Browsing Tag


The 80s Strike Again

Funny how decades have more than one life.  When I was in high school, we were all abuzz for the 60s and the “hippy” lifestyle.  Or at least, the bowdlerized version we imagined it was.  For my oldest, it’s the 80s.  So when she was deciding what to do for her birthday this year, she asked if she could throw herself a “Fifteen Candles” party.  Hard to refuse.

I am a long way from being a perfect parent–I’m impatient, I’m demanding, and I often say the wrong thing.  I’ve hurt my child’s feelings plenty of times, and dropped the ball on promises.  One thing I do that makes her immensely happy, though, is to always make her an on-demand birthday cake.  One year, it was a massive crab–all out of frosting (note: do not do this–the red food coloring, despite all its re-formulation, tastes super icky in large concentrations).  Another year, it was a beach-and-shark scene, complete with gummi sharks and a little graham cracker beach hut.

This year, she asked for a Rubik’s Cube cake.

Continue Reading

Sewing Goals 2010, Summer of the Teen: Measuring

Our oldest was gone for a whole week, visiting with my mother for her annual summer retreat from the siblings.  It was much, much harder to have her away than I thought it would be.  We celebrated her birthday at the lake with my folks, and while we were there, it occurred to me that she wouldn’t ALWAYS want to spend her birthday with us.  In a few years, she’ll want to spend it with her friends, and a few years after that, with her husband, and a few years after that, with her own kids.  It was a bit of a blow, I’ll be honest.  She’s fifteen now, and suddenly she’s not a little girl anymore.

Measuring her for her new clothes, I see in the tape just how grown up she’s become.  It reminded me of my favorite George Bernard Shaw quote, from Man and Superman:

The only person who behaves sensibly is my tailor.  He takes my measure anew every time he sees me.  All the rest go on with their old measurements.

In a lot of ways, I think that summarizes my entire parenting philosophy: I want to meet my kids all over again each day, and know them for who they are, rather than for who I want or expect them to be.  Sewing for our oldest has given me the chance to see her through her eyes, and have a better picture of what she thinks of herself.  It’s invaluable information for any parent, and helps me know how to respond to her and how to better understand the subtext when she acts all crazy cakes the way a fifteen-year-old is bound to do.  Making clothing for her for what may be one of the last times as she grows up and grows out of our house, I am grateful for the chance to see her unfold into a whole person, and hopeful for the future she sees in front of her.

It all happens each day, one stitch at a time, as we sew our children’s lives and they accept and run.  Roots and wings, y’all.

Independence Day, and Giveaway Winners!

Yesterday, our great nation celebrated 234 years of independence.  And my oldest child celebrated 15 years on this planet.  Our nation’s bicentennial has an awful lot to do with the rebirth of sewing and quilting back in 1976, and my child’s birth has an awful lot to do with my embracing craft and sewing as I got older (more on both those topics in a future Anthropology of Sewing post).

What better way to celebrate than a quick trip to see Mom, have some apple pie (well, birthday cake, but still), and splash about in the lake?

Fantastic weather, great time with family, and a delicious birthday cake (decorated by her younger sister) to fete our eldest on her quinceanera.  Such a wonderful holiday weekend, with so many things to celebrate and be thankful for.

While we were growing closer as a family, our Whipstitch family was busy expanding, too!  I announced our massive Quilt Market autographed prize pack giveaway a couple weeks back, and y’all have been BUSY.  With no further ado, the FIVE WINNERS ARE:

Online winner: Susan McKey

Flickr winner: Barefoot Mommy

Facebook winner:  Laura Forestner Boyd

In-store winner:  Bunny O’Keeffe

Newsletter winner: Ellie Roberts

Congrats to all of you!!  For those of you whose email addresses I already have, an email has gone out announcing your winner-ship.  If you don’t hear from me, drop a comment, and I’ll get your prize pack out to you ASAP!

Thanks to everyone who fanned us on Facebook, posted images to the Flickr pool, signed up for the newsletter, and visited us in-store and online the past two weeks.  I’ve got so many cool ideas for new things at the shop, and all the ladies are bursting with plans for the coming months–stay tuned, and happy summer, y’all!

Today: Honey Did List

My husband is probably one of the most wonderful, supportive husbands who ever graced this planet.  He loves me, admires my work, is my biggest cheerleader and my best PR agent.  He also, on occasion, says things without thinking.  This does not lessen his love for me (nor mine for him), but it does put me in the position of feeling a bit defensive now and then.  Especially on the days where I didn’t accomplish as many things on my to-do list as I’d like, and am feeling particularly vulnerable.  I think sewing, like parenting, is a gig where you’re always DOING but not really often DONE with what you’re working on–life and craft are both a work in progress.

Months ago, I read an article about how we all ought to look at our days not as a TO-do list, but rather as a DID-do list.  Today was one of those days.  So on the off chance that my husband comes home and sees that this list isn’t even close to being accomplished:

  • get bookkeeping up-to-date
  • fold all laundry and put away
  • tidy family room and put away all toys
  • call my sister and see how her knee is feeling
  • take out all garbage and recycling to the curb
  • organize garage and carry out all empty boxes
  • make bed
  • pick up veggies from CSA
  • send thank-you notes for baby gifts

at least I’ll have THIS list to compensate for it:

  • prepared three meals for five people (including packing husband’s lunch)
  • nursed four times
  • changed 8 poopy diapers between two children, one of whom is suffering from intestinal distress
  • began hand quilting the quilt I’ve had sitting around for M these past eightish months
  • thought about layout ideas for the next pattern I’m working on (thinking totally counts)
  • emailed out all the Overmost orders for today
  • cleaned up three spilled drinks (all water, thank heaven)
  • played three rounds of “Where did baby go?”
  • colored chalk for 20 whole mintues
  • snatched one mischievous toddler from the jaws of death (OK, from getting into the dishwasher, but still)
  • loaded and unloaded the dishwasher (not with children–with dishes)
  • conquered Day 2 of Operation Regular Sleep Schedule for the nearly-eight-week-old (woot!)
  • wondered five times what I’d make for supper
  • replied to dozens of emails for the shop, and corrected one mistake I made yesterday
  • fed the dog
  • taught O where his arm is–hey! new words! (after reviewing eye, ear, nose, hair and mouth)
  • forced baby to have Tummy Time (which we both hated)
  • brushed my hair (some days, this is not a high enough priority, so today, it makes the list)
  • designed two new graphics for this very blog post (see?)

I’m feeling pretty good about myself, from looking at that “did” list.  The “do” list is making me think my house is embarrassingly filthy, but then I remind myself that I am raising human beings and creating art, and that those things have an intrinsic value that goes far, far beyond what can be gotten from a scrubbed toilet or a vacuumed welcome mat.  So, Sweet Husband, this is why the bed didn’t get made–I was super busy with ALL THIS STUFF.  Thank you for being so wonderful and understanding, and putting up with the piles of laundry, and for always recognizing that sometimes, the biggest contributions are the most invisible.

Good heavens, I’m exhausted!  Maybe we’ll get take out tonight.  Whaddya think?

Family Day: Canning Pickles

This spring, we finally got around to joining the local organic CSA.  Well, two, actually: one for vegetables and one for meat.  I think in the past, I’d always been convinced we’d start our own garden, but finally realized I just didn’t have the time I wanted to devote to it.  I was worried, too, that if we joined a CSA, we’d get a bunch of veggies we’d never use and be wasting our money.

So far, not a problem.  Each week, we get things like lettuces and cabbage, squash and turnips, fennel and basil, onions and fresh garlic, and last week, a boatload of cucumbers.  And at our house, cukes mean one thing: pickles!

Our oldest and I busted out the canning gear during nap one afternoon and went to town.  I’ve only ever canned once before, and that was jam, so this was a whole new thing for us.  Much reading of recipes was involved (we used my trusty Better Homes Cookbook, a gift from my mother, and which has never failed me).  Lots of fun, and when we were done, so much easier than I expected that I couldn’t wait to do it again.

These are dills.  Next batch: bread and butter sandwich slices.  My husband, for his part, is both impressed and thrilled, and tells everyone about our homesteading skills.  Which is almost as cool as the pickles themselves.

Making a Comeback

I know, I know: it’s only been three days.  But already I feel as though I want to sew a gazillion things.  It’s amazing how catching up on your sleep will send you images of inspiring designs and new ideas and get you all jazzed up again to get going on some of the projects you’ve been putting off!  Either that, or this baby is my absolute muse.

I’ve been working today on a few little things, just puttering here and there, really.  Some hand embroidery that I’m pretty excited about.  The Overmost, whose launch has been delayed by childbirth (but is totally nearly done).  A new girls’ dress pattern, resuscitated from the lost patterns of our flood last year.  A fabulous skirt from my new book.  Bits and pieces, laid out on the work table, mixed and matched. I’ve been putting patterns with fabric, like these new ones that just arrived over at the shop:

Delicious, spring-inspired colors and fabulous new prints.  Just what I need to give me a reason to put that baby down even for an instant.

Of course, I can only play for about an hour before I want a nap, and to hear her little sighs as she sleeps.  Bits of happy, left and right.  Feeling pretty good, and making a comeback.

Happy sewing, y’all.

Happy Mother's Day: It's a Girl!

11:14 am on May 8th. A (very large, for us) 8 lbs, 1 oz & 19.5 inches. Sweet disposition, sweet dimples.

Mom doing well, dad proudly tweeting the news.

Thanks to ALL of you who have sent good wishes, thoughtful tweets and kind words!

Saturday Family Day–Snow Day!

After an unprecedented SECOND annual snowfall in the Greater Atlanta Metro Area, we spent most of our Saturday Family Day out in the icy wilderness of our front yard, enjoying the frozen water that has mysteriously fallen from the sky.

Making snow angels is always hard--how do you avoid leaving footprints? Answer: start at the sidewalk.

Snow ball fights: oftentimes one-sided and with no clear winner. But who's counting?

He really did like it. He was just so bundled up he was like a tick, and had trouble getting from place to place.

Happy babies, happy times!

Handmade For ALL!

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

Check out the Handmade Pledge site for inspiration and to sign the Handmade Pledge. It’s a consortium of creators and crafters who are dedicated to making their own and buying from others who do the same! Great inspiration as you begin to create your own vision. Whipstitch’s sister company, Pretty Jane, has been doing handmade since its inception, and the rewards are far greater than you can imagine at the outset.

Lots of things we take for granted are available as handmade, more sustainable alternatives. Learning to sew is a great, great start to being more in control of what you wear and utilize in your home, and where it comes from. Whipstitch is proud to be part of the Handmade, and we hope you’ll take the pledge, too!

Happy sewing!