Monday, November 17, 2014

Cloth Diapers, Sourdough, and Keeping Busy

Gwendolyn will be eight months old next week. She loves to pull herself up into a standing position, and enjoys yanking the books off of our shelf. She has even started to try and follow us into other rooms of the house. This is as adorable as you are imagining.

She is generally happy and curious about life. She is smart, and determined, and an all-around easy baby.

It's been hard. 

Part of what has been hard is the fact that I am labeled differently in the eyes of others.  Before, I was a cute, short girl of dubious age range. Now I'm a mom of dubious age holding a baby, and I get weird looks sometimes. These new sort of looks make me feel anxious, although I imagine I'll  be able to get used to it. 

It's actually worse at church.  Sometimes I feel so anxious that I just can't stay past sacrament. There would be tears and possibly panic.  

Josh and I recently moved to  Salt Lake City and our ward has a much broader age range.  Instead of being all newlyweds we have a large population of men and women over sixty.

Apparently, there's nothing the elderly love more than a fat, happy baby.  Every Sunday it's a series of comments about Gwendolyn. 

         She's cute, and happy, and a joy to sit behind.

         And she's so big, and you're so small, I bet no one has ever made this jokey observation before.

It wouldn't be too bad, except that Gwendolyn is the only reason anyone ever talks to me, and she's all that we talk about.

They only see me as a mom, and it's as if I can't be anything else for the next eighteen years.

Anyways, I've been stressed, and occasionally overwhelmed.  This box other people are trying to put me has me feeling socially claustrophobic. And the fact that I'm not as free to do as many things anymore occasionally makes me feel stuck.

Even if the things I'm staying home from didn't necessarily interest me.

So, anyways, I've been trying to keep busy with projects.

I made my own sourdough starter following these instructions on a vegan website.*  At first, I was super nervous about the bread tasting sour.  Which seems like a weird thing to be nervous about when it comes to sourdough, but that's just gross.

The good news is that when I baked some you couldn't even tell that it was sourdough. I really liked keeping the starter, but eventually it fell out of use and I didn't think it was worth resurrecting.

I embroidered the corner of a flour sack towel to cover rising dough with and wrap my bread up with.

I started cloth diapering two or three times.

I read a book about how to spindle and considered trying to make my own yarn.

I sewed myself a skirt, and started a blanket.

I applied to sew from home for somebody else's business, but didn't get a call back.

I got a small group together to apply for a community garden near my house, but then couldn't rouse myself to do more than the first step.

Interests have come and gone faster than is feasibly reasonable. 

But, I'm trying to keep busy.  And I'm going to be okay.

*I used a different recipe for the bread

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Peasant Wrap Skirt Pattern

Lately, I've been feeling really awkward when I leave the house with my baby. I think it's because the juxtaposition of my youthful appearance with the fact that I'm pushing a stroller makes me feel like I'm being judged for having had a baby.

I think I'm going to try and move my style in a different direction for a bit. I'll probably bench my graphic tees for a few weeks and try to dress with a bit more... Elegance? I'm not sure exactly, mostly I'm just going to find clothes that don't make me feel out of place.

So, I was looking for inspiration on Pinterest when I found this skirt.  The seller on Etsy doesn't appear to selling them anymore, although even if she was I couldn't afford forty bucks for a single skirt. Instead, I whipped up a quick pattern to make my own version with.

This pattern is basically just a peasant version of this circle wrap skirt here.  If you look at that pattern, you'll see that it's basically a skirt, with two diminishing pieces on either end.

For this skirt you'll need to measure the length of the finished piece as well as the sport you want the skirt to sit.  I came up with 29 inches by 31 inches. I decided that I wanted  my skirt to have five tiers, so I drafted the following pattern

Let's assume that A is the waistline, and B is 1/5 the length of the finished product.

I added in 1/4 inch seam allowances throughout, as well as an additional inch to the top of the top tier. I didn't add any hem allowance, because I planned on using my serger to finish the edge and then leaving it.

I cut two of each piece.

I used three full yards of a  45 inch wide linen "gauze" fabric that was crinkly.  I thought that the effect would lend itself well to the finished product and I am satisfied with how it turned out.

Construction was pretty easy; I simply put all the tiers together on the main body, then put together the two wings, and then attached the wings to the main body.   You could also put together all the matching tiers, and then attach the tiers together, whatever is easier for you.

I serged both the top and bottom edges.

Without finishing the 1/4 length ends looked pretty silly, eventually I decided to bring the lower corner up to my waistline  and folding over the extra triangle of fabric.  You could also gather the unfinished edge, or trim the lower corner so as to not add any extra width to your skirt.

I folded over the top inch of the skirt and sewed it in place.  This gives the waistband more strength, and should prevent the wrong kind of stretching.

Originally, I planned on holding all the layers together with a button or two,  but the buttons that were small enough so as to not be gaudy didn't really feel like they would be strong enough.  So, I ended up improvising a tie out of a small scrap of fabric. 

Then I tried the skirt on and marked where I would need to put buttonholes.  My sewing machine has a buttonhole function so this last step was super quick and easy.

Altogether, the skirt took three days of naps, three yards of fabric and about twenty dollars.   If I were you, I would err on getting too much fabric, because I thought I would have extra when I ended up barely having enough.

The skirt is super comfortable, and I feel pretty when I wear it.

Let me know if you have any questions,  and please send me pictures if you end up making this wonderful skirt.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Garden Progress

Things are either going very well, or quite poorly, in my garden, depending upon which plant you ask.

A good thing?
I was able to get a tomato cage from my awesome sister-in-law and my scarlet Runner Beans are taking to it quite nicely.  I've noticed that there seems to be some variation in just the three bean plants I  have.  One grows super fast, and one grows very slowly in comparison to the other two.  They basically have a papa bear, mama bear, baby bear thing going on.  I thought about roguing out the slowest plant, but it occurred to me that it is densely filling the trellis in comparison to the faster two.   In small spaces such as mine it might be better to have a slower, more space-efficient plant than one that outgrows it's trellis quickly.
In the end, I think that I'll just save seed from all three plants rather than doing any selecting this season.  That way I should be able to get a better sense of what's going on.

The strawberries were doing super well, until a couple days ago. At which point, all the leaves flopped over. My guess is that they might be getting too much sun or too little water.  I've added another layer of straw on top in hopes that it'll help with water retention and keep the plants cool.  I might also pull the entire box a little further away from the edge of my balcony.

The peas and the cucumbers are both doing super poorly.  The peas never came up and the cucumbers first looked like they might need a little nitrogen and then all of them but one died over the course of a day. The remaining plant looks pretty pathetic. I broadcast half of my remaining pea seeds and mulched with more straw.  If that doest get me some peas I might try pre-soaking.

Hang on Mr. Cucumber!  You can do it!
The mint is alive, although it doesn't really seem to be spreading, and the green onions are barely hanging on.

I replanted the nasturtium, although, I was out out nitrogen rich materials so I'll need to find some if it's going to do well. The chamomile is flowering and I've already collected flower to dry for our tea. I really hope that we get quite a bit.

These flowers can probably be harvested tomorrow.
I think home grown tea deserves a really cute teapot.  I'm thinking of something long the lines of one of these.