Monday, December 29, 2014

Midnight Winter Apron

At long last, there is a new apron in this shop this afternoon. See for yourself!

It reminds me of the carol "In The Bleak Midwinter." I found a lovely youtube video of the 
Choir of Kings College in Cambridge singing this.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Dress for the Symphony

The 1950s? Really?

I cannot believe that the era in which I've always been the least fond of, is actually starting to grow on me. And when I realized I needed something festive for an upcoming concert, I actually drew my inspiration from the 1950s and from a dress that has been pretty much the only dress I've ever liked from the era.

While I don't foresee it being an era that I will revisit in the future (other than aprons, of course!), it is rather fun to be presently working on this project.

Pictures? Absolutely! I may post a sneak peak in a few days as a way of tempting you to come back and see the finished product, which must be completed by New Years.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. --Edith Sitwell

This quote has appeared on the blog before (maybe twice now?) but it is one of my favorites and is worth repeating. Below are a few pictures I've taken in the last few days that seem to echo Edith's thoughts.
Chocolate Crinkles have been a hit with my brothers and our neighbors this year. Thanks to my roommate who introduced the recipe to me!

Christmas Bokah

My sister found a rather trashy looking candelabra at an antique store and I though she had just wasted $10. Come to find out after some soaking, cleaning, and polishing, it turned out to be a real beauty. I'm trying to convince her to let me buy it off of her to add to my collection of silver plated things. :)
The silver is polished and special fruit has been purchased for Christmas festivities.

The strains of White Christmas are floating into the kitchen, so I will go ahead and publish this and wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

All She Wanted for Christmas

This pretty much sums it up. ;) However I have been very grateful to have been able to get some good naps in the last couple of weeks, partly from sheer exhaustion and partly from my body fighting off the various sickness' going around campus.

This coming week there are just a few finals to finish up, and then I will be on my way home for Christmas break. Looking forward to some much-needed relaxation!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekend Favorites

I caved in. I'm listening to Christmas now, thanks to my music theory teacher. This week he introduced us to the new Christmas CD he and his wife just came out with, and if we bought one he would give us a discount. College students like discounts. :)

So for this edition of favorite things, I thought I'd share two new Christmas CDs that have been released this year. Beginning with the one I just mentioned, this is a very festive collection of carols written for harp, saxophone, and strings. Now to be honest, when I heard that combination my immediate thought was, "interesting" but after hearing it, I can say that it is beautifully and tastefully done. It can be ordered here or if you'd like to immediately download it, they have that option on their personal website here.

The other CD is one that my sister has done with strictly harp music and on all five of her harps. She's made multiple CDs of hymn arrangements, but after many requests, she finally came out with a Christmas one. :) Her arrangements vary from soothing to majestic and worshipful. You just might be like some of her customers and just leave it in the CD tray during the whole Christmas season. ;) Her CD can be ordered from her website.

Friday, November 14, 2014


This is a break from (what was supposed to be a fortnightly post of) weekend favorites. If you like to keep updated with my life via blog, you probably guessed that my absence was due to a busy time during the semester and you would be right. :)

Coffee and prayer are helping me though the tough days, and while there are some days I wonder if I have a mental disability, I realize that it's in those moments that learning and growing are taking place academically, musically, spiritually, and personally. It really is wonderful.

I won't bore you with those things, but you may like a few random other things happening in the life of a college student:

-It snowed a couple of weekends ago. Apparently SC doesn't get snow that often as it was a pretty big deal.
-I usually catch myself before I start speaking Spanish verbs in English sentences.
-There are only 10 more days until Thanksgiving Break.
-Cooking for just one person is getting more normal. Tonight I made a single serving size of Mujaddara loosely based off of this recipe with a good green salad. I love cheap healthy foods.

The supper my roommate made for me when I was experiencing some burnout. She's an amazing cook, and it's been fun to get ideas from her. It's also nice that she likes healthy foods.

-When I need a break away from college work, I will often watch an episode of Downton Abbey and then dream of 1920s fashions. A few weeks ago you may have noticed this beaded gown that I pinned on pinterest. Isn't it "yummy"?
-Don't ever 2nd guess yourself. It may give you a 96% on a psychology test instead of a 100%. ::still kicking myself::
-Tradition in our family holds that Christmas music isn't listened to until Thanksgiving Dinner is over with. This year I've been sorely tempted to be a rebel. ;)
-Maybe one day I'll gain some coordination in conducting with two hands or coordination in playing piano. Can I recommend just playing the violin to people? It's waaaaay easier than piano.
-Just a little over a month until I go home for Christmas break. How is it that the semester has flown by so fast??

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekend Favorites

[No. 1] While I can't say that fall is my favorite season (it quite possibily is my least favorite, actually) I do love the month of October.

[No. 2] A leaf necklace from Anthropologie

[No. 3] Baking on the weekends. Often times it will be a Friday evening and I get a random burst of energy to be creative in the kitchen. ;) Last night it was Apple-Nut muffins and today I'm tempted to make my Grandma's Apple Crisp.

[No. 4] This Quote: 
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts."
 - Winston Churchill

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Weekend Favorites

[No. 1] Having a roommate who likes candles, is something I'm thankful for. If fact, she burns them more than I do, and we've been enjoying fallish candles in the last couple of weeks. Not long ago I was in Anthropologie and splurged to pick up this favorite autumn scent. Do any of you have favorite go-to's for candles in the fall?

[No. 2] My roommate got her undergrad degree in music, and started grad school this fall. It's quite lovely hearing her practice Bach on the piano. She says she's not good at it, but she is. :)

Photo source
[No. 3 and No.4] Having coffee and quiet moments are things that aren't taken for granted in the life of a college student. :) While dependant on coffee is not something I'm remotely close to, it does bring some warmth on a chilly autumn morning as does a cup of tea before bedtime.

And yes, quiet moments for books. My life is surrounded by them, and while they primarily consist of college textbooks, I was sure to bring some favorites with me from home. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was an excellent read, and I'm close to finishing Agnes Grey. They are a bit lighter than other books the Bronte sisters are well-known for, but certainly not less engaging.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekend Favorites + Loving Mint

[No. 1] A wallet, wristlet, or whatever one carries that contains important stuff.

[No. 2] There is little time in the morning for me to spend alot of time in the mirror, so it's mascara and either a scarf or necklace that are my daily go-to's.

[No. 3] If I'm coherent enough early in the morning, I may even slip in some pretty earrings. This pair came from an etsy seller, and I usually wear these at least twice a week.

[No. 4] Yay for pretty toes! This color is from Essie and the exact shade is escaping me. It's Friday and my brain is fried. (And I haven't even practiced yet today...)

Happy weekend! :)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekend Favorites

Well, I am back in the south, but now in a state that is north of my former one. Any readers from the Carolina's? I need to know of some good thrift stores!! :)

The theme for this post is rather obvious. Due partly because I auditioned today and partly because I just love music. All pictures are courtesy of Pinterest.

[ No. 1] This quote.

[No. 2] This music from BBC's "North & South" is so pretty. Wish it were longer.

[No. 3] Such good reminders for me, especially with transferring to a school that is known throughout the country for it's music school.

[No. 4] No picture for this one, but I've realized lately how blessed I am to have learned from some of the greatest of violinists & violin teachers, and been under some of the best teachers and professors from my former college. I'm anticipating learning and growing even more here over the next couple of years.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Bit of Sewing

Between working 40 hour work weeks, sorting through stuff to bring with me to college, teaching violin lessons, enjoying what Anne Bronte wrote in Agnes Grey, "the threefold luxury of solitude, a book, and pleasant weather" and what-not, I have been to doing some sewing in little bits of time scattered here and there. The idea of sitting at the sewing machine for hours on end is no longer a reality, but a marvel. ;)

I used up the last bit of some cheerful yellow calico and used my Anthro apron as a pattern base. Instead of lace I used rick rack. It's up in the shop tonight. Oh, and there is just a little over a week to take advantage of the free state-side shipping! :)

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Cooking before Pinterest

Going away to college is a good thing in a wide variety of ways, but it also helps me keep accountable for the stuff I do need and the stuff that is just ... stuff. I took a couple bags to the thrift store the other day and I was hoping to fill a few more this afternoon, but then I came to the fact that I can't get rid of my cookbooks. They are useful.

from Victoria's "At Table with Family and Friends" cookbook

It's easy to go on Pinterest and see half of your feed all recipes or recipe modifiers, and yes, I do have a recipe board (or two?) on Pinterest, but in all honesty, there is nothing like pulling out your wooden box of family recipes. Or pulling fun cookbooks off the shelf like the Anne of the Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, Tasha Tudor, or Victoria cookbooks to help you get inspired to use those dried cranberries or the over abundance of herbs.

And before you think I'm bashing Pinterest, I'm not. Perhaps it's that I am what some people call " an old soul" and I find pleasure in slipping on an apron and making a good, healthy recipe that I can touch and turn to by holding a book or recipe card.

(Don't even get me started on kindles or nooks!) ;)
Since in college I will have little time for consistent blogging (though this year my posts have been anything but consistent...) I'm thinking about having a series of random favorite things to share with you and being that today I've been stuck on kitchen related things, here is the pilot of the series of "Weekend Favorites" --

[No. 1] This recipe box from the Rifle Paper Company. It fits the larger 4 x 6 sized recipe cards. It comes with pretty cards, too.
[No. 2] A super cute apron from Anthropologie. I found this on clearance several months ago and is the first store-bought apron I've ever owned. ;)

[No. 3] Doesn't this picture make you want to zoom in and read off the recipe cards?

Courtesy of Pinterest
[No. 4] Summer dining on the porch

from Lanier's Books
What are some of your favorite to-go-to recipes books?

Friday, August 08, 2014

Hunter Boots

Don't let the title be deceiving. I've never gone hunting in my life. ;) There were times when I used to wish I could in my childhood days and around 10 years old I got to use a "22" once during a church-related father/daughter camp out. That was the one and only time, but was called "Annie Oakley" from some of the dads there since I hit every target (aka. pop cans and two-liter pop bottles). :P

Oh, but that was a side note. I was originally going to introduce you to the brand, Hunter Boots. My British-loving sister told me about them, and I had to agree that they were rather cute looking. But were they functional and comfortable to wear for possibly hours at a time? A couple of years I ago I found some rain boots on clearance at Target and my legs & feet greatly despised the hours I walked in them while living in Georgia, so comfort was a must.

Courtesy of Pinterest
I drove to a big shopping mall in the Big City to try on a pair and hopefully walk out with boots in my hand, but alas the ones they carried were not on sale and I wasn't about to pay full price. But they certainly met my demand for comfort! Happily, I found a pair on their website for nearly half the price with free shipping.

And they just arrived on the delivery truck today! Part of me feels guilty about investing in them, but I guess some people buy cowboy boots and some, well, buy rain boots. ;)

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Vintage sewing

The sewing bug has bit me. And in the unusual place of the 1940s and 50s. ;) It's rather odd, too, as those years are ones that I'm naturally fond of. Perhaps it was this dress I saw on etsy not to long ago:

What's also strange is that I'm not a polka dot person at all. 75% of my wardrobe is stripes and the rest is solid or woven to go with said striped items. ;) The dress is quite simple from what I can tell, with just a full aline skirt attached to the empire waist. Perhaps this will be included with my other tucked-away ideas for future reference.

In the mean time I really want to sew up that 1930s frock I posted about months ago. This 1930s dress I pinned on pinterest is sort of an inspiration for it.

Hmm. Polka dots again. Maybe they're starting to grow on me. Or maybe I'm just recovering from being bitten from the sewing bug. ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Historical Items now in the Shop!

Well, after teaching violin this afternoon I set to work in my sewing room ironing some historical clothing I've had packed away. In between ironing I would list another item. If you like Edwardian styles or those of the 1940s, you'll love the four listings I have up in the historical section. Including this shirtwaist & skirt ensemble that I made 7 years ago.

Wasn't that only a couple summers ago??

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Joy & Peace

"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." Isaiah 10-13

Often quoted are the two verses just before these ones. The ones that speak of God's thoughts and ways that are higher than our own, but the above verses are just as full of promise and hope if you really think about it. God's Word is true and not some source of floating bubbles to try to catch and hold onto in hopes of it not breaking, but something that goes far beyond the visible to the invisible … and works in wondrous ways.

One of those wondrous ways is that it's looking more and more probable that I'll be back in school this fall. Most of you know that I've been home working this past school year (hence, my irregular blog posts!) and have been working towards my tuition for the college I'm transferring to. I can't tell you how exciting it is to see details starting to fall into place.

If you could help me out with the fruition of a small, but important detail, I'd like to ask if you might help spread the word about my etsy shop. All of the proceeds (obviously) go to my college fund and it would honestly be nice to have it emptied by the time I leave, Lord willing, next month. I'd rather not lug around shop items with me to the east coast! :) I'll be going through some personal historical clothing that have been lying around, and hope to get those up in the next couple of weeks.

If you're needing some "bait" to throw out to your FB friends, blog readers, or whoever, I'm offering free shipping to all US customers on any order, any size.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thyme & Sewing

Someone needs to stop me from going to Trader Joe's. When I go there I end up bringing home a little herb plant! Yesterday they had some English Thyme and I just couldn't resist. It reminded me of the "Smash fires" that SmashBurger makes. Not that I've had them once or twice to know. ::winks:: Now I'll have to look for recipes to use it in. Does anyone have a favorite recipe that calls for it?

In the evenings I've been working on a custom apron for an etsy customer and (I think) blog reader. If so, you get a sneak peak! :) I'm using my 1930s's Ethel pattern that she requested, and as I've been making it I've wondered why I haven't done more of these; they are so much fun and such a comfy style.

And who could go wrong with an apron practically enveloped in vintage rick rack?

Friday, July 11, 2014

(Almost) a Tea Garden

It was about 12 years ago when one spring I was digging up all of my mint from the garden. It took me several years before I was able to uproot the entire root system. No one told me that mint spreads like wildfire until I was talking to a lady who've I've known since I was little.

Grandma Brown and her husband live on a farm in Michigan and they keep horses, chickens, and barn cats. They aren't grandparents, but own those endearing titles. If you are a long-time reader, you may remember this post when I spent an afternoon and evening with them. Grandma Brown has a beautiful large garden that would make even the serious gardner green with envy, and she's the one who said, "Oh honey, you need to rip all that out before it takes over everything!"

So that's what I did, but not only did I bade goodbye to the mint, everyone resigned to miss out on the mint iced tea I'd make on a near weekly basis. Brewing mint and spearmint together makes the best kind of tea. If you add a touch of sugar (or any other sweetener) and let it cool off, it is delicious over ice.

This spring my dad bought some planters for our back deck "for whatever you want to grow" and seeing that I already have a good sized garden (though I'm always trying to squeeze in just one more plant!) I didn't think I'd need them. My mind was changed when I saw some starter plants of mint at Trader Joes and I knew they'd be perfect for a planter. 

One hot days such as what we've been having lately, these plants can't grow fast enough to start brewing tea again. :) Do any of you make your own tea, using fresh herbs and/or flowers?

Monday, June 30, 2014

One Day, Three Aprons

Today was my day off this week (other than Sunday, which I always have off) and I decided to fire up the machines in the sewing room, pull out my apron patterns, grab the piles of fabric on my table, and start cutting out. My intention was to sew at least one apron for the shop today and leave the others for another day.

But as the saying goes, "there's no time like the present" I sat myself down and hardly got up all day. The radio was on and Charity (my Persian cat, if you're new to the blog) was sleeping on a quilt beside me, so I was in good company. Perhaps it helped spur me on by not stopping and to complete three aprons today. While I've done my share of sewing over the last 15 years, to my knowledge I have never completed three items from fabric yardage to garments in the space of one day. Here's the proof.

Now I'm off to fix a cup of tea and continue on in my newly-acquired vintage book of "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall."

Friday, June 20, 2014

Behold! She seweth!

After a three-month long break from sewing, the machines were up and running early this morning. I was hoping I'd remember how to thread the sewing machine, or sew in a straight line, or make something useful. ;)

Several months ago I spotted a sweet spring-like fabric that would make a lovely apron for the shop, but here we are on summer's eve and I only just finished it. Honesty prevailing, it really did feel good to feel the cotton fabric slip between my fingers, or aligning the vintage rick rack next to the other.

There are many more fabrics on my table that are calling my name, but if summer will be as busy as spring, I can't guarantee a shop full of aprons, but I'll do my best to do better than what I have been lately.

My friends, I present you with the apron I've called "The Tenderest of Spring" up in the shop today!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

More Roses

Here are a few more pictures of my new rose bush and a couple pictures of our peonies for good measure. One of my brothers said that they look perfect for a wedding. I'll have to keep that in mind for future reference. ;)

Many thanks to my talented sister Molly who took these. She's quite wonderful with floral shots, and even won first place in a photography competition through her school that went state-wide. Check out her photography page on Facebook!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday Morning Delights: Souffles, Books, and Roses

Once in awhile my sisters and I become rather spontaneous on our days off from work. This morning it was breakfast at Panera and then a quick stop at the salon that carries my favorite shampoo. Girl stuff, you know. :)

Roasted Tomato & Feta souffle, Orange scone, & coffee is how we do breakfast at Panera

On our way out of town, we saw that a local antique store was having a tent sale and so we pulled in to have a look. Inside we found a vintage copy of Jane Eyre. It being one of my sister's favorite stories, it wasn't hard to talk her into buying it! I even got her studying the bookshelves for familiar titles or authors like I often do. ;)
Books and vintage typewriters are so wonderfully library-ish!
On our way home I stopped at the nursery to show my sister those lovely English-bred roses and it was her turn to easily talk me into purchasing the Carding Mill variety. ;) She fell in love with them and upon returning home, Mother-dear fell in love with them also.

Forgive the harsh early afternoon sunlight, but I promise these are simply divine in real life. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A New Start

My first English Lavender in the prime of its life

In the midst of weeds, tangles, and plants that appeared literally out of no where, my poor English Lavender was overtaken and most likely destroyed. Several weeks ago I discover a tangled mess of dry, brittle stems with no sign of life. Trying to remain hopeful, I still have it in the ground since every trace of weeds and green were ripped up and out in the bed where it once lived for a good 12 years. (That area was literally picked clean for the fire pit that was a huge highlight for my sister's open house. Who doesn't like S'mores?)

Today at the nursery I spotted a very small section of English Lavender for a good price, and went ahead to purchase it. I have missed having fresh arm-filled sized bouquets in my bedroom or near my pillow. The new plant found its home in my "bench garden" among heirlooms such as Sweet Rocket, Johnny Jump Ups, and then some Silvia and other random plants and bushes.

Now if I can get my mind off of those David Austin roses I mused over for far to long at the greenhouse… :)