Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Zebediah!

Today Zebediah, my little boy, turned three.

I gave birth to him three years ago today, at 11:50 PM.  He weight 7 pounds, 11 ounces.  His first act upon entering the world was to pee on all three of the nurses who were attending to him while I expelled the afterbirth and was stitched up.  I got to see him for all of thirty seconds that night - he had trouble transitioning and couldn't maintain his own body temperature.

I've never seen anything so beautiful in my life.

Things haven't been easy with him...

He was born with torticollis, which wasn't diagnosed right away.  Eventually, this led to Zeb having to wear a DOC Band to correct the flattened areas of his skull.

Wearing the DOC band has corrected his cranial flat spots for the most part.  I can still see it, but then I know what I'm looking for.  It also helped strengthen his shoulder and neck muscles, which helped to correct the torticollis.

Unfortunately, the torticollis and the DOC band weren't the end of my son's problems.  Last summer he was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder.  He was seeing therapists several times a week to work on his gross motor, fine motor, and speech skills.  That ended last week, since that program ends with a child's third birthday.

We are extremely fortunate that there is another stepping stone for Zebediah: the Early Childhood Classes offered through the Janesville Public School System.  Due to the severity of his developmental lag - Zeb performs on the level of a 22-month-old in most skill groups, except for his cognitive skills - Zebediah qualified for this program.  The goal is to develop his physical and social skills so that he can function on the same level as children who have developed age appropriate skills in time for his entry into traditional kindergarden.

He attended his first day of school yesterday.  I missed out on being able to take him to school - I had to work.  Daddy got a couple of pictures for me though.  I've met his teacher, a wonderful caring woman, and all of the therapists he'll be working with in the Early Childhood Classes.  I'm so excited and happy for him.  The structure and extended personal attention can only help him further.

Today was another school day, but it was also an awesome birthday.  A friend of the family met us at Toys 'R' Us, and bought Zebediah several new additions to his Thomas the Train collection.  Zebediah is train-crazy at the moment, and is obsessed with Thomas and Friends!  Afterwards, Zeb got to play in the tubes at the McDonald's Play Area.  
Now, he's passed out next to me, bundled up in a quilt of mine.  I can't believe it's been three years!  And, you know, despite the difficulties we've had, I wouldn't trade them for anything.  Zebediah is who is he is, and I think he's an amazing child.  He's so friendly, caring, curious, and happy.  


I look forward to every birthday that I am privileged enough to share with you.

Because I'm Impatient...

I've finished through Block 10, and have all four quadrants sewn together.  I got through Eureka Season 3.5, then ran out of viewing material for the moment.  I was streaming Eureka via Netflix, watching it over the top of my sewing machine.  Netflix doesn't have Season 4 on streaming, so now I've got to figure out what I want to watch next, cause I've got squares coming out my ears, and I'm ready to piece Block 11.

I'm getting there.  Slowly but surely, I'm getting there.  I'd really like to have this ready for next Stitch N' Bitch, but with so many work hours through the holidays, who knows?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sewing at Last!!

After working 51.5 hours this week, with my first day off in nearly two weeks going to be Thanksgiving, I finally broke my no-sew streak.


I always forget how much sewing clears my mind and makes me feel better. It's so cathartic and freeing. I really need to remember to schedule some time each day to just do this.

Anyway, what did I break my no-sew-streak with? The Christmas Cactus Quilt Along! But not in either of the color ways I had originally decided on...

I know.  Pretty boring so far, right?  Just the brown and white...  But throw in some pink and orange.

Oh, but then there's a light blue fabric with brown micro dots!

Two days, four copies of six blocks.  I'm taking the tact of piecing my HSTs as I need to.  That's because I just KNOW that I'll end up missing a bunch.  But I do have a bunch of 2" and 3" squares stuffed in a baggie that I can pull out and sew when I'm ready to.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Missing a Sewing Day

My mother-in-law isn't feeling so hot today, so I'll be missing Stitch'N'Bitch today.  :(

So sad, 'cause I was looking forward to getting my sew on!

I decided on two color ways for Sandi's Christmas Cactus and I was hoping to get started cutting at least one of those today.  I still have birthday blocks to make, and I'd love to get started on a couple of other things too.

Ah, well.  I guess this gives me time to get my sewing room back in order.  Hubby did some rearranging in the apartment, and one of my bookshelves now resides in the living room.  I might have gained a cutting table out of the ordeal, but we'll see if it works out.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bamboo Fun

I know.  This one is a weird title.

Back when I thought that I could manage to get my degree in Graphic Design, work full-time, maintain a household, and be a mother, I bought a Wacom Bamboo tablet.

It's been sitting in a box, gathering dust pretty much ever since its purchase, because I dropped out of my classes shortly after it arrived.  At the time, something had to give or my brain was going to break.  Considering the state of the economy, and the likelihood that I would have just been putting us several thousand dollars in debt for basically nothing (other than my pride, just for having been able to get that degree), I'm mostly okay with the fact that I elected to put my degree on hold.

I'd still love to go and complete out a Bachelor's in Graphic Design, particular since I really, really loved the structure of online classes and I'm very drawn to the field.  I'm very much a self-starter, and work great under deadlines, but I'm not especially desirous of the actual, physical classroom.

But I digress.  Back to the Bamboo Tablet.

I started off posting for National Blog Posting Month (thanks, Karrie!).  Then I realized that I just didn't have that sort of "oomph", particularly since most of my writing is done late at night, just like my sewing.  THEN, characters and a plot for an original, high-fantasy novel hatched in my brain and began demanding attention.  So I joined NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) again this year.  For those not familiar, NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write a novel (technically a novella) of at least 50,000 words.

Last year, I failed NaNoWriMo because I got involved in several other writing projects and just didn't have the plot or characters nailed down.  This year, I've got the plot and a good number of the main characters figured out.  The problem?  This world is twisty and turny and full of subterfuge and hidden motives and deep end-games that are only revealing themselves as I meet the characters.

This led to me realizing that I needed an intense note taking session with lots of diagrams like this:

and timelines, and outlines, and lots and lots of family trees.

I grabbed my trusty little notebook and a pen and wrote one characters name down.  Then I looked at the page and went, "F---, I have big handwriting."  I'd be using up the entire notebook just to chart out one character and their development!

Then, like that stereotypical light bulb moment, the forgotten tablet rose in my mind.  Eureka!

We found it, with a minimum of searching.  We even found the pen that matches the tablet, and an appropriate cable to hook it up to my Netbook.  Now the problem is to find someone who vends AAAA batteries after nine in the evening in this city.  That's right.  QUADRUPLE A batteries.

I'm so screwed.  I know it.  I may yet be driven to take notes the old-fashioned way, but how amazingly cool would it be to be able to have all of my world-building notes in OneNote (which is proving to be an awesomely useful program for me), and right there on my Netbook??

Away I go.  I must put on pants that aren't my comfy and holey sweats and a bra, lest I be counted amongst the People of Walmart.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Psyching Up to Clean..

My sewing room is a disaster.  Thanks to not having done much sewing over the last couple of months, it's once again become a dumping ground.  The things that have come to live in here:
  • several plastic musical instruments for Rock Band
  • a booster seat for Zeb to eat at a table
  • the chair from a table/chair set for Zeb
  • a puppy dog costume that was too large for Zeb to wear this year
  • a bucket (why? I don't know!)
  • several toys (Thanks, Zeb)
  • a broom that is broken into two pieces
  • a pair of my husband's Converse shoes
  • some cardboard that never made it to the recycling bin
  • several reusable shopping bags

I can't take it.  I can't create in a setting like this.  Hell, I can't even cook if I have dirty dishes in the sink.  How can I make pretties when I keep looking around and thinking that my sewing room is a crying shame?  I have scraps all over the floor, because Zeb likes to roll in them, but why is so much of my stash living on the floor too?

I'd share pictures, but I'm so ashamed.  

Again, UGH.

I'll be back once I've restored order.

A Quilt Along!

My friend, Sandi, of Piecemeal Quilts, is doing a quilt along!  She's a great quilt designer, and she's offering up her Christmas Cactus Quilt through the end of the year.  Sandi will begin posting blocks on Saturday, and then do one per day!  The fabric requirements are here.

Join in on the fun!  If we follow along with Sandi, then we'll have a Christmas-themed top by the end of the month!  I haven't decided on fabrics yet, but I'm leaning toward purples, oranges, and aquas.  Big surprise, huh?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another Little Quilt Swap Round 5

KarrieLynne, of Freckled Whimsy, introduced me to Another Little Quilt Swap at one of our Stitch 'N' Bitch sessions.  She made a wonderful quilt for it, and got an equally wonderful quilt back.

A new round of ALQS is starting up, Round 5.  You can find the full rules here.  I'm personally attracted to ALQS because I'm pretty much guaranteed to get a quilt that I love.  

While I enjoy the process of producing a quilt for a swap, I often end up feeling like I put way too much effort into the product than I've sent out, particularly when I've gotten my squishie in the mail.  I'm not knocking anyone's talent - this is mostly my fault.  I keep under-estimating my level of expertise and willingness to try new techniques, and almost always list myself as an intermediate quilter.  This means that I send out quilts that take upwards of 40-60 hours, and get fairly simple quilts back. They're sweet and I appreciate the effort that went into them, but I always feel like I shouldn't have tried so hard...  Not to mention, they're almost always not my taste...  (The exception to this was my quilt from the Modify Tradition swap - far and away my favorite swap quilt.)

Well, anyway, ALQS promises to circumvent that disappointment.  If I manage to participate, I'll get to submit a list of my top 10 to 12 choices.  This means that I'll get something that I like, no matter what.  Also, this round will allow each participant to produce two quilts.

I'm excited!  Super excited!


This round of ALQS is limiting the size of the mini-quilts to that of a standard size sheet of paper in your country of origin.  I've never made a quilt that small, and I'm seriously tempted to challenge myself to two! I have ideas, and have begun searching for base images to work off of.  One idea is to take an extreme close-up of a flower, and abstract it.  The other idea is to paper piece a human figure.

I'm very sure about doing the close-up of a flower, but I'm not so sure about doing a portrait in fabric.  That's pretty intense, and I'm going to be stupid busy through the end of the year.  Admittedly, I'll have until January 31 to get something done, but...

Anyway, join in on the fun!

Halloween Hilarity

Be warned...  The second video is long.  The first one clocks in at 4:45, but the second comes in at 13:02.

I know I just posted about being very done with the holiday season already...  Well, I'm determined not to give up (just yet anyway).  I want my son to get a chance to enjoy the holidays, and that pretty much means that I have to be in the spirit, since Zebediah is a mama's boy, through and through.

Well, to that end, I decided that carving a pumpkin would be a great introduction to Halloween.  I mean, you've got to have a Jack O'Lantern, right?

This was only the beginning... I really, honestly thought Zeb would be thoroughly disgusted by the idea of having pumpkin guts all over his hands.  He's very particular about gooey stuff on his hands, so much so that he refuses to finger paint or to use Play-Doh.

All I have to say, is thank goodness I put down that old bed sheet before starting the process!  As it was, I had to clean pumpkin membrane and seeds off of the cabinets directly behind Zeb.  He kept losing grip on the stuff as he brought his hand back to fling the pumpkin goop at me.  I'm also very glad I stripped him down to the diaper before starting this endeavor.  He went straight from pumpkin flinging to the bathtub.

We never did end up carving the pumpkin...  I started drawing in the cutting lines on the pumpkin, and Zeb decided he wanted in on the act.  So, he took the Sharpie and began drawing on the pumpkin.  My response to this was, "Do you want to paint the pumpkin instead, Zeb?"

His response was an enthusiastic "Ya!"

So, we got out the paints, and started painting the pumpkin.  Things sort of... degenerated from there.  Long story short, Zeb and I ended up painting only one-third of the pumpkin, but 75% of the kitchen floor (yay linoleum!).  There are pictures of this, but they're on the other memory card apparently, and I'm much too warm and comfortable to budge out of my cocoon on the couch.