Sewing Feed

Sweet Little Red Tables

Happy Friday, my friends!

I wanted to show you a couple of neat new things in my home office space ... both are gifts from my mother. The first is a pretty red and blue skirt, tailored to fit around an old table that serves as a second desk in this room.

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This table is actually the bottom half of a little white hutch we had in our very first kitchen! The skirt dresses it up a bit and hides the age/wear and tear. I picked the fabric out and Mum sewed it up for me - we attached it with sticky-back velcro dots!

Red table print

Next is this tiny and cheerful red table, just the right size for Little Bear ...

Red tables 1 

Long ago, it was once mine (though it was a soft yellow then) ... and before that it was my mother's ... and before that, it belonged to my Great Aunt Frannie! We think it's about 80 years old or more. Clearly it's well made to have lasted so long!

For now I placed a favorite puzzle of LB's and a few books on it. Eventually I'll add a small chair and he can sit and draw/color etc. while Mama works at her desk just beside. 

Red tables 4

(And p.s. I know it's been some time since I followed up on that Desk Do-Over post ... it's a-comin' I promise!)

My friends, I hope you all have a lovely weekend ... did you see any snow today? We woke to the prettiest, softest snow falling ... everything was just covered ... but then it melted away as the sun came out later in the day. Still very cold, though! Unseasonably cold through the weekend!

Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone ... see you here again very soon!


Pretty Pineapples!

Pineapple curtains 1

When I made up Earlybird's learning wall, I had to move out the somewhat superflous nature shelves. I pared down and relocated our nature stuff, but then was left with a small yet useful, unfinished bookcase. Never one to waste a good bookcase, I asked Bill about moving it to the dining room, as storage for the boys' schoolwork (which previously had been stashed in tote bags). The older boys do the bulk of their lessons at the kitchen island on the dining room side, so it makes sense to keep their materials nearby. And yet, we finally got our dining room looking somewhat "formal" (i.e. like a dining room), so I was hesitant to introduce the inevitable mess of school materials into the space. 

ALL THAT SAID ... we did move the bookcase to this room, and we did fill it with schoolwork (textbooks, binders, paperbacks and the like) ... and it did look kind of messy ... but then I had a thought:

What about curtains?

And since curtains usually involve sewing, my next thought was:

Call Mum.

So that's just what I did! And over the weekend we got over to the fabric store and purchased a tension rod and a yard of some pretty patterned cotton. And just a couple of days later, thanks to my mum ...

Pineapple curtains 6

We had curtains for our bookcase!

Pineapple curtains 4

Pineapple curtains 5

And we just love them!

I happy with the bookcase here, and I just love the pretty fabric against the yellow walls, but as my mum pointed out, if we move the bookcase back to the learning room someday, the curtains will also go very nicely with that room's green walls. :)

But the first issue at hand, is to make these curtains decidedly less interesting to Archie, who is seemingly convinced this is a new playspace just for him.

Pineapple curtains 2

Lol.

Well, my friends, thanks so much for stopping by today. I appreciate your time and attention! And wow, it's Thursday already? That's a "desk day" here for me ... but whatever your day brings, I hope you make it a good one!

See you here again very soon ...


A Little Sewing "Advice" & a Giveaway!

Sewing advice

My mother received this from a friend of ours, and I just had to share. :)

How far we've come, ladies! I'm not much of a sewer myself, but I'd wager a guess it's difficult to find time to sew period - let alone worry about your lipstick and powder! And yet, the part about taking care of distractions before starting in on something you enjoy makes sense. Bill always kids me that before I sit down to write (or craft or bake or putter) I "need" to clean the house first. Lol, I can't have my fun if I'm distracted by chores left undone.

But I suppose sewing was more of a task than a hobby back then, wasn't it? Back when torn clothes were mended and curtains were homemade?

***

Now ... about that giveaway! Just because I don't sew often (or well), doesn't mean I don't have a fair size stash of sewing paraphernalia. So I've been sorting through my craft boxes downstairs - trying to discern what I have and what I need - and I came across this little book I've owned for years ...

Mary francis book

... and I thought, I would love to pass this on for someone else to enjoy. :)

Not that it's not lovely - it is! But it was something of an impulse buy, and it's not something I need anymore ...

So!

If you'd like to enter my giveaway, please take a moment to answer the following question:

Do you sew? And if so, is it a hobby or part of your homekeeping routine? If you're not a sewer, please feel free to tell me what it is you do enjoy as a hobby. I'm all ears ... :)

At the close of the weekend I'll choose a name from the comments, and announce it here Monday morning. So good luck, and I hope to hear from you! I love to talk hobbies and I'm eager to hear about yours.

Have a great weekend, my friends!


As Far as I Got ...

... at my handcraft circle the other night:

Stitching1

I'm working with a soft green shade of wool felt right now, as well as some basic embroidery thread. Can you see all the tiny orange leaf-stars I made? (I call them "leaf-stars" because I meant to make leaves, but could only manage little star shapes. ;) I kind of like the storytelling possibilities actually - whatever this project becomes, it will probably be something for the children.)

My stitches may not be so fine, but I find the colors and texture soothing:

Stitching2_2

At one point, I attempted to make this into a maple leaf, as the outline seemed to suggest that shape. I abandoned that idea after it became too complicated, though. I may try to make some brown tree branches instead.

As you can probably guess, I talked far more than I crafted! But it was so much fun. My gracious hostess had music playing, brownies baking and candles burning throughout her lovely home. She even put out an array of her knitting books for her guests to peruse. I may not have come home with a lot of work done, but I certainly came home inspired and refreshed.

In my quest to find a crafting niche, I find I am gravitating towards hand embroidery. (I say hand embroidery, because I don't own a machine yet. Baby steps, right?) I'm not very good at it yet - notice I'm not showing you the back of my hoop, lol - but I do love the look and feel of it. I think I will concentrate my attention in this area.

To that end, I just ordered this kit (top set) from here. I am so excited! I have NO idea what I will do with these little designs, once (or, dare I say, if!) I make them, but I'm sure I'll think of something. Maybe I'll make a drawstring bag for our nature puppets? Those be-hatted squirrels would look right at home on such a thing! Hmmm ... this would be a nice birthday gift for my Earlybird who turns six in December. Two months should be enough time right? ;)


Crafters Night!

I have no time to blog tonight, because I am on my way out to my very first Knitting Circle! Actually, luckily for me, all kinds of handcrafters are invited, not just knitters. Sure I've knitted before, but I'm sort of a random crafter - I dabble and dream more than I actually finish things. ;)

So, I have my bag all packed ...

Knitnight1

.. with autumn-hued yarn, felt, embroidery thread and oatmeal-colored linen. Hopefully I'll feel inspired to start something!

But just in case I draw a blank, I am also packing a bunch of craft magazines and idea books, as well as my two most recent journals, in which I have taped loads of clippings and pictures from all kinds of places. I would like to at least maybe write out a handmade gifts list for Christmas. (Oh, and speaking of handmade gifts, ahem, the Loveliness Fair on this very subject will be right here on November 5th! Stay tuned for more details soon!)

Well, so much for no time to blog, lol. You know I can always eke out a paragraph or two, even on my way out the door.

Have a great night, everyone. I'm off to craft!

Knitnight3


September Sewing

Just a quick note before the day gets underway ...

September is National Sewing Month and today's Martha is all about sewing! It looks to be aVintagewomen4 great show with lots of tips and ideas.

Of course, as a conscientious home educator, I would not even dream of interrupting a busy Monday morning to watch tv - except in the case of Nova perhaps, or an occasional Magic School Bus. ;) But you can bet your bottom dollar, I'll be watching the show later on Tivo!

So by now, you all must know what a sewing wannabe I am, lol. I am particularly interested in learning to do small embroidery projects, pretty little things like this (second photo) and this (first photo). And gracious, how cute are these?!

Well, all right, I'm off to make breakfast. Happy Monday, folks! :)


A Big Day (and a little craft) for Earlybird!

Card1

He got his very own library card yesterday!

Well, September is National Library Card Sign-up Month, don't you know?

I've had it in mind to bring EB to the library one day this month for a card, but I was waiting for just the right day. We're still working on those skills that make library visits do-able: not running (but walking), with mama (not ahead of), using inside voices (whispers, even), handling books gently. Those kinds of things. :)

Well, yesterday was the day. Earlybird had an hour's worth of occupational therapy in the morning, a really good, productive session. He was very relaxed when his therapist brought him out - "organized" as they call it. And it just so happened I had a book on hold at my local branch ... so we headed on over!

At our library a child must be 4 to get a card. At one point they also had to be able to sign their name or some such nonsense, but that rule's no longer enforced. We all walked up to the counter and I said hello to the librarian and explained that my littlest guy was ready for his own card. So she leaned over, smiled at him and said, "And what is your name?"

"I see a book all abowt twains?" came the eager reply.

"Oh, we have lots of books about trains!" the librarian said with a smile. So, card in hand, we started perusing the shelves. We kept it to three books for this first time - two about trains and one about planets. Twenty minutes later we headed home, EB's oversized Space Atlas cradled in his arms, a huge smile on his face.

After lunch, I decided to make a little felt pouch for EB to keep his card in. Mind you, I have very little sewing skill, so I kept the craft as simple as possible. ;)

I began with woolen felt, colorful yarn, embroidery floss and buttons, all things I had on hand (I have a curious amount of fiber art materials in stock for a non-sewer, lol):

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Naturally, I got lots of help with measuring and choosing buttons:

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While I worked, Earlybird folded his own felt pieces. There's just something about woolen felt, it feels so good in your hands.

Card4

I cut the piece of felt and pinned it into a pouch shape.

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Once the edges were sewn (please excuse the messy stitches!) EB chose a green button and I sewed that on, too. That was an adventure, lol! :)

Card6

Finally we had the pouch done. I attached a length of yarn so EB could "wear" his card when we visit the library.

Card8

Even our cat, Penny thought the pouch was great!

Card9

And here's my Earlybird sitting by "his" library shelves. The bottom two shelves of this bookcase are reserved for his special books.

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Well, I already have orders for two more pouches - both Bookworm and Crackerjack thought it was a spiffy idea! (Isn't it great when the older kids think something the youngest has is really cool?) I'll make theirs without straps though - they can just keep their card pouches inside their backpacks.

So, to continue our fun (and skill practice), I'm going to set up a library-themed dramatic play corner for EB. I'm also thinking about arranging a short library tour with our children's librarian (who is the sweetest lady and who personally welcomed EB to the library yesterday). But of course, the best part of all is that there will be more and more books to read!

As the ALA says, your library card is the most important school supply of all. :)


Afternoon Delights

Well, it's been a very nice afternoon.

I found a lovely craft blog and all because I made time to sit down and read this magazine (which also has a blog, and is probably too young for me, but I liked it anyway). In this post they talked about aprons which have been very much on my mind lately. They also talked about this sewing book which my friend Elizabeth recently recommended and naturally said book very quickly landed itself in my Amazon cart. Which is kind of funny because I have no sewing skills to speak of (and no sewing machine either), but oh, how I long to sew ...

By the way, in that post there are lots of links to apron patterns as well as a link to another nice blog that links to LOTS of homemade aprons for sale! (Just in case that sewing thing doesn't work out.)

And what, you might wonder, has been neglected whilst I look at these magazines, peruse these blogs and surf the virtual shelves of amazon?

Messydesk

Good grief! However did THIS happen? Not to worry, though, I'm on it.

Just let me finish this post.

Oh, and in completely unrelated news, a good friend and I are taking our bunch o' boys to see Shrek III on Friday; I'll order the tickets online tomorrow. I am sure I will enjoy the movie, though I suspect it might be a tad fresh. As the mother of all boys, I am required to enjoy the goofy-movie-genre on some level, even if I have to sometimes put my fingers in my ears and sing lalalalalala to myself.

But I must admit I'm really looking forward to seeing Nancy Drew on June 15th. She was hands-down my most favorite literary heroine when I was a girl. (Can you have a most favorite or is that being redundant, lol?) I read her books, over and over, and I wanted to be just like her, right down to her smart skirts and sensible shoes. The movie looks so cute I can't stand it. Bookworm wants to see it too, but I suspect for him it's more about a slight crush on Emma Roberts than anything else.

But you didn't hear that from me. ;)

Goodness it's a nice day. Warm and sort of cloudy, lots of birds singing, everything looks so green - it's like England. (I like to think.) I just brought in some lilacs (Ascension Flowers) for tomorrow and put a chicken pie in the oven. A rumble of thunder just pealed in the distance. We're cozy at home, as the light dims and we just may need to light a candle or two.

This post was a little punchy, I realize, but that's spring fever for you. I think it's officially set in.

Did I mention the Sox are in first place? :)

Happy Spring!


My Apron for the Day

Well, I was so inspired by all the apron making and wearing going on around here I just had to participate somehow. I thought about it all morning, and it was all I could do not to steer the van over to the fabric shop on the way home from speech. (It would have been completely fruitless anyway with my three boys in tow, lol.) I'll have to look at patterns online today; I'm sure a google search will bring something up (and if you know of a place to look, please do drop me a line!).

After we got home, I remembered I do in fact have my grandmother's apron tucked away somewhere. As I remember, it's a pale green cotton with white embroidery and wide sash ties at the waist - so I got the boys their lunch and then set off to search. I couldn't find it (it might be in the hope chest which must be jimmied open by Bill as I can't find the key) but I did find a nice tea towel that my grandmother embroidered and monogrammed years and years ago. I simply fastened the towel around my waist with a safety pin! It might be cheating a little, but it did feel really nice to wear!

Apron1

(I'm not usually so camera shy, but this was the one and only shot Bookworm got before my camera batteries died.)

The Kitchen Madonna, hostess of today's Apron Event, graciously left me a comment in my earlier post and she said this about aprons:

"They really conjure up all sorts of feelings in the woman who wears them and in those who see you in one! Really! Try it!"

My goodness, she was right! It felt very feminine and maternal. It felt like "this is who I am, this is what I do, and I'm proud." It also felt purposeful, practical and, well, nifty! I could see how pockets would be very handy and how an apron with a full bodice would also be convenient.

Just as I was getting the hang of it, the mailman appeared at the door and he barely batted an eye that I was wearing a towel at my waist. (Not that I'd expect him to of course, but I felt like quite the lady of the house, wiping my hands on my apron and rushing to the door to accept today's package. Which, by the way, contained organic lollipops for Earlybird, and this book, a Mother's Day gift from Bill.)

As the door swung closed, I paused to notice the spring birds singing, the leafy boughs bending in the breeze, and the sunshine washing our lawn in soft light. (Along with my makeshift apron, I daresay I slipped on a pair of rose-colored glasses.)

Here's a close up of the embroidery detail which includes my grandmother's monogram ...

Apron2

Though, come to think of it, this is my mum's monogram too! I wonder if this tea towel was hers? I'll have to ask. Either way, I'm glad I pulled it out of the back of the closet. Until I make my own "official" apron, this one will serve me very nicely.

Honestly, maybe it's the glorious spring weather, but I have had such a nesting surge of late! Bill is putting up a clothesline for me, and preparing a small raised bed out back where I can grow some vegetables this summer. I can't wait to pick out a new broom, a few new sponges and make up a bucket of homemade lavender cleaner ... It's good to enjoy your work, don't you think?

I have always loved being a wife, mother and homekeeper. But you know, sometimes housekeeping can seem a bit more like a chore than at other times. Lately I have felt a renewed and deep sense of blessing - that these are my duties, this is my home, these are the people who rely on me for good food, a soft place to lie their heads, clean and fresh surroundings. How very blessed I am to call all these little tasks, this beloved place - all these dear people - my responsibilities.

We are all so blessed, are we not?