Our baby was a month early and it still sometimes feels like I'm cramming to catch up; he's growing up fast and it's not easy to keep abreast of the changes.  I finally made him a toy rattle, and I'm pretty sure he would have enjoyed it even more a month or two ago, but he still took some time to check it out before breakfast this morning.

Make Stuff and Carry On

Selling a house is a drag, and I can report that trying to sell a house while home alone for a month with a seven-month old is an extreme drag.  I felt pretty good for the first three weeks but this week my spirits are low, I can't lie.  While it may not be a long time in the life of a home sale, this month feels to me like it may never end.

Since my time is largely spent either alone or with a couple of sweet creatures who can't understand a word I'm saying, I have a lot of time to think.  As a result, I have wavered occasionally about our plan...too soon?  Too much?  Not the right time?  At other points, I have started to consider even more drastic options, like keeping the house and renting it out instead of selling it, or just getting an apartment in Minnesota but not really making a final decision about the house in Houston until next year.  We made the hard decision and now I just want to get started on the next phase.

In the meantime, I have stolen a few hours here and there for making things.  I can't get involved in anything too messy or complicated, in case of a sudden house-showing evacuation, so that eliminates a lot of what I was hoping to work on this year. But on the other hand, there are other projects; patterns and projects which can still provide both opportunities for learning and also just the pleasure of making.  I recently made this bag from a pattern in a cool book called Linen Wool Cotton.  It turned out that the pattern had some mistakes, but the book remains beautiful and inspiring.


It’s been busy.  

My husband and I just returned from taking our baby on a trip to Missouri to see family. We spent four days in a house with six other people, bringing the household total to nine people, ranging in age from six months to forty-six years. We arrived in time for an ice storm and were essentially snowed in until our departure.  It was our first trip with the baby, and while it went well, it was intense.  I still can't believe that I was one of those people at the airport that I always pitied in the past (a person with a baby and a stroller and car seat and unbelievable amounts of shit in my luggage and carry-ons).

In spite of snow days and trips, I finally made something practical for the baby, with extra bits I already had, instead of buying new stuff:

I borrowed the pattern from some other bibs given to us as gifts, and used my serger to keep it fast and simple.  The material came from a hand-me-down baby blanket that we did not need.  They are not beautiful, but they are something that I made with resources I already had, which felt good.  As the baby starts to eat real food, I am coming to realize that I will need many, many, many bibs.  And a sense of humor.

Also, we’re moving.  Stay tuned.

Backing Into the Day

My husband backs into every single parking space that he uses.  When we first met it was mysterious to me, and I won't lie, odd.  Over time I have become used to it and have ferreted out the reason: he was brainwashed by his former employer of ten years.  There are many things about that company that I did not appreciate, but on this particular matter, their intentions were good.

Apparently, backing into parking spaces increases the rates of safe driving (or should I say 'decreases the rate of accidents while driving'?).  The logic is that we are paying more attention to the matter at hand when we arrive at a location than we do when are when we are departing.  When we depart, we are already thinking about what will be next after leaving the parking lot.  In other words, while we are driving in reverse, our minds are on other things.  Thus, accidents.

I have a habit of preparing for my next day as much as I can the night before.  Mostly it is a leftover habit from when I had to wake up outrageously early in the mornings for work; I tried to pack items I would need for the day and leave them by the door, or place items that I was likely to forget with items that I couldn't possibly leave without (i.e. put the book that I was likely to forget next the keys that I was physically unable to leave without). Planning outfits the night before, or packing lunches the night before, produces this same effect.  We try to dummy-proof our morning in order to maximize precious minutes.

I find that I am happiest when I do the same thing as a mom; it turns out that it is the best way to steal time in which to work on non-mom projects.  While I do not often have to leave the house early, I do still need to maximize hands-free and baby-free minutes.  So I do things like putting out my breakfast cereal bowl, pre-filled, and preparing the baby's morning bottle and diaper bag, before I go to bed.  It's not rocket science, nor is it a new technique.  The only innovation is that I now refer to it as backing into my day, which also has helped my husband understand these habits not as something neurotic and silly, but something that makes all of us have a smoother, more pleasant morning.

Backing into my day is one life strategy which allowed me to finish knitting a vest this week for my son, luckily while it still fits him.

I Love Carbs

I have written in the past about how irked I am by the Paleo diet trend.  It seems unsustainable, extreme and controlling, several qualities that do not feel comfortable in my food life.  I should care what other people are up to, but for some reason the Paleo thing gets to me.  Also, I just really love bread and potatoes, so even if the math added up on the Paleo diet, I could still see myself living with the risks of flour, just as people now openly encourage pregnant women to go ahead and have that occasional glass  of wine.

In fact, this year one of my goals is very flour-focused.  After years of hemming and hawing about wanting to make bread after one or two long-ago failed attempts, I have finally made some progress.  I have successfully caused dough to rise, and navigated my way around a packet of yeast.

For my weekly attempts in the beginning of the year, I stuck with one basic white/wheat yeast bread recipe and repeated it several times until it became more comfortable.  But this week, I have cleared a new hurdle: the soft pretzel.

I have never met a pretzel that I didn't like, but these produced an unusually high level of satisfaction.  I veered slightly from the technical requirements of my goal; this recipe was not from one of the books already on my shelf, but rather from a blog that I stumbled across recently.  It was a very simple version, more simple than the versions in my cookbooks, thereby making it a good stepping stone.  There will definitely be more pretzels baked in our house; my husband and I enjoyed these so much that we almost ruined our appetites for dinner.

Next on my list of homemade Paleo-busting recipes: cinnamon buns.  I have yet to find a good one made in Houston, plus, if it's homemade, it's fair game according to my Michael Pollan "diet". 

Scrappy Purse Pouch

Here's my new purse pouch, made entirely by hand, with scraps from my sewing room.  It's full of feel-better bits for inside my big purse.  Band-aids, chap-stick, headphones, hair binders, stress-relief essential oil, Tyelenol...everything that you might need to increase your comfort on the fly.  And finally, I approached the scary zipper-monster.  It's not super elegant yet, but it's a start.

Now, time to get back to final projects and resume wizardry.