Friday, February 5, 2016

My favourite shirt is the one I make myself

As you guys know, I got really into sewing while was counting down the days to motherhood. My friend L and I used to have Stitch-n-Bitch nights where we'd sew little quilt or tote bags, but we were often stuck for projects because WE DIDN'T HAVE BAYBEEEES YET.

Then suddenly we did, and we had no time to sew! 


Then I got very (very very) into sewing clothes for D (which were terrible and never fit properly). I improved slowly over time, and having a little girl shot my sewing skills into warp speed. 

Today, I sew just about every item of clothing both kids wear -- dresses, leggings, T-shirts, button-ups, long-sleeved shirts, pants, jammies, you name it. 

It was Thanksgiving that I took the plunge and started doing a little "selfish sewing" (that's what it's called in the Super Official Sewing Community, I'm not just a martyr). 

I tried the Love Notions Laundry Day Tee (not an affiliate link, I just love it) and I was hooked ... 

I made this one LITERALLY ON THANKSGIVING even though I was hosting, so that's how easy it is. I did a size Large but found it too loose in the body and the arms.

This was my second attempt (size Medium this time and it was a much better fit). 

Most recent LDT in Medium.

You cut out two arms, one shirt front, one shirt back, and one neckband -- that's it. Five scraps of fabric come together to make a super comfortable, flattering shirt. I still don't quite believe it myself. 

Bottom line: it's very freeing to be able to customize a top to exactly your proportions. You can increase the bust area if you've been blessed (I have not), increase the flare over your hips, make the sleeves skinnier or roomier. 

The pattern is only $4 right now (FOUR DOLLARS, SERIOUSLY) and it includes sizes XS to XXXL. You can make a tunic length or a top length (I've always done top length because the tunic length is not kind to a generous behind).

I love, love, love this pattern and highly recommend it. Four dollars can make you a lifetime's worth of shirts ...

... especially when you practically live at the fabric store anyway, amiright?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The day I missed Zumba

I missed Zumba on Monday, but not because I didn't want to go.

I really, really wanted to go. I even got dressed in my Zumba zwag at 6 a.m. (for my 5:30 p.m. class)

Who wouldn't want to wear this shiz ALL OF THE DAMN TIME?

But then the day happened.

I had too much work, not enough time, and definitely not enough patience. Darling Husband was sleeping off the night shift so I was with C but I wasn't really with her. I was working on and off, here and there, between meals and snacks and distracted Barbie sessions.

After we picked D up from the bus, I did more of the back-and-forth routine. Sort-of Mommy, sort-of Writer. I was angry I wasn't getting to focus on my work. Angry at my husband for daring to SLEEP (Who cared that he'd been up, working, the whole night before? Not me).

I planned to throw quesadillas at the kids, wake him up at 5 p.m. sharp, and fly out the door to my usual Monday class. My therapy! My social time! My sanity! 

But by 4:45 p.m., it had occured to me that maybe ... I shouldn't go. Maybe I shouldn't put myself first today? Maybe I shouldn't skip out on dinner and miss bedtime and arrive back home after the kids were asleep?

I'd been kind of a sh-tty mother since waking up that morning -- and, if I stormed upstairs to wake my exhausted husband, I'd also be a sh-tty wife. As much as I REALLY wanted to leave the house, leave behind my annoying and stressful day, it didn't feel right.

And so I didn't go.

I worked another 15 minutes and then closed the laptop. I didn't wake up my husband. I made quesadillas without rushing. I poured milk. I spooned salsa into the little silicone cups the kids like. I sat down with the kids and we ate slowly together, talking about our days. We packed C's treasure box for preschool. We did the bedtime routine and I was home to read two stories.

And it felt really, really good.

Normally I'm the first person to argue that stay-at-home parents deserve -- no, require -- to put themselves first sometimes and get the eff out of the house at the end of a long day. But that's not always the answer.

Going to Zumba as usual, after the day we had, would have made me feel good in the moment -- lights flashing and bass pumping -- but awful before and after.

If I'd gone, I literally would not have been D all day except for a passing kiss. I wouldn't have spent any meaningful time with either of them all day. And I probably would have been snippy with my husband when I woke him up in a hurry so I could rush out the door. Instead, we had time to watch a quick show together before he left for his night shift.

So I missed Zumba. And although I missed Zumba, of course, I didn't have to miss my family.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Parenting through secondhand FOMO

On the list of things I feel guilty about at this exact moment, one of them is swimming lessons. Namely, that our kids are not currently enrolled. You’ve heard of secondhand smoke, right? Well, I suffer from secondhand FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

They wanted to take the lessons! They asked! I may or may not have uttered a teensy fib about swimming lessons not being offered in the winter, but, uh, Mommy’s pretty sure they’ll be running in the spring.

It’s not that I have anything against swimming lessons. I think they’re great, and they certainly worked wonders on our tentative kids. (What’s the opposite of saying someone “swims like a fish,” because ours are ... that?)

It’s just that we absolutely cannot handle another weekly commitment at the moment ... and that makes me feel simultaneously proud of sticking to my guns, but also guilty that my children are missing out on wonderful experiences.

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, "The Mom Scene" ...

Saturday, January 30, 2016

DIY canopy bed with rainbow curtains

“ROY-G-BIV, ROY-G-BIV,” I kept murmuring to myself as I stacked and examined different bolts. “Roy ... gee ... bivvvvvv.”

I was on the hunt for rainbow hues that weren’t straight out of a cartoon. I ended up removing the “I” (indigo) — all of the indigo fabrics were too dark for our pastel scheme — and swapped the “R” (red) for a deep pink. So, technically, our rainbow was “POY-G-BV,” but it worked.

Let me back up, though. I was browsing on Pinterest with our three-year-old daughter on my lap, and she spotted a canopy bed with purple curtains. She declared it the most beautiful “princess bed” in the world and asked if I could sew it for her.

(You guys remember how little I liked the purple paint she chose for those nightstands a couple of weeks ago, right? Sigh.)

I agreed that a canopy bed would be fun, but how about ... rainbow curtains instead? She squealed and we started sketching how it would look. We told my handy husband about our idea and he rolled his eyes good-naturedly.

Usually it takes him a while to get on board for projects, so I was shocked when he went out and bought the wood and built the bed THAT VERY SAME DAY. When Daddy’s Little Girl asks for a big project, he jumps, apparently!

Read the full tutorial in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home ...