Create or Not Create, There is no Try

A lovely friend asked me recently why I didn’t blog more about sewing.  I have no good answer as to why I don’t blog.  I guess I just don’t see the words coming as easy as they once did.  I am able to get my expressiveness out on Instagram (private because of kid pictures), and occasionally Twitter, so I haven’t felt the need.  The other reality is that crafting takes time, and I would rather create something tangible for my kids, than write about it.  Writing has lost appeal as I see the blogosphere changing from the stories I remember to the machine it has become.  It hasn’t helped that Google Reader went away, leaving me with no way to actually read the few that still seem to write.  I miss that, Google, do you hear me?

However, I will humor her, and I will write about the crafty me.  Because the reality is that in the world of picture perfect sewing/knitting blogs out there, I see little of the real imperfections that come with every day sewing.  I mean, well, maybe there are that many perfect seamstresses out there, but there has to be more of the kind like me, that sometimes just live by Tim Gunn and make it work.

Coming up in a couple of weeks is a Kids Clothing Week, but as I work full time, sewing during one wee little week isn’t an option.  Not to mention that when I picked my days off from work earned for on call hell time, I totally forgot about it… So instead I’ve been going nuts trying to do some winter sewing before well, it isn’t winter any more.  The girls, they are growing, like weeds.  I swear that H grows every time I remember to buy her only favorite vegetable, and M, well we’ve already established she’s crazy tall.  Something like 52 inches, and hasn’t gained an ounce for the last inch (giving her free reign to hot cocoa on weekends and as much butter as she wants).  The girl is wearing an only slightly too big 10/12 Lands End winter jacket.  And she’s six people, SIX! I’m trying to pad my savings account for the special tall designer clothes and groceries now.

So yes, sewing, like giving up watching TV to cut out pattern, and sew, and well, no savings account padding, I’ve been hitting up Girl Charlee, SR Harris and Joann’s pretty heavy lately.  For good reason, though there was no good reason for that Heather Ross splurge the other night on Instagram.

First, foxy dresses.

I made one for each kid, but M had an OMG is six the new 13 fit about her sleeves being too short, so you get H.  I really really LOVE the Skater dress from Kitschy Coo.  In reality it needs to be altered for the worlds tallest six year old, but for H, it is perfect.  The fabric is this really awesome one from Girl Charlee.  The print, to die for, the fabric itself, meh.  Not a lot of stretch, and I’m really wishing that cotton wasn’t so expensive.  This pattern in a medium weight interlock or cotton/spandex jersey would be the bees knees.

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That being said, I want this dress in my size.  I need to go to the gym… it only goes up to about 30 pounds less than I weigh now. Time to go buy some of those foxes.  Foxes are business appropriate right?

I’m still going to alter it for M, but in the mean time, I’d already cut out another dress for each kid from the pattern.  M’s favorite word would have to be love, based on her overuse. She likes to know what is in my homemade food, and she is the one who tells me every time I put in love.  Another Girl Charlee print here.  This fabric is way nicer.  Still cotton/poly, but a much better hand.

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Since H can’t read, she gets a love variation dress.  Best 1/2 yard score ever from Girl Charlee (see problem, I have a problem).  Its tissue thin, I could only do short sleeves, but who cares, its cute! Wouldn’t you deal with hard to sew with stuff for mustached hearts?

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Last, but not least, perhaps my favorite thing I’ve made recently. I adore, adore, Rae.  She is the reason I can sew with knits.  Her KNITerviews are the whole reason I didn’t mothball the serger after I got it. She’s even doing a new series right now, which introduced me to Girl Like the Sea, a sewing blogger that is real, like really real, which makes me happy to see.  Rae is like that too, but she loses real points for her bad ass design skills.

Anyway… Rae makes amazing patterns, that are simple, well written, and she supports her patterns, something that makes indie pattern designers worth their weight in gold.  When was the last time you Instagram’d McCalls and had them make suggestions on how you could make something fit your oddly shaped child. Try never. Rae’s Parsley Pants pattern is awesome.  So awesome that I was able to modify it in like two minutes for skinny tall girl.  Which is good, because then I could make her these.  Neon is back.  The fabric is a twill from Joann’s.  High quality, nope, but seriously, look at them.  The photo does nothing to fully express just how neon those flowers are.  I love her pattern so much I used its principals to hack an overly complicated AG doll pattern.  She’s that awesome.

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Oh, and I made H a matching pair.  I’m trying to blind my husband.

Posted in Crafty, Sewing, The Kiddo | Leave a comment

I’m Going to be a Bad Ass Grandma

I’m not always the best mom, but if I keep this up, I’m going to be the best grandma ever.  The kind like I had.  The ones that make you the perfect blue and white Little House on the Prairie dress and pinafore for their Laura Ingalls obsessed grand daughters.  I haven’t blogged even though I’ve tried, so I’m trying something new, again.  Time to start blogging about what has been feeding my soul lately, and taking up all of my free time.  Time to blog about… sewing.

First up, American Girl doll clothes.  Because why the heck not.

I get that some girls are in to the retro historical stuff, and some girls are in to the pink and poofy, but it seems to me that M is in to the stuff that is just like her.  Since I sew for her (dresses mostly, because she is taller than her wardrobe tastes have made available), it only makes sense that I sew for her doll.  This, this is what I made for her doll for Christmas.

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The shirts are this pattern, but I elongated the sleeve.  I cut down 5/8″ velcro to work as the closure in the back.  I like the super soft stuff for how it lays, but the “no snag” kind where it is all the same not a right/wrong side snags on hair less. I also didn’t double turn my hems.  I used the stretch stitch on my machine for the hems and I could have used that instead of serging the other seams.  My stretch stitch is a narrow elongated zigzag.

The skirts are all various sizes of rectangles, hemmed (I serged the edged before hemming because I’m lazy) with a narrow casing for elastic on top.  I used both a 1/4″ elastic and 1/2″, and I think I like the 1/2″ better.  Easier to make/thread that size of casing.  While I played around with the scraps that I had, I definitely think the best looking skirts had a finished circumference of 1-2″ more than the waist of the doll.  The exception is the one knit skirt.  That is a mini skirt, just barely bigger.  I wouldn’t make a woven skirt with an elastic waist that narrow.

The pants are this pattern.  It is a nice pattern, but overly complicated.  I modified it because that is what I do.  If I find a better option, I’ll share.

Everything I made was done with scraps.  I know I was saving them for a reason.  I haven’t done it yet, but I plan on doing it eventually, but I think doll clothes would be a great way to recycle old t-shirts if you didn’t have a knit fabric problem like I do.  Bonus to reuse is that you can get out of some of the hemming.  Score!

Also, I plan on working out some good dress patterns/hacks.  I had wanted to make her some matching stuff for Christmas, but getting sick meant I relied more on patterns than I wanted to.  Instead now I’m making her clothes to match what I made the doll, instead of the other way around.

 

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Manifesto: Feminism, for me, in a Global Community

The setup #1:

When I was recovering from surgery, my daughter got out all of her money and started counting it. She got out her dollar coins and asked me about the people pictured on them. Sacagawea, Susan B. Anthony and President Grant. It started a discussion about discrimination, including a history lesson starting with the Civil War, slavery, the end of slavery, President Grant, women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr., and how discrimination is still going on, and where we, as a family, stand on it. She is six, crazy smart, and it was time to talk more about it. I still think at six she doesn’t need to learn about some of the darker aspects, but it was time. We talked about racism, sexism, gay rights, and I think, I hope, she got it. I know it was good for me to be able to lay it out for her.

The setup #2:

I grew up with a feminist mother. A bra burning, legs unshaven, get in your face feminist mother. A mother that absolutely turned me off to the idea that, as I grew older, I was a feminist. Not that I thought that women were magically now equal, I just wasn’t anything like her.

I shave my legs, get pedicures, wax the hair off of my face, wear heels, and yes, have a career in a male dominated field. I felt disconnected from the “feminist movement”. It wasn’t my movement. I appreciated what it did, but it didn’t connect with me. As my world view grew, I saw it as not being a big enough picture. If you had asked me if I was a feminist, I would have said yes, but only out of an obligation.

The setup #3:

On Tuesday, this happened. (you really need to read it)

The setup #4:

Last night it all just clicked for me. I made the connection to my frustration with the feminism of my mother’s generation and the race issues that I see in my neighborhood and my global community.

As I saw the responses on Tuesday, from people like Martha Plimpton and other white feminists, I got angry, disappointed. I am sick to death of people making excuses for white privilege. This goes back to my feelings about the Trayvon Martin case (something I have had a hard time writing about, but that I think about a lot) and a comment I made at a BlogHer ages ago that was really the beginning of my feelings about race and community. I had commented about how I was sick of seeing advertising that didn’t reflect the community that I lived in. “Ethnic” marketing was targeted towards one community, white towards others, but nothing reflected the multi-ethnic community that I was a part of. It also hit hard on the other things I’ve realized about myself and my feelings about discrimination and community. There is far too much separation of “causes” and not enough working together.

 

My Manifesto:

We cannot succeed, we cannot “win”, if we do it divided. There is a reality where oppression is so great that it creates tunnel vision to the causes of others. A person starving will worry first about getting food for themselves, but once they have enough to live, they will ensure that those around them have enough. In this global world, where a wealth of information is available to us at all hours of the day, there is no excuse for tunnel vision. The feminism of Sheryl Sandberg, while somewhat pertinent to my personal life, does not take in to account the realities of my community. I identify more with the feminists I was exposed to on Tuesday.

Is my situation perfect? Nope. Is there room for improvement? Hell yes. Is it pretty damn good with perspective? Oh hell yes. Am I going to stop fighting for improvements to the sexism that is impacting me directly? Nope. Not a chance. However, anything I do, any advance I make, doesn’t mean crap if other women are left behind because of their race, sexual orientation, economic status or faith.

I am not an activist. I have never been comfortable with that. I have always felt that change comes about not with big words, big gestures, but with action on an individual level. I’m still trying to figure out what I can do on my level to effect change. In the meantime, I’m going to keep reading, keep listening and keep learning.

 

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Lunch

Yeah, I know, two days.  They were a good two days however.  Friday M & I ran around and saw my doc, got the all clear for work tomorrow, at breakfast out, did some shopping, sandwiched a quilt for baby gift for a friend, and watched a movie.  Saturday my parents came to visit and babysat the kids so A & I could go on a date.  We saw a movie, got a take away pastie from Potter’s Pasties, ate it on a picnic table by the river, then had dessert and a drink at a local cafe.

Tomorrow is back to work, and for me, trying to get back to eating the way I should be eating.  Its been a fun two weeks of no routine, but we need to get back to it.  I need to get back to packing A’s lunches and mine, cooking dinner at home, and generally well, behaving myself.  For inspiration, I’ve been going through old pictures I’ve taken of my lunch.

Lunch

There are definitely some common themes.  Tomatoes, greens, protein, avocados.  All things I love.  My plan is to stick to that, and do my best to avoid sugar.  Sugar is my vice, my way of dealing with stress.  It will also be my downfall at the rate I’m going.  So far, while those lunches look good, they haven’t done much to help curb my afternoon sugar binge.  I am sure my ADD comes in to play with my impulse control, but I can’t blame that for everything.  Just you know, most of it.

So, plan for this week is: Greek yogurt & a high fiber cereal (oh the after effects of surgery) & a latte for breakfast.  For lunch, I’m grilling some extra chicken, I’ve got some leftover salmon, I’ve got the “power greens” salad mix I can steam or eat raw (kale, chard, spinach), tomatoes, whatever leftover veggies I can snag and some of the amazing salad dressing from Emily’s Lebanese Deli (olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and I think potato to stabilize it).  I also plan on cake or something for my birthday.  Birthday’s don’t count right?

For dinners we are having kafta kabobs tomorrow (Lebanese again, trying them at home), they are ground beef & lamb, spices, garlic, onion and whatever vegetables I find in the fridge.  We have beans, tomatoes, potatoes and cucumbers.  Tuesday is carnitas/tacos and Wednesday I refuse to cook on my birthday.  Thursday is a the downtown farmer’s market day, so I will hit that to figure out that night & Friday.

Yay summer & access to fresh food. Now to fight the sugar monster.

Posted in Fitness, Food, Food Addiction | Leave a comment