Monday, December 28, 2015

*Future*

 "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."
Philip. 3:7-11 KJV


 I have never viewed the upcoming New Year with as much anticipation, or fear, as I view this one. During 2015,  my world expanded and grew. It exploded.  It was a year of tremendous wonders. Tremendous excitement. Tremendous joy.
But there comes a time, during good times, when you know you can't grow unless you face a challenge. 
And deep down, I have a feeling.

A very troubling feeling.
2016 is going to expand my view of the world in a more serious way. 
It is one thing to put your foot out into the unknown and pray for the best. 
It is entirely another to knowingly enter into a time of trial, or at least, deep personal growth.
And pray for it all the same.

I feel that in order to reach the next milestone in my life (whatever that might be!) I will first need to undergo a personal test.

It's intimidating really.
To know God will stretch you, to believe He WILL challenge you, 
well.....
It takes some surrender. 
 A lot of surrender.
Total surrender?
Yep. 
A knowledge that God wants to form us into the image of Christ sounds very moving, sounds like what we, as Christians, would want.
But then it hits you.
To be like Christ, you must suffer.
What if we can't become who we need to become unless we hit stormy seas?
Yikes.
Seriously Lord? Really?
"Yes my child. But breathe deep. I am with you".

And then it sinks in with a bit more comfort. Yea sure, its still not going to be easy. But what if the suffering we go through, the pain we endure, the trials we face, is the door to Christ-likeness?

After all, our ultimate future is Christ.

 Really and truly.
We might cherish the hopes of good, godly things for our future life here on earth.
Finding a godly spouse. Starting a family. Delving in deep with a ministry or charity that promotes God's word.
But that is not our end goal.
 Those things lie in the path, but do not constitute, the ultimate end of the journey.


I am still wondering how this all is going to play out in 2016.
There is a very real possibility that I am not up for a huge trial.
But then again,
there is.
One thing that concerns me more than any other thing is this-

When my personal trial come, will I handle it with Grace?
 Will I endure it well, with humility and patience?

I can't promise that I will. In fact, I can promise you that whatever 2016 throws my way, good or bad, I will make mistakes. 
Because we all do.
However,
 I pray that, through it all, I can stay on the path God intends. 
That He will use all things to grow me.

To prepare me. To equip me...
for my future.

The idea that God's love involves bringing us through hard things, is painful for people to accept.
There is this common belief, spoken and unspoken,
that God wants us to be happy.
You might disagree with me and my family,
but,
We do not believe happiness is the goal of the Christian life.

I believe God loves to give good gifts to His children. 
(every good and perfect Gift comes from Above, after all. James 1:17)
But I believe the purpose of this life is to
Glorify God.

That may involve hurting.

So, here I am.
On the verge of the adventure that will be my 2016 year.
I am really eager to see God's plan for my life.
Scared?
For sure! No denying it. I am human after all-and not a particularly brave or strong one at that.
Eager with expectation?
Absolutely!

There is a promise near to my heart.
My favorite Bible verse is the end of Matthew. Right after the Great Commission, this is what Jesus said to his beloved...it is a promise He has made to all believers, to comfort us as we go and proclaim His message, and yes, as we suffer for Him,
"and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Matthew 28:20b KJV
The version that repeats in mind head is this:
"Lo, I am with you, even to the end of the age!"
Lord, I ask, what does that mean? To the end of the age?

And He seems to whisper back:
Surrender Lexi. Give me it all. 
I will be with you. Even when you lose yourself.

 
So here it goes. I'm jumping in.
Much love to you dear readers!
Happy New Year!
And may God show you Himself, more abundantly and more clearly than ever before!
And may we serve Him.
Together! 
xoxox 
Lexi
 



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Star- December in Focus

 "God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy"









Christmas. 
The whole season. It's a lot. 
A lot of time. A lot of work.  A lot of stuff.
My season has been  bright. Lots of parties, lots of plays, lots of love.  I visited a friend I haven't seen in 8 months.  I saw Stars Wars with my dad. I enjoyed reading a scripture at church when we lighted the fourth advent candle. I have scrambled to find gifts, I have struggled to get over this lingering flu. 
And I wonder. 
About 2016. 
My future? That's scary.
I look back.  
My year? It's gone and  I miss it.
I want to go back and relive my summer. What a joy. Church camp, I miss you! My cousin Lyssie's visit in June, I want to see her again. Visiting Houston and a newly married friend? It's gone!
My heart aches for the past. Nostalgia envelopes.
And I tremble a little at the future. Whats it going to be like? Will I be disappointed? What if 2015 is the best it will ever be?
And then I slow.
I breathe.
That babe in the manger. Now HE had a lot to worry about! In the starry night, the whole world rested in Mary's arms. And I know. Say no to the past, Say no to the future. This is the moment to focus on.
This is Christmas.
Our guiding star, the reason we have HOPE (like an anchor to our souls-Hebrews 6:19), let my gaze rest on Him. 
And if I follow my Christmas Star?
 What have I to fear?

Nothing. I can rest. Like Jesus did. That first night. In Mary's arms.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Readers, you are some of my 2015 Blessings.
 I appreciate you.  
If I do not hear from you via comments most of the year, please drop me one now.
And may you find some bit of rest in the next few days.
Fix your gaze.
Yes indeed.
Upon your Christmas Star.

With all the love I can give,

Lexi



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

70's Velvet Bell-Bottoms-Cosmic Wolf Vinatge Review

 "faith, hope, love, abide these three, but the greatest of these is love"

Funny thing, I never thought I wanted, or would ever find myself buying, a pair of velvet bell-bottoms. Did not really even know they
existed until two weeks ago!

I have loved the new 70's fashion trends coming into the stores, the fringed suede boots, the  boho bags.LOVE the boho bags! I received this fabulous birthday gift from my parents, it has lace and fringe! Classy and eclectic!

But it wasn't until I was told in my dance class that we would be performing  a 70's line dance (as part of our "dancing through the decades" show)  that I seriously started looking for 70's style pants. I found a pair of mens polyester pants at a thrift store that I tried taking in, but when you have to take in more than 4 inches on something, sometimes you find that they WHOLE garment has to be taken in. I got the waistband to fit, but not the hips! My mom and I about died laughing when I tried them on. It was bad!
The blouse was super easy, I found that at the thrift store and loved it! No tight fitting silk button down blouses for me! Sorry John Travolta- not impressed by your wardrobe choices!

Modesty is always a huge concern for me, and I was not going to compromise on any pants that I felt were inappropriate.
REVIEW
It can be a little unnerving purchasing a new item from etsy, especially when considering sizing and fit. 
I had a TIGHT deadline I needed these by, and the owner of this shop, the very helpful Kristin Chivers, not only sewed my pants up fast, she mailed even quicker! They are super high quality, I could never sew stretch velvet with such professional-ism!  
 (maybe I just came up with a new word?)
So five stars on costumer service.
You can wear these velvet bell bottoms at hip level, or on the natural waist-the latter is how I like to wear them!
They come in sizes:

Small 37" 30"

Medium 37" 32"

Large 37" 34" 
Note: The first measurement is length, the second is waist.  ( aka-where you want them to sit on  you! May not be your natural waist!)

I wear a size 10/12 pants, and the size medium fits perfectly....I  do mean PERFECTLY! My waist is exactly 32inches. To give you a length idea, I am about 5 feet, 6 and 1/2 inches tall. I can wear these both with a heel, (as shown in pictures) or barefoot. They are really fine either way. If you are on the shorter  side, you may want to plan on hemming them, or wearing nice platform heels!. 
In conclusion, they fit as described! 

The price is $35 dollars, which is incredibly reasonable for such well made, hand made pants! 
Shipping is very reasonable as well! These are unique, and very worth your money. And this is from someone who has never paid more than $15 for pants in her life. These are special, and you will want to wear them for a long time!

CONSTRUCTION
Very high quality sewing, stitching and fabric!
Five stars on construction quality!

All the finishes are lovely!


Look at the front detail? Is not that beautiful?
 Here is the inside view of that same bit, see the nice serging at the point?

I wanted to show you this hem, so nice!


So, I would recommend these wholeheartedly! 
A great alternative if you are not a skinny jean, leggin person. I always have preferred some sort of flare at the hem.  ;)

Final thoughts
Keep in mind, the nature of these pants, and this style, dictates they work best on people who are more on the slim/average side, not overly hippy (no pun intended) or full waist-ed. They are cut to fit snugly in the thigh/hips, so keep that in mind. I plan to wear these with the long shirt above to cover my rump region, but I have not been blessed with hips so the close fit is not an issue for me personally. 
I plan to wear these for my dance, and then for the rest of winter!
A great alternative for sweats! I can move freely in them, and they are stylish and very cozy. 

You can buy them in various other colors, although these ones and the blue ones, are my favorite!

Blessings,
Lexi

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mid-19th Century Work Dress


Pockets! Oh pockets! 
We cannot work without pockets!

 
My Aunt Didi called up. She needed a work dress. She is a docent don't you know. She sent me fabric.
I sewed.
Three weeks later-ta da!
A very nondramatic dress tale. I wish all dress tales were so simple!
 
The dress itself is nondramatic and simple, no fuss'n'feathers.
It's made for work.

It has been snowing so excuse the lack of outdoor photos!
I am happy to say I fit into the dress to model!
 

 
Anyhootle.....
 We made it to work for an expanded number of years. It has basic features and it extremely versatile.  
It is pre Civil War in the sense that the shoulders on not dropped too much. 
The fort she volunteers at with my cousin is pre 1860's.  
I did not really do my own research for this dress, she knew what she wanted and what the events she attends require, so I followed her orders. I believe she was aiming for an 1840's impression. This dress, I imagine could pass for several eras since work dresses did not reflect passing fashion trends.

 Details:
It has silver buttons, 
a fitted, double dart bodice (although gathered waists were more common for work dresses-she requested a fitted bodice),
 a waistband, 
knife pleated skirt, (pleated directional toward the back) 
and is made from 100% cotton reproduction fabric.   

My first dress I've made with REPRO fabric! Ahhh! It was such a fabulous feeling!


The back and piping details!

My BEAUTIFUL pleats, if I do SO SAY ! I started with my usual  inverted back pleat (which I sew kinda dart-like a few stitches to anchor), and then branch off all my pleats from there!

The hem has four tucks along the bottom for detail as well as practicality! (Say she gives the dress to a taller person someday when my cousin can drive himself to events and she doesn't have to participate anymore!)

Ah sleeves. 
She wanted narrow wrists with no cuff, (I am used to gathered wrists with cuffs on C.W. work dresses!) but the generic pattern we used called for cuffs, so in order to make the sleeves long enough, I did a little binding magic!
Inside sleeve detail.

My token scandalous shot -showing the lining fabric within!

The interior-including inside waistband shot that covers all raw edges!

Buttons and machine button holes.

Love this inside skirt shot, showing what the tucks look like from the other-side!

Sleeve gathers! Pretty!

Waist-band hooks....

I hope you liked this post!
While this dress is not 100% historically accurate (it was machine stitched and has some contrast color piping on the back etc.)  I think it's close and looks very nice and will certainly serve my Aunt well.

I hate to part with this beauty! I would keep it in a heart-beat!

Happy ThankGiving to you all if I don't post again before Thursday!
Blessings and God-bless!

xoxox
Lexi

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sewing Post-Ren Faire Outfit

"Are you going to Scarborough fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there He once was a true love of mine"


Tell him to make me a cambric shirt
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without no seam nor needlework
Then he'll be a true love of mine

Tell him to find me an acre of land
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Between the salt water and the sea strand
Then he'll be a true love of mine

Are you going to Scarborough fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
He once was a true love of mine

 Hello dear Readers! I am back safely from my travels to Houston and I have these pictures here to share with you of my costume!
The dress is actually really old! I originally made it about 4 years ago-it has gone through so many changes since then! I had to take it in about four inches last year, and another 3 this year! It now has a pleated skirt instead or a gathered skirt, and the under gold dress has a drawstring around the neckline to keep it from falling off my shoulders! 
I needed an easy an effective way to take this dress in . I knew this was going to be no super neat, clean job, because it had to be taken in SO much!

 Now it fits like a dream!
 The best way I found was to detach the skirt from the bodice, and cut the back and side back bodice open,  then resew the seams with large seam allowances, serge everything nice and tidy, and then re-pleat and reattach the skirt. Last year I had opened the back seam up to do this, this year I took in the side backs. I did not bother to separate the lining and the bodice and do them separately, because the grommets made this impossible. I also knew, this dress is on its last leg of life.
Overall, the inside is tidy. I made this dress back eons ago, when I was still learning to sew, so the lining does not match up perfectly, but you can see the clean finish. 

I sewed some very expensive french lace I had on hand, temporarily on the hem.
The idea is, I  will remove the lace from this dress when the dress goes into storage again. I plan to use this lace on my wedding dress someday!
(outside view)

I used rough, basting stitches to attach the lace,  and folded all the excess lace on the inside, so I would not have to cut it! That would be a shame!
(inside view)

  Here is what it looks like in natural sunlight!
 And a chain belt to complete the dress as well. 
You can also notice the unusual gold sleeves in this shot!

Here is a final picture of me in my room after I made the wreathe to finish off the costume!
I was really happy with the outcome! I like this dress more and more every time I rework it!
Somethings just get better as time goes on!
I do hope you enjoyed this post!
Give me a comment and tell me what you think!

So, what have you all been up to? Any harvest festivals or bonfires?
Did anyone ever attend the Houston Ren Faire?
Let me know!

xoxo
 Lexi
 (and Serendipity from the Clan Tinker show! It was awesome!) 







Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall In Focus-Lovely things

 
 Happy October Lovelies!
How Have you been? 
I have been dandy! Life is speeding up over in my neck of the woods, and beauty is everywhere to be found. God Is so good to me. I spend my weeks helping at church, teaching a Civil War class, dancing, sewing for friends and work, sipping tea and adoring my cute dog.
Here are some snapshots of my life this fall.
1. I danced in our State Fair Parade!

2.Received a FABULOUS handmade necklace from my friend Rachel in P.A., and found a FEATHER belt at the thrift store! They pair nicely I think....

3.Olaf was crowned with his own wreathe...he looks less than impressed...but don't feel to bad for him, he got a bone after this abuse...

 4.Preparing  an Alice In Wonderland costume...

5. Vinatge thrift store finds, isn't this lamp sweet?

6. Made some alterations to my old Renaissance Faire dress to take to the Houston Ren Faire this weekend! I had to take in about 4 inches, added a belt to the waist and lace to the hem (not pictured) and lastly made a wreathe. (That matches Olaf's wreath!)

7. Sewing a mid 19th century work gown for my Aunt out of reproduction fabric! *squee*
  8. My Granny got me some comfy fall boots....so warm...so soft! I am a big lover of Moccasins!

 9. Vintage floral apron score, with inserted lace detail. Say WHAT?

 10. Got official Folklorico pictures, and it is hard to tell its me in my traditional outfit!
At least, some people think so!
What say you?

 I am packing up and heading to visit some newly wed friends in Houston. 
I will see you all when I come back!
Blessings to you!
What have you been up to lately that you love? 

xoxox
Lexi