Saturday, May 31, 2008

in which i am a jerk

This is one of those of those days where by the end of it you just feel so used up you can't figure out how you're even going to brush your own teeth before bed. The weather was extremely unsettled all night and so was I, waking over and over, and having bizarre dreams when I did sleep. High humidity led to aching sinuses this morning, and lack of sleep led to a bad attitude all day.

Daughter has reached a phase where every single thing begets an argument. The only thing she does willingly these days is clean her plate at dinner, because she wants a "sandwich cookie" - that being a generic Target chocolate/vanilla faker Oreo, which is not as good as a real Oreo, but will suffice when all you need is the hit of sugar. And you are kind of broke. Which I am.

Seriously, I am so tired of arguing with my kid. By bathtime tonight I was pretty much straight-up yelling at her, which as we all know gets you nowhere...but I didn't know how to stop. Hubs had left us alone to go get fitted for a tuxedo (he is in a wedding next weekend), the kitchen was still filled with dirty dinner dishes, there were toys everywhere, and I had no reserves left. Now Daughter is in bed and I feel like a total a-hole. I want to apologize to her but how do you explain yourself to a 3 year-old? How do I explain that I am trying to grow a human being here, and it is way more tiring than women are given credit for?

I have so many things to do, and I just want to sit down for awhile and be left the hell alone. But then Daughter asks for a glass of milk, and Hubs acts like he suddenly can't hear, so who else is going to get up and do it? Poor kid can't wait on herself.

My sister emailed to ask how our dresses are coming along for her know, just curious! So I've been filled with guilt because I hadn't even taken the fabric out of the bags yet, much less started sewing. The wedding isn't until August, what's the rush? But she is coming home for her shower next weekend, and now I feel obligated to at least finish the flower girl dress so she can see it. I've been a bride, I know that unsettled feeling when things aren't done and ready. She wants to know there will be a flower girl dress, so I need to produce one. I spent naptime today cutting it out and pondering how to mark for tucks on taffeta.

The fridge is empty. Like, Mother Hubbard empty. Hubs is complaining, but tomorrow is grocery day, not today, so leave me alone, dude. There was plenty to make a good dinner, but nothing to snack on! God forbid!

I have heartburn tonight and I don't know if it's from what I ate, or how awful I feel about my rotten behavior toward my poor kid.

So much to do, and I am only one person. And I feel like a jerk for not being able to keep up.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

all this useless beauty

I have been obsessed with one thing all week:

The Feather & Fan shawl from A Gathering of Lace. I started it somewhere around a year ago, but put it aside in summer because hot, humid weather + fuzzy alpaca yarn = disaster. Then I couldn't work on it all winter because dry, rough hands + fuzzy alpaca yarn = disaster also. But now that we are experiencing a super-extended spring (temps still in the high 50s/low 60s) I have been able to pick it up again.

I also wanted to work something complicated and interesting before the baby arrives and my brain dribbles out of my head. You moms know that of which I speak.

When I restarted this I was just at the end of my first ball of Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud (440 yards), and had completed 100 rows of the pattern. There were 600 stitches per round at that point. I thought it took forever to get around, and heaven help me if I made a mistake, because finding it and fixing it was a hellish, 2-day operation that made me want to poke my eyes out.

So I daringly picked it back up, joined the second ball of yarn, and have now completed 136 of 189 rows. That may sound good, but I am now at a point where there are well over 800 stitches per round, and each round takes approximately 45 minutes to knit. Seriously. The pattern is 3 plain knit rounds, then one pattern round. In one evening of knitting (from approximately 9:00 until 11 or 11:30) I can knit about 4 rounds. But not always. Even though it is the very definition of tedious, I am enjoying it immensely.

Hubs snickers at me because I am knitting a shawl - he thinks it a very "old lady" thing to do (no, he does not read knitting blogs and does not know hundreds of young ladies are knitting up a lace storm). He keeps asking me why I'm doing it. I don't have a really good answer for that. I guess it's because I get tired of knitting toddler sweaters - Daughter barely wears them anymore now that she is so active because she gets too hot - and I'm not really ready to make baby boy sweaters yet. The repetitive nature and need for constant counting keeps me nice and calm and occupied, so I can't devote energy and thoughts to pregnancy anxiety. And also, it's nice sometimes to make something that's beautiful...just for beauty's sake. Why not?

For the record, last year I remember thinking (and may have even stated here) that I didn't know how this shawl was going to take 5 whole balls of yarn at 440 yards each. I was halfway through the chart and had only used one ball! But now, having knit 36 more rounds, I get it. The second ball is almost gone already and I am hoping I make it with the yarn I have. 800+ stitches per round really eats up yarn quickly.

So today, instead of madly knitting, I forced myself to use naptime productively; I vacuumed (finally, eew), and did the dishes, and even got some laundry out on the line to dry. Plus I worked on the hem of my brown linen dress (which I will finish tomorrow). I probably have enough left of naptime to work one more round of the shawl......if you need me, I'll be hunched over my lace, brow furrowed, counting, counting. But don't let the scowl fool you...I will be happy! :)

Monday, May 26, 2008


Know what really frosts my cookies? When people feel they can say any old thing to me about my pregnancy.

Listen, I am lucky, I guess, in that I am one of those women who does not get huge all over when I am pregnant. I gained 27 lbs total with Daughter, and I've gained about 14 lbs so far this time. Daughter was only 5 lbs, 9 oz at birth and this baby will likely be a similar size. This is not due to anything I do or don't's just what happens with my body. Believe me, I eat. I eat A LOT. Tonight at the Memorial Day picnic we attended I ate a big burger (with bacon and cheese, awesome), potato salad, mac & cheese, the other half of Daughter's hotdog, and one and a half desserts. I'm not even kidding. And I will likely have a snack before bedtime. I put the food in...what my body does with it after that is out of my control.

Still, I get comments about how thin I am, how I "had better put on some weight," how I barely have a belly. Which is wrong, I do have a belly and if I walked around naked it would be quite obvious. These are the same type of comments I got all the time during my first pregnancy as well and it's really annoying!

I know people are not saying these things with malice. My brain understands that. But what people perhaps don't understand is that I am hanging on by my fingernails, here, and while I have thus far enjoyed a very normal, uneventful pregnancy, my anxiety is actually at a fever pitch...just below the surface I am so sure the other shoe is about to drop. And when I have to fight my fear every single day - when I stop in my tracks several times a day to relax and wait for my baby to move, for the love of God, MOVE - it does me no good to hear people telling me I may somehow be doing something wrong. Especially when I am being so scrupulously careful about everything surrounding this pregnancy.

I also know some of you might like to throw something at my head for this, because maybe you experienced the opposite - the dreadful "are you sure it's not twins?" type of comments. But believe me, it is just as hurtful to hear the opposite and to sense the implied question of whether you're eating enough to support your baby.

Ok, that's my rant. I feel better now.

Friday, May 23, 2008


First up, a plug:

I have two new dresses for sale over at Bon*Bons - do check them out if you are so inclined. One is a poly blend floaty ruffled sundress, size 3:

The other is a sweet cotton navy polka-dot sundress with a gathered empire waist and buttons down the back, size 2:

The death of my serger is the customer's gain here, people - both dresses are finished entirely with french seams (meaning the raw edges of the seams are fully enclosed, for the non-sewers reading this). I think the pricing is fair considering the extra effort involved in this type of construction. Please do let me know if you think otherwise! I'm always open to feedback on pricing.

And on to personal sewing...

I made this funky little frock for Daughter before Christmas, but stopped with one sleeve and the ruffle unsewn. Christmas was coming, I had gifts to work on, and the dress got shoved aside. I originally bought the pattern because Karen made a version of this for her daughter and I adored it. She actually finished hers properly, though, with the pinafore over top. I haven't gotten that far and don't know if I will or not. The pattern is Simplicity and it's from the 70s - I'm not sure of the number off the top of my head and I'm a bit too lazy to run upstairs for it right now. If anyone is desperate to know it, leave a comment.

The problem is the sleeves - they are SO PUFFY! I like the cute style of the dress, but wow, the sleeves are enormous. They just look so funny on my petite, thin child.

I am loving the huge ruffle, though (and believe me it is straight in real life, I don't know why it looks crooked in the photo). And the gathered sleeve cuff is sweet, though I might try making it with clear elastic stitched directly to the fabric if I do it again, rather than making a casing with bias tape. Might be less bulky around the wrists. And despite my total lack of ability or experience in alteration, I might try to redraft the sleeve so the cap is much smaller. My poor little girl does not need that much fabric poofing out from her shoulders.

I love the fabric, though. It's just an inexpensive calico from Joann's, and I think it has pomegranates on it. That may be totally wrong, but that's what I keep thinking when I look at it. Daughter pulled this on over black leggings and black buckle shoes the other day and she looked all Little House on the Prairie* - I find I really like that look of the black stockings/leggings with the calico dresses...yes, I am totally weird. I'm going to go churn some butter now and light the oil lamp, because apparently I think it is 1880.

Well, the weather has finally come around and the sun is blazing. It's still chilly (barely 60 F) but supposed to climb into the 70s over the weekend. Should be a wonderful holiday here, at least. I have lots of sewing and knitting underway and hope to have some good posts next week. If I can drag my kid away from the playground long enough to get anything made, that is. Happy Memorial Day!

*I know I have shared how I buy my calicoes as far as quantity is concerned, but have I ever shared how I actually choose the prints? I look at them through the lens of: would Ma Ingalls have used this to make a dress for Mary, Laura, or Carrie? That's how I qualify "calico" in my mind. Wait - are you backing away from your computer? Come back! I'm only a little bit obsessed with LHOTP! I only re-read the entire series of books once a year! Come baaaaaaaaaack!

Monday, May 19, 2008

productive weekend

Well, I managed to fit in quite a bit of sewing along with lots of movie watching and laying around. Daughter took some good naps which afforded me lots of stitching time.

I almost finished a maternity dress. We have a weekend coming up that includes a Friday-night 50th birthday party at a dressy restaurant, a Saturday-afternoon wedding, and a Sunday-midday wedding shower. All events require some sort of dress. I ordered one cute maternity dress on sale from Old Navy a month ago, when I only knew about the wedding shower. Since then the birthday party AND the wedding have cropped up and I find myself in need of additional dresses.

I loathe purchasing maternity clothing, mostly because I don't want to spend money on things that will be worn for so little time. Especially dressy clothes - good for one occasion and that's it. And we all know how much maternity clothes cost. Sheesh. I guess I could go scoping for sales, but with the price of gas what it is, I figured I might as well make one trip to Joann's and sew something. I already had Burda 8096 (I used view B), and embroidered linen fabrics were on sale last week, so on Friday I picked up 2 yards of a pretty chocolate brown and - wonder of wonders - several yards of brown batiste to line it. I must say, Joann's redeemed themselves in my eyes by having brown batiste. What a stroke of luck! I was able to get a pretty good match for the zipper, too, though for some reason there were no 24" zippers in dark brown. Only 22." So the first of my many changes was to mark the pattern 2" higher for the end of the zipper. Not a problem, actually. It worked fine. I already had chocolate brown thread, so the entire cost of this dress was about $20. Not bad for maternity.

Now, I must point out it is not entirely finished. It needs some hand-stitching to close the shoulder seam area because of the way I added the lining, and it is unhemmed because I need my mom to pin it up while I wear it. Also, I will be adding the belt thread loops and a pretty ribbon to create a sort-of empire waist effect (it ties up under the bust). I am thinking a pink or aqua ribbon would be pretty against the brown. So right now it looks like a brown sack. It looks much cuter when worn, and once I get all the finishing touches added, I will try to get a modeled shot.

The front:


Front lining:

Back lining (needs to be slip-stitched to the zipper tape):

It doesn't look like much yet - and I was also trying to get pictures taken while a certain 3 year old danced around with her camera, because she wanted to take pictures too. So the quality is not so good, but you get the idea. I look forward to showing this when finished.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand, as a reward for getting so much done on the dress, I made a few more blocks. I'm up to 25:

I've got a fever! And the only cure is...more pinwheels!

Friday, May 16, 2008


I've got nothing, so go read this awesome post about a prom dress. I had tears in my eyes by the end. It's so sweet. A kilt! A kilt! How awesome would it be to even know a dude who would have the b@lls to wear a kilt to PROM?!?

It's supposed to rain and be cold all weekend, so hopefully I'll have 1 finished maternity dress and many more quilt blocks to share on Monday. Don't hold me to it, though. I may just laze around and watch movies with my fambly.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

i hope they have decaf

Mmmmmm...tasty AND frugal...tomorrow Dunkin' Donuts is giving away FREE ICED COFFEE! You can bet I'll be there.

Details here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Depression quilt

Whoa, I so do NOT know where the time goes. I swear I never mean to go a whole week between posts. I am kind of lazy about taking photos of my projects these days, and I am kind of selfish about naptime, too, since it's the only free time I have during the day or evening when I don't feel like falling asleep. So I guess that's why the posts don't flow as frequently as they could.

Speaking of time flying, I had my 24 week checkup today. 24 weeks!? Already? Anyway, all appears to be well, and I got my prescriptions for the always delicious glucose tolerance test in a few weeks, and for a super-duper high-tech sonogram at the hospital at the end of June. It will be an "anomaly screening" and who wouldn't want one of those? Le sigh. Just another thing to be anxious about, I guess. Breeeeeeeaaaathe. Must.....breathe.....

So. Mother's Day. I trust you all had a nice one? Me, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and felt uber-crabby all day long. I cut my coupons, went grocery shopping, did the dishes - all the usual crap. Then I declared naptime to be mine, all mine, and while Hubs snored away on the sofa I disappeared to my sewing area.

This block goes by many names, among them pinwheel, broken dishes, and hourglass. I just call it awesomely fun to make. You may notice that none of the blocks seem to have anything to do with the others. That is intentional.

I am patterning them after this:

This is the "Big Dipper" quilt from this book:

I love this book and have taken it out of the library a bobillion times. Now I'm finally inspired to make something from it. Why this quilt and this book in particular? Well, let me tell you how I've gone about buying quilt fabrics over the past 10 years or so. It has primarily been in wee little cuts of 1/8, 1/4, and occasionally a splurge of 1/2 yard. Yes, I was one of those buttheads who took 15 bolts up to the Joann's cutting counter and asked for 1/8 yard of each. Jerk! Once I started working at a quilt shop, I learned that is a) acceptable but kind of rude and b) dumb if you ever want to make an actual quilt. The problem is that most fabrics go out of print very quickly and if you want to make a large, cohesive quilt you should buy at least 2 yards of any fabric. More if you really love it. It just won't be there when you go back for more. Trust me on this, I have seen it happen and experienced it personally many, many times. This is not necessarily so true with cheaper fabrics at a chain store like Joann's, because they tend to order in huge lots, unlike a quilt shop which probably orders 1 or maybe 2 bolts. I have definitely seen fabrics on the Joann's shelf for YEARS. But the general rule is: buy it now, or you'll be out of luck later.

Anyway, this book uses 5" squares for the primary design of each quilt. Sweet! It's an entire book of very scrappy quilts, and that is what my stash is well suited for these days. So I've been having a ball pulling out 2 coordinating fabrics and slapping them together to make these fun, easy blocks. Want to know a secret? There's nary a triangle to be cut or sewn in this block. Super simple.

I am in full-on quilt mode right now. It's all I want to do. In fact, I'm right now calculating how much sewing time I can squeeze out of the remainder of Daughter's nap after I finish this, just so I can make more blocks. I don't know what this quilt will be when it's done - it could be a wallhanging, or a lap quilt, or a king-size behemoth. Depends on how long this fever grips me! Once I get lots of blocks done, I have to head to Joann's and find one fabric to neutralize the craziness for sashing and borders. That'll be a trick, for sure.

OH! And as to the post title - I am calling this my Depression quilt. Not because I am depressed - note the capital D - but because I keep thinking that if I were living in the Depression era I'd have to just work with the wee scraps I have and not buy more. And, uh, with the way the economy is going that may just be prophetic ($67 to fill my gas tank last week - ow).

I'm not too hot to stitch garments right now, but I did finish up a couple new things for my etsy shop, and Karen's been sewing up a storm, so do go check it out. There are some really nice things in there now, with more to come.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

back from the dead and some other stuff

So the cold didn't actually kill me, thankfully, though it was touch 'n go there for awhile.

Thursday night I experienced a real live panic attack for the first time in my life. I've had periods of intense anxiety and what I would call very mild panic before (most notably since losing a child) but never anything like what I went through last week. I woke up after being asleep for one hour, convinced I was suffocating. My whole head felt congested to the point where I thought I wasn't getting enough air, despite the huge gulping gasping breaths I was taking through my mouth. I jumped out of bed (literally), scaring Hubs, who followed me out into the family room. I paced around, arms flailing, repeating "I can't breathe, I can't breathe!" over and over again, all while Hubs assured me that I was, in fact, breathing. I begged him for some nose spray (forbidden during pregnancy) which we didn't have in the house anyway. I started to cry, making the congestion worse. My body felt like a trap, a cage. I wanted to tear off my skin. I wanted to open a door and run outside. My body was drenched in sweat and I couldn't stand to be touched - Hubs tried to rub my back to calm me but that made me feel worse. Finally I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach, so I ran to the bathroom, tearing off my pajamas. I demanded a t-shirt and God bless him, Hubs ran and got me one. I swayed over the toilet, feeling woozy and having those funny burps you get before you throw up, but I didn't throw up. Hubs wisely said I should kneel down so I didn't hurt myself, so I did. And then I collapsed sideways onto the blessedly cold bathroom floor, where I stayed for the next 20 minutes or so, shaking violently. My sinuses slowly cleared, my body finally began to cool off, and my head started to pull itself back together. Hubs just sat in the bathroom doorway, calmly talking to me and assuring me that I was not dying.

When I finally stopped shaking, Hubs helped me back out to the sofa and we watched Conan O'Brien. It was over, and I felt completely drained and exhausted. The panic was gone. It was the strangest, most horrid involuntary experience I've ever had. The only thing I can compare it to was my second labor when my epidural was turned up too high and I couldn't breathe or control my nausea, so I thought I was choking and suffocating even though my oxygen levels were normal. Just total loss of bodily control. Horrible.

Friday Hubs had to go to work, and I spent the day collapsed on the sofa playing Candyland with Daughter and running to the bathroom to throw up. But my body was finally ridding itself of all the mucous and germs, so I felt I was turning the corner.

It's been steadily uphill ever since, though I am still struggling with a raggedy, wet cough and runny nose.

Saturday, Sunday, and part of Monday Daughter ran a low fever. Gaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! Seems to be gone now but I'm watching her closely.

Oh, and Hubs left for a business trip Sunday and won't be back until late tomorrow night. So Daughter and I have been crashing at my parents' house. Oh yes, we have. Total moochers, that's us. Conveniently, my sister shipped her wedding invitations home so for two days Mom and I have been addressing envelopes because the family consensus was that we have the nicest handwriting.


I've reached the point in this pregnancy - second half of the second trimester - where I wake up every day feeling bigger. Perhaps those of you who have children can relate to this weird phenomenon. I swear the pants that were loose a week ago are now cutting into my belly when I sit down. This is also the point where the baby has grown large enough to make very obvious, visible movements. I am large enough that casual observers can tell I am pregnant. This little boy child is now so very real to me, and I have to wonder if that wasn't part of my panic last week. He's in there, rolling and kicking and punching and LIVING. The knowledge that that could all change in an instant is rather overwhelming and difficult to live with. I have had to talk myself out of a few freakouts because it would be so, so easy right now to just be paralyzed all the time by fear.

No, no, nothing is "wrong" at all. But not knowing exactly what happened last time leaves us hanging, not able to watch for any specific thing to be wrong this time. It's maddening. This is why, though we definitely want one more child, the decision to go forward was so very difficult. Some people suggested the answer was to get pregnant again right away, but I couldn't do it. Hubs couldn't do it. We had to mentally prepare ourselves in such a different way for this pregnancy - in a way we had to make a commitment with a certain detachment, if that makes sense. Like we had to keep this baby at arms length for as long as possible to keep the fear and pain at bay. I don't know, I can't explain it.

Anyway, besides this rotten cold, I have felt fantastic. Very similar, in fact, to Daughter's pregnancy. I don't feel heavy or tired or "draggy" like I felt last time - I have energy and I'm mostly quite comfortable. And even that leaves me wondering if I've been lulled into a false sense of security. Basically, I am hoping for the best but half-expecting the worst, and I know that sounds terrible but it's all I've got. That is why we haven't even told Daughter yet. We have only just talked in very vague and general terms about babies, pointing them out when we're in public places, asking her how she feels about babies, whether she'd like it if a baby came to our house to be a part of our family. What we don't want is to have to explain a tragedy to her. It leaves me in a weird place. Perhaps some of you know this place. I hope not, but reality tells me some do.

I just want this baby to be born alive - a prayer I never thought I'd pray. So I am in constant communion with my child, "listening" for him, carefully, obsessively tracking his movement. Luckily he is busy and active, even at 23 weeks, so I am reassured many times each day. Still, I keep uttering that same prayer. Just let him be born alive, Lord. It's all I ask.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


I seem to keep getting sicker and sicker. This morning I broke down and begged Hubs to work from home (he did) because I knew I couldn't care for Daughter and myself. I have reached the 'bargaining with God' phase of illness, as I plead for a few hours of sleep. It ain't working.

On the bright side, all Daughter's bloodwork came back perfectly normal, so at least she's healthy. However, she did sneeze 2 times in a row this afternoon and I had a panic attack. I'm so scared she's going to catch what I have, and that will suck.