Life as a Parent

Alright, so once again its been forever since I’ve posted anything. I haven’t touched my sewing machine in who knows how long… We live in a small apartment and I had my machine set up at our kitchen table, and when the table was needed, the sewing machine was put away and hasn’t been brought out since. Hopefully within the next couple years we will be out of this apartment and the Bay Area, and somewhere where I can set up that stupid machine and really get on teaching myself how not only to quilt, but finish that baby quilt I started some time ago.

But any who, the real reason I came to sit down today and attempt to write something while my daughter watches Moana, is because I feel as though I need to get a few things off my chest.

Being a parent is hard.

Like: pull-your-hair-out-while-sitting-in-a-corner-rocking-back-and-forth-ugly-crying hard.

I love my daughter. She’s the most incredible thing that has ever come in to my life. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s empathetic way beyond her three years… not a single day has gone by without her literally blowing my mind.  However, I also haven’t had many days where I have not seriously considered posting an ad on CraigsList along the lines of “Healthy 3 yo, perfect kidneys. $50 OBO. Will not deliver.” Obviously I would NEVER in a million years, but man… sometimes this kid just down right sucks. Its like she’s broken or something, or possessed…

She has this way of fighting me no matter what the situation be, and trying to fight with a three year old is like trying to fight with tiny drunk human. No matter what I say, or how sound my logic may be… she comes back with a “nuh uh,” and the argument is lost. She has selective hearing to the point where I can loudly call her name repeatedly from 5 feet away and get absolutely no response from her, but the second I start quietly opening anything in the kitchen, its as though her hearing turns supersonic and she can hear me from a different room, in her fort and under the 9 blankets she’s covered herself in on a 100 degree summer day. The kid can scream like the dopey hot girl in any and all 90’s horror films, and it honestly sounds like I’m trying to murder her all because I accidentally knocked over her Barbie who was having a tea party with her bear in the middle of the hallway. Speaking of which, this kid has too many toys. I try to downsize them, I really do; unfortunately, she’s one of the few kids I know who actually play with EVERYTHING she owns. Yeah, that Dollar Tree mermaid she got after her first dentist appointment that’s constantly losing all of its extremities? She’d miss it. The rubber duck she got out of a claw machine two years ago? She’d notice. My house looks as though a toy bomb went off every hour, and I swear the more I try to pick up and organize, the worse it gets. I’m a neat freak, and living with a three year old is driving me bonkers.

I do love this kid though, so much so that I could literally explode if I loved her anymore. She’s definitely put us through the ringer though. From her complicated and terrifying birth, to the Kawasaki’s Diseases when she was fifteen months old, to all the scrapes, bumps, bruises… This kid is tough and has definitely come out on top. Now I’m dealing with her starting pre-preschool on the 6th of September and I can’t even think about it without tearing up. She just turned three in May, yet I feel as though she was only born a year ago… where did the time go? It seems as though the days are long and just drag and drag, but the months are SO short…

I’m excited to see where pre-preschool takes her. She already knows all her letters by sight, can write most of them, and is in the process of learning the sounds they make. She can spell and write her own name, along with a handful of other words, and has another handful of words she can read. She’s counting to 29 on her own (if you give her 30, she can get to 39, and give her 40 etc…). She just about has the days of the week down (thanks to “I got a feelin'” by: Black Eyed Peas), she’s beginning to understand ultra basic math… basically, the kid is freaking smart. Smart, but still learning how to get along with other kids. She’s never been in daycare, or around other kids for long periods of time. Sure she has cousins her age, but we don’t see them that often. She’s around a lot of adults and that does take a toll out on her sociability around other kids.

Anyways… what I’m trying to get at, is that parenting is difficult. A lot more so than any on ever told me it would be. Nobody ever said that sometimes you seriously wonder why the hell you ever did this to yourself. Nobody ever said that sometimes you seriously question if you’re really suited for this. Nobody ever said that being a parent sometimes makes you feel like a bigger failure than anything else in life ever has before. Nobody ever said that it was okay to talk shit about your kid to other parents (this is the only thing that keeps me sane sometimes, truly expressing how obnoxious my kid is to other people who completely understand). Nobody ever said you don’t have to be the perfect pintrest mom. There is so much judgment about being a good parent that for a while it was driving me crazy. It wasn’t until I realized that as long as I did my best, I was doing great.  My kid can be an angel, but she can also be an asshole… That doesn’t necessarily reflect my parenting skills as much as it does my three year old being a three year old.

I make sure to read to her, spend time with her, we do crafts on a regular basis… but she also has her own Kindle and watches Netflix. Its all about balance. Once you find the balance that works for you, life is so much easier. At least until their next melt down, and speaking of which, its bath time for this toddler!

If you’re reading this, and you’re having one of those “pull-your-hair-out-while-sitting-in-a-corner-rocking-back-and-forth-ugly-crying” moments… feel free to share it with me, or anybody… because you’re not alone, and its better to sit and laugh about your kid being an asshole, rather than cry because you feel alone in thinking you’re parenting wrong…

Hope you’re all having a good week, and keeping your head’s up!

Advertisements

AGED EGGNOG 

First things first let me point out that I haven’t gotten around to either quilting or blogging in a long time… I’m sure I’ll get back to it, but things have been hectic lately and my 2.5 year old won’t let me sit down long enough to tie my shoes, let alone fire up my sewing machine. 

Now to talk about what I have done today… I just finished making a rather large batch of eggnog that I plan on letting age until Christmas. I am incredibly excited and can hardly wait to crack into this stuff. 

I love Christmas, it’s one of my favorite times of year, and every year I do some kind of DIY thing to give out as gifts for family. 

With tripling the eggnog recipe, I was able to fill 12 16 oz swing cap bottles and about 3/4 of a 4L glass swing top jar. This is going to give me some awesome gifts to give out along with a jar to take to our family celebration. 

I’m a huge fan of eggnog, booze, and Alton Brown… so seeing as how this recipe has the trifecta I decided to give it a go! I’ll write back around Christmas to let you all know how it turned out
Here’s the recipe:

AGED EGGNOG

Ingredients

12 large eggs (pasteurized if you need peace of mind)

1 pound sugar

1 pint half-n-half

1 pint whole milk

1 pint heavy cream

1 cup Jamaican rum

1 cup cognac

1 cup bourbon

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Separate the eggs and store the whites for another purpose.

Beat the yolks with the sugar and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl until the mixture lightens in color and falls off the whisk in a solid “ribbon.”

Combine dairy, booze and salt in a second bowl or pitcher and then slowly beat into the egg mixture.

Move to a large glass jar (or a couple of smaller ones) and store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 weeks. A month would be better, and two better still. In fact, there’s nothing that says you couldn’t age it a year, but I’ve just never been able to wait that long. (And yes, you can also drink it right away.)

Serve in mugs or cups topped with a little extra nutmeg grated right on top.

My Aged Eggnog Recipe

Finally sat down again. 

So it had been almost a month since I even thought about sewing or quilting, but I finally sat down today and whilst my little one ate her breakfast, I sat at the dining table where my sewing machine has been acting more as a paper weight lately, and busted out 4 more blocks for my quilt. I’m now up to 16 blocks out of the 48 I plan to sew (1/3 the way there!!). I don’t know though, I’ve been thinking that maybe, juuuust maybe I don’t need to go queen size for this baby clothing quilt project, and I should just cut it down to a full or even a twin size quilt. Still haven’t really made a final decision on this…  Anyways, hopefully I’ll be able to sit again when my little distraction goes to bed… Pictures to come! 

Until next time,

Lisa

DIY pressing board

I finally made my pressing board today. It was super easy to do and I spent less than $20 on it. Highly recommend trying this if you need something firmer than a regular ironing board and don’t have the space/money for a store bought pressing board.
Materials:

TV tray (Target $9)

THIN cotton batting (Hancock Fabric $4)

100% cotton canvas (Hancock Fabric $4)

Staple Gun

Spray bottle w/ water
Step 1. Get a sturdy Tv Tray

Step 2. Cover the tray with double layer of batting

Step 3. Flip the tray over onto a sturdy surface (I used my dining table)

Step 4. Staple down one side of the batting

Step 5. Continue stapling until side 1 is secure

Step 6. Pull batting taut and trim the fat off of the other side and secure down; continue with last 2 sides.

Step 7. (Securing corners) tuck one side of the corner in and staple it down.

Step 8. Fold other side of corner down and secure.

Step 9. Add an extra staple to hold the entire corner together.

Step 10. Flip table back over.

Step 11. Lay canvas on table and trim off any obvious extra fat.

Step 12. Flip table over and begin stapling down sides.

Step 13. Continue stapling the same way you did with the batting finishing the corners the same way.

Step 14. Fill a spray bottle with water

Step 15. Spray top of table till decently damp.

Step 16. Flip table over and spray the bottom side on the canvas.

Step 17. All done!! Let the pressing board dry before using. As the canvas dries, it will shrink a little creating a nice tight layer on your board.
I hope this helps somebody else the same way it did me!

Until next time –

Lisa

 

  
  
  

Jams and boards

So I now have 9/48 blocks done. Some of them look better than others but my fabric isn’t consistent across the board. Most of my pieces are cut from onesies and are really stretchy while some pieces are cut from dresses and have no give to them at all. Over all though, I think it’s looking pretty good so far! I’m finding that I really wish I’d had my 4X4 ruler when I was cutting the squares out. I’m spending a TON of time trimming the fat off of the squares and trying to even them out. To anybody trying to use a piece of fabric or some jank-ity piece of plastic as a stencil, I HIGHLY recommend spending the $4-$6 dollars on the ruler right from the beginning. Also – I think I would recommend going for 5″ squares over 4″ squares (especially if doing the baby clothing quilt thing) because I’m losing a lot of the logo/prints in the process of sewing my seams together and an inch would have gone a LONG way in saving them. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the way it’s come out, but I think it could have been better. 

My lines have improved SO much since I started. I’m consistently sewing a straight 1/4″ seam but I am still having issues with the fabric sliding or bunching up and getting jammed when I’m first starting a new line. I’m having the most trouble figuring out how to back stitch at the beginning of each seam because the fabric gets jammed in the little teeth that pull it through the machine. I think that’s probably because of the type of fabric I’m using and it’s not stiff enough to stay flat? I don’t even know if that makes any sense to you guys or not….? My grandma recommended that I could spray the fabric with starch because I wasn’t able to figure out how to get the fabric stabilizer to work the way I wanted it to, also because it’s more than I can really afford right now for how much I need. 

Anyways – like I said, I think overall I’m doing pretty well… I want to believe it’s more my choice in fabric messing me up right now rather than my actual skills on my machine 😁

Lastly 

  – I’ve been using a cutting board wrapped in a tshirt (high tech I know 😳) as a pressing board because my ironing board was too… Squishy, and I wasn’t able to get my seams as neat. So I’ve decided to make my own pressing board! I bought all the materials yesterday and as soon as I get my hands on a staple gun, I’m going to assemble it. I’m kind of winging it here, but honestly… I know it’s going to be pretty badass. I bought a TV tray from Target, some really thin cotton batting, and some cotton canvas (in total I spent less than $20 dollars), when I got home yesterday and after my daughter went down for her nap, I laid the batting and canvas on the tray and tried it out, and even not “put together” it worked SOOO much better than the ironing board or my cutting board/tshirt contraption! I’ll post pictures and a “how to” when I put this thing together in the next day or two! Hopefully at least one other person will find this pressing board as useful as I already am! 
Until next time –

Lisa 

Making those corners my b!tch 😈

So I ran out of my practice squares, and instead of destroying more of my daughter’s old clothes, I decided to just go for it. I took one of the sets of nine squares I had already sorted out into blocks and took a deep breath. Apparently my breath was deep enough because this was the best block I’ve sewn so far!!!I started by ironing out the squares and trimming the fat off of them with the 4×4 ruler I recently got (which works better than the clear dvd case I cut into a 4×4 stencil and MUCH better than using a square of fabric as a stencil). After laying the pieces together in the correct order again, I started to sew the squares together in strips of three. After sewing all three strips together I ironed them out – I ironed them by splitting the seams down the middle. After reading a few blogs, tutorials, and whatnots, I’ve seen that with some people the split seam method works better for them, and apparently it works MUCH better for me too! I can see where my seams are so much easier and I was able to line them up better. Also – in order to help me keep my fabric from moving around too much I pinned the strips together at the seams. That appears to be where I have the most issues with making sure my fabric stays where I want it to, so I thought a little extra reinforcement can’t hurt right? This seems to be a pretty common issue with using clothing as fabric though as opposed to quilting fabrics – maybe not the best thing for me to learn how to quilt/sew with 🙄😒

Anyways… I’m really proud of myself with the progress I’ve made on the sewing machine and with how much better my block looks this time (especially since this is one that will actually be going on to my little one’s quilt!)!

I want to thank the people who have commented on my posts with suggestions, they’ve REALLY helped me a lot! I know I’ll keep getting better and I really can’t wait to be able to post more of my progress!
Until next time –

 Lisa

Maybe I’m getting the hang here….

Alright… It turns out that pressing my seams is a lot more important than I though it was. And I mean a LOT. My corners still are nowhere near being perfect, but I’m ok with that. I may be using a machine to sew, but I myself am not a machine. Plus – who’s going to complain, My daughter?  First of all, shes too young to notice right now, and second…. Even if she weren’t, she can shut up. I’m doing something nice for her here aren’t I? 

I’m finding that with every line I do I get a little straighter and slightly more comfortable with my sewing machine. So far I’ve put together 5 super shabby blocks and about 4-5 not too shabby blocks (FYI – I’m doing a 9 square quilt pattern). Now again, these squares are all my extra pieces, so I still haven’t actually started my monster yet, hopefully after a couple more practice runs I’ll feel a little more confident moving on to the real pieces!! 

Currently I’m averaging about 20-25 minutes or so per block and I figure if I spend 1 hour every other day after my daughter goes to sleep… I’ll have all 48 blocks done by 2033 and then I can work on batting and backing! Basically I guesstimate that this quilt will be finished in time for my daughter’s daughter’s daughter…….. 😳

Till next time –

Lisa