Sew Cool

25 02 2009

Last year a friend of mine started a little sewing class after school for the kids at Maya and Sophie’s elementary school.  She only had a few machines and couldn’t take very many kids.  I tried to get Maya in the class, but I was too late.  I sew – I learned through 4-H and my Mom….but I wasn’t so sure I would be a very good teacher.

This year my friend asked me to volunteer to help teach.  I said yes, with some trepidation – but thought it would be a good thing for Maya and I to do together.  The best part about my timing was that I was coming into the program the same year that it became “sponsored” by the sewing machine company Babylock.  In a random conversation at a sewing expo my friend had just happened to expound on her vision of a after-school sewing program that provided machines, etc.  Well, she chose the right person to talk to….she was having the conversation with the President and CEO of Babylock. 

He graciously agreed to loan the program 10 brand new computerized machines to be kept at the school.  Gone were the days of lugging ancient machines around and hoping they would work.   Gone were the days of the students sharing the machines that were available.  Now, every student in the class has their own machine to sew on. 

Today marked the anniversary of her well-timed conversation.  The sewing expo is back in town and so is Mr. Steve Jeffrey from Babylock.  He drove directly from the airport to attend the “Second Year” class being held today.  And he brought everyone stuff!!  They were so excited to see him that every kid donned something that they had made this year.  They were in flannel PJ’s, and some even dragged along their first project pillow.  He rewarded them with Babylock zippered hoodies and measuring tapes and rulers and etc…..

The biggest news is he is replacing the machines at the end of the year with new machines for next year’s program.  Next year their machines will be able to do embroidery.  I have never even had the chance to work on machines that nice and now these kids are absolutely blessed by this wonderful man and his company with fantastic equipment.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that this is great PR for them.  I know that it is building brand loyalty.  And I can tell you that without a doubt I will be purchasing a Babylock when I am able.  I think they deserve the praise.  He did not need to stay with that class of giggling 12 year old girls for 2 HOURS.  I was completely impressed.

So, although I doubt many of you readers are avid sewists….but just in case, this is my plug for Babylock and it’s CEO, Mr. Jeffery.  You have made 18 fifth and sixth grade kids very, very happy.



I can’t just leave this post without bragging a bit more.  Maya is really loving the sewing thing.  She has taken off with it like I never did.  I was never the type to undertake a project just for fun and by myself.  A few weeks ago, Sophie was puking and running a horrific fever.  This bored Maya (she is such a sweetheart) so she decided to sit down and sew herself a pair of pants.

Below are the pants.  I helped her only with the grommets for the drawstring.  She did everything else without any help from me.  I was impressed.  And I also like the cool decorative stitch thing she used down the side.  Project Runway here she comes….





What We Did This Weekend – Vashon Edition

22 02 2009


We needed to get out of town this weekend.  (Quite an understatement.)

The girls and I have a way of determining what to do on our “adventure” weekends.  We dig out the map of Puget Sound and look  intently for interesting campgrounds or state parks that we have never been to.  I truly believe that people can “travel” within 20 miles of their home and have an almost unending amount of things to see.   This is still true for us and we have been “traveling” like this since they were very little.

We determined that Vashon Island was not only close enough, but contained a vast number of parks and beaches.  Plus, it’s an island.  That means we get to take the ferry, and ferrys are always fun.


We chose Point Robinson as our destination.  Vashon and Maury Island juts out into Puget Sound here, constricting the East Passage.   It is less than two miles across to the mainland.  There are beautiful old buildings sitting right on the beach.  The light house on this point was one of the last ones in the state to be manned, but it is now automated.


There was quite  a view of Mt. Rainier.  I love that mountian.


And due to the floods earlier this year, there was enough driftwood to make a very cool Robinson Crusoe-esque lean-to.


My favorite trees in all the world are Madronas.  They grow near salt water and the island is covered with them.  They are gorgeous with their red wood and peeling bark.


The trees leaning precariously over the edge are madronas.  Unfortunatley you can’t really see how red they are in this  picture.


And the cliffs are made up of clay that when wet can be used as paint.  Just swirl a wet stick around on the top of a piece of it and you can initial driftwood and clam shells to your heart’s delight.


Or you can just walk down the beach JUST close enough to the water not to get wet (sometimes).


I loved this driftwood log.  It’s a bit phallic, but I couldn’t help that.  It was a perfect opportunity to climb out over the shallow water and watch for critters.


This swing had “silence” carved into it.  The girls were not so when they were swinging on it.


Back at the ferry terminal we were a bit too far back in line to actually make it on our expected run.  But the dog was cute!


We were four cars back from the “full ferry” cut off so we got out and played with our fellow ferry commuting friends.  The dog below is named Ben.  He was fantastic and very excited to have kids to play with.


We spent our hour long wait down at the water by an old decrepit dock.  The late afternoon light made for some amazing pictures.




When we finally crossed back to Tacoma we stopped at the Antique Sandwich Co. for some amazingly fresh sandwiches.  I can’t decide if they were really really good sandwiches or if the sun and sea air just made us ravenously hungry.  I might have even eaten an antique sandwich at that point.


I think I am recharged enough now to face another week.  I’m just wondering where we’ll end up next weekend.

The Red Tent

19 02 2009

Today is one of those days where I wonder if banning women (meaning me) to a tent on the outskirts of the village while they (me) are on their period might just be a good idea.  I think the civilizations that implemented this little scheme were really onto something.  And I’m not just talking the men.  

Imagine four to five days of rest and relaxation….talking to friends, reading, knitting, making flour out of wheat….  Hell, I’d do about anything for that amount of time and the promise that people would just leave me the hell alone.

I was at work at 7 am and crying by 7:30.  It has been very stressful there.  The economy has caused some layoffs which impacted my group pretty hard.  I am trying to muddle through a process that I have never done on my own with no one to ask questions of….and I have already royally screwed up once and am really on edge not to do it a second time.  Of course, this process will not end until about March 20th.  That four or five days may not make a big difference in the long run, but it might make me feel better right now.

And anyone sitting in my direct vicinity as well.

Strangely enough, on the day after my first royal screw up my sister sent me flowers (I haven’t received flowers since I had Sophie almost 10 years ago!)  The arrangement had all my favorites…lilies, roses and daisies.  It was perfect.  I had just exited a meeting at work that concentrated on my error when I got them.  The card read, “You’re doing a great job!” 

My boss was standing next to me also looking at the card.  I wailed, “Oh my God!  No I’m not!” and pretty much lost it.  My sister had no idea that those flowers couldn’t have come at a better time.  Aren’t they pretty?


Last week my boss even sent me flowers.  It was the yucky layoff week and the day before Valentine’s Day…and I got these:


Seems like people may be picking up on the fact that I’m a little stressed, eh?  The next step is either dinner and chocolates or my very own tent at the edge of the village.

I’m hoping for the latter.

And Now Back To Our Regulary Scheduled Program….

16 02 2009

Hello!  Anyone still there?

Obviously, things are busy.  I have decided that I must start blogging again just to get some sanity back.  This is just a quick one to get me started.  For your viewing pleasure, I present the following picture.  Natalie and I found this gem of a door sitting majestically outside someone’s garage yesterday while we were on a walk around the neighborhood.