It begins...

A friend recently forwarded an email to me titled "The Invisible Mother," a short essay comparing the tireless and often thankless job of a mother to the builders of Europe's great cathedrals. Both give their whole lives for a work they will never see finished, both make sacrifices and expect no credit, and both are fueled in their passion by the faith that the eyes of God see every detail. The writer of the essay was inspired by the thought that our endless efforts in motherhood, invisible as they may seem, are worth it and can make an enriching life.

For many of us, the way we choose to hold our invisibility at bay is by creating something tangible. For me, my days often end with knitting - my love of fiber and the need to do something relaxing end up producing something I can hold and look at. Nobody will know how many times I swept under the high chair that day, or how many toys I picked up, or how many times I tried to coax a "please" or "more" or "sorry" out of my 5 year old. But a darling, handmade infant hat? That you can see.

I start new projects every day, and my 10 year old does the same. In this process of creating (and yes, often not finishing our projects!) we connect with each other and a bigger picture of ourselves in the process. My plan for this blog is to share the projects that excite me and bring some accessible proof of my existence in this invisible world of mothering!

So, this blog is dedicated to the mothers out there whose days are filled with the minutia of tasks that build our children and our families. I often tell people that I haven't decided what I want to be when I grow up. But for now, I am the builder of a great cathedral. With every shoelace tied, lunch packed, and forehead kissed, I build.

And I can hardly wait to create something new...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Craftiness...and Beyond!

OH, where to start! As foretold in my last post, there was some serious craftiness at our house over the weekend. My mom did not disappoint, so I have lots of show and tell. (And can I just say, everything just seems a little brighter when my mom is around?)

Thursday afternoon during Brynn's nap and while I waited for mom to arrive, I got out my new pinking shears and decided to test them on the caballero fabric. They are super sharp, and very satisfying to cut with!  I cut the hunk of fabric into 3 pieces (one for each girl) and used the pinking shears to go all the way around the outside so they won't fray at the edges.  I used Rowan's Daisy tunic as a template for the neck hole, and cut that out as well. Then I cut 1" fringes along the bottom edges of all 3, to help give it a little flair. It turned out to be a much easier project than I thought - and no sewing!  I also fashioned 3 black fabric tie-belts to use, but once Rowan tried on the poncho we decided the belts were a hindrance and just didn't look good. My little brown-eyed caballero is very happy with the finished product!

Friday morning after Rowan left for school, Mom and I got to work on Grace's hair. Well, I should say that I explained what Rowan wanted and mom figured out a way to do it. Rowan's instructions were that she wanted Grace to have a ponytail in back, with some straggling hair coming down the front. And with the orange yarn, of course. Mom cut some long strands of yarn and laid them over Grace's head so that she could stitch them on right at the seam along Grace's scalp.  Once she was done stitching, the layer hanging over Grace's face got flipped over to hide the stitches, and make a double thick lock of hair, which could be fashioned into a ponytail.  As promised, we left a few strands in front on the sides.

Friday afternoon came the construction of the bonnet. Mom brought a pattern she'd used for American Girl Dolls, and after a few adjustments to size, we pinned out the pieces on the fabrics Rowan had chosen and set up the sewing machine. I helped cut and pin (like when I was a kid!) and Mom did most of the sewing (she's WAY better.) Before you knew it, we had a darling little bonnet on our hands.

Grace is now completed, and it was a wonderful way to spend the day together! And she looks just about how Rowan imagined her, so all is right with the world. :)
While Mom was putting the finishing touches on the bonnet, I decided to pull out the next project Rowan has planned - her fleece quilt. We're using remnants from the Project Linus blankets we did with Girl Scouts, which we had already cut a few weeks ago. Rowan had drawn up "the plan" for the quilt and has decided to use white fleece for the backing. (We waited until it was on sale.)

I bought some 2-sided iron-on adhesive to fuse the remnants to the white backing, because I don't think Rowan has much interest in actually sewing her quilt together (and neither do I!) I wasn't sure, actually, if the adhesive was going to work, so the first thing I did was try a small square sample. Worked great - hallelujah! With Mom humming on the sewing machine, I cut 12 10"x10" squares of the adhesive and now we're ready for Rowan to do some ironing.
Friday night, I cast on for the first hat I'm making for Alex. The cotton-ease is so nice to work with, and the colors she chose look great together - soft and boyish! I've decided on the striping theme I want to use, and am about 3-4 inches up now. Luckily, Rowan has the right aged head to try it on for me to make sure the sizing is right! When the first hat is done, I'll do the second, smaller hat with an opposite color scheme. They're gonna be cute!
The last thing I will share today (and OH YAY, I am so excited about this!) is that my new craft storage unit has arrived!! I have decided that our dining room is just never going to be an actual dining room (way too small) and in order for it to get some use, I am constantly bringing craft projects out there to work on. The table is old and scratched, and is perfect for the type of abuse I unleash on it. Ha! Behold the new storage unit...
It's actually a kid's dresser, which yes, looks a little odd in the dining room. But since all the other Ikea furniture in here is white and light wood with silver handles, this doesn't stand out too badly. And even if it does, I don't care because yay, oh yay, it will hold all the piles and piles of half-finished, need-to-work-on, save-it-for-later project piles the currently dominate the surfaces of our main floor. I've told Rowan that she can have one whole drawer to herself (and I get the rest.) No more piles, people! Well, I do have to wait for Brad to install the baby-proof latches first, and THEN no more piles! Lovely, lovely, uncluttered space. Ahhhhh.


  1. Total awesomeness! It was such fun to read about all the projects and crafts - finished and unfinished. And, my hands doing the hand stitching on the bonnet didn't look too old and blotchy. :)

    Your compliments warmed my heart. I love being your mom, my precious #1 child!

    The brand spanking new craft storage unit is just wonderful. It's going to make crafting even more fantastic (and definitely more organized)!

  2. The hat is looking great! Can't wait to see them.