Monthly Archives: August 2010

getting there

I sew but I haven’t always. I come from women who can turn and press, slip stitch and machine baste like nobody’s business. I still have a lot to learn but I am getting there, wherever there is, that is. One of the things I love about sewing is that there is always somewhere to go. I think if, three years ago, someone told me I’d understand how to open out band and tie facing at side seams; pin front and back at side seams matching notches and turn band facing over back and stitch seam; press and slip stitch pressed edge of band facing over seam I would guffawed like George Bush when he tried to say that fool me once bit. Let alone if they had told me I’d have a growing business around it. And here I am…not just polishing-a-turd sewing but like really making stuff that turns out how I see it in my head. And with fewer and fewer swears and seam rips. While I do have a nice industrial Pfaff (thanks to the amazing generosity of a dig reader), I still do nearly all of my work on my old Singer Featherweight. I just always go back to it like a favorite pair of slippers. I’ve felt kind of shy about admitting this until recently. Because, it seemed, real seamstresses have fancier, newer machines. So, what brought me out of my shyness? First, my machine was pictured in the newspaper. And then I took it in for repair shortly after and when I picked it up the repair guy said, “so, how often do use this machine?” I told him daily and he showed me my cord with all the wires fused into a hot ball. “I’ll say,” he said. I thought he was then going to tell me I needed to upgrade, that I was overusing her. But instead he said, as her lovingly taped the case, “you really can’t beat these machines. This will last you another hundred years or more if you take care of it.” Yep. I learned on that machine, I inherited it from my grandma and my mom learned from her on that machine. And, I will continue to get there with my Singer. How can one not love something called Singer? And Featherweight? Two things I am not and my sweet machine is. So last Friday night, I was giddy in my studio. My Singer and I were making dresses for my daughters. We have a wedding this coming weekend and it seemed a good excuse to make Ruby a bright frock to hit at the knee of her crawling legs and Margot a vibrant number to twirl in. Margot picked the fabric for her dress and I didn’t even try to talk her into something else. Well, I kind of did but dropped it as soon as she declared, mama, I love that polka dot one a lot while clutching the bolt. And, while it certainly wouldn’t have been my first or even seventh choice, it is perfectly Margot. Right down to the green ruffle. She picked that fabric too. It twirls. Margot LOVES it. And I love that. As Margot says, Ruby can’t talk yet. Because she’s just a baby. And Also Ruby thinks everything I say and do is brilliant, so I picked the fabric for her dress. And, it’s perfectly Ruby. I wrote about sewing that night, the guidance of my mom and how I got here, in this week’s mama dig’s, a good seamstress. Now…Andy’s all decked in his new ensemble (he’s in the wedding) and my girls are charming in their new dresses. What’s mama to wear? Read more on getting there…
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dig this sponsor: Frayed Sew

Hooray for this month’s sponsor, Frayed Sew! And if you are wondering, can a shop live up to that stinkin‘ cute name? The answer is, yes. Frayed Sew is a bewitching boutique where every little nook and hook holds cool stuff you can’t live without. It’s located in our charming state capitol, Helena, in the even more charming Reeder’s Alley. The shop carries high quality handmades including everything from blank books, headbands and baby changing pads to plush toys, skirts and dog collars…seriously a ton of brilliance in there. I have had the pleasure of getting to know owner Becky Shreiner a bit and am starting to understand where all that bewitching charm came from. She’s a crackerjack. Here’s a little virtual chat we had: Tell us a bit about Frayed Sew‘s history. Frayed Sew sprang from my urge to bring high quality handcrafted items to the people of Helena. When I shop, and my husband can attest to this, I love to feel and handle my purchases. I want to see with my own two eyes the quality of the piece being bought. In 2008 I was beginning to realize that I didn’t want to sit behind a desk doing GIS work all my life, I wanted to bring artwork into the forefront in Helena. I wanted to have a teeny tiny brick and mortar shop to showcase my b. handmade designs sewn creations along with others. I wanted to pick and chose and combine funky modern pieces together, featuring many artists from across Montana, to form a shop. Helena is the prime location for this as it is going through a shift, a hip shift, and I wanted Frayed Sew to be a part of this shift. What kind of items do you carry? Don’t be deceived by the name of shop, we are not a sewing shop, oh well I do accept b. handmade designs custom orders. Frayed Sew is eclectic. We have 50 artists in total right now, most are from Montana, all are from the U.S. We sell hip jewelry, clothing, prints, cards, hair accessories, hats, purses, clutches, and totes, plushies, baby gear, a little of everything. Oh and to plug Dig this Chick – yep Frayed Sew has her stuff in stock! When you aren’t making things or selling things others make, what do you enjoy? I enjoy spending time with my hubby, Nick. He’s my best friend and when he’s not traveling, we are inseparable. We could be hanging out on the deck or motorcycling–my hubby has a way to make me realize everything will be alright. When I’m frazzled, he centers me. I really enjoy hanging out with family, even though I don’t get to do this too often. I also enjoy spending time with my four-legged kiddos, Sunny (Frenchie bulldog) and Mr. Bean (Boston Terrier). I enjoy gardening and everything that has to do with gardening. I love cooking and baking. OK I’m a regular Martha Stewart, except the jail part. Reading is top on my list and I set aside some time to read. And, of course, I really enjoy my lunch dates, supper club, and desserts and drinks with the girls. And I enjoy ice cream and caramels quite a bit. For people who can’t visit the store, how can they get their hands on your goods? Frayed Sew is working on a website and a possible webshop. And if you see any items you like on the Frayed Sew facebook page, I would gladly take orders over the phone (406.422.7725). Another thing to note is that, within a few weeks, Frayed Sew is moving into a space that will double it’s current size and will be in the forefront of Reeder’s Alley:
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hump day nuggets: just a few weeks left to work on that flip flop tan

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week We just can’t stay inside for too long these days as our bones know a big weather shift is imminent. We’ve pinched off all tomato flowers hoping to encourage a few red lovelies, outside morning coffee first requires a sweater. I have urges to do things like bake bread and finish the quilt I started for Margot when Ruby was snug in my belly. We have hot springs trips planned. But before I do cozy inside things, there’s all this outside to be enjoyed. And in being outside and giddy and engaged, I haven’t been taking many photos….I adore my camera as a tool that allows me to be present and aware, framing sweet moments. And there are also times when it’s nice to participate without a tool, when I frame sweet moments in my heart with both hands free to give an underdog. So on to nuggets from the last week and then I must go back out. :: Morning booty shakes continue to occur almost daily. I don’t ever want them to stop. Do you think that when my girls are in middle school they’ll still wake and shake with their mama? :: Our family had the most fun at our local water park. On the way there, Margot said, hey guys, today is going to be the most wonderful day ever. And it was. :: Somehow, the towels didn’t join us, so, Ruby napped in her dad’s t shirt. :: Epic salad made entirely from local produce! Make it. It’s killer. LOVING our friends’ new business: Farm to Family Montana Cherry Cucumber Salad (Mike Sherrin’s recipe in Food & Wine magazine) 2 cucumbers (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice1 tablespoon white wine vinegar1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oilSalt and freshly ground black pepper1/2 pound sweet cherries, pitted and halved1/2 cup cilantro leaves In a medium bowl, toss the diced cucumbers with the white wine vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the halved cherries and cilantro leaves, toss lightly and serve. :: Not much better than backyard dining and sipping and gabbing with best friends. :: A weekend of carousel rides and face paint with Grandma Joan. Oh I am the luckiest girl alive with the family I married into. :: I just plain love morning walks around our neighborhood with my daughters. The way Margot ambles, stopping to study rocks and count ants. The way Ruby hangs on her big sister’s every movement. The way Alice is so patient and gentle with my girls. The very idea that I get to go on morning walks with my daughters. It’s the little stuff that makes me sing. :: And my favorite part of end of summer? Harvest. All that hard work delivering nourishment to my family. For fruit it’s strawberries and then cherries, apricots, raspberries, plums, peaches, apples, pears. We don’t have fruit trees but thanks to the generosity of strangers (and an incredible peach orchard in Paradise), we always end up with more than enough of everything. Last fall’s weird early frost killed raspberries and plums. This week an email went around offering apricots and this mama strapped a ladder to her roof and hauled her babies to fetch some fruit. (Thank you, Karen!) ^ photo by generous apricot owner, Karen ^ I remember picking pears last year on that same ladder when I was quite pregnant. My boiling water canner has emerged from the basement, the jars are washed. Oh the excitement of putting up food for the cold months. But, first, the rest of summer. Read more on hump day nuggets: just a few weeks left to work on that flip flop tan…
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sweet and savory

Oh, as summer’s tight curls loosen and tumble into autumn. Honestly I adore fall just as much as summer. Here in Missoula we have air as crisp as a perfectly ripe pink lady apple and sky as blue as my Ruby’s eyes. Things are twitching toward fall around here. It’s still completely summer but the crispness and the blueness are whispering hello, we just have to hop over a few mountain passes, fill up in Rocker and we’ll be there by supper. I notice I am insanely sentimental about time passing this particular season. My nine-month old is growing like my pumpkin vines. My two and a half year-old (who is really closer to three but HELL that seems crazy) carries on conversations that would bring an entire patch of perky sunflowers to their knees. There’s just so much change. And while I can’t wait for the next thing, I can’t stand moving on. No fair, right? All I can do is love the shit out of where I am at. Time, relationships, work, exploration, food, compassion, sleep, love. The stuff we all write about, think about, talk about, aspire to. How do I make sure I am making the right choices? That I am on the path that can bring the most good to the world and the future generation I have chosen to participate in? Oh I can get in a spin wondering these things. But then. Then I have moments when I am just a human on the planet, loving and living, when life is concentrated, a divine combination of sweet and savory. I want another bite and I understand there are so many ways to make a difference. This often happens at the end of the day, when Beauty puts on her best heels and struts. Read more about all this love and chaos in this week’s mama digs, I love the whole crazy thing. Read more on sweet and savory…
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hump day nuggets: still summer

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last weekRight now I am sipping vinho verde. The back door is open, and I hear a lawn mower, bad country music and a storm rolling in. I am wearing the same skirt I have been wearing for three days, a wet bathing suit top and sand on my shoulders. My desk is dusty and piled with things I’ll get to later. Out the window I see a tree heavy with apples, sun-bleached adirondack chairs, crisp sheets on the clothesline, sunflowers and cosmos. Margot and Ruby are napping. Their sunscreeny bodies relaxed into naps before I could say sweet dreams. We may not have tomatoes but it’s still summer. :: This summer my youngest felt cool mountain water on her toes. :: This summer we grew massive squash. Red Kuri, Burgess Buttercup, and Table Queen Acorn. :: This summer Margot got so brave. She became a kid. :: This summer we were still amazed that a little love turns into dinner. :: This summer Margot played hard. :: This summer it felt like Ruby would never get those top teeth. Thankfully we had quick and abundant access to her favorite teething toy. :: This summer we went to the fair. :: This summer we fêted 10 toddlers’ birthdays. :: This summer I loved watching Margot love the river. :: This summer we saw a llama with the sweetest underbite. Do you remember this song? (my favorite as a kid!) :: This summer my sweet potato stayed close to my heart. :: This summer we loved summer. :: This summer we cruised around town on bikes. :: This summer Ruby crawled. :: This summer papa got a new toy and he has been exhausting himself getting to know it. :: This summer we ate melon by the river with a hippie transient tribe playing music and doing free spirited moon dances with their dreadlocked dogs. If you are inclined to leave a comment, share what you did (and are going to do!) this summer. Read more on hump day nuggets: still summer…
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