weekend links

Hello, friends! I hope you had a great week. I can’t believe it’s October already!

I started working with a tutor this week and am already starting to feel better about learning Spanish. It’s really challenging to be so limited in the number of things I can say (“the man drinks milk” doesn’t help much when you need to buy vacuum bags), and last week I started to feel a little discouraged and isolated, which I know is very common when you move to a new country. Once I finish writing this book I’ll have more time for discussion groups that will help me to progress more quickly, but at least for now I’m starting to get a basic grasp of the language in terms of possessive pronouns and things like that. I’ll tackle verb tenses when I know a few more verbs!

We’re keeping a close eye on Hurricane Joaquin as it approaches the east coast. My sister and brother-in-law are staying in our apartment while we’re away, and so far life in NYC has presented quite a series of challenges for them. I wish I could be there to help out, but I trust that everyone will be well prepared for the storm. If you’re in the path of the storm, be safe!

Pinterest Picks

Such a sweet little Tea Party Sundress.


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This is the next Cappuccino Dress I’ll be making. Such a beautiful color! Silk or silk/linen, or maybe even just linen, we’ll see what I can find.


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And as long as we’re thinking about that beautiful dusty peach color, I think it would be fun to lengthen the City Stroll Skirt to make a skirt similar to this one. Just use the lengthen/shorten line and add a LOT of length for this look.


oct 2 dpinterest link


Isn’t this a cute idea for packaging a gift? I love the sewn detail.


oct 2 epinterest link


Weekend DIY with the kids: hand-made party blowers!


oct 2 fpinterest link


Weekend Reading

  1. When I pick up S from school at the end of the day, she’s completely exhausted. Learning another language is hard work, and with so many changes all at once I completely understand why she’s so tired. But I still want to know what’s happening in her life, and these questions really help to gradually draw her out and get her to talk a little bit about school and her new classmates and teachers as we walk home. By the time we’ve arrived, I usually have a pretty good picture of what her day was like.
  2. As long as I’m on the topic of learning a new language (sorry!), a dear friend sent me this fascinating article about why it’s more difficult for adults to learn a new language than it is for children. All this research makes me wonder: since S is 10–right on the cusp of the brain change that seems to happen–and she has a very strong grasp of language and the meaning of words, which side of the language learning divide will she fall on? I’d love to know. (By the way, S and I are dedicating part of each day to learning Spanish by watching Peppa Pig en espanol together. I know; it’s tough, right?)
  3. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of hearing the same style icons trotted out all the time: Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, Edie Sedgwick, you know what I mean. We need some new style leaders, and I loved this article for exactly that reason. Right now I’m inspired by the unique styles ofย  Tilda Swinton, Daphne Guinness, and all the Advanced Style ladies for their eccentric looks. (P.S. Have you seen the Advance Style documentary? So fun, and I think it’s available on Netflix!)
  4. Do you make a point of being stopping to be thankful during the day? Lots of research has shown that gratitude contributes in large ways to our overall feelings of happiness. And that applies to how we approach our work, as well.

And on that note, I want to tell you how grateful I am to be able to sit here and write this to you. It’s a beautiful day, it’s a Friday, we’re going to the ballet tomorrow, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend doing whatever you’re planning to do! See you next week.




  1. Thank you so much for sharing the Tea Party Dress ๐Ÿ™‚ Such a lovely pattern!

    We have moved internationally with our family too. My girls had to change their 2nd language from Spanish to English when we moved from Spain to Texas. They were at a younger age than S, but it is amazing how quickly they learn.

    Os deseo un aรฑo maravilloso en Madrid! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Maureen

    My son has lived in several Asian countries for business reasons. With each new country, he and his family have found groups of “Ex Pats” (ex-Patriots)…soon to be their new American friends. Hoping you may have such a group in Madrid to welcome and support you in your new adopted home land.

  3. love hearing about your adventure in Spain. When I was learning Spanish I used to borrow out the Spanish children’s picture books from the library. Loved women of advanced style and I think Iris is on Netflix (although to rent or stream I don’t know) and bill Cunningham New York too.

  4. Darci

    those are great after school questions. I’ll have to remember them.
    I’d love to hear more about your sisters adjustment to living in NY, if it’s not too personal. I know living in nyc isn’t easy, but I’ve never lived my adult life outside of a major city.
    And I agree about the same old style icons. It’s boring after awhile. My own personal style is non existent, but I, too, love Tilda Swinton. I also like Cate Blanchett.

    1. I’ll ask her if she’d like to write about it, Darci. I know she’s really enjoyed exploring the city, and it helps that she spent a summer with us when she was in college. She already knows her way around and is moving from Minneapolis, which is a decent-sized metropolis in itself.

  5. Janelle

    More recent research–and the internet polyglot community–suggest that it’s actually not more difficult for adults to acquire a second language. However, the way we go about it is very different from how children do it.

    Children play with language first. It is a means of understanding and being understood. They are fearless in their experimentation, making guesses at phrasing before being thrown into reading, writing and grammar.

    However, adult learners start with reading, writing and grammar, and are reluctant to make mistakes, all of which hampers the learning process. So, don’t lose heart! Your Spanish will come along soon enough if you keep plugging away at it.

    1. That makes a lot of sense, Janelle. I must admit, I really enjoy playing with it and am not afraid to make a complete fool of myself. So I guess that will work in my favor?

  6. Janome Gnome

    I learned French as an adult really (I’m not going to count the years of UK school French lessons after which the French Institute classed me as a beginner!). Now, I’m a translator as well as journalist, writer and editor in bilingual workplaces and this is the best kept secret ever: Quite simply the best translation site in the world. http://www.linguee.com/ No kidding, I almost cried with joy when I discovered it, it’s so good. It uses existing translations of everyday texts from a variety of professions, so you can see the word or phrase and it’s context too. You can also find the exact ideal phrasing of things you know all the words to but don’t want to sound clunky, like ‘please find attached’ or ‘on the one hand xxx but on the other yyy”. I just checked a few random sewing ones (presser foot, grain line and drape) and it had them all, used in sentences. The french for presser foot, btw, is pied de biche, which literally means doe’s foot. …. It’s a lot of slog, but moments like that make it worth it.

    1. Thanks for the link! I hadn’t heard of linguee and will definitely take a good look at it. It sounds fantastic!

  7. Helena

    I have bilingual Greek/English cousins. When they were young and they were in the UK after a period of absence they would come out with the cutest translations of Greek phrases – go with feet, for example. I would like to say their bilingual(ity – such a word??) helps them get work in Greece, but it doesn’t at the mo ๐Ÿ™

    As for style icon, Patti Smith all the way!

  8. Thought of you when I found this blog post today – a Spanish language fashion/sewing blog to try your translating on! You might recognise the dress pattern too. http://www.mamemimo.com/2015/08/07/vestido-rojo-atelier-brunette/

  9. Missy

    Hello! Wondering if you made the Cappuccino in silk? If so, I would love to see photos. We moved to Seoul about a year and a half ago…takes a while to figure things out but it gets easier! Enjoy Spain ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Missy, both of the Cappuccinos in this post are in silk: http://oliverands.com/community/blog/2014/03/introducing-the-cappuccino-dress-and-tunic.html

      And it does get easier! Now we’ve been here for five months and it’s much easier. My Spanish is much better, too! xo

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