Occupational Hazard

Taking a bit of a break, coming off two long weekend craft shows back to back.  Regrouping, re-energizing, enjoying the pleasures of summer and sewing for Fort Ligonier Days in October.   It is strange to think of acorns, warm scarves and winter flannel dresses while the earth is green, the flowers are in full bloom and we are swimming every day to keep cool.  This constant thinking ahead, is it perhaps making time go faster?  A danger to this line of work?


As I sew for tomorrow
I lose the light of today.
Broken threads, empty bobbins,
tired eyes and bent body.

Children dreaming, cats snoring,
the moon and stars winking quietly.
What will I think then,
when I choose to look back?


Spring Happenings

Not sure about your corner of the world but lately mine is not looking much like spring!  Snow and freezing temperatures have kept us indoors for too long.  But then sewing happens…

Wanted to share some new zip pouches hot off the old sewing machine.  I designed these as the start of an Elemental Pouch series, corresponding to the four elements.


earth fawn pouch

These are Water/Mermaid:

mermaid pouch

I will be working on Air and Fire in the weeks to come.  You can store whatever you like in each pouch, either organized by elemental association or not.

I also am really excited to say that I will be appearing at the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival this summer.  I grew up attending this fest every year with my mother and cannot wait to go this year in a much different way.  She is smiling somewhere!

Ah, thinking of warm weather, sunshine, iced tea and craft fairs…it’s almost here.


Taming the Chaos

Although I don’t observe Lent, I jumped onto the bandwagon of the 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge.  If you want more information you can find it over at White House Black Shutters.  No you don’t have to get rid of an entire bag every day.  But you would be surprised how easy it is to make that happen!

I am going to show you my progress so far.

Day One was boring. It was completing my accounting for BBGS for 2014 so we could then file our taxes.  It took a lot but I got it done and it felt great.  Sorry I have no photos of this exciting momentous event to share.

Day Two was pretty transformative. I tackled Mount Mayhem.  The avalanche, spillway or living moving blob of fabric slowly covering us and our dining room.  The Estate is small and I work out of my dining room.  It is not easy, or pretty.  I had pretty much gone into a spastic sew everything state before the holidays and destroyed any order to this pillowing pile.  As per usual I took a hibernation hiatus afterwards and well, this was what it looked like:

40 days day 1 no 3

I am so sorry I made you see this!  But wait, after a day of sorting, cleaning, purging and folding, I give you (insert drumroll):

40 days day 1

TA-DAH!  Behold the newly tamed upcycled fabric selection.  We can once again eat without fear of a life-ending collapse.  Yield: one bag refuse, one bag of fabric to donate and two smaller bags of scrap fabric to donate.

Day Three was tackling ye olde sewing table/business desk area. It was pretty hoarders-worthy too.  Here is the before shot:

40 days day 2 before

Ick.  No sewing or business happening there!  So I got to work and ended up with this:

40 days day 2 after40 days day 2 after 2

A place I might be interested in working in. Especially if I move the secret chocolate stash into there.

Anyone else out there participating?  I wanted to declutter the work spaces first to get my sewing mojo going again after this long rest.  Spring is not far off despite this snow and I know I will find myself at some outdoor shows soon and hope to have lots of fun new offerings.  I feel less stressed already and hope to keep working all over the Estate in the coming weeks.

Cell Phone Pouch

The start: my hand-drafted, original patterns.
Fabrics chosen, cut then pressed.
Stopping point: had to pick up the Wee One from school. Working on antler details on left.
Voila! Finished cell phone pouch.
Brand it, always.
Sometimes, I almost like the back of applique more than the front…almost…
Fits like a glove…
Detail of applique and free-form machine stitch details.

Myself Monday Wednesday results:  cell phone pouch.  Upcycled fabrics, including my favorite, corduroy.  Lined with a vintage green and white print. If it doesn’t yet look like spring outside my window, at least I can manifest it into existence this way.

After it was complete I showed it to Wee One.  I asked him what was on the front?  He answered, “Flowers and a vase.”  Oh well, flowers in a vase evokes springtide too.  If I were Robin Hood, I think I would like this to carry my arrows about in.  Probably a bit bigger though.

How are you invoking, begging for, dreaming of spring?

A Yellow Dress, Finished

I have caught the plague again.  It has been in my body for exactly 11 days now.  It is awful and don’t wish it on anyone.  I missed two Myself Mondays due to this but last night, toughed it out and finished the Yellow Dress.

20140305_0930562014-03-05 12.58.1220140305_09325220140305_09320920140305_093331

Overall, I am elated I was able to draft my own pattern and sew a dress and have it fit.  I think I will wear it outside of the house, which is the other test a fresh-off-the-sewing machine frock must pass.  I learned a bit too in the process.  Really, learning is what this is all  about for me, stretching my mind and skills a bit further than they’ve previously gone.  In that end, I am happy.

Plus, it has pockets.

The dress fits, is comfy and has pockets.  However, it is not entirely flattering, especially around the derriere.  So if you see a gal wearing a yellow dress backing out of a room, it just might be me.

Can’t wait for next Myself Monday…

A Yellow Dress

Myself Monday workings for this week:  Yellow Dress.



Decided to just make my own pattern.  Kind of.  I did use a dress I like the fit of to draw the pattern out on newspaper.  The pockets are way too low, however, the dress is also longer than I desired so I spent this evening ripping out stitches and will reattach the bodice and skirt at some point.  I have several custom works I need to finish up first.  It also needs binding around the neck and shoulders.  The bust darts are perhaps too high but I have yet to try it on with a bra.   This could considerably change things.


This week I did something just for me.  On Monday, I started a new project.  Not for my business.  Not for my kids.  Not for a friend.

Selfish, I admit, it is. There are, however, benefits to this kind of focus.  I was excited to sew something, anything I desired.  New skills were acquired (bust darts) and shaky techniques (bias tape binding, serging with my new serger) got extra practice in a no pressure/time crunch free setting.

Summer Blouse
Summer Blouse

I present the Summer Blouse, from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross.  Overall I am happy with it and will probably even wear it outside the estate.  Following a pattern is not my strong suit;  most of what I make for Brown Bird Green String are my original ideas and patterns and process.  Having to follow another person’s idea of what something should be, another’s plan, is a stretch at times, a well as an ease or comfort at others.  This pattern was very easy to follow.  Having sewn the Trapeze Dress from this book, I was confident in making a size medium.

Perhaps it will look more relaxed after I wash it and don’t press it, as ironing clothing is not something I do, aside from when sewing garments.  The neck is also a bit high in the front when buttoned up.  On a side note, the last three garments I have sewn from patterns are all green.  Who knows, maybe I will get all crazy and sew something red or purple next week? Since yes, Mondays are now my day.  Myself Mondays.  Join me, won’t you?

Why IS meat mean?

Nothing like a cold snap to get a girl writing!  Here we go.

Something weird happened yesterday.  Maybe troubling is the word for it.  As I perused the Facebook sphere of silly, political, annoying, ranting and quiz-taking I came upon this:


A friend of mine had liked and commented on this.  I read it and read her comment and then made the mistake of reading other comments.  They were all by carnivores and all quite cruel.

Then I commented privately in a message to her, trying to be kind of funny but also to let her know I saw it.  Saying, I saw you dissing the vegans, tsk tsk.  She came back really hard at me.  I won’t say everything she said here…no I will!  It’s my blog, damnit!  Here was her reply:

“I don’t believe that eating meat is bad.  I don’t believe that its bad to kill game for food.  I also do not believe in killing game to just waste.  If you kill it, be responsible and harvest it.  Its your choice if you don’t want to eat it.  But for people to tell me I am destroying animal life and my life by eating it…is hilarious to me.”

Who tells you that?  Who?  Other vegans?  I have to say, I don’t walk around telling people that.  The vegans I know don’t walk around telling people that either.  We are sort of shy about it at times.  We wear it close to our hearts.  It is important, for us.  We get it is not important to you.

We cringe at every potluck, every invite to a sit-down meal.  We struggle to find something you might like that we like to eat.  Because you won’t like it, you rarely ever do.  We go hungry sometimes and don’t complain about it.  We watch you eat dessert and have none.  Because it means something to us.

To be honest, I could care less if a vegan or non-vegan live longer.  I don’t do this for my physical health.  In fact if you told me being a vegan would take years OFF my life, I still would be a vegan.  So why?

I am a vegan because I love animals.  I see no difference in a cat or dog’s eye than I do in a cow or goat’s.  I feel sadness in thinking of the loss of life, the struggle of living in a pen or a tiny cage in a hopeless place that smells of death to be killed among many.  Never having been thanked for the gift of your life.  For you having to be made pregnant so you will produce milk that someone else takes, not your calf, but some rank ugly human, who kicks you if you balk or yells at you when you are too old and stressed to produce and then you just die.  Having been pregnant and then breastfeeding two babies myself, I can imagine how that would feel.  I would hope for death.

I don’t know why you don’t care.  But I do.   I don’t know why you have to be so very mean about it.  I don’t judge what you do.  I live with a man who is a carnivore almost exclusively and my two wees are omnivores.  I don’t think other people have to do what I do. I choose to live this way, not to rub it in your face or tell you you are bad or live longer than you.  I do it because I feel lighter.  I feel I have walked a good walk in doing no harm.  I do it because of the love I have not just for my own cats but all the beasts I see.

So here it is.  Why make fun of someone who is different?  I am vegan not to hurt you or insult you.  I am vegan not to outlive you or best you.  In fact, my choice is not about you at all.  So why the anger?  Why the hate?  If you don’t like me simply because I am a vegan, then just maybe I don’t like you either.  Not because you eat meat.  Because you are mean.

We had some additional words and left things in a good way.  I still don’t understand the hilarity of this sign.  I am glad I am a vegan and if you don’t want to invite me anywhere, particularly anywhere dangerous then so be it.  But I won’t be crying into my cup.

Oh and the kicker?  In looking up the sign for the above picture, I found this article where in fact this “quote” was an original joke told by a vegan.  Stolen by a meat shop.  Oh the irony…