Monday, September 15, 2014

Laura's Knockout Knits

I'm going from "quiet" in my last post to shout... because I'm so thrilled for Laura Nelkin! She's one of the most talented women I know- and also happens to be my dearest friend. Last week her first book, Knockout Knits, was published- and she launched it locally on Friday night with great fanfare... and a very special cake!
 It's a beautiful thing to witness someone you adore in a moment of success and triumph... and as her "official" photographer of the event, I saw the celebration both through the lens of love and also with the objectivity of documentation.
This book is a perfect example of who Laura is- inspirational, clear, funny, innovative and totally clever. We learned to knit on the same day... well, she caught on a little more quickly, as you can guess! And it's been a beautiful ride watching her grow into the sensation she is today. I still prefer my sewing machine, but Knockout Knits and the chill in the air is calling me back to my needles. The projects start out simple and accessible, with skill- building intrinsic to each pattern. From sweet boot toppers to complex lace...

With the holidays insight (shhhhh! I didn't say that!), it's nice to have a book filled with gorgeous accessories to knit up as gifts. My daughter and her best friend are campaigning for the Cha-Ching mitts on the cover. We shall see... mine does have a winter birthday coming up! Check out Laura's post today for more pics of the event... including the Cha-Ching girls!
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Thursday, September 11, 2014


The rain came this morning. It's soft, gentle and steady. I feel the same way. I'm easing back into my rhythm. In all of my years of blogging, I've never allowed myself so much room to step back and put my focus elsewhere. This book demanded nothing less, and I'm so pleased that I gave myself permission. When we offer ourself time to concentrate our energy, rather than scatter it in the many directions pulling us, a window opens- a view is revealed that we couldn't see when we were busy responding to every email, every call, each invitation. There was unanticipated space for reflection, as I channeled my efforts in one main direction. I loved this. As busy as I have been- one focus created a built in "slowness" that had felt impossible to achieve in my typical multi-tasking days. I'm examining this right now as I paint... because next week- I will return here in my more frequent posting style. And I intend to incorporate some this feeling of ease into my blogging rhythm. We shall see... Either way- I've missed you so! Pin It

Thursday, September 4, 2014

breakfast for one

 My nest is empty today, as both children head off to do their own work of growing and learning. It's quiet. The dishes are done, beds made and laundry rolling. I've been writing all morning. My book is in the final homestretch, and I'm reveling in the unfamiliar productivity of daytime hours. My favorite part of this morning was breakfast. I didn't eat until two other breakfasts, lunch-making, a school bus and long car ride had passed. But when I opened the refrigerator and asked myself what I wanted... mmmm that was FUN! And delicious...
Really, a fried egg makes everything better! I placed one on a warm tortilla and topped it off with homemade salsa verde (tomatillos are in season up here!), roasted sungolds tomatoes and grated locatelli cheese. It was simply divine! I think I'll do it again tomorrow!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

here we go

 Yesterday we said farewell to summer with all of our favorites: swimming at the creek, badminton at the barn, lunch at the lake and ice cream for dinner. Today we woke up with an alarm clock... the pencil sharpening days have begun!
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Monday, August 25, 2014

summer's end

Happy Monday from the beautiful and chaotic last days of summer, last days of school vacation, last days of book #2 photo shooting. It's all compressed into a wonderful jumble, and instead of resisting I am most definitely flowing with it. I keep hearing myself say"It's all good". And you know what? It truly is... we're squeezing in every last bit of work and play possible. Hope your August is ending well, too!
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

proof of...

Good times. Playing in the dirt- in a white shirt no less. Squeezing lots of fun into these last weeks of summer vacation (and final days of Grandma's visit).  Hope you are too!
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014


 So it turns out that planting potatoes in vintage mailboxes works quite well... and the hunt for treasure is as exciting as digging for gold.
My mom could have let them grow a little bigger, but small guests inspired an early harvest.
After the entire mailbox was dumped out to look for strays, one child claimed to feel like a paleontologist. My daughter, always quick with words, said perhaps a "potatologist".

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

my second book!

The experience of writing a book is often compared to that of pregnancy and birth. And once again, I see how true this is as I wrap up the final stages (and pages) of my second book! I'm so grateful to  have this opportunity twice, and am extremely fortunate to be working with my amazing editor at Roost Books

So if I've seemed quieter here... certainly there have been less tutorials, and posts... you now know where I have been temporarily channeling my energy. My mornings begin with the first light of day. I lie in bed forming a plan and then reach for my computer or tiptoe down to my studio. If I'm lucky there will be a few hours undisturbed to go into a quiet trance of organizing, writing,  prototyping, making and documenting. Any endeavor this huge has the potential to consume the creator during the process. Fortunately, the focus of this particular one also had the ability to nurture, support and inspire me along the way. Which makes sense, as this is the entire premise of book number two...

Simple, soulful projects to create and use during times of uncertainty and transition. I've learned so much in the last few years about the ability to transform darkness into light. Using my hands in conjunction with my head and heart were key to finding my balance and reinventing myself. This book is an offering to all of us- for those times in life where we need a little extra direction on how to put one foot in front of the other. I think of it as a creative compass to find our way back to ourselves when we are lost or hurt.

This is where I have been- and where I'll be for the next few weeks, as I give it that last final push into completion. It's very special moment in my life... so happy to finally share it officially with all of you!

p.s. If you get up at dawn, know that I'm drinking my coffee with you. And maybe send a quiet little "you can do it!" my way... just for good measure. Thanks!
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Friday, August 8, 2014

mini tote/hat diy

I cut off the legs of a pair of yoga pants to make shorts. The cotton jersey with a touch of spandex was the perfect stretchy fabric for making some quick tiny totes for my sewing campers last week. I wanted them to see just how fast and easy some projects are. This was impressive... one quick seam and a tiny snip for a handle and little purse was born. They were delighted... and responded as if I had a magic wand. And then they impressed me... by putting them on their heads! They make fabulous hats! One direction is a great bat (or even cat) hat- the other is a bit elf-like! Keepin' this in mind for Halloween...
 If you have an old pair of yoga pants lying around, you've got the making of a bunch of totes and/or hats! These are so great to stash a couple small items... lip balm and a change purse fit perfectly for my girl. An adult or teen could easily slip in a phone and keys, too. 


  1. Cut off the legs of a pair of stretchy pants.
  2. Cut them into sections of at least 8". You'll have a bunch of tubes. 
  3. Turn one inside out and sew a seam along the bottom edge.
  4. Turn it right side out and fold over the opening to one side. Cut out a tiny half moon at the center of the fold line. That's the handle. Jersey doesn't fray so raw edges are fine!
  5. Make some more and give them to friends. 
Have a great weekend!
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

sunshine blouse

This happy golden top was made by a 9 year old in camp last week! Impressive, no? First she dyed a section of an old bed sheet in a turmeric solution. Then she followed my directions for the pillow case dress here using some improvisation, since it wasn't a pillow case! Next we took a strip of crochet edging that had actually been a part of the sheet originally, and I helped her to add it to the bottom. We dyed it separately and didn't boil it as long, so it faded after a washing. The contrast didn't bother her a bit- she was still so excited! And so she should be. If you're looking for a good first garment for your child to sew, a skirt is a great bet. The second? A pillow case dress or blouse!

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Monday, August 4, 2014

sew and tell

Last week was fabulous! I loved this group of girls so much! Their enthusiasm and creativity was fueled by my encouragement to innovate and improvise. I had an agenda at the beginning of the week... a curriculum that was planned for each day. Out the window it went, as I followed their thrill of discovery and their desire for independent making. I am now a firm believer that children should be taught techniques based on their current desire to make. So for instance, someone wanted a tutu for their Breyer Horse (hmmmm wonder whose daughter that was?) so out came the fold-over elastic and learning to switch to zigzag stitch for anything stretchy. Doll pajamas were in high demand and even though I wanted to teach pattern making... they had their own ideas. Trial and error are fabulous teachers! Field trips to Sew Green are now a tradition and total highlight of the week. Once sewing machine familiarity has been established (around mid-week), we go on a (recycled)fabric shopping trip. This time everyone had already made little zipper pouches to carry their spending money in.
 And on the last day we always have a gallery to share with parents all of the amazing items created throughout the week... Sew and Tell.
Here's to girl power! 
(more on these crazy grey purses turned "bat/cat hats" very soon!) 

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