Some creationings

13 05 2010

Yup!  that’s my new word “creationings”.  An active verb form of creations, turned into a noun again.  Gotta love language!

The last few days, I’ve been creating like crazy.  I have a dear friend out West who just had a baby and who I really wish I could be in closer contact with.  However, I am still learning the fine art of correspondence.  I wanted to make her and her family members some pretty special things, when I finally do contact her, to express, in creative materialism, how much I care for her and her family.

For her littlest baby, I made a receiving blanket.  I put as much love, comfort and safety as I could psychically muster into the sewing of this, with material that I got from the thrift store for $2. 🙂

For her eldest daughter (age 6), I’m making an orange dress out of a long sleeved shirt of mine that one of the arms fell off of (this was a VERY well loved shirt).  This has been the most challenging part, as I: a) don’t actually know her size as I haven’t seen her in almost a year.  b) do not know what she likes to wear these days, for aforementioned reason and c) have never made a children’s dress out of anything, much less an old shirt.

However, this has not stopped me from doing it.  The sleeves are ruffled, the bottom will be ruffled as well.  The little flap on the back is for a secret pocket, that I will make, and put a stone or something magic in it for her.

My first challenge came with trying to figure out correct tension on my sewing machine.  This took me about 1/2 hour of experimenting on random scraps + 1/2 hour of researching thread tension online and then about another 15 minutes to experiment more on the machine.  Luckily, Stella is a very loving sewing machine and once we figured out the problem, got right to work making perfect little stitches.

My second challenge came in trying to figure out arm holes.  What are they like?  How do you cut them so they are comfortable for a six year old?  How thick are six year old arms?  After trying to extrapolate from little A and visualize my friend’s daughter the last time I saw her, I made some cuts and went about my sewing.

My third challenge came in feeling like maybe they wouldn’t like my gifts.  “But what if it: doesn’t fit/doesn’t suit her/she doesn’t like it/it looks crappy on her/she thinks I’m silly for sewing her something/she thinks the quality is not good enough? etc etc etc”.

My answer to all of them is: it’s the thought that counts.  I remember all the strange and wonderful things that my dear sister (of spirit) Saera Little Space has made for little A.  I’m not sure that little A has actually worn any of them.  However, she does love them, we keep them and are very appreciative of the thought put into the gift.  So, I’m hoping that she LOVES it, and if not, she at least is happy that we are thinking of her enough to create her a dress. 🙂

I also made a skirt, for my friend.

At first, it was going to be a skirt for her 6 yr old daughter, but in the end, it ended up being just under my size, so I thought I’d give it to her instead. 🙂  I didn’t use a pattern (haven’t quite got the guts to tackle that yet….) and made it up as I went along.  This was a really fun way to sew, and it was surprising to see how the piece of fabric evolved.  This was also made from a piece of fabric found at a thrift store.  I think it was $2.75. 😉  I love thrift store fabric scores!

Sewing has been keeping me sane.  It keeps me task focused so that I don’t get overwhelmed by my emotional state, which could be described as tumultuous at best.  Little A loves playing with the thread, and has “sewn” many “fanny packs” already. 🙂 This weekend I intend to focus more on money making, but for now, a good dose of creationing has filled my heart with Joy.


the joy of costumes and attachment parenting

21 04 2010

It’s been a month since a started doing this!  WOW!  I find it a really wonderful addition to my life.  It gives structure to my day, allows me to come together at the end of the day and see what it, where I’ve been and how that has felt inside of me.  Even if I don’t put it down on the page/keyboard, it gives me a great place of reflection, assessment and expression.  Thanks all for reading!  (and hey, if you feel inspired, pass it around to others)

I decided, somewhere between cleaning my floor yesterday and designing a costume for the spring parade this weekend, that I was no longer going to stress about moving.  If we end up throwing random items into the back of a moving truck, it takes us three times longer, or we end up with little of what we actually need, it’s OK.  And, really, none of that is going to happen.

It is always a good reminder to me that we just have this Life.  Sure, we have all sorts of other spiritual/other dimensional experiences, that are not of this plane, but it’s still part of this Life.  This Life is what we have.  Even if we cease to exist in our bodies, we are still part of Life.  And this Life, as Mama Meme the incarnate being, is the one that I’m doing right now.  The only show in town, so to speak.

So, with this in mind, I felt that stressing out about a move and a break-up would be a pretty silly thing to do with this Life, even if it would be understandable.

Today, I took the day off from packing and cleaning.  I’ve got just about all the non-necessities packed (tons of mason jars for canning, extra toys, books and crafty stuff I’m not currently working with) and have to wait a little while longer to start packing the essentials, so I don’t leave myself without the ability to cook or clothe myself.

With my day off, I decided to make a costume for the spring parade!  Last night, it came to me to dress up as Spring, for the spring parade.

One thing I love about costume is that it allows us to embody a different energy, while being in the same form.  With costume, it is easy to become what we dress as.  My costume, this far, is a bunch of applique on a big, brown skirt.   The applique are all signs of spring: cherry blossom, nettle leaf, bumble bee and raindrops.  The brown is supposed to symbolize mud, as that is usually quite abundant in spring (but is definitely sorely lacking this year).  I will also be making wings (because I love wearing wings) and weave them with dandelions, another amazing sign of spring.

Here is a picture of it in process:

This dress is also something I worked on today, as the cherry blossom petals needed to come from somewhere.  This colour doesn’t look too good on me, so I’m hoping to give it to a friend.  It’s called the Five of Hearts:

On a seemingly unrelated topic: how we raise our children.  Which I think I’m going to do a series on, because it’s not only what I do with my life, but it’s the future of our species, which is a pretty important thing.

I spend a lot of time in the park.  Partially because it is literally 30 seconds from my house, partially because we have no backyard, but mostly for the chance to interact with other parents.  The last couple of days I’ve had the honour of speaking with some beautiful, empowered and diverse stay-at-home-mothers.

We often chat about our children, what stages they are going through, their health, well-being and education, as well as our own challenges of mothering.

Today, a mom at the park brought up the big issue of sleeping.  Now, I still sleep with little A and she’s 2.5 in May.  She’s definitely not ready to sleep alone and I wouldn’t really want her to most of the time.  While I definitely appreciate all the benefits of sleeping alone: sleeping in whatever position I want, self-pleasure without interruption, hogging the covers etc, I also really benefit from sleeping with her.

(a little snap shot of us sleeping together a last summer)

One of the biggest ways I benefit is in our relationship.  Throughout the day, we do our own things and she wants to stop and cuddle a few times a day.  Not like when she was a babe in arms and we were spending, literally, almost 24 hours bodies attached.  So, at the end of the day, we curl up naked next to each other in bed, snuggle and share a very special, healing time in sleep together.  It transcends the busy-ness or frustrations of the day.  It gives us warmth and comfort and most of all, it gives little A a sense of security, safety and trust in the world.

We forget, in our lives as parents, trying to give our children the best, that the best for them is being with us.  Especially when they are little.  This year, little A turned 27 months.  That meant that she had existed in her physical form for three years.  We also celebrated that she had lived 3/4 of her life outside of the womb.  That’s still one quarter inside.

Think of it in terms of percentages in your life: how many years would one quarter of your life be?  what if you had known something exclusively for that entire period?  How would you feel if it was promptly taken away and replaced by the totally unknown and you were unable to communicate in any way that the beings around you understood?  That is a good description of a baby who is taken away from its mother to “cry-it-out” in another room.

Some people do it to foster independence.  While the theory sounds rational enough “throw them out right away and they’ll figure out independence”, the opposite is true.  The children end up having more, long-term needs and dependencies as their infant needs and dependencies were not taken care of.

Some people, like one mother in the park today, say that it benefits everyone’s sleep schedule.  “It takes a lot of toughness at the beginning, but after a week or so, everyone is sleeping.”  Says the mom in the park.  “I had all of mine sleeping through the night by four months and they are well-adjusted kids.”

And they may be now.  Often times, the problems associated with the cry-it-out (CIO) method do not show up until later in life, when adults are trying to fill the void of being abandoned as babies at night.

And really, what is a couple years of sleep.  I, probably more than most mothers, know about sleep deprivation.  My sweet daughter slept no more than 2 hours at a time until about a month and a half ago.  Most of the time it was more like 20 minutes at a time.  I awoke every morning wondering at the impossibility of how tired I felt and how I must, now, raise my child.  I tried every “method” out there that didn’t involve CIO, and none of them worked.  My darling is just not a sleeper.

However, I never turned to the CIO method because of this: two years of my life is about 1/15 of my current life.  By the time I am an old lady, it will be but a blink.  I will remember that I went two years without sleep, felt crazy a lot and laugh at the hilarity of it all. But little A, two years is her whole life right now.  She probably won’t consciously remember sleeping with me all these years, but her subconscious will.  She will know, as she does already, that she is taken care of in the world, that she has a place to turn to, that she has the confidence to do things by herself in life.

North America is one of the few places in the world where parents don’t sleep with their children.  Do we really think that we evolved, as a species, with our babes out of our arms at night?  That would be ridiculous!  We have developed such a skewed perspective on child-rearing, that is convenience-based, rather than Love based.

Children are an investment in our future, and are not conveniences in our lives so that we can satisfy our need for cute cuddly things that do what we say.

I get really passionate about these sorts of things, because I see the benefits in little A already.  And, I thoroughly recognize a need in our society to do things differently, so that we can live peacefully with our planet and each other.  Sleeping with your baby/child is a step that we, as parents, can take to change the world.

For a concise list of cosleeping resources on the web check out

And now, hopefully, my little A will go to sleep, in my bed, and I will be able to spend some time outside of “mother” role until I crawl into bed, blissfully beside her.

Apple Blossoms, meditation cushions and the mothers of mothers

16 04 2010

In that order.

First, the apple blossoms are out!  What a wonderful smell that fills the earth when it is apple blossom season.  Two blocks from our house, on the walk downtown, there is a HUGE apple tree that has birthed a couple babies around it and it is springing with apple blossoms. 

I know that each blossom could yield a fruit, so I sparingly plucked one sprig for the glorious scent.  I couldn’t resist.  It is so sweet, so subtle, yet strong and slightly spicy in the right air.  Currently, it is hanging out on my table with some other deliciously scented freesia flowers.  I also picked one magnolia flower, which wilted promptly.  What a bouquet filling our house.

Now, I am not quite sure, but I think that the apple blossoms are early, as are the magnolias.  I wonder what this 25C weather is doing to the cycles of our ecosystem.  I try not to think of it, and instead, make meditation cushions.

Today, I put together the meditation cushion with the OM symbol and stuffed it.  I also went on an embroidering frenzy and finished little A’s cushion.  I am really happy with the results and with the learning process.  I used several new stitches (to me) like whipped back stitch, split stitch and whipped stem stitch.  I must say that I love whipped stitches, and the nice line and colouration that it gives.  That is what I used in the outlines of the leaves and the flower petals.

Here is little A with her new meditation cushion:

And here is a close up of the meditation cushion embroidery.  I left the pink flower unfilled because I thought it looked really good that way.  What do you think?

Another thing that has been on my mind is my mother.  She has, yet again, requested to be my friend on facebook.  She is not currently aware of this blog either.

I am generally not a secretive person, nor do I like to censor myself.  However, over the last 12 years or so of interacting with my mother, I’ve found it useful for our relationship to just omit certain aspects of my life that I know really upset her.

I really want to respect her wishes, but sometimes they just go against what I know to be best for me, or what my ideals are.  I really would love to have a completely open relationship with her where I can be the whole of myself, but that just ends up with us not being able to be around each other.  I don’t really want that.

I respect my mother, what she has done for me in raising me, that she cares about me and that she is a really wonderful, loving and creative person.  I just don’t want to unnecessarily worry her.

I often wonder why our spirits choose the parents they do.  Why did I choose my mother, if we’re going to have such tenuous relations?  I remember seeing a really powerful channel at the Total Health Show in Toronto, when I was pregnant.  She traveled the astral realms, channeled quite clearly and was consciously and sensorily experiencing many more layers of reality than most.  She said that before August 2006 we were in a place of opposites attracting each other, and that explained why a lot of people were being born to the families they were born into.

I’m not sure that this is exactly the case, because in some ways I am definitely my mother’s daughter.  However, in some ways, we are complete opposites.

I find my relationship with my mother to be one of the most interesting, frustrating, educational and strange relationships in my life.  I find it simultaneously supportive and open and incredibly stifling and judgmental.  I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Anyways, I think that I will keep my mother off my facebook account for now.  I think it will be best for both of us.  She might stumble upon this blog as well, and I’ll just have to deal with that when it comes to pass.  For now, for both of our sanity, we will keep our online lives separate.

My Butt Loves New Underwear

14 04 2010

I’m really appreciative of all the positive feedback that I received from yesterday’s post.  It makes me more confident to continue to express my thoughts about these “taboo” ideas – to air out the laundry and get the fresh, clean energy of a real revolution stirring. 🙂

Last night I went to a meeting for a group I am part of called the Sacred Whores.  It is a small group of women who are working to put together erotic artistry, through dance, performance and art.  Instead of doing the classic “burlesque” approach to eroticism, we’re taking on a really spiritual and holistic approach.  In fact, most of the members of the group are reiki masters (myself included).

It was so refreshing to sit down with these women and discuss our ideas, learn from each other and bring together real, healthy ideas on sexuality, sensuality and eroticism.  We talked about how the basis for really sensuality is confidence, something that many women these days are lacking.  It was interesting to share with each other what we felt our strengths were, and how we like to accentuate them in our lives.  All of us agreed that our booties were one of our hottest features.

Which reminds me that I have come a long way.  I remember being 14 and coming home one day crying to my mother.  The kids at school were not very kind to me and often mocked my big booty, joking about how I must be wearing a bustle under my pants to have such a big ass. (etc etc).  This was pretty crushing for my 14 year old self, and I told my mother that I would never have a boyfriend because my butt was too big.

She replied, calming and lovingly, that my big booty was super sexy to men, but that the boys who I was around were too immature to appreciate it.  She reassured me that when I was 30, I would be beating men off of me because my body type would be so attractive.  Of course, when I was 15, this was a crushing blow! “No boyfriends until I’m 30!  I’m going to die before then!” (ah the teen melodrama of it all).

Now, I look fondly at my ass and love its fullness and roundness and its ability to stick out further than any other part on my body.  It has a firm power and a soft squishiness.  It fits better in skirts cause pants never account for its grandeur, which suits me just fine.

And what better gift to give my fair booty than a new pair of underwear?

Today, I got around to the underwear making process.  It was quite simple.  I followed the instructions I found on this fine video from Threadbanger:

I was going to use a silk shirt, but it was a women’s shirt and was too small for my large bum.  So I went to a thrift store and bought a nice rayon shirt for $2.  The whole project took me about 1.5 hours, with tons of interruptions from Life, and a couple strange hiccups from Stella.  I would say that, once I got the pattern figured out, they were pretty darn easy to make.

Here are the shots of the undies immediately after sewing the last stitch:

The greatest news is that they are really comfortable!  I have the back of this shirt to work with too, so tomorrow, or maybe later tonight, depending on my inspiration factor, I will make another pair.  Little A says that she wants some too, just like mama.  So, maybe I’ll make some toddler underwear too.

A neck, a bag, a pillow

9 04 2010

Last night I fell asleep quite deeply, as little A had woken up while I was at yoga and fallen back asleep in her daddy’s bed.  When her daddy brought her to me in the middle of the night, I was quite disoriented.  At some point, she was cuddled up to me, pinning my arm to the bed.  I rolled over quite forcefully and pulled something in my neck.  OUCH!

Today was my day “baby-free”.  On these days, I usually go to yoga in the morning, eat a nice lunch and journal in cafes until I’m ready to journey home.

Today, however, I lay in bed contemplating the necessary actions to get out of bed, without being in distracting pain.  I lay in bed until 11 am, passing in and out of dream time.  So, it seems my body needed the rest and took it.  Bodies are so wise.

I got up and was unable to move my neck to the right, at all.  I’m happy to report that now, with much icing, some massage and stretching, I can move it slightly to the right! Progress!

So, I decided to do things that wouldn’t involve moving my neck to the right very much.  One of the things I decided to do was sew a yoga mat bag as, my sewing machine is more geared towards the left hand side of my head and, I really need a yoga mat bag.

I picked up a piece of fabric from the Bibles for Missions thrift store a while back for $1.50 and didn’t know what I would make with it.  It’s black with spirally white seashells and starfish.  It turns out it was the perfect size to make a yoga bag out of.

I decided to go with a drawstring bag as I didn’t have a zipper and wanted the bag to be easy to sew.  So, I found this pattern and decided to go with it.

It turns out that yoga bags are incredibly easy to sew!! However, before I could get to the easy part of sewing, I had to go through a half hour of frustration with my bobbin thread continuously getting tangled.  I tried just about everything: rethreading the bobbin, rethreading the needle, changing the thread for a thinner thread, talking nicely to the machine (“please Stella, what is it that you need?  Let’s work together baby.”) etc etc.

In the end, the machine was getting stuck on a pin head. (insert one of those forehead slapping emoticons here) Luckily, that’s pretty easy to fix.  So, once the silly frustration was over, I sewed the entire bag in about an hour.  I didn’t photo-document the process this time, because, well, I just didn’t remember to until it was mostly finished.

Here is what it looks like sitting on the only piece of clear floor space in our house (the rest is covered with building sticks that little A has lovingly stewn about the house “Me love me stick mess mama.”).

Not surprisingly, the yoga bag is now filled with much of the stick mess.  The yoga mat is lying on Chris’ office floor, unrolled and enjoying itself there.

After the bag, I iced my neck more, walked the dog (in the snow!), and decided to finish off my embroidery.  Have I mentioned that I LOVE embroidery?  Well, I do. Everyday (though it’s only been three days) I love it more.  I can take it anywhere with me.  I can do it when I have a few minutes to sit down and relax while little A is off doing something by herself.  It’s a great replacement for zoning out on Facebook or YouTube, which are both activities I engage in when I have ten minutes to sit down, but don’t want to do anything that requires me to “think” too much.

Embroidery requires concentration, but in the most delightful way.  I use it as a mindfulness practice, as well as a meditation.  I can easily view my thoughts and how they reflect in my work.  It is a physical manifestation of the steadiness of my mind.

Here is the picture of the finished design, my first embroidery project!!

I was really tempted to completely undo the first day’s work and try to redo it so that it looked nicer.  However, after reading that this would probably destroy the piece, I decided to keep it as a memento of where I started.

Stella and Me

26 03 2010

My sewing machine’s name is Stella.  Today, we got to have our first “real” date.

One of the reasons why I wanted a sewing machine was to sew meditation cushions.  Not so much for meditation but for general sitting.

When I birthed, I decided that poor posture was not something I wanted to model for little A and decided to put effort into having correct posture.  However, our North American furniture, designed mainly with middle aged boomers in mind (who generally have horrible posture), are not at all capable of promoting correct posture.  Take, for example, the POANG by Ikea, a super popular chair:

For one, it supports you so that your sit bones are lower than your legs. Then, it has a curve in the upper back that pushes your shoulders forward, instead of back.  Just about everything about this chair supports you if you have poor posture.  If your goal is perfect posture, however, this chair is a nearly impossible to sit in.

I have yet to discover a piece of modern furniture that offers good support for sitting.  There is always Chris’ super chair, but at $1500 a chair, it is hardly “household” furniture.

So, I’ve decided that in order to promote good posture and still have some sort of semblance of furniture, I would make meditation cushions, in abundance!

E was supposed to help me, but sometimes our schedules just don’t mesh.  This week was one of those times. I took the pattern that I found online for a zafu and made it myself today.

I photo-documented the whole thing for your enjoyment with my personal experience of the pattern.  This pattern was SUPER easy!  It only took me about 2 hours from start to finish, even with a steep learning curve.

To make a very comfy zafu (meditation cushion) you first need to cut a piece of fabric 59″ by 6-9″, depending on how thick you want your cushion.  I went with 7″ because it seemed like a good idea.  However, the piece of fabric that I had bought from the thrift store was only 56″.  I will let you know now that it still worked perfectly, just had less pleats in it.  You also need two circles of 11-13″ in diameter.

If you look at the instructions, it will say you need “two circles of cloth”.  So, my first question, of course, was “how do sewers make circles in cloth?”  While I am sure that there is some sort of fancy way that seamstresses do it, my first answer was to trace something circular.  Where do I find something with a 12″ diameter though?  After measuring every salad and mixing bowl I had, I came to the strange vegetable steamer that I found at Value Village.  I just so happened to be 12″.  🙂

I traced everything with a bright pink sharpie pen, as that was the only thing I had available.  Projects like this remind me of my resourceful super powers.  This project let me know that I do not have to have either the knowledge of what I’m doing nor all the tools to do it, in order to attempt and succeed at something.  I’m quite grateful for that.

The instructions then describe how to make the pleats (14 in all supposedly, though I only had 11).  You draw three small marks, each 3/4 of an inch apart.  I recommend doing this at the top of the fabric, as the next step is folding the outer two marks to touch.  The first time I measure them all I put the marks in the middle….

There is a great saying that was on a friend’s fridge, who I stayed with while at the Anarchist’s bookfair in Montreal.  It said “I have never failed; I have only tried 10000 things that didn’t work.”  This meditation cushion certainly reminded me of that.

The instructions then go on to say that you need to fold and iron all your pleats, then pin them.  Though E counseled me earlier that I may need an iron, I didn’t feel, at the time, that it was very important.  So, no iron.  I think the ironing would’ve made the pinning easier, as my pleats kept coming undone or skewed.  But, we work with what we’ve got, and I did not have an iron.

After pinning all the pleats, my long piece of fabric looked like this:

“You may find it easier to stitch the ends of the pleated cloth strip together on the top and bottom.”  says the instructions.  To me, anything that starts with “you may find it easier” is worth doing.  So, not only did I sew the ends of the pleated cloth strip together, but I sewed around the entire top and bottom, so that the pleats were firmly in place (as I had no iron) and wouldn’t be wobbling about when I added the circles.  I found this easier, but it was an extra step, so if you’re the kind of person who is remotely confident of qualified to sew, you could probably skip that step.

Then I turned the loop inside out and pinned the circles to the top and bottom.  The instructions were a bit confusing, but I just kept pinning and unpinning until it looked right:

and sewed each circle on to the sides (a hot shot of Stella in action!!):

Then I turned it inside out.

Now, as you may recall earlier this week, I talked about the lost platypus.  Every Friday Chris takes little A and I have the day to myself, all day!  So, as promised earlier in the week, Chris took his little girl to get a new, little white platypus.  Little A, Chris and the platypus arrived just as I was pinning the circles on and of course, all of them wanted to check out the action.  This is platypus inside the empty meditation cushion:

Little A and I had a great time stuffing the cushion.  We used some sort of polyester (?) stuffing that we got from the thrift store for $2.50.   Then, the whole family tested out the new meditation cushion:

After everyone had tested it, we decided it was time for a dance party, in honour of the new cushion.  Luckily, our neighbour and dear friend S had just arrived, so much tossing of the cushion, dancing and laughter ensued.  Somewhere along the way we picked up our neighbour’s five year old, who wanted to have a meditation cushion dance party instead of running errands with her mom.  Makes sense to me. 🙂

In all, this was a success!  I am going to learn how to embroider so that I can embroider patterns on my next ones.  I have plenty of material left over and figure I can get at least another two out of that piece.  Hooray for Bibles for Missions thift store and it’s super cheap, great fabric!  Now that I know what I am doing, I think the next one will take me much less time and effort.

In the new place I’m moving into (May 1st!!!) I will not use chairs, but cushions, to encourage good posture!  Though, I will probably keep chairs around for when my parents come to visit, so that they can still be comfortable at my house.

It was great to have a cold, sunny day to spend an afternoon sewing on my new machine!  I know she and I will make great friends and allies.

Til tomorrow!