Archive for May, 2010

I’d really like to wear this on Thursday, but it’s not looking good.

I’m deep in the throes of a Momma Reincarnation project.  You may be familiar with the process or might even have gone through a similar one yourself.  It goes a little like this:  Momma wakes up one morning, out of a deep, deep haze, likely brought to by the scent of the body-warmed dried breast milk, now permanently entrenched in the fibers of her billowy, sweat-stained, easy-access nursing pajamas.  She scratches her head, trying to remember where she is, how she got there, appalled by the state of apparent bodily neglect.  Then it quickly comes rushing back to her – the endless months of pregnancy, adjusting to new baby, survival.  Unable to resist the gentle urging of Spring, this Momma Bear emerges from her hibernation.  Out of the cave, into the light, there is sunshine!  And mirrors.  A hip new haircut was executed.  (you may now confuse me for Maggie Gyllenhaal’s blonde identical twin)  Aforementioned pajamas were quickly relieved of their duty.

Monday morning

Thursday night marks the release of the second Sex and the City movie, and I will be joining some fantastic friends in screening it. There’s nothing like a good Girls’ Night Out to call for a reevaluation of the wardrobe, and I don’t think I need to say that Sex and the City demands a glammed-up dress code.  I’m sorry to say that my selection is pretty pathetic, so of course I’ve decided that the perfect outfit is one I shall make myself, specifically the Goddess top I’ve recently started knitting.  I’m knitting furiously, any spare moment I have, but it’s pretty slow-going.  Wearing a tube-top version is not an option.  While my left brain says there’s no way in hell I’ll complete it in time, my right brain argues that I really don’t know that for sure, so I’m giving it a good college try.  I haven’t decided yet on Plan B.

Tuesday morning

I made some progress from yesterday, sure, but there is both a front and a back; I’ve not yet started the back.

I’m now taking applications for round-the-clock knitting interns.

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Good Ship Lollipop

Our very first ballet recital has come and gone – our first as spectators and her first as a dancer.  We didn’t have the slightest idea what to expect for the day, knowing only that she would perform twice.  Would she be nervous on stage?  Refuse to dance?  Hardly.  Turns out she’s quite a ham.  No doubt invigorated by the thrill of being on stage, she danced some, waved to us some, practiced her winking (a hilarious sideways smile and blink of the eyes), gave a shout-out to her cousin in the audience, and then turned around and shook her imaginary kitty-cat tail.  Not once, but several times.  I laughed so hard I was a bawling mess. I shall be placing my order today for a video copy of the entire performance, which I believe also includes the rest of the class dancing to the Good Ship Lollipop, but I can’t be sure.  All I saw was that cat tail.

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We gardeners three

We’re beginning our third summer here on Five Green Acres, and I’m slowly getting a feel for how to tackle the summer landscaping.  It helps that I have such willing and capable hands to assist.

It also helps that I scored a mass of quirky-cool containers to house Grandma’s geraniums which have bloomed happily inside all winter.  They should get along nicely with some fresh, new begonias we picked up.

Three sets of eager hands helped tuck the plants into their new vessels and now our front walk is an explosion of blooming enamelware and coffee percolators.  It’s hard to create a grouping like this, bursting with different colors and textures, without making it look like a junk heap of discarded kitchenware.  I’m hoping that the geraniums, all the same luminous peachy-pink color will be enough of a unifying element to pull off the whole arrangement as clever.  I don’t think I’ll know if I pulled it off until the bloomers have had some time to fill out their new pots.  Here’s hoping.

Meanwhile, we’re digging in and reveling in the visceral pleasure of dirt, worms, and squishy, thick mud.  But the very  best part of all may be in washing it all off.

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How to hold a trout

Captain Daddio and Isadora have taken to the trout stream a couple of times already this spring. Most notable was last Sunday evening, when they set out to catch our supper and returned home with 3 beautiful trout.

It makes my heart swell with pride that it’s never once occurred to her to be afraid of touching a fish.  Daddio taught her how to hold each one just so and she’s had plenty to practice on, given the abundance of our stream.  I believe the running tally is something like Daddio: 2, Isadora: 8.  Not too shabby for a budding fisher-girl.

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Kids Clothes Week Start and Finish

It wasn’t a week of powerhouse sewing for the kids, like I had hoped when I jumped aboard Elsie Marley’s Kids Clothes Week sew-along.  But I did manage to transform this men’s shirt into a sweet dress for Isadora.



Nevermind any nonsense I might have uttered about a tutorial.  There was nothing about the process that would qualify me as expert enough to instruct anyone – you’ll have to figure it out as you go just like I did.  Project like these require lots of bravery and winging it.  First off, I had her try it on, marked where I wanted the side seams to be, marked a new hem, and then set about making those two changes.  After trying it on again, I realized that I should have never cut the hem in the first place – it was now way too short, so I ended up sewing it back on, but added some piping and a bit of gathering.  So it was a happy accident.  Taking in the shoulders allowed me to create a ruffle on both sides, which fulfilled her ‘Princess’ requirement.  I got rid of the pointy ’70s collar and attached binding to seal up the raw edges – love how that turned out.  And I was struck by how simply changing out buttons made a dramatic change for the better.  The top button is the one I switched out; the bottom button was the original.  (I switched out all of the buttons – just showed the two here for comparison)

Isn’t this a great print?  Deer frolicking in birches is always a good fashion move.  All in all, I’m happy with how it turned out, though there are many things I’d do differently.  Hopefully I can retain some of that experience in my next reconstruction project.  For now, though, The Girl has another summer dress, which takes an infinitesimal bit of pressure off of the looming laundry crisis.

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Meet the Girls!

It’s still Tuesday, right?  Ahem.  What a cold, rainy, grey, miserable week it has been.  Tuesday was spent entirely in pajamas, with no allowance for running outside and photographing said lambs.  Wednesday beckoned with a massive estate sale, so here we are on Thursday, ready to unveil the flock.  Finally.  Most of you were quite patient; thank you.  hee hee

Sylvia stands in front.  I think that from the moment I knew sheep were in the (imminent) future, I also knew that one of them would bear the name Sylvia.  And here she is.  Gloria stands in the back row, furthest on the left.  Isadora suggested the name, no doubt inspired by my Grandma, who’s memory has until this point been kept alive in pictures and stories.  Now she also lives on in sheep form, but I don’t think she’d mind.  Garnet stands beside Gloria.  She was the last to receive her name, which we arrived at together as a family, inspired in part by a Great-Aunt on Andrew’s side.  And furthest on the right is Irene.  I had a great-Aunt by the same name, but I think our real inspiration came in Tom Waits’ version of Good Night Irene.  I’m pretty sure we all envisioned ourselves singing lullabies to the sheep.

OH!  Did I mention that it was Kid’s Clothes Week?  Nope.  It was rather poor timing to start our flock of fiber sheep on the veritable eve of Kid’s Clothes Week, which I was super-excited to participate in.  But I still have kids and they still need clothes, so I’ll be posting my progress as it happens, in real-time.  I started with this little number, a polyester (ew) Men’s shirt, size Really Small, which I will be making even smaller to fit The Girl.  I’m photographing the steps as I go, but will likely be posting a How Not to Do It tutorial rather than the straight-up how-to.  Meet you back here tomorrow?  Hope so!

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Mary had four little lambs.

At least once a week I have a ‘I LOVE you, minivan!’ moment.  It usually comes with a sigh of relief, after having been able to cram something big, bulky, or unlikely within its generous confines.  Last week, that moment came on the heels of tucking in our four newly-weaned ewe lambs into a bed of straw nestled in the back of our van.  It was exhilarating.  It was hilarious.  It was a bit nerve-wracking, as we embarked on our journey as sheep farmers. Because it really is official now, I think.  We. Are. Farmers.

We expected the long drive home to be filled with anxious sheep baaing.  We expected them to be scared, confused, missing their moms, and we braced ourselves for a stressful night.  But they were perfectly silent for the entire ride, except for the single “Maaaaaaaaaaa” that was perfectly timed during a phone call to spread the good news.  I daresay they like us and may even be excited to be on a new adventure!

The cold, drizzly day turned into a cold, drizzly evening as we worked in the bone-chilling rain to set up the portable electric fence and carry each lamb in a giant bear-hug to their new temporary pasture.  They now happily live in the fenced area formerly known as the Middle Garden, where they spend their days munching contentedly on the various greens sprung up in two years of neglect.  We spent all weekend fawning over them – watching from the windows of the house, feeding them decadent grain, cornering them in the garden for some meet-and-greet cuddle time.  And we decided on their names, which I shall reveal on Tuesday.

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