a woven life

a parenting and lifestyle blog


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Photography Styling Challenge|Fashion

Photography Styling Challenge Fashion

I have no qualms with admitting that I experienced great apprehension about this month’s Photography Styling Challenge.

You see, I vacillate a lot about the role of clothing in my life and the effects garments have on my perception of well being. I generally maintain a very functional attitude about clothes; they protect from the elements. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t some degree of personal style in my life, I just strive relentlessly to prevent my sense of identity from becoming consumed by my wardrobe. I believe it to be spiritually imperative that we take a step back in our culture and ask ourselves why clothes are important, where they come from, and how they impact our abilities to feel right within ourselves.

Mini-lecture aside, I believe in the power of bodily decoration, I have a closet crisis at least quarterly, and I have deep respect for well-made and beautiful clothing. I lust for things I can’t afford but try to corral that in healthy ways. In my world view, it is completely acceptable to have the hots for a $150 pair of hiking boots because the sole is flopping off the current pair you own. Maybe hiking boots don’t constitute fashion and this is tip-toeing into rant-land. I’ll stop myself for you.

The following pants are from Oren’s handmade collection of funky stuff. I gain so much satisfaction from seeing him toddle about in handmades. The dress being the exception, as Oren does not wear dresses, although if he wanted to one of these days I would sew them so happily for him.

Upcycled Pants

In my sewing I utilize many fabrics that are already laying around my house. I maintain a mountain pile of worn out clothing in need of upcycling. The pants above belonged to Michael, I cut off the legs below the knee and made these pants based on Oren’s measurements.  The pants below were created from a very roomy pair of stretch knit pants that I lived in towards the end of my pregnancy.

Upcycled Sweats.

This romper I created for a friend’s daughter in honor of her third birthday. I was so happy to be sewing a little girl’s dress! You’ll notice that Oren has plenty of home-made pants but few tops. Dresses are so simple to whip up, if only I had a daughter as well. This dress was sewn using a vintage McCall’s pattern, number 5473.

McCall's Romper.

The pants pictured below are another clothing refashion. The flannel of these pants was salvaged from a large men’s flannel shirt and the woven cotton is from a vintage bed sheet. These pants are so cozy-warm. I love the yoke detail of this pattern and they are reversible to boot! These are the Quick Change Trouser from Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings.

Upcycled flannel pants.

This final pair of pants are my absolute favorite of Oren’s wardbrobe so far. They are for this coming spring season and I lovingly dub them his Cabana Pants. I love making these pants, the pattern is easy to follow and absolutely addicting. I made pair of pants using Growing Up Sew Liberated’s Pocket Pant pattern by Meg McElwee. The fabric is a rare treat, purchased from Sarah’s Fabrics in downtown Lawrence. I almost can not go in there, in fact rarely can I afford to. The trim for the waistband, pockets, and cuffs are from a vintage bed sheet. Love that vintage sheeting. 

Cabana Pants.

On the “styling” side of things, I knew right away that there was going to be no way I could convince Oren to model these pants for you. So I opted for interesting backdrops around my home. And just as I construct this prior sentence, I look over and realize Oren is wearing something I’ve made. Today’s house outfit for this chilly winter day:

Oren PJ Cape.

Mister Cheese. Goodness. Here Oren is rocking some jersey knit leggings I made. On top he is wearing what I call his PJ cape-jacket. This number was upcycled from a pair of footed fleece pajamas. The zipper gave out on them completely and rather than replace it, I turned it into a cozy house coat. And the Ninja Turtle tee shirt was papa’s when he was a little guy. George has also asked me to mention that he is pictured above as well. Poor attention deprived diva-cat.

If fashion fixes and fantastic photography are your cup of tea, please explore some other posts!

And a special welcome to two new participants this month,
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A blip.

Are you cozy where you are? As I type this out, my nose and fingers are cold. My house may well be insulated with cardstock. One layer. My eyelids are cold. I did escape the chilly confines of my home this afternoon. I basked in the relative warmth of Emily’s digs. I left the walking dingo-pajama with his father and away I did fly.

At Emily’s there was knitting to be marveled:

Coffee cozy.

 

That is a french press cozy. Way too awesome. I can’t manage anything beyond garter stitch. I’ve been contemplating a quilted press cozy for some time. I may just be motivated to do so.

emCollage

 

Emmy-lou’s hands are currently churning out baby hats. Super-cute-uber-soft-to-die-for baby hats. I am going to get one of these under my belt. I know I can do it. I just have to start on one size needle then switch then keep track of  the knots. No big deal, says Emily. No big deal.

I did recently sew myself a noodlehead Supertote. It is indeed super, as the name would lead you to believe. This pattern was a christmas gift. I’m so pleased. This bag holds everything. It is currently a “diaper bag” if you will. Perfect size. Perfect number of pockets. Perfect amount of awesome.

SupertoteCollage

 

Big enough to hold my life, but not so big as to feel like carry-on luggage, I can’t fawn enough over this bag’s dimensions. Today it carried art supplies, tons of them. More usually: a change of doug clothes, a wet bag, diapers, wipes, reusable shopping bag, first aid and life necessities bag, notebook, boogie wipes, toys, and emergency rations. I. Love. This bag. A second is in the works. More to come on that.

What have you been making?

Signing out,

Nicole


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Birthday Giveaway.

giveaway#1

I am doing it. I am hosting a giveaway.

Pictured above: one quilted keepsake pouch. Need somewhere to put some stamps, cosmetics, love notes, sea shells, hair pins, coins, nuts, gem stones, or other trinkets? This guy has you covered. Sporting a velcro closure and dandelion yellow interior, this pouch is guaranteed to bring joy to your bag, car, or hoodie pocket. The occasion? My birthday. For my birthday, I wish to send you something I’ve sewn. To clarify, today is not my date of birth, next Saturday, the 5th is.

To enter to win this gorgeous morsel (valued at: priceless):

  • Submit a comment telling me what treasure you plan to slip inside this quilted keepsake envelope.
  • To increase your odds, follow the blog, please inform me via your comment submission that you have also followed the blog.

Stipulations:

  1. Contest open to those residing in the United States of America and Canada.
  2. Submissions close on Saturday, October 5th at noon Central Standard Time, when a winner will be chosen at random.

 

Check back Sunday October the 6th for the announcement. 

Gratefully yours,

Nicole


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Equinox. All things being equal.

Through snotted hankies and red-nose I greet you on this most gorgeous first day of Autumn. Today I bought mums. I have wicked allergies this time of year, the ragweed. And Michael brought home a cold with him this week. I suffer, noisily. I am a trumpeting advertisement for ailment. This day is busy anyhow. The month cares not that I can not swallow. Today is the day Michael and I cook all day and stock the freezer. On the menu is a vat of brew-all-day marinara, four calzones (half spinach, half pepperoni), two loaves of bread, and two batches of cookies. So far, the dough is rising for the calzones and the bread and the sauce is a-stewin’. The house smells amazing.

Oren has been up to some pretty amazing stuff this past twenty-four hours. He climbed stairs, a first. He stacked cans, a first. He successfully and continuously used his fork at lunch, a first. He is a busy boy with a lot to accomplish. He may even start cruising the furniture this week, I wouldn’t put it past him. George is happily indoors at the moment. He spent the day and night outside yesterday, as Michael and I headed out of town. We are proud to announce that our beloved furball is flea free! Michael and I spent yesterday at his parents house, he and his brother had a date to work on music. We stayed the night to take advantage of an empty house that wasn’t our own. It turned into a sort of date night, complete with grilling, plenty of fresh air, and a very large television. Glory be to the god of relaxation.

We recently celebrated a birthday in honor of Michael. So much love found its way to him in the mail. We just love mail. I may have already mentioned this but I created a Japanese themed birthday-date-at-home for the two of us. After Dingo’s bedtime, I barricaded Michael in our bedroom (uh oh, saucy) and turned the living room into a warm and intimate space complete with draped gauzy scarves, candles, Japanese folk music, and incense. I had purchased some sake and sushi earlier in the day. The sake I warmed and kept so in a ceramic kettle. I set table at our low coffee table and rolled out the yoga mats for seating. I shuffled back into the bedroom, had Michael and I don our bathrobes like Kimonos and revealed my surprise. We ate, with giddy delight in our eyes. After eating, I showered him with home-made gifts and brought out the film Spirited Away, his favorite film. I made him a tie and some pocket notebooks.

Recently, Ogie-bogue and I celebrated pajamas by staying in them all day. I did manage to put him into clean pajamas at bedtime. Surely you celebrate your pajamas? If not, you should. On this day we did a tiny bit of furniture rearranging. To my complete dismay, my large furniture is locked in place. Believe me, I’ve thought of everything. But dressers, side tables, and chairs are all mobile and find themselves in new places all of the time. I removed a stool from the bathroom and popped it next to the couch as a side table. Oren scaled it and scaled it again. Nothing is safe anymore, I am learning to not leave burning incense at his newly achieved level (incense can be replaced with: hot mug of tea, toast, scissors, plants, vases, and glue).

I am so excited that long sleeves are pulling themselves out of the closet, begging to be worn. The flannels practically grab my wrist each time I rifle for something to wear. And the sweatshirts. Oh the sweatshirts. Some people call Autumn “hoodie season”. And while I can get behind and in a nice hoodie, we need to be honest with ourselves. This is Harry Potter season. It might be guaranteed that our rarely used television is playing The Prisoner of Azkaban or The Deathly Hollows Part I on any afternoon. If I am caught spending any time indoors during this delicious season, you better believe it is because I need to visit Hogwarts. Speaking of long sleeves, how cute is this top I found for Bogie while thrifting the other day?

Perfect for layering. I wish it were in my size. Those buttons!

The view from here:

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Sleepy naptime toes. When he wakes, and the life returns to my legs, we are going to the garden to harvest tomatoes. Then we will work on the dough, make some calzone filling, and stir the sauce. Tonight, we engage in a rarity, we order dinner in. Indian food. Here’s to paneer tikka masala and enough naan to build a pathway to the moon.

Yours ’til the kitchen sinks,

Nicole


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Baby Project: complete with popped corn.

Dear reader,

Happy Tuesday.

Yesterday I went for a walk in the morning. Bologna Sandwich actually slept in his stroller, no small accomplishment given that the sidewalks in my neighborhood are largely brick-paved. It was warm, but not hot; breezy and bright. It was my notion to set the mood for the rest of the day. I believe that the morning’s energies impact the day’s attitude. So, good times before 10:00 am is equatable to an awesome day.

Thus, we walked. The moon was out. I found an acorn and I told it that it was a little early arriving. I passed a woman and an old beagle. I did some corresponding via cell phone.  And when I passed someone, I would stash away my phone and resume the airy demeanor of mother cracked out on pushing a baby in the stroller. I think it is a funny enough detail that I actually took a break from my phone when passing someone, but now I am telling you about it. I am laughing, honestly.

Notable stroll aside, today has been pretty nice: breakfast and dishes, an afternoon visit with a friend (who donated her hoard of fabric to my life), a nap, some lunch. Now Michael is home and he is going to bake banana bread, but is currently on the floor with the baby, telling him “don’t poke me in the nipple!”.

I am going to tell you about another small and funny blip about my life as I am living it. I engage in old school Pinterestin’ because I refuse to sign up for a Pinterest account. How does this work, you ask? It’s called the Bookmark Bar. I snapped today, at the absurdity of this, and signed up for a Pinterest in the name of having everything in one place. Now I have to transfer all of my links. Laughing, again.

The kitchen is a busy place, no? It’s a busy place in our house. Three meals a day and snacks. The dishes are forever and ever. Some glimpses of the past couple of days:

The cabinets are covered in the love rambles of Michael, for the most part. He gets pretty sentimental when he leaves home. One day he left a post-it note that was too cute to toss and it wound up on the cabinet. You can get a glimpse of one, it has a drawing of George snoozing in the top drawer of our dresser. And aren’t those popcorn kernels pretty?

I started sewing again, after coming off the birthday bender. I appliqued some infant bodysuits that I dyed earlier in the summer. The yellow onesie is from the turmeric dye bath and is destined for a home in the city. The gray is Rit dye. They are both thrifted pieces, which makes for interesting dyeing. A white bodysuit might appear stain free, but upon dyeing all kinds of stains come through as lighter patches of dye. This isn’t horrible, it’s just the way upcycling goes sometimes.

The rest of the day? Something invovling yarn. A load of diapers to put away. A cocktail. Pork for dinner. Sewing after (dingo’s) bedtime, reading before (my) bedtime. And almost certainly a lot of “not for Oren”, and “gentle touch” being uttered.

Good Tidings,

Nicole


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It is his first birthday.

Full disclosure: herein lies a photo of a baby moments after birth, before pinking up, it’s been my experience that some don’t think this is so rad.

Here it is. A time for serious, followed by a time for fun. I woke up a year ago knowing I was in labor, one day past my due date. I ate breakfast, not knowing if I was in for the super long haul or not. Naturally, Michael and I got dressed and went out into the world to run errands. Last minute necessities like candles and tiny new born disposable diapers. I mean, what else is there to do to get oneself through early labor? By the time we were headed from our second big-box retailer to the grocery store, I was certain that I needed to be at home. Michael dropped me off and went to the store solo. I paced. I called our Emily, the trusty midwife. I labored through the day. Swaying. Floating.  Just hanging on to get through the sensation of each contraction. I can say with honesty that laboring through childbirth is the most zen thing I’ve done. Hear me out. It was painful, yes. But no other experience in my life has demanded such attention, such presence of mind, as getting through contraction after contraction. Oren was born at 11:00pm. Into the water. Into my arms. Our Water Dragon. We hadn’t confirmed he was a boy, but I knew he was a boy. A boy indeed. Into my arms, we touched on the outside for the first time.

Before we get to the goodstuff (birthday makings), let’s talk about the past year. Please? I am a home body. Spending 6 weeks pretty much holed up in my house, two rooms of it really, getting to know this new sleepy spirit was ah-mazing. It was my post-partum ideal. It was lazy. I was cared for wholly, so my energy could be on baby grub. When my milk came in, I cried at my unfathomable luck in this lifetime, and it sounded like this. A flawless and empowering home birth behind me, I was prepared to mother this infant.

And then he turned three months old. The Gas visited our home around this time. It took about two months to really get it under control. He would wake in pain, papa would walk, bounce, shhhhh him through bleary eyes night after night after night after night. I cut dairy out of my diet. Our lives all improved. Then winter. Some days I thought I would lose myself in all of the snow. Some days I cried. Some days I wanted out. Some days I could not do three.more.minutes. Spring came around. I got out of the house. We walked together, every nap, winding through the brick sidewalked neighborhood. My life brightened as he became more able and the temperature crept ever upwards.

And we’ve survived our first year as a family. George didn’t like Oren at first. We’ve seen how far they’ve come along in their brotherhood. In the past months I have had my brain scrambled at how he is exerting his will on the world around him, at his insatiable appetite, at him signing, at him dancing, and laughing manically, at him pushing toy trucks along on their wheels. He is life in its most elemental form. He is free and uncaring and unaware of society at large. His family is his whole world (that and the flag at the grocery store). Dear baby: we are celebrating that a year ago today we shared an ordeal experienced by our whole species and what emerged was your entire life to make your own. I gave you life in hopes you would live it.

Moving onto things. One can only ruminate over the precious and fleeting for so long. I’ve been working on some birthday things for quite some time. And two items are not complete, that is okay. I have to put some elastic into sleeves-turned pajama pants, and I must knit a few more rows on this blanket. Here is what is done:

The family-heirloom-every-birthday-from-here-on-out “happy birthday” bunting.

I solemnly swear that I will post a photo of this in all of it’s glory once it is hanging. The flags are canvas with scrap fabrics comprising the letters. It was machine appliqued.

Here are some new pantsI whipped up (feel the night fever, night fever):

IMG_3857

And I refashioned an old t-shirt of mine. This shirt was designed and screen-printed by a friend. I received a replacement after the original had just seen too much action. Now the original is Oren’s:

A dear (deer) lovey:

You may recall the blanket I am knitting of stash yarns:

IMG_3288

And the birthday crown. Each year a new jewel will be embroidered. It is made with felted wool, because it is what I had. It may have come out differently had I purchased wool felt. I rather like the pliability and softness that this method has yielded.

And yes, you caught me red-handed. The embroidered diamond has two lines to go. Eesh. I should really get on it.

Oren’s fancy pants breakfast: Egg cups with raw cheddar cheese and green onions baked in (nitrate-nitrite-filler-free) ham. They. Were Awesome. Paired with the coffee my sister brought with her from a Brooklyn coffee roaster, it was an ideal meal. Oren ate two “cups”. And a slice of whole wheat bread we baked yesterday (Tassajara yeasted bread).

IMG_3840

We then presented him with his first balloon. He can hardly stand to see the balloons at the grocery store. So, when I came in the house and slowly let this balloon rise behind my back, he lost his mind. He completely lost his mind. Ape-shit, lost his mind. Danced in circles. Pulled it down to his level. Bopped it. Giggled. Lit up like the light that will push humanity into better times. We may have altered the balance of good and evil, just in the gifting of one balloon. We also purchased a lovellllly book for Oren. An Egg is Quiet is so beautifully illustrated it will break your heart. We purchased A Seed is Sleepy before Oren was born; Michael and I read it numerous times, it is that enjoyable. We learn something every time. We also got him a fabric book with zippers and buttons and snaps, you know, something he can actually touch now.

I will of course be back with more photos of birthday and sister-visiting madness. For now, happy birthday everyone. I’m glad you made it to this side of things.

Sincerely yours.


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Work space and a plea.

Fellow bloggers, sewers, pinners, friends, family, and readers (that is all of you, right?),

I would be so glad for your help. I can not bring myself to run one more search. I have exhausted the search bar and now I am hoping we can tackle this thing together head on. I want to make baby dingo a first birthday outfit. My thought process, bear with me:

I want to sew a sweet bubble romper to emphasize that this baby is still my baby despite teetering on the brink of toddlerdom. A gender neutral romper it is!

On second thought: let’s celebrate Oren’s entrance into manhood. I will sew him an adorable tunic and short combo.

Well..Maybe we could meet in the middle and I could make him some short-alls or a bubble-less romper..Then again, with the crawling maybe this would trip him up..unless they came way above the knee..better just stick with short/tunic combo.

Alas, there is nary a tunic pattern that is speaking to me (or available in size small enough for dingo….am I willing to wing it?).

Perhaps a retro button down with piping?

And what of the shorts? Pockets? For a one year old? Silly. But surely..birthday shorts need something special..right?

I have a couple of weeks to figure this out. And the whole night before his birthday to sew. I implore you to release upon me your secret archive of favorite boy sewing patterns. Even better, baby boy sewing patterns. (Ahem..maybe we could even refine this a bit more and add that sewing patterns with crawlers in mind would be amazing). Maybe you could even share your own projects?

To top it off! A new addition to my work corner has been brought into our house. We live in a college town, so the August 1 to August 1 lease is fairly common for rental properties. This translates to copious amounts of free, albeit questionable, furniture littering the streets around this time of year as moving takes place. The thoughtful Michael, ever thinking of his wife, drug in a bookshelf off the streets on his way back from a run. It beats sure tops my previous storage solution of bags and boxes. So the updated work space:

I thank you in advance for any insight you may offer up here. And as always, for reading and following.

With gratitude,

Nicole