Monday, March 29, 2010

New Mexico - Land of Enchantment

new mexico

new mexico

Hi! Welcome to New Mexico. This week, I'm featured on Blogtrotting, and I want to share a little piece of my world with everyone else.

New Mexico is located in the beautiful desert Southwest of the United States. You may think I'm explaining this for the benefit of other people around the world, but most New Mexicans have probably experienced that it's fellow Americans who are the ones that don't know we are a state. We've all been greeted by a friendly East Coaster with "Enjoy your visit to the United States!" or "Wow, you speak really good English."

Chimayo,New Mexico
Chimayo, N.M.
Photo courtesy Seth Goodman

I'm glad you're reading this, because if you depend on the movie industry for your information about N.M., you probably think we're a bunch of inbred, cannibalistic misfits waiting to dine on your brain. I assure you this is not the case. "The Hills Have Eyes" and "The Hitcher" are works of fiction. Promise! You can find some of my earlier posts on the topic "Everything I needed to know about New Mexico I learned from the movies" here and here.

**We really don't look like that. We like green chile, not human flesh. Scroll down a bit**

New Mexico

Incidentally, we do have a booming but fledgling movie industry here. With state incentives, filmmakers have been flocking to New Mexico and studios like Albuquerque Studios are sprouting. The popular, Emmy-winning TV show "Breaking Bad" is filmed and set in Albuquerque. More information on the industry can be found here.

Sandias,New Mexico
Sandia foothills, Albuquerque
Photo courtesy Elaine Russell

N.M. is a huge state (121,000+ square miles) with a small population of about 2 million people, statewide. A large percentage of those people are situated in the Albuquerque metro area.

My all-time favorite place to go in the whole world is Carlsbad Caverns. And lucky me! It's located right here in my home state. Located near Carlsbad, N.M., in the southern part of the state, it's a breathtaking tour of cave formations that make me feel lost in another world.

Carlsbad Caverns,New Mexico
Carlsbad Caverns
Photo courtesy Seth Goodman

New Mexico is a cultural melting pot, if you'll excuse the cliche. Indian and Spanish cultures blend with Caucasians to create a multicultural environment. It's a minority-majority state. Of course, there are other races and ethnic groups, but in smaller proportions.

Bandelier National Monument is an amazing relic located in northern N.M. You can see the ancient Indian ruins and climb ladders into the cliff dwellings used long ago.
Bandelier,New Mexico
Bandelier, N.M.
Photo courtesy Seth Goodman

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a tourist favorite. Beautiful hot air balloons fill the sky each fall, drawing people from all over the world. I'm no early bird, so I usually miss the balloons. If you don't mind the wee, cold hours, you may just fall in love. I took this picture from my house last fall when I came across a few lingering in the sky.


People are pretty outdoorsy 'round here. Skiing, hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, bicycling, etc. are quite popular. Lord knows there are plenty of beautiful, open spaces to enjoy here.

Angel Fire,New Mexico
Angel Fire, N.M.
Photo courtesy Lauren Fagan

Up in the northern part of the state, you may be familiar with Los Alamos, home of the national laboratory where the atomic bomb was developed. Not too far from there is Santa Fe, a small city well-known for its big art scene. Galleries and museums practically outnumber the people. Artist Georgia O'Keeffe made her home in the Ghost Ranch area. Santa Fe is celebrating 400 years and Albuquerque is 300 years old, so while N.M. is a young state, we have a deep and rich history and some of the oldest cities in the country.

If you come here, you will probably be faced with the question "red or green?" New Mexicans love their cuisine, and we have food all our own. New Mexican food is really big on the chile - not chili -- which comes in red or green varieties. Green chile is not the same as jalapenos, and we have a hard time understanding why we can't seem to get it outside of state lines. We put it in and on everything -- eggs, soup, jelly, bread -- you name it. Some people say the answer to wanting both red and green is "Christmas," but honestly, I've lived here for 32 of my 36 years, and I have never heard someone say that. I think that it's a touristy answer, and not a locals thing.

green chile

One last thing: It's windy here in the spring, and tumbleweeds abound. Don't let yourself become a victim.


If you'd like to feature your hometown or state on BlogTrotting, click the link above.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wrap-Me-Up Puppy

There was a time not so long ago when kid stuff bored me more than anything. Amazing how times change, huh?


I recently bought "Itty-Bitty Toys" by Susan B. Anderson when I came across these Wrap-Me-Up Puppies on someone's blog.




I used some Elsebeth Lavold Angora yarn for the puppy that I got once at Tuesday Morning for really cheap. For the blanket, I bought some cheap Patons yarn because I had nothing in my stash that matched.

Next up is the giraffe on the cover, which I've already started.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Productive sewing weekend

I got so much done this weekend (my weekend is Friday and Saturday, so it's wrapping up now).

For the baby's room, I finished the quilt and the diaper holder. Last weekend I made the dust ruffle, but I forgot to take a photo, and it's folded up neatly right now. My mom made most of the bumpers, but we need the crib-slat measurements to finish it. I also finished making two navy blue fitted crib sheets.

The quilt was part of the Vogue 7245 pattern I'm using for the nursery. It's a really simple quilt, so I was able to complete it in a day (not counting cutting).


This pattern in general sucks. The instructions are bad, and I'm glad I knew some quilting techniques. First, the binding it has you cut is incredibly thin, and the instructions don't explain how to sew it on. I can't even fathom how you could bind a quilt with such thin strips. I recut my own 2.5" binding out of leftover sheet material and sewed it on the proper way. I also took issue with the instructions on quilting, which have you quilt just a few lines a good 9 inches apart. Most batting won't hold up at that spacing, and the kind I had suggested quilting at 2-4 inches. I had to add in a lot more quilting lines, and it still was spaced a bit too far.

Here's the back:


I also finished the diaper holder, which was probably an unnecessary accessory, but what the heck. It was pretty quick to make, but I need a smaller hanger to insert in the top, so for now I had to try to hold it and photograph at the same time.


On the topic of the nursery, I received my dinosaur mobile, custom made by Buggalove on
Once again, I had nowhere to hang it while photographing, so I'm holding it simultaneously.




As for other sewing projects, I completed these place mats this weekend and the napkins last weekend, both for the Warehouse Fabrics Inc. blog.

place mat,napkin

place mat,napkin

I also finished this embroidered wristlet, which won't be on the blog for a while. I'm trying to come up with some posts on the side that I can use after the baby comes to get a little time off. This one will probably post in July sometime.


Also upcoming on that blog will be these crewel embroidery wall art pieces I made:



Finally, I think I forgot to share these pillows I made a few weeks ago. The fabric is really pretty in real life, but my camera makes it a bit too shiny looking.


Phew! That should catch us up!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's time for a belly shot

Chickenbone Jones, aka Amy, has requested a belly shot. Here I am at a few days shy of 6 months' pregnant. I'm 23 weeks and 4 days, to be exact.

(I got that top at Other Mothers second-hand shop for $4.99, and it's probably the prettiest maternity item I own.)



I feel sort of big, but my belly measured exactly 23 weeks yesterday, so I guess I'm right on target. I feel really good except for one thing: my back. It kills me when I sit. I am talking total misery. And I sit all day at work. It feels better when I get up, but I can't do my job standing up, so for much of the shift, I feel utterly awful.

On my co-worker's days off, I borrow her kneeling chair, and it is so wonderful. I went through nearly my whole shift with no pain, and that's without my uncomfortable brace! The brace doesn't help much with my regular chair.

I just found a $15 kneeling chair on Craig's List. It's in Santa Fe, but I'm willing to drive there and get it if it's still available.

Other than that, I feel quite good. Baby is healthy -- definitely punching and kicking "hello" often. I haven't gained much weight, which I really cannot believe. I think I've gained 11-13 pounds total, and most of it seems to be baby and not extra fat. That's just under target weight gain for this point, and not unhealthy. My blood pressure was rather low yesterday -- 90/60, but many women have problems with high blood pressure in pregnancy, so maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Now that my appetite came back, I keep expecting to balloon up. I'm sure I'll get a bit chunky by the end, but it doesn't appear I'll be gaining 50 pounds or anything. Then again, I just figured out that Carls Jr. has hand-scooped chocolate malts, so who knows.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My new pregnancy breakfast

As I said in my last post, I'm feeling much, much better. I'm 22 weeks, 6 days along today. I do have a lot of back pain, and hip pain at night. But other than that, I feel pretty good.

Because several "blog friends" have become pregnant a wee bit behind me, I wanted to talk about some things that have helped me. Hopefully, if you have similar issues, it will help you too.

Because I have placenta previa (which means the placenta is covering the birth canal, which can lead to bleeding), I'm not allowed much physical activity, which would probably actually help my aches and pains a lot. The condition is likely to clear itself up as my belly grows, but until an ultrasound proves otherwise, I have to take it easy. It kind of makes me sad, because I had been looking forward to feeling better and hitting the gym.

Initially, I had a terrible appetite, along with morning sickness and MAJOR food aversions, so I had a hard time eating. I wasn't gaining much weight, but secretly I was sort of happy about that. For the first half of the pregnancy, I gained a few pounds shy of what was expected.

Now that I have my appetite back, I'm catching up. And without being able to exercise, I'm afraid I'm going to become a cow here pretty soon. I guess time will tell.

For a while, I had trouble after breakfast. It may have been a blood sugar plunge after my first meal of the day, or it may have been my prenatal vitamins making me really sick. I'm really not sure because I tried to change both of them at the same time. I have found that getting a good load of protein at breakfast helps me feel much better. I have also quit my prenatals and am taking my pre-pregnancy vitamin regimen, which includes an adult one-a-day multi (but now I'm adding extra folic acid), calcium, vitamin D (because I was deficient) and vitamin C. The nurse said it's OK to do this.

So, on to my miracle breakfast. I have started making a healthy fruit protein smoothie and eating half of a bagel with cream cheese.

Here is my smoothie recipe:

1 C total of frozen berries, including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
1/3 frozen banana (peel and slice, then put in baggies and freeze)
1 C lowfat milk
1/2 C fat free plain yogurt
dash of honey
toss in some flax seeds (they grind up and you won't taste them)
1-2 scoops whey protein powder (vanilla)


throw all of the above in a blender and blend for 1 minute, until nice and smooth. This actually makes a couple of glasses worth, and I drink it all.

Enjoy with your local newspaper!


That's hot

On the pregnancy front, I'm feeling loads better. What used to be more "sickness," like headaches and nausea, is now more aches and pains. My back has taken to k-i-l-l-i-n-g me when I sit, which makes getting through the night at work difficult.

My doctor gave me this belly/back brace, which is rather uncomfortable but can really help.


Throughout the day at work, I use it off and on (UNDER my clothes!). It tends to interfere with the top of my pants when I sit, which is annoying,

I used it yesterday at home when my mom and I were working on sewing nursery decor, and it really improved my stamina.

I also want to add that warm baths (with Epsom salts) help, too.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Well, what was I supposed to do?

What would you have done if you were at Hip Stitch and came across these fabrics? What choice did I have but to buy them?


From the Alexander Henry Willow collection.

A dude's dude

Phew. I've been so busy lately. Appointments, (my other blog) projects, etc. etc.

I'm 22 weeks along now and I have started on the nursery. My wonderful Mumsy is going to come and help me sew some of it. I won't actually have the room prepared for months yet, but I wanted to get started.


You know the thing with husbands? I think they should just stop having opinions about things. Things like nursery decor ... and baby names. Just leave me alone and let me do whatever I want. If I want to name the baby Alloicious, so what? I have no idea how to spell it, but it's a name my sixth-grade English teacher was strangely obsessed with.

Anyway, it seems my nursery decor concepts were very sissy-like, so we have come up with this fabric spread:


No sissies there! Rarrrrrrrr. I must say that I've become rather excited about the dinos, and even ordered a handmade dinosaur mobile and knitted dinos from etsy. I don't have them yet, but I'll show you when I get them.

I'm making the nursery decor from those fabrics above and Vogue pattern 7245. I'm thinking of going with the light blue for the walls, to help brighten the room a little. You may recognize all but the dino fabric from handbags I've made before, like this one, and this one.

Today I went to Hip Stitch, an Albuquerque fabric shop and sewing lounge, to cut the nursery fabrics. I needed a counter-height table with lots of space, since crawling around on the floor is getting increasingly less fun.
I also got some great fabrics there that I'll show you later when I get a chance to photograph them.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wee sweater

Just a quick post to share this sweater I made for my son-on-the-way.

baby sweater

The pattern is Soft N Seamless Baby Sweater by Lynda Ward, and it's very easy -- no seaming!


I used Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica, colorway 116. I had about two-thirds of a skein lying about and loved it, so I bought one more and whipped up a tiny boy sweater.
It's a chunky/thick/thin yarn with lots of texture.