Thursday, 30 October 2008

comfy shoes? um, not yet.....

I had a little laugh at Lindsay T's comment on the last post about the shoes I am wearing in that photo. Some of you long time readers may remember my very shallow concerns when I first got pregnant about what shoes I would wear since I predominantly only heels only. Then Vicki assured me that her assistant wore heels up to 8 months and I decided she is my role model and as a result I am still wearing my normal high heels now. I just don't feel dressed properly without heels.

I've been very lucky so far not to get swollen feet or ankles, back or hip pain and in fact apart from being a little breathless and having difficulty rolling over in bed it's almost like I'm not pregnant at all (except for a ginormous growth preceding me by wherever I go!) so it hasn't been a problem so far. My secret to wearing heels all the time is my foot spa. I don't understand why the humble foot spa always makes the list of most useless and unwanted chrisse presents every year, because I love love love mine and use it several times a week, usually while watching tv or on the computer. Then I get my husband to massage cream onto my feet which is the best bit, although he will soon need to paint my toenails too 'cos I nearly can't reach ha ha ha.

But the general vibe I've been getting from many women about child birth is this:
I do have a pretty high pain tolerance level, and so far I'm adopting my usual 'she'll be right mate' attitude, so I'm not overly worried about it (at this stage anyway!). But to cheer me up post birth, and to glide around the maternity ward in a most chic manner, I made some slippers and an eye mask to match a pair of the kimono pyjamas I made recently:

How cute are these? I used the free Alice slipper and Marcel eye mask patterns over at Burda Style, and made them from cotton in red polka dot and pink floral. I added a yo-yo and button to the slippers for decoration. So I guess these count as comfy shoes in a way, although I have to admit I've been eyeing off a new pair of strappy summer heels that have now gone on sale so I might just need to acquire them.....

In other news I've been tagged, but man it's hard to think of interesting answers to those questions so I may leave that for another day. Especially since I need to do my tax tonight - the deadline for submitting a tax return is tomorrow (I've only had since the end of the financial year in July so I have been extremely slack). It's a good thing that the Aussie government has reached the modern age and it can be lodged on-line. Oh well, I'm off to do some creative accounting......

Friday, 24 October 2008

sorry for being a lazy blogger.....

nearly a week has gone by without me posting, which is extremely slack of me - I know I enjoy reading new posts on other people's blogs (it passes a good chunk of the work day for me these days!) and miss them when they haven't posted for a while, so I do try to post regularly. However this week I was feeling rather uninspired and lost for words really.

The weather for most of this week was just plain nasty - gale force winds, heavy rain and rather cold for this time of the year, which doesn't help with our building project (the elephant in the room I'm trying to ignore btw!), but it also meant it was difficult to get any photos. But today turned out sunny and calm so I managed to get this photo of a dress I made a few weeks ago now and have worn a few times since.

I now have only four weeks left of work before I start maternity leave, which is very exciting but it also means that I only have to come up with office decent clothes for another four weeks too. But I realised I needed a short sleeved office type dress to wear to work, because most of the dresses on my summer of the dress SWAP are more casual type dresses. So I quickly made another Vogue 2818, which I managed to do in about 3 hours start to finish (well except the hem which I procrastinated on until something decent was on tv to do it front of) since it's a simple design and I had already made this in black. And here it is:
I used a raspberry red wool crepe for the bodice which I absolutely love the colour and texture of, and was purchased in an op shop so I didn't have much of it but this was a great use for it. The bottom half is made from some navy blue wool gabardine also thrifted, and whilst they are different textures the colours go together nicely and overall it's a comfy dress. I don't know if colour blocking is still in fashion, but it's a style that I rather like and that's all that matters. The only thing I don't like about it is now that my stomach protrudes quite a bit, the dress juts straight out from the bust line to the stomach like a tent. I was thinking about putting elastic around the joining seam under the bust to pull it in and make it a more flattering empire line, but it is comfy the way it is and since I'll probably only wear it four more times before I go on leave I think I'll leave it:


So my backyard is still a mud pit, and in fact the excavated areas for the concrete slabs are now filled with water, sort of like the pool that the kid in the movie Encino Man hand dug and then it rained and turned into a beautiful swimming pool (finding a hot Brendan Fraser as a neanderthal man during the process). But this coming week is forecast for hot and sunny weather, so 'she'll be right mate' ( good old Aussie slang there for you all!).

During the week I also ventured back to Lincraft because their fabrics were marked down by 50% since it was the last week before they closed. In addition to stocking up on some fabrics (muslin to make baby wraps, basic cottons and a nice printed taffeta) I also asked for and was given some cardboard tubes that the fabric gets rolled on. So there I was, a pregnant woman in suit and heels carrying a handbag, umbrella, big plastic bag with fabric and an armful of cardboard tubes back to my office at lunchtime in strong winds (lucky it had stopped raining by then) and deposited them into my office, much to the amusement of passerbys and everyone who works in my office! But those tubes are a good way to store slippery fabrics so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get them.

Anyway this coming weekend is another busy one, usual Saturday washing and cleaning and then on Sunday we're attending a first aid course for babies and children, which is an all day course topped by an exam! On a Sunday afternoon! At least I know we'll be better equipped to handle medical emergencies when this little one makes it's appearance into the world

Have a relaxing and productive weekend everyone

Sunday, 19 October 2008

the generosity of others

Another weekend has absolutely flown past, entirely enjoyable although no sewing done.

On Saturday morning I had the chance to meet one of my blog readers, the wonderful and most generous Raewyn who emailed me to offer some nappies that she no longer needed. Well, when I arrived at her place not only did she give me a stack of nappies, but also quite a few Threads and Topkids magazines, some nappy covers, and a "Little Squirt" hose that attaches to your toilet to rinse off solids from soiled nappies! Plus we had a really nice chat and I got to have a sticky beak at her sewing space (a very sunny and organised spot I must say), and really I was overwhelmed by her generosity and most grateful. So once again Raewyn, thank you so much for your generous gift - they will all be well used.

Also a few weeks ago another reader Paola who lives down the south coast of NSW (not that far from where I grew up actually) emailed me to ask about my favourite fabric stores in Sydney, which I was more than happy to divulge let me tell you! In return Paola also sent me a copy of a Topkids magazine, which again will come in handy when this baby (a little David Beckham who is delighting in kicking me constantly) comes out, there are some really cute patterns in there. So Paola thank you very much as well!

The rest of Saturday was spent doing washing at my parents house, and I gave their house a good clean since they were due back from a few weeks holiday today and it was my mum's birthday on Friday - I think there's nothing better than to come to a clean house. Today we spent all day at the second part of our antenatal class, all about how to care for a baby such as feeding, bathing, changing nappies, safety etc and there were a few funny moments such as dropped baby dolls and no horrific graphic videos like last week (although breastfeeding looks pretty violent at times!).

On the weather front, it only rained for part of the day last Tuesday and has been sunny and quite hot since. Our builders however, have chosen not to do much more in the sunshine even though they soldiered through the rain, so not much more has occurred and we are now at least 2 weeks behind schedule. I'm trying to remain positive about all this, but I've decided to take a pessimitic attitude to the finish date and I expect the works to be finished by next February or March. Deep down I knew there are always massive delays in building projects (having seen it many times over the years when I was involved in assessment development projects in local government) but I so badly wanted this done I chose to ignore that little voice inside of me. But this way I figure if it isn't finished until Feb/Mar then my expectations have been met, but if it is finished by Christmas then that's a massive happy bonus.

To cheer myself up, I went to the Lincraft (Aussie equivalent of Joanne's) closing down sale in the city - there was 33% off everything except patterns. There were also hordes of women going crazy over everything so I only grabbed a few things - some knit fabrics in red and pink for $3m each, a hot glue gun (for when I get crafty), a bias tape marker, a sewing gauge and I also upgraded my incredibly low tech method (below right) of seam tracing when I trace BWOF patterns by purchasing a proper seam tracer:Yes that is two pencils sticky taped together with a bit of paper wedged between to get 1.5cm spacing! The funny thing is I have some technical drawing tools around somewhere since I studied architectural drafting for a bit in school, but who knows where they are!

Anyway I'm working from home tomorrow so I'll be able to finish early enough (or take a long lunch break) to get some photos in the two new dresses I've made over the last two weeks - I promise you that the summer of the dress is still on track!

Oh and on the baby front, I had an obstetrician's appointment late last week and everything is going swimmingly - I am almost entirely free of most pregnancy related complaints. But I hear you about taking it easy, I have noticed that I'm getting tired easily, I always seem to be out of breath and my walking pace has slowed down to the point that when we walk the dog my husband and the dog are quite a way in front and I'm waddling along to catch up! But I need the exercise (as per all your excellent advice some time back), but instead of doing everything I used to do in one day I'm now spreading it over two days so I don't hurt myself. But thank you all for your concern! And don't worry Kitty - I've given the dog a stern talking to and told him to start behaving in most serious voice, well as serious as you can be with a dog that looks like this:

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

why is it raining?

I'll tell you why - because I am in the middle of building works and have a tight schedule! Seriously, most of Australia doesn't receive enough rain, and we have been in drought for years but as soon as I start demolishing part of my house it starts raining and now I'm hoping the tarps over the roof keep the rain out. But I can still hear the builders out the back excavating and banging and cutting and making other building like noises, so that sound (whilst annoying) is comforting to know that work continues.

Yesterday though I was not entirely happy - I came home from work to discover building supplies stacked up in the front yard and down the sides of the house, so much so that the path to the front door was completely blocked and I had to crawl on hands and knees beneath a small tree to get in the house. It must have been quite a sight, a 7 month pregnant women wearing a dress crawling in her front garden! Anyway once inside I discovered that we had no water or sewer connection, lucky we have great neighbours who let us use their toilet and shower last night.

But the real problem was that the dog is being kept in an enclosure down one side of the house during the day when building is occurring, and I could hear him crying and barking to get out but I couldn't get to him because of all the building supplies! I had to walk around the block to get into the backyard via our back lane, climb down through the excavated section which was all muddy, move some building supplies to let him out. Then the little princess wouldn't walk in the mud so I had to carry him out to the back lane - remember this is a big dalmatian weighing nearly 30kgs!

So today I'm home from work on sick leave - feeling a bit sore and exhausted, I guess being pregnant is finally catching up with me! The water and sewer have been reconnected, work is continuing and all is well again. But since it is raining it is a good time to lay on the lounge writing and reading blog posts.....
And what better to lounge around in than new pyjamas? I could have done the simple thing and bought some new pyjamas, they are relatively cheap after all but why do that when I have so many cottons in the stash and patterns just waiting to be used? So I made four pairs of pyjamas using the kimono top pattern from BWOF 12/07, and for the pants I used a now OOP Style 1012 simple elastic waist straight leg pants pattern.












Both patterns are extremely simple and quick to make, and oh so comfortable! Although the wrap top sits a little awkwardly because I need to tie it either above or below my huge belly, neither positions are where the tie is supposed to sit so it gapes a little, but I won't change it because it will fit fine post pregnancy. And being a wrap top it is ideal for breastfeeding - I've heard that new mums spend loads of time in their pyjamas, so now at least I'll look decent! The fabrics I used are all from the stash:

























The yellow polka dot and green floral are both thrifted sheets, while the yellow gingham and red polka dot are garage sale scores, and the pink floral and multi colour jumbo polka dot are long term stash residents. I just need to find a contrasting fabric for the jumbo polka dot so I can put the bands around the pant leg and kimono top and I'll be all done.

The antenatal class on Sunday was really great - yes the videos of actual births were graphic and horrifying, but I guess educational and the midwife running the course was fantastic. She was very informative and reassuring, and we got to do a tour of the hospital which is quite new so everything is spacious and modern. All the birthing rooms have big bath tubs, windows that overlook a nice garden (though I doubt I'll be admiring the view when the time comes!) and the hospital is the main maternity hospital in NSW (RPA for you Sydneysiders) where sick women and babies get transferred to from all over the country, they have a full time surgical team and anaesthetist on the ward if an emergency arises or an epidural is needed ASAP!

The funny thing is there were four other ladies there who are due on the same day as me (by the way Jean the estimated due day is Christmas day) and we were all worried about the same thing: staffing levels due to the holiday period! But we were told its business as usual so it makes no difference. And the other funny thing is that we were all so different in size, I've said it before that I feel huge but see other women bigger, well these others at the same stage of pregnancy were way more ginormous than me so I shan't whinge again. That said, my belly has rounded out nicely now, and yesterday morning the bus driver told me I was a sexy mum to be which is a bit creepy actually but still made me feel better at 7am on a Monday morning......

Friday, 10 October 2008

and the craziness continues.....

ok, let me recap. This is me at the present moment, 7 months pregnant:

and this is my house and backyard, at the end of week 1 of the building project:
add those two together and yes it probably is pure insanity, but these things happen! Unfortunately Jean we didn't come into an inheritance, and in fact the reason that we waited so long to start building was so that we could save up enough money to pay for it rather than refinance the house and take out a bigger mortgage. Given the current financial situation world wide it was a wise decision even if it means cutting it fine timing wise.

Plus it is giving me something other to think about than the baby and I have begun 'virtual' nesting - picking out colours, light fittings, floor coverings, furniture, drawing room layout plans for furniture placement and generally sending my husband batty with my constant "what do you think about x" when he knows full well the only answer is to agree! So even though the baby's room (and the rest of the house) is a complete shambles at the moment, in my mind it is already painted a calm and restful pale sage green colour, with all white furniture, cot sheets and change pad cover made from a white and fine green stripe cotton (made by me of course!), white curtains and some lovely wall decorations of some sort (still to be decided). Thankfully my parents are talking about taking some time off before Christmas to come up and give us a hand in making this reality because by that stage I doubt I'll be able to do much at all!

Unfortunately no sewing photos at present, I did take photos of a new dress I made last weekend and wore to work on Wednesday, but my most skillful photographer of a husband didn't realise that the camera had no memory stick in it when he took photos of me, so I'll have to wear it again next week and try again. I don't know how much sewing I'll get done this weekend though, now that I'm without a laundry I'm heading off to my parents to use their washing machine and possibly some op shopping in between loads since there are a few close to their house, and then on Sunday we have day 1 of a 2 day antenatal class which goes all day. I am prepared to be shocked and horrified though, because I have been warned it's all pretty graphic but it's a little late in the stage to do anything about it now!

Have a great weekend everyone

Monday, 6 October 2008

my babymoon

Apparently the 'done' thing these days for pregnant couples is to go on a babymoon, a last holiday before the baby comes along and consumes all your waking hours. So last week I had a babymoon of own, except instead of spending time with my husban (who went to work) I planned to spend quality time with my sewing machine. Of course it didn't quite work out like that, but I did get a few things made except for the pesky handsewing of hems and photo taking.

But I did have an extremely chaotic and busy week, and nearly need another week to recover from it! First up we spent the weekend and I spent Monday and Tuesday packing up the house in readiness for the major renovation we are about to do to the house. Yes, you read that correctly, with less than three months to go before my baby is due we are going to demolish half the house and rebuild which the builder promises will be done before Christmas (fingers and toes crossed). But we are only knocking down the back half of the house, which had our dining room, laundry and an outside toilet which leaves the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms and living room intact so we can continue living in a suitable manner. Although in the loungeroom are the fridge and a small chest freezer which used to be in the dining room, and our washing machine so it is a little cramped but still livable.

Anyway we are building a big open plan area off the back of the house which will have a new lounge and dining room that will be spacious, bright and airy. Then we'll turn the existing living room into a fourth bedroom and a walk in pantry to the kitchen, which should provide lots of storage. We're also building a detached garage which has room for two cars, laundry and a workshop on the ground level, and has a massive studio/home office space upstairs which will become my new sewing space. And that is the reason why I'm putting up with this craziness of building at this late stage in my pregnancy - I will have a huge, bright and airy sewing studio where I can have a big cutting table, plenty of shelves for the fabric stash and basically somewhere that I can create mess but close the door on it and not worry too much about that. And so when my current sewing room becomes the baby's bedroom, it's on to bigger and better things for me.

So along with packing up the house and transplanting plants from the backyard we want to keep (in extremely hot weather I might add) I also had to clean up because I had interstate guests come to stay for a few days. It was bad timing but it's been so long since I've seen them that it was all worth it.

Oh you'll be pleased to know I have bought a cot, mattress and changetable for the baby, all that is needed now is a pram and some (many) nappies - I plan on using cloth nappies and I also maybe foolishly plan on making those nappies!

So when I finally had a day and a half to myself, I managed to make two dresses that just need their hems done - it is so hard getting them straight now I have this massive protrusion out front! I also refashioned a pair of white cotton stretch drill pants that I made years and years ago by cutting off the waistband and adding a stretch elastic panel and to go with it I made a loose fitting and flowy tunic style top from BWOF 4/08, top 121. The top appeared to be already quite loose fitting, but I added extra width to the front and gathered it at the bodice seam line to make sure it would fit around my stomach, which it does with plenty of room to grow (not that I want to grow that much more!). The fabric I used is a polyester chiffon that I bought a while back from Spotlight, normally I avoid their polyester fabrics like the plague, but this was only $2/m and it has the cutest yellow and white little tulip flowers on a beige colour background, so I took a chance. Chiffon is a total pain in the butt to cut out and sew, but the finished product was worth it. I underlined the v-neck band and sleeve cuffs with a lightweight white cotton to give them some weight and to make the pattern stand out a little.

So anyway, back to work tomorrow sadly (it was a public holiday here today) and I have a new staff member starting who will be taking over my job when I go on leave so I need to spend time showing him the ropes which means less time for slacking off! Luckily I'm still feeling quite energised these days, without any significant tiredness or aches and pains which I expect will arrive eventually.
And to answer your question Carolyn, I will get the dutiful husband to do a post when the bub comes out rather than leave you all in suspense!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

finally made some baby clothes (by default though...)

So, bad mother confession first up: I'm 7 months pregnant and haven't made anything for my baby, haven't set up the nursery (it's still my sewing room) and haven't even bought a cot or a pram yet - plenty of time for all that!

But I have now made some baby clothes although I originally made these as a gift for some friends who had a baby girl six weeks ago. I wasn't too happy with the way they turned out, so I ended up buying something to post to them (they're all the way down in Tasmania), and picked these apart to try and finish them.

I made the 'easy' empire waist top and little bloomers from Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones. She did give it a difficulty level of 4 out of 5, but I think that is due to her instructions and lack of diagrams (no offence Amy, but your instructions are on par with BWOF!). But I also made it more difficult for myself by using french seams instead of just overlocking the raw edges, which worked fine on the bloomers but resulted in a fairly big gap where the kimono sleeves met the side seam because I just couldn't get them to meet property. Also she has you turn and press the outside edge of the v-neck facing and apply to the right side of the fabric by topstitching - I found it difficult to get a neat finish doing that. And I think I made the sleeves too long by not allowing enough of a turn up cuff.


Anyway, these must have taken at least a day and a half to make (I could have made myself a whole outfit in that time)! If I have a little girl she can wear them, they'll only get vomit or baby dribble on them afterall, so no point being too precious really. I made these from materials in the stash - some lilac poplin inherited from my gran's stash and some gingham picked up somewhere along the line.

In response to all your questions about maternity leave in Australia, well the answer depends on who you work for as to what leave you get. The government is at the moment debating whether to introduce paid leave for all mothers, but who knows how long that will take. Luckily since I already work for the government I am entitled to pretty generous leave provisions: up to two years maternity leave of which 14 weeks is paid, and the right to work part time until the child starts school (ie at 5 years of age). I plan to add to my 14 weeks paid maternity leave with about 8 weeks paid annual leave that I have saved up for the last few years and then I will take off the remainder of the year unpaid, and the plan at the moment is to come back to work part time for another year or so. Unless I win the lotto or something equally as good and never have to go back to work (the dream............)