Saturday, September 6, 2014

Boardwalk Hooded T-shirt

Pin It I simply love this pattern.  It is a Peek-a-boo pattern, the Boardwalk Henley.

I sewed a couple for my son before I left and I see pictures with him wearing them all the time.  So I guess it was as much a hit with him as it was for me.

It comes with options for a hood or plain neckline and for girls, an option for a gathered front to add some femininity.

I made one version that I altered the placket to accommodate a zipper instead of buttons and added black mesh so it has a ninja look.  He LOVED that!

And on another version, I used a woven Star Wars material for the hood.  Because there is a button placket, substituting a woven was not a big deal.

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

How do you be a mom when deployed?

Pin It This week has been hard on me emotionally.  I am in general a cold and calculating person.  That does not mean that I don't have compassion for others, it just means that I am a bit logical and measured in how I display that compassion.

But, when I am feeling stressed or lonely, I get colder.  I find it a lot easier to put my feelings away in a drawer and concentrate on the task at hand.  This is a very handy skill because I can really focus on my work and do a great job.  It also is good when you can't fix the situation except for simply working through it.  I generally find crying and carrying on unproductive and I can solve so many things if I don't get emotional.
Me at NKAIA, Afghanistan

But, there are times when this coping skill is not entirely helpful.  I miss my family like crazy, but I try not to think about them too much because I find it distracting from the task at hand and it does not make these months pass any faster.

But, my husband and kids need me to emotionally engage when I am talking to them and writing them notes.  They need to feel loved and missed.  And in my cold coping, I had not been communicating with them how much I wish I was there with them.  And that became very obvious this week when they needed me and then felt rejected.

My goodbye note before flying away in May.

So how do you be a mom and wife from across the globe?  How do you fit in all the love and caring you can in a 15 minute daily phone call?  I don't know.  But I need to figure something out so they know that I too am aching inside and want to be with them.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pencil Skirt fitting

Pin It This Spring, before I left for Afghanistan, I saw that Simple Simon was hosting pencil skirt sew along.  And it was not just a regular sew along; they were teaching how to draft one your self.  I really did not need to sew something for me, especially since I was leaving in 6 weeks, but I did.  

front of the skirt

It was a great learning experience.  I broke out some brown package paper, ruler, compass and tape measure and went to work.  But, despite my best efforts and trying it on along the way, I still had wrinkling in the front.

back view

I used a metal zipper in the back.  I thought that was fun.  And the fit back there was perfect.

side view

From the side view, you can see the wrinkles a little bit better.  In order to determine what went wrong, I consulted my Vogue sewing book.  It states that wrinkles like that are due to an abnormally large abdomen. hmmmm.  I think we call that left over baby belly in lay woman's terms.  And I really did not think mine was that bad.  But I guess, it is all about proportions.  So next time, I will adjust for that.  Or, while I am here in Afghanistan, maybe I can hit the gym a little harder and when I get home, the skirt may fit perfectly.

Here it is with a coordinating top.  I used the Parisian Top pattern from Go To Patterns.  I will blog about that on another day.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

A purple zebra?

Pin It On Sew Cool for the Tween Scene earlier this summer I reviewed a McCalls 6548.  I sewed up the shirt for my daughter to wear for her school play.  They were supposed to wear something "western style."  She did not have anything that fit the bill, so I made her something that would work and would be a good top for the whole summer.

She also needed a "stick pony."  The kids were told to get creative and that parents were not to go run out and buy one.  Given that her mom is a bit crafty, and loves to sew, we had a great time with this project.

I sent her digging through my scraps of fabric and she found this purple zebra twill fabric left over from a pencil skirt I made me a while back.  I thought it was great!  Then we went on pintrest and looked at several other home-made stick ponies and adapted a couple versions to fit what we wanted.

She is just learning to sew, thus we made it a joint project.  She cut out the horse head and ears pattern.  That helped her understand how a pattern is cut and how the pieces end up going together.  She pinned the pieces together and watched me sew.  The main was made by wrapping it around a two inch wide section of a cereal box and then I stitched down the outside edge catching the yarn.  Then Abi cut the other side so that we had a bunch of short yarns connected together.  Then I folded the yarn along the sewn line and inserted that into the long top seam of the horse head.

Abi stuffed the horse head with poly stuffing and we wrapped the stick with fabric in order to keep it's rough edges from poking through. The nose was stuffed first, then we inserted the stick and then stuffed the rest.  Using both a basting stitch to close the bottom and a bunch of hot glue, we were able to finish it off.  I did not like the look of it where the stick met the head, so I simply hot glued a ribbon at that joint and then tied a bow.

The yarn and buttons for eyes also came from my stash of sewing and crocheting supplies.  And the stick was one that we found in the woods behind our house.  This allowed us to completely comply with the school's intent of not spending any money.  And in addition to being free, it was a fun project to do with my girl.  One of the things I really want to do when I return from Afghanistan is to do more collaborative projects with Abi.

Do you have any silly mom-child projects?

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer play-shirt using McCalls 6548

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Before I left for Afghanistan, I madly sewed trying to get some things done for the kids to wear this summer.  One of the items I sewed was a shirt meant just for playing.

I used view B McCalls pattern M6548 which was a quick and easy sew.  And since this was meant to be just a summer play shirt, I used an old Busch Gardens adult sized t-shirt and some scrap knit for the fabric.
I have been trying to use my larger scrap pieces.  I cannot bring myself to throw them away, but they are really too small for even something for my 3 year old.  But, I had enough of this blue for sleeves … barely!
I simply placed the pattern such that I could get most of the monsters centered on the front and then cut the back.  There was a bit of controversy over me cutting this shirt.  My eldest child had been using it as a sleep shirt and thought I did not have a right to cut it up.  But it was too short for her to wear around anyway and some things just need to be handed down.

Eli loved it.  And I hope he is enjoying wearing it and thinking of me as he enjoys the Alaska summer while I am deployed.

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Pictures from home

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First off, I need to say I have a really great husband.  Every couple weeks I get care packages crammed full of pictures of the kids, kid art, and kid crafts.  He also posts pictures of the kids and him doing fun things on Facebook nearly daily so I can see what they are all up to.

I recently received one of these great packages.  It had two framed pictures from recent outings and a whole bunch of snapshots and magnetic picture sleeves.  The snapshots now can be proudly displayed on my locker in my bedroom.  This locker is becoming covered in art and pictures.  It is wonderful.

As wonderful as it is; I had a pang of hurt when I saw all these great pictures.  You see, last time I deployed, my husband sent a lot of snapshots to be stuck to my locker.  I had a glorious collection of pictures of my then kindergartener and toddler.  But in the years that followed, sometimes one of them would say “Mom, remember when we ___.”  And I have to say “Well, I remember seeing the pictures.  You looked like you had a lot of fun.”  I don’t want to sound down in front of the kids, but I feel like that was a lost year.  It existed for them, but somehow it did not really exist for me.

And now I am receiving snapshots from baseball games, camping trips, playing in the sand at the beach…
Another lost year is occurring.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am proud of my job and what I am doing here in Afghanistan.  I am a part of a team that is making a difference.  But, it still hurts. 

I love those photos and I am sure my husband will keep them coming.  And I will continue to call and hear all about their adventures.  We will all be strong and make it through this separation.

If you are interested in hearing more from us, there are a couple ways for you to keep in touch!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The little things

Pin It I have been in Afghanistan now for over a month and have found a rhythm in my daily life. I am in a location that is not austere, so life is not too hard. But it is greatly simplified compared to home. 

My husband saw some pictures posted on FB of our living spaces and sent me a couple things to make me more comfortable. 

He thought the shelf in the shower looked too tall so he sent me a command hook shower caddy. I am not THAT short but the thought was very sweet. 

He also sent me a robe and another hook for my robe. 

The other ladies also appreciate the improvements. After all, it is the little things that can make life easier. 

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