Thursday, March 27, 2014

Saturday tea party

Tea party

Last Saturday, Edmund was "inspired" by a Tasha Tudor book I read aloud to the children and requested tea and cookies. I told him he could help me make some cookies while Lavinia was napping, and they could have a tea party after she woke up. I have been slowly converting my pantry to be Trim Healthy Mama-friendly (this is my post-partum weight loss strategy -- so far, so good!), which means no sugar in the house! I had coconut sugar and honey but I wanted to make some cookies that I could eat too. :) I did a quick Google search and we tweaked a recipe I found in the THM forums. Not all of the THM recipes I've tried have been "keepers" but these were so rich and yummy I would definitely make them again! I believe these would be considered an "S" dessert, despite the oatmeal, because the amount is so small (unless you eat them all in one sitting, tee hee).
  • 1/4 c. Truvia + sprinkles of NuNaturals Pure Stevia Extract to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup unsweetened, dried coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
In a heavy saucepan, bring to boil the sweetener, cocoa, butter and almond milk. Let boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and add peanut butter, vanilla, coconut flakes, and oatmeal. On a plate lined with waxed paper, drop mixture by teaspoonfuls, then stick in the fridge until cooled and hardened. Makes 1-1/2 dozen.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Irish Blessing

(Thanks to my mom for this delightful estate sale find!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shannon's Banbury Cross Cardigan

I'm a little late in posting this thanks to a certain new addition at our house -- almost all of my free time goes toward napping or cleaning the house these days! But I wanted to draw your attention to Shannon's adorable version of the Banbury Cross Cardigan for her toddler son. I love the tweedy look of the sweater she used! Shannon was kind enough to give her thoughts on the pattern, along with the photos of her finished sweater, so head over to Thoughts and Thimbles and check out her post on A Little Something for a Little Man!

Friday, February 28, 2014

"Winter Skies" dress: Burda Kids 9503

Burda Kids 9503

I made this dress for Lavinia before Rosamund was born, but never got around to photographing it for the ol' blog. A few months ago, my mother-in-law visited an indie fabric store and asked if I was looking for anything specific. I requested cotton corduroy in soft colors for a winter dress for Lavinia, and she delivered! I got this pretty length of sky blue and I also have some light grey, perhaps to be made into something next winter. I used Burda Kids 9503 as a pattern and followed it pretty closely, only making a few changes (lengthening the dress to knee-length and making an elastic casing at the cuffs instead of sewing a cuff and placket).

Burda Kids 9503

The pattern itself is fine, but the instructions leave a little to be desired. I gather that Burda patterns are translated from German and they don't seem to be proofread very well! A few warnings if you want to attempt this pattern -- the bias binding for the neckline is way too short, as a few other reviewers have noted. Also, the button placket instructions are terrible. Unless you have done this sort of placket before, definitely practice on some scraps first! Otherwise, the dress goes together pretty intuitively.

Burda Kids 9503

For fun, I finished some of the inside seams with homemade bias binding, made from leftover scraps of softest blue dotted swiss.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Tiniest Rosebud

Our precious second daughter, Rosamund Irene, was born right on her due date, February 3, at 2:37pm! She weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and is 21-1/2 inches long. We are so thankful for this beautiful little blessing in our lives.


I didn't mean to neglect my blog so much in January, but we ended up having quite a month. In the middle of week 37 of my pregnancy, I came down with a case of respiratory influenza -- fever, chills, cough, sore throat, congestion, laryngitis -- the whole shebang. Thankfully my fever didn't last more than a day or so, but I lost my voice and had a bad sore throat for close to two weeks. My voice gradually improved and by the middle of week 39, I felt well enough that I could handle the thought of going through labor! So it was truly an answer to prayer that Rosamund stayed in the womb longer than my other children, to give me plenty of time to recover.

Now I can say I've done it all -- birthing center, homebirth, and hospital birth! Rosamund was my first baby to be born in a hospital and I'm thankful that all went well and I was able to have a natural birth. The laws in our state are not favorable toward homebirths or midwives, so options are limited here. When I became pregnant, I began seeing the only practicing midwife in our area for prenatal care, with plans to give birth at the hospital under her care. However, when I was seven months along, I learned that she was leaving the local practice to work 2-1/2 hours away. We were torn about what to do but eventually decided to continue the local care with a female OB who was sympathetic to my desires for a natural birth.

I still wanted some naturally-minded support at the birth and one morning, God gave me the idea of using a doula, something I have not done before. He even planted a specific person in my mind -- my friend Hannah from church. I didn't know her that well, but I knew that she had attended her sister's birth and supported her in a difficult labor, and that she had had natural hospital births herself. I approached Hannah about it and was delighted to find that she truly has an interest in helping women give birth, as a gifting from the Lord! This was to be one of the biggest blessings of Rosamund's birth. Hannah was so helpful, calm, and encouraging to have with me at the hospital; honestly I'm not sure how I would have gotten through my toughest labor without her support.

I was expecting that my third labor might be the quickest yet, but it wasn't. I woke up at 2:30am with contractions and labored through the night at home. We decided to head for the hospital around 11am and I got checked in about half an hour later. When the nurse gave me an exam, she proclaimed me to be 9cm dilated with a bulging bag of waters! We all thought the birth was imminent, but it ended up taking another three hours of hard labor before she was born. My water just would not break. Eventually, I decided to ask the OB to perform an amniotomy because I knew, based on my past births, that things would go very quickly for me after that. As we were waiting the 45 minutes or so for her to come, Douglas prayed that my water would break soon. When the OB did arrive, I was going through an intense contraction so she waited, instrument in hand, ready to break my bag of waters. Mid-contraction, I felt that familiar gush and an urge to push! One more pushing contraction and our daughter had entered the world. I couldn't believe God's amazing timing!

[Roses for Rosie -- one of a dozen sent to us by a friend after her birth]

I'm used to recovering at home so we decided to stay just 24 hours and then head home. It was nice to have the staff to wait on us, but it was hardly a restful environment to recuperate with lots of nurses in and out, plus construction on the floor above us and outside our window starting promptly at 7am! I'm so thankful for yet another smooth, complication-free birth and a healthy baby. I am recuperating well and enjoying cuddling a newborn again. Edmund and Lavinia love having a sister and we're all adjusting to life as a family of FIVE!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Velvet and silk

The big event of our January (so far!) has been the wedding of Douglas's younger brother in western Colorado shortly after the New Year. Trying to figure out what to wear to a wedding when you're massively pregnant is a bit of a challenge, shall we say? There are very few places to buy maternity clothes nearby, even if I liked the styles that are offered, and even if I had the extra money to buy a new outfit anyway! So I was honestly just going to wear one of my three knit maternity maxi dresses -- not very dressy, but it's what I have. However, about a week before the wedding, I started thinking about how my husband (Best Man) and son (Ringbearer) were going to be all dressed up, and Lavinia would be in her Christmas dress, and then there'd be me in my blah jersey knit. :-P I decided I had to come up with something a little fancier!

self-made maternity outfit

My challenge was to make this from my stash, and quickly (I only had a few days to get it done). I had purchased a bolt of black ponte roma knit at a garage sale earlier in the fall, so I decided to make a basic pencil skirt from that. I didn't have a pattern, but loosely based it on pictures of Megan Neilsen's ruched maternity skirt. This was actually really quite easy to make, and extremely comfortable.

The top was a bit more of a challenge -- I don't have many fancy fabrics in my stash, but I did buy several yards of aubergine rayon velvet at the same garage sale. I found an 1/8 yard swatch of cranberry polyester chiffon in my scrap stash that coordinated with the velvet, so I used that for the yoke to add some interest. Since the chiffon was sheer and I didn't want to have to wear any special strapless undergarments (ugh), I underlined it with rose-colored silk georgette left over from my sister-in-law's 1910s tea gown. I then found some plum-colored velvet ribbon I had in my stash to pull it all together for a "colorblock" effect. The design of the top is totally simple, essentially a square top, but since I am pregnant it was more of a trapezoid shape. :) It's a good thing I kept the design simple because velvet, chiffon, and silk are super fiddly fabrics!

I would have made some different design choices if I had more time and different fabric options, but in the end it was nice to have something reasonably elegant to wear along with the rest of my family. I was hoping to get a decent family photo of the four of us, but we were all going in pretty different directions all day long and the only ones I have are blurry, ill-lit shots from the end of the reception. This is typical of family photos of us, anyway, so here we are in all our dressed up, but exhausted, glory!

At the wedding

It was a beautiful winter wedding, though, and we were so happy to be a part of it, and to welcome a new sister-in-law into the family! Now on to the next Big Event, hopefully in just a few short weeks...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tutorial: How to make a fabric rosette

How to make a fabric rosette

If you want to make an elegant-looking fabric rosette, with no raw edges showing, first sew a long tube (maybe 30" or so) of fabric, about 3/4" to 1" wide. (The length of your tube will determine the size of the finished rosette -- err on the long side if you are unsure.) Press the seam allowance open, the turn the tube right side out and press it flat, with the seam along one edge.

1. Tie a single knot near one end. With needle and thread, stitch the knot, from beneath, to a scrap of buckram or heavy-duty interfacing (not the iron-on kind), at least as wide and tall as you want the final rosette to be.
2. Take the long tail and pull it upwards, then take two securing stitches through the inside edge of the tail, near the knot.
3. Working around the knot, pull the tail around again and take two more securing stitches, near the knot.
4. Twist the tail -- or don't, this is an organic process and really just based on how it looks as you go. Take more securing stitches.
5-7. Work your way around, twisting or flipping the fabric as you wish, taking more stitches through the buckram or interfacing, to secure the rosette. Keep going around in a spiral, trying to keep the shape roughly circular, until you are satisfied with the size of the rosette.
8. Flip the rosette over and trim the buckram as close as possible to the stitches you've made.
9. Tuck the end of the fabric tail underneath the rose, secure with stitches, and trim.
10. A lovely finished rosette!