Saturday, October 31, 2009


The strangest part about being pregnant with twins is that when it's all over

you get two newborns.  Crazy.

Meet Harry

and Violet

They were born Wednesday night, weighing in at over five pounds each.  They both were born hungry and alert, and we all came home yesterday with clean bills of health. 

Three things:
1.  I can't quite tell who's who in the top picture either.
2.  I wrote Thursday's post on Wednesday and posted it in the future, without knowing I was going to be in the hospital having babies. 
3.  I'm going to write up the birth story as soon as I have two free hands.

Friday, October 30, 2009

coasters & craft books

I'm sort of in love with these coasters. I love things that are house-shaped, but it's how you can tuck your spoon into the little door pocket that kills me. I also appreciate being able to use up random scraps of fabric.

The pattern is from this book:

I made a few minor changes: the original doesn't call for any topstitching, but it's my experience that things launder a lot better when they're topstitched. Also, the pattern has you hand sew the window appliques (actually, reverse appliques) but there's no way that's going to stand up to the laundry. Washability is a key factor in this house. As I think I've written before, it's either washable or it's garbage.

The gray felt squirrel-shaped tea cozy on the cover of the book has me wishing I could come up with a vaguely plausible need for a tea cozy, but we are sadly a boil-the-water-in-the-microwave type of household.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

table runner

I decided we needed some kind of table runner because
1) the table looks naked
2) I'm getting a little nervous about pitchers and that sort of thing scratching or otherwise ruining the table
3) I forgot that I had meant to make a bunch of trivets, which are what we really need.

Anyway. It's the ubiquitous linen paired with squares of my favorite color combination: gray-brown, aqua, and lime-ish green. I picked out these fabrics during my nesting visit to the fabric store without having any idea what I was going to do with them. I just picked one pile that seemed to coordinate, and that became this table runner, and another pile that worked together, which became a bunch of stuff for the kitchen. And I still have a lot left over from both piles, because fat quarters are always bigger than I think.

After piecing the top, I top stitched the seams, then backed it with some upholstery weight fabric (turned and top stitched). I considered doing more quilting or adding batting (to make it more heat & spill resistant) but I didn't want it to look like an odd-shaped quilt plopped down in the middle of the table.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

house pocket and some efforts at organization

I made this little house months ago (it's patchwork, applique, and embroidery living together in harmony), but only got around to figuring out what to do with it. Now it's a little wall pocket type thing that lives on our refrigerator to hold all the crap that would ordinarily be spread out all over the surface of the fridge: contact numbers, coupons I'll never use, the dogs' vaccination schedule, etc.

Scott and I are not naturally organized. He belongs to the "spread all your crap over any available surface" school of thought, and I belong to the "pile it up in baskets until you have a panic attack when you can't find your social security card" school of thought. This blackboard and the little house pocket are part of an effort for us to keep track of some stuff--grocery lists, reminders, that sort of thing.

While I'm on the subject, let me say how much I love the chalkboard paint. It was so easy to put up--I think it was two light coats. I also know that it's easy to paint over because I dripped a lot and got a chance to do some serious damage control. We also painted some on the living room wall for Joseph, which has been predictably fun and messy. I really hope chalk isn't carcinogenic.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

bath mat

Why did it take me so long to realize the beauty of square patchwork? It's so damn easy and it looks much fresher than I would have thought. I think that it might be boring to work a huge project entirely in square patches, but it's very satisfying for tiny projects like this bath mat and the laundry bags I've been making.

This mat is destined for the yellow-walled "guest" bathroom, which is in fact used by everybody except me, because I have taken over the master bathroom in perpetuity (thank you, husband, for allowing this).

Of course, my cheerful new bathmat is making the rest of the bathroom look like a prison cell. I want to do something to brighten up the rest of the room. Colored towels are usually not allowed in my home because I find them incredibly depressing (don't ask) but now I wonder whether colored towels could be worse than dingy "white" towels. I also want a fancy shower curtain, although I'm not sure how to make that happen without it being too mold-friendly (although.... hmmm)

The how: the top is just three inch squares. I laid it face down on an old towel, stitched around the perimeter, turned & topstitched. Then I quilted in the ditch horizontally. It was easy, but the towel shifted weirdly while I was quilting it, almost like it was stretching. So there are some lumps at the edges. It's not a big deal, but next time I'll probably assemble it a little differently to avoid this problem.

Monday, October 26, 2009

smock of questionable aesthetic

I've made this smock at least twice before as presents, but this is the first time I've made one for Joseph. Of course truck fabric was requested. I'm really not quite sure that this is what Amy Karol had in mind when she designed the pattern.
This is also the first time I've used store-bought bias tape in a long long time. I forgot how much easier it is to work with than handmade tape. This is a crushing blow. The packaged stuff is just more uniform and the folds are crisper. Perhaps if I got that snazzy bias tape machine my own humble product could compare??
After I finished making the smock (with Joseph helping every step of the way) he demanded to wear it. So he spent the morning wearing nothing but a diaper and a smock. The only way I could convince him to get dressed was to swear a blood oath that he could put the smock on over his clothes. So this is how we spent the rest of the day.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

not useless after all

Last week we (finally) brought all the baby things out of the garage. Joseph was fascinated by the co-sleeper. The same co-sleeper that he found intolerably insulting and oppressive as an infant. I think he has slept in it for a total of two hours in his entire life.
Anyway, upon seeing it now, he promptly climbed into the bottom (storage) compartment, which has become his little office. He gets in and starts demanding that we zip it up, which is a little disturbing for me, but he loves it. He brings in his toys and tells them to sleep. It's very sweet. I think he's going to be disappointed when he discovers that the boring old babies sleep in the top.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

a vest (or, knitting is magic)

I made this vest as part of Joseph's holiday finery. I'm really amazed when I follow a pattern that seems entirely composed of reasonable, easy-enough steps, but at the end I get a result that blows my mind. The pattern was easy to follow, and cables turn out to be no big deal, yet I feel like such a hot shot for having made a real live cable knit vest. This is why people knit--all you have to learn is a few basic movements and all of a sudden you can transform a tangle of sheep hair into something complex.

The color is totally off in these pictures. It's more of an olive green.

As soon as the temperature goes back below 70, he's wearing this at least three times a week.

Friday, October 23, 2009

laundry bag

In a craft-related moment of clarity, I realized that what this household needs is not another bed-sized quilt, but rather a few smaller and more utilitarian items, namely:
  • a laundry bag for Joseph's room, so he can put away his own dirty clothes and feel that toddler-specific sense of accomplishment in doing things the rest of us consider chores
  • a laundry bag for the kitchen, in which to toss used handkerchiefs, rags, towels, and all the other non-disposable items I feel so smug about using, except when they constitute a pile of filth on my counter
  • a few bath mats, floor mats, door mats, etc.
  • a table runner, coasters, place mats, etc.
With that in mind, I've begun cutting into the pile of fabric I had been hording for various (imaginary) Big Projects.

 The first result is this laundry bag for Joseph's room.

I had intended to use most of this fabric to make Joseph his own roads quilt, but I seriously lack the ambition.  There are bikes, jump ropes, boats, and (of course) trucks.  The trucks come courtesy of some Japanese fabric I bought from Purl, and which is definitely Kokka or Trefle or something, but which I can't find anymore on their website or anywhere else on the internet.  In case you're wondering, scouring the internet for fabric that doesn't seem to exist is a great way to kill 45 minutes and lose your mind at the same time.

The construction:  after I assembled the patchwork top (4 inch squares, arranged 5 up and 16 across), I backed it with white cotton canvas and then quilted the crap out of it with horizontal lines 1/4" apart. The canvas and the dense quilting help it keep its shape, which is good because a floppy bag hanging from a door knob is 1) ugly and 2) hard for little hands to reach into.

I'm very pleased with how this turned out.  I like the blue and red fabrics paired with linen and the solid gray-blue.  I really like the horizontal quilting.  This is one of those rare instances where I was able to actually execute my vision.  I'm definitely making one for the kitchen, colors TBD.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

cervix watch 2009

I can't decide whether it's in really poor taste to write about one's cervix on the interwebs. 

In the last few months I've discussed that part of my body with total strangers.  And my parents.  Is it dilated? Funneling?  Short?  Long?  Changing?  High, low, thick, thin, hard, soft, etc.  Six weeks of bed rest and (alleged) preterm labor can't really be discussed without mentioning the cervix, so by now I don't have any boundary issues.  Cervix cervix cervix!  Say it loud and there's music playing...

So.  Yesterday the fetuses and I went to the doctor where we learned that I'm 4 cm dilated and very effaced.  Doctor thinks it likely that the babies will be born in the next week.  So, naturally, I think to myself, "I really ought to go to the fabric store."


There are only 700 tons of laundry sitting in my roach-infested garage, waiting to turn into mildewy rags.  There are exactly zero frozen meals for us to eat after I come home with the babies.  My hospital bag remains empty, except for some yarn, a pair of tweezers, and a book about breastfeeding multiples.  My house is in an unprecedented state of squalor.  None of these situations are likely to resolve themselves, and are even less likely to be resolved by anybody I might happen to be married to.

But to the fabric store I went, and $45 dollars worth of fat quarters later I felt like my nesting urges were totally fulfilled.  I am completely ready to have these babies.

I seriously think that when the time comes, I might post photographs of the fabric instead of the babies.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


In case you're wondering, this is what being 35 weeks pregnant with twins looks like.  If you're wondering what it feels like, try fracturing your pelvis and having a slipped disk.  Then take all your internal organs and squash them into something the size of a pez dispenser.  That will give you an inkling.

The reason I cropped out my face is because I am not smiling.  The reason I left in my dog's butt is because that seems totally appropriate to my mood.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really really happy that I'm still pregnant and that we've made it nearly to term.  Six weeks ago I was very worried about having two very tiny sick babies.  Now it looks like they'll be about five or six pounds each, which is pretty respectable for twins.  What I'd like to know is how ten pounds of baby required me to inflate to the size of a futon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

zippy sweater

It's under 70 degrees in lovely north Florida, which means only one thing:  bust out the woolens.  I finished knitting this zip up hoodie just in time for our bracing winter season.  It's a little big on him, but there's no way I'm spending a month knitting something that can only be worn for one year. No sir. 

I feel like the hood needs a pom pom or something.  While my kid still tolerates being dressed like a gnome, I am not passing up any opportunity for gnomification.  

Attaching a zipper to a knit is a pain in the rear.  I'm not 100% thrilled with how this zipper looks, but I can live with it.  My only advice is to keep the stitch length long for easy unpicking, use lots of pins, and--this is the key--close the zipper before attaching it to the second side (that will help you keep things lined up, which is key where stripes are involved).  Also, it's apparently impossible to shorten a separating zipper.

This is the pattern, but I did the hood my own way to boost the elf factor and maintain the stripe sequence.
This  is the yarn (very good price, let's hope it doesn't scratch/pill/felt too much).

Monday, October 19, 2009

doll quilt

Joseph needed a blanket so that the dozens of toys in his crib could be properly put to bed.  I thought this would be a way to use up some of my random blue scraps but it barely made a dent.  Why do I have so much blue fabric?  I don't even like blue.

Anyway, 2 inch squares, patched together, backed in some truck and train fabrics (because everything has to have a truck on it these days, okay?), quilted in the ditch, and bound with more blue scraps.  Now I kind of understand why people get all into making doll quilts.  It's totally on a manageable scale.

Two more things:
  • This seems like a pretty slick way to piece together tiny squares; I will have to try it out when I grow up enough to use interfacing.
  • This is the most inspiring assortment of doll quilts.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


After an especially stressful morning involving one of my dogs attacking the other dog (again), and the ensuing horrible decision-making process which I'm sure I'll get into here once I stop hating myself, I am focusing on trying to be peaceful.  Calm.  Zen.  In that spirit, this is a list of easily accessible things that make me happy, or at least prevent a seriously bad day from becoming stratospherically awful.
  • A long hot shower with nice-smelling soap.  The more expensive the soap, the better.
  • Broadway show stoppers, belted out shamelessly.  By me and only me.  I truly hate when other people sing show tunes, or pretty much anything else for that matter.  This would be hypocritical but for the fact that I only sing at home, alone, with the shades drawn.
  • Essential oils in the laundry.  We use some very virtuous, additive-free, earthy-friendly laundry detergent, and sometimes it leaves our clothes smelling a bit disappointing.  Some lavender essential oil in the fabric softener dispenser solves that problem and also makes my whole garage smell nice, almost like a place that doesn't harbor colonies of vermin.
  • Tea.
  • Take out.
  • New fabric or yarn.  It's amazing how much distraction you can buy for under $20.
  • Long walks.  Preferably by my own damn self, thank you very much, but my husband and kid are okay too.
  • Organizing my closet.
  • Making something.  Dinner, a sweater, some coasters.  I think it's a very primitive response to the mystery of creating something out of nothing, but making stuff usually takes the edge of a bad mood for me.  Of course the correlative is that when a project doesn't work out, I feel rotten.
That's enough to work with.  Now I'm going to make some tea and sing flamboyantly.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

be still my heart

A bias tape making machine :

The catch is that it's $90 and you have to buy different tips to make different size bias tapes.  If it were $30 and came with a bunch of tips, we'd have a deal. 


(my husband is santa.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

pile of rags (magic!)

This week's obsessive nesting project:  diaper inserts!  I had already made a boatload of pocket diapers, all of which needed inserts (i.e., something absorbent to stick inside them).  In an ideal world, you use super-absorbent microfiber inserts.  In my world, you scour your house in search of every unwanted piece of of vaguely absorbent and soft fabric to cut up and sew into rectangles.

A bunch of my husband's undershirts mysteriously committed suicide at the same time, so that was convenient.  I also cannibalized a lot of my nightclothes, having decided that I am a grown woman who no longer needs to sleep in bleach-stained t-shirts and body-hating yoga pants.  Then I cut up some yardage of hideous lime green cotton pique that I bought to make Joseph a golf shirt which he has worn twice, under duress.

Here's the neat part:  instead of sewing the fabric into proper diaper inserts (about six layers thick and probably about 10" x 4") I cut them into 8 x 11 rectangles which can be folded to be the right size and thickness for diaper inserts, and can also be used as tiny newborn-sized prefold-type diapers, with another folded rectangle in the middle for absorbency.

See?  I think these will fit better than the infant prefolds we have left over from Joseph.

An added bonus is that the same rectangles, folded up, function as both diaper doublers for older babies and as inserts for the ten million postpartum pads I made myself (free tutorial here!).  And they'll dry faster than a thicker, multi-layered piece of fabric.

To recap:  this is what I have accomplished
  • inserts for the newborn diapers
  • doublers for the bigger diapers
  • prefold-ish newborn diapers for using under covers
  • pad inserts for me
  • everything dries quickly
  • my husband's nightshirts do not need to go to the landfill
  • no more hideous nightclothes for me

Thursday, October 15, 2009

best $20 ever spent

I treated myself to the Knit Picks ornament kit:  6 skeins of fingering weight wool yarn, plus a booklet of ornament patterns.  Just the addition of six skeins of yarn to my life is a thrill worth more than $20, and not just for me: Joseph has been using them as blocks, pillows, rocks, whatever.

These lights used up only a tiny amount of yarn.  It looks like there's more than enough yarn in the kit to outfit several trees in lights, balls, garlands, candy canes, birds, pickles, etc.  This will probably satisfy my holiday-crafting needs for quite a while.
All the ornaments are knit using size 2 needles, which is a bit of a headache, but it's not like I'm knitting a sweater or a blanket.  The ornaments work up fast enough because they're super tiny:  each "light" is only about an inch long. 

Of course the real attraction is that hand knit ornaments are more child-safe than your usual ornaments--nothing to choke, stab, electrocute, or otherwise injure a busy toddler.

Next up is a cranberry & popcorn garland.   Whee!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mr. Fox

We were freaking thrilled to discover Mr. Fox at our door yesterday.

The lovely and talented Annie  (of Bird and Little Bird) sent him our way to add a bit of sunshine.  He's gorgeous.  I'm always so impressed when I see serious craftsmanship and attention to detail and wonderful materials all put together.   Joseph is smitten.  The dogs are on notice that if Mr. Fox is in any way harmed, he will be replaced by an extremely realistic stuffed lab or terrier mix.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

internet tag

Just in time to save me from having to find something to write about (NaBloWriMo has me scraping the bottom of my mental barrel) Jen has tagged me to answer this questionnaire.  The rule is that you have to use one word answers.

  • Where is your cell phone? here

  • Your hair? neglected

  • Your mother? babysitting

  • Your father? helping

  • Your favorite food? cheese

  • Your dream last night? unremarkable

  • Your favorite drink? chai

  • Your dream/goal?  self-sufficiency

  • What room are you in? bedroom

  • Your hobby? making

  • Your fear? chaos

  • Where do you want to be in 6 years? here

  • Where were you last night? bed

  • Something you aren’t?  impulsive

  • Muffins?  definitely

  • Wish list item?  serger

  • Where did you grow up? NJ

  • Last thing you did? knit

  • What are you wearing? dress

  • Your TV? appreciated

  • Your pets? silly

  • Your friends?  generous

  • Your life? lucky

  • Your mood? cranky

  • Missing someone?  nope  

  • Vehicle? cramped

  • Something you’re not wearing? shoes

  • Your favorite store?  Anthropologie?

  • Your favorite color? green

  • When was the last time you laughed? today

  • Last time you cried? today

  • Your best friend? husband

  • One place that I go over and over? Target

  • One person who emails me regularly? Mom

  • Favorite place to eat? home

  • I'm supposed to tag six bloggers, but you should go ahead and consider yourself tagged if you need subject matter for a blog post, especially if you're doing NaBloWriMo.

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    rescued t-shirt

    While I was digging through our box of stuff that's destined for Goodwill, I came across this shirt.  I had rejected it because of the pointless and ugly sports logo that was emblazoned on it.  I decided to try rescuing it by covering the logo with a patch made from some of our ubiquitous truck fabric.  Voila!  No more ugly shirt, hello "mama made dump truck shirt."  Since Joseph requests a truck shirt every day, I plan to dig deeper into our Goodwill box in search of more dumb shirts to make over.

    I ironed on the patch using double sided fusible web (heat'n'bond lite) and then secured it with a somewhat tight zigzag stitch.  The edges are a bit frayed after several washings; the fraying could be avoided by using a super tight zigzag stitch, but I didn't want it to look to perfect--I wanted this patch to look patchy, not like a very slick applique.

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    treasure bag

    This little bag is for Joseph to put all his important objects into; it was inspired by a project in Handmade Home.   It's just the right size (8.5"x11", imagine that) for a toddler to gather rocks from the neighbors' gardens, or to carry around a tambourine to which he has suddenly become very attached, or to pretend to carry groceries in, or whatever.  It's the same linen I used in the toy bags, and the pocket and straps are made from the same fabric that I used in the sling because vehicles are the source of much joy in our home these days.

    Joseph seems kind of underwhelmed by it, to be honest.  I can't predict what will strike his fancy.  It turns out that scraps of fabric that I was too lazy to carry over to the trash can are perfect blankets for his truck collection, whereas painstakingly crafted stuffed animals are neglected.  Happily, he's going through a phase where he really enjoys "mama made" clothing, so that's gratifying.

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    do not expect any coherence here

    A few days ago I called it quits with the bed rest but since I'm slow, achy, tired, cranky and hot I'm not good for much other than sitting very very still, directly under the fan.  It's still too hot in Florida to even consider venturing outside. 

    Actually, I'm in a crappy mood.  It's the usual late pregnancy aches, pains, and insanity, combined with the lurking fear that this could continue for eight more weeks, end in a very negative medical experience, and be followed by months of intense sleep deprivation.  Just to give you an idea of how delightful I am to be around, today I punished a misbehaving smoke detector by beating it to death with a frying pan.  Then, when my sewing machine started misbehaving (always a surefire insanity trigger) I cried myself sick. 

    Here's a brief list of things that have been keeping me out of jail:
    • DVDs.  In particular True Blood.  I'm a terrible reviewer, so I'll let the facts speak for themselves:  when the final DVD of season 1 got stuck in the older and crappier of our two DVD players, I didn't hesitate for one second before prying it open using a knitting needle. I needed to watch that DVD. 
    • Organic junk food.  It turns out that gummy bears don't give me heartburn.  This alone is a reason to eat bags of them a day.  Chocolate covered almonds do give me heartburn, but this isn't stopping me.
    • Craft books.  I have a pile by my bedside that I plan to write about once I can put together a complete thought.  Which will not be today.

    Friday, October 9, 2009


    I made this sling for Joseph following the instructions in my new favorite crafting book.  Damn easy.  This amused Joseph for minutes, I tell you. 

    You will notice that two babies are being carried in this sling, as well as a bulldozer which you can't see.  I take this to mean that I will have no trouble jamming two newborns into my own pouch sling.  At some point I'm going to have to graduate to a more versatile baby carrier (probably a wrap) in order to wear them both at the same time, but while they are still slingable, they will be slung.  I have no idea how to parent an infant without just wearing it all day and I hope I don't ever have to figure this out.  Back pain is a fair price to pay for being able to empty the dishwasher without being screamed at by two (two!) babies. 

    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    below the belt

    I've had a few very good mail days lately:  craft books from Amazon, yarn from KnitPicks, a much-anticipated box of goodies from Purl...and a shipment of flag-sized underwear from Hanes.  To cover my flag-sized arse, that is.  My excellent husband has tried to tell me that it's my hips, not my butt, that's expanding, but I call this splitting hairs.

    For those who are especially keen on the topic of pregnancy & undergarments, this is absolutely the last (and funniest) word on the subject.

    To keep with the general tenor of this post, today my OB informed me that I would have to wear a surgical cap while giving birth because of something about hair interfering with the ventilation system in the operating room (and the hospital's policy is that multiples have to be born in the OR).  I laughed my (flag-sized) ass off and pointed out that, pardon me, some hair does tend to get exposed during childbirth.  She was not amused.  I, however, was.  I'm beginning to think that I should approach these logic-defying hospital policies as pure comedy, and then proceed to ignore them.

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    new diapers, crappy pictures

    New diaper covers!

    This one is just red PUL bound with fold over elastic.  I cut out the PUL using basically the same template as for all the diapers I've made, bound it with FOE, then stitched on some velcro.  That's it, easy peasy.  Since both the PUL and the FOE are stretchy, the cover itself is stretchy, which makes for a nice trim fit. 

    This one is the same idea, but with a layer of cotton fabric layered on top of the PUL.  I used a glue stick to paste the two layers together before sewing on the FOE, that way I didn't need to poke pinholes holes into the PUL.  The cotton fish fabric isn't stretchy, so this cover isn't as trim as the red one, but it provides some much needed variety.

    If it weren't for the fact that I am the only person in this family who is not completely unmanned by the prospect of having to use a prefold or fitted diaper as well as a cover, I would scrap all the pocket diapers I've been making in favor of these little covers.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    Handmade Home

    I usually avoid buying craft books because they either
    • are filled with projects I wouldn't need instructions to make,
    • focus on projects that look like they came from a big box store, or
    • embrace an aesthetic that has no place outside a 1990 craft fair; this is especially true of books geared towards crafting for kids.
    But this book is making me very happy:

    There is not a single project in there that tries to replicate something you could buy at WalMart or BabiesRUs. The aesthetic is deliberately handmade, thrifted, simple and natural.  Best of all, hardly any interfacing is called for (because seriously, why take beautiful natural materials and crap them up with nasty stiff interfacing?  I HATE INTERFACING.) 

    Handmade Home is now sitting next to my bed, exploding with post it flags. I desperately need to cut up some ugly old towels in order to make a bath mat;  then I have a bunch of pouches and wall pockets and bags to make for my boy.  This book has me seriously considering making cloth maxi pads.  Yes, I just said that on the internet. 

    Loads more inspiration from the book here.

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    toy bags & a new book

     I made these little drawstring bags to corral toys that have multiple parts.  That way the red choo choo can be found immediately and maybe we don't have to throw a tantrum.  Also, since the bags are labeled with (approximate) pictures of their contents, it's easier for everybody to find and put away toys.  Theoretically.

    These were so easy to make that I feel silly for not having made them months ago.  They aren't even lined.  For each bag I just sewed together two pieces of linen, each 8.5"x11" (why that size?  Because the ruler and the cutting mat were all the way in the kitchen, whereas a stack of printer paper was right next to my bed, that's why).  I used this tutorial for the drawstring casing, and I'm pretty sure I initially got the idea for labeled toy bags here.  So far I've only made bags for the train set and the finger puppet set, but more are in the works.

    The idea for the little circular patches came from Bend the Rules with Fabric.  It was so easy that I now plan to sew circular patches onto everything that sits still.  I used Heat'n'Bond lite (which does not fall under my blanket ban on interfacing) to iron them on and then I used a zig-zag stitch around the edges.

    BTRWF also has me convinced that freezer paper stencilling is not outside my crafting comfort zone, and is making me wish I felt confident enough to dye fabric.  But I'm still concerned that troubling chemicals + my total lack of attention to detail = ER visit.  This book has also made me reconsider those pieces of fabric you can print a picture onto; I had previously though they were unforgivably cheesy with no possible application to my life, but then I saw this project adapted from the book and I am in love.  Joseph needs T-shirts with pictures of all his animal friends. That is a fact.

    Sunday, October 4, 2009


    My shockingly frequent posts of late are because I'm participating in NaBloWriMo :  the idea is that you post every day for the month of October.  I'm doing this because:
    • I like to write but I have trouble getting motivated
    • I'm bored
    • I like showing off the crap I make and getting complimented on it (sad but true)
    • If I don't post for a day it will serve as a de facto birth announcement
    I've been enjoying checking out the other bloggers who are doing this--nobody signs up for this sort of thing without being a pretty decent writer.  I'm already a dedicated reader of Irregular Tammie and Bird and Little Bird, and now there are a few more I'm going to have to add to my Google Reader subscriptions.  And then I will update my links sidebar.  Now we're getting ambitious.

    Saturday, October 3, 2009


    Three weeks of bed rest down, less than three more to go.  At that point I'll be 35 weeks pregnant and the coast will be clear for the babies to arrive. 
    You can tell he's sleeping because his eyes are shut, of course.  
    And yes, that is a bulldozer that he has tucked in bed beside him.

    It hasn't been nearly as bad as I had thought.  I get to spend all day watching DVDs and knitting.  Sometimes my parents (who are now settled in town, hooray!) take Joseph for the entire day.  A bunch of amazing women from a moms' group I belong to have been bringing us dinner.  I feel like I'm on some kind of crazy retreat.

    So far, the only real problem I've had is that I miss my little boy.  There's only so much interaction you can have with an energetic two year old when you're stuck in one place.  It's frustrating not being able to hang out with him the way we ordinarily do--playdates, errands, cooking, puttering, etc.  That said, life as we knew it was going to be temporarily suspended anyway once the babies were born, so it's probably best that we all begin this transition while nobody is sleep-deprived or hormonally fraught.

    Friday, October 2, 2009

    in which I find out how big a queen sized quilt really is

    I started this quilt last summer (i.e., August of 2008) after we painted the spare room an especially obnoxious shade of orange.  My goal was to tone down the orange walls by making a quilt that combined orange with a boatload of white and green.  In my universe, white and green = calm, soothing, peaceful.  Orange is a color for people who are better adjusted than I am.

    Sadly, I had underestimated the amount of work that goes into making a queen sized quilt, utterly lost interest in ever seeing it completed, and became well and truly disgusted by every inch of fabric I had chosen.   Meanwhile, we painted over the orange walls.

    But last month, in a burst of pregnancy-related nesting, I finished the quilting, and then I finished hand sewing the binding during the first week of bed rest. 

    Now that it's done I kind of love it.  I think it helps that I quilted the crap out of it:  I think my quilting lines are only an inch and a half apart.  Even fabrics that probably have no business being near one another look perfect when they're smothered by miles of quilting. 

    But my favorite part is the backing:  it's an old white sheet on which I appliqued some leaf shapes.  I'm pleasantly surprised that the white quilting lines don't seem too obvious on the brown leaves.