Monday, November 28, 2011


I'm not sure if I'd mentioned this before, but my husband and I had chosen to not find out the sex of baby #4.  We'd found out with Owen and the twins, so we figured that leaving that as a surprise would be a nice difference this time around.  In the weeks leading up to my scheduled C-section, we had pretty much decided on a girl's name, but a suitable boy's name completely eluded us.  Nothing seemed to fit.  Only a few days prior to going to the hospital, we were between 2 names, one of which was a very recent and quite random find.  Laying on the operating table, my body numb and the surgery just about to start, I turned to Dearg and stated this newest name firmly, still with no idea if it would be a moot point.  With a heave to my body, the doctor's voice range out- "Hope you wanted a boy!"  With a smile, Dearg looked down at me and said "Archer Patrick" in confirmation of our choice.

The photo above is pretty silly, but Archer lived up to his name a few hours later.  Dearg stepped to the bassinet to see that our newborn boy had positioned his arms and hands to look like he was holding a drawn bow.  Drawing in the missing pieces was just too cute to resist.  And if you follow the Zodiac, you might find it also interesting (and completely coincidental on our part) that his sign is Sagittarius- the Archer.

He is very much like Lee in looks (and also very much like Dearg) and is also pretty laid-back like his next oldest brother.  It's very odd to have only one newborn again, but it's refreshing (especially when it comes to the breastfeeding schedule!)  When we came home from the hospital, it was remarkable to us how large the twins were- before we left I still thought of them as babies- now they are HUGE!

There is an event this coming weekend, but it may be too soon for us to attempt to go.  If we do, he'll probably wear an hand-me-down outfit.  With 3 children growing up in garb (and my tendency to keep all of it) I just can't justify making new garb for him right now!

While I'm healing, I'll finish up my black fur hat, and if I feel like I've dropped down in weight enough, I'll get my new linen apron cut out and started.  There's always something to work on, even with a house full of kids!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Important Announcement

Concerning my separate website: My website domain and hosting are up for renewal at the beginning of December, and I have chosen to not renew them.  I decided that I'd like to switch hosts and domain names, but I've yet to find the hosting company I'd like to use.  I've considered switching to WordPress, but I like Blogger, and having both just seems too silly.  So, if you go to visit my website after December 3rd, it won't be there.  As soon as my new domain and site are up, I will, of course, post them here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mundane Sewing Projects

I decided a month or so ago that I wanted to complete a few mundane projects before the baby was born, and I wanted to specifically look for projects that would allow me to try techniques I had never taken a stab at before.  I found three projects that I really wanted to make, but offered three levels of effort: a nursing cover, a toiletries bag and a diaper bag.  I think they were successes in terms of the process, though there are a few things I could have improved.  I used three tutorials I found online (after some extensive looking!), and here are the results:

First, I made a toiletries bag, using some leftover gray wool and a cotton for the lining.  It's a good size for a whole mess of travel-sized toiletries.  It will also double as a quick-grab bag for diapers and a small bag of wipes.  I used a boxy bag tutorial and included a little handle.  The lining is hand sewn in.  I found on my second trip to the hospital that packing a bag of travel-size toiletries was SOOO much better than trying to get my full-sized items packed.  This way, I've got all the toiletries I need ready to go, and if I accidentally leave any at the hospital, it's no big deal.  I had never sewn a zipper on anything before- so that was the major challenge on this project.

The second project was a nursing cover, which I made using this tutorial.  The cover uses D-rings for the strap around the neck (which I hadn't sewn on before) and uses boning at the front center to keep the cover open at the top for easier viewing and air circulation.  The boning was interesting to work with.  I actually either didn't follow the directions exactly, or the directions had an error, and I had to pull the boning out of the casing to turn it around, because I'd already sewn the casing down.  That was interesting.  I did a very poor job of keeping my lines straight during sewing, so a close up isn't very pretty!  After trying to breast feed the twins at the hospital with no cover, and nurses and doctors always coming in and out of the room, I was really feeling the lack of privacy.  I decided that a nursing cover was definitely in order this time!

The final project, and the most complex, was a diaper bag.  It's not really a diaper bag- it's more of a purse that's large enough to hold kid's stuff.  I used the Not Just Another Pretty Purse tutorial.  I made several modifcations to the pattern pieces (made the bottom and sides wider, and changed the shape of the inner pockets.)  Adding magnetic clasps, a key fob, an interior pocket with a zipper, AND piping (!) were the challenges on this one.  I discovered that, though I wouldn't call it "easy", sewing piping on is a lot of fun!  I used a thick flannel between the layers, but in retrospect, I probably should have also used a stiffening interfacing to prevent the sides from drooping so much.  There are three layers of plastic canvas in the false bottom, as well as a piece of cardboard placed under it, to try to keep the bottom stiff so the sides are forced to stay up a bit more.  The main purpose of this bag at the hospital is to hold the toiletry bag, the cover and some items for the baby (like the outfit he/she will wear home).  I'll also toss in a few items for me, though it's not large enough to hold my clothes for going home (I'll just leave those in the car and have Dearg bring them in when I'm ready for them.)  I'm interested to see how long it "lives" before it starts to fall apart!


I've got less than two weeks before my C-section, but I have a few random projects that I might pick up and work on a bit between now and then (like my new Tres Riches hat).  We'll see how much I can get done before the baby arrives!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tres Riches Fur Hat

I don't have any linen for the apron right now, but in the process of setting up the craft room at the new house, I came across the materials for a project I've been meaning to do for over a year now- the black fur hat from the April page of Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.

Now, if we're following the rules of research, it's pretty obvious that this hat is most likely a flight of fantasy.  I've personally never come across another hat like this (in this time period) and even in the Tres Riches calendar illuminations, it's a one-of-a-kind.  Doesn't stop me from wanting one, though!

Now that I've narrowed my persona down to about 1435, I have a renewed interest in headdress appropriate to that time period, even upper class pieces and fanciful concoctions like this one.  Plus, I found the piece of faux black fur in the remnant bin for only $3 and it's absolutely perfect!

I wrote out my thoughts on the construction of it yesterday, and I'm a little concerned that it might want to sit lower than the image, and I don't precisely know what to do about that, but I've got some ideas.  This is one of those nice prototype projects that help me think through construction issues and that's exactly what I need in preparation for really taking on my Garb Quest.  Even if it's a flop, I can learn from it, and since having the materials for it was a pretty random act of chance, I'm not really out anything for trying.

I'm almost done with the few modern sewing projects I've been working on (which I'll share when complete), so while I'm waiting for my order of linen for the apron, I think I'll make myself a silly fur hat!