Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Bit of Custom Tailoring

   So some of you know and some of you don't, but I have a very strong liking to sewing. I also have a strong liking for tailored garments, old fashion styles, and all natural fibers. With these combinations, my likings are usually not cheap. Unfortunately. Anyway... One day I took it into my mind to make a Ralph Lauren suit and skirt. This was three years ago. Almost two years ago, I found the fabric to make this. Then about two months ago, I cut the pattern out. And slowly but surely I've been making progress on the whole thing.
This is the pattern that I am using. The fabric is a dark green color. It is mostly wool.
   When cutting out the pattern, my aunt helped my alter it to fit me. That meant adding length and inches here and there and taking out things from all around. We were doing pretty good until we came to the under collar and front facing. These pieces are shaped rather differently and we weren't sure how to add the extra 1 1/4" to it. So we cut the piece out with extra fabric so that we could figure it out later.
   I sewed along, thinking "Oh this isn't hard at all." Spoke too soon there. I got to step 17: Shaping lapel over hand, padstitch lightly from roll line to outer edges. After looking up online what on earth padstitching meant, I hit rock bottom in the ambition department. I told my mother, "If I had known this jacket was going to be this much work, I wouldn't have started it." Well, padstitch the lapels I did, after I decided that buying the machines to do the work was definitely not an option. My fingers were pricked and hurting when I was finished, 6+ hours later, but the lapels were finished! Then there was the collar to padstitch but that only took a little over an hour.
   So after that hurdle, I was happy and on I went. Then I came to the under collar and front facing and realized I hit another rock. I searched online for help - didn't find a thing. Brought it to a shop in town - they couldn't help. Looked through books on sewing, tailoring, custom fitting - nothing. Finally my aunt said to "fudge" it. Okay then. That is my usual style of sewing anyway so this morning, I took an old sheet and cut out a mock of the two pattern pieces. I basted them together, trimmed, graded, pressed, top stitched, and pinned in place. Any hey!!! It worked! So I am going to post pictures so that if others ever come across this problem, maybe it will be of some help to them.

These are the two pieces causing me trouble. Notice the green fabric sticking out on each piece. We cut these like this because we didn't know how to add length to the pieces. We used 1/4" graph paper to lengthen all the pieces. It worked out great. Chopped the piece at the lengthen/shorten line, added the graph paper, and taped it in.

Now here is a close up of the piece on the right, piece 28. If you look at the seam line and allowance on the left, they don't match up because of the length we added.
 Here is a close up of the piece on the left, piece 29. Again, look at the seam and seam allowance. This one is a lot more off then piece 28.

So the solution to my problem... for piece 28, I drew a straight line from the outside seam off the bottom piece until it hit the outside seam line on the top piece. I cut out the mock piece on the red line
The second piece was a little more difficult...
I know in the picture, the red line going up isn't straight but it's suppose to be. I drew a line straight up from the bottom piece to the lengthen/shorten line. Then I drew a line at an angle to meet the first line I drew. Look at the picture because I'm not sure how to describe what I did.
   The mock turned out great so now I am going to cut out the actual fabric. But first, a few pictures of what I have so far.
The front of the jacket.

The left lapel with the mock under collar and front facing.

The right lapel that is padsitched.

The back collar. Half is covered with the mock and the other half is still not covered.

An overall picture of the back.
So now that I have this all typed out and recorded, I can get back to my sewing. :)







Thursday, December 19, 2013

Home Again

  So here I am, home again. Back to the cold and snow... I can't say as I enjoy it, but I sure like looking out the window at it. My flight home went smoothly and I didn't have any problems. It was nice to see my mother, sisters, and youngest brother when I got into the non-security area. We drove to Dairy Queen for something to eat and then back to the airport to drop off one of my sisters who went to Washington state. We drove towards home and stopped at a rest area for me to change to work clothes and then met up with my other two brothers. I went off to work about two and a half hours after landing. We three worked together and got off work around 10:45pm. I was super tired when we got home and all I wanted to do was sleep. Well indeed that didn't happen right away as I had to get some things and put other things away before I could sleep. The house looks so wintery and cozy, as mother did a lot of decorating when I was away. I'll have to take pictures when it's dark out and post them sometime.
   I woke up around 10:30am (Yikes! I slept in!) and got started on my laundry. Then there was the office work that piled up to take care of and different small things to do. I'm now finally relaxing... Which means I'm writing.
   While I was down south, I had the privilege of taking pictures for a new family. I got to do my first newborn session and I was excited! The baby was wonderful; he didn't cry hardly at all, and the parents were all for being ordered around. This, adding to the fact that I know them fairly well, made the two sessions go very smoothly. My friend and I were able to capture quite a few nice pictures and I am thankful for that. I was given permission to post some of the baby pictures so here are a few...

















      Here are just a few of the many pictures I was able to take with the wonderful help of my friend. She came up with the different pose ideas and I helped her to complete them. We had fun together and I defiantly enjoyed taking pictures of the little baby.
   It's snowing here, and I am enjoying staring out the window at it. Here are a few pictures of my vacation in the south:
At the airport. The sight I was enjoying while waiting for my ride.

A beautiful sunshine day. We had quite a few of these.
Downtown Greenville decked out with lights.

Downtown Greenville. I'm sorry that some are blurry. I took these while I was sitting in a pickup moving down the street.

Another picture of downtown Greenville.

A tree decorated in downtown Greenville. You can't see it, but on the left there is an ice rink that is operated during the day.

The menu to a quaint coffee place in downtown Greenville. A group of us from church went here after church one night for a friend's birthday.
And last but not least, my FAVORITE restaurant in the south. Three of us girls went here and enjoyed ourselves on Saturday night. We were going to go with a cousin of mine but he ended up being busy so we went by ourselves.
   All for this post. I am officially ready for bed again. Going on vacation is a lot of work. Even though I enjoyed it, a person almost has to take a vacation from vacation.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Airlines and South Carolina

   On Wednesday, I left the Dakota plains for the warm regions of the south. Or what is suppose to be the warm regions of the south anyway. Let's see... Eleven hours later, I was enjoying myself while standing on the curb at the airport, waiting to be picked up. Here is a long but not very detailed account of the experience. Sit back and prepare to fully realize why so many people don't like flying.
   Tuesday night, (a week ago) I was packing and watching the weather. Well I wasn't really watching the weather. More like my brothers, dad, and mother were giving me updates on the weather. I listen to them, smile, and then turn to God in prayer, asking that He would remove the nervous fear of multiple connections in huge airports and meeting new people. I also pray that His will would be done and that I would accept it, no matter what happened. The weather was predicting a blizzard moving in from the west that would dump many inches of snow on our area. Also, there were predictions of high winds and below 0* temperatures.
   Wednesday morning my alarm went off at 5:50am. I slept wonderfully all through the night and it was still coal black outside when I awoke. Nothing had changed in the black color since when I had went to sleep. I went downstairs and my mother was up and checking the weather cameras that are conveniently posted on the interstate. The roads were white but not so bad looking so mother said we would go for it. I took a shower and got my things into our vehicle. The snow at our house was about four inches deep. It all looked so beautiful and fresh and crisp out. Like God had taken His paintbrush and painted us a whole new fresh scene to look at.
   The drive to the airport went great. The roads had snow on them but the plows were out and there wasn't a lot of ice. I was dropped off at the airport by mother and my little sister came in while I checked my bag in. Then I said good bye to her and she left with mother. Security was a breeze for once and I got to my gate just fine. We boarded the plane and sat. And sat some more. The plane had to be de-iced before we could fly out and that took awhile. I'm thinking in my head: "This is fine for people who are only going to Chicago. But what about the people who have connections in Chicago?" Then I let the thought pass. God got me to Sioux Falls safely. He would take care of me in Chicago too. We finally left Sioux Falls about an hour behind schedule. The flight was smooth and I brought along my book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, to read.
   When we landed we had to wait a bit for our gate to be cleared and then we finally could get off the plane. They gate checked my bag so I found my bag and then took off for those screens of departures to figure out what gate my connection was at. Of course, the flight status listed that they were boarding already and of course, the gate was in a new terminal, and the terminal was in a new building which required a shuttle bus, for the quickest route, to get to. So into the line I go and wait for the next bus. The bus can only hold 20 people at once and they come about every 15 minutes. There were three people in front of me and it was announced that the bus was full. Two of the people in front of me decided to walk and they left more running then walking. Then the man came back and said they had three empty seats. I whispered "Thank you Father." and hurriedly boarded the bus. An older gentleman was sitting across the aisle from me and inquired about my flight. I showed him my ticket and he realized that I was probably in a hurry to get to my gate. He laughed a bit over airlines and when the bus stopped at the new terminal, he let me go before him. I thanked him and wished I had gotten his name and address so I could thank him for talking to me. I almost ran to the gate I was to board at and breathed a sigh of relief when I arrived. Then I saw the reason for delay and again thanked God. There was a family with three small children boarding. They had a lot of luggage and it all was being gate checked except small things like purses and diaper bags. I was able to find my seat and had plenty of time to get settled. They gate checked my bag at this gate also. For some reason, there was only one runway open in Chicago so we taxied around for an hour and seven minutes before taking off.
   Arrived in D.C. late. Really late. At this point I pretty much figured I wouldn't be able to make my next connection. I got to see a beautiful sunset above the clouds before we landed though and I think that made up for most of it. The only regret there: I didn't take a picture of it. Anyway. I got off the plane and then  found out that my carry on that they gate checked had been sent to the baggage claim. For those of you who have never been to D.C., it is a crazy airport. I went up and down too many escalators and flights of stairs to count. Then I got on a train that took me to the baggage claim. I didn't know which of the 30+ baggage claims our flights' baggage went to so I had to find that out. Then I waited twenty minutes for my carry on to show up. When I finally had it back, I had to find out how to get back to the terminals so I asked a very kind and helpful man at a desk they have set up just for those kinds of questions. He directed me and off I went again. Back on to the train and up and down multiple escalators and flights of stairs. It was around then that it fully hit me that I had to go through security again. The man at the desk had said I would but I didn't fully comprehend it. The TSA man that was looking at ID's and boarding passes looked about as tired, grumpy, and fed up with airlines as I felt. He didn't give me any problems though. The line after that was long. Like a hundred people long. I called my mother and my friend and told them what was happening and mother said she would look into a flight change for me. For those of you who don't know my mother, I think she is the best. I love her more every day. Anyway, they finally opened up more gates so I got through security in about fifteen minutes. They had to do a pat down on me in a few different places and it was about then that I was thinking that going to the airport with no clothes might have been faster. Ya know, the camera people, that's all they see. Anyway, knowing that I would never be able to do something like that, I sighed and let them do their thing and went on my way. Here I passed what I think was a group from Scandinavia. They looked it, they had the accent, and one of the names of a guy in the group was Anton. Anyway I trotted off to what was suppose to be my gate and the lady there looked up my flight. There she found that my flight had already been transferred to another so she printed off the boarding passes that I would need. Again, my wonderful mother on top of things here. She got in touch with the airlines and they switched my flight over. Here also I found out that I wasn't the only one who had missed the D.C. connection. I found my new gate and then got something to eat and drink. I was starving as I never eat before I fly. I finished eating just in time to board my flight. It was dark outside already and yeah, I'll admit, I was tired.
   We didn't have any delays taking off from D.C. and we arrived in Newark right on time. I grabbed my bag from the gate check area. Then I followed a couple whose destination was the same as mine. Then my dad called so I was talking to him when they boarded an elevator to catch a shuttle bus. I followed, feeling very embarrassed that I was talking on the phone, and quickly ended the call. At the bottom of the elevator, we got onto a shuttle bus that took us to our next terminal. There was a young man that was in the elevator with us from North Carolina. He followed me up the stairs when I got off the shuttle bus. I was wondering if he was going to be a "Southern gentleman" and carry my suitcase up the stairs but...he didn't. Oh well. So I sat in Newark for an hour and a half before I boarded the plane again. I read a bit and texted an awesome uncle of mine while I was waiting. Oh. And I people watched. Ya know, you just watch all the different people you see and wonder about them. It's entertaining for about the first ten minutes. Then you wish someone would come and talk to you. Which didn't happen to me. To continue on though... They gate checked my carry on again so I just sat down and didn't worry about it. There was a lady sitting across the aisle from me that was a little talkative. She was on her way home from Germany. We got to talking and she told me her husband was from Washington state. I thought that was pretty neat. Anyway, I read a little during the flight via those neat reading lights they have. We had a wonderful flight attendant and she had a beautiful smile. She was great and I wanted to tell her so but I was too shy. So I wrote her a little note and gave it to her on the way out of the plane.
   We landed in Greenville, South Carolina around 11:30pm. I retrieved my bag and then went to the baggage claim to find my bag that I checked in in Sioux Falls. I ended up in the Delta section of the baggage claim and no one was there so I asked a lady at a car rental booth where to go. She pointed me in the correct direction and off I went. I saw my other suitcase sitting on one of those scales that they use when you check a bag in and, as I didn't see anyone around, I took it and was out the door. I texted my friend to let her know I was waiting and took a few pictures of the waterfall and the flags. It felt absolutely wonderful outside and I enjoyed it. My friend picked me up and we stopped at the famous McDonalds for something to eat. When we got to her house, we chatted for a couple of hours before finally going to sleep.
   I have enjoyed my time for the most part here. It's especially nice when I get texts from my mother saying: "-14* out but with windchill feels like -35*" I'm serious. It's cold. And it's snowing too. In South Carolina, it's been rainy and not very warm. But it's nice compared to the Dakotas. Now today, it's a beautiful sunshine day. There is hardly any wind and I'm thinking I should go out with my camera and see if I can capture some of the sun but I am enjoying the comfortable silence of the air just now so I'm content to only look out the windows.
   I was going to post some pictures but I think those will have to wait. I was informed that the laptop I am using has some "personal problems" so I think I will post them when I get home.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Making Oregano Oil

** DISCLAIMER: I did not go to school to study natural medicine or anything like that. All my knowledge is self taught from experience, from other people, and from reading a lot. I advise every person to look into matters for themselves to see if it is really what you are looking for. I can not, nor will not, take any responsibility for the misuse of this information. Please be careful when trying new things like this. Not every oil works for every person. **

Always do your research before consuming ANY homemade tincture. Remember some plants are poisonous. - See more at: http://blog.cherylsdelights.com/2013/06/herbal-tincture/#sthash.qlNRT7Ed.dpuf
Always do your research before consuming ANY homemade tincture. Remember some plants are poisonous. - See more at: http://blog.cherylsdelights.com/2013/06/herbal-tincture/#sthash.qlNRT7Ed.dpuf
Always do your research before consuming ANY homemade tincture. Remember some plants are poisonous. - See more at: http://blog.cherylsdelights.com/2013/06/herbal-tincture/#sthash.qlNRT7Ed.dpuf
   My oregano grew fairly well this summer and as we had already used what we needed for spaghetti sauce and whatnot, I needed to figure out what to do with the bunches that were left. I have read a lot about oregano oil in health books and online so I thought I would make some oil of my own. Oregano oil is a natural antibiotic. Oregano has been known to kill bacteria, fungus, parasites, and viruses. It has also been able to regenerate liver cells. According to some places, it is used for respiratory problems such as a cough, asthma, croup, and bronchitis. It has also been used for treating heartburn, bloating, menstrual cramps, arthritis, urinary tract infections, headaches, and heart conditions. The oil can be applied to the skin for skin conditions such as acne, athlete's foot, dandruff, canker sores, warts, and ringworm. It can also be used topically for insect and spider bits, toothaches, and muscle pain. Sprinkle the oil on you before going outside in the summer as an insect repellent.
  Oregano oil has a lot of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, potassium, and copper. Oregano oil is used to fight colds for this reason and also because it fights infections. There is a lot more that could be said of this oil, but I will leave it at that. At the end of this post I have a few links to different sites that you can feel free to look at if you want to know more.
   All the above being said, I think it is important to add that the quality of the oregano, the method that is used to achieve the oil, and the type of carrier oil, if being used, all have an effect on the final oil. Some people use steam distillation while others, not being able to afford the distiller (that last one is me.) make the oil using a carrier oil. Being as I had no plan to make oregano oil when I first planted the oregano, I did not plant any high quality oregano. And since the oregano wasn't high-high quality I didn't go out and buy a $100 carrier oil. Here are the steps I used to make my oil.
   Harvest your oregano. Place a few stalks of the herb in a metal colander and rinse. Do not use a plastic colander if you can avoid it.
Oregano picked and in the herb bowl waiting to be washed.

Oregano in the colander waiting to be rinsed.

After rinsing, the water needs to come off of the oregano before it can be made into an oil. Too much moisture can be the cause of a failed attempt at making oil. It will cause mold on the top of the oil and then the whole contents of the jar will have to be thrown away and you will be back again in square A will nothing to show for your work.
To dry the oregano, I laid it on our dehydrator racks and put the dehydrator on the lowest setting for about 50 minutes. The time depends on what dehydrator you are using and what the lowest temperature setting is. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can lay the herbs out on cooling racks. Realize that this method will take longer. You will know when the oregano is dried enough when it feels like you just picked it from your garden. You don't want it completely dry because then all the oil would disappear. 
The oregano on a dehydrator rack ready to be dried.
The dehydrator all filled up and going.

The oregano after being dried.
After the oregano was dried, I took it off the racks and put it, small groups at a time, into a gallon freezer ziplock bag. Then I got a tea towel and a meat tenderizer.
I put the tea towel over the bag and pounded away with the meat tenderizer. The purpose to this is to bruise the oregano leaves so that the oil they contain will come out from them better. This is a good therapy project at this point. If you have been having a stressful day and feel like you need to beat on something, here is your chance.
The oregano leaves after being pounded with a meat tenderizer.
Here is something to keep in mind. I used olive oil because that is what I had on hand. The type of oil that you use is your choice but make sure that it comes from a pure source. Vegetable oil is not meant for something like this. You can use olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, flax seed oil, jojoba oil... The list goes on. But keep in mind: If you are using a high quality herb, use a high quality oil. Don't mix and match qualities.
On the stove in a metal pot, I put the olive oil heating. There is a trick here too. You don't want the olive oil to boil but you want it to be fairly hot. Keep an eye on it. Keep your burner from low to medium if you can't watch over it at all times.
The olive oil heating.
When the oil is heating, fill a stock pot with water and put it on the burner. Turn the burner on high and bring this water to a boil. Find a glass jar with a lid that will hold all of your oregano. Using a metal or glass funnel, stuff the herbs into the jar.

When all of the herb is in the jar, pack it all down tight. Then begin to fill the jar with the hot olive oil. Be careful and pour slowly. The oil may take a little while to get down to the bottom because the herbs are packed into the jar.
 Fill the jar so that the oil completely covers the oregano. This is an important step. If the oil does not completely cover the oregano, then you will get mold. When the jar is filled with oil, remove the funnel and wipe the lip of the jar. Then screw on the lid tightly. Place the jar into the stock pot of boiling water. Turn the burner down to low.


Put the lid onto the stock pot and put a timer going for half an hour. When the timer goes off remove the jar with a pair of jar lifters and set somewhere where there are no drafts. Wrap with a towel. The next day, remove the towel and put the jar somewhere in a dark place. Check on it every couple of days. There is a chance that mold will still form at the top of the jar. If this happens, use a fork or spoon and remove the mold. Then shake the jar to distribute the oil and put it back on the shelf. The oil should set for two to four weeks.
 Open the oregano oil jar and carefully dump the jar upside down into the cheesecloth bag. Be careful not to let all the oregano leaves come pouring out on you.
Let the smaller jar rest on the big jar for a few hours. Then scrape out the remaining oregano from the small jar into the cheesecloth.
Use clothes pins to hang the cheesecloth bag securely from the lip of the jar, keeping the bottom of the bag out of the oil. Let it hang this way over night. I covered the whole jar top with plastic wrap to keep any critters out of the oil. The next day dump the oregano leaves in the garbage and put the cheesecloth bag soaking in water and dishsoap. Pour the strained oil into a jar and LABEL the jar with the oil type and the date. Store the jar in a cool dark place. It is now ready to be used for whatever you will be using it for. I put in an order to an herb company in Oregon, Mountain Rose Herbs, and I'm waiting to receive the order before I put some of the newly made oregano oil to use. I will add here that this way of making oregano oil is not how most oil companies make theirs. The oregano oil made this way is not as strong or potent as the oregano oil you would get from doTerra, Young Living, Rocky Mountain Oils, or companies like those.
For more information on oregano oil, visit:
http://www.webmd.com
http://www.experience-essential-oils.com
http://atlantablackstar.com