Thursday, June 28, 2012


Yesterday I had to pick up dog food and decided to go to Walmart instead of Tractor Supply.  I can still use my $7 Purina Pro Plan member checks there and they've finally brought back {drum roll, please} the FABRIC Department!  They have a large bin of discount fabric which ranges from $2 a yard on up in addition to three aisles and rows upon rows of fabric.  I browsed around for a while thinking about this really lovely white cotton gauzy-type material with lace and ruffles running through it.  Reminded me of a pre-made dress or skirt but at $12.99 a yard I'll pass.

After I left there I went over to the Salvation Army thrift store looking for fabric.  I came across pink gingham cotton/poly curtains with ruffles and all cotton twin bed sheets with dancing ballerina, roses and ribbons.  Thinking both can be cut up and made into dresses for the granddaughters.  Both are in excellent condition, no stains, rips or tears.  I've already washed and they're hanging on the clothes line drying.

I read a lot of other sewing and knitting blogs including Pinterest for inspiration.  I've been checking out eBay for fabric.  I did a search on Waverly rose cotton fabric and came up with literally more than a thousand items for sale in that category. Waverly fabrics also makes sheets and a twin sheet (top or bottom) is about three yards of fabric by more than 50 inches wide.  At $3.99 for the sheet set and $7.99 for the curtains I think I made a huge score!

These are not great photos.  I took them with my cellphone.

I worked on the dress for Lilly's second birthday party.  Jess had sent me a photo a couple weeks ago asking if I could copy the dress.  She already had the shirt and a friend would embroider it.  I cut two inches from the bottom of the shirt then I started on the tiers for the skirt.  When I measured Lilly the other day I measured 18 inches from her waist to the top of her knee.  From where the skirt starts to the bottom measures 16 inches so I'm hoping (praying) it fits and looks great otherwise there will be an awful lot of time spent with the seam ripper in my future.

Below is my inspiration.

And my version. 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homemade Clothing

I cut out two of the patterns I bought recently.  One for a Laura Ashley-style nightgown and the other a sundress; both for me.  I bought white muslin for the nightgown.  I'm trying to decide if I want to embroider the bodice and yoke area with my sewing machine and, if so, what color to use.  I wish sewing for myself was as easy as sewing for my granddaughters.  I'm thinking I should have a dress form.  I know they're expensive.

Speaking of clothing patterns.  What exactly did dressmakers and home sewers do before paper patterns were invented in the 1860s?  I imagine prior to the invention of the sewing machine in the 1840s that making clothing for your family took a long time.  If you didn't have a store to buy fabric you'd have to weave it yourself then you'd have to design what you were going to make, measure for it, cut it out and then sew by hand.  This must be why the working class had only one outfit to wear during the week and possibly another outfit for Sabbath to wear to church.

My Granny Pack had an old Singer treadle sewing machine.  She made clothes on it and in her later years used it to piece together quilts.  Before that she pieced by hand and always quilted by hand.  After she passed away I inherited her Singer.  I was never able to get it to work and it's been in storage for 12 years.  I think of all the clothes she must have made for her three daughters and four sons. 

There wasn't a telephone in her house until after Grandpa died in 1972.  No running water or bathroom either.  You hauled water in buckets from the well and used the outhouse to do your business.  Grandpa never wanted modern conveniences although electricity did come to the mountain about 1951.  Still, she continued to use her woodstove to cook on and the electric stove during the summer.

She kept house for herself up until a year or two before she passed.  She brought in her own wood and kept the stove going to heat the house during the winter.  She was in her 50s when Grandpa died.  She went to work as a housekeeper at one of the state parks.  She had never worked outside of her home.  She was a shy woman and thought of herself as "backward."  Being a housekeeper was hard work but she never complained.  I know she enjoyed the time she spent with the other women working there at the lodge.  I think the most difficult thing for her was having to ride the tram down to the cottages at the bottom of the mountain.  I'm afraid of heights.  I've ridden the tram a time or two and my stomach drops as soon as the car starts moving along the rail.

My Granny was a quiet woman.  She was kind and caring.  She was very giving and was there to help anyone who needed help.  She could drum up a meal from leftovers out of the fridge and feed a bunch of people.  I could look in the same fridge and not see anything to eat.  She once told me that when she and my Grandpa were courting he would walk 10 miles one way to see her.  To me that meant love.  Why else would somebody walk so far?

Granny made the most beautiful quilts.  I don't know if she ever followed a quilting design or thought them up herself.  Either way they were beautiful.  I have a couple that she made.  Mom has some.  My sister has one or two and my Uncle Edmund and Aunt Barb gave one of Granny's quilts to Ralph and Jess as a wedding gift.  I've made at least six quilts in my life.  Each one takes about a year to make although I still have Joe's quilt on the frame.  It's been there two years.  I started it when he was about eight years old and he's 26 now.  I know!  There are only three more rows of stars to quilt between the eight pointed stars.  I get lazy or distracted and move on to something else.  That happens a lot to my knitting projects, too.  Right now I happen to want to make clothes.  Hopefully I'll finish Joe's quilt before his girls are grown up.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Little Red Tricycle

I saw a photo the other day of a child's tricycle.  You know the one.  Every child has had a little shiny red or blue tricycle as their first bike. 

I thought I needed to buy one for the girls.  So today I bought one at Tractor Supply.  It's still in the box for now but I'll put it together in a day or so.  I can't wait for the girls to come over and play on it.  I can see it being used for years. 

I remember my boys had a little blue tricycle.  I can't remember where it came from but they both rode it and had so much fun.  I remember that we had one when we were children.  One of us would be on the front peddling while one was on the back hanging on. 

I wish we had saved Ralph's little red wagon.  It got thrown away after the garage door came down and crushed it.  That was back before garage doors had safety features to prevent accidents.  I'm pretty sure the blue tricycle was left at camp when we sold it.  Hopefully it was put to good use by other children after we left it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Retro Butterick Dress Pattern 4790

For the third day in a row I was at Joann's Fabrics today.  Friday I bought material I thought would match the Riley Blake Farm Fresh fabric.  Yesterday, I actually took the RB fabric with me to find something which matched.  Nothing matched so I looked for something complementary and found it.  I also came across the gorgeous orchid pink peony embroidered and sequined lightweight linen fabric which the sales lady said would be on sale today.  Today I went back and got the fabric for half price.  It was marked 50% off.  Originally it was $12.99 a yard and I purchased it for $6.49 a yard.  Totally worth going back for.  I thought it would be best to line the skirt portion of the dress so I picked up a matching pink anti-static polyester lining fabric.

I'm getting a wee bit nervous about this dress pattern now that I've read blog posts from ladies who've made this dress!  Most say if you're small busted the dress doesn't fit well and also that the dress is so heavy in the back from the extra material that the front rides up.  I'm not exactly small busted.  I'm a C cup which isn't large, however, the dress is held together by snaps or buttons under the bodice.  I think snaps and a tie in front would be better.  Until I figure out how to adjust the pattern to fit my body I will put it aside and work on something else.

Family Vacations

Early in our marriage and before we acquired animals we used to go on family vacations.  We toured almost all of the civil war battlefield sites down through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  We went to Virginia Beach a few times and down to Jamestown and Williamsburg, too.

My parents jumped on the timeshare bandwagon 30+ years ago.  They have a couple weeks a year at Massanutten Village which over the years has transformed itself from a beautiful sleepy little hideaway into what I think of as a monstrosity.  It's more like an urban city now.

They gave us a week at a timeshare of our choosing once and we picked Banner Elk.  I remember it being a long drive but we were very comfortable in our 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer which had air conditioning which we hadn't had in a car up until then.  This car was awesome; leather interior, fold down back seat, power windows and locks, power steering, etc.

We stayed at a beautiful villa on top of a mountain.  Looking out from the balcony we could see huge rocks and large, large trees.  A couple mornings we woke up hearing a mother bear with her cubs outside.

We planned day trips to see all the sites.  We drove to Blowing Rock then over to Boone.  We took a rather exhausting walk down to see the falls where they shot scenes from Last of the Mohicans or rather Phil, Ralph and Joe walked all the way down.  I couldn't make it.  Elevation was over 3000 feet and I was quite winded just walking.  Hiking was out of the question for me.  We went to Grandfather Mountain.  Very beautiful.

Something happened one day as we were driving back to the villa.  The car started making noises and then started backfiring.  I think it even shot flames out of the exhaust before the muffler fell off and was dragging behind us.  We made it as far as the country club type golf course where golfers stopped their game to stand and look at us making so much noise as we drove past.  At that point I felt like we were the Beverly Hillbillies rolling into Hollywood.  I was so embarrassed but not half as embarrassed as Phil having to stop the car and get out to look at the muffler and tail pipe dragging behind the car.  We sat there a while waiting for it to cool off so he could see if it could be wired back up.  That being done we drove on up to the offices and asked if anyone knew a place we could go to get the exhaust fixed.  I think the statute of limitations has expired so I can say now that the catalytic converter in the muffler had completely gone.  The mechanic reached inside and scooped out the remainder of what was once the catalytic converter and cleaned it out.  He reinstalled the muffler and tail pipe and away we went.  Never had a problem with the exhaust again.

Every time I think back on that trip what comes to mind is the very loud BOOM! followed by flames shooting out the back and both boys yelling WHAT WAS THAT?  And turning to see all the golfers just standing and staring back at us.  Lovely place North Carolina.  I wonder if they'd let us back in?

Friday, June 22, 2012

More Sewing

Winter makes me feel like knitting.  I love to curl up on the sofa and knit while watching tv in front of the woodstove.  Spring and summer I love to sew.  I haven't sewn for myself in ages.  Recently, I've bought a couple of dress patterns and one nightgown pattern for myself.  Now to find the perfect fabric! 

I have a bunch of blogs that I read every day.  Today, I was reading Melly Sews blog and came across one of the many dresses she's made for herself.  I fell in love with Butterick 4790 retro dress pattern and ordered one off eBay.  It's a wrap around dress and looks easy to make.  I love to wear skirts and dresses in the summer.  I never wear shorts and jeans make me sweat.  Yes, I know.  Ladies are not supposed to sweat no matter how much powder we pat you know where. 

I've been searching for 100% linen fabric online.  It's hard to find what I'm looking for but I'll know when I see it.  A couple months ago I did come across about 3 yards of an off white linen fabric with red camilla flowers on it.  I plan to practice with somewhat inexpensive muslin fabric first before I {EEK!} cut into the linen.

Phil and I went to Chili's for lunch today, then he dropped me off at Jo-Ann's Fabrics to shop while he went to Walmart.  I was looking for complementary fabric to go with the Riley Blake Farm Fresh fabric I just purchased.  The description said the fabric was teal and since I didn't have the fabric with me because it was an impromptu visit to the fabric store I bought small cuts of just about every piece of teal cotton fabric they had.  Alas, we got home and I took the new fabric pieces to match up with the Riley Blake and NO! nothing matched up!  The fabric is NOT teal!  It's more of a seafoam green.  DaRn!!!!  So now I have small cuts of these gorgeous teal colored fabrics washed and hanging on the line to dry.  They're so gorgeous I have to find something to make with them and next time I will make sure to take the RB fabric with me!

Any suggestions of where I can find light weight linen fabric yardage for dresses?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Clothing Patterns

This evening I got to rummaging around in our basement and came across a box of old patterns.  Some are dress and skirt patterns from my home ec class in high school, a bunch of old maternity patterns which I should donate to Salvation Army and, one really cute 1940s era New York Pattern Creation #1783 (Baby Romper, Pinafore and Panties Pattern) in a size 2 which just happens to be what Lilly is wearing now and Dixie will be in shortly!  I'm so excited.  I brought it upstairs and opened it up to find all the pieces are intact and the directions are included.  Yay!  Just think, this little outfit is the same age as my parents.  giggle

I've been ordering fabric off eBay.  Phil came in with the mail today to tell me that one of my goodies arrived.  HAHA  More fabric!  I came across some really darling Riley Blake fabric on eBay the other day.  It's already been washed and is sitting on the ironing board ready to be pressed.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday, Flag Day 2012

Today is Flag Day.  Last year I was speaking at the Bedford County DAR Chapter in Bedford, PA.

Today I worked from home doing billing.  The past two days I was at the office working on the computers.  We had a bad storm Tuesday night which effected the computers.  Yesterday I had to leave work early to stop by my DAR Chapter to work on the computer and printer there.  I did manage to get all three computers back up and running.  Yay!

Beautiful day here today.  Blue skies, mild weather with a slight breeze.  A high of about 72 degrees.  I have clothes hanging out on the line.  That will always be one of my favorite things.

My postman says I keep the economy running with my purchases.  giggle  Today I received a package of cotton lace from Korea.  I plan to use it on some of the girls dresses and possibly a nightgown for me.  I ordered 2 1/2 yards of white muslin from a seller on eBay and also a used nightgown pattern (Butterick 4864) which I thought was lovely.

Did I mention that my mom finished chemo?  Her PET scan showed NED, however, her doctors are scheduling her to begin 25 radiation treatments beginning this coming Monday.  It will be five per week for five weeks.  Please keep her in your prayers.  Her name is Nita.

My chickens are out running around.  The goats are laying on the grass inside their enclosure and the ducks are all in a pile next to each other in their pen.  The dogs are all sleeping right now.  Bella's puppy Rocco has learned to climb out of the whelping box and do his business outside of the sleeping area now.  Big boy at four weeks!  I put toys in with him yesterday.  A small red Kong toy and a small nylon chew bone.  Jassie and Dixie played with him on Sunday.  So cute.

I'd like to take the guys out for breakfast on Sunday (Father's Day) at Cracker Barrel or Bob Evans.  I should check with them.  Phil is on vacation again next week.  I'm looking forward to fishing the Little Juniata River one day.  I know he'd like to get in a day or two of dog training.  I may stay home and sew those days.

That's about it.  Time to hang out another load of clothes on the line!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cherry Bliss Brownies

I came across this recipe for Cherry Bliss Brownies by Lucky Leaf cherry filling in a magazine a few weeks ago.  It looked simple enough and it looked so delicious!  I got all the ingredients to make it while I was out running errands today ... er yesterday.  I decided to make it for our DAR luncheon/meeting. 

The recipe says it makes 24 brownies in a 13x9 inch pan so I doubled the recipe.  I started at 10:00 p.m. and just finished at 12:01 a.m.  It took about half an hour to make up each pan and then right around an hour to bake. 

Here's praying they taste as good as they look and that they don't get hard overnight.  I don't want to refrigerate them.  I have a tea towel over top of each pan of brownies.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I got a text on Thursday from my son Joe asking if I'd like to have his girls for the weekend.  The appropriate response was, "SURE!," which I text back.  Chrystal dropped Jassie and Dixie off a little after 10 on Friday.  I made scrambled eggs for their breakfast, gave them a bath and loaded them up in the truck and off we drove to Warriorsmark to pick up a dog we had bred.  Two hours later and Dixie was finally asleep after having screamed most of the way up there.  I was thinking whatever did I get myself into? 

We pick up the dog and head back arriving at the house around 4:30.  At 5:30 we started to get a storm and by 6:00 the electricity was off.  Jassie started crying.  I guess she was scared because there were no lights on.  We went upstairs and the girls played with their dolls.  Electricity was back on about 8:10.

We had KFC for dinner.  We watched a little tv.  I gave the girls a bath and we were in bed by 9:30.  Not asleep but in bed.  Dixie woke up screaming just about every hour and then finally fell asleep and slept until 7:00.

I made them scrambled eggs again for breakfast then we went over to visit with Jess, Ralph and Lilly.  The girls loved playing together and I enjoyed spending time with everyone.  We got back home and Dixie fell asleep on my lap while Jass fell asleep next to us on the sofa.  They woke up when Phil got home.  Leftover KFC chicken, green beans, corn and macaroni & cheese for dinner.  Bath time and then the girls and I went to sleep upstairs around 10.  Phil slept downstairs so he could get a good night's rest.  This time Dixie slept all through the night and didn't wake up until 7:30.  Yay!

After I fed the girls breakfast this morning I gave them a bath.  Jassie had cereal and I gave Dixie oatmeal.  They love bath time.  It's more like play time because I let them take toys in the bath tub.  Dixie doesn't understand that you can't walk around in the tub.  She scares me.  I'm afraid she's going to fall in the tub!

We got dressed and loaded the Jeep then headed over to see Lilly again.  The girls had an awesome time playing together.  I think it's really great socialization for Dixie, too.  She has no one near her own age to play with.  Jassie is four years older and they don't play well together.  Lilly and Dixie are close in age. 

It's great for the cousins to see each other.  Here's a photo of my three beautiful granddaughters.