Late Date…But Wait! Refashioning to Dye For
(I’ll get to the refashioning bit by the end of the third paragraph…hang in there). Last week saw the longest empty stretch on this blog since…hmm. Novemberish? Octoberish. Ah, Every Day Bloom… for days, you were often on my mind, but too far from my fingertips (sheer crazymaking, if you ask me). Last week, I had to breathe deep and let go. Of all the things I wanted to do, but couldn’t quite. Mostly because my legs are approximately three and a half inches too short. But also because the options of what I could or might do arise exponentially from the few joyous necessities.
It’s Spring. Our household pace has quickened. My gardens and their arch nemesis The Weeds woke up suddenly in the same bed (why? Don’t they know their relationship is a doomed one?). Tangent: Feeling warlike towards the weeds, I made a dandelion smoothie…from dandelion casualties… last Wednesday. I was nauseous for hours, and will probably never eat tapioca again. Having attempted to remedy the effects of dandelion sludge with tapioca pudding. Throw a not-yet-housebroken-and-way-too-cute-for-her-own-good-puppy, multiple visits from beloved relatives (so many comings and goings last week!!!), and Nora’s dance competition (its driving force had no concept of Earth Time or the Bathroom Needs of Women and Dancy Little Girls) into the mix… and there you go.
Or there I go….A little winded, like I’m running after a missed bus. Uphill, at high altitudes, with shopping bags (paper, not plastic) and a toddler. And the wrong shoes. And my bra just broke. Thankfully, amidst the running hustle, endless laundry, and hand-chapping mop-ups, Frank and I took a snippet of time one Sunday afternoon (while the bread was raising for Maurya’s birthday dinner) to stroll (ok, we trotted) along a pretty mountain bench (I wore comfy ugly shoes and carried my high, high heels) to take pictures. Of me, in a refashioned-last-spring outfit (sans the ugly shoes). Because I might have breathed deeply and let go (“I’ll be back,” I said), but I still needed Proof. Clever, Seamstressy Proof? Nah. Just proof that I could live a quiet moment, and look pretty in it (by this point, I think Frank needed as much proof as I did). Maybe not High On a Mountain Top, but at least High On Heels, With Snow-Capped Mountains Somewhere In The Middle Distance. That kind of Proof.
All That Said, Do You Not Love These Stripes? And The Peter Pan Hand-Dyed to Eye-Bewildering Effect?
I Do. I’m Proud of My Work, Even if I did it Last Year.
Guess What I Made Them From?
(I have a tutorial on refashioning a fitted blouse from a bigger, baggier shirt, and a couple on making Peter Pan collars. My peter pan blouse started life as one of my husband’s dress up white shirts (couldn’t find the original picture…I did this last year for heaven’s sake), complete with French cuffs. I dyed the shirt with Rit dye—I never try to dye evenly; I love the varied effects of dying crumpled dry cloth, without stirring. Cut off the collar, replaced it with a Peter Pan from muslin I’d dyed simultaneously (I think…possibly, I had extra fabric from Frank’s shirt. It was huge). Took in the sides, added front darts, took off, shortened, and sewed the sleeves back on–keeping the fun French cuff. In the back, rather than use darts for bodice shaping, I added a pleat at the waist.)
My skirt comes from a frumpy thrift sweater. I loved the colors, the narrow stripes. Very easy to just cut the sleeves off, sew the buttons shut (the buttons ended up in the back), snug the sides in a bit, and add elastic for the waist. The bottom of the sweater became the bottom of the skirt. No hem…hooray!
And All THAT Said, I Should Mention These Highly Mentionables:
My dear friend Shari (her Camping Kiddos button is on my sidebar). Shari, I’m so sorry I missed your birthday!!!! The butterfly ring is a Shari memory. We explored San Antonio together one week a couple of summers ago…Missions, museums, cafes (the best cafes). And an artsy handmade jewelry shop, where I fell in love with this butterfly ring, and she fell in love with…what was it? A beautiful turtle design? A lizard? Bracelet I think? I bought the ring; she left the turtle/lizard behind. But later, she bought herself a loom. A for-real loom. And learned how to weave-weave-weave wonderful things (Edna St. Vincent Millay: The Harp Weaver, FYI). I miss you Shari.
My grandma. It was sweet and a little sad to keep company with my grandma last week, whose memory is slipping. I asked leading questions and plagued her with memory ticklers, almost to no avail. What she did remember: My grandpa never called her Beverly, her first name. She seemed proud of that fact. He always called her Jane, or BJ. And they loved camping (she said, with a faint twinkle, that they went camping on their honeymoon) and they loved chatting. Sparse information, but it delighted me. Every other question I asked was met with, “Oh, that was so long ago! I haven’t thought about that in years!”
We watched the first half of “Shane” together, to satisfy her Western cravings. An awful movie, really. My kids thought the little boy was creepy. I told them that cute in the ’50’s was sometimes different than cute post 2000. Grandma is forgetful enough that after she walked away for a little break, she didn’t remember her unfinished movie.
My kids. While I was Lost in Space (at Nora’s darling, insane dance competition), Maurya cleaned the whole downstairs for me (with cousins Melody and Marissa offering vast assistance). Even…EVEN the laundry room, where a towel drenched in puppy pee sat soaking in the utility sink (for days…and what, besides pee, it was soaking in, I no longer remember; Clorox would have been smart, but my dandelion smoothie episode throws the whole sanity thing into question). She gave up tidying my room, telling me (with regret) that it was too overwhelming. She didn’t know quite where to start. “I feel really sorry for you Mom!” She said. Her own room sparkled, and so did the kitchen (and the other downstairs rooms). Ezra offered hugs and sage “just let it go” advice when I began wailing (growling, snarling) over puppy disasters, and even manned the wheelbarrow with good dirt for a new garden. Meisha helped with the puppy and stayed always optimistic even though I lapsed into grouchiness, and Nora…forgave me for the grouchiness. And is sharing my room with me while Frank is out of town. Michaelyn showed up with her boyfriend for dinner one night…a real treat. She was generous, and he said witty things. I love them.
My Dad: Happy Birthday!
Frank: Thank you for taking these pictures, and loving it. Thank you for giving so very, very much. I love you.
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