April 30, 2010

better late than never

So, remember (approx. 1 million years ago) when I said that I was planning to enter something in Rae's Spring Top Week? Well, today is the deadline for entry, and even though my top has been finished for over a week, I just uploaded the photo to the pool a moment ago. I'm not very on top of things these days. In fact, it was recently brought to my attention that it's been over twenty days since I've even been here at all. Holy hell. How did that happen? I mean, it's not like I'm busy or anything! Just sitting around at home, raising a baby. Oh, right... that must be it. That baby- suddenly he's everywhere! Crawling around, pulling up on the furniture, bonking his head every chance he gets. Constant vigilance is my new middle name.

But anyway, the point is, I finally got my act together in at least one arena, on the very last day. Here's the top I made from a dress shirt that I inherited when Gus grew out of it got tired of it:

I cut my pattern pieces using a shirt from Old Navy as a rough guide for size, then just kind of winged it. The back of the shirt already had a box pleat, so I took advantage of that to add some fullness and then gathered the neckline up with a twill tape drawstring inside of a bias tape casing.. The sleeves are simply serged with a rolled edge hem and then gathered up with a double row of elastic thread stitching. I sewed the button placket shut to avoid any potential mishaps and eliminate gaping.

I'm pretty pleased with the result. I've worn it twice since I completed it, which I think is already a record for a top that I've sewn myself.

Plenty more to share soon, but at the moment my free time appears to be over. I hear the little one bellowing through the baby monitor as I type.

April 8, 2010

best friends forever!

I finished a second doll from the Wee Wonderfuls pattern for Mom's school auction. I think they make a cute pair!

April 6, 2010

cat and mouse

Over the last year or so, our cat Loki has proven himself to be quite a hunter. We were pretty surprised the first time he brought a bird in the house, as he's not only declawed, but pretty lazy and slow. Since that first incident, he's caught another bird, and a handful of what we think are voles from the yard. And, he's generous enough to bring those little prizes right inside the house to share them with us, thanks to his kitty door.

This afternoon, Lincoln and I were upstairs minding our business when I heard the cat start meowing repeatedly and with conviction. He's a loud cat anyway, so I ignored it for awhile, but then I scooped Lincoln up so we could go down and see what all the commotion was. Oh, lucky day- it's a dead thing! Right in the middle of the living room floor, a wee little rodent. Loki was nearby on Lincoln's floor mat, obviously quite proud of his achievement.

I backed out of the room, unsure exactly how to proceed. I considered my options: Maybe I could pretend I never saw it, and let David take care of it when he gets home... but, it's only 1, and that means a dead thing in my living room for four plus hours. I could get a broom and a dustpan, sweep it up and throw it away. Gross, but doable. I could put on some rubber gloves, grab it and dispose of it like an adult. Gross. Probably not an option.

It was time to feed Lincoln lunch, so I decided to take care of that and think about my problem a little bit more. I sent David a text message alerting him to the situation and hoping to elicit a little sympathy. He was appropriately sympathetic, and surprised when I suggested that perhaps Loki needed a nice home on a farm somewhere where his mousing skills would be more appreciated.

I texted my friend Zena as well, sure that she would have some solid advice for dealing with my dilemma. Also, she would understand that this was horrible and so not in my job description.
Me: "F-ing cat brought a dead thing inside. A mouse or vole or something. Am freaking out."
Z: "Um... yikes. Broom handy? So you don't have to get close?"
Me: "Yeah. I'm upstairs ignoring it at present. Hoping it will vaporize."
Z: "You sure it is dead?"
Me: "Pretty sure. Didn't get too close, but it looked like it was on it's back with feet in the air. Classic dead thing pose."
Z: "Right. Or playing dead. Go put a bowl over it so it can't escape."
Hmm. Playing dead? Do things really do that? It hadn't occured to me. Good thing I got her involved! As soon as I'm finished feeding Lincoln his lunch, I'll find a box or a bowl or something and cover that sucker up. Then maybe I can screw up enough courage to get rid of it somehow.

So we ate. Lincoln had some cheese, and some banana, a few bites of my rice. He's so cute when he eats. And so determined to feed himself. It's pretty adorable. But, dead thing in basement! Focus! Let's see... are any of our neighbors home? They might be interested in helping me rid the house of dead rodents. Darn- there goes Rod now. Probably my best option, and he's driving away. Okay. You can do this. You're a tough woman. A mother. Yes, you can!
Me: "Ok. Putting on big-girl panties. And rubber gloves. Be right back."
Z: "Good luck!"
I grab my weapons of choice and head downstairs. A pair of pink rubber gloves and a gift bag from a hair salon. It's nice and sturdy, so I figure I can just knock the thing in with a broom and I won't have to touch anything. The rubber gloves are just an extra precaution, but seem like a good idea. I get to the bottom of the stairs, turn right into the living room, and...

...nothing. Um...crap. Shit! Gone? How is it gone? It was dead!? It's gone??? Oh no. I'm so busted.

So yeah. Looked everywhere. It's gone.

I figure there are a couple of possibilities:
  1. Zena was right. It wasn't really dead, just pretending. That means it's running around downstairs somewhere. Not a huge fan of this possibility, I've got to admit.
  2. It was dead, and the cat decided that since I had seen his prize and approved, it was best if he took it back outside. I like this. Definitely leaning this way.
  3. It was dead, or not. The cat ate it. Every little bit. No trace remains. Gross. But, circle of life, etc. Fine with this mostly because it means I don't have to deal with it.
  4. It's dead, and the cat decided that I didn't show enough approval of his hunting prowess so he moved it somewhere that I might appreciate it more. Like in my bed or on the couch cushion. Closed bedroom door as soon as this thought came to mind. Haven't seen cat come upstairs, so this is not likely. Right? Hopefully.
So yeah. Moral of the story: Cat for sale! Cheap. Good hunter! Get him while he's hot! Don't miss this opportunity of a lifetime. Last one! Act fast, people. Ugh.


David came home and saved the day. The little bugger was under the couch (dead). I guess when I said "I looked everywhere" I may have exaggerated a bit... I meant, you know, scanned the area. Generally. Gah.

And that is totally the aforementioned "classic dead thing pose," btw.

Also, I forgive him for throwing the cat's other (fake) mouse at me after he picked up the couch and spotted the vole, completely causing me to lose my shit (again). Because he not only took care of the business, but he sprayed the floor down liberally with some earth-friendly disinfectant too. Thanks love!

But seriously- who wants a cat?

Oh, for shame!

I recently took some photos of my sewing room to showcase just how awful things have gotten in there in the hopes that it would shame me into action. You can see the whole, embarrassing debacle here:

Hopefully I'll have some promising "after" shots to show off soon. And by soon, I mean sometime in the next decade, obviously. Aim low, that's our motto!

Honestly, the problem (at least in my mind) is less the stuff itself, and more the way I'm utilizing the storage. The room has served as a parking spot for all the random storage cabinets and shelves that we have around the house, and I've tried my best to use them wisely. Unfortunately, that hasn't always happened, and I have a lot of underused space and misguided stashing going on in there.

I know that there's a way to reorganize the space in a way that makes a lot more sense, and I'm determined to figure that out. I'm afraid if I don't, I'll go in there someday and never escape, having been swallowed alive by a toppling tower of fabric.

Wish me luck!

April 5, 2010

and not even terribly fun while it lasted.

So, that was quick. I'm back to being just a mama with no (official) job title. At least for the next couple of weeks.

My tenure with Pearson came to an abrupt end when I failed to maintain the standards of excellence set forth by the state that I was scoring. This might be attributed to a glitch in the performance review tracker, which was malfunctioning that day, or, more likely, was due purely to my inattention to the task at hand.

I'm kind of embarrassed, as I'm not the kind of person who typically allows herself to fail at anything, and I've certainly never been fired from a job; but honestly, I'm mostly just relieved. It was much harder than I had imagined trying to squeeze enough quiet, focused time out of my day to make that job happen successfully. I was scrambling trying to figure out how I was going to manage to work the measly minimum requirement of 20 weekly hours when I was "excused" from the project and suddenly that burden was lifted. Whew. I hadn't even realized how heavy it was until it was gone!

And luckily, the folks at Pearson are a forgiving bunch. Just because scoring this project didn't work out for me, that doesn't mean that I can't work on future assessments. In fact, I'm signed up for another one that starts next month. And that project has shorter responses that should be easier to score with my limited resources as a spread-too-thin mama. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll be unceremoniously fired from that project after a week also. I guess we'll find out in a bit...

April 4, 2010

makin' memories!

Hey all, Happy Easter to you!

In case you're curious how we celebrated here, I'll provide a little run down of the highlights for you:

Woke up at 8:30 am to the sweet sounds of Lincoln talking to his monkeys in his crib. Impressed and thankful that he slept in so nicely for us, until we realized that it was really just a malfunction of the dumb futuristic alarm clock that we have. It had "sprung forward" this morning for no apparent reason.

Made waffles from this recipe (pretty much- except I didn't have enough yogurt) with my new birthday waffle iron.

Played on the floor with the little man. He's officially mobile now, so that's exciting.

Ham sandwiches for lunch. I'm counting that as our Easter meal, since Mom always made a ham for Easter every year, and we're not really celebrating officially. It's close enough, yeah?

A two hour nap for everyone! That might have been the best part of the whole day. Lincoln rarely naps that long, but today was a treat, and we took advantage of it.

And yeah, that pretty much wraps it up. Exciting day! And so clearly a tribute to the holiday... We figure that Lincoln's too young this year to remember anyway, so our laziness is forgiven. But, if I start planning now, maybe next year we'll be able to do something like these amazing ladies did to celebrate:

Beautiful Ukranian dyed eggs at Wisdom of the Moon
Insanely detailed egg crafts at Chez Larrson
Chocolate Easter Surprise Eggs at not martha

Alright, off to make some festive Easter tacos for dinner! Hope you all enjoyed your day!

April 2, 2010

We'll call her Roxy

She's done! And like I told David, I hope that Lincoln likes playing with dolls, 'cause she was really fun to make! Sewing all those tiny clothes reminded me so much of when I was a little girl and I used to make outfits for my dolls (and my dog- poor girl!)

And I've got to give it to Wee Wonderfuls- this whole pattern is great! Not only are the dolls easy to put together and super cute, but the clothes are fun and well designed too.

I made the little blouse and jumper outfit from some scraps and fat quarters that I had lying around. I decided that the fine-wale corduroy would be a perfect little jumper for this blue-eyed little gal, and the rest kind of flowed from there.

The jumper pattern calls for lining, so I selected a bit of Amy Butler's Kaleidoscope Dots for a fun pop of color. I appliqued the circle and a button to the front and used a bias trim leftover from another project for the hem rather than folding and hemming the skirt like the pattern suggested. Mostly just because I'm addicted to bias trim these days.

And guys, seriously. There's even a pattern for a cute little underwear outfit! Adorable. I decided on the pink stripe because it reminded me of some kind of old-fashioned ticking stripe little house on the prairie sort of vibe and it seemed appropriate for a one-piece underwear suit.

And oh my. Shoes! Cute, cute, cute. They're black wool felt, and I cut slits all around the top and wove the ribbon through.

Please note: if you have a child, you can tell them to expect one of these awesome dolls as a birthday gift at some point. I think I'm addicted!