Friday, April 27, 2012

Reversible Tote

Reversible Tote Bag
Easy to Sew with Double Sided, Quilted Fabric & a Surger 

You will need:
- 21” of 42” double sided quilted fabric
- double fold bias tape (optional)
- decorative, additional pocket (optional)
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine
- Serger

Cut pieces from quilted fabric. Be sure to place gusset and pocket on fold as shown.
Optional decorative pocket - Cut another pocket from other fabric. (I double the pocket if using light weight muslin.) Finish edges. Surge bottom edge if doubled.
Surge all four sides of each strap to finish edges.
Surge three sides of pocket to finish edges. Leave 1-9” side plain. Find center of 9” (plain) pocket(s) bottom edge & mark with a pin. Find center of front & back panels and mark with a pin. Lay pocket on front panel with wrong side of pocket facing right side of front panel. Line up center marks and bottom edges. Fold 1” down on top of pocket for a flap. Pin pocket in place. With straight stitch on sewing machine secure pocket to front panel. Begin at bottom edge of flap and reinforce top corners (see inset #1). Beginning at double arrows, stitch up to top edge of pocket, over a few stitches, then down to bottom edge of pocket. Repeat this on both edges to secure pocket to panel.

Repeat this same procedure for other pocket but on put wrong side of decorative pocket to wrong side of back panel. This makes the tote reversible with a pocket on the inside and outside which ever way you have the bag turned.

Mark the center of the gusset on either side of the 42” length with a pin. With center’s together, lay right side of gusset to wrong side of front panel. Pin along bottom edge from center out towards corners. You will only be pinning the center section of the gusset fabric and letting the excess hang off. Surge bottom edge of front panel to center section of gusset. Repeat with back panel. Surged stitching will be on the right side of front and back on this area.

Turn bag inside out. Pin wrong side of gusset to right side of front panel moving from the bottom corner up to the top. There should be a little excess of the gusset at the top. Surge from the bottom corner up to the top of each side. ***

***Note: to finish surged edge beginning ‘tail’, stitch about ½”into the bag. With needles down, lift presser foot. Wrap ‘tail’ from back, around left side and under presser foot to inside. Put presser foot back down and continue stitching. This finishes the tail at the corner so it won’t unravel later or need to be woven back in or tied off.

Trim off any excess gusset to make it straight with the bag front & back. After all four sides are sewn up, turn back right side out. Attach straps to top edge of bag, 1” down from top edge and right in line with pocket top corners. Stitch a square then an ‘X’ through from corner to corner to reinforce.

To finish top edge with double fold bias tape: Fold 1/4” over on end of bias tape toward the inside of the fold. Lay the tape along the top edge of the right side of the bag with the folds opening up and right side of the bias tape towards the bag. Stitch in the first fold or right next to it with a regular sewing machine. When you finish going all the way around, cut tape. Fold it over itself and the top edge of the bag. Pin and stitch along bottom fold of tape. To finish top without tape, surge around top edge then fold it down 1” toward the outside of the bag. Stitch in place. You can also finish top edge and handles with 3 fold bias tape. The one shown has a contrast pocket and bias edging I made from 2" strips of paisley fabric.
Hope you enjoy making these!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Battle in our Brains

Mormon women blogging about the peculiar and the treasuredThe Battle in our Brains
Posted by Catherine A. | January 26, 2012 | 45 Comments

Several months ago I attended the Mormon Women Project Salon Event, at which I heard Tina Peterson speak. The title for her breakout session was, “Becoming a Deliberate Student of the Gospel.” Tina has a degree in Near Eastern Studies and has studied the Old and New Testament in their original languages from multiple sources including the Dead Sea Scrolls.

“That’s where you need to be,” I said to myself. So I chose her class. And by the end of the evening, it was Tina’s words that stayed with me most. They hung in my mind for weeks. She so revolutionized my study and thinking that, with her permission, I share what she taught here.

Tina first talked about the mechanics of effective scripture study. They were the standard “should-dos” until she got to #4.

1.Pray before you begin.
2.Read, cross-reference, immerse yourself in the texts.
3.Keep a notepad and pencil near you. Write down every impression that comes to you, without dismissing thoughts that may seem random or out of context.
4.Over time, look back at what you have written and search for patterns. Trends and themes will emerge. You will see what the Holy Ghost is trying to teach you.

Wow, I thought. I jot down notes, scribble in the margins, underline in various colors, but looking for patterns, themes, and messages over time? That hadn’t occurred to me.

Then Tina got serious, because we were short on time, and she said, “Now I’m going to tell you what I feel strongly you need to hear.” We were listening.
“The battle today, between Babylon and Zion, is being waged between the synapses of our brains.”

(I’m no neurologist, but I’ve had enough physiology to know that synapses are how our brains process messages. They are crucial to the biological computation of perception and thought.)

Tina explained that in this information age when messages, images, and information are coming at us almost faster than we can receive them, our brains are creating new neural pathways to accommodate the input. The first time we see an image on a screen (we’re not talking about pornography here, although it does apply) – like a blog page, a news feed, texts, or facebook – our brain creates a new neural pathway to process that image. It is the same with new sounds or any stimuli to the senses, but let’s use the visual image for this discussion.

Input always travels the path of least resistance. So the second time we see the new image, it will travel the same route. And before long, the new neural pathway has been stimulated enough to “desire” of itself continued activation. A habit is born.

After that, when the brain is not currently occupied, we long for that image. That is why we constantly check our phones or email. That is why, when we have a free moment, we click onto a favorite blog, check facebook, and tweets, or any other source of input we frequent. Without realizing it, we have begun to crave these places of input, hunger for them, to the point where they can surreptitiously dominate our time.

Tina said the only way to counterbalance this is with ancient and modern scripture. We must expose our brains repeatedly to the image or sound of God’s words. Printed, glowing on the page, read aloud, or discussed with friends. That is where God’s Spirit lives. It is where His mind and will can rise out of the texts we read or the conversations we share, and filter into our lives, allowing revelation to move through us.

Satan knows the physiology of the brain. He knows if he can encourage overstimulation through an overload of mundane or technical information, he can increase the odds that we will not seek more spiritual sources for input, thus making scripture study tedious.

Recent studies have also shown that when our minds are over-stimulated, we begin to make decisions without considering the consequences. Much of the time, these quick decisions are not the best ones for us. An abundance of “information” prompts reactionary responses and elevates feelings of anxiety. All of this distracts us from the peace the Lord offers through His Word, and deprives us of much needed pondering time – time when our minds can reinforce more spiritual pathways.

Then Tina said this,

“Your time with the word of the Lord is your personal Urim and Thummim. It is there that God will speak to you. Frequent the scriptures often enough that your brain craves that kind of input – that your day feels incomplete without it.”

Have you been there? That place of truly feasting on God’s word? I have. And I’m sure you have too. I love how Jeremiah describes it.

“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jeremiah 15:16).

I have also been in that place where I don’t crave the scriptures, because my reading is sporadic, even neglectful. And in retrospect, I can see I have filled my precious time with things that matter much less.

After hearing Tina talk, I realized I can’t afford to neglect my time in the scriptures. I can’t risk being a voice to my children, my friends, or the Relief Society sisters I teach, if I am not partaking regularly of God’s word. Time with the word of the Lord is its own system of checks and balances for me. It’s how the Lord rights me, keeps me on course.

Naturally, the sources of input mentioned here are not bad things. But Tina’s words have helped me make a conscious effort to open my scriptures each day before computer time, reading any other book, or another leisurely activity. I have started recording impressions. And it is astounding the level of happy confidence I have felt. I am still working on the habit, but I’m getting better at hearing as I go. “The words of the Lord are pure words, said the Psalmist, and I am discovering that within them we can see things “as they really are and as they really will be” (Jacob 4:13).

What about you? How is your scripture study going? What do you think of this battle in the brain?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Six Keys for Healthy Self-Esteem - James E Faust - CES Fireside 2007

Six Keys for Healthy Self-Esteem
First: Keep Your Agency
I would like to suggest six essential keys to keep a healthy self-esteem. The first key is to keep your agency. This means that we must not surrender self-control nor yield to habits that bind, to addiction that enslaves, nor to conduct that destroys. To keep our agency we must avoid the deadly traps and pitfalls from which there may be no escape. Some, having been ensnared, spend the best years of their life trying to escape and so exhaust themselves in the process that in the end, even though they ultimately find themselves freed from the addiction, they are spent, burned out, their nerves shot, and their brains dulled forever.
How much better off we would be and how much more complete our agency, if we were able to say with the Psalmist: “I have refrained my feet from every evil way” (
Psalm 119:101).

Second: Humility
The second key to an adequate self-esteem is humility. I do not mean the breast-beating, sackcloth-and-ashes kind of humility. I mean the humility that comes with inner strength and peace. It is the humility that allows us to accept and live with our own warts, without cosmetics to hide them. It is important to learn to live with our uncorrectable physical and mental defects without complaint or explanation. Some months ago I had a back operation, and I’ve never been the same since, and I may never be. But the first time I spoke over in the Conference Center with a little pulpit like this, one of our granddaughters said, “Oh, Grandpa, you looked so comfortable up there; I just wanted to come up and crawl on your lap.”
Some years ago I became acquainted with a delightful and wonderful new friend. He is a successful businessman—charming, outgoing, and well groomed. His spirituality shines through his countenance. A few months later I noticed a slight limp in his walk which had not been obvious before. That led to a closer observation. When I looked past the gracious smile, I noticed that my friend was slightly hunchbacked, with a somewhat misshapen spine. These physical defects were so well hidden by the natural goodness, warmth, and great charm that they were as nothing in the total man. My friend accepts his physical defects with humility and strength and completely compensates for them with his natural personality.
There is another dimension of humility that must be mentioned—that of being teachable. The prophet Samuel counsels, “Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you” (
1 Samuel 12:7). Proverbs reminds us that “whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge” (Proverbs 12:1).

Third: Honesty
The third key to self-esteem is honesty. Honesty begins with being true to one’s own self. Some years ago I sat as a spectator in a heartrending courtroom drama concerning the custody of some children. The contention was that the natural mother was not a good housekeeper, which was intended to add fuel to the claim that she was an unfit mother. A caseworker had testified that when she visited the family home, it was in a shambles and that the kitchen was dirty.
The natural mother, seeking to keep custody of her children, was called to the witness stand. A middle-aged, heavy, physically unattractive lady came forward, took the oath, and sat in the witness stand. The attorney for the father (this father had remarried and wanted custody of the children) followed up relentlessly on the testimony already provided by the caseworker. His questions to the beleaguered mother were penetrating.
“Isn’t it a fact,” he asked, “that your house was as dirty as a pigpen the day the caseworker came?” What drama! How could the mother answer in her own best interest and protect her custody of the children? What should she say? There was electricity in the air! She hesitated for a tense moment, and then she responded calmly, with complete self-assurance: “Yes, my house certainly was a mess that day.”
Her honesty obviously surprised even the judge, and he leaned over the bench and asked, “What do you mean that day?”
“Well, your honor,” she replied, “earlier that morning when the caseworker came I had been bottling peaches. I had peeled, cooked, and bottled two bushels of peaches. I had not finished cleaning up the mess when the caseworker came. My sink was still sticky from the syrup that had spilled over that I was trying to pour into the bottles before they were sealed. My house certainly was a mess that day. I try to be a good housekeeper, but with three children I can’t possibly keep it straight all the time.”
Her frankness and candor was absolutely disarming and devastating to the opposition. When she finished speaking, everyone in the courtroom knew the judge would rule in her favor. As she arose and stepped down from the witness stand, she had the bearing and the self-assurance of a queen. Being true to one’s own self is the essence of honesty and a keystone of self-esteem.

Fourth: Love of Work
The fourth key to self-esteem is the love of work. The most gifted athlete at our university excelled in every sport. He played football and ran the hurdles—in fact, he held the conference record in the low hurdles. Our coach, Ike Armstrong, required that the sprinters run once a week with the quarter-milers for 300 yards to increase the stamina of the sprinters and increase the speed of the quarter-milers. My friend—this great athlete—would lead all of the runners for about 275 yards, but as soon as the first quarter-miler passed him, he would quit and wouldn’t even finish. His natural talent and ability was such that he never had to extend himself to excel. He married, but the marriage failed. He went on into professional football and was something of a star until he got into the drug scene and died from the debilitating effects of drugs and alcohol. Others with much less talent have achieved far more.
In my experience, there are very few people who are of true genius. While there are those who are gifted, most of the world’s work and some of the greatest contributions come from ordinary people with a talent which they have developed. An ordinary, garden-variety talent can be nurtured and nourished into a great gift through hard work. Some of the artisans of China spend years making just one exquisite object of art of unbelievable grace and beauty. We do not all have a talent for the arts, such as painting, sculpture, or music. There are many gifts that are not showcased. Some may have a natural gift to make others feel important, happy, and special. Such a gift should be developed and strengthened.
Spiritual gifts, likewise, can be refined and enlarged by attentive application to righteous living, to prayer, to study of the scriptures, and to obedience. A line attributed to George Lucas suggests, “It doesn’t matter what people say about me, or what I say; what matters is what I accomplish.” What we accomplish helps our self-esteem. Sometimes we may think, “The work I do is unimportant,” or “I’m only this or that.” Every job that has to be done is important, no matter how minimal it seems; someone has to do it.

Fifth: Ability to Love
The fifth key to building self-esteem is the ability to love. The commandment given by the Savior was to love others and yourself.
3 Am I secure enough in my love of myself to laugh at myself, to admit mistakes, to graciously accept a compliment? Am I secure in my love of others to smile and say hello to a perfect stranger?
Years ago in seminary, our class was taught:
I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know;
I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
I never can hide myself from me,
I see what others may never see,
I never can fool myself—and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.

Sixth: Love of God
The sixth and most essential key to self-esteem is the love of God. King Benjamin reminds us, “How knoweth a man the master whom he has not served . . . ?” (
Mosiah 5:13). In Paul’s epistle to Titus he reminds us that there are many who “profess that they know God; but in works they deny him” (Titus 1:16).
The Apostle John gives us a valuable key: “And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (
1 John 3:24).
John makes an important point about obedience when he states: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (
1 John 2:3–4).

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year Re-Solutions

Going through old projects is a good way to see where you've been , the strides you've made (hopefully), and to humble yourself. Isn't it amazing how great your minds eye sees you in the past. Nothing can bring that fuzzy recollection into view than seeing the fruits of your labors. Some of mine look pretty bad and, luckily, some look better than I remember. Those drawings from '03 when I was just trying to get my feet wet... woaw! Boy do I have an amazingly supportive husband. He could have looked at my work and said, now why did I hire you????? But instead, he could see potential and just kept on supporting me in whatever I tried. I found out later that he won't ever criticize but he also won't tell me he likes something that he doesn't. He is just pretty tactful cause I just felt support from him in what ever he said.

The New Year is as good a time as any to review the past and set your sights high for the future. While I'm riding on the wave of energy from the newly past holiday season it is a good time to find new projects and try out new ideas. One thing I've noticed from my past projects is that I definitely need a plan before I start a project. I don't necessarily want a pattern from someone else but I do want an idea and a sketch before I start so that what is in my mind can find it's way safely to becoming something I might want to share, not just something else to learn from, though that isn't half bad either.

Here's to a great year of learning and creating!!