TO Dancing in the Rain: Here’s my story…

This is in direct response to Dancing in the Rain’s post with love and compassion: (how?)

I am a recovering addict of 21 years as of December 24th 2010. My daughter was 10 and my son was 7 when I got clean.

My son went “wayward” at a very young age… 12-13 after his father and I split up. His sister delved into her school studies to cover up her feelings and he found another way out of feeling his feelings… He was involved in gang activity, running a breaking and entering ring-stealing & robbing from homes, as well as selling using drugs and God only knows what else…

On July 5th, 2000, he was involved in an incident that almost killed him… actually, he died and was brought back to life three times… his head was swelled twice the normal size… he had been beaten in the head with a pipe and a brick… and kicked many times… his whole body showed badly beaten marks and cuts… I was never more frightened in my whole life… All I knew is that I had to turn him over to God…

I KNEW I had to release him to God, totally turn all power I thought I might even try to have… and give everything to God. I prayed that if my son was allowed to live, to not let him be a vegetable… to have a purpose… other wise, God, please take him…

I thanked God for the blessing of all the years of allowing me to be Charly’s mom, to hear his first words and to see him grow… and to know him… “Please God…” I said, “Take him if you will…”

Charly walked out of the hospital two days later… with the exception of the cuts and bruising, he looked very normal… no swelling, no limping… He vowed to me to make changes in his life… and I had no idea that the changes involved attaining a handgun… to protect himself… and me…

One year after my son’s resurrection, on May 25th 2001, a fight broke out at someone’s house… two different gangs (my son’s and another) were there… and an altercation was taking place over a hunting gun–lost or stolen was the argument… between an opposing gang member and a neutral person… Beer bottles were flying, the place was hopping with anger and yelling… and Charly went to get his gun from the car… he and the rest of the kids (ages 17-19) were all very drunk… Charly thought to shoot the gun in the air so everyone would just stop… But, as Charly raised his gun to shoot it into the air, he misfired arm-out-to-the-side straight before reaching the air and his friend stepped directly into the line of fire… a split second… an accident… a tragedy…

His friend dropped to the ground… everyone fled… Charly and many other kids were arrested two hours later… His friend died of a single gunshot wound to the head the next day.

Charly’s trial started on March 6th, 2002 at 9:00 am… and his sister, his only sibling and best friend in the whole world, gave birth to a precious boy… my only grandson… Charly’s only reason to be an uncle, at 6:32 pm that day. Irony. My son… my grandson…

Charly was convicted of second degree murder in April of 2002. He was sentenced to serve 25 – 34 years in prison… He was 18 years old then.

January 12, 1011, Charly will be 28. I visit him when I can, but he is currently about 10 hours away from me.

I truly understand your pain. I am crying as I write this… as I usually do when I tell this story. How did I stay clean through this??? I can only say it was God, my friends in the program and the program (12 Steps) that did it. A miracle, if you will.

Between each paragraph as lots of hours of worry, tears, anxiety, stress, questions, grasping for answers… and many many sleepless nights…

Why did I share this with you? Because, I can only say to thank God for the time God gave him to you… and to completely hand him over to God… surrender him to God… After all, he was a blessed gift from God to you in the first place… God trusted you with him… All you need to do is trust God with him now…

When you truly give him to God, you will feel the most blessed comfort, knowing your son is in good hands… his Father’s hands.

I know God has a plan for Charly… or Charly would never have lived through that one day he had been beaten so badly… Prison is just a temporary place for him… God is in charge. I am not. And God loves my children more than I could ever imagine loving them… and I know how much I love them…

I think you understand now…

…and then there’s this thing God does with me… sharing this story… with you… and others…



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Scissors and Needles and Thread! *Oh My!*

I have had a very maddening dilemma of late…

I use cast-off denim and reuse it for various purposes (most especially purses). Sometimes, for handles and joining seams, I am sewing through 8 – 10 layers.

1) Scissors: I have issues with cutting it (arthritis vs. scissors). I have electric scissors, but they jam up…So, what is your favorite brand of scissors, or which ones cut heavy fabric best? (Note: I do have a small and large rotary cutter, but the curves are VERY difficult to cut)

2) Needles: I believe I have tackled this with the change in machines as I am using a very heavy duty metal-geared machine now, but the fact remains, I need heavy duty needles. I know there are several brands and would like to know what others are using and their favorites. My machine takes standard needles (15 x 1).

3) Thread: I know I need thicker, heavier-duty thread but cannot find a good source at any local retailer… Especially in quantity (1,200 – 3,000 yards) and nobody seems to know what a “weight” for thread is! I realize that you can get “jeans” thread, but I am finding it is more of a top-stitching thread than a seam thread. My research tells me (as well as a good sewing machine mechanic’s teachings) that there is a difference between the strength of top-stitching thread and seam thread… All retailers that I have spoken to do not know ANYTHING about this. I currently use a 30 wt. cotton that I got from JoAnn’s on a spool that has 1,200 yards. So what thread do you recommend for heavy duty thread, what resources do you know of.

I also know that thread and needles need to be compatible… and this is where I surrender and ask for help. *whew!*

I am going to post this on my blog and other groups I belong to… I want all the information I can get my hands on! (Or should I say, that I will receive as a blessing from my divine friends? <BG>)

thanks all!


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And the thread is winning… But will Walmart? (Or what I really mean is, will China win)

…and I am lost. China makes what I make and imports it to my town… (My Dad reported this to me today after seeing someone with a purse he thought I made… asked the woman who she purchased it from –hoping it was me– and she said it was $5.00 at Walmart.) *sigh* Question: How can ya compete with that in the USA?

I only wish I could have had the opportunity to show my purses BEFORE they were being sold. “Chin Up!“, I tell myself… “My stuff is handmade from loved-no-more, cast-off-for-another-life items… and I am good.


So… now the search is one for a good thick thread that will work with me and my various projects that involve denim… Not JUST denim… but old, abandoned or discarded denim… My passion is this. (Or is it an obsession?). I am seeing, from experience, that thread, needles, power [in the sewing machine] and a bit of ingenuity make a lovely item. Now to get the right thread…

*hello, God? Can ya help me find what I need, and supply the financial part?* **thanks for hearing me!**

Gotta get some sleep after I check out a few things on the interwebs [sic](I love LOLcats! {see})

ta ta *wave*


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Field Trip: Needles and Threads (*and Bears! Oh My!*)

When I went looking for thread and needle information the other day, much to my dismay, there is very little information available at JoAnn’s… and the local Sewing Machine/Quilt/Embroidery shop had nothing to tell me. Please. Do I have to get ALL my information off the internet?

I really thought I would get a little more information… so… another field trip is in order.

Bay City, Michigan: (mainly upholstery, but I can use a trip to check out prices for super stiff fabric 🙂

Midland, Michigan:

Down State (Detroit Metro Area):

Hopefully I can learn something from a real live human with real live information from real live experience. *I miss my grandmas*

Soon… Soon! I will… I WILL have the knowledge it takes to figure out the exact formula for combining thread, needles, tension and fabric. *hope is my friend!*



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Gotta Blog More. Nuff Said.

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A Lesson in Sewing Machines, Threads, Machine Needles or Three The Hard Way

yeah. so the title says it all.

I was 12 years old when I began sewing on a sewing machine. While I was growing up I always watched my mother and grandmother while they sewed. They made the most fabulous things imaginable! I dreamed then, as I do still, of things I could sew… things I could create… things that I wanted to make for myself… or to make for others… and today… to sell.

I had 5 years of sewing classes in junior high and high school. I was always top of my class… I was the teacher’s helper and the teacher’s pet. I still practice and apply, rather diligently, the principles I learned then.

I am now 51 and find I was not taught all I thought I needed to know… but then, I realize, I was taught to use a homemaker’s machine… not a commercial machine. I was taught to use practical applications and principles for homemaker grade machines. I was told to “NEVER TOUCH THE TENSION KNOB”, and I never did… and I didn’t know why. I asked why, and was told “BECAUSE”. I wasn’t taught why I shouldn’t. I wasn’t told what tension was. I just accepted it. I have lived and have sewn with this “DO NOT TOUCH” mentality… until recently…


I have a friend that fixes sewing machines… well… actually, he fixes everything… he is amazing. AHHHHhhhmmazzzing! Well, when I first started having issues with my sewing machines… he basically made me feel like I was an idiot because I did not know how to figure out what was wrong with my machine. He sent me website links and various information about how to fix your own sewing machine… and now, I know how to do these things. His case in point: I am capable of fixing my machine.

So, when I called him about the issues of broken needles, he sparked, or rather, pinched, my “idiot” nerve again.

Broken needles? Not the needle’s problem. (Boy, was I mad. How dare he tell me that? After all, I was using the correct needle! Yeah… What I thought was the correct needle…)


So after researching, I found out that the machine can only do what it was built for. Reality check: My machine was built for the average sewer, the homemaker who makes day dresses for herself and pajamas for her kids… NOT as an industrial machine that could, or was built for, sewing 8 – 12 layers of denim or leather – successfully.

The needles. Um, okay, I never realized how many kinds of needles there were… I mean I know there are needles for various types of fabrics. But to accommodate specific threads… nah. (WHAT!?)

The thread. well… did you know that there are specific threads for specific purposes as well as for specific fabrics? I did not. I do now.

All of these concepts and realizations are very foreign to me. I am willing to learn though! FIELD TRIP! I am going to have to go to various fabric shops now to see and compare things. (A field trip for my self-learning class , if you will)

I will give a full report of my findings when I go on my field trip to the fabric shops researching needles and thread… (I will just HAVE to shop a bit for something wonderful to add to my fabric hoard, er, I mean stash)

see yah!

PS: I am flustered too much to even begin to share the links that I found the various thread/needle/fabric information, besides, I am sure there will be more. My next post will have the plethora of links I found.

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Sewing Machine Blues – or Finding *The One*

Awesome! I found others who struggle with the same thing that I do!  Er, not that it is awesome that we struggle, but that we have issues with sewing heavy items!

I have a project that I am currently working on, and one that I recently finished, that have pushed my machine (like all the others past) to a point that I know I have to stop with the heavy sewing or I will bust the thing badly.

I have three machines. One is a very nice computerized machine: Janome New Home Memory Craft 7000. (It is really my sister’s that she inherited from her mother-in-law passing last year – my sister doesn’t sew, I got blessed). One is a heavy solid cast-iron Singer built in 1961 (the model number escapes me) and the other one is a Singer Fashion Mate from (I think) 1972 that is mainly plastic.

I had another that I bought in 1988 that I gave away to a fella who is learning how to fix machines. I tore that thing up. Badly. The gears (which are a mylon/plastic type material) are stripped and have to be replaced.  I am glad I gave it to him, he is gonna learn a lot from having it… and I will not have the frustration.

Now, this fella, tells me that I need to get a machine that has ALL METAL GEARS and that is NOT a slant needle. Okay. So I have three machines that do not meet all the criteria above.

He also tells me I should make sure the machine has a minimum stitch selection. If it does only a straight stitch, chances are I have found the *ONE* I need.

So my eyes are open wide and I am gonna search for The One at the local thrift shops, estate sales, and probably on Craigslist. Too bad garage sale season is over in Michigan. 😦

*Sigh* We [single and not so single] women are always looking for *The One* aren’t we? Whether we are trying to find him in our lives, in a story book, on television or in our studios… and then, when we get *The One* what do we do? I know, if I get the right machine, I will sing *Hallelujah!*

It sure would be nice to find *The One* man to warm my old bones too 😉


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