Category Archives: Giveaway

2 years + News + Giveaway! [CLOSED]

2years-1

Twenty-four months is how long I’ve been blogging and you know, if I didn’t have an archive of all the posts, I wouldn’t believe it. My life has changed dramatically since I started this little online notebook of mine where I collect and share ideas and experiments.

2years-2

I’ve talked about this before, but I began this blog with the intention of building an illustration portfolio. I’d been through the ringer with my last corporate job, and the concept of leisurely working with pens and paints and papers appealed greatly to me. I also wanted to explore other things that I thought would add more joie de vivre to my every day because things were bleak. So bleak. Eradicating the bleakness was at the forefront of my mind.

2years-3

And so I started to draw. And to take pictures. And to write (though I’ve always written, just not so publicly). In doing so, I’ve been fortunate enough to check off that long-time dream of writing and illustrating a children’s book. Which I’ve not been very good about highlighting here, but you’ll see why soon.

2years-4And then the sewing started. I think the sewing — more than anything — catapulted this blog into something far beyond anything I could have ever expected (admittedly, I had zero expectations since my old, now defunct blog had no readers. It would have taken very little to far exceed my previous attempts at blogging). I hate to sound like a broken record with how grateful I am that you stop by and read my ramblings and view my images, but it’s true. I’m amazed every time someone leaves a comment or asks me to participate in a blog tour, or to write a guest post or to get more information about a technique — as if I know what I’m doing.

I’m a one-woman show, making do with whatever I have on hand. Whenever you see that light wood surface, I’ve cleared off the console in the corner of our living room to take the photos. There’s a window right next to it and the light is lovely:

2years-5

And all those selfies? On the opposite side of the living room, I’ve scooted my “work table” to the wall and use a remote to take a gazillion shots of myself so I can get maybe five passable ones (normally my laptop and an explosion of art supplies and books live on top of that table). K will often heckle me or will want to use the remote:

2years-6

Over the course of time, we transitioned from K’s cramped room to my slightly less cramped room to take photos of K’s handmade clothes. We have the photoshoot process down to about five minutes now — any more than that and tantrums threaten to erupt.

2years-10

This blog has been a game-changer on so many levels. A children’s book deal. Opportunities to collaborate with many, many talented women in the sewing sphere and beyond. Friendships. More than anything, it’s a place that’s all mine, to play and explore and create and muse and be myself. The learning process has been phenomenal. I’ve even contributed to a craft book that’s coming out in a few months — you can see one of the prototypes below (the final project is a little different). I’ll tell you more about it when it’s closer to the publication date.

2years-7

But that’s not my big news. Friends, while working on my children’s book, I’ve also started a second book. I’m publishing two books next year (!!!!), and it’s nuts-o, I know. I still can’t say much about it, but it’s all official-like so I’ve been told it’s okay to mention it. It’s a sewing book! And I need to have everything done by December, which is not a lot of time. I’m thrilled and overwhelmed and pretty much in a state of permanent disbelief.

2years-8

I have to give a shout out to my closest and dearest M and K. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to spend all this time on what started out as a whim and a hobby. M keeps the food on the table and tries really hard not to complain too much about the mess and my lack of income and all the hours I devote to my projects, and K has turned out to be a knockout model and indispensable partner in crime.

2years-9

Another person who has been nothing but pure awesomeness is Keli of Drygoods. She’s like my sewing fairy godmother. She was one of the first people I ever revealed my blog to, and not only did she commission me for an illustration, she also invited me to be part of the Ballard Artwalk, gave me the chance to teach workshops, and continues to be the most supportive and wonderful friend. Those cool vintage wooden spools in the very first image above are, in fact, Keli’s and may be a prop in the new book. I love her shop, and she has an impeccable eye for textiles.

As part of my 2-year celebration of blogging (and still loving it!), I have a fun giveaway: FOUR $25 Drygoods gift certificates which is redeemable online as well. The four winners will have a field day trying to choose from the beautiful fabric and product selections. I wish I could give every one of you a gift card, but this is the best I can do at this time… Perhaps I’ll be able to in the future!

I’ve been thinking about how to make this a better space for you to visit, my dear readers. Of course, I create my posts primarily for myself, but I’ve come to learn and appreciate that a two-way street is going on here. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment with any suggestions for improvement and/or what you’d like to see more of. More kids’ sewing? Adult sewing? Tutorials? Behind-the-scenes info about the books I’m working on? Something else entirely? I’m looking forward to reading the comments! I’ll keep the giveaway open until Thursday, July 24th, and will announce the winner the next day. International entries are no problemo. Good luck!!

 

Sewing for Me: Tuttle Book Reviews + Giveaway! [CLOSED]

basic-black-top1

More pictures of me, yes. I’m trying to hold back from apologizing because after a certain point, you just gotta go forth boldly with this whole sewing-for-self-and-taking-selfies-and-posting-them-online gig, even if it feels like your face is plastered all over the place already and giving people nightmares. But I promised the good folks at Tuttle Publishing to review a couple of pre-release Japanese Sewing Books translated into English that they kindly sent me, and here we are.

basic-black-stylish-skirts

While these two books retain the simple and clean aesthetic of the genre, I have to say they are surprisingly unlike the other Japanese books I’ve sewn from. They’re rather fabulous. I’m going to go ahead and talk about both lovelies today, and bonus for you: I’ll be giving away one of the books!

basic-black-top2

Let’s start with the Basic Black book. I’m not sure I would go so far as edgy in reference to the designs, but every item in the book is sewn in black and that’s definitely unique. I selected this “tunic” top for it’s curvy silhouette and boat neck detail (and okay, because it had no closures and looked super easy). Naturally, I was compelled to sew it in black — I think it’s some kind of suiting? There’s a good amount of stretch in the fabric but wasn’t finicky in the least. Here’s what it looks like in the book:

basic-black-book3

Along with an infinite number of other things that I’m picky about, I just don’t feel comfortable pulling off the lace flutter sleeve look. I don’t disagree that lace trimmings on garments are awesome, but I think using the word “girl” here sets the tone that this is a garment meant for young’uns, hence reinforcing my discomfort. What really fascinated me about this top, though, is that the recommended fabric for the main bodice front and back is fleece. How unexpected!

basic-black-top3

As you can see, I made it without the lace, and I cut out the Medium/Large (this top only comes in either small or medium/large), and I may have been able to get away with the small with some added length. My boatneck became more of a cowl and there’s an awful lot of underarmage showing. As I’d predicted, this was such an easy, quick sew and you know, I think it’s quite fetching. It says, “I’m versatile and comfy and hey, I’d look grand with a cardi and scarf.”

This book is fantastic! As I flipped through it, I kept thinking “Oh, I want to make that! And that one! And definitely that one!” Like so:

basic-black-book2 basic-black-book5 basic-black-book4

I’m especially fond of the zip-up vest (there’s a jacket version too), and this is a must-sew for autumn. I’m also loving the more body-fitting garments like that top above, though to be sure, there’s an abundance of the loose garbs the Japanese are known for. I declare Basic Black a winner!

stylish-skirt-navy-maxi3

Shall we talk about skirts? The Stylish Skirts book, in particular? I should briefly mention that this book is no longer in pre-release mode and is available at this time. Anyway, I may have pooh-poohed skirts in the past, but I plumb forgot about maxi skirts. I could wear nothing but maxi skirts and be perfectly content.

stylish-skirt-book2

So the radically different thing about this book is that there are no pattern sheets. You can see a sampling of the skirts included in the book above, and as I browsed through the styles, trying to decide which one to sew, it finally hit me that the instructions were for drafting the skirt patterns from scratch.

stylish-skirt-book3

This was the skirt I was instantly drawn to, and wouldn’t you know it, it also happened to only require rectangles and I didn’t even realize that until I focussed on the construction steps. I swear, I’m not that lazy. The pictured skirt is made out of black lace, but I dug up some crinkly navy cotton/knit fabric that I thought would work well:

stylish-skirt-navy-maxi4

It looks a little like georgette, but isn’t quite as sheer or light — it’s also stretchier. I don’t like ties around my waist, so I just made it a simple elasticized waistband.

stylish-skirt-navy-maxi2

Perhaps because I started the skirt late at night, it took me a lot longer than I estimated, but it’s an utterly straightforward skirt to sew, and I really, really like it. Maybe even love it. It’s casual with interesting bits (there are varying sized panels gathered in different parts of the skirt), and it’s an ideal summer item. Maxi skirts are the best.

basic-black-and-maxi

I’m so pleased with both pieces, and now for the good stuff: the giveaway. I’m obviously way too smitten with the Basic Black book to part ways with it (it will be available for purchase in July), but the Stylish Skirts book is up for grabs! This book has a lot to offer too, including some funky and unconventional styles, but I’m still not much of a skirt person unless it’s practically sweeping the floors, so it doesn’t make much sense for me to hold onto it.

So the giveaway question…earlier this week, I took a walk with a friend and the subject of introverts/extroverts came up. We both agreed that we are a little bit introverted, but don’t feel like classic, text-book versions. A mixtrovert, if you will. K and M are fully, whole hog extroverts, and I always marvel at how they derive so much energy from being around people all. the. time. I need alone time to re-charge, but I like to be around people for the most part.

So how about you? Are you an introvert? Extrovert? Or if you’re a mix, which way do you lean? Please leave a comment with your answer. The giveaway will be open until next Thursday, July 3rd, and I’ll announce the winner on the Fourth of July! International participants are welcome, of course. Good luck!!

Monday Fabric Giveaway! [Closed]

giveaway-greenish1

Good morning, friends! I made it! I turned in my illustrations (sans cover) yesterday evening, and I feel like I’ve completed the Marathon des Sables through the Sahara Desert. A 6-day, 160-mile marathon is something I doubt I’ll ever be able to do since I can barely jog three miles, but I’m going to venture that the sense of relief and accomplishment I’m enjoying is no less than an ultra marathoner’s.

The sewing area has been sorely neglected these last few days, so I’ve got zilch completed projects to share with you. But, as promised, I’m continuing with my de-stashing and have some fabric to give away.

This mushroom fabric is so darling, isn’t it? I don’t know why, but it hasn’t inspired me to use it for any patterns. It’s a Jay McCarroll for Free Spirit fabric with a lovely neutral grey background and almost neon green shrooms.

The green diamonds are crisp and modern and wholly versatile. The selvage tells me that it’s “Summer House” by Lily Ashbury for Moda.

giveaway-greenish2

I seem to only get fabric in 1.5 yard cuts, and that’s what these two are. They’re both quilting cotton, but could be used for apparel too.

Okay. I’m trying to think of a question but my brain is tofu at this moment, and the only query that popped into my head is about serendipity: “What’s the weirdest/best coincidence that’s happened in your life?” I have so many, but one of the most memorable is that when I lived in San Francisco in my twenties, I rented this sweet studio apartment in Russian Hill. It was a charming Edwardian building and it was every bit my dream apartment. After a year and a half of living there, I bumped into a high school friend on my street one day. She was a year ahead of me and we weren’t super close, but we had been gymnastics teammates (a mercifully short but ludicrously embarrassing phase in my high school career), and practicing in leotards together forges a special bond. Running into her alone would have been an amazing coincidence, but it turned out that she’d been my downstairs neighbor in the same building for 18 months, and we had no clue! We hung out together a lot more after that, but weird, right?

To enter the giveaway, please answer the question, and I will leave the giveaway open until Thursday, June 5th and announce the winner the next day. International entries are welcome and good luck!! I’m off to recuperate from and celebrate my major book milestone…

 

Fabric + Patterns Giveaway! [Closed]

giveaway-greenblueorange-and-patterns1

Good morning! I hope you had a restorative weekend, friends. I figured that because I’ve inundated you with photos of K these past couple of weeks, and because I felt the need to take a break from sewing pint-sized clothes while I work on my illustrations, today (and probably next Monday) I have a giveaway! I did a little de-stashing this weekend, and I’m hoping there might be some takers of quilting cotton and I’m throwing in a couple of Butterick patterns.

giveaway-greenblueorange-and-patterns2

I like these fabrics just fine, but I seem to bypass them time and time again whenever I start a new sewing project so I felt sorry for them. They deserve a better home. The cute green floral is Katie Jump Rope by Denise Schmidt for Free Spirit, and the blue and orange cheerful one simply has “Anthology Fabrics” and some numbers on the selvage. 1.5 yards each.

giveaway-greenblueorange-and-patterns3

I got these Butterick patterns at one of those JoAnn’s sales when K was about 3 or 4, and she’s now outgrown them. They are unused. Butterick 5458 (the party dress) is for sizes 2-3-4-5, and Butterick 4842 is a toddler’s “jumper” for sizes 4-5-6.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment with a podcast recommendation. I’ve been way into podcasts lately and love Stuff You Should Know, The Moth, Design Matters and After the Jump. I’m always on the hunt for more — humorous ones are especially appreciated! Or, if you’re not a podcasting sort, a show recommendation would be awesome too. I’ll watch pretty much anything from The Mindy Project to Breaking Bad. I’m a huge sci-fi fan too! International entries are welcome and I’ll keep the giveaway open until this Thursday, May 29th. Good luck!

Dress Book Giveaway! [Closed]

simple-style-dress

It’s been a while since I’ve done a giveaway, hasn’t it? As it turns out, I was wildly optimistic about my ability to juggle a book, illustration clients, a blog, other secret projects to be revealed soon, and teaching. Not to mention this somewhat important factor called family. I had to hang up my cape and retire the chipped faux-superwoman badge and reassess the situation.

After some serious analysis of weighing pros and cons, I opted to let go of teaching sewing classes. Keli of Drygoods was incredibly gracious as always and has extended an open invitation for me to teach at her lovely studio when I’m ready, but for now, I’m taking a sabbatical from my short-lived career as a sewing instructor.

This means that I have a couple of extra Japanese sewing books to give away which were originally going to be part of my class. Again, in my wildly optimistic way, I was planning on providing a comprehensive translation of the steps for all the patterns to go along with the giveaway, but I was clearly delusional. BUT. The winners should definitely contact me with questions any time (in fact, I hope you all know that if a Japanese sewing book stumps you, I’m always happy to translate/help). And I mean that. Who knows? I may still have time to include translations to ship out with the books. Famous last words…

dress-book2

The book comes with 20 patterns, and I’ve made variations of the dress from the cover three times here and here and here. These are quick, simple and stylish dresses and come in three sizes (9, 11, 13). The 11 fits me well, and in terms of western commercial Big 4 sewing sizes, I’m between a 12 and 14.

A while ago during one of my sewing marathons, I listened to a podcast or interview or something that now escapes me, but what I do remember is this one statement: “I chose to do art because it was the one thing I knew I would never get bored or tired of. That it would always surprise me.” I chewed on that and decided that for me, writing, sewing, photography and drawing made the cut.

So, to enter the giveaway, please leave me a comment answering this question: What is something that you know you would never get bored of? More than one thing is perfectly fine too!

There will be TWO winners which I will choose randomly, and the giveaway is open until Friday, April 18th (updated!). As always, I’m happy to ship internationally. Good luck!!

 

 

Monday Outfit: Imagine Gnats Meridian Pattern + Giveaway

ig-cardi-coat1Good morning, friends! I’m not sure if the viruses are extra virulent these last few months or what, but I’ve been getting hit over and over and over. It’s starting to feel like a constant companion, this malaise. And of course, I’m the only one in the house that gets affected and M and K are cheerfully and healthily going about their days. Sigh.

But enough whinging and on to more fun topics. Not only is it the start of Kids Clothes Week winter edition today, but I also have a few sartorial treats for you. I want to preface everything with how very impressed I am with all the ladies creating beautiful independent clothing patterns out there. These talented women are running businesses and juggling family obligations and hosting delightful blog tours all the time. Amazing.

ig-cardi-coat3

Rachael of Imagine Gnats is one such multi-tasking dynamo currently hosting one of those delightful blog tours, and her patterns are getting featured all over the sewing blogosphere. When she asked me which pattern I’d like to try, I immediately gravitated toward the Meridian for kids. A swingy cardigan and coat? Perfect! (Okay, it’s technically a jacket but I like to get a little alliteration going)

ig-cardi-coat4

Let’s talk about the cardi first. I’ve had this great jersey knit for a couple of years now, but wasn’t certain what to make with it. It has stripes in greys and yellows on a cream background, and the stripes look almost painted. Since it’s meant to be fully lined, I used a mystery knit that has a sort of swiss dot effect for the lining. The double layer gives this cardigan a nice heft. We need hefty, cozy clothes this time of year…I really like that there are several closure options (one to four buttons) and I went with one button for that simple look for which I am a sucker.

ig-cardi-coat5

I cut the size 7, which I suspected might be too big based on the measurements, but I think it was the right size for her. It’s a super cute and comfortable design, and K is a big fan. She’s also a fan of the corduroy coat/jacket that I decided to go ahead and make as well:

ig-cardi-coat7ig-cardi-coat10

The pale blue corduroy is from my mom, and it actually had a lot of ink stains so I had to get creative with cutting out the patterns. It looked like a toddler went to town with a pen while an unsuspecting mother had her back turned. There are a few virtually indistinct marks I couldn’t avoid on the left sleeve and on the back of the collar, but I did a pretty good job of working around the stains overall. I’m sure my mom thrifted it from somewhere; it’s a sturdy fabric and the color was exactly what I had in mind. I used Martha Negley’s twigs fabric for the lining (not thrifted), and the aqua accents work well with the outer fabric. The leather buttons are also from my mom. I love the curved front with the arc of buttons.  I would say the sewing went pretty smoothly — it was a little tricky getting the lining aligned perfectly with the main fabric for some reason, but that’s probably due to the difference in stretch factor for the coat because I didn’t have any problems with the cardi (the corduroy has a bit of stretch).

ig-cardi-coat6ig-cardi-coat8

All in all, an adorable coat!

ig-cardi-coat11

ig-cardi-coat2

And because it’s KCW week, I felt that I should make good on my plans and at least sew one thing from my list. I LOVE this reversible double-gauze (the other side is cream with grey polka dots). I love it so much that I also got the navy colorway, which I think might become an Archer shirt for me. I made the French sleeve tunic from this book, but modified it by adding an invisible zipper in the back. Unfortunately, I was at the end of my bobbin thread, and it got pucker-y. When I tried to pick the seams, the double gauze started to fall apart, so I left it as is. It could pass for ruched, no? Double-gauze is very tricky to work with, and it’s also very sheer (if you squint a little, you can see K’s handmade coral briefs — which, by the way, she is crazy about and keeps asking me to make more underwear). But comfort and breathability wise, it is probably one of my absolute favorite fabrics.

Alright, I feel like I’ve gone on long enough. Rachael is generously offering you, my dear readers, one free apparel pattern of your choosing from her shop! There are patterns for women and kids! Here’s the rafflecopter doohicky and I’ll announce the winner later this week:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also! All patterns will be 20% off in her shop for the month of january with code “januarytour”, plus they’re 50% off through the 31st – no code needed! It’s a steal! One last thing…don’t forget to check out all the other fantastic creations by other participants:

 


Inder Loves Folk Art / mon petit lyons / Sew Delicious

la inglesita / Miss Matatabi / Rae Gun Ramblings

Welcome to the Mouse House / Casa Crafty

Make it Handmade / Made with Moxie / Buzzmills

girl like the sea / just me jay / Play Crafts

Sew Well Maide / Sew Charleston / Mingo and Grace

Caila Made / Sewbon / do Guincho / call ajaire

Alison Glass / a.Amelia Handmade / Bored & Crafty

you & mie / Stitched Together / things for boys

fake it while you make it / Sanae Ishida

Behind the Hedgerow / I Seam Stressed / Charming Doodle

The Crafty Kitty / Siestas & Sewing / Figgy’s

P.S. It probably goes without saying that I received a free copy of the pattern, but all opinions are completely my own.

Happy Friday + Randomness

girl-in-a-bottle

Happy Friday! Thank you for all the kind comments about both the advent calendar and holiday tags! I am happiest making things, and wish more hours could be added to each day. Which reminds me, I just read this book and I have to tell you, I zipped through it. It’s a coming-of age story about a girl growing up in a future in which each day starts to grow longer and longer as the earth’s rotation slows. So good.

In other news, my cough is still relentless. I’m prone to bronchial infections and I haven’t even been able to read bedtime stories for K these last few weeks. One of the benefits of creating blog posts is that no talking is required. I was sitting in a coffee shop the other day working on a post, and a woman said to me, “You have one of those non-stop coughs too, huh?” And then we coughed like crazy simultaneously.

***************************************************************

Not a lot of takers for the magnet kit giveaway, but I think this might have been my favorite group of answers to my giveaway questions to date. As a show of gratitude for taking the time to answer so thoughtfully and for brightening my outlook on humankind, I’m sending everyone who answered the question a kit. It will take me a little time to assemble them all, but I will ship ‘em out by the end of next week and will be emailing the recipients shortly.

***************************************************************

Overheard K telling my mom the other day:

Ba-chan, Seattle is really a great place. You can get ANYTHING here. Things from Japan, France, Swedish…and Indiana*!”

*M is from Indiana, and apparently to K, it’s as exotic as other international locales.

***************************************************************

Stay warm, my friends, and have a restful weekend – we’re off to get a Douglas fir tree!

Time to trim the tree
And open advent houses
each day seems too short

DIY Magnets + Giveaway!

diy-magnets1

I had half-heartedly tossed out the idea of doing some simple DIY projects and here I am, actually following through! I also have a giveaway and a story at the bottom of the post if you’re interested. Anyway, many moons ago, I got this idea to make magnets and in my enthusiasm, I ordered a bunch of supplies. I probably don’t need to elaborate that my magnet-making scheme didn’t pan out so well, and now I have quite the surplus taking up room in my basement.

diy-magnets2

So, just in time for the holidays, I thought I’d create a little tutorial for making your own magnets. Actually, “tutorial” seems to be a rather overblown description of what I’m offering, since I’m sure anyone can figure out how to do this. However, here’s a list of materials and a visual step-by-step:

diy-magnets3

1. Materials/Supplies:

E6000 glue, magnets (I used 3/4 inch or 19mm size, similar available here)
- Glass or plastic cabochons (I got my plastic ones from here)
- Decorative paper or fabric.
- The metal case is just a cute packaging idea for the magnets (you can find similar here and here - I can’t remember where I got mine from).
- Disposable gloves (not pictured)

2. Either trace the magnet onto decorative paper or fabric and cut out, or use a circular punch. I happened to have a 5/8-inch size punch but a 3/4-inch one would have worked great too as it would have been the same size as my magnet. I would suggest using thicker paper and fabric as the glue may bleed through and sometimes blur the design if the paper/fabric is too thin. I wrote the letters onto card stock, and I didn’t mind how the ink smudged a bit. I’ve also used photos minimized and printed on photo paper for these and they look fantastic.

3. Place a very small amount of the glue onto the magnet and adhere the paper/fabric. Make sure you are working in a well-ventilated area. This glue can make you feel light-headed, and it’s also a good idea to wear disposable gloves.

4. Place another small drop of the glue on top of the paper/fabric. You’ll need to work quickly here.

5. Press down firmly onto the cabochon to get the air bubbles out. You might also need to wipe some excess glue off of the sides. Try to spread out the glue evenly while pressing down. Let dry 24 hours.

diy-magnets4

And that’s it!

Because I have quite a few extra, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving and general giving, I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway. I have five “kits” that include 8 magnets, 8 cabochons and a metal tin. The giveaway is open to one and all (that includes you international folks). This means FIVE winners.

Before I ask you my usual giveaway question, I want to tell you a story first. When I was 19, I got into a massive car accident. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and I was driving down the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, on my way to meet my best friend. It was raining — not too hard, but it was a steady, rhythmic patter. No one knows how to drive in the rain in LA, and that clearly included me that frightening day so many years ago. What I remember is that a white car suddenly nosed its way into my lane, inches from colliding into me. I panicked and swerved, but because of the rain, the road was excessively slick. My car spun out of control. I was FACING oncoming traffic, blinded by all the headlights. Continuing to panic, I recklessly turned my car again, and this time I fishtailed off to the side of the freeway and crashed. I felt my head and body ricochet, and I could see that I had flattened the front of my car against the off ramp wall. I dizzily turned my head and saw two other cars silhouetted in the rain, right next to mine. I started crying and heaving, trying to remember how I had hit two cars. I was afraid to move, though at that point, I wasn’t sure that I could. I watched with dread as one of the car’s door opened and a man stepped out. Then another man from the other car sprinted out.

I was thoroughly confused as one man bent down to place small objects on the ground. The other man rushed over to my side of the car and knocked. I was still immobile so he tried the door and it was open. Out of the corner of my eyes, I could finally see that the small objects were flares, and this man looming above me was holding out a blocky, rectangular, calculator-looking thing. Back in those days, not many people had cell phones (I’m old, people) so I didn’t know what it was at first. I found that I could move my limbs, but had no clue how to use the phone so the man dialed my best friend for me and explained the situation to her. When he handed the early-model cell phone to me, all I could do was keen like an animal into the receiver and my friend dashed out in her pajamas to come get me.

I hadn’t hit the cars. They had stopped out of kindness, protecting me and shoring up much needed help. I totaled my car, and logically, I shouldn’t have survived the accident. The men told me that they saw how I turned a full 360 degrees on the freeway and couldn’t believe I was alive and that I managed to avoid hitting any cars. I didn’t touch a steering wheel again for nearly a year and I still hate to drive. And every Thanksgiving, I remember those men, and their acts of selfless giving, and I am beyond grateful. Because without the bright blanket of flares, without the connection that the rare cell phone provided, I probably wouldn’t have lasted that night. Where would I have gone? What would I have done? It was, by every definition of the word, a miracle.

So my question is this: is there a memorable act of kindness in your life? It can be the smallest of small: perhaps an understanding pat from your child when you were feeling particularly sad or an unexpected compliment from a stranger. Or the grandest of grand: a windfall of epic proportions, an unforgettable soiree thrown in your honor. Anything.

The giveaway will be open until next Friday, December 6th. Good luck!

Monday Outfit: Compagnie-M Swing Skirt Tour + Giveaway

cm-swing-skirt-tour4

**Update: the winner of the giveaway is dotted whale!**

Good morning! So when the insanely talented Marte of Compagnie-M contacts you, curious as to whether you’d like to try out her new skirt pattern, there’s really only one answer.

And there’s really only one word for the skirt: fabulous. M doesn’t actually comment much on the clothes I make for K, but when he saw this one, he was seriously impressed. “Cuuuuute!” he said. And that, my friends, is the highest form of compliment.

cm-swing-skirt-tour1

Let’s talk about the details, shall we? Did you think I would make this in anything other than grey? Of course not. The fabric is some kind of denim/stretch twill combo, I think, and I guess it’s more of a dusty French blue-grey. One of my favorite shades. There’s a good amount of give and I love the texture. It’s pretty thick and I freaked out a little while I was making this because when I started to iron the fabric, rusty, orange spots started to appear when my iron spouted some water. Thankfully, they went away as soon as the fabric dried.

cm-swing-skirt-tour2

The piping. This is the first time I made piping myself, and the cording I got turned out to be thicker than I initially thought, but it all worked out in the end. I don’t know why I don’t add piping more – it instantly elevates the garment to a whole new level of coolness, and this was no exception. And it’s not just neutral business, oh no. Can you see? There’s a floral party going on with the pocket lining/facing. It’s the same fabric as the infinity scarf, and it’s always fun to add little details like that. Ignore that bit of puckering that happened when I tried to attach the waistband. The waistband turned out to be a tiny touch too small.

cm-swing-skirt-tour3cm-swing-skirt-tour6

Now, I’m not one for following trends normally, but I’ve been hugely enjoying the stripes + floral print madness going on lately. It’s very JCrew and Anthro. In my book, it doesn’t get any better than that.

cm-swing-skirt-tour10

When I saw the Swing Skirt pattern, this entire outfit immediately popped into my brain. If that tee looks familiar, it’s because I made a remarkably similar one for Elsie Marley when we had a clothing swap last year. In fact, this one was meant to go to Meg’s son, but it was early days of knit sewing for me and I just couldn’t get the neckband to come out right (you can see the one I finally sent off here and here). It’s the Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan Tee, which is a fantastic pattern. It’s amazing what a difference a year and over a hundred handmade garments will make: I finished the neckline in about five minutes. Ditto with the infinity scarf, which is made from some luscious lawn-like cotton I’ve had since before K was walking.

cm-swing-skirt-tour7

The pockets! Oh, how I adore these pockets. They are so easy to construct, yet look incredibly high-end and challenging.

cm-swing-skirt-tour8

I won’t lie: this skirt took me a long time to make. I’m used to Japanese patterns that are, quite frankly, very fast to construct. It’s not that the swing skirt is difficult at all – in fact, Marte’s instructions are excellent, and the steps are very straightforward. It’s just not your bang-it-out-in-fifteen-minutes skirt that I may be prone to making. Marte includes a lot of details that result in a professional-looking finish, which is absolutely lovely, but I probably shouldn’t have started sewing at 11pm. I didn’t want to disappoint Marte’s high standards, and I admit I had to unpick more than a few seams, and I still ended up with some puckering. And the only other downside was that the sizing was off – the stretch factor may be to blame, but I cut the 7 (which has K’s exact measurements), but the waist is very loose and for these photos, I had to actually fold the waistband to keep the skirt from slipping off of her hips. BUT. She loves it so much that after the photoshoot, I added a temporary FOE waistband as a stop-gap measure so she can wear it out of the house. And it will be worn for years to come, I’m sure, and next time, I’ll make the waist adjustable, which is an option.

cm-swing-skirt-tour11

Regardless, cuuuuuuuuuuuute and fabulous, right?

cm-swing-skirt-tour9

So, onto the giveaway! Marte is generously giving away a free digital Swing Skirt pattern to you, my lucky readers. Y’all know that techy stuff isn’t my particular strength, and Marte, who obviously doesn’t suffer the same fate, provided a very savvy rafflecopter functionality for you to enter the giveaway. It’s open until November 6th, so act fast! And don’t forget to check out the other wonderful swing skirts on the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Friday + Randomness

 

 

Happy Friday! First of all, I’m still in a daze from all the amazing comments these past few days – I believe the world’s kindest, smartest and awesomest people read my blog. Thank you.

Secondly, the announcement of the Halloween-y Fabrics giveaway: random generator number #12, Niki! Congrats, and you should have received an email from me already. I loved the Walter White costume idea, though yes, I agree that it’s probably an eyebrow-raiser for a three-year-old.

Thank you also for all the owl costume recommendations. I’m inspired!

*************************************************************************

K has always exhibited signs of jokester tendencies, but now her prankishness has been confirmed. M had taken K to his office over the weekend when he had to deal with some work, and on Thursday he noticed that his whiteboard had some scrawls. It turned out to be a drawing of a shapely backside with the word “butt” written in K’s signature large block letters, an arrow pointing to his desk. I know we ought to reprimand her, but is it wrong that we find this ridiculously and utterly hilarious? And yes, it took him four days to notice.

This reminds me of when K was about three years old. The local Trader Joe’s cashiers loved her and would often give her tons of TJ stickers. One day, after a successful grocery trip complete with a roll of stickers, I dropped K off at preschool. A few hours later as I was getting ready to pick K up, a woman stopped me. “Excuse me, ma’am…you have something on your back,” she told me, suppressing a smile. K had covered my back with TJ stickers somehow, and I had walked around the city all day that way. Classic.

**************************************************************************

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

Have you played a prank
Or had one played upon you?
Ha ha ha ha ha 

Post Navigation