Thursday, January 22, 2009

A crafty recap

Boy, I have been lax about blogging, and I really don't know why. I've just had a reluctance to write my thoughts down. There have been so many moments worth remembering, both big (inauguration!) and small (Vivian spazzing out to "Twist & Shout" during her music class), that I almost don't know where to start. So instead of tackling anything deep or meaningful, I'll just post some pretty pictures.

It's still January, so I think it's still ok to post some photos of my Christmas crafty projects.

On the left is Gigi, the doll I made for Vivian. She's made of muslin, and stuffed with scrap cotton quilt batting. Her hair is a merino wool sock yarn, and her dress is made from some left-over quilt squares from the crazy 9-patch baby quilt I made last year. I love how she turned out, but Viv hasn't completely warmed to her yet (she's more into stuffed animals than dolls right now).

Next, we have my version of the popular Emmeline apron from Sew Liberated. I made this for my mom, and I love the fabric I used, a vintage cotton I bought on ebay (featuring a guitar player in a sombrero on a donkey).

If I were to make this again for me, I'd definitely increase the width of the bust. I wish the pattern had noted that it was not exactly one size fits all, as I have now seen many others having this same issue.

Another project I tackled this christmas was compiling a box of dress-up clothes for my 3-year-old great-niece (Richard's sister's granddaughter—the generations are screwy in his family). I had so much fun brainstorming items for this box.

I ended up making a red tutu, a lace dress and green sparkly robe. I also included a yellow feather boa (who doesn't love a feather boa?), a black Lone Ranger-style mask and tiara. Unfortunately, Kaitlyn wasn't able to come to our family Christmas in Kingsburg last weekend, so I didn't get to see her open the box, but I hope she really enjoys it.

Monday, January 05, 2009

new year, new you (not really)

More like, "New Year, same you, but maybe with some new resolutions."

Ok, I'm going to make some resolutions for this New Year, but before I get to those, it's probably time to see how I did on my 2008 resolutions (graded on a 4-star scale).

2008 Craft-Related Resolutions

1. RIIIPPPIIITT! I pledge to actually frog those projects that are unflattering, undesirable or otherwise unwearable.

I did some of this, but probably not as much as I could have. I give myself 2 stars. **

2. Reorganize the Craft Closet.

Did not get to this at all. Ugh. Zero stars.

3. Get back to sewing more of my clothes.

Hmm, made some progress on sewing my clothes, but where I really succeeded was in sewing more of Vivian's clothes (especially in the summer). I made up an adorable swing tank top pattern with shoulder ties that I'll need to upsize for her this summer. I'll give myself 3 stars. ***

4. Finally finish knitting Richard’s sweater.

Um, yeah. Did not touch it. No stars.

2008 General Life Resolutions

1. Exercise.

When I worked at my old job downtown, I actually did really well on this. I was hitting the gym 2-3 times per week during my lunch break, which was up from zero times per week. However, I don't have easy access to a gym at the new job, so I've really fallen off the wagon. I'll give myself 1 star for my efforts in the early part of the year. *

2. Better organize Vivian’s nursery.

I did a good job here. We added a shelf above the changing table for her diapers and other paraphernalia, as well as a book/toy case, and storage under her crib for clothes she's outgrown. 4 stars. ****

3. Cook dinner at least 3 nights a week.

I'm glad to say that we got back into the habit of cooking. Eating at home isn't always cheaper (especially since we love high-quality ingredients), but I know that it's better to maintain control over what goes into my family's stomachs! 4 stars. ****

4. Start a college fund for Vivian.

Um, didn't do it, but hey! If I work at my current job for another 14 1/2 years, Viv gets free tuition! Ok, no, that doesn't really count. But if I had started a college fund, it probably would have been eaten up by the stock market collapse... Still no excuse, I know. Zero stars.

And now for the 2009 resolutions

1. Entertain more. I love to entertain, but I have felt that our apartment was too small or too messy to have people over. But no more! I want to invite people over at least once a month, either for dinner, wine & twine, game night, etc. I think that is fully doable.

2. Curb unnecessary spending. Lately, I've been a bit too free with the credit cards. First, it was to rebuild my work wardrobe. After emptying my closet of all my maternity clothes to send to my sister, I decided to fully go through my clothes to get rid of all the stuff that was too small, stained, ill-fitting or just ugly. So I decided to purchase some new items to build it back up. And then the holidays came, and holiday travel. And a few after-Christmas sales (like here and here). But I'm done now. I'll make an interim resolution for no more credit card purchases for the 1st quarter (through March)—with an exception for travel expenses (like reserving our cabin for Tahoe).

3. Be a better friend. I was an infrequent correspondent with many friends in 2008. I had a young baby, and I used that as an excuse. Not that I wasn't busy, but in hindsight, I wish I had reached out to my dear friends more frequently.

4. Take better care of myself physically. When I was pregnant with Vivian, I was incredibly on top of my physical health, because Vivian's health and development depended on me. But since she was born, I've not taken as good care of myself. So this year, I'm going to make (and keep) some very necessary doctor's appointments because I need to be healthy, yes for my family, but also for myself.

5. Be a good wife, not just a good mom. I can count on my fingers the total number of times Rich and I went out, just the two of us. It's been hard, since we don't have family locally, but we need some time just for us, so I need to get more comfortable getting a babysitter. So many people offered to babysit when Viv was little, and we didn't takem them up on it. Well, if you've offered in the past, get ready to get hit up again! I pledge that Rich & I will go out at least once a month, just the two of us. (as an aside, if any LA-based friends can recommend a good babysitter, or want to exchange babysitting dates, let me know!)

6. Craft from my stash. I have so much yarn and fabric in my stash—a whole closet full! I am going to craft from my stash, and in fact, I will buy no new yarn or fabric for the 1st quarter of the year (through March)—exception only for finishing elements or embellishments (quilt batting, zippers, ribbon, etc.).

7. Bake! I love to bake, but I hardly did any in 2008 (with the exception of an awesome Chocolate Pecan Pie for Friends Thanksgiving and a sinful Praline Brookie—cookie-topped brownie—for Vivian's daycare holiday potluck). I am going to try the no-knead bread, the NYT famous cookie recipe and other fab baked goods this year.

I also have some more personal resolutions that I'll keep to myself, but I think that the ones I've listed here are enough to work on. Concrete enough to follow, but flexible enough to deal with life's ups and downs.

How about you? Are you making resolutions this year?