All In A Day’s Play


Dressmaking Once Again

Not long ago while on my lunch hour, I stopped in to have a look round the Quilted Forest.  I’ve never been much into quilting, but I do find tremendous inspiration in the beautiful fabrics I see there.  People are so talented and it’s always exciting to see what interesting ideas others come up with.

While shopping I came across a charming collection of fabrics that included an adorable hedgehog.  I was told that hedgehogs are “really in” … something I never would have known, but for being told.  I had to have the hedgehog fabric!  I picked up two additional companion pieces and some jumbo rickrack that seemed to go with it.    I had no particular idea in mind, but thought perhaps it would make a cute little dress… if I could find the right pattern.   Over the next couple of months I did find a suitable pattern and was ready to go once I could find a block of time to work.  With today being a holiday I set out this morning to see what I could come up with and here we have it.

Moda fabric collection

The biggest challenge, was to determine which pieces to use where.  I wanted the hedgehogs to play a prominent role in the design so I used that fabric for the back because it was in one piece and would thereby show off the fabric to full advantage.dress back

Then decisions were made about the piecing across the front.  It’s surprising how placement makes such a difference in the overall look and feel of a garment, but it really does and therefore requires careful consideration.  Being a wrap dress, there are interior ties to help hold the dress in place.  Interior ribbon tiesOnce the dress was finished the rickrack was applied around the bottom.  Overall, I am pleased with the way it turned out.  The scale is a bit large for a child, but with the jumbo rickrack, I think it works.  I like the versatility of the pattern; I can see this with tights and a turtle neck for a Christmas dress or as a warm weather sundress.  Either way it’s adorable.dress completed

Child's dress

November Comfort Food


Old-Fashioned Goodness.

It’s been a long while since my last encounter with oatmeal in the morning, but as chance would have it, I had a meet-up with the Quaker Oats guy in the cereal aisle last weekend and we decided to go home together.

It may have something to do with the change in seasons and the dark days of winter approaching, that cause my thoughts to turn to oatmeal.  I don’t know, but whatever the reason, I find a steaming bowl of hot mush to be a very satisfying and nutritious way to start a November morning. It’s really quite easy to make, but being pressed for time as I often am, I decided to do some pre-organizing to speed up the process in the morning.  I assembled five pre-measured bags of ingredients, one for each day of the week, so that all I’ll have to do when I stumble out to the kitchen at 5:30 a.m. is add a cup of hot water to the mixture and voila, I’ll have my oatmeal in no time at all.

Oatmeal Time

I like to use nut pieces, not only for added flavor, but for the trace nutrients and extra calories they provide. I use unsalted, dry roasted varieties such as pecans, filberts, almonds and cashews.

breaking nut pieces

Dried fruit, such as currants, raisins or cranberries add sweetness without the use of refined sugar.currants

Add 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal.oatmeal

To avoid the recommended salt, I add spices such as cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg again for flavor and also for added health benefits that spices offers.cinnamon spice

And with that, my work is done.  Just seal the bags and they are ready to go in the morning.  Now all I have to do in the morning is put a cup of water on to boil and breakfast will be ready  in a jiffy.Ready to go.

The Art of Gaity


 at the pianoSuite in F – Allegro

Georg Friedrich Handel

Suite in F – Allegro

I read a line not long ago that said, ‘the best things to know are the hardest to learn.’  I think that idea applies to this piece.  It has been a challenge to learn, but well worth the effort as it is soooo much fun to play.  I hope you will be able to hear some of that delight as you listen.

As I selected images for this video, I couldn’t help but notice the wonderful historic costumes.  These images are a testament to the fact that contrary to popular thinking, formality and frippery are compatible with frivolity and fun. So sit back and listen, or perhaps join in and kick up your heels. :)

IMG_9562 IMG_9558

Folk Art Adventure


What started out as a ‘fun little project’ has turned into a colossus of detail.  I began with a collection of flowers and other elements cut from various fabrics.  I bought a variety of beads and of embroidery floss for embellishment and started in.IMG_9322I have seen many examples of “folk-art” having had the opportunity to visit The Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe.  I am intrigued by the nature of this category of art with its bright use of color, eclectic and unexpected pairings of materials and designs, and endearing inattentiveness to quality or standard that magically comes together with a kind of flea-market cachet. It is such a departure from my natural bent towards creative order that when I saw a display at a local shop, I thought I’d like to give it a try.


I’ve discovered that I like the somewhat tattered and unplanned look.  There is a certain creative freedom which develops in the absence of exacting precision; I can use any color thread and don’t worry about evenness of stitches or tidiness of French knots and I can stitch on beads with abandon.  There are no rules, no dictates, just art and that’s fun! IMG_9356

Holiday Entertaining


A Celebration of Hearth and Home

I love the holidays, especially Thanksgiving.  There is nothing quite so satisfying as a house filled with the aroma of roasting turkey, the lively banter of family and friends and the carrying on of traditions.

My menu is strictly traditional with roasted turkey, dressing made with toasted pecans and pork sausage, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry chutney, fresh green peas and roasted beans.  When it comes to desserts, we are a bit less traditional opting for a creme brûlée with fresh raspberries.

Please, you’re welcome to come along and join the party!


Practice Makes Perfect


Bach’s Invention No. 13

Images by Carl Larsson

In September I committed to practicing 15 minutes day with the goal of mastering Bach’s Invention No. 13. It was hard work and there were times when I thought I might never reach my goal, but after weeks of staying with it, I think I’ve done it.  I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoy playing it for you.

Thank you, Cassandra, for being a source of inspiration for this achievement.

Autumn Cathedral


Autumn’s Great Procession

This photo was taken near the Buena Vista Ferry that crosses over the Willamette River. I saw the stunning colors in a grove of deciduous trees along the road we were traveling; it was in coming to a full stop to take a photograph that I noticed the long rows of plantings that seemed to stretch forever; the Cathedral-like feeling was striking… the long red carpet extending down the aisle to a gothic arch framed in green garland prepared for Autumn’s Great Procession. It was breathtakingly beautiful in the afternoon light and I hope I’ve captured a bit of that presence in this photograph.


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Oh No, I’ve Turned Into One Of “Those” People…


the kind who visit cemeteries and take photographs of headstones.

Crawfordville, Oregon

Crawfordsville, Oregon

So, what sparked this trip to the cemetery?

 Well… I have a photograph of my father with his grandfather and uncle that was taken c. 1930 in Brownsville, Oregon.  I love the photograph as much for its family history, as for its composition.  The imposing figure of my great-grandfather who, as a church pastor, loomed large in family lore, my great uncle with his boyish nonchalance, graceful fingers gently poised over the Collie dog, and the mysteriously resolute curly haired moppet, my father, holding a “golden apple” are as endearing as they are enigmatic to me.

Geil Men

And so it was, after a lifetime of knowing I had family in the area, I decided to make the pilgrimage to Crawfordsville, the location of the Union Cemetery where the earliest members of my family to come to Oregon from Rockingham County, Virginia are buried.

 Union Cemetery, Crawfordsville, Oregon

I cannot count the number of times I’ve driven up and down Interstate 5 past the exits to Brownsville and never once stopped to explore the area.  I had not heard of Crawfordsville until my research into my family history.  It’s a quiet, quaint and beautiful place tucked away along the Calapooia River.

Union Cemetery, Crawfordsville, Oregon

It was in Crawfordsville that I found the headstone of my forebear, Henry Ralph Geil. The headstone read, “A Man who walked with God.”

Henry Ralph Geil

To my surprise I found another headstone for my great great grandparents.  I had no idea they were buried here.

John S. Geil

John S. Geil, 1859, and Alice (Shank) Geil, 1864, who came to Oregon from Rockingham County, Virginia.  Alice (Shank) Geil was the daughter of Gabriel Shank, a Lt. in the 10th Virginia Regiment who carried his regimental flag in every major battle of the Civil War.

John S. Geil, Alice Shank Geil

After visiting the cemetery we drove into Brownsville.  It is a beautifully preserved little town that I will surely go back and visit again.

Brownsville, Oregon

Brownsville, Oregon

Brownsville, Orego

Vintage Illustrations.


Taking Inspiration from Historic Costume


I’ve always had an interest in historic costume; I imagine most of us who sew share this interest, as studying past fashions can provide endless inspiration for contemporary designs.  I recently came across a collection of charming illustrations of British children’s costumes from the 18th and 19th century that I wanted to share with my friends in Sewville.  I adore these and plan to frame a set to hang in my sewing room… they are so sweet.   I’ve put a couple up in my RemnantWorks Etsy shop and will be adding more as I have the time.



British Children's Costumes Illustrations


British Children's Costume Illustrations