If you read this blog, then you know that we have always loved Kathreen’s blog Whip Up and, in turn, Kathreen (who has always been so supportive of our work and eager to work together). Kathreen and her husband Robert died tragically in drowning accident while travelling around Australia for a year with their two gorgeous children (10 and 13 years old) – she was writing a book about this family journey. My heart is broken for them and though they are so far away for most of us, I wanted to connect you to her blog where the family has posted ways that we all can help these children.
Wow, once spring decides to happen here in New England, it really goes whole hog! Trees are bare and then all of a sudden, they have leaves so green and beautiful it takes your breath away. Our apple trees begin to bloom, piglets are born, and starts go into the ground in the garden – so much promise, it is hard not to laugh aloud. I love all of it, but it would be insincere if I didn’t admit that it comes with a price. Sometimes I feel challenged beyond what I really think I can do and time feels thin. I long to be at my sewing machine or in the kitchen, just doing what comes easy, but there are things to be done and if my husband and I don’t do them, they simply won’t get done – and that would change our lives in a way that would just not fly for me (or him). You see, it is complicated, and though I am laughing at the verdant days, dreaming of canning tomatoes and going swimming, I am spending my days doing things that this suburban California Jewish girl simply never thought in a million years she’d be doing.
Okay, this whole post is really just to be able to share that I gained a new skill – brag? boast? cringe? -I am now a semi-skilled at the castration of piglets. Yes, that is right – cut, pop, squeeze, pull, cut. It is gruesome business, especially the first one, and I am sitting here processing my morning wondering if I will EVER have to do that again. All in all, it went well and I got more and more detached and able to work efficiently without my emotions getting in the way, but really, I won’t say I liked it.
And you thought I might talk about a new dress you can make. I’m sorry if I disturbed you. Saddened you. Grossed you out. If you are a vegetarian, then you might even be mad at me – sorry about that too. But, there is a small part of me that feels proud – mostly because maybe I’m not the type. I’m a little delicate flower meets skill seeker. If a guy can do it, then I want to be able to do it too.
What is the hardest thing you have ever had to do that pushed your self-imposed limitations? I’m so curious!
And now, I leave you with a beautiful photograph of the orchard in full bloom - my beautiful teenager and me looking at the beautiful place we live in. It is worth the complexity most of the time!!!
There are 101 projects in Improv Sewing, so of course I have quite a few favorites. The Two Tee Dress is definitely up high on the list because it is so cute, yes, but also because it it completely versatile and quick to sew. I like to say that you have a closet full of patterns to work from (I may have said it somewhere on this blog at some point) but the amount of fabric you can get for next-to-nothing at the thrift store is insane, and I feel I should tell you that repeatedly too. It comes in a zillion patterns and colors and it is pre-washed (though you might want to wash it right when you get home, just the same). One men’s shirt can make a whole dress for a girl, but a few pieced together can make one for a woman easily.
I didn’t think I was going to get to this project this week, but I was so inspired by what everyone has been making for the Merrily We Sew Along Sew Along that I dug out a couple t-shirts and ducked into my studio this morning and whipped it out. I figured I’d make it for my daughter, but then just made it for myself. She can wear it if she wants but whenever she puts on something that is mine, it ends up staying in her circulation, so I might be a bit protective. I really love how it turned out and it was an awesomely warm day, so I wore it all afternoon and evening. My sister-in-law might recognize the green part and I imagine she didn’t expect it would turn out as the bottom of a dress, but it was destiny Lisa. You all might notice the instagram qualities of the photos. Did you? I now have an iphone and though every single one of you out there already does, it is my first and I am playing with it a bit (maybe too much, but I know I’m not alone). But the dress is good, right? I like empire waists and I never would have been able to make something long enough without one.
Maybe you’ll join us on this little sew along journey? If you do, please show us what you make over on our Merrily We Sew Along flickr page! You can win a subscription to Creativebug for a whole month, and the things you will learn are so great and plentiful that you will be so happy you jumped on the boat before it sailed. But do get crackin’, because there is a little deadline of posting your picture by April 30th and that is coming right up. Tell all your friends! The more the merrier!
For the fourth episode of merrily we sew along (and just in time for Kid’s Clothes Week!), we have a summer-ready improv garment: the two-tee dress. (note: you can find this project on page 262 of improv sewing.)
but before you start stitching, a bit more inspiration to share. this month, there are three fabulous guest posters:
Most importantly is this:
They were born early this morning without me watching (sad). It was a large litter of 14, but it looks like we will have a dozen at the end of the day. This is our second time going through the farrowing process and we were very lucky last time – had no problems at all. This time the mom doesn’t like us around and she stepped on 2 piglets before we ever came out to check – fatally injuring one and seriously injuring another who can’t seem to make it to the occupied teats. one was born still. So, as you can imagine, it is bittersweet. I am loving the beautiful and noisy squealing piglets who are so funny and sweet to watch, but the other stuff hurts and is complicated. Sorry I didn’t just share the pretty parts, but I’m in it, hence, so is anyone who will listen (even if unwittingly).
But, here is the pretty to gaze upon!!! Love them!
I’m doing my best to stay away for part of the day. I’ll let the mama take care of things for now. So, while that is all happening out there, I will show you what I have been doing with some of my time. It is very simple and straightforward, I am happy to report.
Embroidery. It satisfies the same part of me that used to love knitting in the round (and when I say knitting, I mean just that – no purling). Relaxing, textural, colorful, pretty – all these things. Also, I can do it anywhere – the car, the sofa, on the beach, in an airplane. And I have been. Mostly, I have been stitching for color and texture, not pictorially. I have embellished necklines and seams, as well as the corners of these tea towels, and I love them. I can talk and stitch and watch un-subtitled movies and stitch. Really, you should give it a go. Here are some I have done recently:
I am also preparing for another trip to Denver next week to film an episode with Sew It All TV. Janome Sewing Machine is sending me out there for this. For anyone who has ever asked me about sewing machines, you will know that I LOVE MY LITTLE JANOME SEWIST and have loved other fancier models even more when sitting in the various shops that carry them. So, I am thrilled and honored to be representing them when I head out to teach a very simple and fun little tank top workshop. I’ll let you know when it airs. And if you missed it before, Debra and I taught a Reverse Applique Skirt from the book that came out on Sew It All Tv this winter – Applique Away, was the title. If your PBS station has Sew It All Tv (mine doesn’t, sadly) then you should be able to watch it. It will available online at some point too. We were a part of season 4 and this next one will be a part of season 6. They spent ample time on my hair and make-up, which was both fun and alarming. The project will be for something like this: