Thursday, May 31, 2012

Progress in the Bathroom

I haven't even touched my sewing machines this week (sorry if I got your hopes up!). Letter writing, gardening & weeding have been taking place and now some bathroom renovation is taking place this weekend!

We've had this wallpaper up for 10 years and it's time to see it go. We learned that it isn't wise to have wallpaper and a border in a bathroom that gets used by seven children taking steaming showers and hot baths.

We have our friend Abigail over (her mom was the one that put it up) to show us what to do and so we're all working together.

A family favorite soup is now on the stove: Garden Pottage served with Potato Dill bread. Don't let the last word of the soup turn you off; it is so good you can serve it to guests. The recipe says so, and we're doing it tonight.

We're thinking of paint colors now and some say blue, or a light sea foam blue/green, or gray. Seaside colors, anyone? :) We haven't come to any conclusions, and we're open to any other ideas or links you'd like to send our way!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weekend in Pictures

What a busy weekend!

It started Friday night with a fabulous "Reclaiming Hope" rally at my church with a historian who spoke on America's history and politics to a crowd of over 1200 people. Excellent lectures, great music, and some honored WWII veterans.

That evening I dressed up as I would for church or any other special occasion and came up with a "formal" hairstyle that is EASY PEASY. I have thick waist length hair, so I'm not sure how it would work for shorter hair, but you could give it a try. It literally took a couple minutes.

You'll want to have curled hair to start off with. If you're like me who does not have natural ringlets, use a curling iron, flat iron, or (shh, this is what I use: sponge rollers on damp hair and sleep with them in, letting them dry overnight) hot rollers, or what you do to achieve curls. You'll also want some long hair pins, and long bobby pins.


Gather hair over to the side of your head and start wrapping your hair as if you were doing a side bun. Once the ends of your hair are pointing downward and you have a bun look, start adding your hair pins to keep the bun up and making sure to place several where the hair is "just hanging" to achieve that roundish bun look. Add bobby pins to finish off and adjust any stray hair or curls. The extra pins will help support heavy hair, too.

WaLa! A fancy hair-do. :)

Sunday and Monday were both wonderful days of rest and relaxation. Daddy let me use his SLR, and I had fun snapping the following pictures:

Jonny Jump Up's

Water droplets on 'Camelot Lavender' Foxglove's

The last blooming peonies

Catnip growing on the deck

Anyone know what this is? It started growing in one of my gardens a couple of years ago without my permission. But now I don't mind it in there. It's delicate and feminine, not to mention the butterflies love the color.

I never planted the Yarrow either. It came without permission and still doesn't have it. Unfortunately it has nearly overtaken a bed and I can't keep it under control and the roots are quite stubborn. I've been tempted to dump gallons of weed killer on the entire bed, but my lavender patch and shasta daises are in the bed too. Any ideas or suggestions what to do with it?

Have I ever introduced Charity to you all? She is one of my purebred Persian cats. She is only allowed outside when she's in this particular garden and under close supervision. She has a tendany to want to explore the area since we have five different bird feeders in that area and she is certain that she wants to catch one of the flying critters. Just to play with, of course.

Bird watching
This afternoon I was able to get three aprons cut out, so hopefully they will be available sometime this week. One is from a vintage pattern that I've never sewn with before. It should be fun, and sure, I'll post pictures.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How Hydrangea's and a Sewing Machine Go Together

Last year I planted my first ever Hydrangea bush. I was so excited. Unfortunately it did not do well for some reason and I treated it with great care. The sad feeling that it died was not just my imagination but a reality.

This spring I was determined to give it another try. Last week I spotted some healthy looking bushes (only 2' but still bushy) for $5.98 over at Lowe's, and saved my reciept in the possiblity of it dying on me. I picked the best one to be found, and while it has no blossoms on it yet, it's supposed to yield pink flora.

I've always liked hydrangeas. Isn't this necklace beautiful?

[Anyone want to buy me one? ;P]

Last week the sewing machine repair people called to say that my sewing machine was now ready to be picked up. They "fixed it" a couple of weeks ago and sadly after only sewing on it for a couple hours it was clearly evident that it was not fixed. So back in it went. Daddy picked it up this morning when he was in town, and I've been  happily sewing on it all day.

What did I sew? A skirt for a friend from church, and this lovely Gracie apron made in some of that Laura Ashley fabric, but only in pink.

The floral print? A delicate hydrangea with the last bit of the vintage lace that I used on my periwinkle apron.

This pink lovely is in the SHOP.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gardening in 'Tasha Tudor' Style

My favorite gardening book to look though would be Tasha Tudor's Garden. Featuring what each month looks like around her home in Vermont, the landscape and flower beds are bursting with inspiration on every page and in every photograph. One late summer, I took a pen and paper and wrote down every single plant and variety of plant mentioned in the book. Since then, I've taken my four page collection to the greenhouses or sitting next to me when I'm ordering seeds online.

[We're enjoying our "late bloomer" lilac bush that is in full and fragrant bloom this week; all of our other bushes are done for the season. The "lilac season" came several weeks early as this particular bush doesn't normally bloom until June.]

This past week I've spent most of my time working in the flower beds and gardens. Thankfully the weather has been quite delightful. My flower seedlings were transplanted into larger containers several weeks ago, and now this week they've moved into their permanent dwellings until autumn.

[Yesterday I planted three new Peony bushes: one Festiva Maxima and the other two Duchess de Nemours]

[A shy bloom on one of the Duchess de Nemours]
Well, with all the gardening I've been doing, and every now and then in need of a half apron (I really think they are quite charming and useful) I purchased some green and stripe fabric with some small pink flowers that is sold in the Tasha Tudor shop, but only cheaper at another website.

I made it exactly like the ones I sell in my etsy shop, and I added some antique lace to the pockets.

[Yes, I wear those funny looking green clogs when tending to the gardens!]
[Folds and folds of petals on our established peony, which I can't remember the name of.]

There won't be to much gardening done today as the weather has turned a bit nippy and drizzly. I have a couple aprons and other sewing projects to work on so I shall skedaddle for the remainder of the day. Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"The Queen of England" Apron

A few days ago some lovely periwinkle floral cotton made by Laura Ashley came in the mail. Some pink did too, but I wanted to make myself an apron out of this fabric.

Yesterday as I was cutting it out, my youngest brother walks by and asks, "Is that for the Queen of England?"I wasn't sure if he was joking or trying to pay a compliment to it's lovely color which, I'm sure, would suit the Queen quite well. :)

At any rate, I used Sense & Sensibility's Edwardian Apron Pattern. Years ago I made one for myself (it may have been before I had a blog...) and it has worn to its death so it was high time to make another one.

I shortened the length by 8" or so since having a sweeping hem isn't always practical. On my last one, I think I took some length off and then added some 1/2" tucks to the hem so I wouldn't be constantly tripping on it.

The fabric called for some antique elegance, so I found some white laces in my stash and formed them into a square design; something often found in the Edwardian era. This time around I made self-fabric bias tape. The result is quite pleasing.

A view of the back. I added maybe 1/2" to the back belt piece (if you've made this, you know what I'm referring to) but other than that, and the length, I made no changes to the pattern.

Thanks for letting me share!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Morning

[Earl Grey & some favorite books]

[the peonies are emerging this morning]

Friday, May 11, 2012

More Brown Suiting

My friend for whom I sewed a skirt using drapes of brown suiting handed back to me the left over panel. "Make another skirt" she said.

I did it just like how I made her's. That skirt is now available online.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Still Moments

This afternoon I sat out in my backyard garden for a long time. Not much was said, or could be said.

My mind was spinning. My heart was full.

Ever been there? I've had a lot of those "been there" moments lately.

In that quiet hour, I was able to see and hear things that probably would have gone unnoticed if I had not taken the time to sit still.

A young bird flutters its wings anxiously for food. My cat's heart fluttered, too. Late afternoon crickets call out to each other. Neither got what they wanted.

They weren't still enough.

In these moments, God quieted me.

"Lord, all my desire is before thee." Ps. 38:9

"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." Ps. 37:5  

"Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." Prov. 16:3

Monday, May 07, 2012

It is finished (and a sneak peak)!!

As soon as I finished sewing the last button onto the belt, I ran upstairs to try it on. My youngest brother called out to me "You look like you could be on Downton Abbey!" when my sister was taking these quick shots.

Yes, I love it! And it fits with no trial fittings beforehand! The belt is a wee bit snug, so I'll probably need to make another one if I'll be wearing it for a length of time.

More pictures and details to follow when I can do a real photoshoot of wearing a hat (still trying to decide how to decorate it ... any milliners out there?) gloves, heels, and all that fun stuff. :)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Skirts, machines, tea, and other sundry things

• It was around 1:30 yesterday afternoon that I was able to call Mrs. L. up to say that her red brocade skirt was ready. Instead of the tiered skirt pattern, we used McCalls 5523. It seemed a touch dressier with all those cute options for the back of the skirt, and I'm glad she chose that because the brocade isn't a flowing fabric like a linen or suiting. We did view B, and added two inches the the hem. She also wanted it lined (does anyone else line the inside of their skirts? I never do!) so it felt like I was making two skirts. :) I prayed through the entire time of sewing it (this is for her daughter's wedding, not a Sunday School picnic!) and gratefully, it went together nicely. I can't say that I'd want to sew with brocade anytime soon though. It felt like it would easily snag, it's dense and it unravels like CRAZY, but not like a silk fabric. I and my sewing room was covered from head to toe, carpet to tables in little fibers that refused to come off even with a lint roller. But the skirt was finished in time, and Mrs. L loved it so that is what matters. :)

• Shortly after she picked it up, Daddy told me that my sewing machine and serger were ready to be picked up at the repair shop. While I've been so grateful to my sister for letting me use her machines these last two weeks (and her's a newer models with fancier buttons & things) I was so ready to have mine back again! Obviously, I got back to sewing a project as soon as we got home. Though very sadly, they didn't fix something right on my sewing machine so we're taking it back to the shop this morning.

• The sewing project I mentioned is almost finished! I just have to put the sleeves in, and make the belt. That is it! If you're a brand new blog reader (welcome!) I've been working on a 1914 dress in between sewing projects for others. I'm hoping to complete it today in between giving violin lessons, errands, and normal life.

[Molly, Leah, and I on Sunday after we went out for lunch]
• Late last night I relisted over 30 sewing patterns on ebay. There are a few vintage (30s/40s era) that I'll be listing shortly. Check them out if you need any girls or women's pattern.

• Oh yes, and in both of my etsy shops (Peasant Cottage and Tally Skirts) I'm offering FREE shipping today (5/2) when you use the code: SHIPFREE when checking out.

• So perhaps you read the title of this post and have read through the entire thing in hopes of reading about the delight of tea drinking, and have read nothing about it up until now. I wanted to save the "best for last" today, and truly, this is the best advice you'll read about tea today:

If you like french vanilla creamer in your earl grey tea like I do, and try to substitute it with almond milk (because said creamer is empty and there is no half 'n half to be found) you will be sorely disapointed.