Mothers Day was this past weekend and it gave me a little time to reflect on how complicated mother daughter relationships are.

Even Lorelai and Rory fought once.

And how lucky I am to have the mother I do.

Martha Mary Denio Power is the smartest woman I know.  She’s a Nurse Practitioner who makes waves and cuts paths, has gone back to school twice in my lifetime, and has three children who don’t make life much easier (we’re trying mom, we swear!)

She wipes old peoples butts, takes care of any sick person ever, acts as a surrogate mother to my friends, and pours me a large glass of wine when it’s needed.

Not to mention she resisted the temptation of killing me as a teenager. Which I’m not sure anyone would have blamed her for (teenage girls are the worst).

And she helped me sew my graduation skirt.

Now my mother has always been realistic- she’s encouraged my goals but has been the voice of reason.  Journalism- fine, you’re a good writer, you can do it.  Professional athlete- nope, you can’t walk up the stairs without hurting yourself.

So when I brought the idea of the skirt to her, she looked nervous.  But bought the fabric.

It’s been a really nice project these last few weeks. And on our way down to Flatwoods for a conference where I photographed and she was awesome (because that’s what she does) we got the end trim.

We finished the skirt on Friday. And then I graduated on Saturday. Which, among other things, can be attributed to my mother.  I wore the skirt. And it was PERFECT.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those out there who are wonderful like mine. And if you haven’t lately, go do something with yours- I’m not saying the months long adventures of making a skirt beyond your individual abilities (thought it was fun) but something, anything.   They’re pretty awesome, even if it takes passing the age of 18 to realize it.

As a college student I should probably be ashamed that I have a teddy bear.  Mr. Bear (I was clearly a super creative child), has followed me from a tiny house up a gravel hill in upstate New York to my college apartment and has been a steadfast companion.  He wears a shirt from my adopted grandmother from the bakery but that’s the most he’s changed.

Teddy bears were given their name from president Teddy Roosevelt.  The story claims that in 1902 Roosevelt was on a hunt in Mississippi had been unsuccessful, but when presented with a cornered bear refused to kill it but asked that it be put out of its misery.  Political cartoons depicting the story would progressively make the bear an inspiration for a new toy.  Sources claim Morris Michtom of New York was the inventor of the first stuffed toy.

Teddy bears are one of the most popular childhood toys of all time.  I cannot think of a friend or relative who wouldn’t recognize the toy or speak fondly of one they or a child in their midst owned.

Teddy bears have inspired books, entire shops, entire lines, and Christmas movies.

Earlier this semester my mother and I quilted pillows from fabrics from both of my grandfathers’ shirts.  Some of the fabric was leftover so when we decided to make bears it was an obvious choice for me. I plan on looking like a crazed spinster lady when I finally have a bed that doesn’t make me look like I’m seven.

We sewed them while up at our cabin in Pennsylvania with my younger cousin Emily.  I think we were all pretty greatful for the project since it rained all weekend. Mom was last to finish (not that I’m bragging).

We used a pattern my aunt sent down that was fairly complicated but you can find different patterns for bears all over the internet.

Cupcakes. Oh how I love cupcakes.

Mini Cupcakes. Banana Split Cupcakes (Thank you Nonna’s).  Mardi Gras Cupcakes. Any kind will do.

So when my lovely friend Lauren asked me to help her make Rubber Ducky Cupcakes, I jumped at the chance.

Now Lauren is a cupcake master. Her nurse cupcakes are adorable.  I believe she’s even made successful cake pops, which I have failed at epically.

She was doing a “Starting Points: Baby Safety Shower” for her capstone class and wanted to do above and beyond the norm for goodies. So we were on to our rubber ducky adventure.

We used directions from the book What’s New, Cupcake to make the lovely ducks and duck butts.

I learned a new trick- starburst instead of fondant.  They’re already colored, easy to work with, and if you screw up they don’t hate you as much as fondant.

What is the most inventive cupcake you’ve made? Have any secrets like the starbursts to share?

On May 12th I graduate from college.  It’s a frightening, exciting, and ridiculous time that I’m enjoying and freaking out during.  Several of my friends and I are blogging about it here so I wont go into laborious detail and bore you unless you click that link.

SO in all the crush of job applications, future freakouts, and sadness of leaving friends I have spent the last four years developing, I decided to throw in another project.

I’m sewing my graduation skirt.

I need to shout out to my wonderful mother first of all.  Sewing a skirt is at times (this one in particular) more expensive than purchasing a similar item. As a fan of retail therapy I’ll have to admit that the ease of just buying something surely is tempting.

But I saw this skirt on a wonderful blog with directions on how to make it months ago and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since.

So on I went to buy linen, a little more edgy patterned border, and crazy supplies.  Thanks again mom.

Last Friday we started with the two flaps that are explained and I haven’t been able to get back to the Singer sewing machine at my parents yet but it’s coming along nicely!

What’s a project you’ve taken on with best intentions but had little time for? What are you wearing to graduation if you are graduating? And what kind of shoes should I wear!?

I’ve finally finished the photo slideshow instructions! I think I’ll stick with full video from now on because it’s where my strength is but it was worth a shot and was fun to attempt even if the shots turned out blurry.

I used the previously mentioned alpaca yarn so you can check out what it looks like.

I met alpacas.

Clearly lately I’ve been traveling a little bit.

So this adventure took me on winding back roads and behind coal trucks past Charleston, WV to Boone County.  Then we rode down a couple of country roads that were incorrect. And eventually down a road that made me nervous that I was driving my mother’s car.

Anyway, this lovely adventure for WV Uncovered was taking me to Good Shepherd Alpaca Farm.   I’ll be back there in about two weeks to finish working on our story and I’ll be sure to link it in the future.

The owners, Chris and Rebecca, showed us around the farm, introduced us to the Alpacas, and showed us the hats and yarn they create from the Alpacas.  Chris, Rebecca, and their oldest son all help create the hats from looms that I hope to see next time we go.  They send the raw stuff out to be spunn into yarn by another company.

I love the natural colors of the yarn.  It’s a quality like nothing I’ve seen before since my crafting has been limited to Michaels and AC Moore most of my life.  You have to avoid getting the items wet but as Chris said, “I just tell people not to wear them anywhere they would get dirty.”

I’m going to use skinnier needles for this scarf since the yarn is thin and I want them to be tight.  And hopefully by the end of the week i’ll have finished editing that long ago promised video of tying on stitches!

My love for fabric stores is ridiculous.

I want to spend hours staring at bright colors and amazing textures and sequins and lace.

As much as I love the Sew Inn and other quaint little fabric stores, there is something to be said about my absolute freakout when in NYC.  There’s a freaking block that has JUST FABRIC STORES.  I mean there are other things. But they are clearly the dominant visual force.

The only flaw is for some reason my friend who was with me for some reason doesn’t have the same feelings towards fabric stores. Though he was a good sport though my ramblings and excitement.

My knowledge that there was a garment district in New York City was zero.  Sure, I assumed in the back of my brain that there were lots of stores and in a city that amazing and large a selection beyond my wildest dreams.  But I never really stopped to think about it.

Until I was walking down 40 West between 7th and 8th and my life changed.

Those photos were quickly snapped in windows and displays and aren’t hardly a tribute to how amazing the block was.  My shock and love was overwhelming and thus poorly documented.

So now I’m doing research.  I plan to start sewing projects in the next couple of weeks, including a skirt I found that would be perfect for graduation (again, shameless plug for Graduation Preparation) so I wish I had previous knowledge but I’ve come to terms with this failure.

There is an entire blog about shopping the garment district, which appears to be a huge expanse of the city and include trim stores, fabric stores, and a variety of other wonderful places.  The amount of my lack of knowledge before this trip bummed me out is completely destroyed by my newfound excitement.

The Gotham Center for New York City History has a great write up of the history of the district so I’ll let that well written version be the informant of how the area became what blew my mind on a trip that included the top of Rockefeller Center and my first in-person view of Times Square.

I’ve been traveling a lot recently and I’m finding it difficult to keep up with making things.  The amount of time traveling takes and the amount of time crafting takes are conflicts I’m not sorry to have.

This weekend I will be visiting the Big East Career Fair  and you’ll be able to hear more about that in my new group blog Graduation Preparation on Tuesday.

The road trip to New York City is on a charter bus and is LONG.  The flaws of charter buses could make up another post in their entirety but I’ll try to stay focused here on the positives.  I’m not driving so I can bring some sort of craft along to keep me occupied.

I’m planning on bringing my knitting needles, since I’ve been on that recent kick and my mother’s life and my schedule can’t seem to line up for me to relearn crocheting.

What is your favorite/most simple craft to bring along on road trips? I foresee bad lighting and limited space so I’m nervous about knitting but willing to try.  I did originally find love for it on ten-hour road trips from the Empire State.

As a Television Journalism student I think I’m pretty proficient in video editing.  But visual storytelling is different than how-to videos.

What I view as a flaw with how-to videos is that they almost require a stop which fights against what I think of as the attribute of video; movement.

So which do you find more helpful? A video of the repetitive motion or still photos of each step along with an audio narrative? I’ll be trying both this week.

This first video is edited with Final Cut and vocied in Audacity.  What other programs do you use for video or audio editing?

This video is an example of repetitive motions of Knitting and an underlying how-to audio track.

I learned how to knit at a pretty young age.

There’s nothing like handing a child on a road trip two giant needles to abuse her siblings with.

But in recent years I’ve given up the hobby for others (schoolwork, working, driving on those road trips).

The history of knitting, like most domestic crafts, goes back to long before it was a hobby.  Like many domestic crafts it was necessary for the improved lifestyles of people over time.  My mother knits Christmas stockings; I can knit a scarf.  Neither of these are necessary for our basic wellbeing, thought they certainly improve our lives.

Socks are seemingly the earliest creations by knitting, and their origins trace from the Middle East along Mediterranean trade routes to Europe; though there is proof of knitting in ancient Egypt as well.

The common use of knitted goods begins to be documented around the 14th century.  Knitting would become a source of income and a means of providing in countries like England.   The Industrial revolution would eventually change that by providing knitting machines and much cheaper fabrics to the general population.

Though knitting by hand is now less cost effective, it has had a recent resurgence.  The Knitting Olympics is only one example of how the Internet brings communities together; and the knitting community is a vast one.

Though I’m a bit rusty, my scarf is coming along nicely.  I started with a forgiving yarn and a little help from my mother (finder of all things and queen of the domestic arts).

There are two basic stitches, knitting and pearling, and for now I’m just going to stick with knitting which I’ll be bringing you a video of next week (hopefully).  Stay tuned!

Photos by my lovely baby sister Sarah Marie

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