Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there in the world.  I am thankful for my sweet son who makes me smile every day, my loving husband who deals with my daily craziness, our new little "Sweet Pea" for not kicking as hard as Dominic did (so far at least), and for our two kitties for being there everyday to crawl in my lap and purr.  :-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quilting - what's that???

I haven't really done much sewing/quilting since the painters finished in the house.  Too many things to do this time of year between getting ready for the holidays, finishing the unpacking, and attempting to organize my sewing space.  It's been a little frustrating because I do find it relaxing and fun but it's not really possible to sew when your stuff is all in boxes and needs to be organized and put away. 

I've mostly been unpacking all the stuff that was in my old "sewing room" in NY (by "sewing room" I mean the table in the corner of the laundry room and all the boxes stored in the corner of the basement).  I had a lot of stuff and it wasn't really organized in a way to be of use (I scrapbook and do my own hand bound books and I have a lot of painting supplies and watercolors).  It's been fun going through it all and reminiscing about the old projects I used to work on.  Getting it all sorted and put away is a big goal of mine.  I'd like to be able to get back into painting and scrapbooking but it's hard to do when everything is in such a mess.  If you can't get to your supplies then you are never going to be able to really be creative in the way that you want to be creative - and I think this applies to anything in life be it sewing, painting, cooking, doing research, gardening, etc. 

And, then there is the fabric mess to deal with.  The movers in NY just dumped all my fabric into boxes with no plan whatsoever (unless that plan was to cause me grief when I opened the boxes here).  So, this means that all my nicely sorted scrap fabric is now in one giant box to be sorted again (and it all needs to be re-washed because they mixed together the boxes of washed scraps with all of the unwashed scraps not to mention the several bags of scraps that I have acquired in the past few months).  That is a chore that hasn't been going well - mostly because I don't really have anywhere to put the sorted piles that is safe from the cats and Dominic (all three of them can open the sewing room door without help!).  Many piles have been creatively "re-sorted" ever so nicely for me.  =)  The acquisition of some storage containers is needed before too much more on this project can be accomplished. 

In all of this mess, I have been able to cut the fabric for two projects (small baby quilts - one for baby Jerrick and one for "Sweet Pea") and I've decided I need to clear some space on the table to sew them together before I continue sorting and putting away everything else.  I've almost run out of diamonds to sew together for my EPP star quilt so I must find and cut more fabric for that project as well.  And, I did make it to the November meeting of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild where I was able to work on some wonky star fun. 

Hopefully, I'll have something finished (or at least some quilty-goodness started) to show to you all soon. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

EPP quilts

Things have been progressing slowly on my new EPP project (60 degree diamond stars).  I have 15 stars completed and I just bought 2 yards of white fabric today to make all the diamonds that go between the stars.  I'm hoping that I can get most of them connected while we are in Florida next week for Thanksgiving and Christine's wedding.  I usually have a lot of time sitting around chatting and watching the kids play that would be good time to sew.  =)

Progress on 11/14/10.
My hexagon "diamonds" is still not finished.  I look back at this post and wonder what I was on that day.  How did I ever think I'd be quilting it in December!  The border is about half done - let me correct that, the first border is about half done.  I'm doing a row of black hexagons all the way around the edge and then I'm going to applique it down to another fabric to make a second border that will allow me to have straight edges on it.  I have no idea what type of fabric to use for the second border - something patterned and colorful or something solid?

I think that the diamonds are harder to sew than the hexagons.  The seam allowance on the hexagons is easier to work with (because you can cut squares to use for the hexagons) and I've been so used to that that I'm having some issues with less fabric to hold onto while sewing.  And, it's harder to get the six points to line up in the middle - the few that I've had go wrong are only off a millimeter or so which means I'm not going to worry too much but it would be nice to figure out what I was doing wrong and why I've only done it on 3-4 of them (I think I'm making them all the same way but I guess I'm not).  Anyone have any tips/tricks for the diamonds?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our newest family member!

Welcome Ophelia to our family!  We adopted her on November 4th and she's only made life more crazy.  She is even more active than Dominic but I guess that's good for a seven month old kitten!

This is the best picture I have of her because she just won't sit still - ever!  And, she loves us and Dominic.  She is constantly asking him to play with her and nuzzling up with him.  Romeo was a little apprehensive at first but he's warmed up to her now and even eats breakfast with her in the morning (No, she's not a tiny cat.  Romeo is just that much bigger than normal sized cats!).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Extended rear-facing car seat

As a mother there are some issues that I feel very strongly about that relate to my children.  In general, I try to not be preachy about these issues because I know that some of them can cause a lot of tension and anger in some individuals (like circumcision, which I am against by the way).  However, there is one issue that I have had arguments about with other parents that I can't back down on - extended rear facing car seats.  I firmly believe that keeping your child in their car seat rear facing for as long as possible is one of the best ways to keep them safe in the car and studies, statistics, and laws in other countries firmly back me up on this.

The law and rule of thumb in the US is to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until they weigh 20 pounds and are 1 year of age.  But, babies should be in rear-facing car seats for as long possible because there are many safely advantages.  Studies have shown that toddlers are five times safer if they remain rear-facing until the age of two and in many other countries it's normal to have kids up to ages 3 and 4 rear-facing.  The current US law is a bare minimum standard (one that many people are trying to change).

When a child is in a crash their "ride-down time" (the time it takes for the forces of the crash to be distributed over their body and come to a stop) is lengthen when they are rear-facing.  This means that the force of the crash on their body is less because it takes a longer time for the force to be distributed.  Less force and a longer ride-down time means a reduced chance of injury and body trauma from a sudden stop.  Babies and toddlers do not have muscles that are as well developed in their head, neck, and back as adults do which makes them much more prone to spinal cord, neck, and head injuries in crashes so any advantage to lessening the impact on these vital parts of the body is critical.

The most common complaint I hear is that their baby has legs that are long enough to touch the back of the seat which makes many parents believe that rear-facing would increase their risk of leg injuries.  Studies and research have not shown this and if the forces in a crash are bad enough to break their legs then they would also be bad enough to break a neck (a broken leg is much easier to recover from than a broken neck!).  Most convertible car seats on the market today have a rear-facing weight of 35 pounds.  This means that most children can ride rear-facing until they are at least two years of age (Dominic will reach the 35 pound mark shortly after his second birthday if he keeps up his current weight gain rate).

To me, it's not a question of comfort or what is "normal", it's a matter of my sons safety and I won't take chances with that.  I know that the chance of getting into a crash is very slim but I can not risk his safety when something as simple as keeping him rear-facing for an extra year can dramatically improve his safety if we did end up in a crash.

If I haven't changed your mind then watch this video and pay attention to differences of the child crash test dummy in the front-facing versus the rear-facing car seat near the end.  Seeing that will surely change your mind for you.