She's been here since July, and I'm a bad blogger!

Hey there!

Umm, since it's November, I guess I should tell you that I'm not 4 months overdue with baby number two--she's been here since the end of July.  Little Bennett was 2 weeks late and came swiftly when she was finally ready.  Labor was just under four hours from the first contraction to the last push--pretty quick, huh?  She was born at home, just as we had planned and I couldn't have asked for a better birthing experience.  I'll spare you the details of the birth (unless you want them... I actually like reading about other births, especially when they're positive experiences) and just say that I gave birth on the floor, next to my bed, while my dog sat in the bed and watched from above.  Kinda humorous, I think.

Bennett weighed in at 8 lbs and was 19 inches long--not too huge for a late baby, thank goodness!

Here she is, 20 minutes after birth, being checked out by my midwife--on my couch.  I still can't believe we were blessed to have such a cool birth.

Here is Elliott, meeting her baby sister.  (Elliott slept through Bennett being born--Bennett was born shortly after midnight.)

Me holding Bennett--she's not even a full day old at this point, I think.

She's a few days old here...

And here she is now.  3 1/2 months old, and oh SO sweet.

Till next time,

Quilts for Bennett

Still no baby.  But while I know some of you are looking forward to baby pics, the only thing that could possibly come in as a close second is pictures of beautiful handmade quilts.  Lucky you, I have three to share!

We are blessed to have many people who love us and are excited to welcome little miss Bennett.  People share their excitement in many ways--and personally, I love that some people share their excitement in the form of handmade gifts.  Especially quilts.

My gal pal Laura (who you may remember from several guest posts) made this awesome simple and humorous quilt.  It's modern and clean, and she hand stitched whimsical swirls and flowers (which is not shown in my pic, unfortunately) all over the light green fabric.  Laura chose to leave the batting out of the quilt, as Bennett is being born in FLORIDA in JULY.  Does it get much hotter than that?  I'm a seriously sweaty pregnant woman.  I digress.  But seriously, don't you love the calm colors and the message?

This lovely quilt was made with love by a wonderful woman named Evelyn.  She used an awesome color combination that is so fun and feminine without being "pink".  I love the embroidered little girls on the light blocks.  They're very vintage looking and being stitched in bold red, they really "pop"!  It's seriously adorable.

Quilt number three is a double pinwheel pattern masterfully crafted by an avid quilter named Marsha that James works with.  I love the bright oranges and corals and eclectic fabrics all worked into a classic design.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.  When James brought it home, I laid it on the floor to take in its awesomeness and charm and immediately Elliott and our westie Brian started playing tug-of-war with a dog toy on top of it.  Marsha said that a requirement of receiving one of her quilts is that it must actually be used--not just looked at.  I agree, and I am glad to share that it was given a proper welcome into our home.  ; )

It amazes me how different each of these quilts is, but how much I love each one.  I like them all for different reasons and I treasure each of them and the women who created them.  I love the modern-feel, humor and calm colors of Laura's quilt, the girly vintage charm of Evelyn's, and the nod to classic quilts with the emphasis of a fun color scheme of Marsha's.

Isn't Bennett already a lucky gal?

Waiting for Baby.

So, I'm a week overdue and finally getting less nervous and more excited about her arrival.  Bennett, like Elliott, was a desired pregnancy, but as soon as I found out I was actually expecting, I kind of freaked out.

I'll liken it to skydiving.  The first time I went skydiving nearly a decade ago, I was not afraid.  You would think you'd be scared about jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet strapped to a barefoot Aussie named Simon (which, again, is the name we'd planned to use if we'd had a boy...) but I was not fazed.  In retrospect, I know the reason for my lack of healthy fear--I didn't know what to expect.

The second time I went skydiving, I was nervous from the moment I got in the plane because I already knew the stomach in your throat feeling I was about to have.  Also, this time I was strapped to the pot-belly of a redneck named Bubba.  I had a rough landing that resulted in an ankle injury and have never jumped from a plane since that fateful day.  Note to self: one should seriously question putting their life in the hands of a man named Bubba.  Keep that little pearl of wisdom tucked in your back pocket--I'm sure it'll be useful someday.

Now, it's not the labor that I'm afraid of.  As bad as that may be, it lasts for only a short time.  It's not the actual infant, either.  I've learned that they don't break, even though they look like they should.  I'm afraid of having another infant like Elliott--one that doesn't sleep, has a hard time nursing, and in general is a miserable baby.  Cool kid now, but daaaaang she did not like being a baby.

Best Friends
Elliott, at 8 weeks with our beloved Westie, Brian.
I also did not like being a mother for the first... say, 6 months or so.  Or maybe longer.  Heck, some days I'm still not thrilled at the prospect.  Truth is, I suffered from some pretty bad depression after Elliott was born.  I've been more and more open about that fact, and now I'm sharing it with you.  Prior to Elliott's birth, I'd never experienced "depression".  In fact, every time I saw a commercial for depression medications, I thought, "What a load of garbage--those people just need to cheer up".  Yeah.  I was one of those people.

And then I was humbled.  Boy, was I ever humbled.  Turns out all of those frowny-faced people in the commercials looked like they were eating popsicles at Disneyworld compared to how I felt.  I didn't think there would ever be a way out. 

Luckily, I have an amazing husband who supported me without questioning me or making me feel incompetent or crazy.  He was just there for me.  If I cried, he hugged me.  When I shared deep dark thoughts and feelings, he listened and sought ways to make things better for me.  He stayed up through the wee hours with me.  And it wasn't just my husband--my wonderful parents embraced me and were helpful, as were my in-laws.  There were others, too.  One in particular--a wonderful and worthy woman that I attend church with had "been there" before and she helped me feel normal and she has helped me realize that I can handle another child and that things can be different this time.

Elliott at 5 months, with her BFF.
Let's just say I'm approaching this new addition with a bit more apprehension than I did the first time around.  But along with that, I'm getting excited, too.  Newborns may be super-tough, but 6 month olds are pretty dern cute.  And you have to start somewhere, right?  I guess I'd love it if my kid entered the world as a three year old.  Then I may fear birth a lot more, but the kid?  No three year old can scare me.

To cheer the mood, I'll leave you with the quote of the day from Elliott:

"Mom, will you please play games with me?  You can be the winner." 

That girl sure does know how to get me off the couch.  A guaranteed win?  Why, thank you child.  I'll take it.

Rosette Embellishments

Sometimes it's all about the details, isn't it?  Especially if like me, you take the easy way out and make a simple hat for new baby gift-giving.

Pearl Bead Detail

It's no secret that I love to crochet hats, but a plain beanie for a baby is just too boring.  So embellishing is FUN!

Baby Beanie

I used this pattern to create the rosette that I attached to a simple baby beanie that I made.  Then I made a million more rosettes, just for fun.  I have hot glued them to alligator clips to make simple hair embellishments for Elliott.  They'd also make some cute headbands.


And just in case you're wondering, none of these rosettes are being worn by the new baby gal because she's still hanging out in the uterus (we're 5 days "over" so far).  I joke to my husband that it must be like a 5 star resort in there, because neither of my gals has been in a hurry to come out.  Whatever.  All I know this time around is that I don't mind an "overdue" baby--they're a lot easier to manage while they're still nestled inside than they are when they come out. Right?!  Let's just hope she's not growing too much...  


Suburb-Tastic Maternity

So, I'm sure you've noticed the lull in posting.  Technically I have several posts ready to go (even an awesome guest post from my dear friend Laura) but I've just steered clear of the whole bloggy thing lately.  I'm not totally sure why--it has just happened that way.  To give you an update though, I'm now considered "full-term" in my pregnancy (full-term being 37-42 weeks) so little miss Bennett is free to grace us with her presence at any point.  Not that I'm technically "ready", but who is ever really (and I mean really) prepared for a wee one? 

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some photos from my maternity photo shoot.  My friend Christy did an awesome job capturing just what I wanted--Elliott and I around our house and neighborhood.  If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed a lot of maternity photos being pinned for inspiration, and I decided I wanted a very suburban feel.  Yes, I live super-close to the beach so a beach photo shoot crossed my mind, but I couldn't imagine myself splashing in waves with sheer scarves and such.  Pretty, but not very "Tristin".  So, here's what I'm calling my suburb-tastic maternity photos. 

See my dog in the background?
Little did we know he was plotting a picture-ruining but laugh-inducing
moment of deuce-dropping.  He's classy, that little man.

This is a "real" moment between Elliott and I.  Her arms crossed in defiance
 and my hands on my hips all "because-I-said-so" like.  Yeah, I've told you
before that we keep it real.  We still do.

This is the baby in Elliott's belly.  His name is Simon. ; )
(It's the name I'd intended to use for a boy.)
Thanks Christy, for an awesome capture of a cool time in our lives.  Oh, and if you want a glimpse of my buddha-tastic big ol' belly, I've saved the best for last.  How do our bellies stretch SOOO big and then slim back in?  It's simply amazing.

Fabric Dollhouse

Fabric House

Hey crafty pals!  I wanted to pop in to share my latest sewing project--a fabric dollhouse for my little gal!  What fun it was to create, too.  I don't sew as much as I'd like to (primarily because it's SO much easier to just grab a ball of yarn and a crochet hook and watch Downton Abbey mindlessly) but I enjoy it every time I pop up the ol' Singer.

This is a project from UK Lass in the US, and what a fun one it is.  UK Lass even has a fun flickr group to check out for fabric dollhouse inspiration.  You have the ability to make it super simple or get super-fancy--whatever you have the time/skill/energy/supplies for.  What fun!  (Warning, once you look at the Flickr group you WILL want to make one!)

Interior of Fabric House

I used stiff felt from my stash for all of the windows.  The little framed decorations you see on the inner walls are paper scrapbooking embellishments that I used a heavy duty no-sew iron-on adhesive to attach.  It worked like a charm--this little house is over a month old and has been played with a lot and they're still just as strong as the first day I attached them.

The outer woodgrain fabric was the only fabric I purchased specifically for this project.  Really, I could have just used scraps that I had on hand, but I wanted a certain "look" so I bought a small remnant of this fabric on Etsy. The fabric is a Joel Dewberry design called Aviary 2 Woodgrain in Bark and was purchased from Etsy seller HB Fabrics (I highly recommend the seller).

Fabric house collage

The rest of the fabric used was scraps leftover from other various projects.  I know I have already said it, but I had so much fun designing this little house.  It kind of made me feel like a kid again.

Messiest seamstress

Remember how I said that it's easier to grab a ball of yarn and a crochet hook than it is to pull out all the sewing stuff?  It's partly my own fault because I'm so very messy.  I just can't be a neat and organized crafter, no matter what I do.

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I made some small errors (some fixable, some not) but overall, I'm not complaining because this project ended with a HAPPY child.  Seriously happy.

I'd estimate that this project took about 6 hours to complete (mistakes included).  So yeah, no plans for making another any time soon.   You've probably noticed that I'm way more into the hour-or-less category of projects.  A girl's gotta sleep sometime, you know?  

So, are you putting this project on your "to-make" list?

P.S. 9 weeks or so until baby Bennett is expected to arrive... The countdown begins!

Angel Wings Pinafore

Angel Wings Pinafore

My little Bennett Mae is due in July, so naturally I'm nesting.  Not so much in the cleaning my house like a madwoman kind of way (though it's highly needed) but more in the crafting until all hours of the night kind of way.  I wish I had more time to blog but there are SO many projects that I want to do that I don't even post about the majority them (obviously, since I so rarely post these days).  It may take only an hour to complete a project, but by the time you document with photos, edit your crappy photos (in my case) and blog and edit for spelling and grammar (occasionally) you've wasted TONS of valuable crafting time.

All the while, you should have been cleaning your messy house.  (Or is that just me?)

Messy house aside, I found a sweet pattern via Pinterest called the Angel Wings Pinafore.  I repinned it immediately.  And then I grabbed some yarn and about 2.5 hours later, I had a newborn-sized pinafore completed.

Ribbon Detail

I used Martha Stewart Crafts Lion Brand Yarn Collection- specifically the Extra Soft Wool Blend in Buttermilk.  What a gorgeous name for the color I used--Buttermilk.  Oh Martha, you never cease to amaze me.  I love this particular yarn.  Another great option for this pinafore would be Lion Brand Cotton Ease.  I have become a Lion Brand devotee, can you tell?  Cotton Ease is a nice cotton to work with, washes up well, and it's affordable.  Win, win, win.  The Martha yarns are a bit more expensive than the other craft store yarns, but so far they've proven themselves to be worth the extra cost in my opinion.

Button Detail

I used pearly buttons for the back.  So precious, and a great adornment considering babies are often thrown over the shoulder--why shouldn't the back have beautiful details?

Angel Wings Pinafore Button Detail

To add just a bit of color. I wove ribbon into the yoke and stitched it in on the back to keep it in place.  I think Martha Stewart would have liked my ribbon color choice--a calm celery green.

Pinafore with Leggings

I bought leggings at Gap Kids before purchasing the coordinating ribbon.  Gap Kids really has great style and awesome colors.  I looked in a few cheaper places for newborn leggings and was pretty disappointed with the offerings (primarily hot pink and black)--but Gap had so many fantastic babyish colors that it was hard to decide.  One particular store tried their best to sell me on their infant "Jeggings" (jean-looking leggings, for those of you who don't know) and I don't think I held back my look of horror at the suggestion.  Let's just say this sweet little pinafore was not intended to be worn with Jeggings. 

Jeggings.  Ha.  What a funny word. 

Oh, and wish me luck.  I'm going to my first kitting class tonight.  My goal for the night is not necessarily to learn to knit, it's more along the lines of not poking anyone's eyes out with my knitting needles when I inevitably get frustrated and lose my temper.

Kids say (and do) the darndest things.

In two months, I'll be the mom of a three year old.  How did this happen?!

In three months, I'll be the mother of two girls.  Pretty sure I know how that happened.

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Our almost three-year-old with her almost three-year-old mentality never ceases to entertain us.  Elliott incessantly talks about her upcoming birthday party and specifies what she wants as a part of her special day.  Things that have been mentioned more than once as "I want that for my birdday" (misspelling is intentional as this is how she pronounces "birthday") are as follows:

1. Green
2. Hippopotomus
3. The song "The Greatest Love of All" by the late and great Whitney Houston

Let the party planning begin, right?!  Dang, that was NOT what I had in mind.  (If you're interested in MY party planning ideas, you can check out the Elliott is turning three, Come and celebrate with tea Pinboard on Pinterest.)

Elliott Easter 2012

Elliott is majorly into pop music these days--specifically Bruno Mars.  If you ask her who her favorite musician is, without hesitation she will state "Bruno Mars".  I may need to nip this pop obsession in the bud--I still haven't gotten over the shock of hearing her try to beatbox to Jesus Loves Me during a song service at church.  (We worship without instruments, so believe you me, beatboxing children stand out like a sore thumb.)

In other musical entertainment news, she was recently singing along to some of her favorite tunes in the car (specifically they were tracks from NBC's the Sing Off) and she made a high pitched squeal when going into falsetto... and promptly stopped singing to say "Sorry guys.  I didn't mean to make that noise".  We're still laughing at that one.

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Elliott's love of music is matched only by her love of dance.  Unfortunately, she inherited my dancing ability--or lack thereof.  What we lack in skill we make up for with unabashed enthusiasm, funny faces, complete obliviousness to the fact that we look like robots on crack, and plenty of pelvic thrusting.   The world is not ready for our dance parties, so we keep 'em in the safety of our living room, which, as long as my husband is not around, is a judgement-free zone.

Moms of gals out there--when is an ideal time to get your daughter's ears pierced?  I hear it's during infancy, though it's not something I cared enough to do at the time.  However, my little gal has really taken a liking to earrings.  Elliott is constantly asking if she can wear this pair or that pair of my earrings, to which I simply reply "You don't have holes in your ears so you can't wear earrings yet".  I guess I hope that she thinks holes will magically appear in her ears one day when she's ready for earrings.  She has different ideas, naturally, as you can tell by a conversation we had yesterday.

Elliott: Mom, I want earrings too.
Me: But Elliott, you don't have holes in your ears yet.
Elliott: Maybe Santa will cut holes in my ears.  With scissors.

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Sheesh.  Remind me to lock up all of my scissors.  While most moms are concerned about the rite-of-passage self haircuts that so many toddlers manage to achieve, I'm concerned about my child slashing holes into her earlobes with my rusty coupon-cutting scissors.

In short, I'm rather enjoying this stage in Elliott's life.  I can't say I've enjoyed every moment like so many Moms seem to do (or at least they pretend better than I do).  I still remember Elliott's infancy as a thankless and frustrating time--and don't even get me started on the sleeplessness. Those beautiful Hallmark images of motherhood and warm embraces while light seeps through gorgeous open windows are truly few and far between here in our home--but laughter?  That's daily stuff around here, and I'll take it, thank you.

Til next time,

The Birth of a Granny Square Afghan

I finished a major project folks--you have no idea how huge that is for a distracted crafter like me!  The project only took a little over a year to finish. 

Granny Square 002

It's my very first granny square afghan!  This afghan is a true representation of what the granny square is meant to be--a scrap buster.  Not one skein of yarn (other than the binding color) was purchased with this project in mind.  It's made strictly from pieces of yarn left over from other various projects and some yarn that I inherited from others.

It all started like this...

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Here are my stacks upon stacks of squares, millions of ends just waiting to be woven in.

Have I ever mentioned how much I HATE weaving ends in?  Well, I do.  Hate.  Ughh.  But one at a time, I got it done.

Here's some proof:

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I edged all of the squares in a turquoise color (Pound of Love by Lion Brand--only $4.00 with an awesome coupon deal!).

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It seems like it took forever. 

Granny Squares 006

You know you're spending too much time crocheting when this is the only way your dog can get your attention...

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I spent some time laying them out to evenly distribute the colors.

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It came together beautifully (keeping in mind that beauty is in the eye of the beholder).  I realize not everyone shares my love of granny squares, bold colors, and funkiness in general.  If you leave a comment telling me how ugly this is, I will delete it so please don't waste your time.  Granny love only, please.  I know there will be some haters.  Keep it to yourself and go and comment on something you do like.  Even if it's elsewhere.  This is how you should handle all of your blog comments. Thanks. (Whoa, someone just got a little soapboxy!  Yeah, you don't want to mess with me today. Or any day for that matter.)

And here she is, in all her crazy glory:

Granny Square 005

I'm in love!

Crocheted Mary Janes

These Mary Janes have been on my to-craft list since I received the patterns several months ago.

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So when I found out I was having a gal, I got on it.  And then I got to thinking...

Umm, I practically NEVER put shoes on Elliott before she started walking.  Well, my sister-in-law bought some of the cutest shoes ever (mostly from Old Navy) and those made it onto the kid.  But for the most part, shoes were totally overrated for her skinny little tootsies, especially given the fact that she was born in the summer in Florida (just like baby # 2 will be).
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So, I sent these to a friend who's having a baby girl in a few weeks. You know her as Jessica of Sew Homegrown. (Yes, Jessica, they were originally intended for my kiddo--I'm admitting it!)

I mean, why keep something I'm probably not going to put on my kid?  Maybe, just maybe, someone else will use them. Or not.  And that's obviously fine, too.

As for the pattern, it was extremely well-written and even included pictures to help explain things.  As tedious as these little buggers were to make, they were pretty simple because of the good instructions.  Will I be making more?  Sure!  The pattern came from Crochet Dreamz.  I won the pattern as part of the Maybe Matilda Crochet-Along a few short months ago.

I learned some lessons in blocking shaped crochet items with these Mary Janes.  Here are some good tips on "blocking"  if you're interested in making your crochet items just a bit more crisp and professional.  I used a crumpled plastic bag for shaping these teeny shoes.

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Blocking turned out to make these go from looking very homemade to looking very crisp--like handmade stuff from an expensive kids boutique.  So, yeah, worth the little bit of extra effort.


Darn this Yarn! (A yarn organization idea)

I'm guessing I'm not the only one here with a serious yarn problem.  I mean serious.  I'm talking avalanches and un-natural disasters happening in my closet.  The closet that I share with my patient and extremely organized husband... (Poor guy.)

I thought baskets would be a good solution.  Yeah, right.

You know what has been working for me?  Shoe organizers. 

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For about $7, you can pick up an over-the-door shoe organizer with pockets. Those pockets just happen to be the right size've got it... YARN!

For convenient storage, just roll up the organizers and cinch them in your preferred manner.  I used an old belt.

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It doesn't take up any more room than a basket would, but I have found this method to be much more forgiving and toddler-proof.  It's hard to unravel skein after skein of yarn when it's neatly tucked away.  If the bundle falls over, your yarn stays in place--unlike yarn in a pesky basket.

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One organizational battle down... 23 million to go. 

P.S.  I think I may now have almost every color of Lion Brand Vanna's Choice.  It's totally my fave, if you haven't caught onto that yet.  You know what I am now loving, though?  The Lion Brand Martha Stewart collection.  Be still my heart!
P.P.S.  Gender reveal will be very soon.  Well, I'll just say it--it's a girl!
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