thank you Jean!

Tuesday 27 January 2009
How good is getting a unexpected parcel of goodies along with your boring bills and bank statements in the mail? Thanks to Jean, of Sewing Along Life's Seams, today that goodness landed in my little hands with a parcel that contained a gorgeous quilt, some burp cloths (already put to good use), a taggie blanket, a little rattle and some yummy caramel 'sugar daddy' lollypops - good thing I went for a walk today and ate a carrot so that should have cancelled out the two that I ate already......

Anna is 3 weeks old today and is starting to take more notice of her surroundings. She flapped her arms around on the quilt like a little snow angel feeling the textures I think, and was certainly eyeing off the taggie blanket. Thank you so much Jean for sending these, they are absolutely gorgeous and so practical too. I was going to make a taggie blanket, but since I didn't have any ribbon and am avoiding the fabric stores in order to keep to my fabric diet I hadn't made one yet, so you have perfect timing Jean! And I would never have the patience to make a quilt but it is delightful to have one.

I have to say once again that I am overwhelmed and astounded by the generosity of bloggers - from gifts to all the well wishes I have received, I am so grateful and they mean alot to me.

Well yesterday was Australia Day and Chinese New Year so there was much activity around here. We took Anna into the city for the Australia Day celebrations, and here she is being carried by her dad with the free Aussie flag being handed out:

Don't take any notice of that funny mark across my forehead, I was wearing a hat and it seems even my head has gotten bigger after this pregnancy caper! And Anna also scored another quintessential Australian experience - a little mosquito bite on her face which you can see in the photo above on the quilt.

And for all you northern hemispherers suffering through freezing conditions, you have no sympathy from me because we are sweltering through a heatwave, made even worse for me having to stay home to let the builders in, the air condition being taken out for the recladding of the house and just me in general not being able to cope in the sun and heat with my fair skin. I don't want to wish time away because I'm loving having Anna so small she fits easily in my arms, but I wish this summer weather would pass! When the building works are done we'll all be so much happier, because at the moment walking around our house necessitates turning sideways in some spots to squeeze past furniture LOL.

As for the inlaws, it was good of them to go home for now - they live in Brisbane which is about a 2 hour flight away so they can come back easily when all works are done and dusted, but in the meantime we've been taking many many photos to keep them up to date...

Anyway must fly, I can hear Anna exercising her lungs again - she has found the volume switch in the past few days and her crying is no longer cute (if it ever was to anyone else but me!) and she cries a lot when left by herself, but at only 3 weeks old I'd be pretty scared in this big world too so I don't think I can love her or spoil her enough at this age (tough love will have to come soon though!)

Oh and to all of you that nominated me for a blogging award - thank you! I never imagined my blog would be interesting to so many of you, but thank you for reading along and being part of my world. I'll have to find some time to bestow it upon other deserving bloggers.

where does the time go?

Tuesday 20 January 2009
You all knew this was going to happen didn't you? I remember the friendly warnings whilst I was still pregnant to cherish the time alone and that a new baby means no time for practically anything else at all! Anna is now two weeks old and I've only left the house a few times which has meant I have stuck to my fabric diet thus far, I have managed to shower, do washing, and even nearly finished eating a few meals, but everything else has practically been looking after the baby. But we are settling into a feeding routine now, and she is a good sleeper in between feeds so I'm hoping that once the house is sorted out I'll be able to get some 'real' stuff done, like sewing my new post maternity wardrobe!

But in fabulous news, my in laws have finally realised that now wasn't the best time for them to be staying with us and have flown home two weeks early. As much as I want them to be part of Anna's life, now isn't exactly the right time. Especially since our building works have picked up pace enormously and there is lots going on right now which means we should be finished up in a few weeks (except for the fun part of decorating), but it also means that we are now living in bascially a bedroom of the house because our lounge room has been divided up into a hallway, study and walk in pantry and there is even less room than ever:

Yes that is cabling running over the floor taped down, and electrical wires hanging out of the ceiling, a big hole in the wall where a window was taken out and where the lounge is (in our future study) it is basically a few metres away from the tv, in fact so close I could probably watch it without my glasses! Oh and to top it off, apart from lights in the kitchen there are no other overhead lights so we are relying on lamps to avoid sitting in total darkness. I guess this is going to be a really funny story when it's all over and done with, and of course Anna won't remember any of it so I just have to grin and bear it....

Speaking of Anna she has been absolutely showered with gifts and has received so many gorgeous little clothes that I doubt I'll need to sew anything for her for at least 6 months. She is the first grandchild for my parents who are super excited, and the second grandchild (by only two months) for my in laws so they are equally excited too, and lots of little pink things have made their way into our house. And she has started down the dangerous path of shoe obsession, thanks to my close family friend Jenny buying her these gorgeous little shoes (thanks Jenny!):

Anna had her first check up with the early childhood health nurse and she has already put on weight above her birth weight (apparently most babies lose a bit of weight in the first few weeks), and they revised her length to 57cm which is above average for girls her age so I am pretty sure she's going to be tall like her dad.

serenity now (and repeat ad infinitaeum.....)

Tuesday 13 January 2009
wow everyone, I'm completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of joyous and warm comments left to my last post - thank you all so much for taking the time to congratulate someone you only know 'virtually'!

well little Anna is now a week old, and changing all the time (losing that screwed up newborn look thankfully). Of course it hasn't been all beer and skittles since we've been home, which I totally expected (hence my new mantra of the title post!). My milk only came in the day before yesterday so she has been doing what the midwives called a feeding frenzy - wanting a feed or to be settled practially 45 minutes out of every night time hour because she wasn't getting enough each time. So not much sleep was had for the first few days but luckily she is settled during the day so I could catch up on the zzzz's. Last night she was much better, going 2 - 3 hours between feeds so I could actually sleep a bit.

But I haven't exactly bought her home to a safe little cocoon - the builders are busy working away the hardest I've seen them, with at least three different things going on at once as opposed to one thing going on over three weeks LOL! At this stage they think they'll be finished in a few weeks, but the bad news is that they have started on the inside works to connect the existing house to the new extension, so we now have half a lounge room and even more furniture in weird spots that are out of the way of the building works.

To make matters worse my in laws are staying with us for three weeks (despite me emphasing the current state of the house), so we have 4 adults, a newborn baby and a dog in a building zone that has now usable area of the size of a large studio apartment! So I'm a bit stressed out having an audience watch everything I do with the baby, especially since they only want to hold her when she is quiet and hand her back quick smart when she cries, so I look forward to retreating to my bedroom to feed her, it's become my little sanctuary of peace and quiet. We had to dismantle the baby's room to fit the in laws in, so her bassinet and change table are crammed in our bedroom which is all very cozy to say the least!

Oscar the wonder dog has been great though - he lays besides her cot and as soon as she makes a noise he runs over to me and whimpers. Sure beats a baby monitor any day! And he is gentle with his sniffing of her, so I think the introduction has gone well:

You can see in the photo the yellow pair of the pyjamas I made using the BWOF pattern (the wrap around top) a while ago, these pyjamas are an absolute god send for feeding, too bad I didn't make them in plainer fabric so I could wear them out and about! Oh and someone asked me in a comment a little while ago what BWOF meant - it refers to the Burda World of Fashion sewing magazine, obviously you haven't been exposed to the joys of it but you should track down a copy it is totally worth it (and the start of a dangerous obsession).

In response to some other comments, we call the baby just Anna, Mei is just her middle name that will probably be rarely used. No particular reason for the name or family connection, I just like the sound of it and it supposedly means 'beautiful' in Chinese.

And Lisa you're so right about losing the baby weight - I've already dropped 10kg in a week which I'm pretty sure was helped by all the feeding I've been doing (plus the workout of getting out of bed and walking around jiggling the baby trying to soothe her!). Only another 1okg to go to get to my pre baby weight....

Anna's hair is surprisingly a light brown, and not the dark black Chinese hair I was expecting. I know they lose their hair and it comes back different so we'll see what she ends up with, but it will be a real shock if she turns out a red head too!

Sadly all my sewing stuff has been packed up to fit the in laws in the house so no sewing until the works are done, but I am already revising the stash contents and going through patterns for when I can sit down and get cracking at not only baby clothes but new clothes for me - I'm not going to need my suits or heels this year and the wardrobe of a stay at home mum (SAHM) is a whole new challenge for me! I'm going to try to go down Erica Bunker's path and being a sassy stylish SAHM, even if it is only for going to the shops or the doctors!

So excuse me all while I post sporadically for the next few weeks, but I am reading your blogs to steal some of your mojo for when I can back into action....

Anyway must go, I can hear the little angel stirring and pretty soon she'll turn from this to a screaming devil!

introducing my future fashionista.....

Friday 9 January 2009
sorry for leaving you all in suspense, but it seems my husband is not only all thumbs when it comes to babies but to blog updating as well! But he has been pretty occupied this week spending time at hospital, at work, looking after the dog, dealing with the pesky builders and getting used to being a new dad so I'm sure you all forgive him.

Well, little Anna Mei Chan finally emerged into the outside world at 1.37am on Tuesday morning, weighing in at 3.62kg (nearly 8 pounds) and 51.2cm (20in). She seems to be changing appearance as each day passes and she loses that screwed up red face look that newborns get. Here she is on day 2:

She certainly was a stubborn little lady, because being 12 days late wasn't enough, she dragged my labour out to more than 14 hours! But I don't think she cares about that, judging by this cheeky look she gave us shortly after coming out:

I'll spare you the gory details because I'm sure many of you have been there done that, and if you haven't you really don't want to know until it's too late to back out! Suffice to say it was the most pain I've ever experienced, and I endured about 4 hours of very painful and frequent contractions that were too short to effectively dilate (only 3cm in that time) before breaking down in tears begging for an epidural. And post epidural? Well then I could manage a smile, and even read the paper while we waited, and waited, and waited to reach the magic 10cm dilation time:

I was extremely sad to have the epi turned off for the final phase (ie the pushing) - which took an hour and a half, and in the end required the vacuum to pull her out because her shoulders were stuck.

Now I'm happily at home, the dog is going beserk wagging his tail he's so happy, but he does look startled at every little noise that comes from her way! And in other good news the pesky builders have done more work this week than just about the entire project so far so we are only a few weeks off finishing now. It's almost as if they didn't believe that I was having a baby until it actually came out.....

And as for me? Well I know have a spongy round stomach and still look a few months pregnant, I have quiet a few stitches down there and my nipples are starting to feel well used already but I'm so happy it doesn't matter too much.

today is the day

Monday 5 January 2009
well this naughty little monkey didn't come out of it's own accord over the weekend, so it's coming out today whether it likes it or not mwahahaha! I'm a little bit scared of what's to come but mostly relieved and excited to know that I'll have a baby to hold by the end of today.

Some interesting comments to the last post: a few people referred to the baby as a boy, a few referred to it as a girl. I still don't have any feeling either way as to what it is, although I am leaning towards it being a male because it's clearly too lazy to do anything itself unless severely prodded into it LOL! My husband says the baby is just stubborn like me, but I say it's a procrastinator like him.....

Speaking of which, I'll be reminding this baby of the wait it made me go through for sure:
Free hilarious downloadable greeting cards over at Creature Comforts. Well I'm off now to the hospital, and I will try very hard to get my husband to update you (but he's a bit anti blogging.....)

First UFO of the year done!

Friday 2 January 2009
Well I'm still waiting for the little UFO comfortably gestating in my womb to come out - but have booked an induction for 7am Monday so there is a deadline in sight at least. To keep busy I've been cleaning the house, walking around a lot and taking Jean's advice, I decided to get cracking on my UFO list. Most of the UFOs have been shipped out of sight to my parents house along with some of my fabric stash for temporary storage, but I did manage to get my hands on this jacket that I started about 3 years ago and I finished it this afternoon which just goes to show how shamefully lazy I have been in finishing this since I could finish it in a few hours whilst heavily pregnant!

Anyway it is a very simple princess seamed jacket, made from a 1972 vintage Simplicity pattern - I didn't make the dress though, I like the inverted pleat on the front but that bow at the neckline is a bit too frou frou for me. The jacket is made from a home dec fabric, a textured silk/cotton mix in a berry purple colour and lined with some Bemsilk lining. From memory I originally made this to wear to a cocktail party with a simple LBD, but didn't finish it in time and with no specific reason once the event was over I just let it go into the UFO black hole. But now I remember why I didn't finish it in time - the sleeve cap was an absolute pain to ease in and took several goes to get it right. I eventually managed to get a smooth finish to the fabric, but the lining is puckered like no tomorrow but since it can't really be seen I'm going to leave it like that.

This doesn't fit me in anyway at the moment, since my waist and bust measurements have increased substantially and even the sleeves feel too tight so I guess my arms have fattened up a little which is actually good because it means the extra 20kg I'm carrying isn't all on my butt and thighs! So I'm hoping that I got my measurements right when I cut out the fabric and that eventually I'll go back to that weight so I can wear this. For that reason here is a lame coathanger shot:

I think it may need some embellishment to liven it up but it is a matter of finding the right one. At the moment I'm swaying between either some silver ribbon or braid which would give it a dressier look, or some fun pale yellow ric-rac which goes well with the purple colour but would make it a more casual style which I'm not sure the silk/cotton fabric is suited for.

Hmmmm, decisions, decisions - technically this is finished so I'll leave it until I have a light bulb moment! Unless some of you queens of embellishment can up with some brilliant suggestions (yeah I'm talking to you Carolyn!)

And I have kept another of my NYE resolutions: I had to go into Spotlight to get some zippers and shoulder pads today and I walked straight past the fabric section without looking or buying anything! I could see the big yellow sale signs above several tables out of the corner of my eye, but I held my resolve and got what I needed without breaking my fabric diet. Ahhhh, the first few weeks of the year when we all do so well with keeping our well intentioned resolutions, there's nothing like it is there?

So apart from finishing this I am heeding all of your wisdom and enjoying the last few days of peace and quiet around here. Things like enjoying a cup of tea and reading the entire newspaper, shopping without tantrums and eating sugary preservative filled food that I will try to limit when I have small children in the house! My husband is having a grand time too, he's been out on the golf course nearly every day of this week although I'm not sure how relaxing that is for him (depends on his score I think).