Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Announcement

I am pleased to announce I now collect glass mayonnaise jars.


Am I suffering from dumb humor? Yes.  Though if you are reading this you might be the one suffering from it!

Today and yesterday have been fantabulistic days.  For no real reason even.


They were just innocent, regular days that got bumped up to Good.


Here is my advice to you:

Hug your loved ones and tell them they make you happy.

Look at the sky.

Stretch for five minutes.

Pet your cat.

Read a poem.

Smell a flower, even if it’s in the grocery store.


And then, you will have a fantabulistic day, too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

helpful hints for wardrobe planning

Summer clothes.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

I love planning out my wardrobe for the sunny days of summer.  But then usually by the first of July I am wearing the same jean shorts and T-shirt that I will wear until September.  At first I appreciated the help I recently read in an old Essential Sewing Guide by Drucella Lowrie.  I wish this woman could walk into my home in her gabardine suit and gloves and tell me exactly what to wear. 

She has no trouble illustrating her advice:


That square neckline with the eyelet trim is a little much for my lifestyle of spray painting thrift store stuff and yelling at my children.


Secretly I kind of like the housewife-at-home sample dress.  I like the big pockets, they would be handy during my daily chores that involve clothespins and a flask of hard liquor.   


Self made trimmings sound like a good way to personalize something to your own taste.  But then I remembered that huge L  Laverne would wear on Laverne and Shirley and I’m kind of thinking maybe it’s not such a good idea.  I can’t imagine sewing a big K on all my clothes.



Truly I wish I could dress my teenagers in the three bottom row outfits.   If they loved me they would let me dress them like this.

There is a whole chapter dedicated to the “chubby woman”.   It made me depressed as all the measurements given as examples were smaller than mine.  Who is chubby and has a 30 inch chest?    Darn you, Drucella!  I am definitely not buying your book  Restyle Your Hats that I saw on Amazon for $250.



Sunday, March 27, 2011

you won’t know unless you try

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

They are very easy to make and have on hand as a healthy snack. 



Peel the outer leaves and cut the ends off a couple pounds of brussel sprouts.

You can feed the leaves to your hens, it will make them happy.


Set the oven to 400 and line a heavy duty cookie sheet with foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Cut the sprouts in half and put on the pan all crowded but single layer.


Drizzle them with olive oil, sea salt and a little lemon juice.


The amount depends on your taste, I put enough oil on them so they look shiny but not enough that they are swimming in it.  Same with the salt.  I use about a tablespoon of the lemon juice.

When we lived in Turkey I learned that anything from cucumbers to eggplant to chick peas taste great with olive oil, salt and a little lemon juice.

Roast them for about 30-35 minutes. Give them a stir every 10 minutes or so.  They kind of smell bad while roasting, unlike the way the taste which is very delicious. 



Friday, March 25, 2011

ma petite chérie Molly


This is another Citronille dress called Albertine.  I was feeling confident one night after the kids went to bed and I cut into a two yard piece of knit fabric that I’ve had in my stash forever.  It holds a steady place in my top three favorite fabrics.   This waste not want not mode I am in feels a little dangerous.  But if I don’t use the fabric now while Molly is young when will I use it? 

I had a little panic about making the dress too small so I went up a size and now, well, who am I kidding the dress is huge.  


But at least it’s not too small,eh? 

She has been a busy girl of seven, learning all kinds of new things and gaining some Tasks of Responsibility.

We bought her a brand new shiny bike for no reason at all other than she would be the happiest girl on the planet.  We never do anything  like this.  We set it on the porch and told her to look out the window and still it never crossed her mind that the bike was hers. 


Have you ever spoiled your kids for no reason?  We are always bent on not spoiling them and having them earn things by working for it.  But  I think it’s okay once in a while.  

I’m pretty sure she thinks it’s okay, too!



I’m hoping my brother Mike is reading this and feels inspired to make this for Henry.

I’m certain this would equate to favorite Uncle status, just sayin!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Keds and Sensibility

I lost myself among all the Keds at Zappos.

There are so many styles!

My heart wants plaid but my smart says navy.

And if my mother were taking me shoe shopping like the old days she would say navy matches everything.

She would be right, of course.


I always thought I would grow up and buy the trendiest things.

My wardrobe is very simple with lots of khaki and navy and white. 

There is no glittered, neon half-shirt.

But once while visiting my mother’s…

I saw she had leopard printed underwear.

How sensible is that?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

the goings on


Our house is under contract…I’m afraid to use an exclamation point as I kind of feel like I need to hold my breath until the closing next month. 

There is good and bad -- we are losing money on the sale which kind of stings a little but we are able to live here until the kids finish school as we will be renting the house from the new owners for a couple months.  When you weigh out all the good and bad I think we are making out okay.

No more showing of the house.  Hooray!  

It’s my goal to live as “normal” as possible right up until we move to Massachusetts.  It’s hard on the youngest kids as they can’t really remember all the hullabaloo that goes on.  It’s hard to logically explain that everything we own will move with us.


We have been going through all the art supplies and each sunny afternoon finds the sunporch littered with new artwork.



Henry thought fingerpainting was the best thing ever.  He kept giving me that ARE YOU SURE? kind of look.


I call this picture,  “painting concentration with a small booger”. 

That’s the goings on…sewing, painting and boogers.


Thanks for all your comments on my apron giveaway!  Henry picked number  7  which is from Jemm…

Jemm is witty and nice and has a great blog- you should check it out if you haven’t already! 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

an apron giveaway


I made this apron to celebrate the arrival of fair weather. While I was cutting it out I realized I had enough fabric for two.  One for me and one for you.  It is always a good feeling to welcome the pastel colors of spring…robin’s egg blue with a little carnation pink.   Soon enough we will be anxious for the primary colors of summer but for now as we wake from our muted winter grays the pastels are a soft encouragement to welcome the warm changes ahead.


This apron is fully lined and ties at the back, it will fall at the knee for most.

Leave a comment to enter and feel free to link the giveaway on your blog.

I will randomly pick a winner on Wednesday March 23.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Pioneers of Pillowcases

Long before blogging and the liberal use of the words vintage and retro, there were women who had the desire to save and collect things.  Somewhat out of necessity I am sure, for useful things like buttons and cookie tins but perhaps also due to genetics that inexplicably show up within generations of innocent families.  That gene can make you do something strange like collect  pillowcases until the back room of your house is full of boxes of carefully pressed and folded pillowcases.  My husband and I went to a  sale yesterday and the house was pretty full of various collections.  But when I made my way to the back room and realized the whole room was full of pillowcases, I kind of felt a kindred attachment.

The woman that had done the collecting and folding had been gone a while and her 70 year old daughter was selling them.  First I started looking slowly then realized my want pile was pretty big.  So I made an offer on all of them.  And then brought them home to my screen porch where I have spent hours going through them.  I love many of them, but will sell the majority.  Because really after this experience I realize you can have too many vintage pillowcases.


It’s funny how when you “inherit” someone’s collection you can kind of figure out who they were.  And in this case (get it?) I know I would have liked her.  I admire her for living in Texas before air conditioning, for wanting to save pretty linens, for keeping her treadle sewing machine looking nice through all those years.


And then when I got to the bottom of the last box I found a bonnet.  It feels old and delicate but I washed it and got the musty smell out.


Maggie tried it on and it made me think of how much times have changed.  If it was pre-1900 Maggie would surely be married, not because she is boy crazy but because my husband loves cows and would certainly trade her for good stock.

Oh dear, can’t a tired mother joke about trading her kids for cows? I love my baby Maggie but she is 16 and who ever coined the phrase “sweet 16” most likely never had a 16 year old living with them.

Which brings me to say I am really tired, that part is not a joke.  Though admittedly not from my 16 year old but from washing and hanging out all those pillowcases!


I hope you had a sunny day wherever you are…g’nite!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

more jumbled thoughts

Recently Maggie (kid #2) was  competing in debate at Hadley’s (kid #1) school which is 6 or so hours from here.  It was nice to have an exciting plan to visit a city (!) and see my gurlz away from home which right now as I write this is going through a termite inspection in preparation for it being sold, which is in preparation for us moving to the east coast, which is loverly and wonderful.

So we drove the pretty straight path of browns and tumbleweeds.


All the while I was thinking all kinds of thoughts.

I’m pretty stressed about the selling of the house and everything surrounding it.

But then I would think about Japan and the news reels that have kind of haunted my mind.

It’s humbling, isn’t it?


Sometimes on the expanse of land you can see the sun far, far away.  Even though it feels gray and gloomy where you are it is always comforting when you see the sun still does shine. 

And sometimes something will surprise you.  Like after driving hour after hour on lonely roads, you drive by a buffalo and you think, did I just drive by a buffalo?


Yup. You did. 

At the university I watched Maggie debating and thought to myself this is why I never feel like I win when we have a disagreement.   Where did she get those mad skills?  Between you and me she kind of scared me, the next time we have words I will probably get a goofy grin and have nervous laughter. 

It was a different kind of break for me.  It was a comfort to see Hadley, she was our tour guide and evidently finding the coolest thrift shops in the city is part of her curriculum.  These are new emotions for me.  My girls are grown-ups!


Hadley’s school is a wonderful place.  Someone knitted around a whole bunch of trees.  Isn’t that reason enough to send her there?

The seeing and doing was good nourishment and the hugging of Hadley was a much needed renewal.

I was able to get myself back in the car and drive the lonely roads home.

And if you need a tractor I know just the place you can get one, American Pickers style.




The house isn’t so bad.  I was thinking the husband and wife compromised 50 years ago…

She said: I want a decent house

He said: I want to have a few tractors.

Love is beautiful, eh?


Thursday, March 10, 2011

It happened rather quickly

Along with the hustle and bustle of child rearing I kind of forgot my kids were growing.  You know…like they eat food and run and play and sleep in their beds until morning (unless we have a stomach bug and various children vomit in their beds and other various children try and make downstairs to vomit but instead leave a trial kind of like Hansel and Gretel did in the forest except it’s definitely not bread crumbs). 

So yes, if we feed them healthy foods and threaten them that they have to eat it all… they grow.  I watched the two oldest girls grow right past me.  And truly this didn’t surprise me as the two oldest girls have always been smarter than I ever was at any particular stage in their lives.  They just get it, you know?  I can pretty much count on them not being rude or offensive when at, let’s say…a buffet.  They won’t head straight to the dessert table or carry a dirty plate up for refilling. They have tact and it just makes sense that they would be taller than me.

But their brother Sam (kid #3) has always been little.  Not just in the sense that he is younger but amongst his peers he has been, well, not as tall.  His Dad is a giant and Sam looks just like him except for the giantness.



I suppose his height represented that I was indeed his mother.

And this morning as I innocently looked on, he was measured and the number was bigger than mine.

And the tech said WOW he has grown A LOT in a year. 

I dropped him back at school and while driving home I kept thinking about the two above pictures.  Ken was in Kosovo at the time and before he left he told Sam to take care of the girls.  He took that so seriously!

It seems like yesterday.  Why do they have to grow up so fast? 


This is Sam now.  He has huge feet and if he’s anything like a puppy that is a good indicator that growing taller than his mother is just the beginning.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

happiness is buying bubbles

This morning as I grumpily left my bed and went out to feed the animals I saw from a considerable distance the neighbors cat drop us a gift.  It was a rat.  Not a mouse but a rat.  The neighbors cat likes to hang around the edges of our property.  Did you see Jim Gaffigan on Jimmy Fallon last night?  He said his neighbor asked if you could tell she had cats by standing at her door and he said no but I can tell you have a box of turds in your living room.  Maybe that doesn’t translate well, but it made me laugh out loud in my bed. 


Anyhow I didn’t mean to start off with a dead rat story as that’s about as uninspiring as it gets…and I’m sure you have heard enough about my thoughts on moving so instead I shall share what has made me happy today. 

Like March first coming in like a lamb.  It’s so warm and sunny here, the kind that makes you want to look at the summery picnic stuff at Target.  It’s so colorful and pretty and really inspires you to tell yourself to spend the summer going on picnics.  But the truth is I don’t really like melamine and if I’m going on a picnic it will have to be at the beach and if that’s the case then I’d rather buy grinders wrapped in wax paper.  See how I talk myself out of buying summery picnic stuff?


But buying bubbles is okay.  Henry thinks so, too.


I lost myself in this magazine for a moment or two.  It’s jolly good if you can find it at your local bookstore.


The magazine inspired me to use my rationing of Crabtree after my run today.   I ration it like sugar during the 1940’s.  Crabtree stuff is jolly good as well.

And if all that isn’t happiness enough I finally sewed the buttons on this little outfit.  Hopefully the baby it is intended for won’t grow too big to wear it. And no, I’m not having a baby.  But I kind of wish I was.  Does that happen to you?


I hope your March 1st is like a lamb, too.  Only without the dead rat!