Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Let's Talk Weight Loss

This is not the first time I've been in serious weight loss mode (see the Losing It page under the header) but it will hopefully be the last. No more babies will be adding pounds to me so that excuse is gone. It's all on me now, which is a little scary. I want to write about it in the hopes that I can be even more accountable and make better choices. Slipping up is so easy. And so delicious.

The picture above was taken the day after Thanksgiving 2014. Video Game was one month old. I expected to gain weight because I have always gained weight while nursing. This time around I've had enough breastmilk supply to keep the baby happy. That's a first. Anyway, I hoped to keep off as much weight as possible. After Video Game turned two months old the Hubs and I started on the Take Shape for Life program. He is doing their regular program and I'm doing on that's modified for nursing mothers. We started in conjunction with a five week health challenge. It went really well and I'm posting the before and afters.




In the five weeks I ended up losing 15 pounds and the Hubs lost 25. Pretty awesome, I think. But now that five weeks is over and we're two weeks past that. And I'm slipping a little. Right now I'm very close to being down 20 lbs since starting Take Shape for Life. I haven't gained anything back but it scares me that I might. I'm not being as careful about my eating as I should be. There's a lot going through my mind right now. Am I exercising too much for the amount of calories I'm eating? Am I really producing enough milk for Video Game? How do I strike the correct balance to be the best at this for the baby, myself, and my husband? 

I bring all this up on this blog here for several reasons. 1) Making it public should help keep me accountable...er. 2) Writing helps me work out my thoughts. 3) If I keep sewing stuff, the has to change with my changing body. 4) I plan on sewing things as my reward fr losing weight. Documenting it here will show my rewards for accomplishing my goals.

All of this is hard for me. I've lost a bit of my self control and it comes back in fits and starts when I hear someone compliment me on the weight loss. Now I guess the best I can do is to accept my strengths and my struggles and try to work with them. I don't love opening up about all this but I hope it will help me and/or someone else. So here goes.

I can do this. I've done it before.
The Hubs is doing this with me. Helping him also helps me.
The food is convenient. Remembering the cost should help me stay on plan.

Being home with the kids all day opens up a lot of possibility for eating things I shouldn't.
My brain and my body fight over who's in charge.
Part of me doesn't believe I'll get down to my goal, which I haven't clearly defined in the first place.

If anyone has any other thoughts or tips for me, feel free to share. I just finished eating several balls of frozen cookie dough so any help is good.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Drop (Waist) and Give Me 20!

For the first time ever I am participating in the sew along for Project Run & Play. I generally sew for myself because I get the most enjoyment out of that. 

This is her muscle pose
The set up this time around is pretty intriguing so I decided to join in. The pattern is the free Mademoiselle Muscle Tee by Susan from Living With Punks. It's done in size five so I figured it would be perfect for The Pink Blur, who is four. It was a little big for her but I worked with it, as well as adding modifications.
This is her favorite pose. You'll see it more as the pictures continue.
A new pattern deserves new fabric. I took the leap and ordered two Girl Charlee KnitFix bags from the February sale. Pink Blur loves knit floral dresses like nobody's business. When she saw this floral she immediately claimed it and asked for a dress. The blue is from my stash and I was glad to find something that matched so perfectly. It really brightens up the dress and makes it playful.

Same pose from the back
I modified the muscle tee pattern into a drop waist dress by finding her hip and cutting the pattern off there. With the remainder of the pattern pieces I just slashed and spread to get the fullness I wanted, then added length. I prefer the look of sleeves and added flutter sleeves to keep it simple.

Aaaaaand looking over her shoulder.
The blue waistband was for added definition and color, as well as to tie in the blue on the neck band. Before I started cutting out the floral I knew the dress was going to need something more. That was when the idea for the layered sleeves and skirt was born. I'm happy with the effect. The dress then looked like this:
Quick reference pic for sending out
At this point the dress was okay but I thought it needed something more. Everything I thought of just didn't look good in my head. I sent out the above picture to my mom and a friend to ask their opinion about a couple of my ideas. One suggestion I got from both of them was to gather a strip of fabric and make a corsage applique with it. This is meant to be a play dress and I wanted something less fussy than what was showing up in my brain. I wanted to keep it really simple.
Drop and give me twenty smiles!
I did end up using the idea of gathering a strip of fabric, but I used it to make a straight strip down the center front. It gives it the added embellishment of blue that I wanted without competing against the busy floral pattern. The strip was created by gathering down the center, placing the strip, and sewing over the gathering stitch. Easy peasy.
The response to "Show me a different pose, sweetie."
The final adjustment I made was on the neck band. I didn't like how it was laying on her little chest, so I took a tiny wedge seam on the band. Ta-Da! Now it's a V neck. I didn't bother too much with pictures because she just wanted to play and also because I have a three month old baby who is teething and wants to be held. Poor boy. :(

How long are you going to make me hold a plank? It's hard!
The Pink Blur absolutely loves her dress. Her big sister wants one of her own and has already chosen her design modifications. I'll get around to that. Some time. For now I'm really pleased that I got such a great result from a floral fabric that I would not usually have chosen. See the other Mademoiselle Muscle Tee challenge creations over at Project Run & Play!

The final muscle pose. This little cutie makes me smile every day!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Introducing Video Game!

In the delivery room
Our newest (and last) addition is here! His blog name is Video Game. His oldest sister thought that should be his real name "because he's a boy and boys like video games." 
Meeting the family
He came four days late. I was scheduled for an induction but went into labor on my own the night before. Labor and delivery was the easiest I've ever had. We did have the little snag of me passing out, but it wasn't scary this time like it was with Blue Eyes.
Coming home from the hospital
Video Game was 21 inches long and a pleasant 8 lbs 5 ounces. We expected him to weigh at least a pound more than that, so his weight was a happy surprise.
First Halloween costume
He has been very alert and observant since his first hour of life.  He's a really chill baby,though I would be lying if I said he doesn't have a voice of complaint. That is mostly saved for when I don't feed him fast enough. With three other kids sometimes he just has to wait.
Smiley boy
His brother and sisters adore him, as do his parents. And everyone else. I love seeing him smile. I can't wait until he starts laughing. Baby laughs are contagious!
He likes looking at the lights on the tree
I haven't done a lick of sewing since was born, though I did crochet him a viking hat. He doesn't scream when I put it on him. That's always a good thing. I've been enjoying just soaking him up.
Everyone should have a hat like this
We ended up blessing him earlier than we planned so I asked my mom to sew him a blessing outfit. She stepped up to the plate in spectacular fashion with this little tuxedo. I love it so much.
We're fortunate to have this little guy in our family. I thought Q-ball would be really jealous but he's been doing pretty well. I'm a lucky mom. Now excuse me while I go nibble on his little cheeks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What I've Been Up To or, The Photo Dump of Many Projects

I've been neglecting this blog. I may have been inactive here, but I certainly have not been idle. For anyone who cares, I now present several pictures and words about what I've been doing the past almost 3 months.

Getting Ready for School

Blue Eyes started first grade at the end of August. The school sent home a Summer Stay Sharp packet that included things to be done to keep up reading and math skills. Completing the packet then got the student a prize. I have no idea how I got the idea that the prize was a costume party, but I did. Blue Eyes really, really wanted to be a mermaid and, because I am a sucker and because she worked so hard, I complied with her request. I did this with the full knowledge (and purchase of fabric and pattern) that the plan was for Blue Eyes to be a "vampire girl" for Halloween. Turns out the prize was an ice cream party. So now she's decided to wear fangs and be a vampire mermaid queen for Halloween. Works for me. The costume is finished, I just haven't taken the pictures yet. She wore it to a costume birthday party and I need to fix where the fins were too long and ripped.

True love is using a toy teacup and gold paint pen to make scales on the tail portion of a costume. I took the picture at the point where I had decided I'd made a mistake in adding scales. Yes, I even took the center front and back into account.
The next project didn't take long. I saw chocolate apples at See's when we were there and decided they would be a nice little gift for my daughter's teachers. I added a little note to go with them. I figured that meant I had filled my cute and creative quota for the year.

Broken Nose

The Pink Blur lives up to her nickname, but not always to her advantage. One Saturday in August she ran through the house in her flip flops and took a header into my bed. I was in my room cleaning out my closet and saw her go down, though I didn't see whether it was into my bed frame or box springs. Either way, the screaming was immediate and the bleeding was so strong ans fast that it came out both her nose and mouth. No fun. We took a useless trip to the ER only to be told that, since she hadn't lost consciousness, we just needed to go to an ENT in a few days after the swelling had gone down. Two appointments later we knew for sure her nose had indeed broken and needed to be straightened in same day surgery. The entire process from accident to surgery to getting rid of the nose split took two weeks. And a buttload of money. With just that we've met more than half of our family deductible for medical insurance.
Waiting to go in for surgery. I have spared the internet the pictures of the bruising and the splint she wore for five days after the surgery.

First School Project

Blue Eyes's class learned about habitats and they were assigned to choose one and make a diorama including land formations, plants, and animal life found in that habitat. Blue Eyes chose underground and insisted that moles needed to be one of the animals. Because it's so easy to find ready-made moles that can fit into a shoe box diorama. The project would have been so much easier to do if I hadn't included Blue Eyes in the construction of the diorama. She would have preferred to be more involved. She also wanted the moles to chase the earthworms in a flying race. So...there was quite a bit of it I did myself. It was time consuming. These little guys were created from part of a maribou boa that was stitched together and the fluff trimmed down, pink beads glued together for the nose, and the hands and feet of a dollar store skeleton.

The earthworms and grubs also came from the dollar store. They were made from rope candy which smelled like death.

Missionary Suitcase

It's hard to know where to start on this. It was a big project made with lots of love and the experience ended with a reaffirmation of the love of God for each of us. I wrote about it in detail on my personal blog but I haven't decided yet whether or not to share it here. Here's the long story short: In early September I heard about a project to fill up a suitcase for a prospective missionary who would not be able to get those things together on their own. I had a lot of help in getting ready for my mission and felt the need to pay it forward. I did so by making the clothing and asking friends and family for an contributions they could make so I could afford to get everything that needed to go in the suitcase. Below are the fruits of my labors.
The tops. The two in the middle are from the same pattern. I totally love it.

The skirts. The picture is fuzzy but they are pretty basic. The black and olive skirts on the left are flared, the black and blue skirts on the right are straight. All but the blue skirt use buttonhole elastic to make an adjustable waist. I can't fit someone I'll never meet.

Accessory shrug and dress. I really love the dress fabric and I'll probably make a skirt for myself out of the scraps.

After dropping off the suitcase we met one of the organizers of Eyes4Zimbabwe. And it was awesome.

Taken at 39 weeks along
I'm in the final days of pregnancy with baby #4, who will be called Video Game. Did I ever mention his blog name? Well, it's Video Game and his sisters came up with it. Anyhow, the last bit of pregnancy is always a bit super-ultra tiring and sewing isn't high on my priority list. I did make two maternity/nursing tops from the same pattern that I anticipate using more after Video Game is born.

At a girls' night with some high school buddies. The striped shirt is one of the two I made. I ran out of fabric to make the sleeves as long as I wanted so I added green ones to give it a layered look.
I'm trying to fill my remaining time with things I won't be able to do after I deliver. Tonight is a date night with the hubby including a trip to the temple and dinner. Tomorrow is a dinner at church with the ladies there. The doctor will be stripping my membranes the day after that, so hopefully Friday night is baby time. We'll see. This kid doesn't seem too anxious to leave his little apartment.
The photo op at the pumpkin patch was too good to pass up. The kids had a blast too.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Winning and Not Winning

Today was results day for Challenge Create.  I didn't win but Kara, who sent me the fabric I used, did! She did an amazing job with the fabric she received and she'll be moving on to a final round of all the winners from the previous weeks.  Make sure to go over to Skirt Fixation and vote for your favorite.  While I didn't win the contest, I DO get to keep the cute outfit I made and the adorable birthday girl who wears it.  I count that as a win any day!
Blurry but great picture.  I just wish I'd gotten a shot of her when she first saw the bike.  Best. Birthday face. EVER!
In other winning news, I was lucky enough to have my name drawn in a giveaway for a ticket to The Sewing Party.  Thanks to Rach from Family Ever After and to The Sewing Party!  It's a good thing the ticket comes with 90 days of access because I'll be plenty busy with Video Game (that's the new baby's blog name; I'll share the story later) by that time.  I'm excited to learn new things and "meet" new people.  Have a great day, we're off to Blue Eye's birthday party!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Voting Day!

Today is voting day over on Skirt Fixation!  Voting goes until Sunday, I believe, and then the winner is announced on Monday.  Results day is Blue Eyes's birthday and she's super excited to see how her outfit does in the contest.  So go vote (scroll to the bottom of the post until you get to the voting section) and show some love to your favorite entry!
Blue Eyes says, "Vote for me!"

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Few of Her Favorite Things or, My Entry for the Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition!

It's time for Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition!!!  There have been some great projects the past four weeks and I'm sure this week will not disappoint.  I've been most excited for this week because it's finally my turn and because I can't wait to see what Terri made with the fabric I sent to her.  When I saw the themes I immediately chose the Mystery Fabric week.  Really, what's more fun and creatively stimulating than complete and total surprise?

My fabric came from Kara at Sweeter Than It Seams.  She sent me a yard each of two cotton prints, along with a note saying she thought it could be a cute summer theme.  She was right.  I’d originally planned on making something for myself.  The problem is that anything I make now can only be used for the next three months before baby comes.  It worked out perfectly though, because the light red background on the chair fabric is Blue Eyes's very favorite color and it begged to be made into something for her.

I rarely work with quilting cotton so it was quite a challenge to decide what to make.  After many hours of internal debate I settled on the free Brooklyn Frock from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop and let loose with the alterations!  I shortened the dress into a top, angled out the sides a bit for a little extra fullness, shortened the sleeves, scaled down the pocket size to fit the new length, and added a second pocket.  Whoo!  My favorite addition, however, was the piping.  It added such a fun pop of yellow and I think it really helped tie the other fabrics together.

Blue Eyes's birthday falls on the day the results for this week's challenge will be announced.  It only made sense to have her help choose several design elements.  She selected the buttons and made a couple of design changes on the purse.  The shopping trip was a bit of a fiasco because I took all three kids to the fabric store.  By myself.  To select buttons.  Sigh.  I know better than that.  Anyway, after many bribes, threats, and replacing of scattered button cards, we came away with a package of small ladybug buttons and another of gold and silver stars.  That was narrowed down from her original nine choices.  Blue Eye's three favorite colors are red, black, and gold so I think we did well.  I wasn't satisfied with the ladybugs in their original state.  A quick dab of black nail polish made a real improvement on these buttons.  The gold buttons also got nail polish.  Upon returning home I noticed that little bits of glitter came off on my finger when I touched the star buttons.  Two coats of clear nail polish fixed that little problem.
I really do prefer my ladybugs with black heads
The pattern suggests sewing together the open edges of bias tape to create button loops.  The buttons are so small that bias tape loops would have been ineffective. Instead I used colored hair elastics from the dollar store.  I got the idea for that from Sue at A Colorful Canvas.  It's a brilliant idea, though I wouldn't recommend it on this top.  Using hair elastics in a facing is one thing, but sandwiching it into the bias tape and then topstitching on the other side to reinforce and get the loops to lay flat is another thing altogether.  The bumps in the elastic made my topstitching go wonky.  At least it's not that noticeable when it's on her body and that's what really matters.

My original plan was to make shorts out of the swap fabric, using the rest of the blue as the main fabric.  Despite searching through paper, PDF, and self-drafted patterns, I just couldn’t find anything I wanted to pair with the top. I almost decided on a pair of sailor shorts but it just felt too busy when I pictured it in my head.  The top is a really strong piece and I didn't want to distract from it.  Instead I pulled out some white jersey I had on hand and made up a pair of Go To Leggings. Had I known before I made the top that I would make leggings for the bottoms, I would have made the top a few inches longer.  The leggings are fairly loose and she's just turning six, so no biggie.  I think the leggings give it just the right touch.
LOVE the back of these leggings!
A quick shopping trip in my mom’s fabric stash produced the red knit I used to trim the hem and peek-a-boo hole.  I called asking her for a solid red knit.  When I showed her what we were matching she immediately pulled out the fabric you see on the leggings and it was an amazing match!  I could have used the red solid for the bows in back but I really wanted to incorporate the swap fabrics. I used the smallest and largest size bows included in the pattern to make a double layered bow, then used the red knit for the center. I can hardly handle the cute.  Blue Eyes says the leggings are boring because there's nothing on the front.  She also wanted three more pockets on the top so I take that little comment with a grain of salt.
FYI, she's holding a dead butterfly in her right hand and a live ladybug in her left fist.  It's dead now too.
In addition to the challenge of using the mystery fabrics, I also challenged myself to use as much of the swap fabrics as possible.  To accomplish that I printed up the Free Child’s Ruffled Purse Pattern from Create Kids Couture.  The bag echoes the top with the added piping and the buttons.  I moved the bottom ruffle down a bit so the buttons can actually be seen.  At Blue Eyes’s request I added a button and loop closure to the opening, as well as “side pockets like the diaper bag!”  I was getting ready to attach the lining to the body of the purse when those requests came in.  Being the sucker loving mother I am, I complied with her requests and made side pockets and a closure.  The star buttons were also problematic.  I'd used all the gold buttons from the original package on the shirt and only had silver buttons left over.  I really wanted the purse buttons to match the ones on the shirt.  Rather than go buy more buttons, I busted out my glitter toes set and turned them gold.  Now the purse is just what she wants. I'm so glad she loves the whole thing.

Most of the pictures you see above were taken at the school Blue Eyes attends.  They use uniforms so I'm pretty sure that will be the first and last time she wears her favorite things outfit there.  Blue Eyes was far more interested in finding bugs than in posing for the camera.

We also went to the local children's museum that recently opened and I figured I'd get in a few decent shots there.  For your amusement, I give you a sample of what I got at the museum. They were pretty much all like this.
Love my silly girl!
Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to vote for your favorite Mystery Week project on Friday and/or add your own favorite project from 2014 to the Sew Along (bottom of this post).  I had a great time and I'm happy I had the opportunity.  Thanks, Skirt Fixation!