Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Todays creation

Matching dresses for a friends dear little children. 
 I had so much fun sewing on corduroy, and using my new Bernina invisible zipper foot.  It is AMAZING what the right tool can do for a job!  I have been using my regular zipper foot to insert zips ever since I got over  my zipper phobia.   But the ease of insertion and the smooth finish I got with the heavy metal Bernina foot had me singing with joy! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Prairie Muffin

I was recently in a large metropolitan area and visiting with other traditional Catholics.  The subject came around to modest clothing, and she made an observation to me.  She said that many non TLM Catholics have a stereotype of us Traditionalists as "prairie muffins"  You know, we dress in long flowered dresses like we just stepped out of Little House On the Prairie.  And that was not necessarily a good thing.  We are not taken seriously by our larger Catholic family, or we are simply not recognized at Catholics!  I can relate to this.  At my old parish, a friend told me that people would ask her "Who is the German Baptist family?"   Duh, Im going to Holy Communion!  Duh, walk up to me and introduce yourself....notice the scapular, (if you even know what one of those is) the ample children with very Catholic names.....

Whoa, hold those trotting horses!  Its the typical modern Catholic "you must be like the world to be everything to everybody" kind of mentality.  Sorry, not interested.  In fact, this style of dressing for me did not descend from on high at the moment of my conversion.  Long flowered dresses have always been a part of my fashion world.  In grade school, dresses on little girls were still common, and I wore them all the time.  Back then I used to get comments like, "another dress??" from fellow 4th graders.  In high school I was a hippie, so I wore the standard calico and corduroy fare that we all wore to Grateful Dead concerts every day.  Keep in mind that I went to a suburban Chicago highschool that was populated with larger than life hairdos and Z. Cavaricci's.  I would often be engaged in very special conversation in the hallway between classes with gems like "hippie!!" or "are you wearing your mothers curtians?" that last one I would have to say, "No, my mothers curtains are beige and polyester lined, not good for a hippie dress" (but of course I had no backbone of sarcasm and quick wit in highschool, back then I was so crushed by daily misery and boredom that I would just hang my head and walk on)

So, fast foreword to today.  Im a mom of 7 children living in the country.  I am a Catholic who goes to the Latin Mass.  It just so happens that I love calico and linen in long and flowing designs!  It just so happens that my plethora of girls share this love with me.  It just so happens that I can sew!  Wow, wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, we wear flowered dresses, and....WE LIKE IT!

Is it my problem that "I am not approachable" by your average Catholic on the street because they think I am mennonite or something?  Is this my problem?  (no) Do I have a smile on my face? (yes) Do I have a voicebox that works and do I speak english? (yes)   Could we have a problem in our larger church population if many can't bring themselves to chat with me because I don't dress right out of Old Navy? (yepper)

Let me get this straight.  I dont care how you dress, as long as it is modest.  I am not going to have the pants debate, because lets face it, St. Gianna wore pants.  We don't wear them here, but I know holy and happy Catholic women that do.  If I want to dress like and Amish woman, I will.  If I want to dress like Smurfette, Im gonna do it.  If I feel like wearing that denim skirt and t shirt that makes me look Pentecostal, then guess what, Im gonna wear it.  French Peasant?  Yep, like that one too.... Modesty and my own sense of style are what are driving my fashion choices, not what average Mrs. Catholic in the pew is going to think about me as she sits behind me at Mass.  (besides that veil thing on my head is distracting enough)

So, to the Catholic "dress like everyone else so that you fit in" crew, it is a big "sorry!".  I have never done that and Im am not going to start now.  That is the neat thing about being Catholic, the only dress code we have in the laity is "modesty".  That can be in a any sense.  Modern modest, sporty modest, prairie muffin modest, dumpy tired mom modest, whatever.  Just wear it and get over it!  Pray and ask Jesus what He wants you to put on your body.  Don't be dictated to by the fashion industry and what everyone else on the block is wearing!  Remember the wise words of St. Jacinta "Those who serve God should not follow the fashions."
Cozy reading to chew on here

Friday, January 18, 2013

Looking ahead to spring

Another sewing day today.
 I am working on a heavily altered version of this pattern.  I have lengthened it, shortened the sleeves and completely changed them, and made the neckline higher and just a plain old neckline.  I have made one already out of linen, and I love it.  It is so comfortable and elegant and practical.  I am looking foreword to sitting in my flower garden in the early summer in these dresses and enjoying all my children and my flowers.

Yesterday I dragged all of my apparatus back upstairs.  I had been on a sewing hiatus since Thanksgiving.  My last 2 babies have been born in the late fall and winter.  I have plenty of cold weather maternity wear, so I have been happily and comfortably bundling up in that.  But looking forward to spring is a bleak prospect in the attractive yet modest maternity department.  Basically, I have nothing except a denim skirt and some t-shirts and 2 way to short Old Navy jersey maternity dresses which are only appropriate for dinking around the house.

I have looked in the maternity section of every thrift store I have been in the last 4 months.  If I was depending on store bought clothing for myself, I would be in bleaker trouble.  There has been nothing for a mama who desires to attire herself in something other than jeans and a low cut v neck top, or a maternity mini skirt.  Ok, I did find 2 sweaters, that was good, but NOTHING else.

  Since I have no $$$ to buy maternity clothes, and there are really none out there that suit me (i am a hard to fit mama) if I did, I thank God for the ability to alter a pattern and sew it up.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I love old stuff

 This oil lamp was used on the farm in Cloverdale IL by my Czech great grandmother Anna Stanek.   I like to look at it and think just how close the do it all, have a bunch of children farming wife is to me.
 More old stuff from my grandmas house.  She used these washtubs on the farm when her children were little.  Everything in this photo taken from my pantry room is from grandmas house, except the bread box and the picture.  The picture was saved from a dumpster.  How anyone could throw out an old print of The Sacred Heart is beyond me!
And here, the lovely blue Ball jars.  I suppose I should fill them with something and make them useful, but for now they sit and give me joy collecting the light.  Most of them are from between 1920 and 1950.  The crock is the best part.  It used to hold homemade sauerkraut on my great grandparents farm.  God willing, next year it will do the same job here! to find that big old lap sized slaw grater....

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Im gonna be straight up here...

I don't like growing vegetables.
I don't care about vegetables growing in my garden.
This year I am not growing hardly any vegetables in my garden.

This year, I am growing flowers. 
You can call me a bad homesteader.  You can tell me I am being frivolous.  
"You cant eat flowers!" you'll tell me...
That's fine.  I don't care.

There are many things I give up in sacrifice for this life of raising a big family in the country for the glory of God.   Many things I would like to do that I can not because of my vocation in life.  My life is called to be sacrificial for my children and my spouse.   I'f fine with that.  It was not how I was raised, it is not what our culture is about, but I'm all over it.

I want to cook a beautiful Indian feast for dinner.  I can't because the children won't eat it.  I want to go to France on vacation, I can't because Im too poor to afford it.  I want to spend my time writing or sewing, I cant because people need to eat and clothes need to be washed and school needs to happen. I want to take a rest all day Sunday, I cant because, again, people still need to eat and have baths.   I want to walk to Mass, I cant because the only good Mass is a 35 minute drive from my house.  I want to live in a tiny cabin with minimal possessions for me to take care of, I cant because we would not fit and my husband is not into that.   I could go on and on ad nausuem.  But I wont.  

This year I am raising flower seeds.  Why?  because to get all hippie on you, this year in the garden I am following my bliss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With a baby due in June, I plan on sitting my big pregnant self in my garden and letting my eyes and soul feast on the loveliness that will (God willing) surround me via flowering plants.   

Vegetables, blegh.

I can say this because my dear husband has a job that supplies me with all of the free or very cheap local organic vegetables that my heart and family could desire.  Enough to choke 3 horses.  Enough to feed to my steers and pigs plus the family.  So, really, vegetables are not a necessity for my time this year.

When you are a mom, and especially when you are in a season of pregnancy, you need to make good use of the limited energy and time that God gives you.  That is why I am putting my foot down on a garden full of veggies this year.  Ok, Ok, I will grow some broccoli.  But it won't get that much of my attention.  Chard and salad will grace the soil too, but thats about it.

Its flowers for me.  The joy of stating them, the joy of setting them out in the spring.  The joy of watching them come into flower, thats about all I want from my garden this year.  Im being selfish about this.  But I think that since God gave us such beauty among the world of flowers, its not really selfish to say "hey God, I really want to enjoy this year with your amazing flowering creations!"  I hope He will bless it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Gratuitous Cloth Diaper Stripping post

Every crunchy mom with a blog needs to have her cloth diaper dilemmas aired to the world, in the hope that some other desperate, end of her rope, never say die cloth diapering mom will gain some wisdom and help from their suffering and trials with cloth diapering.
Well, here is mine!
Today I stripped my diapers.  The rank diaper smell was more than any of us could bear.  It had gotten to the point that you could smell that wet diaper across the room.  Those wet diapers were beginning to make the dirty chicken coop smell like a fresh spring day.
Luckily I won the huge pot that you see above at the annual family Christmas dice game. It used to be my grandpas, used for catching meat under the meat grinder.  All my aunt could remember it being used for was to be a toad habitat on the breezeway in her childhood.  I saw that pot and thought one thing......
Luckily I won the pot.
Luckily I now have an old stove in my garage, because honey, boiling diapers stinks!
Luckily I also inherited my grandmas old "laundry stick" from the farm.  Great for stirring the pot of boiling diaperage, and for lifting the boiling hot dripping diapers out of the pot when done.  Much better than that cheap barely metal made in China piece of junk tongs I used to use in this pioneers process
Basically, you fill a huge pot with water, bring to boil and add diapers.  I boil them for about 1/2 hour, stirring now and then. Then I lift them from the water, put in another old pot or old diaper pail and go and dump them into the washer to rinse and spin.  Thats it, done!
Other methods of stripping diapers do no good around here.  I don't know if it is our water, our pee,  whatever it is, NOTHING else on the whole blamed internet  that worked for others to strip their diapers worked for me.  
I tried everything I read.  Even dumping boiling water into the washer.  Still stunk.  Then in a desperate moment I remembered a plate my grandma had on her kitchen wall.  It showed a happy looking lady in a mop cap standing over a huge cauldron with a stick, stirring clothing in a boiling pot.  That was my epiphany of diaper sorts.  I used my old canner and a pair of tongs right in my kitchen and it did the trick! Yes, I burned myself because the tongs were weak, yes my kitchen stunk because of the smell of rank boiling diapers, but the end result was diapers that could be wet in by baby and not smell like the ammonia and rotting beans plant.
I would highly recommend to anyone suffering from cloth diaper stink that just wont go away, to get out a big pot and get boiling.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Back to reality

I was five days in the crazy land of Chicago.  Too long for me, my soul and body was crying out for the winter white of the quiet countryside.  Give me a icicle covered barn over a festively decorated shopping mall any day.  Give me icy back roads over grey slushy toll roads and I will not complain.
I am so thankful that my quiet world is ages away from the rolling endless expanses of downtown and suburban sprawling Chicago land.  
I am happy to be in my own little world of my home and life here in the country.  I am happy to have the space to raise my children for the glory of God and the restoration of traditional Catholic culture here in the "middle of nowhere"  
Not for all the money in the world would I choose that life, where you can not even buy groceries or fill up on gas without a TV blaring in your face.  A life where it seems everything centers around buying or selling something.  
How thankful I am to be home.