June First

Me and ma bro, Cambridge, UK, 2009

Enter Me Made June. June is always a crazy month what with the kids’ birthday parties, their school wrapping up, and to top it all off, my brother and his girlfriend are arriving from Australia next week (ack! Must clean house!). Although I’ve managed to see him twice since he shook his native soil from his boots almost four years ago, the kids haven’t except via skype. Syo is literally twice the age she was when she last saw her uncle. And we’ve never met his girlfriend, whom he met while working in Edinburgh and who enticed him back to her homeland down under when their visas were up. So excited. So much to do.

And take daily photos. Gawd.

I miss my little brother.

When we were very young (July, 2000, in our first apartment)

In other non-sewing news, today is also my hubby and I’s anniversary. 12 years, to be specific. Yup, twelve years ago to the day I picked up a boy at a 7/11, took him back to a friend’s pad, and…

Wait, my mother reads this blog. Scratch that last line. Anyway, if you’d told me at, oh, sixteen, that I would meet The One For Me when I was 18 and be a mother not much more than a year later, I would’ve told you to go soak your head. And that it was a ridiculously bad idea. Which is was, objectively, although it never felt that way at the time. Hard, yes. Ridiculously, grindingly, hopelessly hard. But never a mistake. Our first year together was the most insane roller-coaster—a dizzyingly wonderful, irresponsible adolescent summer, an autumn of emotional drama barely patched up in time for me to discover I was pregnant shortly before Christmas, and the insane, irrevocable decision to keep it and make it work. More emotional drama later, largely due to my pregnant hormones and his choking, unspoken terror. Thank goodness for youthful stupidity and family support; I don’t think we would’ve made it without a major dose of both.

The rest, of course, is history.

We’re not perfect. We’re certainly not perfect for each other. But at our best, we complement each other’s strengths and shore up each other’s weaknesses (at our worst it feels like trying to force the round hole into the square peg. The fights, though rare, can be epic). Above all, we keep on loving and laughing. I think that’s the most important thing of all, that after all these years we still entertain each other, and show each other our love in a jillion little ways.

Posing with new sewing table and shabby back fence

Oh, yes, Me-Made June, right.

Hmm, I wish I could convince myself that my back fence looks edgy and urban, but no, really it just looks crappy. Which it is… this is a good house, but you can tell it’s been a rental for a while. Β Also, during last week’s torrential rains the lawn went from barely-green to OMG-it’s-a-jungle, and it still hasn’t dried out enough to cut with our crappy-ass mower.

However, of chief note is this highly classy table I’m leaning on. I found it in the alley this morning so, like any good dumpster-diver I brought it home with me. My mommy would be proud.* The base is a solid wood antique kitchen table, not unlike the one I grew up with (and it is heavy!!!). The top has been replaced with laminate particleboard, that’s not in particularly good shape, but it should suffice for cutting and/or holding up sewing machines. If it’s too chipped and rough I will just have to saunter back to Value Village for some old blankets to pad the surface, a la BeangirlΒ only less awesome. It’s not a great height for cutting, but considering the alternative I usually use is the floor, I think it’ll be an improvement.

MMJ day 1 (without topper)

Anyway, today I am wearing the Skinny Jeans, the winged cardi, and a new tunic I’ll tell you about tomorrow. I know, it’s hard for me to put off posting stuff, but posting every day it gets hard to come up with something for content to justify the daily outfit post, so I better drag things out. I also have some great VV finds I’ll be sharing later on…

Anyway, happy first of June, and enjoy your day, wherever you are! πŸ™‚

*I am not even being facetious. Finding thrifty treasures is one of my mom’s favourite things in life. We had an exquisite antique bridge-lamp in our livingroom when I was growing up that she had rescued from a landfill, yes, an actual dump, and re-wired.



Filed under Sewing

43 responses to “June First

  1. Happy anniversary! Enjoy your new table!!

  2. Happy Anniversary! I started dating my-won-hunk-o-luv-hubby just before my 17th b-day, and we have been together ever since then πŸ™‚ Re the table – fantastic find! I found this PDF on the web (sewing room set-up for healthy sewing) which says quote: Cutting Table Height Stand with your elbows bent at right angles, then drop your hands very slightly so your arms are in a comfortable position. This is the height your cutting tableβ€”and ironing boardβ€” should be. Lowering the table height slightly from the 90 degree angle prevents you from banging your elbows on the table. You may want to vary it a bit, depending on the type of work you’re doing, but it should not be much lower.”

    And, Threads Magazine #99, page 55 (Feb/March 2001) ‘Design your won cutting table’ says Quote: What’s the best height for you? If standing to cut, you’ll need extra height: about 30 in. for sewers under 5 ft. 4 in., 33 in. to 35 in. for those 5 ft. 5 in. and above, and up to 37 in. or more for taller people. Try a height slightly lower than your waistline; experiment by boosting a card table with books.” and in the same article… “You can make a reasonable estimate of the height you need by measuring from your elbow to the floor, and subtracting a few inches. This should allow your cutting arm full mobility and not require too much leaning over.” unquote.

    Threads #150, page 41 ‘Ergonomic Sewing’ (Aug/Sep 2010) says… quote: “The correct countertop height is 3 to 4 inches below the elbow for shears; 6 to 8 inches for a rotary cutter.”

    If you need to make it higher you could use (or make from some scrap wood) table /chair / bed risers (like these at organise.com)? Maybe even some old telephone directories, or four of 4 gallon Paint Cans might work too :)!

    • LOL! Phone books we definitely have aplenty! (No shortage of scrap wood, for that matter, although not much in the way of tools to work it with) We’ll see what I end up doing. It may end up holding my machines instead (I know hubby would love to get them out of the kitchen.)

    • Lucy

      Oh, man. Once again, the tall people end up with problems. Are there NO advantages?

  3. Cathy

    I would not have understood going to the dump to find treasures until I was exposed to my Manitoban inlaws. They actually refer to the dump as “the mall”. But having been to the rural dump at “the lake” and seeing how they separate things out, I get it. I am sure you’ll get good use out of that table, it’s better than cutting on the floor.
    Congratulations on your anniversary. I liked your honest reflection on the past and present. It’s easy to try and gloss over the rough edges, the drama that happens, the challenges you face, but they are all what makes you the couple you are today. That’s well worth celebrating.

    • Yeah, said lamp was from a rural dump, so not quite the same experience as a metropolitan one ;).

      Thank you for your congratulations—I’m proud of my husband and our relationship, including the adversity we’ve come through to make it work. There’s a strong temptation, even with family and friends, to share only the rosy, lovey side of life, but it’s the hardships that make the good parts so precious. (Also, it makes for much more interesting blogging πŸ˜‰ )

  4. Weird! I tried like x4 times to post my comment (freshed the webpage inbetween ‘n’ everything) LOL! At least it’s working now haha… P.S. I sent you an email too πŸ˜‰

  5. What a terrific post on marriage and commitment. It’s hard and crazy much of the time and I appreciate that you haven’t glossed over that here. Happy anniversary. Here’s to many more crazy (and happy) years.

  6. Lucy

    Your stories of you and your husband make me smile! Sunshine and roses, pah, who needs ’em? They also make me feel like an old woman to be getting married at 23 πŸ˜‰ But no, seriously – congratulations on making it work. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, eh?

    Oh, and no need to apologise for liberating the table from its unloved home in the alleyway. You’ve heard of freeganism, right? I am most definitely not going to put my name to anything illegal on the internet…

    • LOL! Don’t feel old—most of my friends are only FINALLY settling down now (aka around 30). On the plus side, I guess my kids will be able to babysit theirs…

  7. Cheers to you and yer man! And very exciting that you’ll be getting a visit from your bro this month! I miss my younger bro too, and now that he has a young’un I feel even further away. There is a summer meet up though, in the mountains of Colorado.
    mmmmm, free table….. I scored one recently too, but it’s miniature, you know, Japan and all….

  8. Congrats on your anniversary! Marriage is a challenge, and it’s not for everyone, but it’s worth every minute–even if that particular minute is the middle of an epic fight (’cause that’s when the best makeups happen πŸ˜‰ ). So glad you get to see your brother, I know how much I miss my sisters and they only live a few hours away. Nice score on the table, I think it’ll be super handy either way you end up going with it.

  9. Congratulations! Yay! Every milestone is HUGE in a marriage! My story isn’t much different from yours, and it’ll be anniversary #21 this August. I hope you have a great ‘nother 40 years! And have fun with your lil’ brother…. mine is on the other side of this country, and we only get to see each other every 2 years or so. Hope you have a grand time catching up!

  10. Ooooo, Free Tables are the BEST! Plus, that one’s actually decent. Very good score, no matter what you do with it. (You will be amazed at how much faster and easier everything is with a cutting table).

    And Happy Anniversary! I got married really old (really really really old… Heh, ok maybe not THAT old), but my parents got married while they were still in high school. That would, apparently, be my fault. Virtually everyone said it would never work and lobbied against the whole thing. They celebrated their 43rd anniversary a month ago and I see no reason they won’t keep on celebrating until they drop over dead (so hopefuly a long long time from now).

    • Hehe. You mean shotguns weren’t brought out? I had to laugh while writing down some of my husband’s family genealogy with his grandmother. Not one wedding—not one in like five generations—had nine full months between wedding and first child. Darned Catholics…

  11. Amy

    Happy Anniversary! To start with such a bang–and a great story. I got married at 30 but that has its own challenges (trying to figure out how to be dependent when you’re independent!). Blessings to have many more years of amazing discovery…

    and wow, you’ve been cutting on the floor all this time? Seriously, that table is gonna change your life!

    • It would’ve been interesting to experience adulthood that wasn’t parenthood. Ah, well. It would be interesting to be an astronaut, too.

      Yup. Floor. Sometimes the basement carpet when my knees are feeling twitchy, but mostly on the kitchen tile. Which is ouchie.

  12. Happy anniversary! You’re probably more perfect for each other than you admit, having hopped over the hurdles of life together and still firmly holding hands πŸ™‚
    Good score on the table! I like my tables at hip height, where the bend is between your thigh and pelvis. I don’t think it matters too much if you’re just cutting out occasionally – but then you’re a fairly prolific sewer!

  13. Congratulations on 12 years, 2 wonderful kids, and family in town! Most of all, it’s great to see so many people happy for your happiness πŸ™‚

  14. Elle C

    Great score on the table! I can think of 2 ways to raise the height to a suitable cutting table level, bed risers, they have them at Home Outfitters, when I worked there they were $19.99 and with one of the 20% off coupons they spew out regularly you can get them for 15.00 or so. Second, cinder blocks, they can be the cheaper option, especially if you find them for free, they have the advantage of having 2 different heights to choose from, depending on your back.

    Congrats on the anniversary! In my family as far back as we can trace (both sides) I was the first to get married with out being pregnant! Some of my cousins have done it since, but I was the first. Apparently this is more traditional than we have been taught, in the past when children were needed to work on the farm with their parents, fertility needed to be proven before a couple would wed.

  15. Ali

    This was a beautiful post, happy anniversary! How wonderful to have a family of your own and a beloved sibling coming home. πŸ™‚

  16. Joy

    Happy anniversary! And kudos for “making it work”. I’m glad my mom did, albeit with not a whole of lot support.

    My husband and I found our first TVs dumpster diving. Yay for free. The trouble was getting rid of the giant ancient things later on wasn’t so easy (or free).

  17. Congratulations on your anniversary you both! I was about the same age when parenthood became me too & wouldn’t change a thing, so it’s lovely to read you rejoicing in it as well! Now mine are a bit older than yours (well kind of grown up really) & it’s the sewing / blogging that’s helped me be a more selfish grown up & fill a void! It might sound sad, but it isn’t!
    Am also amazed at your skinny jeans … truly fabulous – they are obviously wearing well.

  18. wow — great story, great table, great pictures, and horray for a visit. Congratulations all around.

  19. Congratulations on your anniversary! I got married young also, although I had already finished college (hubs had not, and still has not — he dropped out to support us). We ended up with a honeymoon baby, which was hard, and then two more kids, only one of the three was planned. Oops? Sometimes I try to figure out what I would have done differently, and I have no idea — I wouldn’t want to trade the family we have now for some mythical perfect model.

    Lucky you, to find a nice table in an alley! I’m still cutting out on the floor (which fortunately has carpet, at least upstairs). The upstairs is also warmer and has a TV, so I decided not to bother trying to set up a cutting area in my sewing room. I can justify my laziness, oh yes I can. πŸ™‚

  20. woah great find and terrific story! i wondered how you and your hubby ended up together (and for someone that’s only approaching their 3 year anniversary, it’s nice to know it isn’t all sunshine and glitter for other people!). as for the table, your mom would be proud! mine would too, i grew up slowy driving thru neighborhoods on trash night and jumping out at her command to retrieve treasures. it was a very handy skill to have in college and after when i was super broke (now it’s just sport!)

  21. girdtmom

    Happy Anniversary!
    I am de-lurking to say how lovely it is to hear the story of your beautiful family. And to laugh at myself a little for thinking “So young for such big decisions!” as I read. I had to mentally slap myself upside the head as I remembered that I was the same age, falling in love with my DH on the second day of college. Our 20th wedding anniversary was two weeks ago (after a 4 1/2 year engagement). Sometimes the heart just knows.

    • Thank you for delurking! πŸ˜‰ And congratulations on your anniversary, too.

      We were young, maybe a bit too young to fully understand what we were getting into. But sometimes that’s not a bad thing ;).

  22. Congrats on your anniversary! Gah… I love this post for so many reasons! I think because you talked frankly about how hard it can be to make a relationship work, through the good and bad. So few people have the courage to say that they’re partner and they aren’t exactly “perfect” but complimentary and fill in each other’s gaps. Because I really think that is how most relationships are–and even through the ups and downs, that’s what makes you stronger and more together.

    Enough blathering. Love that table that you found! Um… more like coveting it! lol. I’ve got to start poking around the dumpster before trash day. I’ve seen some interesting pieces out there before, and need to keep a better eye out. πŸ˜‰

  23. Alright. I’m a fan…and I guess it’s time I came out of the woodwork.

    This post made me cry. This is the most honest, realistic, from-the-heart description of a relationship I have ever read. Seriously. And I’m a LOT older than you. This is truly how love is. Thank you for expressing it so well…and Happy Anniversary!

    Now…about your sewing. I’m constantly amazed at how much you’re able to accomplish! And I’m enjoying your “seventies” style. These were MY teenage/young adult years…and I’d love to wear some of these things again. BUT, when you’re old enough to have worn them the first time around…well…probably better to just enjoy the memory!

    Happy Sewing!


    • Aw, jeez. Thank you for your comment, that’s incredibly touching for me.

      As to the 70s… I say go for it. Maybe with less polyester, though. πŸ˜‰

  24. Sewista Fashionista

    Congrats on your anniversary! And the upcoming visit from your brother. I keep in touch with friends that are far away, but it is always something special to see them in person.
    (I’ve always wanted to know how to rewire a lamp but am too chickenshit around electricity. Maybe your mom could do a post with pics!)

    • I think people are wary of posting electrical how-to’s lest someone fry themselves and they get blamed. At least, I see lots of disclaimers of that sort on sewing-machine-repair tutes. ;). According to my mom it’s simply a matter of keeping track of “electricity goes in here and out there” and making sure there’s no short circuits. She’s rewired lamps, light-fixtures, all kinds of things.

      • Sewista Fashionista

        Oooh, I forgot about the getting fried/liability thing! Hmm, that accounts for my absolutely fruitless online search for instructions. πŸ˜‰

  25. I really appreciate your family story; I had always wondered how you could have big kids and look like you’re in your 20s! I was a surprise baby born to my 19 year old Mom and 20 year old Dad, and we all grew up together. They are still together, and they got to have their freewheeling adulthood by the time they were 40 and had both kids out of the house!

    I, on the other hand, was almost twice my mother’s age when I had my kids, and boy, am I tired. But just like you, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    ps. I’m a HUGE Value Village fan. I’ve been thinking about doing a post of all the things I scored in Montreal (we have 8 Villages des Valeurs in the area).

    • Yeah, kids out of the house by forty, that’s what I tell everyone ;). Although that may be a bit optimistic…

      I would imagine Village des Valeurs in Montreal would have great stuff… the one here is fairly meh and suburban, although the fact that it’s close enough by that I can pop in frequently helps with finding the few really cool things.

  26. Pingback: Syo’s Sewing | Tanit-Isis Sews

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