Friday, February 26, 2010

Sad Monkey

Holy cats am I ever feeling sorry for myself.
My bear is a sickie fellow, with snot and hack hack hacking and a fever. And waking up every two hours on the dot.
It's rubbish when little people are sick but it's p'ticly rubbish because it means we're rainchecking his party.
He doesn't appear to mind (one of the joys of being almost 2 I guess) but I could cry. In fact I might have already cried. His Grammie is going to be here, but she'll be gone again by next weekend.
I have spent the week making decorations one handed whilst snuggling the bear and hoping he'd be better in time. I've had honey in my hair for 3 days without getting the time to wash it out and blah blah blah... I know, boo hoo right? There will be other birthdays.

I think the fact that he's turning two is what's really making me sad. Two! I know that he is still just a little fellow and that he'll ALWAYS be my baby but he seems so big now. My arms practically ache from missing holding his tiny newborn, freshly hatched body. And they actually do ache from holding his 28lbs/36 and a bit inch self now.

I've been informed that feeling this way means it's "time for another one".
I don't know if we will have another baby, but even if we do, the experience will be different. I don't just miss random baby stuff. I miss Teddy's baby stuff.

His first few weeks were tough. Like bootcamp tough, with the waking up 3.30 AM and having someone scream at you whilst you preform difficult tasks. Teddy wasn't nursing and my boobs were not so much with the milk production, and I was second guessing my every move, (wait... is there one up from second guessing? Like fifth guessing?) but everyone kept saying
"Enjoy it, it goes so quickly" and at the time I secretly thought DUDE, I HOPE SO.

But it does. In the length of time it takes a bad haircut to grow out my baby was out of swaddling, sleeping through the night and no longer nursing. It's a blink. A finger snap. A broken heartbeat.
And I know that there is SUPER exciting stuff to come and that he's completely awesome just the way he is. But right now I'm feeling dented by the passage of time.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I like shoes as much as the next girl. Assuming the next girl likes shoes with a breath-catching, sweat-inducing passion.
But it's a rather one sided affair, and while I love the idea of owning a pair of Ferragamos or Louboutins THIS HIGH, I'm a strictly flats girl (due to my total inability to actually walk in heels). Also, these days the idea of spending that much money on shoes seems like... well, a bad joke where someone keeps screwing up the punchline (if you see what I mean).

Anyhow, I am a sucker for a pair of ballet flats, and given that my feet have the destructive power of angry tigers with chainsaws, CHEAP ballet flats are the finest kind.

So that's the back story, this weekend I was walking past Ardene (a Canadian accessory store in the Claire's mould) and they had a three for $10 offer on shoes. And right there on the stand were three pairs IN MY SIZE! (which is unusual because I have giant clown shoe style feet).
I did a massive double take and raced in.
I scored my three pairs, each ripe for a bit of refashioning. I headed over to net-a-porter for some inspiration and to laugh quietly at the prices.

Pair #1 are a navy blue corduroy (they're not this washed out in real life, I meddled with the exposure to show the details)

I was inspired by these Miu Miu denim Ballerina Flats ($465.... heh heh heh) :

I actually tried out the bow style with a spot of velvet ribbon from my stash but it looked kinda stupid. I have big feet (BIG) and it looked like someone had gift wrapped a speedboat.
So I did this instead:

Here's what I did.
Firstly I whipped the hardware off, the band with the buckle on it was stitched down so I just unpicked the stitching.

The next thing I should have done was re-puff the corduroy wale with a suede brush. But searching and a small tantrum ("HOWWWW can you not know where it is?") didn't turn it up. So I moved on. I 'll do it when I find the darn thing.
Tiny details can totally make uh, "inexpensive" shoes look plain old cheap. Like this thing:

I snipped it, and a few of it's friends off.

Then it was time for embellishments, I tried the bow and didn't love it. So decided a bit of ruffle was just the thing. I added the little pleats as I was sewing the ribbon on like this:

hoo boy, got to love that close up, they don't look this weirdly dusty in real life... At least I hope.

Repeated the process for the other shoe, then trotted around in them admiring my handiwork and hoping the blasted snow disappears soon so I can wear them out of the house.

I've still got two more pairs to play with! Yay!

Who needs historical accuracy?

So, here's the next installment of knightly accessories for my own Sir Poopsalot (my sweetie says I have to think of a better name for him than that).
It's a shield. A... heraldic one? (I'm not putting too much effort into historical accuracy here).
And here's what you'll need to make it.

  • Foam floor tiles - Ours came from the dollar store (of course). We've had them since the bear was learning to sit up, they're not beautiful but the sound of his little bald head bouncing off of the hardwood was too much for me
  • Craft foam for adding decorative details
  • Some felt for making arm straps
  • Scrapbooking brads
  • A cutting implement. I used a set of cheap metal snips ($2 from the dollar store) as scissors to get through the foam. My actual scissors were a bit too puny but the snips worked like a charm.
The first thing to do is decide on the size and shape of your shield. I went for a basic shape in toddler size. But if you're thinking of something more complex or fancypants then try goggling medieval shields .

Once you have a vague idea of what shape you'd like you can either make a paper template or just freehand the shape your foam in pencil.
Then cut it out:

See? Looks like a shield already!

but it might need a bit of something by way of decoration.

I added my decorations with the scrapbooking brads because I like how they kind of look like rivets. BUT they totally could be a choking hazard, so you could use hot glue to attach them if you're worried or your pookie is less than three. The bear doesn't really put stuff in his piehole but I keep a very beady eye out.

I chose to keep my design simple because I'm lazy for the sake of authenticity, but you could get all crazy and cut out the family coat of arms and unicorns and things. This site here has HEAPS of free heraldic imagery clipart for inspiration.

Next you need a way to hold the shield that will free up the hands for ummm... combat. Or eating cookies?
To do that you need to cut a strip of felt and attach it to the back of the shield like this:

I doubled over the felt to make it stronger where I attached the brads and I gauged how big the loop should be by jamming it around Teddy's arm.
I did two armband thingies, see?

Flip it over and you're done.
Time for some gratuitous bear shots:

Teddy is all about the dragon rights. "SMOOCHES NOT SLAYING", "Dragons are people too".

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Living For The Weekend...

Weekends are nice. I know, not the worlds biggest and greatest revelation, but this one was pretty magic.
Mostly because of my sweetie. He really is awesome.

I got extra sleeps whilst he got up with the bear, then he cooked a huge and elaborate snausagy breakfast and Elliot came and shared and brought natas (Portuguese custardy tarts... Mmmm).
We went for a stomp around Allan Gardens and he made me laugh so hard I had to stop and hold on to a bench for a minute or so.
Got to love those poop jokes.
I really am lucky.
Hope you had as good a weekend as I did.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Good(will) Karma

Remember how I was worried about working up some lousy karma by altering a vintage dress? And you all were so lovely and reassuring? (Thank you SO much for that by the way, consider me pep-talked!)

My sweetie comes home early on a Friday so I had some bear-free time to go poking and rummaging and prodding at The Goodwill. I put on something easy to whip off in a tiny-space-speed-changing-challenge, sharpened my elbows to optimal defensive capability then headed off.

And I totally scored!

Recently I've been eyeballing other peoples' denim skirts covetously. Old Navy has a few styles of them at the moment but I haven't even been trying things on in there (so as to avoid the shiny, mass-produced pretty temptation).

So, I had a vague idea that I wanted a denim skirt. An A-line one. In a light-ish wash. That wasn't too short...
OK, so not so vague; and I don't know 'bout you but normally going thrifting with a set idea of what I want means that there will be NOTHING but 1980's embroidered sweatshirts on the racks.

There were 5 skirts! In my size (squee!)! I had to try them all on, and eventually came home with two. Which you guys, has never happened to me before.
Here they are:

This one is by Tommy Hilfiger and it's nice and heavy and the stitching has that slightly more expensive look (what IS that? It's subtle but it's totally there.)
I love how my sweetie is flying Teddy around, superman style in the background of this picture.
I snagged this one because I liked the 70's retroesque thing the pockets have going on.

I also found a very silly lacy scarf that my inner 6 year old demanded (Oooou! Like a flamenco dancer! clap clap stomp. WE WANTS it. we wants. PLEEase?.)

I got it, it was all of 2 bucks and my poor inner 6 year old, I won't let her eat cookies anymore so she probably deserves something.
I also scored a shirt dress that I love so much it may get it's own post (or possibly a marriage proposal).
What I'm saying is, it looks like my karma is doing OK.

Friday, February 19, 2010

You Devils You

It's been a while since I've had one of these

And this one, well this one is special.
Our chum James' (remember him from here?) band played their very first gig. And it was AWESOME.

They're The Black Devils Brigade and they play proper rock. Music for drinking and dancing to. And you should ABSOLUTELY check it out here.
Teddy is a HUGE fan of Raised By Wolves (and he is something of a connoisseur).

But you guys, they were EVEN BETTER live.
They had a sweet mix of crazy energy and the kind of relaxed competence that made them look like they were all born holding guitar picks and a couple fingers of Jameson.
Ted, (the lead singer, not my kid) has a raspy, shiver-inducing, melodic howl of a voice and he was using every bit of it last night.
And it was their FIRST GIG. Their first gig and they played the back room at Clinton's with a stadiums worth of awesome. I can't wait to see what they do next.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hello... Child Services?

This morning while I was washing dishes I heard a plaintive cry
"Stuckkkkkk. Stuck? STUCK!"

And there was my bear. Wedged between the wall and his cart an unable to extricate himself.
So I did what any caring mama would do. Grabbed the camera.

Check out Dilly. She's WAY more attentive a parent than I am.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Regal. Super Super Regal.

I'm slowly making the bear a knight costume to go with Castle Awesome. I'm hacking together toddler friendly versions of all the accoutrements that a good knight might require. Though to be honest I suspect this might be more my thing than his. Still, I'm hoping to brainwash him encourage his interest.
Here's what I've got so far:

A crown,

SURE it looks like it might be too big for a 2 year old but JUST THE RIGHT size for a grown woman... but it's.... not? OK FINE, I made this one for me.


But I made one for him too. The trouble is he HATES it. He doesn't even like me wearing mine. I guess he has moral and political objections to the monarchy? and hats? At any rate I wasn't able to get a picture of Teddy in his but it looks like this:

Here's what you'll need to make your own crown,
  • Craft foam
  • Scrap booking brads
  • scissors
It just so happened that our dollar store has pre-cut crown-shaped craft foam (I suspect they've been reading my mind again) which is awesome.
But if you can't find pre-cut crown shapes then you could cut out a crown shape from standard rectangular craft foam, either freehand or using this PDF that I threw together.

For my crown I went with kind of a She-Ra/Red Sonja circlet as opposed to the full-on crown, but the idea is the same.
You cut out the shapes,

then poke the brads through the foam and open them out to hold the crown together.

You could get all fancy and add some PRECIOUS PRECIOUS GEMS! Or not. Your call.
Stay tuned, next up is The Shield.

It's ART baby! ART!

OK. Time for something funner than that last post. Like... one of these maybe:

It's a magnetic picture frame for the fridge. So Teddy's abstract art can be properly appreciated! This one is called "Blue Dog Reclining With Grapefruit".
The full tute is over at weebabystuff if'n you want to take a look.

Kid art slays me, I like the random scribbles that Teddy does a LOT but I LOVE LOVE LOVE drawings by kids who are a bit older (the other one on the fridge is by my little brother David) It's like being given a glimpse of how they see the world and it's magic.

It hurts. Quick, give it some cake.

I'm about to overshare here, because you know, its fun to make everybody really uncomfortable with brutal and embarrassing honesty.

Two days ago my brother fell down the stairs. He smacked the back of his head and has a concussion. Concussions suck and concussions for guys who have brain injuries suck harder. But that's not really my thing to share, it's his.

Anyway, I found out what happened, and I peered at Elliot's pupils, then I made him call his doctor and nagged him out the door.
Then I went to the cupboard and stuffed chocolate chunk cookies into my face.
Handfuls of them. We happened to have them in the house because my sweetie got them for valentines day treats. But I probably would have made do with baking chocolate and marshmallows. You know, one step up from raw sugar.

For me worry or sad has a physical feeling, it feels like there's a gap in the dead center of my chest. It could be that once upon a time I couldn't tell the difference between the gappy hole ache and hungry; but I think that these days reaching out for the instant gratification of chew chew slurp gulch is just habit.

One of the sucky things about worry is that it is actionless. Waiting to hear how Elliot got on at the doctors is not something that can be effected by any action of mine. All I can do with that waiting is think it over and over and over and over again. It might be that the hand to mouth action feels like the doing something with my worry.

Because I don't eat a lot of sugar these days, when I do I feel... weird. Like heart racy, head achy, just done a bunch of narcotics, weird. When I was eating sugar all the time I didn't really notice it but it's possible that it always felt bad but that I couldn't tell.

I'm done. I'm not a super big fan of doing this, you know shedding light on the ugly, scurrying-in-the-dark parts of my brain/life but for me writing things down is like idea alchemy. I'm more likely to learn from and pay attention to something that I've put in black and white.
So you guys get to hear me whine. FUN.

I don't know if I'm the only person in the world who does this or feels like this.
Feel free to chime in with the "dude... you're freaky" or whathaveyous.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mouse! Mice! Meese?

I've written before about how going to the ROM with Teddy is super fun times. We went this Thursday and it was no exception. Teddy conned his uncle Elliot into carting him around "UP? up? hug?" So that he could yodel animal names into his face more efficiently "BURD! BEAR! BURD! COWWWWW!".

We happened to be in the right place at the right time to take part in one of their animal Ambassador talks. And Who can resist the lure of a ringtailed lemur. I for sure can't.

So we sat in a darkened auditorium with about 20 other people. And waited quietly for them to bring out Cosmo the ringtailed Lemur.
As soon as Teddy spotted him he yelled"MOUSE! MOUSE! MOUSE!" breaking the silence and causing a ripple of giggles.
I whispered "Um, Teddy, that's a Lemur".
Teddy nodded in agreement "MOUSE".

So there we have it. Anything smaller than a dog is a mouse.
Including beavers.

This morning Teddy came racing into the kitchen yelling "Mouse 'n CAR". One blurry-eye pre-coffee "Huh?" later he showed me this:

It is, undeniably, a mouse in a car.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bad Thrift Karma? Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Orange

Does anybody have any strong feelings about refashioning vintage? I mean vintagey vintage too, say, pre 1969?
This is why I'm asking:

I bought it the day before yesterday from a second hand store (it's actually the store that helps finance the childcare facility that my brother volunteers at, but I think that and his awesomeness might need it's own post).

I LOVE it. The colours, even though they're kind of punch-you-in-the-eyeballs bright. The cut of the dress, that is SO completely of it's era. The feel of the fabric, it has this kind of loose woven texture to it.
I love it.
BUT. I couldn't wear it, or at least, I couldn't wear it and still do fun stuff like breathing. The neck was too high and small and it was tight around the chest. I bought it anyway because the seam allowances were big enough so that I knew I could let it out and make it the few extra inches longer that I needed without irreparably damaging anything.

But the neck was the problem, I know this sounds dumb, but I didn't want to ruin the integrity of the dress. But I really wanted to be able to wear it so I hummed and hawed and squinted at it and then took a deep breath and got out the scissors and did this to it:

I gave it a slash/boat neckline. I wanted it to still be in keeping with the era, and I was pretty careful with it, and made a facing and everything. I love it so much I absolutely don't regret it now, but MAN I fretted over it.

So my question is this: Do you alter vintage? Should I have left it for someone with a thinner neck to find and take home and wear unaltered? Have I given myself Bad Thrift Karma (so I'll find nothing but size 2 tapered jeans for the next six months)?

Also, do you think it looks too costumey to wear out? I love it but I am a bit anxious about going out in public with THAT much colour. I've been weaning myself off of an all black wardrobe but this is a big step.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SUPER squee!

Also on The Kitchn. THE KITCHN. Which is both a really big deal (for me) and a double edged sword. AT therapy commentators can be super lovely OR... not so super lovely. There are a few "I liked it better before" comments. Which is... fine? And to be fair, the crummy resolution images don't adequately convey how truly horrible the cabinets were. They just look yellow, and a relatively cute yellow at that. BUT DON'T BE FOOLED! That cute yellow is actually MUSTARD with brown and gold flecks. Like if you threw a shredded mother of the bride outfit (circa 1983) at a freshly painted cabinet.
BUT. I also don't really get why people leave negative comments. It's like my mama always says "If you don't have anything nice to say, shut the f#$k up". No really, she does. She has a serious potty mouth for a such a classy lady!
But I think maybe I can take a deep breath and say "meh whatever" to the fact that folks I have never met and never will don't like my kitchen. And I'm done. No more kitchen talk. Time, I feel for some pictures of my bear being awesome.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Squeeee! My kitchen is on DSC

Dollar Store Crafts has my Kitchen Makeover. Squeee! I love DSC.

And this makes me feel like cleaning the kitchen (which I normally resolutely DON'T feel like doing) so WIN WIN!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Gaelic Shrug*

*because I bought it in Ireland, see, see!

Turns out the cardi/shrug thing I was wearing in my last post is HUGE.
It was actually pretty big when I bought it two years ago. But it was on crazy cheap sale at Monsoon. And I was nursing at the time (so had bigger boobs). And I was fatter. And it was summer in Athlone which means COLD. And I am a sucker for a grey cardi. And did I mention that it was cheap?
So I bought it. And I've been wearing it since.
Without really knowing how huge and kinda saggy it looked. Because I don't usually take pictures of my outfits ( something that I am in the process of changing, but that's for another post).

So I fixed it. Took seconds, literally, and I think it looks tons better. Here's what I did:

It's pretty self explanatory really. I laid the cardi flat and used a zig zag stitch to sew up the line where it says sew sew sew. Then I went over it again just for good measure. Then I snip snip snip'd.
And that's it.
You might have noticed the surplus of chickens in the picture above. and also the marker pen doodle. Guys, that's what my coffee table looks like. And I kind of love it. Even if I have broken all my fingernails picking fowl off of the floor.

Anyway. Here's the "after" of the shrug:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pants, Pockets and Pooching.

What I did this morning can't really be called a Wardrobe Refashion so much as a Wardrobe Very Slight Alteration but it has turned a pair of trews that have never been worn into my new favorite things, so I am posting it.

Here's the before.

The chicken is mostly for illustration purposes. See, that style of pockets pooch out in a way that make my hips look so conspicuous that I might as well be carrying a live chicken around in there.
Like this, see:

I should say that the pocket pooching isn't the only reason I haven't worn them. Until very recently I couldn't so much as get them on. Let alone done up. They still have the tags on them even.

I came THISCLOSE to giving them to the goodwill but they are SO SOFT. Like kittens. Kittens made of cashmere. So I kept them. They've been living at the bottom of my "to be refashioned" basket.

I was poking around in it this morning, found them and thought "huh". See, I've lost 44 lbs since I last tried them on. Turns out they fit now. They're not loose and the pockets were still a giant issue for me but they fit.
So I sewed up the pockets. zzzzzzwoop. Less than a minutes work and BWALA! New pants*.
Here's how they look now:

*Just for the record I'm going with the Canadian/US meaning of pants here not the UK one. I'm pretty comfortable with both as I was raised by a "pants" quothing Canadian in London, where pants means undies, panties or knickers."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Busted! And Another Dress...

So. I needed to used my Wardrobe Refashion get out of jail free card. But I... I was framed I tells YAH! You got the wrong guy! There were totally extenuating circumstances. AND I actually did a refashion on what I bought. and... it was super cheap? and probably a second? Which means that I was practically recycling?
OK. Fine.
Here's what I bought.

For $2, from the Dollar Store. Which from hence forth shall be know as LE BOUTIQUE DOLLAIRE. They're cotton/linen mix men's summer shirts. As it's still -5 here I am assuming that Le Boutique Dollaire has a cruise collection. Just like Chanel.

S'not so pretty huh? This is only one of them. I bought three. Now I don't happen to have a bowling team that needs a uniform, (though how awesome would that be!?) but I did happen to have an IDEA.

An idea prompted once again by Anthro and by something that I used to do ages ago.
The anthro inspiration was this: The Reed Dress, $129 CAD

Which was also available in navy until yesterday.
When I was a teen, (a young, crazy teen! Sigh) I used to make a summer dress at about this time of year. Like a pep talk for myself and my wardrobe that no, it wasn't always going to be winter and YES there would be flip flops again at some point.
I haven't done it for years for various reasons and now seemed like a good time to resurrect the tradition.
Then when I spotted the shirts I had a lightbulb moment.

So that's the back story here's what I made:

Shirt after

I'm hoping you'll be kind enough to let your eyes slide over the unfinished sleeves and lack of ironing and the pale bare legs. I wanted to get a shot of it before the light disappeared. Also the last night's gym hair, that's just cause I'm kinda gross.

I'm also not completely sold on the accessories but it's one of those dresses that needs something. Here's what it looks like without.

Shirt no ax

I actually made it a bit too big and I'll have to take it in a bit more. And finish the sleeves. I don't think I'll do the rolled sleeve thing like on the Anthro dress, but I might put a little cuff on them.
Now I'd like to order up some weather please. 25 C. The slightest warm breeze. The smell of the sea. Anytime soon would be good.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Invites! Squee!

The invites are all ready to be handed over. Remember the guys from this post? Well here's where they ended up:

And you guys! I'm kind of in love with them. The slightly skewed angle of the monkey's smile gives me a happy. It was a complete accident so I can't really take credit for it.

I printed them out at the photo service in the pharmacy/drug store. The yellow behind the robot ended up way more yellow than the orange that it looked on my screen. Which almost caused me to wig out, but I think I like it better like this. So YAY!
Finding yellow accessories and paper napkins and balloons and STUFF looks to be easier than finding orange ones. So also YAY!

I came home with my printouts in my sweaty paws and stared at them mumbling "what to do what to do what to do?" with a slightly glazed look; until inspiration struck and I decided to make a double sided sammich board style thing.
Like this, see?

I did a bit of cutting and sticking using the blank cards I picked up at the dollar store a while ago and my brother's VERY expensive glue (which Elliot if you're reading this, I haven't seen. uh uh. Nope. Maybe goats ate it? Or warthogs? Maybe?).

Anyways, the whole shebang fits flat in the envelope and useful information stuff is on the other card.
Teddy and I are going to go give them out tomorrow and I have to say I am THIS excited about the party. You guys should totally come! There'll be CAKE!
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