30 November 2009

The Art of Crawling

Audrey crawls. And she does so at impressive speed. She disappears quickly, and is often found fossicking around in my wardrobe, Lucy's drawers, or rifling through my makeup. Since she started crawling about a week or two ago, her speed seems to shift into a new gear every day. She is a seasoned crawler now. She crawls over large objects, and even attempted to wade through a bean bag yesterday ('fail'). I am fascinated by her enthusiasm for crawling and exploring and could quite possibly follow her all day. As she descends from my arms to the floor her knees are already shuffling back and forth before she touches down, impatient to get cracking on another adventure. And Lucy is busy being the bossy older sister (nothing personal, Fiona) often heard shrieking 'Augie, don't touch that! Stop!! MUM!!!'. It's all very dramatic.

Brendan thinks we have our work cut out for us with Audrey. Lucy never really touched things she shouldn't have as a baby, however I have to agree Audrey looks set to really test our parenting nous.

And we are now on the eve of the 1st of December! I'm so excited, as excited as Lucy (maybe even more, just quietly). An advent calendar in the shape of a Christmas tree is waiting patiently by her bed, and tomorrow she gets to open branch no. 1. And we are also putting up our tree tomorrow. Lucy is busy learning Jingle Bells, though her version goes something like this:

gingle bells, gingle bells (hard G)
Oh what fun...ride
one forse open sleigh

Tis very cute. When I try to join in, she shoots me a look of disbelief and annoyance by way of a screwed up face, telling me she wants to do it by herself. Okay, it's your Christmas.

28 November 2009

there's hilarity in misery

...someone else's misery. Freeman Hall's to be precise, author of Retail Hell.

I started reading his book the other day, and can't put the thing down. Freeman writes about his time as a handbag salesperson at a department store dubbed 'The Big Fancy' - for anonymity I guess, though on the inside back cover it states he worked most notably for Nordstrom as a handbag manager/salesperson. Okay!

It usually takes me a while to get into a book, that's if I give it the time past the first page or so, but I keep plopping Audrey down so I can pick it up to read some more, it's so darn funny. And a bit frightening. Really makes me glad not to have ever worked in retail (though I have held a couple of jobs that might come close to rivaling it).

Freeman has a blog too. An hilarious little time-waster, if ever I read one.

The only downside to a book like this is, what if you realise the person he's referring to is you?

25 November 2009

materialistic happiness

Three things made me happy today. I had forgotten the thrill of buying a pair of shoes, it's been so long (not counting Chucks). These will be perfect for Summer (and beyond), and having a slightly heavier heel means I'll still be able to chase Lucy in supermarkets. Gets me out of my daily outfit of Converse so that has to be a good thing. Also, the cardigan was my sisters until this morning. We have different body shapes, and she thought it didn't really suit her so threw it my way. She said I might have to take it in a little, but I love it just as it is. I'm also wearing a pair of Workshop brushed cotton skinny leg pants and my own stripe top. Very blue and grey today. Who would have thought only five years ago I was the colour queen?!

And my Aunt recently went to London, and was kind (or silly) enough to ask before she left if I wanted anything brought back. Um, yes, please bring me back this list of Liberty fabrics. So my poor dear Aunt reported she was driving down Old Brompton Road with her head stuck out the window of a black cab trying to find this shop she'd never visited before. Luckily it was near Harrods so there was something in it for her too. I absolutely love the two prints far left, especially together, and am making a singlet out of them very soon.

23 November 2009


comes in the form of many things. For me it is waking this morning and realising Audrey slept through the night...for the VERY first time!

Maybe it was all those long talks with her, telling her to feel free to sleep right through, and that Mama might throw herself under a bus if she didn't consider it soon. But really, I think it has something to do with the new routine I put her on some two weeks ago. Whatever did the trick, I am ecstatic.

For the first time in a long time, I feel chirpy on rising and I didn't even yell at Lucy down the hall to not call out for me incessantly before 6am. I think Lucy will quickly come to love this new routine too!

Update: A little bit of a sigh here. Audrey woke the following two nights at 2am for milk (I wasn't that delusional that I thought she would sleep through continuously (just quietly praying)). The first night I tried to settle her without feeding (and she point blank refused to take water from a bottle, always has) but after an hour of being in and out of bed I fed the naughty little thing. Last night, I gave her a minimal feed. She is, however, settling quickly now at bedtime. Baby steps I guess. I will get her sleeping through by Christmas if it kills me! I don't want to be traipsing about the house at my mothers at 2am when I go down home in a few weeks. At least I know she can do it now. Are you listening, Audrey??

22 November 2009

Christmas Closing

My shop is now closing for the year this Tuesday 24th November EST / Wednesday 25th November GMT.

Lucy chose the prettiest piece of the palest pink pure silk waiting to be sewn into a dress (she really is a girly girl, who would have thought?!). I have found a vintage pattern (I rarely sew from bought patterns as I just understand my own ones better, plus drafting your own gives you more freedom) but this is such a cute dress and quite possibly full and girly enough for Lucy. I'm thinking the red or the blue style (though it's almost a case of 'spot the difference').

Notice the name of this pattern? The 7 day wardrobe. Too much!

So this is why I want to close my shop sooner rather than later - to sew Lucy's Christmas party dress (among other things). Hopefully it all turns out okay (this silk is as slippery as a slippery thing), and is worthy of a blog post.

21 November 2009

Audrey: On crawling, routines

The day after my post on Audrey’s crawling progress, she started crawling – go Audrey! It was all very staccato at first, but day by day she gets quicker with more fluid movements.

Currently, her crawl goes something like this:

Short robotic crawl, bunny hop (both knees together), roll, short robotic crawl, yoga plank position, into the downward dog, roll, and then back to the robotic crawl.

It’s as complex as a Michael Jackson dance routine.

Despite the above description, Audrey crawls conventionally whereas Lucy crawled with one leg sticking out the side. Always the same leg, with the other leg moving under the body in a circular movement. Oh boy, the looks and comments we got from strangers when we were out. One woman jumped on me in a café saying that because of the manner in which Lucy crawled she would be dyslexic, and how I should go and see a specialist to have her crawling properly. I restrained myself, offering a weak smile, but inside was thinking ‘f-off!’. And another time a man at a local beach just stopped and laughed, saying he wish he had his video to record it! Oh my goodness, we’re not the circus, people! I got a little reminder of Lucy’s crawl the other day when dressing Audrey in a pair of Lucy’s cast-off baby pants, noticing only one knee was worn.

As for Audrey’s new feed/sleep routine, everything is so much better. She had one night where she woke frequently but two prior meals of mine consisted of the magical fruit - beans. As it turns out, beans + Audrey = nightmarish sleep, and now I steer well clear of them. Also, I’ve been so determined to have her drinking good milk feeds that I overlooked the fact that as babies get older they drink less milk and eat more solid foods. Theoretically, the more solid foods she eats the more likely she is to sleep longer stretches at night. So starting today, I have adjusted her routine once again. Honestly, one almost needs a degree to be a mother. Lucy slept through the night from 10 weeks, so even though Audrey is my second child, it’s almost as if I am learning the sleep/feed routine the first time.

Okay, that is most certainly enough baby waffle for one day...

20 November 2009

Simple Strutters

There's two more pairs in the shop, and that'll be it for the year (what's left of 2009....!).

18 November 2009

wedding dress progress

I started off obsessing over the Oscar de la Renta dress, then chanced upon the John Galliano creation for the Miss Dior Cherié commercial and really fell in love. What I love about the Oscar de la Renta dress is the colour and the patent leather belt, and the version in white (which is what a wedding dress would look like) doesn't excite me nearly as much.

So far, the dress is a combination of the two, as I'd drafted a bodice based on the Oscar dress already. I do love the bodice piece on the Miss Dior Cherié dress though so will definitely be trying that next.

Here is my work in progress, in a very work-in-progress state. Rough bow pinned to front for me to better see what the dress will look like. The finished dress will be a touch longer.

16 November 2009

Places to go, things to chew...

That's Audrey's motto. Now 9 months of age, she..

  • has a whopping ten teeth (and still nursing...). I noticed a few days ago her first molars had appeared. I wonder if that explains unsettled sleep of late. And to think teething doesn't stop until their 20's!
  • does very impressive baby pushups
  • rocks on all fours when not doing pushups, threatening to crawl at any moment...
  • her answer to not being able to crawl yet is to roll everywhere and with impressive speed and direction

  • and of course, has an adoring, doting sister in Lucy

    Lucy puts great effort into replicating whatever it is Audrey does to garner so much attention. Lucy declares she is a 'big baby', probably because from where she sits Audrey's life looks pretty good and her younger sister gets far fewer tellings-off than she does. Poor little first-born Lucy. I now believe being a middle child (me) is underrated. By the time you come along the rules have relaxed considerably.
  • Are there any first or second (or last) borns who agree?

    14 November 2009

    Kids Cape-style Coat

    Lucy is utterly chuffed with her new sunglasses (Frankie Ray's). They are technically a Christmas present destined for her stocking but she wore them for these photographs, modelling this new cape-style coat for the shop. Brendan balked (and choked and almost cried) at me paying $45 for a pair of kids sunglasses (I didn't think that was too bad for such a groovy design?), though I think they're worth it and she'll probably take better care of them if we treat them like they're special too.

    13 November 2009

    handmade week

    I've had a few days this week where I've been (almost) head to toe in handmade clothes. The skirt I have on here is the same as the denim one I made a month or two back. I find the shape just works really well for me (i.e. very easy to wear for many activities). Since my weight is a bit on the light side for the size skirt I made myself (I dropped to a horrid 46kgs thanks to a 24 hr bug last week) it will be interesting to see what it looks like when I've put the weight back on. I made this stripe top for my sister also (we both do love the stripes), and one can never have too many basics.

    And Lucy is wearing a new dress I've dubbed 'Maeve', as if I were to have a girl today I would most likely call her Maeve (Brendan might have other thoughts though). My 'name' (though not sure at all why I seem to have one on standby) seems to change every few months, though I always seem to prefer one and two syllable names, something simple. Except for my short consideration of Valentina when I was pregnant with Lucy (before Karen Walker called her baby girl by this name), and a lovely customer's daughter named Emmeline.

    the unfinished dress photographed the day before - the wind was working the circle skirt to full potential (and I think it looks much better worn on its own)

    9 November 2009

    Strutters in Sage

    The result of a custom order enquiry, I unearthed three sage knit waistbands so I've just listed in the shop one pair of Strutters with this new waistband. I would have had two for sale but Lucy put her hand up for a new pair.

    6 November 2009

    baby sleep revisited

    You may recall a while back I was reading every baby sleep book under the sun due to Audrey's inability to not so much sleep through the night but remain settled for longer periods of time at night (and not irritatingly call out for me just as I had sat down with a lovely cup of whatever). Up until a few days ago, Audrey's routine was:

    6:15am: Wake, Milk, Solids
    8.00am: Morning Nap for 2 - 3 hrs
    10.30am: Wake, Milk, Solids
    12.30pm: Nap 2, for 2.5 hrs, sometimes less
    2.30pm: Wake
    5.30pm: Bedtime
    During the evening/night: wake! wake! wake!

    Waking at 2.30pm left a long period of wakefulness unless we put her to bed at 5.30pm. She nursed often during the night (at best it was twice-three times after going to bed until morning, and worst she needed resettling every two-three hours).

    Having been driven absolutely bonkers by all this night activity, and probably more by her unpredictability in the evening (we rarely go out at night because I'd just be too concerned whether she would wake or not, and as I breastfeed I'm the only person fit for the job) I went back over some notes I kept from some of the baby books.

    Now we follow this schedule (from the book Save Our Sleep) pretty strictly (this is the routine for a baby from starting solids up to the age of 9 months, a slightly modified routine follows on from 9 mths):

    7am: Wake (wake up if still sleeping), milk feed
    8am: Solids (two courses, savoury & sweet)
    9am: Morning Nap
    11am: Wake, Milk Feed
    12pm: Solids (savoury & sweet)
    1pm: Afternoon Nap
    3pm: Wake, Milk Feed
    5.00pm: Solids (savoury & sweet)
    6.20pm: Bath / Top to Tail wash
    6.40pm: Milk Feed finished at least ten minutes before bedtime
    7pm: Bedtime
    10.30pm: Dreamfeed (only if they aren't sleeping through the night)

    What is good about this is that it makes the day more predictable (which helps when running errands and meeting people) and also it does away with demand feeding. Plus I think we are feeding her more solids per meal now and I wonder if that was the reason for her night waking. Was I starving my poor child?

    With demand nursing she was probably never really going to eat a decent solids meal, much like snacking throughout the day leaving you not longing for a decent meal. This is why this routine allows a reasonable amount of time between milk feeds and solids.

    I hope this brings a bit more sleep into our nights. Audrey is a vision of plump deliciousness. I, on the other hand, could almost blow away in the next southerly.

    I know many mothers protest at the weight gain that sometimes goes with pregnancy/babies, but is anyone else in the same boat as me, i.e. finding weight a real chore to keep on? My mother is writing me emails saying my arms are resembling Angelina Jolie's (not in a good way). I'm not even going to mention what Brendan is saying. He thinks I am crash dieting for the wedding, but it couldn't be further from the truth. The pictures of women I most admire are those with athletic bodies and rounded edges, not angular hips and concave legs. All my skinny jeans are loose now, sod it! And I really do mean sod it. I know some dear friends have rolled their eyes when they hear of my weight issue, which I find quite offensive. I think being at either end of the spectrum has its problems.

    Anyway, a bit of a report back on this new sleep routine:

    1st night - bedtime at 7pm, woke at 10.30pm for feed, then at 2pm for a small feed, then stirred at 3.30pm.

    2nd night - I did away with the dreamfeed to see how long she would sleep for, and she woke at 3am! Then it was a half feed, she stirred at 4.30am and woke around 6.15am.

    She goes down well for her day time naps, but fusses a little at night so we still have to work out the best time for her bedtime. And because this routine is written down, Brendan can easily follow it too. He comes to me reporting that "it's time for Audrey solids", and ''and keep feeding her until she turns her head away'. Okay!

    This is the first time ever that she has slept that long through the night, so eating more solids and following this routine seems to be making a difference in a matter of only days.

    I can't wait to see how things are a week from now. I am so hopeful!

    4 November 2009

    sigh, another darling dress

    You know, I never really used to understand the dizzy, giddy fuss women had over dresses, but little by little over the years they have become the item I most covet. Maybe it's the simplicity of one garment dressing the entire body, and how flowy and unrestricting many are.

    I am busy sewing up a toile for my wedding dress using Oscar's (yip, we're on first name terms) dress as a starting point. Though I keep seeing details on other dresses so who knows, it may end up looking like a hybrid! A bit like a pound/shelter dog, but aren't those the best kinds?
    One of the details I really love about the Oscar dress, and which perhaps go unnoticed, is the irregular shape of the armhole (square at the side back seam). You can see it below in my work-in-progress toile. It looked great on, when Carrie (SATC) wore the dress, sort of modernising the whole look.

    I think I will stick with sewing one dress now. My dear wise Mother said the day goes fast enough, and you only get to wear your wedding dress once at it is. At least that cuts my work load by half...

    Though the sigh I alluded to in the title of this post, is the wonderful dress designed specially for the Miss Dior Cherie 09 TV ad campaign.

    And here it is, in all its fluid loveliness, in the TV ad campaign.

    I think I will have to recreate this one too, for my own wardrobe (or maybe a cross between this and the OdlR one for my wedding). May as well aim high, right?! It's rather refreshing taking on a project that pushes your skill limits and makes you feel a bit uncomfortable at times. Almost reminds me of those nights spent swotting way too close to school exams.