Monday, June 30, 2014

Little bathing beauty.

I signed both of my kids up for swim lessons this summer, starting next weekend!

I am a little worried about how Joe will do, since he tends to be resistant and stubborn cautious and hesitant about trying new things.  But I know Maggie will love it! That girl has no fear! And both of my children love the water and spend hours playing in our kiddy pool in the backyard almost every day in hot weather.

Joe already has a pair of swim trunks which I got in a box of hand-me-downs. And I could've sworn we had multiple handed-down swim suits for Maggie, but when push came to shove, I couldn't find one anywhere!

So of course, I had to make one.

No, really, I really did look for the missing suits! I actually went through boxes!

I wasn't just looking for an excuse to sew one.

Okay, maybe I was.

I knew exactly which swimsuit I wanted to make for Maggie. Sewpony's adorable Cosi Suit. First, I love Sewpony's aesthetic. She clearly shares my love of all things 1970s and her patterns have the sweetest retro vibe. I made her "Little Betty Top" for Maggie and loved the pattern drafting and instructions (I need to make some summer Betties!).

And the Cosi is currently on a blog tour, and if there is one unchanging reality in this uncertain world, it is that I am a sucker for a good blog tour. By the time I saw Rachel's post at Stitched Together it was a foregone conclusion.

So yeah, twist my arm. Although I have been on a fabric and pattern diet recently, and have diligently been using the materials I have on hand for the past half-dozen projects, I slipped hard and bought the pattern and a yard of emerald green spandex and notions. As far as slippage goes, it wasn't too bad - hey, I made it out of the fabric store without buying a bunch of other things! Yay me?

I think I was subliminally influenced by the saleslady's awesome emerald green hair. There were lots of beautiful colors, but I just had to have this one. When I brought it to the counter, I realized it perfectly matched her hair! The fabric is shiny and a little sparkly. "Little Serpent," "Mermaid," and "Kermit" are all descriptions that I've heard since putting Maggie in her new suit. But hey, emerald green is a great color on my Mags!

Cosi Swimsuit

I've never sewn a swimsuit before. Swimsuits are one of those things: they just seem a little intimidating. I think it's all that shiny, slippery, super stretchy fabric. But for the past couple years, it seems that everyone in blogland has been sewing their own bathing suits, and all I hear is how easy and forgiving they are! So I decided to just dive in.

Cosi Swimsuit

Since I was working with a solid color, I chose view A, figuring that the ruched center panel would provide a cute detail for the plain fabric. Based on Maggie's measurements, obtained while chasing Maggie around the house (and thus probably not precise), I cut out a size 18 months, which turned out to be on the big side (dang my girl is tiny!). I think the ruching would be cuter if the fit on the suit was a little tighter. As it is, the suit is a bit baggy and the ruching is poofy. But it will be fine for this weekend's lessons.

Cosi Swimsuit

Why the skeptical face, Maggie?

Baby swimsuits require so little fabric. It's insane. I needed some length for the ruched panel, but I still have a piece 53" by a yard left. I have enough leftover to make myself a swimsuit. Or two!

Cosi Swimsuit

I considered this to be something of a trial version (a muslin if you will), so I sewed it entirely on my sewing machine, using zig-zag stitch and no walking foot or any special tools (except a ballpoint needle). I just wanted to see how it all went together, and the sewing machine gives a bit more control. As a result, the inside of the suit is hella messy, but hey, who cares? Spandex doesn't fray, so it isn't going to get any worse. I am here to say, you can totally make this suit on a sewing machine. No serger required. I am planning to make Maggie a second suit, this time with nicer finishing, and hopefully with a better fit.

It really is a fast and easy project, just as everyone says. The hardest part of sewing the suit was applying the elastic to the legholes, stretching it as you sew. Mine is not perfect, but having done it once, I think I will do a better job next time. I have always heard it's good to stretch it more in the back and less in the front for a good fit (this is true for undies too), but this is surprisingly difficult to control while you are chugging away at a sewing machine with children hanging off of you. Still, as time goes on and I sew with knits more frequently, I have developed a better "feel" for this and I think it will go better next time.

Cosi Swimsuit

I had to finish up with this blurry but very sweet photo of my lovely Maggie McGee. Wish me luck with swim lessons!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Josephine Blouse.

Josephine Blouse

I have so many amazing indie women's patterns on my hard drive, and I'm slowly working my way through them! This is Made by Rae's Josephine pattern, of course, sleeveless and blouse length, in a Kaufman lawn from the London Calling line that unfortunately camouflages the pintucks in the front!

Josephine Blouse

And you can't see the cute little slit at the neck, either, because it stayed closed for photos! Dang! You'll just have to believe me: it has a cute little notch at the center front.

Like all of the Made by Rae patterns I've tried (and I have tried many, although not all, of them!), the Josephine pattern is extremely clear and easy to follow, and the construction of this blouse is straightforward and basic. I like that Rae often includes a summary sheet of instructions so that you don't have to consult the more detailed photographic instructions on your second, third, or tenth sews. This top uses techniques that were already very familiar to me (pintucks and bias binding at neck and sleeves), so it was easy and fast to sew.

Fitting was a bit more of a challenge, however. On the plus side, Rae provides separate bodice pieces for small and larger bra cup sizes. No full-bust-adjustment required. YAY!

But on the down side, my final blouse was really shapeless and boxy. I took it in quite a bit on the sides, and it was still pretty shapeless. I wonder if I could go with a smaller size next time. One of the issues I face with fitting in general is that choosing pattern size by my bust measurement often leads to distorted results, because my bust measurement is somewhat out of proportion to my shoulder and back width. That said, the shoulders and upper back on this blouse are perfect. It was the area below the bust that was the issue.

So initially I had not planned to include the elastic casing on the back of the blouse (it's not called for on the sleeveless version), but I ended up adding it after I finished the rest of the construction because the blouse just really needed a little more shape.

Josephine blouse

I fiddled with the length of the back elastic a little bit. Too tight and the blouse pulled in too much and it was uncomfortable. Too loose and it didn't provide the needed shape. This is what I arrived at. The blouse still has a boxy fit, but it's much improved. This is after a day hunched over at my desk so the top is a bit crumpled, of course. Taking photos in the morning ain't happening.

Josephine Blouse

Paired with skinny ankle pants, the top has a boxy 60s vibe. I'm not sure that it's the most flattering shape on me (I look better in lower necklines, for one thing), but it is dressy enough for work, modest, and looks great under a jacket or cardigan. See what I mean? And the fabric is really pretty and was surprisingly affordable considering the quality.

Josephine Blouse

By the way, yes, I wear this jacket as often as I can get away with. It is a soft rayon, very drapey and comfortable, and it is the perfect thing for those "slightly too formal for a cardigan" but "not formal enough for a suit" meetings that, being a lawyer who never goes to court, seem make up 90% of my work engagements! I've had it forever and I love it and I refuse to acknowledge that it is starting to get completely worn out because I know I'll struggle to find a replacement, so specific is my need for something casual and hip but still attorney-like and respectable. I need to start sewing blazers!

In conclusion, I enjoyed sewing this pattern! And the final result is cute, albeit a bit boxy on me, even with an elastic casing in the back. Next time I make this pattern, I will use a softer, drapier fabric, and I am tempted to modify it with a tie-neck like Teri did here to add a little more interest to the neckline. How darling would that bow blouse look with a suit? Seriously! Alternately, I could lower the neckline to a deeper scoop quite easily, since it is faced with simple bias.

Josephine Blouse

Oops, who is this? Scantily-clad photo-bomber alert!

Josephine Blouse

Hi Maggie!!

Josephine Blouse

Goofy little sweet thing! She refused to look at the camera!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sundress #2.

I liked my first version of Maggie's birthday dress, sewn from the adorable and classic 1970s Simplicity 5593, so much that I cut out a second dress immediately after I finished the first! This time in a gray seersucker with emerald green piping and bias ties for a more minimalist take on this sweet little sundress.

1970s Simplicity pattern in seersucker

I forget why, but Maggie had been crying right before this photo shoot and still had wet eyelashes and a tear poised on her right cheek. She may not be two quite yet, but I must say, she sure acts like a two year old! Heaven forbid you should tell her not to climb the refrigerator shelves in search of berries or to poke people with a screwdriver! You will feel Maggie's wrath! Luckily she gets over it pretty quickly and is back to her usual happy self - that's the upside of the "terrible twos." Two-year-olds get upset often, but it usually doesn't last. (Whereas, three-year-olds ... shudder ... I am not looking forward to that!)

And they sure are cute! Chubby arms and necks and cheeks and winning smiles and puppy dog eyes. Nom nom nom.

1970s Simplicity pattern in seersucker

Once again, my only changes to this pattern were to lengthen the skirt piece and sew the shoulder ties entirely by machine. I also added piping to the neckline, bodice, and ruffle.

I seem to be going through an intense "pipe all the things" phase right now (well, okay, it's a long phase which started about two years ago and doesn't appear to be letting up!). This dress in particular really screams for piping in my opinion. The simple seersucker really lets it shine in this version, and as an added bonus, the piping helps to hide the fact that seersucker does not like to press crisply. No topstitching required to keep that neckline flat! Adding piping is a little bit of extra work, to be sure, but I really love the way it finishes up edges, preventing the lining or facing from peeking out at necklines and armholes.

I wonder if this was the primary reason the use of piping was adopted in the first place. Do you wonder why different sewing techniques were adopted during historic times? I often do. Many "decorative" details serve some function as well, I reckon.

1970s Simplicity pattern in seersucker

The cording in the piping also adds a little extra stability and body to curved seams like the neckline and the bias edge is unlikely to fray over time (much like a bias binding on a quilt), which probably prolongs the life of the garment a little bit. (ETA: I did find some corroboration for this here and here.)

1970s Simplicity pattern in seersucker

On a totally different topic, I am pretty sure there is some rule that says your best photo of a child's outfit will be in front of a really ugly background. By the way, I am aware that Diet Coke is nothing but carbonated chemicals, but I love it so!

1970s Simplicity pattern in seersucker

Here you can see the piped ruffle more closely. That ruffle requires gathering a piece that starts out about six feet long! Such a pain. You will have lots of time to ponder the historic uses of piping in garments. But it looks so good when you're done!

1970s Simplicity pattern in seersucker

I know I said I would make another one of these as a top, but I think I'm going to need a break and a palette cleanser before tackling version #3! Plus, I haven't found the fabric that inspires me yet. My main complaint about these old patterns is that they only came in one size! So I feel all of this pressure to make ten versions of the pattern now, while it fits. It's too much! Haha. Someone needs to put out this pattern with a larger size range (actually, the Oliver + s Swingset Tunic is pretty close and just needs tie straps and a ruffle on the hem! hrrmmm).

1970s Simplicity pattern in seersucker

Maggie is utterly lovely even with a broom in the background. :-) I just want to kiss that little tear away.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Gettin' messy shorts.

As much as I love sewing dresses for Maggie, I have to admit, she doesn't wear them that often. Girl spends most of her days wearing nothing at all, and when she does pick clothes out of the drawer, she often chooses a simple, unisex t-shirt and pants or shorts.

Her New Zealand t-shirt, given to her by housemate Rebecca, has a little sheep on it and is a favorite.

Bedhead happy morning Maggie

Bedhead happy morning Maggie

So is her Spiderman t-shirt. I don't think she's had any exposure to the comic or animated series (or the movies), but she just really likes this t-shirt.

Sunny Day Shorts

I decided that Maggie really needs some basic shorts and summer pants. Clothes for playing and getting messy in. So I whipped up a pair of Sunny Day Shorts with piped pockets.

I have a million pants and shorts patterns. I didn't really need to try a new one. But this one is free! And Oliver + s! So of course I had to try the pattern out.

Sunny Day Shorts

There's not much to say about the pattern - it's a basic three-piece pattern (front, back, waistband), and easy to put together. A perfect first time apparel sewing project for a newb. I decided to fancy mine up a bit by drafting front patch pockets and lining and piping them.

Sunny Day Shorts

I sewed these in size 18-24 months, and as I expected, they are slightly on the large size on tiny Maggie. But that's okay, they have a nice boyish (meaning, functional and not just tiny!) fit and they will probably work on her next summer too. I used green chambray and mint green piping. A simple and easy sew, and they are perfect for running at the park, making art, playing outside, trying to keep up with her very active and physical brother, you know, everyday life for an active and messy little girl!

I think Maggie needs a few more pairs of these, and maybe some t-shirts too!

Friday, June 20, 2014


Okay, this is the last of my catch-up posts! I have been sewing a lot lately and taking a lot of photos, but I notice that if I don't blog my creations within a day or two, things get back-logged and I lose some of my blogging motivation. It's not that I don't enjoy the process of blogging. Recently, I've read several bloggers who mention that they do not enjoy taking photos or writing posts although they love the sense of community they get from blogging. I must say, I don't mind taking photos (when the kids are cooperating) and think I like the writing process most of all (when the kids are cooperating and not climbing on my head while I try to write), but if I don't get my thoughts down while they are relatively fresh, my enthusiasm for the task begins to fade.

And writing about sewing can feel kinda ... dare I say it? ... boring, unless you have a fun story to recount or some tidbits about your life to share.

I also love the community, of course. Y'all are the best.

So here is the last of my recent unblogged projects. I finished this Colette Zinnia skirt two weekends ago.

Colette Zinnia Skirt

I am ... uh ... about 80% happy with this skirt. I have a few nagging issues with it. I used an inexpensive rayon challis that was very slippery to cut and to sew, so the topstitching in particular is not as nice as I think it would have been in a more stable fabric. It also wrinkles a lot, which makes the skirt look a little sloppier than I had intended. The soft rayon does swish and flow gently as I walk though, so it feels very pleasant to wear.

Colette Zinnia Skirt

You can see what I mean about the topstitching in this photo. It could be better, but dang, that stuff is the devil to sew! I think it would have gone better if I had glued the pockets down, or maybe used double sided fusible web, first (?).

Also, the buttonholes will fray, no matter how much fray-check I apply. I dunno. I give up!

Sometime, I would like to try this skirt again in a soft chambray or cotton stripe, using an easier-to-work with fabric, for a more precisely executed skirt. The fact that it is cut on the cross-grain does limit my choices in terms of stripes, though. Not sure I want a full, gathered, horizontally striped skirt. Think about it.

I do love the buttons, though. I got them a super long time ago, when I was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico (that is a Zia sun which is on the New Mexico state flag). That would've been ... wow ... maybe 1998? So I have been holding onto them for 16 years. Yikes.

Since then, "Southwestern" has come in and out of style about five times (and I notice that Southwestern is generally either way in or way out, unless you are actually in the Southwest, where it is less polarizing as a trend). It's back in right now, so I used the buttons on this skirt. And they really suit the style of skirt. Button stash busting!

Colette Zinnia Skirt

The Zinnia is labeled as a beginner pattern, and it's pretty straightforward. Since it is a full skirt, the only fitting required is the waistband, really. I cut this out in a size 12, but did lengthen the waistband by about an inch. The only other modifications I made the skirt were to add buttons to the little pockets, space the remaining buttons a bit farther apart, and lengthen the waistband slightly from the size 12.

Looking at these photos, I think I need to adjust the button placement on the skirt and even out the hem. Have I mentioned that this fabric was the devil to work with? You'd get everything just so, then when you turned your back the fabric would totally rebel, and it would be crumply and wonky and ... ARGH!

But despite its flaws, I have worn it several times and gotten compliments! And not "Inder, did you make that ...?" type compliments, either, but "Ooh, I really like your skirt" comments. Seemingly genuine compliments, haha. So I am not sure if I am just being too hard on myself. I will let it rotate through my wardrobe a little bit before I change anything.

All in all, a good selfish sewing learning experience, and a good trial run of a very useful and pretty pattern.

Is there anything I can do to stabilize soft rayon for sewing? Should I be using starch or something? Please, teach me!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Commence Birthday Preparations for Maggie!

This past weekend, it struck me that Maggie's second birthday (which is July 9th) is coming up fast and it was time to start sewing for it!

First up was a pretty birthday dress using a pattern loaned to me by my aunt, who sewed for her little girls (my cousins) and is now making pretty things for her grand-daughters.

Commence birthday sewing for Maggie!

Isn't this pattern darling? I actually pinned this on Pinterest a while back - I was immediately drawn to the classic shape and little ties at the shoulders. Turns out my auntie saw my pin and had that exact pattern! So she sent it to me! (See, using Pinterest pays!) Since it's a size 1, I knew I had to make it up this summer, as it might not fit Maggie next year.

I chose this adorable navy floral from Bonnie and Camille's "April Showers" line after seeing my Facebook friend and good sewing buddy Mahriam use it in her amazing patchwork projects. Isn't it sweet? It's classic and pretty but the colors are so vibrant; perfect for my brown-eyed girl.

Vintage Simplicity Toddler dress

I wavered a little bit about whether to use white or red piping (note that I did not waver about whether to add piping! that was a no-brainer), and I am so happy with my choice of red. It really pops! I love it! I also added some white eyelet to the bottom ruffle as in View 3 of the pattern, which looks so sweet. Of course, being piping-crazy, I did wonder if I should have piped above the lace as well ... piping is a serious addiction, folks!

Vintage Simplicity Toddler dress

I made only two modifications to the pattern - (1) I lengthened the skirt by 2-3 inches. Maggie is smaller than most two-year-olds, but taller than most one-year-olds, and these older patterns often run very short, as in Shirley Temple short. (2) I applied the shoulder ties as double fold bias tape and used my machine to finish them, rather than following the instructions, which have you fold the bias strip in half, sew it right sides together to the arm hole, and then hand stitch the entire length of ties closed. Not only did that seem extremely time consuming, but the extra layer of fabric would add a lot of extra bulk. After machine sewing my straps, I just cut the ends of the straps and knotted them - since they are cut on the bias they won't fray.

Vintage Simplicity Toddler 

I ended up loving this dress even more than I first anticipated! Although it does require a whole lot of gathering (the ruffle as well as the skirt), it is an easy sew. It has no buttons or zippers or fastenings, but it is not shapeless or sack-like thanks to the adorable and sweetly cut yoke.

Vintage Simplicity Toddler dress

And what could be cuter than those tied shoulder straps? (Although I must say, Maggie enjoys untying those straps and taking the dress off every five seconds, so I might have to sew them closed!) It just seems like the quintessential little girl's summer dress.

Vintage Simplicity Toddler dress

I liked this dress so much I did something that I rarely do, and cut out a second dress right away. This time in gray seersucker with emerald green piping and shoulder straps. I also want to make a top, which I think I can do just by keeping the length short and omitting the ruffle. So you haven't seen the last of this pattern yet!

In other birthday sewing news, I had a very special Waldorf doll custom-made for Maggie (I worked with a wonderful Etsy vender to make the doll - one day I would love to learn to make Waldorf dolls, but sometimes it's best to outsource), with brown eyes and honey-blonde hair. My plan is to buy a little Ikea doll bed for her, paint it, and make bedding for it, since Joe and Maggie's favorite game these days is to put all of the animals and dolls to bed (with bedtime stories and everything!) over and over all day.

Commence birthday sewing for Maggie!

So I started a doll quilt for dolly, using some beautiful feed sack scraps I got from a buddy. Here it is a few days ago sandwiched and ready to quilt, and I am almost done hand quilting it (very simply) already! So I will be back with more on the Maggie birthday sewing (and painting) front soon!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sewing for Joe.

I have been sewing up a storm lately, and I'm lagging behind blogging everything! Next up is a very quick but very satisfying sew for Joe. A few weeks ago, I was shopping for knit ribbings on (the selection at my local fabric stores is terrible) while Joe was watching a YouTube show about Hot Wheels or whatever when this chevron-printed Kaufman Laguna jersey knit caught his eye. The attraction was immediate.

"Mama! Click on that! What's that?"

So I clicked on it. Joe stared with awe.

"Can you make me a shirt with that? Make me a shirt with that! I like it!"

Well, it's not something I would have picked (I'm not really into chevrons, I admit), but I love sewing for Joe, and he's really picky about what he will wear, so of course I said yes and bought a couple yards.

Then it took forever to arrive. Man, that free shipping sure ain't quick.

When it finally arrived, on a weeknight, I opened it up and showed it to Joe.

"Can you make a shirt? RIGHT NOW?"

Um ...

So I threw it in the wash and made him a shirt. It's the Flashback Skinny Tee, of course, in a size 5T with extra length.  I didn't bother to match the print or anything (chevrons seem near impossible to match anyway). 

Chevron SFT

It's pretty disco-fabulous, right? And Joe liked it so much he insisted on wearing it to school the next day.

I used some lovely organic charcoal ribbing from the same order for the neckband. It turned out too loose - my mistake, the ribbing is very soft and doesn't have much recovery. But Joe says he likes it that way, and he does tend to stretch out his neckbands terribly anyway, so I'm leaving it be.

I must say, I really like the quality of the Kaufman Laguna jersey. Very nice. It has some lycra content and it feels very sturdy and stable, but with a good amount of stretch too. I would recommend trying it!

Chevron FST

The next night, I asked Joe if he wore his shirt, and did he like it?

"Yes! Can you make me shorts? RIGHT NOW? To wear to school tomorrow?"

Um ... 

Quick n dirty knit shorts

(Why are both of my children sticking out their tongues? I don't know!)

Apparently I can!

I know, I know. I'm setting him up with terribly unrealistic expectations about my sewing abilities. But it's so rare that Joe asks me to make him anything! When he gets excited about a project I tend to jump right on it, in hopes that I can change his mind about wearing mama-mades more often.

Quick n dirty knit shorts

Talk about not matching chevrons. Ouch. To be honest, these shorts kinda hurt my eyes. But he likes them, and that's the main thing. I used the free Oliver + s Sunny Days Shorts pattern as a starting point for these dead simple knit shorts, but I serged the waistband in one go and then threaded the elastic more like the Nature Walk pants. No pockets, no nothing. Beyond easy.

I am looking forward to making some Sunny Day Shorts according to the actual instructions at some point, but for this quick 'n dirty operation, the pattern pieces were just fine. I am making a mental note that the length on the Sunny Day shorts is a bit shorter than I usually like with Joe, but it didn't matter here, as I just did a narrow zig-zagged hem.

Joe wore his eye-hurting shorts to school the next day and likes his new mama-mades! Thank goodness the shirt was dirty and in the wash. I expect that he'll want to wear them both at some point, and we'll all end up calling in sick with a migraine ...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Teeny tiny knickers.

What do you do when your little girl starts using the potty, completely of her own accord, a month before her second birthday?

After you've fainted, knocked your head on the hardwood floor, had the smelling salts passed, and have finally come to, that is.*

You sew up some undies, of course!

First Pair of Undies!!

I didn't use my trusty ThatDarnKat pattern for these, because that pattern starts at size 2 and Maggie is a tiny little thing. Instead, I used the undies pattern that came with the Sew Fab e-Bundle in 2013.

It's on the bottom row, left of center.

Unfortunately this pattern, made by From The Red Kitchen, does not appear to be available anymore. This is a shame, because I really like it! And it starts at size 12-18 months! Which would have seemed ridiculous and bordering on hippy-dippy "Elimination Communication"** when I was potty training Joe, since he was such a big boy and trained relatively late, but with Maggie being such a small little peanut, makes a ton of sense to me now.

First Pair of Undies!!

Yes, she's hanging off the table. Now she can "hang out" in just her undies, just like her brother!

For the first pair, I used ribbing on the leg openings, and it turned out cute, but a little baggy as you can see in the photo above. So for subsequent pairs I used strips of cotton lycra with better recovery.

Many blurry action shots of my baby's adorable bottom and plump thighs were taken.

Second pair of undies

This is what Maggie's hair looks like after it has been combed, conditioned, and allow to air dry. So curly! Too bad it never lasts. By the next morning, it's a rat's nest once again.

Strawberry undies

A friend of mine gave me a couple scraps of Heather Ross strawberry printed jersey, and even though they were small, there was easily enough for two pairs of undies! Tiny STRAWBERRY knickers, people! Have you ever seen anything cuter?

Seriously, a 12" square of jersey can make a pair of undies in this tiny size. If you mix several fabrics together, you can really use up some small scraps.

In all, I made seven pairs. A little insane, especially given that (a) Maggie is still wearing diapers at night, for naps, and out of the house generally - she is far from accident free; and (b) She does best using the potty when she's allowed to run around completely naked. But making underwear for kids is such a great way to use up scraps, it's fun and fast, and they look so freaking cute on little tushies. Pinch, pinch, pinch! And Maggie's USING THE POTTY!! My big girl! How could I resist?

*Remember, Joe was well past his third birthday when he began to pottytrain. When my mother assured me that everyone starts using the toilet eventually, no one goes to college in diapers, I admit, I entertained real and pressing doubts. But indeed she was right, and Joe figured it out almost overnight, with almost no accidents. It turns out my mother was also right when she foretold that Maggie would start to pottytrain earlier and without as much work, because "you know, girls are easier." All true!

** Any note of snark in my description of this widely used and apparently quite effective for many method of potty learning comes from pure and unadulterated envy, see comment above.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Helen!!

My niece Helen turns four years old today! Isn't it amazing? Remember when she was brand new and Joe seemed ages and ages older than her? These kids grow up so fast!

Helen, Four years old!

She had a birthday party this past Sunday, and I got a couple of pictures of her in her birthday dress. Helen had a rainbow dinosaur painted on her face, but she insisted on flapping her wings like a bird. Also, she mostly refused to smile (even though I assure you, she was having a great time at her party!).

Helen, Four years old!

Hey, it's your birthday, kid, you can do whatever you want!!

Helen, Four years old!

I was pleased to see that her dress fits just perfectly! I had taken her measurements before cutting, but I was still a little nervous. You know how that goes.

Helen, Four years old!

The word in my family is that Helen is a lot like I was as a little girl. Verbally precocious, imaginative, a lover of ballet, beautiful things, and all things pink (it's true, my favorite color as a little girl was pink!), and a little bossy possessed of excellent managerial and leadership skills. I must say, Helen already shows great promise in the realm of tough negotiations! ;-)

Luckily for her, I think Helen is more outgoing and confident than I ever was!

Helen, Four years old!

And she obviously has great taste - I'm not sure I would have come up with the idea of a rainbow dinosaur!

Helen, Four years old!

Like I said, she refused to smile for me, preferring instead to give me her grim game face while flapping her wings. This bird clearly means business! I think she was the type of bird that strikes fear in the hearts of rodents. This girl cracks me up!

Happy birthday Helen-Melon! I love you sweetie!