Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Legacy of Beauty

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This little note fell out of my 8 year old's Bible the other day.  My heart was so moved, and then twisted in anger a bit.  Not at my beautiful daughter, who is already beginning to see herself through the eyes of her Creator. But in anger, for a society that tells her she is supposed to look a certain way, dress a certain way, and that in pursuing these things she will find happiness.
I guess my real anger stems from within.  And I question myself.  If I haven't gotten this through my head, in 30 years of existence, how is my daughter ever going to do it?  And how on earth am I going to be the one who teaches it to her.
I spend a lot of time and energy on the pursuit of health.  I cook, from scratch, sometimes for hours at a time.  I workout 4 or more times a week.  I spend, what could be considered, a fortune on supplements and the such.  So, how does this translate to my daughter?  I wonder?  I hope and pray that my pursuit of health doesn't lead her into a pursuit of some said body image that is unlike her own and therefore unachievable.  
My little love caught me the other day looking at my rear in some jeans in the mirror.  She said, "Why do you always do that?"  So I guess it wasn't the first time she observed that.  You know how you do it, turn, look over your shoulder, try to get the most flattering angle...maybe you glance at a part of your body you hate and whisper some evil to yourself about how you need to do more crunches or pick up that dusty set of dumbbells.  Maybe it's a slender type of day, so you pat yourself on the back and think about how much better you are than you used to be.  It's all a game, so why do we play it?  Why do we change our moods or determine our happiness by what is staring us back in a piece of glass?
I don't know if I have any answers for this.  I know it continues within me.  I know it comes and goes with the cycles of the month, with the moods of my loved ones, with the turns of events in or against my favor.  On my best days, it doesn't consume me and maybe that is all I can hope for.
I read this post, of a woman's similar struggle and this post about how fake the fitness model industry is, both really shed a lot of light on the subject.    
I am trying so hard to evolve my thinking, to judge my body for what it can do, not for what it looks like.  So today, as I pass the mirror, I am okay I have a little bulge at the top of my pants.  I've had four freakin' kids and it doesn't hang over my pants...which I feel like I should mention, are very fitted!  Maybe I won't obsess over that little squishy part under my butt cheek that I can't get rid of even though I do hundreds of squats on a regular workout day.  Today I will pass by the mirror and see an amazing, strong person, who tries hard in everything she does and cares for her children with all she has.  Today I will see me.

Who are you that lies when you stare in my face
Telling me that I’m just a trace of the person I once was
Cause I just can't tell if you're telling the truth or a lie
On you I just can't rely. after all you're just a piece of glass
--Cademon's Call
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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Twirly Skirts

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I wish I got to kiss these cheeks more often or braid this hair from time to time.  But distance separates me from my little lovely niece.  This month was her fifth birthday and here she is twirling in her new circle skirt her "Sissy" made her.
This was one of the simplest patterns I have done, and I love it because you can modify the length and waist size to fit anyone.  It takes a little over an hour...well it should.  I always have glitches, tiny mistakes I make along the way, usually because I am distracted easily.  But if the pattern was already made, and the technique learned, I don't know why you couldn't make 2 or 3 in an hour.
Here's how you do it:

Materials: 1 yard of quilter's weight 44" fabric, elastic (the width you want the waist band-it will be exposed), large paper to make a pattern, and coordinating thread.

Measure the waist.  Measure the length from the waist to where you want the skirt to fall.

Now for the geometry of it all!  Waist + 2in = the Circumference of the inner cut.  To make the pattern you need the Radius. 

C (or Waist +2in) = 2 x 3.14 x R.....so.....

R = C (or the Waist + 2 in) divided by 6.28

Example:  My neice's waist was 17 inches. 
So 17 + 2 = 19.  19/6.28 = 3.03

With your radius you can start making your pattern:


Measure from the corner, putting dots at the measurement of the radius.  Then trace in to make the arched line.


I started with one yard of 44" quilter's weight fabric.  Fold the fabric twice.


Place the pattern along the folds like shown in the previous diagram.  Cut the pattern out of the fabric.


Put a 1/4 inch hem in. (folded over twice, sewed twice).  When you fold it over it does not look like a smooth circle, but as you sew it, the stretch in the fabric will smooth out the circle.


Cut a piece of elastic 1/2 inch larger thant he waist measurement (not the waist +2 that you used to calculate the radius).


Sew together and then sew the flap down to make a smooth waistband.


Attach the waistband to the fabric, pulling the elastic tight as you sew.  Pull from both sides, or you will tug at your needle or pull your machine off the table.

Attach decorative ribbon in the same matter if you want.

Here's the finished skirt on the table.  All of the extra fabric is what makes it flow so nicely. 


Note:  If you want to use your patten again on a different sized person, you must begin with new calculations.  I made the mistake of thinking to fast and just adding 2 inches to the pattern to make a skirt for my daughter who had a larger waist.  Then I cut my fabric...then I realized that if you add 2 inches to the radius you are adding 12.5 inches to the circumference....AAAH!  I do things like this all of the time, I think it is something about being distracted by little ones!  Here's how I fixed it:

First I laid it out into a pleat shape and found the center point.

I put a few stitches (and back stitches) into the center to create a pleat.

Then I stitched across the top to make it into a pleat.

I had to make two of these to get all of the pictures.  I hope you enjoy this tutorial.  I am really excited about the simplicity of the circle skirt.  I am already planning poodle skirts for a "Grease" themed Halloween!

Love and Butter,

Mishelle






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