Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Machine is back….

Have been on hiatus for a bit with the sewing… again… machine has been in the shop.

Made the other of the tiered skirts I had fabric for.  This one requires a slip, which I had.   Makes for a fuller skirt though.

I get MAD compliments on these things, it’s ridiculous.


Real Life: Sewing hijinks

I sewed up a new tiered skirt, for which I have written a (hopefully exhaustive) tutorial on my old corset blog, which I wasn’t using.  It’s here if you’re interested:

For y’all, I thought you might like to see what really sewing in my house was like, or why I always have fur everywhere!

  1. my sewing room is an enclosed patio, which is shared with the yard tools, the pantry, the cat area, and random storage.
  2. I have four cats and a dog.  Two of the cats and the dog love to hang out in my sewing zone.

The first picture was when I decided this was going to be a tiered skirt, not a six-gore – that’s way too see through, even with a slip!  More gathers = more fabric to cover.

The skirt came out well… which is good, I have more of this fabric, in ivory.  (I took the picture outside to see if it was still see-through to a fault).



Garden Update

We spent five hours working on Friday, a few hours on Saturday, and I finished potting the jasmine and the roses this morning… it was a busy weekend, so come and see what we got done.  🙂


From the top left, clockwise –

  • the hill;
  • Vicky and Sterling lounging on a table headed for the trash bin, when the new storage bench comes in;
  • the mini-roses that DH is digging up from the front yard and putting in quarantine in pots to kill the sedge that has infested our front yard and not get it in the back yard where we plant our roses
  • the Arabian jasmine plant – doesn’t get very big.  Is the jasmine they use in tea and in scent.  Smells heavenly
  • Someone on my mommies board wanted a pic of the lemon tree in the front yard…
  • hey look ma!  We have chairs (and a fluffy cat) near our smoker.  DH painted the stucco wall… and there’s the kumquat tree, neatly potted.
  • Does anyone remember my sad little orange tree?  It’s so perked up by being fed and watered and pruned!
  • Vicky, gardening the potted herbs and aloe.
  • New mini-roses I picked up at TJ’s last week.  The overexposed whitish rose is a light yellow, and the other is a scarlet striped with white.

Have spent some time just sitting and listening to the windchimes … wow.  So cool.  🙂 The work is absolutely worth it!


It’s been a while…

… but I got a shirt sewn for DH.


It’s been so long that I grabbed his old shirt pattern instead of the new one!  Extra bit of boxiness won’t matter in a loosely woven shirt like this, if anything it will add to the summertime vibe, so that’s okay.  (DH prefers long-sleeved shirts, even in the summer).

Fabric from the local discount fabric place – it was on sale.   Buttons from the stash (someone else bought them and gave me her button stash).  Total spent, >  $25.

I put some extra effort into the pocket, we’ll see if it helps the pocket hang correctly.  DH carries two cell phones in his breast pocket.  I reinforced this pocket – it has 1/4 grosgrain ribbon at the top and at the stitch line, as well as being fully lined.   The shirt will probably distort anyway with that weight in it, being as it’s so light, but I’m looking to see if it helps.  I was threatening him with a tailored vest to wear to work, but I don’t know that he’d wear it.  One never knows.

Lots of little imperfections going on, but it’s a good shirt, and I hope he enjoys wearing it.  I packed away a couple of shirts that he finds too warm, and I need to replace them to keep him up and current.

I’ve really missed sewing … I made a quick (and less-than-fabulous) comic-con costume recently, but other than that, my sewing machine has been quiet.  Lots of other life to catch up on.

Speaking of which, I’ll try to have some updated garden photos for you on Sunday/Monday – we have done (okay, mostly DH) more stuff and are planning more things this wkend, so should be lots of things to show off.  🙂


I’ve talked quite a bit about how to dress to communicate who you are, but perhaps less about how you dress communicates what’s in your head right now…


So.  I’ve been trying to be more active and move more, and that’s translated into my wardrobe.  But also there are some things that aren’t so good that translated – like my discomfort with where my bod is right now, which has made itself known by too much “strong, basic” clothing choices (Earth, if you’ve read my book) and not enough sweetness, softness and just plain prettiness (Water).

This is one of my fav outfits right now – it feels to me carelessly elegant and pulled together.  It is.  But it’s not *as good* on me as it would have been on my mom at my age.

Sometimes we dress like our moms…  I do, anyway.

DH doesn’t like it when I do this.  I think I look amazing, and he’s like, “you look fine”.  (He likes a level of sweetness and delicacy that makes me uncomfortable, I don’t feel like it suits me these


years or this weight.)

I adjusted yday and pulled out the dress I made for our date-a-versary.  Gah.  WHY do I lose weight in my upper torso before I lose weight in my face or my



waist?  It doesn’t fit again.  -headdesk-  It was pretty but a little twee.  I don’t do twee.

So, I adjusted yet again and came up with today’s outfit.  It suits.  It fits.  It’s me.  It’s not PERFECT, but it’s much better.  (Would be better minus the squint, but it was sunny outside…)

All that isn’t about the clothes as much as it is about what’s in my head.  Transition is hard on your wardrobe – and your psyche.  You can’t give up too much of who you are in search of who you want to become.

Personal Food Pyramid

  • Whole 30 – check
  • Reintroduction of foods – check
  • Eating too much ’cause it was the 4th of July holiday – check
  • Balancing back and seeing what works – check

Food pyramid

This is my *personal* food pyramid.  No, it’s not very detailed, because I eat whatever I want from all but the top two tiers as my body asks for those things.  (I am keeping my eye on my ‘grains’ portions for weight management).   You’re thinking, surely Hearth isn’t eating that many nuts?  Um, surely she IS.  If this was in proportion, the bottom tier (which includes potatoes, which are a vegetable) would take up about half of the pyramid, then dairy/nuts would fill in about a third, and the rest can fight it out amongst themselves.

Wheat is for special occasions only, and corn is for never if I can avoid it.  I guess at Christmas, when I make caramel corn.  (I don’t like stomachaches).

Yes, it is a high-fat diet.  That’s what was killing me off, the last 10 days of W30, I just don’t like vegetable fats all that much, and I’d reached the limit of the amount of bacon fat one woman can tolerate.   Another avocado?  No thank you!   Butter and cream for me, thanks.

It is a low-sugar diet.  I’ve found that sugars and excess carbs do bad things to my bod.  I mean, really nasty “I feel nauseous” things.  This pleases me, it makes them easier to avoid.

I note that caffeine continues to not  be my friend – one cup of coffee for the glory of cream and sugar/wk is sufficient.  I’ll stick to green tea the rest of the time.   As previously noted, alcohol doesn’t agree with me, so unless I really want the muscle relaxant effect, I’ll skip it.

Beef and dark-meat chicken are my buddies.  White-meat chicken is okay, but needs fat added.  Pork is meh.  I’m happy to eat all the lamb and duck that come my way – but they don’t, at least not very often.

YMMV?  No, your mileage most certainly WILL vary.   Go forth and do the experimentation on your own!

Oh.  I’ve lost another two pounds from … I don’t even know, I wasn’t trying.  Maybe the scale was off.  I’ll double check in a few days.

Dealing with downtime

Els has been writing a lot about dealing with downtime and not sliding into sloth.  I’ve been comboxing away, but I feel like I need to get a little more raw and a lot more verbose to have my girl’s back.  Anyway.  Maybe someone else out there has these issues.  Everyone’s bound to have a moment of this at some point.

The first point to this whole thing is that sloth is a defect of character.  If you’re really enjoying lying on the couch eating bonbons day after day, it doesn’t matter if you could hop up and run a marathon … you’re making a choice to stay on your behind.   Motivating you because of your choice – someone other than me needs to do that.  I am not a slothmonkey.

But.  I often feel like a slothmonkey, because I have various things to deal with that either currently knock me down or have knocked me down in the past.   Let’s make a list, shall we?

  1. Semi-bedrest pregnancies (past)
  2. Depression (past)
  3. Serious injury (past, but limits me a bit)
  4. Menorrhagia (current, has been going about 10 years)

I wrote about how to deal with the physical stuff in a long comment for Els.  It comes down to making priorities and sticking with that list.  It’s a matter of managing your energy levels and what the doctor will allow.

What I didn’t write about was the depression (past) or managing my emotions (current) when I can’t get things done.  Do you think that doesn’t bother me?  It bothers me.  A lot.  One of my goals is to go a month without making a lame apology to my husband for being wan and useless.  Like I picked that.  -eyeroll-    It usually takes me a few days to agree that sitting on my behind is useful… which is about when the energy makes a turnaround.  So frustrating.

So, let’s talk about the past depression.  Auntie Hearthums has a story for you… sit down.

Once upon a time, my husband and I bought a house.  It had three bedrooms and one bathroom.  We were using one bedroom.  My husband had a friend in jail, and he told me that his friend would be moving in with us while on parole.   I had a friend who was getting out of the military and didn’t have anywhere to be really.  So, we filled up the extra bedrooms within six? months of moving in.

Four adults was fine – except that Auntie Hearthums hadn’t developed a backbone yet, so one of the four of us didn’t do much about chores or grocery sharing, and I didn’t make her, and didn’t think to ask DH to make her.   About a year later, she got married.  And her husband moved in too.  Now we have five adults in a 3bd/1ba.  That might work… if two of the people had pulled their fair share.  But they didn’t.  And anyway, it was super crowded.  (I was working 40 hour weeks at a stressful job at this time).

THEN the two married ladies got pregnant.   Meantime, the new husband’s friend and *his* wife were hanging out a lot, and the single lady’s boyfriend hung out a lot.  The friend’s wife also got pregnant.  (The single lady stopped drinking the water in the house).   Most nights, I cooked dinner for 6-8 people after coming home from a full-time job.   (Why was I cooking 95% of the time?  That’s an excellent question… see: Hadn’t developed a backbone).

Then the company I’d been temping for decided to relocate.  Being insane, they decided they just had to keep me for a few more months… and moved my office equipment into my living room.   We’re up to five people, three cats, an in-home office, two pregnant ladies, one of whom has to rest rather a lot, three usual-guests and around 1400sqft.   Do I have to tell you about the level of squalor?  It wasn’t nice.   It really REALLY wasn’t nice.

And then the military men got relocated, with their wives.   Six weeks before I was due to give birth.   Did they clean before they left?  Was that a joke?  No.  DH shoveled their room out.  We moved my friend into their room (after refurbishing it) and made a room for our baby – but that’s all we could get done.  Did WE clean the house?  Also, no.  What time did we have?  Also, I worked (not very hard) up until two weeks before my due date.  (Baby was late, but that’s not relevant).

So.  I had our first child – by c/s, which means I couldn’t sleep on our waterbed for the first couple of weeks, I had to sleep in the living room on the fold out couch – and my house looks like something blew up.   I’m recovering from surgery, my friend is already due for sainthood and works full time, my mom works full time, MIL works full time, my husband works full time… are you getting the picture here?

Oh, and I was crunchy and doing cloth diapering and trying desperately to breastfeed – so lots of laundry, lots of pumping, not much sleeping.

Four months later… my mother in law died.

Two months after that… my husband got laid off.

Dear Reader – I know what depression feels like.   And I’ve had my awful-times since.   But this one is printable.

What helped?  Flylady.  I don’t still do Flylady.  Haven’t for years.   But Flylady, ever so slowly, helped me dig out.  Flylady helped me build habits to minimize my work going forward.  And all those darn emails made me feel like someone cared about me.  The ethos of “just do a little bit, but do it perfectly and let it spread” as well as, “You can do anything for 15 minutes” – they helped.  They seem silly now.  A bit embarrassing.  But they worked.  They helped.  They changed things.

I still haven’t learned my lesson about asking for help outside my very innermost circle, but at the end of these years I can tell you – the dust on the top of your shelves isn’t going to harm anyone, and it won’t take you long to get rid of when you’re able.   It’s frustrating and shaming to have to be the weak one, the one on the asking end, the one who can’t pull her own weight and a bit more – but it happens.   You can’t always do all the things, and do them all perfectly.  We’re Americans, and that’s our standard.  But that’s not God’s standard – it’s ours.  It’s phariseeism, wanting to feel like you’re doing well enough on your own merits.

Being weak isn’t the same as being slothful.  Being sick isn’t slothful.   It’s just part of life.

And we don’t get to Heaven by virtue of the works of our hands.