Monthly Archives: April 2010

Drinking vessels


Dorothy and I had so much fun with the porcelain pens we decided to try our hand at glass paints. Rob and I have been breaking our way through all the drinking glasses we got for our wedding seven years ago, and I thought maybe it was time to stop replacing them with the same old models from Bed, Bath and Beyond and introduce a little handmade charm to our glassware situation. So I bought some basic, sturdy glasses from the Dollar Tree, then let Dorothy have at it with the glass paints. I applied electrical tape to the area around the rim, because you’re not supposed to use the paints on the areas with food contact. I think these turned out quite lovely (she decided to go abstract rather than paint figures like she usually does) and I’ll probably buy another four to round out our collection. I got in on the fun a bit too, painting the recyled glass lemonade jugs we use to store cold water in the fridge (not pictured). The paint is supposed to dry for ten days, so we’re looking forward to a lovely day in May when we can sip iced tea from our new creations.

Speaking of glasses and other drinking vessels, this is what I encountered at my computer desk last night when I was straightening up at the end of the day. It made me laugh becuase it was a history of my day in drinks–the morning coffee, which got booted off the coaster to make room for the jar of water (with lovely glass straw from this website), which then got booted to make way for the evening’s beer. A good day indeed, although the photo does leave out the afternoon caffeine fix from the Java Company.

A rainy day


We spent most of today hanging out at home, and with the rain outside, no scheduled house-showings, and the next computer part still on order, things were aligned to finally give us some pleasant down time. Dorothy spent a long time very happily occupied at the art desk she got for her birthday. She churned out fabulous Dorothy creations, all the while cradling her new ballerina doll in her ring sling. (You can see Dolly’s head in the crook of Dorothy’s arm, above.) I guess that’s just the way we roll around here these days. 🙂

Meanwhile, two feet away, I sewed new pillowcases with a real baby strapped to the front of me. A good day!

A Mama’s Work


There is nothing quite like the reassurance of a new baby learning to smile. It says “I see you!” “I like you!” and “I’m truly human!” all in one little muscle movement. I tried for a couple weeks to get one with the camera before I figured out that I had to walk away for a few minutes, then come back to him, camera in hand. He smiles because he’s glad to see me back (I fancy). Awwww…
When I’ve not been coaxing smiles out of the wee-est member of our family, I’d been busy with my other roles. First, nothing has ever made me feel more like a real mom than this project above. Dorothy refused to put on the ballet recital costume that she will be wearing this coming Saturday because it was itchy. I bribed her to wear it long enough for me to take a cute picture of her, but she wasn’t willing to wear it for dress rehearsal or the real deal. So I cut up an old t-shirt and made a full lining for the costume out of the soft knit. Now she’s totally happy and the other moms at ballet class are pretending to hate me. And I feel I should be getting the Fixed Recital Costume merit badge.

Another of my “jobs” is less mommyish, and that is the role of household tech support. The hard drive of our 6-year-old desktop crashed last week and I did the totally middle-America thing of driving out to Costco and loading a new one up in my SUV. (If I laugh about it I can still feel edgy, right?) Unfortunately, my hasty purchase did not actually return us to tech status-quo, as the new computer does not recognize the old printer, the old scanner, or the video camera, and it does not have the Lightscribe feature I’m fond of for etching the labels into the front of DVDs. So I’ve been trying to deal with these issues one at a time, and it’s really been cutting into my crafty time, and I think my soul. Oh technology, I can’t live with you and I can’t live without you…

The weather!


No crafties for show and tell, just two cute kids. We’re loving having the windows open and being able to live indoors and out, in spite of the thick layer of pollen over all the furniture that I’m going to have to wipe up before we show the house (again) tomorrow. Here’s Dorothy picking violets for me in the back yard (for love, she says….awwww), completely unaware of how charmingly Austen she looks out there in her dress and hat.

And here’s Baby, not quite showing us his budding smile. He’s still pretty stingy with smiles, but his sister has better luck coaxing them out than anyone else. I haven’t managed to get a full one on film yet. (On digital? What is the word for that now?) He’s still got the baby acne pretty bad, but I tell him he’ll feel worse about it when he’s fifteen.

Like dating but worse

Our house has been on the market for something like three months now. I realize that in a world in which many people exist quite happily with very few (or zero) square feet to call their own, it is sort of obnoxious to complain about the inconvenience of being able to afford a slightly larger house. Yet somehow, we really need to move and it’s a total drag. You have to move Little Guy’s crib every time you open my bedroom closet. But showing the house with a newborn around is sort of killing me. Every time we get a showing we have to abandon all other pursuits (especially the messy creative ones) and make our little two-bedroom look like it is not inhabited by two cluttery adults, two messy children, and two hairy beasts (meow). Each time we show the house I have to remind myself that all this cleaning will be worth it if the person coming to see it actually makes an offer, and we get to move into the house we’re eyeing just down the road. But so far no one has. Yesterday we showed the house twice, and our realtor reports that one prospective buyer said the house was very pretty but just too small (my sentiments exactly) and the other is coming back to give it a second look tomorrow. It feels like a second date, but all I can do is shave my legs, get dressed up, and sit silently while the other party critiques. If I want to say something witty it doesn’t matter–all I can do is sit there and look pretty while the other party forms judgement. (Did this happen to the Little Mermaid? I’m getting confused.)

Anyway, in honor of tomorrow’s second showing I decided to clean out the toy box. Not that the buyers will look in the toy box, and not that the toy box comes with the house, but at least it’s something I can do. Dorothy received several beloved toys for her birthday that contain many small parts and accessories that want to stay together and not get jumbled all together (with cat hair, loose change, and that missing sippy cup lid, it turns out) in the bottom of the toy box. So today I made some drawstring bags with plastic pouches on the front. The toy and accessories will go in the bag, and an index card (or something I printed out, if I have the time and inclination) will slide into the pouch to identify the contents. Now the Polly Pockets and their myriad microscopic high-heeled shoes should never, in theory, be parted again. And once we’ve outgrown these toys we can reuse the bags for the next great thing.

And as an update, I finished Dorothy’s bucket hat (Simplicity 2684) and it’s adorable. I sewed on a ribbon and attached a toggle at her request. I reinforced the brim by adding a layer of canvas between the cotton prints and I think this is my favorite method of hat construction yet. It’s not rigid or floppy, and unlike fusible backing it won’t make the fabric pucker. And it’s pretty cheap!

A hat quest


So Baby needs a sunhat, but even though he has a very big head for a 5-week-old, his head is still quite small in the world of hats, so I can’t find one. I tried five different hats on him at Target and all were way too big. I really really love the hats this woman makes, but I’m not sure the smallest size would fit Worth yet. I’m ordering one anyway (the sock monkeys or the motorcycles and flames??), but in the meantime I tried to make him one. I made two hats out of a thrifted blue sheet; the one pictured above is Butterick 4712, and I also made a bucket-style hat from Simplicity 2684. Both lovely hats (I prefer the brim on Simplicity 2684, for the record, and am planning to make one for Dorothy) but both are too big. I’m eyeing a pattern I have on hand for a Cabbage Patch doll hat. There is still plenty of sheet left, but I think I might be done with hats for a bit. Maybe Baby needs some cool shades instead?

The other project in my picture is a fleece soaker. I had made him several before he was born, from this pattern. One of them is pictured in an older post. The newborn size never fit my 9 lb 5 oz chunk, but the size small fits him perfectly right now. The fleece is also keeping the moisture in quite nicely. Based on a recommendation I read on the internet, I’m only using Joann’s anti-bill or blizzard fleece to make diapers, because apparently they are more water-resistant than the other kinds. Anyway, I’m making more because they seem to be good diaper covers and they double as cute shorts. I made the fishy one yesterday and am hoping to try another in the next size up soon.

The good, the bad, and the Easter


A few fun tidbits. I tried talking to Dorothy about the Christian Easter story last week, after listening to her run on about Bunny protocol for a while. Christmas was so much easier–a baby, a promise, some wise men with gifts. (There was a mermaid/myrrh mixup for her, but whatever. Mermaids seem like a much better gift when you’re a preschooler.) Easter required a little more nuance and is more difficult to comprehend at any age. She listened, then said, “Mommy, I don’t want to talk about this any more.” Well, neither did I. I only have a masters degree in Divinity from the University of Chicago. Who am I to try to explain resurrection to a four-year-old? So I’m hoping maybe the version they gave in Sunday School was easier for her to digest? Which brings me to Sunday School…

Nana purchased adorable pastel taffeta dresses for the three granddaughters to wear on Easter. Dorothy is photographed in hers above. The posed photograph involved careful timing (mid-morning, not too close to nap, right after feeding the baby) and bribery with chocolate to gain Dorothy’s absolute cooperation. Part of the chocolate deal was that she wear exactly what I pick out. I rarely choose her clothes, other than to make weather-appropriate suggestions. So she goes around looking like a preschooler who picks out her own clothes, which really is totally fine with me. It’s not that I can’t control my kid; it’s that I pick my battles. Anyway, when Easter actually arrived today she did decide to wear the dress, but chose to wear black and yellow Batman socks under the white patent leathers. And I have to say, it was kind of cute in a punk/chic sort of way. I thought she was an adorable Easter kid, and was even feeling sort of smug in my ability to let her wear Batman socks to church (’cause come on, not all Moms would have gone with it!), until I realized she also went to church wearing no underpants. I have no idea if the people in her Sunday School class figured that one out or not. I wasn’t there. I know not what was said about Jesus and the cross, nor what kind of peep show my daughter gave. Hallelujah?

This picture is me and my sweet baby on Easter. He’s wearing a sweater and booties I crocheted for him right after I found out I was pregnant last spring. It had a matching hat, but gender-neutral blue and orange turned a little infant drag-queenish when I put him in the pom-pom hat, so the hat got tossed into the donations pile. Worth looked adorable and quite appropriately masculine. And he wore a diaper–I saw to that! I wore a ruffly shirt I sewed while I was pregnant and a dragon skirt I sewed last summer. We kind of matched, color-wise, which was no accident. 🙂 Since I’ve already gone there with the underpants disclosure, I’ll continue the bawdy theme of this post and state that while Worth did not poo on anyone during the family Easter celebration as his sister and cousins each had during their first Easters (a family tradition, it seems!), he did make use of his uniquely male ability to shoot a fountain of pee all over Nana’s sunroom sofa. Happy Easter everyone!

Tea pops and a zoo trip


First, tea pops. I made cold sweetened herbal tea to serve at Dorothy’s birthday party last week and had quite a bit left over. I usually drink tea unsweetened, and it didn’t taste good to me with all the sugar. I decided to use the leftovers to make popcicles. I have to say, they are pretty good. A little bit of a grown-up popsicle, although Dorothy totally loves them too. The only bad thing is that the sugar kind of gravitated toward the center, so the middle of the popsicle tastes sweeter than the outside. Still, cold and refreshing and not make of Kool-Aid!

We took our first family zoo trip of the season today, and the first one ever for baby Worth. Dorothy proudly wore her zoo bag (see last post) the entire time, and also sported her gorilla necklace. She also “took notes” in her notepad, walking along asking “how do you spell crocodile?” and jotting down wobbly letters. It was really ridiculously cute. It was sad to not see the baby gorilla. The baby was injured last week, apparently by the father. Totally horrifying. I felt a kinship with Mama Gorilla since our babies were born around the same time, and I just felt chilled going through the gorilla exhibit. Of course the baby was not on exhibit, and I don’t know if the mother is being allowed with her baby or not. If not, what are they feeding it? And what is happening with her milk? It bothers me more than it probably should.
I’ve been taking tons of pictures of the kids as the weather turns nice and Worth changes every day. I’ve been unhappy for while with the quality of prints I’ve been picking up at Walgreens or ordering through places like Snapfish, so I’m in search of a better option. This week I ordered from, and I like them much better than others I’ve tried. If anyone has suggestions, I’d be happy to hear about them. I like the matte finish and the consistent color quality (at least in my first order) from Mpix. I usually just order photo books from for our regular albums, but sometimes you need real prints to hand out or frame.