Sunday, August 27, 2023

lane raglan rash guard

I haven't done much sewing this summer, but here's a little project I finished just in time for our trip to the beach! I made this rash guard using the Lane Raglan pattern (used previously for my taco shirt, lemon shirt, and striped hoodie. I love rash guards for protecting my shoulders from getting too much sun at the beach. Plus, I don't need any help sunscreening since my whole back is covered!
The main fabrics are nylon spandex tricot from El Centenario Fabric on Etsy. The powermesh, lining, and elastics are all left overs from the Take the Plunge swim suit I made last year. I made a size small but took in the sides a little bit more for a snug fit. I also added a shelf bra using a tutorial from Made for Mermaids. I sewed padded swim cups to the "inside" of the powermesh and lined the whole front with swim lining. My first attempt at the shelf bra was way too long and too loose, so I shortened it and reduced the elastic length by several inches. I have plenty of fabric leftover, so maybe I'll make a matching swim suit next year!

Monday, August 7, 2023

surf, sand, sunshine

We had a great vacation week with Dan's family doing all our favorite beachy activities!
(Isn't Colleen's baby bump so cute??)

Mae spent every possible moment in the water. She could jump over waves for hourrrrrs. She got a little braver this year and was even making me a little nervous with how far she was willing to venture out. She'd start relatively shallow and then slowly work her way further out until the surf was up to her shoulders, sweeping her briefly off her feet. Then she'd look a little panicked, catch her breath, and start the routine all over again in the shallow water.
Colin on the other hand, was absolutely terrified of the waves. In his defense, they were pretty big! He freaked out if I even tried to take him onto the wet part of the sand... far away from the edge of the water! Fortunately, he LOVED playing in the sand. He mostly dug holes but also enjoyed a few games of paddle ball.
We had lots of fun activities back at the house also. Both kids had fun with the new splash pad. It was perfect for staying cool in the middle of the day (and for very thoroughly watering a very small section of the yard.)
Colin kept Batman busy chasing this little plane all over the front yard. Mae loves lemonade stands, so she was thrilled when GranE and Batman helped her set one up.
Colleen and I went out for a little paddle around the bay side where the water is calmer. I borrowed a kayak and she got to try out her new inflatable paddle board. My arms were definitely tired afterwards but not nearly as sore as I expected.
One of the best parts of the week was seeing the 4th of July fireworks. I wasn't sure if we'd be able to see the Atlantic City fireworks, since they start a little too late in the evening for Colin. Fortunately there were smaller shows going off all around us as soon as dusk hit. Mae and GranE found the perfect spot to watch them... the lifeguard stand!
Colin decided they were exciting but a little too loud (and he was a little too sleepy), so we walked back to the house for bedtime.
Thanks for a great vacation!

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

back home again

Well, the 4th of July has come and gone, and I still haven't posted about Memorial Day! Time for some catch-up.

After 10+ years of casually talking about it, Dan and I finally decided to get tickets to the Indy 500 this year (along with Kelsey and Will.) Kelsey and I have been before, but Dan and Will were newbies. Unfortunately, Dan decided that Memorial Day weekend would be a good time to come down with shingles and spent the weekend bedridden at home. Don't worry, he's all healed up now, but he had a very uncomfortable couple weeks! I did feel a little bad about leaving him at home while we traveled to Indy, but I think he was grateful for the peace and quiet while he recovered.

Saturday we went to the Indy 500 parade. Mae and Colin loved everything: the floats, the balloons, the cars, the horses, the music, the confetti, and the big floats!
Sunday, we had a beautiful day for the race! Christopher filled in for Dan at the last minute and even cooked up a million frozen chicken fingers Saturday night so we could have cold chicken (my favorite) to eat during the race.
Will enjoyed his first Indy 500! It's certainly an experience walking in those gates for the first time surrounded by a quarter million people all decked out in their finest checkered and star-spangled clothes!
Mae and Colin had fun at the pool while we were at the race. Last summer, Mae sat at the top of the water slide and agonized over whether she was brave enough to go down. Ultimately, she opted to climb back down the stairs, but was disappointed in herself and determined to try during our next visit. Unfortunately the pool closed before we visited again! She must have spent all winter psyching herself up, because she went right up and down that slide this time! Go Mae!

Monday, June 26, 2023

three years of colin

Happy third birthday, Colin!
We had a little birthday celebration when my family visited this weekend. We had pizza and cupcakes at our house and then went creek stomping with the cousin crew! The kids had fun playing in the rocks and mud, chasing the water skimmers, and getting completely soaked.
Colin's birthday was a perfect reflection of his interests. (I even found banana-print wrapping paper for my banana-obsessed kid!) Creek stomping was a great activity since he loves being outside as much as possible, even if he's just collecting sticks or watering plants with the hose. We're working on giving up the stroller so we've been trying to take longer walks on "Mommy and Colin" days when I don't work.
Like many little kids, he is completely obsessed with trains (and trucks and diggers), so we added a few pieces to his wooden train set. Every night before bed, we read him two books, sing a song (Edelweiss), and then tuck him into his blankets (in a particular order) while he asks, "Mom, can we talk about trains?" And every night I have to come up with something new to tell him about trains. Sometimes it's fact like, "Today I saw a gray train stopped on the tracks by the interstate," and sometimes it's something ridiculous like, "I wish there was a candy train full of lollipops to deliver sweets to our house." I fear the day I run out of things to say about trains.
Bed and nap time have been a bit of a struggle lately. Colin started potty training recently, and we took the side off his bed. Downside: he can get out of bed. (He frequently opts to sleep on the floor instead of in his bed now.) Upside: more room for snuggles with big sister!
Colin still loves Octonauts and Bluey. He was very excited to get some Octonauts toys and a Bluey truck as gifts. We still watch these shows most nights before bed and in the mornings if he wakes up before my brain is fully functioning. He's a big helper whether we're doing yard work, folding laundry, or preparing food in the kitchen. He loves to be right up in the middle of whatever is happening, even though it makes dinner prep a little challenging! He's also really good at entertaining himself and playing quietly for short periods of time. He's the snuggliest little nugget; he often crawls into my lap and curls up while meowing. Sometimes I have a little boy and sometimes I have a little kitten.
It's fun to watch Colin's sense of humor develop. He loves to play silly pretend games like, "What do you think is for breakfast at day care today?" Common responses include things like "ice cream chicken" and "hot dog cereal." When he asks if dinner is ready and I respond, "Not yet!" he always follows up with "..... YET??" This usually leads to a good 5 minutes of "Yet?" "Not yet." "Yet?" "Not yet." "Yet??" "Not yet!!!"

Happy three years to my silly, snuggly, sweet boy!

Friday, June 23, 2023

celebrating seven

We celebrated Mae's 7th birthday with a weekend of fun activities. Friday evening, we invited a few of her friends out for dinner at Mae's favorite Mexican restaurant. They got to sit at their own table, order their own food, and be silly and a little wild. At the end of the meal, the waiters brought out sombreros, fried ice cream, and sparklers, and we all sang happy birthday! Everyone had fun (including all of us parents at the adults table!)
On Sunday, we met up with Mom, Dad, Kevin, Christopher, Emily, Oliver, Archie, and Lillian at the zoo. I'm glad we got another opportunity to put the kids in their Cousin Crew shirts!
The kids loved the barnyard show, especially the dancing at the end. They also spent, in my opinion, WAY too much time looking at bugs in the insect house! Mae opened presents at the end of the day and was excited to get lots of craft activities. She has been a rainbow loom bracelet-making machine the last couple weeks, and we have a million Perler bead projects decorating our fridge now.

Friday, June 2, 2023

me made may 2023

I’ve just wrapped up another Me Made May! This year I committed to wearing as many of my handmade items as possible, and I managed to wear something almost every day.
Top Row (L to R): Dory Cardigan, Lane Raglan hoodie, striped raglan sweater, fade pullover, Cheyenne Tunic button down

2nd Row: Breathing Space sweater, Biscayne Blouse, Julia cardigan, Cheyenne tunic, Georgetown cardigan

3rd Row: Lark Tee, Lane raglan v-neck, Bettine top, Biscayne Blouse, sleeveless top

4th Row: Estuary Skirt, Julia cardigan, sleeveless top, City Gym Shorts, Blackwood Cardigan

5th Row: Lady Skater dress, Bettine top, Helen's Closet robe, Pussy Bow Blouse, Nittany top

A couple of items are new this May. I originally bought the yarn for this sweater (Garnstudio DROPS baby merino in colorway "grey" - it's less purple than it looks in this photo) to make a "Magnolia Bloom Light" sweater, but the gauge was just too far off. Then I started a Culswick pullover but the lace pattern was just too slow-going. I pulled that out and decided to just make a simple striped raglan sweater with some black Berroco Ultra Wool Fine yarn leftover from my Fiesta mittens. The sweater is based on the "Ink and Brass" pattern, though I've been calling mine "Ink and Iron" due to the color scheme. I didn't have quite enough black yarn to finish the stripes, so I added a few purple stripes to the end of the sleeves. They turned out to be my favorite part! The yarn is really soft, and I love the fit of this sweater. Shame I only got to wear it once before it got hot out!
I also finished sewing this Nittany Top recently. I wore it to celebrate the last day of Me Made May. It was fun to sew and I love how the pleated neckline came together. This feels like a good staple wardrobe pattern, and would look pretty sleeveless as well as with the sleeves. I bought 1.75 yd of fabric (Art Gallery tinted bloom rayon in "dusk"), which was plenty for a size 4. I made the view without the keyhole; the only modifications were shortening by 1" and using french seams at the shoulders and sides.
Lastly, I didn't actually wear this in May, but I finished it just in time for Easter. (Did you notice it in our Easter photos?) This is a Style Arc Tulip Dress in a rayon crepe and bemberg lining from Harts Fabric. I didn't expect this crepe fabric to be stretchy when I bought it, since I've never worked with crepe before. It makes the dress comfy to wear, but it sags a bit in the bodice due to the weight of the material. Fortunately, the bodice lining keeps the structure and helps hold the waistband and skirt in place. I followed the Moneta Dress instructions for assembling the bodice to the sleeves, which keeps all the seams nicely hidden inside the lining. The tulip sleeves are so cute, and I love how they match the hemline!
To combat the stretch in the seams, I reinforced the pocket edges, neckline, and zipper seam with twill tape instead of interfacing. I lined the back of the skirt also. I finally bought an invisible zipper foot and it made sewing the zipper less annoying. Win! I cut the pocket from lining only, but I made the pocket bearer with a layer of crepe and a layer of lining for extra support (and slipperiness against the skin.) The pockets actually lay flat when the dress is flat, but they stick out a bit when the dress is on my body. I'd love to see how this pattern behaves with a slightly sturdier material like a cotton sateen.

I did make a muslin for the bodice (size 8 graded to 10 at the waist), and eventually decided to just sew a straight 10 with the bodice shortened 1/2" and the hem shortened a bit too. The hem is just overlocked, turned up 3/4" and stitched with a zig-zag blind hem stitch.

Lastly, I apparenty never blogged this Sew Over It Pussy Bow blouse and Patterns for Pirates Pencil Skirt that I made for Christmas this year. The skirt didn't make an appearance in May, but the top did. The blouse is a size 10 based on 35” bust. I did all French seams and followed instructions by Cashmerette for the sleeve splits (though I think I put them in the wrong spot - inner wrist vs. outer!) I don't love the finish at the top of the bow and had to do a little hand stitching to get it to look right. Also, the sleeve caps fit kinda weird. This is my second SOI pattern and I've had sleeve issues both times!
The skirt is made from a crushed velvet that I impulse purchased (very rare for me) from JoAnn. I lined the skirt, but the lining has a tendency has a tendency to ride up and the waistband has a tendency to roll down. Still cute though!
Phew, that was a lot of new stuff I made over the last ~9 months!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

seven years of mae

Happy 7th birthday, Mae! The best part of this year has been watching Mae's independence grow. She has her own activities, her own friends, her own secrets and inside jokes! She's building a whole life in her own world and we have front row seats to watch it all happen!
Mae has been really busy leading up to the end of school. I'm looking forward to it slowing down a bit this summer!

Mondays are for track practice. Her season just wrapped up, which means no more early Saturday track meets! Mae tried out all the events this year, but her favorites were the 50m dash and the long jump. Her free-flowing hair always makes her easy to spot on the track because she refuses to wear a ponytail.
Tuesdays are for CCD. Mae loved the calm, Montessori-style classes. She learns Bible stories and prayers while she also painting watercolors, singing, and arranging flowers. They had a family prayer service to wrap up the year, and Mae was asked to sing along with two other girls. She was nervous but very excited to use a microphone.

Wednesdays are for gymnastics. Mae's cartwheel and handstand skills have grown so much since she started last year! She has gained a lot of confidence on the beam, but her favorite activity is the vault. She was excited to show off all her skills at the showcase this spring!
I think gymnastics has helped with her resilience and determination, too. She went to a birthday party a few weeks ago and had the opportunity to do some climbing in a harness. At the top of her first obstacle, she froze in fear and I had to help her down. Instead of asking to go home, she immediately got in line to climb the next wall and made it to the top (and back down) with no issues!
Thursdays, Mae finally gets a break from all her activities. She likes to wind down after school by playing games on her Kindle. She loves reading and cannot let a new book sit unread for more than a minute. Her favorites are still graphic novels like "Catstronauts" but she has been spending more time on chapter books like "Critter Club" and "Boxcar Children." She secretly reads books in bed after we turn the lights out at night, but we secretly love it.
Friday mornings are for choir practice. Mae's choir season just wrapped up with their big spring concert. We loved the Beatles theme (although I am looking forward to not having "Yellow Submarine" stuck in my head every day).
Friday evenings, we're all worn out. Usually that means homemade pizza and TV or movie night. Mae and Colin still watch a lot of "Octonauts," but also mix in "Ada Twist, Scientist" and "Bluey." We just introduced the kids to "Star Wars" and are slowly working our way through Episode IV. Mae is absolutely fascinated by "the force" but also frustrated by its limitations, asking "Why can't they just solve the problem with the force??" Hey, I don't make the force rules, kiddo!
Weekends are for play time! She has an amazing little group of friends on the street that she seeks out whenever she gets bored at home. They like to play pretend or American Girl dolls or to just roam the sidewalks wearing silly costumes and making ghost noises. Things like that. Their latest endeavors have involved putting on elaborate "shows" with sets, costumes, props, scripts, and music. So far, we've watched one about an astronaut befriending an alien, and one about princesses going on an adventure.
This morning, on her birthday, she came downstairs and immediately sat down at the little table in our kitchen and drew out this whole picture before even coming in to say "good morning" to Colin and me on the couch. Can't wait to see next show; looks like it'll be about superheros that "fhit crim!"
She also spends a lot of time making signs for our house. There are currently papers taped all over the house with important information like "steps for boo-boo" (followed by a fairly accurate list of first aid treatments) and "Find hurt animals? Take to play room (vet)."

We celebrated her birthday this evening with a specifically requested dinner of hot dogs, cantaloupe, chips, baby carrots, and strawberry ice cream cake (my first attempt at making an ice cream cake). She was excited to open her gifts, especially the Tamagotchi, Kittycorn, and Playmobil petting zoo from GranE and Batman.
We love you so much, kiddo. You are turning into an awesome person! We can't wait to see what year eight brings for you!