Friday, May 28, 2010

Cozy and Bright

Oh boy is it ever raining!  It is relentless, and there's no end in sight.  It's warm out, though, and so the plants are vigorous with growth.  It feels a little tropical here, actually. 

This week I found some time to sew up a couple of pillow covers. I found this fabric designed by Laura Gunn for Michael Miller and immediately felt connected to the lush, tropical feel.  I think they look really fresh!

You can find them in both my Etsy and Artfire shops.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Second Bag

Just a quick post to show you the second bag that I made for my neighbor.  I'm so pleased with the way that these came out; I hope they provide lots and lots of good use! 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sewing For Myself: Well... Sort Of

In keeping with the theme of taking time for myself, I decided that I really needed to boost my exercise routine. I love to exercise, and running is my work-out of choice (because it serves a dual purpose of physical and mental exercise). But a knee injury had left me feeling despondent and resolved to being in my 40s. Luckily for me, my neighbor and friend is a personal trainer and agreed to take me on in exchange for some messenger bags! Win-Win! Here is the first bag that I made for her. I love it's sunny brightness combined with the art nouveau design. Of course, the print is designed by Anna Maria Horner, one of my favorites! And since I've been working out with my neighbor, I'm feeling much stronger and was even able to run a little bit last weekend without knee pain. HOORAY!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Princess Petticoat

One of the ways that I'm trying to reduce stress this year is by saying "No" more often to custom sewing projects.  It's not that I don't like doing them, it's that they take so much time that I fall behind in my other tasks.  But I don't want to say no to every project, and this one was very rewarding for me. 

One of Bronwyn's friends is playing Little Miss Muffet in the school play this year, and she really wanted a big poufy petticoat for her dress.  She asked me to help out, and I was happy to oblige.  First of all, sewing for kids is very satisfying because they go into their world of fantastic imagination and they don't care what the seams look like, as long as the outcome is "Poufy".  Secondly, working with tulle makes me feel all girly and it makes me remember how it was when I was seven years old.  Back then I believed in Fairies and in Princesses who happily picked daisies in the sunshine all day. 

So on sunny days, I sat out on the porch and pinned tulle onto the underlayer and pretended that I didn't have a care in the world.  It was very theraputic. 

For this project, I basically made a tiered skirt out of white muslin, and sewed 6 yards of tulle to it.  Very simple, but time consuming!  Thank goodness for sunny porch days!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fabric Love Friday

I just recently purchased and received two of the coolest fabrics I've ever found!  I found them overseas from a shop in South Korea called Ness Home.  The fabric is a linen/cotton blend and is wonderful to work with.  My mind is racing with all of the awesome things I want to make with it!  First up: Market totes.  I made two sizes: one is wide and short, the other is tall.  I thought I'd try them out and then see which of the two I liked the best. 

I used French Seams on the inside so that I didn't have to line the bag, which allows them to fold up with less bulk, too.  The top contrast fabric is a chambray weave shot cloth that I'm also in love with.


 I'm hoping to offer them for sale in the not-too-distant future.  Which do you like the best?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Up Early

I'm up early this morning.  Brian is digging clams at the beach and Bronwyn is still sleeping.  The yard is glorious!  I thought I'd share a couple of pictures that I took.  It was so lovely to have some time in the morning to myself!  Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Friday, May 14, 2010

When it's Dark, You Can See the Stars

Yesterday was an excercise in being present. 

In the morning, I took Bronwyn for some routine bloodwork.  She gets this done on a regular basis to check the levels of medicine in her blood, and also to monitor her liver enzymes and other important vitals.  This trip to the Doctor used to be filled with anxiety, tears, and woozy tummies.  Now it's really routine; Bronwyn hardly flinches at the needle.  Of course we have an awesome phlebotomist, who loves and respects Bronwyn and that really makes it better.  But yesterday there was trouble with the vein because there is scar tissue developing there from so much use.  I can't tell you how much this broke my heart when I heard it.  I felt so sad for Bronwyn and how much she has to put up with; how hard she has to work for every little thing.  And yet, she is sweet and sunny and almost never complains.  She is such an incredible example to me.
Later, that evening, I was priviledged enough to be able to hear Greg Mortenson speak at our local college.  If you're not familiar with him, he is best known for the book he wrote called, "Three Cups of Tea," and now his new book, "Stones into Schools."  His life's work revolves around promoting peace through the education of children, especially girls, in Afganistan and Pakistan.  He does this very successfully because he works very hard to obtain support and "buy-in" from the local communities that will be hosting and running the schools.  In this work, Greg is surrounded by adversity.  And when I say adversity, I mean the kind that we really don't want to think about, let alone imagine the details of.  And yet he continues on with compassion, kindness, understanding, and respect.  His goal is to empower people to help themselves, not just to offer assistance to them.  

Greg quoted several people in his speech, but the two that resonated with me that night were these: "Even if the world ends tomorrow, I will plant my seed today." (Martin Luther King Jr.), and "When it's dark, you can see the stars." (A local village leader).  Suddenly I remembered that all that matters is what I'm doing right now.  And yes, it's important for me to think of how my actions might impact the future, but the future is created now.  And also, I realized that there is beauty everywhere and hope everywhere.  Even when (and almost especially when) it's dark.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Woah Nelly

I have been realizing that I need to slow down a bit.  This feeling comes in cycles, and I've discovered that I can honor it and be at peace, or I can fight it and feel like I'm fighting all the time.  Let's just say that sometimes I don't make the right decision.  Thankfully this time I can see the pothole before I get to it and hopefully I can swerve before I deflate something.

Today is "farm day," which is one of my ways to slow down.  I will go pick up a load of mulch and then spend an afternoon pulling weeds.  Although it sounds like a terrible chore, I find it meditative.  Laundry is also on the list, and cooking up a nice dinner.

Recently I made a scarf for a favorite customer, and I decided that in honor of my slowing down I would add some handwork to the project.  This scarf features one of my favorite prints by Heather Ross.  It's called, "Swimming Sisters."  I made a Pinnafore for Bronwyn's school picture out of it, remember?  I hand sewed the topstitching, and then added little embroidered "x's" along the border.  These reminded me of the X chromosome, and so I felt all the womanly godess-ness flowing from me.  It was theraputic and wonderful. 

See?  When I listen to my own needs, I feel better!

Monday, May 10, 2010


What a lovely weekend we had!  It was sunny and warm.  I got to hang clothes on the line, plant sunflowers and lay in the grass with my sweet daughter whilst listening to birds.  Ahhh.... And for Mother's Day, I was presented with a lovely hand-decorated box and handmade bookmark.  Both were done by my daughter, which is much more difficult for her to create than you can imagine.  When I opened my gifts, she beamed with pride.  And that was the greatest gift of all.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Keeping it Fun

Before I say anything else, I must send out a big Happy Birthday to my dear Brother.  I love you!  Oh, and Happy Birthday also to Pete Seeger; I love you, too, but not as much as my Brother!

Bronwyn and I spent the weekend in Portland, Oregon because there was a Mother Daughter gala at Stonehenge Studios, the boutique that is now carrying BCharmer goodies.  We delivered wallets, zippies, scarves and headbands for the event.  I am tortured by the fact that I forgot to bring my camera on this trip (It was the first item on my list and I actually remembered to bring extra batteries, but No camera; unbelievable)!  So I will show you photos taken upon our return home.

While visiting the Studio, I met the most wonderful artist.  Her name is Billie and she's of advanced age (a Lady never tells).  No longer able to run her sewing machine well or to get out as much as she used to, she picked up her needle and thread and started creating the most beautiful aprons.  Of course I had to have one!  They are made with the most wonderful fabrics and they are full of hand stitched goodness.  Her work can be found at Stonehenge Studios, which is located on Corbett St in Portland.

Today I'm wearing my new apron while I'm cleaning and cooking and it has made these tasks so much more enjoyable!  This has me thinking that there really is something beneficial about ritualizing the banal.  Doing the dishes is not the first activity that springs to mind when I think "fun." But a simple act of intention, like donning an apron before the chore, makes that job feel more pure and purposeful somehow.  Somehow I feel connected to my foremothers/sisters and I realize how easy I've got it compared to them.  Thank-You, Billie, for sharing your talents and for helping me feel more in touch with the joys of the moment.