My superhero is six.

Eliot turned six years old this month. Six. YEARS. It's hard to believe I've been a mom for six years now. I've been terrified, awe-inspired, bored, saddened, delighted, and pushed to my absolute emotional and physical limits by these six years of parenthood.

I don't have words of wisdom for anyone.

Just cute pictures of my kid.

And his fearless cousin, SuperZ!

And Miss Maggie K, balance beam walker.

I'm proud of them, and excited for the people they are and the people they are going to be. Their becoming has been a gift to witness. It goes by so quickly, and so slowly.

Sometimes I'm afraid to blink.


Color me in.

I love Design Seeds and I could peruse that website all day long, just drooling over color palettes. I've been thinking about color and value lately, as I feel like it's time to start designing a quilt for myself. I've completed a few small quilting projects over the last couple of years: there were two simple baby quilts, and I did put together the first blocks I ever embroidered into a full sized quilt, but ended up begging Mom to finish piecing it for me. I was not ready to take that on at the time!

Since I joined Threadbias and got in on some Newbee Quilters group action, I've been learning how to piece a new block each month, and the creative mojo is flowing. Also, I don't have nearly enough unfinished projects lying around the house, so it's definitely a good time to start a quilt. {insert sarcasm font}

My turn to be "Queen Bee" in my hive of the NewBee Quilters is in June, which is flying quickly towards us, so I've got to choose a block and some colors. I've changed my mind about thirty times so far. A bright, summery palette seems like fun for June:

Or maybe something with a little more of a retro feel, to match my personality?

But then, this morning I saw this:

Oh, what a beautiful breath of fresh air! So now I'm thinking greens, with a hint of pale blue. And maybe a courthouse steps block?

What do ya think?


Organized chaos. Or maybe just chaos.

I've never been known for my organizational skills. In my crafting/sewing room, I usually have a general idea where any given tool or material is, but my ability to find anything in particular hinges on the mental image I have of the last time I saw said item. I use my embroidery and cross stitching supplies often enough, however, that they're generally to be found towards the top of any given pile of accouterments.  

I almost always use wooden hoops, though I do have a Q snap frame that is growing on me. I do most of my stitching on thrifted fabric, often using vintage sheets or pillowcases that I find at Catholic Charities. I started out using plastic bags strung on giant sized jump rings to organize my floss (DMC), but as you can see, it has started to pile up in a heap in a plastic tray instead.

I always like to have a portable project ready to tote along with me in my purse, so for that I use this great linen zipper pouch that my mom got at a quilt shop hop at some point and didn't want. (I know, right?!) I love this little pouch--it's Moda fabric and features a print of a pair of shears. It's just big enough to hold whatever small cross stitch or embroidery project I'm working on, embroidery scissors, a good sharp, irreverent pencil, a fine tip Sharpie marker, a seam ripper, and plenty of skeins of floss.

The tracing paper I use a lot for transferring patterns. I like to use pictures from vintage children's books or coloring books, or even images on the web. Once Eliot found a great old picture book about superheroes from our local library, and I couldn't resist this Wonder Woman. She was begging to be stitched.

So pulled out the tracing paper, traced the image lightly with a pencil, then flipped the tracing paper over and traced the reverse side with an iron on transfer pen.

Then I just ironed her onto some white fabric and started stitching away. I'm planning on cutting away all but a thin white outline and then maybe adding a yellow star to her left. Not sure yet.

I love the metallic gold thread for her lasso, but it is such a pain to work with. I think I need to get my hands on some Thread Heaven, as I hear that makes working with metallics a bit easier.

See/read about other embroiderers' tool kits (and other stitchy goodness) via &Stitches.
&Stitches tool kit competition


However you're doing it, you're doing it right.

I got my copy of Carry On, Warrior in the mail a couple of days ago and I've been devouring it. I've been a Monkee ever since a friend introduced me to Momastery via the Don't Carpe Diem article on the Huffington Post last year. If you're a parent and you haven't read that article, go read it now. Right. Now. Seriously. That article made me cry thankful tears because finally, FINALLY, someone spoke my guilty thoughts. Out loud.

See? This is how excited I was to get my hands on the book.

I often suffer from feeling that I'm not doing it right. Life, that is. Sometimes I feel like everyone on the planet has a secret, one that I'm not in on, and when I try to go about my day pretending like I know it too, and trying so desperately to conduct myself accordingly, everyone just smiles over my head and nods knowingly at one another. Like, "Oh, look, isn't it cute that she's trying so hard?" mwahahahahaha. I realize that this is a paranoid, delusional fantasy...OR IS IT? No, it is. I think. I'm pretty sure.

Anyway, this is part of why I love Glennon Melton's writing so much. She makes me feel reassured, like there really is no right way to do it at all: love, parenting, relationships, family, work, happiness. Reading her words, I feel like I'm doing my life the only way I can do it, and that the way I do it...is okay. Is better than okay, actually, is a gift to the world that only I can give. And maybe that reassurance is a simple thing, but it's also the most important thing. 

From Glennon Melton's Carry On, Warrior:

We're not often permitted to tell the truth in everyday life. There is a small set of words and reactions and pleasantries we are allowed to say, like, "I'm fine, and you?" But we are not supposed to say much of anything else, especially how we are really doing. We find out early that telling the whole truth makes people uncomfortable and is certainly not ladylike or likely to make us popular, so we learn to lie sweetly so that we can be loved. And when we figure out this system, we are split in two: the public self, who says the right things in order to belong, and the secret self, who thinks other things.

AMEN, sister. Seriously. Melton's paragraph sums up much of the struggle of my adolescent and adult life. Right there.

I've always had a really hard time creating and maintaining a suitable public self. When I was younger, I refused to have a public self at all. I tried to crawl into corners and cracks, shrink into the side of my mother's clothing or her purse. The world seemed like too much. Too much loud, too much complicated, and way too much required of me to navigate it. As an adult, I ping pong back and forth between silent retreat and copious oversharing. When a colleague passes me in the hallway, and says "Hi, how are you?" I either point my face toward the floor and mumble a meek "hello," or I stop in my tracks and say something stupid and wildly inappropriate like, "Actually, I was just wondering how long I'm going to unintentionally punish my current partner for my ex-husband's mistakes," or, "If you want to know the truth, I'm terrified that I seem incapable of being alone."

Telling the whole truth, does, indeed make people uncomfortable. I have noticed that. But I've never learned to lie sweetly. Well, that's a lie. I CAN lie sweetly. I just don't like doing it. I'm not good at it. It hurts. It causes a psychic crack in me that aches. There's a fault line across my Self and when I smile sweetly and nod and say to another kindergarten mom a meaningless, pre-approved, innocuous line like "Oh, yes, WE are REALLY enjoying PHONICS," the honest soul deep inside me rumbles and rolls over and the shaking rises to the surface and bits of the fault line crumble and break off and fall back down into the crevice.

What I really want to say, so badly, is more like, "My son told me this morning multiple times that he hates me, and I forgot to make him brush his teeth, and I'm afraid he's going to grow up to be just like his father, only with gum disease, and I wish just once, ONCE, I could manage to feed him breakfast AND get him to school on fucking time. Do you ever feel that way?"

I think this impulse is just a yearning for approval, acceptance, and love. It's a need for connection, a reaching out. It's a need for someone, somewhere to acknowledge that parenting is HARD and that I am doing that hard job as well as anyone can be expected to do it. That LIFE is fucking HARD, and I'm doing it just fine. That I'm not the only one who sometimes feels like she's doing it all wrong. That as long as I keep breathing in and out, and putting one foot in front of the other, and getting out of bed in the morning, I'm doing it right.

I want someone to let me in on the secret. I want to find out that the secret, all along, has been that it is hard for everyone.

Because in keeping that secret, we only make it harder for each other.

And that's why, when I cracked the cover of Carry On, Warrior and saw this epigraph:

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." --Rev. John Watson
                        "Including you." --Glennon

I knew this book was written for me.


Socially awkward.

I went to a local craft store this morning to grab some embroidery floss, a few shades to finish my Grumpy Cat cross stitch and some gold for Wonder Woman's lasso! When I took my handful of skeins up to the counter, the sales clerk said their computer was down, and she was sorry, but she'd have to take the time to write down all my floss numbers and ring them up by hand.

So as she's getting to the end of the pile of floss, she lets out this heavy sigh and laments, "This is NOT a good way to start the morning off." Wanting to commiserate, I promptly returned with, "Oh, I know exactly what you mean. I hit a squirrel this morning."

She looked up from her calculator with a frown.

"With my car," I said.

*awkward silence*

Me: "You know, and it made me really sad."

*more silence*

Me: "Because I killed it. I killed a squirrel."

Cashier is looking at me like she's trying to determine what sort of disorder afflicts me.

Me: "That's not really the same thing at all, is it?"

Cashier: "I guess...they're both...not good?" as she hands me my change.

Me: "I'm going to leave now."

Cashier: "Okay."

Is it any wonder that I avoid going out in public?