Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

While it may seem a little unusual, we have a large mirror in our garden. JR found it on the roadside and  when he brought it home, I suggested we put it on the fence for a surprise unexpected something in our small garden.

Every day for the past few weeks, we’ve been watching a cardinal fight with the reflection of itself  in that mirror.  It’s the most comical thing, and a little sad, too, that it spends so much time every day looking in the mirror trying to do battle with an illusion.  If flies off for a few moments only to come back to that silly mirror over and over again.

It sees something that isn’t reality.
Don’t we do that too?  Our own image of ourselves is pretty much never what other people see.  And yet we battle the wrinkles and bulges and sagging this and protruding that …which are not at all a reflection of our true selves. I am a guilty party.  While I want to look my best, I hope that when others see me, they see my heart, my fears, my strengths, my joy, and my commitment to always be willing to change anything that needs to be changed…

On the inside.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

You like me! You really like me!

My goodness. I have been blogging for eight years, come August.  And even still, it's always a little surprise and sweetness when you get mentioned for a bloggy award of some kind. I'm terrible at these kinds of things and always forget to share, to follow the rules, etc, so this post is attempt to be a good player!

A few weeks back. The incredible Audrey mentioned me for

And then, my friend Lori passed this on to me a few days ago:

Some things you may not know about me:

1.       I am a crazy avid knitter. That's how I started blogging. And I teach knitting classes.

2.       I am a 53 years wise, gave birth to three children, acquired a few more when I married  JR and  now
          we have 7 grandchildren.

3.       My favorite place to be other than home is at Disney World. Every year I go through Disney

4.       I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. But forgiveness is good and grace is better.

5.       I eat ice cream almost every night.

6.       I have had plastic surgery... but I won't tell you what kind unless you tell me your secret in exchange!

7.       No one makes me laugh harder than my children. They have that acerbic, dry, intelligent humor that I                        

Another part of the rules is to pass this on to like, 15 other bloggers to share the love. So I would like to share some blogs that I read that you may also enjoy. They cover the gamut of fashion, knitting, sewing and home stuff:

Irish Eyes Knitting . Kathyb is a "pretend friend" for many years. I think we got hooked up when I hosted a swap many years ago. I have read her blog for years, and adore her sense of humor.

Cabi Canary I've mentioned it a million times, but it really is a fashion blog full of great outfit ideas.

My Thrifty Closet. Mongs is from Singapore. She is adorable. I am always eager to see how she puts together a thrifted outfit for just a few dollars.

Amanda's Adventures in Sewing  I wish I lived by Amanda. I would beg her to be my sewing mentor and we would live happily ever after.

52 Flea. I read Laura's blog daily for the sheer loveliness of her thrifted finds. She has a knack for picking out the most wonderful treasures.

Kitty Café. Elizabeth is my Neighbor to the North. We have shared our knitting projects for years, and she is an amazing chef, photographer, soap maker, and potter. I can't wait to see her again!

Knit Stitch Click. Dani and I go way back. She moved from Canada to the Carolinas and has bravely started her own at home sewing and knitting business.

Shoes and Sewing. Rachel really rings my chimes with the way she interprets ready-to-wear

Knitorious. Vicki and I both started blogging eight years ago. I think I have read every one of her posts since then. Her talent amazes me...I remember that she was once voted as a knitting blogger that everyone wanted to have as their mom! One of my most treasured possessions is a tray that she decoupaged with images of the gardens from my old bring with me to my new house.

Knitters Delight. I've read Susan's blog for a long time, and love, love, love her creations. I am always interested to see how she selects styles for her figure type since we are similar.

Carolyn, a recent blog Australian seamstress who just won the Pattern Review Red Dress Award!

Erica B, who's blog I check every day. She's a grandma, too, who's outfits totally inspire me and show me how easy it is to be our age and stylish.

Miss Mustard Seed  I could move right in. And, she turned me on to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

 Handmade Jane. I dont' know how I happened across Jane's blog. I love her quirky vintage style and most recently, her A. Maz. Ing  Joan Holloway Madmen inspiration cobalt blue shirt dress.

3 Hours Past the Edge of the World Steph C is another recent find. She's another girl from across the world that makes very, very cool stuff...much of it vintage inspired. And she always shares some great sewing techiniques.

So there you go...a short but not complete list of blogs that keep me going each day.  Blogging is a wonderful thing. I hope we get to keep sharing for many years to come.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Simplicity 2446. The Red Jacket

My jacket is finally done! With all the baby stuff lately, I've had little time to really concentrate on sewing.
You know when you finish something that you know will work? And you know you will love it til it falls apart? That's my red jacket.

This turned out to be such a great perfect wardrobe basic.  It's made with lightweight red wool, lined in a pretty bright coral.  I love this combination lately.

I made view A, size 16 C cup. The pattern fit nicely, I had to narrow the shoulders just a bit, which is pretty unusual for me. Other than that, A perfect fit!  I eliminated the flap pocket and added welt pockets instead, which I described in an earlier post.

My other modification was to have three front buttons instead of two...for the "lock and load."
with my Anthro-Inspired tunic 

I can't think of a more versatile piece for my wardrobe. A simple red jacket can be worn a million ways...without it looking too "uniform-y."
 with my newly made ivory bow blouse
So, as you can imagine, I'm pretty pleased with this jacket. Simplicity 2446 has been good to me.

 Another edition for the Basic Wardrobe Sewalong!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

All things fresh and new

The sun is shining, the redbud is in bloom. There are new babies and Easter is around the corner. Everything is made beautiful again. And it down right gets me in the mood to make some things happen.

I obsessed about a bunny nest that I saw On Sutton Place  and Shelterness,  I pinned it.  I pined for it. I made it happen.

I had most everything I needed. An old wreath, some bits of fake grasses, and some silk violets on wire that I have been hoarding for a special occasion.  I picked up some moss, a few sprays of pastel eggs and a very  perfect quirky bunny from Marshall's. Don't you love Marshall's and TJ Maxx? They have the best stuff.

I plopped it all on an old silver tray and it lives on the dining room table now. After I add a few more bits of twiggy or leafy things, I think it will be perfect!

So today, while JR was doing some impromptu cleaning up of the gardens,

 I did some impromptu painting.
While I don't have the finished project yet to show, I will tell you that I used  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint... The coveted of chalk paint...the queen of furniture makeovers.  The twinkle in home decorator's eyes. You see her paint used by Miss Mustard Seed and a slew of other DIYer's.

JR is doing a kitchen remodel for someone, and they had a piece of furniture that they wanted incorporated into the  new kitchen. But the kitchen needed a pop of contrast, and  with the customer's permission, JR rebuilt the cabinet and we found this an opportunity to try the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  It gets rave reviews. The color palette is SO wonderful and it it can be applied to just about any finish without prep of sanding and priming. Which is what appealed to my husband...especially for a situation like this kitchen piece.

We were scouting around for a local vendor, and the closest one is a 90 minute drive. Which we were willing to do, but we found that both of the only TWO retailers in Michigan ( R Scott Lucas and Flat River Cottage  were right on route from our drive back from Chicago, via Grand Rapids! We called and talked to the shop owner and let her know to expect us. And we got to spend some time with her, sampling paint, talking finishes and techniques. AND we didn't have to pay shipping or spend the extra day and money for gas to drive to our closest stockist in New York.  It was a win/win.

So far, the paint is mixing beautifully, and goes on just as we were told...a little goes a long way.
This is a really exciting purchase for JR and I since we will be doing a retail antiques/ re-do show in July. This is right on target with the look we want to create for our booth, so there should be fun days ahead thrifting and making over our finds.

The first piece we finished for the show is an incredible buffet. Very well made, and now has a new bright and shiny, soft and worn  finish.

It's huge, and I love it. But it doesn't go with the current decor of our house, so it will be sold.

So that's what we've been up to. My painted side table is drying in the workshop right now and my red jacket awaits finishing. I plan an evening visit with Kate and baby Oscar and will come home to watch the season premier of Mad Men.

All things fresh and new is a good place to be.

Friday, March 23, 2012

This amazing life

Well, another sweet grandbaby boy has been born today and I finally have an Oscar! 
    I'd like to thank the Academy...and my daughter Kate and her husband Ray...

                                        Oscar Raymond Lopez                       6lb.6o z.     18"                                                                               

                                               "Before you were born, God set you apart." 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Back from Chicago!

Okay, has this weather in the Northeast been amazing or what?  Our weekend in Chicago was awesome, and the weather only made it better…it ended up being warmer than what we anticipated, so shorts and skirts would have been the right attire, but we made it through. Who would ever think we'd have to have air-conditioning in March?  The more important thing was spending time with new baby Jameson and his parents. It was really, really nice to be able to spend some uninterrupted time with them and get all the baby gazing we could get in over three days.

And I got to celebrate my birthday by having a St. Patrick’s day Rueben and a beer at Shannon’s Pub. My family remembered me with some wonderful gifts:

                                                        A silver butterfly bracelet from Fossil  

And I remembered myself with a sweet little vintage find from a Glen Ellyn re-sale shop. Isn't this the cutest crystal pin ever?  I love dead women's jewelry so much:

We did some other thrifting, too. And made a stop on the way home for a very special purchase which I'll share in another post.

And, another best Chicago area discovery? Portillo's chopped salad...which I immediately reproduced when we got home  (even though I left THREE jars of their house dressing back in Chicago land!) via a copycat recipe online. Now I crave this salad every day and I can't wait to make it for family here.

                                                               Chopped Salad from Portillos

So we are back and to be honest, this week is absolutely crazy at work. When I take a few days off, it means all the more work when I come back. So, while my daytime spare moments are spent dreaming of sewing, knitting, camper, gardening and house projects...
my evening spare moments this week are spent in a stupor in front of the television! 

I have so many projects in mind just to catch up with this incredible weather we are having:
Shave my legs,
Do some faux tan,
Whip up a new outfit to wear with the freshly shaved and faux tanned bare legs….

All before it turns to forty degrees again!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Let's put it all together...

Sewing with a plan and creating a weekend wardrobe has kept me focused. I've scoured dozens of "basics" and essentials lists and I was determined that for this four day weekend, I was not going to over-pack. It had to all fit in my AB Weekend bag. So, I checked the weather, checked our agenda ( nothing but casual and relaxed baby time and maybe the St. Patrick's Day parade for my birthday)

And here's what I'm taking:

Skinny dark jeans
Red jeans
Gray ankle pants

White blouse
Yellow cotton knit tunic
Blue knit tunic/tee
Striped tee

Black tie front cotton knit cardigan
Navy cotton jacket

3 pairs of comfy flats 

2 fun scarves

A few simple pieces of jewelry 

 A few undergarments, a set of pajamas and a relaxation pop-on yoga pants and tunic. And it all fit together into my bag:

Other than my traveling clothes. Which I will be wearing. And my toiletries and hairdryer.
I really think I can make this work for a casual long weekend wardrobe!

And my Polyvore-ized version:

Off to Chicago!

Just for kicks, here's  another basic wardrobe list  straight-up copied and pasted from Carolyn's blog!

  • Black cashmere turtleneck
  • Grey v-neck cashmere sweater
  • Silk shirts
  • Three pairs of flats.
  • One pair of sublime very high heels, black
  • Grey skinny jeans. White skinny jeans.
  • One pair of boyfriend jeans.
  • Two blazers, one black, the other marine blue.
  • A straight-cut skirt
  • A light as a cloud scarf
  • A dress, Alaïa or Roland Mouret.
  • A big coat, camel or grey.
  • And a military parka – light and long.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Red Jacket Progress

The Red Jacket...details, details, details. This weekend I got the lining in after tweaking the fit some more.
So far, so good...I have to sew the sleeve lining in place and I had to put it down because for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to sew that lining around the hem of the sleeve that has an split cuff. I just have to read some more and get some confidence so I can forge ahead... I can't seem to visualize how this lining is going to be sewn in place! Is it true that the cuff buttons are not actually functioning buttons? So the split cuff is just sewn in place with decorative buttons on the outer cuff?

Enough of that. How about some adorable-ness?

Tonight we had a visit with Sofia. I love my Sofia. 
 A confident, smart, imaginative and sweet girl among boy cousins...Jonathan, Augie, Levon and new baby Henry. And in a few short weeks, she will have a baby brother. It's interesting to imagine how her little world will change. I wonder what she will think of this new baby? When all the talk and pondering becomes a living reality in their family?  It makes me very happy knowing that she is so loved and secure...because that means Sofia will show that same love and protection to her baby brother. All the while she's no doubt going to be bossing him around.

And this Mimi has been sewing for new baby brother and his mama all weekend... Some peeks:

Next weekend, we are going to Chicago to meet the newest grandson, Jameson ...JR and I are both so excited to finally get to spend some time with him, too!  I know that in these past four weeks since Jameson has been born, JR has thought a great deal about his a mom. And to him, no doubt, it will be a wonder and an amazement when all the talk and pondering becomes a reality and he gets to hold that little boy in his arms.

And the following week, the last of the current crop of baby boys will be born. Sofia's little brother, Oscar.
Six grandsons and a granddaughter.
 Some days, it's almost to big for my heart to hold. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Peek in my Purse.

Ten on Tuesday...Ten things in my Purse.
Well, this couldn't happen but once in a million years...I have exactly ten things in my purse!

I would have had 11 things in my purse, but my  journal has been on the kitchen counter for the past several days.

Notice: no tissues.
I never have a tissue when I need one...never have. My sister always had a fun purse. She was always the one that had paper and art projects and mini-electronics in her purse when the kids get restless in church. Need salt for your popcorn at the movies and you don't want to miss a moment? She had a mini salt-shaker...just that kind of girl. Everything and anything could come out of that bag of hers...change for a dollar, stain remover, a recipe for chocolate whoopie pies, a flashlight, an umbrella, dental floss, an address book, drugs for whatever ails you, full make-up kit. And snacks...always snacks. Just one of the many reasons I love her.

Monday, March 5, 2012

One Kind Word can Warm Three Winter Months.

One of my very best friends  lives in Oklahoma. And one of my other very best friends is his wife. They moved from here to there about six years ago. Jody and Sylvia have a daughter who is getting married, and Sylvia had a bridal shower for her here, back home, where their family and lots of other friends live. So, they asked me to help decorate and prepare for the shower.
Of course I said yes…I would do anything for them.

Two days later, I got a lovely note from Bethany. A thank you note, that was personal and gracious. It wasn’t a text, it wasn’t a post on facebook, it wasn’t twittered, it wasn’t even emailed. It was a  hand-written-put-a-stamp-on-the-envelope-and-old-fashioned-mail-it kind of thank you note. 

old letters from my collection

 I’m not saying there is anything wrong with  a phone call or a text, or an email, or whatever…I’m really not.

But as we grow further and further away from the old-fashioned niceties, a hand-written note stands out in the world of electronic communication.

Vintage typewriter from the roadside.

I have a basket full of them saved from  over the years.

A basket full of sentiments. I appreciate that kind of effort.

And then it got me thinking about blogging, and why we do it, and what we expect the interaction to be. I’ve been blogging for many years. I once read and commented with some frequency on a knitting blog, and once, the author of that blog (I've long since forgotten who she is) unabashedly made a statement about how much she loves comments…and that she would roll around naked in comments if she could! That has stuck with me all these years!  But what I think she was really saying is that she values the interaction, and the conversation, and the opportunity to enjoy a new “pretend friend” as my blogging friend Kathyb calls us!

So, I’m wondering, how do you respond to blog comments?  Do you email personally in response? Do you leave another comment to answer? Do you not answer at all?  What’s everyone doing these days?

Do you leave comments? What prevents you from leaving a comment and being a “lurker?”  Is there interference from “word identification”  or  having to click out of your Google Reader?

How important is the social network connection to your blog?  Do you have links to Facebook, Twitter, yada, yada, yada?

Let's discuss! And thank you for reading my blog...each of your comments and interactions means the world to me.