Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

Making June 1, 2015

Filed under: Kids,Sewing — bonniep @ 12:28 am

I heard that Windows Live Writer, which is close to my heart, stopped working so using it to write a test post…


Here is baby C (not a baby anymore!) in a skirt that M (with some help from me) made for her, as M’s first sewing project.


Here are M and big C in dresses I made for them….same sewing pattern, different sizes.


Let’s see if this works! Maybe I will even blog more.


October November 1, 2014

Filed under: Family,Kids,Sewing — bonniep @ 11:11 am

M is doing soccer again, with G coaching. She likes to play midfielder.


Faux pumpkin patch photos. Children would not cooperate very much.


Baby C just wants to run towards the camera.

First lost tooth! (Er, he one on the bottom. The top is just a gap.)


Actual pumpkin patch, during 10 minutes of not raining.


We got the house painted, and two interior rooms (new one for C, and M and soon to be baby C’s room) as well.

Big C turned 11(!!) and is getting her own room this year, so the birthday party was scaled back from previous years. Also, last year’s slumber party took about 5 years off my life, so… Good thing we didn’t do the slumber party this year actually, as an hour or so after the last guest left we lost power for about 18 hours. A bunch of 10 and 11 years olds in the dark…that would have been some scary stuff. Instead, this year we had a company that rents bunnies come in. There was even a mom bunny with her babies! C and I have been reading Watership Down and she tried to find character equivalents in all the bunnies. This was the perfect age as the girls sat in a circle for over an hour (Me: I thought the contract was for an hour? Bunny Handler: We just say that in case things go badly) cooing over the bunnies yet were old enough to (mostly) handle them with care.


Baby C was there and alternately fascinated with and terrified by the bunnies.

For food and favors we of course kept with the theme: bunny ice cream cake, carrot cupcakes (all purchased) and a “warren” of bunny stuffed animals to choose from.


Halloween! I had purchased a bunch of materials to surprise M with an Elsa (Frozen, much?) costume only to discover that her best friend was going to be Elsa and M was assigned to be Anna. So another trip to the fabric store it was. This costume cost me a lot of late nights but came out pretty well. I did cop out and just iron on the flower applique, so not sure how long those will last.


We saw a lot of store bought Anna’s but that cape is hard to top!

The other girls were environmental this year, reusing previous costumes: big C switched from Aphrodite last year to Athena this year. Baby C was a lion, as were her big sisters before her.


Ready to trick or treat! The rain nicely stopped for about 3 hours right around trick or treat time as well.


Only one sour note in October I can think of, and that is the car that came crashing through our rear fence on Oct. 30. Nothing like an incredibly loud noise at 9 pm in the pitch dark and then seeing taillights in the yard! The high school boys who were in the car claim to have turned onto the road, fishtailed, and lost control of the car, sending them into a tailspin, turning 180 degrees and then the rear of the car over the curb and through our fence. However, that turn should have been from a stop sign—given that they knocked over an 8 foot arbor vitae, cracked through 6”x6” wooden posts holding up the fence, hit the fence hard enough to send wood all the way onto our deck, and broke their rear axle…I am estimating they must have been going at least 40 mph. They both seemed OK but quite a shock for sure.

From the perspective of our house.


From the perspective of the street.


Fencing that made it down to our deck (near the table) and how close it was to the house.



behind, behind, behind September 27, 2014

Filed under: Baking,Family,Kids,Personal,Sewing — bonniep @ 11:38 pm

Our cherry tree had 8 cherries this year.


Baby C enjoys the beach, and big C enjoys building “fairy houses” there. One of the days we visited was warmer than the other.


We went to the fair. Actually, two fairs, but not a lot of evidence.



Baby C enjoys swings now (again). And coffee shop stops. And plums.


One last pair of shorts for M.


I actually finished a sweater in time for the child it was made for to still fit in it.



The baby who wasn’t walking runs now.



The first day of school (5th and 1st grades) happened. They chose to dress alike. Baby C was dressed the same until a small nail polish incident happened.



There are good reasons to have me as a friend.



Baby C loves books, her grampy, and hanging out on the deck. Not necessarily in that order.




OK, still about a month behind in pictures, but I will get there. Someday.


Thar She sews August 6, 2014

Filed under: Kids,Sewing — bonniep @ 2:56 pm

With baby C’s new nap schedule I have gotten some blocks of time to sew this summer. Much less than I want to (or at least fewer items are getting sewn than are on the to do list) but still a pretty decent output.

Big C has been liking maxi skirts lately.


First skirt is from ruffle fabric with an exposed elastic waistband (although you can’t see that in the picture). Not sure I will do that kind of waistband again, it is kind of a pain. Second skirt is just a standard tube + elastic waist but gave me some practice sewing with rayon challis. Very poor attempt at pattern matching is luckily not shown…that is my challenge this year!

M got a fancy skirt…



Oddly sticky polyester fabric from Joann’s with flowers sewn on it (I mean, it came that way). Some challenge figuring out how to do the hem and the waist due to the bulk of the fabric, so this ended up like a bubble skirt with white voile on the inside and then some trickery to attach the elastic waistband. Same waistband as on C’s skirt but I am not happy with how the stitches show up on it—sewing in a perfectly straight line while stretching the elastic way out did not go well. But M was happy. And, er, the length should allow it to fit for a while.

I meant to follow a Sew A Long for this next item but didn’t actually make it until the week after. It is a woven hoodie that baby C wore for the 4th of July.


This is from the translated version of Happy Homemade Kids, although I added the lining to the hood. The hood fits oddly but looks cute on her back. Overall, was able to use up some leftover 4th of July fabric so that she coordinated with the other girls (who wore the outfits I made last year again). Well, the back of big C’s shirt matched baby C at least…



The rayon challis maxi skirt experiment was my warm up for sewing this dress from Ottobre Kids for big C:



Not quite as fitted around the waist as it was in the pictures (thanks skinny C) and the invisible zipper in the back gave me a lot of trouble. I think the zipper still pulls the back funny—it is heavier than the fabric. Maybe interfacing would have helped? At one point I poked a small hole near the collar while ripping out the zipper the 3rd? 4th? time and so had to stop fiddling with it and be satisfied. This fabric screamed C to me and she was quite happy with the dress. I did a very narrow hem at the bottom to keep some length. I think she is going to wear this to a wedding this weekend, so, success!

I have been on a shorts sewing binge, in part for an online contest called Shorts on the Line, but also because the kids needed shorts. One pair for M from a japanese sewing book (another pattern matching disaster, partially because the gridded pattern was totally off grain!) not shown, nor do I have pictures of my first Sunny Day shorts from Oliver + S which were for big C. But then I made three more pairs with various modifications…



Cargo pockets with a flap added for M.



Studded leather trimmed rear patch pockets, voile lined front slash pockets and an inch in length added for C.



Voile lined front slash pockets and rear welt pockets (!!) added for M.

The last two pairs the girls picked out the fabrics themselves at the store, and they just look sooo them. Pretty pleased to have sewn my first welt pockets too.

Let’s see…I also made myself a skirt, but no pictures of that. It is my one pattern matching success but the zipper gave me such a hassle that we are not speaking right now.

Lots of knitting going on as well, I think four or so scarves and hoping to get sweaters done for at least the two older girls before summer’s end. Always more to do!


Catching up May 12, 2014

Filed under: Family,Kids,Sewing — bonniep @ 5:08 pm

Some things I have sewn…

Geranium top for M (actually was for the Hawaii trip, but wearable hopefully all summer long!). Shown with firecracker pants I made…2 years ago? M says they match because they both “have white”.


Pants and a onesie spruced up to match for baby C. Pants are Big Butt Baby pants by the same pattern designer. Using leftover fabric from M’s piano bag. If that’s wrong I don’t want to be right.


Baby C’ first haircut was this weekend. Most of the family has been sick over the last week but we tried to keep our hacking to a minimum at the child infested kids haircut salon. She refused to sit in the fancy truck chairs so was on my lap. But allowed her hair to be blown dry.

Before…shaggy town.


During….playing with a basket of toys. (Photos by big C)


After…cleaned up cutie!


Eating with baby C continues to be an adventure. For the floor.


She is starting to say “Boo!” and book, and signs for more quite effectively. The other day G was holding and snuggling her and handed her back to me so he could go into the office to work. Baby C burst into tears and turned towards him, frantically signing “more”. Aaawwww.

Mother’s Day happened. I am not sure the restaurant would have us back for brunch again (hey, take 50 minutes to make food for three hungry kids and you pay the price. Oh wait, based on the credit card receipt, we still paid the price). Quick attempts to take some mommy/daughter pictures afterwards were not so successful.


Baby C is transitioning to one nap a day. It is only going so-so, as several of our recurring activities are based around a schedule of two naps. And sometimes she does still take two naps. But this weekend she did one long 3 or so hour nap each day. I admit, I could get used to that. Now if she could go back to sleeping through the night and waking up later than 6 am? That would be heaven.


New year, same stuff January 16, 2014

Filed under: Family,Kids,Sewing — bonniep @ 10:39 pm

Two years in a row we didn’t send out any Christmas cards at all, so the fact that our “new years” cards went out slightly after the new year still seems like a win to me. It took a few tries to get shots I was happy to use but of course I value the failures too right?


I have a huge pile of knitting items that are almost done, except for the boring parts. So, er, no pictures there. But I did manage to do some sewing over the holiday break, especially when grandparents were in town and could keep an eye on the kids.


New blouse and skirt for C, both Oliver + S patterns, which went mostly smoothly except that that kid is so darn skinny that the elastic back has to bunch insanely to be small enough for her. I think she likes it anyway though. I need to learn how to alter patterns. Also, M and I collaborated on a bag to hold her piano books.


My first make of the new year (counting C’s outfit for 2013 even though it took me until the new year to finish the elastic…). The cute fabric helps a lot. I have promised to make M some things for an upcoming warmer weather trip we are taking and she went through my fabric and picked out a bunch of pinks. So hopefully some more items will be forthcoming. I have a lot of goals for this year around sewing and knitting (promised G a new sweater…the last one took over a year including a long break in the middle….men’s sweaters are big and boring. But, he wears his more than any of the girls wear theirs, so….)

Found this picture of M from a mini race she did, she looks the athlete part at least!


M missed a few days of school before the break (and actually a few days of school this week…this poor kid cannot catch a break! Ear infections, UTI, nose bleeds, bad cold, some other issues not appropriate for discussing, and last week a cut on her head requiring gluing by the doctor…even the doctor was surprised to see us back at the office so soon! They turned down my request for a 10th visit free card though) but was well enough to work on some new cone trees for our Christmas display.


White buttons and pink felt with crystal pins. I didn’t think she would be able to stick it out (NPI) but she did! I see we have some blank spaces to fill on that white one though.

Started a new page on the blog for books read in 2014. Each year I have been keeping track I have read more than the previous year…2013 I passed 100 books and that doesn’t include the books I read out loud to C (such as all the Little House on the Prairie books last year), for the classic books program I led at C’s school, knitting/sewing/running/exercise/cook books (unless they are more essay types), or the gifted education books I have been reading to get up to speed on some school district/educating C issues. Over a hundred seems like a lot, even for me, so I make no promises about 2014.

Baby C weighed right around 22 lbs. at her checkup—>95% for head measurement, 75-90% for height, and 50-75% for weight. But she sure doesn’t seem skinny! Those thighs in some baby leggings…irresistible. Despite a new lens for Christmas the new camera and I are having some getting to know you issues, but I will persist.


We have some crawling and pulling up to kneeling now and have decided to just be chill about her slowness to embrace walking. She is quite speedy scooting and the dr. isn’t worried….yet. So, we wait.


Lots of teeth in there (7 now), when you can see past the thumb.

And her favorite location, where she always ends up if you give her a choice….


banging on G’s office door.


Christmas is how many days away?? December 16, 2013

Filed under: Baking,Family,Kids,Sewing — bonniep @ 10:34 pm

Well, I did get the first round of Christmas baking—the annual neighborhood goodie exchange plate—done this weekend. This is a terrible picture (thanks darkness!) but all but two of the plates have found a home so not sure I will get a better picture.


Chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel frosting, peanut butter cups, sugar plum macarons, maple nutmeg sugar cookies (cut out to spell “joy” plus some other shapes for everyone), and chocolate coconut cheesecake squares (MSL). The lead up to the cookie plate is fairly lengthy—I pull out all my Christmas Cookie magazine special issues, troll blogs, look at cookbooks, etc. in an effort to make a plate that is balanced between colors, flavors, and looks. Recipes with high yields are my friends (OK, I made double batches of everything but the cheesecake squares) and something that I am interested in cooking helps. The kids were my assistants this year on the cutouts (er, they are terrible at making efficient use of the space!) and of course unwrapping and placing the peanut butter cups. I actually purchased a special Christmas apron to wear this year during the baking, and made about four extra grocery store trips in an effort to find plum jam (much rarer than you might think), Dutch processed cocoa (ditto) and a 9×9 baking pan (sadly, I had ordered the latter two from amazon but then had them delivered to the wrong house, along with a bunch of presents for the kids. grrr.) As the baking ramps up, I start to get a bit crazed (out of sour cream! plum jam not nearly as thick as expected! how do I only have 19 oz of powdered sugar!), and then attempting to store all the goodies and make up the plates leads to some tense moments. The wrapped plates do not look nearly as nice as the unwrapped plate, but with kids carrying the plates in the rain to deliver….ample plastic wrap it was. Sometimes I think maybe I have gone a bit overboard (…not all of the neighbors participate in the exchange, yet I make plates for all of them) but then the thanks start rolling in with descriptions of what different families liked best and it seems mostly worth it. So, until next year…

The next baking opportunity with be the first birthday party for this set of chubby cheeks attached to the cutest baby ever.


But before that, I need to do teacher gifts, some final shopping and mailing, Christmas cards (need photos first!) and enough wrapping that I can’t think about it right now. I may or may not sew some Christmas skirts for the girls (place your bets now!). G was supposed to be out of town this past weekend, but due to some medical issues with M he stayed home, allowing us to get the tree and house decorated and outdoor lights up. However, M’s issues have meant that she (and thus I) have been housebound for multiple days. Great for getting baking done, not so great for mental state. Hopefully she will be back to school tomorrow. But then who will squeeze the crud out of baby C?

At least the intense (for Seattle…) cold has left. Dry air plus carpeted house plus a baby that only scoots has the expected result…


There were some shocks hard enough to hurt! Worth it to see her in these pants I made though…


Baby C has been super fun lately—crawling every now and then, and will pull up to her knees (progress!), babbles quite a bit, and today when I asked if she wanted a hug she handed me the book Hug! Might have been a coincidence but I think she is pretty clever. Not a big fan of mittens though (another reason we are glad the cold is gone!) Well, I should probably be tackling that list from above….more later hopefully!