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Can anything be too cute? How about this?

I came across something that actually made me yearn just a little for my daughter to be 7 or 8 again. Luckily, I came to my senses and remembered that I have several nieces that age! Phew. But really how can you resist the absolutely adorableness of this bustle backpack?

The Bustle Backpack

I have a fondness for bustles, evidenced by my now-vintage wedding dress. They’re especially delightful on a little girl. Me Sew Crazy has more pics and even offers a tutorial to make it yourself. I think I will be making one for some niece or another since it’s just too cute to not make.

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Where have I been?

A half-dozen years ago I was allll about the sewing; I was making all sorts of vintage reproductions–aprons, bathing suits, high-waisted Hollywood pants and bias-cut dresses. I knew a few local women, peripherally, who were doing the same thing, but mostly I just isolated myself in my sewing room. Funny thing is, all these years later, these women are still around, still making and creating, and doing a real kick ass job at it. Honestly, I’m pretty blown away by a scene that I’d almost forgotten existed.

Susan Beal just put out another book, all about quilting. She’s got some great tutorials in there and ideas on how to use quilting for easier tasks than making an entire quilt. She also blogs over at West Coast Crafty, definitely one to put into your favorite RSS reader. Torie Nguyen is running Crafty Wonderland, a massive craft extravaganza that I’ve visited, ogled and never realized that she was in charge of.

From following their links and their blogs to other and around and around the Internet I go… suddenly I realize I am not ‘that girl who sews’ anymore. There are tons of us. Yeah, I know, this is a slow awakening, but for the past few years, I’ve been more entrenched in traveling with my kids here and in Southeast Asia than I have been trying to figure out how the craft scene is developing. I totally missed out on that one.

New mini-wallets, ready for their buttons

But I am back! The fabric stash has been retrieved from the storage unit and I’m stoked about digging through it even more to find out what’s been tucked away for all this time.


Today I’ll be stitching buttons on more super-fun colored wallets (orange! pink!) and getting those up online. And probably adding to my bandage collection on my fingers. All the handstitching yesterday left me with three wound covers. Eep.

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Love the rotary

I bought a new blade for the rotary cutter (amazing what a difference a fresh blade makes!) and got to work on some new projects. I cut out and sewed a dozen wallets today, then got started on a pinwheel quilt. I had most of the colors in the stash, already cut into four-inch squares, so it was mostly a task of filling out the colors a bit with larger fabric pieces, then cutting those into squares. I cut out a boatload of white squares and then chopped them all in half. In the end, I had a nice array of colors.

I managed to get the purple blocks finished last night. Each block has 41 seams. I counted! And I have to make twelve of them: two in each color palette.

This one is going to take a while.

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New store, new finds

Back when I was really into sewing and making aprons all the time, I knew every fabric store in town, but school and travels and teaching and work all got in the way and I’ve neglected the local shops.

On Saturday, I had some time to kill. The daughter was at a slumber party, the son was with friends and I decided to swing by Bolt up on N.E. Alberta.

I’d seen the shop from the street a hundred times, but never wanted to stop because I knew, I just knew, I’d never get out without dropping a large wad of cash. I couldn’t justify it until Saturday. I stopped to just “take a look” and came out with 10 different fabrics. Oops! The selection was fantastic; the sales people were helpful and there was a kick-ass sale going on. I just need to put a few of these to use before I can make a return visit.

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Starting Over, Again

Once upon a time there was a young girl, growing up in a small town. She rode her bike until the street lights came on at dusk. She read in her attic room from the small library she’d tagged with her own version of the Dewey decimal system. She learned to cook alongside her mother, making jelly from roadside berries and brining pickles in the kitchen. She learned to follow recipes and sewing patterns. She was precise, or at least she tried to be, but things don’t always work out as hoped. She sewed the collar on backwards and added two cups (and not two tablespoons) of milk to the cookie recipe. And she learned from each mistake.

She grew up and got married and had babies and made tiny little quilts when each was born, a physical memento of the love she had for each. She stayed home with them: stacking blocks as high as possible before her toddler pushed them over, stringing dyed macaroni for necklaces and coloring as neatly as she could between the lines. She sewed them summer shorts and dresses for herself. She baked homemade bread every Sunday.

But people grow up and grow apart. Life got busy with just mom and two kids and university classes and volunteering abroad and working at her kids’ school and suddenly, the young girl was no longer young and now had permanent crinkles at the corners of her eyes. Her stacks of fabric had gone untouched for months. Her cookbooks had grown dusty. Her craving to craft barely diminished

Nothing stays the same for long, though. The job at the school went away. One child had nearly left the nest. There was, again, more time than money and plenty to explore and do that she’d been aching to do for so long, but never had enough time.

Now is the time to follow forgotten dreams.