Saturday, May 31, 2014

Top Secret Birthday Project Two

Knowing that I'll be very busy with bub number two in the coming months, I've been trying to get all of the birthday presents organised and out of the way prior to his or her appearance. Aside from one last gift, I think I'm done!

This gift is for my mum, and has an extended epic story to go with it, which I can't share with you until after the 4th of July when I get to give it to her. Needless to say, if I had to describe the story I will tell, imagine you've read The Hobbit, and then you go and see Peter Jackson's drawn out, over done and often completely inaccurate movies of The Hobbit. Then you will have some idea what you are in store for come July.

Excited? I know I am!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Finished Busy Book!

Last year in March, I made my very first felt book. I love it. This year, in February, I completed page one of my second attempt at a felt book. I cannot believe how long this page sat on my shelf waiting for other pages to be complete. When I wrote the to-do list last week, Felt Book was at the top of the list. I had to get it finished and now I have!

I spent the majority of spare time this week getting the bits together. It was about time really. Maybe I should take more "Work In Progress" photos, so that I can update this blog slightly more often and make it appear that I'm doing more than I seem. Then I wouldn't end up with this extremely long posts all about sewing things. Sorry non-sewing people. On to the book!

This felt book is bound and covered in some fabulous material that I made a dress for Sophie out of in January this year. When I got the material out, Sophie got all excited and tried to put it on. Pretty amusing. The book closes with a plastic snap fastener thing. I like that it looks nice and neat when all closed up. It turned out much larger than I anticipated (think A4 landscape), so it was important to have a good finish.

Page one is flowers that you can "pick" (unbutton). I was thinking I'd sew a little brown basket on to put them in. Maybe next week. I dislike sewing button holes and if I did this page again, I'd use snaps. I think they'd look and work better.

Page two has these funky balloons that you can snap off and then match up again. I've sewn the strings of the balloons down under that cute pink bow so they won't get lost either. I look at this page close up and think it's a bit messy. The stitching around the balloons is shaggy and the strings don't match. When I look from a distance though, I really like it.

Page three you already know about. Notice I still haven't fixed that lacing problem from February? :P Maybe later.

The final page has these cute kids (in their modesty gear) waiting to be dressed. The zippered thing on the right will eventually be full of felt clothes. Pretty much, I wanted to put a zip in, (more practice, though this one wasn't so bad), and this is where it went.

I had a lot of fun hand stitching the clothes and features on these guys. Hand stitching is such a great change of pace. All in all though, the book covers fine motor skills (buttons, snaps, lacing, tying and zips) as well as matching and should (in theory) keep kids occupied for quite a while. If Sophie were slightly older, it'd be a great thing for her to play with while I'm busy with bub number two. Oh well, at least it's ready for when she's no longer napping in the arvo and bub number two is.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Baby Stuff

Still crossing things off my to-do list, yesterday I packed my bag for the hospital. Ready to go! Well, kinda. I had to pack a bag for Sophie too, which was honestly something I didn't even consider until last week. She'll be having a sleep-over at my parents when the baby comes.

Something that my Mum has crossed off her to-do list was putting together the quilt that will be for baby number two. At the baby shower, about three months ago now, everyone worked on a square that would come together to be a cute quilt. I love how bright and colorful it looks, even on the washing line (next to the nappies... this will be a familiar sight I'm sure). I feel so blessed by all of the wonderful women who contributed to this, and especially my Mum for putting it all together.

Here is the square I did.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Thankfulness: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This is one of my favorite verses and I've been coming back to it a lot in the last month. People keep asking me "How are you going?" with a sympathetic look and some concern, ready to give me support, encouragement, pity and understanding. They want to give me these things because I am eight months pregnant and now looking more enormous than ever.

And I could reply with the usual tirade: "I'm not sleeping, my back hurts, baby keeps moving..." blah blah blah blah. The list goes on. But I don't. It's not that I'm not these thing. In fact, I am all of these things, but the truth is, despite these things, I am so thankful for what is happening and this time in my life. Sure, I could complain (and some people would even say I have the right), but it's not what God wants me to do. In fact, he wants me to do the opposite.

I think this is why I've been so burdened by hearing about what's going on in Sudan, and Syria and plenty of other nations around the world. There is unrest, war, violence. There is drought, food shortage, people fleeing their homes. And while this is happening, people haven't put having babies on hold. There are still people out there who, like me, are eight months pregnant. Unlike me though, they may not be getting ready to give birth in a nice clean hospital.

I live in Australia. I know that when the time comes, my husband will drive me to the hospital. There will be doctors. There will be a plethora of midwives. After the baby comes, it will be checked and measured. We will be warm and fed delicious food that I didn't have to make, or find. I don't have to worry about whether or not we will have enough food. Whether there will be a doctor to look after us. That I won't make it to the refugee camp in time to have the baby because I'm walking through a desert.

What reason do I have to possibly complain in light of all God has blessed us with? So I am thankful for the discomfort, because I know the baby is alive. I rejoice that my back hurts and I'm not sleeping well, because I know it's preparing me for nights of getting up to feed a little one. Thank you Lord, that in all circumstances, you are God and you are good. Please don't let me neglect to pray for those who do not have the same comforts that I do.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cot Bumper

The cradle is set up in the nursery, and despite my initial reaction to Cradle/Cot Bumpers (adding to the risk of SIDS and what not), I thought I'd make a set give that a) this bub will probably be in the cradle longer than Sophie was and b) it's winter, and thus cold. I don't feel there is much else to say, and given that this is yet another sewing post (which I'm sure is what makes people come back to this blog day after day) I don't want to go on too long anyway.

I used up some scrap squares from the 2013 Block of the Month Quilt that I had left over (even some horrible Spring Bloom blocks :P) and backed it with some fun animal print fabric I picked up at Spotlight ages ago for $4.00/m. I bound it with left over scraps from the backing of the Log Cabins Quilt. Good to use up stuff.

Also took the opportunity to practice some quilting techniques (of course) nice and easy on the smallness of each one (there are 3, each 50cm by 20cm). The triangle piece has just straight lines, the one to the left (which you can't see) has some flowers and then some free motion to fill in the gaps, and the last one was just free motioned all the way. Got to love that Free Motion Quilting. Overall, I'm well pleased with the result.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New Shoulder Bag

The last few weeks have felt a strange mix of lazy and productive. Some days I'm just lying around watching time pass, napping and supervising Sophie play. Other days, I'm cooking, vacuuming, doing loads of washing, making play dates, running here and there. It's been a bit strange. That said, I still have things that need to be done, and only four weeks until bub is due to make an appearance, so I sat down yesterday to get serious about it and wrote my to-do list.

This morning, I've crossed off three things. Hooray! This post, long overdue, is another thing. Excellent.

About six weeks ago, I noticed that my handbag was beginning to fall apart and thus Operation New Shoulder Bag came into being. Something I've noticed about sewing, especially when sewing from scratch and making patterns up as you go, is that the more thinking you do about what is going to go where and how it's all going to be cut and come together in the end before you actually do the sewing, the easier it is to actually do the sewing part.

For example, I tossed around the idea of the bag in my head for at least a week. Just in my head. Thinking about what I wanted to get out of it (pockets/zips/straps etc) and how I would do it. Then I spent a few days actually getting that down on paper. I've been sketching what I want the end product to look like and noting things. Then actually drawing what each component will be made of and out of what material and what dimensions etc. Seems a bit ridiculous, but it's so helpful.

That done, cutting the material is the next (and generally last) really time consuming thing. Once those pieces are cut though, I labeled them, stacked them up and was ready to sew. Because I was again cannibalizing my old bag (reusing the zips and piping and strap buckle things), I needed to sew it pretty quickly so I wasn't actually without a handbag for any momentous occasions, like leaving the house.

Now the bag is done. I feel it does have everything I wanted, though the top didn't turn out as awesome as it did in my head. Not quite sure why, but that's what happens when you are experimenting and learning and stuff. It's got pockets on the back, for easy key and phone access (see the next picture for that). It's got an adjustable shoulder strap. The inside has a zip pocket on one side and slip pockets on the other for tissues and lip balm.

The top of the bag is inset, so that on normal days it's a standard bag size, but when I need to stuff extra baby/kid related things in there, it expands to be a super-mum bag size. Sorry for all the close up photos. I was taking them while on the phone to the electricity company and the table is a bit of a mess.

The bottom of the bag is quilted - free motion style - yay! and also surrounded by piping that keeps everything in ship shape. Material is scraps from what will one day be a super cool tent for Sophie (hello 2nd Birthday present!) and the inside is fully lined with leftovers from Steve's Aladdin costume. This bag cost nothing but my time and effort. Brilliant. No shopping required.

I feel this last photo shows off the inset top bit as well as how much better I am at putting in zips than ever before. Though Steve can attest to the number of times I cursed zips as I sewed it in. :P Will they ever be easy?


Sunday, May 04, 2014

Welcoming Winter

Well  hello Winter! I sit here to type this with my socks on and my fuzzy green hooded warmth-giving dressing gown doing it's job. I'll be changing the sheets to flannelette tonight that's for sure. Sophie was wearing three layers this morning, but she makes a fuss about getting into them and her little hands are still freezing, so I'm wondering how we will survive actual winter. Meh. She's got to harden up or freeze I guess.

I've noticed lately that I've been very slack about taking photos of the little girl. She moves so fast and often the camera is in a hard to get to spot so I don't feel it's worth trying to get it before she's distracted again anyway. Sigh. I guess I'll just have to do what people in the olden days did and remember things, rather than photograph them.

That said, here is one I did manage to snap on the way down to Sydney two weeks ago. Don't be fooled by the smiles, about ten seconds after this shot, she noticed me and had a cry about not getting to sit with me. :P I hope Aunty Fi is proud of the way we have her infant seat belt securely attached.

Before Sydney we went to Caloundra for a few days with some friends too. The weather was perfect and it was lovely to just have chill time. So great to share child-watching with Steve too.

This weekend was really back to reality. Bub number two is only approx. six weeks away, so it was time to set up Sophie's room so that we could vacate the nursery in preparation. She has settled in well, though we haven't tackled the challenge of moving her to the actual bed yet. There is something satisfying about looking at that room and seeing the bed covered by a home made quilt. 

And these are my Mother's Day Flowers. So bright and cheerful. Thanks Steve for remembering and being organised in advance this year. Love it!