Friday, September 27, 2013

To Tie or Not to Tie...The Morning Melodrama


The kids want "tie" shoes...OK, fine "tie" shoes it is.  They know how to tie their shoes, so it's all good right? Yet the realty of the before-school-morning-madness reveals it is far from "all good." The boy child has developed his own shoe knotting system.  He has taken his "tie" shoes and tied an elaborate system of knots so that the shoe needs never to be tied again....I don't know why, I know I shouldn't care, but this drives me batty.  Mean while the girl child, who is actually very good at tying shoes, chooses to spend her last few moments at home in the morning sitting on the floor screaming and kicking her feet, and not tying her shoes. 

On a recent shoe shopping trip, as I am wishing that more shoes came with elastic instead of shoelaces, it occurs to me that this was a problem I can fix! I bought the "tie" shoes, brought them home, removed the shoelaces, and replaced them with 1/4" white elastic.  On the boy child's new shoes I tacked the elastic together with the sewing machine, and then shifted the elastic slightly to hide the tack.  He's happy to have the look of the "tie" shoes, I'm happy not to have to look at the knotted shoe.  

shoe elastic

I took the girl child's most troublesome pair of "tie" shoes and tried to do the same, but with this particular pair the shoes were still very difficult to get on, so I came up with plan "B".  I laced the shoe, but instead of tacking the elastic together I simply knotted the ends of the elastic.  She loves the look and this morning when it was time to put shoes on....not a scream or kick one, only jumping for joy...both of us jumping for joy.  

shoes with elastic

Had I known that something as simple as 1/4" elastic could have us leaving home in the mornings on a good note I would have done it ages ago!  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Autumn Awesomeness

Amanita muscaria
Amanita muscaria

Awww, we have officially reached Autumn!  What started as a chilly morning gave way to a warm and sunny blue sky at midday, and then faded into a cool foggy mist by late afternoon...the first day of autumn was perfectly enjoyable!  My family and I ventured up to the area just North of Asiago, where there are beautiful forests, beautiful mountains, and as it turns out, beautiful mushrooms and flowers.

Thistle going to seed

amanita muscaria
Amanita muscaria


Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) wearing its fall color

It's hard to believe in just a short while the hills will be covered with snow. 

Tractor at the Malga.

Cheese wheels and the Italian flag

German Gentian


A flower growing out of the trench walls that remain from the first World War. 

I see you!

Hello, Toad!

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

The afternoon fog rolling in.


Can you find the tiny toad?  There were hundreds of them hoping up the hill!

Mountain cows at the Malga. We brought home some of their cheese and butter...there is nothing better than mountain cow butter!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Tip from the Procrastinating Patternmaker...

 A year and a half ago I set out to make my son a couple of button-up shirts for his birthday.  I drafted a pattern, he picked out the fabrics, and we were both really excited.  In a moment of over confidence I cut out two shirts.  With his birthday just around the corner I finished the first one.  I loved the way the first one turned out...until he tried it on.  It was too short!  Too short and sewn together really, really well, seams finished without a serger, lots and lots of top stitching.  The thought of taking out all of that stitching was daunting.  The birthday came and went, summer flew by, and the beginning of school approached.  "I'll have them done by the beginning of school," I promised.  So, I adjusted the pattern and he picked out more fabric.  I cut out and started three more shirts....then procrastination happened again, and kept happening.  The front pieces of a button up shirt are not necessarily symmetrical, every time I would think about working on the shirts I would remember that in this particular pattern they were not suppose to be symmetrical, but the pieces I cut out were symmetrical.  I could vaguely recall there was SOMETHING I was suppose to do, but I could not procrastination continued....for a whole year.

As school was getting ready to start this year, my son asked if I would please finish the shirts I was suppose to finish for the beginning of school LAST year.  FINALLY I got the pattern out figured out what it was I couldn't remember...cut 5/8 of an inch off of the left side of the shirt before adding a facing....all that time for 5/8 of an inch.  So, if you know you are a procrastinator, as I know I am, here is the tip:

Keep all of your pattern pieces in a large envelope.  If you need to make changes write down the changes on the envelope with a date, mark off the change when the pattern gets updated. 

I do this now, but I was not doing it a year and a half ago, it saves sooo much time.  I don't always have time to get pattern pieces out and alter them right away, but this way I always know where I left off.

I mustered up the energy to take out all of my fancy stitching on the first shirt and lengthen it.  The boy loves the shirt and ended up wearing it for the first day of school.  He told me when it gets to be too little he is going to save it for his kids, and if he doesn't have kids he'll make a quilt out of it someday...that's my boy!

I just finished the other four yesterday, in time for the third day of school.  I have one very happy boy.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bovine Beauties...A Cow Portrait Collection

"Melinda and her beautiful bell"

No ordinary cows, these bovine beauties spend their days roaming the rolling mountain pastures, basking in the sweet alpine sun, and making milk for some of the world's best cheeses and creamy gelato! 
Who is not more worthy of a portrait?
"Molly and the girls...and the Dolomites"

"Heather in the sun"





"Don't be shy Melinda"
Surprisingly not one of them was named "Daisy".