Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Composer Comes Home from New York

The Composer just got back from visiting Giles, and unlike me, he took a camera.

Also, it was warm enough to take the sailboat out, so he went on his first sail with Giles and a friend.

I was lucky enough to do this a few years ago. Such a wonderful experience--I'd love to do it again. I need to stop visiting on Palm Sunday weekend, which is always too cold.

At the other end of the cultural spectrum, Dolly the Donkey got her hooves trimmed today by a therapeutic farrier and his four students. Somehow it was so moving to watch these strong men work at a skill that so few have, that's been practiced for hundreds of years, and hasn't died out yet.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Chocolate Apron

The last few days in the sewing room I've been having fun chopping things up and sewing them back together *my* way. Like this one-fourth of a dress. It's probably the lower front. With a beautiful cotton lawn waistband and ties, now it's a chocolate apron.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Too Many Quilts!

I've passed critical mass/run out of places to put quilts. See my etsy shop for opportunities. And a housecoat.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Half-Grown Chicks

Daisy's Barred Rock chicks are growing fast--they've moved from just a box into the "chicken tractor" which is a wooden box attached to a little fenced-in coop. We move it to a fresh spot in the grass every day. For a random reason, the box is painted to look like it's made from bricks. Not my doing.

Because the Composer loves weather so much, we happened to have a wireless thermometer handy to stick in the box. It transmits the temps to a display in Daisy's room. On occasion the chick's box temperature will spike up to 90. The first two times this happened we rushed out to see what had gone wrong. Turns out it was just a chick sitting on the thermometer. I guess their bottoms run about ninety degrees.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Noble Bird

Noble Bird, thrift store edition.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Batch of Blue Dresses

I just finished making three small blue dresses. Well, they are different sizes of little. Three sisters, all blond and blue-eyed. Felix calls them Tiny Viking Princesses.

They are the daughters of the dear couple that took Giles into their home the first summer he interned in New York. That was back when they had a spare bedroom.

One, three, and five years old--and another on the way! I have scraps to use for that baby if it's a girl.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Baby Donkey, Circa 1980

Dolly hasn't had her baby yet, but my cousin sent me this photo from her stash--one of my younger brothers in our pasture, with our mother donkey who *had* had a baby. They are so cute with their big ears! One of these mornings we'll go down to the pasture and there it'll be.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fifteen-Minute Shrug

Another fifteen-minute jersey project--only this time you have to start with a tee from the thrift store. Cut it up the front, and cut off the collar. Trim off the top front corners like you're making a V-neck. 

Turn back the whole cut edge, going up from one bottom front edge up and around the neck and down the other side, and stitch down about a 3/4 inch channel.

Then run something through the channel, and cinch. Tighter cinching gives a much different look than looser--and may very well be more flattering than what you see pictured!

I also trimmed about six inches off each sleeve--then I spiral-cut one of the chunks of fabric into my tie and threaded it in with a safety pin.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Natalie Chanin's New Book

Everyone knows about this, right? Natalie Chanin's new book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns. It's a nice addition to the Alabama Chanin library, focusing on how to alter patterns to fit you better. Very helpful if you've been intimidated by that process! It also contains a CD with every pattern from all the other books--including my favorite six-gore dress and bolero.

If you're new to the process of altering knit garments to suit yourself, it can be very helpful to use cheap jersey, not the real thing, to practice on. I've had good luck lately finding jersey sheets at the thrift store for a dollar--they may be a little worn or a little pilled, but they are great for a practice run at a new pattern. 

In fact, I used a jersey sheet today while setting a personal record--I cut out a skirt, sewed it up, and put it on in less than fifteen minutes, using Kwik Sew 3513 (though my pattern says 639). I needed a second-tier skirt to garden in, immediately. It worked.

(edited to the correct Kwik Sew number)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Daisy and the Goats

The light was perfect for some photos tonight.

Nutmeg's face is changing from dark to light.

You can't tell, but Dixie Trixx has lost almost all of her "fluffy pants."

 And little white Bonnie, who always comes last because of her lame leg, is as sweet as ever.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

More Facets

The best thing about embellishing jersey is the cumulative effect. The end product is always more glorious than you think it will be when you just have a little done.

 Even though, as Mr. Beaver said in The Lion, the With, and the Wardrobe, "It isn't really finished!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tiny "Dick and Jane" Totes

Last week's cleaning revolved around the sewing room. I took out every piece of fabric from the cupboards, thought about it, refolded it, and noted down my plans for it, if I had any. I uncovered some treasures, including my last four "Dick and Jane" panels, which I proceeded to make into little tote bags. They're in my etsy shop--take a look if you know any little people who look good with bags!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Afternoon in the Pasture

Dolly's baby is definitely getting bigger in there--we don't know much about a due date so are open to a surprise. She's getting used to being handled, and spends much of her day rolling or resting in the ashes of the burn pile. We didn't burn the brush there with her comfort (or existence!) in mind, but it's working out for her.

Corky magically reappeared in the pasture while we were at our Wednesday night Bible study. I understand he'll be visiting until Dolly's baby arrives. He's worried she'll be lonesome without another big animal. He's always giving me the stink eye.

So that's the news from the pasture.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sunshine and Wisteria

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Feedsack Extravaganaza*

I found this outstanding quilt imprisoned in an antique store, the quilt top unsuitably matched up with a nasty pink flannel sheet bottom layer. And as for the "batting" in between, it was an unbelievably heavy plasticized polyester bedspread that weighed about twenty pounds. The three layers were tied together with ratty pink acrylic yarn.

I performed top-removal surgery, cutting out each tie. Then I sent it to rehab--my mother's house. She put soft cotton batting in and chose a charming cotton back, then hand-quilted the whole thing with embroidery floss.

I worried that the yarn would leave indelible holes, but everything healed just fine. There was a little suturing required at seams here and there.

Apparently (see below), at some point the quilt had required a transplant. One of the corners is a churn dash block. Based on the seventies-nature of the fabric, I am guessing that the pieced blocks sat in a closet for decades, then were put together by a daughter or grand-daughter who found herself one block short, and took the easy way out, before turning the whole thing into the horrid tied mess I started with.

But our surgery was successful and the patient has recovered just fine.

*"Extravaganaza" is a term that Giles accidentally coined and used in a big batch of printed posters. We've found it to be quite useful.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Tulips, Sunrise

Hanging out with the tulips at sunrise. 
We planted a row of bulbs in the vegetable garden to keep them safe from the deer. That worked out well.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Seawater Log Cabin Quilt

This is a crib-size quilt, log cabin squares built around cotton velveteen centers.

Blues and greens speak to me.

Mother put the back on it--it's literally a hospital gown . . .

and some vintage embroidery.
I plan to get this into my etsy shop tomorrow.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Easter 2015

 "[Christ] was neither abandoned to Hades,

 nor did His flesh suffer decay.

This Jesus God raised up again, 

to which we are all witnesses."

Acts 2:31-32

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Almond Cakes Done Small

For tomorrow's Easter feast, I've made our favorite almond cake with the zest of a lemon, and put it in muffin tins. Each little cake got a single blackberry dropped in, though raspberry would have been good too. 

Friday, April 03, 2015

Daisy's New Chicks

Daisy just got a batch of Barred Rock chicks through her 4H club. We've stowed them in the incubator, and will be tending to them twice a day until they're ready to move into a pen. Expect cuteness.



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