for what a summer it was! On a personal note, I spent hardly a day feeling depressed. What a gift to be able to enjoy all there is to enjoy in life! Such as the beauty of nature...
Seeing one's children discover new interests...
Falling more in love than ever with the little people with whom one is sharing a house (and managing to get through the summer without murdering or being murdered by the big ones)...
Time and tools to create to my heart's content...
.And the fulfillment of creating by commission, i.e. making custom art for remuneration.
Hope summer held some restoration, relaxation, and rewards for you too. Let's hold onto that as we face the other seasons!
WARNING: this post is sentimental and probably of interest to actual relatives only. There are a few creative projects thrown in but it's mostly just, well, photos I think are adorable of my kids & other people I'm fond of. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
OK, here we go.
Tucker's moving-up ceremony was adorable...
...but his end-of-the-year classroom celebration, a.k.a. Family Fun Day, was truly awesome! Highlight: hair styling for moms!
Oliver's elementary school graduation was so much fun but super emotional for me, as it meant formally leaving the community which we were so incredibly fortunate to be a part of for the last six years. It was more than a school: it was a family. With incredibly caring and talented teachers. And amazingly warm and involved families. And... I could go on and on. I'll just say that, even knowing that the friends both Oliver and I have made there will remain in our lives, and that the future will hold wonderful new things, I am having trouble facing the fact that our years there have come to a close. Sniff!
Tucker's final playdate of the school year with a bosom buddy was also bittersweet, as they'll spend the summer apart...
But heading out to Fire Island with the parental units (mine) to kick off the summer we plan to spend there was pretty exciting...
...especially for a certain cross-generational duo!
I finished upcycling a couple dresses, such as this one, for my irresistible niece Scarlett (using old shirts of her mom's/my sister's, which actually used to be our mom's!). Doesn't she wear it well?
Other major creative task completed: pop-art-style family portrait to round out our home's new "gallery wall"!
Oh, and one more: bag I made out of an oversized T-shirt to take to the beach. I wanted something much more lightweight than the traditional tote, with a pocket for the little stuff and plenty of room for the big stuff: towels, book for me, sand toys for the kids... you know. The usual, well, crap.
For our final sewing class, my students shared a sundae... and made me a sweet heart pin embroidered with my name!
I'll end with a blast from the past my dad e-mailed me: 2 photos, 40 years apart. On the left: my sister and I, who just look like boys. On the right: our sons, i.e. actual boys (and cousins). Quite the resemblance, eh?
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...is waaaay too long to go without posting! Instead of being overwhelmed by how much there is to post about and continuing to put it off, I'll just do a slapdash post with photos of highlights. Kay kay?
Tucker's class project for the school auction... doesn't it look like a Jim Dine?
A commission I got last summer and finally completed... a gorgeous old Saltaire house!
"Tea wallet" I made for a friend who always serves me the best teas
My first stitchalong effort, for Craftster's "Mythical Creatures" hoopla-along. I called it "Kawaii Kraken."
I was definitely obsessive about sewing myself the perfect compact iPhone wallet since joining the 21st century and getting a smartphone (or, rather, inheriting it from my sister when she upgraded)... replete with little nooks for keys, earbuds, cash, and cards! I am so inordinately thrilled with it, and with my ability to go out and about with just this tiny clutch & have everything I need! (Instead of my old heavy filofax, my separate music player, my wallet, etc. etc....)
Thanks to my readers for caring to keep up with what I've been making, etc. I'll aim for more frequent, shorter posts going forward! Happy summer, and remember: do whatever makes you feel giddy (in a good way) as often as possible! It sure does help me to do so.
I'll sign off with the aphorism I just thought of:
MAKERS GONNA MAKE.
Yours in connection & creativity,
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We are often told that worrying is a pointless waste of time. That when we have a problem and cannot find a solution, if we worry, it only diverts our energy away from potentially productive avenues of thought and effort. In the case of worry about our own problems, I agree with the wisdom of this practical perspective (though I am not, unfortunately, able to live accordingly at all times). But I am not so sure when it comes to worrying about others.
As soon as I learn that someone I care about has a problem, I start worrying, and become almost completely incapable of focusing on anything else. And perhaps it is ineffective, in the most practical sense. Yet it is my way of being loyal and caring, and is often truly appreciated as such.
Here’s what brings this to mind. A young person I care deeply about shared with me yesterday that he had a long school assignment to complete in a short time and was very worried that he wouldn’t do a good enough job. Of course it worried me to see him so worried. At the same time, I was sure that the expectations he feared he couldn’t meet were his own brainchild. But I didn’t tell him that, since I knew from experience that it would only make him feel invalidated, alone, and uncared about.
Instead, I conveyed my empathy with his sense of being in a pickle. I offered to stay close by so he could ask for help, or a hug, if he wanted to. He accepted. And I think that just knowing I was there, worrying his worry with him, helped calm him and enable him to work steadily.
When he was ready to stop and go to bed, he asked for some “love,” by which I knew he meant snuggling him until he fell asleep. What a contrast to times when I had responded to similar problems with immediate practical suggestions and/or logical arguments as to why his worry was baseless. All that had produced was tears, anger, and a much more protracted and miserable night... throughout which my presence, not to mention my affection, was seriously unwelcome.
We all want to do what’s best for our children. We all try to do what’s best. And we all fail, despite our best efforts, with distressing frequency. My parenting scorecard, if I kept one, would be as full of marks in the “failure” column as anyone else’s. But last night was a parenting victory, as I see it. Why? Because I worried. And did nothing practical, or productive, instead of worrying. And my worry made the person about whom I was worried feel a little less alone and therefore a little less worried.
As the British say: Result!
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They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll post a few, and not much else.
Happy summer to all. Hope you're finding moments, if not days or weeks, of blissful relaxation.
a drapey coat for me
Just in time for spring... a fall coat! Burda's fall coat, that is. I loved the drapey look and decided to try my hand at a coat and it came out surprisingly well! Once I figured out what a lapped seam was supposed to be, it wasn't that hard, either. The fabric was a real bargain: just $10/yard (pattern uses 3 yards) at my new favorite fabric store, Metro Textile at 265 West 37th Street. It's in a back room on the 9th floor of an office building, and has an amazing selection and wonderful service as well as terrific prices! Making it one of the very few places for which I'll break my shop-only-online rule.
celery cutting a rug
I got a custom order from an etsy customer who found two antique dishtowels featuring pairs of dancing vegetables (radishes and carrots) and wanted to round out her collection with a third (dancing celery). It was fun to make!
And finally, I used the retro-preppy fabric I designed from Spoonflower (blogged about here) to make myself a phone sleeve! I'm still experimenting with the design (love the pink felt lining, not sure about the lack of closure) but when I get it just right I'll make a few that fit iphones and other smart phones and put them in my etsy shop. Any suggestions???
Thanks for reading, keep in touch, and keep your fingers crossed for continued thawing outside! I'll leave you with some photos of Oliver enjoying our latest cold-weather, let's-avoid-going-stir-crazy indoor activity: "cooking" something truly disgusting using anything available!
Quick roundup of latest sewing projects:
Valences for my sister
Change purse for me
New fabric design
Pillows made with Tucker
And finally, a gratuitous photo of Tucker and Oliver looking mischievous.
Have a fun rest of February and please celebrate all your own milestones and accomplishments!
Just a quick post to share Halloween photos.
Oliver wanted to be a World War I flying ace. I had some pleather lying around (there's a sentence I never thought I'd utter) so I used it, and an old white baby blanket, to make the pilot cap. (Roughly followed the pattern I found here, though my attempts to resize were disastrous and it took many refittings & resewings to get it to fit OK). Then put a new elastic on some sad old swim goggles. He was delighted! Here's how it looked on a pumpkin, and here (on the R) is how Oliver looked when he was a pilot (and the same age Tucker is now) 5 Halloweens ago! (Same swim goggles.) Tempus fugit indeed.
Tucker, of course, wanted to be Alphabet Man. (He loves letters.) He drew the letters and chose the fabric scraps and I did the sewing, and we made quite a cape together! Oliver helped him display our handiwork, and they gave me one final pose, before going off to do some serious dental damage.
For any curious sewists, I started out using fusible backing and applique-ing the letters onto the cape, but by letter H I realized sewing them using a reverse applique method was way easier. From there to Z it was (relatively speaking) a breeze!
And here is the top I mentioned in last week's post, copied from an H&M dress. While I do adore it, I learned that one should really make blousy tops out of drapy materials (rather than quilting cotton, as I used). Otherwise they don't really hang down and are not all that flattering. Especially with the giant box pleat I put in, which meant the top got really hugely wide down at the bottom and does sort of resemble a tent.
I made a matching belt out of the extra fabric so I can cinch it which sort of helps, but I thought I'd show it here in its natural state.
Do let me know what you think... about the loud top, the weather, what's floating your boat these days... whatever! And do remember the words of Walt Whitman:
Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.
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Where have you gone, lazy days filled with ocean breezes? Your memory, only a week old, seems like a distant dream. The transition to hot, stuffy, exhausting, stressful city life has so thrown me that I can barely think coherently. (On second thought, I always have trouble with that. I just wasn't called upon to do it much all summer.)
School supply shopping is like a scavenger hunt but without the fun and prizes. After scouring the umpteenth store for those inevitable elusive items, I gave up and ordered the rest online, to be shipped direct to the teachers at school. Why didn’t I think of that earlier?
Feeling the need to tend to my wellness (or avoid responsibility, depending how you look at it), I spent most of yesterday sewing a fabulous new top to wear. Below left is the fabric. Below right is the dress (from the H&M catalog) I was inspired to try to reproduce in this wacky print for some reason. Oliver told me it looked "really, really bad" but I got lots of compliments when I wore it today. That might be because it's so loud people can't help but stare, and then feel compelled to say something nice out of tact. But who cares, I love it. Will post picture when I get a chance to get someone to snap one.
When my brain stops being in constant panic/ depression/overreaction mode, which is its usual response to transitions, I know I will be able to calmly appreciate & enjoy more fully what I am already beginning to realize: everything is really pretty OK. Oliver loves his new teachers and being back at school. Tucker is doing great at all the new challenges of being in full-day public pre-K. Once things settle into a routine there will be less to do & worry about and therefore fewer pain & fatigue triggers for me. At least that’s what I keep telling myself!
What about you? How is the transition back to school, or work, or the city, going? Please share! Surely I’m not the only one who struggles with it… right?
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