volunteer sewists to provide feminine hygiene kits to women and girls around the world. I support the Avon IN team with reversible pads and liners. The photos below show part of the contents for 30 kits.

https://www.daysforgirls.org

Lively colors and patterns for both sides of the pad.
Two liners with pockets and wings (with snap) are paired with eight of the pads (shown above) in a drawing string bag which include panties, soap, washcloth, etc.

When inspiration hits dirt

22 Apr

Back ground: Winter 2021. When will pandemic end? Seed catalogs: Shumway and Jung. Delightful dreams of spring planting. Adventure! For the first time I ordered strawberry, raspberry and asparagus roots.

The good news (maybe) is that I reconsidered where to plant strawberries and asparagus to prevent them from becoming snacks for wildlife. These are my trials/experiments…what’s my vision?

Veg in One Bed by Huw Richards, Wales

The Family Garden Plan by Melissa Norris, Oregon

Both are excellent! Great photos.

Several years ago, I followed the Instagram account (grandoakfarmtn) of Grand Oak Farm’s launch of a three season three acre project to supply farmer’s market with fruit, vegetables and flowers. I could see what they were doing, but I did not comprehend how it was orchestrated. Some areas of the field were planted with three different crops. What? How did they go together? Veg in One Bed (with photos) discusses three season gardening plan. However, as helpful as the plan is, it did not include examples with my favorite produce.

I turned to The Family Garden Plan which focuses on “likes” and growing quantities to supply the home kitchen year round. Very well done. Bible verses introduce each chapter. Illustrations and planning charts are outstanding.

My long term memory (40 years ago) of the kitchen gardens of Colonial Williamsburg Virginia kicked in. Ah! Ha! Charming. Fruits. Vegetables. Herbs. Flowers. Right out the back door. Narrow paths. Three season. Less than 1/2 acre.

Hmmmmm. There’s a future post on this subject. 😉

Outside the box: Topographical Map

23 Mar

(This will make more sense if you saw my previous post.)

Unlike most agricultural land in Indiana, which is flat and tillable for corn and soybeans, this special place is primarily woodland with a mile long creek. The “bottom” has three grassy fields (outlined with dark green). Everything else is woodland with various hardwoods that are 40-60′ tall. In other words, it is difficult to get perspective from any location.

I referred to the satellite map provided by the county government website and made MANY measurements of elevation plus distance. The elevation represented by the blocks covered by green and brown fabric is 850 feet (above sea level) and the highest of the rugged terrain. The blocks covered by brown fabric represents the rugged transition from peaks to valley. The creek bed is 760 feet (above sea level) on the west end, dropping to 740 feet with over a mile length.

Outside the box: Maps

3 Mar
This charming dish is a MAP of a coastal village with a harbor, community buildings, people and ships coming and going.

CHALLENGE: Translate or Map features of a woodland farm to media to share with toddlers…FABRIC. Since my subject is long and narrow, fabric will hold up better than paper products.

I made measurements from the satellite map of the county’s website to do my best with proportions. ENCORE:

MAP wall hanging 2.0
Aerial view of frontage with driveways and barns
intreperted with “faux” needlepoint rendition.

Then…taking it to the next level…study the elevations to create a topographical map!

“Escape to the Chateau”

24 Feb

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_to_the_Chateau

We highly recommend the television series Escape to the Chateau. Seven seasons are available for viewing.

Adventure, Laughter, Determination, New Beginning, Enterprise, Family, Restoration, Imagination, Repurpose, Architecture, Modernization, Style, Elegant Dining, Garden, Home Grown, Vegetables, Flowers, Style with Flare, Children, Grandparents, Glamping, Moat, Fish, French, Shopping Markets, Weddings, Food Service, Entertaining, Work In Progress, Utilities, Strategy, Research, Entertaining, Creativity

Needle point: my Work In Progress (circa 1984)

Days for Girls International

11 Feb

https://www.daysforgirls.org

2021 is my eighth year sewing for DfGI. I cannot think of another person or group I would rather sew for. Choosing the colors and patterns (within cultural guidelines) I work with keeps my interest.

Eight flannel pads per kit. I usually support 30 kits with each lot I sew. This photo shows 30 stacks of 8 tri-fold flannel pads.
Two shields with pockets and wings for each kit. Snaps on wings added during kit assembly by the local team. (Polyurethane laminate puts protection in the shield.) These 60 shields pair with the 240 pads above to support 30 kits for this months delivery.

Baltimore Album reimagined

4 Feb

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_album_quilts

By definition, “Baltimore Album” is a style of quilt originated in the 1840s most often appliqué on white blocks. For this project I stacked fabric “blocks” and bound one edge with ribbon (alternative to paper book). The “story” will be from Derek and Zoe’s imagination as bold images are revealed turning “pages”.

Backstory: Some years ago I discovered https://www.spoonflower.com/en/how-it-works in a magazine in a doctor’s office waiting room. Spoonflower.com will print your images on fabric…even bolts of fabric…even offer them for sale to the public! I did upload 10 photos and got proofs in return. The lilac and spruce images on cotton (above, right sides) are two of the ten. Voila! My samples are incorporated in children’s “books”.