Monday, May 31, 2010

Family Fun

Sherry and Chris had a family picnic yesterday and I took along some things I had made for the kids.

Sherry loved the birdy dress, as did I.  But when we put it on Caroline, it was way, way too tight in the armholes.  I had thought that it seemed skimpy when I was putting it together, but it really didn't work at all beyond this one photo op.

My friend Sherron has a granddaughter who is younger than Caroline and wispier in build, so I'm sending it on to her to see if Maddison can get some use from it.

I'd made some capri pants from the same pattern designer (Portobello Pixie/Sandi Henderson) and they weren't a good fit either.  I think that I'm going to make a trip to Joanne's Fabrics and peruse the Simplicity and McCall offerings; they always worked when my kids were little.

The Cute As A Button Jacket was a better fit, but only slightly.  She won't get much wear out of it.    I've been making size 3T for Caroline; she is still wearing some store-bought 2Ts but is getting 3Ts from here on out.  I had no reason to think 3T patterns wouldn't be a good fit.  I'm thinking I'll get some fabric and make another CAAB Jacket in a 4T to take her into the fall. 

I sure was right about these being her colors, though.

The pillowcase for Sam, however, fit just right!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Plea Bargain

Well, what happened, Your Honor, is that when I went into the shop to get the buttons for the jackets for the baby boys, I saw this fabric, see, and it reminded me of what we always used to call "bluebells" but I think are now called "grape hyacinths."  We used to pick bluebells on May 1 and put them in little baskets that we'd made from construction paper and go put them on people's doorsteps and ring the bell and then run and hide.  Did you do that, Your Honor?  Well, anyway, I thought how good the colors in that fabric would look on Caroline, and then I saw this batik that just went perfectly with the bluebells, and, Your Honor, what could I do?

Thank you.  I knew you'd understand.

Caroline wears a lot of pink.  Prolly because she's a girl and that's what they make for girls.  But she has golden curls and intense blue eyes and, I'm telling you, she should wear blues.  So I'm getting her started.  This is the Cute As A Button Jacket in a size 3T.  It was much easier to make than the Size Infant.  Those sleeves didn't give me any grief at all.  I love this jacket.

BTW, it's been more than a week, and I've never heard back from Sandi Henderson at Portabello Pixie after I wrote her about the inaccurate fabric requirements in her Gracie pattern.  I guess she's too busy hawking her book to answer her email. 

Okay.  That's it.  The Cute As A Button Jacket Factory Near Philadelphia is shutting down for the season.  See y'all in the fall!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Last Block Done!

I've finished the last block for the 2010 designer mystery quilt from the Fat Quarter Shop, and I like this block very much.  There were twelve blocks in the series, plus a finishing kit -- I haven't opened the finishing kit yet, but I believe it has some sort of a center medallion.  We'll see.

The 2009 designer mystery quilt top is finished and folded and set aside.  Soon this one will join it.  My plan is to have one really wonderful quilt to pack away for wedding gifts for each of the grandchildren -- the thinking being that by the time these little ones are old enough to marry, this kind of work will be history for me.  If I'm still around.

The third one will be the Martinique BOM that has begun coming from FQS, and Paris in the Fall will be the fourth. 

Now to see if I am able to get all four finished before any additional grandchildren show up!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Paris in the Fall

Well, well, what have we here?  A picture of Paris in the Fall, of course.  It looks inviting, doesn't it?

I'm tired tonight.  Had a dental appointment after work, and before that I had a trip to the Mailboxes place to send those little jackets off to their rightful owners.  Got home too late to cook (or so I said) and we went on down to the Pub for a salad supper. 

Came home and started a third jacket, this time in size 3T, for Caroline, using some utterly scrumption\us periwinkle and aqua fabric that I bought yesterday.  Worked on it until I made a mistake; then I knew it was time to quit for the night.

So, Paris in the fall, eh?  A terrific picture, a lovely idea.

And what have we, here, she asked?  Why, it's Paris in the Fall again!  This spectacular BOM features French General fabric and is, obviously, sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop.  They posted a picture of it on Facebook over the weekend and I hemmed and hawed around, thinking that another BOM was just what I need -- not!

And then mentioned it to my friend Sherron who, clear thinker that she is, pointed out that this particular Paris in the Fall would be far less costly than a trip to Paris in the Fall. 

Now who could argue with such logic, such wisdom, such profundity?

Not me.  I signed up.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Former Design Wall Becomes Breadman

Hey, friends -- remember this guy?  The famous Husband Turned Design Wall who was pressed into service when there wasn't an inch (well twelve inches) of space on my wall to post this block that I wanted to show off?    He's had it relatively easy, lately, as far as having to hold up my projects. 

And so he's found some new trouble to get into.

His late father's hobby was baking bread.  Not just any bread, but a rye that contained dill seeds, minced onion, molasses, and other delights.  It was absolutely scrumptious.  Pop used to send a loaf home with Tom when Tom was in college and later when he was a starving artist in Manhattan.  We all loved it.  "Grandpop's Bread" was what it was called.  At one point I persuaded Pop to share the recipe.  But I never did anything but file it in my recipe box.

At some point this past winter, during the most major blizzard, out of the blue, Joe got out the recipe and made his first batch.

I love it.  We used to be Pepperidge Farm Whole Wheat types, but not any more.  Grandpop's Bread makes six -- count 'em -- six big yummy loaves at a time.  We had two loaf pans and went out and bought four more.  We're thinking of buying two more, in the interest of uniformity.  

This bread is good toasted in the morning for breakfast, sliced for a sandwich at lunch, and to sop up gravy at dinner.  Six loaves at a time -- usually one or two go into the freezer and one or two get given away.  We took a loaf to Richmond; we took a loaf to Alexandria.

And, you know what, it's still called "Grandpop's Bread."  Just a different Grandpop makin' it.  


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Elijah Boo, Here's One For You

As I said in my previous post, there was plenty of fabric left after making Nate's little jacket.  Plenty.  And it was pretty obvious what I would do with it, wasn't it?

Here's something I tried on this one to make the topstitching of the sleeves less difficult:  As soon as I cut the pieces out, I pressed up the sleeves 3/8" on both the jacket and the lining.  And then I ran a basting stitch.  Which prolly wasn't necessary, with the good pressing, but what the heck.  It helped a lot.  This one went together much more quickly than the first one.  Experience pays off. 

So here they are, cute as a button, waiting for their buttons (which I hope to pick up early this week one day after work) and then I'll ship them off to their rightful owners.

What a fun weekend this has been!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cute As A Button

I bought the "Cute As A Button" baby jacket pattern by Jackie Clark ages and ages ago.  Initially, I thought I'd make it for Sam when he was just a wee little guy, and when that didn't happen, at some point I thought I would make it for Caroline.  But that didn't happen either.  Enough with the delay!   With two new potential consumers in the family now, this past week I went to the shop and picked out some coordinating fabrics and last night finally got to work!  It is all finished except for the buttons, and I didn't want to wait until I get out and get them before posting a picture.

Comments on the experience:
  • The yardage given in the pattern is very generous.  It calls for a yard and a third, and in the size I made (infant), I used a scant half yard of each fabric.
  • The infant size is awfully cute, but the topstitching on those tiny sleeves gave me fits.  I don't know if I'll make another in this tiny size, because I don't really see any way around the problem.
  • When I make it again, I'll put the pockets up a little higher.  Joe wanted to know, "What is he going to put in those pockets, anyway?"
Speaking of "cute as a button," here's a picture of the guy who's going to wear it, Nathaniel, with his very proud father.  They'll all be leaving in a few short weeks to spend the summer at the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina, and we know from our trip there last summer that the evenings can sometimes get a little bit chilly. 

If that little guy gets a chill, it's not going to be my fault! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Miscellany Continues (And There's Still A Week To Go!)

Last spring I thought it was time to make some clothes for Caroline and I'd run across a pattern line called Portobello Pixie.  The offerings were utterly delicious.  So I bought three patterns and made first a pair of ruffled capri pants.  I may have blogged about them.  Yup -- I did, here.  They were darned cute.  But they didn't fit.  Carrie was 1+ and I wasn't sure about the size.  So I put the patterns away until this spring when she'd be a more definable size. 

To the left is the "Gracie" dress.  I bought the fabric for it last year and folded it and put it away.  So now it is May and the Miscellany calls for me to make a dress or two from the Portobello Pixie patterns.  I had a very good time gathering and pinning and adjusting gathers, and the skirt went together like a dream. 

Then I undertook the bodice and what the pattern calls the yoke but looks more like a collar.  Whatever.  Moved right along until I came to a step for facing the yoke.  Pattern directed me to the back of the book for directions on how to make a bias facing strip to match the yoke.  The directions started out, "Begin with a yard of fabric."  What?  A yard of fabric?  I didn't have a yard of fabric.  I checked the back of the pattern envelope and, yes, I had bought the right amount to make the dress.  Nowhere did it say on the pattern envelope that I would need a whole additional yard to make a 30-something inch of bias facing.  I was displeased.  To say the least.  No way could I get another yard of this fabric, mid-dress.  And, she asked rhetorically, what the heck would I do with the bazillion remaining yards of peach floral bias strip once I finished?

Snarl.  I went down to the LQS and bought a package of good old bias tape and very carefully applied that to the yoke and finished the dress.  The lady in the shop suggested I write to Portobello Pixie with my complaint, and I thought that was a good idea.  I'll let you know if I ever hear back from them.

Meanwhile the dress is finished and I think it is kind of cute.  I have fabric and pattern for another PP creation that is even cuter.  But I'm a little fearful of what kind of surprises the pattern instructions might contain.

To All Who Wrote . . .

. . . to congratulate us on the arrivals of Nate and Eli

. . . to admire the pictures of the aforementioned

. . . thank you so much!

Please let this post replace an individual acknowledgment of your kindness.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Elijah Boo

He's a good size -- they think he's about ten pounds at the ripe old age of a week and a half.

And his lungs are very healthy, if the strength of his cry is any indicator.

He's got a very inquisitive look about him; it seemed as though he's thinking, "Let me get this straight, now.  You're the paternal grandmother.  Right.  Got it."

His parents are the usual proud/baffled/exhausted people you'd expect them to be.  And the dog has become his self-appointed guardian.

He's my new boyfriend.  And I call him Elijah Boo.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Godwin Strikes Gold

This book is one of the reasons the blog has been relatively quiet during the past week.  A review  of it caught my eye and I reserved it at the library; my number came up relatively quickly, and off to retrieve it I went.

That was the beginning of my downfall.  Not only blogging but quilting and domestic tasks went on hiatus.  Because I couldn't put it down.

Set mostly in the early 1950s, at a private Roman Catholic school for girls somewhere in North Carolina, the book is the story of many unfinished desires -- of the nuns, of the students, of the parents.  Godwin gets inside the self-focused and often cruel minds of adolescent girls better than anyone.  It's a story about teenagers written for adults.  We have glimpses of the nuns when they were students themselves, when they were teachers, and in the present, in their dotage.  Told from several viewpoints and in several times, it sounds as though it would be choppy, but it is actually practically seamless.

The ending is the weakest part, but that shouldn't stop anyone from hurring to the library to reserve this book.  If it is in paper by Christmastime, I could easily see buying it for gifts.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Meet My New Friend

This is Ken.  We've been spending time together.  I'm crazy about him!  And he's so good for me!

Twelve and a half weeks ago I visited my nurse practitioner who said, "It's time."  Actually, it was way past time.  My weight was up.  So were my cholesterol and my blood sugar.  Even my famous low blood pressure had begun to creep up.  The only thing that was "down" was my bone density.  And that wasn't good.

The antidote to all of these things, of course, is the dreaded diet and exercise combo.

So I grit (gritted?) my teeth, bit the bullet (a fat-free bullet), and joined Weight Watchers.  I was fortunate that my first meeting was with a leader that I liked.  Her story is that she lost 70 pounds and it took her three years.  Probably not typical.  But certainly believable.  And admirable.  Beyond Irene, there's the group.  I tell you, there is a real feeling in this group.  The members really do care about each other and the support is superb.  There's no one trying to dominate. People give serious thought to each others' dilemmas and remember to check the next week.

I've attended twelve weekly meetings so far, and have lost 14.8 pounds.  Not a record-setting loss, but a loss I'm feeling good about.  It isn't just about the scale, either.  I've found it easier to go up stairs.  Today I'm wearing a pair of pants that hadn't fit in quite a while.  My nurse practitioner visit last week showed the blood pressure down a little and follow-up blood studies are scheduled for early July.

This is going to have to be a part of my life for ever, though I hope it doesn't take three years to meet my goal.  So I thought it was time I wrote a little bit about it.  I imagine that some of my readers know what I'm talking about.  This blog isn't going to morph from quilting and thinking to dieting in its main content, though I believe there will be posts on this topic from time to time.

I've not told very many people about this yet.  I guess I've been afraid of failure and humiliation over that failure.  But after last night's meeting, I had the strong feeling that it was time to go public.  Comments on the blog are welcome, as always.  But if you're someone I know IRL, please don't mention it.  I don't know why (and at this point don't care why), but it's not something I can talk about unless I bring it up. 

And now I've got to go.  'Cause I've got a date with Ken.


Monday, May 10, 2010

At Last -- Some Pics!

On the Nightstand

I haven't discussed any books here lately, and perhaps it is time to remedy that since I've done a boatload of reading lately.

Commencement was just terrible.  It's of The Group genre (remember how good that was?) and I could barely get through it.  It had received some good reviews in Bookmarks so I persisted.  Four vastly different young women, none of them credible in the least, meet on moving-in day at Smith College, become inseparable, and then reconoiter four years after graduation at the first of their weddings.  Not only were the women charicatures and ridiculous, the author didn't make Smith seem like a place I wish I'd sent my daughter to!  I just saw today in the Times that it is now available in paperback. 

Save your money, friends.  Save your money.

Having liked Girl with a Pearl Earring and loved Fallen Angels, I was happy to see Tracy had a new book out and I thought the cover of Remarkable Creatures was terrific.

The inside was less so.  A fictional account built on a real relationship between two female paleontologists who did their thing long before such activities were acceptable for women, the story was written well, but just wasn't very interesting or captivating.  Again, I stayed with it because I hoped for improvement.  Better than Commencement by far, but still way short of the earlier Chevalier books that I've read.

Katharine Weber's a new author to me, and I really liked this first book.  The last known survivor of the Triangle Waist Factory fire has died, and her granddaughter is accosted by a relentless investigative reporter who believes there is far more to the story than had ever been revealed.  She just might be right.  What's most interesting is the way the book is written -- you see, the granddaughter's man friend is a composer who writes his music based on elements of science, and this is evident in the refrains that meander through the story. 

I liked Triangle enough to pick up Weber's newest book, True Confections, which I put right back down, lickety split.  Couldn't get past the second chapter.

On the nightstand presently are Galileo's Daughter and Gail Godwin's Unfinished Desires.  Neither has been opened as yet.

But that won't be the case for long

Sunday, May 09, 2010


Guess who had the day to herself? 

Himself had gone off to the Synod Assembly and then to meet with a potential client afterward, leaving me alone for almost the entire day.  I didn't mind a bit!  Guess what I did!

First I made this bag.  When we go to Chautauqua, each morning I walk up to the farmers' market to buy what we might need for the day.  There's a woman who has wonderful prepared entrees, a different one each day, many of them vegetarian and all made from healthy ingredients.  We feel so virtuous eating her food!  But I digress.  I also buy the fruits and veggies and milk and cheese that we might need and haul it all back to our little apartment.

Then, when it is time to go to the Amphitheatre for a lecture or program, I have to bring along my sit-upon and whatever sewing project that is in progress.  And sometimes a note pad.  All of these needs called for a nice, large, sturdy tote bag.  And so I made this one for me!

Then I made two more specialized book covers for summer gifts.  Both were made entirely from scraps.

I had a whole lot of errands including the vitamin store, the shoe store, the drug store, the food store, and a Target gift card.  I stopped at Target first, a store I usually only go to when I absolutely have to because of the location and the parking.  Ended up getting not only the gift card, but the Vitamin D, the shoelaces, the toiletries, and the frozen items all in the one stop!  I was amazed.  Am thinking much more charitably about Target these days.

I did several loads of laundry, cleaned up a wash tub overflow, did the regular grocery shopping, made a nice dinner, and finished my book (nothing to recommend).

Oh, and guess where else I went!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

May Miscellany, Part Four (I Think)

On Thursday evening while I was waiting for news from A&A, I finished the last of the blocks I needed for the birthday block swap; it was a nice dark fabric Churn Dash on tan background.  I didn't get a picture of it.

Next I started work on an apron that I need for a gift; I had a good sized assortment of blue and white fabrics that at one point had been intended to be a quilt with embroidered squares hither and yon, and then I realized that I wasn't that smitten with embroidery!  And set the whole mess aside.

I thought blue and white would make a pretty apron and cut out all the pieces and did the whole inset part before I got so preoccupied with worrying about my laboring DIL that I couldn't concentrate.  Friday evening, Eli having arrived safe and sound and mother and baby both doing well, I finished my project.  I'm pleased with how it turned out and hope that the recipient likes it, too.  I can't name her here, for she just might be a reader.  I don't really know for sure.

Friday, May 07, 2010

He's Here!

Sometimes, when the phone rings in the middle of the night, it isn't bad news.  Or even a wrong number.  Sometimes it is wonderful news!

At 3:15 we learned that one very wonderful and very large Elijah Brian was born, via Cesarean style arrival, this morning at 12:31.  Too big to come out unassisted, this most welcome light-brown-haired individual weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces and is 21-1/4 inches long.

The parents are ecstatic and exhausted after a day that began at 5:30 in the morning.

He is reported to have an exceedingly loud voice.  We aren't surprised. Not a bit.