Socked in

Dear Mom,

I'm back after seeing you yesterday at the first of the graduation parties! I've spent Memorial Day remembering (and washing) the laundry that I'd forgotten about in the back of my closet, and reading on the porch. I finished reading this book this morning - I know I read an excerpt from it somewhere before, maybe in one of your magazines? I would recommend it, but I know you and Dad are reacquainting yourselves with the old books now that they are unpacked.

Mimi the visiting cat's window-watching habit payed off on Saturday:

The squirrel stuck and frantic, made Mimi's week! The squirrel was much less amused by the encounter.

Here's a porch picture in exchange for yours:

Still-life with sock and marigolds. I started this sock after the semester's end, so all the vibes knit into it were relaxed and non-twitchy, admirable qualities in a sock, I believe. I think they'll be lovely to wear when it's not 94 degrees.



A Look To the Future

I have enjoyed hearing about your porch garden. This is our deck garden. We have had such cool weather that the plants are somewhat dormant. I am getting new blooms but no growth. Do you see the rhododendron? I feel very southern being able to choose this plant now that I am in a new temperature zone. I may even investigate azaleas . A house up the street has spectacularly vibrant colors of azaleas. Last year we moved to this house after the blooming season of most plants. I have now enjoyed seeing white(and pink) dogwoods, rhododendrons, the magenta of the eastern redbud lining the highways, magnolias taller than roof lines, and the lush drooping flowers of the black locust trees. I am constantly reminded that this ecosystem is very different than the prairies of the Midwest.
I have to give you a sewing/reading/projects/cats sleeping in sunshine room update. We emptied the room out on Saturday. By Sunday night we had painted the walls and laid the parquet floor. I am thrilled to not have to hunt straight pins in a carpet. After Dad was done installing the floor I noticed that it resembled a lovely faded rail fence quilt. Very appropriate don't you think? I now want to go in search of warm creamy yellow and tan fabrics.

The cutting table will be made out of the solid maple door we recycled from the old house. It will be fastened to an open storage frame on casters for easy manueverability. The other furniture is designed as a series of cubes and cubbies for storage and support of work surfaces.
I love your portrait of the Kenmore machine. That machine is such a workhorse. It has successfully sewn doll cloths, yards of curtains, underwear, street clothing, ripped jeans, upholstery material for a couch and chair, quilts, an heirloom bridal dress, church bazaar projects, and 4-H fair entries. And I love how it hums along when it is running. May its projects and years be many and long. Yours too, my dear.


On my honor

Hi Mom,

I've done something very girl-scouty - it involved square pieces of fabric, knots, and reusing materials I had on hand. I picked up the new Blueprint magazine, which is from Martha Stewart's company but aimed at a just-starting-out crowd. The magazine ("design your life!") was a fun read - lots of nice pictures, good recipes, some good ideas, although I'm bemused at the breeziness of its internal contradictions. For every cheery, inexpensive idea or project there's a $400 dress or $1000 rug; let's just say that I (or any other of my just-starting-out friends) won't be needing the bonus sofa buying guide anytime soon. Part of me likes the magazine a lot for the simple, easy-to-use ideas - the other part thinks it's really inculcating aspirational consumerism under the guise of personal style and design.

But, anyway. I used one of their ideas to make these:

This was the first one - the blue fabric is the sheet I liberated from the dumpster behind the campus theater a few summers ago, and I found the handkerchief in a thrift store here for a time. Rip, tie, and wham! A super easy bag. I applied the handkerchief after tying the handles in to make sure it was in an attractive place.

This is the second one I made. My friend Grace and I made cookies Sunday night together, and broke out my fabric boxes and started "improving" the idea. This one uses bangle bracelets for handles, and I lined the vintage garage-sale coneflower fabric with the same blue fabric I used for the other bag. This one's cute and little - good for my wallet and phone and grocery list. Grace made a larger one in purple and white.

I was thinking about my time as an undergrad on Mother's Day, too, especially when Grace and I were doing the minimal sewing that these bags required. You wrote about the trips back and forth - I was thinking about the semester that I wasn't doing well. I was unhappy, and you knew it, and you and Dad were worried about me. You sent me back from a break with this:

Your sewing machine. I'm tearing up now thinking about all the love that this sewing machine represents.

I love you,


I think it is appropriate that my post to you should be on Mother's Day. I agree that some of my favorite time is spent in the sewing room surrounded by projects in various stages of completion. The only problem is ...I have torn up my sewing room for remodeling. So can we image a room in the future that will be an organized room of creativity? I am sure this will be a good idea in the long run. But as of now it looks like a disaster. Every needle, every skein of yarn, every yard of fabric is living in the dining room for a while.
As a result I have been motivated to look at other projects. So I decided to frame a drawing I did a few years ago. When you were in college your Dad and I would make the 4 hour run back home after dark. On one winter night's trip I was very tired and Dad did all of the driving. We had the radio on a world music broadcast. I sat quietly listening to the music and looking out the window. As we drove along I realized that I was only able to see quick glimpses of barnyards lit by yardlights. They flashed by, revealing dim soft-edged images of these rural lives. Each barnyard was unique. In the darkness each would register on my mind like an old flickering black and white movie. This is my favorite memory of the car trips to see you.


Sartor Restartus

Hi Mom!

I'm so excited you've agreed to co-blog (or cob-log) with me. After talking to you on the phone last night, I started thinking about how this will be a new beginning for the blog. I am suddenly brimming over with ideas to write about and share with you; one of the great things about writing back and forth is the easy sense of an audience (although I know you and Dad were reading before!).

For the blog, it is a new start, or at least, a new set of clothes. I started thinking about Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus. The title means 'the tailor retailored,' and refers in part, to this very philosophical, very odd book's "Clothes Philosophy": the appearance of things (clothing) is different from their reality (the body underneath). I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this, but I'd like to hope that our "clothes philosophy" can be two-fold. I know we both like to make our daily surroundings more pleasant by thinking about the appearance of things, and that we both find great joy in unleashing an inner creative reality. I hope that writing about what we're doing and thinking about on this blog will encourage us both into new creative outfits. It will be a virtual version of the old sewing room!

So, here's to you Mom! I checked the blog settings, and I think we're good to go except for one thing - which of our time zones should we choose?


This is your Mother

Thank you for inviting me to participate as your cob-logger. I have enjoyed reading your entries. I know those little feet in your cute baby sock post! I think that I need to learn how to make socks next in my knitting repetoire.