Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Baby Bib

I had some free time tonight (it's amazing what only working one job will do for that!!!). So I decided to make a bib. Out of recycled materials. Yes, I'm just that crunchy ;-)

A while back when I was looking online for patterns and tutorials, I found this great tutorial for making a recycled bib posted by Linda Permann at I decided to give it a try. With the overabundance of scrap jeans and other various fabrics lying around, it's not like I had anything to lose.

Here's the process:

1. Print off pattern from the tutorial. Add a 2 inch section of paper where it says. Fold fabric in half. Place pattern on fold, pin, and cut. Make two of these. I used one jean side and one green microfleece side.

2. To make the patchwork part, measure 2 inches and 5 1/2 inches from bottom of bib. Draw a straight line across with tailor's chalk and cut out. Next, make a 4 inch by 10 1/2 inch strip of cloth (can be all one piece or many pieces put together to measure this). Sew patchwork pieces together using 1/4 inch seam allowance and press open seams.

3. Next sew the patchwork strip to the long ends of the bib, making sure right sides are facing each other. Press seams down when finished. Trim off any excess patchwork fabric to shape the bib.

4. With right sides facing each other, pin the bib sides together. Sew a 1/4 inch seam around the edge, leaving about 2 inches on the bottom open to turn the bib inside out. Once finished, trim off excess fabric in the corners and turn inside out, using a "point turner" (aka the eraser end of a pencil for those of us too cheap to purchase one) to get into corners. Press down entire bib and fold under the open part at the bottom 1/2 inch; press. Top stitch around entire edge of bib and around patchwork parts. And....

Voila! Bib is...

almost done. Just need to buy the snaps. But it's pretty cute, eh? It looks a bit small, but I'm not an expert yet. I might enlargen the pattern a bit next time, though, to get a range of bibs going in my stash.

Jake even had to try it out. Here he is pretending to cry while wearing it.

And lastly, here's updated bump pics for all those keeping track! Week 23!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Planning Ahead

I'm beginning to understand the virtue of planning ahead.

Yesterday was an incredibly productive day for me. I got up and made 2 large loaves of pumpkin bread, one loaf of wheat bread, and bread dough. I did 5 loads of laundry. Then I proceeded to spring clean from top to bottom both the bedroom and the bathroom (with the help of my dear husband). As much as I dread spring cleaning--even with my "nesting" instinct kicking in--it feels nice to have 2 of 8 rooms completed. 1/4 of the way there!! I And then I went grocery shopping while he prepared dinner, only to come back and prepare two more dinners for the week.

And the benefits of all this planning ahead are already paying off. I was able to come home today and pop the hot dish I had prepped right into the oven, take Beau for a nice long walk, and return with enough time to do the yoga video I had lazily skipped this morning. Then I prepped some of the bread dough for cinnamon rolls...

which, by the way, smell amazing right now (and okay, I might have had one right out of the oven, smothered in butter--oh so yummy!).

I packed my lunch for tomorrow since it always takes up so much precious time in the morning when I'm constantly rushing out the door. I know I'll be breathing easier tomorrow morning :-)

And what's waiting for dinner tomorrow night? Enchilada filling that I made on Sunday night, all ready to go. Just fill and roll tortillas, top with sauce and cheese, and away we go.

I know in the end that it probably takes just the same amount of time as doing it the day of, but it's nice not to have to think too much about dinner when I come home. I'm really hoping this strategy pays off once the baby arrives, too--because we all know how crazy life's gonna get then.

On a completely and unrelated side note, our dog has decided that he's from the hood. Have a good night!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to be surrounded and enveloped by many talented, lovely, and beautiful women from across Pittsburgh for No Name Players' third annual SWAN Day Celebration. SWAN Day (which stands for Support Women Artists Now) is an international celebration of women artists during March, Women's History Month. At this particular Celebration, the performance is a conglomeration of women creating art in all its various forms--dance, music, theatre, visual, media, literary, and everything in between.

It's funny how some things just fall into place. My dear friends, Em and Christina, and I were discussing how cool it would be to start a women's theatre group here in Pittsburgh. We then thought--with all of our copious amounts of free time--that we could get something put together for women's history month. Needless to say, it was quickly becoming evident that this was not going to happen. But then we were guided toward the direction of Tressa, the managing director of No Name Players,who had been organizing this awesome SWAN Day event. I met with her in December, and she found us an 8 minute spot in the show. How cool was that?

Each piece for this year's celebration was going to be based on interviews Tressa had done with local women about being women. When we watched the interview footage, we had pages upon pages of notes. We talked for 2 1/2 hours about everything we found interesting. Trying to decide what to talk about in 8 minutes was going to be hard!  But we decided to structure our piece in a way that no one else had done before for SWAN Day: a monologue performance piece written and performed by us in conjunction with visual artists who would create art based on our monologues. Sweet, huh? While initially we had envisioned the artists creating something in real time during the performances, they ended up creating an awesome animation that ran behind us based on our themes and prop.

Prop, you say? What kind of prop? As you may remember, I posted my monologue a while back. The monologue was about how terrified (and guilty because of it) I was to have a girl. Em's and Christina's monologues also touched upon different "flavors of guilt" associated with different stages of motherhood. Em's discussed the need to do everything "right" and "by the book" or else we'll all die from the unknowns (think hysterical, smothering mother). Christina's investigated the desire to break free and become her own women again--only to feel guilty about leaving her family to do so. So to tie all of our guilt together, we used a rope. A long long rope. It was tied, wrapped, unwrapped, bundled, stretched, pulled, wound, went over, went under, climbed through, stepped on, in circle, in cats cradle--it did a lot for showing how we all felt. And hence, the title of our piece was In Knots.

We got a lot of positive feedback on our piece, which was wonderful although unnecessary because I think that even if everyone had hated it, we had so much fun putting it together that it wouldn't have mattered. I swear--we would get together for an hour and half "rehearsal" and probably only rehearse for about 30 minutes of that time. We gelled and it all came together. The rest of the time was spent chatting, venting, crying, laughing, eating. I got to know two amazing women through this process, women who have already begun to share their motherhood experiences with me and guide me towards becoming the mom I hope I'll be. I'm forever grateful to them for such a wonderful experience.

Here's to getting our women's theatre group up and running, ladies!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Consignment sales are the BEST!

The title sums it up. Let me say that I've always been one for a bargain. I have fond memories of garage sale-ing with my Grandma Lorraine while we were up north at the Cabin and of scrounging my pennies together for the local garage sales in Lonsdale when I was younger, ready and waiting to find new books and trinkets to take home. I scoured thrift stores as a teenager, looking for cool and hip things.

But now I've found the perfect thing between hunting and searching for the goods amongst a lot of junk and going to a specialty store: consignment sales. Today I went to the Sunflower Sprouts children's consignment sale in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. For anyone not from this area, it's the 'burbs. And the 'burbs = nice things. All they had, subsequently, was nice maternity, baby, and kids things. It was a gold mine. Especially since I went to their "New Moms Presale" which means I got to go in before the general public and snatch up the really good stuff!

So for a little over a hundred dollars, here's my haul:

...a Fischer-Price vibrating bouncer
Here's to hoping Baby Girl doesn't mind blue! The bunny's make it seem pretty gender neutral, though.

...a Boppy playmat with a small boppy pillow for Baby Girl and hook-on toys
Jake doing an excellent impression of Baby.
Isn't it adorable? All the toys are in that plastic bag. So excited!

...a gently used Baby Bjorn carrier (they retail for $'s ridiculous...this one was $15!)
Jake modeling the carrier. He's gonna make a wonderful papa!

...9 NB onesies and two pairs of pants
Notice the tags still on the one!

..a ring-sling carrier

...a brand new nursing cover

...Dr. Sear's The Breastfeeding Book

...a bottle drying rack

...2 swaddle-wraps (they are oh so soft and come highly recommended by my friend Ellen!) 

...Some maternity clothes, including another pairs of jeans, a cute green skirt, a black-and-white polka dot sundress, and some lounging shorts.

Am I hooked? Absolutely! I'm signed up for another 2 in the next month :-)

And because I missed last week, here's a pic of the bump for week 22--a day early!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oh, Personality!

This morning we had to have a repeat ultrasound because the first time around they couldn't get a good look at the heart. And it was amazing because this time it became even clearer how much our daughter was like me already. I was poked and prodded, turned this way and that, for an hour to try and get a good look at the heart. I walked. I took deep breaths. And still Baby Girl was comfortable sitting breech and slightly turned enough to make the technician's job a pain in the neck. The technician started to call her names, which was fine by me because she was not budging an inch. In other words, she's inherited my stubborn tenacity.

On the one hand the thought of her being stubborn horrifies me. Can you imagine if she's like this in the womb what she's gonna be like in 15 years??? But on the other hand, if her stubborn tenacity means that she never gives up from pursuing what she wants, well...that's not such a bad thing at all. Then I guess my job will be to guide her in the direction of good things to pursue (you know, advocating for social justice and environment and the likes, as opposed to fulfilling some dark fantasy of being a paid assassin or something equally as unethical and immoral).

For the first time I'm actually beginning to wonder what her personality will be like. I wonder what traits she will have inherited from me, what traits she'll have gotten from Jake (please say it's his ingenuity and patience, two things I greatly lack!). And I'm getting really really really excited to find out and meet this little girl!

For right now, though, I'm content with seeing her newest picture...thumb in mouth, sittin' back, chillaxin' to the max. :-)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Cinnamon. The flavor of the season. Or at least my pregnancy. For those who have known me since I was little or have been reading my recent facebook posts, my obsession with cinnamon comes as no surprise. Although frankly it surprised me a bit! All those times early on when I was pondering, "What foods am I really going to crave?" I sort of forgot about my old-standby, my ultimate comfort food--cinnamon. I'm not sure what it is about cinnamon's taste (I hate cinnamon candy, so it can't be too spicy) or it's smell (like heaven!) or its color (so warm and inviting, like a blanket), but I love it.

My favorite form of cinnamon has always been cinnamon rolls. I have a serious attachment to this pastry because whenever I went to visit my grandparents when I was younger, my Grandma Marion would always make me cinnamon rolls. They weren't iced. I didn't even put butter on them. I would just eat them plain Jane, one right after another, until with my 8-year old pudgy face beamed with pride that I had consumed half (or more!) of the pan all by myself. And ever since then, I'm a sucker for cinnamon rolls. I'll take a heavily frosted cinnamon roll over a cookie, doughnut, or cake any day, although I often scrape off the frosting in order to get to the good stuff :-)

And so cinnamon it is, was, and always will be. My first real craving during the pregnancy was milk, but my second was--you guessed it--cinnamon rolls, the perfect accompaniment to the milk. This second, stronger craving was all brought on by the power of suggestion from one tiny Facebook status update. One update that sent Jake packing to Trader Joe's to get me some of their delicious "Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls." This pan is nearly gone. It wasn't our first, and it surely won't be the last.

Even these cinnamon rolls are a bit sugary for me now, though. I want to get back to goodness, the cinnamon and bread that my Grandma Marion whipped together into the most scrumptious concoction. I tried cinnamon and sugar toast. It was okay, but lackluster. I don't think I had a strong enough hand with the cinnamon.

So tonight was the gold mine. As I'm standing in Giant Eagle in the bakery, looking at the donuts, and the cinnamon rolls, and the muffins, and not feeling MOVED by any of it yet secretly wanting it all, I made my way over to the commercial bread isle. And oh, how did I ever forget about the amazing invention of Pepperidge Farm's cinnamon bread? No icing, so good it doesn't even need butter, just the carbs and cinnamon melding into one glorious treat.

I ate 3 pieces on the car ride home alone. This could become a problem!

But please, I beg of you--if you know the solution, don't tell me. I love my cinnamon too much :-)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Halfway Mark

20 weeks--

The Halfway Mark--

Beau really wanted his picture taken, too. Can't ya tell?

Celebrated with a 1/2 pint of Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Ice Cream. And only a 1/2 pint because I devoured the first half a few nights earlier.

Where has the time gone? How much can I possibly get done in the next 20 weeks before Baby Melbs arrives?

So The Halfway Mark kicked me into gear this weekend. I embarked upon my first baby-related sewing adventure: a breastfeeding pillow. I forgot to capture photos of the patterning, cutting, and sewing, but here's me stuffing it...

And the (nearly) finished pillow (I need more took two bags of polyfill and I'm still not done!)

As Jake said, it looks a bit lumpy in places, but hey--it works for me :-) The pattern is from a wonderfully awesome book I borrowed from the library, Simple Sewing for Baby: 24 Easy Projects for Newborns to Toddlers by Lotta Jansdotter. Check it out--it's genius! I plan on making many many more things from this book in the near future!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring is upon us!

How do I know that spring is really, truly, finally upon us?

Because in the heat spell of last weekend, Jake broke the ground in the back garden and sprinkled seeds. Then he created this make-shift hothouse out of cellophane and wood scraps from Home Depot to start seeds in. Only to have it snow the next day.

But it's an exciting time, planning the garden. Jake's been doing lots of research on companion plants and natural and organic pest remedies. It's so reassuring that we might not have to deal with the slugs again if we just apply some iron phosphate to the plants. Thank goodness!

If it seems like Jake has done a lot of the work so far, it's because he totally has. I'm just the sounding board for what he wants to plant and eventually I'll get out there and help distribute and plant the seeds. It's what my slender fingers were made for.

So here's the list of what we want to grow this year:

The smaller plot in back: cool season vegetables, including broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, beets, turnips, rutabegas, collard greens, shallots, chard (during the hot season)

The larger plot in front: tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, carrots, garlic, peas, cucumbers, beans, eggplant, parsnips.

Ambitious? I can hardly think about it without getting tired. We're already trying to eat down our freezer to make room for the glut it will hopefully produce.

So cross your fingers, folks, that the growing gods are on our side as the season begins :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baby Melbs' first pictures

(Sorry, Mom, that this post has taken so long to come to fruition. The new job has been draining all my energy!).

We had the ultrasound on Monday. I am so glad we made it for early in the morning. The appointment started on time, and we didn't have to wait all day in anticipation. But boy, were we nervous going in there! Not having any other ultrasounds done before this anatomy scan, we just wanted everything to look healthy!

And, okay, we were nervous about finding out the gender...

Here's one picture of the ultrasound...

And another...can you tell yet?

Although Baby Melbs was quite content to lay on its belly, despite much poking and proding, the ultrasound tech got a look at the goods, and it appears we are having a baby GIRL!

We were stunned. Not in a bad way, more in the "Oh my goodness this is getting very real!" We both admitted right then and there that the thought of having a girl gave us some anxiety (see previous post here). But as the day went on, I started thinking about me and my future daughter. And with the kind, uplifting words of friends, I started not to dwell on the negative side of having a uterus, but instead began focusing on all that is good about being female that I can help my daughter learn to love, learn to relish, learn to embrace for the wonders that the female body can produce--like more beautiful daughters :-) Mind you, my anxiety is incredibly weird to me as I am typically the perpetual optimist. So I'm glad I'm finally now returning to my usual self. Return soon for my "The Good News Tale of Being Female" or "Letter to my Daughter" post!

But before you go, here's some more pictures of the growing baby bump. No detectable movement yet, but after seeing her make her big screen debut this week, it's clear that she's got no problem kicking, poking, prodding, etc.