Previous month:
April 2011
Next month:
June 2011

May 2011

what's inside the pages

finn with the book

boys with the book

boys with the book 2

My copy of the book has arrived! Finn can't get over that there's a picture of Mama and "Baby Feefee" on the back cover. Mama can't get over that her dream book has become a reality, soon to be set forth into the world. (Publication date is June 14th.) Growing Up Sew Liberated truly represents a melding of my two passions: sewing and early childhood development. In it you will find 18 sewing projects, my thoughts on motherhood and creativity, suggestions for Montessori- and Waldorf-inspired activities and routines for the young child, and a whole lot of love. I wrote this book for my own sons and for all of you, dear friends, who share this passion for mindful parenting and creating.

You can pre-order the book now, and I'll have signed copies in my shop, too, come mid-June. 

Signed copies of the book are now available in my shop! We'll throw in a free Reading Pillow Pattern with your purchase!

I thought you might like to take a peek at some of my favorite projects. Enjoy!

from my book, growing up sew liberated

The Art Satchel

from my book, growing up sew liberated

Baby Bubble Pants

from my book, growing up sew liberated

Irresistible Numbers

from my book, growing up sew liberated

Sleeping Johns

from my book, growing up sew liberated

Little Amigo Doll

from my book, growing up sew liberated

Kitty Lovey

from my book, growing up sew liberated


from my book, growing up sew liberated

Reversible Play Cape

from berries to jam

strawberry jam


canning for a new generation

a big pot

cleaning the bowl

strawberry rosemary jam

why bother eating the bread

Homemade jam - so good that you don't even bother eating the bread.

This year, I was very much looking forward to making strawberry jam with Finn. Last year, he was just starting to take his first steps, and it was really only Mama and Daddy who did the picking and jam-making. (I do recall that Finn did some eating, though. He's always been one for that.) This year, berries and jam have been central to his life this late Spring. From picking (and tasting) to stirring and measuring (and tasting) to bringing jars of jam to gift to friends (and tasting), berries are what he talks about, reads about, and (obviously) eats.

Our preferred recipe this year comes from Canning for a New Generation. (I have ambitions of making every recipe in this book once we have our own garden. Oh, the dreams this book has inspired. I'll be honest, too - part of me just wants to have a pantry that bursts with color like the jars on the front cover of the book.) We used the Strawberry Lavender recipe but substituted ground rosemary in place of the elusive lavender. The resulting jam is a very sophisticated "sweet," and it makes our pbj lunches feel so much more gourmet. Try substituting cream cheese for the peanut butter. Your taste buds will sigh with delight.

A few things that I've found helpful for jam-making with a toddler:

:: the Learning Tower. Worth it's weight in gold.

::my big Cinsa enamelware pot from Mexico. I'm sure you could find it at any local Latino market. It's super cheap and contains all of the splashes and hot strawberry splatters.

:: favorite books about berry picking and jam - Blueberries for Sal and Jamberry .



preferred outing of the season

strawberry picking 2

strawberry picking 3

strawberry picking 4

strawberry picking 5

strawberry picking 6

strawberry picking 7

It's strawberry season! There's something for everyone on our U-pick outings to Whitted Bowers Farm - pastoral scenes, juicy fruit to taste, a friendly farm dog, fresh air and refreshing breezes, a rock for jumping, a healthy back workout, and the sweet anticipation of the many ways we will enjoy our berries when we get home - jam! with whipped cream! dipped in chocolate! on a cake! So many possibilities.

When you're picking strawberries, everything seems right with the world, don't you think? The fruit itself must have magical, soul-healing properties. If a two year-old or thirty year-old feels out-of-sorts, nothing need be done but pop a strawberry in a pouty mouth and that mouth's edges turn right back up again. Yummm.





lachlan's curls

:: this little curl.

in the air

:: this collection of milk bottles on my front step, a sign to all the world that I can't do it all.

in the air 2

:: these sandals, unpacked from the "summer clothes" box.

concert on the lawn 3

:: this pizza - butternut squash, goat cheese, sage, and veggie apple & sage sausage.

concert on the lawn

:: this concert on the lawn, remembering that we were here two years ago.

floating candles

:: these local beeswax floating candles, a nice way to "collect" my family at the end of a day at the dinner table.

As I empty my camera card every few days, I'm always grateful for what I find. Little tidbits of our days, seemingly insignificant, yet which together form the pulse of our lives.


put on the kettle

Mariposa Tee

Photo by Jessica Blakely

Make yourself a cup of hot tea, find a comfy couch corner, and join me in a live chat over at Pattern Review! Here's the topic/time:

"Sewing, Motherhood, and Other Things"
Chat with author of Sew Liberated - Meg McElwee
Wednesday, May. 4th 1 PM Eastern

(10AM Pacific, 11AM Mountain, 12PM Central, 3 AM Thurs May 5th Sydney Australia)

I'll be revealing my three new pattern designs (that's one of them up there - the Mariposa Tee) as well as the news about my new book, Growing Up Sew Liberated , which is set to hit the shelves in the beginning of June. 

I'm not sure how long the chat will last, but as long as Finn stays napping, I'm good to go!

Here's how to access the chat:

If you aren't a member of, they will need to create a free account first:

Once you are in the chat room, go to the Expert Chat Room.  The password is sewlib.

I hope to "meet" you there!

OTHER NEWS: The pattern sale will end on Wednesday evening, so grab your goods soon!