Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Dear Eli


Dear Eli, please never grow up.

We were hanging out together the other day in the rocker in your nursery. You'd just woken up (a little too soon) from your nap completely inconsolable. I picked you up and brought you over to the rocker, nestled you in and shhhed you while stroking your head until you calmed and fell back to sleep. With your stomach against my stomach and your head against my chest I listened to your soft little snores. Your head tilted just enough so I could stare at your handsome little face. Your mouth open slightly and your eye lids twitching as you sunk down into sleep. I felt this overwhelming hope that you will never grow up. That you'll stay exactly as you are in this moment forever. I can't imagine the day when you won't need me to fall asleep against when you're upset, or when I go to pick you up and you actually push me away and try to get down (luckily we aren't there yet). I can't imagine the day when you eventually meet someone that you choose to talk to about all the good and bad things in your life that you previously came to me and your dad about. I know it'll come, but for right now if you could just promise to stay exactly as you are.



Knowing that this cannot be forever, I soak it up. Although this isn't a daily routine, when it does happen I count my lucky stars. I breathe in the smell of your little head and focus on the way your weight feels against me. Your father wishes so badly that you would do this for him. Alas, the cuddles are only for mama and, although it sounds selfish, I couldn't be happier about it. Don't worry though, you do enjoy your father's company more than mine when he's home.


Although it is so easy to do, I try not to look to the future beyond what is necessary. I don't want to miss a second of my time with you at this age. I love that you are now figuring out how to scoot your way across the kitchen floor to land at my feet and play with the buckles on my slippers while I prep, bake, or do dishes. My heart immediately melts when I feel you below me grabbing at my legs and head butting me with your mouth open to give kisses. Nothing in my life has ever made me feel so content, at ease, and as though everything is as it should be. With your sibling on the way, I do need to admit that I am just a little sad about our short time together with you in this stage of your life. I know though that a new baby will launch us into and new and equally exciting stage of life and that we will find space in our growing hearts for that little person.



Despite my intense hope that you'll never grow up, I am continuously surprised by how much I love each of your developmental stages more than the last. I thought the 3 month mark was definitely my favourite, but no then the 4th or 5th or 6th, etc. month marks were definitely definitely my favourite. I swear that right now you are the best you'll ever be and we can just go ahead and freeze time. But I've had that feeling all along. When you first smiled the whole world stopped. It stopped again when you played in your swing, the jolly jumper, when you sat up, when you started babbling, eating solid food, and started scooting. In a way the whole world has stopped or it keeps turning without me really noticing. Which has been both such a treasure and totally terrifying. I'm afraid I'll wake up one day and you'll be a teenager. All the sweetness you are now will I'm sure will still be there along with a few other personality traits... And knowing that this fear is absolutely a reality makes me cling to those rocking chair moments all the more. Seeing though how each month the little ways you reach out for me or smile at your father or react when we play with you helps me to know that as time clicks by, you will grow more love in my heart than I knew could exist, you will show me more of life then I've ever seen before, and you will teach me more about being a parent and loving a child then can ever be articulated in text.

Dear Eli, please never grow up.


- Katie
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Sunday, 13 January 2019

'Hexie' Crib Quilt: Part 1


Hey folks. Thought I'd share a little (actually kind of big) project that I've been working on. I haven't formally announced it yet, mostly because I'm just not on top of these things, but we are expecting a second little person joining our family in June! I made this hexagon crib quilt for Eli before he was born, and thought I'd make another for this new little one.

* Disclaimer: The quilt top for this crib quilt is entirely HAND SEWN. Its definitely a tedious project, but also something you can do in front of the t.v., and is relatively mindless. Please don't get intimidated, its easy! *

I've set this post up in two parts. Part 1(this post) is just how to make the quilt top. Part 2 (when I get there) will cover how to put the quilt together. This project uses English Paper Piecing (EPP) as the main technique. If your new to the EPP world then maybe do some google searches or check out the book All Points Patchwork. Its pretty modern and full of amazing EPP projects, both large and small.


What you'll Need:
* Sharp scissors
* Fabric in various patterns/designs of your choice (I picked up the Amalfi Charm Pack by Rifle Paper Co for Cotton + Steel and used a variety of matching solids from my local fabric store).
* Thread (any colour for basting, matching colours to your fabric for sewing the quilt top together).
* Hand sewing needle(s).
* Good quality card stock to punch out your hexagon shapes.
* Ideally a fiskars hexagon punch (I think I used a 1.5 inch punch) - you can also use a template or pre-cut inserts.

Step 1: Punch out/cut a bunch of your hexagon templates on the card stock.


Step 2: Cut out a piece of fabric to cover your template completely. Make sure you cut a big enough piece. It will only get frustrating when sewing the fabric to the paper if you try to save fabric as you go.


Step 3: Fold the first edge of your fabric over your hexagon template and hold it in place.


Step 4: Fold the next edge of your fabric over your paper template and over top of your first fold. It doesn't matter if you fold your edges in a left or right direction as long as they consistently overlap.


Step 5: Start adding basting stitches (sorry the photo is a little blurry). Make a simple knot in your thread and use a colour that will contrast against your fabric so when you later go to cut these stitches out you can see them easily. Push your needle with your thread through the overlapping layers of fabric and through your paper template essentially binding the three together.

Note: A basting stitch is simply meant  to temporarily hold something together, and meant to be cut out once you put in more secure stitching later on.


Step 6: Continue folding down edges of your fabric overlapping as you go and sew your fabric down to your template only in the corners using a running stitch (where you push the needle up through a layer in one corner and then down through another layer in the next corner) repeating until all corners of your fabric have been sewn down. Knot your thread off once you made it all the way around. It doesn't have to be an unbreakable knot since you'll be cutting your basting stitches off later. Remember you still want to be able to easily get this thread out once your hexies are sewn together.


Step 7: After binge watching a couple shows on Netflix while putting basting stitches in your hexies you should have a whole bunch. Don't be afraid, but you want to aim for 265 hexies. It honestly goes so fast when you get into a rhythm. Remember, this is my second crib quilt and I absolutely finished the last one before Eli was born. I'm 5 months pregnant right now and I will for sure have this crib quilt done as well, while taking care of Eli full time. This is not a hard project. I promise. After Eli goes to bed around 7pm I'm usually up until 9:30pm and I get anywhere from 25 - 35 hexies done.



Step 8: Once you get all your hexies done up, with their paper templates facing the floor, lay out your hexies in a desired pattern or design. Try different layouts to get an idea of how you want your crib quilt to end up looking. I laid mine out in a random pattern as well as in an ombre-ish pattern to see what I'd like better. I went for the ombre option (second photo). Remember to take a picture of your layout, since your not likely going to leave your hexies laid out on the floor for the forseeable future until you're done sewing all the hexagons together.


Step 9: Take two hexies and place them together with their right sides facing each other so you can see their paper templates on the outside.


Step 10: Line up the edges and corners of your hexies and, using a slip stitch, sew your two hexies together along the edge. Try to avoid catching the basting stitch while sewing the two hexies together, otherwise it'll be more difficult cutting the basting stitch out later. Also, try not to sew through your paper template as these will come out as well once the quilt top is all sewn together (nobody wants a quilt with paper in it!).

Note: a slip stitch is sewing two pieces of fabric together moving from one side to the other and having your next stitch go through the same side and same direction as your last, but just a little ahead of your last stitch. You may also want to use matching thread to fabric if your worried about seeing the thread in the finished product. I do a very tight slip stitch and keep it right along the edge of my two pieces of fabric so I don't see it in the finished product.


Note: you also don't have to slip stitch this tightly and you can see that I totally caught my basting stitch. When I go to cut that basting stitch out I'm clearly going to have a task and a half trying to get it out of my slip stitches. This is why you should probably try to avoid this. You can do that by placing your basting stitches not right on the edge of your hexies when sewing your fabric to your templates. I'm just sometimes lazy and didn't fix the problem as I saw it forming. Future Katie's problem.


Step 11: Open your hexies back up to reveal the right sides. As you can see, my slip stitch thread is not visible on the right side, but I will still be able to easily cut away my visible basting stitches.



In a little while I'll post how to bring the whole quilt together with batting, backing, binding, and quilting in part 2. Until then, you and I have a lot of english paper piecing to do. And if you're working on other EPP projects please share them in the comments. I love to see what other folks are working on.

- Katie


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Friday, 11 January 2019

New Year, New Intentions


Happy 2019 everyone! I hope the holidays were lovely all around. I ended up getting a bad head cold early on in December which essentially wrote off the entire month for me. Managed to heal up enough to enjoy the holidays before getting a second post-holiday head cold. I am finally pulling my head up above water, reflecting on the past year, and setting intentions for the new one. 

2018 Reflections


Amongst many of the crafts or projects I work on, I do a fair bit of documenting our photos and family stories in scrapbooks. Every December I participate in a project called December Daily where I more or less document the holiday season for our family that year. I start each December Daily album off with a 'Year in Review' page.


I use this space to put on paper my reflections for the previous year. Looking back on all the big things (good and bad) that happened for Chad, Eli, and I. I also look forward to what's coming up in the New Year and think of how I can prepare for what's to come. I find it very focusing to take the few minutes to really think about how our year went. 

2019 Intentions

In the new year I then start thinking about what intentions I'd like to set for myself. As many other people do, Chad and I both choose a word to guide our year. I like to keep the word quite big and open-ended so I can find a multitude of ways to bring that word into my life for the new year. We use our chosen words only as a guide or intention, not a resolution. I almost always pick a word that feels right even if I have no idea why exactly it feels like the right word for the year. I find this to be the most beneficial for me in choosing a word as it usually ends up that I actually did need to focus my life in that way without really knowing it and of course I don't really end up realizing this until the end of the year when I'm able to reflect on the word for that year. Also, I don't claim to have invented this idea. I started setting intentions for my year with guidance from Ali Edwards One Little Word project.


This year Chad chose the word BUILD, and I chose the word LISTEN. I can't speak for Chad's choice either then I know his year will be full of building new things for himself and his family and he likely wants to focus on that. For myself, I have no idea why I chose the word Listen. I thought of lots of words that I thought would fit well for 2019 like Mother, Change, Breathe, Patience, etc. All of these made sense in terms of how I see the year going and what kind of challenges I feel I may face, but for whatever reason the word Listen is standing out to me and sits in my soul like its meant to be there right now. 

This also happened a couple years ago when I ended up choosing the word GIVE. We were getting married that year and I think I was anticipating a lot of gift receiving on our end and wasn't sure how I felt about that. So it felt right to try to focus the year on giving. Whether that be to myself, my family, friends, the environment, etc. I had no real plan for the word. I ended up giving life to my first son that year and I gave Chad his first baby. I also gave myself a ton of strength and self-confidence in having our son. It was definitely a powerful word that year.


Last year was Chad's first year choosing a word. Figured he'd give it a go. By the end of the year he couldn't remember his word...So this year I thought it would be better to have them visible. In the past I taped my word to a wall usually in front of my desk so I see it a lot. I found this to be helpful and years where I just kept the word in mind, I focused less on my intentions for that year. Giving our intentions a physical space in our lives allows them to live as a real entity in our lives, and thus gives them a lot of power. While choosing a word for the year that is vague and open-ended keeps it light and not so intimidating like many resolutions can sometimes feel. Our word is not our rule for the year. For instance, I have no idea how or what I'm going to listen to this year, but its going happen. Chad has only a loose plan for what he's going to build leaving a lot of space for some detail. 


I'm a little more intense about my New Years intentions and take it a step further by writing down some quick little habits or philosophies that I'd also like to carry into the new year. I also like to have these visible in my home, otherwise I would absolutely forget them. I thought about maybe doing one a month, but felt that would get to much like a rule and I fail when I put any kind of restrictions on myself, so I will keep these fairly open-ended as well. For example, my plan for reading more is simply working on changing my bedtime habits. I'm going to try to be in bed by 9 or 9:30pm with no screens so I have time to read. I know that in order to do this I'm going to need to buy an alarm clock so I don't use my phone alarm clock and I'll need to set up a different spot to charge my phone so its not in the bedroom. Or 'Building a mom style', I have no clue what this will look like, but I feel a little disjointed in my relatively new role as a mom and with another child on the way I should probably sink deeper into this role in a comfortable way. So finding what's going to be comfortable and make sense is probably going to be hugely helpful in my overall wellbeing. This could be anything from figuring out some easy hairstyles/make up routines, changing my wardrobe a bit to be functional, but still cute, etc. 

Some intentions are pretty obvious while others I have left open to interpretation. Facing my fears is definitely a huge one and something I really want to work at this year. Also, because these are intentions and not resolutions, if I don't do some of them, but excel at others then I'm still winning. Intentions for me are about personal growth in literally any way that feels positive to you. The second whatever you're doing or focusing on stops feeling good then take a break or stop doing it all together. We only have so much time, no point in wasting it.


So whether choose an intention this year or have your own way of prepping for the new year, please please share, even if its resolutions that your using. Nothing wrong with a good resolution as long as its in the right hands.

-Katie 
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