Baptism Dress

Baby Athena was born February 28, 2012. Before she was born, her mother asked Jonathan and me to be her godparents. We were thrilled to be asked and joyfully accepted. At first I was looking at baptism dresses on Etsy.com. I saw some that I really liked, but they were fairly pricey. Then I realized, I can make a dress!

Have I ever sewn clothes before? Nope. Well, there was the pair of fleece pajama pants I made one Christmas, but that hardly counts. I’ve never made a collar or set in sleeves. But I figured, it’s just a LITTLE dress.

I found a pattern and some great cotton fabric that already had a lacy pattern, so no lace embellishments would be needed.

Of course the picture on the pattern envelope shows the dress covered by a jacket, which I didn’t make.

It’s been quite a while since I got out my sewing machine, and did I mention it was only a little dress, and I figured it would be more of a pain than anything to try to make something so small on a machine that I have such little control over. I definitely need more practice. So for this dress, I decided to make it all by hand.

My MO is to procrastinate until the pressure is on and then get down to business. So while I had cut out the pattern pieces earlier on, I didn’t really get down to business until I had less than two weeks to go. But once I got started, I caught the sewing bug and was able to work on it almost every day.

There are two pieces, the dress itself and a separate slip. When I came to a part of the dress pattern I didn’t understand, I switched gears and worked on the slip instead. Here’s a photo of the hem being turned under:

And a couple more of the neckline of the slip:

And here is Teddy modeling the slip:

Luckily I have a coworker who has sewn a lot of children’s clothes, so I took my pattern in to work and had her help me figure out the troublesome instructions, and I dove back into sewing on the dress.

Collar:

Sleeves:

I guess I cheated because I used snaps instead of buttons.

The only part I wasn’t satisfied with was the way the collar didn’t meet in the back. But I matched the notches and turned under the placket at the fold lines, so I don’t know what went wrong.

I finished it just in time.

Baby Athena was baptized June 8, 2012.

Baby Sock Corsage

I’m co-hosting a baby shower at work tomorrow. I didn’t make a diaper cake this time, and I had intentions of knitting a hat for the baby but I didn’t get around to doing that either. So I figured I’d try my hand at another cutesy baby shower craft that has come to my attention: the baby sock corsage. I looked at a lot of examples on the internet, bought a bunch of supplies, and gave it a try. I have zero experience with arranging flowers and I’m here to tell you it isn’t easy!

I had a hard time getting the socks to really look like rosebuds, and making them stay in place. I’m pretty sure I won’t be attempting this one again. It turned out ok but I don’t love it and it wasn’t much fun to make.

Addendum 2/23/11: The shower is today and I forgot the corsage at home. Oh well!

Animals Are Our Best Friends

Jonathan and I are cat people. Before we joined our households, I had two cats and he had three. Two of his went to live with his mom and his tomcat, Mavro, came along when he moved in with me and Daphne and Daisy.

We honeymooned in Bryce Canyon, Utah, during the last week in October. We were only about an hour’s drive away from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary –known as the setting for the National Geographic Channel’s series Dogtown— in Kanab, Utah, and one day we drove down (in terms of both the compass and elevation– it was much warmer there!) for a visit. First we watched a video at the visitors’ center, then hopped in a van to take a tour of the property. I was a fan of the show Dogtown, but once I was there I quickly realized that the show doesn’t do justice to the gorgeous canyon setting. Despite the fact that we’d been enjoying the majestic Canyon for a few days, we were struck by the beauty of the high plateau where Kenab is located.

Our tour included a stop at one of the cat buildings where we got to go inside and pet the cats. Another stop was at one of the dog runs where a trainer showed us some of the work he does with the dogs. We didn’t get to visit any of the other habitats, such as where the pigs, goats, horses, fowl, or rabbits live. The most touching part is the animal cemetery that’s on the property. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the van as we slowly drove past.

Here is a collection of snapshots I took while we were there:

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Getting to see the cats certainly made us miss our babies back home, and we were glad to be reunited with them when we returned. We brought back a toy stuffed with catnip from the gift shop at the sanctuary. When we left our suitcase open on the bed, I found Daphne burrowing her way through the clothes to get to that catnip.  Sadly, that’s one of the last memories I have of her being her normal self.

In early November, not long after we got back home, Daphne started acting sick. Earlier on this blog I chronicled our adventures with Daphne’s bladder surgery, so my first thought was that she was having more bladder troubles. She was hiding under our bed and refusing food and water. But when I took her to the vet we found out it was something much worse: congenital heart failure. Probably something she was born with, although I’d never had a reason to believe she had heart problems in her four and a half years. After two intense days at a specialty animal hospital, we brought her home, thinking that with daily medicine we’d have about six more months with her. But it didn’t quite work out that way. It didn’t take long for us to realize she was in really bad shape and not getting better. So as sad as it was, it was something of a relief when we came home on November 19 and discovered that she was no longer suffering.

It’s been three months since we lost her, after she’d been with me for over four years. I don’t think about her every day, but any time I get sad about something else, I wind up thinking about her.

I think Jonathan and I will probably be the parents of many cats in the future, but Daphne will always hold a special place in my heart. Mavro and Daisy are still working on their new two-cat dynamic. Daphne was the alpha and I think Daisy is trying to take over that role. Mavro is much bigger than Daisy but he has a very mild temperament. They will play together and chase each other around the house, but there’s also quite a bit of playful-but-kind-of-serious hissing and fighting. Time will tell whether they become better friends, but at least for now they seem to have a truce.

Girl Meets Boy

I haven’t blogged much this year, it’s true. It’s been quite a year. I met a nice boy in February. In June he asked me to marry him. And on October 23, 2010, we became husband and wife.

Now I have to decide what to do with this blog. Is anybody still out there? Want me to start blogging on here again now that I’ve been through a major life change and things are settling back down?

Another Attempt

I mentioned before that only a few of my zinnia seeds sprouted, and none of the morning glories or coneflowers. I think maybe I shouldn’t have put the mulch over them until they came up. Oh well.

Now I’m trying bedding plants instead. I got some dark pink vincas and planted them in a row in front of where the zinnias should be:

What, you can’t see them?

How about now?

They’ve been in the ground for about three days, and I keep checking to see if they’ve doubled in size yet. (not yet.) I gave them a little water with Miracle Gro when I planted them, but we’re on water restriction here in Nashville so I haven’t watered them anymore. I think it’s going to rain in the next day or two though. And I bent the rules and watered my tomato and petunias today because they were looking wilted. In my defense I haven’t washed clothes or dishes all week!!

Oh yeah. Flowers. I also got these little gems which I’ve never had before. They’re called Million Bells, or calibrachoa. Sort of like tiny petunias.

They’re supposed to tolerate drought well. I got creative and put them in these pots IN the bed. Don’t ask me why.

Dark pink.

Apricot (my favorite).

A cat.

Adventures in Home Ownership: Fixing a Broken Toilet

Step 1: Remove surrounding furniture

Step 2: Take the lid off the tank and dive in.

Step 3: Get your hands dirty.

Step 4: Remove the old flush valve seal. Replace with new one. Put everything back together.

Survivors

I was out of town for the Great Flood so I missed all of the excitement. I got home on Monday expecting my tomato plant to be pounded to a pulp, but I was pleasantly surprised.

It even has a few blooms on it!

I was also amazed to see that the crape myrtle was still standing. I had the pot sitting in the old flower bed but the wind kept blowing it over so I propped it up against the house. I thought surely the torrential rains would’ve knocked it over, but I was wrong.

Before I left on my trip there were only a couple of zinnia seedlings coming up where I planted all of my seeds. Unfortunately it looks like they’ll be the only ones. I planted the zinnias in a row across the front but it’ll just be this one little clump, and no coneflowers or morning glories. I’ll be searching for replacements this weekend.