anxiety, anzacs, baby and toddler, baby led weaning, bad week, baking, biscuits, camping, cooking, CPTSD, diy, missy higgins, music, ptsd, reading, recipes, repurpose, Saree, Sari, sewing novice, Tim Minchin, toys, university, upcycle, winter, wrap top

Week Eleven. Remembering.

Right now I can’t for the life of me remember what I was going to write about… 

This week has gone so quickly.

We made Anzacs (as we always do) and danced in the kitchen to Missy Higgins 

I adore the painting on the right but photo for recognitions sake.

(Bub especially loves this song, and now sings the chorus – well part of it. Calls it the Anzac Song.  I especially love this  song- being a frustrated artist)

Truth be told I love all of her music and have a particular soft spot for this . Its especially good after arguments with people you love.

Which happens when they misplace things when you moved house in Febuary and still have no idea where they are. (Yes, I am looking at you, Big M) So that ate up some week.

Then there was this STUPID AND IDIOTIC “postal survey” (plebiscite makes more sense- thought up by plebs. Anyone else do Latin at school? Anyone?) announced in Australia. It has made me rather upset. The amazing and brilliant Tim Minchin sums it up best here and quite simply I believe this :-

Anyway. There was that.

 I also did a spot of sewing- we’re going to my cousins wedding in September up in QLD and I’m s-l-o-w-l-y making my way through a pages long to do list (mostly pin inspired).

At the top is “Make E’s Wedding Dress” and yes, we all had a good laugh at that one.

I wanted to make her something that reminded her of a Sari as she often asks to wear one (her passion for Bollywood undimmed)

After looking at so, so, so many patterns for dresses for babies and toddlers. I found this one. For a reversible wrap top. 

 (Actually first I found this 

but I really didn’t want to pay for a pattern and the handy image search corner thing found the top for me).

So I printed out the pattern, then traced it onto baking paper and made it longer and cut it out of some beautiful but very thin Indian cotton I had bought on eBay and some equally beautiful broderie anglais. Also from eBay.

After thinking about it overnight I realised two things. 1. That they would not work as a lining for each other and 2. That I’d cut out one too few front prices and that would have looked very wrong. (One shoulder wrap dress on toddler. Not good)

So the next day I cut out another front piece from the cotton and some lining from Calico and tried to pin it all together. Discovery of the week- pins are like hair elastics- they vanish.

Anyway- I was being careful and taking my time so, yes, the next day I sewed it all together following the instructions – which are actually quite simplre I’d imagine especially so for a slightly more experienced seamstress.

I ended up with a dress which looked okay on the Indian cotton side and lovely on the calico. I hung it up overnight as apparently this helps with hemming.

That night I thought again and realised my mistakes. 

The next day I fixed them (sew all edges except the bottom hem first, then seam the sides with the fabric you like least outwards).

I even used a decorative stitch.

Tried it on Bub, hemmed it. Done. One wedding dress that I don’t have a finished picture of. Although here is the next best thing- pre hemming and adding of ties:-

 I will have a “proper” picture though- when I finish the pants to go underneath it and make the front panel end in a curve not a point and I’ll put it here 

And now, of course, I’ve remembered what we did do that was new….but we haven’t finished it yet, so that will have to wait for next week.

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anxiety, baby and toddler, bad week, baking, biscuits, blw, Bollywood, camping, cooking, CPTSD, diy, mental illness, nightdress, Nightie, onesie, pinafore, pintrest, post natal anxiety, pre natal anxiety, ptsd, reading, Saree, Sari, Sewing, sewing novice, toddler activities, university, winter

Week 10 Toddler Pinafore 

Keeping it simple this week. I’ve just spent a few days finishing a Uni assignment on a particularly difficult topic plus there has been loads going on at home, so, here is something I did outside of my head.

It’s part of an idea I had for what to dress bub in overnight while we are camping as she WILL NOT stay under the covers and I have no idea what the weather will be on the East Coast in September.

I wanted it to be layers and comfortable and warm without screaming “I’m pyjamas” and something she can keep wearing as she gets bigger.

Quite a bit of thought and research went into this over the last few weeks.

I started trying to find out the best kind of camp blanket for warmth. It’s woollen, of course. But I have not the time nor the money to knit her a completely woollen outfit. Plus the itch factor of most wool fabrics ruled that out.

Next on the list was fleece (or as I know it polar fleece).

This was kind of perfect.

I think polar fleece is made out if recycled plastic- so that’s a bonus (And I’m not ready to be disabused of that notion yet, thank you, I can’t afford to be right now)

 In addition part of a bundle of second hand clothes we received recently was a fleece Kathmandu jacket for bub in a beautiful teal green.

So with that in mind as a top layer, and a simple cheap cotton onesie and the bottom layer, the middle two are going to be this pinafore and a pair of loose pants.

I ordered the fabric in a Lincraft sale two weeks ago and got beautiful microfleece for $4 a meter. 

I was going to wait for all the fabric to arrive but the navy blue was sitting there all washed and ready and I really needed to do something other than uni work so here we are.

I based it roughly on this pin, which is a so simple, pretty toddler/little girls dress.

Click for link

But my printer wouldn’t print the pattern so I traced one of her old pinafores on to baking paper 

*NB making an actual pattern is highly recommend – the finished product is so much better plus I felt like I was doing it ‘properly’

I hope you can see the pencil- one line was for front, the other for the back

So, I traced and cut and pinned and even stay stay stitched, then zig zagged over the top so it all looked right.

I also hemmed around the neck and arm holes and did a bit of notched cutting (look at fourth image from last to see what i mean)(Oh yes, I have all the lingo down now)

I then used the buttonhole attachment on my sewing machine (which I adore). Every other buttonhole I’ve done has been by hand. Pah! say I to buttonholes taking an hour. Mine took about twenty minutes all up. 

In addition I worked out this rather cool way of keeping buttons handy while you are sewing them on – 

so they don’t wander off and disappear in your sewing table-which I’m sure looks just like mine…doesnt it?

Anyway there you go. Part one of bub sleep system done.

Not that she’d try it on for photos, so you’ll have to make do with regulation “on a white surface” ones.

Parts I’m most proud of? The strap ends and buttons. Also the idea of the drawstring so it won’t ride up. I’m going to put them in the pant cuffs too. That way they can be loose comfy daywear or snuggly nightwear that keeps out cold air.

There will definately be more pictures when I do the pants. 

In the meantime I’m just proud I made something properly- I even changed the bobbin thread.

NB Please excuse the slightly formal academic language- think I’m still in assignment mode.

Just quickly, because I took about forty five minuites to get right-ish, I also wore my first Sari this week thanks to this pin. What do you think?

anxiety, baby and toddler, candles, diy, Frank Nightdress or Onesie, jumpsuit, mental illness, Nightie, onesie, pintrest, ptsd, repurpose, Sewing, sewing novice, upcycle, winter

The promised next post…and the Frank #upcycled onesie nightdress or larger onesie

After some thought last night & some doing today I’d really like to give the other parts of baby relaxation a longer chance to work- so that’s what I’m going to do & I’ll write about it next week.

In Life Beyond Pintrest if you have a baby who has outgrown two long legged jumpsuits but you’d like them to keep wearing them because they are cute/warm/have loads of wear in them/ good grief I’m not paying that for a warm nightie/pjs for an infant. You could do what I did today and sort of mash up the idea of making a denim skirt from jeans (that I remember reading in ‘Dolly’ when I was, oh, 14?) and create this :

The Frank Nightie or Onesie

 (Frank for Frankenstiens monster- get it? Ba-doom-chh)


 I’ve never written a tutorial before but I’ve  done this twice now & bub loves them &I’m always up for an upcycle so I thought I’d give it a go for other cash strapped parents out there.  

Both times The onesies have been knit fabric. This time definitely turned out better than the first. 

So keep all seams facing inward (boho style doesn’t work here), hem any rough edges in a straight stitch & do all the little bits first.

So- 

1.Put one onesie on top of the other ( choose the one you love most  for the main fabric -onesie 1 in this tute). Pin.

2. Cut where you want the bodice to end on onesie 1 through both onesies. Unpin.

3. Cut onesie 2 just above the crotch press studs (Or as long a piece as you want for the middle) you’ll end up with a knit tube.

4. Look at the sleeves of onesie 1- if they need lengthening slit a small way up the sleeve along the hem. Place this sleeve on onesie 2 sleeve at a point where you will have enough length with added sleeve coming from top of slit.

5. Cut press studs off onesie 1s legs. Using left over leg fabric fill in the gaps  (this is where jeans-to-skirt comes in useful) pin. Sew- straight stitch. Check. Sew again zig zag. Cut off excess fabric.

6. Hem the edges of the arm slits

7. Pin sleeves together – if you are clever you’ll be able to do the sleeve 2 inside sleeve 1 trick. 😊 I wasn’t and had to unpick. Put the sleeve from onesie 2 inside 1, seam towards the middle (Or to normal people not inside out). Line up the end of the sleeve with the top of the slit and pin. Sew.

8. Pin the big band you cut in step 3 to onesie 1 top part in the same way as you did the sleeves. Hem. Repeat with skirt.

9. There you go- a Frank Nightie. (Of course also iron all seams. If you own an iron)

(If you want to keep it a jumpsuit repeat the steps you did to get the “body tube” on each arm and leg. The sewing works the same way as the body portion in the above tutorial. The main thing to watch out for is the press studs and placement thereof but if I can do it- anyone can. See images- hopefully they’ll help)

=

anxiety, baby and toddler, bad week, candles, cooking, Dandenong ranges, mental illness, pintrest, post natal anxiety, ptsd, reading, recipes, repurpose, Sewing, sewing novice, stress, upcycle, winter, winter solstice

Week 5 – Part One

This (as promised) is not about sewing OR cooking. I know. Amazing. (Although I have done both of those in the last week and totally recommend that if you want oh-so-yummy pancakes go *here* if you want to make something unexpected that your baby will devour go *here* and if you want to make a top you totally and utterly loathe into the cutest little dress and headband for your bub go, well,  there and there)

So. I might have mentioned in the last post, possibly even the one before that life hasn’t exactly been simple for me of late. Imagine a sundae if you will- the ice cream is the general state of being- I’m not well. (For those into labels I have PTSD, Genralised Anxiety Disorder, Post Natal anxiety, Specific phobias including illness, Agoraphobia & Borderline traits.) In addition to the mind stuff I have IBS, Chronic Fatigue and a rubbish immune system. So yeah. There’s that. The topping would be two teenagers with various mental illnesses of their own which lead to *school* being a huge issue instead of a normal everyday activity & living on a stupid income that I am enormously greatful for but think the government forgot to adjust at some point (like the 90s) (NB to avoid the wrong idea being given – when I say enormously greatful, I mean it. I am so lucky to be living in a country that is generous enough to support me when I cannot support myself. I am so lucky to have received this support when there are now so many in my situation who won’t. It just makes life a little more difficult living on such a fixed and comparatively low income)

So- still with me- ice cream sundae? Yup. Cool.

Add to the topping the crushed nuts of my parents (many issues there) & my ED coming back. On top of that pour the 100s and 1000s of day to day problems (eldest going interstate, bills we forgot, immunizations for bub etc.) and you get –  my life. In sundae form.

 Then you take the spoon and stir. A lot. To “make it soft serve” Which is what I always used to do when I ate such things.

 What you end up with is a grubby looking pile of mess in a pretty glass with far too many melty bits and unexpected crunches.

(It does taste good though- should have maybe gone with a different metaphor…)

Anyway 

Life being like that leads to a stressed mum. Which leads to a stressed bub. Who is changing in a not good way- disturbed sleep, more crying & very wound up.

So back in time a month and a bit  when I found this pin : 

Which I will be ever greatful for. I know my bub isn’t this small but I read the post and thought that the ideas just might help & couldn’t hurt.

 Its written by Hannah, a child therapist from the UK , whose blog I really wish I known about before now. 

Thank you Hannah. You rock.

The suggestions included Candle Time, a Relaxation Corner, Outdoor Relaxation, Family Cuddle time and Baby Massage.

Candle Time

Now my first thought was baby + candle = Er- Nup. Yeah? 

Turns out it’s manageable.

What the blog suggested :

Light a candle and put on some relaxing music, then sit with your baby quietly and watch the flame together. “

What I did was light a tea light and put it in a glass. Last thing pre dinner/bath/bed bub & I looked at the candle for a while then I read her a story.  

At first it went something like:

“Look at the flame- isn’t it pretty- orange and blue”

“……”

“No you can’t hold it hon, it’s not safe. Isn’t it pretty though- let’s put it on the…”

“…..” 

“No, I can’t put it down on the bed- no don’t look in the top that’s hot- owch- you’ll hurt yourself…lets put it on the table”

LUNGE

“No hon- you CAN’T touch it…lets read Hairy Maclary now, ok?”

(I’m not even going to try to transcribe bub. Anyone who has met a just speaking child will know writing can never do them justice)

Then we discovered lanterns at winter solstice. That seemed to be a turning point. No more lunging. Still wanting to touch and hold and kiss candle but far more time spent watching the flame and then the lantern when the paper was wrapped back around the glass.

Since solstice we’ve had paper snowflake lanterns and the last two nights the ‘invisible cat’ lantern. Bub currently has an invisible cat living with us so I took the Diwali lantern idea (two posts back) and turned it into a cat we can only see at night.

Result:

 I don’t know if the candle itself has  helped her relax yet- but I’m not following the guidelines letter for letter- it’s certainly given bub several beautiful new experiences she wouldn’t otherwise have had and given her a pre-dinner settling ritual. 

There is definately more eating and less food flinging going on than before I started. Plus I love the one on one cosy candlelight book time. 

Relaxation Corner
The blog suggested

” Babies really benefit from a ‘relaxation corner’ in their room, ideally visited before naps to help calm them before sleep. The focal point of a relaxation corner is a light feature. Bubble tubes are ideal, but a simple lava lamp will also be effective. Focus on making your relaxation corner as multi-sensory as possible. Include anything that calms your baby such as a basket of story books, soft fabrics and a diffuser that will disperse the smell of organic essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile. “

Yep. I’ll get back to you on that one. I’ve looked at many pins about making a tipi tent thing and many about making a lava lamp. I have developed a desire to make a spinning lantern. I just haven’t had the impetus, the time or the money to do it. I did however FINALLY get bubs’ paddling pool up so she has a safe, soft, small dog free place of her own to play and wander and get mum to make snowflakes and lick the floor if she wants without me then totally freaking out. She loves it. 

I also found calming glitter bottles. 

They are part if this new (is it new? I’ve been out if the game 14 years) sensory toys idea. 

I love them. Very simple to make and can be very pretty. I also adore the idea of using them as a “time out” when bub gets bigger. Feeling grumpy? Go shake a bottle if water and glitter glue and once all the glitter has settled you can come back a calmer, distracted child. (I wonder if we’ll make it to 1.5 litres…) 

We’ve made three. Two tiny travel size and one 600ml. The 600ml has been most affective at calming bub during wakeful nights, the travel size were the most fun & interactive. Bub learnt a new word “shake” & used it freely. 

So no relaxation corner just yet. Soon though. Promise.

However because of pins that the idea led me to I’d have to say it has definately helped Bub calm & relax

Outdoor Relaxation 

The blog suggested

Give your baby some time in nature as frequently as you can. Go to the park, a field, woodlands or sit in the garden and let them crawl around.”



Last year we were living in the Dandenong Ranges. Walks became a regular morning activity with bub in a sling off we’d go. But we had no garden (Don’t ask)

Now we are in slightly-more-suburban East Geelong. I tried to keep up the walking and for a while it was Torquay beach twice a week and East Geelong cemetary on the days in between (really not as morbid as it sounds). That slowly stopped as first I got sick, then it got wintery.

We have a garden. Unfortunately the back garden is a bit of a mire or an ant hill (depending on the temperature) so that leaves the front which has a ‘fence” so low I could hurdle it. But we’ve had some nice feeling-like-everyone-is-watching picnics. 

On days when we don’t go outside there is a definite change. I don’t know if it comes from bub or me but just ten minutes of walking up and down the driveway, looking for the moon or visiting our potted plants seems to help.

The whole ‘touch anything’ thing. That is challenging. Really challenging. But when bub checks if the plants need water now I’m not rushing in with a Wet One.

Result

Yes. It makes a difference. It’s sometimes so hard though and at the moment it’s one of the last things I want to do. I miss the space in the Dandenongs. It felt easier there. It also felt like bub got more out of it. We need somewhere like that here. Also a taller fence. (Watching bub voluntarily hug our ‘seasons tree’ in the cemetary is something I’m not going to forget. Nor is the fact she’s befriended a grave statue. Beautiful bub)

…..leaving it there for now, I’ve rambled too much,  if I’m getting tired, you must be too- tomorrow part two….

anxiety, baby and toddler, bad week, Nightie, pintrest, ptsd, repurpose, Sewing, sewing novice, sock monkey, toys, upcycle, winter

 Fourth Week – hmmm

Wow. Okay. I’ve made it to my fourth week.

I’m quietly a little bit happy with myself.

So, life has been a bit, well un-brilliant since my last post. Very messy and torrid and stressful and tortured with past issues like my ED creeping back (in a totally nasty ‘it’s behind you’ kind of way). As well as this there’s been parent-y stuff going on and I mean, god, you’d think by thirty – mumph I’d be over parent issues but nup…still doing the same old routine .
Anyway- 

one thing I have learnt so far with this experiment is that I quite like sewing. 

Especially for bub. 

Although I miss the time with her.

I’m still very much a beginner so each project takes probably at least twice as long as it should and I make mistakes. 

Loads of them. 

That is why I wrote about not one but two pin activities this week. 

Because if anyone else out there is like me I want them to know the mistakes are ok. It works out….or maybe just don’t make the same ones I did.

 I’m going to call this ‘The Bedtime Set’ Because it feels like it needs some tenuous connection other than ‘I sewed them both’

My middlest child wanted a sock monkey for  years and we could never find one or when we did we couldnt afford one (at the time Frank was really the only brand in Australia making them) so when I  found about twenty pins for DIY sock monkeys I knew I had to make one (there are also so many other sock animals- after middlest saw the monkey I now owe him a sloth. Or a dachund. Or an elephant).

I went with this pin because it seemed easy and beginner friendly. It probably would have been if this beginner had actual fabric scissors and a pencil or chopstick for the turning-narrow-things-in-the-right-way bit. A bamboo skewer just doesn’t cut it. Nor do the kids old school scissors  (ba-doom-ch?).

So I marked, and sewed, and hacked and then realised I didn’t have to cut both layers of sock together- so that helped.

Then I spent twenty minutes trying to turn it’s arm in the right way. I gave up. Turned everything except that arm and the far too thin tail inside in and then just unpicked the disobliging limbs and sewed them up on the outside. Bub isn’t two yet. She doesn’t care.

Then I used the template from the tutorial to cut a monkey face and eyes from some left over tshirt fabric. Stuffed and sewed and stuffed and sewed as bub bedtime hurtled at me until we had a monkey. 

A bit Frankensteins monstery but definitely a monkey. 

Handstitched his mouth (thank you years of embroidery and especially my grade 6 teacher Mrs Scott).

Bub loves him and he hasn’t fallen apart yet. I’m impressed and he is wonky in a loveable and totally fits in with the rest of us way.

I’d wanted to make bub a flanelette nightie for weeks. It’s been freezing in Geelong (-2 last night) & a thin onesie just isn’t enough for my little blanket kicker off-er-er. 

 I finally asked eldest to pick up some flanelette and elastic from Lincraft,  and bub was happy playing in the clean washing mountain so I thought I’d give it a go.

 

This pinned tutorial is easy. Really. Just if you haven’t sewn clothes before- be careful.

Something went a bit awry and I cut out the pattern backwards I think…either way I had to cut the front and back pieces in half and sew them up the middle.

NB with sewing always look at the shape of things in photos instead of assuming a curve means neckline.

After that it came together well. There was an instruction about sewing elastic onto the sleeves that I couldn’t work out- so I just made a pocket and threaded some through.

One thing I am going to add is a couple of press studs above the hem in the middle so that bub doesn’t end up with that ‘nightie twisted around you, is trying to strangle you and has exposed 80% of your body’ thing. If they don’t work I might use press studs on a pair of leggings and the nightie…or I could make flannel pants…hmmm.

(Also, always double fold hems. I washed the nightie pre wear and I had to re hem it due to fraying. Lesson learned. )

Bub tried it on this morning and didn’t want to take it off. 

Yay.

Happy Mum.

Also it is huge so -longer life- Yay!

There. A cuddly toy and a nighty. Bedtime set.

The practice with these meant that I felt confident enough to take last winters pjs – two size 0 thick weight onesies by pumpkin patch and sew them into one bigger bub sized onesie- it’s actually kind of cute. Plus warm and comfy. Bonus- it was my idea. Not a Pin in sight. (If you wanted to pin it though that’d be kind of cool :))

 

Have a happy and warm week everyone.

P.S. I’ve got a couple of pin based long term projects coming along- one for next week that might be especially good for parents of little ones, one for bigger kids. Nothing to do with sewing. Or cooking. Well not much.

anxiety, baby and toddler, cheesecake, cooking, muffins, pintrest, ptsd, recipes, repurpose, Sewing, upcycle

Second Week

Almost perfectly on time 🙂

So.

 I decided (after a week in which I hunted EBay for tshirts to turn into dresses and nighties, got trapped in Spotlight looking for a reasonably priced pillowcase then spent a day cooking mini cheesecakes for Michael’s birthday, (see here), realising they take as long as big ones, freaking out, Making a mug brownie as a cake replacement (actually really good- not a mug cake fan- but this was yum),  then eating really good mini cheesecake the next day. ) That I need some rules around this.

Or I’ll just keep cooking and sewing with occasional garden forays. 

And this isn’t a cooking blog. 

Or a sewing blog. 

This week I’m going to let it slide though because I made bub these : (yup- sweggings)(Or maybe swants )(nup sweggings is better)

And she loves them. And I love them.

I learnt from prior experience and followed the tutorial.

 Then I managed to stitch my hem over where the elastic needed to get through. The empty tube-y bit. About 4 cm before the end of the hem.

By this point I was fed up with my machine and bub was grizzly so I part machine stitched & hand stitched (I’m a hand stitching deamon)  a yoga waistband onto them- idea from here :(baby yoga waistband pjs upcycle- making them next :))

She chooses to wear them as much as a 1 1/2 year old can, they are comfy & it makes me so happy to see her in them.

Most importantly they made it through the washing machine.

Yay!

So if you have a bub and old jumpers go for it (be sensible- no cable knit) but they are really so good for Melbourne-ian Geelong-ian winter.
 (On another note my sewing machine keeps getting really loud and buzzy and thread from bobbin clumps in the stitches- how do I stop it? Any ideas? Sort of grrrrrthunkythunkythunkybzzzzz)

On top of that bub tasted her first baked cheesecake (see above) and loved it, we has left over Philly and I’d promised bub a garden picnic with cake.

I’m a bit careful with bub and sugar but I found these :

(how do you make an image a link? must read how-to bit of site)

Apple: she loves 

Cheesecake: she really really loves

So we cooked these. Bub helped. She woke up this morning asking for “cooking”

They were really easy – used a couple of bowls but very simple, especially as I used tinned Apple  (brilliant for bub & pie & crumble & cheap).



 So happy& warm bub. I did my Pintrest activity. We had yummy muffins (Or parts of) as we crawled around and then stomped around in our new boots. And all was good.
UPDATE : I made this today: 

(See Week 1 “Easy DIY nightgown upcycle”) works so well if you follow the tutorial – now a t shirt that was my cousins then my eldest that bub had loved because of the sewn on colour bits is now hers -so yes- follow the directions 🙂 (Oh – yes- they’re armwarmers – she insisted💜😊)