Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It gets bigger than this?

OK, it's belly time. Here's the thing: I've always had a flat stomach. Big butt, maybe. Flabby thighs, OK. But I've never had a pot belly.

So this is really weird to me. I feel HUUUUGGGGGEE. And it's just the beginning.

16 weeks, first pregnancy

I know, I know. I don't know what huge is yet. It just feels so out-of-the-ordinary big right now that it's hard to imagine. It already gets in the way of sleeping or bending over, to some extent.

As for how I feel: better, but not great. I've gotten much of my energy back, though I still tucker out easily. I thought my horrible headaches were coming to an end, but I've had quite a few this week. They aren't as long-lived as they were before, though. And pregnancy low blood pressure on top of my normal low blood pressure means dizzy spells that create pounding headaches and make me almost faint. I have heard pregnant women faint fairly easily during such blood-pressure related spells, so I try to be careful and sit or lie down quickly.

I still hate food and don't feel like eating, and I'm not any hungrier than I ever was. I never had a big appetite to begin with, so I find this odd. Maybe one of these days food will sound delicious and I'll get super hungry. I guess for now, it's keeping me from gaining too much weight. Or, really, any at all (fat-wise). I think I've gained about 5-6 pounds total in four months, and it seems to be pregnancy-related.

OK, in case you've never been pregnant and you hear that you're supposed to gain 25-30 pounds, and you freak out, that's not all fat. I used to think it was fat because I thought, well, a baby only weighs like 7 pounds. But here's the breakdown:

Baby 7-8 pounds
Placenta 1-2 pounds
Amniotic fluid 2 pounds
Uterus 2 pounds
Maternal breast tissue 2 pounds
Maternal blood 4 pounds
Fluids in maternal tissue 4 pounds
Maternal fat and nutrient stores 7 pounds

So, really, you only want a few pounds of actual fat. And, yeah, I'm still vain and don't want to be someone who gains 60 pounds, with 30 pounds of that as fat. So all in all, I think things are going well so far.

I have not had any exercise, besides housework, and I think I'll feel much better once I do. But it's hard to work a swing shift because if I expend too much energy before work, then it's hard to make it through the night. And it's so darn cold, that just going for a quick walk isn't an option. I definitely see how regular exercise could help you in pregnancy, but at the same time, I don't get it because you just feel too crappy and tired.

Here's to better weeks ahead!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Since finding out I'm pregnant, a couple of friends have sent me little gifts. One friend sent me a few of her favorite children's books and a book written by her friend on balancing motherhood and life.

The other day, I got a box from Amy with a very sweet survival basket for nursing moms.

gift basket

The basket has lots of things a new mother would never think of that a now-nursing mother knows all about:

1. aloe hand sanitizer
2. bendy straws, because she says she had a surprising amount of trouble drinking out of a normal glass while breast-feeding, at least at first.
3. Fiber One bars, for quick, one-handed eating.
4. Mints, for when you don't have time to brush. I still don't believe there's not time to brush, but I have a feeling I'm in for a tough lesson in about six months.
5. Left/right card, to keep track of which boob has a turn next, if you're doing one side per feeding.
6. Notepad with pen, for keeping track of things as you think of them.
7. Motherlove nipple cream
8. Lush neroli oil bars for fighting stretch marks.

gift basket

Pretty much all of these things, save No. 7, would be things I would not have thought of in advance, so thanks so much, Amy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Who needs a stupid capelet anyway?

Months ago, I started working on the Casual Glamour Capelet by Stitch Diva. I had to set it aside to do the Asagio Shawl I promised a friend.

knitting,stitch diva,knit picks,cape,capelet

Do you like my pose? I had to crop my hair out because it was ridiculous -- I was in the process of getting ready.

knitting,stitch diva,knit picks,cape,capelet

Oh, but I made a big mistake. I decided to measure to see if I was nearly done, and I read the diagram wrong. I wasn't supposed to count the collar in the measurement, but I did.

knitting,stitch diva,knit picks,cape,capelet

I realized after I bound off that I was at least three inches short. But I didn't want to fix it. The whole thing actually seemed too small around.

knitting,stitch diva,knit picks,cape,capelet

After blocking, it improved greatly. It's still too short, but maybe I can wear it a few times if I get out of my head what it was supposed to be like.

knitting,stitch diva,knit picks,cape,capelet

The yarn is really soft and pretty, and only $3.99 a ball at Knit Picks. It's the City Tweed in Lemon Curd.

knitting,stitch diva,knit picks,cape,capelet


Remember this bag I embroidered and made? I made it for Mark to give to a friend to give to his gal.

handbags, totes,embroidery

They took it to their cabin, which burned down. And now the purse is no more. Somehow, that makes me really sad. I never thought about one of my little creations dying a horrible death and existing no more.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm a winner, you're a winner. Or is it wiener?

Sweet, kind Emily nominated me for a blog award. Emily churns out quilts at a rate I don't even have time to dream of. She makes beautiful, inspiring things.

beautiful blogger award

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award
2. Paste the award on your blog
3. Link the person who nominated you
4. Tell 7 interesting things about yourself
5. Nominate 7 blogs
6. Post links to those 7 blogs

7 things about me:

1. I adore cats. Everything about cats. But I don't decorate my house with cat objects.

2. I am a really picky eater. Being pregnant and not feeling well makes it really hard to eat.

3. I really want a tail, like a cat or a monkey has. But only if everyone has one and not just me.

4. I think that organizing things is the most fun ever. Like closets, laundry rooms, etc. Anything.

5. I used to be heavily in debt and loved to buy things -- anything at all. Money was no object -- it wasn't money anyway, but a credit card, right? Once I buckled down to pay it all off, I became a serious cheapskate. It's stuck with me.

6. I hate the winter and constantly worry about homeless people and cold animals. Cows, puppies, birds, all of them.

7. When I was 3, I rolled down an airplane window and touched a cloud. Yes, I did. I swear.

Seven blogs I like (besides Emily's):

1. Chickenbone Jones (Amy) - boy, Amy has a way of telling any old story in a hilarious way. Lately, though, it got a bit sad when her little dog became paralyzed right after she brought her new daughter home from the hospital.

2. All Things G&D - Inspiring home decor and a pregnancy blog that came at just the right time. She's just adorable, this girl.

3. Hip Stitch - A local fabric shop run by lovely and inspiring ladies.

4. Living and Knitting on a Maine Island (Marissa) - Marissa lives on a tiny Maine island that was recently featured on Oprah. It has a post office, but no full-time stores or restaurants. I find it fascinating.

5. Kerry Litka|Small Things Considered - She had me at "Freakishly Small Since 1976"

6. Quelle Erqsome - I'm fascinated by her life in England. Even though I believe she's from Canada, I still read her blog posts in a British accent. If I ever met her, I might be confused.

7. Attack of the Redneck Mommy - This woman is just hilarious. A little crass, so be forewarned if you've got a stick up your buttocks.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Just the thing to cheer me up

Not that I needed cheering, though I did have a massive headache today. This week's post on the Warehouse Fabrics Inc. blog was how to make this pleated handbag.

handbag,sewing,warehouse fabrics inc.

I love the fabric, and it made me feel happy using it. In addition to a full tutorial on making the bag, I also broke out separate tutorials on making a non-turn handbag strap and inserting magnetic snaps. I also have included PDFs of the pattern pieces, though I nearly pulled my hair out trying to get everything working right so they printed properly. I think I have it figured out now.

(A full list of my tutorials and projects for the site can be found here.)

Bye-bye, flat stomach

So here goes my waistline. That's OK. It's to be expected with pregnancy, and actually, it's kind of nice not having to suck my stomach in. I've always had a pretty flat stomach and small waist, and focused most of my body image issues on my butt and thighs. Now, I must say, I feel like my butt and thighs hardly bother me at all!

But what do you do around (for me) month 13-14 weeks when your regular pants are just a bit too snug in the waist but you're way too small for maternity clothes? You could wear pants several sizes too big, but are they really going to be flattering?

I was wondering just this thing when the heavens opened, light shone down, angels sang and the Lord brought me Old Navy. Old Navy and its "Real Waist" line of maternity pants.

Here's the thing: They are otherwise normal, stylish pants that have a secret adjustable waist. In theory, one pair could take you from those early days barely showing to the end of your pregnancy. I say "in theory" because, chances are, my butt will expand and need bigger pants. I can cross my fingers, but let's be realistic. I also got Real Waist pants in khaki and black dress pants, which are sort of low-rise flare pants.

These low-rise jeans are surprisingly comfortable. On the inside waist, there is a piece of elastic that runs through and is exposed on either side. The elastic has numerous buttonholes, and the jeans have a button. You just adjust to your current size. Right now, they're adjusted small, so the waist looks a bit bunchy, but they really stay up comfortably - I'm not constantly adjusting them like I usually do with my normal jeans - and my shirt covers the top of them anyway.

Extra benefits: When I bought them, they were $10 online on sale. And I fit into a size 2. I bought regular pants at Old Navy the other day and had to get a 6, which I had never fit into, but my belly was a bit rounder than usual. Nothing makes an expanding pregnant woman feel better than a size 2 label, realistic or not.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My life

In this post, I want to address a couple of things. First, what is this blog about? Well, it's kind of evolved from having no point whatsoever to focusing on my former handbag and accessory business, Burst of Happiness, to focusing on my personal crafts/sewing/pattern making/etc.

As you know, sometimes I write about things I've made, sometimes I write about things I observe or life in general. Sometimes it's boring, sometimes it's funny. Somehow, a few of you stick with me no matter what. I appreciate that.

Where am I going with this? Well, as you now know, I'm pregnant. And I think that some of you don't visit my blog to hear about baby stuff. Maybe you want to see sewing projects, or who knows what. The sewing projects have been more sparse since I've been feeling rather lousy, though I'm starting to feel better now.

Some of you may not really care what I write about; you just think I'm fantastic. Thanks for that! OK, maybe not. But the point is that I see this blog as just being about whatever I'm doing. And what I'm doing is making a small human, so this could frequently be the topic du jour around here for a while.

I'll definitely be squeezing some other stuff in. I have some knitting projects I'm finally finishing up, and I always have my weekly sewing projects for the Warehouse Fabrics Inc. blog that I'll share.

For now, I'm going to make you look at my baby. And my uterus. I realize that many people may not like this kind of thing.
This is "Gummy" at 13 weeks. I like to think Gummy is smiling in this picture.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Things that suck about pregnancy

Here's what I think: I think that mothers have been in cahoots to keep many of the secrets of pregnancy from non-mothers, just to be mean. Just so that we are tricked into going through the same misery. My theory is somewhat flawed because I have no motive for such cruelty; I actually believe women are pretty good people. But all I ever used to hear is how great pregnancy is. Then, after I am pregnant, everyone is suddenly acknowledging the misery. Interesting.

I just want to know how I got to be 35 and never had any clue about so many of these things. I now want to share with the world the suckiness of my first trimester. It may be that I want to whine now that my pregnancy is no longer a secret. But more than that, I just think people deserve to know.

I'd like to start by saying that in my "normal life" I am totally healthy and free of aches and pains. I almost never get sick. As a matter of fact, the only real ailment I have is headaches, but even those mostly went away after I replenished my vitamin D levels. So please understand that I'm not a negative person or a sickly person. I'm in great health and I'm in good shape. Sometimes great shape, sometimes good shape, but I'm never overweight or anything.

But since getting pregnant, these are some of the joys I've discovered:

1. Morning sickness: I had it better than most people - just two weeks and no barfing. But IT WAS AWFUL.

2. Major, debilitating headaches:
In a way, it's like, "what else is new?" I mean, I've always had headaches, but now I get three-day headaches and I can't really take anything but regular strength Tylenol. Any experienced headache sufferer laughs at regular strength Tylenol. It's about as effective on a debilitating headache as a Tic-Tac.

3. Sciatic nerve inflammation:
In my old, Jewish lady voice, "Oy vey, my sciatica is acting up again."

4. Muscle pain:
I woke up the other day and felt like I'd run a marathon. My legs were so sore, I walked like a 95-year-old. Getting up the stairs took forever. And I didn't not do anything strenuous the day before. Actually, I have not done anything strenuous in weeks ... see No. 5.

This one deserves all caps. If you've never been pregnant but have heard that one may be tired during this time, well, you have no idea. You cannot grasp the meaning of tired until you spend three months creating a placenta. For me: get up after sleeping for 10 hours, eat breakfast, wash the dishes, check my e-mail, return to bed for a nap before work.

6. Food Aversions:
Please don't ever show me a vegetable again.

7. Weird Pelvic Pains That Are Apparently Normal But Scare the Crap Out of You Every Time Anyway:
I guess the uterus has to stretch and everything, but you still think "Miscarriage!" at each pang.

8. Ridiculous Emotions:
I cry at everything. Everything. "Desperate Housewives," commercials, a billboard for a fertility clinic that shows one set of hands handing a baby to another set of hands. "It's a Wonderful Life," which I can't even stand but am forced to watch by my husband every year. Even a news story at work about some people who beat their 3-month-old to oblivion for "entertainment." Ok, that one deserved some tears, but usually I'm pretty good at not crying at my desk when reading horrible news stories. It's my job, after all, to read horrible news stories.

9. Bloating:
From the moment I conceived, my belly got big and puffy. I was sure everyone at work was playing "Is she fat or pregnant," but after I told them, nobody seemed to have had any clue. Or at least they were polite enough not to say, "Ohhhh. I was wondering why you looked so dumpy and plumpy."

10. Digestive Issues:
I won't go into detail, lest my mother torture me with prunes as she did when I was a kid. A friend told me yesterday that a pregnant friend of hers once said, "Nobody told me I wouldn't shit for 9 months!" That really says it all, people.

11. Boobs:
OK, so they got bigger, and that was cool, but you know when you have breast tenderness right before your period? Imagine that times 10,000 and for three straight months or more. My cat has a real knack for using my chest as a thoroughfare when I'm sleeping.

Before this, I always thought, "If I'm ever pregnant, I will eat super-healthy and exercise every day. Because that's what a good mother-to-be does."

Now I know what a complete idiot I was. Between nausea and food aversions, you're lucky to eat at all, and thanks to the exhaustion, going upstairs was about all the exercise I could handle in a day and still make it though work that evening.

By the grace of God, or good genetics, I only gained 1.5 pounds in the first trimester. It was certainly no thanks to any effort I put in. I basically had to eat whatever appetized me at the moment. Mostly I find it unfortunate to have to deal with food at all, because even post-morning sickness, I generally don't find that food sounds very good. I don't really feel normal hunger, I just feel sort of sick when it's time to eat. Like my blood sugar dropped and I'm sort of headachey, maybe nauseated, and nothing sounds good.

Oh, but if you think this sounds bad, or that childbirth sounds bad, I hear that those are a fun day at the park compared to breast-feeding.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Baby on board

I have some big news. My three loyal readers may be wondering where the heck I've been the past few months. You were probably waiting on the edge of your seat for my latest creative endeavor and terrible photographs documenting it. Am I right?

But I let you down, again and again.

Well, here's why: I'm pregnant. And since I'm really, really, really old (according to my doctor, who left off all the "reallys," but I like to exaggerate)(I'll be 36 in a month)(That just doesn't seem that old to me). Darn. I lost my train of thought with all those tangents. Oh yeah -- since I'm old, I was just a little over-nervous about making it safely through the first trimester. I just know so many people who have miscarried in those first months. I am now 13 weeks along and had my second OB visit today, so I'm ready to share the news.

What does this have to do with blogging? A few things:

1. I've felt like complete and utter shit for 8 weeks and haven't had the energy or motivation to do any sewing beyond what I do for the Warehouse Fabrics Inc. blog each week.

2. I didn't know how to discuss my life without bringing up the baby. Because my life is just never going to be the same again, and it's a really big deal.

So there you go. I can hardly believe it! I was honestly surprised by the whole thing -- as surprised as you can get. I'm not sure why, since we stopped using birth control last January. But I guess I just really felt in my heart that we would not be parents (and I was OK with that), and so I put it out of my mind and never thought about it. And then, 10 months later ... HELLO!

And now, be glad you did not know until three months in, because you will probably hear way too much about my uterus and fetus and impending motherhood up until July. I apologize in advance.

Cute but itchy

The other day I promised you a project. I've been a bit slow on projects lately. I cut out this jacket months ago and just finally got around to sewing it. It actually came together in no time.


It's Simplicity 3631 made with a 100% (scratchy) wool from Joann's that I got for 50% off.


My skin cannot tolerate wool at all (which makes my snotty, no-synthetic-yarn knitting hobby tough, as that is mostly what I knit with), so I had to find a top that would not let the collar of this jacket touch me. So I did what every person who needs a wardrobe staple for next to free does: I went to Kohl's. I bought a lightweight brown turtleneck T-shirt, and I can still feel the wool through the top where it's pushed against my skin, like under the belt.


I took these pictures at midnight; I won't really be wearing this with gray pants.


The only issue I had was with the belt. I found it to be too short. And with interfacing, extremely stiff. I had just enough fabric to recut the belt longer and left off the interfacing. It's much better now.


OK, fine. I had one other issue. I sewed two left sleeves. Oh, I tried, of course, to convince myself that it wouldn't matter if I put one on backwards, but I'm not that stupid. So I had to rip out the (very wide) hem and two sleeve side seams and start over. Bad, but not as bad as the time I knitted two left fingerless mitts.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Beautiful bags

There's an awesome giveaway on Today's Give Away, and I really want to win this bag. Blogging about it is one of my entries, and you get to gaze at this beautiful bag. If you haven't checked out this site, you most definitely should!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Really, Mark?

Husband-style folding:


Wife-style folding, same linens:


A garage in five minutes or less

My brother lives in rural Maine and built his house (with help) from scratch. Now, years later, he has added a garage that is even bigger than his house.

He did a time-lapse video that shows the whole thing from nothing to finished -- the video takes 5 minutes and is actually pretty darn cool to watch.

I don't know if Marissa can vouch for this, but he always says that in Maine, when your house gets old, you just build a new one next door. And leave the old one there. Actually, when I visited, I saw a bit of evidence of that. Somewhat unrelated but entertaining.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Pretty pieced pillows

Alright, so I've been a really awful blogger lately. Everyone else had a year-end wrap-up of projects and goals for the next year, but not me. I suck.

I have things to share and I'll get around to them sometime in the coming week, and then you'll understand why I've been a poop-head.

For now, I have this Warehouse Fabrics Inc. post I did on throw pillows, and any minute now I'll have a cute, new garment to show you. So click away on the picture below and join me over there.