Thursday, August 27, 2009

yesterday's fabrics for today's little girl

It's hot here. Yesterday it was 107 out at 4:00pm...can you beat that? The grass is brown, my face melts off my makeup by noon, and my afternoon cup of hot tea isn't very soothing. Tell tale reminders that it is still August even though all the stores are displayed as if Halloween is next week. If I was able to have a word with August I would tell him that he is stinky and sweaty and stays around too long. He needs to move on. I want my friend September to visit. She is lovely with crispy blue sky mornings and a gentle breeze.

My days lately have been structured with nearly every minute accounted for. But luckily some of those minutes the last two days have included afternoon naps. What a difference that makes in my life. Raise your hand if you like naps. Raise your hand if you painted your toenails while just in your undergarments then decided to stretch your back on the yoga ball in the front room while they dried and the FED EX guy rang the doorbell. Wow...I can't believe how many hands I see. We have so much in common!

I have a stack of things cut out for Molly and have enjoyed some quiet time at my machine after the three youngest go to bed. The pink dress is Butterick 4842 view B.

The romper is something I started from a vintage pattern but changed a few things--like the gigantic pointy collar that surely would have caught the wind and flown her into the next county. The pockets are too much and I think I might take them off. The next one I will probably make an elastic waist all the way around instead of just the back. Am I being too chatty? Are you really interested in a full elastic waist vs half? I am only talking too much as I heard the dryer buzz and the dishwasher needs unloading.

You can stop raising your hands now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What happens when you yell "BATHTIME"

Don't your kids leave their underwear on the living room floor, too?

I like giving baths to little newborn babies that are so soft and sweet. Then they grow into bigger, messier, splashier kids. I really don't like bathtime. Even though it is a regular routine usually with me saying 50 times "sit down" and "keep the water in the tub" it always ends up with me wet and someone screaming about soap in their eyes.

The first house we owned had the ugliest bathroom ever. I used to think who ever put it in bought whatever was on sale at the hardware store every week. Nothing matched. It was an awful place to try and take a bath to relax.

We have lived in many houses since then and I think this one has my favorite bathrooms. The man we bought it from was redoing it for his parents who in the end decided not to move. There are many little details I think he wouldn't have bothered with had he known this crazy bunch was moving in. This bathtub is the older kids', I really should have turned the camera around so you could see the oodles of teenage stuff that, you know, they need to be beautiful.

Maybe I will find some courage and share the rooms in our house. I love reading blogs that do this.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

putting things in jars

I feel kind of ho hum lately. Kind of restless, kind of anxious. You know that feeling? It's not bad. Well maybe it is...I can't say I like feeling this way. I know it will pass. It will, right? As soon as everyone is settled into their new routines with school and activities. Included in this is our oldest child starting college. College! What a strange emotion that is. You know the whole she-was-just-in-diapers emotional rollercoaster.

The best therapy for feeling off center is baking or sewing. Something methodical where following directions is a comfort and not a chore. And though I could have chose sewing and sat in a nicely air conditioned room I chose the kitchen. Because it's over 100 degrees out and a boiling bath canner on the stove all day is such a good idea. We bought 22 lbs of plums-- which was supposed to be 10 lbs but between two kids and one scale there were some miscalculations... I shall not name names except to say they ryhme with Ham and Golly. Did you know 22 pounds of plums is a crazy lot of plums?
Anyhow we canned plums in syrup and plan on using the rest for preserves and conserves.
Do you like plums? I can't stop saying plums, plums, plums
Tomorrow I will try a batch of salsa. I have never made it before but we eat the store bought stuff nearly everyday.
Do you can? What types of things are your favorites?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

morning on the farm

School is about to start and my quiet mornings will soon turn into noisy ones. I like waking up before the sun and start the chores as the first rays of daylight sneak into the morning. Am I ready for the kids to be under foot? I suppose I don't have a choice. We'll hop-a-long as we always do.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Recent thrifting

Just a few things from the last few weeks that I couldn't pass up. As I age I buy less but still love the routine of early Saturday morning yard sales or Friday afternoon estate sales. Sometimes estate sales creep me out--when it looks like someone just left their house to go the store and we all show up and dig through their belongings. Other times I feel at peace buying odds and ends feeling like that person would have wanted me to have them. Yesterday Maggie and I went to an adorable cottage with a sunny white kitchen. I sensed the lovely woman who had lived there had aged amongst her things as long as she could. I bought a lot of the fabric below there and a tote of buttons. There was a little yellow knook (is that how you spell it?) off the kitchen that had her machine all set up. I would have liked to sat and had tea with her. Everyone has a story, I like to hear them.

A lamp I had in my oldest son's nursery many years ago and gave away. I was happy to find this one. I wished through two more kids that I kept it. Maybe this means I should have another baby?


A little round table before I painted it black.

Sometimes absurd things happen in this house and I am embarrassed to even admit them--30 minutes after I set the newly painted table next to my chair my son did a somersault and broke it in two. I wood glued it and repainted it.

Petticoats for Molly. There was a whole rack of pretty things and I limited myself to the most functional pieces. Aren't you proud? I only bought the-girl-who-has-more-clothes-then-everyone-in-her-family three things.

Vintage fabrics...can't have too many of these.

Another shelf to support my recent addiction. Get it? "Support???"

I like things that cost next to nothing. It's a challenge in my mind to take something that someone didn't take care of and give it new life. Hopefully soon I will share the antique foot stool I bought that made Maggie gag as it looks as though someone vomited on it. It'll be nice, I promise!

Friday, August 14, 2009

bigger pictures

I received a wonderful box of treats from Dawn at The Gahan Girls--thanks, Dawn! I love everything! Until now I'd never won a giveaway... I am humbled by your generosity.


I was reading some tutorials on how to upload bigger pictures and thought I'd give it a try.
By changing the html measurements from 400px (width) to 640px and 300px (height) to 480px.
I guess it works as the first picture is larger than the "large" setting on blogger but it looks a bit grainy so maybe it isn't worth the trouble.
The second picture is blogger's large setting.

It's the weekend--hope yours is good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

homemade farm and a shelf epidemic

This house was too quiet. Though part of me wanted act like this wasn't unusual and run with it the logical part of me knew Henry was probably digging through the kitty litter box and Molly may or may not be checking out her sister's manicure kit that I had recently noticed was out. But it didn't turn out to be one of those was good and happy and made me smile. I discovered Maggie and her younger siblings working on a secretive project. It's cute--a project from an old Martha Stewart Kids magazine that Maggie put her own twist on.

I used this time to hang some shelves...

This one in the playroom to hold some of the older Fisher Price pieces.

And this one in Maggie's room. I like how it brings the room together and makes it feel cozy.

I think I am a little shelf happy...I painted two shelves this week and dragged them up to Molly's

little renovated attic bedroom. Shall I write a poem about shelves?

Shelves Hold the Weight of the World

Shelves hold a ton of junk.

Books and toys and even animals that have died and been taxidermied.

They pretty much hold everything we don't need,

things that should be donated to the thrift store.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

dinner and a movie

It's a rare thing to venture out to the movies with just one child. Maggie and I treated ourselves to watching Julie & Julia on Friday. She is 14 and loves to cook and I like to blog. Could there have been a better movie for the two of us? We both really enjoyed it. I am happy to recommend you see it but I will warn you about three things first...

1. Maggie was the youngest person in the theater.
2. I was the second youngest.
3. Out of the 50 or so people there I would guess 1 in 4 was snoring. The woman sitting next to Maggie was snoring the loudest. Like the kind of snoring you do when you're fake snoring for your kids.
If you have seen it, did you like it?

Tonight we made French Bread Pizza. I thought I would share this as more an idea than a recipe, it's easy to make and assemble in the morning while the day isn't too hot...then just bake it in the evening.

I made ours by sauteing mushrooms, garlic and spinach putting them atop whole wheat french loaves topped with pizza sauce (easy to make) then topping it with fat free mozzarella and a little cheddar, turkey pepperoni and a bit of feta. On the middle one I used a chopped pineapple. It's better than takeout unless you live in NYC and have a gourmet pizza place around the block that serves a thin crusted salmon and caper pizza. Then when it comes to dinner you are luckier than everyone else in the whole wide world.

The picture just uploaded and it looks rather bad--all grainy and home ec like.

What if you go see the movie and think it's boring and come home to make these pizzas and you get an upset stomach? Boy, that would be just terrible.

Friday, August 7, 2009

a bit of cheer

Gone are the lazy days of summer. They slipped away without even telling me they were leaving. School has yet to start but the activities have. As much as I'm tuckered out from the mom/taxi thing it nice to have a little structure to our days. Five bored kids at home on a hot summer day can make the walls of the house close in and every one's voice an octave higher.

The high temps here much parallel the cold temps of a New England winter in that you are really forced to stay inside. It's instinct in my body to want to be outside on a sunny day--not to waste it indoors. It's hard to train myself to stay inside. We burst outside at around 7:00pm and run wild with pent up energy and a half deflated soccer ball.

This brings me to my boring thoughts--and yes, I do feel like such a bore lately. For this I am sorry. My thoughts include your opinion of the ideal summer. Where would you spend it? Did you have happy summers as a child? Did you have fresh squeezed lemonade? Did your Gram announce it was "too hot to cook" and you clasped your hands in glee. Even though it really just meant you were having cold cuts and waldorf salad.
These houses are very close to where my Gram grew up. It makes my heart hurt to see something that was once so magnificent become so neglected. Unc J and Auntie J do you recognize these places?
How pretty these places must have been in their glory. Especially when they were surrounded with the colors of summer...surely the children who spent childhoods in them were never bored? Didn't they read books and act out plays? Didn't they hang out the turret windows and yell at their friend Joe to maybe play ball later? Didn't they sit on the porch and play marbles until their mother brought out warm oatmeal cookies? And now look at them all saggy and leaky. How can this happen?

Do you recognize the talent here? Showing you these dilapidated houses...I am not only boring but so very depressing as well. Tootleloo!

Monday, August 3, 2009

But he never has a second cup at my house

When I was young my Grandfather used to say if an alien landed in our yard he would invite them in for coffee. Just imagining this kept me awake at night. The mysteries of of the solar system have never been of interest to me. Except the thought of glittering styrofoam balls and hanging them upside down in a poster painted cardboard box diorama. That is fun at any age.

Looking up into a star filled sky has always made me feel vulnerable--but lately after my children have gone to bed I find myself looking at the moon. It comforts me. It makes me think of (forgive me here) a Neil Diamond song my mother would play that says something about all the people in the world "sweating beneath the same sun...looking up in wonder at the same moon". The moon inspires many thoughts. Of course I think of the past--from Galileo being persecuted for scientific studies to the lone 1800's farmer on the prairie working his field by night to escape the harsh sun. But mostly I think of my husband (forgive me again) because it's hard to put into words how much I miss him. I like to envision that he, too, looks at the moon. The same moon. This is what brings me comfort-- that something so very far away can make us feel closer.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

tin dollhouse

Recently I found this dollhouse at an estate sale. The little kid in me bought it. The grown up in me said over and over (in a rather rude voice I might add) don't buy it.

But as you can see I was a rather spiteful child and bought it anyway. There is a guilt I carry around when I buy stuff that quenches some childish "ooohhhh I really want that" especially when my husband is far, far away...sleeping in a tent. Even though he is forever gracious and always bright and sunny and laughs at my deep sighing emotions about selfish purchases. I have been a stay at home mother for over 16 years now and still feel funny spending needlessly on myself.

Now that I have said all that do you still want to see it?

I feel an obligation to it now, to take care of it you sickness and in health. It was so dusty and sat neglected for years. Just waiting for that magical day when it would ride home down a bumpy country road into loving hands. It was fate, right?
Maybe you could come over and we could play house? I'll put on some hot water for tea and you can vacuum, dust and mop....