May is the Best Month

Good morning lovelies, and a very merry new week and month! I think spring is the absolute best season there is; the awakening of the world after the cold, dark days of winter just stirs so much joy and optimism in my heart, and I believe that May is the glorious climax of the season. The fruit trees are heavy with blossoms, buds are peeking on the trees, flowers are planted and seeds are started…the fireworks of flowers in our lives for this year are now waiting in the side wings for their moments to shine. It’s just such a beautiful time of year, both visually and in regards to anticipation.

I spent loads of time in the garden this past weekend and the kids and I got almost all of the back garden planted. I’m opting to do a flower garden this year, rather than trying to grow food. I’ve decided that I hate growing food. I only do it because of the pressure the Church puts on gardening and food storage, and it turns out that I hate it. All the anxiety about whether or not the food will actually grow, the heartbreak when an animal or insect eats it, the stress of trying to eat it all when it comes into season, and then the backbreaking work of harvesting it and preserving it when it’s obvious that you can’t. HATE. IT.

But flowers? Just make me happy every time I look out the window. There’s no stress in growing flowers aside from the usual weeding and watering, which are quite meditative acts, and I’m rewarded with a beautiful scene that smells good and makes me want to sit in the sunshine. After last year’s wake-up call about the importance of self-care and doing more of what makes you happy to be alive, I’m actively trying to enjoy more of the things that Michael and I have worked so hard to achieve and possess. I’m now scheduling “Enjoy the garden” time in my planner, and “Have fun with the kids” on various afternoons. No ulterior motives, just enjoying life. That’s the whole point of all this rat race work, isn’t it? And it turns out that I harvest a lot of enjoyment from a flower garden, so flower-gazing and lemonade-drinking are my new jam.

A big development in our household is that we have baby bunnies in our backyard, too. The mom, whom my children named Clover, has been hanging out in our yard for years. Last year she was keeping her babies in the divots in the grass on one side of our house, and we killed them all with the lawn mower because we didn’t see them before mowing. Super sad day. BUT this year she made a burrow under our blueberry plant, which is nestled in a protective raised planter, and now there’s at least three, if not four or five, healthy baby bunnies that scamper throughout the yard if you sit still long enough and they are adorable. I named the first one we saw “Sprout,” Renaissance named the second one we saw “Fennel,” and Nathaniel named the third one “Becky,” which seems like a random name, but he was trying to stay on theme with plant names and I was planting a Becky Shasta Daisy at the time, so Becky was a totally respectable plant name. If we do happen to see a fourth bunny, Rachel wants to name it “Cinnamon.” Michael had to mow the grass over the weekend and scared the buhjeezits out of them all and they scattered to other yards, but those yards all have dogs, so I think they’ll be back soon. I think I even might start leaving out some food, because why not? They’re adorable and I don’t begrudge them a few plants that they eat from time to time because they make my heart smile to see them. (Plus my sister-in-law keeps chanting to give them “whatever they want” to me via text and Facebook comments. Can’t disappoint her, now, can I?)

While I was gardening this weekend, one of my neighbors introduced themselves over the fence and let me know that they’re putting in beehives in their yard! So jealous! I think it’d be great fun to raise bees. She said she’d teach me, and that’s it’s not particularly difficult. So perhaps in a year or two I’ll explore that idea. She was so nice, too; she explained that bees really like chlorine, and seeing that we have the pool in our backyard, she’s taken out “bee insurance” in case any of my kids get stung. I didn’t even know that bee insurance was a thing, and I truly appreciate the gesture. I’ve seen lots of bee activity in my garden already, and the buzzing of the hives is such a soothing sound. Oh my gosh, I love being in my backyard right now. Spring is so lovely.

What are you all up to at your homes? Getting back to regular life activities? Not? Emms played an abbreviated tennis season and it’s wrapping up. Nathaniel is just getting into baseball season, and I keep chuckling over how much my life used to be run by softball/baseball season in years past. The leagues work differently here and would have had us driving all over the place and needing to be in three places at once in rush hour traffic, so we opted out of softball when we first got here, which made me so sad for my girls. Softball is a thing of the past for our family, but we sure had fun while it was in full swing, didn’t we?

On the fabric side of things, I have sewn up the muslin and am now officially starting to cut out the pieces of my Lavender Birthday Dress! I don’t know if I can get this done by my actual birthday, but it will be a very beautiful piece of clothing and welcome addition to my spring wardrobe even it can’t be worn on my birthday day. I’ve been trying to make room in this week’s schedule to afford me some more sewing time, I hope it works.

Keep in mind that that’s the WRONG SIDE of the fabric–it’s a much more vivid print! So excited!

And I hope this post finds you well at the beginning of this new week. I hope you’ve got interesting things to look forward to, and that the week passes without any negativity or strife. Happy May, everyone, and may this beautiful season cheer your heart.

How to Plan a Birthday Dress

I mentioned in my last post that I’m going to sew myself a dress for my birthday. I mentioned it for various reasons, most of them being that if I say out loud, I’ll feel like I need to actually do it, and by saying it’s for my birthday, it also gives me a deadline and I just can’t seem to function without a deadline breathing down my neck.

Do you get project paralysis when you’ve got a blank canvas in front of you? Too many choices, so you can’t actually narrow down what the heck you’re going to do? This is totally me, and I find that it works best to take any limitations into account, because limitations help hone your choices by booting out the choices that simply won’t work.

So, we have a time limitation with the birthday deadline: Saturday, May 8th (Not my birthday, but I want the dress done for the Sunday before my birthday) which gives me roughly four weeks. In all honesty, my creative brain totally thinks I’m going to be done with this in a week. My logic brain is worried I don’t actually have enough time to finish this because hi, it’s spring (gardening), school sports are starting up again for some of my kids, I have another secret project that’s going to be taking up a lot of my times, and OH YEAH I HAVE FOUR KIDS. (The four kids yelling thing is something my BFF keeps stage-yelling at me every time I get down on myself for not being “more productive.” I’m supposed to now always yell it whenever I’m thinking of things that I need to take into consideration when thinking about starting new projects, according to her.)

The fabric: Kokka Natural Garden Voile, purchased from Miss Matatabi during a sale in December. I have a rule that if I gasp out loud because a fabric or yarn is so beautiful, that I really need to figure out how to buy some. I gasped at this, saw it was on sale, and bought the rest of it. Not sorry at all. STALKS OF LAVENDER, people! SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Another limitation is the amount of fabric I have for this dress: 4 3/8 yards (8 meters). I know that seems like a lot of fabric, but it’s not because a) I am a full skirt addict, and b) I’m a plus-size gal with a lot going on up top. Of course, I want to do a beautiful circle or pleated skirt that swooshes around, but I just don’t have the yardage for it. I think I’m going to have to go with an A-Line skirt, which isn’t my favorite…but I can’t fight the reality of yardage amounts. It was end-of-bolt, so I got what I could get, and there’s nothing else I can do about it.

Two other limitations: Modesty (Has to have sleeves and hit below the knee), and I don’t really want to spend any more money on extras for this. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to line this because it is voile, but I’m hoping I already have something on-hand for that. I might buy 1/2-1 yard of a coordinating fabric, if my heart gets set on a contrast extra, like a Peter Pan collar, or cuffs, or a midriff section or something like that.

I haven’t made myself a dress in quite some time, and my measurements have changed a lot since then, so it might be a good idea to keep things simple–basic bodice, short sleeves, a-line skirt. There’ll need to be something extra, but I’m not quite sure what that’s going to be just yet. I’d like this dress to be prettily functional; nice enough for church, and not too nice for wearing to the grocery story on days where I want to be cute as I go about my errands.

OK…that’s not too tough. I’ve done it before! (Let’s just hope it doesn’t take me close to year to get it done like I did with the last one, k?)

Goals for this week:

  • Choose pattern
  • Make muslin
  • Adjust pattern
  • Buy lining, if needed
  • Cut fashion fabric and lining

It’s a big list, I know. Any progress will be good progress.

What spring projects are you thinking about right now?