What do you do with the leftover bones of the wool coat after you've picked the meat off the carcass? I've found a use for the sleeve linings: satin blossoms.
I pulled apart a wool coat to make my Thanksgiving wreath, and realized the sleeves linings were a beautiful, substantial russet satin. If I cut it out of the coat in one piece . . . and folded it once lengthwise . . . and sort of tucked the ends under and started spiraling it around . . . and then stitched everything together, added a pin back, and then adorned the front with beads . . . why, I would have a beautiful satin camellia!
Whole thing took about five minutes. I put one on a coat I'm selling in my shop, kept the other one to wear.
Now I'm wondering about menswear shirts in stripes, plaids, prints. Just cutting off the sleeve and using it. When the thrift store has clothes priced at a dollar a bag. The world is so full of things to make!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
"Smiling, [the piano teacher] turned to Margaret. She whirled the piano stool until it was the proper height and Margaret sat down, her back very straight. Miss Cobb struck a note . . . and said, 'This is middle C.'"
--Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy and Joe
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Some of us were content with sitting on the rocks and enjoying the way the river looked and sounded.
Others wanted to get in it. Even though it was freezing.
That's enough to justify a little fire in the end. They were proud of using just the one match.
They're not campers, they said. They're survivors.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
In the pause before the cookstorm, I am doing some hand-sewing, finishing up this set of felt ornaments. Like others who were little girls in the seventies, I'm fascinated by ornate felt ornaments after seeing my mother's creations. Back then they used bright acrylic felt, glue, sequins, and bright gold braid. This time around the fashion is for real wool and patient embroidery.
Patience is indeed called for, as on more than one occasion I've had to remind myself that I'm making these *for fun*. Having fun. Just a reminder, that's all.
I did the pink cup of cocoa first, because if you live at my house, you understand the importance of a big pink cup of cocoa, first thing.
And I'm bringing gingerbread girl over the home plate tonight. Then wrapping them up and enjoying Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I love this little three-day week before Thanksgiving. Clara's done with her college classes until Monday. Giles has taken Hazel home and met her parents, and now he can settle in for a bit and get the boxes out of the sitting room. Tomorrow I pick Felix up from his school--score! The little girls and I *try* to keep our minds on school a little while each morning, but really we're thinking about pie, groceries, and girlfriends . . . .
Tomorrow night everyone will be safely gathered in. Then the winter storms really can begin!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
When I got home from my run I found Daisy in Hazel's lap. The bonding had been done and they had moved on to hair-stroking, reading, and cuddling. "She's the only nineteen-year old I know who wants to play house!" Daisy told me excitedly.
We did let Giles take her out of the house later on, and they trolled the thrift stores, scoring this farmyard vest(!), some eyeglasses(!), and Giles' manvest.
Fortunately they can turn it off as well as on, and they're not too cool for singing, hide-and-seek in the dark, and popcorn with a card game.
When they're done being hip in the woods.
Friday, November 19, 2010
A second set of pillowcases. These took much longer to embroider because they're heavily covered in "lace stitch", as Daisy calls satin stitch, because she can only remember that there's a fancy fabric involved in the name. I spent several happy hours working on them while sitting in on Clara's cellos lessons this last month. Nice memories stitched in.
And now they're on a guest bed waiting on an arrival . . . .
Thursday, November 18, 2010
We have been madly scrubbing, baking, and fluffing the house. Tomorrow Giles comes home from college, with . . . a guest!
Beautiful Hazel, who probably looks less like a fairy princess when she's not styled for a fashion shoot. But tomorrow I'll know for sure!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
A nice cold-weather variation on a favorite: spiced-up chicken soup. Start with your usual chicken soup recipe (one is here if you're at a loss).
Use 4-5 cloves of garlic in your vegetables. After you've sauteed to the point of transparency in your onions, add 2 t. cumin and 1 t. chili powder. When you add the broth, add a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies.
Instead of choosing noodles or dumplings for the starch, stir in 1-2 cans of rinsed black or white beans and add some frozen corn, heating til it's cooked through.
Serve with any of these delights: shredded cheese, sour cream, lime wedges, crushed tortilla chips, or salsa.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The stovepipe was fifteen years old, and when the chimney sweep came out to clean it he allowed that he would rather replace it. Visions of his brushes poking out the rusted holes, no doubt. This being busy season for chimney sweeps, he came out to do the job on Sunday afternoon, on the roof and in the house.
It was sunny and chilly. From the rooftop you could see the red and ochre oak trees rushing up the ridge. Indoors, the girls spent the afternoon singing together and playing piano. Then it was quiet, and the simmering pot of spicy chicken soup took over the house.
All that is why, when we finally sat down to dinner, and the new fire heated up the wood stove, the chimney sweep sat down too and just kept us company for a while. He said so.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Still loving the thrifted copper warming up my kitchen. This one is "Flour". I know you get it.
I also found "Fromage", a good-size shaker with giant holes on the top and a side handle. You could never actually store the Parmesan cheese in it, because there's no way to close it. But it makes an excellent beside-the-sink container for the Barkeeper's Friend scouring powder.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Schoolhouse Roasted Carrots
I doubt I invented these, but I *can* claim to have made them at least four times in the last ten days. They are that good, and the kids pick them out of the bowl before and after the meal.
Prepare however many carrots you want by peeling them and cutting them into sticks of roughly equal thickness. I usually quarter the top half and split the lower half. You want them roasting at the same rate, about.
Toss them with plenty of olive oil, thyme, and coarse salt.
Spread out on a cookie sheet or in a shallow pan, coated with Pam. Roast uncovered at 400 for about an hour. You're looking for very soft, dark-at-the-edges goodness.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Brought to you yet again by the colors blue and brown, here is Daisy's final new winter dress. It's a sweet satiny cotton from the high-end quilting shop (on sale). Crossover front, frills on the 3/4 sleeves, and a round of robin's egg blue ribbon at the hem.
We had extraordinary luck with tights from Mini Boden--I got a $25 voucher in the mail, and after ordering tights in blue and brown, Boden ended up owing me $5!
I particularly adore these brown tights on her dainty legs because the tiny flash of blue at the heel puts me in mind of a lady mallard. They have all those quiet brown feathers, then on the wing just one little patch of iridescent purply-blue.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
We had a perfect day in a historical town. Ladies in full skirts. Cabins. This lady had a full skirt *and* a chicken. And her jewelry matched her chicken. How often does that happen?
We loved seeing the kind of house that Laura lived in with Ma and Pa. Butter churn, spinning wheel, a fireplace to cook in.
Sunny and shadowy.
My beautiful interested daughters.
The best part came last. We had a ride in a buggy.
When things are that wonderful, it makes you solemn.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
Saturday, November 06, 2010
When you want that creative hit without all the work, turns out you can just use a canvas bag from the craft store (cheap) and a scrap of something vintage.
Two minutes at the sewing machine and you feel like a genius.
This, and others like it, will pepper my shop early next week. I sure don't need six decorated tote bags for my own.
Friday, November 05, 2010
Daisy has been a victim of a seismic shift--changing rooms registered an 8.2 on her emotional Richter scale. We had to ease into it, trying the bed and giving up and going back to the old room. Trying again and succeeding in sleeping. It got easier the more her sweet little things got settled in around her.
Now she has room for her dolls all to be together, her books to all be in a straight line. She has morning sunshine and floor space for her littlest pet shop friends.
At bedtime she can see the light shining in her window from the sewing room. She has a stepstool in her closet to reach the high shelves.
She has a desk.
It all makes such good sense, and she's only a tiny bit shaky at bedtime, wanting to be "checked on."
All this adventure was made possible by Giles, who pointed out this fall that he doesn't need the biggest bed and one of the best downstairs rooms anymore. So Felix is in the green room, finally in a double bed---he's the tallest child now! And Daisy's little orange bedroom is empty and appointed as a guest room, with Giles' few things in the closet. He'll be a guest there in just two weeks . . . not that we're counting.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Bella made these beauties for breakfast. Half were filled with cream cheese, half with chocolate. They're baked in a special pan that you find at Williams-Sonoma. It has little round wells that you fill with a special batter I've never made--but I know that it involves separating eggs and whipping the whites. At dawn.
Bella owns this pan. She is the easiest girl in the *world* to shop for.
Now, you don't have to eat the filled pancakes in a garnet velvet robe, in the morning sunlight. But you can.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Tricking out the car with the things we need to stay clean and comfy in cold weather:
• Full-size box of Kleenex.
• Big pump bottle of hand sanitizer--we use it every time we get back in the car after a stop.
• Good size bottle of hand lotion--the big bottles can stay nicely in the middle drink holders, since we don't drink in the car much.
• A supply of disinfectant wipes--not just for germs but for our clothes, or anything that gets a blob on it.
• Some personal supplies in the glove compartment.
• A cozy wool blanket that can stay out of the way when it's not needed, and stop arguments over the temperature controls when it is.
• A small umbrella.
Aside from these items, we adhere to a rule of Everything Out of the Car when we get home. Everyone looks around and picks up anything they can see or reach, whether or not *they* are the one who brought it into the car!
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Monday, November 01, 2010
The thrift store is my purse handle store. At a dollar a whack, it's much cheaper to buy a purse to cut up than to venture to the sewing store.
This one was unusual, a single large bamboo arc with great metal clippies. I attached them to the body of the bag by running twill tape through them. It's fun to make stuff up!
Body of the bag is patchwork from the basket, and thrifted linen. Check for it in the shop.