Thursday, April 10, 2014

FO: Toddler Backpack

Since I am such an amazing auntie and big sister, I made my nephew a backpack!  Never mind that my sister asked me to make it oh, about two years ago.

(That's beside the point.)

Sometimes, I feel like I just shouldn't sew anymore.  That the act of choosing fabric, ironing said fabric, cutting it up, pinning it, sewing it together is so difficult.  Because I don't have a ton of time, and it's an *effort* to sit still at my machine and plug away at a project for two hours.  Or I'm randomly interrupted by two little munchkins who depend on me to, you know, eat and stuff, and I lose my train of thought, and why should I bother starting something if it's going to take me weeks (or months) to finish.

But I still enjoy it immensely when I get to it, which is why I still do it.  And I know that my kids won't be small forever and need me for everything.  And sometimes, when I set aside to make something that's been stewing on my to-do list for awhile (ahem, I don't think that's the correct word choice for two years, but I'm going to go with it.)  And when I see the face that the recipient makes when I tell them that this is indeed for them, well, that makes it all worth it.

And of course, there's the fact that I made a backpack.  That's pretty spectacular!

The pattern is by Melissa at All Buttoned Up, for Stitch Magazine (Autumn 2010.)  The vehicle fabric is from Bolt, but I don't know who the manufacturer is.  It's Japanese though. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fort Nisqually: Living History Museum

We took advantage of the rare sunny spring Pacific Northwest weather last weekend to finally visit Fort Nisqually.  It's so close, I can't believe we haven't been before.  And it was seriously amazing.  Ever since I was a little girl I've been in love with all things colonial (no surprise, given the things I'm into as an adult!)  Sidenote: I'm currently reading through this series, and LOVING IT!  This is next on my list (I can't believe I haven't read it before!)

I keep telling Jes I was born in the wrong century--and I absolutely believe it.  I would have kicked ass as a colonial woman.  Keepin' house/chickens/garden/sewing all the things like a BOSS!  (Yes, I'm very aware of the risks and dangers, and of how hard it was, but I maintain that I would have been an amazing homesteader.)

From the website: "Located in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a restoration of the Hudson’s Bay Company outpost on Puget Sound. Visitors experience life in Washington Territory during the 1850s Fur Trade era. Nine buildings are open to the public, including the Granary and the Factors House, both National Historic Landmarks, and a Visitor Center with Museum Store."

If you haven't been before, it's totally worth a trip to Tacoma.  The fee to get in is nominal (I think it was $18 for our family of four.)  All the households are kept up, and the actors are actually there doing work: gardening, blacksmithing, building.  (Also, I dragged my family to YET ANOTHER fabric store--haha!  Too bad it's just a display!)  BONUS: April 19th is Sewing to Sowing!  This has my name written all over it!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Keepin' it Real

Slightly off-topic from my usual crafty-talk, but this has come up a lot lately.  And this is where I'm at in my life, so it's natural for me to want to talk about parenting my kids.  Also, it's my blog, and I'll do what I wanna do.

Growing up, sex, relationship, and drugs were awkward, embarrassing, and sometimes taboo subjects.  

I come from a split family.  I was given two sex talks: 1, my step-mom had me read the passage from the bible about who you should be with to my three younger siblings ('You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD. 22'You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. 23'Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion.…Leviticus 18:22) and 2, my step-dad--while I was trapped in the camaro, trying to learn how to drive a stick shift--told me I needed to use protection, and should only have sex with someone if I loved them (good advice, but the delivery could have been a little less, uhm, embarrassing.)  My mom--TO THIS DAY--will not talk about sex in front of me.  She will, during an intimate moment in a movie, still tell me to cover my eyes.  She was there when my second baby was born.  I am 32 years old.  She knows that  I know what sex is.  But it's still awkward for her.

Needless to say, I was confused.

I find it very, very important to talk to my kids about sex, relationships, and drugs.  Yes, they're only 3 and 7 years old, but I'm laying the foundation for having healthy conversations when they're older.  There are good reasons to do so, like reducing the risk of teen pregnancies, or avoiding drug addictions as adults.  I encourage everyone to talk with their children about these topics NOW so that when the big conversations come up you are prepared--you will have gotten over the awkward stage, and your child will know that it's OK to talk about anything with you.

While I'm at it, let me also mention that everything we talk about is developmentally appropriate.  

So, this morning, during our drive to school, Fini (3) is telling me how much he loves his hat (the red one I made for him.)  He's decided he's never going to grow out of it, and he can wear it forever.  So Eamon (7) says that he will in fact grow out of it, because he eats fruit and vegetables, and those give you energy to grow.  So I interject (recognizing both an oncoming argument and a chance to talk about sex with my kids--look people, it's either that, or we talk about Skylanders, and frankly, I'm tired of Skylanders) that it's actually Fini's DNA that determines how big he'll grow.

Me: "Isn't it cool that our bodies know exactly how much to grow?  Our genes send messages to our bodies to tell us whether or not we're boys or girls, or short or tall, or have brown eyes or green.  And that happens at conception, when the sperm fertilizes the egg." (See what I did there?)

Eamon: "If it happens at conception, then why did Aunty just find out that she's having a girl?"

Me: "Because her baby hadn't formed her vagina on the outside yet.  So even though Aunty is about twenty weeks pregnant, there wasn't an ultrasound strong enough to show us what was on the inside of the baby's body.  But her DNA was decided when the sperm and egg got together (he still hasn't asked me HOW they get together--see, keeping it developmentally appropriate.)"

Eamon: "So that's why a giant squid is squishy!"

Me: ".....I'm going to need more information, kiddo."

Eamon (speaking slowly, as if I need help understanding): "Well, the daddy giant squid and the mommy giant squid made a baby.  And at the baby's conception, his DNA determined that he would be squishy."

Me: "....."

Fini: "Awkward!"

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FO: Guernsey Wrap

I loved knitting my Guernsey Wrap (by Jared Flood.)  It was so fun and simple to make.  It's huge, so it'll be perfect to wear to Cyclocross races--when it's early morning in the fall, or just, you know, walking outside.  Or sitting on the couch.  Because I'm always cold.

I knit this with Cascade 220, which is not the softest, but it'll soften up every time I soak it.  (I use Soak--have you tried it??  It smells so good!  I use it on all my super delicate hand-washables, as well as all my hand-knits.  My favorite scent is celebration!)

I've worked on this everywhere--the coffee shop, the school pickup line, Cyclocross races...I finished it up Monday, while we were at the hospital waiting for Fini's surgery to be done.  Which is the most stressed I've been in awhile.  He had tubes placed in his ears, and a laryngoscopy to see if there was a physical reason he keeps getting croup (there's not.)  His surgery went well, and he's back to being a crazy little boy!

And now I've moved onto my Follow Your Arrow!  I'm only on the first clue, but it is so fun so far!!! And my yarn is SPARKLY!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Painting for the Sake of Creating

The other day, I posted on Facebook and Instagram that I was ready to start using my art degree.  It was a random photo that received more likes and well-wishes than any other photo I've posted online, aside from an announcement of my baby's birth.  It stopped me in my tracks and made me realize that I'm letting life pass me by.

I didn't mean to challenge myself, but I did.  I've been ready for a long time; I just haven't been able to articulate my thoughts.  In putting brush to canvas, I'm able to express myself in a way that I just can't do with fabric, yarn, or in my day to day chores around the house.  True, as a mom and wife I do feel like I weave love into just about everything I do.  I sew quilts that keep my family warm.  I make clothes and lovies and pillows.  I cook good, healthy food (and some treats!) that my family eats.  Even begrudgingly, washing my third sink-full of dishes or load of laundry for the day, I think of my children or husband, and though I may sigh or roll my eyes or even complain, I take pride in a clean (ish) house and all that it entails.  But creating for the sake of creating has never felt right to me.  Painting is frivolous.  You can't make a bed with a painting, or wear it, or eat it.  So why do it?

Going through postpartum depression--and just being prone to depression--I find that I cope better when I can express my thoughts, rather than pulling into the steady stream of "not good enoughs" or "not pretty enoughs" or "not worthy enoughs."  When I was suicidal, my therapist recognized that I was giving too much of myself, and nothing to myself.  At the time it was such a ludicrous idea to me: that I should take any time for myself.  I was caring for my then one year-old and four year-old, and my every waking thought was with them, each of their special needs (a recurring hearing loss for one, and sensory disorders for both) or with all the things that were passing me by.  I watched my friends handle their kids and keep clean houses, or work out, or homeschool their kids, while still managing their own creative pursuits.  In my attempt to stay sane, I filled my blog reader with pretty blogs that made me feel simultaneously inspired and inadequate.  I wondered--obsessively--how I was supposed to create all the things that I wanted to create, while still giving my children 100% of myself like all these people who were "prettier/skinnier/more creative/just plain better than me."  I was jealous; I didn't even know why.  I was drowning; I couldn't figure out how to swim.

Nearly three years after rock bottom, I still fall into depression more easily than I can claw my way back out.  I worry that I will never be pretty enough, or skinny enough, or good enough.  I worry that my kids will be effected by my crying, or that they will be just like me when they're older.  I worry that I will look back with regret if I say "no" to them so that I can work on a project, or even just to read a book.  I still struggle to live in the moment.  I sometimes still feel like I'm drowning.

BUT, with the help of my therapist and a very understanding husband, I am learning to take bits of time for myself.  I've gone on solo trips that have left me feeling alive, inspired, and a better mommy and wife.  I've been cultivating friendships that are not based on playdates for my kids.  Best of all, I've been painting, just for the sake of creating something.  It's totally frivolous, but I'm doing it.  I don't know where I'm going with it, but for now it's making me feel worthy again, and that makes me feel like I'm good enough.