Wednesday, October 21, 2015

On Stuffed Hippo Babies & Daddy's Sword

Jenny readjusting a pacifier...

Jenny has quite a maternal streak in her. A lot of her conversations lately have centered around her future children, and what she is going to name them.
"I will have one baby, and I will name her Weese [Reese? Louise?]. She looked at me to gage my approval, I may have looked confused. "Weese is a good name" she said solemnly. I agreed.
"My next baby I will name 'Jammies' " She looked at me.
"Jammies?" I asked.
"Jammies is a good name." she said again, solemnly. I agreed.
"Pajamas Button" she concluded.
"What will you name your next baby?"
"I will not name my next baby right now"

Of all her baby dolls she has taken a shine to her stuffed hippo. This has caused a little conflict as Isaiah likes the stuffed hippo too, I think usually to make it a stormtrooper. She has defended it fiercely, and insists it is her baby. She has told me that it is her baby, and she is a mommy hippo.

 Today, she came up to me, holding the stuffed hippo, dressed in doll clothes and swaddles in a doll blanket.
Jenny "This is my baby. Baby Isaiah"
Isaiah "No! That's not baby Isaiah!"
I assumed it was because he didn't want the hippo to be him.
Isaiah "That's baby Jesus"
Jenny "It's not baby Jesus, its Baby Isaiah, Mommy say yes"
I agreed, thinking I'd rather the stuffed hippo stole Isaiah's identity than God's.

Isaiah loves it when us girls do our hair like this. I did it to my hair once, and after that he will find my bunmakers and bring them to me saying "Mommy! Be Princess Leia!"

Here is Jenny, obliging. Note the stuffed chick, it is probably being one of her babies.

Kuzzles chillin' with her sister. She's really been overall amazingly good during this transition. She seems to genuinely love Mariam and be glad she exists. She continues to rub her on the head saying "BE BE!" many times a day.

Mariam continues to be the chillest baby so far. She spends a lot of time looking thoughtful, and observing others.

We took the kids to Riverview Park. Being a Saturday, there were numerous birthday parties, and we had to keep Kuzzles away from going after other people's treat bags. We finally had to flee the table area...

But she consumed a cookie in the water area---I think of all the kids she had the most fun in the water. Isaiah kept picking up rocks and reenacting David and Goliath, he would put the stone in the middle of his forehead and fall down. Jenny watched him, got a little too into it, and picked up a stone and flung it at his head. I had to explain to her that is not how we make friends. Or keep siblings.

Kuzzles is very interested in washing dishes. The other day, I decided she had best learn sometime, and it was better to strike while the iron was hot/there is still enthusiasm for chores.
I scooted her up to the sink, gave her a harmless plastic tupperware to dip into the warm soapy water. I was prepared to mop the floor. After all, what harm could she do with that? I thought.

2 seconds later she was drinking the soapy water. End of dishwashing lessons for a few more months....

Kuzzles has also taken an interest in art.

A while back, I bought Josh this practice sword for his birthday. Isaiah loves it, and frequently climbs into our room to play with "DADDY'S SWORD." It clearly ranks in his imagination as something epic, like Pa's rifle or something. Out of devotion to it, he will scale 'the gate' to Mommy and Daddy's room, and try to surreptitiously drag it out to the hallway. Only, it is rather hard to be surreptitious with something taller than yourself. So it usually gets taken away from his little longing hands quite quickly.

But the other day, I decided to remedy this. I took it outside with the kids. First I decided to swing it around and pretend I was someone cool like Eowyn. Jenny stared at my less-than-ninja-level efforts. "Mommy, what are you doing?" she asked. "Practicing" I told her. So now she thinks "practicing" means haphazardly swinging a sword around like a lunatic.

Isaiah also got to play with it outside....which brought much joy...

Isaiah, with a stick. I think he was making up a story or something...

Josh has been reading them the "Jesus Storybook Bible" every night. Now, as soon as he comes into the room at night, Kuzzles stands, pointing up where its kept, saying "BAH BAH! BAH BAH!" like a little car alarm until he gets it down, then she laughs for joy and squirms into his lap.

I came in at night, and found this....

An epic selfie fail....while Mariam looks at me like I'm an idiot

"Mom, even I know to turn off the flash when taking a mirror picture"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sloper Attempts and Making Base Patterns

I like mass production, I like feeling like I'm being efficient with my efforts. Thus the idea of a sloper really appealed to me. That is, I knew if I could get a base pattern that always fit me, I could just readjust it for different styles. Which is so much better than, every time I like a new pattern, having to cut it out (I hate the tissue paper), make something, see that it doesn't fit, figure out how to make it fit, and recopy the pattern....and then repeat the whole process for every new dress I want to make.

However, I've spent so many hours researching different sloper strategies, etc, to save time (theoretically), I have read through 7 different sloper instructions, and made slopers from 3 of them, and always, for one reason or another, getting frustrated, and giving up. (Darts are the worst. The frustration usually comes from weird bubbly or too sharp darts, I have yet to master darts)

OK SO BEST DRAFTING LINK!!!  I like it, because instead of tracing random lines with a magical type of step by step instructions, the first thing you do is make a grid from the measurements, so its much faster than random steps, because you can actually see what you are doing.
(for some reason the link sometimes redirects to the website's homepage. Go to and go to "Free Articles-->Beginner Articles -->Easy Pattern Drafting)
However, its WITHOUT SEAM ALLOWANCES, so you just trace around 3/8" at end for seam allowances, and figure out ease yourself.

The other link I like is this one because its just so incredibly intuitive (not the magical instructions kind)

Now I know how to do a FBA reliably on princess seams which really helps with nursing figures changing and all.

What base patterns I would like to have...
  1. -Basic Armhole Princess Seamed (for Hobbit/Dirndl bodices, so tight at the waist)
  2. -Basic Shoulder Princess Seamed (for Eowyn styles---or also for Hobbit Bodice?)
  3. -Basic Empire Princess Seamed (for Arwen styles. Leaning toward Armhole Princess, because want wide unbroken necks, may be finicky with shoulder princess?)
Best dart tutorial ever.

I've had SO. MUCH. TROUBLE. with darts. I need to follow this tutorial on curving the darts, if the garment is at all tight (thus, for loosely fitted shirtwaist stuff, probably not as necessary).
  1. -Basic 2 darted to natural waist, more fitted (sloper, basically)
  2. -Basic 2 darted empire, more fitted (empire line sloper)
  3. -Basic 2 darted to natural waist, with room. (for Shirtwaist dresses, blouses, etc)

More drafting links

A speed video of someone drafting a sloper using these instructions (alas, they draft the front and the back separately, which I find frustrating because I have to constantly measure things in relation to the "side seams" which I don't really trust myself to do properly, unless someone is wearing a cami with permanent marker on it, traced via plumb lines...)
A useful article...
A nice article on FBA adjustments, but now you have to pay for it?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kuzzles' Cuteness

We put the kids down and then heard someone playing a tambourine outside of our door. Josh looked out, and saw the following. Kuzzles with a tambourine in one hand and the jingle bells in the other.

She also likes to creep off into a corner when you look for her, sometimes hunching down, and then when you find her, she laughs uproariously.
She also loves to pet the baby's head. During this transition from baby-laurete to one of the crew, she's been emotional, and sometimes seems resentful of me. However, to my utter astonishment, having watched at least 6-7 children through this transition (my own, and my little siblings), she does not resent Mariam for it at all. I have not seen any aggression or even passive-aggression.
She will yell "BEE-BEE!!" when she sees Mariam, then I will bend down till I am holding Mariam at her level, and she pets her head gently, while beaming.
We've repeated this little ritual hundreds of times since Mariam came home.
That is not to say that Kuzzles doesn't have aggression. I've watched her tackle her older siblings on many occasions, sometime getting a kick out of walking on them when they are trying to sleep, or just lunging at them from behind, getting them in a "hug", and knocking them down, crushing them beneath her, all while maintaining exuberant cheeriness. She's quite a tough little kid.

Terrible Twos have definitely hit already. She's been into taking her siblings toys, yelling "MY MY MY!" and just today, started on the song of "no no no no no" when I try to get her to do something.

Another of her favorite pastimes is to invert the nipples of her bottles, and then yell "MO-MEEEEEE!" until I come. She then presents me with her sabotaged bottle, saying very innocently "Uh-Oh". I will fix it, and then we repeat the little ritual 5 minutes later...

Yesterday, I was trying to teach Jenny her lowercase letters, having made a poster and then using one of the foam lightsabers as a pointer to the letters, as we would make the sounds.
Kuzzles was very interested, standing behind, yelling her assortment of sounds along with us.
Later that day, I found her with a foam lightsaber, whapping the poster and making random sounds.

She's a sweetheart.