Previous month:
April 2011
Next month:
June 2011

May 2011

growing up sew liberated is here!

hand sewing

Sit down and sew (with a good book!)

Growing Up Sew Liberated is now in stock, and I have signed copies available in my shop. Copies purchased at my shop will also receive a free Reading Pillow Pattern!

Read a bit more about what's in the book here.

The blog tour starts on Monday, June 6th! Here's the scoop:

Growing Up Sew Liberated Blog Tour

 Join Interweave Books in a celebration of the launch of Meg McElwee’s new book, Growing Up Sew Liberated. The launch kicks off with a 15-day blog tour visiting education blogs, sewing blogs, parenting blogs, personal blogs, eco-living blogs, and some that are simply a combination of all of the above.  You’ll meet some extraordinary women, see stunning photography, hear inspirational stories from Meg and many of her friends, and of course learn more about the book. Perhaps you’ll find some new favorite bloggers to follow along the way? Join us each day as we visit with:

6/6         Elsie Marley

6/7         Made By Rae

6/8         The Artful Parent

6/9         Rhythm of the Home Blog

6/10       Uncommon Grace

6/13       Frontier Dreams

6/14       Burda Style

6/15       Maya Made

6/16       Wise Craft

6/17       JC Handmade

6/20       Simple Homeschool

6/21       Made


Yay! It's out in the world! Thank you, friends, for your support in making this happen!

sponsor giveaway :: visionary mom

I'm happy to have Lisa from hosting a giveaway today! Please read on to learn about and the Make A Plan Workshop, then enter the giveaway for the Workshop by leaving a comment. Comments will close Monday evening, May 30th. Good luck!

Comments closed! Congratulations to comment 64:

Gesche said...

OMG this would be marvelous!

Thanks again to!


Motherhood can busy and complicated. And, finding the time to work on "our" stuff - our dreams, our small creative businesses, the things that inspired us - beyond being a mom? Well, that can be tricky! That's what the Make A Plan Workshop is all about. Finding the time, making an easy to use and easy to execute plan to make our dreams come true.

MAP Workshop
Whatever your dreams are, they matter. They matter to you, to your kiddos and to the world. We all want to see you thrive and make magic happen, doing the things you love.

The Make A Plan Workshop includes an easy to follow workbook, 10 short videos that walk you through the process, a month of loving reminders to keep you motivated, and unlimited email support from me in case you get stuck creating your plan.

Also, Lisa is offering Sew Liberated readers a 10% discount on all orders placed until June 4th. Just enter the code: sewliberated at checkout.

window shopping

I've been getting rather "wanty" lately when it comes to sewing clothes for my boys. I blame two things: first, the fact that I have no time to do so, at least until after the book launches. The second culprit is the amount of time that I have to putz around on the internet in the wee small hours of the morning while I pump breastmilk. While I am totally unable to do any writing or business-y stuff while my mind is half asleep, I have found that I have no problem whatsoever surfing the web, searching for cute things to make.

I thought I'd share with you some of my late night Pinterest finds. (And, hello ... Pinterest is super rad, especially if you're the visual type.)

Without further ado ...

Source: via Meg on Pinterest

Source: via Meg on Pinterest

Source: via Meg on Pinterest

Source: via Meg on Pinterest

Source: via Meg on Pinterest

Source: via Meg on Pinterest

child's apron revisited

baking apron

This humble little apron means more to me than you would think it warrants. It's a simple design, really - so easy to make, and so gratifying to give to a young child. It represents joyful, messy times together with children, both in my classroom and now in my own home, baking and making art with my little one.

But it's more to me than that, even. It was the first sewing pattern that I mustered up the courage to share with others. I remember drafting the pattern while I was still living and teaching in Mexico, hoping that it would be of use to other Montessori teachers and parents as they made materials for their own classrooms and homes. I was nervous putting it out into the world. The basic apron has been a downloadable tutorial on my blog ever since.

Yet, it doesn't stop there, my appreciation for this little apron. It soon became apparent that others really enjoyed the pattern, both for its sewing ease, its design that promotes a young child's independence, and for its practical use in the home. The feedback I received from the first users of the pattern was positive, and it gave me the confidence I needed to start writing up patterns for my other designs (like the Emmeline Apron - the apron I wore daily in my classroom!)

Before I knew it, I was designing patterns as well as teaching. Now, I'm mothering and designing patterns whenever I can find a moment. (Most moments courtesy of my dear husband, who is Super Dad.) Occasionally, enough of those moments come together and allow me to write a book.

Growing Up Sew Liberated is about to be released (official launch date is June 6) and I couldn't be more excited. It is written for those exact same people I drafted the apron pattern for - but there's oh so much more inside its pages. It was such a joy to write, and I hope that you love it as much as you loved the humble little apron.

So, with a nod to my roots as a designer, I'm really pleased that Interweave, my publisher, wanted to re-release the child's apron with a few more bells and whistles.

laundry apron

laundry apron detail

plant care apron

You can read Tricia's write-up about Growing Up Sew Liberated on Sew Daily, where you can also download the new-and-improved Child's Apron pattern. The new pattern features two size ranges (3-5 years and 6-8 years,) as well as instructions on making two new versions of the apron: a waterproof, whimsically embroidered Laundry Day Apron, and the playfull and practical Plant Care Apron.

Click here to download the new pattern.

Happy sewing!


catch me if you can

Hi friends! I'm going to be interviewed live on Mark Lipinski's Creative Mojo this afternoon, 3-5pm EST. Tune in if you have the chance. My interview segment will be around 4 - 4:15, and we'll be talking about Growing Up Sew Liberated.

Creative mojo
Also, the transcript of my online chat is available at, for those of you who missed it.

By the way, catch me if you can has two meanings. One of which is obvious - I have a live interview with Mark. The second is this - I am most definitely running around like a chicken with its head cut off with all of this book busy-ness! Once again, we find ourselves relying heavily on the help of friends and family to get by. Oh - and good ol' take out. If you stop by my house, please don't look at the dirty floor. Thanks a bunch. ;)

backyard kitchen

mud kitchen fun

mud kitchen fun

mud kitchen fun

mud kitchen fun

mud kitchen fun

mud kitchen fun

mud kitchen fun

mud kitchen fun


Chocolate Pancakes

Mud Pie

Sweet Gum Ball Ice Cream

Mud Bread with Herbs

 It didn't take the Daddy and me very much time or effort to set this up, yet the results? Oh my. Stamp of toddler approval, my friends. Water? Check. Dirt? Check. Rip roarin' good time? Check. Mess? You betcha. Little one busily playing for two hours straight? Mmm hmm. The mud pie kitchen makes all of us in our house very happy.

It cost virtually nothing to put together (the old bench was free and the pots, pans & kitchenware were thrifted.) To cover the unsighly front and sides of the bench, I used a thrifted sheet, cut to size and nailed to the wood. Add a hook to hang an apron from and you're done. The sides of the bench are open, so one side can be used for storage and the other side is the "oven."

I gleaned my inspiration from an article in the 2010 summer edition of Rhythm of the Home. You can see more ideas at Let the Children Play.

I'm hoping that this is one of the things that the boys remember about their childhoods when they are adults. Water + mud + silliness = fond memories.

knitting organization

Alas, no finished knitting project to show off (yet), but I did tackle one of the more pressing organizational tasks in my home when Finn and Patrick were away.

knitting needles 1

You see, I'm the kind of person who needs to have an organized space - a clean slate - to begin a project. I just can't relax into a creative moment until everything is in its place. I've often thought that this need encumbers my artistic spirit, but I've recently come to terms with the fact that my artistic spirit is so visual that it requires simplicity, clean lines, and beauty in order to function. Either that or it's just plain OCD. Lately, the knitting side of this artistic spirit has been seriously squelched by a major needle disorganization. Needles would crop up everywhere - in unfinished projects, in the bottom of various baskets, and jammed into an ineffective needle storage roll. I could never find the fourth double-pointed needle for knitting a sock, and I could never find the size that I needed. Sometimes I ended up purchasing a set of needles that I already had, just because I couldn't find what I was looking for at the time.

knitting organization

All of this meant that, since it took so much effort to start a project, I hardly ever did. Not so anymore!

knitting organization 2

Admittedly, this storage solution isn't for those low on space, but it is pretty and cheery. Everything is housed in the jars - the collection of needles that I inherited from my great-grandmother, the stitch markers and the tapestry needles. I arranged them in wide-mouth mason jars on top of my yarn collection. Each jar contains a specific needle size (1's on the left, 10's on the right, and every kind of needle I own in the given size - double-pointeds, circulars, straights, etc.)  I need a few more jars to house the bigger sizes, but there's no rush. I have something cozy (for me!) on the needles right now, and all is right with the world.


like the waves

want da to carry you

He did it. I did it. Finn spent his first long weekend away from me, and his first one-on-one weekend with his Daddy. While they traveled to the beach to attend a family wedding, I stayed home with Lachlan. And thought about Finn. And missed him.

It was super quiet around here, with no sing-song voice in the background. But you know what? It was a wonderful weekend, because (for the first time) I got to spend one-on-one time with Lachlan. Much of the time was spent gazing into his sparkly eyes, chatting "a-goo" baby-style, and doing luxurious things like reading books together and knitting. It made me realize just how different an experience a first child has as compared to subsequent siblings. Not necessarily better, just different. Busier, louder, and more love to go around. Still, its lovely to have one-on-one time with each child.

Waves coming in, waves going out - my two boys, only two years apart, are in such different places in their young lives. One needs to be close to Mama, the other is ready to take on the world (with his Daddy close beside him.) Soon they'll both be galavanting on the beach, nary a glance back at their old mom.

More on that knitting tomorrow ...

lachlan's first bath

first bath

first bath 3

Wait! Before you judge me for being a negligent mother and not giving my (surely very stinky) baby a bath for the first ten weeks of his life ... ;)

The last of Lachlan's scab on his scar recently fell off, which meant that we were finally able to give him a proper bath! A big milestone! No more sponge bathing (wait ... until the next surgery which is fast approaching. Oh well. We'll enjoy these real baths while we can!) Lachlan sure loved it. In his typical contemplative manner, he soaked up every moment of the enjoyable experience.


two years old

two years old

birthday morning

birthday morning 2

birth day photos

birthday pehpez

birthday books

birthday boy brings caterpillar str<p><a href=

strawberry picnic

strawberry picking

blow them out

Yesterday, we spent the day honoring Finn. For two years ago, on Mother's Day, I held him in my arms for the very first time. That day, we knew he liked to eat. Since then, we've delighted in learning so much more about this little boy - a boy who is, at once, a focused observer and a stand-up comedian. This intense yet joy-filled boy of mine - I love him so.


:: Birthday ring from Nova Natural.

:: Birthday crown made by my dear sister-in-law, who I believe used the instructions in Amanda's book.

:: Spinning Rainbow here.

:: On the Day You Were Born - the perfect birthday tradition.

:: Mama, Is It Summer Yet? - the perfect book for a May baby.

:: Yes, we went strawberry picking for his birthday and met up with a few friends. Very relaxing, very fun. And yes, he brought his caterpillar along. Can't leave home without it.

:: No, he didn't get anything handmade-by-mama for his birthday. I really believe I must embrace the concept of creativity beyond simply making things. At this time in my life, with so many things on my plate and a new baby with a feeding pump to boot, I must be kind to myself and be content with knowing that my son sees me living creatively every day, even if it means that I don't make a lot of tangible goods with my hands. I give him the gift of my creative thought as I plan our days, as I cook a meal. I use my creativity to redirect him when he feels frustrated. I use my creativity when I spontaneously burst into song or a silly dance. You needn't feel guilty for not being in the time or place in your life where you can sew/knit all sorts of things for your children. Just re-route your creativity to living, rather than making. We ALWAYS have time to live - sometimes we don't have the time to make. The making will come, though - and I am so excited to get back into it when my plate empties a bit. Right now there's ridiculously large portions on said plate, between new sewing patterns and a new book (I'm sooo glad you like it! Thanks for your kind words and warm reception!) For now, I'm just creatively muddling through!