"To understand this non-seperation is to rejoice in the happiness of others and share in thier suffering, all the while feeling the joy of our oneness, our connectedness. Our concept of a self, seperate from others, is a delusion, but we can't see our way out of this misconception until we awaken."
- Sarah Napthali in Buddhism for Mothers
Author and older sister, Lori, and author's mother, Sue. Circa 1976. Matchy robes sewn by Sue.
As opportunites arise this season to 'dress up' a bit I have been pondering about matchy- matchy clothes. Is this a way to become ONE, to become connected? What is it that compels many mothers (myself included) to dress our children in matching clothes? Especially around this time of year. It is darling in photos but what do the kids think of this? Equally clever however are those photographs that really capture the essence of the child, with clothing the child chose for himself (hopefully not matching or coordinated in any way!). Did those of us whom where dressed like our siblings as children come away scarred or more connected? What would Freud say about the subject?
Ok, so maybe I can run/sprint away with things and over analyze a bit (ok, a lot!)
Easter matchy-matchy dresses for author and older sister, Lori. Circa 1978.
Do you remember dressing like your siblings or even like your parent(s) for special occasions? As a child did you have choices about your wardrobe? Did you dress your children alike over this holiday season or come out looking like the Von Trapp family with a whole family matchy-matchy ensemble?
I was tempted to do the latter with a set of matching pajamas for the entire family made out of an old terrycloth bedspread... but I ended up with just coordinated flannel robes and matching terrycloth pajama pants for Cassidy and CJ. The same vintage pattern was used for both robes but on CJ's I added a hood and a belt as opposed to the button up front with eyelet detail yoke that is on Cassidy's.
Author's first attempt at matchy-matchy holiday pajamas with her own children. December 2007.
Authors second attempt at matchy-matchy holiday attire. December 2008.
From the The Sound of Music, the Von Trapp Family in clothes made of curtains.
Not 100% matchy-matchy - but coordinating robes for CJ and Cassidy for Holiday season 2010.
Vintage pattern used for Cassidy's and CJ's coordinating robes. Yes,the price was $1.
Originally $.39 marked down to $.37, vintage buttons used on Cassidy's holiday 2010 robe.
Under the tree CJ will find what he has been talking about for weeks - skateboard pants! They are complete. They may look basic to you but "oh boy, these pants have been a BIG topic!"CJ has been asking for skateboard pants for some time now. With some searching the fabric was found on etsy but was ultimately printed custom by spoonflower.
(close up of the fabric on the pocket)
And because he has grown 5 inches in one year the boy will get a trio of pants. These are the pants he lives in. This is the pattern that works for him. They have a wider leg than most patterns and look clever (in my humble and completely biased opinion) as pants or shorts or anywhere in between.
These are the second pair of pants, the third pair are on the "docket" for tomorrows 2 hours of free time to finish the "Mrs. Clause" to do list. This second pair of pants are upcycled from a favorite pair of size 18 months pants. The pants still fit him but are too short. These pants were worn a lot over the last three years, reaching for them often because of their comfort and sooo soft feel. I added a band of fun flannel to make them long enough and also added a useful side pocket.
The third pair are being made out of one of Sean's old thermal henleys that has a bleach spot so we will re-use the fabric. I am glad to save this shirt of Sean's, as it too has a great soft feel and has years worth of washes saved up that make the cotton fabric ideal for a 3 year old's pants.
As I was making these pants for CJ I reminisced over the last three years, especially the last two years - which are the two years he has worn the last set of pants I made him. He began walking in pants just like these, from this pattern anyhow. He began riding bikes. He began skateboarding. Throwing. Running. I wonder what these second set of pants will bring us...
If you were here you'd see and hear a lot of effort underway to have the majority of the "Mrs. Claus" duties completed by Sunday Midnight. Yes indeed - that is what I call a self-imposed deadline. One other self-imposed limit that is hindering these efforts toward my self-imposed deadline is my "go to bed when kiddos go to bed" limit. Oh - these limits I give myself - so conflicting right now.
Anyhow, despite trying to "follow the rules" there are a few semi-handmade things ready to go under the tree. One of my favorites are the trio of skirts for Cassidy.
This skirt was made from an upcycled denim skirt and 6 cloth shopping bags from freepeople.com. The bags are an interesting light gauzy material and I have been 'squirreling' them in a corner for some time now, never really knowing what I was going to make of them until now. The belt was made from some scraps left over after making the skirt and an acrylic belt buckle.
This second skirt was made from some over the top tulle fabric that has a gorgeous scalloped edge and loosely attached leaves and flowers all over. The under skirt was previously a light gauzy curtain that my mother-in-law found at an estate sale. I saved the curtain ruffle for the skirt bottom and the curtain rod opening for an instant (with some 2 inch wide elastic) waist band. The skirt is very full and should have good twirl potential.
This skirt will probably be Cassidy's favorite of the trio. The reason - she personally picked out the heart flannel fabric on the bottom while in the fabric store with me. A few times over the last month she has seen it in the studio and said, "When will you make me a skirt from this mommy?"
There is a little bitter-sweet in these skirts. The fancy tulle fabric, the acrylic belt buckle and the heart flannel fabric came from our local fabric store, The Cotton Shop. I bought them during their going out of business sale. While I am thrilled to get such deals (50% off!), I am bitter that the local treasure of a shop can't compete with big business.
I have a few other semi-handmade treasures ready to go under the tree (or very near ready)- I will keep you posted...
I have been thinking about chaos (thanks to a graceful reminder from Mary Allison) and trying to notice everything aside from and along with the chaos that ensues. Amongst all the chaos during this time of year combined with the chaos that comes along with motherhood I am finding some peace. Success! Sometimes it is a moment, sometimes it is a new awareness in a stage or step of a process, sometimes (rarely) it is an entire day full of peace.
It is a bit of a tradition to visit a local poinsettia farm (local to my parents in San Diego anyhow) and load up as many as we can fit in the car. I am awe struck each year that I step into the door of the green house and see the sweeping view of red and ivory. The light from the green house ceiling illuminates the flowers in such a unique way. This sort of every day awe and beauty is peace for me right now. Watching Cassidy walk around and take her sweet time picking out just the right poinsettia for her room along side my mom - that is peace for me right now.
Peace has come in many forms this season, not just in a beautiful green house moments. Peace has also come for me in acceptance. I have come to accept many things, SLOWLY, over the years. I won't get into all this ...but one thing that has taken a long time to accept of all thing is my calves. I have gigantic, enormous calves. Last week as I walked up the stairs holding a 36 pound 3 year old with a 102 degree fever whose face was nuzzled in my neck, I realized I love my calves. I am at peace with my calves. Amongst the chaos of caring for my family I have realized these calves have propelled me up the stairs , carrying babies, then toddlers - sometimes two at one time. Sometimes a toddler and a bag. The strength in those huge muscles that are attached to the backs of my legs - well I am at peace. The gratitude I have for the strength they offer, that gives me peace.
The fact that after years of searching, followed by years of giving up, I have also found some boots that comfortably fit over my large calves. This may have played a part in new found peace. The dress is an Anna Maria Horner Pattern and made of her Little Folks voile fabric line too. What better way to celebrate new boots and new found peace than with a semi-handmade tunic.
Anyhow, hope you are finding peace amongst your chaos and gratitude in your air!