Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Most Fun

 It's insane how much I love to help with costumes. Really I'm ripping almost more than sewing. Taking off trim, adding trim, ripping out sleeves and altering shoulders, waists and hems. I love it. I love seeing the actors transformed. I love being at the theater helping out. I love seeing the smiles on the children's faces when their costume goes from being a frumpy mess to fitting like a charm. I'll be disappointed when this is all over. It's a spectacular ride!

Friday, January 13, 2012


I should be baking bread and cleaning and shopping for my little get together tonight. Instead I'm altering costumes. There's a lot to be done and I'd like to help as much as possible. We were at the theater for a LONG time last night trying to fit everyone. The budget is small so the theater is trying to use as many costumes that already exist as possible. That means lots of altering. I do have to get moving on my other chores but I think I'll do just one more costume. I think I'm addicted.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Make It

Yesterday was a travel day for me again so I was able to flex my hours and have some time at home during the day. I can't tell you how glorious those days at home are for me. I try to fill them with all the things I long to do while I'm sitting in my little, drab office.

I spent my whole day on Wednesday making things. You certainly know by now that making is my lifeblood.

I'm hosting a jewelry party here at our house on Friday night as a fund raiser for our parish youth group. I want to have some simple, delicious food to share and thought it would be fun to have bread, oil and grated cheese for dipping. I was really inspired by the bread video on the kinfolk site. I can't get enough of kinfolk right now. I can't bring myself to pay so much money for a magazine subscription so I splurged and bought the ipad app. The photography is just stunning. 

This bread is from Julia Child. It is her french bread recipe but I substituted a cup of whole wheat flour for a cup of white and added a squirt of honey. She recommends using a food processor to make the dough but I really love to do it all by hand. There is so much contentment and time to think that occurs when you knead the dough. I feel like more love goes into the baking when it's all by hand.

Of course, I'm trying to avoid eating refined carbohydrates right now so I haven't had a slice but my boys have been raving about the bread so I know it must be good. I'll bake another loaf tomorrow so it's fresh for the party. 

Above is another little creation I made Tuesday night. I wanted a linen table runner but it was all wrong for our retro metal top table. I've had the strawberry fabric (three pieces that size that were someone's curtains) for quite a while. I have a small pile of vintage strawberry linens that I have been saving. It was REALLY hard to cut this and use it but I'm super glad that I did. The red fabric is the left over from Nolan's Christmas messenger bag. I just love using up left over bits of fabric like that. 

While the bread was rising and baking I spent the day in the sewing room making linen napkins (I'm hoping to embroider them with the free patterns from doodle stitching at Lark crafts). That'll be a good project while I'm sitting with the boys helping with homework.

I also made a VERY red skirt. I used an old skirt that I like and created a little pattern for myself. It turned out really well although the waist is a little big. I guess that's why they tell you to make a sample skirt before cutting into the real fabric! This fabric I bought for a Halloween costume that I never made. I'll try to get some photos of this skirt and also the other one I made a few weeks ago (also patterned after a skirt that I love).

I could have spent many more hours on projects yesterday but I think I got quite a lot accomplished in the time I had. Tonight I am on sewing duty at the Beauty and the Beast rehearsal. It's costume night. My projects might have to go on hold until the show is finished in early February. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

tuesday tinkering

Well, since the sun hasn't yet come up over the horizon, this tinkering was actually from Sunday but I really wanted an alliteration in my title. Some days I think literary terms are one of the only things they are teaching in the public school. Nolan is really getting sick of it!

But....I digress. What I really came here to talk to you about is tinkering. 

  • tinkering. present participle of tinker. verb. attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way, often to no useful effect.
  • desultory. adjective. lacking a plan, purpose or enthusiasm.

I wanted to add a little natural beauty to our dining room. I spend so much time in this little room it is almost unnatural. Thus the addition of nature. Get it? Ok....that was bad form but I can't help it. It's early in the morning. Work with me.

Due to the fact that Mike teaches out of our living room three days a week and it is too cold and dark to use the sunroom this time of year, we do homework in the dining room. This room is probably 10x10 if we're lucky. I call it cozy. Togetherness. At one with the family. 

Ok. I wanted something pretty to put on the table. My dad got a box of milk glass at a sale for $.50. Just because. Then he gave the box to me. Yea!!! I have the items in different rooms of the house. The kitchen, the sewing room, the dining room. I think it adds a little something to our lives. 

Something simple. Something beautiful. Something ordinary. 

The only part of the tinkering definition I don't like is the word desultory. I definitely had a plan, a purpose and enthusiasm. It just goes to show you that life doesn't fit into neat definitions. I do love the word desultory though. It sounds like something I shouldn't be doing or even talking about. Love it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


It's Sunday morning and the troops are just starting to rise and shine. We've got a busy day today. Mass, an afternoon choir concert, musical practice and quite a bit of homework. Not to mention the list of household chores that I'd like to get accomplished. And I really should pay a visit to my parents. I found my mom the most wonderful present yesterday while thrifting. I want to do a whole post about it if I can. You'll just have to remain on pins and needles until I get to it. Today. If. There. Is. Time.

I'm sharing photos of my sewing buddy. Chloe isn't a lap cat. She's the first cat we've ever owned (and she's the 7th) that wasn't. She makes up for it in a myriad of ways. You turn away and then look back and she's sprawled out on her back, belly in the air. She lets you rub that soft, soft belly. She does this really funny stretching thing with her neck. She'll stand on two feet, front paws on a wall and then crane her neck all around in a circle like she's trying to get in the whole view. So funny.

Well, I could tell you a million more reasons why she's the best cat in the world. I don't want to sound too much like a crazy cat lady, though. Or maybe it's too late.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fun for Me

I've been spending more time looking at things. Seeing the beautiful in the simple details. I gave myself some fun money out of my travel check from work to go fabric and thrift shopping. I took my camera along, too. I used to do that all the time and am trying to do so again. Alicia Paulson has so many comforting things to say about taking pictures of everyday life in her book, Stitched in Time. It really made me want to do the same.

I spent the morning driving into the country (which is getting harder and harder around here with all the development). I drove into the country to go to the Goodville Fabric Outlet. I wasn't really looking for anything but wanted to remind myself of what they have. I want to continue drafting my own patterns and that requires some inexpensive fabric to make my muslin (or practice piece) out of. I was able to get quite a bit of fabric (see the fill a bag for $2 photo) for that cause. It was fun. 

On my way home I stopped at two really wonderful thrift stores. One was a Goodwill and the other a Re-Use It shop. I found some wonderful things. You can see a few of them in the last photo. I guess it's sort of silly to put kitchen things in my sewing room but I love the way they look and I'm hoping to use the tins for some notion storage. I'm absolutely enamored with strawberries, too. I couldn't resist these little salt and pepper shakers. They don't go with our kitchen at all but they make me happy in the sewing room.

I've got lots of little projects in my head right now that I'm hoping to work on as I'm able. Mike and I are heading out to see David Wilcox tonight. I only have one of his albums and it was from before we had kids (Nathan's almost 16) so I doubt we'll hear any of those songs! He's a really great lyricist. There are a few songwriters who can capture parts of life that I didn't really think so much about until I heard the music. David Wilcox is one of them. I'm looking forward to a night out with my man. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


The mornings are so dark and cold. It feels melancholy. I guess it doesn't help that I'm listening to this. The music is so lovely, though. It really fits my mood. It makes me feel old world somehow. Like I want to 'hunker down' here at home and create.

Alas, I have to go to work. I spent a few minutes this morning drafting my sleeve pattern for a little jacket I'm making. So far it's all working out. I'm sort of mystified. I'm also pleased.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Duck Soup

The last day of vacation. Sigh. Time to prepare for the school and work week ahead. That meant a little grocery shopping, finishing up a school project, bread baking and soup cooking.

We roast a chicken several times a month. I always make roasted chicken stock from the carcass and then generally make a good nourishing soup with it. Soup is an excellent way to finish up those vegetables that may have been in the fridge for just a tad too long. It's never the same thing twice.

In this case, I'm making duck soup. Yup, duck. We roasted a duck over the Christmas Holiday and I used the carcass to make stock. Making stock is so easy! The broth is so much better than anything you can buy at the store. Basically, just throw the carcass into a pot, cover the bones with water, add an onion, garlic and some carrots and bring to a boil. Let the mixture simmer for several hours. I generally add water once to fill up the pot during the boil. Then just strain the liquid through some cheese cloth and you've got some really delicious, nutritious broth to do with as you will!

Today's soup includes the duck stock, onions, garlic, green beans, carrots, tomatoes (frozen from my garden) and the left over duck meat. I pulled out some pesto to add in at the end. I forgot I had a whole bag full in the freezer!

Nathan and I made three loaves of whole wheat bread this afternoon so I'll cut a few slices for the boys (who aren't too wild about vegetable soup) and a simple, nourishing meal will be served with enough leftovers for Mike and I to have for lunches this week.

Now, back to the old grind!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year Hike

Most years, January 1 has generally been a day of sitting on the couch, cleaning, cooking and mostly general quiet. This year was not too much different. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and warm for this time of year. Since January 1 fell on a Sunday this year, I had to start my new year quiet after Mass. I did the customary cleaning of the house and tidying of the flat surfaces. We moved a little furniture around as well. I'm planning to plant seeds for my summer garden in a month or so and moved our old computer table into the sunroom for that purpose. I've moved my laptop and camera into the sewing room (it's feeling more and more like a real studio to me) which freed up my desk to go into the dinning room for the computer. This was a boon in two ways: The living room is a little more roomy as is the dining room. 

Since the day was sunny and warm Mike and I decided on the first hike of the year. We went to a local rail-trail for a 4 mile hike. This isn't my favorite kind of hike as it is a little bit flat but it was perfect for today. Mid way into the hike the sun disappeared and it started to rain. Yikes! Of course, I always like to remind the boys that we are waterproof and so we didn't melt.

It was a wonderful start to the new year. One of the things I like about hiking with our family is that it is totally unplugged. Much as we try to minimize electronics, they are a large part of our lives. So, hiking is a great way to get the conversation flowing. And that's always a good thing.

I hope you enjoyed the first day of the new year in your own special way. May it be the first of many similar days to come.
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