Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sewing Pipe Organ

     When I was about four my parents moved to a new place and joined a new church.  We became active in the local First Methodist Church.  The sanctuary was lovely, with huge stained glass windows, and we sang hymns to a pipe organ in the choir loft.  My parents sang in the choir and music was a normal part of life.
     During childhood my sister and I would play church when we visited Nana, our maternal grandmother.  I suppose it would be more accurate to say we played church choir; we used some small red books as hymnals and Nana's old sewing machine was the organ.  Her sewing machine was in a cabinet on legs and the front panel pulled open from right to left.  On the backside of this panel  were two long boxes with lids, one above the other.  Each was maybe a foot long, 2-3 inches deep, and 3-4 inches high.  They served as two organ manuals, or keyboards.  We pretended to sing and play, two of the more popular hymns being Holy, Holy, Holy and Faith of Our Fathers.
     The organ and books were in my uncle's upstairs bedroom.  Sometimes we went from there to a spot halfway down the steps to the living room.  At this point the living room wall opened halfway up, and we could stand looking into it and pretend to be singing in the choir loft.
     I do not know why I remember this.  I suppose it was fun at the time; it involved music.  As I thought about this memory I remembered other things, such as feeling comfortable at church and generally enjoying some aspects of it.
     During my teen years church seemed to revolve around choir and friends.  This continued until I was 14,  at which time I made a switch to spiritual growth and church became more than a "play" experience (see Best Gift post).
     While thinking about that today I wondered how many of us continue to just play at church, if we even go.  I think it is sad that so many families do not attend church meetings or attend only at holiday time.  Maybe one reason is that there was never spiritual interest and growth; it was always just play.  In any case, I am grateful for parents who made us go to church on a regular basis.  It could not have been easy, but the benefits were worth it. I am so glad they recognized the value of what was taught and the discipline of going.   I am so glad that my husband and I have been diligent in this aspect; the harvest has been good!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekly Music Nugget 5, Mothers 
     This is my plug for the value of mothers in the musical growth of a child.  I speak from my own experience.
     When I finished my Dashees Garden Tuesday post this week I reviewed the role family played in my decision to become a musician instead of pursuing other interests, like needlework and sewing.
     My mother loved music, and our home was filled with all kinds.  She took me to orchestra concerts, ballet, opera, and musicals.  We heard the radio and records at home, everything from Tubby the Tuba to early rock and roll to Beethoven and Bach. She played the piano and sang,  the latter including bedtime serenades when I was young.  She took vocal lessons; I remember hearing her practice.  She gave a recital.
     Sometimes she tried to involve my sister and me when she was at the piano.  We pretended and danced when young; later she was my first piano teacher.  When she saw that was not in my best interest, she tried someone else.  When I desired to play the violin, she supported and encouraged me, even when I rebelled against practicing and  became tempermental and uncooperative when asked to play for others (what a pain I was!!).  Many mothers would have thrown in the towel, but apparently she sensed that I really needed my violin and lessons.
     My extended family did much to encourage other interests, but I only saw them a few times each year.  My mother hated to sew and did not do handwork until middle age.  She was a talented decorator, but I suppose it was easier to share music.  My grandmothers and aunts were second mothers to me in many ways, but it was my mother who had the greatest impact.  I wonder if I would have chosen music if the tables were turned and she had been an artist and my aunts musicians.  I doubt my desire and her support would have been as strong.
     As I contemplated this I became more aware of the gift of my mother and her strong influence in my life.  Mothers have a powerful influence on children, including shaping their desires!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dashees Garden Tuesday 3/Treasure Box

     When I was about nine years old my Aunt Harriet and great-grandmother taught me how to make simple doll clothes.  Barbie dolls were the latest rage, and I wanted to make a dress for mine.
     Aunt Harriet did lots of sewing, and she had a wooden dresser full of fabric.  When I visited she took me to the dresser and carefully searched through it for pieces I could use to make doll clothing.  I observed and commented on whether or not I thought I could use whatever she suggested.
     I loved this.  There was something exciting and intriguing about those drawers of fabric.  I could have watched her dig through them all day.  When I was older my aunts took me to fabric stores during  summer visits and let me pick out fabric as an early birthday present.  I always looked forward to this and would ruminate about what I wanted to make. 
     When I was 10-11 (I think) I graduated to pattern sewing and started by making Barbie doll clothes, often by hand.  Somewhere I received or bought supplies such as tiny zippers, hooks & eyes, and snaps.
     The fabric I used came from an unexpected source.  My parents took a trip to Spain and Portugal and met some interesting people during the trip.  One woman found out about my interest in sewing and sent a huge box of fabric remnants to me.   Oh, that was so exciting!  We filled an old wooden toy box with all of it, and it kept me supplied for years.  It became my own treasure trove.  I would sort through creamy satins, elegant brocade, soft wool, and pretty cotton chintz and calicos, all the time  fantasizing about what I might make.  So much fun (everything else-like homework and practicing-was procrastinated...)!!
     I have saved some of the clothing I made.  A few months ago I found the small case I keep it in and went through it for fun.  Inside were a few I especially liked, such as three ball gowns I made out of a cotton covered with purple flowers, a pale peach satin (blog photo) and a chintz covered with red roses.  Memories came back.
     After sewing class in seventh grade I tried my hand at a wool skirt for myself with the help of another aunt.  This was really cool!  That was the opening of a door to making my own clothes, which I occasionally did.
     Now I have my own purchased stash of fabric which has a way of getting bigger and bigger.  I still love going through fabric stores and it is difficult to resist buying!   Maybe someday I will have a grand-daughter who will feel the same way and I can share sewing with her, or at least make pretty dresses!  Maybe in the future I will try my hand at creating some doll clothes for my Etsy shop.  


Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekly Music Nuggets 4, Online Gadgets

     A year or so ago my metronome broke and I could not get a new one right away.  I googled metronome on the internet and there was a free one there; in fact, there is more than one!  It worked just fine.  As long as a computer with sound is available where you practice, this is a good temporary solution.  The one I used is at the following link:
     Today I discovered that I can tune my viola (or violin) online.  I don't plan on doing it, but it might be great for students with no keyboard or tuner at home.  The viola link is
     Wow.....the internet is great!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ha Ha

     I must be losing my mind.  Or maybe I am finding it.  Who knows.  Here goes....a link to one of my all-time favorite videos/songs.  I absolutely LOVE this song.  Why I don't know....but it always just cracks me up.  And cheers me up.  It is so silly.............but has some interesting observations about people...........??!!
     A friend of mine introduced me to this when my boys were young and we watched it a lot.  Love the songs!  I found this link on one of my son's Facebook sites.  Here goes.....and if you don't have time to watch the whole story, skip to about 2 1/2" in.
     One of the stories from Muppet Classic Theater :

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dashees Garden Tuesday 2

     I have decided to work on small pillows for a while.  Posted below is a picture of the latest one I have made.  The heart is cut from a vintage doily; it lines a heart hole cut in the velvet front.  The back has a pocket made from a vintage pillow case; I love the trim!
     The velvet is an upholstery fabric which does not ravel, making it fun to work with.  And it feels good.
     The trim around the heart is vintage tatting cut from a doily;  heart is also embellished with pearls.  Very feminine!   Nice contrast for a home full of males.....even the dog.  Guess this is my escape!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Piles of Snow

     Below are a few pictures from a blizzard we had on Groundhog Day.  I love the shadows and shapes from light and wind.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Weekly Music Nuggets 3

     This link is a short newspaper announcement of a meeting for The Listening Club: Classical Music for Non
Musicians.  I have never heard of this kind of group.  This one meets at a library.
       I am going to tuck this away for future reference.  Great idea!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dashees Garden Tuesday

     This is the first post in Dashees Garden Tuesday, a weekly post related to happenings in Dashees Garden and topics related to it.  Possible topics are what I am making, what I am learning about handwork/sewing, blogs I like, and family inspirations.  Postings will be under the label Dashees Garden Tuesday.
     This post is a photograph of a section of crazy quilt sewn by my Aunt Hoto.   Most or all of the fabric seems to be silk.  She embellished the seams with embroidery, and dates are embroidered on some of the pieces.
     I love this quilt because it reminds me of my aunt and it is beautiful.  I love the feel of silk and the embroidered dates!
     She was a great aunt, a sister of my grandmother.  She married but never had children; as a consequence she always found time to help me learn to sew when I visited her.  She could do just about any kind of sewing or handwork.  I remember her crocheting an entire suit and sewing  a coat and another suit (she knew how to tailor).  When she died my mother gave me her sewing box and everything in it, including lovely silk thread, sewing tools, and crocheting/knitting needles.  It was a treasure until it was damaged by water!
     Enjoy.  Hopefully most future posts will be shorter!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekly Music Nuggets 2

     Practicing...oh, how I used to hate that word!  This tip will help you make better use of time, and practicing will seem to go faster.
     ORGANIZE.  Take the time to divide your practice session into sections and use a timer for each.  The timer prevents the distraction of watching time; organizing helps you be aware of how much you learn and time will fly by.  I know this works!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It Came

     And He said "Let there be snow".  And it came.  And came.  And came.
     And He said "Let loose the fierce wind".   And it blew.   And it blew.    And it blows...............
     Pics later.

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.