Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Must Retrench

Tuesday I started on a short-term work project that will be taxing my time and energy pretty severely for the next two or three weeks. So: I must retrench! Don't look for daily postings here until then. In the meantime I will be:

•wearing a phone headset most of the time (I never thought I'd see the day). Dorky, but saves the neck•

•ignoring my cleaning routines (except for bathrooms) and spot-cleaning instead•

•posting the day's dinner menu on the blackboard in the kitchen so that if I get stuck on the phone Bella knows what we're cooking•

•riding my bike every morning (overuse injury in my heel has me off my running for a few weeks)•

•thinking fondly of the sewing room•


•destressing as necessary by admiring Fitzwilliam's lovely vest•

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Keeping Up with the Maples

Daisy's got work to do. She likes to keep things cleaned up under the maple tree. Raking tomorrow, for sure.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Daisy in a Cozy Chair

 Sometimes it seems like all she does is read. And make tiny set-ups. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Table Runner for a November Evening

Log cabin squares made up in November evening colors. Centers are turquoise velveteen and dark green wool, and the rest is mostly linen. Find it here

I never get tired of log cabin squares!

Friday, October 25, 2013


Thank you so much to the shoppers who've bought from my etsy shop the last couple of days. It is a great joy to me to be able to donate 100% of my sales to a wonderful nonprofit that is matching each dollar that comes in. 

I'm continuing to rummage around my closets and corners for things that would serve the world better in other people's homes, so please be sure and hop over to my etsy shop, where I'm keeping the prices low and giving away all my proceeds!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bright October Morning

I love the light in the morning, whether it's bright or dull.

I do not love this camera. My old one has given up the ghost and I'm using something the Composer had tucked away. Ugh.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Knit Dress for Bella

This Santa Fe dress for Bella came out lovely, in a very heavy and drapey bamboo-cotton blend (I think!). I left all the edges raw and unfinished inside the dress, and even the lower edge has no hem.

I wasn't impressed at all with the instructions or illustrations in the pattern though. The bodice shaping is created from a series of pleats and folds, like origami, but the drawings are very hard to follow, and the right and wrong sides aren't distinguished, as far as I can tell.

On the other hand, though it might not be right, it looks great on Bella.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Barton Cottage Shrug in Blue

I finished my merino shrug a couple of months ago, then took my time getting the casing stitched down. It's so clever, the entire neckline and front opening are a casing for a ribbon. Thread it through, pull it, tie, and there's your shaping!

It's a very comfortable garment, and I love the sleeve length, except that they are too short to wear over long sleeves, which is kind of too bad. If I ever knit it again--and I may, it's that nice!--I'll make longer sleeves.

The pattern is from the lovely Jane Austen Knits magazine.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Ladylike Dress for a Concert: Vintage McCalls 3755

Loving the look here of the draped neckline, the full back to the skirt (almost a suggestion of a bustle in the illustration, but not seeing it in real life), and that gorgeous cummerbund (unfortunately I was short of fabric).

I made this up in an unknown fabric, out of a bag passed on to me by the daughter of a Montreal upholsterer--it *may* be silk, in a tiny purple and gray check. It doesn't hold a pressing crease, I can tell you that!

In spite of everyone's excellent suggestions for alternate weights, I did sew two magnets into a fabric bag which is dangling at this very moment from the inside of the draped collar. I love that. It's so . . . mechanical. I'll be wearing this to a symphony concert tomorrow.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bella's Skylight in the Rain

Bella's skylight on this rainy day. I enjoyed the extra light down in the sewing room while I finished hemming a dress.

Also today, I made wonderful cream of celeraic soup, cleaned the bathrooms, bought Daisy a Venus fly trap (it's ravenous! It's eaten four bugs already!), and planted some Swiss chard.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Peace Be To This House Crewelwork

I picked up this nicely-done crewelwork at the thrift store. I typically find the masking-taped around cardboard and stuck in a frame.

I'll take all that apart and sew the crewelwork into a pillow cover. This one's got textured velvet strips sewn around the front, and will have a salmon linen back, with a brown zipper.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"I Shall Never Be Indifferent to Dress"

"My day for the frilly gowns of organdy and lace is over--henceforth I must wear the richer hues and materials of the matron. But I shall never be indifferent to dress. It is a very foolish woman who is--just as foolish as the one who makes it the foremost and only thing. Both are badly mistaken."

--L.M. Montgomery, The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Volume III 1921-1929

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Draping a Drapey Neckline

I'm working on vintage McCall's 3755 which has a beautiful neckline. The front drapes into soft pleats stitched into the shoulder seams, and there's a stay behind all that draping that looks that the top half of a normal bodice. 

Best of all, I will shortly be finding a lead weight and encasing it in a little fabric bag and attaching it by a thread chain to the bottom of the facing! I'll let you know how that goes. I don't have a lead weight but I do have a heavy little magnet that would work. But then I worry about it getting attaching to my underwire . . . .

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Beautiful Strudel

Bella baked this apple strudel for one of the two Grandfather's Birthdays this week. We'll be baking another one tomorrow. Puff pastry from the grocer's freezer, and apples from farmer's market.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Part of Bella's Sunny Room

This little room is hard to photograph because if you back up far enough, you're out in the hall. Bella's room is tucked up under the eaves of the roof, and doesn't even have the floor space for a bed. See the ladder in the picture above? She climbs that to hop in for the night, in a double-bed sized cubby hole.

She spent June and July removing the ten-year old blue wallpaper from her walls and ceiling, and then the Composer and I painted everything Provence Creme, at her request. Well, the ceiling is Atrium White, and so is the bed nook. The floor is a white I can't remember the name of--it's off-white. And all her furniture is white.

Mother just finished hand-quilting Bella's new quilt, "Freshwater Pearl," which I pieced before the whole room redo. It certainly looks at home in this sunny space.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Frozen Cheats

After spurning most frozen food my whole life (I use corn and the occasional package of green beans out of season), I have totally gone over to the cold and dark side when it comes to Kroger's Mirepoix Style Blend. It's just so easy to take out a package of already-chopped onion, celery, and carrots--and it's cheaper too! I also love the Mirepoix Cajun Style Blend--onion, celery, and green peppers.

I never bother measuring, since more vegetables are always welcome. My rule of thumb is one package of chopped vegetables to whatever I'm cooking, and everything has tasted good so far.

I use it directly from the freezer into a hot pot drizzled with olive oil.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Darling Little Pan

It's not a big egg, it's a darling little cast iron pan from the thrift store. Just perfect for frying Daisy's lunchtime egg. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Daisy's Glowing Marigolds

She's quick to point out that she planted them herself.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Covered Buttons on a Cloak

Let's say you love cozy, vintage things. And you look good in warm, autumnal colors. And you think you could use a cloak to bundle up in when you go out in the woods collecting leaves.

I have just the thing for you. All proceeds of this sale go to charity and will be matched!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Weekend with Clara

We're spending the weekend visiting Clara! And I've finally figured out how to photograph my short, medium, and tall girls all together.

We went out to our absolute favorite grocery store to stock Clara's room with crackers and dried fruit. We love this place because it has lots and lots of ethnic groceries, from Spanish quince paste to Israeli sumac to Saudi kabsa spice.

And there's a thrift shop next door. Clara found a genuine 1950's crinoline--the kind that can stand up on its own--with little blue bows pinned to the hem. I found a giant, reference-worthy volume of Gilbert and Sullivan lore that's going under the Christmas tree for someone!

Great excitement, Bella and Daisy are spending the night in the dorm!! Daisy brought some animals to visit Clara,

and spend some quality time with Clara's two bears, who are missed at home. They spend most of the school year in the dorm,

on Clara's bunk, gazing up at the paper cranes hanging from the ceiling.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A Wrap Dress Collection for Sale

It's a little bit of a closet clean-out, and also I'm excited about doing some fund-raising for the non-profit Giles works for. All proceeds from this sale go straight to charity, and the best part of it is that they are *matched* by a foundation. Happy shopping!


I've been enjoying Meatless as a library book, enough to plan to buy it for my own kitchen. I find that my gluten-free cooking runs very much on the plain side. Meat. Veggies. Salad. All gluten-free but sadly, kind of boring. This cookbook has lots and lots of wonderful GF stuff that, while maybe intended as a vegetarian main course, will make a fantastic addition to our table of very hungry eaters.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Pale Green Flocked Tote

Happy to have this lusciously textured tote in my etsy shop tonight. All proceeds go to charity!

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