Friday, October 20, 2017

fall fun

We had a few fun-filled fall days last week! Friday evening we went to dinner at Ben and Jen's house for some baby playtime and a tasty dinner of pot roast and apple crisp (excellent fall food combo). Saturday we went to a local farm for the usual autumn festivities: pumpkin patch, corn maze, and of course donuts and apple butter! First, we had to take the requisite "baby surrounded by pumpkins" photos.

Mae just wasn't herself during the morning, but she perked up while were exploring the corn maze and while riding on my lap in the barrel train. We also played in a sand pit, walked through some tunnels, and checked out the petting zoo. Mae enjoyed grunting at the noisy pigs but was verrrry unsure about the big, strutting turkey.

While we selected a tiny pumpkin for Mae to decorate, she was much more interested in trying out the big rocking chairs and playing hide-and-seek in the pumpkin pricing board. (Holy moley - She's only $16!)

On Sunday, my whole family came to visit for a trip to the amusement park. We alternated between roller coasters and stroller pushing. It threatened to rain the whole day, but the downpour didn't start until later in the afternoon, so we got to do plenty of rides!

Mae and Oliver were able to ride on a little car track all by themselves. Emily and I were pretty nervous, but both babies stayed put in their seats and loved it! Mae excitedly yells "beep beep!" every time we see a car on our walks, so she was absolutely thrilled to be in her own little vehicle.

Everyone came back to our house when the rain started. Mae and Oliver had fun coloring at her little table. Such a fun weekend!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

she never stops talking

... but we have no idea what she's saying!

Here's a quick update on Mae as she approaches 17 months.

She wears her hair in a palm-tree style ponytail most days, and she thinks it's hilarious every time she reaches up and feels it on the top of her head. She says "no?" to everything, usually in a rapid-fire "no? no? no? no? noooooo." She knows lots of animal noises including cat (meow), dog (ff ff), penguin (aa!), lion/tiger/bear (rarrrrr), owl (whoooo), and monkey (ooh-ooh-aah-aah, and sometimes ooh-aah-ooh-aah or aah-ooh-ooh-aah). She says "hi" and "bye" and blows kisses like it's her job. She likes to look at her picture book of family members and knows cousin Ollie (Ah-yee) by name. She loves hiding in her closet and squealing with excitement when she pops out. She brushes her own teeth (not very thoroughly, but these are the practice teeth anyways). She gives hugs generously to her grandmas and her day care teachers.

She tells us that she wants to go outside by yelling "BUBBOOOO" and pointing at the bottle of bubbles. She loves playing in her sandbox, going down slides, and riding her little bike (bi! bi! bi!). She just got her second pair of shoes (shhh's) and has mostly adjusted to walking in the bigger size. She likes to spin around in circles until she gets dizzy and tips over. She was on the receiving and giving end of toddler bite incidents at day care. (I don't know if it was with the same kid; when do babies learn about revenge?) She is obsessed with coloring at her little table and loves to tell Dada about her day when he gets home from work.

She is tall and skinny and rocking this adorable hand-knitted dress from Kathy. I love the ombre effect of the yarn (I think it is a Wonderland Yarns Cheshire Cat mini-skein set).

Mae, you are chatty and adventurous and endlessly silly. We love you, sweet pea!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

oh, boy!

September turned out to be a busy month. Early in the month, Dan made a whirlwind, one-day trip out east for his Grandad's funeral. Mae and I were unable to attend, but we hope to see all the family when we visit over Christmas. We also got some things done around the house in September. We replaced the broken sink in our second bathroom, and now we don't have to wash our hands in the bath tub any more! Luxury. Mae and I spent a lot of time going to parks and on play dates. We went to the zoo last Wednesday and Mae is finally showing interest in the animals! She was so enthralled with the penguins that she squeaked excitedly at them and clung to the railing when I tried to move on to the next exhibit.

Last weekend turned out to be the most eventful we've had in a while. Dan's mom arrived late Thursday and snuck a peek at a peacefully snoozing Mae before we headed to bed. Friday morning Eileen, Mae, and I went to story time at the local book store. As usual, Mae couldn't care less about the books but LOVED dancing along to the songs.

Friday afternoon I came down with a short-lived but yucky stomach bug. I rested Friday and Saturday morning while Dan and Eileen took Mae to our local parks and out to lunch. They got lots of goofy quality time together. Cheers!

I rallied myself Saturday afternoon and got moving just in time to catch a ride with Kathy to the Kentucky Wool Festival. We had such a good time at the event last year, that I added this year's festival to the calendar immediately afterwards. Surprisingly, we didn't hit any traffic arriving mid-afternoon this year. Unfortunately, Kathy's mom and friend who were supposed to meet us there were not so lucky and waited in traffic for an hour before giving up and heading home. Clearly, Wool Fest was THE place to be in middle-of-nowhere Kentucky this weekend. We wandered through the craft tents, sampled some tasty fair food, and (of course) bought some yarn! We each picked up a "Mystery Bag" from Jessica's Creations. The little $10 paper bags were taped shut (to preserve the mystery) and contained enough yarn for a pair of socks! I love my sparkly blue and white speckled colorway. I also bought a skein of self-striping yarn called "Aura" from Rock and String Creations. Both are now wound and waiting impatiently to become socks! Although, I have another project to finish first (more on that in a minute).

Saturday afternoon, Christopher and Emily hosted a gender reveal party for the affectionately nicknamed "K2" who will be joining us in February! I was sad to miss the party, but had a guest visiting and yarn to buy. (In my defense, I've had Wool Fest on the calendar longer than this baby has existed.) We sent a photo of our guesses in advance. Mae made her choice very scientifically by selecting a blue pacifier over a pink pacifier.

We were in the minority with our "boy" guesses, but I guess our intuition wasn't lying! Oliver timidly approached his "reveal" cupcake at first, but then smashed his way in to the BLUE filling with gusto! Everyone cheered, and he looked super startled like he had been caught doing something naughty. Yay, Ollie, you're getting a baby brother!

Christopher and Emily have already chosen their nursery theme: Avengers! Emily loved the Harry Potter mobile I made for Oliver and has already requested an Avengers one for K2. I am so excited, I have already sketched out my pattern! Time to order felt and get cutting/stitching! Sock knitting will just have to wait.

Saturday, September 9, 2017


Yesterday was our five year wedding anniversary! We celebrated last weekend with a mini-getaway. We dropped off Mae on Friday night with Grandma and Grandpa and checked into our hotel downtown. This was our first time both being away from her... and we got two whole nights to ourselves! We had a gorgeous view of downtown from our top-floor room.

Friday evening we enjoyed a tasty Japanese dinner followed by a night of sleep where we didn't wake up to the sound of baby whimpers. I forgot how nice that is. Saturday, we wandered around downtown through the mall and along the canal. The perfect weather reminded us so much of the day we got married five years ago!

Saturday night we made reservations at St. Elmo's, home of the famous cocktail sauce once named the world's spiciest food by the Travel Channel. I stuck with a nice salad for my appetizer, but Dan chose to clear out his sinuses with a few bites of horseradish and shrimp.

Sunday we went to mass at the cathedral where we were married. I felt pretty silly getting our photo taken in front of church, but we wanted to relive this moment from our wedding day!

Afterwards, we went to the art museum where we played a very fun, local-themed mini golf course and wandered around the paintings, gardens, and greenhouse, before driving back to my parents' house to resume our lives as mama and dada.

Are you wondering what Mae did while we were away? Well... most of the time, she stayed locked up in the entertainment center. (Well, not locked up, but crawling in and out of it IS one of her favorite things to do at Grandma and Grandpa's house.)

She went to the neighborhood park and played for hours on the backyard swing set and slide. She must have been a good girl, because they even took her for ice cream Saturday night! I think all of us had a great time, and Mae did really well for her first extended time away from us. I guess we'll have to do this again (in another 5 years)!

Monday, September 4, 2017

beach vacay

We are back from another busy vacation! I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but everything becomes busy with Mae in tow! Last weekend, we flew to visit Dan's family for a birthday celebration for his Mom. They had a big party at their apartment with lots of family and friends in attendance. Mae stayed up past her bed time and had so much fun running around and meeting all the guests!

The next day, we packed up and headed to the beach. We new Mae would be excited to splash around in the waves, since she was crazy about it even back during the spring when the water was freezing. We were not wrong. She bee-lined straight for the ocean as soon as I set her in the sand! She even got knocked over by big waves a few times but would wiggle out of my arms and back into the water as soon as I scooped her up.

We couldn't stay at the beach too long on Sunday or Monday since it was so windy. Despite the stiff breeze and blowing sand, Mae worked very hard with her bucket and shovel. She would fill up the bucket and then get soooo angry when it was then too heavy to lift and carry! Lift with your knees, Mae!

Tuesday was very rainy, but we took a short walk to the beach anyways. Mae couldn't understand why we wouldn't let her play in the huge tidepools even though we were in pants and sweatshirts! Too chilly!

Escaping the rain inside the beach house, Mae loved playing with (a.k.a. crawling through) the Little Tikes dollhouse and reading books. She made David read "Doggies" to her a million times.

And, of course, she spent lots of time chasing Pepper around. She discovered that throwing food from the table will lure Pepper closer. Pepper has always been tolerant/indifferent to Mae, so hopefully this new discovery will make their relationship a bit more symbiotic.

Such a fun vacation, thanks family!

Lastly, a little update on Mae milestones. She now has all her front teeth and one full set of molars, so hopefully we have a bit of a reprieve from teething troubles for a while. We are about to enter a new stage of issues, considering Mae said the word "no" for the first time tonight while Dan was trying to prevent her from going into the street. (Not looking forward to that!) Mae's favorite activities right now are singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" (she gets her fingers ready as soon as she hears the word spider, or rain, or really any singing), and showing us her belly button. Dan's favorite activity is asking Mae to find her belly button while she's wearing a onesie (he's so mean.)

We always come back from our travels exhausted and saying that we need a "vacation from that vacation." This time, we got just that! More details later this week!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

lemon lady skater dress

I've seen lemon print everywhere this year, and I just love it! Mom gave me a lightweight lemon-print scarf for my birthday, which whetted my appetite for more citrus-y goodness. I spotted this Art Gallery fabric and immediately wanted a comfy lemon sundress. I love the silhouette of the Charleston dress pattern, but was worried this fabric wouldn't be sturdy enough for the fitted skirt. I started looking for a dress pattern with a circle skirt, since a flat front (as opposed to gathers or pleats) tends to be my preferred style. The Lady Skater dress has a circle skirt and a bodice very similar to my Lark Tee, so I figured it was probably within my skill range.

I made a practice version of the bodice with inexpensive fabric, as recommended by the pattern, and decided to try my hand at a few adjustments to my pattern pieces before cutting into my lemon fabric. I made a size 4 except I shortened the arm holes to size 3, shortened the bodice by 1 inch, and did a 1/2 inch swayback adjustment per the instructions provided on the author's super helpful blog post. The fit on the sleeves is still a bit off, but the back looks pretty decent!

I ignored the instructions for the neckband and installed it and the sleeve cuffs using a method similar to the Lark Tee neckband. I like that there are no exposed seams around the edges that way. On my first real attempt at the bodice, I did a narrow zig zag topstitch on the neckband which looked a bit messy. Because I'm a perfectionist and knew the topstitching would bother me every time I wore the dress, I remade the bodice and omitted the topstitching. In the future I'd consider a long straight stitch, or maybe a wider zig zag (which at least looks intentionally wiggly). I love the twin needle finish on the hem (my first time using a twin needle); it looks so professional!

You might have noticed that these photos weren't taken in our backyard... I desperately wanted to finish this before our vacation, since there are only a few weeks left to wear such a summer-y dress! More details on our beach trip later!

Monday, August 21, 2017

biscayne blouse

This is the Biscayne Blouse pattern by Hey June Handmade in a Kathy Davis rayon from Joann. It is so lightweight and fluid that the finished product is supremely comfortable. I made this shirt as a practice before using a more expensive fabric, but I have a feeling this one will get lots, if not more, wear. We'll see if it holds up okay in the wash. The orange and white feathers on blue background remind me of little koi fish. I made a size XS graded to a size S at the hips.

I wasn't thrilled with my finish on the front gathers or the bottom of the placket, but my collar and pocket turned out decently. The busy print hides some of the sewing imperfections. I interfaced all pieces of the collar before cutting them out as recommended by the pattern for lightweight fabrics (Tip: buy more interfacing than the pattern calls for). I don't need a functional front pocket so I would consider making a faux welt or basting the flaps together in the future so it doesn't pull open. I used French seams (my first!) to enclose the raw edges of the sides and shoulders since the fabric wanted to fray like crazy.

I'd like to try some modifications on the placket now that I understand the construction. This one took me about a week start-to-finish, but the process might go quicker in the future. I'm looking forward to making more of these shirts!

I wore this shirt to dinner a couple weeks ago. We stopped by the little park outside the restaurant for play time before ordering our food. Mae takes her park visits very seriously.

Fortunately, she lost the grump face after a few trips down the spiral slide with Dada! Glad we got to take advantage of such a beautiful summer evening.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

cactus pincushion

After finishing my detailed, time-consuming pajamas, I needed a quick and easy sewing project. I spotted the idea for a cactus pincushion while browsing the Art Gallery Studio fabric look books online. This little guy is made from some green spotted fabric from JoAnn, a small scrap of pink leftovers from Mae's crib skirt, and a tiny heart-shaped button from my box of orphaned fasteners. I followed the steps of this tutorial from Sewing Lab. I wrapped the base of the stuffed cactus in green felt and hot glued it into a tiny terra cotta pot.

I now have two sewing buddies: the cactus and a hedgehog, which are both very appropriate pincushion subjects. Dan said I should make a voodoo doll next. Now I just need an enemy to model it after...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

carolyn pajamas

Quick blog update before we get to the real post! I have added a gallery page where you can view all of my recent projects and quickly link to the blog posts about them! Click here to view the gallery or click the link in the sidebar on the right side of your screen! Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

​My latest sewing project! These are the Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Patterns made from (believe it or not) an Ikea ÅKERTISTEL duvet cover. I was looking for an inexpensive fabric to try out this sewing pattern, and figured that if sheets are comfy enough to sleep on, they should be comfy enough to sleep in. The weave feels slightly nicer than quilting cotton, but there were other Ikea bed linens that were even softer. The cover had a different color top and bottom, so I used the yellow side for the main fabric and the white side for the contrasting piping. I had plenty of fabric, so I didn't have to worry about making mistakes, since I could always cut out another piece!

I made a size 6 in the top and bottom with no alterations. I am getting used to sewing-pattern sizes, which haven't followed the same vanity sizing trend I see in most stores. Both fit nicely, if only a bit snug. All exposed seams were finished on my serger. The pattern suggests french seams, but I am enjoying using my new machine whenever I can.

I printed out my pattern at the beginning of July and finished these pajamas in about 3 weeks. I can only do a few steps at a time in the evenings before I get tired and start making mistakes. I could probably make this pattern faster without the cuffs and contrast piping, but I love that little detail! My goal with this project was to build my confidence in sewing things like collars, sleeves, and pockets on a low-pressure project like pajamas. Okay, one last look, since this is probably the last time these jammies will ever be nicely pressed and unwrinkled!

Monday, August 7, 2017

i finally saw her

I have made several trips to the zoo over the last few months hoping to catch a glimpse of Fiona, the premature baby hippo whose story captured the hearts of animal-lovers around the planet. I wore my Team Fiona t-shirt each time as a good luck charm, but she was only outside for a few minutes a day and I never happened to catch a glimpse. Now that she is 6 months old and has been successfully reintroduced to her mom and dad, Fiona spends most of her time in her outdoor pool. Last week, I was determined to see her, even if I had to linger around the enclosure for an hour!

When I arrived, Henry and Bibi were snoozing in the pool with no sign of Fiona. I asked a zoo volunteer who indicated that Fiona was tucked in between her parents and completely hidden by Henry's huge body. Then I saw two tiny, wiggly ears pop up over his back. My first glimpse! After a few more minutes, Henry woke up and started nudging Fiona. A decent crowd had gathered and I think he was encouraging her to show off for her fans. She swam up and down the length of the enclosure windows, so I got a great view! She is 400 pounds of cuteness!!

We met up with Jen and Anna (we were sad to miss Stacey and Isaac this week) and treated Mae to her first train ride. She enjoyed it, though she wanted to stand and look out the sides towards the end. She is walking all over the place now! Just in the last week she has made the transition from primarily crawling to primarily walking, and she is getting very steady on her feet! Most of the time she only falls over if she's being too silly to stand up.

Looking forward to our next fun playdate!