Monday, November 28, 2011


During my first semester in college, I had to give a speech in my English class. I never really had any trouble giving speeches in front of my classmates, so this didn't seem like any big deal. I do tend to get nervous before giving speeches, and so my standard coping mechanism was to volunteer to go first. Then I could sit back and relax while everyone else gave their speeches, and there wasn't anyone before me that I had to compare myself to.

All was rolling along smoothly while giving my speech in this freshman English class. The instructor was sitting in the front, and when I had 5 minutes left in which to wrap up my speech, he indicated this by slightly holding up his hand in front of him. I remember noticing it but continuing on with my speech. Later when in a conference with him about the speech, he mentioned that after he gave me the time warning, my face flushed red and he wondered if I was embarrassed. I think he was hoping that he hadn't thrown me off at all. I didn't feel embarrassed and I also didn't realize that my face had flushed.

Since that point, I have come to notice that face-flushing (and ears, neck and chest flushing) are not uncommon for me if I feel I am in the spotlight. It would happen to me when being formally observed while teaching (I can't tell you how many times my students would say: "Mrs. Hess, your face is all red." and I would tell them it was because I was being observed and that they shouldn't mention it b/c it would make it even worse.) It never happened on a regular classroom day. I learned to wear my hair down on those observation days and wear a shirt with a high collar if possible. The less skin showing, the less flushing observed.

It even happens sometimes when I'm hanging out with friends and I find myself in the spotlight and feeling uncomfortable for some reason. Most recently, it started happening at my prenatal appointments. I've been going in more often since it's the end of pregnancy, and I feel my cheeks flush, my ears burn, and if I touch my face, it's very warm. So I've been wearing my hair down and today I wrapped a light scarf around my neck so you couldn't see all the bright pink skin.

I laughingly acknowledge my flaming face when I'm with the midwife and kind of explain why I think I'm all flushed. That helps me feel a little better although it doesn't necessarily make the pinkness go away.

I just realized that I didn't experience any of this crazy face-flushing during our wedding. I'm so thankful. Otherwise, I'd be looking like I was sunburned in all our photos! And I would've been a lot less comfortable.

(And just a side note, things are going well as far as prenatal visits are concerned. The baby seems fine, I'm fine and all is on track for a birth center delivery. Dan takes my blood pressure here at home and those numbers have been fine. I can't tell you what they are b/c I don't look at them and he doesn't tell me. I just take them to the midwives, and they keep reassuring me that they're fine. They take my blood pressure at the office and have said all is well so far. Even though I still get nervous, this prenatal experience has been much more peaceful for me than the last. I'm very thankful.)

Edwin's finally awake. Off I go.

For Baby

I recently finished two projects I had on my "to-d0-before-baby-gets-here" list. One included making a hat and the other was finishing a baby blanket. Here you can see the hat:

Here is the hat with the blanket:

Notice the two-toned blanket. The white inside of the cream yarn was crocheted by Dan's grandmother Susie (she's no longer living) a number of years ago. Dan's mom recently gave it to me since I crochet, and she thought I might want to make it larger. So I added a few rounds of cream-colored yarn and then a few rounds of more white yarn. I didn't do any fancy stitches and I like the way it turned out.

And a close up of the hat and blanket:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I find myself hesitant to post what projects I've completed recently because I don't want this to become a "brag blog." I enjoy seeing the projects others complete (and the inspiration I get from them), and I'm proud of what I make and I like hearing positive comments from friends. But I've also noticed that sometimes when I read certain blogs, I can easily think I'm not crafty enough or
doing enough in some area or other of my life - and it's all because I'm comparing myself to someone else in an unhealthy way. All that to say, I hope these posts don't cause that in anyone else.

A friend of mine (that's you, LJL!) recently complimented me on my time management skills that allow me to get these projects done while also taking care of a household. I have to add a disclaimer: for every project I complete, there are mornings, afternoons and nights when I leave dirty dishes in the sink, or the laundry is piled on the futon waiting for me to fold it and put it away, or the bathroom is crying out to be cleaned, etc.. I don't get these projects done AND have a sparkling house. I find it's one or the other. Just had to be clear on that.

I accepted a job this summer to make a custom-designed tablecloth for the client of a friend of mine. Let me tell you, this was one of the most challenging sewing projects I've faced. It involved some online research (what would I do without online tutorials??), multiple measurement calculations, pattern-making and lots of ironing and sewing (and a lot of breath-holding and prayer, I might add). I was definitely stretched by this project, and at times I questioned my sanity in taking it on. All that to say, the tablecloth was finally and completely finished (with some altering involved) just this past month. I got good feedback from my friend and her client, and I cannot tell you how relieved I was, even though I know I did my best to make it according to specifications and the hoped-for design.

It's a bit large on our table, but you can get a general idea of what it looks like. The design on the top is an onlay (stitched on top) while the band near the bottom is an inlay.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sewing Project: The Coat

A few months ago I mentioned that I sewed a coat for myself. I'm finally getting around to posting some pictures. I don't think the pictures do it justice, because it is a cute style and the colors are a little off (I'm still not 100% sure I actually like the color combination, although I did when I first bought the fabrics - oh well.).

This is the first time I've sewn something this tailored and involved. It was easier than I thought. I'm not ready to jump into sewing tailored shirts, but this gave me a little more confidence in my ability to make something more involved than what I've normally made. I also have to say that I hesitate to sew very involved articles of clothing because I've had too many experiences where I've excitedly sewn something only to realize that it really doesn't look the greatest or fit me that well. However, part of the reason I chose this pattern was because I had tried on a coat some one else had sewn, I liked the fit and knew it would work for me.

This was my first attempt at sewing many button holes and making sure the button holes and buttons fit. You can't see it, but the two bottom buttonholes (I figured it was wise to start at the bottom of the coat and work my way up) are a bit crooked. The buttons are a snug fit, and if it gets tedious trying to button them, I figure I can always get smaller buttons.

You might have noticed the tag on the coat. I found a stash of these in my grandmother's sewing machine. I thought I just had to put one in even though my mother didn't make it for me. I figure it works since I'm the mother in this household.

I didn't take any pictures of me wearing it because it was made according to my pre-pregnancy, almost-done-nursing measurements. And that means all of my measurements have since changed. When I began the project, I wasn't thinking that I'd be pregnant this fall and nursing this winter. So although I'll still wear it post-pregnancy, I'm not sure how well it will close since it's meant to be snug fitting. We'll see. There's always another year.

After making this one, I felt the desire to make another one, just a bit larger and in another fun fabric combination (maybe something with red this time??). But I can't really justify making a second coat. This one was made because I didn't have a nice, casual warm coat. Do I really need two? Sadly, no.

Monday, November 7, 2011

35th Week Tiredness

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I'm feeling pretty tired these days. I wake up in the morning and have a bunch of things I hope to do each day. There are things that I can do easily while Edwin is awake, but there are always things that are much easier to do during his nap time. Unfortunately, I'm finding that by the time nap time rolls around, I'm feeling the need for a nap myself.

So I've been trying to listen to my body and rest during nap time (and have my own nap time) instead of pushing through the tiredness and then being exhausted by the time supper and the evening routine rolls around.

We recently attended a two -part "Childbirth Refresher" course at The Birth Center, and it was reassuring to be reminded that yes, I will get out of breath much more easily since Baby is taking up most of the room in my abdomen. Otherwise, I think I'd make the mistake of thinking: "What in the world is wrong with me?! Why am I so out of shape?!" I did learn that it's possible the baby won't drop as early as it did the first time around. Did you know that with subsequent pregnancies the baby tends to stay higher longer - even up until right before labor?

I'm feeling the urge to get things ready even though we're still more than a month away from the due date. So this week I'll be stocking up on disposable diapers in two sizes (yes, I'll take a break from cloth while we adjust to being a 2 child family), wipes and my own personal, post-birth needs.

I've got some freezer meals planned and will be making a bunch of those over the next couple of weeks as well.

Edwin is moved into his new room, and he's over the initial rough transition. He cried the whole time we were moving the crib over. The poor kid probably thought we were getting rid of it.

Funny comment related to my belly this week: "You look more like an olive on a stick than anyone I've ever seen!" This was stated by a jolly middle-aged man we go to Meeting with, and I reassured him that I took it as a compliment when he later commented that maybe he should've said something a little more normal.

A question for you mom's out there: Did you ever have any intuition about when you'd go into labor and were you correct?