don't fall asleep waiting for morning

Change is terribly exciting;

sometimes terrifyingly so.
I'm not one to seek it out
or embrace it when it surrounds me.
Except when I do...
Practice makes perfect,
and I've had plenty of practice these past few years.

Visiting a dozen states and living in two...
Launching a brand...
Writing a book...
...and now, getting married.

Some change is good, after all.
This recent one certainly has been:
An invitation to begin anew,
to reexamine goals and priorities,
to establish good habits
and choose to live the life I want.

It makes me ask the question: why wait?

Like the song I love that speaks of
"mercies new every morning"
and points out the fact that
"it's always morning somewhere,"
while the dawning of a new day
is a lovely time to begin a thing,
why wait?

Even if for now
all you see is darkness,
the dawn is somewhere
over the horizon.
Why wait for a perfect sunrise
when you can get a head start now?
Then, when the sun does rise,
it will illuminate the great work
you have already begun.

I'm glad I didn't wait
to write a book
until I had a publisher.
I'm glad I didn't wait
to sew a dress
until I needed a custom wedding gown.
I'm glad I didn't wait
to cook and clean
until I had my own kitchen.

I'm glad I didn't fall asleep
waiting for the morning.

apparently you don't have to sew to enjoy the book I wrote

Jeremiah (aka "newmarkstudios" on Snapchat)
bought the {classic wrap skirt} book for his wife and daughters.
He decided to take a look inside before sharing it with them,
and ended up losing track of time while reading it.

He isn't the only one who has told me
that although they don't have plans to sew a skirt
they have found value in this sewing book I've written
because of the story it contains.

This really is my passion -
using poetic imagery
to express and share
a beautiful story.

I'm glad to hear from my readers
that I am doing just that with my book.
That I'm not simply teaching people to make a skirt,
but spreading beauty into their lives.

I want to write things that will bring beauty into your life.
I want to write what you want to read.
If I were to write on any topic, just for you,
what would you have me write?

how to listen to the voice of criticism without letting him get you down

when you come to the end of a project … and the voice of criticism shows up

I can look at every thing I’ve made
and hear a voice whispering
what I could have done better.

This voice comes around while I’m working on a project, yes,
but its whisper is particularly obnoxious at the end
when we are looking at the finished product.

Maybe it’s because while I’m in the midst of the project
the voice can point things out
that I can fix along the way,
so it ends up being rather helpful
so long as it doesn’t get carried away.

But then, when I come to the end,
all its whispers simply hang in the air
discouraging me, and causing me
to focus on those things
I can no longer fix.

listening to other voices alongside criticism … and finding balance

While it’s all too easy to listen to the voice of criticism,
there are other voices that try to add their two cents
as I examine my finished work.

These voices remind me of problems I overcame,
details I executed well,
and above all, moments of joy
that I experienced in the process of making.

I must choose to listen to them,
for they balance out the voice of criticism.

Is criticism right?
Does this whisper speak truth?
But it isn’t the whole truth.

Don’t throw out criticism —
he can be very helpful
if you don’t let him drown out all other voices.

Set him aside for a moment.
Let him sit down quietly
while you listen to the other voices clamoring for attention.

Gather the truth from all of them
and pull them together into a balanced whole.

Yes, there may be room for improvement,
but there are also many things you have done well.

Bring these into focus
and you will find the criticism
is not so daunting and taunting.

drawing strength from criticism … and learning how to improve

Now that you have found your balance,
shift your focus again to the voice of criticism.

Listen to what he says
and sort out what may be true in his words.
Use them as a tool of discovery.

Let criticism teach you
and help you to identify areas
where you can learn and improve.

This room for improvement
can open up a beautiful realm of possibilities
if you choose to step into it bravely.

It has been said that courage
is feeling the fear and doing the thing anyway.

I have been afraid of this voice of criticism
but I find that when I am courageous
and face that fear I feel,
I am able to push through,
trying things I may never have attempted.

Criticism may be a harsh teacher sometimes,
but if you become a good student,
he will soften.
His voice will become gentler
when he finds that he does not need to raise his voice
in order to make you listen to him.

remembering that I’ve improved before … and will continue to improve

One way to encourage the voice of criticism
to not be so harsh
is to remind him that you’ve taken his words to heart in the past.

Point out to him and yourself
those things about this project
that demonstrate your journey of improvement.

That technique that used to be so difficult,
but that you executed so well this time around.

A mistake that you caught in time to fix,
one that no one would guess you made at all because it’s invisible now.

Notice these things
and take time to smile at them.
This is evidence of who you are:
an artisan, constantly improving your craft.

Now, an artisan constantly improving her craft
will welcome the voice of criticism
and allow him to teach her.

This is evidenced by your past improvement,
so take this truth with you as you leave this project
and go to the next.

Let the positivity that you now associate with this project
inspire and comfort you with the knowledge
that you will continue to grow.

Begin something new,
and let the voice of criticism guide you to do the job well.
The process never truly ends, though a particular project might,
so never let the voice of criticism paralyze you.

Only allow the voice of criticism to speak
so long as he is pushing you to be better.
Only listen to his voice
so long as you are pushing through fear to accomplishment.

Let him do his job, but don’t let him get you down.

the {classic wrap skirt} ebook is now available!

In this book I have included the instructions to make a skirt, yes.
But more than that, these instructions will teach you
how to use this skirt to make yourself an artisan!

How to get the most out of this book:

Read part one {overview}

to understand the “big picture”
of how you will make your skirt.

Read part two {detailed instructions}

to learn everything you need to know in order to
actually create a hand-crafted skirt that you will love.

Read part three {case studies}

to see the process I used as I made
five classic wrap skirts with different details.

Read part four {simple sewing skills}

to learn the basics if you have never sewn before
or if you simply need to review the fundamentals of hand-stitching.

what is the value of a hand-crafted classic wrap skirt?

the skirt itself

This hand-crafted skirt
does not compare
with something mass-produced.

It has been made-to-measure
and stitched with your own two hands
from start to finish.

It is the only one of its kind,
a piece of art that carries
the essence of its creator.

You have carefully selected the fabric,
using the type, color, and quality
that is perfect for this design.

Beyond that, every step of the way,
you have made careful decisions,
from cutting to stitching to pressing.

Every detail
has been considered
and carefully executed.

the creation process

You have invested hours into this skirt.
Invested, not spent, and certainly not wasted!
Think on this time carefully…

If you have chosen to enjoy the time,
using it as an opportunity to slow down
and consider the process of creation,

then this time cannot be considered wasted,
nor even compared to time spent working.
This is time you have spent in enjoyment.

How much money
are you willing to spend doing something fun?
Watching a movie, eating dinner out, drinking specialty coffee…

These are consumption, and rather passive, at that,
yet you’re willing to spend money, because they bring you enjoyment.
These are not comparable to the process of making a skirt.

The making of your skirt was an investment into yourself.
You did not only spend time doing something that brought you enjoyment,
you were also learning and growing.

the educational aspect

How much money
are you willing to invest in educational endeavors,
whether formal, like university classes, or informal , like community center workshops?

The making of this skirt is like a class or a workshop.
As you read the book and stitch the skirt,
you will learn valuable skills.

More than that, you will have the book to refer to again
should you want to review or even expand your skills.
You will not absorb everything in one go.


The educational aspect
doesn’t stop once you’ve learned
the skills outlined in this book.

Maybe after making yourself a skirt,
you can teach your daughter or a young friend
how to sew a skirt for herself.

You can use the book
as a resource to teach others,
whether they be friends or family.

the communal element

What do you and your girl friends
like to do when you spend time together?
Do you go on coffee dates, perhaps?

What if instead of chatting over coffee and muffins,
you converse over fabric and needles?
What if you get together to sew?

If you do,
you have the opportunity
to encourage each other in the creation process.

Any one of you
who has unique skills
may share them with the others.

You can learn
both from the book
and from each other.

And at the same time,
you are investing
in your friendship.

wearing your skirt

Then there is the value you receive
every time you put on
this beautiful skirt.

It goes beyond the simple fact
that it has been made specifically for you
according to your preferences and measurements.

Because you created it yourself
and because you found so much joy in creating it,
this skirt carries positive associations.

Every time you wear it,
you can feel a healthy sense of pride
knowing that you created something beautiful and useful.

You will think of the moments you spent carefully placing each stitch
as you listened to music, a podcast or audiobook,
or the simple sound of making.

The feeling you have wearing your own creation
is different from the experience of putting on
anything else you’ve ever worn before.

a simplified wardrobe

Because of the classic nature of this skirt,
it has the potential to help you
simplify your wardrobe.

The skirt makes getting dressed easy;
all you have to do is grab a favorite top
in order to have a neat and tidy outfit.

Even a simple T-shirt
appears less casual when paired with such a classy skirt.
Add an accessory like a scarf or necklace for something extra special!

The versatility of the skirt
makes it wearable for a variety of events,
so you will have no trouble getting plenty of use out of it!

If you already have a minimalistic wardrobe,
this skirt fits in nicely with your other
classic investment pieces.

And if you regularly waste precious time
staring into your closet wondering what to wear,
this skirt will start you on a journey toward simplicity.

so what is the value of your hand-crafted skirt?

The value is the sum of all of these:
the hand-crafted artisanal skirt itself,
the time spent enjoying the creation process,
the time invested in the educational process,
the time invested in community,
the time you will spend enjoying the skirt as you wear it,
and the time saved with a well-rounded, minimalist wardrobe!