Life has been a bit full lately. I see this largely as a good thing because I think it means that we are settled in here and are building relationships with people and finding our place and whatnot. We are doing church stuff twice a week and MOPS has turned out way better than I feared it might, and then there's always stuff for Grace's preschool and storytime at the library and adoption paperwork and so forth. The holidays are, of course, a contributing factor in recent weeks. Rob and I try hard to be deliberate in cultivating peace and avoiding insanity for our family during these times, but even when you try for mindfulness, there is still so much going on this time of year! For whatever reason, this is the first year that I decided to really make gifts for the girls, a decision which brings with it its own brand of busy-ness. (By that I mean frantic sewing whenever the girls are asleep.) This afternoon I finished Violet's birthday present, though, and it turned out so cuuuuuute that I feel another burst of motivation to finish my last bits of work on Christmas presents for the girls. Violet is getting a baby doll for her birthday from my parents and the rest of us are all giving her things to go along with it/her. (I wonder what the appropriate pronoun for a baby doll is...) Here's what we (well, really I, I suppose; Rob's role was being supportive and nodding appreciatively) did:
The bed itself is from IKEA (the DUKTIG bed, in case you are in the market for a doll bed); it comes with some linens but they are pretty second-rate so it was time to break out some fabric. The mattress is foam from Joann's that I wrapped in cotton quilt batting and then covered in white flannel. The quilt, which took probably 90% of the time of this whole project, is just a scrappy pattern I made up as I went along (mostly strip-pieced but cut up to make it look random). And the little pillow is covered in sweet doll fabric that my grandmother gave me. I bought the foam for the mattress and the pillow form, but everything else was stuff I already had. This probably says more about my fabric stashing than about my frugality, sadly.
I am not a big quilter normally. I usually think, "So we take whole fabric, cut it into little pieces, then sew it back together in to a big piece?!" However, occasionally I get a hankering for the geometric mathematics and patterning of it, and I really enjoyed making this tiny quilt. And those pieces really are tiny-- about 1" on a side. The batting is Warm & Natural, which is my faaaaaavorite; I don't preshrink it and then laundering the quilt when it's finished makes the whole thing shrink up and get that fabulous vintage-y puffy texture. I quilted it pretty heavily-- free motion wavy lines on the solid light pink and a decorative leaf stitch from my sewing machine on the pieced strips. I had so much fun making all this, although it has taken up all my sewing time recently. Busy Santa's elf, that's me!
Of course, being busy is not entirely a good thing. For starters, I am not the kind of person who thrives on having too much scheduled activity going on. I like my free time, and honestly my most favorite kinds of days are the ones with no places to be and no tasks to take care of. There is a strong hermit streak in me, and I do get a bit de-centered and off-kilter when there is too much activity in my life. And then there is exercise; I am sad to report that I do not still work out 6 days a week like when we were living in that rental house this past summer. Rob and I joke that we exercised so much then because it was so unpleasant to be at that house. The beautiful gym at the Jewish Community Center where Grace goes to preschool was a much nicer place to be. Now, between our lovely new house that is just so darned comfy and hard to leave and the full, busy days, I am doing good to exercise 3 times a week. Hopefully I will get back on that after the holidays are over.
Looking back, I am realizing that I never really was busy in Dallas. This is partly because I had a baby during those years and it is hard to get super involved in anything in the outside world when life is so absorbed by the urgency of a newborn, but I don't know that I can wholly attribute it to Violet because the same thing did not happen when I had Grace in Connecticut. The couple of activity/social things that I tried went rather badly and the dominant culture there is just not the best fit for my personality and interests and values and whatnot, so I kind of gave up eventually, I admit. It is such a relief to see my life here now rich in relationships and full of things that make me happy, and I am very grateful.