You know you’ve got the #sewing bug when a stack of neglected mending suddenly looks like an opportunity to practice blind hems and buttons.

1st Sewing Project Successfully Screwed Up

Too-short pillowcase

Well, at least I got that out of the way.

I showed Connor the sewing machine this morning, and he immediately suggested I make a new pillowcase for his Little Pillow, since he somehow lost one of his pillowcases. (In his bedroom. I have no idea.)

I learned a few important things, some of which I already knew:

Ironing is worth it. Necessary, even. It made things go a lot smoother than they might otherwise have gone.

Measure twice, cut once. Actually, make sure to WRITE THE MEASUREMENTS DOWN. Because that’s how I ended up with a short pillowcase: I measured the dimensions, then (supposedly) committed them to memory. What would have worked better would have been to just get one of his other pillowcases and use it as a template.

Also, with cutting: a rotary cutter is most definitely in my future.

Have a full bobbin before starting the work, especially if you do some experimentation and practice runs before starting the real thing, like I did:

Practice zig-zag hems

I ran out of bobbin thread partway through my decorative zig-zag hem, and was confused about how to recover from that. What I ended up doing was starting my sewing from the other end of the fabric after I wound a new bobbin.

Which brings me to my next lesson: always check and recheck all the settings before sewing! While winding the bobbin, I had to twist the stitch length dial to get it out of the way, and I totally forgot to set it back before I started sewing again. D’oh!

So, yeah, basically, this was my chance to mess up, and I did that splendidly. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I’m free to make some different mistakes next time!

 

Tooth Pillow

Tooth Pillow

My son has had a rough few days, with his Very Loose Tooth and his ongoing fever. This morning, his tooth finally came out, so I scraped together a few minutes over my work-at-home lunch break to whip up a tooth pillow for this second tooth.

Of course, I look at this and think, God, this looks horrible. So very first draft, so proof-of-concept. My son thinks it’s awesome, though, and I guess that’s all that matters.

(He did tell me I should write a note for the Tooth Fairy to say that he wants to keep his tooth for his tooth collection. I’m afraid the Tooth Fairy is going to tell him what she tells everyone: you want the cash, you gotta surrender the tooth.)

I tried to get him to pose with his second tooth like he did with his first… but he hasn’t been feeling well, like I mentioned, so my attempts to get him to show his new and bigger tooth gap look like tortured grimaces.

Gap toothed grimaces

We’re going to the pediatrician tomorrow, so hopefully that plus a visit from the Tooth Fairy will make him feel better.

Practice Mushroom

Blue Mario Mushroom

This morning, my son was insistent that we make the Super Mario Mushroom he’d been asking about for weeks. I’m not exactly Little Miss Etsy, but I took Home Ec in junior high and sewed my own plushie music note by hand, so I figured I’ve totally got this.

I found this instructable that put me on the right track, and I convinced Connor that we should make a small “practice” mushroom out of the fabric I had on hand, instead of an 18-inch Giant Mushroom.

I showed Connor all the steps involved in sewing a plushie, even though I actually did everything myself. (Since I hadn’t sewn in several years, I wasn’t sure which steps to let Connor help with.) It took about two and a half hours start to finish, but the end result was a perfectly passable practice mushroom. It has a few imperfections, and I learned what not to do next time, but I really enjoyed myself. My son thinks it’s the best thing ever (for today, anyway), and that’s what I was going for in the first place, so arts and crafts time was a rousing success!

Sewing by hand is kind of meditative. I like it. I should do this more often. I’m sure my son would appreciate it. 🙂

‘Twas the Eve of the Solstice

brownies tied up with ribbon

As I stood in my kitchen this evening, cutting plastic wrap into little squares and individually wrapping brownies I’d just baked from a box mix, I felt… a little out of my element.

This is what “Pinterest Moms” do, I thought. This is what women who grew up baking dozens of Christmas cookies with their own mothers do. Me, I’m almost 40 and I’m having trouble wrapping up my little brownies into cling-wrap burritos that four-year-olds will hopefully be able to open.

A batch of soy candles was cooling on the other counter as I traipsed through the house and into the back closet to fetch a couple different types of ribbon to wrap around the brownies.

Ribbon. To wrap around brownies.

So it’s come to this, my brain snarked as I tied a little raffia bow around each wrapped brownie — again, carefully crafted for little fingers to successfully unfurl. I may as well get used to it. At least preschoolers won’t care what your bows look like.

Perhaps this is practice for future years of favors for class parties. Maybe someday I won’t feel like I’m playing house as the brownie mix poofs up out of the bowl in a dry cloud of chocolate, or as I’m cutting one red fuzzy ribbon into two thin ones because I ran out of gold raffia to tie up the rest of the brownies, or as I slowly become all thumbs and start tying single-loop bows instead of normal double-loop ones like I’d use to tie my shoe.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy baking or making treats for my son’s classmates. It’s just that it seems that so many women do this domestic stuff as naturally as breathing. It’s not just a social-media pop-culture thing, either — I know these women personally. I work with them. Several of them. They make awesome cookies and desserts and —

*pause*

Yeah, I know. I have my own wheelhouse. I don’t have to be good at everything, or feel like I have everything “under my fingers,” to use a musician’s turn of phrase. Some things take practice, repetition, and I’m sure that I’ll feel a lot more room-mother-ish once I do this sort of thing more often.

It was just kind of funny, seeing myself from the outside, studiously wrapping brownies in plastic wrap.

I’m only being “that mom” because we didn’t find out about the Valentine exchange until after groceries. instagram.com/p/y-sgkgNUxs/

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The last time I made candles was for Christmas 2012. These are the 1st I’ve made at the “new” house. instagram.com/p/wuhBootU3c/

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