The Next Betsy Johnson

The kid loves to create. She makes a lot of things (apple doesn’t fall far from that tree). She has also been unfortunately conditioned to think that my sewing studio is a place that churns out finished product at a moment’s notice. She makes many requests for clothing, accessories, etc. Very few of these ideas ever get past the drawing board (mommy likes to sew what she wants, when she wants…it’s therapy). This has been causing the kid some frustration and I have been encouraging her to take matters into her own hands. What has come of this, has been really fun to watch. Organically draped and hand-stitched couture designs. Incorporation of all kinds of materials and methods. I try very hard to not qualify the product, but the effort that she is putting into it. It’s really great to see her work out challenges with math, physics, and language, as well as develop her opinion about aesthetics and function.
A project from last week:
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When it came time for a Halloween costume, she said she wanted to be a witch. I wasn’t super-excited, but then I decided that a witch was better than a princess because at least it’s a profession (I’m not a princess-hater and Queen Latifah is one of my favorite people, but raising a girl in the Disney princess day and age can be a challenge). I told her to sketch out the costume idea and we would work on it together. Here is her sketch:

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Pretty good, huh? She’s in kindergarten and not yet a full-fledged reader, but they are already journaling and writing. I love the way she was labeled the different elements.
We worked on the costume together and here is the finished product:

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Here she is with her best bud:

IMG_4400.JPG (Check out more of these crazy two over at Musings of Motherhood)

This kind of creating does come with a price. Listen up Pinterest Moms: the finished product looks like crap (see this post’s first photo). They are kids. If the kiddo is going to do the project themselves, it’s not going to be to your standards. That’s ok. Let them do it, let them color outside the lines and hot glue stuff to themselves. You may lose a couch cushion or two, but your kid won’t be paralyzed at the thought of a blank canvas. I’ve hosted a lot of adult craft parties (not parties for kinky crafts, just adults making crafts) and I’m always dumbfounded by the number of adults (especially women) that say, “I’m not creative. I have no idea what to do. Can you just make it for me and put my name on it?” Argh!!!! Pick up the scissors and damn glue stick and get in there! It’s not a heart in a cooler. No one is going to die. Just start cutting! Anyway, I digress.
Creating with the kid is fun. It’s not always relaxing, but I can see her mind at work and her excitement.

It makes me happy.

Let’s Throw a Party!

Today is the 45th wedding anniversary of my in-laws. They are the best in-laws a girl could ask for and have been a huge part of my life the last 17 years. We had kicked around a couple of ideas to celebrate, but ended up deciding to play it by ear due to major office events (hubs and FIL have their own architecture firm Check them out!). So, I got the word earlier in the week that we were on for a Saturday dinner party. Only two requests, “wine and cheese on the dock” and “keep it easy”. Perfect! I love to throw a party, but I love throwing a party with parameters even better. Give me a blank slate and things can get out of hand. Give me something specific, with a tight turn-around…I’m your gal!

We had a beautiful setting of wine, cheese, chilled mussels, cake, champagne and bon bons. The kiddo and I fashioned the requisite anniversary accessories, tiara, veil, boutonnière, and bouquet made from farmer’s market dahlias, sassafras leaves and persimmons from the Lazy E. We enjoyed watching the sun set behind the turning oaks and the reflection on the water become more clear. We toasted the couple, had a bit to eat, Face Timed my sister-in-law and her family and had a lot of laughs. We continued the celebration back at the house with grilled endive salad, merlot garlic mushrooms, braised carrots and broccoli, baked potatoes and grilled steaks.

Again, I love a party. I love it even more when I get to celebrate two great people.

Happy Anniversary Maurice and Sissy!
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Cast Iron Carnival

My husband and I love cast iron cookware, but don’t get to fully utilize our collection on our glass top stove. So, why not have an impromptu harvest party? The weather was gorgeous and cool enough for an outdoor fire. I dug some venison out of the deep freeze and simmered a stew all day. We made cornbread in the Dutch oven and sautéed greens that came straight from the garden, minutes before (the kiddo added a wild onion for extra measure).

The kids got messy with some jack-o-lanterns and ran around like banshees in super-hero costumes due to a misunderstanding by my husband about the V8 “energy” drinks. Of course, no outdoor fire is complete without roasted (chargrilled) marshmallows.

What a beautiful evening to finish a great weekend.

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Columbus Day Dress

The kiddo came out of her room one day this past weekend wearing a dress I made her last year.
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I was trying out a pattern I had come up with and wanted something that was cute and comfy. I made it big last year because the kid grows like a weed. This year it fits her just right and is very cute. She asked if I could make her another one…how could I refuse.

Long sleeved, stretchy with a fun pocket in the front and a double-thickness skirt for playground fun. I think it turned out cute and my model loved it!

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A Herd of Memories

I love the special sewing projects. Someone comes to me with an idea and allows me to take a little creative licensing with the end product.

A friend asked me to alter a robe that belonged to her grandmother. The robe was very long and she wanted something shorter to have with her at the hospital for the birth of her first child. She then asked if I could make some stuffed elephants with the leftover fabric to give to her sisters as gift.

I love these kinds of projects. I love hearing the stories about the items and I love hearing the reactions of the recipients.

Sewing makes my heart happy.

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Vinegar Facials

The garden is producing a lot of great goodies right now, so I thought it was time to get out the tub of canning supplies and put some food back.

So far, I’ve canned the following:
– peach preserves (peaches from the market)
– Concord grape jelly (grapes from our vines)
– pickled okra (from Farmer Bond down in the valley)
– pickled cucumbers (courtesy of our neighbors)
– pickled green beans (from our garden)
– pickled tomatoes (from our garden)

Pears are still a couple of months out and I’m sure there will be more pickles in the week or so.

Hot, steaming pots of salted vinegar….my skin has never looked so good.
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Blackberries and Vinegar

I have fun memories of picking wild blackberries when I was a kid. We lived down a dirt road that had bushes on either side. We’d comb the banks and come home with our haul and dump it on cold store-brand vanilla ice cream and devour the dish.

After finishing dessert, our mom would yell at us to jump in the bath and not forget the gallon jug of white vinegar. I’d stand in the bath, washing off with vinegar, trying to neutralize the hundreds of chiggers’ bites that I had sustained while wading into the blackberry bushes.

The taste of wild blackberries.
The smell of white vinegar.
Summertime.

Enjoy the 4th.
Don’t lose a finger or an eyebrow, but if you have to lose one, make it the eyebrow.

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Wild Edibles

What does every gal want for Mother’s Day? A book about wild edibles, you say? Why yes.

Let’s just say it wasn’t high on the list, but I did enjoy looking through it. With 40 acres, there must be something that can be foraged and eaten.

Jump forward a few weeks and I was weeding our behemoth garden and thought that I recognized some of the stuff I was pulling up. Yep, Sheep Sorrel. It has the taste of tart apple.

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So, what to do with Sheep Sorrel? Some sorrel pesto!

Sorrel, basil, olive oil, garlic, walnuts and lemon. Blend it, freeze it. Yum!

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