Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Garden Club

Filling our raised bed with edibles has become a yearly tradition (see last year and the year before that), but doing it with our friends Phoebe and Willow was even more fun!

Gardening was followed by dinner together, a romp through the sprinkler, and a swing on the hammock (pushed by Phoebe, the youngest of them all). It was a lovely evening together. See you at harvest time, friends!

Friday, April 29, 2016

What's Old is New

Oh, how I love vintage. I like poking through thrift stores and yard sales, love transforming the old into the new. Two toddlers has left me no time to do this anymore, but there was an estate sale just blocks from my house recently, and I was able to pop in during naptime. In the house, I found small stacks of vintage fabrics, taped together, each stack organized by color and marked $2. So I bought two stacks, not exactly sure what I was getting. It was a grab bag of sorts, and when I took it home I was unsure whether there was enough in each for anything, but I was able to make Carousel Dresses for both Penny and Lulu, out of the scraps:

I have the perfect destination in mind for the girls to wear them, if they so choose. Stay tuned! In other sewing, I've been using my vintage patterns to make a Liberty smock from vintage Simplicity 3177. I love how the blue lining on the bodice makes the outer fabric look a tiny bit blue, in hue.

I've had this vintage polyester forever. It also came from an estate sale and I had been meaning to sew up the pattern, vintage McCalls's 8635 forever. There's something about solid accents on busy prints that has my heart. The pattern has an adorable tie option, for the back, though I knew it would be too fussy for busy Lulu, so I made it without.

Sometimes I think about all the things I'm going to get back to when I have more time on the schedule. I'd like to do some canning once or twice a year. I'd love to travel again, and see all the places on my list I haven't yet seen. I want to thrift a bit more (though Mr. Jones has no wishes for me to do so). In the meantime, it's fun to dip into old things, and be able to transform them into something new, for my family.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Among the Tulips

The day after Penny's birthday party, we headed out of town to Tulipfest! I had been wanting to go for many years, but never thought the girls were of any age to get much out of it. This year, they loved it more than I could have imagined! Penny is in a real phase of appreciating flowers, so her mind was blown (as was mine). There were also swings, bounce houses, and other attractions to keep us entertained.

I asked Penny which color she liked the most. This is her broad gesture while she shouted, "All the colors!"

Who wouldn't love to ride these fields on a giant pink tractor?

My camera stayed focused on the tulips, but I still love this photo:

Don't worry, we only pick flowers off the ground, and out of the tent that sold cut stems :).

Penny's dress is homemade, though I didn't get a photo of it on its own before she wanted to wear it. It's a Carousel Dress, color blocked in a print I had only one yard of, and the solid color I used for her butterfly birthday dress. How I love this pattern. I'm dreaming of all the ways I can make more versions using only my scrap bag, like patchwork quilts my girls can wear all summer long. Lulu's sweater is the one I made for Easter.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Butterflies in the Grass

Penny Jones had her 4th birthday party in the backyard this weekend. A dozen girls ("I'm not inviting boys. Boys like to play 'Bad Guys' and I don't like that.") came to our house and decorated butterfly wings, pulled strings of a pinata, ate their weight in chocolate cake, and celebrated Penelope Jones. The weather was glorious and so was the friendship, fluttering around the garden.

Siblings were present. Lulu made a special friend in 8 year-old Cora, sister to one of Penny's preschool buddies. Cora crafted wings with Lulu, watched her finish her cake, cleaned her hands and face for her, and then followed her out into the garden to play with her. My heart melted.

What can I say about Penny Jones? She's a lover of family, and friends, flowers, and fashion. She's a gentle spirit who is always willing to share. It's truly phenomenal. I can count on one hand the number of tantrums she's ever had. She wants nothing more than to have everyone get along. She likes to hug your neck and shout, "Together!".  She loves rules, and she loves routine. She loves naps, still wants to sleep in her crib, and still wants to spend every waking moment with her mama. I used to say, "Don't be 4! Four is too big." to which her reply was always the same: "Don't worry. I'll still be a good girl. And I'll still be your best friend". What more could I want, than that?

Also, a school note. Because I know I'll lose it. And I really don't want to:

Penny Jones, you are an inspiration to all of us. We really couldn't love you more.

P.S. Penny's 3rd Birthday Party, Penny's 2nd Birthday Party, and Penny's 1st Birthday Party.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spring Things

I've done some sewing for the girls, for Spring. Some of it I did a while ago, and some I just finished. I like to take my time making these clothes. I like to finish the seams perfectly, and hand stitch them just right. I like to make special clothes for holidays, or parties, or a special Saturday in the park. I like to take the girls up to my sewing corner and ask their opinions on my stash, see what prints and colors they like the most. When I sew, I think of my grandmother, Amelia. We called her Nammy B. Penny has her name: Penelope Amelia Jones. I think about sewing with her, and how she sewed for me, and my mother before that. I like to think of Mrs. Murphy, my high school sewing teacher, and the strict and no nonsense teacher I had at Parsons, when I took courses there in my 20s. I think of all their advice, and their sewing styles, and I put each of their thoughts into practice. I try to take my time. This is my happy place, after all.

For Penny, a Bubble Dress in my favorite Liberty of London print called "Mauvey", from my dwindling stash.

For Lulu, a Spring School Days Coat, similar to her winter coat, in an adorable canvas I got years and years ago from Superbuzzy.

For Penny, a spring School Days Coat in canvas from IKEA, with buttons previously used on Lulu's cloud dress. Both her coat and Lulu's coat are lined with soft, cozy, flannel solids.

Finally, a Fairy Tale Dress in a butterfly print that Penny picked out herself at the fabric store. This is for her birthday. She turned 4 yesterday, and she'll have a butterfly party, this Saturday.

Mostly, Penny and Lulu wear store bought play clothes. By no means do they wear mostly handmade things. I make dresses for them occasionally and hang them on hangers in their closet for when they feel like donning something a bit more ornate. Penny loves fancy clothes. When I make things for Lulu she often says, with a bashful posture, "I'm a little bit jealous of that sweater, Mama." I tell her there's certainly some new things to come for her, too. And when they do come, she really appreciates them. Sometimes she treats them too preciously, not wanting to wear them often, or wanting to take them off when she thinks she might get messy while eating or painting.

The sizes are bigger now, the patterns take a bit more fabric. Sizes 2 and 4 seems to be a bit of a sweet spot for me, however. Where infant things were just too mini, and clothes for me are a bit more cumbersome, these clothes seem to take just the time I like, and I'm still always surprised what I can squeak out of my scrap bin. The girls are, too. As long as the process makes me happy, and product delights them, I see no reason for stopping :).

Monday, March 28, 2016

Good Eggs, 2016

We had a very special Easter weekend. On Saturday. we went to an epic public egg hunt that felt more like a sporting event than a holiday occasion. The girls loved it. They got their arms painted by girl scouts, met the Easter Bunny, gathered chocolate eggs, petted baby animals, and saw their best friends. There was joy, and of course some tears. The weather was absolutely gorgeous.

On Sunday, the rain returned. We had a outdoor brunch in the neighborhood with an egg hut for the kids, who weren't deterred by the weather. Holidays have been so much fun, lately. Seeing what the girls can do, what they understand, what sparks their imagination and what brings them joy, brings us constant happiness. I must laugh at least 50 times a day. Hope your Easter weekend was just as joyful.

PS. Their handmade outfits are described in the last post.
PPS. Easter 2015 and Easter 2014, and Easter 2012 (when she fit in the basket she carried this year!)