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Around the beginning of May, I begin to read books for fun again – voraciously read; devouring everything. I can read about 250 – 300 pages in five days. I love it. The problem – I still have essays to grade. Yet, I sit on the back porch in the sun content to finish my book and accomplish nothing else. This is how I functioned in the summer since I could read chapter books.

Summers were spent at the family built cottage in the Eastern end of the UP. My sister and I did not care that it was remote. We stockpiled our reading books for the summer, made frequent trips to the little library in town when we finished our own books, and then when we were old enough, started reading more adult books that belonged to my mom. Now all this reading was in between running through the woods, swimming/playing endless games on the beach, playing card/board games, putting puzzles together and playing paper dolls. The cottage was the best because it felt like a house that was actually “lived in,” unlike our city house in the Detroit area at the time which had sparse decoration and had an “everything in its place mentality.” The only time we were required to clean the cottage was before company arrived and the entire family happily pitched in to achieve a tidy house. But oh to sit around and read books.

My sister and I would have races to see who could finish books first. I remember staying up until 2 or 3 a.m. (with our door closed so the light would not bother anyone) just to finish. Whoever fell asleep first undoubtedly lost the contest because the the person usually finished the book that night.

Now when I read, that’s how I feel. I sit in my own little nest of blankets on the porch couch or if it’s warm enough, lay outside on a blanket and just plow through books. I want to hurry up and finish one book so I can immerse myself in the next. I’m usually pretty disciplined about forcing myself to get school work done first before I do anything else. But this time of year, I’m like the kids; nothing else matters but the summer.

And the worst part is my husband’s school is done THIS WEEK (June 7) and I have another two weeks!!!! I’m not done until June 12! Are you kidding me?!!!

When I’m tired of reading, I’ve been starting multiple sewing projects.

One – I turned an old t-shirt of my sister’s into a pillow. I cut across the top shoulder part of the shirt and sewed the top and arm openings closed. Then I stuffed in the pillow and top stitched along the bottom in a bright yellow embroidery thread that matched part of the design on the shirt. My sister loved it. I will make more of these!

Two – A little bit ago, I posted how I had started making my first 18th cent jacket that I wanted to hand sew. For whatever reason, I was really nervous to put the muslin mock up pattern pieces on the actual fabric I wanted so I thought, why not use some other fabric I had leftover from a petticoat. Okay great. I had about a yard and a quarter (maybe) and I laid it out on the floor. It took me a minute to lay out the pattern pieces so they all fit, but I got it!!! I was super proud of myself. So I go along dum de dum de dum and cut cut cut. And then……..I realized I never cut out the sleeve pieces!!!!!!!!!!! AH!!! Who does that?!! Seriously. I was really hoping to actually do a good job on this first jacket so it was wearable  and now I didn’t have any sleeves! Seriously. I was soooo mad at myself. But then, being the creative person that I am, I remembered seeing a picture of quilted bodices or ‘jumps’ in the Kyoto Fashion Institute book. There is a lot of speculation among groups/people as to whether or  not these are historically accurate. I honestly can’t say for sure. But can I trust this book and that there are actual garments in a well-known museum? I’d like to think so. Either way, jumps are basically a sleeveless jacket…..like a vest. According to my book, they are worn by women either under or over the stays, for warmth and/or comfort when women want to be lazy around their own house and not get entirely dressed for the day. I would like to think that a regular every day working class person would not have the time to just “lay around their house because they don’t feel like getting dressed” therefore, this garment would have been worn for warmth for them. As a result, I, too, will wear mine for warmth. Although I have not been to a ton of events (not where there is snow/cold rain), when the sun goes down at night, I get chilled. While my heavy woolen cloak is warm, my core feels drafty and I want something that is the equivalent of throwing on a comfy warm sweatshirt.

Luckily, I had some natural batting lying around and my mom got me these old muslin bed sheets that are of a pretty sturdy quality. I’m still using my brown striped fabric on the outside, adding one layer of batting, and then lining with white muslin. Here’s the other fun part of this: I’ve never really quilted before. It’s one of those things where I understand the concept, but I’ve never made a quilt (except one teeny quilt square for a colonial days project in 7th grade) so this should be fun!!! As of now, I have the batting attached to the outer fabric and the two back pieces sewn together and I have to cut out the pieces of the lining and attach them to the three sections. then I will quilt the side pieces each and the back piece, then attach the two side pieces to the one giant back piece. I think that will work. The last thing I have to figure out is how to measure the spacing to make eyelets for spiral lacing.

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Striped fabric leftover from petticoat

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Jacket bodice pieces minus the sleeves

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