Saturday, January 29, 2011

and Bean makes 4

The Bean is home and my parents left us this morning. We're getting settled in and getting used to each other and new routines.

The Bean is a healthy 9lb 2.5oz who looks an awful lot like her sister did. I'll be posting a little bit more and catching up on everyone else too as days pass and we get more settled in. Next post will have pictures.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two Days

In two days at this time I will be getting ready to bring the Bean out. I'm not sure how sleep on Tuesday night is going to be, the adrenaline is probably going to be pounding all night long. We have my niece coming over to watch over the Peanut while we head into the hospital for pre-op and my parents are on their way as we speak.

We'll be bringing the Bean out via a c-section. I made the decision to go that route because with the Peanut I had one, and because it was an emergency procedure that took place even before a single real contraction was felt. Having the second child is supposed to be a little less daunting and the whole unknown involved with labour wasn't making this time around seem so. I felt that trying to go naturally combined with having the Peanut at home and having my parents here for only a few short days it was better to go the already trodden path.

The Bean has started to slow down a little bit, she's not kicking nearly as much and her movements seem to be focused to mostly at night. My belly has dropped down a little bit and I've got that waddle walk going on that happens when the baby's head is engaged and it feels like she's going to drop out with each step. The Peanut is a super help, running to pick things up for me when I drop them, helping to pic up after herself and just being a sweet heart.

This will be my last post for a while. As I mentioned I've got my parents on the way and I want to focus on the Peanut for the next two days. I'll post again once we're home and settled.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I may be deluding myself

But I've got a big stack of books for reading over the next week or so. Of course I'm not taking into account the whole going to be taking care of a newborn in about 3 days or so.

The thing is, is that I can't not read. I read and re-read books just to have a story going at all times. The problem is that I get in author ruts and find it hard to pick up a new one without some sort of recommendation. To be honest my book reading practice has become very much like that of a finicky eater who is longing to break out of a rut. I read books that I've love and re-read them because the choices open to me when I step into the library are so vast that it's easier to pick the tried and true than it is to venture into uncharted territory. And then when I do taste something new and fresh and I enjoy it; it becomes an obsession and I collect the plots of a new author.

I'm fortunate in that I have this amazing friend who is as avid a reader as I am... OK if I'm going to be honest she's more avid a reader than I am, she devours books like chocolate, she always has something new in her bag to read. She's been tossing the odd suggestion my way over the last little for which I'm very grateful, after all, there's only so many times you can read the same book in one year...

So with the Bean on the verge of reality I'm piled high with some new reads and looking for more, What else should I be doing while I'm breastfeeding? Watching TV? What's on your night table? What book are you reading that you just can't put down, can't stop thinking about? Me? I've been reading China MiƩville; courtesy of a suggestion by my above friend, I just finished Kraken, Looking for Jake and Iron Council and I'm looking forward reading Un Lun Dun.

Friday, January 21, 2011

On the positive side I'm too obstinate to give up

I won't bother to mention that we have 5 more days to wait for the Bean. Time is just flying. The closer the day gets the more nervous I find myself getting about returning to breastfeeding. Starting out with the Peanut was easy; it was like she new instinctively how to latch on properly in the first few minutes of being on the outside and then things just went down hill.

Just like how all that talk about how exhausted you're going to be after the baby comes falls on deaf ears when you're pregnant for the first time; the whole breastfeeding thing doesn't seem to register as a difficult task until you're exhausted from the lack of sleep and frustrated because that little life you've just brought into the world is screaming and crying pitifully because she's hungry and you can't get the hang of getting her to latch on. Don't even get me started on the whole nursing through mastitis scenario...

I recently read this blog post about how hard it is to breastfeed and it struck a nerve or two. Mostly because I saw myself in her experience but also because I wholeheartedly agree that when it comes to motherhood we tend to gloss over the hard parts too much; and breastfeeding is one of the hardest. I refuse to make it sound like a walk in the park to those who are headed toward parenthood (partly because scaring the crap out of first time parents to be can be great entertainment for those of us who are seasoned practitioners).

I once went out for dinner with two good friends from art school who I had lost touch around the time we found out we were having the Peanut. It had been a good three years since I'd last seen them and there was a lot to catch up on; one was working in an exciting new job that had her traveling all the time doing something that she loves, the other had just gotten married and was basking in the glow that is being a newly wed while stressing about the fact that she was in her final year of school with finals and looking for a job ahead of her. We traded stories and pictures and when they asked me how much I liked being a Mommy (because I had been known to be very vocal about wanting to be one) I shocked them both by honestly telling them that sometimes I hated it. That having a baby was hard, breastfeeding: hard, adjusting to being a Mom: hard. That even though I adored my Peanut that I sometimes longed for the days when I was not tied down to a schedule. The whole conversation became a little uncomfortable about then. They weren't expecting so much honesty and I wasn't about to sugarcoat my feelings or my experiences so I changed the subject and we moved on.

And now I'm on the cusp of doing it all over again. I know how to breastfeed in theory but the last time the Peanut latched on she was a month shy of two and trying to multitask while eating by watching what her Daddy was doing and getting a little yoga in with a downward dog pose all at the same time. Breastfeeding a two year old is not the same as breastfeeding a new born and I'm planning on having the nurses into my room as much as possible while we're getting the hang of it because the whole wrestling with a hungry newborn is not high on my list of things I'm looking forward to the second time around. It's going to be hard and I'll probably have my Mom telling me to just feed her formula while she's here and I'll have to juggle the Peanut at the same time and I'll probably get frustrated but I will do it and I won't be telling anyone how easy and natural it is to do because the look on their faces when they see that I'm serious will make it all worth while. Well that, and the fact that the Bean will be getting exactly what she needs from me and I won't be paying through the nose for formula.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Thousand Words

One week left to be an only child

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How To make a signature for a hand bound book

Last time I showed you how to find the direction your paper grain runs in your paper to optimize for the best fold for a hand bound book. now that you have a stack of precut pages all ready for folding, with the grain of the paper parallel to where you are going to fold I'll show you how to fold your sheets and get them ready for sewing.

What you'll need:

Precut sheets (cut to the height of your book and double the width)
Bone Folder
paper clips or alligator clips
Awl or a Long needle or pin
Rubber Mallet

Measure for your score
The best way to fold a sheet of paper is to score along where your fold is going to be using a bone folder. A bone folder is generally made of pig bone and has a pointed end and a rounded end, the bone is smooth for burnishing down your paper once it's scored.

To start take your ruler and measure out where your fold is going to be. My book is going to be 5.5" x 7" so my precut sheets are 11"x 7". Measuring in from the edge along the 11" length of the page I will make small pencil marks at the 5.5" length on my ruler. Remember to measure down the sheet in at least three places so that you are in effect measuring twice (or more) and scoring only once. Because the edges of my paper are deckle edges measuring in more than one place is even more important since the edge of my paper isn't even.

Scoring for your fold
just as you would if you were cutting along your measure, take your straight edge and line it up along your pencil marks. Run your bone folder along the edge remembering to keep your other hand pressing down on the ruler and moving it so that your bone folder hand and your ruler hand are at approximately the same place. It helps to have some extra scrap papers under where you are scoring to act as a cushion. This will give you a deeper score in your page making folding even easier.

Making the fold
Now that you have a scored line in each sheet you can create your fold. Using your scored line as guide, fold your sheet along the scored line and press down using the flat of your bone folder to finish the fold.

Make your signature
A signature is a collection of folded sheets that make a booklet. one or more signatures can be sewn together to create the pages of a hand bound book. A signature should ideally be made up of no less than three folded sheets of paper or leaves and no more than ten. The paper I have used is fairly heavy; 200lb so I am opting to create two signatures of four leaves.

Collect your leaves together and make sure that they all line up. At this point you can make sure your leaves stay aligned by clipping them together with paper clips or alligator clips.

Since this a small book I plan on measuring for two bindings (the straps that will hold the signatures together when the book is being bound). I'll measure out and make a pencil mark on each signature starting 3/4" from the bottom of the signature and 1/2" from the top of the signature.

The next step involves some math. I apologize but sometimes a little arithmetic is necessary. take your ruler and measure the space between the top measurement and the bottom. Divide this by the number of bindings for your book. In my case four. Measure down from your 1/2" mark with the number you have just calculated and with your pencil make another mark and repeat for each number of bindings.

A second mark should be made under each of these measurements to match the width of your binding tape or ribbon. My binding tape is 1/2" wide, under each of my measurements I will make a second mark that is a distance of 1/2". These marks are where I will punch a hole using my awl.

Getting the signatures ready to sew
making sure the leaves in your signature are aligned, take your awl and place the point on each of your markings where your bindings will be placed. Gently hammer the awl into your signature on each point. It is helpful to have something underneath where you are hammering so that you don't damage your awl tip. I've used an old magazine but an old phonebook would work too.

Next time Sewing your bindings onto your signature

A primer post

to get you ready for the one I hope to put up later today...

With luck and focus I'll be posting the second part of my book binding tutorial this morning.

Also on the agenda: laundry (of course) and perhaps a painting festival on the kitchen table.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An exact time

or as close to it is what I'm hoping to get today at our last maternity appointment.

Afterwards I'm hoping to spend some extra quality time with the Peanut. With time ticking down I'm doing my best to take time and be in the moment. This will be the last time I will be pregnant so all the bladder bumping ovary smashing I've been experiencing over the last two weeks will one day be looked upon with fondness (or perhaps not). This will also be the last time that I am the Mamma of a single child. My main goal over the next 8 days, other than to take it as easy as I can; is to make some special time for the Peanut during these last days she has us all to herself.

There is a part of me that is almost dreading the moment when the Peanut realizes that she's going to have to share us with the Bean. It's almost as big as the anticipation of being able to finally take a look at the bean in the flesh.

Monday, January 17, 2011

In case I haven't been blatant enough about it; the count down is on. Today marks 9 days until the Bean joins us on the outside. This weekend we made some special time for the Peanut, Her Daddy took her to the science center and out for lunch with a side trip to the toy store. Then she got to have a night in with her cousin; my niece while the husband and I went out for dinner.

On Sunday we rearranged our bedroom so that the co-sleeper the Bean will call bed would fit better. Other than that flurry of activity it was a lazy lazy day. Both the Peanut and I spent the day in our 'jamma's and read books (I'm in the midst of China MiƩville's Iron Council) played computer games and drew pictures of panda bears.

Today I hope to finish up the second part of my book making tutorial for posting tomorrow. With a little more than a week to go before the Bean and Doctors appointments, family on the way and all the other stuff that comes along with bringing a new person into a family I'm hoping to keep up with the posts but I'm going to apologize now in case I just can't keep up. I'll be setting up notices over at PeanutButterPie and TMCphoto to let people know that I'll be away for the Bean as well over the course of the week with the hope that I'll be able to get things up and running again as soon as we're all settled.

How was your weekend?

Friday, January 14, 2011

There is a wall of water

cascading down into the street outside.

Any small piles of snow left over from Tuesday nights blanket will be gone by this afternoon or gone enough that they won't count as snow piles any longer. If it's possible the rain has just started in even harder and there are abut 50 tiny birds in the lilac tree outside my window and perching on the wires beneath the eves of the house next door that I can't seem to stop watching them for longer than it
takes to type one or two words.

I'm antsy but I'm wanting to hibernate; it's the rain. My moods are swinging back and forth a little violently and I'm working on keeping my patience for the Peanut. I have some photographs to take for a post next week today or tomorrow. I have last minute shopping to do to get ready for the Beans arrival in 12 days. I need nursing friendly jammas, another nursing bra and probably a few other items that I can't even remember right now.

I started packing for the hospital this morning, the only things for me in the suitcase are a not quite full enough of the stuff I'll probably need toiletry bag, socks and underwear. The rest is sleepers for the Bean, and blankets receiving and the fuzzy pink and white I was given last weekend, a hat and the Bean's "Hello Big Sister" gift for the Peanut. Everything else will have to wait because my housecoat and slippers are in daily rotation right now and as I mentioned above there are some new things I need to pick up before we let loose with the Bean.

Did I mention that we're on day twelve of the Bean Count Down?
I did? Oops, must be pregnancy brain

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Thousand Words

yesterday morning; this is all gone now

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How To: getting paper ready to make signatures for a handbound book

I may have mentioned that I'm getting ready to make a bedtime book for the Peanut last week. I've decided that while I'm doing that, I may as well create a tutorial (or more) during the process; mainly because It's been a while since I last made a hand bound book and talking through it is a fantastic way to learn yourself; or in my case refresh my knowledge.

With the Bean's debut just around the corner I'm not up to major projects at the moment so I may get a few tutorials done before she comes along and I may just get this one done and follow up once we're all sorted as a family of four instead of a family of three. We'll see how things go and I'll just ask for your patience now and get it out of the way.

The first step in making a hand bound book (outside of getting text together and breaking it up into page sized bits) is getting your signatures (or in my case; a signature) ready. A signature is a group of folded pages that make up a booklet which is then sewn together and attached to the hard cover of your book.

Today I'll show you how to find the grain in your sheet of paper so that you can cut your paper to make a signature for a hand bound book.

What you will need:
X-acto Knife
Soft Bristle Brush

Paper Grain
When working with artist grade paper especially when you are going to be using artist grade paper for book making you should be aware of which way the paper grain is before you measure and cut your paper for signatures and for accordion folds. Paper grain refers to the direction that most of the fibers that make up the paper lie. During paper making the fibers that make up the paper tend to align themselves in one direction. Most artist grade papers are made using cotton fibers.

The best way to figure out which way the papers grain runs is to bend your sheet of paper. One side will roll easier than the other; the smaller the sheet of paper you are working with the more dramatic the difference will be. The side that bends the easiest is where the grain runs. You will be folding your signature parallel to the grain.

Measuring and Cutting
Now that you know which edge is parallel to your paper grain measure your paper for cutting. For my book I am making a 5.5"x7" book. I will be cutting sheets for my signature that are 11" x 7" with a fold made 5.5" in on the 11" length that runs running parallel to the grain of my paper.

I will be using two methods of cutting my paper for this book. the tops and bottoms of my pages will be cut using a blade for a straight edge and for the outside edges of my signatures I'll be making a deckle edge using water and a brush.

Straight Cut:
Using your ruler and a sharp pencil measure out where your cuts are going to be made. I measured down the length of my paper in 7" increments in three separate places along the page. This way I can line up my ruler along each mark and double check that my measurements are exact before I cut.

Laying your straight edged ruler along your measure line you can then take your x-acto blade and run it along the straight edge. It is best to use light even cuts and go over the cut more than once than to put a lot of pressure on a single cut. Keep your hand on the ruler to hold it down along where you are making your cut. This means that you will be moving your ruler hand along with your cutting hand as you make your cut. This gives your ruler edge support during the cut and also ensures that you are paying attention to what your blade is doing.

Deckle Edge:

Now that I've cut the straight edges on my sheets I have a tidy stack of four 7" x 22.5" sheets.

I want to make these into smaller 7" x 11" sheets with a deckle edge along the 7" edge of the sheet. I'm using Opus European Watercolour paper which has deckle edges already so I will be creating a deckle edge to match when I make the sheet smaller.

To illustrate paper grain a little more I've included two more images with these smaller sized sheets, you'll notice that the paper bends much more easily along the longer edge of the sheet. The paper grain then runs parallel to the 7" length of my sheet. This is the length that I will eventually score along for folding

To do this you need to measure where your tear is going to be made just as if you were going to cut the edge as before. Lay your ruler along the marks for your edge and run a wet paintbrush along the edge. I use a soft bristle brush so that I don't scuff my paper surface. Let the water soak into the paper. The paper I am using is 200lb paper which means that it is quite a heavy paper and needs a few moments for the water to soak in before I can start to tear. As with cutting with a blade keep your hand on the ruler along where you are tearing. Lift the edge of the paper where you want your tear to start and pull. Move your hand farther down the straight edge and tear further along your edge until you have reached the edge of your sheet.

Next time: scoring and folding to make your signature

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

count down

We're headed into the final weeks, before we know it the Bean will be out and about and known by an actual name and I can't wait to meet her.

Today we're headed out to the hospital for our weekly appointment and then we'll be having lunch with the husband.

I'm hoping to get started on a multi-part tutorial at some point before the Bean comes along. I am however making no promises.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Piles and piles

of clothes handed down from my friends. And this on top of a small pile of new sleepers, cloths, toys and other baby things that my friends have gifted me.

Yesterday was my baby shower. Since my family is so far away from us this is probably the only celebration type gathering the Bean will get and it was a lovely afternoon with my Mamma friends.

I should mention that I'm really not that comfortable with having a lot of attention on me so, opening gifts, while fun; is an act of self consciousness even when surrounded by the people that I love. So I opened my gifts as unobtrusively as possible and hope that I will be able to express my thanks properly with thank you cards. The big gift of the day was an Ergo Baby carrier. Since I plan on wearing the Bean as a fashion accessory/ body warming device over the next few months I couldn't have received a better gift. Topped off with the fact that the brand is one that some of my Momma friends have used and love I'm thrilled.

After the shower ended and the husband picked me up we went and picked up the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper that I've been eyeing up since the Peanut was sharing our bed instead of sleeping in her crib because that was the only way that I was getting enough sleep to function. This time around we're starting out by co-sleeping and I have high hopes that the co-sleeper will make that much easier. Now we have to do some bedroom rearranging so that we can all fit.

Now what was that I read somewhere about nesting?

Friday, January 7, 2011

5 Questions: LavenderAve; Thoughtfully Handmade

The first Baby Shower Gift that I received from the Etsy Baby Shower was from this fantastic shop. Jenn, the proprietor and creative mastermind behind LavenderAve has been on vacation, I wanted to make sure that you were able to view all the adorable and super comfy looking 'jamma's in her shop so I've waited until she returned before sharing her answers to my 5 questions.

Jenn was kind enough to send me and the Bean a set of adorable giraffe jammies that I think we'll be dressing her up in at the hospital. LavenderAve features both nightdresses (which I've found are so difficult to come by these days without being plastered with the likes of Hanna Montana or Dora the Explorer) and cozy looking pajammas as well as lounge pants and vintage look pantalettes for a little added sweetness underneath skirts and dresses. LavenderAve is a must visit if you've got kids to clothe for bedtime.

You can follow Jenn on her blog where she's recently been posting about getting organized as well as some of her projects. To keep updated on what's happening in her shop you can also find LavenderAve on Facebook.

Do you have any influences that guide your work?
My kids have been a huge influence on my work. I have made them PJ's for a long time, and it was natural to start selling them on Etsy. The nightgown that I currently sell was inspired by a friend who was looking for a simple white nightgown for her daughters and couldn't find one anywhere.

Do you listen to music when you create? If yes, what's on your play list right now and why?
I usually listen to audio books. I have recently listened to Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan and am listening to American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson right now.
Sometimes I listen to music, my playlist is determined by my mood. Hooray for the ipod. I could be listening to ColdPlay, The Cars, White Stripes, Louis Armstrong or AC/DC depending on my stress level :). I like something in nearly every genre.

You have won a lottery, the prize is 3 items to furnish your dream studio space, what do you choose and why?
A brand new Bernina sewing machine so my old steady baby can rest sometimes, a serger because I really need one and a murphy bed to get the darn guest bed out of my way.

What was the last shop/ item you hearted on Etsy?

Yours, actually and CountryChicCottage and whimsyandspice. All of you on the same day.

Rock, Paper or Scissors?

Usually rock, sometimes scissors.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Library, Laundry (like I'd not have any to do) and starting something new

As the title suggests I've got a library trip planned today, laundry and plans to start a new project.

What is this project you ask? Well it's one that I had on my list from last year and hopefully it's something that I can get done before the Bean makes her debut. Also it's going to allow me to brush up on my book binding since what I'm planning is to make a bedtime book for the Peanut of the Poem Wynken Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field.

It's a poem that my Dad used to recite to me when I was small and something that I want to pass on to the Peanut and the Bean. I've already done a painting for the Peanut's room but I wanted to also have a picture book that we could read and keep.

First on the list of things to get the book done is to decide the size of the book and decide how many pages so that I can cut the paper down to size. Not as simple as measuring and cutting since paper has a grain that makes folding along one side easier than the other, so I'll have to make sure that I keep that in mind when I pull out my paper. To decide on the number of pages for the book I'll be taking a copy of the poem and breaking it up into bite sized chunks, which will also break the poem up into illustrations for each page.

I'm excited about getting started on this in the new space and I'll be posting on my progress too.

What are you working on today?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Yesterday I spent some creative time carving a few new stamps while sitting at my new worktable. Today we're headed out to the Nutritionist for what could be my last appointment with them and the countdown to D-day continues.

I'll also be working on Friday's post; another 5 question feature which I'm very excited about.

And the 5lbs mentioned in the title of this post? How much extra weight that the Dr said I'm carrying around in retained water.

Monday, January 3, 2011

and the hormones, they keep raging


All the lovely comments on yesterday's post had my eyes welling up. Thank You.

Things are starting to come together in the workspace. The Husband spent a huge chunk of yesterday working on his stuff and I'm itching to get in and start doing some painting, even if the space isn't exactly how I want it to be it's set and ready for the creativity to flow.

That's one other side effect of being all with child, I'm feeling very creative and very much like I want to be exercising that creative muscle while I still have some wide awake brain cells. So today is all about getting my creativity on. Well that and having a nap...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

OK, I'll be putting my feet up now

Over the last week my feet or rather my ankles have been taking on a rather bloated state of being.

I've taken off my wedding and engagement rings and put them away (with the husband making a comment about not liking my fingers being bare which brings on the danger of some other man coming along and stealing me away from him; he's sweet right? either that or he's patronizing the hell out of me) and I am most decidedly waddling around instead of gracefully walking to point b from point a thanks to my legs feeling like they are about to come tumbling out of their sockets.

The count down to New Bean Eve is on, we are 24 days away from her much anticipated arrival and I would love to say that I'm loving every minute of these last few weeks but honestly I'm just wishing it were all over so that the real sleep deprivation can begin.

As it is, I'm up every hour on the hour most nights with Braxton-Hicks Contractions and Bathroom trips. Rolling over in bed to get comfortable involves waking fully up so that I can sit up, or heave myself up in order to reposition myself. Have I mentioned that there is a knee or possibly even a foot almost permanently lodged between against my ribcage and I'm just looking forward to getting to now this little wiggle worm.

And of course now that I've just spewed a waterfall of pregnancy related whining I'm now thinking about how these last few weeks are the last time I'll feel the quickening, the last time I'll be closer to this Bean than anyone else in the whole wide world and the last time I'll feel the anticipation of becoming a Mommy all over again.

You'll excuse me now as I take a moment to indulge in some pregnancy hormone related melancholy...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Compare and Contrast

Just for fun I took a look at last year's New Years Post and surprisingly things aren't too different between how I'm feeling today and how I was feeling a year ago with the major difference being that my tiredness stems from the whole creating new life activity that I've been involved in since last Spring.

The Tree is down, all the lights are put away, the disco skelly is once more hanging in the kitchen/living room door and I'm feeling the need for a nap except I've got to test my blood sugars in about 30 minutes before I can comfortably rest my noggin.

I'm not much for new years resolutions, I try to steer clear of them since they tend to be a direct route to feeling bad about not following through. I like to spend some time during the solstice thinking about what changes I'd like to see in the coming year but pregnancy brain put a wrench in that practice so instead I've been taking the extra time to mull it all over.

Last year I wanted to start baking my own bread, to start a garden and make being creative a regular part of my routine. The garden was a success. Bread was as well until the first trimester of pregnancy made the process seem too overwhelming and I feel that I have definitely made creativity a regular part of my day to day.

In the coming year, with the Bean on the way in 25 days I want to ensure that I take time to take care of myself, take time to make the Peanut the center of my attention the rest, gardens, bread, art will all fall into place once the Bean is amongst us and we've all become acquainted with each other because this new phase in our family takes precedence and honestly all that other stuff will fall into place.

What changes would you like to bring into your life this year?
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