Saturday, November 30, 2013


 We traveled up to my sister's house in Elk Grove area of Sacramento.  We had a great visits, tons of food and enjoyed checking out my sister's house and yard.

Then we stayed at a hotel half way home near our son's house in Manteca.  They were back from their Thanksgiving the next morning and met us for breakfast.
Brent and Conner

And now off to the movies with a couple more grandkids!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Hope everyone has a great day....but don't eat TOO much!  We want you healthy!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

For the Vegans!

My contributions for everyone including the vegans:

An Apple Braid

A Vegan Chocolate Cake that Jen likes so much.
Plus a green salad.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Getting Ready for Winter

I guess you would call it Winter Cleaning.  My project is done and my hip is feeling so much better that I headed out to the garden today to actually do some work.

The chicken have really been scratching up a storm since we have been letting them out in the daytime all summer.  I don't know why but they seem to just have to scratch everything in the flowerbeds onto the walkways, and we have LOTS of walkways they have had fun covering.  We have brick walks and gravel and it doesn't mean a thing to them except an obsession to cover them with dirt and leaves.  Let me show you an example:

This is the brick walk to the playhouse.  I cleaned the top half and the bottom half I haven't touched yet.  Those two chickens were able to dump all that stuff from under the olive tree onto the walk.

Tomorrow, I have to finish the other side of the olive tree.  I will also be getting ready for Thanksgiving with what ever I can do that far ahead.  I need to be mindful not to do too much stress on my hip or I will get that problem again.

Dear Hubby made some nice shelves in the shed so I have to get that all arranged and put back too.

Monday, November 25, 2013

New Project?

Well, I'm a little burnt out from this last project but I keep thinking of this one:

It would be a very long project because it would be all problem solving and no pattern.  There are 5 different fabrics.  And the underskirt has all those pleats lined with the patterned fabric. The bodice has that little inset in the back.  And then there is the bustle with the pleats at the bottom, and the swirled print wrapping around the whole thing with a macrame down the back!  And to top it off, a tiny trim of yellow on the neck and sleeves.

This dress is like a sampler

I certainly don't need another outfit at this point...but it is challenging me.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Paying for the Burgundy Dress Project

The sewing table is all cleared off and ....

Mr NordicTrack and I have to become really good friends.
 When I get going on a project it overtakes me and not much else gets done.  So, not much exercise while working on the burgundy dress and the scale convinced me to get walking! Besides that my hip was really bothering me and it is a lot better now.

Today's walk was in Sweden, not really exciting, mostly road and trees.  I am looking forward to the next walk though, Chartres, France.  It is one of my most favorite places.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ardenwood Schedule

Not much of the 2013 calendar left:

Now the little elves are busy getting the house all ready for Christmas tours!  Every room will have a Christmas tree, as well as other decorations. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Memories of 50 Years Ago Today

50 years ago today I was a young stay-at-home wife with a 7 month old son.  We live in a small "mother-in-law" cottage behind the main house in the town of Menlo Park.  Quite a few of the houses there have cottages behind them that are rented to students attending Stanford University.

We were really enjoying life.  Everything was hopeful and going forward.  Our life was great, the nation was doing well.  There were problems, the cold war and civil rights were the biggest ones, but it seemed like they were being worked on rationally and hope abounded.  The President and his family were young and active. The previous President seemed like a grandfather, this one seemed like a big brother.  We all felt like we were part of his family because we knew them so well with all the photos in the magazines "Look" and "Life".

The morning started off normally, I had gotten my husband off to work, cleaned the house and all the routine with the baby.  I had the radio on and was listening to "The Art Linkletter's House Party, a popular fun program .  Art Linkletter always interviewed several children at the end of the program which was alway so funny.

As I was feeding the baby his breakfast an news alert came over the radio.  Alerts that broke into a program was rare in those days.  It was announced that the President's car had been fired upon in Texas.  Then that the President had been shot and had died.

It was totally shocking.  It seemed that there was something that needed to be done, but there was nothing to do.  I called my husband at work and they hadn't heard it yet.  I wrote in our son's baby book what had happened because I knew it was a day that would be part of history.

A piece of our life and our nation's life and even the rest of the lives in the world seem to broken.  We were all so stunned and so sad I can only compare it to how I felt when my dad died.  I took the baby and walked to church.  To my surprise, the church was almost full.  It was so strange that everyone felt what we were feeling,  everyone was hurting.  Black was everywhere, and especially in our selves.

The days between when President Kennedy died and his funeral was empty, just sadness.  My husband bought an American flag and we flew is outside our front door.  It seemed the only thing we could do.  We still have that flag and fly it for memorable occasions.

The day of the funeral, our landlady invited us to view the funereal on her TV since we did not have a TV at that time.  It was just all sad, but it somehow helped to know the whole world was recognizing our loss because they felt the loss also.  And then... during the funeral procession, another new alert breaking in.  It was crazy and we just couldn't believe that something was important enough to break into the funeral coverage.  It was announced that Lee Harvey Oswald, the guy they thought had shot President Kennedy was just shot at the police station in Texas.  It was just crazy.  It was just unbelievable.

And then we had to go on with life, but it was never quite the same.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hair Decoration

When I wear the burgundy dress December 8 for the start of the Ardenwood Christmas season, I will need something for my hair since I won't be wearing a hat.

I had gotten a little feather decoration at JoAnn's Fabric a while back.

I used wire to string some beads for decoration.

I used glue and beads to add to the feathers, and presto!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Velcro and Elastic

I am now hitting the bottom drawer in my sewing machine cabinet.  I am in my RV enjoying the rain on the roof, and believe me, it is giving me my money's worth right now!  Oh, my plants are going to be SO happy with this rain.  Since we have been low on water from last year they have been on pretty skimpy rations.

So I have organized all my sewing drawers except this one.  This is like the "junk drawer".  I don't even know what all I have in there except all the velcro and elastic I push in there.

Under all that velcro and elastic

At least all that velcro, elastic and webbing are in bags now.

  • After going through the drawer I found a couple of treasures, one I knew I had,

A Chatelain I bought years ago and use at Ardenwood.  The pieces are:  scissor, thread holder, needle holder, thread cutter.
and the other was a complete surprise.
A necklace made of jet beads.
I have no idea where I got this.  It was probably a broken necklace from an antique place that I repaired.



Our rainy season in the San Francisco Bay Area usually starts a few days before Halloween.  I know that because my birthday is the day before Halloween so it was always a special time for me.  And it was always a threat of rain and trick or treating!

This rain till today.  It's just a nice little rain storm and will be gone tomorrow.  But I am enjoying it while I have it!  I spent the day cleaning up after the marathon of sewing.  (I do make a mess while I am working on a project.)  And I gathered all the stuff that needed to be sorted out.  Then I took the little stuff needing sorting to my old RV, Lucy.  And I spent the afternoon sorting and putting away while listening to the rain on the roof.  Some years ago we put a cement tile roof on the house.  It looks great, like wood shingles........but, you can't hear the rain on the roof.  So I will be sleeping and playing in the rv until around noon when the rain will be gone!

And I will be starting to work on the little hair piece thing that goes with the burgundy dress.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


All of the dang hooks and eyes are done and I am proclaiming the project "FINISHED".

And just for Jen, here are pictures of the back:

The original patterns box pleats changed to .....
this version.
 The front and the back.

I have one little thing that goes with this outfit, a little feather thing for the hair.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Today will be the day!

I AM going to finish the dress TODAY!

I am so very sick of hooks and eyes.  I hate them normally but as I get to the end I am really tired of those little buggers.

I am working on the hooks and eyes around the waist, support for the skirt.  This skirt really need support because those tiny little beads are REALLY heavy!

But, the end is in sight.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Down to the wire!

Today I put the center front strip on, put on the last hooks and eyes for the center front and am about half way done with the beading on the collar.  It was a lot of hand work and I am tired.

Left to do:
Beading on collar finished.
2 hooks and eyes on the collar closing
Hooks and eyes on skirt and bodice waist
Adjust loops for bustle poufs.

Just finished the beading on the collar and the hooks and eyes on the collar......getting closer!

Maybe I can post a "finished" photo tomorrow, although tomorrow is very busy, an IEP in the morning!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Beading again!

I spent most of the day at Ardenwood - school tours (130 kids today)

Then I spent this afternoon doing beading again.  On what? you ask.  Well,.....

The sleeves!  And I just finished them!

Left to do:
The collar still needs its beads.
About 4 more hooks and eyes on the front closure
The section in the middle of the front closure
Hooks and eyes on the collar
Hooks on the skirt and eyes on the bodice to help support the skirt
Hooks on the skirt closure
Adjust the loops on the bustle poufs

I think I am going to make my deadline of the first week of December!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bodice Back Finished!

The bodice pattern has 3 very large box pleats in the back.

For this dress, the pleats did not look right and the whole back of the bodice seemed to long.

So, I experimented with pinning it up several different ways.

I ended up sewing closed the box pleats and trimming it down, making a point in the back.   And, I just finished doing the bottom hem so that step is off the list.

Next step, finishing the hooks and eyes on the front closing and finishing the decorative strip down the middle of the front.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Today the sleeves have been hemmed and I have started to work on the bodice front hem.

Not a very good picture, but I did want to document how it looks for my future reference.

Thursdays are alway busy so probably will not get a chance to work on it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Started the Hooks and Eyes

Today I tacked the lining to the outside around the armholes and started the hooks and eyes for the front closing. There is going to be a lot of them and I hate doing them!

After the hooks, I have to make the decision on the bodice hem so I can cut the bones to the correct lengths and put them in the casings.

Did you notice how I solved the button problem for now.....the hooks and eyes.  I have to make that decision on how to finish the center front too.

Notice how I have a tendency to solve these problems at the last possible moment.  I bet those wonderfully talented costumers that whip out those miraculous gowns have it all planned at the beginning with drawings and every thing.  Today, thinking about it,  I figure it is rather silly to do it as I do.  But for the life of me, I would not be able to move forward if I tried to figure out all the problems at the drawing stage.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Honey of a Day!

Honey Harvest!  And I only helped with the last box.

When you see bee hives in a field they look like several boxes on top on one another.  Inside they have frames with a space between each one.  The bees make wax combs on the frames and fill the combs with pollen, larva or honey.

This picture shows the frames of honey in a box.  They are close together and sometimes the little bees get over creative and add wax comb to the sides of the frames which makes the frames hard to remove.  The special tool Cathy is holding the frame with helps get the frames out of the box.

The little girl bees fill the combs with honey and cap them off at the top with wax.
The caps have to be removed and this is done with an hot electric knife.  It isn't really sharp but because it is hot it just melts the caps off.

And da-ta!  Pure, natural honey.  Yum yum!

Then the frames are put in an extractor, that metal drum looking thing.  It spins the frames pulling out the honey.

The honey can be drained out the bottom of the extractor, and strained the first time to get out all the larger pieces of wax separated out.

The honey will be strained again and bottled.  This harvest was from 2 stacks of boxes about 8' high each.  And each box has 8 or 9 frames in them each.  The honey filled frames are each really heavy so it is a lot of work.

After the honey is finished, Cathy gets to be creative with the wax.
All the wax from taking the caps off the combs is saved, melted on low heat.  The wax has a lot of honey in it that separates when the wax is heated and the wax goes to the top and can be removed when cooled.  The heated honey is not bottled for sale because heat can destroy some of the beneficial properties that help with allergies, etc.

Wax ready for projects.
Cathy has made lip balm and candles from the wonderfully fragrant bees wax.

So after my small bit of honey help, I did a little more work on the bodice.  The sleeves are now attached and the lining is added but the bottom hem area is still open.

Next steps on the bodice:  clip some seams, take out basting threads, tack down certain areas of the lining, hook and eyes, final alterations to the collar, add the boning to the casings and hem the sleeves.  Then the next big decision is how to finish the bodice bottom.  I'm going to have to do some research since I don't have a picture of the back of this dress.  This bodice has pleats in the back but I think they would look to casual for this dress.

Update on  still haven't heard from them......