coffee + cre8tive {july 21 '06}

The book and blog of the week are up! Yippee! I have an interview with Marilyn (blogger featured) coming up soon, as well as my review of In Stitches by Amy Butler (Chronicle sent me an advance copy, I've already had it for a few months). All I can say is BUY THE BOOK. It's great and you know, although it reads a little more for the skilled sew queen, there are so many beginner projects that you can take on a few things and work your way up to the bigger things.

This sounds very Betty Crocker, I know, but every modern woman should pack mad skills at the Singer. I'm serious, and I know it's totally opinionated of me, but sewing is like cooking, you really should try to have it under your belt. When it comes to cooking, I can throw down like the rest of them, but usually the end result isn't much different from the other 10 things I can cook - I tend to use the same ingredients over and over (and over!) and stick to 'comfort' recipes that are easy. My husband is happy, we haven't died yet, and I guess the meals are somewhat tasty because I haven't yet heard a horrific gasps from the table when I serve (refer to bridget jones' diary deux, table scene, blue string soup as point of reference).

Sewing, let's face it, isn't a required skill for survival. Centuries ago, yes. Nowadays, no. Cooking, you sorta need to learn the basics at least to sustain life and live healthy. I think that's why so many of us don't learn how to sew - there's no need with your friends Lord + Taylor and Target. Plus, everyone is way too busy to sew these days. I still think it doesn't hurt to learn. You live a bit more freely and take charge of your decor a little more. No more leaving stores in frustration because you can't find the right color throw pillow. You can also save crazy money.

I'm a total beginner when it comes to sewing (embarrassing to confess since I started as a child, but I still kinda suck), but I made curtains for my living room in 3 hours over the winter because I was sick of never finding what I wanted and refused to pay a seamstress a grand to give me what I wanted. So, off to the fabric store where I purchased quality textiles (the cutter, after giving her the window size, gave me the exact amount of fabric that I needed. Thank goodness because math isn't my strong point). I brought the fabric home, cut to size, and merely hemmed all four sides of each panel and added clip hooks (from Target) to the top and viola! insta-panels. Anyone can do that. No rod pockets, no pleats, no lining, no no nonsense. Sure, I wouldn't sew for my clients and sell them my work (gasp!), but what I do sew works for me so I'm happy. My guests don't seem to know the difference. To a professional seamstress, my work would be considered absolute rubbish, but I'm happy with it so I don't care. Just like I'm happy making basic meals at night.

Point is, cooking and sewing gives you freedom to move around a little in your own head. You grow in a creative sense. It's also emotionally very rewarding, at least after you have the basics down. Saying "I made it" is also a huge self esteem boost.

Back to the Amy Butler book. It's inspiring and packed with patterns and directions, along with photos of each finished project, so you really can't go wrong, everything is completely mapped out for you. I'll be back with photos of the book so you can see it for yourself. Until then, stick around because I have a slew of fresh finds to post for you today...

(image from smart ass cookie; it totally made you laugh, didn't it?)