Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer Ramblings

Aloha, friends! I hope you're all enjoying Summer so far. Summer in Hawaii is the time I am less likely to be found enjoying outdoor activities, other than the pool or beach, of course. The weather the rest of the year is not quite as hot, so we do the zoo/museum/gardens/hikes during those other months.

My most favorite recent photo:

The weather is not stopping my kids from playing outside all day, every day, though. They are sweaty and tan. Which left me twiddling my thumbs for a few weeks wondering what to do with myself and eventually reminding myself not to feel guilty for free time because my kids are able to have the safe-to-roam summer that many people in our country wish for their kids these days. So I'm thankful.

And I've been sewing! I've really had to reevaluate my sewing lately, though. After another recent closet clean-out, I tried to figure out what kinds of things I really wear on a daily basis. The answer is mostly easy knit dresses and shorts with tanks. What I don't make myself these days, I get from Stitch Fix and my most favorite things from Stitch Fix are those same kinds of items. So those are the things I've been focusing on making lately.

I got this knit last month at my FabricMart and didn't really know what to do with it until I remembered I had the Lady Skater pattern in my file box. I've attempted a couple of these before, but no longer have either one. The fit just wasn't right. I decided to pull it out and fix those fit problems and I'm so glad I did!

(Yes, I got a hair cut and I love it).

I think I'll wear this dress a lot and now that I got the pattern right, I look forward to making more! If you're wondering, I eliminated the curve at the bottom of the bodice pieces and used a short waist adjustment, as well as adding tiny darts to the arm holes toward the bust (common for me), narrowing the outside shoulders and applying my favorite kind of knit binding rather that using the neck band piece.

In other news, I'm ordering my homeschool curriculum today!! I get super excited about this, I don't know why. I used to get really excited when that big box of new books came back in the day when I myself was homeschooled too. I went to a used curriculum fair a few weekends ago and scored lots of great books and many on my list! My favorite find, though, was these old art mini books! They were inside a grocery bag, inside a cardboard box marked "free". YES!! Check it out.

We use Charlotte Mason's method of art study and my kids (and I!) are now able to recognize the styles of a handful of famous artists. One of the things about homeschooling that makes me giddy is getting to learn about all the things I missed from my own public school education, especially all things related to history. I was homeschooled for a few years and those are the things I really remember--like the European capitals, for instance .. thanks, Mom, those things have been useful.

My tower garden has given me a plethora of cherry tomatoes. Now I know that I'm supposed to prune the tomato plants so they don't get quite so big, ha! I had birds stealing them right from under my eyes, so I'm picking them and letting them ripen in the window instead.

Happy Summer! :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Let's Catch Up

Hello, friends! In case you didn't notice, I took a bit of a hiatus from blogging. After all that work to revamp the site, I found myself in the messy middle of finishing up the homeschool year and just wasn't finding the time! But Summer is here, yippee, and I find myself with free time. For a couple days, I wandered around the house listlessly wondering what to do with myself until I remembered last night, I have a blog. Hehe.

Instead of trying to go backwards on everything I haven't blogged lately, I'll just start with the here and now and share with you what I've been Eating, Praying, Diffusing and Sewing (see what I did there?) this week.

Before I start, though, if you're reading this, could you just comment that you have been able to access my blog since I switched to Bluehost using my own domain? I've had some trouble with a "too many redirects" error and I know others have mentioned this too. If you could quickly let me know if you've had trouble, so I can deal with Bluehost about it, that would be awesome!


Sometimes I'm not feeling dinner and I make my family Mac & Cheese. The boxed kind (Annie's organic, that is, which maybe makes it a tiny bit better ... ? And I serve it with apples slices, does that help?) My family loves these nights, especially my husband, haha! I, however, do not care for boxed Mac & Cheese. My mom ruined me for it by making the homemade kind, which does occasionally grace our table, when I'm not caring so much about calories. SO, for myself on these nights, I like to make this kale salad. I've made it a few times now and it's my fave of the kale salads I've made. I eat the whole bowl myself over a few days. That's the great thing about kale vs. lettuce--it gets better when left in its dressing overnight! (I leave out the cheese, cause I never have it and I don't like radishes). Find the recipe here :)
(pic is not mine, that belongs to Cookie and Kate)


When we finished school, I really wanted to continue a Bible study routine with the kids. Their Sunday School teacher at our church is so helpful in encouraging us where our kids need growth. She has them memorizing the books of the Bible at home and a few weeks ago asked us to work with them in praying aloud. I love this kind of gentle leading from this woman who is willing to invest in our children and genuinely cares about their spiritual health!

Before I go on, this is the song we purchased for the books of the Bible and it's the best ever. The kids knew the whole thing in no time.

Anyway, the kids and I have been reading through Long Story Short. I LOVE this series of Bible story books and study books. They are the best I've found. The girls take turns with the reading from Scripture, we talk about the questions and then we spend time praying. It's been lovely and has also helped keep a bit of a routine during the Summer!


My favorite essential oil diffuser blend lately is Calming Blend and Lime! It's fabulous. The mood oils tend to be my favorite to diffuse. Maybe because I'm moody. Ha! No, really, mood management is a huge part of why I love essential oils, they have empowered me to help myself out of an emotional pit! Email me for more info on that if you're curious! If you need info on getting some eos in your home, email me at penelopey4(at)yahoo(dot)com. 

And Sew! 

Shamefully, I have not taken any big-camera pics of my recent projects. I'm sorry. Kinda. But really, I'll try to get better! So instead I'll post this Instagram pic of the dress I finished this week.
I had nothing but problems with this! I almost tossed it after the first try-on. I used a basic knit dress pattern, but wanted to scoop the neckline in the back. But I accidentally scooped the front piece, making it too low! So I added a wide neck binding, which made it perfect. But then, I felt like it could slip off my shoulders at any time, so I added the strips across the back (now my favorite feature!) I also neglected to do a swayback adjustment because I did a short waist adjustment and thought that would be enough, but nope. So I played with that extra fabric in the back, tried some vertical darts, took them out and settled on a pleat. It's hard to see in the pic and I'm standing funny to hold the phone, but it looks nice. Whew! In the end, I'm so glad I took the time to fix this because I really love it! And now I have a great sloper for future knit sheath dresses.  Speaking of, I pinned this from the McCall's Pinterest board this morning and this is the very pattern I used (and obviously modified). Love that striped version, I think I'll have to copy it.

In other sewing news, have you seen this Sew Over It line of patterns!? They're in the UK, but they have pdfs available and are not staggeringly expensive (ahem, Papercut Patterns ... just saying.) Although when I tried to add to cart just now to see the USD price, there's no option for that. Sooooo, if and when they're available to us in the U.S., I for sure am going to purchase The Vintage Shirtdress pattern . Isn't is GREAT!?

It's good to be back!