Monthly Archives: July 2011

Some summer accessories


For the last couple years I have been sewing this pattern when I feel like I need a new wallet.  I’ve made it at least a half dozen times. It’s an awesome wallet because it has the right compartments for all my necessities, is a perfect size, and is straightforward and simple to make. I usually prefer the look of a snap closure to the velcro but this time I was sewing in the middle of the night (yes, that is reality with kids; sometimes a girl just needs a new wallet, and sometimes she’s already been rudely awakened in the middle of the the night…) and I didn’t want to wake anyone else up by my hammering in snaps. I sewed a decorative button on the front to make up for the velcro.

The fabric is scraps from my living room. I have no idea where I got the fusible fabric stiffener I used but it was awful. It didn’t provide much structure and it wrinkled the fabric. I’m tossing it out and hoping to not accidentally buy that brand again–who knew there was so much difference? I should keep better track of where I get stuff like that so I know not to waste money on it again. Still, I like my punchy new wallet.

(Aside: notice there is no wallpaper on the wall behind me? The family room is the last wallpaper-removal frontier! It will hopefully be painted yellow this time next week.)
In a break from this most recent home renovation push I stitched up a new skirt and matching headband. I’ve sewn this same skirt pattern over and over and over and over, but it’s so great. It’s just the skirt and waistband pieces from Simplicity 2758. I sew it in knits and leave out the zipper, making it super fast and comfortable. I’ve sewn it in varying lengths and with various embellishments around the hem so it doesn’t feel like I have six or so of the same skirt. This time I made it long, in a swishy and slightly shiny polyester knit.

I used scraps from the bottom ruffle to make little rosettes, which I glued onto a plain black headband. Of course now Dorothy wants one too. Rob took me to some sort of business dinner tonight that we interpreted as more of a social event (hence the long swishy skirt and floral headband, and we dropped off the kids with their grandparents) but it turned out to be more of a business event where exactly zero other participants brought a spouse, and everyone was dressed as if they’d come straight from work. Oops!  I felt like some sort of chubby trophy wife. But actually the event turned out to be rather fun, with an interesting speaker and yummy food.

And finally, some happy news regarding my car-related teeny tiny sorry ass first world problem. It’s over! I turned back in my unlovable rental and was reunited with my family car today. I managed not to make out with it in the parking lot but it was tough. (LOL, please.)

The house projects continue


We took a trip to Columbus, Ohio. Our puppy traveled well but we did feel like a traveling circus (a circus in a gas-guzzling rental car, since mine is still in the shop) barreling across Kentucky and Ohio with our collection of children and dog, ready to descend on the usually calm and tidy home of my sister-in-law. She’s good-natured, though, and seems fond of us anyway! I took this photo of some baby birds in the tree outside her home. The monks who wrote the beautiful puppy book I blogged about earlier suggested that dog ownership would make me see the world in new ways and they are right. As I get to know Belle better, I also notice that I have a more keen awareness of all the animal drama playing out around me. From other dogs on the street to the screechings of the poor mama bird as I photographed her children, I’m grateful for the new dimension puppy companionship has added to my life.


We visted the Santa Maria replica on a hot afternoon. Worth has developed a fascination with boats lately that unfortunately did not seem to extend to this one. I think it was too large for him to realize he was in a vessel rather than on the shore. We at least managed to keep him from going overboard, and the rest of us enjoyed the tour. 

When we got home from Ohio my mother and I embarked on our biggest interior painting project yet–the kitchen cabinets. Is my salt shaker rolling his eyes at us? Perhaps, since there is a great chaos in the kitchen. But I think (hope!) that it’s going to look great when we’re done. 

Painting cabinets is not for the faint of heart. I did it once before, when we lived in Oak Park, Illinois, and it was a big project then without kids or pups. Still, it’s now nearing completion and I’m excited to share before and after pictures soon!

Hazy but never lazy summer


Where does the time go? I’m offended that Target has back-to-school things out. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the heck out of our summer, in and out of the pool, playing with the dog, partying in the back yard, getting sunburned in spite of best intentions, still removing wallpaper occasionally but not doing too much crafting. There will be time for cozy indoor creativity later. Dorothy and I have been churning out cookie bouquets in the kitchen, however, since we all need to be in the air conditioning sometimes. I let her color on old CD adhesive labels, which we then stick to the plastic-wrapped cookies. That seems to be a good way to use those labels up as well as artfully decorate our goodies. Empty cans that used to house bottled coffee drinks make perfect small vases, and the link to cookie recipe we use is here. This bouquet went to a four-year-old friend with a birthday this week.

Vintage linens on the kid table, with flowers picked from the garden in a mason jar, all ready for a group of happy friends–does summer get any better than this?

And Miss Belle, who I think may actually have doubled her size since we adopted her, sporting her new Etsy collar with flower. She is growing strong on food from dishes sold by this store, and her sweet engraved tag came from here. These dog goodies were beyond my homemade ken, but I love being able to buy someone else’s creative works instead of the same old stuff from the big box stores.

I also have a happy update on my car woes. It seems that my car is fixable! I may only be in my ugly, gas-guzzling rental for one more week. I’m going to have to do something nice for my car when I get it back. Maybe a homemade trash can? Or new cover-up rugs for the floorboards? I’m so excited. There’s nothing to make you appreciate the status quo like having it temporarily compromised.

The garage door and an accidental nightie


Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend! We took the puppy to the celebration at Crescent Hill. We thought the pet-friendly event would be nice socialization for her and that if she got too sidetracked by the sights and the smells I could just carry her. That plan worked okay except I failed to anticipate the mobs of children and old men who would want to stop and pet the puppy. So we made our way slowly through the celebration and really that was just about perfect. There was enough time and puppy love to go around! My kids were also looking pretty cute in their patriotic hand-me-downs. (I [heart] generous friends with older children!)

I realized on the morning of the 4th that I didn’t really have anything red, white or blue I felt like wearing. I thought of some cute cherry fabric in my stash and I had just enough time before we were to meet friends at the celebration to whip up a new tank top. Unfortunately, even though I altered the pattern I’d used to make pajamas recently the tank was still too loose and poofy for me to want to wear it out in public.  I made do with a plain white t-shirt instead and will sew sleep shorts to match this tank, now an accidental nightie instead of day-wear.  Oh well, new pajamas are nice too, and I doubt I would have wanted to wear cherries on many days besides the 4th anyway.

This project is one Rob and I have worked on together over several weekends. Our detached garage was looking decrepit, with peeling paint on the door and a rusty old light. Rob sanded the door and we painted it in white with the gold in the grid to match our front and side entrance doors. Then Rob sanded and sprayed the light fixture red and that really perked it up, making it look like a garage that really belongs to us and our house instead of an afterthought stuck in the back yard. I think I’ll use red on some shutters on the side of the garage as well. The colors are consistent with what we’ve been doing on the side and front porches. I actually need to finish up that front porch and blog about it–the UPS woman made my day recently by asking where I’d purchased my (homemade) chair cushions in the front! I love giving this old house new life.