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Book Review: The Alice Network

3 Oct

Brought to my attention by Qanon @llcoolja17.

 

Ladies, Ladies, Ladies:  The Alice Network by Kate Quinn is extraordinary, compelling, historical, revealing, healing…

The narrative of The Alice Network alternates between 1915 and 1944 chapter after chapter skillfully telling the story of female spies in WW1 and WW2 in Europe with an amazing amount of historical accuracy.  Europe did not have a chance to recover from WW1 before they were reliving the tragedy of another war.

My husband and I had the opportunity to go to four reunions with Marines who survived Iwo Jimo (with Dave’s Dad before he passed in 2018).  There are many layers to war stories.  It is personal for veterans.  To also have the insights of women patriots as told in the The Alice Network is a blessing.

As a second personal note, 2015 was the 100th anniversary of Allison Transmission where I worked for 36 years…2015 was also the 100th anniversary of Tennessee Tech University where I graduated in Industrial Engineering…2015 was also the 100th anniversary of the town of White Pine TN where my parents have lived for the past 40 years…2015 was also the 100th anniversary of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard near where we lived in the early 1970s.  Many enterprises, schools, communities, government facilities do not last 50 years (or lost their original identities).  

So… four entities I am very familiar with were all founded in 1915…that is before World War I.  What an interesting coincidence!  I added a web page with a tab above because I was unaware of this common denominator until 2015.

 

 

Oh! Brother

27 Sep

Thanks to the expertise of Clifford Blodget, I successfully chose Brother 1034D Serger Sewing Machine to support Days for Girls International with the “serged” alternative to “Turn and Topstitch” reversible, tri-fold flannel pads.

The Serged flannel pad is a significant design change with the same size/proportions as “Turn and Topstitch” as well as six flannel layers for absorption.

 

Clifford is excellent simplifying and illustrating the serger sewing machine with 4 needles (2 upper and 2 lower).  I also appreciated the statement “Sergers DO NOT have REVERSE” and the discussion about the knife edge that trims the fabric as it moves toward the needles.  It is not intuitive that trimming is required for success.  The trimming function makes the edge very neat and flat.

This machine has 95% of the threading instructions exactly where you need them… on the machine!  Tweezers are required for the 4th spool feeding the 4th and lower needle.

The compact size fits well on sturdy folding table.

DfGI serged tri-fold flannel pads

Here I “sew” again…supporting Days for Girls International.

https://www.daysforgirls.org

PS  My Brother ADS-1500W portable scanner has served me well— saving 1000s of pages of former paper files.  🙂  I’m a fan!

 

*500*

26 May

Indianapolis has hosted the 500 mile Indy Car Race on Memorial Day weekend for over 100 years!

https://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/events/indy500

Just as predictable as Race Day…are peonies in bloom on Race Day

I’m thinking of 500 for another reason….as I near completion of 5,000 items for Days for Girls International.

Each Days for Girls kit has 11 sewn items made by volunteers around the world.  Days for Girls delivers feminine hygiene kits globally.

I have volunteered since 2014.  After some months, I chose to concentrate on making the reversible trifold flannel pads and the top stitched shields with pockets, wings and PUL (polyurethane laminate).  (The drawstring bags, seen in most DfGI photos, make the 11th sewn item for each kit.)  Volunteer’s choice!

In my case, focusing on pads and shields…

4,000 pads (8/kit) and 1,000 shields (2/kit) means that I have supported 500 kits with 91% of the sewn content.

(Purchased items include panties, wash cloth, soap, ziplock freezer bags.)

Sewing includes purchasing your materials (some donated).

4,000 pads:  I get 10/yard.  Drum roll…400 yards of flannel

1,000 shields:  6.5/yard (front, back and 2 pockets)…150 yards of cotton print

1,000 shields also require lining (60″w)…40 yards of PUL

I have 54 empty spools that had 500 yds ea …27,000 yards of thread

It is a pleasure to support DfGI’s mission to support every girl PERIOD.

https://www.daysforgirls.org

 

Out for Local Delivery, Prepared for Next Batch

4 May

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

40 shields plus 160 flannel pads delivered to local chapter of Days for Girls International to be kitted in a fabric drawstring bag with panties, washcloth, soap, ziplock freezer bags and instructions.

Flannel cut in one yard lengths make 10 pads each.  Bolt of PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) used in shields for leak protection.  Cotton fabric is used for the outer layer of shield as well as pockets.

“Mura”

21 Mar

Over the past 5 years I posted about sewing for Days for Girls International 28 times.  What’s new?  Last year I had the opportunity to change my shipments/deliveries to a new local team led by a long time friend.  My work flow shifted as best described in Wikipedia  as:

Lean manufacturing or lean production, often simply “lean“, is a systematic method for waste minimization (“Muda“) within a manufacturing system without sacrificing productivity, which can cause problems. Lean also takes into account waste created through overburden (“Muri“) and waste created through unevenness in work loads (Mura).

There is a second approach to lean manufacturing, which is promoted by Toyota, called The Toyota Way, in which the focus is upon improving the “flow” or smoothness of work, thereby steadily eliminating mura (“unevenness”) through the system and not upon ‘waste reduction’ per se. Techniques to improve flow include production leveling, “pull” production (by means of kanban) and the Heijunka box.

My emphasis has been on “improving workflow” in my attic sewing room.

My usual shipments to Iowa supported 40 kits with 10 items for each kit (Total=400).

With local delivery, I shifted to supporting 10 kits at a time (10 items for each kit/Total=100).

Although I still buy flannel 32 yards at time, 8 different colors/patterns 4 yards each…(this facilitates washing/drying impacting shrinkage)…which I cut into one yard lengths, which makes 10 flannel pads, which is very manageable and are placed in freezer gallon ziplock bags, which makes for easy counting and the ziplock bags are then provided in the finished DfGI kits.

I sew 80 flannel pads with 8 different colors/patterns combined into 10 ziplock bags.  Then I make 20 liners with PUL, pockets and wings in 2 different color/pattern combinations (10 each in ziplock bags), which are delivered LOCALLY to be completed as 10 Days for Girls International Kits.

https://www.daysforgirls.org

Local chapters pack sewn pads and liners with panties, wash cloth, soap, instructions in a sewn drawstring bag with the DfGI logo for delivery around the world.  It is not just about sewing!  Local chapters are encouraged to make deliveries.  Our chapter delivered 50 DfGI kits to Haiti December 2018!

 

Out for Local Delivery

19 Nov

Latest DfGI liners with pockets, wings and PUL lining

Latest DfGI flannel pads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is year 5 sewing for Days for Girls International.  Until this summer I shipped my homemade contribution to teams working in other states…Washington and Iowa (from Indiana).

July I received emails from Kay in Iowa saying she noticed a New Team start up in my home town.  Better than that…when she gave me the name…I said, “I know HER!  I already have her cell number.”  I did not know Tammy sewed.  It is delightful to have her drop by or to run over to drop off with a friendly chat.

The team she leads completes the kit which includes 2 pairs of panties, wash cloth, etc in a drawstring bag.  For more information:

https://www.daysforgirls.org

Kits are designed to last three years.  They have been delivered to girls in over 100 countries.

 

Veteran’s Day 2018 (remembering 2016)

11 Nov
Charles Frazee, USMC, WW2, Pacific Theater

Charles Frazee, USMC, WW2, Pacific Theater

Over 100 veterans representing all branches of service

Over 100 veterans representing all branches of service

4th graders

4th graders

Kindergarden-3rd graders

Kindergarden-3rd graders

 

 

 

 

 

These beautiful students sang, recognized each veteran by name with a pin and card, and applauded.  A slide show featured larger than life photos of each veteran.  (Charles Frazee had five photos :).  Each grade sang the song for the Army, Navy, AirForce, Marine Corp and Coast Guard.  The first graders sang the Marine Corp Hymn.  The fourth graders finished with “Anchors Away”.  “Taps” was played to honor those who died in service.

Charles Frazee died Feb 15, 2018

 

Very proud day to be an American!  God bless the USA.

Elfcroft recommends watching the 2007 movie Lions for Lambs starring Robert Redford.

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

 

 

 

Days for Girls International:  Registered Super Solo Sewist

2 Jul

2018 is Elfcroft’s fifth year volunteering as a Solo Sewist.  This month’s shipment approaches the 4000 level for number of items sewn to support 380 kits.  Liners as well as flannel pads are top-stitched for durability.  I strive to maximize color and pattern in each of my shipments.  These items (total 320 pads and 80 liners) have shipped to a DfGI chapter in Iowa to complete assembly of 40 kits arriving today.

The 2017 DfGI Annual Report is available:

https://www.daysforgirls.org

Memorial Day 2018

28 May

Charles D. Frazee, USMC Pacific Theater WWII, Died Feb 15, 2018

On this Memorial Day, Elfcroft recommends watching the 2009 movie Taking Chance starring Kevin Bacon to honor the military veteran in your life.  Preview in the link below.

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

Kaizen and DfGI

3 Apr

In my post “Seven Global Concepts”, a fellow blogger explained Kaizen as a Japanese concept for continuous improvement.  DfGI or Days for Girls International grew their global influence by embracing Kaizen.  Their website explains their 25+ design revisions developing their reusable feminine hygiene kits.

https://www.daysforgirls.org

On a local level, Elfcroft applied Kaizen to the sewing room.  My cabinet with two drop leaves spans almost seven feet (great for curtain projects, etc. not so great for hundreds of DfGI items per year).  I noticed that working on DfGI kits would be easier if the machine was several inches lower.  No height adjustment is available in the machine or table.  I had the opportunity to move the machine to a sturdy, small folding table….and did just that!  The sewing cabinet is working as the cutting table (with one leaf down).  So far, so GOOD 🙂

Before

After (1)

After (2) The former coffee table (lower left) is great for staging fabric.