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Thank you 4-H.

30 May

Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?  I haven’t posted in quite a while.

I’m going to blame it on my heightened, nay, egregious domesticity of late.  Call it nesting, call it what you will.  I am a homemaking ANIMAL.

The biggest news on this front is my return to sewing.  My mom is a great seamstress, and always encouraged me to see the potential in a bolt of enticing fabric.  She bought me my own sewing machine – a Sears classic from the stone ages that stitches unbelievably straight and has never, in the 25 years I’ve owned it, needed any repair – and I enrolled in 4-H for sewing classes in 6th grade.  My next-door neighbor, Marie, was the instructor, so I spent a lot of time at her house, learning what the heck words like “selvage” and “basting” meant.

While I’ve dabbled since then in simple projects like elastic-waist shorts (junior high) and star-patterned quilted pillows (just after wedding), never have I come back to my sewing machine with so much verve.  It’s this little girl I’m having.  She has turned me into a monster.  Girl’s clothes are SO easy to sew, and with all the free online patterns and gorgeous fabrics out there, it’s hard to resist the urge.  When I came across a teal and blue paisley at the craft store the other day, I decided to dust off the machine and give it a whirl.  It always blows my mind how well I remember how to thread my machine.  Marie must have beat it into me hard as a kid, because I can do it with my eyes closed.  Like Jason Bourne, only way less cool or dangerous.

Anyway, I’ve collected and used patterns for several dresses so far.  Here are two of my favorites (photos taken with my phone, sorry):

“Itty Bitty Baby Dress” pattern available here:

I’m not the only busy little bee around here – Jake’s got his own projects afoot.  Like this wall-to-wall bookcase he’s been working on for months:

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted wall-to-wall bookcases when I grew up.  I guess I’m finally a grown-up.  Ew.  And yay!

We’ve also been pretty crazy in the garden lately.  The weather here on California’s Central Coast is breezy but warm, so the volunteer tomatoes, roses, and lettuces are going ape!  I’ve already made up a batch of parsley pesto (recipe here), lemon-thyme simple syrup (here) and plenty of garden salads from the bounty.  All this work does a number on my lower back, especially when the 30-pound Seabass wants to be held all the time, but it’s too much fun to pass up.


Little Dude Fashion

26 Aug

Mommy's little hipster.

Last winter, Jake and I were on pins and needles waiting to discover the gender of our baby.  At our “anatomy ultrasound” appointment, the tech squirted warm blue goo on my tummy and proceeded to point out different parts of the baby on the screen beside us.  “That’s the baby’s jaw, the toes, the heart beating like a hummingbird’s wings, and….” Here she paused for a moment and asked cautiously if we’d like to know if the baby would be a Seabass or a Seabassette.  When we said we would, she announced that it was a boy.

Upon hearing this news, Jake – who was unabashedly verbal about  the woes of raising a teenaged girl – kicked his leg in front of him and played air guitar like Dwight Schrute revving up for a sales call.  “Seabass!” he yelled.  “Yessss!”

I was, of course, thrilled – not only by the fact that we were going to have a healthy baby boy, but by the fact that I was finally allowed to drain my bladder after the ultrasound.   (Can I get an AMEN?)  The only thing that made me a tiny bit sad was that little girl clothes are so much more fun than little boy clothes.  No seriously, that was one of my first thoughts.  And yes, I really am that shallow.

Walking through shops that carry children’s clothing, I’m never interested in touching and cooing over baby boy duds.  It is the girl clothes – with their ruffles, bows, and bloomers – that make me weak in the knees.  Not without a little sadness did I resign myself to a lifetime of grubby denim and striped blue shirts.  How could I have known that stylish, adorable boy clothes that put girl ruffles to shame were just around the corner?

Enter Kate Johnson.  Kate is a friend from several years back who I recently ran into with her two kiddos, Maddy and Sammy. At the time, Sammy was dressed in an unbelievably cute fitted vest and matching golf cap that demanded the sorts of ooohs and aahs I generally reserve for little girl outfits.  When I asked where she bought his fetching ensemble, Kate modestly revealed that she had sewn it all herself.   Turns out she is a natural-born seamstress, recycling plush woollens and pinstripes from men’s trousers to create intricate clothing for fashionable little dudes.  “Boy clothes are way more fun to make than girl clothes,” she said.  “They’re more tailored and challenging.”  

A few days later, I received a gift from Kate’s mother-in-law, Beth (who is also a friend): a little blue pinstriped golf cap just for Seabass!  We couldn’t wait to try it out on him, so I composed a sweet little outfit for him to wear to church on Sunday.  I cannot tell you how many comments we received on his new cap.  Adjectives included “exquisite,” “precious,” “freaking adorable,” and “scrumptious.”  I heartily concur.

When I asked Kate if I could feature her on the blog, she passed along her website where you can buy any number of scrumptious wee golf caps for yourself or that dashing little man in your life.  Visit her at  And tell her Seabass sent you.