Thursday, May 23, 2013

Baby is the New Black

The hottest new accessory this summer?


Don't pretend you don't want in on this trend.

Hands free!

Excuse my tired face.  I am tired.  There is a whole world of babywearing fanatics out there that I've only just discovered.  Obviously, not having a baby to wear before now.  We received a Baby Bjorn carrier as a shower gift and I was really excited at the prospect of being able to pop newborn baby Jane in to it and carry on about my business. (I'm also excited about J wearing Jane a la The Hangover- tee hee!) Unfortunately that is not what happened.  I've tried several times to get her in to the Baby Bjorn unsuccessfully.   She screams and yells and is not happy.  Since she can't hold her head up yet she has to go in facing me with her little legs frogged in front of her.  It truthfully doesn't look very comfortable.  I think she doesn't like it because of the large leg openings on the sides.  It feels to me like she could slip out of one of those leg holes if she squirmed around too much.  Not very secure.  Once she can hold her head up I know we'll get lots of use out of it.  Then she can face forward and stick her legs through those openings.   But for now it's a no go.  So my dream of packing my little bub in to the carrier and leisurely strolling around Target was shot down.  It's the little things that get a new mom excited.

Enter the ring sling.  I learned about the baby ring sling after seeing a beautiful silk version on Sew Fearless.  She linked to the instructions she used for making it by Jan Andrea of Sleeping Baby Productions.  Holy cow.  Everything you ever wanted to know about making a baby carrier and wearing your baby is covered and linked to through her website.  I was so impressed with how much thought obviously went in the construction of her slings.  

I used instructions for a reversible, unpadded ring sling using two fabrics of differing weights.  The fabric is pleated at the shoulder to fit in the rings and then fan out over your back.  I used an ivory handkerchief weight linen for the inside and a printed linen for the outside that was slightly heavier.  In hindsight I wish I had used only handkerchief weight linen.  My sling is a little heavy and as a result is kind of difficult to slide through the rings.   I'm hoping it will soften up with use.  Plus I don't really love the print I chose.  It's pretty earthy, if you know what I mean.  But then again, I am wearing my baby.  I did have to cut away the fabric underneath my pleats to take away some of the bulk.  I bought my rings from  Like Jodi said, DO NOT use any old ring you find at the craft store.  These rings are made and tested to support the weight of baby.

The first time I put Jane in it she wasn't too impressed.  But we've used it a few times now and she really seems to like it.  One thing that made a difference was making sure her bottom was down lower in the sling than her legs.  That definitely made a difference in her comfort level.  What I love most about my ring sling is that it's fully adjustable.  You pull on the tail to tighten up any spot in the sling that needs it.  I like that I can sit her up high- more on my chest.  Much easier on my back.  For reference, baby Jane is five weeks old and about ten pounds.   I have her in an upright "cuddle" hold.  She is sitting in the sling much like she would in the Baby Bjorn except she is totally supported by the fabric.  It's super snug.  Here's a photo without her in it so you can see how the fabric makes a pouch to hold baby.

I've worn her around the house for short periods of time.  Today she was kind of fussy until I put her in the sling and she promptly fell asleep.  But I do have to walk.  Can't sit down with her in it or she starts fussing.  Maybe I'll get that leisurely stroll around Target soon.... bwahahahaha!

So that's that.  I actually sewed something-- with a five week old baby.  Yay me! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sewing While In Labor

Yes.  Yes I did.  I must be crazy, I know.

The fruits of my labor!

 Where do I begin?  Be prepared for a random and rambling post.  I guess this is kind of a birth story, too.  Of the "lite" variety.  I'm not too keen on sharing all the gory details.  I wish I could say I sewed something really awesome while I was in labor, like a tailored coat or something.  But it was just these two pillows.  But hey, I sat behind a sewing machine didn't I?   I knew I had to finish them before baby Jane came or they never would get finished.

I started these two pillows the week I was overdue.  I was desperate for baby Jane to come so I figured if I took on a project it might make her arrive.  J painted our bedroom in the weeks before.  Here is a before picture from my earlier overwhelmed post.  We did get it done and in plenty of time, too.  Now before you check out the after picture, I want you to know that nothing goes together in our bedroom.  This is not a fancy "after" picture or anything.  This is just how our room really looks.  Why are master bedrooms always the last room in the house that gets decorated?  It always seems that way.  Everything is a mishmash of second hand finds and hand me downs.  I like posting room photos, though.  I'm always nosy about other peoples homes so I figure maybe someone is nosy about mine.  J made that headboard after we finished the room.

It's funny how once you put a fresh coat of paint on something everything else in the room looks old and tattered.  When we got the room back together I realized the sad, sad state of our bedding.  From use and from having two cats that like to sleep on the bed.  I wanted to get new bedding and I wanted something dark since everything else in the room is so bright now.  Navy seemed like a good color to me.  Or indigo.  And navy should hide cat hair better.  Yuck, I know.  I looked in a few stores and online but couldn't find exactly what I wanted.  So I made a plan to make a quilt.  Don't laugh.   I am going to make that quilt.  When exactly I'll do it is the issue.  But I will.  I'm going to do all the bedding.  These two pillows are the first piece. 

I decided I wanted to hand quilt a simple running stitch.  I sandwiched extra squishy batting between two pieces of cotton.  Then I stitched the humble old running stitch in lines an inch apart.  I used perle cotton in a gradient of blues.  I didn't take too much care to measure or keep my stitches even.  I kind of like the rustic, homemade look.  When I make the quilt for our bed I'm going to quilt some of the blocks this same way.  Not the whole thing, of course.

Anyway, now to the sewing in labor part.   I finished the quilted fronts of the pillows on Friday.  On Saturday, I woke up feeling weird.  I kind of had an inkling that something strange was a-brewing but I didn't say anything to anyone because I didn't want to jinx it.  I was scheduled to be induced the next night but I really wanted to start labor on my own.  I had no impending signs of labor ahead of time other than the weird feeling.  Not one single signal that baby Jane wanted to make an appearance.   I cleaned that morning.  That nesting instinct kicked in.  I scrubbed bathroom sinks and mopped, believe it or not.  And I felt an overwhelming urge to finish writing all my thank you notes.   Then, after lunch, the real deal contractions began.

Now I thought I had prepared myself for contractions.  I quizzed several friends and family members about their labor experiences ahead of time.  Contractions were described to me as a tightening sensation in your belly, extreme pressure and the worst cramps of you life.  I was ready for that.  I thought I'd be able to handle quite a bit of that without needing medication.  I even had high hopes that I'd be able to give birth without any drugs at all.  Not that I was committed to that, but you know.  I considered myself to be pretty tough.  However *ahem* that was not the case.  I never had any contractions like they were described to me.  In fact, I never felt anything in my belly.  Not at all during the whole process.  I felt it all in my back.  I had dreaded back labor.  All I will say about contractions in your back is not fun.  When my contractions started on Saturday, they started with a vengeance.   There wasn't any warming up.  They started off full speed.

When they first hit I started to panic a little.  Which of course is what you shouldn't do.  They hurt.  Bad.  I knew she was coming and I was banking on soon because of the intensity.  I looked around the house and saw my pretty quilted pillow tops looking at me longingly.  I knew that with our new incoming guest it would be a long time before they were finished.  I was feeling pretty down on myself for not being able to handle the pain like I thought I would.  So I decided to tough it out for a bit and sew.  I cut out the backs of the pillows and sewed and serged both together late Saturday afternoon in the midst of my body preparing for imminent birth.  I would sew a seam until I felt a wave of electric twisting and tightening coming on.  Then I would pause, keeping my hands in place on the fabric and resting my head on the sewing machine until it passed.  I realized at the time how ridiculous I must have looked.  I said I was hardcore, didn't I?

The rest of the story is your standard hospital birth story.  I waited around Saturday night until I couldn't take it anymore and headed off to the hospital.  Once there I was told I wasn't far along enough.   They gave me the option of going home or starting my induction a day early.  I opted to go home which was incredibly disappointing at the time.  But I managed a few more hours at home until my water broke in the early morning hours on Sunday.  We were back at the hospital early Sunday morning and baby Jane entered this world screaming and squawking Sunday evening.   And no, it was not a drug free birth.  I gave up on that idea very quickly.  My initial reactions (besides love at first sight) when I first laid eyes on Jane were; wow, she is big and there is no way I'm ever doing that again.

She was worth it all.  Every bit of it. 
 And I'm quite pleased with the pillows, too.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Just a quick post to say that baby Jane is home and well!  She has been home for the past week and is happy, healthy and thriving.  Although she sure doesn't sleep much at night.  Sleeps like an angel during the day.  

 I am so thrilled to have her home.   I sit around and stare at her to my heart's content, marveling at every little finger and funny face she makes.  Babies are pretty magical.

 Besides the gratuitous baby photos, I'm writing this post to say thank you for all the nice comments on my last post.  I'll be honest, when I wrote that post I really was fishing for some support.  And boy did you guys help me out.  I needed to hear some encouraging words.  Thanks so much for the comments and the awesome, awesome emails you sent.  They really meant a lot.  Who knew that this little sewing blog would turn in to such a big, bright part of my life?  You guys rock. 

I promise I won't overload the blog with baby photos, but definitely a few here and there.  I  have some sewing projects to write about believe it or not.  I sewed while in labor- yeah, I'm hardcore like that.  When life settles in to it's new "normal" I'll be back.

 And on that note,  I'm off to admire some little ears and toes...