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Sewing Lessons

What better place for a sewing/book party than an old schoolhouse? We sewed tiny doll dresses by hand and ate lots of cookies—pretty much a perfect day!

The picture above, taken circa 1880, is a photo of our town's one room schoolhouse (now known as the Palisades Community Center), and the location for our sewing party. The building doesn't look that much different today, nor does my little house down the road built about 20 years earlier. The building, with it's wooden floors and ceiling and chalkboards on the walls, reminds me of the days when everyone—at least all women and girls anyway—knew how to sew. These days sewing and knitting (with a bit of cookie baking thrown in when I want to fire up the oven and warm up the kitchen) are all I feel like doing. It's cold and wet outside and I yearn for spring.

Zuzu and Izzy making dresses at the sewing party. They are excellent stitchers, and always game for a good craft project. My kind of girls!


House dreams

Last night I dreamed a big truck was driving through one wall of my tiny house. The back wall. Upstairs. Yes a big truck, upstairs in my very small house. I was in the next room, I think watching a movie with a friend and didn’t budge. I mean, what was I going to do about a big truck driving through the wall of my house? Clearly the truck driver knew what he was doing was wrong, right? And honestly, the first thing I thought was not about the destruction, or how much it was going to cost to fix, or even how the heck that big truck had gotten up the stairs. My first thought was a gleeful one -- hmmm, maybe someone is planning to put an addition on my (did I say tiny?) house! I was excited. I wondered who the good samaritan was? How did they know I want, no need, a little crafting room for all fabric and yarn and sewing machines I've collected over the years? Right before I woke up, I went and took a peek at the damage. The truck was gone and the hole in the wall was temporarily patched with some translucent boards. This morning, I admit to a pang of regret...I’d really rather have my sewing room downstairs.


Some thoughts for the new year

You know how some years go by quickly, and others take awhile? 2012 -- at least for me -- was a year that lasted and lasted. I guess it's partly because a lot has happened. In January after 15 and a half years in one house, we moved up the street to a much smaller house. We spent some time unpacking (aka getting rid of things that don't fit here) and at the end of August, my son went off to his freshman year of college. In late September my new book (The Fashion Designer's Handbook) came out, and in October I went on the road to promote it. And finally, in December, the one bit of bad news for the year—I lost my day job. It's a well known fact, that most of the time losing a job is neither all good or all bad, and losing this job is no different.

All and all a pretty good year, and, best of all, the world didn't come to an end in December.

P.S. It's hard to see in the photo, but the can on my neighbor's discarded Christmas tree is a Starbuck's can. I feel the need to point that out lest anyone think I am starting the new year tossing beer cans out the door.


Back to Normal

It's been a crazy month or so. Lots of travel to promote my book.

A big giant hurricane and a week with no power or heat, while toppled trees were cleared away and power lines rehung.

A new kitten. Lost (or abandoned?) in the storm, and now happily living in my daughter's room. His name is Attaturk. Isn't he cute?

After all that it feels like now things are getting back to normal. Sitting around appreciating lights and, especially, heat...and an oven to bake pies.


If it's Saturday it must be...

I met (and, as you can see, shared a table with) a kindred spirit on the road at Books by the Banks in Cincinnati: Sharon Lovejoy, author of many clever and beautiful books including her newest My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder. We discovered we were lucky to have shared the same editor—the inimitable Ruth Sullivan—and generally had a good time chatting the day away....in between signing books, of course.

By Sunday night I was home, in time to do a local event on Monday at The Voracious Reader, an adorable book store in Larchmont, NY. So fun to sit around sewing with the kids! Since it's so close to home, I'm hoping to get back there soon.

Next stops are October 27 at 11am at the Texas Book Festival, Austin TX, October 28 at 3pm at Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh NC, and November 9 at 3:30pm at Boulevard Books & Cafe, Brooklyn NY