my maternity muu muu

As cute as all those little belly-bump-showing maternity shirts are, toward the end of my last pregnancy I found myself longing for a giant muu muu that I could just live in, something big and flowy and long enough to actually cover me — all of my maternity shirts were too short near the end.  Although styles have changed in the few years since my last pregnancy, and most shirts now are generally longer than the maternity tops I bought back then, I’m still finding myself wishing for something that looks like a big, comfortable tent.

Hence the Maternity Muu Muu Shirt.

This project is the result of two different sources of inspiration: first, this old Forever 21 dress that didn’t fit me anymore.  I thought there must be a way to cut off the skirt part and turn it into a maternity top.  But since I have no experience whatsoever in designing clothes I wasn’t sure what to do.

And second, this cute top from Boden’s new teen line.  (Just for the record, I no longer shop in the juniors’ section!  But I guess since I’m on the Boden and miniBoden mailing list, I got a copy of the juniors’ catalog.)  When I saw it I thought, that looks simple enough to make and if it were just a bit wider it’d be a perfect maternity shirt.

And so the Maternity Muu Muu was born.  Well, honestly, it might never have been born and just lived on in my mind had it not been for Made By Rae’s Spring Top Week.  Nothing like a deadline to get this procrastinator moving!

I put some pleats in the front, some elastic in the back to make it easier to get on and off, and I used the belt of the dress to make the shoulder straps.  It couldn’t get much simpler.  And I’m pretty sure it will fit all the way through week 40!


snack time

This is a both a confession and a cry for help: I hate snack time! 

Wait, let me back up a bit.  For years now, snack time for myself consisted mostly of crackers (from a box, of course) and cheese, chips & salsa, or perhaps a bowl of cereal or a granola bar (and the occasional package of Oreos).  Basically, even though I tried to choose healthy ones, these are all pre-packaged “convenience” foods.  No big deal — I usually only had one snack a day in the afternoon.

Enter: the two-year-old, a.k.a the constantly hungry energy monster, who requires not one, not two, but three (at least) snacks a day.  I have a huge problem being creative and getting enough variety into our snacking.  I’m lucky if I can come up with three meals a day, let alone different snacks between each meal . . . I don’t mind reaching for a box of crackers or a granola bar or a container of yogurt once in a while (say, for one snack a day), but I’d like more of our snacks to be fresh fruit/veg or homemade things.  However, I haven’t figured out how to do this without creating a lot more work for myself (i.e., mounds of dirty dishes).  One of the things I would like to do is set aside time to bake/prepare a whole bunch of things that can be frozen or parcelled out ahead of time, but unfortunately large blocks of solo time in the kitchen haven’t been coming my way very often lately.

One thing we just started doing that has helped enormously is making smoothies every day for morning snack.  We use Dr. Sears’s School-Ade recipe as a jumping off point.  I love the predictability of making the same thing every day, yet we can vary the recipe enough that they don’t get boring (plus they’re really easy!).  So, morning snack solved.  Now for afternoon and bedtime snacks …  Please leave a comment with any suggestions or favorite recipes or ideas.  I would greatly appreciate it!     

(Adeline’s very sweet bird shirt made by my talented and generous sister.)

thoughts after a thunderstorm

There are many, many reasons I am thankful that I get to stay home with Adeline, not the least of which is this: I love being able to experience the weather and feel in-touch with the outdoor world.  This may sound silly, but for the two years I worked in a library in St Louis which was pretty much just a giant box with a few windows (most of which were very high up so all you could see out of them was sky) I would often have to stop and really think about what season it was outside, because after being enclosed inside for hours every day I wasn’t really sure anymore.  In fact, much of my life has been spent inside schools or workplaces that are over-air-conditioned in the summer (requiring a sweater) and over-heated in the winter (making sweaters uncomfortable), in addition to which I was always on someone else’s time-clock, meaning I couldn’t just go outside and experience the weather whenever I wanted. 

And who hasn’t been at school or work and wished they were home enjoying a beautiful snowfall with some hot chocolate, or longed to be outside on the first warm day of spring, or wanted to run out and dance barefoot in the summer rain?  Often times when we visit the library or the grocery store, the person at the counter will ask, “What’s the weather like out there?/Is it still raining?/How hot is it outside?/etc.,” and I’m so thankful that I know the answer.  

Last night we had a pretty big thunderstorm.  But this morning the sun was shining strong, the sky was bright blue and the clouds were bright white.  Adeline and I went for a long, meandering (two-year-old style) walk through the neighborhood and picked a bouquet from a generous neighbor’s garden (with a few from our own yard thrown in — those would be the dandelions).  We came home and lay down for a nap, and suddenly there was a great clap of thunder.  And the rain absolutely poured, and I watched tiny hailstones bouncing in the grass, and we fell asleep to the sound of the rain pounding on our metal roof.  And I was so thankful to be able to experience that, and to be able to watch the wonder in my daughter’s eyes as she, too, begins to understand and love the natural world surrounding her.

Also, I thought I’d throw in a few pictures of The Ponytail, since it may never happen again.  I managed to convince her, on a particularly windy day, to let me put her hair back.  But generally she is adamantly against it.


a purse and something else

It’s spring, so I’ve been thinking about this purse that’s been hiding under my bed for a while.  Does anyone else think that purses should change with the seasons?  Maybe that’s just an excuse for owning as many bags as I do …

Anyway, this is one I sewed by hand back in college, when I knew absolutely nothing about sewing.  It’s from an old pair of jeans I had that were embroidered on the back of the legs — this was back when embroidery on stuff was just getting big.  Now you can hardly find clothes without these embellishments.  I used the waistband for the strap.  As I said, I had no idea what I was doing so the sewing is very wonky.  But it’s held up for a few years anyway.

Also, I just wanted to mention that Clean is having a Babywearing Celebration, with some great stories and a giveaway every day!!  Very exciting.  All of the comments are open until tomorrow, so you can go back and comment on all the previous posts.  Great stuff!  And a picture of me and Adeline even made its way into one of the posts!

Adeline’s vest

Pattern: Neighborly (a generously free pattern)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Serendipity Tweed

I really, really, really loved this pattern.  It was not too difficult for a novice like me to figure out, fairly simple but not boring, and the possibilities for modifying it are endless.  The only modification I made was to do a purl 1, knit 1 rib (same as the sleeves) for 4 rows at the bottom instead of hemming it.  If I could only knit from one pattern for the rest of my life, this would be it — I love it so much!

Unfortunately, Adeline does not love wearing it as much as I loved knitting it.  I don’t think this has anything to do with the vest itself; she has simply refused to wear/do/eat anything that Jake or I suggest to her.  She wants to make all her own decisions (which is why she is wearing a red and pink striped dress under the purple and green striped vest — it was all I could do to get her to wear the vest, let alone tell her what to wear underneath it!)

I hope in time she will grow to love it as much as I do — it should fit her for quite a while longer.  And I think I have enough yarn left over to make a matching baby vest . . .