Thursday, March 31, 2011

Clara Mends a Sweater

Miss Pointy Elbows reinforcing the thin places in the sleeves of her cashmere sweater--so easy with a felting needle and some matching roving.

We learned about this in Living magazine, and it really works.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Look Book 2011, Part Three

What's for summer? Roll your cuffs and prepare for a summer of comfortable class and free-wheeling luxury: these men don't wear socks. This season's wardrobe features neutral tones, crisp lines, and leather shoes.

I. Walkin' On Air

Alejandro models the latest in foot fashion and levitation.

II. It's Cooler in the Park.

Felix wears an indie-folk inspired blazer. Improves musical talent, even beginners.

Felix: Crisp cotton button-down, lensless 80s retro vintage Hipster glasses. Alejandro: poet's vest, khaki slacks.

III. The Rubber Meets the Road.

Alejandro: Square Tie, Pre-Rolled Khakis, Vintage Motobecane Road Bike.

Thanks, boys!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Adding Buttermilk

Currently I'm obsessed with Southern cooking. If dinner doesn't seem Southern enough, I'll just put it in an iron skillet, and if the opportunity arises, add some buttermilk.

I've gone years without buying any buttermilk--now I'm going through a half gallon every week. When I open the fridge I see it and think, "Oh, I'd better make some biscuits or cornbread." And then I do it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Bright Day

A bright day at the schoolhouse: the first of our new living room lights are up and running! This pair is hanging over the dining table, and they do such a good job of lighting the stage I don't know if we even need room lights.

Boy, the wonderful world of lighting fixtures is overwhelming. I wish there were 40 to choose from. That I could do. But not 14,000, That grinds my brain to a halt.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vintage Dinner Inspiration

My fantastic meal-planning book* gives a menu for every single breakfast, lunch, and dinner of the year. Let's take a look at March 26:

Breakfast: Bananas, oatmeal with milk and sugar, waffles with syrup and butter, coffee, and cocoa.

Lunch: Baked beans, cole slaw, catsup, cornmeal muffin with butter, milk, and canned peaches with cream.

Dinner: Meat pie, creamed onions, buttered turnips, radishes, bread and butter, coffee, and cherry pudding with sauce.

I think you are meant to eat everything on the menu. Not choose between, say, oatmeal and waffles. Eat them both. Go ahead. If you can.

*The American Home Diet, or, What Shall We Have for Dinner?, (1920)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Alabama Studio Style: Gore Skirt with Bird

Next up, this gored skirt for Clara from Alabama Studio Style. The skirt is made from the same pattern as the dress, you just cut it off in the middle. Natalie Chanin would have you using fold-over elastic to finish the top, but a casing with narrow elastic works well too, and is readily available.

I stitched these seams on the machine, and left them unfinished, devoting myself heart and soul to embellishment. Which took the form of a purchased bird stencil and my second attempt with fabric paint--sponged on this time. I bought a little $1.00 packet of paint meant for an air-brush apparatus, and squeezed it out into a saucer and sponged it on with a cheapie sponge. That worked.

After it dried I did my First Ever reverse applique using a scrap of teal jersey from a tee shirt, and then frosted the cake with a few blue bugle beads. The trick, as ever, is stopping.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lilacs and Biscuits

It is a good time of year when the smell of lilacs comes through the window where you are mixing up biscuits.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Feed Store

I like to buy my garden seeds at the feed store. At the feed store they sell what country people know will grow. And what will taste good.

Nothing purple and glamorous that looks beautiful in the catalog but does nothing in the garden. Not that there's not a place for heritage and unusual varieties--but I want successful basics at this point in my vegetable life. Blue Lake Bush. Clemson Spineless. You know.

I haven't had a good kitchen garden in years. This winter though Clara became a real gardener, and we're trying again. The potatoes are in the ground. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Look Book 2011, Part Two

III. The Changemaker

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Felix makes it count in his four-pocket vest in Soft Federal Reserve. Vest: thrifted. Tie: thrifted. Shirt: thrifted. Money: saved.

IV. Citizen Scientist

Alps or Appalachia, he's ready for a survey of any kind in this ensemble.

Unleash the power of the atom in Giles' matching tie and tie clip. Vest: thrifted. Shirt: thrifted. Tie: thrifted. Tie clip: thrifted. Hat: Katie.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Look Book 2011, Part One

This week Giles and Felix present the season's thrifted up-to-the-minute ensembles. It looks like we'll be seeing plenty of vests and social awareness.

I. Fair Trade Vest and Tie Ensemble

Giles considers his views on protectionism and fair trade in this snappy vest of undetermined color. But it only cost a dollar, so that's a fair trade.

Shirt: thrifted. Tie: thrifted. Vest: thrifted. Tie clip: thrifted. Glasses: borrowed.

II. Measure of a Man

What is the measure of a man? There's no one right answer in this cinch-back vest in Metric Silver.

Felix wears it both before and after dinner out. Discreet adjustability is the order of the evening, if your plate is on the big side.

Vest: thrifted. Tie: thrifted. Shirt: Muji.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Alabama Studio Style: Violet Dress

I took the tank dress from Alabama Studio Style, added some sleeves from a sheath-style pattern, and raised the neckline by about an inch. The tie belt is just an unfinished strip of jersey--but a person could go uptown and make a tube, or a folded over strip, or a braid.

So far the embellishment is only little clusters of seed beads around the neck but it is hard to resist the lure of applique, or reverse applique, or even just a few more beads.

I made one of these in tobacco brown a few weeks ago and have been wearing it almost non-stop--so comfortable and perfect for getting things done. The test dress was sewn on the machine, but the violet one is all hand-stitched. Good thing I wanted to do that, because also my machine is on the outs. A perfect time to be obsessed with hand-sewing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dinner Together in Spring

*Everyone* home for a few days, grandparents, pounds of homemade pasta, huge pot of meatballs in sauce . . .

two mixed berry cobblers, piano, cello, and singing.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Salmon Sandwich for Lunch

Something made this salmon of Bella's the best ever--she just brushed the fillets with equal parts tamari sauce and rice wine vinegar, and broiled at the moderate temperature of 400, rather than flat out.

Most excellent leftovers with tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise. And bacon!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Frederick Grooms His Feathers

Frederick uses some chair-back time to get everything nicely arranged.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Giles with a Guitar

Apparently he wasn't *just* assisting on shoots for National Geographic, O Magazine, Popular Mechanics, ad infinitum. He also laid carpet in his host family's basement, put together lots of IKEA furniture,

and taught himself to play the guitar. He had been telling us, but hearing is believing.

He's helping us lead music at church on Sunday, that's how far along he is. We shall spring him on the unsuspecting masses of our church friends!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Look Who Got In

. . . late last night.

He's taking off his city hat and building me a garden fence before he goes back to school.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Patchwork Curtains, Finished

Finished! But they're not as big as they should be, so I'm pondering ways to make them bigger without piecing any more.

Maybe new favorite lavender jersey hanging in panels somewhere from the rail? We'll see.

Friday, March 11, 2011


"He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were hushed."

Psalm 107:29

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Daisy and I have been enjoying Beverly Cleary's Socks this week. So much. She has hunted up her stuffed tabby toy and reads the funny parts over to herself, rolling around the floor howling with laughter.

I loved this book when I was little, although Socks' misadventures seemed downright sorrowful at the time--they weigh less heavily on me now. Now I am struck by the tenderness with which the author treats the young parents who own Socks. Their poverty, their tiredness, and their consistent kindness, good spirits, and delight in their baby are rendered with such respect. A joy to read.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Forsythia in a Chilly Week

Windy, chilly, rainy--we've lit the wood stove again, just when I thought we'd had our last fire. But the forsythia is in bloom!

Jersey, Stenciled and Quilted

A lovely transformation when my stenciled jersey is backed with a second layer and quilted.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Slow Design

Natalie Chanin calls her work "Slow Design" and she is not wrong. First I found the jersey. Washed it. Pressed it. Traced off the pattern. Cut it out. Cut out the jersey pieces. Located Mylar to use for a stencil. Located fabric paint. Cut the repeats in the stencil. Printed half my fabric pieces. Printed the other half.

Almost time to sew.

Slow, but I love every bit of it. These pieces will be backed by another layer of jersey, and each leaf shape will be outlined by a running stitch. Then I'll sew them together into a fitted top. But not this day.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Black and White Baking

A chocolate Bundt cake to be ganached by Bella, and artisan bread dough made into chocolate-filled rolls. These will be perfect to share with Felix when we go to see his science fair presentation.

Chocolate-Filled Rolls

For each roll, take a golf-ball sized lump of French bread dough or refrigerated artisan bread dough. Flatten gently into a four-inch round, spread lightly with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and about a tablespoon of chocolate chips. Gather the dough closed and pinch seam together. Set seam-side down in a greased pie plate, allow to rise for half an hour, then bake at 400 til lightly browned. Say, 25 minutes? Just guessing.

Do not bake these if you are hypo-glycemic. I've warned you.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Tiny Spring Blooms

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Patchwork Curtains

Piecing some lavender curtains for my bedroom windows. Somehow I thought this would be a small job, but actually it's almost as many squares as a twin-size quilt.

However, there will be no quilting. Just adding a lining, and a little hand-sewn topstitching around the edge. Then pictures.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Vegetables for the Chowder

It's perversely satisfying to get dinner when there's not really much in the fridge or pantry. Tonight I used up the last bits of vegetables from the crisper drawers, sauteeing them with a few strips of bacon, then simmering them in broth with some chopped potatoes. All became a chowder when I added creamy milk and the scraps of several blocks of cheese.

Grocery shopping tomorrow, for sure.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Typewriter and I Meet at Last

Finally, finally I met up with the typewriter I knew was waiting for me in a thrift store somewhere. I knew it would be small, and sleek, and in good working condition. I did not know it would be like new, with a perfect brown carrying case.

Its place of honor on the dining table, where everyone is making friends with it, most especially Daisy.

Related Posts with Thumbnails