Tuesday, March 29, 2016

He's here!

Sooner than expected, we were able to welcome our newest son, Rafe David, into our arms! He was born at 9:09 AM on Sunday, March 6, weighing 7 lbs., 8 oz. and measuring 20 inches long. He was the earliest of my babies, born at 37 weeks and four days, but obviously none the worse for it with his healthy weight and size!

[Sweet Rafe at one day old]

Douglas took the following week off of work and I was able to have a nice lie-in with Rafe, resting from the birth, bonding, and nursing around the clock. I even had time to do some reading(!) -- I re-read Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson, which makes for very pleasant post-partum reading material.

[Three weeks old -- getting quite a bit chubbier!]

All of the older siblings are over the moon about having a baby brother to cuddle, especially Edmund. I'm constantly fielding the request: "Can I hold him?" And if one child gets a "yes," the other two will start clamoring, "I want to hold him, too!"

[All the children dressed up for Easter]

It's been a sweet three weeks of getting to know Rafe and adjusting to life with a newborn again. I've always wanted to have a spring baby, to watch our new little one growing right alongside the life that is growing and blooming outside! God is good!

[Daffodils for Rafe David]

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Wow, the time has flown since my last update. It's probably not hard to guess part of the reason behind my blog silence. I'll let pictures speak for themselves:

[L to R: 15 weeks; 21 weeks; 29 weeks; 34 weeks!]

We are really looking forward to meeting our fourth child next month! Between pregnancy and homeschooling and a camera that is dubiously working, keeping up with my blog has just become too much for me. I've decided to shut it down, although I will hopefully pop in with a birth announcement before that happens!

Thank you for following along all these years! I have met so many lovely ladies through my blog; it has been such a blessing to me! Please feel free to e-mail me at any time if you would like to keep in touch. I will miss this space but I know it's time to stretch into a new season and different priorities. May God bless each and every one of you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Summer days

Long time, no post! We've had a busy and full summer and I just haven't made it a priority to sit down at the computer very much. To catch you up to speed on our summer...

summer days

Auntie Em came to live with us for nearly two months, much to the delight of everyone.

summer days

We took an unforeseen trip to New England -- and decided to drive there with all three kids! Our route took us through Canada, stopping at Niagara Falls, and took me to eight new states (having never been further northeast than Pennsylvania).

summer days

My favorite day out with the kids, while Douglas was occupied with a music workshop, was taking them to Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT. We love Raffi (at least his early albums, not so much the later ones) and his song "Baby Beluga." Edmund has been very interested in marine creatures this summer and the chance to see beluga whales up close was not to be missed!

Of sewing interest, I can now say I've visited Mood Fabrics in NYC and am the owner of some lovely Liberty of London cotton poplin as a result!

summer days

Back at home in the sewing room, I cut down this vintage full-size quilt to twin-size for Lavinia's bed. It was an old, worn quilt given to my mom by a friend of hers to use as a play mat for grandbabies. The binding was completely worn and there were some ragged holes around the edges, but I figured if I cut down the size a bit, it could still be usable. Since Lavinia has been in need of a quilt or comforter for her bed, my mom was glad to pass it on to us.

summer days

I found some matching lavender polka-dot cotton at Walmart and made my own binding, handstitching the back for strength. Yes, it took forever, but it looks nice and neat.

summer days
[First day of homeschool 2015!]

Most recently we've started up homeschool for the year. Edmund is in kindergarten now so everything feels a lot more official. I was kindly gifted some Sonlight curriculum from two friends, so we are using that for Bible, history, geography, read-aloud time, and science. I'm using Singapore Math workbooks for math, and making my own way with phonics/reading. For handwriting, I'm doing a bit of an experiment and we're using Cursive First -- we'll see how it goes! Edmund has really blossomed with his artwork this year and I love to see what he draws, too.

summer days

I had fun designing a coat-of-arms for our school in Adobe Illustrator. This binder is the key to my success this year, with everything planned out as much as possible! I'm thankful Sonlight does that for you, and it was easy to make up our own math schedule. For me to succeed as a homeschooling mom, I've realized I must have everything PLANNED OUT -- or else it won't get done!

If you're curious about our school name, Seekings School, it's a nod to my favorite children's books by John Masefield, The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights. (Seekings is the name of the house where Kay, the protagonist, lives.) But, of course, it has a delightful double meaning for seekers after knowledge and truth!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Birthday the 32nd

Another birthday has come and gone and I'm a year older. I love having my birthday in June -- I think it is the best month of the year to be born! It's always beautiful on my birthday!

roses (2)

Yesterday we took a day trip to celebrate my birthday, and I was so blessed to have so many of my beloved family along -- Douglas, the children, my sister-in-law, my parents, and grandmother all made it special! We ate lunch at a classy restaurant and then went to a nearby park with lots of attractions. A lookout tower to climb...




And a lake for paddling in. How fun are these swan boats? Reminds me of Make Way for Ducklings.


I attempted a selfie with Rosie while we were on the water. She was very dubious about wearing a lifejacket at first, but once we got going, she seemed to warm up to the idea of messing about in boats.


And there was a family of real swans!


I made myself a new sundress to wear on my birthday. It's been a long time since I've made a vintage-inspired dress to wear! This one was cobbled together from a vintage 80s pattern of my mom's and a basic sundress pattern of mine, and I drafted the 50s-inspired bodice details myself. The navy gingham came from Hobby Lobby. I have been pleasantly surprised by their fabric offerings lately! I think they are making an effort to cater to home apparel sewists (not just quilters and crafters), which I appreciate.



Then home for a lovely birthday dinner at my mom's. I always look forward to pink roses in June.


I feel very blessed indeed to have so much love showered on me on my birthday.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

UFO sighting

When I reorganized my sewing room at the beginning of the year, it allowed me to gather all my "sewing stuff" into one place and take stock of what I have. I found a number of UFOs (unfinished objects, in crafting parlance) that I either needed to finish or toss. This one dates back to the summer of 2013. The fabric is a cotton lawn from Fashion Fabrics Club that my kids gave me for my birthday, along with the fabric that became the first rendition of my "mama's favorite" maxi dress. I finally cut it out last summer, but the project stalled and I never got it finished, until recently.

blue ikat skirt

It is a pretty simple skirt, so I didn't use a pattern. The waistband is shirred elastic thread, and the skirt is lined to the ruffle with white rayon challis. The hemline is cut in a gentle high-low shape, my first foray into that trend (it's probably not trendy anymore, eh? I'm not really on top of things). It's actually a little big for me right now, since I've lost some weight since last summer -- it doesn't stay at my waist very well, which is where I'd like to wear it. However, I think this feature will make it a nice maternity and post-partum skirt.

blue ikat skirt

I've realized I've not shared a sewing project for myself since before Rosie was born! I hope that will change this summer -- along with my two other UFO skirts, I'd enjoy sewing up a new everyday dress or two for the summertime. What's in your summer project lineup?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Vintage Simplicity 3939: Seersucker

Seersucker sundress

Lavinia is getting to the age where she enjoys wearing dresses, so I'm happy to oblige by sewing up a few! I happened to have this vintage pattern in a size 3 in my stash, so I used some cotton seersucker (also from my stash) and whipped this up for her.

Seersucker sundress

The original pattern calls for tucks and rick-rack to add a little interest. I can't buy any rick-rack in soft, vintage colors locally, so I used the white rick-rack I had on hand. It doesn't "pop" very much, but adds a subtle touch of interest. I ended up taking out the bodice darts called for in the pattern -- I think it's pretty typical for a three-year-old's waist measurement to be the same as her chest! No shaping needed!

Seersucker sundress

Fifties dresses for girls are fairly short, and Lavinia is fairly tall, so I lengthened the skirt by three inches. I didn't actually have enough fabric to do this, so I made a faced hem out of some scrap fabric. This is exactly what it sounds like -- instead of folding the fashion fabric up into a hem, you create a facing as a hem. Since it's a straight skirt, I also used my machine to make a blind stitch hem. This is my favorite quick way to do hems on straight skirts!

Seersucker sundress

Vintage buttons down the back from the stash. Magnificent bridal wreath bush courtesy of my parents' yard.

Seersucker sundress

Happy girl. More made-by-mommy dresses are in your future, Lavinia!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rosie's "Milly-Molly-Mandy" dress

Milly-Molly-Mandy dress

I recently checked out The Big Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook from the library and it was a huge hit at our house. Edmund and Lavinia were both enthralled with the stories of Milly-Molly-Mandy's life in an English village, and I loved their gentleness and sweetness, too. They both begged me to read the stories over and over, until the book had to be returned. I plan to add some more Milly-Molly-Mandy books to our home library!

Milly-Molly-Mandy dress

In the wake of all this, one day at Walmart, I took a stroll down the fabric aisle as I sometimes do, and the kids immediately latched onto this pink and white striped cotton as "just like Milly-Molly-Mandy's dress!" The result was fairly inevitable -- I took home three yards and promised Lavinia a Milly-Molly-Mandy dress of her own. This is an "inspired-by" version rather than an exact copy of Milly-Molly-Mandy's signature dress, as the stripes are not as wide, and there are some differences in construction.

Milly-Molly-Mandy dress

So why, you ask, if the dress was promised to Lavinia, is Rosie wearing it? Well, I made up the pattern myself, and somehow my first bodice attempt was way too small on Lavinia, but thankfully it fit Rosie just right! And so she received the first dress and Lavinia will soon have a matching one. It is a very simple 1920s style, much like this wisteria and sunshine dress. I think it's sweet and an easy style to make!