Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Dottie Angel Wrap Dress

This is the Simplicity 8186 pattern I wrote about earlier.
It's comfortable, cool, and practical, and I'll make it again.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Fragrant Garden

The little back porch off the kitchen now has six pots of lavender in bloom, a blooming jasmine vine, and a big blooming tangle of honeysuckle. All at once. It's my dream.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Versicolor Quilt

I forgot I even made this crazy striped quilt top--I had sent it to my mother and she quilted it beautifully. It's really, really intense. Versicolor! That's Latin for multi-colored.

I love the back she put on it. Just to calm things down a little.

I will be listing this in etsy in the next few days--or if you're interested, please email. It will be $200 plus shipping. It's a bit of an odd size--plenty wide for a twin bed but a tiny bit short--although I'd just cover the top with pillows. Bright ones.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Everything is Pink

Everything blooming in the garden right now is pink--phlox, fairy roses, spirea, salvia.

In other news, I posted my entire collection of Marie Claire Idees magazines in my etsy shop. If you're in need of inspiration for seasonal beauty, check it out!

Friday, May 05, 2017

Asleep in the Velvet Chair

I was winning the Sister lottery this week as she had chosen my velvet chair for her naps. Sadly it looks like things have moved to the laundry room windowsill, but was nice while it lasted.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Simplicity 8186: Dottie Angel Wrap Dress

I'm always on the lookout for a good wrap dress. I've made some spectacular fails (now living as quilts or skirts) so I approached this pattern with caution.

I'll skip to the end--it made a very nice garment. No facings or collar, and very simple styling, which is just what I like. 


Oh my word, as my niece would say. This was the poorest pattern ever. 

1. The front of the bodice at the shoulder is ruched, and has a rectangle of fabric stitched on behind it as a stay. Three of the stay's edges are hidden in other seams. But the fourth, free-floating edge? You are never instructed to finish it. Folks, finish it.

2. The ruching is formed by running several rows of gathering threads across the piece of fabric, and then topstiching over them. The gathers begin and end in plain sight--they are not hidden in a seam. And yet the pattern does not instruct you (as it should) to leave long tails on your threads, and thread them into a needle so you can pass them to the wrong side of the dress, tie them, and cut them off.

3. The bottom edge of the sleeve (where there would be a cuff) is pleated. Fair enough. But you are just supposed to baste the pleat down at the raw edge, then turn it under for its inch of hem. Don't do it! Topstitch the pleat down. You don't/ can't just turn a pleat over and hem it uncontrolled.

4. Last bit of nonsense: the front edge of the dress is finished with bias binding which is turned over to the wrong side and topstitched down. The pattern (ridiculously) has you understitch the seam allowance to the bias binding before turning and topstitching. This is totally unnecessary--understitching is for when you have a lining or facing that might want to roll to the right side, NOT for when you have a binding that will be stitched in place.

With those caveats, I recommend the pattern because it makes a nicely-shaped housedress. It doesn't need to look like the baggy garment the pattern cover shows--just choose a size that has the right amount of ease for you.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

The To Dos

I'm very happy with my current system--a notebook that sits out on the corner of the kitchen island. On Sunday afternoon I write out the upcoming week on a two-page spread.

Although I could do this on a computer, or re-use laminated sheets, I benefit from the re-commitment of rewriting my tasks each week--even the ones that repeat every day. 

I don't color-code my tasks--I just use pen to write them out--but I do use either warm or cool Prismacolors each day to mark out the things I've done. That's my treat.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Sunday Dinner: Chicken Curry

Our Young Adult Lunch this week was for 17 people after church, and I fed them all chicken curry using this favorite recipe. I used one package of chicken breasts (about 5 large pieces), two bags of mirepoix mix, five zucchinis, a handful of asparagus from the garden,  two red bell peppers, and two heads of bok choy.

I also cooked up five cups of basmati rice (best to split a batch this large into two pots for better texture), cut up two canteloupes, and made a large green salad. Lime wedges, shredded coconut, and soy sauce on the table.

The curry and rice take less than an hour to prepare--done before church with the girls helping. The curry went in the crockpot to stay warm, and the rice stayed out on the stove in a heavy pot.

Doable. And one young lady looked up at me almost in tears during lunch and said she had been dreaming of chicken curry. It's almost finals week.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Under the Wisteria Arbor

The wisteria has grown so thickly that the arbor it's barely visible.

It's a plant that requires very regular cutting back,

but look how it frames the view!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

From the Air

Here's what the Schoolhouse looks like from the drone's perspective. These aerial shots are so incredibly beautiful--I'm inspired to gather up the messy hoses and tarps and take a couple of beauty shots while everything is so lush and green.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

He Always Smiles When He Is Buying a House

Let me bring you up to speed. Felix and Molly have finished their work in South America and have decided to settle RIGHT HERE!! Felix is back to work on his graduate degree, and Molly will be starting a master's degree in history this fall.

They just bought a house yesterday--a charming Arts and Crafts bungalow set on two acres, with three wells and an enormous ancient oak tree in the meadow.

In fact, this house will be known as The Meadows.

I look forward to showing you all around it, as soon as they get moved in. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Clara's Sunday Tea for the Other Grad Assistants

 Coffee-Walnut Sponge Cake
Deviled Eggs
Cucumber Sandwiches
Scones with Crushed Raspberries and Thick Cream
Chocolate Macaroons
Decaff PG Tips Tea
Cream Earl Grey Tea

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dutch Babies

Daisy's baby rabbits are impossibly cute.

Chunky, rounded, healthy, bright-eyed, and active.

It strains the imagination, but they are actually more appealing by the day.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Roses by the Pool Fence

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Log Cabin Quilt Top: Quercus Alba

 . . . or, A Forest of White Oak Trees.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter 2017

"[While reading the Magician's book, Lucy] came to a spell 'for the refreshment of the spirit.' The pictures were fewer here but very beautiful. And what Lucy found herself reading was more like a story than a spell. . . When she had got to the third page and come to the end, she said, 'That is the loveliest story I've ever read or ever shall read in my whole life. Oh, I wish I could have gone on reading it for ten years. At least I'll read it over again.'

But here part of the magic of the Book came into play. You couldn't turn back. The right-hand pages, the ones ahead, could be turned; the left-hand pages could not . . . . and it was all fading away. 'How can I have forgotten? It was about a cup and a sword and a tree and a green hill, I know that much.'

'Shall I ever be able to read that story again; the one I couldn't remember? Will you tell it to me, Aslan? Oh do, do, do.'

'Indeed, yes, I will tell it to you for years and years. But now, come . . . .'"

C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sunday Dinner: Pork Shoulder

We continue our Young Adult Dinners, which happen once a month after church (and more often, on a less-formal basis). Here's a recent favorite menu:

Slow-roasted pork shoulder
Baked sweet potatoes, whole or in pieces
Cole slaw

The pork shoulder is awesome--it feeds everyone for less than a dollar a piece, and it's effortless to make. Buy a nice big one, and put it in *the night before*. Believe me here. You want to put it in the oven fat side up, in a covered roasting pan, with plenty of salt and pepper, and a couple of cups of water. Turn your oven on as low as it will go--mine goes to 200. Cook it for 8-10 hours.

So I put mine in at bedtime, and in the morning I check on it. At this point it can be cooled to serve later, left at room temperature for a bit (not forever though--there's the whole food safety issue), or served immediately. It will be falling apart tender, and should be shredded with a fork and knife.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Mint in a Pot

One of those things I'd been planning forever and just hadn't gotten to: planting my mint up in a pot under the spigot. This should be good.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Afternoon in the Backyard

Sister came prowling around the rock work.

Then we went and admired the rosemary in bloom.

But what was *really* interesting was the two giant swallowtail butterflies visiting the honeysuckle.

It's been a great spring for tiger swallowtails--these are our first giants of the year!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Sometimes Instead of Salad

Sometimes instead of salad I set out a plate of pears and some Brie.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Japanese Craft Magazines for Sale

 I'm spring cleaning my bookshelves and have many beautiful Japanese craft magazines to sell! These are all in excellent condition with all the patterns intact--however, if they came with a packaged fabric sample, that won't be included. I'll list the available issues below each picture, and will remove titles as they are sold. To buy, please send me an email at pleasantviewschoolhouse  (at)  gmail then a dot then com. I'll send you a paypal invoice. First come, first served.

Each issue is $8. If you want to know more about an issue, please ask Mr. Google. Also, be aware that these are actually in the Japanese language, although the patterns are usable by anyone able experienced in following a pattern--very clear diagrams. 

Cotton Friend

Volume 23
Volume 30
Volume 31
Volume 32
Volume 34
Volume 37
Volume 38
Volume 39
Volume 44
Volume 45

Cotton and Paint

 Volume 27

Cotton Time

Volume 78
Volume 89
Volume 90
Volume 95
Volume 97
Volume 99
Volume 100
Volume 101
Volume 106

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Daisy's New Rabbit Chapter

Daisy dipped her toes into rabbit-world with the purchase of two pet-quality lionhead males. They very quickly became Not Enough and also Not Show Quality, so she found them good homes, and began her quest for excellent rabbits she can show at competitions. 

She decided that Dutch rabbits (above) and Mini Satins (below) are the rabbits for her.  A week ago she got a breeding pair of Dutch, and yesterday the doe gave birth to NINE babies. The best of these will go to the fair in September, and the others will get sold as pets or eaten.

We're lucky to have a very active and educated 4H rabbit community around here. So even though the Composer and I don't know much about rabbits, Daisy has all the help she needs.

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