Monthly Archives: December 2011

I Made More Stuff*

* I used the word “cry-y” to describe how Annmarie was yesterday so I’m definitely not in the mindset to come up with a clever title.  So this post is about some stuff I made.  No surprises.

The holidays got me in a crafting spirit and Pinterest continually fills me with inspiration (and a false sense that I am capable of creating cute things).

I originally wanted to make sewn-on tie onesies/t-shirts for all of the little boys I know (friends with baby boys and my nephews). 

But it was difficult to find plain onesies that didn’t come in packs of 3 or 5 (none of the boys are in the same age range for clothing) so I scrapped that idea and decided to try my hand at making 1 or 2 for my favorite little baby boy.

… and those photos are on my old phone that I have yet to upload pictures from.

But because the onesies I found came in a 3-pack, I didn’t want to make 3 sewn-on tie onesies. 

I found a great Etsy shop through Pinterest that had a lot of cute felt appliques and it inspired me to create some other items.  And at that point, I realized I could’ve just picked up inexpensive plain onesies from H&M for all the little boys I know so friends with baby boys – I may still be making something for you in the future.  Act surprised.

I thought it would be cute to make matching sewn-on tie shirts for my nephews.  One is almost 4 years old and the other is only 2 weeks older than AM.

I then sewed this for my friend’s son:

I learned a few lessons with that anchor:
(1) Sewing something with so many curves is f’n difficult
(2) I should have pinned more pieces of the anchor to the t-shirt.  NOtice how the top of it is crooked?  Yeah…

I initially thought I’d sew the anchor onto a onesie but thought it was too big so bought the t-shirt.  But then I had an extra onesie.  So I brainstormed things to make and came up with making a monogram:

I surprised myself with the monogram.  I hadn’t seen this anywhere (well at least not in the forefront of my conscious but maybe I have seen it somewhere so its lying somewhere in my sub-conscious).  But again, those curves were a bitch to sew.

I got a sewing table for Christmas this year and was pretty stoked about it.  I’ve been setting up my sewing machine on one of our dining room chairs while I sat on the sofa (because I liked to be in front of the TV for some entertainment).  Now I have a table.  I’m legit, yo!

Any suggestions for my next novice sewing creation?  Have you created anything lately?  If so – share a photo so inspire me.  Unless of course you’re thinking, “Man – I created this great monster poo…”  I see enough of that in my house, thanks.

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Merry Christmas

I’m sitting here watching “Its a Wonderful Life” with Jeremy and Geoff.  We have a Christmas tradition of eating Indian food and watching a Christmas movie.

But I wanted to take the time to wish the blogosphere a very merry Christmas!

image

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Not Quite Domesticated

I’ve still been sewing like crazy (and I still have not reached out to my aunt about obtaining my Grandma’s serger) but all of the pics I’ve taken of my projects were on my old phone.  And I haven’t gotten around to uploading them to my computer.

But I swear I’ve made things like…

- New kitchen curtains
– Onesies with ties sewn on them for Annmarie’s future husband, Reid

I bought a Groupon (technically my friend bought a Groupon that was good for 2 people and I’m her other person) for a sewing class.  While I feel more and more confident when I sew something – I know I’m not doing anything properly.  I worry that a lot of my stuff will fall apart in the wash.  And I’m sure there are better ways of doing things than I am currently doing because sometimes it takes me for f’n ever to do simple things like hem something.

Anyways.

My father-in-law accused me of becoming domesticated.  I don’t know if I’d go that far.  I like to think I’m becoming more creative?  Crafty?  Awesome?  I still don’t cook a lot and I’ve pretty much given up on baking anything because the process is too damn frustrating.  And I blame that all on blogs.  Bloggers post fabulous pictures of their baked creations.  My stuff looks like someone pooped out a cookie.

This week my office did a dessert exchange.  I thought this was a great opportunity to bake something fun and festive.  And I wanted some sugar cookies after seeing this.  I have this jar of cookie cutters that I’ve never used (but of course I had to have it and really thought that I’d be baking up a bunch of cookies shaped like cutesy things).  I should have taken a picture of the amount of dust that had collected on this jar (since it sat on top of our kitchen cabinets).  I had to wipe it off with a damp cloth.  Gross.

So anyways – I wanted to make Christmas sugar cookies (with colored icing and all).

I regretted that decision the night I started rolling the dough out because holy hell… what a pain in the ass.  And for such little output.  That recipe yielded 19 full cut out cookies (with dough leftover to make a plain round cookie and 3 letter cookies:

And not to mention that they appeared to be decorated by a child.  But they tasted pretty f’n good, thankyouverymuch.

My nice co-workers thought they were “charming” and said they appreciated that they were home-made.  Riiiiiight.

Also?  Pinterest will be the death of me.  I’ve already pinned a shitload of DIY Christmas decorations as thought I have time, patience and SPACE for any of it.

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Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair

I should probably post something about Christmas festivities with family but really, I’ve got nothing. We did a lot of last-ish minute shopping online (Yay, Amazon!) and haven’t wrapped a single present. In fact, we’re still waiting on a shipment of items and I still haven’t gotten my parents anything. Whoops.

I am still combatting the issues with my skin. Thank you for all of your suggestions! I tried a few of your suggestions but not much has changed (although I guess I should be a little more patient. Its only been like 2 days since I’ve tried any suggestion). I made an appointment with a dermatologist this morning but unfortunately (as predicted) couldn’t get an appointment until January. I am considering checking out an esthetician in the meantime but am concerned about cost. We’ll see. The skin saga continues (as though you all care).

This post is about Annmarie’s hair. Most people comment on how AM’s hair sticks up (as though she’s got a bad case of static electricity). It is still pretty wispy but I am amazed that it continues to stick up instead of lay flat.

I remember that she had thicker and darker hair when she was born. This hair lasted about a month:

Week 2 - February 19, 2011

And then it all fell out. I don’t remember when exactly it fell out but I remember one day thinking, “I thought she had more hair than this?” and looked back on pictures of her and wondered what the f happened.

Week 23 July 17 2011

But now it is coming back. Granted – it isn’t black anymore (despite this picture making it seem as though it is really dark).

Week 45 Dec 17 2011

Here’s another view of her mane:
Pick me up!

This picture gives you a better sense of her hair color (and okay, I’m just trying to post cute pictures of Annmarie):

Avocado mess

Because it is getting longer while still being relatively thin and wispy, the back of her hair is starting to look like a mullet. I couldn’t find a good picture to capture this.

My mom can’t seem to recall when I got hair but according to my dad, it took awhile.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to dress her as girly as possible so as to avoid any more, “How old is the little guy?” questions from nice strangers.

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Help My Face (Why I Hate Zit Cream)

I’m having some issues with my skin right now.  And let me tell you, I rarely have issues with my skin.  My skin has always been one of my best attributes.  I get pimples only once in awhile (and I’m pretty sure the moon is blue when I get a pimple).

So when I get more than 1 pimple, I deem it a near catastrophic event.  All hands are on deck to clear my skin.  I freak out.

The last time I had a multi-pimple breakout, I was pregnant.  I didn’t know I was pregnant but I was and it caused some issues in the beginning.  I bought Neutrogena’s On the Spot Acne Treatment and it really didn’t do much.

I had another recent outbreak on my skin last month.  Zits were starting to pop up so frequently that I actually thought I was pregnant again.  I’m not.  I took a test.

But again, I freaked and started the not previously effective so I’m not sure why I thought it would help zit cream treatment.

And now I’m in skin hell.  Zit cream’s can be incredibly drying.  I’ve dealt with this before and when my skin reaches that weird red dry patch, some applications of Eucerin’s Aquaphor Healing Ointment usually clears it right up.

But not this time.  I’ve had these crazy dry patches for over a month now.  And even though I keep using this Aquaphor stuff as though it will miraculously kick in A MONTH LATER, my skin just isn’t changing. 

Here’s a pic (looking good, no?  I’m just emoting how I feel right now) – I tried to highlight the problem spots in red and then yellow:

These patches are SO dry.  I moisturize my face twice daily (I have a day lotion and a night lotion).  I stopped using the Aquaphor stuff because obviously it wasn’t doing anything (Albert Einstein’s quote, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” came to mind).

I don’t know what to do.  I’m sure I should see a dermotologist but those docs always seem to be booked up for months.  I can’t wait months.

Any suggestions?

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Independent (Woman) Baby

Annmarie is 10 months old. And while she is still very much a baby – she’s also been clearly demonstrating some independence. I don’t like it.

She hates (and I mean HATES) being laid on her back unless it is bedtime. This means our weekly photos where we pose her with that sock monkey are incredibly difficult to take. She usually flips right over and we’re basically pushing her down until she realizes we want her to stay on her back. Then we have to do lots of silly noises and faces so she won’t flip out.

Week 44 Shoot
(She prefers to sit upright with the monkey – we may be changing our weekly photo format but I really wanted to keep up the same position for a year)

She’s also showing more independence with eating. She’ll still eat some things by spoon (although she tries to grab the spoon and bowl from me) – she prefers picking at things by hand. However, letting her do so results in this:
Avocado mess

But I guess babies must learn how to feed themselves at some point (because its not like I’m still being spoon fed now).

She’s also bathing in the big tub now as opposed to the baby tub. This one was LONG overdue since her feet had been dangling off of the baby tub for quite some time. I guess I just wasn’t ready to let go yet.

She’s also showing a little more… defiance? Since she’s crawling everywhere and cruising along furniture fearlessly – she’s also shown a fierce determination to grab certain things. So far she loves…

  • SHOES
  • Power cords
  • the dogs’ food and water bowls (and this isn’t helping her to make friends with them)
  • toilet paper (She unravels the rolls so quickly that we stopped putting TP on the dispenser thing)

Even though she seems to understand when I say, “Nooooo“. She’ll look at me and then continue to play with whatever object she desires. Is this a glimmer of what her teenage years will look like? Oy.

Lately, it just seems like her personality is starting to shine through. She has this new smile that looks so goofy as she clenches her jaw and shows her teeth. She bounces up and down when she’s really excited (or jamming to the banjo music from her activity table). She squeals and screams (much to the horror of other babies).

And my favorite thing? She holds onto me now. I know that sounds ridiculous but Annmarie never really held onto me or Jeremy. We’d hold her and she’s just let her arms dangle (or her arms would stay very stiff by her side). Now? She holds onto me. She even squeezes me when she is afraid of someone and doesn’t want to go to them (like Santa). I love it.

Right now she’s got a terrible cough. She doensn’t much during the day but it is TERRIBLE at night. We’ve been running a humidifier but it doesn’t seem to be helping. It doesn’t sound like croup but it does sound like a dry cough. It has been getting progressively worse at night over the last few days. No fever and no reduced appetite. We feel terrible for her. She’s been crying the last 2 nights over it and there’s not much we can do.

I called the pediatrician’s office today and the woman said to try sitting in a steamy bathroom with her for a bit and then taking her outside for a burst of cold air. She said that should help to open her lungs but if it doesn’t, we need to see the doc.  I always feel so bad when I can’t help Annmarie.  Any parents have tips on remedying a cough?

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Dead People Etiquette

I briefly mentioned that my Gramps died last month.  He was 87 years old and had Alzheimer’s (not Old Timers or All-timers disease like so many people annoyingly say…).  He outlived my Grandma by 7 years.  They were married for nearly 62 years so many of us were surprised that he lasted as long as he did.

I wasn’t very close to my Gramps.  I knew him as a quiet man.  But perhaps he was just quiet compared to my Grandma who was a chatty cathy.  My Grandma was SO chatty, that she even took it upon herself to write up my Grandpa’s obituary and something to be read at his funeral.  She just wanted to be sure people knew him like she did.

Here’s their tombstone.  Apparently my Gramps picked it out.  It has their wedding date in the middle.  I thought it was a sweet tombstone.

Anywho.

When someone dies, especially someone in a parental position – the inevitable questions of inheritance comes up.  And these conversations make me feel horribly uncomfortable.  I think this was exacerbated by the fact that I’m not particularly close to this side of my family (or any side of my family to be honest).  I didn’t want to talk about divying up possessions and money with people I don’t know very well.

We were in Utah for 5 days.  In that timeframe, we were asked to go through a storage locker of my grandparents’ belongings and grab what we wanted.  I was also asked to pick through 100+ dolls (in my Grandma’s extensive doll collection) to take what I wanted.  And can I just say that dolls are frickin’ creepy?

The whole experience was just SO overwhelming and uncomfortable.  I felt awkward “claiming” things because I wasn’t really around this part of my family.  My grandma always sent letters and cards, and I would send cards whenever I remembered.

The last time I had seen both of my grandparents was when my dad had a stroke in 2000.  Then I saw that side of my family and my Gramps when my Grandma died in 2004.

So.  My Grandma had written a sort of will outlining what she wanted to do with some of her items (her doll collection, an organ, etc.).  She specified that she wanted me to have her entire doll collection (minus 2 that were chosen for my younger cousin) and that I would do whatever I wanted with them (keep them or sell them).

But then my Aunt kept telling me to pick out the dolls I wanted.  I don’t know if she was saying this because she realized that I probably didn’t want the entire collection (because what would I do with them?) or because she wanted to keep them?  I don’t know!

I went through the very unorganized dolls (my cousin had moved into my grandparents’ house and disassembled my Grandma’s doll display… understandably) and only picked out like 15 dolls.  Now I sort of regret that despite not wanting all of the dolls.  And I only regret it because my Grandma specifically wanted me to have it.  But now its awkward.  I’ve already picked out the dolls and have flown back home (not with the dolls though – they were going to ship them to me later).

Also – while going through my grandparents’ storage unit, I saw my Grandma’s sewing machine and serger.  I kind of wanted them (especially when I found out that my aunt doesn’t sew) but felt awkward asking for them.  So I didn’t.  But now I want them.

It has been over a month.  I’m still not close to this family but now we’re Facebook friends.  Is it inappropriate to ask, via a Facebook message, for this stuff?  I just feel so awkward!  What is the etiquette?

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Whoa… I Made More Stuff Wednesday

Guys, I am an unstoppable sewing monster. I’m hooked. I’m constantly thinking of new projects I’d like to start. Sewing really is addicting.

Last week I sewed the Christmas Stocking and mixer cover. Over the last couple of days, I sewed 6 throw pillow covers.

While I’ve been throwing myself a ticker tape parade in my head for my achievements, I realize these things aren’t THAT exciting (nor are they particularly complicated). But I find myself really enjoying the act of sewing and making something.

Onto my latest Project Runway worthy achievements…

We had purchased some throw pillows and pillow covers from Ikea a few years ago. I should have taken a photo of them so show the wear and tear but here’s the best I could do…

Sleepy
You can kind of see that there is a hole in the corner of one of the pillows. A few of the pillows were like that. (and can I get an “aaawww” at my sweet, sweaty sleeping baby?)

I was worried about the idea of trying to sew a zipper but luckily found some tutorials on “envelope pillows”. I ended up loosely following this tutorial.

We went to a small fabric store over the weekend and spent close to an HOUR trying to pick fabrics. I wasn’t crazy about a lot of the fabrics. And just when I was about to settle, I stumbled across some fantastic prints in a duck cloth. I don’t know anything about fabrics but the prints were fantastic and the cloth felt really durable.

I was overwhelmed by the assortment of prints so we ended up selecting 3 prints (1 of the prints is just a basic cotton fabric) that we liked and felt would work in the living room. Actually 1 of the prints doesn’t really work with the other 2 so we just relegated those pillows to the chair while the other 2 prints are on the sofa.

I failed to take any sort of step by step pictures because I’m not a DIY blog by any means. Plus I was still too giddy about sewing. Since I made 6 of these, you can definitely tell which pillow is my first (there are a few mistakes) but I am pleased overall with the outcome. Also – the first pillow took me nearly an hour and a half to sew while the last pillow took about 30 minutes (and that was due to my machine jamming).

So here is a photo of the finished products (taken with my crappy phone… I’ve been a little lazy with taking actual photos with the DSLR):

I did 2 pillows in each of the different fabrics for a total of 6.

And here’s a closer look at the envelope portion of the pillow:

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Next on my agenda:
– a quilt made from a fitted crib sheet that I ripped
– new kitchen curtains
– a curtain for our kitchen cart that is meant to deter AM from trying to pull things from it

Have you made anything lately?  Any suggestions for what else I should try?

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Holiday Gifts Conundrum

Since I’m feeling more festive this year, I’m definitely excited about the idea of buying presents. Actually, I’m only excited about buying presents for children. Jeremy and I are kind of feeling “meh” about exchanging gifts. We set a budget and I have a feeling it will be unexciting stuff. And I’m okay with that.

However, I’m having difficulty coming up with gifts for the children in our lives. Not only do we have the most adorable baby girl in the world to shop for (although she’s too little to give a crap), we have a nephew who is 2 weeks older than Annmarie and another nephew that is almost 4 years old.

What the hell do we buy them?

I’ve polled the parents in my office about some good gifts for the nephews. The 11 month old doesn’t need clothes or much since a lot of his stuff has been handed down from his big brother. And apparently 4 year old big brother isn’t asking for anything this year! I’m dying for ideas.

Then there’s our family… moms, dads, sister, brother… All people saying that they don’t need anything. Help!

While I think we’ll end up going the “grandparents” gift route for my parents (since AM is their first) – my sister-in-law cornered the grandparent market with my in-laws. Dangit!

As for our amazing daughter, we’re not sure what to do. I had been saying for quite some time that she needed some winter clothes but I went overboard around Black Friday. Annmarie is pretty well stocked for the winter.

We don’t want to get any large toys (and are hoping our families don’t get anything crazy… I worry what my parents might do) because we live in such a small home. Plus – she’s a baby and that means her favorite toys are:

- Remote controls
– cell phones
– paper
– the refrigerator. Seriously – she loves playing in the fridge:
Munchies

What are you getting your family for the holidays this year?

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Fa La La La Friday (Decking the Halls… sort of)

I know everyone says it and it is usually the first “small talk” thing people say but seriously… can you believe that it is December alreadY?  What.the.f?  November was kind of a crap month for me (dead grandpa, hospitalized dad, getting the plague…) so I’m not sorry that its over but what the hell, December?  You’re here much too quickly.

While I usually enjoy putting up a (fake) tree and decorating a bit, we really don’t do much otherwise.

I think having a baby now has made me feel a bit more festive.  I really wanted to get a real tree this year (after years of poo-pooing it).  And wouldn’t you know, this is the first year that Jeremy pooped all over it.  He actually made a good point about how AM loves to pull stuff down and warned that we should look to get a table top tree.

So that’s what we did.  We got a real table top tree so we both win.  Compromise.

Sorry for the crap quality of the photo – I took it with my phone this morning.  Because this tree is much smaller than what we normally have, I pared the ornaments down to only those “meaningful” ones (with a few snowflake filler ornaments).  The meaningful ones include personalized ornaments and those from places we’ve traveled.  And look – we put it next to a poinsettia!  So festive, I know.

Then there are stockings.  This isn’t anything fancy.  I bought some cheap-o stockings a few years ago along with some glittery puffy paint.  But let’s not ignore that amazingly handcrafted beauty sitting in the middle.  :-)

Are you wondering why we have 5 stockings?  It is because we have stockings for our dogs.  Yes, they get stockings (despite not giving a crap about the holiday).

As for the outdoors.  We usually just put a wreath on our door.  But we now have a neighbor that has been doing elaborate window displays for holidays (including Thanksgiving – he had a THANKSGIVING window display.  I didn’t know such things existed).  He’s kind of inspired me to step up our game so this is what I did to the window:

 

I get that it isn’t very exciting but it is more than we’ve ever done before!

Here’s a closer look at the window:

It you still can’t tell (due to a phone that has endured lots of slobber from a baby) – we have some cheap snowflake lights strung across the top and red ornaments hanging at different lengths on string.  I think it looks like a storefront display… of a very cheap store.

I still want to do more inside the house but I’m drawing a blank.  I don’t want to poke holes in the wall so I’m really limited in what I can do.  How do you decorate?

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