« weekend | Main | storm king »


my 50mm lens broke. then one phone died while the other disappeared. two days later a water balloon burst all over (and killed) my one-month-old laptop. a water balloon. inside my home. i can really only blame myself, but still, there were a few days these past two weeks where i was pretty sure that life was against me. 

then the crisp fall wind came and blew in the anniversary of our wedding. nine years. (high-five, chip). last tuesday rolled around, chip surprise-took the day off work and pushed me out of the door to have a day of wandering all to myself. the city was wonderful and strange without my squad. i hardly knew what to do or how to interact with the city without kids.. or at the very least without the threat of an outrageous babysitting bill or looming pick-up time. but, i eventually figured it out. i wandered in soho and central park, i saw a movie at 5pm at the Paris (i was the youngest by 35 years, at least. maybe my favorite NY movie viewing experience to date.), i wandered down 5th avenue and grew even firmer in my deep love of brooklyn. chip and i met at balthazar for dinner, wandered to the east village for ice cream and another movie, then took a cab to the west village to stay the night at the jane*. all by ourselves. no kids calling our names in the night or "whispering" in our faces in the morning. it was a first ever and it was nice. and chip did it all. (big-time high-five, chip). the next morning i watched the hudson from our window and after leaving the hotel, chip took off to work while i slowly wandered home.

for a life that has seemed anything but carefree lately, it was the perfect gift. the break from everything, the time alone with chip and the happy reunion with the kids.. just right. 

and now we are back. back to schedules and volunteering and lunch-packing and scrambling to find the missing shoe and fundraising and playing and eating and meetings and eating (charlie is beastly hungry all the time lately) and trying our best to wrap it all up in pajamas, brushed teeth and a cup full of water before 8pm every night.. and i'm trying my best to approach all we have going on with the same happy attitude i approached my day of wandering. 



so it seemed right that when reuniting with my lonely sewing machine i turn to one of my favorite japanese craft books newly translated into english (hooray!); carefree clothes for girls. the japanese version made me want to dye the girls' hair red and move to the country, and the new english version does the same.. but since that doesn't make any sense (yet) i'm happy that it also makes me want to sew up a ton of these adorable clothes for eve and ruth's life in the city.



i skipped on the lovely handwork the book instructs for the apron (i get impatient for a final product when i haven't sewn in awhile.. but really, the detailed handwork in the book is insanely charming). and i went for strips of bias tape along the pant leg rather than the wide lace in the instructions- no lace on hand and i find stripes+cropped pant+little girl to be an irresistible combination (and who really has the power to resist the sailor trend, especially after just lodging in the "captain's quarters" at a hotel that was originally built to lodge sailors in port and was actually home to the survivors of the titanic while that sad mess was sorted out? not me). i love it. simple and darling and so easy to sew. eve's feelings about the outfit? she can put "special secret and even super secret messages and things in the gigantic pocket without anyone knowing" all while practicing moves for ballet class, so she's a fan. even ruth, while in her cave (laundry hamper turned on its side with blanket over it), rotating between her bat costume and skirted lime green swimsuit and shouting "pumpkin pie!" every thirty seconds gives it a very enthusiastic thumbs up. so, even with 80% of technology dead in our home, and charlie throwing everything he can find to the ground, it isn't so hard to feel carefree with images of life on the sea, super secret messages and pumpkin pie on the brain. 



* for those who follow the link to the jane, know that chip didn't surprise me with a tiny room with bunk beds (although that would have been ridiculous and hysterical.. and a revisit to our past- on a maiden scouting voyage to new york nearly 9 years ago we visited the jane when it was gritty and cheap and a friend was lodging in one of those tiny tiny rooms until he found an apartment).. we stayed in one of the captain's rooms which was cool and fun, but not without some mysterious weirdness.. 

References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (50)

Glad you are back. The clothes are simply darling. So fun to hear an insiders guide to NY.

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergwen grewe

Loved the tip on the Jane Hotel, such a great idea to give tiny rooms ships quarters styling. and the clothes are so cute too~

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMary

wouah... sounds like the perfect 24 hours. I am not often jaleous but.....
Oh and I love your children's creations!

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterceline

How lovely your chip is to treat you so. . . and how lovely to read about your girlies - mine is all grown up but reading about yours brought back many happy memories

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwhitney-anne

Your girls are precious!

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay @ Sass&Craft

a day of wandering. that is seriously awesome. nice work, chipper. as always, katie, those are lovely creations on even lovlier girls.

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Oh what a lovely surprise that must have been for you!!

I must say that I absolutely love everything you make and share with us...and your children are too cute!

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

my sis in law (amy palmer) turned me on to you blog.
I'm inspired to make something every time I see your projects. I don't sew, not yet. But I will. I will.

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdamaris palmer

May I ask what fabric you used for the top? Thanks in advance!

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTania

happy anniversary...it sounds like a wonderful day.

and looks like things have turned around a bit....the clothes are so sweet. i just finished the oliver + s sailor pants and found the pattern addictive. more pants to come.

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermamie

Sounds you had the perfect day! I want to visit New York again soon. The clothes for the girls are very very cute. Thank you fot the book tip! :-)

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

welcome back! it was nice to see your name come up on my feed reader. so sorry about the laptop. just thinking about it makes me cringe.
as always your girls and your sewing creations are stunning.

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Sounds like you had a perfect time. It's good to get a break every now and again. Ugh about your computer, and the clothes look great.

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

That days sounds a perfect way to celebrate being together. We had a day similar recently, although minus the hotel stay but with the girls staying at the grandparents. When you can't do it often, it's amazing the how perfect having a good coffee with your fella, minus the small gorgeous ones, can be. We did shopping, coffee, movies, takeout, dvd bed and honestly, I felt so rich! I giggled at your ps - I did look at the link and wondered at the bunkbeds, until I found the captains quarters!

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commentervictoria

Those clothes are gorgeous - and your girls make the most perfect models. Finally, something from a book I can attempt to recreate! I will add the book to my Christmas wish list .....Congratulations on the anniversary.

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPeta

Can I ask about the shoes?? I have a daughter who loves loves loves them ...

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPeta

Happy anniversary! Sounds like you had a wonderful time with your husband. So glad to see your blog post! I have to get that book that you mentioned. The clothes are adorable! Not as cute as the girls though!

If you get the chance, stop by my blog. I'd love to have you visit!

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

Cute Cute! love the little garments you make.
The hotel sounds lovely.

What were the "mysterious wierdnesses" ?????????
Inquiring minds want to know!

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertroutay

thanks everyone! the break really was awesome (and something i now think we should all treat ourselves to a little more often)

tania- the fabric for the top is some striped denim i bought at mood about three years ago. it is one of my all time favorites. i wish i had bought the entire bolt when i had the chance. i'm down to my last two yards and getting a little panicky..

peta- the shoes are from bu & the duck. a very nice, very expensive shop in tribeca. the owner/designer is great.. she actually designed the sandals along with other insanely perfect shoes and clothes.. once a year in the late spring/early summer they have a great sample sale with fantastic discounts, which is where i snagged these orange beauties..

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkatie

sounds heavenly...you capture it all so well!
the girls look adorable in those amazing clothes.

how do you manage to keep cranking out such cuteness?

October 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjackie

your husband is smart. keep him.

October 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

Happy Anniversary! What a fantastic day you had, and that hotel, incredible, so quirky!

October 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGemma

So inspired by your blog that I busted out my new sewing machine even though I thought I hadd no time or skill and just attempted to make my baby Harrison some pants and they were perfect! So I tried another pair- and this time I lined them in a coordinating fabric and added another color for fold up cuffs- and while they weren't perfect- they are still great! Thank you for inspiring me to create because it really does add tremendous joy to my life.

October 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

Welcome back! I just purchased Carefree Clothes for Girls based solely on your adorable pics! And I too, would love to know the name of those gorgeous shoes when you get a chance. You make me want to move to NYC.

October 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGretchen

this is such a wonderful post. all of it.
and you've made my day to add that finally some of these amazing craft/sewing books are being translated.. I've had such enormous difficulty figuring them out. at last I stand a chance of making some of them. hoorah! yours look fantastic - all your sewing is.

October 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersnitch-snotch

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>