I ordered the gown supplies. Then I just looked at them for a day or two. I finally gathered my courage to cut into the fabric and try out the trims. As much as I love the two pictured above, when stitched together, the whites (lace/fabric) are ever so slightly different and I can't make my peace with it. I have another piece of beading which is much closer and I plan on hand stitching a cross in the center of the bodice instead. Above the hem in the back center, I will also hand embroider her name or initials. My hope is that the dress will be polished, if not elaborate.
Cheryl (who I will just publicly praise again for being such a big help) recommended this shop and I heartily second the recommendation. My supplies arrived quickly and were beautifully packaged with a handwritten note. I'm in over my head with all of these terms and methods. It's a completely different type of sewing for me, but I'm truly enjoying the process of learning it all.
ETA: I deleted a section of this that, in retrospect, felt the tiniest bit unkind to publish for all the world to see.
I'm jumping in and joining Elizabeth to talk books and sewing!
Sewing: I'm stitching together hexagons in my downtime. I still have no idea what they are to be. I went with a random pattern of colors, which I like and I think fits the scrappy nature of the project very nicely. I'm really just putting off the big project which is a Baptismal gown for our daughter. I was a good girl earlier this week and made a cheap muslin rough draft. The pattern, while veryveryvery vague, went together smoothly and with Cheryl's expert advice and encouragement, I'm going to place an order for all of my supplies today. I think I can, I think I can...
Reading: Whilst cleaning out my closet* (ugh!) I found my copy of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Yay! This book is a little too out there for me in some sections, but I credit it with completely erasing any fear about childbirth during my second pregnancy. I'm not particularly opinionated about how one gives birth, however, I was as drugged as I could possibly be for my first and I didn't enjoy it much (which, who cares?). I decided forego pain meds for my second because of this bad experience... except that that's sort of a lie and it was really because my insurance company wouldn't pay for the epidural and I'm super cheap. Regardless of the reason, the birth of my son was easy, quick (an hour and a half, maybe), and lovely thanks to Ina May's advice. That being said, I have no birth plan just yet except to roll with whatever comes my way. The one good thing about having horrible pregnancies is that labor and delivery have always seemed like a piece of cake in comparison.
*Unrelated but Wednesday I shredded about 7-12 years worth of old bills. Did you know you don't need to save your old water bills? Yes, you probably did. I, however, did not. Such joy! So much space freed up! Also out: My old college textbooks. That was hard. But I held in my hands a favorite, "What Is To Be Done?" - Chernyshevsky looked back and answered "That which is necessary" and said goodbye.
I know I've posted on this topic before because I am all about the make ahead dinner. I tried two new recipes in the past week that have checked all the right boxes. No photos because I'm always too busy serving the meal to photograph it. And also I feel like an idiot making my husband wait to eat his dinner so I can take a photo for my blog.
Ina Garten's Mexican Chicken Soup This is called tortilla soup, 'round here. I've had many a great tortilla soups in restaurants, but have never been able to duplicate something as tasty at home. This recipe got so many great reviews on Food Network, I decided to give it a try. It's packed with fresh veggies (I added frozen corn and fresh chopped red bell pepper as well) and uses low fat chicken breast (I used rotisserie) so it's a nice healthy meal if you don't go overboard with the cheese etc. There's really no need. Every bite was surprisingly delicious. It also makes a lot of soup. Our family of four stretched it into several meals. This is, by far, the best soup I've made at home.
I was planning on making my normal cottage pie last night for dinner and just before I set to cooking I saw Dawn's link to Martha Stewart's recipe. I still used mashed potatoes on top because that's my husband's preference, but he said the beef base was the best he's had. I'm serving leftovers tonight with a side of broccoli.
I'm headed outside to sit in the garden and watch my babies play. My husband set my son up with a baseball rebounding net thingy and we are all having the most fun with it. I just watch for now, being too clumsy, bulky, and protective of my midsection.
I had a 30 week scan this morning to measure... one thing or another. I don't really care what the reason is, show me the baby! I always search for the cuteness in ultrasound photos and always come away seeing little lizard babies.
I'm still in awe that she is real. I was never formally diagnosed with infertility, but we did have what is referred to in the medical profession as a 'heckuva time' conceiving our last two children. It's not anything I ever talked a lot about, even to family, because it's rather personal, don't you think? It can be particularly trying for a Catholic woman because 1) she's surrounded by large families who sometimes assume she is less than open to life and 2) it can be difficult to work with a doctor who doesn't understand or respect the Church's teachings on, you know... things and stuff. Clearly, I'm still not the type of person who can discuss these things easily. I blame the fact that my dad reads my blog. (Hi Daddy, move along now!)
This has all been in the news a lot lately and it is abundandly clear that there is a great need for these conversations to be had. I'm so happy that there are women who aren't too squeamish to talk about it. OK, so good posts on this topic:
Karen also posted last week on contraception and parchment paper, which I erroneously thought might be some horrible craft project. No worries, friends! It's the first in what I hope will be a series of posts covering Church teachings on... things and stuff.
Pardon my tempter tantrum. And thank you, most sincerely, for all the lovely comments. They brought so many smiles to my face. I was explaining to my husband last night that though I acted like an overtired 3 year old on Tuesday, it was a completely understandable case of seven months of feeling like cr%p catching up to me combined with some very stressful days last week. I really do feel like I've done my best to stay cheerful, but I admit to having a little pity party on Tuesday.
Fortunately, a couple nights of sleeping well have helped my mood. I had another at home day yesterday so I got out my sewing machine. I hoped to stitch up the little Baby-In-the-Hood Jacket from Handmade Beginnings and I just happened to have everything I needed on hand. That never, ever happens. I even had the foresight last year to buy a bunch of random elastic and fusible interfacing because those two things can quickly derail a project. I also didn't expect to have the time, but after a few morning lessons, my children ran outside to play and enjoy the beautiful weather. So surprise! I started, finished, and even enjoyed a sewing project in just a few hours. (OK, it still needs buttons).
I'm so, so pleased with it. I used some leftover prints from my Children at Play quilt for the main fabric. I had just enough of a sweet pink homespun plaid in the stash for the lining. I love homespun plaids for children's clothes. The seem to have the softness and warmth of flannel without the dreaded pilling.
It was a carefully and clearly written pattern. I'm so thankful because I really needed a win! On top of that, I wrapped up two pairs of socks for my older children last night during the baseball game. It was a very happy Wednesday.
I'm so motivated since clearing my stash. Our space is so limited, but I managed to clean out an entire closet that I will devote entirely to my 'old lady arts' (my husband's view of things). I'm thinking very carefully about a baptismal dress for our daughter. I've been totally smitten with this one since I stumbled upon it last year sometime. I need to get started if I'm going to do it. I will not be using silk, that I know for certain.
Everyone deserves to write a grumpy post from time to time.
I hate that Mary Oliver poem The Summer Day. I've wanted to get that off my chest for the longest time because I see it quoted everywhere.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
It gives me a panic attack. Do you know what I really want to do with my one wild and precious life sometimes? Sit down and watch Friends reruns. I think it was sarah who posted recently on not wanting to live each day as if it were her last. I don't either! I want time to waste. Please sarah, if it was your post can you link to it?
Three things that made me cry today:
My husband emailed me to say that he had a big lunch and wouldn't be hungry for dinner. I had just spent an hour and a half preparing a thoughtful and healthy dinner. This was justified.
The Pink Floyd song 'Comfortably Numb'. Y'all, I don't even know what this song is about but I had tears running down my face through the whole length of it. Unjustified.
A restaurant put mayonnaise on my sandwich when I specifically asked twice that they not put mayonnaise on my sandwich. This is kind of justified. It's annoying and most places just cannot grasp that anyone would not want mayonnaise, but the thing is this didn't even happen today. It happened last Friday, I was just reliving it. I think at some point it should not be causing a flood of tears and yet.
Finally, I'm not going to get too political here but I will say that if a woman really wants to stay home with the children and her husband is a graduate of Harvard Law School, they could probably put their thinking caps on and find a way to make it happen. I will also say that I have never been more intellectually and creatively stimulated than in my current position as stay at home mother and home educator.
A little reworking of the schedule and I have two (2!) full days at home now most weeks. This is such a blessing. I hope I can make the most of them. I took a nap this morning and I think that's a super start.
I'm hoping to...
Prepare a lovely, healthy dinner of pasta salad with chicken breast and loads of fresh, chopped vegetables. We sat down on Friday to a pathetic, emergency dinner of (brace yourself) 4 month old frozen, fried cheese sticks. We didn't even make to to "and these thy gifts" before cracking up at the absurdity of considering cheese sticks a blessing from the Lord. They were, of course, on a week when the grocery store fell off the priority list entirely but oh, it seemed a little insulting - like God was thinking, "I want no part of the old, frozen cheese sticks!" I made a meal plan and did the shopping yesterday so I hope that will make for a smoother week.
With 3 dance classes, 4 baseball games, and 4 rather stressful doctor's appointments last week, I finished up 5 hand knit socks. I hope to wrap up pairs this afternoon. It's a beautiful, cool spring day and I hope to just sit in the garden for awhile and knit.
Clean up a bit. We're still in the process of decluttering. My husband insisted he didn't need to and then we found 8 pairs of his old jeans with unfortunate holes rendering them unsuitable even for a garage sale. I'm trying to think small and just work on a drawer, box, or shelf every day. Every little bit helps! Even if I can't assess and repurpose a newly empty space, it makes me happy and keeps me going.
Think about lesson plans for next year. I would really like to get this squared away before our baby is born. I hope to begin our next year in July so we can take our usual Christmas and Spring breaks. My daughter's plan is fairly simple because we've been on track with her for some time. My son, who will be in second grade, is a little trickier. I always want to order a boxed curriculum but it doesn't ever seem to work. Though I'm up for suggestions if anyone has a prepackaged set they just love for second grade. Isn't CHC's First Communion prep supposed to be brilliant? Anyway, I'm printing out calendars for July through April to get me thinking.
My doctor insisted I take it easy for the next few weeks so all gardening is offcially off limits. I'm bribing the children to weed and plant for me. My gardening plans are ambitious every year and this year is no exception. It's hard to say no - to hydrangeas, a new clematis in the most perfect deep pink color, watermelons. But I'm growing a little baby and there's nothing more exciting than that.
During this long and difficult pregnancy, I have repeated to myself daily, 'When the tomatoes are ripe. The baby will be born when the tomatoes are ripe." It seems so much closer that way. I wandered around this morning and saw several tiny green tomatoes set. Hardly any time at all. :)
On Sunday I took a look at the schedule and knew it was going to be a rough week. It ended up quite a bit busier and more stressful than expected. But we made it through and I've penciled in time to have myself a good cry tomorrow night when all is said and done. My husband has penciled in running an emergency errand tomorrow night. All coincidence, I'm sure.
I am reading a book every now and then. It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. I've had this for several months but it never really clicked with me. We're not that bad. I really do try to keep the clutter to a minimum. Alas, the prospect of fitting another person in our little home shifted my perspective. I really do hang on to a bunch of junk. We already replaced a pricey, but broken coffee maker and yet I hadn't thrown the old one out, thinking that it might heal itself if it sat in the cabinet long enough? I don't know. I've been pretty surprised at how much space I've been able to clear and am excited about continuing. Walsh writes about how most people decide on where to put stuff the day they move in and that's what happened with us. So no, not everything is perfectly placed. It really does help me to imagine an empty space and think clearly about how best to utilize it. This weekend, I hope to tackle the bookshelves. This is entirely unrealistic and has zero chance of actually happening, but I'll throw it out there anyway.
That's all for today! I hope you have a lovely weekend, friends!
This started out with the realization that, despite my best efforts, I have accumulated both a yarn and a fabric stash. This became glaringly obvious when it seemed logical to store the yarn and fabric in bins in my unused bathtub. This way lies Hoarders, y'all. Something had to be done.
I spent a few days sorting fabric. First up: I ditched the fabric I no longer liked. I folded and sorted any yardage I still planned to use. Remaining were many tiny scraps that I absolutely loved. I didn't want to trash them, even though some are super tiny. Enter the hexagon. Perfect solution. I am snipping and basting all of those precious, tiny scraps into hexagons. The best part? It's all hand sewn. I appreciate my sewing machine, but I much prefer hand sewing.
I'm not 100% sure how these are all going to come together, which is why they aren't sewn into any pattern yet. I'm curious to see whether I will love a finished project made entirely of much loved, but random components or if I will want to sort them by color.
This will probably be in the works for some time - especially since I have no idea what it ultimately will be- but it has been lots of fun to turn a bin full of wrinkled, frayed scraps into something pretty and functional. Win.
The scrap bin.
The scrap pile. I did decide to work on this whilst my husband is on a business trip because I knew it would get messy. Also, knowing I wouldn't finish, I committed to sorting the scraps into color groups and stashing them in ziploc baggies accordingly so I could easily pick it up at a later date.
Seriously, what else am I going to do with a piece like this?
I made my first hexagons a summer or two ago using this tutorial, but think I do it differently now. I baste them all down first and whether you go through the paper or not seems to be a matter of taste. I do not. A quick search will return many tutorials.
I plan on tackling the yarn next. It is a small bin, but it is a bin and exceeds my comfort level.
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