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June 2012

hello, neighbor




We got out of the house early this morning, trying to get our wiggles out before needing to retreat indoors in the heat of the day. We're expecting 105 F, with humidity. A nice, warm blanket in the middle of summer!


Our neighbors got some new cows in the pasture across the street from us. We now have a toddler who goes around mooing, cheerfully waving, and saying "hi" to his new neighbors. Always the charmer, that Lachlan. Can't go anywhere without making a new friend - human or animal.


I know I said that Patrick was taking the reins of the blog in my last post, but apparently I have an addiction, so here I am. Hi. 


I fell asleep last night reading my new book. Loving it, even though most of the recipes are too animal-y for this vegetarian family. Jenny's way of writing is humorous, accessible, and refreshing. 


Speaking of books, I updated our reading lists in the side bar. Finn, in particular, has some good summertime reads.


If you haven't already, leave a comment on this post to enter to win a gift certificate from Garden Laundry, my favorite vintage linens shop!


Stay cool, friends. Happy weekending to you!

sponsor giveaway :: garden laundry

Mmmm .... love me some vintage sheets! I'm stoked to have Garden Laundry as a sponsor again, this time with a new owner, the cheerful Michelle, behind the ever-changing and beautiful collection of linens, sheets, and blankets. You've seen my bed before, with it's mix-match of old sheets - I got those at Garden Laundry a while back. Check out the shop for an ever-changing supply of budget-friendly goods to help make your house feel like a home.

getting outside

Yellows and greens - bringing a bit of the outside "in."  Oh, and I have a major crush on this pillowcase. Just sayin'.

Here's Michelle:

I've been running Garden Laundry since Spring of 2012, and it has been such a fun business!  Being a stay at home/work from home Mama to my little guy keeps me very busy, but no matter when I find time to squeeze in a little Garden Laundry work, it never feels like work!  I can't ask for more than that!  What I love most about the shop is selecting soft, lovely items that have spent many years providing comfort and usefulness to a home and have many more years of cozy warmth left to give!  I love imagining the projects and spaces people purchase my items for, whether it's a soft vintage sheet, an antique doily, or a lovingly knitted afghan.  We have a huge selection of items to choose from: doilies, table runners, vintage needlepoint, sheets, comforters, and other bedding, curtains, quilts, tablecloths, napkins, tea towels, pillow covers, vintage holiday linens, and vintage fabric!  I try and make sure each item is in good condition and ready for use, and love packaging up and sending out orders.  Each purchase arrives tied in a neat little package with a thank you note, just as I would send something to a friend.  I certainly hope you'll look around my shop and find something you love!

Garden Laundry is offering a $25 gift certificate to one lucky, lucky person. Leave a comment to enter to win! I'll announce the winner on Monday. Good luck!  Comments are now closed. 





Lots of things seem to be hanging in mid-air right now, just waiting for gravity to pull them down. Some of those things are like balloons. Others are like ceramic plates. Sometimes I feel like I'm running around trying to safely guide the heavy things to the ground, at other times I'm swatting the lighter things back up into the air, trying to keep them afloat until they've served their purpose.

I'm needing to step back for a bit. We are heading to the beach for Patrick's family reunion, which should be nice, if not quiet. Patrick will be taking the reins of the blog for a while as I prepare to travel to Denver to film a sewing course with Craftsy in mid-July. It's busy 'round here.

Happy weekending, friends.

insert-your-adjective harmonica

insert your adjective harmonica

Above, you see Finn's very best "lullaby harmonica." He also does "happy harmonica," in which he plays very fast while jumping up and down, and "sad harmonica," which is so mournful that he even made himself tear up once while playing.

These past weeks, as his harmonica playing has really taken off, I've become convinced that it is the perfect first instrument for little people. The hand-eye-ear coordination required is minimal, it always sounds good, and it immediately allows him to feel like a contributing member during family music time. You should hear Patrick and Finn play Billy Joel's Piano Man together - it's one of those situations that causes a mother to get a big, goofy grin on her face.

Finn is angling for a harmonica holder so he can play his green guitar (which is actually a ukelele) while keeping his harmonica humming.

Move over, Bob Dylan. 

featured sewist :: jeni

Something new! There are so many talented folks out there who have made cool stuff from my patterns, and I never tire of seeing the fabrics they have chosen and their own individual takes on my designs. I know I like to peruse the internet for photos of real people wearing finished products before I jump into a new pattern, so I hope you enjoy getting to know some new friendly faces and the blogs they author.

Happy sewing,


Featured sewist jeni

Jeni from In Color Order made the Schoolhouse Tunic - click here to read her original post.

What were your goals for this project?

My goal for this project was simply to add another handmade top to my wardrobe.  There is something so exciting about sewing garments! I'm always hoping to learn something when I sew a new pattern, in this case I stitched my first facing.

How did you incorporate your individual style into this project?

I think I incorporated my style into this project with my fabric selection. I love fabrics that have a bit of whimsy to them, and this print from Lizzy House's Hello Pilgrim collection fit the bill.

How long have you been sewing?

I have been sewing for about 12 years off and on.  I just started sewing clothing for myself in the last year!

What's your next sewing project?

My next sewing project will probably be a fun summer dress!

just one day

A little phrase, with two vastly different meanings. Just one day - one of many, nothing spectacular, everything as normal as can be. Just one day - imagine if that's all we had?

In the present moment, there is beauty. This day is my life.

 I would love it if you join me. Share a link to your posts in the comments.
















 1. The first thing I see upon waking. 2. "Am-uh-NEE!" (Amelie. All cats are Amelies.) 3. Lachlan morning - playing with animals. 4. Three, two, one. 5. I want to sit under a silk on top of the air conditioning vent, too. 6. Mama Butterfly. 7. Baby Owl. 8. Lachlan's first photo. 9. Painting the sky. 10. Finny sprinkler. 11. Crazy Daddy time. 12. Mellow Daddy time. 13. Can't believe that he had a feeding tube last year at this time. 14. Hiding from the pre-bed pee check. 15. Bedtime story

solstice camping

This week's "Just One Day" will be up tomorrow. Happy Solstice, everyone!

solstice camping

solstice camping

solstice camping

solstice camping

solstice camping

solstice camping

This past weekend, the boys and I went camping with our friends to celebrate the longest day of the year. The lingering sunlight didn't keep them from falling asleep after a long day of play in the great outdoors, as you can see.

It was our first camping trip away from our backyard, and we did it without Daddy, who was at home getting some uninterupted work time. (Yes, I was slightly nervous, and nope, I didn't get much sleep.) But it went really well, all things considered.

Growing up, I went camping frequently, and as I got older, my dad and I would spend many weekends backpacking in the Lakes Basin area near my home. 

When Patrick and I got married, we registered at REI, not Macy's! Good thing, because dishes wouldn't have held up well in our cross-continent, cross-border move to the Mexican Sierra. We did a good deal of backcountry exploring while living in Mexico.

2006 Semana Santa 002

Our "first home" was this tent, and our linens were our sleeping bags. Here it is on the precipice of a mesa in the middle of nowhere in the indigenous Tarahumara community of Rowerachi. That's me, wearing the traditional dress during Semana Santa. (Next dress pattern anyone? Hehehe!)

2006 Semana Santa 035

Our hope is that we can do more and more backpacking once the boys get older. We started off in the backyard, then a campground with water and parking, but my preference is definitely to get out there and fall asleep to the sounds of nature rather than the sounds of neighboring campers chatting. 

Outsideways has been a great resource for kickstarting the backpacking bug as a family with small children. The blog is the joint venture of Renee of FIMBY (great homeschooling and healthy eating resource!) and her husband, Damien. Outsideways chronicles how they got to where they are now - a family of five that makes backpacking and outdoor adventures a priority.

We ended up investing in a Hogback Tarptent (it's super lightweight!) that will be able to transition from car camping to backpacking. We anticipate having to carry the boys' sleeping bags and pads, as well as the tent and our food, for a while. We'll slowly transition them to carrying their own gear, but you can see why a lightweight tent was a must. I think we can do a short hike "in" with the boys now, maybe a mile, and manage carrying all their stuff and (the occasional) boy. That's the key. We can only go as far as they can walk. I'll report back when we actually try this. :)

Finn has a Big Agnes Little Red Sleeping bag which has a slot in the back so you can stuff his sleeping pad directly into the bag. There's no worries about the bag slipping off the pad in the middle of the night - my only gripe is that I can't manage to keep HIM in the sleeping bag. It's hot, so it's unzipped, and his whirling dervish legs propel him all over the floor of the tent. He slept great - I just had to readjust him quite a lot. 

Lachlan just sleeps on an extra foam pad with a blanket. Maybe next year he'll be ready for his own sleeping bag.

Little by little, we'll become a backpacking family. In the meantime, we'll save a lot of money on vacations and road trips by being able to camp instead of stay in a hotel.  I'll keep you updated as our adventurous daydreams become reality!

handmade parade :: the ashland dress sewing pattern

ashland1 - Copy

Dress: handmade with my Ashland Dress pattern. Fabric: cotton voile, NYC garment district

Shoes: c/o my mom's closet

Jewelry: none, c/o my grabby toddler

ashland2 - Copy

A lot of love went into designing this, Sew Liberated's first dress pattern, so that it would be a beautiful and functional dress for all. Here are the deets:

  • sizes 2-20, and bust sizes A-D. Eeee! That's right - the pattern includes separate bodice patterns to go with your cup size, so most sewists won't have to bother with bust adjustments!
  • three sleeve variations make it an all-season pattern: elbow (shown above) sleeveless (shown below) and 3/4 sleeves.
  • two pocket options
  • nursing-friendly
  • shorten the skirt to make a tunic/shirt version.

ashland6 - Copy

ashland5 - Copy

If you liked the Schoolhouse Tunic pattern, I really think you'll like the Ashland. Soon, I'll be posting video tutorials on how to insert an invisible zipper, like the one used in the Ashland, as well posting links to great buttonhole how-tos, so that you can take your sewing skills to the next level without any hair pulling!

ashland7 - Copy


Ashland Sundress: fabric - French milled, cotton poplin, found locally at Mulberry Silks in Carrboro, NC.

Shoes: Lotta From Stockholm

Gardening hat: Imagine Childhood

Okay, friends. I need your help now. I'm a rather busy bee nowadays, preparing for a VERY EXCITING online course I'll be filming in Denver in a few short weeks. (Any guesses? :) I haven't had time to source fabrics yet for Ashland fabric kits. How about this ... leave a comment with your favorite Ashland-worthy fabric (a link to the exact fabric in the comments would be helpful) and, if I pick YOUR fabric for inclusion in a kit, I'll send you a free Ashland Dress pattern! (Or give you a refund if you want to go ahead and get one now.) Cool? Cool. High fives all around.

P.S. The patterns should be ready to ship by the end of the week, so expect yours to leave the North Carolina countryside by Friday, June 22nd or Monday, June 25th.

just one day

A new feature - just one day. A little phrase, with two vastly different meanings.

Just one day - one of many, nothing spectacular, everything as normal as can be.

Just one day - imagine if that's all we had?

I think about this a good amount, having a little boy who, had he been born a decade or two ago, would have had just one or two days on this Earth. I think often about the next surgery, the long hospital stay, and all of the question marks in our family's future. It makes me appreciate the little moments so much more.

I want snapshots of our days. With camera in hand, I am reminded of the common and comforting things that happen each day, as well as the novel and exciting. It seems my camera can be a tool of mindfulness.

In the present moment, there is beauty. This day is my life.

I would love it if you join me. Share a link to your posts in the comments.

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

Just One Day, June 12th, 2012

1. 6:45 a.m. baby piano concert  2. The mirror game 3. Getting out the door 4. Clover exploration 5. Watching out for him 6. Stand up, Lachlan! 7. Rain boot day 8. Misty spider's web 9. Poet's Walk, Hillsborough, NC 10. After mud play, clothing change and vegan cookies 11. Short but sweet 12. Fighting over the book 13. Flowers for the lunch table 14. Through the studio window 15. Summer dress, our next pattern 16. Indian food takeout 17. Sweet dreams 18. Getting ready 19. He likes this one 20. Wearing home-drafted, home-sewn tank. 

sparkle love

alabama toast

alabama toast

alabama toast

Making Alabama Toast

"Let's listen to a Parkle Tory!" 

Other than "I'm hungry," Finn's linguistically idiosyncratic way of asking for a Sparkle Story is one of the most common requests from his mouth. 

Our family loves the three story lines that we've been subscribing to for the past four months: Martin and Sylvia, Martin and Sylvia At Home, and Junkyard Tales. The stories are so down-to-earth, yet so rich in content, and always wholesome and entertaining. 

Martin and Sylvia are a five and seven year-old sibling pair whose seemingly mundane adventures reflect the experiences of many young ones. They are not charicatures; each child has difficulties to overcome, lessons to learn, and charming personality quirks. Martin and Sylvia's parents, however, are a rockstar team - and I really appreciate this! I can't tell you how many times we have used a parenting trick of theirs in a not-so-easy situation. Finn recognizes these tricks, too, and usually cheerfully says, "Oh! Just like Martin and Sylvia!" Score. 

We listen to the stories in the car and at home - often while preparing a meal or doing an art project. Sometimes, Finn will request to listen to a story while curled up in a window seat, watching the birds at the feeder. Perfect for a bit of quiet time. I love thinking about how his imagination is working to construct the characters and set. What a fantastic mental exercise - like reading Harry Potter before the movies came out, you know?

Do you have Sparkle Stories? Any other favorite audio books?