I am a writer and an urban homesteader with a long history of working professionally in the design and garment industry. I started Stitch and Boots so I could help people learn the urban homesteading skills I have and share notes and thoughts on the skills I’m still developing. Urban homesteading is about being as self sufficient as you can in an urban setting – sewing, cooking, canning, growing things, foraging, fixing things around the house, and making your own cleaning and body products. It is deeply satisfying to me to be able to sew my own clothes and grow my own food.
All sewing tutorials and advice I share on this site come from years of professional experience.
I am not (and never have been) a professional chef. I am, however, an excellent vegetarian cook and the recipes on this site are the things I’ve made that my family and friends have loved. I put them on Stitch for my own reference and to share with others. Expect my instructions to be those of a home cook, not a professional food writer. Most of the recipes I share on Stitch have been tested several times before being posted but every now and then I put recipes up that I’ve only made once because it turned out so well and I don’t want to forget it later.
Whether you’re here to learn something from me or share something with me – I’m glad to have you here!
Here’s a whole lot of other information about me and what I’ve done professionally if you’re interested:
I have an Associates Degree in Fashion and Design from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.
And here are some of the jobs I’ve had-
Shipping and customer service manager at Weston Wear – where I learned that there is such a marvelous thing as an industrial steam iron that could put a crease in a hedge. I loved this job. Not glamorous.
I costumed with Autumn Adamme for 2 years and helped start her company Dark Garden – I designed and made costumes for dancers, actors, and historical reenactments.
Design assistant and then as the color swatcher for Mulberry Neckwear – as a design assistant my main job was to prepare artwork for the printers by tracing out repeat patterns and doing color keys. As a swatcher I matched the computer printouts of colorways to Pantone and custom fabric swatches the printers would use to get as close to the designers’ intended colorways as possible. I loved being the color swatcher most of all.
Dustpan Alley – my apron company and then my brick and mortar store. I designed and made aprons, pot holders, table clothes as well as cards and other products. In my store I also carried a lot of product lines to complement my own designs. It turns out I hate running retail stores. I much prefer to design and make things. I’m much better at designing and making things. But I learned a lot from having my own retail store and consider it to have been a worthy adventure.
Other places you can find my work:
A is for Apron: published by Lark Books. An apron design of mine is published in this charming book full of apron projects. Working with the Lark Books editors was a joy and the project was exciting. My mother thought I should have fought the editors harder on all points but that’s because she doesn’t understand team projects the way I do.
Better Than Bullets is my personal online journal where I write about the things inspiring both ridicule and admiration (sometimes simultaneously) in my daily life. Come to hear stories from the writer’s desk and receive unsolicited advice on absolutely everything.
Dustpan Alley is a closed chapter which covers my small town life from June 2006 to June 2010. You can still visit the site and dive into the dark archives, but I am no longer writing on this blog. There is some surprising humor, a great deal of irreverence, many political tirades, and it may be illuminating to note that the writing of this blog has made me some enemies. If you read it, you’ll probably see why.
Favorite authors: Mary Stewart, J.D. Salinger, Jane Austen, Elizabeth George, Georgette Heyer, Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Connelly, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Michael Pollan, Calvin Trillan, Ian Rankin, Margaret Atwood, Mark Twain (his non-fiction), Dashiell Hammett, and Laurie Notarro.
Favorite activities that aren’t writing:
Reading books, drinking beer, watching hours and hours of movies, going out to dinner with her husband and son laughing a lot while they make up super-hero names, gardening, cooking, practicing Kung Fu.
Jon Stewart (and The Daily Show writers), Gandhi, Michael Pollan, Jamie Oliver, Alice Waters, Riana Lagarde, Eddie Izzard, guide dogs, everyone who grows food rather than lawns, and everyone who refuses to participate in war.