Friday, October 31, 2008

Photo tag

Heather photo-tagged me today: show the 4th photo in your 4th folder. Hers was much more appropriate for Halloween: a mouse tumor (her husband is a biologist). We're just a season off: goat & Mare, sledding in 2003.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

morning light

My little stack of blankets & burpers (isn't there a better word for these? seems kind of coarse).

All of the blankets are single layers, bound with bias tape: the two flannel with packaged ones, and the bamboo fleece with tape I made. I made the flannel ones thin to be good swaddlers, in case that's this baby's preference, and 45" square. The packaged tape is kind of scratchy, so I decided not to use it for the burp cloths. I just stitched a double layer, quick-turned & top-stitched. With inexpert leaf & cloud motifs machine quilted on top. Audrey turned everything last night into a talk show, "Lights", so I narrated the whole process of making the green toile one. If her imagination ever gets a direct line to youtube, then I'll imbed the tutorial :). Marian is halfway done sewing a burp cloth with the fabric she chose; hopefully we'll be able to work on it tomorrow & show you on her blog.

Did I mention how much I love this bamboo? The last blanket was big, so this was just 36" square. And I can't wait to put a naked baby on it. My family is going to be so thrilled when I stop being pregnant and sneakily turning down the heat :). They're all freezing...

love note

I need to buy a scanner...but in the mean time, will share a slightly-fuzzed photo of a note Marian wrote me when I was gone a few weekends ago to an Exponent II retreat and she was lonesome.

She loves me. But I am, fortunately, not her only hope.

and I finally go to bed :P

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

bees leaves

I found a nice sample of leaves on campus when I picked up Audrey yesterday (early to avoid the Sarah Palin crowd traffic: she came to our tiny university & it was crazy to see the lines...) and borrowed resurrection fern's beeswax preservation idea to keep 'em bright. I didn't have those lovely thin beeswax sheets, so made my own by melting a beeswax chunk in a parchment-lined pan, cooling, then placing the resulting sheet over my leaves. Less pretty, but when I melted the whole thing in the oven, the bottoms were covered adequately without using a bottom sheet of wax. Mid-melt: I removed the hot leaves with tweezers & let the excess wax drip off while still nice and hot to keep the beeswax thin & transparent. These are waxed: Note to self: don't cook the leaves. Our seasonal tableau yesterday, arrangement by Audrey!


We had two lovely leaf afternoons, but it's been rainy (the same storms that have postponed the World Series in our fine state) and our piles of leaves are just not as nice lately. So I'm grateful for these moments in my favorite season.
(Audrey thought her leaf landing yielded a bird's nest, and the bird needed a good tootin' call.)
We have two 80-year old sycamore trees in our yard, far too tall to be explorable (and no low branches for climbing; you can see one behind me), and most of the leaves are about hand-sized. But every once in a while one of these GIANTS flutter down, and I think mystical thoughts about the topmost branches...
During my last labor, a photo of Audrey was really key to keeping me focused and determined: this is why! I remembered. I think this will be the one I take with me...very soon. A lucky boy to have such sisters.

sewing for baby

Yesterday in the midwife/OB practice waiting room, Marian and I found a handy layette guide and I, with my first boy (pink polka dots I have saved not as charming) & first winter baby (he's going to freeze!), went into a sudden "not enough blankets!" panic. Luckily, we passed a fabric store on the way home and both chose our favorite flannel. I finished sewing this fabric tonight:Other baby sewing has been pretty much focused on crib sheets for the crib & cradle, as well as some covers for the inflatable diaper changing pad shown below. Sewn from my beloved green leaf Kaufman bamboo print (Meg sent me more this week in a darling baby package: thank you! I was down to selvage strips...) and a super-clearanced IKEA duvet I bought for the express purpose of cutting up and using its soft cotton textured weave for my new sweetheart.My other fabric passion is a very plush 100% bamboo fleece I bought from Both sides are ultra-soft, so the two blankets I've made use a single layer. It's really, really lovely, and stays nice after washing. This one is bound with a nice chocolate linen, with a sweet little guild of the forest fern hedgie embroidery. The leaf blanket was inspired by this one on the purl blog, backed with a simple white flannel.I've also been delving a bit into diapers, and the bamboo fleece was originally purchased with diaper sewing in mind. Bamboo is the new hot diaper fiber--super absorbent, with natural anti-bacterial qualities. Plus soft for the sweet bum. I've zigzagged a few washcloths, and made some cloth inserts for my gDiapers: one layer of bamboo fleece over two of microfiber (super absorbent, but not so nice against the skin. Audrey refuses to touch our microfiber cloths, which I've happily used for cleaning for a long time). More maybe when I find what I like from my sample stash.

The girls are unexpectedly transfixed by the cloth diaper concept. When our sample pack came from Jillian's Drawers last week, everything got tried on stuffed animals. Then the animals were entertained. Audrey has determined that she is "diaper captain" and Marian may be the "diaper queen." Or the other way 'round. I get confused. Bets on how long their enthusiasm will last? Some are taking bets on mine...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Freezing Obama Mama

Inviting a friend to join in on the freezer paper stencil fun finally pushed me to making my own Obama Mama tee. And it just barely still fits my mummy tummy.

I was feeling badly that I haven't been able to articulate my own endorsement of Barack Obama as well as this, but then I'd be on the NY Times editorial board, too, and my kids need me right now ;)...
Freezer paper stenciling is easy-peasy (quick couplets are the theme tonight), and works for pretty impressively fine detail. Get yerself some freezer paper; I found mine at Food Lion. Draw on the paper side (can trace, which is awfully handy), cut out the innards with an exacto knife, iron it on your fabric whatever (until it sticks; my iron is pretty much always on "cotton"), slip in a folded bit from your recycling bin so the paint doesn't soak through, dab on dye or paint (I've used both Versatex & Jacquard textile dyes and they both are great; minimal "hand"), let it dry (like 15 minutes or so for impatient me), heatset with iron. I put some paper between, which I'm not sure is necessary, but makes me feel better, especially since my iron is cheap-o & tends to stick.

Look brilliant! from the 20th, while the girls played in the leaves (it was getting dark, but I promised we'd spend some time that day in the red leaves in the park across the street):Taken in the bathroom at the phlebotomy lab yesterday (10/28) while I waited for Marian, so this is the most current belly pic available!).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

goates girls lately

The Mego Prego.
That's the loving new nickname I've had from my sweet man over the last few months. This photo is from the first of the month, but chronicles a moment that thoroughly impressed the girls: easily balancing a cereal bowl.

Good times.

The brave movie girl.
Marian listened to The Spiderwick Chronicles on our last Philly trip and finished it while weaving (on her Josefina loom, not the iris), so we rented the movie for the girls on Friday. Marian is still new to the non-cartoon, and, though thrilled, found it a bit intense. I shared with her my favorite old afghan trick: cover your head & still see!

The cyclist.Nathan broke his collarbone, effectively ending his cyclocross season, but Audrey participated in children's races on the last two Saturdays. Friend Christopher rode with her on the 4th, and they both showed up in their favorite baby blues: team Superstar! (along with Christopher's sister Natalie, age 7, on her unicycle). Audrey hasn't put in a lot of miles yet, but is drooling over a pretty blue roadbike at the shop that sponsors Nathan's current team. Both of them--and me too!--love her racing. So great. This last weekend was breathtakingly beautiful in Michaux state forest. Laurel Lake:


Audrey & I did some impromptu weaving in the yard this afternoon while Marian read to her homebound teacher, the tireless Mrs. H. Our yard is a bit hapless, officially kept by our landlords, the funeral home next door who holds onto the property so they can keep their neighbors looking presentable. We thought we were temporary renters when we moved into town 2 years ago, but love the house we're in and frankly the someone-else-mows-and-rakes-and-shovels aspect just might be what has kept us here (and inertia). One nice benefit of that is not feeling guilty about things like abandoned beds of iris.

Audrey has a bountiful imagination and was creating a whole land of the backyard (complete with language, major exports, and new mathematical systems. Really.) and I, wanting something to do outside on this perfect fall afternoon, suddenly had to weave. Kitchen shears in both our hands, we harvested.

I love the variation in hue and the pale edges that are revealed by the juxtaposition of the iris leaves when we wove them. I think I'll frame one of the close-ups for the baby's room. Eek. That nursery is NOT done...
I went inside for awhile and came out to new weavings from my little elven child. Prettily embellished. We tried a basket together and...our 2nd try was better than our first :). Marian was reading on the side porch swing with her teacher, and rather horrified to have missed the goodness when they reemerged. It's a lovely thing to have a big sister who will do another.Audrey always plans big, so is drying the mats in the playhouse and will soon be covering all of the walls, to make it winterproof...she also has an idea for using a twig frame to connect them that I'm afraid I didn't fully understand. Our iris bed is only half dessimated, so there will be time.