Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Baby's Gown

I didn't feel like I had the time and I certainly didn't feel like I had the energy, but I just couldn't let the newest little baby be the only daughter without a handmade baptism gown.

I wanted to use some antique laces and trims and so an off-white brushed cotton seemed the perfect fabric for the gown.  The pattern is Simplicity 2457 with only a few modifications.  (For those interested, I used the sleeve pattern for the boy's outfit instead of the gathered girl's one and changed the bonnet pattern a bit so it would work with some lace trimmed antique fabric.)
Everything came together perfectly and I was so happy with how it turned out.  (I'm in love with those little pinch pleats on the bodice!)  I'm so glad I did manage to find the time and the energy to make this for her!

Friday, August 01, 2014

By the River

There are only two types of shells to be found on the banks of the river
and he collected as many as he could find

leaving them safe with baby and me

so he could catch minnows with his sisters.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Beginnings

We were three years in our last house.  Not a long time, but long enough to get comfortable and familiar with everything.  I forgot how much moving, not only to a new house, but a new state, can take a really long time to adjust to.  I think I would dare to say we are finally settled in.  At least I can find my way around our house in the dark now and I can mostly drive from point A to point B without getting lost, so long as it's within a twenty mile radius anyway.
One thing I'm still learning, is what the seasons are like here.  I know that the last bit of summer is not quite so hot and that the falls turn cooler more quickly, particularly in the mornings.  The winters?  A bit cooler, a bit more snowy (much to everyone's delight!), but mostly very rainy.  It rains...and rains...and rains some more, flooding our whole yard and then it freezes.  And suddenly there is the most perfect imaginary ice skating rink to slip and slide across or frozen pond to chip holes in and fish from.  I think the kids like the winters here!
And me?  Well, I'm just busy browsing my seeds catalogs and wondering what the spring will be like!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013


All of my sewing stuff is organized, packed up, and ready to go--I can't use any of it until we get to our new location.  I am hoping to make some new outfits for the kids this fall though, specifically for the boy.  Inspiring me right now are these images of my grandfather as a boy.

I'm really loving the little black socks and brown shoes!  Now to find some patterns.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I was supposed to be washing walls and cleaning carpets.
I did this with the kids instead.
Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Using some readily accessible items as a "make do" spreading board for a new specimen.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Mondays are so much nicer when...
...they begin with strawberry shortcake for breakfast!

Friday, June 07, 2013

Avian Wall Art

This year, as part of our homeschool nature studies, we learned all about birds.  We spent a lot of time going on nature walks and looking for birds to photograph.  At home we researched the birds we had spotted, wrote all about them in our nature journal, and then painted them for our bird mural.
Cardinals, Downy Woodpeckers, Bluejays, Mockingbirds, Osprey, and House Finches are all up there in our tree.

Not pictured are our Egrets, Blue Herons, American Black Ducks, and Mallards.  (They were all in a pond beneath our tree which, unfortunately, the boy destroyed).  There were quite a number of other birds that we didn't get around to painting, but that's okay, the tree was getting a bit crowded.
I'm taping the birds into our nature books and dismantling the tree. The birds may reappear at the new house, on a much bigger tree, with more room for new birds...and
maybe a toddler proof pond too!

Thursday, June 06, 2013


Three years ago, I planted some little hydrangea plants in the front flower bed.  It was no easy task. The construction crews had dumped their waste in the flower beds, so mixed in with the heavy clay soil were large chunks of concrete, metal bars, broken glass, and empty soda bottles.  It took hours of back breaking work just to get a few little plants in the ground.
But oh, was it worth it. They have grown beautifully and have put on a magnificent show every June. I've enjoyed stepping outdoors to see them, but I have been waiting and waiting for the moment when they would be tall enough for me to enjoy the sight of them from indoors.
This is the year.  The blooms rest on the window sill and bat against the screens.  I've started having my morning coffee in the front room, just so I can see them.  Yes, they were well worth all the effort.  I wish I could take them with me...
I hope whoever moves in next likes to garden.  I hope they'll tend to all the perennials I've planted out front, the roses on the side and the irises our back.  But if nothing else, when the hot, dry days of August come and everything starts to wilt, I hope, so very much so, that they will water the hydrangeas.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


Our move is just over a month away.  I don't have to do any of the packing (the movers will do that), but I do have the cleaning and decluttering to take care of.  The move itself is exciting, but the process is at times boring, stressful, and emotional.  The mundane tasks of wall washing, carpet cleaning, and closet clearing are decidedly boring.  Determining timelines, travel arrangements, housing--all very stressful.  Realizing that it is the last time you will do this, go there, see that person...  Well, there have been plenty of tears and more to come I'm sure.
I've been trying to get out once a day for a walk just to help unwind and relax.  Most often these walks are with the family, but sometimes I get out alone (or mostly alone rather, I generally take the dog with me) and can wander a bit further for a bit longer.  
On one such walk, I stumbled across these mushrooms.
They seemed almost unreal they were so intensely orange--certainly unusual enough to warrant pausing for a picture.
I'm thinking of doing a picture a day for the next month or so--a little project to help distract me from the ever growing "to do" list and a chance to document our last days here.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Ice Cream

I haven't used the ice cream maker in years.  I think I may have even forgotten it existed.  It required quite a bit of dusting off and needed a few cobwebs removed as well, before it was ready for use.

I whipped up an old favorite, raspberry chocolate chip.  The kids were amazed--they couldn't believe how easy it was to make your own and they couldn't believe how good it tasted.
We spent the rest of the evening discussing all the possible flavors we could make next.
No more cobwebs for you little machine!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Ups and Downs

This spring weather has been a lot like a roller coaster ride. We race up to eighty-five degrees, sunny, and humid and then rapidly plummet down to forty-five degrees, cloudy, and windy. One day it's swimsuits and sprinklers, the next it's jackets and mittens. Almost all of the flowers are in full bloom, but the threat of a frost still lingers in the forecast.
Our life, over the last few weeks, has greatly resembled the weather. All kinds of ups and downs. Ups--Pookie's first communion, visits from family, an exciting new assignment (moving this summer!) and downs--stomach flu for everyone, one case of the seasonal flu, and one broken arm.
But summer, with its constant (and often monotonous) hot and sunny days, is just around the corner. And I expect that our days, much like the weather, will also stop fluctuating so drastically and will quickly return to normal. I'm ready for a little peace (and even a bit of monotony maybe) before the big move!

Friday, March 08, 2013


A collection of "treasures" acquired during our most recent walk.
The landscape is still mostly brown, there is no real green yet, but there are plenty of pinks, whites, purples, and blues scattered here and there.  I am so glad that spring is finally here!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rock Village

We took the kids camping the other week, out to our usual campground.  It's a beautiful place to camp, with tent sites all lined up along the waters edge.  As an adult, it's nice to just sit there, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the view, and relax.  For the kids, swimming is the main attraction and after that activity has been exhausted, boredom suddenly strikes, for (as they sullenly point out) there is nothing but rocks to play with.
"But," I pointed out "One of your favorite books involves nothing but kids and rocks."  The girls mulled this over for a bit and then realized I was talking about Roxaboxen.
And just like that, the rocks became the best thing ever.  We spent a long time building stone walls for little houses.   The Little Miss built a bank and collected seashells for money, Pookie built a shop, where she sold various pretty objects, and Fig built a museum wherein was displayed a few bird feathers and the jaw bone of a catfish.
Due to the arrival of bad weather, we had to pack up and leave early.  The girls sobbed over having to leave their houses, but were mildly comforted by the idea that maybe other kids would come and maybe they would build more homes and maybe next year, when we return, there will be a whole village.  That would be awesome.

On a side note, I had no idea that there is a Roxaboxen Park.  How neat is that?!  If we're ever out that way, we'll be sure to stop there!