Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Introducing Video Game!

In the delivery room
Our newest (and last) addition is here! His blog name is Video Game. His oldest sister thought that should be his real name "because he's a boy and boys like video games." 
Meeting the family
He came four days late. I was scheduled for an induction but went into labor on my own the night before. Labor and delivery was the easiest I've ever had. We did have the little snag of me passing out, but it wasn't scary this time like it was with Blue Eyes.
Coming home from the hospital
Video Game was 21 inches long and a pleasant 8 lbs 5 ounces. We expected him to weigh at least a pound more than that, so his weight was a happy surprise.
First Halloween costume
He has been very alert and observant since his first hour of life.  He's a really chill baby,though I would be lying if I said he doesn't have a voice of complaint. That is mostly saved for when I don't feed him fast enough. With three other kids sometimes he just has to wait.
Smiley boy
His brother and sisters adore him, as do his parents. And everyone else. I love seeing him smile. I can't wait until he starts laughing. Baby laughs are contagious!
He likes looking at the lights on the tree
I haven't done a lick of sewing since was born, though I did crochet him a viking hat. He doesn't scream when I put it on him. That's always a good thing. I've been enjoying just soaking him up.
Everyone should have a hat like this
We ended up blessing him earlier than we planned so I asked my mom to sew him a blessing outfit. She stepped up to the plate in spectacular fashion with this little tuxedo. I love it so much.
We're fortunate to have this little guy in our family. I thought Q-ball would be really jealous but he's been doing pretty well. I'm a lucky mom. Now excuse me while I go nibble on his little cheeks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What I've Been Up To or, The Photo Dump of Many Projects

I've been neglecting this blog. I may have been inactive here, but I certainly have not been idle. For anyone who cares, I now present several pictures and words about what I've been doing the past almost 3 months.

Getting Ready for School

Blue Eyes started first grade at the end of August. The school sent home a Summer Stay Sharp packet that included things to be done to keep up reading and math skills. Completing the packet then got the student a prize. I have no idea how I got the idea that the prize was a costume party, but I did. Blue Eyes really, really wanted to be a mermaid and, because I am a sucker and because she worked so hard, I complied with her request. I did this with the full knowledge (and purchase of fabric and pattern) that the plan was for Blue Eyes to be a "vampire girl" for Halloween. Turns out the prize was an ice cream party. So now she's decided to wear fangs and be a vampire mermaid queen for Halloween. Works for me. The costume is finished, I just haven't taken the pictures yet. She wore it to a costume birthday party and I need to fix where the fins were too long and ripped.

True love is using a toy teacup and gold paint pen to make scales on the tail portion of a costume. I took the picture at the point where I had decided I'd made a mistake in adding scales. Yes, I even took the center front and back into account.
The next project didn't take long. I saw chocolate apples at See's when we were there and decided they would be a nice little gift for my daughter's teachers. I added a little note to go with them. I figured that meant I had filled my cute and creative quota for the year.

Broken Nose

The Pink Blur lives up to her nickname, but not always to her advantage. One Saturday in August she ran through the house in her flip flops and took a header into my bed. I was in my room cleaning out my closet and saw her go down, though I didn't see whether it was into my bed frame or box springs. Either way, the screaming was immediate and the bleeding was so strong ans fast that it came out both her nose and mouth. No fun. We took a useless trip to the ER only to be told that, since she hadn't lost consciousness, we just needed to go to an ENT in a few days after the swelling had gone down. Two appointments later we knew for sure her nose had indeed broken and needed to be straightened in same day surgery. The entire process from accident to surgery to getting rid of the nose split took two weeks. And a buttload of money. With just that we've met more than half of our family deductible for medical insurance.
Waiting to go in for surgery. I have spared the internet the pictures of the bruising and the splint she wore for five days after the surgery.

First School Project

Blue Eyes's class learned about habitats and they were assigned to choose one and make a diorama including land formations, plants, and animal life found in that habitat. Blue Eyes chose underground and insisted that moles needed to be one of the animals. Because it's so easy to find ready-made moles that can fit into a shoe box diorama. The project would have been so much easier to do if I hadn't included Blue Eyes in the construction of the diorama. She would have preferred to be more involved. She also wanted the moles to chase the earthworms in a flying race. So...there was quite a bit of it I did myself. It was time consuming. These little guys were created from part of a maribou boa that was stitched together and the fluff trimmed down, pink beads glued together for the nose, and the hands and feet of a dollar store skeleton.

The earthworms and grubs also came from the dollar store. They were made from rope candy which smelled like death.

Missionary Suitcase

It's hard to know where to start on this. It was a big project made with lots of love and the experience ended with a reaffirmation of the love of God for each of us. I wrote about it in detail on my personal blog but I haven't decided yet whether or not to share it here. Here's the long story short: In early September I heard about a project to fill up a suitcase for a prospective missionary who would not be able to get those things together on their own. I had a lot of help in getting ready for my mission and felt the need to pay it forward. I did so by making the clothing and asking friends and family for an contributions they could make so I could afford to get everything that needed to go in the suitcase. Below are the fruits of my labors.
The tops. The two in the middle are from the same pattern. I totally love it.

The skirts. The picture is fuzzy but they are pretty basic. The black and olive skirts on the left are flared, the black and blue skirts on the right are straight. All but the blue skirt use buttonhole elastic to make an adjustable waist. I can't fit someone I'll never meet.

Accessory shrug and dress. I really love the dress fabric and I'll probably make a skirt for myself out of the scraps.

After dropping off the suitcase we met one of the organizers of Eyes4Zimbabwe. And it was awesome.

Gestating
Taken at 39 weeks along
I'm in the final days of pregnancy with baby #4, who will be called Video Game. Did I ever mention his blog name? Well, it's Video Game and his sisters came up with it. Anyhow, the last bit of pregnancy is always a bit super-ultra tiring and sewing isn't high on my priority list. I did make two maternity/nursing tops from the same pattern that I anticipate using more after Video Game is born.

At a girls' night with some high school buddies. The striped shirt is one of the two I made. I ran out of fabric to make the sleeves as long as I wanted so I added green ones to give it a layered look.
I'm trying to fill my remaining time with things I won't be able to do after I deliver. Tonight is a date night with the hubby including a trip to the temple and dinner. Tomorrow is a dinner at church with the ladies there. The doctor will be stripping my membranes the day after that, so hopefully Friday night is baby time. We'll see. This kid doesn't seem too anxious to leave his little apartment.
The photo op at the pumpkin patch was too good to pass up. The kids had a blast too.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Winning and Not Winning

Today was results day for Challenge Create.  I didn't win but Kara, who sent me the fabric I used, did! She did an amazing job with the fabric she received and she'll be moving on to a final round of all the winners from the previous weeks.  Make sure to go over to Skirt Fixation and vote for your favorite.  While I didn't win the contest, I DO get to keep the cute outfit I made and the adorable birthday girl who wears it.  I count that as a win any day!
Blurry but great picture.  I just wish I'd gotten a shot of her when she first saw the bike.  Best. Birthday face. EVER!
In other winning news, I was lucky enough to have my name drawn in a giveaway for a ticket to The Sewing Party.  Thanks to Rach from Family Ever After and to The Sewing Party!  It's a good thing the ticket comes with 90 days of access because I'll be plenty busy with Video Game (that's the new baby's blog name; I'll share the story later) by that time.  I'm excited to learn new things and "meet" new people.  Have a great day, we're off to Blue Eye's birthday party!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Voting Day!

Today is voting day over on Skirt Fixation!  Voting goes until Sunday, I believe, and then the winner is announced on Monday.  Results day is Blue Eyes's birthday and she's super excited to see how her outfit does in the contest.  So go vote (scroll to the bottom of the post until you get to the voting section) and show some love to your favorite entry!
Blue Eyes says, "Vote for me!"

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Few of Her Favorite Things or, My Entry for the Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition!

It's time for Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition!!!  There have been some great projects the past four weeks and I'm sure this week will not disappoint.  I've been most excited for this week because it's finally my turn and because I can't wait to see what Terri made with the fabric I sent to her.  When I saw the themes I immediately chose the Mystery Fabric week.  Really, what's more fun and creatively stimulating than complete and total surprise?

My fabric came from Kara at Sweeter Than It Seams.  She sent me a yard each of two cotton prints, along with a note saying she thought it could be a cute summer theme.  She was right.  I’d originally planned on making something for myself.  The problem is that anything I make now can only be used for the next three months before baby comes.  It worked out perfectly though, because the light red background on the chair fabric is Blue Eyes's very favorite color and it begged to be made into something for her.

I rarely work with quilting cotton so it was quite a challenge to decide what to make.  After many hours of internal debate I settled on the free Brooklyn Frock from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop and let loose with the alterations!  I shortened the dress into a top, angled out the sides a bit for a little extra fullness, shortened the sleeves, scaled down the pocket size to fit the new length, and added a second pocket.  Whoo!  My favorite addition, however, was the piping.  It added such a fun pop of yellow and I think it really helped tie the other fabrics together.

Blue Eyes's birthday falls on the day the results for this week's challenge will be announced.  It only made sense to have her help choose several design elements.  She selected the buttons and made a couple of design changes on the purse.  The shopping trip was a bit of a fiasco because I took all three kids to the fabric store.  By myself.  To select buttons.  Sigh.  I know better than that.  Anyway, after many bribes, threats, and replacing of scattered button cards, we came away with a package of small ladybug buttons and another of gold and silver stars.  That was narrowed down from her original nine choices.  Blue Eye's three favorite colors are red, black, and gold so I think we did well.  I wasn't satisfied with the ladybugs in their original state.  A quick dab of black nail polish made a real improvement on these buttons.  The gold buttons also got nail polish.  Upon returning home I noticed that little bits of glitter came off on my finger when I touched the star buttons.  Two coats of clear nail polish fixed that little problem.
I really do prefer my ladybugs with black heads
The pattern suggests sewing together the open edges of bias tape to create button loops.  The buttons are so small that bias tape loops would have been ineffective. Instead I used colored hair elastics from the dollar store.  I got the idea for that from Sue at A Colorful Canvas.  It's a brilliant idea, though I wouldn't recommend it on this top.  Using hair elastics in a facing is one thing, but sandwiching it into the bias tape and then topstitching on the other side to reinforce and get the loops to lay flat is another thing altogether.  The bumps in the elastic made my topstitching go wonky.  At least it's not that noticeable when it's on her body and that's what really matters.

My original plan was to make shorts out of the swap fabric, using the rest of the blue as the main fabric.  Despite searching through paper, PDF, and self-drafted patterns, I just couldn’t find anything I wanted to pair with the top. I almost decided on a pair of sailor shorts but it just felt too busy when I pictured it in my head.  The top is a really strong piece and I didn't want to distract from it.  Instead I pulled out some white jersey I had on hand and made up a pair of Go To Leggings. Had I known before I made the top that I would make leggings for the bottoms, I would have made the top a few inches longer.  The leggings are fairly loose and she's just turning six, so no biggie.  I think the leggings give it just the right touch.
LOVE the back of these leggings!
A quick shopping trip in my mom’s fabric stash produced the red knit I used to trim the hem and peek-a-boo hole.  I called asking her for a solid red knit.  When I showed her what we were matching she immediately pulled out the fabric you see on the leggings and it was an amazing match!  I could have used the red solid for the bows in back but I really wanted to incorporate the swap fabrics. I used the smallest and largest size bows included in the pattern to make a double layered bow, then used the red knit for the center. I can hardly handle the cute.  Blue Eyes says the leggings are boring because there's nothing on the front.  She also wanted three more pockets on the top so I take that little comment with a grain of salt.
FYI, she's holding a dead butterfly in her right hand and a live ladybug in her left fist.  It's dead now too.
In addition to the challenge of using the mystery fabrics, I also challenged myself to use as much of the swap fabrics as possible.  To accomplish that I printed up the Free Child’s Ruffled Purse Pattern from Create Kids Couture.  The bag echoes the top with the added piping and the buttons.  I moved the bottom ruffle down a bit so the buttons can actually be seen.  At Blue Eyes’s request I added a button and loop closure to the opening, as well as “side pockets like the diaper bag!”  I was getting ready to attach the lining to the body of the purse when those requests came in.  Being the sucker loving mother I am, I complied with her requests and made side pockets and a closure.  The star buttons were also problematic.  I'd used all the gold buttons from the original package on the shirt and only had silver buttons left over.  I really wanted the purse buttons to match the ones on the shirt.  Rather than go buy more buttons, I busted out my glitter toes set and turned them gold.  Now the purse is just what she wants. I'm so glad she loves the whole thing.

Most of the pictures you see above were taken at the school Blue Eyes attends.  They use uniforms so I'm pretty sure that will be the first and last time she wears her favorite things outfit there.  Blue Eyes was far more interested in finding bugs than in posing for the camera.

We also went to the local children's museum that recently opened and I figured I'd get in a few decent shots there.  For your amusement, I give you a sample of what I got at the museum. They were pretty much all like this.
Love my silly girl!
Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to vote for your favorite Mystery Week project on Friday and/or add your own favorite project from 2014 to the Sew Along (bottom of this post).  I had a great time and I'm happy I had the opportunity.  Thanks, Skirt Fixation!

Monday, July 28, 2014

What I WOULD Have Sewn Along

Tomorrow is the start of the Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition theme I am competing in, Mystery Week!  There has been a sew along for each week.  I really wanted to sew along with all the themes but you know, life happens.  Between preparing to have our house appraised, finishing the altar cloth, and just the general blech-ness of entering the third trimester of pregnancy, I haven't done any sewing beyond completing my challenge project, which will be revealed on Wednesday.  The sew along for this week of the challenge is different.  This time the sew along is for the one favorite thing you've made in 2014.  It was fun to look through this year's projects and decide what I would link up.  Because I am a contestant this week I am also a judge for the sew along.  So I probably shouldn't enter.  :)  But what I CAN do is show what I decided on. It's also given me a good chance to go back and fix the posts with the magically disappearing pictures.  You can enter your own favorite creations by linking up at the bottom of this post.

It was a toss up.  I really, REALLY love my red jeans.  Oddly enough, I never blogged about them.  They (used to) fit me perfectly and I just adore the red.  I don't have a current picture in them because they don't fit my beautifully bloated body right now.  Maybe before the new year...if I'm lucky.  I've gotten comments that they should be made into skinnies, but I don't like the feel of skinny jeans.  Straight leg is the skinniest I'll go with pants for myself.  Here they are, pictured with a top I refashioned this year:
I usually choose a white ribbon for my waist.
As wonderful as those jeans are, my favorite was the Little White Dress.  It stands out as my favorite because it is such a distinctive piece and because the construction was so interesting.  I don't have much occasion to wear the dress.  I hope to wear it to church when I'm done nursing.  Actually, I hope for it to be too big when I'm done nursing but it's not something I'm too concerned about.
It was fun to make a changeable panel for it and to add a fascinator.  I would love to make this dress in another color and probably add a couple more inches to the length so I feel more comfortable sitting in it.
The project I most look forward to next year is making something from the same fabric as the purple panel and fascinator.  That purple makes me happy just looking at it.  I can't wait to make something great out of it and put it on my body.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Altar Cloth

This should be my last in this string of posts that doesn't show something I've sewn.  This post is about a project, just not one that required the use of a sewing machine.  As today is Pioneer Day, I thought this was appropriate.

For the past 18 months or so I have been working on a crochet project.  It is an altar cloth for the temple being built close to my home.  This project has been a labor of love, a source of learning far beyond what I imagined, and my own special offering to the Lord.
View of a long and short edge prior to blocking
My family history is full of men and women who gave their all for what they believe.  Whether it was the pilgrims who came on the Mayflower or the pioneers who crossed the plains into unsettled territory, I have a heritage rich with individuals and families who were willing to sacrifice everything to do what the Lord wanted and for the free exercise of their religion.  They inspire me.
Closeup of the motifs
When the Relief Society President first announced that there was a call for altar cloths to be used in the temple being built just down the road, I jumped at the chance.  I'd been hoping to make something for the temple. Part of me just wanted to have some of my handiwork displayed and used in a such a beautiful, sacred place.  Mostly I wanted to channel my inner pioneer woman and take the opportunity to give a part of myself to the effort of building the temple, just as my ancestors had done.  I wasn't particularly experienced with crochet but I figured I was up for the challenge.  And challenge it was.

In the process of blocking
After looking at approved patterns, I chose the one that looked the most like something on my skill level and went to work.  The learning curve was a steep one.  I understood the abbreviations for stitches and other directions but I was still confused quite a bit at the beginning.  As I made the first few motifs I decided the instructions were stupid and that I knew better than what was printed on the page.  I was mistaken.  The first several motifs had to be pulled out and reworked or simply abandoned altogether.  Only with careful study of the pattern was I able to produce the intended design.  Just as the scriptures and the prophets lay out a pattern for us to have happiness in this life and exaltation in the eternities, so did the crochet pattern spell out what needed to be done in order to achieve a beautiful and usable finished altar cloth.  Deviating from that pattern only brought frustration.  Every time I skipped a step or made some other mistake I had to pull out the offending stitches and start again.  It was a strong reminder of the atonement, that even though we make mistakes or do something contrary to what is right we can change things, start again, and continue on the path as directed.  Even as I worked I knew the finished product would not be perfect (the learning process is evident to me in the difference in thread tension I used as I went) but that, by fixing my mistakes, I could make it flawless.
Detail of finished cloth and of the first (and very flawed) motif I made.  I kept it to remind myself how important it is to follow the directions.
Once I became familiar enough with the pattern and had repeated the motifs sufficiently that I didn't need to consult the pattern for every stitch, I still made careless mistakes.  Often.  Most of the time these mistakes were things that no one would ever notice and that even I didn't notice until I had worked another full round of the motif.  There was a great amount of temptation to simply keep going, knowing the mistake would be invisible.  But I couldn't.  While no one else would ever know, I would be keenly aware that I hadn't given my best.  And if I wasn't going to do my best it wasn't an offering I wanted to make to the Lord for His house.  My husband can attest to the many times I made the same silly mistake and had to pull out my work to fix it.  Now that the cloth is finished I know all the extra fixing to make it as well as I could was worth it. I can look at it and know I gave the best that was in me.
Finished and blocked
The altar cloth is now washed, blocked, and lovingly wrapped in fabric to protect it until I can hand it off to be of use in the temple.  I look forward to participating in temple work and, hopefully, seeing the cloth I made gracing an altar and adding beauty to the room.  The experience has been an emotional one, as I truly have felt a part of the legacy I have inherited.  In the past few days I have felt I was paying tribute to them while I worked at making a gift for the temple.  I am truly blessed.