Saturday, February 26, 2011

Good news

I have some good news. We finally got assigned a new social worker at our adoption agency, and she called and set an appointment for our homestudy to be March 7th. Hooray! Also, she mentioned the children's bedrooms had to have beds for each potential child. So we went out looking for a twin-sized bed at Ikea for Susi, since the other two beds are toddler-sized. All of the beds were cream and not white. Maybe a small detail for some, but I spent a year of my life painting and decorating Susi's new room and off-white looks dingy. We went to a furniture place that is very high-quality, loved all the beds and their quality and how very white they all were, but the price was around $700. Eek! So maybe I might just borrow one of my friend's cribs for the homestudy and wait to see if we end up with one or two children before we buy another actual bed. Anyways, it is Saturday and I am exhausted. So much for my plans to sew/paint/read/e-mail/etc. Well, tomorrow is another day.
Oh, the other day Susi sat on my lap while I sewed. I let her cut the thread with my scissors when I finished sewing a seam. Little by little, she is becoming a little seamstress. She likes to sit down on the rug next to the sewing machine while I am sewing and cut fabric and stick pins into the fabric. Fortunately, I have lots of extra fabric for her to cut.
We are getting lots of snow up where we are and I love the very idea that snow is falling right outside my window. Positively delicious and cozy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Doll's dress, boy blue, and a mother's helper

I have a lot of things to write about, it was a busy weekend. I was really blessed to have a little mother's helper over for the weekend, who along with her friend, helped me paint Susi's old room. We managed to put all the primer up as well the first layer of blue paint. Now my back hurts, but I feel pretty great that I was finally able to get a good headstart on the room. It looks a ton better than it did before we started. Here are some pictures of the light blue color. Two of the walls and the closet will be a darker blue. Can you tell it is snowing outside? I am so excited! This blue is so calming I just want to fall asleep every time I walk into this bedroom. Maybe it will have the same effect on the next occupant :).
A new hairdo for mother's helper. I had forgotten how much I missed having a little girl with hair long enough to style. And she doesn't squirm like Susi. Having my sweet little mother's helper made me think of all the things I look forward to doing with Susi - teaching her how to paint, sew, cook, and dream big.Emma's new dress, finished. I made a few slight mistakes, but it is okay for my first dress. I put the velcro on the wrong side, sewed the whole length of the ribbon instead of tacking it on and I did not have enough lace to sew on the hem. Oh well, all part of the learning process.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Doll dress

The bodice for Susi's doll's dress to match Susi's dress. Doll dresses are a lot of fun to make and they take a lot less time to make also.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My first time making sleeves, ever!

A picture of my first dress ever that I made with sleeves. Sorry the picture did not turn out so well. I am still trying to figure out how to find the proper setting for fluorescent lighting, since it seems the only time I have to take pictures of my finished projects are at night when Susi is asleep. Anyways, I was wondering how the sleeves would match up exactly to the bodice, but it turns out that they are gathered at both ends. How clever! The pattern was relatively easy, but I had a hard time sewing the zipper in. I think I was frazzled and or tired at the time, so part of the zipper shows in the back and the ribbon did not meet evenly at the middle. Oh well, it is all part of the learning process. I think with more dresses, I will get better at sewing the zipper in evenly.
We just got back from a weekend visit to the in-laws to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday. Susi is really enthusiastic about birthdays now. She sings Happy Birthday at mealtime when it is time to pray. She was talking the whole week about how she was going to make the cake for Jonathan (she fell asleep before she could help). She really enjoyed handing out the presents for her Tio, and was very delighted that she ended up with a few gifts herself. She even baked some cookies and wrapped them into a present for her Tia Julie.
In other news, I heard back from my social worker and she is going on family leave for several weeks so she will write my homestudy but won't be able to do the last visit :(. Nevertheless, it should be done sometime in the next few weeks and then the fun part happens, looking through profiles.
Oh, for those of you who wanted to know the recipe for those yummy cookies made by Cake Spy, she so graciously sent me a link to the recipe on her website. The cookies were made sans frosting and pop rocks :). Although I am tempted to make the "fireworks" version for Fourth of July...
Anyways, it is going to be a busy week this week, full of social visits, hosting pre-school Co-Op (the theme is St. Valentine's), unpacking from the weekend and trying to squeeze some time for sewing and Susi in between all of that.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cookies and inspiration

Today, I drove into the city to meet up with Leo for lunch at his workplace. Little did I know it, but Cakespy, a very talented local blogger/baker/artist had left some really delicious cookies at the workplace. This totally made my day. The cookies reminded me of sweet Mexican sugar cookies I had at various panaderias growing up. What a treat, now if only I could find out what they are called so that I could find a recipe for them...
Another thing that really cheered me up was reading this blogpost from the ever-practical, sweetly honest Anna T. at Domestic Felicity. It is so nice to hear from a peer who is going through the same stage with her children as me. I can't help but feel embarrassed that my house is a mess as I struggle to raise a toddler, repaint the upstairs, work on my fixer-upper house, learn to sew and deal with a very frugal budget. Everyone's house seems so nice and organized compared to mine, but then again I don't know of any fixer-upper homes of young mothers with toddlers in my neighborhood :). She is so right about using those small snippets of time, they are so valuable, and there never seem to be enough of them. I know that right now, I have too many outside activities and I look forward to having at least one more day to spend at home, working around the house, picking berries, jamming, pickling, sewing or working in the garden.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another children's dress

Sewing and having a toddler seem completely incompatible at times. In fact, getting anything done with a toddler in tow seems impossible these days. The highlight of my day is a nap - without it, I feel like zombie Mamacita. Anything else that I can accomplish during the day is just bonus material. I am not sure how I will deal with having another child or two. If I have a newborn, I will just be really cranky and out of it for a few months while I adjust to life with a newborn. If I have toddlers, at least they can play with each other so I can get other things done. At any rate, I am looking forward to this new phase in life where Susi has siblings and I don't have to be the main source of attention.
Here is a new dress I am making for Susi. Maybe she will fit in it by Eastertime. All I have left to do will be the sleeves. This is my first time making sleeves at all, and they will be puffy and super cute. I will also be making a doll dress out of the same fabric, can't wait!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A-line Skirt with Facing

Here is my A-line skirt with facing. The only really big mistake I made was that I allowed way too much extra room in the waist. Wearing it makes me feel like a teenager again, as it rests way too low on my hips and I have to wear extra long sweaters or shirts to stay modest. I think I just have to sew one or both sides of the seam a little bit in, and it will be fine. The facing does tend to roll up, but since no one sees that anyways, it does not matter too much. I made this skirt from denim, my favorite fabric for wearing around the house, especially in the winter. The skirt in the book used a wonderful fabric with a beautiful embroidered print, but I chose to just use up fabric I already had. The buttons along the side, give it a really sharp, dressy look. I picked fleur-de-lis buttons because they reminded me of Mary, the Three Musketeers, and Mexico (where lots of silver comes from). Susi, was ecstatic about the buttons, and now wants me to make her a dress with buttons as well. So that will have to be my next project...

The skirt challenge renewed

So a while back I wrote that I was going to sew all the skirts from the Sew What Skirts book for Susi and me. I had a few failures, the holidays happened, along with all the various adoption-related tasks and associated stress. Well, I have not given up just yet! Taking the class on stretchy fabric has given me increased confidence in my sewing abilities, so I am ready to get back on track. I tried to find a gadget where I could list just the blog pages from the Sew What Skirts challenge, but so far I have not come across a device that works for me. So instead I just included them in the labels and those who are interested can read about them there. I am still working on labeling the old posts related to the Sew What Skirts challenge and hopefully will have them all labeled in the next week. In the meantime, I am going to share some of my failures, in the hopes that maybe someone will learn from my mistakes.
This was the A-line drawstring skirt, which was supposed to be the easiest to make. I had this beautiful microsuede cloth that had such a wonderful drape, I thought it would make a nice, casual, lounging-around-the-home skirt. Unbeknownst to me, it had a slight stretch to it, which pulled at the seams. You can see at the right seam, how the seam really puffed up. Some advice my sewing instructor gave me was to try putting bias or twill tape over the seams to give it added stability or to sew the side seams in zig-zap. The fabric is not all that stretchy, but the added length gives it more weight. The pocket is going to have to just come off. That kind of fabric does not make nice pockets. The bottom hem worked out just great. I think I have some extra bias tape, so I am going to try that first to see if it helps. The nice thing about skirts with drawstring waists is that they adjust to whatever size you happen to be at the moment, making them super comfortable. I have another drawstring skirt with beads at the end of the drawstring, and Susi just loved the beads. Click here for a picture of the A-line skirt I made for Susi from the same pattern, only I put elastic in the waistband because Susi can't tie a waistband and is altogether too adept at untying one.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A busy weekend

Every weekend I have dreams of being able to accomplish so much because now Leo will be here to help me, but oftentimes those plans fall through. This weekend just such a weekend. Susi's adoptive grandpa, Pap-Pap came over on Friday night, which bumped up date night to Saturday. We went to confession on Saturday morning, and then I spent some much-needed quality time at Jo-Ann's searching for fabric, thread and a new blade for my rotary cutter. I even purchased a beautiful silky cloth in the hopes of making either a headscarf or skirt with it. Today we went to mass and then a friend's birthday party. Not a lot of down-time that is so essential for a creative person like me. It did not help either that Susi was throwing tantrum after tantrum this morning, probably related to her being upset that I was gone for so long yesterday. I haven't had a single chance to sew this weekend either, very disappointing. I am so glad that tomorrow is a Monday and I have absolutely nothing planned. Lately, I have been longing for more days throughout the week where there is nothing planned. Between Bible study, Pre-School Co-Op and visiting Leo at work once a week, I only have two full days of the week where I can just stay at home and work on projects. I am wondering how that will work out in the spring and summer when I am busy working on canning, gathering berries, baking bread, gardening, and of course sewing. Something will have to give, because I just don't want to miss out on a beautiful spring and summer with all their wonderful activities.
I finally finished my banner for Etsy, thanks to Leo. I will not show it off just yet, because I still have so much more work to do for my shop. I have also been researching how to manage the business side of things, accounting, permits and licenses, taxes, etc. I know not all Etsians go this far, but I would like to start my business, even if it does not make a large profit, on a firm foundation. I am still feeling pretty confused about the whole accounting part of it, mainly because I know almost nothing about accounting. Well, just like with my shop, I am in no rush and little by little I will learn what I can.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dresses, more dresses and no patience

What a busy, but fun week it has been. The sewing class went great. We experimented with all sorts of different stretchy fabrics and I definitely feel more comfortable working with stretchy fabrics, although it might be a while before I make something with stretchy fabrics (shorts perhaps?). Right now, I am in total mother-of-a-little-girl-heaven because I am making dresses, lots of dresses both for Susi and for her dolls. Hopefully soon, I will have another one done so that I can put up pictures. I just love making dresses and I love dreaming of my beautiful little girl wearing them. We had a good weekend with our friends as well, and enjoyed being spoiled rotten, even at the age of 29. :)
Susi is a handful these days. She wants to do everything sola (by herself) these days and makes a fuss if I try and do anything for her. Doing any shopping is an onerous task because she likes to grab everything and puts up a fit if she has to let go of it. Potty training is wearing me out and I thought it would be the other way around! At any rate, being the high-flier that Susi is, I finally gave in and have bought a grab bag of different candies. It works. Susi is very motivated and her diapers are staying drier than before. I am hoping this lasts because I don't know how much longer I can last through the rough work that is potty-training. I used to think I was patient, but I can see clearly now that I just didn't have enough kids to bring out my very impatient side...