baby boy

Late in February, I had a baby boy, Elijah. He was too premature to make it in this world, so he stayed for a very short time, then left us. I have been grieving his loss since, in my own way. Still am. It will take a while, perhaps forever.

I became pregnant in October and we were thrilled. Everything progressed as it should until it didn't - I had some complications that went from "Rest and take it easy, but things are okay" to "Would you like to terminate?" in the matter of about a month. Within a two weeks, I delivered a tiny, but otherwise perfect, baby boy.

But I've also been inspired by his short life to make the most of my own. I realize I had been really just juggling too much, too often.

When I hit the brakes, I began to realize the life I want to make. And that is a life of MAKING. I had been dreaming up lots of things but just figured I couldn't carve out the time with a toddler and my other responsibilities. And while it is hard (she is not by any means a good sleeper), I have found my sew-jo again. I am MAKING. And it feels good, like I've gotten in touch with an old friend.

I've missed the community I had while blogging. I've missed making and creating. I've missed the accomplishment that comes from finishing something myself. I'm also really, really inspired to sew right now. Perhaps it is keeping me sane, perhaps the business with my hands keeps my heart from dwelling in my own thoughts. Either way, I want to get back into blogging all the making. Sort of like therapy. If my sewing machine could talk.....

a special geranium

E had a big day recently - her baptism!! And there was food (BBQ), family, friends and of course, a very special handmade dress.

I had thought about making a dress for her baptism after looking at the polyester dresses online that cost a small fortune. None were really her my style and just soo...poofy. So I ordered up some voile in white that was embroidered with white flowers. It seemed pretty and delicate and still simple and understated - perfect for such an occasion.

photo by PSJ photography
I had already selected the pattern of course - the tried and true and oh so perfect geranium dress by made by rae, I had sewn it before with success and with a few alterations, it would be easy to make more formal. I went with the capped sleeve and gathered skirt option, but lengthened the skirt about 12" (for a 3-6 month size). I also added a satin ribbon on the bodice to tie into a bow at the back to make it a little dressier. Pearl snaps instead of buttons made this a snap (ha!) to change into at the church. I also added a lining on the skirt to add more fullness and to compensate for the sheer voile fabric used.

photo by PSJ photography
I wanted to take the time to hand stitch the inside bodice but with guests arriving, machine stitching won out, so the inside is a bit more sloppy than I would like.

All in all, this went together quickly and easily (as geraniums always do!) and I must say, although I'm biased, that she was just a total doll baby! 

fabric fast: check-in

Hello fellow fasters!

How are you all doing with the whole 'no buying fabric' business. Tricky, eh? I, myself, have been having such a rough time. E is going through a clingy period where when I try and put her down for naps, she immediately wakes to full alertness, crying until she's picked up again. So, at least once a day, I try and allow her to have a good nap by holding her for the duration of one naptime. This of course leads to lots of free time to fart around on the internet. I suppose I could also read a book....

Anyway, I managed to stick to just two purchases so far - and it was (mostly) solids, so within the "rules!" I ended up getting some more Essex linen as I am on a geranium dress making kick and have some gorgeous fabric that would be perfect as a little dress but needed some solid to balance it out. I also snagged a corduroy for her Halloween costume. But I did break the rules (!) and got a Briar Rose print and a wool plaid for some fall clothing for E. Oops.

How did you fare so far?

fabric trim down

Lately, I've been toying with the idea of a fabric diet. I'm at the point where my stash and projects I've purchased fabrics for are far exceeding my available sewing time. And my stash is starting to get a bit too big for it's britches (aka the 4 dedicated shelves I have allotted for it). I don't want it to start overflowing and taking up even more space just so I can keep buying and owning more, more, more. While I love the fabrics in my stash, I would love to see them more in finished items here and there around the house! (And I still have a decently large order of fabric coming my way not shown in these photos - full of shot cottons, Leah Duncan's Meadow and Wee Wander....but that's it, I swear it!)

stash 2
So, I am putting myself on a self imposed fabric diet. And I'm writing about it, so you guys can hold me accountable!

For the next six months (my husband has challenged me to a year, silly husband), I'll be sewing from my stashed fabrics only - with 3 exceptions:
  • Solids - I dont have a huge stash of basics like Kona white, snow, black, etc. These can be purchased if required to effectively use stashed fabrics.
  • Backings - I have a few backings purchased for WIPs, but for the most part, I don't have the yardage required for backings in my stash. Of course pieced backs are an option, but even then, I don't have too many cuts over a half yard stashed.
  • Swaps - I can swap my fabric for something else that I want/need but no purchases! 
I'll re-evaluate at the six month mark and see how my stash looks and decide from there what to do.stash 1
Anyone interested in joining me? I'll be hosting a monthly check in so we can all cheer each other on and see the projects we're working on with our stashed fabrics. To join:
  • Start by writing a post outlining your goals - it could be 3 months, 6 months, etc. or just finishing up your current WIPs before buying anything new. Just make them specific.
  • Create and list your own rules - can you buy backings? bindings? solids? Only you know your stash.
  • Come back here and add link to your post!

DIY flannel burp cloths

Just before E arrived, I was gifted a brand new Juki serger. I was excited to get it since I knew that it would be an easy way to make things for E. One of the first things on my list was blankets and burp cloths.

DIY double sided burp cloths
They were honestly super easy to do. I bought a yard and a half of flannels (on sale!) and cut out a 40" square for a nice size swaddle blanket and then cut down the remaining portion into rectangles to use as burp cloths. A quick run of the edges through the serger and they were finished!

I ended up making the burp cloths double sided (the backs are solid color flannels) which really has helped with the absorption. I like that these are also a bit thinner than regular cloth diapers or heavy burp cloths while still being quite absorbent. They are also soft enough that E doesn't even complain when I wipe off her face!