Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

Sewing with less stress back cover

Sewing with less stress back cover
What my new book is about

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About me

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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Weddings and crafts

I am behind in my sewing since I got back from my trip, but all for very good reasons. In four weeks my beautiful daughter is getting married to a great, great guy and good friend of everyone in the family. I am so happy. 

Of course weddings are a bit of work. We are having the wedding as sort of a big family reunion at an old fishing camp we had family holidays at when the kids were younger. It has a main lodge and 20+ cabins built 1920-1923 around a lake. You can see it here  Milford House. The upgrades have been minimal since it was built (think moose heads over the fireplaces, docks and canoes) but the place is rustic, charming and to us, familiar. We are planning a 2 day get together for family and friends and Katrina will be married on the steps that come out the back porch. The big plan is for her brothers to each open one of the double screen doors, she will pause at the doors so we can all see her, come down the steps, turn and get married. 

Now having explained to my mother how her granddaughter is getting married in front of screen door and not an altar, even I could see that didn't have a lot of presence. So I got the bright idea that I would make a swag thing out of tasteful fake plant things and have my husband get up on a ladder and hang it off the gutter above the door on the back of the porch.

So off we went and bought a bunch of stuff that looked green and we hoped rustic.

The problem is that although I sew I have zero, or less, skill as a crafter. I am the sort of crafter who used to take her ribbons to the fabric store and ask my friends there to tie my bows for me for wreaths.

However my motto is "how hard can it be" and I attached the greenery with a few miles of green wire and the tin snips this afternoon into sort of an arch. It really is a lot harder than I thought to do this stuff. First all the flowers were on one side, then the only thing you could see in the middle of the arch was a sort of bird's nest of green wire, then it drooped up and then too far down, and then it was too symmetrical, and then not enough, and finally about 4:00 I gave up and we decided who looks up at the gutter over a porch at a wedding anyway, and we took this picture of Katrina holding up the Wedding Arch. My husband should have fun nailing it onto the gutter. Of course with such a beautiful bride who will look at anything else, at least that's what I am hoping, particularly in reference to my sister the florist ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

London, fabric and families

Back home again after my trip to London to see my 24 year old son who is working there. Of course there were fabric related activities integrated into the visit. My first of these stops was at Liberty's of London. Years ago when I first went to Liberty's you walked into the main floor and all around was fabric. Gorgeous fabric. Times have changed at Liberty's though as they have in so many areas of the sewing world. These days the fabric section is very small, only half an upper floor of a large department store full of fashion, home furnishings, and artwork. The other half of the fabric floor is now occupied in fact by a great knitting section (knitting really is where the energy is now for so many younger creative types) and some quilting fabric, Amy Butler in particular. I was tempted by the Amy Butler cottons, but as a Canadian version of a midwesterner it just didn't make sense for me to go to London to buy her fabric. 

What I did pick up though was some lovely cotton lawn, pictured here at - three meters for the Canadian equivalent of about $120. Crazy I know but it was historically important for me as a sewer to do this. Of course this fabric won't get cut into until I have perfected a decent blouse pattern for next spring.

The fabric caused me some problems coming back into the country at customs. The nice lady at the customs counter couldn't accept the fact that I had paid that much for a tiny package of material and it took quite some time for me to explain to her that I was going to make a blouse, what Liberty of London fabric meant to me etc. Her eyes sort of glazed over when I got to the part of the importance of making a muslin and possible patterns I was considering and she finally let me through. Not a sewer.

I am happy to report that my son is doing very well. He is working as a financial analyst, really difficult and stressful in these times and if I would say anything it is that he is working too hard. He has always been a really lighthearted social guy and I saw not so much of that this trip and lots of young male focus on succeeding. I understand this in my head but really hope things ease up for him. Part of me just wanted to take him home but the time for that is past and he is doing what he needs to do now. If you have ever done it let me tell you that it is not an easy thing to get on a plane and leave one of your children in another country. He has his life to live now but I am going to have to figure out how to find a role for myself in it that works.

He was great to me the whole time I was there. Did the nicest thing he could have done which was to introduce me to his friends, show me where he worked, lived, shopped, and the streets he walked. One of his friends that I met was a woman not much younger than me he works with. She and her partner have looked out for him and I really appreciate that.

Next week my school starts again and for the first time I will be teaching only first years. What I guess I can do now is help out someone else's child as they make their own transition into the next stage of their own lives.

I have a friend, a man I used to work with, who in a moment of absolute honesty told me that if he had his way he would have a big house and all his family would live in it together until the kids got married. Of course he can't do that, none of us can these days, but I think if some of us are honest we wish we could. My children would be horrified.

If there is one thing in my life that has sometimes made me sad is that I have not had the people I care about closer. I have a sister in one city thousands of miles away and my mom and other sisters even farther away. I have good, good friends I see only rarely because of distance.

I remember an old Charlie Brown cartoon "I have too many goodbyes, I need more hellos."

OK enough of this. Back to sewing.