Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Life As I Know It

While at a leadership seminar over the weekend I was introducing myself to someone in the catered buffet-style lunch line and after giving her a complete and thorough job description she asked, "And what else do you enjoy doing when you have spare time?" I looked at her for a solid three seconds before I could even think of what to say next. "What else do I do? Oh wait, in a different context I enjoy sewing, gardening, and just domestic kinds of things" was what I was thinking and ended up saying something along those lines to her. It was nice to meet someone who seems to enjoy sewing as much I do (did?) though.

["The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies." --Laura Ingalls Wilder]

Life now though is completely different than any other season of life I've been in yet, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I've inherited well over a dozen private violin students, I have 25 students in my 2 group string classes, and well over a hundred (or 200?) little children in my Kindermusik classes, though thankfully I only see 30-45 of them a day. There are lesson plans to write, violin bridges that fall down and that need to be put back up, egg shakers and zigzag blocks to be sanitized, bulletin boards that need to be changed once a month (and of course I *only* have 4 of them), instruments to be tuned or new strings put on to replace the broken ones, giving a listening ear to heartbroken 4th graders, tapping a steady foot to the dreaded rhythm exercises ("Aw, man, not again!"), holding precious 3 year olds who just want to be loved instead of shaking bells, and ... I probably just exceeded the legal word count for a sentence. Or is that even a sentence? Perhaps this gives a shapshot of what life looks like as a strings teacher. It is the best thing ever, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Wait, I think I already said that though didn't I? :)

If my evenings and weekends aren't busy spending time with friends, going to Bible studies, working in my classroom or helping another teacher with theirs, I generally like to go back to my "cottage" and turn on the stove for a whistling tea kettle, pour a cup of tea (my college roommate got me hooked on lemon ginger when she came up over the Thanksgiving holiday), and read books or catch up on social media. Since I don't have wifi or internet set up yet, I'm limited to my small DVD collection to watch on my laptop if I'm in the mood. As idyllic as that sounds, my evenings tend to be spent running errands, grocery shopping, fixing supper, and prepping for the next day. I generally try to get as much done as possible since once my ever-consistent 6am alarm goes off, my task between then and arriving at school is spent in attempting to wake up (we aren't even talking getting out of bed yet...) and looking presentable for the day.

Christmas break flew by so quickly that I never had the chance to pack up any sewing supplies while at my parents house, so alas, it will be after school lets out until I'll be able to see them. Most likely my parents will bring them out when they drive out for the annual family vacation. So while that is one hobby that I've let collect dust, I've uncovered several antique shops within driving distance from my rural (comparatively speaking) town. Still on the lookout for a small bookcase and a nightstand; both for my bedroom. It is fun to "set up housekeeping" as my Grandma calls it, and she has been so sweet to give me a few things. One of which is her mother's solid wood rolling pin. Still have yet to use it, though I was just given 6 lbs of sour cherries so I'm thinking a cherry pie is on the menu in the not to distant future.

The stove beeper is calling my name. Must run, but I hope to be back on the blog sooner rather than later. Kudos to anyone who actually read this post after being silent for months in the blogosphere. :)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A New Thing: Cottage Living

I officially accepted a strings teacher position at a school (K4 through 12th grade) that was offered to me back in February of this year. That meant a move across the country to the beautiful Midwest. All I could fit in my car was what came with me, and sadly, there was no way that my sewing machines and supplies would fit, so they have to stay put in my parents home until Christmas.

While it isn't a true cottage, my new place of living will be "the cottage" here on the blog, and I'm looking forward to setting up house, figuring out real adulting, and learning the new and very wide gamut of teaching in a private school.

Any tips are welcomed for this newbie! :)

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Thread in a Vintage Milkglass Bowl

Organizing my sewing recently led me to my monstrous bag of crochet thread that I use for tatting. These are variegated colors that I will probably not use, only because the smaller spools have a longer distance until the color repeats itself. This would be perfect for those who tat or crochet larger bookmarks, dollies, and lace.

There are eleven spools of size 30 thread, all in various lengths, and most likely have been used at some point so I can not guarantee or estimate the yardage on these. If you're interested, I put them up in the shop last night!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Having a discount grocery store nearby that will often carry lots of organic produce, we thought that for $1.79 a package we could afford to make a small batch of strawberry jam. If you use organic strawberries and organic sugar, then the strawberry jam is good for you, right? ;)

It was just a small batch of 4 pints and 4 half pints, but then our family doesn't go through peanut butter and jelly as much as we used to.  One of my favorite uses for jam is on Laura's scones. What are some of your favorite uses for jams and jellies?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The First and Second Gooseberry Picking

Like everything else that grew while we were away, the gooseberries were ready to be picked. It wasn't until a couple of days ago that I actually made time to pick the sunripened ones and picked what I could until the sun went down behind the mountains.

Today I did a second picking, and decided to hull them before supper. Actually, with gooseberries, you most often times will hull both ends. When picking them, a short stem comes with it, and the deadened spring flower on the other side never drops off in growing season.

I checked the bush more more time tonight, and there are a few green ones left that I'll add to my bag (now in the freezer) for a small pie for later. I'll be sure to share the recipe at some point! It's so delicious, and I actually prefer to eat it cold.

On a side note, I'm wearing one of my Ginnie aprons today and had to smile at a recent conversation that I've had this summer (maybe it has happened twice, now that I think about it...). When something about sewing, etsy, or aprons get brought up, I'll casually mention that I love to sew aprons and have sold many online over the last 10 years or so. Some people think it's awesome, and other people just look at me funny and ask, "And do you actually wear one yourself?" :) That's not even a question, but they don't know that, so I reply with yes and let them know that I have about a half a dozen of them and will wear them when I'm in the kitchen or out harvesting something from the garden.

P.S. Just so you know: Thankfully, I have only shown up at the grocery store wearing an apron just once. I think. ;)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Harvesting Lavender

Three years ago I planted some English Lavender while still hopeful that my first patch would make it. It never did. I now have two patches and it looks like they would have been in a glorious full bloom while we were on vacation.

Today I got started on harvesting it. According to some websites, I'm to late, but oh well. It still smells good! :) The two piles on the left still have some blossoms, while the one on the right contains the ones that are fully done.

There is still more to cut from the first patch and an abundance on my second patch. When ever I bring in the lavender, I just tie them into bunches and hang dry them for dried bouquets later. Browsing on Pinterest for ideas, there is a whole bunch more you can make with dried lavender. I'm thinking maybe a wreath? Down in South Carolina, there was a small coffee shop that made the best Lavender Mocha's, but I've been leery to try using it in any culinary dishes here at home.

If anyone wants to pass on their ideas for dried lavender, I'd be happy to hear them!

Friday, July 07, 2017

Yes, I'm Still Sewing!

On the occasion when I have time to think, (such as when I was on a two week vacation to Michigan recently!) I remember when blogging and sewing up items for my etsy shop was quite often. Indeed, this summer has already proven to be quite busy, eventful, and productive however.

And yes, I am still sewing. :) I've been blessed to be able to work for/with the same local bridal alteration business as last summer. One of the biggest projects was working on a bridal gown (took it from a size 10 to a size 0), though the business owner did the major stuff while I worked on smaller details. There was a flower girl dress to alter, as well as four out of seven bridesmaid dresses; I did all of those.

I don't have any professional pictures for you yet, but here are a few small snapshots that I took along the way using my "new" iPhone. Yes, I have been using one of my Dad's first cellphone's (a flip phone, mind you) and I told myself that I was allowed to buy an iPhone when I graduated from college. Per typica of me, I bought a used iPhone 6s, but it was in next to new condition and a beautiful rose gold color. 

Oh yes, you're not here to read about technology...ahem.

The flower girl dress was darling! I took the picture more for myself to remember the company name for the future. :)
Love being surrounded by beautiful textures, fabrics, lace, and tulle!
I put this gorgeous lace on the hem to make it a smidgen longer, and it gave the dress an overall completed look. 

The bride wanted a custom veil (finger tip length) and once we made it using fine tulle netting and a hair comb, I added the lace appliques to an otherwise simple veil.

Outside of bridal sewing, I have two aprons to make for some friends of mine who are getting married this summer. One of them I'll be attending next month up in Maine (can't wait!!) and she's planning a coffee shop themed kitchen. The fabric I found for her will work perfectly. I'll post pictures when it's finished.

If you were hoping to read that I'd be making aprons for the shop, don't lose heart! I have three fabrics on my sewing table that were just cut into aprons this evening. I'd sneak in a little sewing yet this evening, but alas, I'm out of bias tape. Quite rare for someone who has made hundreds of aprons, isn't it?

Well, toodles for now and I hope to be back writing more often in the next few weeks!