Monday, November 11, 2013

The Elephant in the Room

If you go back through the archives of this blog, you will see that time and again I have posted about my attempts at weight loss. If you look at recent pictures in this blog or my Facebook page, you will see that any and all efforts have been abandoned.

I'm still fat. News flash.

I have been on and off the wagon several times over the last few years. After a decade spent running and fastidiously watching my diet, I just can't get it together long term. The problem: Happiness.

When I was younger and single, I put way too much weight on my weight. I was convinced that I had no chance at happiness unless I was thin, toned, with hair and makeup that were just right. It wasn't particularly rational but I never claimed to be without issues. So it was that fear of unhappiness that drove me to run further, go to the gym daily and count calories mercilessly.

Then I got married and had two babies and find myself fat. And Happy. And that's the problem, I'm happy and just not driven to lose weight by fear that 5 extra pounds will doom me to a miserable life. I am fat and I am loved. I am fat and I have friends. I am fat and I love myself. I am fat and wake up each day thankful that I am so damn lucky.

But alas, I want to stay happy for another 60 years. And I do want to look better. I want to rock the clothes I sew. So I have to keep trying to find that spark. Find that moment that will send me down the right path. Right now I am doing things right. I won't be talking a lot about it because, I've been here before. If something significant starts to happen, I'm sure it will become a topi
c I bring to forefront a little more.

We have gotten back in the gym. That helps. Until now, our gym membership hasn't been used to it's fullest. Dropping my kids in the kid's area resulted in one happy kid and one kid who cried himself sick. It's hard to motivate yourself to the gym when that is the result. So my husband and took turns and it mostly just didn't happen. A few weeks ago we decided to try it again and hope that Landry took the (pretty awesome) Kid Zone a little better. He did. He went in a never looked back. He loves it. My daughter loves it and there is no better motivation than taking your kids somewhere that a) they love b) costs no additional money and c) wears them the hell out.

So now they are my little personal trainers. Begging to go to the "play place" all the time. As cold weather approaches and indoor activities are needed this will be even more crucial.


So that's my weight update. I may talk more about it. I may not. I may ride this train to a more healthy size. I may fail. I don't know. All I know is that today, I am trying.

Friday, November 8, 2013

5 years and a lifetime to go

Five short years ago, I put on a beautiful white dress, got a smashing updo and made my way down an aisle lined with family and friends to meet up with a handsome man in a tuxedo. On that night we said our I do's and started our lives together.


 I haven't regretted it.

My husband wasn't the only guy waiting at the end of the aisle that day. In addition to becoming a wife I also became a stepmother. And, on November 7, 2008 we became a family.

 I don't really write about my stepson. He is old enough that his privacy dictates that. He is old enough to tell his own stories. Second, being a blended family has enough challenges that it doesn't need me sharing the gory details with the world. But when I speak of my family, I mean all five of us.

Back then we were three. We added two more to make things complete. And then we were five.
 Five years and one day ago, it was just me. And now I have all this. Life is good



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

That chill in the air

Image from Naper Design
Like practically everybody else in America and some parts of Canada, I love Fall. I love the cooler weather, the colorful leaves. I love football and pumpkin everything and holidays. But my favorite thing about the end of summer is the end of that feeling that you should be outside doing something. Outside enjoying the weather. Ignore the fact that 95 degrees and humid is not at all enjoyable, you should be at the pool. You should be at the beach.

No, in the fall and winter it is perfectly acceptable to spend the entire day at home, inside, reading a book; making the aforementioned pumpkin treats, napping. The reality is that with two small kids, I can't spend an entire day reading or napping but at least I don't feel so bad about not having them at the playground the whole time or worse, the pool.

We are prepping for Halloween around here. My daughter, 3.5, wants to be Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony and preparing her costume was no small feat. A purchased costume would not work because in

addition to be ugly the colors aren't right and worse, the cutie mark is wrong. Caroline would not stand for that. So I had to make one from the ground up.  I made blue leggings and a blue long sleeve shirt, and ears, and wings, and a cutie mark. My mom is making a rainbow mane and tail. I'll post pictures when she has it all on, she is really so excited.

I was uninspired on a costume for my little guy so he is going as a Raven's football player. He will be tackling those bowls of candy, for sure.

We are also trying to get our house ready to go on the market. It is a lot of work because it needs a lot of updates, carpets, lights, paint and I don't know how people do this when they have small children and a husband who watches football all day on Sunday's (part of our pre-marriage agreement. Don't worry, there is plenty of give and take in our marriage and he is happy to give me my time). To say nothing, of trying to keep the house clean when tornadoes live there.

What else?

Reading: We Are Water by Wally Lamb. I am a huge fan of his books and I just started this one, it will take me forever to get through but will no doubt be worth it.

Listening: A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy. I have ever read any of her stuff but the library had slim pickin's. It's OK so far.

Watching: Hot in Cleveland. Really, I'm just killing time until Downton Abbey is back. Must resist reading spoilers from England. Why in this age of Twitter, etc do they torture us by showing it in England first?

Sewing: A lovely wool skirt to be worn with tights and boots. I love you, Fall.

Eating: Zingerman's Chicken. Perfect for Fall. The bread. My God, the bread.

Working: 32 hours a week instead of 40 (sigh of relief). Back to work from a 2.5 week furlough during the government shutdown which was, I confess, glorious. (before you hate me, know that as a contractor, I did not get back pay for the time I wasn't working)

So that's life around here right now. We are loving fall and I am one of those people who actually really does love the holidays. Even more so this year since my parents moved to town.

I hope you are enjoying Autumn. Stay inside. Read a book.





Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How to survive the horrible 3's

My daughter is three and a half. When she was two, I was a smug as they come. Terrible 2's. Not my little angel. We didn't have tantrums. I had no reason to use time outs. Even with a new baby in the mix, she was sweet and good tempered. She communicated well and was really just a joy. I was smug.

Karma is a bitch and my smugness has come back to bite me in the ass. I now live with some one who can be just as sweet as that two year old but who can also be reduced to a sobbing mess because her cereal is too pointy. Yes, that has really happened.  Just this morning, she was furious at me because I said good morning to her stuffed cat, Douglas. Every night, I am required to give Douglas a goodnight kiss but saying good morning to her (Douglas is a girl) is a horrible thing to do because, "Don't say that. Douglas is a toy!"

It is like living in a mine field. You never know where to step or what to say. So I thought I would share a few of the ways, I am coping with the horrifying threes.
1.
 2.
 3.
Yeah, I've got nothing else. 

If you haven't yet experienced the Threes, be afraid. Be very afraid. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A House Divided





Way back a long time ago, I went to a wonderful little college known as the University of Tennessee. Every Saturday in the fall it turned into a sea of Big Orange as the glory of SEC football descended on the land. Like any good college student I was in the stands, decked in orange, cheering for my school. Our football team was good. They weren't great. But still it was an awesome experience.

And then one year, we got a new quarterback and suddenly we were great. His name was, maybe you have heard of him, Peyton Manning. To say having Peyton Manning as the QB of your college team is awesome would be an understatement. I instantly became a Manning fan. When he went pro, I stayed a Peyton Manning fan and though I wasn't a huge pro-football fan, the Colts were my team of choice because of there quarterback. 

Fast forward 10 years and I met my future husband and he was (is) a huge Baltimore Ravens fan. Football meant so much more to him than it did to me and I became a Ravens fan to support him and join in something he loved. I cheered for the Raven's every game, even when they played the Colts. But in my heart I still cheered for Peyton too, and could never really be disappointed when the Colts beat the Ravens. 

As the years have gone on and I have gotten more and more into NFL football, it has been

 harder and harder for me to not express my true team colors. I tried to have family unity. We are all for the Ravens!!! While on the inside I was conflicted. When Peyton changed teams, I found myself suddenly caring about the Broncos. 
Last year when the Ravens won the Superbowl , I decided that since my husband got that, I could have a year or two of openly and proudly cheering for my favorite player to win it all before he rides off into the sunset. This announcement was not greeted with enthusiasm by the husband but he has been more accepting than I would have ever dreamed. He draws the line at any Broncos gear for the kids though. I can accept that, they have plenty of of UT stuff.

So, tonight when the Broncos meet the Ravens, I will be on one side of the couch cheering the Blue and Orange and my husband, will be on the other side cheering for the Ravens. Our friends and family are shocked and disappointed at my betrayal but I have to go with my heart and finally say it out loud. What we can agree on? Guacamole in the middle!

Go Broncos!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First of the first days

This morning, remarkably quickly after she came out of my womb, my Sweet Caroline went to her first day of preschool. School! What the what!?!!? How did we get here? But here we are and my big girl is now part of a class and requires a backpack. A backpack that is as big as she is.




Last week, the preschool had a day to meet the teacher and then and there Caroline fell in love with her classroom and the teacher. All weekend she would ask me, "remember when we met Mrs. S?" She was almost as excited about the day as I was. We started counting down the number of sleeps left until preschool started. 5, 4, 3, 2 ,1 and suddenly it was this morning and we put on her new Oliver and S Family Reunion Dress (post about that to come) and her new light up princess sneakers. Because it was a special day, she allowed me to put her hair in ponytails, a treat for me indeed.

Then she endured the picture taking.



When I dropped her off, she had no nervousness or fears. I didn't expect any. She has been going to daycare most of her life so she is accustomed to being away from mommy. No tears from me either!!!! I snuck one more quick pick as I walked out the door.

2.5 hours later I was greeted at the classroom door by Caroline wearing her backup clothes. Oops. Well, we won't dwell on that. She was happy and super excited to go back tomorrow.


I won't make the mistake of letting her have a drink on the way then.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When I dreamed about family.....

Before I had kids, before I was even married, I used to daydream about family life and how great it could be. This picture is exactly how I imagined it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fine Tuning- Career edition

I love my life. Really I do. In the past, I have been through times when I really, really didn't love my life. Those were very dark times so to be able to wake up every morning and say without question, I love my life, is a big deal for me. 

I have everything I ever wanted. I have a husband that I love and is truly my partner, co-conspirator through it all. I have wonderful, healthy (knock-on-wood. PTL) children, who make me smile constantly. I have a nice home. I never worry about whether the bills will be paid or if there will be food on the table. I have friends, the kind I can hug and the kind that I can only reach through a keyboard but they are all real friends.  

I have a nice life. I don't take it for granted.

I feel like I have to put all that out there before I start talking about the things in my life that I want to change. Not because, I'm  complaining. Not because I worry that I'll be viewed as ungrateful. But as a baseline. There are things I want to change in my life but I don't need to change my life. I need some fine tuning.

Not everything is peaches and cream. My career for one. It is at a complete standstill. I have job, it pays pretty well. The boss is understanding about the needs of a working mom but something needs to change. cannot continue with the long commute, 40 hours and lack of fulfillment. Temporarily that change may come within my current position.

My career is truly one of the lowlights of my life. I had potential when I was in school but a series of bad choices and bad luck, have left me underemployed and with a very low opinion of my worth to the working world. I honestly did not pick the right major in college and I have spent my career trying to fit into a field that doesn't fit me. But there is a saying, "It is never too late to be what you might have been." I am trying very hard to embrace that philosophy and be who I want to be. The challenge is that I don't really know who I want to be, career wise. 

At 40 years old, I am attempting to find my passion and jump start my career. It is not an easy task. Years of being in the wrong field have left me wondering if I have any talents that can be translated into a new career. Fear of leaving my family in a financial lurch has kept me from taking any risks. A lifetime of self-esteem issues have kept me from thinking I could ever be good enough to succeed in making a career out of the things I enjoy. 

This is a post without any kind of resolution. I am putting my goals out there without any real plan for making them happen. However, writing this down has been cathartic and a little eye opening. My fears don't seem so daunting when I go back and read this. I do have the safety net of my husband. My parents are nearby now to provide the extra support I might need, whenever it is I figure out what I want to do. Even if I fail, I still have kids that think I am the greatest. They are the best reminders that who I am is not what I do. 

Hopefully, there will be some follow-up to this post. A plan of action? A revelation? I don't know. 

"Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears" -Les Brown


I would love any resource recommendations for career transitions and finding your passion.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Good news Monday.



Look, it Monday. That sucks. How about some happy stories?

The 7 year old sister of the little boy who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing is doing wonderfully with her prosthetic leg. A little good news for her parents who most certainly need it.
http://www.today.com/news/7-year-old-boston-bombing-victim-dancing-new-leg-6C10931559

This! Watch it. But is anybody else bothered by how much this guy looks like Anthony Weiner. This guy would be a much better candidate for Mayor of NYC.
http://dangerousminds.net/comments/is_this_the_single_best_segment_of_the_colbert_report_ever_it_very_well_mig


Prince’s new album cover is fantastic.

Complete Twitter awesomeness from Patton Oswalt. How did he come  up with all of that?


OK. SO not everyone cares enough about the royals to consider this good news, but I like Will and Kate, and I love that they are bringing modern parenthood (Men changing nappies! I never!) to the monarchy.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

18 months

Oh my goodness, my little Landry, I cannot believe you are 18 months old. I know that every parent says that of every milestone but it is always true. The time simply speeds by in a blur with children. I can't believe it's been a year and half since you came into the world and changed it for the better.

You are 100% adorable and at least 50% evil. That biting thing is going to have to stop. Your love of trains can be exhausting but the smile on your face while you play means that I will assemble that bridge another time as you knock down, again and again. You are such a stereotypical boy. I've tried to not press the idea of boy or girl toys and lord, knows you have access to all the pink toys you can handle. But you always go straight for the trains, the cars, the tractors and bulldozers. I guess some things are just ingrained.

I love hearing you speak. And although, I want you to improve, I love that right now, it's a language only a few understand. "Dowa", OK, I'll get you an orange. "Bink?" Here's our special blankey. "Car?" Sissy is still sleeping. "Tom?" Yeah, you and Thomas the Train are tight like that.

Landry, I know you have to grow up. I want you to grow up. I can't wait to see who you become. How you harness your size and strength into something great. But right now, I am savoring
every last snuggle, because you are a world class love bug.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sometimes I think I have it together....

And then there are nights like tonight. As I write this it is 9:30 PM. My 3 year old is still awake.  I've been dealing with trying to get kids in bed since 7:00. My son is going through a "screaming bloody murder unless someone is in the room with him, preferably holding him" phase and taking forever to fall asleep even when he is exhausted. It never fails that just as he is about to drift off my 3 year old will yell something out in the hall and get him worked up all over again. By the time I am done with him, I have no patience left for her typical pre-schooler bedtime shenanigans. You can put your pajamas on all by yourself? Well F'ing put them on already and stop playing with that damn hand towel. Then I speed read a book chosen for its brevity. The Princess and the Pea tonight, as story with no redeeming qualities that I can discern but it's short so I picked it. And then I feel bad because she hasn't done anything to deserve my snappishness and probably has no idea why it's pissimg me off that she won't just put the damn toothbrush in her mouth.

I don't whether to drink or cry.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Deep thoughts...from my 3 year old.

C: Grandma, I am getting so big!

GMa: You sure are. You are big girl.

C: Yeah, but not my nipples. They are not big like my mommy's. When I get bigger, my nipples will get big and a baby will drink milk from them. Grandma, you have big nipples. :pokes her grandmother in the boob:

* by nipples she means breasts

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Polka Dot Pencil Skirt

Like sew many sewistas I love Gertie's blog and had to have her book on sewing retro fashions. I love it and plan to make everything in it even, though I shudder at the thought of me in a wiggle dress. Anyway, I just finished my first creation from the book, the pencil skirt.


Can I just say, I love. this.skirt! Not only is the pattern great, I love it in this navy/white polka dot cotton sateen. This may be the first clothing item in my new post-kids plus size that I truly love. I even think it is, dare I say it, flattering. 

I got the fabric at G-Street Fabrics in Rockville, MD. It was normally $19.99/yd but was on sale for $12.98. I scooped up three yards and used two for this skirt. I have no idea what I am going to do with 1 yard of stretch cotton sateen but I'm pretty sure it will be for my three year-old. 

I also lined this skirt. This is the first time I have done a lining. It wasn't too hard and certainly did make the skirt seam more luxurious. I used a navy rayon lining from Joann $4.19/yard.

Modifications:

I modified the waist band to be straight across the front. It just seems more comfortable that way. I may make another version with the high band complete with boning.

I converted the back slit to a back vent using the tutorial on the "A Fashionable Stitch" blog. It was an easy change that I think really takes the skirt up a notch. 

Other:

I inserted the lapped zipper using the method taught in the free Craftsy class "Mastering Zipper Techniques" taught by the same Sunni that gave me the back vent tutorial. She was very useful in the making of this skirt. Anyway, the technique worked perfectly. The class is free. Check it out.

I hand basted all the seams before sewing them. I have been having lots of trouble with my fabric getting out of alignment and this helped a lot. It didn't really take too long. 

I know that you don't technically have to finish seams in a lined garment but I felt the need to do something, so I pinked the seam allowances and ran a line of straight stitches down each piece. It was less than the overcasting I would have done on an unlined item but still made it seam more finished. 

I added a some red bias tape to the hem allowance on the vent. Just a little something flashy on the inside as a surprise. I uses my blind hemmer foot to do the hem. It's the first time I have used it on an actual garment and I think it turned out well.

Errors and conundrums

My waistband ended up not having enough length to overlap and put in a button. I guess I shouldn't have done 5/8 seams down the ends? Next time I'll do 1/4 there. I ended up putting a flat hook closure there. 

Speaking of the ends of the waistband, one of the corners keeps turning back inward no matter how many times I push it out. I 'll have to do some research to find out what is causing it. 

I'm not really sure how I was supposed to finish the back vent. I just kind of winged it and overcasted the edges. I don't have a serger.  

I'm still working on proper fitting. This one is pretty good but it could get quite a bit better. The waist definitely needs to be tightened up a bit. 

But overall I think it turned out pretty well. 

Did I say I love this skirt? Cause I do! I plan to make this pattern several more times. The total cost of this one was only $36!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Help is here

As a child, I didn't grow up with my grandparents nearby. By the time I was five years-old, I was down to one grandparent, my mother's mother, and she lived in Florida while I was growing in Tennessee. She died when I was 10, so there was never the option of having grandparents nearby. But I was always jealous of the other kids, who not only had grandparents, but had grandparents they saw all the time because they lived locally. To be honest, I was also jealous of the idea of getting presents from grandparents too, they always seemed like the best gifts.

But it wasn't to be for me.

After becoming an adult and moving from Tennessee to Maryland (with stops along the way) and then having children of my own, I was once again jealous of in-town grandparents. My husband's parents had both, unfortunately, passed away before I ever met him (his mom during his senior year of high school) and my parents lived 600 miles away in Tennessee. Right where they had lived their entire lives.

Until last week. 

I had never ever considered the possibility of my parents moving. I could see my mom being on board but my dad, no, I just couldn't see it. Even when my mom mused about the possibility. I paid her no attention. When she talked about getting rid of stuff and putting the house on the market, I didn't think they would pull the trigger. 

Then they did put their house on the market. And then they bought a house five minutes from where I live. And then last week they moved everything out of the house they have lived in for the last 38 years and drove it all to Maryland and became my neighbor. 

I still can't really believe it. My kids have grandparents they can see if not everyday then almost everyday. My husband and I have a babysitter anytime we need/want it. Free! 

I have help. If one of my kids is sick and can't go to daycare- they can go to grandma's. If I get the call from daycare 11 seconds, after I walk int he door at work- grandma. If I need somebody to be at my house so a repairman can come in the day- Grandpa! The list goes on and on.

My parents aren't quite up for taking care of an 18 month-old and a 3.5 year old 40+ hours a week, so they will still go to daycare, but Caroline will cut down to 2 days a week and start going to part-time preschool 3 days a week. This is a possibility only because Grandma is now available to take her and pick her up. 

And it goes two ways. They have us to help them with all of the things that get hard as people get older. Repairs around the house, lawn mowing, navigating this and that. And down the line (hopefully, years and years down the line) care during sickness and beyond. I am so happy that they will be near me for however many years are left. 

The truly best part of it all though is that my children love them so much and vice-versa. Nothing makes my day more than seeing my "grumpy-old-man" father break into a huge smile as my little runs to him yelling,"'Pa! 'Pa!"

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Things I've been sewing

So, naturally, I haven't been blogging but I have been sewing. I'm really enjoying sewing and find it a great way to unwind at the end of the day after the kids go to bed. Even better, my husband thinks it is a great hobby and doesn't get too bothered at the money I spend on it. Such as:

My new sewing machine!




My old machine was a super cheapy from Target. My new machine is still a super cheapy but it is a better super cheapy, read: computerized. It has a lot more stitches and is so much smoother than my old machine. It's like buttah. Best of all, it has a speed control. That pedal is like a gas pedal to me and I have a hard time not pressing it to the floor. But with the speed control, I set it to slow and I can press the pedal to floor but still have the control of slow sewing. It is fantastic for sewing curves. 

So what have I been making?

Well, I am enrolled in a Craftsy class, Sewing With Knits. It is great and I no longer fear the stretch. Our first project was a fleece hoodie. I made one. It turned out great. And then I left it at my sister-in-law's house before I could get a picture. 
Scoop neck tee. I swear I don't look this bad all the time

The second project was a scoop-neck t-shirt. Sewing a t-shirt isn't particularly exciting but it was a great way to learn some knit techniques and t-shirts are handy when you are chasing kids around on the weekends. The fabric is cotton interlock and the total cost was around $9.00 (I never buy fabric at Joann without my trusty coupon).



Last night, I finished up a shirt for Caroline. It is the Oliver and S Ruffled Halter. It's a free pattern and and after you get the huge pattern pieced together, traced and the fabric cut, it is a really quick and easy project. I like it so much, I'm planning to make another one for my niece.  I really love Oliver and S patterns and I especially love free. The total cost of this shirt was only $7.00. The fabric is a poly/cotton blend with puckers. I originally bought it to make Caroline a dress but it just seemed to be a little too much in your face for a full dress. It is perfect for this shirt though. The ruffles are cut on the bias and the edges are left unfinished. This fabric does not fray at all so the ruffles with continue to look good. 

Oliver and S Ruffled Halter. Bad pic. She does not understand what "stand still" means. 



I also have another work in progress. It is Oliver and S's popover sundress (Again O&S. Again free) with appliques. The appliques will mark the first real use of my Silhouette SD since I bought it 2 years ago. 

I also have a v-neck t-shirt, a 4th of July dress for Caroline, and a whole list of other things on the to-sew list. All I need is the time to get it done. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Snapshot


What I'm watching:

I am a little embarrassed to admit what show I am currently obsessed with. But I feel the need to share. Especially with my sisters, who despite being well (very, very well) out of our teens still love a good teen drama. Pretty Little Liars. It is awesome. I am engrossed and currently working my way through the entire series. Thank you, Netflix, Amazon Prime and my beloved Kindle Fire. Watching these four girls try to figure out who A is, has taken up way too much of my time lately but I love it. Spoby forever!


What I'm reading...

I've got two books going on right now. One that I am actually reading (see above mentioned beloved Kindle) and one that I am listening to in my car during my commute. I go through a lot more books in my car than I manage to actually read-read. can you count them as read if you listened to them. I am, so there. 


Audio: Family Pictures by Jane Green. I've loved most of Jane Green's books. Yes, they are chick lit, but I am a chick. This is about two women who discover they share something in common, a husband! I am only about halfway through so I won't give any kind of synopsis. I'll just say that, as much as I love Jane's books, I'm not liking the "perfect" characters that she has incorporated into a few books lately. Like Callie in Promises to Keep, I find Sylvie to perfect to like and relate too. Maggie is a much more sympathetic character to me. 


Text: Where We Belong by Emily Griffin- I'm not very far into this one at all. Basic premise is a woman who meets the daughter she gave up for adoption 17-18 years ago. Again, I have like Emily's books in the past and I'm sure I'll like this one but I rarely find time for uninterrupted reading so it takes me a while to get though it. 


What I'm enjoying.....

Sewing: I'm seriously loving turning fabric into clothes. Imperfect clothes but I'm getting better all the time. I have a long list of patterns that I am coveting and an even longer project wish list. Now all I need is time and money.

What I'm digging...

Evernote: Where have you been all my life? Seriously, this makes everything organized and  accessible from work, home, phone, Kindle. Love. Love. Love. 


What are you loving right now?

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Oliver and S, Family Reunion Dress

Recently, I drug out my sewing machine, that had been in storage since before Caroline was born. My original intent was to whip up some very basic curtains for our recently converted playroom. Once I had it all set up though, I decided to make Caroline a dress or two, and then I would get to the curtains.

I still have not made the curtains. Sewing for my little girl is too much fun.

First I warmed up with a pillow case dress. It is way to big for my Skinny Minnie, but a great way to remember a few things about sewing.



Then I put together a peasant dress. I cut it much slimmer so it fits her better. I don't really love the color. Online, the fabric looked buttery yellow but in reality it is more of a golden, which isn't that flattering on my blue-eyed blonde. 


Next I decided that I wanted to make a real pattern dress. A dress with actual details. I chose Oliver and S's Family Reunion Dress because I love the pin tucks and I know that their instructions are very detailed (good for a novice like me). 

I chose a pink gingham poly-cotton blend with embroidered rosebuds from Joanne's. I had a 40% off coupon so it ended up being about $6 a yard. I cut a size 3T and that ended up being perfect for Caroline even though she is tall enough for 4T's. I like this a little bit shorter on her. 

The instructions were very detailed and I found a sew-along for the dress at http://www.lolapinkfabrics.com/blog/family-reunion-dress-sew-along/  There was only so much good instructions could do for me though and my dress has some pretty major flaws.

1. Sewing curves is much harder than in would seem. Let's not talk about how many times I had to unpick that front plaquet and the neck facing. 

2. My fabric was a bit slippery and that presented an extra challenge in getting the seams straight.

3. At the end I found out that the buttonhole function on my machine is kaput. No way was I going to manually make all those button holes so I decided to put snaps on the back instead. I think it is much better that way, actually. 

4. When it was all said and done, the back did not line up perfectly but that was my fault and and no one else's.

 

This is the way I learn though. Jumping right in on the things I want to do. If I had to work my way through tons of simple and boring projects I would lose interest long before I made it to this level. i am a lady with little to no patience. 

I do think my tucks turned out wonderfully though! Straight lines forevah!!!  I will make this dress again and I can't wait to incorporate what I learned the first time around. 

Caroline loves it. 

Next up I am making a skirt for myself. Simplicity 2052. Still no curtains. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

And then she was 3

When I woke up this morning, the baby that I so recently cuddled in my arms and nursed at my breast was suddenly a little girl. She was running and laughing and telling full, elaborate stories. I had to take a minute to remember every step along the way. It wasn't yesterday that she was first placed into my arms, it was 3 years ago. It seems such a short time and yet so long at the same time. We will celebrate extra today, but really every day that we have had her has been a celebration.