18

I Am Pregnant

I know that both both of my posts this week already make it clear that I’m pregnant (my big announcement and my first maternity clothes), but, for me, part of talking about sewing is talking about body image and I wanted to take a moment to discuss my changing body. Pregnancy is weird. I feel like I’m going through puberty again. My body is rapidly changing size and shape in ways that are out my control and like nothing I have been through before (to say nothing of the raging hormones that come with both puberty and pregnancy). I don’t recognize myself in the mirror from one day to another. And I know it has only just begun… My body has been pretty much the same size and shape since I went through puberty which has been a major boon to my ability to look at a garment and judge …

12

I Am Married

It has been over a year since I got married. Over a year! I think I’m settling in to being married. The times when I accidentally call Adam my “boyfriend” are infrequent. The times when I barrel ahead and make decisions without him are infrequent (being fiercely independent isn’t always an asset). The times when I appreciate his partnership and support are innumerable. In the last year we’ve done some pretty major things – like traveling around the world, buying a house, dealing with major loss – and we’ve done all sorts of mundane things – like binge watching silly TV shows and eat lots of ramen. Without waxing too poetic, I will say that I think the last year has been the best year of my life and every moment of it was made better by having him at my side. I am a lucky lady. When Oona first …

6

I Am A Carpenter

I know it’s a bit premature to call myself a carpenter with a project and a half under my belt (I installed baseboards in my bedroom and I’m now building the ultimate cutting table). But if I can call myself a gardener after a couple of weeks of gardening I can call myself a carpenter because what I’m really talking about is an aspiration to have a certain skillset. I’m learning the skills of carpentry and learning them by doing which is how I learn best. I’ve already had several major learning experiences in the half of the table that I have built. My step-dad taught me to use a couple different kinds of electric saws, both of which terrify me. I found a blueprint for a table that I liked but wanted to make a few modifications. And then I re-did all of the modifications I made because I …

9

I Am A Teacher

I had a blast teaching at Britex this weekend. Any opportunity to talk about sewing is fun, but it was particularly rewarding to teach a group of folks who were excited and interested to learn from me so they could up their personal sewing game. I talked my way through a ton of sewing techniques, tips, and tricks and I showed a stack of garments that I have sewn so that I could point out where I used the various techniques that I was explaining. Seeing a confused face turn into a look of comprehension is an awesome experience and it felt so good to walk away knowing that I had excited and educated a group of sewists. When talking to people about having taken a break from science, I realized that one of the things that I do miss is being a mentor and a teacher. I volunteered in science education quite …

4

I Am a Gardener

With a few weeks of gardening under my belt in two little patches of my garden, perhaps it’s a bit premature to call my self a gardener. The garden in our new home is huge and untamed. Clearly someone lived here in the past that was a dedicated gardener but the owners for the last 10 years were not. It’s weedy and overgrown but, as my mom keeps telling me, it “has good bones” so I should be able to return it to its former glory – with a lot of hard work! My sewing studio is in the basement of our house but has french doors out onto the garden. I decided to get started on learning to garden just outside of my french doors. My mom is an avid gardener and is helping to teach me, one plant at a time. I’m learning what are weeds, how to encourage …

12

I Am Curvy

Before you laugh at me for not looking anything like your mental image of a “curvy” woman, let me explain what I mean by “I Am Curvy”. I have a picture of my body in my head. I would bet that you have a picture of your own body in your own head. As a sewist, I know my measurements well and I know a lot more about my own angles and curves than most people who don’t sew. My measurements have changed very little over the last 10 years. What has changed is the angles and curves that underly those measurements. 10 years ago I had a flat stomach. Now it’s got a curve to it. 10 years ago I had a AA cup. Now I have a B cup. I catch myself looking down at myself with some regularity and thinking “Those are breasts. How did they get …

I Am American

The country that you are raised in and the country that you choose to live in cannot help but have a strong effect on who you are. I was born, raised, and choose to live in the U.S.A. I don’t often consider myself particularly patriotic, but I do appreciate all of the rights, opportunities, and advantages that I have simply because of where I was born. With each stride forward that our country makes in bringing civil rights and equality to ALL of the people in it, I feel more patriotic. In celebration of recent strides, I wore red, white & blue yesterday, on the 4th of July, with pride. #IAmAWIP Each week this year I’m going to reflect on an aspect of myself and how it affects me as a sewist, crafter, or blogger. It may get deep, it may get emotional, it may get totally silly. It may be something …

5

I Am a Neighbor

I have neighbors now. And it’s awesome. For the last 10 years, I lived in apartments. Sure, there were plenty of other people that lived on the same floor, in the same apartment complexes, or on the same street. But I experienced the truism that the denser the living situation, the less likely you are to know your neighbors as your home becomes your own private escape from the bustle. When Adam and I were looking to buy a house we were looking mostly at houses on 5 acre plots and we didn’t want to be able to see any of our neighbors. Somehow the house that we bought is on much less than an acre and smack in the middle of a neighborhood. And somehow that fact has made our new home even more amazing than I thought it could. It’s pretty phenomenal to have friendly, welcoming, caring people …

10

I Am ADD

I was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD when I was a kid (the terms were pretty much used interchangeably back then). My mom fought hard so that I wouldn’t be medicated and instead my parents dealt with a challenging child while slowly teaching me skills to manage my own physical and mental behavior. I’m not sure that I would qualify as truly ADD any more, but it is clear that my brain still functions differently than most. (It’s particularly evident at family gatherings as my brain is much more like my stepdad and stepbrother (who both have diagnosed ADD) than my mom or stepsister). At this point in my life, I don’t usually see whatever differences my brain has as an impairment since my self-management techniques are just a part of my daily approach to life. It didn’t affect me much while in school (from about high school on through graduate school) …

I Am Fortunate

As we move into our new home, I keep being overwhelmed by the good fortune I have in my life. Some of it is because of where and when I was born, some of it I’ve worked hard for, and some of it is down to luck. But whatever in the universe has conspired to bring me to this point in my life, I recognize how fortunate I am. I have a loving husband, amazing friends, and supportive family. I have my own home. I live in a beautiful place with a welcoming community, near my supportive family. I have an education, a business I love, and flexibility in my life. I am overwhelmed by my many blessings and good fortune. From the bottom of my heart, I wish that everyone could have all the good fortune that I have in my life #IAmAWIP Each week this year I’m going to reflect …

29

I Am a Homeowner

Wow. OMG. Yikes. I own a home! I have dreamed for so long about owning my own home and I can’t really believe that day is finally here. On Monday, Adam and I got the keys to our new house. The outside is very faithful to the 1920 craftsman style in which it was built, which is such a typical Pacific Northwest style. The inside has undergone a few major renovations, making it the perfect canvas for our mid-century modern tastes. I am thrilled about so many aspects of what this means for my creative life! For the first time I get to have my own, dedicated sewing studio! I’m also thrilled about the chance to decorate a home in a way that is welcoming, bright, and comfortable for both me and my husband (we’ve already picked out a pink couch for the basement!). I’m excited (and a little terrified) …

5

I Am a Cook

Inspiration for this week’s #IAmAWIP post came from the fact that tonight I spent 2 1/2 hrs cooking dinner. Admittedly, I didn’t think it would take quite that long, but I did plan on coming home on the early side and cooking a small feast. (For the record, I made clarified spiced butter, papaya ketchup, Zanzibar pizza, and corn mashed potatoes all from The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa (and some sautéed zucchini since we needed a veggie)). It’s not often that I spend quite so long making a single meal, but making such feasts is something that I love to do and something that feeds my creative soul in a similar manner to sewing and knitting. I love to cook, I love to bake, and I love to try new things with both. I cook all sorts of different things just …

15

I Am (Not) an Imposter

By saying “I Am an Imposter” I think of Big Eyes and picture Adam secretly sewing all my clothes while I get the credit, and that’s a pretty good laugh. Speaking of funny, it’s a funny thing, the tricks that our mind plays on us. Some days I can be proud of my accomplishments – “I’m off to a good start with my business – I was on TV, I had another magazine article published, I’ve gotten great feedback on my most recent pattern!”. And then on other days – “I don’t know what I’m doing and as soon as others figure that out everything will crash around me.” Imposter syndrome is particularly prevalent in women and I’ve had many discussions with close female friends who have felt the same. (Sidenote, we went to graduate school together and imposter syndrome is also particularly prevalent in graduate students and was certainly also a …

11

I Am a Traveler

Until very recently, I haven’t really thought of myself as much of a traveler or explorer. I know that sounds a little odd coming from someone who just spent 4 months traveling around the world. I know that I’ve been truly lucky to have been afforded so many opportunities for traveling – I’ve been to almost 20 countries around the world – and that objectively, that’s a lot of traveling. But all truth being told, until very recently almost all of that traveling was arranged and led by other people – I had a family vacation to Germany, a choir trip to Japan, a college semester abroad in East Africa – and I felt like I was just along for the ride. I loved the opportunities and experiences, but I don’t feel like it makes me a “traveler” when I’m just following along. Several years ago work took me to …

9

I Am a Musician

After seeing the tattoo on my leg, I am often asked “Are you a musican?” and I always stumble through the response. “I was. I guess I still am. I’m just not a practicing musician. But it’s still important to me.” When I was growing up, I sang in a nationally recognized choir (from age 9 to 18) and played piano seriously enough that I practiced an hour or two every day. The music department at my college was kind of a mess, so, despite a couple of semesters of choir and private vocal training, I drifted from studying music and got busy with other things (like science and theatre costuming). I still snuck into the music building to bang out a Beethoven sonata or two in one of the practice rooms when I got really stressed out. When I moved to San Francisco for graduate school I brought an …

9

I Am Colorful

So, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that has been reading my blog for more than, say, a day. But I really love color! I love wearing bright colors and surrounding myself with bright colors. And sewing is a big part of enabling my fascination with color. The only living space that I’ve gotten to spend time and money decorating entirely to my own wishes was when I lived in a studio apartment in San Francisco in the first several years of graduate school. The walls were white, most of my furniture was white (Ikea laminate was about all I could afford), but my accent colors were fuchsia, lime green, and orange with pops of lemon yellow here and there and faux flowers everywhere. I re-covered my couch in yellow fleece, chair in pink velour, and pillows in rainbow faux fur. I loved it! I immediately felt …

9

I Am Shy

Anyone that has ever spent any time around me knows that I am prone to frequently bursting into thematic bouts of song as if my life were a musical (and I certainly have fantasies about the rest of the world joining in around me, although that never quite seems to happen). To talk about being shy, I’ve got to burst into the song Shy from the musical Once Upon A Mattress (that somehow I was cast in twice in high school, but that’s another tangent). I’m shy! I confess it, I’m shy! Can you guess that this confident air is a mask that I wear ’cause I’m shy? And you may be sure that deep down I’m demure. Though some people I know might deny it, at the bottom I’m quiet and pure. God knows I try, though I’m frightened and shy. And despite the impression I give, I confess …

4

I Am A Knitter

When I was young, I begged my grandmother to teach me how to crochet. She agreed to teach me. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that crocheting was the thing you did with one stick and knitting was the thing you did with two sticks and since I mostly saw her knit, I actually wanted to learn to knit instead. She stubbornly insisted that crocheting was easier so she would teach me to crochet, not knit. I stubbornly insisted that I wanted to do the thing with two sticks not one stick. So, my early attempts to become a knitter were aborted before they began. My mom taught my cousin Lindsey and I to knit when we were young teenagers and took a family road trip to Yellowstone together. It was a good way to keep us busy in the back seat of a car. We had cheap …

12

I Am a List Maker

I really like to be organized. I’ve talked about organizing my physical space before, but it’s also important for me to organize my mental space. I will fully admit that I can be scatterbrained and I have the attention span of a goldfish. Things I need to remember either flitter away as soon as I think them or cycle repeatedly in an anxious loop. The way that I keep my mental space organized is to make lists. I always have many, many lists going. I have lists on my computer, lists in my sketchbook, and lists on scraps of paper floating around me. Some are ongoing (books I want to read), some are short term (to do today). Some are meant to be worked through systematically, some are repositories for ideas I have no intention of following through on. Keeping lists keeps me organized and working through them helps me …

11

I Am Mentally Healthy

As a society, we don’t talk about mental health in the same way as physical health. But it is certainly just as important. I’ve had struggles with mental health in the past but right now, I feeler saner, more stable, and happier than ever. And I think that’s worth sharing and celebrating. I started struggling with depression (mostly seasonal depression) in college and have found that I can manage it by recognizing early symptoms (sometimes with the help of my mom or my husband) and making behavioral and lifestyle changes to prevent it from deepening (light and sleep are great drugs for me). I was diagnosed with anxiety in graduate school and it became rather crippling at points in time. Grad school was not a happy or sane time for me. I felt so trapped, so disempowered, so out of control and my mental health suffered because of it. And …

7

I Am a Pet Lover

I love pets. I’ve always had pets – growing up my house usually had 3 cats and 2 dogs. I was raised by an Australian shepherd mutt named Heather. When we would go to the beach, my mom didn’t need to keep an eye on me because Heather would herd me away from the water. Our cat Demelza let me dress her up in doll clothes (until I was 5 years old and then she decided she had had enough!). Our cat Kiga (my attempt at saying “Tiger” when I was very little) adopted me and would sleep in my bed every night. The first pet I had on my own was a long-haired hamster named Scooter. He only lived for a year and I was devastated when he died, even if I didn’t actually find him that interesting when he was alive since he had no interest in interacting …

15

I Am A Feminist

I am a feminist. It is a title that I wear with pride, and I wish that all women (and men too) wore the title with pride. I’ve been very sad to see feminism be a word that is vilified from within my community – I’ve seen other caring, creative, supportive, smart female sewists be ashamed to be called feminists and shame others who call themselves feminists. As Rebecca West said “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” I personally love Caitlin Moran‘s “5 Rules of Feminism: 1) Women are equal to men. 2) Don’t be a dick. 3) That’s all.” Feminism is something that I have thought a lot about in the last few years. I was raised by a self-described feminist mom who …

3

I Am a Dreamer

I rarely remember the dreams I have at night, and when I do they are usually pretty odd but mundane, like the dream I had last week where the dishwasher was broken so I had to do dishes with rainwater, shampoo, and a towel. So I wouldn’t really call myself much a dreamer in that regard. But during the day, I dream a lot. I love letting my mind wander down the pathways of “what if”. I love thinking about what the future might hold, thinking about what I want it to hold, and dreaming up ways that I might get myself to where I want to be. When Adam and I were first learning to be partners, my tendency to dream was a problem for him. I would say “I’d like to have 3 kids, and buy an old VW bug and paint it bright pink, and hike the …

11

I Am A Granddaughter

I would not be who I am today without the love and influence of many inspiring, strong, supportive grandmothers. They may not be in my life any more, but they are always in my heart and often in my thoughts. When, as a young teenager, I decided I wanted to learn to sew myself, I went to visit my dad’s mother. G’ma was a formidable seamstress, having sewn all of her own clothes most of her life. In fact, “formidable” was quite an apt description of my grandmother. She was a 6-foot tall woman with a personality to match. She excelled at all she did (including growing her fruit garden, knitting stunning sweaters, canning preserves, making stained glass windows) and she didn’t take gruff from anyone. Growing up in the 1940’s, purchasing clothing off the rack simply wasn’t an option given her height, so she learned to sew. Together, we …

6

I Am Smiley

I smile a lot. Often when I’m smiling, my mouth is open. I’ve gone through photos of parties where I was having a grand ol’ time and in the dozens of photos of me, I cannot find a single one where my mouth is closed. Okay, so some of that is because I talk a lot. But most of it is because, when I’m happy, I have a big ol’ open-mouth cheesy grin on my face. I really do love to smile. And one of my favorite things about smiling is that it is contagious. Walk around with a cheesy grin on your face and people respond with smiles of their own. I really like making people smile. I definitely see my smileyness playing out in my wardrobe. I like to wear bright and silly and slightly outrageous things (e.g. my dinosaur dress or my monster hat and mittens) because …

9

I Am a Blogger

When I started blogging in 2010, I never dreamed that it would become so important to me. I visited a research institute outside of Munich, Germany for a month so that I could work with collaborators on my thesis research. It was January, cold, snowy and I was a 30 min walk from a 20 min train ride to Munich, so I didn’t get out of the lab much. I brought a few knitting projects, but I was feeling a lack of creativity in my activities and surroundings. I missed my friends and family and I missed my hobbies. So, I started blogging. I wrote about my trip and the things that I saw and did when I actually left the research campus (I was an Eintracht Frankfurt football hooligan for the night, but that’s a whole other story :). But, more importantly, I wrote about finding inspiration where I …

20

I Am Feminine

I am feminine. I want to be feminine. I like being feminine and looking feminine. However, I often struggle to feel like I look feminine. I delved into the major source of my struggles a bit when I talked about being tall, but it has been something I have struggled with since I was a young teen and first worrying about my appearance and presentation. I find gender fascinating, even though I’ve never had to struggle with my own gender identity – I’m female and happily so. But I have many internal and external traits that are not considered feminine – I’m tall, I’m a scientist, I have broad shoulders, I like using power tools, I’m very analytical, I have huge feet – and sometimes I feel like others don’t see me as feminine, and that’s hard for me. I’m still exploring what parts of feminine clothing appeal to me. …

15

I Am a Pacific NorthWesterner

My love of my new plaid flannel shirt aside, I am a Pacific NorthWesterner at heart. My return to the Seattle area, the city of my childhood, feels like a return home in more ways than I could have imagined. The grey, drizzly winter days feel comforting. The evergreen trees feel grounding. The friendly people feel welcoming. The mountains and water all around feel calming. In the PNW I am home. We won’t have a house of our own for months – we are living in furnished rentals and housesitting for at least a few more months – and yet I feel like I’m home in a way that I never did in San Francisco, even after 7 years of living there. Of course my return to the PNW will have an influence on my sewing – I know there are more plaid flannel shirts in order and at least …

27

I Am Organized

I really like to organize things. I was that kid that had the 100 piece marker set who spent more time pouring the markers on the ground and re-arranging them in the case than I did actually coloring with them. That’s still pretty close to an accurate description of me – I spend a lot of time organizing and arranging things because I enjoy doing so. When my sew-jo is lagging, I’ll pull something off the shelf – like my sewing books – and arrange them in a different order – thematically, alphabetically, by color, by height. The end result isn’t really what matters, its the process. I calm and organize my mind by physically organizing the things around me. And quite often the process of re-organizing makes me look at old objects in a new light. I’ll realize I never read that book on 1940’s fashion or I’ll have …

56

I Am Tall

The simplicity of the statement “I am tall” belies how important this fact has been in my life. I’m 5’10”. That makes me taller than 50% of the men in my country and 6″ taller than the average woman. I cannot blend in in a crowd. I hit 5’10” at the age of 12. This made me feel awkward, ungainly, and horribly uncomfortable in my own body. I couldn’t imagine how boys could ever like me since I towered over all of them. (Although I didn’t know him then, for reference, my husband was 4’10” when he was the same age.) While I’ve worked hard to get over some of the negative effects of being tall, there are still residuals – I think twice before wearing heels, I sometimes struggle to feel feminine. In recent years I have worked hard to focus on positives and my height does have many …