I’ve finished using up the million-and-one yards of Farmer’s Market binding tape, hooray! Besides the seven large burp cloths I cut from diaper flannel, I bound four smaller ones and a seven washcloths. This baby will be well-mopped-up-after.
“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the trembling mirth of sun-split clouds
– and done 100 things you have not dreamed of
– wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept hills with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind, I trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God!”
–John Gillespie Maggee
The kidney bean isn’t the only one getting new clothes around here. Even after birth, I will definitely have outgrown most of my old shirts for some time, and they definitely aren’t nursing-friendly. I’m also sick to death of the meager choice of affordable maternity “fashion”. And every winter, I begin plotting my new fabulous spring look, anyway… the fact that this year the spring look will be absent a baby bump is just extra-exciting, even if it means that everything else is a size bigger for a while.
I was completely cuckoo over J. Crew’s spring collection last year. Imagine my joy when while perusing the post-Christmas sales this year I discovered that Old Navy has done a pretty blatant ripoff of it. Except that Old Navy’s pieces are machine washable. And reasonably priced. And come in sizes that I’ll be able to wear, and to nurse in. LOVE.
So I snaffled up a collection of pretty, flowing tops at post-Christmas prices, then moved on to my favorite junk jewelry outlet, Forever21. A little contemplation told me that necklaces and earrings are probably not the most sensible accessories for nursing mothers… so I treated myself to some big chunky bracelets. Bracelets are my favorite kind of jewelry, anyway.
And then J. Crew, bless their hearts, ran a 40% off clearance prices sale. And bless their paws and whiskers, they still had the metallic pink espadrilles from last spring. In my (new) size. For like $25.
Mama deserves it all.
1. They’re all chocolate and vanilla and strawberry, so I thought they’d look good in a cupcake pan.
2. They’re all mix and match. Like my own garanimals. The child will never clash. Not till she outgrows this lot, anyway.
3. I know I said I’d wait till the baby showers were over before I bought anything. I lied.
4. I’ve cried about how little they are.
5. I’ve cried about how fast she’ll outgrow them.
6. I’ve cried because they’re 0-3 month size, and other mothers are now telling me they’ll be too big, and I don’t have any newborn sized stuff, so my poor kidney bean’s gonna be nekkid in the cold because her mama’s INCOMPETENT.
7. Then I found out that diapers come in size 0. Now I feel REALLY incompetent. And unprepared.
8. I feel like Sparks is a paragon of wisdom for gently telling me that it’s still possible, two months before she’s due, to get these things in these sizes for her.
9. I considered putting them on the cat, but at ten pounds, the cat is too big for them.
10. The cat is sitting on the pile of clothes now. I wonder if it bodes ill for the future.
Though the blog entry was viewed over 100 times in the three days since it went up, there were only 11 entries into the contest… and Random.org says the winner is comment #6, Michael – Innkeeper!
Michael, since neither of us wants to post our email addresses on our blogs, follow me on Twitter (I just followed you– katrinaparks) and PM your mailing address so I can get these scraps in the mail for you!
Yesterday I finished making about a thousand yards of scrappy Farmer’s Market binding tape, and bound up seven burp cloths that I cut from a three-yard length of diaper flannel.
I want to bind everything in sight. I think I’ll just do projects that involve binding for a while now… so satisfying and tidy and pretty, with no loose ends to tie up afterward. Nice.
A long time ago, I posted about one of several projects I have done with my pile of Farmer’s Market fat quarters. In the comments for that post Wendy P told me to “savor every scrap”.
Well Wendy, I’ve tried. I made a quilt top out of it. I made about a million Spool birds out of it. And right now, I’ve taken out what’s left and cut as many long-ish 2″ strips from it as I can, and I’m making them into a whole lot of binding tape, to decorate little Kidney Bean’s burp cloths.
But there are still sizable pieces left. And I feel that I have done my duty to Sandi Henderson’s very lovely collection. It’s time for me to move on. But to throw these scraps away? My inner hoarder just can’t do it. My inner hoarder needs for them to go into the care of someone else.
So here’s the deal: leave a comment on this post between now and 9:00am Central on Monday morning to be entered into a drawing for possession of these scraps. One entry per person, please.
Congratulations to the winner, Michael-Innkeeper!
Caveats: the whole line of Farmer’s Market is not here; a couple of prints are missing. The smallest of the scraps have a usable area of about 4″ x 6″, though many are larger than that. They have not been washed. They have been stored in my home, which is smoke-free, but Pudding (my cat) had a good time playing with them overnight when I left them out on the floor after photographing them.
Sparks really buckled down this past weekend, and got the nursery’s light fixture and dimmer switch wired up, the outlets insulated (cold air used to blow out of them!), the curtain rod up, and my sewing room shelves installed so that I could haul more junk out of the nursery. Sparks is a hero; a round of applause for him please.
Then I made the curtain panels on Monday and Tuesday evenings. They are LOUD LOUD LOUD LOUD LOUD but I love them and think they look great with the pink accent walls. Our child may be overstimulated… but oh well.
The paint is “Pink Ribbon” by Valspar, the light fixture is “Calypso” from IKEA, the curtains are made from Amy Butler’s “Love Home Dec” line.
I am bigger and bigger all the time. The baby has nowhere to hide from me now, I feel all her movements, and we’re engaged in a turf war over my rib cage. Eight more weeks to go!
I’m not the kind of gal who always has music playing in the background. In fact, I hadn’t listened to music while working since last fall, until yesterday. Why oh why don’t I treat myself to this lovely little pleasure more often?
I listened to one of my own playlists on Grooveshark, Southern Summer. It’s a mix of blues, Motown, spirituals, and everything that those genres have inspired since America first discovered them. It sounds to me like a lazy southern summer, full of fish fries and bougainvillea and beach cruisers. Give it a listen, and let me know what it makes you think of.
It’s all there.
After the Chenille Blanket III disaster, comments have advised me to (1) salvage it somehow (easy for you to say!) and (2) move on to something else, stat! I have a couple of ideas about how to salvage the halves of the chenille blanket. One is to turn them into fancy throw-pillow wraps, you know the fussy kind with decorative ties to hold them on? The other idea is to make a padded case for my Kindle. And several other people’s Kindles.
But I have moved on, also.
I started the first of these two receiving blankets the very night I slashed the chenille blanket. I used some quilt blocks that I already had on hand–in fact, the quilt blocks that had evolved from my spectacularly failed attempt to make Denyse Schmidt’s deceptively advanced Flock Of Triangles quilt in November 2007 (Denyse, seriously.) I had pulled the triangles apart from Denyse’s maddening, all-bias-seam configuration, and sewn them back together into half-triangle squares, then put the whole lot away to stew. So I had lots of half-triangle squares on hand.
I also had some receiving-blanket-sized squares of flannel on hand, left over from last winter’s hand-sewn binding frenzy. I blindly began sewing half-square triangles together, then began quilting them onto the flannel (no messing around with batting, here, which was a beautiful thing).
I have such a backlog of pieces that really need hand-sewing binding that I didn’t feel like taking the time to do it with these, so I pulled out my handy-dandy bias tape maker… which is by the way the one gadget I’ve used which stands out in my mind as being really, really, really good at what it’s supposed to do… and made bias tape and sewed it on by machine. Bada bing bada boom, a nice project that can be completed in one evening.
I highly recommend this method of finishing off a patchwork quilt top. Forgoing the batting makes life so much simpler, and honestly, using a piece of polar fleece as the backing would produce a quilt every bit as thick and warm as using low-loft cotton batting. Consider it, okay?
I’m about to try it myself.
I’m writing this post to help you. I’m writing this post because, even though craft books and blogs want to make crafting look easy and fun and satisfying, the truth is that things can go Terribly Pear Shaped and they can do it very quickly, when you craft. I want you to know this so that, when they go pear-shaped for you, you don’t take it personally.
I started Chenille Blanket III as soon as I was done with Chenille Blanket II. I wanted to make another one because the first two had been so successful and trouble-free that they were making me feel really, really good about sewing. I wanted to feel good again. Also, I still had some of that garbage flannel with holes left, and it perfectly matched some of the Nicey Jane I had on hand. So off I went.
I’d sewn the first two diagonally across the blanket, because that’s the way the original tutorial did it. This time I thought I’d simplify things and sew straight up and down the blanket. That was my first mistake.
When I began to cut the chenille, I discovered that it had been a mistake. The stitching NEEDS to be diagonal to the fabric’s grain so that when the fabric is cut, ALL the fibers are quite short and held down by stitching. That way when you wash the chenille, they all stay attached and fluff up.
With lines of stitches going in the same direction as the grain, you get long un-secured strings that, when the blanket is washed, will separate from the blanket entirely and create a rat’s nest.
Undaunted, I thought I might as well finish the cutting and see how the blanket looked after a wash. So I kept cutting. The problem is that these long, un-secured strings gum up the chenille cutter, which makes cutting a fiddly, frustrating process. I ended up pushing and pulling at the cutter really hard to get it to cut just a few more inches before the next de-gumming. Which is when The Disaster happened.
I pushed on the chenille cutter so hard that somehow, some way, don’t ask me for further explanation, the blunt plastic guard on the bottom of the cutter penetrated the backing fabric and zzzzzzzzip, I slashed the blanket in two.
I should probably throw the blanket away. I am certainly putting it in time out and moving on to other projects that (haven’t yet) caused me grief. If I decide to repair it and soldier on (in spite of the long threads that will come off when the blanket is washed), I’ll probably use a length of ribbon to patch the backing.
But we’ll see. Sometimes you just have to let things go.
I made baklava! That means you can, too.
I had most of a package of phyllo pastry left over after the Christmas b’stilla, so it seemed like the time to try this. I’m pleased to report that once you’ve gotten over the difficulties of handling the tissue-thin phyllo, this is a very easy dessert to make. You just stack layers of butter-brushed phyllo with layers of cinnamon-coated nuts, bake the whole thing, then pour a sugar and honey syrup over it. I used the recipe here, and it’s great. Perhaps sugar-craving me would make 1.5 times the syrup next time around…
My blog posting has suffered this week. Sparks and I are both trying to recover from the holiday rush, I think, while at the same time feeling the nesting rush come upon us. Poor Sparks almost seems to have it worse than me–every weekend he plans out three weekends’ worth of projects. Right now he’s out getting shelving for my sewing room, and when he gets back, we’re going to PAINT THE NURSERY together. Then I can assemble the crib while he installs a light fixture and wires up our new Netflix streaming box and replaces bathroom light fixtures and fixes the exhaust fan in my bathroom and etc etc etc.
Busy times at Low House. I will keep you posted…
December 30 and 31 were unseasonably warm days, during which all of the snow melted and the ground thawed enough that on January 1, Sparks officially dug our first harvest of 2011: the parsnips.
There is a lot of conflicting information about when to dig parsnips. They take 120-180 days, and ours had had at least that (probably more). Cold weather makes them sweeter. Some people say to dig them just before the ground freezes, and some say to leave them till spring. I guess we split the difference.
Compared to the gnarled monsters Sparks dug in October, these are picture-perfect parsnips. In the raw they had some sweetness, but fried till brown and salted–oh my goodness. They were like the best tostones you’ve ever had, only better. Sort of what tostones want to be when they grow up.
Grow parsnips, my friends. They’re expensive in the stores, low-maintenance to grow and DELICIOUS.
The winter is upon us, friends. No more holidays, no more celebrations, no more rush of decorations and food and gifts, and no more built-in reasons to see family and friends. Just two, or two and a half, months of bone-chilling darkness and cold and dreary skies. Brrrrrrrr.
January has one consolation, and that is garden planning. The catalogues have already piled up here–we got three yesterday–and Sparks and I have a shared Google Doc to outline and update our hopes and aspirations.
Are artichokes, a risky proposition in our climate, worth the space they take up?
Do we feel like trying peas, parsnips, or turnips again? And by the way, have we dug the parsnips yet?
In face of the glory that is swiss chard, is kale worth it?
Why haven’t we ever seen a Savoy cabbage for sale? We’re totally growing some.
So when do we start the hotbox?
And what am I going to do with that delicious unclaimed bed behind the house…?