Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good-bye 2011


Darth Baby signs mama and I actually get it in a picture.


The bear cub stands independently for 15 seconds and takes her first independent step. We had real snow, enough to actually collect.


The nerdlet threatens to run away for the first time. Darth Baby holds herself in a sitting position for the first time. I saw 'Wicked' in the theater.


I start Darth Baby on solids. This was a big month for all of us being sick with a number of different things.


My older nephew graduated from high school and my younger nephew had his first communion. The bear cub learned to sip from a straw cup. So did Darth baby. Darth Baby starts rolling over. The neighbor's tree knocks off pieces of our roof. The bear cub starts walking a few steps at a time. The nerdlet, Q, and I went to the beach for Mother's Day.


Suki (my younger dog, age 9) had a huge cyst removed from her butt. I made a bib pattern. The nerdlet finally hit 25 pounds. The bear cub went to the beach for the first time and shows that she can eat yoghurt with a spoon.


Darth Baby was baptized and starts climbing. The bear cub starts walking full time and we start potty training her. I had my first sewcation.


Darth Baby starts crawling. She also starts pulling to a stand and she got her first tooth. The National Down Syndrome Convention was held in San Antonio and I learned a great deal and got to meet with a number of online friends for the first time. The bear cub ends up in the ER from a fall but was fine and was shown to not have AAI.


Baby starts standing independently, cruising, and taking steps. After so many months without any rain, we finally get some again. The nerdlet has her first roller coaster ride and loves it. The bear cub inherits some Sure Steps and starts walking everywhere without issues.


Darth Baby starts walking. The swollen lymph node in my neck is tested and turns out to be solid lymph tissue. Darth Baby starts tries meat for the first time, decides she likes eating after all, and starts self feeding.


The girls and I go with my mom to visit relatives in El Paso, Yuma, and Las Angeles. The girls see their first movie. The new roof is finally done. The nerdlet gives herself a haircut.


Plumbing issues again. Washer and dryer break down and have to be replaced. The bear cub's first eye surgery is scheduled. Darth Baby starts speaking words other than Mama and Daddy. She says cat, dog, up, bye-bye, and this.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ottobre 6/2011-3

Over Christmas at my mom's, I was lucky enough to have time to trace a few patterns for the bear cub. Her measurements are all over the place with her waist and hips at newborn size (56), her torso length longer than the nerdlets (98), and her height at 86 cm. For this sweater, I made a straight 92 and just shorted the sleeves 1 1/2 inches. When I make this again, and I most surely will, I will shorten the sleeves less and take some of it out of the cuffs.

She really liked this and giggled as I put it on her and tried to help me get it on faster. Also, she wouldn't let me take it off of her even though it is 74 degrees in the house (~23 Celsius). It fits her great and it is now the only long sleeved item that fits her well and it will be very warm as it is lined.

The nerdlet was quite jealous and has asked for her own, but that will likely not be happening as on cold days she insists on her short sleeved dresses and often ends up taking her stockings off, but I did let her try it on before I finished it.

Just a final note, this sweater probably would only take an hour to make if you are alone. With three young girls it takes 10 hours, not including tracing the pattern off.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

BurdaStyle Magazine 01-2012

I'm mostly uninspired by the January magazine, but there are still a few pieces I'm considering.

First the line drawings.

And the views at a glance:

I liked dress 109, but there is no way that I would ever make it for myself. Besides it being sleeveless I don't think it would be that flattering on anyone that is very curvy.

Dress 110 is nice. I wonder how it would look if I added the sleeve equivalent of a dicky. Is there a word for that?

I also like top 116, but it doesn't seem particularly special to me.

I really liked the plus sized top 130 on the cover.

And 133 intrigues me, but it may just be the pattern of the fabric that I like.

The costume patterns cracked me up. I especially thought the USA astronaut stuff was amusing considering we don't really have a program anymore.

Next months preview didn't really draw me in either. I don't exactly see a trend of outside pockets catching on at all.

Monday, December 19, 2011

5 Things I Don't Like

1. Lately there has been a lot of fanfare about Elf on the Shelf. I read this, which is talking about the holiday tradition gone overboard. Personally I find him creepy and I can only imagine the screaming the nerdlet would do each day as she saw him and thought he was watching her.

2. Another thing that seems to be wildly popular but I've never understood the draw of is the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I read somewhere that the movie is better if you watch it with the though that the whole thing takes place in the friend's head, but I haven't been willing to watch it again to see.

3. White Chocolate. Yuck.

4. Snow. It's really the cold I dislike so much. Being cold is physically painful for me and not just uncomfortable. Last year when San Antonio had its first real snow in like 20 years (enough to collect and actually make snowballs and small snowmen), I was not even tempted to go outside. Q took the girls for brief jaunts to play in it. Even when I was little I wasn't really tempted to go play in the snow and only went if I was forced outside. I went on a single ski trip about a decade ago and was afraid I would be miserable and while I enjoyed myself, I will admit to not wanting to extend any of my time outside.

5. The People of Wal-mart Meme. I hate these posts/emails with a passion. Can't these poor people just be left alone?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sani-Sacks Galore

I've been busy today. I finally finished the sani-sacks for the therapists and relatives.

I managed to split the snap on the UT version, so that one was pretty much a waste, and on one of the blue calico ones, I put the flap snap upside down, so that is why the flap is folded under again. I'll be loading up on snaps at the next notions sale.

The rest of this post is going to be about how I made two sacks in one hoop. I really hate wasting the embroidery stabilizer and decided that I needed to find a way to conserve the material. I was thinking about just making the smaller sack size with the medium eyelet, but found I could fit two medium sacks in my largest hoop.

I placed the two side by side with one of them rotated 180 degrees.

In this picture of step A, the two sacks are offset by only about 1/2 centimeter. I found that ideally, I like 1 1/2 centimeters between the bottom of the sack on the right and the top of the sack on the left so that there is enough space to trim the fabric and separate the sacks easily.

Step B is even easier and I just placed them side by side without offsetting them, still turning one 180 degrees and trimming the side of the right sack close to the edge.

Now, at some point I can get to sewing some clothing for myself and maybe a few items for the bear cub (since she needs shorter sleeves on her long sleeve items and her sisters can easily wear store bought).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Sani-Sacks

I finished the first of the Sani-Sacks. I made the medium size as my first sample that I made a while ago was the small and looking at various stores in four states, I never found any sanitizer in a container small enough to fit in the small version.

One of the therapists chose UT fabrics and actually asked for the UT bag, but I said it was spoken for and unfortunately I don't have any more of that fabric. If I have time between now and Monday to finish all the Sani-Sacks and make another bag in this fabric, then I will make her a UT bag also. I made a mistake on this sack but if she wants this one, I will give it to her with her gifts. Each therapist is getting one of the bags, 3 nylon scrubbies that I crocheted during the drive out west that I made in early November, and a tote on a hook (possibly with sanitizer in it, depending on cost).

Here is the tote, sans snap.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2nd Sewcation 2011 part 2

Today was the second and last day of this sewcation. I made bags for the bear cub's therapists. I also made one for my sister. I wasn't planning on making one for her, but as I hadn't made one in a while, didn't have a pattern, and didn't want to mess up with the nicer fabric, I decided to make one out of the UT fabric as a trial run first.

I also started on making the Sanitizer totes, but I only got the fabric cut out and prepped. In the picture, you can see the other totes I made for the therapists.

For any of Q's or my immediate family, if you see a pattern you like, let me know so that I can give you that one. Otherwise, you'll get the one I choose as a best guess, except of course for my mom that will get the kitties (though I do have more kitty fabric so let me know if you like that one and I'll make another).

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2nd Sewcation 2011

I'm having another sewcation. Q took the girls yesterday evening to visit my mom's with the instructions to not return until tomorrow evening. I spend last night and this morning cleaning.

And the rest of the day I was completely immersed in finishing the Christmas present for my BIL (my younger sister's husband). Each year I try to spend a lot of time and energy for one big gift and this year was his turn. I only finished the top and won't quilt it until it stop raining because we have a lot of power outages and I don't want to risk plugging in the quilting machine. Here are two views of it unquilted.

I was skeptical that I chose the wrong borders as I was putting it together but I'm pretty pleased with it. My sister said he prefers scrappy quilts and that really isn't my thing, but I gave it a shot. I'm planning on quilting it with red thread as soon as the rain lets up and hopefully I can get it shipped so it doesn't arrive too long after Christmas day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

When Is It Acceptable?

I went to Wal-mart today on the way home from Katie's 4 year appt at the doctor for milk and bananas. As I was getting bananas, an elderly lady wheeled up in her scooter and asked me for help. I got her the bananas she asked for and she turned to my girls and waved to them. The bear cub waved back and the lady said, "Oh what a beautiful Mongoloid child!"

I started to correct her, "She's not Mon.."

"Dear, I'm a nurse or I was before I retired in 1974, and I know a Mongoloid when I see one."

"She has Down syndrome. It isn't acceptable to use the term Mongoloid anymore. It's offensive." I told her.

"Everything has changed so much." She was shaking her head as she wheeled away.

One thing is true though, the bear cub sure is beautiful.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Starting School

In the process of just trying to get an appointment to get the bear cub evaluated for school, I learned a lot about how hard dealing with public school and ensuring that she get the best education possible was going to be.

First they gave me a hard time about showing up in the first place. They left me a message saying that I could not have an appointment because she was too young, even though I knew of more than one parent who was scheduled to be there that had a child younger than the bear cub. The lady that left this message did so after their operating hours and when I called immediately back, the receptionist gave me a hard time about calling after their operating hours and questioning the message in general. I still have this message on my phone.

Then when I did show up, although they had my name at the front desk to get a visitor's pass, I was not on any of their other paperwork. They were so very generous in allowing me to sit in on their information meeting, which I recorded. It was given by a speech therapist and gave me a lot of positive feelings about what to expect, until the meeting was over and they directed me to another room where the other personnel told me that what I heard wasn't true and that I must have misunderstood what was said. I basically was told I had two options: PPSC in a non-inclusive setting, which was 3 hours a day five days a week or Head Start which was inclusive, but in which I would get no therapy, which was all day five days a week. I was also told that putting my 20 pound little girl in a five point harnessed car seat was not going to be possible. The lady who knew about the Head Start Program basically told us this and then ran out saying that she was double booked and had to go to another school.

In addition to this, I had a wonderful conversation with the lady that scheduled my evaluation. She asked me what my concerns were. I was a little thrown by the question, thought a bit, and answered that I was concerned that my bear cub would not get the education she deserved which would help her live up to her potential so that she could be independent and have a good and happy life. The lady rolled her eyes at this and said she meant does she have any medical issues that need to be addressed. I explained that she had an issue with her eyes that would be addressed with surgery but that would be taken care of before she entered school most likely and that there weren't any other medical issues that I could think of. She rolled her eyes again, sighed loudly, and asked if she had Down syndrome. I said yes. She told me I should try to just answer the questions asked. I explained that I had answered exactly the question asked and that I did not think that her having Ds was an issue and I didn't appreciate the way the question was asked or the implication that there was something inherently wrong with her. Needless to say or write, I was not left with the impression that the public school is on my daughter's side or looking out for her best interests.

After some very fortunate chance conversations with a first grade teacher that works in our school district and a therapist from Brighton, I learned that these things were not true and that I did have more options. Both encouraged me to look into Brighton Center and also to acquire an advocate. I've signed up for some parent advocate training, am looking into finding an advocate for any future meetings, and called to tour Brighton Center.

Today I was scheduled to tour Brighton Center with the bear cub and look to place her on the waiting list for the transition class, a class geared to children that had not turned three and were learning the skills to make them successful in the classroom prior to entering preschool. When the bear cub and I showed up, she decided to show off. She was very friendly and waved to each staff member that she was introduced to. I was shown each room as we passed them and before going to the transition classroom, we were shown the pre-K 1 classroom full of 3 to 4 year olds. Once the door was opened, the bear cub immediately walked in and went to sit at the table and chairs were the children were making ornaments. The teachers told the class to say hi to her and they did and the bear cub said 'hello' back. This is something that we did not know that she would do. Before now, she has not said 'hello'. The children finished their ornaments which consisted of pushing cotton balls into a clear plastic bottle and then having the contents scented with some sort of oil. The bear cub resisted the teacher doing this hand over hand, but she was willing to choose to take the cotton ball out of my hand to do it herself.

After the craft, the children went to sit at circle time. The bear cub first decided to try out some of the other chairs at the table, but then very shortly went to join the circle trying to pull off the bib that I had put on her as she has been drooling lately. After I helped her get the bib off, she bounded into the middle of the circle and started dancing. She looked around and saw that none of the other kids was dancing and singing and then sat in the circle and started clapping and waving her hands along with them. They had a song where they were signing the alphabet and she was moving her fingers the same way that she does at home when we do the alphabet song (she can't quite sign any of the letters but she does try). While she was doing this, the staff that was giving me the tour told me that she seemed to fit with this group perfectly and that they would put her on the waiting list for Pre-K 1 instead of the transition class. I was so thrilled to hear this and agreed that I thought that was best.

After circle time, the children were getting their jackets on to go outside. The bear cub wanted to line up with them, but as I had left her jacket at the front of the building I figured it was time to leave them. I told the bear cub to say good-bye and she waved and signed 'Thank you'. The kids all said good-bye to the bear cub and one little girl came and told her good-bye up close and they hugged each other. The bear cub resisted leaving and was clearly unhappy to go and was signing play more on the way out.

The therapist told me that the big obstacle that the school would put in my path to having the bear cub have PPCD at Brighton Center was that they would not have a spot for her and I'm hoping that the bear cub will move to having a spot at about the same time that she turns three when she would normally start preschool(since we can't really afford to pay for the preschool for very long). I'm also attending my first parent advocacy training session tomorrow.

Wish the bear cub and me luck!

Friday, December 2, 2011

2nd Eddie Cap

I tried to list the changes and adjustments that I made to the tutorial for the Eddie Cap and realized that there were a lot more than I thought so I decided to do another Eddie Cap, this one with the tweaks that I made from the last one detailed so that someone could follow along. Also, I used directional fabric and quilting cotton, so I'll be adding my changes for that also.

I made this cap for a 22 inch head.

The items you'll need:
A little less than ½ yard fabric. In the first Eddie Cap that I made, I used a very flowy, medium weight polyester. In this version I used quilting cotton.
Lightweight Interfacing for both bill pieces and for the top piece.
Regular weight Wonder Under for the front band piece
Peltex or other stiff fabric for bill stabilizer (not necessary if you are using thicker fabric)
Scissors and rotary cutter
Chalk or something temporary to mark the fabric (I didn't use this at all, but it helps to mark points)
Sewing machine

As the original tutorial here used 1/2 seam allowances, I did also.

The pieces.
Top piece: 13 inch square piece of fabric and 13 inch square piece of interfacing
Bill Pieces: 2 pieces 5 inches x 8 1/2 inches of fabric and interfacing and 1 piece of 5 inch x 8 1/2 inch of Peltex
Outside Band piece: 2 1/2 inches x 24 inches of fabric and Wonder Under
Inside Band piece: 2 inches x 24 inches of fabric

Measure 3½” in both horizontally and vertically from each corner cut diagonally to form irregular octagon with 5 inch corners and 6 inch sides. This may be clearer in the orignal tutorial.

The bill.
Stack you rectangles making sure everything is lined up. Fold rectangles in half long-wise and cut the shape of bill that you desire. Notice the direction of the fabric on the bill. You want the top of the design to be toward the top of the bill.

Apply the interfacing to the bill pieces and the top of cap.

Apply wonder under to the wrong side of Outside Band piece.

Cut Peltex to shape of the bill.

Stack the bill pieces right sides together with Peltex on outside.

Sew the 1/2 inch seam around.

Then trim the curve very close to the seam. I try to trim to 1/8 inch or less. You can also clip the curves, but this makes life a lot easier, imo.

Flip right sides out and press.

Then make lines of top stitching. On the previous cap, I made 6 rows of topstitching spaced 1/8 inch apart. This cap has 4 rows spaced 1/4 inch apart.

Cut a curve across bottom open edge to somewhat match the top curve of the bill and set aside. The original tutorial suggests that the bill should only measure about 3″ wide and 4″ wide at the ends. I actually cut both of mine to be 2 1/2 inches in the middle and nothing off the ends.

Sew each band piece right sides together at sides to make 2 circles. Press seams open. Finish along top edge of the 2″ x 23″ inside band.

Tear off paper of Wonder Under.

Baste the bill to interfaced band, right sides together, noting the direction of the outside band. The pattern should be in the same direction as the bill. I start in the middle and sew outward and sewed this with 1/8 inch seam.

And because I'm directionally challenged, I now checked the outside to make sure that I sewed it correctly.

Then starting again at the center I sewed the other half of the bill to the outside band piece again using 1/8 inch seams.

Then to sew the outside and inside band pieces right sides together (the finished end of the inside band piece will be away from the bill), I again started in the front middle and sewed towards the back, this time using 1/4 inch seams.

The I sewed the other side and checked around to make sure that the seam matched well. Notice how beautiful the logo is matched with the center (this is important because in the next step I screw it up).

Again trim close to seam. Pay attention or you will have to redo the band as I did, which results in a less than perfect finish later.

Fold outside band in half to form hem at the top of the band and press making sure that the seam between bands is pressed well. Do this in very small pieces at a time and very slowly as the Wonder Under is not going to allow you to reposition this.

It is now readily apparent that I messed up the band. :(

Since I have an octagon 44 inches in perimeter and I need it to be the 23 inches of the hat. I need to take out 21 inches, which is 2 5/8 for each of the eight sides. For this, on each of the long sides of the octagon, I folded out a scant 1 3/8 inch out of each side. Once it’s folded and pined, the edge should form a curved edge. Also, the inside folds should look like a “V” and the outside should have two straight pleats. This is also demonstrated in the original tutorial.

Starting at the center front, sew top of cap to the inside finished edge of the band, but be sure that the middle of the top is lined up with the middle of the bill (both for the piece and also the direction of the pattern of the fabric). Stop before you get to the back pair of pleats.

Again I check the direction of the pattern and fabric.

Then starting at the middle, sew the other side again stopping before the last pleat.

Adjust pleats so that top fits band perfectly.

Finish sewing top to inside band.

Topstitch 1/8 inch from bottom of bands. Topstitch again 1/8 inch from top edge of outside band, straightening top piece to lay flat as you sew.

You should have a finished cap now.