Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Quilt for My Mom

My mom turned 60 this past Saturday!  We celebrated, oh did we celebrate, and I'm certain the memories will put a smile on our faces for many years to come.  In a nutshell, my dad and I planned a day full of surprises including flying my sister in for the weekend, having family photos taken, and topped off with a huge surprise party!  It was a grand day and it wasn't even my own birthday.  :)

I reeeeeally prefer to give handmade gifts for any celebration.  My mom's birthday was no exception!  Recently my mom passed along allllllll of her sewing notions, fabrics, and books to me.  Remember, she was once quite the sewist.  Included in the stash of hand-me-downs was a stack of nine-patch quilt blocks, approximately 50 of them actually.  I thought about passing them along to our guild for a charity quilt when it hit me, I was going to make the quilt that she started almost 30 years ago for her!
 
I took the blocks to our cabin sewing weekend and the ladies helped me put the blocks together which made my heart incredibly happy.  There was also a stack of cut squares in a green color-way that you could tell were also supposed to be blocks so I decided to use them on the edges to give a little pop of (my favorite) color and to include the final color that my mom had originally intended to be part of the quilt.
For the back of the quilt, I also used fabric from my mom's old stash - a soft gentle white with light blue polka dots.  I included a strip of a few leftover blocks to give the quilt a modern kick.  For quilting, I straight-lined it and used four different subtle thread colors.  I bound it in three different fabrics but the most notable was bias tape made from some of Rio's painting fabric.  It was a perfect match.
She loved the fabric choices because she chose them (duh!), she was wonderfully surprised with the finished quilt, and it was even used right off the bat for a disco nap before her surprise party!  But the best part, if you ask me, is how many people made this quilt a quilt.  So many hands and hearts made it and filled it with beaucoup positive energy and creativity.  Happy Birthday, Moma!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Me Made May

What do all of these pictures have in common?  I'm wearing an article of clothing that I made in each photo.
You see, there's this thing called Me Made May that I noticed last year on Instagram as a hashtag.  The idea is that you wear self-made clothing throughout the month of May and you document it.  Over the past few years, I've been wearing clothes I have made more often but I never really thought twice about doing an internet challenge with it but for some reason on May 2nd of this year, I decided to dive right in.  Why the second?  Because I had no idea it was even May until we were already a day into the month!  Ha!  So for the following 30 days, I made sure to wear something I had made but not just any something.  What I wore needed to be something that I liked, that functioned well, that I wasn't embarrassed to wear in public, and something that I was comfortable showing to the internets!  Oh, and I had to have someone photograph me each day which ended up being one of the hardest parts of the challenge!  I only 'selfied' twice and other than that, the pictures were all taken by someone else.  I do believe, though, that Rio was my most frequent photographer and some of her photos are by far my favorite!  

I have many, many thoughts about this seemingly superficial project.  First, the clothes.  For a while now, I have become increasingly thoughtful about what I am wearing.  Not in regards to 'fashion' or colors, but in regards to where my clothes are coming from, who is making them, the conditions in which they were made, and their footprint in our world.  I haven't been to a mall to shop in over three years now and the only modern, commercially produced articles of clothing that I have purchased have been leggings, jeans, and undergarments since I've had Rio.  Absolutely everything else I have been wearing has been secondhand (thrifted, estate sales, flea market, handmedowns), handmade, or something that I've had in my closet for many, many, many years.  There is a documentary that I strongly recommend you watch sometime - The True Cost.  I believe it is on Netflix and, in my opinion, is a must see.  Embarking on this project really forced me to look at my wardrobe in a different way and I value that experience immensely.

The other huge takeaway for me were the photos.  Taking a photo of yourself everyday is not easy and it's kind of weird, too!  There were days that I was not feeling so 'cute' or I was in a funk or making time to take a quick picture wasn't my highest priority.  But I still did it.  And you know what, I'm SO glad that I did.  We often get lost in the everyday and before we know it, today becomes yesterday and we barrel on forward.  Having this collection of photos is more than just proof of a sewing challenge, it's a brief record of that day that I lived.  Every single one of these photos takes me back to that day - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Once upon a time, I documented my outfits often on this here blog.  Most of them were teaching outfits but there were others sprinkled in there, too.  This felt like abbreviated 'fashion' blogging to me and I realized that I missed that!  I looooooove clothes and I especially love them if they are a little less than normal.  This challenge reignited that creative spark that I felt had been slipping away.

Would I do this again?  Maybe!  Or perhaps a different monthly photo challenge.  I always enjoy seeing others' challenges they impose upon themselves and always wonder what they take away from it.  If you've been toying with it, I say do it!  Now, if you'd like to see all of the outfits, just keep on scrolling!  Try and guess which photos the kid took.  :)
 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hashtag Sew Wigwam

I can honestly say that last weekend was one of the best I've had in a long, long time.  Where to even begin!?
Over the past few years, a few things have happened.  I've become quite infatuated with sewing (obviously), I've discovered the magic of crafting retreats, and I've had the pleasure of getting to know a handful of amazing, talented, hilarious, and respectable women within my community that I love spending time with.  When I get a rare, free weekend, I love to run off to my family's cabin.  I often take my machine or hand-stitching to accompany me and have thought for a while how much fun it would be to invite folks out there to do the same.  Well, after months of talking about it, it finally happened!  This past weekend seven truly spectacular ladies joined me in the woods to sew in a wigwam and it was the best.  Seriously.

I made a few little fabric baskets for everyone, encouraged folks to volunteer to feed us, reserved the common building on the property (aka the wigwam), bought some boos, packed a speaker, made sure there was room for Mondo in the car, and checked the weather incessantly.  Amazingly, all eight of us were able to attend for the entire weekend and the weather forecast of rain all weekend was completely wrong.  IT WAS PERFECT.

We sewed, we rapped, we laughed, we pondered, we reflected, we ate, we drank, we encouraged each other, we bonded, we grew, and we even made a hashtag on Instagram - #sewwigwam.  I'm really not sure it could have been any better.  This will happen again, mark my words!  And now, the photos.
See?  Perfect.  I can't wipe this smile off of my face.  And I'm OK with that. 
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