Made with Moxie

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

December 8, 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway

It's Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway week! Woot! The most wonderful week of the year!

Jill Dorsey & Made with Moxie: A blog about selfish sewing, creative making, and sewing as an outlet for life.
Some of the things I made this year. Like my style? Start following along!

If we've never met before: Hi! Howdy! How you doing? My name is Jill and this is Made with Moxie. I make clothes, bags, quilts and other crafty crap. I've got two small kids, a fierce spirit, and I'll always give it to you straight. I live life to suck the marrow from it and have no regrets.

I'm keeping it short and sweet today though, since we all just want to know how to enter quickly so we can get on to entering other giveaways. I adore Instagram and Pinterest, so if you use those sites, let's get to know each other!

My only request is that you start following me on Instagram or Pinterest, then leave me a comment here telling me which you did. Heck, you can do both for a double entry. Please make sure you leave me your email address in your comment as well so I can let you know when you have won. ;)

Win a free paper pattern of the Alder Skirt from Made with Moxie

I'm giving away a paper copy of the Alder Skirt pattern designed by imagine gnats. It's a simple skirt pattern that comes in a huge size range. Wear it with tights and boots in the cool weather or a tee and sandals when it gets warm. It's a sweet pattern because you can make it in so many different fabrics. One winner will be randomly selected on Monday, December 15th and will be notified by email. If you do not leave your email address a new winner will be chosen. Open to international entries.

Love Cotton & Steel? Enter to win a fat quarter pack of the yet to be released "Tokyo Train Ride" from Perfect Pattern Parcel, too! Click on the link above or the image below.

 Win a pack of Cotton & Steel Tokyo Train Ride fat quarters from Perfect Pattern Parcel and Sew, Mama, Sew


Happy winning, folks! And I can't wait to get to know y'all!