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School’s Out!!

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Yesterday was the last day of school. I said to the kids as we pulled up to school that the perfect metaphor would be a car that had a dragging bumper, scratches on the side, door hanging from a hinge, lights out, and was scraping up to the drop off. We made it! Goodbye to 7th and 4th grades.  And that marks the end of my second full year! It’s definitely a bittersweet time of year. I loved signing many of the 5th graders yearbooks and got some very sweet notes from students. The past month has been filled with things at work, but also on our weekends we’ve been busy. Tabby and I went to Camporee with our Girl Scouts and I climbed a telephone pole (super hard) and jumped off it (super fun-it’s like a gentle bungee); we celebrated Father’s Day by joining some other Boy Scouts for a “six mile paddle on the river” that turned out to be twice that and many hours more than planned and we all got horrible sunburns and were so tired we had to scrap the plans for the rest of the day and go out to dinner; on the eve of the last day of school we went to see The Incredibles 2 and it was wonderful and we all loved it just as much as the first (which is a family favorite); we hosted our favorite doggie, Harry, for a few days while my mom attended my niece’s high school graduation (the first of our kids); we went to Bethlehem in the rain and brought the kids to a David Wax Museum concert, which was great; we enjoyed watching our “chicks” turn into 11 pullets and 1 gigantic friendly rooster-he was called Carlotta, but now he’s Carl; attending a multicultural festival where we heard great music, ate great food, and learned about Sikhs and all got turbans tied; and basically let the house go to ruin so now the first days of summer vacation will be spent cleaning.

I have so much I want to do all summer long: clean out the basement, clean the house, sew sew sew, exercise, take the dog on long regular walks, and write. We’ll see…


All Aboard the Ogden Cami Bandwagon!

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During May my following of #memademay on Instagram led me to following #ogdencami and #sukikimono as well because clearly the two biggest items that seemingly everyone has been making this year are those two items. Did I need to jump on the bandwagon and make them as well? Probably. And probably using Rifle Paper Co. fabric as everyone else did and I had to have it too. I finally got around to purchasing and downloading the pattern for the cami, deciding to make the kimono from the pattern I already have, and ordered 2 yards of gorgeous Rifle Paper Co fabric and 3 yards (which I suspect will be too much) of also gorgeous Art Gallery fabric. Both of these fabrics are silky rayon challis, a fabric I don’t have much experience with and was apprehensive about. While I waited for my fabric to arrive we took a trip to a festival and drove past Joann’s, so I made us stop on the way home so I could see about purchasing some slightly less expensive fabric to try out these things in. Success! I bought a lovely silky large scale shades of blue floral for the cami and a multicolored pattern for the kimono.

The cami is 4 pieces and I saw someone on IG saying how much they loved whipping up this top because they could do it in HALF AN HOUR. I call shenanigans. That person clearly: had a stash of fabric on hand, has a sewing space that is clean and not obstructed by the recycling and people’s shoes and crap on the floor, has a place to lay out and cut out fabric, and has the pattern already sized and in the right pieces. I did not have that and so this took me a few hours and a couple days. First the tedium of the pdf pattern: trim the pages, tape together, trace the pieces on tissue paper, cut out the pieces. I took a stab at the size, which is always a gamble. I went with a 16 on this one and think that the next one I will do the 14 because it’s a flowy top, but my finished result was a bit too loose and low. Oh, the 1/2 hour person-also how on earth can she pin said pattern pieces onto the slippery fabric with any sort of speed?? After doing that and cutting I was finally ready to sew. I took the time to zigzag my raw edges. I’m very pleased with my even spaghetti straps. I stayed up late to finish this just so I could wear it to work before school let out and I’m so glad I did. Finished!20180621_072151 I wore it with another me made item: the high waisted teal linen skirt. These worked perfectly together. For work I wore this with a sweater (for one thing my bra straps were bigger than the thin top straps and also the back dips very low).IMG_20180621_073315_219
Tabby admired it and said that the thing that really made it look like it came from a store is the fabric, and I agree. I like this top and think it will look great with the white jeans (which I bought specifically to wear with another memade top.) I’m excited to move on to the kimono tomorrow and then this top again in the precious Rifle fabric! I don’t have a lot of construction or close up pics, just these hasty ones taken before school.

Carlotta Crowed and More

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Our baby chicks are now 2 1/2 months old. They don’t all have names, but we’ve called the two white ones Ramona and Beezus, and the biggest one was called Carlotta. But then it became abundantly clear that she is in fact a large handsome rooster, which she announced with the usual herald of crowing one morning.2018-06-06 17.45.04  This means we have way too many roosters once again (4) and there’s bound to be trouble.
These twelve are just lovely and are definitely their own flock. They have finally mingled a bit on the perch at night with the others, but they still mostly stick together. 2018-06-06 17.46.39.jpg Carl is of an age where just this week he began trying to mate with the hens (with very mixed success), but when he tried it with tiny Quicksilver (one of the two 6 year old hens) not only did she not allow it she also turned around and viciously chased him around the coop until he had to fly away.
This little flock loves to come out and free range (they just hop and fly over the fence) and I’m quite worried that a fox will eat one. They also still love to eat from our hands and are quite friendly to us. (I’m doing One Second a Day video thing and there are going to be so many 1 second clips of them eating from our hands.)2018-06-06 17.47.36
Tabby’s class does “Teacher for a day” the last week of school, which means the students get to plan a full lesson on a subject that interests them (slime, kickball, rc cars, dogs, and math were some of the topics students did.) Tabby chose to do chickens and bring in Carl and Ramona.IMG_5901 I was excited for her as I did the same thing in 7th grade. I remember my chicken pooped on my skirt and someone (the teacher?) asked me if chickens have hollow bones like other birds and I didn’t know the answer. Anyway, she made a great slides presentation, made a kahoot quiz, showed them how to draw a chicken, and had Ramona.IMG_5894IMG_5897IMG_5895 Just Ramona because Carl was too big to fit and two really would have been hard to handle. As it was Ramona didn’t comfortably fit in the cat carrier so we rigged up a milk crate with a lid and an a bungee cord. I’m told her presentation was terrific!! And when she was done she brought Ramona down to the library where I took her out for my class to see. And then when my class left it was photo-op time! I had to stage something for my school IG after all, didn’t I? And let her out into the bathroom to stretch her legs and wings, which she liked. She flew right up to the counter and then was entranced by her reflection. 20180622_103831And then I took her to the p.e. office to take some pics of her “using” the equipment just so I could tweet it for the p.e. dept. If it wasn’t the last day of school I would have had her visit all the specials areas because how fun would that have been?


Peony Parade

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2018-05-25 16.00.27It’s that time of year again! The pride and joy of my garden in bloom, the very best days of the year for my blossoms and blooms. Every year I am delighted and surprised by just how beautiful it is to see lavish blooms of purple and pink everywhere. 2018-05-25 16.31.03It’s not just the peonies (even though they are the stars of the show)-it’s also the spiderwort and iris, rhododendron, and roses. So much glorious color! 2018-05-28 17.18.382018-05-28 17.21.45Alas, while enjoying them we had 2 inches of rain overnight on Saturday. I bet you can guess what sight greeted me on Sunday morning. That’s right-droopy peonies all on the ground. Waaaaaaaaaaaah!! I hustled about using fencing and staking everything up and things look pretty good now, although many petals did end up on the ground.

I didn’t even post about our spring birthdays this year-rest assured we had them and they were lovely. The baby chicks have become lovely young hens. They are very keen on us and still love to be hand fed. They also like to sneak out of the coop, which makes me afraid that a fox will come by and eat them.2018-05-24 16.34.07


2018-05-23 17.54.58

Me Made May

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#MeMadeMay has probably been around for a while, but I only discovered it on Instagram a few weeks ago. And basically all month long I’ve been loving following that hashtag and seeing all the things people have sewn for themselves. Now, these are people who are able to wear something they made every single day in May, which is not where I’m at. But I have found it very inspiring and been pinning patterns and fabrics like crazy, culminating with a trip to Joann’s to purchase a pattern I followed on IG and liked. I also felt inspired and determined to start sewing up fabrics I bought a couple years ago. This really was the kick in the pants I needed. First up, finally sewing this beautiful hot pink voile with dandelion fluff print. I decided to go with a sleeveless top I’ve made before (that one piece wearable that I cut out into three pieces.) For this version I made sure to make it long enough, opted to not tie the back (so it’s pretty blousy and full, but I like that), and I knew that in the past I’ve found it too low cut so I tried to fix that. Lovely enough to wear to work!
Oh, and even before that I got back into the sewing groove by trying a pattern I had printed out two years ago and then never used. I was unsure about this pattern and just wanted to get sewing, so I opted to use fabric on hand that I had enough of, which in this case was a novelty print of dressforms. Perhaps a lighter cotton (like a lawn) would make this voluminous peasant top a little more flowy. And I think the neckline is way too open, but overall, worn over some fitted jeans (the top is so big it definitely needs a slimmer bottom) I think this is perfectly fine to wear on the weekend.

The pattern I picked up at Joann’s was a New Look 6434. I was attracted to the big ruffle at the bottom of the sleeve! When I saw someone wearing this top in a black and white gingham I thought that I would try it in some fabric that I bought a few years ago for apron making-a black and white gingham with red cherry print that I think is adorable.

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Note the beautiful new Gingher scissors I got for my birthday. They just whisper to the fabric and it cuts!

I was pleased to find that it was a really nice quality fabric that had a little stretch to it. The pattern calls for one button in the back and I just happened upon these vintage black buttons in my drawer-I knew it would be perfect. I had some sizing issues with this. My main hurdle when sewing clothes for myself is that I’m afraid things won’t fit.  For this pattern I was afraid my arms wouldn’t fit.  I took my measurements and according to them I would need to cut out the size 20-22. In a store I would buy a size 12, so I felt conflicted. I ended up cutting out the biggest size. I tried on the front and the darts were in a terribly wrong place. So I needed to figure out where to put new darts. With some fiddling here and there it all turned out ok. I will definitely make this again, though I think I will aim for a way to marry big sleeves and a slimmer torso cut. True confession-I was so excited to finish and model this that I haven’t finished any of the seams! I’m going to go back in and do it.

Who knows? Maybe for MeMadeMay2019 I’ll be able to participate and wear something every day that I have made! next up I’m going to tackle some dresses!

Spring Peeps

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2018-03-14 17.42.49Peep! Peep! We’re rebuilding our flock! After being down to 8 chickens, 3 of whom are roosters, and 2 of whom are 5 year old hens, we decided that this spring we would get chicks, preferably sexed ones. Last week we got a dozen female hens from our local farm and garden co-op. It’s still so cold in the garage that we’ve got them under their lamp, in the big metal trough, inside the house. They are adorable and I immediately made them pose for festive Easter scenes.

The next day I brought in Gordon to participate in some chick and bunny Easter photos, but he was really not into it. He was more excited and curious about being on the dining table.

I’m excited about the varieties we got, including a couple of Easter eggers, so we’ll have blue-green eggs eventually. And there’s also a California Grey, which is apparently a cross breed that will be like a Plymouth Barred Rock. And some gorgeous Golden Laced Wyandottes. Don’t die little chickies!

Speaking of Gordon, he has spring fever. Since the loss of Tree Bird last year me mostly plays with his ball when he’s feeling frisky. Yesterday I saw that he had turned his intentions toward one of the roosters. He was super persistent-poor rooster!

Despite a lackluster start to the winter and a weird 60 degree day several weeks ago, we seem to be hit by hard winter now, just as it’s leaving. We had a rainy nor’easter, followed by a snowy nor’easter one week later. Our house fared pretty well-just one giant tree limb down at the edge of the yard and assorted smaller branches.  Many in our area were not so lucky-lots of trees down. And, since it’s taken me a few days to finish this post, here we are on March 21 with yet another snow day and another nor’easter.

Presently it’s just gently snowing and I’m sure everyone is thinking “we could have just had an early dismissal today but instead we’re going to end up losing spring break days!” Apparently it is going to become treacherous within a few hours, though. I’m determined to do a lot of sewing today. We have yet to figure out our garden plans for this year, but at least I do know we have plenty of lovely crocuses coming up, which we can see intermittently when the snow is not on them!

The other big spring event was my mom’s birthday. That’s usually chronicled here with a lovely spring dinner, but in this case it was a big number–#75! So we had a big deal celebration. My brother Ben came out from Denver, and my brother Tim came down from Vermont with his family. It was so great to be all together and see them. On Mom’s actual birthday, a Sunday, we had a fancy brunch out at the Grain House, which is where Paul and I had our wedding. It was a really wonderful day. Happy birthday, Mom!2018-03-04 13.05.38



Sometimes Sewing

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As I’ve mentioned, I’m really enjoying my weekends since last semester ended. I’d love to say I’m sewing all the time, but I’m not. But I could be. And I have been getting back into a quilt I started. It’s all triangles making blocks, and I am somewhat randomly making the blocks. The centers are all the beige-y coral/orange- pairs with exterior corners being of blue-greenish pieces. Any square can go next to any other square and look pretty good. I’ll arrange it so that there aren’t two identical triangles next to each other. I’m having a lot of fun with this. I’ve got many more triangles cut out and many more blocks to make. Right now I’ve got 30, which includes the original 9 that started this project. Those 9 were sewn together eons ago and all additional blocks have been made out of new coordinating fabrics. I’m either going to make that 9 patch be the center or….pick apart the seams and distribute those 9 blocks (which do look a little different) throughout the others. If you look at this picture you can see at the very top those 9 blocks.

I really need to get a big embroidery project started (starting is the hardest part for me) so that I have something to pick up. In the meantime at this year’s Midwinter Stitchathon I enjoyed whipping up this little Valentine’s Day decor. (In the post before this I made one of these that I gave away.)

And yes, there was an annual Midwinter Stitchathon, which was delightful. There was, of course, seasonal candy and other delicious treats, loads of Olympics to watch, and later in the day a lovely snowfall. Somehow Tabby is participating in this now, though she is not much of a stitcher. Our rule is that if she is going to be with the ladies she has to be doing some kind of handicraft. She chose to continue some knitting my mom taught her and did quite well with it. It was actually quite the girls’ weekend as Paul and Clark were on a winter camping trip. We had a wonderful time with the stitchathon, movies, and enough snow that on Sunday morning we had a great time making the most of our small but potentially treacherous (because of stopping when you hit trees or thorn bushes) hill.