A series of unfortunate events drove Beckett and I to the new Children's Museum last Thursday and there, like magic, we met Caleb and his family. To say B and Caleb "hit it off" would be unjust. It's like their little boy brainwaves emanate on their own exclusive frequency. I've never seen anything like it. They giggle constantly, work out their own beefs easily, invent and imagine cooperatively, and support each other. Sympathy pratfalls were a mainstay with these two, as was sharing, which is not exactly commonplace with a pair of 3 year olds.But, like every great love story, there has to be a conflict, and this one's a doozy. Caleb lives in seriously Southern California. Given our proximity to the Canadian border, and their's to the Mexican border, we basically live as far apart north-south as we can and still be in the contiguous US. They're trying to move up to our area, and visit grandparents up here often, so all is not lost, but it's still a pretty big bummer.We got in as much time with them as we could before they took off, made plans for a future visit and for the boys to be little penpals. That and the pictures of our week together should keep us happy till they return.
I admit I was hoping for a girl, and my intuitive sense of this baby screamed girl, so I was genuinely surprised by this news. I'm so excited! Of course I had daydreams of girly sewing projects and dollhouse play, but boys are so FUN, and I imagine that the 2 Brewer brothers will be closer pals at 3 1/2 years apart than a boy/ girl mix. But what do I know?
All I can say is that I feel such happy calm now knowing he's a he. Like maybe mixed in with the hope/ excitement for a girl was a whole heap of anxiety I wasn't recognizing. Plus I was having a hell of a time coming up with girl's names.
So, all my future girly sewing projects will be for myself and, provided I don't cause irreparable psychological damage along the way, I'm going to be the very spoiled, albeit very outnumbered, only girl in the house. Sounds pretty great to me.
It's been about a year since I learned how to knit. So it's with both pride and embarrassment that I unveil this, my first ever completed knitting project. I've started many things, only to run out of yarn, or steam, or to find that the measurements weren't quite right. This is probably what I should have started with. It's in a chunky yarn (Misti Alpaca Chunky) so it knit up quickly, plus it's just one big piece that you stitch up the sides. Done and done.
Anyway, hooray for finishing things, for old Helen, for that awesome Norwegian clasp from my mom, for knitting in general, and, since I'm still honeymooning, hooray for my boots and something new to wear them with.
My boots are here! I picked them up from the post office early yesterday morning, and threw them on in a mad frenzy before we headed south for the day. My sister and her fiancee were scouting wedding spots in Skagit County, mostly La Conner, and B and I tagged along to put in our 2 cents. Sometimes its just really good to spend a few hours in the country. I loved the gnarled trees in this orchard, and B loved this goat and his awesome beard. We never got his real name, and have been calling him Goatie MacGruder for all story telling purposes. And, of course, everyone loves a good run down a hall of trees. All of these pictures were taken at the La Conner Flats, a flower and vegetable garden with a seasonal organic farmer's stand and a rustic tea room. I thought it was all lovely in the literal dead of winter, but am scheming a summer trip to see it in bloom.
He's 3! Though the next morning he said he'd like to be 2 again. Apart from a little anxiety about growing up, he had a great birthday and a great party with his whole family. I failed miserably, though, in having forgotten to pull out my camera even once during the whole event. Luckily, my cousin snapped this on her phone. It's the birthday boy, his loot, and his 2 great grandmas (lucky guy, huh?)
His banner was such a huge hit, too, that some adult party guests took some home as party favors. Thanks, everybody, for coming and celebrating with us. And extra thanks, Sumpy, for sending me these pics!
Our dear boy came almost 3 weeks before his due date, leaving both Zion and I stunned. Given how closely it follows the holidays, and the early January hibernation I'm prone to take, I seem forever doomed to experience his birthday with a pinch of deer-in-the-headlights surprise. This year is no different, but I'm doing my best to rally and pull off some 11th hour fun.Beckett originally wanted a Walrus Party (his favorite animal), but when good friends suggested a Totoro Party (his favorite movie) he seriously wrestled with the choice. Finally, and quite suddenly, he decided he wanted it all, and by golly that's what he'll get. Today we made some paper guys to hang on the walls, some little paper cupcake picks, and many many feet of a pennant flag banner. This last project was a huge hit 1) because I got to use up some of my horded fabrics and 2) because B got to be fully in charge of operating the sewing machine pedal. those of you who have ever been around a child, let alone a mechanically minded one, can imagine the glee involved with that.Anyway, so things are looking good for a fun, mellow 3rd birthday party tomorrow at the grandparents house. And I feel decent about not having totally dropped the ball on this one. He's an amazing kid, such a gentleman wise beyond his years. Zion and I never feel that "can you believe he's 3 already?" sentiment, but the person he's become in these past 3 years makes me primed for celebration. No, celebration is too tame, I want to beat my chest and howl at the moon for all he's added to our world. And, folks, that just may be exactly what I'll do!
I really should have made a tutorial out of this project, but it's so easy and fast it was finished before I'd thought of taking progress pics. This was my favorite old shirt of Zion's, so soft and a little see through, just the way I like it. It's a great frumpy shirt, but I love it so much it often sneaks out of the closet (and out of the house) on non-frumpy days too. I figured that a little empire waist would make it fitted enough for public, and that a little elastic would preserve its supreme comfiness. I put the 2 ideas together and Voila! I have a new old favorite shirt.
This was so easy it's crazy, if any of you would like to try it, here's how I did it.
1) Try on the shirt and mark where you'd like your waist line to be (wouldn't need to be empire, for those of you not packin' up front.)
2) Get your measurement. Mine was just under the bust, but just measure yourself where your marked waistline will hit.
3) Cut a piece of elastic 1" shorter than the above measurement.
4) Pin elastic to the inside of your shirt at the ends, and at the side seams. Fire up the sewing machine and zig-zag stitch, stretching the elastic as you go. You're done. Easy, right?Skinny jeans and new boots, here I come. P.S. I promise that some day I'll figure out how to be a good sport about being in photos, especially for my own blog. But as the camera loves old Helen, and as she's already conveniently headless, she'll continue to be my overworked understudy.
I just scored so HUGE on etsy. I've been haunting the dark corners of the internet for a pair of everyday brown boots since I lost my heart to a ruffled pair at Anthropologie a few weeks ago. What I really wanted is my much adored ranch boots of years past but taller, darker and less western.
I had almost convinced myself to spend upwards of $100 on a 2nd-hand (not vintage) pair of campus boots on Ebay, when my fairy godmother (who apparently vends under the name axandapple) listed these on etsy. Holy Crap! Aren't they lovely? They're the same size and same brand (Dexter) as my fav ranch boots! And they were about 1/2 the price of their Ebay counterparts. I'm so excited, I can hardly stand it. Now I'm going to pull out my sewing machine and make some more cute belly- friendly things in readiness for their arrival. Yay Boots!
Hey all, Target has this weird Costco-esque post holiday thing going on. Just a bunch of stuff at really low prices back in their seasonal section. I picked up this tee for $4. I've been on the hunt for project tees now that the belly is bulging, and this little number was perf.So... I made it into this little shrug as per the brilliant tutorial found here. Seriously, some people are just so damn clever, right? The whole deal took me about 30 minutes. It's so comfy, so cute, and gives me some of pre pregnancy curves back. Plus it'll be such a cute accessory once my belly gets epic. I can't wait! I also grabbed a simple brown knit nightie on sale and have plans to make it into my new super comfy maternity dress. Comfy it is, cute it is not, but more on that later. Sorry for these terrible pics, I was too excited to wait for daylight and not excited enough to wake up Zion for help. So you're left with the Attack of the Headless Dark Flash Photo monster. Rraaar!
The huge and hugely exciting news from recent weeks is my little sister's engagement to her long time beau, Jon! Having announced the news whilst both of her married older sisters were in town turned the whole event into a huge Jane Austen style hen fest. Like if the Bennets had access to Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. Not that it's going to be a fancy affair. Since she works in the biz, and is chronically exposed to the bridezillas of the greater Seattle area, she's looking forward to a relaxed event. The tentative plan is a fall Skagit Valley wedding, with vintage tins and mason jars filled with whatever cosmos and zinnias can be reaped from the gardens of friends and relatives. Maybe baskets of apples, or local apple wares. My personal contribution so far has been to play with these vintage fruit crate labels that my sister loves. For invites or favors or personalized toilet paper, whatever Lola wants, as they say.
The other day I saw my doc who was surprised and concerned by my continued weight loss. I'm 15 weeks now, and whatever holiday buzz had me so optimistic through December is gone leaving me feeling thoroughly 1st trimester. Mix in a bout of good old fashioned stomach flu and I'm dangerously dehydrated and down to my skinny twit high school weight. Doc was not happy. I was beside myself.
I had a little pity party that night. As I lay prostrate and wallowing on the couch Wham! I felt the baby move for the first time. Amazing. Nothing like a little internal kick in the ass to get things going. So, I've been put on a new eating mandate, a new nutritional plan, and have decided to try my best to make lovely things inspired by all of this. After all, isn't that the whole point?
This most recent paper play is actually the 2nd in a sort of series. The first went to my mom who pouted a little over having not received a frame-able cut paper piece for Christmas. They both deal with hybrids with loaded skirts that escape through the chest/throat. The correlation is pretty obvious, though I've yet to vomit caged songbirds. It's out of character for me to make such personal work, but it's pleasant and maybe therapeutic, and hopefully I'll have something to show that this viking pregnancy did more than pillage.