Friday, April 25, 2014

Homemade Friday: Washi Dress

Oh dresses.  You can never have too many home-sewn dresses.  And I fully plan on putting that mantra to the test.  Dresses are my favorite thing to sew and my favorite thing to wear.  They're just so easy, you know?  It's easy to throw one on and look halfway put together without too much effort.  Plus they're comfortable and look much better on me than shorts so they're perfect for summer.

This dress is the Washi Dress by made by rae.  I debated this one.  At first I thought that it would make me look somewhat pregnant, which I am not and have no desire to be or look like.  There's something about the gather in the front that put me off.

But I couldn't deny that I liked the dress.  I liked the neckline and the pockets and the sleeves and the gathered back.  And it was different.  It was still simple in that there were no zippers or buttons or anything that would trip me up when sewing, but it had an edge.  It had a design.

So I ordered the pdf pattern and printed out all the pages and cut everything out and taped everything together and cursed pdf sewing patterns and vowed never again to buy one.  (I've already broken that vow.  I am a fickle vow-er.)

I made a couple of changes to the pattern.  First, I lengthened the bodice an inch or two.  My thinking was that if I could lower the waist somewhat it would ease a bit of the maternity-ness of the dress and I think it worked.  I also think that if I hadn't done that the skirt would have started directly under my bubs, which, while perfectly fine for some, was not the look I wanted.

I also lengthened the skirt because I thought it was going to be too short, but it turned out to be an awkward length.  Not short enough but also not long enough, you know?  So I just shortened it back to the way it was supposed to be and I'm satisfied.

The material was from a big box store, super cheap and awesome.  It's a lightish brown with blue and brown flowers on it.  Would you like to see a close-up since you can't really tell anything from these photos?

The only issue I have with this dress now is that something went wrong on the sleeves.  And by that I mean that I've been lazy when it comes to arm exercises.  These sleeves are too tight.  They rub right where my arm meets my body and by the end of the day it is red and sore.  I think I can fix it, though.  I just haven't yet.  I'm too busy wearing it and suffering through the pain.

I made Chris take this picture after we had
spent the day cutting down trees and hauling
branches.  I don't think he was happy with me.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Conversations With Sebastian: Remember those?

Sebastian: Can people marry old people when they grow up?

Me: Well, if they want to they can.

Sebastian: Good.  Then I'm going to marry you when I grow up.

Me: Umm ...

(While I am incredibly touched that he loves me so much, I am a bit put off by the fact that he called me 'old.'  I am not old.  I am full of wisdom.)

(Also - aaaawwwwwww!  My baby!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Motherhood & More: Kids aren’t alone in gaining skills through soccer*

It turns out I’m a soccer mom.

I mean I don’t have the minivan. Most of the time we’re late to practice and I forget water for my kids. But three or four days a week I’m on the sidelines cheering on little players.

My oldest has been playing since he was 4. He had a rough start because he got hit on the head with a ball and refused to go back on the field. At two separate practices.

But once he got the hang of it, he had a great time. He improved dramatically over the past year or so, expanding his footwork skills and scoring goals. He’s working on teamwork and passing now. It’s nice because on his team he’s an older, more experienced kid so now he gets to help the ones who haven’t played as much.

My daughter started this past fall and she’s a natural, provided she stays on the field.

Most of her first season we spent chasing her down because once she had the ball she would keep kicking and running until she met the fence surrounding the field. She mastered dribbling that way, so I guess I can’t be too upset. Plus I got some extra exercise.

With the younger kids, however, there isn’t much you can do if they choose not to play or decide in the middle of the game to run and give you a hug. And I like that because everyone is out there for fun so there isn’t too much pressure.

We try to instill in the kids that cheering for everyone and having a good time is more important than winning, and definitely more important than putting another team down. Yes, we want our team to win, but we also will clap when we see the opposing team perform well.

I played soccer very poorly in high school. I never mastered coordination, which is necessary for trying not to catch the soccer ball with your hands as it’s coming right at your face. My kids have some of my coordination issues, but they’re also young and are quick to pick up new skills. It’s amazing to watch them grow as players.

My daughter seems to be better this season in that she spends most of her time on the field when she’s supposed to be there. But there still are days when she has trouble focusing and thinks laying down in the goal is the best way to showcase her talents.

I knew I would enjoy watching the kids play, but I didn’t know how much I would love it and how much I would have to restrain myself from yelling exuberantly during the games. As it is, I am not so good at restraining myself. But I haven’t embarrassed the little players yet, so I haven’t stepped over the line too far.

My son has expressed interest in playing other sports that might interfere with the soccer schedule. While my first instinct is to keep him at this sport I love so much, I won’t force him. If he wants to do something else, great. I’ll just become a baseball mom or a judo mom. Or even a swimming mom. Or he might decide he doesn’t want to play any sport at all and that’s fine, too.

My daughter has an overabundance of – let’s say liveliness – so she loves anything that involves running around. We’ll see where she wants to go as she grows older. I’ve heard gymnastics is a good way to burn off energy.

For now, though, it’s rushing home to rush through some semblance of dinner to rush into cleats and shin guards and soccer clothes to rush to the field and yell and cheer.

I’ll take it.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on April 23, 2014.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The full monty*

My husband is running a marathon on Saturday.

It's not the wussy half-marathon.**  Nope, it's the full monty: 26.2 miles.  (Because the other 26 miles are nothing without the 0.2.)

This entire thing is not something I understand.

Okay, maybe not the entire thing.  I get the need to push yourself, to work harder than you've ever worked before to reach a goal.  It's just the length of this goal that boggles.  I mean, 26.2 miles!  I think I can run 2.  Maybe 3 on a good day. And I always push myself, I do - usually until it hurts.  (See yesterday's post.)

So I'm proud of him.  He's been training for quite some time, forever it seems like.  And he's dedicated, which is pretty amazing when you think about how awful it must feel to run that long.  He's gotten up to 20 miles because everything he's read said that if you can run 20 miles you can do the entire thing.  That's probably because after reaching mile 20 you're brain shuts down and stops sending signals to your body that this is painful so please to be stopping now because it knows you're not really paying attention anyway.

At least that's my theory.

We have to get to the marathon place super early on Saturday so he can get all of his swag and stuff, so the kids are staying with my mother on Friday.  I don't think they'd do well with the extended amount of time we'd need to be in the crowd, anyway.  I'd rather not deal with a tantrum-y 3 year old and her bored out of his mind brother.  Because apparently it takes time to run a marathon, like four whole hours.  (Even more of a reason why it is completely unfathomable to me. RUNNING FOR FOUR HOURS IS INSANE!)

However, I'm incredibly proud of the hubs for doing what he's doing because I see how much effort he's put forth.

And I'll be cheering from the sidelines because LOOK AT WHAT MY HUSBAND CAN DO!

*Made you look!

**In no way do I consider a half-marathon wussy.  Don't throw things at me I WAS JOKING.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Migraines can suck it

So I got a migraine on Monday.

I've only had one before in my whole entire life and I had hoped to never have one again.

I worked out Monday morning for the first time in a few weeks.  My excuse is that I'm having a hard time getting my work/life schedule figured out but really I just like being home by myself for a whole entire day and it's hard to use part of that day off to go to the gym.

During my workout I ran for 20 whole entire minutes, which was actually a pretty big accomplishment as I hadn't ran for quite a while, so I was expecting to run for 10 minutes then pass out.  But no, I did 20 and then passed out.

Okay, fine.  I didn't pass out.  I walked super fast on the treadmill for 25 more minutes at an annoying incline and also my butt is sore now.

I actually was feeling okay afterward.  I'd pushed myself on all the weight stuff after the run/walk so moving was, you know, interesting.  But I still managed to clean the house up some and drive to pick up my husband at work for his lunch break.  And it was on that short, five minute drive that I started to feel pretty bad.  I'd had a dull headache, but that was normal as working out always gives me a dull headache.

On the drive to Chris' work my eyes wouldn't work properly so I had to make him drive once I picked him up.  And then I walked in and dropped all of my stuff and lay on the couch with a pillow over my head because all the pounding going on in my head was directly related to things like light and sound and life.

Chris made me some lunch but I was in too much pain to sit up and eat it so I stayed there with the pillow over my head, cursing the gym and everything it stands for.

It lasted a couple of hours, some of which I slept through, thank god.  But finally the pain went away enough for me to function, at least on a sort-of level, though I was still pretty fuzzy all evening.

Really, though.  I ALWAYS get a headache after working out.  I enjoy the gym. I like how my muscles feel afterward and I like feeling like if need be I could run away from an attacker without hyperventilating to death.

But the headaches, man.  They are enough to make me forego gymtime forever.  Does anyone else have any experience with this?  If you do, do you know what I can do to make them stop?   Working out is supposed to feel good, right?  My husband always feels awesome after a workout but he regularly runs double digit miles so I don't trust his judgement.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Homemade Friday: Butterick 4790 (A pretty dress!)

It seems that I've missed a couple of Homemade Fridays, but that only means that I was too busy making homemade things to write about making homemade things.  And it's good - because I have a backlog of homemade things that I need to share so on the days when I have absolutely nothing I can pull one of those finished projects out and share.

I like to think ahead.

I finished this dress a couple of weeks ago, but only was able to wear it yesterday as the temperature has verged on 'entirely too cold for April.'

The pattern is a retro Butterick one - 4790:

I bought this pattern many, many years ago.  I think it intimidated me, which is why I haven't sewn it yet.  Something about the biased tape.

But I pulled it out and forged ahead.  Guys.  It was really, really easy to make.  However, I messed up a bit and measured wrong and so made it a size too small.  I fixed that by just sewing a button on the front to attach the sides together instead of the three snaps like it called for. I used a vintage button I had in my stash.

Using the button allowed me to give myself more room, but it created an issue with keeping the dress from opening up and 'sharing' my backside with the entire world.

I don't think this will be much of an issue on normal days, but yesterday was blustery and any time I walked outside I had to frantically grab the sides of the dress to keep them closed.  I looked awesome, let me tell you.

Another issue was that using the button created a bit of a gap on the sides of the dress, so my bra showed.  I spend most of the day wearing a cardigan so at least I wasn't indecent.  But it's something I'll have to fix if I want to wear it during super warm weather.

The dress requires a lot of fabric - almost 5 yards - because the skirt is twirly.  I was lucky to find this fabric for $1 a yard, so the whole dress cost me around $10 if you factor in the biased tape, of which you need three whole packages.  Actually, I think the biased tape cost more than the fabric.  The fabric is a light, satiny-type and rayon-ish one.  I think.  It's light enough to twirl in, is what I'm saying.  Actually, as I was walking down the stairs last night it was flowing out behind me and Sebastian asked "Why is your dress going all over the place, Mom?"

I told him it was because I was awesome.

My sister has requested one and I have visions of her strolling out to visit her multitude of cows and chickens wearing a floral, twirly dress.  I've already started sewing on it because I love her.  Here's her fabric:

I LOVE it.  And I want to make another one for me.  Preferably a little larger this time.  With snaps.  And I've already cut out a smaller version that I found for Adele.  It's gonna be so sweet!

Oh - I also made this scarf that matched perfectly to the dress.  I started it months ago and just now finished.  Just in time for warm weather!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ill-advised fashion blogging


This morning I thought I'd write a post with pictures to show you how I 'styled' my 'DIY' Crepe Dress, and I even took pictures.

I thought I'd share it with you because I was wearing dark purple tights, and we all know that it takes guts to wear dark purple tights.  And also that wearing dark purple tights is an excellent indicator of how artsy and cool and with-it you are.

I picked out the outfit last night, as I usually do now that I am a WORKING WOMAN.  This is mainly because I still can't drag my weary bones out of bed in the morning early enough to spend a significant amount of time on my appearance.  (By 'significant' of course I mean 'more than 10 minutes total.')

So I put the outfit together last night and nodded at it, completely satisfied because it was edgy-ish and fun, which are two adjectives I hope describe me.  I mean, maybe not 'edgy' so much as I'm usually the opposite of that unless it's considered 'edgy' to want to spend all of your time making stuff.  (Is it?)  But I do believe I'm fun.  Unless I'm reading, then just leave me alone.

I saw a woman glancing at my tights this morning during daycare drop-off, and I like to think her little turned up nose and smirk were her way of giving approval to my daring fashion choices.

After getting that fellow mother's mental high-five I decided to take my picture and share it with you and show you my astounding attire for the day.  I had to run back home anyway before work because I'd forgotten many, many things during the morning rush of walking out the door, so it was the perfect time for me as the photos would not include random children blocking my awesome.

As always, since my camera has destroyed itself, I have to use my phone.

So I did.  Using the bathroom mirror.

And then I realized that maybe I shouldn't be telling people how to dress, or even showing people what I am wearing.

A fashion blogger I am not.

I'm not saying the outfit is bad, because I still love it.

I'm just saying that maybe I am not the best at photographing myself in a bathroom with my phone and poor lighting.  Also maybe I should have taken my coat off.  And maybe de-frumped the upper part of the dress.  And possibly found a camera other than my phone in a space that wasn't my roughly-lit bathroom.

However - bonus!  You don't have to see exactly how tired I am because the yellow lighting creates a filter that makes everything super dreamy-like.

Or maybe I am wrong?

Anyway, my sort-of point is that many times people are scared of print and color and I happen to love both, especially if there are flowers involved.  I love (no LURVE) pieces of clothing with flowers on them.  (I should probably look for some floral tights because awesome.)

But isn't life a bit more enjoyable if you take some chances and have a good time with what you're wearing?

(Of course, this is most difficult if you are married to my husband who calls my new, fun boots "Tank Girl" boots, which you would think would be a compliment.  However it was not.

I don't care, Husband.  I like them.)

(Not a picture of the boots.)
And just so you can actually sort of see the color of my dark purple tights in all their florescent-lit glory, here you go:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I swear the shirt doesn't look as weird as it does in this photo

Note to self:

When your husband is out of town for the night don't stay up late sewing a pink shirt just because if he was home he'd make you go to bed and be all disciplined and grown up and whatnot.

(This pink shirt that you can almost see.
Also - yes I took a selfie at work.  Don't tell anyone.)

And then, once you finish the shirt, don't stay up even later reading Game of Thrones to 'calm down from all the sewing.'

(It totally makes sense.)

(In my defense I've just started reading the series so there isn't a whole lot of blood and death in the first 15 pages.)

(I said not a lot.  I didn't say not any.)

Because even if you do stay up late, you still have to wake up earlier than usual because this is the first time you've been completely responsible for getting a particular child ready before she goes to daycare and you go to work.  And we all know which painfully difficult child I am talking about.  The one who, when you try to help her dress, will run away from you.  Every. Single. Time.

So do not stay up late as you also have to awaken early because of Responsibilities and part of your Responsibilities include using your brain to put words in a pleasing order to create sentences that someone may want to one day read.  It is very hard to do this when you are sleep deprived and having a difficult time focusing and your eyes hurt from all the not sleeping they are doing.

And then, on your lunch break, definitely don't sit outside in the warm sunshine reading more of Game of Thrones because all it will make you want to do is stay there reading pleasingly structured words and you know that spring and warmth is still hard to come by and it feels so wonderful right now.

Normally you are actually thrilled to return to work after your lunch break.  However the call of the sunshine is very strong on days with sleep deprivation.  You will resist.  But it will hurt a little.

So think about that, self, next time you think it's more important to sew a pretty shirt than to sleep.

(Although I know you know that I know that you will probably choose sewing.)

(I make no apologies for the amount of parentheticals this post includes.  Or the fact that I'm probably using that word wrong.  SLEEP DEPRIVATION.)