Monday, April 28

a 'new' 'old' dress

I think Wren is as excited as I am about this sweet floral cotton hand-me-down from Luke's side of the family.  It's another one that at least two of her aunts (probably 3) wore a couple of decades ago.  It's certainly hand-made, and I'm guessing that it's another dress that Luke's grandmother made for the girls.

I absolutely adore the 3 tucks across the bodice and the gathers (though the tucks were hard to photograph with this active little model).  
I decided to make a few alterations to the dress once I had a chance to try it on Wren.  The original collar was one of those white deals with the lace embellishment.  What exactly are they called?  Peter Pan collars?  Double Yoke collars?  Regardless, I decided to remove that collar altogether and widen the neck hole a bit, then I simply sewed red binding around the raw edges.  I also decided to take the elastic out of the arm holes to give her more room to move about.  There was a lace trim along the hem of each sleeve, but I opted to remove that as well.  One look at the hem and you can tell that the length has been adjusted several times.  I actually decided to keep the hem short, so she can wear it like a shirt tunic instead of a dress.  But I left the extra fabric there so we have the option to lengthen it again should we choose.

It's probably a bit silly, how excited I get about stuff like this.  I've been very busy sewing lately, squirreling away some sweet baby items for the wee one (who will likely arrive within the next month!).  But I'm happy to be finding the time to work on little projects like this dress that I'd like to get to before the baby and the move.
A fox-sibling for Wren's new sibling!

And just for fun, a photo that Wren herself took of the daffodils that a vendor at a flea market gave to her yesterday.  She asked me if she could bring them home to "can them", so we found them a nice Ball jar.

Saturday, April 12

diaper business

Over the past few years I've had several moms ask me about cloth diapers. So after responding many a-time with the same basic information, I thought it might be beneficial to compile my thoughts and opinions more 'officially'.

We used cloth diapers with our daughter and really liked them. There are the obvious drawbacks or minor inconveniences, like having the forethought to make sure they're all cleaned at the appropriate times, and washing out poopy diapers in the toilet. But overall they've saved us SO much money and they are just plain CUTE!
I know a lot of people really like the all-in-one types (like fuzzibunz) because they are pretty simple and work just like disposable ones. They're also easier when babies start moving and crawling/walking because it's just one step to get them diapered. We chose not to use these because they're more expensive (though in the long run I'm sure they're still much cheaper than buying disposables for 2 and half years). We have 4 of this type that I actually bought off of Craigslist (maybe gross, but has worked for us), a different brand called smartipants. We like these all right, but they tend to leak a bit, so we only use them at home.
G-diapers are another popular brand that people like because they're simple, a bit more affordable and aren't as bulky (cloth diapers make babies' butts BIG but again, CUTE). You can buy these at Target which is nice because you can put them on your registry. We have 2 of these, and really they just leak too much for me to say much good about them. Other people really like them, but they're my least favorite in my stash.
Ultimately we like the prefold, trifold diapers that our moms probably used. We found a great small company (Green Mountain Diapers) that makes them and ships them. They're the most economical. We bought 3 different sizes of these, and she's was in the 2nd size for a year and a half. To cover them we bought about 15 one-size diaper covers from a brand called Kawaii. And we used a snappi to fasten them instead of diaper pins. Eventually, when she got to the point that she was only wearing diapers at bed time, we abandoned the snappi altogether. We just folded the tri-folds into a long rectangle, slid them into the cover and snapped her up.
Update: The Kawaii's have worked fine for us, but some of them have lost snaps over the last few years so I will have to replace them if we have another baby. In that case I'm totally buying a bunch from a Lancaster mom (called Zookaboos) who makes adorable covers that people really seem to like.
a gorgeous diaper cover made by Zookaboos!
A lot of our diapering stuff we actually found on Craigslist. Some of them were used (which I laundered facetiously) and others were simply diaper stashes that people intended to use but ultimately just ended up using disposables.
Oh, and we've used a special detergent for all our diapers that is gentler on her butt than regular detergent, and also doesn't leave any residue that would affect the absorbency.
Phewwwwwwwww....probably way more info than anyone actually wanted or needed, but there's that. I hope it helps!

Friday, April 11

{this moment}

{this moment} 
A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, April 3

spring soup

The warmer weather and increased hours of sunlight seem to be bringing out the inner culinary genius in Wren.  We've been enjoying lots of 'soup' this week.   

Welcome, Spring!

I do not know which to prefer, 
The beauty of inflections 
Or the beauty of innuendoes, 
The blackbird whistling 
Or just after.
-Wallace Stevens

Friday, March 28

{this moment}

{this moment} 
A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Friday, March 14

{this moment}

{this moment} 
A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama. A few photos - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Friday, March 7


I'm not sure exactly how to write this post, or if I should write this post.

Last week we got an unfathomable phone call from one of my brothers, telling us that our youngest nephew had died without any warning during a nap.

One of the very best parts of living where we do is that we are located exactly half way between my side of the family and Luke's side of the family.  Because of our proximity (and genuine affection for our relatives) we get to spend lots of time visiting them or having them over here.  And it turns out that Wren's closest friends and playmates are actually her cousins.  To the extent that she unknowingly interchanges the term "cousin" and "friend" and despite our well-meaning explanations, she really doesn't seem to grasp the difference.

Like I said, I'm not sure exactly how to write this post, or if I should write this post.  Should I describe our sweet nephew, that bundle of 6-month-old with chubby rolls and toothless smiles: his squeals and gurgles and raspberries?  Do I find a way to write the aching grief that pervades our days, and how we try to  come around our little sister, her husband, and their 3-year-old daughter?  Maybe I could tell everyone that the little tribe of cousins- from toddlers up to pre-teens- each notice the loss and mourn; that the youngest ones seem quite confused by the rooms full of adults with blotchy red faces and seemingly endless tears.  I could list all of the insightful, heartfelt questions they ask at the times you'd least expect it.  Or maybe I should just use this space to philosophize about my own perspective on life, death, human suffering and despair?
It's a strange, slow time for our family right now.  I'll not write any of those things, but instead close with a poem that perhaps does some justice to the very 'now' feelings of loss; feelings that are bound to evolve and change for us all. I know that in many ways peace that has come and that in other ways peace will continue to come to us all.  But for now, I want to be honest about the universal rawness one feels in the wake of loss and grief:

To Bhain Campbell 1911-1940 (by John Berryman)

I told a lie once in a verse. I said
I said I said I said "The heart will mend,
Body will break and mend, the foam replace
For even the unconsolable his taken friend."
This is a lie. I had not been here then.