Friday, January 20, 2017

Fairly Recent Sewing Output

So I haven't been too much of a slug in the sewing department lately.  Below is a pair of baby quilts for the cutest twin boys I have ever seen.  The fabrics are "Lion King" themed and the backing is a brown and white pawprint flannel.

The Boys are my nephew Jake and Lyndsay's babies born in December.  Now this photo was not labeled, but I believe that's Mason in the white sleeper and Jaxson in the green. 

Who knew pillow cases were such fun to make?  This is a Dr. Who design flannel for Isabella.

Marcus needed a big boy quilt for his big boy bed.  I was hesitant about this very soft fleecy Star Wars fabric because it had a bit of a pile, but it wasn't too bad to work with.  The design is all one piece, not individual blocks sewn together (I'm not that crazy). The back is a flannel, so I did not sandwich any batting in between figuring it would be warm enough as it was. I machine quilted following the block design, and it came together like a dream (walking foot!).

I also finished up a flannel quilt for Josh that I did piece.  This is to replace an old flannel quilt that I made him years and years ago that is ready for the rag bag.  I gave him permission to give it the old heave-ho, but he says he's keeping both.  Linus.

The Vermonters are always in sleepers, when not running around in underpants.  I made these a year or so ago.

It's feast or famine when heating with a woodstove.
The Utah girls stayed with us for about three weeks this past summer and since they had plans to attend the Salt Lake City Comic Con in September with Dad (where attendees apparently dress up as favorite comic book/cartoon characters?), Evie decided she wanted to make her own costume for Mabel from Gravity Falls.  This is Mabel:  purple skirt, pink turtleneck sweater with star and rainbow design, and braces on her teeth.
We got some pink fleece, purple cotton, felt for the applique, and pieced together a couple of patterns.  Aside from a little help with the pinning, zipper and applique, Evie stitched every seam and did a great job.


I told her she was on her own with finding fake braces for her teeth as I did not think Dad and Mom would spring for orthodontia just for Comic Con.
It's Inauguration Day.  I have the TV on, sound off; I hate to be shallow, but I'm here for the fashions.  I'd give my right arm to study Melania's powder blue church outfit.  I bet it's cashmere and silk and hand-tailored, of course.  It's gorgeous.  --cds

Monday, January 16, 2017


"Reset" is the word of the day.  I was swimming my laps this morning, minding my own business, thinking about what to have for breakfast, then thinking about how bad I've been about not swimming every day, and how I've not been paying attention to the junk I've been eating, and how I was unable to zip up my favorite jeans (it was coolish the other day), and why haven't I been listening to music lately, and what, am I letting myself drift into someone else's old age and forgetting about all the stuff that has been important to me all my life?  Look out.  My 19-year old self is knocking on the door and I just may let her in...... well, parts of her anyway.  I'm not about to go braless or anything.  I'm not demented, yet.

First up.  Fire-in-the-sky sunrise this morning, fading to carnation pink and lavender, then gold and gray/blue clouds.  Lovely.  I kick up the steam from the warm pool making all this color a little misty-looking. 

Second, breakfast.  No smoothie today! SOME people, apparently, don't appreciate photos of emerald green smoothies that sit on my unattended blog for weeks on end (sorry).  Today I had egg and avocado on toast.  Yum.

Third, and most important, updated photos of grandkids:

Beautiful Bella.  Her 8th grade picture, she'll be 14 in February.

Evie is 9 1/2 now and in 4th grade.

This is Ruthanne's 1st grade photo and she'll be 7 in June.

No school photos for Marcus just yet, perhaps pre-school in September.  He's be 4 in February.

This is a Christmas photo from last year, 2015, of the Utah girls that I just love.  Below is a visit with Santa picture of the Vermonters from this past December.

Evie's been in dance since she was three.  Below is her most recent recital from jazz class.  She's back in ballet this year though.

My soccer girlies: Evie from 2015, and

Ruthie from this past fall's season (pink soccer cleats!)

Marcus is all about trucks and Star Wars and likes football, but roots for Green Bay.  I think he likes the cheesehead hats.

At the Magic Kingdom last April:

Halloween in Vermont has been a routine trip for us for the past few years.  Cutest astronaut and Princess Anna I've ever seen.

So there.  Back on the blog and hitting the sewing room later today.  I'm thinking Buffalo Springfield on the iPod.  Groovy, huh.  --cds

Friday, November 11, 2016

Not A Political Post...

In the midst of the post-election spew-fest that is nearly impossible to ignore, I was abruptly reminded of the huge importance of calmly talking with our young children about this election aftermath, in particular.  As I was chatting with our Utah son about the results, he told me to never mind his disappointment, he was concentrating on talking his own girls (ages 13 and 9) down off the ledge.  "Dad, he hates women!"  "Dad, he's going to drop bombs on people!"  Because Jim and I, despite our bumbling about, somehow managed to raise two good, decent men who are fabulous fathers, Jamie gave his girls a quick Civics lesson (so proud!) about checks and balances, Congress, etc.  Apparently middle schools are still a hotbed of political conversation -- remember Khrushchev's bellowing outbursts in the very early 1960's?  Had us all petrified to be out on the playground, fearing we'd be buried by a bomb blast. 

I suppose it's silly to believe we should be able to shield our kids from all of the hate in this beautiful world, but I can't help feeling embarrassed, I guess, when smart, caring and unbiased kids are subjected to the behavior of adults at their worst. --cds

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Your Morning Smoothie

Hmmm, I am not in love with my new phone -- my peach smoothie looks much peachier in real life -- fresh peach, a few red grapes, vanilla yoghurt, pecans and some orange juice.  I've been loading up my freezer with lots of fresh fruit since a smoothie a day is good for the soul, and these peaches are fabulous right now.  Here is my freezer drawer at the moment:

--blueberries, peaches, cantaloupe, pineapple, blackberry puree, strawberries and mango.  I like to mix up different combos.  I've been known to throw in a few handfuls of kale, which grosses out my family, but it doesn't have an effect on the fruity flavor and adds lots of goodness.  I like to eat healthy in the morning so that in the afternoon, if I happen to fall into a bag of Doritos, I don't feel so bad.  A few of my favorite things...  --cds

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mother Nature Says...

So Mother Nature (aka Aunti Ann) tells me that our caterpillars were actually Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars and that I should check out our soffits to look for the chrysalis that will turn into the actual butterfly.  First I had to google soffits.  Turns out these are the eaves that overhang our front porch roof.  However, I see no chrysalis-thingies hanging there.  Those fat caterpillars would have had to crawl all the way up our screens to get there and I never noticed them doing that.  Plus they were so stuffed with our parsley that they probably just said screw it, that's too far, and they are likely hanging somewhere under our decking.  Hope so. 

Our Utah girlies are arriving in Florida with their Dad in less than two weeks for a summer visit.  We will just ignore the heat, stay hydrated and sunscreened and wear hats.  Summer in Florida is like winter in Vermont -- you just stay in the house most of the time.  But we have lots to do and the girls love to draw and paint and bake and sew and swim and stuff and go to libraries and museums.  Can't wait.

Here are some pictures from our visit to Moab, Utah and Arches National Park.  Jamie, Isabella and Evie walking down to the Colorado River.

At Arches National Park:

Our sketcher, Evie -- she's becoming quite the geologist.  She has a rock tumbler and some serious-looking rock-hound equipment.  They take weekend adventures looking for cool rocks.

Look closely at this photo below.  We scrambled up to this outcropping on the right (I had to have some assistance with the scrambling), and suddenly we could hear music, a flute or some sort of horn.
 When I zoom in you can see this guy standing down there playing.  So beautiful and a little eerie.  Natural acoustics!

I like this picture of Jim --

It's so hard to get a handle on the scale of these formations until you see tiny people climbing around inside.  I wish I were a better photographer, or had a better camera, but at least I'm able to capture the memory in my little blog-writing, and in sketches and watercolors (I'm branching out!) and maybe next in fabric.  It's never boring here at The House of Arts and Crafts (and Food and Beer!).

How 'bout this Guardian - looks kind of like the Sphinx, huh?  --cds

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Caterpillar Conundrum

We've had a nice-looking parsley plant in a flowerpot sitting by our steps most of the summer, all green and healthy.  Suddenly, two days ago, it looked like this!

I believe these are monarch butterfly caterpillars, yes?  I thought they only ate milkweed?  Would someone please hook me up with Wit Baker as I understand he is an expert on this particular creepy crawlie.  Love the butterflies, but never have been too fond of the caterpillars.

Also, as shown in the photo below, three of them have disappeared leaving only one guy who is finishing up the remainder of the parsley (he's a little hard to see on that back stem under the bright yellow-green basil leaf.

I hope they have crawled away somewhere and are not... uh, dinner guests-of-honor of Mr. Mockingbird or Miss Egret.  The plant in back is a pointsettia, but I only gave it a quick look and didn't see any cocoons.  Where, oh where did they go?

Cool nature stuff still occurs even in the horrendous steambath that is summertime Florida.  I'll check in again if any other interesting critters pass through the yard.  --cds

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Oh Lucinda

" I'm after that back highway
and the longest bridge I've ever crossed
over Ponchartrain."
No lie, I generally have a Lucinda Williams song running through my head.  I have loved her voice ever since my brother Doug told me her recording of Passionate Kisses (she wrote it, after all) was better than Mary Chapin Carpenter's cover.  So when I started looking at routes through Lousiana and Texas I knew there were a couple of towns we had to breeze through and a couple of lakes to cross.
"...I'm going to go to Slidell
and look for my joy..."
I thought Lucinda was born in Slidell, Louisiana, but she just sings about it; she was born in Lake Charles, which she also sings about.  Slidell is an eastern suburb of New Orleans - we drove through and got on I-10 only in order to pick up the bridge, south to north, across Lake Ponchartrain (no desire at all to tour New Orleans which we could see off to our left-we're just not city-folk).  So the "longest bridge over Ponchartrain" is 23 miles long - in the middle you lose sight of land on both sides.

 The causeway road drops out in Mandeville,
"...Mama lives in Mandeville.
I can hardly wait until
I can hear my zydeco
And lassiz le bon ton roulette..."

See what I mean? Lyrics, all the live-long day.  We drove across Lake Charles, entered East Texas around Beaumont (The Night's Too Long) got tangled in some Houston-bound traffic and escaped via a County road that turned into a Farm Road, saw some lovely Texas farms and lakes and stopped for the night in Huntsville.  This part of Texas is very nice, a bit hilly and lots of trees.  I would travel this route through this gigantic state again.  It gets rather dull and dun-colored west of Abilene, orange dusty fields full of wind turbines and/or oil/gas drills.

Excuse the squashed insects on the windshield.  Texas has bugs the size of chickens.

We headed for Roswell, New Mexico, making it the second time we've stopped there for the night on trips west.  We must feel drawn there for some reason -- ooooh, spooky! This photo below was snapped on our way into town.  Notice that strange silvery, elongated cloud just above the horizon? Hmmmmm???

Actually it is such a crazy-ass town with green space monsters painted on nearly every building and a spaceship in front of the McDonald's, and an alien tiled into the floor of our elevator.  We had to be in Salt Lake City by the following evening, so we stepped up the pace a bit, still primarily state roads, and diagonalled our way through New Mexico and Utah.  We buzzed through Moab which we had plans to return to with Jamie and the girls on the following weekend.  So gorgeous through that area.
So wonderful to see them all again.  I've realized I haven't posted any updates of the grandkids lately, so here is a preview.  Last summer, Evie and Bella:

Halloween, Evie was a zebra,

Isabella was some sort of huntress, I guess.

Christmas photos:

Evie's last year dance photos.  This year she's into jazz and soccer.


And the Vermonters!  Marcus and Ruthanne at Disneyworld in March of this year:

 Ruthie, Marcus and their friend (pink shirt-I forget her name).
Back soon.  --cds