As my anxiety ratchets higher and the world gets crazier, this post from Allyson Dinneen (the “Notes From Your Therapist” Instagram account) is gonna be my new motto:
Hey have you paid attention to the news lately? Nationally, we get to watch one old white guy with a history of inappropriate touching try to beat another old white guy with a history of inappropriate touching. Globally, we might all die/see the collapse of society as we know it! NOT A GOOD TIME for people with anxiety.
So I’m doing what I can: staying off Twitter, reading books, keeping my personal life raft of loved ones and home and hobbies afloat. And I remembered this post from Austin Kleon, where he shared a quote from Leonard Woolf’s autobiography (it ended up inspiring Kleon’s latest book, Keep Going):
The last months of peace…were the most terrible months of my life, for, helplessly and hopelessly, one watched the inevitable approach of war. One of the most horrible things at that time was to listen on the wireless to the speeches of Hitler—the savage and insane ravings of a vindictive underdog who suddenly saw himself to be all-powerful. We were in Rodmell during the late summer of 1939, and I used to listen to those ranting, raving speeches. One afternoon I was planting in the orchard under an apple-tree iris reticulata, those lovely violet flowers…Suddenly I heard Virginia’s voice calling to me from the sitting room window: “Hitler is making a speech.” I shouted back, “I shan’t come. I’m planting iris and they will be flowering long after he is dead.” Last March, twenty-one years after Hitler committed suicide in the bunker, a few of those violet flowers still flowered under the apple-tree in the orchard.
Pattern: Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity, S8636
Fabric: Stonemountain (sold out)
Modeling: “just touch your hair”
This was one of those “buy it NOW, figure out what to make later” purchases from Stonemountain. The poms are woven in, like a giant clip dot, and it has a fairly thick, heavy drape. It also frays like a beast, which meant the quarter-inch seam at the neck had to be unpicked and redone as a half-inch seam because it started to unravel (!).
I also took the ruffle at the bottom off (after sewing 124 inches of ruffle ON) because of the fabric’s thickness/pompom quotient–I don’t say this very often, but it was just Too Much. But I wanted more length so I ended up making part of the ruffle into a banded hem. Then I used the rest of the hem ruffle to make matching sleeve bands, also for more length. It all worked out because it would have been about impossible to do a narrow hem with these pompoms.
It’s hard to capture how tent-like this is but the bottom hem is five feet around. The colors are full Late 70s Clown. It left fuzz everywhere in the sewing room. I sewed it pretty much twice over, between the fraying and the ruffle. And I love it so much.
I had my dad show me how to set tile because I was fed UP with a shower curtain in the master bath. And if you give a mouse a glass shower door, then she’ll want to tile from the top of the tub enclosure to the ceiling to look a little more custom (and then she’ll probably want to put in a tile floor and add tile to the wall behind the toilet, too).
But phase one–the shower tile!–is done and it looks great. And it looks even MORE great because I did about half of it with my own two hands (under Dad’s expert instruction, of course).
I had a feeling I would like tiling and I do: it’s kind of like piecing a quilt top, just with cement instead of sewing. Thanks for showing me how, Dad!
1. Oh hai! I didn’t mean to disappear for two days but my dad was teaching me how to lay tile and we started early. I learned how to cut cement board and plan a tile pattern and use a tile saw and tile scorer and put up thinset and set tile. Learning!
2. If you’ve ever read a food blog, this is hilarious: If You Want My Blueberry Muffin Recipe, You Must Read This Crazy-Long Preamble First.
3. Anxiety makes me go immediately to the worst-case scenario of, well, everything. So sometimes I need to remember this:
The Australian fabric retailer Nerida Hansen appeared on my radar last year. Much like my favorite clothing company Nooworks, they work with women artists to make limited runs of fabric. So when I saw that my favorite artist Lisa Congden was coming out with fabric for them, I snapped up three meters as soon as it was available. (Lisa did a very similar print for Nooworks at the same time, if you want a garment vs. fabric.)
I didn’t want to break up that print too much so I went with something pretty simple–Vogue 9198. I lengthened it by about 5 inches and then added an 8-inch ruffle to the bottom. I also just put elastic at the end of the sleeves vs. doing full cuffs, mostly because I didn’t want to deal with interfacing.
I went full FASHUN on the styling (inspired by this image) and honestly I need to wear more dresses with grandma sneakers. It really adds to the “witch goes to art school” vibe of this fabric.
I don’t usually put a poem up at the beginning of the week, but this came in from Matthew Ogle yesterday and it’s just a delight. So maybe it can set the tone for the week.
by Danusha Laméris
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”
I like your hat, blog friends. Happy Monday.
1. Yesterday’s Pre-Raphaelite cover reminded me of one of my favorite pieces from when The Toast was publishing: Two Monks Invent The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. “Big hair, no heart” is my 2020 mood.
2. Changing gears, there’s been a lot of talk in my friend groups about preparing for the spread of coronavirus. One group is pretty freaked out, the other not so much, and I was falling under the umbrella of “We’ll probably be fine, no need to stockpile things.” But this Scientific American article changed my mind (and offers specific, detailed advice on what “prepare” means):
We should prepare, not because we may feel personally at risk, but so that we can help lessen the risk for everyone. We should prepare not because we are facing a doomsday scenario out of our control, but because we can alter every aspect of this risk we face as a society.
That’s right, you should prepare because your neighbors need you to prepare—especially your elderly neighbors, your neighbors who work at hospitals, your neighbors with chronic illnesses, and your neighbors who may not have the means or the time to prepare because of lack of resources or time.
I’ve been working on “taking up space” in therapy lately–i.e., not diminishing my needs or desires, setting boundaries, standing my ground on things that matter to me. Like anything in therapy, it’s hard work to change a lifetime of thinking: I’d better not make waves, this is close enough, it isn’t ladylike/accommodating/pleasant to be direct.
This forthcoming book by scholar Rachel Cote is on my radar, partly because of that excellent cover but mostly because it seems like a cultural exploration of everything I’m trying to work through:
From the first chapter:
Accordingly, when we tell a woman she is “too much,” it is…with a wagging finger and the intonations of a warning. Remember that you, and your desires, must be small—diminishing—preferably nonexistent. Ask only for that which you are invited to receive, which is to say, basically nothing.
If you’re tired of the internet giving you things like “politics” and “global pandemics” and “the collapse of civilization,” take a look at this. As the intro says, this is why the internet was invented.
Finally found a purpose for the internet pic.twitter.com/7BsM6q9oiL
— Kevin W. (@Brink_Thinker) February 25, 2020