Monthly Archives: January 2010

We stayed in to avoid the "snow"

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Today was a homey day of small projects and staying in. Dorothy asked first thing this morning what we were doing, and when I told her we were staying home all day she said, “yippie! I will not change out of my pajamas ALL DAY!” And thus far she hasn’t. I’ve been at the sewing machine all day, wrapping up a series of small projects. (For the record, I did get dressed.) These little shirts are mostly hand-me-downs that I decided to embellish. I’m not really into the sports-themed clothes for baby boys, so over generic sports slogans and pictures of balls I stitched fun vintage advertisements and clipart. (The Volkswagen ones are scans of ads I bought on eBay several years ago, when we were decorating Rob’s home office in Chicago. The others are Dover clipart.) I used printable fabric and fusible webbing.

Next project was a new cover for my nursing pillow. Dorothy was never very spitty, so I wasn’t going to make (or buy) a change for this one, but since I still have time left and fabric on hand, I went ahead and made an extra case. If the new guy is spitty, I’m sure I’ll be glad I have one for the wash and one on the pillow. I also like that this fabric looks pretty good in my living room, which is where the pillow mostly hung out before, so it doesn’t scream “BABY THING HERE” when one walks into the room and sees it on the sofa. (I know, it’s an uphill battle, but I like to pretend I can keep a house that at least still looks like grown-ups live here too, maybe?)

Today’s other project was Rob’s new baby sling. It’s the plaid, and I hung it up on the closet door next to the bag my new mei tai is in. I think the fabric looks very fatherly. I made Rob a camo sling last time, affectionately known as the “baby holster” and it got great use, but I was never very happy about the coarse fabric on that one. This one is much softer and should be easier to wear. I hope he likes it! One of my favorite photos from Dorothy’s infancy is a picture of Rob in hiking gear walking down a woodsy trail with his “baby holster” on, and Dorothy’s tiny little toes just peeking out as she naps on Dad’s chest through Bernheim Forest. More fun baby-wearing times ahead, I hope!

Finally, this is what Dorothy worked on for most of the day. Amazon.com recently sent me an enormous and wonderful cardboard box, and Dorothy transformed it from car to animal cave to cozy bed and more over the course of the afternoon. Here she is with markers making the initial transformation (box to car) before she drove off.

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A fun new tote bag

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In addition to our tie-dyed shirts of yesterday, I also dyed a length of leftover white cotton fabric. Today I made a simple tote bag out of some of it, with a tiny little drawstring bag to contain it, so I can tuck it in my diaper bag in case I need to carry home extra wet clothes. I find it’s also nice just to have extra bags around in case I forget to bring in my reusable grocery sacks, or we accumulate too many toys in the car to carry back in the house in an easy armload. Maybe I could even put it over my head on a really bad hair day? (Just kidding.)

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the fabric that’s left. It’s just enough to do something cute for Dorothy or a small project, but I think I’ll hang on to it until I’m inspired.

So you’ve heard of pregnancy brain? This is the kind of idiot I was today. I went to my local Joann store to pick up a couple things, including a little girl skirt pattern I wanted for Dorothy. I’d looked through patterns on the internet and found a specific McCalls pattern I wanted, and had written down an alternate (also McCalls) in case it wasn’t in stock. McCalls patterns were on sale today for $1.99, so I’d timed this errand carefully. I get to the store, pick up the other item I need, then head to the *Butterick* pattern section, and (surprise!) couldn’t find the number I needed. Or the alternate. Rats! So I head to the pattern table, select the *Butterick* book, choose a pattern I don’t like nearly as well as the others (which they don’t even seem to have in their book? How odd!) and head for the checkout. Then I got charged waaayyy more than $1.99 for the pattern (duh), realize it, go back inside to complain, figure out my mistake while I’m showing the salesclerk the ad (oops!), decide it’s not worth switching now because I’m tired and hungry, get halfway down the road, then realize I never even looked at the size on the ill-fated, accidently-purchased pattern. I pull it out at the next traffic light…it starts at size 7, which is approximately four sizes too big for my skirt-wearing girl. Arrrgghhh!!!!

New projects and a birthday still life

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So my husband turned 40 and the cake and our little celebration were a success. I took this picture of the card we gave him, on which my daughter meticulously copied his name. The whole scene just seemed a little like a sign of the times around here. Decadent chocolate cake and wobbly new handwriting, hooray!


One of today’s projects was a little flip book for me to take to the hospital when I deliver the new guy. I was trying to think of things to help me through labor, and I decided that some pictures to help keep my eyes on the prize and remind me of how the whole thing ends might be helpful. I had some of my favorite pictures of the first hours of my daughter’s life printed out, then sewed some typing paper together with a little paper cover and stuck the pictures inside. Nothing fancy and nothing that can’t get accidently thrown away at the hospital after the birth, but hopefully it will help provide a reminder of what I have to look forward to when I need it.
Finally, this project was actually yesterday’s, but had to soak in plastic bags until today. I was probably a little nutty to think “oh, a day of being snowed in at 35 weeks pregnant with my 3-year-old. Let’s use permanent dye in our kitchen!” But it turned out well, and she had a blast. I had purchased a Jacquard brand tie-dye kit a couple months ago, wanting to make some things for the new baby that weren’t the hopelessly bland boy clothes available in the stores, but hadn’t gotten around to using it yet. We dyed a whole pile of clothes (some favorites pictured, I couldn’t get them all in) and my more methodical efforts at pattern and color were equally matched by Dorothy’s haphazard wads of rubber bands and dye in final beauty. They all turned out great! I’ve already washed them twice, so as not to accidently contaminate our other laundry later, and the colors seem to be very fast. I was really pleased with the kit, which was easy to use and not expensive. In addition to shirts for the baby, of course we did a shirt for Dorothy and a tank top for me, and even some little baby pants and one gown that had ugly-color issues. I think I might embellish a few of them a little more with some iron-ons or some stamps (I already did the fleur de lis above), but even if I never get around to it the project was worthwhile. And Dorothy told her dad, “it was FUN!”

Joint Ventures

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Today was the day of joint ventures with my daughter. In theory, I think one of the best things about being able to stay home with her is that we get to do crafty and homey things together, all of which boost her self-confidence, occupy her time productively, and teach her basic skills. In reality, I’ve been known to sneak downstairs and bake cookies while she’s taking a nap, just to avoid her “help.” Because some days it’s a wee bit more than I can take! But I took a deep breath today and we worked together (wearing matching aprons, no less) to make her Dad’s birthday cake. I guided her patiently through cleaning up the egg she dropped on the floor, I let her wipe all the batter off her own face post-bake, and I know she’s going to feel great tonight when we cut it open and enjoy the fruits of “her” hard work. We baked this Tunnel of Fudge cake, and it smells marvelous!

Our other project today (pictured above) is a dress for my niece, who will be turning three in a couple weeks. Dorothy drew a picture of herself with her cousin, I scanned it and printed it on iron-on transfer paper with a pretty border, and ironed it on a dress I made out of an old, soft sheet (dress is adapted from Simplicity 5695). The trim fabric was in my grandmother’s stash before she died, which makes it feel like yet another set of loving hands contributed to this birthday project. My favorite part about this project is the relative size of the two girls in Dorothy’s portrait–notice that although the two are actually 10 months apart in age and virtually the same in physical size, the Dorothy in the drawing is much bigger than her cousin. That was no accident on the part of the illustrator, I assure you. In any case, hopefully my niece will like it, and there is no doubt that my kid will love gifting it.

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Today’s project was a quick quilt for the little guy’s crib. It’s just 3 inch strips, and I’ve used the machine to “quilt” it to the back. It feels like a nice outcome for the (short) amount of time it took. The back is a soft blue flannel and I put an extra layer of flannel inside instead of batting. I’m not sure of the finished size–30 x 30, maybe? But it’s a decent size for a baby blanket, and I’m happy I got it done. Nana is making a beautiful quilt for him that she and Mamaw are hand-stitching, so this one wasn’t really necessary, but I’d planned to do it if I had time since I had plenty of extra fabric left from his other crib projects (sheets, ruffle).

Baby Mobile

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I’m getting ready for Baby Boy, set to make an appearance in just over five weeks. Last night I finished his mobile of needle-felted animals. I’d purchased a cheap mobile at the local Generic-Baby-Mart or whatever that place is, then cut off the animals and recovered it in fabric to match my little guy’s handmade bedding. Most of the animals I already had done, but I finished the skunk last night. I also let my 3.5-year-old daughter fool around with some of the roving and a needle, figuring she couldn’t actually land in the ER by poking herself with a needle-felting needle, right? Well, she did almost poke her eye (eek!) but had such a great time otherwise that she’s begged all day today for me to get the supplies back out. We’ll see…