Beach towels and zippered bag

It is nice to cross something else off my to-do list. I've wanted a stripe-y beach bag since last summer but never got around to making it. Getting my boys' beach towels done got me motivated. (Read about that project here.)

I stayed up late the other night to get the bag started -- ironing and cutting out fabric and getting things assembled. I stopped when it came time to add the zipper. I've only sewn one zipper before (on a bag for my sister years ago) and it didn't turn out so great. Patience and persistence helped this time.

The zipper lined up perfectly. Since I didn't use the zipper presser foot on my sewing machine, I stitched the ends by hand. I added the horizontal band to cover the ends of the extra-long handles because I didn't want to fuss around with the zipper and handles at the same time. I think the contrast of the stripes actually adds to the bag.

Looking at these photos, I noticed how nicely the bag coordinates with our porch chairs. If you see me at the beach sitting on one, you'll know why.


Western MA Highland Games

We missed the border collies herding sheep and ducks and catching Frisbees, but we did get to see how beautiful and intelligent they are.

This pirate ship was the biggest draw for the kids. The got to fight the Invisible Knight and tame the ferocious sea monster. Hip hip huzzah!

Crowds surrounded the birds of prey and listened to lessons on falconry during medieval times. Can you tell which raptor was my favorite?

I'd love to learn to spin wool and weave.



After the graduation ceremony on Saturday, we went to the Western Mass. Highland Games. Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band won 1st place. Woohoo!


Study in shadow and line

Right across the street from Proctor's in Schenectady is a nice spot to people watch. Or, in my case, take photos.

Schenectady, NY outing

While my oldest performed at a graduation ceremony yesterday, I wandered around the Proctor's Theater area of Schenectady. The three younger boys and dog probably wouldn't have been welcome in the theater anyway.

I never realized the facade of Proctor's was so tiny.

This beautiful building is for sale. Wonder how much they want for it?

Too bad most of the shops on Jay Street were closed that early in the morning but it was fun to windowshop.

Not sure what this building is at the other end of Jay Street. I think I have vintage postcards of it somewhere.

My small town boys couldn't figure out what the fireboxes like this one were for.


More on the printer drawer

I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon watching tv and sorting the beads my sister gave me. Had enough room for the biggest ones but kept the smallest beads and the string in their original cute metal box. While making a few necklaces, I realized the lip at the bottom of the tray is perfect for laying out the beads in order. (That one says "AEIOU" because there are mostly vowels left of the letter beads, lol.)

This is the first necklace I finished. Most of the beads I got are plastic but the colorful ones here are wood. I figure I'll keep making necklaces as I have time and sell them for a few bucks at craft shows. I'm always looking for little inexpensive things to sell since they do so well.

Last day of school!!!

Last hour actually. To get state aid, they have the kids come in for an hour only. Never seems to make sense to me. The youngest two and I walked to get the second from his last day of 3rd grade, as my oldest was going off with a friend for the day. Brought a friend home with us. (For a laugh, read about their conversation over here).

They picked up another friends on the walk and they all played in the dirt that is supposed to be my garden. Built a bridge with a piece of patio slate, a memorial from a gardening tool and a drive-in movie theater (for Matchboxes, I'd assume).

There isn't much growing in my garden at this point, mostly grass. In the bottom left corner are a few tomato and bean plants. I cleaned out the bottom right corner today and planted lettuce seeds. In the middle, I plan to put marigolds and sunflowers. The kids can keep the back third for themselves. Prevents them from digging up the lawn.

I rarely get much yard work done unless my husband is home to corral this little guy. Today, I plopped him on his bike and he didn't move (other than scootch it backwards) until I pointed the camera at him. Then he tried to get off but by then I was done with my gardening anyway.

The boys eventually pulled the "our backyard is boring" card and wanted to go inside. I compromised and let them watch a video and have popcorn on the back porch. They actually watched only long enough to eat and went back to playing in the yard.

All in all a good start to summer.


Crafty bits storage

Ever walk by something that has been in the same spot in your house forever and suddenly think of some new use for it.

We've had this printer's tray hanging empty in our hallway for quite awhile. Before that it was in storage and before that it hung on our kitchen wall holding little knick knacks.

It is now going to lay flat in my studio holding buttons, hair pins, beads and jingle bells, among other tidbits. My sister just gave me her daughters' collection of beading supplies, so I'm off to add those to the different compartments.

I feel so organized now.


Father's Day photos

My husband, his brother and father with our boys.

My sister-in-law with her daughter. The family is back visiting the States for the summer.

Looking for ducks and koi.

How many family members can Dad lift up at once?

You wouldn't have known the cousins hadn't seen each other in over a year. They were best buds (except my youngest who kept pinching and poking his youngest cousin.)

For those of you that think my boys look just alike, look how much these siblings resemble each other.

Look here for more photos at the park.


More pillowcase dresses

I've been getting requests about how to make the pillowcase dresses.
The tutorial I used was really easy to follow.

In less than 24 hours, I've made 5 different dresses.

First these supplies, pillowcases from my mom and trims from my stash, turned into these:

They remind me of little Greek goddess robes. I should've ironed them before taking pics.

I have boatloads of the orange, ochre, brown and green heavy upholstery trim (used as a band at the bottom and as the binding at the arm cutouts.). I bought it, along with other trims and bolts of fabrics, when a local interior designer closed shop.

This yellow pleated trim (and the green from the other dress) were bought separately but were destined to be used together on this project, I think. They go perfectly with the colors in the upholstery trims. I have to see the dress on someone and decide if I like the way I did it though.

They work with the bag I made last spring, from the orange/green trim, vintage floral napkins, vintage yellow napkins (lining) and an embroidered doily.

A cute yellow rose number with green ric-rac.

Turquoise and pink floral with red binding on the arm holes, red scallops at the bottom and red polka-dotted ties at the shoulders.

Feminine daisies with vintage yellow grosgrain ribbon at the armholes and under the pale blue ric-rac at the bottom.