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?

It goes too fast

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This is K when she was just a little over 18 months back in 2008. Last night, we had dinner at a friend’s house and I watched K and her two buddies play and eat and argue and reconcile and laugh hysterically. She’s known them since birth and nearly 10 years later, they’re still the best of friends. They used to be so small, they all fit snugly in a basket:

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I had mentioned in a post a while back that I wish I had a photo of the very first top that I sewed for her, and I found it while I was browsing through my forgotten Flickr account this weekend:

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I called it the “Girl, Interrupted” top because it bears a striking resemblance to a hospital gown, of the sort worn in a psychiatric ward. It was, to be quite frank, an eyesore.

I self-drafted the whole thing but couldn’t figure out how to sew the back, so I fudged a sort of tie-back design. The concept of coordinating thread was foreign to me and none of the seam allowances were finished — you probably can’t see them very well, but the stitches are helter-skelter.

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I loved making it, though. I miss that daring sense of adventure I had, that bring-it-on attitude. I even gathered the sleeves! Now that my sewing skills have improved, I repeatedly find that I’m a lot harder on myself or have this self-imposed need to deliver more complicated or higher quality garments. This need stymies me and I’m tempted to avoid sewing altogether.

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And it turns out I’ve been lying about not knitting, because I have evidence of having made K several sweaters. Like this droopy hooded one up there. And this burgundy kimono sweater. How did I forget?

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Clearly, she wasn’t all that excited about that burgundy one.

As I observed the pre-teen kids last night, showing early signs of awkward adolescence, I wanted to grab time by the shoulders and command it to stop. Stop. You’re going too fast. 

I don’t see my 9-year-old guffaw with abandon as much; she’s so much more aware of how others are perceiving her.

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I often bypass capturing hilarious moments of sweetness now that I get so caught up in my to-do lists (or even worse: checking how other people are capturing hilariously sweet moments on social media).

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It’s not just time I need to tell to stop. I want to pause, to pay attention. I want to take in the good, the bad, the ugly, the miraculous. Because 10 years — it’s a blip. I went through hundreds of baby photos in my Flickr account and the memories! Carting her around in every baby carrier known to man all over Seattle, teaching her the alphabet, scrubbing her bottom in that behemoth plastic contraption I fitted into our tub each night. If I’m not careful, I’ll forget to be curious, to be willing to experiment, to savor the fleetingness of it all. Note to self: be careful.

babyk6P.S. The Indigo prints giveaway winners are Manda, Eva and Katharina. Congrats! I ordered quite a few of the teas recommended, and I’m excited the try them out!

Happy Friday + Radomness

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Happy Friday! I’m going strong with Me-Made-May, though I do combine handmade items with the few store-bought clothes I still own.

Here’s a round up of week 2-ish:

Day 6: Renfrew Bamboo Top (worn with RTW yoga pants)

Day 7: Black Simplicity 2365 Tunic + Black Gingers

Day 8: Moss Green Linen Jacket (I wore the same outfit but with me-made jeans) + Indigo Gingers

Day 9: Self-drafted knit dress (shown above – this was yet another prototype for the dress included in my book and the photo is from at least a year ago)

Day 10: Indigo Simplicity 0403/2147 top + Indigo Gingers

Day 11: Lace + Geometric Knit Tank + RTW boyfriend jeans

Day 12: Navy and Black Stripey Tee + RTW shorts

I whipped up a little sketch, just because:

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In other news, we’re in month four of the carless life, and I think we’ve found a pretty decent groove. Mostly it’s a combo of walking and taking the bus with the occasional Car2Go. Uber, for some reason, didn’t work that great for me because the app was ridiculously slow on my phone, though M uses it sometimes. M and I are talking about the dreaded car hunt in a month or two (not my favorite activity), but for now the weather’s been so amazing in Seattle, I’m thoroughly enjoying walking everywhere.

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend!

Ahhh, I’m so ready
for Saturday and Sunday
with zero events*

*It’s so lovely to have a few breather weekends without events – I have a few coming up towards the end of the month and in June so I’m going to relax as though I’m a carefree retiree for the next couple of days!

P.S. Thank you for all the wonderful tea recommendations for the giveaway post! I love them!