28 February 2008

Yams and a bag

I'm very proud of the fact that A1 never ate from a single jar. Though I'm far busier this time around, I'm determine to make A2's baby food as well. At 9 months, he's still not a huge fan of solids--which explains why his height is in the 92nd percentile while his weight is only in the 50th--but I keep trying. Yams were our most recent introduction. I baked, mashed, froze (ice cube slots conveniently hold 1 ounce each), and stored just yesterday.


I heat up a few cubes at a time and add water to desired consistency. It's such a shame that I don't have the time to pump like I did for A1's purees. I love that I can just heat up what he can eat at a single sitting instead of having half empty jars sitting in the fridge, plus having all that glass around just seems so wasteful, even if we recycled it.

Here are 2 photos of a bag I completed long ago. It has 4 inner pockets that are denim-lined.


It's technically reversible, but the fact that the Sis Boom Girlfriends fabric (by Jennifer Paganelli) doesn't line up drives me a little nuts. I wish I had gotten more of it, but I really didn't know for what project I would use it at the time.

25 February 2008

Plush owl

James loves owls and wanted me to construct one for him. I chose digital camo fabric and slapped a huge J on the back of this foot-tall specimen. He was pretty fun to sew and I may end up with a whole parliament of Strigidae before long. Though next time, the facial disc (which is often asymmetrical to funnel directional sounds from prey to their ears) will not contrast so much.

owl front
f/5, 1/100, ISO-200, 28mm

owl back
f/4.5, 1/80, ISO-200, 28mm

20 February 2008

New home for the crochet hooks

This is Michael Miller's Daisy Dreams in brown. It's been waiting by the sewing table to be turned into something nifty and finally became a crochet hook roll.

crochet hook roll

Now if only I knew how to crochet!

19 February 2008

Severe Stress in Early Pregnancy Increases Schizophrenia Risk in Offspring

I have determined that motherhood is often about swimming in a pool of worry and guilt. The authors of a longitudinal, population-based study in Denmark, which once again illustrates the powerful influence of environment over neurodevelopment, give me something new about which to feel anxious. Certainly maternal exposure to adverse life events during pregnancy has been associated with low birthweight and prematurity, but I am simply startled by this study's findings.

1.38 million births from 1973 to 1995 were examined. Rate of schizophrenia dx was measured from offspring's 10th birthday until death, migration, onset of dx, or end of the study. A higher rate of dx was found in offspring whose mothers were exposed to the death of a relative during the 1st trimester (adjusted RR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.02 - 2.73), but not 6 mos prior to pregnancy nor in 2nd and 3rd trimesters, even after controlling for sex of offspring, gestational age, FAMILY HISTORY OF MENTAL ILLNESS, place or birth, and maternal age. That's right, death of a close relative during the 1st trimester had a significant effect on schizophrenia risk in offspring WITHOUT family history mental illness!

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008; 65: 146-152.

10 February 2008

It's a Tết miracle!

For about two months now, my laptop's SD card reader had been out of commission. This was particularly horrendous because after emailing, I primarily use my computer to view and edit photos. After some digging around, I surmised that it was unlikely a hardware issue but rather, a driver problem--grrrr...nothing works right with Vista! Well, yesterday I wanted to show the boys our photos from the Tết festival but found myself without the USB reader (it's very slow, but serves it purpose). I inserted the card in the laptop's reader and tada! It worked!

05 February 2008

Zippers, all your base are belong to us!

The magnitude of my zipper fear was simultaneously comical and tragic. To conquer zippers, there is nothing to do but plow right through. To help others do the same, here's a tute with photos of my first zippered pouch.

Here we have 2 outer pieces, 2 liner pieces, and a 9-inch zipper.


1. Prepare the zipper. This isn't a necessary step, but I like the finished look that it gives.

This is my zipper.


This is my zipper with tabs of fabric (right side down) sewn to the termini.


This is my zipper with tabs of fabric sewn to the termini that have been opened out and ironed.


2. Attach fabric pieces to one side of the zipper

The liner piece is right side up.


The zipper is right side up.


The outer piece is wrong side up (sew on dotted line).


Now fold back outer and liner pieces away from zipper and topstitch so that the zipper won't catch the liner fabric when in use.


3. Attach fabric pieces to other side of the zipper

Again, the liner piece is right side up.


The zipper is right side up.


The outer piece is wrong side up (sew on dotted line).


Now fold back outer and liner pieces away from zipper and topstitch so that the zipper won't catch the liner fabric when in use.


4. Pull the outer pieces right sides together and the liner pieces right sides together. Unzip the zipper. Yes, I will say it again because it is important: Unzip the zipper!


Create the pouches by sewing on the black line, leaving a hole for turning.


5. Turn right side out by pushing the outer pouch through the zipper and all the way out the opening in the lining, flipping the lining onto itself. Close the hole in the liner pouch by slipstitching.


6. Once the liner pouch is closed, stuff it into the outer pouch.


Now any bag can be a diaper bag with the addition of a changing mat and diapers and wipes in the pouch. This particular pouch is water-resistance it so it can serve as a wetbag to hold dirty cloth diapers too.