Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monsters by Johnny

Copyright 2009 John Barger

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I love A.W.Tozer.

"Be thou exalted" (Psalm 21:13) is the language of victorious spiritual experience. It is a little key t0 unlock the door to great treasures of grace. It is central in the life of God in the soul. Let the seeking man reach a place where life and lips join to say continually, "Be thou exalted," and a thousand minor problems will be solved at once. His Christian life ceases to be the complicated thing it had been before and becomes the very essence of simplicity. By the exercise of his will he has set his course, and on that course he will stay as if guided by an automatic pilot...He has met his life problem at its center, and everything else must follow along.

~A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

I have been reading a lot lately about the our tendency to compartmentalize our faith. In an effort to organize and balance our lives, we set aside a little bit of time in the mornings and on Sundays for God, and that is where our relationship with Him stops. Thus, we draw a dividing line between the spiritual and the secular that ought never be drawn. I really like how Kenneth Boa puts it in his book Conformed to His Image, "We must not view our life in Christ as merely an add-on to our life in this world; instead, we must learn to see it as the wellspring of our being and the meaning of our existence.”

When Christ has ceased to be at the center and "wellspring" of our lives, permeating even the minutest details, our hearts become disordered and out of focus, and a "thousand minor problems" begin to riddle us from all sides. Restore Christ to His rightful place at the center of our being, and, as Tozer says, we meet our problem at the center, and everything else must fall into place.

As I think about this, a couple of the Psalms of David come to mind.

"You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?"
Psalm 56:8

"How precious also are Your
thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than
the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You."
Psalm 139:17-18

Even if we neglect to center our lives on the Lord, He is still lovingly watching over us. Just imagine, the God of all creation keeps your tears in a bottle--He knows exactly how many you've cried. We cannot even begin to number His thoughts of us. It is simply mind-boggling.

What I have experienced in my own life is that, no matter how wise I think I am, God is infinitely wiser (I mean, He's God, isn't He?). Each and every time I follow the Lord's leading I am glad I did. Whenever I decide to take my own advice over the prompting of the Spirit, dire consequences follow. It's inevitable. Keeping the Lord and His will central in my life is simply an invaluable practice. Unfortunately, I am still not very good at it! However, life provides one with many great opportunities to learn and grow in this area. ;)

So there you have it--my ponderings for the day.

Oh--I made a very cute pencil skirt a couple days ago! I just happened to have enough pretty wool fabric to put together a "Very Easy" Simplicity skirt from the 50's. I finished it in a few hours and wore it to work the next day. Looked great. I'll get some pics up soon!

Have a fantastic day!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Plaid Jackets, Raggedy Ann, and Sewing by Hand

What a lovely day we had today. Sylvie, Esme and I started a very fun sewing project together--we are making our very own Raggedy Ann dolls! This afternoon we cut out the pattern pieces, ironed on the face transfers and began embroidering faces on our dolls. The girls did a fantastic job. I was quite impressed.

Sylvie's Raggedy

Esme's Raggedy (she also finished the "I Love You" heart on the tummy)

My Raggedy :)

I have been working on a very pretty ruffle-collared blouse, sewn completely by hand. I am super pleased with how it has turned out so far! I opted for bound buttonholes to suit the fabric, and made some pretty little covered buttons to match. My bound buttonholes are still far from perfect, but they are improving!

I've also been working on a really adorable plaid jacket. If I hadn't messed up the lining like a doofus, I'd have been finished with it by now. Oh well. Live and learn! Note also that I have yet to install the buttons. (Sorry the pictures are a little blurry--I'll get some better ones up when I'm finished)

Moi. Notice lack of buttons.

The original pattern is from the late 1940's by McCall

I made this little flower pin for the lapel. The button in the center is vintage.

Down in my room I have a stack about a mile high (ok, maybe only two feet) of fabric for my fall sewing projects. It is inpiring to look at. I wish I had more time to actually dig into it! Alas.

By the way, I've been posting some great new patterns on Etsy, and have many more that I will be putting up within the next few weeks. Be sure to check out our Etsy shop (see the link in the sidebar)!

Farewell, Weekend! I shall see you in seven days...


Monday, October 5, 2009

It is finally fall.

Fall is the highlight of my year. Thankfully, there is actually a little nip in the air down here in Georgia (so early!). Usually we have to wait until November for the summer weather to finally pass the hat to a colder season. Yes, this makes me happy. :)

I have been sewing in spurts, but since I began school a couple months ago (has it been that long?), I haven't really had much time to be productive, garment-construction-wise. I have been working on three different projects off-and-on throughout the past few weeks:

1. A lovely ruffle-collar blouse(#5 in my Fall Fashion Inspiration post) in cotton/silk poplin from I decided to sew this blouse completely by hand, and have gotten about half-way through with it.

2. The red corduroy jacket (#8). Yes, I am still not finished with it. I have been very uninspired to work on the poor thing lately.

3. A very darling plaid jacket (#6). I thought I had finished the darn thing last night, but unfortunately the lining was just a little off, and so I will have to re-line it. Yuck. It is really adorable--I think this might be my favorite fall garment so far. I originally planned to list it on my Etsy, but I am having second thoughts...

I'll try and get some pictures up as soon as I can. We are having a few issues with our computer uploading photos right now. Ah well! Perhaps this lovely pattern (to be listed soon on my Etsy!) will suffice? Perfect outfit for a day at the office in autumn.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Patterns on Etsy!

I listed a bunch cute vintage patterns on my Etsy. Hooray!

No, I still haven't finished my corduroy coat. No time, no time! Perhaps tomorrow...

Have a great Sunday,


Sunday, September 6, 2009

John B. K. Barger

(note: John has trouble pronouncing his "R"s. Imagine a "W" sound instead.)

"Mom, can you please turn my apron around backwards? I really need a cape right now."

Dad (about going camping): I'll just take John along with me and he can scare off all of the grizzly bears. (har-har)
John: Yes. I will catch that grizzly bear and ride him." Pause. "That will be really cute."

Mom: John, you really need a hair cut, buddy.
John: No I don't. I can just lick my fingers and stick my hair to my head, like this." (demonstrates)

What a joy!
What a dear little boy.
Thank you, Lord, for blessing our lives with him.

Sneak-Peek: Almost Finished!

The extra corduroy came earlier this week, so I was able to finally put everything together! Right now I am in the finishing stages of stitching in the lining. I'm hoping to have this done by early next week. Hooray!
My next project is a chiffon blouse for fall. :)
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A very dumb mistake

This past Monday I received a beautiful package from containing a bundle of red corduroy and Midwest Modern lovliness. This past Monday was also my first day of online classes at Regent University. Between work, reading, writing and miscelanious other errands and tasks, I had precious little time to dig into my new fabric. I managed to get it washed and cut out over the course of a few days, and stayed up late the other night sewing it all together. It was then that I realized that somehow I had forgotton to cut out the sleeves. The piece of fabric that I had meant to cut the sleeves out of was used to cut out the pockets, collar and cuffs. Stupid Bessie!

This is what happens when you are not organized and try to do things in a hurry. I have always been an advocate of taking your time when sewing, and now I am ashamed to say that I went against my own advice and in the excitement of the new project (and lack of creative time) cost myself a whole extra yard of fabric + shipping.

Thus, I am now humbled and shall take my time and work on all the little details (embroidering my name on the inside of the coat, making buttonholes and sewing on buttons, finishing edges, etc.) while I wait for my extra yard of red corduroy from to come.

Ah well! Tis life.

The coat looks very good so far, despite the lack of sleeves. I really like it in the corduroy. I found some great buttons in my collection to use. The lining looks great, too! I'll post some pictures as soon as I get it all finished. ;)

Have a happy and blessed Sunday!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Coat Fetish

I love coats. I especially love to sew coats. I wish I lived on the north pole so that I could wear my coats all year long (not really...well, maybe Alaska).
Since I don't have any great new sewing projects to post about right now, I thought I'd share some pictures of coats that I have made over the years. Please forgive the green summer trees in the background. Just imagine brilliant fall foliage or winter snow instead!

This is one of my favorite coats that I've made. It is made from the same pattern that I am going to make that red corduroy jacket from (see this post). It is a little big on me, but I wanted to leave enough room for the bulky sweaters I like to wear. I made this out of a lovely wool melton fabric and used sherpa fleece to line the pockets and the cuffs. The corduroy version will be a little smaller and close-fitting, more of a jacket than a coat.

Obviously I am not finished with this coat yet! This is a recycled coat. I bought this old Ralph Lauren coat from a flea market for $2, ripped all the seams and cut it out again using a cute pattern from the 40's. I utilized the pockets and collar that were original to the coat. It is pretty much all put together now, though I need to line it, finish the hem and sew the buttons on. I like how it looks! I'll probably wear this a lot.

Ok, I can't take credit for this one. I know I said I was posting about coats that I made, but I am making an exception with this one. This is a coat that I found at the afore-mentioned flea market for $2. I bought it because I liked the color of the wool. I planned on disecting it just like the other one and using the pieces to make a new coat. That all changed, however, once I got home and put the thing on. Wow. It was a genuine 1980's, huge shoulder pads, tapering sleeves and body, flippy collar coat. How could I rip this apart? It looks so cool! Just thought I would share it with you. ;)

Yes, I have even made a turn-of-the-century victorian style coat. I have never and probably will never wear this out in public, but it was fun to make! I ordered the wool from Woolworths and lined it will a pretty light yellow brocade. Never did put the buttons on.

This is a classic late 1940's swing coat. I made this one out of soft, cozy fleece. The gray fleece is real thick and has a waffle texture. This coat is not quite finished yet---I still need to sew on the gray pockets and line it.

Last, but certainly not least, is another swing coat made from the same pattern as the white and gray one. I made this with a large brown wool herringbone and lined it with a pink floral brocade. I pick stitched along the front and pocket edges with some pink twist. I'm very happy with how this one turned out. You can see more pics of this coat here.
So there you have it! My mom tells me I should sell some of my coats, but I don't know if I have the heart to do it. Sigh. They do take up a lot of room in my dreadfully small closet, though...
Have a great day!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What do you think?

Is this wearable today? I really, really want it to be. Just picture the red version with the skirt shortened a little...

Don't you love the buttons on the peplum?

Look! Pockets!

I think I might just make this up and wear it anyway. Let the people laugh! Let them scoff! I don't care. Bwah-ha-ha-ha!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fall Fashion Inspirations


1. Lovely Shirtwaist
I haven't figured out what kind or color fabric I want to use for this, but I am most definitely going to make it. Isn't it gorgeous?

2. Pocket Skirt
Have you ever seen such glorious pockets? Wow. I was thinking of making this up in a heavy-weight knit. What do you think?

3. 60's Jumper
I've never been much into jumpers, mainly because they are such a homeschooling stereotype. That has all changed, however. I watched a great old movie the other day called "The Petrified Forest" with Bette Davis and Leslie Howard. Bette Davis wore the cutest jumper and now I must have one too. This one is not the same style as Bette's, but I think it would work better in the modern wardrobe. And it has bigger pockets.

(Bette Davis. Sorry, it's the best image I could find!)

4. Wrap-around Skirt with BUTTONS!!!
Um, need I say more?
I'm thinking a big, brown plaid wool suiting.

5. Square-Neck Ruffle Blouse
I love this old McCall pattern. The other views are adorable as well, but short sleeved. I want to make a few for next summer. I think I will make two of these: one ivory and one blue.

6. Wide-lapeled Jacket
In a fabulous plaid boucle suiting (see below). I think I'll change the cuffs, though, and wear it with jeans.
Boucle Suiting Marigold White/Black/Yellow

7. 40's Coat
I am in the process of making this out of an old recycled wool coat. It looks great so far!

8. Red Corduroy Jacket
Be still, my beating heart. I love, love, love this coat pattern. I made it last year in a green wool melton (I'll have to post a pic!) and this year I am going to make it in red corduroy with Amy Butler cotton lining!

12 Wale Corduroy Red
Amy Butler Midwest Modern Fresh Poppies Green

And last, but certainly not least...
9. Mod Coat
*Cough* Uhm...yeah, I have this obsession with making coats.
I think this one is amazing. I am going to throw creativity out the window here and make it just like the picture on the pattern envelope. Well, plus pockets.

Will I really make all of these things for this fall?
We shall see.....

p.s. sorry I don't have the pattern names and numbers up. I am didn't think to write them all down before I butchered the scans, and I am too lazy to go downstairs and get them right now. If you see one that you are curious about, just let me know. ;)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Beautiful Words: Thomas Jefferson

"I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the universe, in all its parts, general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces; the structure of our earth itself, with its distribution of lands, waters, and atmosphere; animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles; insects, mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organized as man or mammoth; the mineral substances, their generation and uses; it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe, that there is in all this design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist on their present forms, and their regeneration into new and other forms."

~Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams, April 11th, 1823

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Cozy Green House Artworks now officially has an Etsy shop!

Perhaps this will inspire us to complete some projects? ;)

I will be listing our original artwork in our shop, as well as vintage patterns and sewing supplies from my personal collection. Check it out!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Music, Old Movies, Books, etc.

I have not posted about sewing lately because I have not been very inspired to sew. I have a few projects begun, but I simply cannot muster up the will to work on them. Alas, that is how art is.

What have I been doing with my spare time, then? Working on music, reading Atlas Shrugged and watching old movies.

The music is coming along very well. The girls and I are going to perform three songs at the concert next week. I had originally planned to do five, but as we did not have any already learnt I felt that three would be wiser. ;) Atlas Shrugged is coming along well. I began reading it so that I could enter the Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest (google it!). It has been an interesting read so far.

So! Old movie time. I watched a movie called "Pygmalion" (1938) the other night. The movie is based on a play by George Bernard Shaw and stars Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller. What a great movie!

Don't you love this art-deco poster?

"Pygmalion" is the predecessor of the 1964 musical "My Fair Lady", and is almost exactly the same, minus the musical numbers. Leslie Howard played a splendid Henry Higgins (I thought he was better than Rex Harrison), and Wendy Hiller was simply amazing in the role of Eliza Doolittle. As I watched the movie, I kept thinking that I had seen Wendy Hiller in something else. I realized about half-way through the movie that I had seen her about a bazillion times as a crotchety old lady (Mrs. Harris) in one of my favorite movies, "Anne Of Green Gables: The Sequel". Well whadda ya know? :)

Wendy Hiller as Eliza Doolittle

Wendy Hiller as Mrs. Harris

What did I like about "Pygmalion"? Well, the fact that I didn't have to listen to Mr. Doolitle sing "Get me to the church on time" for two hours was relieving. I also liked Mrs. Higgins character better than in the musical version. She had a slightly bigger part, and was a little more warm and motherly. The acting was all-around great. The kid who played Freddie was delightfully gooberish and swoony. Overall a pleasure to watch. Highly recommended.

Oh my goodness, it is so very late! Yikes. I ought to leave it at that for tonight (or this morning).

Bess <><

I had to add this because it is such a cool poster. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lovely Reading

I don't know if any of you have watched much Japanese anime. I haven't watched many, but the ones I have seen have been both strikingly beautiful and extremely bizzare at the same time. Very dream-like. There is one anime in particular that I could watch over and over again called "Howl's Moving Castle". It's one of those stories that sends your imagination soaring off in giddy wonder. I have always had an overly-active imagination, and I am particularly fond of a story into which my overly-active imagination can thouroughly indulge itself.

Wow...look at this artwork! It takes my breath away.

Imagine my delight when yesterday, as I was looking through the young readers section at the bookstore, I stumbled across a BOOK with the same title! What?! I could hardly believe my eyes! I had no idea that the movie had been inspired by a book. I had to buy it.

I read the whole book this afternoon. Whilst shirking many other things that I "should" have been doing, I might add. Ah well!

To be honest, I have been feeling rather crummy lately and I think a "curl up in a cozy spot with a great book" day was definitely in order. It has cheered me up significantly, and I now feel ready to face the new week with a smile and a nod. Hoorah for good literature!

So how did the book compare to the movie (or the movie to the book)?
Well, I love the movie for the stunning animation, beautiful score and fantastic voice overs (Christian Bale!, Lauren Bacall!, Billy Crystal, Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons). I also love the director Hiyao Miyazaki's portayal of the two main characters, Howl and Sophie. However, I think I liked the book better (surprise, surprise). ;) I found the book to be a bit more light-hearted. The movie takes on sort-of an "anti-war" message, with Howl bravely trying to stop the war from going on. There is no war in the book, and the great wizard Howl is actually quite a coward, always trying to "slither" his way out of doing (and facing) unpleasant things. All of the characters were pleasantly and humanly flawed. I love that. It makes a book so much more relatable. All in all it was a fun and easy read, and quite thought provoking.

Usually, I would recommend reading the book first. I always hate it when someone's first impression of a book is made by a movie. However I believe I will make an exception in this case. I say either one would be a great choice.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

A new movie for my favorite list!

What a fantastic movie. Such purpose! Such perseverence! It left me feeling hopeful and confident.....and wishing that there were more people about with just a tiny bit of Howard Roark's passion and courage in this world.

The movie is about a fight for individualism in a country where the collective is beginning to take precedence over every other concern. Howard Roark, a brilliant architect and artist, is pummelled from all sides by the media and the public for his new, modern and ingenious architectual creations. Talent and vision must be squelched, for the good of the public. His determination and utter disregard for the public and his eventual and amazing success are a pleasure to watch.