Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Heading South....

~Packing up. Making lists. Programing the GPS. Getting out of this cold! Good Lord, it's gotten cold here in the Northeast. Reading 17 degrees at the moment on our trusty LL Bean thermometer although it's nice to have central heat in this old house after so many years. Many a night we sat here watching the rug blow up and down as the wind barged through under the old floorboards. When your house foundation consists of granite boulders spaced few and far between the sill and the ground, it's an open invitation to not only the blustering howls of winter but a few critters looking for shelter as well. Oh, the stories I could tell. But now we're toasty and warm here on the inside. Ah...but I miss being able to go out in the yard and fuss around. It's just too cold and everything is frozen solid. So, it's off to warmer parts.

~We enjoy our winters in Florida, something I never thought I'd be saying. When hubby first suggested going for two months many years ago, I agreed but secretly harbored the fear that I'd go nuts after three weeks. To my surprise, I loved every second of it and the time just flew by like those giant pelicans that swoop overhead while we're taking in the rays at the beach. Now we're there a little more than four months. It's all good. Fun loving people...most of them bionic, but full of spit and vinegar nonetheless. Someone should do a documentary on the life that seniors lead during the winter in the sunshine state. Most of our neighbors and friends range from their mid seventies to their mid eighties and they all run circles around hubby and I who are the babies of the bunch. Not a group to take pity on, that's for sure.

~So we're off. The picture along with this post is credited to one of our southern neighbors who had the good sense to get out of Dodge early and was there for the shuttle launch in November. We spend the winter along the Space Coast where the temps never get much over 80. (I don't like it too hot!) Watching the launches at the Kennedy Space Center from our beach across the street is just one of the advantages of living in our area. The nighttime launches are the best.

~I'll pick up with a new post when we arrive sometime next week. We meander on our way down and make a vacation out of the trip, stopping along the way to visit friends and family. I'm grousing right now at all the work it takes to get ready but I guarantee I'll have a big smile on my face when I'm sitting in the sunshine next week!

~Oh...by the way...I do take my sewing machine and all the makings for my aprons with me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas
Cape Cod.

~Here it is, five days before Christmas, and I'm starting to stress about all I have yet to do. Had the mistaken assumption that once all was shipped....gifts, apron orders, etc., that I was done! Reality really smarts when it slaps you in the face. Eighteen plus inches of snow doesn't help a "last minute lizzie" either. All the shoveling done today will no doubt be drifted in tomorrow. I'll need Santa's sled complete with several very buff reindeer.
~Ah...but all the little kiddies must be happy, and that's what Christmas is all about. On the other hand...I'd still like to get my shopping, wrapping, baking and cooking done before Friday.
~Hoping that through all the stress of the season, you find the Santa Claus within you.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

By the Thousands...Every girl needs an apron!

~I noticed something interesting recently. When I first opened my etsy apron shop back in June of 2008, there were over four thousand aprons listed for sale. I thought that amount was astounding and wondered how on earth I'd ever sell anything with so much competition. But, I did. Fast forward to this past October, when I listed a few new aprons and noticed the number had climbed to over eight thousand! Yet, I sold five aprons in October and three in November. How does that happen? What leads a buyer to purchase something of mine when there are thousands of other choices? I can't figure it out. Plus....the way etsy works, when you first list an item, it shows up on the first page of all the listings in that category, where it can be seen by anyone who is searching for that item...in my case, aprons. Back in 2008, a new listing would usually stay on the first page for perhaps three four hours at least. (Once a listing goes off the first page, it's less likely to catch someone's eye. Ultimately, when it gets pushed back to some God forsaken page, it's doubtful that it will be seen at all.) The last time I listed an apron it only stayed on the first page for about forty five minutes, which I assume is attributable to the doubling of the total amount of aprons listed.
So how is it that folks still seem to find my aprons and buy them? I mean, I think my aprons are unique and special and well priced. But, if I'm being truthful, there are a lot of other etsy sellers who make gorgeous aprons as well. It's a puzzlement.
~Friends and family know me as someone who can go on and on and on about something. When I was doing exactly that the other day about this subject, a friend who is also an etsy seller made the observation that there must be a huge market for the product if I can sell anything at all while competing with over eight thousand others. I'd call that positive thinking. Come to think of it, she's probably right. There is a vast world full of shoppers out there. Even in a reportedly bad economy, every girl needs a thirty dollar apron, doesn't she?
~Check us out at

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day in Ohio!!!

Turkey Day in Ohio....so much fun to be here this time of year. A big, old, brick house in the heart of Shaker Heights....the perfect background for a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Half of our family is here...the other half too far away to make the trip. Maui is impossible and even a trip from Vermont causes travel shivers with three little ones in tow.
We woke this morning to the aroma of "homemade from scratch" waffles. Son-in-law, Jeff has a recipe that is made the night before with yeast and all...the batter has bubbles in it come morning. Light on the inside and crunchy on the outside, they are like nothing I've ever tasted.

Prep work for dinner began immediately after we'd all feasted on that homey goodness. Potatoes, carrots, green beans, homemade cranberry sauce, creamed onions...all in the mix. We even got the teenagers outdoors to do a bit of raking. It's a very mild day here in Ohio.
Yesterday was the pie baking day. Daughter Beven makes the most delicious apple pie I've ever tasted. I had thought I was the queen in that department, but she has me beat. Grandpa (hubby) peeled and peeled and peeled. We all give him credit for our apple pie perfection because he cuts the apples in perfect pieces of equal size so they all cook the same. The pies looked sooooo good. (Look closely and you can see the steam coming out of the pie hole in one of the pictures.) Pumpkin pies are lined up as well, waiting for the whipped cream.

The turkey is behaving after several hours in the oven and looks to be ready on schedule. I'm getting hungry just smelling it.

There will be nine of us at the table for dinner and twelve for dessert. We play a game after dessert called 7/11. A fast paced game played with lots of goofy presents and a pair of dice. We laugh till we cry when we gather 'round the table for this bit of fun.

In addition to being incredibly thankful for my own wonderful family, I'm wishing you and yours a most wonderful Thanksgiving with all the blessings of the season.
And...tomorrow it's out the door to shop!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The truth about my apron business...

My husband occasionally asks me why I don't do more to promote my apron business. He often makes suggestions about cutting multiple aprons at once...sort of developing an assembly line...kinda, sorta. He has bigger ideas than I do. He sees things through the eyes of a manufacturing manager. Friends make suggestions, too. We have the kind of small town here that is mostly made up of little independent shops. There are several where my aprons would fit in perfectly. "Why don't you take a couple into some stores and see if you can put them on consignment? I'll bet you'd get a lot of orders for more!" I hear that a lot. I'm not complaining or criticizing. I'm flattered that folks close to me think I can do all those things. But, truth be told, I work in a small corner of our dining room and another small corner of one of our even smaller guest rooms. In the summer time, it's impossible to keep the ironing board up all day long lest our summer guest think I've got work in store for them rather than dinner. The little guest room,(the oldest room in this old house) serves as an open invitation in the summer for friends and family to come and stay and play in the Cape Cod sunshine. There are also toddlers around in the summer. My sewing center contains a lot of sharp objects....needles, scissors, seam rippers, you name it and it's there. All that stuff gets packed away during the warm sun bathing months. (We have a wonderful hospital here in Falmouth, but none of us likes visiting its emergency room.) Point of story? I can only sew when and where it's convenient. To be a bigger producer, I would need a dedicated space...a studio of sorts. Quiet...peace...you catch my drift.
When I was young, I had a little shop...a boutique and tea room where I sold the dresses I made and the pies I baked. With four kids and a husband to care for, I didn't have much spare time to sew. Hubby would often look at me in bewilderment as I'd start cutting out a dress at ten o'clock at night. On his way upstairs to retire, he'd look back and say, "Are you coming to bed tonight?" I had a lot of energy then, and I needed the late night space and the quiet time to create the things I'd think up in my head during the day at the shop. Often, I'd finish a dress at two or three AM, jump in the car and drive downtown to my shop and put it on the mannequin in the window, confident that more often than not, someone would see it the next morning while driving through town, park their car and come into the shop and buy it. Our local police on the night shift, would often stop by and chide me for making them nervous. A woman visibly alone in a big store window at that hour of the morning is a sitting duck for trouble. But, I never worried. Our little Connecticut town was pretty safe and I knew the men in blue watched out for me.
But this is almost thirty years later. I can't start sewing at ten o'clock at night anymore. I can hardly keep my eyes open till ten. And, I seem to get going slowly in the morning as well...which doesn't leave me that many hours in between to sew. Then there's the grocery shopping, meal prep, cleaning, laundry, phone calls, computer time, and all the other stuff that takes up time during the day. I feel lucky if I get a couple of aprons a week made! There's not much hope of developing an assembly line.
The final insult to the proposal of doing "more, more, more" is the mess. Since I sew in spaces that have a dual purpose, I absolutely must clean up my mess each and every day. No one wants to eat a nice dinner with the ironing board sitting alongside the table. Sewing gets messy. Threads, pieces of fabric, lint, needles and pins all wind up in places where they don't belong.
Although I love the fanfare and the horns blowing and all from my family and friends, the bottom line is that I'm not the energizer bunny. I can't sew any faster and I can't produce any more and continue to live life as a retiree. I design and sew at a pace that I can manage. Encouragement is always welcome and appreciated, but truth be told, reality wins out in the end.
Visit us on the worldwide web at http://www.apronsgonewild.etsy.com/

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Old Wood...New Table!

Everybody is talking about recycling these days. But I think about recycling as being something more than just putting a plastic bin out for the recycle truck. I like the aspect of recycling where someone else makes use of something I'm getting rid of, i.e. yard sales, thrift stores and such. But, I also like recycling of a different kind. I think the new term for it is "repurposing." This is my first time joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch, http://www.betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com/

to share my "repurposing" story for Metamorphisis Monday.
Our old house dates back to 1724. Oh, we've added on a garage and new living room and we've remodeled the kitchen and breakfast room. We still have enough projects here that need doing to last us a lifetime. Hubby says it's his retirement job. I agree. Not only do we both enjoy remodeling and recreating, but it's the best investment we could make living here on Old Cape Cod.

When we took up the old floors to redo the kitchen, some of the boards were over twenty inches wide. Many were rotted and in horrible condition. Not to be denied, I set out to sort through them and save a few. Hubby has already "repurposed" a few of the boards and made several items for our home out of the old wood.
Ahhh...but I can always think of something else. We needed a small table in our new
kitchen/breakfast/tv room. Eating on our laps has proved to be detrimental to the furniture. I spill things. A lot of things. There are always crumbs around me when I eat on my lap. It's an easy but bad habit to develop...watching television and eating on one's lap...Nasty.
Fast forward to this morning when I got to photograph the new "pub" table hubby crafted out of a beautiful old, wide pine board (pictured above) that we salvaged from the original floors. It's a "Table for Two," and it fits perfectly under the double window that looks out onto our back yard and deck. The board turned out to be a beauty. After planing it down, the grain and knots stood out more clearly than I'd even imagined. Hubby has a way of making table legs that gives the illusion that they are chamf
ered. I don't know how he does it. I just know that I like it. We decided to paint the legs and base black to accentuate the top which was, after all, the crowning glory.
But...nothing ever goes completely smoothly in our house. I wanted to finish the table with a stain and tung oil finish. Hubby wanted to use polyurethane. This wasn't going to be an easy persuasion, because using tung oil finish requires more time and elbow grease than brushing on a coat of poly. With tung oil, you need about 5 coats at a minimum. Between each coat, you need to lightly rub it
out with steel wool. There's not much "bang for your buck" with the first couple of coats as they don't appear to be doing anything. But, by the third, you start to see the soft glow of the wood coming out. The end result is a finish that doesn't look too shiny or like it's been coated at all. It just looks like beautiful, glowing old wood. I love it.
Anyway, after begging and pleading, I finally convinced hubby to try the tung oil. Now he's a convert and in total agreement that it reaps a most beautiful finish. I think you ca
n see it in the pictures. I love, love, love it! It's perfect. We ate dinner last night, seated at the new table, on the antique chairs I purchased years ago for ten dollars each. It was nice. It also completes our new room. I'd been switching things around in that space in front of the window, but up until now, nothing seemed right. The new table is perfect. Really perfect. And because it's a piece of the history of this old house, it's even more perfect.

As usual, I'm working on a new apron. Check it out at
And...for the record...I love it when you leave me a comment.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where'd everything go???

Traffic was light, the sky was clear, the sun was shining, and the book on tape was great. All this on the drive to Wrenthem yesterday to visit With Heart and Hand. http://www.withheartandhand.net/ The shop is actually in the little town of Norfolk, just across the line from Wrenthem MA. We almost passed it. Haven't been there in four or five years, I guess. My memory was of an old building with a front porch filled with country wares, bittersweet, rocking chairs and the like. Yesterday, there was only a mannequin out front sporting a hat and shawl. I thought we were in the wrong place. But up the steps I went. Once inside, I recognized the owner who was surrounded by lovely displays of silver jewelry, beautiful handbags and gorgeous shawls and jackets. What's up with this? Not what I was expecting. I trekked upstairs to the loft looking for their formerly huge stock of fabrics. To my shock and surprise, the loft was full small wares, quilts, lampshades and odds 'n ends on sale. Although their website says, "over 500 bolts of homespun, decorator weight, toile and crewel fabrics," only a small stash of fabric bolts was visible. My heart sank. After chatting with one of the owners, I learned that the store has been going through some of the aches and pains of other small businesses so changes had been made. With Heart and Hand still makes custom curtains, table runners and the like. But the bolts of cotton civil war prints, homespuns, and fabrics so unique, I just could not find them anywhere else were gone. I sadly picked out two prints from what was left and bought enough of each for four new aprons. Back downstairs, I ventured into the rear of the shop where the furniture displays had always been. (The rear of the shop is actually a 200 year old house.) I was relieved to see a high back Sheraton love seat and several wing back chairs upholstered in familiar colonial fabrics. A huge, pine, dining table was flanked with black Windsor chairs and decorated with greens and Christmas fancy. Lots of reproduction cupboards all decked out and beautiful Christmas trees with ornaments so pretty, I was hesitant to take any of them off to purchase. I found a treenware bowl for the new table that hubby is making and a good stash of the new, 3 watt candle light bulbs that I use in our windows at home. But I couldn't hide my disappointment over the change in the front room. Most of the space was taken up with boutique items. Turns out, the shop is doing as well selling scarves and jewelry as they once did selling primitive and colonial wares. The juxtaposition of the two eras in one building was a bit disconcerting to say the least. Thankfully, Linda of Behind My Red Door http://www.behindmyreddoor.blogspot.com/ had tipped me off earlier that morning in a blog comment, that With Heart and Hand was not what it once was. So, I was somewhat prepared but still terribly disappointed.
Not to be denied, hubby and I had lunch next door at the Eagle Brook Saloon. Now there's a place that hasn't changed a bit. It really feels like an old time saloon inside. Lunch was terrific so we ended the day on a high note.
This was not the first time I've been surprised and somewhat disappointed by either a drastic change or a complete closing of a favorite shop. I guess all good things must come to an end. But, I'm running out of places to go!! More online shopping is in order.
On a happier side, I finished an apron that I just adore. The fabric, as you can see, is a gorgeous shade of Ochre. It looks very old fashioned so I added a row of tiny pleated ruffles across the top of the bib. I think it's the sweetest apron I've made yet. Click on the picture for a closer look and check it out in detail at

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lighting Update....

The day after I wrote my earlier post, the new light fixture arrived. It's up and we're enjoying the nice, soft glow it casts on the wall. I'm using a small, seven watt candle bulb that seems perfect. The fixture is simple and not too big for the space. (Hubby said to try and pick out something that wouldn't get in the way of bringing things up and down the narrow staircase.) Thought I'd ad a little bittersweet for a touch of color.

Finished a new apron today. I'll put it up online as soon as it's photographed. We're taking a road trip on Wednesday to Wrenthem MA to visit With Heart & Hand, www.withheartandhand.net one of my favorite shops. They have the most extraordinary selection of fabrics. Really unique things, among them....homespun cottons, silk scrim and the most unusual cotton prints I've seen anywhere. Hoping to find several choice pieces for my aprons and perhaps some homespuns for making pillows and curtains for our old house. Heart & Hand has always featured a couple of rooms of primitive furniture and decorative items as well. Keeping fingers crossed that it's still the case, since I haven't visited in a few years. I'll let you know!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"That's the most awful book cover I've seen in a long time."

Yup...when I brought home this book, my husband looked at the picture on the cover and said, "That's the most awful book cover photo I've seen in a long time." I gasped...not in agreement, but in surprise because I was attracted to the book for the very reason that I loved the cover photo so much! I am one of those odd folks who is drawn to the forlorn, downtrodden, and paint deprived. I love the evidence of years and years of use. I love worn surfaces, chipped paint, and especially those wide, wide boards that you only find in a truly old structure. For some odd reason, I always think I can make ugly stuff look good again. And...as much as my hubby doth protest, I can't imagine either of us being happy living in a brand new structure anymore. We've both become accustomed to the nuances of an old space.
But back to the staircase. The photo on the front of the book in question reminded me of the bottom steps of our own staircase here at home. It's directly off the kitchen and it leads up to our bedroom and bathroom on the second floor. During the remodel of our k
itchen, the bottom four stairs had to be removed and completely rebuilt in a very customized manner. At one point, we had to climb a ladder to reach the remaining steps in order to get up to our bedroom at night(see photo)! The replacement left us with four bottom steps constructed of plywood that didn't look all that great. Ah....but my hubby can come up with some ingenious ideas when he wants to. Noticing some 1/4 inch thick material at our local Lowes Home Improvement store, he devised a plan to basically encapsulate the plywood steps with hardwood. It took a lot of intricate cutting which just happens to be his forte'. Once the boards were cut and in place, he glued them and nailed them, sanded and stained them. The beadboard wainscoting was something that came out of my brain, to solve the problem of adding trim between the new steps and the wall. Out of a necessity of sorts, came a decorating success. I absolutely love the way the wainscoting looks and it serves a good purpose as well, protecting the wall from scrapes and dings.
Now if that danged primitive light fixture I ordered would arrive, I could show you a good view with
proper lighting!
Also...check out some new aprons at my online shop....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You just never know what you're gonna see along Surf Drive in Falmouth in the morning!

I posted this picture on my facebook recently and it seemed to trigger a lot of response. So...I thought I'd share it with my blog friends.

A sentiment of holiness is visible on the Cape each autumn when this group of nuns from New York pay a visit. They stay in a cottage across from the beach on Surf Drive. Surf Drive is the beach road that's on my morning bike route so I see them each day for two weeks. Two of them regularly sit in chairs on the beach, right in the sand, facing out toward the Vineyard. It is a sight to behold.
On this particular morning, I hurriedly rode back home to get my camera. Since hubby was just about to depart on his daily ride (no...we don't ride together...he goes way to far for me) I asked him to take the camera and snap a shot of them. But,by the time he got back, they had retreated to the deck. It's been very windy for the time of year, so I imagine they just didn't last long on the beach. Seeing them sitting out in the morning sun, reading scripture, (is that what they're reading?...who knows?) always gives me a good feeling. I like that they come to my little place in the world to spend what must be their vacation time each year. They often smile and wave. I'm certain they know they are a novelty in an environment that is normally filled with bikini clad girls, sun tanned kids, runners, bikers and the usual summer vacation lot. Maybe that's why they visit in the fall. Things are quieter. Most of the people out and about now are year 'rounders. The nuns seem to fit in even though they never quite lose their novelty. You just never know what you're going to see along Surf Drive in the morning. (Be sure to click on the picture to see it close up and personal.)

One of my facebook friends wrote that her preacher always says, "If you can't find God then go to the beach. He's always there." So be it!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


A surefire recipe for cooking up cozy. It's only October 18th, but it feels like December on this dreary, rainy, cold day. It's actually snowing not far from here in Foxboro where
our beloved Patriots are having a romp over the Tennessee Titans. The Titans obviously aren't accustomed to playing football in such weather. But we New Englanders are always ready for anything.
I felt like cooking today. I felt like baking. And...I even felt like putting the little candle lights in the windows. A bit early, I'll admit. But why not? Halloween is just around the corner and our house sits back a bit from the street. The little window lights make it seem more welcoming. And I love the way they look and feel now that we lose the daylight so early. So, I did it. The neighbors might talk and my husband thinks I'm crazy. But the little lights make me feel happy. So be it.
Didn't finish the apron I started because I got sidetracked with the lights. There are twenty of them to put up and they all have to be checked out each year for dead bulbs, broken wires, etc. Pay us a visit anyway, if you haven't lately, at
An adorable new red batik apron that I made yesterday is up on the site.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get up and get going!!
Seems like every morning, just as I'm waking up, I say to myself, "C'mon, Joanne. Get out the scissors and fabric and the ironing board and start sewing. You've been waiting all summer for some sewing time." But it's hard to convince myself to stay indoors on these beautiful fall days.
We spent the Columbus Day weekend in Vermont with our oldest daughter and her three little ones. It's a very lively household up there, especially compared to the laid back lifestyle we enjoy now in our retirement years. Once back home, I took a bewildered look at the many projects on my list and decided to get
back in the groove of sewing....but not until after I took apart and put away all the summer furniture on the back deck, did three loads of laundry, ran some errands, and cut and sewed a new ironing board cover. Always makes me grumpy when I start a sewing project, only to discover that my ironing board, (which gets a lot of use), has a big rip in the cover, right in the most important spot. (It's like when you rip your pants in the crotch.)
Can't properly sew anything unless the iron and board are in tip top shape.
Making a new cover took me over an hour, for some unknown reason. Guess I'm getting slow. I always try to make my covers in some sort of fabric that corresponds with my living room decor, since the only place I have to iron in this old house is in the living room. Fortunately, the red toile fabric that I've been using to cover it recently, blends in with our pillows and couch upholstery so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb when it's set up during the day.
Anyway...after all this delay, I ended up with two new aprons. One is constructed out of a beautiful Amy Butler fabric called "Lacework in Olive." Amy Butler fabrics are especially gorgeous, not only in color and design but in the quality of the fabric, as well. This fabric is a dark brown with lush greens and a touch of pink. I named it "Chocolata Cutie."
Styled with our trademark baby-doll pleats at the bodice and a deep, fully lined
pocket, Chocolata Cutie is your party apron. It's dressy and just a bit fancy, with its pleated ruffle on the pocket and it's polka dot ribbon trim. Chocolata Cutie is edged in a soft sage green polka dot that is the body of the other new apron I sewed. That one is named, "Sage Dottie." It's also sewn in our exclusive Aprons Gone Wild design with subtle baby-doll pleats at the bodice. You can see the fit of the baby-doll styling on our model, Emily, by visiting our online shop at www.apronsgonewild.etsy.com
Sage Dottie is trimmed in the same brown Amy Butler Lacework in Olive fabric that our Chocolata Cutie apron is sewn in.
Two new, very pretty aprons. I feel accomplished today!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sweet and red and juicy.

That's the only way to describe my cherry tomatoes. I love my tomatoes. My cute little cherry tomatoes. Still producing here on October 7th. Still providing a hearty snack for hubby and me. They are firm and ripe and pop in your mouth when you eat them. Delicious. Pretty. Healthy. Love them.
I put in only one plant each year because one plant produces just enough for us. Hate to think of myself running around the neighborhood, trying to hand off an excess of tomatoes. Just enough is just enough. I dig a small hole each summer near the outside wall of the outdoor shower and put in just one little plant. It grows and intertwines with the honeysuckle vine that grows upward. The vine suitably holds up the entire plant which makes me very happy because there's no need for one of those unsightly wire cones or even a stake to hold up the plant. You almost don't even know it's there. Nature does the job. I love it!
When the tiny little cherries start producing, they are near at hand. Each morning, after I enjoy my sunny, fresh aired outdoor shower, I pick a handful and bring them indoors, setting them out on a little dish on top of our counter. Some are still not quite ripe, but they turn a deep red quickly indoors. (And yes, I'm still enjoying the outdoor shower even on October 7th. It's still beautiful and sunny and warm out there.)

I fear the tomato windfall will end soon. The nights are beginning to chill here on Cape Cod and it's getting dark earlier and earlier each afternoon. Tomatoes need sunlight and warmth.
But, I'll not complain. This year's crop has been outstanding. I just love my tomatoes.

In between gathering tomatoes, I'm sewing some new aprons for
my etsy shop. Check us out at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm on a roll....
Got the front porch deck scraped, sanded and painted over the weekend.
Entertained old friends we hadn't seen in 12 years. Cut out two aprons. Sewed up one.
Sold another from my etsy online shop. Cooked a pot roast. Celebrated my birthday.
And, took a nap. Whew.

Finished the porch painting and it looks great. Putting the paint on isn't the problem. It's the gut wrenching, agonizing, grunt work of digging those little pesky rocks out that get wedged in between the boards. (Check out "before" picture.) You see...I insisted on a driveway surface that reflected the age of our old house...somewhat. Blacktop just didn't cut it. We settled on something called "chip seal." That's a technique where they hide the black top underneath layers of loose stone...so all you see is the stone. It's the closest thing to having a good old fashioned dirt driveway, which is what we found awaiting us when we bought this house twenty years ago. I loved the way it looked with it's lush green grass median going down the middle. But...it was dusty and got lots of puddles when it rained. So we opted for the chip seal. It looks good. But there was unknown danger lurking. Those little stones get lodged in the bottom of sneakers, work boots and any other type of shoe sole that has spaces. They get picked up, delivered and perfectly planted on the porch and ultimately
get pressed into the spaces between the boards. It's a nightmare. Scraping the peeling paint was a cinch compared to digging out those stones. You'd have thought they were glued in there. Yet...with cooperative weather and fast drying paint, I finished the job on schedule.
It looks so nice and clean and crisp now. Too bad it's the end of the porch sitting season. We call ourselves, "the porch sitters," because we spend so much time out there during the nice weather months.
Not that I'm finished with all my outdoor painting, I'm back to the sewing machine. Dragged
out all my fabric and cut out two really pretty aprons. They'll be ready for my etsy
shop in a day or two. Have to package up and ship an apron to Alaska tomorrow. It always
amazes me how people come from out of the blue and buy my aprons. It seems like the majority of our online sales are to people who live in places like Wyoming, Utah, and Wisconsin. This is my first Alaska sale. What fun!
Check out my etsy shop at www.apronsgonewild.etsy.com

Monday, September 21, 2009


Finished painting the pergola...(per·go·la (pûrg-l) noun...an arbor or a passageway of columns supporting a roof of trellis work on which climbing plants are trained to grow...Sure hope the pink roses grow back. It was a rather dramatic beheading. But there's a sign of life sprouting on the tip. (See pic of stump.)The pretty fence in the background actually belongs to our next door neighbors. They designed it in such a way so as not to make us feel entombed. One problem...it's right on top of the pergola. Not much room for a gal like me to fit a ladder in between to paint the backside. The choices were...(1.) the neighbors get to look at peeling paint or...(2.)I figure out a way to get in there and up there. Looked around the garage at all the objects hanging and noticed a very small, very old, very wooden 3 step ladder. Remembered that I had picked it up at the dump one day from the "Pick of the Litter" building. That's a spot at our local landfill where you can bring useful things and take useful things as long as you don't make a mess and the things are in good order of sorts.The adorable little ladder fit perfectly in between the space and was the absolutely perfect height for me to reach the top of the beast. So now, it's done. All white and pretty. I'm pleased and impressed with myself.
On Sunday, I began the not quite as easy task of scraping the front porch deck to prepare it for painting. Those nasty little stones from the driveway get wedged in between the boards and make much work for old knees. Did a "shout out" for my padded knee garden pants. Perfect. They're such a clever design. Little pockets in the knees where you slip in little, square foam rubber pads. You can take them out to launder the pants and then just put them in again. Genius!
This project will take some time. Once it's finished, I'm done for the season. It'll be back inside to sew. My etsy shop needs more stock in preparation for the
holidays. Lots of cute aprons and tops listed now, but we need more. Check us
out at http://www.apronsgonewild.etsy.com/

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

16.5 miles? No way!

Yes way. I did it. Hubby asked me to to go for a looooong bike ride with him on the new extension to the Shining Sea Bikeway. That's our gorgeous bike trail here in Falmouth. It's a big part of why so many folks choose this lovely little town for their spring, summer and fall getaways. My favorite part (and my daily ride) goes along the beach. But the new extension goes all the way to N. Falmouth and passes alongside some beautiful scenery; cranberry bogs, horse trails and even stop offs for a bite to eat. It's the latter that was the way hubby convinced me to ride for 16 miles. At the far end of our ride, there is an old, Falmouth establishment called "The Old Silver Lounge." (See picture of hubby in front wearing Hawaiian shirt inappropriate for bike riding .) It's a restaurant that's steeped in old Cape Cod flavor, from the huge pine beams to the real locomotive caboose that's attached and is part of the dining area. Kids just love eating in there. There's also the lure of Uncle Bill's Country Store, filled with candles, jewelry, antiques and all sorts of things. It's attached to the restaurant on the opposite end of the caboose. (You can enter the country store directly from the restaurant...a cruel trick played on unsuspecting husbands.) Anyway, the promise, so to speak, was that we could stop off at The Old Silver Lounge and have lunch. My nature is to make a party out of every situation, so stopping for lunch and a cold draft beer sounded festive enough to get me to agree to the long ride.
It was a picture perfect day yesterday and the scenery along the ride was as promised...absolutely beautiful. At one point, with cranberry bogs and dunes in the foreground, you can se
e the waters of Buzzard's Bay in the distance. (See picture where I look fat.) As familiar as we are with all parts of Falmouth, we had difficulty figuring out just where we were at times...passing under bridges, crossing private roads and the like. Then..all of a sudden, we'd see a familiar landmark and settle down knowingly. The end of the first leg was rewarding as promised. The best Reuben sandwich I've ever eaten and a cold mug of Coors light. Very, very nice.

The ride back seemed easier. I'm always better when I know what to expect. I don't like surprises. I felt more comfortable knowing the crossroads and having a sense of the distance. The trail was sparsely populated with bikers yesterday, but there were enough so as not to feel alone. We even came upon our local FedEx driver who was taking a ride on his lunch hour. He's a peach of a guy and we just love him. Reggie rode all the way back with us and we chatted it up along the way making the return leg go by quickly.
I'm limping around today. 16.5 miles is a lot for me. My legs and other parts of my body that I won't mention are hurting. But, it was fun and I'm happy we did it. Hard to think that my husband rides that distance every day. Good for him. But, I'll stick to my 3.5 mile ride along the beach, even though I don't get anything to eat at the end.

I'll stop goofing off at the end of the week and get back to the sewing machine. In the meantime, don't forget to check out our etsy shop at http://www.apronsgonewild.etsy.com/
We've got some really pretty aprons and tops.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What the heck?

Where'd the sunshine go? And it's dark at 6 o'clock! Turning myself inside
out trying to get the hang of it not being summer anymore. Even the mailman asked me this morning, "Where did everyone go?" He had become accustomed to greeting us on the front porch each day when he brought the mail...(we are addicted to having our morning coffee out there.) He'd even have a dog biscuit in his pocket for the visiting Lab, Max. What a guy. But...that's suddenly all over. Seems like the doors & windows are closed
and the TV is always on. It signals "being inside," which I don't like.
In order to force the summer to last longer, I've committed myself to scraping and painting our pergola. It's usually covered with pink roses, but this year, the roses suffered some sort of a blight so we've cut both vines down to the quick. Alas...that exposed the awful condition
of the paint so here I go again. Scraping and painting. Not my favorite job. I'm almost wishing it was a rainy day so I would be tempted to stay indoors and sew. I hate painting! But I'm doing it. (See...Old lady painting. Looks like the old lady needs a work-out with the weights on her arms.) I'll show you the finished product when it's done.

I guess the sewing will have to wait for the moment. This is turning
out to be more of a job than I'd thought!

Check us out at http://www.apronsgonewild.etsy.com/

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's often stressful for me to fill special orders when I'm making aprons...

Everyone has a different idea of what they like or want and it's impossible for me to read minds. (At least, I can't do it anymore since I passed retirement age.) So, special orders are always stressful for me. Usually someone says, "Can you just make something blue, or green, etc., with a little of this and a bit of that, and maybe some ruffles?" and so on and so forth. It always sounds more simple than it turns out to be. I much prefer to just make something from my own imagination and hope that someone will like it and want to buy it. Special orders always take longer, cost more to make and are rarely profitable.
Not so with the most recent one. A friend I met in Florida, who has bought several aprons from me, asked if I would make something sort of fancy for a relative's birthday. She gave me a general idea of what she wanted but didn't get too specific....so I was able to use my own thought process and pick out fabric and a design that I was comfortable making. I'm really happy with the way it looks.
I started with a very nice, smooth black cotton polka dot fabric which I cut in a similar fashion to my original baby-doll design, but without the little pleats at the bodice. Inspired by the previous half aprons you saw in my last post, I added a row of ruffled pleats across the bib along with some sheer, organza polka dot ribbon. I gave the same treatment to the pocket edge and then gave both areas a special touch with tiny crystal beads. It looks dressy, yet sophisticated. I'm pleased as punch. Take a peek. (If you click on the picture, you'll get a closer view.)
Beautiful, beautiful Labor Day Weekend here on the Cape. Lots of folks in town for a last hurrah. There's a big tent wedding at the Beach Breeze Inn down the street. We can hear the music as we sit on our front porch. A nice way to end the season.
Check us out on the web at http://www.apronsgonewild.etsy.com/

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Finally got down to business and turned on the sewing machine.
I had to spend quite a bit of time looking through my fabric, reacquainting myself with each piece, since I haven't done any sewing to speak of, all summer. The yellow and black prints that I chose for "Aren't I Just So Pretty?" were initially purchased to make blouses. But I wasn't in a blousy mood, so we now have two new half aprons at www.apronsgonewild.etsy.com
The little pleats on the pocket edge of "Aren't I Just So Pretty?" were inspired by Teresa Porter's headboard bench cover that she recently hand sewed for The Lettered Cottage's Layla Palmer. I was in awe of Teresa's workmanship and wanted to try making pleats myself. You can see Teresa's bench cover either at her blog cherrycheckers.blogspot.com or at Layla's blog, theletteredcottage.com.

Back to the apron; I love the bumble bee color combination of this fabric. It's really striking. The apron has a nice long sash, and the pocket is deep and generous with reinforced edges to prevent tearing. (Don't you hate how the pockets on aprons always are the first part to go?) I always name my aprons whatever comes into my mind when I look at them finished for the first time. I swear I heard this apron ask me, "Aren't I just so pretty?" Hence, the name.
You can see more pictures of "Aren't I just so pretty." along with lot of other aprons and tops at apronsgonewild.etsy.com

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Finally got the "Emily" photos loaded on my apronsgonewild.etsy.com shop.....

Viewing my aprons on Emily instead of on a lifeless mannequin is like the difference between night and day; especially the aprons with the little head scarves. I had wondered about them after I made them. Seemed like a neat idea at the time. You know...keep your hair out of your eyes and out of your recipe. But...after I made them, I began to wonder. The ditty bags are always a hit and customers seem to really like them and find all sorts of uses for them. But, I hadn't had much feedback about the head scarves.

Well...putting one of those little triangles on Emily was all I needed for feedback. I think you'll agree...it looks adorable. She looks sort of like a little French maiden. I have to keep in mind that absolutely everything looks terrific on Emily, but seeing her in the apron with the matching scarf renewed my conviction that the head scarf is an attractive and useful addition.

I posted two new aprons today that are not pictured here. One is in an Amy Butler cotton and the other in a pretty turquoise batik. As soon as I get caught up with the house and the yard (post road race) I'll click on the sewing machine and start getting busy. I've got some great new fabrics that I can't wait to transform.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Our annual summer event is over.

The Falmouth Road Race of 2009 has come and gone. It was a glorious, sunny day...not too hot for the runners. We only had 6 running from our group of family and friends this year, but they represented us well. Our oldest grandchild ran for the first time and he was amazing! The race is 7.1 miles long and began 37 years ago when three local guys were at a bar in nearby Woods Hole. Because that bar was closing they ran 7.1 miles to another bar in Falmouth Heights that was open for another hour or two. Somehow, that silly event evolved into an international road race with prizes of $10,000 to $15,000 for the winners.

The race draws famous names, including former Olympians like Joan Benoit. Our home just happens to be at the 4.5 mile mark along the race route and we take full advantage of that. Son-in-law, Johnny, rigs up a sound system that rivals even the loudest rock band. Another member of our group does a terrific job with a wireless microphone, calling out runners as they pass, and whooping up the crowd. When the race is over, we celebrate with our very own Uncle Frank's famous sausage grinders and an assortment of other delicious dishes. We even have Aruban Pistache.
Our annual Famouth Road Race party has become a family reunion, of sorts. It's that day of year when everyone is welcome. Friends and family come from near and far and with a bit of luck, we even get in a few hours at the beach. The day always ends the same way...a big fire in the fire pit with everyone gathered around for singing and smores. Not a bad way to celebrate the waning days of summer.

In the midst of all this, I did take some apron pictures with Emily modeling. I'll be posting them to my etsy shop as soon as all our road race guests depart. In the meantime, check us out at apronsgonewild.etsy.com