Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Winter Pantry

It's not winter yet, but the pantry's ready for the cold half of the year with some extra things on hand for power outages, frozen roads, sickness, or general wintry needs:

• boxes of chicken broth
• ginger ale
• light-colored fruit juices--apple and white grape
• matches and candles
• over-the-counter fever and tummy medicines
• jugs of water
• enough canned things to last a few days
• cocoa mix (in the please-no hypothetical of no fresh milk for Daisy's first-thing-in-the-morning cup)

That list should cover every worst case scenario, and hopefully, I won't need to use any of these this winter. But it feels so much better, just in case.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Batch of Patchwork Cushions

Once I get the box of scraps out it's easy to keep going and going.

I made three of these, and two more in a brown and rose colorway. Hope to have them in the shop tomorrow, or e-mail me if you're interested. 18 inches square, $25.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Finally She Needed the Tooth Pillow

At last that front tooth fell out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Borrowing the Goats

This weekend I asked my neighbor Phyllis for the loan of a couple of goats. She was glad to off-load two of her neutered teenage males for as looong as I want them.

I've got them in the vegetable garden, which is over for the season. They're eating everything up for me--Johnson grass, Bermuda grass, dead tomato plants--and efficiently turning it into manure. Thank you, goats.

Now, they hate rain, so with showers in the forecast they got a ride home for the night in Phyllis' husband's VW bus. As he chased them around the garden he remarked that two goats can sure make a person look dumb.

They'll be back with the sun, in a couple of days. It feels good to have farm animals around, especially ones with their own chauffeur.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Emilie Loring

I'd never heard of Emilie Loring until I stumbled on someone's collection at the thrift store. For so cheap, I thought that even if they weren't worth reading, I could enjoy the soft colors of the covers for a season before passing them on.

Now, having read four, I'm glad I found her. Not for her plots, but because she gives fantastic descriptions of her heroines' outfits on all occasions. Cotton gardening dresses, velvet housecoats, sports ensembles, formals, street clothes--if a spirited but wholesome young lady wore it, Emilie Loring described it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Blue Bungalow Apron: Anne Adams 4543

Continuing my bungalow apron experiments: this one was a great success. So very comfortable, and though I say it myself, it's cute!

This is a great pattern--the sleeves are very loose (the seam is open several inches on top), the pockets are deep, the waist ties are in the right places. The bias binding was strangely, unworkably wide, and I had to cut the width in half to make it work, but I appreciate that it *would* have looked nice had it gone together as written.

Definitely I will be making this again--I'd love a whole week's worth of these in different gorgeous fabrics. I noticed the pattern is published "in stout sizes only", although it does go down to a 32 inch bust. I wonder what that's about, because it doesn't feel stout on. It feels productive and homey!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Granny Squares Together

I had enough to cream yarn to make a small blanket, nine tows of ten squares. I couldn't resist though, I've bought some additional cream and I'm putting a border around it. It's not an *exact* match, but what baby would care?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Clara Went Shopping

Clara went shopping this afternoon. She bought sixty-six bright yellow dishes at the thrift store, a new hat, a skein of yarn, and a cup of hot chocolate.

The girl knows how to do it right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Round Crocheted Cushion Cover

Some of my last scraps of post-ripple-blanket yarn made up into a round cushion cover. I had the worst time crocheting a simple circle! This is not perfect at all, but it fits over the curve of the pillow because I forced it to.

And I so cheated--I just slipstitched my round thing onto the top of an existing throw pillow.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Clara Wears Lavender and Raspberry

Thrift store sweater over a jersey dress, handmade jersey scarf*, hand-knitted beret.

*Even if you can't sew at all, a quarter yard of jersey makes a gorgeous, edgy scarf, no hemming necessary. On the other hand, it's lots of fun to dress one up with some hand-stitching or a fabric marker.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Landmark Dinner

75 is a big birthday, and we celebrated with the Composer's father this weekend. Five years ago we went this route, but on this occasion we were much smaller--just three very special surprise guests (including Giles, and that surprise was also on me!), and a lovely Southern dinner.

• Yellow squash puff pastries

• Romaine and red leaf lettuce with blackberries and candied black walnuts
• Beef tenderloin (oh my, my first ever and it was GOOD)
• Turnip greens, mustard greens, and collard greens
• Scalloped potatoes
• Buttermilk biscuits

• Deep-dish apple pie
• Homemade vanilla ice cream

So I totally didn't know that Giles was coming home on Friday night for Grandpa's birthday, but the sneaky girls did and they had insisted on making the pie themselves so they could keep it dairy-free. I'll never trust them again!

Maybe I say this every year at this time, but wow, what a privilege to be able to honor such a wonderful man. May there be many happy returns.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Frederick in His Cup

Sometimes, Frederick just spends a cozy half hour sitting in his grit cup.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Brown Floral Bungalow Apron: Anne Adams 4674

I believe this fantastic housedress pattern lives up to my bungalow apron ideals, although it dates from the 1940s and not the 1920s. But look--loose fitting and drawn in at the waist with ties, slips over the head, simple cut, roomy for housework, the works.

Quick to sew and comfortable to wear, too, with no closures (those buttons are just for show, thank goodness because they each weigh half a pound).

It's from one of my favorite vintage pattern companies, Lanetz Living, who always has well-priced goodies and excellent service.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gorgeous Pink Buttons

Amazing buttons. From the thirties, I think? Because recommended for *smocks and pajamas*. They were in a box of vintage sewing goodies from sweet reader Lyn. They are going on a housedress, this minute.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wedding at the Schoolhouse: Photos

A selection of photos from the day (I still can't believe we pulled this off!)--

The bride's cake table--a friend baked the cake, alternating layers of carrot and pumpkin with cream cheese frosting. To decorate, we stuck mums in strategically at the last minute.

The savory table decorated at last and waiting for food. The two big bouquets are sumac and carnations, and roses and old hydrangeas. The bride's mother prepared all the savory spreads ahead of time. They were all toppings for our *mountains* of homemade French bread. Ricotta spread, pesto, white bean spread with celery-infused olive oil, hummus, spinach dip, artichoke-parmesan dip, baked Brie with dried cranberries, and more. And nuts. And olives. A good way to feed a crowd.

Identifying tags were helpful to everyone.

Outdoors we had the groom's "Pie Shack". Giles pulled this last-minute wooden sign out of his creative hat. My mother brought her taxidermy (why not!) to decorate, we spread all twenty-three apple pies, and the bride's father set out his specially-brewed homemade beer for the adults. All under a structure strung with lights that became beautiful at dark.

Beautiful ladies. I made those skirts. And those bouquets.

As the sun went down, the fairy lights came on, and the votives all through the garden were lit, and the paper lantern shone . . . .

Helen and Franklin, married.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Clara in a Cranberry Dress

A newly sewn late 1940s dress in cotton twill.

Leftover roses courtesy of the wedding.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wedding at the Schoolhouse: One of Half a Hundred

That's right: we ladies of the wedding crew (that's me and my mother and my friend Maureen) made more than fifty-two bouquets. Fifty-two is when I stopped counting.

I was so pleased with with the flower situation. You see, I made plans with the florist at Kroger to sell me four gigantic buckets of flowers, everything she had in her case that was due to be replaced the next day, for $10 a bucket. For accepting flowers that would fade sooner than the freshest ones--but not until after the wedding, of course--we got an entire dining table full of flowers for a hilariously low price. And without any control over what types we'd get, we had so much fun making up bouquets, corsages, and boutonierres all supplemented with autumn leaves, grasses, and fruits.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Neither More Elegant Nor More Picturesque

"True hospitality is sharing your life . . . with those outside the family circle. False hospitality is trying to re-vamp your life with camouflage and pretense so that it will fool a guest into thinking your life more elegant and more picturesque than it really is."

--Irene Parrott, Friday to Monday (1941)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Scrap Quilts for You to Finish, If You Want

My sweet friend Monica is adopting and I want to support her. I don't have a lot of finished items sitting around waiting to hop into my etsy shop, but I realized I do have a pile of baby quilts ready to be quilted. I thought maybe someone out there would want to dip their toe into Quilting World with a top that's been pieced and put together with a back--all ready for you to quilt?

Check out the collection of scrappy stripes, squares, and log cabins in my etsy shop if that might be you! Half of these quilty proceeds go to bring Monica's toddler boy home.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Emergency Apron

No sewing, no fussing, and you can throw it away when it gets gross: a man's shirt from the thrift store, tied on backwards.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Bella at the Kitchen Door

Saturday, October 01, 2011

"A Birth, a Wedding, and a Death"

"'When I was a child I heard an old minister say that a house was not a real home until it had been consecrated by a birth, a wedding, and a death . . . . "

--L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

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