Monday, April 24, 2017

a month of stitching::day 23

 During our deck building weekend I noticed that my brother Doug's
 fleece jacket had a (growing) hole on one arm.
 I invited him to leave it here in Vermont 
so that I could mend it and he did.
I used a reproduction calico from my stash
because I love the way the colors worked with the jacket.
 Once I had the patch stitched,
I used an iron on interfacing to protect the inside
of the sleeve from future fraying.
(I was very careful not to melt the jacket!!!)
 This mend is tidy and will extend the useful days of this
much loved jacket.
One of my favorite shirts developed a tear that was
getting bigger each time I laundered the shirt.
I decided to do some visible mending, 
which is all the rage these days. 
Inspired by traditional Japanese "boro" mending
I decided to use that technique here.

I've blogged about mending many times, (like here). I really do love mending...making something stronger, more resilient, and helping to keep it out of landfill.  

The Patagonia clothing company claims that REPAIR IS A RADICAL ACT, and this video makes me think that their company is "collaborating with the universe".   I think Elizabeth Gilbert's words are turning out to be quite an inspiration for me as I navigate these crazy days..."the universe is looking for collaborators".

Have you been mending lately friends? How have you been collaborating with the universe?


Sunday, April 23, 2017

a month of stitching::day 22

This morning I was grabbed by something I saw posted on Instagram by Sonya Phillips, one of my stitching sheros. She wrote of Fashion Revolution, marking the fourth anniversary of the Rana Plaza clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh. Take a look here. 

Dear readers, I fell down the internet rabbit hole for an hour while I sipped my morning tea (the tea that Hannah brought me from China!). 

I have not stitched for an hour today, but I have read a lot about all the issues around clothing and the "fashion revolution". Fas-cin-ating. I've rummaged through my patterns, my longer yardages of fabric, my mending pile and my bin of clothing for repurposing. I am hatching a plan for the upcoming week and beyond. 

If indeed the universe is looking for collaborators this is certainly a way to jump in! 

And there will be another giveaway this week, so stay tuned. xo

Saturday, April 22, 2017

a month of stitching::day 21

Whenever I send a baby gift, I try to remember to send a little something to an older sibling if there is one. When I was getting this quilt ready to send, I realized I needed an extra goodie. I found a cute set of Duplos at our local "five and dime" store, and made another "treasure bag" to send them in. This is the third bag I've made and they just get easier each time. (You can see the first one here, and the second one here).

I have a special place in my heart for children's book illustrator Richard Scarry, so I have a yard or two of fabric with his sweet illustrations on it. And I found a fat quarter of the banana fabric in the back of the cupboard, too. (Because, you know, everyone loves Bananas Gorilla).

We try to remember that every day is Earth Day up here on the ridge. Making a treasure bag provides a gift wrap that skips the paper and ribbons and tape and it can be used for toting all sorts of things around.

Next time you're at the library, I invite you to sneak into the kids' section, find a Richard Scarry book, fold yourself into one of those tiny chairs and get lost in the fun. It will be time well spent, I promise.

Friday, April 21, 2017

a month of stitching::day 20

it's been a long, dreary, wet day and i am tired. wilma and i have settled in to do some knitting (i am so glad she is asleep).  xo

Thursday, April 20, 2017

a month of stitching::day 19::Handmade Joy Exchange

Anne of My Giant Strawberry has hosted several Handmade Joy Exchanges over the years. Anne invites folks to send her their contact information, then she mixes everyone up and sends each of us the name of a person to create a little something for. I've participated in all but one of Anne's exchanges, so this time around I signed up right away!

When I received Sarah's information, I checked out her Instagram account to see what sorts of things interested her. I literally squealed with delight when I saw her photos. Take a peek here and you'll see why. I knew right away that I wanted to create a path in the woods for Sarah, using as many natural elements as I could. I used some of my homegrown, hand dyed indigo linen as the base and worked with birch twigs from the yard, cotton thread, a bit of paper and a much loved mother of pearl button. It was such fun to send this piece across the ocean to France, hoping it would be well received.

Well, never did I ever expect what happened next! A few weeks later, a package arrived from France and I found this lovely watercolored painting inside. Sarah sent me a thank-you gift. How sweet is that? Her simple and joyful leaves have inspired an idea that I hope to include in my own "month of stitching" project soon.

And soon another package arrived at my doorstep here in Vermont. It came from Kels in Australia! You can get a peek at her spiffy website here. Kels sent me five amazingly detailed, hand painted note cards. Some of her work reminds me of meditative mandalas. I also see a bit of the Aboriginal art of the indigenous people of Australia in her work. I do love to write snail mail, but these may be too precious to send away!

Tomorrow Anne will post a comprehensive look at all of the beautiful pieces that have been flying around the world this spring. Be sure to check her blog to see the many inspired gestures of friendship among folks who may never meet one another. Kindred spirits, gathered by creativity, joy and generosity...thank you Anne, from the bottom of my heart for getting us organized and facilitating such a positive experience for so many of us. You are a gem. xo

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

a month of stitching::day 18

A crocus inspired pin cushion. And some really lovely notecards from my friend Mira, who has a brand new Etsy shop. You can find her birch, pin cushion and other pretty cards here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

a month of stitching::day 17

Mother Nature's color palette seems to provide never ending inspiration. Batman gave me a pussy willow bush for my birthday and today I was struck by all the beautiful colors I saw in the branches, tiny leaves and catkins. I'd been meaning to make a little pincushion for some time and decided to make one with the colors of the pussy willow. These old fashioned calicos also remind me of the gorgeous dresses worn in the newly released To Walk Invisible, Masterpiece Theatre's two hour movie about the Bronte sisters. (What a lovely, sobering, inspiring movie!)

The nine patch pin cushion pattern can be found here.

Tomorrow I'll post a bit more about pin cushions...

Monday, April 17, 2017

a month of stitching::day 16

My daughter Lindsey and I collaborated on a baby quilt for the woman who had been her roommate in college. Little Arlo is Elizabeth's second baby and we thought he might appreciate a new quilt, rather than a hand-me-down from his big brother. 

I bought the fabric at Gather Here on my way down to the family art show in February. Lindsey and I discussed quilt patterns and settled on a modern version of stacked coins or chinese coins. I brought the fabric home, washed and dried it and cut out all the "coins". I sent them to Lindsey, who stitched them together with the addition of a pup she found on a vintage hankie. She sent the three strips of sewn coins back to me. I added the solid blue strips, basted, quilted and trimmed the quilt. Today she sewed the binding on while she was here for the decking weekend. I just stitched the label on and will wash it and pack it tomorrow and ship it to little Arlo. may have noticed that I did not stitch and I did not post yesterday, so I will be a day behind for the rest of the month.  To see our new deck, which consumed much of the weekend, look here! 

I hope that each of you had a lovely weekend, filled with the celebration of spring. xo

Saturday, April 15, 2017

a month of stitching::day 15

 11 people around the supper table after 
a day of deck building. 5 post holes dug and filled with concrete. 13 joists set. and an hour of knitting squeezed in. whew!

Friday, April 14, 2017

a month of stitching::day 14::giveaway winner

-Elizabeth Gilbert

wishing for world peace on my 61st.
my wish every year.

as we teeter on the brink of who knows what.

hey, the winner of the giveaway is sharon,
randomly selected by gretta
(three out of four kids and two partners are in the house).

there were 11 comments and an email to grab from.

thanks to all of you for trying.
there will be more giveaways this spring,
'cause i need to collaborate with the universe.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

a month of stitching::day 13

sneak peek.
a birch moon in a night sky.
inspired by something anne lamott wrote.
(i call her saint anne)
hope to finish it tomorrow.

there's still time to enter the giveaway.
look here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

a month of stitching::day 12

Today I sat down at my Bernina with a scant two yards of
some Lotta Jansdatter fabric from my stash.
I really needed curtains for the basement guest room.
This room sits right off my sewing studio,
which is behind the shoji screen.
This lovely print of watercolored nasturtiums
is by my blogging friend Anne Butera.
You can find her Etsy shop, My Giant Strawberry Art
right here.
A few weekends ago, Batman and I stripped some old wallpaper
back here and he painted it a fresh and cheerful crystal blue.
The curtains came together pretty quickly,
but only after I zipped down the hill to our "five and dime" store 
for some double fold binding. 
(I really couldn't squeeze a hem out of those two yards!)
All of my long lost sewing and crafting books have been unpacked
and organized and I'm so happy to have them back.
The PATRIOT beet print over the dresser is from Bread and Puppet's
2006 "Homeland Security Vegetable Calendar".
We try to buy some of their "cheap art" whenever
we go to one of their performances.

Read the cheap art manifesto here.
(You will love it.)

There are fresh linens on the bed and towels on the rack
because we will have a houseful of family
this weekend for a wicked fun project.

My giveaway is still open,
check for details here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

a month of stitching:: day 11::giveaway

oh, look!

i used this pattern again.
with leftover fabric from this project.

would you like to find this "treasure bag"
in your mailbox?

leave a note in the comments below 
or send me an e-mail at
sewandsowlife(at)gmail (dot)com

happy giveaway!

(i'll pick a winner on friday, april 14th)

this giveaway is now closed.

Monday, April 10, 2017

a month of stitching::day 10

there were four deer sleeping out in the meadow at dawn.
they all got up at once and wandered off into the woods.
i've never seen them sleep out in the open like that.
so odd.
it snowed or flurried every day last week.

in april.

today the thermometer reached 69 degrees here on the ridge, 
and the sun shone on the laundry hanging on the clothesline,
the birds are singing, the vernal streams are flowing.
windows are open.

we have woken up from the grey fogginess of a winter
that had stayed way too long. 

another hour of mediative knitting has happened.
it was all i could focus on.

there will be sewing tomorrow,
i promise.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

a month of stitching::day 9

There's a space in the back of my sewing studio that serves as a guest room when we have a houseful. This part of the basement is tucked into the side of the hill, so the window sits at ground level, making for a perfect kitty perch. But the wallpaper... 

In anticipation of the upcoming wedding, we decided to take advantage of the snowy weekends and finally stripped that ugly wallpaper. We painted the half-walls Benjamin Moore's crystal blue's actually a very pale aqua. (My Mumsie suggested something in between green and blue, because she basically has turquoise running through her veins. And it seems to be genetic, so she is not the only one. Ahem.)

Batman and I pulled two bookcases out of storage in the shed and up to the house with a toboggan last weekend. All of my sewing, knitting and quilting books that have been in storage for three years (!!!) will soon be unpacked, sorted and installed. 

I also pulled out my New York Beauty wallhanging (made years ago) and Batman hung it over the bed, providing a bright splash of color. I'm still mulling over ideas for the curtains, but a recycled curtain rod (from the CT house) has been installed, so I'm all set.

More than twenty members brought their paint chip challenge mini quilts to our guild meeting this morning. As soon as photos are posted to our website, I'll provide a link. They are an amazing collection and will be on exhibit at the Vermont Quilt Festival in June.

Tonight I spent some more time knitting. So meditative after a busy day. More sewing tomorrow!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

a month of stitching::day 8

Fellow VTMQG member June has designed the spiffiest Luxe Market Tote. The fabulous pattern is available in her Esty shop. 

Exasperated by yet more snow overnight and this morning, I decided to invite spring into my sewing studio. I've had some fabric designed by Jane Sassaman tucked away in my stash for something special. I decided to give the tote a try.

The pattern went together beautifully, due to June's clear instructions. The interior of the tote has three slip pockets and a zippered pocket as well. The handles are leather and require a special needle, but I was surprised at how nicely they turned out.

Spending at least an hour every day with a needle or two has really recharged my energy. Most days my commitment turns into two or three hours, grabbed here and there.  I've got so many more ideas!