Trying out the basic dress pattern in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design for Bella, in a below-the-knee version (it's offered in so many lengths, including luscious floor-length with a four-inch train!).
I'm using the only cotton jersey I managed to find in New York--this russet.
I visited the thrift store for t-shirts in toning oranges. I love that used cotton tees are an affordable sewing ingredient universally available--even to us small town girls. Mango, tomato, and pumpkin are definitely happening here in the form of spiral appliques.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
"One of the few things I know . . . is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time . . . The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now."
--Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
Thursday, April 26, 2012
For a while I have been wanting a dedicated little surface to use for letter-writing and the typewriter. A safe place for pretty stamps, and two good pens in a cup.
When Henry moved to my mother's at Easter (no birds in Felix's dorm), his living room table opened up, and it's just right.
Hush, I'm corresponding!
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Daisy is so good at gifts. Her birthday and Christmas presents are prepared weeks in advance, wrapped beautifully, and stowed under her bed, where we are never allowed to look, ever.
She made me this corsage for my birthday. She took a vintage brooch, then pressed mint leaves until they were dry and quite crispy, and put it all together somehow.
I wore it all day on my birthday, up to visit Felix, out for Thai food, and through the evening. Yes, pieces of dried mint kept finding their way down my shirt. But oh, the Daisy love.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
A log cabin quilt top in gorgeous violets and purples. I was very dubious about my squares when they were partly put together; but I relearned the lesson that with scrap quilting, if you will keep on going, everything will turn out beautiful.
And that moment when the pile of scraps, and then the pile of squares, stitched together, suddenly hangs like fabric? Always a yes.
Friday, April 20, 2012
We loved watching Kinshasa Symphony this week (from Amazon). It documents the efforts of a group of dedicated amateur musicians in the Congo as they put together a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, on a shoestring.
Combining so many of our family interests--classical music, West African culture, and thrifty creativity, how could we not love it?
Thursday, April 19, 2012
It's easy, it's cheap, and you can keep the ingredients on hand. And you can pass it off as Asian if you want to--I'm always stumped about what to serve to drink with Chinese or Thai . . . .
•Green Tea Punch•
Bring 8 c. water to a boil. Pour over 8 regular or decaff green tea bags and let steep according to teabag directions.
In a very large jar or pitcher, mix 1/2 a can of lemonade concentrate and 5 c. water. When the tea has cooled, add it to the jar.
Stir in 1/3 c. sugar til dissolved. Add a big handful of fresh mint from the backyard, and serve over ice.
Then, generally, the thrifty housewife will plan to make punch again the next day to use up that half-can of lemonade concentrate sitting in the freezer.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
It's good to have a more at-home week. I had been ignoring the cleaning needs in my kitchen but this week I'm working my way down a list: light fixtures, floor scrub, cabinets sorted and wiped down.
And the sitting room needed a deep clean. Out with the orchids past their prime. Out with the amaryllis bulbs I'm STILL waiting on. Not interested anymore!
More in the mood for a big jug of privet cut from the hedge. Oh, the subtle fragrance!
Monday, April 16, 2012
The real last times won't come until August, but already some of her Life Til Now is wrapping up.
Last symphony concert this weekend. For six years the Composer has been taking her every month to Sunday afternoon concerts. They've had the same seats down near the front, near the too-loud theatrical lady who warbles and coos over the soloists. But they just went to the last performance.
Next year she'll be in a different place, different concerts. Same red shoes, I hope.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
Our bathroom progress has been going at a more meditative pace as we wait for the second coat of oil-based floor paint to dry.
Finally we can tiptoe around, and I got a curtain hung, and I can take a bath. All my recent curtains have been plain canvas. When they're closed, they give you privacy. But most of the time, they're pulled wide open on their rings, and I love the rumpled drape they have.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
I am really trying hard not to bring new fabric home, but some did find its way into my suitcase in New York. And Pennsylvania. Apparently my subconscious had issued orders in a brown/gray/orange palette that I had not heard about before, but what can you do?
This beautiful gray print was my one purchase at Purl. I love it, and wonder what it will be. Isn't it a perfect match to my late 1940's cookbook?
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Isn't it time we talked about this? About how beautiful the designs are, how generous the pattern count is, about how a person could spend the next decade hand-stitching from this book alone?
Natalie Chanin, you are a genius with jersey.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
This pattern can definitely go dressy or casual, depending on fabric choices. Someday soon I'll make it up in satin for fancy, but first I tried it out in two kinds of cotton gauze, in Bella's signature soft orange.
Textured on the bodice, plain in the skirt, it makes a comfortable frock.
I was actually quite short of fabric (a passalong in the stash) and cut the skirt far narrower than the pattern would have had it. It's still plenty full for every day though.
Monday, April 09, 2012
"Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
Your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love . . . . "
Saturday, April 07, 2012
Daisy has convinced Phyllis to bring Luscious Kandy and Sinnamon over here to live in our barn.
They settled right into Felix's abandoned chicken pen. It's just right for the two of them; they're quite dainty. Luscious is about the size of my big cat.
At least twice a day we bring them out on their leashes to graze around the yard, preferably not in the flowerbeds. The goats are a huge block to productivity. Basically Daisy and I sit there on the green grass, under a blue sky. I never get anything done.
Luscious wants you to see that her collar is purple, with sparkles. How did this happen?
I never meant to be a farmer.