Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mr. Fuzz and the Patio Furniture

My return flight from Tbilisi in 2007 was complicated by our three adopted Georgian cats, Mr. Fuzz, Vicksters and Snow Puff (all named by our children). Poor Snow Puff was killed by a speeding car a few months later, but Vicksters and Mr. Fuzz have proven remarkably adaptable to the mean streets of Bedford. Vicksters is sociable and has made friends in the neighborhood, but Mr. Fuzz is loyal and spends most of his time on the front porch.

I love having a cup of tea or dinner on the porch, watching the neighborhood go about its business, and my generous sister-in-law donated a set of patio furniture to the cause. Unfortunately, Mr. Fuzz likes the furniture as much as I do, and has a lot more time to spend rubbing his furry self all over the cushions. I have tried a number of strategies to ensure the human beings who want to sit on the porch don't have to sit in a nest of white cat hair, but none of them have been successful. My most recent attempt was to drape the chair cushions in sheets and tablecloths, but these mismatched covers looked like laundry drying in the breeze from the street, reinforcing the "Beverly Hillbillies" look I have been trying studiously to avoid.

This morning I had a new inspiration, and draped the seats only in pillowcases that are less likely to fly around. I have some great fabric I bought in Africa two summers ago, so if this works, maybe I can recover the cushions and achieve that put-together, non-Granny Clampitt look I so covet.

Here is Mr. Fuzz, dirty as can be (he's really white!) enjoying a fresh new cover.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

History Festival 2010

I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Lawrence County History Festival, which is always a great event involving reenactments, arts and crafts demonstrations, and other fun history-related activities. This year was the best ever, as it included the first-ever Native American Pow-Wow in Indiana. The colorful costumes of the Indians, the dancing and singing and the steady, solemn drum beat were very moving to watch and reminded me of the many courageous Native Americans with whom I served long ago in the Army.

Only a few feet away from the Pow-Wow, but miles away in history, my friend Stephen and I demonstrated bobbin lace for the third year in a row, both of us in historic costume. It had been a while since I had worked on my turquoise lace, but fortunately the bobbins hadn't become too tangled (it stayed far away from my visiting nieces and nephews this year!). Stephen was making four-inch-wide burgundy and cream lace trim for a queen-sized sheet, which was beautiful and made me want to finish my own project so I could start his pattern.

I always love the first day of the festival, which is when we get to show hundreds of fifth graders how to make lace, and watch them try. The general reaction is "Cool!" and there are always a few who come back to make another stitch or two.

This year I was also keeping track of our museum booth, where we had set up a kind of a quiz machine with questions about local and Indiana history. The kids liked it all right (mostly making the red and green lights flash), but it was a bigger hit with their parents and grandparents, who lived through much of the history in question. I spent more time giving hints to quiz-takers and handing out pencils at the museum booth than I did making bobbin lace on Saturday and Sunday, so unfortunately my turquoise lace didn't grow very much this weekend.

I'm happy to be home now and back in regular clothes. Someone told me, as I hopped out of DH's big red pick-up truck in my mobcap and colonial garb, that I looked like Granny Clampitt. I think it's time to retire that dreary colonial outfit that I made for DD's third-grade class trip fifteen years ago, and make a pretty Civil War dress with a low-cut bodice and a big hoop skirt. Maybe I'll finish the turquoise lace to trim the neck.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

1970's UFO - Finished at Last!

I was blessed by visits from four of my five sisters this past week. We had lots of fun together and I think I managed not to traumatize the one brother-in-law brave enough to make the trip. My sister Dee found an unfinished dress in my mom's sewing room that she thinks either she or I started in the 1970's, when we were both teenagers. Of course, I smugly thought that I always finish all my projects, so it must be hers! (This would not be the time to remind me about my quilt top or that teal bulky sweater, thank you very much.) The dress fabric is a cotton blend, reminiscent of the one-to-two yard pieces we used to buy at George's Gateway for a pittance back in the good old days, and the print is so cute and retro--bright orange-red with hearts and flowers, like the embroidery on a Pennsylvania Dutch apron.

Dee sewed all the seams together on this little dress before heading back to New York. Since it fits my daughter very nicely, I finished the seams and hemmed it this morning. It looks a lot cuter on a live model, but even on the hanger you can see that it has a flippy little skirt and a wrap bodice. Cute, huh?