Tag Archives: sewing

New Life

Cheetahs for the Twins

To be filled with diapers and clothes


Ready for the nursery

Matt and Stephanie are bringing Noah and Ezra home today. What joy and relief to have their two little boys home after waiting for their adoptions for so long! Stephanie and I have become blog friends during the last couple of years. When she sent me a photo of their nursery, I knew I had to dig into the African fabric stash to create something for the twins.  A cheetah baby caddy seems just right.

Also, it seems right to celebrate life today in contrast to yesterday’s dreary post. I should know better than to write when I’m feeling such gloom. It doesn’t really do me any good and it certainly doesn’t help to sound the alarm when I always feel better in the morning. One of the many kind responses included this insight and this great verse:

“Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NCV)


NiÑo, Pinto, Santo Roscoe

What's up little dude?

What to bring one of the sweetest little boys when visiting? Considering Mr. Roscoe has just about everything he could ever wish for, including a gaggle of adoring family, an African parrot and a kitty that regularly put up with his loving ways, perhaps something unique.


Something to throw? Something African? Something that will make him scream like a little maniac?


Yes. How about some stenciled bean bags filled with pintos and backed with some African cheetah love from Mozambique?

Cheetah Bean bags

Drawstring bag

Bean bags tucked inside

Drawstring for the bean bags

They were all wrapped up nicely in a drawstring bag that was promptly discarded at the bottom of the toy chest. The bean bags should have been a little less full of beans; there were a few leaks by the end of the weekend.

My buddy Roscoe

Thankfully, he’s not a seam allowance critic.


Thrift Store Chic

Bamboo handles, before

Bamboo handled totes are a perfect fashion note for summer. Last week, I decided to sew a few for girlfriends. With a few minutes to kill before a meeting, I headed into a thrift store to see if I could find any older bags with these handles to recycle for this project. Voila — a $3 find.

Ten minutes later, I’d cut this baby up for the handles, a zipper from an inside pocket and the magnetic clasp. Twenty minutes later, I had a new sweet berry bag to gift this week:

Summer bamboo handled bag

Summer bamboo handled bag

Summer bamboo handled bag

Bamboo handled bag

Recycling at its prettiest.


Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Remember when I talked about taking a broken sewing needle in the throat and wishing for a new machine? My mom wasn’t just reading, she’d already bought one and had it stashed away. That incredible woman sent it back to Phoenix this weekend with some family friends who were visiting. I picked it up and thought perhaps she’d also packed my collection of Nancy Drew novels, it was so heavy.

The giant box

No, just the new Swedish beast. I managed to get her out of the box and plugged in. It seriously took three adults to finally find the compartment that contained the feet, which in all fairness we were calling the “foots” after a bit too much wine. Long story short, the new machine has arrived. The Singer is looking on with some serious performance anxiety and frankly I don’t know where to go from here.

Two machines, one chair

The Singer looks on with jealousy

The new beast

Wow. No idea what those do

Of course the new machine came with an instructional VHS tape, which might as well be an 8-track. I will read the manual and goof around with this until the next visit from my folks.

All said and done, I’m pretty darn lucky. I wonder if I start really wishing for that pony…



Good thing this is for a very understanding child

Green Sombrero

Far from perfect, but the journey was educational. This pattern kicked my ass.

What a wonderful weekend this has been; another gorgeous baby born to a  Ya Ya — Emerson Louise, 8 pounds, 21 inches! Rebecca is the gladiator of labor and her husband couldn’t be more perfect for her. They were at the brink of hysterical exhaustion yesterday before the birth and yet Matt was her rock. Along with her family, she was surrounded by love when the new sweet (and loud) baby arrived. Emme is just perfect.

In between hospital runs and kitchen adventures, I’m tying up loose ends this weekend. A sewing project here that needs one final step, a garden that needed weeding and new coffee grounds, a home that needed cleaning and stacks of ironing now completed. I think the gift of time is the most precious. Time to do whatever you want, however you want — does life get better?

I’m back to running with several Fall races in mind. I find that my day is much more structured when I get up to run first thing. I can plan and meditate on how the day will unfold. I am more disciplined in my thoughts and what I eat — both key to my overall mood and happiness. Running any sort of distance is a spiritual practice; I have to turn off the music and tune into my breath, reconnecting. There needs to be a word for the rush of emotion at the end of a great run — when you take a huge gulp of intensely satisfying water, feeling the rivulets of sweat falling from your limbs and brow and your heart beginning to calm. Everything is tingling in exhaustion and relief.

I feel invincible in this moment.

Now, to carry forward that strength and resolve into the day,


Summer Sewing

Red summer

The other day I mentioned I’d like to learn how to sew a dress. In my mind, this is the Everest of craft — creating something that fits and that I’d like to wear. The two wrap skirts I’ve conquered are hills in comparison, and considering the wrap is so forgiving, even that is a generous analogy. Many of you responded that you too are interested in this project. And so, I thought I’d chronicle my adventure in great detail in case you want to play too.

This week: find a pattern. I found three I’m loving, in part because all Simplicity patterns are $1 (from the normal $16) at JoAnn’s this weekend. I bought two Cynthia Rowley designs and one vintage beauty. (This site is great for pattern reviews. )I couldn’t find a fabric that didn’t remind me of a quilt or frankly, JoAnn’s. While I don’t mind their prints for placemats, wearing it to dinner is an entirely different matter. Speaking of quilts, I’ve been wanting to make one for my mother for a while now. I’m still trying to decide which sort of pattern and color she would like but I’ve bought some quilting accessories ready for when the crafting begins!

So, I think I’m going to try to make one of these dresses first in muslin as a rough draft. A little practice certainly never hurt my sewing. Also, I am skipping a bit because my mom recently bought me some oh-so-silly-fancy sewing machine. They have friends from Phoenix visiting them in Texas this weekend and I’ve got my fingers crossed this new baby is road tripping to Tempe soon. Woo!








Rebecca and Matt are having their first baby any day now and you can feel the excitement in our group. Mini’s three boys and Shay’s sweet girl were met with equal enthusiasm.  I cannot describe how fun it is to be a part of this.  Bec’s been my friend since second grade.  She met her husband on my 21st birthday. Her parents, sisters, neices and nephews are my family too.  And so, I am regularly moved to tears when I see her now, knowing how cherished and fabulous this child will be. Not to mention, the nursery they’ve created would have Crate and Barrel/Martha Stewart folk taking notes. It is beautiful and sweet and perfect.

For the record, I’ve got May 21st, baby girl, 8 pounds, in the baby pool. Matty’s going for baby boy on the 20th. Mini’s birthday is the 18th, so I am pretty sure she’s pulling for a double birthday. Matt and Rebecca are both born on holidays, so they are hoping for May 25th — Memorial Day to complete the trifecta.

I’m off for the annual Finny/Donk adventure this weekend, with our sweet Shelley home from Rome joining in the fun. So, if this little bird could hold off until Tuesday, that would be fantastic. To encourage such continued nesting, in the middle of the night I delivered a flock of Abraham Owls to cheer on the future Mom and Dad.  Bec’s got a thing for owls; I’ve collected them for her in a dozen countries. Now the wee one will have a cadre of her own.



P.S. The Aussie/African roomie may or may not know how to sew buttons better than me; apparently they teach such life skills at boarding school. He wouldn’t let me take a photo, but he was very helpful and deserves credit for the owlies above.

Score One for Sizing

Sundress for the Summer

My one giant flaw with sewing is I my spacial abilities are quite poor. Sizing isn’t my forte.  My grandfather once received an apron that went to his toes and wrapped around him nearly twice. I knit those once in style One Skein Wonders for a dozen friends for Christmas one year, only to never see a single one ever worn. I did hear a lot of, “Wow! So cute, and so tiny…” Skirts, usually too big. Rebecca’s pajama pants at Christmas were so large she could stand in one leg. You get the idea.

When I started working on this quick sundress for Delaney, I held the first version up to myself to realize that it fit nearly perfectly. That is, it fit me nearly perfectly and I’m only about a foot taller and 100 pounds larger than this sweet 9 year old. Perhaps I should become more acquainted with my measuring tape.

It fits!

And so, imagine my delight when she put this on and it fit perfectly. Giddyup.