Archive Page 2

Vintage cotton

Well NO! I didn’t forget about you!  I’ve just been deep in the pudding of costume making for a local dance troupe, with no time for the computer.  Show starts tonight so I’ll have to get some good photos to share.

So today, I got back to my own stuff, and made a skirt out of a bolt of vintage cotton lawn that I recently bought.  Oh, it’s so pretty! Candy pink, soft and airy, with an organic cotton waistband.

Here it is on the manny, paired with one of my bamboo skinny tanks.

A detail of the adjustable drawstrings on the side, and a closer look at this pretty fabric!

You can go to my Etsy shop to see more details.  It feels good to make something pretty just for for fun, and I have a whole bolt of this cotton, so more to come!  I think it would make a very pretty tunic or light summer dress…..



Strawberries are in at the Western North Carolina Farmers Market!  If you live here – go get some now! Inexpensive, fresh, local:

I got 2 big baskets. The kids will be so excited when they get home from school!

Up close.

Now, what to make, what to make….

I’m thinking about jam, muffins, tarts…. for now, here’s my recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream – only worth making when the strawberries are fresh.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream:

3 Cups whole organic milk

1 1/4 Cups sugar.  (if your berries are super sweet, just use 1 c., if not so sweet, add a little more).

dash of salt

3 large egg yolks

2 cups diced strawberries

In a saucepan, heat the milk to a boil, then remove from heat.

Combine sugar, salt and yolks in a bowl, beat with mixer at high speed until thick and pale.

With a ladle or cup measure, gradually add a little bit at a time of the milk to the egg mixture, beating with a whisk the whole time.  Once you have added half the milk, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, and continue to heat the whole mixture on medium low for about 2-3 minutes, stirring the whole time.  Put the saucepan into a large bowl filled with ice to cool the mixture down, stir occasionally.  When the mixture is cold, pour it into your ice cream mixer and freeze according to the directions on your mixer.  I use a regular old Cuisinart one I got for my birthday one year.  You can’t believe how much use that thing has seen!

You can always puree the strawberries if your kids don’t like the texture of the frozen chunks of fruit.  I’ve been through that.


Here’s my boy’s little self-made art project from yesterday.  A sunny Sunday, and I noticed he was outside with a gluestick, pasting something to the wall.  I just stayed back and watched – he was concentrating so intently, I wonder where he got this idea?

Here's the long view. That's our cement retaining wall that is in desperate need of its annual spring whitewashing (just mix lime, salt and water!).

he gluesticked (gluestuck?) the little "helicopter" seed pods that fall out of the trees onto the wall. What a pretty pattern!

close up!

It looks like rain, so I thought I’d better take a few photos.  Who knows how well Elmers glue stands up to the elements?

Just goes to show, art is everywhere…..

Upcycling T Shirts

What a busy day in the sewing room!  Every once in a while, I need to just have a fun day and make quick and dirty clothes for the family.  I keep a huge basket in my sewing closet where everyone puts the clothing they have outgrown, is torn, or they no longer like.  It’s kind of like a mending basket, but more extreme.  Then, when the spirit moves me, I dive in and find some pieces to “upcycle”, or redo.  Here’s what I did the other afternoon:

An ancient t-shirt of daddy's becomes a little tunic for Ry.

Detail of neckline. Cut off sleeves and neck. Make a casing in front and back, make a drawstring, and thread it through to tie at the left shoulder.

Here’s a shirt I bought at Goodwill last summer for the fabric. It was too small for me, and too big for her, so I cut the sleeves off, recut the armholes, and whittled in the sides to make a lovely well-fitting tank.

Here you can see the armholes - I sewed clear elastic tape to the inside as I hemmed so there would be no gapping at the armhole.

Last but not least, a little something for moi. This is not made from a t-shirt! My fashionable aunt gave me a silk nightgown when I was about 19, and I've always kept it for the fabric, but it was always a little too big and had buttons that weren't comfy to sleep in, so I recut it to a simple sundress style with casing and drawstring for straps. It'll be lovely to sleep in.

Neckline detail. I'll probably make a simple scarf out of the sleeves that I cut off.

Well, that’s it for that sewing session! Get creative and brave, and cut up your old clothes to make new ones – it costs nothing, and your kids can play with no worries of messing up their nice clothes!  Would any of you like to see more of a tutorial for this idea? Let me know…

Spring Break

I’ve barely been online in a week!  You’d think that with the kids home, we’d have lots of lazing about time, and therefore plenty of free time!  Alas, a break for the kids is not much of a break for mom.  We did quite enjoy our slow mornings with no alarm clocks and pajamas until 10 am – our natural rhythm works very well this way.  We had time for hikes, and ice cream, and did some spring cleaning and a few projects, but mostly we just walked the dog in the woods and played backyard hoops.  A nice week, really, but now I feel out of touch with my work.  I’ve spent the last 2 days with them back in school at my sewing machine.  What a treat! I’m working on some new summer/fall dresses that I can’t wait to share with you, but for now, a little look back on our week:

Classic Paas egg dying kit. The kids love this project! There are never enough eggs to dye.

pink and orange

spring green

like a robin's egg

lemon yellow

  • Easter morning, searching for jelly beans. Do you know how much dusting those shelves require before you can hide the eggs?
  • Jackpot! she found a purple egg in the climbing tree.

    cleverly hidden in the tulips

    pretty girl, pretty weeping cherry tree.

    beautiful blossoms

    easter egg

    found an egg!

    a basket full

    A Spring Pizza! Try it - just precook a pizza crust, and add goat cheese, strawberries, arugula and pistacios - yum.

    Butternut Squash Soup

    Here is Sunday night’s dinner.  I went through a phase (about 10 years!) where I couldn’t even look at pureed soups, because of an unfortunate incident involving carrot soup and morning sickness, but I’m over it!

    Here’s a super simple recipe for a velvety, healthy soup.  Serve just a little for an appetizer, or a big bowl for dinner. We had ours with a salad and gluten free cheesy corn muffins.

    Butternut Squash Soup:

    1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

    3-4 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock

    1 onion diced

    1 clove garlic minced

    1 chunk of ginger root minced (about a tablespoon? maybe a little more)

    2 tablespoons brown sugar

    Put the chunks of squash into a big soup pot, and cover with broth.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for about 20 minutes.

    In the meantime, sautee the garlic, onion and ginger at medium heat in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.

    When the squash is tender, add the  onion mixture and sugar to the broth, and let cool for a few minutes.

    Put the soup into the blender in batches and process.  Be sure to take out the little plastic handle thing in the lid of the blender to allow hot steam to escape, but don’t forget to cover the hole with a dishcloth before you start it up!  Add a bit of salt and pepper.  Yumm!


    As you can imagine, it’s been hard to find a blog-worthy subject since getting home from France.  Ahh, what a trip.  I hereby vow to NOT let 20 years go by again before I get there next. It will certainly fill my thoughts for a while, but now, on to spring!

    Look at these lovely wildflowers the kids brought me after walking the dog the other night:

    Aren't they sweet? And I've always loved this little vase - it just has one little hole with a frog inside, and you can stick in one flower or a few - very simple.

    On the other end of the spectrum are these store bought mums that were stuck in a bigger arrangement.  The showy flowers died, but I clipped these out and I just love the color on their own:

    They would be pretty printed onto fabric, wouldn't they?

    It’s supposed to warm up as the week progresses – I can’t wait for more blooms!