Long and Short

Long and Short

 “Days are long but years are short.”
A bit of wisdom passed to us when we first became parents.
So true.

 I remember the afternoons that stretched seemingly forever while I…
Sang to that baby with the tiny pink Hang Ten feet.
Set up intricate train track configurations for the Thomas-crazed toddler.
Tried and tried and failed and failed to teach the three year old how to pedal his tricycle.
Drew pictures together.
Played countless hours in the park.
Dressed up in costumes, built forts and dreamed up games.
Trying to be present in each moment.
Yet struggling to maintain our home,
Keep up with the chores,
Cook yet another meal,
And navigate through the unknown waters of parenthood…
 Those days sure felt long.
And yet,
It feels like I only blinked.
Only for a moment.
My “little” boy is 12 years old today.
Bigger hands than mine.
Much bigger feet as well.
Lower voice.
He can out-tech me any day of the week.
I miss that little boy.
I also marvel at the strong, honest young person standing before me,
Looking me straight in the eye.
Our birthday tradition is for me to tell him the story of his birth day.
He claims the details get more vivid and gory with each subsequent birthday.
…And then he begs me to spare him.
But he’s laughing all the while…
I wrap him in a great big bear hug and tell him all about everything.
“Days are long.  But years are short.”
Indeed they are.
Happy birthday little boy.
T-Shirt for Maddie

T-Shirt for Maddie

 
Meet Maddie.  She was one of my first students when I opened Stitched in the fall of 2013.  She’ll be my final student, on my very last day, when I close the studio at end of April.
We’ve had so much fun dreaming up projects, planning and sewing together.  Here’s something we planned a few weeks back and executed during today’s lesson.

We started with this bright green Mickey T-shirt.  I bought it during a holiday Disney trip.  I chose the ginormous XL size just in case my husband wanted to share it with me.  Of course, he took one look at the shirt and refused to have anything to do with it.  I wore it once or twice as a night shirt and then relegated it to the upcycle projects pile.

Enter Maddie.  She loves over-sized T-shirts and Mickey.  A perfect match.  Except this particular T-shirt is a little too over-sized even for her.  We decided to remake it for her.

Maddie wanted to keep the boxy shape of the T-shirt (nothing too fitted and nothing curvy!).  And she wanted to wear it long with leggings.

I wanted to preserve as many of the existing seams as possible (first rule of upcycling anything).

We layered one of Maddie’s current T-shirts on top of Mickey to figure our how much we wanted to cut away from the sides.

Once we had our outline for our T-shirt, we pinned front to back to make sure the fabric didn’t slide around.

We left the collar, hem and shoulder seams intact.  But needed to trim the sleeves down to fit the paired down T-shirt body.

Once we trimmed the sleeves to size (being sure to leave the sleeve hem intact as well), it was time to reattach sleeves to shirt body.

 If you’re trying this at home, remember to set your machine to stretch stitch.  If you use a plain old straight stitch, you risk having your threads break the first time you try to stretch your T-shirt in any way.

It was a little nerve wracking to use stretch stitch and sew a curve… but look what a gorgeous job Maddie did!  Once I pressed the seams open, she needed only to sew the sleeves together and then follow the curve to sew the body sides back together.

 Et Voila.  Beautifully done and all ready to wear.  Terrific job, kiddo!  You should be proud of yourself.

And Maddie?  You know that question you ask me every week?  Well, the answer is yes.  And I sure am going to miss you.

Ramen Fix

Ramen Fix

 
We’ve made our “NYC Must Do” lists.  One boy requesting a trip to the Barclay Arena for basketball and Cuban sandwiches.  The other wants to schlep out to the Bronx Zoo in hopes we can see that chimp swallow and regurgitate the pile of chewed up greens over and over again.
Me?  Lots of stuff I want to do before we go.  As much as I’m looking forward to our new family adventure, there are some things I’m really going to miss.  My NYC walkabouts.  Access to all the museums.  My gym (I really really love my gym and I really really hate to give it up).  My friends (of course).  And ramen.
Oh man, I’m really going to miss getting my ramen fix whenever the mood hits.
That’s why I’ve decided it’s necessary to eat at at least one ramen shop a week for the next seven weeks.  Forget worrying about the calories.  Give me extra toppings.  Bring on the pork belly.  Yes, I’ll have that special spicy broth with the creamy coconut milk.
Here are the ramen shops I’ll be frequenting:
  • Ippudo.  The original location is in the East Village.  But I prefer the newer Westside location.  The Akamaru Modern is my favorite (and what you see pictured above).  Love that rich pork broth and the perfectly cooked eggs.  When I want comfort food, I go to Ippudo.
  • Totto Ramen.  The ramen here is also outrageously delicious.  Chicken based broth with lots of yummy garlic flavor.  My only gripe about Totto is standing in line on the sidewalk and then eating while being crammed elbow to elbow with the other patrons.  But, on my final round of ramen eating in NYC, I’m planning to brave the line one more time for just one more bowl from Totto.
  • Ivan Ramen.  The ramen is good.  But the sides are what’s really drawing me back to Ivan Ramen.  Just thinking of the Chinese Greens and Garlic and Kewpie Ebi is making me hungry…
  • Tabata Ramen.  This is the place with the coconut milk, spicy chicken, cilantro and please don’t tell me how many calories ramen.

And after that?  I suppose it’s either the packaged stuff from the supermarket, or time to learn how to make homemade ramen…

Stag Head (Makery Pattern)

Stag Head (Makery Pattern)

 Sometimes you just have to sew something silly… like a stag head!  I came across the instructions for this project in the book, “Makery,” by Kate Smith.  When the sight of the stag head surprised a laugh out of me, I knew that had to be the next sewing project.

 

This project gets a little tricky in parts.  In particular, I had a terrible time attaching the antlers to the head.  No closeups of the sloppy hand stitching in that area.  Think I would have had a much better result if I’d used a curved needle.

Still, the head is kinda cute, don’t you think?

Ending Our NYC Adventure…

Ending Our NYC Adventure…

We never meant to stay this long.  We transferred from San Francisco to New York City because our jobs required it of us.  We always figured we’d work a few years and then head home to the west coast.

That was 20+ years ago.

We were really still just kids when we arrived in NYC.  My husband and I grew up together here.  We married a few years after landing in the east coast.  Explored the city and marveled over how we were living in a “New York movie.”  Continued our educations here.  Worked really hard.  Bought a dilapidated row house in Brooklyn.  Had quite a few misadventures trying to renovate it.  Thankfully sold it & moved back to Manhattan.  Met wonderful people and learned so much.  Raised two funny little babies into goofy school aged boys.  And now, when we were least expecting it, our NYC adventure is ending.

We still have about two months.  Packing up.  Closing down my studio.  Making our farewells.  Visiting our favorite museums, city sites and restaurants (there’s so much eating to do…).  And then we’re leaving our familiar corner of NYC and heading out for a whole new adventure.

Curious to see what’s coming next?  I sure am.