Have I mentioned how obsessed with Hamilton we all are around here? It’s been the only music played at home and in the cars for months now. We’ve also devoured the book, and though we haven’t actually seen the play, it feels like we know it cold.

Since my children perpetually have Halloween on the brain it was no surprise really when Neve and Oona announced they wanted to go as the Schuyler sisters this year. Since there are 3 – Peggy, Angelica, and Eliza – they insisted that I must go as Eliza. Twist my arm, why don’t you?

Oona was happy to be Peggy (I don’t know, I kind of thought no one would want poor Peggy’s part), so Neve is going as Angelica.

For me, the fun in all of this will be making the costumes. It’s been ages and ages since any of the kids wanted my help sewing their costumes. Neve wants to make hers on her own, but I will be making Oona’s and my own.


I’m looking forward to a lot of time in my craft room, working on all of the projects I’ve had in limbo. Like the Washi dress I’m halfway through.


So much sewing, so little time.

If you haven’t hopped on the Hamilton bandwagon……DO IT! Start with the soundtrack; you won’t regret it!

Of Gardens And Sewing

As much as it pains me to admit defeat, I’m throwing in the towel on the pumpkins. The squash bugs have won that battle.  I got one good pumpkin picked before they destroyed it, and managed a photo of one that was being turned to mush on the backside by the bugs.  Those fifteen days I was in Europe set the stage for a mass takeover of pests that I could not reverse.  But, it’s okay.  I’m still calling this year’s garden a win, and every year I learn a bit more and get better at how I manage growing food.

I did get several jars of green beans canned, and a good dozen or so jars of pickles made.  I picked lots and lots of zucchini.  I got three butternut squash, one field pumpkin, and four delicious cantaloupes (we are SO growing those again next year!).   There are two watermelons looking pretty decent still out there, and many, many large tomatoes waiting to turn red.


Next year I will use the deep mulch method again (it helped dramatically with the weeds!) and double down on the diatomaceous earth and Neem oil early on.


As for the rest of this year, I have carrots, beets, and parsnips going in now, and at the end of the summer I’ll put Kale and Chard in again, along with some brussels sprouts starts. And THIS year I have floating row covers so I can hope to avoid little critters munching down my plants!



September will once again see a massive basil harvest and several solid days making pesto ravioli. Tradition!

I’ve also been trying to get back into the craft studio on the rainy days (when I can’t get work done outside) and work on finishing up projects that have been languishing (Shepherd Sweater, anyone?) and working on my skill set (I need to work on fitting and finishing techniques).


I cut out another Washi tunic in cotton jersey, hoping to give it a bit of Alabama Chanin flair.


The animals in the house LOVE when I work on crafty things.  It’s their cue to hover.


Three big dogs piled onto the tiny round carpet in the studio. They’re pretty good company, actually, when I’m not tripping over their gigantic-ness.


The tunic is coming along nicely; I added a ruffled edge to the neckline and left the waist with a ruffled raw edge as well.  I’ll be adding cap sleeves and hemming it  next.

Finished: Amelia Dress

I have been relying on Neve to take my pictures of finished apparel since I haven’t got a remote for my camera.

Usually it turns out well.  She’s got a little work to do making sure she frames the shots right and doesn’t get me a totally unflattering angle (she likes to sit and shoot upwards at me, which tends to me me look super top-heavy).

Today we had a cute distraction, so it’s okay.

But first, the dress.  I used The Amelia Dress pattern from Green Bee Patterns (you should check out their other offerings; there’s some cute kid patterns!) which is a dress that uses regular woven cotton or linen, but is cut on the bias so it hangs in a more flattering and comfortable fashion.

For the fabric I chose “Sprinkles” in Indigo from Dear Stella.

I’ve made the dress once before and enjoyed both the project and the dress itself, so I thought I’d have another go at it.


I super love it. Also, it’s 100 times more flattering in person. (and it’s got pockets!!!!!)


(This is my “I’m going to move a bit to the left but oh are you still taking pics?” look.

I really like that that the fabric has a kind of universe/Doctor Who-y kind of feel about it.

Orzo really liked it, too. In fact, he showed his appreciation by rolling all around on the ground at Neve’s feet while she was supposed to be taking pictures of my dress.


Which is how I wound up with many more pictures of him than me.

Oh well. Can’t argue with cute!




Then she handed off the camera and cuddled him up.

In other news, the roses are blooming, and there’s a sweet little bird’s nest in one of the bushes!


So far I haven’t seen any activity going on in it, but it’s still nice to see it there.

We’ve also been getting a respectable amount of strawberries out of the garden.


So far we are getting a good handful every evening.  I haven’t been allowing them to spread so that they will focus their energy into berry production. I’ll stop picking off the feelers after the peak fruiting and next year we should be absolutely awash in strawberries!


Finished: Thurlow Pants

Confession: I’ve never really made pants before.

I mean, I’ve made kid pants, but they’ve been of the yoga and sweat variety, all with elastic waistbands.

These are honest to goodness, zipper and pockets kind of pants. They are Thurlows from Sewaholic, and I used a fantastic sewalong over at lladybird to work out the pattern better.

As the first pair, I am pretty pleased with the results.


Although I’ve been trying to work through (and use up) my existing fabric stash, these were made of  leftovers from my Minoru jacket.


I’m more or less happy with the fit as well, though I’m not sure they are as flattering as I’d like. They are comfortable, and the length is just about where I’d like it, if a teensie bit long (and I finally learned how to use my blind hem foot on my machine!).


The one thing I can say that I need to improve is the fit in the seat/back thigh area.  It’s a bit bulky.  To fix it, though, I’ll have to unstitch the crotch area (lordy I hate that word) and pull in the extra fabric allowance. (yeah……I didn’t use a muslin to work that out first. I’m far, far too lazy and impatient for that).


I took a bit of width out of the cuffs, as well.  They were quite a lot wider than I liked.


The funny thing is, the details that I thought I would have the most trouble with came out the best. The zipper, the back welt pockets, the hem.


See what I mean about saggy baggy back?

But check out those pockets!

Honestly I think it’ll only be a minor adjustment to the fit to fix the sag.  It’s just going to take me awhile to feel like actually doing it.

Finished Project: Minoru Jacket

Huzzah! I finished my Minoru rain jacket in time for my trip to Europe!

I used regular ol’ cotton twill in grey for the outer portion and a fun Llama print by Michael Miller for the lining.

This was the first time I’ve ever made something so complex, and though I had a few hangups, it’s not as remedial as I was afraid it would be.


The collar has a handy zipper pocket in the back to store the hood away if you don’t want to use it or leave it hanging off your back. The collar itself is very tall, which I really like.


It’ll keep the rain off, for sure. I’ll also be spraying it down with a good water repellent treatment.


I also think that next time (oh yes, I’ll make more – it was super fun!) I will make the next size down. It’s just a tad big, and I think I’d like it a bit more fitted.


Check out the llamas!


You’ll notice I am also wearing my Sew Lisette Portfolio dress from a few years back.


The back has a wide elastic band to cinch in a bit and create a more flattering silhouette.


The twill and the lining make it a bit bulky and heavy for just a raincoat, but I wanted a little bit extra warmth, just in case.  We’ll be in Edinburgh in the first bit of June and I’m not sure how warm the temps will be.

I’m thrilled with it. and I’m feeling well prepared for rainy weather!

Finished: Alabama Chanin Top

Every day after school this week, Neve and I have been cutting and sewing.  I have such a backlog of projects, and I’m trying to work through all of them while also keeping in mind I want to make a Minoru for my trip to Europe.

I did cut out the fabric for the yesterday; hopefully I’ll get to sewing it a bit tomorrow. Today was a no-sew day, since farm chores were pressing (but I DID get watermelons, green beans, zucchini, Long Island Cheese Pumpkins, and White Pumpkins planted today!)


Neve got some pictures of me hard at work (I thought she was taking pictures of the cat). Also, that top I’m wearing is a Renfrew I made last month.


She says she wants this to be a big bolster pillow.


I managed to finish a top I’d been working for a few years (!!!!!).  It’s from the second Alabama Chanin book (still my favorite of all of them) and when I finished up the last bit today (the armhole. seriously, it took like 15 minutes…..why did I put it off so long?!) I could see how much my technique has improved since I began it. SO much less sloppy these days!  It’s nice when you can see progress in your work; especially since I still feel like so much I do ends up disappointing me.


I love everything about this. The colors, the shape, the stencil.  It uses a “Relief Applique” style I really like; it gives the stencil a more interesting look.





The back.


The details can also help hide little flaws, like that this side piece is made up of two separate pieces.

I have a whole lot more pieces like this that are in various stages of doneness, and my goal is to get them at least mostly complete this summer. They’ve been languishing too long!

Still Making

I’m still hard at work being creative, though my time for it has been limited.  Spring means planting, planting, and more planting. When I’m not planting, I’m taking a look at how the fences, livestock, bees, and equipment have come through winter.  I’m taking stock of what has been accomplished in our school year and what is left to do in order to hit all of the goals we set out in the fall.  This year I am also getting ready for two weeks away in the beginning of June, which means streamlining how we do things so Paul, Emily, and Oona can manage without me and Neve.

But when I can, I am feeling all kinds of creative, and spending much happy time with my knitting needles and at my sewing machine.

Right now I am working on The Hollyburn Skirt from Sewaholic in a fantastic Denyse Schmidt fabric.


I’d bought this fabric a few years ago and never did anything with it because I wanted something more than my stand-by A-Line skirt. Something with a little more character.  I’m thinking this is it.


I’m feeling pretty good about my new little wardrobe I am slowly crafting. I may try to wear only me-made clothing this summer (aside from when I am doing livestock work, as that has to be hard-wearing, not-precious apparel).

I kind of wish that either I had more time with cool weather or that I was a faster knitter, because I think this skirt is going to look amazing with my Shepherd Sweater when it’s done.


Maybe in time for cooler nights in late summer?

Washi Shirt

Can I just say how much I love the Washi pattern from Made by Rae? LOVE. I’ve made several things with this pattern, both in woven cotton and in Jersey knits and I’ve had no misfires (knock on wood!!).

Today I’ll show you the shirt I made with some Amy Butler Lark fabric I’ve had waiting around for just such a project.

With the Washi pattern there is an option for the keyhole neck design or the scoop neck, and I prefer the scoop.


The front is pleated just under the empire waist.


Let me say this: I love empire waistlines. But, as a woman who is not shaped like a beanpole, it can be a challenge to wear them and not look pregnant. In fact, the last time I wore a high waisted blouse an older gentleman asked me how far along I was.


But with this pattern, this fabric, this comfort level, I don’t even care.

The back is gathered with elastic thread.


Unlike all of the other woven-cotton blouses I’ve made, this one sits comfortably. It doesn’t feel “off” in any way. I cut it out in the medium size and didn’t have to make a single sizing adjustment.


Neve was my photographer.  When she takes your picture, she bounces around a lot and you never quite know where to look or when she’s going to snap away. Also, I have a bad habit of looking pissed off in pictures even though I’m not.


…….And then we were feeling a little silly.


You cant see it in the pictures, but the destination sign for the bus reads “Walt Disney World”. I was kind of hoping that would come through here, but not so much.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.


I love this part of the year; the air smells fresh and cool and earthy.  Full of the promise of things to grow. The rains are warmer now, and the first early bulbs are just starting to send their shoots up through the surface.  Normally this also the time of year we look forward to lambs and kids, but we have taken the year off.  Though I will miss the wee lamb noses and kid bleats, I’m relieved to have more time to devote to the garden and other farm projects that are sorely in need of attention.

I have gone through all my seeds and ordered the ones I needed; i’ll be starting my seeds in the mini greenhouse this week. Peas will be going directly into the ground in the next few days.

We did lose one bee hive over the winter. Not sure if it was the Varroa mites that did it or the cold; it was the smaller of the hives and not as strong as the swarm hive I started out with.  I will be sterilizing the components of the hive and seeing if the swarm hive decides to produce another swarm this year. If it does, I’ll be ready for it. That hive is super strong.  It went into winter with a bumper crop of honey.  I decided not to harvest any because there wasn’t a large amount above what they needed for themselves, and I wanted to be cautious in my first year as a beekeeper. It seems to have paid off, because they still have a few frames of lovely honey left and I’m not really needing to feed them much extra.

The chickens are finally starting to lay with some reliability again, to my great relief.


You cant see the color really well in the picture, but that is a blue egg!  I’m looking forward to being overloaded with eggs again; it’s it’s been far too long!


Little daffodils and crocuses poking up!


I’m hoping to be able to get out and work in the gardens a bit today and clean them up a bit in prep for planting.  I am going to be trying the Deep Mulch method this year. I have so very much waste hay that we may as well put it to good use!


One of our lovely Silver-Laced Wyandottes, Penny. She likes to hang out on the porch.


We’ve been able to have the windows open during the day lately, and the cats are loooooooving it. I’m thinking this little one needs a perch next to the bird feeder so she can better stalk her prey.

All this springyness has got me wanting to get sewing a whole lot as well. New dresses and skirts!

I’ve been getting a bit done here and there, and I’ll reveal all soon.  But I am excited about the newest Lonsdale dress I’ve made with some lovely Moda crepe:


This fabric reminds me so much of one of my favorite sewing bloggers – Lauren over at Lladybird.

For now I am excited to get outside and get the gardening started for real. What are you excited for this spring?








Staying distracted and busy is the goal for today. That’s what happens when you’ve been hit with a nasty Norovirus and you have to miss your best friend’s baby shower.


I am so unhappy about that.  Not only did I miss out on cake and fun and seeing Susan in all her giant belly glory, I missed seeing a whole lotta other friends I’ve been missing.

I guess I can take solace in the fact that the puking/diarrhea/fever train seems to have left the station.  Now it’s just lingering hot flashes, dizziness, sensitive stomach.  I can function, but who knows how contagious I might still be?

Maddie had the crud, too.  It’s possible she gave it to me when we met at The Alley Light last Sunday for dinner with our old friend Kim. Or maybe I gave it to her. Either way.

Since the miserable sickness seems to be on its way out I can finally move around and eat, and sew.  Because what else do you focus on when you’re wallowing in shower-missing sadness?


I re-threaded my serger, figuring I need to practice with it if I’m going to get serious about sewing apparel for myself. As much as I’ve enjoyed making things I’d still put my skill level at novice.  There’s a lot I need to learn about finishing techniques.  And putting together-y techniques.

You know what I mean.

I think my biggest obstacle is a total lack of decent fabric sources locally.  I’d have to trek out to Richmond (okay, that’s not terrible, but I AM pretty lazy).  Ordering online means taking a gamble if you’re not completely sure what you’re looking at. And trust me, good fabric makes aaaalllllll the difference.  Especially if you’re sewing with standard-issue machines, as I am.

Anyway, I worked on a three-quarter sleeve tee shirt today.


I’m loving the clean edges with the serger. Unfortunately I can’t use it exclusively to sew the pieces together since I seem to be having a lot of tension issues with it.  Maybe because I’ve got the cheapest serger on the market.



I love this Renfew shirt pattern from Sewaholic for its ease of use and how simple the dang neckline is! I’m pretty happy with how well it turned out, even though my stitching could be better.  I thought for sure when I sat down today that I had a twin needle to work the hemlines, and as it turns out, I don’t. So…….I sewed one line, moved the fabric, and tried to make the next line as parallel as possible.  It’s not bad, but it’s not fabulous, either.


See? This is the sleeve hem. Not bad, not great. (I did order a twin needle. It’s coming next week).


The one issue I have with the pattern is the banded bottom hem. I want just a simple, regular ol’ tee-shirt hem.  Again, no twin needle.  What I’ve ended up with is a hem that doesn’t look terrible, but there’s a stretch issue now that’s making it kind of ripply and weird.  I’ll be revisiting the hem on this when the twin needle (and more stabilizer tape) arrives.

I did have a lot of success with Cake Pattern’s Espresso Leggings.  They were super easy to assemble and I had fabric already that I knew would be perfect for leggings (just a standard Ponte de Roma knit from fabric.com).


I love that they have you put a looped ribbon in the back so you know which side is which.  It looks a little more polished somehow!


They went together in less than an hour and fit perfectly.

No, you will get no pictures of them on me today, due to the previously mentioned illness. I’m not looking my best right now!

Next I think I want to try Papercut Pattern’s Ooh La La Leggins.  They have more visual interest and look challenging in a very fun way.

Also, I should mention that THIS BOOK has helped me tons.  It’s a great reference for sewing knits, and I need all the help I can get!  If you’re new at sewing knits or, like me, need extra help, I seriously can’t recommend it enough!