Almost Better Than A Cup of Coffee in the Morning (But Not Quite)


Saturday morning I got the best gift a girl could get...three uninterrupted hours of sewing (thanks to a very nice husband and cooperative toddler).  I spent that time cutting out and sewing up Ella's Bubble Bottom Skirt from Patterns By Figgys.  

You gotta love a skirt that you can sew up in a morning.  Especially when it comes out this cute!

The Topless Versions

Hey, when you look this good
you don't have to wear a shirt! 

I've never made a bubble skirt before so I don't know how you typically construct one, but I know that the elastic waist on this skirt was different than a "typical" elastic waist and I love the way it came out.  

I made the 18 month size and despite the fact that Baby O will be be 18 months in a couple days it seems a bit big for her, but hopefully that means that it'll still fit her when summer comes around because I don't think we'll be having skirt-weather for much longer.  

In the mean time, it appears to be the perfect outfit for gardening.

Blogger's Quilt Festival


First of all, many, many thanks to Amy's Creative Side for putting on the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

It's such a great idea and I love that she encourages both new and more experienced quilters to show off a quilt that they love.  Amy, thanks so much for taking the time to put this on.  Now click on over to Amy's site so you can see all the beautiful quilts made by other fantastic quilters.

My favorite quilt is not a particularly intricate or complicated quilt (because, let's face it, I'm a quasi-newbie quilter who's still working on the basics), but it's still my favorite all the same.

I have a love affair with log cabin blocks.  There's something so soothing about just going around and around and around and seeing all the patterns and colors come together.  I love the process so much that I refuse to interrupt it by stopping to measure each piece before sewing it on (heresy!), so my blocks tend to come out a bit wonky but I love them all the same.

This quilt was made for my daughter.  It's big enough to fit a twin bed and as I was going around and around with each log cabin I thought about how I'll put it on her bed when she outgrows  her crib, and how it'll stay on her bed as she grows up in our home, and how maybe, one day, she'll pack it up and take it off to college with her.

My compliments to IKEA for the backing fabric
I tend to be more of a product-focused crafter, but thinking about what her life holds for her truly made me enjoy the process of creating this quilt and it made me love this quilt even more.

* Now just watch, she's going to grow up and want a Justin Beiber quilt on her bed!

Pumpkin Risotto


I will be the first to admit it...I am no chef.  In fact, about once a month I bake something and end up getting baking soda and baking powder mixed up (damn them for having such similar names!).  That said, I did come up with a very basic, yet delicious creation this evening...pumpkin risotto.  Yum!

Pumpkin Risotto

About 5 cups broth (I used vegetable broth)
1 Tbl. butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 c. arborio rice
1/2  c. white wine
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c. whipping cream
1 can of pureed pumpkin

Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and saute until the onions are tender.
Add the rice and stir for about 1 minute.
Add the wine and cook until the wine is absorbed, stirring often.
Add the rosemary and 1/2 c. of broth.  Stir often until the liquid is absorbed.
Once the liquid is absorbed continue to add broth, 1/2 c. at a time.  Remember to keep stirring.
Continue to do this until the rice is tender and the mixture is creamy (I think it takes about 20 minutes or so).
Add the can of pumpkin and stir until it's absorbed evenly throughout the risotto.
Stir in the cream and parmesan cheese.
Season to taste with salt and pepper if you'd like.
Eat it up because it's delicious!

On a side note, I know I've mentioned before that my mom is utterly blunt.  Here's the latest example of my mom not using her social nicieties filter.

I was talking to her on the phone the other night, telling her about the risotto, and here's how the conversation went:

Me: I just made some pumpkin risotto.  It was delicious.
Her: How did you get the pieces of pumpkin to stay together in the risotto?
Me: Oh, I just used canned pumpkin.
Her: Canned pumpkin.  Oh, that's sounds terrible!  I wouldn't want to eat that.
Me: (Silence)  Um, okay.

And for the record, I do love my mom very much...

At Last


This is a bit embarrassing but it's taken me one year to put the buttonholes and buttons on this little coat (that's right - one year, twelve months, three hundred and sixty-five long days!).

The good news though is that I finally got it done and it still fits her...whew!  It's probably a good thing that it was big on her in the first place.

But let's give credit where credit is due...the pattern is the Little Uptown Girl jacket pattern by Make It Perfect (I bought mine from Sew Baby).  It's designed to be made with two cotton fabrics so that the coat is reversible, but I'm all about practicality so I lined mine with fleece to make it warmer.

The pattern is clear, well-written, and amazingly simple to put together.  I'm thinking about making another one with water proof fabric on the outside so that she can wear it as a raincoat.

(Do you think I should make the next one to fit a 3 year old in case it takes me another year to sew the buttons on?)

Mission Accomplished (For The Most Part)


The Front
The Back

It's quilted, bound, washed, and ready to be wrapped for Christmas.  Woo-hoo!  

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out except for two little issues.  I was planning on it being larger but due to a slight mathematical miscalculation on my part, it ended up only being 45 by 45.  Is that too small for a lap quilt?  I just have this fear that my mom is going to open it up and say "it's beautiful BUT why is it so small?"  (God help her if she does ask that!!!)

The other issue is that I am awful at sewing the corners of the binding.  I've taken a class, read books, watched youtube videos, and they still come out looking all crazy.  Uggh!

And while I love making things for people, this is also why I hate making things for people.  I can overlook crazy corners, but I always worry that other people won't be able to.  And I can overlook a quilt that is a tad bit too small, but what if they can't?  They can suck it!  (that's the Christmas spirit)

Many thanks to Amy's Creative Side for hosting the One Thing, One Week Quilt Challenge.  I can't wait to see what other people have accomplished!

There's A Hole in My Pants, Dear Liza, Dear Liza


I'm a firm believer in spending money on good quality products that will last a long time.

Kitchen knives.  Spend the extra dough.
Fine chocolate.  Pay up.  (okay, chocolate doesn't last a long time, but still it's totally worth the extra money!)
Good jeans.  Break out the wallet.

I know, I know.  Jeans may seem like a frivolous thing to spend money on, but I rather spend extra money on one good quality pair of jeans that accentuates all the positives and hides all the negatives, than spend small amounts of money on many pairs of jeans that just don't seem to fit right.

And spend money I did...on some ridiculously expensive pair of Citizens Of Humanity jeans that I have loved since the day that I got them many years ago.

Sadly, I learned this weekend that no matter how much money you spend on a pair of jeans, at some point they all die.

So long fair jeans.  You've been so good to me.

I'm Taking The Challenge (Cue Rocky Theme Song)


When I saw the One Thing, One Week Challenge over at Amy's Creative Side I couldn't pass up an opportunity for a little extra motivation to finish a project.  As I looked around at the many, many projects that need finishing, I decided on this one.

My Mom's Quilt
It's been laid out and pinned and just needs to be quilted and bound.  I realize that it doesn't sound like a lot to do in a week and in my P.B. (pre-baby) life I probably could have finished it in a day or two.  But considering that my P.B. life is nothing but a distant memory and I'm starting a new job this week with a longer commute, I'll be lucky to get this done.

But if I do that means that I'll have finished a Christmas present two months early - and that, my friend, would be a Christmas miracle!

From Smart to Not-So-Smart and Back Again


Sometimes I think I am so smart...and then something happens to remind me that apparently I'm not that smart after all.

Take this hat for example.

I know it's no feat of amazing engineering, but I knit it for Baby O without a pattern.
So smart, right?
But then while I was blocking it, I saw this.

A dropped stitch all the way down the hat.
Can't see it?  How about now?

Oops.  See I told you, not that smart.

But then I whipped out my yarn and darning needle.  Put the yarn through the loop and weaved both sides of the yarn in, making the hat better than new.

Whew.  I'm smart again!

*My compliments to the Vogue Stitchionary 2 for providing the cable pattern.  And to Renaissance Yarns for providing the lovely yarn (Spud and Chloe in the worsted weight).  And to Baby O for providing the inspiration - even if she is the world's most annoying model!*

Breaking and Entering


Yesterday I snuck into an empty own.

It was my last day of work at my job and I managed to get off two hours early.  All I could think about was how wonderful two hours all to myself would be.  The only problem is that my babysitter lives next door and I had this fear that she would catch me sneaking home.  And then she would wonder why I wasn't coming over early to pick up Baby O.

So, I conducted Operation Breaking and Entering.   I drove down a different road so I wouldn't have to pass her house.  I kept an eye out for her, her children, or her car.  And I closed the garage quickly in the off chance that she might drive by.

I'm happy to report that Operation Breaking and Entering was a success...and that I thoroughly enjoyed those two glorious hours all to myself.

Haiku Friday

running, running away
mommy chasing after me
that's gonna hurt.  bonk!

The Pumpkin Patch


After spending most of last weekend with my buttocks firmly planted on the couch cushions, it was so nice to have a weekend where I was actually able to get some things done.

Trip to IKEA.  Check.

Stop at a lovely local quilt shop.  Check.

Excursion to a very muddy pumpkin patch.  Check.

We took advantage of the two rain-free hours on Sunday to head down to the local pumpkin patch (can I tell you how much I love that we have a local pumpkin patch?).  Baby O has been obsessed with the color orange and word "pumpkin" so needless to say she was very excited to see a whole field of bright orange pumpkins.  Right off the bat she picked out her own little pumpkin and was determined to carry it around the entire pumpkin patch.

That is, until she fell and her pumpkin got dirty.  Then she wanted nothing else to do with it (and she kept asking me for a "wipe" to clean it off...I don't know where she gets her desire to clean from...definitely not from me!).

All in all, it was a lovely trip to the pumpkin patch, filled with mud

 wheel barrels of pumpkins

Get me out of this wheel barrel!

and the quest to find the most perfect pumpkin there ever was.

Until next year.

Another Developmental Milestone


Baby O reached another developmental milestone today.

Age at which she built her first IKEA furniture: 17 months

Premature Comfortulation


Two weeks ago we broke out the down comforter.

It looks so comfy (and wrinkled)
Apparently we broke it out a bit prematurely.  We've been sweating under it ever since.

The other night in a haze of sleep I saw my husband get out of bed, bend over the mattress, and then get back in bed.
I thought nothing of it until he told me the next day that he had been sweating so much in his sleep that he thought that he might have peed in the bed...and he was smelling the mattress to make sure it wasn't urine.
I swear, sometimes I don't know why I married this man.

(And then he brings me home a pint of my favorite ice cream and it all becomes clear again)

*My husband would like to make sure that I clarify that he in fact did not pee in the bed

Letter to Myself


Inspired by Melissa at DearBabyBlog, I've created a list of what my now (older and wiser) self would tell my then (very pregnant) self.

Dear Then-Self,

Stop stressing about labor.  Labor is the first ten feet.  Life with your child is the rest of the marathon.

Cut yourself some slack.  No really.  Cut yourself some slack.  Ten years of working with kids is not equivalent to having a kid and you shouldn't expect yourself to know it all or do it all.  Or to be happy about it all.

Stop comparing yourself to other people.  Sure they may be thrilled with their new bundle of joy, but it's okay if you feel anxious and slightly terrified.  It's even okay if, in the middle of the night, you whisper to yourself "dear God, what have I done?"

This too shall pass.  Just when you thing you can't live another hour, another minute, another second with whatever the latest issue is, your baby will change and the problem will completely disappear.  And then a new one will come along.  With time, that one will pass too.

Don't worry.  I'm pretty sure you can't screw your child up in the first week.

Go out now!  Go to dinner.  Go to the movies.  Go on a trip.  Stay up all night.  Sleep in all morning.  Read a book for hours.  Catch up with all your friends.  Snuggle with your significant other.  Revel in the amount of "me" time that you have.

Be amazed.  You will be able to do things that you never thought possible.  Create a life.  Sustain a life.  Find joy in baby burps and bowel movements.  And you'll do it all while operating on four hours of interrupted sleep.


P.S. Good luck (you're going to need it!)

Haiku Friday

Luscious hand knit hat
Diligently made with love
Get this off my head!

A Quilt for My Mom


If you've ever met my mom you know that she is nearly an impossible person to shop for...mainly because she does not even try to hide her dislike of a present that you bought for her.  I can remember being in 6th grade and picking out what I thought was a very nice shirt for a Mother's Day present.  I remember watching her open it and then hearing her say "Oh, I don't wear that material."  And there have been many other comments like that.

"Oh, that's not my color."
"Oh, I already have one of those."
"Oh, that doesn't match my furniture."

While it used to drive me crazy, I've made my peace with it (and now I always include a gift receipt with her presents).

On the upside, my mom is one of the only people in my family who truly appreciate handmade items.  I made my dad a pair of socks once and the first thing he said was "these are too big."  I knit my sister a dress for her new baby and four years later she found it at the bottom of some drawer.  My mom though looks at handmade items and calls them "works of art."  She can see all the work that goes into each cut, each stitch, each piece, and for that I love her.

That said, I've given up on buying her a "regular" Christmas present this year and I've decided to make her a quilt instead.  It was going to be a surprise but since she has definite likes and dislikes, I told her about my intentions last week and asked what colors she would like (I am NOT going to spend all this time working on a quilt only to have her tell me "Oh, that doesn't really go with anything in my house.")  So, in an attempt to be on the ball I've purchased all the fabric and have begun to work on the squares.

The many, many squares.
each one made with love
Here's to getting it done before Christmas!

Oh Well.


We had many great plans for this weekend.

Hit the pumpkin patch.
Mow the lawn.
Go to the quilting store.
Buy groceries.
Clean the house (as always).

Unfortunately, all that was scrapped.  The husband came down with a stomach virus Friday afternoon and spent all day Saturday laying on the couch.  Then I proceeded to come down with the same virus on Saturday evening and spent all day Sunday laying on the couch.  Needless to say NOTHING got done around here this weekend!  Unless you count my one accomplishment - making a permanent indent of my buttocks on the couch.

my one successful project
So I've taken the day off of work today to continue to recuperate and, when I'm feeling up to it, hopefully getting a few little things done around here.

Haiku Friday


Dearest Jane Fonda
Eat Your  heart out, my friend
This baby’s got style.