Archive for October, 2009

A Birthday Book

It can be so satisfying to work on a handmade project. All the time the work is in your hands you tend to reflect on the person you’re making it for, dream of the possibilities of how it will turn out, how it will be used. Plus it’s just a little bit of fun to actually make something yourself.

And then it turns out … well, not quite how you envisioned.

I saw this sweet little felt book of family photos for Diaperbutt to play with. Reminding him of the people who love him & keeping those who are far a little closer. I envisioned sweet embroidery decorations & creative touches to each page.

Instead of it only bares a wonky resemblance to a book. None of my machine stitching is straight (why is that? I’m really not sure) & my embroidery looks rather childish. Some of the pictures didn’t quite come out the way I would have liked & the whole thing is not nearly as creative as I would have liked.

DSC_6878I end up finishing it almost a whole week late partly due to my feverish boy’s constant need to be on my chest & partly because of becoming discouraged at how the whole thing was turning out & more than partly because my sewing machine was out of commission for a couple of weeks.

DSC_6880But it is done & I hope that his less judgemental eye simply sees smiling, loving faces & bright colours. And maybe, just maybe, some of the love I put into it shines through.


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One Year…

…and a couple days – that’s how old my baby boy is! I meant to do this post a couple days ago on his actual birthday but with a busy schedule & h1n1 passing through our house (Diaperbutt still has a fever) I didn’t get to it.

After a long night Diaperbutt arrived at 5:20 in the morning on October 25th, 2008. This is our first (much deserved) nap together later that morning.

Unbelievable to think of how fast the past year went. The nine months of pregnancy seemed to drag on FOREVER yet a year passed in the blink of an eye.

He started out growing like a weed gaining almost 3lbs a month for the first 6 months & still continues to put on about 1lb a month ever since. Everyone comments on the size of his hands & feet & he’s definitely one of the tallest babes around town. He started out at 8lbs 9oz & 20″ tall & at one year he is now 37lbs 8oz & 32″ tall!


Cute little baby belly!

He is an active, happy little guy. Right from day one we were blessed with a little guy who is just generally content. I like to think I had something to do with that but I’m pretty sure this is a luck of the draw sort of thing! No matter, I am fully enjoying my happy dude.

DSC_5352He now chatters most of the time he is awake having full conversations with us – of course all of it is “in German” as Grumpy Bear says. He also really likes singing. I sit with him on my lap & sing all sorts of great camp songs while Grumpy Bear prefers to play videos on his laptop & sing along. Either way he smiles & claps & bops along with the music.

He is now really starting to get into playing games. He has long played well by himself but now he actively seeks out specific games like soccer with Grumpy Bear & stacking blocks with anyone with hands!


"Asking" Grumpy Bear to play soccer.

My boy now has a grand total of 3 teeth, none of which is completely finished growing – I think he is the slowest tooth grower ever as it has been more than 6 weeks since he cut that first tooth!

We had a quiet birthday celebration, more for us than him as let’s face it he doesn’t yet understand. The highlight was doing footprints & handprints as is the tradition for birthdays in Grumpy Bear’s family. He calmly watched the process allowing us to get perfect prints & then he had a long bath in the kitchen sink (which just looks so ridiculous given his size!)


The second footprint.


Oh, oh! A footprint left on the floor!

I feel pretty darn lucky!


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Feeling Out Of Sorts

Maybe it’s cause I have not been getting as much sleep as I’d like or maybe it’s because my body is achey & feverish but I’m feeling out of sorts as of late.

Sometimes things do not work out the way you thought they would.

And sometimes you just come to the realization that you will never really feel like you fit in & maybe that’s actually a good thing.

But still it can be disappointing.

And a little lonely.

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Grumpy Bear has taken to calling Diaperbutt Bam-Bam. Unfortunately the name is very suitable.

All we're missing is the bone diaper pin.

All we're missing is the bone diaper pin.

He is SO rough! He uses blocks, trucks, slippers, remote controls…. as clubs. Poor dogs! Poor Mommy! He pushes & pulls, pokes with his sharp little fingers, kicks, hits, scratches, pinches & slaps. Of course at not quite a year he really has no idea he is hurting anyone but sometimes I would love to cuddle my dear boy without having to fear for my nose (oh – the headbutts can leave me reeling!).

It makes me wonder: is it a boy thing or a personality thing?

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After my last post about my sewing machine difficulties I regrouped & went at it again. Somehow rethreading the whole machine & fiddling with the tension a little fixed the problems I was having. Who knows how as I hadn’t changed any of those things halfway through my project but…

So I finished my skirt!

Front view.

Front view.

Wearing only skirts & dresses was really easy in the summer. There are so many choices & it was easy to find new ones to add to my wardrobe. But now that the weather is getting colder I’m finding my wardrobe much more limited. There just isn’t much selection out there in long, heavier weight skirts & let’s face it with my build & the weather here short skirts are less than practical.

But I did have some jeans that fit (but I hated ’cause they just were not flattering & were uncomfortable to boot) & some old jeans that didn’t fit. So now I have a skirt!

Back view

Back view

I followed the directions from this blog (which is not a blog I normally read but an internet search for turning jeans into skirts brought me there). The directions are pretty easy to follow & although I’m at odds with the body in the skirt I’m pretty happy with how the whole thing turned out.

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I like sewing. I’m even getting to be pretty good at it. But I SO wish I was more mechanically inclined…

…’cause when  the freakin’ machine bungs up on me I’m at a complete loss how to fix it.

Once again my project is derailed ’cause my machine is not cooperating. I’m taking a break from trying to fix it or my neighbours may find a sewing machine has flown out my window & into the street.

I think it angers me more that I don’t know how to fix it then that it’s not working.

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My washing machine was leaking & so we put it out of commission for a couple of weeks until my Mom could come over to look at it. How lucky am I to have such a talented mother? How much money has it saved us over the years?!

One of the things that drives me batty is how many things we are sending to landfills every day because they “can’t” be fixed. It’s a combination of factors: we don’t know how or it is more expensive to pay someone to fix it than to buy a new one (how messed up is that?!) or we either can’t find or don’t know how to find the parts or it’s just plain easier to buy a new one.

Ah – my rant won’t fix the situation, so let’s move on to my machine.

A REALLY common problem for washing machines when they “break” is that the pump or sump become clogged with debris so instead of pumping the water out & down the drain it instead runs all over your laundry room floor. Another symptom of this problem is that you may find your clothes are coming out still very wet (because the water is not draining effectively). It is actually an easily remedied problem requiring only a few tools, a little no how & about 20 minutes (although this is can be variable).

My description probably does  not use the “right” terms but hopefully you can still get a pretty good idea of what is to happen. We have a Sears front loader that is about 8 years old – sorry for the non-specifics but I cannot seem to locate a model number for it.

Tools & Supplies Needed:

Some towels (these can be already soiled as it is just to sop up the water that is going to end up on the floor)


Small socket set (may not be needed)

A pair of pliers

Step #1 – Remove the front panel of the washing machine

You will need to look at your machine to figure out exactly how to do this but on my machine it simply required removing two small screws.

Removing the front panel of the machine.

Removing the front panel of the machine.

Step #2 – Locate your pump & sump

A little bit on how the machine works: as the water drains out of the drum it passes down a hose into the sump which is intended to catch any debris that has made it this far. From the sump it goes through the pump which pumps it out the outgoing hose & into your drain or sink (depending on how your laundry room is set up).

The white box Mom's hand is on is the pump, the black hose connected to it on the left is the drain hose & the large black "hose" attached at the back is the sump.

The white box Mom's hand is on is the pump, the black hose connected to it on the left is the drain hose & the large black accordion "hose" attached at the back is the sump.

Step #3 – Remove the clamps

On the hoses going into & out of your pump are clamps which are fairly easily removed by squeezing the two handles sticking out. You’ll need your pliers for this & it is likely going to be the most difficult part of the task. It’s not hard so much as a little finicky to get it just right. Once you have the clamp squeezed open you can slide it down the hose & release it leaving it loose on the hose but off of the connection point (you’ll be able to tell because the hose will be softer off of the connection point).

Squeezing the clamp to remove it. Note the towels in place ready for the waterfall.

Squeezing the clamp to remove it. Note the towels in place ready for the waterfall.

Sliding the clamp down the hose out of the way.

Sliding the clamp down the hose out of the way.

It may be easier to do this step if you first unbolt the pump from the machine giving you the ability to move the pump around a bit & get at things from a better angle – for my machine that meant using a socket to remove one nut. We also had to unplug the electrical to the pump which really is as simple as unplugging the wiring harness.

Removing the clamp to the sump.

Removing the clamp to the sump.You can see the wiring harness off to the right.

Step #4 – Remove the hoses from the pump

Have your towels ready – when you disconnect the hoses all the water in them is going to come gushing out onto your floor! The hoses now simply slide off of the connection points to the pump. It will take a little bit of twisting & pulling to do so as the rubber hose seals pretty securely to the plastic of the pump connection points.

Step #5 – Remove the offending debris

This is when you find that baby sock or bra underwire that went missing! My Mom was recently at a service school for laundromat owners & hands down these were the two biggest offenders – maybe now you’ll remember to use those $1 lingerie bags. You may also find coins, bobby pins, screws, etc. You want to do a good investigation of the sump (this is where everything “should” be) but also take a look inside the pump & make sure the impeller inside is moving freely – if it’s not there may very well be something blocking it.

Looking into the sump for "stuff"

Looking into the sump for "stuff"

Looking into the pump at the impeller which should spin freely.

Looking into the pump at the impeller which should spin freely.

Step #6 – Put it all back together

Once you have everything cleared out (& found yourself some pocket change) you will simply put everything back together in reverse order. It generally goes back together easier than it came apart.

All back together & cleaning up the wet towels.

All back together & cleaning up the wet towels.

Step #7 – Test it

You can now wash those dirty towels. We apparently have too much time on our hands as we then sat in the laundry room with the front of the machine open while we ran a full cycle of the machine to make sure it was no longer leaking. You could just run the cycle & check in periodically for any water. I would leave the cover off for this so you can get a clearer view of what is happening.

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