25.11.14

PUL Sewing: Wetbags and Peepads DIY

Back when Mouse was small, Littlest was nonexistant, and I had all sorts of crazy ideas, like, I thought I would cloth diaper.  Never did I, but I did sew a couple diapers that I did let Mouse wear them as long as she promised she wouldn't poop.  (She was a liar), and I bought all kinds of PUL fabric to sew 8 million more.  A JoAnns near me going out of business was a catalyst of sorts, because everything was 90% off.   In addition to diapers, cloth diapering saintly moms also use wetbags, to store these wet diapers, which unlike their 20 cent Pampers counterpart, must be taken home with you, to wash.  Because they're expensive.  And adorable.  But mostly expensive.

Since I never really got into cloth diapering, it was never really an issue.  But, when I was potty training Mouse, (mostly by denying her pampers) her teacher would hand me, at the end of the day, her 'accident clothes',  And for MONTHS, I was like, man, I should really make a wetbag.  Because sometimes the Safeway bag I had them in would mascarade as a Safeway bag holding something else, and then you forget about it, and open it a few weeks later, and WHOA.

 How cool would it be to have a bag, or two, that would scream WASH MY INSIDES as soon as you see it in a crowded vehicle?  It would also be handy to store wet bathing suits for the trip home from beach/pool..gym?   That, and I do have Littlest coming up to potty train.. any second.  More accident clothes.  So, while she napped today, I did this:


 I would have preferred a long and narrow design, but I worked with the precut pieces I had (22X24) and the matching 18" zipper I found.  So my end result was 11" x 18".  The zipper is really what determines width, unless you're willing to stitch over it and cut it.    I boxed the corners, so it would stand on its own, just in case I need it to, while I toss swimsuits in it from across the room?


And I used french seams, though I wonder if it's worth the trouble.  PUL doesn't seem to ravel, ever.  I prefer this design over others, because there is not weird zipper bulge on top, it gets sewn on, and then sewn into the side seams, seamlessly.  You can also fold a flap down and stitch to cover the zipper, but I had no vertical inches to spare.


The good news is, I have a ton more PUL for this kind of thing.  Bad news is, I can only make use of so many wetbags.  Pinterest once spoke to me about reusable snack bags though?..



While I was busy using up PUL, I made another pee pad.  I had made one earlier, in critical potty training stages, and it was great.  It's just PUL and two layers of flannel.  It makes it heavy enough that it doesn't shift around, and absorbent enough to keep her bed dry.  It's wide enough to tuck around her mattress securely.  Recently, her Godmother has kindly provided us with a truckload of disposable ones, so this was really just a matter of finishing a project..


...because I had finally found a use for all that Tinkerbell flannel.  Back when we'd still have frequent accidents, we would take it out from underneath her, and because I never got around to making another one, we'd replace it with just a piece of PUL and a piece of free floating flannel.  Sorry, Mouse.  Mommy has too many hobbies.


But there's still Littlest.  And Tinkerbell is adorable.


It can also be a giant changing pad, or even an outdoor blanket for baby.  Just stitch three layers right sides together, leave a hole, turn, and topstitch all around.

21.11.14

Pinterest will be the death of me. (Doll Quilt #2, with Pouch)

Sometimes it works in everyone's favor, like the time I came across One Pot Mexican Quinoa, but usually it's pretty self serving, knitting patterns, quilt patterns that end up costing real, actual money, and time.  Time that Mr Snork has to volunteer to occupy the anklebiters so they don't unwind my bobbins while simultaneously trying to puncture everything in site with a stolen seam ripper.  (They stole it from me, it didn't start out as stolen).

The other day, right after dropping off a baby quilt to my longarm lady, I came across this:


Literally, just after I sent the other quilt on its way, and it was a good time to wash some dishes and address that shady lower drawer in my fridge.  But, alas.  Pinterest never leads to dish washing.  And rarely to the lower fridge drawers, since it is not where I keep quinoa and enchilada sauce.  It leads to this:  



And this:



And ultimately, the best part, this:



And it would be awesome if I was pulled together enough to make this in a couple hours, like Pinterest said I would.  But Pinterest didn't know that instead of using any cute fabric, I'd HAVE to piece a mini quilt out of scraps from the recent baby quilt.  (It's kind of adorable to have a doll blanket matching baby cousin's blanket?)  Then I'd HAVE to try some sort of a new pattern (disappearing four patch, which, FYI, doesn't work if you use all the colors ever created.  If you can't commit to a solid color to pull it all together, you may as well just four patch and skip the disappearing act).  Then practice mitered border corners.  (that was actually cute).   

And the fact that my Singer 301 wouldn't have anything to do with minky fabric until I read all the forums and went to JoAnn's to get some ballpoint needles.  Picky, picky.  I don't know how a 60 year old machine knows what needle is jabbing fabric down there, but apparently it does, and if it's not the right one, it gets super offended.  

It was kind of worth it though, because historically the doll quilt and baby quilt I have made for the girls don't get used, ever.  Mouse says it's not a "real blanket".  Apparently, the REAL, made in China, preferred blankets of this household all have some sort of a fleece side.  And now that I know this, and  incorporated that in, it is Eva the Monkey's new favorite. It's been a long time since something I've made got picked over it's Chinese counterpart, I'm pretty excited.  



20.9.14

First Quilt EVER

A friend asked me, or did I actually offer..?  I can't remember anymore, but when she was pregnant, it was decided I'll make her new baby a quilt, because she couldn't find one to match her green and purple nursery.  That was last year, and the baby is almost crawling, or is..  So, it was a good time to finally get that quilt done.

On a recent Colorado trip, when I signed up for a two hour fishing trip, Mr Snork remarked that I don't like fishing, I just like catching fish.  In the same way that I might not actually like quilting.  I like quilts, and the idea of making them, and definately shopping for fabric.   I liked shopping so much that I ended up with enough green and purple fabric to outfit a daycare nursery.   The cutting is so atrocious I recruit Mr Snork and his OCD tendencies to cut the same thing over and over and over and over..  again.  Him and his angelic patience were obviously built for quilting.  The piecing is only fun until I've made the block.  One I see what it's like, I'm kind of over it, and making 20, 30 more doesn't seem that fun.  Well, may be two blocks.

I've made a partial quilt top before, and some blocks for a different quilt, but it was only this time I discovered assembly line sewing.  This quilt top came together in two days, cut to finish.



I bought all kinds of books about machine quilting, but in the end I chickened out and took it to a professional to have it quilted.  I was pretty sure I'd have to rip out millions of stitches, and it was a gift quilt.. and a year late.   It came out adorable, and I am now super happy with that choice.  Just from sewing on the binding, it seems hard to move that quilt around on my small table, and quilting it seems out of my skill realm.  May be if I get super bored one day?  Luckily I found a longarm quilting lady near by, as well as a quilting guy whose specialty seems to be upholstery, but he also quilts on his industrial machines.  He charges next to nothing, and I'm a little sad that his shop is empty every time I go in.  Am I his only customer?  He needs to stay in business for the next at LEAST 10 quilt ideas I have.



And then after all was said and done, I washed the new quilt and it shrunk.  3.5" all around.  Which was almost catastrophic.  Except I made it extra big, 42x49, so now that the baby is crawling anyway, she can use it in the crib, etc.  So I almost cried, but then didn't.  Whew.

Mouse and Littlest are super excited to participate in gift giving.  

Now, since I have allll that fabric, shall I make a matching gift bag??


28.10.13

Pumpkin Fairy Jackie Lantern in Butterick 4434

Last year, I used McCalls 6238 for the Alice in Wonderland dress, it was a great little template dress, and when I went to look for it this year (because I cut out size S, and now need a L) it has gone out of print, and no JoAnns in SoCal had it.  I even checked the Palmdale desert JoAnn's.  That's commitment.



So, while I ordered it online to keep for a future project, I had to find a new little dress.  I wanted simple lines, raised waist, and lined.  There were a couple options, and I settled on Butterick 4434, even though I think their envelopes are kind of plain, I have very little of them in my stash, and tend to pick them last.  I'm shallow like that.


Enter the Pottery Barn Kids Pumpkin Fairy dress that I saw at the mall, and WANTED,  and found the $80 price a little hard to swallow:

It did go down to $69 on clearance.  But, it turned out that tulle is the cheapest fabric EVER, so I took my $80 to JoAnn's and spent $17 of it on supplies for this dress.  The end.


It ran large, according to the measurements, Mouse is a size 2.  But a size 1 fit her with few inches in the waist to spare.  I had read that on PatternReview, but tested it with a muslin, just in case:

Size 1

 The hardest thing about making a muslin is trying to get a child into it.  She's OK trying on 'pretty dresses' but it took a couple cookies to try this on, thankfully it calls for something like a 35" zipper.  Easy kid insertage guaranteed.

 I had a hard time sewing the placket in the McCalls dress, and it had come out less than perfect.  But, an invisible zipper on this dress worked like magic.  I think the pattern calls for a traditional zipper, but, invisible is just as easy.  I find each time I sew it, it keeps getting more and more invisible.  Skills, yo.


 Felt applique? Check.  Beads and Swarovsky crystal?  Check.  Hand stitching detail?  Check.  This dress has all of the hobbies I want to dabble in but don't have the time.  And, it was fun searching Pinterest for felt flower ideas.  Did you know that if you tri fold three circles and put them side be side they make a flower?

Like this 


 
I bought 4 yards of orange tulle and 2 yards of sparkle yellow tulle and the dress has 5 layers of tulle gathered on top of the skirt and treated as one piece with skirt.  There's a green tulle sash, behind the applique, but it's hard to see in the photo.  I used some silky poly for the body of the dress, and had to interface the top, or the middle seam would bulge through it, with all of its million layers of gathered tulle..
Mouse is pretty fond of her dress.  
When she's not wearing it, she carries it around and pets her 'pumpkin dress'

The dress was super easy to make, few hours including cutting time and tiny babies underfoot.  Although Mr Snork does an absolutely admirable job of keeping them out of my hair while I sew, which means keeping Mouse away from scissors and 'helping', two things she is completely obsessed with, both together and separately.

 Most of the time got spent hand sewing the applique, the felt eyes and mouth, and arranging them on tulle.  I think this is a great template dress, that could be embellished in various ways for a flower girl, a costume, etc.  I'm thinking about stitching on a spirl-y tendril..  Can you do too much to a pumpkin dress?  I don't think so.  

 The semi circle skirt is twirly and girly, and the zipper is hidden behind the lining in the back of the dress.  I used french seams on the skirt, and that with lining and invisible zipper makes it look like a RTW garment, which I like.  If you went ahead and lined the skirt, and used this tutorial for no-hand-sew lined bodice you could have a complete machine sewn dress.   
 Trick or Treat!!

As an added bonus, all the leftover tulle went into a 20 minute matching tutu for Littlest.  I have some red dupioni laying around, and I might use this to make Mouse a Christmas dress.  I have 8 million patterns, but when I find one I like, I just use that one over and over until I run out of size range.  Ha. 



5.9.13

San Onofre State Park Campground. Sardine Camping for the Seasoned Flea Market Vendors.



I imagine that's what it would feel like, sitting in your tent right in the parking lot, staring at the road and hundreds of other tents.

It's amazing to me that this place is booked often and hard to get into.  I was *lucky* enough to call when there was a cancellation, and booked spot #114.  Previously, Mr Snork had booked spot #94, but after paying we discovered it was a handicapped acc. spot, and you need to have a placard to check in. When I called to change the reservation, I was SO excited they had another spot that I took it, and considered myself lucky.  All the rest were booked.  Because, clearly, it's an awesome, super popular place.

Then I read some Yelp reviews.  (2.5 stars, I believe)   And then giraffy chanced upon some google images, and we started to have doubts that two tents could fit.  She has an 8-10 person, I think.  I have a 6 person with vestibule, so the footprint of an 8-10 person.   My other camping friend has a backpacking 2 person tent, so, presumably, she and her husband can camp in a tree if needed.  No concerns there.

The google image that tipped us off.  
It's a pricey site, at $35 a night, plus $15 second vehicle fee per night.  Plus, $8 reservation fee.  So, $108 for two nights.  But that's a small price to pay for two glorious nights by the ocean, and campfire.  I can't really hope for stars in our area, but I'll take what I can get.

Unless, I get this:

That's a drop off behind that picnic table.  

This is spot #114.  For comparison, this is my tent:



But let's rewind.  Spot #114 is actually one of the better spots.  Spot #113 next to it is the campground winner, with it's own little island of dirt and bushes.  And a faraway ocean view.  It could be bearable.

#113.  They have a spot for a tent that is not within 2 feet of the firepit.  Win.


#114 is definately jealous of #113.  And can use their firepit. 


But let's talk about spot #94, the original reservation.

WTF #94
That is a wall of dirt behind it.

A dirt wall that you can't climb.
And climb it you'd have to, to see any ocean.  Which is far, far down below.

The bench is a nice touch.  

 I guess the description does say you're in the bluffs.  But I feel the description should, somewhere in there say - "waaaaay closer to I5, and railroad (practically on top of) than the ocean.

I5 + railroad view from site.
 You would for sure not hear the waves.  But you do hear the I5.  And, I imagine passing trains.  The google images we had seen made it look bad, but you must realize that is actually much worse in person.


The depth perception is off in this photo.   It looks much larger than it is.  I'm standing maaaaay be five feet from the picnic table, and I'm touching the Dirt Wall Bushes.

I consider myself a pretty flexible camper.  I don't need bathrooms.  I don't need showers.  (They have flushable portapottys and cold outdoor showers).  I'm pretty excited when there's just a water spigot in the vicinity and a view of some sort.  And, I guess, a place for the tent.

So, back to spot #114.  Which, to be fair, has ocean view.  And instead of a wall it has a drop off, which I guess is a little better.  Unless you have a 2 year old to keep track of.  Which I do.   There's also one of may be 3 trees, in the whole campstrip, hanging right over the table.  Good for shade.



That picnic table there is chained into the ground, with about 6" of slack.  And is placed in the most inconvenient spot.   I *think* I could fit my tent sideways, in front of the picnic table.  Right in between the two fire pits. and in front of my car, possibly touching the picnic table and car.  There would be no room for a second tent of any size.  Or any room for Mouse to roam.  It was hard enough to keep her away from the fire pit at O'Neill park, with its vast space, trees, twigs, and pebbles (and passing horses)  to play with.  I'm pretty sure keeping her away from the firepit with only the immediate 5 feet of dirt around it available for play would be a weekend's job on its own.

I think what I'm really getting at is that you can't go there with children.  Once you pitch a tent, small as it may be, the play area is SEVERELY limited.  You're between a wall (if you're lucky) or a drop off, and the road.  With firepits everywhere.  And picnic tables.

 It makes me sad that the state is so greedy, they stuffed all these "camp" spots in this place.  Had they reduced the number of camp spots, it would still not be ideal, but at least, you could spread out laterally, pitch a tent not on top of the firepit, and have some space.  But California is greedy and has money management issues, so, they would rather stuff you like sardines into a dirt patch, and disclose very little about it online.  I notice other, actually nice places have things like thumbnail photos of each campsite.  San Onofre doesn't, because nobody would show up.  Instead, they have a very vague and inaccurate map, and advise you that "depending on size, 1-3 tents fit per site".  No site there fits 3 tents of any size.  They are liars.

I read in some reviews that spots 1-10 were the best.

You're on a bluff.  For real. 

I liked them.  The view is nice (note lack of dirt wall), you don't have drive far into the flea market - like jungle, but you do need a 2 person tent to pull it off.  And, as anywhere else on this campground, you have to cross fingers that yours or neighbors' fire pit sparks don't ruin your tent.

Some other considerations:  smoke -  you know how you end up shifting around campfire depending on where smoke is blowing?  Well, here you can't.  There's probably a tent, a picnic table, or a vehicle next to you.

The beach - is a hike.  It's pretty, and I bet it's great when you get down there.  Lots of rocks I hear.  Very little sand.

Noise - It's like camping with 90 people at once.  I can't even imagine.  The reviews agree.

Group camping sites were lovely.  With space, ocean view, and shade.  $225 a night as of Sept 2013.

Conclusion:  I think a couple spot in the place (1-10, 66, 113) could be nice.  For a couple, a small tent, a little getaway by the beach with ocean view.  Especially if you plan on going down to the beach for most of the day.  (Will people steal your stuff while you're gone?  Probably.)

 Most of the other spots are like a camping version of prison.  Some actually back up to chain link fence.  Which isn't a huge deal, but when your camp spot is 7 feet wide.. it takes away from the scenery.  Also, the park is a liar.  Their map is crap, and I feel they intentionally mislead people.  I hope that more photos of this depressing little dirt patch crop up on the internet, so that people know to plan elsewhere.

UPDATE:  Reserve America will apparently refund your cancellation fee, and your reservation fee if it turns out that you can not physically fit your tent in the spot.  Good.to.know.






4.9.13

Born to Run. The Disneyland Half Marathon.


It's been so long since I've blogged, (I've had time to grow a whole o t h e r human.  Not Mouse, a second one.) that I don't remember if I've mocked Mr Snork's reading and implementing tips from a book called Born to Run.  I don't even remember what the book was about, possibly a barefoot runner and a remote tribe of barefoot running people in Mexico - I can't say, but one thing that's come out of him reading that book is the title is forever stuck in my head.  As in, Mr Snork is most definately NOT born to run.  He's tried it barefoot, and with trail shoes, and with supportive shoes, ..  and no matter how he tries, stuff always happens, blisters, cramps, mysterious pains, sprains, etc.  Sometimes, he needs only to jog a block before one or several ailments nail him.  NOT born to run.  Not at all.

But, it's turned out that quite possibly, I WAS born to run.  I think if I was less lazy and less into Scrabble in high school, and joined a track team, I'd be really good at it.  As it is, I'm nothing special, except that, I can do it.  Barefoot.  In socks.  In Zems.  In New Balance Minimus, in Sketchers GoRun (favorite).  Once I got going, at the tender young age of 28?  27?  I've had very few issues with it.

Most recently, I took a year and a half off.  I think.  Littlest is 7 months.  So, 7 months of her being here, and last 6 months of the pregnancy I have done zero things related to fitness.  Eeeevery once in a while I would make an effort, but once you get out of shape, man..  it's just not there anymore.  And once you grow out of your fitness clothes you have nothing to wear to the gym.  Or outside.  And you can't go to the gym naked.

So, I embraced eating every kind of thing, and lounging.  And maternity clothing.  I love maternity clothing.  Pants that look like slacks but are actually elastic waisted?  Stop it.  Why wear anything else, ever.

And then, recently, I've been sort of trying to get back in shape.  ONLY because while I adore my maternity clothes, it's a limited repertoire.  And I have this whole giant closet of the "other' clothes.  And the Lululemon skirts.  I am pretty sure I can't afford to replace them all two sizes bigger.  And, if I decided to have another baby, I feel like stacking a pregnancy on top of a really out of shape body might inspire me to just quit ever trying.   Embrace my 5 month belly, and invest in eternal wardrobe of empire waisted things.

So, I've been attempting to run.  And it's sucked every time.  The second wind is not there, and the cardio isn't, and I'm bigger, so my knees complain, blah, blah.  Also, STILL lazy, and very inconsistent and it's hard to build cardio when you go once every 2 months.

 A little bit ago, Littlest turned 6 months, and I signed her up for the 24HourFitness KidsClub.   Paying for two kids now, is almost as much as out membership, so I make it a point to go at least 5 times a month.  To at LEAST break even.  Because it would kill me if 24Hour got $ for free, and after all,  since I checked out for the past 13 months (Mr Snork followed suit), really they made a great year off us.  No more.

So I've gone 5 times, may be.   Ran 3 miles each time.  Last week, I ran 4 with OCRunClub.  And this Sunday I ran a half marathon.  That's 13.1 miles.  That's 10 more miles than I've run anytime since more than a year ago.  In something like 3:08.  My Garmin says the actual 'moving' time was 2:49.  Initially, I was hoping to be able to speed walk it just in time to avoid getting swept off the course.

AND.  Not only did I do it, I only spent one day afterward feeling like my legs might actually fall off.   I put those thing on ice, and crossed my fingers.   Second day was just faintly sore.   Third day (today) I feel just fine.  And, a little bit great, because I'm so proud of myself.

 It was really hard, and I was going to walk the 'rest of it'  on and off from mile 6 on.  I walked all of mile 12.  And all, ALL aid stations.  Which, bless Disney, there were quite a bit off.  Just when you start to lose hope and faith in your feet, shoes, weather, and decisions in life, an aid station would crop up, with all the super nice people cheering and handing you water (or doughnuts), and all would be OK again.

At first, I thought I'd puke for sure.  But then, it was the best thing.  EVER.

The 'magic in every mile helps'.  Vintage cars, hip hop dancers, cheerleading squads, etc, perk you up.

Princesses along the way?  Check

Motivational posters?  Check.

Monkeys with cymbals?  Check.
  If you were to run a half marathon with no training whatsoever, the Disney one is definately the one.  I got to dress up like Piglet.  Because it was the Disneyland half marathon, and Piglets are welcome, and my friends were already Pooh, Eyore, and Tigger.   I sewed a Piglet shirt the night before, so, I got to run, sew, burn 1300 calories,  get an awesome medal,  and at LEAST (I lost count running through stadium full of kids) 30 "Go Piglet!"s.

13 months of lazy = lots of JoAnn's trips.  A bolt of sparkly Piglet fabric in the closet?  Check.

 Piglet tried hard to bail a few times on the whole running thing, but every time, the rest of the group would slow down, wait up, and I'd feel like I could run again.  Sometimes they'd trick me.  Like, "hey, after that light pole, you could totally run".  And it seemed like I totally could.  Weird.  Group running is key.  A lone Piglet would have veered off course around mile 5, found a nearest InnOut, and would have called her husband to come get her.

Piglet has no resolve on her own..

And now, I'm excited about running again.  Because it turns out, I still can.  I might slowly let go off the cookie dough addiction.  I registered for the Holiday Half.  (Snowflake medal!).  I got some Lululemon running pants.   (to hide the cookie dough thigh situation that's a thing right now...) and I'm looking up fancy running medal racks.   Because running is just not fun when you do it the cheap way.  :(

Must.have.

 I'm getting Mr Snork back into it with me.  He's amazing as pit crew (shielding me from children while I sew, getting all my stuff charged and ready, and showing up at the finish line with a McGriddle), but I love it when we run together.  Mostly, to talk sht, about how, he definately, was not born to run.  But, possibly, and in light of recent events, very likely - I was.  HA!

Best McGriddle ever had by a human being anywhere, ever.