Thursday, November 21, 2013

21. Volunteer my time for a good cause

Well, it is hard to get out and volunteer with a baby, no question there. So my time put to a good cause is a little different than you might expect.

I have had a wonderful experience with breastfeeding my daughter. I know this can turn into a touchy topic. But it has worked out for me and I've been loving it. Anyway. Before I decided to stay home with my daughter, we had a daycare picked out and lined up for her. The week after she was born, I began pumping to build up a stash of milk for daycare and continued daily, usually twice a day. When she was almost three months old and we made the decision for me to stay home, I had a lot of milk stored up. It seemed silly to feed her the milk in a bottle when I was with her all day, so I started looking for a place to donate my milk.

I found a local milk bank that pasteurizes the milk and then distributes it to sick and premature babies. I have been donating milk since my daughter was 3 months old and up to now have donated over 1,100 ounces. Each ounce can provide two or three feedings for a premature infant, so I know that what I am doing is saving lives.

I pumped twice daily for a long while and am now pumping once per day. It is quite a time commitment as each session takes me almost 30 minutes. I use some milk to mix my daughter's oatmeal cereal and she has had some (very infrequent) bottles, but the majority of it has been to donate. When I get tired or annoyed of pumping, I just think of the good I am doing and keep on going.

So that is how I am volunteering my time. I know some people are grossed out or are not comfortable talking about things like milk donation, but for me it has been nothing but good. I urge you to please consider this option if you ever have the opportunity. I am proud of how long I have kept up and will continue for as long as I am able. 


Monday, November 18, 2013

reversible wrap top with kitty embroidery

I am sure you are all biting your nails in anticipation to see how the project I told you about last week finally turned out! I'm happy to tell you that even after a bit of a rough start, I finished it and it is perfectly adorable!

reversible wrap top with kitty embroidery

Is this not the cutest thing you have ever seen?

reversible wrap top with kitty embroidery

I couldn't bring myself to embroider another butterfly (something about doing the same thing twice, I guess), so I decided to embroider a kitty face on it. I might love it even more. (Both the butterfly and the kitty embroidery patterns are from the book Sublime Stitching by Jenny Hart - she has a website and blog too!) I have never really done hand embroidery before, but this seemed like the perfect project in which to try it out, because it is reversible, so it is lined and the backside of the embroidery (read: threads and knots and general messiness) is hidden completely between the two layers of fabric.

reversible wrap top with kitty embroidery

The floral fabric was from my grandmother's (or great-grandmother's?) stash. I'm guessing it is from the 50s or maybe 60s. Either way, it is just lovely. Part of it was stained, so there was just enough for this little top for my cutie. The lavendar fabric is just a solid quilting fabric from JoAnn.

reversible wrap top with kitty embroidery

The pattern was super easy to follow. I love, love, love it. Especially the flutter sleeves. I might just sew everything with flutter sleeves from here on out. Kidding. But not completely. The hardest part for me was folding under the bottom of the shirt to hem it because for some reason my fabric didn't line up perfectly. I'll be cutting more carefully next time.

reversible wrap top with kitty emroidery

Yes, I said next time. Because there certainly will be a next time. I sewed the 12-24m month size for my daughter and the pattern also comes in size 2-3t and 4-5t. I knew that it ran small, but I was still hoping it would last until spring (she is not quite 9 months, but is rather on the big side). Unfortunately, I don't think it will last that long, so I'll sew her the next size up in the spring.

reversible wrap top with kitty embroidery

I'm a little bit sad to say this, but I think it looks cuter on the hanger than on my baby. Firstly, it is a little small-ish and secondly, it rides up when she is sitting. When I hold her up to help her stand, it lies much nicer, but since she is not very close to standing or walking on her own, it just looks bunchy. I would recommend sewing this pattern for a child who can stand. Oh well, it is still super cute. 

More projects coming up! Has anyone started sewing for the holidays yet? I need to get on it soon!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

a lesson learned

So the other day my husband and I were having an argument discussion about my crafting needs. I was about to order some lovely new fabric to sew a dress for my baby, and he thought I should be able to use fabric I already have.

Now, I do have quite a fabric stash. The problem is, most of it is either from the remnant bin at JoAnn's or is old fabric from my Grandmother's stash... so most of the pieces are too small (even for baby clothing) or do not coordinate at all. And for some reason, hubby is under the impression that hoarding fabric is much worse hoarding rusty scooter parts off eBay. We won't get into that here, but I say to each his own.

Anyway. I decided to follow his advice (!!) and make a cute top for baby using fabric I already have. I cut my pieces and then before I sewed them up, decided to do some hand embroidery on the fabric first. I embroidered a beautiful butterfly and was so excited about my finished product.

hand embroidered butterfly

However, when I went to sew the pieces together, I realized that the piece with the embroidery had shrunk terribly. I had pre-washed the fabric, so I thought it would be fine, but it must have shrunk when I ironed the embroidery pattern to the fabric. Boo. It was remnant bin fabric and must not have been 100% cotton.  I ended up having to run to JoAnn's to buy new fabric for my project after all.

Moral of the story:
My view: A special project deserves special fabric. Don't settle for less. :)
My husband's view: Check your fabric before you use it, dummy.

Also, now I am stuck with this lovely embroidered butterfly. Any suggestions on what I can do with it? Is there some project I can sew it onto? Ideas are welcome!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

granny square update

The squares are done! All 120 of them.

granny squares

Whew.

Now I just need to figure out how to attach them to each other and make a blanket. Shouldn't be too hard, right? I'm sure there's a tutorial out there. Any recommendations for the best way to do this would be greatly appreciated!!

This granny square blanket is part of my 30 before 30 goal list. Three years sounded like an awfully long time to get all these things done, but here it is, nearing my 30th birthday and I'll be lucky if half of them are completed. 

granny squares

Of course it makes me a little sad that I'm not going to be able to complete it on time, but I'm going to focus on the good and realize that this little goal list has helped me accomplish a lot of fun things that I might not have otherwise done. And I will still refer to it and keep ticking off projects as I finish them... slowly but surely.

Now back to my squares!

granny squares

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy (late) Halloween!

Happy Halloween from my little Cabbage Patch doll!

Cabbage Patch doll Halloween costume

Even though I'm a day late, I just had to share a picture because she is tooo cute!

I had so much fun with this costume... I've been planning it for years. Honestly. Ever since I first started using Pinterest. I was just lucky to have a girlie at the perfect age to be a Cabbage Patch doll this year!

I made the hair using a pattern I purchased off Etsy, here. Basically, I had to crochet a hat (which I've never done before!) then attach the hair and style it. It isn't perfect, but I think that's what makes it so cute!

For the shirt, I found an image of the Cabbage Patch logo online and then printed it onto some iron-on transfer paper I found at Michaels. Cut it out, ironed it on, and I was done!

I just want to squeeze her!!