My blogverse

The forgotten WIP war

In July I posted a WIP rally because I was trying to will myself to cross some things off of the list. Good news – it worked and ALL of those things are finished. Along with my first Ogden cami and the Clover Raglan tank hack.

Along the way I also got a little too organized. I made a list of all the WIPs that need to be finished (and other nagging things on my to-do list) and then proclaimed that I could not begin something new without crossing three items from the list. Maybe that sounds overly industrious, but I’m interjecting an untested method of motivation. (Not to forget exercise before coffee and well, I suppose these are the only two.)

I have a list of stalled-out WIPs:

Retro rucksack – awaiting hardware, but expected to be a quick sew once it arrives (today hopefully!)

Tenement socks – I think it will be smooth sailing until I get to the new-to-me afterthought heel 

Footstool covers for my mum – she requested these last summer & I stitched the accompanying pieces in February. Colorblocking canvas with topstitching. Totally easy once I sit still and apply myself.

Christine Haynes Varda- muslin in final fit stages then on to my April Rhodes Heritage Rayon version. (Sqeee!! Plus I received the sweet Paul Green sandals I’ve been admiring for my birthday. Capsule worthy!)

Petal pouches – finishing out one-offs here and there with scraps that I precut last year (I’ve finished three since last week and could probably make three more)

Elizabeth Hartman Pineapple quilt for my daughter’s birthday – thankfully I think I’ve enlisted some help. I’m a ridiculously slow quilter and her teenager debut is only three weeks out.

My self-designed Allison Glass Cherokee sun quilt – still in sleeper mode, but strategically placed on the sewing table.

I think there are a few Lane raglans to add a neckband to, as well but they’re in the closet and aren’t on my list.
I carefully calculated a list of fabrics/pattern plans to fill in the gaps when I complete other projects:

Since I’m waking up before dawn lately, I’ve done some sewing or prep in the morning. It’s been helpful to have a clearly defined jumping-in place at the end of the day when my brain power is faltering. But so far it’s a strategy that has helped me.

What do you think? Is it too extreme or a wise new way to knock some old WIPs off the list? 

Happy stitching!

~ M


A Pattern of Relentless Application

Take three seemingly random things:

  1. A photo of my messy room as a kid, or even a series of them.
  2. Choosing to commit to a six-week life coaching program
  3. Gioia Timpanelli’s two novella book Sometimes the Soul

And I found that what I thought I was working on like: decluttering my house/close/garage and rewiring my habits really equates to intangible reclamation of my mind.  A process further enhanced by my personal archeological excavation and revealing the truth in my spirit through external and emotional metamorphosis.

A little too deep? Well that is how I dive, my friends.

I can wrap it up in a bow and share how it may relate to you as well.

Item A: Photographic evidence of an explosion of things belonging to me in a space I inhabit and create in.

I don’t know why I thought to take photos of my messy room when I was younger, but I’m glad that it’s a reminder of a part of me that has always been, not the mess, but the creative.  I had a circular surveillance mirror for my bedroom mirror! I made collages, constantly rearranged the furniture (which included a steel desk, a tall melamine bookshelf, twin bed, drafting desk, chair, guitars, amp, 70’s stereo cabinet and black & white tv.) I needed the reminders who I was at different times in life, and I needed them to turn up just now at this point.

If you asked my husband, he might say, “Once messy, always messy.” And this could be relatively true.  Its rare for my closet or bathroom counter or bedside table or bookshelf to remain clear of clutter and tidied daily, but in my creative room I maintain better order.  However, when we removed everything from our 8′ x 14′ office to add-on to the house nearly two years ago, much of it never made it back into the new space.  In my summer heat induced cabin fever I’ve set about to go through the plastic bins one at a time and Marie Kondo the contents into organized bliss with a place for every thing and every thing in its place.

The excavation comes in seeing the oddity of my accumulations.  Sure, there are the expected folders of important paperwork, magazine clippings, kids artwork, old cards (why do I keep them?), and electronics that may or may not be out-of date (hail my mini disc player and the music collection from the days of KaZaa) but there are also strange sentimentalities and family history that my mom sent to me when she realized Texas would be my long-term home, (old Crystal soap in the original wrapper, old glass bottles, a doll high chair, Chinese kites from my grandmother’s trip to China in ’85), and things I brought home when we cleaned out my childhood home (a suede jacket from my mom’s youth, lovely artistic menu cards from my grandfather’s voyage by steamship to Sweden, old maps from New York, New Orleans and a few National Parks.)  Then there are small tokens suitable for scrapbooks, love notes from when my husband and I were dating and concerts I’ve been to, or airline ticket stubs.  A photo here and there, or a blurb of creative inspiration – although most of those are few and far between because photos and notebooks are always handled with exceptional care.

As you can imagine, all of these things can’t fit in neatly. Some could easily be stored forever, because what use are they? So the Kondo method certainly helps, but also my project list grows with what to DO? And my heart swells with love of what I’ve accomplished, grown through and where I am now.  At a time when my daughter is about to be a teen, and I need to remember to offer the same compassion and space I was graciously afforded so she too, can learn to be her own unique person.

Item B: Committing to the self-microscope of a Six-Week Life Coaching program.

The busier life became and the more obligations that were added to my list, I grew accustomed to feeling like I didn’t have the grit to push myself. When the year began I had a certain goal, and a timeline to whether or not I would seek the help of a dear friend who started a life-coaching program. When I didn’t hit my target alone, I gave her a call and started the six-week coaching. I knew that she walked her talk as I’d watched her transformation and what she was doing with it.

For me, her weekly insights in the coaching calls, carefully crafted workbook and homework assignments kicked me in the gut and took the wind out of my faulty “not enough” thinking. The program forced me to evaluate how I think about my habits, fears, confidence.  Her coaching guided me though using specific tools to take action.  I have to admit that even during the six-week program, I would often fool myself into believing that these were things I was aware of and that I was already doing, but now that I’m applying them in day-to-day life without her weekly check-in I know where I’ve raised the bar and where I still need to push myself.

Why am I sharing thing? How does it tie back into my strangely curated list from the beginning? Its highly personal to talk about clearing out mental clutter, in how I think, react and interact as a unique human who is a friend, a wife, and mom with a creative soul. Putting myself under the microscope to “be the scientist,” as Coach Kati calls it, is the internal and  emotional side to the personal archaeological dig.  A resolution to look at how the things I can’t see shape the patterns with physical evidence.  Its one of the most profound things I’ve done for myself, and I’m still applying the skills and will continue to refine and evaluate progress with her at three months and six months.

Item C: Sometimes the Soul – Two Novellas of Sicily by Gioia Timpanelli

July temperatures in Texas present me with the summer interpretation of cabin fever, unless there is water nearby to enjoy. I read several books and made many trips to Half Price Books where I scored beautifully, well-crafted writing from Roald Dahl, Nicole Krause, Cheryl Strayed and some classics. On one of my visits this book caught my eye a dark cover with flowers noted as a detail from artwork at  the Uffizi in Florence. The title text and author credentials shaped into an “S.”

Sometimes the Soul – Two Novellas of Sicily by Gioia Timpanelli

The title appealed to me so I bought it without knowing what a treasure I had found. I almost like that the best, but wouldn’t want anything to overshadow the moving folk tale artistry Timpanelli crafts in these novellas.  When I finished the first novella I paused in appreciation of the beauty, taking it in like a scenic vista. At the close of the second, I knew I found an old-friend in this writing, a real treasure that I would read and reread for the rest of my life. The themes of being open to opportunity with a willing heart and spirit embody love, agape love.

These stories reminded me that love sits at the core of this personal archeological exploration. The love and support I’ve been graced with as I grew up and spread my  wings, eventually sharing it with my own family.  But also being open to opportunity and willing to experience what comes our way in this life. Love leads and builds it all; without it we’re just skeletons carrying flesh.

In the moments of exposing and uncovering layers of who I have been and how life has shaped me into who I am today, its easy to spot how the foundation comes into the play. The faith and openness the main characters show in these novellas gives a glimpse to a time where the past doesn’t have such an impact. It reveals a time where being in the moment was enough.

zzz… This doesn’t make sense.

zzz… What is the purpose?


Sometimes the Soul is beautifully written and exposes how authenticity makes potent fertilizer. How? You never know what will happen next in life but if you stay true to yourself its easier to make the best of it.  It’s so simple and beautiful.

So have faith. It will be as it should.

These three things, they DO tie in together. Maybe I haven’t painted the watercolor as best as I wanted to, but perfection is NOT my game. Sharing these slices of life, well, it suits me.




One in six: the odds have improved.

This is where we will begin. If I wanted to type a new blog today, I couldn’t because my right hand has some issues – tendonitus. I have sewing plans, yet must refrain. I’ve  planned for work towards other goals, but also must refrain from participating in those activities. So thanks to technology I’m using the microphone and making edits with my left hand.

Sewing & knitting updates…

Currently working on: 

Togue Pond tank revamp – armhole ribbing & weaving in ends. Much happier with this in a smaller size than my original from 2015. Although I probably could have done another 10 rounds on the front strap.

Brassie joggers – waistband & hemming. Instant cozy loungewear. Why did I wait so long?

Baby quilt gift – binding! 

Hawaiian shirt for my boy- cut out & ready to sew.

New supplies to use before they   become stash…

April Rhodes Heritage rayon – destined to be a dress

Art gallery knit – tees or weekend wear

Legacy fiber arts steel toe- possibly an April Fool shawl 

Completed since December…

Green tee 

Alberta Street Pencil skirt

Self-drafted maxi dress

and a few others from the real project log…

If you need me, I’ll be sewing…

Like most of my fine friends in stitches, I’ve quite the list to accomplish before December 24th (or 17th for that which must be mailed.)

Here’s my haul from this weekend bottom layer: Indigo broadcloth (from Cloth Pocket) to make a Negroni for my  dad; then a tote for my MIL from the Rifle Paper Co canvas w/polka dot lining, pj pants from the double gauze XO’s for my darling daughter and an Emery!  (all the rest picked up from Stitch Lab.)

Not pictured the table runner I need to quilt for my mum from last Christmas, some eye pillows I have to stitch closed that a dear friend ordered as gifts and in knitting the two-up toe-up Tenement socks I began in September & my Lila still on the needles also from last year (only the sleeves and neckline remaining.)

In non-sewing projects I knocked it out of the park. I planned and conquered a live-edge pecan board tv wall with plumbing pipe.   The shelf wall took a week from start to finish, I sourced the boards locally, sanded them with three grades  and sealed them with Danish oil. (Baskets from Tuesday Morning. Art from Alaskan note cards.) Details can be snooze-worthy, but the results say it all.

So although I’ve been absent from blog land, life keeps rolling along with plenty to do (minus the relentless documentation.)

Happy holidays & may your needles stay sharp and the projects be sans hiccups.

What’s on your holiday sewing crunch list?

You are lucky too.

At the end of a very long Sunday, I stepped outside to look at the moon. It was still behind our pecan trees, but as I looked north a meteor sped east to west low in the sky directly in my gaze. Seconds after turning to look up. Talk about timing!

It’s my reminder for the week that just being alive is pretty lucky. I’ll take a dose of that. 

And hey, you’re lucky too. Remember it.


What to do, when things don’t make sense?

Life is strange and we can never see what’s coming. These are a few random things…

My favorite little town in Oregon damaged by a tornado this morning:

Instagram video from North of Manzanita

Local coverage in the Tillamook County Pioneer

A well stated commentary from OneHotMess: You Cannot Put the Toothpaste Back in the Tube

But what do you do next?

The sudden loss of a gentle giant:

It’s an unpredictable world without guarantees. Be grateful for what moments you have, for those you share them with, and both the beauty and heartache along the way.

Keep your chin up friends.



Can I wrap busy with a tidy little bow?

I can tell that I’m busy because I spend very little time sitting in my amazing creative space gazing at my favorite tree and planning. In fact, I’m hardly home at all. An hour of awake time before running out the door in the morning and home after 8 three nights per week. I swear it feels like the busy has multiplied.

This does not stop me from adding projects to the list, I took action on some Pin-spiration and my laundry area has been in disarray for two weeks now. Two coats of midnight blue later the peach from eight years ago is finally gone. Then I had to remove all 14 cabinet doors and the hinges, and the knobs for operation white to stained via chalk paint.

I have to distress a few spots, apply dark wax, dry and then the sealing wax. So another week of that and looking at the disaster contained in all of the 14 cabinets until I can put the doors back up. EEK! How will I survive without a Kondo purge? (Add it to the list.) I promise to post photos of the transformation when we’ve finished.

On a different tangent altogether, I’m guilty of walking and knitting. I’ll be damned to sacrifice my creative time just because I’m trying to be healthier and more active. I love the statistics side of wearing a Fitbit, but I still want to create. Currently on the needles a Rose City Roller using up random remainders.

One other loose end on my projects list is a baby gift for my cousin’s wee one set to arrive in October. I have been playing with precut squares and then feeling overwhelmed that it looked too…old looking.

So yesterday morning I gave myself permission to try something different, which led to a bit of risky sewing. So I’ve arrived here…

and I’m pleased with where it’s going. The reward was in pressing and squaring. Once again I promise an update when there’s progress/completion. 

Busy days, and projects that must be finished. How busy is your fall?



Sometimes in life we stop to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. This summer seems to be the season for me to stop and take inventory and make changes (or plans for how to begin the shift.)

You may remember that in the spring I was blessed with a grand new space for all of my sewing and creative outlets. I embarked on a yoga shorts collaboration with my teacher and placed high hopes on momentum. Then life happened, momentum careened off course and slowed. Leading me to this current headspace.

In the meantime, I finished knitting my Seawall socks (pictured in heading image.) I am also ridiculously close to finishing my Sunlight shawl, but after pulling back from the bind off once because I ran out of yarn 1/2 way aling the bindoff, I didn’t pull back far enough the second tome and ended short 12″ (or less). So I need to track down about a yard of lace weight to finish the bind off because I am not ripping it back again. 

(*update* caved and bought some lace weight at HCW in Austin yesterday and knocked it out. Blocked and done.)

I’ve been making slow progress on a few things:

  • Proper waistline placement for my Charleston as dropwaist was NOT the look this dress is meant for. All I have left is to reinforce the new waist seam and bind the neckline & arms.
  • Wiksten tank muslin need to add extra bust width and proceed on wearable item using the animal print rayon from my  Indiesew splurge earlier this year.
  • Cut out pieces for the Retro Rucksack (including lining from stash scraps that were gifted to me) just need to get more fabric for straps and hardware
  • Scrap pieces stacked for Petal Pouches
  • Random 2″ square charmpack from MQC to make baby quilt 
  • Unravelled Togue Pond tank in Quince & Co. Linen to make a more cropped version
  • Unravelled my first sweater from luscious Rowan because it was calling to be saved from the oversized unwearable calamity of a cardigan mashup into a real gem of a Lila.
  • Began a soduko wardrobe planner focus on what to make, overwhelming. Need to revise & include what I have.
  • Assembled Pdf patterns. (More to print & assemble)

And then I realized where do I have the time for this? How can I possibly accomplish anything? And those thoughts threw me under the bus. Immobilized! Woeful & depressed. So I go back to organizing my stash, supplies, patterns, etc. trying to plan for how to use what I have.

One thing at a time. Take it step by step. Breath by breath. Allow the space to unravel and the time to plan anew for things that fit my body better, match the wardrobe plan and maintain continued versatility. Then it can simplify.

How do you tackle these moments? What helps you to get back on track?

Guilty of doing too much

I’ll put this in order, one way or another. 

Chalk paint to the rescue for my new to me revolving bookcase.

Organized most of my fabric stash, 

Finished taping the fourth or four patterns I tackled on last weekends getaway. (Taylor shorts, Brassie johgers, vintage Rucksack & Clover dress.)

Organized my yarn stash, knitting patterns, needles. This closet in my craft room is 80% organized. I have yet to tackle the fabric (mostly scraps & the naughty project file) in the underbed storage box and a trunk that has a lot of inherited scraps. I hang the traced/cut patterns and WIP’s. I roll taped PDF’s and have them up top and to the sides, but I wish I could find a better way to store them.

Current state of sewing desk with new patterns and random notions tucked in back. (Includes Burda 8756, Renfrew, Sumplicity 2369, Alberta Street Pencil skirt, Morris Blazer & Japanese patterns for a dress and culottes/capris.) 

The mess on my coffee table.

Parts of a quilt project that I need to pull together so I can redecorate our master bedroom.

And today, I have plenty on my to-do list, but I’ve wanted to share all of this. Looking at my stash and putting my fingers on it reminds me thar I have plenty of stuff and not enough time to do all the things I want to do. I’m guilty of adding more, with no firm plans on how to get rid of it. I have half finished projects and big dreams, but I struggle to follow through.

I’m making a mid-year pledge to stop this nonsense. I’m not going to buy any more fabric or yarn or patterns. I’m sure I can make do with what I have.

Shift the balance

Although both bowls appear empty, there is an absence of balance.

The inertia required to get anything off the ground carries a weight we can not see. For it is measured in the hours given to work, the plans that support the transition and the determination of the worthy soul charging endlessly forward. I’m quick to recognize the blessings of this work even though the scale seems ill-weighted for the time being.

Sewing makes me happy and there is only so much personal sewing I can accomplish. The repetition of making multiples of the same item in assembly line format truly satisfies my yearning for tangible results as so much of what I have done for real jobs leaves me with little to physically hold/claim. I like that I am finding a rhythm of working to the hum of my machines and the positive energy it builds in my spirit.
But while the scale tips to the side of work more, serve more, my inner summer child screams, “Play! Keep it for yourself.”  So the part of me that says, go ahead buy that new pattern and fabric wins, but also loses since my personal  sewing time is limited. It makes the #sewallthethings tag make perfect sense. I’m trying to work on one personal project at a time, and so choosing is difficult.

Luckily, I handed off another big order of yoga shorts for delivery to a studio yesterday and have only enough fabric on hand to make five more pairs. Say hello to some selfish sewing time until I reorder fabric and get numbers on the next studio orders! I’m also challenging myself to find uses for the scrap from the yoga shorts since it is a cozy cotton/lycra. My brainstorm includes: underwear, colorblocking panels, applique samples, and creative piecing as I design some modest yet feminine yoga tops/shorts.

I wish I had two of me: one to go to the real-world job and one to dedicate to getting my Lamplighter Stitch Co. off the ground. But as I can not split myself, I’ll work longer and with perseverance until that precious shift becomes possible. I’m thankful to finally recognize what I want to do, as the path feels easier now because the map is no longer obscured.

How do you balance your dreams and ambitions in the midst of the real-world grind?