Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Homemade Sew-along

Success!  This may be the first sew-along I have actually completed in the history of me trying to sew.  Woo-hoo!

The hoodie is pattern S from Happy Homemade Vol 2, a Japanese sewing book (now available in English).  I have sewn pants and tops from this book, but the hoodie stayed off my list 1) because my girls aren't big hoodie wearers and 2) (more importantly) the pattern made no obvious sense to me whatsoever.  Japanese pattern books have illustrations for the major steps involved in each garment, but I couldn't make heads nor tails of the hood attachment.  Enter Meg of elsiemarley and her wonderful photo tutorial, and voila--two completed and completely adorable hoodies!

Modifications: lined hood with contrast fabric, added kangaroo pockets (inside matches hood lining), and simply hemmed the bottom (no drawstring or elastic).
Withstands constant motion with ease.

I think these would be great in knit fabric or fleece.  The arms are a bit small and tight-fitting for the quilting cotton I chose.  This is more noticeable for my big 8 year old girl, who is at the top end of the pattern fit spectrum.  Hers--the pink polka dot--is a bit too small, if we're honest, but bless her, she said it was totally fine, though she didn't keep it on long enough for a picture.  We may need to pass it on to a friend or save it for her little sister.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Craft for craft's sake

This week, I'm participating in the Happy Homemade Sew-along with elsiemarley and you and mie.  We're making the hoodie (pattern s) from Happy Homemade Vol 2, a Japanese pattern book I have used before and enjoy.  While I suspect neither of my girls is particularly interested in wearing a hoodie, I'm sewing them up anyway.  I can tell there is a fiddly bit to this pattern, so why not sew along with others who know what they are doing and can give some pointers?  I already followed their lead on lining the hood with a contrast fabric and adding a kangaroo pocket on the front.  I'm enjoying developing my sewing skills, and, whether they want a hoodie or not, both girls seem eager for me to finish their new tops.  Win.

I've been reflecting on craft lately, how much and when to do and why.  The other night, I read a scathing review of a publication I truly enjoy, a cause for more reflection.  The criticism attacked the publication as elitist and anti-feminist (racist, hetero-centric…the list was long and unhappy), which made me feel more than a bit uncomfortable because I could see the point.  If I still enjoy the publication, indeed I hope to successfully submit work there, what does that say about me and the values I promote?  This morning, it seems clearer.  It says simply that I don't see it that way.  While one can read in those criticisms, one also cannot.  Taken at face value, I find enjoyment and relaxation there, plain and simple.

I see the same attacks focused on particular blogs, on certain bloggers, criticisms for portraying their lives in a way others find threatening or showy or elitist or wholier-than-thou (yes, misspelling intended).  At times, I have felt that way myself.  During those times, I simply tune out.  Honestly, those moments are more about my own insecurities than anything those bloggers portray.  I don't think any of them intend to show how morally-, environmentally-, socially-, what-have-you-superior they are to the rest of us.  They are sharing what they do because they enjoy it.

Which brings me back to craft.  Strangely enough, craft for craft's sake can easily be seen as an elitist endeavour.  In an age when buying ready-made clothing can be so cheap, when even high-quality goods can be less expensive than a similar handmade item, there may no reason left than the joy found in doing.  At the end of the day, haters gonna hate, but I can find enjoyment where I may (seems more appealing than the alternative).

Where are you finding joy these days?  In a good read, in craft, in downtime or uptime or out-time or in-time…I hope you are finding some moments for yourself that make you smile.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Catching my breath

Months ago, I signed up for an online Squam course for the month of May (Pitch Perfect, which I highly recommend to anyone wondering how to start a writing career path for print media).  I remember the final months of school seeming to drag on and on last year, for the kids and for me, and I was excited to have a month of good work just for myself.  The reality was, as usual, slightly different.

Perhaps because the winter dragged on into April this year, the spring term felt rather whirlwind.  The girls being older meant bigger, longer term projects that all came to a head in the final weeks of school. My volunteering as kindergarten room mom took on new dimensions of engagement, as I attended various functions to round out the year and worked several late nights (hello, procrastination!) to finish personalised memory books for each child in the class.

It all might have been fine, though a bit manic, if Hubby hadn't broken a bone in his leg during that last week of school.  Did I mention the flood in the kitchen the same morning of the painful bone break?


Now, summer vacation is upon us.  In the US, that means three months of no school.  I can hardly believe we're here already!  Like last year, we will use this time as a mini-homeschooling session, working on our reading, writing, math, science and even history this year.  And of course, art.  There must always be art.  Creating too often fell to the wayside this year, and we all miss it.  As for the writing, I hope to get back to that, too.

What has kept you busy lately?  I hope you find a way back to something you enjoy and currently miss.