A brief clarification on the last post: The Pickle Patch is still here, and I’ll continue to provide regular updates on our family’s life in Vermont. On The Willows is an entirely different blog, created by a friend of a friend for women to share their life lessons, to which I will contribute from time to time. My posts there will likely be a little different than the ones here: less day-to-day, more personal, fewer pictures of the kids. But I’ll provide the link when I do post over there, on the off chance that you’re not getting enough information here!
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program….
Just as I am not a born cook, I am not by nature a crafty person. On the basis of once having taught elementary school (which should require a minor in bulletin board design) and having received a graduate degree in studio art, I could perhaps pass for creative. But I’ve never been able to sustain any interest in things like scrapbooking, knitting, or jewelry making.
I do, however, have more desire to be a crafty person than I do to be a great cook, if only because the results can be enjoyed a little longer. So, when we moved to Vermont and my mom offered to bring up her old sewing machine, I jumped at the chance. Mind you, I haven’t sewn anything since I made a cupcake pillow in junior high Home Economics, but I envisioned snowy evenings hunched happily over the sewing machine, turning out cute little dresses for the girls.
And guess what? This is a happy story, not “I Love Lucy” meets a sewing machine. The only part of that vision that didn’t materialize so much this year was the snow.
As with cooking, it helps to have crafty friends. Upon moving to Vermont, I met one of the best: my friend Courtney. Courtney is the mom to two of the girls’ favorite friends, Wyatt and Isabelle. She is also an artist (you can see/buy her prints here), she sews, she cans, she hunts, she raises chickens, she works two jobs. Oh, and in her spare time, she and her husband Cris are building a house. In short, Courtney and Cris are the two people I know who would have no problem starting their own civilization from scratch. It was Courtney who lent me this book, which is what got my sewing started:
It’s a great book if you’re looking to sew something for a little girl and don’t know what you’re doing.
The first little girl I was looking to sew something for was Fiona. Two reasons for this:
1. She had a birthday back in November, and I figured it would be more meaningful to make her a dress than buy her something. So I had her pick out a design in the book above, and we went to the fabric store and she picked out the fabric.
2. Fiona loves clothes, and has a very particular sense of style. Given that Erick has been known to wear clothes until they actually fall off of his body, and I gave up caring about what I wore four years ago (when it became clear that no matter what I put on in the morning, it would look like a used napkin by the evening), this is clearly an inborn trait of Fiona’s. She loves to choose her outfit for the day…and then change it…and change it again. I have actually had to make her “Clothing Change Tickets” that limit her to two clothing changes a day, or I’d never get her to leave her closet.
So, with the pattern and fabric chosen, I got to work. Two-and-a-half months later, here’s the result:
That could reasonably pass as a dress, right? Success! And it was FUN. I’m using the leftover fabric to make one for Campbell now.
One thing I will say about sewing: I’m not sure that it’s actually more economical than buying clothes. This may be because we have an incredible children’s resale store in town called Junebug where I can find like-new clothes for $3, but fabric plus thread plus buttons plus trim are fairly expensive. And then there’s a little thing I’ve learned about from being married to an economist called “utility cost,” which takes into account the value of my time. So, at the end of the day, I’m not sure I saved any money. But I did have fun, and perhaps I gained a little bit of “crafty cred.”