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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

how to make a farm girl pinafore

So, before I packed up my entire crafty world I was determined to make little miss some summer dresses. I wanted dresses that she could wear running around on a farm. You cant find these kinds of clothes in Target. Is this a pet peeve for any other mommies of girls out there? The things I find in stores are either mini adult clothes (sequins and shimmery fabrics, not at all comfortable for play wear) or crap quality or covered in sayings like "little Diva" (which my child is NOT going to wear. EVER. HA.) Or things I wouldnt even wear, like super short shorts, seriously, modesty aside, how is a little girl supposed to go down a slide on a hot day in hoochie-mama shorts that provide no coverage at all?? Of course there are good quality clothes out there that arent declaring my child "a spoiled princess" and are sweet and simple. But they cost an arm and a leg. If I wont spend $25 on a T-shirt for myself I certainly wont for my three year old, you know?

Wow. Can you tell kids clothing is a major soapbox for me?? HA HA HA.

My solution was to buy a bunch of 24 month size pants that serve as kneelength leggings (at a thrift store) and some simple cotton dresses (thrift store) and then to sew.

This one, my favorite, turned out the best. A simple sweet pinafore, out of faded blue denim I found at the same thrift store that day. Sturdy and sweet - like my girl.

I cut the pattern from a dress she had outgrown (purchased at Costco last year, ha!) Just making it a bit longer, and the armholes a bit bigger. I figure she can wear this for another year (or two!)

Here are some pics and a "how to" Happy sewing!!

dont laugh. i have never done a pattern attempt on here before.
i find though, that if i know the shape of what i am making i can easily
get by without having to cut out a pattern (which i detest) for simple things
like this anyway. oops. and you should cut two of the skirt part as well,
obviously. HA.
pattern attempt #1. FAIL.

I unfortunately with this project did what I often do, which is to not start taking pictures until halfway into the project because I dont know if it will turn out or not.

So, the first few parts of the project go as follows.

Cut out your pieces as noted above, making sure to cut the skirt part on the fold (and cut two!) The bib is the other piece. You will need two for each because it will make a neat little pocket to stuff the gathered skirt into which can then be sewn up, covering the gather...but I am getting ahead of myself.

Now that your pieces are cut, take your skirt pieces and sew them together, now hem the armhole area (the top of the armhole will be formed by the bib of course) now gather the top of both skirt pieces, from armhole to armhole, with a simple running stitch. Next sew the matching bib halves, right sides together, then turning inside out. The bib with the longer straps goes in the back, to reach over the shoulder so the button can fasten in the front.

Okay. Now I have pictures for the rest.

the gathered skirt stuffed inside the bib (with edges folded under) ready to sew

edges folded under

the gathered skirt sewn into the bib.

all ready for buttons

figuring out button placement

my hack job buttonholes, i have never had the patience
to learn to use the buttonhole i just do a zig zag stitch
back and forth a few works. :)

the pinafore in action. i of course added pockets. all farm girls need pockets.

and no, i didnt even hem it. 1) i am lazy and 2) it looks kinda cute frayed like this

And now that I am writing this I am thinking....hmmm...maybe there is enough denim leftover...I kinda want one too. HA. Do you dare me??
Monday, July 23, 2012

in the garden

I am feeling fuzzy around the edges lately. You know those days? Like no amount of caffeine can peel the film back from my eyes. Partially its the humidity. The heat isnt bad, low 90s to mid 80s. Its the brain-sucking humidity that is clogging up my thoughts. Everything is grainy and squinty and sweaty and sticky.

Of course the kids are still chock full of energy. I had to chase them down this morning, as I do most mornings since being here, in their pajamas, out in the play yard, mud in between their bare toes, morning dew still wet on the grass.

And even in the heat of the day they can still be at it. They play. And they play. And play. And play. And then the come in, collapsing in front of a fan, sweat dripping down their dirty little necks, smelling like dog and grass and sunshine, asking for water, or a popcicle.

They are amazing.

I need to get out there today. The garden is calling. It is a tangled glorious mess of squash vines and peas and beans and kale and swiss chard. My mom has plans for a new bed of greens. I want to plant pumpkins for the kids, maybe a sunflower patch. OOooh. Maybe a sunflower HOUSE. Perfect. Yes.

I need to get back to my nicey-nice Waldorfy story telling. Poems and movements and crafting and sucking the marrow of life out of this new country life. You know? Sucking it dry.

But instead I am a blob of sweaty July goo.

It feels weird not having my own house to take care of. Like I am out of synch with life. Like, where is my real life, anyway.

You know?

I need to write more. Carry around a pad and a pen. Do you remember the last time you picked up a pen to write something? Its been awhile huh? Me too. I need to do that.

Anyway. Baby is asleep in my lap. I may be brave and try to put her in the porta crib to sleep. Maybe. The kids just came up, loud and crabby, still in their pajamas, and I sent them down (away from the sleeping baby!) to get out a piece of licorice. Ha.

Maybe hazy fuzzy is okay, for now.

*ps I tried to lay baby down in the crib. Her eyes popped open immediately and she smiled up at me like, what do you think you are doing crazy lady??? HA HA.
the kids devouring peas. "ooh mom, these little things inside are good!" HA.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

random thoughts on radishes and parenting

This was my lunch today. Rather picturesque, non?

The eggs of course from the hen house. The radishes from the giant garden. Both outside, right at my fingertips. I was telling my brother as I was slicing these spicy babies up that we had taken the kids to a nice restaurant as a goodbye to city life before we moved and that they had served radishes and fresh butter and salt as an appetizer. Well, of course, says my brother, its a traditional French dish.

Oh. Well. In any case I thought I was very fancy to have remembered it when poking around the garden to see what was what this morning. And yes. Its very good. Ha.

I have all these half formed thoughts swirling around in my head, about this move and parenting and life in general.

Really I dont want to think about my parenting skills in the past few weeks. Because I really truly royally have sucked at it. I am bad with transitions. The stress of it ate away at my (limited) veneer of patience and I have just been a raw, nasty beast. Okay. That is totally over dramatic. But oh, I had a few moments. Where that ugly inner self comes out and suddenly I find my self yelling in the three year olds face and she tells me its okay mama dont cry or worse please dont be mean to me mama. And little man cringes as I stomp my feet aand cry out please stop fighting. And damn it. I suck. Because I didnt keep it all from them. I let them see my stress. And it made it harder on them.

Do you have these moments?

I tell myself, but I went back and apologized for it, in all instances (maybe three or four times this happened) and explained that mama is sad or frustrated or overwhelmed and that we all have emotions and it is okay for them to see that mama has them too and that what is important is that we say sorry and love each other no matter what. But still. I wish I could be smiley and delightful all the time. I wish my layer of patience were thicker, harder to disrupt.

I was barely holding it together moving day. And as I was muttering under my breath, nursing baby to sleep in the ergo while picking up toys and odds and ends suddenly I found myself thinking that famous phrase from the Spiderman movies.

"With great power comes great responsibility."

Yes. Crap. This is true. I have the power to shape my child's day, set the tone, power over their little worlds. And with that I have a reponsibility, to show them love, to show them grace, to show them how to hold it together when the world is stressful. But then again, to show them forgiveness and repentence too. That mama can admit when she is wrong or scared or worried, that these emotions are okay to feel, but that under it all, through it all, is the thick thick love of family, that nothing can change.

And the difficulty of the past few weeks also made me realize that mama needs to take care of herself too. Although the how of that is always hard for me. (But that is another post. ) That veneer of patience is much thicker and more stress resistant when mama is rested, cared for, filled and fulfilled. My morning cup of coffee in the mama chair (now in storage, sniff) was essential for that but it went to the wayside as moving stress kicked into high gear. Morning coffee was instead sipped on the go while putting away another box of stuff, with baby on my back in the ergo. The front porch of the farm house here may serve this purpose, but some kind of morning ritual needs to be reinstated. And then blogging too, where I air out my thoughts, that has obviously been neglected. And, like many writers out there, I need writing to process, to feel, to figure shit out.

So, those are my random thoughts on parenting and radishes. Spicy, tasty, earthy goodness. The real stuff of life.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

our first week

Our first week of farm life has come and gone. I am sitting in our quiet attic room with two sleeping, sicko, feverish girls. Boy is downstairs with scads of cousins watching a movie and eating root beer floats. He is quite digging life at the farm. He proudly declared that his auntie said he could get the eggs and feed the chickens by himself, EVERY DAY, as his job. Later he says, for real mom, it can be my job? Sure, yes, I say. Then his face lights up, oh. THANKS mom! AWESOME. And he has done it, and well. Putting on his little muck boots this morning, after playing legos. Where are you going? To do my JOB. Mom. Oh right. Smile.

And yes, we are living in an attic. A giant one, mind you. I will share pictures when things are put away. Its getting there. It will be a good little home while we figure out the next thing for us.

And then to live in community with my family. Which has its challenges sure but, so lovely. Hey, I made you some coffee, says my dad. Wow. THANKS. And hey, let me go check on the napping girls while you shower. YES. More on this later.

Still, its strange to leave our lives behind. Like feverish little miss said today " I miss my house, and my ketchup, and my dada!" (who is working two jobs today).

But oh, to be back in the country.

Before the fevers set in we went for a little flower gathering walk. Grandma has amazing flower beds but, oh, the wildflowers in the ditches! Some of my best childhood memories. Watching the little ants on Queen Anne's Lace. "Oh there is a tiny dark one in the middle!" she says. Yes I say, that is the queen! "Oh," she says, quite satisifed.

And then the blue cornflowers, the blackeyed Susans. And oh look kids, I say, you can take these purple ones, called clover, and you pull out the ends of the tiny petals and suck out the nectar! Wow! They say. Honey!

And backdrop to them all the rows of straight tall green corn and the bright blue sky.

And I think, yes. Yes. This is right.

that ridiculously large straw hat from the target dollar spot is finally of use
hi. i'm cute.

little miss bravely going in to let the chickens out

brother following behind to do his job

herding chickens is a new game, baby LOVES watching them
Tuesday, July 10, 2012


So we survived.


Moving is too much work.

Really its ridiculous.

And then with children? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Next time. Hire movers. Then we stay put for a good long while.

I was nearing breaking down on several occassions over the past few days, but I held it together. For the most part.

And now. Now. My life is in bits and pieces. A box here. A suitcase there. And I am finding, myself again, transplanted. Blooming where I grow and all that, right?

Moving is one thing. To do the putting all your earthly possessions in a storage locker and moving in to your parents farm house?? This. This is crazy. Crazy good. Crazy hard. Letting go of "my stuff." My kitchen. My way of doing the dishes. My way of organizing the toys. My way of doing our day. You know?

I think I need to learn to let go though. Just like my Hawaii adventure, this is teaching me to live and let go of stuff like that. To not be too settled, which is so easy to do for a nesting mama. I have my little birdies in my little nest and I fluff it out daily and put in a new bit of wool or pretty fabric and they chirp and I spit chewed up bugs in their mouths. (Ha.)

And here. The run wild with cousins outside. They wake up and first thing go outside to the tire swing in the yard. In their pajamas. They get eggs from the chicken coop, fearlessly feeding them grain. They get really really dirty. Really. REALLY. Dirty. And run around with the dogs and cuddle aunties and eat hot dogs cooked over the firepit at 8pm. And its good. So good. And we will find our ebb and flow (we need to!)

But for now. I let go. Because sometimes you have to let go to be able to grab on to the good that is in front of you. You know?

Friday, July 6, 2012

still moving...

Did I mention the record heat wave this week? Or that baby finally got her first tooth and is now working on number two? Oh, and the heat?

And we are still moving...tomorrow is the big day.



The heat is supposed to break overnight. PLEASE!!

Here are some pictures of when we pretended we werent moving and played outside. Also some dready pictures.

Next post from the lovely countryside!!

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