En route to Brooklyn to visit old friends.

So, a while back, at the nudging of some friends, I signed up for a sewing class. I had some nice vintage fabrics, and I thought it would be nice to make a dress for Q now and then when the mood struck. Shortly after the second or third class, however, I got busy. Very busy. I had one too many jobs, and time at home became exceptionally tight. I had to drop out of the class.

The instructor was nice enough to offer me make up sessions during a future term of classes, however work has yet to let up, and I have finally moved out of the denial phase I've been in for so long, and realized that I am not likely to have time to sew anything until Q is maybe in college :)

A couple of weeks ago, I had a brilliant idea. Why not, instead of trying to make up those classes, ask the instructor (and accomplished seamstress and pattern designer) if she might want to adapt and sew a few of my designs for Q. She readily agreed.
You know how it is that a mother knows what suits her child? For a three-year-old, it becomes important - what goes on easily and stays on, what is comfortable for your child's activity level and personality, what suits. Well, it occurred to me that I could design a few (very few) simple, combineable and interchangeable pieces that would make a working wardrobe for a season.

For Q, dresses are best at this stage because she is still in that iffy stage of potty training where the rapid and easy removal of clothing is of essence. She is, however, a tomboy and an athlete - always on the move. Put anything binding or fussy on her, and you're in trouble. Her legs need to be free to run and climb, and everything she wears has to be comfortable and simple - no superfluous buttons, bows, frills or ties.

My solution:

- A faux-leather tunic with a deep vee neck and zippered front

- A short, swingy peasant dress that slips over the head, made in three or four different fabrics for variety, to be worn under the faux-leather tunic

- A faux-fur hooded poncho to be worn over all for warmth
Accessories include a stocking cap, legwarmers, and long fingerless gloves, maybe in a light stretch cream-colored wool, and an obi-style belt to be wrapped over the peasant dress when it is worn without the tunic.

I figured, for about the same as it would cost me to purchase a winter wardrobe in the stores, I could have these simple pieces tailor made for Q. All I'll need is warm tights, and we're set for the season. I have an appointment with the seamstress next week, and I have to say I'm excited. Today, we woke to the first cool day of the late summer, and with the scent of apples drifting through the windows, I can begin to imagine the crisp days of the Colorado fall. Now all I have to do is find the time to look for fabrics...

SPEAKING OF WHICH: I have a request for you! Please if you don't mind, share your favorite online fabric sources with me. I need to know!


Back in the big city.
I have included the pigeons here because Q really bonded with the pigeons of NY this trip. I'm pretty sure it was Mo Willems' Pigeon books that we have to thank for this new meeting of the minds. I mean, I guess it could just be a coincidence...but I doubt it.
Midtown this time, and in very close proximity to the Mad Mad Mad Mad BladeRunner-meets-Disneyland World that is Times Square today. Let me just say that Times Square was a whole lot different when I lived here in the '80s. But...yeah. That's the way the cookie crumbles.
I don't know, but something about our hotel reminded me of a Japanese capsule hotel as portrayed by William Gibson in, say, a story like New Rose Hotel. Well, but with a bit of 21st Century Gothic mixed in. Not that I entirely hate that image, but I did feel just a tad claustrophobic for a second there before I acclimatized. Maybe it was the meat locker-esque stainless steel walls. I'm a big fan of stainless steel, but this particular application feels a bit intense.
Do you love this wall? I love this wall. Like a hybrid of tic-tac-toe and early computer code.
Q getting comfortable. Not that it's hard for her. Q melts into any new environment with the ease of a world traveler. A world traveler who expects room service to arrive on time, the front desk to anticipate her every need, and her barista to know her drink. Which, I suppose, she is.
Do you see what I mean by modern Gothic? Don't you feel like Jack the Ripper might just find a new victim outside this doorway sometime near dawn? Or perhaps Dr. Jekyll might stop in to the lounge for a quick cocktail before the hour grows too late...
Not a bad spot, all in all.
Last day in Woodstock...

Among friends.

With her YaYa (LaoLao)

My Dutch grandfather on the top left, in the heyday of his career as an engineer and inventor, and me on the bottom right in my heyday as an equestrienne (age about 13).
Off to nap with Benjamin the bear, a gift from Woodstock friends.
And off to Rhinebeck and the train back to the city.


A bit more of Mohonk...just because it's so, so beautiful.
You really don't get the sense, from these pictures, of just how profoundly hot and humid it was on this day. Born and occasionally, at least for brief intervals, raised in the region, I have since forgotten the extremes of the climate. Fortunately, since we now inhabit a very livable and homosapien-friendly climate, I am much more capable of really appreciating the aesthetic beauty of the East Coast. In small, survivable doses.
It looks so very tranquil and idyllic, doesn't it? Fortunately you can't see the sweat that plastered our clothes to our bodies, and our hair to our foreheads.
I'm hoping, for the sake of these tranquil canoeists, that there was a bit of a breeze out there on that lake.
I'm really not sure, in this photo, whether Q is holding her hand to her heart in breathless reverie at the stunning view, or whether she is feeling like she might have a very early coronary due to the heat. This is a girl born in one of China's most extreme climates (and extreme it certainly was). Still, living for two years in Colorado, she may have lost a bit of her tolerance for the extremes. And btw, she is not wet from the lake. She is wet with sweat.
Inside the lodge at Mohonk, a fabled place of much venerable history.
I stayed in this lodge once, many many years ago. But these days we can't afford the entry fee, and are consigned to passing through quietly and with alacrity so as not to be charged above and beyond the "hiking fee" that we pay to walk the grounds from the lower parking lot.
It is, however, truly a magnificent place in so many ways.
The lake is stocked with trout so large that one would have a hard time lifting one from the water, even though they are also so tame as to be easily seduced with a handful of trout chow (at 25 cents a handful.
Q has not yet reached the age at which we might be able to trust her not to stand up in a boat, so the gorgeous, lacquered wooden canoes are still off limits to us. Maybe someday...

I love how the buildings are the same color and tone of the moss that clings to the shale rocks that rise out of the lakebed.
A stone gazebo is like something out of a fairytale.

Mohonk is perhaps most famous for its exquisitely curated gardens, but I have spent so much time on these gardens in posts from other years that I will just give them a brief nod in this post. I would actually very much love to see them someday in winter, when crests of snow top the arched gateways and the cypress trees of the ornamental maze. But that's for another year and another post.


Mohonk Mountain House...the tradition:
Though we only had two days in Woodstock this trip, we still managed to make it up to the Mohonk Mountain House, in spite of the heat an humidity, and our tight schedule.
Q making a hat out of the regional map.
And donning Daddy's hat during the wait for the shuttle up to the "mountain".
A butterfly making merry with a localized thistle.
Still waiting for the bus.
At the hiker's cabin, ready to eat lunch and set out on our journey.
The "secret" tree.
Inside the secret tree.

Mohonk from afar.

One of many gazebos overlooking the lake.
Hiking with Daddy.

More to follow...