Thursday, June 17, 2021

me made may 2021

This was my second year participating in Me Made May, a month-long challenge focused on wearing handmade clothing. During May 2019, I pledged to wear each of my handmade items once. This year I managed to wear a handmade item every day! The weather was perfect for the challenge this year; wild swings in temperature allowed me to wear everything from wooly cardigans and socks to lightweight t-shirts and pajama shorts. Here's a few of the new items I wore this month.

First, this Dory cardigan... a good wardrobe addition for the chilly beginning of May! Remember that Vindaloo wrap I knit a few years ago? Turns out, I'm just not a wrap/shawl person. While I loved how it looked, I just never reached for it in the closet. So, I "frogged" (unraveled) it and repurposed the yarn (Ella Rae classic wool, colorway Lunar) into this sweater. The pattern is a free Berocco pattern called Dory. The simple stitch pattern at the yoke doesn't look like a pattern at all while you're working on it up close, but when completed it forms neat little diamonds! The only modification I made on this pattern was to knit the shoulder shaping using the German short-row method. More details on my Ravelry page.


Next, I finished this Biscayne blouse back while I was pregnant with Colin, but after I lost my baby weight it was way too big! My previous versions were size XS, graded to S at the waist. They are a little tight at the underarm so I went up a size in both bust and waist for this version. Turns out, I just needed to enlarge the arm hole instead of going up a size. I modified the arm hole and took in the side seams for a better fit. I also originally installed KAM snaps for the closure, but realized I'd rather have buttons. I don't need functional buttons here, so I removed the KAM snaps and just sewed the buttons through the placket. Removal of the KAM snaps was fun. I heated an old metal fork over the gas stove and then used the tines to melt the plastic prongs of the snap. Then I crushed the snap with pliers to remove the pieces. Next time I have to do this, I might invest in a cheap soldering iron for the melting step.
The fabric is a Cotton + Steel rayon and features cute little shore birds and fish. It's a bit heavier weight than the Art Gallery rayon I've used several times before. The care instructions are dry-clean only, but "ain't nobody got time for that." It prewashed fine and other internet reviews say it should be okay in a regular washing machine.
Recognize this? I made a fun modification to this Margo skirt. I think the previous waistband stretched, so it wasn't fitting correctly and sitting too far below my waist. I replaced it with this sparkly rose gold Dritz waistband elastic from JoAnn! I unpicked the previous waistband and zipper, sewed the zipper seam shut, and then attached the skirt to the elastic using a tutorial I found on the Dritz website.
As the end of May neared, I was starting to run out of handmade items. I've been meaning to make a pair of chambray City Gym Shorts from my stash of scraps, so I sewed these up in just 2 evenings. The fabric was leftover from my Cheyenne Tunic, the elastic was from my Carolyn Pajamas, and the bias binding was from a Biscayne Blouse. I added pockets, just like I did to my previous pair of egg-print shorts. I also attached the waistband using the tutorial from the Carolyn Pajamas. This results in a higher rise and a less bulky waistband. I've been wearing these as pajamas, but I have been debating whether they're nice enough for daytime wear. Pardon the wrinkles... I wore these before taking photos!
Speaking of scraps, this Acacia Undies pattern is perfect for using up little bits of knit fabrics. I used 1/2" stretch lace from Frogfeathers on Etsy. I modified the pattern to narrow the gusset slightly. They're super comfortable! I have several more knit scraps and a pile of lace trim destined to become underwear.
Lastly, I finished this top (and took this photo) two years ago! The fabric is Art Gallery Fabrics rayon in Everlasting Blooms. I loved it so much that I bought a few more yards to make curtains in our sewing room/office (hence my matching background). I've been meaning to share photos of this top and my sewing space, but it is NEVER organized enough to take photos. I try... I do. But it is always a mess. It's a mess with pretty curtains, though!
I was very proud that I was able to wear at least one handmade item every day of May! P.S. This is my 300th blog post!!

Sunday, May 30, 2021

goin' down the shore

We survived our first road trip as a family of four! Two weeks ago, we packed up and drove to the Jersey shore for a short vacation with Dan's family. The drive lasted about 12 hours of car time each way, but the kids handled it surprisingly well. Mae entertained herself with a book, a scratch art pad, a little crossword book, and an old iPhone loaded with hours of Octonauts. I knew she'd be an easy kid in the car when all her toys fit into the small side pocket of our diaper bag. Colin cycled between napping, playing with rattles, and roaring his displeasure about being trapped in a car seat. I don't think he ever cried. He just made Chewbacca-sounds at the top of his lungs whenever he was tired.

We arrived late on Sunday evening and spent time with the family while the kids got some residual wiggles out from being stuck in the car all day. We got to meet Colleen's fiancé Bobby for the first time in-person! She asked me to be a bridesmaid, and Mae will be their flower girl. We are so excited!!
We went to the beach after Colin's morning nap on Monday. Mae got right down to business building a big sand city complete with moat and Uncle David's signature Sea Witch. She checked off all the important kid-at-the-beach tasks: dig a big hole, build a sand castle, bury your legs in sand, collect shells, and hunt for sand crabs. We made a lot of sand mermaid tails!
Mae's favorite activity was darting in and out of the waves like a little sandpiper. She didn't mind that the water was only 60 degrees! The weather was beautiful all week, sunny and pretty warm for spring. Mae was in her element!
Colin had a very different opinion of the beach. For his first introduction to the ocean, I carried him down to the edge of the water and dipped his toes in the edge of the surf. INSTANT SCREAMING. He dug his nails into my arms and clung to me like a terrified baby monkey. Eventually, I was able to put him down on the beach blanket. He slowly worked up the courage to crawl on the blanket and then pull up on a beach chair. He edged along it until his foot touched sand; he looked down, and then started screaming again.

I tried some beach immersion therapy on our second day. I carried him and sang baby songs as I walked along the edge of the water. He started out screaming every time a wave washed over my feet, but relaxed and even babbled a little as we walked. Then he sat in my lap in the sand for a while. Eventually I was able to set him in the sand by himself, though he sat frozen in place for a good ten minutes, clutching his new favorite toy: a yellow shovel. By the end of the day, he was happily playing in the sand... as long as he was far away from the scary waves.
We took a baby pool to the beach and filled it with a couple inches of ocean water. Colin loved splashing around in it. On our last day, we caught a handful of sand crabs and put them in the pool to observe. Colin tried to eat one.
Between naps and feedings/meals, we usually only had about an hour and a half to spend at the beach each morning. In the afternoons, we hung out at the house. Mae and Colin got lots of quality time with GranE and Batman. Mae had so much fun setting up her new Playmobil zoo, playing with Batman's Bat Cave toy, and having sleepovers in their room every night.
Mae and Colleen got in some yoga practice. Colin tried yoga also. He decided he wasn't a fan after attempting a complicated pose involving sitting on his knees and putting his hands behind his head... and promptly tipping over onto his face.
Of course Mae had to get some quality time with Uncle Tim on the front porch. Instead of their annual reading of the newspaper together, they had an in-depth review of the Playmobil catalogue. Tim also introduced her to Scooby Doo, which she found hilarious. (I asked her which episode they watched, and she told me, "the one with the ghost." That didn't narrow it down much.)
We also made a few visits to Shark Park. Colin loved the swings, and Mae impressed me with her climbing skills.
This was a much needed vacation after a very challenging couple of weeks. I've been working overtime for the past couple months to prepare for a few big reviews that happened the week before we left for our trip... which means Dan was been working parental overtime taking care of kids by himself in the evenings. In addition to that, we were dealing with a family medical issue that had me sick with anxiety for a few days. It was just... a lot to deal with. We are back in a rhythm now and enjoying a (slightly) slower pace for a bit.

Friday, May 28, 2021

meeting lillian

We finally got a chance to meet our newest niece, sweet baby Lillian! With the adults now vaccinated, we made a weekend visit to my parents house where we were able to all be together for the first time since Christmas! Lillian is such a snuggly, cozy little baby.
Mae loved seeing her cousins again; they played together so well. It was fun to see how much the boys have grown just in the last few months!
Christopher and Emily were finally able to host a birthday party for Archie with everyone in town. He's been looking forward to his "big birthday" for months! We ate hot dogs and cupcakes, and the kids had lots of fun playing outside on the big swing set. Colin especially enjoyed the basket swing.
And the adults especially enjoyed watching him on it.
On Sunday, we had a Mother's Day brunch celebration and then went to church in-person for the first time since BC (Before COVID). Mae and Colin were surprisingly well-behaved. Colin was mesmerized by the singing. It was so fun to see family again without worrying about germs and fevers and whether every little tickle in my throat was a symptom. Thank goodness for vaccines!