Sunday, January 30, 2011

Doll quilt completed!

I've been MIA lately due to a very bad week of sickness in my household. I'll spare you the details, but if you  really want to know you can read about it here.

I started making this quilt as a trial run for Alex's I Spy quilt, using some of the extra squares I had. It was a good practice and I'm much more confident now (and I also know which mistakes to avoid too!). I gave it to Alex's second cousin for her first birthday (which hopefully won't get lost in the shuffle after getting three carloads of toys a month ago at Christmas...anyhooo....).

The quilt top was fun to make. All of the stars lined up for me and Alex had a good 3 hour nap, giving me enough time to make the quilt top, press the seams, and then pin it to the batting and back. I then stalled a bit, since the whole quilting part and then adding the binding around the edge kind of freaked me out. I spent a full evening watching youtube video about making bias tape and binding a quilt. When I'm stressed, I do research.

I spent several hours just measuring out the lines to quilt on, just because I suck at sewing in a straight line, so I figured I needed all the help I can get. I have this magical disappearing ink pen that writes on fabric and disappears after 48 hours. Who knew such a thing existed!

I ended up with a pre-made seam binding but I'm totally going to make my own for the next quilt. I tried all sorts of pinks and blues, but the grey just seemed to work the best, even if it's a little unconventional for a little girl's quilt.

I'm happy with how it turned out. Doll quilts are fun because they're a manageable size. I might just have to make another one for Stanley.

A big thank you to the lovely ladies at Emeline & Annabelle. I tweeted them in a panic, really not knowing what I was doing. They were able to talk me down from a crafting-induced ledge. The next day I went in to the shop and Annabelle helped me get things sorted out and gave me some much needed encouragement. It's very cool having them as a resource that I can go to.

 Doll Quilt for Bryanna. Approximately 14" x20"
(I'm making a guesstimate because I forgot to measure it before wrapping it up this morning. Snort)

Quilt back. Yep it's the flower fabric again from my tunic I just made.

Detail of some of the squares. Notice the carefully spaced quilted lines. Ohhh, ahhh.

Bias tape. Hand sewn in the back. I know what a mitered corner is now!

One of the quilt bloggers I read (can't remember which one, gah!)
stated she only folds the quilt when it's done. I like that. So there it is.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In the studio: Finger painting

The first couple of times I tried finger painting with Alex he didn't seem to like it. He was like an unhappy restaurant patron. Um, miss! My hands are DIRTY. Uh hello? This is not what I ordered! It tastes like PAINT.
This time he got the hang of it and enjoyed himself. I knew he just needed some time to figure it out, it's a new experience for him. I'm glad I tried again. It was fun for him and FUN for me. I got him to try using his hands, the paintbrush and even Thomas the Train got into the action.

I taped up the paintings on the window to dry and the results are luminous! The paint is actually quite faded and dull when it dries, but with the light from the window it's something else. Like my husband said, that's a keeper.

Hmm interesting...

Getting into it...

Really getting into it!

 Figuring thing out.

Painting with Thomas!

"Campfire in the woods"

"Ocean storm"

Detail of Ocean Storm.
 It's really magical with the light coming through.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weekly Workout Wrap-up week 1

So it was a bit of a mixed bag this week. I made it to the gym twice this week, and walked a fair bit in between. My third night was replaced by a crafting night (good for my mental health, right?) where I only knew one person. My friend did most of the talking for the 12 ladies there, and this uh, knitting circle had a lot of novice knitters making rhomboid shaped scarves. Nice women, but not really my crowd. Especially the look of horror some of them gave me when I mentioned my son loves watching the documentary Babies.

Since only some ghetto uneducated mother would let her son watch TV or movies their stare told me.
 Most of them were not mothers. Just you wait ladies. Once you have a kid, you'll understand.

You'll be singing this in the shower:

Does trying to do the actions for this song count as exercise?

I did weights on Saturday. Hello weights. I've missed you most of all. Chock-o-block full of bench pressy goodness. Must get back into weight lifting on a regular basis. I need to figure out a routine that covers all the bases in two or three days a week.

The food intake was the so-so part of this week. I must get back on to Fitday. It's like an online food journal. Not to be obsessive about the calories I eat, but more to be accountable. That and it has pie charts of your daily intake of carbs, protein and fat. Gotta love the pie charts.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A new sewing project....

So my next sewing project is a biggy. Like what the heck am I getting myself into big. I'm going to make a quilt.
I used to think people who made quilts looked like this:
But of course there are many cool quilters. I really love the internet sometimes. I never would have known that young hip artists make quilts too. I've been pouring over blogs and tutorials, drooling over fabrics on Etsy.
I'm starting with a small quilt for Alex. It's an I Spy quilt, so each square is different. It's been fun selecting the fabrics. I'm still missing a few, so I can't really start sewing until I have everything. I'm making it with 36 squares, going from light to dark.

These are two of the blocks (tentatively) out of the four that will make up the quilt.

My assistant placing the squares for me.

It's so hard to find good help these days...

Block #1 Yellows and whites

Block # 2 Pinks and Blues

So for now I continue to oogle fabrics, and wait for some squares from friends and another small purchase from Etsy (the lovely seller had a Pay It Forward listing that only cost me the price of shipping and the listing fee).

This quilt seems easy enough right? The quilt top is the easy part. It's all the stuff that goes on behind is the tricky part. Have I mentioned being precise isn't really a strong point for me? Um yeah. It's a good challenge right?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sewing success: Schoolhouse Tunic

So I finally made something for myself to wear. In high school I made a lot of my outfits (and tapered a lot of pair of jeans...oh boy showing my age), even making my grad outfit for myself and for a friend. I got busy, had other things to do and then after my undergrad in university, I no longer had projects lined up. The sewing machine got buried.

I saw this shirt/tunic on a friend who had made one at a local sewing shop. It was super cute and I wanted one. I got myself the pattern from Sew Liberated. It's been on hold a while until I was able to finish the felt book. Starting more than one project is a guarantee that I won't finish one of them. That and I have no space to store projects.

I adapted the pattern a bit to fit my...ahem...assets. The front has a bit more leeway in it and there was supposed to be a large inverted box pleat in the back that fell funny on my butt and might as well have been a giant butt bow. So I made it a simple gather in the back and added a little panel in the front.

It's comfy. It's sassier than a t-shirt. I may have to make another one (now that I know what I'm doing).

Good thing Alex had a long nap today. It took me forever to get a descent self portrait shot (I really should have put some makeup on) with no tripod and just my timer on my camera.

I enjoy the neckline on this shirt. You get a good shot of what the fabric looks like here.

 Comfortable shirt. Awkward hand placement. This was the least bizarre.

 Gathers, much more flattering than a giant butt bow.

One of the many outtakes. Not sure what I was going for here.
Can I just say, a good bra makes all the difference.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Doing a (silent) happy dance

Alex's sleep is getting better. He's sleeping longer and it's getting easier to put him to bed. For the most part. Two nights ago, he didn't want to fall asleep. I tried all my usual methods, but it was a no-go. After an hour of rocking, singing, bum patting, shushing I needed a break. So I left Alex's room. "Mama" he called out. There was a long pause, then another "mama". Not loud, just like a "hello? you still there?". "Mama is still here" I called out to Alex from the kitchen. Then there was another pause, longer this time. More than a couple of minutes went by. "Mama?". I again reassured him I was still around. He did this maybe two more times. Then something completely miraculous and happy-dance worthy happened. He fell asleep.

He. Fell. Asleep. On his own. This is the first time he's done that at bedtime (He did it once a week ago after being up in the middle of the night for 3 hours).

Most of his little toddler friends have been falling asleep on their own for ages. Almost since birth for some of them. He's not like other babies. He's never let me put him down in his crib, happily babbling to himself as he drifts off to sleep. It was more like screaming. Wailing. Acting like I'm forcing him to listen to Nickelback all day long. Almost a year ago we tried Cry It Out (CIO), but after 2 hours of crying we couldn't do it. My bookshelf is full of baby sleep books. We called our method the No-Sleep Sleep Solution. Months later when he still wasn't sleeping through the night, my sister said the only way is the dreaded cry it out. She's a strong believer in it. I asked her "so once you get them to sleep finally at night, do you have to let them cry it out in the middle of the night too?". Hmm, she said, by then her kids were already sleeping through the night on their own when she did CIO. I just felt like there had to be another way. Dr Sears, attachment parenting guru, wrote that you should do what works for your family. Cry it out did not work for us (especially while Alex was still in our room with us). Eventually we were able to make a bit of space in our apartment, and we moved out of his room. At the same time I weaned him from breastfeeding. Then he started occasionally sleeping through the night.

We went from singing every song our sleep-deprived brains could think of. Then for the longest time I nursed him to sleep (which is BAD according to all those damn sleep books). Now he usually takes the bottle to sleep (BAD again). It's 15 minutes usually to get him to sleep. It won't last forever and soon he'll be too big to cuddle in my lap. I know he'll eventually fall asleep on his own, just like the other milestones. He'll get there on his own time, in his own way.  *If not, I'll have to be like the creepy mom in I love You Forever and sneak into his house and sing my grown son to sleep.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Let's get physical!

Oh my god. Why did I go there with the title. Now I'm going to have that song stuck in my head for like three weeks. Anywooo!

So we've joined the local Y as a family. Husband needs to exercise. He's always worked very physically demanding jobs and now he's working at a desk, clicking a mouse all day. I NEED to exercise. I feel so much better, physically and mentally when I do. It's essential for me to finally shake this depression that's been lingering like a bad cold. The worst part? Come close, so I can whisper this. I haven't lost any of my pregnancy weight *hanging head in shame*. So last week while husband was home from work for the week during the holidays I went to the gym. By myself. I put a sportsbra on. I walked to the gym, walked up the three flights of stairs and opened the door to the cardio/weight room. Thankfully I was a member there years ago (when I got the cheapo student rate), so I knew where to go. Eyes on me. Several. I swear I wasn't imagining it. I got on an elliptical machine (safe, I knew what to do, no freaky settings) and started up. I looked around the room. Yeah. I'm fat. Not only that, but I'm the fattest person in the gym. What. The. Fat? It was the most embarassing/discouraging/motivating moment for me. I know I'm overweight. But SERIOUSLY? The ladies at the gym were all Lululemon wearing stick insects complaining about eating too much on a cruise.

I used to love going to the gym. I went regularly before I got pregnant. I thought, I'm totally going to workout all through my pregnancy. I researched what I could do, what was safe. Then the morning sickness took over my body. Then the fatigue. Then the belly. I walked a lot and did prenatal yoga until my 40th week. I want to get back to where I have a regular routine again.

So, I'm going to start a Weekly Workout Wrap-up. To keep myself honest. It's like Weight Watchers, but cooler. No overly made up lady with poofy hair and pleated pants clucking at me to count every Bite-Lick-Taste. I did WW before. I became obsessed with the points, and not in a good way. So it's just about being sensible and getting healthy (and getting out of the stretchy pants).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Working Conditions

So, my apartment is tiny. Really tiny. It's a one bedroom with 3 people, 2 cats and an iguana. It's cramped. My sewing machine was locked away tucked into a closet that I couldn't get to. I wanted it OUT. Yes, the sewing machine came out of the closet. In order to make space for the beast, I had to clear my bookshelf of two shelves of books. It doesn't have it's own table, I just use the one table we have in the house, a cafe table that seats 2 (plus one in a highchair). I do most of my sewing while Alex is napping or in bed for the night because, well, because I'd like him to keep all his fingers in tact. So I haul out the machine, plunk it on the table and use whatever is left of the space to work. That's when the cats show up:

Oh this is comfy, let me lie right here. Nah the pins don't bother me.

Whatcha doin?

Mmmm thread. Tasty, fun to swat, rolls well.

Bitch please! This is MY spot *that's Daisy in the right lower corner*
(too bad my camera missed the ninja paw swat that happened)

If you don't leave me alone kitties, I'll start making nice Little House on the Prairie outfits for you to wear.

Oh and if you're wondering I'm making something for me. Yes, for me! I haven't sewn for myself in many many years.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

10 parenting lessons I learned in the past year

1. Do whatever it takes, whatever you can handle.

2. Once you figure out your child, they will change.

3. Toddlers are very different creatures than babies.

4. The skull is very resilient.

5. I am very resilient.

6. Do something for yourself, it will make you a better parent.

7. Baby signs really do work!

8. You can never have too many laundry tokens.

9. The tooth fairy (or she who brings the teeth) should have a house dropped on her head.

10. This isn't easy. Talk to your friends, you'll see you're not alone.

(I was going to expand on all the points, but I kind of like it like this)