Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hadley's Hat

While waiting for more yarn to arrive to finish the last three rows on the fair isle sweater I'm knitting for Arden, I finished up a cute little flower hat for Hadley.

It's the same pattern to coordinate with the one I made in purple for Arden last fall.  It's from Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson.

This time I wasn't a rusty knitter and didn't knit into the backside for the entire project like I did for Arden's.  I'm supposed to say it gives it character, but we know the truth...

Hadley's is a little on the big side, but that gives it room to grow.  At the rate she's growing, it's a good thing!  Arden's hat still fits her a year later, so I'll get one more season of use.  Plus, the coat and snow pants I bought are still fitting - go slowing growth rate!

All the hats in the book are adorable and look super quick and easy - I should have tried a different one, but I couldn't resist the matching sister hats.  I'll have to get a picture of the two of them together in their upside-down daisy hats!

Hadley was getting hungry during the photo shoot so she was trying desperately to find her fingers.  I had just fed her, but obviously she didn't think it was enough.

I have a weekly knit night on Thursday during which I should be able to finish the sweater for Arden - if my yarn comes in time.  If it doesn't, I guess I'll just have to start a new project.  Maybe something for me?!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Breastfeeding and Running

This post was requested by one of my lovely readers (thanks folks - without you, only my Mom would be reading what I put here!!).  I make no claim to be an expert in the matter, but I am 1. a runner, and 2. a breastfeeding mother.

So, first and foremost to run while breastfeeding you'll need a really good supportive bra.  I really like the Moving Comfort bras like the Helena, Fiona, Juno, or Rebound Racer.

Moving Comfort Women's Fiona Sports Bra - Dick's Sporting GoodsMoving Comfort Women's Rebound Racer Sports Bra - Dick's Sporting Goods

These are all really supportive bras which is great for larger, milk-laden breasts.  One major bonus for each of these is that there is a Velcro closure on the front to adjust the bra which also makes them really handy for quick feedings or pumping.  I have four of the Helena and they have been really great.  I'm not sure how often I'd need to feed my daughter with sweaty boobs, but it might happen.  I have had to pump in the sports bra - I ran an adventure race while still breastfeeding and by the time we were heading home it was really time to pump!

Second, you'll want to time your runs so you head out right after feeding or pumping.  It's bad enough when you start to fill up and feel engorged - you don't want to be bouncing around like that.  Brings a whole new meaning to "my milk shake brings the boys to the yard"! 

The last thing that comes to mind about breastfeeding and running is to give yourself time.  I mean, the whole reason you're breastfeeding is that you just had a baby.  If you were a runner before, it's going to take some time to get back into the swing of things.  If you're just starting out, it's a lot to take on a new sport with a new body.  Give yourself some credit for what your body has just accomplished. 

Right now I'm going to physical therapy to address the stress incontinence that came with two vaginal deliveries and the accompanying epesiotomies.  She doesn't want me running until we've started to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles.  I'm itching to get out, but I don't want to run around with wet pants!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

So close!

Aaagh!  I'm literally within 3 rows of completing the fair isle sweater I'm knitting for Arden, and I've run out of yarn!

All the pieces are there and ready to go as soon as I finish the button band, but I need like 4 feet of the main color yarn.  What a pain!

Luckily, I had seen the writing on the wall and ordered another skein a couple of days ago from Yarn Paradise.  I've ordered from them before, and the response time is very quick, so I'm expecting a package within the next day or two and I can wrap things up.  I've looked around for this Debby Bliss Baby Cashmerino, but it's an older color and none of my local yarn shops carry it anymore.

Don't you just hate when a project gets delayed midway through?  I guess I'll work on the little flower hat for Hadley until my yarn arrives.  Then I just need to wait for a sunny day to get pictures of the two of them wearing their cute fair isle sweaters together!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Too Cool T-shirt Quilt

This was a BB (Before Blogging) project that I've been meaning to post about for some time, because I think it truly is a too cool t-shirt quilt.  Most t-shirt quilts I've seen are 1. cut a uniform size, regardless of the design on the shirt, 2. backed with stiff interfacing, and 3. have sashing strips to border each square.  The Too Cool T-shirt quilt method gives a really amazing quilt that has none of these!

Andrea Funk, the creater of Too Cool T-shirt Quilts developed a unique way of constructing a t-shirt quilt so that the design is captured and highlighted and you end up with a beautifully soft quilt without stiff interfacing.  I first saw this method at a booth Andrea had set up at a race finish.  As you can see from my quilt, I've run a number of races from 5ks to Marathons.  And this isn't even all of my shirts up until the time I created the quilt!

I won't get into the details of the construction - you can buy the book through her website or on Amazon if you want to do it yourself, but it involves templates of varying size, and some math to make it all work out.  The book is very descriptive and I didn't have any trouble putting my gigantic quilt top together.  She describes how to address issues like off-grain printing and sewing with knits, as well as tricks to making this style of quilt work, like working in sections and adding a temporary binding.

You can send a box full of t-shirts to them to do the entire thing, buy the book and piece the top and have them quilt it (what I did), or complete the whole thing yourself by tying the quilt or long arm quilting it yourself.

Here's my pieced top all set up to be quilted!  They sent me these pictures as it was being processed.  Getting this quilted was a birthday present from my husband several years back.

Here it is in progress - she looks like she's ready to jam out while she sews!

On each shirt, they'll either freehand a design, or trace the outline of the shirt design.  This is the shirt from my first marathon!

Here's the backside of the Honolulu Marathon shirt - they outlined "finisher" and added a starburst design around it.

Another traced image.  Sorry for the fuzzies on the quilt - I probably should have thought about backing it in black (or should have gotten out the lint roller before taking pictures)!

This is not a sponsored post but I REALLY like this method for preserving your t-shirts in a beautiful and unique way.  This would be a wonderful gift for someone.  The book is $16.37 on Amazon, and I think it's absolutely worth it.  The cost of having it quilted isn't cheap (especially for my gigantic king sized one!), but the workmanship is top notch and it's a bargain in my opinion.  Plus, you know they know how to handle quilting on knits, which isn't the case for most long-arm quilters.

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Mommy Nest

So, if you've read any of my posts lately, you know I've got a new cutie in my life.  I thought I'd give you a little glimpse into what my world looks like on a daily basis right now...

I spend 80% of my time on the living room sofa.  It's littered with the paraphanalia of a nursing mother plus a couple of odds and ends.  On my right is a beautiful patchwork pillow my aunt hand quilted and on it are my nursing pads (which should be in my bra so I can slather myself with lanolin as Hadley is trying valiantly to inhale me nipple first!), my baby logbook - I love these little Moleskine notepads for this - I have one filled up with notes about Arden when she was an infant as well.  I'm also working on Arden's sweater every chance I get, so there's yarn and scissors over here right now as well.

The Boppy and a burp cloth are close at hand as well.  We like to use the Boppy for holding as well, to give our arms a break.

On my left side is my in-progress sweater and the pattern book, TiVo controller, and my Blackberry.  TiVo keeps me sane as there are always programs to watch in the middle of the night and I can just pause and watch the rest during the next feeding.  I check my e-mail and sometimes read blogs on my reader using my phone.  I currently have 417 unread blog entries in my Reader, but that's down from over 900 after the first week home with Hadley and not reading anything.  I love seeing all the creativity, but I have to admit to scanning through most of them very quickly at this point.

And of course, my trusty pump is right next to me in my nest as well.  I've been trying to build a better relationship with my pump this time to make sure my supply gets stronger.  I'll pump if it's been more than an hour or so since the last feeding, or if ChubbaChunk (another pet name for Hadley) falls asleep before draining both breasts.

And this is my view from my nest - Hadley on her play mat, or in her swing.  During this session of tummy time she fell asleep so I couldn't resist snapping a photo.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Just couldn't resist posting this picture of my littlest cutie snoozing this afternoon.  I'm making good progress on the fair isle sweater, so hopefully will have a finished sweater to share soon!  I'm working on the fair isle part, which is the most fun.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

DIY: Ladder Shelf From Reclaimed Wood

Whew!  It's been over two weeks since my last post.  I guess I've been a bit busy with these two cuties...

And I've been knitting every chance I get to finish the fair isle sweater for Arden that I started to match Hadley's 3-6 month one that she's threatening to outgrow any day...

Then my inlaws were visiting, which gave me some spare time and access to my father in law to help with a project for the house - a ladder shelf from wood we reclaimed from the demolition of our old garage.

It took three days' nap times to finish, but it ended up coming out pretty much exactly as I'd hoped.  I was limited to the lumber we had available, so the top three shelves are 2" thick and 8" deep and the bottom two are 1" thick and 10" deep.  I had to rip a piece of lumber in half for the side rails.

I didn't take photos along the way, as we were already working with limited time.  The basic construction was to figure out the angle and placement of the shelves and then I notched out 1" deep slots on the side pieces to receive the shelves.  I did this using a circular saw set to a 1" depth and then making a series of cuts.  Then I knocked those out with a hammer and used a chisel to clean them up.  The shelves are held in place with a 4" bolt.  I put rubber grippers on the bottom so the shelf won't move without having to drill into the hardwood floors.  The top is attached to the plaster wall with two molly bolts (the ones with the butterfly looking thingy on the end).

I'm still working on the arrangement of items on the shelves, but the intention is for it to hold fabric and other sewing accessories to allow my sewing desk to stay a little clearer.

What do you think?  This only cost bolts and grippers to complete, and I think it fits well with the current barnwood furniture trend.



I'm submitting this project to:


A reader asked for more detailed instructions as she is considering tackling a similar project, so I thought I'd share what I sent to her - here goes, I hope it helps!

Okay - first, I found the pieces for my side rails - I had to rip a piece in half to get two that were long enough.  You want these pieces to be more or less square and big enough to be sturdy - mine ended up being like 2" x 3".  Then you need to figure out how far away from the wall you want the bottom to rest.  I had a large grate for the air return to span, so my bottom measurement was 18.5" from the wall.  I would recommend having it a little closer if you can.  Then your shelves won't be as far from the wall on the bottom.  You'll also need to have your ceiling height measurement, less any crown moulding. 

There's probably some mathematical way or a nifty tool to determine the angles you need to cut on top and bottom, but we cheated and used cracks in my driveway to line up the side rails 18.5" out from one crack, and our top measurement for the part resting on the wall.  Then we just marked the angle to cut with a straight edge lined up with the cracks.  Make sense?  You could use chalk to mark out lines if you don't have the expansion cracks in your driveway or garage to use.

Then we brought our pieces inside and rested them in place and made sure they were plumb and level.  Using a level, I marked lines for the shelves on one of the side rails.  Mine ended up being about 17" apart.  Outside, I transferred my marks to the other board.  I set the depth on my circular saw to 1" and cut right on the lines I marked and then made a series of cuts close together in between.  Using a hammer, I knocked these pieces out and then used a chisel to scrape out the rest.

Then we cut our boards to the length we wanted and dry fit them in place with the ladder on it's side.  Since my boards were two different widths, I have the bottom two parallel, and the top three parallel.  I used the cracks in the driveway to mimick the "wall" again and measured from the crack and from the side rails to get them the same on the right and left rails.  You'll have some of the boards very close to the backside and then working up to having them very close to the frontside.  Once I had everything lined up the way I wanted, I drilled a pilot hole and then put the bolts in.  I attached rubber grippers to the bottom so I wouldn't have to drill into our hardwood floors.

We brought the ladder inside and set it up in place.  I measured where I wanted the molly bolts to go and then drilled pilot holes for the bolt size, making sure to go into the wall a bit.  Then I drilled a much larger hole to accept the butterfly part of the molly bolt into the wall using the mark from the pilot hole.  Put the bolt through the wood and attach the butterfly part making sure it's close enough to the end to make it through the wall and open.  Then tighten the molly bolt so the butterfly part grabs inside the wall.  You might have to pull the bolt towards you while you tighten it so the butterfly part catches.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hadley Marie - One Month

Our sweet little Hadley has reached her first milestone - one month!  After initial concerns about failing to gain weight after leaving the hospital, she's made up for it in fine form and at her one month check was 11 pounds, 4 ounces and 23 inches long.  Both measurements put her in the 97th percentile - quite a change from Arden who was 15th percentile for weight and was nearly three months old when she was Hadley's size now.

She's a super snuggler, and pretty quiet unless she needs something.  We started calling her "mouse" at the hospital because she was quiet except for some squeaks.  I've added "Gus", after the chunky mouse on Cinderella now that she's gotten into her eating groove.  She likes to fall asleep while eating, and then get really upset as soon as you try to put her down to sleep; begging for more.  This is a bit tiring at night when I get up to nurse her, but I'm getting the routine down a bit now.  She sleeps in three hour stretches and is creeping up on four hours, so that's not too shabby for one month.  I'm not able to keep up with her appetitie solely with breastfeeding and expressed milk, so we're supplementing a bit with formula.

She's doing great with tummy time; doesn't complain and lifts her head up really nicely and tries to scoot with her little legs - I'm thinking we have an early crawler on our hands.  She loves to look at lights and faces, and there's a tree outside our living room window that she could stare at for hours.  She's awake and alert most of the morning, and then begins a cycle of cluster feeding and snoozing from afternoon through night.

Big sister Arden is still doing amazingly well with her and as a bonus seems to have clicked with the potty thing and is now on her fifth day accident-free!  Let's hope I haven't jinxed things!  The key seems to be some cute panties I got from Old Navy and we let her pick a new pair of "big girl panties" at the end of each day without accident.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat

Arden's daycare had their Halloween party on the 31st, and I stuck around to help out and take some pictures.  This is the only one I can share without other kids identifiable in it, but it was a great party with lots of activities.  This is the first time I've seen Arden use scissors, and I thought she did really well.  There was a candy corn craft with stick on buttons, coloring, stickers, and a chain craft with the paper where you scratch off the black coating to reveal colors beneath - not sure if there's a name for those!

She was the only girl not wearing a princess costume with the exception of a duck and Minnie Mouse.  I like that she chose a more original outfit; I wonder how many more years she'll escape princess peer pressure...

Posing with our pumpkins while waiting for Daddy to get ready.  You'd think a man would take less time to get ready, but I can be out the door in less than half the time it takes Dave.  I guess I'll give him an allowance because he was also getting Hadley ready!

I just love her smile.  She kept the goggles on the entire time, which I think is really surprising for someone her age.

We took the sit n' stand stroller, which she's really taken a liking to.  Hadley was all snuggled up in her bundle me carseat snuggie.

Hitting her first house.  She did a nice job saying "trick or treat" and "thank you".  I'm not sure everyone could hear her, but she said it.

Dave dressed up as Gru, the super villain from Despicable Me to go with Arden's minion costume.  We had the bald head cover and he wore running pants and his pea coat.  I thought it turned out darn good for a free impromptu costume.  Only one group of fellow trick or treaters got Arden's costume, but we expected that.

Hadley slept through the bulk of the festivities.  I love the button nose and pouty lip!
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