Friday, February 26, 2010

My second first quilt

Hooray! I'm so excited that I finally finished Ivy's quilt. You might remember that it started as this.

And I just chopped and stitched and chopped and stitched. Even at the end I was still chopping a little. I don't think this is how a quilt is supposed to be made, but it worked. The whole thing is a little wonky, but we're pretty pleased with it anyway.

Here is the back.

I really love that blue binding with the flea market fancy. And the Flea Market Fancy is so very soft for snuggling. The flowers at the other end aren't as soft, though.

Don't let her fool you. She's not asleep. Three year olds. Sigh.

Someday I will find the pictures of my first first quilt, which was crib sized for my best friend's third baby and included applique and was completely hand quilted. Back before I knew a thing about what I was doing (very different from now...)  It was majorly traumatic, but very cute in the end.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

29 hour skirt

Ivy and I went to the Goodwill the other day. It is appalling to me how everything in there is so gosh darn expensive. T-Shirts? $3. Button down shirts? $5 or $7. Seven dollars? Maybe I am just the ultimate in cheap, but I refuse to pay that much for a used shirt. I always wonder at the things people in blogland get at Goodwill for cheap. Mine is never, ever like that. There is no $20 furniture - only $70 furniture, regardless of the materials or condition. So all we came home with yesterday was a black linen shirt on sale for half price. I have a design in my head for a dress I'd like to make for Ivy, but I thought I would use one of J's old work shirts to try it out before I cut up the linen. But this is what happened instead.

 Cute skirt, no? I haven't been able to get a really good picture of it, but it has two pockets on the front. As I was holding up the shirt to cut it into a dress, I noticed the pockets on it and thought "Oh, that would make a great shirt!" and started hacking away. I wanted to have it finished in 24 minutes (the length of an episode of Dora the Explorer) but got all carried away. In the end, it wasn't finished until the next day. First I made a ruffle bottom for it. Ugh. Nope.

So I ripped the ruffle off and hemmed it. Then I thought better of it and ripped the hem out and used red grosgrain ribbon as a binding inside. You can't see it, but I know it's there. To match the red buttons. We had a hard time deciding on buttons.

I'm pretty happy with it. It is about as cute as an olive green 60/40 polyester skirt can get on a three year old. And those pockets can hold a lot of marbles. I find it very endearing that Ivy loves everything and anything I make for her. And then she broadcasts it to the whole world "My mommy make dis!"

Excuse the horrendous flash pictures. How I wish for sun-filled rooms. Maybe someday. I'll leave you with a before and after. The poor girl. It was only about 33 degrees when I took this picture. She's such a good sport.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I won!

Oooh, I can't believe I won this fantabulous print from MADE and Deco Mod Walls. Just recently, my best friend D was telling me how she was going to give her son (E) and daughter (I) their own bedrooms. Which entails cleaning out the guest/storage room and *gasp* decorating, which she told me I could do because she is just not the decorating type. Her only requirement? A black 'road' stripe on the wall, and otherwise a vehicle theme. So this piece of loveliness will fit in perfectly.

E will adore it, and it will give me a color scheme to start with. Plus, I already have something special planned for I, and this gives me something special for E as well.

I had a very special something lined up for show and tell today, but my pictures are on my camera. And my camera is with my husband at work. Grrr.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Back to your regularly scheduled programming

I have learned a couple things in the hours I have been away from you. First and foremost is: I cannot be trusted with  a very large peanut butter cup Blizzard. Criminy. Second is: while I have been tearing myself apart over my need to be honest regarding the subtle differences between Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, the New York Times thinks I shouldn't bother. The American Psychiatric Association  is changing the DSM, and they're giving Asperger's Syndrome the boot. And you know? I'm secretly pleased. I had the hardest time coming to terms with the idea of Autism. Imagine someone telling you your three year old, your baby is autistic and will never be normal. Gah. Let's just leave it at that. It wasn't until I was sobbing on the phone one day with a very dear friend and she said "Welll... haven't you noticed that J is probably autistic, too?" O.M.G. It was like she punched me in the gut. I was standing out by the garden, and time just stood still. But the truth is: I love J with all my heart. I married him, he is the father of my children. He works a job he loves, he is incredibly brilliant, creative and clever. He is a wonderful father and a caring, listening, if not overly emotional mate. Is it so awful, then, that my child is like him? And that thought, my friends, has gotten me through many rough moments. But to get back on track here, I had to practice saying autism. Autism. autism. AuTiSm. AUTISM. And then "She's a little autistic." and "She's very high functioning." and "She's on the spectrum." And each time these words left my mouth, I felt like a liar. Like because my kid is high functioning, she really shouldn't get to be autistic. She doesn't deserve these services. I'm pretending she's autistic. I tell you, it took me a Looong time to get over it. About three years, in fact. Just in time for them to change the diagnosis. Just in time for me to start worrying about it all over again. "She has Asperger's so that's not really autistic." and "How can I make the big push for services when she's not really autistic." "Maybe she really doesn't deserve these services anymore." and my very favorite, which took up residence when she was not barely three years old, still not saying more than one word at a time, and starting speech therapy: "There are other kids who need these services more than my kid." That one I have never managed to give up. Because it is true. There are other kids who desperately need services. Maybe more than my kid, true. Maybe because I am a parent who gives my everything to make sure she has what she needs and other kids might not have those kinds of parents. But that doesn't make her less deserving. And her not having services won't make it better for other kids. But her having services will allow her to grow up to function well on her own, will help her get along with other people in the long term, and will reserve her place in a productive, happy, healthy future. So don't get me started on early intervention. Her SLP, PT, DT, and OTs all deserve a place in the early intervention hall of fame if you ask me. Because three years ago, she didn't speak more than a word at a time, she howled on the floor, scratched and bit, flapped vacantly around the classroom, where she spent a majority of her time in the time-out chair. Because they didn't know what to do with her. And three years later, she is a creative, enthusiastic, vivacious child who goes to kindergarten without an aide, works hard to be socially correct, is emotional  and caring, and is learning the fine art of empathy. Who could ask for more? Okay, well, maybe I could ask for a working camera, but still.

Did I say "regularly scheduled programming"? I can get really intense about early intervention and the classification of children. Sometimes I think I have come a long way - other times, not so much.

So. A couple days ago when I was just feeling mildly crappy, I whipped out this pair of pants. Blue wore these when she was 4. Then I put them in the scrap bin when she used them for cutting practice.

 There were several holes like this one. Her OT was very pleased with how her fine motor skills were coming along. These were just a pair of $3 pants from Target, so not a huge deal. Of course, they were one of the only pairs of pants she would actually wear, but that is another story. So I cut them up a bit more.

Ah, that's better. Now we can't pretend they can be worn again. My plan was leg warmers for Ivy, then I thought "No! I can still use the tops for shorts!" Go, mama, go.

 But when I ruffled the edges and put them on her, they were a little too revealing. So I lengthened them.

Oh dear. Not so good. So I ripped and tried again. I sewed the cuffs from the pants on. Not too bad, hey? The circumference wasn't an exact fit, so I just fudged it a little. Pinned on four sides and stretched between the pins as I went.

And here we have the legwarmers. What an awful picture. My apologies. Sometimes even a fancy camera doesn't help me. I did have to zigzag over a couple smaller holes, but these are just to keep her chubby little legs warm at gymnastics, so it doesn't really matter.

Now I'm hemming and hawing over what to do with this little guy. Another crapolicious picture that I am too lazy to go back and fix or retake. I'm SICK, people.

Blue just loved this shirt. I did, too. It's just a hand-me-down from Old Navy, but Blue has always loved rainbows. So it was one of our favorites until this happened. Can you see it in that big picture?

I can't be positive, but I am fairly certain it is a bite mark. All the elastic has been snapped in that spot like someone shoved their favorite shirt in their mouth and twisted and twisted. But - bygones. She wore this shirt when she was 4 (though nominally it is a 6/7). I think she would like it reincarnated as... any ideas? I've got a fun, stretchy stocking cap in my head. Kind of like the ones Mia wears to bed sometimes.

Why yes, our children are standing in the bathtub. Mia's stocking caps are actually made of her tights, and they are meant to keep her hair all pretty while she is sleeping, but I thought Blue might like one anyway. I'm not sure, though, and I need to go get another box of tissues since I have (ahem) blown through this one already. Maybe I'll get around to it in another year or two.

Woof, woof.

I am sick as a dog. Okay, I was sick as a dog yesterday - today I am just exhausted. I have been knocked down by the common cold, which is somewhat shocking.

This is, however, a good tome to blog. Not stressful, and I already have the pictures. I always wish I would blog more. I wish I was insightful and spunky and wildly creative. I wish I had the energy to make my blog look pretty, and to link to all the things I see that I love. But I don't. I can't. And that's okay, really. Because I know where all my energy goes. Well, not at this very moment, though I certainly know where my energy is going at this very moment.

Well, let me start off with something pretty, and then I will work my way into the deep thoughts that have been plaguing me.

Did I say pretty? I think I must have meant pretty grumpy. I'm sorry, but I adore this picture. She really does love this hat, but that picture!

I saw the Lyalya hoodie over on Ravelry, and though I adored it, I just couldn't bring myself to spend $10 on a pattern at the moment. Especially because it would mean using PayPal (and thus my credit card) and I am trying verrry hard to not use that thing. So what did I do? Do you see me beaming and gloating? I made it up! Yes I did. I can't tell you how good it feels, or how proud of myself I am. I didn't *actually* know who this hat was going to be for, mind you, as I was just winging it. I wanted it to be for Ivy, since she doesn't wear a scarf and her neck is always cold. But I honestly wouldn't have been upset if it had fit me. (Blush. yes, I am just an overgrown kid.) Besides... it does this!

I love that. Please excuse the poor presentation of our model today. Pajamas and rumpled hair are in style, though - aren't they?

And can you tell that I ran out of aqua yarn? It's Malabrigo bulky, and I bought it to make a hat for Blue last year. But I never did, because even though it matched her jacket, she wanted a pink hat. Which I promptly never made her. So later I used it to make a top-down bonnet for an adult friend who said she wished things like that came in grownup sizes. but it came out much too large, and then I never bothered to try again. Later, I ripped it out and knit a Journey Beret - inspired by Marie over at Permission to Unwind. Isn't that hat adorable on her? But, alas, I ran out of yarn. Incidentally, I did try again with different yarn, but my color choices made me look like a rastafarian, so I frogged it. Well then, when I knit this little number with it and ran out of yarn I wasn't about to frog it. Not only was I tired of the yarn, I really love aqua and red, so I used some leftover Malabrigo worsted held double to finish up. Then I picked out my cast on (tedious) and knit the neck down a little because I thought it was too short. Now, there's something this hat reminds me of. J said it makes her look like a cosmonaut, and I thought so too - but looking it up, I can't find a single picture of a cosmonaut wearing a teal and red hat. So I'm at a loss.

Anyway, I added the tassel and called it a day.

So now, writing this, I come to the issue of genuineness. Blogging and genuineness seem to be repellent substances to me. Partly because I am a very private person. Partly because I see so many pretty blogs out there, that I don't want mine to be shabby. And I don't mean shabby chic. Just plain shabby. I want to be honest, yet I want to keep the privacy of my family. My friends don't know I have a blog. Well, they know I have a family blog, but not this one. I'm not sure J has ever even seen this blog, though he knows of its existence.

But I want to make sure to be real, here,too. Real without being vulnerable. And that is the issue. If there were no bad people in this world, I could be as real as real could be. You could call me Pinocchio. When I went off to college 20 years ago - a very small school in the middle of nowhere - I remember having this same dilemma. Who to trust? Who to open up to? What information to give to whom? I tell ya, I made a lot of mistakes. But then, I made some good decisions, too. I did meet my husband there after all.

So I want to, in this vein, say a few things.

My name really is Cricket. This is what my parents called me from birth, and it has been legal for more than half my life. One of the considerations J and I had when naming our children was that we didn't want them to have nicknames. Many, many names were tossed out because it would have been too tempting for people to use shortened versions of them. But in an ironic twist, the names I call them by here are not their first names. They are, however, their middle names. But it feels like a falsehood each time I refer to them. That goes for my sweet niece as well, whose name is not Mia, but another lovely name. It all started on Ravelry, because I didn't want to post their pictures and names together. Then it continued here.

Another thing I want to mention is that Blue is no longer *ahem* autistic. As if that could be so. She has been downgraded (upgraded?) to Asperger's Syndrome. In time, they say, she may lose that diagnosis as well, which would be both a blessing and a curse. As is the bestowing of this new diagnosis. She will be losing services because of the change, and that makes things harder for our family. She has a 1:1 who works with her 16 hours per week right now. In April, this wonderful woman will be gone. I am hopeful, however, that we will manage to hold on to her pragmatic social skills group with her amazing speech-language pathologist. Because Blue just doesn't get it. She works hard to understand her peers, but it is like she lives on another plane altogether. Farther away than either Mars or Venus, sometimes. She still has major behavioral issues, which we are trying to improve without stimulants. She has been on anti-anxiety meds for a while now, and they seem to be helping - somewhat. But last week? She was incredibly embarrassed (which is a fantastic thing around here - embarrassment is a social skill!) when she brought my (gulp - take a deep breath) camera  to me. "Mommy, I had a fight with your camera. I wanted to see who was stronger." She has turned the camera on and held the lens in to see if she was stronger than the camera. She broke the camera. She is stronger than my camera. Thankfully, she did not play this game with my Nikon D40. If she had, it would be a very different story. It was the little refurbished Kodak. But still - I don't have $100 lying around to replace it. So you can see we still have a long way to go around here.

I don't know if that seemed like a lot of visceral blathering to you, but I feel a little better. And if I feel a little better - a little more honest, I hope I might blog a little more. When I started blogging, I was just writing for me. Now, I still write for me, but I know some of the people on the other end, and it feels deceptive to go on like this.

Now I know you won't mind as I fall back, exhausted, onto my pillow to zone out on Nexflix a while. Later, after a nap, I will try to come back and show you a couple other things I have been working on.

And out of curiosity - I know I am not the only one to have trouble hitting my blogging stride. Have you had difficulties? How did you overcome them? What is your privacy threshold? How did you fine tune your blog to be cohesive rather than rambling - assuming you have! :)

Later, friends.