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That one time I made pajamas. Also, a word or two about (my) writing process

Christmas PajamasPSE*

Some of you have said you wished I wrote more about the writing process. While I can’t write with any authority about THE writing process (whatever that means) I am happy to share more about mine.

Let’s start with my most recent Raising the Hardy Boys column: So what if you don’t sew. (Click link to read it if you haven’t yet).

Alright, y’all, I’ll let you in on a secret only long-time, regular Nathalie’s Notes readers know: I sometimes recycle content from here to work into my columns. And by sometimes I mean, as often as I can.

I consider my journal my first draft, my blog the second and the column my final one.

Of course, I also write a lot of columns with no formal draft. Just lots of thinking and notes on index cards and backs of envelopes. Those become some of my most favorite, sorry English teachers of America!

But you can still tell your students drafts are important. Practice paves the path for any published writer. There’s no way I could pull off publishing a first and final draft if I didn’t maintain a daily writing practice. Since I was like, six. (But it’s also never to late to start. I’m talking to YOU! You know who you are).

So there ya go, a note about my process.

Christmas Pajamas 2

Oh, also here’s a link to the original post about That One time I made Christmas Pajamas here.

Here’s the Outtakes from our hotel room photo shoot with my sister-in-law here.

And here’s what Matt actually said about the “M” on his stocking, but it got edited being as how I write for a family paper.

*Photo taken by Carrie Hardy, and shortly after Thanksgiving dinner. I forgot to take off my necklace, I guess I was distracted by the awesomeness of these pajamas and our photo shoot in search of The One Good Picture for our annual card.

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So what if you don’t sew



So what if you don't sew

But good for you if you do

By NATHALIE HARDY | Yamhill Valley News-Register


As I write this, mere days before the ghouls and goblins appear, many moms across America, and a few dads, are sewing Halloween costumes. And I have nothing but applause — even awe — for them.

I am, however, proud to have checked that off my list already. By which I mean, I grabbed two Skylander costumes at Target, right when they went on sale, and told the boys their costume would be a surprise this year.

Then I waited until it was basically too late to do anything about it and planned a big reveal. This elaborate plan included setting the Target bag on the table next to the toast and saying, “Surprise! Open your eyes!”

Costumes, check!

You see, while I would love to be a mom who sews costumes, or anything else, for that matter, I’m not.

I’m a mom who feeds my family fodder for funny stories about, say, the time I made matching pajamas for all four of us. The part about how I sewed the pants shut is particularly hilarious.

In my defense, the pattern I’d picked out for my first big sewing project read like a blueprint for an office building. But I was quite motivated by my husband’s doubt that I was going to pull off the pajama project.

“Plaid pajamas for you, my friend,” I promised him in response to all the teasing.

“We’re going to have matching pajamas?” he said, incredulous.

“Well, more like coordinating,” I clarified. “If I go through the trouble of making them, you’ll wear them, right?”

“Oh, honey, you bet,” he was barely able to contain his amusement.

He was surprised the next morning when I hung the first pair from the doorknob. He was impressed the following morning when I finished the second pair. He looked mildly concerned the third morning, when I handed him his very own plaid pajamas.

It seems I may have been off a bit on the measurements. That evoked the response, “Honey, you made me culottes!”

That wasn’t on purpose, honest. I ended up using my seam ripper so much my 4-year-old began calling it “the mistake thing.”

The cheerful, Christmassy mantra that got me through the hours I spent with my seam ripper was: “I don’t care if I have to staple these (expletive). We are wearing these damn pajamas!”

The finished products reminded me of what one of my best friends calls “aggressively homemade.”

They weren’t very practical, because I wouldn’t let anyone eat or play in them, and no one actually slept in them. The pictures turned out pretty cute, though.

Another time, just as I was due to deliver Jake, I got it in my head I wanted to embroider Christmas stockings for all of us, including our dog. Never mind that I’d never done such a thing.

My husband encouraged me to consider glitter and glue instead of needle and thread, but his suggestion didn’t match the picture in my head.

The stockings turned out fine, except that I hated the “M” on Matt’s. I have put fixing it on my to do list the last five Decembers.

I should’ve fixed the sloppy “M” when I first discovered it. But with all the stuff that had to be done before the baby came, Matt said he’d rather live with the misaligned “M” than a stocking forevermore labeled “att.”

Given stories like that, no one at my house is sad or surprised that I don’t sew costumes. In fact, members of my family are relieved.

Plus, it leaves me free to consider doing other things, like making a Skylanders pinata for Sam’s birthday party.

Notice I said “consider.” I thought about it, then caught myself and came down firmly on the “no” side.

Besides, I already had my hands — and counters — full with the extravaganza I was planning for Sam’s seventh birthday on Oct. 7. I happen to think being born is kind of a big deal, so we are big on birthdays around here. And “golden” birthdays come around just once, so I was planning to make a fuss.

Here’s the catch:

Yes, my kids love it. But that’s not exactly why I do it. I actually do it because I love it. I truly do.

But sewing costumes? Not so much.

I have friends who are sewing finishing touches right this moment. They aren’t sewing their kids’ costumes to show me up, though. They are sewing them because they take joy in it, and that’s a critical distinction.

Too often, I think, we project our own insecurities on others. We assume their choices amount to a commentary on ours.

Trust me, they aren’t. And if you can embrace that message, you are welcome to send cash to compensate for the therapy expense I saved you.

Because Sam delights in all things holiday, he loved and truly appreciated every detail of his golden birthday, from the seven gold star balloons to the gold star sprinkles on his lunchtime grapes.

I know, I do go a little crazy sometimes. I’m not sure I should tell you, but I wrapped his lunch in gold paper to make it even more fun. Also, did you know they make golden Oreos for just such occasions?

My younger son, Jake, will be a little harder to impress on his golden birthday. He’ll be 14 then, and he already tends to keep his joy tucked inside.

I don’t think decorating his high school locker in gold foil will cut it. Luckily, I have a few years to reflect on potential alternatives.

In the meantime, I’m considering making a Christmas tree skirt this year. And maybe an advent calendar. Or not.

Coming up: Pictures of the aforementioned aggressively homemade Christmas Pajamas | What Matt actually said about the “M” | The Elf is (almost) in the House | Golden Birthdays, that’s a thing? | Publisher, check (For. Real!!!)

Here are the costumes from left to right:

Target, Target, Crafty Friend Melisa Daily, Crafty Friend Crystal Case.


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