About Me, unplugged

Nursebean Unplugged: Welcoming 2017

I am not someone who chooses a word for my year, although I respect the thought that many give to this and I learn from their choices. I did have some plans/goals/intentions for my new year and most of them revolved around health-daily yoga, less sugar, etc. On January 1, 2017, I worked a day shift at the hospital and walked out into sunshine-a rare thing because this time of the year it is usually dark when I leave work. So I decided to start my year with a walk on the beach. I am so lucky to live within driving distance of Long Island Sound. I love the late afternoon light. It is truly the golden hour.

In 2016, I made a resolution to have unplugged Sundays. What this meant for me was that I did not sign up to work any shifts at the hospital on a Sunday and I tried to stay off social media. The work part of this was actually a big shift for me. For almost ten years, I have worked 6-7 days a week which was a financial necessity. This has been challenging and so making the commitment to keep this day free was a huge positive shift. Working Sundays kept me away from regular church going which I missed and in 2016 I was able to return to this which truly fed my soul-for me it is my weekly re-set button. I had thought that my unplugged Sundays would enable me to sew more, read more and do more of the things that I enjoy, and it did. But what I didn’t appreciate until I was actually living these days and documenting them (I posted a weekly picture on instagram with the hashtag #myunpluggedsundays) is how much keeping the day totally unscheduled and unplanned and having time to just think and be spontaneous would be healing for me and would inspire new ideas. This was probably the best part of keeping this commitment to myself. This and having weekly early morning quiet time to read.

2017 started off so beautifully. I was still pondering my resolutions and had jotted down some ideas. I wanted to take time each day for yoga since I have neglected my physical body amid work and other priorities. So after my beach walk I came home and did Day 1 of Yoga with Adrienne’s Yoga Revolution series. I did about half of her 30 Days of Yoga earlier in the year and loved it. We had a nice family dinner with my husband and the three children who were home for the holidays and I went to bed feeling excited for a day off on January 2nd and the time and space to start the new year right. And then life happened as it so often does. I got up and went for a short walk and started to feel worse and worse and went home, went straight to bed and stayed there for 2 days with fever, chills, sweats, nausea. My daughter was sick as well.

I had to laugh. Whenever I try to strongly impose my will on life, life pushes back and reminds me that I am not in charge. A bit of a spiritual re-adjustment. But interestingly what this next week of not avoiding sugar, (all we could do was drink ginger ale), not doing yoga (ha!) and not doing all those things on my to do list (take down the tree, finish some sewing projects, write my new years resolutions) did for me is to give me time to think. And what I thought about is that the best thing that my 2016 unplugged Sunday project did for me is to help me see that creating space in my life for thinking, creating, following my spontaneous idea in the moment-whether it be to take a walk, cook a nice dinner, sew up an unplanned project-was way more valuable than I had realized. The phrase “create space” is something that many yoga teachers I have studied with use and in 2016, I learned that it is something that I need to be intentional about because I reap tremendous benefits when I do it. In 2016, I got some ideas for writing pieces, one of which is going to be published next month, that came to me as I went on a spontaneous walk after church. I made connections about relationships, my own life’s goals, ways I want to grow. Life is so full of great ideas, images, content that is coming at us from all directions. I love it all. I love the books I read, the bloggers I follow, the photographs and amazing projects and ideas I see on instagram and the great conversations I have at work and at home but I know now that I also need quiet. I need space to think. Even when I don’t think I do. So in 2017, my resolution will be to Create Space for myself in a systematic way by scheduling it into my week. These are some ideas I am going to try out to make this happen.

I am going to continue to keep Sundays unplugged from work, media and plans whenever possible. In 2016, I did this for about 6 months straight and then work got busy and I ended up going in most Sundays to catch up on paperwork. Part of the challenge to keeping Sundays unplugged for me is to be more time efficient during the week so that all the paperwork gets done and I don’t have to go in on a Sunday. This also applies to other chores, errands etc. I try to get them done on the weekdays so I don’t have to do them on Sunday. I have found that this is really worth doing. I should mention that this blogger who I follow religiously recently talked about the concept of a monthly think day on her podcast. I think many of us are trying to figure this out.

I am going to try to have a Quiet Hour each evening before I go to bed to read, write, think. I have trouble sleeping and I have found that if I get into a big conversation with a family member as I am getting tired, it works against my ability to fall asleep. I also am going to try to keep that hour free from media. I also plan to read this book to see if I can gain some insights into improving my focus. It was recommended by this book whisperer who I have written about so many times before and whose podcast I listen to religiously.

I am going to try to do yoga daily and do some form of physical activity outdoors most days. I need to get outside and I need to make that a priority.

I am going to try to find time to write a couple of times a week. What that looks like for me could be blog posts, handwritten letters to people who live far away from me, maybe another piece for publication. When my children were little and we spent summers in Maine, I started a weekly letter writing night. I was inspired by a book I read. It might have been this one by Elizabeth Berg but I am not sure. Each Tuesday evening after dinner, each child wrote one letter to a family member and one letter to a friend and could write more if they chose. I made it fun by buying a bunch of postcards and other pretty stationary which I kept in a box. This was before email was a big thing and in any event we were intentionally screen-free all summer. They could walk the stamped mail over to our big mailbox at the end of the driveway and were very happy when they got mail back. It was one of the things I did as a parent that I am so glad I did, along with family dinners, quiet reading before bed and nature walks/hikes. So much of the time you are a parent to young children, you are trying so hard to do all the things right and it isn’t for years in many cases that you can look back and think about what really made a difference. Letter writing night was definitely one of those for me.

Other goals/intentions: to finish some unfinished sewing projects, to write another piece for possible publication, to eat more healthfully, to read books recommended to me by my daughters, to make zucchini noodles (!) with the spiralizer my daughter got me for Christmas.

Things I am excited for in 2017: trips already planned (tickets purchased!) to see my daughter and son who live in other states, a planned long weekend away with my husband for the first time since we were married almost nine years ago (omg), a planned road trip to see my brother this spring, sewing, reading, life.

I love a new beginning and today, on January 7th, as I watch beautiful snow fall on a rare Saturday when I am not at work, I am full of hope. What are you excited for in 2017?img_4479-1

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Bias Binding, Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Maine, Pearl Shift, Quilting, Reading and Books, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing, unplugged, Washi Dress Pattern

Nursebeansews a lot: 2016 year-end wrap up

I sewed a lot of garments in 2016, close to 40-I have lost track of the actual total. Most of them were for me, some were for others. When I looked back over the year, I found that although I sewed many garments, I actually made several versions each of seven favorite patterns: the Pearl Shift pattern from Green Bee Patterns and six patterns from Made by Rae: the Washi Dress, the Beatrix Blouse, and the Ruby Blouse which I had made before and the Luna Pants pattern , the Isla knit dress pattern and the Gemma Tank which were new to me in 2016. The newer patterns are from a line that Rae calls Presto patterns. They are less expensive and simpler to sew, which is probably why I was able to sew so many! Here are a couple of pictures of some of my makes with links to the patterns and my blog posts about things I learned while making them. I tend to make things in multiples because it is not much more work to cut out two versions than to cut out one.

The Washi Dress by Made By Rae, which I made for myself three times: two versions had sleeves and two versions were in double gauze. I also made a version with polka dots for my sister and a paisley version for my mother. The double gauze, while a bit tricky to work with, makes a wonderful winter version of the Washi. I have my eye out for another double gauze to make another long sleeved version of the Washi. I wear my charm version all the time.img_4434I have two more  Washi dresses cut out that I plan to finish soon. One is the Washi XP with a bow. I cut them out last summer before Gemma Madness took over my sewing life. Finishing my WIPs will be a priority for me this winter.img_2414I am excited to see how the XP version turns out. I think it will be perfect with a sweater and tights and boots for winter. I cut this out way back in the spring when I made a baby quilt for a friend and used this for the binding.

I also sewed several new versions of the Beatrix blouse and modified a shift dress pattern by adding Beatrix sleeves.img_4435I lengthened the Beatrix to a tunic length using the Pearl Shift pattern as my guide and made this Cookie Book version with a curved hem and this Alison Glass version with an exposed zipper and a straight hem. I wear them all the time with leggings and jeans.

I made the Pearl Shift four times: two in heavy cotton flannel and one each in a cotton-linen blend and in a black and white checked fabric. img_4436I have two more cut out and ready to sew, one for my daughter and another plaid flannel version for me. The original plaid Pearl that I made a year ago in the fall is probably my most worn garment ever.

I surprised myself this year by making pants! I highly recommend the Luna Pants pattern from Made By Rae. I made this clay colored version and this Fringe version, both with fabric by April Rhodes. I lived in them all summer.img_4437 I was surprised at how flattering they ended up being and they are incredibly comfortable.

I made three versions of the Ruby Pattern this summer, a plum colored double gauze blouse for me, a double gauze blouse with a yoke made of quilting cotton for a friend and a dress which I love in April Rhodes fabric. I just love her designs for garments.img_4439I have several other versions of the Ruby blouse cut out and ready to sew. Sew all the WIPs is going to be my resolution for 2017!

I learned a bit about how to sew knits on a regular sewing machine and made one each of the dress and top versions of the Isla Pattern. img_4440I have several more cut out and ready for an afternoon when I can sew them up. I highly recommend this pattern for those of you who are new to sewing knits.

The pattern I sewed the most though turned out to be the Gemma Tank. Rae launched this pattern over the summer and once she did, all my other WIPs went by the wayside. I literally have things I cut out to sew back in July that never got sewn because I was too busy sewing so many versions of the Gemma. I lined it, I lengthened it, I sewed it for my kids, I sewed many versions for myself. I sewed it out of thrifted men’s shirts and I learned a lot about bias binding. It was a lot of fun, a bit crazy but a great way to experiment with different fabrics. I am wearing them all the time. It has become a great layering piece for me. These are actually not even all of the Gemmas I made. Craziness!img_4438Other non-garment items I sewed this year were this quilt for a much awaited new baby boy-so much fun! and an afghan for my mother in law made from thrift shop sweaters. I also was privileged to be a pattern tester for the first time for this great skirt pattern which will be launched in the new year. I have fabric picked out and ready to go.  It is going to be a great new basic to add to my rotation.

Highlights of my sewing year included Me Made May-which is always fun and which brings so much inspiration from other sewers and a couple of mini-breaks (long weekends,) one in Maine and one at home and a micro-mini break (afternoon) that I spent exploring my old neighborhood. I also read a lot this year and tried very hard to stick to my 2016 New Year’s resolution to commit one day a week to being unplugged. That worked for about half the year and then life got busy and  I ended up having to spend time each Sunday in the office. But I tried to spend at least some of each Sunday unplugged from media, reading, taking walks,, going to church regularly and doing yoga. These are things I hope to find more time for in the New Year.

With best wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year and time and energy to finish the sewing projects (I know that I can’t cut out one more thing until I sew through the pile I have accumulated of cut out projects, ) and thanks to all for following along with my sewing adventures!
 

 

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About Me, Reading and Books, unplugged

Nursebean Reads: October 2016-100 books and counting

I wrote earlier this year here and here about how in 2016,  I have been reading quite a bit more than is usual for me and earlier this week, 286 days into the year to be exact, I read my 100th book of the year. Thank you Goodreads for keeping track!

My 100th book, The Mothers,  was the wonderful debut novel written by an incredibly talented 26 year old. The novel started out as her senior thesis. I loved it and read it in two evenings. Interestingly, leading up to #100 are several lighter reads. Sometimes, particularly when I am tired, I can’t focus well enough to tackle a weightier book and will read lighter things-cozy mysteries, YA, chicklit-until I get my focus back. I also read less when I sew more; and I did a lot of sewing this year. I have learned to take it in stride.

The day after I reached #100 was almost more momentous because 2+ months after I started listening to it, I finished all 35 hours and 40 minutes of this audio book read by Maggie Gyllenhaal which I purchased from audible on sale for just a few dollars. Totally worth it. Sadly no longer on sale.  I started it back in August when I had the idea of Power Reading the Classics.  I listened to it to and from work and occasionally while cooking, sewing or going for walks. My Classics challenge didn’t work out as I planned but I am trying to incorporate more classics interspersed with my other reads.

Reading this many books is kind of a big deal for me because my normal number of books read has averaged about 30 for the last several years.

 

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While it is still quite a lot, more than 2 per month, my former speed was not a pace which made me feel as though I would ever make a dent in the long list of books I wished I had read. And now, even though the list is growing at a much faster pace than it ever did thanks to my book whisperers:  Catherine, Lindsey and Anne, I am confident that I will find the time to read many, though certainly not all, of the books I want to read.

Most of the books I read this year I have loved or liked a lot. I only have a few in the 2 or 3 star category (I haven’t really read something I couldn’t like at least a little bit). You can see a few of them below. The less than loved books are things I picked up on impulse from the library or on sale on kindle. I don’t regret reading them but I am trying to be more intentional about my book choices since there are so many wonderful books I know I want to read-many of them recommendations from the WSIRN podcast-can’t recommend it more highly.

The podcast, which I listen to religiously every Tuesday morning, asks guests to name a book they hate. I can’t say that I hated anything I read, but I didn’t love one title, which you can see hanging out all alone in the two star line on my Goodreads YTD summary. Part of the summary is above and part is below since there were too many books to screenshot and capture them all. The ones below are all 4’s and 5’s and were all great reads.

I tend to alternate more literary reads with murder mysteries and the occasional chick-lit and this year I read some great YA books that I found via Modern Mrs. Darcy. Memoir is my favorite genre and I have read almost 20 memoirs and more than 25 non-fluffy novels so far this year, all of which have been terrific. I read 3 classics (although AK should count for at least 2 all by itself) and want to read more. I have listened to 23 audio books out of a total of 102 books read this year, most of which really enhanced the experience of the book because of the wonderful narration. The main thing that has helped me read more has been devoting a couple of hours in the early morning each week to read. I have missed one or two Sundays due to work but that unplugged time is what gets me on track, helps me finish something I have started or get a good start on a new book. I find that once I am into the story, I want to keep going and having that time really makes the difference. Right after finishing the Mothers, I started Commonwealth, the new book by Ann Patchett. I read it in a night. So so good.

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My current reading list features two great new novels, a lengthy but so interesting non-fiction book about genetics by one of my favorite authors and Jane Austen. On audio, I am listening to the new Flavia DeLuce mystery. What could be better?

You can link to my other posts on books and reading here, here and here.

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About Me, Maine, unplugged

Maine Minibreak

 

img_3119I have written here before about Maine and how much summers there meant to me and my kids as they were growing up.

Time and finances are in much shorter supply now and so trips to Maine have been less frequent and much shorter but I still try to make the time count. In a funny way, even the short trips end up being very powerful emotionally because of all the memories.

Last week, my daughter and I took a quick two and a half day trip to some of our old haunts. We left Connecticut feeling grateful to have missed a big storm since Hurricane Hermine turned out to be much less of a storm than anticipated. We got to the island around 5:30 on the Tuesday after Labor Day and headed straight to my favorite watering hole.img_3238 Amazingly, I was the only person there. I dove right in. After not having swum in fresh water for over a year, it felt like a baptism of sorts.  My daughter captured it in her photos. I want to hold onto this feeling all winter. The best.img_3185We had lobsters on the pier that evening and did a brief drive around the island to some of our favorite spots the next day. A beautiful spot where we used to go to watch the sun set:img_3249The big rock that we would walk to along a huge pond/lake and swim off of (I swam there this trip too. Delightful!)img_3303

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img_3307I love the late afternoon light through the trees.img_3301You don’t really get a sense for how big this rock is unless you see it from the water. All of the stone formations were created by glaciers.img_3308Walking back along the lakeside path.img_3309At the pond’s end, the water framed by the mountains. In previous summers, my kids and I climbed all of these. Such wonderful memories. We didn’t have time to hike this trip but hopefully next year.img_3310We made time for ice-cream. Bay of figs = awesome. My first experience eating fig ice-cream but hopefully not my last.img_3268We ate our ice-cream peering out from behind a wall made of several rows of long window boxes. A really beautiful idea for framing a small patio. I loved seeing the sunlight through the leaves.img_3277The next day we got sandwiches from our favorite bakery and ate them at a beautiful butterfly garden. Despite many trips to this place, I had never gone to this spot. It was just lovely and we had it all to ourselves. One of our traditions with the kids was to try something new each trip and this short trip, we managed to do several new-to-us things. Really fun.img_3294The garden looks out over the water to the peninsula where there is a pool club that we belonged to when the kids were small. img_3297Many wonderful afternoons were spent there swimming in the salt water pool. The water above is cut off from the ocean by a bridge/ causeway and my kids used to jump off the bridge to the ocean side when the tide was coming in and be whooshed under the bridge carried by the incoming tide. You had to time it just right. Thrilling!

The next day I had a wonderful visit with a good friend who took me to a private garden (she had tickets). So beautiful. I loved these feathery flowers in the woodland setting.img_3315And the pattern that these stems make. Like a ladder or a braid.img_3320My absolute favorite flowers were the Japanese anemones. The bees agreed with me. There were so many buzzing around these flowers. I love the little round globes that are the buds. Such beautiful shapes. Zoom in to see the bees!img_3331

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img_3333After about two and half days, it was time to head back to reality. The morning we left was a bit foggy and so beautiful. That sky!img_3356Until the next visit!img_3178

 

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About Me, Made By Rae Patterns, Reading and Books, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing, unplugged

Nursebean Takes a Minibreak

 

Getting ready to sew on day 1 of my mini-break.img_2259Summer can sometimes be a challenging time for me. Social media is flooded with vacation photos of beaches and mountains and faraway places (the pictures of Norway and Sweden are amazing) but probably the hardest pictures to see are pictures of cabins in the woods on beautiful clean lakes. It makes me want to just jump into the picture. This one is from a real estate listing is exactly the kind that gives me pangs.maine lake imageBut it turns out that being at home can also be wonderful. I used to spend summers in Maine. I was incredibly lucky and I will always treasure those summers. But that is just not my life right now. I work two jobs and I don’t have the money or time off to travel. But one benefit to not having a lot of time off is that when you finally do take a break, you appreciate it so much. I recently had 5 days off in a row. I didn’t go anywhere and I didn’t really do anything fancy or extravagant but I had a great time. Here is what I did.

I read several books-all of which were engaging summer reads that did not require much from me. The stories drew me in and carried me along. I got most of the book suggestions from Anne Bogel. The graphic novel was a book club read. Sort of Roz Chast on steroids. Weird but funny. I particularly enjoyed reading in early morning. Here’s what I read:

I spent a lot of time on my front porch-reading and eating simple meals both alone and with some of my kids who were home for part of the weekend. Lunch on the porch below:img_2279I made a nice breakfast with home made berry muffins for my family, most of whom were with us. It was great to have a big group around the table. I used the pretty china and picked wild flowers from the garden. I love big family gatherings centered around a nice meal and my kids live far away so this was a treat for me. We also had a taco night with part of the group the night before and a dinner out at a favorite restaurant with my two daughters and son in law. It is a place we had gone to many times when they were younger so that was a special evening.

Staying on the topic of food, I ate a lot of tomato and fried egg sandwiches-both separately and together. If I had to pick one favorite food it would probably be fresh summer tomatoes. I remember reading this book as a child and not really getting why the main character ate tomato sandwiches every day for lunch but I get it now. I could be perfectly happy doing that. Or alternating with a fried egg sandwich with avocado on good bread. These are my new favorite meals. Quick, inexpensive, delicious. My husband bought this mayonnaise by mistake one day and it turns out to be the secret ingredient.

img_2261I sewed, sewed, sewed. But I didn’t treat the sewing as a chore. I did a couple of hours of sewing every day. I listened to music while I sewed.  When it started to feel like a chore, I switched gears and read or did yoga. I completed three garments:  a Ruby Dress for myself and a Ruby Blouse for a friend:

and a new pair of Luna pants for me in a fun print.img_2350and I started work on a baby quilt for a friend. img_2386I decided to make a whole cloth quilt and hand quilt it. It was fun to make and not having to piece the top ended up making it less stressful. It also made the hand quilting much easier since there were no seam allowances. While I quilted, I listened to this audio book which is really terrific. Each of the sewing projects were things I had made before and which weren’t super complicated. This meant that I was able to complete a new garment in a day which was really fun. While I love trying new patterns, there is nothing like the tried and true pattern that you know by heart and which fits you well. Cut, sew, wear, repeat. Boom! 

I went to a great yoga class with my daughter and I did yoga on the porch the rest of the days. I am loving  30 days of yoga with Adrienneimg_2291I had a diner breakfast with my daughter and son in law and then my daughter and I got our toenails painted in summer colors before they flew back home to the mid-west. I miss her already. New Luna pants in the wild below. And then it was back to reality.img_2196At least I had a new dress to wear my first day back.img_2408

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Made By Rae Patterns, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing, unplugged

Path Marker Ruby Dress

img_2289Days off are a rare thing in my life and I am so thrilled to have five days off in a row when I don’t have to go to work. My daughter is visiting so there will be some family meals so that’s a bonus. Otherwise, I have no plans. Bliss!

I have not had a lot of time to sew in the last couple of months but I made a double gauze Ruby blouse last week and that helped me get back into my sewing groove. I wrote a pretty detailed post last week about the Ruby pattern with links to all of the tutorials that Rae has for that pattern. I can’t recommend Rae’s tutorials more highly. Excellent. And I previously blogged about several other Ruby dresses I have made here. So today’s post will just be to add some details.

I originally bought this April Rhodes fabric with a second pair of Luna Pants in mind. But when I got the fabric in the mail, it just screamed “dress”. It is quilting cotton but it is very lightweight and has a bit of stretch in it. It is a dream to work with unlike double gauze which I love to wear but which can be tricky to sew with. So this dress sewed up fast-like dress in a day fast. I like to line my bodices and I had bought this yellow patterned fabric in order to make a sleeveless Josephine blouse, another Made By Rae pattern that I haven’t yet tried. I think the diamond pattern will work well with the pleats in the Josephine. I bought two yards of it on mega-sale (less than $5/yard) at Fabric.com where it is sadly sold out. But you may be able to find it elsewhere. I didn’t plan to use the yellow originally, but when I saw them together, I thought that the yellow would work well to line the yoke. I cut out the Josephine first to make sure I would have enough fabric left over and I did. I will be hopefully sewing that this weekend as well.

The Ruby Pattern is a pretty simple pattern. If you line the bodice, you still only cut out six pieces: 2 each for the  front and back bodice and a front and a back for the dress. I usually make the Made By Rae patterns in a size M and add at least 2 inches to the torso or length. The Ruby has relatively small arm openings and while I don’t mind them on the dresses/blouse I have already made, I added some extra length to the front and back main pieces which has the effect of making the arm hole bigger. Interestingly the pictures of Rae modeling the shirt on the pattern site show plenty of room in the armhole but for me, the pattern cut out as is was pretty tight (must be all that yoga-ha!).  I added about half an inch to the top and a bit to the side. Since I generally make changes and then completely forget what I changed when I go back to make the pattern again, I took pictures this time. You can see how much I added below. It ended up being just enough.img_2267Here are more work-in-process pictures. I top stitched around the neck and also the upper part of the armhole. I use my presser foot to determine the size of my seam allowance so that everything lines up. I also cut my bias binding strips for the bottom part of the armhole 1.5 inches instead of 1.25 as suggested by Rae. I find I need a bit more to totally catch the binding on the other side. I don’t sew in the ditch. I have more luck sewing just next to it. Yoke lining in process:img_2263Sewing the bias binding to the bottom half of the armhole:

Lined yoke with top stitching around the neckline:img_2288After sewing the yoke to the dress front and back and hand-sewing the lining as Rae instructs in her videos, I top stitched the top of the armhole. Since I had used my presser foot as my seam allowance guide when I sewed the bias binding, I used the same approach to top stitch the top of the armhole. I ends up looking as though you sewed all the way around.img_2283I leave the threads long and then use a needle to bring them to the inside of the dress and then knot them off. img_2286You end up with a really nice clean finish that is durable. img_2284I had some questions on instagram about the top stitching. I don’t always do it and I think it actually looks cleaner without it but I feel as though my dresses are very durable and I love that I can machine wash everything and not spend money on dry cleaning. The Ruby dresses below have been worn and washed more than ten times and they have held up great.  You can see these Rubies in more detail here and here.

I thought about using the yellow to make a contrasting hem as I do, but in the end I just folded the hem up and ironed the heck out of it and sewed two rows of stitches. It turned out fine.

It is quite hot here today and part of my unplugged day was to do yoga on the porch and I am a sweaty mess so I have not taken pictures of me wearing it but I know this dress will be in frequent rotation. I am so happy with how it turned out. Great pattern and great fabric. Perfect combination!img_2290

 

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About Me, Reading and Books, unplugged

Summer Sunday Unplugged

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My jobs keep me at work 6 days a week but I have continued my New Year’s resolution and have kept Sunday free of work and scheduled activities and with only minimal screens. Yesterday was a wonderful day. Reading and having the time to finish a great book in the early morning quiet while everyone else slept, a wonderful yoga class with my daughter who was home for the weekend, salads on the porch for lunch, a bit of needed weeding for the garden and a long stretch of reading outside on the porch during the sunny, breezy day, topped off by a dinner of summer treats: guacamole, fried fish with a fruity salsa and strawberries for dessert outside on the porch with my husband and daughter (and our sweet dog Sadie).

Some days I miss the long days at the beach when my kids were little and our wonderful trips to Maine but a day like yesterday reminds me how enjoyable staying home can be.  It helps that I don’t plan any tasks and don’t really try to accomplish anything and it makes all the difference in the world that my new house has a porch and my neighbors have several big trees. It can feel a bit like being in a tree house, especially when the wind rustles through the leaves.

I love having long stretches of time to get into a new book or finish one I have been reading, both of which I was able to do yesterday.

Here is what I am reading:

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And The Abundance, essays by Annie Dillard. Fabulous books all.

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