Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blueberry Shoes

I got an order from The Mini Social today: 2 Tea dresses and one pair of Cientas shoes.  I ordered these on a whim and now I'm wishing I had ordered more.  I had never heard of this line and I love them!  They're made in Spain, super soft, sparkle,  eco-friendly and.....

....THEY SMELL LIKE BLUEBERRY!   You can't even begin to imagine how big this is for a 3-year old!  Too fun!!

My Tee Shirt into Her Leggings

Last week a friend of mine posted on facebook a tutuorial on how to turn old adult size shirts into baby leggings.  The tutorial was by Made by Rae.  I had just cleaned out my closet of clothes I no longer wore.  The timing was perfect.  

Even though baby tights would not fit P who is now a 3T I thought I could make footless leggings for her instead.  In fact, during the summer I have a hard time finding shorter leggings that can be worn under dresses.  I'm rather paranoid about P running around sandy playgrounds with just undies.  I don't want sand up her "nunu" (as we call her private female part) and mostly I don't want strangers getting even the slightest glimpse of her "undercarriage".  The timing of this tutorial was just perfect all around.  

After reading the Made by Rae instructions I went back and thought about how to make these for a larger child.  First I took a pair of her current leggings and traced them.  Then I pulled out one of my favorite Splendid tees that's seen better days on me and had a bleach stain.  I plotted where the best placement for each half would be.  

In the Rae tutorial she has a fold on the outside of the leg but for a larger size that's not possible.  A seam was going to have to be present on both the interior and exterior of the legs.  I was also going to have to make the leggings 2-3" shorter than the leggings I used to draw my pattern/mold.  That was ok since I wanted shorter leggings anyway.  In fact, I used the bottom hem of the shirt as the bottom hem of the leggings so I wouldn't have to sew a clean edge. I actually loved the stitching used on the tee so it was even better as the bottom folded over hem of the leggings. 

Once I cut out the fabric pieces I sewed the exterior seam.  Then I sewed the middle and interior seams like Rae showed how.  The waist was next.  P's waist is 19" wide, so I cut the elastic band at 19.5" and then sewed it together with 1/2" overlap (just like Rae shows).  The problem is that according to my pattern I had 22" of fabric at the waist.  Instead of following the Rae instructions where I sewed the fabric right onto the band I decided to fold the fabric over an 1/8" and then fold again completely over the elastic band.  I sewed the fabric to itself with the band loosely inside.  This way the fabric wasn't going to be permanently bunched up in specific places and I'm not talented enough to gather it properly and evenly all around.   It worked and looked great.  

Finally, just for a little added detail I took two buttons from the shirt and sewed them on each leg.  I wanted 3 buttons on each side but P insisted that she only wanted one.  My "client" won out.  
 I can do details but I can't manage to line up seams!
This was such a great project. I didn't have to say good bye to my favorite tee. I got to turn it into leggings for P which makes them even cooler in a way. Thank you to Rachel and Rae for making this cool tutorial and for passing it on!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Vidia Costume

P has been asking me to make her a fairy costume for a while now.  I've never made any kind of tutus or this kind of costume so I was a little gun shy to try.   But since we had the long weekend I thought I'd go for it.  When we were in the fabric store I asked her who she wanted and she said Vidia.  Of course, one of the hardest ones. I used this picture as reference. And so the fairy adventure began.

My initial thought was to find flowy, sparkly, fabrics but Vidia's skirt is actually feathers so I got purple canvas instead.  I bought 1 yard, which turned out to be too much.  For a 3.5 year old with a 19" waist half a yard is plenty.  I probably could have had one or two more feathers to her costume but the seven I made were fine.  I also bought wide elastic waist band, 2 different tones of purple acrylic paint for porous surfaces (one lighter than the fabric and one darker), one puffy purple fabric paint, and purple thread to match.  I eventually bought 1/4 yard of a silky-type purple fabric to cover the waist band as well. My initial thought was to cover the entire waist band with the feathers. It started to look too cluttered with so many feathers so I needed to cover the white band with purple fabric.  

I started by drawing out my own feather pattern.  I measured one of P's ballet skirts and it was 19" long so I used the same length to make her feathers.  

After cutting them all out, I used the puffy paint to make a "vein" down the middle. That took 4 hours to dry so I came back to the project the following morning. 

The following morning I noticed that when the puffy paint dried it turned clear and sparkly.  I would have liked it to stay the same color in the bottle, but oh well. 

Next, I drew the wispies of two varying colors on all the feathers.  P helped but then got frustrated. She wanted to paint other kinds of patterns and I kept telling her she wasn't going to look like Vidia.  We did have fun for a while though and she did feel like she was part of the process so that was great.
Me sporting a great morning look.

I bought the least expensive acrylic paint. It was the JoAnn Fabric brand for 52 cents.  I did have to put on 2-3 coats (I did not wait the recommended 1 hr before reapplying) and it finally started showing up instead of vanashing when dry.  Overall the cheap stuff worked great.  

When the paint dried. I frayed the edges and cut small slits up each side of the feather to give them a more realistic feel.  The feathers, the hard part, was finished.  Next the waist band. 

This next step reminded me of when I use to make scrunchies in the late 80's. P's waist is 19" so I cut a piece of elastic waist band to 19.5".  Then I cut a piece of purple silky fabric wide enough to cover the elastic waist band plus some for folding over on each end to make a clean hem.  I sewed the two ends together making a hollow "hose" with the fabric to then insert the elastic band.  I made the mistake of initially cutting the silky fabric to 19", the same length of the elastic.  The silk has to be 2 times longer than the band so that when you stretch the band there's enough material to stretch with it. 

I sewed the two ends of the band together then sewed the purple silk fabric together, overlapping it and then sewing right through with the band.  

Finally I got to place the feathers on. I pinned them first for placement, then I sewed one straight line horizontally across the top of each feather. I sewed "with the grain" of the elastic band.  I was afraid that if I sewed too much on each feather the elastic would not stretch. 

So, the skirt is done. I could try to make her a vest like the one Vidia wears but instead I think I'll just get her a purple body suit.  She has leggings that will work but of course got them wet right before I finished sewing the feathers all on.  

Definitely not as hard as I expected.  Plus it was a lot of fun to do and P is over the moon that she looks like a fairy!!!! Yea!!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Father's Day at School

Yesterday Dave took P to school for a Father's Day celebration. She was so proud to take her Papa and he was so honored to go.  These moments melt my heart.  To think that Dave didn't want kids when we first met.  He is so amazing with her it blows my mind.  I've visualized becoming a mother almost my entire life and I struggle with it. But Dave has taken to fatherhood very smoothly....granted he's not the disciplinarian but he is the entertainer!  I love it!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


We took P to see Rio a few weeks ago.  She loved it and was dancing in the theater.  A few days ago we had a conversation:
P:  I like Rio music!
Me: It's called Samba. It's what they play in Brazil.
P: I like Samba! It's in my blood! I want to get some Samba!

Today P woke up and wanted to listen to Samba. Clearly it wasn't a phase.  I went onto iTunes and downloaded a few songs from Sergio Mendez and Astrud Gilberto. I texted Dave "want to be a hero? can u buy d soundtrack to rio? she wants it n u'll be d hero for bringing it home".  

Dave came home with the disc and the happiness/surprise/adoring look on her face was priceless....as was her dancing the rest of the night.  I love it when movies inspire culture like this!

When we sat to eat I started crying. I went to Rio 12 years ago. Twelve years ago I dreamed of sitting at the dinner table, with my family, listening to Samba and it was now happening!  It was so emotional to see my dream come true!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ballet Continues

P has been in ballet long enough to outgrow her first tutu and ballet shoes.  She continues to love it.  I like that it's given her a personal relationship to classical music. Swan Lake was playing on the radio and she recognized it right away.  It's giving her flexibility and getting her to do controlled body movements.  She has also learned to listen. It was hard at first but I now see her following Ms Sara really well.  We've made new friends through it. And the best part is that I see it building her self confidence.  We'll do a few weeks of ballet camp this summer.  Three hours of ballet a day!  We'll see how that goes.

On another note, I'm so not into the sparkly, frilly, poofed out tutus.  I'm more "Fame" style. I love what Natalie Portman wore in "The Black Swan". Thank God P likes it to! Phew!!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

We've established a tradition for Mother's Day.  I get to work in the garden undisturbed the entire day.  Dave takes care of meals and P. It's such a great gift.  I got so much done today. I'm tired and sore and love it!

Every Mother's Day I take inventory of what I've learned about the job of mothering. Each year brings on new challenges with P's development.  However, I find dealing with P's changes is the easier part of parenting.  If I could parent her in a bubble, away from most families I think I'd find the job much easier.  Over the year I've found that it can be hard to find a balance where your child is socialized but not badly influenced. And it's not even the other children I find challenging, it's other parents.

Until P went to preschool I have felt like a fish out of water as a parent.  The families we were surrounded by seemed to have such different expectations of their children, of themselves and of their families as a whole.  To be honest, I found these parents weren't willing to go the extra mile for their children and in many cases seemed "tuned out" to them.  I can respect each family's choices but what I found most annoying about these people was that they criticized me for expecting more.

From the very first day P went to preschool I felt like I found my "herd".  I found parents who were fully committed to their kids.  For example, I have been very, very selective of who I leave P with.  I know it's gotten to the point where some have been insulted because I wasn't willing to leave P in their care.  However, I'll put P's safety over an adult's hurt feelings any day of the week.  I've been criticized for my "over worrying".  At preschool I found mother after mother telling me the same thing.  They are with their children 24/7 because they trust very few people.

So this year I found that not all parents are created equal.  It does take a village to raise a child but it makes it a thousand times easier to raise that child if you find a village with your same values and goals.  This past year I have found life to be much easier.  We have dinner dates and socialize with other families and I never worry about P.  I can relax and enjoy a great meal and a glass of wine with great people.  The families we've befriended long ago and recently grown closer to are similar to our family in their core values. They may have some other differences but spending time with them is so relaxing.  There is no fighting or meanness between the kids.  We all for our children and I'm starting to realize it may be because all of these parents have some pretty great accomplishments of their own. Which brings me to my second big realization.

The more accomplished a woman is before she becomes a mother the better mother she is.  By accomplished I don't neccesarily mean she needs to have gone to Harvard and been VP of something.  I mean the more successful a woman feels in what she has done, ie, if she feel she has accomplished great things then the more confident she is which in turn, makes her a much better mother.  Motherhood is hard for many reasons. One of them is that this is the only job that makes you really take a good hard look at yourself and analyze all of your shortcomings.  The children we raise are a reflection of who we are. The "problems" we find with our child are more often than not coming from us.  We have to change us first to change them.  A confidant person can do that.  Because misery loves company, an insecure parent finds other parents with the same low expectations and they belittle those that challenge themselves and want more.

I'm grateful that this past year I finally shed the heavy weight of bad friendships and returned to our old ones and found great new ones.  I've learned to listen to my inner voice when it I meet new people.  I've also learned that the best way to identify a family's true nature and morals is to watch young children. They are uncensored versions of their parents.  

I feel blessed I am a mom. I feel blessed my parents had high expectations of me and gave me a huge dose of self confidence. And I feel very lucky to have a good village to help me raise my child. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tuesday Friends

On Tuesdays we get together with these two friends.  Big E is 6mos older than P.  Little E is a year and a half younger.  When the three of them are together people always ask if they're siblings.  I like this family alot.  Dave has known their dad since they were in photojournalism school together.  They photographed the LA riots. I find it amazing that while all of their friends had their kids years ago Dave and Mr. R ended up having their first child within months of each other.  I find it even more interesting how well we get along with this family, ie, how well us moms are in sync.  We seem to have the same expectations for our kids.  Tuesdays are fun days for kids and moms. 

Favorite Outfits

Yesterday we were in Pasadena.  That city has such great texture!  The gate, the brick and the bike;  such a great backdrop for a picture!  P was wearing one of my favorite dresses and we bought the hat and shoes that very day at Jumping Jellyfish.  

Hat: Sand Cassel Kids

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Vegas...Not so good for baby.

The first weekend in April we went to Vegas. Dave had to scout the strip for a movie so P and I tagged along.  Trips that are primarily for Dave's work can be tough.  It's hard to juggle his work needs and P's needs.  This trip was actually better than most.  And I'm glad we went because I realized something.  I won't be going back to Vegas with P until she's in her 20's.  

Vegas is just not for kids.  I don't care what people say. I found it very difficult to explain the simplest yet not so simple things to P.  We got in the hotel elevator at 10 am and in walks a girl who had on an amazing tight, short dress and killer stilettos. She was a high class escort.  P was fascinated by her outfit and shoes.  How do I explain to a 3 year old about the outfit and the woman's career?  And to be honest if I had that woman's body I'd wear the same outfit but there is something different about how an escort carries herself.  I can't even explain it in words now let alone to a 3 year old right in the moment.  

Vegas is an adult playground and people behave accordingly.  Another elevator ride on another day was devoted to the topic of porn. Everyone in the elevator was chatting about it and the word was said so often I thought for sure P was going to come out of there saying "porn, porn, porn".  I didn't say anything to our elevator companions because if I don't want my child hearing these words then I shouldn't take her to "sin city" in the first place.  

We were there for two nights.  The second night I was up in our room by 6pm and didn't dare venture out after. Dave had to shoot at night so it was just P and me. At one point I said screw it and let her watch her show on the iPad while I watched one of my shows on the laptop with one earpiece in.  Not the height of my parenting skills but I figured I owed myself a little vacation.

Despite P's lovely lessons on the wild side we did have a great time.  We got to swim in two pools. The first night we stayed at Caesars. Their pool was fantastic; brilliant and regal! The second night we stayed at Mandalay Bay.  They had a wave pool, a tide pool and about 4 more pools but they weren't as much fun for P as Caesar's.  Mandalay had a great bath tub so I bought a glitter bath bar from Lush in the lobby. We had such a fun time in the tub.  A glitter bath...how Vegas right? I think it was the highlight of P's trip.  She kept saying "this is the best thing you've ever gotten me!"

Dave's schedule was rough but he made sure to spend the day having fun with us. Between phone calls and dealing with his logistics we went to the shark tank at Mandalay Bay. Then the two of them napped and I got a gym workout!  I also got to have my favorite thing while in Vegas....room service!   We had some tasty meals in restaurants and then drove like the wind back home just in time for Dave to start another job.  

Every time we pull off one of these crazy "workcations" I wonder how women like Gwyneth Paltrow do it.  She supposedly was on tour with her husband and Coldplay for almost 2 years when Apple was first born.  Kudos to women like her making family and career work!  I must say though, P is exceptionally easy to travel with.  She loves hotels, which was the reason I decided to tag along with Dave and she just loves adventure.  This little apple didn't fall far from both of her parent trees!