20 May 2009

the arboretum in chapel hill

I've had about eight things in my head to blog about, but none of them have made it out of my head and into the blog lately. I've been wanting to post some pictures of one of my favorite places in Chapel Hill. The arboretum is right around the corner from my office and just about the perfect lunch spot.
They grow only native plants, and all the trees and most of the plants are labeled. The whole thing makes me want to become a horticulturalist.
This magnificent tree is Beautybush. Seems a very fitting name.
Close-up of the beautiful Beautybush.
My favorite tree is in the Arboretum is a Big-leaf Magnolia. I have never seen a magnolia tree like it. It has enormous, tropical-looking leaves. And when I say enormous I mean like 2-3 feet long. ENORMOUS.
And not only are the leaves big, the blooms are bigger than my head. And I have a big head. This picture doesn't do them justice. ENORMOUS.
In other exciting news I bought a butter dish on eBay. I have a thing for old Corelle and Pyrex patterns. I've been picking up old Corelle plates from thrift shops (they're all over the place) in the hopes of amassing a charmingly mismatched set of corelle dishware. So now I have a stack of Corelle plates that is about 10 inches tall. Not to mention the teacups and saucers.
Anyway. My butter dish is a nice addition to the collection.

I am heading to my grandmother's house for the long weekend to help my Dad and uncle begin cleaning out the house. Getting it ready to sell. My grandparents built the house in the early 60s and Grandma lived in it for nearly 50 years. I have so many wonderful memories of that house. Cleaning it out will be hard. It's just stuff, material things that may have little value, but it's the stuff that tells the story of their lives. Happy lives. I have a feeling we'll be packing up a lot of it to keep.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful holiday weekend!

12 May 2009


I've been sewing up aprons for everybody. Above is mine, isn't the fabric groovy? It's from an old sheet I picked up at a thrift store. The pattern is from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing. I just love the shape of the apron and the little pleats where the neck band comes in. It's also reversible; I've got a red gingham on the back of mine. It's a pretty straightforward pattern and comes together easily.
I made Twin one from the same pattern. If you look very closely you'll see that the flowers are growing upside down. Oopsy. I always forget to think about that before cutting out the fabric. Twin got into the spirit of the photo shoot. She is brandishing a pastry brush, in case you can't tell.
And this one is a gift for a friend. The pattern is Butterick 4945. I love the flounce and the 50s style of it. This pattern is a bit more complicated, but worth the extra work.

I am getting excited about summer sewing. I've bought several patterns and some new fabric as well. I went into the fabric shop determined to buy some cheerful summer prints. Bold florals and the like. But I came out with neutral solids and ginghams and a few simple prints. Twin just sighed. She was quite disappointed. Hopefully, though, the finished garments will win her over. It's a possibility.

08 May 2009

this year's pots

Every spring since I moved to North Carolina, I've planted several large pots on my front stoop. I love having a front porch and I absolutely love container gardening. If I ever have an actual yard to plant, I won't quite know what to do. But I do love planting pots. This year I added a hanging basket of fuschia. And those lovely maintenance men in my apartment complex even came and hung it for me. I love them.Also new this year is a long and narrow herb garden. It's a biodegradable container made of some kind of paper. It was nice and cheap and I like the different shape on my stoop. I've got two kinds of rosemary, chives, thyme, and parsley. I also have basil and cilantro in another pot. The chives are flowering! Who knew? I also got the red geranium for Twin, who loves anything red.
My big blue pot has coleus and a camellia which I've had for a couple years. There's also a spiky thing and a cheerful yellow flower (not so good at remembering names). I like the spiky thing. Oh, and creeping Jenny which is the bright green thing. I love that too.

It's hot and steamy and the magnolias are coming out! Twin has been a bit under the weather due to a traumatic root canal experience. She is on the mend though and has been eating lots of mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. The ultimate comfort food. Do other people eat mashed potatoes with scrambled eggs? Is that a common thing or is that a weird thing that only my family does? I never know. For instance, my family calls the little pie pieces in Trivial Pursuit "wedgies." I always assumed that's what everyone called them, but I guess not, since every time I call them that people laugh at me. I think "wedgies" is a very fitting term.

I'm heading to the dreaded but essential JoAnn's fabric store as they are having a sale on Simplicity patterns (through tomorrow I think -- 2 for $5). I need to get me some dress patterns. I've been inspired by the Chicken and Melissa who have both been sewing some fine frocks. I need a summer frock or two.

Happy weekend!!

04 May 2009

a few projects from the past year

I did do some crafting while on my blog hiatus, and today I realized I even took pictures of some of them.I made two great shirts from Simplicity's Built By Wendy pattern #3835. As I remember, they came together pretty easily and the simple gathered neckline is a really nice shape. I got this beautiful fabric at a local fabric shop, Mulberry Silks (sorry, I have no idea what the name of the fabric was or who made it). For this shirt I added the 3/4 length sleeves with the little ties at the ends. Very very cute but for some reason (probably my own error), when I put the shirt on, the sleeves were so tight in the arm that I could barely get it on, much less bend my arm at the elbow. So I ripped it out and added in that massive keyhole that you can see in the picture. Kind of cute but also kind of strange. Although I like that you can see the little dimple in Twin's elbow. awww.

I also made the same shirt (minus the strange tie-sleeves) in a blue linen. It really looks much better when it is ironed.

At Christmas time, I made a framed embroidery piece for Matt. Since getting to know him, I have been introduced to the strange and wonderful world of professional wrestling. He grew up loving it and as a kid spent many hours crashing through coffee tables (and once a wall, so I am told) and creating tin-foil championship belts with his friends. If he were a wrestler, his alter ego would be Cleetus Jones, the Great American Lovebomb. And so I embroidered him a little luchador. Sublime Stitching has a whole set of Lucha Libre patterns. I also bought the Sexy Librarian set of patterns for Twin. I'm thinking she needs some sexy librarian embroidery to hang in her office once she's a full-fledged librarian. She is always saying librarians have an image problem, so that should help with that.