You are one

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I can’t believe that you are ONE. Your birthday was on Sunday so I made you this little dress shirt for the party out of my snail fabric, and I can’t believe how grown up you look!!

You are the sweetest, snuggliest little baby with a silly sense of humor and great conversational skills. I hear you upstairs when you wake up from your nap, heatedly debating foreign policy (or is it your preference for bananas over apples perhaps?) with Curious George in your crib. We can’t understand any of the words, but the way you use inflection and tone is quite dramatic. When Daddy reminded Clementine on Sunday morning that it was your birthday, she said, “Can he talk now?” As if it could happen, just like that, overnight. You’re making progress though, with your noises and your baby signs.

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We discovered a first tooth early last week. Check that one off the milestone list. But crawling…welll. That Butt Scoot is probably going to have to do it, because the two times you tried to get into a crawl position, you landed flat on your face on the hardwood floor and you haven’t tried it since.

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I love you my little Hugo! Happy Birthday!!!

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please don’t post or reuse photos of Hugo. Thanks!

Fabric: Snail Trail from Lotus Pond (still available — and on sale — here at HoneyBeGood, one of my sponsors. Be quick though, not much left!!)

Pattern: I drew this pattern myself, though after I put it all together I realized it’s almost exactly the same pattern as the Sketchbook Shirt by Oliver+S, so buy that one if you want something similar!

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11 months old gaaaah!!

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He’s actually already 11 1/2 months because his birthday is March 22 which is now less than two weeks away *freaks out a little bit.* I know all parents say this, but where did that year go? It’s so weird to be staring down that milestone. Meanwhile, this past month has been better than the last; we’ve all been healthier overall and Hugo seems to be getting the hang of eating finger foods (video clip here) and even taking a bottle now, which is nice.

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Hugo goes to daycare a couple days a week now, and he seems to really like it. It’s great for me to have some baby-free time to get some work done, and at the same time still feel like I have plenty of time at home with him. I’m still just trying to keep my mindset in Baby Mode and work priorities as low-commitment as I possibly can. I’m trying to protect these baby days as much as possible, so it doesn’t bother me too much that work stuff keeps piling up like crazy. I just don’t have much time for it right now. Oh darn. Peeps are gonna have to chill if they need something. The only thing that makes me a little sad is that I have no new fabric collections in the works right now; I would love to do another one and I’ve been sketching a little but not enough to really put a collection together. Art is really fun.

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Oh was this post supposed to be about Hugo?? Right. OK, so the word of the month for this little guy: SCOOT. He can’t crawl yet but he’s figured out how to do a funny little seated butt-scoot that is getting him around the floor quite nicely. I discovered rug burn on his ankles and the sides of his lower legs the other day and realized it’s because he’s scooting so much. It’s time to put up the baby gates and go around the house and put stuff away. Yesterday he ate a bunch of bright pink Play-Doh when I wasn’t looking. I have no idea how much he actually managed to get down before I got to him, though I’m guessing I’ll be able to tell just how much once it comes out the other end in beautiful glowing pink terds. I am going to need to keep a better eye on him. and thank goodness it was just Play-Doh.

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I printed out the first eleven months of “month-by-month” photos the other day — just one more and we’ll have a set of twelve! Crazytown.

please don’t pin or reuse photos of Hugo! Thanks!

PS. The squirrel pull toy is by Kid O / Orange diaper by BumGenius

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10 months!

Our little Hugo-bugo is 10 months old!

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It’s been a bit of a rough month, to be honest. It seems like he’s been out of sorts more than the usual amount, but it’s hard to separate whether that’s teething issues, or feeding issues (the child seems ambivalent towards solid food), or the fact that he’s been sick a few times in the past month. I always find it a bit annoying when parents say “he’s TEETHING” as if that explains everything, because aren’t they pretty much teething for two years straight? But…he’s teething.

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I’m also trying not to get angsty over the fact that he isn’t crawling yet, or even really trying to crawl yet. He’s just happy sitting and watching his brother and sister run around like Crazy People, like he really couldn’t care less if he ever moves or not. I tried the thing the doctor suggested at his last checkup where you put them on their belly and put a toy just out of reach to motivate them to crawl, but he just gets really pissed off. And…I don’t want to come off as overly critical here, but his pincer grasp could use some work, so we are just now to the point where he can pick up a Cheerio. I keep comparing him to my other kids (“wasn’t Clementine doing that at eight months?”). For some reason it seemed easier with them. Not exactly sure why.

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On the plus side, Hugo has such a sweet little personality. He plays peekaboo with his blanket, and “so big” and he can clap, and he’s got this mischievous little grin that just kills me. I probably just need to chill the heck out a little bit over his motor skills, because if he ever does start to move it’s going to be Trouble.

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Also new this month: his first haircut!! It was seriously starting to resemble a bad combover on the top of his head. I’m not sure why I waited this long, but now it’s so cute!! He was a total champ for the haircut too; he was so mesmerized by the little kiddy salon we took him to that he sat quietly the whole five minutes it took to cut his hair. It was pretty amazing.

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Please don’t pin or repost photos of Hugo. Thanks!

See Hugo’s previous month-by-months posts: 1-2 months / 3 months / 4-9 months

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What I made in 2014: Hugo!

I’m just cracking myself up over here with this one. I MADE A BABY THIS YEAR! This week my blog feed (Bloglovin is my favorite way to read blogs now, I love the daily email digest) is loaded with sewing blogs posting their “what I made in 2014″ roundups. So I started to look for projects that I’d sewn this past year to maybe do a similar post, something like my 2013 or 2012 end-of-year roundups (which, by the way, are both quite impressive and started to make me feel a little bad about this year), and then started to realize hmmmm…why was I less productive, what DID I do this year? OH YES THAT’S RIGHT I MADE A BABY. And then I realized it’s been forever since I posted any Hugo pics. So without further ado, my big “project” of 2014…HUGO!

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Truly though, I can’t believe that the last time I posted a monthly Hugo pic he was three months old! He is now 9.5 months old. UM WHERE DID THAT HALF YEAR GO?!? I would also like to know how other fecund bloggers have managed to post month-by-month photos of their babies, seriously, because it is ridiculously hard. I’m starting to suspect they just take ONE photo, put it through a magic Photoshop-baby-aging-filter, and then set it to autopost each month. So let’s start where I left off and see what he looked like at 4 months:

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OK. So definitely not the BEST baby-propping skills here. And then Clementine stepped into the photos so that was the end of that…

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Here’s what he looked like at 5 months:

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and at 6 months:

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Here he is at 7 months:

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And at 8 months:

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and now, my baby boy is NINE. months. old. WOW!

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I want to say more about this guy, how easy and happy he is, how he is at the bottom of the percentiles for weight so we keep having to go back to the Dr for weight checks ARRRG, how he just got over a month of chest colds and croup that made me sick with worry, how his brother and sister just think he’s the bees knees and how much he lights up when they are around…but if I try to be comprehensive I’m never going to get this post finished, and then it will be ten months, so I’m just going to post this thang so you can enjoy the pics. Let me leave you with another favorite, Hugo in his Halloween costume:

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GAAAAH! I know I am hopelessly biased but I just think he is SO. stinking. CUTE!! Sorry that’s probably really annoying. The baby lobster costume just cracks me up.

Please do not pin or repost pictures of Hugo — the one exception is that I don’t mind if you pin the mosaic (1st image). Thanks!

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Flannel Baby Pants

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Hugo has been wearing his many pairs of cotton Big Butt Baby pants and they always get tons of compliments (how could they not with such a cute model?). I wanted to make him a couple warmer pairs out of the new Fanfare 2014 flannels for winter, so I picked these two elephant prints with a grey solid rear panel.

Elephant Big Butt Baby PantsElephant Big Butt Baby Pants

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The sewing pattern is my Big Butt Baby Pants Sewing Pattern, which is designed with enough room for cloth-diapered booties. It’s so fun to give the pattern another go with another kiddo; when I designed it back in 2010, Clementine was my little pattern tester!

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I made one small mod to the pattern here which is so easy to do and yields such a cute result: instead of sewing the entire hem, leave a small gap along the top of the folded hem allowance for an elastic casing. Then thread 6-8″ of half inch wide elastic through the casing, overlap the ends of the elastic and stitch them together (try on baby first) to get a snug fit around the ankle, and stitch the casing shut. I’m a big fan of the elasticized cuff lately (moon pants anyone?).

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Hugo is NOT actually walking yet, despite how these pics may appear — Karen was holding his hands just above the shot, though he does LOVE to stand up. I’m hoping he will refrain from walking until he is a bit older like his siblings (they both walked at 15 months). What do you think the chances of that are? A mama can hope, right?

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Scaffold Quilt

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My first line of fabrics, Fanfare, reprinted this fall and included a line of coordinating flannel solids. As soon as they arrived on my doorstep I felt they deserved their own quilt, the combination of these solid pastels seemed just right. I love plus patterns in quilts, and I wanted the pluses to run into each other a bit (inspired by this design, though I’m not sure…is that a quilt? Or a piece of art? not sure). The result is that the narrow bands remind me of scaffolding.

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When it comes to making quilts, I enjoy the piecing but I am not a huge fan of the actual quilting bit (by which I mean the stitching through the layers to hold everything together), so the quilting was pretty spare: just a simple stitch-in-the-ditch type situation along the narrow bands to form an allover tic-tac-toe stitching pattern. I also like how the back turned out — four simple squares to complement the front — not too boring, but not too fussy.

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As far as creating the quilt top, I think anyone with basic piecing skills could replicate this — it’s 16 blocks, and the smaller squares are 6.5″ and the narrower strips are 2.5″ wide. The final quilt is maybe about 60″ square? Dunno — didn’t measure and didn’t do the math.

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Anyway, I love how modern and uncomplicated this turned out. Baby quilts are my favorite kind of quilt — pretty quick to piece together, easy to quilt (no long-arm needed, though I do use a walking foot), and they make great gifts (this one in fact is headed to a cousin’s new baby). Aren’t flannels the perfect cosy fabric?

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Welcome to the world little Penelope!

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We (as in, Hugo and myself, we come as a package deal now that he has decided not to take a bottle…waaaah!!! But that is another topic for another time) are back after a few weeks of vacation. Or sort of vacation. First, we went to Texas. I flew out last-minute last week to go help my sister Elli and her husband Joe with her newly hatched and unexpectedly early Penelope Wren!!! See my cute new little niece??? Sidenote for those who are just joining: Elli works as Chief Officer of Pattern Production (COPP, yes I just made that title up) here at Made By Rae. You can see more posts about her here and here.

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She is such a cute little button.

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Penelope was born four weeks early and weighed 5 pounds 5 oz so there were some concerns with jaundice for the first week and now she has some reflux issues, but otherwise she has been healthy and fine. She eats like a champ and is gaining weight swimmingly. The birth was smooth (and drug-free, go Elli!!!) — it helped that Elli was in labor denial and wrote off her contractions as intense Braxton-Hicks for the better part of a day. One just doesn’t expect to be a month early, so that was understandable, but then it was kind of intense when she finally realized she was having a baby roughly an hour before she had the baby. Penelope is Elli and Joe’s first baby so they’ve had the usual crash-course in sleepless nights and paranoia, but they are settling in and are already fantastic parents.

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Elli and Penelope!

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I thought Hugo was small, but then I picked up Penelope and nearly threw her at the ceiling because she was so light by comparison. I’m now of the opinion that he’s a bit of a chunk. A cute little chunk.

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So then, after Texas, we came back and our family went and stayed at a beach house on Lake Michigan for a week. That was last week. It was so ridiculously cold for a week at the beach in August; usually in Michigan it is so oppressively hot and humid that the Lake is just the ticket. I found our rental on Craigslist and it had some issues but overall it was beautiful and gorgeous and brand new and the perfect thing to get our family together for a nice stay-in-one-place vacation. You can see some pics from the lake in my Instagram feed, @madebyrae. It’s really nice to be back home now though.

PS. Please don’t pin or use photos of Penelope, thanks!

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Little Romper Thingy for the Drool Machine

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This was a spur-of-the-moment project (inspired by this little romper on Pinterest).  As with the dress in the last post, sometimes when I wing it it works, sometimes it’s a disaster, and sometimes it just needs some tweaking.

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please feel free to pin this romper but don’t pin any photos of Hugo — thanks!

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I drew the pattern for this free-hand-style and cut and sewed most of it in less than an hour. The only step that took a bit more time was adding the snap placket to the inside of the legs.

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This fit is a wee bit wide in the neck — he’s showin’ a little baby shoulder — and could use a little tweaking. Next time I’ll just make the neck smaller and narrower and add more length to make more room for his cloth diapers. The yellow striped knit was left over from this Flashback Tee I made for Clementine last fall — that’s the great thing about baby sewing projects, they take almost no fabric so it’s not a huge investment if it doesn’t work out. Wouldn’t a little micro-pocket look cute too?

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I’m completely helpless when it comes to editing photos of Hugo. I can’t delete any. Even looking at this post I realize there are roughly four shots that all probably look the same to everyone else, but to me are so nuanced in expression they all needed to be included.

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Thoughts on life with a baby at 3 months.

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My little angel baby is 3 (and a half…forgive the time lag since I took these photos) months old. Man, I know I’m biased, but is this kid the cutest baby EVAR or WHAT? Don’t answer that. It’s so textbook it’s hilarious: I can’t stop staring at him, smiling at him, and cooing at him. I’m completely smitten. I remember being worried that having a third baby would feel a little “been there, done that,” but the miracle is that it doesn’t feel that way at all. You fall in love all over again, and it even feels new again, if perhaps a bit less surprising as with the first.

Each of my three baby experiences has been so different. Not so much because the babies themselves were so different — they have all been fairly easy babies — but because I am different. With Elliot I was fresh off of a seven-year science teaching stint that was so mentally and emotionally challenging that by comparison the days with a newborn felt lonely and unproductive. It’s hard to remember how happy or content I was, but guess I must have felt disconnected and a bit directionless, because I started the blog. I remember feeling like I just needed to find something to DO (you know, besides take care of an infant full time. HAH).

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With Clementine, my blog was a new business and it was getting pretty demanding. It felt like anyone who had any audience was picking up ad networks and sponsors and beginning to see that they could make money just by blogging. The digital patterns I had made while I was pregnant with Clementine while Elliot took his afternoon naps were selling well enough that I felt like I was thinking about business stuff all. the. time. I had to constantly check email to make sure my patterns got emailed out on time. I had to keep sewing. Keep blogging. Put the kid in front of the TV. Keep making new patterns. My brain was so busy with ideas and information, but with a toddler and a newborn every day needed an outing or playdate or I would go crazy. The result was that I had next to no free time to act on any of my ideas. It was like “Attack of the Busy Brain!” all the time, and it was pretty frustrating.

With Hugo (see he is SMILING???), I at least have the benefit of knowing what to expect; knowing that it is kinda boring sometimes, knowing that I’ll feel unproductive, and knowing that it will be a while before I can really dig in and work again, and that all of that is OK. I’m still in the thick of it. As I type this, I’m at my studio, and Hugo is napping underneath my cutting table in the next room (scratch that; he just woke up, so now he’s nursing). I go downtown to my studio for a few hours each week, not because I think I’ll get anything done, but because it’s just good to get out of the house and putter around in this place that feels like something I’ve built from the ground up. Low expectation seems key.

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The blog, the patterns, my overflowing inbox, the new website (!!!) we’re working on…the work is all still ever-present, and if I think about it too much it stresses me out, but I have to keep reminding myself that it’s just not that important. And I think I’m happier for it, at least I feel more at peace with my life. Some days I can hardly contain my joy at how wonderful this life I’ve been given is — I am so thankful to God for my healthy children, Mr Rae, who is just the best mate I could ever ask for, and the fun thing that “Made By Rae” has become. Other days I want to pull my hair out and I feel like a monster when I yell at my kids because they’re dorking around instead of putting their shoes on or getting ready for bed.

I want to write, but phantom blog posts just end up circling in my head instead of getting onto the page. I want to sew ALL THE THINGS, but the block of sewing time never materializes. But I know like everything about having a baby, things change so quickly, but work will always be there if I want it. And if it’s not — for isn’t that what all bloggers fear? that if we step away from what we have built with our blogs that it will all disappear into thin air? — that everything will still be just fine.

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