Tree and skirt

Our old tree was too big for almost all the places we’ve lived. For several years we’ve only put up the top two thirds, shimming it into the base to get it to be somewhat stable that way. Even then it was rather wider than we really had space for. For the last year or three we’ve been looking and thinking, and finally Mark chose this one — not only slender but also hinged and prelit. We’re happy with it.

Would you like to have the old one? It’s still in great shape after all these years. A dark spruce, 7′, 60″ diameter. Comes with several bundles of multicolored lights that, as far as we know, still work. Sorry, local folks only.

Having a new tree motivated me to finally make a real tree skirt instead of just bunching a white blanket around the base. This one buttons up the back, and could be reversible, with a holly pattern on the back.

What we’ve been up to

Amy has been drawing some new things lately. For a long time it’s been all people, mostly girls, and now sometimes there’s a sun, or a horse, or these cats (two on the bottom row) or a house. It’s interesting how it seems to be correlated with her expanding writing and reading skills. That’s right — reading — she can read simple words now, and has read two whole Bob Books to us in the last two days, things like “Dot has a hat” and the like. It’s so neat to watch her in process.

She’s also been doing a lot with writing — half the time she writes backwards, and some letters bear little resemblance to their intended form, but there is clearly progress and great interest. She spends a lot of time with the movable alphabet at school. This is a divided box of many letters, which she can use to spell words. Today her teacher said she spelled out “Mama and Daddy and Amy and Miss Ann and Miss Natalia,” with her own spelling, of course — I think she said Natalia came out something like Nutoua. She’s constantly chattering, trying out and listening to words and sound combinations and asking things like “What does ‘ppy’ spell? Can you sound it out?”

I’ve finished all of this block for our quilt — eighteen blocks, twenty-five squares each, including eight squares made of half-square triangles.

This is the block I’m working on now — I need twenty. I’ve been using strip-piecing for part of it, which means I sewed strips of the white paisley and the green paisley together and then cut them to make the center five-square row and the three-square bit in the rows above and below the center row. It’s much more efficient.

Amy’s school has generously allowed me some space in a basement room that is rarely used; it’s wonderful to be able to stay at the school instead of having to drive off to the library or something, and wonderful to be able to do something productive while there.

Amy tore a button out of the back of this dress — it’s relatively new and a great favorite, so after several unsuccessful efforts, I came up with this floral patch. She wishes they were on the front instead… I may have more work to do.

Denim sling

I think this is the third sling I’ve made. The first was for me, the second for a friend, and this one for a lady in the playgroup. A few years between the second and third, but this was by far the fastest and easiest. This denim is beautifully soft, too, and the “wrong” side looks just fine. The fringed selvedge on one edge is a nice bonus; having the two long sides different makes it easier to find the bit you need to adjust.