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Sewing with less stress Front
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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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, November 1, 2014

Oh honestly

First the context and then the sewing.

The oh honestly part comes from me spending a most boring weekend on my bed with my foot wrapped in ice up on an exercise ball. My physio, who is a kid who used to come around here to play, has me doing this to deal with a tendon I messed up on the top of my foot due to that heavy cutting board with cilantro on it that jumped off the counter. Apparently this resting icing thing should have happened about six weeks ago but that is another story.

My visit to her was fairly humiliating in that I was not as flexible or strong as I assumed I was and apparently not as sensible. Although come to think of it I never assumed I was sensible, or at least not many people did. I felt yesterday afternoon in her office as if I had gone from being the mother, to her being the mother. Yet another lesson that as you get older you are no longer the big cheese you thought you were.

Enough about all of that.

I have many life theories, like karma is a real thing, formally known in other times as going to heaven or hell but sooner, and lipstick is important.

I also believe that people are either wired up or down. Anyone who has ever known, as I have, a fox terrier and a golden retriever, will understand what I mean.

I have enormous sympathy for example for folks who fight depression. I know for an absolute fact that it is an inherent thing because I know it is something totally absent in me.My daughter and I always say that we are the kind of shallow people who can turn it totally around with a soft serve ice cream cone, which I suspect is not the case if you are really depressed. I know this because I have nice, nice friend for instance who just is always a little bit defaulting to down. This tendency has given her depth and empathy and humour as a human being but is always something she has beneath the surface every day. And of course in different people it is a question of degree.

For other folks, like me, the default is activity and, at its worst, obsession. I can't sit down and I don't. I take on too much and when I have a challenge I keep at it with a hammer until one of us is done. I recognize this in my family, from my mother who doesn't let anything go when she's onto it, to a son who would stop eating when he was doing Lego as a four year old unless you put down snacks next to him on the floor.

At the best we get a lot done. At the worst we wear ourselves out, or much worse, other people.

Back to fox terriers and karma.

I also know that if you ignore what life wants you to pay attention to it will keep coming back at you until you do.

Which put me in a place where a kid who used to play here threatened me with referrals to even more appointments I don't have time for and, worst of all, that she might call my daughter and report me or other things can happen if I don't take care of this even worse than not fitting into my new silver shoes.

So I am parked here for the weekend wondering if anyone knows a really good yoga CD and blogging.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Thank you all for your sink advice. While I was away my husband read my blog and tried out all the suggestions.

I came home to a sparkling sink.

Now on to crochet a dog coat too.

All this help is so much appreciated.

Another quick update


I am writing this before I go off to the dentist with my daughter who needs a root canal. 

Since little Mr. Billy sticks to the front of her body like a mussel to a rock my role is to hold him and walk him (he is three months old plus now) and if he gets desperate pass him over for a breastfeed.

We can do this. 

The dentist is a friend of hers with three small children of her own, including two twins who have to have their diapers duct tapped on so they won't take them off and hit each other over the head. These are the same guys who are locked in their room at night with a webcam aimed at their cribs.

We should be good this morning with that level of understanding.

The other domestic news around here is that I have my son's Border Collie staying with me in the week while my son is away working commissioning wind mills.

Birdie has completed the last of Daisy's rehabilitation.

There were a few things we couldn't get through to her, like asking to go out as opposed to waiting for a walk, for those times of the day when I didn't have time to do the seventh walk of the day. It makes sense as there have not been many open doors in her past, but communicating the barking at the door to go out concept was beyond us both.

Enter Birdie, the original Real Dog, who she adores. Within a few days she had all normal dog behaviour squared away, barking at the mail man included. It is so interesting to me how a whole lot of dog culture got communicated between the two of them. 

Most importantly having Birdie here changed Daisy's relationship with my husband. She has been wary of him, men in general but it seems men with beards in particular, and very much my dog. Since my husband is the big soft heart in this family this made me sad, for the both of them. 

Birdie, who loves Leo, was able to pass that on and in the last week, and particularly after a weekend babysitting her while I was in New York, he and Daisy have finally bonded.

I am so happy.

Well that brings me to my trip.

This was a shorter trip (more fabric stuff later) largely centered on taking something to my son he needed. I was on a mission.

The night before I left however I had a real dilemma. 

About a month ago I dropped a large heavy wooden cutting board on my right foot from counter height and my foot has been slowly getting really painful. (It took me a month to connect the two events, but then again I have been busy teaching kids, teaching sewing classes and remember I have been making Renfrew tops and shirts). 

Finally I got it X-rayed and the night before I flew out at 6:30 am I was standing once again in my kitchen trying to figure out what to do. My choices were 1. wait for the doctor to call with the results 2. get my hair done  3. go off to teach a shirt class. Of course I opted for 2 and 3 as I had already decided that there was no way I was not making this delivery or missing out on a day in the garment district. Sewing, your kid, versus putting your feet up, what would you do?

Anyway it turned out not to be broken and I am getting the rest checked out tomorrow.

Where was I?

So I made it to New York and then, this is the completely best part, I made it to the garment district. One up for mothers in their Naot shoes and cross body purses.

I walked into Elliot Bermann first thing (I always start there) and what did I hear "Hey is that Barbara from Sewing on the Edge?"

I kid you not.

Two blog readers from Tennessee, Karen and Bobby,  where there, very nice purchases they made too, that fleece jacket is going to be outstanding, and we had the nicest conversation. I can't tell you how much this made my day. I mean what are the odds? My people there, despite all distance.

Feeling at that point that I was off to a great start I continued for the rest of the day with a nice long rest stop at Ben's where I had cabbage rolls and tea and put my foot up until it was time to head over to Brooklyn and the kids.

Now the other best part.

When I looking for a cab on 6th Avenue a very nice couple from Georgia stopped me because they recognized me from my blog. Must be the pink glasses. Marie just happens to also be a shirt marker (much better one than I am, you believe me) and her husband took off his jacket so I could do a shirt inspection right on the street. Excellent shirt I can tell you. Great fit, really crisp cuffs and collar and even a nice monogram on the pocket. I am hope for some pictures to share with you. Seeing such quality sewing really helps keep your own game up.

So that's all I have time for now before the root canal.

The moral of this story is no matter where you go in this world there is always some sewer there to meet you.

Remember that.