My Daughter has Decided that She Isn’t a Ruffly Girl Anymore.

Should she be allowed to do that! 

All on her own. Without any say-so from her mother.  :-0

Here is a pile of patterns ready to donate to the thrift store that are no longer “her”.  “Those aren’t my style, Mommy.  I’m not a ruffly girl anymore.” 

What is wrong with a little ruffle?

And when did she get old enough to have a style?!

 I am not ready to go from this . . .

         to this. . . .


 What am I going to sew her now?  The dresses I made her last autumn to fit her this summer – she won’t wear.  Too ruffly, I suppose.

It also means she is growing up.  I love the family years and already feel nostaglic when I see signs she is no longer my itty-bitty girl.

What is a mother to do?

I guess hit a sale at the fabric store and buy more patterns!  Proof that every cloud has a silver lining. 🙂


Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do . . . Three Out of Four Ain’t Bad Because my Family Refused to Do Without.

One thing of note has happened for our family during the past few weeks that my daughter will probably remember for a long time.

We replaced our TV.

My great-aunt bought me a TV the summer of ’91.  It had a 16′ screen encased in one of those huge black boxes with a “handle” that bit your hand down to the bone, but allowed the manufacturer to lay claim that it was “portable”.  It weighed a ton.

In my family of origin we don’t replace an appliance until it stops working so it never occurred to me to upgrade.  Visitors would come to our house and quietly stare at the set.  Once we had a pastor offer us the brand new TV of a recently deceased church member and we were astonished.  Incredulous, we declined the offer and thought “Now why offer us that?”  But once my daughter starting having little friends over, they in their youthful innocence would exclaim “THAT’S your TV!”  – we started to get it. 

People thought our TV was old.

Having tasted the first fruits of media technology at her friends’ houses my daughter began a campaign explaining how due to the decrepitude of our timeworn TV, that it could not accept a Wii, which was our loss.

I asked her if there was sewing Wii or knitting Wii, to which she said “No”, and I replied, “Then how much fun could a Wii be?”

Because by that time my husband and I liked our old TV and wondered how long it would last. It became a curiousity.

My daughter demonstrating how tiny our screen had shrunk.

As so often with a beloved elderly pet the final illness began with mild but relatively untroubling symptoms.    The screen began showing a dark line at the top and bottom.  Since rented DVD’s always showed up in this letterbox format we didn’t especially notice when both TV shows and DVD’s began looking the same.  My husband remarked that “Damn,  somehow it has gotten reset for letterbox!”  Too lazy to delve deeper we thought nothing of it.

Then the “letterbox” began to shrink.  This was mildly bothersome but I largely ignored it.   My family grumbled a bit but I was learning to live with the restriction.  Then one night watching a BBC fantasy/drama show called “Merlin” I noticed to my family, “Boy all of these actors sure have gained weight since last season.  Especially that Morgana.  She looks downright short and pudgy. Maybe they should change up her wardrobe from all of those medieval-ey dresses.” 

The young actress/model who plays Morgana in reality is tall and slender, however when viewed through a 4 inch screen her figure had changed remarkably. She looked like a dome, her head abnormally small for her waistless triangular form.   Sadly I thought, “Her runway days are over!”  Right upon the heels of that sad pronouncement another niggling thought emerged –  it just might be the TV.

Just for grins I measured the image screen before ditching the TV. You can barely see the tape but it we had only four inches of height left.

Taking this new information in I explain to my family that ever since broadcast switched to HD it has changed the TV screen.  You see we have an old TV and it can’t “read” those kind of airwaves. ”  You see it’s those new airwaves, not our old TV.

Astounded by the glib scientific acumen of an English major, my husband stared at me for a second and then uttered the sad truth that would break through my denial.  “The picture tube is going bad.”

The picture tube. . . . . . . You don’t say. 

It took a few days for me to make peace with the reality of the situation but it was either a new TV or resigning myself to our screen distorting actors into increasingly extreme images of shortness and pudginess. Even though I felt a little guilty since the TV still technically “worked” (my husband asked me what I considered working to mean)  I finally gave the OK to purchase a new set.   Upon announcement it became clear to me that my family had wanted to put the old TV set out of our misery for weeks. 

Lest I in a burst of nostalgia change my mind, my husband hustled the family into the car and off we sped to our local big box appliance store.  The TV’s are now so flat and clear and lightweight.  In just twenty minutes my  husband popped one set onto his shoulder and off we went to the cash register.  My daughter asked for a Wii seventy-five times on the ride home.  (She is now using fitness Wii as an inducement as she knows I am still working off those pregnancy pounds. Clever child.  Still no Wii.)

 We get home, turn it on and Voila!  It is beautiful and all the sweeter for the wait. The picture and sound are terrific. No more squinting at tiny misshapen images. But you know, for me I am still getting used to it.   Having grown attached to seeing their shorter and pudgier versions the actors have returned to being consistently enviably tall and thin.  Every time I turned on the old set I was reminded of the loved one who purchased it.  All of those comments about how outdated it was, made me laugh to myself and reconnect to the value of frugality passed down from my great-aunt. 

I think out loud, “Maybe in another twenty years this new TV will be as good as the old one.”  My daughter just gives me a dirty look. And asks “When are we getting a Wii?”   

What sewing techniques do you avoid learning?

The January 2012 Threads “Designer Spotlight” (page 22) interviewed Kenneth King and this is what he had to say when asked what advice would he pass along to others interested in couture sewing:

Persistence, practice, persistence, practice.  When you get a technique “in the hands’ as my teacher Simmin Sethna would say, its quicker than using a shortcut.  A shortcut may seem faster, but in the end, doing something correctly from the beginning can save far more time.”

Though I am a big fan of shortcuts myself and love to sew using RTW methods,  Mr. King’s point is well taken. In both persistence and practice I have been remiss when a technique does not come easily. I would love to master the tailoring details that go into a pair of classic tailored trousers.  However making great slacks means welt pockets and perfect fly fronts.  I know that I should just grab some scraps and start practicing but something in me pushes back.  My sewing time is so limited that to “waste” time practicing means I will have to forego some finished garments in designs that sew more quickly.

At least that is what my impulsive mind tells me.  But Kenneth King is asserting that if I would just practice with persistence it would cut my work time in the end.  Something to think about.  It almost makes me want to pull out one of my sewing references and cut some welt pockets.

What sewing techniques do you feel you should learn but find yourself avoiding to do so for some reason?

At What Age Did You Begin Sewing?

My daughter's sewing machine which I have been "borrowing" for the past two years.

I was nine, in third grade, when I began my first machine sewing project.  It was a tank top made of some horrible polyester and had facings, a term and technique that really bemused me, because as a nine-year-old I could not for the life of me see where these funny curved things had a face.  Much of my learning to sew has gone along these lines.  And I vowed to myself that I would teach my daughter so she wouldn’t have to undergo the agonies of the self-taught.

After my daughter’s first experience with machine sewing she decided to take a break.  A few years have passed and she is now seven and feels she is ready to face the machine again.   This is her first project completed with supervision.  (I serged the inside seams.)

Here are the photos.  She took the pictures.  They are very blurry but she was so proud of her pillow I told her I would post the photos.  

Little mermaid on one side.



Angelina on the other side.



Hello Kitty ribbons to close pillowcase.

I am curious.  Not only how old were you when you began sewing, but how much help did you receive?

I received very little help and it has left me unsure how to teach sewing to a young girl.  A family member helped me when she could but it was not often that I was at her home.  4-H at the time was not offering  much hands-on instruction in sewing, at least that was my experience.   Most of the easy sewing projects I can imagine for my daughter would he half her work, and half mine, for them to come out successfully.  If the sewing isn’t strong enough to withstand use, she won’t be able to enjoy her completed projects, and I fear she won’t want to continue sewing.   I don’t want her discouraged with poor results, but I also want her to own her victories when a project comes out well.

Did you have someone to lean on, or are you mainly self-taught?  If you had a teacher, how did your teacher go about teaching sewing?

Trying Out a Magazine from Threads I Haven’t Seen Before.

Quick Stuff to Sew Winter 2011 from Threads Magazine

Found this at the store yesterday. 

I browsed through and it seemed right along the lines of what I need right now. 

This week I have completed so many errands that I have had little time to sew, but I do have some projects.  I am working on a template for the poncho mentioned under Inspirations on a recent post.  Also I have finished one baby sling, and have another on halfway completed.  I will review the pattern soon.  Sadly no photos yet.

The poncho wearable muslin came out well and I am looking forward to taking my daughter fabric shopping this weekend so she can choose her fabric.  I hope we can find something she likes.  I am looking forward to the time spent with her and on finally buying some fabric!

Have a fun weekend!

Fat Tuesday Celebrations

Normally I cook a special meal for Fat Tuesday replete with all kinds of fattening luxuries like cream sauce and cake.  However this year I am getting over the stomach flu and am enjoying a high carbohydrate diet of only the blandest foods.   Plus my husband has to work late and my daughter has dance.

So much for the Fat Tuesday feast.

Furthermore the day’s normal festiveness was to be replaced by fussiness as I started the morning with a doctor’s appointment for the baby where he got his 4 month vaccines.  Thinking he might be cranky for awhile I wanted to walk with him as he likes to be pushed in his stroller.

So I decided to do something I rarely do. 

I went to the swankest mall in town.

Luck was with me and I got a primo parking spot right in front of the door to that mall’s poshest department store.  And the day kept going along those lines.  Here is little journal of today’s adventures.

Inspiration from the Nordstrom Girls Deparment

Trapeze dress Girls Department Nordstrom Cincinnati Feb 2012


Sweatshirt Poncho Girls Department Nordstrom Cincinnati Feb 2012


Window shopped.

Anthropologie Summer Tank Feb 2012

Tried on some perfume.

Anthropologie perfume: My favorites were Collette and Bianca.

Stopped for a treat.

Happy Fat Tuesday!


Combatting the Winter Blues

Compiling homemade mixes is my current big project.  Usually I can beans and jellies in January because the warm steam and the intense food scents lighten my mood combatting my seasonal sadness.

Home-canning is not such a safe baby-friendly activity.  This will have to do.  I am trying out various make-ahead home-made mix recipes.  They look very pretty on the shelf and having a premade item ready should cut down on cooking time as any day it’s “guess your best” on what type of mood the baby will be in during the supper hour.

Haven’t gotten back to the final big crazy ugly dog blanket that I am working on.  Hope to have some time this weekend.


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