Made with Moxie

May 31, 2015

Going AWOL

It's been three months since I wrote a blog post and a solid six since I wrote a tutorial or shared something I made. I'd like to say that this unintentional break has been all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. I truly can't complain either. Everything going on in my life currently is my own doing. School is wrapping up at an alarming rate. I spend four days a week practicing ultrasound and I am in love. But I'm also learning. Which is a good thing, a very good thing. However I can not wait to be proficient in this new craft of mine. Alas, I press on. And will likely graduate in August with honors.

Larger still, we decided to move to Seattle, Washington.

Yes. Clear across the country. Two thousand, seven hundred and sixty seven miles away (roughly). We're embarking on a new adventure in life. We're whittling down our possessions, selling out home (or attempting to), and heading to the Pacific Northwest. It's exciting and terrifying all in one swoop.

It was my intent to clean and straighten my sewing studio. When I started, it looked like this:

My sewing studio before packing

My sewing studio before packing

I'm one of those "works in a huge mess" kind of an artist. Organization happens in binges and moments of sewers block. In any case, so I put all my fabrics on comic book boards like mini bolts. And I stacked up my fat quarters. It all looked pretty neat, but instead of just straightening it up, I packed it all up. I donated my sewing machines with the promise to buy a new one in Seattle. That's right. My studio is empty. It's got a desk and a chair and looks like an model office. All my fabric is in tote boxes in the garage waiting to be put on a moving truck.

My sewing studio before packing

It felt good to be so clean. It felt satisfying to have conquered my space and was very okay not doing any major sewing projects until we landed in Seattle after the summer. I had enough on my plate to keep my time filled with school and selling the house. That was until we reached the waiting point. Our house has been professionally photographed and is on the market. I study at school and in between patients for my board exams. I have no more papers to write or projects to do.

The trouble is that now all we have left to do it wait. Wait until someone buys our house. Wait until graduation. Wait to pack the rest of our things. My days are filled with waiting. I hate waiting. I'm terrible at it. I want to have a plan. I want things in concrete. I run every scenario out in my head ten thousand times a day. I finished the book I was reading. I ordered another. I had to wait for it to come in the mail. I got nervous. I starting worrying about the " what if"s. What if the house doesn't sell on time? What if I don't get a job in Seattle? What if I never get a job? What if. What if. What if.

I chewed a hole in my cheek. Not clean through, but I'm a cheek nibbler. It's what I do when I'm nervous or anxious. My husband implores me to stop but I don't think that's possible. I need an outlet. I bought my new sewing machine.

I can't unpack everything. My projects are small. But I'm sewing again. I need to. I have to let it out. I still nibble my cheeks a little, but this makes the waiting pass faster. I'm still running all the "what if"s out in my head, but at least I feel less neurotic about it.





Do you live in the Seattle area? Want to meet up? I'm going to need some new friends in that area. Let's do a meet up. Shoot me an email at thatmoxiegirl[at]gmail[dot]com. We're taking a trip to Seattle June 29 - July 3. We'll have a beer and you can help me take deep breaths.

March 11, 2015

Taking back my craft and heaven on earth

My brain is like a cotton candy machine. Inklings of thoughts fly about from all sides, stretching in to the void. They blow about reaching for other thoughts. My spud sugar thoughts start to glom together. Only then do I have something tangible. Something to hold on to an ponder. Other whisps float out on their own, but these ideas just keep getting bigger and bigger until I remove them. Address them.

It's inevitable to ponder change when we celebrate the new year. The older I get the less radical and more realistic I am about my resolutions. I am who I am. I like me. I like where I am. But my life is pivoting. A friend of mine had a theory that every seven years your life changes. The seven year itch. After thirty five years on this Earth I've learned to go with the flow. If the tides are shifting, best to turn your boat. Otherwise you get unceremoniously dumped from your canoe. Which actually happened to me once in the middle of Fish Creek Pond just off Saranac Lake in Upstate New York. In May. (Too cold and wet for my tastes.)

Taking back my craft and heaven on earth
This is not Upstate NY. This is California in December.

I dove into blogging and sewing and making a business of my craft while I was at home with my babies. When they started to not be babies anymore I went back to school, as was the plan. I never planned on having my craft be a potential legitimate source of income, and although that possibility is very real (and tempting) to me now, I have a finish line in my sights.

In the next five months I will graduate from sonography school. My first baby will be registered for kindergarten. We will no longer be a family who buys boxes of diapers when we go to the store. My family dresses and feeds them selves (for the most part.) I will become a full time, out of the house worker again. These times, they are a changin', and I'm rolling with it.

I've glommed my thoughts on the subject into two larger conclusions. Firstly, I'm taking my craft back. Making and sewing is my joy, my love, but more importantly it's an outlet. It is what I do when I need to escape. I've never been big on making money from my blog, but even more so now I feel the pull to make it all completely mine again. From now on I sew what I want to sew. Not because it's XYZ Sewing Week. Not because someone gave me a free pattern in exchange for a blog post. When I have free time I will sew. If I have more free time I will share it. If I come up with something I think y'all should know how to do, I'll show you how. It feels good to know that sewing is mine again. I have obligations to no one. I've been cleaning up and organizing my studio. It's exciting.

Taking back my craft and heaven on earth
Handstitched felt cuff, Carolyn pajama pants, and a new dress for zombie dollie

The second idea that's been whirling about my head is about time. Time has become a huge commodity to me. We are comfortable with finances, but my family can't ever seem to get enough time. Too many days are spent on obligations. Week ends are too short. Time off flies by. I don't want to be the people who look back on life and think, man, I wish I could do it all again and do it differently. I want to do it differently the first time.

Danny and I made a conscious decision to have children. I never wanted to have kids because it was just what married people did. We decided to raise human beings and want to raise them into awesome people. We want to read them stories and take them on hikes and teach them to explore. We want to stoke their fires of adventure and show them the endless possibilities of life. When we're bogged down in obligations that time is cut short.

I recently read a blog post about a man that was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He's a father and wrote about milking the time he had left with is wife and his kids. He said that he was living a heaven on earth. That *this* is what is most perfect and wonderful and awesome. It plucked my heart strings. Not because he was dying (which is sad and sucks) but because he was right. For all it's corniness, I'm living heaven on earth. I've got everything a thirty something woman could ask for right around me and I'm going to enjoy the hell out of it. I have two awesome kids who adore spending time with their parents. I've got a husband who freaking rocks. I'm healthy and young and able. This is my heaven on earth and I'm not going to be foolish enough to let it all slip away.

Taking back my craft and heaven on earth
This is my heaven. Corny? Cheesy? I don't care.

So what does this all mean to you? Not much. (ha) I just had these balls of sugar rolling around in my brain and I needed to get them out. It feels good to put them out there and make room for more. There will still be plenty of Made with Moxie. I've got patterns in the works (which are really clothes I'm drafting for myself, but while I'm at it I'll make your sizes too!) There will also be more Perfect Pattern Parcels this year, just later this year, once I have passed my remaining two board exams. Things are looking good and I'm happy with the direction my tides are turning.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some House of Cards to watch while I do some free hand embroidery of nothingness. Life is good.






P.S. Danny and I now joke to each other that "this is heaven on earth" on nights when the kids are driving us bonkers and we're wondering what the hell did we get ourselves into. Keep it real, cheesers.

December 9, 2014

20 Minute Throw Pillows

It's the little things in life that make me happy. Bright colors, curling up with a good book, handmade gifts. If you love those things I've got a quick tutorial for you! These throw pillows can be sewn up in 20 minutes (or less!) They make great gift ideas and, hell, go ahead and make some for yourself. Isn't that how any gift sewing goes? Intend to make something for someone else, fall in love with it, decide to keep it for yourself, and then need to make another for that gift.

20 Minute Throw Pillows: Whip these up in no time at all. They're cute, quick and easy. || I'm making a bunch of these for my couch! So adorable.

Two 20 to 22" cloth napkins + one 18 to 20" zipper + insert = 20 Minute Throw Pillow


20 Minute Throw Pillows: Whip these up in no time at all. They're cute, quick and easy. || I'm making a bunch of these for my couch! So adorable.

Start with some fun cloth napkins. My favorite places to find them are at World Market and Crate & Barrel. I *always* scour the cloth napkin selections in these stores. Some seriously fabulous prints. See that teal rose print beauty in the first pic? Yes, that is Anna Maria Horner's Social Climber, and yes, I bought it as a cloth napkin at Crate & Barrel. Fabric is everywhere! You can buy matching sets or go with coordinating prints like I did. There's no wrong answer. I promise.

20 Minute Throw Pillows: Whip these up in no time at all. They're cute, quick and easy. || I'm making a bunch of these for my couch! So adorable.

Press your napkins flat. Center a 18 to 20" zipper along one edge of a napkin, both right sides up. Top stitch the napkin to the zipper. Pin the second napkin to the other edge of the zipper, making sure the corners of each napkin and side ends line up as best you can. Not all cloth napkins are make perfectly square or exactly the same size so you may need to do some fudging around here. ("fudging around" technical term here meaning "just make it work") Top stitch the second napkin to the zipper.

20 Minute Throw Pillows: Whip these up in no time at all. They're cute, quick and easy. || I'm making a bunch of these for my couch! So adorable.

Fold the napkins at the zipper so both are wrong sides facing each other (right sides out.) Starting at one end of the zipper, top stitch along the edge of the pillow, all the way around the napkins, until you reach the other end of the zipper. And that's it. Super easy, right?

20 Minute Throw Pillows: Whip these up in no time at all. They're cute, quick and easy. || I'm making a bunch of these for my couch! So adorable.

Want to make them a bit fancier? Before you stitch your napkins together, put a little patch of stabilizer on the back of one corner and do a little hand embroidery. Trace a drawing or just doodle a bit.

20 Minute Throw Pillows: Whip these up in no time at all. They're cute, quick and easy. || I'm making a bunch of these for my couch! So adorable.

Another way you can spice these throw pillows up is to add piping. Pin the piping around one napkin all the way around, then make sure you catch the piping as you stitch the zipper on and the napkins together.

20 Minute Throw Pillows: Whip these up in no time at all. They're cute, quick and easy. || I'm making a bunch of these for my couch! So adorable.

Ill tell you my throw pillow insert secret, too. Go to Ikea! This Fjadrar insert is only $5.99 and duck feathers. It's so lux to have a stack of these to snuggle into and read on. If feather fill isn't your thing, go for the Inner insert. It's a super soft, poly fill cushion. Oh, and it's only $2.99. Plus, Ikea packaged these pillows rolled into tight, vacuumed cylinders, making them easy to carry home or ship!

20 Minute Throw Pillows: Whip these up in no time at all. They're cute, quick and easy. || I'm making a bunch of these for my couch! So adorable.

Don't you just want to curl up with a good book and take a nap? (Yeah, me too!) Go make yourself one. Go make yourself a handful. The 20 Minute Throw Pillow is quick and easy. You'll have the satisfaction of finishing a project in one sew (No UFOs!) and you're bed/couch will be so Anthro looking, no one will believe you made them all. (For so very little money, too.)

20 Minute Throw Pillows: Whip these up in no time at all. They're cute, quick and easy. || I'm making a bunch of these for my couch! So adorable.

20 Minute Throw Pillows: Whip these up in no time at all. They're cute, quick and easy. || I'm making a bunch of these for my couch! So adorable.

Need some other quick gift ideas?
Quick Gift Ideas to Sew from Made with Moxie
Laminate Tablet Clutch || Fat Quarter Cloth Napkins || Twill Tape Tote Bag