Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Cooper

Last year at the sewing retreat I had a colossal fail (but look how tiny she was!!) when I tried to make a bag.  I will admit, it was good for me.  This had never happened to me before.  And in the time in between I don't think I made any bags at all (except perhaps a library tote for E?)  This was a little odd for me because I have made quite a lot of bags and really got sewing as an adult because of them.  I've used patterns and made up things, done simple and embellished.

Anyway, last year was a disaster and I wanted to redeem myself (okay, maybe it was sub-conscious...) and when I came across the Cooper from Colette Patterns I knew I had just the right thing.
I spent a lot of time online looking at what others had done to figure out what kinds of fabric combinations I really loved and then I spent a few more hours looking at fabric online to pick just the right combination for me.  I searched around quite a bit for the hardware.

And then the fabric arrived. And it was not matching or the weights I expected.  I didn't want to shop any more for this at that point.  I dragged my poor husband in and made him help me figure it out.  He is great at this sort of thing as an artist and designer, though I know he doesn't care 2 cents about this project.  And I believe he hates ikat.  (I know.  I know!!)  He gave me great advice and I decided to keep the fabric that I had intended as the interior and use it as the "main fabric" in the pattern.  There was so much of the main fabric I could be fussy about cutting to get the parts of pattern I liked in the best placement.  This left me with just the interior to figure out and of course, since it is inside you can do just about anything.  One stop by Kitsch in West Asheville and I was set with a fabric nothing like what I thought I was looking for. :)

I really love the combination of these elements.  I feel like the bag screams travel bag and "take me away!" and I adore that.  I love a bit of escapism.  I was also reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland and I think it influenced me on the interior fabric in particular.

The pattern was a breeze to cut out and put together.  There were a couple moments where I got tripped up but that is more because I am not used to having so many instructions to follow than that they were bad.  I'm quite used to winging it.  I did order the wrong amount of webbing so I made a couple little mod's there.  I didn't feel the straps were adequately secured so I did some additional sewing after using it a couple days.  But I used it for 3 or 4 days before I managed to trim all the loose threads, so I must have love it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sewing Weekend


This weekend is for sewing.  I have a few things cut out.  Two patterns from Colette.  It'll be interesting to see what comes out of the weekend.  Hope you have wonderful plans too!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Self Care:Taking a Compliment

Women spend a lot of time beating themselves up.  Mothers do it even more I think.  I recently had to rate my self confidence and I realized I had two completely separate scores.  As a human being, taking care of myself, making choices about what I want, how to get it, etc I score high.  As parent of a nearly 5 year old I am scrapping by each day, pulling myself off the floor and trying to get through it.*  (I know I am still in the golden stage with the baby.)

Several weeks ago I participated in a parenting seminar and one of the facilitators looked me straight in the eye and said gently, "It sounds like you've really figured out a lot of things that work for your family."  I'm going to tell you my first reaction: I thought it was a pretense.  Giving me a little compliment that she didn't really mean to shut me up or get me to hold it together.  (I wasn't holding it together very well that day.)  But then I looked deeper.  She had no reason to be supercilious.  She actually meant those words.  And they were a huge compliment.  I mean, we've tried so many things that it seems like almost nothing is working, but look at what we've actually figured out!  Whew, what a lot of work.  And how nice it was to have someone acknowledge it.  I certainly hadn't.  I was still beating myself up about all the things that haven't worked.  I was so busy with that I couldn't even see what was going well.

That day I decided to take compliments.  No grains of salt needed.  No explanation warranted.  No nothing. Take it and hold it and treasure it.  No reflecting on the sanity of the complimenter.  We get so few that we don't rationalize away.  I'm storing them up in a big box in my mind and giving them back out to myself on the days I need them.  I can take them from other people, I can take them from myself.

The other mother at the play group who said I was looking lovely and thin, "Thank you!"  No, "Thank you, I've been to the gym/chasing children/never showered and am so gross/hate my butt."  Just thank you and glow.

My friend who always says I am so smart because I read a lot, "Thank you!" No, "Thank you, I should be reading Tolstoy/this is all crap/you don't understand I have to to survive."  Just thank you and glow.

The shop girl complimenting my body in skinny jeans, "Thank you!" No, "Thank you, you're trying to sell these/are delusional/need better lighting." Just thank you and glow.

We don't need to break ourselves down, we get that message from outside.  We need to put these jewels in our minds and hold them there.  For some weird reason we place more stock in what others say about us than in what we tell ourselves.  So take the compliment.  Hold it, listen to it on all the days that suck.  Replay it inside your head till you believe it.

PS- I saw this last week while I was writing this post and thought it fit in so beautifully.  You should try it too!

*This has actually changed a bit recently and I think it is something I want to talk about more here, but it will have to wait for another day.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Magical days

These days are filled with wonder.  She invites me to walk with her with one finger pointed up.  She invites me to hold her with both hands out, twisted so her little elbows touch.  I can almost hear the request, "Hold me?"
She loves to put on a necklace or my keys.  They bounce against her ankles as she walks.  She tries to put on shirts and sweaters on her own.  Over and over and over with no frustration.  She accepts help.  She toddles from place to place and tells a story as she goes.  She falls down and just crawls or gets up and goes again.  No frustration unless she is tired.  She seems to already know it is about the process, the journey.  She climbs everything she can.  She can get to the top of his loft ladder.  She is overjoyed as we are terrified.
She loves small spaces.  You'll find her in the corner cabinet any time of the day.  She climbs into the toy bin.  She loves her brother.  She looks for him at night after he goes to bed and first thing in the morning.  He treats her so sweetly and loves how she looks up to him.  He loves to feed her and make her laugh.
She splashes and giggles and walks in the bath.  She doesn't mind that he is rougher than we would like sometimes.
She is quiet most of the time, not silent, but almost never yelling to be heard over the din.  We all look to her for a few hugs and kisses and smiles when we are feeling overwhelmed.  Today when I came to get her after my sewing group she quietly gave me a full 30 second hug.  Not upset, not clinging, just welcoming with her whole being.  Such a gift, such a love.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Self Care: Sexy, Silky Legs!

How does your face feel?  Anyone try it?  I swear, it sounds weird but it is so good!  You're going to love this week.

A few weeks ago we had our first really warm day. It was a surprise to me and I went and changed out of my pants and into a skirt.  When I looked at my legs I was a little horrified.  They were covered in red spots and the skin was so dry as to look fragile.  Ug!  How could they look this old??? (are you sensing a pattern here?  Clearly, I am delusional. ;)

Here it is time for some confessions-
1. I don't often shave my legs in the winter and when I do it is almost always with my husband's electric razor (hi sweetie!)
2. I am beyond paper white.  Right off into pale marble.
3. I have several broken blood vessels on my legs from pregnancy and, eons ago, playing catcher in softball.
4.I have always liked my legs the least of any feature.

Because we have a shower stall and not a bathtub I almost never see my legs in the winter in any kind of light so it was a real shock to see how bad they were looking.  Sure I rub lotion on them once in a while but usually I am half asleep and in a hurry.  I immediately googled "diy leg treatment."  It came back with lots of good stuff.  Off to the grocery for me!

I chose this recipe.  I found it funny and wonderful that she didn't know about exfoliating legs either.  I mixed it up:
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Then into the shower I went.  She suggests first scrubbing, then shaving, scrub again and then shave again.  I may work my way up to that but I'll say the second scrub felt like enough to me.  My legs were too sensitive to go for a second shave.

My legs felt like silk- for a few days even!  I've been using it a couple times a week (I don't shave every time) for about three weeks and the difference is incredible.  My feet are also feeling the benefits (and showing them too!)  Most of the red spots are completely gone, the others have faded.  I feel ready for the Spring and skirt weather.  I really feel much better about myself doing this tiny thing.  I have never liked to show off my legs, I think my knees are weird and I just haven't ever felt confident about them.  Suddenly I can't wait to wear a shorter skirt or shorts even!

Maybe it is the lemony smell, but this gives me such a boost I can't help but want to do it again and again.  We have a pool here at our apartment and I'm going to love it even more now.  And my husband and I are going to spend the night away the weekend for our 10th anniversary soon- I am sure to be pulling out my shortest skirt for dinner that night! (Of course, that just means it will be two inches above my knee. Meee-ow! ;)

What are you doing that makes you feel like a million bucks?

Ps- I only have this cell phone picture in the middle of the night picture of my legs, though I really wish I'd taken before and afters!  If you want something more this is funny and this is what I feel like.