12.31.2013

2014


As the year comes to an end, I've found myself trying to do all the things that I've been putting off for the past 12 months (or seven years, as the case may be).  I've gone through closets and toy bins and cabinets, getting rid of all the things that we no longer need, use, or want.  It became abundantly clear in the past year that "stuff" doesn't just occupy a place in your home.  Rather, "stuff" requires work, whether it's cleaning it, putting it away, moving it around, or taking it out.  And quite honestly, I'd rather spend 2014 putting my efforts into people, not "stuff."  I've also been ticking off tasks that have been on my mental to-do list for far too long (like the curtain rod that we literally bought seven years ago but have just gotten around to hanging up.  Thanks, Ben!).  It feels incredibly good to be getting things done.

And as the year comes to an end, I've also been thinking about the coming year and what's in store for our little family.  Last year was the year that I often repeated to myself, "something is better than nothing."  Ben jokingly referred to this as the lazy man's motto but I have to tell you that this mantra often pushed me to do many things that I wouldn't have otherwise tried to do because I didn't have the perfect amount of time, or the perfect skill level, or the perfect tools.  It may not be the most eloquent of sayings, but it served me well in 2013.

As for the coming year, I find myself constantly returning to the idea that "life is a marathon, not a sprint" (and I blame this firmly on the TED Radio Hour episode on grit.  Damn you, NPR, and your awesome radio shows).  There's a lot that needs to get done around here in the coming year, some of which is not very exciting (like taking a math class.  Blah!) but 2014 will hopefully be about sticking with things, even when you rather not.  And when I feel like throwing my hands in the air in surrender I hope that I'll remember that there's no better way to teach your children a life skill than by demonstrating it for them.

So here's  to a very happy new year to you and your loved one.  May your 2014 be filled with much peace, love, and joy!

12.26.2013

2013 Superlatives

MOST WORN


Me: This simple tee made from a pattern created by tracing another tee that I love.  Sometimes it's the simplest things that turn out the best and are loved the most.


O: This quilted coat (made from the Make It Perfect Uptown Girl pattern) got a ton of use throughout the fall and into the early winter (until it got too cold to keep her sufficiently warm).  I realize that it's white and seems totally impractical for a children's coat, but it's fully machine washable and dryable so it was actually super-easy to keep clean.  Definitely a win with this one.

LEAST WORN


Me: Without a doubt, these culottes.  In fact, I never wore them out of the house due to the static cling issue that could not be done away with.  This project was not a total lost cause though, because it helped me resolve some fit issues for my second version of the Tania Culottes that I made shortly after finishing these.  That's right - I made a second pair, only this time in (static free!) rayon challis and I love them.  And yet I never got around to blogging about them.  Oops.



O: Sadly, O's least worn item was the Scirocco dress.  I am in love with the design of this dress but I ended up choosing to make a size that was on the small side and unfortunately she quickly grew out of it.  Fortunately, I happen to have two little girls and I can't wait for the day when it fits C.

FAVORITE PATTERN



Me: My favorite patterns this year have a lot to do with patterns that pushed me beyond my comfort zone and allowed me to make things that I never thought that I could make - like shorts!  The Maritime Shorts pattern definitely held my hand when it came to installing my first fly zipper and it re-ignited my long lost love of shorts.  It's definitely a winner in my book.



Kids: Along those same lines, I always thought that sewing a bathing suit would be way beyond my skill level but the Waikiki Bathing Suit(affiliate link) from Peekaboo Patterns came together super-easy.  So easy in fact that I sewed four this year.  The first two were made from vintage fabric and they came out super-cute but apparently there's a downside to using vintage fabrics, because the fabric definitely didn't hold up very well and the suits kind of looked like crap by the end of our trip to Hawaii.  In the summer I made two new suits with fabric from Girl Charlee and they are holding up perfectly.  And it still makes me smile every time I see the girls in them.

FAVORITE QUILT KNIT


I didn't make any quilts this year (although I did make lots of blocks as part of my Do Good Stitches sewing group), so let's just start a new category this year - favorite knit.  And considering that I only knit one thing this year, the sweater that I knit for O is a clear winner.  I really do love this sweater though, and I happen to think it would be a winner even if it did have some competition.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE FINISHED OBJECT FOR 2013


Definitely the bike jersey that I made for Ben.  I rarely sew for the guy but when I do, I'm always pleasantly surprised at how the projects turn out.  This jersey has gotten a ton wear (I even got to wear it on a couple bike trips) and I'm happy to report that it's holding up great.  Ben has been requesting more handmade items and I just so happened to surprise him on Christmas with another  jersey made from the leftover fabric from this project.  


A close runner-up though is this Saltspring dress made out of gorgeous Valori Wells voile.  There is nothing that I don't love about this dress.  Should the bike jersey not be able to fulfill it's duties as the all-time favorite finished object, the Saltspring dress will gladly take its place as the first runner up. 

Now what's on your list for 2013?

PS - 2012 Superlatives can be found here.

12.23.2013

Santa 2013

O has always loved going to see Santa because Santa gives her candy canes and in her mind people who give her candy = awesome.  So for the last several years our trips to see Santa have been filled with excited anticipation, not tears.  But C is apparently not so easily won over.

First she eyed the big red man suspiciously.


And then she said "get me the hell out of here!"


Is it wrong that I was laughing the entire time?

12.21.2013

Winter Solstice


My least favorite day of the year but also my most favorite day of the year, because no matter how short the day is today I know that tomorrow it'll be just a little bit longer.

(Look at me, looking at the glass as half full.)

Happy Winter Solstice!

12.09.2013

Look At Me, Making Seasonally Appropriate Clothes!


I know that 20 degrees isn't cold for many of people, but you should know that Seattle is notorious for being full of weather-wimps which means that there's been a whole lot of complaining about how freaking cold it's been around here lately.  One upside to freezing weather though is that it sure does make you appreciate all your woolens.  And look, O, has a new one!


After a couple weeks of knitting a little bit here and a little bit there, her new sweater is done.  It's a simple top-down stockinette stitch sweater with a cable running down each the sleeve (the cable is Frosted Edge from Vogue Stitchionary 2 for anyone interested).  And as usual, I used Barbara Walker's fabulous Knitting From the Top to guide me along the way.


I contemplated continuing the cable down the sides of the sweater too, but in the end I chose to keep the body super-simple.  I'm usually not a huge fan of ribbed cuffs and bottoms but they seem to be pretty practical on children's garments so I finished both with some simple 2 x 2 ribbing.


The yarn is Jaeger Extra Fine Merino and I think I bought it way back in the day when it was being discontinued (or maybe just this color was being discontinued?  I can't remember).  In any case, I bought enough at the time to make myself a sweater but that plan was obviously tossed somewhere along the way in favor of Plan B - making O a sweater.  Fortunately, Plan B worked out pretty well, if I do say so myself because how much does O love her new sweater?


This much.
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