D.I.Y. Project #1 – Toys!

I love playing with my six month old. He is just at the right age that anything funny I do it met with a cacophony of laughter that can be sometimes alarming. Now, however, I find myself waiting for him to get up from his naps so I can make noises while walking his Zebra (named Zeebs) around to make him laugh.

I am also not proud to admit then when I have a hard time sleeping I cruise diapers.com endlessly looking for (educational, I swear!) toys so we can have more friends at playtime.

While I’m absolutely going to go for the leap frog dog when he is slightly older I want him to have some super plush friends for the laughter-filled afternoons.

I’m working with patterns that I bought from Etsy’s own Abby Glassenberg (and I would highly recommend checking out her blog While She Naps and of course, the Etsy store).

The goal is eventually to make an entire stuffed animal zoo broken down into four sections. The first and my favorite is the “Woods” theme. This will encompass several of my favorite animals (mice, foxes, owls) and I’m already sketching out backgrounds for the play set I am intending to make. The next is a general safari theme (lions and tigers and…hippos, oh my!) which may get pushed up on the list as my son has already developed a deep attachment to his zebra to whom he can have separation anxiety if parted from for any period of time. After that is under the sea (lots and lots of turtles) and then finally the barnyard theme which I’ve put off to the last because I do not look forward to all of those safety stitches on the cows!

This weeks project however is much simpler. Make a toy mouse.

I have some knowledge of sewing already which should make this an easier project but there are several changes.

1) Time – I am hand sewing all of these. You read that right, completely appliqué.  While the patterns are beautiful they are also detailed and intense which requires small parts getting patched on and the smaller the part, the more time and precision it takes.

2) Dedication – I am a student in computer science and a full time mom. Some days my son has his zebra and they venture into their own Calvin and Hobbes-esque universe leaving me free to move them from room to room as I complete chores and homework. Other days he clings to me like there is no one else in the universe. I love those days, especially when it’s just the three of us in a cuddle fort while listening to Of Monsters and Men  but those are the days where little with pointy things gets done.

3) Frustration – The stitch was right the first time I did it, but it didn’t stick! or the eye shifted, or the thread is showing. With this my biggest concern is safety. Can he swallow this? Will this fall off? For those reasons the thread I use is always durable, the stuffing safe and the toys free of buttons or other hard ceramics. While this is, for me, of the highest priority, it does mean on occasion getting frustrated with that eye that you just cannot embroider no matter how hard you try.

But since I do have some experience with this the deadline for this mouse will be Friday August 16th.

So Goal, Set, Match. Time to put my needle where my mouth is.


Life Project #1 – Running

This is silly as a first project post because I’m fairly certain I’m making myself look dumb.

How does someone learn how to run? Certainly the act is as natural as breathing so I’m not looking for pointers on how to proceed with the actual movement.  So for this project I’m looking to accomplish three things –

Things – 

  •  Make it a Habit by Committing to 30 days.

As I have plenty of bad ones (biting nails, twisting hair, saying “slash” in actual conversation…I know, I know) I would love to set a good habit or two. Lifehack, a delightful site for anyone who loves to learn, has a list of 18 helpful suggestions on making habits stick (http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/18-tricks-to-make-new-habits-stick.html). The ones I will be relying on the most are having a role model (my amazing, wonderful boyfriend who has run a 5k and half marathon in the same day only hours apart) and the ‘but’ statements.

  • Keep a Running Journal.

This will be kept mercifully offline with occasional updates and check ins to keep a tally of times, distances and dates. At the end I will post all (hopefully 30) entries to see the progress if there is any.

  •  Make each day challenging.

My normal route for a light jog takes me through two parks, by the river, over a bridge, back around the river, over another bridge and back through the parks.  I do on occasion get distracted by the beauty of the city lingering on the other side of the river and slow down to a walk or a complete stop to look at it. And in the parks when the baby I’m jogging with the baby he will start flapping like a chased goose and it is easy to stop and pull him out of the carriage so he can watch the other kids playing while I pant for air. For these 30 days unless there is an emergency feeding or diaper change, we will boogie until we get back to the house at the end of the run.

Reasons and Inspiration –

Books and Blogs have been posting about the psychological benefits of running like there is no tomorrow.

The books that make me want to run are Eat and Run – Scott Jurek (the recipes are amazing!) and What I talk about when I talk about Running by Haruki Muakami . I have devoured blogs about new runners, old runners, short distance runners and ultra marathon runniers. There are tons of reasons why I should want to run including, which I’m ashamed to admit, is my vanity and utterly selfish need to feel strong, but the reason why I’m going to learn this came in a very unexpected way.

The Oatmeal is my go to. On the hierarchy of sites I check on a regular basis The Oatmeal tops all with the possible exception of Etsy and Diapers.com. It is my “me time” site. There is none of the pintrest pressure to make the best boards or the consumer driven window shopping for baby products and clothes I will never wear and don’t need. The Oatmeal is my very good old friend who makes me laugh.

His comic/blog on running The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances is in the new Oatmeal style of painful, funny, self deprecating and heart warming. He talks honestly about his want to be lazy, to indulge the inner fat kid. I often find myself having the same want which is why I avoid running and a lot of physical activity. I don’t want to, I’m not fit any more.

For this, for me, I will put aside my “I won’t” for awhile.

Goal, set, match. Time to run.

Hello World

My name is D. Leigh and I am a serial un-finisher. 

My ambition, high learning curve and goals are usually subverted by my inability to concentrate and care once a level of proficiency has been reached and the next thing to learn has cropped up. In other words – ooo, shiny!!! 

This has lead to good things in some aspects. I have tried everything. I have worked at canning vegetables and making my own jams to fixing engines and writing programs. 

The frustration comes as an (sort of) adult. I look back on the novels that I’ve finished the first draft of but never saw through till publication, the toys half sewn, the world half done. 

A quarter of my life is over and for the rest of it I think I would like to finish most of the things I start and this is a way of making myself accountable even if only to the blank screen in front of me. 

So, Hello World.