my heart beats like a drum

One hour at the roller skating rink for the kids; I help them lace their footwear and gather them into my arms again before I go. Their hair falls across my cheek and smells sweet, dusty and dry and delicious. As they get older these embraces mean more and more to me. My children, in skates, are nearly as tall as I. They thankful for the two extra dollars I give them for candy or pop and do not complain about the small sum. They have spirits of gladness and gratitude; by the time I was there age these things dwelt within yes, but they were eroded and corrupt.

A few minutes later, at home, my phone rings and it’s Nels. He excitedly informs me his sister is dominating in the rink’s game of tag. “She is doing so good, I wish I could take a picture,” he chirps. I hand the phone to the other ear and take out the rising yeasted bread, flip the oven on. I thank him for calling and put the phone down. My children are half a world away, competent and enjoying themselves, all at once vibrant and alive yet strangely vulnerable and precious to me. This cold weather even with the sun, I have a sense of wherever they are and I hold them close and I want them provided for at all times. Ralph comes home to a house full of fresh bread and new lightbulbs, then he’s back on the road to pick the children up along with a u-bake pizza for later tonight.

Later tonight,

dark now and at the side of the road, the car idles as my friend in the passenger seat applies her baby to her breast. I no longer even feel the ache, the letdown an infant’s cries, and the huffing-little suction sighs the child makes are familiar but they are from a past that sometimes feels another era. The mama’s breast glows milk-white in the dashboard lights and she is unselfconscious and I think good for her, I’m a bit tired but a respect and a gladness throbs within me, all the more so as she’s close to a year off meth and she’s doing her thing pretty good. I fiddle with my scarf and we talk a bit and I wonder if these memories of early sobriety will be fond ones or if she’s one of the many, the most, who will go back into the night and get lost for a little while

I’m contemplative, this evening.

Home and finishing up a soft shirt for my daughter. Ralph and the kids play Dungeons and Dragons at the dining room table

– hot water and lemon and honey –

 

mama’s #krafty

Some of my Christmas sewing. Some. Click on pictures to be directed to my Flickrstream where I detail a bit about how I made these items, what patterns I used, when I self-drafted, where I got my fabrics, etc.

First, and some of you got a preview here and there – the kids’ Christmas coats:

F*ing Frock Coat & YETI-riffic!

"Taking A Picture Of Me? Too Mainstream."

Nels is saying, “Taking a picture of me? Too mainstream.” For realz.

My Son Is Beautiful

Let’s talk about Nels’ coat for a minute. Please pause and take a moment, close your eyes, and emit a string of foul-mouthed oaths. That’s how I feel about this garment, which I choose to privately christen the “F*ing Frock Coat”. I will seriously not bore you with how much went wrong and how often. Some of this is due to the source pattern which I shall not publicly name. Some of it was just weird, and bad, luck.

My son enjoys the coat, though. He doesn’t have to know it almost made me resort to arson.

Natch, Phee loves her YETI-riffic coat. She wears it everywhere, including to sleep! It is warm and luxurious.

Some casual digs sewn on Saturday:

Plaid Skinny Jeans & Patch'd T42

Plaid Skinny Jeans & Patch'd T42

Plaid Skinny Jeans & Patch'd T42

While the t-shirt was a lot of fun, I am happiest with the Plaid Skinny Jeans (which aren’t “jeans” at all) – specifically the linen front yoke, the perfect welt pocket, and the back elastic. Most of the details I like the most are those I self-drafted, so don’t count on the source pattern helping you if you’d like to emulate my results.

“To Gir With Love” – made for a friend, who’s step-daughter loves a certain cartoon character. Phoenix and I made this yesterday. She did absolutely all of the design work, except for the basic hat shape, which I took care of.

"To Gir With Love"

Up close: 100% wool sweater upcycled for the black detail.

"To Gir With Love"

Skele-Quilt:

Skele-Quilt

Skele-Quilt

The backing: a brightly-colored spacescape – I love the intensity:

Skele-Quilt

Hand-bound:Skele-Quilt

I’ve been working on this quilt for five years. Fortunately, I kept it enough on the DL my daughter hadn’t yet seen it. Even more fortunate, both my daughter and I still love the fabrics, meaning she liked the gift and I liked working on it. I was sewing on a binding right up until Christmas Day. It just isn’t Christmas Sewing without the last-minute shite.

Finally, a hand-embroidered wrist pincushion for my brother’s fiance:

Wrist Pincushion For Jamila

Wrist Pincushion For Jamila

I designed the whole business here, including yes the Jack Skellington Shrinky-Dink pin and the safety measure of a plastic insert so one won’t accidentally stab oneself. Linen & cotton.

If you have any questions on how I made anything, please ask either here or at the Flickr photos. I love sharing the craftivism!

on a walk

My daughter, my mother, my dog, and I walk together along the moss-rich gravel road. My son and his friend trail us, deep in conversation. Suddenly that blood-chilling cry echoes out, a sound every mother knows. A scream of pain tore from the depths. I turn and my son is running towards me at speed. “Mama, Mama I’m hurt! I fell! I tripped! My hand is hurt!” Nels is eight now, but his cries have the same element of rawness I recognize from my first days of knowing him.

I don’t run to him or even move; I wait and collect myself. It never doesn’t hurt, witnessing the pain of one’s child. I wait in this cold sunshine, next to my own mother, and my son runs for me. I hold Nels close when he arrives into my arms. I inspect his hand; it is raw and bruised, and looks as if it has encountered a nasty sharp rock. I brush off his hand carefully, and I tell him that his hand saved his face from being cut. I wipe his tears and kiss him.

Instantly, he has stopped crying. Only a moment before he was wailing aloud. Now he’s thinking about his hand and his scuffed knee and how they protected him. He calms and his hazel eyes are deep in the storm of thought. He is now calm because he ran to me in distress, trusting I would save him, and I saved him.

This sort of thing happens everywhere, everyday, in a myriad of ways, with children and their mothers all over the world. Why do we not acknowledge what a miracle it is, and how deeply we needed, or still need, this mother?

the covered button says, “I LOVE YOU”

Local class: I teach you how to sew a cup cozy at Grays General. The class is in one week and registration is due today. This cozy can be used on the trendy Cuppow/Mason/Ball jar, on your favorite mug (or an ugly one you want to cover up!), and even as a sleeve on disposable cups. The design idea comes from Ashley, although I winged it & wrote my own instructions etc.

Cup Cozy

Cup Cozy

Sew a Coffee Cup Cozy
December 4th @ 5:30pm
$20 Registration Fee
Instructor: Kelly Hogaboom
This easy-to-sew coffee cozy works on the Cuppow, on to-go coffee, or even at home with your favorite mug. All materials provided including an instruction booklet to take home. Coffee, tea, and biscuits served! Signups due one week prior to class.

winter comes early

Neighborhood

I step out onto the sidewalk where my son holds our dog and I see Nels has been crying. He throws his head back and howls in utter remorse for the joke he’d made a few seconds before I’d disappeared into the shop. The witticism wasn’t an especially good one (it involved a naughty pun on the word “cock”) and I’d frowned. Apparently my son was stricken after having a few moments alone with his thoughts while I took care of some business. Now, reunited, he cries. Hot tears flow down his cheeks and he tells me he embarrassed and ashamed and he vows to never go to a certain website again.

I hold his hand and we cross the street. I ask him, “Why do you need me to like all the things you like?” and he cries some more, says something muffled. I realize he’s probably hungry and I say, “Can we talk about it more over lunch honey?” His tears dry up, but his face bears the indelible marks of weeping in cold weather.

Dutch

He is the very very center of my heart.

***

Indoors; cold outside.

Pet Portrait, By Nels

Pet Portrait, By Nels

Nels, Pensive

the harder [we] work, the luckier [we] get

Car trouble rears its head again. Ralph’s had my vehicle for the week so the kids and I have been walking, bumming rides, and riding the bus. Today, two trips on the transit. Lots of drug addicts and alcoholics clearly still in active addiction, some people with problems either tacitly or obliquely advertised. A white man grim and silent and with that hard-eyed look and holding his two year old who stays equally silent. A young woman tiredly and loudly on the phone, begging / nagging the father of their child to assist in raising their child. She gets off at our stop and takes herself and the babe to the domestic violence shelter. My kids walk alongside me making up imaginary games and helping one another carry the big backpack full of books and binoculars and Pokemon accouterments they’ll put to use while I do some volunteer work.

But in general, we like riding the bus. I get a little nauseated, is all. I have to look out the window. The kids lean against me and we jostle gently through the streets I feel I’ve known forever.

On The Bus

Phee took her first “job” and started this week. She’d wanted to rejoin the swim team after a few years’ hiatus. We didn’t have the tuition, so she made a proposal to my mom for a work trade. Weekdays now Phee works at my mother’s here and there when she’s needed, then hits her swim practice. It seems to be a very satisfactory arrangement. Phee is getting that age she really can do quality work, and my mom is often overwhelmed by her home and garden and other responsibilities. I wish them both the best. I have a great deal of faith in my daughter and don’t meddle. Those things are probably related.

This evening as dusk falls Nels stays behind and waits for his father to get home and cook dinner. Phee and I catch an evening bus to get to the Y. My daughter asks, “Are you going to watch me swim?” and I say, “Every time.” She leans against me and kisses me. I decide I will be there no matter what. It’s easy enough to make this happen. It’s just a new thing I get to say Yes to.

On The Bus

In the pool she’s friends with every child and adult. The swim team is huge, three large sessions of kids. We’re in the earliest session of the evening, the beginner kids I think. There’s all that annoying sport parent stuff I won’t detail here. What matters to me is watching my daughter. She is a natural, friendly and walking up and down the lane, encouraging her team members and clapping for them, she knows their names already. She’s the most sportsmanlike child out there this week. I wonder if she’ll stay that way. I’m proud of her.

For a client, another SteamPunk Pika hat. I would make custom wool hats for a living if it could work out. Nels models:

Nels, Model

LOL at my kids in these pictures. Looking all grim and dystopian. Or is that merely my projection, as winter hit us hard all of a sudden?

A Little Gift Tag

Home and sewing and cleaning up and feeding animals. Baking a pie for a friend who celebrates a special milestone. Cold but we’ve heat and food and one another.

pie hustle of the day

Double-Layer Chocolate Cream With Roasted Coconut

Last night I made a batch of fresh pies. Double-layer chocolate cream with roasted coconut – topped with whipped cream and Mexican vanilla. You know like, old school, standing at the stove stirring up the rich dark chocolate pudding for the filling, roasting coconut (carefully!) in the oven, which is one of the best smells either.

We have one fresh pie left. You want or need a pie? It’s yours!

Double-Layer Chocolate Cream With Roasted Coconut

$25. Serves ten. Or eight if you like lots of rich deliciousness! 6 PM deadline. Text or call 360 500 3287 or email kelly AT hogaboom DOT org.

like swallows, by sipping the surface

I’m aghast as we unpack into the log cabin. A bat is flying about, likely the same bat that is always here. How long do bats live, anyway? Yeah, it’s flying about six inches away from my face, flying in that creepy clutchy swift way bats do. The kids are thrilled. They name it “Pete” and laugh and clap and are completely undisturbed.

I’m glad the children take after their father, enjoying the very rustic space of the cabin. It’s old, built by my great-grandfather. Many memories of drunken singalongs, my family and the neighbors. An area populated by Hoquiamites enough it’s named “Little Hoquiam”. As if actually Hoquiam isn’t little enough!

It’s serene here. Always, and especially off-season.

Lurvely

The kids make their beds in the loft; the dog snoozes by the fire. Ralph and I shower and enjoy the quiet.

get your Hoquiam aweomesauce here!

Hutch, Trillax

My new issue of Tumblehome, our third publication, is available online and in print. Anyone buying a print version or donating more than $6 gets entered into a drawing for a hand-sewn pincushion.

Additionally: archives are free. You can download a pdf for your own printing, or visit my profile at Issuu where I’ve posted the July and August issues.

It is a lot of work to envision, draft, write, edit, publish, staple, stamp, address, email, etc this zine. It helps to have feedback; particularly if anyone experiences technical difficulties, which can be tricky to troubleshoot given my resources and home environment.

And of course, I’m happy to hear about content and what you might like to see in future zines.

Thank you for your support!

“Special times?”

Happy Pup + Happy Daughter

I’ve been doing a bit more community service than the typical stuff with addicts and alcoholics. Today I gallery-sat at the Gallery for the art guild, and I’ve signed up for the same shift for the next few weeks. I am also mural-sitting my mother tomorrow and taking a friend to a medical procedure on Wednesday. A bit busy.

Today was rather uneventful but I got some handwork done, listened to some NPR (a highlight: an interview with a lineman restoring power in Louisiana after Hurricane Isaac), and had some seriously awesome dog time with Hutch. For the first half hour of my shift we sprawled on the grass and I scritched him all over his body. He leaned up against me and stretched his neck out and his lips flopped comically. Then if I stopped scratching him he’d roll over on his back exposing his tummy and huff and grunt and ask for more and I’d laugh. It was beautiful.

I’m a few minutes away from completion of the September Tumblehome. I think I’m going to be in the local paper soon re: my writings, so I might get to print a few more zines than normal. I’ve also just about finished a bit of handsewing goodness I plan to give away to a reader. (My hand hurts from crafting. Tylenol tonight.) Details and pictures soon!

I’m hoping to teach more sewing classes in the community (I start up at the college October 1st). I don’t market much but I have the skills and I know many people would like to learn them. I appreciate all who read here and the various ways they support me. Ideally I’d be able to earn a living wage at my craftivism but maybe it wouldn’t be activism if it was a 9 to 5.