Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas Greetings!

Making it to the President's List (ie., having a 3.75 or higher GPA for the semester) may have something to do with my silence on my blog in the last several weeks. Reflecting on the four plus weeks that we have come through are somewhat of a blur. It must be either my caffeine is wearing off, or my body is still sleep deprived, or both. :)

But I do remember that the string quartet I was in this last semester had the great honor of playing Christmas carols in the university's widely acclaimed Museum & Gallery when it was open to the public early on in the month. Discarding the traditional black for the evening, we chose to wear festive colors.

Growing in friendships and musically with these girls this semester was great fun! For our chamber recital we played
Glazunov's AllaSpagnola and All’ Ungherese from his 5 Novelettes. Check out the links for an idea of what we were playing, played by real pro's...)
The rest of the semester was a whirlwind of completing classes, passing my senior recital note check, and taking eight finals. One of the weekends a couple friends and I went to watch the Nutcracker live, played by  the city's symphony. I think I would enjoy it more if I were to experience it again, since that night I was so, so tired. What I do remember was that I enjoyed it. :)

Prior to driving home for Christmas Break I went up to a surprise birthday party that was being put together for my Grandma's 85th birthday. It was the weekend right after finals, so it worked out perfectly to make the drive up north. She was completely surprised, and it was such a joy to spend a weekend with her. Michigan had lots of snow, too, which was a delight.

And now I've been at home for just under two weeks. What have I been doing? Mostly sticking very close to home and resting alot. Being a college student is exhausting (but oh so rewarding!!) and this semester was no exception. There have been a few occasions where I've gone out with my sisters, or up to the mountains for a morning in a coffee shop, or spent some time making Christmas treats in the kitchen, so I haven't been a complete lazy bum. ::winks::

With less than a week now before I head back for my last semester of undergrad, it is doubtful that I'll get anything added to my etsy shop (so sorry!). My priorities lie in some more rest and keeping up my senior recital repertoire. I'll spare you those juicy details, since most of you have had your fill of musical dialogue for one post! But I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas season and will have a joyous new year!

(If you love the delights of this season as much as I do, check out this wonderful new blog that will keep you occupied with lovely writings and pictures! I still have many more posts to catch up on, which I'm off to now after I fix myself another cup of TWG's vanilla caramel tea.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Autumn Scenes

Little time to write very many words, but I have not been completely lost in practice, papers, and productivity. In the last month I've gone on little excursions for my own sanity (and most likely my roommates ::ahem::) which included trips to an apple orchard and the mountains.

Tonight I fixed this copycat recipe of Panera's Autumn Squash Soup. The only thing I did different to it was use 1/2 cup of almond milk instead of 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. I may or not be on my second bowl. :)

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Gift of Solitude

["Turn your loneliness into solitude, and your solitude into prayer." -E. Elliott]
In the busyness of college life, sometimes there is a great struggle to find solitude. Perhaps my mommy-friends can relate, or my friends who work full time jobs and come home to spend the rest of their time in some kind of ministry or community outreach. Go, go, go. Do, do, do. Hurry, Hurry, Hurry. At times it can seem as if life is a never ending cycle - whether its the washing machine, the online assignments to turn in before midnight, or the phone than never stops notifying...

A college friend of mine shared with me one of their favorite spots, a lake I never knew existed until just a few weeks ago. I've discovered a time in my weekly schedule to where I can put everything else down and spend a couple of hours down at the beautiful waters. As I scribbed away in my journal this morning, my thoughts and prayer were parallel to the words penned by Horatius Bonar, words with which I will leave you this weekend:

In the still air the music lies unheard;
In the rough marble beauty hides unseen.
To make the music and the beauty needs
The Master's touch, the Sculptor's chisel keen.

Great Master, touch us with Thy skillful hands;
Let not the music that is in us die;
Great Sculptor, hew and polish us, nor let
Hidden and lost, Thy form within us lie.

Spare not the stroke; do with us what Thou wilt;
Let there be naught unfinished, broken, marred;
Complete Thy purpose that we may become
Thy perfect image - Thou our God and Lord.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Thankyou Gift

Sewing for Mrs. L. this summer was such a blessing for me. The fun chit-chats, good conversations and fellowship, countless cups of coffee or iced tea, "bonus day," and her passing on her bridal sewing skills and expertise have left me so, so grateful. A card saying "thankyou" could not suffice.

Would it be flowers, a plant, or an apron? It seemed like an apron would be the most practical since flowers would die within a few days and even the choicest greenhouses have next to nothing nice this time of year in the way of something that would come back next year (unless one would want fall flowers).

Using an apron pattern from Sew Liberated has been my go-to for making aprons as gifts. It is a little bit more stylish and modern than what I make and sell for etsy, but still lots of fun with it being reversible. Mrs. L likes cheerful things, but without being to wild and crazy, so this fabric by Free Spirit of spring colors and birds seemed like a good choice for the one side.

The other side I used some fabric that might look familiar if you've seen this apron in the shop. It didn't have a name on the selvage, and almost seems vintage, but really high quality, if that makes sense. Mrs. L. likes the color blue, so it seemed like a good choice.

I was able to get the apron finished and wrapped up to give to her on my last day of sewing for her. Looking forward to next summer to hopefully be able to sew for her again! In the meantime, there is much to be done as I seek to organize my life before classes officially start on Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

As I Promised

In the last couple of posts I've eluded to "the last apron" and this morning I finished the last apron made for the shop. It was fun to put together with vintage lace and rick rack. I even found a golden button from my stash. It certainly has an autumn-ish flavor to it, one that you haven't seen yet this summer. :)
But think of the pumpkin spice lattes, the apple picking and fresh donuts at the local orchard, nippy weather for plaid scarves, boots for jumping through autumn rain, potted mums on the front porch, or the smell of pie in the oven. This apron seems to embody all of the delights of an autumn in the country.
See it in the shop here. And one last reminder that the coupon code 15SALE will expire at 5pm on the 25th (that is tomorrow) if you're wanting to place an order and save money at the same time! ::wink::

Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer Reading and Other Things

When I picked these books up from the thrift store for literally pennies, I knew they would be on my summer reading list. It turns out "New Chronicles of Rebecca" is supposed to come after "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" so I have refrained from reading that one until I can get my hands on the one written first. If you're unfamiliar with the other two, I jotted some thoughts down on each, and can recommend both!

Half-A-Dozen Housekeepers, by Kate Douglas Wiggin, is a hilarious tale of school girls enjoying a two-week break from school and coming up with the grand idea of being housekeepers at Bell's home (Bell having strong skills in leadership). From kitchen attempts to putting on drama productions in the upstairs ballroom, you'll be laughing right along with them in their endeavors. If you have read any of Kate's other books, you'll be sure to enjoy this one!

Merry Girls of England, by Mrs. L.T. Meade, will make anyone with a sister or two or three be entertained by the dynamics of Underhill sisters as they go from city life to country life. Their country friend, Hero, becomes like another sister and joins Barbara Underhill as they secretly runaway to make life in London. Without spoiling the book to much, they end up realizing that hearth, home, and family are the dearest of all in life.

The close of summer break is officially next week, so I've been trying to get things together or wrap up things here at my parents house before I make my way down to the south east. 

The thunderstorms and sunsets here have been great the last several months: 

This is the view coming out of the evening church service a week ago

So was the county fair a few weeks ago. To be completely honest, this time I only went for the dole whip pineapple ice-cream. It's a guilty pleasure I don't mind indulging in once a year. ;)

And before I head back to college, here is a little coupon code for my etsy shop if you wish to indulge in having 15% off your order; just use the code 15SALE when checking out. 

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Accustomed to Tea

More often than not this summer, I've heard "Would you like some tea?" while sewing in the mid-afternoon. Mrs. L makes her own iced tea, and always sticks in a wedge of lime in it. Sometimes when we've needed the caffiene, she'll fix a pot of hot coffee and is always so kind to put a bit of cream in mine, no sugar.

Needless to say not only have I been spoiled, but have grown accustomed to having a little bit of a pick-me-up in the afternoon. This morning I already cold-brewed some of our favorite iced tea (Good Earth's Sweet & Spicy) so all I had to do was slice a lime from the fridge.

I'm home sewing today since wedding season has drastically slowed down in the last couple of weeks. On Monday I finished a custom-ordered apron, and I'm currently finishing one for the shop. Although it may not get listed today, since I am short about a foot of bias tape. There is one more fabric for an apron, and then that will be it for the rest of the summer.

Signing off for now...

Friday, August 05, 2016

In Season: Blackberries

It was a few months ago that it was obvious that we were going to get alot of blackberries, but of course a gardener doesn't know exactly how many until late summer. The early ones are riping now, but the big crop will come in another month or two. Obviously, I took pictures of the ones ready to pick.

"Summer afternoon, summer afternoon, to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." -Henry James

Monday, July 25, 2016

1920s Vintage Apron Pattern

To confess, I comb through the ebay and etsy vintage patterns continually throughout the week. Not so much for something just to add to my pattern box, but for patterns that really stand out as unique and for something that I'd actually wear. Once a friend asked me about my sewing projects and I said yes, that way if no one else is interested, then I get to keep them all. :)

In the last couple of years I've been quite bored with what I'm seeing available for vintage apron patterns, but earlier this spring my heart fluttered at two that I had never seen before. Sadly, one got away before I could pay for it, but I was more than happy to purchase this one!

It's from a no-name company and one that I should do some more research on. Wonder what other treasures they produced nearly 100 years ago. But this pattern? Ladies, it has sleeves!  I can't tell you how many times I've been asked if I could make and sell aprons with sleeves. Thinking of my other apron patterns and modern patterns from the Big Four companies, no one puts sleeves on their aprons. But, why not?

It kind of makes sense if you think about it. The other practical thing about this apron? The back of the apron catches all the splatters when your back is turned from the stove.

On this particular apron I was happy to find two huge buttons from my stash for the back. I'm kind of lazy when it comes to knowledge about what my buttons are made of, but I'm guessing some kind of really high quality plastic like material. They are not light and flimsy, but then they aren't heavy like glass, or mother of pearl. 

The backs of these button are metal, however, which told me right away that they are vintage. The buttons are not functional to this particular apron, but if I make more aprons from this pattern in heavy fabrics, they'll most likely be working buttons. The pattern says you can do either or. Those are my kind of patterns; do what you feel like doing. :)
But here she is. All finished with one more confession: I had to slip it on before taking pictures, and it's a keeper of a pattern.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Happy Thing

It's already that time of year where I start planning ahead for the fall semester; it is less than a month away from now, after all, and I've been doing some online ordering for various things. Without fail, I look for the cheapest price with the cheapest shipping.

Sometimes I'll even e-mail a seller on eBay and ask for a cheaper price, like an Anthropologie rain coat. (Woohoo!) Other times they won't budge, which I can understand. But what turns me off sooner than anything is charging a ridiculous amount for shipping, like when I know that shipping a pattern won't cost $5 when I can send them out for $3 less.

Rant over. You wonder about my blog post title, then? Well, I decided to do a little happy thing over in my etsy shop and offer free shipping this weekend. Use the coupon code SHIPFREE with any size order in the US through this Saturday!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Morning Light on Monday

Graham Thomas

Morning in my sewing room is always a lovely time. The window picks up some of the eastern rays, and with the walls already a buttery yellow you can't help but notice it's welcoming warmth.

Looking forward to a few vacation days this week to spend some time with these fun patterns! But first, there is an apron to make in a cute pink rosebud fabric. I just haven't decided yet which pattern to make it in.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

In Season, Out of Season

It was a few years back that a mom of one of my violin student's gave me a young off-shoot from her gooseberry bush. I never knew they existed outside of books until one afternoon she had me over for a visit and served me a slice of her gooseberry pie. The next year when they had a bumper crop, she gave me a gallon sized bag full of berries. There was no complaining from me! :) For a couple of years now I've watched and waited for mine to produce fruit. Last year it only attracted some kind of plant-eating bug, which I was able to conquer after heavy spraying with some organic stuff I found at the local greenhouse.

This year it has finally produced fruit and no bugs. Yay! :) For weeks they've been as green as gourds, but much to my delight they're starting to turn color in the last day or two. Since it's a small crop, I'm picking them as they ripen and then stick them in the freezer. When it's all said and done for the year, there should be enough for one pie. Again, I'm not complaining seeing how I'm the only one in my family that likes gooseberries. Well, other than our dog, but she won't get more than a bite. Or two.

The blackberry bush is in full bloom, with a few berries starting to grow. Last year I think a squirrel ate the precious few, so this year I'm going to watch it like a hawk.

They never touch the raspberries, and it looks like we'll get our usual early crop, and then a heavy crop before the frost.

My little blueberry bush needs some help. It hasn't grown at all in the last 3-4 years, but is still alive and has maybe 10 berries on it. Do any of my readers have knowledge or skill in blueberries?

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Summer's Beauty

"Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves." ―Keats

Crown Princess Margareta
"What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade." ―Gertrude Jekyll

Winchester Catherdral
"My garden all is overblown with roses,
My spirit all is overblown with rhyme,
As like a drunken honeybee I waver
From house to garden and again to house
And, undetermined which delight to favor
On verse and rose alternately carouse." ―Vita Sackville-West, Sonnet

The rose bush with no name, but I know it's a hybrid. It was rescued from the dumpster about 12 years ago and a complete stranger offered it to me at my place of employment back then.
"Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow." ―Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

  Raindrops on Carding Mill
 "All twinkling with the dewdrops sheen the briar-rose falls in streamer's green." ―Scott
Carding Mill

“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 

Teasing Georgia
"And because the breath of flowers is sweeter in the air (where it comes and goes like the warbling of music) than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for that delight than to know what be the flowers and plants that do best perfume the air." ―Francis Bacon

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer Sale!

Summer is here and our weather has no problem reminding us! A friend of mine shared this on FB the other day and I knew that I had to post it somewhere. Perhaps any Jane Austen fans will appreciate this? :) Now I'm curious where she quotes the following: "What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps one in a continual state of inelegance."

Taken several summers ago in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI

It has been quite awhile since I've offered any sales or discounts in my etsy shop, so I just added one this afternoon. Type in SUMMER as a coupon code and receive 10% off any order. And check back later this week, I should hopefully have another apron (maybe two) in the shop!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Never in a Million Years

A couple of weeks ago, a friend from church called up and wondered if I could come over and help her sew. I knew that she was neck high in bridal alterations, but it didn't dawn on me just exactly what she might have me do until she handed me someone's wedding dress. Um, intimidation was THE understatement.

I can sew clothing, doll clothing, costumes, tote bags, aprons (duh!) and even did a quilt top way back when, but a wedding dress?? Very thankfully, my friend is the most patient person on the planet, and was satisfied with what I did for her. To confess, by the end of the day it was actually not to bad.

I've been able to help her every day this week, and if she keeps getting dresses, I'll be able to hopefully get more and more comfortable (and faster?) at something that I never dreamed of doing. Not in a million years! Lace, tulle, hems, trains and bustles. So very grateful to have the opportunity of learning.

But sewing here at home won't be neglected. Mom wants me to sew her up a jumper in the next couple of days, and I have some darling fabrics that I came across earlier this week that are just begging to be made into aprons. I already have the bias and vintage rick rack ready for them. Be on the lookout for them to appear in the shop, hopefully in the next week or so.