Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Frozen

Ironically my daughters Frozen 4 year old birthday bash wouldn’t have happened without the help of my freezer. Not that I made a lot of frozen treats but rather that I started preparing couple of weeks in advance to be sure I could make it happen.

Frozen Birthday

I am 6 months pregnant right now and in terrible shape. As I have spent every single evening on the couch for what seems as long as I can remember things go slowly here. I however said I would throw a Frozen party and you don’t break promises like that! Even if it means you can barely walk afterwards. So I started few weeks in advance preparing and managed to pull it together in the end with lots of help from the dad.

The table

The table

The Frozen movie was an obvious choice for theme as it has been playing constantly all summer in our household! You can say a lot of things about those stick-to-your-brain songs but I must admit that it really isn’t the worst thing coming from Disney. I really want to thank them for making Elsa’s dress blue! Helps a little bit toning down the pink/blue gender stereotyping this generation has enforced on their kids. Now if they could just make a superhero with a pink cape, the world would be a better place!

No party without Olaf!

No party without Olaf!

So I made some snowflake cookies, Olaf cake, cupcake drizzled with snowflakes and snow-corn (popcorn). I also made a magical Elsa drink that supposedly gave you magic powers. Big hit with the little girls! It was our first full blown Kindergarten birthday so I was a bit nervous. Would I manage to keep track of all these little girls running around the house? Thankfully, all went well and none were lost! Think I might prepare some birthday hats for next year with inbuilt tracking devices to save me some agony.

A drink that gives you magical powers

A drink that gives you magical powers

My cake decorating skills are still pretty lame but I can see that I am getting a little bit better everytime. Posting things with flaws is all a part of my master plan of daring to do new things. Supposedly this will boost your confidence and help you learn new skills… or so some books say…

Snowflake Cookies

Snowflake Cookies

And my sweet little four year old in her Elsa dress! Will blog about that one soon. As my productivity on the sewing front is at an all time low, it better get its own entry!

The little "Elsa"

The little “Elsa”

I guess all parents have a truckload of photos from their children’s first year and then significantly less of their second year and onwards. That first year is special. You spend a lot of time looking down at them with the camera at easy reach. Then you get busy after going back to work. Your target start moving around (fast) and the camera is rarely anywhere close. If you can actually be bothered expending energy on getting the camera, 90% of the photos you take are bound to be blurry due to you target never staying still.

You cannot help but panic that you aren’t getting enough photos. Then again, you never have time to look at them… You no longer spend the time they are sleeping looking at photos of them with love struck eyes. You however realise that you need those photos for when they get old and move away from home.

I am a bit glad that I occasionally sew things because that means I at least attempt to take some additional photos of her wearing the garments I make. It gives an additional incentive to drag the camera around and you try harder to catch them at a Kodak moment (also know as standing still when it comes to children).

I made my daughter a quick last minute dress before I went on vacation. After not making much for the last few months I felt I had to make something. Luckily I picked a really easy pattern, which made this possible. Things were insanely busy right before vacation and I wasn’t feeling well but more on that later.

I picked the Lulu pattern by Craftiness is not Optional. Very straightforward pattern and yet quite versatile. The fit is perfect as well. I made a size four for her which is a bit on the larger side but that is not a problem. The fabric is a beautiful, soft Birch Organic Fabrics called Poppies Sun.

Fashionable in Boston

Fashionable in Boston

We have just spent a nice vacation in Gloucester, Massachusetts and at Hamarøy in North of Norway. Thanks to the fact I was trying to get some photos of the dress and that we usually take more photos during summer vacation we know have a lot of photos of her wearing this dress. I guess the dress will be a bit representative of this vacation. It almost feels like she was wearing it all the time judging by the photos. She seemed to really like it as well. It is very comfortable and allows her to get into all the trouble she wants. I also think it is really stylish in a simplistic way. I am 100% sure that I will use this pattern again!

Enjoying an ocean view

Enjoying an ocean view

In Rockport

In Rockport

Tree climbing

Tree climbing

In North of Norway

In North of Norway

Chasing Squirrel in Boston

Chasing Squirrel in Boston

I tend to get strange ideas that are not always so well thought through. Sometimes I actually go ahead with those ideas causing lots of chaos and stress.

When planning my fiancés 40th Birthday party I wondered why there were no nerdy RAM (computer parts) cookies to be found online. And why there were only few Commodore 64 cakes that had been posted. When I started making them, last minute I might add, I quickly understood why. It wasn’t quite as straightforward as I thought. I case anyone is wondering why anyone would attempt to make cakes in the shape of computers and computer parts, my boyfriend has always been into computers and hardware. I am a bit of a geek myself (also known as mediumgeek) so this computer theme felt quite natural for both of us.

After spending approx. a half hour on one practice RAM cookie I realized this wasn’t gonna happen. The kitchen was covered in dark royal icing and I even had couple of warrior stripes underneath my eyes. I tried few techniques before I gave up but got nowhere close. I had colored the cookie dough I made green, which was fine, but getting royal icing black enough required quite excessive amount of food coloring and it became difficult to work with. The little silver sugar balls I wanted to resemble the wiring under the chips was a pain to work with as the only way to make them look even was by placing them one by one with a tweezer onto the edges of the royal icing.

RAM Cookies

RAM Cookies

The Commodore cake went a bit better though I can’t really say that I am happy with it. It was a marzipan cake with a marzipan cover that was too thin so it came out all bubbly.

Commodore 64

Commodore 64

Oh well, I want to post photos of it anyway. I don’t think I will ever attempt this again even if I enjoyed trying it. I might as well document it.

So I might not have been that happy with them but my dear birthday kid seemed happy with it which was all what mattered. Despite becoming 40 in few days he is really still a kid at heart. On the day of his party I all of a sudden saw him out on the street on this skateboard! I can’t help to rub it in a bit though since I have few years left of my thirties. Hey, I am so young that I have never actually seen a Commodore 64 in real life.

Making sure you can type correctly

Making sure you can type correctly

So now I need to start planning the next birthday party. This time I swear I am not waiting until the last minute to get started. And I swear I will only make sensible plans…

The first to go when life get hectic is always hobbies. I thought for a while that I had absolutely nothing to write about as I have pretty much been in survival mode for the last few months. Everything has evolved around taking care of my kid, working, and simply surviving. Then I realized that one of my hobbies actually falls under surviving as well. Making food! How convenient is that. Now if only I could convince myself that cleaning or all the other stuff I tend to postphone was a hobby as well…

It seems that no matter how busy I am I always take time to make food. It might not always be the fanciest food but as every other thought I have revolves around food, I can rarely resist not at least trying something new once in a while or adding some extra touch to my food.

So Friday many weeks ago might only have been a quick taco dinner but after a co-worker mentioned pickled red onion at lunch I couldn’t resist giving it a try. It was a quick one and it turned out so tasty that I have made it quite a few times since then. Give it a try next time you make tacos.

pickled_red_onion

Pickled Red Onion

Adapted from Godt.no

1,5 dl water
1 dl sugar
0,5 dl vinegar ( I use brown 7% but I think any generic type will work)
1 sliced red onion

Bring water, sugar, and vinegar to boil. Leave it boiling just long enough for the sugar to melt. This is very quick. Now pour this in a bowl over your red onion and let it sit for approx. 30 minutes or while you prepare the rest of your Mexcian food. It is better if you let it sit a bit longer but not really necessary. It can sit in a closed jar for at least few days in the fridge if you want to use it later.

Pickled Red Onion really brings your tacos to another level of sophistication. It can be used as a side dish for burritos, chilli con carne or fajitas as well.

It starts as a hangover every morning. A hangover without you having enjoyed a fun night out the night before. It gradually gets worse. Ever been to the airport really early in the morning? Remember how your tummy ached and you felt severely dehydrated? That is exactly how I felt every single morning. After a while your muscles starts aching mildly. At some point you get to a point where you think, I have gotten used to this. You think I can do this. You start getting a bit delusional. Then your muscles start aching more. You can barely get up in the morning because you are stiff all over. It becomes painful to wear clothes and you start picking out the ones that don’t sit tightly. A tight waistband feels like some is strapping a belt as hard as they can around your waist.

Then you start having memory lapses. You are trying to pay for something and you cannot remember a single pin code for any of your credit cards. You end up in strange places when driving with no recollection of how you ended up there. Then things start happening that you don’t like to talk about. You are constantly sick, cannot get rid of the simplest cold and you look like shit. You can see that you are aging rapidly. At last your eyesight starts deteriorating and one morning you find yourself trying to get to work half blind.

This is how I experienced severe sleep deprivation.

Now I want to ask you a question. Have you ever felt bad when you say you sleep 8 hours at night? Have you ever said you have slept less than you actually did to seem a bit tougher? Because your friends and co-worker always state they have only slept 4-5 hours. Because they will look at you like you are weak when you complain having only gotten six hours. This is at least the case in the tech industry. It is generally seen as an act of toughness if you are able to function on little sleep and people talk about those people in awe.

What it really is just pure stupidity that needs to stop.

Thanks to this trend of trying to be tough by needing little sleep I didn’t really understand how bad things were until it was too late. I thought I was supposed to be able to cope with not sleeping. It all started when she was 7 months old and she started standing up. The next night she would have problems sleeping because she would instinctively get up when she woke up just a little. She has a lot of energy in her and when she got up she just wanted to stay up. Let me be clear here, we are not just talking about waking up 2-3 times a night to eat like babies do. We are talking about something a lot more extreme like every half hour on some nights or simply staying up for long periods at night. Pure torture!

It went on for a year and half. Then it got a bit better but she didn’t really start sleeping through most of the night until she was 3 years and 2 months.

It is difficult to state that I could have done things differently afterwards. We felt pretty helpless in the middle of this situation. There was really no help to get anywhere and no matter what sleeping trick we tried nothing worked.

We still don’t really know why she was such a bad sleeper. The conclusion is that she is just a restless kid. Added to that are some allergies, and then she was picking up a bit of my stress and sleeping less because of that.

In hindsight I know that I should have taken better care of myself. I shouldn’t have just kept going never getting anywhere near enough sleep. Just to be clear, I am not really writing this to get sympathy. I am hoping that someone reads this and realizes that bragging about how little they sleep is not smart. It is dangerous.

Here are few reasons backed up by science:
Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep makes you have the cognitive abilities of someone that is drunk. You just don’t realize it. Yeah, you really shouldn’t be driving when you haven’t gotten enough sleep. Other studies have shown that chemical gathers in your brain that can cause long-term damage such as Alzheimer’s. Then there is weight gain. They have found that hormones that control your appetite don’t function as well when you are not getting enough sleep.

The latest study I came across shows that you can kill neurons in you brain by not getting enough sleep. I could go on and on but I will just point you to the Wikipedia article.

There really isn’t any good reason to sacrifice sleep. It is socially acceptable to use time on exercising to be healthy. Why isn’t it accepted that you make sure you get enough sleep as well?

These days I am quite religious about my sleep and try to make sure that I never sleep less than 7 hours. Yet, I still feel embarrassed admitting that I went to bed at 10 o’clock instead of answering work e-mails. I also feel quite bad every time I refuse to watch a movie or do something social because it will mean I wont get enough sleep. I am hoping I can reverse the effect of the damage I did. I just really hope my daughter doesn’t pay the price for her lack of sleep as a baby.

I am writing this in hope that at least few people read it and learn what I didn’t know before. Enough sleep is important. Make sure you get your 7-8 hours sleep and be proud that you do! Teach your kids that sleep is important. Point people that brag about getting little sleep to some of these studies. You might just be doing them a big favor.

On to something different. A while back I made two nightdresses for my daughter. Thought this was an excellent opportunity to finally show them off. Pattern from Ottobre and nothing fancy really. Just comfy nightgowns.

Sleeping?

Sleeping?

More fun to dance into the night

More fun to dance into the night

If someone had told me five years ago that I would be completely glued to a reality TV program about sewing I would have had a good laugh. I didn’t even have a TV back then and only watched selected movies and series. I hadn’t gotten into sewing and didn’t consider myself as the crafty type at all.

I guess things have changed… now my favorite TV program is The Great British Sewing Bee. A really nice, no intrigues competition between amateur sewers. The best part you feel like you are learning stuff while watching it. And did I say no intrigues? I hate programs where the whole purpose is to have the contestants bitch about each other. None of that!

Borrowed from BBC

Borrowed from BBC

I came across this program at the best time possible. I am still having problems sitting due to my tailbone and spend most evenings exhausted after torturing myself through work and an extremely painful train ride. Perfect to watch lying in bed!

Right now it is possible to watch the first season on YouTube and last episode on Dailymail.

Season 2 is currently on BBC which you can access using Unblock us if you are outside the UK.

Season 2 is soon over but the good thing is that it looks like there will be both an American and a Norwegian version. I cannot wait! If you are just a little interested in sewing, give it a try. There are even men competing! Must admit I didn’t think men could sew…. How lame of me!

So apparently evolution has left me some tail. It is quite obvious that all believers of intelligent design have never hit their tailbone. Any designer with common sense would not have put a bone in the spot that you sit on. At least not a bone that can get so easily injured and that can cause this enormous pain to its owner.

Embarrassingly I managed to hurt my tailbone playing go-cart during team building. I love go-carting! It really brings out the competitiveness in me and I was quite proud when I managed to be the only girl that made it to the final. This despite being hit quite hard early on in the race by some co-worker that didn’t know how to drive.  I could feel right then and there that something happened to my tailbone but the severity of it didn’t really start syncing in until I sat down afterward.

I literally had to pull the hooks of my bra out of my back afterwards. My back had quite a few blue spots and I couldn’t sit down, sit, get up, walk or stand without being in severe pain. Almost two weeks later I still feel like I am sitting on a sharp knife and I have learned by painful experience that there is no way to sit comfortably on a train with an injured tailbone.  I simply have to suck it in for the 2×40 minutes train ride each day.

Being able to sit comfortably reminds me of my business trips to Asia few years ago. Believe it or not I got lucky and got upgraded to business class three times in a row on a long distance flight. What a luxury! I just wish the train seats were as luxurious.

This brings me to today’s recipe. I read an article (Norwegian) at the start of the year that stated that this was one of those tastes to look out for in 2014. I am talking about kimchi, which is spicy fermented cabbage that is used as a side dish for almost everything in South Korea.  It is difficult to describe it. Spicy, crunchy, sour, and sweet all at the same time. Great as a side dish to Korean barbecue like bulgogi.

Jar of Kimchi

Jar of Kimchi

Kimchi

Adapted from Dr. Ben Kim

1 head of Chinese or Napa cabbage
0,75 dl sea salt
Water
0,6 dl Korean Chili flakes (Gochugaru)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3-4 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 ripe apple or pear, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar

Measure the salt and add enough warm water to cover it. Stir and wait until it dissolves at least a little. This requires some patience.

In the mean time wash and chop the cabbage into bit sized pieces. Pour the salt water over the cabbages and make sure it is somewhat evenly distributed. Let it sit for 4 hours to let get the salt get rid of some of the water in the cabbage. It will look a bit shrivelled at the end of the 4 hours.

Rinse the cabbage with cold water to remove the excess salt

Combine the red chilli flakes with enough warm water to cover it. Stir until a red chilli paste is created. Add the chilli paste to the cabbage.

Now add minced garlic, minced ginger, green onions, and fish sauce.

Blend the apple or the pear and onion with 3 dl water and add to the mixture.

Now blend well with your hands. I recommend a pair of plastic glove. Transfer everything to a large glass bottle. Make sure there is a little bit of room at the top in case it expands a bit.

Now leave at room temperature for 24 hours. After this transfer it to the refrigerator and after few hours it is ready to eat. According to online sources this can be stored for at least couple of weeks in the fridge.

Kimchi

Kimchi


Note: I bought my Korean chilli powder in South-Korea and I have yet to find it in Oslo. I am sure it can be bought online somewhere.
Korean Chilli powder

Korean Chilli flakes

Doc Silja McStuffins

I honestly cannot recommend anything other than buying your kid a Carnival costume. Why would you even consider spending every single minute of your free time for few weeks trying to make your kid one? Sacrificing sleep should be reserved for partying and not to redo a piece that you aren’t too happy with.

Why would you want to hit the pedal of your sewing machine like it is a Formula 1 car praying your fingers don’t end up in a painful collision with the needle?

Then there is the agony if your three year old will actually accept to wear the costume.  You know that them agreeing to it beforehand doesn’t mean a thing when it comes to judgment day. Lets no forget the agony you feel when you actually bribe them to put on the last piece of the costume. Because that one piece has all of sudden become uninteresting.

That grueling moment when you enter Kindergarten and see that all your fears have come true, that the place is buzzing with little pink princesses in cheap shiny Disney dresses.

That thought lingering at the back of your head that you have spent a little fortune on all the different fabrics and materials you needed to make it. Thankfully you are sensible enough to not start calculating. Seriously, how much more expensive could it really have been?

Yeah, why would you put yourself through all that pain? You would because it is fun, you learn stuff and get a nice sense of accomplishment afterwards.  It is so nice to see your kid happy as well, she was very proud when I finally convinced bribed her to put on the last piece. There were no complaints over not being a princess and she even made statements that she rather wants to be Dora for Halloween than a princess.

McStuffins vs Silja (borrowed from Disney)

McStuffins vs Silja (borrowed from Disney)

I made her a Doc McStuffins costume. McStuffins is a little girl that wants to be a doctor and cures her stuffed animals and toys of all kinds of diseases. Her magical stethoscope brings them to life when there are no grown-ups around.  A cute TV program and I think my little Doc was even cuter!

Doc Silja McStuffins

Doc Silja McStuffins

In case anyone wants to go through all this pain and agony I am putting down some notes about how I got the different pieces together and a little mini tutorial on how to hack a shirt pattern to be a doctor’s lab coat.  In case it you feel it is too much work, you can always buy the “real” thing from Disney.

McStuffins

McStuffins

Lab coat:

lab coat

  1. Get a regular shirt pattern with a collar. I used one from Sy til Barn by Rikke Misciattelli (you can see the type of shirt it is here). I picked the next size (104) above what she uses regularly to make sure it could be worn outside of clothes.
  2. Get some white cotton, wash and iron.
  3. Extend the front and the back pattern pieces like I did in the drawing.
  4. Make sure the sleeves are wide enough so they can be folded upwards. My daughter didn’t want to fold in the end but at least we have the option.  The sleeve should be a bit longer than a regular shirt pattern. This was a simple pattern with no fancy hems or cuffs on the end and I just ended up adding 2 cm in all directions like seen in the image. The approx width of the cut sleeve was 24,5 cm including seams.
  5. Cut and sew according to instructions. If you find the instructions for attaching the collar difficult to comprehend I found this picture tutorial very helpful.
  6. Add pockets. Draw a square approx 14×11 cm. Draw rounded edges starting from approx 5 cm from the bottom bottom. I drew them freehand on the fold. I folded in approx 2 cm twice at the top. Ironed that and 1/2 cm seams on the sides and botton and sew it on the front.
  7. Add buttons. I used a total of 5 buttons evenly spread.

The buttons should technically be white but my little girl didn’t buy into it when I said McStuffins had white buttons.  She announced that Silja McStuffins thinks they should be pink!

McStuffins t-shirt/sweater: Find a long sleeved t-shirt pattern.   Make sure the pattern has binding around the neck, a longer cuff at the sleeve and at the bottom of the sweater. The pattern I used was Fall Basic from Ottobre 4/2013. I had to add the bottom dark purple stripe. I made a strip that was 4 cm shorter than the circumference of t-shirt and of the same height as the cuffs on the sleeve (approx 6 cm with seam). I hemmed it and then sew it on.  The fabric I used was Wisteria purple white stripe cotton from Girl Charlee which seems to be sold out now.  I bought some darker purple jersey from them to get the contrasting color.

Skirt: I made a simple skirt from Ottobre 4/2013 called Swinging Hem. Used some pink jersey I had lying around. It should have been darker pink but this was all I had.

Pants: I made circular stencil out of acetate paper with my Silhouette Cameo machine. Any circular shape will do or I am sure you can just paint round dots by hand. I used cheap light lavender jersey from Stoff og Stil and pink and white fabric paint from the same place (follow instructions on the type you use). I cut out the pattern pieces before I painted them. You can use any normal pattern for tights. I used Tiny Path from Ottobre 6/2013 without adding seams and that I shortened a bit. I tend to skip the seam allowances on the sides when sewing from Ottobre as the patterns seem to be made for sturdier kids than mine.

Hairband: I bought the cheapest hairband  I found at H&M and ripped off the ribbon they had wrapped around it and painted it. I made the mistake of buying fabric paint so this was a bit of a challenge… I had to do numerous rounds and then applied clear nailpolish over to get rid of the stickiness. I made a flower out of a pink flower button and model clay. Then super glue did the trick of attaching for short term use.

 

Hairband

Hairband

Stetoscope and Lambi are the “real” thing from Disney.

The doctor is here

The doctor is here

I have two reoccurring nightmares that keep haunting me. One involves not finding a clean or a suitable restroom when I need to do you know what. Half of those dreams involve nasty, dirty bathrooms (think Trainspotting) and the rest involves the inability to get privacy. Sadly the sports people in Sochi seem to have hit one of my nightmare. Is this seriously real?

The other dream that keeps coming back is the one where I need to get somewhere or do something but somehow everything is in slow motion. Everything seems to take so long and something always stalls you. Very frustrating! Getting a kid sometimes feels a bit like being stuck in this dream. You can never again expect to do things at the speed you want. To be sure you get to work in time you need to always have a good buffer because there is always something that doesn’t go according to plan. And the things that move the slowest of all are your hobby projects.

This set for example took approximately 3 months or so to finish. There was always something that got in the way. And when I managed to squeeze in a half hour I almost always made some mistakes so I had to spend equally long reverting that.

In the end it finally got finished and by that time the t-shirt is getting a bit on the smaller side. Gah!

The patterns I used were “Froskegenser” and “Brun Bukse” from the Heilt Spesiell og Jubel book that has taken the Norwegian sewing community by a storm. The pants are made out of isoli (sweatshit fleece?) from Stoff og Stil (not recommended) and the t-shirt stuff is jersey from Girl Charlee. I really advice against ever buying fabric from Stoff og Stil to use in clothes. This is not the first time I have seen horrible quality.

Front pockets

Front pockets

I got to try my hands at some new techniques like piping and decorative seams with my coverpro. Then there is the regular bias binding that is still a bit tricky to me.

Tricky neckline

Tricky neckline

Back and side

Back and side

The little miss is a tough on to take pictures of. She cannot seem to stand still for a second making it hard to get good pictures in the dark, gloomy weather you have in Norway these days.

How to get your clothes to stay still

How to get your clothes to stay still

The good thing about active child that doesn’t have patience to pose and just starts playing is that you sometimes hit these nice shots that you know you are gonna treasure.

Artist?

Artist?

The lie that worked

My daughter is not easily fooled. She sees through all the little tricks that you can normally fool kids with. There is however one blatant lie that I have been able to get her to believe. That one thing out of all the other things I have tried to trick her with is that she believes I have an extra pair of eyes at the back of my head.

I guess you do instinctively grow an extra pair of eyes when you have an active kid that demands your attention all the time. You know that if you let your watch down for just few seconds that they have managed to get themselves into some kind of trouble. It is all about survival really. Your side vision becomes super sharp if you don’t want to either bring a cage to the grocery store or spend hours trying to pick up everything you need. I am actually amazed that evolution hasn’t already grown us some extra eyes.

I have at times doubted that she actually believes that I have eyes at the back of my head. All evidence however says she really does. When I one time told her to wait because when she wanted to show me something and then when I finally turned around she said “But mom, you don’t have to turn around, you have eyes at the back of your head”.

Impatient model

Impatient model

I got a new gadget this Christmas from my two favorite people. A Silhouette Cameo cutting machine that can cut vinyl, fabrics, paper etc. It took me a while to get started but for my first project I decided to make a decorated hat with wool lining. So I sewed up my first hat (based on this tutorial) and then cut out Silja’s name and a set of eyes. Now she can also have eyes at the back of her head. Maybe I should make one for her dad as well, she says he doesn’t have them ☺ .

I am watching you

I am watching you

Older Posts »