back with my people

Well, Asher and I survived our travel yesterday, and if I'm honest, I couldn't have asked for a more well behaved toddler. I'm still recovering from the overall airport exhaustion, but now I'm here in the 303 and loving it. Asher is basking in the doting attention from my parents and sister, and we stocked up on stay-cation essentials like York Peppermint Patties, peanut butter M&Ms, and Diet Pepsi. I have an entire season of Person of Interest to catch up on, and I got to watch Blacklist with my dad last night after everyone else went to bed.

We're missing Mr. Wilson and wish his vacation time allowed for a bit more vacation, but we're settling for FaceTime. I have a million patterns of my mom's to sort through and add to my wish list, and tomorrow we're hitting up Denver Fabrics. Obviously.

I'll try and find moments to spend on this space, but if you don't hear from me for a few days, just know that I'm living it up with my people. Because there's nothing quite like being with your people.


it's OK to lose sometimes

Growing up I cared greatly about what other people thought. From fifth grade to tenth grade I floated from group to group not ever really fitting in with anyone. I found a solid group of friends in the middle of my sophomore year in high school, and then we graduated and I moved away for college. I was so socially timid that I didn't make friends until a girl on my floor--who is still one of my all-time best-ever friends--invited me to watch the boys' dorm football game. Over the years I've repeatedly overcome this fear of vulnerability and have become far more comfortable in my own skin. I'm not nearly as hesitant to put myself out there and risk my pride. And then I entered the Albion contest and told the internet about it.

{Wearing my jacket while running errands today}

Now anyone could see what I made and judge it. I knew the fabric wouldn't be everyone's choice, that the orange accents might make some people cringe. But I loved it. And I told all of you about it. The jacket is certainly not perfectly constructed. I can see a million little places that could have used more attention or even a do-over. But I took pictures and posted them and even entered a contest where so many strangers could see my jacket and comment on it. And I'm so glad I did this.

When I learned who the winners were for the Albion contest, I was disappointed. Very disappointed. My eyes may have even smarted a little. Part of me was afraid that when I let my circles of friends and supporters know about the results, that I'd let them down. Everyone was so excited for me! And it felt so great to have so many cheerleaders in my corner! And what would it feel like to disappoint them? But then I realized something really important: you wonderful people didn't support me because you were counting on me to bring home a $2500 sewing machine--you all supported me because you're my friends. And that's just what friends do.

So when I lost the contest, that's all it was: losing a contest. I love everything about my jacket. It's not perfect, but I love it. And that's what matters. The outcome says nothing about my value as a person or even my value as a seamstress. I am so glad I entered and that I told you about it, because all the fallout was good fallout. I didn't win the competition, and that's okay. Because the good things in my life have nothing to do with competition.


why I haven't been blogging

I've been sewing this backpack for Asher for our trip next week. It's made from shark fabric and a heavy twill. I think it's just perfect for my boy.

It's part of my airport survival plan. You understand. You may think I'm crazy for fitting in this project before a week-long trip, and I have no explanation except that I'm convinced Asher needs a shark backpack to carry in the airport.

Almost all of Asher's naptime is devoted to sewing, and then I have dinners to make and a husband and son to love. So blogging has been left a little behind. That should work itself out in due time, but for now the sharks are winning out.

PS I didn't win the sewing machine. I'm bummed about it. Obviously.



Right now I'm yawning, because it's late and I should be in bed. But I'm blogging. Obviously.

I'm enjoying banana chocolate chip bars.

I'm watching The Good Wife, recommendation of a bestie.

I'm waiting to check my email tomorrow morning, because the coat winner will be announced.

I'm checking off to-dos as I prep for my Denver trip.

I'm planning to spoil Asher in the airport: think some small new toys and treats he doesn't usually eat.

I'm sewing a backpack for Asher made out of shark fabric just for trip.

I'm willing spring to stay and maybe creep back up from the 50s into the 60s.

I'm wishing I could find that blogging groove again, because every time I sit down to write I have no idea what to say.


lullaby prose

I pray these moments with you will settle in my heart,
that I'll never forget your soft cheeks and cheesy grins,
that these days of bathing and snuggles will settle in your heart too.

I'll remember your sweetness, your kisses,
those moments when you grab my hand
because I'm your mama.

Our souls are connected,
and have been connected
since before we were born.

"If you become a little boy and run into a house,"
said the mother bunny, "I will become your mother
and catch you in my arms and hug you."

I will never forget these years.
You are mine,
I am yours,

I'll never stop thanking Heavenly Father for sending you to us.


the thing about spring

The thing about spring is that you forget how much you love 65-degrees until you actually have a 65-degree day. The thing about spring is that when it comes around you hold fast to it, because you never know how long it will stick.

Spring is full of paradox, because the warmer temperatures, sun, and fresh air make you want to throw open windows, declutter closets, and deep clean. But it also makes you just want to spend the whole afternoon outside reading.

You realize that you won't have to wear sweaters forever, so you start scheming your spring wardrobe, and if you sew, your project list probably fills up quick with sundresses, skirts, and flowing blouses.

You start swinging by the outdoor furniture section of Target at least once a week and decide to replace that stupid $20 grill with a nicer, albeit still small, $90 one. You remember all those summer recipes you love and plop those in the menu plan.

Even your toddler knows that something is going on, because once you step out the front door, he grabs your hand and takes you to the park around the corner. Because he just knows it's there. And he points to every. single. airplane. he sees in that beautifully cloudless sky.

The thing about spring is that it's lovely. And sunny. And not cold. And not hot. Just lovely.

PS For those wondering about the Albion contest, voting for participants starts today. Only those who entered get to vote. Every entrant gets to vote for their top-five and can't vote for themselves. The winners will be announced next Tuesday! Keep those fingers crossed!


catching the vision

Gracious living is on my mind almost all the time: am I a gracious mother today, a gracious wife, a gracious friend, a gracious sister and daughter? Am I gracious in my church responsibilities, in how I interact with others, especially those who need what I have to offer?

Lately, I've really caught the vision of gracious living: it's an all-encompassing way of life, a way that transforms your heart and person. Living graciously means a dying of self so that we can be remade through the Savior, our ultimate example of graciousness. And all of that giving and focus and sacrifice is really hard. So yes I've caught a portion of the greater vision of gracious living, and yet I sometimes feel so overwhelmed by it. And I feel that now I have a grasp on that greater picture that I have a greater responsibility to live it. Yet living that beautiful vision of gracious living is nigh impossible, for grace is perfect and I am most certainly not.

So I've been trying to find balance: The balance between catering to my introvert spirit and reaching beyond my comfort and energy when needed. The balance between doing all I can to help another and knowing when my offering is enough. The balance between living my best and not stretching beyond what I can do. The balance between doing what God asks of me and running faster than I have strength. The balance between trusting God and trusting myself.

I truly believe that I will be empowered and given unknown energy and strength and capacity when I reach beyond myself to fulfill heaven-sent responsibilities. But how do I know when I need to take that leap and when it's okay to say no and tend to my soul as I see fit? How do I know when I'm being wise or selfish? Those are the questions in my soul of late. And I don't have articulated answers yet. I've been searching and praying and seeking, hoping that my striving heart can find a surer place of understanding in that glorious vision of gracious living.


this week around the house

finally tidied the sewing room. Just in time for more projects. (See that melted part of my machine? Only one of the many reasons I need to win that Bernina.)

Tuna fish has been the theme of my lunches, alongside a nice cold can of Diet Pepsi.

The laundry has been in limbo between attended to and neglected.

These lovelies arrived in the mail, and I have a few plans for each of them.

These tulips have had a beautiful and graceful run this week.

Thin Mints have been sabotaging my efforts to track Weight Watchers points. I open the freezer and there they are, inviting me to the party. And oh what a tasty party it is.

Right now the weather outside is 60 degrees, and we spent all morning at the park. And when I get the boy up from his nap, we'll probably go hit up another one. Because when it's 60 degrees in March in Portland, you go to the park.


a humble Monday

You guys. I can't even begin to explain how touched I've been with all of the support and encouragement I've received about my jacket. I had no idea the level of excitement I'd see from this space. I've been completely blown away by all the kindness and love and encouragement shown on comments, Facebook, and even texts. Really. I can't even tell you how much all this love means to me.

The deadline for contest submissions is next Sunday, and the finalists will be chosen by the following Tuesday. Because the prize is such a big deal, the only people who get to vote on the finalists will be those who actually entered the contest. Regardless, I am so incredibly touched by everyone who told me they would vote for my entry. I will let you know about finalists next week! Keep those fingers and toes crossed!

So. With that said, I'm heading into this week with an added measure of humility and simplicity. I spent the first chunk of Asher's nap quietly cleaning the kitchen and prepping for dinner. I have no parties to plan or company to host, and I have to say I'm liking the slower pace. I'm taking time to enjoy the smell of this spring rain we've been having the past couple of days, and I'm finding contentment in not having a big project to work on. I'm breathing and living and slowing, and so far it's lovely.

In fact, I might go out and buy some tulips, because tulips sound absolutely perfect right now.


the Albion fledgling jacket

I'm entering a sewing contest to win a Bernina sewing machine, and if you've read any of my recent posts, you'll know that already. And to put this prize in perspective, a Bernina is the Cadillac of sewing machines. You can understand how I'd never forgive myself if I didn't at least enter the contest!

The contest is to sew this pattern (contest details can be found here). I sewed version 2, a lightweight duffle jacket. I found my fabric at Colorado Fabrics in the home decorator fabrics. It's a chartreuse bird-print medium-weight canvas. I love how textured the print is, and the birds remind me of something wild and abstract without being so wild and abstract.

I found the cream toggles on eBay and used orange twill tape for the toggle closures and the drawstring.

Perhaps my favorite part of the jacket is the hood. I wanted to use a knit, and tried thrifting for a large cream cable-knit sweater to use. My search turned up empty, especially when the acceptable sweaters I found were over $10 (way too much for thrifted fabric, when fabric by the yard would be far more economical). Instead I found a lightweight cream knit at the fabric store and cut out two of each pattern piece to make for a heavier overall knit hood. 

I used quilting cotton for the bias tape binding the finishes and installed a zipper to increase the coat's overall warmth.

I really enjoyed this entire project and have already worn my coat out several times! The orange accent in the coat is probably my favorite part. Unless it's the knit hood or the bird print. I'm uploading my entry right now, so send good vibes my way!
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