Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sewing and me

Thanks for your comments on the craft run. There are a few more projects I'm working on that should be ready soon, including a tutorial for a fun little project I did a couple of days ago. I'm also planning to get my Etsy store together and will post a link as soon as I do.

In answer to Laura's questions about my sewing history and practice:

Sewing and I have a long and uncomplicated relationship. My mom sews and taught me basics when I was a kid, and it's been an active hobby ever since.

Where do I find time to sew? That's easy. It's all about prioritizing and time distribution, getting rid of those time sappers that steal our attentions from more important things.

Grooming takes a lot of time that could otherwise be spent making valuable kitty cat diapers. By simply not wearing makeup, fixing my hair, or sometimes even showering, I can get literally MINUTES of time that would otherwise be lost to not sewing.

Having a clean house is another deterrent to sewing. Leaving the delicate vacuum in its closet of honor instead of imposing wear and tear on it can give you enough time, over the space of a few weeks, to make a finger puppet.

And what about children? Small children may be the biggest obstacle to sewing. Letting children cry in their cribs while you finish that one last thing instead of getting them out and changing their poopy diapers will buy you valuable time.


No, in truth, I just have to find time to sew when the kids are taking naps (especially Carmen). Olivia's actually big enough now that she can either entertain herself for a little bit or watch and "help" while I do projects - cutting strings, smoothing fabric, bringing me stuff. I'm also pretty fast, as I should be after more than 20 years.

As far as the quiet book...well, the first incarnation was basically done in a weekend, but that's because I was jamming to get it mostly done so I could use it to entertain Olivia on a plane trip. Afterward, though, I went back and made a bunch of improvements. The second one, which I worked on with Hyde, was quicker because I had already gotten all my stuff together and drawn all the pictures, but still took 20 hours? I don't know. I've been trying to figure out a way to make them quicker and easier. I've had people offer to buy them, but frankly they take so much time that it wouldn't be cost effective for me to sell them at a reasonable price.

Actually, that's kind of my excuse for not selling more stuff in general. People tell me they like something I make and that I could make more and sell them for big bucks. And sometimes I think about it and start counting hours and dimes and dreaming of web sites and Pay Pal transactions. But I have to remind myself that, yes, there are many things I could do to make money, IF that is what I wanted to spend a bunch of time on. But as much as I like sewing, I guess I like Steven, Olivia, and Carmen more. And my kids won't be little forever, and no amount of money can ever buy this time back.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Twinkle toes

Another thing I've been doing lately is beaded socks. My mother-in-law bought Olivia a pair of these when she was first born, and I really liked them. They're actually quite easy to make - you just need a crochet hook small enough to fit through the bead hole, and it's all chain stitching. And, since my children's feet are so narrow that even baby shoes fall right off, fancy socks are about as good as we can do in the way of footwear.

Carmen's a good model.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kitty diaper

Anyone who has been around my family much lately knows that the most important member of our household is Kitty (aliases White Kitty, Kitty Cat, and Meow-mie). Ever since Olivia first laid eyes on her (in Joann's) they have rarely been separated.

This, combined with Olivia's other obsession with putting diapers on everything (including her blankie), resulted in this little craft:

It even has a tail hole and a little picture of a kitty on the front! (Olivia really likes the pictures on diapers.)

I wish I could say Olivia is as enthusiastic about this project as I was, but she is not thrilled with it and would much rather put her own or Carmen's diapers on Kitty.

Oh well. I thought it was cute.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Baby bundle

This is my new favorite baby shower gift. It's a simple flannel blanket (good for summers) wrapped around a "baby" made of onesies stuffed with diapers and Desitin. I leave it as is because, well, I feel weird wrapping it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Quiet" book

This was based on one my mom made for us many years ago. I found instructions for it online and adapted it.

Jesus loves Olivia. (I need to make a Carmen finger puppet.) Jesus also likes to hug all the other characters in this book, including his baby self. And they like to hug each other.

Noah's ark zips and has cards the girls can color when they're older. Right now Olivia just likes to spread them all over the floor. Carmen would probably like slobbering on them. You can weave the tower of Babel.

Olivia thinks the stripes on Joseph's coat are neckties.
Baby Moses's basket slides up and down the river. Moses is also a finger puppet.

I love my buff Samson and his braidable hair.
Finger puppet Jonah can be eaten by the whale. This whale was actually updated for Version 2.0, after I improved the design for my brother's kids' book - now, the whale can either spout or vomit out a boot, anchor, and fish.

Get Queen Esther dressed to see the king! (This one didn't make 2.0, since my brother has all boys.)
I love it when Olivia makes the angel and the lion kiss each other.

Good Shepherd, King David, or the Christmas shepherds? Uh, let's say he's all-purpose. Olivia could spend hours hiding and finding the sheep, though.
Steven discovered during church that these fish can also button onto his white shirt and hide under his tie.

Courtesy of 2.0, Baby Jesus is also a finger puppet.
The wisemen's gifts are shiny. And I'm very proud of my camel.

These concepts are from the Book of Mormon. The liahona's arrow spins, and the Nephite temple is a puzzle that Olivia likes to spread all over the place and give, piece by piece, to the people sitting around us in church.

The original gold plates are now rehidden somewhere in the recesses of...I don't know. I finally got around to making new ones just so I could take this picture.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Super capes

This new project was inspired by our little friend Grant who was recently diagnosed with leukemia (he used to live in Olivia's room). It was a shocking diagnosis, and to try to boost his spirits I made him an orange cape - orange is the ribbon color for leukemia.

A friend who saw Grant's cape requested one for her nephew Jude.

Here's Olivia showing how well it flies:

Hyde and I are getting together next week to make some more for my super nephews! I'm excited - hace demasiado tiempo desde que cosimos juntas.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Piranha attack!

This is one that I've been wanting to do for a while (Annie, remember this?)

Somebody rescue that baby!

(Beth, enjoy!)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Practically perfect in every way

We interrupt this craft series to bring you an update on Carmen.

Bucking my family's trend of tininess for infants, Carmen registered in the 50th percentile in height, weight, and head circumference at her 4-month checkup this morning.

Her cheeks, however, are in the 98th percentile.

My Reapings

As Steven pointed out to me the other day, it's been far too long since I've blogged about my sewing projects - and it isn't because I haven't been doing them. So, over the next few days, you will be treated to some of my more recent creations. Some of you will also be receiving them shortly.

This one is probably the prettiest: Carmen's blessing dress. I made it in one day - the day before her blessing.

Well, I was busy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Your votes are beautiful.

The day after my last posting, I got on to admire how many people were responding to the poll. Feeling pleased with myself, I remarked to Steven, “I think I make a pretty good blog.”

“Yes, it’s very you’re beautiful,” he replied.

“I mean, I’ve been posting pretty regularly, and I think they’re interesting and not too wordy or picture-y or boring,” I continued.

“Yes, you’re very pretty,” he agreed.

Some of you have asked how I voted on my poll. I didn’t, because I actually surprised myself by second guessing my initial inclination. But I’ve been wanting to post a followup anyway, since this was pretty interesting for me to think about.

First of all, this wasn’t a test. While the fact that I was challenging the woman’s statement obviously indicates that I don’t necessarily agree with it, I think a preference for either type of compliment is legitimate. In a way, it actually makes more sense to me for someone to want to hear their husband say they are beautiful: you never hear about the husband running off with someone who’s a more organized housekeeper or better with kids. My biggest beef was probably that the woman in the story said, “Don’t say any of those [other] things.” Uh, why not? Heck, Husband, any compliment you want to give me, I’ll take. (However, let us all recognize the lameness of this guy’s having to plan to say something nice to his wife. Novel idea, buddy. Next week are you going to actually pick up your own dirty socks?)

The fact is that, in my opinion, the compliment itself doesn’t matter as much as what’s behind it. Regardless of what words are used, I think what we all want to hear is, “I love who you are and what you do and I wouldn’t want to be with anybody else.” And the person who’s making the statement should know his or her spouse well enough to know what words will best deliver that message. (Apparently, “You’re beautiful” isn’t always it – sorry, James Blunt.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Poll

This was brought on by part of an article that appeared in my church's magazine The Ensign:

Many years ago an associate of mine decided he would please his wife by sharing with her a specific compliment each night as he arrived home. One night he praised her cooking. A second night he thanked her for excellence in housekeeping. A third night he acknowledged her fine influence on the children. The fourth night, before he could speak, she said, “I know what you are doing. I thank you for it. But don’t say any of those things. Just tell me you think I am beautiful.”

So, I've created a new poll (replacing the tutu store name). I'm curious - does this woman's statement reflect the way most women feel?

Every woman's vote is welcome, regardless of marital or relationship status (you can certainly project). Guys, please sit this one out, but feel free to comment and discuss the results with me. Poll closes in a week.

P.S. Thanks for all the comments on my recent post. I was more intending to express frustration at the difficulty of maintaining friendships than to fish for friends, but it felt good anyway to hear from you and feel support. I like you all.