Modernized Skirt


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So Mum had found me a khaki skirt at the thrift store. You know the kind– think 90’s. Not necessarily bad…. just…. plain. So plain you could weep. Basic to the extreme. So boring that I couldn’t think of anything to wear it with.


It had good bones; A wide waistband, pleats, inseam pockets. The right sort of fabric.  But these features weren’t enough to redeem it from the “someday I’ll fix this” pile.

Until I found some green buttons. Why green? Because I had two green shirts and nothing to wear them with. Sometimes denim just feels cliche, you know. There weren’t enough buttons on the card I had, so I had to haul both shirts in to JoAnns to match buttons. There was a serious dearth of green buttons, let me tell you.

I’m sorry I don’t have a “before” picture. I just couldn’t bear to wear it. But here’s a “during”, which shows one of the too-plain buttons. 014


And here’s the “after”:Green Button Skirt 001


I think it’s cute!  Mum helped me take this hasty picture as I was going out the door to violin. The extreme haste is why we didn’t catch that my shirt is pulled funny. Oh well.

Do you notice that the buttons are arranged in an ombre pattern!? Two of each color, and three at the top under my shirt. They come in packs of five colors. I used four.  This was actually really easy to do– a seam ripper to take the old buttons off, and needle and thread to sew the new ones on.  And it freshened up the skirt so much, adding just the right amount of interest without screaming “I was altered!”

Aunt Justina’s White Cookies


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My Aunt Justina would serve these cookies, still cold from the freezer, to us as part of our breakfast when we would visit her. I thought it was like magic, how she could get chocolate frosting *inside* the cookie!  I’m sorry there aren’t better pictures, but taking them was kind of a last minute thing.  I made these up, you see, while I was babysitting one evening, and frosted them in between watching Pippi Longstockings. I only thought about it the next day, after I was eating one of the last ones.002


Now, there are two recipes. This is the one my Aunt Justina used, which is *almost* the same as the one I used. I needed one that didn’t require sour cream, being as I had to make mine dairy-free, and it’s difficult to find a good sour cream substitute. I found my recipe off of Mennonite Girls Can Cook, but I promise you, Aunt Justina’s are just as good.009

Aunt Justina’s Cookies (With Chocolate Filling) ~From “Farm House Cooking”


1 C. Sugar

1 C. Margarine

1 C. Sour Cream

1/2 C. Milk

2 Eggs

2 tsp. Vanilla

3 1/2 — 5 Cups Flour

6 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Baking Soda


3/4 C. Sugar

1/2 C. Each Milk, Flour, Cocoa, and Margarine

1/2 tsp. Vanilla


Mix Filling and let stand until thick. Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk and sour cream. Dough should be soft. Add extra flour if necessary. Chill (I pop mine in the freezer) and roll out. Cut w/ cookie cutter.  Note: I used a wide-mouth canning ring. It worked fine. Put a tsp. of filling on cookie and top w. another cookie.003 Bake at 350 ’till done. They should be ever so lightly brown at the edges, and shouldn’t look shiny. Remove from pans. If you break one open when they’re hot the filling will run out, so be careful.  When cool,  frost with white frosting and dip in coconut.


Seriously, folks, these cookies didn’t last long.  And the plain dough is great for cutout cookies.007


Happy baking!

Clutter in the Morning Light


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I’ve noticed that morning light does for clutter what candelight does for people– it makes homely look good. It’s a side benefit of getting Katya off to school that I get to see the stuff that’s been cleared off the freshly painted porch in a different light.004



Those pictures reminded me of these I had taken a few years ago. The light refracting through the smoke from the frying onions is quite pretty. Frying onions are one of my least favorite things about Sunday, right after getting up. I don’t understand it– I like the smell of frying onions well enough any other day of the week. 1-18 to 1-20 071 1-18 to 1-20 063

Maybe it’s the fact that there’s actual *smoke*. But even that looks pretty in the morning light. Luminescent goldfish don’t hurt, either.

Simplicity 1610, or “The Eight Month Dress”


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Well, I’m finally finished with the dress! You’re surprised. You didn’t even know I was sewing a dress, did you? I kept you in the dark, figuratively speaking, because I’d like to appear to those of you who don’t know me as the sort of seamstress who can daintily sit down at her perfectly organized sewing table and over the course of a weekend calmly and rationally turn out a well fitted dress.  I didn’t want you to know about the many muslins, the tracing paper that swallowed our upstairs hallway, the long sessions with the seam ripper, the fabric and sewing machine and needles resided next to my chair in the dining room. I didn’t want you to know that this dress took me 8 months (count ‘em!) to complete.  But it’s such a terrible figure, it’s worth boasting about.

AOC 14, children's museum, flowers 064

I made the dress cutting as many corners as possible–no French seaming here!– but I did take the time to hand pick the zipper. I don’t know why it’s called “picking” when it’s hand sewing, but that’s what I did, and I like it alot! I used a piece of crochet trim for a belt.

AOC 14, children's museum, flowers 067

I also wore it with a purple flower in my hair.

AOC 14, children's museum, flowers 062

Basically, what I did to the pattern was raise the armscye– other wise known as the arm hole. Since the armscye has two sharp corners, this was pretty dicey. I adjusted the fit of the bodice, and went up a size in the skirt. I also lengthened the sleeves. Going up in the skirt size messed up the pleats, but I got it figured out with mum’s help. Oh, and I gathered the back instead of pleating it.

AOC 14, children's museum, flowers 066


Would I make this again? Well, lets just say that some other sewing projects have piled up, and leave it at that.

Orchestra Camp


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At the end of August I went to The Anabaptist Orchestra Camp, which is in it’s 3rd year. I figured I’d go to support my local denomination, if you know what I mean. Many Mennonites aren’t into the whole instruments thing–they sing and do sports– and so even though I really wanted to go, my expectations were a little low. But I was pleasantly surprised by the dedication of the musicians there.  There was a tacit understanding that we were there to make beautiful music, and many people practiced  in their free time.

I only have four pictures from the weekend, because I was in rehearsal much of the time, and I didn’t feel like carrying my camera around.   But may I just say that the food was good, the air conditioning excellent, snacks were available, and take a look at the size of the dorms!  There was another set of bunk beds just out of sight.AOC 14, children's museum, flowers 002

I would have got excellent sleep, had it not been for some crickets that found their way into the room.

Mum and Dad took everyone down to see me in the concert and to take me home. We got a hotel for the night, and went to a children’s museum the next day.

Watching "America's Funniest Home Videos" at the hotel.

Watching “America’s Funniest Home Videos” at the hotel.

Children's museum

Children’s museum

The obligatory semi-awkward family photo.

And I leave you with the Really Awkward Family Photo:

Daddy on Vacation

This picture is a character study.

Let me tell you– it is cold. The lake is rough. The canoe has a leak. We have only a kayak paddle. Daddy is predisposed to sea-sickness.  But because the children want a canoe ride, Daddy patches the hole (a small one, with duct-tape) and sets forth for a test drive.Vacation Brimley MI 510

Like I said, it’s a character study.

Compliments of Mother’s phone



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