Bugaroo

Yesterday we hosted Pasha's first birthday party

It was so fun! I haven't thrown a party of any kind in years, and we have not had occasion to have a bunch of people over since we bought our house. You can probably guess our theme.

Pandas!

If you've been here for a while you've seen the stuffed panda I used for all of Pasha's monthly photos. We went to DC for my birthday in 2015 (to visit the Indiana Jones exhibit) just after learning that I was pregnant. The pandas at the national zoo had just had their baby, so we bought a little stuffed Bae-Bae which I carried around like a baby for the rest of the trip. Since then Pasha's stuff has been loosely panda themed. 

Luckily it is graduation season, so finding black and white decor was rather easy. I made the tissue paper tassels using this tutorial. It was super easy but also time consuming, so I don't recommend trying to make them all in an afternoon while baby-wrangling. Just a thought.

Of course no important occasion is complete without a new outfit. Because it is so hot, knitwear was out. Instead I sewed a pair of overalls.

This is the first time I have sewed for Pasha and I can say with certainty that there is a real dearth of sewing patterns for boys. Puperita has a ton of unisex patterns that are just darling, and as soon as I saw the Little Birds pattern I knew I had to make it. I used basic denim for the outer fabric and Cotton + Steel for the lining. Because it has PANDAS! 

This was also the first time I made button holes and it was so easy! I have been avoiding anything with buttons for myself because I was worried about ruining the project by doing it wrong, but it was so easy. I read this tutorial from Tilly and the Buttons and just jumped in. The whole project took little more than a day to sew (I had the pieces cut out a while ago). 

Because PANDAS!

Hit Pause

You ever have a moment where you just want to freeze time?

Things have been a little quite over here because I was having one of those moments. Several of them actually. Because yesterday our little bug, my darling Pasha, turned one. ONE! Can you believe it?

This year has been so hard and so wonderful and I wouldn't trade any of it. Being this kid's mama has made all of the struggles worth it. But at the same time it seems like the experience is flying by and I just want to hit pause and spend a little more time in the moment. So yesterday in honor of Pasha's birthday and my first year as a mommy I put all my current projects to the side and started something new for myself.

I picked up this yarn at Black Mountain Yarn Shop over the weekend because I am finally, FINALLY, going to make a TCPT. The Totally Perfect Crop Top was published last summer but I was not in a place where I wanted to knit garments. This year I have already sewn several high-waisted skirts, so a crop top should be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. By the time I got the yarn wound and cast on someone was up from his nap, so I didn't get much done, but it is a start.

We also ran some selfish errands, picking up books for the birthday boy and fabric for me! Pasha decided last week that he is done nursing, so I'm finally free to start wearing pullover dresses, not seperates or items with handy zippers. First up? Deer and Doe's Arum Dress. Hopefully it is as quick and easy as it looks.

We had a lovely time with the birthday boy, but now it's back to reality. There are grandparents coming to visit and a birthday party to  host, so mommy's got to get herself in gear. But I did enjoy my little selfish pause. Here's hoping I don't have to wait till his second birthday to take another.

When It Doesn't All Come Up Roses

It's Mother's Day here in the US.

A day when we place special emphasis on the women who birthed us, care for us, support us. It's not a happy day for everyone, and if that is your case today I am truly sorry. You have my love and any support you may need. I wrote last year about how hard Mother's Day has been for me in the past as we struggled with unexplained infertility, so you would think that this year, my second Mother's Day (if you are having a baby, you are a mother, even if you are the only one to have "met" your child), I would be full of joy and light. And I am. But it is not always that way.

You see, I have Postpartum Depression.

I think it is important to tell you this because my son turns one this week and I am still fighting this battle. My diagnosis came several months after I gave birth because I did not recognize the signs. Too often PPD is presented as uncontrollable sadness or a complete disinterest in our children. That is a version of it, but it is not the complete picture.

PPD is an umbrella diagnosis that encompasses symptoms I had not even heard of. In my case it presented as uncontrollable rage and fear. I would stay awake after a three AM feeding and scrub our tiny apartment on my hands and knees, convinced that I would be a bad mother if things were not perfectly clean. I had intrusive thoughts, not about hurting myself or Pasha, but about insane fears. Once I became convinced after starting a load of laundry that I was so tired I had accidentally put the baby in the washer instead of the clothes, even though I was holding him.

It wasn't until I threw a handful of knitting needles at Chris that I began to wonder if my family would be better off without me. I wasn't suicidal per se, but I knew I could not continue to be a wife and mother in my current state. I was fortunate enough to have a phenomenal midwife who knew enough to ask the right questions. At every postpartum appointment she asked me questions beyond the standard questionnaire and helped me find treatment options that worked best for my situation. I still have my rough days, but no more than any mom of a young child.

May is PPD Awareness Month, which is why I feel compelled to tell you my story. I was blessed to be raised in a family that normalized postpartum issues. I grew up knowing women around me who battled PPD and were amazing mothers -- yet I still did not recognize it when it happened to me. I recently shared this post on Facebook and it reminded me that so many women do not know the signs. 

1 in 7 women who give birth will suffer from PPD and in some areas that number is as high as 1 in 4

If you are a new mom who has recently given birth one of the most important things you can do is answer honestly when taking a PPD assessment at your doctor's office. It is a standard questionnaire that should be given at your followup appointment. And if you are pregnant or looking to become pregnant, start educating yourself now. A little information can go a long way in the battle for maternal health.

Most importantly, if you suspect you may have PPD seek help. Speak honestly with your healthcare providers. Talk to other mothers because chances are you know someone who has been through this struggle. And support those around you. Together we are stronger than we can ever be in isolation.

Love you, mamas.

Me Made Madness

I've never been able to participate in Me Made May before.

Until this year my handmade wardrobe was exclusively handknit, which is not very conducive to everyday wear in North Carolina May. It's technically Spring but around here it's more like pre-Summer. But this year. This year not only has it been chilly (at least in the mornings), but I have sewn garments to wear!

I missed the beginning of Me Made May, not really wanting to play along when I don't have that much to offer. But I had a newly completed to share so I decided to dip my toe in last week.

I'm still not posting every day because my handmade wardrobe is small and there are only so many bathroom selfies one wants on one's feed, but I am enjoying taking stock of what I wear every day. Last year at this time I was on bed rest and in that miserable stage of late pregnancy. This year I have a stair-climbing monster to chase after, so you'd think I'd stick to yoga pants but more often than not I find myself in a skirt and tshirt.

And when we have bad days and I just don't have the energy to do laundry there are still cozy shawls under which to snuggle.

Are you participating in Me Made May? Let me know if you are joining in the fun!

Clemence Skirt

If you had told me ten years ago that I'd be a skirt addict I would have laughed at you.

And if you had told me that I was obsessed with making them I would have laughed all the more. I may have been a knitter, but I was not the type of person to make her own clothes. But now that I'm through all but the last two projects from Love at First Stitch I don't think I can claim that anymore. For better or worse (and trust me, some of it is worst), I am on this handmade wardrobe train.

I've made three skirts at this point, but the only one I have managed to photograph is my Clemence Skirt.

A few months ago I went to our LYS to support a friend who was holding a spinning demonstration. It was my first time in the shop and when wandering the fabric wall I spotted this print and said "I want to make a skirt out of that."

So when I reached this pattern in my book I took myself back and bought it. What happened after was a bit of a disaster.

The Clemence pattern does not have any pattern pieces but is rather an exercise in pattern drafting. I don't know if I was too distracted by the Fargo episode I had on in the background or if my brain had simply stopped working that night, but I cut my pieces much longer than needed. Of course I did not realize this until I had already sewn my french seams (twice -- the first time I sewed them backwards. It was not my night), and started to work on the gathers. I managed to make it work, but when it came time to put in the zipper and sew up the back I ended up with quite a large seam allowance.

Comically large.

And then my top stitching was not staying straight. No matter how hard I tried I could not get my line to stay in place. I ripped back a few times, but the delicate fabric started to fray, so I just went with it and then hand stitched a few spots in place just to be sure.

The result is a skirt that looks a little sloppy if you know about dressmaking, but works for running around with a baby. Luckily I'm a tshirt addict, so I'll just keep wearing ones that are longer to cover the problems around the waistband.

Why, you might ask, do I only have one shot of this skirt straight on? Well, this little guy was crawling about.

And when it comes to him we are all powerless before this face.

That's a future yarn-winding minion right there.