needle and thREAD

needle and thREAD

Most of my sewing lately has been limited to the Animal Hospital. Our stuffed animals have an inordinate number of injuries.

But when a little girl asked for some curtains for the Gingerbread Doll House, I was in.

How could I say no to that?


Now that I see the curtains against the wallpaper, I’m thinking white would have been a better choice. But that’s easy enough to fix.

On the reading front, I raided my dad’s shelves for a mystery.  Donald E. Westlake was a consummate mystery writer and wrote under the name Richard Stark.  (Stark’s books are serious mysteries, well plotted and beautifully written).  Westlake also wrote a fantastic series of humorous mysteries, the Dortmunder Novels, under his own name. Of course, I love the Dortmunder books.
I read Jimmy the Kid first, in which Dortmunder (a criminal who fails often, though it’s never his fault) and his crew copy a sure-thing heist lifted from a Richard Stark novel. Loved it. This week I finished Don’t Ask, another heist novel involving a religious relic from a small Slavic nation. Genius. I spent all of Christmas break laughing as I read it.

For more needle and thREAD, check out In the Heart of My Home.


needle and thREAD

needle and thREAD

We’ve changed up how we’re doing quiet time around here, and I think we all like it. More on that later.
But an upshot is that for Moriah’s past few “quiet times with Mommy” she has chosen to sew.


One of her co-op classes has been working on embroidery, so she was the expert this past week, improving my technique. Or rather, giving me some technique, since I have no idea what I’m doing in needlework. (Give me a straight seam any day.)   The heart on the right is my first effort; the heart on the left is after a little teaching. And oh, did she love to be the teacher.


I’m delinquent on recent book reviews. I read Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross’s Simplicity Parenting recently. So much good in this book.

The idea is sound: the more our lives are crowded (my word, not theirs) — with stuff (including toys), with activities and commitments, and with media– the less able our children (and we) are to engage with what is right before them.  This crowding leads to anxiety and disengagement and my one’s controlling tendencies.  But it’s not too late.  We can and should back off on all these fronts.

My reading came at a good and bad time… as we are here with two families’ stuff, I am seeing first hand how much the stuff piece is important.  And we will (soon, please!!) have a chance to “reorder” [read: get rid of] more of our stuff when we set up our new home.

But I’m also pretty vulnerable right now, and reading this book alongside

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen made for a few weeks of a feeling of condemnation in my parenting.  Definitely, that came from the tone of this second book, rather than Simplicity Parenting, which is very gentle in tone.  But the two together along with the fact that I didn’t know how to backstitch– phew!  It’s amazing I or my children can function at all.

For more needle and thREAD, check out In the Heart of My Home.

needle and thREAD: Lunch Bags and Poultry

We had lunch bags last year,  Actually, we probably still have them, but they’re in a box somewhere in the basement.  So when I bought our little bento-style lunch kits, I needed something to put them in.  And bags that could be thrown into the wash seemed just about right.


I used the pattern from this tutorial but didn’t bother with oilcloth.  I had these old, green curtains (just call me Fräulein Maria) which had ties on the top.  To make sure they were all different– we can’t have Owen and Moriah mixing up their lunches!– I put other fabric panels in two of them.


It was just the easy project I needed right now.  My mom, on the other hand, agreed to make doll clothes.

I’ve been reading some backyard poultry books my friend Kathie passed along.  The Luttmans’ Chickens in Your Backyard: A Beginner’s Guide makes me think poultry will be messier than I thought.  Who was I kidding?  Next up: ABC of Poultry Raising.

For more needle & thread, check out In the Heart of My Home.
needle and thREAD