“Under African Skies” ~ Paul Simon

In early memory                                                   Mission music                                                        Was ringing ’round my nursery door.          ~ Paul Simon (From Rhythm of the Saints)

I can’t believe it’s been a week since I wrote.  It’s been a busy time for me.  I had the pleasure of an 18-year-old guest in my home for the past three days.  I loved having her here.  She’s an old friend.  I met J when she was six.  Her family took care of me when D left.  I wrote about her mother S a few posts back.  J told me this weekend that when she and her sisters heard that D had left they wanted to go out and buy things to make me feel better.  And they did.  They brought me chocolates from the fancy chocolate shop downtown.  And lotion and bath oil and candles–comfort stuff.  They made me feel special.  And I desperately needed to feel special and loved.

We worked almost the entire time she was here.  J went to Uganda a while back on a mission trip and while there bought yards and yards of beautiful fabric.  She will go away to college at the end of the summer and she wanted to make a coverlet for her dorm room and a large spread for her bed at home.  And we did it!  The purple one above is for the dorm room.  Purple is appropriate since it is a K State color.  It’s made as a quilt with machine quilting grids.  No time to quilt by hand.  The second one, pictured below, is for her queen-sized bed at home.  It is a tied quilt.  I love the strong colors in both of them.  I’m afraid the photo of the second one doesn’t do it justice.  It is many-colored.  Brilliant, shiny colors.  Lovely.  As you can see, the backing is orange.  I have decided I must go to Africa to buy fabric.

I found it interesting this weekend that J had a lot of questions about D.  Natural curiosity, I think.  She told me how much she and her sisters loved him because he would play with them endlessly.  He would sit patiently and let those three little girls do all manner of silly things to his hair and then they would roll on the floor laughing at how ridiculous he looked.  That’s the old good-natured D we all knew and loved.  Where did he go?

Enough of that.  Here’s to J and her new life in college with new friends, new challenges, new fun.  I will miss you little girlfriend.  And I love you.

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Pillowcase dresses for little Haitians.

My first pillowcase dress.

When I wrote Growing.  Up, up and out of the ashes. on February 24, I mentioned a project I think is worthwhile, making dresses for little girls in Haiti.  Two readers, Caroline and Tish, indicated interest.  I don’t know what the official site for this project would be.  I googled Haiti pillowcase dresses and found numerous sites about this project and similar ones as well.  Caroline, there are  sites for the same type project in Africa.  With your love of the Dark Continent, you might be interested in one of the African projects.

Several sites give instructions for making the dresses in a variety of sizes.  If you have extra fabrics lying around you can use that instead of pillowcases.  There are instructions for both types, including templates for the armholes.  The pillowcase is quick because the hem is already done for you.  I don’t know if you can tell in the photo, but I put a little daisy decorative stitch around the top of the hem.  Also, the armhole cutouts make perfect little pockets for the dress if you’re so inclined.  There are many ways to make them look like dresses, not pillowcases.

I had a meeting with my group at church yesterday and we decided Henry Ford’s assembly line would serve us well.  We can turn out more dresses faster that way.  We have decided to make it an ongoing project in our group.

FYI:  One of our pastors met with us yesterday and confirmed the story about the rapes.  She went to Haiti recently.  For me, that makes the need all the more urgent.

Happy sewing if you choose to pursue this work.  I know it makes me feel glad to be able to help.