Thursday, July 29, 2010

Painting II: Sky Blue Walls

Because I painted my daughter's room, I also painted my son's room. Everything is EQUAL around here. He wanted dark blue instead of light blue walls. We compromised with this in-between color that reminds me of a sunny, cloudless sky. I had a little help with the painting and constant companionship from a varying audience of my son, my daughter and her friend, the cats, and the dog. We listened to my favorite stations on Pandora, NPR programs, and a few chapters about Gregor in the third book of his adventures in the Underworld.

Painting is so satisfying.

And now, he wants curtains. EQUAL!

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Painting (and Sewing) I: Lavender

I haven't been around the blog in a few days because I've been busy painting two bedrooms and sewing for one. My 10-year-old daughter needed an update. I had promised to re-do her room at the beginning of the summer, and since I return to work next Tuesday, I had to get busy!

Gone are the green walls, curtains, and rug that we inherited when we moved into this house about 5 years ago. Instead, we painted lavender walls and made curtains and a duvet cover based on patterns and instructions in Meg McElwee's book, Sew Liberated. We still have a few finishing touches-- organizing stuff, cleaning the closet, sewing a new sham & a seat cover for the desk hair, making fabric covered bulletin boards, and re-hanging some artwork.

We love the new look-- perfect for a tween and her dolls.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Afternoons This Week

Two cups of tea,
two sewing machines,
two sisters,
and two sewing projects.

One cat who does a little of everything:
reclining on the IPad with the instructions for one of the sewing projects,
sniffing the sewing machines,
playing with bits of ribbon and string,
batting bunches of fabric,
fetching a ball,
messing up my applique design.

Two hours of afternoon entertainment. All three of us were purring.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Loving Butterflies

Silver-spotted Skipper(Epargyreus clarus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) --orange and black on the
center purple butterfly bush flowers

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

All four of these photos were taken on Monday afternoon when our butterfly garden was buzzing with bees, wasps, and butterflies. At one point, all 4 butterflies were in the same frame of my camera, but the photo didn't come out well. I hope I have identified these correctly. I'm least sure about the Red Admiral, but this photo isn't as close. I used this site to help me discover the names of these creatures.

Because monarchs and swallowtails are so large and beautiful, it is tempting to take all of my photos of them. I'm trying to branch out, however, and see how many different kind of butterflies I can find in my little patch of flowers for the rest of the summer. Late afternoon, if a thunderstorm isn't blowing over, is the best time for butterfly activity.

Do you have a butterfly garden? What are you seeing in yours?

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

More Loving

: : my son reading in the morning in our maple tree

: : a blur of blue and black wings on Harlequin Glorybower flowers

: : a small, heirloom tomato raised from seedlings shared by a fellow teacher at the end of the school year

: : this newly bloomed, golden zinnia

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Small & Large Sewing

I made this small sewing machine for very small projects. My daughter put the rest of the mini-sewing kit together-- small bits of fabric, small spools of thread (the travel kit kind), small buttons, small scraps of elastic, the small strawberry from my larger strawberry pincushion, and a button shaped like a pair of scissors. Perfect for small hands. She even put together a mini knitting basket using toothpicks for the knitting needles!

We also have a large sewing project planned. After looking online at pages and pages of girl's bedroom linens and "tween" sets, we decided to design our own using the paint colors she picked out at the hardware store. Very soon, she will have a lavender and light aqua room with purple and pink accents. We plan to sew curtains, a duvet cover, and paint before school starts. The best part is that we will design, sew, and paint together.

I love that my 10 year-old daughter is still young enough to play with her dolls and old enough play an equal part in a large project. Let's add this to my Loving list.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010


: : these zinnias outside of my kitchen window

: : the places my cats sleep

: : block printing with 10/11 year-olds

: : sewing with friends young and wise

Good times of the summer.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010


Call me Scarlett, please. I have made a skirt lined with an old curtain. It is a Barcelona skirt, to be exact, and the lining is a re-purposed, muslin curtain from days in the "Gin House" (our house in Tunica that was next to a cotton gin). The curtain was moved to 4 houses after the Gin House because I always knew that I would do something with it. I have more of these muslin curtains, and I have a feeling that I'll make another one of these skirts soon. I may also re-use these curtains in some quilts within the year. Stay tuned!

invisible zipper detail

lining detail

The skirt was a joy to make even though I ruined the first zipper attempt and had to make a run to the fabric store for another zipper. The hardest part about the invisible zipper was figuring out how to put the invisible zipper foot on my machine. I persevered, may have said a choice word or two, and learned how to put in an invisible zipper and a lining! Through making the other two garments shown with the skirt in the first and last photos, I have learned several new "intermediate" sewing skills including waist darts, facings, and pleats. The orange print dress is Built By Wendy's Simplicity 3835. The purple tunic/dress is Sew Liberated's Schoolhouse Tunic.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010


One of my main goals for the summer is to clean out and organize the house from top to bottom. Ambitious, I know, but I have started!

Is it cheating if in the process of organizing and cleaning out my knitting stash and supplies (previously scattered in 5 different places) I decided to actually finish some projects? The first finish was my socks. Then, I wove in the ends to five washcloths, fingerless mits, and a log cabin blanket. Then, I frogged several flawed projects from my early knitting days to reclaim some nice yarn. Then, I felted (instead of frogging) a largish, circular, rug I made during Hurricane Katrina. Then, I decided to look for a good sweater pattern to knit as my first sweater: thinking of this one. Any other suggestions?

I'm definitely and hopelessly diverted, but I did gather all of my knitting supplies in one place, and I discovered a leak behind a wall (the shower?) that warped some floorboards beneath boxes full of stuff. You never know where finishing a bunch of old projects will lead. This time, weaving in ends = calling a plumber.

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