sewing room update

I am in full Christmas sewing time. To protect the innocent, I won’t share the projects yet. But I have big news. My sewing room leaked all over my house.


This sits right across from my computer. I have been watching Netflix and piecing. My sewing room is not heated and it has been a little too cold outside. Also, I have built up a little too much chaos in that room and need to spend some time straightening. I would like to say this is the only bit of sewing equipment in the room, but that would not be true: my iron, ironing pad, templates, rotary cutter, cutting matt plus all my ender leader baskets have relocated to the living room. In fact, my older son came over and said, “Mom, you have taken over the living room.” I prefer “reclaimed my territory”. (Doesn’t mean I still don’t miss him, just that one must make lemonade from lemons).

There is always some chaos…

This weekend was full, so full I am late even thinking about this blog. The boy was really back here for the first time with all the changes that implies. I had my first time of lead deacon at church which I will say two things about:

  1. I didn’t drop all the hosts.
  2. I didn’t start my robe or the church on fire.

In any case, all of that plus a cold has kept me mostly sleeping and reading. There has been little progress on my studio and sewing. I am done painting and have started to shift things in.


Here are my first two sections of design wall. I plan to have six in total so I need more fabric to cover them. I need to go to the fabric store to create the rest. Now, I am folding fabric and cleaning. Next weekend, hopefully, I will make my way to the fabric store.


new studio start

Happy birthday, P! We are going to have a great day together.

That being said the end of birthday season is today- although we have a few loose ends, I am glad to say it is done! This birthday season was a little more expensive because E moved out in the middle of it. The upside of that is that I got my sewing room back when he left.

About a year or so ago, I moved downstairs to give him a little study room and create some flexibility and space in the boys’ shared room. Now that he has moved out, I have reclaimed it.

Here is the little space I carved out in the basement to sew in these past few years:


Another view:


Yes, it was quite tight and cozy. A good part of the chaos will follow me upstairs, but some of it was preexisting. Here are my new clean shelves:


And more:


I’d show you the rest, but I’ve still have it set up for painting. I followed the Donna Porter rule of thumb. If most of the stuff is out or being moved out, you might as well paint the room while it is empty. I repainted it a nearly white- it this picture you can see the tint has a little pink in it. Tomorrow I will paint the trim and begin moving my things back up. I will be going through my things to see if I need them as I bring them up. It will be a nice fresh start.  I can’t wait to discover what I have and get organized!


Changes for sure. School starting tomorrow the big sophomore. When I say big, I mean it literally. Look at the size of the great shoes he picked for his new school shoes.


I do remember in 1987 having very similar shoes. I think I got them at Kmart for 2.50. I won’t say how much these were but they weren’t 2.50. Teenagers are expensive. These were worth it by how much they make me smile.

So other big changes: the big boy is turning 21 tomorrow. I told my husband that we had been married a whole grown man time. Then I thought: my parents have been married a whole 45-year-old woman time.

He has begun packing:


Quite a treasure trove. I will miss him, but his happiness is infectious, I am starting to get excited to help him move next week.


bike trip

I have been very busy. Last weekend, we went camping in Wisconsin to bike the Sparta – Elroy trail. We had a great time. Paul rode 45 miles and I rode 26 miles, each a personal best. The tunnels were great. It was neat experience to go in them, a little eerie, and really unusual. So, life intervenes again. No new projects today.

Busy week

I am in the midst of a little bit of chaos. One of the good things is my mother-in-law is visiting. I am excited and happy she is here. However, any visitor requires me to maintain the façade that always have a clean house. Yes, there isn’t a layer of dust and ketchup on most of the horizontal surfaces of my house and hand and foot prints on most of the walls.

What is nice is the house cleans up pretty good. Steve even painted the walls of the front porch. He bought floor paint also, but time got away from him with all of the things going on. He plans on finishing the floor later this summer, as part of our four year plan to have the house really nice by graduation 2017.

We also noticed we were very low on chairs. So I went out with my usual dining room chair budget of five dollars each to get new chairs. I found these at a garage sale for twenty dollars for four. I am very happy with them, only one has a slight crack in the upholstery. I have had chairs like this before and I know they are super easy to recover so I may do that in the future. Steve wants to paint the carved insert red. I am not convinced because we have nothing else red in our house. However,  I agree with him that it would look super neat.


We also found these chairs for seven dollars each:


They look like they have been in our house forever. They are very comfortable and came with these matching pillows.

The other thing going on is the rain. We have had incredible amounts in Minneapolis- all of Minnesota really.  We are in the midst of what is already the 2nd wettest June on record, with a strong shot at the wettest. The parkway is very flooded and we even had a small amount of water in the basement.  I am including a link to some footage shot kitty-corner from my church.

The nice thing about much of Minneapolis is that we  have a history of a edge of public space around our streams and lakes.  For this reason, there is a buffer between the parkway and buildings.  So it hasn’t bad as it could be.

promoted to Broseph


I had seen a handle for a seam ripper at Wedding Dress Blue so I asked my son to make one for me.  He spent some time trimming a stick from the yard and then he did this wood burning.  It is much more comfortable than what I had before. 

What cracks me up is that he put “Broseph” on it. I looked this up online to let you all what this means: The highest rank a bro can obtain in all of brodom.  I am deeply proud to have achieved this level of Brodom. 

mending and leader and ender


This is a little shag rug that my grandmother had made.  I have had it for many years since she died in 1988.  The back is burlap and it had ripped.  I was not willing to give it up.  I needed a sturdy piece of fabric to reinforce it.


As they say, there is lid for every pot.  This rather ugly, but extremely sturdy fabric my friend Patti gave me a while ago that she picked up in a give away pile, was perfect.


Since I had my Bernina set up to finish the landscape quilt, I pulled out this old White sewing machine to finish the rug.  My mom gave me this sewing machine a few years ago for just this situation when I have my other machine set up for a specific project.  It was also my grandmother’s so it really brought back memories.

I finished the rug-although I was reminded several times why I bought the Bernina while working with this machine. Since it had been too fragile to wash before, I had rug washing day and washed all of my handmade rugs.


As you can see, my next mending job may be this hand-woven rug I made in college.  Not quite as ancient as the shag rug from my grandmother, it is still older than my fifteen year old son.

On another note, I have been steadily working on a denim leader ender:


It went together almost without effort when I was putting the landscape quilt together.  I already have some polar fleece for the back.

happy birthday

What happened here twenty years ago today?  My beautiful boy was born. Now he is no longer a baby, a little boy, a bigger boy, an obnoxious teenager, but a beautiful young man, full of promise. Even all of those years ago he was exactly who he is now: curious, serious, and smart. 

I rarely do this, but I am feeling inordinately sentimental today, so I am going to share a poem I wrote back when he was a teenager and our relationship was changing:


How can someone I love like a tree loves the sun

hurt me so much?


I know this is natural

The sun withdraws its warmth

The trees weeps

And there is all that leaving


It’s as inevitable as the progression of the seasons

the way things ought to be

the way it has to be

the way I really want it to be


Still I can’t bear the chills of this long winter

I shiver and pull the covers up to my ear


I remember that first lovely spring

When I was your sunshine and you revolved around me


No longer

Now you are the earth and I am the moon


Frost covers me and I look at the misty distant future



When we each emerge

Irrevocably changed – battle scarred


Standing proud

But swaying to different winds.


I won’t say we are there yet, but I can see it on the horizon.  Eliott, even though I don’t really have a right to be, I am deeply proud of your accomplishments (you did it on your own, I just cheered).  You are an awesome person, and I love you.  I’m so glad I get to know you as my son.


blog book

I have been working on a compilation of my blogs. So far it has the imaginative title of Blog Book. Parts of this process have been brutally boring. By the way, if I called you in the last month and seemed kind of distracted I was copying and pasting each blog down from word press. Words and pictures have to be done separately. That brings me to my first realization. If you ever think you might use your blog for any other purpose besides a blog, write each blog off-line, save it, and copy and paste it to the internet. I almost always typed right into word press. This has left me with a bunch of crazy internet formatting to redo.

Now, I am doing photo editing and overarching formatting. This brings me to more realizations. I need to take better photos for my blogs. Some of my photos may not make the cut and frankly without the photos, some entries aren’t much of anything. The other thing I realized about my photos is if I stretch pictures of me up and down slightly I look skinnier.

Right now, I am only doing a small amount of actual editing. I have an opportunity to print the whole thing out on the cheap in the next few weeks. This would serve me well on several levels even though it is early in the process to do so. I would like to know the quality of my photos when they are printed. Some of these photos I could reshoot and others I may delete. I also want to know how the formatting looks. In the meantime, I am having so much fun manipulating the photos and re-reading my thoughts at different times. It is inspiring to me.

I am also rethinking my process. I have always reserved any weekend mornings for sewing. Now, I am using that time to edit. This is some of my most creative time. However, since I have moved my studio to the basement and my kids are not little anymore, I can get away anytime to sew. Getting on the computer is not so easy. Early mornings the computer is free but not so much later in the day (World of Warcraft I shake my fist angrily at you). This is a big change I noticed from looking at my old blog posts. When I began this blog in 2007, just an hour or two on Saturday mornings was huge amount of time for me to work. Often my kids would interrupt. Now, I am surprised how much more time I have. Of course, I have compensated somewhat by working more hours. I also think my priorities need to change a little bit, with writing coming to the forefront.

In any case, I am enjoying this process. So much happened in the past six years, it is fun to look it over and relive it.