Friday, November 21, 2014

Oh Boy, Oh Boy!

If the title of the post isn't enough of a clue, perhaps this photo will seal the deal:

My husband agreed to let me share the gender as long as there was a firearm in the photo. Appropriate, perhaps -- one of the
first outfits our son will wear, along with the first pistol he's likely to shoot!

Our baby on the way is a boy!

We are so thrilled -- especially for Little Man, who was keen on having a brother. When we would ask what he thought the baby would be (long before we had any idea), he would always say "A boy, because I love baby boys." I'm so glad that, Lord willing, he'll have a male playmate relatively close to his own age. On a personal level, I had absolutely no preference, so I was guaranteed to be entirely satisfied regardless of the outcome!

And, of course, finding out the gender was a perfect excuse for more sewing. You may remember the little jacket above from this post -- the "gender neutral" jacket that turned out a bit masculine? Fortunately that won't be a problem. But there was quite a bit of the $1 thrifted Orvis shirt left, which meant that a pair of matching harem pants were in order. 

The pants pattern is self-drafted and very simple. Hopefully we'll find out in a few months if they fit (and what size they are -- I'm hoping for newborn, but I'm thinking 0-3 months is more likely). I used my last scraps of brown knit to bind the cuffs, a little patch pocket for the back, and the front drawstring.

But even after the pants, there was too much fabric left to just throw out. I used Zaaberry's baby hat pattern, adding a little argyle detail that I saw on Make It & Love It. I stitched about 3/8" from the edge (no serging), just to make it a tad smaller. I don't really use knit hats after the first few weeks/months, so I want to make sure it fits while it's still useful!

Those two little brown diamonds for the argyle pattern? They were cut from the very last fragment of brown knit!

It's so satisfying to have something else to tuck away for the baby, and so gratifying to use up every last bit of an upcycled garment. I'd say it's a happy ending, but I'm hoping for a happy beginning, instead.

Friday, November 14, 2014

And Now We've Got the Chillies

The cold has come -- perhaps temporary? I've known too many "short sleeve Thanksgivings" (and sometimes even Christmases) in Florida to feel confident, but right now it is deliciously cold and crisp. Yesterday was the first real cold day we've had -- complete with rainy drizzle. The perfect day for a lunch of scrambled eggs (with raw smoked cheddar, otherwise known as the absolute best cheese I've ever tasted), homemade toast, and honey. 

The littles recently learned  "Criss Cross Apple Sauce, Spiders crawling up your back, Worms sliding down, Cool breeze, Tight Squeeze, And now you've got the chillies" from their aunts, and have been reciting it at all opportune moments. Squeezes from little chubby hands are the best, aren't they?

Do you see those cheeks? They are so plump and inviting that I kiss them at least a hundred times a day.

Potted mums are gracing our table (until I manage to kill them, that is), bringing a little Autumn cheer inside. Several of the $10 pots were marked down to $3 at Lowe's, for no discernible reason. They might have been a tad less full and healthy than the other pots. but they were far from clearance material in my opinion. 

Rosa is keeping warm with a new infinity scarf, knitted with leftover yarn from her "Meret." I'll have to do a post on it soon -- I used a simple lace pattern from a vintage needlework book, and made it long enough to go around her neck twice. It looks so sweet with her beret! Mittens are on the horizon for both kiddos; I think I have enough courage to attempt them.

Fortunately some successful emergency coat shopping has me set for the cold weather -- and a stop at JoAnn's resulted in more fabric than I anticipated. Why is it that for every fabric I use up or every project that I finish, two take its place? A universal law, perhaps?

I have a few knitting projects for the one-on-the-way to share soon... which just may give a clue as to the gender of our little one!

Monday, November 10, 2014


Worthy are You, our Lord and God, 
to receive glory and honor and power, 
for You created all things, 
and by Your will they existed and were created.

Revelation 4:11

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Maxi for Mama

It became very apparent to me a few months ago that some closet upgrades were well overdue! I've been very excited this pregnancy to try maxi skirts -- they came onto my radar just after Rosa was born, and I wish I'd known earlier how comfortable and transitional they are. Pregnancy, post-partum, "normal" -- it's all the same to a skirt with a stretchy waist.

Here's a version I whipped up with a coral knit from Girl Charlee. I used a beige maternity panel salvaged from $1 thrifted pants (I routinely harvest panels to use on skirts) for the waist, but cut off all but the top four inches or so. In essence, it has a stretchy waistband that can sit below a large belly, or right at the waist post-pregnancy. 

I also tried out a detail that I'd been musing over for a while -- a ruched, off-center "drawstring" at the hem, for a little extra flair. I really like how it turned out, and it was quite easy (thanks to knit's no-ravel policy). For a solid skirt, I think it adds a nice touch.

My two "pre-pregnancy" maxi skirts, are working just fine, and I re-made two XXL maxis that I scored on clearance at Target -- the fabric is great and the price was right, so I'm glad I went to the trouble of scaling them down! I'm really looking forward to less "drama" in that awkward no-longer-pregnant-but-still-don't-fit-in-normal-clothes stage. But right now, I'm just enjoying being pregnant -- speaking of, a recent scan showed baby doing well, moving like crazy, and measuring a full week ahead. That, combined with the crisp weather, has left me with a spring in my (admittedly waddle-prone) step.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sweater the First

At long last, it's done -- my very first sweater! After two failed attempts with too-advanced patterns, the third pattern was the charm. Granted, it still took me a shameful amount of time to complete, but complete it is.

I used the Babe Solids Cardigan pattern with a few alterations (some intentional, some not!). Short sleeves, for one, since I didn't have enough yarn for long sleeves. I also modified the shoulder/sleeve shapes to resemble the shapes I'm used to using for sewing, added the lace pattern to the sleeves, and omitted the ribbing along the center front (along with the buttonholes) due to limited yarn.

Speaking of yarn, I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash (worsted weight). The color is Fjord Heather, and it's really delightful. Blue-green, but not boyish. I find that I'm drawn to heathered yarns, as I like the subtle color variation.

This sweater is knitted flat and then joined. Apparently most knitters prefer as little joining as possible, but since my background in sewing is far stronger than my knitting, I found it easier to knit simple shapes and leave more complicated techniques for the future.

I am excessively fond of lace knitting, even though all I've tried so far have been very simple patterns. I'd like to explore those techniques more, as I find it far more interesting than endless rows of knit and purl. I ended up stitching the sweater together with a backstitch, since my joining skills are very limited! 

In the end, I'm very satisfied with this project (though the sleeves came out a little longer than I expected, and I think they look a bit 80's). I'm curious to see how blocking affects it, as the wool I used is superwash. It's a little oversized on Rosa right now, but I think it will be perfect this Spring and next Fall. 

Now on the needles is a tiny Newborn Vertebrae, in a delicious merino-alpaca . Tiny knitting is so rewarding... and quick!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Ruffle Top for Rosa

In the mood for a little sewing -- then again, when am I not? -- I finally broke down and bought Burda's Baby's Ruffle Top pattern (the download also includes the pieces for this dress, which I didn't realize at first!). I'm so fond of simple, feminine styling for little girls. Fortunately, I had a good fabric scrap just big enough for this project, so I could try out the pattern.

How hard is it to iron out the crease in the front? Not hard. I'm just *that* lazy.

I made the largest size (24 mths, according to them), which is a tad large for my exactly-24-mont-old Rosa. 

It hangs a little oddly, thanks to the too-big hanger!

The pattern goes together easily, though the instructions might best be described as "terse." I did change a few things -- I doubled the width of the ruffle piece rather than hemming it, which I thought would look better should the underside of the ruffle be exposed (and is also easier than hemming!). I also topstitched the bias tape to the neckline, which I probably will not do if I repeat this pattern in a linen or "non scrap" fabric. Oh, and I stitched the sleeves to the armholes before stitching up the side seams; I find it so much easier to do that with children's clothes, as those tiny armholes can be finicky.

A few stash buttons later, and Rosa has a wearable mock-up. There will certainly be more of these coming, and I can picture all kinds of variations -- short sleeves, empire waist with a gathered skirt (for a dress), etc. Simple and versatile is always a winner with me.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rosa's Favorite Read Aloud

I've had to excercise a great deal of restraint lately, as I've grown more and more excited about collecting children's literature. Now that I'm reading aloud more and more to the littles, I've been compiling a collection of books (here's my Pinterest board) that we own or would like to own/read. Little by little, I add to our collection. I like to take my time, selecting books that meet my particular set of criteria -- no bad attitudes, unaddressed bad behaviors, or diametrically different worldviews; lovely artwork; and a "worthwhile" story (though I do struggle to find much of a moral in "Sheep in a Jeep," which is one of our favorites... *wink*). I learned so much from literature as a child, and I want to share that with our children.

Lately I've been getting multiple requests per day for Rosa's favorite book (a childhood favorite of mine): Baby Come Out by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Ronald Himler. It's not very well known, and only recently returned from "out-of-print" status. I'm so glad it did, because it delights me even more as an adult than it did when I was a child!

Whimsical illustrations accompany the charming story, in which a rather stubborn baby is coaxed to "come out" because she wants a kiss from her daddy. I love the way the baby is portrayed (very "tastefully" naked), as I think it emphasizes the concept of personhood before birth. 

I also love the attitude of the family -- no jealous siblings, no angst. Just a great deal of love and eagerness to meet the new baby. 

It has certainly sparked plenty of excitement with our littles, as they anticipate the arrival of their sibling! Little Man likes to talk to the baby, telling it that he loves it, and explaining that it must get bigger and then it can come out. It's delightful to share these moments with them, especially now that Little Man is old enough to understand a bit more. I can't wait to see, Lord willing, their reactions when the baby does come! I wonder how many times we'll have read Baby Come Out before then?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mother Deer

I've noticed a particular deer who's visited our yard several times over the past year -- she's not difficult to spot, because she's missing her left front leg and therefore walks with a distinct limp. I was very surprised, then, when I saw her a few weeks ago with a fawn in tow! A four-legged fawn, for the record. *wink* 

I'm still curious about the doe. Is the missing leg a birth defect, or did she somehow lose it? That seems like a rather significant accident for an animal to survive. Somehow it's remarkable to me to see her coping so well that she can take care of not only herself, but a fawn, as well! And to think I struggle to juggle two littles, even with with four functional limbs...

In other news, we're enjoying the aftermath of a vicious storm -- for now, temperatures are cool and the air is crisp and refreshing. I'm sure we still have some hot weather to come, but at least we know Fall is on the way. Though we still have half a pine tree to remove from our roof, thanks to the aforementioned storm. At least it won't be a boring weekend!