9.22.2014

Monday Meanderings

I'm this close to finishing the newborn gown pattern I've been working on.

newborn gown

I've learned that pattern making is no joke! (Not that I'd call myself a 'pattern maker'... at all! ) Initially, I thought it would be as easy as scanning in the pattern I self-drafted and calling it a day.  But I knew I needed to sew the pattern a few more times, just to be sure everything consistently came together perfectly.

newborn gown

Maybe it's because I'm working with knits but it didn't.  So it was back to the drawing board, literally and figuratively.  There were definitely a few moments when I was ready to raise my white flag and scrap the whole project.  But after a couple more tries and a few tweaks here and there and I finally have a pattern I'm really happy with.

baby hazel

After putting so much work into it,  I decided I wanted to digitize the pattern.  And, maybe it's because I'm a newbie, but that's a whole other headache of its own.  It's probably one of those things that's particularly difficult the first time through and then gets easier?  I'm just not sure.

hazel baby 

But this is all to say I am close- very, very close- to having the pattern ready.  I'm pretty excited about that!

happy hazey 

Hazel is 6 weeks old today.  It's hard to believe she's that 'old' already and yet also hard to imagine life without her. Time is weird like that, right?

baby hazel baby hazel 

She's definitely transitioning from scrawny newborn to chunky cherub.

newborn gown 

When we make eye contact with her and smile, she smiles back.  She also coos which is ah-dorable.  We've even heard a teeny tiny giggle.

sisters

Anytime she's not being doted upon or held, she cries.  Indigo likes to say to her "How dare we set you down!" in her best sing-songy, mini-mama voice.

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But never fear, you won't hear much crying here.  She hardly ever gets set down.  Hazel has her siblings and me at her beck and call.

my fab four my fab four

Oh, and definitely him, too.  :)

sleepy days

9.14.2014

A Linen Geranium Tunic

I had planned to make this Geranium tunic for Iris as part of a 'first day of (pre)school' outfit.

Geranium Tunic 

But that felt way too predictable.   Why not switch things up and instead make a Third Week of School Tunic?

Geranium Tunic

Or.   Truthfully.  I started working on this before Hazel was born and am just getting it done now.

geranium tunic

It came together in incremental steps completed over time. "Gather skirt."  "Sew buttonholes."  "Press hem."

Geranium Tunic

I wasn't going to win any contests for speed, but the only way to finish was by going the way of the tortoise instead of the hare.  I found myself feeling satisfied with these small accomplishments, even if pre-baby I would have sewn this top in one sitting.

geranium tunic 

Dan and I joke that at this stage, some days it feels like the boat's taking on water.  We were saying how each time we've added to our family, whether it was our first child or our fifth, it always feels like this for awhile.  So for now, setting small goals is where it's at.

baby hazel 

I may not have finished the top in time for Iris' first day of school but I did get it done.  And right now I'm happy with that.

Geranium Tunic 

Iris and Tia are both loving school so much and I'm so thankful.  I wondered how Iris would do.  I was ready to keep her home with me if it was stressful for her at all.

But, she absolutely loves it!  Every Tuesday and Thursday over lunch, we get to hear all about her morning adventures with her six classmates led by teacher extraordinaire "Micky Dickysat!" (or Mrs. Dickinson for those who don't speak almost-three-year-old).

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  Iris is a kid who does life with enthusiasm.

gloved
 Just hangin out.  With gloves on her hands and feet.

gloved gloved 

 Whether it's enjoying a rare rainy day

rainy day

(with some encouragement from her sister.)
  rainy day

Or sneaking into the garage to play salon with Tia, resulting in this asymmetrical haircut.

geranium tunic

Or getting into my lipstick.

yipstick

 Our Iris Lucia is a girl who loves life.

iris lucia


{I bought the linen for this Geranium tunic here.  I made the black and white striped leggings here.}

9.08.2014

A Velveteen/Linen Blend Quilt and 'Hazel' on a Canvas

We started homeschooling again last week.  With Hazel 'waking up' and starting to get quite fussy, let's just say things were pretty intense, even with Iris in preschool two mornings a week and Tia in half-day kindergarten.

hazel and me

It's been awhile since I've had kids in preschool, so I may have gotten a little carried away in my daydreaming (romanticizing, really) about how things were going to go.

hazel

I had visions of nursing the baby on the couch while coaching my two big kids through math in a quiet house.  I went so far as to envision cutting out a pattern or two while the baby peacefully slept and Jude and Indigo diligently worked, breaking their concentration only to sharpen their pencils.

ind and hazel

Yeah.   It went nothing at all like that.

ind and hazel 

 The truth is, though, if there's one thing I've learned from being a parent it's that everything goes so much better when we make our way through our days without expectations, allowing things to unfold as they will.  I was dreaming more than expecting.

biggest-littlest biggest-littlest biggest-littlest
biggest-littlest

And speaking of things I was not expecting, I was so thrilled/surprised/grateful to receive this, Hazel's name embroidered and sewn onto a canvas, by the amazing and talented Lucinda!

'hazel' by lucinda :) 

Isn't it so cool (and special)?  Lucinda is just the best!  Not only do I adore her style, but I also feel a special connection with her as we are both adoptive parents.  Thanks again, so much, Lucinda!

While I didn't do any sewing this week, I did want to share a project I finished before Hazel was born.  It just so happens to be one of my favorite things to give as a gift (and one of my favorite things, period) - a whole cloth velveteen quilt.

AMH velveteen quilt

This one went to my acupuncturist who had previously been my midwife when I was pregnant with both Indigo and Iris.  She retired from midwifery and started an acupuncturist practice at the hospital where my midwives practice.

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She only works with pregnant and postpartum women with the explicit desire to make acupuncture affordable to all women.  So she charges significantly less than the other acupuncturists in town and caps women's payments at 4 visits, so they never pay more than the cost of four sessions, even though she will continue to see them.  Isn't that amazing?

hand tied velveteen quilt 

Also she's the only acupuncturist in our area who carries the insurance to be able to do acupuncture for induction.  It's not an 'induction' in the Western medical sense of the word, but helps to get the body moving in the direction of labor.  Though as it turned out, she was able to get me into labor after several sessions... and bringing out the big guns - her electric stimulation machine.  It's actually the second time acupuncture with electric stim has put me into labor, where I literally started contracting on the table.  But both times I was 41 1/2 weeks pregnant and this time my midwife also did a (what Dan would call medieval) technique which also got things going, but I'll spare you the details on that one.

essex linen/velveteen quilt

I made this quilt even before my acupuncturist got me into labor, though, because I feel what she's doing is so incredible.

velveteen quilt - hand tied 

This is Anna Maria Horner's velveteen with this Kaufman Essex linen-cotton blend in Leathered as the backing.  I hand tied it with pearl cotton embroidery thread using a surgeon's knot  and then bound it using this zig-zag technique (which I love).

velveteen/linen essex quilt

8.31.2014

Another Newborn Gown with a (free) pattern to come

Do you remember how I mentioned I didn't do much sewing for Hazel during my pregnancy because when I sewed for Iris while pregnant nothing ended up fitting her?  Yet, despite the bad luck with fit, I decided to give these newborn gowns a try.  As it turned out, those gowns are way, way too big in the neckline, at least on my baby.  Here's Hazel in one.

too big newborn gown
wah wah

That gown was right out of the drier and I photographed her in it immediately.   It was only going to stretch out more from there.  Also, I forgot to add the seam allowance to this neckline so it's my smallest neckline of the three gowns I made from the pattern.   When we brought Hazel home from the hospital she was an absolutely tiny (at least in my world) 7 lbs 4 oz.  Then, I had hoped she'd grow into them.  Now she's a whopping 9 1/2 lbs.  Growing into them is not going to happen.

Nonetheless, Hazel has been living in newborn gowns.

newborn gown

They are easy and so convenient for diaper changes.  My pal Rachel from Stitched in Color is pregnant and suggested I create my own pattern.  She wanted to make a gown for her wee one on the way.

newborn gown 

And so I did.

newborn gown

I'm really happy with the way the pattern/gown turned out.  I'd like to make at least one more version and then I hope to make the pattern available for free.   Writing out tutorials takes me a really long time, so it may take me a month or so to make it all available.

newborn gown

Also, I tried out stretch thread for the first time.  I can't attest to how it will hold up long term, but so far, I really like it.  I mentioned here that I was having some trouble with my hems breaking but I thought stretch thread was expensive at $10/cone.  It turns out, it's much less expensive than I thought and I found it on sale here for $3.44/cone (2,000 yards).  It looks like the sale might end today, though.  I bought it in a few basic colors.  Shelley suggested buying a medium gray because it works well with so many other colors.  Brilliant, Shelley!

newborn gown

Hazel is doing so well and we are all pretty smitten with her. Of the kids, Indigo in particular is absolutely crazy about her.

sisters sisters

I like to call Indigo 'Mini-Mama' because she likes to swoop in and hold Hazel at every chance she can get.

hazel and indigo
hazel hazel indigo and hazel

I can't say I blame her.  I find her irresistible, too.

hazel

Dan says it's no wonder babies are called little bundles of joy, because they are exactly that - and such little bundles, too.

our bundle

Of course, that's not to say every moment is only joyous.  Hazel cries with gusto and when she's awake, she pretty much insists on being in-arms at all times, usually mine.  But, at least so far, she also sleeps with gusto.  This is unchartered territory for us, having a newborn who likes her sleep.  And I'll tell you, it makes things so much easier.