Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Thankfulness and Some Old Tutorials


Hello, all -

Sorry for being so frightfully behind, but I believe new year greetings are in order. Yes, in spite of it being already mid-March. So er . . . happy new year, everyone. I hope the first quarter's been kind, disease crisis notwithstanding. On our end, Minnesota's normally-inert denizens have just begun to join the loony bin of toilet paper hoarders. On one hand, we expected it (thank you, sensationalist media). On the other, Singapore was several months ahead of the US in all things virus. So seeing the news headlines this past week felt a bit like watching a rerun. I didn't freak out then when I was there visiting Mum and the madness was first unfolding in Asia, and I'm not inclined to freak out now that it's found its way here. But yes, I did go to Costco. I needed Pillsbury dough crescents, Laughing Cow cheese and socks, so I braved the crowds - and survived (although sadly, I forgot the socks). Incidentally, I sure hope Costco doesn't run out of socks, people. We here in the land of never-ending winter need our socks. More than we need our TP, let me tell you. 

Anyway, I hope you guys are all stocked up on the things you need to cope with the school closures and home telecommuting and whatnot. Enough for yourselves and to share. I wish everyone wellness and calmness and gratitude for suddenly and unexpectedly wide-open schedules. Let's make good use of the extra time we have with our kids and spouses, shall we? And let's keep praying - we can make jokes about bathroom tissue and the nuttiness of paranoia but some things are indeed out of our control and those things understandably scare us. Quieten your hearts and look up, if you can. Live a day at a time, knowing that there is grace and providence apportioned for the hours between each sunrise and sunset. 

Speaking of grace, I was deeply moved by the responses to my last post on Dad. I remember expecting to feel a Great Difference after I'd finished writing it, as if my healing might inexplicably advance several levels as a consequence, but nothing happened. I was exactly the same person, and sadder, if anything. Also tired, as if finding words to describe things was an exceedingly physical exertion. As much as writing that post was cathartic for me, reading your stories in the comments was even more healing. How similar our experiences were, whether we had recently lost or were remembering a long-ago goodbye; certain things will always be fresh. I was particularly struck by how surprise continues to be an aspect of grief: we automatically return to the status quo of being intact and are startled when we remember that our loved one is actually no longer here. Even years after the fact. I like that it suggests we aren't made for separations and farewells, or that love isn't something that vanishes with changing circumstances. I wrote in my journal a random thought that death is "the beginning of a way to continue that relationship with different logistics."

I will stop musing here and switch topics presently but I want to thank everyone who'd read that post and shared a little bit of themselves in return. I've taken this week to write back by email, blog replies and Facebook comments and each response has helped me process things a little bit more and take another step forward. You guys are kind and thoughtful and good with pain. I don't mean that lightly. Thank you.

Also, I have more stories to share. 2019 - and the first part of 2020 - was a difficult year for me, and Dad's death was a big part of that, but there were other things, too. So there might be more posts to come, all part of this journey I've found myself undertaking. Finding words for it all is helpful for me personally but the idea that it might help others to read those words is oddly uplifting. 

Now, though, let's talk about something else: sewing and tutorials.

Do you remember the fabulous sewing website Sew Mama Sew? It's been through some changes in recent years but back in its heyday, it was an incredible resource of tutorials, patterns, contests, instruction, commentary, guest posts and generally awesome inspiration for seamstresses of all skill levels. Over the past decade, I've had the honor of contributing tutorials to their blog, and have enjoyed collaborating with Beth and Kristin, the two ladies at its helm. Lately, though, the Sew Mama Sew website has vanished. Does anyone know what's happened?

Since I've been off the grid awhile, I only realized this when folks reached out to me to ask about those featured tutorials which they can no longer access. I'm aware that Sew Mama Sew still has on online presence in the form of a Facebook page and a Twitter account, which continue to be regularly updated. The blog itself, though, is nowhere to be found. Which is a sad thing because so many of us loved that blog and have learned so much from it. I've tried reaching out via email and leaving comments on their Facebook page, as have countless other readers, but we have not heard back.


Which brings me to the point of this post. I had five tutorials on Sew Mama Sew (hereafter "SMS"), and as per their conditions of publication and compensation, these tutorials have not appeared anywhere else, not even here on ikatbag. But with SMS now out of action, readers are asking how they might find those instructions. I understand their frustration and I would like to help. Here are two possible ways.

One, because I retain copyright of all my tutorials, I can bring those tutorials home (i.e. republish them here) but ideally, with the permission of the good people at SMS. I've left a comment to let them know and I'll wait a reasonable amount of time before going ahead. If in the future, the SMS site comes back online and those tutorials are once again accessible to everyone there, I'll take my own posts down here on ikatbag so that SMS once again retains exclusivity. Easy-peasy.


Two, the fabulous husband has found a way to access the SMS archives with the help of the Wayback Machine.  I posted briefly about this eight years ago here. He was able to extract those guest posts and save them as PDF downloads. This makes me very happy because you guys will be able to access those five tutorials in their original format on the SMS website (so nostalgic!). The downside is that one or two photos are missing, but I'm confident that you'll be able to mentally bridge the gaps without too much difficulty.


If the SMS site has indeed been shut down for good, eventually - and unless there's violent objection from the SMS folks - I would like to rehome those five tutorials here. This way, I can keep an eye on them and answer questions about them that you guys may have. But until we know for sure what the fate of the SMS site is, go ahead and download these recovered versions of those tutorials here. You'll notice that the pdf tutorials are formatted as a somewhat long and continuous pages rather than the standard 8.5 x 11. This method avoids inappropriate page breaks that chop photos in parts, for instance. Also note that t
he Wayback Machine essentially takes screenshots of url sites at random points in time, so any embedded links are dead. What this means is wherever there were template docs accompanying those tutorials, those download links won't work and you will have to download them from here instead. That all sounds stupid-confusing, so let me just list the tutorials and the accompanying templates below and trust you to navigate the links to find what you want. Hopefully, this will be in time for those of you in particular who've been wanting to sew the Flat (Spring) Bunnies for Easter.

Spring Bunnies
SMS tutorial
Template


Cloverleaf Bag
SMS tutorial
Template



Morphing Wallet-Totes 
SMS tutorial
Template



Raccoon 



Cylindrical Pencil Case
SMS tutorial

Happy making, friends!



11 comments:

  1. Hello, I've been following your blog for many years now. I like it very much. I'm not a native English speaker, so I wasn't sure to find the right words to ease your pain. But I prey for you and your family.
    I wanted to thank you for all you bring us through your blog.

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    1. Cinna: Thank you for your sweet message and for your prayers! Bless you! Stay well, wherever you are in the world :)

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  2. Lier, I enjoyed reading this. Your thoughts are exactly correct. One thing that comforts me is to know that I am not alone. My feelings are not like everyone else's but we do share grief of those people that are part of us. Our lives. Even pets, and best friends and the list goes on.
    It is a shock. Sometimes I want to sob endlessly, but that is so exhausting and all i get is a head ache.
    Thank you for sharing these fun projects. This is a good time to create memories and fun. The Great Corona Lockdown

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    1. Rosemary: Isn't that the truth: finding solace in the simple fact that our difficulties are not specific to us alone? I like to think of the others who have experienced something like this and lived full, meaningful lives after. And yes, in the midst of this world gone nuts, I'm trying to enjoy the extra time I get with my kids and husband. Losing people has taught me that all time with them is on loan, and unspeakably precious.

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  3. Thinking of death as the beginning of a way to continue that relationship with different logistics is a beautiful thought. We are reeling here as one of my son's friends was killed in a vehicle bicycle accident this month. He was the sweetest kid, and he could have been any of our children. And it was all a horrible deja vu for my husband who lost a friend the same way at the same age. Your thoughts on approaching the loss of someone we loved without losing the relationship completely is comforting.

    Thank you for the lovely project downloads. I hadn't realized that Sew Mama Sew was gone. What a shame. It was an incredible resource. Maybe they will pull it back, eventually, but now we have something lovely to sew while we are home for the foreseeable future.

    California is full of socks. Let me know if you would like us to ship you some <3

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    1. MaryAnne: My heart broke to read about your Johnny's friend. Accidents like those feel so stupidly senseless, on top of the loss itself. And of such a young life, and a dear friend. So many losses in one. I know that people say all losses are equal, but this one felt especially heavy to me. Last Nov, a middle-school boy was killed in a car-bike accident just outside Emily's HS. We didn't know his family but he was a member of our community and yes, it could've been any of our kids and we are daily reminded of that fact each time we drive that road. And grief can be relentless in how it triggers afresh old losses. Big (quarantine-appropriate) hugs to you!

      Thank you for your offer to send socks! You are such a good friend. I did return to Costco to buy the socks I'd forgotten the last time. They had lots of socks! Small mercies in a world gone mad. Be well!

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    2. I'm so sorry that your community suffered this same loss. Sending hugs back.

      I'm glad you got your socks. Small mercies keep us all going through hard times.

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  4. I love your comment about the death of loved ones. You are a special person.

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    1. Thank you, Kay, for your kindness. Stay well!

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  5. I'm in Oregon and have no clue what happened to SewMamaSew. I noticed last year when I was going through bookmarks. Thanks for putting them here for the time being.

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  6. I also have a few tutorials on SMS and have not been able to reach Kristin, the site has been down for a while now :( I wish she would've at least sold it to someone else! A mutual acquaintance assured me that she was doing well, which is great, but it appears she has washed her hands of SMS. If I hear otherwise I'll remember to update you!

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