Taking The Late Sew on the (wrong side of the) Road!

I’ve got some huge, exciting, British news. That’s right. Get ready for The Late Sew’s British Isles Adventure!

In one week from today, Mr. Late Sew and I are headed on the trip of a lifetime!

Let me back up to explain how this came about. Last fall, I was visiting my parents when I received a phone call from my husband. He said, “I’m about to do something very irresponsible.” Cue the horror, right? First you must know that my husband is a wizard at getting amazing travel deals. Amazing. It’s a talent I’ve never seen matched. But it’s been years since we’ve gone on a trip, because, you know, life and stuff.

ANYWAY, he found some absolutely incredible flights to Europe. Like, cheaper than lots of domestic flights. It was insane. There were several cities included, and we deliberated for a bit about where we might want to go. One of the options was Dublin, and we decided that we could fly there, spend a few days in Ireland, and then make the tour of Scotland, England, and maybe Wales. A British Isles Grand Tour!

I’m pretty much obsessed with all things British. I studied British literature in college (and I’m a Ravenclaw for life), we love British music,  both of our ancestries have huge Irish and British origins, and pretty much everything I watch is produced by the BBC. We cannot wait. We’re renting a car and driving all around (on the wrong side of the road, yikes!) and it’s going to be absolutely brilliant. Really smashing.

So that’s where we’re headed! We’ll be leaving in a week, I’ve got loads to do, I’m super overwhelmed, I’m sad to be leaving my babies, but I’m also INCREDIBLY excited. We’ve got some amazing things on our itinerary, and are going to try our best to see and do as much as we possibly can.

I’m also going to be sharing tons of handmade clothing I’ll be wearing on our trip, including a few things I’m feverishly sewing last minute, in true Vienna fashion. We’ll see how much I get done!

This quilt is the Victory Garden pattern. I made this almost four years ago for my husband for his birthday. I actually brought it with me to give it to him at the hospital because our little boy was born three days before my husband’s birthday. He saw the quilt rolled up and thought it was for the baby, but it was for him! It’s probably the coolest quilt I’ve ever made. I kind of want to pack it so we can take pictures of it over there, but maybe that’s insane? Still might do it…

I would love to hear any suggestions you have for things we must do. I’ve got a few sewing stops on my wish list, and I’m hoping to share some of our adventures along the way. I plan on getting a few posts written while we’re there, but be sure to follow along @thelatesew on Instagram to see all of our grand and lovely British adventures! Pip pip, cheerio, darlings!

The Joy of Needlework

You know how there’s The Joy of Painting, with Bob Ross? And it’s genius and soothing and hilarious and entertaining and just down right rad? All of those good feels are the same things I feel about needlework. Probably because I don’t paint.

When I say needlework, I guess that’s kind of an ambiguous term. For me, it means cross stitching, embroidery, or anything else I do by hand with a needle and thread. Except not mending. because I actually hate that. Everyone hates that, so don’t ever ask a person who sews if they’d like to do your mending. They might say yes, to be polite, but truthfully, ain’t nobody got time for that. But yes, cross stitching and embroidery are good for what ails ya.

I first learned to cross stitch as a wee lass. It’s probably actually one of the very first crafts I learned. My mama taught me because she always worked on cross stitch kits and I asked her if I could make one. I’m pretty sure I never finished it, but I remember thinking it was fun and enjoyable. Flash forward to my adult life, when I wanted to make a giant cross stitch for my second baby’s nursery.

Moose Cross Stitch
I designed my own pattern for this moose and poked holes into a canvas so I could cross stitch it on there. It was kind of tedious actually, but it reminded me of how much I loved doing needlework. Ever since then (that was three years ago!) I’ve always had at least one needlework project going at at time. They are perfect for traveling, long waits at the doctor’s office, or when I sit and visit with family and friends. My husband teases me because I always have to bring my needlework.

I wanted to share a couple recent projects that I’ve finished. It tends to take me awhile to finish needlework projects, not because they take a long time necessarily, but just because I only pick them up here and there. This first one I started when I was pregnant with my baby, and I finished a few months ago when I finally put his nursery together.

David Bowie Embroidery

If you can’t read my handwriting (or hand stitching, as it were), these are the lyrics from one of my favorite David Bowie songs, Golden Years:

I’ll stick with you baby for a thousand years

nothing’s gonna touch you in these golden years.

I have always loved David Bowie, and he passed away when I was just a few weeks away from having my baby boy. I love this song and I thought this lyric was particularly meaningful and descriptive of how I feel as a mother. I want them to have golden childhoods and protect them with all that I am. Anyway, lest I get too carried away and start weeping uncontrollably, as I often do when I think about mothering my babes, let’s get back to the needlework, shall we?

I asked my talented sister Chloe to draw me a scallop pattern, which I transfered onto my fabric, which is a Cirrus Solid by Cloud9 Fabrics (I’m absolutely bonkers for these solids. I don’t actually choose solid fabrics very often, but when I do, it’s almost always one of these. The colors are just so rich and beautiful.) Then I transferred the lettering, which I just typed into the computer in a font I liked and then traced it on my fabric. I was an idiot and used a fine point Sharpie, which bled onto my fabric, and I was so upset I almost scrapped the whole thing, but I just stitched more thickly over it. There are much better ways to do this, like using a frixion pen or freezer paper, which can transfer things you print directly onto your fabric. You live and you learn, eh?

I finished it off with little French knots, which are so much fun to do. I painted a wooden embroidery hoop black and mounted it to hang right in the hoop. I love the way it looks in the nursery and the sentiment it holds. We had family photos at my house a couple months ago (you’ve seen some before, and you’ll see them again, because I’m obsessed with them.), and our mind-blowingly brilliant photographer Meg took this photo of it without my even knowing. I was so glad she did, because she did a much better job than I could ever do.

Speaking of family portraits, here’s my other latest needlework project:

Cross Stitch Family Portrait
Here we are! I have wanted to do one of these for literally years! I started with this post as my inspiration. Oh Martha. The Patron Saint of a Handmade Life. Anyway, I drew individual patterns out for each family member. I did this when my baby was a newborn, and originally my figure held him in my arms. It was so cute, I kind of wish I’d still stitched it that way, but I didn’t get around to actually stitching it until about a month ago, and now he’s one, so it seemed more accurate to stitch him this way. I also had to add two little gray Russian Blue kitties, our Remy and Pippa, because we recently adopted those rascals into our family.

I cannot tell you how it thrilled me to make this. Each figure I finished brought a little squeal from my heart. My littles love it too; they got so excited when they saw themselves and kept saying “Look Daddy! It’s me! Look Daddy, it’s Remy! It’s you!”

These are obviously caricatures, so there are some inaccuracies, and you can’t capture everything about everyone, but there are some little nuances that I love. My little red Saltwater Sandals (I wear salties pretty much every day from March until October. I have many pairs.) My boy’s little turquoise glasses. My husband’s plaid shirt. He’s supposed to be much taller (he’s almost a foot taller than I am) but I didn’t realize it until after and no way was I redoing that plaid shirt. I was too proud of it and it took me a million years.

I love this so much, my only problem now is figuring out where to hang it. I want it somewhere I can always see it because it brings me so much joy. I’m excited to make another one a few years down the road when the kids are bigger (and when we have one more little one, if I can convince my husband first!). It was such a sweet project to work on and I’ll always treasure it.

In conclusion, if you’ve never tried needlework, you totally should. It’s so relaxing, helps me feel more justified in my Nextflix binge watching because at least I’m doing something while I watch, and it really is just a lovely art form. Just like Bob Ross, man.

Welcome to The Late Sew!

Welcome to The Late Sew! This is my little sewing blog for all things handmade. Or you know, whatever I decide to write about. Sewing, soda, babies and cats, probably. The stuff of life.

Welcome to the Late Sew

I’ve been considering starting a blog for all my sewing and creative endeavors for some time now. I’ve been a bit nervous and overwhelmed by the prospect, but I love writing and I’ve wanted a place to sort of catalogue all my projects and connect with other people who love sewing or who want to know more about it.

Welcome to the Late Sew

When I first learned to sew six years ago, sewing blogs were one of my very best resources and helped me figure out what I was doing, so I’ve always sort of wanted to start one. My husband Rob gave me the push I needed to finally get going on it, and he set up the site for me. I’ll warn you from the get go that I’m not a photographer, I’m technologically impaired (I’m a terrible millennial. I’m really like 100 years old.), and I’m messy and very real. I’ve avoided blogging in the past because blogs and bloggers are all so pretty and put together, and I never felt like I could attain that kind of life, let alone document it. But I realized that maybe people would rather see a little more realism in the blogosphere and know that they’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. So my aim is to capture my sewing projects and my handmade life in a way that is pretty sometimes, and pretty messy most of the time. So welcome to The Late Sew. We like to keep it real here.

Welcome to the Late Sew

In the menu tabs you can find more information about me and my sewing. I sew for fun, I have an etsy shop, and I also teach sewing classes. I will be writing about things like sewing machines, fabric shopping, my favorite patterns, and more. I’d love to know more about the kinds of things you’d like to read as well. As always, follow along on Instagram at @thelatesew (formerly @nennieandnolie). Here’s to a new adventure; thanks for coming along!