Keeping Watch

“I’ll keep watch.”

In 7th grade our middle school hallway was adjacent to the hall with a door that led to the auditorium catwalk. For whatever reason, this door was often unlocked. My friends walked or ran to the middle of the catwalk and back at least half a dozen times during 7th grade. I’m sure it was thrilling, but I never did it. I always volunteered to “keep watch” — which meant I stood outside the door panicking that we’d all get caught, because I would still be guilty by association!

I’m A LOT older and now mostly savvy to which rules are hard rules and which rules bend a bit, but I still respect rules…usually. Unless they are, like, totally dumb and some are and so they don’t count. But I respect the ones that make sense.

All of this to say that right now I feel like I’m sweating, standing outside of the catwalk door praying that Mr. Webber or Mrs. Haggis won’t walk around the corner. Why you ask? THIS…

So pretty! So against the rules!

So super marvelous! So against the rules!

I’ve cut into it! I was so excited to start making super things for my customers to marvel at when I realized, “Wait! This is the exact type of fabric I avoid — fabric with licensed characters!” Why, you ask? It is written right on the fabric that it is not to be used for commercial purposes!! Right here:



I know people do it. But if this fabric was meant for sales it wouldn’t say “DON’T RUN ACROSS THE CATWALK,” right on the selvedge! So now I don’t know what to do. To sew and sale or embrace my inner 7th grader (and honor this previous post) and continue to keep watch?

Sandbox Networking

When I think of the word “networking” I think of what I now dub as my “past life” — inviting people to my conference presentations, lunch meetings to discuss a collaboration on a paper, conference calls to discuss data comparisons. I was a calculated networker on a career path I didn’t care for, but was determined to succeed in. End scene.

Cut to now. My new career: mom and very small business owner. Hoping to make a profit by the end of the year, but never been happier or more fulfilled or more tired.

Networking now occurs in the most unlikely places when I least expect it. A cancelled playgroup led to this:

pen&thimble is in a shop-shop!


Networking used to feel so masked, formal, and insincere. Now it is so open, helpful, supportive. Bonus, I love that I can wear a tee shirt and jeans and retire my old mix-and-match Banana Republic business suits.

Me and my business assistant out for a network, maybe?

Me and my business assistant out for a network, maybe?

Searching For Insects

On Friday I was commissioned to make a reversible toddler bib with insects and/or arachnids on it. I AM SO EXCITED! My super-fun job parameters:

1. This bib is for a girl. Yes it is.

2. PUL side to be pink, purple, or light blue. This request took many insect fabrics out of the running, not to mention some fabric and craft shops. This was the most fun parameter–helped me weed out so much insect fabric.

3. Cotton side cannot have spiders depicted with 6 legs. You guys, there are a lot of 6-legged spiders hanging out on fabric out there. I thought I had found the perfect insect/arachnid fabric (above), but a 6-legged spider clings to that blade of grass. I’ve never noticed before, but this is a serious problem!

6 legs! Whaaa?

6 legs! Whaaa?

4. I get to surprise the buyer! Squee!! The buyer has a 1-year-old. No one with a 1-year-old has time to comb through insect fabric. You know what I did when my kid was 1? Me neither. It was 6 months ago and my memory does not extend back so far. But I was not sweating over fabric choices…or sleeping.

I already found and ordered two great fabrics featuring insects for this project! It is going to feel like eternity when the fabrics arrive and I have to wait to run them through the washer and dryer. I already know which fabric I’m going to use for this bib, but I learned from this job, that one MUST have insect fabric in her collection! And now you know too!