Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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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Thursday, May 16, 2013

The colour mystery

O.K. let's start with where the canning intersected with the sewing.

I have been making various things, with a one week pause because my sister-in-law and mother-in-law are here. They are wonderful and it has been a great week.

But back to canning for a minute.

I have been making mango and ginger chutney and processing it in my new super duper giant canner, which is thrilling to use:

Just imagine what I can unleash on the family with this baby.

One of my great pleasures has been stirring the mango mixture because it is so colourful and so beautiful:

I mean how can anything that looks this upbeat not make you cheerful? Impossible not to smile when you look at this.  And below is my mango jam (all eaten up already by the relatives, at least I now know what to make them for Christmas), equally zippy looking:

And I have also made, among other things, a Jamaican banana and ginger jerk type chutney with a lot of pep and great flavour. 

However it looks like this in the jar:

I mean how non tasty does this look? It's is the kind of stuff you serve and have to say "Look I know it looks like gruel but it's really, really good." I should have added turmeric or something for colour. So this stuff, which is one of my best, is still sitting there looking like glug, jar after unopened jar.

The problem is the colour.

Which brings me to a huge contribution I am about to make to Western Thought and Civilization is general.

Maybe no one should wear clothes in colours that they would not eat.

Hang in there with me, think this through.

One thing that really strikes you in Florida is all the colour in the clothes. Walk into a Belk (southern department store) and the colour in the ladies' dresses is sort of an explosion. Look at Lilly Pulitzer clothes:

As  my sister-in-law observed these aren't the colours they wear at home in Nova Scotia. 

Gee that is too bad, and about to change.

OK I get it. 

I mean the colours reflect the environment, and in Nova Scotia for 3/4 of the year, in rain, sleet, snow, frozen ground seasons, this is what those colour are:

OK, now how about this.

If it is grey and dark outside why not resist? Why not counter-attack?

Why not dress uplift not downshift?

I mean who wrote the rule that people in February shouldn't wear sorbet rainbow colours? 

What's with the dead colours when you need life most?

What's with wearing what you wouldn't eat?

So I am staking out a place of resistance here, and with SIL enabling, here are my new sunglasses:

One step at a time folks, one step at a time.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day to my three children

This mother's day I am holding the line on my position that it is me who should be thanking my children and not the other way around.

Think of all the laughs I would have missed, the extra sleep I would have had, and most of all, all the growing up I myself would have not done.

It has also occurred to me that sewing is a big part of my memories of raising my children.

To my oldest, my daughter who was once toasted by her matron of honour at her wedding "as a girl who really loved her mother - look at all the weird home-made outfits she wore  to school."

This is also the same daughter who made me a scissors case, hand-stitched, to take to sewing classes so I wouldn't miss her.

And the same daughter who now sews too and told me that last week, when happily shopping for fabric, realized she had one child exhausted and asleep in the stroller, and the other laying on the floor in the middle of an aisle, eating snacks to keep herself busy.

"I suddenly realized I had become my mother."

I think too of my youngest son who used to help me by cleaning out my serger lint with Q-tips - no one did a slicker job, before every project, and who used to sit cross-legged behind my machine on the table sewing on buttons on clothes for his bear. He was also the one who got 100% in family studies for a perfectly sewn pair of shorts.

And of course I am thinking today too of my middle son. He always has some mending, alterations, or button sewing himself for me to do, every visit home and every time I visit him. Whenever he tells me, "Mom when you come down to New York can you bring some needles and thread I have stuff I need you to do for me" I know both that he is partially humouring me, and equally that it works.

He is also the kid, my real busy kid, who wouldn't leave some major project in the backyard when I wanted him to come in to shop for back-to-school clothes, but just shouted back to me at the kitchen window, "I am too busy, just take my measurements."

Thanks guys.

Happy mother's day.