summer’s early end (and more embroidery)

Well, here it is again: the first day of school. I remember when I was of school age, summer vacation began at the start of June and didn’t end until the after Labor day – a full three month stretch. Now, where we live at least, it’s right around two months, which seems painfully short to me. It was a great summer this year, though. It was the first summer since Bella was 17 months old that I was able to spend it at home with her. Being home with the kids is fantastic and hard and fun and exhausting (did I mention that I’m tired?), but mostly it’s wonderful, and really is just what I have always wanted. I am extremely grateful to be here with them, and to have been able to be fully present for Bella’s summer break.

Our last little trip of the summer was to Portland, Oregon. My youngest cousin on my father’s side was married in Salem, so Bella and I took the trip up with my parents to attend the wedding and visit for a few days with family afterward. I love it up there. It’s cool and green and wide, wide open, with rivers, mountains and farms, all near the beautiful city of Portland. I have long dreamed of leaving California for someplace farther north, and this area in particular is very appealing to me.

We had wonderful visiting time with my lovely Aunt, Uncle and cousins who live up there; they are warm and generous, and so much fun. I so wish we were nearer to them so that our connection could grow deeper – they really are some of my most favorite people on Earth.

For my cousin’s wedding gift, I wanted to embroider towels like I did for Nat & Buck, but I couldn’t seem to come up with a design that I thought was appropriate. I am not at all sure of their personal tastes, since we live so far from one another and the age difference between myself and my cousin is relatively large. They had designed their wedding invitations in a very particular way though, using symbols and styles that I though must be expressive of their taste, since it was all so unique. So, not really knowing the meaning of all of the included designs, I decided to use them, in their chosen colors, on the towels instead of the usual girly stuff I would be inclined to include.

I drew the designs from the invitation at a larger scale onto tracing paper, then went over the drawings with a transfer pencil. I then used an iron to transfer them to the towels. Easy.

Though to me they’re not necessarily the prettiest towels I have ever seen, they were made with love and I hope they are meaningful to Kara & Kevin.

sweet surprises

Yesterday we attended a backyard party celebrating the upcoming birth of a new baby girl, yet to be named. She has chosen for her parents the loveliest, most genuinely kind and full-of-love people I know. We were blessed to have been included in the lovely event, where friends and family gathered together to celebrate them and the new life they have lovingly created. Little did we know that what we had already considered to be the perfect day would be made utterly so by a surprise wedding, known ahead of time by only close family members and a few involved friends. The ceremony was gorgeous and touching and I couldn’t contain my tears of delight.

In token of my love for the beautiful couple and their sure-to-be surpassingly beautiful baby girl, I made these little booties. I love summer, and friends, and parties and surprises, and love itself… almost as much as I love baby feet.

Here’s to all those things.

I created these baby shoes using a pattern from Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones. It has tons of awesome baby stuff in it; my little guy has a several things made from patterns found inside. If you have or know babies that you’d like to sew for, you will get so much use from this great book.

looks like we made it

On the first day of this month, my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. This in itself is an accomplishment, but my pride in it is magnified by the fact that we very nearly didn’t make it. I won’t go into all of the reasons why; suffice it to say that marriage is hard. It’s hard no matter what – and it’s harder still when you may have been too young when you married, may have became pregnant too soon afterward, then subsequently faced stresses and losses and inner demons you definitely didn’t know how to fight.

our wedding day, june 1, 2002

I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason – I am acutely averse to the notion that life has been laid out for us, planned ahead of time by god or the cosmos, and that we must bear terrible things in order for blessings (known or unknown) to be handed out on the other side. I do, however, believe that good can come from almost anything, and that we can take lessons from our pain. None of us is immune to suffering, but we all deserve joy, and there are many ways by which it may be obtained. I found it by valuing the needs of my own soul, setting aside my want for acceptance in the eyes of others, and working hard for what I love the most.

Though I knew very little about what we were in for, I married Tracy because I loved him deeply. Ten years later my love for him and our family is exponentially deeper, truer, and full with knowledge, trust, comfort and courage.

silly self-portrait ~ the only picture of us together during our trip

We celebrated our anniversary by taking a trip to San Francisco, our first time getting away together since our honeymoon. It was lovely and I’ll treasure it always, holding the memory of it closer knowing that it almost didn’t happen – but together we made it so, and I am grateful.

san francisco at dusk, 2012

love, marriage & needlework

Two of my favorite people will be married next month, and the bride’s shower was yesterday. I spent last week embroidering tea towels for her, and I think they came out cute! I used transfers from Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching Craft Pad, which has lots of fun patters to stitch. Next I think I’ll make some of my own!

embroidered tea towels

embroidered tea towels

Nat & Buck are having their wedding in Mexico, with only a few attendees, so I won’t be present for the event. I can’t wait to see pictures of this uncommonly beautiful couple on their special day. Here are some wedding photos that are particularly special to me.

wedding day

my wedding day, 6.1.2002

lindsey & jake

my sister & brother-in-law, 8.1.2009

mom and dad

my mom and dad, 8.16.1975

Yay for love!