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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.. 

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Reader Comments (50)

Sending positive Michigan thoughts your way. Normal to have some down days. fluid and electronics don't mix. Most importantly, you and your family are fabulous. I give you credit for contriving in such a small space.

October 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRae

i am in love with the clothes you make your girls. your talent is inspiring!

October 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterevie

PLEASE PLEASE do some patterns already! Do a book! You already have the models. I hope you're in the midst of doing it! I know people tell you all the time how amazing your stuff is, but I promise we're not all just being nice. YOU'RE FAB. I'm not having babies yet, so I can be patient, but my husband is getting baby hungry so I'd love something from you in the next couple years :)


such a fan

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterALison


Thanks for the fabric tip. I can understand the panic re: running low. It's so versatile. Thanks also for your tremendous artistry and inspiration!

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTania

Happy Anniversary! What a lovely day and a wonderful husband. Those orange sandals on your daughter are to die for!

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterashley

happy anniversary

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjones

You made me remember my favorite day of wandering when we lived in NYC... its been years but still one of the best days ever... started at the crack-of-dawn at the fishmarket and a beautiful, drizzly, slow, solo walk up through Chinatown, Soho, a stop at cafe 123 for profiteroles ending at the natural history museum for dinner with a friend I hadn't seen in years. perfect.

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteramy

I love the top. I have been browsing for a good sewing book, but I find that there's always something I'm not quite crazy about in the design. You've inspired me to just modify the patterns a bit!


October 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

Love your journaling and your darling ballerinas!! I was curious as to what camera you use and the lens type? Your pictures are stunning!

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermaria

wow, that does sounds like a great day, and a wonderful break! I love your little ones orange shoes, too cute!

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbeth

i want to second the book/pattern comment...wasn't there a hint about patterns? i do hope it's true!

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentererika

Wonderful clothes and photos.

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie May

goodness i love your blog. your girls are darling and you are so very creative with their clothing creations!!!

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentererin@{tiedupwithstring}

Love your creations. Wish I was young again so I could wear them.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMiks

happy anniversary! the clothes are gorgeous, of course. i love your fabric choices.

**chip took us to balthazar when we were there, and we LOVED it. i've been considering getting the cookbook for awhile....do you have it? is it good?

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Wow adorable outfit!

October 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Hey, this is a really nice and inspiring site! You have made so many lovely clothes for your kids. I think I'm gonna buy that book you "hurrayed" (Carefree Clothes for Girls...), looks nice.

October 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

Love the pants.... love your cute kids.... love you!
Wow, treat Chip right, my girl, he's a real treasure.
Glad your "dark clouds of disaster" have departed. Wishing you many sunny days ahead! (REAL bummer about the laptop.) :(

November 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermom

super cute.

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterseesaw designs

charming, charming, the children and clothing, both. but, oh, a broken 50 mm? eep!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermolly

I just ordered this book today. I'm anxious for it to arrive, so I did a search to find out what other people were saying about it, and I came across your blog. I'm so glad I did! What great pictures and awesome writing. Thank you for sharing!

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Hi Guys, sorry if this is the wrong section :) I am in the UK and I am looking to buy a new laptop I don't need to do much, just surfing he web and checking emails etc. Any ideas about what spec I need and how much would be a realistic price?

April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPoetaFattig

WOW...... I am so glad to have stumbled upon this blog. I'm ordering this book from Amazon Right now. thank you so much for sharing your wonderful family with us your girls a beautiful

April 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterS J

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