Saturday, July 30, 2011

Daisy's Crepe Myrtle Bouquet

Daisy picked these and decided that crepe myrtle is her current favorite flower.

We're off to hear Bella sing and bring her home from camp. This place has been too quiet!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Telegraph Office

Daisy announced that the telegraph office is open.

After constructing floral headpieces for herself and her doll, she went into typing overdrive. Finished telegraphs were placed in a pink knitted bag and delivered around the house.

Oh, the sweet pink goodness.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Frosty Drinks

Every day there are two or three sweating, determined men up and down ladders, painting my house. It is So Hot. They are out there for so many hours. The least I can do is bring them frosty drinks: one at 11:00 in the morning, and another towards the end of the afternoon.

Here's what I've made.

• Grape juice frozen to slushiness in the ice cream freezer (popular).
• Apple juice and ginger ale, over ice, or made into a slushy (see above).
• Half iced tea, half apricot nectar, squeeze of lime juice, fresh mint.
• Coffee, half and half, sugar, and ice cubes run through the blender.
• Homemade cherry limeade.
• Homemade strawberry lemonade.
• Homemade vanilla ice cream, raspberry frozen yogurt, chocolate ice cream, strawberry ice cream, coffee ice cream. Etc.

They still have days to go, so, other ideas that don't rely on corn syrup? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Easy Rosebud Pillowcases

The simplest of all pillowcases, cut as a big rectangles, with wide strips folded in and machine stitched to make the cuffs. Simple can be great, if you have a beautiful pristine length of vintage rosebud fabric!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Deep Morning Shadows

Early morning light--so its own thing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vintage Millinery Inspiration

"She set to work with pins and scissors, standing before the long mirror and draping the velvet about her head, and presently had evolved a charming little hat so like a distintive imported one she had seen in a shop window that one could scarcely have told them apart. Set on her golden hair, the bright little pin glittering perkily over the right eye, the effect was most becoming."

--Grace Livingston Hill, White Orchids

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Gift-Wrapping with Patterns

A variation on wrapping with newspaper--the good insides of an otherwise throwaway sewing pattern from the thrift store. The tissue sheets are a beautiful, subtle color for packing or wrapping packages, and lately I've been loving the instruction sheets as well. Not as messy as newsprint, with more refined graphics, and beautiful-looking with a little thrifted ribbon tied around.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Sewed Slippers

. . for Bella. The pattern is from Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing, a beautifully-photographed-but-much-reviled book. Sadly, I can't recommend the pattern as the instructions were not the best and (grr) the sizing was *way* off. However, these corduroy and wool felt slippers will do for running around the dorm at vocal camp next week!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ribbed Sweater, Unfinished

Realizing that with the "Lacy Shrug" I had definitely bitten off more than I could chew, I started over on a straightforward pullover. It's the "Ribbed Sweater" from Sarah Dallas' Vintage Knits, which is apparently my favorite knitting book. Ribbing (not like lace) has a built-in error alarm system. If a stitch is wrong, it shows up immediately. This is helpful to me.

Glossy dark green cotton, knitting on size 4s, front and back finished, working on the first sleeve.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lured by an Almond

Lured by an almond, Frederick posts his head through a cut-out in the bench. Being on the floor is so naughty, but oh, so exciting.

Watch your toes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Three Jars of Peach Jam

Clara made this batch of jam today from white peaches and three pale apricots from the grocery store. I'd never seen such yellow apricots, and they smelled like honeysuckle.

Jam-making is so rewarding, I think. The pleasant sense of having prepared for winter, the beautiful glowing jars, the tasty extra spoonfuls that need to be eaten right away--they can all be yours for less than an hour's work.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Daisy and the Scientific Method

How did I get just the right birthday present for Daisy? Easy: the scientific method. First I observed that she likes to curl up on the floor in a tight ball with her arms around her doll and her blanket, and huddle over a book. Then I hypothesized that she would love to do this on a personal-sized sheepskin rug. Then I bought the rug and gave it to her for her birthday.

Last I evaluated the data that you see above, and found that it does, in fact, confirm my hypothesis.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Working in Clara's Room

New territory for Clara and for me--the removal of stubborn wallpaper and the creation of a smooth wall for painting. We did the steamer thing for two days, then took a break to catch our breaths. Up next, sanding, then mudding the sheetrock. I think it will be like frosting a cake, but the Composer says that he'd better do that part.

Fine with me! I'll give any of this work away to anyone who will take it. Which reminds me that it's time for Clara to hone her color-choosing and paint-applying skills. It's her room, anyway!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Bistro in the Backyard

This little corner of the backyard is really working this year. The forsythias next to the house filled in, a lot, this spring, the hydrangea is always wonderful, and with a chair and table moved around from the front porch, we have a very nice little place to sit. I often find Felix here with his Kindle.

My plan is to spread this little square with pea gravel, and get some dedicated, French-cafe-style chairs for it. So now the Composer is calling it "the bistro." I guess he thinks he's funny. I guess I think so too.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

She Knits On

Clara made a second knitted beret on our second camping trip. This one is out of a crisp cream-colored wool from Debbie Bliss, same pattern as last time.

She says she's going to use up our entire stash of yarn in hats and booties--a lifetime worth of birthday and shower gifts!

We've been knitting together all week while Bella is away. It's hard to put the needles down and go to bed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's Daisy Day

She had her birthday cake all planned out: we had a sketch on the refrigerator with arrows indicating what filling went where. There are chocolate frosting, whipped cream, and raspberries in the schematic.

There is her best friend, a lovely young lady of thirteen now. There is her new hair barette from her grandmother. And the dress carefully chosen to match it.

And at long last, there is Josefina.

This is so much like last year, just with bigger teeth. May it ever be!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Tiny Bit of Orange Sparkle

. . . for the orange bedroom. From the thrift store. I wonder why someone made a tiny wreath of clear orange beads?

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Cotton Dress for Bella: Vintage McCall 7977

This is a great pattern--you can choose a skirt cut on the straight grain or on the bias. And leaving off the huge pockets, I squeezed it out of two and a half yards (still wondering why I bought so little!). I also like that your dress totally depends on your fabric choice. Fresh cotton print? A casual morning or house dress. Rayon or silk? Add little gloves and go to a shower.

We're staying home and making peach pie in this version.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Deep Purple Peppers

. . . from Farmer's Market this morning.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade

Perfect to fix if you are feeling guilty that other people (not yourself) are working outside in the heat at your house all day. And then, you can have some too after you take a tray outside.

Strawberry Lemonade

In a small saucepan, gently heat together 1 cup each of water, sugar, and strawberries until sugar is dissolved and berries are soft.

Meanwhile, juice and strain the pulp and seeds from 5-6 lemons.

Tip the strawberry mess into the blender and puree, then press through a strainer into the lemon juice. Stir together.

To make a glass of lemonade, put about 1/3 cup of your gorgeous syrup into a tall glass of ice, then fill to the top with sparkling water (or regular water), stir, and serve with a straw.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

In the Middle of the Summer

• Watering and watering. Everything needs water all the time, it's so dry.
• Felix is home from Costa Rica, registered and oriented for fall, and working on painting the house exterior. That's a hot job.
• The girls have choir and chamber music camps coming up, but not Daisy. She'll be having a friend over.
• I've taken the kids camping twice. That's it for this summer. We got rained on both times, but wow, camping is so much easier now with big kids. Clara likes to pack the car by herself. Okay!
• I'm turning the Colette "Crepe" dress into a zipped-back housedress. In pink gingham. Will report.
• Giles is serving a summer-long internship in New York with a ministry that reaches out to inner-city youth. He has to do a whole lot of teaching. Very stretching for him. We're proud.
• And we're swimming.

Monday, July 04, 2011

A Fourth of July at Home

Cooking and tidying up for a dinner with friends--

Watering this and that and the hydrangeas--

A little paper-flag-making--

Then potluck and swimming and town fireworks.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Frozen Strawberry Bars

Bella made these from a recent Everyday Foods. Frozen strawberry granita bottom layer, and whipped cream folded into meringue for the top.

Our pile of pulled dessert recipes is very high right now. We're working our way down happily.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Thrifted Golden Quail

Randomly golden quail from the thrift store. I love it. I have these in white china as well, also thrifted.

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