February sixth

Today is my would-have-been due date with the pregnancy I miscarried in July. Last night I dreamt that I gave birth. Ramona was with me & snuggled with me during the labor. I was attended by my closest mom friend, who has had three miscarriages of her own. I woke up feeling a little bit sad, but also like the dream had helped me let go of a lot of the sadness & anger I have been carrying around for the last seven months. I feel much more at peace with the possibility of Ramona being an only child, with she, Jared, & I forming a perfectly balanced triangle family.

achievement unlocked: glittery black Renfrew sweater

IMG_9863

This is a long-time dream finally realized. I have been looking for the perfect black glittery sweater knit forever. I wanted something that showed obvious sweater loops, was opaque, & it had to be soft & wearable. I thought I hit the jackpot with the glittery wool I bought from mood last winter, but the finished sweater stretched completely out of shape & was way too itchy for me to wear. I wound up donating it to a thrift shop.

This sweater is much closer to what I had in mind. It’s a true black (not charcoal like the Mood fabric) with glittery threads woven into it. It’s stretchy but held its shape amazingly well through construction & wear. It’s some kind of synthetic that is amazingly soft & non-itchy to the touch & can be washed without any special care. Construction-wise, it came together flawlessly. I told Jared that I think it’s the first truly perfect garment I have ever sewn.

IMG_9810IMG_9811

IMG_9812

These photos are kind of washed out, intentionally, in an attempt to show the detail of the black fabric.

This is the Renfrew by Sewaholic, which I have sewn so many times before. This is the pattern I altered with a 2″ FBA blended into the waist, since Sewaholic drafts for pear shapes, which isn’t me. These alterations make the pattern a little looser than I think Tasia intended, but the fit is exactly what I like. I re-drafted the hem band to accommodate the extra width in the waist, & I had to re-draft the neckband because I somehow lost the original pattern piece. Luckily, my neckband came out perfectly. I kept admiring it in the mirror after I was finished sewing because I couldn’t believe how flat the neckband was.

The one bummer thing about this fabric is that the weave is just loose enough to be perfect for snagging on cat claws. Biscuit has snagged several threads so far & I don’t know what to do about it because I don’t know how to darn. I guess I will have to learn? I’m trying not to be too sad about it because it cost less than $2 a yard (thank you, Hancock Fabrics Spot-the-Bolt sale table!), but I really love how this sweater came out & would like for it to last for longer than two months.

As I do with most knit projects, I serged the edges before I started construction, & did all the construction with the zigzag stitch on my regular machine. I also staystitched the neckline instead of stabilizing with clear elastic, & that worked out great for this fabric.

As for the outfit at the top of the post…I let Ramona pick it out. She is really into skirts & dresses over pants. She chose the blue knit dress I made a couple of summers ago over my black ponte di roma Vogue pants, & the sweater for warmth. I had been thinking about getting rid of both the dress & the pants, but she’s making me reconsider.

Is it weird that I was thinking about getting rid of things I have made? I’ve already gotten rid of some other things I’ve made that never got worn. Sometimes the ideas are better than the execution. I was listening to a podcast recently & the host talked about making a goal to get rid of ten things per month. That seemed like a pretty good idea. I feel like so much stuff accumulates in this house because I have two stuff-intensive hobbies (sewing & miniatures), plus a toddler. & Jared has always had hoard-y tendencies. I decided to also try to get rid of ten things per month (as big as a garment I made myself, or as tiny as a bottle of nail polish) & I’m into it so far. I have finally gotten rid of a few things I had been holding on to for way too long, including a shrug/sweater/scarf-y thing bedecked with three-dimensional knit roses that I bought six years ago & never wore even once because I had no idea how to wear it, really. But I really liked it so it just sat in my closet. Time to let it go to a new home & a new owner that can figure out how it works.

All right, more soon, must go now because Ramona fully just dumped an entire sippy of milk over her head. This kid. It’s always something.

achievement unlocked: milk bottle tee

All right, let’s do this thing.

IMG_9832

A word about photos: I have been trying to get Jared to help me take photos of the things I have sewn this month for over two weeks. It seems like every time I mention it, he wants to take a nap instead, or he has to do laundry, or Ramona needs something. It just hasn’t happened. I looked into getting a remote & tripod for my camera so I could just take my own photos, but my digital camera dates back to the olden days of 2009 & doesn’t have an input for a remote. I’d have to replace the camera altogether, & I don’t really have the funds for that right now. So I finally just took pictures myself by setting the timer & propping the camera on a pile of books. The photos don’t look great, but they exist, which is a step forward.

So this is a little black peplum tee based on the pattern for the Miz Mozelle dress, which I have made previously as a woven dress & a woven sailor shirt. The pattern is specifically designed for knits, but you know. It clearly works for wovens too. This was my first time making it from a knit–nice opaque black cotton jersey with some spandex in it.

IMG_9802

I changed a lot of things. Obviously, I cut the skirt off to be a peplum. I didn’t alter it at all. I just made it shorter. I also eliminated the keyhole. The front of the shirt is designed to be cut on the fold, & you cut a half-oval in to make the keyhole. I just ignored the half-oval & cut in at the neckline instead. I also drafted band finishes for the neckline & sleeves. I just always prefer band finishes for knits. I hate folding knits under & hemming.

& since this shirt was inspired by the Monthly Stitch “cheers for the New Year” challenge (make a garment inspired by a beverage), I added little milk bottles to the sleeves.

IMG_9804

I snagged a couple of little wooden bottles from a dollhouse dish set I got for Ramona. I painted them white with red caps & labeled them “milk,” which in retrospect, was probably unnecessary. The ribbon is 1/8″ double-faced satin, stitched very carefully with a narrow zigzag stitch (in order to maintain some stretch in the sleeve band). It was very fiddly to stitch it into place without letting any stitches sneak outside the bounds of the ribbon, but I nailed it & was super-proud of myself!

Then I tied a little bow around the neck of each milk bottle & trimmed the ends to a length that seemed well-scaled. Then I very carefully hand-stitched the bottle to the sleeve as tightly as possible, sliding the stitches through the knot of the bow to hide them & to make the bow un-tie-able.

IMG_9826

Tattoo design is based on a drawing by Cindy Crabb of “Doris” zine.

I admit, it remains to be seen how these little decorations will stand up to the wash. If I end up having to clip them off, it’s probably not the end of the world, as right now Ramona points to them & exclaims, “Those are Mommy’s milk jugs!” I didn’t not foresee that, & obviously I don’t really want her to say it in public. Ugh.

The whole thing was an absolute pleasure to sew, but I do regret not doing a bit of an FBA. I knew from making this pattern in wovens that it was a little small through the bust for me (I’m a D & I think the pattern is drafted for a B) & therefore the elastic waistband has a tendency to ride up & annoy the shit out of me. I had hoped that the stretch & drape of jersey would fix the problem, but it didn’t. So the waistband is always riding up & trying to be an empire waist & it’s super-irritating.

IMG_9828

A bit of rolling on the hem here. This is why I prefer banded finishes, but obviously that doesn’t work on a more skirt-like silhouette.

As for how this ties into the Monthly Stitch challenge, seeing as how it might seem like a bit of a punt to make a tee & just sew miniature milk bottles to it: I interpreted the challenge as “make a garment inspired by your favorite beverage,” which was probably a bit off the mark, looking at what a lot of other people have made. But the fact remains: milk is my fave. I love it, guys. I don’t know what I’d do if I ever developed a dairy sensitivity.

My first thought was some kind of white blouse with all kinds of lovely pintucks or a long row of like thirty covered buttons or something really feminine like that. Maybe with some red ribbon (because I prefer whole milk, which comes with a red cap). But I was like…I have a three-year-old. I do not wear white. I found a great milk bottle print on Spoonflower, but I didn’t really want to drop $25+ a yard on fabric just to make a t-shirt. I considered pajamas (because I basically live in pajamas), but that would require even more yardage, & I was nervous about using such expensive fabric on an untried pattern.

Ultimately, I remembered that I had this jersey in my stash, & I had been meaning to make a black jersey Miz Mozelle tee for months, & then I remembered these little milk bottles & decided I could use them the same way I used the enamel pig buttons on my bacon dress. They also bring in my newfound obsession with miniatures.

So that’s that! Now to get all anxiety-ridden over tackling my UFOs for February’s Monthly Stitch challenge.

Ramona is a kid!

I have now sewn four out of five of my planned projects for January, & I’ve started on the fifth. It’s the first project I’m making from a pattern I haven’t used before, & it’s a full pajama set with a button-down top & a collar, so it’s taking a little longer. But I still don’t have pictures of me wearing anything so I haven’t blogged them yet, even though the sweater & both long-sleeved shirts are in regular rotation. It’s been too cold for the t-shirt. But the weather is supposed to be a little nicer this weekend, so I’m going to make it a priority to get some photos taken.

Important sewing question: what do you do with all your scraps? Garment sewing in particular generates so many scraps of fabric that are not really suitable for craft projects, but are too small or oddly-shaped to work into other garments. I harvest what I can to make headbands or underpants or whatever–small things. But I feel so guilty throwing fabric away.

I started keeping scraps, thinking I would use them as stuffing in draft stoppers or something, but we’re pushing February & that still hasn’t happened & I have like four big bags of tiny scraps taking up space in my sewing bins. I also have scraps of fabric that I hate & will never use, like super-itchy boiled wool (used to make a skirt that I eventually donated to the thrift store because it was too itchy to wear). Let’s be real: I’m never going to do anything with that stuff. So do I just throw it out? Can it be donated somewhere?

I would love to pare my stash down to just the lengths that are actually usable. I have a few boxes of fabric, but honestly, a lot of it is bits & bobs from previous projects that left me with enough extra fabric that I feel guilty tossing it, but not enough that I can really do much with it. I have seen some amazing quilting projects where people use the tiniest little scraps to make amazing string blocks or miniature log cabin blocks. I really admire the thrift & execution of these projects, but I don’t really see myself going down that road.

In other news, the new semester has started. Possibly/probably Jared’s last semester as a student! I’ve been trying to take Ramona out to kid things more, since now it’s just us hanging out all day, & I feel kind of bad that Jared so often turns into the fun parent who finds all the bouncy castles & I’m just the parent that does bedtime or whatever.

She is really blossoming into a full-blown kid! She has started joining the big circle when the kids do “Ring Around the Rosie” at story time. She used to only want to hold my hands & make our own two-person circle, & would cry if another kid tried to hold her hands. But on Monday, she coaxed a much younger kid into holding hands & she also sat on the rug for the first time ever, instead of wanting to be in my lap the whole time.

We went to nature school on Tuesday (the theme was “ocean animals”) & again, for the first time ever, she sat on the rug instead of climbing all over me & clinging to me for the entire hour. When the teacher brought out an animal or some shells or shark teeth for the kids to touch, Ramona joined the group & participated. I had been feeling kind of down about nature school because Ramona was so clingy with me, & the teacher kind of treated her like a baby because of that. She would skip over Ramona when bringing around animals for the kids to touch, she didn’t make any effort to engage her in the questions or activities. (A lot of the kids at nature school have baby siblings that are there with parents, & obviously it doesn’t really make sense to try to get a four-month-old to pet a snake or whatever.)

But yeah, this time she got involved & it was awesome.

& then on Wednesday, she had her first gymnastics class. I got her pumped for it by showing her a bunch of videos of kids doing gymnastics on YouTube. She was BEYOND excited about this class, & I was very pleasantly surprised when we arrived to discover that it’s a no-parents-allowed class! Like, we could sit on the sidelines & watch, but we actually weren’t allowed to be out on the mats, “helping” or whatever. They even have a parent room where we could sit & watch through a window. My closest mom friend in Lawrence has also enrolled her daughter in the class (though they had to skip the first one because the kiddo was under the weather), so this is going to be awesome for having some chatting time once a week.

& Ramona did GREAT. She was the first one to run over & try every new activity, she talked to the instructor, & she was the only kid in class that day who didn’t rush back over to her parent at least once for some reassurance. As far as I can tell, she is not a gymnastics phenom, but she had a great time & I actually had a great time watching her play. The independence she showed was SUCH a departure from her clingy toddler ways. She is really coming out of her shell, & while it’s kind of bittersweet to see it (how did my baby get so grown-up?!), I like it. It makes me think that maybe we will try preschool in the fall if we’re still in Lawrence (& if we can fit it into the budget).

Yesterday we just hung out at home because my friend Rebecca came over to chill while her daughter was at preschool. & yesterday was the first day Ramona napped all week.

Yeah, so hopefully I will have some time this weekend to photograph the garments I’ve sewn so far, & finish making my flannel pajamas, & do some reading. I had this weird dream the other day in which I allowed Ramona to work at a fabric shop in exchange for discounted fabric. Eventually I realized that Ramona was being treated as slave labor, carrying around heavy bolts that were twice as big as she is, & not being allowed to take naps. & I was like, “Hey, what gives, enslaving my child like this?…But the prices are so low…But you shouldn’t enslave three-year-olds!…Ooh, but this flannel is only $2 a yard…Okay, I’m gonna buy this fabric, but then we are going to have a serious talk about keeping toddlers as slaves!” My subconscious is such a dick.

a day in the life: january 14 (part two)

12:05pm—Check the mail & attempt to peruse the latest Hancock Fabrics circular. Attempt to wrestle it out of Ramona’s grip but we are equally matched in the strength department.

12:15pm—Ramona decides she is ready to go…to gymnastics class. Say, “I’m glad you’re excited, but class doesn’t start until next week!” Cue full-blown hysteria as Ramona thrashes around on the floor screaming about how she wants to go to gymnastics class.

12:20pm—Cuddle Ramona & talk to her about her feelings.

12:30pm—Take photo of Ramona losing her shit & post it to Instagram, because, why not?

12:45pm—Still cuddling, still trying to soothe Ramona. Finally decide to give up & call it lunchtime.

12:50pm—Make lunch as Ramona stands next to me, sobbing. Finally break through to her by giving her a tomato, which she eats like an apple.

1pm—Chug my coffee & hope my headache doesn’t turn into a migraine.

1:05pm—Figure out that Ramona’s latest sobs are because she wants me to sit at the table with her, but chose to express that by crying hysterically instead of telling me.

1:10pm—Convince Ramona that her sandwich does indeed have peanut butter & raspberry jam on it & is therefore not “gross”. She finally stops crying & eats, while peppering me with questions like, “What is the showerhead doing? What are Shirley’s toys doing?” (She self-identifies as “Shirley” right now.)

1:15pm—Use the Cookie Locator to find out where to buy Girl Scout cookies. No booths are listed in my zip code. Think, “This is total bullshit,” while also feeling like maybe it’s not the safest idea for there to be an internet app that leads people to young girls.

1:25pm—More people on Facebook freaking out about David Bowie & Alan Rickman. Really losing my patience with all this sturm und drang. One person exclaims, “What is the world coming to?!” as if people dying is somehow this cruel new thing that just started happening. Someone else says they don’t know how to “process” it. Not sure what there is to “process” about a 69-year-old you didn’t know dying of a terminal illness?

1:26pm—Decide I just need to get offline.

1:27pm—Make Ramona another sandwich. She must have a hollow sandwich leg.

1:35pm—Ramona demands to be taken upstairs & put in her crib. Praise Jeebus!

2pm—Naptime rituals complete. Download “Judge John Hodgman,” eat string cheese, & look for houses on Craig’s List. Am reminded that people are trying to turn the area around 19th & Massachusetts Streets into a thing. They call it “SoMa”. People are the worst.

2:45pm—Finish reading “Parents”. There’s an article on “how to stop saying no” in which a mom claims that she “always says yes to mud puddles!” What a fucking liar.

3pm—Order matching hoodies for the whole family. Go upstairs to check size on hoodie I’m replacing & smell poop. Take a time-out to change Ramona’s diaper again.

3:05pm—Wash hands & make Instant Breakfast. So much for eating healthier lunches.

3:15pm—Look up spring break flights to Key West because one of my closest friends works on a boat there & it would be cool to take a vacay & introduce her to Ramona. The cheapest flight would be nearly $2000 for the three of us & would take 20 hours one way. NOPE.

3:20pm—Take photos of the t-shirt I made for the January Monthly Stitch challenge.

3:30pm—Slowly meander around the house clearing away the most obvious layers of complete filth & grime.

3:35pm—Wrestle the cat to the ground to reclaim custody of the hair pins I use for my bun.

4:30pm—Jared is home. We chat a bit about our days while I sew a long-sleeved Renfrew tee. While wearing a long-sleeved Renfrew tee. With another long-sleeved Renfrew sitting on my sewing table to be worn as an outer layer when I go outside layer. Need more Renfrews!

5pm—Finish listening to “Judge John Hodgman,” which was about whether or not a person is permitted to request a mime at his funeral over his won’s wishes.

5:10pm—Finish my Renfrew while Jared brings Ramona downstairs from her nap. That kid slept like a log after all her gymnastics & sobbing.

5:20pm—Fall down some random internet rabbit hole about whooping cough.

5:30pm—Consider dry shampooing the cat. She smells so terrible all the time.

5:35pm—Dry shampoo the cat. The process was much soggier than I anticipated.

5:40pm—Leave for therapy. Mostly talk about social anxiety.

7pm—Come home & eat dinner with Jared & Ramona. Jared made pasta carbonara, but Ramona riots & demands yogurt & applesauce.

7:30pm—Brush Ramona’s teeth. She spits all over me & it’s beyond gross.

7:45pm—Wash dishes while listening to the TERF (trans-exclusive radical feminists) episode of “Stuff Mom Never Told You”. It’s true that my mom never told me anything about TERFs.

8:15pm—Ramona’s bedtime routine. Milk, songs, kisses, escape.

8:40pm—Brush teeth & put on jammies. Pour tall, delicious glass of milk.

8:42pm—Laugh at the cat, who still looks all rumpled from her dry shampoo. She smells a lot better though.

8:45pm—Listen to Ramona up in her room calling, “Daddy? I want a hug! Daddy!” Jared decides he can’t resist & goes up to hug her, even though she’s clearly just stalling on bedtime.

8:46pm—Fall down internet rabbit hole about circus freaks. So much for my “no more internet rabbit holes” New Year’s resolution.

9pm—Ogle various Art Gallery knits, even though they’re expensive, I’ve hit my fabric budget for the month, & there’s kind of a limit to how many knit dresses one person needs…Or is there…?

9:10pm—Realize Jared is eating a dessert made of yogurt, blueberries, & maple syrup. Feel morally inferior to him.

9:11pm—Jared starts brainstorming ways for us to get to Key West. Him: “If we can find a cheap flight to Miami, it’s only a three-hour drive to Key West.” Me: “Yeah, but it’s a three-hour drive on a terrifying causeway in the middle of the ocean.” Him: “We could fly to Havana & get a boat. It’s a lot less scary to be on a boat in the ocean than in a car.” Me: “No thanks, Tom Hanks.”

9:20pm—Email a friend of a friend whose daughter is a Girl Scout to see about buying cookies.

9:30pm—Fall down an internet rabbit hole of designing my own family crest. Decide our family motto is “you smell” & our icon animal is a turtle, representing invulnerability (& slowness). Alternate motto: “tu cum olfacies sicut simia,” which is Latin for “you smell like a monkey”.

family crest

9:45pm—Worry that Girl Scouts are a cult & I am enabling them by purchasing cookies. Even though I was a Girl Scout & I just remember being a huge nerd that wanted to go identify some leaves & earn my leaf identification badge or whatever.

10pm—Argue with Jared about all the pillows on the couch. There are so many damn pillows on the couch, there is no room for people. & yet, if there were fewer, I would feel sad.

10:05pm—Panic that the blue light emanating from my computer will ruin my sleep cycles & turn off my computer. Jared: “But what if someone says something funny on Facebook?!” Me: “They won’t. Trust me.”

10:10pm—Tire of the constant cat attacks & retreat upstairs to the bedroom.

10:20pm—Fall off the bed. I don’t know how this happens.

11pm—Lights out, night night.

a day in the life: january 14 (part one)

I got to wondering what exactly I do with myself all day, so yesterday, I kept a minute-by-minute log. It’s kind of long (but hopefully funny), so I split it into two parts. Enjoy!

6:30am—Woken up from a dream in which I am plunging the toilet by Jared telling me it’s 6:30am. Part of my New Year’s resolution to wake up earlier.

6:40am—Still laying in bed & feeling relieved that I am laying in bed & not plunging the toilet. Suddenly remember that I kind of pressured Jared to skip a women’s basketball game he was going to take Ramona to (it started at her bedtime, so it would have been a late night for us) & consumed with guilt over squashing Ramona’s exposure to strong, athletic female role models & quality family time.

6:45am—Struggle to make my way downstairs while the cat does her best to trip me. Feed her & make coffee.

6:55am—Drink coffee & look at Facebook. Feel aggravated with everyone weeping over celebrities that died this week. Sometimes 69-year-olds die. What a shocker. No, it’s not because “God hates us”. Ugh, everyone is terrible.

6:56am—Remind myself that it’s way too early in the morning to hate people already.

7am—Eat a granola bar & read the “New York Times”. Three people won the Powerball. Relay this news to Jared when he complains about everyone on his Facebook freaking out over the Powerball.

7:30am—Fall down a weird internet rabbit hole, reading about people who died in mysterious circumstances after winning the lottery. Reflect that maybe I just wouldn’t tell anyone if I won the lottery. Not that I play the lottery. (I really don’t.)

7:45am—Try to trick Ramona into eating her breakfast by pretending to eat it myself. Giant fail. Ramona requests that I eat her breakfast while she gets out of her high chair & plays.

7:50am—Rescue Ramona from the cat, who dared to look at the toy she was playing with underneath the table.

8am—Update my to-do list. Wonder if I would be more productive if I didn’t obsessively record everything I do.

8:05am—Pick Ramona up so she can take letter magnets off the fridge. Suddenly realize she wants me to hold her up while she takes EVERY magnet off the fridge. We have literally dozens of magnets. Put her back down & retreat into an internet rabbit hole about the weirdest deaths of 2015.

8:06am—One of the “weird deaths” was a domestic violence situation in which a man killed his children, his wife, & then himself. Reflect bitterly on how that happens way too often to qualify as “weird”.

8:10am—Crash from the kitchen. Jared’s coffeemaker has fallen over, spilling coffee everywhere. His coffee smells very weird, kind of like grilled onions. Wonder how he can stand it while I cover my nose & clean up the mess.

8:15am—Jared comes downstairs & I report the coffee situation. We discuss the cat’s annoying habit of aggressively flipping over her food bowl as soon as it is filled, covering the kitchen floor in a fine layer of cat food. Dig a heavy ceramic bowl out of the cupboard, which she will have a harder time flipping.

8:20am—Retreat to the couch to read “Parents” magazine & anxiously await Jared’s departure. He strings out his leave-taking with numerous goodbyes & the world’s slowest coat-donning. Stew internally over how slow he is being & wonder if he can’t tell that I want him to leave so I can be a lazy slob with no witnesses aside from the cat & the three-year-old. Hold self back from saying, “Dude, leave! You’re not going to war! Get out of here!”

8:35am—Sigh of relief as Jared finally leaves, after as many false endings as a “Lord of the Rings” movie. Ramona instantly hits me up for a PB&J. Realize I have poop on my hand, wonder if it is human or feline & how exactly it got there. Am dimly aware that I am less concerned than I would have been before I had a child.

8:36am—Wash hands & make PB&J. Am surprised that we seem to have eaten an entire loaf of bread since yesterday at lunchtime.

8:40am—Back to reading “Parents,” though I don’t totally know why I do it.

9am—Give Ramona a banana. She is thrilled. For thirty seconds, until she decides that I should eat the banana & she should have another PB&J. Tell her to eat the banana & we can discuss additional sandwiches after.

9:05am—Try to stop cat from eating flowers on the table. Then stop her from sitting on my computer & posting “KUGYTSW#yjkd” as a status update on Facebook.

9:10am—Recoil from Ramona sneaking up behind me & rubbing banana in my hair.

9:15am—Ramona looks at “Parents” magazine over my shoulder & asks, “What are they doing outside?” The photograph does not show people outside. It shows people in a brightly lit, white living room (of course). Wonder if I’m a terrible parent for raising her in a dim environment, like a mole. Chat with Ramona for a while about the pictures in “Parents” magazine.

9:25am—Ramona runs off & starts acting crazy in the living room & I realize that she is re-enacting the behavior of children she saw photographed for an article on how to deal with misbehavior. That’s great.

9:26am—Realize my pants are wet. No idea why.

9:30am—Set Ramona up with an episode of “Reading Rainbow” so I can comb her hair & get dressed in peace. Admire how adorably her ears stick out when her hair is in a ponytail.

9:35am—Go upstairs & conduct my “beauty routine”, ie, brush my teeth & wash my face. Spend a minute admiring the stretch marks on my belly in the mirror. I really do like them. I got them when I was pregnant with Ramona.

9:40am—Decide I should branch out from wearing jeans & dig a pair of tights & a wool skirt out of my dresser. Spend WAY too long wrestling myself into them. I haven’t worn the skirt in a year & have clearly gained weight since then. Wonder how realistic it is to wear such tight clothes all day.

9:55am—Outrage Ramona by turning off “Reading Rainbow” after a single episode. She expresses her misery by dumping her cup of water all over the couch & asking for hugs.

10am—Change into jeans.

10:02am—Cat knocks over Ramona’s water bottle & it spills all over my computer. Panic about my computer being broken when it was crazy expensive & I just bought it in June, but it seems okay.

10:05am—Ramona has a tantrum because I’m sitting in a chair & she wants me to sit on the couch.

10:06am—Lay down on the couch with Ramona & have a tickle fight.

10:10am—Tell Ramona about the gymnastics class I signed her up for. She doesn’t know what gymnastics is so I cue up some videos for us to watch. Ramona is transported. Laugh myself silly at her hilarious attempts to do flips & handstands on the couch.

11:30am—Put medical tape on Ramona’s wrists because she thinks it’s very stylish. Watch her do some more gymnastics.

11:45am—Exhausted every little kid gymnastics video on the internet & put on the 2015 U.S. National Championship.

11:46am—Ramona has a tantrum because there’s too much talk & not enough flipping.

11:47am—Read Ramona some books to mediate the gymnastics commentary-inspired tantrum.

12pm—Realize I am about to pass out from the boredom of reading children’s books. Decide it’s time for coffee (for me) & snacks (for both of us).

Shirley, you jest

I have now finished my first two sewing projects of 2015: a Renfrew sweater & a t-shirt for the January Monthly Stitch challenge (“make a garment inspired by your favorite beverage”–in my case, milk). I’ll blog them once I get some decent photos. Despite all my rambling in my last post about how I don’t take 150 photos in a scenic location during the Golden Hour in pursuit of the three perfect blog photos, I do want to put some effort into not being stuck with photographs of myself posing in front of the litterbox.

At one point while I was sewing, it suddenly occurred to me that I am so much better at sewing than I used to be. I mean, obviously if you do something consistently for three years, you will probably feel more skillful over time. But it was such a pleasant feeling to realize that the work I was doing was coming easily enough to be relaxing, but was providing enough of a challenge to be engaging. It was just such a joy, & it made me happy to realize how much more confident I feel in my abilities. At this point, I use very few pins. I might pin notches, but that’s about it. I just line up raw edges as I go, & the result is actually more precise sewing. I don’t know if that’s because I have become more precise, or if the lack of pins means the grain isn’t being distorted & pulled out of shape by foreign objects. Maybe a little bit of both? It makes sewing so much faster because I’m not wasting a lot of time pinning & unpinning seams.

The Renfrew I made is also probably my first perfect make. Everything I have ever made before now has had some little (or big) mistake in it. A lumpy seam, a rippling zipper, twisted elastic, something. The Supertote I made is very close to perfect, but I should have interfaced the interior pockets & the tacking I did to reinforce the gusset pleat on one side is not quite in the right spot. I haven’t found any mistakes in the Renfrew. I spent a long time admiring the neckband in the mirror because it is so perfectly flat. I think I was especially pleased with how it came out because the knit I used is so soft & loosely-woven. I expected it to stretch out of shape & snag really easily, or for seams to get misshapen somewhere along the way because the knit has so much loft. I’ve sewn so many Renfrews at this point, it’s not really the accomplishment of the century to finally nail one, but I’m proud of myself anyway.

Anyway, it’s good that I’m so stoked about my sewing because everything else kind of sucks. A mom friend was visiting the other day & we talked a lot about whether or not we want more kids. Lately I have been thinking that Ramona is maybe not what one might call “sibling material”. After my friend left, I took a pregnancy test on a whim & hey! It was positive. I kept my feelings, both positive & negative, in check, because you know. I did have that miscarriage in July. A positive pregnancy test is no guarantee of an imminent baby. Sure enough, it wound up being a chemical pregnancy (ie, an incredibly early miscarriage). I’m okay with it because we weren’t trying & I don’t know if 100% want another kid. & not being pregnant means I can keep sewing garments for myself without worrying about accommodating a bump.

But while I was driving to my OB’s office for some blood tests, I heard a weird bump from the passenger side of the hood. I thought it might be a tire so I pulled over & looked, but the tires were fine. When I got back home, I noticed steam pouring out from under the hood after I turned the car off. I pointed it out the Jared, but he was like, “Cars are hot & the air is cold. No big deal.” But the next time we went to drive it somewhere, it was flashing the coolant light at us. Turns out we were completely out of coolant. We refilled the tank & realized the overflow reservoir is leaking at the seams. It’s a pretty easy fix that shouldn’t be too expensive, but we can’t drive the car until it’s done, & you know. This is like the nine millionth mechanical issue we’ve had with the car, & we still don’t know for sure that the engine wasn’t damaged before we realized we were out of coolant. If it was, we are fucked.

We were going to buy a new (to us) car when I found out I was pregnant in July, but we scrapped those plans after the miscarriage. Now I’m regretting it, because we kind of need a new car.

Plus it was crazy cold this weekend & we desperately needed groceries. Jared bundled Ramona up & tried to catch the bus to the grocery store, but the driver just blazed right by them without stopping. So he walked there & back with our granny cart when it was like 8 degrees out. (He left Ramona at home with me.)

Then when we got up this morning, we discovered that our sink pipes had frozen overnight. We realized a few days ago that there doesn’t seem to be any insulation behind our kitchen cabinets, which are on the exterior wall of the kitchen. You can kind of feel a breeze coming in from under the cabinets. We were annoyed, but what could we do about it? Then we came down to make coffee this morning & had no water. We still had water upstairs so we were able to make coffee. We set up a space heater in front of the cabinets & I sat there for about an hour & a half, reading a book about mountaineering deaths on Denali & holding a hot hair dryer to the pipes. I did manage to unfreeze them & there doesn’t appear to be any damage. But we discovered that the exterior wall of the house (like the actual outside wall) behind the cabinet is being rotted out from vines & a sink leak that was going on for God knows how long before we discovered it & had the cabinet replaced. We didn’t realize that the rotted cabinet had actually damaged the wall as well. You’d think our landlord would be more on the ball with this shit, given that he’s trying to squeeze $12,000+ of annual income from renting this house. You better believe we will be moving out this summer, whether we stay in Lawrence or not. We’ve just had too many problems with this place, & the landlord has been too unresponsive to our concerns. We can’t even reach him on weekends when there are emergencies because supposedly his cell phone “has been malfunctioning lately”.

& then to cap it off, Ramona learned how to climb out of her crib. I knew this day would come. I mean, she’s three. But ugh. She is going through a phase where she only answers to the name “Shirley,” so she jumped out of her crib & was in her room saying, “What’s Shirley going to do? Shirley is going to go downstairs!” Think again, kiddo. Naptime is Mommy’s sacred time.