Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This is Halloween

Halloween! It came, it went. And to think: all those hours spent knitting that damn scarf for just a single evening’s pleasure. The many seams ripped and resewn on that slippery and unforgiving black and red Harry Potter robe. The epic battle of seamstress vs. snaps on the cowboy shirt. Oh yes, the fruits of all my labor were devoured in a twenty four hour time period.

The fruits of my labor, AND about five pounds of Halloween candy.


I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for Christmas.

I made some pretty kick ass roasted pumpkin seeds using this recipe. Too bad I burned most of them. While I was stomping around muttering about all my hard work going straight to the trash, I burned a batch of homemade granola. So then I just gave up, cracked open a beer, and sat by the fire with my dog.

Somebody remind me of this thought next year: would it kill us if the kids had store bought costumes? I mean really, is all this sewing and craftiness really necessary?

Also, I’m teaching a new class! NEW CLASS! Woohoo! And guess what? It’s a HOME EC CLASS! A dream come true, right? I’ve often lamented the tragic loss of home economics and other electives from our public education system. I loathed middle school math, social studies was a snooze, and you already know my thoughts on 7th grade PE, but I recall fondly the many extra curricular classes that my classmates and I were exposed to. Art, music, Spanish, home ec, and of course shop.

(Although now that I am a teacher I really have to question our shop teacher’s judgment. I remember that we made these little plastic keychain thingies, which seems reasonable enough, though I don't remember exactly how we fused the plastic together, just that it smelled really bad. But then there was that one project with involved a lathe and ultimately produced a baseball bat. A baseball bat? And then we walked out the door with those things? What were they thinking, equipping a herd of six graders with baseball bats? Also, sixth grade me operated a lathe? Wtf? I am lucky to be alive.)

So we’re bringing home ec back, which seems like a really cool idea until you sit down and think about how you’re going to organize twenty or so teens into cooking groups, oversee an outdated and somewhat grimy kitchen, purchase supplies on a shoestring, and then make sure nobody burns themselves or gets food poisoning.

Maybe the lathe wasn’t so scary after all.

And then there is the sewing component! My personal favorite until, again, you look at the logistical aspects of twenty or so girls doing any actual sewing on the few machines that I’ve managed to rustle up.

But I’m not known to be intimidated by these pesky details and so forward I march! Day one: Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes! And they were a hit, because, well, they are awesome. Also, super easy on my part and the kids loved them. Win win.

Sewing has been trickier. We are making reusable snack bags (!!) and there’s nothing like watching a group of inexperienced seamstresses take the helm of a machine for the first time. Some dive right in and plow through the material, narrowly missing their precariously stationed fingertips, while others have to be coaxed to apply even the slightest hint of pressure to the gas pedal, then recoil in fear when the needle starts jumping and the feed dogs pull at the fabric.

Then funny thing about teaching kids how to sew is that I’ve realized that I really don’t remember ever not knowing how to do it. I guess because I was surrounded by sewing as I grew up and it was such a natural part of our lives. My mom sewed all of our Halloween costumes and so, on the day of, as I am furiously tying the last of the fringes to Jack’s Gryffindor scarf in my carpool on the way home from work, I know that there’s really no other way to do this. To me, sewing and mothering go hand in hand.

I was reminded of this when my dad surprised me the other day by bringing over two of my dusty old dresses that had been forgotten in a closet for the last few decades. These dresses were, of course, homemade and I inspected them through my seamstress lens, admiring the attention to detail, the heart shaped buttons, the hand stitching to reinforce the zipper, the perfectly aligned ruffle. And then I took those dresses into my own room for a private moment and I breathed in their musty smell, willing that fabric to share some forgotten memories. For a few seconds the world stopped spinning and I held those dresses and closed my eyes and wondered what will be left of me someday when I am gone.

A Harry Potter costume. A cowboy shirt. Two boys who will remember that their mom got really excited for Halloween.

Twenty something snack bags.

So yeah, to answer my own question, I guess all of this sewing and craftiness really is necessary after all.


  1. Yes, sewing and mothering go together for the lucky/fortunate/crafty/artsie/unique seeking....for me it is actually a sacred ritual....a form of prayer? I just finished Orion's birthday flannel jammies...complete with the number 7 button on the pocket. Because the 6 was last year :o)

  2. One of my earliest memories is the sound of my mother's sewing machine running late into the night, and how comforting it was. I took that tradition on and made all the costumes, crafts, etc, with my own kids and now my grandkids LOVE Grammie's sewing room. Keep up the good work!

  3. Good job, Cassadie. I definitely think the Gryffindor scarf was worth it. It will keep Jack warm this winter, you now know you CAN knit, and he looked darling...wonderful. Sawyer's costume and shirt were adorable too. So much fun and love, Aunt Jacie

  4. Ya make me cry.

    I've heard it said that a person's death really doesn't come until the last time his or her name is uttered. The loving objects left behind remind us to speak those precious names for a long, long time.

    Yes, the essence of you (and all of us) as it comes out in y/our deeds, is so very important and is likely to linger long after we are gone.

    Hugs to you,

  5. You are now listed on my "Blogs I Dig" list! Been meaning to do that for a long time, but today it got done.

    Have a gret wekeend.