Tuesday, July 31, 2007

pretty boring sewing project

This will interest maybe one or two of you, but it's all I've got today, my friends. I've been sewing and knitting in fits and starts because it is around 90 degrees with twelve thousand percent humidity, and this is the only thing I've finished:

Diaper inserts. Whoa, try to handle the excitement!

See? You lay one in the center of a prefold cloth diaper...

Then fold up the sides (I do a better job of this when I am really putting it on my kid, I promise), and the washable pad absorbs the pee! Neato!

These are made of two layers of 100% cotton flannel and two layers of 100% cotton husband undershirts, size medium, which were obviously purchased on a wishful-thinking day. Hubs is 6'2" and about 225, so why he bought a pack of size medium shirts is beyond me. Thus the shirts are pretty much brand new and perfect for me to chop up and sew into baby Depends. I serged around the 4 sides and called it good, though I'm wondering if I should have run a line of stitching down the middle. The flannel is caught in the serged edges, but maybe a little extra stitching would still be good.

Will they work? We shall find out.

Now please excuse me, the mere act of blogging in this heat has caused me to break out in a stank-nasty sweat. Time to re-apply the Lady Speed Stick. Love you, moist heat!

got a minute?

Go read.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

the things we do for love *edited*

I have a confession to make.

We are not a Disney princess household.

We are not a Dora household.

We are not a Barney household.

We are most definitely NOT a Teletubbies household.

Daughter does not even know who the Wiggles are (and frankly, neither do I).

We have not sworn our allegiance to any commercial characters...with one notable exception. We have allowed Daughter to pretty much totally immerse herself in Sesame Street. This is for various reasons, chief among them the fact that I actually believe she learns something from Sesame Street, and also, it doesn't irritate the heck out of me and make me want to stick things in my ears like those other shows do.

I'm not interested in having tutus and pretend high heels and fake makeup around the house - yet. Maybe when she is a bit older, but for now, Big Bird, Snuffy, Telly, Grover (my favorite), Bert, Ernie, and yes, even Elmo, are our preferred addiction around here. When we go to the library she heads straight for the "vee-os" to pick out "Bert & Ernie's Word Play," or "The Street We Live On," or, heaven help me, "What's the Name of that Song?" (which she has nicknamed "Da-Dee-Da-Dee-Dump").

She doesn't have much in the way of character clothing, either. No Barbie or Dora pajamas, no shirts with Elmo or Zoe or whoever. This is largely because of me...I dress almost exclusively in solid colors and I tend to dress her that way also (I was maybe Amish in a former life, who knows).


Last week, in a rare moment of free time all to myself, I was browsing the aisles at - where else? - Joann Fabrics. More specifically, I was looking for pajama fabric for Daughter's winter PJs. They used to have a small rack of flame-resistant or flame-retardant fabrics, but I couldn't find it. According to the employees, they don't sell it anymore due to liability (something about it being flame-resistant when you buy it but as soon as it is washed the chemical that makes it resistant washes out). We discussed it and agreed that probably once flames are that close to your child, the material in their sleepwear isn't going to make a heck of a lot of difference anyway. (Yikes!)

So I moseyed on over to the flannels. And the licensed character prints sucked me in. There was one with Elmo and Cookie Monster playing soccer...nah. Baby Elmo and Baby Zoe crawling around in wee diapers...nah. Pooh Bear, Strawberry Shortcake, Cars, blah blah blah, no, no...and then? My brain exploded.

I just had to buy this fabric. I had a coupon, people! I couldn't help myself. Daughter would go totally bananaramas over this, I just knew it. So why not? One and three-quarters yards later, these PJs were born.

I finished the top yesterday and tried it on Daughter. She lost her mind. "LOOK! MOMMY! IT'S SESAME STREET FRIENDS!" She touched them all and named them, and just kept marveling at the awesomeness. "Oh Mommy! I love this shirt! You make it for me? I LOVE IT!"

Mother of the Year, people. Mother of the Year.

The details:
Butterick pattern #3109 (technically for boys but who cares?)
size 2
1.75 yards of 44" flannel

Very simple, very fast, and I will be making another pair out of some much more subdued flannel. I made one change:

The pattern calls for 4 buttons, but I thought I might like to try snaps instead. Daughter rolls around a lot in her sleep, and I'd hate to see the buttons pull open or worse, pop off. Snaps seem like they'd be a lot more secure and safer, too. So we ran out to the store for a Dritz snap fastener kit (the kind you pound in with a hammer). Click the photo for a closeup view.

These snaps are awesome and pretty easy to use, but I must recommend you take them outside and do it on some concrete or asphalt, or perhaps the basement floor if you have one (we do not). You need the resistance of a really, really hard surface to make the prongs 'grip' when they are hammered.

Also, if you don't do it that way, you will do bad, bad things to the antique trunk you use for a coffee table. The one your in-laws gave you as a graduation gift when you finished your master's degree. Yeah.

Hello, I am an idiot.

Next up: pullover hoodie for Daughter in Cascade Sierra that Karen gave me waaaaaaaaay back when. I have been waiting for the 'perfect' pattern to present itself, and I finally decided to just enjoy the yarn and make something simple. And it's working. The yarn is heavenly, and I could knit this pattern in my sleep (uh, and sometimes I do, late at night).

Besides, after ripping multiple projects, I need a nice, simple knit that I know will be a success!

I'm all about positive reinforcement.

**Edit: Oops, I just realized that what I said about kid shows could be misinterpreted as me being condescending or something...I'm not saying there's anything wrong with letting your kids watch those shows! We just prefer Sesame, is all.**

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

wedding stuff

I have a new sewing project almost finished to show...probably tomorrow. Until then, for the one or two people who wanted to see the dress I got for my bro-in-law's wedding, the link is here. I got it in chocolate brown. It looks better on someone who is standing up straight, though. The dresses the bridesmaids are wearing can be seen here, in that color (peridot). And the bride is wearing this, in the ivory/champagne colorway.


I want to get married again. Same guy and all...just another big day with a pretty dress. Probably not going to happen, huh?

Monday, July 23, 2007

another post brought to you by insomnia

Thank you for the nice comments on my baby quilt. I think it will end up being used by Daughter, but for now I can't quite handle that. I don't know if it's just the dates on the calendar, the finishing of the quilt, or what, but I've been feeling pretty melancholy lately. Hubs and I are not very close at the moment, every word out of Daughter's mouth is "NO" or some whiny variation of same, and I am in danger of breaking off all of my teeth due to the grinding and clenching I do all night, every night. I'm a little bit stuck on my island of sadness...I know there's a raft out there somewhere, I just have to find it and climb on.


I went over to my future-sister-in-law's house on Friday to help her pack. M is finally heading to the opposite coast to be with C (hub's brother). They have been apart since the beginning of the year and she has been planning their wedding and living without him all that time. She's so excited to be joining him in the place where they will begin their married life (though the wedding is not actually until September).

Anyway, I was packing her copious work wardrobe into boxes when she let slip that she had already packed her sexy underthings, wigs, and - ahem - s*x swing. And that she had a heckuva time patching the hole in the beam where they'd hooked the thing up. She was sharing this in the context of discussing the hiding of certain things from her DAD, who will be helping her load up the car and also be driving across the country with her. She also said she thinks he knows about the, uh, swing, because he saw the hook in the ceiling before she patched it and wanted to know what it was for. (!!!!!)


I don't know about you people, but I am of the opinion that there are just certain things you don't need to know about your family members. I mean, I totally don't care what kind of...uh...recreational devices they choose to employ. But...wow. WOW. I don't want to know about it. I could not look her in the eye for the rest of the afternoon.


In other news, I was reading something recently that is still eating my brain. It was a comment on another blog by a homeschooling mother in which she stated she had not yet "boughten" her curriculum for the coming school year.


Am I incorrect in thinking that the past tense of "buy" is simply "bought?" I mean, you wouldn't say you were "taughten" something in school, right? You would say "taught." Because that is the English language, no?

BUT WAIT! I looked this up on the trusty internets, and it turns out you CAN say "boughten" but it's considered a dialect thing rather than Standard English. I was amazed by this. All my life, whenever I've heard someone say "boughten" I thought it was because something was wrong with them, but egads, it's dialect.

I will get off my snobby grammar high-horse now.


On the knitting front, none of my projects are working out well these days.

Two nights ago I ripped out the back of the River Forest Gansey. I cannot figure out where my error was, but I kept ending up on the wrong side with the cables. I even made my mom look it over and knit a row for me, and she couldn't figure it out either. I could find no errata on the internet, and other people have completed this sweater, so I'm guessing the directions are fine...it is my brain that is broken. Either way, it got to the point where I didn't even want to pick it up and work on it because I was un-knitting more than I was knitting. G'bye.

That's the second sweater I've ripped for Daughter in the past month. Crikey! I've got a Starmore pattern to try next...so far my girl Alice hasn't let me down. We'll see.

So right now the only things on the needles are my blue shawl and the socks I was knitting for Hubs. The shawl is waiting in the wings because it has over 600 live stitches at the moment, and I can't bear the thought of making an error and having to painstakingly un-knit all those stitches with fuzzy angora yarn in 80+ degree heat. Ew. And the socks? Well, the cast-on appears to be too tight. I can barely yank them over my own ankle, so Hubs has no chance. I don't know what to do. One sock is just to the toe shaping, and the other is at the heel flap. Rip and re-knit? Or finish them both, un-do the cast-on edge, and cast them off in the opposite direction as loosely as possible?

Help me, I am burned out on knitting. The day has come. I'm in a panic.


Here is a success, but it is crochet, not knitting.

Ring-bearer pillow. I snuck off to the back room of the house to photograph it once M had opened it at her shower. I am not a very girly-girl, and don't usually make such frothy, frilly things, but this pillow? I adore this pillow. I am tempted to make another one (sans wedding bells) just for myself. It's pretty big - 12" square - and would look lovely on a bed.

It is made from ivory crochet cotton, stiffened a bit so it will hold up at the wedding, and has two ribbons in the middle of the bow with which to tie the rings. The inside pillow is ivory satin, and the ribbons are double-sided satin in 2 widths. I made 4 bows (2 of each width), tied them together, and tacked the whole bow to the top of the pillow. The bells are crocheted as well, stiffened to the point where you could probably sit on them and they would not crush (scary, because I had mixed equal parts stiffener and water). A ribbon runs through each, and a pearl is tied at the bottom to look like a clapper.

This was a ton of work, and if I don't see it in use at the ceremony I will be pissed. I mean, I anticipate it being used - the bride was most pleased, as was her mother - I'm just saying I sure hope I see it clutched in some grubby little ring-bearer hands come September.


Oh, did I mention I got a dress for the wedding? I did, and I love it, but it is currently with the lovely seamstresses at a local alterations shop (I can construct garments but I don't do alterations). They are removing the entire back zipper, taking in the bust, and replacing the zipper. Because the dress is strapless and my boobs are shot after 2 pregnancies. Boo hoo!

This story is only interesting because I saw pictures of the wedding dress (gorgeous) and bridesmaid dresses...and my dress is just about exactly the same as the dresses the girls will be wearing. Dudes, what are the odds? I guess fashion is fashion. Theirs are in a different color, of course, and are a bit "flowier" (which is probably not a word but you know what I mean), but essentially the style is the same. Ha! Weird.


I think I am tired now. Off to bed. Thanks for bearing with my insomniac randomness.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Elizabeth's quilt

After almost a year, I finally got up the courage to finish this:

The pattern is my own (though I certainly can't take credit for a simple 9-patch/Irish Chain); the fabrics are various calicos and 200-count muslin. The backing is a white-on-white print. The colored squares are quilted in a variegated cotton thread from Valdani, and the white squares are quilted in white cotton thread (all by machine). It still needs a label, which I will get to this weekend sometime.

Daughter thinks this is for her, and I don't know, maybe it should be. I suppose there's no point in just hanging it on the wall, or worse, folding it away in a trunk or closet.

Excuse me, I need a kleenex.

Monday, July 16, 2007

in which i sound like a GIANT LOSER

Oh man, I haven't been posting because I was M-A-D at blogger for several days. I deleted my old blog roll and some other sidebar stuff and in the process somehow blew out my template. My font sizes were all over the place, things were misaligned...I don't even know. I had to go back and just reload my template, so I lost all my customization...and to add insult to injury, I had just replaced about half of my sidebar content. So. Irritating.

Anyway, thank you for the lovely anniversary wishes. It has been, and continues to be, an adventure!

But woe is me today. I am sad because the closest thing I have to a "best friend" is now gone. My close friend, my steady, normal, unflappable, supportive friend has up and moved south with her family. They couldn't take the cold, snowy winters anymore, and her husband was bored with his job, so bam. Gone. And I am happy for them because they are excited. But I am sad for me because I find it VERY difficult to make adult friends. I'm out of school, I don't work outside my home, and as I've previously mentioned, even our local community ed playgroup (which is on hiatus for the summer anyway) attracts mostly grandmas who babysit.

I feel so LAME even talking about this, but jeez! How's a gal supposed to make friends? I know many of you would suggest church, but our church is mostly college kids and older families...there are some younger parents but even so, I don't know how active I could be when our church is 45 minutes from home.

What I want to know is, where are the crafty mamas?!? You all live on the east coast (what is UP with Massachusetts? Y'all are a CRAFTY STATE!) or, apparently, west of the Mississippi.

I mean, I'm a pretty friendly person. A little too talkative, maybe, and I run late a lot. But I bake a mean cookie and my kid is sweet and friendly! We'd love to hang out with some people like us!


I'm lonely.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Oh, Hubs. These have not been an easy 4 years. We have been dealt many blows that would cause lesser marriages to implode...and I thank God you are who you are when I look back at what we have been through together.

I am irritable and weird and I'm crabby in the morning before I have coffee and a shower...and you love me anyway. I lose patience with you and with our daughter, sometimes getting snappish with you both...and you love me anyway. I leave the ironing until you literally have nothing to wear to work, but you don't get upset with me. I let the dishes pile up in the sink, I spend too much time knitting and sewing and not enough time cleaning, but you look the other way.

You cheer me on in my endeavors, you admire my work when you don't even know what it is I am doing. You cheerfully eat my dinners...even the experimental ones. It seems you ask me for so little, and I ask you for so much. It doesn't matter; you give cheerfully.

We have our moments, and in the last 12 months those moments have come more frequently. It can't have been easy to live with such a depressed wife, to come home to a messy house and no dinner, to dance around my sadness.

But we are still here. Our marriage is not only surviving, it is thriving. I love ya', Hubs. Here's to growing old together.

Come away with me in the night
Come away with me
And I will write you a song

Come away with me on a bus
Come away where they can't tempt us
With their lies

I want to walk with you
On a cloudy day
In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high
So won't you try to come

Come away with me and we'll kiss
On a mountaintop
Come away with me
And I'll never stop loving you

And I want to wake up with the rain
Falling on a tin roof
While I'm safe there in your arms
So all I ask is for you
To come away with me in the night
Come away with me

Monday, July 09, 2007

idiot! gosh!

Dangit! I finished the ring-bearer pillow for my bro-in-law's wedding yesterday, bought a sturdy storage/gift box for it today at AC Moore, swiped some acid-free tissue from my mom, got wrapping paper, a card, and a gift card to go with it from Target...and wrapped it all up without taking a photo.

I was so looking forward to showing it off here. I know, I know, it's bad to be prideful, but all I can say is, it's simply gorgeous - a tribute to the designer, really, as I made it exactly to the pattern. I will try to get a picture at the shower when my sis-in-law-to-be opens it up.

Frickety-frick! I wish I could be more conscientious and in less of a hurry all the time. Oh well.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

communing with my sewing machine

Well, my finger is healing...but, tragically, I can't seem to knit. I'm a right-hand 'thrower' and the yarn rides right over the damaged part of the nail. It hurts, even with a band-aid. Hubs will not be getting his socks on time for his birthday this week.

But, it works out, because I am now forced to get back to the unfinished sewing. First up, a project I started for Christmas. In 2004. Yikes! So many projects went off the deep end when morning sickness set in with Daughter. And so I end up making Advent calendars in July.

This was a panel (from Makower, I think), with strips that you cut to make the pockets. The directions call for you to press each square towards the next to create a box pleat...hard to explain, but easy to do. You then press up the sides and bottom edge to lock in the pleat, and top stitch each row to the panel. The directions then say to stitch in the 'valley' of each pleat to secure each day's pocket to the panel, but I quilted that part instead, killing two birds with one stone. Hey, I am sometimes lazy. I then quilted several rectangles around the pre-printed borders, and sewed on a double-fold binding. Now it needs some sort of hanger, and it's set to go for Christmas '07. Daughter has been checking it for presents several times each day...I'd better hide it away until the holidays.

Next in the queue...denim overalls I cut out weeks ago. These are the softest denim in the universe (from Joann's), and the buttons are shiny quarters. They look pretty Free-To-Be-You-And-Me, but are adorable on Daughter. You can't really see it, but I did the topstitching and buttonholes with variegated thread in bright primary colors. It's super cute.

And even though I can't knit, I can crochet - the thread comes from the left, so no stress on my wounded nail. Here's the ringbearer pillow drying on my blocking board. Hmmm...someone seems to have pulled out the pins and stuffing from one of the wee bells that will adorn the finished pillow...who could it have been? I will have to teach her not to leave a trail of little clues behind.

Today I starched the bejeebers out of the bells so they won't crush, and then lightly, lightly starched just the outside lace edging of the pillow with very diluted fabric stiffener and a paintbrush. I got some ivory satin yesterday and sewed up the inside pillow. I put it all together to check the stuffing level, and threaded ivory ribbon through the eyelet holes to see what it would look like.

It's so purdy. I can't wait to show the finished product. I hope the bride-to-be likes it as much as I do. I plan to give it to her at her shower next weekend, in a nice sturdy box lined with acid-free tissue for storage.

Well, the coming week holds lots of events...it is our busiest week of the year. Tomorrow is my dad's 60th birthday party (the actual day is Monday), then comes Hubs' birthday, then our anniversary. The week is capped off by a wedding shower. And then I will collapse. We are not used to so much activity around here. Not to worry, I'll be sneaking in some sewing throughout.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Limited posting to come this week...and limited crafting. Even typing this much is kinda owie due to:

(Sorry it is so blurry...I am right-handed and was trying to take a photo of my right index finger with my left hand.)

On Saturday, upon leaving church, I slammed - and I mean SA-LAMMED - my finger in the car door. After stowing Daughter safely in her seat, I pushed the door shut with my palm, all the while chattering at my husband about something or other, not noticing my finger was curled around the edge of the door. I don't know exactly how it even happened, but it was totally gruesome. There was an eternally long moment when I realized what I'd done and stood staring at my finger crushed in the door. Then I said, "OHGODMYFINGER!" and ripped the door open. Then I let loose with some profanity, which, in hindsight, I am ashamed of. Especially considering we were leaving CHURCH, and there were other churchgoers heading to their cars around us. Oh well, I didn't use the 'f' word...I think it was mostly a string of "sh*tsh*tsh*t!"

I have to believe many of you would exhibit a similar reaction. Holy crap, did it ever hurt. I cried till I hiccuped, which, thankfully, Daughter misunderstood as laughter. She kept asking, "what laughing at, Mommy? What so funny?"

Hubs drove to the nearest gas station and bought a bag of ice, which I plunged my hand into pronto. That quieted some of the agony. It was instantly black and blue, and had started to swell. Luckily we were only minutes from my parents' house, where I dumped the ice into a bowl for my finger and was treated to 3 ibuprofin and a glass of wine. Oho! Much better, thanks, Mom!

For the past 2 days I've been taking more ibuprofin and trying not to move the finger too much. Today it feels much better, though it still looks gross in real life. Usually you tell people you don't feel as bad as you look, right? Well, this was the opposite...it felt (and still feels) much worse than it looks. I am hoping not to lose the nail, and that it will grow out quickly. Ugh.

Daughter, bless her, has been "checking" my finger and kissing it for me. Even Hubs, the master of calm, was moved by my obvious pain when it happened.

Sounds overdramatic, huh? Sorry. It was just so incredibly painful. Ok, I am done complaining now.

Here is some nicer-looking stuff:

River Forest Gansey back. Not too much done because it was pretty hot last week...too hot for working with wool.

This is one side of the ringbearer's pillow I'm making for my bro-in-law's wedding. I am hoping to finish it for the shower in 2 weeks...we'll see what's up with my stupid finger. This doesn't look like much yet, but once the other side is done they will be joined and then an elaborate edging goes around the whole thing, with ribbons woven through it and whatnot. Stay tuned.

In other news, my friend Karen has started a new blog, The Diaper Chronicles, dedicated to cloth diapering in all its forms. Even though I am a cloth-diapering novice and just moved Daughter to cloth at 26 months, she has graciously invited me to contribute. I will share what I can, but Karen can tell you much more. If you're a cloth-diapering mama, just thinking about it, think cloth diapers are nuts, or whatever, go check it out. She has good info and good links to more info and products.