cuddle goblin

Today I delivered this little scrappage and my own sweet ass to a Mother’s Blessing for friend and reader Kat:

Head-On

(And yes; Ralph and Phoenix named the bunting “Cuddle Goblin”, because all my one-of-a-kind baby things need names.)

Goblin

The bunting was made from a lot of scraps – cotton canvas, silk, and linen – and the shell was made by Essex linen/cotton, a fabric sent by Karen as a Thank You for pattern testing. It was lined in a soft off-white fleece. Given the math, I figure it would be fitting the baby in late late spring so I did not underline for additional warmth.

I am beginning to really like the Essex linen/cotton and may buy some (since I’m all out, finally). It is lovely to work with, although I am still getting used to the fact it shrinks and shrinks and shrinks upon washing. It seems very rugged and stain resistant (I’ve made my son pants from it and they still look fabulous after much rotation). A bolt from Dharma would be divine; I could dye it in batches – I love dyeing fabric – any color I want! (Yeah, yeah, get in line with all the other supplies I need; my WIZARD sewing machine is still in the shop as I don’t have the funds to bail it out.)

I’m still experimenting with applique…

EXTREME CLOSEUP

And employing both my stellar machine- and hand-sewing skillz (a bit of color on a hidden snap, plus PRICK STITCH and, for the lining, slip stitch):

Hand-sewn Snap

Zipper

(You can see more detail shots and read about how I made this in the Flickr tagset.)

The Mother’s Blessing was a very lovely experience; I’ve been to a handful of them (though not for a couple years) and they suit me more than the typical baby shower content and substance. I brought a date, my friend Jasmine. It was a super lady-positive evening. Here we are all tied together, just before snipping ourselves apart.

Mother's Blessing

I’ve a length of cotton string around my right wrist and over the next few days will be holding Kat and her family adventure in my mind and heart.

Love the one you’re with

Pristine

I’m a bit disturbed that in my once-yearly visits to Port Townsend I continue to be beset by ugly thoughts and feelings – each time I visit. Yesterday and today, in fact, I experienced the strongest negative feelings and thoughts so far. All my baggage, sure and whatever, and maybe I’ll write some of it out sooner or later, but that’s not my point. The oppressiveness of it all threw me for a loop. It was like my brain had all this static noise.

And I didn’t have much time to process. Within about five minutes of driving into town I was at a party and spent almost every waking second after this around other grownups. I didn’t have time to defrag. I did my best to be present for my friends, who along with their children are deeply precious to me.

The friends, the kids? AWESOME. I felt high as a kite to be around them. That might have been the Stumptown coffee, too.

Darts At The Undertown

After hot chocolates and hot coffee we walked down to the beach. The children played and played and played, showing no boredom and only a total interest in the beach and one another.

A Place of Interest, #3

And they agreed to assemble so I could take a group picture. This is because guess what, tomorrow they will all be about six inches taller and with more or less teeth and telling different stories and doing different things so we wanted to get them, just grab them RIGHT NOW.

Preparing...

Assembling...

Almost There!

El Grupo

El Grupo[grimacing]

At some point some of us had to move onto a warm place with hot food. At this separation, Phoenix cried mightily. But in the way of small kiddos she was very happy only moments later on our way to lunch, stopping for a comically incorrect-sized kiddie ride – one she used to ride on as a tot that is, I suspect, not much longer for this world.

Triumph

The kids sat at their own table and Cynthia, Jodi and I got to catch up. I ate this huge-ass chile relleno. I’d hoped for the Noodle House but that was not in the cards. Maybe next time.

Like The Punchline:

As we ate it got darker, and colder, and darker…

So my daughter and I said goodbye to our friends and to PT and warmed up the car to hit the road.

On the way home, the little girl fell asleep (“Mom, may I take a snooze without interruption?”). We’d sung the entire drive up (Jazmine Sullivan and Justin Bieber, volume at 11) but it was nice to have time to myself on the drive back and I was glad she got some rest. In fact, both drives were very pleasant for me and I usually hate having my ass in a car.

Andrew Bird, and the twisty-dark of Highway 101:

Ode/Speed

On The Way Home, Phoenix

24 hours and there-and-back.

I’m ready to take a hot bath at home and cuddle up to the warm and beloved bodies in my life.

Port Townsend Gloom

Beach
(Small Stone #21*)

Beneath my feet, deathly chill, the shock traveling up through my legs.
Today I don’t mind.
I’m one with the elements.
Cold and fierce.

24 Hours
(Small Stone #22*)

My son puts his arms around my neck and buries his face in my breast.
“You were gone such a long time!”, he sighs.

Small stone project

starchildebunny

WELL there really are no words. I’m pretty proud of this. Not only did I design it (yes, I really did), I conquered a few treacherous challenges, including appliqueing a couple dozen flannel stars on a very stretchy pseudo-cord and negotiating a generous offset placket.

From The Front!

The bunting was a lot of work but it was all for SCIENCE and space exploration. Obviously.

From The Back!
Front Placket

(Listing at Homesewn, Flickr tagset (the latter has some construction talk and more detail shots).

fridays are not pants optional

Health

I live in Washington state and it’s totally not like this! There are high fevers all the time! & hardly anyone ever does handclaps in music!!!

“Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences”; a report from the USDA (pdf). According to this report my family qualifies as a “food desert” family, one we join an estimated two percent of all American families in. Ralph and I have made the deliberate choices to have a fulltime at-home parent (which means reduced income); we also spend about two and a half times the American average income percentage on (what we believe to be) nutritious, from-scratch food. This report (amongst other observations) confirms my experience this can be difficult work! (Bonus points for anyone who reads the entire report!)

“Diet for a baby” by Hathor the Cowgoddess. Yes. Baby diets are real and receiving notice and promotion. And yes. I am terrified.

And on that note – “Sunday Surf” at Authentic Parenting. Some great breastfeeding links; mamapoekie also answers some of my concerns regarding the subject.

Social
“‘No Touching’ at High School? A Student Protests!” at FreeRangeKids. This is a truly sad and nauseating measure; I am inspired (but not surprised) students have launched a petition against it.

“Hugs, Twisty: Pornsick dudes give blamer the screamin’ mimis”; A reader confesses confusion and sadness at anti-women pervasiveness in the media; commenters respond with support.

“Rejecting the notion of ‘Black People Twitter'” at What Tami Said. Whites may be unfamiliar with endemic pressure to be “a credit to their race” (a phrase that will likely always remind me of Hattie McDaniel)… and what does that say?

The other day while being served Chinese-American food by a Korean-American proprietress I remembered these two oldie but goodie entries on stuffwhitepeopledo: “Seek Authenticity” and “Carelessly Exoticize and ‘Other’ Food”. The phrase “authentic” when referring to food makes me laugh pretty hard. If you find yourself looking for “authentic” food or tourist locales, you may want to check yourself for Special Snowflake Syndrome. The story of in the second link of the The Urban Vegan’s recipe for or “Blue Mosque Ayran” reminded me of a recipe site I found when searching for an Eithiopian recipe – apparently if you eat anywhere in Eithiopia you are guaranteed to be served by Iman (yes, I know she is Somali-American).

Parenting
“The Words We Use: Living As If School Doesn’t Exist” by Wendy Priesnitz
“The generic term is “homeschooling.” For the first decade or so of the modern homeschooling movement, that word worked fine, since the few thousand of us living that way shared a general understanding that we were experimenting with something that was as far away from the school model as possible. However, as the movement has grown, the number of approaches used by families has grown too. And now, the word “homeschooling” has come to be identified with the parent-driven, school-at-home end of the spectrum. It no longer accurately describes a curiosity-based, learner-driven, self-managing style of education, which uses life and the world as its resources, and that doesn’t look at all like school. […]

“We are now seeing the next step toward a world without school. Web-based information and the devices to access it have become widely available, allowing learners to bypass schools altogether, even if they don’t consider themselves to be “unschoolers” or “homeschoolers” or have never even heard the terms before. Nevertheless, the concepts of learning and schooling are still synonymous for most people. Most have yet to leave behind the belief that one “gets” (or is given) an education through attendance at school, and that “unschooled” therefore means “uneducated.”

Of every post I submit today, this is the one I most strongly identify with – enough to cite a heavy dose of it – and I endorse every letter on the page.

“Minimalist Parenting” at Authentic Parenting. This post is very sweet but it made me think of the many “minimalist-porn” media images saturating the mainstream. I personally believe these “minimalist” lifestyles we read about in blogs and see in magazines are ones bolstered by a lot of privilege. Nothing wrong with that; I wish more eco-, ethical-, and enviro-minded bloggers and authors would own up to this privilege.

“Motherhood: Electric Boogaloo***” from Navalgazing Bajan
This is a great review, a thought-provoking read, and a wonderful guest-blogging opportunity!

“So you wanna ride in Oregon with your children??? Well…you may want to think twice…” at bikecommuters.com
My observances on “heavily debated topic[s]” that involve kids and carers is the debate is predicated on the shoulders of the following: 1. children don’t deserve the same rights as grownups, full stop; 2. a sarcastic and vitriolic response when people object to measures that make life harder for parents/carers – because “you should have thought of this before you had kids”, and 3. a total and endemic avoidance of the inherent operational and oppressive sexism that results anytime you restrict the movements of kids. Being this is a bike issue in America, this particular piece of legislation also holds that cars are mysterious elven wraiths that have nothing to do with the injuries to and death of cyclists (hey, car worshippers and rape apologists could probably appreciate one another!).

“Two Conversations” by Jeff Sabo (now blogging at Daddy 365)

Pop Culture
“Donkey Kong High-Score Belongs To Hank Chien Again!” at The Retroist

Art
“Beefranck’s Emporium – The Be Nice Project”

I think it’s obvious this Ghostbuster Wedding Cake is ART and food – simultaneously.

Make/Craft
“French Fridays, Uhm, Sunday, with Dorie: Gnocchi a la Parisienne” shared by reader and friend Jeanne
I put the source book on my library holds. I can’t wait to make these although the one time I tried Béchamel sauce my results sucked.

“How to supreme an orange” at freshcatering. If you’re buying oranges here in the PNW, navels and bloods are the way to go.

Plush Mollusk Anatomy at WunderKammer

“DIY Sriracha”: Why would you need to? I dunno, maybe to see if there are additional layers of DELICIOUSNESS to plumb!

Tweet of the Week
Linked to this. Cool beans.

Quotable
“Hatred will not cease by hatred, but by love alone. This is the ancient law.” – Buddha (posted by mamapoekie)

Random Awesomeness
“This is groovy”, from The Stranger and as shared by reader and friend Jeanne

Even my curmudgeony ass-heart got pretty soft for this. A very cool viewing of a very personal yet public event.

springtime! early! damn your eyes!

I finished a little dress for Phoenix today; I worried she wouldn’t enjoy it because she’s been quite distasteful of anything “girlie” lately.

But, I was silly to worry. She said the dress is Beautiful! then: Cool! (both just like her). Verily I present thee SKELE-PHONE DRESS, made from a Norman Rockwell licensed phone print, and an Alexander Henry “Born to Ride” motif featuring skeletons and roses. The entire dress is lined in a black quilting muslin, making for a wonderful weight.

Happy

The pattern is a vintage Simplicity 4924 – way, way out of print (the original pattern cost was 60 cents) that I purchased from kalliedesigns on Etsy. Older patterns usually have only one size in the envelope which makes for a much more fun experience sewing (for me, anyway); I made her a size 10 and added a bit of length, for the perfect amount of growing room.

Ralph took our daughter out this morning and later told me with all the drabness seeing her in her bright dress was like a “beacon of hope”. She was instantly complimented when they hit the grocery store.

Ready For Action

Pockets

Thrifted buttons, of course:

Vintage Buttons

In other news of sewing-awesomeness, I finished a lovely but strange item – the Miniature Giant Japanese Baby Bunting:

Soft, Soft, Sturdy

It’s made from a Japanese import fabric (cotton canvas) including motifs of – wait for it – skulls, the American flag, shamrocks, strawberries and flowers. OF COURSE.

The bunting is lined and underlined in fleece, making for a very sturdy piece. I experimented with some quilting too!

Back Seam

Zippers, buttons and snaps were all bought from thrift stores – vintage, frugal, FTW!

Vintage Button

You can see more details of each item at my Flickr tagsets: dress, bunting

grrrrrr

EMERGENCY EMERGENCY

YETI- AND MONSTRER-RELATED BABY BOOTIES*

Oskars

Romper Stomper

Yeti Is Gonna Get You

Monster Patrol

I made these using Shana Kreikemeier’s “Knit Monster Baby Booties” pattern, available from Ravelry. You can also view details of every bit of yarn I used (and some of my pattern/project changes) at my Ravelry project (META-DATA, drooool!).

Also, meet the three pair of briefs I made my brother (using Jalie 2327). These are prototypes, as A. I want to get the size right (I think these ended up a bit small) and B. making briefs on a regular sewing machine has its challenges (but my semi-broken serger and/or my serging skills are not up to the task).

So anyway, I’m calling these underwear “Pouchy”, for the awesome schlong-shaped front pattern pieces.

I had a great time sewing underwear. I hope these fit but if they don’t, they were great practice.  Upon closer inspection you’d see they look way more homemade and shoddy than in the pictures here. But they are sturdy and crafted from very lovely, soft, red cotton knit.

Prototype

Krafty goodness!
Claw Close-Up

* “Monstrer” is not a typo!

what’s in your head, zombie

What’s that you say?

Bunting 002: All Hallows' Eve

“That is so fucking cute, Kelly-goddamned-Hogaboom!” Yeah. Well at least I think so. In fact the only thing I liked better that picturing this bunting from the very second I saw the fabric at Hart’s website was every detail of construction. Like underlining it with fusible wadding and appliqueing bright orange stars and then basting in the pumpkin-orange zipper and waxing thread to finish with handsewing while watching a soccer game:

On My Way

and of course the super-super soft and deep green fleece I lined the whole thing with.

So. Soft.

Oh right, forgot to mention – I thought I’d make another one, a bit less sweet and a bit more gruesome:

Bunting 001: Zombi (Looming)

My sewing room and I are like a couple honeymooners. I can’t wait to get back there and mess around. OK, ew. So what I really mean is, I’m having such a wonderful time making exactly what I want. And you know what I want? More babies, out and about, everywhere. These buntings are so warm they can be out all night trick or treating. Until they fall asleep while nursing in the sling.

I’ve put these abovepictured items up for sale: All Hallows’ Eve and Zombi in my wee little boutique. I’ve already got my next projects – seasonal for the approaching cold weather – out on the slab.

Deeply, truly good times.

Hat Et Al

stitchin’ like a bitch

A couple days ago I got some fabulous news; a client enjoyed the clothes I’d made for her and shipped overseas. This was wonderful; all the more so as the client was a little girl big for her age who wasn’t able to find sturdy and stylish stuff that would fit.

3 Pair Trousers, 1 Zip Hoodie

You can see some details of the garments and sewing methods in the Flickr tagset.

I also finished my limón baby bunting (Flickr tagset):

I AM ADDICTED TO BABY-MAKING (...er)

Limón Hat

Practical

And finally: I’m only minutes away from finishing my latest project. Consider yourself lucky to get a little preview!

Applique

Believe it or not I’ve sewn (and knit) a lot more I haven’t shown. Yes, I am a machine. The only downside is the pain in my right arm. Perhaps I should stop cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, driving. Just sew and knit and watch my current TV crush Goren. Aw yeah.