Daisy made this embroidered tea towel for Giles' new apartment. We used a transfer and a purchased tea towel (I was more impressed by the fact that she found the towel in my stash than by her stitching--no reflection on her stitching!).
If you need anything monogrammed, she will be happy to sew your initial on it.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Speaking of beautiful music, let me share a gift with you. The Composer pointed me to this album this week: Josh Garrels Love and War and the Sea In Between. Amazingly, this music is available to anyone to download for free by clicking here. Let me point you first to the poignant, energetic re-imagining of the classic hymn "Farther Along". I can go about two hours currently before I need to listen to it again.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Giles is home for a few days after wrapping up his summer job and squeaking out of Newark hours before the hurricane. He'll head back up shortly to set up housekeeping in his first apartment, and start working as the communications department of an urban ministry.
It was bliss having all five of them this weekend--Felix came down too, to see Giles and to enjoy our second house concert. Another acoustic folk singer-songwriter, just ineffably lovely. Sigh. Delight.
The music's not over, though--Giles and Clara on guitar and piano. Clara's understanding of music amazes me. She plays through the hymn and tells Giles the chord changes as she goes, without missing a beat, so he can accompany. And then when he gets it, she plays and sings alto. How many halves are there to her brain? It must be more than two.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
I'm adding lantana to my short list of garden ornamentals that can withstand heat, drought, pests, and DEER. No, they aren't hardy through intensely cold weather, but they have been known to live through mild winters. And even starting with a new small plant in the spring, they can cover a lot of ground by summer's end.
For the record, my short list now reads:
• butterfly bush
• crepe myrtle
• ornamental grasses
• white and pink spireas
• four o'clocks
• fairy and Sarah Van Fleet roses
• and lantanas.
This is an almost-indestructible garden with some interest through the whole season.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
From Vintage Knits by Sarah Dallas. I lowered the neckline about an inch and a half, and made 3/4 sleeves. Dad gum, this sweater is short-waisted! Bella is petite and it's still on the short side.
In fact, because it's ribbed, it knits up rather small all over. But very nice, with that cotton drape.
Clara will provide her with a matching beret.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
My mother is here for a few days for a little sewing festival--we designed a simple dress pattern for her to use again and again, and we're sewing up three dresses. She has had so many spine and hip problems since she last sewed for herself that she has literally lost three inches of torso height. That throws things off, but we're righting them in the pattern department.
Knowing that we would need a break from sewing, and that she shares my love for the Big Bird, I scheduled Frederick's wing-clipping trip to the vet for today.
He watches suspiciously from his travel caddy as we settle in to wait in the veterinarian's lobby. There is a loud (so loud) sound of large parrot.
It's this brilliant blue and gold macaw. I say "brilliant", referring only to his feather colors. He's a bit of a dim bulb.
Thinking that Bella is going to tickle his neck just because he puts his head down and looks at her winsomely. Not with that bill, fellow.
But this cat got it right. Clara got the message loud and clear.
Frederick's spirits were much depressed by the trim. In spite of much cooing and loving admiration and corn on the cob, he wasn't quite ready to forgive me until bedtime.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
About five seconds after she saw this, Daisy asked for her own lounge dress. Of course. I have to say, she looks like an angel floating around in it.
Most fortunately, my king-size floral sheet was able to cough out one more small dress, and I even had leftover embroidered voile. Rather than do anything complicated, I just took a plain bodice that was loose enough to slip over the head, and instead of making the usual facings, I cut the facings out of my accent fabric and stitched them to the outside--a style variation good for grown-up dresses too!
I gathered two plain rectangles for the skirt, then sewed on as much gathered ruffle as I could muster. No zipper, no buttons, no ties.
Now we lounge together.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
"Five good children are an immense luxury, and to deny one's self other luxuries in order to raise them is not self-denial at all, but merely an intelligent choice of investment."
--Edward Sandford Martin, The Luxury of Children (1904)
Friday, August 19, 2011
Most of the bits and pieces are put back into Clara's upstairs, under-the-eaves little room.
Baubles hanging from one of those thrift-store mug stands.
A visit from Lucy Gray--she had her eye on all the painting.
Clara's vintage suitcases hold her yarn stash, except when she's using them as, you guessed it, suitcases.
The button-frame mirror still needs a hang-up on the wall. The vintage metronome was a find this summer--made in Germany, in a great butter yellow plastic housing.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
This road is so much easier to go down the second time around. Is it the fact that he's already been living in a dorm for two years? That if we want, Daisy and I can hop over for the afternoon? That he's 18 instead of 17? That he's always happy? Or just that he's the second one to go?
Felix, Felix . . . you will do so well!
And I'll see you in a week, college boy!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I get the news I need on the weather report;
I can gather all the news I need on the weather report.
Hey, I've got nothing to do today but smile.
Here I am, the only living boy in New York.
Hey, let your honesty shine now
(like it shines on me)
The only living boys in New York . . . .
(Paul Simon, thanks for today's captions)
Monday, August 15, 2011
This is the cake of my first months of marriage--the one I took to potlucks and cooked for dinner parties. Clara made it for us this weekend.
She popped the cherries on afterwards, when I told her we had some in the refrigerator door. Even so, I don't know how it came out so tidy!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Start with the simplest, small tote shape--two rectangles sewn together, lined (tote tutorials are everywhere on the internet). Don't box the corners, just leave them flat. Bridesmaids' dress fabric for at least one side of the tote.
Remember to add a smaller rectangle of matching (or not) fabric laid over one side to form a large pocket, before the tote is completed. Stitching up the middle of the pocket divides it into two, for the ringbearer's hands.
A lightly stuffed pillow in a matching size to plump the tote out into a pillow. I took the easy road and pulled a vintage pillowcase from my stash. It was already edged with tatting. I just cut it down and sewed it closed with some stuffing inside. First I appliqued a little pocket on it--from a scrap of vintage embroidered dresser scarf, also edged with hand-crochet.
Now the pillow is stuffed into the bag, and the top of the bag is hand-stitched closed with big matching stitches. These will come out with a snip or two after the wedding.
Hope this helps!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I'm sure this will be the first of *many* wedding details pictured in the next few weeks as we prepare for a Wedding at the Schoolhouse! Not one of my own chicks, but the daughter of some very, very dear friends.
I was sewing up Daisy's flower girl dress in the cream and navy cotton print, and decided to go on and make a ring pillow. The folded blue velvet was given to me by a church friend a few weeks ago--it's clearly for upholstery.
The pillow covering opens with a snip or two of slipstitching, to reveal these things: the pillow cover is actually a sweet evening bag and the straps are hidden inside. The pockets on the outside, for the ring-bearer to stick his mitts into, will be outside pockets.
The pillow inside is made from a scrap of vintage dresser scarf with hand-tatting, and it's made with a little pocket. This will be used for any future children who lose any future teeth and need to put them under their future pillows.
We are so happy for Helen and Franklin who are a darling couple, and so laid back about their wedding plans (a real plus). More to come!
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
It's nice to get it for just $5 a load at the recycling center, but I do wish that price included delivery and a team of gardeners to spread it for me.
At least I have Felix and Clara*. And they are happy workers.
*Bella's getting over a cold.
Monday, August 08, 2011
We covered new thrifting territory this weekend, attending a family reunion, and Felix hit the jackpot with this inspirational piece for his dorm room wall!
He thinks it may be an early version of "Jesus Take the Wheel." Or Tiller. I love its innocence.
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Thursday, August 04, 2011
You know how sometimes it's too early for bed but you really just want to float around in something undemanding? Like yoga pants, only not. Like a lounge dress.
Victoria Jones designs Hawaiian dresses--so not me, but somehow I just wanted to, so I did. This was too much fun to sew, it was an overachieving dressmaker's dream, with tucks and gathers and inset bands and ruffles.
I used a thrifted cotton sheet for the main body of the dress, and purchased voile embroidered with hibiscus blossoms for my contrast. A little nod to Hawaii.
I'm actually wearing it right this second. I'm lounging. And probably will again.