Journey Through the Chakras

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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  — Anaias Nin

About a year-and-a-half ago, I stumbled upon the book, Writing Down Your Soul by Janet Conner. At the time, I had been reading my way through the books of Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements) and everything I could get my hands on related to Toltec wisdom. Because I’m on his publisher’s mailing list, I always get emails whenever any of their books go to 99 cents on Amazon. I knew nothing about it when I bought it, and had no expectations, considering that I’ve never been someone who enjoys journaling. However, as it often happens, it was exactly what I needed at the time. I was introduced to deep soul writing – where journaling and meditation merge – and a whole new world opened up in my spiritual journey. It was an approach to writing that resonated deeply with me and how I experience my spirituality, and I immediately became a disciplined student in what I call ‘Soul School’. I spent five months in this book, letting myself take as long I needed to get through all the material. I left it open-ended, allowing my soul get everything out that it needed to purge. I was getting so much out of it, I decided to go through each of her books, and of course I was led through them in an entirely different order than I’d planned.

Next, I journaled my way through Soul Vows. It was an opportunity to dialogue with my inner self about what I truly believed about myself, other people, and my place in the world. It was a deep dismantling of false beliefs, getting them down on paper and acknowledging how they function as an undercurrent of one’s thoughts and actions. The chakras were the model used to go through the many aspects of our lives. In the end, I ended up with my own set of soul vows, a unique set of agreements I was making with the world around me about how I was going to show up. There were seven vows, along with seven new beliefs to replace the false ones in the form of ‘I am’ statements which aligned to each of the chakras.

Next, I moved on to Find Your Soul’s Purpose. The previous book was the HOW; this book was the WHY. In working with the spiral model, I emerged from the work with a unique statement about why I am here. By the time I moved on to the final book, The Lotus and the Lily, it was the beginning of November, my birth month. Considering that my birthday is the last day of the month, and the book took 30 days to get through, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I was finishing up on my birthday, a fresh new year of my life. The goal was to give the year a theme/name and create an intention mandala using the spirituality of the east and west to go deeper into the heart of the soul’s purpose, ending up with a soul direction statement and a clear intention. I had the HOW, then I had the WHY; now I had the WHAT.

Isn’t that how it is in the spiritual journey? We want to know what we’re supposed to do. Then we want to know why, as though we are owed an explanation by the divine. Then we want a how-to list. We treat our spirituality like it’s a business model, creating a mission statement, deciding how we want to structure our organization, then figuring out how to execute it. But the spiritual life is one great paradox. We don’t get the why and what. We are simply told to proceed and everything unfolds as it will.

When I set out on this leg of the journey, I surrendered completely. I had no expectation; I just wanted out of the hostage situation I had been in with those deep underlying beliefs that were holding me back. Surrender was key – we are human beings, not human doings. A soul purpose statement is not a career plan or to-do list – it’s your own unique expression of the divine spark, regardless of what you’re doing. The doing will shift and change over time. The lessons we are here to learn and teach, while springing from a universal place, are very individual in how they show up in each person. So who am I? Why am I here? What’s next? This is the work.

I had been working on my deep soul writing for about two months when a red-tailed hawk flew into my path one day and perched before me. I knew I was about to enter a new stage of my life. For the past 12 years, I had been having some very unique and extraordinary experiences with animals. Specific animals were showing up at unique times, in unique forms, and in powerful ways that could not be ignored. It kept happening. The medicine and messages were too synchronous to deny. But I really didn’t know what it meant in the grand scheme. As I was working my way through my soul vows, I was stuck and frustrated, almost to the point of angry tears. I was ready to give up one morning, when a baby rabbit hopped onto my patio out of nowhere, bounced over to my window, then sat up on its hind legs and stared in the window at me. And just sat there. Just like that, I realized that I needed to make a list of the animals. There were seven power animals who had been ministering to me in my life, like little angels. As I explored the meaning of each one, I was stunned to realize that the lessons I had been receiving from each one over the years was aligned to a specific chakra. Just when I thought I would never get my soul vows and break through my false beliefs, I learned that they had been sitting in front of me the entire time, since the very first snowy white owl sat before me against the Seattle night sky in April 2007, ushering in a time of transformation.

After several months off, I have found myself working even more deeply in the chakras. It was one of several models I worked with last year, but I wanted to really go through each one and focus my attention there. There were six more animals sitting on a list off to the side during my soul vows that didn’t belong in the dialogue at that time, but definitely belonged somewhere. It was as through some of them belonged between the chakras, with unique lessons of their own, yet bridging the spaces between like stepping-stones. Just like that I discovered that I was working with a 13 chakra system. I didn’t even know it existed. I am now back in year two of Soul School, using the book Journaling Through the Chakras by Amber Lea Starfire – I do best with guidance and prompts. I have also started a Kundalini practice. I had no idea at the time the red-tailed hawk appeared to me that it represents the ushering in of Kundalini energy.

I had just written my theme for this year back in January when I wandered into a rock store to find stones for a bracelet my Fella wanted to make, and discovered a connection with stones I didn’t realize I had. Certain stones had been very important to me over the years, but this was a new level. I went four times to that rock store, spending a lot of time on each trip, holding them, connecting with them, letting the stones choose me. Guess what? Yep, I ended up with 13 stones. And yes, each one aligned to a chakra and soul vow just like the animals. What the heck.

In the days of yore, I would have looked up the meanings of things first and tried to impose my own will and ideas based on what I believed my life was supposed to be and how that was supposed to play out going forward. Those days are long gone. There really is no way to explain in detail what the last year-and-a-half has been like on a deep internal level; how all these things found me, in spite of my own beliefs or lack thereof. Everything is being dismantled and rebuilt simultaneously. I have decided to share the things I’ve learned and am learning as I take this journey from earth to sky and back again. I’m exploring everything I can about myself and there is so much ahead. I never imagined I’d share this stuff this way, but I really want to. It’s fulfilling and fun, and even if your beliefs are different from mine, I welcome you. We are all on our own journeys here. I am going to share a blog post for each chakra from time to time to share what I’ve learned as I work my way through them. I’m embracing the colorful, creative aspect of each one as I go. As a launching off point, here are some of the core things I am bringing from last year into my current work. These things are the foundation of my life. I’ve always known them. I just never knew them. What do they mean in the practical sense? No friggin’ idea. Can’t wait to find out!

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My mandala from the end of The Lotus and the Lily. I saw the chakras in the shape of a lotus flower, all radiating from the heart as the center. I am here to do the work of the heart.

SOUL PURPOSE STATEMENT:
I, Melanie Amber, am a vessel of divine wisdom. I am the living embodiment of the freedom that is born from creative expression, deep connection, and truth in action.

SOUL DIRECTION STATEMENT:
I am a soul designer. I get paid for my perspective. I teach people how to break down barriers. I stand in the gap between the extremes and I act as a bridge. I lead by example as an ambassador for spirit and higher consciousness.

THEME OF 2019 = ALL THE COLORS IN THE RAINBOW

SOUL PURPOSE STONES:  Rainbow fluorite and Amber

SOUL PURPOSE ANIMALS:  Red-Tailed Hawk and Cedar Waxwing

GOAL AND INTENTION:
I want to be the kind of person whose very presence elevates the dialogue, both internally and externally, of the space in which I inhabit at any given moment. I want to be someone whose presence increases the creativity, positivity, and goodness of every space I enter. I want to exude the power that comes from inner strength, inner peace, centeredness, and generosity of spirit; a quiet strength that comes from deep connectedness with my Source.

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Soul Symbol = the Red Rose

SOURCES USED:

Things I Think About

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Homemade Toothpaste

20190422_130148Ten years ago, I was living in a tiny house log cabin just outside Seattle. I was on food stamps at the time and tapped out financially from Lyme disease treatment. I couldn’t buy toothpaste on food stamps, but a box of baking soda was dirt cheap and counted as food. This was the beginning of making my own toothpaste. Using baking soda alone is hard on the enamel; I like to do it occasionally for a little deep cleaning action, but a moderate amount blended with coconut oil works great. Last week, when I posted my oil pulling recipe, I mentioned that I am nursing a little bit of a toothache and can’t get to the holistic dentist right now. This is a factor in my choice of ingredients. Here is the most recent incarnation of my recipe:

  • 6 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp liquid castile soap
  • 1/2 tsp neem oil
  • 20 drops clove essential oil
  • Stevia or xylitol to sweeten

Here’s the process:

It’s beyond simple. This recipe makes just under 4 ounces of finished product, so grab a 4-oz. container and mix it all together. You can adjust the ingredients to get the desired consistency. You can also try other essential oils like peppermint, spearmint or oregano in combo with yummy things like sweet orange. All of these are great for the teeth and gums.

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Ingredient actions:

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  • Neem oil:  Fungicidal, miticidal, and antibacterial; prevents cell adhesion and kills bacteria that cause tooth decay; alkalize the saliva, gums and mouth; kills the bacteria that cause pyorrhea and gingivitis; does away with calcium-forming organisms and organisms that cause cavities; relieves pain and discomfort of a toothache.
  • Clove bud EO:  Analgesic (pain-relieving); relieves toothaches, freshens breath; antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral; boosts immune system and stimulates blood flow [eugenol, esters, and sesquiterpenes combine to act against pathogens and microbes]; helps gum infections.

Favorite source used:

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Things I Make

Zafu Cushion for Meditation

20190418_115750This year is all about cleaning out my stash; all of my #MakeNine2019 sewing projects are stash-related. However, in considering my sewing goals, I focused entirely on apparel. It simply never dawned on me to think about anything else. I still had some beautiful yardage that was part of a Christmas present from my mother in 2003 – a vibrant dragon print brocade. I’ve been wanting to develop a real meditation practice, and decided this piece of brocade would be perfect for making a Zafu pillow. I figured that after 15 years of waiting, this fabric deserved to become something useful.

Top and bottom:
The beauty of making it myself is that I was able to choose whatever size I wanted. I had a Zafu pillow years ago that was about 12 inches in diameter. I decided to go with 15 inches. Using a piece of old cardboard, I made a 16 inch circle as a pattern (1/2 seam allowance all the way around). I traced and cut out two of these from the fabric.

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I’m so not a sewing tutorial kind of person. Sorry I didn’t take pics of the actual process. It didn’t dawn on me at the time.

Sides:
I completely fudged it. First, I decided to make the depth of my cushion 9 inches (looking at Zafus online for guidance). With seam allowances, that’s 10 inches. Using math (gawd help us all) I calculated the circumference of my circle in order to determine the length of the piece going around the sides:

C = πd

Since I know the diameter of the circle is 16 inches, I calculated the circumference as a smidge over 50 inches. In order to put in the pleats, I would have to determine not only how wide each pleat would be, but the total amount of over- and underlap. This is the point where I said, “Eff it!” The piece I had was 2 yards, or 72 inches. I cut a 10 inch strip along the entire length of one side and hit the ironing board. I began to press pleats into the fabric visually, making them as identical as possible. I made sure to leave enough length at the front end to fold over for the addition of velcro strip:

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I found a piece of velcro in my stash that was at least 10 inches long, and measured enough length at the ends to accommodate the velcro width, the fold over, and seam allowances. I have been known to tear the velcro out of stuff when it dies. Waste not, want not.

I knew that at some point I would have to add on to this long pleated strip, as 72 inches folded over into pleats is not adequate to make it 50 plus inches and then some. There were more than enough fabric bits left to add in another 10 inch wide chunk. I simply hid the seam inside the pleat. I kept up the pleating until I reached my desired length, then added enough extra for the velcro at the other end. At this point, I stay stitched the pleats in place along both sides. Then I sewed in the velcro. To attach the circles, I pinned everything in place, making sure that the velcro parts were overlapping such that when I flipped the finished zafu right side out they would be lined up:

 

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Filling:
As you can see in the photo, I filled my Zafu with styrofoam. They are typically filled with buckwheat hulls. However, my Fella and I used to have these chairs from Walmart called ‘Big Joe’ that came filled with styrofoam pellets. After the chairs fell apart (shocker), I saved all the styrofoam. Every piece of styrofoam from those chairs ended up in my Zafu. They really, really squish down, and the beauty of second-hand pellets is that they are already partially squished. As they squish down more, I’ll add buckwheat hulls as needed.

It is really important to me to use those styrofoam pellets as long as possible. At the time we bought them, his family was coming for the holidays and we owned very little furniture. Our budget was so tight, we ended up with inflatables and bean bag chairs. It was the best we could do at the time, but yeah… a little bit of my earth-loving self died inside. I’m not sending those pellets to the landfill along with everything else. There are also packing peanuts in there.

Well, there you have it! One meditation cushion, ready to go. The average price online seems to be $79.00. Total cost of mine? $0! Now, to learn how to sit still…

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This is how you meditate, right?

Things I Sew

Oil for Oil Pulling

20190416_152725I am a big fan of Ayurvedic Medicine. I took a course during my naturopathic education under Dr. Robert Svoboda, and have continued to learn about it and practice the principles over the years. According to Ayurveda, I am a Vata-Pitta, heavy on the Vata. I won’t go into details about this – there are plenty of great resources – but I take a very individualized approach to my health, always striving for balance. Therefore, the following recipe should not be taken as a health recommendation or a one-size-fits-all product. However, it is very simple to adjust ingredients to what suits your needs and basic constitution. Oil pulling is controversial for some people, but to me it makes sense, in the same way that washing my face in oils makes sense. I’m not going into any of that here, but each person should research it and decide for themselves. I’ve been experiencing a toothache lately and won’t be able to get to my holistic dentist in the immediate future. You can do oil pulling without essential oils, but I’m adding a few to help with my current situation.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1/4 cup Sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup Coconut oil
  • 20 drops Cardamom essential oil
  • 20 drops Clove bud essential oil
  • 10 drops Pink pepper essential oil

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The process is simple:  If your coconut oil is solid, put oils into a pan on low heat. As soon as coconut oil melts remove from heat. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then pour into a 4 ounce bottle. If your coconut oil is already in liquid form, simply measure out your oils and place them directly into your 4 ounce bottle. Add essential oils to the bottle. Shake vigorously. By the following morning, all the oils will have fully blended and it’s ready to use. To learn all about it, go to https://eatfeelfresh.com/how-to-oil-pull-like-a-boss/

Ingredient actions:

  • Sesame oil:  Warming, counterbalancing Vata’s cold body and digestive fire
  • Coconut oil:  Whitening; counterbalance heat from Pitta excess during sleep (night sweats and heat from hormonal changes and Lyme flare-ups)
  • Cardamom EO:  Anti-infective, antibacterial; stimulates and tones the digestive tract; has antiseptic properties that stimulate the phagocytic cellular action of the immune system; balancing and harmonizing
  • Clove bud EO:  Analgesic (pain-relieving); relieves toothaches, freshens breath; antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral; boosts immune system and stimulates blood flow [eugenol, esters, and sesquiterpenes combine to act against pathogens and microbes; helps gum infections.
  • Pink pepper EO: Helps maintain healthy cellular function and overall cellular health; increases circulation; antiseptic, antiviral, and stimulant; anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving; uplifting and energizing, invigorates mind, body and spirit.

Favorite sources used:

Things I Make

Joint-Calming and Hormone-Balancing Tea

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I bought my herbs at Mountain Rose Herbs

Well, it’s a new season, both on the planet and in my life. Ever since I turned 46 last November, I’ve noticed some changes. These changes have already been there for a while, but now they’re right in the forefront of my life. Coupled with a difficult period with chronic Lyme disease, I decided to design a medicinal tea for myself that I could enjoy daily as part of an overall protocol. Here are the issues I am addressing: chronic widespread inflammation; joint pain from Lyme arthritis; estrogen dominance and symptoms of hormonal imbalance; abdominal pain from flatulence and weakened digestion in general; night sweats and hot flashes; painful menstruation and periods; pain and fatigue both pre- and post- menstruation; poor appetite and energy; constipation; improved detoxification; chronic urinary tract problems; improvement of circulation of blood and lymph; strengthen immune system and provide vitamins and minerals. There is much more to it, as these symptoms are part of an overall picture both physically and energetically. The picture is one of deficiency.

Please note that I am designing a formula that is specific to me, and I have had professional training in medical herbalism, though I am always learning, improving and modifying. I like to share my process to encourage others in their health journey, not to give medical advice. In considering where I am at right now, and listening to my body as it gives me important information on what it needs, I chose the following herbs:

Here’s the recipe:   (I make 1/2 gallon at a time, as a replacement for morning coffee)

  • 1 part Nettle leaf   (1/4 cup dried herb)
  • 1 part Rosehips flower (1/4 cup dried herb)
  • 2 parts Wild Yam root powder (1 Tbsp dried herb)
  • 1 part Red clover (1/4 cup dried herb)
  • 1 part Dandelion leaf   (1/4 cup dried herb)

Here’s the process:

Decoction:  Place nettle leaf, rosehips, and wild yam root into water. Bring water slowly to a low boil, then reduce heat. Add red clover (has some woodier bits along with the leafy bits). Simmer mixture for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Infusion:  Add dandelion leaf and allow mixture to steep as it cools down.

Poor tea through fine mesh strainer into 1/2 gallon container. Add water to replace that which has boiled off.

Drink about one cup daily. Mixture will be bitter with an underlying sweetness. Great replacement for morning coffee.

Herbal actions:

  • Dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinalis):  High in minerals (potassium, vitamins A, B, C, and D); detoxifying; clears blood and lymph by increasing elimination through the kidneys and bowels; stimulate production and release of bile; aids liver-related conditions like UTIs, painful menopause and menstruation; stimulates secretion of digestive fluids, promotes the appetite; strengthens the urinary system and helps with incontinence; relieves pain of arthritis and detoxifies joints; aids in healing of chronic illness and viral infections; helps anemia; aids water retention; prevents cell damage through free radical detoxification; stabilizes mood swings; helps anemia.
  • Nettles (Urtica spp.):  High in vitamins and minerals (excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium and silicic acid); antihistamine effect, useful for hay fever and allergies; enhances natural immunity, protecting from infections; reduces blood sugar levels and stimulates circulation; dilates peripheral blood circulation, promoting elimination of urine and lowered blood pressure; high in readily absorbable iron and chlorophyll, making it helpful for anemia; clears blood of urates and toxins; treats arthritis; reduces menstrual cramps; rejuvenator in chronic illness with long-term use; beneficial to urinary tract and kidneys; helps PMS.
  • Red Clover (Trifolium pratense):  High in trace minerals; blood cleanser; helps chronic constipation, chronic degenerative diseases; helps balance hormone levels during menopause and relieves symptoms like hot flashes; reduces and clears excess estrogen levels; improves elimination overall – helps body eliminate toxins through improved urine flow, moves mucous out of lungs, increases bile flow, acts as a gentle laxative.
  • Rosehips (Rosa rugosa):  High in vitamin C; fights free radicals and strengthens immunity; pain-relieving; aids urinary tract and kidney issues, and digestive distress; relieves phlegm and congestion; aids elimination through kidneys; improves general resistance and lightens mood.
  • Wild Yam root (Dioscorea villosa):  Useful for low progesterone/high estrogen related problems, aiding in painful menstruation, PMS symptoms, and menopausal symptoms; prevents osteoporosis; beneficial for arthritis by reducing joint inflammation; reduces imflammation and pain from intestinal cramping.

Favorite sources used: (Along with my notes and herbal monographs from Bastyr University, as part of my doctoral program in Naturopathic Medicine.)

Things I Make

Life Lessons Learned From Sewing – Lesson Five

You can’t control what people will or won’t like, so keep putting yourself out there, believe in what you’re creating, and let the chips fall where they may.

The other day I posted pictures of the brand new jumper I made on Instagram. It was a tedious project. First of all, it took way too long to complete because my heart wasn’t in it. I’m just not into sewing right now. I go through phases/seasons with my creativity, and this is not sewing season. I also felt ambivalent about the project, unsure if the dress would even come out well, wondering if my ambivalence would extend to the finished project. I just wasn’t feeling it. The other night I realized that I only had about 30 minutes of work left until I finished it, so I dropped everything and went for it. I just wanted to get it over with. The next day I wore it, took pictures, and posted it. Then I went away and ignored social media.

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My two most popular posts. Yet, they are by far NOT my personal favorites.

When I checked back in, the post had received over 1100 likes and over 60 comments! You could have knocked me over with a feather. I have never made it into the four digits before. I mean, I have around 300+ followers, and I’m pretty sure at least half of them aren’t even real people. The irony is that I almost didn’t post at all! In fact, I was starting to think about scrapping Instagram altogether.

The same thing happened back in February. I happen to own a Walmart track phone of the Samsung persuasion, and every time there’s an update, my picture quality falls apart. It’s a struggle to get the settings even remotely presentable. So, when I put on an older make, a long denim skirt, and only got grainy photos, I almost didn’t bother to post. Finally, I said eff it and posted anyway. I ended up with over 800 likes.

Neither of these posts were even remotely my favorites. I like the outfits, but the posts were afterthoughts to me; B-sides, if you will. Isn’t that how it is in the creative life? Just because something makes your heart sing, this doesn’t mean it will resonate with anyone else. And just because your response to something is ‘meh’ or you felt ‘meh’ while you created it, doesn’t mean other people’s hearts won’t sing when they encounter it. It might make your heart sing at some later moment, when you look back and think, “Wow, that was a lot better than I thought at the time.” But maybe not.

Sometimes our most memorable moments on the creative journey involve uninspired feelings, grainy photos, and a heavy dose of ambivalence. Maybe we’re having a bad hair day. Maybe we had a fight with our sweetie. Maybe we’re going through something and doing our best to get through it all. We aren’t always flying high on the wings of creative bliss, yet still we create. We continue to build. We continue to share the content of our creative process as we evolve – because it is a process. If success was built on feeling sparkly all the time, nothing truly good would ever come to fruition, and not everything that we’re enormously proud of will resonate with anyone but ourselves. Or our moms. Or our best friend Joanie from high school. That’s okay. Everything we encounter in the process makes us better at what we do, because at the end of the day I’m not creating for approval; I’m doing it because I must, because I’m wired to create.

If I love something and feel proud of it, that’s all that really matters. This is why I do it, to feel a strong sense of connection – with myself, my stuff, the world at large, the cosmic creative forces in the universe. A person who creates MUST create, in whatever way they are compelled to do so in the moment, including the ‘meh’ moments. The nagging feelings that bump you off the sofa and get you to finish something which isn’t inspiring you is still a form of MUST, the deep inner knowing that I don’t create just because I’m inspired, I create because I inspire others in turn, even if it’s just mom and Joanie and Joe Blo in tim-buk-tu who stalks me under the name ‘Susie Q’. Life is a collaboration, and all creativity is an exchange, a conversation with other people. This is the beauty of sharing, even when we aren’t feeling it.

So, we throw ourselves out there. We have no control over how something will or won’t be received. Finding the courage to do it at all is a sort of cliff jump into the unknown. Navigating the wilderness of other people and their thoughts, perceptions, and personal preferences is an arduous journey. That’s the nature of dialogue – you don’t get to control the conversation. It has a mind of its own. That’s the nature of the creative journey – it’s a story that is always unfolding. We are not the ones telling the story. The story is telling us; because the minute we think we know how it’s going to go, we encounter another character and all hell breaks loose. So, rather than worry about it, just put it out there. Let nature take its course. It’s amazing how often fresh inspiration comes from some random person who has an opinion or interpretation of what I’ve created that sparks my mind in a new direction. Someone mentioned that I should enter my jumper in the #sewbibs challenge. I hadn’t paid any attention to challenges and contests lately due to my ‘meh’ attitude, but I added it to my post as an afterthought. I clicked on the hashtag yesterday to see other makes and my post was in the top 9. Wow. Cool. Not to mention, seeing all those adorable overalls and pinafores sparked a little something in me, and I really needed the inspiration.

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Hello, old friend. You are faithful and true. I am doing other things right now, but I’ll be seeing you soon…

Things I Think About
#LearnNine2019

Dark Olive Jumper/Pinafore

My intention this year was to work my way through my stash, but I forgot to include one piece of fabric in my #MakeNine2019, a thrifted piece of dark olive-green nylon-blend fabric I found last year at Saver’s Thrift Store. I paid $2.99 for three yards at 45 inches wide. It had some streaks of fading from age, but not enough to really concern me – pants or something like that would be a no-go, but pleats would solve the problem. It sat there as I waited for it to tell me what it wanted to be, and last week it finally spoke. I kept seeing so many cute jumpers and pinafores all over social media, and rather than purchase one of the newer patterns out there, I went for one that has lingered in my stash over the years. I chose McCall’s 5577 (no longer in print):

Even though I purchased it ten years ago, I have continued to love it, and feel like it’s as relevant as ever. Not only are jumpers in style, but pleats have made a comeback. I never quite decided what color to make it in, not wanting the final product to look too juvenile, so this seemed like a great pairing. Considering the pattern cost $1.99, I am getting a cute new pinafore for only about five bucks. Score!

The layout was pretty straightforward. I basically had the exact right amount of fabric. This is why choosing the right project was key, considering that a clever layout scheme was going to work to hide the faded parts of the yardage. I added 2 inches into the length out of personal preference, and did my usual grading. I am always a size 12 in length on commercial patterns, but smaller in width, so grading between sizes is pretty standard for me:

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You can see some of the fading along the selvage. The fabric sort of blends into the flooring at that point.

This was not a hard project to put together, and I like how wearable this piece is. I used slightly lighter thread and added contrasting top-stitching. Since the fabric is sporty, I thought a little top-stitching would add to the sporty vibe. I used some pretty leaf buttons I’ve had in my stash for years:

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Overall, I love the finished product, and I’m relieved that not only does it fit perfectly across the chest, but I can see myself keeping it in constant rotation. I was worried that I might not love it enough when it was finished to wear it very often. Total cost? Only 2.99 for the fabric and 1.99 for the pattern. Yay.

Things I Sew