Wining Wife®

Because housework goes better with Malbec...

Girls’ Club Apron by Muffin Head Patterns

MDisclosure: I received a free copy of the Girls’ Club Apron in exchange for sewing it up as a tester and providing honest feedback about the tutorial and the fit. 

Perhaps you’ve heard of Muffin Head Patterns. If you’re a fan of the baseball uniforms worn in A League of Their Own, you’ll be pleased to know that you can find a pattern for sewing these in girls through women’s plus sizes. In fact, the Girls’ Club Apron is based upon this uniform, and it sews up super-cute. I was using testing fabric I’d picked up at a thrift store to make my apron,  but I want to make another one and order one of the cool women’s ball club patches for the bodice. 

The apron sewed up pretty quickly, and the directions were easy enough to follow for someone who has been sewing for a little bit. There is a lining in the apron, and I suggest understitching it to the seam so that it lays better. You’ll also want to hand stitch the apron lining to the waistband to cover your seam. If you do all of this, you’ll have a very nicely finished apron that you can give as a gift if you wish; the seams in the skirt are French seams. 

I got each of the fabrics used while thrifting. The green boxes fabric is actually lighter weight than I’d prefer if I were to make it again. I wound up not putting buttons on the apron because I couldn’t find the ones I’d wanted to put on easily in my stash. (Everything is still pretty much packed up from our July move). The brownish red fabric came from a box of vintage fabrics as did the green that I used for the waistband and apron ties. 

The pattern goes from women’s small – 3X. I made the 2XL/3XL size given my bust measurement. If you think I look like I’ve lost weight; I have. My jeans are HUGE on me.  The fit was really great b/c I’m breastfeeding Little Man, so I’ve got a bit extra on top right now…making it so my bottoms are all too big and my tops are all too small. I’ll have to uh, make some new clothes and fix that problem!

It was a fun project to work on, and I’m thankful I was chosen to be a tester for it! (Even if I was a little slow getting the test done due to my brother’s passing and a newborn with colic). 

Purchase the Vintage Apron Girls’ Club pattern at Muffin Heads Patterns’ Etsy Store.



Moving Through Grief

The three of usSo, my older brother died. 

That seems like a really tactless way to put it. I could say “he passed” or “he’s no longer with us,” but that seems euphemistic and to avoid looking at what happened in the face. I have tried several times to write this post, and I’ve struggled with it – both in terms of putting into words how I’m feeling and in writing the post itself. It hurts. The emotions are still very raw.

The picture to the right is of the three of us – my older brother, myself when I was about 4 or so, and my younger brother. I had it as my profile picture on Facebook for a bit, but had to change it, because it hurt to look at the photo. 

You see, a few days after Christmas, my sister-in-law let me know that he was missing. The next day, they filed a missing person’s report (I live in the southern midwest, my niece and sister-in-law are in California). 

The past month has been a bit of a blur…both in terms of the sad feelings I have and just in terms of sleepless nights with a toddler and a newborn. I’ve been dipping my toes into the getting back to work water, but it’s been hard.

I’m digressing. This is the problem with this emotion that I’m feeling. I keep trying to get away from it,and I keep getting distracted with other things. The other night, I had a dream that I’d wanted to show him something, but then in the dream, I’d remembered he’d passed away.

So what happened, was that he went missing on Christmas Eve. I guess my sister-in-law and niece kept thinking he’d just turn back up, and that’s why it took them a few days to report that he was missing. I don’t know if he’d taken off like this before. I don’t really know that, because once I was an adult, we weren’t really all that close – different life paths and all. I had a reporter trying to ask me for a quote about the kind of person Rick was when he died. I can’t answer that question very well, because truth be told, the almost 14 years between us meant that I didn’t know him as well as I should have known a brother. We grew up in different households too – he was raised by my grandparents, not my parents. So there was that.

As a kid, I always looked up to him. I wanted to go to concerts with him, because concerts seemed cool. My mom wouldn’t let me because of something called “pot” and things called “drugs.” I had no clue what that stuff was when I was 4; I just wanted to be where he was. I promise you, this is all related.

So sometime around Mid-January, my niece called me. She was upset. I knew what she was going to say. I just didn’t know the context. Evidently he died on Christmas Eve. He was wet and out of his mind when people saw him collapse. It was natural causes, but the news reported he had methamphetamine in his system. He was 51 years old. I don’t really know how to wrap my mind around everything. 

When he’d visit us, as a kid, I’d bust out my flute, or my math book, or my latest ballet routine. I wanted to impress him because I thought he was so cool. It’s not cool to die with meth in your system. I’m angry with him for drugs; but I understand the kind of pain he was masking by self medicating.  

I can’t remember a time in my life where my sister-in-law wasn’t part of it. I know that they started dating at some point. I know that they’ve had ups and downs. I know that she’s hurting beyond words. I don’t know what to say to her. I don’t have words. My ill-timed awkward habit of making jokes is out of place, and her need for someone to hold her hand through grief is great. I can’t be that person right now, because it’s all I can do to function from one day to the next for my kids, for my husband, for my self.

The night I got the newsThe thing they don’t tell you about grief is that it’s a circular process. It’s not just like denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Some days, I still feel shock, like when I had the dream. Other days, I burst out in an angry waterfall of tears. Some days it’s hard to do anything other than hold my kids tight, give them love, and hope that they all three feel the mad amount of love I have for them, and that they never feel the need to self medicate. My younger brother is an alcoholic. He spent his 30th birthday in the ICU being diagnosed with liver cirrhosis. Yes, I run a blog titled “Wining Wife.” Yes, I think it’s super important to be healthy. Yes, I think that having a cocktail once every month or so or a glass or two of wine a week is fine. Having two bottles of vodka a night…is probably not a great idea. I’m glad that he’s given up drinking. I was very very close to him – despite fighting with him all the time – during our childhood. Both my brothers gave up school in high school. My older brother eventually got his GED. I have an MA in philosophy. Life directions…  Life is never smooth; it’s never “neat.” There are always hills and valleys to navigate – sometimes at the same time – like the birth of a very much wanted and planned baby coupled with the death of the sibling.

I joined some Facebook grief groups. Because I honestly don’t have the tools to deal with this. I know how grief works. I’ve studied it in my intro to psychology classes. But when it happens to you, it’s kind of like someone took a giant frying pan of sad and slapped you in the face with it, then immediately poured ice over the wound to numb everything. Or, maybe that’s just me.

And I think that’s why I’m struggling the most. It’s because it’s not clear. I still feel joy when I hold Little Man and go with Little Miss to her gymnastics classes and dance classes. I can hold my husband’s hand at a restaurant and appreciate both the extremely delicious meal we’re enjoying and the fact that I won the gift certificate allowing us to enjoy the meal. I can still smile in pictures, not only because it’s a picture, but because, even through the grief, I don’t believe that the people we love ever truly leave us.  I think they live on in our memories of them.

I’m sad for the relationship we didn’t have as adults. But relationships require the efforts of two people…and while there were a few attempts, lack of time, different lifestyles, and location kept us from being close. I’m glad he got to see my oldest run in a cross-country meet, and I’m glad that my oldest did get to meet him. And I know it will take time to heal. And I guess that’s where I’ve been for the past few weeks. Just kind of processing everything and riding the waves of the various emotions I feel right now. 

My niece was born three days after my thirteenth birthday. Boy was I excited to be an aunt. Well, and sometimes my thirteen-year-old self would pretend that she was my own little one when I’d go with my dad to the store to pick out some outfits for her, when I’d change her diapers, when I’d prepare a bottle for her and hold her close, when I’d bathe her, when I’d help my dad feed her baby food because my mom was sick and my sister-in-law needed a break. And it was all a joy to me. And I was always thrilled to see her and play wiht her…because I’ve always loved children and I’ve always wanted children. My niece will always have a part of my brother with her, in her blood, in her soul. I can’t imagine how much pain she is in right now. I wish I could hug her. But grief is a journey you wade through on your own. Sure, you can have people around you, they can hold you up and hug you, but the emotion is something that each of us experiences. It’s something that is uniquely my own; her own; my sister-in-law’s own; my mother’s own…grief is.

And so, I keep moving, one day, one hour at a time. 

I keep on moving through the murky waters called “grief.”

Wining Around the Web January 10, 2016

2013-02-23 17.01.46Pour a glass of wine and kick back. Here are some of the goings-on around the Internet’s blogosphere you may have missed this past week that you should catch up on. 

News from the Wine World

1 Wine Dude put together The Most Interesting Wines of 2015. I’m intrigued by some of the wines on this list, particularly since I have not tried them. Plus, learn about what makes a $650 bottle of wine one of the most interesting ones – and I promise you, it’s not just the price.

The author at Please Bring Me My Wine wrote a rant concerning Dry January. There are some good points – including the one that when you drink heavily for 11 months out of the year and then try to compensate by taking a month off, it doesn’t do a whole lot of good for your liver. Just drink in moderation!

Andrew Neather at IOL poses the question, “Can a Wine Really Taste of Wet Dog?”  Now while this was an older article and came out in 2013, the question is still very interesting. 

News from the Sewing World

V9168, Misses' Flutter-Sleeve Dress, Belt and SlipVogue patterns recently came out with their Spring 2016 collection. There are only a couple of patterns I will be picking up from the collection, including Vogue 9168. I noticed that McCall’s also came out with new patterns in the past couple of weeks. 

Carolyn at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic just celebrated her 10 year blogging anniversary.  A hearty congratulations to her. I’ve been following her from quite some time. 

I wrote a guest post about sewing resolutions for BWDFabrics. I’m particularly looking forward to sewing down my stash!

News from the Parenting and Relationships Blog World

I thought that this post by Amy at Raising Arrows was a rather good post. She talks about how having big kids and little kids in the same household is a wonderful thing.  I wound up perusing her blog after reading it, and realized that she has a lot of great advice – even if you do not have as large of a family as does she (and even if you are not Christian). 

I stumbled upon this post from One Fresh Marriage, 7 Things to Do for Your Marriage in the New Year.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to laugh together as a couple – even if times are tough. In fact, laughing together is what got us through a rough 2015.

This roasted butternut risotto tastes heavenly and hardly requires any stirring!

Cookie and Kate’s Butternut Squash Risotto (image courtesy of Cookie and Kate)

Recipes I want to try soon

There’s always a lot going on out there. What did you read recently that you want to share with others? Please post your blog post recommendations in the comments section with a brief summary of what the post was about and why you liked it!

Happy New Year from Wining Wife

12301274_928986570524098_257289394_nOkay, so I’m like…a few days late, but still! Happy 2016! I’m still getting used to toddler tending while also snuggling a 3 week old. The teenager, of course, needs teenager attention too, so things have been a bit busy around here. I’m excited to be back at the computer and writing this post, though, and I’d love to share some of my 2016 plans with all of you. There are some really cool things in store!

1. Finish the launch of Ronda B. Handmade

Before I had Little Man, I’d been planning to launch a new business featuring handmade items. I’m still working on this, even though a nasty cold and then delivering little man delayed the process a bit. Sign up to receive a notification when there are items in the shop here.

2. Launch a new branch of my writing and editing consulting business

I’ll have more updates on when this will happen. A business plan is in progress.

3. Start tot school with Little Miss.

I have all kinds of great resources to begin tot school with her; I just need to set some time aside. She already knows her alphabet, and some of the sounds of letters, her shapes, and her numbers from 1-10. It will be fun to do art projects with her and some of the fun science experiments from Mudpies to Magnets and More Mudpies to Magnets as well as build on her knowledge. I don’t plan on doing more than 20-30 minutes of learning activities a day as we also do a lot of learning through play in our home.

4. Sew more from my stash

I have a lot of fabric and a lot of patterns hanging out. It will be nice to make use of the resources I have. One of the ways I’ll do this is by participating in The 100 Item Sewing Challenge.

5. Share more recipes and get back to the cookbook a week challenge

To be honest, this probably won’t start until February. But I’m looking forward to getting back to it!

6. Share more wine reviews with you

I have some notes and photos of a 30-year-old wine we opened up and enjoyed with our Christmas dinner. I’m really looking forward to sharing that with you.

7. Get fit

I want to get back into running and being active. After a pregnancy, postpartum depression, and another pregnancy, my body would love for me to move it more. It will be fun to explore our new community’s outdoor areas through hiking about as well.

8. Read more

Wining Husband and I have a LOT of books. I’d love to make my way through them! I’m also realistic, so I’m not even going to say I’m doing the 52 week book a week challenge. Because, let’s face it. I have limited time right now to sneak away and read.

I have other things on my radar for this year too. What sorts of goals do you have for this new year? Please share in the comments!

Little Man is Here!

I’m pleased to announce that our new little squish has arrived. It’s taken me a few days to post about it because, well, exhaustion. He was 7lbs 14oz and 21 inches long. Labor didn’t go exactly as planned – I made it through 99% of it natural and then elected to have an epidural at the last minute after being stuck in the very painful transition phase for 2 hours waiting for him to turn – and it was long as it started 6 days before I was induced to get regular contractions. As soon as I got the epidural, he turned, and he entered into the world! He loves to eat and snuggle, and he squeaks in his sleep.  I’m so happy to hold him, and I’m looking forward to sewing more and taking advantage of some of the area’s wine tastings! :) 

I got to go home just in time for Little Miss’s birthday, and we celebrated it a little bit late. I did not make her dress, but I did make the tights she wore with her party dress. In all, it has been a very busy few weeks since I last posted. I had intended to participate in the Six Degrees of Separation blog tour hosted by Sew the Show (check out some of the stops), but after having some early contractions, I came home and promptly came down with a nasty cold that would not go away. I also wound up not making my little gal’s birthday dress or Christmas dress (but I had backup dresses available). But I think new little man is well-worth it. He makes a very nice addition to our family. His big brother quite enjoys him too :).

Wear to Where? Fashion & Sewing Tour: Touring Your City

city touringSo there I was, hanging out on Facebook, when I saw this call for participants in an intriguing-sounding blog tour. The fabulous Katy McKinley of Wild & Wanderful and Angelica Ross of Gardening in High Heels came up with the idea to have a series of posts written by sewists and fashion bloggers dedicated to suggestions of outfits to wear to a variety of events and in a variety of situations. Naturally, I *had* to sign up for the tour – even if it meant I’d be modeling clothes a day before I hit 35 weeks pregnant.   Continue reading

Prayers For Paris

I have no words for what happened in Paris tonight, just an unbelieveable sadness for the French people, all people, and for the families and friends of those who were lost. 

Love, prayers, and peace to all tonight.

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Badgley Mischka Holiday Collection at Rent the Runway

*This is a sponsored post with affiliate links, however, all opinions in this post are my own.*

DSC_0357Anyone who has been paying attention to this blog for a little while knows that I have a “slight” Badgley Mischka obsession. I still want to make the James Bond type dress from last year’s Vogue winter and holiday release. I’m in love with that black and white dress with the cascade, the only thing that’s stopped me thus far is a baby bump. :) You’ll also recall the fun I had last year on my birthday when my husband took me out for a lovely dinner and I dressed up in a LOVELY IGIGI dress and earrings by Slate and Willow.   Continue reading

Enter Tea Collection’s Holiday Celebrations Sweepstakes!


*This is a sponsored post from one of my affiliates*

Tea Collection has partnered with Hello Fresh, May Designs, Try the World and Green Kid Crafts to bring you one wonderful Holiday sweepstakes. With the holiday season upon us, we know that you will be exchanging well wishes, warm greeting and gifts with your family and friends. We’re all thankful for the connections we have – both around the corner and around the world – it’s certainly a reason to celebrate! These amazing companies are celebrating by giving away goodies to help your entire family create connections to new cultures, new ideas and cherished loved ones. Three lucky winners will get a $250 Tea Collection gift card, $250 worth of easy-to-make farm fresh meals from HelloFresh, $250 May Designs gift card, a 1-year subscription to Try the World and a 1-year subscription to Green Kid Crafts. The last day to enter is November 22nd, 2015. What a prize! Go here to enter this amazing giveaway >>


Dandelions n’ Dungarees Easy A-Line Skirt

Dandelions n' Dungarees Easy A-Line SkirtThere are only 7 1/2 weeks until my due date. That means I have a lot to do. I’m hoping to share some information about Kansas wineries that I’ve learned while researching. Yes, there are wineries in Kansas! I’m looking forward to learning more about them when I can enjoy wine again. In the meantime, I’ve been sewing a lot. In fact, I have another big announcement you should stay tuned for at the end of this post. Meanwhile, I’m here to talk about my newest addiction: Sewing the Easy A-Line Skirt by Dandelions n’ Dungarees. This is a really simple pattern – and it’s a great girls’ sewing pattern for beginners. I made THREE of these, and I have plans to make two more for my girl – one with a teal corduroy and one with a purple with white polka dots cotton. These are going to be great with tights underneath as we roll into fall. Continue reading

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