Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer School

Here's Daisy with an extensive set-up fanning out from the piano.

At its heart, the Composer's giant German-English dictionary. Don't ask me why.

Perhaps you should ask Daisy why.

Why is she teaching German to the sock monkeys: when she doesn't even speak it herself?

A good question.

She'll never tell.

(photos by G)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bringing Home the Big Boy

Nothing could be finer than to head to Georgia under a blue sky to bring a boy home from college! A boy who loves his choice of school, loves his work, and has fallen into the habit of making straight A's, and who still wants to come home and spend the summer with us!

We had plenty of time to poke around and do some Savannah things. We spent one morning on Skidaway Island walking through a gorgeous Spanish-moss draped forest. Felix had a field day, so to speak, and spotted forty different species. Of birds, naturally.

Bella, not so much a birder. But game enough and cute as a button in the new cotton crocheted cap from the super-cool vintage clothes store. Everything there was arranged by color. Makes me want to buy it all.

The humid air down at River Street--is that what makes Daisy look so luscious?

We poked our heads in the Paris Market and Brocante again. Such inspiring styling! One glass case was set up as a miniature formal French garden--sand paths overlaid with ornate green felt grass patches. A watercolor background of a chateau, and silver jewelry laid out all over the "grounds." Genius at work!

Of course a trip to the pier, and time in the ocean for Daisy. When she could bring herself to let go of Giles' hand.

But this is what we came for--to cram the car full of Giles' stuff, and sit three across the back seat once more. They turn into adults so quickly! Tall and handsome and mindful.

The Lord gives good gifts.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Biscotti for the Road

Chocolate-cherry biscotti from this recipe (I subbed the cherries for the nuts, as someone around here with dreadlocks doesn't like nuts). We're baking for a Savannah road trip: one last delivery of cookies to Giles on Monday. Thought we'd save the postman some trouble.

And, I'll be back here on Friday, a very happy mother!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Behind Felix's Door

A lot goes on behind Felix's door. A lot of thinking and research and lying on the bed looking at the ceiling.

Last week he got the news that he got a spot in a wonderful four-day program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Ground zero for bird research, mecca for ornithologists: a place foreign to the Composer and me, but intellectual home to Felix.

It seems to be his way these days. He finds unbelievable opportunities, closes his door, and gets down to the business of opening doors. If you will.

A Set of Totes in the Shop

These might look a little familiar!

Shopping is right here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Good Reason to Sew

I'm about to get busy with this, a great opportunity to sew directly for children in need of clothes. Anyone interested in joining in? I'm so glad Kimmie is taking this on, in between moments of worshipping the most beautiful baby in the world.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Scrap Quilt for Bella

You knew it was coming.

Bella's scrap quilt is done in blues, like the one for Felix, but with a slight shift of the color wheel I left blue-green behind and went with blue-purple.

Something about these blue variations is so powerful to me--very eye-filling.

See what I mean?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Ribbing Rose

I bought a sweater at the thrift store, then hacked it up to make a bed jacket. In my deconstruction, I cut off the sweater's ribbed waistband. Who knew you could roll it right up into a rose?

First I ran a gathering stitch at the cut edge of the ribbing. I could also have zigzagged the edge to make it more secure from unravelling, but I didn't. Then I pulled up my gathers before rolling the strip into a rose shape. I hand-stitched the bottom of the rose together, then cut out a wool felt circle and sewed it on over the raw edges. Then sewed on leaves, then a pin clasp. Ready to wear as a corsage for those days when there's nothing to cut in the garden!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Clara's Knitted Handbag

Rapturous day! Clara finished her very last school project late late last night, and today was her first day of leisure. Her schoolwork had an unfortunate tendency to pile up this semester so the last few weeks have been strenuous for her. But: it's over! She turned happily and immediately to an almost-completed knitting project, the "Daisy" bag from Debbie Bliss' Junior Knits book.

All that was left was to sew up part of a seam. The outside is moss stitch, the lining is stockinette, and the handles are knitted right in.

She did this entire project on her own, and I'm so proud of her knitting!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Floral Apron

A big thank you to all my etsy customers of the last week. Remember how I said every shopper's name would go in a hat to be drawn for a prize? This floral apron, made from a cotton-rayon blend, goes to shopper Thoughtandthimble. Congratulations, Kara, for having bought item #17, the number that randomnumbergenerator says is the one to have!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bringing Back the Corsage

I just realized how easy it is to make a corsage--as long as you have a flower and some tape, even if it's just gaffer tape from the Composer's bin. On Sunday I wore one of my Mother's Day roses just by wrapping tape around its stem, along with a sprig of fern and a rosebud from Bella's casual bouquet.

For centuries, women wore flowers all the time, for no occasion. I'm ready to bring that back!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


. . . are a most beautiful vegetable.

(New goodies in the shop!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Gypsy Baker

Bella leaves the focaccia for its first rise.

And heads back to shape it for the second rise.

It was very good, with plenty of rosemary.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Good Year for Honeysuckle

Is there a word sweet enough for this year's honeysuckle? It's everywhere, lush and deep and smelling like heaven.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Loose Ends

I've had the pleasure of tying up many loose ends over the past few weeks. Can I share?

• Felix finished his school work. Actually, Felix finished his homeschooling. When the Composer and I realized this, tears stood in our eyes.

• Bella is through with school for the year. And if you don't think she's baking in the kitchen and setting up housekeeping on my porch, you're wrong!

• Ran that half-marathon. Can I say that again?? I ran a half-marathon without walking! I may be slow, but as I pointed out to the Composer, it takes major stamina to run without stopping for two and a half hours. Just because he finished an hour earlier doesn't make him a better runner (tee hee).

• Just finished all the fund-raising necessary to send fourteen people (including my three big kids) into poverty-stricken mountain towns to work for a week.

• Those lingering, sticky, not-quite-coming-together projects on my sewing table got done!

• And I got everything I wanted to into my Etsy shop. Don't forget that if you buy this week, you get entered in a fantastic giveaway! (And if you bought two items, you're in there twice.)

Clara and the Composer are both struggling madly on towards deadlines of their own, so we're not leaving for vacation quite yet. But soon!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Japanese Painted Fern

Deciding not to spend any more money on plants is the best thing I've ever done for my garden. It has caused me to *finally* do the designing the books all call for--masses of the same plant planted in big swaths. I get these swaths by dividing my successful plants, or digging up their babies and moving them.

My other source of garden material is my gardening friends. The ones whose gardens are so glorious that every spring they have to throw out Perfectly Good Plants because there's just too much growing in the beds. These people are my best friends right now.

And one has given me a Japanese Painted Fern, I guess one that was bothering her by growing too well. Glad I could help.

Stocking the Shop

Busy stocking my etsy shop with many odds and ends. Vintage books, Grace Livingston Hill, clothes, collages, and more! Shop here if you're interested.

ADDED: Until May 14, anyone who buys from the shop will have their name entered in a drawing for a delicious giveaway prize Here's a hint, but think more floral . . . .

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Vintage Plastic Boxes

A new discovery at my favorite thrift store: the office supply shelf! How have I been overlooking this for so long?

This week I got two fabulously turquoise plastic boxes (originally for index cards but perfect for sewing supplies) for ten cents. The best part was the price sticker on the top sourcing them from the local university bookstore. A long time ago.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Thirties' Housedress: New York 948

I thought this pattern was adorable, mostly for the button-on apron. Although when I came to cut it out of my chosen fabric, I didn't have enough for the apron! Oh well, there was the consolation of black rickrack used as scalloped trimming.

I used a set of remnants from Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL. Bella dug through the remnant table and came up with several very short rolls. They looked very thirties to me. They were loving the orange in the thirties!

I was surprised at how loosely this dress sits at the bust, waist, and hips. I guess it's designed to have plenty of ease to work in. It's downright baggy, and needs a belt! I'll have to piece one together out of little tiny scraps, I guess.

Fortunately I had just the right buttons mixed up in one of my jars--I love how they echo the square geometry of the printed cotton.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Dressing for a Wedding

So we love pink a little . . . makes it easy for the girls to dress in coordinating outfits for a distant cousin's wedding!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Vintage Gardening Inspiration

Best ever kitchen garden inspiration comes from the Betty Crocker Kitchen Gardens book illustrated by Tasha Tudor. Makes me want to get my rows in order!

I've also been enjoying a book about courtyards. My house is a C-shape, north and south wings coming off the main part of the building, so I have a courtyard area. I've been so inspired by gorgeous photos to treat it as such, so I'll need a water feature. Does a crusty birdbath count?

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