Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Peter and Mike

It's nearly Easter.

This time of year wakes my mind from its Winter slumber. I begin to think happy thoughts.
One of which is him:

Who doesn't love that mischievous rabbit? By the way there is a cute Peter Rabbit web site here.

But even more than Peter I think of my brother Mike.

Today is his Birthday.

Mike is among the nicest people you could ever meet. I often call him and tell him stuff he is probably too busy to hear but he always listens and gives me advice without judgement.

I looked for old pictures of us but quickly realized that being the youngest of six kids there are no good pictures of us. We are always wearing dorky clothes that are either too big or too small. But luckily we didn't care too much. We were good friends as kids and happily we still are.

Mike is kind of serious. He likes to buy tractors. Sometimes I make fun of him. And sometimes I just like to listen to him talk about the olden days and animals and farmland.

Once when we were young he wrote on his bedroom wall:


The letters were two feet in height. Our dad wouldn't have found this cute in any way (the cuteness of such things wear away by kid #3) so I used my brand new scented eraser to erase it. It was shaped like a lipstick tube. He let me pick out his clothes for a week after that. I loved doing that and actually now that I think about it I still love picking out clothes. For Easter Mike, you should wear a yellow oxford with J Crew jeans and a pastel plaid tie, okay?

Mike and I each have lots of kids. Three of his are goats.

He has a beautiful daughter that is the same age as my own little girl. This is probably the biggest source of my homesickness for Connecticut. I wish our girls could be together for lazy weekends and holidays.

Henry was trying to act brave in front of the girls. (H, M, R)My kids are all dirty and rough and Mike's daughter is so pretty and poised.

Happy Birthday, Mike. I'm glad we both grew in Mom's uterus.

I miss you so much!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The weekend that was supposed to be

It was a busy weekend with lots of kids stuff. We were going here and there and driving places and squeezing in meals. I knew this in advance and was okay with no estate sale shopping and lounging about.

But then I took a wrong turn to the baseball field and someone who is six and spends her car rides reading signs read one that said yard sale this way. Not needing any more convincing than that we drove up with me promising the baseball player I'll be just a minute. True to my word I only stayed long enough to hand the two dollars over for the picnic basket and skip back to the car.

Sometimes wrong turns are so right.

On Friday I found some pretty linen towels. The woman thought I could use them as rags. Yeah Fo Sho. Doesn't she know I will clean and iron them and put them on their proper place on the shelf with all the other linens? The funny thing is the clutch went in my car on Friday and was worried about making it home but managed to stop and buy something and still make it home. Pretty talented, eh?

And then if all that wasn't happiness enough I came home on Saturday to find a box of lovely things from Jemm. Thank you, Jemm! I love everything...especially the flower! I'm wearing it right now--you are so kind!*please note I respectfully cropped out any iota of cleavage and the big red mole on my neck.

I hope you are having a happy, happy Monday. Because as I just told my youngest I can't be happy if you're not happy.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

how 'bout that

I'm kind of grumpy today (can you tell?) as it was an orthodontist day and my teeth are throbbing. This makes me irritated! Why did I do this? If someone over 30 asked me if getting braces is worth it I think I would say no. If you have a child with braces buy them anything they want and tell them you are sorry.
Today at my appt I walked in with an older man who was being a bit too bossy with his wife. He was dressed in shiny cowboy clothes (from the 80's) and his voice was loud and know-it-all-ish. He annoyed me greatly. He announced as he came in:
"The old cowboy is back"
He began to tell his life story to anyone who would listen, he is a radio DJ (AM for sure) hence the overly-melty loud voice.
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I couldn't do it with the fake cowboy.
And then as if I sent a prayer Fed EX to God the door opened and in walked a real cowboy. An old coot with a crunched and dusted cowboy hat and even jingly spurs on his boots. The only thing missing was that cowboy music that plays when two are about to draw.
The fake cowboy looked at the real cowboy and didn't say another word.
And it was lovely.
When we move from here I will miss the West, the real cowboys and the horses...I love this about Texas. It is a culture all its own.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

sunny things

Much of the stuff I sew for myself ends up in the thrift pile. The striped shirt passed inspection of the harshest critic --me-- and maybe I just might wear it. (Like if I happen to go sailing with the Captain and Tennille.)

I bought four cloth napkins the other day and want to make something out of them. They look so summery.

I was thinking of making some pillows for the patio furniture. Maybe?

I would like to dedicate this post to my brother, Carl. He made fun of me yesterday by saying he made seven apple potholders after reading my last post. He thinks he is funny. He is charming and witty (for an old guy with chicken legs).

Shirt Pattern: Butterick 5335

Monday, March 22, 2010

nimble hands make happy hearts

When my children have grown and set up shop elsewhere I am certain I will look back on weeks like last week with fondness. We squeezed in a lot of stuff to include some kind of achy feverish bug that slowly wound its way through each of us. Also to include driving home from St Louis in a snowstorm and arriving home with gratitude only to have the power go off within 30 minutes but then realizing after many hours ours was the only dark house on the street. So we flipped the breaker and tried to act like we weren't dumb at all.

It was an eerily quiet day today. I couldn't put myself to any creative use other than drawing cars on a Magna Doodle. I didn't even get dressed!

Enough about my laziness...

Let's talk about simple crafts for girls. And boys mind you as my 12 year old son usually does these things with us. He likes seeing how things are put together...whether it's a potholder or radio. You know what I mean? It's not like he carries around a sewing basket or has his own thimble. But even if he did it would still be okay!
Now that I've cleared that up--
These ideas are from the Molly craft book from American Girl. This book is from my older girls...they don't publish it anymore. But the ideas are simple enough to follow your own. We have loved these books from all the historical dolls. There is no foam crafting with google eyes. These are things your kids can make and actually give as gifts. Crafts that give them confidence in learning new skills. Sadly I think this company is not what it used to be.
Whenever I see these books at yard sales I buy them and pass them along.

The apple potholder is a great project to learn basic edge stitching...using felt and a little batting it's cute and inexpensive.The star whirler was my daughter's favorite. But just be warned someone will get whacked in the face with it.The victory garden in a jar is my favorite. They really like hammering the holes in the cover and picking little trinkets to go in the jars.

These crafts are supposed to be typical of crafts in the 1940's. I would say that I wish it was still like the 1940's but can't for two reasons. There was a huge war going on, eh? Who likes war?

The other reason being Siobhan Magnus. Maybe you don't know who she is (shame, shame). I just plain and simply love her. UJ is the Cape going crazy for her?

Hey look here is a Molly book on ebay that ends in 13 days.

Friday, March 12, 2010

a note

Dearest Primrose,
I love you.
Last night I put you on the table because I know you like the morning sun (me too). This morning you greeted me with such colorful optimism.

You are quiet, kind and delicate. Three things I shall work harder at. Thank you for inspiring me.

Eternally yours,

F. Hen

PS If you Google primula acaulis (under images not web) they are lovely.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

the sum of it

I am the source of my own problems. Is spending hours looking through my fabric a problem? I think it really is. I can't decide what to make out of what. I did this all afternoon and have only succeeded at making a giant mess.
I told Someone I would seed the yard today. And I don't mean he was like, "Will you seed the yard???" I mean I was like, "Do you want me to seed the yard?"
And he was like, "No thanks..." and I was pleading like I really wanted to do nothing else saying things like "I know you are busy...just let me do it."
And finally after I beat him down he said okay.
And I didn't do it because I was looking at my fabric.
And I also went out for lunch.
And now I am blogging.
And after this I will have a cup of tea.
Writing all this down has been helpful as now I am certain I won't seed the yard today, instead of all that wondering if I will get to it. So thanks for that.
While I'm here I'll share the Happy Camper shirt I began making for Henry and ended up making for Molly. All's well that ends well, right?

pattern: McCall's 4164

Friday, March 5, 2010

books (again)

Old books that have found their way home with me lately.


Because I love biographies.

And needlework books make me happy when I have an hour and a comfortable chair.

Early American Home Decorating? I like this one because every single page reminds me of my Gram. And the I Love Lucy episode when she moves to the country and furnishes her house. I beg you to open this book and see these chairs and not buy it. This is the most common type of furniture I see at estate sales, it helps to see its original intent before I haul it home and spray paint it.
It's hard to pass up a pretty, vintage children's book. Especially when you have one home sick on the couch.
I like the real photographs in Edith & Mr Bear.

When the wee girl is sitting up and declaring she is feeling fine (this happens about once an hour) the wee boy and I sing songs.

I love the inside covers of old books.

These are older school book order books. I like the States one because it names the tiny town I grew up in in CT.It says the Abington Library is the oldest in the US. It is a teeny tiny library full of great books. I went back a couple summers ago and saw my name childishly written in all the Bobbsey Twin books. It made me happy.

I often wonder if I will ever tire of buying books. I suppose if it hasn't happened yet through a dozen or so military moves I won't ever stop. Actually, outside of my family it is the books that provide me with the most comfort whenever we set up our home.

I just finished this book...

Believe it or not I couldn't find anything to read. This book has been in Ken's nightstand nearly our whole marriage. So I read it. And guess what? I loved it. I won't say you should read it as it was kind of drawn out and a bit dry. Ken has been traveling and it was comforting to read something he loves.

What books do you love? Is there a book you would identify as you-have-to-read-this?

It's hard for me to pick a favorite anything but I would say Ken Follet's "Pillars of the Earth" is among my favorite books.

Did you read through this whole post? Shouldn't you be cleaning up the house or something?

See you later...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

twirly dress

With trepidation I made my daughter a red checked dress. I'll explain the trepidation part in a minute.

I have dreamed of a dress this style for her- a twirly skirt with a simple bodice. Something that would go with mary jane shoes or with white canvas sneakers. I don't have any confidence when it comes to sewing without a pattern, I need those simple and obvious directions so I don't have to think. Because when I think I usually get into trouble. I can hear myself saying in that squeaky apologetic voice "...but I thought it was a good idea". And I'm not necessarily talking about sewing (insert image of me covering car and car door handles and part of windshield with car wax.)

This fabric was bought in Missouri last summer and I love it wholeheartedly. You can make all the jokes you want about my sweet little girl wearing it in public--no her name isn't Ida May and no she isn't going to a square dance. I feel defensive and this is why...

When I was in high school a boy asked me to eat lunch with him the following day. An upperclassman mind you and I felt myself get the beginning stages of shaky love sickness. It was Spring, our campus was pretty...lots of old New England buildings with a green in the middle. I wore a red gingham dress--probably the only person to wear one to that school since the mid 1800's. I don't even know where I got it. When we sat among his friends some guy said, "hey can we use your dress as a table cloth?" Everyone laughed. Of course this laughter has increased in my mind over the last 20 years to a storm of laughter that echoes with roars and knee slapping.

Fast forward a few years to me giving a presentation in college about population, food and the environment. I spoke exclusively about growing your own food and how the desire to do so is diminishing within the general population. I was wearing the red checked dress. When I was through the professor said aloud how creative it was I matched my outfit to my presentation. Why can't a girl just like red gingham?

I hope Ida May likes it.

Fabric: from Urban Chiks 1974 collection