Month: February 2014

Weekly Portraits-The Last Week of February

  For this week’s shoot I wanted to get pictures with both the boys in the same picture together.  I’ve had a picture of G from just before his first birthday in our bedroom since, well, just after his first birthday…and I wanted to exchange it for one of both boys…just before their 4th and 1st birthdays respectively.

  Attempting to get both of these firebrands into frame, looking at me, focused, in portrait orientation (to fit the frame) and not making horrendous faces was an exercise in patience, but it paid off.

  Awww, brother hugs.  I don’t see this picture getting replaced for many years.


Frozen- At Least It’s Pretty

  The “polar vortex” is bearing down on us here in Michigan yet again, and I got it into my head that I ought to go out and document the winter/snow while it was here.

  That was a terrible idea.

  Because we’ve had so much snow, and the weather has see-sawed back and forth between above-freezing and bitterly cold, our yard is full of knee deep snow with a layer of ice on top.  Snow pants do nothing for you when your foot breaking through the snow has to first go through a rock hard layer of ice that shoves your pant cuff up to your knee, exposing ankle and shin to the powder below.  I had planned to go exploring in the woods for shots, but only made it to the back of our yard before my legs got too cold and scraped up.  As a result, not a whole heck of a lot of pictures, but a few none the less.

  I expect that I’ll appreciate these more come August or so.

  The little herd of 6-8 deer that we occasionally saw this past summer have become regulars in our yard the last month or so.  I feel terribly for them, watching them migrate through my and my neighbors’ yards trying to stay in the pockets of sunlight without getting too close to the road or houses that have shown any signs of having anybody home.  Luckily, they all look pretty fat and healthy, if cold!

  I may attempt another shoot before the winter is over, but not until I dig out some snowshoes!

G’s Scarf, Finally Done!

  It took me most of the winter, but G finally has a new scarf to wrap up in when he goes out to play in the cold.

  He loves it, and I’ve learned a lesson; don’t let the kid pick the yarn if you want/need to have the project done quickly because it won’t even remotely inspire you and you won’t work on it.
  Ah well.  I wound up doing a random pattern of stripes, changing colors willy nilly til I reached the middle, and then repeated the same stripes in the opposite direction to the other end.  I did all of it, except for a 1″ band on either end, in garter stitch, so it’s good and chunky.  
  It’s not my favorite project for sure, but it will keep him warm, and he is happy with it, which is what really matters.  Now it’s on to one of my many, many other WIPs…

Weekly Portraits- The Third Week of February

Things have been quiet around here on the “creative” front.  I’ve been desperately trying to finish the scarf I started for G back in, oh, I don’t know, November?  For some reason I just haven’t had much inspiration to work on it.

I also suspect that somebody let a flock herd swarm of tsetse flies loose in my house, because I’ve been going to bed early, sleeping late and napping and am still exhausted all the time.  No, I am NOT pregnant…just, apparently dying of sleeping sickness.  Or, you know, trying to keep up with 2 energetic little boys who haven’t been able to get outside and play for MUCH too long.

G seems to have just as bad a case of cabin fever as I do.  Partly I think it’s the age, but I can’t help but believe that part of his mood swinging from saint to demon-spawn in 3.2 seconds flat so often has to be at least somewhat related to the lack of fresh air we’ve been getting as of late.

  R’s mood has been significantly brighter than, well, anybody else I’ve ever met…but while his giggles make it more adorable when he gets into things he shouldn’t, it’s still exhausting.  …and he’s hell-on-wheels fast now.  I’m not sure how much longer we have before this guy is going to be walking.  He’s definitely doing the thing where if he’s holding something in his hands he forgets that he’s not holding onto a piece of furniture and will stand, completely independently, for several seconds, before realizing what he’s doing and freaking out.
  He really didn’t want to let me get far enough away from him to get the camera to focus with that first picture.  Most of the pics I got of him are blurred because he was zooming towards me so quickly.  The second one, I had to include, because it so nicely showcases the little staticky puff of hair he has constantly had lately.  It seems fair to me that since he made my hair all exploded puff ball of static that he should have a matching ‘do.
  These guys both have birthdays coming up in the next week and a half, so hopefully I can get some good “cake” shots.  Meanwhile, I’m going to keep slogging along, working on fabric designs, knitting the scarf that just won’t die and, since we’re supposed to have a bit of a “warm” spell, hopefully getting these boys out for some sunlight!

Weekly Portraits-The Second Week of February

Last weeks portraits were rather subdued and serious.  That’s not really my boys.  They’re silly, and constantly goofing around and giggling.  But typically, if they’re giggling, I’m playing, not taking pictures!

I thought this week I’d catch their goofier sides.

  Neither of these sets were terribly easy to capture.  G, especially, breaks out his cheesy fake smile when I ask him to smile for the camera, so I have to either get him when he’s NOT smiling, or actually elicit a laugh to get something genuine.  Patience is of the essence, believe me.
  The wee bit is a little easier…just play a round of peek a boo while snapping shots and he’ll chortle away.
  Same lens and general set up as last week.  I’ve only got 2 lenses, so don’t expect a whole heck of a lot of variation!

3 Years Shampoo Free.

It’s been another year, and I’m still not going back to commercial shampoo.

I honestly almost forgot it was time to talk about this, because being “poo-free” has become so every day for me.  Then a friend of mine sent me a link that included a video of Kathy Lee and Hoda on the Today show ripping apart another blogger for not washing her hair with shampoo.

The whole thing made me really want to write a big, long winded, angry rebuttal, going point for point about all the things that were wrong, poorly researched, and generally ignorant in their segment.  But, when it comes down to it, I think the absolute worst of it is, on national tv, a supposedly respectable 60 year old woman is bullying a complete stranger.  I don’t want to add to that by throwing more vitriol out there.  Those who would listen already know better than to believe the kind of nonsense they were saying, and those who don’t…well, they wouldn’t listen anyhow.

  So, after 3 years without shampoo, here’s where things stand for me:
  I hate my hair.  Like, extra “a”s and “t”s for emphasis, hate.
  This has exactly nothing to do with being poo free, and everything to do with the weather, and that sweet little booger in my arms above.
  I can say this with confidence, because I’ve also been the absolute happiest with my hair while doing poo free.  Also, because my hair did this exact same thing after I was pregnant with G.
  Problem is, this being one of the coldest winters in memory, our heating has been running constantly.  My whole house is a static electric tinderbox.  Add to that the fact that, as happens after you have a baby, a large portion of my hair fell out this summer.  All of that hair has grown back to about 3″ long.  I have a constant, staticky halo around my head that makes me look a bit like a lightning-struck dandelion puff.
  Winter and post-pregnancy blues aside, I’m still pleased with washing with baking soda.
  One of the biggest questions about poo-free that I had been, up until this point, unable to answer, was how dyed hair fared with it.  I added my turquoise streaks to my hair at the end of August and have only had to re-dye them twice…one of those times being this past week.  That’s with semi-permanent hair dye.  They don’t make permanent teal dye.  So needless to say, poo free is dyed hair safe.
  While I was pregnant with R, I got down to using the baking soda once a week.  I’m back to twice a week, for a couple of reasons.  One, my skin, including my scalp, gets really dry when I’m pregnant.  I honestly could have gone longer than a week at times.  Two, I’m exercising a lot more now than I was when I was pregnant.  Obviously I wasn’t doing aerial at 8 months huge.  I use the baking soda rinse when my hair gets greasy, and I just rinse with water when it isn’t.  I wash my hair when I need to wash my hair.  Simple as that.
  I started with no-poo mostly out of curiosity about what it would do to my hair, but it has been a fascinating journey in other ways too.  If I had any doubt about the powers of marketing before this, I definitely don’t now.  There hasn’t been shampoo in my shower for 3 years.  I still have to fight myself to not buy a bottle any time I wind up in the hair care aisle.  I don’t need it, heck, I don’t even really want it, but there’s that siren call of “this shampoo will make your life perfect” always there.  …obviously the only thing standing between me and euphoria is the lack of a new bottle of Pantene, right?  It sometimes makes me question which other items I “can’t live without” are just emotional manipulation.
  I can’t help but feel that the woman who was chosen for the segment I linked to above was picked because she was an easy target.  She admits to being “crunchy”…to the point it’s part of her blog name.  That’s scary to a lot of people.  She different, and unapologetic about it.  I suspect that my blog, or the blog of somebody more like me, wasn’t picked, because it would have been a lot harder to build a case of “yuck, dirty hippie”.  I don’t use shampoo…but I dye my hair turquoise.  I make my own clothes, but out of obnoxiously bright colors or black, not vegetable dyed, organic cotton.  I do my best to keep my kids’ screen time to an absolute minimum and don’t have “real” tv, but I don’t co-sleep, and I use disposable diapers.  I wear makeup, and high heels and tend to only buy organic when it’s convenient.  I hate to admit it, but I’m middle of the road.
  I don’t use shampoo, not because I’m trying to avoid the chemicals per se (though that’s a bonus), but because it works for me to not use it.  I’d wonder if I were fooling myself, if it weren’t for the half dozen or so non-crunchy friends who have tried it, based simply on my success.  If I’m a hippie, apparently I’m a pleasant smelling, nicely styled hippie.  I’m non-threatening, so maybe if it works for me, it’s not quite so out there.
  But, I’m getting dangerously close to heading off on a rant, so I’ll stop this here.
  If you’re curious about anything with no-poo, or heck, just feel like telling me you think I’m delusional and my head probably stinks*, leave a comment!
*Please be warned, if you do so, I’ll probably revoke my decision to not rant.

Weekly Portraits-The First Week of February

  These two are so cooperative about letting me point my camera at them.  Poor G has been my bitty model for almost 4 years now…and even R has been trained to “pose” every time he sees the lens come out.

  Both of these shots were taken while they boys were playing together in the living room.  I tried to get one with both of them in the frame at the same time, but they just move far too fast.
  Sure, I want to document them as they grow up…but not if it means stopping them from playing nicely together to get a shot I want!
  I got the shots by opening the curtains on the east side of our living room and sitting with my back to them, so when I caught a good expression, the boys’ faces were well lit.  I used my 50mm lens with the aperture around 2.

How to Make a Leotard from a Long Tanktop

Man I haven’t been looking forward to publishing this post.  It’s been bitterly cold here and, despite brainstorming for weeks, I couldn’t figure out any way to show you guys the finished product without posting a, more or less, bathing suit shot of myself.  On top of the whole, “hey world, these are my thighs” aspect of it, getting this picture was FRIGID.  I’d be fairly pleased with myself if I didn’t know the only reason I look so toned is because every single muscle in my body was clenched in the act of shivering.  So without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, my pasty self in a leotard:

  I may have photoshopped my legs to be slightly more tan to avoid actually blinding anyone.
  On to how to make the leo.
  First off, WHY am I making leotards, right?  Well, like I said in my post about the things we’ve been doing around the house, I’ve been doing a lot of aerial classes.  If you’ve ever tried aerial, you know that there are certain parts of your body you have to protect to keep from getting horrible rope/fabric burns.  One of those places is your lower back.  I’ve tried just tucking tight sports tops into tight leggings.  It only works if you want to tuck your shirt into your pants AND your underwear after every trick.  Not really ideal.
  I guess I could have gone out and found a dance shop and bought real leotards, but, uhm, I’m cheap, so I did this instead.
  I stopped by our local thrift shop and grabbed the longest, stretchiest tank tops I could find and dragged them all into a changing room with me.  I tried them on and made sure that I could pinch the hems of the shirt together between my legs.  With my crazy long torso, not many shirts made the cut.  I walked out with 3 that worked and spent like, $1.50.  You could, of course, do this with new shirts, but keep in mind that they might shrink, so make sure you leave yourself more than enough seam allowance at the bottom.
  When I got home, I used my seam ripper to pull out the bottom hem of the shirts.  Once it was out, I broke out my safety pins, threw the shirt on inside out and pinned it together where I wanted the crotch seam to sit.  …this was also a good chance to be certain I was going to actually be able to get OUT of the thing once it was sewn up.
  I stitched shut that portion of the seam and then put it back on.  Next I used my safety pins to “draw” a leghole, using my underwear as a general guide.  Obviously you want to start with more modest legholes and then cut more away if you want later.  Since I’m planning on wearing leggings over these (knee backs are another part of your body you want to protect) I didn’t get too finicky about it, just enough to make sure I was comfortable and not restricting my motion any.
  I rolled the leghole edges and stitched them down with a double needle and called it good.
  3 new, one-of-a-kind leotards for less than a cup of fancy coffee.  Not bad huh?

Fabric Fury- Designing like a Madwoman.

  Seems like the only things I’ve been creating lately are fabrics!  There are certainly worse things…I’m pleased with how things are coming together, but it doesn’t make for terribly exciting posts for you guys.

  I’ve had to learn a lot more about quilting in this process than I expected.  As someone who exclusively sews clothing, I’ve struggled with the idea of developing a line that contains lights, darks AND mid tone patterns.  It drives me crazy to purposely make fabrics that seem boring on their own (mid tones), even though I understand that you need those when you quilt.

  I’m pretty constantly tinkering with the collections, so don’t be surprised if you click through to the shop and it looks absolutely nothing like this, but at the moment at least, this is where the collections stand.
  Watch and See is just about to the point I’m comfortable with it being a completed collection.  I need to do a second colorway for the “sight lines” print, but then I think I can call it good for the moment.  The “Seasons” collection is going to take more work…including a different name.
  I have a couple of “homeless” prints that I designed with one of these two in mind, that didn’t wind up quite fitting, including this bird print:
  They were originally going to be summer birds to go with the winter trees and spring daisies…but the style just doesn’t mesh.  Sigh.
  I’ve had a few little sewing projects I’ve completed that I need to get photographed to post, including refashioning some long tank tops into leotards for my aerial classes, but the sunlight just hasn’t been cooperating for photography lately.  Once we dig out of the most recent polar vortex and see some sun I promise I’ll share!  Until then, I’d love to hear what you have been working on lately.