the new year::


new year.

Whenever the New Year comes along, I'm always at a loss of what I should write. I'm not huge into making lists, because I never seem to DO any of them (or at least very few get accomplished). But it is sometimes fun to write a few things I am looking forward to or things I'd like to try and accomplish in the New Year. I'm going to start a list of some of these things. Perhaps one of these days when I have time, I'll make a list of things I did last year.
  • Start growing heirloom seeds inside early.
  • Plant an herb garden (mostly, if not all planted in pots).
  • Draft a few patterns and make some clothes to sell from them (wish me luck!)
  • Go back to Shape Note sings.
  • Turn twenty-six.
  • Go to the lake A LOT more this summer.
  • Start running again when the weather gets warmer.
  • Smile often.
  • Keep a one sentence journal each day (or often) of the good things in my life.
  • Take better pictures.
  • Knit.
  • Celebrate my brother and my best friend's weddings.
  • Travel.
  • Try real hard to actually get a banjo and learn it!
  • Wear red lipstick in public (I swear I'm going to do this...)
  • Celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday!
  • Continue reading for the book club I attend. (Btw, our next book is called "Love Medicine" by Louise Erdrich.)
  • Do something for someone without anything in return -- often.
  • Clean my room. :)
Okay, that's all I can think about right now. I bet I'm leaving a lot out, but that's okay. Hope you all have a lovely New Year's!

merry christmas!


merry christmas!, originally uploaded by gracefullady.

Hope you all are enjoying a lovely day. It's snowing here!



bird tracks.

joanna coat :: dace

joanna coat :: dace

Lots to do these days. I've been getting my tired body up at 5:30am the last few days so I can get a few more things crossed off my lists. I'm not only taking off for Christmas, but my younger brother is getting married January 2nd (and um... still haven't made my dress for that yet...) and then after that I am going to house-sit for some friends. That will actually be fun, as I plan to bring drafting supplies to make some patterns. Been wanting to try my hand at this for years. We'll see if anything actually gets accomplished. I am imagining lots of laziness accompanied with loads of tea and coffee and hands filled with knitting needles. The house is a lovely Edwardian structure and they have a kitty! Also I won't have a car, so basically will be stranded there for a week, which is fine with me. It will be a nice "break," even if I will sort of be working while I'm there.

bed socks :: pattern notes


bed socks::

Super easy bed socks inspired by Mieke Willems socks. I made these for my brother, hopefully he doesn't see this! I just wrote down my notes on Ravelry, but in case you aren't on there, I'm copying them here. Hopefully they aren't too hard to understand!

Here's what I did:

*Cast on 44sts on size 6 needles.

*Knit 40 rows.

*Transfer sts to sz 6 double point needles (10sts on first needle, 24sts on second needle, 10sts on 3rd needle) and knit in the round (stockinette) until you've reached your finished length MINUS 2 inches (just like knitting the end of a sock). For this pair I knitted until the length was 8 1/4 inches from beginning.

*Now you will begin to decrease like a sock:
Slip 1 stitch from each end of needle so the stitches are placed like so: 11-22-11.
*Work the following 2 decreasing rounds until 20sts remain:

-->Round 1: Needle #1- k to last 4sts, k2tog, k2; Needle #2- k2, ssk, k to last 4sts, k2tog, k2; Needle #3- k2, ssk, k to end.
-->Round 2: k all sts.

*When 20sts remain: On needle #3, k the sts from needle #1 so you have your stitches placed on two needles like so: 10-10.

*Graft toe.

*Sew the back seams together to form sock.

*Weave in ends. Repeat to make one more sock. :)

Note: I tried these on and they were pretty large on my feet (I wear size 8.5 shoe). They should (hopefully) fit my brother's feet. They're very stretchy. You could always knit them this size and felt them to your size. Or just wear them with a couple pairs of socks underneath.

knitting gifts::


knitting gifts!

knitting xmas gifts.

baking day!

Today I am spending the whole entire day knitting and making gifts. I have some old Christmas and wintery movies picked out, doughnuts rising in the kitchen and a load of yarn to knit up. I'm pretty excited about today! The snow melted, but it still feels pretty cozy in here.

Since I'm in a Christmasy mood today, here's some wintery linkage to share. Happy weekend!



anna and brandi.

I am finally starting to get back into the swing of things after my little adventure down in Georgia. Living history is such a strange hobby. It's almost like a secret society, because if you are not involved with it, you really have no idea what the heck it's all about. And it's really hard to explain. I usually find myself not even trying to explain. In fact, today I got a call from a lady wanting me to make her a pant suit and a dress. I tried explaining to her that I don't make such things, that instead I make "historical clothing." She asked me what that was, so I told her "Civil War era clothing," "1860's dresses," "clothing from the past!" Get it? No? Okay, nevermind. She hung up with a vague idea of what it was, but I think she probably thought I was nutty. So instead of trying to explain to you every detail about what living history is all about, I'll attempt to tell you a bit about my time down south. Hopefully you will not be completely lost as you read...

Wednesday night my friend Brandi and I headed down to St. Louis at about half past 6p.m. We got to St. Louis around midnight and were planning to catch a ride with our pals from KC. They were still a good 40 minutes away, so we decided to check out the pub down the street. It looked a bit shady from the outside, but as we went inside, it turned out to be a pretty nice pub. Plus it was Lady's Night, which meant all drinks were $1.50! YES! Brandi and I sat there with our drinks, a bit worn out from the five hour drive. I like to people-watch. Probably shouldn't, but I love listening in to conversations in public places. The table next to ours sat a girl and two guys. They seemed to be in a bit of a heated conversation. I continued to listen and discovered they were arguing about art! Yes, ART! Well, this conversation took off and before we knew it, there was a bar fight and this guy from across the room decided to come over and get in on it. Hilarious. Brandi and I were standing in the corner laughing our butts off. I was video recording right as the fight began, but I didn't want anyone to smash my camera, so out of instinct I just stopped it and put it away. Anyways, it was great fun. Finally the KC boys showed up and we had another drink then went on our way.

The ride was great fun, but lonnnnnnnnng. Man was it long. Mike was the driver and he drove through the night puffing on his pipe the entire time. We made a few stops along the way and we did stop for a couple of hours to get some sleep. Then off we went again into the night. The next morning we stopped at The Cracker Barrel, which seems to be these guys' favorite place to eat. I guess a guy likes a good meat and potato dish, but personally I am not a fan of that place. Besides the fact that all my buddies love it and I think that is kinda funny in a cute sort of way. We finally made it to the event site around 5:30 or 6p.m. on Thursday. I was so happy that we were going to get to sleep in the boyscout cabin rather than just bed down outside. I was tired and needed a real bed to sleep in. I got a good eight hours of sleep that night and the next day we got all dress out in our "period" clothing and waited for a ride to our site. I met a fellow from Scotland and a man from England who came all this way for the event. They were great fun! I am continually amazed at all the interesting people I meet at these events.

The next few days I slept outside under the stars and then one night squished in between four other women in a tiny cabin. We had four chickens and I must say they were the freshest chickens I've ever tasted. It is kind of weird saying how we killed them, but I figured that is reality. I still have a life goal of killing and then preparing a chicken before eating. I just want to see what it really takes, instead of simply walking into a grocery store and picking up a dead chicken. I think it would help give me a better perspective. Anyway, enough of the chicken rant. Let's talk about something disgusting instead, like... pissing. :) The hardest part at these events is pissing in the woods. You see, there's usually a million guys all around us and it always happens that the spot they designate for peeing, somebody decides to camp out on that spot. So you are left with two options. Take a long hike down the side of the hill as far as you can so no one can see you or wait until it gets dark. Both of those options are not ideal, but I guess we learned to live with this for the weekend. Let's just say, guys have it WAY easier. That's all I'm saying about that...

Next came a lot of sitting around cooking food and cleaning. Sometimes doing living history is really boring and other times it's terribly exciting. You just never know what it's going to be like. But honestly, it's really fun not always having a million and two things to get done. Sitting around the fire singing songs and sipping wine never gets old, though. And sleeping under the beautiful stars, listening to the sounds of nature; honestly, these things make me truly happy. You soon forget about the uncomfortable things like sleeping in all of your clothes (it's very hard to stay warm with five petticoats, a dress and tight shoes). Then there is the rough ground with just one or two blankets to keep you somewhat warm, but somehow you are always cold. Ahh... I love it so much. (And I'm not being facetious!) I love coming home and realizing how fortunate we are for having even just hot water and a shower available to us whenever we want it. I never thought I'd say this, but I love camping. I love the outside air, eating with your hands, dirty nails and campfires. I also love hot corncakes with strawberry jam for dinner. Deeelish!

I could continue to write and bore you to tears, but instead I'll just share some pictures Brandi and I took over the weekend. (Okay, just Brandi. I took some, but not many.) We didn't bring our cameras with us when the event started, so these are mainly just before shots.

pipe smoker.

guys posing for an image.

j.t., jay and anna.
{all above pictures by brandi.}

p.s. "bummers" is the name of the event. don't ask...

here and there.


the palisades.

annie's married!

katie in the sweater

brandi and anna

A few things I've been up to...
  • Halloween fun consisted of a party at a little theatre establishment in the Amanas where my friend Brandi lives. I dressed up as an Edward Gorey character or since nobody there knew who Edward Gorey was (ugh!!!) I just told them I was a dead Victorian person. Jed dressed as an engineer (super last minute), since that comes easy for him. hah. And Brandi dressed as a zombie pin-up girl. It was lotsa fun!
  • My friend Annie just got married last weekend. We've been friends for 18 years. It is crazy how fast we all grow up! I would be lying if I didn't say I am feeling really strange about all my friends getting hitched. It's very weird, but I am very happy for her.
  • Jed and I went dumpster diving for the first time Sunday night. I did not realize how thrilling it is! Also how sad I am to see how much food people throw away. Perfectly good food. Um...what about all those starving people in our country? Why can't some of this food be given to them?? I want to see this film.
  • My sister was back for the wedding this weekend, so we got to hang out a bit. We went to a cute coffee shop down the road from my house, got wired on coffee and then went antique shopping with Jed. It was a fabulous weekend!
  • Going down to Georgia this evening and coming home next Monday. Once again, I'm traipsing off to the woods to live in a rather rough structure in mid-19th century clothing. It should be thrilling. I'm ready for a bit of a vacation. Funny how my vacations always leave me coming home completely exhausted and ready for a hot shower. But I love it. :)
Um yeah... That's about it. I feel like I've been doing more, but I just can't think of what it could be. I'm going to bring my sock knitting with me for the trip tonight. We're meeting up with some of our buddies in Kansas City and they're going to do the rest of the driving. That means driving all through the night and no sleep (I can never sleep very well in a car). But I'll have my knitting and maybe I will finish a pair of socks! Hope you all are enjoying the week! I'll be back with more later. Unless a bear eats me up in the woods or some such. ;)

{a few more pics on my flickr.}



lipstick from heather.

lipstick from heather.

gingerbread for breakfast.


more sock knitting.

Look what I got in the mail the other day! Heather, another blogger (she plays the banjo AND she's learning the fiddle!!!), sent me some lovely lipsticks and eyeshadow! I haven't had a chance to play with them yet, but I'll take pictures when I do and blog about the shades.

Well, I'm off to work. New schedule, which means very little online time. I'm giving myself five minute breaks every hour to keep my sanity. It seems to help. I usually spend that time reading old Blueprint magazines. Have a great week and a happy Hallowe'en!

wool socks.


knitted wool socks

I finally finished knitting my first pair of socks! I can't tell you how many times I started on a pair and never finished them and it was beginning to get very frustrating. There are sooooooo many patterns for socks out there, but to find one that actually makes sense? Ugh. It's been hard. I mean, most of them I could follow okay, but there were about a million instructions included with each pattern and frankly, I don't want to have to read through the whole dang thing every time I am knitting a sock. Finally I found a pattern that worked pretty well along with the use of some great YouTube tutorials. Now that I have the basic sock pattern down, I am using the instructions to make other sizes (by comparing the pattern I have with other patterns). I still need to figure out how to make a basic sock using sock yarn instead of worsted weight. But for now worsted weight is just fine. I like a good thick wool sock for winter. I also discovered my gauge is a bit tighter than it was a few years ago (that's a good thing for me! It was way too loose before!) So yeah, I could spend the next five paragraphs talking about my thrilling sock making experience, but I won't bore you. My goal is to learn how to make socks without the use of a pattern, but we'll see on that one. Here are my notes on Ravelry. (Sorry, I am so bad at uploading projects to that site!)

Edit: I'm going to include the tutorials (they are mostly videos) that helped me a lot. In case you are interested...

vintage lips.


red lipstick.

red lipstick.

red lipstick.

Lately I have kind of been obsessing about make-up. I'm not exactly sure why. I guess I just feel kind of girly sometimes and I like dressing up. The other day I was at the store and picked up a cheap stick of NYC "Retro Red" bright red lipstick. I was looking for MAC products, but all the stores around here don't seem to sell MAC (go figure) so instead of splurging I spent less than one dollar. And it doesn't look all that bad, though I am very curious to compare it to the expensive brands. Now here is the problem I have with lipstick. First of all, I have no idea how to wear it without getting it on everything or obsessing about how I look every time I pass by a mirror. At the moment I haven't worn it out, but I would like to. Is there anything I can "seal" it with so it doesn't rub off on things? I hate lip gloss and much prefer matte lips, so maybe there is something that won't make them look shiny. This time when I tried it, I decided not to put any other make-up on, besides the usual concealer. I'll probably experiment with it a bit more. I'll let you know if I'm ever daring enough to wear it out!

Listening to some great old tunes. SO GOOD!





Has it really been almost a month since the last time I updated this thing? Yikes. Sorry, time flies! I've been out of town almost every weekend out of the month and then during the week spending my time playing catch-up. Oh how time flies. It's cold outside and I've already started two new knitting projects added to my never ending knitting pile. But you see, I have to have a few mindless knitting projects to stick in my purse for moments when I can knit a few rows. I am starting a pair of warm stockings and some delicate undersleeves from a knitting manual I found on Google Books (by the way, amazing resource!!). I also have some gift ideas I'd like to start on for Christmas presents. When will I find the time to make those? I have no idea.

I feel like there is so much I want to talk about, but I'm all scatterbrained today. I'm in a very girly mood these days and thinking a lot about make-up and hair and silly things like that. I've never been the sort to really get into that stuff and when I do, I don't like to over-do it. Yesterday I picked up some gel eye liner and experimented with that last night. I think I need some practice, though. Instead of looking like this, I ended up looking like a drag queen. I also need to purchase some make-up remover 'cause that stuff does not come off with just water! And then I got soap in my eye and now my eyelid is all puffy. Argh! No one ever taught me how to apply makeup or do my hair. It's all something I've had to teach myself. So all this eyeliner business is new to me. If I can get it to look classy and vintage, I might wear it now and then for special occasions.

Also, I have three weddings I'll be in and they are coming up fast. November, January and March. Whoa.

toast. early autumn 09.


TOAST - early autumn 09

TOAST - early autumn 09

TOAST - early autumn 09

TOAST - early autumn 09
{and some more.}

Please excuse me while I scream.........................................
{need i say more?}
{oh yeah, one more thing. listen.}

wet plate photographs.


girls reading.

anna's wetplate image {take 2}

on the lake.

Some pictures my friend Brandi and I had taken over the weekend. Images by Robert Szabo.

catching up {again}.


{via a cup of jo}

I've been looking for a pair of sneakers for awhile now. I have boots, I have sandals, but the only pair of sneakers I have are in pretty bad shape. You see, I got them for fifty cents at a thrift store over a year ago. They're amazing, because they look like Mister Rogers' sneakers. But yeah, I won't go into detail but they are pretty gross now. I might try washing them and replacing the insoles, but I'd like a nicer pair. I've been thinking about getting some Converse, but then today I did some blog searching and found these French Bensimon sneakers that seem to be all the rage in France. Yeah, so on a whim I went a head and purchased a pair that were on sale. Yay! I got mine in taupe, but they come in lots of colors. They also have high-tops, which I think are pretty snazzy, only the low tops were cheaper so I got those instead. I'll let you guys know how they work out. I plan to do lots of walking in them, since my boyfriend and I are poor (he's in grad school, I spend all my money on my get the idea) and we end up finding all the parks and walking for our entertainment. Totally fine by me, but he's been making fun of me for my shoe choices, which tend to be really bad for walking.

sunday afternoon.

Oh yeah, did I mention? I have a boyfriend. It's completely bizarre and weird and I'm kind of freaking out about all this change, 'cause I don't feel ready for any of it. But oh, well. We're having fun. And he likes plaid, so that's a good thing, right?

Have a great week! Still trying to catch-up, but hopefully I'll be all caught up soon. xoxo

{wilco + feist.}

{p.s. fall is coming! that means i am thinking about my fall wardrobe. wondering if i should stick with colors i gravitate more towards, like greys, black and navy. but that sounds so boring. i'd like some stripes in there as well. maybe plaid too... also getting back into knitting again! making this for my sister in grey wool. hope she likes it!}

life is like a dance party?


dancing to mj.

It is. So dance!

{Sorry I have nothing to say today. I really haven't taken any good pictures lately, but hope to get back into it soon. It's been extremely busy over here lately. I'm way behind in everything! I'll be back shortly. In the meanwhile, I hope everyone enjoys their last few days of summer and are adjusting to any changes that have come their way. Be Well.}

busy days.


jack kerouac

they came to say hi.

I cannot believe summer will ever end. But it's already August and soon it will be September. Kids are getting ready to go back to school, friends are getting married, people are growing and changing. I'm changing. I think sometimes I wish time would stand still. Nothing changing. I wish I could choose how long summer would be. Maybe a year. Maybe two years. I do like autumn weather and all that, mostly because of the clothing. But I will miss my summer frocks a little more than I look forward to my flannel shirts and cigarette pants. And knitting, I guess I am looking forward to that!

Summer always goes by so fast. I'm trying to soak up as much as I can. I've been tired lately and I think I'm coming down with something. Hopefully it will go away. Yesterday I finished a project, rushed around to the post office and bank, then came home and spent a full hour just lounging on the porch reading my book. It was a hot day and the sun was beating down from the end of the porch where I was lying. But I didn't care. I was soaking up the last bits of the summer heat and sweat and sunburn. I don't get to do that often, but I'm learning I need to start making time for that. Maybe another trip to the lake is in order! Yes, it definitely is.

Hope you are all enjoying a beautiful summer!



erin + anna

This is Erin, the sweetest girl I know and one of my dearest friends. Last February she got into a horrible car accident and almost died. She was in a coma and the doctors said she had a very slim chance of living.

Who would have thought a year later she would be married, incredibly happy and completely back to her beautiful self once again? I believe everything happens for a reason. I really do. And I thank God every day for letting her live.

hi hi.


homemade ice cream::

tomatoes from mom's garden

  • Homemade blackberry ice cream is delicious.
  • Tomatoes from the garden are five trillion times better than the ones from the store. I've been making caprese salad like crazy.
  • Ideas for a fall/winter line that I have been working on since last winter. Somehow I need to bring all my ideas together and find out how on earth they will all go together. Oh yeah, and the time?
  • I made that linen smock and am thinking I might sew up a few to sell. Just have to finish a few deadlines first. think maybe I could invent something that would create more TIME???
  • OMG, my big brother turns 30 today! And tomorrow it is August 1st. What the heck? Where has summer gone?!
  • It's FRIDAY!



caprese salad.

jewelry making.

linen dress.

pound cake + blackberries.

Just pictures today. Click on them for more text. :) Happy Monday!




I made panzanella salad, fresh basil pizza and pound cake topped with black raspberries (mixed with a little sugar and squeeze of lemon juice). After making that salad, I have a feeling it's going to be a staple for my lunch the rest of the summer! It's so good!

brother john.




This is my little brother John. Maybe not quite so little anymore. I told him to stand there so I could get his picture, 'cause I liked his outfit. He and I talk about clothes music and movies. And he took those other pictures of me last week. He wants to be a cinematographer when he grows up. I think he'll be good at it. And that's not just 'cause I'm his sister. :)