Monday, January 27, 2014

Sewing, Bows and Snow!

Susannah is fascinated with the sewing she's seen me do lately. She hasn't watched me do much because, quite honestly, I can't be very productive with little exploring hands around so I do pretty much all of my sewing during naptime or after the girls' bedtime. One evening she was pretending hard to sew with a few scraps of fabric. I decided to be a brave mom and give her a threaded needle and show her how to push and pull the needle through the fabric. I warned her that the needle was very pokey and that she would probably poke herself sometimes.  I also gave her guidelines for sewing: she had to be sitting down and she had to be sitting where I could see her. Since I was working in the kitchen, she brought her rocking chair to the kitchen where she sat and sewed while I worked on supper. She chit-chatted much of the time, telling me what all she was making (clothes for her Baby). Once in a while I would hear "Ouch! I poked myself!" and then she would go on sewing. She had a lot of fun and she was fun to watch.

It's been colder the past several weeks than what seems normal for our area. While I'm really glad to have an actual COLD winter (though I know it's nothing compared to out west or up north!), it does mean more inside time for all of us. One day the girls decided to bring me the hairbows out of the drawer in the bathroom. One at a time, they would bring me another bow to put in their hair. When the bows had all been placed upon their heads, I took their picture. :)

With the cold weather we finally got some real snow! It started snowing late in the evening and was likely to stop before the girls woke up the next morning. Susannah really wanted to go out in it, which meant Sylvia then wanted to as well. Though the temperatures were in the low 20s I decided since they wanted to, why not?? I bundled them up and sent them outside to romp for a few minutes while Daniel was getting a load of firewood. I knew they wouldn't be out long but that they would really have fun. They were outside for maybe 15 minutes at the most but came in pretty excited to have been outside. Since the snow was just a few inches deep, it was easy enough for them to get around by themselves. Over the next few days I repeated the process (in the daytime, though) and they enjoyed it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Susannah's Pink Shirt

Back in early December when we were at the "big" WalMart I was tickled to find a lovely print of soft cotton fabric on clearance. I purchased all that was left on the bolt, just under 7.5 yards, I liked it that much and knew it would make really cute little girl clothes. (I mentioned finding it here.) Susannah expressed that she liked it, but after we got it home and it had been sitting upstairs in my sewing corner for a while she more frequently mentioned how much she liked the pink fabric. I had in mind to make something for her with it anyway, and knowing how much she liked the fabric helped.

Earlier last fall I purchased a couple of girls dress patterns to make clothes for Susannah. I looked through my collection and settled on using Simplicity's New Look 6884 as my base. I wanted to make her a shirt and knew that if I could easily shorten the bodice and skirt to the lengths I wanted, it would be exactly what I was looking for without having to try and find another pattern.

I spent one Sunday afternoon cutting out the pattern pieces (the paper part). Oh my goodness. That was a headache and I wasn't sure I wanted to keep going with this pattern but I stuck with it. I can understand why some people get frustrated or just don't like sewing. The pattern is for 4 styles, each in 6 sizes, and finding the pieces I need among four different, big sheets of pattern paper was like trying to find Waldo. THEN (my biggest frustration!) only a very few of the pieces have the pattern sizes marked where the pattern piece is labeled, so I had to unfold and hunt on the cutting edge to see the size of most pieces just to find the piece in the size I need. I am convinced that patterns are not printed as easily to decipher as they used to be. Or maybe I'm just not that familiar with little girl clothes patterns?

Over the next few afternoons and nights I cut out the fabric. It was a little tricky because not only was I shortening the bodice and skirt, but I also wanted to make it long-sleeved. This pattern doesn't have a long-sleeved option. I ended up using another pattern's long-sleeve pattern as a gauge for length and width. (I saw patterns for dresses with long sleeves that I liked the sleeve but not the dress, and vice-versa. Is it not possible these days to find one pattern that has everything? Maybe not.)

Once I had the fabric cut out I was so eager to start sewing! I like gathers well enough, but I fell in love with the box pleats for the skirt. They are so easy to make and look so lovely! 

It didn't take me very many nap-times and nights to get the main part put together. It was very exciting and motivating (and fed my "addiction!") to have it go together so quickly, easily and turning out beautifully.

Then I got to the parts that were new territory for me. Interfacing and the collar. I purchased fusible interfacing from WalMart, and after carefully reading the directions I tried fusing it to the fabric. It would not fuse no matter what I tried. I eventually went to the manufacturer's website and facebook page and saw that someone else had the same problem with their product purchased at WalMart (but the same brand from a fabric/craft store worked great). A sweet friend offered to pick up some interfacing for me since she was already making a trip to JoAnn's. That saved me from having to wait until a town trip AND from having to go into a fabric store with 2 little girls.

After that, it all went fairly well. There's a few things I would do a little differently next time, but nothing big or major. It was a learning experience working with the interfacing and I'm glad it turned out well. :)

One thing that I discovered about this pattern is that the collar and bodice do not match, size-wise. I cut both for size 4, but when I went to attach the collar to the bodice, the points that were supposed to match up did not (the collar was shy of each point by about 1/2"). Not sure how it would or would not effect the finished product, and knowing that sometimes points shift/move with sewing, I put the collar on anyway.

After I got the facing put in for the neck and front opening, I realized that the collar was not going to meet in the middle over the buttons, but instead there was going to be about a 1 1/2" gap. Since it still looks cute and I didn't really feel like ripping that much of the shirt apart to figure out how to cut a longer collar, etc., I opted to leave it. My guess is that most people will not even notice it, but I wanted to make that note. I am hoping to have a friend look at the pattern and the shirt and see if I made a mistake somewhere, or give me advice on how to adjust the pattern for future uses.

When it was time for the buttons, I looked in my button stash and found these perfect, ivory-colored, glossy buttons that look so elegant with this fabric. At first I thought I would try to find pink buttons but I don't have any of a matching pink color. I love the subtle but sweet accent these ivory buttons add to the piece.

This morning I finished sewing the buttons on before the girls awoke. I had prewashed the fabric so as soon as I finished sewing it was ready to wear. Susannah saw it on the couch and asked if she could please wear it today. :)  She loves it and I love seeing her in it! It fits her perfectly and is exactly how I pictured it in my mind. I do wish the elastic in the sleeves were a little tighter fitting, but I don't plan to change it at this point.

My next project is already in the works, a pair of pants for Susannah that I actually started before I started this shirt. They will pair with the shirt and I just need to do a little work to have them finished. I think I might be able to do that this week and she can have a whole new outfit to wear for our town trips next week!

** I do want to note that two people have cautioned me on the quality of fabric purchased at WalMart nowadays. I am anxious to see how well the colors of this fabric hold up as being quick to fade is one of the issues I have been cautioned about.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bits & Pieces of Everyday Life

Two Sunday nights ago Susannah woke up about 11:45pm crying. She walked into the dining room and lost all of her stomach contents onto the floor. Daniel can handle cat barf and cat poo (thankfully the latter almost never happens) but not people barf. I was upstairs getting ready for bed and he yelled for me to "Come! Now!" I knew right then that something was wrong and most likely it involved vomit. She threw up two more times as I was getting her and myself situated for spending the night on the couches in the living room. After that she slept, I didn't really sleep, and she woke up right as rain and ready to eat breakfast. I felt like I'd spent the night on a McDonald's sign and wanted to sleep for about another year; yay for coffee even if it's just 1/2-caf!

Yesterday morning Sylvia woke up and was not herself at all. She wouldn't even touch her breakfast and only whispered one-word responses to my questions. 3 miniscule bites into her breakfast (that I was feeding her, again not usual) she threw up. She threw up about 10 minutes later and that was it. Over the course of the next hour she slowly returned to normal activity and personality. 

I have no idea what either of those episodes were about. Neither lasted long, neither seemed to be a genuine "bug" because it wasn't the typical stomach-bug throwing up and GI issues. Both illnesses were very short-lived. *shrug*


Now to the other end. This past Friday evening right at dinner-time Sylvia started asking to go potty. Every 5 or 10 minutes. Maybe going as long as 15 or 20 minutes a time or two. Most of the times she was productive, even if it was just a teaspoon. Taking off and putting on her diaper got real old, real fast. Daniel was working late so my evening was pretty much totally consumed with potty trips and barely getting a few other things done in teeny spurts.

Saturday morning the first thing I did after breakfast was abandon Daniel and the girls at home and I went to WalMart to get pull-ups (and a few other things that were waiting for the rare trip to WalMart). Pull-ups are SO much easier to use than diapers when you're doing up and down and up and down so often. She now spends her wake-times in pull-ups and surprisingly does pretty good. She hasn't stayed completely dry which is why I am not putting her in big-girl undies yet. She also hasn't been letting us know about doing #2 until after she does it in her diaper or pull-ups. Not even going to try big-girl undies until that one is learned! Ew.

I wasn't ready to get serious with potty training her, planning to do it after the baby comes, but I guess she decided she's ready so here we go!! Now I'm just hoping she figures out how to go a little longer between trips by the time the baby comes.


It snowed last night and this morning. It was so pretty and peaceful to sit for a few minutes of quiet and watch the snow falling outside between the time Daniel left for work and the girls woke up. Now it's all gone and mid-40's outside. I wouldn't mind if we got some real snow yet this winter.


Yesterday marked 2 months until our baby's due date. I have plenty that I feel like I need to get done in that time and knowing that I only have 8-ish weeks to do it in... I gotta get moving!!  One thing I really, really want to do is get all the clothes packed away that Sylvia has outgrown. Um, yeah. They've kinda just been piling up in a pile. If I knew we were having another girl I wouldn't be too worried about it because it will all be the right sizes in the right seasons. However, we don't know if it's a girl or boy and the thought of having all those girl clothes out IF we have a boy... and then bringing in boy clothes...  This week I've started in on the pile. Progress is being made and I think it's easily do-able one piece at a time.


One thing I determined this past fall needed to happen, and must happen before the baby comes is getting a better toy storage system in place. We have a bookshelf where all the toys are supposed to go, but each set of toys had it's own random container, box, no container, etc. Re-used containers for those kind of things bug me for various reasons: the kids can't see what's in each container/box; they can't easily open them by themselves; if it's a box, the box ends up crumbled, dented or torn and then doesn't serve it's purpose very well at all; and all the random shapes and sizes just don't fit on the shelf efficiently.

This morning I had the hair-brained idea that TODAY was THE DAY. I have been thinking about this for a few months so I knew exactly what kind of storage I was looking for and where to find it. After working on the previously mentioned out-grown-clothes-pile for a while, I announced a trip to town. Off to Target we went and we came home with all sizes of rectangle, CLEAR, easy-open (but will not just pop open!) containers. Susannah was so excited and immediately asked if she could start putting the toys in them. She loaded a few before lunch and then after lunch she and I worked on it. We're not done, and we may need to get a few more containers as we find toy sets that I would really like contained instead of just "displayed" on the shelf, but already it is looking worlds better. And it makes the "likes things organized" part of me smile. :) My favorite things is that we can all SEE exactly what is in each container!

Oh, and trust me, I have purged our toy collection over time and packed away the baby toys. We still have plenty and some more may get purged, but the main issue was poor storage for what we do have.


I haven't gotten much done in the sewing department this week. I am missing it and really wanting to finish the outfit I'm working on. Tuesday I started working on it during naptime but Susannah woke up early and I couldn't do much more with her "help." Yesterday was so off from Sylvia being sick and then making dinner times two to take a batch to a friend. I didn't get to touch sewing yesterday. I think now I will head up and see what kind of progress I can make. 

I think this post covers all things. From both ends of the body to toys to clothes to sewing. Oh, and the weather was discussed. :)  Till next time!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy New Year!

We did have a happy New Year's Day, spending the day with almost all of my immediate family at my parent's house. It was a busy, full day but much fun for all of us. That was on Wednesday and then Saturday morning we hit the road for a 3 hour drive to a family get-together with my Mom's family. It was fun to see my aunts, uncles, cousins and Grandpa again; the last time we saw most of them was about a year and a half ago which is hard to believe! On the way home our car heater decided to really work (instead of just sort-of work, like it's been doing despite all of Daniel's efforts and work to get it fully functioning) and it was nice to finish the trip with nice, warm toes. :)  The girls handled all of the festivities and traveling very well, but we are all SO glad to be home and finished with parties for a while!!

 Breakfast with her new curly straw.

I have spent a lot of time working in my sewing area, cleaning it up, doing some re-arranging and now I am eagerly awaiting 2 pieces of furniture from my sister that will fit perfectly with my storage and surface needs!! There are some other, very exciting, new things going on in the sewing department but I want to save those for another post. :-)

Coloring with new Christmas gifts from Aunts and Uncles

On Tuesday I had my 30-week appointment and I continue to really like my new OB (I switched from the one I used for the first two pregnancies). It was another good appointment and everything is going great and healthy. The babies heart-rate was the lowest it's been yet, 138, which made me wonder for the first time if maybe this baby is a boy. Only another 10-ish weeks until we find out! I did do something that was a little different for me and got the recommended D-TaP vaccine. Ouchie!! The shot didn't hurt, but about 30 minutes later my shoulder started aching and the next 48 hours it was very sore. Thankfully yesterday was a little better, and today it only aches a little. Now I know why Sylvia kept saying her leg was "ouchie" for several days after her last round of vaccines!

 Both girls, but especially Sylvia, love to rock. 
Their new rocking chairs from Grandma and Grandpa are perfect!

It has been cold here (undoubtedly the topic of everyone's conversations lately!) and we have been keeping the hungry wood stove well fed! Daniel does a great job of hauling in firewood which makes my "feeling super pregnant lately" days so much easier. When all the conditions are just right (mostly the dampers adjusted perfectly, which I'm still learning!) and the 2 box fans running on low, it can get the old part of our house up to a comfy 70° - 72°! It is nice to keep our electric bill low even though it cost Daniel lots of energy to split and stack the wood.

 After supper one evening Susannah asked Daniel
if they could snuggle specifically like this.

I have been in a forever-long slump for meal inspiration (maybe just tired of the recipes I've been using for years? I don't know), and this week decided to go back to The Nourishing Home's menu plan for this week and next (and for however long I decide to keep doing it). I have followed her menu plans loosely before, and all the recipes have been very good!! The menu suggestion for lunch today (these sandwiches) looks really different and I hesitated making them. However, after reading the reviews I decided to try them regardless of how "strange" they looked. The girls loved their sandwiches and I thought it was very good myself! I think my carrot:cheese ratio was a little different than the recipe calls for, so next time I'll cut back the carrot and up the cheese and it will still be yummy!


Yesterday was the day to make another big grocery shopping trip to Costco and Kroger. I don't remember when the last trip was but it was before the week of Christmas at least. I always feel like the stuff I bring home should last several weeks or a few months! I guess in reality some of the stuff does, like the toilet paper, laundry soap and so on. This trip I did buy a few things in preparation for when the baby comes: paper cups, paper bowls and plastic utensils (we already have a big supply of paper plates). Since we can't skip eating (so I will have to cook or heat up food), we can't wear disposable clothes (I'll have to do laundry), and my last two babies took an HOUR to eat each feeding for the first many weeks, I am aiming for "less is more" in the work department this time around. Less dishes to do will make a huge difference in the transition period, I know.

Today it is cold and rainy. Just warm enough that it's rain and not snow. I wouldn't mind the snow but I know the rain is a good thing when I consider that it is watering the earth and eventually ends up filling our well providing us with running water.