Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

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I received this gorgeous floral bouquet last week
from a dear friend,
(Thank you, Judy!)
on the morning of my husband's funeral.
We held his Mass of the Christian burial last week on what would have been my sweethearts 89th birthday.
I delayed his interment so that his youngest son could have time to fly home from Australia &
it also would not interfere with the impending birth of his oldest son's first grandchild.

Ernie's Funeral Mass

























By blogging about the details of this day, I hope that my grandchildren (who were all there)
will remember & understand all the meaningful choices that went into making this day special.

His ashes were encased in this hand-painted wooden box with golf motif...a gift from my little sister.
Thanks Ruth E!  I heard lots of nice compliments on how cool & very unique it was.


Ernie's box

I chose the song "Christ Be Beside Me" for the entrance song & you can listen to it on youtube here:


My friend, Nicole, told me about it, as well as the reading about doctors from the Old Testament,
in the Book of Ecclesiasticus, Sirach 1-16. 
It was a perfect selection.  Thank you, Nicole!


I also included the song, Panis Angelicus,
(Bread of Angels) during Communion,
as it was a favorite of both he & his mother. 

They followed that with the Ave Maria, which was one of my father's beautiful solos.
He sang it at my daughter's wedding as well as at many funerals, after he retired. 
He had a gorgeous voice!

Each of these songs are so meaningful to our family, 
that they never fail to bring tears to my eyes.


navy insignia

My husband joined the Navy, right out of high school, during WW II.
His two older brothers were already serving in the Navy...both had thankfully survived the amphibious landing in Anzio beach, Italy.

When my husband's appendix ruptured,
while he was in the service,
he was one of the first persons to ever receive the new drug, Penicillin back in the '40s.
It literally saved his life!

Because of his service to his country, my husband was entitled to be buried in a National Veterans Cemetery.

I chose the one nearest to our home, which is Ohio Western Reserve in Rittman, OH.

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This is the bell tower that you see upon first entering the cemetery.

bell tower at cemetary

The row upon row of perfectly spaced headstones is an impressive site!   Such precision!

grave flags

burial vaults

My husband's ashes were sealed into one of these stone vaults, where there is room for me to join him
when my time comes.

 To go between our names & dates, I chose the inscription "In God's Hands".

half mast

The flag was lowered to half mast & a lone service member played taps...guaranteed to bring one to tears!

The service members are all volunteers from local area VFW posts, who take turns spending two days per week to help honor their fallen brothers.

taps















folded american-flag

They had an honor guard, standing at attention along the walkway to the pavilion, waiting for us to arrive along with two members of the Navy, who stood at attention & waited to carry in his cremains & his flag.

After taps, the two uniformed members of the Navy, wearing white gloves, performed the folding of the flag.
They make each of the traditional 13 folds with perfect precision as we looked on in tearful silence.

The flag folding ceremony along with the gun salute was one of the most powerfully moving & impressive displays of patriotism that I have ever witnessed!  It was a tremendously beautiful tribute.

His Navy representatives presented me with his folded flag, along with a little bag containing the casing shells from the gun salute.

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I have them sitting on his favorite chair at the moment but intend to soon purchase a wooden case to properly display them.

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A dozen white roses were beside his portrait & ashes on the church's alter & a friend brought them home for me to enjoy afterwards.

The single red rose was to represent my undying love for him.
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They still look beautiful on the dining room table beside our wedding photos & one that was taken on a cruise.

We look so happy & I have such wonderful memories of all the good times we shared.

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I just noticed the single red rose on the main table at our reception.  I didn't remember it until just now.

I carried an arm full of calla lilies & I was amazed at how many of the sympathy cards I received also had calla lilies on them.  Coincidence?  

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He will always be my hero, for the way he lived his life. 

 One of the readings at his Mass was from 1 Corinthians 13:4 because it described Ernie & his character so beautifully.  He was all of these things & more.  I can only hope to live the rest of my life, emulating his example.
 
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."


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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ready for St. Patrick’s Day

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 Today is Cuisine Kathleen's 7th Annual St. Patrick's Day Blog Roll & I just couldn't miss it,
even though I don't feel much like celebrating this year. 

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 I've set a small table with my new Royal Tara tea set. 
I have service for 6 in this delicately thin bone china, made in Galway, Ireland.

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The flatware is new...a gift from my husband for our Valentine's Day anniversary.
He told me to pick out something I wanted & I've always wished I had some utensils with gold on them, to coordinate with all my gold banded dishes.

It is by Mikasa & is called "Cameo Gold". 
I give Mary, who blogs at "Home is Where the Boat Is", full credit for telling me about it in THIS POST.
Thanks Mary!

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My daughter found two of these pretty cross-cut vases for me. 

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The cream pitcher & sugar bowl are beautifully shaped.

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These pretty green water goblets were used on a different table for my family last weekend.
The tablescape wasn't anything special but I thought the glasses photographed beautifully.

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Gotta have some matching candy, too!

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I have this card from my sweet husband, sitting on the baker's rack.
He first signed it in 1988 & re-gifted it to me every year after that, dating it each time.
Such a cute gesture...my parents used to do the same thing.  

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 I treasure all the cards he gave to me over the years & I'm so glad I kept most of them.
They have brought smiles & laughter along with a few tears to my days & have help me to feel like he is still here with me in spirit.

Thanks for stopping by The Gazebo House today & please go visit Cuisine Kathleen's party...always lots of fun to see all her GREEN.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Ms. C’s 1st Holy Communion Dress


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Sewing really IS my therapy!

I truly appreciated all the comforting comments on my last post, regarding my husband's death.

I miss him terribly, every second of every minute of every day!

My darling granddaughter, Ms. C. made her 1st Holy Communion last Sunday & I made her dress for her.


I worked on it, non-stop, every day for two full weeks after my dear husband passed away.

Working on the dress was a good distraction from my grief, a real *labor of love* & is "The prettiest dress I've ever made".

My very talented, online sewing friend, Bunny~~La Sewista~~used that title for a recent post, so I didn't want to copy her, even though it fits my sentiments exactly, too.

My wonderful smocking friend Nicole (whose husband is the cardiologist who took care of Ernie during both of his ER visits) came to my house, brought me food & helped me tremendously in cutting out the bodice & its construction.
She reminded me there was a directional texture to the raw silk side that I chose for the dress.
 
It had been a long time since I'd done any heirloom sewing & she was a big help.

  Thank you SEW much, Nicole! 


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I used my embroidery machine to embellish both ends of the silky, satin sash prior to their construction, so that the back of the embroidery design was hidden inside. 

 They don't appear balanced in this photo, but once the bow is tied, they hang more evenly.

The digital cross embroidery design is free from The Needle of Anne & can be found HERE.
I was impressed with how gorgeous it is, both front & back that I will certainly purchase from her next time I need something so beautiful.

I want to thank another online sewing friend, Kathy Dykstra, for sharing the info about it on her blog.   Kathy is a fantastic seamstress & creates gorgeous outfits as well as teaching others to do so.

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The sheer  sleeves, made of iridescent dotted organza, have satin bindings (hand sewn inside) as well as tiny little satin & organza bows, also attached by hand.

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The entire bodice was smocked by hand along with crystal beading added at the same time that I was doing the smocking.

I had the beads in a little rubber dish & would pick up one bead with my needle every so many stitches, according to the pattern.

 First time I've ever done that!

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I'm especially pleased at how smooth the satin bias binding came out on the neckline.

  I've NEVER had one look so pretty before!

I think I must have had an angel or two watching over me that week.

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Here is a closer shot & different angle of the sleeves, allowing you to better see the iridescent dots on the organza.
Along with a very close-up shot of the smocking & beading. 


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I made a bow for her hair, out of satin & organza ribbon that matched the little bows on the sleeves.

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I decreased the "poof" of the sleeves in the pattern, per Ms. C's request, by taking out the little pleat at the lower edge & cutting down the gathers at the shoulder area as well.  

She prefered a more tailored look as opposed to the " puffy little girl" design shown in the magazine.
 

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The pattern for this dress is called "Angel" & can be found in Australian Smocking & Embroidery magazine, issue #88





I am so, so sad that this magazine, along with Martha Pullen's Sew Beautiful, are no longer being published.  

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I placed tiny little pearlized buttons down the back of the dress by sewing them on with a bullion rosebud in two shades of pale blue, (and a touch of light green) to coordinate with the pale blue ribbon at the base of the smocked bodice.

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Adding a touch of pale blue to her Holy Communion dress is my (and Nicole's) way of honoring Jesus' mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary on this very special day, as that is her color.

I learned how to do these bullion roses on buttons at the Martha Pullen School of Fashion & Design one year, taking classes from Lynne Holyoake, who lives in AU.

  I must remember to post the beautiful baby's *party dress*, with matching cashmere & lace blanket that I made in her classes very soon. 

Since the bodice of the dress was fully lined with lace trimmed satin, I made her just a half-slip out of very soft, embroidered cotton.


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I embroidered her monogram on it, as well as the date of the ceremony, too.



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As you know, I try to NEVER post photos of my grandchildren on the internet, nor would I ever put someone else's child on, either. However, I couldn't resist showing this group photo, since Ms. C. was the only girl in the Sunday School class!...plus it shows off the wide, satin hem band at the bottom of the skirt, too.

They are holding their chalices, which they hand painted in class, weeks before the service.

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She had beautiful diamond chip earrings to wear that matched the sterling silver cross with diamonds
that I gave her as a gift from her Poppi Ernie that morning. 


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Her shoes were the best match of all, though...just check out the bling of the crystal *diamonds* on them!!!  Too cute!!

It was a wonderfully beautiful day & the only thing missing was my sweetheart Ernie, sitting beside me in the church pew.

He adored this child & she him, as well.  They had a very special bond.  We all knew he was watching from above & smiling the whole time.


Thanks for stopping by The Gazebo House today.
Now that the dress is done, I hope to find time to stop by & visit YOUR blogs soon.

fondly,
Rett