Grainline Studio Lark Tee tunic

Greetings from sunny Florida! Actually this the first really warm day in several weeks. And tonight we return to our typical winter chill. I like to take pics outside, but not when I’m cold!

It really has been chilly, and I’ve been lusting after some cozy long sleeve tees to wear over leggings. Typically my knit tops only last one season, so I’m filling a seasonal gap.

I chose to start with the Lark tee because it has a crew neck option and good bones. This is a great tee pattern:

Sewing notes:

  • I drafted the size 14, a couple sizes larger than I sew for a ‘regular’ tee shirt, to get the loose fit I like in a tunic.
  • The pattern has a generous center back length at 28″, to which I added 2″ for that tunic look (read that as ‘covers the tush’).
  • I also took out the form-fitting curves at the waist and hip.
  • DBP is relatively easy to sew, just test your machine and serger settings before starting. It’s densely knit and a bit spongy, think of an ITY with body. I find that a jersey needle works best – no skipped stitches or pierced threads.
I love this double-brushed poly knit from JoAnn – Ember Dark Orange Gingko Leaf. I got the last 2 yards from my store, and I think it’s sold out online.
  • The fabric is 58″ wide, so I had a nice remnant for an infinity scarf!

More pics:

Parting shot – the Christmas cactus continues to bring joy. They love the cool weather.

With warm thoughts, I hope this finds you well – Coco

Seeing the top of the mountain

Just some musings. And a small celebration. My county opened an appointment portal for 65+ residents at midnight, Dec. 29. I had been asking my doctors for info on when/where/how to get my vaccinations. And overnight, when the portal opened, I got a reply.

I got my appointments, for both my first and second jab, at 4:09 p.m., on the first day of of the portal. It was shut down at 5:51 p.m., all 42,000 appointments were taken, and there is no re-opening date in sight. My appointments are set for January 29 and February 26. I am so grateful, happy, relieved, to know I am in line. That’s my view of the top of the mountain. 12% of my county of 1.4 million residents, 168,000 people, are over 65 years old.

So now I am a little paranoid, climbing that hill, in avoidance mode. I’m diligent about using KN95 masks (from Amazon), and the vinyl gloves I harbor because I cannot use latex gloves.

Small earthly wonders. A year ago I bought a couple small pots of kalanchoe at the grocery. When they bloomed out, I dead-headed the blooms, stuffed them into a 10″ pot with some soil, and put the pot in the back yard.

And it’s January a year later. Cold outside! but what glorious color.

Parting remark: Because I am on an immunosuppressant medication, I have to get lab work every 4 weeks. This morning, early, at the lab, a man in the waiting room was porting a mask but had it pulled down under his mouth. I asked him to mask-up. He replied with how it was his life and he would do as he pleased. My reply was that I was concerned about my life, and I asked the door-keeper to remove him. Lots of grumbling, but he pulled up his mask. I get it. It’s a new paradigm. However – we have choices, I choose to advocate for myself. Be brave…

For now, with thoughts for all, Coco

A week of gardening

It is with great relief and stiff muscles that I share my week of planting the front of my lovely bungalow.

I had all the material in the front beds removed (at some expense) last fall. Nine very old and diseased shrubs and various other things. And since then I’ve sprayed the weeds a bit and considered what I might like to do.

I did engage a landscaper, who came back with a plan I cannot afford, particularly after the news last Friday that I need to replace my entire air conditioning system. Priorities…

So – a walk thru the past week, minus multiple trips to nurseries for pics and plants, as well as the very dirty business of cleaning the beds and prepping them. Also cleaning me!! Four beds, before and after mulch…

College Park is a front porch neighborhood, people walking their pets, biking, kids playing, folks chatting across yards. I love my front porch. My son, grandson, and I can ‘distance’ here and share our lives, usually on Sunday.

Am I ready to get back to sewing? of course, and I look forward to watching my small plants grow. I feel so blessed. For now, coco

Now the fun part – new home

Now that I’m all moved in, here are some random pics of the neighborhood, and my house now and future. I’m in College Park, a small (pop. 12,000) mainstreet neighborhood in northwest Orlando. Most of the homes here were built in the early 1900’s, mine in 1947, and the majority are bungalows, with a smattering of newer homes and lots of renovations. It’s a dense neighborhood with narrow streets, a heavy tree canopy, and an abundance of tropical botanicals. It’s also very happy, with kids on bikes, courteous and friendly neighbors, and a warm feeling of community. It has 6 churches and 3 public schools (elementary, middle, and high school), 2 pharmacies, and a mid-century Publix market built in Publix’ signature deco style. The main street is 2 lanes, lined with pubs, restaurants, boutiques, a post office, a barbershop, and a couple bicycle shops. People walk here and sit outside with coffee and their pups.

Brugmansia spp., aka Angel’s Trumpet. Not for children or pets…

I saw my house the second and third day I was in Orlando, and I made an offer one day later. Property moves very quickly here, so I was fortunate with the timing and availability of the house. I admit I gulped at first – awful colors and no landscaping except a ton of grass. But I’m so glad I looked beyond the surface. It has been fully renovated inside, has new fencing, a 5-zone irrigation system, new double-pane e-vinyl windows, and, thankfully, no sliding glass doors!

Yesterday I met with a painter, recommended by a neighbor. He’ll be painting everything on the outside and pressure cleaning the hardscape. Here’s my working version (the main color is Sherwin Williams Revel Blue):

Moving day in the rain
Red letter day – all the packing materials on the curb for a bulk pickup (that wore me out)
Roof garden in the gutter of the screen porch! Soon to be gone
Ok, I do have two trees 🙂

Bye for now! Coco

More Carolyn PJs…

pj2 2

Straight from bed into my new Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas! That sounds backward, but I don’t actually sleep in my PJs.

I do love to wear them on rainy days (that cozy factor) and in the evening after my shower.

These have been in the sewing loft for over a week, pending photos. I do this all the time and I need to get them into my closet 🙂

This is my second pair of these super comfortable and cute PJs (first version here). Making them – layout, cutting, construction – is a rather big project, but it’s also fun because of all the details.


Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 8.44.41 PM

pj2 1

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed a straight size 8, View B, which has the cuffs on sleeves and pant legs.
  • This wonderfully cool and wrinkle-free fabric is chocolate/off-white cotton/lycra poplin shirting from Fabric Mart’s NY Designer category.  I looked at it for days before it went on sale for 60% off – I was really fortunate to get it.
  • Once again I applied bias edging details instead of piping. This time I used double-fold quilt binding, pressed open and cut to 2″ wide. It’s poly/cotton (no shrinking to speak of), and is a nice weight for an edging. It’s also available in a myriad of colors.pj2 top

pj2 edging

I like the fit of the pants so much that I’m planning a couple pairs to wear with a sleep shirt.

Something else got moved out of the loft this morning as well. This dress was on Emile for 4 weeks as part of the staging when the house was on the market!

dress 1

It’s Simplicity 8640 (purchased on Etsy), in Traveling Bananas, a cotton/rayon/linen blend from Fabric Mart’s Hawaiian Designer.

dress 2

Parting shot – my resident doves. I know they had a baby earlier this spring, because the three of them spent hours sitting together on the fence and ground-feeding once the juvenile was out of the nest. I had to take this photo from inside the house because they startle so easily. Beautiful.


Bye for now – Coco

Nautical Blackwood Cardigan


Such a great print! And perfect for a long Blackwood Cardigan.


After three weeks of workmen in the house, finally they’re done. I slept for 11 hours last night, with not a thing on my mind.


This super soft poly/lycra French terry is from Fabric Mart (and just sold out, they’re having a huge sale on knits). This is my second garment in poly/lycra French terry, and I am so impressed with it. Much nicer than cotton or rayon terry.

Just a few sewing notes:

  • I’ve made this wonderful cardigan about 8 times, both short and long. Yes, I love it. Thank you again, Helen!
  • I sew the Size Large (and I’m pretty small, it’s close-fitting).
  • As with my navy fleece version (here), I made a larger pocket and extended it onto the band and across the side seam.

Top: True Bias Nikko in modal stretch jersey, Cali Fabrics

I just took a walk in the garden, it’s such a lovely day. It’s spring and everything is blooming.

My husky cherry tomato is suddenly over 6″ tall and full of bloom and babies.


The orange jasmine trees (murraya paniculata) have been covered with flowers and even have some fruit. I had them trimmed about 6 weeks ago – they love a haircut. They’re not citrus, but, as with a citrus tree, trimming them stimulates flowering. And although they’re often mistaken for the mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius) that grows so rampantly in Hawaii, they’re not even cousins. I think the association arises from the orange-blossom fragrance that they share.

mock orange

And Ms. Guava is loaded with buds and starting to bloom.


I hope everyone is enjoying a nice weekend. Ciao! Coco

Making headway…

wonderwoman_620_090712 It happens that I just love this Wonder Woman pic! I should print and hang it in the Loft.

I’m almost feeling so spirited as well.

I checked in with my chronic care manager today, and I see my doctor tomorrow. I’ve been reassured that this season’s cold bug is nasty and lingering…

However. I think nothing gets one going so much as a little stretch. To wit, today I went to Home Depot, bought and planted a couple basket pothos replacements for the porch. My patio and porch are a mess, since I’m also in the midst of fertilizing and soil-topping my porch plants.  Yes, I collapsed afterward, and my mess is still out there.

Usually such a disorder outside would really bug me. But now I don’t care! It’s totally an inspiration to get up to speed.

The weekend should be awesome.

For now – Coco