Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Little Dresses and Old Memories

The past few days have been really filled with work, play, and in between. I can't seem to do more than one project at a time, so it's get this done, and more this project, and so on. I know I should never use a "play-on-words", but so on should be sew-on. I've been doing that since the beginning of the year and lately every spare minute. I manage to have the Norwegian Bunad accomplished...well, except now my daughter in her Norwegian American community needs a new hat, because she's married. It's tradition. I think I'll figure that out later.

Me, Trying To Sew
Lately, my huge project was the humanitarian Church project with the little dresses for Sierra Leone. The project helps young girls to be able to attend school. Girls are required to wear dresses and I don't know if we are doing this with other Stakes, but I suppose we'll find-out more about it all at the Relief Society Broadcast. I am excited to know more about it even if it's just our area doing the dresses and we can hear about the needs in the country.

Now the reason my dresses were so hard were because first I decided on to make too many and because I didn't read the directions. I thought I knew what I was doing. I wanted to make one dress in honor for each of my daughters. That would be five. I prayed and I fasted and since I know how to sew, this seemed easy. This is exactly the same way I taught my girls to sew. Ta Da! Oops! Can't finish the blog, I need to go to the Broadcast at the Church.

Relief Society Broadcast: I found out that the poorest country in the world was Sierra Leone. Our dresses were going to travel to Africa. My brother has been there. I was very saddened by the pictures that were shown of the country both rural and urban. The place was the same country as featured in the movie, "Blood Diamonds". The pictures looked worse than the Christian Children's Fund commercials on TV. Yes, they needed little girl's dresses. I stepped into the Cultural Hall at the Church and lost my breath. Everywhere I looked were dresses hanging everywhere. There were so many that they were piled on top of each other on the stage. Hanging dressed adorned the walls and all across the stage. Rows and rows of dresses of every bright color  no one could imagine the sight. I brought my camera and was so overwhelmed I forgot to take pictures.
The humanitarian project was local and just for our Stake. The leaders were working with a local doctor and a member of another Church. He told us that these people were Muslim. I knew that our dresses were probably going to children of another religion because we were asked not to make the dresses apparent that they were from the United States. 

The community that he practices medicine is huge. He takes care of all the adults and 1500 children there, and assuming half of those our girls we met that goal because we had made together on the first count,  750 dresses. More dresses were arriving, more were being sewn, and I saw at least 25 or more being sewn-up before the meeting even started. Heavenly Father knows what is required and spurred us on to do more.  It was hard, but all of us went the extra mile and we didn't even know why. It was moving and brought so much happiness to be a part of sending these dresses to the girls that need them so much. We don't know what will happen with them, but I know for sure that the dresses will get there and no one will be asked to pay for any of them. What a blessing of service because of the smiles we had, as we looked upon all those hundreds and hundreds of hours of work.

 The dressmaking marathon for me to give, was not easy at all. It was hard, very hard. I need glasses so bad. Why did I decided to make so many? I labored days on them. I embellished each one as if I was making the dresses for them. I did appliques and cuffs to match each one of the ruffly-part of the bottom print.

Beverly Fabrics blessed the children. I went there on Saturday, missing the sale. I put my head down on my arms on the cutting table and sighed when I found out I had missed the sale. It was so hot in Santa Clarita, and to go away without the material was a real downer. The manager asked me what I was making and I explained. She asked me if I would buy the material at the sale price for the girls. Wow. They only charged me $1.44 a yard, downhearted me...I must has looked pathetic and so surprised at their generosity. That doesn't happen much, does it?

I taught this same sewing technique in 4-H to my girls and the girls in my sewing project group. That's why I was so familiar with doing the T-shirt dresses. It was just a matter of adding on the ruffled bottom. It teaches straight sewing, gathering, measuring, real fun picking out material and tops. I tried to get all the girls in the sewing project to recycle old blouses. One Christmas during our sewing years, we made matching flannel red plaid shirts with long red flannel skirts. The girls and I wore them at the Fireman Christmas Parade with Santa on the firetruck. We used it for our Christmas card and wore them to three different Christmas parties and even to Church.

Dustin, My Son, Was On His Mission.

My daughters continued to make a few dresses that way because it taught them a lot and I was willing to buy fabric if they were sewing. All the girls except Kiely (she was still a bitty-girl) did it. Bree was asked specifically to make a recycled blouse into a dress, so she choose her sister, Tressa's star blouse. Tress was happy to rid her closet of it and we found the greatest striped fabric, ever. It was the flag strips. It looked like it was waving, 3-D and it was off white and dark red. Larin loved the idea and made herself one, too. They both were going to look like the American Flag for The 4th of July. The girls wore them to Church just before The Fourth and we sang the Star Spangled Banner. I need to explain that all of us were together. Steve was just a few weeks released from being the Bishop and we went from sitting in the front row of the chapel for nine years, to the back row in the breezeway. You sit tight in the front row and it was time to be able to sit loose. All of us were together. Steve's parents, our family, his sisters and their families. It was really two rows-- plus.

When Steve was released as a Bishop, all the members of the Bishopric were bald and had shiny heads. The next Sunday all of us, the whole family, wore sunglasses on the back row, no one really saw us but them, and it was really hard for them to conduct the meeting.

Hahaha! Fun stuff, but it backfired. Back to the 4th of July...Little did we know that when the girls came in, four missionary Elders conspired with the whole breezeway area to turn around and sing to my daughters with their hands on their hearts as if they were the flags. My daughters were about 11 and maybe 14 or 15. They turned redder than the stripes on the flag. The Bishopric was giggling in "amens-to-that-action" When we got home off went the dresses never to touch them again. I did convince them to enter them in the county fair. I still have the ribbons and metals they won, but the dresses disappeared. I can only guess they are buried next to where the big blue hairbrush lies, the paddle board, and all the wooden spoons in the house. The kids confessed that all were buried in shallow graves in an undisclosed location. They said they said prayers that we would never find them. Sheesh! Those were our best "threat" weapons. Dustin still thinks he got paddled by one, but he didn't, it was gone before we even could take it outta' the drawer.

I just told that story to my grandchildren. I told them too, if they kept fighting over the window seat in the car, I would make them come in the house and sit in our front window until they pass-out. I did put my own children in our front window, but only twice. Both times were going to be trips to the beach. I was all packed-up with lunches and towels, and umbrellas. All of it. They didn't think in a million years that I would go through with my threat. HA! Yes, they ate their picnic on the back of the couch, looking out the north window of our living room.

My son, Dustin, was especially and continually annoyed at his sisters, and did cause me grief a bunch of times, the car. He hated sitting with them. But, my secret plan always worked. He would start his tirade against his sisters and "pop" went in the awesome cassette tape of: "Don't Cry For Me Argentina"  He would be the perfect angel and I would remove it. Dustin says he still hates that song!

The older I get, I've found that a camera/phone with different and fun applications will stop a child from crying almost instantly. It's my new best grandma/nanny buddy.

 All of the children don't like to see themselves crying. Suddenly, they are smiling and asking if I could take a special cartoon picture of them or "picture booth" pictures. Crazy ones to send their family. I even promise more if they stay good and they do! We always make the deal and I follow through. I feel that some technology advances like genealogy searchers and little fun apps can add so much and work to our benefit daily. I know even with my sewing machine that is pretty new, but w/o many features, was only $150. My mother had to pay over $500 to get less when she and my dad ran the dry cleaners in Fillmore and had to do alterations and tailoring. I am so blessed and this is a blessed time.

I made dresses for those that can't make them. I learned quickly, even though I prayed to do it right, that NOT reading the instructions make it very difficult. The sewing project was almost impossible to do the right way and have the dresses wearable. The lesson here is I can pray and worship all I want, but if I don't read the directions, living the Gospel will be almost impossible. Yes, I'm reading the scriptures, but it taught me to continue always because I need it, even though I may think I know.

The Directions Say: Sri Lanka, But This All Was For, Sierra Leone, Africa

Our stake project will remain anonymous to the country of little girls. Only the doctor will know where the dresses came. I thought of the girls while making them. How tall will they be? Would she like the pink? I dreamed of the girls all Saturday night and was so sad that they have to live as they do with so much responsibility on their young shoulders.
Our family may not have much, we live simply and we make enough to meet our needs. Steve and I have no phone, except our cell phones, we have no Internet... so I tether my phone and we have no TV. We eat simply and we don't go on vacations or buy many clothes. Steve works while we stay at the beach house, that's just thirty minutes away. I shiver to think of the comparison to those living in such 3rd world conditions. We live as kings and queens. This all made me feel so humbled by their plight, even my health...I walk in pain continually but it is no comparison to their pain. I feel blessed to walk, to see, to hear, and hold my grandchildren. I am able to go freely about my day. Do these children laugh? My prayers go with the little dresses.

1 comment:

jenkinsfamliypost said...

good job mother. beautiful post.