Thursday, December 29, 2011

Peace on Earth

I have a magnet on my fridge that says,

"Do what you can, where you are, with what you have." 
It is attributed to Teddy Roosevelt. 

I love this quote because it helps make life less overwhelming.  There is so much need in the world, it makes me feel a bit hopeless.  If I can break it down to this simple quote, I can handle it.  I realize that at this point in my life, my influence is this little family of ours.  If I can try to help these cute kids, I have done that most important job. 

Just for the record, here are the things I am grateful for:

1.  Time, this season we have had plenty of it. 
2.  The lack of snow!  I might be most grateful for this.  It contributes to the family time we have had this season.  The husband hasn't been out all day plowing and controlling the ever oppressive snow. 
3.  Family and Friends, we feel lucky to have such great people in our lives.  
4.  Exercise time.  This might be a huge contribution to the peace in this house.  I have gotten to to hiking almost every day!  When I am into a project, that is a rare thing, to be able to exercise. 
5.  The best and cutest kids we could imagine.  Thanks to them, we have a happy and mostly peaceful house. 

There are so many more things.  But that is what I have been thinking about lately.  In a few days, I will be mostly thinking of dresses.  I will revel in this moment while I have it.  And when I am involved in the dresses, I will revel in that moment. 

I hope you can find your worlds full of wonder, peace, and happiness!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Am I crying or laughing?

Hee Hee Hee.  These are just too much!  Would it be weird to beg my brides to use this guy for their photographer?   To what extent should I go on about this?  Are these happy tears?  Can I tell you how indebted I feel when I see a good bridal or wedding shoot?  It is as if the photographer is doing me the favor.  That person is personally making my day, week, and month. 

I emailed Scott Jarvie of jarviedigital to tell him how awesome the shoot looked.  He gave me some insight that I have touched on in the past, but he said it so very well.  He mentioned that it was a fun shoot because Rosalia was amazing and pretty much self sufficient.  It gave him the chance to work on some interesting lighting, etc, so the shoot would be THAT MUCH BETTER.  Well said. 

I feel that the gowns I love the most are for brides that trust me and let me introduce those foreign and chancy ideas.  I might not even go there after trying, but just in the trying the gown gets better.  It opens up avenues that wouldn't be traveled for fear of the bride thinking I have lost it.   

So here they are, the beautiful Rosalia in the dress I didn't want to finish.  Now you see why I wanted to keep working on it, right?

 Notice how Rosalia uses the veil as her prop.  So cool.

Is it the eyes, the lipstick, or both, why does she have that classic Hollywood look?

I love the richness of this room.  I have been here, but Scott Jarvie makes it look that much more opulent. 

Thank you Rosalia for the opportunity create this gown. 
Thank you Jarvie digital for capturing it so well. 

Enjoy the day. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011


It is a quiet moment for a bit.  I would like to record for what I am thankful.

My family
My husband
The cute boys

The fact it hasn't snowed too much yet
Wood stoves
Thai Food, especially the restaurant in Orem on 800 South
Indian Food
Wood stoves (because I am sitting by it right now)

Wood stoves
Bike rides
Sewing with the sun coming through the window
"This American Life"

This week could have gone so many different ways.  I needed to finish Rosalia's gown.  It wasn't one I was happy to have finished, I was having far too much fun with it and working with Rosalia.  It consisted of lots and lots of Chantilly lace which was hand sewn onto circle organza pieces.  I LOVE to hand sew lace for some demented reason.  It takes forever and that is why I love it. 

Slade woke up sick on Tuesday night.  I was up with him for the rest of the night, poor kid.  My plan was to wake early and sew.  Well, I was awake, but assisting him in his miserableness, not sewing.  The next night he was still sick, so still no sleep for either of us. 

Thanksgiving was next.  Slade woke at 7:00 A.M. happy and bright.  Thankfully he was better.  The plan was to have dinner with 20 of our family.  If he was sick, it would have changed the feeling of the day.  The dinner was perfect.  Family and food.  Yeah! 

That night I knew I had to finish the dress.  I stayed up til 3:00 or so, and the reason I am telling you this is because.... I had a great time sewing.  I was at peace, I was enjoying the process, and I was making decisions that I didn't regret the next morning.  This all happened after two previous nights of not sleeping at all.  It seems like it doesn't matter the things you have to accomplish or go through, it is being able to to through those moments in peace.  I think that is the blessing of this moment.  Because in the end, there are always hard things to get through.  I am, by no means ,saying that I am going through a hard moment.  I am simply saying that I appreciated being able to enjoy a late night of sewing.  Something that isn't usually enjoyed. 

Best of all, I just saw the bridals for Rosalia.  They are stunning!  Hopefully I can post some soon.  The perfect ending to a really really great gown making experience.

I guess I am trying to appreciate the sweet moments in life.  I hope it makes me feel more grateful.  I am wishing you a happy moment in your day. 

Best, M  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Sigh,  how can I write about this?  There is too much to say, so why even start.  Yes, this is the reason I haven't blogged about my trip to NYC. 

First off, I was able to stay with my friends.  It made the trip.  Really, it did.  I was able to come back to there apartment each night ready for great conversation.  When we were out and about, she enlightened me about the architecture and some history of the place.  Oh, how I love to know those interesting details. 

After a day at the garment district, I decided to walk to the Wall Street protest.  So very interesting!  My timing was great, because after I got there, they all marched on City Hall.  I was impressed by the organization of the protesters and the police force.  As we were marching, the police were right there.  Lots and lots of them. 

There was a woman that was writing the phone number of a lawyer on people's arms.  She wasn't happy that I declined her offer.  I felt that if something were to happen, all of the others around me would have the number on their arms.  I skipped out after a while.  Very cool energy and so very interesting. 

Here is the reason I couldn't get arrested.  Kenneth King and Susan Khalje!  Read more about them here:  Kenneth or Susan.  They were fabulous teachers.  I admit, Kenneth is also an over the top story teller.  We were entertained while being enlightened about couture sewing techniques!  I really suggest this class for anyone who is interested in sewing clothing.  It was informative and you will feel right at home with everyone.  Everyone was so kind and supportive.  Really great experience. 

Here is Kenneth with his hair extension and leather coat.  He has created some pretty incredible things.  Oh, and did I mention he is a funny guy?

Susan is the one with the blue tape measure around her neck.  This woman could de-stress any situation or person.  I did tease her about her calm and cool demeanor.  If she said, "Look at this, I guess you will have to spend 50 hours repairing this mistake."  You would be fine with it.  It isn't her message, it is in the way she says it. 

I did prove to be a distracted student.  I have learned that when I take the class again, I can't do it in New York.  That place has far too much energy for me to settle down and really get things done.  Good thing I am in Utah where there are far fewer distractions:-)  For the exception of my cute boys and honey, of course. 


The weather was crazy.  Sunny one day, snowy the next, then sunny, then snowy.  On my last evening I walked til I was wet through.  I had someone snap a picture with my phone.  Yes, I know I have red eye, but I can't fix it.  I am a dressmaker, not so great at computers. I Love the brightness of the night sky there.  It is so opposite of my life.  I do find it hard to go in and relax, because I will miss something, I know I will.     

Well, I got home in time for Halloween and our scary zombies.  The biggest culture shock was going outside in the morning and realizing that when I walk out of our house, nothing is moving.  No cars, no people, no neighbors.  It was a bit shocking.  That day my kids were zombies, but I think I was closer to being one, despite the green makeup they wore.   

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A NYC Trip!

There is a class I have been wanting to attend for years and years and I am finally making it happen.  Susan Khalje teaches couture dressmaking skills.  She teaches all over the United States and even takes dressmakers to Paris for more than a week.  Can you imagine???? 

So this means I get to go to New york, collect some interesting fabrics and laces for the upcoming season, and attend a four day class.  I have so many questions that need answers and am confident that I will be enlightened by Susan and the Master Pattern Maker Kenneth King. 

So if anyone out there has some suggestions on where to eat, what shows to see, or if there are any museum exhibits that are interesting, let me know.  I would love your input.  The great thing about this trip is I don't need to source anything specific.  So I get to just go buy things that are amazing to me.  Shopping for fabric is a wonderful pass time.  Wish me luck so I can find some special things.

One last note, I get to stay with Viena, Amanda's mom.  They came to Utah to have Amanda's dress made last year.  Our family became smitten with the two women.  I am looking forward to hearing more interesting stories of Viena's life.... because she has had quite an amazing life.

Here is my last thing.  If anyone living in New York City needs a dress made at a reduced cost, and has time to go to fitting at the end of this month, contact me.  

Have a wonderful day.  M     

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Time off

I have been blissfully enjoying my fall break.
Enjoying it so much, I haven't bothered to take many pictures.  So this entry will be a bit scattered.  When are they not? 

We went to the desert right before the kids had to go back to school.  The husband went with, because he could take off for a bit.  Not something that happens in the spring or summer.  We hit quite a bit of desert, ending in Zion.  Yeah!  It IS my favorite place to be.  There is a lot of creative energy down there. 

When walking to a swimming hole, I was describing to the husband why I love the desert so much.  It is so hot, that your back is warmed by the sun and your front is warmed by the heat reflecting off the rocks in front of you.  To me, that is the perfect temperature.... something pretty miserable to others. 

On the day we had to go back, Hank and I hiked Angel's Landing.  I will start tearing up now, for how proud I was of him!  The whole time, he was saying, "This is our best adventure ever!"  He made it up in an hour and a half.  We had a ton of fellow hikers marveling at him.  There were even people that wanted pictures with him, to prove to friends that a boy made it up there.  So the trip was a success.  Lots of swimming holes, lots of great hiking, and all of my little family there to enjoy. 

Okay, my next big thing.  My dad was planning a trip to Boulder, Colorado, another one of my favorite places.  He was going over to help with some projects for my sister's new house.  My sister is one of those people that can do wonders for a house.  This one is quite compartmentalized.... which is to be expected because it is a 1950's house.  So we drove over together and had a great week of working.  The kids stayed with papa, which is huge, because I got to just work and not have to make breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  You can get a lot done if you eliminate the essential things like fixing food, caring for kids, etc.  We had dinner out most nights.  I got to sneak in a bike ride or two.  All of this in the city of Boulder.  I lucked out. 

So this is a picture of her living room floor.  It was a step down living room.  I have nothing against them.  I like their retro feel.  But we wanted to open up the dinning room and entry way, so it had to be raised up to the rest of the house.  Once the walls came down, it made a Huge difference.  I don't know if I like anything better than demo and remodeling.  My dad is still there, being the great dad.  He knows how to do everything.  I know how to cut and measure.  So the floor job was just right for me:)

I am wishing you a happy fall.  The cold is coming on, and for some reason I don't mind. 
Oh, it is because I am writing this in front of our new wood burning stove.  It is the quirky things that make me happy.  I hope you all have a warm and cozy place to hang out. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kaeli's wedding

Look at this cute and happy couple!  Kaeli talks so sweetly about her fiance, and you can see their giddiness in this image.  Here are a few pictures from their cousin, Jonnie Hartman.  The funny thing, this isn't the official photographer, but she is is a creative giant. 


This woman is amazing.  I call her my Pentagon Bride,  because of a presentation she made there right before coming out to get her dress made.  Yes, she presented there!  She is almost done with her PhD.  I do enjoy all of the diversity of brides.

I love a weighty hem.

My favorite image of the bunch.  

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I am a desert girl that lives in the mountains.... and winter is coming on. 
I walked out the other day, a perfect day, and it must have been 70 degrees out.  It was too cold.  I can't tell you how happy it makes me feel to have the hot hot sun shining down on me.  70 degrees is great for the everyone but me, it seems.   

Well, here is my fix:-)

We are installing this Jotul stove.  Isn't it beautiful?  This is what the dream of winter is all about.  On those ski vacation promotions you don't see cold and dreary people taking that last run of the day.  You see them skiing in the sun and then you see them sipping hot drinks around a roaring fire. 

So, thanks to a school system that will teach my kids, I will get to live that dream.  Slade is in first grade this year, which means they are both in all day school.  Looks like I will get to slip out for an hour and cross country ski again.  And in the evening when it is dark here at 5:00, I can help kids with homework around a hot stove.  Doesn't that just sound perfect? 

So here is to the new stove and a cozy winter!

Plus, this means I get to do some tile work.  Here is my excuse to use this great glass and marble tile for the hearth.  I do enjoy working with tile.  It is such a permanent and non bending material.  Sooo very different from my usual medium.  I will post pictures if it turns out okay. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Here is the set up for this one.  I have been working a lot.  I have been overwhelmed most of the time.  I have seen another summer go away.  It is fall.  I am sad.  I keep imagining that the summer will magically extend itself just by my will alone.  My will is not strong enough even though I believe it should be. 

Here is the story.

I am standing in the fabric store purchasing some Tiffany Blue embroidery floss, something I needed to complete my last dress of the busy season.  A man brings in a little boy.  He told the clerk that he saw the boy walking down State street, which is a very busy road.  The clerk called the police to report the lost boy.  She told the dispatcher that the boy is wearing blue and green P.J.'s, he's about two and a half, and he's blond.  I notice he has a cute hair cut.  She then sits him on the counter to wait.  That is when I started to cry a bit.  I was trying hard not to.... the clerk didn't seem to think anything of the situation.  I did.  I couldn't comprehend how the mother of this little one was feeling at that moment.  I did have the slight understanding, though, because I was feeling that way about my boys just then. 

Two minutes later the mother rushes into the store.  She must have already been working with the police to find her little boy.  She hugged him while saying, "you scared me to death."  This is where I start to cry out right, without control.  Even though I have spent my fair share of time in fabric stores, this crying in them was a first.  She told us that he as autism and as she was taking the garbage out, he just took off.  It makes sense now, because the boy was very confidently showing me his dinosaur and was not troubled that his mom wasn't around.  He was in control of the situation.  

This is where I left the store, climbed into my car and cried.  This is the season for mourning.  Our nation is doing it officially today.  The world is mourning in one way or another because of war, drought, financial crisis, natural disasters, etc, etc.   

In my little insignificant way, I was feeling this sadness.  I miss my little boys.  I miss all of the time that hurries by without me appreciating the family I have around me.  At least these times give us all a chance to take a look around and decide what is important. 

I do hope people find themselves in good places, with people they love.  I do.  I just now need the time to actually be with those people.  I have it now.  Phewww!  I am looking forward to being a mama and wife and a dressmaker along side. 

Good night.  M

Oh, how I hope this isn't the silliest of blog entries.  I know it might not make sense to any of you.  It is what I needed to express.  Thanks for humoring me.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Silk organza waves

Here is the dress I have been holding on to.... for a bit too long.  It is a sleek dress with a mess of waves on the bottom.  It is funny how chaos is hard to do.  It looks like you just put up the ruffles or pleats in a random way, yet it takes hours and hours of tweaking this way or that before it is finished.  I was surprised with this dress because the last fitting went so well.  I liked it just the way it was.  Very rare.  Especially for this type. 

Wishing you all the best.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Amanda and Paul

I get to show you all the photos of Amanda and Paul's wedding.  Last fall I worked on this dress with Amanda and Vienna, her mom.  Amanda flew to Utah from San Fransisco, Vienna flew from NYC.  Those women charmed us all... the dogs even liked them.  We enjoyed great discussions on religion, movies, culture, and metropolitan life verses our canyon life.  All the while figuring, fitting, and creating this gown.  Usually I am ultra sensitive about what people will think of the photos.  I don't care about this one.  The gown is just part of the story here.  It is a bigger thing that just the gown. 

I blogged earlier about how we got in the car and drove to their wedding.  We spent a few days in San Fransisco and afterwards attended their wedding.  It was a wonderful trip in so many ways, but culminated in a beautiful evening among the golden hills of California. 

I am a dressmaker because I get to meet, discuss, and enjoy the creative process with so many people.  I am lucky.  Sometimes I even get to make gowns like this one. 

Warning:  I just put the photos up.  I know they don't follow any order.  I just wanted to post a quick blog.  Forgive me of that.  If you would like to see them, and more, presented beautifully, check out Love Bird Photo, the wonderful photographer's site, here

THIS IS WRITTEN BY AMANDA (in an email a while after her wedding):
"I was thinking about you a few weeks ago.  I accompanied a co-worker who was trying on dresses.  My friend looked beautiful and she chose the dress, but all I kept thinking was how comparatively empty her experience was.  The dress was just an article of clothing.  It fit her well, but there was no story, no friendship, no history with it.   At that moment, I felt incredibly lucky to have had the unique and special experience of meeting you and the boys. 

This is my favorite shot.  It has such a classic feel, don't you think?

Amanda and Paul are into stories.  This image has so much contained in it.  Loving the High five while the ladies are looking at the gown.  It does sum up the female and male views of a wedding.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Working from Home

The kids are still sleeping, it is quiet.  I went upstairs to start working on a gown.  When I saw the track Slade had set up yesterday while I was working, it made me smile. 

I couldn't do this with any other kids.  THANKFULLY they have the temperament of their father.  It is cute how they carefully go around the mass of silk and tulle when coming through my work area.  It is also helpful that they are the type to be glued to the T.V. when it is on.  It makes fittings peaceful.... yet those same fittings are sometimes accompanied by the theme song to "Dora the Explorer". 

I also get a kick out of their interest.  They know details of gowns, they know when one of the gowns is being cantankerous.  They especially know when it is a gown pick up day.  No matter how hard I try, they are always stressful days.  The boys don't mind, because that means they will get crepes later.  That is the tradition. 

Just thought I would let you in on a quiet moment.  I know of many women that work and maintain being a mama.  I am always curious about the tricks to making it work.  I would love to know about how you do it. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

horse hair

I just had the pleasure of using horse hair.  Not a big deal, really, I use it all of the time.  This time I brought out the really strong stuff.  I imagine Charles James used the same when creating above gown. 

I just finished a dress for Annie.  She is an artist that lives in D.C.  She came home to get married.  She came early to get a gown made.  I had a great time with this gown.  We knew the elements we would use.  We just didn't know we would be going so sculptural with it.  Thus the horse hair.  Do you see how the pictured gown goes in and out in waves.  That is thanks to horse hair.... and the genius of Charles James. 

Charles James is an interesting character.  I discovered his gowns over and over again.  They were always the ones that caught my eye when looking through fashion books.  I finally figured out that it was the same guy creating all of these works of art.  I am not good with names.  Anyway, just a brief tidbit about him.  He was designing in the 60's and creating quite structured gowns.  He was pretty sought after.  Then the free flowing, non structured frocks took hold.  I think it really set him back.  He didn't do as well then.  He had such incredible and big gowns.  There are quite a few available to see in museums because the women would donate them.  Thankfully we have so many to inspire us.   

Tragically he died in the Chelsey Hotel of pneumonia in the 80's.  I do love his story and I do love his gowns.  Funny how I can be so effected by other's work.  There is nothing like the old school way of doing things.  How I wish could learn it.  The more I make gowns the less I know.  Why is that?