Thursday, December 30, 2010

Glen Plaid bowtie

Glen Plaid bowtie

Douglas got his first bowtie earlier in the year, and has been wanting to add more to his collection. I sewed this one to give to him for Christmas, using BurdaStyle's David pattern. The fabric is a glen plaid suiting left over from a vest I made when I was first learning to sew.

I didn't make this bowtie adjustable, mainly because I couldn't find the right sort of sliders at Jo-Ann Fabrics. The pattern instructions are fairly confusing, so I basically ignored them and just customized the length of the bowtie to Douglas' neck size and handstitched the two pieces together. It was very easy and I'm pleased with the shape. I would like to find a way to make future bowties adjustable, so I think with a little tweaking I could make this over and over again.

Now the only difficulty is finding classy silk twill fabric... any suggestions? (I am personally averse to geometric or abstract prints -- very classic stripes, polka dots, crests, or other such "Old School" patterns would be acceptable.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

'Roses are green' tunic

roses are green tunic

I'm a fan of tunic-length tops these days -- long enough to keep everything covered when bending over to pick up my son. I sewed this one before we left for vacation out of some cotton knit in my stash (originally bought at a great price at Denver Fabrics last spring). I was going for an Anthropologie look, hence the mix of prints and funky yoke line.

roses are green tunic

It looks cute with a cropped cardigan and skinny jeans. Bonus: it's roomy enough that it will work for early pregnancy and post-partum. Transitional pieces are a Good Thing to have in a mother's wardrobe, I have discovered.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nine Lessons and Carols

If you live in the States and are within range of a public radio station, chances are you can tune in to a live broadcast of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge, on Christmas Eve morning. You can check your local NPR station's website to find out when to tune in.

If you can't listen in, you can still enjoy last year's service on YouTube. I love watching and listening because you can enjoy the beauty of the chapel and the cuteness of the choirboys (my husband makes fun of me for melting into a puddle of maternal goopiness whenever they're onscreen, haha). I've started with the first selection, "Once in Royal David's City," below, and the rest of the clips are labeled sequentially so you can watch them in order (or skip around to your favorites like I do).

Have a very merry Christmas, and may the light of Christ shine in your heart!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pears in a row


Photo by Douglas, taken at my in-laws' house. We're "home for the holidays"!

Friday, December 10, 2010


I was introduced to this version of "Greensleeves" in Christmas 2008, when we were attending a church with a choir (of which I was a part, since Douglas was accompanist... otherwise I don't think they would've let me join, my singing skills being pretty non-existant. Perks of having a talented husband!). ;) It was one of my favorite songs we performed at Christmas that year. Have you ever heard such a hauntingly beautiful descant as in verse two?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Nutcracker tea

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker ballet has been a major December tradition for me ever since I was a little girl. I first saw Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland on PBS when I was 18 months old and as my parents tell it, I was transfixed. My mom took me to my first live performance two years later and since then it's been a yearly tradition to attend the ballet. We would often invite another mother-daughter duo to come along with us and make a day of it.

If we were traveling in December, we'd try to see a production wherever we happened to be, so I've seen Nutcracker performances in places as far reaching as Sarasota Springs, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; Phoenix, Arizona; Edinburgh, Scotland, and many others besides. After seeing so much variety, I know what I like when it comes to choreography, costumes, staging, etc. Like, the Arabian dance should showcase feats of flexibility and strength, and Mother Ginger's children should be little acrobatic whizzes.

I haven't been to any performances since I've been married, and now with a little one taking in a show uninterrupted would be difficult. But this year I was determined that we should have our own little Nutcracker viewing. So, I ordered a DVD of the New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker and Douglas and I set a date on the calendar.

A "Nutcracker" tea

To add to the fun we had a little Nutcracker-themed tea beforehand. The treats were a motley assortment culled from the various nationalities and sweets in Act II of the ballet. To wit: Chinese egg rolls, Russian blinis, marzipan and cream puffs, gingerbread scones (for Mother Ginger), Spanish chocolate, and (Arabian) Turkish Delight. Oh, and Simpson & Vail's Nutcracker tea, a "delectable tea blend comprised of black tea, almond pieces, orange peel, cranberries and cinnamon & chocolate mint flavors."

Unfortunately, my choice of DVD was a bit of a flop. I think kids would enjoy it because the two main roles of Marie and the Nutcracker are played by young children, but that meant that dancing was scarce in the first act. When we got to Act II, I found the choreography frankly boring. Afterward I looked up the Baryshnikov/Kirkland production on YouTube and realized I should have stuck with that version for spectacular dancing. I'm thinking next December...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Patterns on eBay

As part of the Great Purge I mentioned earlier I am trying to get some stuff listed on eBay. First off I managed to go through some of my sewing patterns and choose some to get rid of that I'm not likely to use. They are all priced at a starting bid of $0.99 so now's the time to buy yourself a cute vintage pattern. :) Here's a link to my listings.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy December 1st!

We woke up to a gentle snowfall this morning...

"The Advent wind begins to stir
With sea-like sounds in our Scotch fir,
It's dark at breakfast, dark at tea,
And in between we only see
Clouds hurrying across the sky
And rain-wet roads the wind blows dry
And branches bending to the gale
Against great skies all silver-pale.
The world seems travelling into space,
And travelling at a faster pace
Than in the leisured summer weather
When we and it sit out together,
For now we feel the world spin round
On some momentous journey bound --
Journey to what? to whom? to where?
The Advent bells call out 'Prepare,
Your world is journeying to the birth
Of God made Man for us on earth.'"

--excerpt from "Advent 1955" by Sir John Betjeman