Tag Archives: Stitch

Meditation on stitches

I picked up Anne Lamott’s new essay Stitches: A handbook on meaning, hope and repair when I was at the Drake library yesterday. I’m not currently in the depths of despair, but reading Lamott is sort of like listening to a funky California aunt wax on about the universe/her daily life in a way that’s both humorous and flip and randomly profound. And I’m always up for something that attempts to tackle the existential dread.

The book is one you can finish in the time it takes to bake up a loaf of banana bread, and I was drawn to it because the whole thing basically uses sewing as an analogy for carrying on despite all of the Bad Things that happen in life. I found it to be a little bit long on bobo-ish anecdotes (maybe I’m being unfair because pain is pain whether you come from privilege or not, right?), but there were some good nuggets in there. This was one of my favorite quotes on sewing:

sewingquotebackground quilt image via Stitched in Color 

Sewing gives me such pleasure, because it requires focus and attention and imagination and perseverance. Maybe that’s a bit spiritual. The book’s ethos kind of reminded me of my breakfast table thoughts from awhile back, and of the recent column on the art of presence. Also, Nancy Berns’ TEDxDesMoines talk on Closure, which has more than 13,000 views!

I’m glad I’ve whipped up a few small projects recently. I think it helps my equilibrium. Here are some others I’d love to try:

A quilted kitchen mat seems like a good medium-sized project to tackle

The geranium dress would be cute on some girl babies I know. Maybe a good first garment project? I’d love the Washi dress for me, but I don’t think I’m there yet.

I’m pretty sure I don’t have the patience for a honey pot quilt (in LOVE with the fabrics) but a hexagon mug rug might be more do-able.

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Filed under Books, Getting crafty, Life lessons, What I'm into

Little things

Monday mornings rarely go smoothly unless I make time on Sunday night to organize and set out everything I’ll need to launch my week. Instead, this weekend we threw routine to the wind and Superbowled at our friends’ house.

Subsequently, I had to bolt my green monster and dash out the door with wet hair Monday morning in order to make a meeting on time. Lucky for me, the appointment was with an empathetic person who has a toddler and 5-week-old, and took place at Mars Cafe, the best coffee shop ever. And THIS happened:


A potentially manic Monday morphed into a manatee Monday with some custom mocha art by Daniel Bosman, an all-star barista who has a knack for turning my frown upside down. Day made. It’s the little things.


Special thanks to my friend Alexander who asked Daniel to learn manatee latte art for me!

This weekend, I also paused to appreciate the ‘little things’ by taking a sewing class at Stitch. It was so great to sit at a workspace that wasn’t my cluttered dining room table, and they had fresh coffee and bagels for us.


We made little elephant pincushions from this pattern. I’m not going to lie, it was a challenge. I told our instructor, Veronica, up front that I was pretty sure my finished elephant would only balance on three legs and I was totally OK with that.


Not exactly a soothing sewing experience, but my elephant ended up actually looking like an elephant, and it had all four of its legs. I’ll call that a success.


Ephemera was having a little Valentine-making party down the street, so I popped in there and beasted a cupcake/made a card before heading home.

Other little highlights of the past week:

Starting a short story collection for book club. We’re reading Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” by Alice Munro, who just won the Nobel prize in literature. I’ve never read her work, and I’m enjoying it doubly because I’m looking forward to the discussion with a bunch of awesome ladies.

Making a special batch of chocolate chip cookies for a friend. I used coconut oil and “enjoy life” chocolates because she’s currently dairy-free and they actually turned out delicious. I was reminded that it doesn’t take very long to whip up a batch. There may be some in the oven this second. OK, I may be eating raw dough this second.

Sending a bunch of home-designed Emmett Valentines via snail mail. They’re starting to hit mailboxes and make other little ones smile! I was pretty bummed that we didn’t get Christmas cards out this year, so I may have gone a little crazy. Seeing this photo from a friend made me so happy. Who doesn’t love fun mail? (It’s not too late! XO-LP has a cute set of color-your-own, itty-bitty Valentines like you used to give in school.)



Filed under Books, Getting crafty, I love Des Moines, What I'm into