How To: Transfer an Embroidery Design on Black Fabric

We have a new DIY kit available in the shop just in time for Valentine’s day!

finished hell of a universe

This quote (from an e.e. cummings poem) pretty much sums up what I think love and life are all about. Sure, there are chores to do, livings to make, kids to raise, but also: anything is possible, the universe is yours, and every day is a great day to explore, create, explode boundaries, and squeeze the ones you love.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to transfer your design onto black fabric!

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1. Assemble your materials. You’ll need your transfer paper, the design you want to trace, your dark colored fabric, and a sharp thing, like a pen.

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2. Place your transfer paper color (in this case, yellow) side down onto your fabric where you want the design to go. Place your design on top of it (not shown).

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3. Push down hard and trace the outline of your design. This will transfer the lines you draw onto your fabric. The resulting lines with be light but visible, and should be completely covered by your embroidery, so you won’t need to wash it out at the end (but you can if you need to!)

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4. Stitch away! For this piece, I stitched each letter in a different color (but you can do it all in the same color, or change the color with each word, or go black on black because you’re a witch- whatever you want.)

hell of a close up

I made this tutorial video for those of you that need help getting started sewing.

 

The F Word (Also, Many Uses of the Word “Horse”)

What’s worth doing, even if I fail?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. If I’m feeling pessimistic, I can trace the years of my life from age 5 to 29 along a craggy line on a depressed graph of little failures.

In elementary school, my best friend was a mouth breather, and my nickname was cross-eyed bucktooth beaver (does that need more hyphens?). At summer camp, Sasha deigned to call me over and tell me that she was “going out” with Ben and I said, “Cool, where?,” which was NOT cool. My freshman year of high school, I got straight D’s. At NYU, I majored in drinking. I was a well-meaning but muddled friend; once (wasted) I tried to set my friend Sarah up with a homeless person and their shopping cart outside of Mars Bar. After college, I spent two years working at Urban Outfitters (they fired me). I’ll stop there.

The common thread through all these years, the upward trend opposing the downward spiral on my theoretical graph, is fear. I was afraid of being laughed at, afraid of not knowing as much as other people, afraid I wasn’t good or cool or smart. I let that fear dictate how I lived; I mostly stopped trying to be anything other than numb. I stuck to the low road.

My main anesthetics were liquor and men. At bars, I could quickly disappear into a cup, or the possibility that the guy in the corner with the emo haircut is smarter than he looks (and wants nothing more than to whisk me away from my own head and into a Paul Rudd movie).

I don’t rely on those vices anymore, but changing those behaviors didn’t change the audio loop clanging in my head: BE AFRAID. Of strangers, earthquakes, toxic shock syndrome, people not liking me, global warming, lung cancer, saying the wrong thing, being the wrong kind of mother. Give me any topic at all, and I can tell you the most self-destructive way to worry about it. I am very good at being bad at this.

It’s not that I stopped being scared the last few years, but that I stopped letting that fear boss me around. I came to realize that I could be afraid and still do things. I could brave the potential failure inevitably looming darkly in the distance. Sometimes it catches you, and you fall down. Other times, you cruise right by it, on your way to some real thing. Either way, you just move on.

As I got older, my world got bigger. I had nothing, and then eventually had a person I loved, a home, a baby, now a business. The cliche is true: the more shit you have, the more you have to lose. The potential failures get wider, deeper, they sting more. They ride in on an evil horse (no offense to horse people) and tell you not to dream too big, that the horse can shatter anything with its giant failure horse hammer.

The answer to the question about what’s worth doing despite failing is: everything. I want to go to California even though I read that New Yorker article about the impending doom of the next crushing earthquake. I want to speak up even though I might say something deeply uncool. I want to make art even if other people think it’s shitty. I want to write even if no one ever reads it. I want to sit my ass down in the world, own my spot, look fear in the face and say, “Oops, I didn’t recognize you. Is that a new horse?”

evil_horse_by_tammierokz-d33kcju

image via tammierokz.deviantart.com

What I Learned From Three Amazing Moms in Ten Very Long Days Across the USA

Last week, at 2:30 in the morning, I got up out of bed, packed a taxi up with an enormous suitcase, stroller, backpack, diaper bag, carseat, and a seven month old and left home for our first of five flights to four states in ten days.

Yes, I am fucking crazy.

I need a 10-year-long nap

I need a 10-year-long nap

I also now feel capable of doing basically anything, but not without the simultaneous experience of a month-long low-level panic attack and raging insomnia. I’ll accept the tradeoff, because even though I cried in the airport on the way to baggage claim after the last plane touched down through bad weather, I feel brave as hell.

There were a few reasons why I booked this trip four months ago, mainly to launch my very first business. I expected a crazy adventure, the excitement of sharing our new project with the world, the exhaustion, and the relief of home. I’m surprised, however, by the thing I keep thinking back on, the meatiest conclusion: I feel like I just returned from a corny but insightful Goldilocks-style pilgrimage to see how other mothers raise their babies, and how each of these styles fit into my own perception of motherhood.

Lu and I spent time with three other mothers on our trip. Here’s what we learned.

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