on the joys of motherhood, adoption, life in Korea & Japan & small town USA, simplification, homeschooling, sewing, quilting, and much more........
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the two oldest are going to be in their high school's production of "Bah, Humbug" this saturday, a fund raiser for their spring musical of "Thoroughly Modern Millie'. tashi will be wearing the 1840s dress i made for her in august.
i have been wanting to make one for lexi too, and this is the perfect opportunity for it to be used. it will be her hand made christmas gift from me. a crazy time of year to be working on it, but i am enjoying it!
i love working with the intricately printed fabric, and discovering the ingenious and beautiful way that dresses were made in this era. with this dress i learned an amazing way of installing hooks and eyes:
it was difficult to photograph it so they could be seen... the hooks were sewn to the lining, and then pushed through the "fashion" fabric. the bases of the eyes are hidden between fabric and lining. so the sewing and the bases of the hooks and eyes are hidden away.
now for my mistake....not really "the" mistake, just one of many, but the most serious.
something about the bodice was bothering me, and for a while i didn't know what it was. can you see it? look at the sleeves. they are cut on the bias, and this fabric, that i love, has a diagonal, or bias print. i cut one sleeve with the stripes running in one direction, and the other sleeve running in the other. i just finished removing and replacing the offending sleeve (barely had enough fabric left on the bolt - phew!), and now both sleeves run lengthwise like the one on the right. with the bodice complete, i am cartridge pleating the skirt so it can be attached. i love the cartridge pleating. it can be seen on the skirt of tashi's dress. it is a lot like hanging curtains.
during my studies of 1800s clothing over the last year, i have realized that although i have always idealized civil war era dresses as the loveliest, they really are surpassed by the grace and elegance of the 1840s fashions, which are also more flattering to the figure (especially a teenage figure).
sugar and i have had a tempestuous relationship, a love/hate thing that is increasingly becoming just a hate thing. the reason for the hate? how much incredibly better i feel when i am sugar free. i can lose up to 7 pounds in one week, just by going off sugar. that's a lot of water retention. and when i'm off sugar, i don't have cravings, food tastes better, meals are more enjoyable, healthy food is much more appealing, i can think more clearly, i have more energy, and the list goes on.
when i am off sugar, i can't imagine why i (or anyone else) would ever eat it again. but then a birthday, or worse, a holiday, comes along, and before i know it i am craving, bloating, and rabby, again, and what's worse, i don't want to stop eating sugar once i'm sucked back into that crazy cycle.
i big thanks to my beloved friend mary for inspiring me to go off of sugar again. she has been sugar free since august! yay mary! that was until thanksgiving, when we got together and made her gain all of her weight loss back again with one fell swoop of sugar frenzy. but i'm sure that she is sugar free again and back to normal.
since it is the holidays, i am allowing myself one sugar day, with moderation, a week, in hopes of being realistic.
last year after reading a friend's blog post about a homemade christmas, i was inspired. it was too late to put her plan into effect for that year, so we agreed to do it this year. i am already so glad. i am more excited for christmas than i have been for the longest time. of course, i have many more plans of things to make than i actually have time for, especially since we've decided to go to utah for christmas, and leave on the 15th or 16th...but i'm having so much fun.
here is the plan: all gift giving must be something handmade (by yourself), second hand, or written (story, letter, testimony, etc). our extended families have both adopted this plan too, with brock's family exchanging written gifts, and my family following our plan of handmade, second hand, or written.
i cut out this dress for gracie in may. our christmas plan gave me a reason to finish it.
it is a version of the dress i designed for her for easter 2008, made with this fabric from my shop. she loves swirly, twirly, pink and frilly things, and tries to wear as many outfits matching this description a day as possible..
lots more goodies are in progress, many involving the coziest flannel. and we're having a blast searching for second hand treasures. we have been amazed to discover though, that many, maybe most, used games and toys go for more on ebay than it would cost to buy them new on amazon! especially once you add in shipping from ebay sellers, and get free super saver shipping from amazon. what are people thinking? this part has been a bit frustrating, but all part of the adventure of the hunt.
i adore pumpkins. i love the way they look and how they taste. years in japan where it was a real treat to find a small pumpkin for $20 only increased my appreciation. growing up, my mom wouldn't let us put candles in our jack o'lanterns, only flashlights, so they wouldn't be damaged and we could cook, puree, and freeze them for making pies all winter. on special monrings, we even got pumpkin pie for breakfast.
this year a friend taught me how to can pumpkin with - something i had wanted to do, but couldn't find information about. i also found some pumpkin butter recipes online, after being inspired by pumpkin butter at the local pumpkin farm, and tried a few. this
is my favorite. it makes a huge batch and is super easy - just dump it
all in the slow cooker and let it go. all the online recipes say that
you need to freeze or refridgerate pumpkin butter, and not can it. but i processed mine in the
pressure canner for 45 minutes.
top and center is the pumpkin butter. canned pumpkin on the left, fresh pumpkin puree on the right.
mia drew faces on some of our pumpkins to express how they felt as they watched their friends get baked.
first she drew these faces: not sure what to think....
then turned them around and drew these faces: coming to a full realization of the truth.
i finished my last batch of canned pumpkin this morning, and now have 22 1/2 quarts of canned pumkin. that's a lot of pies. and lot and lots of pumpkin butter....mmmm...tastes just like pumpkin pie on toast.