The food bump.

Now, I can’t pretend to be an expert or anything. I’ve been pregnant for 4 months out of my whole lifetime. But there is something I have learned. You know that “baby bump” that begins to appear soon after women start their blissful journey into the second trimester? People start to comment on “the bump” they see,and perhaps even reach out their hand (Dear God I hope they know you really well or else you have permission to slap their hand) and feel “the baby”.

Listen friends. You’re actually seeing/feeling her lunch. Or breakfast, or perhaps dinner, or perhaps a snack. I wake up in the morning, looking sort of pregnant…sort of tubby. By the end of the evening, I look legitimately pregnant. It’s a gross transition. Tubby to that exciting “pop” you were told would happen any moment…and then you wake up in the morning and it’s back to tubby. So if you were actually going to feel the baby, you’d have to feel in between a women’s groin and her belly button. Awkward. Obviously there comes a point when this isn’t the case, but during the beginning stages of bumpage, it is.

Here’s a diagram for those of you who need a visual. It starts at the beginning of pregnancy (look how roomy it is in there, it’s like a 5 star suite!). Your intestines have all this room to spread out and move stuff right along. But quickly, your intestines are squished up and your bladder down. So think about it…right now, my intestines are beginning their journey into squashed land and no longer fill my lower abdomen. So when I eat throughout the day, my stomach visible grows larger. The pictures make it clear why women at 30+ weeks deserve to have things picked up/moved/done for them. I mean good gaawwwddd.

 weeks_pregnant_pictures

In summary:

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Anyway, I can’t really complain. My pregnancy so far has been a cake walk. More pros than cons. One moment of serious food aversion to squash and potatoes when I was 10ish weeks along. Never a speck of nausea. The fatigue was pretty bad. I felt depressed as the daily tasks that used to be so easy, piled up around me while I napped. But hey. I’d rather be sleepy than pukey. And some women have to deal with both (I’m SO sorry!).

And before you ask…yes, that is a Nerf gun on the ground. No, I don’t have a son I never told you about. Yes…it belongs to my husband and he keeps it next to the bed…ya know, in case of intruders.

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Beautiful Hard Times.

We had my nephew Samuel over for a sleepover this last Sunday. It’s always a blessing to have sleepovers with my nephew and niece. Sadly though, my Grandpa Hubert, a man loved by more people than I can count, passed away Sunday night. Matt and I visited on Saturday and spent our last moments with Grandpa. While it was hard not to be there with the whole family when things took a turn for the worst on Sunday night, I know my Grandpa would be happy with what I was spending my time doing. I was investing in Samuel’s life. Creating memories, strengthening our connections as a family. He was all about family. I’ve got so much to say about what Hubert’s passing has meant to me, about all that I’ve been learning. That’ll have to be processed before I spew it out here. In the meantime, you can see from these pictures that we had a great time with Samuel. We “camped” inside. Roasting marshmallows on the fire and sleeping in our tent. My favorite moment was when we just sat still, mesmerized by the fire. I was looking at a boy who might someday be sitting by my bedside when I’m 90 years old, sharing stories and saying goodbye. Sammers Sammers Sammers Sammers Sammers Sammers Sammers Sammers Sammers sammers SammersThank God for family. Thank God for Grandpa and all he meant to so many.

Book Bags for the Kiddos.

When you’re a kid, nothing beats not having to share having your very own something. Nothing makes it yours better than plastering your name right on it. So this Christmas, I made my nephew and niece their very own book bags. Thanks to my cousin Penny who sent me this inspiration pic:

Library Tote ExampleThis is what I came up with:

Book Bag Book bagI knew I wanted to make my own tote so I could add some pizzazz. I find that knowing how to make a solid, standard tote bag is a skill that always comes in handy. So I appreciate the practice. Adding a liner allowed me to lazily pay attention to only the outside prettiness of the bag. The liner covers the interior part that looks disastrous  With reinforced handles (made from strapping), this bag should be able to withstand haul after haul of library books and/or other kiddo necessities.

While I don’t have a step-by-step photo tutorial for you, as I was crazily finishing these in the middle of the night, the eve of Christmas eve, I can give you some details that might help if you’d like to make your own.

I started with measurements of 17 1/2″ (h) x 16 1/2″ (w). I folded the top down two inches so ending measurements were probably something like 15 1/4″ x 16″. I simply hand cut out flannel letters and sewed them in place. This took forever and I’m sure had I left myself more time, I could have found a less time consuming method.

book bag book bag Book bag Book BagThey were a success. Especially since hidden inside was a book to add to their sprawling collections. “Skippy John Jones” for Giana and “The Secret Identity of Awesome Man” for Samuel. It was great watching these two open presents. They were delighted in each one and willingly gave out lots of thank you hugs…

…of which I gladly accepted.

Owen, Samuel and Giana

I’m Alive.

Breathing? Check. Pulse? Check. So…technically alive. Though if you’d seen me the past couple of weeks you’d have thought a really dull and stressed out alien had invaded my being, whilst using my body as a vessel to live out it’s evil plans. But not anymore, baby.

I had just enough time for little bits of fun the weeks leading to Christmas before I would be thrust back into my sewing room to…you got it…keep sewing. I just didn’t have the energy at 3am, when I’d be done with an order, to write a well-crafted post about my birthday or whatever. So after a few days of not writing and feeling terribly guilty, this magical thing happened: I forgave myself and moved on. I gave myself permission to focus on what needed most focusing.

I finished my last Christmas order on the 24th and 1:45 am. Probably the earliest finish time in at least a couple of weeks. This month has been the most affirming, challenging and down right surprising one I’ve had in a long time. I had NO idea that people with Etsy shops make 3/4 of their earrings during this time of year. I had NO idea that others were slowly building inventory in order to meet demand. But I can proudly say, I successfully survived my first Christmas season on Etsy, making every deadline and not turning away a single order, all the way up to the 20th.

You haven’t missed out on much these past days. I didn’t have time to do a single holiday DIY project or make any fun new recipes…let alone blog about them. Every post would have read, “Guess what I’m doing? STILL sewing”. You would have been terribly bored.

However between the sewing frenzies, I did do a few fun things. I turned 27, threw a surprise Settlers of Catan party for my husband who completed his graduate program, gathered with good friends to celebrate the holidays and each other, spent lots of time with family for Christmas, made my dog a Christmas bandanna, went to a Sherlock Holmes play and made some adorable presents for my nephews and niece for Christmas.

I’m taking a three-day hiatus from the sewing room, and tonight I plan on making butternut squash lasagna for dinner. This first new recipe I’ll be trying in what feels like forever. Sigh. Feels good to be back.

Matt Graduate Settler's Board Haley and Giana GidMaster Christmas Christmas Party Fireplace

Merry Christmas!

Christmas time is here.

Christmas CardIsn’t Gideon the cutest thing since baby ducklings?

We decided to do a Christmas card, mostly because this year we’ve felt so settled at our home and with our little family here. People like to hear about the chickens and Gideon. We thought it would bring a smile to their face to see them. We literally just turned to each other one afternoon and said, “Hey let’s go take a picture”. It was raining. We rigged up my dinky digital camera onto a ladder with a backpacking-tripod, and balanced an umbrella over it. Gideon got thrown in the wheel barrow, where he stayed freakishly calm. The chickens were swooped up, Matt and I posed. Done. Originally I wanted the picture to be a little chaotic. A chicken flapping around, Gid in mid-jump out of the barrow, Matt or I with our eyes closed, but it was all just so peaceful. I couldn’t bring myself to toss one of the chickens in the air. So I’m satisfied with this. Plus based on what I hear friends say, after you have kids, you consider yourself lucky to get a Christmas picture that’s not chaotic. And if it happens it’s usually after 50 takes. This picture is very reflective of our lives this past year. Busy little people, building our home and shaping our future together.

Have a great Christmas card idea? I wanna hear it! Merry Christmas to you all!

Toddler Apron Cuteness.

When I heard my sister in law talk about how much her daughter loved her play kitchen, I knew what I had to do. Giana’s 2nd birthday was right around the corner and I saw my opportunity to make her something special.

Apron1Apron3Apron2I’m going to give you a semi-tutorial on how to make this little apron (2 to 4yrs). I call it a semi-tutorial because I just sort of did it, and now I’m trying to sort of explain how I did it. There is no pretty step by step photos, but maybe this info will help:

I started knowing that I wanted the apron to be 19″ long and 14″ wide. I created these measurements using a few different sources I found online. So I taped 4 sheets of card stock together to create my rectangle. Fold the sheet in half, lengthwise. Cut a nice little curve out of the top corner. 5 inches down and 3 1/2 inches across.

Apron8You can round off the bottom corner or leave it straight.
IMG_1892When you open the paper you’ve got your pattern!

IMG_3276Lay this on your fabric, trace and cut out. I attached a front pocket, about 8″ by 6″ before it was hemmed and sewn on. You can see I added some cupcake patches. You can make the pocket any shape you’d like.

IMG_9378 (1)The edging and the straps are all hand-made bias tape. Bias tape is simply a strip of fabric, with the raw edges folded in and iron closed. See how I explained it here. I wrapped the bottom and very top with bias tape, slightly squaring off the bottom corners. It was just quicker that way. The straps are about  24″ long.

This pattern is totally adjustable. Add some ruffle or pizzazz. Make it all your own.

Or her own.

IMG_1050 apron10Gianna loves her new apron. But she became quickly obsessed with the little dish towel I made. She carried it around with her the whole evening. She also discovered that she could keep all her little treasures in her apron pocket. Her keys, a lollipop, a birthday card from her cousin and her dish towel. Everything a girl needs.

IMG_0626 IMG_0380So go get sewing. I bet you know someone who would love this for Christmas.

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice.

Meet Gianna. My lovely Niece. We had a slumber party.

At Auntie Haley’s house, Gianna is all sweet. With little bits of spice here and there.We had SO much fun. It’s amazing how much she reminded me of what it was like to be a little girl myself. To brush hair, tie bows, dance, read, and play pretend. It was a breath of fresh air. The reminder that I needed, to pay closer attention to small and simple things.

We went on walks, carrying cherry tomatoes for a mid-walk snack.

We waved goodbye to Jack, the black neighbor cat…several times.

We folded laundry.

We danced around with ribbon.

Looked intently into the mirror….finally deciding that mirror-Gi needed a kiss.

We flirted with Uncle Matt in the morning.
Ate heart-shaped pancakes.

Pointed out all the resident cats, squirrels and birds.

We found goodies in my wallet,

and read until our heart’s content.

My heart was full by the time we dropped Gianna off at home. Her sweet “I missed you” hugs to Mommy and Daddy were almost too cute to watch.

Here’s to many more slumber parties with my favorite little girl.