conquering my sewing nemesis

Wednesday 30 June 2010
Thank you all for chiming in with your own experiences regarding your spirited children - it's comforting to know that so many of you have survived parenting the little blighters, but it's amazing just how many of them are out there! Anna has actually calmed down a little this week - going to sleep at 7pm with no tears, and only waking a few times for 30min or so each time. She's also slept really well at daycare, which means she's a happy little girl in the evenings and eats her dinner with no tantrums! If only she was always like this. I did see my doctor about the situation, but while she was sympathetic, she certainly offered no suggestions.

Well this week I have finally finished sewing my living and dining room curtains, achieved only because I've been home sick from work for the last two days with another bout of tonsillitis, this time paired with a head cold and a mouth ulcer to boot. But Anna wasn't sick so she went off to daycare and since I had the house to myself I couldn't waste it by doing something sensible like resting and sleeping all day now could I! Luckily my husband has banished me to our guest bedroom because I'm sick and he's been dealing with Anna at night time, so I've had a relatively good night sleep knocked out on painkillers. See there is a silver lining to practically everything!

These curtains have been a loooong time coming. After a long search for fabric that looks good but was also reasonably priced, I settled on this cotton from Spotlight for the bargain price of $16.95 a metre:

I needed 20 metres plus lining fabric, so some of the beautiful fabrics I saw in the $50 to $150/m price range were definitely out of the question. I made simple 'S wave' curtains, which are the easiest to make and use the least amount of fabric too. All that is basically needed is to hem the curtain and lining fabric on all sides, sew on a stiff header tape, insert a curtain hook about every 10cms and then hang. That's all, no pinch pleating or pulling cord to gather it up, but it still took me a long time to do because a) sewing curtains are boring, and b) handling such large sizes of fabric is a pain in the butt.

Because my living and dining room are so bright, these photos are pretty crappy I'm afraid but here is the big reveal. First the living room:

And the dining room:

And because I tidied up the house today I can show you what is out of frame of my tightly cropped outfit photos:

I had thought long and hard about what to do with the triangle windows at the top, but have decided to leave them uncovered. They are laminated glass so should be energy efficient anyway, and there's no privacy issue or significant glare from them, so that's how they're gonna stay. A lick of paint to the window frames wouldn't go astray though, I guess....

And I would like to say that our living area is finally complete, but there are still a gajillion things left to do: painting window frames and door trim, painting the staircase railing, having a carpenter build a bookshelf, hang some artwork, etc etc.

But I am now free to start sewing what I like best: clothes for me. Stay tuned, I promise to return to your normal programming soon

my spirit child / my flagging spirits

Wednesday 23 June 2010
I received a lovely email from Heather last week who came out of blog lurkdom to recommend the book by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka titled "Raising Your Spirited Child", to help my understand/cope with Anna's "spirited" personality. Isn't "spirited" a much nicer term than saying my wilful/ annoying/ exhausting/ PITA child? All terms I use readily (in my head not out loud) when dealing with Anna. Apparently spirited children are more alert, persistent and sensitive than others, plus they are more energetic, have worse moods and are shy in new situations. Yes, that describes Anna pretty well. I have this book on order.

Well this week, my spirited child has:
  • has spent two to three hours every night screaming after being put to bed instead of going to sleep, and then waking at 11pm-midnight to start another 3 hour screaming match. Yes she has a regular bedtime and bed routine (bath, book bed), she also has soft music playing all night, heating to keep her room to a constant 20deg, curtains with three layers of lining to keep out the light, and we tiptoe around keeping quiet. All to no avail!
  • after an hour of the second stage screaming match, she comes into our bed to sleep and she quietens down but then she then proceeds to play with my hair or stroke my face or arm for most of the remaining night;
  • broke the arms off my prescription sunglasses, the second pair of my glasses she's ruined;
  • slapped some children at daycare;
  • refused to eat dinner most nights, instead opting for raisin toast; and
  • managed to peel a few keys off my laptop:

Sigh..... but, her vocabulary is amazing, her words come out loud and clear, and she is pretty switched on - she saw me searching for a shoe the other day and she went off and found it! Of course she probably hid it in the first place but she was smart enough to work out what I was looking for. She is also starting to recognise pictures and say what they are, her current favourite being dog, clock and car:

I know long term having an alert and smart child is great, but boy is it tiring right now...

Anyway enough babbling on about my child - the reason I tell you all of this is to report on my woeful progress this week on those annoying curtains, other sewing, this blog, essentially anything not related to trying to get a screaming toddler to settle and sleep! Basically curtains are half done - I've done four drops, only four more to go. And I vowed to myself not to move on to anything else until they are done so I am aiming to finish them this weekend even if I stay up all night, because I have plans for another red skirt for me.

I did however quickly whip up this lumpy looking dog bed from some bright green terry towelling from the stash, stuffed with fabric scraps:

It's just a rectangle of fabric with rows of stitching sewn across the width to create a channel to stuff. Of course Anna had to have a test lie down before the dog did:

Yes, she's still in her pyjamas and slippers - it's been cold around these parts lately! And then she generously shared her dummy with the dog:

I wish I could say I managed to get the dummy from her before it went back into her mouth, but alas I wasn't quick enough. It's alright though, because shortly after this photograph she rinsed it out in the dog's drinking bowl LOL! Germs are good for kids, right?

The dog bed looks a little small, I measured it to fit into his sleeping crate, but didn't take into account that when it was stuffed it would get shorter. Anyway it does the job and got some fabric scraps out of my sewing room, although two days after I took this photo the dog has ripped part of it open so now those sewing scraps are swirling around the garage! Double sigh, I think I have a spirited dog too......

I will see you all shortly on the other side of my curtain sewathon, I promise!


Saturday 12 June 2010
Well that bout of tonsillitis knocked me down for longer than expected. Even after my throat stopped hurting I still felt unbelievably tired, achy and nauseous. I was scared witless that I was either preggers or had the flu, both of which would be terrible options for me at this point in time, but thankfully it's all passed now and I'm back to normal. I think a year or two of greatly disturbed sleep just caught up with me in a big way, and I'd like to say I caught up on some sleep but with hurricane Anna still in the house that's just not gonna happen. Anna's teeth seem to have settled down as well, because she's back to waking only three times a night and sleeping only half the night in our bed (this is good for her, trust me!).

Anyway, I ventured back into my sewing room the other night and was hoping to do a big ta da! reveal of a new skirt in a colour other than grey but sadly it has turned out to be a big fat wadder. I did take a photo though to prove to you all that I did actually sew with fabric other than grey:

It's the Kasia skirt from Burda Style, one of their free download patterns. I was a bit dubious about it, being high waisted (which is totally not my style) and gathered at the hips (which is my widest part), but having seen so many great versions out there in bloggyland, and wanting to try something different for a change I ignored my inner voice. Well sadly, it's bad and I should have stuck with what I know. Even with doing an adjustment for a sway back, I found the skirt to overall be to large and badly fitted to my body, and I think red corduroy was probably a bad choice too. If I had enough fabric I would have cut out the back hip panels without the gathering to see if that improved it, but sadly I didn't have enough fabric to try. And then I noticed that I had cut some panels on a different nap to the others, so that the front looked matte whilst the back looked shiny. So it was beyond salvage.

I originally bought this fine wale corduroy with a slight amount of stretch to make Anna a pinafore so I had only bought a single metre, but I liked it too much so I decided to use if for me. Oh well, I'll rip it apart and could probably still eek out a dress or skirt for Anna from it so no great loss at the end of the day.

For anyone else contemplating this skirt, it has a bajillion pages that you need to sticky tape together, and there seem to be hundreds of pieces that need to cut, interfaced and sewn together (16 pieces for the waistband alone!). It's a fiddly but not difficult project and like I said, other people have achieved all sorts of awesomeness out of this. Just not me.

So now I'm in a strange place in terms of sewing. All the fabric I pull out and the patterns I'm drawn to are formal, work wear pieces which I definitely don't need since I only work three days a week and have a huge work wardrobe already. I really need smart casual pieces for my second job moonlighting as a yummy mummy half the week, but I'm crap at sewing with knits or making pants and pencil skirts don't really make sense at playgroup. Hmmmmm, maybe some more inspirational blog trawling is required.

But I am on with another task that I've left far too long: finishing sewing the curtains for my living and dining rooms. I meant to sew them before last summer, but now that winter has arrived and it's cold I need some heavy curtains to cover the expanse of glass. But they are so boring...........

and my woes continue

Thursday 3 June 2010
Well Anna has had another tooth pop out and she has calmed down somewhat. She is still waking 3 or 4 times each night, but goes back to sleep relatively quickly. Good thing too, because now I am quite sick with tonsilitis. It might be a week of icecream for dinner for me!