Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ready or not, here I come!

Pinterest is just the sort of site for me.  I keep paper inspiration journals with all sorts of ideas gleaned from magazines, binders full of clipped recipes, and notes on my phone of the various websites I want to visit or apps I want to check out.  But the truth is, Pinterest seems taboo and I have purposely stayed as far away as possible.  Oh, I've peeked at it a time or two and almost felt guilty or naughty doing so.  It's the sort of thing I could loose myself in and spend more time finding and pinning ideas than actually executing (making, baking, sewing, trying) those ideas!  But the time has come my friends - time to embrace Pinterest and practice some self-discipline when it comes time to set aside technology and get my hands dirty with a project.  So here I go - with whatever nap time is left, I am off to create some boards on Pinterest.  Wish me luck!  Maybe I'll see you around as I'm looking for fun stuff to pin.  ~J.
P.S.  If you haven't checked out Houzz, you should.  They have a website and an iPhone app.  Addictive!  I've had an ideabook going in Houzz for a while...maybe that's why I have courage to step into the land of Pinterest!  So many great ideas, so little time...

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I'm not hopeful I'll get this entry completed, but I'm writing anyway.  I process life verbally, and the opportunity to do so lately has been limited, so I'm feeling the need to BLOG about life even though little bitty boy will be awake from his morning nap soon.  He's 9 months old in a couple of days, inch-worming across the floor and eating solid foods, so I guess I can't really call him little bitty much longer!

I think I can describe what I'm trying to process by saying I sense the dawning of redefinition in my life.  I've been here before - crawling out of the cocoon that I seem to sink into while my babies are infants.  The cocoon is a warm, cozy place where I dwell with my little bitties and my husband while we figure out what it means to us to be a family of 4.  It's a place where everything is muted and a little surreal.  Winter in MN, albeit a mild one, intensifies the effect.  Frankly sometimes it feels more like a cave that I'm clawing out of, but I prefer to try to think of it as a cocoon, because changes happen in there, and something new is born when I emerge.

So much of parenting is about the kids, the KIDS KIDS KIDS.  But the parents are part of this equation too, right?  It's hard to carve out time for your marriage and yourself, although everything I've ever read says that you can't be a good parent if you don't.  I really struggle with balance in my life regardless of the kids, tending to be the person who likes to give my all to everything and everyone.  So it's even more difficult finding balance when a new little person is so entirely dependent on me - especially when I love providing all that little person needs!  I love being a mama! 

This time around I am not working outside the home steadily as I was with our first child so it makes balance even more challenging.  I don't have the built-in distraction from home life that I had in working outside of the home 3 days a week.  I also don't have the built-in "me time" to get my hair done over lunch, go shopping, get a coffee with a coworker, or be in charge of my own schedule for an entire 9 hours!!  I am a slave to the twice-a-day nap schedule and the preschool drop-off/pick-up schedule and the eating/diapering schedule.  I've given in to skipping make-up most days, showers some days, and focusing more on play dates than grown-up dates (because finding babysitters is hard work and expensive!)  It's tough to find the energy to do something for myself or with my spouse after dinner is done, the kids are in bed, and we've both been on the go all day.  Particularly when I'm not well rested in the first place and I know it all starts again in 10 hours.  At that point, the hubby hits the video games for a bit and I play some word games on my phone while I watch a cooking show.  Does this provide the balance I'm seeking?  No.  Have I figured out how to change it?  No.  Does it bug me?  Yes.   

Now before you go thinking that I'm ungrateful for this time at home with my kids, rest assured that I know what a blessing this time is with our kids, what a blessing it is to have a supportive husband and to have made financial decisions that allow us to live off of one income for now.  In the big picture of life I KNOW it's a good thing, I love our kids more than words can express, and I'm thankful, but I still find myself struggling some days.  I'm reminded of the song that says, "I've looked at life from both sides now."  As with most things in life, the grass is just as green on the other side.  It's excellent to be home with my kids, not racing out the door most mornings to get to a meeting, but it also means I struggle a little more to see Joy through the process of having a new baby in our life.    

Back to the cocoon - while I'm in it and struggling to sort through all of the stuff I've written about above, my house takes a nose-dive.  The "creep" starts to win because we're not constantly picking up after the preschooler, tackling the mail, staying ahead of the dog hair, making decisions that can wait until later, or taking the time to do things right the first time.  As I said, there isn't a lot of sleep during these times and that complicates matters because the little things seem bigger.  Also, the social schedule is light while I'm in the cocoon - it has to be in order to survive, but it leaves me feeling disconnected from the friends and family who are truly my sustenance and lifeline.  At the same time, being in the cocoon changes my perspective on what was important before; which things, relationships, attitudes, and goals are worth my attention in light of the new little person into whom we're investing so much.  The new perspective is the first hint of redefinition.  

It feels good to start breaking free from the cocoon.  It means I'm tackling the stagnant corners and drawers of my house that need attention, and it creates an intense urge to simplify.  (Garage sale coming in April!)  Redefining in this way brings me peace best described by a quote from The Diary of Anais Nin,

"When I cannot bear outer pressures anymore, I begin to put order in my belongings...As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects." 
Yep, having a new baby certainly leaves me unable to control and organize my life, so this quote helps me explain the intense urge to go through our things!  

I'm also planning to do away with our red wall and entryway after 8 years in favor of a beachy, pale, blue green from Farrow and Ball called Pale Powder.  Our trip to Key West and a Costal Living magazine for the flight home inspired me.  Of course this means sewing some new pillow covers, adding some new home accessories, and moving things around.  Being home full-time means I am completely immersed in my house and fully aware of the impact it has on my mood, attitude, comfort and LIFE.  Time for a change, time to redefine the space in which we dwell!

We finally ventured back to church last weekend.  It's time to renew our relationship with Christ and the church, and some redefinition will certainly be part of that process.  

I feel like our whole family is redefining the way we interact with each other; in the way we parent the older child, our habits, our communication patterns.  Change is never easy, but it's a redefinition that's worthwhile.  It's one that continues ALL THE TIME but feels highlighted now that we're hyper-aware of everything, having just emerged from months inside of the cocoon.  

Although I feel like I've only written about the tip of the iceberg, this is where I must stop (and I think you get the picture anyway.)  It's time to get back to doing the business of "a-day-in-the-life" instead of writing about it or thinking about it.  Thanks for reading!  If you feel like sharing, I'd love to hear about any redefinition going on in your life.  Until next time...~J        

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Project Pics

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'm going to give it a try!  Life isn't allowing me much time to blog, so I'll post some pics of what I've been making.

Also, check out the new blogs I added to my Awesome Blog List on the sidebar; I am mama hear me roar and MADE.  Cool and inspirational!

Finally, I've been part of a crafty, creative, monthly meeting organized by Trace of Making Schtuff.  It's helped me to stay connected to this part of me through the busy first months of life with an infant (and a preschooler, and two dogs, and the get the picture.)  It's also been just plain fun to swap ideas and dreams with other like minded souls.  Thanks, Trace.  Muah! 

To all of you: are there some like minded souls in your life you could pull together to muse on a set topic you all share an affinity for?  Food for thought, as it really is quite fulfilling to share excitement, observances, set-backs and the corresponding support, inspiration, and enthusiasm that surround a shared affinity for something special. 

My best to you ~J.

Upcycled Cashmere Baby Hat for Carter

Upcycled Wool Longies and Cashmere Baby Hat for Adrian
Rustic Thanksgiving Banner for Lynne (our gracious hostess)

Flower Pom (added after the first photo)

Close-up of the Banner.  Burnt Umber Paint on Burlap - Simple!

Fabrics for Baby Emma's Quilt

Baby Quilt for O's PreK Teacher in Progress (forgot to get finished pic, sniff.)

Fun Fabrics for the Next Quilt

More Fun Flannels and Minky

Betty Boop Baby Blanket, Anyone?!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dipping My Toes Back in the Pool, so to speak...

Wow, this should be a trick!  How in the world do I start again, what should I focus on as I write, will I have time to finish this post?  It's been over 3 months since the last post...*deep breath*.  Ready, set, go!

Let's see... Baby boy "L" was born June 3, and today was my first time (and his) down in the arts and crafts room since then (aside from some very quick, very utilitarian mending that HAD to be done.)   Scary shame and I'm in serious withdrawl.  I've been bad at carving out time for me, ALONE with me, and nobody else.  BUT, I've been a much better second-time mom through these first 3 months and I've hopefully made a fun summer for big brother O.  So maybe it's an okay trade-off?  I'm not sure yet. 

I could go on and on about motherhood, parenthood, infancy and related topics forEVER.  I won't.  I'll simply say it's been a blissful 3 months, much more wonderful than I had hoped for (but still sprinkled with the drudgery that accompanies caring for a newborn.  You can't escape that.)  More than once I've joked with friends that I wish there was a Facebook for parents only, as most of my current humor revolves around a cockeyed, sleep deprived view of the world where bodily functions are acceptable topics of discussion and where my blog would host a counter for the number of days since I last washed my hair instead of a counter for how many hits my site has had!  It's truly a perspective only other parents can completely appreciate (without being grossed out.)  I know it's a bold statement that someone without children might take offense to, but I hope they don't.  Here's why - I've never run a marathon, so there's no way I could fully understand what that means or appreciate all that it takes, even though I'd like to think I could.  Yes, I am drawing a parallel between running a marathon and parenthood.  Doing an Ironman might be a better comparison...

Well, it's taken me 6 hours to type this small amount so I better call it quits for today.  Maybe by tomorrow I'll have a photo of the colorful flannels with fun prints that I bought at rock bottom prices for making baby gifts.  Here's a pic of a past project, personalized burp cloths for baby "A".  I have many friends bringing new babes into the world the next couple of months, so it's time to welcome them to the world, by sharing a bit of mine! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ta-da...Nursery Progress

This is going to be mostly a pictorial blog entry since I've only got 2 full days left before heading to the hospital to have Big Baby Boy #2 (and lots of loose ends to tie up before we go.)  Time flies!  The nursery isn't ready, but it's getting close.  Which is fine, since our 1st baby didn't spend a lot of time in his crib or his room for the first 6 weeks or so anyway! 

Here is the "project complete" list - I've sewn the crib skirt, recovered generic cream bumper pads from IKEA, recovered the glider rocking chair cushions with a vintage blue bedspread, and saved enough of said spread to use as the backing for a quilt.  I have never made a quilt before mind you, but my pregnant brain thought this would be a fun time to try.  It was fun, but don't look too closely.  I took lots of liberties hat would probably make a proper quilter's blood boil, but in the end I'm very happy with how it turned out!  I also completed the "You are my Sunshine" wall hanging using an old screen I scavenged last summer and have been anxious to use, some raffia ric rack that I love, part of my button collection, and some scrap fabric.  Finally, the collection of thrifted embroidery hoops has been filled with pieces of fabric from the nursery project and hung over the crib.  Love it - they look like giant, vintage polka dots!!

The " project not-so-complete-yet" list includes adding ties to the tops of the bumper pads (there is only a lower set,) sewing buttons at the corners of the glider foot stool to hold the cover in place (it was expertly gathered and pinned by my good friend Jen months ago,) embellishing the plain linen fabric in the largest embroidery hoop (maybe with baby's initial once we settle on a name,)  and a host of other little details I'd like to do but aren't essential.

It's been a really fun project and I can certainly take it farther after babe is born if I can find the time, but for now I'm pleased with the outcome.  Enjoy the pics!!


Rag quilt front

Rag quilt back

I have no idea why this one keeps rotating, sorry!

Close up of wall hanging