Twelve…

In numerology and symbology, twelve is a strong number.  There are 12 months in a year and time is measured in two groups of 12 hours.  There is a twelve-year cycle of time in Asia, 12 Apostles and 12 Days of Christmas.  Twelve is a symbol of cosmic order.  And twelve is the smallest composite number that can be divided by six different numbers.

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Moda Designers Share New Year’s Resolutions

Not everyone likes New Year’s resolutions. But others appreciate the opportunity to start the year anew, with bright eyes and a clean slate. We asked Moda designers to share their resolutions with us, and with you. We’d also love to hear YOUR resolutions—let us hear about them in the Comment section. (And I don’t know about you, but my idea of a great New Year’s Eve/Day includes at least a little bit of time with fabric, needles, and thread. Wishing you a Happy New Year and Happy Sewing!)

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Janet: Apart from the usual eat healthy/ exercise resolutions (that I’ve been happily ignoring for years now) mine is to slow down and learn to relax. I choose a word for the year and 2016’s will be ‘savour’: Savour (v.) to enjoy and appreciate something to the full, especially by lingering over it.

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Betsy: Here is my resolution for 2016 along with the usual losing weight and getting more exercise…learn EQ7.

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Also, to have a better relationship with time. I’m always down to the last minute meeting deadlines. I’m always busy. Time gets away from me. I would like to beat the clock, with time to spare.

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Lynne Hagmeier

Lynne Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles

Lynne: My goal for the Christmas break was to finish cataloging my newest antique quilt purchases. The pile on the chair is about half of what needs to be photographed from this last year. Since it’s quickly approaching 2016, it’s made the list of New Year’s resolutions.cupboard of antique quilts

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Wenche

  1. Do my “minimum-yoga” every day: Close my eyes, take a deep breath. Or two. Raise my hands, stretch, breathe. Feel my heartbeat. Breathe. And that’ it really… nothing complicated.
  2. Say more “no” without explanations.
  3. Sewing related? Well, on my list is to reproduce an antique sampler quilt!
  4. Business? The launch of my new pdf-pattern-webshop!

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Luke Haynes: LOTS of resolutions, mostly about what not to overeat and to take more naps. I am joining a climbing gym in January. I will also be working on smaller projects. (Personally, I am not one for resolutions. I try and do that throughout the year, for better or worse.)

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Sherri McConnell (on the left): I do have a big quilting resolution: to get my scraps under control by making one scrap quilt each quarter! I’ll be tracking my progress on my blog and IG to keep myself motivated!

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Kaari Meng: My New Year’s resolutions include taking more quilting classes—hopefully with Heather Jones and Denyse Schmidt! I am also learning how to ride a cutting horse and plan on continuing my lessons twice a week. And finally, I started stitching every morning for an hour and would like to stick to it!

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Jan: My husband said that I should resolve to go to more fabra-holic meetings. Unfortunately my fabra-holic meetings take place at the local quilt shop.

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Kathy: I want to work on a wall hanging which will simply be for my enjoyment! The backing will be flannel so that I can turn it over and use it as a small design wall when I need one. For the past year I have just had the flannel hanging there. Not too pretty! Time to get started!

Kathy Schmitz's design wall

Kathy Schmitz’s design wall/wall-hanging to-be.

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Pat: I have always set up goals for my year. Like many other, some I reach, some I…well…some I add back for another try! 2016 is going to be a very fun year, I have a lot of projects planned, teaching events, sew alongs for you, books, fabrics…and goals!  Sometimes I actually try and make goals that are realistic and attainable, even if they are rolled back into the mix!  So here we go, for the whole world to see:

  • Actually move some of my UFOs out of my house. This goal is a remix, mmmm…it may actually be ON the list every year!  But in 2016 I plan to eliminate six to ten UFOS. I think that is a reasonable amount!
  • I’ve done a word-of-the-year for a long time. Some years I totally knock it out of the park and love my word, other years after February I’ve forgotten about it. This year I’m going to use my word and keep it right up front with me. I have not yet decided on what it will be, but you can follow along at my website (be sure to join my newsletter so you are first to know what it is!)
  • And a personal goal is to get out and walk every day that I can. I sit a lot for work, and for my hobby. Getting my body moving is important!

I am so excited for 2016, please join me!

pat sloan new year resolution

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Beth Snyder (fourth from the left, above): My New Year’s Resolution is to spend at least 10 minutes a day in my sewing room, even if that’s just tidying up or playing with fabric. I know to some people, 10 minutes sounds like nothing, but with a busy family and business, just getting into the room will keep my creativity flowing. Besides, I know perfectly well once I get in there, I’ll probably sit down and actually accomplish something. Even if it’s 10 minutes at a time, that can add up!

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Kate: Sewing: I’d love to broaden my skills and learn how to sew curves. Personal: I hope to read more, paint more, and sew more. To help make those goals easier, we canceled our cable TV *today*!

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Deb: My New Year’s Resolutions are: To get moved into our new home (next door to our grandsons!) and new community. And of course….eat better and exercise more!

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Anne Sutton: One of my resolutions for 2016 is to learn a new craft. Every year I beg my friend Barbara for more pairs of knitted socks. She’s 82 and it’s getting harder for her to knit, so I’ve decided it’s time to learn. We have a knitting day planned for January 2. My two granddaughters, Alyssa and Michaela, are coming over and Barbara’s going to teach us how to knit socks. We are all so excited about this! I’ve ordered fingering yarn and circular needles. We all picked out our favorite colors and hopefully we’ll have three more knitters in the world as of Saturday! I’ve attached a photo of socks Barbara’s knitted for me.

Socks knitted by Anne's friend (and future teacher) Barbara.

Socks knitted by Anne’s friend (and future teacher) Barbara.

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Anne and her granddaughters will use this yarn to learn to knit socks.

I also want to spend more time on embroidery and wool applique. I’m passionate about both of these, but unless I actually schedule time for them, something else always comes up. Seems to me these would be great evening projects, while I’m watching all the shows I’ve taped.

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Corey: My resolution isn’t too fancy and you’re probably hearing a lot of this but I’m hoping to bust some UFO’s in 2016. My plan is to organize by progress, i.e. just needs binding; completed quilt top/needs quilting and binding; completed blocks that need to be assembled into a quilt top/quilted/bound; incomplete blocks; and lastly, projects with supplies purchased but not started at all. I will try to work on these UFO’s around other new projects—I know there will be a lot of new projects! Hopefully I can knock out some of these or send them on to a new home to be completed elsewhere if I just don’t see myself finishing it in the foreseeable future.

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So there you have it! What are your resolutions? And Happy 2016!

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Moda Moms Share Tips for Balancing Work and Family

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Just like lots of you, many Moda designers have young children, and figuring out a way to balance home life with work can be a challenge. We checked with four of Moda designers to learn how they keep in touch with both their family life and their creative sides. (You’ll note that in addition to handling their work-family balance in different ways, Moda moms have great senses of humor!)
Answering our questions are:

• Kaari Meng, the mother of one daughter and creator of the French General fabrics. Her newest, Chateau Rouge, is in stores this month.

• Aneela Hooey, the mother of two daughters and creator of the holiday line Cherry Christmas, which can be found in stores now.

• Vanessa Christenson, the mother of three boys and a girl and the designer of V & Co.’s Simply Color, due in stores next month.

• Julie Comstock, who previously designed under the name Cosmo Cricket with her husband Eric, has two sons and two daughters. Her newest line of fabric, Odds and Ends, designed under Julie Comstock, is in stores this month.

Here’s what they had to say.
Do you design or sew best when your children are around or do you need peace and quiet?

Vanessa says: Up til now I managed to do both because I always had at least one under my feet at all times, but now that I have all of them in school for six hours I find I miss them, but am able to get more done.

Aneela Hooey
Aneela says: “I work best when my girls are in school but when they are around and the noise/interruptions get too much, I manage by giving them lots of ideas of quiet things to do.  I also let them have access to my fabric scraps, floss, and embroidery patterns, which seems to keep them occupied.”

Kaari says: “ “I work when Sofia is in school—and then I work when she is doing homework…and then I work when she is in bed…or at least it sometimes feels like it!”

And with her characteristic sense of humor, Julie says: “I get much more work done when they are at school that’s for sure! With a couple rolls of duct tape, I think I could manage to sneak in some things when they’re around too.”

Although they may get more done while the kids aren’t home, These Moda moms have figured out ways to combine work with “kid-time.” Here’s how they do it:
Julie Comstock
Julie says: “Currently, my sewing machine is in my daughters’ bedroom. It is inconvenient to have to carry everything from my studio up to their room, but my girls love to lie on their beds and chit-chat while I sew. Sometimes my little seven year old will join us with Legos or a car mat in the center of the floor. They like to be all together like that and I like to hold up my project at each step to get their praise. “

Kaari says: I love having Sofia around, watching us navigate through our choice of work. She has developed a great sense of color and design that is all her own, and she is the final word before we ship our fabrics off to Moda—if it doesn’t pass her test, we pull it!

Aneela says: I can’t do writing tasks when my girls are around but there can be advantages when I am designing. I draw a lot of children in my work, so I can ask them to pose quickly for me to look as if they are sitting, walking, etc. They like the idea of being involved in the creation of fabric. Also, I always ask them for input—’Do you like this design?’ ‘What do you like about it?’ Even at a young age kids can be extremely helpful in pointing things out that I haven’t noticed.

We asked Moda moms if they have strict “office hours,” or whether they intermingle work and family time. Here’s what they said:

Vanessa: I work the minute they leave for school for at least four hours. Then I do grocery shopping, run errands, lunch with colleagues, or sometimes have a lunch date with my husband. Then I finish up work til the kids come home, and the minute they come through the door I am a full-time mom. Though they might not need me for homework or whatever, they know I’m there in case they do.

Kaari Meng
Kaari: I keep no strict boundaries at all! I try to make my life work and my work life. It seems to work better that way for me. I also like to take long periods of time off and not think about work at all, but that’s not always easy to do!

Julie says: I always try to get as much done before they get home from school as possible. As for a strict schedule, did I mention I live with four children? It seems to me that if you put something on a schedule someone will forget their homework, throw a fit, or end up at a doctor’s office. It’s like tempting fate.

Cooking and mealtime are always a challenge. How do theess Moda moms get food on the table?

Aneela says: I tend to stick to simple meals. I’m not a fan of junk food or take out and we hardly ever eat out. I like meals that are easy to prepare, with very little washing up. My family will tell you that I tend to burn and overcook food a lot, because I am always concentrating on seven things at once.

Kaari says: JZ (her husband) does all of the cooking, except for breakfast—that’s my meal.

Julie says: Every morning, I get up at 5:30 to make their school lunches and breakfast. Eric (her husband) does clean up this mess for me though. The kids often want to help me with dinner. Honestly, it’s the kind of help you can do without!

How do Moda moms recharge their batteries?

Kaari says: I try to spend a lot of time alone, to always renew myself and be inspired. I love museums, gardens, old homes, and really good wine. Going to France recharges my batteries in a jiffy!

Vanessa Christenson
Vanessa says: My favorite way to recharge is getting together with a friend for a pedicure and a nice Dr. Pepper. I only have to do that every once in awhile to spoil myself.

Julie says: I sneak an hour in the evening to read right before bed and sometimes I turn my shower down so that I can justify staying in there extra long. Other than that, Sundays are my only down time. Eric and I always go to breakfast and just enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes we talk and sometimes we just sit next to each other without saying a word.

Finally, this bit of balancing advice from Kaari:


Don’t try to do too much—one or two tasks a day usually works well. Get your kids involved with what you like to do, so they are learning more about you everyday, and you about them.

So, how about you? How do you find balance between work and home?

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Vive la Différence! Sophisticated and Sweet French General

France can be appreciated for its city glamour and country charm. It’s a place where there is respect for both contemporary art and ancient cave paintings, for rustic baguettes and country cheese and for foie gras and champagne. If you’re lucky enough to have visited, you likely have memories of the food, landscapes, and fashions you encountered. And if you haven’t yet traveled to Paris, you’re probably itching to go.

Kaari Meng’s new line of French General fabrics, Pom Pom de Paris, will delight Francophiles, whether or not they’ve been to The City of Lights. From sophisticated large-print toiles to cozy florals, the warm reds, pinks, and yellows evoke the country where lucky Kaari spends time each year. Her trips invigorate her fabric design (many French General fabrics are inspired by pre-1900s French textiles) and provide treasures for her Los Angeles shop, French General.
Kaari started her career as a jeweler, creating necklaces and bracelets from the vintage glass pieces she’d scavenge from old warehouses in New York and Providence. Later, she and her sister had a shop in New York City where they sold beads and baubles in big apothecary jars, along with French ribbons and textiles. But the seven-days-a-week pace was draining and after five years she closed the shop and moved to California. There she opened French General, where she sells carefully collected linens, jewelry, home accessories, notions, and more.
Kaari also is the author of five books, including Home Sewn in 2008. Her most recent, The French-Inspired Home, has just been released.
Each summer Kaari and her husband John take daughter Sophia to France. They scour markets and visit vendors in search of new and vintage items for the shop. John’s family lives in France, where his father was a chef and his uncles are all in the food business, so dining is as important a part of the trip as sourcing shop goods.
For the past three years Kaari’s also led a getaway to the south of France for textile and crafts-lovers. Unfortunately, the summer 2011 tours are already filled. But it’s good to know that even if we won’t be going to France this summer, we can still recreate a little of the look and feel of France with Pom Pom de Paris. Merci, Kaari!
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