Some Things That Mean Everything

May 7, 2012 § 2 Comments

It’s Monday, May 7, and my sister turns 40 today!  We had a great surprise party for her last night with lots of friends and family.  I’d been working on the party for most of the last two weeks, so being totally wiped out this morning, I unloaded the dishwasher, picked up only a few of the hundreds of things that were out of place in the house, looked at piles of laundry, and decided it all could wait one more day.

Instead of getting things tidy, I sat down with my favorite five-year old for a couple of hours, she with her practice (copying a drawing of a country church) and me with mine (the Daisy Chain Sampler).   We talked and listened to music and it couldn’t have been nicer.

I was feeling pretty contemplative after the weekend, looking at old photos from my sister’s life (and mine) and being surrounded and loved by family and friends, so, matching the mood, Patty Griffin was heavy on our playlist:

And as far as I can tell

Most everything means nothing

Except some things

That mean everything

from “Railroad Wings” on Children Running Through


Kid’s Clothes Week

April 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

I’m participating in something called “Kids Clothes Week” put on by the super-talented Meg from the blog Elsie Marley.  It’s basically another way to get myself moving on some sewing I’ve been meaning to do, but, you know, just don’t.  It’s amazing how calling something “Kids Clothes Week” and setting up a Flickr group can spur people to action.  Maybe I need to name next week “Organize Your Filthy, Overflowing Closets Week”, set up a Flickr group and see if that works just as well!

These little shorts are the simple, flat front pants pattern you can find at Dana Made It  (a great resource), and I added the little pockets.  They are a small version of the deep pockets on this skirt.   These are the perfect egg collecting shorts.  The chickens are laying a lot these days and the youngest kid is all about pilfering their eggs. Now, she can now carry up to six eggs into the house in one trip!!  No basket required.  Tripping and falling could get ugly, though.

I also put a little, sun hat together from this  Martha Stewart pattern.  It was a bit of a bear to put together b/c the pattern was sort of incomplete or just really confusing.  I couldn’t tell which.  I barreled through, though and it will accomplish the task of keeping the sun off of her fair head.  She has some crazy moles and a dad that had melanoma at age 35, so I’m gonna be as careful as I can manage.   She looks excited about it, doesn’t she?  I experimented with the running stitches around the side panel, so, it was fun for me, at least!

In other news:

This article has me glad to be dealing with a funny smelling, disheveled back yard full of chickens.  No question. It’s worth it.

Love these patterns.  Not sure I can afford them.

Finished this book.  Recommended by Kathy (thanks, K!) Corruption, greed, but some hope, too.

About to start this book.  Anyone read it?

New Stitches

April 17, 2012 § 2 Comments

Somewhere in my home-school days (I only did it for ONE year) I started thinking it would be a good idea to have the kids embroider.  I had dabbled (and I mean dabbled) in embroidery and thought it was a really accessible way to introduce them to the joys of making things with their hands. So, I got four hoops, cut some pieces of leftover canvas,  opened my half-decopaged shoe box of cotton embroidery floss (a gift from a friend in SF) and let them have at it.

We started with letters of the alphabet, their names, and the easiest stitch, the back stitch.  Being left totally to themselves, they started drawing their own pictures on fabric and embroidering around the edges.  They could get pretty gnarly.  And sometimes they would ask me if they could embroider and I would say “no” b/c I knew I would be asked to re-thread their needles about seventy times in the span of five minutes.

My most quiet, quirky, and sensitive (and horse-loving) kid has been the one who is most persistent about getting the hoop and thread out to work. Now that she is 8, she has a lot of the coordination and patience necessary to make smaller, neater stitches (something that really makes a difference), and to thread her own needle and tie her own knots.  We had some time alone recently and she declared (as she likes to do) that she wanted to embroider.  So, we found a picture of a horse (of course) and made a copy.  She transferred it to fabric with transfer paper, and she worked for a couple of hours on it, taking breaks whenever she needed it.

Here’s the almost finished product.  She’s pretty excited about her “horsey” (as am I).  She even learned how to do a french knot for the eyeball.  We are already looking at embroidery books together for new stitches and skills.  We’re both pretty into it, so if anyone has any suggestions for books to websites to check out, let me know.

And some unrelated fun stuff:

This dressing. Oh my.

Fancy chickens

Daisy Chain Sampler and check out her free downloads, too. I love some of the dishtowel designs.

AND I took this picture to my hair stylist and said “give me this”. I’m all over the map about it, loving it followed immediately by wondering what I was thinking,  but I think I’m settling down, now.  What else is there to do, right? It’s a good change, I think.

AND, AND I finished our taxes on time!! Relief.

A Shirt for Spring

April 3, 2012 § 4 Comments

I made this top recently out of some old drapery fabric that I found in a give-away box at my in-laws’ church.  I remember grabbing it out of that box and debating: do I love this or hate it?  Is it so retro, it’s modern, or just dowdy?  I absolutely responded to the colors, though, so I decided to go for it. I thought Lisette pattern 2245 was a good fit since it’s  a little vintage and a little mod at the same time.   I really like this pattern, but there is a major issue with the neck bands and facings in the original pattern.  The pieces just don’t fit the shirt when you go to attach it.  So, I improvised and made a bias band around the top.  I think I like the neck a little more open than the original pattern looks anyway, so this worked out well.

I decided to enter this shirt in the Made by Rae Spring Top Sewalong to motivate me to finish it (being part of a group, having a deadline, possibly winning fabric!).   You can see the Flickr group here.  Maybe you want to make a shirt for spring to enter, too!

Goings On

March 26, 2012 § 8 Comments

Hello reader! It’s been a while, hasn’t it. Well, it has been for me.  I dropped my computer on the floor a few weeks ago, killing it instantly, and silencing me for a while.  If you’ve been paying attention you know this is the SECOND time I’ve done this. My husband is losing his patience.   I may just need to stay away from computers altogether, but for now, here is a quick update on things around here:

:::I made my first loaf of naturally leavened bread!!  I started it from my own starter and everything! Was I this proud of myself on the days I gave birth? I’m not sure.  I used a recipe from Maggie Glezer’s Artisan Bakingbut there are lots of recipes out there.  Try here and here, for instance.

:::I took an old turtleneck from one of my kids drawers and turned it into a dress with the help of some elastic and material I had lingering in my stack.  I was really winging it here and it shows a bit, but all in all, I think it will be a great summer dress for girl number 2.  You can get the real instructions here.

:::And the chickens are back in full force for the spring! We are swimming in eggs and it’s glorious.  I thought this page was a good place to start.

:::I’ve been reading Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking: the Science and Lore of the Kitchen, and it’s amazingly entertaining and fastidiously detailed at the same time.  I feel very studious when I read it, too.

:::I’m wanting to try something like this.  I think they are so simple and beautiful.

:::And finally, I tried to make goat milk ricotta twice to no (or very little) avail.  I used the directions found here.  It sounds so good, doesn’t it? And it would go so well with my new baby, I mean, bread! Does anyone out there know if my ultra pasteurized version of the milk is to blame?


Sewn Gifts for Babies

February 17, 2012 § 4 Comments

I went to a dinner the other night where, out of six of us, four were pregnant (not me!).  I have two sisters-in-law that are expecting and several friends, not at the dinner, that are pregnant, too.  So, I’ve been thinking about baby gifts, obviously.  These are two cute ideas for handmades I found at The Purl Bee, one of my favorite sites for sewing ideas (it’s great for the knitter, too).   You can find directions for the Penguin (I love this little guy!) here and instructions for the simple bibs here.  Purl Bee uses (glorious) Liberty of London fabrics on the bibs, but those are pricey, so I just used what I had.  The bibs are quick and simple, the penguin takes a bit longer, but is so fun!  I’m not even a stuffed animal person, but I loved making it.  It was a great way to use up scraps, too!

Other things I’ve been liking:

*The Marriage Plot…I really liked this book until the end when it just left you hanging. I’m still glad I read it.

*The Wonder Of Boys…I’ve realized I really don’t understand my son.  I have no idea what is going on in there.  This book is helping me understand why he does some of the things he does and how he needs different things than my girls do.  Very helpful and enlightening.

*MFK Fisher’s The Art of Eating…A collection of her essays.  Sometimes downright hilarious, the woman had some sass.

* This discussion about hair cuts (I’m thinking of going really short, so it’s been on the brain)

* This…The music, the faces, the outfits! It’s tough to stop laughing.

Knitted Hat Gift

December 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

Just a quick post to show you a new hat we received this morning from Aunt Susan.  Isn’t it so adorable? Check out a detail of the  top:

She works for a cool yarn company called Knit Collage.  Yarn by Knit Collage,  design by Sus!  Isn’t it awesome?

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