Monday, December 9, 2013


'Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial fire of charity in the heart. Washington Irving

Although it’s Monday “wash day” again in Ina’s world, she isn’t washing today. As you may know, they have no well – not even a cistern – and water must be hauled from a spring in Wheeler Canyon. With this long cold spell, the spring is now frozen and/or inaccessible, and they must conserve what water they have on hand for drinking, cooking, and other essential uses. Washing and bathing must be kept to a minimum. Such was life for many families at Gilbert, and winters were especially hard. Jack had hauled water before the cold spell, but still, they had to be mindful of water use because they weren’t sure when it would be available again. (I do wonder, though, if they used melted snow. I never thought to ask.)
 Ina is re-organizing her pre-Christmas schedule today and will return tomorrow, so here's what's happening in real time.

Accomplishments in my sewing studio have been few. By special request, I made this dressy outfit for a friend, modeled here by my doll, “Shirley Anne – American Farm Girl.” Other outfits are planned for Emmy’s doll but I’ve been sidetracked. I like to send Emmy packages from time to time, and I’m less concerned that she gets a package for Christmas. I know she has plenty of fans who give her gifts, and I think it means more to send envelopes and packages during quiet times. (Of course, I would feel differently if we were there.)
As I was saying, I’ve been sidetracked by other things, including mending this vintage J. C. Higgins hunting jacket. Mike figures his dad bought this jacket in the ‘50s – certainly no later than 1962 when the J. C. Higgins brand disappeared. You know what happens to textiles – eventually they rot – and the J. C. Higgins jacket is no exception. Mike is sentimental about his clothes and especially about this old jacket since it was his dad’s in the days when the J. C. Higgins brand was apparently well-respected.

Anyway, an inside game pocket is held closed by means of wonderfully old-fashioned hooks and eyes and the hooks are pulling out of the fabric. One has been lost already, so I decided to re-affix the other two. First, I reinforced the fabric with purchased patches and then re-set the hooks. It was no easy task pushing a needle through the original rubber-backed fabric and the patches.

Once I had repaired the jacket, Mike put it on and he and the dogs went hunting. While they were out, I treated myself to some leisurely holiday shopping. Somehow these short days seem to melt away all too quickly and I didn’t sew today either.
But I did make pecan pie squares for dessert tonight. The recipe suggests cutting 36 little cookies from the 13x9-inch pan. Honestly, I don’t think little bars will happen.

The forecast is for warming into the 30s this week. Yay! Bess and Nellie have slept inside the last two nights, but tonight they're going out to the kennel. KW


Chris said...

Oooh, my fingers feel your pain!! Even with a thimble on the middle finger, the forefinger gets a wicked workout! Glad you're done and have a happy husband.

The doll dress is beautiful! The fabric looks like it wouldn't be easy to work with and you did a perfect job. Yay for Gramma's tender loving care (even when it's not for a grandchild)!

Kathy said...

Yes, I have a penchant for making doll clothes with fabrics that are difficult to work with. This was a polyester shantung. I made the dress with the shiny side out and the jacket with the reverse. The overskirt is of glittered tulle. I'm getting better, though - learning a few tricks, like finishing the edges with zigzag BEFORE I begin to construct the garment.

Chris said...

Yes, those tricks can be life savers (or at least dress savers!). Mom's sewing machine had only a straight stitch and I was so thrilled when they bought me a machine for a wedding present that had multiple stitches. Made so many things much easier. Begone, ravelly fabric edges!!

Kathy said...

Last year I made holiday doll dresses that practically disintegrated under my fingers. Even zigzagged edges didn't help all that much. But as you know, there are beautiful cottons now that would be more practical for little girls at play.

I can't remember if my mother's 1950's machine would zigzag. About 1960, she and Nina bought a Singer table model with zigzag and fancy stitches. They enjoyed that machine.

Hallie said...

Whatever machine I had for awhile could straight stitch and zigzag, but I think that's it. Maybe I'll get a sewing machine once things settle down. Thinking that it might be easy enough to make my own drapes if I don't find some that I like.

Kathy said...

I gave that machine to a rummage sale at Harriet's church and someone actually took it. I think you should have a sewing machine -- one that you would enjoy using.