Thursday, April 15, 2010

That girl

Claudia on her way to music class (she's taking a Music Together class).  Even though she looks confident, striding down the street in her hippy-chic ensemble, she spent the whole class pulling on my shirt saying "Mo" (ie milk) and saying "Nah" to the teacher and hitting me if things weren't going generally how she wanted them too...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Some crafty goodness and the house...

Here is a picture of the refinished floors in the new house--we used English Chestnut by minwax which looks beautiful here in one of the bedrooms, but a little darker and redder than I had expected on the stairs.  Also, you totally can''t tell from this picture, but the water-based polyurethane that he used on top had a very matte finish that you could easily scratch with a fingernail (uh--not gonna work for this crew).  Wesley (our awesome painter/handyman extraordinaire) is going to put a final coat on with a more durable finish when all the wall painting is finished.
Speaking of painting, can I just say that I'm in color selection hell and totally overwhelmed and carry approximately 300 paint chips with me everywhere I go.  If you have any strategies for narrowing down paint colors/creating a cohesive palate thoughout the house/stopping the madness, well let's just say, I'm taking suggestions.  Whoever is reading this, when you come to see us at the new house when it's all painted--just tell me you like the colors, okay?

Since I was just praising the glory of spring, a picture to illustrate.  Although the tulips have mostly come and gone (apparently 90 degrees really doesn't suit them), lots of spring loveliness still to be enjoyed around here.
Here is P in the new Oliver and S Music Class skirt and blouse.  This is actually a sample that I sewed for Cloth and Bobbin.  These Oliver and S patterns are uniformly awesome.  Even though it's probably not the best way to follow a sewing pattern (or any patter/instructions for that matter), I can totally turn my brain off when sewing from these.  Just follow the instructions blindly and methodically, step by step, without thinking too hard about what she (Liesl the pattern designer) is getting at, and voila, a perfect, perfectly finished garment.  

This was my first time sewing a sample and I'm glad I did with this particular garment as it turns out that P is way taller and skinnier than the patterns are sized for, so I didn't mind giving it up so much..  Above is a size 5 and while the skirt fits fine, the blouse wouldn't last more than a few months--and the pattern doesn't allow any extra in the hem for letting down (which I didn't figure out until I was done since I was blindly following the pattern...).
Finally, a new quilt I've been working on for P.  (Why all the crafting for her, I don't know.  New stuff for Diego to follow soon).  I didn't buy a single piece of fabric for this quilt--it's all scraps from my stash.  I'm pretty happy about that.  What's scary is that I could make this entire quilt again with the exact same fabrics and STILL not have to buy anything.  Yes, I hoard fabric.  So sue me.  Pleasingly (to me) the outer border is a "shabby chic" shower curtain (from Target) that I picked up at a thrift store a few years ago thinking it was beautiful fabric.  Although its white is way whiter than the creamy off-whites in the rest of the quilt, I still like it.

I'm hand quilting it while Al and I watch Heroes at night (crazy weird show--very entertaining).  This project has totally reaffirmed my preference for handquilting over machine.  I really enjoy the process more (wrestling Claudia's monster of a quilt through my cheap-o sewing machine with no walking foot in August while 9 months pregnant may have killed the joy of machine quilting for me once and for all).  But really, I think the main thing is I like hand-quilted quilts so much more--I think they drape much more nicely and that the handquilting creates a softness that you don't see with machine.

So that's that.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Diego, on Claudia: "First comes the crying, then comes the screaming, then comes the head-banging."  He pretty much has her nailed.  

The girls and I did some gardening over at the new house today: pruning an enormous rhododendron, chopping away at a massive rose of sharon, yanking out about 5 miles of ivy and dumping 40 pounds of leaf compost all over everything.  The work on the house is coming along, although it seems slower now.  The walls have lost all of their faux-wood paneling and are nice and smooth.  The ceilings and trim (or 'trims' as our painter calls them) have all been painted.  The floors on the 2nd and 3rd floor have all been sanded, stained and coated with water-based polyurethane.  I think colors have been chosen for our bedroom, Claudia's room, the guest/sewing room, the living room and the dining room.  The big kids' room is still in process, although my talented friend Sarah has agreed to paint a tree and some pink flowers on the wall, as per their requests.  Al and I found a vintage Chambers stove on craigslist and snatched it up for the kitchen.  The kitchen cabinets have been ordered.  Things are definitely moving along.  

I'm feeling less and less settled here at our old house.  Somehow, once I get my mind around the idea of moving, all of a sudden our existing space, which has worked fine for the past 5 years, seems intolerable--too small, too cluttered, too wide open...I don't feel like doing any work in the garden here, which is a mess.  Luckily, since the weather turned this week to beautiful ephemeral Philadelphia spring, we are spending as much time as possible out: where cherry blossoms and daffodils and  forsythia are blooming, and Clark Park soccer has started again, and little vincas and buttercups are everywhere at Woodland Cemetery.  It's like the most perfect reward for surviving the long, snowy winter this year.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Argh the torture of waiting for the new Oliver and S patterns.  It is wrong of them to make me wait so long!

Because I really don't have enough to do to fill my days...ha ha.