Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wow, it's been a while

So much has happened since my last post.  Here are the highlights:
1) Went to visit Baby's birthparents.  All went well.  It was like a visit with friends.  Baby was 15 months or so and her birth brother was about 2 and a half years old. Baby's birthparents had asked us to adopt from them again and we said Yes! But a week after the visit and a month before the due date, the birthparents decided to parent the impending baby.  We are so disappointed but...
2) we are preparing an application to an adoption agency.
3) Baby and I joined a play group via MeetUp and that's going well.  We've gotten friendly with a pair of twins and a set of triplets and their nannies.  Baby, being a singleton, is a bit overwhelmed by it, but she's getting better.
4) I've been sewing dresses and tunics for me and Baby. Baby's now walking and getting into all kinds of things, so I can sew  -- and more importantly, cut out fabric using the floor -- when she's napping or after she's in bed for the night.  Sometimes, I can do some sewing when she's awake. She'll play with supplies on the floor next to me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Having Issues

Got a new phone, the iPhone 5 and now I'm having trouble uploading pictures from the phone to the blog.  Installed the Blogger app so I could post from the iPhone but that's not working either.  Blergh.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Back from Vacation and Growing Up

Last week we went to Husband's family reunion on the shores of Lake Ontario on the US side.  It was Baby's first time there.  She enjoyed the fresh air, walking around on grass, crawling and walking up and down and up and down the ramp.

She got along with all the relatives and they were all attentive and impressed by how well-behaved she was. Other than at shower time, nor at restaurants.  We're going to have to fix that.

Husband spent summers there, growing up, and when we started dating in our 20s, I would go as well.  The vacations then were about late nights on the porch barbequing with lots of beer. Then our 30s when we were all employed and no kids, it was restaurants, late nights, barbequing, and wine and beer and spirits. Now that we're all in our 40s and with a baby around, it's back to eating at the cottage and beer, but not such late nights any more.

Now that we're in our 40s, we see a rift between the family members of our generation who have stable employment and have "grown up" and those who have taken different paths and need financial support from the others. Part of it is due to the economy slacking, but part of it is due to their "naivete about needing money to negociate life in the world" as one of the older generation put it. Or as others put it, "being lazy slackers who will ride on you until you throw them off."

It'll be interesting to see how this develops into the future.  

Anyway, overall, 5 days away from the world was lovely.  Highlights:
1) Lots of people to love on Baby
2) Good to catch up with family and friends
3) Going off the internet grid
4) Lots of BBQing
5) Sitting on the porch swing, listening to birdsong, leaves rustling, waves lapping
6) wore me-mades everyday.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sewing Roundup

I've been on a clothes sewing kick.  But I can only sew, and more importantly cut out pattern pieces, when the baby is napping.

But this is what I've made since I last posted 6 weeks ago:

This was supposed to be the Enchantment Under the Sea dress from Stitch Savvy by Deborah Moebes.  Made from Kaffe Fassett's Roman Glass fabric. I love this print and colorway.  I spent forever trying cut out the bodice so there's no unfortunately placed dots, and in the end, I just made it into a skirt. The waistband is orange bias tape. It's got the longest invisible zipper down the back, since I just used the zipper meant for the dress.

This is the Picnic Blanket Skirt from Tilly and the Buttons. The fabric is orange and white seersucker and pearly white plastic buttons. Per the instructions, there's an inch of ease, but I didn't like it.  Eventually I pinched in the sides.

Husband went to Salt Lake City for work and he brought home this shirt for me.  But I don't wear clothes that say things.  So I cut down and made into a shirt for the 1 year old baby.  I didn't hem any of the edges.

This is the dress New Look 6184.  The fabric is quilting cotton printed by balls of yarn with knitting needles. I thought it would look silly or quirky (which it is) but the first person who saw me in it, it took her a few minutes of conversation before she noticed the print. Instead of facing, I used bias tape around the neck and armholes. I've gotten compliments both times that I've worn it.  I'm really proud of it, since it's the most complicated dress I've made so far.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Baby's first birthday

She turned 1 year old last week.  We took her to Taiwan to meet my parents, who are thrilled to finally see, hold, and touch their first and only grandchild.

Here we are at a baseball game and she fell asleep. My mom's holding her while my dad's holding her hand. My father's calling her gim swn, which means golden grandchild in Taiwanese.

They've already asked when they can come stateside to visit her (yes, Husband and I've been demoted, but that's okay).  It may be October, when they have a bit of downtime in their business. This gives my dad enough time to get his knees fixed so he can keep up with Baby.  She'll be walking and running by October!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Been sewing

Tunic O from Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori
Skirt: New Look 6873
A-Line Skirt from Stitch by Stitch book by Deborah Moebes
Dress A from Stylish Dress Book
My sewing nook in the corner of my bedroom

My sister asked me how I manage to get so much sewing done when I have a baby.  My answer:  I do it when she's napping.  Also, I don't really do much knitting anymore.  I'm trying to give my thumb a rest.  I did do a bunch of knitting while watching some "Lost Girl" but the pain's flared up again so I'm taking a break from knitting.  

I've bought 2 classes from  How to Design and Make an A-Line Skirt by Deborah Moebes and Sewing with Knits by Meg McElwee.  I finished watching the A-Line Skirt class, but have yet to make anything from it. It's really informative and has helped me understand shaping better.

I'm currently watching the Sewing with Knits class and am looking forward to making the Surplice Dress from it. I really like Tunic O from Stylish Dress Book, but the sleeves are constricting.  I want to remake the tunic in a knit for more flexibility.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Regina, Mothers, and TV Recaps

It's been a while since I've watched Once Upon a Time but I keep up with it via recaps at  I just watched episode The Miller's Daughter and I thought it was very well done.  The moment when Cora and Regina just smile happily at each other was just wonderful.

Regina started out the series as the Big Bad, but I really like her character.  As the series goes on, she's shown to have been as manipulated as anyone else, and the way she tries to be "good" for the sake of Henry really gives the show heart.

And speaking of recaps at io9, this recap of Arrow  made me laugh. ( )  Arrow's been on my to-watch list, but this recap may be the one that pushes me to start.

Lastly, we finally saw Brave, the Pixar movie.  I loved the mother-daughter theme, and thought the animation was so well done.  The little moments were sweet too, like at the end when Elinor regains human shape and kisses Merida all over the face. Which parent hasn't done that to their little ones?

Husband thought that the witch was reminiscent of the witch in Spirited Away.  That's not surprising as John Lasseter at Pixar is a big fan of Hideo Miyazaki's movies.

My take-aways from Brave:  be very specific what you ask for in spells and really, more conversations and openness between Merida and Queen Elinor would have avoided this whole mess.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

What to do without a thumb?

Well, I do still have both thumbs.  It's just that my lifetime of knitting (well, 20+ years) has given me thumb and wrist problems on my left hand.  So I've learned how to knit without using my left thumb and it's slooooow going.

I am so close to finishing Husband's City Lights blanket and that's what I'll focus on for, um, I guess this year.

So more time will go into sewing, which does not (yet) hurt me.  That's slow going too, as I can only do it when Baby naps.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dress Muslins

I've made 3 muslins (no, not Muslims, autocorrect) from Stylish Dress Book. None of them have worked out quite right yet but I'm going to try making a dress -length Tunic O with some cotton voile I ordered from  

Part of the problem with ordering on-line is that there's no sense of scale.  It turns out the flowers on the fabric are 8 inches across. That's just too big for me, but at least making another dress from it will let me know how voile's hand works with the pattern. 

If it still doesn't work, I'm going to move onto another pattern.  Maybe the Claire Cami tank dress from Sew Serendipity.

In doing an image search on the dress, I came across the Patty the Snug Bug blog.  She's made several of these dresses and looks really cute in them, so that's a good sign.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I Made a Dress! and what I'm watching on TV

This is the Crepe pattern from Colette.  It's a wrap dress that wraps in the back, so no zippers.  I used some white quilting cotton that had on hand and then used scarlet RIT dye.

Then the first time I wore it, it tore at the underarm.  Not the seam, the actual fabric. Also, the bodice doesn't fit so well. I don't know that I'll wear it much or make it again.  If I do, next time I'll use a patterned fabric so any wonkiness and wrinkles will be camouflaged. 

Still, I'm encouraged to keep sewing.  I've ordered 2 Japanese sewing books (translated into English)
Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom I Am Cute Dresses: 25 Simple Designs to Sew

And in other topics, I'm really enjoying the show Continuum on Syfy.  I think it's the best science fiction show on US TV right now.  Here's a review in the New York Times that explains why.

I'm really digging Scandal.  Each episode is packed with twists and it's over the top. Here's an article about what makes it so watchable.  On the one hand, it's so soapy and over the top. On the other hand, US politics is so full of back office dealing and so gonzo nuts that the stuff on Scandal is believable.

And last but not least, The Walking Dead returns tonight!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blanket or sweater?

This is all my bulky weight wool yarn.  It's a mix of Manos del Uraguay, Lamb's Pride Bulky, Lion Brand, and 2 balls of Misty Alpaca.

I want to make a sweater, but I don't think I have enough of any one color for it.

Because the wool's not the softest stuff (oh Malabrigo, how you've spoiled me), I may make a Mitered Crosses blanket out of it. Maybe use the reds as the backgrounds for the crosses?  Or I should mix it all up and make the background some neutral color instead.  I'll have to play around with it.

However, I need to finish Husband's bulky weight wool blanket first.  I am on the last of the 9 colored strips, then there's the all black strips that join the colored strips....

But the end is in sight!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Crash Course!

Thanks to The Mary Sue blog, I learned about Crash Course!  a series on YouTube that teaches about world history, literature, and science.

ETA: today, they started a course about US history

I watched the video about Emily Dickinson as highlighted at The Mary Sue, then Chinese History, and now I'm starting at the beginning of the World History course.  Each video includes animation and the on-camera narrator is John Green.  I've read his book Will Grayson, Will Grayson which I recommend.  It's about teen boys and their travails about love, identity, and sexual oriention.  There are 2 boys named Will Grayson in neighboring towns.  One is straight, one is gay, and both are connected by another boy named Tiny.  Who is not tiny, of course.

Anyway. Each video is about 10 minutes, which is about how long it takes my baby to drink a 4 oz bottle.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Once Upon a Time, Grimm, Lost Girl and October Daye

What do these things have in common?  They're TV shows and a book series about monsters, the supernatural and fairies.  Or the Fae, as they call it in Lost Girl.  October Daye is a half-human, half-fairy private detective who works for both humans and fairies.

I started reading the October (Toby) Daye books because of this post by the author, Seanan McGuire, called Things I will not do to my characters. Ever. Basically, she swears that she will never subject her female characters to sexual assault. How revolutionary is that?

I've been buying her books and downloading them onto my e-reader, one right after the other, pretty much every 3 or 4 days.  Plenty of bad enough things (being turned into a fish, losing family, being beaten, being shot, losing their home and protector, dying, etc.) happen to Toby and other characters in the course of their investigations that sexual assault is not necessary to increase the drama and tension.

What prompted this post was me trying to think about Once Upon a Time. The set up is interesting, strong female characters abound, the central quests are dramatic.  Heck, Jane Espenson from the Whedon coterie (not sure if that's the right term) works on it! However, something prevents me from being as into it as I would like.

Then contrast OUAT with Grimm. Again, I like the set up (I like police procedures), the central quest is dramatic. However, there are very, very few female characters and many episodes will go by before 2 of the female characters will interact, let alone meet the Bechdel Test. And yet, I find myself enjoying Grimm more. Perhaps it's the police procedural thing. Or the Monster of the Week format.

It brings to mind Revenge vs. Scandal, 2 nighttime soaps I'm watching.  I like Scandal more because it's got the Client of the Week, plus it's got a political setting, which I like. Revenge used to have the Takedown of the Week, but since it's moved away from that, it's not as interesting for me anymore. Both have overarching conspiracies, but I'm enjoying Scandal's more.  Maybe, again, I enjoy politics more than business scheming, or whatever the Initiative on Revenge is doing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Lizzie Bennett Diaries

I just discovered this webseries ( It updates Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" to current day USA.  Lizzie is now a grad student in communications and the story is presented as her video blog.  Jane works in fashion, Lydia is an underage partier.  There is no Kitty and Mary.  Bingley is now Bing Lee, a rich medical student.  Charlotte Lucas is Charlotte Lu a videographer, and Mr. Collins is trying to break into the video business with the backing of a venture capitalist.  

I've only gotten up to episode 30, where Jane and Lizzie are staying with Bing and Caroline Lee and Darcy while the Bennett house is being remodeled for sale.  So far, I've only seen on camera Lizzie, Charlotte, Jane, Lydia, Caroline, Bing, and Collins (at VidCon). 

It's a clever, charming and entertaining series.  I'm an Austen fan, though not as much as my sister, and it's fun picking out the references to the book, to the BBC miniseries with Collin Firth, and even to "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies."

Each episode is about 5 minutes long, which makes it easy to watch an episode or two whenever I have time. 

Ah, time.  What a concept. On the one hand, I have to keep an eye on the baby at all times, since she's crawling now and getting into plants, grabbing at stuff, putting who-knows-what in  her mouth.  On the other hand, she can also play with her toys by herself, so I don't have to entertain/teach/interact with her all the time.  For example, right now, she's sitting on the floor next to me...and a lot of potted plants. 

I'm going to try to blog more often.  Maybe try the 15 minute lightening blogging that Mason-Dixon Knitting is doing. We'll see how that goes.