Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm a Dorcas

I love to sew. I love everything about it, from designing the project, to choosing the colors and fabrics, to putting it all together. But one of the things I love best is the silent time I have to myself to sit and think.

Sometimes my thoughts are of such mundane things as what to cook for dinner or how the light bulb in the hallway needs to be changed. Often, I plan my next sewing project. Occasionally my thoughts ramble down one random path after another until I get so lost in my head I can barely find my way out of my studio at the end of the day. But, once in a very rare while my cognitive process leads me in a more edifying direction. Yesterday I was mulling over a Bible passage I stumbled across about a year ago...

The story concerns a woman named Dorcas, a disciple "who was always doing good and helping the poor." Acts 9:36 By the time we meet her, the poor woman has become sick and died. As it so happened, Peter was in a neighboring town at the time and was summoned at once. Upon his arrival, "all the widows stood around him crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them." Acts 9:39 Can you feel the love, the pride, the grief in that one sentence?

There were several things about this short passage that resonated with me:
  1. Dorcas loved the people around her
  2. She showed her love by sewing for them
  3. They accepted her gifts for what they were - an expression of her affection
  4. They had an abiding love for Dorcas in return

Although I'm not always "doing good and helping the poor," I felt such a kinship with Dorcas at that moment I too mourned her passing. It made me think of my own grandmother who sewed a mountain of clothes for me throughout my childhood, and of my husband's grandmother who pieced the most beautiful quilt tops. I considered the love that must have gone into each and every stitch and I was humbled and honored. And I felt a sharp pang of longing to see them just one more time.

Further, it gave greater meaning and purpose to my craft. My sewing IS more than an artistic endeavor. It's an expression of my love for my family and friends. My hope is that they will feel that affection on some level, and that my stitching will create a legacy of love that will outlast me.

Your craft may not be sewing. And you might not be a Christian. But as an artist who is also a mother or daughter, sister or friend, I'm sure you understand what I'm talking about. When you create whatever you create, you're creating more than a tangible item. You're crafting love. You can read the entire short story of Dorcas in Acts 9:36-43. By the way, the story does have a happy ending.

If you're a Dorcas too, I'd like to hear how you became one and why. If you'll send me an email I'll share your story in a new monthly feature. And for my Etsy friends, leave a comment and I'll include you in my next treasury.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

From the Scrap Basket

So, we recently moved into a house after living in our motorhome for a year. Upon receiving our household goods, I was shocked and dismayed to see the amount of fabric I not only had in storage, but also had accumulated over the past year. Piles and piles and piles of material. I'll NEVER use it all, not even if I sew 8 hours a day, every day until I reach 93 and a half years of age. Maybe, just possibly, if I live to 93 and three quarters...

I have three distinct categories:

1. yard goods
2. recycled clothing
3. scraps

My plan of action to tame this beast is:

1. pillowcase/laundry bags with the yard goods and
2. these adorable totes and mini totes with the scraps.

You can expect to see lots more of these products in my Etsy shop,, in the next few weeks. If not, call 911. It means I've been buried alive under a mountain of cotton.

I know I'm not the only fabric-aholic out there. How big is your stash and what do you plan to do with it? Show us your pics...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Immortal Utterances of Children

Every family has a cache of stories involving their children and the surprises that issue forth from their sweet little mouths. I was reminded of this the other day when my children got into an argument as they played in the pool. My oldest daughter was trying to grab hold of the little one who shouted, "Leave me alone. You know I have issues!" I could only shake my head and tell myself, "I've got to stop letting them watch Oprah."

Here's another story from my own childhood. It was Sunday afternoon. Church had let out and everyone including the preacher was gathered at my Mamaw Johnson's dinner table for a feast of fried chicken, roast beef and a truly impressive array of vegetables, breads, and pickles. My mother, being a good mom, was encouraging me to eat my English peas. And I, being a three-year-old, naturally didn't want them. The battle was on. I don't know how long we argued, but finally I had enough. All conversation halted when the angelic toddler in the sweet pink dress shouted, "I don't WANT any damn peas." I'm sure it was nothing worse than the reverend had encountered before, but I KNOW my grandparents and mother were mortified. The story got told and retold until it became a family legend.

I'm sure you have at least one good story to share, so let's hear it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Creating a New Work Space

As I mentioned earlier, we recently moved to San Antonio and I'm in the process of setting up my studio. (I use this term loosely. It's really an extra bedroom.) I don't know about you, but I'm always interested in the work spaces of other artists and crafters, so I decided to document the process for you. As you can see, I have a LONG way to go before this is a well-functioning space.
As the work continues I'll be posting new photos. Stay tuned, because I have an exciting contest planned as well. View the "before" pictures.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Three Cheers for Etsy

My newest obsession,, is a virtual marketplace for all things handmade. Going into it's third year on the Internet, Etsy now has over 1 million listings, so you're SURE to find something you like.

There are many reasons to buy handmade:
  1. You'll be getting a one-of-a-kind creation
  2. In most cases, handmade products are of superior quality
  3. You'll be supporting individuals, families, and the U.S. economy (there are other countries represented on Etsy, but the vast majority is U.S.-based.)
  4. You won't have to fight the crowds at the mall

I enjoy selling in my Etsy shop,, but I've also purchased some GREAT items. I highly encourage you to check it out.