Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A couple of bears at a farm...

I'm not really a people person, but when I'm feeling ill, (re: right now) I'm especially prone to being a crank. Honestly, I kind of feel like a grouchy old bear trapped in a lady costume.

(Not that it takes illness for me to relate to bear-dom. I know most people would probably like to think that if they were an animal they'd be birds or cats or something sweet, but not me. My animal self would probably be a cranky old Momma bear- hanging out in the mountains by some river ready to tear apart the first person to try and hurt her cub. Also, Winter- I could sleep through it.)

I guess the flip side of that would be my little lady who likes to hang out in her bear costume. These pics were taken at Cooper's tree farm. Geez, from just reading my blog it kind of looks like I spend an inordinate amount of time hanging out at farms, but it's Georgia, so yeah.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Things I Forgot To Mention #3... Water Lily costume

The thing I forgot to mention about Elsie's water lily Halloween costume... After looking at every single costume for 6-9 month old babes I still couldn't find one I liked, so I got out my sketch pad and drew up a water lily costume. Then I stitched every last stitch with my two tired hands, right down to the little satin booties. It took me over a week to sew but in the end, I think it was so worth it to give my little lady a completely unique, entirely custom made dress to wear for her first Halloween. Also, because she is so tiny, it only took about a yard of fabric to make (not counting some of the details where I used stuff I had on hand.) Which means that I paid A LOT less money than all those crappy ma de-in-China ones in the stores. The white petals were reincarnated from an old work blouse that didn't fit well (ever) and the fluffy underskirt was cut from the bridesmaid dress my mom wore to my aunt's wedding in the late 80's. (Oh, you can bet I've got more plans for that hot pink monster!) For the headband I didn't make any pattern at all- I just free handed it, and I was so thrilled with the results. I loved making the headband so much, that when I get a little free time I want to open an Etsy store selling nothing but unique head gear. I was actually shocked with how much she loved wearing the whole get-up! Maybe it was because she got so much attention- everywhere we went people goo-ed and gah-ed over her! Even the lady working the window in the Wendy's drive through as we stopped for a frosty on our way home exclaimed, "She looks like a flower princess!"

(She's totally playing air guitar.)

As I was undressing her after our little in home photo shoot I couldn't help but pause to take a picture of her looking like one of those Cabbage Patch dolls at Babyland General Hospital with their heads poking out of the cabbage!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Things I Forgot To Mention... about the sunflower outfit

Did you like Elsie's outfit from the last post?

I forgot to mention that I totally made it.

Well, I made it cute.

Before I go any further in writing this I'd like to take you back about twenty years.

To a Wal-Mart.

In Dawsonville Georgia.

You see kids, back in those days Wal-Marts were not "super". They closed at 9 pm (earlier than that on Sundays), and sold a somewhat limited range of items. (Limited here meaning that you could only buy a shot-gun, tennis balls, a fish-tank, some fish to go in your fish-tank, and some cheap blue jeans- unlike today where you can get all those things AND a ham with Paula Deen's face on it... at 2 am.) Also, back in those days (1991) they ALL sold fabric too- which brings me back to where I'd like to take you- the fabric aisle of a Wal-Mart in 1991: the place where I bought my first fabric. I can't remember what my Memaw (re: Grandmother) had brought me there to buy- in all likelihood some of the aforementioned cheap blue jeans- but I was not leaving without a yard of what I considered to be the most beautiful fabric I'd ever seen. It was red and white gingham- dress weight- with bright blossoming sunflowers printed all over. Memaw asked me what I was going to make with it, and I said, "Everything." I wanted a dress made out of that material. I wanted a shirt covered in those glorious sunflowers. I wanted my bedspread to look like an autumn picnic. And a hat. And shoes, too. Memaw asked me how much of it I wanted and I spread out my arms, and she must have misunderstood me, because a gesture which in I meant to infer a measurement of "infinity" she took as "about a yard". Clearly she didn't understand my deep love of, and grandiose plans for "the most beautiful fabric ever made". Still, to my six year old eyes, a full yard of the stuff looked pretty darn close to infinity. Over that Summer I fretted over what to make. Barbie got a dress made out of the stuff- that goes without saying- then, realizing I didn't have quite enough to upholster my entire room, I sewed a little pillow in the shape of a heart. At this point a third of it was gone! I had to be realllly discerning with what I made next- fortunately that is where my Brad's aunt Johnnie came in. In my eyes there was absolutely nothing she couldn't make, so when she offered to babysit us one day at her house I brought my precious precious sunflower gingham along. Like Memaw before her, she asked me what I wanted to make out of it, and I showed her a picture I had drawn- kind of a rudimentary pattern. On the back was a picture of me wearing the finished product- kind of an insane sunflower covered wedding dress, with a matching giant sunflower covered hat. She looked at the fabric with my jagged zigzag cuts in it where Barbie's dress and my "heart" shaped pillow had come from and broke the news to me- there wasn't enough there do to much with, but she might just be able to get a little sundress out of it for me. I consoled myself to the fact that there would be no giant matching hat and entrusted her ever skillful hands with my prized material. What came out of it was no cinderella-at-the-ball-looking-insane wedding dress, but it was the sweetest little sundress my heart had ever seen. I wore the heck out of it. My mom even bought me a hat with a big silk sunflower glued to the front of it to go with it. Aunt Johnnie put the scraps into a little plastic bag for me, and I kept those scraps in my dresser- I knew someday I would have something I could do with them, but it had to be reallllly good and special to warrant the use of my beloved sunflower gingham.

Years went by, and I moved out, and moved around a dozen more times. Over the years I saw most of my belongs get sold, broken, lost, given away, thrown away, but a few things remained safe in my parent's basement. Then this year I moved back to Georgia and my mom asked me to clean out her basement. That was when I found my tiny bag of scraps that brought back the memory of my very first sewing projects inspired by a material I adored. I emptied the bag and the contents were so few that sewn completely together, you could barely get one quilt square out of it, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it: make something for Elsie. I'd waited years to find something that merited it's use and the time had finally come. I took a pair of plain boys overalls, and stitched it over the bottom cuffs, having to "Frankenstien stitch" in the back a little because I didn't have quite enough of one solid piece, so I had to put a few scraps together in order to go all the way around. I put the last tiny scrap across the front pocket, and finally sewed on a bow made of matching ribbon I had lying around. I knew the outfit wouldn't be complete without a matching hat or something of the sort, so I disassembled a big silk sunflower and stitched it to a strip I cut out of an old red t-shirt to make a headband. Elsie probably has 100 outfits, but this one is my favorite. .

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Things I forgot to mention... In October

In October we went to Burt's pumpkin farm, which, if you live in North Georgia is THE place to go to buy a pumpkin. It's not just about buying a pumpkin, it's the whole "visiting the pumpkin farm" thing. All the cool kids go there. (And by "cool kids" I actually mean dorky parents who get their jollies going places and having wholesome fun with their family).

I really just wanted to go to take pictures of Elsie looking adorable in the giant pumpkin patch, and maybe take the hay ride, where halfway through, the ride stops at a little barn-stage thing and animatronic pumpkin-people things come out and tell you about Jesus. (True story.) I was going to just buy a tiny pumpkin to take home, and paint Elsie's name on or something cute like that, but Grandma and Grandpa insisted on getting us the biggest bestest pumpkin you ever saw.

It took several days of planning and sketching to decide what I wanted to carve out of such an awesome vegetable canvas. At one point it was going to be a cat, at another point I was going to try to do something inspired by my art deco book, but in the end I just sat down with a knife and started carving away until I got a face I was pleased with. My trusty sidekick helped out by pushing errant seeds through the slits in the deck- we'll surely have a pumpkin plant growing under there next year! Then the pumpkin ate her!

But she was pretty happy about it.

It was really warm and I had put a towel down inside the pumpkin to protect her from encountering any lingering pumpkin guts. I don't think anyone sends out cards for Halloween, but wouldn't this just make the cutest Halloween card?

The face I got out of my pumpkin didn't turn out too bad either! I know she's too young to remember her first trip to the pumpkin farm, but hopefully one day she'll enjoy looking at the pictures from such a sweet day!

Things I forgot to mention...

I joined Blogger in 2006.

I became a regular blogger in 2008.

I wrote constantly.

We moved out of the country, we moved back to the US, we moved to NYC, then we came back to Georgia.

In 2011 Elsie was born and my online presence became a ghost of it's former self, generally consisting of Facebook status updates from my phone while nursing. (Mind you, I never posted updates about nursing, thank you very much.)

Then I got tied up in a writing project of massive proportions, which, sadly, goes yet unfinished.

Then the holidays came, and as they waltzed in, all my free time waltzed out in the flurry to make make make paintings and pillows and ornaments and scarves and frames and wreathes and curtains and candles.

And then suddenly it was 2012, and even though the world *may* end this year (or whatever) I went back to college. Honest to goodness college complete with professors and desks and $200 text books. Oh my!

So here it is the middle of January 2012 and it's after 2 am and I was lying awake in bed thinking of all the things that I'd like to do tomorrow- meet up with a girlfriend, finish a paper (actually, I should probably be working on that right now instead of writing this, but come on- this will only take a minute and besides, what kind of a college student would I be if I didn't have a deep seated love of procrastination?), also fold all the laundry and vacuum the living room made the list but they're both too loud to do right now, and I dare NOT wake my little sleeping beauty or her father.

And as I was lying there in bed thinking of all the things I should have accomplished earlier and everything I want to do tomorrow (hopefully after a little sleep) I realized how much I missed blogging. So I got out of bed and scrolled through my blog's pathetic little posts for the past year, and realized that not only have I missed the writing aspect, but I miss reading my own posts, especially in a year that has brought so much change and joy I can't help but feel a sharp tinge of regret that I didn't document it better, so I'd like to take the next couple of posts and call them "Things I Forgot To Mention..."