Okay, so this picture of my little Georgia really has nothing to do with this post, but it's so cute, I can't resist!

Now that 2010 is coming to a close, I'm ready to start thinking about 2011 and where I want to take my business, as well as this blog. Some writer friends of mine have been discussing our Wildly Improbable Goals for 2011 (I believe life coach Martha Beck has coined this phrase). I think my WIG for 2011 is to launch a line of patterns. Having this as my WIG helps me focus my efforts a little better, and understand what skills I need to work on. For the first time in a while, I'm excited about the possibilities (instead of being bummed out by the limitations of the freelance writing industry).

As part of that, I want to keep providing insightful and helpful blog content. Here are just a few things I have planned for 2011 (both specific and general):
  • A Q&A and giveaway with Anna Maria Horner (coming very soon!)
  • More Q&As and giveaways with designers (I love doing Q&As because I get to ask people I admire all kinds of questions I'm dying to know!)
  • A roundup of good places to find ideas for sewing for boys (working on this now).
  • More free pattern downloads and tutorials, particularly in the area of toddler boys' clothing/accessories, such as the toddler apron pattern I just developed. I'm seeing a real hole in the industry here (as I work on the above-mentioned roundup). And since I have a toddler boy, I want to do my part to fill that hole! My next goal is developing a good toddler fleece vest pattern.
  • More book/pattern reviews.
  • More advice and tips about craft book publishing.
  • More discussions about the history/evolution of sewing and how that history is still impacting the lives of women and our decisions and opportunities.
I feel good about 2011, and I hope you do, too. Happy New Year!
When I was expecting Georgia, I made this doll (from Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings) for Max—to "practice" being a big brother. He didn’t pay much attention to it at the time, but in the last few weeks, he has had a renewed interest in it. He loves to imitate everything I do, including “nursing” (as shown above!) his baby, changing her diaper (he insists on getting a wipe), swaddling her, and putting her down for a nap.

For Christmas, I decided to make another baby doll to give to my niece, who is about to turn one-year-old. Max doesn’t seem to be interested in dressing his baby, but I thought it would be nice to make a dress for the gifted baby doll. Creating the pattern for the dress was . . . interesting!
  At first, I thought there was no way it was going to work. But slowly, it started to come together, tiny gathering stitches and ruffles and neck binding and all.

  And now, Dolly has her very own dress, made from a vintage feed sack (got it on eBay for $3). I could offer a tutorial (and my make-do pattern piece) if people are interested? But it’s a pretty specific thing, and first people would have to make the doll from Anna Maria’s book (which I’ve written about before, and seriously cannot recommend enough!). I’d do it if I thought there was any interest. Drop me a line if you want the pattern!

Okay, my crankiness seems to have passed (even though there’s like 4 inches of snow out there on the first day that I actually feel well enough to go running. Grr …). Going to “Crafty Christmas” yesterday (a little event organized by my friend Tricia, who is the most amazing cook/baker), and seeing all the lovely creations that people made, definitely lifted my spirits. My contribution was this Charley Harper-inspired bird collage.
  I knew that, like me, my secret Santa recipient was a big Harper fan, so I thought she might appreciate this re-imagining of the Harper print that graces the cover of the ABC book. It’s a combination of embroidery and machine-appliqué on muslin, and then I stretched the muslin across a 12” by 12” canvas and used a staple gun to secure. It’s my first attempt at doing a collage stretched across canvas like this, so I’m pretty happy with it.

One thing I still need to improve upon is the backside of my embroidery. I never pay much attention to how messy it gets because I figure that no one will ever see it. However, because I used a pretty thin muslin, and because the muslin is stretched so snugly across the canvas, the backside does show through! So all of my knots and jumble of stops and starts are sort of visible. My husband was sweet and said it just looks like shadows on the snow, so I’m going with that!

I bought a pack of two canvases at Michael’s, so I still have one left. I’m anxious to try my hand at this project again using a different Harper print for inspiration.

  Here is it, my list of grievances against life on this cold December afternoon:

1. I cannot get Georgia to sleep through the night. Yes, she is only 3 months old, but Max was sleeping through consistently after about 6 weeks. She wakes at 3 am and then at 5 or 6 am and then for good at 8 or 9 am. I feel that I will never get a full night’s sleep again. Ever.

2. Max, 2.5 years old, has taken to crying and whimpering every single night when we put him to bed. He never had a single sleeping issue until about a month ago. He lies in front of the door, whimpering, “I need anodah hug and anodah kiss from daddy” over and over again. And then sometimes he just screams. We usually go back in at least once to check on him, but it doesn’t do any good. Eventually, he falls asleep on the ground in front of the door and one of us has to slink back in, lift him off the floor and back into his bed.

3. Bedtime now sucks.

4. The magazine industry sucks too. A great majority of my regular magazine work has dried up in the last year or so because of factors completely out of my control.

5. I have 10 lbs of baby weight and I can’t lose it. Every time I look down at my stomach (once flat and toned), I want to cry.

6. I’ve been sick with sinus crap on and off for the last month and it’s screwing with my motivation to exercise and lose the above-mentioned baby weight. I haven’t had a consistent week of good running in forever. And every night I want to eat cookies. Probably because bedtime now sucks.

7. It’s freaking cold out. I hate winter coats. I hate cold cars. I hate snow.

8. We’re now starting to get Christmas cards from people. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cute pictures of people’s families and I want to get cards from them. But it only reminds me that I totally suck because I am not doing cards this year. Even with a new baby and a toddler who would look adorable in some sort of holiday shot. It’s just too much to deal with.

9. I have a work-related trip in January. I’ll be gone two nights and almost three whole days and I can’t see how I am ever going to pump enough milk (while still nursing Georgia) to have a supply here. I’m afraid my goal of 6 months exclusive nursing is not going to happen this time. I’ll be disappointed in myself. My husband will be disappointed in me. The La Leche League will probably come and take away my breastfeeding card.

10. I know lots of people have much bigger problems (famines, floods, warlords, abusive relationships . . .) than any of these things and I feel guilty for venting about these stupid problems and I realize that I have no perspective at the moment. But it’s cold, I’m tired, the economy sucks, the cat is meowing too much, the toddler is grabbing ornaments off the tree every five minutes and I’m going to whine about it for a little bit.

When I was contemplating having a second baby, one of the random, silly thoughts that went through my mind was: “But we only have room to hang THREE stockings from the shelf! Where will the fourth go?” Okay, so ultimately it wasn’t a deal-breaker. I mean, if paying out of pocket because insurance for self-employed people doesn’t cover maternity (yes, I’m serious, and no, I don’t know why this is even legal) isn’t a deal-breaker, a little piece of decorated felt shouldn’t be, right? But I digress . . .
Only 3 knobs! What to do?
Okay, so this year with my new family of four, I actually DID have to think about where to put our stockings. I definitely wanted all four to hang side-by-side. I settled on the steps, which turned out to be perfect since the wall behind holds my prized collection of black and white photos of my parents and my husband's parents.
New home on the stairs
But now I have to actually make little Georgia’s stocking. At first, I wanted it to be sooo ridiculously pink and girly because, hey, I have a girl now! But then I restrained myself—a little. I’m working on sewing the trim on as we speak . . .
And now I'm finished! Four just has better symmetry than three!

I’ve loved making these stockings for all of us. It’s an amazingly simple pattern, and you can embellish the front in any creative, crazy, or traditional way you want. I just added it as a Bonus Project on the site and you can find it right here (including the templates, which you can download as a PDF).