Saturday, June 30, 2007

Extra Saturday Pleasures

When we originally made our vacation plans we thought we would set out today, as soon as Felix got home from Boy Scout camp, and make for Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico before turning north for a wedding in Colorado. However, we realized yesterday that the Composer's work schedule, while actually *paying* for the trip, has made this departure date not feasible. So now we plan to leave on Monday.

Extra Saturday Pleasures

• A bonus weekend at home with no commitments.

• Lots of thrifting this morning with all my girls in tow. A floral sheet. A bluebird print. Glass punch cups.

• The inspiration of 1930's nightgowns at the antique store--something to sew with my sheet.

• My mother visiting with the summer issue of Marie Claire Idees--something to read on the road.

• Blue and cream Debbie Bliss cashmerino for my next knitting project--something to make on the road.

• Picking Felix up after camp--he looked just as I thought he would after a week in the woods--tanned, bleached hair, and eyes, as always, truly aglow.

• Clara's beaded sewing projects. Her work is lovely!

•Taking Bella out for ice cream.

• Roasted Vegetable and Sausage Rigatoni for dinner.

Friday, June 29, 2007

"A Place of Delight"

"Cornelia awoke with a great zeal for work upon her. She had dreamed a living room that would lift the whole house out of the sordid neighborhood and make it a place of delight. She had thought out some built-in seats with lockers where many of the odds and ends could be stowed; she had planned to paint the old, cheap dining-room furniture a wonderful deep-cream enamel and decorate it like some of the expensive sets in the stores . . .The set in her mother's room she would paint gray with decorations of little pink buds and trailing vines. The set in her own room should be ivory-white with sepia shadows . . . and little by little the old house should be made over."

--Grace Livingston Hill, Re-Creations

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Strange Obsession

This pattern, vintage McCall's 8895, is my obsession. I'm not quite sure why it has taken over my mind, although it does contain instructions for *twenty-five* craft items perfect for selling at a bazaar.

Can I talk about them? There is a skate tote bag shaped like a big boot, done in calico on the cover. A record tote bag that holds ROUND records--do you just throw away the album cover??? A curler bag made up as a stuffed elephant. A rather frightening and massive clown-doll pajama bag. I love with a capital L the children's smock (did it in strawberries), so wonderful because it's cut all in one piece, plus a big pocket.

I do know where some of this is coming from--see that stuffed chicken? My grandmother made hundreds of stuffed chickens when I was little, not this exact pattern, but something a little stiffer and perkier. This pattern is tapping into my oldest memories.

However, I have a vacation to plan and pack for, groceries to get, girls who need glasses, and a house that must be tended, so I'm definitely stopping after the frog beanbag. Although I believe Clara is going to actually need the owl-applique eyeglasses case, so maybe I should squeak that one in . . . .

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Detail of a Strawberry Smock

Just enough strawberry tablecloth left for one medium-sized project: a child's smock from a vintage pattern.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blank Slate

The crew of gardeners has come and gone (they will be back briefly tomorrow to fix a stone wall), and my garden is a wonder to me. But in a Japanese way, as there is not a lot growing.

Instead, its bare bones are exposed, the few sturdy established shrubs have room to breathe, and everything else is mulched.

I had forgotten the beauty of my stone paths, which form a pleasing not-quite-symmetry in the circle. And there's my little stone-bordered ornamental pond filled with water irises, and my little retaining walls. All so relieved to be rescued from the overgrowth of weedy abandonment.

I'm looking forward to a fall of lots and lots of planting. Weed-free til October is my cry!

Monday, June 25, 2007

"The Big Hamper"

"They reached a lovely grove at sundown and stopped by the way to have supper. Graham got down and made George help him get out the big hamper.

There was a most delectable lunch; sandwiches of delicate and unknown condiments, salad as bewildering, soup that had been kept hot in a thermos bottle, served in tiny white cups, iced tea and ice-cream meringues from another thermos compartment, and plenty of delicious little cakes, olives, nuts, bonbons, and fruit. It seemed a wonderful supper to them all, eaten out there under the trees, with the birds beginning their vesper songs and the stars peeping out slyly. Then they packed up their dishes and hurried on their beautiful way, a silver thread of a moon coming out to make the scene more lovely.

Doris was almost asleep when at last they began to hear the booming of the sea . . . ."

--Grace Livingston Hill, The Enchanted Barn

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Wedding Saturday

We packed in a lot today. The morning was spent at the lake where, as usual, we found our favorite swimming and picnicking spot empty. No one but us ever comes before noon! We swam and dug in the sand under pearly gray skies (these reappear in my story!), then had a satisfying picnic lunch with leftover birthday cake from Felix's fourteenth.

As soon as we repacked everything and hauled it up all those sandstone steps that the Civilian Conservation Corps laid in the thirties, the skies opened and the heavy rain began.

Which made an afternoon of napping just the ticket, and a perfect prelude to a friend's wedding.

Which was supposed to be held outdoors, in a green field. But boy, was it raining, so things were hurriedly moved inside. Fortunately the affair was meant to be very casual and organic, because there wasn't much room, and the guests ended up carrying their chairs in and out to accomodate the changing plans.

I ended up eating my plateful of dinner sitting on an ice chest in the garage.

But it worked. We had a great time, enjoyed the beautiful cakes my friend Carol baked and decorated, and Giles took these gorgeous photographs.

And I really enjoyed being comfortable and wearing Keds with my polka-dotted dress.

The Ponies

Friday, June 22, 2007

Daisy in Pony Tails

Purse from Vintage Strawberry Tablecloth

Boy did I have fun with this one! It's as gorgeous as a little cupcake!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Apricot Coffee Cake

Nothing makes the kitchen smell better than coffee cake, gentle and cinnamonny. This morning's breakfast was a variation on our favorite. Instead of using cherries or blueberries I thinly sliced several fresh apricots and set them on the batter, then sprinkled with streusel. Very nice. Would have been even nicer if I had had some almond paste cut in small dice to strew around the apricots, and some sliced almonds . . .

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Red Bowl of Limes

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bella's Fish

This is Bella's pet goldfish, Chester. Bella has proved herself remarkably responsible keeping him fed and his bowl changed and clean.

He lives in the middle of the kitchen island and, though he doesn't say much, is surprisingly good company.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Vintage Housecoat: Simplicity 4625

I had fun this weekend making up this vintage girls' housecoat pattern. I love the fact that the girl in green is holding a kitty!

It came out beautifully, in thrifted polished cotton. Unfortunately, too small through the shoulders for Bella, so I will be putting it in my shop.

I love the fact that the pattern calls for ruffles absolutely everywhere it can! Here they are frosting the top of the pocket. I used vintage bias binding to finish the inner ruffle edge--a little secret for the girl who's wearing it.

And I love the puffy sleeve finished with a ruffle.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Watermelon Slices

Friday, June 15, 2007

Thrifted Blouses

My out-of-town work trips generally take me to little courthouses in little towns. Courthouses, of course, are always right in the center of town. And very often, in an old downtown storefront space, I will spy a promising-looking antique, junk, or thrift store.

Yesterday I was sad to see that one of my favorite antique stores had closed down, but in its place was a thrift store. Oh boy! Heavy on the clothes, but everything was in beautiful order. Clothes were all sorted by color--my favorite arrangement. And I had the wonderful realization that my girls are now big enough to wear small ladies' sizes--such an improvement over the big girls' styles!

I found three lovely blouses. Pale blue print with puffed sleeves, so thirties! And another little white eyelet blouse, both for Bella. For Clara, an unworn white linen with square mother-of-pearl buttons and openwork detailing. A beautiful shirt, and Clara can always use another for concert dress.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dreamy Alliums

These alliums are doing one of my own favorite things--standing at the top of the garden and gazing dreamily over the freshly-mown lawn.

Today was going to be a big day in my garden, until I got called out of town on two separate adoptions. When I say "big day", I mean that three grown men were coming to work in my perennial bed, which has in the last two years slipped completely out of my control (oh that pesky baby Daisy!). I figure that if I bring The Cavalry in for one session, I will be able to keep up with it from there.

Though I cancelled today, I have rescheduled for next Thursday. I won't do a lot of dreamy standing around then!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Early Summer Supper

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Many Kinds of Picnics"

"There are as many kinds of picnics as there are families to enjoy them, and no better way has yet been found to entertain guests with children. The simplest kind calls for sandwiches, fruit, tomatoes, hard-cooked eggs, and cookies with a big thermos of milk for the children and one of coffee for the grownups."

--Homemaker's Encyclopedia: The Hostess's Complete Handbook (1952)

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Sweet Outfit for Clara

Clara is making a skirt from this lemon fabric, *very* full and gathered into a waistband. She chose the fabric to coordinate with this yellow tee we bought at the beginning of summer. To pull the outfit together, I added some fun embroidery this weekend, once again from Sublime Stitching, which seems to have a little appropriate something for every occasion!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ordinary Saturday Pleasures

• Getting up and out early to watch the Composer run a 5K this morning and watching Daisy play on the slides and swings while he ran.

• A stop at Farmer's Market for squash, beets, cucumbers, honey, and sunflowers.

• Sunflowers in a blue jug.

• My houseguests bringing back quarts and quarts of raspberries from the pick-your-own farm.

• Cutting out a 1940's housedress for Bella--a children's pattern I've never used before.

• Embroidering a tee shirt for Clara.

• A huge platter of fried squash at the dinner table, and homemade vanilla ice cream with raspberries for dessert.

In the Shop

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Happy Nightgown

A Happy Afternoon

A happy afternoon of sewing with thrift store goodies: a vintage pattern (ten cents) and a length of soft rosebuddy fabric (fifty cents).

Daisy's getting a nightgown!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sunflower Yellow

Lately my thrift stores have been presenting me with such irresistable yellow--and I don't even do yellow! So I've decided to develop an alternate Camping Personality, one that does do yellow. This allows me to collect such beauties as this Club Cookware and the dead stock vinyl tablecloths it's sitting on. Because I'm going to take them camping.

And when we're camping or even picnicking, we're going to do it on these assorted plates. Everyone's going to be dining on sunflower yellow and bright green. It's going to be great!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Quilting Without a Frame

Perhaps I should title this post "Quilting Heresies."

Yes, you can quilt without a frame, and even without a hoop. I never use either. Instead, I lay out my backing, my batting, and then my quilt top on the floor and get them lined up just right. Then I baste, baste, baste, either with giant stitches or with a million safety pins, securing the three layers together every six inches at most.

The quilt is secure at this point.

Then I just hold it in my lap and do the quilting! In fact, I find it much easier to do tiny running stitches without the fabric stretched taut in a hoop or frame. I enjoy being able to move it up and down around my needle.

Also heretically, I don't use a thimble.

The Composer Working

He shoots . . .

. . .and he scores!

And obviously, yesterday he had Giles with him working the still cam.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Guests in Giles' Room

We have guests due tonight, so we did a speedy clean-and-fluff this morning in the downstairs bedrooms. Giles and Felix have got the boot for the week and will be roosting in the pop-up camper at night.

Ordinarily Giles' bed is covered with a white duvet, but for a change I pulled out this wonderful quilt. Big bugs! Big dragonflies! My mother pieced this by hand in (you'll never guess) the late sixties. The top sat in her sewing cupboard for several decades before she handed it on to me, and I quilted it by hand.

This thing is huge! She says she didn't know when to stop.

Always for guests, a big pile of fluffy white towels, this time sitting in front of one of my collages.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Camping Detox

Today was spent dealing with the inevitable fallout of camping--laundry, sleeping bags, and ice chests. Worth it though.

We enjoyed every bit of the weekend: the drive up past wild roses and honeysuckle and churches with outhouses, Dutch oven omelets with mushrooms and sausage, the incredible river with its gray-stained bluffs.

The big guys did their float on Saturday while Daisy and I puttered around camp reading and catching minnows in a net, enjoying the company of my best friend Carol and her three-year old, Caveman David (deep bass voice, fascinated with fire). After the canoeists made it back to camp, Carol and I took the babies out for an enchanted hour before dark. Daisy sat still in the middle of the "silver boat" absolutely enthralled.

Then, of course, a thunderstorm rolled in and we hustled back to camp. It was only a little rain, and I remained unfazed, having remembered to bring the Ladies' Essentials of Camping Comfort (lip balm, fingernail clippers, dry socks for bed, Perrier, and chocolate, but not enough).

Next time I'm bringing more.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Off for the Weekend

We're headed off into the wild for a weekend of camping and canoeing. Back on Monday!

In the meantime, I've put a couple more items in the shop!

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