Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More nightweaning- a bad night, a better night

Well, good thing I didn't count on nightweaning getting easier! Saturday night (third night) was awful! We put him down, asleep, at 10:30. We both went to bed by 11:30. Gideon woke up every hour the first part of the night. Then, he was so upset about not being able to nurse, he stayed up for almost two hours. I would let him nurse, unlatch him and put him down drowsy. He would immediately start screaming and trying to latch back on. Dave would walk him and he would calm down. As soon as he would put him down- screaming and going for the boob. Finally, about 5 am, I couldn't handle it anymore and just let him nurse.

The fourth night was so much better overall! He fell asleep early nursing in the living room and when I went to lay him down, woke up. We ended up just heading back to the living room because he was so awake. About 10:30 Dave walked him until he fell asleep and laid him down next to me. He stayed put for a short while before trying to nurse. I wouldn't let him so he finally fell asleep perpendicular to me, his head right against my neck and shoulder. He slept that way for two hours when I woke up and gently moved him. Then, he slept another two hours before waking up! Soothing him any other way wasn't working, so I sat up to nurse him, laid him down drowsy and he was out for two more hours! When he woke up at 6, I let him nurse in bed a couple more times before we got up for the day at 9.

I found a sleep guide online that recommended choosing a 7 hour stretch at night to phase out nursing. So, we'll do the 11 to 6 stretch. After 6 am, I'll let him nurse in bed if he wants- it will help us both get more sleep!

Since we started nightweaning, Gideon has been taking much longer naps. I guess he's worn out from the long nights as well!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nightweaning time!

Four nights ago, Gideon woke repeatedly to nurse and nursed for what seemed like hours at a time. He climbed back and forth over me to switch sides so many times and for some reason, I just could not doze off while he was nursing. Since he was a few months old, I've been able to nurse him while sleeping. But, all I could think about was getting him to unlatch and be as far away from me as possible.

After a horrendous day following that night and another difficult night, Dave and I decided it was time to nightwean. I really do not want to wean completely so we are just focusing on nighttime. Our game plan will probably change but I wanted to keep track of how it went, what worked and what seemed to make it harder.

Our bedroom is set up with a queen bed against the wall and a twin bed pushed right next to that. Gideon and I share the queen- he's usually against the wall- and Dave sleeps on the twin. This gives each of us the most room.

The first night: Put Gideon down (asleep) about 10 pm. I started out on the twin and Dave slept with Gideon on the queen. Gideon woke up at midnight and Dave walked him and tried to soothe him. I ended up nursing him sitting up, (I am trying to avoid nursing lying down so he will stop associating the bed with nursing.) He dozed off and I put him back in his spot. He woke up again at 2 am and again, Dave could not get him back to sleep. He woke up AGAIN at 4 am. Same thing but this time he wouldn't go back to sleep. So, I unlatched him, put him on the bed with Dave and left to sleep on the couch. Gideon fell asleep after a few minutes of fussing and then woke up at 7 or so for the day. He immediately wanted to nurse when he saw me, of course.

Last night Gideon took a very late nap so he was wide awake until 11:30. Dave walked him in the room for awhile but he just kept looking at me. I nursed him sitting up but he still would not fall asleep. So, I put him in his spot and I went to the twin (Dave was getting ready for bed then). Gideon tossed and turned a little and then started crawling toward me. His head made it to the twin before he laid down and fell asleep. He woke up about an hour later and would not take no for answer about nursing. Ijust moved to the couch then and Dave was able to get him back to sleep. Dave said he woke a few more times and he was able to soothe him. About 5:30, Gideon was screaming so loud and for so long that I was worried the neighbors would call the cops. I went in and nursed him (sitting up) for about 10 minutes. I laid him back down (awake) and left the room. I only heard him fuss for a few minutes before it was quiet. At 7:30, he was up for the day and I went to get a little more sleep in bed. Gideon did come in and nurse while I dozed then.

The second night was better than the first. I really hope it continues this trend, though I'm not counting on it. I figure there will be more really hard nights, but eventually, he will no longer expect to nurse at night!

Once he is nightweaned, we may end up moving the twin and queen beds apart and putting him on the twin by himself. Especially if he forgets that he's nightweaned once I'm sleeping next to him again! Also, if anyone has any tips, share them!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tutorial for toy guitar strap

Gideon has this guitar that he loves. Dave and I were saying that he needs a strap for it so he can be more like Daddy. So, while Dave took Gideon on an errand, I sat down to make one! Here's what it looks like- very adjustable and we can take it off for when we aren't able to supervise him with it (he really likes wrapping things around his neck.

Maybe this will help him learn how to hold the guitar correctly.

So, I started out trying to put a shoelace through the little holes but it wouldn't fit. So, I found some ribbon and made a couple loops.

I just hand sewed them on and turned so the sewn part is inside the hole.

Then, I chose my fabric (from an old pair of jeans), hemmed the short sides and then made a tube with the long sides.Turn it right side out.
I added some batting to it as well so it'd be cushy on his shoulder and neck.
I stuck the batting and the shoelace inside the tube and sewed up the ends. Then did a little basic quilting so the batting wouldn't move around too much.

Tada! A guitar strap! Just tie the shoelace to the loops of ribbon- very adjustable! As with everything that goes around the neck, make sure to always watch your baby so they don't strangle themselves.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My machines

I have a Singer sewing machine from the 1970s and a Pfaff Hobbylock 794. I love them both. The sewing machine I purchased when we moved to Lewiston for $100. It came with the table and accessories. It is missing the front cover but it doesn't affect the performance. I found one at a thrift store recently and I would totally have bought it for parts if we had the room.

The serger was my grandma's and I inherited it when she died.

Aren't they beautiful?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tutorial to make a sock doll (from a knee sock)

I made another sock doll yesterday so I could post a tutorial. I'll be sending this one to my niece (you are welcome, Nicole). So, here's how to make it!

I used a serger to sew up the seams but a regular sewing machine will work just fine.

Take a knee sock and imagine the heel as the butt of the doll. Turn the sock inside out and cut from the toe to about an inch from the heel. Sew up either side (I rounded the toes a little to look more like feet.)

Then, choose how tall you would like the doll and cut off the top of the sock. Cut about an inch from the band of the sock and cut the middle part in half (for the arms).

Turn it right side out and then stuff the legs of your doll. I rolled up an old athletic type sock and put it in the butt so the doll will sit up on it's own and has a little more weight to it. I also cut up another sock and added it for the extra weight but was a little softer when mixed with the other stuffing. Go ahead and stuff the arms and sew those as well.

Once it is all stuffed, sew up the top.
 The top part you cut off will become the hat. Sew that up and turn it right side out. Place it on the top of the head and hand stitch with a coordinating thread. Separate the head from the body by wrapping thread around and sewing through the neck. (This always makes me feel a little weird and violent.)

Sewing on the arms is a little harder and has to be done by hand. I fold over the sewn part and then sew flat to the side (so the very end is hidden). When one is sewn on, I stab the needle straight through the body to the other side to sew the second arm.

Once the arms are done, you can sew eyes and a mouth or just leave them without. And, you are finished! This could be done with smaller socks, you would just need two instead of one.
  Just remember, making these is not a science. If something doesn't look quite right, tweak it until it does. Have fun!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I made a sock doll for Gideon!

I've been wanting to make a doll for Gideon. He doesn't have any stuffed animals out because he pulls the fur or fuzz off of them to eat.  But, I figured a sock doll would be harder for him to pull threads from.

I looked at a few tutorials online and then just started cutting. I think it turned out pretty cute. I used a regular pair of athletic socks to stuff the middle so it's a little heavier and can sit on its own. The rest is just regular stuffing.

The first thing he did when I gave it to him was give it a hug!

Then he just carried it around by its head. He hasn't played with it much yet but at least he has something soft and cuddly if he wants it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nursing a toddler- to wean or not to wean

Gideon still nurses. A lot. He's not showing any signs of stopping either. I planned on nursing for at least two years when I was pregnant and I still would like to, but, Gideon is becoming a very rude nurser.

After he bit me one night (he was asleep so it was not intentional, he's never been a biter) I was sore the next day so all these annoying things were driving me over the edge. 
Here are just a few of the things he tries to do:

Twiddle the other nipple. If I move his hand away, it immediately finds its way back. SO ANNOYING! He never did this when he was younger and I've never allowed it so I have no idea why he continues to try.

Playing with my face... which would be fine, except that he starts scratching and pinching and poking.

Standing up. Or turning his head to see behind him while still latched on.

Slapping my chest as he nurses (this started as patting gently but then he gets too excited and it starts to hurt!)

I still really don't want to wean him. Especially now that cold and flu season is here. And, it would devastate him. There would be so many tears. Not to mention it would be hard on me and Dave. Dave, of course, supports me in weaning or continuing.

So, I've made new nursing rules. No pinching, no poking, no scratching, no standing, no twiddling. If he tries any of these things, I move his hand and say no. If he tries it again, I immediately put him down. He's had a million mini tantrums in the past two days because of this but I think he'll get it soon.

If he doesn't get it, then we'll have to reconsider weaning, I guess.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Learning some new crochet stitches

Through the amazing world of Pinterest, I've found some great new crochet stitches to try out. I'm working on a few different things using the new stitches I've learned.

No foundation crochet is awesome. I just used it to start a scarf and it really does make a nice tension free start!

The Puff stitch flower
 is really simple once you make one. I'm making a bunch of the blue ones and might end up with a blanket... or a scarf. Not sure yet! The purple one uses the puff stitch and will be a scarf.

The Star stitch makes a very light, soft scarf and I'm working on a blanket using the same stitch. 

 I feel like it's been forever since I learned a new stitch so learning all these has been fun. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What's in my bag?

 I decided to actually do one of this link up things. I was running a little low on blog inspiration so this is perfect timing!

Here's my bag- it's big and doubles as a diaper bag.

And, the contents of my bag! I'll just list the things in there- I think you'll be able to tell what is what.

  • Package ready to send to a friend
  • Wallet (checkbook, cards, license, some change and coupons)
  • Water bottle
  • Container of goldfish crackers
  • Pile of trash- receipts, papers, wrappers (this will not be returning to the bag!)
  • Notebook with pen in the spiral
  • Spare keys for the truck and the car (Also, I found the second spare for the truck... which means if I had locked my purse and my everyday keys in there I would have been OUT OF LUCK! I totally thought Dave had that key!) 
  • Silver card case (contains some store cards and business cards I want to keep)
  • Tums
  • Chapstick
  • Floss
  • Baby spoon
  • Pen
  • Small plastic bag with safety pins, rubber bands and hair ties
  • Roll of nickels that I forgot when I went to the bank today
  • Gum
  • Small squeaky whale Gideon was given three weeks ago (also not returning to the purse!)
  • Change of clothes for baby
  • Small blanket
  • Four diapers
  • Ziploc of baby wipes
  • Ziploc with pads and tampons
Both the Dooney and Burke purse and the Coach wallet were gifts and I love them! My entire life I've had cheap purses so it's nice to have a couple that should last me for years.

Sweater redo (with bonus scarf!)

I found this sweater at a thrift store for $3.75. I did not love the HUGE amount of sweater in the front (I guess you are supposed to wrap it around you like a scarf?) I don't know, but it was not flattering on me. I almost put it back on the rack until I saw the fiber content- cashmere and cotton! If it had been polyester I would have put it back immediately, but I prefer natural fibers so this was an awesome deal to me! I knew I'd be able to make it work for me.
So, I washed it, tried it on, marked where I would like the front to end and then cut off the excess. I serged the edges and TADA! A new sweater! The thread I used did not match exactly. I had one cone of purple that almost matched so I used that for the thread you would see the most of on the front. I used a slightly lighter purple and two cones of navy for the rest. I have tons of serger thread I inherited from my grandma along with the serger and I'm really trying to not buy more unless it's a really great sale. (Same goes for all my crafting supplies.)

Here's the finished sweater. As you can tell, it was a foggy, drizzly day!

And, with those big chunks I took off the ends, I made a ruffled scarf! It's the first time I've used the serger to purposely make the edges ruffled and I love how it turned out. The scarf has a wrong side and a right side since I joined the two pieces with the serger before serging the sides. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A sweater blanket- upcycled of course!

I started this blanket months ago and set it aside because I was getting annoyed with it. It's not easy working with a bunch of different weights of knitted sweaters!

I had a pile of sweaters and scarves that either didn't fit or I didn't like wearing any more. All were pretty worn so I decided to upcycle them instead of donating. Having a serger definitely helped with this project but it could be done with a zig zag stitch on a sewing machine.

First, I cut the arms off the sweaters (serging the edges as I cut so I didn't end up with a bunch of unraveling edges!) Then, I got them into the largest usable pieces I could. Once I knew how much I had to work with, I made a plan for the size and placement of the squares. Then, I did more cutting and serging.

When I started to put the blanket together, I had some major issues with my sewing machine catching on the bulkier knit items. It was frustrating and made some of the squares a little wonky. (That is a technical sewing term.)

I backed the blanket with an old sheet. This, also not easy! It kept bunching and since the knitted materials stretched and the sheet didn't, some were no longer square. I finally safety pinned each square to the sheet and then adjusted until it was as straight as I could get it. I was going to do some quilting on it, but the same problem arose with the machine catching on the knit. I finally gave up and put the blanket in a in progress bin for about 8 months.

On Saturday, I was trying to decide what would be my next project when I remembered the in progress bin at the bottom of my craft closet. We just rearranged the room so I can actually get to it. So, I dug out the blanket. I decided to just use yarn ties instead of trying to sew any more. I used light yarn on the dark squares and dark yarn on the light squares.

But, I didn't know how to edge it. There was no room to do a bias tape binding without making the outside squares smaller than the others. So, I just serged the whole thing! Kind of the cheater's way out, but oh well! I'm all for easy!

 The finished product is perfect for a lap blanket or a small child blanket... just not my small child. He likes to try to eat the fuzz off sweaters and would definitely be trying to pull the yarn out. 

 He wanted to be in the pictures. He is wearing a diaper in that picture, the onesie just covers it up! He is pretty much always without pants at home.

Monday, October 31, 2011

How I thrift and some tips for you!

I have an ongoing list of things I need/ want that I watch for at thrift stores (I'm also not opposed to buying them on clearance). My list includes some kitchen things, the sizes Gideon needs in different types of clothes, yarn and other craft supplies, and many books. I am building a collection for Gideon of books I loved as a kid and from authors/ illustrators that I like. I'm also building a collection of chapter books for him.

I'm by no means a pro thrift shopper. I know there are people who thrift and then sell the treasures they find online and make money. I do have some tips for the basic for family thrift shopper though!

1. Keep an ongoing list of things you need or want. I used to keep a note on my phone until my list started getting too long and then I switched to a small notebook I keep in my purse.

2. Find out when or if the thrift store has half or or sale days. Goodwill does a certain color tag starting on Sundays for the week. A local thrift store I go to does certain types of items every few days- one day clothes are 25% off, another day books are 35% off, etc.

3. Don't expect to find everything (or even anything) each time. It's not a grocery store and there are no guarantees.

4. Go often and browse. You don't have to be there for hours. Just a lunch break or a few minutes while the baby is happy will work. Find out if the thrift store does a specific stocking day or time so you can go and get first look at things.

5. Don't buy things you don't need! Just because it's cheaper than new, if it's just going to collect dust in your house, it's no good to you!

I went thrifting on Friday and got an AWESOME deal! About 70 yards of lace trim for $1. It was just rolled up into a big ball so I wasn't sure if it was in one piece or not but I took a chance for a dollar. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Altering a t-shirt

 I have a couple of regular old t-shirts that I don't really like. The neck is too high and makes me feel claustrophobic. I just prefer V-neck so I decided to alter them with my good old serger.

 I cut the V-neck using a shirt I like as a guide.

Then, I just serged it.

I decided the sleeves and bottom looked kind of funny to not match the neckline, so I serged all around them as well.

I think I like them better. They are looser and just seem to fit better. I'm not sure if the bare serging makes them look like pajamas though... oh well, I'm one of those people who don't mind wearing pajamas out in public!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tips on decluttering

At the beginning of this year, I joined an online challenge to get rid of 2011 things in 2011. I've gotten rid of 1737 things! It's kind of fun to keep track. I count any clutter that I get rid- everything from clothes being donated to trash that Gideon adopted as a toy getting thrown out finally.

Since i have no pictures for this post, I'll put one of Gideon in here! Also, I have no idea why it's sideways. It's right in the file...
I don't know if I'll actually make it to 2011 but I do need to go through all our clothes. I also want to get rid of some DVDs- we have so many we've never really watched more than once or twice. Those I'll try selling before taking them to a donation place.

I think keeping track of the things I'm getting rid of has helped in a couple ways. I'm still buying things (obviously based on my thrift store posts!) but I'm more aware of things coming into our house. It also seemed to release some sort of mental block about getting rid of things. I had two boxes of clothes that didn't fit me (from before I was even pregnant) that I carried with us through FOUR moves! I finally just donated them- I didn't even open the boxes up because I knew I would be tempted to keep things, just in case. Once I donated those, it was like freedom! I went through my other clothes and if something didn't fit or if I didn't like it very much, it went in the donation pile. Now my closet is easier to go through and we won't have to move a couple boxes the next time.

Right now, I have a plastic tote that I fill with items to be donated. When it's full, we bring to one of the thrift stores in town. 

I know we'll be moving again within the next year. After that, there's another move planned after a year or two there. So, it behooves me to keep our stuff to a minimum. Easier to pack, easier to unpack!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sewing while Gideon is awake

 Sewing while Gideon is awake is a little more difficult but manageable. He definitely enjoys it, even if I don't!

He likes to take the thread off my machine. After he played for awhile, I put it away.

 So, he reached inside to grab the thread and try to eat it.

Successful tasting of the thread. Thankfully, I still managed to start and finish a project!

 I made a needle and hook roll yesterday. Even with my little helper it took less than an hour.

 I just used one large piece of cotton fabric, serged the edges, sewed on three pieces of felt and then put holes in the felt for the needles and hooks to go through. I used scissors at first but then realized my seam ripper worked faster and was more accurate.

 Then, I just sewed a matching strip of fabric for the tie. Easy peasy! It works and looks better than the plastic grocery sack where I was keeping my needles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Toddler activities

I've been wanting to enrich Gideon's play. He finds plenty to do- putting canned goods in my pots, scattering my kitchen utensils throughout the house so while I'm cooking I have to check EVERYWHERE for the spoon or whisk I need. He plays with his toys- guitars, stacking toy, blocks, cars. We play lots of peek a boo and hide and seek (course, he'll come out as soon as I say, "Where's the baby?") He goes grocery shopping and on walks with me.

So here are a few of the activities I've done with him lately.

Coloring! He loves it but tries to eat the crayon after only a few minutes.
Playing in the sink while Mommy cooks is also very fun. He tends to get himself and the floor soaked but at least it keeps him out of trouble while I'm kneading dough or prepping dinner.
Inside jungle gym with his old crib mattress. All we do is pile a bunch of pillows and blankets under it and let him run up and down. He loves it and it wears him out!
Rice cereal. I love those rice or bean sensory tables but since Gideon still eats EVERYTHING, I needed something that would be okay if he ate it. This rice cereal is the perfect stuff. He used the spoon to move them around and then dumped the whole thing on the floor! At least then he tried to pick some of it up.

I also decided to make some sensory bags for him. I ended up making four. One has a marble with a little maze stitched in, one has plastic so it crinkles, another has knotted up yarn and the final one has beans. He hasn't shown too much interest in them but I plan on making a few more.

Sensory bags
WARNING: Puffed rice does not tend to stay in the container, so be prepared to vacuum!