crumbs, style

My life. In hair.

In the past few weeks I've seen several posts on blogs I follow about new haircuts. Those posts reminded me of something:

Hey, I was gonna do that.

According to the date on my photo scans, I was planning to document my hair history back in 2009.

Got a new haircut last week.


Somehow it feels like the right time to use the photos I so meticulously scanned two years ago. Otherwise, it'd be an awful waste of computer memory.

With that, I give you my personal history. In hair. Mine is a journey filled with innocence and simplicity. With rebellion, lies, and deceit. With dangerous chemical abuse. With dozens and dozens of cases of cheap hairspray. (Seriously, cheap stuff only, please. I need it to work like glue.).

Here goes the long and short–and long and short, and long and short–of it. You'll see what I mean.

Exhibit A: The innocent years. With and without perms.

Hair01 Kindergarten. There are a few photos of
myself that I love. This is one of them.

Hair02Shortly thereafter, we find Dorothy Hamill in her
living room sorting Girl Scout cookies

During my growing years, I begin to notice that genetics are going to assure me a lifetime of arrow-straight locks. Thin and limp? Envision a chewed-up piece of bubble gum stretched between two lamp posts. In an attempt to battle nature–and with mom's help–I try a perm. At home.

Yes. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the DO-NOT-TRY-THIS-AT-HOME home perm.

Hair-3-4-5 That's my sister Melainie in both shots above, and my old friend Cathy.
I love the bottom photo. Magically, with a home perm I can become
almost as handsome as my brother-in-law. We’re practically twins!

Luckily, home perms fall out of my hair as quickly as a toddler falls out of a tantrum when you give him a sucker.

And anyway, perms are out. Even though they were never in. Fancy feathering becomes all the rage.

Hair-6-7-8I would've had the hippest hair around…

Teen-idols  … if I had been a boy.
photo photo photo

At some point during my teen years, I decided to take hair matters into my own hands.

Exhibit B: The rebellious years. With and without bleach.

Perhaps I worked on this ‘do above just for the photo; perhaps I was on my way to school. It’s hard to know for sure. At the time, I would try anything. Except dyeing my hair.

I wanted to dye my hair so very badly. But mom wouldn’t let me. So secretly, I started “dyeing” my own hair. With bleach. Just a secret spritz every morning from a trial-size spray bottle.

Hair011 I’m sure my mom never noticed.

Hair012If mom ever said anything about my hair, I was planning to
blame it on these guys–my high-school buddies.
I mean, look at the hair here. Major peer pressure.

Now that I'm looking closely at the photo of my friends, I guess perms were in.

Somehow, my hair survived those years. It didn’t fall out, and I don’t think the bleach gave me cancer or anything. Yet.

Exhibit C: The college years. With and without politics.

Hair013 Arm-wrestling a mannequin at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Above: early college. Major: education. When I cried the first time I taught a class because an 8-year-old called me a name, I decided teaching wasn’t for me.

Above: late college. Major: women’s studies. And the hair to prove it.

Exhibit D: The get-a-job years. Where the growing gets tough.

Hair016Our first year in Seattle. Slowly leaving the pixie cut behind.

Hair017Still short at my first Quilt Market as a copywriter
for Martingale & Company, but growing.

Three years later, we moved back to Utah. Hair can grow a lot in three years. I was growing it long for one reason. An impending wedding.

Hair021Sometimes I wore my hair down. (I like this picture of
me. I like this picture of Bretty even more.)

More often than not, though, I wore my hair up. No patience for fussing and flyaways. (Flanked by my gorgeous, now all-grown-up niece and nephew, top right. Both valedictorians and full-ride scholarshippers, yo! Okay, I'm braggin'.)

Hair026Aaah, the wedding day. Long hair, curled
and flowing. As much as my hair can curl and flow.

Wedding’s done. Long hair, be gone! Or . . . not.

Exhibit E: The baby years. A hairdentity crisis.

Hair027In the time of baby Jack. Short.

Hair029In the time of toddler Jack. Medium. (This scarf was featured
Quilts and More magazine; pattern here.)

Hair028 Another perm? Really, Jenny, you should know better.

Hair030In the time of growing Charlie. Long.

Oh my goodness, I was so very pregnant.

It is so very nice to not be pregnant.

Hair031In the time of kid Jack, toddler Charlie. Short again.

Hair032These photos were taken for ReSew by a
wonderful photographer out of Southern Utah, Juanita B.

I've pretty much worn the haircut above for the past two years. Until last week.

So that brings us back to present-day hair. What a long, confusing, indecisive journey it has been. But rather than confusing and indecisive, I prefer to call it "creative." Yes. A creative journey.

That's my hair story. And I'm sticking to it.

The other day, my sweet husband–who has always leaned toward liking long hair on me–said of my new haircut, "You look so cute. You look great with short hair. Yeah, keep the short hair."

Between the two of us, it's decided. Welcome back, pixie!

At least, for now.


crafts, crumbs, sewing

the makings of many little monsters

I have a monster story to share. (Don't worry. Not scary.)

Since announcing the goals of this humanitarian group a few weeks back, I’ve received many emails from people about the endeavor. Some wrote to share their own experiences with similar undertakings. Some suggested easy projects that could be made in multiples. Some offered help in making items with their own hands. One is even sending dozens of books all the way from Pennsylvania to help fill our welcome bags (thank you again, Liri!). And some just dropped a note to say they think we are doing a good thing.

For those of you who have reached out, you know who you are. Thank you, YOU!

One friend of mine sent me a pattern, offering to make several of these projects if I thought they would be a good fit for the welcome bags. The project is simple. It is economical. And it is adorable. So after telling her yes please!, I had to make one too.

Mabel Meet Mabel. The Positive Attitude Monster.

This fun monster sewing pattern comes from Rebecca Danger. She’s a knitter by passion and author of the Big Book of Knitted Monsters. I imagine she created this sewn monster design, Max the Monster, for her fans who don’t knit. (Or for her fans who don’t knit well. Like me.) The pattern offers three monster sizes (just one fat quarter needed for the littlest), along with scores of possibilities for personal touches. I chose to hand-embroider around the heart and added extra-large perle cotton eyes.

Heart Whenever I see that wonky red heart and that gentle grin, I get a happy little charge. So lately, she’s been following us around the house. In her happy-little-charge fashion, she’s been encouraging us all the while.

Legos Superhero She’s just a sweet, upbeat kind of gal. Rubs off on ya.

(I think she needs hair… agree?)

In addition to simple, economical, and adorable, I can also add addictive to the cast of supporting words for this little sewing project. I’m already making space in my sewing room for the impending monster metropolis. For the humanitarian project, of course. But each family member will own a Mabel of their own soon. Even the awesome painter.

I just can’t help myself.

Do-your-bestYou bet I will, Mabel. You bet I will!

crafts, crumbs, sewing, thrifted!

hoping for bags and bags of … bags.

I was recently invited to become a committee member for a humanitarian group. Their goal this year? To help people locally. By sewing stuff. Invitation accepted!

Several years ago I spent some time volunteering locally at a domestic violence shelter. So when we were brainstorming at our first committee meeting, the shelter immediately came to mind. We came up with the idea of “welcome bags” for children who enter the shelter. When a family first enters the shelter, Mom has lots of paperwork to fill out and lots of talking to do with the shelter staff. It can take a long time. Kids who enter the shelter will receive a welcome bag as soon as they walk in the door, filled with items to occupy their time while Mom sorts out the details of their stay.

Since this group has no budget to speak of, we came up with an idea for making the bags for free (aside from the cost of time and thread). We are sewing bags out of people’s donated jeans (or other pants made from sturdy fabric, such as canvas or corduroy). I designed two bags—one for girls, one for boys—made entirely out of denim for the project.


The girl bag uses the bottom half of each pant leg, the back pockets, and the waistband from one pair of jeans.

The boy bag uses the bottom half of each pant leg, back pockets (or side cargo pockets—the committee chair’s cool idea), and strips of denim for the bag tie and back strap.


Here’s the simple two-layered back strap for the boy bag.

I wanted to make these bags as simple as possible to sew so even beginners could join in. And really, who doesn’t have a pair of jeans that have been hanging unworn in their closet for six, eight, or twelve months (or, for us clothes hoarders, two years)?

The bags will be filled with items that are age and gender specific. We’ll have bags for 2-4 year-old boys, bags for 12-14 year-old girls, and for everyone in between. Still in the planning stage, we’re not quite sure what will go in the bags just yet. Cheap, clever ideas are welcome.

Our goal is to sew and gather contents for the bags over the summer, and then present as many bags as we can to the shelter in the fall. Interested in joining in the fun? If you are, you could participate in a number of ways:

  • Sew bags (instructions available)
  • Donate denim or other sturdy fabric pants
  • Make toys to fill bags (we need toy makers and ideas for making small, inexpensive/free toys)
  • Gather supplies to fill bags (coloring books, crayons, pencils/pens, and journals to start)
  • Donate toward the purchase of items to fill the bags

I am so excited to be a part of this project. When I volunteered at the shelter, I remember the faces of children walking through the front door for the first time. It was heartbreaking. It didn’t matter their age—innocent preschooler or tough teenager—you could see it plain as day. They were scared. I believe these bags will help, even if just a little, with the first few moments of what could become a huge time of transition in their lives.

Really, these bags are just a little something. But to a kid who has just fled his or her home with nothing, for children who just left everything they used to call theirs behind, these bags will be something they can immediately call their own. I hope it helps. Even if just a little.

If you want to help—even if just a little—please let me know.

crumbs, ReSew

And the TWO winners of ReSew are…

I couldn't help it. I had an idea for a weird way to choose a random winner for this past weekend's giveaway of ReSew–which, by the way, was the most fun I've ever had with this little blog, thanks to Dana and Rae's Celebrate the BOY month. Thank you for all the encouraging and kind comments! I giggled all weekend.

Anyway, back to the weird way to choose a random winner. I had an idea, but it needed to include both my boys, Jack and Charlie, to really make it fair. (If you have more than one child, you know what I'm talking about.) So, here's what we did:

1. I printed out nine sheets full of numbers.


 2. I cut the sheets into 431 squares. One for each totally awesome giveaway participant.


 3. Then I put the bowl of paper numbers on the floor and let the madness ensue.


Random indeed!

Jack chose comment #187.

Comment #187 comes from Beth, who said…

"I have 3 boys of my own and finding time to slow down is sometimes
hard but definitely necessary. LOVE the hat, mittens & scarf 🙂 Thanks!"

Three of 'em, huh? A toast to you! And a free book too.

Charlie chose comment #59.


 Comment #59 comes from Casey, who said…

"What a great book! Thanks for a chance to win!"

Your welcome, Casey–you won!

Thanks to all of you who dropped by the wildcards this weekend! And if you didn't win this time, there are still 11 more chances to win your own copy of ReSew during the INCREDIBLE RESEW BLOG TOUR, which you can learn more about here.

Thanks for playing with us. We had a ball! Remember, there's still two weeks worth of Celebrate the BOY to be had. Cheers to continuing the celebration!

crumbs, quilting, thrifted!

Maw Jones and the Deep Scrap Bag

A few weeks ago, an assisted-living center down the street from our home hosted a big yard sale. I noticed it on the drive home from grocery shopping, which had been preceded by a hectic morning of breakfast making, kitchen cleaning, floor mopping, living-room straightening, toy-putting-awaying, and Diet-Coke drive-thruing. I still had more than a day's worth of tasks to complete, with only a half day to complete them. But I parked the car, grabbed the boys, and made the trek down the block for some treasure hunting.

The boys found a spread of toys on a blanket. I spotted a cardboard box full of folded fabrics. I bent down and started rummaging through them. At the bottom of the box, underneath some flats of solid-colored yardage, I found this:

A summer quilt (only two layers). Some machine stitching, some hand stitching. Lots of shirting fabrics. A few imperfections, but not many. It looked vintage. It looked pristine. It looked fantastic.

I looked for a price tag. Nothing. I looked around. I expected someone to lock eyes with me and shout, "Hey! I didn't mean to put that in there! Give it back!" But no one did. I tucked the quilt under my arm and continued browsing.

When the three of us were done with our search, we had treasured up a toy car for Jack, a Tickle Me Elmo for Charlie, and a big baggie full of vintage buttons for me. And the quilt.

I assumed things weren't going to go smoothly at the cash box. The quilt didn't have a price tag. It was probably put in that cardboard box by mistake. Wasn't it? Had to be, I thought as I walked toward a rickety card table to pay. The original owner will want to keep this, I thought. No one would give this up at a yard sale on purpose. Yes, back to the owner. That would be best.

I approached the table and lay our items down. "We'll take these… and there was this quilt, from a box over there," I said to the woman at the table. She picked up the folded quilt. A voice from behind her said, "Oh, I didn't know that was out there." I looked over the woman's shoulder to see a small, elderly woman in a wheelchair, parked on the grass. She smiled. "That's from Maw Jones."

I walked around the card table toward the elderly woman. "It's just wonderful," I told her. "I can't imagine you would want to sell it."

"Do you like quilts?" she asked me.

"Oh my gosh, yes. I've made quite a few myself."

"That's wonderful," she said. "I have two daughters who just don't like that kind of thing–sewing and such. If I gave them that old quilt, they wouldn't know what to do with it. So, yes. You just take it."

"What? Oh, I don't…"

"Yes, now, you just take it. I can't put a price on it and I don't have anyone I know that would appreciate it like you would."

I didn't know what to say. But I did know that I didn't want to say no.

"Well, can you tell me about it? Do you know when it was made?"

This wonderful little woman told me everything she knew about the quilt; I kept her going with question after question. She thought the quilt had been made in the 1920s (gasp!) by her grandmother, who the family called Maw Jones. She said the quilt was made in Pennsylvania, then it moved to Arizona, then here to Utah. At some point she inherited it from her grandmother, a smart, sassy woman with seven children and no husband.

"Wow. How'd she find the time to make quilts?" I asked her.

"It took her a long time," the woman said.

After some conversation about the neighborhood we share, I stumbled over a series of heartfelt but awkward thank-you's, and then I gave her a hug. I told her I would take good care of Maw Jones's quilt, and that I would write down the details of her story, and that I wouldn't let my boys touch it until they were older (she had just met my lively little ones, you know). I told her I would care for it like it had been made in my own family.

I brought Maw Jones's quilt home. I smoothed out the quilt and examined each block. I daydreamed about Maw Jones and her stitches, and her seven children. Then, out of curiousity, I emailed my friend Valerie (of Cookie's Creations fame), a licensed quilt appraiser, and asked her if she would take a look at it.

After close inspection, Valerie told me a few things about Maw Jones's quilt.

Mawjones2Some of these shirting fabrics are certainly from the 1920s;
others, as they might contain polyester, may be from as late as the 1950s.

Mawjones3For a quilt from this era, it really is in great condition.

Mawjones4There's only one spot where the quilt has been mended,
along a hand-stitched seam that had probably unraveled over time.


This type of doubled dimensional border is unusual, and really super cool.
(Well, the super-cool part is just me sayin'…)

Mawjones6We can't be sure who wrote this on the back in permanent marker; Maw Jones
or someone who simply wanted to remember that Maw Jones made it. 


Valerie was miffed by this strange little stamp on the back. She thought
it might be feedsack material but later decided that it wasn't,
because of the length and width of the fabric on the back.

Valerie described the quilt as possibly being a "deep scrap bag" quilt. The maker had saved fabrics for years and years. When she finally decided to put a quilt together, she had a stash that spanned decades.

Ah. Seven children. No husband. A deep scrap bag. Makes sense to me.

What an experience. I am still shocked that the quilt is mine. I'm wondering where the quilt should stay in our home. I want her safely on display. Her blue and cream hues bring calm to our at-times chaotic days. The pinstripes in her sashing and borders are sassy and smart, like I imagine Maw Jones was. But mostly, the story behind the quilt whispers to me. It says to be mindful. In time, all things get done. It reminds me of a quote I've always loved, from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu:

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."

I guess what I'm trying to say, I'm saying to myself. Stop rushing about, Jenny. In time, everything will get done.