Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dress a Girl International.

This year I became involved in an organization called Dress a Girl International.  It is a group of women around the U.S. and Canada who make simple little dresses for little girls worldwide.  The premise is if  a little girl has a pretty dress to wear, she is less likely to be kidnapped and sold into the sex trade.  She looks like a child that someone cares for.  We put a label on each dress also.  It conveys the same message.  Most people make their dresses using pillowslip dresses.  My first ones were made that way, but I found myself rebelling. I knew I would not put one of those dresses on one of my grandchildren and if I would not do that, I could not expect a mother around the world to do so.  Stan kept telling me that they would be delighted just have pretty new dresses for their daughters, but I still could not sew them any more.  I returned all of the pillow slips to the group I sew with and started using fabric.  We have yards and yards of  donated fabric and I could not justify using pillow slips when we had the fabric. Below are some of the dresses I made this summer.
I started adding this ruffle around the neck and sleeve  about two weeks ago.  I will never use bias tape ties again.

To me, this dress looks like a little night gown.  The fabric is some I took from my mothers home after her death.  I know she would be happy to know it is being used in this manner.  It is rather old too.  36 inches wide instead of the 44 inch fabric we buy today.

This dress was made pretty much to the Dress a Girl specifications.  Simple tube  with elastic in the front and back and tied at the shoulder with bias tape.

Instead of turning the fabric over and creating a tube, I sewed a strip of fabric on the inside and made three rows of casing for the elastic.

I used contrasting fabrics for this dress.  Instead of hemming it, I used bias tape for the raw edges of the dress.

We put pockets on all of our dresses so the little girls can carry their treasures with them. I also like to add a bow someplace on the dress.

Neckline with two rows of elastic.
This was actually the first dress I made with the neckline ruffle detail. I lined this one with gingham check and made a bias to finish the arm opening.
A double ruffle.  Gingham check as the under ruffle.
This dress has a small yoke added to the top instead of the elastic casing. Ribbon ties are sewn onto the yoke between the facing and front.
There are little lady bugs on the print so I added a little lady bug button to the bottom band.

This was some dotted swiss that was donated. One of the rules in making the dresses is that they must not be sheer. The ladies were not going to use this fabric and planned to donate it to some other cause.  I took it and made this dress. It does not show very clearly, but where it is bunched up on the bottom, the slip I added is visible.  I also lined the bodice.  There is a small bow on the slip.

This fabric came to me as a dress that needed  bias added  to finish it.  It was for an older girl and I just could not finish it and send it out that way.  I took it apart and reworked it into this dress.  The skirt is hanging from a square neck yoke. Heart shaped pocket of plain red fabric.

Made using a new pillow slip.  It is a little large for my model.

This dress is made from the matching pillow slip  from the above dress.  I added a peek-a-boo of lace under the bottom panel, sleeves and a round yoke.  This is one of my favorite dresses.

Another pillowslip.  This one was made to exact specifications.  I was finishing it up and trimming threads when I snipped into the top edge of the dress.  How to solve the problem?  Simple.  Sew a strip of bias across the top front and back and then add the bias ties. 
My daughter Karyn does not sew, but she wields a mean crochet hook.  She wanted to help so last week she whipped out four of these tops for me to add skirts to.  Beautiful, no?
This has been a very fulfilling project.  If you are looking for something to do to give back to the community, can I suggest this? 
These dresses do go world wide.  Some were just taken down to the Appalachian area this fall and another group is getting a container of 10,000 to take to Cambodia.  The group I sew with just sent 100 to Mexico and have just finished another 100 to go to an island in the Caribbean. We are working on another 100 now to send to Guatemala.  We always send our dresses with a missionary.  If we were to attempt to mail them, so many would never reach their destination.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Alaska 2012 Final installment.

One thing a person NEVER does is approach a wild animal.  She walked even closer than this.  I told Stan I wanted to leave so we did not witness her being trampled.  On the Kenai Peninsula, near Kasilof

I do not know what it is, but this was an amazing plant we saw all up and down the road along the Kenai Peninsula.

It was a very grey and drizzly day.  This picture is of the Homer Spit from a hill above the town.  The mountains are across the inlet from Homer.

Another picture from the same spot as the above picture.  Focusing in on the mountains and unknown island.

The world famous Salty Dawg Saloon in Homer.

After Homer, we drove to Seward.  Believe me, this was a hard trip but we wanted to do it all in one day as we were near the completion of our trip.  Would be going home in the next day or two. This picture is of the train station in Seward.

One of the old Hotels in Seward

Log cabin in Seward

The mountains that surround Seward.

At Portage Glacier.  I wish I could make my printer scan so I could compare the iceberg from 30 years ago to this one. Almost gives credibility to Al. Gore. 

Portage Glacier, itself, has receded up the valley by quite a bit.  I am sure with the passage of time, it will once again be the majestic glacier it once was. I expect my great grandchildren to be in awe of it's size once again.

The railroad tunnel at Portage.  You can drive through this tunnel at certain times during the day to reach  Whittier.

Along the highway between Girdwood and Portage.

Such a grey day.  This is taken of the mountains across Turnagain Arm.

The mud flats at Turnagain.  Never, Never, Never venture out into the flats.  People have lost their lives here.  The mud sucks you in.  It totally traps you.  It is virtually impossible to free you before the tide returns.  Has happened too many times.

Mt. Susitna, AKA Sleeping Lady.

In 1971 Stan and I moved to Alaska.  We stayed at this park just outside of  Anchorage with our four children. It rained all summer.  Not fun with four who are five and under and expecting number 5.  I vowed I would NEVER sleep in a tent again.

Never make a vow you cannot keep.
Stan and I drove a car up to Anchorage for a neighbor of our Daughter.  It was a great trip, but we think our future trips will be via air.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

A favorite picture of my granddaughter Abby

Monday, October 8, 2012

We spent very little time in Fairbanks

Instead we made haste down to Denali State Park.  We were thinking we would take the bus ride up into the interior of the park. By the time we got there though, Stan's butt could not bear the thought of 8 hours in a bus.  Actually 16 hours since it is 8 hours each way.  Instead we opted to do the 15 mile drive that one is allowed to do in their own car. 

Unfortunately, we saw absolutely no wildlife inside the park at all.  I am sure they are a bit elusive in the heaviest traveled part.
We did, however see this amazing railroad bridge crossing the Chulitna River.

And a peak at the Elusive mountain.
If you look very closely, you can make out the mountain in the center of the photo, behind the clouds.

Of course, there is always the famous frost heaves to contend with as you are driving the highways and byways of the North.  Alaska and Canada.

Some of the pretty little flowers I saw inside the park.

After we left the park and headed in a Southward direction towards Talkeetna, we were treated to more of the beautiful, majestic mountain.
She truly is a breathtaking sight.

One of the most exciting sights we saw though, was this beautiful fox.  Our first.  I love the intensity of his eyes. He never took them off of me.  I only had a fleeting second to capture this photo before he ran into the brush.

It was a cloudy day and we never got a picture of the mountain without a cloud cover. But I think you can make her out behind the clouds and get a perspective of her size by the mountains in the foreground.
Tomorrow, we will spend our final days of our trip along the Peninsula.

Friday, October 5, 2012

From Dawson Creek, we pushed very hard

to reach Fairbanks.

Crossing the Top of the World Highway

As the sign says, this is the most northerly land border crossing in the U.S. Had a nice chat with the agent there.  I do not think he gets many visitors.  

The road just went on and on and on and..................

We were getting near Chicken at this point.  Hard to imagine that this building is still in use, but it had every sign of being so.

We saw several working Gold mines along the way.

Menu outside of the one restaurant in Chicken. The place looked fairly busy.  I was thinking I make a pretty good Chicken Pot Pie. Wondered if I could get the same prices for a slice down here.

The one building in Chicken. Emporium, liquor store and on the other end, the restaurant.

Getting to Fairbanks was pretty anticlimactic. In all of the years we lived in Anchorage we never made it up there.  We started one time, but the kids got cranky and we went home before we made it that far. I don't think we missed anything.  We drove around a while, found a place for a mediocre dinner, paid more for a motel than we did any other place on the trip and left as early in the morning as we could.  Did not look back either.  I doubt it will be on our itinerary in the future.


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