Made with Moxie: 2015

October 27, 2015

Dearly Beloved

Dearly Beloved: Dia de los Muertos lights

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on the snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn's rain.

Dearly Beloved: Dia de los Muertos lights

When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there, I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye, 1932

Dearly Beloved: Dia de los Muertos lights

Dearly Beloved: Dia de los Muertos lights

Dearly Beloved: Dia de los Muertos lights

Dearly Beloved: Dia de los Muertos lights

Make your own Dia de los Muertos lights to celebrated you lost loved ones:
Use a razor blade box cutter or X-Acto knife to cut a half inch X in the top of the ping pong ball. Push holiday light bulb into the ping pong ball through the cut. Use Sharpie to draw a skull onto the ping pong ball, then decorate with character. Add marigold or zinnia flower ping pong balls throughout to remember your dearly beloveds.

Use your lights to create a special place to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. Add photos of your loved ones, candles, flowers, baked treats, and other special tokens. Reflect on how those that have died contributed to your life. Share their stories.

Dia de los Muertos Tour

Meet the bloggers who are joining the 2nd Dia de los Muertos tour. They will be bringing you a variety of inspired crafts, stories and a few freebies. Here is the full schedule if you missed a day. 

Monday October 26 - Rebel & Malice - From a Box - Sews n Bows
Wednesday October 28 - Paisley Roots - AmandaRose - Phat Quarters
Friday October 30 - Whisk 'Em - Wild & Wanderful - Golden Rippy
Saturday October 31 - Just Add Fabric - Filles a Maman 
Sunday November 1 - House of Estrela
Monday November 2 - Rebel & Malice

Don't forget to enter the giveaways via Rafflecopter. Enter to win a copy of the book Rosita y Conchitaby Erich Haeger and Eric Gonzalez, and enter to win a StitchArt Sugar Skull freemotion applique pattern.
Due to the nature of the giveaway, the book and DVD will only be available to residents of the United States and Canada. There will be a separate giveaway for any digital items such as PDF patterns or gift cards.  

September 17, 2015

Why I'm loving Seattle and the Pacific Northweast

I must admit it. I'm having a love affair. Things are totally gaybo. I'm downright smitten with Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, and here's why:

A perfect cup of coffee. Every time.
Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks and this city consumes more coffee than any American city. It's nearly impossible to walk a block in this city without passing a coffee shop. These people take their roasted beans seriously. As a result they're brewing beautiful cups of coffee and make a damn sexy latte. Back east I stopped visiting our local Dunkin Donuts because most times I left the drive through with a burnt-y tasting cup of yuck and was mad I wasted a few bucks and fifteen minutes of my time. Here in Seattle I can get a cup of joe fast and so far each one has been so smooth and lovely. Everywhere from the Starbucks in the Target to the local shops on the way to the kid's school. It's pretty awesome. coffee graphic

Ocean, mountains, and woods all in one place.
I grew up in Upstate New York. Think Adirondacks, cabins in the woods, hiking during autumn, canoeing in Saranac Lake. The outdoors is in my blood. It wasn't until I went to college and lived in Rhode Island that I discovered that one week of vacation at the ocean shore was not enough for me. Turns out the Pacific Northwest offers me all the wonders of Upstate NY combined with an seaside view. I can't tell you how jazzed I am. This is the beach that is fourteen minutes from my house. I've already been there more than once.

Richmond Beach Park

Seattle is a city surrounded by water, mountains and a volcano. The people here respect and cherish their surroundings. While the view of Seattle from Puget Sound is impressive (take a ferry, it's only $8), my favorite view of Seattle is as you drive from the north into downtown. It's a city skyline on a lake. A lake filled with floating houses (the Sleepless in Seattle one, too), boats of industry (the Deadliest Catch ships dock here), seaplanes landing and taking off, sailboats, crew teams, and even paddleboarders. Plus, hi, the Space Needle. It's a gorgeous view of the city as you head south on the 5. I always want to take a photo, but don't want to crash my car. This is the view from down on the lake.

Richmond Beach Park

Sexy lumberjack style.
I don't know what more to say here. Bearded, tattooed, whisky drinking, outdoorsy men are hot. Fact And the Pacific Northwest is full of them. Lumberjacks on a bikes. Lumberjacks drinking coffee. Lumberjacks on every corner. I don't care if it's hipster or not. Do men care if ladies wearing yoga pants actually do yoga or not? No. No, they do not. Though a true lumberjack style of man is the hottest. Because he doesn't care if you think it's hot. He looks the way he does because he likes it. And owning your own style is the sexiest thing.
Sexy bearded manly men

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to admire the view.

Beards are Great from BILFuk
Click on this pic to see more sexy bearded men. #bilf

Also, I almost forgot, if you're in the Seattle area and free this Saturday evening I'm going to be at Trabant Coffee at 7pm. Come on down and have a cup of coffee with me and Kimberly of Straight Stitch Designs

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.