Monday, March 28, 2011

Some thoughts about growing up

Let’s just be honest, shall we? Being married and having a family is not a glamorous thing. I’m sure even the people who make it look glamorous (read: celebs) would agree with this statement. Whether you’re down in the trenches with your wee ones and overworked husband or asking your Nanny how the wee ones are and skype-ing your husband while he’s off shooting a movie in Nepal (because I’m sure internet access is good enough in Nepal to skype), you have probably had the thought that this life is not what you thought it would be.

But you know what? I, for one, am so happy that this life ISN’T what I expected.

Thinking back to the days when I only had to answer to myself, my fantasies of getting married and having a family were a weird mixture of romantic comedies (good ones), Jane Austen novels, and a Young Women’s lesson or two. I was going to be so attractive and witty and graceful all the time. My family was going to be righteous but not so righteous we were boring and we were always going to be so put-together. My marriage? Oh man. It was going to be passionate and touchy-feely and ROMANTIC ALL THE TIME and my man and I were going to be so patient with one another and we would NEVER FIGHT. EVER. Oh, and there would be gazing. LOTS of gazing. Being a mom was going to be easy breezy and my children would always look like models.

Yeah. I got a quick peck on the cheek from my husband on his way out the door and then I scraped poo off the inside of Ava’s blanket sleeper this morning.

I spent the rest of the day cleaning up the gross surfaces around my house that I can blame entirely on HER.

My fantasy failed to account for the fact that I would be adding people to my life who can make their own decisions and who have different priorities than me. Ava doesn’t care that I just scrubbed the stainless steel on the refrigerator clean, she wants to play with her magnets regardless of her grubby fingers. She doesn’t care that I just swept and mopped the floor, she’s done with her food and wants it off her tray….and on the floor. And Danny doesn’t care that the sheets and comforter aren’t perfectly aligned when he lays down for bed, he just put in a 14 hour work day and wants to sleep.

My fantasy also failed to account for life being a torrent of emotions, those emotions not always being fun or romantic or exciting. I feel at least 15 different emotions in a day…..something you can’t write into a movie or a novel. And with the fun comes the inevitable tragic end of fun usually accompanied by a head-bonk or bedtime; with the romantic has to come the mundane; with the exciting there has to be the draining and tired. If life was always exciting it would never be exciting.

Fantasies are just that: not real. They’re your life warped into what you think would be the nicest. But I’ve learned. I've learned not to let myself fantasize about how I want others to act or what I want them to do or who I want them to be. Those fantasies are the kind that penetrate and change my expectations of those I love the most.

So now? Now, I hope and dream and pray.

Annnnnnnd occasionally I fantasize. But only about spray paint projects and sewing machines, or attaining levels of education. Things I can control.

Sometimes I DO have it all together and my child is adorable and my husband is so thoughtful and romantic. But other times I’m a hot, makeupless mess, Ava is cranky and covered in dried milk and still has the cereal bar she decided to just squish and not eat between her fingers, and my husband is just tired and wants to eat food and watch the game and not talk about feelings.

And you know what?

I’m finally okay with that.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A ruffle skirt tutorial

I don't think I'm the only one who has a pile of old shirts waiting to go to Goodwill sitting in their basement. "Instead of sending them off for other people to buy, why not upcycle some of them into cute summer clothes for my wee one," said I to myself (well, not exactly like that. I don't think in complete sentences).
So I went digging for some treasure (pronounced tray-sure) and I came up with theeeeeeese.

For this project, I ended up using the white and green shirts. I have other plans for the orange one.

First, I laid the T-shirt out and cut the top off of it. I cut the actual pieces from the bottom of the T-shirt so I could just reuse the hem. Because I'm lazy and efficient. Heh.

I took Ava's waist measurement (17") and added an inch to it for seam allowance (18"). Then, I divided the 18" in half, for the front and the back pieces (9"). I made the skirt 10" long (remember, you'll lose about 2 inches to the waistband). I wanted the skirt to be slightly A-line so I added 1/2 an inch to either side on the bottom hem. I just made dots and connected them like so:

I then pinned the pieces together (right sides facing each other) and sewed up the sides. I decided to use 3/4" elastic for the waistband. I went ahead and folded the waist on the dress down an inch and ironed it. I sewed close to the edge all around the waist leaving about 1 1/2" open to put the elastic in.

I then cut a whole bunch of "C" shapes from the white and green shirts. The tighter the curve of the C, the rufflier the skirt comes out. I also found that I liked a wider width ruffle.

Then I pinned the inside of the Cs onto the skirt about an inch away from each other. Make sure you pin them all on the same side. Sew them down close to the edge of the fabric.

Cut off any excess ruffle at the top of bottom of the skirt (that's the beauty of jersey!). I then inserted the elastic (elastic measurement should be the waist measurement - 1") with a safety pin, zigzagged the ends together, and sewed the gap on the waistband shut. You're done!!

It's easy to make, hard to mess up, and super cute when it's done. Ava's summer wardrobe is definitely going to be a lot cheaper than her winter one.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A slightly handmade wedding

I love to make things. See, when I don't have an outlet for my creativity through music, I HAVE TO LET IT OUT SOOOOOMEWHERE. So? I make things. And I love making things for specific people because I get to think about how cool they are and how happy I am to know them as I go.

Danny's sister, April, got married last week (awww shmoops have been married for a WHOLE WEEK today). After the initial excitement settled in when she told us she was getting married, I realized that I had an awesome reason to make some super girly stuff. Heh. So. Here's what I made:

Some headbands for the Sadie and Makenna:

A fancy dress and jacket for Ava:

Some earrings (pour moi)(I also made a headband for me but I'm too lazy to go take a picture of it):

And a wedding present:

I thought that all this creating would satiate me. But it hasn't. Stay tuned for more cute things.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why staying with my Grandparents Gray was a fabulous decision

1. Today I made gluten free chocolate chip cookies with my Grandma while we discussed higher math. And by higher math I mean ounces and cups. Ha.

2. While said cookies were being made, Ava snuggled with her Great Grandpa.

3. My Grandma and I are tiiiiiiight.

4. My Grandpa gave me 3 kisses today.

5. Even though my Grandpa is recovering from back surgery he picked Ava up everytime she wanted him to.

6. My Grandma's steam shower.

7. The fact that I am writing this on a sweet computer sitting on a super short desk while I sit on a super short chair (my Grandma is 4'10"). I feel like an ogre.

8. Since my Grandma is so tiny, the stairs to the upstairs are like 1/4 the height of a regulation stair. Perfect for sliding down. Which Ava loves.

9. They have a built-in playhouse Ava's size upstairs.

10. When Ava is sleeping Grandpa makes a comment AT LEAST every 5 minutes about how cute she is.

11. My Grandma doesn't know how to work her scanner so I get to scan a whole bunch of pictures of my ancestors into her computer.

12. My Grandpa loves chocolate almost as much as I do.

13. Their stories.

14. They're just cool. Seriously.

15. Sleep Number bed. Boom.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

P.S. I'm using my resources

I get urges to write people little notes a lot. I like people to know that I'm thinking about them and that I love them. Annnnnd I like that they'll have something in their mailbox besides junkmail and bills. However, I don't act on these urges as much as I would like. I just never have cute cards (or ugly cards, for that matter) handy. So. I decided to make my own, with a couple stipulations: 1) they needed to be inexpensive, 2) they needed to be easy and quick to make, and 3) they needed to look nice.

So. I bought 20 blank cards and envelopes (regularly $6.99 from Hobby Lobby but I used a 40% coupon(always check online for a coupon before going to a craft store)). I gathered some random could-be-used-as-a-stencil/stamp type things from around the house and busted out some acrylic and spray paints from past projects. I ended up with 3 different kinds of cards and I think they turned out nicely.

We have a lot of boxes from moving that won't hold up for another move. So I cut off some cardboard and made some stamps - one that I rolled up to look like a flower and one I taped together to look like a leaf. I brushed on some acrylic paints and stamped away.

card #2
I have a pair of earrings that I love but don't wear anymore because one of them got bent. I clipped off the earring part.

And decided they would make a fun stencil for some spray paint. I love spray painting. Actually.

card #3
I had to cut off some of the mat that goes under our rug in the living room because it kept poking out and getting on my nerves. Thought it would make a cool design. I was right.

I think they turned out pretty nice. Inexpensive and quick. Gets the creative juices flowing.