Monday, 22 April 2013

Fishy Peasant Dress

As I was sewing last night I remembered why I haven't sewn any clothes since taking Fashion Studies in high school. I don't enjoy how accurate you have to be with your seam allowances/pressing/heming/etc, or how much pinning is required. I don't really like pinning. But anyway, I got through it, and I am sure I will make more skirts and dresses for Monkey because I have a few more ideas and lots more fabric.

Anyway, here is the completed Fishy Peasant Dress for my niece L. It is a little late for her birthday, but it will get to her later this week. I can't wait to see how it looks with a cute little 2 year old in it (and I sure hope it fits, maybe Monkey will have to try it on for me, but then I run the risk of not getting her out of it and it getting dirty).

No more sewing days for me until the weekend. I am headed back north to pack our house/move out/find a tenant so that we can get organized to live in the big city down south. 

Have a great week and hopefully spring will come while I am gone and we can be done with the miserable wet snow we keep getting.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Works in Progress April 17

On the weekend I went to a local church that was hosting a charity fabric sale. It was amazing how much was there that had been donated from people's stashes. There was everything from quilting cotton to drapery fabric to fleece and jersey (and more but I didn't look through most of it). Everything was priced at $1/m (a steal if you ask me). I came home with $27 of fabric mostly in 1 m and 2 m cuts (however, there was some that was 4 or 5m). That is when GeoDad asked me what I was going to do with all of it.

Hmm... some of it is destined to go into my quilting stash. Some of it is too lightweight for quilting, some is too heavy. The lightweight cotton broadcloth is going to be used for some summery clothes for Monkey and my niece L who turns 2 at the end of the week. Her clothes won't get up to her on time because I am slow, but here  is what I have started:

A peasant dress for L with this bright fabric. I am using this tutorial and so far it seems very do able. Monkey will also get a dress out of this fabric because I have 4 or 5m of it. I think they will both get matching sun hats too.
Peasant dress using fish patterned broadcloth. 
I have these broadcloth colors picked out for skirts for both girls:

The other sewing the kids I have completed and still have in progress are the PUL diaper covers, I hate sewing them. 9 are done, 1 more is in the works, then I have to cut more out. I made 2 more PUL bibs over the weekend, I don't mind sewing them because they go together really quick and I can put them on the kids the next morning.

I bought a 14 x 14 inch pillow form and I am going to figure out borders on the Y = X block to get it up to 14 inches square.

And I might as well update on my hexie project (last updated here). I have basted 222 hexies (13 completed strips from the jelly roll I am using). So almost half way to the magical number I think I need for the placemat set I hope to make with them (480-ish).  If anyone has tips on starching these before I get to sewing them that would be greatly appreciated. I am nervous about wrecking my iron/ironing board cover with too much starch.

I am linking up with Freshly Pieced, so go check out what others have on the go this week.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Thanks for reading. Have a good week.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Week 6 and 7 Fitness Update

It is official, I am falling on the fitness wagon. Derailed by a cold of my own, plus both kids being sick. Week 6 went pretty well, but week 7 is pretty much a fail for getting exercise everyday. Sleep this week was sporadic and mostly in the armchair in our room with LB sitting up in my lap so he could breathe through his congestion. Naps for both kids were restless as they sneezed and coughed. I wasn't about to take them anywhere, so no CrossFit or outdoor walks with them. The good news is that LB and I are getting better, so I should be able to get back to work on my goals... right after I get Monkey to the doctor this morning.

Here is what I did the last 2 weeks for exercise:

April1: CrossFit - started to do a workout called 'Fight Gone Bad'  - 3 rounds of: 1 minute wallballs, 1 minute sumo deadlift high pulls, 1 minute box jumps, 1 minute push press, 1 minute rowing, 1 minute rest. Monkey was having a very bad day and wanted to be held while I did the first round, so I didn't even attempt the second 2. I did do: 21 wallballs, 18 sumo deadlift high pulls (35lbs), 20 step ups (not box jumps), 20 push press (35lbs).
April2: CrossFit: Strength: Box Squats 85% 4x5reps: 85lbs. WOD: 6 rounds: 30 Double unders or 60 skips, 30% pushups, 30% sit ups, 30% squats. Completed: 360 skips, 60 pushups, 72 sit ups, 60 squats in 14:38. Afternoon walk with kids and dog in the park.
April3: Walked to CrossFit and back with Monkey in the stroller and LB in the carrier. Babysat at CrossFit.
April4: CrossFit: Strenght: Power Cleans 85% 5x3 reps. 65lbs. WOD: 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps of deadlifts 30%, box jumps, 30% Toes to bar. Completed: 21-12-9-6-3-3-3 reps at 65lbs deadlifts, stepups on 12inch box, and getting my feet to about waist height instead of up to the bar. Toes to bar is hard. Very hard. Also, I can't do box jumps after deadlifts, I just about landing on my face instead of my feet.
April5: 45 minute online yoga fusion
April6&7: No exercise, teething kids not sleeping well or at the same time. And it snowed. Boo to snow in April. Bad reason not to get outside for a walk.
April8: CrossFit: Strength: Sumo Deadlift: Test for 1 Rep Max: 135lbs. WOD: 50 Double Unders (skipping), Row for 10 calories, 40 DUs, Row for 20 Cal, 30 DUs, Row for 30 Cal, 20 DUs, Row for 40 cals, 10 DUs. I can't do double unders, so I doubled the number of skips in each part. Completed in 15:00. 
April9-12: Kids and I were sick. Runny noses, sore throats, achy, tired and no appetite. LB had lots of naps in a room with a humidifier with Vicks vapourizer stuff in it. He also hardly ate any solids, and nursed a ton, so I have been super hungry. Luckily we have run out of Easter chocolate for me to snack on.
April13: Short walk to a charity fabric sale with LB in the carrier. Half of an online yoga class. Kids were conspiring against me today at nap time.
April14: LB on the mend, Monkey super sick. Still working together against me getting anything done.  Monkey woke up coughing during her nap. I had no desire to get started on a yoga class only to get interrupted multiple times. Lame excuses.


Friday, 12 April 2013

Y = X Quilt Block

I'm excited that my block is done. My first paper pieced pattern. Needs some tweaking and I need to not use jelly roll strips for the background, but it was fun to make and it is bringing a smile to my face.
With narrow pink border? and wide brown border?

No pink border? Brown border?
Purse? Pillow?

What should this block be... any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I am going to redraft the pattern in more detail and then maybe see about getting set up to sell it on Craftsy.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Work in Progress Y = X Block

WARNING: I am unleashing my inner nerd.

As I mentioned on Sunday, I started to draft a paper pieced quilt block. I had my idea for this block in the wee hours when I was awake with LB last week. Since then it has been keeping me awake because I am so excited about it. Why am I excited you ask? First off because I like math, graphs, equations, etc... they have been a big part of my life up until having kids. Secondly, I have been wanting to try paper piecing, but have yet to find any simple patterns that are really inspiring me to give it a shot. I like really complicated blocks like the ones found in Shape Moth's Forest Quilt Along, but I am not ready to start with those.

I have never done any paper piecing before, but I figured I should be able to figure it out. (I also watched a great lesson on paper piecing on Craftsy. To do paper piecing you need to first figure out your pattern, and then get a mirror image of it to use as a template.

So here is what I have done, so far... I am too excited to share it to wait until it is finished.

I am calling this block y = x and it will be the graph for y = x with the equation inset. It should finish up at a 10 inch block.
Original pattern pieces
Mirrored pattern pieces

To start sewing I took my pattern and cut it into pieces that could be sewing into easy to assemble small pieces. The small pieces I started with are the "=" sign and "y".  "x" was broken into 2 parts, which were then assembled together. To sew a paper pieced block you place the fabric under the paper and sew the lines marked on your pattern. 
First 2 pieces of the "=" piece
After sewing the 2 pieces to the paper you press the seam, then open the fabric so both 'wrong' sides are against the paper, the second piece should cover the new area in the pattern.
Opened second piece after pressing.
Continue adding pieces to back, pressing then opening. Until, you get all the pieces for a small block added together.

All pieces of the "=" block sewed the paper pattern
Then trim the block to the desired size, plus 1/4 inch on all sides for a seam allowance to join it to the other small blocks you are about to make.

"y" and "=" pieced and trimmed to size
Then start joining the small blocks into bigger blocks. Here is the complete "y=x"
Trimmed with seam allowances

The next step was to assemble the graph itself. The equation was used as the first piece in the 4th quadrant, and I added pieces out from there. My background fabric was being pieced together from strips from a jelly roll, so there are way more seams than I actually needed to make this block.

Here are pictures of adding a piece to the y=x block and the pattern for the graph

right sides together as sewn
Pressed seam allowance, and added piece flipped open

I piecing the above and below the "y=x" line separately. I will use the line for y=x as the joining piece as it runs the length of the block.

Above piece trimmed to size, lower untrimmed
Rough idea what it will look like (without the plot of y=x)

Now I need to figure out what to do with this block... add some borders? turn it into a pillow? a big pot holder? tote bag? mini quilt? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Or I could make more graph blocks.. but I am not sure I would want more blocks with these fabrics, and I don't have anymore of the light blue batik I used as the background.

I am linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. You can go check out the cool projects in the works around the quilting world this week.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

 Hope to share a finished block with you soon... but the new job and moving and the cold I am catching are not helping my productivity.


New Job, Big Move

I am happy to announce that GeoDad got a new job and will be starting at it May 1st. We have been hanging out at my Mom's house while he looks for something new, so now we get to figure out what to do with our house back in the Yukon, and find something in the sprawling metropolis of Calgary.

I'm not sure what that means for my exercising routine or my sewing, but hopefully over the next couple months until we are settled I can still make progress on those things. Blogging might take a back seat, but I promise to keep you all updated as we figure our lives out again.


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Weekend Wrap Up

Well I thought spring was on its way... but last night we got a couple inches of new snow to cover all the brown grass showing in the yard. I am not impressed. Oh well.

Last weekend we had Easter dinner at my Mom's (on her new cork laminate dining room floor). Monkey and LB are both loving the new floor as they have more space to play and explore (the old floor was 100 years old, and in rough shape). We also rearranged the furniture and both the living room and dining room feel way more spacious. We still need to get baseboards back on, but they need to be sanded and stained, which is more of an outside project with little ones in the house.

As for sewing this week, I made a bib for Monkey and she is loving it. If it gets wiped down after a meal it isn't usually dry for the next one, so I think I need to make a couple more, but they were pretty quick and easy. Success! It kept tomato soup off her shirt!

 I finished 4 more diapers as well, bringing my total to 8, which is enough to get LB through a normal day. I am not sure I will use the cloth at night because I would need to change him about every 4 hours and I don't want to wake him if he is sleeping (which is not an issue right now, he is not sleeping well at all). I learned today that the diapers also fit Monkey, so it would be good if I had them both wearing cloth all day and only do disposables at night when they need more absorbency.  

Handsome man in his cloth diaper.

I have basted a few more hexies, but not very many and I don't know how many are done now. 

Lastly, I have been drafting my first quilt block pattern. I can tell you that it is going to be a paper pieced block, and it is nerdy. I won't say more about it now because it deserves a post all of it's own and I hope to get started on sewing a trial block tonight. It should be interesting because I have never sewn a paper pieced block (maybe someone wiser would try sewing one first based on someone else's pattern before starting to draft a pattern of their own). 


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Another PUL Project: Monkey's Bib

Since we started feeding LB solids just over a month ago Monkey has been way more interested in wearing a bib again when she is eating. I have a few cloth bibs that she has been soaking with yogurt/soup/etc. while LB uses a nice,  easy to wipe clean taffeta bib (Kushies brand). I was getting tired of having to keep the few cloth bibs in rotation for her and thought 'Hey, I have a Babyville Boutique Pattern for PUL bibs'. Turns out I have actually misplaced the pattern, but I still have the instructions.

I started by tracing the bib LB is uses onto a sheet of mylar (this way I can make lots more all the same). Then I cut 2 full bibs (a front and back) and one piece for a pocket. I folded the top of the pocket  over and stitched it down.

I sewed the pocket onto the front piece, then I stitched the front (with pocket) and back together wrong sides together, leaving a 2 inch gap at the bottom so it could be turned inside out.

I snipped the seam allowances on the curves to help them turn, then turned it right side out. I gave it a light press with low heat to help the seams to lay flat.

I top stitched all around the edge to hold the layers together and flat. Then added hook tape to one flap and loop tape to the other.

Voila! A bib for Monkey that is easy to wipe clean.

I'm thinking I should probably make a few more of these, but first I need a decent sized stash of diapers. 


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

March Weigh In

After doing poorly at getting anywhere on my New Year's Resolution of getting more regular exercise, eating better and losing my baby weight, I decided in late February that my long list of excuses for not getting anywhere on my goals were lame (go here to see the list). It was time for a change. I set myself some goals and decided to hold myself accountable by blogging about it (goals outlined here).

So here is the official update. At 5 weeks since making my list of excuses, I have done something active for all but 2 days. This has been a combination of walking, yoga, pilates and crossfit. My eating habits have improved a little, but not as much as I had originally set out in my goals. I have stopped drinking my coffee with milk and sugar, and in the process cut way back on my coffee intake because it isn't nearly as tasty. I am not doing well at reducing portion sizes, I found the first couple weeks of way more exercise to be making me more hungry and it was a huge challenge to be keeping track of what I was eating. Hopefully, in the months to come I can tackle the food challenges I have. Also, in the last couple weeks I have been sleeping way better (LB hasn't been, so I have perfected the art of sleeping in a high-backed armed chair).

All in all I am feeling lots better about myself than I was 5 weeks ago. In my yoga practices I am feeling more flexible and more steady. I can hold postures longer than I could when I started and my breathing is smoother and more consistent. At CrossFit I am finding that I enjoy the challenges it poses with every class. New strength training excises are pushing my boundaries, and ones I have repeated are getting better. Mostly I have only worked with light weight while I figure out proper technique, but it is feeling easier. I can do way more squats now than I could 5 weeks ago, and I am closer to my goal of doing a pull-up/chin-up without any resistance band helping me.

As of March 31 here are my new stats (and the change from my starting stats from February 25th, 2013)

Weight: 236 lbs (down 6 lbs)
Chest: 36 inches (down 1 inch)
Waist: 41 inches (down 1 inch)
Hips: 50.5 inches (down 0.5 inches)

And Photos:
Feb 27, 2013 - Start
March 31, 2013 - 5 week Check In

I have a ways to go, but I am glad I have started on a path towards being fitter and healthier. Thanks for everyone's words of encouragement.