Category Archives: sewing

More Shop Goodies….

The Mama Collaborative shop is now open for business!  Just in case I haven’t sparked your interest with my last couple posts….

How about some adorable toddler tote bags?

Reversible baby smocks in darling prints?

What say you to gorgeous wool art bracelets?

Handwoven organic cotton washcloths anyone?

Patchwork bibs and burpcloths?

Head scarves in pretty prints?

Hand embroidered fabric covered buttons?

Vintage inspired patchwork potholders?

Or perhaps some adorned with Sashiko stitching?

More yarn?  Seriously, who could say no to more yarn?!?

And so much more!  We’re working to get our listings live for you this morning.  All told, I think we should have around 70 items out there, so stop by and have a look around!


Mama Collaborative

I am so excited, pleased, honored and proud to be announcing the grand opening of Mama Collaborative!

A couple of months ago I was invited to join a group of extremely talented and creative mother-artisans in a virtual community of support.  Together we’ve quietly been working behind the scenes in preparation for our shop opening on March 1st!

I have to tell you, all week I’ve been watching drafts of listings piling up and I am just gobsmacked.  The beauty created by these women is mind boggling.

For our first stocking we had kind of a loose spring theme.  If you are looking for little toys to slip into Easter baskets, fresh accessories to wear for an Equinox celebration, decorations for your nature table or supplies for you spring crafting, look no further!

Email Address:  

*A note to gmail users: with the new gmail layout the newsletter may be delivered under your “promotional” tab.  You can drag it to your inbox so that future newsletters, full of crafty goodness, will be delivered directly to your inbox.  

You can also help us to get the word out by liking us on Facebook and following us on Instagram.  And please do stop by our shop on Tuesday, March 1st and see what all the fuss is about!

And now let me introduce you to my partners!  I suspect you’ll recognize a couple of them as some of your favorite bloggers…

Kim: I am a homeschooling mama to one, a writer, nature lover, dreamer, foodie, lover of all things handmade, and a creative doer. I am happy to be here with these other inspiring mamas. Kim blogs at

Melanie: Home school mama to five in New England. We spend our days together creating all sorts of things, attempting to garden, reading good books,and observing the natural world, where we draw much inspiration.

Tonya: So happy to be working with these other women to share our creative pursuits. As a mom of seven children, I find joy and beauty in the daily ordinary of raising a family, keeping up with our homestead dreams, and helping to run a family business. Tonya blogs at

Jules: Hello, I’m Jules and I’m delighted to be with these inspiring women. I am a mama, a wife, and a shepherd who loves all things woolly. We are raising our three kids on a farm in BC, trying to make as much of our own food, clothing, and furniture.

Kris: I am a mama to four and farmer’s wife who loves all things handmade. We live on a small farmstead in Vermont where we attempt to grow most of our food and raise veggies, milk, eggs, meats and maple for our community.

Elizabeth: Mama to three unschooled boys :: Tiny house living :: Off grid homesteader :: Lover of wool :: Maker of natural goods :: blogs at

Taisa: I am a mama to three, living in a cabin in the mountains where we homeschool, make stuff and grow a weedy little garden. I am delighted to be joining these amazing, creative mamas in this collaborative.



A Giant 10th Birthday Post

When I promised extra posting this week, I did not anticipate the wind storm that took out our internet access.  Sorry about that!

Sweater first? “Reversible Revelation” in Wool of the Andes Superwash, color: “Brass Heather”.  As the name implies, it is, in fact, reversible.  There is no right side.  Each has it’s own distinctive look:

This seemed like an excellent idea for a kid who often can’t be bothered with paying attention to what way his clothes go on.  At least for my benefit anyway, since he doesn’t really care if it’s inside out or not.  Hey, he’ll happily walk around wearing just one shoe, while I look on cringing.

The waitress at the college town, hipster, juice bar made a fuss about his “fashionable” ensemble; mama-made pants and sweater, topped with his spiffy hand-me-down brown cord blazer.  Dapper.

Food: This year we decorated gingerbread houses, instead of his usual gingerbread men. Autoimmune Friendly Gingerbread with Creamy Maple Frosting, made fancy with dried fruit and what we call “Yam Creamies”, which I’ll talk more about some other time.  We’re still on the intro diet and not supposed to be consuming sweets, but I made an exception for his birthday (and ended up with several people up half the night with belly aches as a consequence.  such is life.)

And now, the big, top secret project!  It pretty much all worked out as planned. In under three hours, while he was at said juice bar, followed by the music shop with my dad, this space…

became this…

The only part that didn’t quite work out was the light fixture.  I accidentally ordered a plug-in fixture when I meant to get one to wire in.  There are no outlets in that hallway.  But otherwise, somewhat miraculously, everything came together exactly as I had planned.

Both a space to work and create as well as a place to read and relax, plus extra storage besides, was asking a lot out of this petite 38″ x 66″ space.  The window seat has a hinged lid, with lots of storage space underneath, to help lighten the load in Iain’s attic bedroom (hence the boxes in the “before” photo).  I tried to work with what we had as much as possible.  The valence-hung on a rod my neighbor was getting rid of- and the divider curtain were both made from fabric I had on hand.  One of the pillow covers was fashioned from an old work shirt of Steve’s.  My sister painted those sweet pandas several years ago.  I’ve just been waiting for the right place to hang them in this house.  I love how the painting perfectly picks up the colors from all the pillows.  I’m ashamed to say it was an afterthought that just happened to work out brilliantly.

We managed to frame the window seat and build the stool with scraps of lumber from the basement.  We adjusted Ana White’s X-Bench plans to fit the space and finished it with some leftover General Finishes Milk Paint in “Persian Blue”.  It tucks all the way under the $20 cleaned up Craig’s List desk to save space.  A couple of old items refreshed by mingling with a few new accessories and just like that, he has his very own cozy nook crafted out of an area that was previously unused space.  Pretty nifty, that!


Sewing Pattern Giveaway: Leotards and Swimsuits

Hello, hello!  We have been sssoooo busy.  The snow is receding, our trees are all tapped, and we are up checking for lambs several times a day.  Could spring really be coming?

I will be posting more this week.  I will, I will.  We’ll have a right good catch up.  I have such exciting news!  But until then, anyone want some sewing patterns?
I’m getting real about which patterns I’m actually going to use in the future and these didn’t make the cut.  My local fabric store was giving away out of print patterns and I must have gotten greedy.  The truth is I only ever use the same leotard pattern over and over again.  I don’t really need these.  They are all leotard or swimsuit patterns.  Five are girls sizes 4-7, one is a woman’s XS-XL.  Some of the envelopes are a little beat up, but all of the patterns are complete and unused.  Send me an email (upper right corner there) or leave a comment if you are interested!  There will be more patterns of various sorts coming soon!

A 7th Birthday and a 16th Birthday

Considering the clues and untangling his way through his birthday gift treasure hunt.

“Happy birthday to YOU!”

That handsome young man up there, could that really by my little son??  The one I used to carry about in a star covered sling and tickle and kiss and cuddle?  Can it really be that same boy, who when I hugged him last night, swept me off my feet and carried me across the kitchen?

And goodness gracious, that sweet girl of mine in morning glory blue!  I’ve been wanting to make one of those dresses for years now.  I don’t know why I waited so long?  The pattern is Caesia made in Swish DK, “Twilight”.  Now that’s my kind of princess dress!

If I don’t mention Iain’s sweater can we just pretend that everything went well and that you don’t notice anything, uhm, askew?  This sweater was coming along absolutely beautifully.  I was so excited about it!  The very last thing I had to do was the shaping around the collar.  I walked away from it for a while and couldn’t for the life of me figure out where I was when I picked it up again.  There were days of knitting and ripping and nothing looking right.  Then when I did figure it out things kept going wrong with the shaping.  Nothing would lay as it should.  The cables looked strange.  His birthday loomed ever closer.  I was stressed and not sleeping and feeling like my brain was going to explode and come oozing out my ear.  It got to the point where I couldn’t bear to think about it for a moment longer and I switched to nice, simple, soothing ribbing.  ahhh…  I was so feed up with the whole thing that I couldn’t even be bothered to do it exactly the same on both sides.  The asymmetrical look is in, right?  Yeah, I meant to do that.  Well, actually I did mean to do it, but only because I was at my wit’s end!

The pattern is #732 by Bergere de France made in Comfy Worsted, “Planetarium”.  Even tracking down the pattern was an ordeal.  Alas, after all of that, it’s too short. (!!!)  It fits very nicely across the chest, which I was worried about.  And the sleeves are fine.  Probably because I was so worried about those that I added a couple of extra inches in length.  I added a bit of length to the body as well, but clearly not enough.  I blame the 4 1/4″ that he grew in the last year.  He will get some wear out of it, just not nearly as much as I had hoped. boo.

I finally finished Mairi’s quilt, started several years ago.  I couldn’t figure out a way to discretely do the hand-quilting on Iain’s without him noticing (it’s huge), and I really wanted it to be a surprise.  So I gave him the completed quilt top, along with batting and backing.

I know, it’s such a cliché, so much so that even saying so is a cliché, but I really can’t believe how big these two loves of mine are getting and how very quickly it’s all going! My heart is full of joy and yet aching all at once.


an everything post….

Kind of like an everything bagel, only without the garlic.  I save the garlic for other posts.  Otherwise we’ve got it all; the 52 project, knitting, sewing, the weather, a tree…

I’m having issues with the auto-focus on my camera.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Seraphina’s new Baby Bubble Bloomeralls!  Ack!  Don’t you just want to kiss her cheeks?!? I modified the pattern to include a button closure between the legs for easier diaper changes/potty using.  The yarn is Capra DK in ‘Velveteen’.  I’ve been itching for an excuse to make her something in this color for ages now.

Ok and now the weather, because she’s out in that, in the middle of December!  It’s so crazy.  There’s green grass in these pictures!  We were out getting our Christmas tree in sweaters.  With no snow boots.  This all feels very strange and kind of wrong.  I’m not sure what to make of it.  But it was rather nice not to have our fingers and toes going numb while waiting for everyone to decide exactly which tree was the right tree.

Books- I finished The Princess and the Goblin and passed it on to Galen.  I misplaced my birthday book (this happens far more often then I care to admit) and have picked up this instead.

After cleaning out her drawers it turns out that Mairi Rose basically had the two pairs of velour pants I made her last year left to cover the lower half of her body- daytime or night time.  This did not seem to be enough, so in between quilt sewing (did I mention I’m actually working on two quilts now?) I’ve been making leggings.  Pretty much all the same pattern in different fabrics.  I haven’t really been keeping track of them all.  Let’s see, there was another pair of velour ones in a tan color, these stripped ones that I mentioned before and a pink and purple stripped pair…  Basically just assume that I made any pants you see her in from here on out!  I thought the last two weren’t really warm enough for winter wear (as it turns out I may have been wrong!  It’s got to hit sometime, right?).  As I was out of really thick stretchy fabric, I jumped at a sale and got a yard each of a handful of things.  She picked out some bubble gum pink cotton fleece with roses on it.  There was enough to make an attached skirt as well.  She liked that idea and I figured two layers of fleece would be warmer than one.

Tomorrow we are baking cookies.  I have some last minute knitting to do and if I get the chance, I’d like to do it alongside a nice period piece (tv show, mini-series or movie), because that’s just the kind of mood I’m in, any suggestions?


bits and pieces

The older boys are studying Emily Dickinson just now.  I ordered a great heap of books from the library, including The Gorgeous Nothings (ack, that title! sublime), which is a collection of Emily’s “envelope poems”.   It’s just beautiful and such an intimate little glimpse, it kind of makes me giddy.

I’ve been working on Iain’s quilt whenever he’s out of the house.  It’s absolutely exhausting.  How pathetic that I find something a simple as sewing exhausting!  It’s not exactly something one thinks of as strenuous.  But there you have it.  Exhausting, but satisfying.

The plan for it was very simple, uniform, and symmetrical.  And following that plan I very rapidly depleted my fabric stores.  Which is when I switched to using every little scrap in anyway I could.  I’ve since moved on to quilting it completely at random.  There is no method to the madness.  I have absolutely no idea how it’s going to turn out.  After all this work it could be completely hideous.  Or not.  It’s a mystery.  The whole of it is deep winter; frost covered trees, glittering stars set in the deepest of dark blues, snow and owls like the one that haunts our compost pile when the snow lays thick all about.

After what was frankly a terrible morning, full of strife and family discord, I was in for extensive blood work (again) tonight.  It was kind of a monstrous affair with 14 vials needing to be filled and them not being able to find a vein (seriously, the technician kissed my arm in relief when after much jabbing she finally found one she could use on the second side).  As I sat in the waiting room knitting, a little girl went in for her tests, and I listened to her cry thinking how glad I was that I was the one in for testing this time and not one of my children.  A smiling older woman struck up a conversation with me.  That on it’s own was so pleasant and friendly in a room full of disgruntled looking people staring at their phones.  The arthritis in her hands made it so that she can no longer knit.  It was her father’s birthday as well as mine, though her father had long since passed.  She had four children of her own, though she had lost a grown son to cancer 6 months prior.  And here our conversation was cut short.

I came home woozy and shaking with both arms bruised, but keenly feeling my blessings.  I called and wished my father a happy birthday this morning.  I worked a bit on knitting little gifts, something that feels so connected to the very essence of who I am.  I’ve hugged each of my children today, many, many times for some and no one has prodded them with needles or anything else.  Back at home the children bustled about, making dinner so that I could rest and concentrate on caring for the little one who was missing me.  She kept laying her whole self on top of me and snuggling in tight.  It’s been a very good day.


Thanksgiving Snippets (and 48/52)

Since Wednesday is our regular woods day, we divided it between Thanksgiving preparations and time in the forest where they gathered decorations to grace our table.  Inside we cooked and tidied and sewed a new set of napkins from fabric that the children had picked earlier in the week.

Moonrise, glimpsing that glorious, great, golden orb through the trees.  I’m feeling a little alliteration happy tonight!

The birds were our main entertainment on Thanksgiving morning, all flocking to our feeders for a feast of their own.  Spotting the finches was a treat.  Especially the purple ones.  We don’t often see them.

I still try to avoid giving the little one sweets, so she had her own wee pie, full of pumpkin, coconut cream, and raisins to enjoy.

On Friday they were back out in the woods again, gathering baskets upon baskets of greens for garlands and wreaths of all sorts and sizes.  I don’t think they will be holding up well come Christmas, but I guess at least we’ll be festive until then!  The kids are more than ready for advent.  I’m not prepared in the least.  All the same I am quietly tucking into the season and trying to let go of any expectations or worries, so that I can enjoy was comes.

In some ways I think the Friday after Thanksgiving might be the nicest day of the year.  It is the only day where I never have to cook or worry about what to make.  Pie for breakfast and a buffet of leftovers for the rest of the day.


Halloween and 44/52

I had what I thought was an adorable idea for a costume for Seraphina and others.  As of 3:30 on October 30th, all that I’d managed of it was her little hat.  And I couldn’t have cared less.  In fact, I was quite ready to throw in the towel with Halloween across the board.  Try again next year.  Maybe.  Maybe not even that.  But Elijah, who obviously puts great stock in creative Halloween costumes, and probably equally pressing was looking to get out of washing dishes, laid the old sheet I was planning on using out on the table and started piecing together a pattern.  And so, with a good deal of help, I rallied and there were costumes all around.

I wanted Mairi Rose to be a Matryoshka with us, but no, she wanted to be Tink to his Pan.  Mommy and daughters matching costume?  Totally cute.  Controlling mommy who insists you wear the costume she wants you to wear?  Not so cute.  So I did not push even though it really would have been kind of perfect since she is just the right in between size.  Side note: All three boys and I just recently watched the Milwaukee Ballet’s production of Peter Pan.  It was magical.  And inspiring for a certain young, male, ballet dancer.

Sewing notes: I used this pattern for Seraphina’s bonnet and a pattern similar to this one for my kerchief- which was very comfortable and stayed on perfectly and I want to make a bunch more for everyday wear.  Seraphina’s dress is this one.  Details on the sweater to come.  I just made my dress up as I went along.  It didn’t balloon out as nicely as it could have.  Also, for the record, I’m not actually shaped like Humptey-Dumptey.  Or at least not any more so than you would expect a woman who has given birth to five children to be.  It’s the costume, honest! (well, mostly anyway)  Mairi’s leggings in the first picture were made from this pattern.