This morning I did some more sewing on the new dress that I’ve been very excited about. I’ve been feeling very orangey-turquoisey-brown lately, and this dress is just the thing to welcome spring. Over the past week I have rearranged the furniture in my living room into a slightly unusual layout. The large low room is now a work room, with tables and horizontal surfaces in the center of the room. The sofa is now unobtrusively up against the front window whereas before it dominated the room and divided it horizontally into task areas. It has become a place to lay out fabric, or to briefly rest while talking on the telephone or having a coffee.

The television is in its own little corner with a rug and a chair. I’m going to make a stack of floor cushions and a basket in which to toss them when not being used – so excited about the fabric pattern and color possibilities! I’ve been enjoying my busy, productive mornings sewing in my new workspace. The room has become very conducive to working.

I spent the afternoon with Emily and Matilda, and then Tallulah also. While still at Johnny’s of Carrboro getting our afterschool snack, Matilda struck up a girl talk conversation with Emily and me. The topic was “how to tell a boy you like him.” I self-deprecatingly described my own poor track record in that field, and Emily tried to be be helpful, with her amazing and genuine intuitiveness. It was an adorable conversation. That’s when I realized what the name of my new dress was going to be. Every dress has a name.

We came home, still with a few hours of golden sunshine remaining in the day. I cleared a path deeper into the thicket of bamboo and wisteria, metal loppers in hand, slogging through in my rubber galoshes and red plaid skirt, gathering dust and insects and god knows what in my hair.

The girls used the bamboo to reconstruct their settlement in my front yard. I’m very impressed by the clearly delineated structures and areas they built with bamboo poles, wood stakes, cardboard trays of pinecones and stones, and stacks of windfallen branches.

Late winter has arrived, and it’s such an exciting time, when the days between cold snaps stretch longer in number. Some days are sweater weather days, and the sun shines, and the air is filled with energy. This year’s blooming and greening is about to begin!

And then at night I shiver in my absurdly orange cashmere sweater and nubby wool hat before curling into the feather duvet and warm quilts for my night’s rest.

Eye candy therapy

September 22, 2010

Sometimes I spend hours looking at pretty pictures on the Internet. It’s my eye candy, and it makes me feel better, when I need feeling better.

Sometimes the pretty pictures are on fabric store websites, and then I spend money:

It’s better when the pretty pictures are on Flickr, because then it’s free therapy:

1. thrifted fall, 2. journals, 3. 0, 4. couple., 5. Okra, 6. Works canteen, 7. Urban Home swap Fabric Pull 1, 8. June, 9. Maggie, 10. plaits, 11. Mellow Yellow, 12. drying, 13. ruffle hips, 14. New lamp in my stuido, 15. I Like You, 16. Untitled, 17. Untitled, 18. donuts, 19. Pastel Mess, 20. vintage squares, oh my!

No idleness here

September 3, 2010

Nearing the end of Matilda's quilt

So, I’m still unemployable and still living month to month, but I’ve been keeping busy.

Matilda’s quilt continues onward. Twenty-four blocks for a twin-sized quilt for my daughter were machine-pieced, the quilt sandwich was made with lovely cotton batting, and I have quilted by hand 18 of the 24 blocks. I am keeping an eye on fabric sales online to pick up some yardage for the binding which will finish it off.

I have been combing through my belongings and selling them on Ebay. I have also been making things and listing them on Etsy. A shelf behind my couch serves as my staging point for weighing, listing, packaging.

Staging point for ebay and etsy sales

Sewing nook


One corner of the living room serves as my sewing spot. It”s all there, sewing machine, ironing board, iron, yardstick, pitcher for pouring water into the iron, various scissors, cutting mat, a self-made pattern, pink wicker shelves for notions and pretty things. And of course part of my vintage handbag collection. Everything is there except, of course, for the fabric, which is mounting higher and higher in my hall closet and spilling over into stacks in boxes and flat surfaces throughout the house.

Pillowcases and fabric scraps

No longer just a closet, now a fabric closet

Dress #6 and Dress #5

August blouse #1, detail

The sewing keeps me busy, and, by extension, sane.

I have been working all summer on a pattern for My Perfect Dress that will fit my body just right. I finally got it with Dress #5 and Dress #6.

Now I’m taking the pattern-making and machine-sewing skills I have learned from dressmaking, and I’m beginning to sew a line of blouses, in sizes XS all the way to XL. The blouses are vintage-inspired, often using vintage fabric, with 3/4 sleeves, simple accents at collars and cuffs, simple lines, simple to wear. I find that the best way to get good at making something is to make the same thing over and over again. Any boredom arising from this practice is reduced by choosing different fabrics along the way for each one. I taught myself how to knit hats without a pattern with this method a few years back.

Happy August

August 14, 2010

1. Call this a holiday?, 2. Untitled, 3. Untitled, 4. thrifted orla kiely wool sweater, 5. Untitled, 6. Hello Betty Retro #4, 7. yellow bib dress, 8. Bag detail, 9. closeups of blocks six and seven., 10. color, 11. Eye Shadow, 12. Pout, 13. Hiking in the Upper Penisula : Au Sable Lighthouse, 14. 11 months old Hertta, 15. P1180617, 16. Apple Daisy Dress Button ‘n’ Loop

Is it hot where you are too?

I spend my days at home, making things, drinking ice water, making late night runs to the grocery store for ice cream.

I thought I had a plan for the fall, but my plan has to wait until next fall. I’ll begin attending Duke School of Law then. Because one postgraduate degree isn’t enough for me. I’m very excited to go to law school. It’s a challenge that I want to meet straight-on. I hope it will give me the motivation to express my talents with confidence, for real. I might just come out of my shell.

In the meantime, I sew, I knit, I quilt, I househunt in Durham, and I look at pretty pictures on the Internet. I am inspired by the creativity and good eye so many people have with their photography. I dream about colors and big rooms with wood floors and many, many windows.


June 13, 2010

1. Let the wild rumpus begin., 2. Day 364/365–Deflated, 3. 11/52, 4. Running with Balloons, 5. balloons 3, 6. die welt steht still…., 7. 03, 8. Up & Away, 9. Held By Strings

I am pondering balloons tonight.

When I was a little girl my mother would decorate the ceiling with helium-filled balloons for the occasional party. I enjoyed having to push the hanging balloon ribbons aside while walking through the room.

Happy June

June 3, 2010

1. cross-eyed., 2. Up or down?, 3. No.365, 4. Untitled, 5. No.359, 6. Penguin Books, 7. Hello Weekend!, 8. Untitled, 9. shecouldn’tbeartofaceit, 10. braid wednesday, 11. Laurel Vintage Sheet Quilt, 12. Pumpkin Tea Set, 13. Vintage Divided Plates, 14. Saving It For Someone Special, 15. Untitled, 16. Untitled

This is the color palette in my Spring dreams.

June is a favorite month, second only to October. What new surprises lurk in the next weeks?

More Flickr favorites.

1. Blue Circles, 2. Elephants, 3. vintage 1950s Persephone Party Dress in Teal, 4. 42-17022006, 5. Hello Daisy, 6. Solitude, 7. goodbye my dears, 8. Idaho Green Ramble, 9. ring around the Del, 10. louise_brooks_21, 11. louise_brooks_1606, 12. tk5242, 13. Elizabeth Taylor, 1963, 14. Corvair ad, 1964, 15. Donovan, Vidal Sasson hair cut, 1962, 16. summer boatneck top

Elizabeth Taylor, I love you.

Perfect frothy 50s prom dresses, I love you even more.