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My little baby boy seems to be in a hurry to grow up. At 13 weeks he had grown an average of 1 cm per week. At 22 weeks he had grown 19 cm!! I am starting to wonder if I have some kind of superwoman milk.

It is not just that he is growing quickly. Before he reached the five month mark he started pushing himself forward. So again I have an early crawler. My little girl started at four and half months. He isn’t getting very far yet but I quickly found out that I need to watch him a bit closer than before. I went to get some water and found him inside the TV bench when I came back. So much for sitting back and enjoying my coffee… Thankfully we learned our lesson from last time and bought a baby jail :) .

I am in a bit of a panic. My baby is growing up quickly and soon I will have a little boy and no baby. I have been frantically making him some baby clothes since this is my last chance until in maybe 30 years when I might become a grandmother. As he is a rather fuzzy baby that doesn’t nap for more than 30-45 minutes at a time this is rather challenging. I have however managed to make a couple of things in size 74 and I now feel a bit calmer. Well, now I am panicking that I need to make my little girl some dresses before she is too big for little girl dresses but that is another story.

The patterns I used for the body suit is from Ottobre 4/2014. I don’t recommend that pattern as the sleeves simply didn’t fit. I had to cut off the sides of the front and back piece so they fit. Because of that the body suit is a bit of a slim fit. The pants are from the Norwegian stretch pattern bible also known as “The Book” amongst people that sew in Norway. The books is called Heilt Spesiell og Jubel – Sy glade klær til glade barn and the pattern is called “Brun Bukse”. I like the fit of that pattern.

The polar bear fabric is Artic from JNY bought from Olivias and the Stretch jeans fabric is from Olivias as well.

As it is Animal themed Kid’s clothes week I am submitting it as that as well even if I made it a week ahead. Unable to participate this week.

The little fellow is still slow enough to be a good photo model even if he has a tendency to chew on the background and move it around.

His sister joined at some point and had to cuddle him a bit. He seems to be enjoying the attention.

Loving sister

Loving sister

Matching dribble bib

Matching dribble bib

With dribble bib

With dribble bib

There are certain details and things that can irritate the hell out of me and once I have noticed them there is usually no way for me to not notice them. In short, I like things to be lined up and logical. This has been magnified by the fact that my profession involves making user friendly software where everything is supposed to be logical and obvious. While I don’t do graphics myself I am getting more and more involved in critiquing that as well. Call it occupational hazard, I pretty much feel flooded by frustrations when I use any kind of digital device over all the things there that are just plain WRONG or stupid!

It plagues me in daily life as well. Take this for instance:

This is something I see every year when I visit my dentist. “Brukte skotrekk” means “Used shoecovers”. Are they supposed to be thrown on the floor? It is not really obvious that they are supposed to go into a trash bin is it? Gah! I bite my lip, curl my fingers and make sure to leave before I risk finding myself moving the bin into the right place. There is one thing worse than these mistakes in my head and that is anal people that correct them. Cannot be known as one of them :) .

This hasn’t exactly made sewing easier. I see every flaw and usually nothing but the flaws. I tried to fix that issue by looking at store bought clothes but that was a mistake as well. Now I cannot look at them either without seeing all the mistakes and believe me, these poor souls slaving away making our clothes are making a lot of mistakes. Take any piece of clothing with stripes as those are in fashion and you will probably find that they aren’t all aligned correctly.

So to give myself a real challenge (and to guarantee my own dissatisfaction afterward) I made a striped baby bodysuit. It was initially meant as a casual match for the suit I made for my baby boy in the last post. I however realized right after I started cutting into the fabric that these two fabrics weren’t a match at all. The linen was too dark and the blue stripes were too dark and too wide.

I used a pattern from Ottobre 1/2014. Either I cut the collar wrong or the pattern was a bit off since it wasn’t long enough to fit the pattern description. Otherwise it was a decent pattern though a little bit wide for my little boy that isn’t skinny at all. The fabric is a Lillestoff fabric I bought at Uglemor. Beautiful shine on that fabric!

What I learned during this process is that there are quite a few places that the stripes need to be matched. Listing these for future reference.

– Upper and under part of the collar
– Side seams
– Underam seams
– Back seam
– Making sure the snaps are aligned correctly so the back opening lines up
– The cuffs on the arms both need to have the same color on the bottom
– The arm pieces needs to end on the same stripe color
– The underarm seams.
– The front edges of the collar need to end on the same stripe color and they need to be of even size.
– You might want to somewhat match the sleeves to the stripes on the bodice.

I made mistakes on some of these and I didn’t even attempt the last one. What I found was that it helped to pin every other stripe and make sure to pin on the edge of a stripe so you can check both sides to see if it is aligned correctly on both sides.

Believe it or not, I am somewhat satisfied with the result even if there are flaws. The stripes are quite well matched most places and I feel like I have learned something.

Hungry supermodel

Hungry supermodel

No do not turn to this angle, there is a flaw *doh*

No do not turn to this angle, there is a flaw *doh*

Two Gentlemen

You tend to not talk much about the nicest people you know. You just talk about the people that are eccentric enough to be a good conversation topic. I didn’t understand this until my uncle passed away couple of weeks ago. He was one of the nicest man I have ever known and when he died I realized that I hadn’t told many people about him. I always looked forward to visiting him when I went home to Iceland. He was a good man that I will miss!

I recently read an article that struck a chord with me. It talks about how each time you move you leave a part of yourself behind. I did indeed do that when I left Iceland 16 years ago. I regularly make brief guest appearances in that old life of mine but when I leave again big parts of that life gets stashed away in a quiet corner in my brain only for me to see. Sadly a nice uncle isn’t an exciting conversation topic and hence I have only told few people about him.

He lived upstairs when I was a kid with his sister and his mom until she passed away. They had their own kitchen but the rest was shared (entrance, bathroom, TV etc.) I used to visit them upstairs all the time. He used to read for me and listened to me talk about all the strange things I was interested in no matter how boring they must have been for him to listen to. I got to eat cubed sugar and sit with them at their tiny little kitchen table when they had their afternoon coffee.

He did a lot for me. My parents didn’t have a car and as we lived on a farm I was pretty dependent on having someone drive me places if I wanted to join anything other than school. So my uncle would drive me and pick me up on his light green Lada Sport. Without this my life would have been significantly emptier of experiences. I regret never thanking him for all of this.

I remember him enjoying two things. Cars and music. He helped me with my car when I was old enough to own one. I played instruments when I was younger and when I got an organ to play on at home he would come downstairs and play all the songs he knew by heart. He had an old white/yellow accordion which he let me try. It was huge and heavy and I was never really able to play it but I remember wanting to try because I looked up to him. I enjoyed these times we spent together.

He was a patient man and would let me and my sisters hang out with him a lot. I never remember him being impatient. I think he would have been a great dad but unfortunately he never had any children. He didn’t find anyone until late in his life but I am glad he at least got to share the last years of his life with someone. The last few years of his life were sad. He got a stroke and had to spent the last years in an institution. The last few visits there were a bit difficult but being the man he used to be I still always looked forward seeing him even if he barely recognised me.

Now I have told you about Sæmundur. No intrigues or exciting details but he was a good man and that is really what matters. I think we should all be better at not only talking about the people in our life that make an interesting story but also the people that are just genuinely good people. One day it will be too late.

As my uncle was a real gentleman I find it fitting to show the little gentleman clothes I made for my son. I think it is sad he never gets to meet his great uncle. My daughter did and while she might not remember it I at least have photos of her with him. I just hope my son will grow up to be a gentleman like Sæmundur.

This suit is a linen suit made after the Emil and Anton Ottobre pattern from 1/2014 in size 74. It is not lined so a relatively easy pattern. Just be aware that the upper and lower part of the pants are of equal length. I found out after I had managed to sew one of them upside down. The straps are also a bit short so I would lengthen those a little bit. The linen is Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen Blend Espresso. The shirt is just a store bought one.

The gentleman

The gentleman

Exciting ceiling

Exciting ceiling

The vest

The vest

The pants

The pants

I have a new motto: Don’t do today what you can get done much faster if you wait until the last minute.

There are certain things that are best left until the last minute. Like packing for a vacation. Start few days ahead and yet you will find yourself packing things at the last minute and using three times as much time on it as otherwise. I found out that costumes are another such thing. Wait until the last minute and you are forced to cut corners and make it simple.

My daughter had her first gymnastic performance this weekend. Home came a cryptic note that she was supposed to dress up in typical worn Oliver Twist clothes. I really didn’t feel like making anything and just put it off until the last moment. I was secretly hoping the dad would step up and magically produce something. I guess I have been a bit delusional lately…

So on Saturday I dug up some fabric (white cotton from Ikea and some brown viscose? fabric piece I think I bought at Stoff and Stil long time ago). I printed out a pattern for the Nora dress and got to work. I made up the apron pattern as I went along looking at a photo online.

I pretended I was participating in the Sewing Bee and needed to get everything done at record speed. If the makers of that show ever feel the need to throw in an extra challenge they should just give the contestants and infant to take care of. He was very cute though while still happy and “helping” me.

Everything was a one big hack. The dress I didn’t hem at all under the pretense that it made it look more worn. The apron is hemmed but just quickly with an overlock and one fold. Driving to the store that day was risky business. I had been hitting the sewing machine pedal so hard that I had problems not doing the same with the car.

It got done Saturday night and on Sunday we rubbed some ashes on the apron and the little orphan girl went to the show and made her parents proud.

The photo shoot was done in the same quick and at the last moment spirit. The model even threw in little acting without me asking. This is how she says you look when you are a poor orphan.

Poor orphan act

Poor orphan act

My daughter was a bit surprised when I made this and said: Mom, I thought you weren’t gonna make any more costumes? I really had no good answer for her but at least I would like to believe I have cracked the costume making code now. It might not be completely stressless but at least you stress for a shorter amount of time. Maybe I will start applying my new motto to more things in life.

Practicing

Practicing

Apron (I am sure orphans didn't have an iron...)

Apron (I am sure orphans didn’t have an iron…)

Feel the need to piss off a feminist? Make some cupcakes preferably with pink frosting and blog about it! For some reason cup cakes seem to have become the nemeses of feminists.

I only recently started calling myself a feminist. I have always wanted to stay away from that title because I think many of the high profiled feminists are too narrow minded. As with any other political view or religion it tends to get out of hand. It all starts with a person with good intentions. They simply want to make the world a better place. Then it always ends up with those same people trying to shoehorn people into a certain way of living (their way of living).

To me feminism is all about women having equal opportunity to do whatever they want. What they choose to do shouldn’t be anyone’s business.

There are plenty of issues that need to be sorted out. Women should be able to speak out in public without risking harassment, they should have equal opportunity in the work place and equal pay for equal work. Women shouldn’t be objectified and evaluated on their appearance. The list goes on and on.

There are numerous articles in media on how you should accomplish equality. They tend to focus on how women have to stop doing housework and stop making food from scratch. It has gotten to a point that people brag about forgetting their kid’s birthday. A true feminist definitely forgets some Kindergarten events and buys something ready made for the ones she remembers. You go straight to feminist hell if you dare to take two extra minutes to cut out animal shaped piece of ham for your kids lunch box.

Here I think it has gone all wrong. If someone gets pleasure out of making cup cakes then let them. Is that really a worse hobby than training for a bike race, fishing, hanging out at cafés or posting feminist articles on Facebook? Life is all about choice and priorities and should be up to the individual. A pink cup cake is not gonna be the deal breaker in achieving equality. It is not a sign that women are wanting to go back to being housewives. It is simply a hobby for some.

All that being said, I find it a bit sad that cupcakes are getting this unfairly bad reputation. They are really the easiest cakes to make and if you are a busy career women and want to make something they are probably your quickest and best bet. Unless you live right next to a store it might even be quicker to bake some than making an emergency last minute trip to the store.

I have been making these regularly for few years now when I need something quick. I am not really the baking type so these work wonders for every occasion. They can also be easily be decorated in numerous ways to fit the occasion.

Sheep, Frozen, Pippi Princess and Pig cupcake variations.

Sheep, Frozen, Pippi and Pig cupcake variations.

Vanilla Cupcakes

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

110 grams butter, at room temperature
180 grams golden cane sugar (or regular white)
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
220 g flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
60 ml milk

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Put butter and sugar in a bowl and beat them with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat them into the mix. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl inbetween each egg. Add the vanilla extract and mix it in.

Mix together the flour, baking powers and salt in a separate bowl. Add one third of the flour mixture and one third of the milk into the batter and beat it with the mixer on low speed. Add the second third of flour mixture and milk and beat. Then the rest and beat.

Line a muffin tin with 12 paper muffin liners. Fill the muffins cups evenly with the batter.

Bake for 20-22 minutes. Test with a tooth pick that it is baked through. Cool and decorate with Vanilla Buttercream frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

140 grams butter, softened
200 g confectioners’ sugar
1/16 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. heavy cream

Beat butter with an electrical mixer until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and salt and beat at a medium speed until everything is mixed. Add the vanilla and cream and beat well until everything is smooth and fluffy.

Remember that point in my last entry where I swore through my teeth that I would never in my life make another costume? Well that didn’t last very long… In the midst of the mega tantrum I thankfully remembered that I was the grown-up and took a deep breath and asked the little lady what she wanted to be at Carnival with the forrest/insect theme in mind. Her answer was quick and clear: A ladybug. I knew right away that resisting the urge to make something was a lost cause.

I have a weakness for ladybugs. I instantly thought of the ladybug fabric I had bought at some point just in case I would ever get the chance to make something. I also figured that this is the last chance I get. Albeit tempting, I don’t think I can send my little boy to Carnival as a ladybug. The poor kid will probably be pushed to wear enough princess dresses here at home to ensure that his feminine side is well intact.

Thankfully, I was quite sensible at this point. I figured I would make something simple and that I might actually enjoy making. With a rather grumpy, picky four year old I figured that there were about million ways I could get this wrong. So I picked a dress pattern and drew a picture that I strategically laid out so she would see it. When she asked what it was I pretended that I had just been drawing. I want this my determined four year old exclaimed! I took that as a good enough approval.

When the dress was ready I just hung it out in the living room and let her discover it. Against all odds it got approved. We later had a little disagreement about wings that according to her were missing, yet the ones I made weren’t approved. At that moment I couldn’t have cared less what she wore to Carnival.

Trying to be a serious ladybug

Trying to be a serious ladybug

Despite all the back and forth she got up in good mood on the Carnival day and headed off to Kindergarten in her ladybug dress with her antlers and seemed quite pleased. After dropping her off I went home and drank some coffee while yet again swearing that I am done with costume sewing. Why bother so much. After all there had been at least one Elsa, one knight, and couple of non forrest/insect animals at Kindergarten…

Not sure I like those antlers

Not sure I like those antlers

The pattern I used was the Oliver + S Bubble dress. It was a straight forward pattern that I tempted to make again. I would however make it without the bubbles on the side as those were quite strange in my opinion. The fabric was old cotton fabric from Stoff og Stil. To make the antlers I simply wrapped some ironed black bias tape on a head band and made the antlers out of pipe cleaners.

Strange flat bubbles

Strange flat bubbles

Posing

Posing

Having fun

Having fun

Climbing in flowers like ladybugs do

Climbing in flowers like ladybugs do

The Cursed Costume

I think this will go down in history as the costume that almost made me go insane. Maybe it is cursed? It wouldn’t surprise me as it is actually a My Little Pony character that is evil (or gone evil). She is originally known as Princess Luna but goes by the name Nightmare Moon when she is transformed by the Nightmare forces. So far I have made this costume twice and it almost made me throw a full blown tantrum at Kindergarten. It also made my four year old throw a major tantrum. Yeah there are some evil forces there.

Nightmare Moon

Nightmare Moon

So how did I get myself into this costume mess. Here comes the long story since I feel the need to get it off my chest.

Before Halloween my little girl came with a strange request. I was expecting her to want to be Elsa but no she wanted to be Nightmare Moon. I had to google that. I think I was quite delusional around that time being almost 9 months pregnant and couldn’t really sit, walk or think. I hobbled through Stoff and Stil on crutches and set to work on the most complex costume I have ever made despite not being able to sit for more than 10 minutes at a time. Halfway through I find out that I hadn’t read the pattern description well enough. What looked like fleece in the photo was actually stretchy velour. Not surprisingly it was too small. With only few days to go I had to throw in the towel and tell my four year old I wouldn’t make it. She took it well and used her Elsa dress. I felt like a complete failure (and a whale).

After Christmas I figured I would give myself ample time to make a costume for the February carnival dress-up they have here in Norway. I was really surprised that my four year old was still set on wanting to be Nightmare Moon. So I started planning again and against better judgment made the plans even more elaborate. Then I started sewing in the midst of colic. It was a painful process with lots of small obstacles. I even managed to vacuum the pony ears at some point…

It looked like I wouldn’t make it for a while. Then a miracle happened and my little one slept well for few hours and I pretty much finished it up. I went to pick up my girl at Kindergarten in a good mood and and told my girl I was almost finished. Right after I find this note.

In short it says Carnival this year is themed: The wood and insects. I bit my teeth together and made sure to leave before I would explode. A pony is really insect isn’t it?

On that same day my daughter is having a particularly bad day. She had just spent the last week sick and probably wasn’t feeling well. She wanted to try the costume when we came home but something about it bothered her so she exclaimed angry that it was all wrong. She was so upset that she was unable to explain what was wrong and just threw a major tantrum. Lets just say I was quite close to throwing a tantrum myself. I swore through my teeth I would never make another costume in my life (something that my next blog post will prove wrong).

Nightmare Moon

Nightmare Moon

So this is a ridiculously advanced costume that might never get used. I forced myself to finish it despite it being “all wrong”. That day she was in a better mood and wanted to wear it. So we took some photos.

The costume was partially based on a pattern from Ottobre 6/2010. I used it as a base but changed quite a few things. I created the hood myself and drew all the stuff I appliquéd by hand. They were intentionally appliquéd quite rough as this was just supposed to be a quick costume. The jewellery is just fabric with some stiff interfacing and attached with velcro to the suit. I used velour for the suit and some jersey rib for most of decorations. Almost everything was from Stoff og Stil. The mane and tail are yarn. The wings aren’t quite stiff enough but can’t be bothered doing anything about that. I based the design on the toy version of Nightmare Moon and she got one as a gift with the costume.

Jewellery

Jewellery

Sleeve and Foot decorations

Sleeve and Foot decorations

Grow a t-shirt

Making sourdough starters and brewing your own beer is so last year people! Now you should be growing your own fabric from among other things bacteria and green tea! A women named Suzanne Lee is the inventor and runs a research project called Biocouture (coolest name ever).

T-shirt with a hint of lemon?

T-shirt with a hint of lemon?

Why would we want to do this? Because the textiles used today aren’t very eco-friendly. Making a single cotton t-shirt requires 4000 liters of water and that is just one negative aspect of it. We need a more sustainable clothing industry.

I watched Schrödingers katt on NRK on the future of the textile industry. That was a fascinating program for the nerd in me that also likes to sew. I really recommend it to the ones of you that understand Norwegian.

It covers many interesting topics on how technology is entering the fabric industry and how the industry is looking for more eco-friendly ways to make fabrics. Fiber optics in your clothing? Clothes as medical devices? Paper dresses and no I am not just talking about this adorable kids that makes paper dresses.

I feel the need to learn more about the environmental impact of different fabrics and the future of textiles after seeing this program. I also feel the need to convince my fiancé that we should try to grow some fabric in the downstairs bathroom. How cool would that be!!

Bending the mommy rules

Disclaimer: I hope no kids were permanently damaged while making this blog post despite the four year old being placed in front of the TV.

After becoming a mom I have a constant internal monologue. It goes something like this:

Selfish-me: I really need a break and just do something grown-up.
Mom-me: You should be spending time with your kids!
Selfish-me: But I just spent the last four hours with my kids. Now I need a break!
Mom-me: It was only things that you had to do like feeding them, getting them dressed, changing diapers, getting the little one to sleep. That is not really quality time with them.
Selfish-me: True…
Mom-me: And while you were feeding and getting the little one to sleep your four year old was being neglected. The little one hasn’t really gotten any quality stimulation either today.
Selfish-me: But I need I break! I am tired and under stimulated. I will have forgotten how to be a grown-up if I don’t do something for myself too.
Mom-me: They will only be kids once and time flies. Do you really want to look back and think you wasted that precious time with them. And I know that look on your face, you are considering putting her in front of the TV. That is not good for her and you should really only use it when you have to do housework or make dinner.
Selfish-me: But but but I… *hangs head in shame*

The last week has been exhausting. The four year old has been home sick for a week. The colic infant is getting a little bit better but still requires excessive holding and care. I am tired and I feel the need to create something, to do something that proves to myself that I am a human being and not just a service- robot. Not even mass producing snowflakes with the four year old is satisfying my creative urge enough. I guess all parents have this internal monologue that makes them guilty every time they do something for themselves but I swear it is gonna kill me if I don’t learn to ignore it soon.

I might suck at ignoring guilt but at least I am good at bending the rules. Making a toy for my kid, that counts as “spending time with the kids” doesn’t it? As we carry the infant all the time in a baby carrier I decided to make a doll carrier for her. She got to pick her own fabric and buttons. I used this tutorial but drew a bigger size. Quick and easy project that gave me a little sense of accomplishment. I really needed that!

To my defence the infant was in a baby carrier during almost the entire process so at least I was doing some attachment parenting…

No hands

No hands

Padded straps

Padded straps

Who is mommy?

I just realized something sad! The concept of a Kodak moment is about to disappear. Soon everyone will be saying Instagram moment and only us oldies will remember what a Kodak moment is. Sigh.

I am in a phase now where there are a lot of these moments. I sometimes worry that my son will think my mobile is what he should call mommy. His awake time (when he is happy) is still short and when he is a awake I often find myself holding my mobile in front of him taking pictures while goo-ing and gaa-ing behind it trying to catch his cute smiles.

Mommy?

Mommy?

I guess all parents find themselves behind their phone and camera a lot trying to catch photos of those brief moments when your kid smiles or when your kid tries their skis for the first time. You should really be living in the moment and enjoying things on the fly because you often miss something while trying to get the camera settings just right. Yet, you want to be able to treasure those moments later as well. It is a constant thug between being there now or being able to look back at those moments. You might be able to wait until they are a sleep to Instagram those photos but that moment only happens once.

So I will probably keep asking myself if my sons smiles are worth less seen through the mobile but I am pretty sure I will be happy that I did this when I am old and (more) wrinkled. Then I will probably only get to enjoy brief visits from my son where he spends most of his time staring at his mobile instead of talking to me. I hope at least the goo-ing and gaa-ing will give him a positive brand loyalty to HTC :) .

I worried for a while that I wouldn’t have time to make my little baby any baby clothes since things have been very hetic. I however managed to squeeze in time to make this romper and since he will grow out of it pretty quickly I decided it was smart to spend some of his awake happy time behind the camera.

The pattern is Fawn from Ottobre 6/2014. The fabric is one I fell flat for from Nosh bought at Olivia and the grey jersey fabric is from the same place.

Flirt

Flirt

Laughing

Laughing

Laughing and kicking

Laughing and kicking

Serious model

Serious model

Cute from every angle

Cute from every angle

My first coverstitch attempt over seams

My first coverstitch attempt over seams

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