Wednesday, 31 December 2008

this waiting is driving me nutso

Thank you all for your reassuring comments and well wishes, I think you're all as excited as I am at this point in time! Well, I've waited patiently for nine months, but these last 6 days have been abominable...... I feel like I'm in limbo, I don't want to start a new project or venture too far from home in case things start happening, but I'm going stir crazy just sitting around - especially since my husband keeps asking incessantly 'are you feeling anything yet?'. Yeah, I feel like kicking you in the pants next time you ask that!

I saw my ob this morning, baby's heartbeat is fine, there is still plenty of fluid in there, baby is head and face down and I am 1cm dilated. Which means it's started but by no means in full swing, especially as I haven't felt any contractions, pain or other symptoms. I'll be induced on Monday if this litle one doesn't come before then.






So.......my bag is packed and ready to go (since christmas morning actually)......



......the baby's room is ready, well almost finished since the new window frame needs painting, I need to get a table and lamp to put next to the chair for breastfeeding and I want to hang a mobile over the change table but I doubt the baby will notice any of that:

























even Oscar has been bathed and is patiently waiting to see what is going to go in the cot:

and the baby? well the naughty little monkey is still firmly inside, and my belly is bigger than I ever imagined it could get:

Although at the clinic this morning I saw many women who were waaaaay bigger than I am, so I shouldn't really complain. But I must be off to drink more raspberry leaf tea, do some power walking/waddling, have a hot curry for dinner, make my husband press the pressure points in my feet and do whatever other wacky things I can turn up on the internets in an attempt to avoid an induction on Monday.

Hope you all have a happy, exciting and safe New Year's Eve, and that your new year's day isn't too painful! And to all American readers, why aren't the parties in LA 'hot' enough for Paris Hilton to stay there? I'm sick of hearing about her on the radio, the tv news and the newspaper, surely there is more interesting things happening in the world other than what Paris is doing?

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

year of trying to live with less stuff

in an effort to dislodge this procrastinating baby out of its home, I've been trying to keep as active and moving around as much as possible. My husband and I went to a museum where I watched the frazzled mothers trying to keep control of their boisterous kids, and no doubt they were looking at me thinking 'just you wait!'. We've also wandered through the crowded shopping centres checking out the post christmas sales but honestly this year I'm a bit 'meh' about shopping and didn't buy anything at all. Sure things are heavily discounted, but nothing appealed at all.

Maybe it's because my body and feet are too fat to try anything on, but I'm hoping it's more because I'm over accumulating stuff. I'm starting to feel seriously claustrophobic in our half house with all of our posessions crammed in while building works are going on, and I finally managed to move the last of my stash out of the baby's room and literally into nearly every other room of my house including several large bags at my parents house (I realise how much I actually have now which made partly ashamed but mostly deliriously happy!). I'm sure there will be an avalanche of things coming in to the house with the new baby, plus we'll be buying a few big ticket items (new lounge suite and tv) we've been putting off buying for a few years until we had finished renovating, so I'm going to make it my personal mission to reduce the amount of things that I personally buy and bring into this house for me at least. One step at a time I guess!

So what does this all mean? Well:
1. I know we all say this at one point in time, but a key thing for me this year will be buying less fabric and using more of my fabric and notions stash. I know I can probably hold off on buying fabric retail, but I may waiver when it comes to op shops and garage sales! But I am going to limit myself to buying new fabric only for project specific requirements if the stash doesn't hold what I need (but that's unlikely) but I'm also going to plan future projects on fabric and patterns I already have to minise this happening.

2. Finish off my UFOs because they represent a waste of my time, money and space plus they are a lost opportunity for a new outfit. Although some of these will depend on regaining my previous body measurments to make them work.

3. Refashion even more clothes this year than last, because I have a huge collection of clothes from my gran and other sources that just need a tweaking to give them a fresh start at life.

4. Use up toiletries and cosmetics before buying new ones - I can't believe how many barely used bottles of bath gels, moisturisers, sun screens, eyeshadows etc that are accumulating in my bathroom!

5. For every thing that comes into the house, I'm going to try to get one thing out either to someone who will love it or to a charity shop.

So whilst I'm sitting around waiting, I put number 3 on the list into action and refashioned a stretched out white t-shirt into a front opening nursing friendly top by cutting it open down the centre front, sewing on a placket from scrap fabric, added some fabric around the armbands for decoration and put on some big white buttons from the stash. And now I have a top to match some pyjamas bottoms I made recently at no cost to me:



From this, a stretched out white cotton t-shirt that has seen better days but isn't ready for the rag bag yet...
















.....to this, a sweet new top to match some pyamas bottoms

















Also now that christmas is done and dusted I can share with you the presents I made. For my mum I made some loose black linen elastic waist pants and a jacket made from a cotton sateen in a black and white chrysantheum print that I bought from Spotlight eons ago. I used Simplicity 3874 for the jacket, which I've made three times before for myself in red, as part of a skirt suit and from a repurposed curtain. I added a self covered large button and a ribbon loop enclosure because it does sit better when closed, and I used the black linen for the contrast fabric to match it to the pants.
























I also whipped up this quick bag (no pattern, just winged it) instead of using wrapping paper to present it to my mum. It's from a small piece of home dec fabric I had in the stash bought from an op shop and lined with some grey cotton also from the stash. It turned out pretty good since I didn't use a pattern, I basically just folded the fabric in half and squared off the bottom, and added a top band and handles:


For my husband I made a small bag for his golf tees (again no pattern just a rectangle with a zipper), and a larger bag for his golf shoes using this simple box bag tutorial over at dragon[knit]fly blog. The black fabric is some leftover black cotton from the stash, the shoe bag is lined with a plastic coated bag that came free with the Sunday newspaper last year for runners in the City to Surf 14km 'fun run' (the biggest oxymoron I've ever heard). I added some red and grey bias trim to match the colour scheme of his golf bag and he was suitably impressed:

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

one more sleep to go!

till Christmas that is, because I am pretty sure it's going to be a few more sleeps until this baby makes it's way into the world. I saw my doctor this morning and the baby is still at 3/5 position, we are both healthy and fine but it's more than likely a little bit longer before we make our acquaintence on the OUTSIDE!!!!!

I swear I haven't been posting due to lack of interesting activity around here, not to keep you all in suspense LOL. I did make these cute artwork for the baby's room - I couldn't bear to cut up sewing pattern envelopes so I scanned a few child ones, cut them out and stuck them on brown paper with a fabric covered mat and voila, I think they're pretty cute:


I braved our local Westfield shopping centre yesterday to get some last minute bits and bobs, and very cleverly caught the bus so I just skipped (alright, waddled) past all the people waiting in their cars to get into the carpark, let alone find a parking space. It's only about 15 minutes to the shopping centre so I figured I'd be safe if anything started happening, and besides I had to get out of the house because the builders were making so much noise excavating the backyard to put drainage lines in (plus listening to their stupid swear word filled yelled conversations was getting annoying too). And then the builders had the hide to be really proud of 'all' the work they had done, and I was like it's only 3pm, you haven't even finished you've got nothing to be proud of, especially when there's a big drainage grate in the middle of my yard (which I'm not happy about):


Alright ranting over, it's christmas eve and we should be sharing love and good will around, but personally I've always been a bit of bah humbug person but maybe this will change when I'm a mum. Time to get a few last minute christmas things sewn up today, maybe baking some more of these fabulous chocolate and mint cookies that Jean shared the recipe over at her blog - Jean I'm blaming you for at least a few kilos of my whopping weight gain this pregnancy! The doctor weighed me for the first time this pregnancy and I've put on nearly 20kgs eeek (yes mum you were right, I should have been more careful in what I've been eating...)

Speaking of which, thanks Elizabethe for valiantly defending my preggers body shape, but I thought mooimadeit's comment rather funny - I do feel absolutely huge (but thankfully no twins) and these days I am more likely to be slothing on the lounge than standing around being productive.

In other good news - Oscar the sooky dog is much better now but he did get quite sick because his ear got a little infected and he had to spend the day at the vets under sedation while they did a little work on him, but for all his troubles he's going to get a bath later today because he's a little whiffy.

And in even better news for Sydneysiders and online fabric shoppaholics - the Tessuti store is starting it's sale on 27 Dec - yay Collette! Although I bet this little monkey will choose that day to come on out and deprive me of fabric goodness.......

Finally, I promise to let y'all (sorry I've been watching too much Dr Phil lately) know when bub has arrived - I will try and coach husband in the ways of blogging!

Merry christmas everyone!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

the last of my maternity clothes

Well with only a week or so to go before this baby makes it's way into the world, I guess it's time to stop sewing maternity clothes. But since I'm at home with plenty of time on my hands I decided to do some last minute maternity sewing. First up is a shirt which was my husband's but I pulled it apart a few months ago to refashion it into a shirt for me. It came close to becoming a maternity UFO, surely the worst kind because it would be years before I have need to finish it if I didn't do it now! Plus I had bought a maternity pattern earlier this year at a sale which I never used, so I wanted to use at least one of the patterns from it.

The pattern is Simplicity 4704, which is one of the few button front maternity shirt patterns offered up by the Big 4. I left off the ties at the back because that look is a bit naff but put some darts instead to give it some shaping (there is so much ease in the back of this shirt), and I also re-used the collar and cuffs of the original shirt to save some unpicking and sewing. I also kept the front placket, buttons and buttonholes of the original shirt so this was rather quick to sew up in the end. The original shirt itself was plenty big because my husband likes to wear his shirts loose, so it was quite easy to cut new pieces out of the existing pieces. It is a cotton waffle weave, and I made long sleeves although since it's so hot here at the moment I will probably wear them rolled up, which is a more casual look anyway since I'm no longer working in an office (yay!).

It's a very comfy fit, and being light weight cotton it should be cool enough to get through summer. Plus being button front it will come in handy for nursing, although I guess it has high embarrassment potential for leakage stains....

Last week I also did a quick but so small adjustment I can't call it a refashion to a blue graphic print polished cotton dress that used to be my grandma's - it fit nicely around the belly but was too big under the arms and across the bust, so I lifted up the facing and took in the side seams, and also put two darts in the back to give it more shape. This used to be a very bright colour, but is now quite faded from years of wear and washing. It's funny though, I don't remember my grandma being a large lady at all, I guess I remember her most as the frail, little lady she was for about 20 years before she passed away at 90. Anyway faded or not, I still like the print and the dress is a good fit and it certainly came in handy last weekend when it was extremely hot:

In other good news our lazy builders finally installed the windows today, check out the expanse of louvre windows in the living room, with fixed glass triangle panels above them:

This photo is taken from our living room to be, looking out into the back yard, with the garage at the back of the block. The garage is accessed from a rear lane, because as Vicki noticed our block is quite long, but rather narrow which is typical of the subdivision patterns of older inner city suburbs. Eventually that wasteland between the house and garage will become lawn and garden area, but for now it's likely to stay like that for a few more months given the building shutdown over Christmas paired with the extreme laziness of our builders! Laying the guilt on them hasn't worked so far, every time I talk to them I rub my belly and adopt a concerned look when they talk about scheduling but it hasn't made them work any faster - maybe I need to go all pregnant psycho hysterial woman on them!

And as for baby news, the baby has dropped quite a bit so I feel the need to pee about, oh every 5 minutes and I am having a lot of groin and pelvic pain which the doctor assures me is normal but isn't a sign the baby is imminent. Apart from that I'm healthy, just hot and getting a little impatient (as probably every pregnant woman does at the end). Nearly there though....

Monday, 15 December 2008

secret santa sewing (and house pictures for you Jenny!)

I realised today that Christmas is only 10 days away (how could I forget that?) so this morning I headed off nice and early to the shops to get my chrissy shopping over and done with in one foul swoop. But since I'm the crafty and frugal type, in addition to making a baby this christmas I'm also making some christmas presents but these aren't very good blog fodder since the people the presents are for read this blog so I can't post them!

But I can share some early chrissie presents I bought myself, although not overly exciting - sensible shoes! It has been quite some while since I bought shoes, and who knows how long since I bought flat shoes, but today I bought two pairs conceding to my current state (ie blimp like) and future requirements for outfits during the next year as a stay at home mum. Plus I have the biggest blisters on my heels from walking around in the heat on Sunday even though I was wearing what were formerly quite loose fitting ballet flats! Yes, my feet have swollen a little, and my fingers are little sausages, so much so that I've put my wedding rings in the safe 'cos it's gonna be a while since I'll be able to get them back on! So here they are: a pair of dark brown slip on sandals and a funky pair of red canvas shoes that remind me of my converse wearing university days (although these were a bargain at $11 from Kmart):










Well we had our first medical emergency on the weekend, albeit with the fur baby which is probably good practice for the real kid because I'm sure we'll have a few tears and accidents in the years to come. Somehow the dog managed to slice his ear right where a vein is, but he didn't cry and I didn't realise until I saw blood spattered on the walls and pooling on the floor! After an emergency dash to the vets who cleaned him up and wrapped his ear in a bandage, he was given a sedative so that he would sleep for a few hours instead of trying to get the bandage off. And now the big sook is walking around with his head on the side and he even jumped up on my bed to have a sleep when I was in the shower, which he's not allowed to do and has never tried before so I think he's really trying for the sympathy attention! Well what about me scrubbing blood off the walls and floor, or my husband cleaning it out of the car and off the newly installed baby capsule? Here he is, looking sorry and still quite bloody, including blood stains all over the mat covers I sewed for him just last week:



And just for my friend Jenny who ordered me on the weekend to post some photos of the building works, here is where we are up to now (I have been trying to ignore it because it is annoying me). First up the extension to the house which will eventually be a big open plan living and dining room with a very high cathedral ceiling: the framework is done, the roof is on and we are waiting for windows, sliding door and wall cladding to go on this week according to the builder (yeah right!)



Here's the garage: downstairs is room for two cars, a bathroom/laundry and a workshop area, and upstairs is my sewing studio/home office, which will be gloriously light and airy and spacious with plenty of room for my stash to accumulate even more!
Yes the backyard is still a complete disaster zone, but doesn't our dwarf flowering eucalypt look great? It's been in the ground for five years and never flowered, but somehow it has managed to bloom despite the builders breaking off branches and leaving building materials all around it. According to our original building schedule, all works should have finished last week and we should be happily painting, decorating and landscaping but that is all going to have to wait until next year now...


Hope everyone had a good weekend and for those who are making their christmas presents remember only 10 days to go! Better get your skates on....

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

still no baby....

unfortunately all your predictions that my spurt of cleaning last week meant birth was impending didn't come to fruition, and the baby is still firmly ensconced on the inside. I saw my doc today who told me the baby is engaged, but is only at station 4 out of 5 - ie it's head is only just in my pelvis. Given that yesterday I did hours of (light) lifting and moving things out of our garden shed to stash throughout the house and under the house so the backyard can be further excavated and that didn't bring on early labour, I'm pretty sure I'll go full term. Oh well, I'll have this baby for the rest of my life, so I should cherish the last two weeks of just being me....

No sewing this week except for making more covers for the dog's bed out of an old doona cover, made just like giant pillowcases. I have been doing heaps of cleaning again, not due to any nesting instinct but out of pure necessity this time. We've had new windows installed in all the rooms of our house which created so much dust and plaster not just around the windows but in the whole room, I guess all that hammering loosens any dust in the ceiling and it all falls down. The new windows are great, they don't rattle like the old timber ones and are much easier to open, but this is what they now look like from the inside:

And from the outside:



The house is supposed to be reclad in new weatherboards this Friday but with heavy rain forecast its doubtful. And who knows when the lazy builders will come back and fix up the inside walls around the new windows? We may do the baby's room ourselves just so it is finished in time for the little monkey to come home. That picture above is a sneak peek of the baby's room in progress - yes the green is a very strong and deep colour, all I can say is that sample pots are sold for a reason!

Friday, 5 December 2008

nesting or just my usual obsessiveness?

according to my little countdown up there at the top of my blog there are 20 days to go before this little monkey makes it's entrance in this world - maybe more if it has inherited any of my stubborness and contrariness and chooses to come when it's good and ready! The good husband and I thought it was about time we set up the baby's room so on the weekend we cleared out the study/my sewing room, dismantling the built in desk and moving more non living room furniture into our already jammed packed living room (the filing cabinet now joins the washing machine, fridge and freezer as visitors to the living room!).

On Wednesday I was a hive of activity -
  • vacuuming the loose cotton threads and pins where my sewing desk used to be,
  • ironing the carpet over a damp towel to get rid of furniture dents (and the builder inspector happened to arrive to inspect the works out the back and must have thought I looked like a loony pregnant woman ironing the floor),
  • moving all the baby furniture into the room ready to be set up,
  • sanding and painting a timber armchair for the room,
  • giving the rest of the house a good clean because everything is so dusty thanks to the building works at our house plus the house two doors up being constructed.
Meanwhile this day turned out to be a very hot day (it is summer after all), but I didn't really notice how hot it was until I brought in some woollens that I had handwashed that morning and they were crispy and hot. So are you getting the picture here? A very hot day and I did all this activity when I am heavily pregnant - clearly I have lost my mind!

By Wednesday night I had the sorest rib pain just under my bra strap on the right hand side - every little move, sneeze or baby movement caused me so much pain. Husband adopted a 'I told you so' tone and told me to stop doing so much, but then I found out via the trusty internets that rib pain, especially on the right hand side is actually very common in the third trimester due to the uterus position, the baby pushing on the rib and all the muscles being stretched. So it might have happened anyway.

Alright enough rambling, coming to the point of this post I had to spend yesterday doing much much less activity, so I started to clear out the cupboard in the baby's room which holds part of my fabric stash. Well I got a bit sidetracked when I was moving out the fabric because I decided to photograph each piece, measuring it and cataloguing it in an excel spreadsheet noting fabric composition, weight, purchase date and place (if I could remember) before trying to find somewhere else in the house to stash the stash, so to speak. I started doing this for purchases made this year, but not for the previous 10 years effort of stash accumulating. When my husband came home and saw what I was doing (it took much longer that I thought it would and I was still in the middle of it when he got home) he firstly laughed very loudly, and then told me I was an obsessive nutbag! Come on, all you sewists know that not only is this a normal thing to do, it is actually a handy thing to have, right? And maybe, just maybe, it will help curb my fabric purchases a teeny tiny bit - because what I visually estimate to be about a third of my stash equates to 480m (524 yds). Which is SABLE (stash accumulation beyond life expectancy) for sure, but the good news is that very little of that was actually purchased new, mostly it comes from op shops, garage sales and some given to me.

So maybe the cleaning spurt is nesting, although I think it has a lot to do with having more time at home to notice the dirtiness and actually clean up, but definately the collecting of fabric (but not the cataloguing) is a tad obsessive....

Anyway I'm itching to do some real sewing, so I managed to sneak in a quick refashion to wear out to a fancy dinner this weekend. I bought a mini dress from Supre, which is Australia's version of the cheap disposable fashion stores like Top Shop, for only $10. I don't normally go in to Supre, because they're fashion is more for young trendy skinny things, the music blares and the fluroscent lights are far too bright (yeah I know I sound about 100 years old!) but the vibrant print of this dress caught my eye.

Because it was a mini dress, I only had to lop about 10cm off the bottom to make it into a top. I didn't take any length off the front though, instead I pulled the seams apart at the sides up to the bust line, and just gathered up the front piece to create ruching over my stomach so the top now fits very well. And here it is:
And yes, this big spotty dog:
managed to get in the foreground of every photo I took:


Looky looky neighbourhood.gal, there's those white pants again! I know that according to the 'fashion rules' women with larger bottom halves (pear shape which I used to be or pregnant women with expanding lumpy legs which I now am!) should wear dark colours on the bottom and light colours on the top, but somehow I think these pants just work - I made them from a thick but stretchy cotton drill so they skim over the lumpy bits, they are the perfect neutral base for colourful tops and most importantly they are comfortable! Plus I reckon I'm tempting fate by wearing the most noticeable and stainable clothes I own - surely my waters will break at the most embarrassing time so come on gods of irony, I have them on now let's get it started.... Ha ha ha just kidding, there's no hurry, particular with this rib pain there's no way I could push right now

In response to Elizabethe, I was planning to transform some of the maternity clothes back to normal clothes, but I have so much fabric to make more I don't think I will. Besides mooimadeit hit the nail on the head, I have an extensive wardrobe for the next time I decide to do something silly like get pregnant!

And thanks SO MUCH to the rest of you for point out shonky pelvic floor muscles, sore nipples, sleep deprivation and hemmorhoids! Jean, I'll be staying in hospital for about 4 days if all goes well, so hopefully that's enough time for me to get used to my leaky body before I come out into the real world!

Monday, 1 December 2008

another UFO crossed off the list

I was cleaning up the wardrobe that houses (half) my stash and the extensive UFO/wadders pile on the weekend, not due to nesting but due to a need to cram more stuff in there! I came across this jacket that I made but didn't finish years ago, which I had started working on again a month or so ago and still didn't finish it, so I guess it has the ignominy of being a UFO twice over..... It also has a skirt to match, still stuffed in the back of the wardrobe which will stay there until my waistline returns. I have gotten bored already with sewing cot sheets and other useful things for bubs, so a diversion was needed and I decided to finish this once and for all.

The pattern is a now OOP Vogue 2461, an Anne Klein suit that I can't find any reviews for over on sewing pattern review or on google in general, which surprises me because it's not a bad looking pattern. The reason this became a UFO was a combination of my less than stellar jacket sewing skills at the time, but also the pattern design itself I now realise. Coming back to the '10,000 hours of practice makes you an expert' theory discussed by Erin, Carolyn and Shannon at their respective blogs, I firmly believe that succesful garment sewing comes mostly from an innate fashion sense to pair patterns and fabric, a fair amount of creativity and patience to do the requisite fitting and fiddly sewing, but hours and hours of practice to get technical quality can't hurt either! So when I made this years ago I certainly didn't have as much practice at jacket sewing as I do now, and I completely stuffed up sewing the notched collar, the fit around the shoulders and arms was way too big (I now know that I have narrow shoulders) and I hadn't eased in the shoulder cap properly. Oh, and I also had tried to line it with a lightweight cotton because I wanted it to be a cool summer jacket, but I fully accept now that linings do work best when they are slippery and can slide over the clothes worn underneath even if it increases the sweat factor.

Anyway, now that my sewing skills have improved somewhat I redid the notched collar and pulled it off pretty well, see:
I reduced the shoulder width the best I could since this was already cut out and doing that change successfully is best done to the pattern before cutting the fabric. But after sewing the shoulder cap and putting in a shoulder pad, I realise the pattern design is mostly to blame for the poor fiting shoulder/arm area. The pattern is a two piece sleeve, which isn't unusual, but what is different to other patterns I've used is that the join runs down the centre of the sleeve, matching the shoulder seam instead of seams on the front and back of the arm that meet the princess seams of the jacket. Even looking at the pattern photo I can see that the shoulder fit on the model isn't so great either.

I also rounded off the bottom of the two front panels, just because it's a look that I like at the moment. And I also did a standad button placement, rather than having it button up offset as shown by the pattern envelope. So here's a photo of it looking a little wrinkled from wearing it out which makes the shoulder look pretty bad still, but I am still happy enough with how it turned out to wear it.


Oh look, there's that belly that was hidden in the last post LOL. It's made from a white cotton with a thin green stripe through it, and I used some vintage buttons from the stash on the sleeves and jacket front for a bit of embellishment on the sleeves (although since I certainly can't do it up right now even the front button is for embellishment too!). I had five buttons, this used five buttons, so it all worked out perfectly, except that I didn't have any green cotton so I used white cotton to sew them on. Eh, still looks ok in my books:

Now I realise I have already failed the Dressember challenge with today being the 1st of December and I wore this jacket with white pants out today but I have a good excuse, honestly! I had to see the obstetrician this morning, and since they always want to see my belly I didn't want to wear a dress because they'd see a whole lot more than just my belly! Of course I do realise that in about 25 days (eeeek!) they'll be seeing a WHOLE lot more of me 'down there', but until that time comes I like to keep my lady parts covered for now! I did wear a dress out yesterday, so that sorta makes up for it I figure.

Anyway, the ob said I was measuring on track with my weeks that have progressed and the baby is not at all engaged which means it is very unlikely that this baby will come early. Now that I know our building works won't be finished in time (the framework is done and the roof is on but there's still too much to be done in 3 weeks), I just want the baby out! Weeks ago when I was bragging about how easy my pregnancy has been has come back to bite me in the butt, because now when I waddle I can feel the strain, I have to pee frequently (sorry for TMI), I'm doing that old person groan every time I have to get up or bend down and hello, indigestion as well! Ah well, not too much longer now....