In-Tents Refashion

God is definitely showing me that change is good & I've missed out on nothing

This summer has unexpectedly been a tough one. Along with the wet, cool weather making the summer hay crop difficult to harvest and my roller coaster of emotions(with endless lists of preparation) as Honorable Son #1 transitions from high school to college, there have been numerous loved ones struggling with serious health issues. The combination of all these uncontrollable things makes for a lot of noise inside my head.

Some of these challenges can be minimized with a good plan of action, aka-endless lists of preparation written on paper instead of in my head, while most of the other things are completely out of my control. No lists, plans, careful preparations or hard work will stop the rain or take away difficult diagnosis-es.

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So with all this stuff going on, I was looking forward to our 3rd annual church youth camping trip to spend some time sleeping closer to nature, opening and closing the day with group devotions, giving help through service projects and sharing laughter with an awesome group of inspiring people.

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For the last three years the boys and I, along with other youth from our church, join youth from our mission district for a multi-day youth camp in the hills of Central Pennsylvania. This year the camp was being officially dedicated with a ceremony on opening day marking what everyone involved hopes will be a long continuing tradition of youth spending time at In-Tents Lutheran Church Camp.

DSC02859Last year we received T-shirts with our camp name printed on them, so, to show my team spirit at the dedication, I dug out my camp shirt while packing for our trip.DSC02844I have never been enthusiastic about wearing shirts with words printed across my chest(or back), especially the typical promotional t-shirt that adds the double whammy of being ill-fitting and with printed words. So before I could go off to camp for some “In-tents soul refashioning” I needed to do a t-shirt refashion.

I love reading through the many refashion blogs to be inspired. The vision and creativity people have to turn even the oddest piece of clothing into something loved and wearable is amazing. And while someday I would like to try my hand at some serious refashioning, this project would just be about turning this unflattering t-shirt into a better fitting model.




After comparing the camp shirt with a favorite me-made shirt, the cutting apart and putting back together began:

  • remove extra length
  • remove extra width
  • shorten the shoulder length
  • narrow the sleeve width to fit the new smaller armhole
  • remove the crew neck ribbing, cut v-neck opening
  • make new neck ribbing from extra length fabric

With just over 60 minutes of cutting and sewing I had a new and improved t-shirt ready for it’s camp debut.

Our time at camp was all that I was hoping for; sleeping under the stars, cooking over the fire, sharing and laughing with friends, rubbing elbows with a bunch of amazing youth, giving the gift of service to a few of the many in need, being inspired by a great speaker-Brian Wallace , and having some adventures in Ohiopyle(a few drowned pastors have quite a tale to tell).

But the most rewarding part is knowing that like my t-shirt, God is working in my life everyday to create a refashioned me, a person better fitted for the job He sent me here to do. The best In-tents Refashion of all.


Stitched with Love

More than 2 years ago the thoughts of how to honor the high-school graduation of Honorable Son #1 began to stir in my mind. At that time the idea of piecing together a quilt for him came to life. I knew that if that was the direction my gift would take, I needed to begin that process sooner rather than later. But many questions had to be answered;

  • What quilt pattern would be the right design?
  • What colors, patterns?
  • When would the I find time to accomplish another large project?

Those questions weighed heavy on my mind for many weeks until I finally had to put the idea aside and began to consider other ideas…but what?

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The opportunity to give a gift is something that I take very seriously. Often, many hours of mental power and time are spent in contemplation over the “perfect” gift. And, most often, a gift given with my name printed in the “from” space on the tag needs to be handmade in some way. I have this personality trait >aka-flaw/ disorder< that consumes me until I conjure up the “perfect, personal, handmade gift,” lots of prayer, time and thought are involved. The process while rewarding can be exhausting too.

So, when 2017 rolled around and I still hadn’t decided on a graduation gift, the idea of giving a handmade gift seemed unattainable. But during the month of January(my month of rest after all that gift giving), the idea of a quilt stirred once more.

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This time a pattern idea came to life, and within a week of rekindling this idea I was able to draw out the pattern design and had begun to gather the fabric. Now I just needed the window of time to start the stitching.

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That window of time came during my annual scrapbook vacation with friends. This year instead of working on the scrap pages I took along, the entire 3+ days was used to piece together Honorable Son #1’s graduation quilt.

My pattern design was made up of 2″, 4″, 6″, and 8″ squares, beginning in one corner with white 2″ squares, leading into the addition of shades of blue, then other colors and themes that have some relevance to #1 Son’s childhood and adolescence, finally reaching the other end of the quilt with 8″ squares representing things/colors of his present person.


Honorable Son #1’s quilt in progress

The entire 3 days of sewing was a roller coaster of emotion with the pouring out of my heart and a trip down memory lane, traveling a road of not only his development, but also the journey I experienced as his mother.


Finished quilt

After finishing the piecing of the top, I decided to have someone else do the quilting. I would have loved to hand quilt this project, but wanted Honorable Son #1 to have this quilt before he needed a cane…:-)

Through a little Google searching and a couple phone calls, I was led to a women that did quilting with a long-arm machine for hire and, as a bonus, she lived in my area.  Pam Mildren Quilting

Pam did a great job, helping me to chose a quilting pattern, offering many thread color options, and finishing my quilt within 2 weeks of dropping it off.


“Where’s the ladybug?” Ladybugs from a favorite toddler book.


Thomas the Train and Dinosaurs,

two very important things in #1 Son’s pre-school/elementary years


Orange and Green represent the many Allis Chalmers and John Deere Tractors that filled many hours of play


And now the color grey for that beloved first car-Subaru WRX


The joy of a made bed!(obviously, just a Mom thing!)


This quilt wouldn’t win any awards among the wide array of intricate pattern designs or artful color variations that fill the quilt world. No, this quilt’s beauty lies in the eyes, and heart, of a mother; this mother on a journey stitched with love.

All my love, Mom.

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