Monday, May 25, 2009

Two Sewing Questions

A long weekend is good. Since I usually work on Saturdays, it's nice to sometimes get two days off with everyone home. Yesterday there was sewing in the morning. No pictures because I was too busy doing it to document it. But my first border is done! Hooray! I am over the hump of fear. 
But now I pose a question: how does one go about (accurately) cutting such a long length of fabric, for my NEXT border (6.5" wide)? I just have never dealt with a piece of fabric this big and unwieldy. Help? Please? I own the big cutting mat and rotary cutter, if that's part of the solution here. Perhaps it's good, old fashioned scissors and chalk?
A clever person 
and her homemade grilled-cheese toasting stick
(note the grill lines!)
Also, for you true seamstresses out there, I am thinking of making some pajama pants for my boys. How thrilling that, although it appears I have a pre-teen on my hands (thanks, Lex!), when I told him of this idea, his response was AWESOME! I am thinking simple, perhaps using the Owl fabric we so adore. 

Wild lady slipper, rare and lovely
(why it's called a lady slipper when it looks like a scrotum, I am not sure)

My thought is to simply take two pairs of PJ pants that are comfortable (but now capri length, so fetching to see those boy ankles hanging out), fold in half so the crotch part is neatly pulled out to one side, then trace around and add some length. 

View from the top
Here's sewing question number two. Is there a reason why I shouldn't just fold my fabric and cut it so that there is no seam on the outer leg (that would be the fabric fold part), only a seam on the inner leg? I am asking out of laziness, but I will take advice to the contrary.

The trick to hiking with kids is: Food and Other Kids. We had both. Our snack up top was fresh pineapple and apricot-coconut-maple scones, displayed here on my Maine tea towel. With other kids, the grown-ups don't have to listen to whining and they are free to talk and visit! With your own kids, alone, it's nothing but "when are we getting there?" every other minute. It's our favorite summer blueberry hike, and I am happy to tell you there were many bees hard at work on the blueberry flowers.

It was a perfect hike on a perfect day: the sun was sunny, the bugs were deterred by the light breeze, it was warm, but not too hot. I felt especially lucky to live in Maine today and be on a mountain with friends.

So, please advise on those two sewing questions, if you are able to. And thank you!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Friday night with one child

Since Sylvan was watching a baseball game with a friend last evening, we got to have dinner with just Jonas, followed by dessert and lime yogurt cake (from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg) and a game.

Me looking fab in my new apron

Something you should know is that Jake and Jonas have a passion for strategy games with about a million rules (Wizard Kings, Settlers of Catan, Carcasonne, Race to the Galaxy---I call this last one Race to Boredom, and I always win!). The games take forever and I usually forget many of the rules all the time, and just ask Jonas for his opinion about what I should do. He's very fair that way. Jonas is also a cutthroat Monopoly player and collects various editions, and I will never, ever play this game with him. Frankly, I'd rather knit or sew. Or watch my fingernails grow.

Thankfully, his two grandmothers introduced him to Scrabble (my cup of tea), and for a beginning player and speller, he did great. I look forward to playing with him.

So what I am saying is that finding a family game that we can ALL (even Sylvan) play, is somewhat rare. We have found lots of fun in Pick Picnic, which is great for all ages, if you can handle that sometimes the wily fox makes off with one of your flock.

Jonas scored a $2 game of Life at the Goodwill this week, circa 1991 edition. It is so totally devoid of strategy, so dorky in its "American Values," so patently ridiculous, but somehow we all love it. We pick our spouses at random (because you fall in love with who you fall in love with, right?), so sometimes we have same-sex partners, which is our token towards a reflection of our own values.
Boringly, you can see I drew the career of Doctor, but love that $100, 000 salary!

And Jake, last night's winner, started out as A Super Star globe-trotting playboy (he kept winging off on trips to Florida and Africa) and turned out to have also found a solution to pollution, won a Nobel Prize, among other honors through his collection of Life cards. But do you love this graphic or what?

You CAN be a winner at the game of Life (this was the advertising jingle I remember from childhood)! What's on your weekend agenda?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Flowers and The Importance of Hands

Views of a birthday bouquet
from J.
these hands I love 
making pizza so effortlessly on Sunday;
on Tuesday the right one got a deep puncture
in two places
no writing (for a teacher), no shoveling manure in the garden,
no dishes, no shirt cuff buttons.
be grateful for your hands today and all they do for you.
ready at the plate!

Swap Love

two hankies for that Sew Groovy one,
with a Scrabble tile that happened to be on the floor
in her first initial!
Maybe you've stopped by A Sew Groovy Chick's place and seen her amazing creations for yourself, like these ones here and here and here. I have been an admirer of this woman's eye for color, bravery with bold fabrics, and attention for the technical details. It was with some shyness that I proposed a swap with her: a Buttercup bag (with a couple of hankies thrown in), made with love by me (a non-expert beginner bag-maker) for whatever she wanted to make me, because I was sure I would love it. I did and do!

Her package arrived first. But since mine wasn't done yet, I let it sit quietly on my kitchen window seat until mine was in the mail. Here's the card she sent, using selvedge edges and little strips to make a mini-quilt:

tiny, neat handwriting and kind words!

And inside the package, was THIS riot of color. Check Sew Groovy's post with her photos, as I was not able to capture the true colors of the bag's goodness.
my own cafe apron, an Amy Butler Swing Bag, and two fat quarters
she added a layer of cotton between the exterior and interior, 
so it's sturdy and can hold a book or two
(she must know me!)
love those interior sunbursts and spirals

goth cafe apron---reversible
and so cool

So. Here's what I sent to her (read her post here). This Buttercup bag, with buttons found in the store by Sylvan that were a perfect complement:

Matryoshka fabric lining---
Must remember to ask her about her Russian connections,
she alluded to being in Moscow and St. Petersburg at one time

So, thanks ever so much for playing, Ana! Thank you for saying yes, and for the wonderful gifts of love that you sent me. They are treasures! Wear your Buttercup with pride!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rainy, Green Sunday

It's apple blossom time.

Two lovely packages arrived for me yesterday from friends. In one, I found this treasure trove of media from a very dear friend. The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resiliency by Rob Hopkins (view Youtube interview here), articles to read that question the relevance of homework, and a DVD called The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. So exciting. I can't wait to dive into this subject. I have been inspired by the idea of grassroots action and I think I might be ready to stick my neck out there for this important subject. 
I am also reading a young adult book right now called The Carbon Diaries, 2015 by Saci Lloyd, just to warm up to the topic, as it is being presented to youth. It's narrated by a funny, musical main character, whose family is dealing with carbon rationing in the UK with varying degrees of success. Some of it is really scary, but in a scarily realistic way, particularly in the way that it portrays the stresses this places on a family in an urban setting. I'm thinking...yikes, what would we do out here in our part of the world without public transport to get to our jobs? Would we have jobs to go to? I guess in many ways we would be better off, in that we can grow some of our own food. But. There are still some big Buts. I don't mean to make it out as bleak, because there is a healthy dose of teen angst, humor, romance (or lack of it), and I'm enjoying it.

New yellow bowl, set of three with bees on them.
If you look closely, it's also a self-portrait.
The other package, which I am showing great restraint in NOT OPENING, is a swap that I am doing with A Sew Groovy Chick! I want to have MY part of the swap in the mail to her before I open my package from her, and hers will be ready to go out tomorrow.

Breakfast tray for the soon-to-be birthday boy,
turning 35 tomorrow.

Fruit tart by Hannah, who brought it as my gift last weekend. The tart and the tart pan!
The custard was lovely and lemony. And in the new carbon world order, all but the strawberries will be completely irrelevant to me. No more mangoes and kiwis and lemons for people who live in Maine. So let's enjoy these gorgeous colors and artistry while we can.
Eating local can be beautiful and delicious also...Stay tuned!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm the lucky one

That's me and my mom, dancing to a Dan Hicks tune,
played by Toki and John, 
who gave their music so generously and spontaneously.

The abundant weekend was delicious from start to finish. 

Family (two moms, two dads, one mother-in-law, plus the usual Us) and friends and colleagues helped me celebrate my graduation. The party was organized by my dad and step-mom (with help from dear husband--great table-mover in the rain, that one,  even if he did keep trying to get us to accept lasagna as our main meal), both of whom are quite expert at giving events. 

We had hula hoops and a lovely harbor:

And a sweet venue in the cozy Rockport Boat Club.
That's her, Annie the Amazing!
The eating was great, since the amazing Annie of Artichokes and Asparagus was our caterer extraordinaire. (Keep checking her blog, she said she will have some recipes posted soon.) We had salmon with tri-pepper salsa, lemon-rosemary chicken, orzo with shitakes, lentil salad with roasted cumin and chard from Annie's garden, fresh asparagus, and her own sourdough bread.
 The butter had a Johnny Jump Up in it. Adorable.

When the sun came out, briefly, the blogger graduate
leapt from her chair and delicious meal
 to snap some photos.
This lettuce is saying "cheese!"
It was waiting all winter in Annie's garden
to be a decorative table element at my party.

The decorations were by Jonas and E. and Jenny of Lokel Yokel:

The letters of the Hooray were spelled out using feet.

Fabric and paint and fingerknitting, with permanent markers 
(and a cardboard piece for providing a solid back to lean against), 
were provided for guests to leave their kind words.

It was the perfect party, with a few of my special folks who were only able to attend in spirit. Mostly, it was pretty great to be there with so many people who mean so much to me all at one time. Without them,  I wouldn't have done it anyway.