Friday, June 22, 2018

Mock Maternity Pictures

Once upon a time(last Saturday), I asked for maternity pictures. Someone else's version of this incident might go something like, "demanded pictures," but I'm the one telling this story. 

My reasons for requesting pictures on that exact day...well, I have a whole list of them. 
1-It's my last pregnancy.

2-I haven't asked for family pictures at all during this entire pregnancy. 

3-The going rate for maternity pictures here: $300+. I reasoned that I could do them for free with a tripod and a bit of cooperation from these people.

4-Time is of the essence. I've reached that miserably fat stage and every day more back fat appears and who wants their pictures taken once they've reached that stage? I don't want to look "Over it" or "Good Lord, she is done," in my pictures. I want to look glowing, maternal, content; Madonna-esque, if you will. Side note: I had a Japanese cashier ask me the other day, "How pregnant? 9 month? 10 month?" I laughed(not hard). NINE months gestation is universal, lady. 

5- Two weeks in a row, we are farming kids out to various camps. Two weeks in pregnancy terms makes a huge difference. Waiting until kids were back from camp was not a logical option in my opinion.

6- I got my hair done on Friday and it was still looking fresh and perfect on Saturday. Sean has been married to me for a hundred years; he should know by now how temperamental my hair is. Good hair days are not guaranteed. 

7. The ultimate reason for wanting pictures done last Saturday is because Saturdays aren't insanely crowded off base. I even asked to go somewhere super local. I didn't ask for Mount Fuji. I didn't ask for anything that involved driving long distances or paying huge tolls. I mean, really, I am the picture of rational. 

When I get my way. 
Saturday, I did not get my way. 

Sunday I got my way. Off we went to my chosen spot-a typically abandoned pagoda. Sunday it was not abandoned. Sunday is was full of baseball fans headed to the Lions game. I have neverevereverever seen so many people at that exact spot. We gave up pretty quickly, but ended up trying a second time later that evening. A forgotten tripod and a traffic jam had me throwing my hands up.

As everyone was dressed in somewhat coordinating clothes, I said, "Screw it. Go to the backyard. Say a word, any one of you, I dare you."

And that's how we ended up with maternity pictures taken against the back wall of our cell. For some reason, I have a feeling this little experience will go down in our family history as a memorable one. 

Last Sunday also happened to be Father's Day. I'm pretty sure I never uttered words of well wishes to the Father of all these children, but I tend to do a pretty good job of showing appreciation on a majority of the rest of the days of the year. 

The dogs started acting the fool at some point during this little photo shoot. This is my, "I will taxidermy you, Ruby" face. 

We have a love/hate relationship, Rubes and I. 

And this one. The one where everybody is looking and everybody has a normal smile and I have no neck rolls...This is the shot that ensured I will be getting another go at the pagoda pictures. :)

I know sneezes can't be controlled, but I'm pretty sure I still had something to say. According to my beloved, I always have something to say. 

Sometimes when I look at my boys, it's like watching Sean as Benjamin Button or the evolution of man with Jude being the tiny monkey and Sean being the full grown ape. I am so very curious to see what kind of girl we have created. I may have told Sean today that I hope she doesn't come out looking like the missing link. 

Look at all those chin dimples. And I'd only just come to terms with the fact that Simon is taller than me and now Felix is as well. It is fascinating to watch a boy grow into a man. 

As always, I go a few pictures past their willingness and one of them just walks away as I try in vain to call them back. 

I doubt any of these will make it to canvas, but I love how hard we laughed in an attempt to get just one decent picture.

Monday, June 18, 2018

More sewing

Tonight, for the first time ever, I actually welled up with happy tears when a whole bunch of dreams came true in one bitty sewing project. Oh my goodness, the bonnet. I doubt I'll sleep much tonight, thinking about all the bonnets I'm going to sew. 

And a few other projects that have lost their shininess in light of the bonnet. Baby kimono and bloomers. I'll have to make matching bonnets for these, of course. 

This dress is going to get bloomers and a bonnet.

 I wrapped up this circus of a quilt last week. I love it, so much.

I don't have a ton of greens in my decor or even my fabric stash. I saw the green tulips on a recent shopping trip and had to have it. The quilt was built around that bright green.

The backing I bought years ago in Virginia. It just happened to pair nicely. 

Jude has a very random quilt in the works. He found several boy fabrics in my stash that don't make a ton of sense together. I decided on a triangle pattern. I hate it. It hasn't been fun, but I'm determined to finish it. He threw out that he wants Gus and Ruby on his quilt. Considering the quilt fabrics thus far are panda bears, sharks, and jeeps, what could a Gus and Ruby hurt? Two mangy dogs shan't detract any further from a non-existent theme. 

I found this pattern online, but it didn't have eyebrows or a mouth. Gus' eyebrows are his greatest feature. I added them and the mouth because the finished dog just didn't look right. I don't love the blank eyes, but Jude yelled, "I see him! I see Gus!" Good 'nuff.

Friday, June 08, 2018

3 years later

I finally finished this quilt. Sometimes I don't finish certain projects because I'm so certain they won't turn out like I picture them in my head. In my head, my idea world, it's off the chain. I'm telling you, if I had the talent to match my vision, I'd be a rich woman. 

I made this quilt top in Virginia, shortly after I miscarried. I spotted this sparrow fabric and built the whole quilt around it. The plus sign design met my criteria of "totally doable" and...meaningful for several reasons. A plus sign. She was there, confirmed by the very first plus sign. Valuable and loved and wanted. She was a positive for our family. Definitely a plus, even though we lost her. Even though she didn't join our family physically, she changed us. 

This one got tucked away because I loved the quilt top a little too much. I didn't want to ruin it by finishing it. A few days ago, I got my chance to wrap up this project. I have so many ideas rattling around in my brain that I needed to get everything else checked off the never-ending todo list. 

I thought about free motion quilting waves. I thought about clouds. I thought about just stippling it with never ending squiggles. In the end, I decided to wing it. Get it? Wing it. Yeah. I went with feathers. Because I was so intent not to screw up so close to the end, I decided to try using a method with tracing paper. The idea is that you draw a design on tracing paper, pin it to your quilt, sew over the paper and then pull the paper off. Voila, you're left with a perfect design. Except that's not at all how it worked out. I will nevereverever use tracing paper for quilting. I try to do one new technique with every sewing project. In an effort to improve, I'm all for learning. Most of the time I'm learning things NOT to do.

Once I finally picked all the tiny shreds of paper out of the first feather, I figured it couldn't be any worse to free hand it and hope for the best. I am super happy with the results. I am also super happy that I used a light colored thread.

Following the design of the backing, I mixed up the feather designs. I had a lot of fun with this one. I'm glad to have a physical, every day reminder of our little one. I can't wait to share the whole story with her little sister.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


I have been a sewing fool for the past month or so. I'm trying to finish all the projects that are half way to complete. I tend to do all the fun parts and then fold it up and stick it in a drawer somewhere only to forget about it. With quilting, that means: buying, washing, drying, ironing, cutting, designing, sewing blocks, sewing rows, sewing quilt tops...only to finish the top and never sandwich, baste, quilt, and bind. There's a lot of time consuming steps that aren't as fun as others. 

I did manage to complete two of these lantern quilts for dear friends who have or will soon abandon me for the sake of service. 

I have a few more in the works, but I fizzled out in the manner mentioned above. 

This lovely little pile was a result of the green tulip fabric. I fell in love and had to build a quilt around it. I don't have a lot of green in my house, so I wanted that Spring-y pop of color. 

I loved the fabric too much to cut it into tiny pieces, so I went with a larger design. These stars were so fun to put together! Each finished block is a little over 8" square.

It turned out a bit busier than I would've liked, but I didn't want the finished quilt any bigger than this. Plus, I'm lazy. Adding a white border around each star would've taken more time than I wanted to give this one. The top is currently sewn together and awaiting batting and a back. 

I remember my Grandma talking about paper piecing. She was a master of all things sewing, so she acted like it was easy. But she was like that. There was nothing that woman couldn't whip up on a sewing machine. As she explained paper piecing, I just nodded along, never intending to try such a thing. I stumbled upon these kokeshi dolls on pinterest and decided to figure it out. Not bad. Not bad at all. Super time consuming, but the results are so worth it. Each doll took me a little over an hour. They are 8x12(ish) inches. That's a lot of time for one block. You have to press and trim between each small seam.

I was planning to make these Kokeshi dolls(I see them as Geisha more than Kokeshi) into a quilt, but methinks baby has enough quilts. I found the pattern on craftsy and have since reached out to the designer ( in the hopes she'll make some more Japanese inspired paper piecing patterns. I think I'll quilt them individually and frame them for Baby's room. 

These two with the pigtails are my favorite. 

After these girlies, paper piecing was my jam for a few days. I whipped up this letter M for a baby shower. The last name is Fox and I happened to have fox fabric. How could I resist?! I was pretty proud of how the orange lines lined up. That never happens without much seam ripping and cursing, but I nailed it by chance on the first go 'round. 

These next three have been in the "1/2 way there" category for a few weeks. I finally finished them up yesterday. For the pink and navy one, I couldn't take any more straight lines, so I started in the center and worked my way out. I was totally winging it and it worked out really, really well. I love it. The backing is four large squares of the patterns in the quilt. I love being able to use up a whole stack of fabrics that I love on one quilt. It's like getting a two-fer when you love the back of the quilt as much as the front. 

Pink and taupe-y grey with hydrangeas. I love hydrangeas. 

Same pattern as the pink/navy quilt above, but different fabrics. I quilted this one on the diagonal. It took forever, but I'm happy with the results on this one, too. 

The back:
The boys kept asking me what was wrong with the solid fabrics. It's a watercolor design in the fabric. I didn't spill anything on it. :)

This quilt was born of a botched design. I took another quilt apart that just wasn't working and almost chucked it. I'm so glad I didn't. My friend gave me a scrap of pink minky that matched the tiny roses perfectly and was juuuuust enough to back this one. I've never sewn with minky before. Holy smokes, is it slippery and difficult to work with. This one isn't perfect, but it's sooooo soft and lovely and I can picture a baby cuddled up in it. Given how hard it was to work with, I just tacked this quilt instead of quilting it with a grey zigzag stitch right in the middle of each square/triangle.

My mom crocheted this one in the most beautiful shade of coral. I love it, so much! It looks right at home hanging on the crib rail with the rest of Baby's blankets. 

Well, looks like the baby will never want for a blanket. 

I am nesting something fierce. Her room is ready aside from a few dozen more blankets needing to be finished up. I may pump the brakes on sewing for her as Jude found a stash of boy fabrics. He kept unloading my fabric cart and pushing it around the house. He was so relentless that I caved and got him his own IKEA cart to shuttle toys and such around in. Wouldn't ya know it, he dug the boy fabrics out and has been playing quilt shop all week. I kept telling him that I need to wash the fabrics first. I found them loaded in the washer today. :) That boy wants a new quilt. He has quite a few, but given his level of appreciation for crafts from Ma, I'd say he's due another one...and I know just what fabrics I want to hack into: