Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Closing Time

In every blog’s life this part is inevitable, the last post. Angela and I haven’t posted anything new in over a year and we’ve decided that this is something we no longer have time for. Both of our lives have had some drastic changes over the past year. Angela’s family has moved yet again (their second since we started the blog) and their latest move is taking them out of the country. For me things went a little sideways. I am no longer a stay-at-home mom, nor married. My former husband decided that the family and life we had built together were no longer what he wanted and moved on with another woman (a married woman who lived across the street). My children and I weren’t given much notice in the change of plans, and I had to make some tough decisions, so we packed up our stuff and moved to Texas to be closer to my family. The past year has been a blur with the divorce and getting my kids and I back on stable ground. We are still a work in progress but I am thrilled to be starting nursing school this Fall. Before I say farewell I wanted to talk about some personal things that have had a huge impact on my life. Things that I wish someone had talked about with me. In my marriage I was emotionally and verbally abused. It started soon after we were married. First it was little things like making fun of me or telling me that I wasn’t good at something. After our daughter was born and I left the Army to raise her, it got worse because now I had no monetary value to him, yet he was the one that begged me to leave the Army so I could raise Emily. With all this placed upon me, I spiraled into a deep pit of Postpartum depression, it got so bad I couldn’t think of anything else but dying, and because of this depression I was even more blinded by how poorly I was being treated and how that was affecting me. Being emotionally and verbally abused, to me, was very insidious, there was no clear cut sign that I was in an unhealthy relationship. And the longer the abuse occured, the more accustomed to it I became, and the easier it was to blame myself and make excuses for him. Ed never hit me but he came close a few times. One time I was so afraid that he was going to hurt me I fled the house with the kids and hid in a hotel. Hours later, I finally decided to turn my phone on, only to have him call and threaten me. He told me that if I didn’t come home he was going to call his friends that were police officers and they would come get me. It was beyond scary and I wish that night I had gone to a shelter, that I had reported what had happened. But instead I went home, because I only had $20, no gas, and no job - how was I going to feed my babies. After this incident things were better for a while, however they didn’t stay that way. At first I thought I was being dramatic, but now I realize I was just trying to keep my family together by ignoring serious warning signs. One of the biggest and scariest signs I started noticing was after getting angry with me or us fighting, Ed would go to our bedroom and pull out his handgun. He would drop the magazine, clear the chamber, reload the round into the magazine, load the magazine and chamber a round. I would have this thought every time I heard him do this - was today going to be the day he finally kills me. But I would brush the thought away, telling myself I was being dramatic. Ed did other things too, like coming home one day to tell him he was going to start up an affair with a young woman in one of his graduate level classes, he actually smiled when I broke down in tears. A few months later he would end the relationship, saying he wanted to focus on us and had realized how much the affair had hurt me. However, unbeknownst to me he had already started his affair with the married friend across the street. And a few months pass and we come to the point of the story where he tells me he wants a divorce because I never made him happy, that he never loved me and never knew why he married me. And that was it, the kids and I moved to Texas and started our new chapter. The physical separation finally allowed me to began to process everything I had gone through. I started talking to friends about the scary things that had happened in the marriage, and I finally began to see that I had been in an extremely abusive relationship. One of the friends I confided in recommended a book called “Why Does He Do That” and that really drove home that I wasn’t crazy that there were actual words that described his behavior, like gaslighting. I now know I am “lucky” to have been released from that marriage, even under the circumstance it ended in. That had it not been for the woman across the street, and Ed’s desire to watch me suffer in pain (legit, I asked him right before we left NJ if he enjoyed hurting me and he just smiled and shrugged his shoulders) I might never have gotten out. So if as you read the cliff note version of my story and see yourself in these words, please know you aren’t crazy, that the fear you have is real. You have a choice, you don’t have to stay in this relationship. I know how hard the decisions you have to make will be. If you are like me and haven’t worked in years, you are going to have some serious doubts about how you will provide for your children. You are going to be scared of a future that could includes no health insurance, no retirement and more wing and prayer than most people are comfortable with. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get free. There are days when all I want to do is be at home with my kids again, to have our “old” family back together, but it can’t be - it won’t work cause it takes two to have a marriage. It takes mutual respect and mutual love for a marriage to benefit both people. Your partner has to choose to change, you can’t save them for themself. So with that please seek guidance from your church, start being honest with your friends and family, and go to a women’s shelter and ask questions. Please remember that there is only one of you and you are precious. Know that you are valuable no matter what your spouse is saying or doing to you. You have a choice. I know this last blog post is a hefty one, but I’ve learned over the past year from telling my story that there are women going through or have been through something similar. But I would never have been able to connect with these women if I didn’t start being honest, and I think abuse in the marriage needs to be something we start talking honestly about, and maybe we can change the narrative for our daughters.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Auction to Benefit Zoey, a Cancer Warrior

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There is a young warrior girl my daughter and I have been following on Facebook. This young warrior is fighting a type of cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and it is brutal. There is no cure, and this type of cancer takes our smallest cancer warriors very quickly and with a lot of pain.

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Zoey and Emily are the same age, and will be starting kindergarten this fall. This is one of the reasons why I’m so “attached” to Zoey - she is Emily and Emily is her. There is no difference between these two spunky girls, except one has a cancer that is trying to kill her.

Zoey’s and her parents have been putting hope into an experimental treatment that is in Germany. They have been flying out once a month for treatment and have to cover everything associated with this trip, including the medical costs, Zoey’s mom talks about this on their Facebook page.

To help Zoey’s Family with the financial burden they are carrying, a family friend is hosting a Facebook auction that runs from April 7th to April 11th and there are over 150 items!  

To support the auction I sewed up a dress using the Lacey pattern from Violette Field Threads.

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The dress is a size 4 / 5. The finished measurements are Bust 23.5, Waist 22 (but adjustable because of the wrap style), Length 23.75. It’s a classic wrap dress with cap sleeves and sash closure and is fully lined. Currently the bid is at $24 (as of 9:30 am Friday morning).

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Please consider supporting Zoey and her family, if the auction doesn’t have something you want or you get outbid, Zoey has a GoFundMe page that donations can be made to.

Our cancer warriors need a huge community to support them, they and their families can’t do this alone. The doctors, scientists, nurses and countless other people involved in helping these children in their fight need our support too. Love Beats Cancer!

Written by: Shawna


Friday, February 24, 2017

Petite Stitchery's Boho Collection

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Petite Stitchery & Co has been busy these past few months designing their new Boho Collection that just released (and is on sale, but not sure for how long).


I tested two of the new patterns in this collection. Please know that they patterns have been updated and the pictures are from the testing phase so some things have changed (such as shortening the band on the sleeves above so it doesn’t dangle past the wrist). If you have a question just email me or leave a comment! Petite Stitchery also has an amazing team of testers and many are posting their outfits on Petite Stitchery’s Facebook group here. And at the bottom of this post I’ve linked to a few other bloggers sharing their creations from this collection!


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Up first is Hazel (baby version can be found here), a wonderful knit tunic with the lower sleeves gathered below the elbow and banded at the bottom to create a full lower sleeve. The neckline on this pattern is also different, in that it is finished with a facing rather than a band. I added some poms-poms to several of the seams of this shirt and made the flower headband and pin.
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The next pattern I tested was the Jasper Vest. I sewed this vest up for my neighbor’s daughter, and she loved it. This pattern is especially great for a tween girl. Depending on how you sew it, it’s reversible. I hand stitched the bias binding on one side so ensure a clean look on both sides. From my understanding the instructions are going to cover a few different construction methods based upon the fabric being used, so don’t let the bias binding put you off.


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I made the felt flower pin and will hopefully have a tutorial posted soon on how to make your own.
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This pattern features a two piece side panel that creates curved seam lines that makes this pattern different from other vest patterns I’ve seen.
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Besides hand sewing the bias binding, this pattern is a pretty fast sew. From printing the pattern to finish (besides binding) this pattern took me about 2 ½ hours.
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Here are the links to some more inspiration!

  • It’s Lisel sewed up the woven Willow which features a design that allows for using multiple prints. She also sewed up the knit Laurel, and all white Jasper vest.   
  • KuttieCouture sewed up 5 of the patterns so is spreading her posts over three days. Here you can find her version of Hazel and Tansy, which is a pants pattern that can be sewed in woven or knit. She posted about the Laurel knit dress here. Lastly she wrote about the Clover, which is designed for woven fabric, here.  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Me, Myself and I - Ohh and a friend or two!!

Me, Myself & I -- Oh and a friend or two!


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Here I am again on another Sis Boom blog tour! The theme for this blog tour is all about sewing for ourselves, which for me is difficult since I have two small children. Kids are so much easier, cheaper and quicker to sew for - plus they freaking grow like weeds and are constantly needing new clothes.


For this blog tour I enlisted the help of two of my friends who are novice sewers. I don’t think either of them have sewn a garment for themselves before. If you are new to sewing for yourself, you really can’t go wrong with a Sis Boom pattern, the instructions are great and very thorough. Add to that the patterns come with many basic alterations already put into the pattern!
And if you know anything about Sis Boom’s blog tour, you know there are some awesome giveaway prizes, be sure to read to the bottom!!


We went to my favorite boutique shop, Mimosa Goods, to take pictures. What I love about Sarah’s shop is that she stocks items that fall in one of three categories; ethically made/fair trade, organic/earth friendly, or locally made. If you are local to central New Jersey her shop is just amazing, and it sits in the middle of downtown Bordentown - which offers lots of little shops and restaurants. If you aren’t local no worries, her little shop is online too! (And no I was not reimbursed in anyway to say all that - I just love her shop and supporting her business.)  


Let me introduce you to our first model, Elaine. She sewed up the Devon using a polyknit from JoAnns. This isn’t Elaine’s first rodeo with being a part of a Sis Boom blog tour, her daughter was a model for the “Back To School” tour that was hosted in August. Her husband was also the photographer for our photo shoot - how awesome is that!


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Elaine chose to go with the gathered sleeves and ribbon tie neck options.


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In terms of being a beginner sewer, this top was fairly easy. The most difficult thing about this shirt was the fabric - oh that fabric. We actually gave up trying to sew it on her machine and used my serger and sewing machine. After that, in terms of construction, the gathers and attaching them was something Elaine and I did together. Elaine figured out the neckline with the notch on her own!! This pattern is also stellar in terms that is has a loose fit and the option to have an adjustable neckline - this really allows you to sew up a garment that you will wear.


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Up next is Shannon. She sewed up the Tortola in a thrift store fabric, I think it was similar to a lawn or voile. This pattern was a little tricky, in that it is cut on the bias. We found it easier to cut out the pieces not on the fold (so print the pattern twice and tape together). There is plenty of ease built in that it could also be cut on the straight of grain.
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And if you think that necklace is divine - it is from the little shop we were taking our pictures in, you can find it here!


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With the Tortola the sewing was easy going, as it is a simple tank that is finished with facings. The only tricky part that I did for Shannon was to understitch the facings, but that is a learned technique and isn’t necessary. In regards to the fit we do need to do a pattern adjust with the bust dart, it is about two inches to low for her, but don’t let that deter you. This pattern comes with the option to chose a full bust adjustment - for those that have to do this on the regular this really makes this pattern stand out!
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And lastly me, your host for today! A little side note, I’m wearing three inch heels -- and am still incredibly short next to these women, this really gave our photographer obstacles to overcome :) I sewed up the Patricia in a faux twill from JoAnn - I’m not really sure what it was but it was a nice fabric to work with.
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I wanted a more fitted shirt so used the finished measurements listed to determine the size I sewed up. The pattern also really lends itself for color blocking.


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I really can’t wait to make myself a summer cover up with this pattern!


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And if you like my necklace and bracelet, I’m sure you can guess where I got them, yep at my favorite little shop here! I had picked these items up the last time I had been in Mimosa Goods, they are made by a company called “The Shine Project”.


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It was such a fun project working with these two incredible women, and I’m so lucky to have friends like them!


If you’d like to enter to win a free pattern enter the Rafflecopter link below!! The winner gets to choose one of the patterns we sewed up, Devon, Tortola, or Patricia!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I would like to thank Jason for being our awesome photographer and Sarah for allowing us to use her shop, Mimosa Goods, as the location for our pictures.

Check out Sis Boom’s Facebook group for more “selfish” sewing ideas!

And if you have some extra free time check out the other “selfish” makes from the blog tour!
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Written by: Shawna
We were each given a free pattern for participating in this blog tour!