Sunday, April 27, 2008


On Thursday, I went to hear a speech from one of my favorite authors, David McCullough. He is the author of 1776, John Adams, Truman, and many other historical books. He has an amazingly vibrant writing style and is able to make long-dead historical figures come alive. I'd recommend all his books to anyone who enjoys history. Actually, I'd recommend his books to anyone. If you don't like history, he'll make you like it!

One thing that struck me about his speech, which was about the presidency, was his emphasis on fortitude. He noted that the dictionary says fortitude is "strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage." Through his books, it is clear that many of the Revolutionary-era people possessed fortitude. George Washington survived a time after the battle at Brooklyn where even his closest friends doubted his ability to make decisions, let alone lead the entire continental army. Yet, he had the courage to persevere and not quit. If he had quit, there might have been a very different outcome.

Mr. McCullough's concern was that very few people demonstrate fortitude anymore. We are spoiled wimps (my words, not his!). He emphasized being people of character on whom others can rely and trust. He noted that many children aren't taught character at all. He also encouraged teachers and challenged them to make history come alive for their students. He is frustrated by the lack of history education in our country.
He quoted the former Librarian of Congress, Daniel Boorstin,who said, "Trying to plan for the future without a sense of the past is like trying to plant cut flowers."
It was a poignant, funny, moving, thought-provoking speech. As a teacher, I see the lack of character in many students and it saddens me as well. Please parents, character education is the most important of all!

Edited to add: You tube has similar speeches of his if you type in his name!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

To Serve and Protect

My husband and mother-in-law teamed up this Christmas to get me a great theme present - aprons! My husband found an ebay lot of vintage apron patterns and my mother-in-law bought me some actual vintage aprons plus a fantastic book called Aprons of the Mid-20th Century: To Serve and Protect. I like the subtitle...This is my first apron made with the inspiration of the book. I used directions from Bend the Rules Sewing as a starting point. It's interesting to see the intricacies and details that went into some of the book aprons - pleats and gathers and tucks and pockets. Some of them look entirely impractical but boy are they lovely!
This one should be practical, but maybe I'll have to make myself a totally impractical apron too! Organza and tulle here I come!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pizza Bianca

Mmmmm...... I can smell it now! This is a recipe for white pizza that I've adapted from a Best Recipe recipe. If you've never tried a Best Recipe cookbook, I'd recommend it - but only on the days that you have hours to cook. The recipes are complicated, but delicious!

Ingredients: Pizza dough
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Coarse salt
Garlic (3 or so cloves)
Fresh or dried rosemary - about a teaspoon of dried rosemary, more of fresh
Minty gum (for afterwards ha ha!)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spread out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a pizza stone. With a fork, poke the dough all over to let the air out during cooking. Brush EVOO generously all over the dough. Put it in the oven for 10 minutes or until the crust just begins to turn golden.

In the meantime, make a paste out of olive oil (a little less than 1/4 cup), garlic cloves (peeled and crushed - I use a garlic press), rosemary leaves, and salt.
The amounts are more or less to taste. I like garlic, so I use 3 large cloves. You may use less.

When you take the pizza out of the oven, spread the paste all over the pizza. Put it back in the oven for about 5 minutes. Remove and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spring Cleaning

My husband and I are on vacation this week. We have spent the past few days giving our home a good get down on your knees and scrub the floor, reach up and vacuum the wood work, open your eyes to the drips going down the refrigerator kind of cleaning. I decided to give my blog a cleaning as well. I'm much happier with it and my eyes are now open to free Photoshop brushes!

In honor of spring cleaning, I'm posting pictures of my clean craft room. I've had a few people ask questions about my fabric squares. They serve as a bulletin/inspiration board and are just cork squares (bought at Michaels) covered with fabric. It was a very easy way to add color to the wall.
The sewing desk is made from scrapbook organizational cubes (also from Michael's). We realized that if you stacked them, it was the ideal height for a desk, in addition to giving the room much needed storage. The top of the desk is a door Josh found at Lowe's that just happened to fit the storage cubes perfectly!

On the other side of the room is a wrapping paper station, which Josh made from wood, dowels, and hooks. The cabinet houses some of my fabric. The workbench backdrop is just a shelf, pegboard we painted and a dry erase board. Altogether, I am thrilled with my craft room. Especially when it is clean!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


This survey is borrowed from Tilly's Tea!

1. Name someone who made you smile today? Omar
2. What were you doing at 8:00 this morning? Researching the Freedom Trail online and probably telling someone to "Go sit down."
3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Driving home.
4. Name something that happened to you in 1992? IIIII....hmmm......started Junior High?
5. When is your birthday? July 13th
6. Four words to explain why you last threw up? I have no idea (it's been awhile)
7. What color is your hairbrush? Can't brush my hair (See question 25). I have a purple comb though.
8. What was the last thing you bought? Chicken, mozzarella cheese, and baby carrots.
9.Where do you keep your money? In my coat pockets...I love getting pocket surprises when I forget about it being there!
10. What was the weather like today? Sunny and warm. Hello spring!
11. Where did your last hug take place? In my classroom.
12. What are you excited about? SPRING VACATION!
13. Do you want to cut your hair? Nope - just did!
14. Are you over the age of 25? Oui.
15. Do you talk a lot? Nope.
16. Do you watch The O.C.? Nooooo
17. Does your screen name have an "x" in it? No.
18. Do you know anyone named Kelsey? Vaguely
19. Do you make up your own words? Yeppers
20. Are you ticklish? Yesssss
21. Are you typically a jealous person? Kind of.
22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter "C". Carrie
23. Who's the last person to call you? Josh
24. Do you chew on your straws? Sometimes....not habitually though.
25. Do you have curly hair? YES
26. What is the next concert you're going to? I've only been to two in my life, but I'm going to hear David McCullough speak. Does that count?
27.Where did you go today? Train station, work, home, later will go to church.
28. What is something you say a lot? J'ai froid. (i'm cold)
29. Have you seen the movie 'Donnie Darko'? No
30. Do you have to work tomorrow? Yes...
31. Who was the last person you said "I love you" to? Joshua
32. What should you be doing right now? Making collars
33. Do you have a nickname? A few
34. Are you a heavy sleeper? Yes.
35. What are you listening to? Nothing at the moment.
36. What is the best movie you've seen in the past two weeks? Enchanted. So funny!
37. Is there anyone you like right now? Like, none of your business! (Love my husband though)
38. When was the last time you did the dishes? Yesterday.
39. Did you cry today? No... it's a rare day that I cry!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This is Punishment

I'm on spending punishment. I'm punishing myself. I do this frequently.


Craft and fabric stores are my enemy.


Let's say you plan a trip to Joanns because specialty cotton is on sale for 40% off and you need three yards for a new dress. You even have the pattern already! This will be a quick and inexpensive trip.

Then you walk into Joanns and they plop you in the scrapbook section. A sheet of stickers for $1.99 sounds like an inexpensive way to jazz up a card or scrapbook page. Besides, you just got back from your honeymoon and you just HAVE to have this cute little houndstooth suitcase sticker with a matching antique globe and a vintage looking airplane. And then there's the paper. Antique maps that match your new antique globe sticker!

Then...ooooh..... all the Easter things are on sale. Seventy percent off! Can you beat that? You NEED this pastel wreath for next year. And it's $2.39! Maybe you should get two..... and this basket.

Then you remember that you need a new paint brush. And it's your grandmother's birthday coming up, so you should make her a necklace. And LOOK! All the beads are on sale for 40% off. You don't even have to use your coupon!

Then you mosey on to the fabric section, which is the real reason you are here. You find the fabric. Perfect! Head for the counter, but not before you realize that you forgot to check the pattern back for the notions you need. No worries! You can look at the same pattern here and put it back when you are done. But....oooh...... look at that new Retro pattern! It's the perfect summer dress. And Simplicity patterns are on sale for $1.99! What timing!

Then you spot the perfect fabric for the perfect new Retro dress pattern! Grab it before some else does! Phew! You made it to the fabric counter. Wow..... even with the coupon, that little yellow receipt seems a little off... anyway...

Notions: Zipper, buttons, some grosgrain ribbon, some hem tape.... you might want to get some bias tape too because you saw a dress on someone's blog edged with bias tape and it was SO CUTE! Good thing notions aren't that expensive.

Then, you get to the counter and you do the mental estimation. Thirty dollars maybe? The fabric total HAD been higher than you estimated. Then the total pops on the screen:


Excuse me? Don't you mean $32.76? But you bought buttons! And a suitcase sticker! Where did this total come from???? Then you scrutinize the receipt all the way to the car, only to find out that you lose the battle.

How did that happen??

Summary: Craft and fabric stores are my enemy.

The end result: Purchasing Punishment
My goal is not to buy anything unnecessary until June 13th (last day of school). Can I make it? Can I avoid Target and Old Navy and the evil Joanns?

Then again, I DO have a Joanns' Gift Card that has some money left on it......

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Play Ball!

I titled this blog "Quaint and Quirky" because I think that describes me pretty well. Quaint is my love of sewing, crafting, creating, old clothing, home making and decorating and other things. Quirky is the things about me that might surprise you. One thing that surprises those who don't know me is that I'm a huge sports fan. Baseball is far and above my favorite sport and I'm a home grown, born and bred Red Sox fan.

My husband had season tickets to the Red Sox when I met him - one of my favorite attributes about him! (just kidding, of course!) Our first game is this coming Wednesday!

What surprises others to learn about you?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Marching into April

I know it's April now, but I'll post one last official "March of the Tools" post. This is one of my favorite and most used tools: my sewing machine. My husband bought it for me to handle the type and amount of sewing I do. It's a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire and it's lovely!


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