Saturday, March 31, 2012

Baby Blankets

Thursday afternoon and evening I cranked out these lovelies:

We are hoping (really hoping) to bring home a beautiful baby boy this coming week. We have met him a few times and he is such a cutie! We love him already and are so hoping it works out to have him come home with us. I have his nursery pretty much finished, but I needed to make something special for him from me. My Mother taught me how to make these blankets a few years ago and I have made many for my friends' children, finally I need to make some for me!

Dogs and such on green, backed in red with a fence-style stitching around the edges.

Camouflage with orange footprint stitching.

Playful blue puppies with running flowers stitching.

These are so cute! (If I do say so myself.) I have had the blue puppy fabric for many years just waiting for its boy to need it. The other two we picked up at JoAnn (I know, ugh...) recently. Both the camo and blue puppies are double sided with the same print, the green dog print is backed in a solid red. All are flannel.

These blankets are so fast and easy to make and wash up to a wonderful softness. Everyone I have given one to loves the size and weight of them and many have become inseparable from their child owners. I am thinking of writing up the "pattern" so that you all can share the flannel loveliness, that is if you are interested...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Catalyst...or the Last Straw

Isn't that cute? This blouse turned out very classic and girly. The fabric is a light cotton which makes it springy and light without being see-through. I used Butterick's B5711 pattern and the fabric is something I've had for a long time from some of Mom's stash she shared with me. The little all-over flowers are perfect for me and begged to be made into this top.

Here are some other views:

Puffed sleeves!

Now, let me tell you why I hate this blouse. It's too small!!! I seriously can't even get the sleeves past my elbow without major circulation cut off. The pattern says that this should be a loose top, so something is seriously wrong.

Hence the post title: Catalyst...or The Last Straw, it really depends on your point of view and current mood. After moaning and groaning to John for at least one entire evening, I finally decided that I've had enough of spending money, time, and energy on an article of clothing that I end up not being able to wear. I'm sure some of you know how unbelievably frustrating that is. There are no words. My choices were clear: 1) give up sewing clothes entirely or 2) figure out if it is possible to fit/adjust patterns to me. Option 1 just isn't going to happen. I know that I will give up for a while but eventually will find myself right back in this situation again. So, off I went to my current favorite fabric shop in search of an answer. I love this store, it feeds two habits: fabric and yarn - and they have knowledgeable staff!! Incredible! I spoke with a wonderfully helpful grandmotherly woman who suggested I buy this book and then if I was still not sure enough to attempt altering on my own, to take a class based on the book's technique. I promptly purchased the book and spent the next week absorbing (and drooling over) it. This is the answer I have been looking for!

I attempted my first alteration of a pattern this weekend and then came to a dead halt when I didn't have enough fabric. Grr... Not to be deterred, I selected another pattern, double checked the fabric amount, altered it, and am now ready to cut into it.

So, if you will excuse me, I have some sewing to do.

PS~ If anyone would like this top, I am willing to give it to you. Just post a comment with your email address and I will contact you. I would say this is a size small in pre-made size standards.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Inspiration and Acceptance

I think I'm not alone in feeling inadequate and not beautiful on an almost daily basis. It's not constantly at the front of my mind, just there in the hair is too flat or too frizzy, this outfit makes me look fat, I just look weird today and I can't figure out why. As much as we try to avoid the media and celebrity "perfection", it can't help but seep into our minds, telling us that we are not good enough...but if we lost a bit of weight or had the right body shape we could be beautiful.

This year I "resolved" to lose the rest of the weight I needed to get down to my "ideal weight". After losing a bit and then fighting to get past this certain number since mid-January, I finally realized that the "ideal weight" isn't my ideal. I'm built like my Dad, which means thin shoulders, big thighs, and dense bones. But the true realization was that it's OK! <<Gasp>> I started thinking about my good features...the classic hour-glass figure and the bottom my Grandma is forever complimenting me on, not to mention my make-up application. Put all of this together with who I actually am and the balance seems to be in favor of the good qualities.  Who knew?! 

John and I have traveled quite a lot to different places and one thing that always stands out to us is the depiction of women in art.

Bathing Venus at Hearst Castle

The Birth of Venus by Botticelli
They are not the too-thin wraiths we see today. They are curvaceous, fleshy, and shockingly not ashamed of themselves. They seem even more beautiful because of their "imperfections". Maybe the men who sculpted and painted this art are trying to tell us something?

I recently purchased Fit for Real People in an attempt to boost my sewing skills and figure out how to adjust clothing patterns to better fit me. This particular page had me mesmerized for days. Look at the changes in the "ideal" over the course of one century! Not to mention the undergarments required to achieve these looks. As John likes to say, "That's a first world problem". I'll bet that not many women in Uganda are so concerned with fashion ideals or their body shape.

So I guess my point is that my resolution has changed. I am choosing to accept that I am beautiful in my own unique way and that comparing myself to anyone or anything else is ridiculous. The above book really shed some light on this for me, but the thing that really hit me is the possibility of passing these unhealthy ideals on to my daughters. What kind of example will I be when they hear me say I am fat or always stop in front of a mirror to make sure nothing has come out of place? We are hoping to adopt soon and if we do get girls I am determined to pass on to them a healthy understanding of their beauty, both inside and out, and the skills to help them make the most of what they have to work with.

I am hoping this blog will help me to do that and give me a place to share all my creations. Follow along as I sew, quilt, crochet, knit... remembering that this is not about perfection, but about the joy of creating with the abilities that God has given me.