Wednesday, May 31, 2017

My Duck Egg Filofax, Pretty and Blue

I continue to love my Filofaxes. I have a Original Nude Patent for work, this Original Duck Egg Patent for personal projects, and a raspberry Finsbury I use for my Bible reading plans and prayer lists. I LOVE having separate gorgeous notebooks for different parts of my life.

This binder is divided into a General Notes section (where I keep a running list of things I need to do, remember, schedule, etc.),  Festive Plans (where I work on whatever big do is coming up next--guests, menus, sleeping arrangements), Menu Tracker (where I note general dinner plans), Sewing (all kinds of notes about current, past, and future projects), Correspondence (I actually keep notecards, stamps, and addresses here so I can write a letter when I have a few minutes. I also keep a record of who and when I've written), and Weekly Goals (I write these across the appropriate week but without scheduling them. I generally pick 5-7 things outside my usual daily routine that I want to complete or make progress on).

For some reason, being able to hold all these in my hands makes me feel very connected to my projects and constantly inspired. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tic Tac Toe

Saturday night a raging thunderstorm rolled in. At 1:00 a.m. I heard the loudest crack of lightning I ever remember. A few minutes later the Composer (who always gets up if there's weather) came back to tell me that our huge red oak tree had been struck by lightning. . .

and had fallen on all three of our cars. Only two are even visible in the picture because Bella's is so thoroughly covered by tree trunk.

Yes, we've got three cars out in the driveway smashed under a tree. Hoping that when the tree guys get them uncovered, there will be one that isn't totaled.

But seriously: we can hardly believe that this monster didn't hit the house. Parts of it were *under* the overhang of the porch roof. Thank you, Lord!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dresden Plate Crib Quilt

 There were five of these Dresden plate quilt blocks in my stash--not six. So I just embroidered the outline of the last one. I like it!

Available in my etsy shop.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Little Bit of Barn, Lots of People

Our barn-raising weekend started the night before with plenty of hot tea and love from Sister.

Then it was up early to build a barn for these Dutch rabbits! Jonathan is halfway through vet school but will never know enough about rabbits to satisfy Daisy . . . .

The guys broke ground behind the fig tree. 

Measure twice, strip the sod once.

Meanwhile, Jonathan and Arthur and Daisy dealt with a little backlog of manure in the barns. Goats and chickens needed some housecleaning.

Molly and Tia were assigned to the Universal Assistants crew. Apparently no one needed any help.

Until they did. Bella ran the kitchen. Girls, there's pimento cheese to make.

Emma ran back to the stone house for forgotten tools.

I have no idea what is happening here. 

It took almost all day to get the frame in, cement poured, and everything square. When they quit for dinner, the rafters were also in place. There was so much trigonometry going on in the yard.

By late afternoon some people needed a break . . .

  . . . and some had actually earned one :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Log Cabin Quilt: Quercus Alba/ White Oak

A gift for a friend who just graduated from his master's program in public health, heading into medical school.

"He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water."

"Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
Don't you love that promise? I do. Thanks, Psalm 1.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Whew! I have been fully occupied with a houseful for the last few days. The young adults gathered over the weekend for a barn raising on Monday (photos to follow). With three houses in the mix for hosting now--our Schoolhouse, the Stone House with Eliot and Emma (that's them at the end of the table below, Emma in the red sweater and Eliot up on the stool), and Felix and Molly at the Meadows--there seems to be no limit to the number of people we can include! Everyone ate here, and everyone worked together to build and garden on Monday--it was fantastic. Much accomplished, a few sunburns, and lots of food eaten.

Several of them are taking off tomorrow on a road trip to points north, and life will settle down. I have quilts to show!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Dottie Angel Wrap Dress

This is the Simplicity 8186 pattern I wrote about earlier.
It's comfortable, cool, and practical, and I'll make it again.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Fragrant Garden

The little back porch off the kitchen now has six pots of lavender in bloom, a blooming jasmine vine, and a big blooming tangle of honeysuckle. All at once. It's my dream.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Versicolor Quilt

I forgot I even made this crazy striped quilt top--I had sent it to my mother and she quilted it beautifully. It's really, really intense. Versicolor! That's Latin for multi-colored.

I love the back she put on it. Just to calm things down a little.

I will be listing this in etsy in the next few days--or if you're interested, please email. It will be $200 plus shipping. It's a bit of an odd size--plenty wide for a twin bed but a tiny bit short--although I'd just cover the top with pillows. Bright ones.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Everything is Pink

Everything blooming in the garden right now is pink--phlox, fairy roses, spirea, salvia.

In other news, I posted my entire collection of Marie Claire Idees magazines in my etsy shop. If you're in need of inspiration for seasonal beauty, check it out!

Friday, May 05, 2017

Asleep in the Velvet Chair

I was winning the Sister lottery this week as she had chosen my velvet chair for her naps. Sadly it looks like things have moved to the laundry room windowsill, but was nice while it lasted.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Simplicity 8186: Dottie Angel Wrap Dress

I'm always on the lookout for a good wrap dress. I've made some spectacular fails (now living as quilts or skirts) so I approached this pattern with caution.

I'll skip to the end--it made a very nice garment. No facings or collar, and very simple styling, which is just what I like. 


Oh my word, as my niece would say. This was the poorest pattern ever. 

1. The front of the bodice at the shoulder is ruched, and has a rectangle of fabric stitched on behind it as a stay. Three of the stay's edges are hidden in other seams. But the fourth, free-floating edge? You are never instructed to finish it. Folks, finish it.

2. The ruching is formed by running several rows of gathering threads across the piece of fabric, and then topstiching over them. The gathers begin and end in plain sight--they are not hidden in a seam. And yet the pattern does not instruct you (as it should) to leave long tails on your threads, and thread them into a needle so you can pass them to the wrong side of the dress, tie them, and cut them off.

3. The bottom edge of the sleeve (where there would be a cuff) is pleated. Fair enough. But you are just supposed to baste the pleat down at the raw edge, then turn it under for its inch of hem. Don't do it! Topstitch the pleat down. You don't/ can't just turn a pleat over and hem it uncontrolled.

4. Last bit of nonsense: the front edge of the dress is finished with bias binding which is turned over to the wrong side and topstitched down. The pattern (ridiculously) has you understitch the seam allowance to the bias binding before turning and topstitching. This is totally unnecessary--understitching is for when you have a lining or facing that might want to roll to the right side, NOT for when you have a binding that will be stitched in place.

With those caveats, I recommend the pattern because it makes a nicely-shaped housedress. It doesn't need to look like the baggy garment the pattern cover shows--just choose a size that has the right amount of ease for you.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

The To Dos

I'm very happy with my current system--a notebook that sits out on the corner of the kitchen island. On Sunday afternoon I write out the upcoming week on a two-page spread.

Although I could do this on a computer, or re-use laminated sheets, I benefit from the re-commitment of rewriting my tasks each week--even the ones that repeat every day. 

I don't color-code my tasks--I just use pen to write them out--but I do use either warm or cool Prismacolors each day to mark out the things I've done. That's my treat.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Sunday Dinner: Chicken Curry

Our Young Adult Lunch this week was for 17 people after church, and I fed them all chicken curry using this favorite recipe. I used one package of chicken breasts (about 5 large pieces), two bags of mirepoix mix, five zucchinis, a handful of asparagus from the garden,  two red bell peppers, and two heads of bok choy.

I also cooked up five cups of basmati rice (best to split a batch this large into two pots for better texture), cut up two canteloupes, and made a large green salad. Lime wedges, shredded coconut, and soy sauce on the table.

The curry and rice take less than an hour to prepare--done before church with the girls helping. The curry went in the crockpot to stay warm, and the rice stayed out on the stove in a heavy pot.

Doable. And one young lady looked up at me almost in tears during lunch and said she had been dreaming of chicken curry. It's almost finals week.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Under the Wisteria Arbor

The wisteria has grown so thickly that the arbor it's barely visible.

It's a plant that requires very regular cutting back,

but look how it frames the view!

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