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)

The family

The family