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Weekend: Brotherly Love

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Have you ever heard of the story of Steve Jobs and Mona Simpson? If not, I’ll give you a brief rundown. It’s pretty interesting. Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, was given up for adoption by his biological parents – American Joanne Schieble and Syrian-born Abdulfattah “Jonh” Jandali. The two later had another child – Mona. Schieble and Jandali eventually separated, and while Jobs was being raised by a blue collar family in California, Mona was being raised by Schieble in Wisconsin. Steve and Mona met later in life, and when they finally connected (Jobs tracked her down), they were struck by their similar personalities, especially their intensities. Jobs started the world’s most successful computer/technology company and Simpson was a heralded novelist. They became very close, not much of which is known to the public, but Simpson gave a touching eulogy at Job’s funeral that gave a rare glimpse into their bond.

I felt the same kinship Simpson and Jobs felt two weekend’s ago when my brother visited from Florida. All odds are against our relationship staying alive, let alone being strong. We don’t talk much, don’t live close to each other and we certainly aren’t in the same industries. He practices law and I practice… errr… sewing and blogging. And our drinking tastes and social tendencies are even more different. He’s a social butterfly and I am reserved. Despite this, we’re eerily similar. During his 3-day stay, we took a day trip to NYC and Brooklyn – he dragged me to a speakeasy in Williamsburg and I dragged him to Mood Fabrics in the GD. We shared our philosophies, future life plans, relationship status and more, and like matching side seam to side seam, we were exactly aligned (too korny?). I sometimes think my tendencies and routines are not normal, but knowing that there is another human being that thinks and acts like I do is comforting and refreshing.

Now that James is gone, there’s been lots of sewing! Have you seen the dotty duster I’m working on? Stayed tuned!

Also, I want to thank everyone who reached out to me last week regarding my post about negative comments. I received so much support in the comments of that post, on Facebook, on Instagram, and via email. Thanks to you, I had a wonderful weekend sewing.

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  1. Reply


    what speakeasy was this?? it looks like barber shop but thats in the village. I’m so close to willyburg so I feel like now I have to check this out.

    If you can take the comments and turn them into a positive in your life and learn from them, well then:


    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Love this! I have a feeling you would enjoy @thefatjewish on IG. Look him up and you’ll get at least on serious laugh a day.

      I’ll tell you via email about the speakeasy. It was kind of a secret, hence no links in the post above.

  2. Reply


    really great photos and lovely post. please let us know where the speakeasy is because it looks amazing. the interior is absolutely perfect. your brother has a really great sense of style to him as well.

    i think that you are so lucky to have such a great relationship with your brother despite the odds being set against you. i am unfortunately not so lucky but i hope one day to re-kindle a relationship with my brother. we are trying slowly, but there is a giant ocean and 6 hour time difference separating us, so it is not so easy.

    as far as the negative comments go, i must have missed that post but will go read it now.

    rae of love from berlin

  3. Reply

    New Model LamΓ©

    I know what you mean, my sister and I live on opposite sides of the world, but she came to live with me for a year at a time when I was really low and needed someone in my life and we really connected again. We are very different but have much in common too (mostly our sense of humour). My sister in law even tells me she noticed i have a special laugh i only use with my sis!

    As for the negativity, it can be really hard to take when you open yourself to others the way us bloggers do. Please don’t let it affect your writing though, i think authenticity is so important even if it makes you more vulnerable then if you were guarded or put on a ‘face’ to the world.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      You you very lucky to have a sister that supported you during a low time, but she was probably one of the few people who could help you during that rough patch, another testament of the strong bond.

      Thank you for your support on the negative comments. You and the other women who reached out to me pulled me out of my funk pretty fast. Wait until you see what I made last weekend. Ooo!

  4. Reply


    Siblings are the best! I feel very lucky to have both a sister and two brothers, all of whom I get along with really well, despite us having chosen ‘different paths’. Even though we live in different parts of the country, whenever we’re together it’s like no time has passed – we just pick up right where we left off. Those kinds of bonds are, in my experience, the strongest.

    So glad you had a good time with your brother, and that you’ve had a good week of sewing. I often find that there is nothing quite like making something with my own two hands to kick some bad feelings in the butt!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Sallie, I can’t get over your DISQUS profile picture. Your hair is so short! Sorry to be totally off topic : )

  5. Reply


    How wonderful that you were able to connect with your brother. Even though you live far apart and have chosen different lives, you are still connected and that is what family is!

    So glad you had such a wonderful time. :0)

  6. Reply

    Nancy Hvale Hunt

    I really enjoyed this. I have a similar bond with my brother and we are as different as night and day!! The picture of your brother leaning against the counter at the fabric store is truly sweet.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Isn’t that photo great? I know that deep down, he really loved Mood, despite his outwardly expression.

  7. Reply


    This is really sweet. Thanks! Makes me want to call my two sisters now. πŸ™‚ I’m the most reserved of the three and while we’re close when we’re together and chatting, I don’t keep in touch all that well once we part.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I’m also the most reserved of my two brother (there’s another one!) and he is just as wild as James. How did I end up being so quiet? Maybe it was so I could keep an eye on them.

  8. Reply


    I love that you had such a good time with your brother. This is similar to how things are for me and my siblings, too.

  9. Reply

    Alabaster Shelf

    Hey! What is that jacket he’s wearing? I’m absolutely in love with it and want to make one for my someone special. It doesn’t look that terribly complicated (thinking I could modify an existing pattern of mine to make it work). But I’m very curious as to what the fabrics are (it looks like micro suede for the orange and then either faux leather or silk for the sleeves with chocolate ribbing. Is that right?). Please help! Thank you so much! And you two are just sweet together. Brothers are very special.


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