20090430

How Goes The Plan, Stan?

Just a week ago, I decided I needed to create a plan for my crafting/free time as I was spending too many hours on the computer and not enough doing anything else. How did it go, you ask? Well, sort of okay. So, on Thursday night, I was due to work on Nathan's PJs. That went as expected. The weekend was my free time, so on Friday, I worked on the PJs again. I also worked on them Saturday night. I was even going to work on them Sunday night, but I was frustrated by my lack of proper sized trim, as described in my last post. It is quite clear that I'm obsessive about finishing my sewing projects. I finished my PJs on Monday night, the night I should have been knitting a scarf. I justified it by telling myself that it was too hot to knit a wool scarf and that I could knit on my scarf when I was in proper air-conditioning. I did finish the pajamas, so I had that, at least.

Bias Neck Binding


That face is just telling you that he already know that his mom loves to make excuses for when she overrides her own plans.

On Sunday night, I did work on my cross-stitch for the first time in well over a year. Since I only worked on it for one hour, I didn't get much done and it won't even be worth taking another WIP picture until I spend another nine or so hours on it. I really want to work on it again now!

I knitted on the socks on both Saturday afternoon and on Wednesday night, so that went as planned. I'm mostly done the second sock of my 'barf' pair as I affectionately call them. I'm already decreasing on the second sock, in fact, and I expect they'll be done very soon, allowing me to cast on for Nathan's matching ugly socks.

Ugly Socks


So, where did I fail? I didn't work on my sewn boxers, but I wasn't too sad about that. I've decided I only want one WIP for sewing unless I become one of those people with lots of spare time on Saturdays or Sundays who goes around cutting fifteen projects at once to be sewn during their spare time. (I would love to be one of those people.) I also didn't work on the scarf, but... I'm not too sad about that.

I have decided I'm going to redraft my plans for each week from now on, keeping weekends free for anything I'd like to do. This upcoming week, it'll be:

Thursday: cross-stitch
Sunday: sewing, another cloth book
Monday: knitting (scarf if it isn't too hot, socks if it is)
Tuesday: cross-stitch OR drawing
Wednesday: knitting (scarf if it isn't too hot, socks if it is)

We'll see how it goes. I clearly wanted to up my cross-stitching and take a small relax from the sewing.

Both Sophy and Wit stated that this type of plan would stifle their creativity, but I work in the opposite way. I love plans, lists, and schedules. They make me feel happy. If I follow them, I'm getting things done. If I ignore them, I'm being a little wild. It's win-win. The worst time for my crafting this weekend was on the weekend when I had the choice to do anything I wanted. I mostly just surfed the internet.

I remember reading that the human brain likes to have a limited number of choices. No choices and we feel hemmed in, too many choices, and we become indecisive. I think that my plan limits my choices and makes me more able to break away from the computer at night. Instead of wondering which craft or activity I should be doing, and then doing nothing or defaulting to socks, I have a plan and I get to doing it. For instance, prior to my plans, at night, I could watch TV, play on the computer, read, draw, sew several items, cross-stitch, or knit on one of two items. Now, I've basically taken it down to play on the comp, craft, read, or draw. And that's something I can choose between.

Though, what I really should do is spend more time with Paul.

Paul Cooks


He's a good husband and maybe I spend too much time crafting instead of spending time with him.

20090429

The Cat's Pajamas

As you all know, I've been sewing. And sewing. And sewing. I think it is official. I'm sewed out for now. I need a break, and that might mean I need to rethink my plan. (More on that in a different post.) However, for all that sewing, I got a finish project. It's Amy Butler's Kimono Style Pajamas from Little Stitches. This project is adorable, but to be realistic, everything in Little Stitches is adorable. There is a reason Helen and I call it the cutie book. I mean, some of the other pajamas I've seen on Flickr make me drool. Trust me, if Nathan weren't already in the 12 month pajama size, he'd have a set for every three months of his first year.

So, last week, I started to trace and cut out the pattern. I carefully cut out the pieces, then pinned those pieces to the main fabric and realized I needed a touch more fabric than Amy calls for. Well, to quote Tim Gunn, I made it work. I moved that pattern around until I got all the pieces into the yardage called for. I then cut out all the strips of the second fabric. I read through the directions to make sure I didn't need to cut out anything else before I threw out the scraps. With a sinking heart, I read about... Bias tape. Oh man. I hate making bias tape. I mean, it's so pretty, but I'm so sucky at it and... Bias tape. That night, I set down the project and went to bed, a little downhearted.

The next night, I was all psyched. I had cut out all the pieces! They didn't need marking! I just had to get that stupid bias tape cut and I was ready to sew. I cut it out, and I cut out that bias tape perfectly. I was cautious, light with my chalk, perfect with my scissors. My strips were all the perfect size and cut on the bias correctly. In fact, the damnable bias tape is the one thing I'm most proud of with this project. Well, I sat down to sew and read the directions and started step one, pinning the front top trim to the front panel of the top and realized that my trim was just a bit short. I stopped and considered. Maybe this was on purpose. I looked at the directions for cutting and saw that I should have two front trim pieces cut at eight and seven-eighths inches by three and a half inches. I measured and nearly shrieked in pain. My stupid trims were seven and seven-eighths inches. I put everything aside and took a deep breath, measured all the remaining trims to make sure they were the correct size, and went to go do another project for the night. I stuck the mis-cut trim in my purse too so that I could buy another fourth of the fabric to recut my trim.

I get the fabric, recut the trim, sew the bias tape together, and start! Everything is really clear right up until the bias tape section. Wow, then the directions were crappy. According to everything I've read online, Amy Butler has terrific directions. This must mean that my reading comprehension is really far below what I used to think it was. I looked at the sole diagram presented, read the instructions a few more times, and finally figured out WTF was going on. By that time, I was tired, so I intelligently went to bed rather than continue on.

The next time I worked, I finished the top with a minimum of fuss. Most everything went right other than slightly puckered/wonky sleeves, but considering the fact that I had never set in a sleeve before in my life, I decided not to worry too much about it. I'd try harder not to screw up next shirt.

Kimono Pajama Top


After taking the above picture, the angel and demon on my shoulders started a little fight. The angel told me to answer my email, take a shower, and go to bed. The devil told me I could finish the pants. The angel told me I was tired. The devil said, "He could be wearing these tomorrow."

I paid for listening to that devil, folks. I ripped out about fifteen seams (no lie) working on those pants. Those pants should have been as simple as all hell, and they took me forever. At one point, Nathan had a funky shaped long skirt because I had screwed up so hard. I did discover that I wanted to make myself and everyone I know pajama pants. I think if I were less tired, I could whip out a pair pretty quickly, even for adults.

Here is Nathan enjoying his outfit.

Pajamas In Action


It's got an awfully cute turtle pattern on it.

Back of Pajama Details


You can see that the pants are already a little too small for him, but I like the project regardless.

Here he is standing up so you can see the pants.

Pajama Top and Pants


My mom and I even took him to the park in his pajamas!

Pajamas On The Loose


My final verdict? I wish Amy Butler had more diagrams and that her instructions were clearer, but it's an awfully cute pair of pajamas.

20090427

Dear Audience

Do you ever wonder what I do when I don't blog? Sometimes, for people I'm interested in, when they don't blog, I wonder why. Are they doing terribly interesting things that day/week/month/year? Are they off making successes of themselves? Have they failed? I recently read a blog post from a woman whose child reached four months, and she just gave up blogging. Couldn't do it anymore. Her job and her child took over her life and she had one free hour of life a day which she devoted to reading. I couldn't blame her. When I was working full time and driving home to Nathan, I was hectic. I didn't want to be near computers at all. On the other hand, I read the blog of a woman who stopped blogging because she had succeeded in starting a business.

This weekend was a very busy one for me. Paul, the Nate-bomb (he's a bomb of cuteness), and I drove down to Maryland. Technically, Paul drove, and Nathan and I snored. On the way back, I drove, and Nathan and Paul slept peacefully. We went down for Draftsgivings Day 2009. It is a day of delicious delicious delicious Philadelphia Sports. I believe everyone attending was in some sort of Philadelphia sports gear. Nathan busted out his Phillies outfit, Paul and I suited up in Flyers shirts. Sadly, the Flyers hate us. The day included a lot of coffee for me.

Today, we all went to Lilly's Baek-Il and Nathan had a hell of a time. It was discovered that he loved shrimp. He'd clap mightily any time he ate so much as a tidbit. He also stood, all on his own, for a few seconds. It was amazing to me. He's going to be walking so soon and I can't even deal with it. I want him to be my baby forever and he's just growing so quickly.

A note for myself, on Friday night, Talena, family, and Nathan, and I went to dinner. I gave Nathan some chocolate mousse. I've never seen Nathan so excited in my life ever. Before hand, he'd smack his lips watching the spoon come to him. As it was about to reach him, he'd break into a gorgeous laugh. After every bite, he'd clap wildly and look at the spoon, waiting for it to dip into the chocolate. I'm going to make mousse for him just so he loves me so much.

20090423

My Craft Plans

Sophy made a nice comment on my last post telling me that she was interested in WIP posts because they show that blogger are human rather than finishing machines who only do perfect projects. I think she might be correct, but I need more photos of Works in Progress then. For instance, this blog post? No photos, so I know it'll be a dud. Oh well. It is mainly for myself anyway.

How do I plan to make myself craft more nowadays? One, I'm going to try to get off the computer earlier in the evening. That means Flickring and Facebooking and blogging and everything else early in the evening if possible.

Two, I'm going to assign times/days to projects. Here is how it goes.

Sunday -- cross-stitch
Monday -- the scarf
Tuesday -- my boxers
Wednesday -- the socks
Thursday -- nathan's pjs

On the weekends, I can work on any project I want. In the car, I can work on the scarf or socks. I can change days between projects if I feel like it, but I can't work on something for two of the assigned days.

Let's see how this goes. I'm feeling a little anxious about it for now.

20090422

The Crafting That Doesn't Ring Any Bells

As I'm sure all of you fellow bloggers know, there are some blog posts that are hits, and others that are misses. The hits are normally the ones where you post some incredibly gorgeous finished project. The misses are where you talk about your lame work in progress. This is the lame work in progress post, only it is even more boring than that. So, I've been working on my hideous anklet socks which bring me down every time I look at them. Both Helen and Paul (who are creating a cooking blog between them, the traitors) ask me why I keep going on these socks that are sucking my will to live out from under me. I answer, because I must. Once I start something, I always feel I must finish it. It's the way I roll. I'm going down the foot of the second one now and if I just dedicate like two or three nights to them, I'll finish them, but I'm not even out of the hole then! I still have to make Nathan a matching pair of ugly socks since I will have approximately two hundred yards of sock yarn left when I'm down my own ugly socks.

Also, if you like to cook, you might want to check out the H & P cooking blog, The Secret Is Salt. Paul hasn't posted there yet, but Helen has already built up a good number of posts. I've already run the idea of cooking at my mom's place once in a while across them since my mom redid her kitchen to be twice as large as it once was, and it is mainly composed of counter or table space. The only bad part of that idea is that Paul would need to pack up most of our kitchen tools and pantry before we went.

So, what other non-sexy, non-ugly-sock stuff have I been doing? Well, buying sewing patterns, fabric, and slip stitching stuff. I ended up a failure in the cloth buying department again. Twice. I bought some lovely embroidered silk for a top. I needed a yard and three-fourths for the top. I got two and an eighth. I bought some kitschy cotton (with cartoon cats drinking coffee) for some silly boxers for myself. I needed a yard and three-fourths. I bought a yard and a fourth. I think I'm not meant to buy fabric, people.

I did buy a soft cloth book kit from Joann. It was fast to make (most of the work is pinning the layers together), and it was a cute result. Please ignore the fact that I've protected Nathan's full name from the internet with some awesome Photoshop scribbles.

Cloth Book I Made


Nathan was totally not interested. Five seconds after I took the next picture, he threw the book at the floor and nearly kicked it.

Nathan Has No Interest


I liked the results though, and my mom has never been so impressed with me! Take that, Nathan!

Sweet Smackerals!


After finishing this on the machine, I spent one full night just slip-stitching crap. I've learnt a lot from that. First, I'm a suck-ass slip-stitcher. Seriously. Check out that first picture in original size on Flickr. You'll see where I 'slip-stitched'. I ended up whip-stitching on my first attempt after I screwed up. By the third slip-stitched page, my work was improving to non-hideous. I also slip-stitched the waist band hole for my wrap skirt, which allowed me to finally hang it in my closet.

Since I haven't been getting much crafting done, I've decided I'm going to take some advice from Gives Good Knit, the podcast. She has decided to have projects for days of the week. I think I'm going to do this too. I have sewing, knitting, cross-stitch, and drawing. I'm just going to have to divvy up the days. I will detail more about this in the future.

20090414

Plays Well With Others -- Month 10

Hey, month 10 came and passed, Nathan. Dude, this month you were all about discovery after discovery! You started clapping this month and it is something that thrills both of us to the bone. The first day you did it, you would only clap once, and then you'd stop. Bryan and Helen came over the next day, and we were bragging about your single clap. We made you show them it, and you decided to take off on your own by clapping full time. You'd clap, we'd clap, you'd clap, we'd clap. Helen and Bryan probably think your daddy and I are nuts, but who cares! So awesome.

Also, last Monday, April 6th, you got your first tooth. It's on the bottom of your mouth and you won't let me take a picture of it. You get very angry when I try to feel it, but it's there. I can see it occasionally. And you like to bite on things now such as spoons, fingers, teething rings, and green beans.

You're still not crawling, but you get around by doing a combination of worm/peddle action. And you will also bounce along on your butt when you're sitting down. That is hilarious.

We started to go to the library for their baby story telling time. We haven't made any friends yet, but today you made a grab for another baby, and she waved at you. I think it's progress. Hopefully we can start going to more baby/children meetings so you can make some firm friends in our area.

Outside of our area? Wow, you are making a ton of friends. Check this out!

We're Cute Cousins!

OMG CUTE!!!111!!eleven

SO CUTE


You so clearly think that your cousins are awesome, which is great! I can't wait to have this next month with you, Nathan. I think you're wrapping me a little more around each finger every day.

BTW, don't be fooled too much by your friendliness. Sometimes you're kind of mean.

Nathan Takes Over

Zippers -- Totally Not Mastered

Last night, after a lot of thought, I decided to pull out the machine and make two more cloth napkins (pictures coming later) and a zippered pencil case. Even though Sophy tells me all the cool little kids don't like cute stationary any more... (How did this happen?)

Practicing Zippers


I have three different books at my house for referencing. One suggested I get some kind of mending tape to do the basting. The other suggested fabric glue, pinning, or hand basting to baste the zipper into place before hand. The last just assumed I knew what I was doing and roughly told me to baste it into place. I chose to hand-baste and I'm not sure that I'm happy with that.

I am going to try and get fabric glue for my next zipper project. Places where I was especially unhappy with this zipper? The top of the zipper. Also, I totally f'ing forgot to move from a basting stitch to a normal stitch when I was putting the zipper in, so this whole thing could fall apart at any moment.

In this next photo, you can see a tiny bit of the orange thread I used to baste!

Practicing Zippers


I feel like I at least understand how to put in zippers now and I am tempted to try a real project with zippers.

BTW, I'm totally glad I made this. I stuck all my credit and gift cards and lipsticks into it and now I have an easy way to move the items in my bags from purse to purse without having a bunch of meaningless crap move too!

20090412

Crafting Failure

I was all going to blog about how I was a failure at crafting this weekend, which I totally was, but then I got all excited because my blogger account told me someone was following this blog. That might, or might not, have caused me to wibble. I love you, new follower. (I also get ridiculously excited when I find that new people are following me in Google Reader and when I check my Google Analytics.)

Anyway, my crafting failures. It's not even that I'm a failure, so much as a slacker. I really want to sew all the damned time, and I picked up new patterns from Jo-Ann Fabrics, but I am not sewing. My reasons for not sewing are as follows: (a) I don't feel like setting up my machine and sewing EQ just to have to put it all back when I'm done with it, (b) I need to learn how to put in zippers, (c) I hate ironing and washing fabric prior to cutting it out, (d) I always wish I was losing more weight so I could fit into smaller sizes, (e) I need to figure out how to use interfacing, (f) I wish I had a serger, which is dumb, (g) I need to figure out how to use the twin needle aspect of my machine, (h) have I mentioned that setting up and taking down my sewing stuff and ironing stuff is annoying because I also have to clear out my crafting area, and (i) I'm always washing more dishes. I'm not even joking about (i). How can one house full of two adults and a baby produce this many dishes and this quantity of dirty clothes?

So, clearly, in my next house, my ideal would be to have a crafting area where I did not have to break down/set up my sewing machine. I even have a color theme in mind for it already. It will also be my gift wrapping station/card writing area/place to be awesome. (And maybe I'll get a pony for my backyard too.)

I also failed at sewing, but I think it is because I hate the sock yarn I'm using more than anything I've ever knit with before in my life and that includes dish cloth cotton and cheap acrylic. The worst part is that this is such soft yarn. But it is so ugly. People, if any of you have size six to size seven and a half feet, tell me if you want a pair of wool anklets in UGLY yarn colors. I will post a picture when I'm done with them. I will mail them to you. Seriously. I will include a thank you card for taking them. I might even include some cookies in this package. Here is the yarn I'm using for these ugly ugly socks that I hate.

Socks that Rock


How dare you look so nice in skein form, bastard yarn! I should just go back to working on my Slytherin Scarf, but I feel like I need to be freed from the burden of these horrible socks first. I am close to completing my first sock, but I spent two hours or so today looking for my measuring tape. Location: my hoodie pocket for some reason. The hoodie that I wear once every two months.

Other crafting failures? Actually, I haven't worked with my cardmaking/scrapbooking in forever, so no failures on that front. Also, I totally made cookie dough that Paul dosed out and baked. I love the actual mixing of ingredients. Once you get to the part where you have to bake the stuff, however? I lose all interest.

Oh, and going back to sewing, I finally decided I needed to get over my zipper fear, so I cut out two pieces of fabric for a cute little pencil case. That is right, folks, I'm going to make a pencil case. I don't need it, but it's going to be cute regardless. I love all cute stationary/school supply items. Cute erasers? I'm in heaven! Cute plastic rulers with Hello Kitty on them? Give 'em here! Cute stickers? I could collect them by the thousands. I got all excited recently when I discovered my secret awesome stash of Korean manhwa stationary at my mom's house. I plan to bring it home and photograph it. Having a cute pencilcase will most likely make me happy. If not, I have a million nieces. One of them is bound to think it is adorable.

Do boys even like cute school supplies such as pencil cases? Sigh. I love my son, but I know jack squat about boys.

20090406

Finished Skirt!

Helen asked, in comments to my last post, if I should consider a miniskirt. I had, in a highly delusional moment, considered just chopping off a quarter of a yard off of each pattern piece and making a miniskirt wrap, before thinking about it rationally and buying the extra yard.

This was so stupid. I should have lopped off the pattern pieces. The night I wrote my last post, I also decided to do some basic sewing and hemming of the main pieces. The next night, I put almost everything together, but left it unhemmed on the very bottom. This led me to a horrible realization. This skirt was way way way way too long on me. It covered my knees, even with the hemming calculated in, by a good amount. I decided to do what I did not want to do. After showing it to Helen, who pointed out that it would be the perfect length for her, I decided to chop it severely. I took six and a half inches off of the bottom of the skirt. Then, last night, I hemmed the whole sucker up.

My Wrap Skirt


It's really hard to see the pattern in my full pic, so I included a little pic of it. I love this skirt. It's a great summer skirt, and one that works well with my collection of tanks and tees. It's adorable and perfect for casual wear. I am always wearing jeans in the summer and that is sometimes way too hot. Now I have this skirt to wear as well! I call this project a complete success.

On to my next sewing project now! What should it be? Pillowcases? Curtains for Nathan's room?

Clapperama

Do you know what this is?

Smile For the Camera


That is the face of a baby who has totally mastered clapping. Go Nathan. It's also the face of a baby who will follow me with his eyes as I walk around the room no matter who is in it. I know I should be a big person in spirit and try to get him to love everyone and not cling to me, but it still kind of makes me feel good.

Tomorrow, Nathan, we go back to the library story hour!

20090404

My Epic Fail -- Sewing Edition!

I decided several months ago to make myself the wrap skirt from Sew Everything Workshop. I was all excited about it and everything. Then, I did nothing. I mean, you all know how dead this blog has been. I knit one or two things, I sewed a few napkins and a bag, and I stared at my toes apparently.

Last week, I went to the library and, using Paul's card, got myself several books on sewing. After reading a TON, I decided I still wanted to make that skirt the most. So, I went and I bought really cute brown fabric with tiny white polka dots on it. I envisioned wearing it with my blue or green or pink shirts. (Sidenote: I own neither blue nor pink shirts.) I pictured it with cute kicky brown sandals. (Sidenote: At the time, I did not own such sandals, but Nine West came through for me.) I got jazzed. I even purchased some pattern paper. Last night, finally, finally, I managed to get the energy up to trace the pattern from my pattern page. I didn't want to cut it since I'm faintly optimistic that I might get back to a size small in the future from my current medium. I cut all those pattern pieces. I marked them all up. And I realized...

I had bought the amount of fabric described for 60 inch wide fabric, not 45 inch wide fabric.

EPIC FAIL, KITTEN!

epic fail


I managed to buy another yard of the fabric, but I was so depressed about the whole thing that I could only barely manage to cut and mark the pieces tonight. I'm going to go take a shower and wash the fail off of me.

20090402

Kisses and Kisses and More Kisses

Paul and I are always kissing Nathan. Always. We kiss him when he wakes up, when he goes to sleep, when he is being cute, when he is being good, when he's just kissable. I'm the worst offender, firing off kisses over each of his cheeks and on his nose whenever I damn well feel like it. But Paul gets his share of kisses in.

Daddy and Nathan Time


About two weeks ago, we think he started to catch on. He started to lean in to me when my mouth was near him, and open his own mouth, and stick out his tongue, often licking my lips rather hilariously (or disgustingly if you're not a parent yourself). Paul and my mom tried to get 'kisses' out of him, but he would only do it with me. And, he would only kiss about 5% of the time. Then, last week, he tried to 'kiss' his cousin. I was well chuffed about it. (And oddly, the phrase 'well chuffed' just came to me. I had to look it up to make sure I hadn't made up a new word in my head.)

Well, today, he was all about the kissing at the grocery store. I would lean down, he'd open his mouth, a little like this, only less sideways.

Whatcha Doing?


Then, we'd kiss, and I'd laugh and giggle and clap like a moron in the middle of whatever aisle we were in. Do all parents appear idiotic when with their children or is it just me?

When we got home, Paul came in and he gave his daddy a few kisses. I think as soon as he learns to close his mouth and pucker, we can call the kiss mastered!

Not mastered: crawling. He still drags himself. He manages forward motion, especially when toys are out of reach, and he gets onto his knees, but he doesn't get up. He just drags. I'm a little upset about this. Is this a failing on my part?

Lastly, he now like to share his paccy.

This One Goes Out To Mary


Yesterday, I was sleeping next to him during a nap. We both awoke, and I yawned, and he shoved his pacifier backwards into my mouth.