Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crafty Updates

Well, I admit, I got my hubby to bring by a USB to mini-USB. I have no excuses.  There are several hundred pictures that should probably have made their way onto this blog by now (or at the *very* least somewhere in my photo storage on my laptop). And since I'm up late, with a cold, having fallen asleep even before my kiddos tonight (which, wow fellow moms, how rare is *that*), and now can't fall back asleep, I may actually get to putting on here now that I think of it.  Backtracking.... Anywho, I thought I'd share some of my favorite blogs with you of late.  I was going to do another fabulous round-up (or at least *I* think they're pretty fabulous, or I wouldn't have shared them with you, lol), only to realize that I'm well past Valentine's Day, and that's almost entirely what the crafty and kitchen-y goodness of the blogosphere have been focused on for the past month, I think it would be a little passe for me to post links now.  Hmmm. I must work on my timing.  Or my remembering.  Or my something.

As a segue into our list of crafty blogs, I can now safely divulge that I am in the middle of a project.  Actually, I'm in the middle of about four or five projects, none of which is anywhere near ready to be cataloged, thank you very much, and some of which are very sadly in need of some desperate attention.  I'm also in the market for a new sewing machine, and ironically, happen to be looking at an older, mechanical Bernina.  Wow.  Bet you never saw that coming. I also have plans to go check out the local Pfaff dealership, but there's a fundamental part of me that resists paying full price for something when I can wait, and search out that same something at a significant discount to buy it used.  Strange?  Yes, yes, it is.  But all the same, I'm not entirely sure that a sewing machine, even a really incredible one, should actually cost anywhere near $1000.  But maybe that's just because I'm cheap and slightly delusional (we'll blame the last on the fever, kosher everybody?). 

So, backtracking yet again, I'm in the middle of what I'm calling "The Nesting Quilt."  Which has been strongly influenced by the wonders of Oh, Fransson!, which if you aren't familiar with her work, is pretty darn right inspiring as far as modern quilting goes.  The project I'm working on is about halfway in between her Crazy Nine Patchwork Quilt and her Mod Mosaic Floor Pillow (except in blankety, non-pillow form).  Elizabeth is also the author of an amazing looking book, which I have to admit has been sitting on my wish list for quite some time now.  You can scroll through her other tutorials on her website though, and I guarantee that you'll come away, if not wanting to actually make a quilt, at least wanting someone to make one for you. 

I also have a second quilt I'm working on, which is an attempt at this quilt-a-long run by Stitched in Color.  I have to admit however, that I'm not quite sure how it's going to turn out.  I ordered some fabric bundles from Fabricworm, which has been an interesting process.  I've never worked with fat quarters before, and I've got to say that there's a pretty steep learning curve.  This is the bundle I used on The Nesting Quilt, and it looks like the bundle I found for the Colorbrick quilt is no longer available, but it was largely from the Echino Fall and Winter 2010 lines (which was also really interesting).  I have to say, where I had been avoiding Echino before, mostly because of the price factor, and I wasn't honestly sure how much I liked the big, busy designs, I have completely fallen in love with this fabric line.  The cotton/linen mixes are a *dream* to cut and sew, and the fabric is like a precious jewel for piece work (assuming you ever actually get the guts to cut it, which yes, actually took a couple pep talks on my side).  I think that Hawthorne Threads is definitely my new favorite web haunt for fabric though.  They have an amazing selection, incredible shipping rates, and their store is a breeze to navigate through, which I can't honestly say about either Fabricworm or Fabric.com.  Fabric.com occasionally has some really good sales though, so if you know exactly which fabric you're looking for, and have more than $35 of fabric needs (which qualifies your order for free shipping), then you're in the right place.  However, fabric goes fast here (I've had fabric disappear from my cart while finishing ordering, because it ran out of stock), so be careful.  On the up side, Fabric.com has a *huge* apparel line of fabric available as well, along with a pretty great selection of patterns. This is actually where I ended up spending my birthday money, getting Oliver + S patterns for Ande.  I am so wildly in love with these patterns that I can't bear to cut the pattern pieces to start her School Photo Dress, and am now in search of a copying store with a big enough machine to be able to copy the pattern  (ummm, which, gosh, I really, really, really hope is legal, now that I think about it... it's for private use though, so that makes it okay, right?).  

And while you're in a sewing mood, go check out Sew, Mama, Sew!, which is featuring a whole month of pillows as part of the multiple month pillow contest going between various different blogs.  If you're really motivated (and maybe slightly less overwhelmed than I am), you can enter for some pretty fun looking prizes too.  Of course, Crafiness is not optional, MADE (which is co-hosting a whole month of boy-inspired crafting), Made by Lex (check out the tutorials section for some fun eye-candy), and Made by Rae (the other co-host of boy month), are all some really great options too.  I've also really been enjoying No Big Dill lately.  Katy's designs are just different enough to keep those creative juices flowing even at your most desperate moments. 

Anywho, I have *loads* of blogs that I switch back and forth on, so I'm sure that you can expect more of these lists over time.  After our move (and probably after baby), I might even start posting links to my favorite craft tutorials *ever*.  Unfortunately, the larger part of my crafty, kitchen-y, DIY-goodness is now hiding in a ubiquitous brown cardboard box, and may very well not see the light of day until May, so, who knows.  I think I'm done making promises for this lovely little blog that I can't keep, so we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed on that one. ; ) 

Have fun and frolic until next time.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hopefully the End... of my seemingly incurable mood swings

So, we have some absolutely wonderful news, which is helping to buoy up the craziness that I know has been lurking randomly inside, waiting for the absolute least opportune moment to attack: we have officially signed a lease!  I am excited beyond words at the prospect of finally being back in our own space.  And again, while I really and truly am incredibly grateful to my MIL for letting us stay with them in their basement until life got figured out, I don't think anyone had any idea whatsoever that it was going to take this long to manage it.  On the plus side, we have found a nice, clean home, in a wonderful ward, with people that we know and love, and there's even a pool close by for the kiddos (my eldest is excited out of her mind, and keeps asking when it's going to be warm enough for the pool to open, which is actually a fairly good question considering the negative temps we've had the past few days).  On the down side, our move in date, March 5th, gives me approximately 15 days to get fully moved in, organized, unpacked, and sanitized before baby Bren comes to join us.  Yikes. 

I have to say, I am definitely feeling the pressure.  I have my fabric for my squares washed (fabric bundles from here, and with any luck, I'll be able to steal the iron and rotary cutter long enough today to get them pressed and cut before my sashing (linen from here) shows up in the mail this week (fingers crossed).  I know that it has to sound absolutely spastic, but I am absolutely panicking about getting the baby quilt done in time.  And the fact that my MIL's Bernina and I seem to have a hate-hate relationship is not exactly helping.  I think a lot of that comes from the fact that the *only* thing that I really didn't have finished and ready before Carrick came to join us last January, was his baby quilt. My visiting teacher later (and very lovingly) finished it for me, but I can't tell you what a *huge* disappointment it was to me that I had never finished it myself.  The blanket that was supposed to love and cuddle him, if not for a lifetime, at least for a couple of years, he never even touched.  It sat, his whole life, in my sewing closet, waiting for me to taken the whole two hours it would have taken to quilt and bind his blanket.  Now that quilt sits in the top drawer of my dresser, and is one of the first things I see every morning (or at least it was before we were living out of laundry baskets, lol).  And yes, I'm sure there's all kinds of horrible, pugilistic, perfectionist nonsense attached to that, but I can't quite seem to get beyond the fact that I was never really ready for him in the way that counted most to *me*. 

Making blankets for my kiddos is how I connect to them.  And yes, I know that in reality it probably serves a very limited function, but I spend a tremendous amount of time during my pregnancy contemplating colors, and design, and do I knit or do I quilt, and if I do either, then which pattern, and on and on and on.  Making a blanket is how I start to connect to their tiny, individual personalities.  I made several blankets for my eldest, and yes, looking back on them, they are all terrible, misshapen, oddities of knitwear, but I loved spending the time thinking about her as I was putting them together.  I made her three or four blankets (at least, there were a couple that got scrapped), and two sweaters.  Kyle I also made several blankets for.  Carrick, I only made the quilt for, and I never even finished that.  So now, in my demented, control-seeking mind, I'm adamant that I not only have to make and finish a quilt, but I have to make baby clothes as well.  Because somehow, somewhere, my logic apparently is that if I make enough for the baby, and complete enough projects, then she will be safe too. 

I think a lot of my hang-up, even having the assurances that I've had through blessings and scripture studies that this baby will be safe, I feel as though all of it depends upon my individual effort to *prepare*.  I *need* to get the CPR certification.  I *need* to decorate the crib.  I *need* to wash, sterilize, organize, etc., etc., etc..  And what's so terrifying to me at this point, is that I'm pretty reasonably sure, that even with the help of the ward in moving, and the help of my husband in all of my crazy projects, there is no real hope in getting it all done before she gets here.  And that is probably more terrifying to me than anything else.  John laughs and says that our late move in date is Heavenly Father trying to keep us from thinking. I told him that I was already going to be busy enough.  And he replied, " No, not just busy.  I mean too busy to even breathe."  And I thought about it, realized how true that probably was, and I'm still not sure that I'm okay about it.  The only thing that I can say is that yes, I will most definitely and assuredly be too busy to breathe once March gets here. 

As an addendum, I am devastated to announce the death of my favorite thrift store.  Savers of Fort Collins is apparently no more, and I am incredibly vexed (and disappointed).  I loved the fact that every time I walked into Savers, I walked into a store that was not only clean (which can be a real rarity in a thrift store), but that I could reasonably count on for a good (sometimes even great) selection of books, clothes, shoes, and sheets for up-cycling.  I think all of my favorite thrift finds have come from that store, and I will be sorely pressed to try and find a replacement.  It's a sad, sad, day in the mommyhoood.  Oh well.  I guess this gives me more reason to go shopping, but I was really, really hoping to try to find some nice, cheap lamps.  After the dark and dismal gray of Seattle, I can't tell you how important lamps are in this little world of ours.  And all the more so since almost all of our lamps were decimated between moves.  Hmmmmm. I will definitely have to put my thinking cap on.  It's not garage sale season yet (and I've honestly never been a garage sale shopper anywho, because who on earth knows what you're going to find, and if it's even going to be worth the effort of dragging the kiddos around), so I have no real idea where else to go.  I checked out the Arc last week to no avail, and the Goodwill in our area is pretty sad usually.  I tried the "Big Thrift Store" on south College today, and while there are a lot of neat, mid-century pieces in there that could be fun to recover and reupholster, I don't think it'll become a new favorite anytime soon.  For one, it's loaded with breakables all over the place, and with no carts to contain the kiddos in, and the lack of real organization in the store, it's a parental nightmare (in my personal, humble opinion).  I know that there are some others available in Fort Collins, but I don't know that anything will measure up to the nicety of Savers.  Hmmmm. Too bad I'm so cheap, or I'd probably just start shopping the TJ Maxx for housewares, but that still wouldn't solve my thrifting dilemma.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Much Ado About... Everything... and Nothing

I am a cheater.  I have selfishly, horribly, terribly neglected this little blog... mostly out of laziness.  I have no idea where my camera cable is, and it's not that I'm not perfectly capable of going out and grabbing one, it's just that the thought really doesn't occur to me that often, or that when it does, I'm so enmeshed in the other junk in my life that I just really don't care.

We are still house-less (though I guess not homeless, because we're still living in my MIL's basement).  We have no idea what's going on with our house that we actually own, but I can tell you that between my renters ripping up all of our landscaping, sodding over beloved vegetable garden, and ripping out the raspberry and blueberry bushes that John planted to celebrate Carrick's (then) upcoming birth, I'm not madly in love with them.  Matter of fact, I have seriously considered setting the house on fire and laughing maniacally watching the last little piece of our lives go down in a glorious burst of flames.  I am not madly in love with the world in general right now, and my faith in the world, as well as my spiritual faith, are so badly tarnished that if I had the power, I think I honestly would just call up the Second Coming today.  None of the rentals that we have looked at have worked out.  Matter of fact, we actually showed up for a rental this week on a very promising looking house, only to have to call when no one showed up and then be told that they had forgotten that we had put in a request for a showing on the property and that the house was now rented.  Lovely. 

My MIL is handling all of this rather stoically however, as she only asks about twice every hour, on the hour, whether or not we are actually going to be leaving her house before another loud, obnoxious child comes into her home to bother her (yes, for those of you who don't know, I'm pregnant again, and expecting a baby girl in March).  I'm sure that my MIL (probably) really doesn't mean it this way, but you know, with us being the giant free-loaders that we obviously are for not having moved into a motel while we figure out our housing situation, who can tell what lowlifes such as ourselves might do? 

And yes, I am pregnant again.  Baby Brendolyn is expected approximately March 20th, and my nesting urge is so strong that I think I might actually start shredding sheets and building a nest in my MIL's backyard if we can't find a home in the next week.  So, yeah, no pressure there hubby (my poor hubs has been my personal beating bag lately).  The good news is that I have the same OB as last time, which is greatly reassuring to me.  I figure that no one else, aside from my husband, would understand my general level of anxiety and spastic-ness nearly as well as he would right now.  On the downside, it looks like I have to use the same hospital that I delivered at last time, which I still largely blame for Carrick getting RSV.  And I will be delivering right in the middle of RSV season in Northern Colorado yet again.  Yippee for me.  If I use the other hospital in my OB's "service area," they don't have a neo-natal unit there, and so I could very well be stuck at the nicer, non-stigmatized hospital, while my poor baby Bren would have to transfer to the yeucky, make-babies-sick-and-kill-them hospital. Again, lovely. 

And my empathy has flown right out the window.  I am so sick and tired of having to emotionally prepare myself to get beaten up, taken advantage of, and generally run over by other people who are "more important" than I am, every day, that I could just roll over and die.  I am especially sick and tired of people "doing us favors."  --Just like the woman who showed up to help me pack, and then asked for all of my baby clothes and cloth diapers because she wanted to get pregnant in a year or two, and really, wouldn't that just be such a great favor to me as I obviously didn't have a use for them anymore (don't worry, she actually broke into our house to steal food from the refrigerator with the help of the past RS President after I said no.  You know, because she's so needy and all).  And the ward members who stole electronic equipment from us on a different "ward service day" helping us pack.  Or the Elders Quorum president who flat-out yelled at my husband and stormed away because we didn't have enough stain to finish staining the fence, even though the store had assured us that it would be more than enough, and then my husband had to finish it completely by himself.  ... My list of hurts is about two miles long right now, and I am so ridiculously sick and tired of everyone coming to me, asking for things, and even flat-out *expecting* things from me, because my family's needs obviously aren't as worthy as theirs are, so I should just give them whatever they want.  --Just like our landlord in Washington who wouldn't fix the mold problem because it was "too much effort" on his part.  Obviously that wasn't important to us at all.  And let me tell you, the prospect of having to rent yet again, for another 18 months until my self-centered, entitled renters "feel like" leaving is not high up on my list at all.  If I have to deal with another rat-infested, leaky-roofed, petri dish of a house in order to make ends meet, I think I'll completely snap.  And heaven only knows what I'd do then. 

Which isn't to say that I'm not close to snapping now.  I am so highly strung, and wound so tight;y, that I honestly feel sorry for the next person who tries to walk all over me.  Which is of course assuming that my rampaging pregnancy hormones don't take over, and then I'll just be lying in a ditch sobbing and praying for a street sweeper to run over me and put me out of my misery (though I can't figure out how I'd simultaneously save the baby, so that plan still needs some work).  But aside from that, the huge level of stress that my children are carrying, and their inordinate concern about my emotional well-being (which I'm sure is just *so* wondrously healthy for them and their development), the lack of separate housing, the huge pressure coming from in-laws to *GET OUT*, and the simultaneous pressure coming from both sides of the family to *FORGET CARRICK* because he's obviously dead, and lost to us, and therefore why keep mentioning his name, or let the children ever talk about him, is about to drive me completely insane.  And that's not even to mention the tremendous stress, fear, and anxiety that we feel about having another newborn come into (our?) house.  And then hoping that it's a safe and clean house.  And, and, and, and, and, and, and....

Is it honestly any wonder at this point that I've put on tremendous weight during this pregnancy?  You know, because stress does a body good... or something.  And poor hubs keeps coming to me and telling me to just put everything out of my mind that I can't control, which is everything.  But what he's only starting to understand is that in my search to find some measure of control somewhere, I *can't* let go.  And so I sit, and stew, and worry, and fret, and plan, and brood, and all to no avail... as of yet.  I keep hoping that somehow, somewhere, I can find a way to make all of this okay.  And it just might be if I could just talk to hubs for a little bit on a regular basis, but forget that with our crazy living situation and my husband's new, and constantly demanding job.  No date nights for mama.  Ha.  We don't even get quiet time to talk.  I honestly think it's a miracle that I can text him on the phone enough times every afternoon to try and figure out what time he's going to be home *that* day, so that I can try and get dinner ready for him in time and not have it sit growing cold on the table for a couple of hours while I wait (not that it hasn't happened several times anyway). 

Tomorrow is my daughter's birthday.  She'll be four.  And I can't paint her room purple, hang up the decoration in her room that we got for her as a birthday present (we have *no* room for presents as it is; Christmas or birthday), plant flowers with her, make cookies with her, or do crafts with her.  I can't make her a cake, I can't put up decorations, I can't sew to make her a present (or the birthday crown that she so desperately wanted me to make --I hate Bernina sewing machines), and I can't get her out any of her "favorites" from the storage unit, all of which she is now convinced have gone away and are never coming back. 

The list of things I can't do, is about as long as my list of hurts, and is having no small impact on my emotional status.  I mentioned nesting... well, I can't clean the baby's clothes, make her blankets, put up the crib, wash and sterilize all of the baby equipment, sanitize the high chair, put in the new car seat (our old one is still with my SIL out in Washington, along with a box of Carrick's clothes), organize the nursery (not that I'd let her out of my sight for two seconds unnecessarily in any case), or do or make anything to make her space feel happy and welcoming (which is how I connect to my children before they're born). So, really, I'm just stuck.  In every conceivable manner, I'm powerless.  I have never felt so bottled up and impotent in my whole life.  And then to have everyone and their momma telling me or showing me just how incredibly unimportant I am (and all of my thoughts, wants, needs, and desires), I don't think I've ever felt so worthless in my whole little miserable life.  What on earth does someone do in a time like that?