february makes

Lola_lavender1

Lola_lavender2

My dear friend Lola loves the smell of lavender, so I made her a set of sachets for her birthday. (Quite a few ladies got these for Christmas, too.) Simple and sweet, with a loop long enough for a clothes hanger if so desired.

Cali_three_dresses

Cali_grey_jacket

And then Miss Cali Hashi turned two, prompting a trio of jersey dresses and a little Aster Cardigan to go with them all.

Felix_alien_shirt

Cali_alien_dress

When I heard she was having an alien/space birthday party, I whipped up a tshirt for her brother Felix to wear at the celebration. But why should he be the only one in alien garb? Cali obviously needed yet another dress, to match the birthday theme.

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Then there was some very utilitarian sewing: blackout curtains and a ‘cozy’ for the electric saw. Projects like this aren’t exactly thrilling, but still provide their own satisfaction.

Coming up in March: Sew The Perfect Fit with Lynda Maynard on Craftsy. Wish me luck.

euphonious

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The night before L’s last finals. On the way to help her study, I get dinner at Chipotle. I try to Shazam the background music, but there’s too much interference from the ambient noise. I check the app’s Top 100 list, and note that I’ve never heard of most of the acts. I could blame my ignorance on old-fogeyism, but actually I haven’t followed popular music since my early teens. I watch the brown, long-legged girls in their short shorts and white tank tops giggle as they fill their cups with fizzy sugar water. I was never one of them, though at one point, long ago, I wanted to be.

Then a few hours with my own long-legged girl. My red-headed stepchild. We drill vocab. Aesthetic. Ascetic. Prodigious. Ponderous. Desecrate. Elucidate. Depravity. Autonomy. We roll them in our mouths, euphoniously, and find links between word and definition, ways to remember.

This.
This is the girl I was.
This is the girl I still am.

embroidered flour sack kitchen towels: tutorial

Teatowel tag

Lots of my loved ones received this Christmas gift: a set of two embroidered flour sack tea towels. I thought you might like a tutorial for this easy project.

Note: If you wish to share this tutorial, please repost one photo and link back to this original post. Do not repost the entire text and pictures. Thank you!

embroidered flour sack tea towels

Start with purchased, unadorned, flour sack kitchen towels. (I got sets of four at Target.) Wash and dry them on high settings, to gain maximum shrinkage. Unstitch the hem over the labels, and discard the labels. Iron the towel, stretching it out as you go.

embroidered flour sack tea towels

Draw a line parallel to the selvedge with a disappearing marker. I did mine 1.75″ from the edge, because it seemed a pleasing distance and that was where the previous label had been. Unstitch a little of the hem on the both sides of the towel, for an inch or so on each side of your drawn line.

Thread your needle with all six strands of embroidery thread. The length of the thread should be about 125% of the width of your towel. Tie a knot in one end. Slip your needle inside the hem, and come up through to the right side of the towel within the hem allowance.

embroidered flour sack tea towels

Taking smallish running stitches, sew evenly along your line till you get to the other side.

embroidered flour sack tea towels

Do your finishing knot within the other hem allowance. Stitch a second row just above your first, starting and finishing as above. You can use the same or a different colour thread. I didn’t draw a second guide line; I just eyeballed the distance.

embroidered flour sack tea towels

With white thread, restitch the hems over your embroidery. This will hold your knots tightly and prevent unraveling. Press your towels, fold them nicely, and tie a ribbon around the set.

Embroidered tea towels

I made two versions of the label: this one is for those with littlies in their lives. Spot the difference?

car caddies and (too) tiny pants

More handmade Christmas roundup.

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Above photo by Nettie.

For toddler nephews, a pair of car caddies. Apparently they were a big hit, which of course gladdens this crafter aunty’s heart. I should have included a matchbox car with each, but thankfully they can supply their own :-)

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For Corey-pie, stretchy pants. But I was delusional about babies’ growth in the first four months of life, so these are gonna be no use to him. Cute, but tiny! Ahem, time to make some bigger ones! Sorry, Corey!

christmas without you

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I miss my family at Christmas. The excitement of littlies, the chaos, the food, the crackers, the tree. Yesterday we opened gifts via FaceTime, and later videos were posted (so I could see how much glee the bubble wrap brought), and that was all lovely. Thank goodness for the technology that allows these connections.

Today good food and wine were shared with dear people, and pleasantness abounded, but …. I miss my family. Especially at Christmas. Love you guys so so much. Big hard hugs to you all.

elving

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This year’s elving is proceeding apace, and the Australian gifts are wrapped, boxed, and customs-declared. Tomorrow I get to annoy the post office lady with parcels to seven different addresses, while seventy-five people wait impatiently behind me. Ah, the joys of Christmas.

a year today

Debut

We were close in age, but not in temperament. He was mischievous, and I was often amazed at his audacity, his disregard of the rules. He was less concerned with fitting in than with doing his own thing. I admired that very much, but was too nervous to accept most of his invitations.

As we grew, I always wondered at how two kids, only a year apart and raised in the same home, could have such different childhoods. And how for some reason, his path led to a place of despair from which he did not return.

Sweet brother, we are all diminished by your passing. We grieve you still.

pip

Tunnels under the Georges Head battery #military #history #sydney #australia

My last half-day in Sydney was spent with the favourite-family-that-is-not-my-own. As a teenager, I babysat my neighbour Pip in Weetangera. Decades later she moved to Pasadena and we became adult friends. She now has three kids who, for some reason, regard me as a fairy godmother who bestows them with unique handmade gifts.

Snakes and Ladders

Blue thing

Hopscotch

Car caddy

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As always when I spend a night with Pip’s family, I felt very hugged.
It was a wonderful ending to a full-on two weeks.

my sister

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Sister and I spent a day in Sydney, wandering here and there, stopping to eat and enjoy the view. Just the two of us. It was perfect :-)

last cuddle

Last cuddle with #coreychannon. Thanks @tuisted for the lovely shot.

Goodbye Corey. You are so very very loved.

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