Friday, January 2, 2015

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

It's funny looking back now at my 2014 resolutions. I had all these grand plans for practical, historical, and costume sewing, but pretty much none of them happened, because almost exactly two weeks after writing that post, I discovered that I was pregnant with SHB. While I stayed the same shape during first trimester, I was so tired that all I did was read through all of the available Game of Thrones books. Second semester, I was more energetic, but I had no idea what my body was going to look like so I didn't sew too many garments, settling instead for outfitting SHB's nursery. Third trimester was a total flop as I felt like a whale and was busy with moving. And of course, once I had SHB, things got busy in a totally different way. Still, I've got a nice collection of year-end wrap up posts going on this blog, and I like the process of summing up and reflecting.

Let's take a look at what I was able to accomplish by way of finished garments and objects:

Garments, from left to right, top to bottom: Ballister Blackheart cape and Dr. Blitzmeyer lab coat, Ursula lite, Mother Gothel, neck corset, waterfall cardigan (unblogged), BHL Polly #1 and #2, maternity tops #1 and #2, Rambo cardigan thing, wedding guest dress (unblogged), Totoro maternity top, Mr. Cation's birthday shirt (unblogged), cat onesie (no sewing, just drawing), whale bibs, baby jacket.

Finished objects: manatee plushie, Nimona cats, marine-themed color pencil drawings and paintings, hammerhead shark plushie (unblogged), whale lovey, marine-themed mobile, Totoro bouncer, taxidermy narwhal, marine-themed quilts and Giants quilt, taxidermy blobfish, various doorhangers, and dragon-ish accessories.

I also did some Christmas-specific sewing; something about having an SHB makes one want to do stereotypical things like hanging stockings:

Mr. Cation gets the normal one, mine is covered with cats, SHB's has hippos, and Walnut's is obviously the fish one. 

Not nearly as prolific as other years, but not bad, considering. There's no way I'm gonna bother with tallying up stats like hours, average cost per project, types of garments sewn, etc. though. Instead, I'm jumping straight into the reflecting.

Thanks again to Gillian for hosting the Top 5's this year!

Top 5 Hits:

  • My bustier top, used for my Ursula costume. I loved the process of making such a fitted, complex garment, even if it was occasionally stressful since I had to finish it in time to be graded. Unfortunately, almost as soon as I finished it, I didn't fit into it anymore (still don't, thanks to breastfeeding-sized boobs, but hoping that changes after weaning!). 
  • My Mother Gothel costume. Again, totally impractical but it was comfy and a fun way to announce my pregnancy.
  • BHL Polly tops. I made three versions of this top and they served me very well as my belly expanded. 
  • SHB's quilts. They were seriously fun to dream up and seeing him play around on them is so sweet. 
  • That's it. I really didn't sew a lot this year, so I don't even have five things! Although I guess the last "two" are really six, so that's fine. 

Top 5 Misses: A couple of these are unblogged because I just couldn't be bothered to take pictures. 
  • Simplicity 1804. I made this during third trimester hoping it could be a work dress, but I chose an awful fabric (red mystery knit that was warped, weirdly stiff, and had no recovery) and had the same issues with the back that Aleah had. By the time I had fixed it, I had no interest in wearing it anymore. I tried it on a couple weeks ago, after it had had some time in the closet, but now it's both too small in the chest and too big in the waist. Fail. 
  • Rambo cardigan-thing. Not really drapey enough to be a cardigan, but not structured enough to be a jacket, and it doesn't match anything in my non-maternity wardrobe. Plus Mr. Cation thought it was weird. 
  • Baby mobile. I made this before we moved, and after we got settled into our new house and figured out where we were putting all the baby things, I realized there was nowhere to hang a mobile. I ended up taking the squares off the mobile and just showing them to SHB, but even then he found them interesting only for about a month, and he's moved on already. 
  • Mr. Cation's birthday shirt. This is a little sad, because I spent a lot of time making up the pattern and then sewing the shirt. Part of it is my fault, because I was so tired by the time I made it (third trimester + sweltering summer heat + no AC in our apartment) that I just made it short-sleeved so I wouldn't have to deal with cuff plackets, and short sleeved shirts are just not as practical. Part of it was the timing, as pretty much right after I made it, it was too warm to be wearing collared shirts, but by the time it was cool enough to wear it, SHB had arrived and ain't nobody got time for nice shirts when there's baby spit up all over everything. 
  • At least I haven't got a full list of misses, either. 

Top 5 Highlights: 
  • I had a part in making a human being. I think this is self-explanatory. 
  • Mr. Cation and I bought our first house! Again with the obviousness of this highlight.
  • I had some pretty fantastic internet exposure. My Nimona cosplay was featured in Publisher's Weekly (and I got to meet Noelle Stevenson!) and Lee Pace tweeted my Party King Thranduil cosplay.
  • I had some of the best students of my career in my AP Chem class. It's rare to have kids so fun, diligent, bright, and kind. They even threw me a surprise baby shower, which was totally touching. 
  • Again with the four items!

Top 5 Reflections: 
  • When they say that having a baby changes everything, they're so right. I don't have time to do all the things I want to do; sometimes I have time but am too tired; a lot of things no longer seem worth doing. 
  • Switching back into buying RTW clothes was both easier (wow! it only took five minutes to acquire a new outfit, as opposed to five hours!) and harder (my goodness, why does nothing fit right?!) than I thought it would be. I thought long and hard about trying to go me-made for my maternity and nursing wardrobe, but in the end decided I'm not going to beat myself up about being too tired or not having enough time to do so. Buying RTW is not ideal, but it's not the end of the world, either. 
  • Following on the heels of the above reflection, my time is too valuable to spend doing things I'm not excited about. Especially now that SHB is in the picture. 
  • One of the governing principles that Mr. Cation and I go by in order to decide what to order when eating out is could we make this ourselves? If the answer is yes, then we don't bother. I used to try to do that with clothes, but let's be honest, cooking is a lot faster (generally) than sewing. Just because I could make camisoles and underwear doesn't mean I want to (or have to). As Gillian herself said, no guilt.
  • Holding onto a stash is often portrayed as a negative thing (especially when I was running the Stashbusting Sewalong), but it's not all bad. I used several craft items this year that I had been holding onto for years, and I was glad that I had them! Now if I could just keep that up for fabric...
  • Oh look, I made it to five for this category. I was beginning to worry that this was going to be a Top 4s list. 

Top 5 Goals:
  • No guilt sewing. Do it because I want to. I do what I want, Thor. This includes stashbusting -- no sewing things I'm not passionate about anymore just because they were once higher in the queue. 
  • To that end, actually sew things. Some days I just waste time on Pinterest and don't bother with doing irreversible things, and then suddenly I blink and a week has gone by without any creating and I'm a grumpy bugger and I don't know why. Except I do know why. 
  • Figure out how to take sewing classes again. I really loved learning last school year with my textiles, pants, bustier, and other miscellaneous classes. I'm not really sure how it's going to work with SHB in the picture (and no family help), but I think just recording this will help me to remember that continuing education is a worthwhile goal. 
  • Enjoy SHB. This has been really hard, as I don't think very young babies are that fun in the moment. There's a lot of monotony and selflessness, but then suddenly I blink (I'm doing a lot of sudden blinking here) and he's grown out of his 0-3 month clothes and I'm tearing up wondering where my tiny little newborn went. I'm still not sure how to go about trying to enjoy something that I don't really enjoy, but I'm willing to bet that this is more important to figure out than say, trying to enjoy grading papers. 
  • Spend more time with non-SHB family. After spending so much time taking care of SHB, I really just want to be alone (OMG Walnut why are you jumping in my lap *again*). But there are other relationships to be kept up, and while alone time is important, I'm willing to bet (I'm also doing a lot of imaginary betting) that nobody on their deathbed wishes they spent more time doing selfish sewing or pinning costume ideas instead of spending time with family. 

Let's hope that this year my plans, vague as they are -- note the lack of specific garments! -- don't go awry. 


  1. Eeek, your neck corset makes my stomach turn! It's cool but creepy, ya know? And choke-y!!!
    You know that great part about this year? You made it! Your baby is healthy, and you and your husband have eaten and slept enough to stay alive - and that's an achievement, I'm sure! I think you've got lots of great and realistic goals... and whether you meet them or not, I hope you have a fabulous next year! :)

  2. Babies get easier and more enjoyable (as I type, my one year old is trying to hammer my iPad).

  3. An honest insightful post. You made a baby! How cool is that!!!! I'm feeling some similar thoughts on stash busting- it's nice to have our stashes, it's there when we need it. Have a wonderful 2015.

  4. I don't know how one goes about trying to enjoy things, specifically, but I think it can be helpful to be aware of things in the moment -- both enjoyable and less so. Not that this is an easy task (ask me about my mindfulness practice! On second thought, please don't ask!), but it can at least mitigate some of that sense of "it's been how long already?!!!"

  5. I definitely appreciate the honesty in your posts lately about life with a baby, since you're giving me an idea of what to expect when our little hobbit arrives this summer. All things considered, I think you accomplished a lot this year! Also, I kind of want to steal your LotR door hanger.

  6. Lady, what a year you've had! A new baby, a move, and a new home? Sheesh! I'm tired just thinking about it! Have you ever been into knitting or embroidery or anything like that? Sometimes when I've been working a lot, sewing can be too tiring, but knitting helps me scratch the creative itch without needing to drag out the ironing board and spend two hours cutting things out.

  7. You really have accomplished a lot! Great job! I think Gillian really said it all!

  8. I can't believe you sewed that much with this particular life-changing year! All those changes coming at once must have been so overwhelming! I love your baby's expressions, he's such a character! I also love that you slipped and said second semester rather than trimester - somebody's a teacher!

  9. Hot damn that is a crazy intense year! Baby, house, work, moving?!?! I would be exhausted after all of that! I hope 2015 is a nice and chilled year for you (though not sure that is totally possible with a tiny person?!) :D

  10. You had a very accomplished year! Hope 2015 is more settled. Your little one will get easier to take care of, it just takes a while. The ironic part is that it all goes by in a flash! Oh, and I love the wedding guest dress with the teal bow. Beautiful color combo!

  11. This is quite a year! Thanks for sharing this with us. :)

  12. SHBs have a funny way of throwing all plans to the wind (and when you do find time again, what seemed important before can be very different. That's a pretty impressive year, really---I didn't even attempt a sewing project for a year after my first SHB (mind you, I was more of a sewing dilettante at that point, not quite the hardcore addict I am now...)

    Good luck on the way forward---making time for you (and yes, time to be alone!) will get easier, eventually (though I hate to say it's a long, long road... I'm eleven years past my last baby and they're both pretty independent now aside from those pesky lessons and visits with friends...)

  13. First, you have the coolest stocking holder ever!

    Yes, to the no guilt sewing! Trust me, you will be tons more productive on personal projects if you wait until you're in the mood. My personal sewing comes in spurts and I know better than to force myself to sew for myself. I'm just overall happier without the pressure.

    I'd say you got tons done in 2014! You may also find Craftsy classes to be a good option now if you can find one that doesn't put you to sleep.

    ~ Brooke

  14. Online classes aren't as fun as meeting new real people, but they accept moms in the act of nursing, and they stay open REAL LATE. Now that I have teens, Kenneth King keeps me company while I wait for Teen One to come home REAL LATE.

    Pattern Review and Craftsy. Open All Night.

  15. You made some awesome stuff last year! Even if it wasn't a lot (I didn't make a lot either) at least it was memorable? I am totally with you on the "no guilt sewing" for me wagon, because I barely sewed anything for myself last year, and that also makes me grumpy. I'm also on the "I'm going to sew whatever I feel like when I feel like" wagon, because I spend too much planning and not enough time making. Must spend more time making!

    Best wishes for you and your family (new and otherwise) in the coming year!

  16. This was a year of transformation for you with no doubt. I like reading post entries from recent mothers since the only thing I can imagine myself doing is seeing what life could be after such an event. I hope you can find the time to do what motivates you, and even if nobody in their deathbed are thinking about all the sewing that was not done, remember that those alone moments help us to feel more human.

  17. Looks like an amazing year to me! SHBs definitely change everything (as I'm about to relearn) but in a good way, I think. I LOVE the quilts and paintings especially, plus the Ursula costume is just amazing.

  18. Babies ARE tough, and it's so weird because my mom loves babies so much, it's hard explaining, yes, I have a baby, but I'm not a *baby person*. Toddlers, on the other hand, are hilarious and fun and funny and just all around more my speed. So I'm excited for my 15mo to become a 3yo-- but sad because that means my 3yo will be a 5yo by then!


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