don’t you wish there really were two of her?

Suse, Self-Portrait

 
We have a few special events coming up for my daughter’s 11th birthday – Saturday, March 2nd. YES, she is going to be ELEVEN, and she is almost as tall as I am, and she kicks ass!

Oh wait did you need more PROOF as to how awesome she is?

Sophie, Upon The Morning Of Her 8th Birthday

 

***

Tomorrow she has a date with friends up at the new HOCM in Olympia. Friday we’re taking a trip up to the Point Defiance Zoo up in Tacoma, that is if we have a car by then – I’m hoping it will work out. Saturday I’ll write a little bit about her, a blog post if you will, which will at least be nice for ME but I will read it to her, too because the last time I did this she enjoyed it (two years ago). Saturday we have friends visiting for her birthday, and will have a small little family-and-a-couple-friends gathering, and I’ll make all her favorite foods. Yes we are having a proper birthday party, but that isn’t until the day of her brother’s birthday (April 7th), you know, a bigger shindig.

Should you wish to do so, cards and emails and such can be directed to phoenix.fire at hogaboom dot org; of course our address is PO Box 205 Hoquiam, WA 98550. She likes: My Little Pony, horror/goth/paranormal, the natural sciences and all manner of flora and fauna, (non-dairy) cookies – and cuddling, although she won’t cuddle with just anyone.

Happy Pup + Happy Daughter

“sell one and buy a lily”

Of "Muffin"
My daughter (and “Muffin”). In her first big-girl bed.

You read here a while, you know my girl a bit. She’s tough yet sweet. She’s kind and smart. Despite having so much love and attention lavished upon her – in fact in some ways our whole world has revolved around her and her little brother – and despite growing up with some intense family dysfunction here and there – she is not “spoiled”. She does not have behavior problems. She is a goddamned peach. And I am not just saying that. I could provide you character references and all.

So she tells me the other day she wants a bed. It’s the same as two and a half years ago when she says she wants to change her name. She means it. It’s important to her. She’s not whining. She’s advocating. She’ll be fine if it doesn’t happen. But she’s determined.

I’m going to make it happen, if I can.

Errands take longer than expected and the afternoon is winding down and it’s raining like fuck-all and I want to get home. I’m tired and my tummy is giving me some grief. But I’m going to be honest, I realize I am prepared to shit my pants, hey if only a little, to make sure I do what I said I’d do for my girl, who knows exactly what she’s asking for, financially, when she asks for this bed. We pull up to the local furniture shop and I send the little guy walking home, because I know he would be climbing all over the furniture in his big-ass Romeos and being all riled up and I am going to have to focus a little, plus give the appearance of respectability. LOL.

My daughter & I try out beds, led through the process. “I can feel the springs on this one,” Phoenix says politely after laying on the bargain-basement cheapest model. The employee leads us to a pillowtop that costs a bit more. My girl is very happy with it. It’s still on the low-end but she doesn’t ask for something else, she’s just fine. My eyes sting a little. She is a  thousand percent more sensible, gracious, and tactful than I was at her age. Or maybe than I am today.

We ride the really cool old elevator back to the ground floor and I fill out the financing paperwork. I act like an upscale person and all. I make polite conversation with the employee. Then about ten minutes into the transaction I remember than when it comes to spending hundreds of dollars, shops like this usually have someone hired to flatter you and this is no exception. My daughter and I tangle up on a huge oversized chair called, appropriately, “The Snuggler”. I tell my daughter, “It might not work out today.” She asks why and I explain a little bit about bank wizardry and let her know if it doesn’t happen today, we’ll figure something out soon.

“There was no problem, of course,” the financing woman says as she hands me the finished paperwork for the bed and pretends she didn’t notice my sweaty upper lip, I mean COME ON I have no idea how these credit things work! She talks to a few more people and we wait to get the final paperwork packet.

I feel oddly like crying.

This is what sobriety has brought me. Many people who read here aren’t going to understand. It isn’t about having more financial freedom, or nicer things, or more material security, or a credit line. It isn’t even about being able to make some plans knowing we can pay bills. It isn’t even about being Present enough to know hell, we could lose the whole house in a fire tomorrow, so let’s be grateful for what we have today. It isn’t even about getting along with my husband enough to know this expenditure isn’t going to be a tension between us. I mean it involves all of that stuff, don’t get me wrong. But about so much more too.

It’s about being able to afford my daughter a private life when she wants it. It’s about doing what I said I’m gonna do instead of making a lot of promises and wishes and deferrals. It’s about living life in a way, when my kids ask for something they’re asking for something they really need, and when we give it to them, or don’t, there’s no guilt or remorse or anxiety. It’s about knowing without a doubt that I’m respected by my children. It’s about being grateful for a bed, but not spinning my head about all the other plans I have or am going to make. It’s about being able to live in the day.

It’s such a different way to live it’s hard to describe.

Phee Gets A New Bed

Phee Gets A New Bed

It’s about my daughter coming in today after being at her grandma’s, and after the bed had been delivered and set up, and saying, “It’s gorgeous!” – then making up a sign for her room. “There’s no LOCK, so please KNOCK.”

And it’s about me dusting off my hands and washing the dishes.

about a young lady

Today was a day full of many good things. I was underslept and hungover and wretched this morning but I had the presence of mind to feel blessed because I thought of my children, sleeping and getting what they need, and how soon they would be awake and I’d hear their voices and I’d make them breakfast (a very amusing turnout of a grape pie, and I think I missed the mark a bit), and we’d take care of one another. In the afternoon as I watched a little Netflix and finished a sewing project and somehow stabbed myself about fourteen times with pins. My mom stopped by unannounced and we had coffee while she ate lunch.  I finished up all the relatively large amount of handsewing and we had a long, long talk, and a good one.

So the weather may be damp and cold and my daylight hours more severely constricted than I would have thought possible (thanks to a very short day and very late schedule) but some days just work out. Case in point, today I spent money on only two things: books, and food. I picked up a super-secret Christmas present at the bookstore and while there found a $4.50 copy of hardback Just So Stories, a collection of children’s tales by Rudyard Kipling. These are close to my heart as my father read us these stores (as well as the novel Kim) to my brother and I when we were children. I was very gratified my daughter immediately opened the book and began reading and walked into the house shrugging off winter gear with her nose in the book (“… and his little girl-daughter’s name was Taffimai Metallumai, and that means, ‘Small-person-without-any-manners-who-ought-to-be-spanked’; but I’m going to call her Taffy”).

Nels stayed up all night last night so today he slept and slept and slept and as the day wore on more and more cats lay claim to the warm form in the bed. Eventually I saw the child’s ghostly form stirring from through the French doors and he came out with his little skinny body and his blonde mop of hair and crawled into my arms and began happily talking about samwiches.

My son:

Lovely Nels

My daughter:

Beautiful Phoenix

Phoenix… so beautiful. Tonight Ralph told an anecdote about someone who put new kittens in a sack with a rock and tied up the sack and threw it in a river. Our daughter immediately recognized this for what it was – a true story of heartbreaking cruelty – and burst into tears. Despite the sadness of this little vignette (Ralph felt terrible, of course, and regretted sharing the story), my children’s empathy is just about the healthiest thing I can think of and as sad as she was I was there beside her as she clung onto my arm and wept and Nels’ deep hazel eyes got large and somber and he apologized and said it was his fault, because he brought up the subject of kitties (though certainly not murdered ones), and he told her he was sorry.

And we had a moment of silence and recovery.

Today I found and blog-published a brief piece I wrote on my daughter’s weaning – almost six years ago. Go ahead and read it and then cry a little.

3rd Birthday, Sophie / Phoenix

meaning “dark red” and symbolizing rebirth from the ashes

Phoenix Fire
It’s funny how the most unremarkably pleasant days can suddenly swerve into something kind of concrete and momentous (or as “concrete and momentous” as anything that happens in this mortal coil). We were just pulling into the coffee stand today when my daughter repeated her desire to legally change her name.

This isn’t the first time she’s told me she wanted to change her name to this particular choice. When we talked about it last I told her it involved a bit of trouble: mostly paperwork and assisting friends and family in remembering your new name (which means friendly and persistent repetition). I don’t have the kind of disdainful judgment the name-change can sometimes invoke in some people* as I’ve had one of my closest friends change her name and my own sister has changed her names many times; I’ve personally seen how lives continue on much as before; and I’m all about people self-validating. I was also very impressed with my daughter’s choice as it is a very powerful name and one that suits her well.

Still, there is something kind of scary about the whole business. Names do mean something – otherwise people wouldn’t agonize over these choices; otherwise you wouldn’t hear anyone mock certain names (especially names in certain groups/types/ethnicities). I won’t deny I felt an odd fear at having to call my daughter something else than the name I’d known her by – her entire life, which felt like a big part of my life too. Still, I can tell she’s serious about it. She called both her father and my mother and told them; they were enthusiastic and supportive. She has some awesome grownups in her life.

I know I have to get some kind of court order to change a name in my family. I know I’m going to have to call doctors and the YMCA and a few organizations blah, blah. I know I’m going to stop calling her “Soph” as I have done for years. But even today in the grocery store when I called her by her new name she immediately snapped up and came to me. She has been calm and happy in this way I recognize when she’s made a choice that really, really works for her.

Welcome to our home, Phoenix Fire Hogaboom.**
Watching You

* Although of course, the people who sneer at name-changes often have no trouble with married women taking their husband’s surname.

** You can email her at phoenix.fire AT hogaboom DOT org to congratulate her – I know she’d love it!

rock out with your c*ck out

I want every day to include a rock concert where I get to watch my husband perform his own stuff, and he’s so awesome, and it’s so much fun, and I love his music so much, and he’s so awesome, and it’s so much fun…

Pre-Show Jitters

Only a fraction of the people who said they’d turn out to his band’s performance tonight actually did. But that’s okay because I know people are busy and also, sadly some people seriously do not know the level of Fucking Awesome that Ralph and Flo bring.  The band got hosed via their scheduled slot (first band on Thursday night; obviously the later positions, especially Friday’s, are better for audience participation), but even given that I would not say they had the potential to be crowd favorites (although they certainly garnered lusty cheers from the smallish audience assembled).  I honestly think Aberdeen and Hoquiam are still more interested in the grunge snorefest of rather unoriginal, plodding guitar-lick laden stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of grunge.  Some of my best friends are… um, grunge?  No seriously. I can belt out the Pearl Jam like no one’s business.  Just ask all those poor victims at the Paylor’s summer barbecue event last year.

And I’m not saying the other bands that played were snore-inducing. Shit. I’m just talking myself into a corner here. What I am saying: Ralph’s group is hard-pressed to find their screaming fanbase in this locale. Good enough?
Powerful Stuff Korg, Glock, Rock FLO ON GLOCK
This was the second show with Flo and she and Ralph were amazing together. They used “hired gun” Geoff on drums (an old friend of Ralph’s; they were in a previous effort together). The three of them brought it.

The kids and I sat with a small group of vocal and awesome friends who cheered the group on with much gusto. I couldn’t stop aggressively tapping my foot and singing. I don’t know where we’re going to get the scratch to record another album but I know it must happen as it’s too good not to.

Sophie wore her new nightgown as she loved it very much. She wasn’t sure of the propriety of doing so; she worried she’d get it messy (I told her I would happily wash it – and she didn’t muss it anyway as it turned out) or that people would make fun of her (I validated this concern; she also knows what I think of such potential opinions). Gee, I am sensing a need to further help her deprogram from some absurd social concepts. She was a doll at the show, helping look after her younger friend E. and supporting her father as a loving daughter does.

Nels of course was dying to be involved stage-wise (Ralph schedules all-ages shows whenever possible so The Boy can stage-dance). He’s so suave he totally got past a “SECURITY” fellow standing at the stage curtain; a few minutes later when I went in to retrieve The Boy the same “SECURITY” fellow stopped me and wouldn’t let me pass. I gave it up, figuring it was his ass when my son Phantom of the Opera’d down from some rigging.
Backstage Pass

Ralph, Sophie, and neighbor-kid/friend Little P. stuck around a bit longer to support some of the other bands; Ralph came home early enough to deliver Little P. home to his family (school night and all).
Ralph Watches The Competition

Tonight was their last show as Redbird Fever, as the band has changed membership since that moniker was agreed upon. Their future shows and recordings will be as LiiGHTS.

I like it.

at play

Today I didn’t eat until almost five o’clock. Ooops!  I did drink a bunch of milk.  I’m still doing that whole allergy food plan thing and testing individual foods to discover if they are causing me discomfort (it’s borrrring). So far so good on the milk front although we’ll see how tomorrow goes (my prediction: “tummy troubles”, by or to put it more delicately and specifically, cramps and diarrhea and sweating over both).

I got a little grumpy mid-day after reading a supposed fair and balanced blog article regarding homeschooling which was, let’s face it, a handful of garden variety concern-troll points.  Instead of merely reading and digesting I chose to reply civilly and directly – as it was meant to be a discussion after all (I was pleased to notice later many other commenters quite effectively shut down some of the homeschool fallacies).  After posting I could tell by the irritation in my body that I’d put off eating long enough.  The kids and I got our asses out of Dodge to get some food, in this case at the winsome little bakery in Aberdeen.  I was so late I had to call ahead so they could fix me something to pick up before closing time – which they did, the dears.  Sitting in the sun-dappled car at the park and having a bite with the kids? I felt a bit better in general.

Because let’s face it, I am not made of stone and things get me down. No matter how well I have it in my life I can get overwhelmed and despairing; in this case over the same sort of silly myths one hears over and over about supposed homeschooler issues – that children won’t be effectively socialized, that their parents are Caspar Milquetoasts who can’t handle the Real World and they’re raising little Milquetoasts to dither about in the same manner, that there are secret homeschooler “religious” factions preaching non-stop Right-Wing hate in the ears of their little ones.  I can know for a fact these issues are not concerns unique to home education and I can be one hundred percent thrilled with how things are going in my family but – Really?  Must we?  Over and over again?

In the car at the park we finished our lunch – the kids devouring ham sandwiches in no time flat.  They discussed the new water park installation at this specific locale (which I call “Tobaccy Park” as it is located right next to a cigarette shop) and speculated on when the waterworks would commence; not thirty seconds after this the jets blasted into full force.  Of course (as it turned out upon reading the info board) the park will be running daily for the duration of the summer – but to Sophie and Nels’ eyes it just blossomed the moment they wished it to.  The looks on their faces; I’m glad I was there to see it.

The kids were out of the car and under the water jets in no time flat, Nels cutting an especially striking figure in his Max suit which, as it is made almost exclusively of terry cloth, was heavy and soaking in only a few minutes.  After a bit both kids were in their underwear and playing joyfully (mind you, it wasn’t especially warm today).

Sophie hesitated at first before stripping down.  “I don’t want to embarrass you, Mom,” she said, her hazel eyes full of depths I’ve seemingly known my whole life.  My heart melted and I felt so sad that she had sensed my very slight trepidation at the thought of her bare body  – who the hell begrudges a small girlchild the freedom a boychild has, to run and splash and feel cool water and hot sun on the skin?  I said, “Sophie, it won’t embarrass me.  You can do what you wish.” She let me pull her sweater and jeans off and she and her brother giggled and splashed and played with pressure differential in the many recessed spigots – putting their foot on one to make the others fountain all the higher.  They let me know when to warm up the car so I could tuck them into the gloaming and the leather seats and they’d be warm until we got home.

My kids are a reminder that there are people on this planet who have (mostly) only good impulses; who live truly freely, enjoying the gift of Life and enjoying those they love, people who have a light touch and can demonstrate Live & Let Live.  Our (Ralph and my) children are unfettered with troubles most of their day, and when they have them they confront them directly and with passion and clarity.  They are critical thinkers who are rarely prone to Cynicism (a disease of humanity that causes me much grief).  Today in the park I felt a gladness they were in my life, because at times my mind is eaten through with darkness. I truly wish I was smoking whatever they have; I’d be the better off for it.

reverse-vampirism

Whenever I hear someone say they gave blood, usually the person(s) hearing this will fly up their own arse explaining why they themselves can’t do the same. This is kind of annoying because the fact is, most who don’t donate could (only 3 out of every 100 Americans do).

So just to be clear, the correct response when you hear someone has given blood? “Oh wonderful for you! Good job.” Something along those lines. Keep your non-donation explanation (justified or no) to yourself.

So me, I’m one of those Special Snowflakes who can admit straight-out the reason I haven’t given blood often is: I don’t like it. Despite the fact I don’t like it, and I never have, I used to give about once a year. One time I was rejected – for being pregnant, which seems very conservative and silly, because I was as healthy and hale a motherfucking draft horse – so I took this opportunity to not give for years.

The truth is, giving blood terrifies me. It doesn’t hurt, not really – I mean even when the proverbial screw-up is made and they “dig around” in my arm trying to get purchase (yes, I know some of my readers are cringing at the thought) – it doesn’t really hurt all that much (Hello! I’ve had two babies and kidney stones. Nothing “hurts” anymore compared to that junk). But there’s something… something unsavory. I get this way to an almost identical degree about any kind of needle puncture, including my vitamin shots at my ND. My breath catches, I have to focus on calm, my head swims ever-so-slightly, and I question Why on earth am I allowing this to happen? A piddling response, I know, but a real one. After all, our skin is designed to keep breaches out. Maybe my brain and gut know this, and agree with the basic premise.

Nevertheless today when I saw the bloodmobile here in HQX I knew I should suck it up and donate. It wouldn’t kill me. It would help someone else (I mean really help). I wasn’t even going to faint or have anything silly happen. I’d just be very upset for a few minutes. That’s it. So after Homeschool Swimming my mom picked up Nels for a date. Sophie and I got our lunch and travelled back to the bloodmobile. My daughter elected to stay and keep me company (winning out over video games in the YMCA Game Room – impressive). Once she understood the ramifications of giving blood she was very proud of me*, which made me proud of her.

I was the last appointment of their day.  The employee (phlebotomist?) who assisted me was having a short-timer afternoon. She moved very quickly and brusquely and I was a bit worried she wasn’t going to be detail-oriented and I’d end up bleeding out like a stuck pig or some other humiliating thing.  Of course she did wonderfully and was very kind once I was flowing. She kept asking, “Are you feeling OK?” because I kind of didn’t seem so; she praised me for donating despite discomfort.  We also joked about the “sciencey” white robes they wear, which of course would show a single drop of blood far too easily.

I got through it just fine (after eight-plus years of non-donation) and now I feel good about myself and ready to resume my regular donor status.

And that five PM clove cigarette gave me that much more of a buzz.

* How awesome is Sophie’s social conscience? Pretty awesome. Last night at dinner I was telling my husband about an article I’d read online regarding public “table manners” for children and babies, discussing the oft-given frowny-face and disparaging of mothers who breastfeed anywhere public. Sophie, listening in, gave a short laugh. “Breastfeeding at the table? That’s actually quite appropriate,” she said calmly in her duck-voice. Sophie on social justice, FTW.

sea change

Last night we finished folding the laundry and bundled the kids up into the car and headed out of town. On the way we left the children at a friend’s; a couple hours later my mom would grab them up for a sleepover at her house. Ralph and I are off to Seattle to (first) phở followed by a three-band set at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard.

After we dropped the kids off I was quiet in the car for the first couple minutes of our trip because, truth be told, I didn’t want to drive to Seattle. I wanted to be in Seattle for a rock show – hell yes, with our kids would be nice, but with just Ralph is awesome too. But five hours of driving? Ugh. I’m just not really into mandatory periods of stationary activity (not even sleep, which I struggle with).

However what Ralph hadn’t really got across to me was that A. the band he was interested in was pretty excellent, and B. we’d be seeing friends from a decade back (two of which were in this band). In fact the “boys” I knew who more or less followed Ralph’s little math rock effort around have now become men – with beards and mustaches and seemingly feet gained in height – and two of them have stayed consistent in their hard work at TEH ROCK to become musicians of an incredible prowess and creativity. It was sheer joy to watch them and even more enjoyable to catch up, to talk and to share again. All four men resisted my proffered handshake and instead enveloped my husband and I in warm hugs.  Two of them recently married, they seemed happy to see us perhaps in part because ten years later we’re happily partnered, are raising kids and loving it, and Ralph still plays music.

I like going to shows with my husband, but it was an unexpected blessing to see these “boys” again (there are four in all) and to remember a time in my life fondly, that of Ralph’s little band groupie chemical-engineer girlfriend hanging out weekend after weekend at this-or-that pissant show. It was a Christian punk scene and I’ve never since encountered a group more open, alive, awake, earnest, energetic, humble, loving, and enthusiastic.

It’s a good thing.

On the drive home I think to myself that those times in our life we’re so passionate about, those things never really go away, even if we forget them for awhile…

This morning and afternoon the stellar sunshine took a turn. Being a one-car family? I totally love it. But the inconvenience factor makes itself known now and then, as today when the kids and I ran errands in a wind- and rainstorm – on our bikes. However it was actually delightfully warm and the wind, which was strong enough to knock out power here and there, threw Nels off his bike a time or too – to his utter wild happiness.  We took our time and made our way safely about town, hanging our coats up at home and cranking the heat.  The gift balaclava my girl Abi made me is long-stretched into ridiculousness; today I pulled a yarn bull of a rich red tweed out of my little cupboard and cast on seventy stitches for a warm hat for the spring gusts.

sneak peaks

Even in my slightly-lower energy state of an allergy diet and no frakkin’ coffee hells yes I’ve been sewing. A couple weeks ago I finished both the Brooklyn Shrug and the Insa Skirt for my daughter. Both were minor failures; both too small (patterns run small sometimes – it happens). Also: just as I sewed the last stitch of the skirt (which was a rather time-consuming venture) I thought to myself, This is so not Sophie’s style any more! Sure enough, when I presented her with the skirt two minutes later, she complimented it and then said, “Mom… I don’t want to offend you, but I kind of don’t like ruffly things any more.”

Well that makes two of us (I hate making ruffles).
RUFFLES I HATE THEM
Anyway, is she awesome or what? I’m proud of her for speaking up and I look forward to gifting the lovely to a friend’s child who is obsessed with skirts and ruffley stuff.

Funny, but Sophie’s stylings lately are distinctly tween and tween patterns are kind of difficult to find (Ottobre is awesome but I have yet to spring for a subscription). I’ve already moved on to sewing two new dresses for her, hopefully in a style she enjoys – a simple sleeveless square-necked number by Burda (she’s enjoyed her sleeveless bubble dresses very much and is now, a year later, growing out of them). I’m making the two frocks in some lovely, deep colors of linen/rayon I bought on sale at JoAnns:
Bodice, 2X
Let me tell you, this linen/rayon is a dream. You may recall (or you don’t, but I will remind you) that I used a similar blend for Sophie’s self-titled “Priest Dress” I made in the summer. That dress continues to receive heavy rotation on Sophie’s many extremely vigorous outdoor activities (remember, my kids don’t go to school: they mostly climb trees, ride bikes, and dig mud pits) and is still holding up well.

If I had any caveat on the linen/rayon it would be that the slim neckline facing pieces did not hold up at the edges; I couldn’t double-turn the far edge of the facing because of the curve and the bulk that would have resulted. I interfaced and serged the facings before applying them, but that wasn’t good enough. I might have done a very tight stitch at the base of the serge and that might have helped. As it is, this is the only part of the “Priest Dress” that is fraying and obviously, it’s not visible from the outside (my non-sewing and beginner-sewing friends reading are rolling their eyes at the “obviously”).

Learning my lessons in loose-weaves and facings, with these two dresses I instead lined/underlined the bodice with a crisp cotton. This also adds a more heirloom touch as all bodice seams will be fully enclosed. Funnily enough although I don’t have much of a fabric stash I did already own a bit of rust-color that worked to underline both dress bodices. I would have liked to underline the full skirt but I didn’t have proper yardage and I wanted to get sewing now (it happens). I’m considering buying some underlining fabrics on a bolt as it adds so much to most garments. I’d probably buy a batiste and maybe a light, stiff bull denim for some of my more structured items. I don’t know. I am kind of bush league when it comes to underlining, but my garments continue to improve.

Speaking of underlining, I’m also making a brown twill jacket for myself, Simplicity 4081 which is supposedly a forties-retro semi-fitted number. The shell is just about put together and I await via mail a silk twill for the lining. Here’s a peek at the pocket just before I turned it. At the far left you can see the black fusible interfacing I used to stabilize the edge of the pocket.
Chaqueta
Borrr-rring, I know. But, I’m not exactly a flamboyant dresser.

Incidentally, the shell fabric I’m using is a sturdy twill my brother sent me a few months ago. It was camel-colored (he’s even more boring than I am!) and I wanted a deep rust-brown. One morning while the kids slept I biked down to our local grocery store and picked up two separate brown shades of Rit dye, blending them with a scarlet packet I’d already owned (I’ve learned deep colors need lots of dye). Dying fabric is fun because it’s easy to do (at the level I’m doing it anyway – a rather mundane washing-machine batch) and it feels satisfying somehow. One of my favorite memories is an afternoon I spent with my then-pregnant friend Becca, stirring our cotton diapers up in deep, steaming vats of rich-colored dye, drinking coffee and eating lovelies and the windows and doors open to the sunshine.

Oh and finally – most exciting! I have been asked to (after my stalkery yielded the offer) pattern-test for my friend Karen and Shelley’s burgeoning pattern company, Patterns by Figgy’s. Tonight I received the email:

Hello my lovely pattern testers!

I will be sending over our “Tee for Two” pattern in the next few days for testing. Please review everything with hawk eyes. Pattern & booklet. Along with the pattern/booklet I will send you yardage needed for all sizes.Please test the size your child will wear so that we know it is a perfect fit. Please check the measurements in order to choose the correct size.

I will need you to test the pattern this week. Deadline 5/24. If you feel like you can’t commit NO PROBLEM I can keep you on the list for the next pattern.

you are testing for:
pattern size legend correct
markings in the correct places
fit
grammar
spelling
instructions in proper order
easy to follow instructions
instructions that make sense
we believe this is a beginner pattern and we want to make sure of this

Any questions please email me or Karen anytime. We appreciate all that you are doing for us and we hope you love the pattern.

Website live this week!!!

Shelly L. Figueroa
Creative Designer

This is only too exciting for me. I love getting things in the mail – and a kick-ass pattern and lovely yardage to sew it up with? Oh yes.