It’s transition time — preparing for the new school year means reevaluating routines, time management, and the ongoing project list.
One thing I want to do is make better use of my time in Mishawaka while Amy is in preschool. I think I will not do BSF this year; it will save on gas, for one thing. I might work through the pattern drafting book Mark got me for Christmas a few years ago — I’m not sure how much I will be able to do without my sewing machine, but it might be worth a try. I might also work on knitting items for my Etsy shop. It would be lovely to have a lucrative place to play or teach dulcimer, but that’s pretty unrealistic — weekday mornings not typically being very lucrative in the music business.
Speaking of time use, I will need to be more disciplined about getting enough sleep. I downloaded a program called Switch Off that will shut down my computer at 9pm; I just haven’t been disciplined enough to shut it down at that time myself.
For Amy, it might be nice for her to have some kind of lap desk she can use in the car. And stories on CD. With three days of preschool each week, I think unstructured time will be especially important; I would love to have some playdates as well as unstructured time at home alone. I still think she needs a quiet time in the afternoon — and I am quite sure *I* still need it. It frustrates me (at least a little) that the down time I have during preschool doesn’t meet my need for peaceful time to myself — I seem to need it more in the afternoon than in the morning. Oh, and I am still thinking about whether or not to sign her up for the Thursday afternoon dance class her friend attends. She is so interested in dance that a year-long class might be a good idea for her.
In the meantime, I have some projects at home.
It is past time to declutter and organize the garage. To that end, I want to design and build some better shelving at the front of the garage where we have the most room — something with shallow drawers or trays to better organize Mark’s tools, something to make it easier to keep painting supplies, hardware, car stuff, etc in proper accessible places. Something to corral grill supplies and giant bags of kitty litter as well, and the recycling bins. Maybe even a place for hooks to hang snow clothes on.
I think I also need a better system for starting seeds. One shelf across two stools, set in front of the sliding glass door, worked okay, but it would be better to a) have enough space to start a LOT more seeds at the same time, and b) not have something so large in our small dining area. I’m thinking about what I could do in the basement — whether some sort of table with a single grow light or set of grow lights, or some kind of multiple shelf unit with individual grow lights, or what. I’ll have to look into whether it would really be less expensive to make my own system or to buy one ready made.
There’s still more blueberries to pick, if the farm’s crop is still going, and peaches to pick. There will be peach and blueberry curd to make, and tomatoes and green beans to freeze (I sure hope we get enough to freeze, anyway). And I should make pesto to freeze.
Here’s a great plan for a seed starting system.
In considering what to wear to the Treat’s Bridal Suite Expo tomorrow evening, I wished I had ever managed to a) fix up that shawl-dress for my current (larger) figure and b) knit a lovely black shawl for special events.
Then it occurred to me, perhaps I could turn the shawl-dress back into a shawl. Many difficulties — the print doesn’t seem aligned exactly, so just cutting off the neckline and stitching it back together wouldn’t work. But much pinning and thinking later, I realized I could cut off the one side close to the neckline, and the other at the next row of paisleys, and that way there would be one center back design instead of two to mirror. It therefore has an off-center seam in the back, but it’s not obvious. I miss the extra inches — it would hang more nicely in front if it was a bit longer. But it’s still lovely.
Now wondering if / how to pin it in front so it stays put. With knit shawls you use a shawl pin, but I don’t think that would be good for a fine fabric like this. I almost wonder about two buttons sewn on, with a pretty elastic cord crocheted or macrame’d to go from one to the other. I happen to have two pretty black buttons and some black elastic cord…
Silk velvet devore and the bathroom sink — a great combination.
Socks for Amy that turned out too small, and socks for my mother-in-law’s Christmas present (will send soon!)
Dress knit for Amy that she doesn’t like.
Reversible apron for Jessica, for the “pay it forward” facebook meme.
Six 29″ gently used flat diapers upcycled from one flannel sheet.
Three gently used toddler (15″x18″) prefolds.
Two gently used flats, one 33″ and one 29″. Upcycled from a flannel sheet as well; I also made some prefolds with the rest of the sheet, and passed them on to another cloth diaperer who didn’t want the flats.
Four new toddler prefolds upcycled from a flannel sheet.
Other potential items include soft dolls (1) (2) (3) (4), towel bibs, wipes, swaddling blankets, knit hats, mama pads, jeans bags, small drawstring bags, furoshiki, napkins, who knows what else — and maybe some drawings.
This might be it. Next, figure out how I want to do the binding, backing, and shams, then calculate yardages and order fabric, then wait.
Fabric.com is out of stock of the dark paisley fabric; I hope I can find it somewhere else.
By the way, I made the layout in PhotoShop.
I started by copying swatch images from the fabric sites and scaling them according to the rulers shown in each image. I set each one as a fill pattern.
With the help of snap and the grid, I selected the various repeated motifs and saved the selections, and tried various combinations by making a layer for each fabric for each motif. I started out just playing with the individual blocks, then working on the whole quilt layout.
Here is the tentative layout for quilt #2 for our bed. It’s a queen. Standard queen mattresses are 60×30. This time I planned my design to account for top vs. sides! There’s no extra at the top for tucking over a pillow — I’ll make shams instead. Around the other three sides there’s another block’s width. Blocks are 20″ divided into 4″ squares, so it works out to 100″ square — which will fit nicely on king-size batting with room to spare. (A queen batt is a bit too long and not wide enough.)
I’m thinking either blues and white, or blue, purple, green, and white, or blue, purple, and green. Our current comforter is quite dingy at the top edge, despite sunning it and bleaching it — I’d like this quilt to look nice for longer than fourteen years, so maybe white isn’t a good choice. Since my design is square, it can be rotated — there’s not just one edge that has to be the top. Surely that will help at least a little.
Or maybe the blocks should be 10″ divided into 2″ squares. That’s a lot more cutting and piecing… but maybe it would look better. I’d flip the pattern over the last column to make it the middle column, and same with the bottom –> middle row, which would then require a border around sides and bottom to make up for the 10″ loss — 5″ all around. I don’t really want a border, though… aha — 2.25″ squares in 11.25″ blocks, for a 101.25″ square — that’s just an inch and a quarter bigger, which is just three quarters of an inch all around, and it’ll still fit on a king batt.
Amy and I had a picnic lunch at the park today. A group of friends from some church were also there, so lots of kids around. Most of the moms were standing around talking. Since I didn’t know them, I was mostly playing with Amy. Some of the other kids found me quite curious — they would come over to watch, or join in, and some even asked me to help them on the zip line or the monkey bars or something. It was sort of sweet and sort of unnerving — I wanted to be respectful towards them, but didn’t want to be everyone’s mom at once.
On our way to the park, we spied an early yard sale. They were selling a nut-chopper just like my mom’s (which is now mine) for $6. If it had been a dollar or two, I would have bought it just because none of the teeth were broken and one of mine is. They had quite a few antiquey things, and I searched carefully in case they might have a pickle crock or a mortar and pestle set, but alas, no. However, we did score a set of bongos for just $5! I’m sure they’re not professional quality, but hey, they’re real drums and to my uneducated ear they sound pretty cool, and Amy likes them a lot. She says I can play them sometimes, too. Might have to look on YouTube for instruction.
On the way home we stopped at the Salvation Army. As usual, none of the clothes I looked at fit right (so glad they have a changing room), but I found four nice flannel sheets (to sew more diapers) and a bit of plaid homespun-type fabric (to line a jeans bag to sell), all with the color tag that was half off that day.
We made our first foray into Indian cooking last night. I made spiced chickpeas, based on a recipe in one of the two Indian cookbooks I’ve had for years and never used.
1 scant cup of dry chickpeas, soaked overnight, simmered for an hour and a half.
Two-thirds of a stick of butter
1/3 – 1/2 c minced fresh onion
2 minced fresh garlic cloves
1 t ground ginger
Sauteed until golden and tender.
2 c canned tomatoes, pureed in the blender
A couple good shakes each of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, and chili powder, for an approximation of garam masala.
Added to the sauteed mixture along with the drained chickpeas and a couple tablespoons of their cooking liquid. Simmer about ten minutes or so, covered.
I also made chapatis. The recipe was nearly identical to my tortilla recipe, except I think it called for butter instead of olive oil. It wanted the butter softened, and added after the flour and water were mixed, but I was in a hurry and melted the butter instead. The chapatis were rather tough — was it melting the butter, or using all whole wheat flour, or both? They also didn’t puff with lots of bubbles like the tortillas usually do.
Anyway, everyone liked it — even Amy ate her whole portion. I’m pleased that fudging the recipe like I did still resulted in a tasty dish. Might have to give some other recipes in those books a try!