Friday, September 25, 2015

Homemade Friday: Vogue 2902, or the dress I probably shouldn't wear in public

I started sewing this dress pattern many, many years ago, like even before I had Sebastian.

She wanted to be in the photo, too.*
I'm a vintage-dress girl. Part of me really wishes I could wear them every day, and not look weird. Because if you wear dresses and there isn't a good occasion for it, people tend to wonder why.

Why? Because I like dresses, that's why.

So when I saw this pattern, I immediately loved it. Capital L Loved it.

It was entirely beyond my skill level at the time, and probably still beyond me. I didn't sew nearly as much as I do now, but was eager to learn. This dress was not the pattern to learn on, I think. It is fiddly, with zippers and linings and all the pieces.  That is why, after finishing about half of the bodice I threw up my hands, said Screw. It. and shoved all the pieces and pattern into a grocery bag.

It has been bouncing around from closet to closet ever since, until this past summer.

I'm not sure what made me what to pick it back up. Probably a desperate need for quiet and sewing therapy. When I worked on something so detailed I could block out all of the sibling insanity that was happening all around.

I fee like I am a better sewist now (that's what we're supposed to call ourselves, right?) Zippers still aren't my friend, but I can at leas sew a straight seam.

But as soon as I started sewing the dress again I knew that the finished product was not going to be pretty. It's too tight, the bodice seams are crooked and I had used a pencil to transfer pattern markings, and they do not come out.

And the skirt. Oh goodness the skirt. I do not know how to hem a circle skirt, especially not one as huge as this one. It's a good 3-4 inches longer on one side than it is on the other, and the lining is the same way.  I have no idea how that happened.

And the zipper. And the lining by the zipper.

And did I mention it's too tight?

But, even given all of that - I love it. And I want to wear it. I probably won't, at least not until the skirt is fixed. But oh, do I ever want to.

The fabric flows and the giant, misshapen skirt makes me want to twirl.

I want to try again. I want to sew another one - this time maybe without the lining. And with a youtube tutorial on how to hem a humongous circle skirt.

You couldn't see my shoes well enough in the picture to tell how cute they are!

*I had literally two minutes to throw this dress on and force my husband to take these photos so that's why you have the no-makeup-exhausted-mama-messy-topknot photos. You are most certainly welcome.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Short story long: Hi again!

I've missed it here.

I know, I know. I keep saying that, but doing absolutely nothing about it. It's just (prepare yourself, many excuses ahead) that time gets away from me, you know?

I'm working from home now for a marketing company. Have I told you that? Can't remember. But it's awesome. I'm incredibly lucky.

However, I only have around 6 hours to myself a day. Don't throw things at me, but I never feel like I have enough time to get all of my life stuff done. Like - I can either clean the house or write a press release. Or make and sell jewelry in my Etsy shop, which is doing steady business. Or write a column for the newspaper. Or sew something. Or post things to a client's website. Or knit a few rows on a sweater or some socks. Or meet with a colleague to discuss Very Important Work Things.

So things are full. My days are full. Sewing and knitting is pushed back to make room for all the other commitments that other people need me to do.

And before I know it, 2:15 is here and so is the bus carrying my daughter home. And then I deal with my daughter refusing to actually get off the bus by pretending to be asleep. And then demanding snacks and my time and also probably yelling at me for doing something stupid like getting her water instead of kombucha (hippie).

And then my son is back, also demanding snacks but usually in a better mood than his hell-raising sister. And then there's homework, which Sebastian usually does fine and that his sister melts down over. And then a bit of free time, where, since my children have gotten into origami Star Wars stuff, I'm asked to find MORE PAPER AND SCISSORS AND WHERE IS THE STAPLER AND MOM CAN YOU JUMP ON THE TRAMPOLINE WITH US?

No. The answer is always no. That's because I've birthed two children.

Then dinner and soccer practice or religion or a soccer game and then I am so very, very exhausted but the children still want to stay up and WHY WON'T YOU GO TO BED WITHOUT A FIGHT, ADELE?

But my point, after quite a few paragraphs of rambling, is that there is no time for anything, especially not for navel-gazing in the form of blog writing.  But navel-gazing is fun! I miss it! So I'm going to attempt, once again, to show up here a few times a week.

Even if none reads this, even if it's just for myself, I will attempt to put a few words down in this blank box. It's good for my mind, good for my typing fingers, and good for my sanity because I can pretend like I am talking to all sorts of friends who are nodding in agreement with whatever ridiculous thing I've just said (written).

Because you all totally get me, right?

See you tomorrow.

Here is a picture of my ridiculous attempt at a family selfie on our canoe trip a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Motherhood & More: The kids grow up and, somehow, so do the parents*

Adele took this one.
The other day, my husband turned to me and said, “He’s 7. How did that happen?”

He was, of course, referring to our son, our oldest. It’s so strange how that transpires. One minute you’re wishing and wishing for time to go faster, for you to be older and more independent, then the next, you’re the mother of an almost-tween who acts more like a 30-year-old than most 30-year-olds.

And he does. He’s always thoughtful and responsible, forever trying to improve things about himself — whether it’s increasing the amount of healthy foods he eats or decreasing his screen time. He’s so proud for doing what he considers the right thing and always is quick to call his parents out for doing things they shouldn’t — such as forgetting to recycle.

He’s goofy but shy, respectful but kind of gross in that he loves bodily function humor. He’s learning to play chess and  always is improving on the soccer field. He still will hold my hand in public and give me hugs and kisses, but I know it won’t be long before that changes.

It’s absolutely insane. I don’t feel like the mother of a 7-year-old. I feel like me, you know? I feel like who I was, the same weirdo-goofball I’ve always been. But now there are small people forever needing me.

I’ve never minded growing older. I absolutely believe age is just a number. I’m so much happier and satisfied now than I ever was in my 20s. Of course, having young children will exhaust you to the point where you don’t even remember what it was like before they were there. But there are no regrets. I never feel like I’m truly missing anything. Often, I would like more time to myself, to do exactly what I want to do. But, in my eyes, that’s not the same thing as wishing to be alone.

It’s hard, sometimes, being a parent. It’s hard to remain yourself, to keep that part of you that is only you, not Mama or Wife. And I think it’s absolutely essential to grow and evolve once you are caring for another human being 24-7. Because how could you not?

Your entire life is flipped around and most of your thoughts will switch from, “How will this affect me?” to, “How will this affect my child?” (Or, in many instances, “How can I get more sleep?”)
It’s such a fantastic thing, that development. Nothing else but parenthood can change you like that – from selfish to selfless.

And every time my youngest gets up in the middle of the night to crawl into bed with us, I remind myself of this. She won’t always do it. I need to enjoy it now because it’s part of our story, part of my evolution.

Neither of my children will be small for very much longer, and already it feels like it’s slipping away.

But for now I’m still Mama. And that’s just fine by me.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on Sept. 23, 2015.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Motherhood & More: Silence is golden, but I miss my babies*

My days are child-free. For six hours a day, every weekday, for the first time since I had children, I am at home alone, regularly.

It’s … odd. And quiet.

I’m able to work uninterrupted, forming complete thoughts without the incessant tone of whatever ridiculous television program the kids are watching. I actually can generate an entire sentence without stopping to play another game of Candyland or another game of “where did my daughter run off to, now?”

My house stays clean for longer than 15 minutes and I can keep up with dirty dishes.

I don’t find random half-eaten snacks under the couch or rotten cups of milk. I don’t spend all of my days explaining that sure, fighting is completely normal, but let’s try not to draw blood, OK?

I work. I have made some time to sew. I make jewelry to sell. I knit. I work some more. I perform household chores.  I wait for the kids to get off the bus. I drink my coffee. I clean the house. I work even more.

I’m incredibly, wonderfully lucky to have the opportunities I have. I can work and contribute and learn and grow and use my mad word skills.

But it’s quiet. I can form complete sentences without interruption. I’m not playing Candyland or refereeing or pitching the baseball endlessly to the two batters who never let me hit. I’m not riding bikes in the driveway or looking at fossils with a magnifying glass.

And I miss all of it.

I’m not working to the endless background noises of annoying kid shows. I’m not cleaning up food or one more drink spill in the living room, even though drinks aren’t actually allowed there.
It’s so, so quiet. Peaceful, yes. But also a bit too peaceful. I’m a bit too alone and goodness I do love to be alone.

I know I will need to become used to this, just like everything else. It’s a new situation, one I haven’t experienced before. I am a homebody, most definitely. And yet I also need to make sure I interact with people, adults, at least sporadically.

In a way I feel like being here, being alone, is somehow not natural. I am not supposed to have this much time to myself, because, for the past seven years I haven’t. Since I became Mama, almost every thought, every day, every hour has been spent on my kids.

OK, maybe that’s not entirely accurate and a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s still partly true. This is the first time in a long time I’ve been able to be at home alone for this amount of time. I need to learn how to be me, without them.

It’s pretty cool, yes. But, oh, do I miss my babies. My smart, wild, annoying, funny, time-consuming, not-really-babies-anymore babies.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on August 26, 2015.

(This is my 500th post. I probably should have something a bit more special than this column, but this is what I got. Hopefully I'll be more motivated to come back to this space soon. I miss it, and I have so much stuff to show you - lots of sewing and knitting and whatnot - heavy on the whatnot.)