Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Cowl...finally!

It's rather impossible I believe to spend any respectable amount of time with my mother and not long for fiber and needles (or a hook) in your hand.  That was certainly my fate during our Christmas holiday there and I began a delightful charcoal cowl scarf using yarn from my mother's stash.  The bug had bit however, and when I found myself waiting for a new skein to arrive in the mail I needed to start another!  This time I chose a crocheted cowl from ravelry.  I had the wrong size hook, and not quite enough yarn....but that didn't stop my need for immediate gratification!  After all, I needed to make myself a cowl.  I'm not quite sure if it was the cowl that I needed or the making...!  It is off the hook so to speak and has spent a happy day around my neck.  It couldn't have been finished at a better time as frigid temperatures seize New England.  My nose might be freezing but my neck is warm!  

 Admittedly my cowl is much smaller than the pattern, due to the smaller hook and less yarn.  I actually really like it as it is, I'd be happy with a few more inches in length...but really who needs more bulk around the neck when there's always a toddler (toddler, what?...well she toddles so I guess we're there!) there to pull and tug and tuck themselves into?!  I actually have plans for two more...well three if you count the one that's already on the needles...! (idea 1 and idea 2)  I'd better get busy or it will be warm before they're done!  Although with the weather we've had this week it is very hard to remember what warm even feels like!  

Although I loath photographing myself, it's a tricky business, the one handed - arms length or in the mirror photographing.  But I have to say I love these pictures...because my littlest was just so interested!  She loved the loopy goodness of a cowl scarf and was thrilled to pieces to be snug as a bug right up next to her mama! Who knew I was making something so fun!!! 

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bookmark and ShareWe have been thrilled with how quickly Rebecca has picked up sewing at the machine all on her own.  She can control the speed and guide the fabric accurately so well!  

She wanted to make a quilt for Emma, and with such an enthusiastic little maker who could say no!  So quick as a wink, a stack of fabric was selected, cut into 7" squares, a sewing station was established on the dining room table, and we were good to go!

I love this picture because Matt, had asked Becca to tell him about the quilt and she started in on an extraordinarily in depth explanation on just how a quilt, and this quilt in particular, is made.  It was great!

She wanted to make a quilt for Emma, and with such an enthusiastic little maker who could say no!  So quick as a wink, a stack of fabric was selected, cut into 7" squares, a sewing station was established on the dining room table, and we were good to go!  

Friday, January 4, 2013

A New Space

If there is anything that I have learned in the past 10 years it is that there is a time and a season to everything.

At this time, this space, that has meant so much to me, is in a season of winter.  Hunkered down for a bit, dormant, and awaiting a new spring.  I'll be here off and on, just like the glorious spring like days that help us get through the darkest and grayest of winter days.

In the meantime, in an effort to share our family life with a bit more freedom, we have created a new, and private, space.  Please let me know if you would like to be included in the readers of this new blog.

Whether it is in our new space, or here, we look forward to sharing a moment together with you!

*the Robinsons

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012


It’s a bit late…but the pictures are cute so here you are! We had a wonderful Halloween Night seeing my aunt and uncle and my Nana and Grandpa…if only all children had such a wonderful Auntie-auntie ‘n Uncle Bernie, and Nana-dear and Great Grandpa to love them so.  We are truly blessed.

These pictures show a bit of the joy (and challenge…!) of photographing Spencer!!! 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Sewing for American Girl Dolls

My sisters and I discovered the American Girl Dolls over 20 years ago and instantly fell in love.  In those days (wow…am I old enough to say that!?!) there were only a handful of dolls, each from a different significant era in American History.  It was far from the massive operation that is now American Girl.  Even then though those dolls were way out of my parents price range for dolls.  We came to the arrangement that both myself and my older sister would each pay for half of our dolls and they would pay for the rest.  We saved and saved and counted and recounted our coins and finally had enough.  Felicity and Kirsten soon came into our homes and were immediately considered part to the family.  Well…okay, they were considered part of the family by the girls in the family…not so much by the brothers perhaps.

It’s true that the American Girl Dolls pricey.  But they are also very high quality.  So when our own little girl discovered them we chose to go with the real thing (in brand new condition from a consignment shot) instead of one of the great knock-offs on the market.   With my own doll now in her possession, and another we happened upon at a church swap we now have more American Girl Dolls in the house than is totally necessary…but boy is it fun!  My favorite part….sewing for them!  Clothes from the A.G. Doll company are way beyond what I am willing to pay for doll clothes…plus, it’s so fun to create unique things together!

For Rebecca’s birthday I sewed her several new clothes for her dolls.  I thought I would share a few of the things that I have learned about sewing for these dolls.

  • Don’t be fooled…just because they are little doesn’t make them easier or faster to sew.  I am convinced that I could sew an outfit for one of my own girls in the time that it takes to sew one for their dolls.

  • The American Girl Company has sewing patterns available for their historic dolls.  I’m not sure if they are still in production but they can be found on ebay I’m sure.

  • Major pattern companies like Butterick, Simplicity, and McCalls all produce patterns for 18” dolls.

  • Patterns for 18” dolls work quite well for the American Girl dolls.  There is one big thing that I have noticed:
    • The American Girl Dolls have a bigger body and bum so that they can stand and sit on their own.  (This is also one of the huge differences between the “real” thing and the knockoffs) Because of this the generic patterns can be a bit snug.  I add ~1/4”-1/2”  to the patterns at the side seams when I am cutting them out.


  • It is important, maybe even more important than with regular girl clothing, to sew very carefully, backstitching and reinforcing seams at high stress points like under the arms. *Remember that little and sometimes impatient hands will be putting these clothes onto dolls that don’t bend!

  • I’m all about velcro for the fasteners!  It’s so easy for little fingers and is infinitely faster to attach than the teeny-tiny snaps usually used on doll clothing. 

It is so much fun for me to create for these dolls.  For her birthday we made a raincoat (I didn’t have oilcloth so just layered clear vinyl and a cotton print), a winter coat, a pair of jeans, a summer dress, and a fancy dress.  They were met with great enthusiasm!! 


Can you tell which doll is 20 years old?!  I’ve been researching how to help their hair and have a few tips I’m going to try.  I’ll let you know how it goes!


Just one more tip:  the Our Generation doll clothes and accessories available at Target are fantastic for American Girl Dolls.  We have found that some of the clothes are tight…but the furniture and accessories are wonderful and a fraction of the cost.  Yay!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Out and About: Purgatory Chasm

DSC_0019My Nana (who my children call Nana-Dear) told me about Purgatory Chasm in Sutton MA months ago, and we finally made it there this past weekend.  She was right…it was amazing and we all loved it!  A trail through the beautiful New England woods with huge boulders to scramble over, caves to explore, and tunnels to climb through…yup, the kids were in heaven! It turned out to be one of those perfect family days…the weather was perfect, cool and crisp and so very much “fall in New England”, the big kids had a blast and Emma was perfectly content in her hiking carrier. Such a great memory. 

We are hoping to squeeze in one more trip before the good winter ends, and if not, are looking forward to many more trips in the spring and summer!  If you are local this is a must-see to put on the top of your list.  It’s very easy to find and the entrance is free. 

Obviously the chasm itself has been around for a very long time, and it’s been a park since the 1919.  It was so much fun to think that I was brought here as a child when I was too young to remember, and that my parents had been brought here with their parents, and perhaps even more generations of my dear family came and explored these rocky trails making their own memories together.  You can be sure that if you visit us we’ll be making a trip here if the weather permits!  DSC_0020




This huge rock is called “Sliding Rock” and is worn quite smooth from decades of children sliding down it.  Not completely smooth though…Becca actually wore a hole in the seat of her leggings right through to her skin…!  Thank goodness for the skirt she was wearing! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Fall has come to New England bringing with it all the idyllic fall joys.  Narrow winding roads flanked with massive trees and ancient rocks walls are classic New England, and one of my favorite things about this land where I live.  These roads are now a tunnel of fiery beauty and we marvel each day on the way to and from school on the magnificent leaves.  It invigorates the soul to see such splendor.  We’re trying to soak up as much as we can before holing up for the longest and hardest season…I won’t even say the word…we all know it’s coming! 


Fall brings a birthday for our family.  Actually our little family now has a birthday in every season!  But, fall brings Rebecca’s birthday.  Anyone that has met this little wonder of ours knows how big her excitement can get…and around a birthday…well my goodness it is hard not to be carried off into the clouds with her as the day approaches!  It is just so much fun to do special things for one who gets so very very excited about it! 

I’ve been going out of my comfort zones with birthday cakes recently and having a lot of fun with it.  We made a pirate ship cake for Spencer’s birthday and had some fun with a fairy dress cake for Rebecca.  I’ve never been taught anything about cake decorating, or practiced or anything….just sort of went for it!  With my unexperienced hand and the styling direction of a 7 year old I think we did quite well!  At least it was super fun and ended up as a delicious treat!!