Monday, April 6, 2015

EASTER DELIGHT: A Modest Woman's License to Dress Up and Thrill

An ode to the happy power of feminine fashion

Narelle after a musical outing at a small-town rest home, wearing an outfit she designed and made. The dress is cotton sateen. The bolero jacket is satin-striped chiffon lined with crushed cotton knit. In her hair is a wired organza "nellaflower". Her shoes are patent/elastic open-toed wedges by Linea Avanti.

Distributing handpicked flowers was a success. We'll do that again.
The team-of-3 were a little bit hypo at tea time Sunday evening, pleased with how our Rahiri Rest Home Easter service went, and what a good time everyone had.

The residents who came were an unusually sharp and sassy crew, responding to Dad's questions and witty remarks with enjoyment.

"And Pharoah said to the Israelites, Get out of my sight!" Dad bellowed. "I'm going! I'm going!" twinkled the lady next to me, as she exited to join her grandson who'd just arrived for a visit.

It really was an entertaining hour. Dad was in fine form. And so was his audience. "...Israel were slaves in Egypt," he said. "That was 3500 years ago...does anyone remember back then?" Response in chuckles, and someone piped up, "Not quite."

I particularly loved seeing what happened when the residents chose their favourite hymns...even if they couldn't hold a hymn book or see to read the text, they knew every word and sang it with passion. Especially "God Will Take Care of You." Having experienced how an hour of hymn singing on a Sunday afternoon sustains and guides me through the week, I could see the words uplifting and empowering them.

Mum's program arranging worked well, putting my song, "Rock of Ages", near the beginning, which meant that by the end, I had regained enough energy to comply when they asked me for "Amazing Grace". I'm thankful for Mum's marathon summer project of upgrading the Rahiri song books, meaning I had the lyric sheet for whatever they chose.

And, as I do every time I go to Rahiri, I dress in a fancy outfit. Once upon a time I worried that my enjoyment of clothes was frivolous, but I don't now because I've learned how other people are effected by my appearance. When the ladies see me, they smile with delight and comment on what I'm wearing. I think the men like it too. They feel special when I dress up for them.

I sat down beside one sweet lady to hold her fragile hand. I had to lean in close to hear what she was murmuring to me. The only words I could understand, as she gently fingered the fabric on my shoulder, were, "Beautiful. Beautiful."

Yes, with my health challenge it's a big effort for me to go, and will take a while to recover, but I feel privileged to be the harbinger of joy. It makes me happy to know that I'm making them happy.

And how blessed I am that under such circumstances I get to do what I love--sing songs of hope in a pretty frock. May you, too, discover the freedom, power, and joy of being feminine while doing what you love.

Fiat lux!

Design preparations for adding the special touches to the dress. Here's a glimpse of my craft room that's been taking shape in a former bedroom since we moved back in after our house fire (13 April 2014), and the sewing machine paid for by insurance. I spend a lot of time in that room, and I'm always happy when I'm in there. I think I should call it the Happy Room!

This outfit was a month's work for me, plus I had some help from my friend, 80-something-year-old Carol, to get the tailoring right. One of these embroidery rows took 45 minutes to stitch. Any guesses which one?

The lace was a gift from a neighbour. It came out of her 90-something-year-old mother's sewing room which contained fabric, notions, and project scraps dating back more than 50 years.

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