For reasons I don’t even begin to understand, it’s almost impossible to find boy sewing patterns. It was Colonial Day at Luke’s school and he needed a Colonial boy costume. Normally I wouldn’t have heard about this until the day before, but for some reason this time I had advance notice. So I began looking around the internet for the makings for said costume. Well the pickings were very slim, though I did laugh my southern ass off at this blogger. I don’t know what that school was thinking expecting costumes in April. April? By April of a school year my kids are lucky if they’re fed and bathed.
I got most of my ideas from this blogger. Luke had a pair of pants that were worn through at the knee so I cut them off and made knickers per her instructions. I also did the shirt as well. I was lucky to find a tuxedo shirt at the thrift store and I just cut the cuffs off and put elastic in the sleeves. I didn’t like her idea of making a vest out of a t-shirt. Originally I had planned to just buy some fleece and make a vest from this pattern I got from this blogger. I’ve used the pattern a lot, and probably would’ve just made it longer and sewed on some buttons to make it fancy. Fleece is very forgiving and there’s no hemming involved. But since I had some time I decided to cut down a sports coat to make a vest. I liked this idea because Luke has at least one more year to wear the costume, and of course, I can use the same with Kell. This is the jacket I started with. I got it in the smallest size I could find at the thrift store.
Using the Frontier vest pattern, I traced the Frontier vest pattern on my sports coat.
As you can see here.
Then I cut it out.
Now here’s where things got tricky. Initially I’d hoped to find a nice heavy weight wool that I could just rip the lining out of, but my thrift store is kind of lame, so I had to settle for this one. The fabric was really too flimsy to take the lining out, so I had to deal with the neckline and the armholes. I folded the raw edges under and topstitched them on the machine. If it had been a real jacket instead of a costume, I probably would’ve done this by hand using a blind hemstitch. But for a costume, all that hand sewing was unnecessary.
I had to fuss a bit with the lapels, so the project took longer than I’d initially anticipated, eventually I just tacked them down with a few hand stitches to keep them in place. His socks were not long enough, next year when I do the pants I’ll make them longer. It was impossible to find longer socks, and I ran out of time because the baby got sick. What do y’all think?
My mama was an absolutely phenomenal cook, but baking was her passion. She worked nearly all her life as a domestic or a restaurant cook. Her favorite cookbook came out in 1971, and it was her go-to for many, many years. Her pound cake recipe, which is so rich because it’s got eight eggs in it, came from that book. As did her caramel cake and my favorite praline cake. She gave me the book before she died, but, of course, after forty years of hard use, it was in less than pristine condition. It’s a Southern Living cookbook, but it was long out of their backlist. Well, I found it on Amazon the other day. I immediately ordered two copies; one for me and one for my niece. Now I can keep the one my mama gave me in my treasure box. I want to have it framed. And I’ll use this one. Flipping through the pages was like a trip down Memory Lane. So many late nights with me greasing and flouring pans for her. Perfect cakes all golden and delicious. Caramel cake has always been my favorite, but I’ve never made one. I think I will make my first one for Luke’s birthday next week.
So Sunday Whit was mowing the grass and inadvertantly disturbed a bunny nest. We like to let the grass in the backyard get high in the spring to give cover to the birds and other wildlife, and we’d seen the mama rabbit around so we knew there was a nest but we couldn’t find it. Whit looked carefully, but this rabbit had built her nest under the playset, and he didn’t see it. The babies are okay. We restored the nest as best we could, but the high grass was gone. Fortunately the mama did come back and they’re fine, but keeping Luke out of the backyard is darned near impossible. I’m trying not to traumatize them any further, but he wants to check on them every day. Rabbits are very high strung and if they’re stressed they won’t eat. Luke’s soccer rebounder is right near the playset, so the poor little things are not in the best location. I was hoping she would move them, but she didn’t. Rabbits wean pretty rapidly and with any luck they’ll be gone soon.
I’m a full time writer and a full time mama to an eight year old and a two year old. It gets more than a bit squirrelly around here. I’ve learned that the key to less insanity is that old maxim, “A place for everything…” I love what I refer to as our nincompoop (Old M*A*S*H reference), others call it a landing strip. Anyway, it’s essentially a place right by your entry to put stuff. I have hooks hung at kid height for coats, book bags and various miscellany. A cork board for flyers and lists and a white board for spelling words and shopping list. I also have a wall pocket for stuff that needs signing and returning to school. We have a calendar, a clock, and more hooks for keys. I like to keep a fruit bowl right at the door for quick grabbing, kleenex for last minute runny noses and vaseline because I have the world’s ashiest children. I love this sideboard because I can keep mittens, hats and lunchboxes in there. Unfortunately, it’s too deep–my kitchen is 25 feet long, but only eight feet wide. I also need a sideboard with cubbies for shoes. Right now they collect in a heap by the door. Decorating is a never ending process and I know I will eventually find the right piece.
Just had to share with y’all this chest of drawers I found on Craigslist for $35! Solid fiddleback and birdseye maple. Just stunning. All I had to do was buff it down with a little lemon oil and wipe down the insides with grapefruit essential oil (it’s antiviral and antibacterial). Here’s what’s absolutely crazy, it’s a dead ringer for the maple bedroom suite I got for $100 at Goodwill more than twenty years ago. I’ve stripped and refinished all the pieces except the bed, and it’s gorgeous. Some of y’all might remember the fabulous dresser I posted several years ago.
I love thrifting I really do. For one thing it appeals to my pocketbook, but I also like the idea of making use of something old instead of trashing things. This furniture is solid as a rock and will still be in good shape by the time Luke and Kell are ready for their own homes.
I defy you to tell them apart. I gave birth to them and I can’t!!!
I haven’t been married for four decades, but I think the most crucial part of a successful marriage is finding someone who wants to be married to you, and to whom you want to be married. This is not easy, but more than anything, it makes a difference. No matter what (barring abuse and/or infidelity) I know he’s not going anywhere and he knows the same about me. And yes, there are days when I absolutely loathe the man, and I know he feels the same way, but there is nobody on earth I’d rather be with. With just a quirk of an eyebrow he can make me laugh until my sides ache. And watching him with our children is the greatest joy in my life. It more than compensates for those other times.
I was in my early thirties when I met Whit. Long past any delusions about who I was or my ability to change a person. At that point I understood marriage is pretty much WYSIWYG. Traits you don’t like aren’t going anywhere, so you need to decide if you can live with them before you get married. More than anything marriage is an amplifier, not a change agent.
But marriage is also about faith; knowing that even through the bad times things will get better. And we’ve been through some bad times; job loss, relocation, infertility and that’s the tip of a very large iceberg. I didn’t expect our marriage to survive the year we each lost a parent and a baby, but we came through to the other side. Stronger and more importantly confident that we can weather the tough times. After all, if we didn’t break up after that fuckery, what could be worse? And that’s important. Tough times test a marriage, but they show you how strong it is too. I know there is no one I’d rather have at my back than my husband. Yes, he’ll drive me batshit crazy, but he’ll make me laugh and I know he’ll go down fighting to the death to save me. Because he wants to be married, to me. And that’s the core of our marriage.
After much debate we’ve decided how to remodel our kitchen. We will do it in stages starting with installing a new hardwood floor. After that we will put in an IKEA pantry consisting of three parts; a base with a countertop and a bar sink. A tall pull out pantry and two glass upper cabinets. Our kitchen is 25 feet long, a true galley. Having an extra sink at this end will allow us to set up a “beverage center” with a coffee pot and microwave right next to the small breakfast nook. We’ll be keeping our old cabinet carcasses, just replacing the doors and eliminating the bulkhead. We also intend to get rid of the wall betwwen the kitchen and dining room. We will install another pantry cabinet next to the oven. We have already bought a new refrigerator and a dishwasher. I have my fantasy of buying one of those huge Viking flamethrower ovens but that really doesn’t suit our ifestyle or budget. We are trying to keep our budget beloe $1k for each appliance. We seriously scored at the Sears Scratch and Dent store and got a Samsung French door refrigerator for $900! Hope to do similar on an oven.
This is the second time we’ve redone a kitchen in stages. It really works for us and helps avoid a buttload of debt. Ideally it will look very much like the endwall shown in the last photo. Not as wide, of course as we’re using only one base cabinet, but that’s what we’re going for.
Last week Luke went four days without a bath. (Don’t judge me! It was Thanksgiving, and I’m in deadline hell.) Actually the reason I didn’t notice is because he wasn’t funky. Under normal circumstances after a day or so he would definitely need a bath AND deodorant. After the news about boys starting puberty early much like girls, I confess I freaked the hell out. Luke is already enough of a handful. Visions of him in puberty at eight gave me nightmares, so I decided to switch to organic milk and eggs. (I also briefly bought organic meat, but that is too much of a budget buster.) Organic milk costs roughly double what regular milk does. I try to get at Target as their Archer Farms is cheaper than Publix’s Greenwise. It’s been roughly a month, and I haven’t had to remind Luke to wash or put on deodorant in weeks. Keep in mind, he’s an active kid: He’s on the soccer team and has two long practices a week, plus a game on Saturday. The weekend before Thanksgiving he had three games, but no body odor. Obviously buying organic milk is no substitute for good hygiene, but it’s just stunning the difference it has made.
Now comes the burning question; What exactly is non-organic milk doing to our children that it can actually give them such strong body odor? If you google it the internet is full of stories just like mine. It really is depressing that something that is supposed to be good for kids could be so dangerous. I wish I could afford to go totally organic, but just milk and eggs is a huge financial strain. I just feel sorry for our kids for whom something so basic as good nutrition has become such a freaking minefield.