Archive of ‘sewn’ category

the love ambush

my husband and i first wandered into the world of parenting like one of those freaky friday-type movies when a teenager wakes up to find they are ceo.  we had no idea what we were doing.  i’m still a bit perplexed by how we could be so completely blindsided by the whole thing. i was older than both my siblings and took care of them a lot.  we both had friends with babies. shouldn’t we have a better idea what we were supposed to be doing!?

i remember wishing that the pediatrician was coming home with us from the hospital.  um, he didn’t. he let us take the screaming, pooping, totally dependent little person home with us and nobody was even supervising the whole operation!

“you got a car seat? great, you are good to go!”

i’ve had time sheets given more scrutiny.

as we stumbled blindly through–amazed on a daily basis that we all remained alive–we slowly amassed the community of people essential to surviving the ride.  one of those people was our daycare provider, sandi.  she has the gentle nature that makes it possible for a sleep-deprived, work-stressed, over-caffeinated, crying jag-prone parent to hear, ‘yes indeed. your child is hungry. you are not feeding him enough and you need to supplement with formula even though you are fiercely dedicated to breastfeeding.’   huh.

for nearly two years, she was the one that let us ride off to work without worrying or feeling guilty. when our second child came along, we were excited to get to see her again on a daily basis.  she and her staff became nothing short of co-parents with us.

so, it was a bittersweet moment in the late summer when it came time for our youngest to move on out of her care. it meant we were moving on from miss sandi.  and, i knew i couldn’t let it happen without doing something special.  so, i got in touch with as many parents as i could and we made her a quilt. one quilt square for each child.

 

i rented out the space i use for my sewing classes for a one-day ‘make a quilt square’ event. and then dropped supplies off around town for a half-dozen more.  after a small bit of nagging and email hounding i gathered up all the quilt squares and started making the quilt. we’d already arranged the meet-up with her, so i had just a few days. i had to bust it out!

 

{even the cat helped a bit}

in the end, we made a quilt for her with squares from 24 kids and 17 different families. stitches and fabric from a sample of the kids and families she has loved over the past few years.  look at that quilt! it’s amazing! what if those kids all grow up and stay in this community and this little bit of time in their lives is still there on this quilt? it’s like a time capsule. the quilt has bits of fabric from special blankets, favorite type of toys and songs represented, the things that are special and amazing about each kid stitched together.

we intended to throw her a surprise picnic. i told her that my family wanted to meet up with her for bagels at the park.  really, 8-10 families planned to meet at the park and surprise her…let the kids play in the park while we snacked and chatted and gave her the quilt.

and, of course, it rained like crazy that day.  sandi and her husband were stranded in long island with water flooding the roads. but they got up at something like 4am to drive back FOR A SMALL GATHERING AT OUR HOUSE. they really did.  the roads were treacherous and rather than cancel they drove because she didn’t want disappoint my boys.  meanwhile, our house was filling up with kids and parents and food waiting for her.  and, that is when we (as one mom described it) love ambushed her.  she arrived…unshowered, tired, expecting a relaxing brunch with 4 people.  she was greeted by about 10 kids screaming SHE’S HERE!! then came the crowd and the food and the quilt.  it was a bit much i think.  there were some tears and a (respected) request for no close up pictures.  was it nice, what we did? i’m not sure.  but, it was well-intended. it was a love ambush after all, not just an ambush.  just an awkward way to say ‘thanks. you are amazing.’  thanks sandi. you are amazing.

the car bags

this summer, we all went on vacation to the midwest…minnesota and wisconsin, specifically.  it was a ‘high agenda’ type of vacation. we were stuffing in visit-time with grandpa, a work-y reunion for my husband, lots of meet ups with old friends, and a trip to my hometown of duluth to see grandma, aunty and uncle.  needless to say, there was much driving not to mention flying.  and, you know, kids are soooo awesome about sitting while fully strapped in for hours on end.  so i tried to be pretty prepared.  i made these ‘car bags’ that are really just single-strap bags made with heavy-duty interfacing so that they stay upright on their own, for the most part.  i added a fancy front pocket so i could rotate some eye-catching coloring books or truck books (more likely) to minimize the whining and hassling that inevitably occurs every time we get into the car.

they ended up being pretty handy and easy to tote into grandma’s house and the hotel, as well.  a transportable play station for the unplugged, kind of thing.  (that is, as long as i stayed diligent with repacking and resorting everything so that it was sure to draw them in. a practice no longer employed at home.)  the single strap included snaps so it could be unsnapped and hung over anything we pleased.

{i’m completely smitten with this canvas elephant fabric, believe i got it from sew mama sew.}

 i also threw together two crayon roll/paper pad combos that turned out to be GREAT for keeping little people occupied at dinner time in restaurants.  in our experience, dinner in a restaurant can be a wicked combination of both humiliating and also exhausting…it’s something we almost never do at home. so, a tiny solution to that problem was awfully welcome.

that’s not to say that two crayon rolls and upright fabric bags got us through every pickle but there could have been more, let’s just say that much.

it was a great trip and well worth the hassles that accompany traveling with little people, made a little bit better with a slice of mama-made, to boot.  and, of course, i wouldn’t miss a chance to see the three boys i love the most in the world next to the lake that takes my breath away.

 {lake superior}

 

 

kid clothes week challenge wrap-up

i have been so focused on preparing for classes and working on the website that i had kind of lost my sewing mojo. so sad, isn’t it? iI was even considering opting out of the Elsie Marley kids clothes challenge week , which i’ve done a few times before.

but at the last minute i went for it.  i decided to jump in the ring after the new book,  sewing for boys arrived at my door unexpectedly.  my mother confessed ‘she couldn’t resist’…she saw the book and knew i had to have it.  that was sweet, huh?

{here’s a close up of the beautiful welt pocket, of which i’m exceedingly proud.}

often during KCWC i’ve focused on making LOTS of things and this time the book inspired me to take a different approach. i set a goal of only making one thing….this cute little jacket up above.  for the little guy who so rarely gets something new.  the pattern is easy to understand and the book is straightforward but, you know…it’s a jacket so i didn’t want to rush and mess it up.  i took my time, tracing and cutting the pattern one day and cutting fabric the next.  no pressure to GET IT DONE just an easy, peasy enjoy-yourself kind of pace.  in the end, i did finish before the week was up and remembered the joy of making things. who could ask for more? even better, the jacket made elsie marley’s blog, which is a super gushy great feeling.

with my bit of extra time, i made both boys hats…that match. they are so cute (the hats and the boys) how could i stop myself?

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