Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Dresses

The idea for this year's first round of spring dresses was hatched the week after Christmas.  My fabulous little sister had given me a JoAnn's gift card that was just itching to be spent, so when I saw a bolt of bright floral bottomweight fabric abandoned in the red-tag clearance section at JoAnn's I started getting excited.  With big melon-colored flowers and citrus-soaked swirls (and a $3/yd price :) it didn't take long before I was dragging it to the cutting table and imagining away the remaining months of winter gray.

Since the fabric was cheap (and covered by the aforementioned, much-appreciated, gift card :), I decided to use yardage with reckless abandon and went ahead with a ruffle-theme for the dresses.

Robyn's got the most basic treatment: I added a single narrow ruffle, trimmed with eyelet lace, to the bottom of a basic circle skirt.

If Robyn's was basic, Amber's was ruffles in excess, with three tiers of ruffles spilling down the skirt. 

And then there's Katie's.  A couple of years ago my mom gave me this pattern:

If you were to look up "Children's Dresses of the 80's" in the encyclopedia I'm pretty sure this would be the illustration.  For everything outdated about this pattern, though, I really liked the tiered skirt with the angled drop waist.  So off went the sleeves and down went the neckline.  If that sounds a little racy, hopefully we made up for it by adding about a bizillion inches to the hemline.  (No wonder we wore little lacy underwear as children: with dresses made so short everyone could probably SEE our underwear every time we wiggled!)

 Bright pink sweaters from Grandma (maybe a touch large, but really really cute anyway!) finished off the dresses, which the girls wore this weekend for General Conference (semi-annual broadcast with messages from church leaders.)

Picnicking at the church before a Sunday session of General Conference.

Conference weekend is always a really neat experience, and even more so now that the girls are getting older and more into it.  One of their favorite traditions is eating a picnic lunch at the chapel on Sunday.

Since the first Sunday session starts at noon (unlike out west where the between-session break would be at noon), we could technically just eat before going, but it's so much fun we figure, why not?   Plus it was fun to overload their minds telling them why our family used to picnic on General Conference weekend growing up.  That was back when you couldn't just stream Conference on the internet and with only the two-hour break between sessions it didn't make sense to do an hour-round trip to eat at home.  (You didn't have the internet??!?!?!  WHAAAAT??! :)

Robyn eating French chocolate cookies Bryan's mom sent home with us after Easter last weekend.

Katie, posing waaaaaay too seriously after conference.  (Any chance Masterpiece Theatre needs a new host??)

Also great from Conference was the girls' summary of the Sunday morning session (where President Monson told a story about nearly starting a forest fire):

Me: What did you hear at Conference?
Robyn: That President Monson played with matches.
Me: Anything else?
Katie: Follow the prophet!

It might be time for a fire-safety review at our house...

More serious posing.  Maybe they were just tired by this point?

The conference talks that really grabbed me personally (other than President Monson's pyromania-prone memoirs of course :) were President Packer's and Elder Holland's.  I loved how President Packer shared about not wanting to trade the understanding that comes with age for all the benefits of youth and closed with such a sweet expression of his testimony in poem:

'I know that He will come anew
With power and in glory.
I know I will see Him once again
At the end of my life's story.
I'll kneel before His wounded feet;
I'll feel His Spirit glow.
My whispering, quivering voice will say,
"Oh Lord, my God, I know."'

I also really enjoyed Elder Holland's discussion of the New Testament story of a father bringing his son to be healed.  

I've long been intrigued by the father's expression, "Lord, I believe.  Help thou my unbelief."  Sometimes I've seen it portrayed in New Testament films with the father first saying, "Lord, I believe," and then only after a withering gaze from the Savior, backpedaling to "Help thou my unbelief."  Instead, I really resonated with how Elder Holland seemed to interpret it: a humble acknowledgement of faith-that-exists, coupled with a desire for faith-that's-still-developing.  Especially as a full-time missionary, the idea that it was possible to both have faith and at the same time be desperate for help where faith seemed to be falling short, rang true.  I also loved Elder Holland's encouragement not to "pretend to have faith you do not have," but at the same time to "be true to the faith you do have," followed by this reminder: 

"Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please do not hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood and resolved.... And remember in this world everyone is to walk by faith."

Back in mid-winter, it was exciting to discover a whole bolt of bright spring fabric: it popped out of the pile, promising all sorts of pretty possibilities.  I feel sort of the same way about some of the talks this weekend: in a world that can seem murky and discouraging, they were beautiful, hopeful, and brimming with all sorts of opportunities for growth and comfort.  Of course, purchasing fabric is one thing.  Dress-making is another.  Now that the broadcasts are over, what will the next few months bring?

Will the messages be measured, shaped to individual size and worked until I wear them in my life?

Or left to collect dust in the stash?

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