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Making the move.

Sometimes I need a good swift kick in the pants and now seems to be one of those times. To be honest, I’ve had a somewhat rough go of it the last eight months, wondering just what the point was if I couldn’t have the things that made me happy. Then I saw this on Instagram and clung to it:
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I knew what wasn’t making me happy but wasn’t quite sure what would. I re-started the Sewing for Orphans campaign and got some sponsors, made more dresses, cheered on other sewists and sent more clothes. That whole project can only make me smile, really, so it is a great thing for me to do and I’m just gonna keep on doing it as long as there are orphans to clothe and I can get the help to ship the dresses, shorts, tees and more to them.

But I needed more. A good shake-up at life. So with a little impetus, I decided to move to southern California to be near my little sister. The whole thing took about a month to figure out and then it was a done deal.

I asked my dad to fix up my little car enough to get us there. Instead he found me a new(er) car and loaned me the money to get it now.

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The little white Escort, affectionately known as Ooben thanks to its license plate, has gotten me through a lot over the past nine years, but it was time to retire. So now I have this cute little silver Focus. Totally basic, but I love it.

Then I quit my job at the trade magazine and instead spend the next week teaching these sweethearts to sew in the morning …

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and packing everything I own into a storage unit in the evening …

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By the time I closed up the storage unit yesterday morning, there wasn’t an inch to spare. It’s stacked high and all the way to the door.And there was still stuff I couldn’t fit in–my desk, our TV, dressers, couch. We’ll be replacing all of it except the TV, which we managed to fit into the back of our car. :)

Then we hit the road, my daughter and I, for a three-day drive to Los Angeles, first along the Oregon Coast, through Sacramento and down I-5 until we reach my sister’s home sometime on Saturday evening.

20130628-071238.jpgIt’s an adventure and it makes me hopeful and happy.

 

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The Tank Team

Have I told you how much I enjoy teaching people how to sew? It’s a surprise even to me! I mean, I knew I liked teaching after leading the EFL classes in Vietnam and it’s blatantly obvious that I love sewing, but putting the two together has been a slow merger. Silly, I know.

20130428-180228.jpgThis was most of my class from last Sunday when we made the Wiksten tank. It’s an easy top with some interesting construction. I added a few things to make the finished product a bit better, in my opinion, including stay-stitching, basting the hemline and doing the bias neckline totally different. And I must say, it all worked pretty well. We ran short of time and with another class behind us, we had to clean up before anyone had gotten to the point of top-stitching. A bit of a disappointment, for sure.

But Modern Domestic has added the class back to the schedule, tacking on another half-hour so we can make sure it gets done this time. Join me June 8th, will you?

P.S. Less than three weeks until Quilt Market!!!!!!!

 

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Starry, starry PJs

I spent the weekend doing a little sewing, a rare treat for me. Thanks to the Worldwide Quilting Day giveaway, I need to check the website frequently to approve comments which means I don’t get to really do anything that requires me leaving the house for the day. So despite the rare treat of sunshine, I spent the weekend inside–sewing!

I managed to sew these PJ bottoms and pillowcase (as well as a Tova top I’ll have to talk about when I’m not sad about it being ugly on me–sigh) before my back forced me to call it quits and swallow some meds.

PJs and pillow

I decided to use Lizzy House’s Constellation collection for both (perfect for sleepovers, right?!) and love them. They have a great hand and are nice and soft and make me want to make some for myself in a big grown-up Mom size. I bought the fabrics over at Modern Domestic (where I’ll be teaching kids how to sew these) and Lupine helped pair up a Kona solid that’s the perfect purple. Almost a periwinkle, but not blue enough. Is that a violet? I really should learn my shades of purple.

The pillowcase turned out well for being made without any sort of guide. It turned out a little smaller than I would’ve liked, but worked okay. I should do a tutorial on it because it was really easy, looks super nice with the french seams and is a nice little treat for yourself.

For the pants I used the Little Sleep Well pattern, which I’d definitely recommend. The primer is slightly confusing  with its “optional” instructions and could see a beginner getting a tad irritated by it, but overall it was great. No separate facings to deal with and easy-peasy construction.

When I finished I asked my friend’s daughter to model  them for me, which she was, of course, quite happy to do. She grabbed one of her Pop’s tees and a stuffie to complete the ensemble. Adorable, really.
Maya_PJs and PillowShe was a total ham for it, setting up the lights, laying out the quilts. So sweet of her! I wish my camera would have gotten a clearer shot of her, but I didn’t realize it was so grainy until too late. Bummer. Miss M makes up for it with her cuteness, though, right?

 

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Mail Sack Mayhem

Thanks to some encouragement from Shelly and Crissy and the willingness of the folks at Modern Domestic, I finally got to cross “Start teaching others to sew again” off my massive to-do list.

Mail Sack bags on display at Modern Domestic
Mail Sack bags on display at Modern Domestic

With the help of Lupine and Crissy, I decided on pattern to use–The Mail Sack from Pink Chalk Studios.

I made up two samples way back in October with some lovely Dear Stella fabrics for one and leftover twill and Washi for the other. Oh and a little fussy-cut Suzy Ultman print. It turned out SO cute! I’m really a sucker for those uber-adorable designs of hers.

After Lupine and I hashed out the nitty-gritty details, it went onto the calendar for January 8 and 15. I could hardly wait, seriously.

Then it finally happened!

The first night we concentrated on tracing our patterns and cutting out the fabric and interfacing. I was more than a bit surprised when it took the entire two hours!

A week later, we met again and had a maniac sewing session. We did both the zipper and patch pockets, worked on top-stitching and clipping corners. You should have heard the oohs and aahs as I showed them the pocket. Such a nifty bit of engineering!

By 9:30, an hour and a half after class was technically over, all three left with their (mostly) finished bags slung over their shoulders, happy as little larks. [J managed to finish hers, but K. and S. had the last bit of top-stitching to do.]

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K. picked this fantastic Alexander Henry print for her bag base and combined it with the way over-sized polka dots. It turned out so awesome and fit her perfectly with a little adjustment we’d made to the strap length.

S. had made plenty of tote bags, so she worked on making a bag with a bit more structure. I love how she used the same fabric for yoke and base, just twisting it to go in different directions.

J. totally knew what she was doing and zipped along with only a little bit of guidance. I taught her how to do the zipper and she taught me about Bernina feet.  A real win-win.

While showing them some of the techniques, I’d been putting together my own Mail Sack, so when everyone left, I stayed a little longer to finish it up.

I kinda love it just for the sheer silliness of the fabric. Look, Ma! I finally found my knight in shining armor!

All in all, teaching the class was the most fun I’ve had in a while and I can’t wait to get back in there again. Thanks to Shelly, Crissy, Lupine, Meredith and the ladies who came to class for making that one little dream come true.