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The Most Expensive Shoes I Own . . .

18 May

Look like nun’s shoes.

Nun Shoes

Nun Shoes

Here’s the story. Last Summer, my family and I attended the local Celtic Festival. While there we saw amazing Irish dancing. Having both Irish heritage and having come of age in the mid ’90s I was aware of this form of dance and had always wanted to try it but never made much of an effort to really seek it out, so when one of the schools who were performing stated that they were doing a summer sampler, I signed up the kiddos thinking that I could live vicariously through them.

When their Summer sampler was through, I found out that not only were the child beginners starting in September, but there would also be an ADULT beginner class starting at the same time too. My son decided not to continue dancing, but my daughter loved it (yay!) and so I figured, since I would be at the school anyway, why the heck not?

Fast forward to the present. Folks I am an Irish dance devotee. In such a short time I have learned a reel, light jig, slip jig, treble jig and hornpipe. The last two dances use the funny shoes pictured above, called hard shoes. The first three use soft shoes called ghillies.

 

Ouch

Ouch

Peeps, these things HURT. I wear an 8.5 shoe, and these things are 5s! No joke. Granted, they are Irish sizing, but they fit them to you super tight because they are soft leather and eventually they stretch out. When I first got them though, I seriously could only wear them about 20 min before I had to sit or take them off. I felt like I was having my feet bound at times! Lest you think I’m exaggerating, let me show you how my feet look when I take them off.

Double Ouch

Double Ouch

That being said, Irish dancing is a wonderful way to celebrate my heritage. I practice near daily for a minimum of 45 min. A happy by-product of all this dancing is that I have dropped 20lbs and I have more energy and feel happier than I did this time last year. It got me through our long cold winter (which feels like it’s still hanging on, I have the heat on people!) when I think I would have otherwise been depressed.

The new svelte me ;)

The new svelte me ;)

So that’s it, just when you thought I couldn’t possibly have ANOTHER hobby, there I go and pick one up. I think life is just to short NOT to learn and do all the things one would like to.

Finally, myself and the other beginner had our very first stage performance last night and it was an exhilarating time. I would upload a video but I’m too cheap frugal to shell out the $60 to be able to do so. Let me tell you I was just SO relieved that I didn’t screw up because the crowd was massive! And I’m also planning to compete at a Feis (fesh) in my reel, light jig and slip jig this summer so I will let you know how I do! I’m obsessed!

So tell me, do you have any new hobbies?

Eileen

 

Happy Mother’s Day

11 May

Mom's DayDear readers, whether your kids be two legged or four, near or far, or only in your heart, I wish you all the happiest of Mother’s Days. My Mom left me all too soon so take the time to call your Mom if you’re able and tell her you love her.

 

The Lost Weekend*

28 Apr

Hey peeps! Dropped off the blogosphere there to take a weekend trip with the Hub. We celebrated nine years o’ wedded bliss this past Saturday. My super generous friend watched our kiddos and farm animals for the weekend while we headed off to a lovely little cabin nestled in the Hocking Hills of Ohio.

When my friend first told me about this place he said, “You’ll never believe this place is in Ohio!” and he sure wasn’t kidding. There were woods, rolling hills, twisty roads, hiking trails, caves and generally nature galore. It made me nostalgic for my home state of California! Here are a few pictures of some of the natural beauty that surrounded us:

This was at Old Man's Cave

This was at Old Man’s Cave

The view from the deck of our cabin

The view from the deck of our cabin

Ash Cave was super impressive with its waterfall

Ash Cave was super impressive with its waterfall

The scenery was just amazing.

The scenery was just amazing.

But we don’t want to see NATURE stuff do we?? In the area there was a plethora of antique malls and so when we weren’t hiking or eating or partaking in  . . . other activities we were antiquing.

The first night we were there I found the most amazing lady head vase to add to my collection. I’ve never seen one like her before.

Such a fetching little face

Such a fetching little face

I think her fan and mantilla are so interesting

I think her fan and mantilla are so interesting

Close up of the artistry; look at the lace detail!

Close up of the artistry; look at the lace detail!

Isn’t she amazing? I’m trying to find ANY information on her. She IS marked on the bottom with what looks like a T M and the numbers 5-28. I’d love it if anyone has any idea who painted her or any of her story. I would have gladly paid $50 for her, but I got her for a steal at $5 and could NOT believe my luck. She is now the crown jewel in my steadily growing lady’s head vase collection.

All the single ladies, all the single ladies . . . .

All the single ladies, all the single ladies . . . .

In the same antique store I found a cache of pretty vintage buttons all on their original cards. These are destined for a shadow box which will one day grace whichever room ends up being my sewing room.

Which is your favorite?

Which is your favorite?

Finally they had a glassware outlet that had Homer Laughlin Fiesta ware at deep, DEEP discounts. I’m not even kidding. I got a platter and veggie bowl that matches my now discontinued Flamingo set (not pictured), and I this pitcher that I’ve had my eye on forever but could not justify the $60 price tag. This one cost me $11. No joke!

Red Fiesta Jug

Red Fiesta Jug

Doesn’t it look gay there on the Sellers Cabinet?? Can you folks believe how good the vintage hunting is here in Ohio? Seriously, it’s the best state that I’ve lived in for it and I’ve lived in more states than most folks (California, Texas, Florida and Ohio for those of you wondering). Seriously the best finds for the lowest prices.

Hope ya’ll had a great weekend and here is a picture of the Hubs well, just because I think he’s a cutie. It’s been a grand nine years and I’m hoping for nine times nine more!

Whatta face!

Whatta face!

TTFN!

Eileen

*Extra points if you have seen this film with a perhaps overly tidy ending!

In Which I Talk About Summer

26 Jul

Hullo folks! How is it that the end of Summer approaches? I mean, didn’t it just start? And since I haven’t posted much about it yet, I thought I’d share some photographic highlights of my Summer thus far.

This photo sort of summarizes summer for me:

Feet on Dash

Feet on Dash

This Summer has seen its fair share of driving! Since we live in the country now, it means lots of treks to town for various sundries. I love driving in nice weather with the windows down and something like the Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” playing on the radio with my feet up on the dash. It’s bliss folks! Please note my moccasins which I picked up on a 4th of July trip to visit my Aunt in Oklahoma. Yet another “vintagey” item to cross of the wishlist!

Speaking of my trip to Oklahoma, the above kicks were not the only wonderful thing that I got on this trip. While in my Aunt’s antique filled basement she showed me what can only be described as THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SEWING MACHINE ON EARTH. I’m serious peeps, look at it:

SAMSUNGThis my friends is a Singer 185J. I believe this one was made in the early ’60s based on my research of its serial number. But ohmygoodness, that COLOR! Isn’t it glorious?? I guess I made such a fuss about how lovely this machine was because my amazingly generous Aunt gifted it to me. So I now have a new favorite sewing machine. She’s not fancy, she does just a straight stitch but oh my, what a nice stitch she does.

Also, the food this Summer has been spectacular. We signed up for a CSA this year from an organic farm which just so happens to be right down the road from us and we are weekly gifted with a share of the bounty. The below represents one weeks worth of food.

SAMSUNGIt’s been so much fun figuring out what to make every week in order to use up the stuff we get in the box. Though we didn’t sign up for the fruit share we’ve been gifted occasionally with lovely berries. Which I then turn into things like jams and tarts.

SAMSUNGThis particular tart is from The River Cottage Everyday Food Cookbook which is just wonderful. If you ever have a chance to pick it up, please do so!

We also had hay made on our property. Our maybe three acres of grass produced 220 bales of hay so now our barn is nicely stocked for the Winter. Which I hope comes very late this year.

SAMSUNG

I’ll leave you with the final joy of the summer, and that is our sheep. They are such lovely creatures. Unfortunately we lost one, our dear Hemingway, but I suppose that death is a part of life and that is something I’ll need to learn here on the farm.

SAMSUNGThis Summer has also seen an uptick in crafty pursuits on my part so stay tuned for future posts about sewing and the like. Hope you are all enjoying your Summers as well.

Eileen

This n’ That

13 Sep

Folks I apologize for the disjointed turn this ol’ blog has taken of late. I’m sure things will settle down after the move (two weeks ’till closing, squee!!!) but for now here are some pictures of bits and bobs.

This little guy is Karl. Karl Marx. It’s sort of an inside joke but he’s a real love. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that he will be living with us for the long term. We’ve now rescued him from his original owners twice after they’d decided both times that they just couldn’t keep him and that putting him in the woods was the way to go. I know, heartless. He seems to like us, well me, quite a bit, which is very smart on his part. He enjoys a good purr and is still very playful. He has one serious draw back though, and that is that he likes to play with yarn. Our other cat largely ignores yarn so this is going to take some getting used to on my part.

Speaking of yarn, I’ve been a knitting fool lately. I made this darling baby hat for a coworker (haha, underneath the hat you can see my issues of Hobby Farms Magazine, Mother Earth News, and my Murray McMurray Hatchery catalog. Wonder what’s on my mind lately?).

This is the Aviatrix pattern. I crocheted the simple rose because it really looked like it needed some embellishment. I used a pink glass button for the chin strap. I can’t wait to give it to the Mom to be!

I also made these a while back but was surprised to find that they were not blogged.

Aren’t these the coolest? I wish I could say that they were destined to grace my little hannie-poos this fall, but I gifted them to my dear friend (who blogged them here) as I know she could put them to good use.

In sewing news I finished my daughter’s quilt and started one that will grace my bed. I’m really loving how with quilting, you don’t have to worry about fitting, though I will say I do miss making garments. On that topic, I’m excited to say that I’ll be meeting the lovely Gail when I travel to Chicago and she has graciously offered to go on a fabric store crawl with me. I’ll do a post soon with the patterns that I’ve chosen to buy fabric for!

Until next time!

Eileen

 

Chicago!

7 Sep

Chicago Skyline 1930

Peeps, I’m so excited because my work is sending me to Chicago in a few weeks for some training. This city has been on my “to visit” list ever since I moved to the Midwest a year ago. I’m writing this for any suggestions of places I should eat, places I should visit, and, probably most importantly, places I can shop for fabric and yarn ;)

Thanks in advance for your tips!

Eileen

I’ll Be Back Soon

31 Jul

Interesting things are in the works here at Eileen’s Basement, which may or may not lead to me actually having a basement of my own. Squee! More details as I get them but apologies for the unintended and unannounced bloggy break. Hope ya’ll are doing great!

Eileen

Previously Unblogged- A Series of Garments

3 Jul

Well hello there! Did you all enjoy your weekend? Ours was good; we were pretty lucky and escaped much of the damage caused by the land hurricane  that ripped through the Midwest and East. Only one small tree fell over in our immediate neighborhood and we were lucky to keep our power on throughout, unlike an unlucky co-worker of mine whose power was out from Friday through Sunday! I had just staked my tomatoes with real stakes versus the previously used sticks that I found in the “woods” behind our house, so thankfully our plants made it through the amazingly strong winds that we had. One thing is for sure: I need an emergency kit and I need a plan because we are woefully unprepared for such a thing, were it to happen again.

Well enough of all that! This weekend also saw us taking a jaunt to Indianapolis, Indiana to visit the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. I bring this up because I wanted to show you what I wore to the big city.

Ack! My Midriff’s out!

I made this dress in March of 2010  out of a vintage rayon (my guess is that it’s 1940s as the hand is GLORIOUS) that I scored from ebay. This was when I was still living in Florida so a dress like this can be worn in March! I remember I actually debuted it by going to my knitting group and heading straight from there to go swing dancing with Casey! Ah, good times!

I used this McCalls pattern which I bought for a song on ebay as well. I’m still seriously floored that I only paid about $5 for this, including shipping!

I opted for the version without the bow tie back. I think it looks much cleaner without. I didn’t make any special adjustments to the dress that I remember, though wearing it now I realize that I should pick apart the waist seam and raise the waistline a bit as it has only recently come to my attention that I’m short waisted!

It was only after pulling this out of the closet that I realized that I have a lot of things that I’ve made over the years that have not been featured in blogland so I thought I’d start a little series to give these clothes some much needed attention. I also like to see how vintage pattern drawings translate into actual dresses so I’ll be including the snapshots of the actual patterns used to make the dresses.

I must now away to work some more on my July the Fourth dress! I’m hoping I can beat the clock since I don’t need it until we head out to view fireworks! I’ve done much of the bodice and am hoping that it is smooth sailing from here on out. I’ve been listening to the book “My Week With Marilyn” which I can stream through my local library. Isn’t technology grand?!

Until we meet again,

Eileen

Heartbreak

1 Jun

So I got a phone call today from the Historical Society that was putting on the Victorian Ball aaaaaand . . . it’s cancelled. :( Should I finish the dress? Or should I go sew a frivolous Forties sundress because it would cheer me up? Guess I have myself one fancy Hallowe’en costume this year!

What would you do?

Eileen

Pretty Pattern Sunday #26

20 May

I grew up in a farming town in the San Joaquin valley in California. From an early age, Mexican culture has been an influential part of my life. Cinco de Mayo was celebrated almost on par with federal holidays in my hometown. Celebrations included traditional foods (nom!), dancing and dress. I’ll never forget the time in fifth grade I volunteered to learn the traditional Mexican hat dance with others in my class. I was so excited to wear the crisp white ruffled top with the multi-tiered, gathered and embellished skirt. What fun it was to dip and swirl, all while waving the ruffles in the skirt along in time to the music!

When I was older I moved to San Antonio, Texas where again, Mexican culture was a pervasive part of everyday life. I loved to go to the shops at El Mercado which were full of pinatas, sugar skulls, bright pottery, santos, and beautifully embroidered tops. I’d eat lunch at Mi Tierra and stop for horchata and a churro on my way back to the car. Ah, good times.

This blouse is a great example of Mexican influence on mainstream fashion of last century. These patterns in my collection are some of my most treasured and the ones I most want to make!

Living now in the Midwest, I feel a sense of nostalgia for the culture that has been a huge part of my life. Recent posts from Vixen Vintage and Johanna Ost of the vintage Southwest have added to my sense of nostalgia as I loved every photograph in their posts which capture perfectly a certain time and place in history.

What culture has had a major influence in your life?

Eileen