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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, September 19, 2019

Family time in Nova Scotia






I have been absent from the blog for a while because lately I have had a lot of family to be present for. Both of my sons were here with their wives and girlfriends (I refuse to say partner, to me that is a title that should be reserved for some guy named Morty who does the books in the other room). My youngest granddaughter was also in from California with her parents, so I had all four grandchildren in town.

I did a lot of cooking and a lot of babysitting if you can call it that. 

Like many families important parts of ours are now operating as branch offices. But given that reality I feel we do a pretty good job of keeping it together.

I had few thoughts about families this week. 

But before I share those here is a shot of my two sons and, on the left a new girlfriend from Austin we really, really like and my daughter-in-law from California, wearing a dress I made for her. This picture was taken at a wedding, on a beach naturally:



Having everyone home and together really made me feel completely whole. Such a good start to my fall. I have had a lucky life.

As I walked that baby or rinsed off one more plate I thought about how time changes families and how it doesn't.

I used to think the years my children were all at home, and for a short time believed I knew everything and could do anything, were the best years of my life. When things have got challenging there have been so many times when I have wished I had one of those days back. 

You know the ones. Everyone safe and asleep in their beds. Any problems that come up it is always something you can fix. Well now everyone is grown up I know that isn't true any more. When I walk down my hallway at night it is past empty bedrooms.

But this past week, when I felt so complete, it occurred to me that families are like rivers. They have a current. They flow inevitably and properly in one direction, from the oldest towards the youngest. You have to understand that. 

It seems to me that riding with that force makes it all the best years of your life. It have noticed that when troubles come into families it is often because someone isn't respecting that flow- the mother who wants to still be the big cheese, the adult offspring who reaches backwards and tries to be a child. It seems to me that as long as everyone is doing the best they can to help the next youngest along it will all be fine.

It's also important to let new people join in. 

One of the great blessings of my life are the people my kids have married. I always used to say my son-in-law was nicer to me than my own children, until my kids told me to stop saying that. He truly is one of my best friends. And when I struggled in the early days with my daughter's MS diagnosis it was my daughter-in-law's wisdom that grounded me and helped me regain my footing. She saved me.

I have had my moments. 

During some hard times I sometimes wished more than anything that I could have just one of those old days back again, when it was just me in my house with my kids. But this past week I held my youngest granddaughter and walked her to sleep. She looked up at me and I saw she looked exactly, exactly like her father did at the same age. Those same eyes looked right back into mine in that dark room. I knew the universe was winking at me.

And I saw the future of my family.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Kraftex picture frames




I will be writing soon on my recent family visits over the last ten days. But right now want to show a little fun project I have been working on between busy times.

I have been framing some vintage sewing pattern envelopes with strips of Kraftex for sewing room decor:



I decided to use strips rather than cutting out a frame because:

1. This was just so much easier. I was in the mood for not expending any great intellectual effort or manual skill. Most of these little units were made when I should have been upstairs peeling potatoes or something.

2. This was a more efficient use of the Kraftex. It's a cool material and I want to preserve every last little bit.

3. I love the appearance of sewing machine stitches and I wanted to have those show.

I used two kinds of Kraftex. 

One was the straight up unwashed version for the backing of pictures:



I used the washed version, the one that looks like leather, for the framing strips. I cut the strips 2 1/2"



Really there aren't any instructions needed for this. But here was my process:

1. I clipped the strips to the perimeter of the backing piece and stitched around the outside edges to hold them still.

2. I slipped the pattern envelope into the frame and then stitched close to the inner edge of the strips with a long stitch length, right through the edge of the pattern envelope. I used my edge-stitching foot for accuracy and to eliminate the having to think factor, which is sometimes nice.  



In one of the envelopes I had to slide it over to disguise a ragged tear, meaning one poor girl got sort of cut off, but I liked the middle outfit best so I can live with that. Hope she can too:



For such a simple little project I am very pleased with myself over these pictures.  To me a fabric store is more exciting than any museum. To me pattern envelopes are art.

I think these pictures are beautiful.

As far as hanging goes I just put on one of the fabric clips I used in construction at the top. The back of the clip has a little hole in it and that's going to be perfect for hanging.

It can be hard to find an easy way to frame the little things that matter. I am thinking now that I am going to do this exact same thing but leave the frame empty and not stitch the top closed so I can hang kid's art on the fridge. 

All I will have to do is glue gun some magnets onto the back. What do you think?