Friday, April 29, 2016

Eagle Signs. Or Taking The Wrong Path.

Eagle Signs
We explore and play,
All the long Spring day,
On the cliffs overlooking the plains.

Rest a while,
Ponder and gaze,
At everything the same and everything changed.

Under naked skies of blue,
and over fields of tan promise,
We breathe deep.  And climb steep.

Taking the wrong path,
Finding just where we were meant to be.
As always.

The eagle's nest was a sign.
The herons sealed the deal.
Sometimes taking the "wrong" path leads to the most wonderful of discoveries, to new possibilities and adventures not yet imagined.  As someone who struggles when things don't go according to plan I should remember take this to heart. I could be about to stumble upon some fantastic metaphorical eagle's nest.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I Could Make That! The Papasan Cushion

We inherited a papasan chair from someone.  Or maybe we bought it at a garage sale.  I really don't remember.
What I do remember is that we ruined the pillow this winter.  We forgot to move the chair into the garage before it snowed (since this was The-Winter-That-Never-Was) with the result that the one time we got a decent amount of snowfall it filled the papasan like a bowl.  Matt tried to pull the cushion off to shake the snow out.  Lo and behold, the fabric was frozen to the wooden frame of the chair.  Riiiiiiiiiiipppp!
All of the sudden the guts were come out of the cushion all over the place.  After picking up a few wayward balls of fluff from the yard in the following weeks I came to the conclusion that I needed to make a great big pillowcase for it.  Something to keep all those guts in.
Johnny helped me pick out the fabric.  By that I mean, she laid on it and bathed herself while I rooted around in my stash.  She was right.  This was the one.
As it happens, I had been reading up on making circle skirts.  Using this knowledge as a starting point I folded a huge piece of floral into quarters, used a pen on a string to mark the radius I'd need, and cut along that line.  That left me with two big circles which I sewed together and finished with an absurdly long sport zipper.  I wan't sure how easy it would be to install a zipper along the curved outer edge of the pillowcase, but it was a snap.  I gotta say, I felt like a wicked genius (okay, slight exaggeration) about the whole thing.  Matt was so impressed that the pillowcase was round and not square, as he'd envisioned, which was very gratifying.  He is so supportive of my sewing.
I'd always wondered what I'd do with a nylon zipper that was three feet long....
The whole thing cost me essentially nothing, save thread and my time--and it didn't even take much of latter.  The zipper was part of a 20-for-$2 garage sale deal.  The fabric was something I already had, no doubt a gift from my mother.  I did have to piece a couple smaller segments together to get the width I needed for such a large pillowcase.  The leave and vine motif on the fabric seemed well suited for the patio.
Needless to say, the papasan is looking MUCH better.  Ginger approves of the new cushion, which is good since she sits in at much as anyone else around here.  I can't blame her.  The view over the garden is good.
The view.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Fuller Skirt on "My" Dress

I tried altering a dress pattern for the first time. 
I love “my” dress, but was thinking that I  would enjoy it even more with a little fuller skirt.  I thought it would make the already-great dress even better for twirling, running, climbing, hopping on a bicycle, etc.
So, I did a little researching online (which was only minimally helpful, surprisingly) and then poured over my collection of sewing books (where I found one page on princess seam alterations).  From this research I gathered that the best way to add fullness to the skirt was to slightly increase each of the skirt's pieces.  So, I added taped some paper together and cut myself a small triangle.  I tacked this on to each of the skirt's tissue paper pattern pieces.  I wanted the waist to stay the same so I had the triangle taper to a point just below the waistline.
And it worked!  The skirt is fuller, but still fits and looks normal!  Huzzah.
I love it when my dabbling turns out so well on the first go.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Transplanting Onions With Ginger

We transplanted onions out to the garden yesterday.  We're growing onions from seed and from sets.  Sets are sure simple so, why not?!  However, starting from seeds allow us to select varieties that are better for keeping in storage.  After I was done with the transplanting I took a little stroll around the garden admiring all the signs of new life.  Spring.  Ah, spring.
Onion seedlings.
Parsley.
Wee spinach plants.
Bok Choy
Onion sets sprouting.
Garlic.
Ginger is happy we're spending so much time outside again.  She'd love it if we could all just move into the backyard forever.  But, she can't convince us, no matter how she tries.
Meanwhile, the peppers under the lights in the seedling nursery have me awfully excited, too.  We've been out of sweet peppers for a month now and those seedlings look so happy.  I am very excited.
Pepper seedlings.
Pepper plant.
Red cabbage.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

All It Takes is a Ruffle

Sometimes I have a hard time breaking out of my happy routine.  I know what I like and am happy to have it again and again and again.  When we go out to eat--a special treat for us--we always go to the same Thai restaurant and always order the exact same thing every time.  I tried other things, but have settled on my favorite dish.  Anything else is just a little disappointing by comparison.
Same with dresses.  I've made a couple styles, but have settled on my favorite.  I tried branching out from "my" dress and made this Cynthia Rowley dress, which is totally cute, but eventually proved too short to be functional for my life.  (This is what I get for branching out!) I need to be able to bend over at the waist and swing a leg over my bicycle without worrying about being indecent or its just not practical.  Even immediately after making it I knew, deep down, it was too short for me.  I mean, the hem fell above my knee and all, but I figured I could make do with leggings or something.  In the end though, I just never wore it.  It was just too short.  It hung, abandoned, in the closet having been worn just a couple times since completion.  I considered donating it, but am so hesitant to do that with my me-made clothes, labors of love and so unique as they are.
After thinking it over a while I realized that I had some of the blue fabric left.  I pulled it out and lo and behold, there was enough for an eight inch ruffle.  Problem solved.
I cut the fabric into a long strip (eight inches wide plus the seam allowance).  I wasn't sure how long to make it and so just eye-balled it!  And it actually worked on the first try!  Ha!  Look at me go!  I had to piece it together a little from the fabric I had left over so there  are a couple seams in my ruffle, but you can't really tell.
Honestly, I like how it looks better with the ruffle, too, not just the added length.  Plus, its got a nice twirl to it now.
I had sort of convinced myself that I wouldn't try this pattern again.  I mean, I'd hardly worn the first one so I couldn't really justify it.  I've been wearing this ruffled version a lot already though so now I am thinking that I might make it again the exact same way!  Ruffles are fun.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Last of the Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes and other holiday yummyness.  November 2014  
We polished off the last of the 2015 potatoes a few days ago.  Matt and I love potatoes served in pretty much any fashion--baked, mashed, fried, scalloped, wedges--you name it.  We eat them easily five times per week, usually for breakfast.  We started to eat our 2015 crop in late June, but the majority were dug in late October.   That is more than half a year of homegrown potatoes.  Someday we hope to make it the whole year round.
A fairly typical breakfast burrito.  October 2015
Its sad to see the potato sacks fall empty, but there are wee green things sprouted for our 2016 garden and so the cycle begins again.  Its quite satisfying.
Cabbage seedlings.  March 2014