Radio Silence


Sorry for the radio silence around here lately.

We've been dealing with one sick little kid, who has developed two great super powers.

1) To throw mighty tantrums when she doesn't feel well.

2) To snore like a fifty year old man.

Here's to life returning to normal shortly.

Summer - Take 3


Nearly two years ago O was born and while I had grand plans to spend that summer going on long, leisurely walks with my baby I actually spent my summer going on very short walks, praying that we would get home before O would start screaming again. And while I thought that I was going to spend my maternity leave getting tons of projects done around the house, I actually spent my summer acting as a human pacifier (which, incidentally, was not conducive to getting stuff done around the house). 

And then there was last summer, where I had some high hopes of getting in some fun summer trips. Unfortuantely we learned the hard way that O is not so good at sleeping in a tent. We braved a camping trip only to have our one year old crawl around the tent until almost midnight and then proceed to scream every hour all throughout the night. Needless to say our two day camping trip was turned into a one day camping trip. 

And now we're thinking about this summer and I've once again donned my optimist cap because I am ridiculously excited about what we have planned for this summer.  A little excursion to the cutest little town on the Oregon coast. A week long stay at a lovely lake. A long weekend at some cabins on the penninsula. And another try at camping (which I could have passed on, but my husband insisted). I could not be more excited.

My Role


In every relationship there are roles that people play and in our little family my role is to complain before going to each in-law family function.  Now I should first point out that I have excellent in-laws.  They are kind, they are hilarious, and they have never made me feel anything but welcome in their family.  But the fact of the matter is that I kind of like to complain sometimes and bless my little husband's heart, because he always lets me do it.

This past Saturday was an in-law family function day and while I did complain a wee bit before we got there, I must say that I had a wonderful day.  You see, my husband's family enjoys nothing better than sitting around in the sun, drinking some better, and chatting it up and since we had the first nice day around here in nine months I was perfectly happy to sit in the sun, drink some beer, and chat it up.  In fact, I can't think of anything I would have preferred to do with my day.

On Going Overboard


I haven't celebrated Easter in a long, long, long time.  I can't remember the last time I dyed Easter eggs (in fact, I just asked my husband last night if you have to cook them first…duh!).  But there's something about having a little one that makes you excited about all the things that you used to be excited about.  Which is why I spent a ridiculous amount of money when I went to Target the other day.  

Giant chocolate bunny?  Of course O will one of need those.
Easter Pez dispenser?  Need one of those too.
Lindt chocolate ducks?  Well, actually I need some of those.

Needless to say, I'm a little excited for Easter this year.  Last year, O wasn't walking yet and would not have understood the concept of looking for eggs.  This year, O would stand on her head for another piece of chocolate (I wonder who she gets that from?) and so I know that she's going to be very excited by the idea of looking for Easter eggs.  And I'm excited for her excitement

Life Lessons


I realize that life is all about learning, but I have to say that I would appreciate it if I could take a break from learning life lessons for a short while because really, over the past four days the only lesson that I've learned has been to:

Step 1: Open mouth.
Step 2: Insert foot.
Step 3: Wish that I could take back what just came out of my mouth.


Built By Carolyn


There are times in life when I want to engage in a momentous project, one that will take time and effort and precision.  But there are far more times in life that I want to engage in a project that is quick and simple and will give me a sense of satisfaction in two-minutes flat.

Today was one of those times - and this was one of those projects.

This shirt was made with Simplicity 3835 - a Built By Wendy pattern.  Truth be told, I've had this pattern for quite some time and have actually made two versions of this shirt in the past.  The first I made when I was a sewing newbie and while it turned out okay, I made the elastic in the arms a bit on the small side and after a full day of wearing it, it leaves some awesome red indentation marks on my arm (yeah, yeah, I know I could fix it, but that's just not how I roll).  The second I made with a plaid flannel that I bought from Joann's and that one came out just plain u-gly and it no longer resides in my closet.  After the plaid flannel disaster I benched this pattern for quite some time but was recently reminded of it when I saw this shirt.  Simple, easy, and a great way to show off a beautiful fabric.  And so I broke out the pattern once again and found it to be just as lovely as I remember it (even with the plaid flannel disaster).  I mean, how can you complain about a pattern that only has three pattern pieces?

Because the pattern is beyond simple and because the fabric is a bit on the sheer side I decided to get all fancy and use french seams on the side and back seams of the shirt - which means that during the whole sewing process I could often be heard muttering to myself "okay, right sides together and then wrong sides together."  In any case, it worked out just fine and I love my pretty little seams.  

For the record though, I did serge the armholes.  A girl can only have so much patience. 

Fabric: Tina Givens voile (lovely, lovely stuff)
Pattern: Simplicity 3835
Pattern Difficulty: Easy Peasy

P.S.  I've entered the top in Made by Rae's Spring Top Sewalong.  Haven't heard of it?  Well, pop on over and find out all about it.  After all, it includes two of my favorite things...spring and selfish sewing.

What I Finished This Weekend


Absolutely nothing.

Between an amazingly fun fifth birthday party for my niece...

...and fighting a losing battle with a cold, I accomplished next to nothing this weekend (unless you count constant complaining about my cold an accomplishment...have I ever told you what a pathetic sick person I am?)

I'm In? Maybe? Perhaps?


I generally try not to craft under deadlines whenever possible.  Afterall, as much I complain about being completely stressed out while making things at times, it is supposed to be an enjoyable process, right?  And working to a deadline is just not enjoyable for me.  

I may make an exception though.

Just the other day Amy posted a notice that the next Blogger's Quilt Festival is scheduled for the week of May 13th.  I really enjoyed being a part of the last one and am seriously contemplating jumping in the ring for this one.  That of course would mean that I would need to start by ironing the fabric that once looked like this...

...but now is a crumpled, wrinkly mess. 
Anybody else in?

What Farm Animal Do I Resemble Today?


Is it bad when you get dressed in the morning and you have to ask your husband if you look too much like a cow?
(For the record, O says I look like a horse.  Yeah, a horse.  That sounds much better than a cow.)

The One In Which I Retire The Sweater Dress


If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time you've probably learned a couple things about me. Like the fact that I love chocolate pudding or that I have many embarrassing stories that have to do with my underwear.  Or perhaps you've learned that when I like a project I tend to make it over and over and over again.

Yep, I've done it again.

I made yet another sweater dress (it's okay if you yawn and roll your eyes - I won't take offense).

My inspiration this time was to make a very modern looking dress and I was originally drawn to the idea of having wide alternating black and white stripes.  When I thought about it some more though I was concerned that I would become ridiculously bored knitting with black and white and so I decided to keep the look of wide alternating stripes, but to include some color.

For the design of the dress I once again used the instructions laid out in Knitting From the Top by Barbara Walker.  I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating, this is an amazing book (just ignore the slightly "old school" look to it).

The best part about this dress?  I used almost every last inch of the two skeins of yarn that I bought.  See exhibit A - left over pink yarn.

And exhibit B - left over gray yarn.

I should probably admit that my planning was actually not as awesome as it may seem from the tiny amounts of left over yarn.  When I was about three quarters of the way through the project I knew that I was going to run out of both yarns and so I made the decision to do contrasting hems on the sleeves and bottom of the dress with some yarn that I had left over from another project.  It's not a color that I would have chosen for a contrasting hem if I had all the color choices in the world, but it was there, I didn't have to spend any more money on yarn, and it looks pretty darn decent.

And now I would like to assure you that this will probably be the last sweater dress that I knit for a while.  The weather is finally starting to warm up a bit and it probably won't be sweater-dress-wearing-weather for much longer.

So long, beloved sweater dress.  Hello, cardigans that will be much more appropriate for the warmer weather.

Yarn: Two skeins of Cascade 220
Needles: Size 5 and 7
Pattern: Based off of instructions from Knitting From The Top

A Demonstration Of Just How Useless I Am At Times


This afternoon Ben and O planted seeds in the our new raised bed.

My contribution to the project?

Taking pictures of my shoes and complaining about how cold I was.

Yep, I'm just that useless.

On Getting My Panties In a Bunch


Can I first say how much I hate the word "panties?"  I always grew up calling the aforementioned undergarments "underwear" and there's just something about the word "panties" that sends a shiver down my spine and makes me go "blech."  I was discussing this with my neighbor a couple weeks ago and she kindly pointed out that this is purely a personal problem on my part and the rest of the world does not seem to have this issue.  In any case, I've decided that as all good mothers do, I will be passing on my neurotic tendencies to my child and said undergarments shall be referred to as underwear in our house.  So there.

That said, I came across this pattern for children's underwear a couple months ago and was immediately in love.  Is it weird to want to sew children's underwear?  (Is it any weirder than having an aversion to the word "panties?")

In any case, weirdness be damned, this is going to be my next project.  I've purchased the pattern, I just received a bunch of fabric in the mail, and I'm building up my courage to sew with knits once again.  It's on!

Skirting The Issue


First, let's start by giving credit where credit is due.  My muse for this project?  This lovely lady and this lovely skirt.  As soon as she posted about making it in denim, I thought "Well shiver me timbers, I need one of those too!"  So off I went to purchase the fabric and the pattern only to come across my first hurdle when it came time to cut out the pattern.  Having just made three dresses, I felt that I had a good handle on what size I needed to cut out for dresses but I had no idea what size I should cut out to make a skirt.  According to my measurements and the pattern recommendations I should cut out a size 14, but I've been cutting out around a size 10 in most of the dresses.  Hmm…

I decided to split the difference and go with a 12.  I'm not sure that that was the right decision. 

Fast forward a little bit and here's the finished project.  I'm thinking that this probably isn't the best look on me.  Perhaps a bit dowdy?  (Trust me, it looks lot more dowdy without 3 inch heels on)  And because of the size that I made, the waist band hits me in some weird place between my actual waist and my hips.  Plus I have a feeling that the fullness of the skirt just looks a bit blah one me.   

I toyed around with hiking the skirt up a bit to hit more around my natural waist and cinching it with a belt, but I'm not sure that even that helps.  When I asked my husband what he thought he replied "I'm going to need to think about this."  That can't be a good sign.

On a positive note, the skirt does have pockets, which you know I love.  And the pockets have cute little contrast lining made from left over fabric from this dress.

On a more negative note (because who doesn't like to end on a negative note?), I've decided that I hate making skirt waist bands and I have a sneaking suspicion that the feeling may be mutual (as in, I'm pretty sure that they hate me too).

Pattern: Simplicity 2215
Size: Made a size 12, although I think a size 10 would have fit better
Fabric: Denim from Joanns

How I Am Vs. How I Wish I Was


I wish that I was a more patient person.  I wish that I took greater pride in my workmanship.  And I wish that I took the time to make sure that the inside of every garment always looks as good as the outside.

But unfortunately, that's just not who I am.

Rather, I'm someone who begins with the best of intentions only to give up on them about halfway through.

Take my latest project -  I had every intention of binding the seam allowances and the facings with beautiful homemade bias tape, but when it came time to actually make the bias tape, I said "screw this" and broke out the serger.  The inside, therefore, is not as beautiful as it could be, but we'll just keep that as our little secret, right?

(To avoid people noticing that the inside is less than perfect, we'll just distract them with cute pictures of O wearing the jacket)

Why does she make this face all the time?
And why do I think it is so freaking cute?

The jacket was made with the Oliver and S Sunday Brunch Jacket pattern.  As with all of their patterns, it was fabulous.  It was well-written, well-drafted, and it resulted in an amazingly cute jacket.  Now I will say that there was a point in the instructions that I had to turn off my ipod and read the directions about 10 times to understand what they were talking about, but I'm pretty sure that that had more to do with my ability to understand instructions than their ability to explain them.

The fabric is an amazing flannel that is designed to look like a wool, so you get the ease of care and softness of a cotton flannel with the look of a wool.  The best of both worlds!  It was really lovely to work with and I just might purchase some more in the future since it comes in a lot of other "wool-like" designs.  And the buttons are just little wooden toggle buttons from the button stash (yay button stash!).  The buttonholes were a bit of a pain to put in (solely because I suck at putting them in) and I think I probably should have made them a bit bigger, but they are functional and they are done, so I'm going to consider myself one happy camper.

As for the label, it's cut from a bit of twill ribbon that I bought at the expo which reads "Live Long.  Laugh Often.  Love Much."  This is certainly my favorite saying of the three as you can almost always hear me laughing hysterically at something (even if it's just myself).  Here's to O growing up to see the humor in all situations...especially the most ridiculous.

On Having a Daddy's Girl


For the past four months, O has been all about her father.

"Daddy read me a book!  Daddy get my milk  No mommy!  Daddy do it!"

As much as I told myself that this is only a phase, I hated hearing her say these things.

And as much as I know that so many toddlers go through this phase, it was not pleasant to have her tell me to go away so that Ben could come spend time with her.

Given those things, hopefully it's understandable it gave me a perverse sense of joy when she recently pushed Ben off of her new little bench and told him "No, daddy!  Mommy sits here!"

Aww, my little girl is back!