Archive | July, 2011

This moment

29 Jul

Inspired by soulemama: {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from [last] week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


FO: Peekaboo Bonnet

20 Jul

This bonnet was supposed to replace Abby’s old bonnet, which is now dramatically too small for her (12 month check up: 30.5 inches, 24.5 pounds). The print is a Liberty twill (Mirabelle) I’ve had sitting around for ages, and the plain is just a bottomweight from Joann’s.


What you can’t see in these pictures is that the bonnet is actually kind of a hot mess. First problem: I didn’t line everything up quite right, so I had to do some careful manipulation of the bias tie to get all the edges hidden.

Second problem: my handstitching skills are pathetic, so the band is not stitched down very well.

Third problem: I wanted to make a wide tie from both fabrics. Results: mixed. I can’t really tie them in a bow, because they’re too wide and not quite long enough.

Hello, stray thread.

Fourth problem: I used red thread to match the piping. Unfortunately, the red thread shows up like whoa on the gray, and I could NOT get the tie attached neatly enough. So I had to handsew it (see second problem) and then overlock the edges.

Abby figured out where the lens cap goes.

For next time: use thinner (possibly even store bought!) bias tape for the ties. Match things up more neatly. Choose piping, print, and plain fabric that matches more closely so the stitching doesn’t show up as much.

I do love the pattern (I love all Rae’s patterns), but I am wondering: why can’t just make the print and the plain separately and then attach them wrong sides together, the way a lining is usually put in? Rather than fiddling with handsewing them at the band, I mean. I’m trying to figure out why I couldn’t do that and can’t. I’m sure Rae has a reason, but I’m at a loss.

One year old

14 Jul

40 weeks.

Yesterday, Chris and I kept looking at the clock. “At this time last year, we were checking into the hospital.” “Now we’re deciding whether to take the Cervadil or not.” “Now we’re switching rooms.” “Now you’re going out for a beer and a sandwich.” (That one was Chris.) Abby was born at 3.37 in the morning on July 14th, and all I could feel was relief: it was over. According to books and movies, I was supposed to have a moment when everything changed. I was supposed to take one look at the tiny, screaming bundle lying on my chest and suddenly realize that the world was full of danger, that my life counted for nothing in comparison with this little life that I now had to keep safe, I was supposed to be blindsided by love for this stranger that I had just met. I felt none of those things. I felt relief, but I also felt recognition. When she was lying on my chest moving her head from side to side with those so-familiar jerky, stretching movements like she couldn’t figure out where she was and what had changed, I recognized her. I recognized the way she moved because that’s how she moved when she was inside of me. I knew her tiny limbs already. I didn’t need to meet her, because I already knew her.

About 7 hours old.

As those hours changed into days, I lost some of that feeling. She was a difficult baby at first, and when I was holding her at three in the morning as she screamed unconsolably, as I desperately, ineffectually tried to get to her nurse, I felt completely alien from the creature who needed me so intensely without even knowing it, who knew only that something was wrong. The first night we were home from the hospital, I wandered the downstairs with her all night as Chris slept upstairs to rest for an interview for a job that he didn’t get. She cried and cried, and I cried. I looked at our table filled with flowers and cards from our loving family and friends and I sobbed, because those cards and flowers were full of hope and congratulations, and I hadn’t slept in three days and I just knew, from the bottom of my heart, that I couldn’t do it. And I had to. I had never experienced that feeling so profoundly, that lethal “and” rather than “but”: I could not do it, and I had to.

Crying, as usual.

Little by little, of course, imperceptibly, it changed. We figured out how to get her arms through her onesies. Nursing became routine and comfortable. She started enjoying her baths. She smiled, and then laughed. She sat up, and then stood. She reached for toys, then learned to drop them, and bang them. She ate a banana, and then a mango, and then lentils, cheese, meatballs, crackers, strawberries, blueberries, hummus, and quesadillas. She figured out how to take things out, and then put them back in. She scooted and then crawled. She said “Dada” and “Dog.” She took a step and then a few more. She slept through the night. She waved when we said “Bye-bye.” She learned to hug her doll and then us. She gave kisses. And now when she nurses, she smiles and pats my face.

Before she was born, I resented a little that she would have Chris’s name, since after all the work of carrying and bearing her, I hated to think that she would take another name and lose her connection with me, in name becoming part of a different family. We even thought about giving her both our last names (I didn’t change my name), but decided in the end that she would just have Chris’s. I wanted her to have that connection with her father, of course, but I also realized that it was because I bore her that she didn’t need my name. Even now, she doesn’t like to be too far away from me; she doesn’t say “Mama” because, to her, she and I are still hardly two separate people. I look at her sometimes, when her face is very close to mine, and I recognize that I will never know another person as intimately as I know her. Next year will change that. She’ll grow up and away from me, from both of us, and while I can’t wait to see that happen and to see her day by day become even more herself, I am so grateful for this year. I grew her in my womb and on my breast; she is the child of my body and my heart. And this year, she was mine.

This moment

8 Jul

Inspired by soulemama: {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


FO: Refashioned skirt from giant shorts

7 Jul

People who are really good at refashioning and upcycling seem to be able to look at something hideous and see something beautiful. Mostly I look at ugly things and see only ugly. When I do have a vision, the reality often turns out to be … well, less than satisfactory. Sometimes, though, even I get lucky.

Yikes. Even without bad lighting, they'd be terrifying.

I picked up these humungous shorts from the 1$ rack at Goodwill a while ago and finally got around to doing something with them.

Look at those nommable knees!

An adorable little skirt!


I used the same method for the pieced linen skirt, although the lower tier is not nearly as long–maybe only a few inches longer than the upper tier.

And, since I’ve been frustrated by my hems lately, I added some piping around the bottom instead of turning a hem.

All-important squatting picture.

You can’t see it, but the elastic is sewn directly into the waistband. The material is fairly thick, so I thought a casing would be too bulk (and let’s face it, I was trying to cut corners). I worried a little that the elastic would leave belly marks, but it seems just fine.

Yay! A cute new skirt just in time for our trip to Salt Lake. I won’t be posting much, but I’ve got a new bonnet and new shirt AND new skirt to show off when I get back and get the pictures uploaded.

Ooh. And someone has a birthday coming up!!

Tutorial: Pieced Linen Skirt

5 Jul

This is an extra special day for me. Three months ago I set a series of really ambitious goals, including sending off two articles, revising a chapter, and drafting another one, all to be finished before we leave for Salt Lake on Thursday. As of early this afternoon, I’ve met every single one of those goals. Hooray! I can leave with a satisfied conscience (not to mention advisor).

And I even had time to write up this tutorial for the pieced linen skirt. I’m so in love with this general idea that I’ve already used it again to make another skirt from some tragically large Talbots shorts.


  • Some fabric, preferably remnants but really anything.
  • Your sewing stuff
  • 1″ elastic, or whatever width you preferred width for baby clothing


1. Get your remnants. Alternately, cut some pieces of fabric on the bias.

Pieces from the wrap.

2. Stitch them together in an aesthetically pleasing way to make rectangles.

Getting ready to piece.

3. Find yourself a skirt that fits and measure it. Alternately, find these measurements:

  • A: length = distance between waist and top of the thigh
  • B: length = distance between top of thigh and knee (approximately)
  • A: width = slightly longer than around the widest part of the hip, over the diaper
  • B: anywhere from 1.5 to 2 times width of piece a. With stiffer fabric, you’ll want the shorter width; drapier fabric will be able to tolerate the longer width.


Doing some maths

4. Cut your rectangles to the appropriate measurements.

Cutting the second layer with a refreshing homebrew!

5. With a basting stitch, gather the long edge of the long rectangle.


6. Right sides together, pin the gathered edge of B to the long edge of A. Fiddle with the gather to make everything line up evenly. 7. Stitch together. I get better results if I put the gathered edge down by the feed dogs to make the gathers feed through the machine more evenly.

Stitched up.

8. [Optional.] Cut the piece in half so you have a front and a back and then stitch back up. I like seams, so I add them wherever possible. (They also give your sewing a professional touch.)

Yay seams!

WARNING: waistbands are the hardest part for me. You may have a better way of doing it or find a clearer tutorial. If so, use it and let me know!

9. Cut waistband:

  • length: long enough to fit easily around your model’s waist, plus seam allowance.
  • width: twice the width of your elastic, plus seam allowance.

10. Join the short ends of the waistband, right sides together, to make a tube. 11. Fold the tube in half long ways and press.

12. Fold down about 5/8ths of an inch and press.

Waistband folded, ironed, and joined.

13. Right sides together, slide the waistband down over the top of your skirt with the folded edge down. [From the picture, you’ll see that I did right side to wrong side, but really you could do it either way. I think the wrong sides together would be better, which is why I’ve described it that way.]

Waistband attached and ready to be folded up.

14. Pin and stitch.

15. Flip the waistband up and over, so the folded edge meets the raw edges and everything is now enclosed within the waistband.

Waistband folded and and ready to cover up all those raw edges.

16. Edge stitch as close as you can to the folded edge. I didn’t manage to get as close as I should have :(. VERY IMPORTANT: Leave an opening of about an inch to thread your elastic through.

17. Thread your elastic and close up the hole.

Waistband attached, elastic inserted, and skirt hemmed!

Yay! You have a skirt! Embellish as you wish. I added some running stitch embroidery, but you could really go crazy with this as a blank canvas.

No pictures, Mama.

Hope this is clear, and I’d love to know if you made anything with it!

This moment

1 Jul

Inspired by soulemama: {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.