Thursday, December 22, 2011

Feeling Better and Christmas is in Full Swing!

So glad to be moving on from that last post! 
I've started the round of 5 day medication and I am one day in and feel MARVELOUS
It's amazing how quickly I can forget how "normal" feels. But oh how good it is to be back and boy do I have a lot to get done in the next day!

In case you are curious, the five days of antibiotics needed to knock out this parasite ... the one that infects  so many UNTREATED people around the world is ... 

FIVE DOLLARS and some change.
How 'bout doing that for a commercial Visa!

Anyway ...
Things are abuzzin' around here tying up loose ends, wrapping things for under our tree and finishing up a few last sewing projects for other people's gifts under their tree too.
How many times can Nolan watch Thomas this morning (ack!) Poor guy! I'll be back to play someday ... really!

Here are the last 2 projects of 2011 from Ruffled Feathers. All are available in these and other beautiful fabrics. Just hop on over to and then email me your wishes!

A Ruffle Shirt=$28    Ruffle Pants=$26    Peasant Dress=$38

You may remember the Holiday outfit I made for a sweet local gal. 
Well, I had a chance to snap this photo of it being modeled when I subbed as a Sunday School teacher a few weeks ago. So very sweet!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Momma Always Said ...

My mom always said to wash your fruit.
And I always have ... well ... except for the occasional little grape that I might try in the store to make sure that the bunch I'm buying aren't super sour and a total waste of money.

Well ...

Momma was right. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS wash your fruit.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat a grape again. You see, for the last TWO MONTH (honest, I'm talking 8+ weeks) I've been dealing with some big problems with my GI tract.
At first I just thought it was that time of the year when the virus bugs at school start wrecking havoc with our family. (Our family has gotten the flu 8 out of the last 9 Christmases we've had children. Yes, ON CHRISTMAS.) I just figured it was getting a running jump on things this year. But oddly, it was only me who seemed to be effected. And on and on it went.
Then I thought, oh my goodness ... maybe I'm ... expecting?
No, it was NOT that ... but it did have some of the same intense nausea.

Then the stomach flu did hit the boys (I'm hopeful that we now WON'T have it over Christmas this year! PLEASE!) It came and went ... yet my problems continued ...

Have you noticed that I haven't really blogged for a long time? Just barely keeping afloat, I only even have been replying to other folks ... sorry!

Finally I just had had enough. I broke and went to the doctor last week.
Thankfully my blood tests all came back normal which meant I needed to do some "at home" testing and collection . (ack! Not going any further on that ... but I will say it wasn't fun.)

Anyway, results came back yesterday and I have a parasite.

And although there is no way to know for sure, I am so very certain that it came from a grape that I tried at the local grocery store. I even thought the slight white chalky covering was questionable and that maybe I should just skip the grapes that day.
Oh yeah, understatement of the year!

THANKFULLY, I did wash the grapes before feeding them to my family. And they have no problems.

So yesterday when researching my intestinal parasite, the first website I came to was about how 20% of all internationally adopted children suffer from this parasitic infection.
REALLY? Seriously?
This is the first website I open up? Shouldn't it have been Web MD or the Mayo Clinic? And maybe that doesn't seem so odd, except if you consider my passion for orphans. Recently I've had waves of doubt wondering what good I'm really doing on the orphan front since apparently God's plan does not include us adopting in the foreseeable future. Does He really want me or need me to be in this area? Is it my passion and not His for me?

And then I come down with a parasitic infection growing untreated for over 2 months. I now have a new understanding of the actual pain, fear, and depletion that someone infected with this has ... and to think that I could go with this untreated indefinitely if I were an orphan? Oh my goodness.
The discomfort, bathroom issues, malnutrition ... loss of energy and loss of hunger ... my heart goes out in a new way to anyone suffering with this untreated.
Although I was scared to think of the possibilities of a gluten intolerance or Chrone's disease or cancer or goodness knows what, I knew that at some point I could get medical help ... that someone would care for me if it came to that ... I was not alone.

So, although I did not travel to an exotic location or participate in a missionary trip to a developing country, I know that God is using this moment in some way for His good ... I wish I could convey the way it seems so clear to me. Perhaps I just need to share it in the light of my devotional reading that I had 2 nights ago as I waited for the test results and as I quite honestly was "praying for a parasite!" (Something that can be diagnosed and treated quite effectively.)

This was the entry I read Sunday night:
When you are plagued by a persistent problem—one that goes on and on—view it as a rich opportunity. An ongoing problem is like a tutor who is always by your side. The learning possibilities are only limited by your willingness to be teachable. In faith, thank Me for your problem. Ask Me to open your eyes and your heart to all that I am accomplishing through this difficulty ..."
Jeff and I chuckled at this when I read it to him. And yet, now I am so thankful. And I'm also very much looking forward to getting started on the medicine to rid me of this thing! (Can you believe I went to the pharmacy last night through heavy mall-journeying traffic and they did not yet have my prescription ready. Even though they had had the order all day? Weird. As I had to get the boys to hockey I called Jeff who was still at work to have him pick it up for me.
And he did ...
When we got home from hockey I went eagerly to read the instructions only to find that they had instead filled my monthly pill prescription and NOT the antibiotic.
Oh my goodness--I just broke out in laughter--not because I have lost my mind, but because this is the 3 or 4th time Jeff has tried to pick up my prescription when I come down with these odd things (like massive poison ivy, wicked pick eye, herniated belly button, lyme disease) and they always goof it up so I have to wait longer for the medicine. (Totally not a laughing matter in the case of the Lyme disease.)
I'm sure there is a learning lesson in there somewhere too.
And today I am thankful for so much. For doctors, medical care, antibiotics, for newly opened eyes and for a refreshed heart. And tonight when we travel in to the pharmacy I look forward to saying goodbye to these free-loaders.

Sorry to have been away so long, I hope I still have a few readers. And remember ... WASH YOUR FRUIT!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Riley's Hope HEART Outfit

We're still dealing with tummy troubles here on and off ... so I'm going to borrow this post from my Sewing Blog. Enjoy!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Although I've not met him, there is a three year old boy who lives a few hours from me who is battling a form of Leukemia. This is the outfit that I am donating to be auctioned off at a fundraiser this weekend in his honor. We're praying for strength for their family and healing and remission for Riley!

Don't you think it'll be perfect for Valentine's Day?!

 This is the new button closure elastic waist that is an option. It's especially great when you plan to use the skirt for multiple children of different sizes or through hand-me-downs or if you're traveling to adopt a child and don't quite know a waist measurement! It's on the inside of the waistband, so it's invisible!
This skirt/shirt combo is a size 6 (at 15" in length) ... but with the elastic waist with the button it could fit a size 4T as a longer skirt or a size 7 as a shorter skirt with leggings! Talk about versatile!

 The ruffle shirt detail photo.
 And a close-up of the fabrics in the skirt.
The benefit for Riley is December 17, in Hampton, Iowa. 
There will be a meal from 5-8pm with a Silent Auction and Raffle from 5-8pm. A Live Auction will start at 8:30pm followed by a dance.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Recently Ruffled Ruffled Feathers-Updated with Prices

(Whoops! Sorry I forgot this the first time, I've added some prices in case you are curious.)
In addition to the One-of-a-Kind items posted yesterday ... there is still time to order a skirt or dress before Christmas! 
Just email me and we can decide on the details. You can get more ideas at 
I also have two other Christmas skirts ready-to-go if you are looking for something Christmas-y RIGHT NOW! They can be there in your mailbox in days. One is a 3T/4T and has the cutest snowmen ... and the other has festive trees and is 13" in length (4T/5T).
Either skirt available for $24.00 each!

Just to get your creative thought flowing ... here's a peek at what's been coming together lately at Ruffled Feathers ...

Peasant Dress and Double Ruffle Ruffle Pants
(Peasant Dress=$40.00 and DOUBLE Ruffle Pants=$25.00)
This set is for a sweet girl from our church ... and I cannot wait to see Chloe wear them. In fact, it's my goal to dress ALL the girls in our church with Ruffled Feathers at some point. Wouldn't that be fun?! I've got a ways to go ... but it's a fun challenge.

Side-Split Skirts with matching Ruffle Shirt

(SideSplit Skirt=$26.00 and Ruffle Shirt=$18.00)

This set is for a sister and her soon-to-be-adopted sister! 
What a sweet thought to coordinate them! I cannot wait to see a photo of the two of them wearing these together!
Because the little sister is coming from an orphanage and her exact size isn't fully known ... I have this wonderful button-elastic hidden on the inside of the waistband that can be adjusted ON-THE-SPOT to just the right width. Yay! For anyone who has traveled and had clothes that ended up a bit big in the middle on their new little one, I'm sure you'll cheer with me!

Here are some detail shots:


But you don't have to have a sister to coordinate ... her mom also bought an identical outfit for her best friend too. I think that would be SO fun to match my best buddy.

If you have any ideas you would like sewn up in time for Christmas or Valentines Day or a birthday or just because, email me at   almquist at fmtcs dot com  (replace the at and dot with the symbols.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Skirting: Cinnamon Swirls and Royal Snowflakes

JUST in time for the holidays ...
Cinnamon Swirls and Royal Snowflakes
Two one-of-a-kind creations from Ruffled Feathers Company

Email me at almquist at fmtcs dot com (replace at and dot with the symbols) if you would like to deck your sugar plum in these togs this season. They are ready for immediate shipping!

Cinnamon Swirls
Size 3T Apron-Knot Dress
chest measurement= 23"  

Pine bough wreaths decorated with berries, cloves and cinnamon sticks festively dance across the snow-white background of the upper skirt fabric. Fussy-cut trim at the hem matches the apron with Rich Red and Holiday Green Paisley Scrolls and Swirls. The straps are made from a coordinating red and green holiday print that also is found in the bodice lining. This would look SO cute with a simple white long sleeve T-shirt.

Royal Snowflakes Skirt
Size: 4T-5-or-6 (depending how long you like your daughter's skirts)
*I will custom-make the waist whatever size you prefer! 

A 14-15" length skirt is usually my standard size 6 but I've had moms order 14" length for their 4T girls knowing that the generous waist elastic will give them a couple years of use. A perfect idea for this holiday skirt!

The two fabrics of this skirt dance with glimmers of gold throughout BOTH of their patterns! They are simply royal and nothing short! In fact I wish I had more of this fabric because it is so wonderful ... but it is truly One-Of-A-Kind! Because I don't. 
Please refer to the detail photos for the true beautiful color of the eggplant-purple colored skirt. It is scrumptiously rich and the embellished snowflakes are like jewels twinkling across it.
The pattern  is the fullness of my side-split-skirts without the "split." So they are not TOO overly-bulky and yet have just the right amount of twirl.

Isn't the fabric stunning?!
Turquoise blue, black, gold ...

Not sure what to pair with it?
I would LOVE to sew you a Ruffle T-shirt to coordinate PERFECTLY with it.
(I've just laid the coordinating fabric here ... just waiting to be ruffled on the shirt size of your choice.)
Matching Ruffle Shirt available in size 4/5 or 6 in white.
This is an example of a Ruffle Shirt. 
The Royal Snowflake Purple would be used on the white shirt 
with the Golden Swirls as the Fabric Roses.

All fabrics are pre-washed and ironed before being sewn.
Leave a comment or email me at almquist at fmtcs dot com (replace at and dot with the symbols) with any questions!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sharing Christmas

Finally our Christmas package was sent off to ND last Friday after waiting here for me to wrap and package it for way too long. (And I have to say that by adding just a couple of boxes around some difficult to wrap items and the Christmas paper and tape it went up by a few POUNDS! Oh yes, and I got another wild hair to throw in some hot cocoa mix for the kids too. We have now reached a new postage record. But ... it was OH SO WORTH IT!) 
I guess the Ruffled Feathers dresses did take a bit to finish up (not sure why I had to get a wild hair to do something more difficult--like a brand new pattern in the case of Melissa's: 
and a pattern outta my head for Eliana's corduroy jumper ... which ended up having a silky lining, a plaid ruffle and pieced straps. Ya, kinda intense! But oh, so worth it.), but otherwise I was "finished" shopping pretty much days after signing up for Melissa and Eliana.
It was simply So. Much. Fun! to shop for them.
Quite honestly it made me feel a bit guilty ... because was I really shopping for them?
Or for me?

Well, ultimately for them of course ... but the little girl in me had quite a bit of fun for a few moments.

There's always this feeling like I want to do more though ... and I'm left trying to fill that feeling that really these aren't the things they really want or need. 
And well, no, they really aren't. 
And no, I can't fill the deep needs of their heart. 
But those caring for them are doing such a great job ... and I have hope and faith that soon ... maybe even by next Christmas, these girls will be celebrating with their very own Forever Families and having their hearts filled in the deeper ways that only God knows how to fill.

And although I shopped with Melissa and Eliana in mind ... I tried to be open to some higher-guiding ... and I am also happy to think that perhaps some of these gift will cover the hearts of two new little girls who will be arriving to New Day TODAY! Yes, just in time for Christmas. With both of my girls being blessed deeply this season with other's generosity they are "fully sponsored"-- meaning they each have three sponsors. There is no doubt that there will end up being duplicates of at least a couple items for them. And since I am not a monthly sponsor for either of these girls and am not overly sentimental that they necessarily have to have these exact gifts, I am looking forward to seeing where things end up! Perhaps some of these gifts will end up brightening one of the new little girls' hearts as she begins her very first weeks at a very different place, as she experiences the love of her very first Christmas!

I'm praying that it arrives quickly to its destination half way around the world and I'm excited to see how it all unwraps Christmas morning (or whenever they celebrate at ND.)

Melissa's Package:
2 regular outfits, a Ruffled Feathers Dress with leggings and shirt, a twirly tutu, a fuzzy/silky blankie, a doll, a book and a musical toy (with extra batteries.) (And some candy.)

Eliana's Package:
A backpack, a Curious George Puzzle, an Usborne book, a dress-up outfit, a regular outfit, a fuzzy vest (not photo'd), Ruffled Feathers Dress with leggings and shirt and a very special baby-doll (and some candy.)
 (*Sneaky-peeking-little boy NOT included)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Celebrate the Day-The Scarlet Threads Way

Whew! I'm here. It's been a bit of a hiatus from blog world ... due to an ucky tummy.


In fact it's been THREE WEEKS of ucky tummy for me and I am SO GLAD to finally wake up feeling normal. (or closer to normal)
And although I don't have an explanation as to what I was battling (it went from my sinus to my eyes and made them red and swollen and puffy from one to the other for a week and then descended into my tummy for two more weeks of agony) I'm going to guess that it had to do with having 2 young-'uns in elementary school and one more young-'un potty training. Germ overload. And let me tell ya, I wash my hands so much my skin is cracking. (Which in itself is no doubt a problem for getting more germs in.) No one else has come down with it, which is weird, but such a blessing! But don't think I've totally been sitting on the couch. The Christmas tree is up, hocky practices and games have been attended, I've gotten a little tiny bit of sewing done, and the house is in an okay state. And I read a few blogs here and there to buoy my spirit. (sorry if I didn't leave any comments.)
Thank you God is all I can say for those miracles!

Anyway, on to better things. Did you see the NEW APRON at Scarlet Threads??!! There is a naming contest going on right now. You have until Thanksgiving to leave a suggestion with them on what you might name it. The winner gets a 50% off coupon for their Store! And I know exactly what I'm going to choose if I win! That beautiful new blue apron!!!
So hop on over to Scarlet Threads and celebrate the holiday season or me feeling better by leaving them a name suggestion!
I think you'll agree it's a BEAUTIFUL apron! And I happened to sneak a peek of it this summer at a secret little boutique I ran across online ... I think it must be their test market or something. I'm so happy to see it will be a part of the Scarlet Threads honor roll!
If you want to see my name suggestions, you'll have to check out the comments under the Scarlet Threads blog post on the Naming Contest. Oh yes, and while there, leave your own name suggestion(s)!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Khloe Sweetness and New Peasant Dress: Ruffled Feathers Company

Did you all see the post on the SaWeEeT Ruffled Feathers twirl that Khloe's mom won for her? If not, you should check it out HERE. Tanya is such a dear friend ... and she is WAY generous in her comments of me, oh my goodness ... but her daughter is SO cute, you really must see all her modeling session for full effect. (and the post after this one for the out-takes! HA!)
If you are interested in this skirt design I certainly have more fabric ... and also lots of fabric in other patterns and colors just giddy to become a skirt or dress for your little one at Ruffled Feathers Company! Just leave me a comment or an email at   almquist  at   fmtcs  dot com  (replace the at and the dot with the symbols.)

I've also been working on a new style that goes super well with Ruffle Pants.  A special Thank-You goes to my sweet friend, Angie, who asked about a month ago if I could do something along these lines for her daughter Chloe for Christmas (funny how I have all these dear friends with daughters named "Chloe/Khloe"!)  I'm still working on the coordinating Ruffle Pants so I can't reveal it just yet, BUT I made another version for my sponsor ND Christmas Child Melissa that I can show you.

When I asked to be one of Melissa's Christmas sponsors, the coordinator was more than happy to link us up. Apparently her Chinese Foster Mom doesn't dress her too much like a girl much of the time and could really use some Pink/Purple/Girlyness!!!
Oh can I help there!
Here is a sneak peek at the Peasant Dress. ENJOY!:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Something About a Doll--Part 2

*If you haven't read the Part 1 post a few days ago, you may want to scroll down or go HERE to read that first.
So here Beth sits in the top of my closet ... with her friends, Raggedy Ann and my faux Cabbage Patch girl, Melinda Nicole (never mind her dirty face from too many kisses years ago.) I'm tickled that you all were curious enough to want to see my very, very favorite doll!
Thanks for asking me to post her photo--you really didn't have to twist my arm too hard ;-)
And I would have in the original post, however Jeff had the camera on his hunting trip in North Dakota last week.

She is so fragile from age now days.
Hopefully I described her well ... and please excuse my non-neat closet. (ack!) The girls are lounging on a box of old letters and precious stuff from back when people used to write real paper letters and cards. (I love mail!) Maybe I'm dating myself ... I guess this is my little spot of "heart things." I'm sure Jeff has eye'd it more than a million times wondering why it's taking up a quarter of the shelf of our precious closet space. And come to think of it ... I probably should find a better spot for it, but we don't have a ton of random unused closet space. And I don't want to put the girls in a box in the basement. There is something so final about that. And I'm not ready for final.
If I could pan the picture around to the right a bit there is also a beautiful BIG China Doll that my mom bought for all of us girls one Christmas (my sister, former-sister-in-law and myself.) Funny thing is ... my sister and sister-in-law both have girls (sigh.) Alas, mine has never left her box and peers out from behind the plastic sheeting in mint condition right next to the Mattel brand doll that I received back when I worked at Mattel as a designer when I was still single. She is also in mint condition. And really ... I see Beth as so much more beautiful than they are. I guess that is a learning lesson for me to soak up and apply to myself on those blue days that I feel a bit tattered and aged from being "loved on" too much too.

But back to what brought me to Beth in the first place ... the New Day Christmas Sponsorship Program. In my journey to find "the perfect doll" for one of my two sponsored sweeties ... I came across this:
And she arrived on Wednesday while I was at Bible Study! Can you believe that instead of the hippo that was embroidered on her outfit in the picture (my favorite, as I collect hippos) she instead had a little lady bug! What could possibly be more perfect?

At 20" she's pretty big and I'm already wondering how I'm ever going to get her to Ch*na ... but of course first off I had to extract her from her box. It's pretty big in itself and since I wanted to enjoy a smidge of her too before sending her away it seemed reasonable that I can wrap her without it ... and let me tell ya, removing all the plastic wires and clips was like a birthing process in itself. I'm sure the folks at ND will be more than happy to NOT have to tackle that job with this one toy at least!
Oh my goodness, she did NOT disappoint. Look at these beautiful feet! It's a shame that I put the booties on her ... but I didn't want them to get lost and I'm pretty sure they'll eventually come off and Eliana will get to enjoy those sweet feet too.
(Hopefully she doesn't have a foot aversion problem. I know some people that do and just HATE feet! But ... these are just SO very sweet in my opinon!)
And although her eyes don't open and close like my Beth's ... they are so deeply brown and so lifelike and beautiful, I'll overlook that one thing, because otherwise ... she's just perfect.
I'm not sure if Eliana has any other Christmas sponsors this year (so many people were blessed to want to participate to bless these children that some of them have a couple of sponsors I hear! Isn't that SO cool?! And the extra toys will be scattered around to everyone appropriately--I'm confident that God will have a hand in that for sure)--but I'm really hopeful that Eliana spots something special in this one gift and really loves it. There is something so special about a doll--it's one of the ways our little girls role-play in caregiving and mothering ... and I cannot think of a more precious gift than to be a part of that molding and shaping process that will touch her and her someday little ones far into the future.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween Tricks

Halloween 2011
Halloween fell this year on a hockey practice night ... practice that begins at the beginning of regular trick-or-treat time and ends at about the end of it.
This was going to take a bit of trick to get the treats!
But ... as a resourceful mom ... I tried my best to solve the problem of my boys' "need" for candy while begging in costume, colliding with our responsibility of attending a set practice that we've committed to.
And quite honestly, with Brayden edging ever closer to being "too big" for this kind of thing ... I don't want to miss these childhood memories!

So, we drove a bit early into the BIG town where hockey practice occurs ... in costume,
And were the FIRST trick-or-treaters out! 
I've NEVER trick-or-treated in the daylight! It felt kinda weird ...

BUT, people had started getting their candy and drive-way barbeque fires out (even if most of them were JUST getting home for work (wince!)) and were more than happy to give Brayden some grief about his Vikings outfit (haha!) (It's a midwest thing I think, either hate them or love them, and since we don't have a professional team here in Iowa folks are a bit split between Green Bay, the Vikings and the Bears ... I'm just going with the Vikings since Jeff is from MN and they have that cool purple color. And as for the driveway barbeque fires? How cool? Never have seen that in our little town. It was pretty cool to see house after house having a little campfire on their driveway in their patio fireplaces!

I do want to mention that I did a pretty nice job giving Brayden black football-lines on his face and Easton a nice "black-eye" all thanks to my eye-shadow. I have no idea where the actual Halloween makeup went ... not to mention Nolan's Red-Power-Ranger mask. Oh well ... he was just as happy without it (thankfully!)
Brayden (Viking football player)
Easton (RoughRider hockey player)
Nolan (Red Power Ranger)

And the 36 kids who should have been at hockey practice?
... only 7 showed up!
Talk about some sweet ice time for Brayden and the other 6 kids. Oh yes ... and on the way home the two bigger boys and I stopped at a few houses in the dark just to make it feel like real Halloween. All were happy ... and I even got a few Almond Joy bars from the boys (yay! they don't like them--what a bonus!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Little Hope for Your Day

Some days we all need a little hope.

Well, I woke up to just that this morning! Six weeks ago this little outfit started on its journey to the East ... I posted it here but since it was a Wordless Wednesday Post I wasn't exactly forth coming about the outfit's destination ... 

On that day her Forever Parents had not yet found Hope's paperwork but were Hopeful that God would provide it in His timing. And so He did (the very next day!) and they are now on their journey to Hope!

Sometimes I get a bug under my bonnet to make something in particular ... and this is an example of one of them. For whatever reason I knew this fabric combination in particular would mean so much to Hope's mom ... and I was intent on making it. Believe it or not this dress FLEW together in a matter of hours! It surprised even me! I started it at noon and finished it by hockey practice time at 3pm.
Only God whips things together like that.
I thought you'd want to enjoy the vision modeled. (And yes ... those ARE ladybugs on the shoulder straps!)

Sweetly, Simply, Hope.
(The Ruffle Pants will be great floor dusters!--heehee!)

But the dress? It is PERFECT on her!

Happy Birthday a few days weeks late Hope!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Something About a Doll

Growing up I loved stuffed animals and dolls. (still do.)
And although I had many "favorites" through the years, I gotta say there are 3 dolls that stand out as my all-time-best-est-buds. First there was one of my first fav doll... Raggedy Ann. I remember looking at her little "I LOVE YOU" heart printed on her chest during my nap-times--of course I couldn't read it, but was told many times what it said ... as well as trying to tie that blazing neck ribbon and getting oh-so-flustered! (The ribbon still shows that frustration in how it is permanently wound and twirled so tightly from trial after trial of my tying attempts years ago.)
Wow ... I must have been not more than 4 years old. Crazy to think that I can remember that so well ... and yet forget to get things on my grocery list that I ran out of just this morning!

But aside from Raggedy Ann, who is most certainly the best rag-doll ever made, my favorite doll was one that I received from my parents for Christmas when I was probably 5. Her name was "Baby Bottoms."(I think she was named this because her legs curved like a real baby's would if you had her cradled in your arms and they perfectly curved over them with her little bottom tucked in for perfect holding.) She was a real baby-doll. One that I picked out of a big toy-wish-book months before the snow even started falling. She was quite the talk at the supper table long before that Christmas. I think the toy magazine was even at the hair salon where I had my hair cut for Kdg ... that memory is a wee bit vague ... but I trust it--so that would have been in August of that year.

She had a plastic head with beautiful blond curly hair and blue eyes that opened and closed when she laid down and was picked up, soft plastic arms and legs that looked so real to me, her little legs curving like a real baby's ... not stick straight like most dolls. And she was SOFT in the middle, perfect for hugging. Oh and the BEST part? When she was tipped over she would say, "Mama."--Oh make me teary!

Her "Mama" voice wore out years ago, her curls are crazy-wild, her soft-stuffin' parts are stained with age and so very fragile from lots of lovin' I suppose. But I still have her up on the shelf in my closet. Oh yes, and I had named her "Beth."--which is quite funny because there was another baby doll that was my sister's that I took under my wing so to speak as my sister was not the doll-playing sorta gal. (Go figure! I guess I got all of those genes.) Her doll had brown hair with red tints and the most beautiful green eyes. I named her "Elizabeth." It never dawned on me that maybe those two names were ... hmmm ... kinda the same? LOL
However if the Velveteen Rabbit book is true? Beth and Elizabeth are most certainly "REAL!" (If you don't know that book, I don't suppose you get that "REAL" part. Read the book it's really good.)

I can still remember that "new baby-doll-plastic-head" smell that she had. Love it! Even though I haven't smelled that for years (goodness knows we don't have any new dolls venturing around these parts with three boys running wild--well, except for MINE, but they aren't new and sniffy.)

So it shouldn't surprise me that when ND organized a child-sponsorship program once again this Christmas for their children I did not take long to check it out and sign up! And ... this year like last I am sponsoring in the PINK zone! Wooo-Whoooo!
And this year I am blessed to have TWO sweeties on my Christmas list! What balm for my soul!

I have spent the better part of many evenings this week while Jeff has been duck hunting in Northern North Dakota, surfing for the quintessential perfect doll for each of them late into the wee morning hours. (And of course having the same parameters as the doll that was my fav years ago, soft and huggable and life-like REALness.)

Not to mention browsing those forbidden pink aisles in the toy and clothing sections already once this week. Ahhh, to find exactly the perfect thing ... and considering so many ...

It does take time ... changing my mind a hundred different times and back again. I might have to admit that I could be milking this for all it's worth! Ya think?

Sweet Bliss anyway! 

If you follow the ND blog you might noticed that Eliana always seems to be beaming! What a joyful soul she seems to be in the photos I see.

There is something else about Eliana that I only recently realized. She is exactly one day older than my youngest son Nolan.

One. DAY.

Her momma and I were in labor at nearly the same time, having carried our babies for the very same months. Having hopes and dreams for them and for ourselves. Half way around the world from one another. There is something surreal about that even though I realize that there are babies born every second of every day and that China is about 13 hours ahead of us (so maybe you could argue that they are two days apart? But let's not split hairs.)

There is something unquestionably special about the day your child enters the world. And to think that another woman shared that experience so close to the very same hours and yet had a very different experience at what should have been a beautiful time for them ... wow ...

and yet this child SMILES so cheerfully! She is most certainly loved ... even as she waits for her forever family to find her.

That is such a good thing that she beams ... and yet I just cry on the inside for someone to hurry up! ... thinking of how she needs a momma NOW! ... because I look at my Nolan and I just soak him up as my child. He is at the sweetest age right now. Trusting and yet curious and yearning to be independent at times ... and dependent at others.

... We were running late to story hour the other day I said we needed to "sneak in so we didn't disturb what they already had going on." And Nolan preceded to tip-toe running down the sidewalk ... saying "tip-toe, tip-toe, tip-toe," the entire way!

... He is always right there with a hug and kiss for me.

... He has his favorites like his toady-frog and Thomas Rescue Firetruck ... and he'll share them just with me sometimes!

... He has his special piece of fabric that he snuck outta my fabric stash and claimed as his own

... and his favorite dress up Power Ranger outfit.

... Not to mention the crazy "open-closing clasp thingy" that he found somewhere in his travels and keeps as a valuable treasure ... along with his little peach bead which I have no clue where he picked up and yet he guards it like gold.

... He requests everything to be "Disney's Cars" ... as if they make thins like a "Cars-Bible" (seriously he asked for that last week and just won't believe me that they don't have one.)

I want Eliana's family to have these days of her being THIS age.

Because as we moms all know, they are fleeting.

Soon the suggestion on what to wear will be met with an eye roll and a, "Seriously, Mom?" response instead of the eager attitude to please.

Soon it won't be cool to hang out with mom all day making chocolate chip cookies just so they can sneak a chocolate chip or two.

Soon they won't take so kindly to hugs in public or too many questions about how their day was.
And these days of hers now are no less sweet than Nolan's ...

And God willing soon ... there will be an * by her name as well as by Melissa's ... and in the meanwhile ... I'm most deeply blessed to stand in the gap, pray for them ... and shower them with the pink delights of my heart!

If you would like to sponsor a ND child for Christmas, check it out HERE.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn's Twirling Colors: A Skirting

I had the opportunity to donate a skirt to an adoption fundraiser in late August. It was an especially sweet blessing for me because the little girl that the fundraiser was for had been on my list of little ones from ND, for whom I help edit the monthly sponsorship updates, from when I first started. So to even have a glimmer of a speck of something to contribute to help bring her home, wow, I was more than happy to provide a gift certificate for the cause! Here is sweet Khloe and her big sister Mikayla in matching dresses that I surprised their mom with before they left to receive Khloe.

God is so cool. Of course it didn't end with that ...
The winner of the gift certificate turned out to be my good friend Tanya Lea ... who has a daughter with ND roots ... and who happens to have the name "Khloe" just as the Khloe the fundraiser was for!

And now I am blessed to share with you the TWO LAYER FULL skirt that I made from the fabrics Tanya chose and I coordinated into this design. woooo-whooo! Lots of twirling potential! And my she does have good fabric taste!

Beautifully autumn in its tones, I can already envision Khloe twirling through the leaves. I can't wait to see it in action!

If you would like a skirt, dress or ruffle pants designed for your little sugar plum, please leave me a comment or email me at almquist at fmtcs dot com
And make sure to hop on over to visit my sewing site at Ruffled Feathers Company to be inspired.

The family

The family