Thursday, April 29, 2010

An unexpected comfort

020 Throughout the last ten years my mother has given me her patterns.  I love these patterns not just because they are from the 60’s and 70’s but because they tell a story.  She sewed for herself and her young children. She was creative and often tweaked things to make them even more stylish.  I don’t really remember much of what she made as I was born well into my parents marriage that well, to be blunt, kind of was falling apart at the seams (oi, a pun).

These patterns are a reminder of a happier time for her, a time when I think she felt most like herself.  Even as a child I looked through these patterns and marveled that my mother chose them.  My older siblings had silk little slippers and crisp cotton playsuits. She was a doting young mother and wife and homemaker. Every picture from those years  shows a sparkle in her eye and a baby on her hip. 

Then a storm of stress and challenge and concern arrived and kind of swept that security she thrived on away.  Selfishly I grew up resenting that storm and what it did to our family.  It is something I still struggle with as an adult…as a wife and mother.  Family and home are the two most important things in my heart.

When I make something from my mother’s pattern box it brings me closer to her.  The tissue is cut and neatly folded in the envelopes.  I run my hands over the pieces and imagine that hers were the last hands to do the same. 


I made this nightgown last week (view 2 on the pattern above—Simp 7096) and each time I get ready for bed and see it hanging in the bathroom it comforts me like a mother’s hug.  We live far apart and those mother’s hugs are too few.


This pattern is for sale here in size 12.  I am a size 6-8  and made the size 12 pattern and it fits fine. 

PS Thanks for being my therapist.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ho Hum is a happy sort of day


Henry’s five senses today...


Reading the same book 25 times. This has been going on for six days.



Art Garfunkel Breakaway. Only 25 cents for that melodious Little

Town voice.


009Smelling + Tasting + Touching

Banana Oat Bread Using the rest of the bananas.

Even though I use wheat flour and steel cut oats Henry

calls it cake. Don’t tell him it might be healthy.

Now he is...


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

chicken coop

031 As you can see I’m not much of a carpenter. But this is our chicken coop. In the past at other homes we have lost hens due to raccoons, foxes and snakes (the snake was here in TX). I was very concerned about keeping them safe and in the end I think this coop is the sturdiest building on our property. If there ever is a tornado those hens will be just fine while my household belongings will be blown up to Oklahoma. I sifted through a lot of pics on the computer when we were building one and thought if anyone (with no carpentry skills like me) googles CHICKEN COOP—maybe this will help.


The sides are hinged for easy egg gathering on one side and coop cleaning on the other. The wheelbarrow fits right under the drop side and makes cleaning the coop very easy.


The other two sides have hinged windows lined with chicken wire that stay open pretty much all summer. We elevated the building to provide additional shade and so my imagination wouldn’t envision a snake-all-expenses-paid-resort-hotel under it.

We feed them a tray full of laying crumble in the morning and a small pail of scratch feed in the afternoon. Four times a week I give them organic greens --as much as they can eat in 10 minutes- usually a couple handfuls. Also they love any scraps of bread and vegetables, especially tomatoes.

Being a military family we move often, it might seem strange to invest in a coop or even have animals. It just makes sense to us to “live” in each place we move to. Having chickens is part of that.


So is seeing a warted toad in the yard.


And catching your first catfish in the pond.


The turkeys have been visiting us nearly everyday. I think because someone made a deal with them that we wouldn’t eat them. This was a vocal contract which was made by a six year old with good yelling skills.

Shall I close this post with a funny but not so funny chicken story?

Remember when my son had his toenail removed? (I can’t find this post)

A couple days later he was sitting in the porch letting his foot air out and on a whim decided to check for eggs…in flip flops... and a chicken pecked his toe really bad. It was terrible. I had to take him back to the DR and was extremely embarrassed. When he asked my son what happened he told him a chicken pecked it and all my nervous energy came out in hysterics. Of course I was the only one laughing. Can you say mother of the year?

Monday, April 26, 2010

This is like a pictorial essay about, like…prom, duh.

001 - Copy

004 - Copy008 - Copy019 - Copy025 - Copy

063 - Copy

Maggie and Dalton are best friends. He often drives to our house in his camouflaged jeep and is nice and talks with a drawl.

Like if I said: “Dalton, do you want a bowl of chili?”

He would say: “Did y’all already eat?”

Then he would say: “Thanks Ma’am, I reckon this is mighty good.”

Alright he wouldn’t say reckon or mighty good but when he comes over next I will ask him:

“Dalton, can you say you reckon these kibbles are mighty tasty?”

And I’ll be a horse's BEE-hind if he doesn’t say it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

summer sewing

002 I’m not sure I like this purple knit dress. (Simplicity 2472) First off I don’t really like purple… Also it’s kind of loose and drapey and I might have too many jiggily bits in it. The girl on the pattern looks cute though (b/c she is 6’1” and weighs 90 pounds). I have looked at it so much I can no longer feel if I like it or not. Have you ever painted a whole room and then stood back two days later and realized it was neon yellow and not the butter yellow you wanted? And you start thinking irrational thoughts like if you put the furniture back in maybe it won’t be so bright.


I like this skirt. (Simplicity 9569) It is called a 2 hour skirt and proved to be pretty easy. It has a few darts in the front and back and fits well.

009This skirt is a bit full. (Simplicity 2570) If my brother Carl is reading this he will probably tell me to stop trying to act like I’m on Little House. And I’m sorry the mannequin isn’t wearing a shirt (she is such a tramp). With a t-shirt and flip flops it is a good everyday outfit… for me anyway, maybe not for Queen Elizabeth.


Do you like to sew? Meg over at Elsie Marley has a kids clothes sewing challenge week upcoming in May. I have never met Meg but she shares cool things and once in a while she swears while she is talking about sewing stuff. It makes me feel cooler just reading it.



My three year old evidently has never seen a traditional cornhusk broom (our kitchen one is plastic). When I was bringing one up from our barn to sweep the front porch he was so excited bouncing up and down.

You gonna ride dat, Mom? You gonna ride dat?”


I hope you have a spectacular weekend. Whether you’re wearing hot pants and glitter on your chest (you are such a tramp) or spend it sitting in the grass looking for 4 leaf clovers…I just hope you are happy.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

BFF (Blog Friends Forever)


Today I woke to the sun. I also woke to grumpy kids, one of which overslept and we all kind of didn’t even notice until he had only 5 minutes to get ready. Luckily it was a he, and not a she-- which would have been a household disaster that would involve loud rants and nobody-loves-me status. He just says “Huh? Huh?” a couple times, eats cereal in one bite and gets on the bus with a hair propeller on top of his head.

I told myself if it was still sunny out after the mornings chores I would celebrate Spring by sewing outside. Sewing and the sun are happiness to me…why not mix them together? Because it is weird? I suppose it is.

This is one of the aspects of moving so much that affects me. Yes I have friends but in the short spans of time we live in each place it is rare to find that great friend that you can say dumb stuff to.

Like…”Hey, want to come over and drink Dr Pepper and sew outside?”

In my husbands circle of job peeps I am always the youngest wife, always have the most kids and am by far the strangest in that I like chickens and digging through piles of junk at thrift stores.

This is why you bloggy people have helped me. You’re nice and I just know you not only would sew outside and belch Dr Pepper with me but just as much you would enjoy getting dressed up and going to the symphony. You make me feel less like an odd duck.


For today though I will sew with my kitty at my feet…


and my little cowboy yelling beside me.


It will be a good day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


A long time ago this dork:

met this dork:The two dorks fell in love and got married. It was April 17th.

We have been having fun ever since. Though we are often busy with one stage or another:

It seems to have only deepened my appreciation for our marriage.

Sometimes I feel guilty at how much I love my husband. Is that possible? Like each child that continuously beats our hearts I feel like our marriage is a gift. A very precious gift that always needs nurturing and in return it fills my heart with unspeakable joy. Never did I think when I timidly mumbled those vows in front of many how much love and respect I would feel for my husband and the life we have grown together.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday’s Corner


This is among my favorite corners in the house. It’s quiet and I think the people who live in this house kind of forget about this room. You musn’t remind them about it or tell them it is my favorite place to read.

Because then my quiet corner will soon be littered with markers and sheets of whatnot paper scraps. There will be stuffed animals munched behind the pillows and pile of metal cars behind the chair. Not that my children are reckless and leave piles of stuff everywhere, nor do they use half a bottle of pancake syrup on one pancake and use sticky hands to open the fridge door.


I am almost done with “Abigail Adams” by Janet Whitney (1947).

This was a great book to read after reading and watching “John Adams” by David McCullough.

Abigail was strong and humble and smart and was pretty aware of the impact of her husband on the history of our country. One can’t help but admire her. There are many direct quotes from letters to and from her husband as they spent large quantities of time apart. These quotes are my favorite part of the book, I think I would rather spend a week reading their letters on microfiche than on a tropical beach.

This is from a letter Abigail wrote to John that kept me awake. It makes me reflect on the “want of life” and traveling and my children. Also of my childhood and the seemingly lost focus on how I felt growing up…

“I have learned to know the world and its value. I have seen high life. I have witnessed the luxury and pomp of state, the power of riches and the influence of titles. Not withstanding this I feel that I can return to my little cottage and be happier than here; and if we have not wealth, we have what is better-integrity.”

I am still learning and growing and cannot yet return to “my little cottage” in Connecticut. Someday I will and I am certain it will be happy times indeed.

Quiet corners are great for stimulating one’s thoughts, eh? Are you a thinker, too?


The quiet corner looks out on the hens. Their hen pecking and egg laying squawks make me happy.

This concludes today’s episode of

Friday’s Corner

Thank you and Goodnight!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Five Things/ Three Pictures


1. Molly is sad.

2. It is very windy and feels like you can lean into it and not fall over.


3. She has bendy elbows that bend the wrong way.

4. She likes the wind and for a moment forgets she is sad.


5. But then she remembers.

Dress pattern: Butterick 5019

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Little things


I gave up on finding a decent gardening hat. One that I wouldn’t have to spend a small fortune on just to get sweaty and dirty under the scorching Texas sun. Ahhh, yes the sun…how I love thee. The sun that occasionally feels so good as it is roasting my aging skin. We all know that it is a very bad idea indeed. My face is like a polka dotted piece of calico fabric. It feels soft but with neglect it gets all wrinkly. I have come to terms with my freckly skin, and vowed to protect it. I hate to admit this but I think I have had a bad sunburn every year of my life. So yes, I found a hat. A lovely inexpensive hat purchased at Forever 21 while shopping with my daughters. And yes I abhor that store and its BOOM BOOM music so loud I just walk in circles trying to remember why I am in there. It helped to find the hat and wear it in the store while I followed my girls around.

During the week while I am chained to the training potty which is chained to the wee boy- I have been sewing him some softies. He has a little buddy, in the red shorts, who really wanted a dog and cat. They are all friends and having a great ol’ time.


The pattern is Simplicity 2945.


bone folder

If you have seen Martha Stewart on TV she would recommend a bone folder to help turn out the small legs and ears, etc. It really is a handy tool and I use it often…especially with paper crafts. If there ever comes a day when I am talented enough to be a guest on her show I will do a project and use the bone folder. Only I will “accidentally” call it a boner. I will act dumb like I didn’t know what I said. I will do this for you, my loyal readers.

While I am talking about Martha I will tell you a true story. In 1997(?) my two sisters won a trip to Martha’s home and studio in CT (Turkey Hill) to meet Martha. I lived in Idaho at the time and was insanely jealous. They lived in Connecticut about an hour or so from M. This was before she was a jailbird and had a reputation for being snippy. My sister K relives this day with great impressions and makes me laugh the ugly-can’t-catch-my-breath-my-mouth-hurts-laugh. Especially the part when my sister L trips in Martha’s garden. A big kind of trip when you fall on your face and you make a umph kind of noise. Can you tell we are related? Martha was supposed to eat lunch with them but didn’t. They were sad. They said she wasn’t very nice. Even though my dear sisters witnessed M being not so nice I still like her as much as ever. She built an empire pretty much by herself. Whether she is good or bad I really like buying her bottles of glitter in rainbow colors.



Monday, April 5, 2010

dark chocolate is good for you!


I have been dreaming of chocolate cake. Dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting.

It was one of those rare times when it tasted just as I wished. It’s really good!

Making a cake from scratch really isn’t hard.

This recipe is from Country Living Feb 2009 (I think). But I changed it slightly.

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup cocoa

2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon vinegar

Heat oven to 350. Spray two 8 inch round pans with nonstick veg spray.

Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the eggs, sour cream, oil, vanilla,vinegar and 1 cup of hot water (not boiling). Mix with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean—35-40 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 20 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.

Quick Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (mmmmm)

Using a mixer set on med-high, beat 1 cup butter (2 sticks) and 6 oz melted and slightly cooled bittersweet choc together until fluffy. Reduce speed to med and beat in 2 cups marshmallow creme. Add 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and 6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar and increase speed to med-high and beat scraping down the sides of bowl until smooth and fluffy. Chill for 20 minutes before using. Make 4 cups.

After frosting the cake I put it in the fridge and took it out 30 minutes before serving.

Usually I pride myself on not taste testing a whole bunch before I serve something but admit I licked the bowl and the beaters and the knife I frosted the cake with. I think this might be my favorite frosting ever.