Archive for February, 2011

tablecloths to curtains

The title of this post sounds like it could also be the title of a chapter of my dissertation.

Anyway, nobody will be surprised to hear that I used to sew a lot. I can’t exactly remember why, but for a while I was producing small and rather elaborate stuffed pigs out of pink gingham. The snouts were particularly tricky.

I took “fashion design” in high school and sewed all manner of scrunchie and tote bag. There was really very little “fashion” or “design” involved in the whole thing, but I liked it. I also took “gourmet foods,” which involved some actual cooking and many quizzes where we had to identify spatulas and whisks. There was rampant cheating. Really.

To review, my high school was very strange, albeit in a way that often suited my rather retro inclinations: etiquette dinners, speech lessons, badminton, roller skating, ice cream socials and required dances (with dance cards and assigned escorts*, in middle school). It really wouldn’t have seemed odd had we all worn cardigans, circle skirts, and saddle shoes; the dress code was close enough, anyway. I never personally received any demerits for failing to wear socks between October and May, but I know many ladies who did.

I haven’t sewn much of anything since then. The curtains in my living room remain pitifully un-hemmed.

Over the weekend, I stumbled across a stack of tablecloths on clearance at Target. Tablecloths with birds on them. How irresistible:

I don’t have a dining table, so my need for tablecloths is nonexistent. I discovered, however, that— with a quick hem— these tablecloths were just the right size to turn into curtains for the tiny second bedroom:

I like them. Quick, manageable projects like this are the perfect antidote to grad school woes. I was even inspired to hem (somewhat crookedly) one pair of the living room curtains. Someday, maybe I’ll finish the other two. Until then, back to writing about gowns and quilts (rather than sewing them).


*I may have liked poodle skirts, but, even at age 12, the escort thing never went over well with me. I was raised, after all, by a mother who marched for the ERA and reminded me that even a 1950’s ranch home can have a madwoman in the attic. I can get my own damn punch.







Read Full Post »

Snow Day

On this, the third day of not being able/willing to leave the house without a very good reason to do so, we’re all going a little crazy. Well, maybe my cat routinely climbs the walls when I’m not here to witness it. Probably, he does. I feel close to doing the same right now.

I ventured outside to make sure that the vents were clear—trapped carbon monoxide would probably increase the crazy in here right now, and we don’t need that. I wanted to see about clearing the snow away from the basement windows (it’s completely dark down there right now, like a snow cave), but I couldn’t get anywhere near them—I stopped at this point, out near the rabbit picnic site in the backyard:

…and the snow is about twice that deep next to the house. By the way, when I bought these Hunter wellies—one of my navy blue “Coastie” indulgences, along with a Longchamp tote and a North Face parka— I never really thought that I would get as much use out of them as I do. They are the only thing, though, that can get me from the door to the garage (where the shovel is) when the driveway looks like this:

Even so, the snow was well over the tops of my knees. Not to belabor the whole Hunter Boots thing, but I do wonder if welly socks might improve the winter usefulness of them. $35 socks are really too crazy to consider, though. I just wear two pairs of wool socks. Anyway, I had someone clear the driveway yesterday because the whole thing was just too hopeless.

Today, of course, I had to confront the renewed hopelessness of what the plow left behind: a four-foot heap of ice chunks at the end of the driveway. Snow day, you are so not worth the effort.

Read Full Post »

the pre-blizzard hush

… Blizzard Warning remains in effect from 3 PM this afternoon to
noon CST Wednesday…

It’s 2 pm and I’m already stuck in the house—there’s little point in digging out my driveway from last night when I’m going to have to pay someone to clear it tomorrow. I may soon regret this decision to remain indoors while escape was still possible. Tiny flakes are starting to fall. I can’t see my driveway. The mailman looks truly miserable.

It wouldn’t be so bad if my dissertation work were not also trapped at home with me. I wish that there were more episodes of Downton Abbey to watch—if you missed it, the episodes are online for the next few weeks and you should catch them while you can. I wonder when the second season will appear…not soon enough to save me from this blizzard, I fear.

Read Full Post »