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Monday, February 27, 2012

DIY Crib Railing Cover


Many of my friends with children had warned me about their sweet little ones destroying their beautiful solid wood convertible crib that was supposed to last until they went to college by chewing it to slivers the second their first two teeth escaped their gums.  We were lucky enough to be given a crib in perfect condition from a friend we trusted, and painted it white to suit our nursery.  What I didn't consider was that when my darling offspring started to gnaw on it, the paint would peel off, leaving it looking rather, uh, not cute. 
So I've been meaning for a while to make something to cover the rails of Norah's crib, because all those little rodent teeth have made the painted surface look like this: 



I know there are plastic covers you can buy, but those only fit over the front rail, and by this point the paint is so chipped that I didn't want to be able to see it through a clear plastic cover.  And, that would not solve the problem with the side rails, which she seems to prefer to scrape those little teeth on over the front rail anyway. 

I had leftover fabric from her nursery projects, and decided to make a cover using those.  I don't have step by step photos of the process (late night sewing without anyone else in the house awake to take photos) but the project was really simple for anyone with basic sewing skills.  

First, I measured the length of the long side of the crib to get my desired finished length for the cover.  I added 1/2" seam allowances for each section of fabric.  For the underside, I just used one long piece of microfleece I had lying around in my stash. 

I decided on a pattern I wanted and cut the fabric sections, allowing for 1/2" seams.  I stitched the top pieces together one section at a time, and then repeated for the back side, so I had two strips of fabric.  I joined them with one long seam across the top, so that when it was folded in half the patterns would be facing the right direction on either side.  



Next, I cut about 10" lengths of ribbon for each tie, finished the raw ends by running a lighter over them quickly to seal the ribbon, and pinned them onto right side of the fabric, pointing inwards towards the middle (looks backwards from how you want them to end up facing at this point).  On top of that, I pinned the fleece with the right side facing in, so the ribbons were sandwiched in between, and stitched around the entire thing, leaving a small opening to turn it right side out.  Carefully, since there were still pins inside, I turned it out, removed the pins and then I finished the opening with a small hidden stitch, and that is that! 


You might notice the teeth marks remaining on the end rails...yeah, still need to make two shorter covers for those! 



Progress! Now I just need to hang the curtains, photo collage, and hooks back up and her "new" room will be complete following the move.  It was finally looking so great at my mom's, and then we had to go and move everything into total disarray...it's only been 2 months since we moved, so it's not like I'm totally delinquent with setting her room up again, right?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Norah Grows; 10 Months Old


Darling girl, you are 10 months old today! You started the day with the biggest milestone of your little life, by sleeping through the night in your own crib last night for the first time EVER! You went to sleep at 9:30 last night, which is late for you, but you didn't make a peep until 6:00 this morning! Your Daddy and I couldn't believe it when we looked at the clock and realized you'd been in your own crib all night long! We were so proud of you (and of course both felt so much better rested after a full night's sleep!).  

You have a little winter cold this week, and you are not enjoying having a stuffy nose any more than anyone else does.  But, in between bouts of stuffiness, coughing, and sneezing, you are as amazingly playful and happy as you always are.  It's definitely good news that we've made it to 10 months with nothing more than a cold, and we are so thankful that you haven't yet experienced being really sick. 



You have developed a new face over the past week - we call it the "Stink Face" and the picture above is not even close to the full deal.  We get the "Stink Face" flashed our way any time we tell you "No" or "Stop" or sometimes even if we look at you just wrong.  It's hard not to giggle when you make such a dirty look in such a cute way! You are going to be a stubborn little thing, and we are already aware of a strong independent streak that is developing more every day. 



You are SO active - you love to boogie and dance and kick and wiggle and speed crawl and shake your booty and cruise at top speed - pretty much you like to be moving if you are awake.  These chair photo shoots are getting to be a challenge! But, this month, I noticed that you were much more aware of the edges of the chair, and seemed to know if you went too close you would fall.  That didn't stop you from slinging your leg up over the arms of the chair and flashing me a look a few times! 


You also took a few steps this week - but today were the first you did with intention.  You took 2 steps and 3 steps at a time today, and we celebrated and clapped and then you looked at us like we were crazy people, but we were so proud! Not an hour later, you tried again and bonked the corner of the coffee table, which was bound to happen at some point.  And so it begins...the season of your life in which you will perpetually be giving me a heart attack as you try to conquer new physical feats and inevitably end up getting bumps and bruises (but hopefully that's the extent of the injuries!).  


Your smile is so beautiful, it slays me some days when I am feeling down, and I pick you up and you flash that gorgeous smile at me and throw your arms around me and give me love.  I hope you never lose your perfectly pure sense of glee and happiness - it brings light and joy to our lives every single day and makes the lives of those around you just shine with delight. 


You are starting to have a flair for drama (big surprise) and we are seeing it more and more.  You know how to fake cry (not that it ever gets you what you're trying for, but hey, a girl's got to try, right?) and you can flirt with the best of them.  You can turn it on and off in a second, and you are just so goofy sometimes.  It's just really fun to watch you developing a personality all your own, but we catch glimpses of ourselves in your mannerisms and facial expressions and behaviors, too. 



You are starting to spend more time playing independently, too. You LOVE LOVE LOVE the Brown Bear, Brown Bear books, and will choose them over many others all by yourself.  You are beginning to select toys to play with on your own, and will spend longer than a few seconds playing with a specific item now.  It's one of my favorite things to come into a room and see you looking through the pages of a book without any prompting.  


We have been trying to introduce a "Lovey" to you for a few months, and we have given you many items to choose from but for a long time nothing seemed to hold any particular interest for you.  One night, Matt took you to Nicola's Bookstore and you just picked this giraffe out all by yourself, carried it around the store the whole time, and have barely put it down since! You will pick him up and if you say "Give it some love", you will hug it to your chest and pat its back...so stinking sweet! We went to get a second one, and they didn't have any that were exactly the same, but you picked out a similar bear from the same line.  We'll see over time if these two buddies stick! 

 


You can point at objects that you want now, too.  We have been working on simple baby signs for certain words, and I think now that you are using your hands to communicate some, signing is likely to follow shortly.  I think it will be very nice for you to be able to express what you want in ways other than crying, because I think you are getting frustrated sometimes if we don't know what you want and you clearly do. 


This was a fake cry which started out as a Stink Eye face.  You have lots of teeth in there now, and boy do you like to show them off! The two on either side of the middle on top are finally breaking through the gums, and I think this round has given you some trouble so I hope we're in the clear until the next ones. 


You are truly, positively the brightest light in my life.  You grow more beautiful, charming, funny, challenging, strong willed, and wonderfully perfect every day we know you.  I can't imagine our life now without you in it.  What is even more amazing to me is that in two months, you will have been here with us for an entire year.  We are planning some fun things for your first birthday, but until then, we are just enjoying watching you turn into a delightful little girl.  Keep us smiling, Beauty! 



Monday, February 13, 2012

DIY Valentine's Day leg warmers

Here's a quickie little tutorial for a craft for the little lady this V-day.  I found these knee high women's socks on pre-Valentine's Day clearance (why are they already clearing out the Vday stuff for St. Patrick's Day before the actual date passes?) for $2.99.  I'd been wanting to try and take a stab at making girlie some leg warmers for a while, since brand name Babylegs are at least $10 a pair! 


First step - cut the feet of the socks off right above the heel part, making the cut parallel to the top of the sock. 


Second step-
Set your machine to a tight zigzag stitch (for those of us without fancy sergers or overlock machines, that is).  I set my tension to about a 4 and my stitch length to between 1-2.  Stretch the material slightly and stitch over the raw edge, with one part of the stitch catching the material and the other going off the outer edge. Zigzag all the way around. 
 I used matching thread, but contrasting colors would be fun too! 


Your edges will end up slightly ruffled and girly looking in about 1 minute flat!  (Well, or two minutes if you are like me and get the material stuck in the guides under the presser foot rather than letting the machine do the work...patience, Grasshopper). 





Seriously, one of the fastest and easiest sewing projects I've tackled to date, and I think they turned out super cute! Would make a fun little birthday or shower gift for that special little girl. I'm keeping my eyes peeled at JoAnn's for clearance holiday socks from now on! 

 Pictures of them in action on our little Valentine:




Thursday, February 9, 2012

I am not a "finisher"


It turns out that for most people (and by most people I guess I mean I can really only speak for myself, but  whatev) by the time you are approximately 3 decades into this life, patterns of behavior are pretty well established. Personality, temperament, learned associations, classical/operant conditioned responses, however you want to look at it, most of the time we are who we are by a pretty reasonable stage of our adult lives. And something that I know about myself by now is that I love to start things - projects, crafts, recipes, etc.  But, I frequently leave them in partial stages of completion and move on to something more exciting, or just different, before ever finishing what I started. I do this All.The.Time. I have so many crocheted items that aren't finished off, or truly are not even halfway done. I have multiple scrapbooks that have 3 pages completed and a stack of photos waiting for the perfect creative streak to transform them into awesome layouts.  I have bags from Michaels and Joanns full of supplies for DIY gifts I meant to make for Christmas.  3 years worth of Christmases.  I have bags of clothes I once sorted and intended to donate, but never called Purple Heart/drove to Goodwill and got rid of, just hanging around.  Right this moment, I have fabric cut and my sewing machine on the dining room table, where it has been for the last 2 weeks since the day I cut the fabric and realized I didn't have the power cable for my machine.  I picked it up the next day, but still haven't plugged it in.  I have piles on my desk, in my closet, in the basement, etc, of things that are crying out for organization, and sometimes I start with lofty ideals of a scene that goes from something like this:


Not my own closet, but you get the idea


and ends looking like this:  


But before I ever get there I get distracted/overwhelmed/tired/busy and leave it in whatever stage of pre-completion I might have achieved before moving on.  Sometimes that is just the idea of starting it, sometimes it is actually sorting piles, only to shuffle them back into a mess when they never find their new home, sometimes it is actually purchasing some item to help me with said project, but moving on before actually putting it to use. But the problem is, these partially finished projects really do bother me that they aren't complete.  I just can't find a way to harness the free time I do have, which is extremely limited, and prioritize which one to pick up and work on to its end.  

Sometimes I think I have too many varying interests and dreams and things I want to pursue and I get scattered when I try to harness my energy into just one of them for a prolonged period of time.  Sometimes I think I lack willpower to make myself follow through on undesirable tasks (cleaning/organizing/purging) and start up something else that I deem more fun for that moment, but I'm not always committed to following through on that task as I only started it to fill up space for something else I should have been doing. Sometimes, I just get really tired and can't stay awake long enough to finish a project, and by the next time I have free time to work on it, something else has come up with a higher priority status. 

I don't have a resolution to this problem...as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, these are habits that I have spent most of my 28 years and 8 months perfecting.  But I do know that being a slob, being unorganized and perpetually feeling like I'm running late because I can't find what I need to get out the door, having projects I started with love and the intent to give to someone I care about sit in a bag and get dusty, these things bother me.  I love the feeling of having things in their place and ready to go. I love the sense of accomplishment when I finish a project and feel proud to give it to someone I love. I love just don't know how to keep myself motivated to stay in a place where this consistently happens. 

What do my more organized friends and family think?  Any tips/challenges/help for this time challenged, sleep deprived, cluttered mama that would point me in the right direction?