Happy Friday + Randomness

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Happy Friday! I’m just popping in with a quick Me-Made-May update.

This past week was all about tops in stripes and checks — then again, it’s always about tops with stripes and checks for me. Note that the order of the images doesn’t exactly match the order of the days below. The inner OCD in me begged for some sort of symmetry.

Day 20: Simplicity 1538 plaid shirt

Day 21: Simplicity 6241 pink + grey knit top

Day 22: Julia Cardigan in indigo stripes

Day 23: New Look 6648 coral striped kimono top

Day 24: Self-drafted dolman top

Day 25: French Sailor Top in grey gingham

I’ve made some good progress with the translations but will have to dive deeper this weekend. Must get back to work! Wishing you all a beautiful weekend!!

My mind divided
between the two languages
East to West and back*

*I feel like my brain gets a little scrambled and things start to appear a little warped when I’m translating back and forth for extended periods of time — does that ever happen with folks out there who speak/read more than one language?

P.S. Love reading all the giveaway comments!

Freshly Laundered Linen

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There’s something about freshly washed linen that’s a mood booster. I’m talking about plain fabric here, and not fitted sheets or shams. Rumpled and textured and oh-so-soft, when I look at these, I pretend I live in the French countryside in a charming villa painted a dusty bleu-grey, overlooking fields of lavender. I can practically hear a baby goat bleating nearby.

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I have plans for these beauties. But because I’ve noticed that I categorically avoid making the things I declare as part of my plans (rather, it seems to take me longer to execute when I declare anything on the blog), I’m going to keep mum until I have something to show. But isn’t it nice just to look at the luscious linen? Doesn’t it make you want to toss the pile into a handwoven laundry basket and head outside to clip them to a clothesline (wooden pegs, of course) and watch them gently flap in the wind? No? Is it, in fact, making you shake your head that I obviously have nothing to say and am filling up the space with nonsense?

Deadlines, people. I’m currently translating a Japanese craft book and I have to have it completed by next Tuesday. Whenever I’m in deadline mode, I need to let off some steam by adding something here. Makes me feel productive. More soon. Promise.

In the meantime, I am dying to get my hands on these metallic linens from Purl Soho. Anyone sewn with these yet? I want every color, but so pricey!

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the white and indigo linens are from District Fabric – at $8 per yard for 100% linen, it was a very good deal. The yarn-dyed pink cotton linen lawn (I know!) was from Miss Matatabi. I can’t remember where I got the other ones (here, probably), but they’re gorgeous.

Giveaway! Finca Perle Cotton Thread

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Good morning! The purging/cleaning is slow-going, but look what I found: Finca Perle Cotton Thread in size 8. Such pretty, pretty colors, no? Great for embroidery, crochet, and needlework of various goodness. Anyone out there a doily maker? These — like many of my accoutrements — were meant as props for the book, though I never got the chance to include them. I wish I had because they’re so twee yet cool (is that paradoxical?).

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I have to confess that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, and I’m feeling a little overextended. I can talk about details soon and I’m definitely not complaining because it’s all lovely — just trying to pace myself because…well, you know. I overdo things. It’s what I automatically do. Anyhow, you may be seeing a lot of giveaway posts because I love doing them, they’re quick, and the comments are always fun to read.

OK! So onto the giveaway question…any comment will do as usual, but I’ve been pondering beauty these days and I want to know: what makes you feel beautiful? Is it a certain shade of lipstick? Or perhaps an outfit? Is it the way your kids assault you with hugs when you walk into the room? Or the way your guy or gal lifts an eyebrow? Maybe it’s something more intrinsic like a natural-born skill or a physical trait or an attitude. I’ve been trying to figure this one out for myself. I think I feel the most unselfconscious sense of beauty when I’m connected with someone. Last week, I Skyped with a long-time friend (she’s in New Zealand) — we haven’t spoken directly in over 15 years and had lost touch about 10 years ago, but she’s remained one of my favorite people of all-time.

It was like magic.

We picked up right where we left off as though no time had passed and we laughed in only the way you can laugh with a friend you’re utterly comfortable with (there was, I admit, some snorting). I traveled all around New Zealand with her many moons ago, and we had an uproarious road trip, hithering and thithering in her tiny car. “Carefree” was the operative word and we got ourselves into quite a few scrapes and mishaps and took in vast expanses of unbelievably, achingly resplendent nature that rendered us insignificant; nothing bonds you like sleeping illegally on a historic site in a collapsing tent and jumping into icy lake water together at 5am. We’ve both had our triumphs and setbacks over the last 15 years, of course, and as we caught up via video which would have been unimaginable when we were galavanting through Kiwiland back in the 90s, our words tumbled out on top of each other. We tried to cram in as much as we could into a couple of hours and shared wholly, without reservation, already planning part two and three and four and so forth  — in that safety of being unapologetically myself, I felt beautiful.

What about you?

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I’ll leave the giveaway open until this Friday, May 27th and will announce the winner the following Monday. As always, international entries are welcome. Good luck!

Happy Friday + Randomness

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Happy Friday! Whenever my mom visits, she’s a little wistful that she’s unable to paint in Seattle. I get it — she doesn’t have her usual supplies, her routine is completely disrupted and most of all, she says she doesn’t feel like she has a space of her own, mentally or physically. Still, she’s an artist through and through so when a watercolor set happens to be lying around, she’ll whip up a painting like the one above while chatting to K. This kind of painting doesn’t count for her though; it’s just distracted doodling and not the sort of focused art-making she does in her own home.

She’s been back in Los Angeles for a month now happily painting away, but I’ve been thinking about that sense of space, the need for routine and grounding to make things. My daily habits are completely out of whack these days and the house is in need of yet another purging. For someone who relishes minimalism and is always trying to tidy up, why is it that my house is perpetually in a state of mayhem? I’m almost done reading this book (love it), and I sometimes wonder if I’m just destined to read one decluttering book after another while I watch piles grow like weeds in my house. Maybe the very nature of crafting is incompatible with keeping an orderly home. Or maybe I’m just making excuses.

Anyway, these are my thoughts as I head into another weekend. M has been on an epic solo journey on his bike (his idea of fun), so I’ve been single mothering it for the week and that might also explain the mess. He’s supposed to be back in a day or two, and I’m looking forward to that. It’s quiet without him. He’s our main source of jokes and liveliness, and though K and I have a lovely time together, we miss him.

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These were the outfits
for week three of Me-Made-May
Handmade every day!

 

Here’s a rough sketch I drew in my notebook today, trying to recollect all the outfits from the week.

Day 13: Romper

Day 14: Striped Renfrew + Black Gingers

Day 15: Blue and Silver Gingham Tova

Day 16: Black knit top +Black Gingers

Day 17: Nani Iro Free Way Top

Day 18: Indigo French Sailor Top

Day 19: Stripey Batwing Knit Top + Indigo Gingers

My Ginger jeans are getting a whole lotta wear, and it’s obvious that I need to make more because the pockets refuse to lay flat with the current two pairs I have and this limits the number of tops I can wear with them. But first, some more purging/cleaning….

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

 

 

Launch Party Crafts Recap

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When the hacking debacle happened, most of my Sewing Happiness pre-launch blog plans had to be scrapped. I was hoping to build excitement with some behind-the-scenes posts culminating in a grand giveaway and I guess I could still do that, but it feels anticlimactic now that the book’s been out for almost a month.

One of the things I really enjoyed about the pre-launch process was preparing for the party that was held at Drygoods Design on April 19th, the actual day of the book release. I shared a little bit on Instagram, but I wanted to document the various elements, because I was ridiculously excited about the “Make-It-And-Take-It” aspect of the soiree. I sewed and sewed and sewed innumerable little heating pads/sachets (a nod toward one of the projects in the book) that people would be able to fill with various options like rice or lavender and hand stitch closed. Keli and her team at Drygoods made the crafting experience even more effortless by having needles at the ready, threaded and knotted. It was a hit! I also prepped faux leather circles and trimmed Swedish tracing paper so people could make customized fortune cookies (another project from the book).

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Additionally, I covered a great many pieces of paper with watercolor paint and created bookmarks that could be painted, stamped and punched with fancy designs. The ones you see above were made by K. So sweet! Oh, and I even printed up temporary tattoos, but forgot to get photos of those.

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My piece de resistance was managing to get fabric printed with the endnotes design from the book, and I stitched up quite a few heating pads/sachets with the fabric. I used My Fabric Designs for the custom fabric, and though shipping took a little longer than I’d hoped, the package came just in time. And because I’m out of control, I printed up popcorn holders on my inkjet printer using the same endnotes design.

I love doing stuff like this. It’s funny, I usually avoid making the same things over and over unless it’s for a party. Then I’m all over it. Why is that? As you can imagine, I was one of those moms when K was a toddler, throwing themed birthday parties that left people questioning my sanity.

At any rate, I had a fantastic time at the party and I hope other people did too! Maybe I should think about starting a side business as a kids’ party planner?