Wednesday, April 30, 2008
So I bought a bunch of plain but nice quality $10 tees from Old Navy and have been meaning to give this a try. And today I finally did.
Take a gander at these -- and wow, let me just say this was a fun, easy, and cheap project since I already had the felt:
I have to give credit for the flower design to Applique The Piece O' Cake Way -- it's one of their applique designs which I traced and used for this shirt. Here's a closeup -- bent over a pillow a little which makes the top of the circle look strange in this shot:
The tomato and the ice cream cone were based on designs in Postcard Cuties for Summer from Bunny Hill Designs. Anyone who knows me knows I *had* to make a tomato shirt.
Materials are all wool felt. We'll see how they go through the wash. If that doesn't work so well I'll do it again with cotton and really applique it.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
This is a miniature quilt that a set of moms we play with made for one of our number who's expecting her second baby in June. I pieced the top out of thirties prints, based on a much more sedate-looking pattern in Prairie Children and Their Quilts, and the six of us signed the larger white rectangles with well-wishes for R. and her family.
The top was tied by my friend Dianne and then outline quilted by me. We did the binding together.
Simple quilt, but this was a tough one, design-wise. The original quilt uses patterns for everything except the white triangles where you sign, but when I tried to recreate this using bright, thirties fabrics, the result was somewhere between nauseating and seizure-inducing. So I had to start swapping out prints for solids, or for less busy prints, and then try to get some balance between all of the colors, scattering reds and blues and greens and yellows somewhat evenly throughout. In the end it worked, but it taught me some lessons about not assuming that translating a set of period fabrics into another period will be straightforward.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
My friend Erica, who's just starting to get into quilting, has been collecting old 100% cotton shirts from Goodwill and various other places around town and cutting them up into strips for scrap quilts. We met for breakfast this morning and exchanged bags of fabric we'd cut up for each other.
My goodie bag was full of 1.5 inch strips, a lot of them blue, yellow, and neutral. And I was noodling around this afternoon when I suddenly realized that's the perfect size for Log Cabin blocks. Not that I'd ever made any. But I'd always wanted to try one.
And if I'm making one, I might as well chain piece a whole set of them, right?
And thus, six little log cabin blocks were born. I think they came out really nice! And every single fabric in them except for the bright cheddar-colored center is from an old shirt.
How's that for recycling?
I'll probably make a bunch more and make a small quilt out of them.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Looks a little wrinkly, doesn't it? I need to figure out how to use my new macro lens so I can get better closeup detail on these kind of pictures.
And here's the back -- which isn't really period fabric like the rest of it but the colors go and I liked it.
Two other bits of news -- yesterday Brett let me escape the house for a few hours to go fabric shopping and see a movie. I went and saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which was really great. I never used to like going to see movies on my own, but since Sofie was born it's all I can do not to run around in the lobby twirling and shouting "I'm ALONE! I'm BY MYSELF! Hallelujah!"
Lesson: If you see someone alone in the movie theater chortling and giggling before the movie even starts, rest assured it's a mom of a toddler out for a few hours of peace.
Second, last night around eleven, I closed the catdoor and headed upstairs to bed while Brett finished up some stuff downstairs. When I got up there I noticed that Max and Phoenix, our boy cats, were acting a little odd. Not upset, just odd. They were... very alert. And sitting in places they usually don't sit. And they both seemed really interested in one particular armchair that sits at the top of the stairs.
I finally put two and two together and realized something was under there. Fearing the worst (rat? possum?), I got down on the floor, lifted up the blanket that hides the underneath of the chair from view, and found this tiny little gray and white cat blinking back at me. Blinkblinkblink.
I called Brett up and we soon figured out from his collar that it was Dexter, who lives down the street a ways. He must've come in to explore and then gotten trapped under the chair by our overly watchful duo. We carefully peeled this very freaked out little cat out from under there and let him out for the night.
Bon voyage, Dexter. I don't think he'll be coming back anytime soon.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
In quilting news, I made this top last week for the doll quilt swap I'm in, which is also due at the end of this month. This is tiny -- just 12 inches wide.
I've never made a miniature quilt this small before -- the little rectangles in each churn dash square are only a quarter inch wide. I ended up hand piecing most of it, partly because my machine was away getting service but also because it was all just so freaking small and hard to handle.
This has to get sandwiched, backed, quilted, bound and out the door by April 26th. But it'll be a quick one to quilt -- not going to do anything very fancy to it except in the border.
The tulip quilt went off in the mail today. It'll be five to ten days before it gets where it's going. Keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't get lost!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
At the end of a very hard spell here, I got this little ray of sunshine in the mail today from a friend who blogs over at http://miniaturequilter.blogspot.com/. Isn't it beautiful! She does such tiny, careful work -- this is about 12x12, I think.
It's now hanging in a place of honor in my office/sewing room. Which oddly enough, had no quilts hanging in it until now. Time to rectify that.
Thank you so much!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Brett came home to find me having a total meltdown about the fact that she Will. Not. Eat. It's been three days since she had a meal, which wouldn't be so bad if she'd drink the freaking electrolyte formula that's supposed to replenish her systems, but she won't have that either. Or juice. Or anything except minute amounts of water.
I wrestled her into her high chair tonight and laid out a variety of tempting options. Pudding. Jello. Baby food. Bananas. Rice. Ham. Would she have any of them? No. Instead she sobbed and cried and thrashed and sobbed until I pretty much cried too. I feel like I'm starving her. I know it's ok if kids don't eat for a couple days, but not drink either?? How many days of this can she take?
In the end, she ate: one raisin. About ten grains of rice. A quarter of a snack bar. Add in the ten bunny crackers (very small) she ate for breakfast and that's her total consumption for the day.
Of course, once Brett walked in the door, she turned into perky, healthy kid, all smiles and play, making an apparent liar out of me when I tried to tell him how bad the day had been and why I was dissolving into a puddle of goo. "She wo-wo-won't eat!" I sobbed. "I got her pu-pu-pudding!!! What kind of kid won't eat pudding??"
He was bewildered, to say the least. Especially with Sofie happily stacking animals on his knee.
"She cried for SIX HOURS!" I said. "And she's pooping her pants RIGHT NOW! From one raisin!"
They both looked at me like *I* was losing my mind. So I gave up.
Even Brett is trying to get me to keep it. Except I just don't have anything else I can send for the swap, and it's due by the end of the month.
Here's the final product:
With the strange, sky-blue and orange batik I used to back and bind it showing:
Close-up in which I was hoping you could see the little butterflies I hand-quilted in each corner of the white square -- but it didn't come out very well in this picture:
And I finally got some printer fabric and made a real label for it:
I've blotted out the recipients name in this pic since it's a BIG SURPRISE. :)
As soon as Sofie's well enough to drag to the post office, this will be on its way to its new home.
Monday, April 14, 2008
This could last a week or so, the doctor said, but the first three or four days are the worst. Yikes. Sofie's always bounced back pretty quick before but isn't managing to do so with this one.
Because she's had a fever and been vomiting, we covered the mattress in towels and brought her to bed with me on Saturday night, which is pretty much where she's been 24-7 ever since. Poor Brett is sleeping in the basement because two of us in this bed with a kid is just too crowded and potentially unsafe. (Brett has a strange habit of rolling over in his sleep and either stealing my pillow or burying my head under his; he says he's not trying to smother me but I'm not convinced.) But this is the third night and we're both missing each other.
Tomorrow she'll probably go back to her own bed. She made it through today without throwing up, and even ate a little bit -- five little goldfish crackers, one bite of banana, and a snack bar. That's all she's eaten in over 48 hours. The doctor found that she's lost almost two pounds; this is mostly water weight, since she's dehydrated from the vomiting. She's not dangerously dehydrated yet but my official job now is to get liquids into her one way or another.
So off I went to the grocery store and loaded up on a bunch of different kinds of juices and electrolyte drinks and even fruity soda to try to entice her to drink, but she rejected all of them and also any offers of water today, so I'm stuck with a refrigerator full of icky drinks that no one will ever drink. Instead, I spent the day shooting water into her mouth with a medicine dropper, 8 ml at a time. She doesn't enjoy this but she does swallow it, so we're slowly getting her rehydrated.
I also bought her this big mylar balloon shaped like a butterfly, because hey, she likes balloons! Not until I got home did I realize the thing is kind of terrifying. It has legs, and a probiscus, and dangly black parts. It's gigantic and looks like it might be preparing to eat you.
Waking up to find that looming over your bed in the half light of night would be enough to scare the pants off anyone, toddler or adult. So much for my mothering instincts. Sofie is having nothing to do with it, and I confess that I had to move it into the other room before bed tonight for fear of waking up and having a heart attack on seeing it.
Anyhow, it's been a tough couple days, and I feel so bad for her suffering. But I can tell she's starting to mend a little, and hopefully tomorrow will be a little better. I haven't seen a smile in days and can't wait to see one again.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
So when I got home from yoga tonight, I wasn't surprised when I looked out the backdoor and saw the fluffy tail of our new applicant cat disappearing down the back steps. She had clearly been peeking in the cat door and wondering about coming in when I came clomping along and scared her off.
So I opened the door and went out to try to sweet talk her into joining us inside for a while. She's getting more used to me and almost came up to me earlier today.
And as I was scrunched down making comforting sounds and trying to entice her over, I glanced over to my right and saw the world's BIGGEST freaking possum, planted firmly in the middle of the back lawn, just munching away on bugs or grass or something. He was somewhere between the size of our largest cat and the labrador who lives down the street.
We looked at each other for a very long moment.
He chewed loudly, in a very cowlike fashion, completely unmoved by my presence.
"Yo," he seemed to say. "Whazzup? Toss me some wheatgrass, would ya?"
It wasn't until I picked up the hose and made like I'd spray him that he heaved a big sigh and lumbered off through the hole in the back fence. Clearly he was thinking, lady, why are you bothering me? I'm not doing anything, I'm just chewin'.
So unfortunately, the cat door had to be closed a couple hours earlier than usual and our little applicant is locked out with the wild animals for the night. But such is life.
Now our kid who formerly had the easiest and shortest bedtime routine EVER just cannot get to sleep; she screams and seems really frantic and scared when we put her in her crib and needs to be held and coddled for a lot longer before she'll finally lay down. This process can take up to two hours, depending on how upset she is. And believe me, nothing is more exhausting at the end of a long day than struggling for two hours to get your screaming, frightened toddler to bed.
We're trying to slowly ease back into sleep training, but she's just SO frantically upset that we can't quite bring ourselves to do it yet. So we hold her, or pat her back, or sit in the chair, or at a minimum just shush her from the doorway, and she tries repeatedly to go to sleep, with fits of crying in between. The good news is that it's taking a little bit less time every night. Tonight was only an hour. This may sound like a lot but not compared to yesterday night.
Once she's down, it's anyone's guess what will happen after that -- some nights she still sleeps through, and some nights she wakes up shrieking with terror two or three times and needs our help. Gloworm, it appears, is no longer up to the task of fighting off her nighttime fears by himself.
Way to fall down on the job, glow-bug. Thanks a bunch!
We're not used to this wake up schedule anymore. It sucks rocks. I drank an entire pot of coffee this morning, by myself. We're groggy and tense, and bedtime is a subject of not small amounts of dread. I'm trying to up her physical activity, make sure she gets a lot of fresh air, and otherwise wear her out during the afternoon, but I'm not sure it's helping yet.
Tonight I left just as the whole routine was starting to go to my Yoga Momma class, and I felt guilty about how intensely relieved (and almost elated) I was to not have to do bedtime tonight. It was truly refreshing to miss the whole thing just for one night.
On the plus side, I take comfort in two things:
- Every kid her age that we know is going through some version of this right now -- the ones that are sleeping ok aren't napping, and vice versa. Several are having the screaming/scared issues Sofie is, and the ones that aren't want to get up and play for two or three hours in the middle of the night. So it's got to be just a developmental phase. A quick google search backs that concept up.
- I'm sure it will pass. Moxie, parenting advice goddess, posits that this happens around 18-19 months and passes around 20 months and it really doesn't matter what you do. So whether we're hard core about sleep training or take a softer line and cuddle her when she's scared, it'll pass.
And in the long run, Sofie likes her sleep. I trust that she'll be back to normal soon enough.
Here's the facts of this interesting case:
- Max and Maddie, seen above, are brother and sister. Brett adopted them and their mother seven years ago when their mother (Molly) was pregnant with them and raised all three in the house across the street.
- After about a year of mothering two rambunctious kittens, Molly said "Enough with this crap!" and moved out. She wandered over a block and started inserting herself into the lives of a nice retired couple who live on 76th street. They eventually came to see Brett about adopting her, since she was basically living with them, and he said ok.
- Before this was all sorted out, Brett attempted to "kidnap" Molly a few times and bring her home, throwing her into his car and driving her back to the house. Which made Molly develop a big fear of Brett.
Since then we've seen her once in a while -- we walk by her house frequently and always stop to say hello. She's wary of us but sometimes lets us pet her and has seemed to be very content and well loved and fed over there. Brett misses her, but hey, a girl can choose where she lives, right?
- All of a sudden, six or so years later, we started seeing little glimpses here and there of a cat who looks just like Molly -- think Max's color and Molly's long hair. Was it her? We were never sure.
But the visits slowly increased and now, this strange cat is at our house morning, noon, and night, coming in the back catdoor and meowing all over the house, eating our food, and generally hanging out pretty peacefully with all three of our cats. Even Phoenix seems to like her. It looks like Molly, right down to the markings, and sounds like Molly, same distinctive meow. And Max and Maddie are ALWAYS with her, when she comes over, which I find as strong evidence that it might be their mom.
On the con side, Molly is a tiny cat and this one might be a little bit too large and isn't wearing the collar we thought she wore. And she's very, very people-shy, not letting us get anywhere close to her -- possibly moreso than Molly would be.
To figure it out, we really need to get over to her home on 76th street and get a good look at her again. I didn't know her well enough to know for sure if this is her or not, and Brett's got his doubts. One good, close look at the real deal will make it apparent.
Today I got closer to her than I have before. And I have to admit, this cat might not be Molly. She looks a little too bedraggled and skinny, fur all matted up. I thinks she's homeless, whoever she is, and since she gets along with all of our cats just fine, I'm perfectly ok with it if she decides to trust us and move in. She's the best candidate of our fourth cat auditions, less crazy than Indiana, not mean like Trooper, and not likely to eat us out of house and home like Sebastian-the-thirty-pound-wonder. (Sebastian abandoned us after we had a kid -- he has twin toddlers at home and was clearly looking for a second home WITHOUT the pitter patter of little feet.)
But seriously, what are the odds -- two long-haired, orange cats with white feet, both female, with a strange-sounding meow, both hanging out in our neighborhood? Ever the romantic, I'm still hoping it's Molly, come home to live with her kids in her old age. Because how cool would that be?
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Finished the doll quilt I made for a friend's little girl... Here's a quick picture before it went off to its new home.
The hearts, which were die-cut, shrunk a little and pulled some of the outline stitching I did out of shape on the back, but it still came out nice. I have another 3x3 version of this underway -- top's all made but it needs to be pinned and quilted.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
- Finished the binding on one of the two hearts doll quilts I'm making - as soon as it's washed and all beautifully wrinkly, the way I like my quilts, I'll post a picture. Probably tomorrow. This is a gift, which will be going off to its new home this weekend. The other one is for Sofie but it's not quilted yet.
- Finished hand quilting the squares in this small quilt, which was going to be a swap quilt but has been claimed by my husband for his cube at work. It's made from a charm pack of different flower fabrics, cut down to 2 inch squares and set in a nice leafy green:
It still needs some machine quilting on the green parts, which will have to wait. And I ran out of green so I don't know what I'm going to bind it with. Hrm.
- Decided I need to try to redo a couple parts of the tulip quilt -- one or two places I'm just not happy with on that. Except that it's half quilted now -- I was partway through outline quilting it when the sewing machine conked out. Hrm. I think I can still fix it as long as I'm careful about how I knot it.
And that's about it for hand-work right now. I've got a little ironing to do on the first step of the mystery quilt, and yeah, there's my big hand quilting behemoth I haul out now and then to work on, but I'm itching to get back to the machine bigtime. Oh well. I've kind of been overdoing it lately and a break will do me good.
And I suppose I could clean my office with the free time. Or nap. Maybe nap.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
- Things I did not expect to learn from my child, part 403: Pickle juice, when rubbed in the hair or secreted under the neck and not immediately washed off, takes on an odor eerily similar to body odor. Which I discovered while sitting with Sofie in my lap at Gymboree the other day thinking, "Man, who smells?" only to lean forward and discover it was own darling baby who reeked. Wow.
- Sofie has taken to sharing her lunch with Phoenix, who comes over every day when lunch begins to sit on the table right next to her high chair and wait for what Sofie calls "gobble gobble" (turkey lunchmeat). When I give her a slice, the first thing she does is rip off a piece and put it on the table for the cat, who happily eats it up. This is so cute I can hardly contain myself from smothering them both in kisses. Sometimes, like today, he then happily follows her into her room for naptime and sleeps in the rocker until she wakes up. They're becoming fast friends.
- Right smack in the middle of about five quilting projects, several of which have to be done this month, my machine has gone bonkers (threads breaking off inside the machine, lots of nesting problems), and I'm forced to put it all aside and take the darn thing in for service. Yikes. It'll be a whole week before I get it back. Arg!
What am I gonna do in the meantime? And will I get my two swap quilts done by the end of the month with this interruption? Will I have severe withdrawal? Stay tuned to see.
Luckily I'm done with step one of the mystery quilt, and step two shouldn't be coming out for another week or so, so that will hold.
It's a beautiful day, in the 50s and sunny, and we're going out to play soon. As soon, that is, as the kid and the cat wake up from their naps. Any minute now.