Wednesday, August 25, 2010

That time already?!

I just got an email from a friend asking if there was a general consensus on whether people think we're having a boy or a girl and I realized that I really have no idea what people think!  And with only 5 weeks left until due date, I should probably get on this just in case baby decides to make an early appearance.

Due date is September 29.  I was 6lbs even at birth and Nathan was 6-something, I think (correct me if I'm wrong, Mom McC).  Oh, and in case any of you like to guess gender by heartrate, we've seen it as low as 144 and as high as 170-something. the comments leave your guesses about:
- boy or girl
- date
- weight
- length

Closest one gets the best prize of all...bragging rights!

(If anyone has trouble leaving a comment here, you can let me know through email or facebook and I'll add your guesses to my list!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What I love...

Way back in spring, one of our friends asked me if I would be interested in making a quilt for a gift for his wife.  The gift was given yesterday, as far as I understand, so I am finally free to share what I was working on for much of July! 

When asked, I immediately said that I would love to make a quilt for our friends and then, once I considered that I may not be feeling up to such a large project later in pregnancy, I backed away a bit and gave an inconclusive answer.  Once we were back in Canada, though, I was feeling great and I jumped on board with the project.  And boy am I ever glad I did!

Remember these pictures?  For those of you who were wondering, no, the "J" was not a clue to McBaby's name.  It was for this secret project!  The green fabrics are the ones I used for the background.

You can't really see the belly here, but it did get in the way a little bit!  I was 29-31 weeks pregnant while I worked on this - the entire project took about 2-3 weeks.  (It was SO hard to not share!!)  I found that I couldn't sit as close to the table as I normally would have so either I was leaning my shoulders and neck forward toward the machine or else my belly was pressing into the edge of the table.  Neither was terribly comfortable, but I'm really glad that I completed this project in July as opposed to trying to finish it now! 

First I cut all the letters out of interfacing.  I then ironed the interfacing onto the back of the brown fabric.  Then I cut all the letters out again, this time from the brown fabric using the interfacing as a guide.  Once all the letters were cut out, I stitched around each one, attaching them to ivory squares of fabric.  Once all the letter squares were completed, I sewed them together, one strip at a time.

I added the green/blue fabrics to the ends of the letter strips to create strips the full length of the quilt.  Then I sewed the strips together, one on top of the other, to create what you see here (above).

(Nathan being my quilt stand)  Once I had the front done, I picked out fabric for the back (ivory flannel).  I layered the flannel, quilt batting, an Ikea sheet (for added weight), then the top.  Once I pinned it all, I tried quilting it with my sewing machine.  It became clear after the first 10 stitches that it wasn't going to work to quilt by machine.  I had a few days of being completely stumped as to how to finish the quilt.  I ended up tacking down corners in a grid pattern by hand, using small "x"'s.  This worked quite well.

I then cut and sewed binding from some of the leftover brown fabric.  I trimmed the raw edges of the quilt and then attached the binding.  There's nothing quite as nice as the clean, crisp edge of a freshly bound quilt... : )  It just makes me smile!

And the finished product!  I came up with the design when we were still in Fresno and re-worked it time and again until it was just right.  I did NOT want to start into a project this big and then realize once I tried to sew it together that it was calculated incorrectly!  Thankfully the entire quilt went off without a hitch...well, except for needing to improvise when it came to the actual quilting.  But for my first project of this size, and the first one using applique, I'd say it turned out just fine!  Will I attempt another one?  Not any time soon!  But perhaps one day, when our family is complete, I'll come up with something like this for us...

Friday, August 20, 2010

FINALLY...our new home.

You know how, when you move into a new place, you want everything to be clean and tidy before you take the "after" pictures that everyone is anxious to see?  Well, we missed our first opportunity to take those "perfect" pictures right after we moved in and now life has taken over.  Dog toys are rarely put away as Lennox seems to find new interest in them as soon as they're nicely corralled in a corner or basket.  Homework takes over the dining room table and the nursery is a catch-all of things that are not yet being used and therefore just put in the crib on on the glider.  But hey...this is our life.  And so I decided to take pictures today, just as it is, so that those who are curious can see where we're living these days.  Enjoy.

When you first walk in, this is the entrance that you see.  Normally the washer and dryer would be back a couple feet so that there is more room, but we have some leaking pipes back there that we're waiting for maintenance to come fix so we've been living in some cramped entrance quarters for the past couple weeks.  I am thankful, though, that we do have a decent sized entrance and that we have our own laundry.  Makes up for a little inconvenience now, I'd say!

Pause the tour...little side note.  These are Lennox's dishes.  You'll notice that we have a bowl of water on the left as well as an ice cream pail of water on the right.  We're doing a little experiment with Lennox starting today.  See, we usually fill up his water bowl once every day or day and a half.  And it's not a huge bowl.  But yesterday we were at my parents' place and he drank an entire 4 liter ice cream pail full of water between 4pm and bedtime.  We'd also heard that he drank alot while staying with the people who took care of him this winter while we were in California and Nathan thinks they had water for the dogs in an ice cream pail.  SO, the big question we have a picky dog who prefers drinking from an ice cream pail over a dog dish?  We found it kinda funny, so now we're experimenting with having both available to him and watching to see which one is empty first.  Maybe it'll just make him confused, but we're curious to see if he actually prefers one over the other!  Silly dog.  Back to the tour...

Kitchen.  Basically the same as the picture I took before we moved in except now there are actually things behind the cabinet doors.  Or at least on the bottom two shelves.  The top two shelves almost all the way around are empty because I can't reach them anyway.  These days, with the belly, I find it a stretch to even reach beyond the bottom shelf!

Nursery.  I think it may get re-arranged before baby comes yet.  And I haven't really "organized" as much as I'd like.  But we still have 6-ish weeks before baby is due to arrive so I think I'll be safe if I allow myself AT LEAST 3 more weeks to have everything ready to go. : )

Dining room.  That clutter on the table?  That's a laptop and three stacks of books, each 1.5 feet high.  Nathan has been busy...

Living room.  Pretty self-explanitory...

Storage room.  Because the basement is so humid and "dank - disagreeably damp, musty and typically cold" we've decided to store our not-quite-empty boxes upstairs.  Perhaps, if you come to visit, you will be lucky enough to have this pile of stuff watch over you while you is also our "spare bedroom."

And, last but not least, the latest progress on the baby-growing project.  This is McBaby at about 34 weeks.  Not a great picture as far as pictures go, but there's definitely a baby in there.  The belly growth seems to have slowed down in the last few weeks as I'm measuring about the same as I did a couple weeks ago (whew!) but Baby is definitely packing on the pounds!  The numbers on the scale climb almost daily.  Look out!

Friday, August 13, 2010

My first quilt

As many of you must know by now, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, I really enjoy sewing.  I’ve never really done much of it beyond the occasional clothing alteration or pair of pj pants.  But this winter I started into the quilting world and have been enjoying my mom’s hand-me-down sewing machine more than ever. 

As a result of our recent move, I happened to be going through an old box of all my old dolls/stuffed animals/etc.  I hadn’t looked through my stack of doll blankets since high school but, with baby on my mind, I was looking through everything that night.  And low and behold (never have understood that saying…) I found my very first quilt!  I had completely forgotten about it, but once I saw it, I remembered my mom sewing a quilt top at home for the church ladies to quilt and how I was intrigued by all of the squares of fabric of different colors and sizes.  I’m not sure if it was my idea or my mom’s, but I ended up picking out a few squares of fabric and designing my own doll quilt.  I’m sure, at that point, that my mom was the one to sew it together, but I was excited to have created this masterpiece with the most beautiful fabrics that I could find.  The pink square in the middle, with its sparkly metallic threads, was my VERY favorite.

I look at it now and, though it brings back great memories, I can’t help but notice how my taste in fabric has changed over the years.  But, interestingly enough, when I crocheted my first afghan a few years after making that quilt (probably around 11-12 years old?) I chose those exact shades of navy blue and dark purple.  I guess I did like those colors for a good chunk of my growing up years.  But who could blame me?  I did grow up in the 90’s afterall…who DIDN’t like navy blue, forest green, and burgundy?  I just happened to put dark purple into the mix. : )

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Coming together...

The nursery is slowly but surely coming together for the arrival of McBaby.  One of the most exciting parts of the move, obviously, was putting together the crib for the first time.  We'd never actually seen it put together in real life.  Once we found the crib hardware, Nathan did a great job putting it all together...I think he was just as excited as me!

And, the ever-awkward shot of the mother-to-be gazing lovingly into the yet-empty crib, dreaming of what it will one day hold...
(picture was taken at about 30-31 weeks)

We did our prenatal classes this weekend.  Three points:
-  You meet quite the mix of interesting people in a class like that.
-  The bathrooms at the classes are hilariously busy...every second person there has a bladder the size of a walnut.
-  It really makes the imminent arrival of Baby hit home.  Wow.  We're only 7.5 weeks away from d-day...52 days on my desktop countdown...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More moving...

I don't have tons of time (still no internet at home) but here are some pictures of moving day.  We have yet to take "after" shots of the place but rest assured we are not still living in all these walls of boxes.  The boxes have been gone for some time now.

Our moving day help.  Thanks J, T, and J (for the use of your truck).  Oh, and yes, that beautiful painting that J is holding up is a one-of-a-kind original by yours truly.

Nathan scratching his head, wondering how to get the couch into the living room.  It was a tight fit, but we made it. 

Where I spent the first few days of moving/unpacking: the kitchen.



Me taking a load off.  Seriously, it's amazing what the extra baby weight does to KILL your feet.  Sitting down after a couple hours of unpacking was like swinging in a hammock under huge trees at the ever.