Monday, November 9, 2009


My goodness does time ever disappear in the blink of an eye with a baby. I've found myself less than motivated to keep up with blogging these past few months. I haven't stopped blog surfing though, because I love to continue thinking about what I could be crafting up if I had the time and energy....I'm so impressed with how many moms manage to keep the blogging going with little ones.

So what have we been up to?

First off we moved again October 1st. (Yes this was our 3rd move in 2 years)! Although we are now thrilled to be living in a larger 3 bedroom townhouse, the place needs a ton of work to get it up to my standards. This is where all of my time/energy has been going outside of childcare. It will take me months to get this place painted; even the doors and door frames need fresh coats of paint! Luckily my mom helped me get started with the living room, dining room and front entrance. However, all of the upstairs rooms are waiting for me.

I've had fun scouring design blogs for inspiration, especially for kids rooms. I keep changing my mind about what to do with Alessio's room. One thing I know for certain is that I want to keep it looking simple and fresh. I know blue is such a typical colour for a boy's room, but I really think this would work best for all of the crafty projects I have in mind for accessorizing his space.

Secondly, we received news when Alessio was 1 month old that he has something called Metopic Craniosynostosis. Yikes, that is a very scary sounding word! A simple explanation would be the premature fusing of the skull plates at the front of his head, which will require another big surgery when he is 9 months old. Although it's really not that noticeable unless you point it out to someone, his forehead is very narrow and pointy with pinched temples. The good news is that it will not impede his brain development in any way, and it is fixable...we just have to get through another invasive surgery. He also has positional plagiocepahy or more commonly referred to as "flathead" syndrome. I hate that definition of it, but that's pretty much what it is! The right side of his head came out flat when he was born. We have been aggressively making sure he sleeps on the other side of his head, has lots of "tummy time" and doesn't spend long periods of time on his back, but nothing is working. He may have to wear a molding helmet to help reshape his little head. It doesn't detract from his cuteness in any way, but it has been a big preoccupation for both his parents!

This is a photo of us taken with my imac webcam last week. I'm enjoying some quiet time while he naps on this dark, rainy and blustery November day. This is the time of year when the weather closes in on you in Vancouver.

Monday, August 17, 2009

kitty loves you!

My poor neglected blog...I don't have the intentions of turning this into a baby blog, but there isn't much else going on in my world these days other than baby. I managed to get my sewing machine out last weekend to make a growth chart for my friend's daughters first birthday, but that's it.

My little guy is growing by leaps and bounds every week and seems to be fully recovered from his surgery. Weasel the cat is warming up to him, and is always near by.

My favorite baby gifts were these socks knit for Alessio by my mom's friend. She made him 3 pairs in total and each sock is different! The patterns don't match perfectly which I love.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Welcome Alessio!

This is a somewhat belated birth announcement, but wow - newborns really take up all your time!

Alessio was born May 25th at 3:42 in the afternoon after a very long and arduous 23 hour labour. He was rushed to the ICU ward minutes after his birth, as we knew ahead of time about his heart problem. He underwent closed heart surgery at only 46 hours old to correct a coarctation of his aorta. (a narrow portion that needed to be removed and reconnected so that the blood could flow properly). Even though we knew about his diagnosis ahead of time, it was still an overwhelming experience to have your brand new baby undergoing surgery so soon after birth!

His recovery has been remarkable. He is now 3 weeks old and a healthy and happy newborn. His insision is healing well, and he seems to have completely forgotten the trauma of spending 10 days in the hospital hooked up to more cables than my computer! I'm sure these experiences are far mor traumatizing for the parents. He received excellent care and attention from the doctors and nurses at BC Children's hospital. I have nothing but great things to say about his care there, and am so very grateful we live in a city with such an excellent Children's hospital.

The three of us are all still getting to know each other better, and the cat has finally accepted that she is no longer the baby, and just the family pet! We have had many sleepless nights, with many more to come, but I am looking forward to my new role as a mom.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Waiting - 37 weeks

I haven't been much up for crafting this past month, although I need to get started on my own baby quilt soon....

I have been making some jewelry for myself, which I thought I would share here instead of on my terribly neglected jewelry blog. I'm calling this my "Birthing necklace" because I plan to wear it during my baby's birth (sometime around May 24th).

The necklace has a lot of personal meaning for me - and although I don't consider myself to be an over superstitious person, I figure having some "good luck" charms can never hurt. It's very likely our baby will require heart surgery to correct his aorta right after birth. Since receiving this diagnosis back in my 23rd week, I've been wearing a Malachite ring to help protect him. Malachite is a green gemstone associated with the heart chakra and as well it is supposed to help aide in childbirth. The emerald green stones in the necklace are also Malachite. The silver charms are Mexican Milagros (miracles) that I cast myself while living in Mexico and studying silver smithing back in 2001. I've been saving them all this time for the right piece of jewelry - this is finally it. The center charm represents me, the birth mother, the angel is the babies guardian and the heart charm appropriately has 2 hearts carved into it - representing my heart and my baby's.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Growth Charts

I have a fun and easy sewing project I would like to share with you today. I was looking for a quick sewn gift I could make for my friend's children and came across this project in Alicia Paulson's wonderful Book "Stitched in Time". I used her Dollhouse Growth chart project as my inspiration for this project.

Here's how I made my Growth Charts:

1. I cut 16 strips of scrap fabric, each 8 1/2" X 3 1/2" (I didn't even need to dig into my stash). That's another great thing about this project, you can literally make it from fabric scraps.

2. I stitched each strip together along the 8 1/2" lengths. I use 1/4" seam allowance for these types of projects.

3. Once all strips were stitched together I pressed the seams flat and cut out felt numbers for 2,3,4,5. The chart is designed to be hung 2 feet or 24" from the floor. I added the felt numbers to the chart every 12" (or 4 sewn strips) to represent 1 foot.

4. I decided to glue the numbers onto the chart with fabric glue because they were a bit small to sew. I'm not sure if this is cheating or not, but it was nice and quick!

5. For the top strip (same size as the other strips) I embroidered the child's name.

6. Instead of sewing a bias binding around the edges of the chart like in Alicia's project, I decided to line it with muslin to give it more stability. I just cut out a piece of muslin the entire length of the sewn strips and stitched around the top and 2 sides with right sides together.

7. I left the bottom open so I could turn the chart right side out. I pressed it nice and flat and then topstitched around the top and sides of the chart at 1/4" and closed the bottom with an edgestitch.

This was a super fast and easy project that could easily be completed in less than 2 hours, including the embroidery. Oh and one last note - yes these charts were meant to be written on! Be sure to choose fabrics that are not too dark. A felt pen works best for marking the height and date.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Monkey Quilt & the importance of pinning

I finally finished the baby quilt I started at the end of December. Now I'm very excited to get started on a quilt for my own baby who is due at the end of May. I set myself the rule that I couldn't start anything new until this one was finished...

I'm pleased with how the quilt turned out, and it didn't take me all that long to put together in actual cutting and sewing hours - it was just finding chunks of time to mess up my dining room, set up my machine and ironing board and sit down to work on it.

One tip I cannot stress enough when tackling a quilting project is the importance of pinning. Because quilts are made up of a sandwich of layers, it's so important to keep these layers from shifting while sewing. If your machine doesn't have a walking foot attachment (and mine doesn't) this is even more important. It's normal for fabrics to feed through a sewing machine at different rates. The top layer of fabric is being fed through the machine by the sewing foot, and the bottom layer is being fed through by the feed dogs. (Those little teeth that stick through the bottom of the sewing plate). If the fabrics feed though at different rates, you end up with a twisted mess. I know this inherently from more than 20 years of sewing every kind of fabric imaginable - even Goretex. Do you think I used enough pins on this quilt when I started my machine quilting - nope! I ended up with a completely twisted mess after my first line of machine quilting. I ripped it out and sat down to pin the quilt some more. I estimate I used more than 200 safety pins to tack it down completely, as well as some quilting pins. My next round of machine quilting was successful and I was able to stitch up the rest of the quilt with no further problems.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Domestic Bliss

It's a rare Sunday I have all of my mundane domestic chores complete, so that I can putter around and spend time doing things that really interest me. I managed to get all the laundry, groceries and cleaning done yesterday so that today I can just spend time baking and sewing. My version of domestic bliss! I should be outside enjoying this beautiful sunny day, but I'm perfectly content inside with the oven on!

I saw this recipe for scones on the Design Sponge blog a while back and thought I should try it. It's one of Denise Schmidt's recipes who is a quilter extraordinaire, for those of you who might not have heard of her. I actually have an article about her that I tore out of a Martha Stuart magazine back in 1997 when she was just getting started with her quilting business. I placed that article in the "inspiration" binder I've been keeping since my mid 20's. Even back then, I thought that making a career as a quilter sounded like an awesome job. And that was waaaaayyy back before quilting became "cool" for us Gen X'ers. I guess I've always known in my heart that designing clothing is not my passion, even though I have a degree in Apparel design.

Next up for this afternoon, I will tackle the laborious job of machine quilting my friend's baby quilt. This project has dragged on long enough and her poor son deserves a nice quilt before he is walking.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Work in Progress

What is it about cats and quilting projects? Whenever my cat hears the sewing machine motor start up, she is in my face! Much as I love my cat to death, she is hard to sew with. I finally got my butt in gear and started on my friends baby quilt. I've got the top part pieced, now I just need to machine quilt it. I always find that part more work than the piecing.

I've been tagged by my friend Sami to mention 6 random things about me. I've never been tagged before, so I'm sure there is a lot most people don't know about me.

Let's see....

1. I'm left handed but I can only use right handed scissors.

2. I'm 21 weeks pregnant! This isn't really a random fact, but I haven't announced it on my blog until now.

3. I hate driving - it's my biggest anxiety. I would rather go out of my way to walk, ride my bike or take transit anywhere instead of getting into a car and driving.

4. I've hated jello for my entire life. I don't plan to start liking it any time soon!

5. I have this bad habit of opening the new bottle of dish soap before the old one is empty. I then end up with 2 bottles of dish soap on my kitchen counter at one time. I've no idea why I keep doing this. If it was my husband's annoying habit, for sure I'd be nagging at him about it!

6. My left foot is bigger than my right foot.

Now it's my turn to tag Amanda of Owl and Pussycat. I don't know too many other bloggers in person, so I'm only tagging you. Sorry if you've played this game before!

Here are the rules:

Here are the rules:
Link to the person who tagged you.
Mention the rules.
Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself.
Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.
Go to each person's blog and leave a comment that let's them know they've been tagged.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Table runner

While snowed in for weeks over the holidays I pulled out my sewing machine and fabric stash and set myself a challenge to quilt something! I decided to make a table runner for my dining room table because I thought as far as quilting projects go - it wouldn't take too long.

I always gravitate to warm earthy colours when designing for myself, and this project was strictly to design something that I would love. Most of my design projects (jewelry and sewing) are always for other people. I didn't let myself over think the design and cut strips of fabric and played around with the composition very loosely before starting to sew. I'm so pleased with the result, and now feel ready to FINALLY tackle my friend's baby quilt that I've been promising her since October!