Thursday, January 31, 2008

comfort clothes

The sun is out, (well for 10 minutes) so I know spring break will be here soon. That means several sleepovers for Sara. Of course you wear pajamas, the most comfortable of things to wear. Of course the ones she has are getting too small and ratty. So last night I made a couple. One is out of Thermal, the other flannel. The waistbands are satin blanket binding. Wow! That was a time saver! You don't have to cut anything out, just sew it on. It adds a little pazsaz. They will be smooth on her skin. The drawstrings are twill tape. So easy to make and one of the things my kids will like best. The rain is back for now, but Sara is smiling.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

As I was rooting around (yes, rooting around is the only way to describe it) in the fabric stash, this black wide wale corduroy kept rising to the top. It seemed to be glued to my hands. I was looking for something to go with spring. This corduroy would not leave me alone. Yes my fabric was talking to me again. So I stopped to listen. This black fabric just wanted to have a close relationship with the hot pink taffeta.
Then sitting on top of the patterns was Simplicity 3627. Perfect for bringing these two fabrics together.
This is such a quick pattern. It's a easy one for beginners, with so many options.
When the jacket was together, it just needed some other handcrafted touches.
Cotton Pearle from DMC is never far from my hands. I love to put a little embroidery on my creations. It makes things so unique. So I sewed long and short running stitches and French knots between some of the wales.

I used different colors because I like lots of colors,
and it will go with lots of things.
The facings are the hot pink and peek out
around the edges, and compliment the flower.
The flower was made by fusing the black cord to the taffeta, then cutting out petal shapes and sewing them together. Finishing it off with a vintage button in the center.
If you don't want to take time to make a jacket or a top, just add a little stitching to one you already have. It will look totally new. You will have something one of a kind that you have made do from your own hands.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sewing From The Fabric Stash

I enjoy sewing. Especially
something a little different.
This jacket is made from fabric
from my stash. The main fabric
is vintage. There was slightly
under one yard. The tapestry
fabric in the facing is about
20 years old, so almost vintage.
The buttons have a vine motif
and were rescued from a
old jacket that is now in my
wool pile of fabirc to be repurposed.

The grosgrain ribbon flower
doesn't show the ruffly edges
in the picture.

What makes this jacket a little different
are the upturned corners at the center bottom.

The back has a box pleat and a flat grosgrain bow at the top of the pleat.
Sorry that the pictures are a little blurry, I'm still learning how to use this camera.

What to do with mottled tan, brown, cream, knit fabric?
Well........Why did I pick this fabric up?
Hmm..... I tried several things, the fabric said "No!".
Does your fabric talk to you?
Finally.......this is what I came up with.
I love that the color goes in and out. It's all wrinkled , so it will still look great after sitting or being stashed in a suitcase. It will go with anything almost. It's edged with little bits of silk ribbon, just here and there, different colors. So this shrug/jacket will pick up the colors of whatever it is worn with. The hem is longer in the back for a dramatic look.

Then I crunched up the sleeve hem and added some ribbon, so the excess fabric falls gracefully over my hands.

This will be great to wear in the spring when I want something light on. It will dress up jeans, or look fantastic with a skirt.

I have a few others, I'll sow you next time.
I'm starting to feel guilty on my fabric stash. There is a lot. It's not all one kind of fabric. So I need to get creative and use some of it up before I look for more.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Remembered Growing Season

I bring the remembrance of the growing season inside each year. Live pants do not grow well, as many of the windows in our home face north, or have deep porches shadowing them. So I compensate. Hydrangeas are in big bouquets. Every fall friends and family know they can get a large hydrangea arrangement from our yard. I love that each season the blossoms are a different color. They transform through several different colors during the growing season.

Another favorite is Lavender. I have quite a few lavender plants. Enough to make sachets, nosegays, potpourris, and more to use in cooking, soap and lotion making. I have some lavender in every room.

I have pine cones in baskets through out the house in
winter. During the holiday season, I put cedar boughs in with

Fresh flower petals are so delicate sewn on thread and huge above a door. Their fragrance waifs
through the house when you walk under the garland.

How do you bring the outside in?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Winter Pantry

In winter months a full pantry is a comfort.
It's a place where we have cooking
and baking supplies to prepare
to nourish our families. My kitchen is a small
turn of the century city kitchen,
so there is not a lot of work room.
A large pantry is a necessity.
The pantry is a walk in room
off the kitchen filled with shelves
from floor to ceiling.
I've filled one wall with baking dishes,
one wall with all the dry supplies
like flour, sugar, rice, beans,
dried fruits, etc.
The other side has a small table
to hold my kitchen aid and the frig.
I love to see everything in the glass jars.
Some of the jars are old and green with the zinc lids.

Off the kitchen is the back hall,
wide enough to hold the canning shelves.
It's satisfying to see the work of spring, summer, and fall resting on these shelves.
I'm trying to eat local, and live more sustainably.
So in these winter months, with the comfort of a full pantry, I plan for the next growing season. Changes need to be made. The trees have grown, shading the house keeping it cool in the hot summer, but blocking the full sun needed for growing food. I need to find the compromise and balance to fill both needs.
Meanwhile...... What's for dinner?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Winter Sunshine

I awoke to sun filtering over the horizon. Soon there was a huge bright ball in the blue sky. These kind of days are so cold but I look forward to them. The sun is a gift. I take a few minutes in the nook off our kitchen, and bask in the warmth of sun streaming through the windows. What a wonderful way to start the day! I think of summer, sitting on the porch in the afternoon sun. I think of the growing season coming, the gardens to reconstruct and the new gardens to install in front. Lots of work ahead, but so satisfying. "Summer's come'n my husband says. I'll just sit here and dream about it a little longer.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Winter surprises

The last few days I've hurried out to the "girls", fed, watered, and hurried back in. Life has been busy. Yesterday, I took more time. It's going to be colder, so I wanted to make sure the "girls" were snug, and had everything they needed. Instead of rushing, eyes on the door of the coop, I took my time to really look around the garden. It's rather bleak right now. An arbor and other garden fixtures were blown down in the high winds we've had this winter. Maybe that is part of the reason I hadn't really looked to see what my garden was offering up . I thought I would only see bleakness and lots of work. Well there is that. Then to my delight, snowdrops were smiling up at my. Then seemed to say, "See, we're here, your garden is still here. Come smell, slow down and enjoy." So I laughed and smiled, and let the girls out to enjoy the sunshine.

Here thy are: Matilda, Big Red, and Queen.
They are almost three, and have been wonderful. They dig the garden for me. They work all the leaves into the dirt among other things. They also lay wonderful eggs. In my busyness,I hadn't checked for a couple of days for eggs because, well..... there haven't been any. They surprised me yesterday. Matilda has been a very busy lady. She lays the most beautiful big green eggs. Queen and Big Red lay two different shades of brown eggs.

Aren't they beautiful? They will be soooo yummy!
I guess I've said all of this to remind myself to stop, look around, enjoy the beauty that has been given us, and see the small things instead of being blinded by what I think are huge walls.
I'm excited about getting back out into the garden and playing with the girls.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Rugs for cold feet on cold mornings

Cold mornings! I'm looking for warm rugs to rest my feet on when I sit down. I'm a very visual person, so I want to enjoy looking at the rug on the floor too. I live in a house built in 1892. The insulation is nonexistent. I love the look of the wood floors (most of which I have yet to refinish). But these floors are cold! In the summer I enjoy the coolness on my feet, but not today. Since I live in a old house the rugs need to look like they belong in this old house. My decor is eclectic/period. I love the look of hand hooked rugs. Each loop set in place by hand. The slight differences in width of wool strips, color of the hand dyed fabric, and the height of loop.
Each loop is individual.
It is an art form.

So, being a make do person,
I've made a few rugs.
I find old wool fabric, in yardage or old clothing,
wash and dye it then cut it into thin strips.
And spend time hooking. Each rug has a story.

The sheep rug hangs on the wall at the top of the stairs in honor of these beings who are so generous with the wool so we can spin, weave, hook, and keep warm too.

This is a nook off our kitchen for conversation or reading. It's sunny in the summer, and
warn and cozy by candlelight in the winter.There on the floor is a hooked rug.
It was a warm spot this cold morning.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A New Apron

A new apron.
Hopefully, new memories.
Such bright colors to
brighten a winter day.

I just started rummaging through my scrap
pile and found some fabrics to blend together.
The flower and butterfly fabric is from the '80's.
The green lace near the bottom is from the '60's.
The purple "patch" and the second green "patch" from the top are pockets. It's all cotton, except for the nylon green lace, so very washable.
There are enough scraps to make two more
aprons of different designs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Apron Memories

My grandmother made this apron.
I remember my mother wearing it on Sunday
when company was coming for dinner.
It was special, a little fancy,
yet so useful and practical.
Our mothers and grandmothers
always wore aprons.
When did we stop?

I grew up wearing a apron
when helping my mother in the kitchen.
My grandmother made this matching apron
for my mother, sister, and myself.
When I was older I didn't wear one,
not because I didn't spill
and get stuff all over myself.
I think it was a statement,
"I'm more modern, I'm not like my mother
or grandmother.
I'm not tied to the kitchen
and laundry room with these apron strings."

Early in my sewing years,
around age 8, I made my own.
Even then I was into design details,
such as tiny triangle pockets.
I've always enjoyed cooking, baking, and sewing.
To me aprons are a symbol of those activities
and a connection to my past.
Today, I'm making a apron for one of my daughters
and one for each of her daughters.
Not as a symbol to tie them to the kitchen,
but as a symbol of our heritage,
a warmth of home.

I'll show them to you when they are finished.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I guess I 'm really into calenders this year. I really love to do with my hands. I enjoy see and feeling what others do with their hands. Anyway, I got into mixed media a little and made a calender. Then I scanned it, added birthdays etc, then printed it and gave one to everyone in my family for Christmas. I'll share the pages with you each month. Each one is really different. I enjoyed stepping out of my usual artsy box. Needle art is my main creative outlet......then there is rug hooking, weaving, home dec., beeswax candle making, gardening... the list goes on. I'll be sharing all.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What is a Make Do life? For me it is getting in touch with your creative self, exploring it, and inserting that creativeness into everyday things, everyday. It is not about not being able to afford things, although that can be a incentive. It is putting your special stamp of uniqueness on life. For example:
Its a new year, so I need a new day planner. Other years I've gone down to the local store and bought one. This year I spent one afternoon making one. It's not the perfect book. A book maker would sigh. But it works for me, says lots about me, and I have fun with it .

Tell me what you think.