All posts by Robyn

Baby Quilt no. 2

Decided Anna needed a blanket for tummy time that her little feet wouldn’t slip on, like they do with the store-bought mats we have. What a wonderful excuse to make a cute quilt! I picked up the fabric yesterday and started cutting tonight (12/29/13)…

It is really late now so the piecing will start tomorrow. I plan to knock this one out quickly, then finally get back to the Yellow Brick Road quilt. I just need to get the border on that one, then actually quilt it. I have been waiting on my QuiltDesign Creator software before going back to that one though, it is taking forever to get here. It was one of the quilts I did as a learning experience, so I don’t mind experimenting on it.

After that I have two planned to make for Mom, the Flower Patch that is also currently in progress, and one other that I have just because I liked it. So many quilts, so little time. And once I finish all of those, I have a whole binder full of patterns just begging to be next.

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(Posted this from the iPad, I will add this to the projects page later)

Busy Busy

I have been keeping pretty busy lately. Between the baby, Christmas shopping, visiting family, and various other mundane things I haven’t had as much time to work on projects as I would like. It seems I have been up until 1:00am way too many nights lately just working on things.

I have nearly completed the gift bags I am making for Christmas (yes I know Christmas is already past, but the family gathering isn’t until the 29th) and I finished the laptop bag I was making. Well, almost. I still haven’t done the binding to pretty up the inside seams, but I will get around to it. I did try to do the binding, but it turned out that the bias tape I picked up was the wrong size and I didn’t feel like cutting my own. I got some larger bias tape yesterday though, so hopefully that will work. Finishing it isn’t a very high priority, the bag looks good from the outside at least. I have been meaning to post photos, but haven’t had time. I will get around to it soon, probably when I post photos of the completed gift bags. And those bags really are nearly complete! I just need to run to Cary Quilting tomorrow (Saturday, 28th) to pick up a little extra fabric because I miscalculated on the drawstrings for a couple bags. Then I will have to finish them since the family gathering is Sunday!

Christmas was pretty awesome this year. I got cool toys, my sister was able to come up, and Anna got to open her first presents. By “open” I really just mean we aimed her at the tissue paper in some gift bags and let her grab hold. I took some photos, but I haven’t even looked at them yet… so add one more thing to my “I need to post that” list.

I would like to report that Anna loved her first Christmas, but unfortunately she was pretty cranky. We did Christmas in three rounds. The first was with Sean’s family on the 22nd, and that went smoothly since we opened all the gifts for her and she was well rested. The second round was near her bedtime on Christmas Eve. She had fun ripping the tissue out of the first couple gift bags, and loved the crinkly soft book my mom gave her… but she quickly melted down and we saved the second half of her gifts for the next day. We again had bad timing and she was getting hungry and tired when we started opening her gifts, and by the end we rushed through the last couple boxes because she was fed up with anything that wasn’t food. She got several new outfits, a few toys, some Christmas ornaments, and a used iPod so that we can play music for her with our old Sound Dock. I think she made out pretty well! Next year should be more fun though, since she should be able to open stuff for real then. She will only be 16 months-ish at that point though, so the real fun probably won’t come until Christmas 2015.

New Page & Sewing & Anna

I added a new page today, or pages really. I decided to post photos of my sewing projects, so you will now see a “Sewing Projects” page in the menu, with subpages for my projects. The photos there now aren’t that great since they were pretty much all taken as snapshots with my phone just as a means to post a photo. I will have to try to get the good camera out and at least take photos of my finished projects. I don’t have too many completed right now, so it won’t be that hard to catch up photos if I ever find the time to do it when the sun is up… and that will definitely be a challenge this time of year.

Since I posted last I have made some drawstring bags and a Christmas stocking. You’ll find pictures on the new page :) I think the stocking came out pretty good, and it was a great way to play with the new sewing machine I got as an early Christmas gift. The new sewing machine is completely awesome and I am so excited about it! I have been playing with it every spare moment I can find. I also got some quilting software for Christmas, but it hasn’t come in yet. Once that arrives I will finally finish that Yellow Brick Road quilt I started in October… so excited for that! Stay tuned for pictures.

And now for the Anna update. She is growing bigger and bigger every day. All of her 3-months clothes are nearly too small for her, and the 6-month clothing is only a little big… so probably by the end of January I will be packing away all her 3-month stuff. I have no idea what she weighs, but it has to be about 13 pounds. She doesn’t have another doctors visit until January 10, so it will be a few weeks before we find out exactly how much she has grown.

Her Nana reported that she has rolled from her back to her stomach twice today, which is a first for her. Anna doesn’t really like tummy time, so it scared her. Just a few days ago she rolled from her tummy to her back by herself for the first time. So any day now she will officially be in the “able to roll over” category, and will have to get over not liking tummy time. But if she is able to rollover at will she probably won’t mind tummy time so much anymore I guess.

Anna has also graduated to her stroller seat; part of the time anyway. Until recently we always just left her in the carrier, popping it onto the stroller frame, when we went out. She is starting to get cranky with it after long periods of time though. I think it is partly because she wants to be sitting up now (or propped up at least) and she is also about to outgrow the infant insert in the car seat. So the car seat is kind of a snug fit, but she is still a little too small to take it out.

So if we know we will be out for a while, or if she is awake when the car stops, she gets to sit in the real stroller seat now. For short trips she still stays in the carrier though, or if she is asleep and we don’t want to wake her. At first we put the “baby cocoon” thing on the seat for her that is designed for small infants to use like a bassinet when the stroller seat is fully reclined… it zips up around them to keep them warm and has a cushy head holder thingie. It is just lies on the seat, and you pull the straps through it to secure the baby. Yesterday she rode around sitting up (slightly reclined) directly in the seat though and was perfectly happy. Now I am happy too because I don’t have to carry the cocoon around in the car anymore, and I don’t have to put it on the stroller every time we use it without the carrier (the seat doesn’t fold with it on). Soon I won’t have to carry the carseat stroller adapter anymore either!

Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

This week Anna has been on something almost like a sleep schedule, which is pretty awesome. Monday and Tuesday she went to sleep around 9pm and waking up around 3:30/4ish for a feeding, then sleeping again until 7 or later. That is great except for the fact that I am a night person and don’t get to sleep until around midnight, 11pm at the earliest.

Last night (Wednesday) I had this idea… why not wake her up and feed her before I go to sleep? I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea or not, but decided to try it. I woke her up to eat at midnight, then she went right back to sleep and I was asleep not long after. When I laid down in my own bed I decided to google and see if I had made a mistake or not… turns out this is actually a suggested thing to do. Why didn’t anyone tell me this?? She slept straight through until 7am!

Back To Work

Those three months sure went by fast. I was lucky enough to eek out an extra week at home due to holidays and such. FMLA only allows you to take 12 weeks, but I got 13 weeks… it was still too short. This country’s maternity/paternity leave policies (or lack of) blow.

I was dreading leaving the baby, but it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would. Yet. I think it is going to get harder and harder the more days I miss. Last night when Sean brought her home I only got to see her a couple hours before she went to sleep for the night. And that is just the beginning of it… next comes missing her first time rolling over or sitting up or any number of other firsts. Not to mention not being able to attend her needs and feed her. And to make matters worse, pumping hasn’t been yielding enough milk for her… so she has had to take more formula as well. I ordered new pump parts, so hopefully once I get some fresh valves it will increase the efficiency of the pump. Or maybe I need to listen to a soundtrack of crying babies and plaster the room with pictures of Anna.

This sucks and I hate it, but we need my paycheck. Oh what I would give to be able to work from home full time! It would be so easy with mom there to nanny… I could feed her whenever she was hungry, spend time with her throughout the day, and have someone there to take care of her so I could focus on work.

Anna and her Nana (Sean’s mom) have been having lots of fun yesterday and today though. Dena is certainly enjoying her time with her, and I am glad to know she is in the care of family and not just another baby at a day care center. I am not sure I could bring myself to leave her at a day care at this stage!

(If you are confused at this point… Sean’s mom is keeping her three days a week until my mother moves up here to be our nanny next month. Sean and I each will work from home one day a week to cover the gap until then)

Work has been going well so far, even though I haven’t really done much actual work yet. I have mostly been getting settled in, and was lucky enough to return at a slow point. So many things have changed at work, which I expected at a fast moving company like ours. The systems have changed, the procedures have changed, our tools have changed, the employees have changed, and even my desk has changed.

Some of the changes have worked in my favor. When I started working from home in the last few weeks before the baby was born, it was right before one of the new hires started. They asked if he could sit at my desk, which was fine with me… I had expected it and packed my desk up in a box before leaving. Because of that, he ended up with my monitor (used as a second screen to my laptop). So, when I got back I just had an empty desk waiting for me… no monitor or anything. While I was out, they also hired a new guy that covers hardware orders. I asked him for a monitor, and noted that several people now had dual displays for their laptops. He said he would get me two, but then I pointed out I couldn’t connect two to my laptop… the new guy that ended up with my monitor was only able to connect two to his because he had a newer laptop. I half-jokingly told the hardware guy I wouldn’t complain if he wanted to order me a new laptop, because mine was slow anyway and I wasn’t so sure my hard drive was as healthy as my Mac said it was. Surprisingly he ordered one for me! So soon I will have a new retina display 13″ Macbook Pro with a solid state drive and two 23″ monitors, as well as a new laptop stand that is better than the one I have now! Woot!

Hands!

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Anna is learning to use her hands! A few days ago I decided to pull out a rattle toy to see if she was interested in the sound yet, and unexpectedly she grabbed ahold of it. The first time it looked like it was accidental, so I didn’t think much of it, but decided to try again just to see. Again she seemed to grab it reflexively with her left hand, but then stared at it and very deliberately put her right hand on it! I pulled out more toys to see what would interest her, and it wasn’t long before she was grabbing things consistently.

Her favorite toys seemed to be this flat monkey with crinkly material inside and a pig that had some dangly feet that makes musical sounds when it is pulled, but she didn’t care too much about rattles. The monkey also has a high contrast print on its belly and big eyes, so she liked looking at him too.

After a couple days of her playing with her two favorite toys and getting more coordinated, we picked up an activity gym and a couple other grabby toys for her at Target. Anna seems to approve. She loves laying and playing with all the dangly things. Sean went a little overboard and has now added just about every toy we have that has a clip or strap to it, but she seems happy to have a bunch of stuff to look at and grab. (The picture above was taken before adding all the other toys. And yes those are skulls & crossbones… her daddy picked those out. Something about Skull Squadron.)

It is so amazing how quickly she gains new skills or grows bigger. It always seems like these things happen over night. One day she is wearing newborn size clothing, and the next she doesn’t fit them anymore. One day she seems to not realize she even has hands, the next she figures out how to chew her fingers, and then suddenly she is grabbing things and putting them in her mouth.

Fabric Part 2

This is a follow up from the post on Nov 9.

I finally finished all those flying geese. All 136 of them. What a pain! I got better at them by the end, but there are plenty of wonky ones in there that I will have to fix by trimming or hiding the wonkiness in seams. Apparently I am not the only one that has trouble with them, as I found a thread on the quilting forum I frequent where people were talking about it. Turns out there are lots of methods to make them, and the one detailed in the pattern I am working with is one of the least favorites. Next time I need to make them I will know better! Oh well, another lesson learned.

The method I was using is also pretty wasteful of the fabric, as I end up clipping corners off all the fabric pieces. This made me start wondering about what people do with scraps. I know lots of people on the forum talk about scrap quilts, but I wasn’t really sure what scraps were too small to keep. Today I stumbled on the perfect thread to answer that question, and learned of “crumb” quilts. They use little bits of fabric stitched together to create larger blocks of fabric. So this Flower Patch quilt has lead to multiple lessons learned. From now own I will have a scrap bin and a bag of “crumbs” in my stash.

My next step will be to lay out my fabric combinations for the different flowers and make sure I like what I had planned out now that I can see all four fabrics together more easily. Then it is more flying geese (of a sort) for me. The next piecing I have to do will be for the inner petals, which aren’t true flying geese as it is a square rather than a rectangle. Same technique though.

There won’t be much picture worthy with it for a while still. Any picture I took now would look just like the last ones I posted on Nov 9. Once I get the flower blocks pieced I will get some photos up, but at this rate it will be a while! Between the baby, life in general, and working part time I don’t have much time these days. And I only have a week left before I am back at work full time.