Monthly Wrap-Up

June 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

How have we already completed the first half of this year?!

Dom
I’m beyond being able to keep track of all the words he’s learning. It’s incredible to watch his brain process everything and I love when he “tells a story.” For example, when we go to daycare, we have to take an elevator in the garage and occasionally see a bunny outside. So Dom says bunny, his version of elevator, and Nonni (my mother-in-law works at the same place so we carpool together). So he’s telling us that we saw a bunny near the elevator and Nonni was with us.

He’s still obsessed with trucks and we’ve added a new book to our bedtime routine: “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site”. I’ll write more about our books and reading time in a separate post (I can’t believe I forgot to write about his favorite book in last month’s wrap-up — stay tuned!)

It wasn’t all fun and games this month though. Dom had some sleeping issues later in the month that we struggled with. He was waking up in the night for a few nights over the last week/week-and-a-half of the month. One night, we were up for around 3 hours (~1:30 to ~4:30 am). He wasn’t fussing/crying for that whole time (pretty much only for a bit at the beginning), but just wouldn’t fall back to sleep. Thankfully, it wasn’t a work night but it was still really rough (I had to take a bit of a nap when he napped later that day). We’re not sure what was going on there (my sister suggested maybe it was a sleep regression). Whatever it was, it has passed, thankfully!

And here’s our June artwork:
(we didn’t do as much coloring this month)

June 2017
July 1 – ready for a new month!

I may need to consider having Dom posts separately from this monthly wrap-up as it can get a bit long…

Books/Reading
Books completed: 3
Books in progress: 0
Year Goal: 10/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 3/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 1
I finally made another one of the diaper pouch/changing pad combos! It’s waaay overdue for the intended recipient, but I’m still going to give it to her next time I see her (hopefully, soon!). Wasn’t even my intention for the pouch fabric to match the changing pad fabric so closely.

 

Knitted projects completed: 0 (2 in progress)
I still haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho. But I did start a hat for a friend’s new baby, so I’ll finish that up soon.

For crafts in general, I’ve started to make a plan of what I want to do in 2-month chunks of time; though I did lump June-July-August together to start. So for this summer, I plan (hope) to make another changing pad/diaper pouch combo, finish the 2 knitting hats in progress, and make an insulated market tote bag. I also want to make the updated Sorbetto top tunic version that came out recently. So with June gone, I now have 2 months to do all that — good luck to me. Haha! (I’m planning to use Dom’s nap times as some time I can dedicate to these things, so hopefully, I’ll see more work and finished projects over time.)

Baking/Cooking
nothing new here.

Weight Loss
Weight lost since last month: 1.5 lbs
I got the 12-week weight loss program from Spotebi and had a bit of a false start at the end of June, so will attempt to kick it off again on Sunday. I’m also planning to be better about my use of the It Works! products I currently have (I was a bit better about using the supplements a few times this month).

Overall, I’m generally pretty happy with progress on all fronts. One thing I’m considering is re-naming/re-branding my blog as it’s not only about books anymore (hasn’t been for a while now). Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome! 🙂 (I’m not that creative!)

 

How was your month?

General

5th Annual Camping Trip

I’ve had this post sitting in draft for a while; I think it was mainly because I needed to add pictures — which are still on my regular camera and not uploaded to my Google Drive… but considering this trip was now almost a year ago, I’m just going to post it (with some minor tweaks giving the timing of the post now)…

As I was writing my 2017 goals post, I commented about doing our annual camping trip and realized I never posted about it. 2016 marked our 5th annual camping trip! My cousin and I were excited that we kept this going and have truly made a new tradition for our families.

This year, we were able to get the “party” site, which can accommodate multiple tents and has its own little parking area. We were so excited. We were going to have 3 tents for the 3 families. We were 7 adults, 1 teenager, and 4 kids under the age of 4. We knew it was going to be so much fun!

<cue thunder crashing>Then the weather happened. It rained a bit, off and on, on the drive up to New Hampshire. But it was fine when we pulled up to the campground. 2 of the 3 families arrived around the same time. As we started unloading the cars, the sky opened up and was pouring buckets down on us. We set up 2 of our pop-up canopies to cover the stuff that we had already taken out of the cars, as well as the kids (though my niece, 3 years old at the time, was LOVING splashing around in the quickly forming puddles). I sat under the canopy with the kids while some of the other adults tried to put up tarps over where we wanted to set up our tents. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t meant to be because the water was heavy so they couldn’t pull the tarps up high enough. And the ground was getting super muddy and filling with puddles. So even if we could have gotten the overhead tarps up, we would have still been putting the ground tarps and tents over muddy puddles. There was no way we would have been able to successfully set up our tents in this weather. We realized even if we did get a break in the weather to set up, and then if it kicked back up again in the middle of the night, it would be a complete nightmare to try to pack up the kids and the cars in the dark. We decided to start driving around to see what places might have some vacancies (not yet cancelling our reservation at the campground, just in case).

Meanwhile, the third family was en route. Have I ever mentioned the campground is in a dead zone and we need to drive about 15-20 minutes away to a nearby town to get cell service? Anyway, when we did get back into a reception zone, we were able to connect with the other family and explain what was going on. They said they’d look around where they were for anything available (they weren’t too far away at that point). We stopped at Attitash (one of the nearby mountain resorts) and, just for the hell of it, decided to see if they had any availability to accommodate our group. Turns out, they had 2 different mountainside houses available! We toured each and picked one. It was a full-on house, so we had a full-size kitchen, enough bedrooms for all of us, a living room, dining area, etc. We were able to store all our foodstuff in the kitchen, and didn’t need to deal with ice, and bears (I’m sure I posted about bears on a past trip?), and all that other stuff. We had beds to sleep in, we had AC, and after the kids went to bed the adults were all able to sit around the dining table and play cards, games, chat, or watch some of the Olympics. It turned out to be a great time! The weather was still pretty rainy all weekend, so we entertained ourselves with some of the amenities at Attitash (and after the first night we checked out at the campground).

All in all, we had a lot of fun. And we’re seriously considering doing two trips each year: one “real” camping trip and one in a house!

Monthly Wrap-Up

May 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

Let’s get right to it!

Dom
I feel like a broken record when saying “new stuff again this month!”, but it’s so true. His vocabulary is growing exponentially. It’s getting harder to capture all the new words. He’s starting to repeat after us pretty quickly and then retaining the words (so now we’re definitely being more careful about what words we say around him). He started the month saying “gub” for love (as in “I love you”) but by the end of the month, he was stringing together “I love you” into one sound (which I can’t even begin to figure out how to type) and it’s super cute. He’s also starting to say “I don’t know” and “what happened?” (not perfectly clear, but understandable to us). He still loves all things that go: cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, and especially planes and helicopters; he always gets so excited and shouts “pane!” or “cocka!” whenever he sees one. The way he says Sonny’s name has evolved from “Sa” to “Sushee”. He’s even stringing words together to make a story. For example, he says “nonuts (donuts) – bike” (and sometimes includes “dada” and “sushee” — telling us that he rode his bike to get donuts with dada and Sonny; we took a walk to Dunkin’ Donuts and he rode on a tricycle that we push). Whenever he sees letters (on anything – t-shirts, store fronts, etc.) he says “O-P-Shee” (his version of A-B-C, I assume). And he just started saying “otay” (for “okay”).

I’m having so much fun spending time with him and watching him learn and discover. We took him to the Children’s Museum a couple of weeks ago and he loved it (the large animatronic dinosaur there, not so much, but everything else he was totally into).

For the past few months, I’ve been taping coloring paper down to his little table in our dining room and keeping crayons available so he can go over and color whenever he wants. At the beginning of the month, I put a new sheet down and kept it for the entire month, to see what kind of doodles we would collect. And after about a week, I decided I want to do this each month, so I’ll be sharing our monthly masterpieces (and anyone can color, doodle, draw on the sheet — grown-ups and kids alike).

Our May Masterpiece

Books/Reading
Books completed: 0
Books in progress: 2
Year goal: 7/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Still aiming to complete that farmer’s market insulated tote I mentioned last month. (and the farmer’s market did start this month and goes through October; I’ve been once so far)

Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)
Haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho in a couple of months, and haven’t done anything else.

I want to make a monthly plan of what projects I’d like to work on – no pressure to complete quickly, but really just trying to set aside a little bit of time each week to dedicate to projects. We’ll see how it goes.

Baking/Cooking
I followed a recipe for regular pancakes (no buttermilk) that I found on Pinterest, called Easiest Pancakes Ever (I only just realized it was a Martha Stewart Recipe as I was pulling the address to hyperlink to this post). They were decent. They weren’t very fluffy (not like the pictures) but they still tasted good. I added blueberries (Dom and I both enjoyed them)

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: 1.5

Last month I mentioned I was going to start Spotebi again after we finished watching Sons of Anarchy. We finished watching it pretty early in the month (disappointing season finale, by the way! I knew what was going to happen, but it was an overall disappointing episode, but I digress…) but I haven’t restarted Spotebi yet. I did upgrade my Fitbit to an Alta that I’ve been wearing for almost the entire month now, and I did have 7 days in a row where I did over 10,000 steps each day! I’ve used the treadmill workstation at work a couple of times to get more steps in, too.

But I still need to get more activity going in my day-to-day and also focus on better eating. Feel free to send along any healthy, easy recipes that you enjoy! 🙂 (easy being the operative word!) — and if you have any suggestions for at-home workout routines that you find effective.

Work
Work is definitely picking up so I’m glad for that! There’s a lot to learn in my new role and group, but I’m really happy to get into it.

All in all, it has been a good month, but still hard to believe it’s over already and that we’re nearing the end of the first half of 2017 — time really is flying. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds and I look forward to weekend getaways and vacations we’re planning!

How was your month?

Monthly Wrap-Up

April 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

Let’s get right to it!

Dom
Last month I mentioned that my sister and I signed up my nephew and Dom for swimming lessons. We have the last one on Saturday. The boys love it! They have so much fun playing in the water and making lots of noise to hear the echoing in the pool. I may consider signing him up again in the fall when they have their next round of classes.

He has added some new words to his vocabulary, including color, pizza, cookie (that one is very clear!), moah (“more”), and doah (“door”), bittie (“binky”), ankoo (“thank you”), peas (“please”), Goo (“Goofy”), pane (“plane”), and cocka (“helicopter”). He also has been giving kisses, which melts my heart (there’s always something new each month that melts my heart). A new animal he likes to imitate is the penguin (he says “wah wah wah” and sort of waddles — really, he’s imitating what I do when referencing a penguin).

He’s become obsessed with the song “Handclap” by Fitz and the Tantrums, always saying “clah clah” and clapping his hands so we can play the song in the car, or the music video on the TV. He sways/steps side to side and claps his hands the whole time. However, I am getting a bit tired of the song, so any recommendations for new fun songs are welcome!

Books/Reading
I read 3 books this month
Books read: The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister, Modern Lovers by Emma Straub, and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Year goal: 7/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
I bought some farmers market fabric and insulated lining as I’d like to make a market bag to use when I go to the farmer’s market that’s set up near my work on Wednesdays (I think it starts in May). I bought the fabric back in March but still haven’t done anything yet… need to get on that.

Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)
Haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho in quite a while, and haven’t done anything else.

Baking/Cooking
Nothing new 😦

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: gained 1.8 lbs

I’ve promised myself I’m going to restart Spotebi at home (as soon as we’re done watching Sons of Anarchy — which, if I’m being honest, is what totally threw me off back in March; we should be finished with it by the end of this week).

I’ve been making a shake with the It Works! protein powder a few mornings each week at work. But I need to be better about remembering to take the supplements after meals. I also started using the wraps on my sides and am starting to notice a difference, so I just need to keep up with those (aiming to do them weekly; I have 3 left in my supply).

But what I really need to do is focus on eating better and being active, more than anything else. I’m hoping with the better weather, we’ll also get outside and walking more on the weekends, at the very least.

Work
I’m settling into my new role and am enjoying it so far. I’m currently less busy than I was in my previous role, so I’m hoping that changes soon, as I feel more motivated when I’m busy. I like working with a sense of urgency and always having a to-do list.

General
We hosted our first holiday (Easter) at our house and it was great. Hubs did an awesome job with the food and the weather was gorgeous so we were able to be outside and the kids got to play in the yard and the sandbox and this sprinkler thing we got and everyone had a really nice time.

This past Saturday I had my sister, 2 cousins, and their kids over and we had a great time. It was so nice to see all the kids playing together (5 under the age of 5). The weather was awesome so they were able to enjoy all the things mentioned above. We talked about trying to do something like that monthly, and rotating whose house we go to.

How was your April? If you have school-aged kids, did you do anything fun on their school break?

Monthly Wrap-Up

March 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

OOF — March was an insane month, so much going on! Can’t believe we finally made it to the end.

Dom
Dom continues to amaze us, with his ever-expanding vocabulary and understanding. A few of his new words this month include “buh-buh” for bye-bye, “caw” for cough, “truh” for truck, “nigh-nigh” which is night-night — and he’ll grab a blanket and pat the couch to lay down – but not sleep –  (he’ll also grab the blanket we use for Sonny and say “nigh-nigh” as he carries it to Sonny, at which point one of us needs to take the blanket and cover Sonny); and “tra” for trash, and he loves to help us throw trash away, whether it’s a tissue, diaper, or piece of fuzz he finds (one time he even took a tissue from my mom mid-nose blow so he could throw it away). He also says some colors (“blue” and “purple” being the easiest to understand), and we practice saying a bunch of words and names of family members every day. He tries to jump, which is hilarious, and he likes to dance around, too. He also started to do a bit of crawling, which he had skipped in the general order of things (he went from scooting on his bum to walking). So I was pretty excited to see that, despite the fact that he’s a very capable and sturdy walker (and he likes to run, too).

He did get a second ear infection, 5 weeks after the first one. But despite that, he still remained fairly cheerful. My little champ.

My sister and I signed up Dom and her son, Will, for a baby swim class, which starts on April 1st. Can’t wait to see how he’ll do!

Books/Reading
I read 1 book this month. (and I have 1 in progress)
Books read: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
Year goal: 5/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 1/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)

Still working on a cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho.

My leadership team at work got me some sock yarn and a book with 10 different sock patterns, so I’ll be checking that out soon, too!

Baking/Cooking
I forgot to post about banana muffins I made back in February, see the post here. I made the banana muffins again in March, and they were just as good as the first time. 🙂 (except I put the chocolate chips in all of them!)

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: 2.7

I continued with the 4 week beginner at home workout plan from Spotebi. You’re supposed to do the workouts Monday through Friday with the weekends being the rest days, but there were times due to tiredness or lack of time (and if I’m being honest, laziness), that I ended up taking a day or two off and pushing out the schedule. I still haven’t finished the 4 weeks (did about 2.5 weeks worth of workouts over a 3 week period), so I need to get back into it, ’cause I liked doing them.

I also purchased some items from a company called It Works! (discovered through a friend & his wife, hey Jimmy & Kim!). I wanted to get back into Shakeology, but was interested to see if there were cheaper options out there and It Works! has a cheaper and still tasty chocolate protein powder to make shakes (my favorite being a chocolate, peanut butter, and banana shake! — do you have any combos you like??) Along with the protein powder, I got a couple of supplements and 2 body wraps. The wraps have a lotion on them that is supposed to help firm and tone your targeted area. Obviously, I tried it on my mid-section first. You’re supposed to wear it for 45 minutes for the first time and can do it every 72 hours. I did it 2 Saturdays in a row, the first time for 45 minutes and the second time for 2 hours. I haven’t noticed a significant visible difference after the 2 wraps, but I have noticed my jeans feel looser, so that’s good (and I’ve lost about a pound since trying the wraps). I ordered a few more wraps and will see how it goes. (My rep, Kim, says that it usually takes about 3 wraps to really notice a visible difference). I just have to get into the habit of remembering to take the supplements to get maximum results.

Work
So as I mentioned at the beginning, it’s been a really busy month. We had our annual team face to face meeting this past week and its was really busy planning and prepping for it. At the same time, I was also transitioning my responsibilities to a new person I am taking on a new role within another group in my department (and it starts on Monday!).  Though I’m sad to leave my current team (I’ve been working with them for almost 5 years), I’m really excited for the new opportunities, projects, and challenges that comes with this new role. And I’ll still have opportunities to work with my now old team, just in a different way.

Bring on April!

How was your March?

baking

Banana Muffins

We try to keep bananas around the house because we all like them (I wish I could type out how Dom says “banana” but I don’t think I’d capture it; maybe some like “blamana”…anyway..) But I like to keep them so a few can get ripe enough to use for baking. Often, I end up making a banana bread (tried & true recipe from my mom), but sometimes I want to change it up. When that happens, I turn to Pinterest.

About a month ago, I came across the Perfect Banana Muffins by My Mommy Style, and like the pancakes I recently tried, this recipe lives up to its name, too! I used my new Nordic Ware muffin pan without any liners. I made half the batch with chocolate chips. These were easy to make. They’re light, fluffy, moist, and delicious. It was hard to eat just one, so I was happy to “test” one of each to include some pictures. 😉

banana muffins

 

chocolate chip banana muffins

I will most definitely use this recipe again (and again…)!

Do you have any banana muffin variations you like to make? Share in the comments!

cooking

Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes

I love breakfast. It’s my favorite meal to make. I’ve taken to doing pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, or French toast on Sundays, trying to start a family weekend tradition.

I’ve wanted to make buttermilk pancakes for ages but always forget to buy buttermilk when I’m at the store. Last month, I finally remembered to pick some up and that weekend attempted to make them. I found the Best Ever Buttermilk Pancake recipe from Lovely Little Kitchen on Pinterest and its name is no joke!

These are some of the best pancakes I’ve ever made/had! I added chocolate chips to the second half of the batch.

plain
with chocolate chips!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even hubs, who isn’t big on sweet breakfast foods thought they were really good, too. I said I was never going back to Bisquick! (In reality though, I have used Bisquick once since then. It’s faster to do in a pinch).

I’ve made these a second time as well, and they were just as good as the first try.

Buttermilk is going to become a regular staple in my fridge!

A friend of mine (Hi, Kellie!) said her husband tried banana chocolate chip blueberry pancakes when they were on their honeymoon and he thought they were amazing. I just might have to try that next!

What other pancake variations do you like/recommend?

Monthly Wrap-Up

February 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

I can’t believe February has come and gone already. This year is flying by. (I know it might be funny to say that after only the 2nd month of the year, but the weeks really are moving!)

Dom
It really is incredible to watch him grow. So often I watch him walking around and think “when did we get here?” He’s learning more words (most recently started saying “up”, “no”, “no more” (like “no more monkeys jumping on the bed). He gives kisses and hugs, and blows kisses (along with a “mwah” noise). He makes funny faces, does silly dancing, and is all around a bunch of fun. We’re loving watching as he discovers and does new things.

He did get an ear infection earlier in the month and that was no fun at all, though. He was on a 10-cycle of amoxicillin and he liked it. Whenever I said it was time for his medicine he would make an “mmmm!” noise, and then go sit in his little chair so I could give it to him, so at least there’s that. But we had 7-8 nights in a row of waking up in the middle of the night for extended periods of time (I had to take a few days off from work). I’m happy to say that all has passed, but it was getting really tough with all the waking up!

Books/Reading
I read 0 books this month. (I have 1 in progress)
Year goal: 4/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 0/6 (the 1 in progress will fit this category)

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)

I’m working on a cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho. I’m excited to see how it turns out since this is the first time I’m really working with cables. I’ll post about it when complete.

I do want to start another sewing project, just not sure what yet. (Suppose I should just get those diaper pouch combos out of the way…)

Baking/Cooking
I made buttermilk pancakes from scratch for the first time (and made them twice)! I’ll have a post up about those soon. 🙂 (and will update with a link here after)

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: 1.0 pound
I thought it might be a bit more, but I’ll take it!
I started an at-home work out plan from a site called Spotebi. They have many different plans to choose from (some free, some for purchase). I decided to try the free 4-week beginner workout. I’m really liking it so far. There’s variety in the exercises, and a mix of HIIT workouts and yoga sequences. (you may have seen some of my instagram posts to the right on my blog here). But I’m in my second week and still going strong, so that’s a plus for me. Now I just need to get better about eating (though I’ve noticed I’m eating smaller portions, and taking my time, but I need to focus more on what I’m eating, too.)

How was your February?

Share Your World

Share Your World – February 6, 2017 (Week 6)

041514-sywbanner

(links to Cee’s post for today)

This is a weekly challenge hosted by Cee over at Cee’s Photography. She poses a few questions each week that we’re supposed to answer.

Today’s questions are:

Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside?
It varies. Right now it’s a bit of both. I like things to have their place but sometimes they get moved around because other items only fit in a certain way.

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?
When I was younger, definitely separated. I even ate each food one at a time. (Example: at Thanksgiving, I’d eat all the turkey, all the cranberry sauce, I’d mix mashed potatoes and corn, and then eat all the stuffing).  Nowadays I’m into all different kinds of food that have to be mixed (burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas…. hmm, I’m sensing a theme here; even adding peas to my pasta!). But I’ve always mixed mashed potatoes and corn – one of my favorite food combos ever!

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?
Mainly fiction. I’ll read the occasional non-fiction like a memoir, but definitely read and enjoy fiction most often. (you’ll probably figure that out if you look back at old book reviews on here, or even the lists of books I’ve read in the past)

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you?
My brain and my eyes. They’re exhausted and want to go to bed. My entire body is tired. (Dom was diagnosed with an ear infection last Wednesday so we’ve had some really tiring nights for the past week since he keeps waking up)

Sewing

Sorbetto Tank Top Take 2

 

Back in 2013 I made my first shirt ever, using Colette’s Sorbetto Tank Top pattern. I decided to try it again, as I figured it would be an easy pattern to get me back into sewing clothing. I also wanted to use some fabric I’ve had in my stash for a few  years now (originally intended for a Sewaholic Lonsdale dress, I think). It’s Bloom Stretch Cotton Sateen, in navy with white specks (from Fabric.com, ordered through Amazon back in – wow – 2013!, no longer available on either site).

Bloom Stretch Cotton Sateen in navy with white specks
Bloom Stretch Cotton Sateen in navy with white specks

The first time around, I used a Keepsake Calico cotton, which was pretty stiff for this shirt, I think.  (This was when I was really first getting into sewing, so didn’t really know much about different fabrics yet. I was also somewhat overwhelmed by the variety, so stuck with the cotton area that was most familiar to me.) The top was also a bit too short for my comfort. So this time, I decided to use the stretch cotton sateen and I lengthened the top by  2 inches and made the armholes slightly bigger. Since this is a tank, I didn’t have to worry about matching up sleeves (whew! — one step at time to pattern adjustments, Danielle!)

As part of my resolution to dedicate more time to sewing, I started by cutting out the pieces for this pattern during one of Dom’s naps. (I found a note I had written on the back of the pattern instructions from when I had traced these pieces with my adjustments — and it was from September!)

20170115_171502
easing my way back into sewing with a 2 piece pattern project!

(side note, I think I saw on the Monthly Stitch blog that someone just sewed a bag that had 50 separate pieces, due to the linings and interfacings, etc. — yeah, 2 pieces sounds like a good start to me)

I actually sat down to start sewing it about a week later, one night after he had gone to bed. Since my sewing room is right across the (narrow) hall from his bedroom, I moved by machine, table top ironing board, and my handy little kit down to our dining room.

20170121_195019
sewing in the dining room

It was clear to me that I was a little rusty – see the embarrassing picture of the staystitching below. Luckily, it’s covered by the bias tape, but also, you can’t even see the thread on the fabric because it blends so well.

20170121_203812
Oof! that’s some rough staystitching!

I was very pleased with how the front pleat turned out. Neat and even. And I think this material will be better than the Calico cotton from the first one, which got super wrinkly after the first washing, and made it difficult for the pleat to lay flat.

20170129_164909
front pleat — not the best picture, but as close as I could get to show you; it’s a bit hard to see due to the fabric pattern

I bought navy bias tape for the top, but then started thinking that I might want to use a contrasting color that would pop (like pink or green). I went back and forth on the idea for a little bit, but when I checked out some other options, nothing really stood out to me, so I stuck with the navy.

Now I have another big admission: I broke another sewing cardinal rule: I didn’t double check that the size cut out of the pattern still fit. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I added a couple of inches to the length and trimmed a teeny bit off the armholes but I failed to mention that I had used the same size from when I first made this shirt 3.5 years ago. I’ve had a baby (and still haven’t lost the accompanying weight) since then. I tried it on after adding the bias tape to the neckline and was really bummed to discover that it was too tight. I mentally kicked myself for not re-doing my measurements to be sure it still aligned with the pattern.

I also realized that the armholes are still too small for my comfort (too high up in my armpit to be comfortable for me). I decided to open them up a bit more before adding the bias tape.

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Before
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Adjustment
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After

Needless to say, there will be no pictures of me wearing the shirt, so you’ll have to make-do with pictures of it on a hanger. (someday I’ll get a dressform!)

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In the end, I’m actually pretty pleased with the construction, despite how long it has been since I last sewed a wearable item (a Sewaholic Renfrew top back in 2015 — though the armholes on that shirt are also a little uncomfortable). However, while this material has a nice stretch, I think it still might not be completely right for this top.

General Lessons Learned:

  • always double check measurements before diving in, especially if it’s a pattern cut out long before actually sewing it up
  • take my time with construction (try not to get impatient with the more “boring” steps, like finishing seams)

Pattern Specific Lessons Learned:

  • use a fabric with more flow
  • re-print and cut out updated pattern pieces to fit my current measurements
  • If updated pattern pieces don’t meet my needs: add additional length to bottom and make bigger armholes

Have you made this top? What adjustments or embellishments have you made? What fabric do you recommend using?

Monthly Wrap-Up

January 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapupJanuary had me off to a good start for 2017! Let’s get right into it:

Dom
He’s 15 months old! We had his 15 month check-up near the beginning of the month and he’s doing great. 25 lbs and a little over 30″ tall. He’s learning new words all the time (such as “Papa”, “Pooh”, “poo-poo”, and sounds like he’s trying to say “key” and “tool”) and understanding more and more each day. He transitioned from Infants to Toddlers at the daycare over the last 2 weeks of the month. Exciting, and a little sad that he’s already moving up! (But more exciting; I can’t wait to see what new things he learns!)

Books/Reading
I read 3 books this month. I don’t expect I’ll keep this pace through the year, but it was a nice start!
Year goal: 3/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge:1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 0/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0
Time spent sewing: I’m not going to track this in hours as I originally thought I might, but will really just re-cap if I spent any time during the month focused on any aspect of a sewing project. I am probably about 85% finished with a project that I was hoping to complete before the month was out, but the last steps took more time than I remembered  when I first made it a few years back. I just need to finish some bias binding and a hem and then its done! I hope to post about it in early February. But despite not finishing yet, I’m really pleased that I actually got as far as I have. And I will not pressure myself to finish projects by a certain self-set deadline. (And with The Monthly Stitch introducing Amnesty Day, I can still have a chance to participate in the monthly challenges!)

Baking/Cooking
Aside from some pre-packaged mixes, I haven’t done anything new here.

Weight Loss
This wasn’t previously listed in my goals, but it is something I am tracking, so what better place than my monthly wrap up? I weighed myself on January 1 and again on January 31. I’ll proceed to weigh myself on the last day of each month and track the (hopefully) loss each month.
This month’s weight loss was: 1.1 pounds — have to start somewhere! 🙂

Overall, I’m happy with how January kicked off 2017 for me. How did January treat you?

Share Your World

Share Your World – January 30, 2017 (Week 5)

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(links to Cee’s post for today)

This is a weekly challenge hosted by Cee over at Cee’s Photography. She poses a few questions each week that we’re supposed to answer.

Today’s questions are:

What is the most incredible natural venue that you’ve ever seen in person?
This is a really hard one. Most of the trips I’ve taken involved seeing man-made wonders (ruins in Italy, museums and churches in Paris, for example) So I suppose it would have to be flying over the Alps or swimming in the Natural Pool in Aruba. Though I would love to see Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon.

Natural Pool
Natural Pool (that’s my brother-in-law in the black shirt and my husband climbing out. I took this picture back on one of our first trips and posted about it back then; apparently their aunt found this picture on an Aruba site recently!)

How many siblings do you have? What’s your birth order?
1 sister; I’m older by 2 years and 2 days

If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?
I’d probably be a sneaker or a flat. They’re what I wear the most and I find them to be the most comfortable and versatile. I like to be comfortable and I think I can be pretty flexible when it comes to many things – work, life, etc. (can I use that as a synonym for “versatile” when talking about a person??)

What is the strangest/weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Hmmmm, probably pig knuckles in Germany. It was a long time ago now (back in 2004), so I don’t really remember it all that well, but I do remember being rather surprised that they weren’t half bad.

 

Share Your World

Share Your World – January 23, 2017 (Week 4)

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(links to Cee’s post for today)

This is a weekly challenge hosted by Cee over at Cee’s Photography. She poses a few questions each week that we’re supposed to answer.

Today’s questions are:

Do you prefer juice or fruit?
I like fruit better. Sometimes I’ll drink juice (usually orange or apple — or I’ll use it in a smoothie), but generally prefer eating fruit.

Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?
I grew up in Boston (right near the airport), but my neighborhood wasn’t in the city proper, as you’re probably imagining (no cobblestone streets for me!). I loved it. My sister and I are 2 years apart and we had a lot of neighborhood kids around our age so we used to all play together – at each other’s houses, out rollerblading/biking, playing at the local beach, skating at the local rink, etc. And a lot of school friends were in the same neighborhood, just a short drive away (think less than 10 minutes).

If you were to paint a picture of your childhood, what colors would you use?
Hmm, this is a tough one. I’d probably pick bright, fun, summer colors, as some of my most favorite memories growing up were what I just wrote in the previous answer.

Ways to Relax List: Make a list of what relaxes you and helps you feel calm.
Reading, listening to music, knitting, sewing, watching some TV.

Share Your World

Share Your World 2017: Weeks 1, 2, & 3

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So Anxious Mom has been doing this Share Your World thing and I decided to check it out. It’s a challenge hosted by Cee over at Cee’s Photography. She poses a few questions each week that we’re supposed to answer. Apparently, Cee’s been doing this for a few years now, but I’m just joining in. Since we’re only 3 weeks into the new year, I’m going to answer the first 3 sets here and then will endeavor to keep up with it on the regular schedule (and in the future, the image above will link to the associated week’s post on Cee’s blog).

Week 1 (Posted January 2nd)

Would you prefer to receive a unicycle, bicycle, tricycle or motorcycle?
Bicycle. I used to love riding my bike all around the neighborhood with my friends growing up.

What is one thing you’d like to accomplish this year?
More crafty projects!  I only completed one sewing project last year and would really like to get back into both sewing and knitting and actually complete a few things.

What was one of the highlights of 2016 for you?
Watching Dom reach so many amazing milestones. It’s truly unbelievable how much babies develop and learn in their first year.

Would you prefer to fly a kite or fly in a hot air balloon?
Honestly, I would love to fly in a hot air balloon, though I’m sure I’d be petrified!


WEEK 2 (POSTED JANUARY 9th)

If you lost a bet and had to dye your hair a color of the rainbow for a week, what color would it be?
Blue. I always thought that could be fun as a teenager, but never had the balls to do anything. I’ve always been afraid to do stuff with my hair, to be honest.

If you could choose one word to focus on for 2017, what would it be?
This is a tough one. I’ll go with Family. I want to do family trips, activities, etc.

What was one thing you learned last year that you added to your life?
Being a mom/parent is hard, and it’s OK to admit when you’re struggling, and when you need help. No one is perfect and everyone needs help.

If life was ‘just a bowl of cherries’… which fruit other than a cherry would you be..?
Blueberries. I love them.


WEEK 3 (POSTED JANUARY 16TH)

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?
Closet doors are closed, I don’t like having them open. Bedroom door stays open.

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?
Yes, I do. They’re perfect to use when traveling or going away for a weekend. And they often smell great! (A co-worker of mine collects them and brings them to a local women’s shelter. There is a lot of travel in our company as we have a few offices in other countries, not to mention trainings and conferences people attend, so she always collects a good amount)

What is your usual bedtime?
Between 9 & 10pm. I’m up around 5:30am every day for work, and generally still up relatively early on the weekends since, you know, 15-month-old.

Do you like to use post-it notes?
Yes, mainly at work. I tend to stick them all over my desk. And sometimes I abbreviate things assuming I’ll know what I meant later on. Of course, that’s not always the case.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
I don’t remember. But I used to have a pen pal back when I was  younger, now thinking back it was probably close to 20 years ago (man I feel old when I can say something was 20 years ago). Her name was Lauren, we met on a cruise, and she was from Zimbabwe. We kept in touch for quite a while. I’m pretty sure I still have the packet of letters somewhere at my parents’ house.

Any phobias?
Not any true phobias. But there are definitely things that creep me out: certain bugs (things with lots of legs, for sure; blech).

How tall are you?
The question should probably ask me how short I am: 5’3″

I look forward to the other questions that’ll come up through the year!

General

Welcome to New England

I once read/heard “if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes” in reference to New England. How true that statement is!

Last weekend, we had a snowstorm. On the weather maps, we were on the line between the 6-10 inch and 8-12 inch ranges (or something like that). The official total for my town turned out to be 6 inches.  And luckily, it was the lighter, fluffier kind of snow. So, not bad at all.

Below are some pictures of the accumulation (times are approximate; I lost the time stamps when I uploaded them to Google Drive and deleted them off my phone before double checking… I’m pretty certain of the first 2 times, less so for the last 2)

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Around 3:20pm
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Around 4:30pm
Around 6:30pm
Around 6:30pm
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Around 8pm (I think)
Next morning
The next morning

The weather warmed up slightly, enough for the snow to melt a little and then re-freeze, so we had some slippery spots in the yard for a little while.

Then, on Wednesday, the temperature was in the 50s, and the majority of the snow melted. Thursday actually went over 60, and the rest of the snow disappeared.

And now today, Saturday, the current temperature is around 21.

Like I said: Welcome to New England!