Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vainglorious: Or - It Was Fun, It Was Hard, I Learned A Lot

So, enough about me, let's talk about you. What do you think of me?

According to one source, not much. I thought I knew everyone who read this blog, personally. Thank heavens for family and friends. Then I received an email from someone who came across my blog and wrote me a little note. Apparently there is something about me that just didn't set right in this person's craw. Now, I'm o.k with that, you can't please everybody and I certainly wouldn't want to try. So, I let it go, sort of.

I ended up talking about it with a friend of mine and it got me thinking about why I do these things I do. My friend suggested I blog about it, and so...

I started sewing again because of my daughter, whom I love with all my heart. I will admit that when she sees my latest creation and says, "Oh my gosh! It's beautiful! I love it!", it makes me feel all smiley and good. I want to create things for her that are unique, charming, beautiful - like she is. So, I do this for my daughter.

I also do it for myself. Yup! That's right, it is about me. I continue to sew, design and fiddle about with fabric - for me. I do this for the same reasons I write songs, play guitar, sing and grow a garden. I am not brilliant at any of these things but, I do it because I love it. Because it challenges me, it satisfies and fulfills me, because it brings me joy and teaches me. Because, I can't imagine not doing it. To enrich my life, express myself, take risks, put myself out there, play with new ideas and find joy in it, makes me a better person, a better mom.

Fame and Glory? No, I'm never gonna be a rock star, write the great American novel, or be the next Jean Paul Gaultier of children's fashion. Still, having my own business is a goal that I am working towards, slowly - oh so slowly. It may pan out, or not, I don't know yet. This is all a process and I'm learning as I go. I will be honest and say that when someone stops to give me a compliment on something I've made, it makes me feel good. What can I say? However; I am also humbled and inspired by those who are turning their dreams into reality and the amazing artistry I see every day of those who are willing to share it with us. I may not be the best or the brightest but, at least I am willing to give it a try.

So, thank you - for getting me thinking, and remembering why I do these things I do.
I do it for love.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Great Pants Caper

Great? Well, in the grand scheme of things, not so much. And caper? More an experiment leaning towards debacle. So, let's revise it to read - The Lesser Pants Debacle. It was fun, it was hard, I learned a lot.

This is part of my on-going adventure in reducing the overflow of scraps taking over my sewing area, as well an effort to sew as many items as I can without having to buy anything - Recycle, Reduce, Re-Use. I started with one of my basic pants patterns and cut it up a bit, nothing radical or revolutionary, nothing that hasn't been done before or done better for that matter. The back pockets I took from one of the baby dresses worn by my girl, nice little time saver that. The rest was scrap scavenged from the heap. Out of that came these pants. I made so many mistakes in my rush to finish and I was doubtful at each step that these would turn into something wearable in the end. Even with all my careful measuring and seaming, one pants leg turned out almost 3/8 inch shorter than the other, why oh why.

And then there was the matter of a little extra something that they screamed out for. So enters my fear of applique. I kid you not, I am afraid of applique. Is there a clinical term for that? To clarify, I am not fearful of all applique, I am awed by the work I see of many talented folks out there. It is rather my own that makes me cringe. It all goes back to 7th grade sewing class. Our teacher, Ms. Blumquist, had us undertake an applique project, and for reasons still a mystery to me, I was compelled to make a pillow that looked like a hamburger, yes, a giant hamburger pillow I did make. I was required to applique meat, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, cheese and pickles oh my. While I did receive an A for my project (Oh dear Ms. Blumquist, with your saint-like patience, where are you now I wonder?), the lasting memory of pure ugly has haunted me ever since, leaving me with an aversion to even attempting applique again.

Time to face those steps. In keeping with my "no buying anything" rule, I found myself sans fusi-whatsit, stabilizer and sundry notions that go along with the applique game. I made do with interfacing and Stitch Witchery and the little butterfly landed on the pants leg. I will spare you the close-up. And though it be quite flawed, it holds a certain charm and one baby step towards conquering the fear. There's still a long way to go before it is eradicated completely.

In conclusion, the pants are cute (I could not capture a decent photo of them, they show better in person) and when worn do not show the length discrepancy. They even passed the preschool test this morning with compliments from other mothers. One mom even told me that I had inspired her to start sewing, something she had never tried before. Now that made me feel a little warm and fuzzy on a cool Fall morning.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

To My Friends!

I have some awfully creative and talented friends, and I would like to celebrate, applaud, sing praise and share a few of their latest achievements with you here. Congratulations you amazing people!

Chris Beck and The Checkered Present have just completed their album "Hyperbole and Horsefeathers"
and it sounds lovely.

Tricia Butler of Sassafras Catering took home two blue ribbons at The Portland Pie-Off. Best savory and best overall! Outstanding! If you are a local, you can catch her and her pies at the Montavilla Farmer's Market through Oct. 5th. You can also check out her cool blog.

My old friend Chris Boesel, a Theology professor at Drew University, published his book Risking Proclamation, Respecting Difference. Good work my friend.

Another talented author friend, Kerry Cohen Hoffmann, published her -what is it now #3?- book Loose Girl this summer. Well done!

Joe M Ruiz paints the most breathtaking landscapes, you just must see. He has a one man show this month in Georgia. Simply Beautiful!

So, to my friends...Congratulations on all your hard work. Thank you all for inspiring me. I know some really stellar individuals, lucky me!

Monday, September 15, 2008


If you refer back to my last post and pumpkin picture, you can see some time has passed since I last graced this blog with any attention. Sometimes you just get so busy with living, that days sneak away from you like little skittery bugs. Fall is coming and that usually means a little more time indoors and projects aplenty (not to mention homemade soup and freshly baked bread).

So, what is in the works?
Kylie has shown me some preliminary sketches of a few new Lola Nova logos, very exciting. I liked them all so much I couldn't choose just one.
I am considering posting a sew-along next month, using a pattern from one of my favorite children's clothing designers. I need to ask said designer if she is down with it first. I will keep y'all posted on that one.
I have a new Lola Nova design I am stewing on and I'm hoping to make some headway on that, for now it's all just in my noggin and in a poorly drawn sketch on a grocery receipt.
Then there is a little matter of Fall and Winter clothes for my girl. I need to break out my old stand-by patterns for cords and jumpers along with a new jacket I want to try.
Finally, our basement has nearly reached critical mass and it's time to sort and purge. This is a project that always induces a bit of dread and procrastination. I just need to muster my gumption and sally forth. Maybe that's where I will find my perspective.