Friday, August 11, 2017

Cinderella, Cinderella, Night and Day it's Cinderella


Cordelia's favorite princess is Cinderella- and it has been since day one, or rather since September 27th 2011 when she watched the movie for the first time.  


Her second Halloween was spent dresses as the blond haired, happy singing princess, and that costume was worn over and over and over again. 


To be honest, Cinderella isn't one of my top princesses, I love Ariel for spunk, Belle for her smarts, and now Rapunzel for her quirky spirit. But Cinderella does have her merits, especially with  her new mantra of "have courage, and be kind" , and I could really use her sewing mice.  


So when Cordelia was invited to go to Disney on Ice I figured she was long overdue for a new Cinderella dress (she has grown out of every dress up dress she owned!). It's taken me several months to get decent photos of this gown, but it has gotten a lot of wear since it was made- and the hem sure does show it! 



For the bodice of the dress I used the Alice pleated dress from Bella Sunshine Designs, I love the little contrast cap sleeve and figured it added a modern update to Cinderella's tiny puff sleeve. 



The skirt is a wide aline skirt, slightly gathered up at the waist. I used a light blue polyester fabric that has been in my stash for ages and covered it in a layer of shimmering dark blue tulle. Underneath is another layer of the light blue polyester and that layer has yards and yards of white net sewn as a ruffle on the bottom of it to help it stand out at the bottom. 


I wish I had taken pictures of how I made the flounce, but I honestly don't remember- but I am happier with how this flounce turned out than I was with the first Cinderella dress I made. 


One of the things I love the most about Cordelia is how she truly loves her princess dress, and make up, and stealing my pretty necklaces...but she is equally as obsessed with the tadpoles living in the fountain outside our apartment. 



Hopefully she won't try to kiss them when they turn into frogs.



It sure can be messy to fave a tadpole catching princess, but I guess this is why everything is washable, right? 



Saturday, August 5, 2017

Home Sweet New Home


Hey guys, guess what? I have the best news- this beautiful fountain is in my new back yard!  


Well it's in the yard surrounding our new apartment- and we are thrilled to finally be moved into our new home! 


Be prepared for more pictures, and some super cool backdrops in my sewing posts, but right now I just wanted to pop in and thank you all for your kind words, and your offers to help.  



I have felt so amazed by how many people have expressed their concerns and offered to help.  


I also have to take a moment to apologize to everyone who I didn't manage to respond to. I think I was so overwhelmed by our situation that I was just moving through the motions and I was having a hard time communicating with anyone. 


I also have to thank my dear family who took us (and our obnoxious cats) in and really saved our behinds. I always knew that my mother and sister's would always be there for me if I needed it, and this situation really put them to the test and I am beyond grateful for them. 


Now I am back to addressing change of address cards and unpacking boxes! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Seven Months


Welcome to seven months...well seven months and almost three weeks, but hey we win some and we loose some. 


It's funny because when I posted on her seven month birthday on instagram I said she was teething, but I didn't think any teeth were close to coming through. Well I was wrong and by the time I took these pictures she had two and a third almost cut. 


Shows just how much I can predict when it comes to kids! Cordelia's first tooth cut though at 10 months, and it was a slow process to get all of the baby teeth in, I wonder if Adeline's will keep moving in this fast. It's funny how different kids are from each other. 


Adeline you weigh 21 pounds! You are such a strong little girl, and you have the fastest army crawl of any baby I have ever met. We have to keep a very vigilant eye on you because you  move so fast and you find the tiniest things to stick in your mouth.  


I love watching you explore things- it makes you much more interested in toys which makes it easier for your sister to "play" with you, although she does tend to yell at you and say you are wrecking the toys. 


All you want to do these days is stand- and you are getting close to  being able to pull yourself up, I suspect you will be able to next month. You have such good strong legs which is very helpful to the cause. 


Nothing makes you quite as happy as cats, luckily we have enough for you to play with. 


Cordelia says her favorite thing about you is that you are  ticklish on your belly when she blows on it. You are also ticklish on the bottom of your feet. 


The seventh month of your life was a rough one for our family, but as always you remained our cheerleader. Always happy, always smiling. Still not sleeping through the night, but maybe we will get there one day. 



We love you Smush, and we are soo soo lucky to have you. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Purple Tiger Dress with Nursing Hack


It's been awhile since I've written a nice, non dramatic sewing post! This dress is one I actually made back in March for my Grandmother's 90th birthday party, but it has gotten a ton of wear since then! 


I love breastfeeding but I also love dresses, and if you have breastfed before- or been around anyone who has breastfed, you know that your entire wardrobe becomes about how to get to your boobs. Unfortunately, this cuts out a lot of the dresses in my wardrobe and dresses are just so easy- you don't have to worry about your layers moving, or if they match right, dresses can be accessorized "up" or "down", and I always just feel more put together in a dress. 


Granted you can always wear shirt dresses (which I do) and there are a couple companies that make some super cute nursing friendly dresses, but plus size nursing dresses can be few and far apart (and expensive) and honestly- I really enjoy making my own clothing, so I decided to make my own breastfeeding friendly dress- out of some amazing Tula Pink  crouching tiger fabric


I started with one of my go to patterns- New Look 6723, I've made about five dresses from this pattern, all with different modifications so I knew how the dress would fit and it's a pattern I'm comfortable messing around with, but honestly you could modify any similar pattern.  


I decided to try out a snap down style (using Kam Snaps, with a modesty panel. This isn't a tutorial, and my explanation of how I made this isn't fantastic-  but I hope the pictures help you if you want to give this a try. 


To achieve this I cut the regular back pieces in the fabric and the lining, and for the front of the dress I split the front bodice into two pieces - the main bodice and the strap. 


Then I cut a full length bodice out of the main fabric and the lining fabric and two short bodices- (for the modesty panel) out of a stretchy fabric. My short bodices come to empire length on me, I figured they would sit nice and flat this way- and it does but in hindsight I wish I used a thinner knit fabric. 

 I sewed up the bodices the way the pattern instructed, and attached the main fabric straps to the modesty panel. When it came time to attach the front and back I sewed the modesty panel section to the back at the shoulders and then sewed all three layers at the side seam. This seam was a little bulky but after I serged it and trimmed it it was ok. I added the kam snaps to the straps and the main bodice. 




I also lowered the back just for fun, and added a patch pocket- because I really like to have a pocket. 


I hope this makes sense, and if you are trying it out and run into a spot of confusion shoot me an email (ktocknell (at) gmail (dot) com) and I'll try to talk you through it! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Roof Over Our Heads


I've been thinking a lot on how to write this post, what I would say, what to include, what to leave out, what I want to remember 10 years from now and what I'd like to forget. Writing things down helps me work through the things in my head, but my head has been such a messy place since we found out we would have to move. 


There has been so much panic- panic about how to pack when your infant cries every time you put her down. Panic about making big decisions on a tight timeline- and if you remember me talking about my postpartum depression, I talked about how painful decision making has been for me recently. Panic about money, about everything. Panic is overwhelming, it makes me stay up at night and it has made me wake up in the middle of the night feeling as if my heart is being squeezed and crushed by the hand of some unseen and uncaring monster.   

 On top of the panic there has been hurt- how does "family" just spring this on you? Why are people so uncaring? Hurt is often followed by anger, and in my case anger is always followed by depression- but I am getting ahead of myself. 

   
Without much time to plan our move it has seemed like every day we contemplated different options on how we should go forward. What town should we live in? Can we find something that we could actually buy? Should we even buy now? Do we have enough time? This process has been very hard on Cordelia- we wanted to tell her we had a plan, but we didn't, she wanted to know what life was going to look like and exactly when it was going to change, and we couldn't tell her that, we didn't have answers. 

 During this time I discovered that with some help we could buy- but we didn't have enough time, and we couldn't afford what we really wanted, and regrettably most apartments required you to make a lot more money to rent them than we do (even though we could budget the money and actually can pay the rent). This realization kind of crushed us a little bit- if we could buy a house we could make something permanent and safe, we could begin to build dreams again, and then not having that and then learning we couldn't rent was so hard- not only did we not have answers for Cordelia but we didn't even have answers for our situation. So we applied to a low income housing program- and with the assurance of the apartment leasing office that we had plenty of time to get the process competed,  we only applied to the one program. This was a mistake.


And regrettably we were mislead and paperwork issues have led to our move in date being pushed back four times- all the way up to past when we were told we needed to leave our rental. Which leaves us currently homeless. 

Yep you read that correctly, we are homeless, in fact we have been homeless for 10 days now. Months of hustling, looking at tons of places, running back and forth from the apartment giving them every piece of information they needed, we were evicted from my husband's grandmother's house with no place to live, all of our earthly possessions are in boxes in storage minus two suitcases, and a bunch of reusable tote bags...and my sewing machine because sanity has to come from somewhere.  

Being homeless is terrifying, but you know what? Being homeless has taught me a lot about people. Sure some people suck. Some people evict part of their own family- including two young children with no place to go and don't care- but there are more people who are kind, and generous, and good than there will ever be people who suck. 

As soon as we were really between a rock and a hard place people came from everywhere to offer us help- all kinds of help- help that has enabled us to have beds to sleep in and a roof over our heads while we work to figure this whole mess out. 


During this process I was struggling with how to keep parenting my children to trust the good in people when we were witnessing so much ugliness in a place I least expected it- inside of a family I thought so highly of.  But now I think I am starting to see the light, as I just said there may be disappointing people in life, but there are soo many more good people and knowing that I can focus on teaching Cordelia and Adeline to be good people, following the examples of all of this kindness that has touched us is empowering in a way. I don't think I will ever have words for how grateful I am right now, not only for the help we have been offered but for the way the people offering to help us has enabled me to regain my faith in goodness. 

I'm not sure I have said this recently, but thanks for reading along and being interested in our little family, all of your kind comments and "likes" mean a lot. And I'll keep you all updated on where we end up next. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Six Months


Life, and our move that is in limbo, got in the way of taking six month photos of Adeline- so these are really more like six and a half month photos- but I am not going to guilt myself over this. 


Adeline you now weigh 18 pounds and 12 ounces and a long with sitting up really well you are getting more and more mobile with each day- you can belly crawl and roll your way to anything you set your sights on!  


I had my mind set on waiting to feed you food till you made it all the way to six months- but I caved, you just wanted it soo soo badly! And you are an excellent eater! It didn't take you long at all to figure out how you were supposed to move your tongue to get the food down instead of just spitting it out. As of your six month birthday you had eaten oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and pickles- which were your favorite. 


I am hoping that with the addition of solid foods that maybe you will start sleeping through the night for me- you are still insisting on waking up at 4 am (and often at 2, 4, 5, and 6). 



At least you are always happy when you wake up, and really you are happy almost all of the time or I would be a much more cranky Mama. 


This month was our last one filled with quiet mornings alone together while Cordelia is in school, I have enjoyed the alone time but I know your sister is looking forward to getting to hang out with you more. This month you also got another opportunity to hang out with Merrick- and this time you were able to grab at her instead of just her grabbing you. The second day we went to see her you lunged forward to grab her like you were trying to give her a hug, and at lunch she kept trying to hand you some of her chewed up smushy bread- I think Sarah and my plans for you being best friends forever has hope despite the several states in between us!