Monday, September 8, 2014

On Writing and Blogging and Sewing

I've been blogging for seven and a half years now! It started when I was pregnant with Lee as a way to document our excitement (and fear, joy, hopes, apprehension) and to keep far-away family involved.

{Here's my first post from March 15, 2007.}


We're having a baby in September!

Here's an ultrasound picture at 13 weeks. The baby's head is on the right (that's the hand that looks parallel to the nose). You can't see the legs in this picture, but they were moving like crazy! We've already got a little runner.

We won't find out the baby's sex, but we'll have another ultrasound around 22 weeks or so. More pictures will follow!


It continued as a way to keep track of the kids' growth and our family's changes. All along I planned to stop when Lee entered Kindergarten.

Then I started getting involved in the Sewing Blog World. When the time came to stop writing the family blog, I created Handmade Martini. 

A few weeks ago the Dynamic Duo Ashley and Emily (Frances Suzanne) invited me to take part in a blog hop, answering questions specifically about writing. It's been fun to reflect and think about how things have evolved.

Why do you write (blog)?

Oh, Lawdy. The short answer is I Write to Process Life. I've been writing for as long as I can remember and had two or three writing-related careers. Writing is easier for me than speaking.

It's obvious from my oldest posts that I was struggling with all the things first-time moms struggle with, and writing was my way to work through crises in identity, confidence, sleep deprivation, etc. At first the only ones reading were our parents, siblings, and closest friends.

Lee, October 2007
The unexpected joy of having an audience motivated me to continue. I've made people laugh, cry, and want to slap me.

Also, I wanted to have a baby book but am too lazy to scrapbook.

Eventually I decided it was time to stop writing for the public. While I still write long-winded, sappy, navel-gazing essays, Ryan is my only audience. We are super grateful to have a record of the first years of our kids'  lives and our parenting journey and occasionally read over old posts together (with a box of tissues nearby).

April 2012

Daniel, February 2012
Eliza, December 2011
Handmade Martini has given me a wonderful opportunity to connect with other sewists. After our last move, when I was left floating around trying to find a place to land, the consistency of the online sewing blogging community grounded me. Meeting friends like Ashley and Emily in person was just about The Coolest Thing Ever. (Their southern drawl is as refreshing as cold sweet tea on an August Memphis afternoon.)

And it's great to share projects with each other.

My first shared sewing project: pillow case purses June 2008

Blogging is getting tougher, but I'm determined to find a way to keep doing it at least occasionally.

What am I working on?
I'm working on finishing two of three Elsa dresses (McCall's 7000). The second came together much more quickly. There are around 80 pieces I had to cut for those dresses. Gah.

I'm also working on Fall plans for the boys, me, and Eliza. Pinterest seems like the easiest way to organize things. (Here's my Fall/Winter Mood Board.)

Also, my sister is getting married in January! I'm sewing several projects for her wedding, including my dress and Eliza's. My goal is to have everything finished by Thanksgiving so I can enjoy traveling to wedding-related events without scrambling to get things finished.

(I'm finishing this blog post at 11:20 p.m. the day it is due. If my track record is any indication, chances are good I'll be sewing last-minute wedding things after the rehearsal dinner.)

What makes mine different from others in the genre?
Um, nothing. There ain't nothing special here. Other than the fact that my kids are cuter than average and my husband says really funny things that I occasionally share.

As far as my sewing, there's nothing super unique about it either. I love MiniBoden and Martha Pullen. You may see smocking, and you may see knit appliqu├ęd t-shirts. You may see Bohemian Hippy and you may see Tailored Chic.

Now that Eliza has an opinion, you'll likely see something that resembles Jem's '80s rocker look.

How does my writing/blogging/sewing process work?
I think about essays for days before I write them. Usually long runs are a great time to process material.

Blogging happens when it happens. I do all the planning, shopping for materials, sewing, and blogging after everyone is in bed. The photographing part is the most challenging. My remote is moody, and it's hard to coordinate the weather. I've tried to call in favors, but apparently Mother Nature is busy.

I'm a meticulous sewer. I will rip the same seam four times to get things right. Every project I complete is flawed, but the pursuit of that flawless garment is what keeps me interested. Someday I'd like to look at something I complete and think, "There is nothing I'd change about it."

It's like the Holy Grail of sewing, right?

my favorite project to date -- a Sunki Flip and upcycled Fedora, October 2013
I come from a long line of artistic folk. The women in my family use their hands to create beautiful gardens, quilts, letters and stories, draperies, music, paintings, and clothing. I'm curious to see which creative art the kids choose.

And now it's time for me to ask a couple of other blogging friends to answer some questions. I've to a tendency to veer off path, so the question I've asked them to answer are different from the ones in this "blog hop."

There's Natalie. She's a mom of three littles and used to work with my mom in a Shelby County middle school. Now that I've met her in person and followed her blog for years, I can call her my friend, too. She is funny and kind and teaches yoga. She's honest and smart. Aaaaaand she had a baby in a car. <<<< The Best Birth Story Ever.

And there's Katie. Katie is also a mom of three littles and a partner in a law firm. My passion is women's sewing, and Katie is my go-to-pattern-reviewer. If she recommends a pattern, I know it's a good one. She sews practical, beautiful clothes and thoroughly breaks down the pros and cons of all types of patterns. Plus her kids are gorgeous, and I look forward to hearing about her week in her "Coffee Date Friday" posts.

Look for their posts next week! And because we're on vacation and I have a photographer/husband held captive this week, I'll be able to post about two projects very soon! Hallelujah. Have a great week, y'all!


  1. Wow, I didn't know you've been blogging since 2007 ~ that's a long time!

    1. It is a long time! I've seen some amazing changes in the blog world, that's for sure.

  2. Aww, thanks for the kind words! What were your two writing-related careers? I'm always interested to hear what people did in their past lives. I haven't moved on to my next life yet, but someday!

    1. Ha! I started as a journalist and moved into PR. I freelanced briefly for a local magazine writing features, too.

    2. Funny. My college degree is journalism and PR. The writing style is similar to legal writing. Even though I never worked as a journalist the training served me well :) Thanks for sharing!

  3. This was such a fun post! I'm sharing next week thanks to Carrie from Right Sides Facing. I love your humor and wish I was a lot funnier! Hope to see you again soon down in Music City!

    1. Thanks, Veronica! I look forward to meeting up again. That really was a highlight of my year. :) I can't wait to read your post, too!


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