Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I had "writers bloc" for a while and couldn't think of a single thing to blog about. But this morning, as I was encouraging a cast teammate and offering her suggestions on how to more economically produce her product............a brainstorm !!!

I was taking pictures to show her what could be done with a simple wooden ball cabinet pull, when voila !!! my subject matter was right before me.


This particular chair had five exact replicas. It was one in a set of six that paraded around our kitchen table when I was a child. Handmade by my Daddy (I guess I come by this inclination naturally!!). My dad was a school teacher. Wonderful profession for a dad. He was home early, had weekends off, all school holidays off and the whole summer. He had plenty of time to doodle on his hobbies. He made us lots of wonderful things. I'll share more about them in future blog posts.

My dad died when I was just 14 years old. I am the oldest of four. All my siblings were each a year younger than the the preceeding one. Just six months after this, we moved to another state, lugging all our earthly belongings - the chairs included. Moved again a year later - but the chairs came too.

My mom stayed in this final house until she died. Then followed the bittersweet distribution of our family heirlooms. With the blessing of my siblings, I inherited two of the chairs.

Of course, when were were actually using the chairs every day in our childhood home, they did not look funky. The looked like normal, everyday chairs. My dad was fond of decals and he plastered a "kitcheny looking" decal on the back splat of each chair.

When the chairs came to live at my house, I wanted them to have a place of honor. I wanted people to admire them. I set about to repurpose them.

At this point in time, there was a local arts movement - spear-headed by a local potter named Victoria MacKenzie-Childs. Her pottery was so whimsical, funky, and colorful, that she soon became a household name. Her wares were carried in posh giftshops all over the country. Even Neiman-Marcus carried MacKenzie-Childs work. There were TV shows featuring her and her home. Her production plant overlooking Cayuga Lake in upstate NY became a destination. Tours were offered, her work was for sale, you could get seconds, have lunch there, browse through the gardens......

I decided to embellish my chairs ala MacKenzie-Childs. What you see is a homage both to her style and to my Daddy.

If you have inherited a precious heirloom, give it a place of honor, make it the star of the show............

Monday, February 6, 2012

Dress A Girl Around the World

This past Saturday, February 4th, the women's ministry at my church had an old fashioned "quilting bee". Only we didn't make quilts, we made dresses for girls in impoverished nations. We brought sewing machines, ironing boards, irons, scissors, all kinds of notions and trims, etc. and we brought ourselves.

There were specific stations set up. Two tables of sewing machines, 3 ironing stations, 2 cutting tables, a doll making station, assembling of dress kits station.

A dress kit contained the two pieces for the front and back of the dress, elastic for the front and back gathering, seam binding for the arm holes and to tie at the shoulders, a pocket, and an embellishment or two. This was all color co-ordinated.

These kits were packaged in plastic bags for women to take home to put together. Of course, we also put together as many as we could on Saturday. All together we made 40plus dresses in sizes 3 to 12 and an ecology doll to put in each dress pocket.
(doll completely made from fabric and yarn scraps)

The rationale for a girl having a pretty dress in a third world nation is: she is then perceived to be well taken care of by her family (even though she may have no family). There are many, many children orphaned by the aids epidemic who are street waifs. Often the girls are transcripted into the sex trade and forced into prostitution in exchange for food and lodging. Even children who do have parents may live in ghettos made of cardboard boxes. A dress may enable a child to attend school. At the very least, it will lend her a little self respect.

The dresses are always hand delivered to the villages by missionaries. Two families from my church will be delivering dresses - one to Tanzania, Africa and the other with a Young Life mission to S. America. Dresses will be delivered by both of these families to the girls in the villages where they will be ministering.

If you're interested in learning a bit more about this ministry, Here's the link: