Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Sewing

I have been at my machine again. Editing patterns and modifying styles and in general having a good time. This time I took my shirt pattern and made a few edits. First, I shortened it. It also has darts in it, which are really unnecessary especially in a knit fabric. These two prints are two of my all-time favorite diaper prints. Yep, they are diapers. I got the fabric down in the cities at S.R. Harris, but only bought 1 yard of each and quickly sold out. Recently a diaper friend who lives in town went to the cities and stopped at the fabric nuthouse and bought me 2 more yards of each. I feel a *little* guilty not using it on diapers, but not too bad. And I still have scraps of each for a couple diapers!

On the purple stripe one I didn't remove the darts, but I did remove the stitching--so it puckers a little back at the sleeve (where the dart is permanently sewn in), but otherwise looks fine. I took some excess fabric out of the back to make the back narrower than the front and hopefully remove some of the barn-size drape. Also, you just can't do facings with knit fabrics. On the last shirt I made, I tried just hemming the neckline. On this one I made a binding from the same fabric and sewed it on (*sort of* like bias tape, only not cut on the diagonal). Ha--I just realized that when I did this, I didn't cut off the seam allowance from the neckline. I suppose the neckline looks just fine how it is!

On the blue stripes one I edited the whole dang pattern and took out the darts. Yay me! It was a little scary because it messes with the sleeve/arm opening. But I wiggled the pattern around and finally just decided to "risk it". It worked. And really you can't tell a difference between the two. I think it still looks a little too drapey. But I'm too chicken to make it tight-fitting. I do, after all, want it to fit well when I'm 8.5 months pg. And chances are that I'll never wear them when I'm this small (since I can still wear regular clothes).

But I'm making some progress in the tummy area too. For your viewing pleasure (laughter), here is my new 13-week tummy I'm sporting. First in "regular" (ahem-that would be the next size up and stretchy) jeans, trying to be a little artsy with my photographs:

Second is a new maternity pants tummy style that I've made. I copied this idea from a popular new pants that actually has a patent pending (ooooooohhh--not too surprising from me, huh?). It is a nylon-lycra fabric all the way around. It is SOOOOO comfortable. And a good fit even now. I swear every time I try these on I do NOT want to take them off. I have plans to make MORE. :) Hehe.

And don't forget to read the post about Zeke below!

Zeke's Birthday

Whoa! I can't believe I forgot to post about Zeke's birthday on the 12th. He turned 5 years old. He's such a cutie!! :) We didn't have much of a party...just Mitch's sister Holly and then all of us there. I made the cake (Zeke picked it out), but Mitch and Zeke did the candles on it. We didn't do much for presents. We did let Zeke go to Toys R Us and pick out a small gift--he chose a pack of hotwheels cars and loves them. He also got to buy some "birthday candy" which he has a little bit of each day and loves (he chose M&Ms). Here is an amateur, unedited video for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The proverbial cat... out of the bag! Just a quick post to let ya know that we dropped some pretty significant hints to the kids last night and they finally figured out that baby #7 is on the way! Oh my...we were rolling our eyes at their naivete. Finally Micah was the bright one to come right out with the question, "Are you pregnant?" I replied, "Go ask your dad." Of course, Mitch was NO help at all, giving them totally post-modern cyclical answers. :) So they came back to me, and I got the bright idea to tell them to "Call Kristin and ask her." They did and didn't get much more info out of her (though we put her on speaker phone and had a good old time laughing). So in the midst of this we were sitting down to supper and we went around the table and prayed, youngest to oldest, just like always. Mitch closed his prayer with "Keep Mom and the baby safe. Amen." To which Caleb immediately replied (and this is priceless especially after spending at least the past 45 min on the topic of whether I am pg or not), "Dad, do you really think it's going to snow this week? What day is it supposed to snow on?" I looked at Mitch, who looked at me and cracked a smile, then I belted out laughing. After a horrendous pause, Micah (the brilliant 11 yo) says, "Guys, Dad just told us that Mom is pregnant!" LOL. About 30 seconds later the phone rang. It was Kristin calling to tell us what had happened at their supper table. Her brilliant oldest had said, "Steph can't be pregnant, we were just there on Friday and she wasn't." (You know, I wasn't *showing*). So we spent the rest of the evening blasted with questions and lots of cheers and overall excitement. Today in the midst of a rebellious streak (over not wanting to do dishes), Caleb was making plans to run away (Mitch was helping him, LOL) and his plans included coming back when the baby is born...didn't want to miss that big event! So in other words, they (the ones that have a clue) are all very excited. They are also thrilled about finding out the gender at Christmas. It's a great milestone to give them. Ok, so my "quick" post turned into a long post that is devoid of necessary paragraph breaks. I apologize for my poor journalism and hope it hasn't turned you off! That's it for now. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Houston we have a heartbeat

I was thrilled to go to the doctor yesterday and hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time! It was in the 160s. The doc was having a hard time "catching" it at first. We would briefly hear it, then a lot of swooshing (baby moving) and it would be gone. So this one is quite active without the pepsi. The doctor muttered, "Ugh, stinker!" She finally got it good and said, "Now it's trapped." I thought that was funny. Everything looks good.

We went to the park last night and took family pictures. Holly helped us get a family shot. It was much chillier out than I expected, so we all huddled really, really close and it looks so good. Is it wrong of me not to post it? I want to use it for our Christmas card (assuming I ever get that one out). Well, ok, I guess I'll post it. You know, just in case my best intentions don't play out. I also took individual pics of each kid as their "annual" or school picture. They all turned out really good with a few extra tries on some. Eden was the only person that got a great picture on the first try.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fireproof, part 2

Tonight we went to the open house at the Waite Park Fire Department. We had a blast and got some great pictures. We picked up goody bags full of stickers and coloring books, plus we enjoyed free hot dogs and pop. Click on the pictures to see full-size versions.

Mitch and Malachi

I liked the big ladder truck the best. The ladder reaches to 100 ft. Malachi put his hat on my head and thought that was hilarious.

The kids had a blast climbing inside to check out stuff. Amazing how many kids you can shove inside!

The trucks looked awesome. Caleb asked how long it takes to clean/scrub them. The fireman we were talking to said that when everyone helps it doesn't take long at all. They had worked hard--everything was sparkling inside and out!

Josh looks so small in front of the looming truck!

Josh, Eden, Zeke, Micah (in front), Malachi, and Caleb

Caleb in the driver's seat. Eden took a turn after him.

Zeke took a turn and I was nervous the whole time. I didn't trust him not to touch the buttons, but he did great and kept his hands in his lap!

Caleb, Josh (in front), and Micah
Since Josh is so happy (his notorious "I'm happy" face in the picture above), I'll tell a funny story about him. Yesterday Mitch went into his room where he was supposed to be taking a nap. He was not in his bed. Mitch said (in his stern daddy voice), "Josh, get in bed." A tiny reply came from under the bed, "I am in bed. I'm invisible." LOL

Josh is a smart cookie. On Sunday he was mindlessly chattering to himself and I perked up my ears to hear him saying, "One-day, Twos-day, Threes-day, Fours-day..." That was pretty darn cute too. Even though we send him to nap during "preschool" time for Zeke and 5yo daycare child, he is studying hard in the other parts of the day and doing a great job learning his letters. :)

When Josh is whining we will send him to his bed and say, "We'll see you when you're happy." So when he finally gets over it and comes back out we will ask him, "Are you happy now?" And that's the face he gives us and says, "I'm happy." Sometimes when we send him to bed for nap time he'll try coming back out in a few minutes with his face on. It's hard not to laugh. My insides melt every time. :)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Sew Happy

Last night Mitch had a poker night. Tami and Kristin came to keep me company in my sewing room. :) I had a couple projects I need their help/advice on. I know that Kristin likes to adjust and mend clothing (I hate both), so I looked forward to getting her input. First off, I had some beautiful polyester knit fabric I'd picked up at the fabric store for ridiculously cheap. It has a beautiful floral print and some poetry written in Italian or some other language that is really unreadable. I was going to send it off and have it laminated for diapers (it would have been beautiful for that too), but decided to snatch this piece for myself. The pattern that I wanted to use only had short sleeves. So we pulled out a different pattern with long sleeves and worked on combining the two. I laid that aside and then turned to a pants pattern. This is a pair of pants that I made the last time I was pregnant. It's a nice weight twill with a classic over-belly panel in the front and elastic all around.

There were two problems with the otherwise GREAT pants: the over-belly pattern is annoying, and it was a little snug over the butt/hips (even now when my hips haven't spread yet).

I wanted to modify the pattern to have an underbelly elastic waist band. Doing this would also allow me to wear the pants earlier in my pregnancy (when I'm not big enough for the over-belly style, but too big for regular jeans) and postpartum. We all brainstormed together and figured it out. I drafted a new pattern based on the old, then dug out enough scraps of twill to test it. It turned out I had enough to make some knee-length shorts. I won't be able to wear them during this pregnancy most likely, but it's possible I can use them for a little while afterwards (since I'm due in late April). I LOVE long shorts.

So a couple things happened that haven't happened in a LONG time. First of all, I drank 6 oz of Pepsi last night. Fun! :) Then I stayed up until 2:30 am. FUN! Then I woke up at 6:30 am and my mind was racing with all the things I wanted to sew today and how I wanted to make more pattern adjustments. I managed to lay in bed until 7:30 when Malachi had pooped in his diaper and the older kids called me to come do the duty.

Oh, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Last night the girls also helped me rearrange my sewing room. Mitch gave me some gray shelves for stacking fabric on. We had fun cleaning and organizing (where Tami found among the heaps of dust bunnies my missing stud die to my die press--much to my joy and amazement!).

There's so much floor space now! Crazy.

Ok, so this morning I headed straight to my sewing room. The first thing I worked on was designing pockets for the pants pattern we modified last night. It's really complicated but I came out with some PERFECT pockets. Whew--I was so jazzed. Then I turned to the shirt. I worked on it and it went really well (except for the part that it's really hard to sew knits...the neck didn't turn out exactly like I want it too, neither did the hem on the bottom). Once Mitch got up I was released to go to Joann's to buy some fabric for PANTS. Then I could try my pockets out for real! Waiting for that fabric to wash and dry was really really hard. I spent the time finishing the shirt and cutting out a diaper (yep, I actually cut one out!).

Another modification I added to this pattern was a tie in the back. Maternity shirts look so much more flattering when they are not just "baggy" hanging out there. I bought a neat little tool at the fabric store today to help me turn these tiny tubes. :)

Finally the fabric was out of the dryer. I bought 3 pieces: a stretch twill, a stretch corduroy and a stone-washed denim. Which one to make first??? The corduroy was the cheapest of the 3 (got it for $2.99/yard at Mill End), so I started there (might as well make a mistake on the cheapest, right?). I couldn't wait to do the pockets. And the waistband (with modifications to the steps of construction). I made it all and only had to use my seam ripper once--right at the end--when I forgot to leave an opening for the 3" wide elastic band. I am going to do that differently next time too. :) Here they are (you can click to see it better):

And I tried it on and Mitch took a picture for me. The shirt fits great even now. Since styles today are so similar anyways, I could possibly get away with wearing the shirt anytime, pregnant or not. It's really extra long, so I can easily "change things up" by shortening the pattern. I can get solid cotton knits really cheap (sometimes around $1.50/yard), so I may make myself 3 or 4 of these shirts. The pants are a *little* big, but that's fine since I'm still wearing my regular pants. I'm sure when those get to be too small, these will feel *just right*. The stretch fabric is perfect. It gives me even more room in the toosh/hips, and they look great.

The next picture is just to prove that I don't intend to make all the clothes I need. I love shopping at the thrift stores. Mondays at Savers are 99 cent day on a certain color tag. Sundays and Mondays at Goodwill are 1/2 off on a certain color tag, and Tuesdays that color tag goes down to $1.49. So I did go digging this past Monday. I found a gorgeous Motherhood Maternity dress (marked $9.99) at Saver's and snagged it for $0.99. Well, no matter how good of a seamstress I try to be and no matter how cheap I get the fabric, I just can't beat that!

Finally, the picture that doesn't belong. A brag for Micah. He went fishing with Papa (Mitch's dad, Paul) on Friday night on Big Birch Lake. He caught a 13" Bass. :) He was using a bass hook. He loves fishing.

Alright, alright. I admit that to survive today I had a little more Pepsi. About 12 oz. Since I have 24 oz bottles, I'll probably finish off the other 12 oz tomorrow. What else can I do? I still drank LOTS of water! I'm exhausted. I was overtired to begin with, and by the time I decided to go to bed I remembered that I had to go to the grocery store. So I had to drag myself out and do that chore (Sams club, Walmart, and Cashwise). Now I'm totally bushed. It's WAY later than I want it to be...9:47 I am DONE editing this blog post and I'm going to bed!!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Man, do I wish this were in the theater in St. Cloud!! It's not, sadly. :( It would be a great date night, but we can NOT afford the gas money to drive all the way to the cities. Sigh. Oh the long wait for video release! Maybe it will be in a city near you. I listen to the Way of the Master Radio all the time and they have plugged this movie big time. We loved the movie Facing the Giants done by the same people, so I'm sure this is a great movie. I groaned at the reviews written on Rotten Tomatoes (why oh why do I even bother to go read critics when I can't handle it?? LOL). Regardless of what those hardened by the world think, this movie is going to change peoples' lives and marriages!!