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Instagram, Sewing Lessons and Little Things to Sew

After a ridiculous - embarrassing even- amount of deliberation, I decided to join Instagram.  (You can find me at @rachelstitchedtogether ).  I must have talked to Dan about it a dozen times, to which he finally responded, "Rachel, it's Instagram.  This is not a major life decision."  haha


Like many others, I have a love-hate relationship with social media.  I'll talk about the love part first.  To say social media has impacted my life is a huge understatement.  Were it not for social media, I would not have discovered adoption blogs, which were the impetus in our decision to adopt.  It was through social media that we changed our plan to adopt from Taiwan and instead decided to adopt from Ethiopia.  On February 18th, we celebrated 5 years since we met first Tia in Ethiopa.

our day 1 with Tarikua 
first day together

It was through social media that I learned about the need for reform in international adoption.  After lots of research and conversations with other adoptive parents as well as humanitarians, we made the decision to work with Compassion International, supporting their mother-baby program to help keep mothers and infants together rather than to pursue another adoption.  Without those connections we may not have Iris and Hazel.  (And for those wondering, I felt my heart was too fragile for the US foster care system, though I would not rule it out at some point when my children are older.)

hazel and me

It was through social media that I discovered Oliver + S patterns, which taught me how to sew.  Their Flickr group was the gateway drug to the sewing blog world.  And the rest is history.

On the other hand, social media is a huge distraction in our society.  I recently read that the average person checks their phone 1500 times a week (!)  and spends over three hours every day on their phones.  These are the people that sometimes ask me how I have so much 'free time' to sew.

The answer is: I don't spend much time on social media (or watching television).  In my opinion, screens are a huge impediment to both creativity and productivity.  It's the five minutes here and there, waiting for water to boil or for the dinner to simmer, where it's so tempting to check your phone.  But those minutes, they add up.  I could do a few dishes, start or fold a load of laundry, listen to my children tell a story and really listen.  Not just nod and 'uh-huh' while scrolling on my phone.

my sleeping beauty

So those were my reservations.  But, I decided not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Mostly because so many of you in the sewing community are on it and you guys are so darn inspirational!  (And actually, I had tried Instagram once before, several years ago, before a lot of sew-ers were on it.  It seems like a lot has changed since then, in a good way.)

On a lighter note, I gave Indigo her first long and formal sewing lesson yesterday as part of a homeschooling assignment : to make puppets and put on a puppet show about Aesop's Fable "Country Mouse and City Mouse."

sewing lessons

What a better place to start than an Oliver + S pattern - the puppets/bath mitts from Little Things to Sew.

city mouse country mouse

City Mouse is on the left, with the bow tie, of course!  :)  (Jude says Country Mouse's stare is a little intense!)

Indigo sewed and fabric painted the whole thing - with my direction/supervision.  Except for the whiskers.  I hand sewed those.

Jude built a puppet theater for Indigo using cardboard boxes.  He was intent on making it just perfect for her.  Man, that kid is so sweet!

 {May I recommend straw dispensers for storing Washi tape}

With her puppet theater ready we spent the evening in anticipation for the opening night performance.

puppet theater - by jude dress rehersal
dress rehearsal 

Country Mouse and City Mouse make their debut!

country mouse - city mouse
Jude had the idea of using a flashlight as a spotlight.

I have a post in the works about our homeschooling curricula this year.  We are really getting the hang of this homeschooling thing and we all love it so much.  It isn't always easy, but it's so worth it.  We've really found our stride this year and I finally get what people mean when they say 'homeschooling is a lifestyle.'

Anyway, maybe I'll see you on Instagram?


  1. Rachel, you've given me a kick I needed. Too often, I am the person who checks their phone while cooking dinner, and says uh-huh to the kids. I know and recognise the social media love/hate thing too well. I have a friend who puts her phone in a box by the door when she walks in the house - think I need to do this too. And, when I was a kid I played with puppets all the time with my sister, and was thinking how it would be lovely to do this again with my two. And Torin was 9 last week and growing up fast, and I'm so aware that I don't want these moments and opportunities to slip away, because I was checking my phone! Thank you!

  2. Looking forward to getting to see more snippets of what you're up to on Instagram Rachel! I'm lpsimpson on there :) x love the puppets! What a cool exercise!

  3. Ha! I just signed up last week too! I'll go find you... (which I can do 'cause little people are in bed and my screen addiction can be allowed to run free!) - I confess to checking my phone too often, but never mid conversation! My one bug bear is using phones to keep kids quiet. Ours never come out in restaurants for example, sure we may end up playing noughts and crosses on our serviettes, but no screens at the table!
    Nothing more fun than a puppet show, although in my kids' hands the puppets always end up sneezing violently and flying forward off stage. They think that's endlessly hilarious!
    So glad to see you're delving into the Little Things To Sew book, there's a lot of fun to be had in there ;)

  4. You're such a good little mamma. I love that your children are creative like you. What a treasure you have in Tia! Well, all if them for sure.
    Have a lovely day. We have -3 and sun today so I am sitting in the window : ) Now I am off to find you on Instagram.

  5. What a fun project for the kids! Love the mice and the theatre! Bravo guys! We bought a mini sewing machine for LM to learn to sew and I am yet to read the instructions! Poor thing keeps on asking and telling me she wants to be like me! Might have to give up some Facebook time to do that one night ;) I actually find I was much more disciplined with computer use when we only had one. I allocated myself an hour after LM went to bed and that was pretty much it. Now I have my husband's old computer in my sewing room, and his old smart phone after mine died, I feel I spend more time in front of a screen than ever before. Of course it is up to me to regulate it, I can't blame the technology ;) I am getting better though :)

  6. First of all, those puppets, and the puppet theater, are FANTASTIC. What a great first sewing project! So cute!!! Love it.

    Second, oh no, does this mean I need to join instagram? Since, unlike you, I'm on Facebook, I think I'm going to hold off. That's a big enough time-waster. It's hard finding that good balance of enjoying and getting inspiration and support from social media (which I do, hugely), and having it suck up your life. I do not pretend to have this all sorted out, but like you I am working on it. It helps/hurts that I have a job where I'm at the computer all day, making diversions that much more tempting.

  7. I picked it up yesterday, and the owner was kind enough to show me a few things...not that any of it really stuck, since I had no idea what she was talking about, but she left a bobbin and some thread pre-loaded, which was enough to get started. This blog

  8. Very cool. It is incredible how creative one can get! I will try this, to teach my kids about sew. Thanks!my blog


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