fifties fabric fun

a couple of days ago, i saw this and fell in love.

so clever and sweet! and very grace kelly as well.

a quick search later, and somehow i find myself ordering a yard of this from spoonflower! can't wait till it gets here.

but looking at all the spoonflower stuff reminded me of an idea for a project i had last year: to make a quilt for the cottage. out of fabric reproduced from the orginal cottage curtains. but as yet i'd done nothing! so, inspiration.

i dug up some photos of the curtains, brought them into an illustrator program, and began turning them into crisp vectors. this is almost like knitting - sort of mindless yet engaging. tweaking images can be done while sorta watching a movie or listening to the news, but it's relaxing, it gives my brain a little rest. and i can somehow focus on this sort of task for ages.

i'd say i'm about half done - there are three squares that make up the pattern repeat, the deer square, and two thistle squares. but the thistle squares are actually the same, only mirrored. i've done the deer square, and just started the thistles, so i'd call that halfway there. here's a deer:

here's the original, for comparison. i think i need to tweak that red a bit:

and, just to say i actually got something done, here's another fabric pattern, based on a different arrangement of some of the original elements. i think this might make a nice backing, or pillowslips or something:


summer? really?

i am so happy that it is bbq season! my favourite dinners - braces notwithstanding - are bbq chunk of meat + salad of some sort. i have figured out a technique for keeping meat moist & cooked through as well: poach it beforehand in pineapple juice. this is a friend's technique for ribs, but it works for chicken as well, and means that chicken can be prepped ahead and then finished on the bbq in a minimal amount of time, great for weeknights.

i simmered up my chicken last night (and some ribs, for future use), and then whipped up this simple marinade:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp oregano

tasty tasty and the skin especially was excellent. yum we also had a little salad out of the contents of our organic box: romaine, red leaf lettuce, and grape tomatoes.

my son the caveman certainly enjoyed it!


positive reinforcement

i was out last night and missed bedtime, so when i got home i asked my husband if the kiddo liked his new pyjamas.

"he flipped out. he went on and on about how awesome they are. seriously."

i assumed he was exaggerating (or perhaps humouring me!) but this morning the kiddo came into our room and completely umprompted told me how much he loves his new pyjamas, how cozy they are, how he was so cozy he slept all night long and didn't get up even once to turn on the light.

there's nothing like an appreciative audience! yay.

mind you, i still had no luck getting a snap of him wearing them. oh he was willing to pose, but said we had to include his car so he could send it to the lego magazine:

i asked if we could take another one where he was standing up so i could see the pyjamas and he said "ok, but i want to try hiding my smile."


all's well that ends well

oh, the drama. after last weekend's tragedy of the sickness of the elna, i made time today to drive it out to a repair shop. they plugged it in and... it wouldn't stop. it wouldn't squeak. everything seemed fine. there was nothing he could do.

i was concerned because last week, leaving it alone for a bit it would seem ok when i started it up again, but would soon seize up. so i had to test-run it when i got home.

success! i finished the kiddo's pyjamas!

so happy my supermatic is super again. also happy to see spring flowers in the shops. flowers make me happy.

some more general happiness flower pictures... these are on top of the piano:

and these are in the dining room:


tragedy has struck

my beloved elna supermatic is having a bad day. it was working wonderfully - it has worked wonderfully for 50+ years - and then today while i was working on some jim jams for the kiddo, i thought i'd treat it to some oil i had just bought at fabricland.

after trying to sew, i actually checked the bottle to see if i had grabbed glue by mistake.

horrible squeaking, and then a dead halt. i pulled everything apart, scooped out a ton of lint, there is nothing "obviously" wrong.when i remove the thread and bobbin and wind it backwards by hand it's fine, it's just forwards that's the problem.

i can't live without my supermatic! and i was meant to do a favour for my husband's aunt today, too. sigh.

here are the half-finished pyjamas. i didn't see piping in the right colour when i bought the fabric, so i just grabbed a pack of bias binding and some cord. it worked out really nicely - it wasn't any fussier than regular piping to pin together, and it worked out that one package (2.9m i think?) has exactly the right amount to do the trim on a pair of pyjamas and the drawstring for the bottoms as well.

so sad i didn't get these done! i have two more sets cut & pinned & ready to go, too; laid all the fabric out for cutting before i got sick (used the chest freezer, it's a great cutting table). and miracle of miracles - thanks to the wonderfulness of kai scissors i cut out the three sets at once! two broadcloth, one flannelette! that's six layers of fluffy in one easy cut! those scissors are powerful. best present i ever received.

meanwhile the movie fiesta has continued here, with the night of the iguana, synecdoche new york, and a day at the races. oh, and the party! how could i almost forget peter sellers? sadly my planned pyjama-button-sewing-extravaganza-while-watching-movies will have to wait though.

anyone know a great vintage elna repair guy? worst case, i found a source for parts online. but i'd rather put it in the hands of a pro.