Friday, October 24, 2014

The Children

I have been in a Christmasy mood lately and once the cheap costumes and buckets of candy from Halloween are gone, I plan to start decorating for the holidays. I usually wait until after Thanksgiving to set up the tree, but, there's no rule that says I *have* to wait, right?
I wanted to get a headstart on Christmas cards. I do not send out a ton but I do like to send a photo card of the children to old friends and extended family. It is fun to see how they grow and change from year to year.

I tried to take a few photos the other night, as it has been an unusually pretty autumn and the dying grasses and evening sky made a nice background. Of course, pictures of five little children never come out quite as I envision. Grass stains, food smears and unruly hair. But thats okay, because that's how kids are.

Maybe we will try again a different day. However, I get the feeling that these are as good as I'll get! At least until they are older!

Happy Autumn from all of us! It is a beautiful time to be alive.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

8 Years Old!

My little man is 8! Happy Birthday David!

You are a beautiful boy, David. You have a beautiful soul.

You are artistic, detail oriented and musically talented. You hear songs in everything. The leaves falling to the ground, water over rocks in the creek bed, wind in the grass.

You are a good reader and writer, and someday you will be a doctor, you say. To help those who hurt, because, you say, everyone needs to know there's someone who wants to help them feel better.

You are a gracious young man, always curious and always thoughtful and pondering. I love you! I'm so glad I've had you for 8 years, and hope to have you for eighty eight more!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Girls Regency Drawstring Slip-On Dress

I turned to the easily adaptable Girls Regency Gown pattern from Sense and Sensibility for Laurens rendezvous dress. This time, I made it as a mini-version of the Sense and Sensibility Drawstring Dress from The Elegant Lady's Closet.

It was an easy modification. I simply placed the front bodice piece about 2" away from the fold when cutting it out, and cut the back on the fold, using the center back line as my guide. Drawstrings in the neck and waist, and there you have it!

I pleated the back skirts. All visible stitching was done by hand, and the dress took only one day to complete.

They were the prettiest ladies at the event!

The boys were filthy and now, at this age, prefer running off and playing with other boys rather than sitting nicely by the tent and posing for pictures, but Benjamin was quiet and happy and very dashing.

Judah brought home a walnut collection which, unfortunately, somehow found its way into a load of white laundry. (Any advice?!?)

It was a great event with good weather. Russ brought his dad out and it was nice having them with us.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

1800 Child's Dress for Anne

The inspiration for this little dress came from an image I saved long ago of a simple child's frock c. 1800. There was an accompanying pattern in PDF format. I think it was a Tidens Toj pattern, though as I cannot find it on their website any longer perhaps I am mistaken.

I made it up today for Anne, in a piece of tan printed cotton slightly less than one yard in quantity. It went together quickly and easily.

The dress features a flat front bodice with a flat front skirt, a drawstring gathered back bodice and skirt and plain short sleeves. The skirts are cut slightly A-line in shape, throwing a bit more fullness into the hem.

Anne was delighted to have a new dress and fell asleep tonight wearing it. I wondered how she would get along with an ankle length skirt but she seemed to do just fine.

Can't wait to see her in it this weekend at the rendezvous! I think the regency era suits her well.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Gilbert the Second

In a tragic accident involving a motor vehicle last fall, our beloved Gilbert passed away. It was apparent by January just how how good of a mouser he was as mice seemed to dwell everywhere with blithe unconcern for our attempts to dissuade them. Eventually, poison was the only thing to end their merry little lives, but it smelled bad.

I did not plan on getting another cat for a while. But, over the summer, the desire for another purry feline grew irresistible and I began looking. A few days ago while looking for a small aquarium for Judah's pet toad I saw an ad for a male kitty and I called and within an hour he was in our arms and so our family became a little bit bigger!

After thinking of different names for the kitty, the boys decided on the sensible name of Gilbert the Second. It works.

He's more fond of pillows and playing than hunting for mice, but hopefully that will change with time. He's a sweetheart and we love him.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sewing the Stripey Sheer Fabric

A few years ago I purchased some sheer striped cotton from a reenacting friend. It was so beautiful! Deep, vibrant hues of brilliant blues and greens. I loved that fabric. It became my favorite fabric and...sat on my fabric shelf for years. I have always been a believer in saving the best for last, but very often this is to my detriment, resulting in the best never being realized as I keep "saving it for later". Well, this past week I finally sewed up the fabric. First, I made another 1860's wrapper.

I think I'm getting the construction of this style of wrapper down pretty well. There were other styles of wrappers in the 1860's, but this one is my favorite. It sort of reminds me of the sacque-back dresses of the 18th century, only with the sacque in this case being the front.

The fullness for this one was taken up in pleats. I love pleating. It is faster than cartridge pleating and gives a neat, tailored appearance. I was especially happy to pleat this wrapper as prior to its construction my pins had mostly gone the way of bobby pins, pens and the infamous dryer socks - they had apparently disappeared into thin air. I found a brand new pack of pleating pins at the thrift store for 60 cents. Score! Pleating ensued.

For the sleeves I made loose open sleeves. I don't know if they would be considered pagoda sleeves exactly - they are basically rectangular with rounded corners at the hem - but its a nice sleeve style for hot weather and have a graceful appearance. I edged them with self fabric ruching for a bit of visual interest.

I had a little fabric left over and found there was just enough for a little toddler dress.

Though its a unisexual color and style I think it would be a very nice boy dress. My two oldest boys were dumbfounded and refused to believe they had worn dresses at reenactments when they were babies! Malachi still seemingly has fond memories of his petticoat days and thinks dresses on little children are perfectly normal, but, at 5, he is "too grown up to wear them now."

Nothing left of this fabric now but a few slender scraps.

I feel accomplished.


Monday, August 4, 2014

3 Months

Little Fellow.

"All our babies were sweet, Gilbert, but she is the sweetest of them all."

- Anne of Ingleside