Friday, September 30, 2011

Two Happy Weeks of Rippling

Two happy weeks of rippling have come to an end, as I have run out of yarn. I do still have some scraps and those will become throw pillows.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clara and the Great World

The Composer has instituted a "one child at a time" rule when it comes to bureaucratic crises. Whether it's college applications, housing needs, car-buying, or scholarships, only one child at a time is allowed to generate massive quantities of paperwork. Clara is front and center at the moment with college apps for next year.

She's got a school comfortably settled on, and The Visit is next month. Although she's a pretty good bet to get in (hello, super ACT score + National Merit semi-finalist so far + 4.0 + third generation student!), she has some sweet back-up plans in place, just in case.

It's just that I can't believe we're here already!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cutting the Four-O'Clocks

I never knew, because I never tried, that four-o'clocks make fantastic, fragrant cut flowers. Because the blooms only last a day, I never bothered with them indoors, but it turns out that even after cutting, the buds take turn opening in the vase, and I find my bunch lasts several happy days, with lovely scent.

Perfect for the lull before the leaves turn color.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Out of the Basket

My beloved project is just about too big for its basket.

I still have a few partial skeins left to use up, and then I'll have to close the book on this happy chapter . . . until I get to the yarn store.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wedding at the Schoolhouse: Time to Bake

Yesterday was our bake-o-rama for the wedding. Fortunately we had the use of a restaurant that's closed on Sundays (oh the joys of a small town!) and we worked before and after church.

I was Team Bread captain. Fifty pounds of flour made up into artisan dough before church--it took Bella and me only an hour, unbelievable! I sat through church convinced it was popping out of the buckets onto the floor of the walk-in fridge (it was a very *live* dough indeed!). Needless worry.

With a big convection oven and unlimited huge cookie sheets, we had it all baked up in less than two hours. Go Team Bread!

Meanwhile, Team Pie dealt with two cases of Granny Smith apples and twenty-five pie crusts. Fruit prepped and pie plates lined before church, plates filled and topped with sugary-butter crumbles afterwards. Go Team Pie!

Phyllis loaded her car with baked pies and drove them home to freeze. That's where Team Pie lost a point. Phyllis left the trunk popped (but not open) while she took in one load. When she got back out to the car, Lester the male goat had pried the trunk open and started in on a pie. Final pie count: only twenty-four.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pizza with Eggplant

I love that Bella decided to make these eggplant pizzas even though she doesn't like eggplant. She just thought she'd give it a try (they were totally delicious).

A happy moment this late morning when I sat on the couch crocheting (obsessively) and listened--Bella was running her eggplant experiment in the kitchen, Felix was at the computer trying to identify an unusual warbler by call, Clara was playing her cello upstairs, and Daisy sat in the sunshine on the floor humming and playing paperdolls.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Silver and White Vignette

I'm liking these colors this week. The thrift store had a $3 per bag sale and I got the "silver" casserole-holder. A tarnishy silver tray sits on it easily to hold my pile of books, and the little white birds are perennially in and out of my cupboard on display.

Today was full of cleaning and scrubbing--those days deserve a little something pretty at the end, I think.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Plain Alabama Studio Style Dress for Clara

These jersey dresses take about ten minutes to put together on the machine, seriously. When things slow down after the wedding, I'll go back and do some handwork, and maybe some stencilling. In the meantime, Clara has a comfy violet dress that works for cello.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

All That's Best of Dark and Bright

Suddenly I am obsessed with crocheting!

Yes, I've got the tasteful granny squares going, but I've started another project too. Everything saturated, dark, or bright from the yarn stash--all being made into ripples. No tastefulness here!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Butterfly Pillow, Rebooted

I thrifted this crewel-work pillow back when it was smaller, and didn't have a border. Enjoyed it for a few years, until it started to give out.

I think it's a double thrift bonus when it's remade with a new thrifted backing, don't you? Like using up at least the letter J in a game of Scrabble.

Just think if that pillow insert was from the thrift store, how high my score would be!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wedding at the Schoolhouse: Outside Work

Helen's wedding is less than three weeks away! Finally we're at the point of implementing some of the grand plans we've been mulling over for months.

First up--a rebuilt arbor in the front garden! Helen's unstoppable father, our dear friend, pulled out the old, collapsing one, cut new cedar poles, and built this square and sturdy replacement. The wisteria won't have it covered by wedding time, but we'll wrap it in twinkle lights and hang a paper lantern from it for fun. It's just a side attraction, though it is rather front and center.

And Helen's mother potted up all these pansies yesterday, basically in any container that didn't escape her clutches. They'll decorate food tables, cake tables, you name it! We're cutting all the flowers as they open in hopes that they'll be blooming energetically at the right time--although they look so good now I almost think we should buy new and pot them again a few days before the wedding. We'll see.

Next big project: a weekend of pie and artisan bread production.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Same Only Different

The sky turned to fall the moment we left for the fair.

Daisy loved the eggs (I loved her snood).

Such delicate colors. We smelled the Tropicana roses in honor of my grandmother who favored them.

Daisy asked to see "bunnies and vegetables." For bunnies, you had to put up with a certain amount of rooster noise.

Worth it.

Why do bunnies get to look this good? They are just right.

I love this little piece of our autumn. It does my heart good.

Every year it is the same, only different.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Side Eye

When Frederick looks at something potentially dangerous, he uses the Side Eye. Always employed for conversations with the Composer, and often for the camera, but not for me. Frederick always puts his head down for me, just in case I feel like offering him a tickle.

Better safe than sorry.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Button by Machine

This, I should have learned years ago, but the thought of zigzagging through a button inevitably made me picture shards and fragments of needles going everywhere.

But today I bit the bullet, dropped the feed dogs, and *carefully* and *slowly* found the right zigzag setting to stitch my two-hole buttons on with.

All seven down the front of Bella's corduroy dress!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Schoolday Granny Squares

These are my schoolday granny squares. I make two of them every morning while I sit with Daisy during her math page--she likes the company.

I'm using up leftover yarn which is an excellent feeling, and I'll quit when I've run out of cream. Then I'll sew them all together into what will probably be a baby blankie, for a baby that likes subtle colors.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The One Where Daisy Gets a Job Offer from Hallmark

Because they wanted this one . . .

and this one . . . .

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Cheap and Cheerful Shower Gift

I needed a very quick and cheap wedding shower present today, just a placeholding token really, since our gift to the bride and groom is something entirely different. Five minutes at the Dollar General gave me microfiber cloths, spray bottles, and scrubby sponges.

How to make inexpensive doodads present themselves best? Stick to the same colors, remove tags and packaging, and tie everything together with matching tissue paper.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Colette's Fall Patterns

I'm looking forward to the arrival of these lovelies in my mailbox. The blouse looks like it will be lovely in a soft rayon--and look, no closures! I've been wanting something to tuck into a skirt the last few months.

And this dress looks like it will strike a nice balance between too-fitted-to-get-around-in and so-loose-it-feels-sloppy. And the recommended fabrics are some with lots of body--it could be made up to be cozy for cold weather!

You can see them made up at Colette, of course!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Rubber Polka Dot Gloves

Best kind of day: a home day. Chores: caught up. Ironing: done. Gloves: rubber polka dot.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

"More Is Not Always Better"

"In housekeeping, more is not always better. Order and cleanliness should not cost more than the value they bring in health, efficiency, and convenience."

--Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

An Artist's Smock in the Shop

Men's dress shirts from the thrift store are so useful. Cut them up for quilts, make them into aprons, or reconfigure them as smocks or sundresses for little girls. Here I reshaped the shoulders and yoke, leaving the button placket intact and turning the garment front to back. Some bias binding and an extra snap closure keep things tidy.

Find it in my etsy shop!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Emerald Evening

Beautiful weather, brunch with sticky buns,

a hike, a whole day together,

a little bit of gardening at the end.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Two More Easy Dresses

World's easiest ever dress: skirt made from the bottom of a man's tee shirt (thrifted). All the work is done, just gather the top and sew it onto the shirt! No need to finish the raw edge.

And the fabric weights work so well together.

And for the pink shirt, I used a lightweight corduroy for the skirt. It seemed kind of plain, though, without a DACHSUND. Found this applique in a children's vintage skirt pattern, a nice variation on the poodle.

She's made from wool felt, and attached with embroidery stitches. Her pink collar ties her into the outfit nicely.

And a little bit of brown beading at Daisy's neckline finishes things off.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Starting Some Fall Sewing

Daisy has several beautiful Garnet Hill tees from last winter that fit in the shoulders, but are too short to wear with a skirt or pants.

(I was actually flipping through the Garnet Hill catalog this week and I saw the same shirts offered with a "New longer length, by customer request!").

Hmm. Too short. Maybe I could just add a skirt, like I used to do before I liked to sew? Definitely the way to go--a stretch woven attached to the bottom of this pale blue ruffled top.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Suddenly, She's So Big

Could be the teeth or the glasses or the braids or the endless legs. Whatever it is, she's suddenly left babyhood far, far behind.

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