April 2009


I finished our tablecloth!  It looks pretty good, especially if you don’t look too closely at any of the hems. 😉  I made it out of several different tapestry-type fabrics that we bought here in Ankara.  Danny’s mom came up with the original design while she was here and helped me figure out how many meters of each to buy, and then we tweaked the layout a little bit before I started cutting things out.  I’ve learned a couple of useful things doing this project: first, that our dining room table is really, really big; and second, that I don’t think I would be good at quilting.  I’m TERRIBLE at math, not great at spacial reasoning, and not very good at cutting in a straight line.

It feels really, really good to look over at our table and see something on it that I think is beautiful and that I made myself!  Of course, this last time that I looked over I realized that I should have found a thread that matched the color closer, because now I can see where the stitches were uneven on the hem.  I need to stop looking!

For anyone who’s interested in the mechanics, I used a zigzag stitch to fake-serge the edges of each individual piece (per Margo’s suggestion, thank you!), and then pieced them together into strips, then sewed the strips together, and finally hemmed the sides.  After sewing each seam, I pressed it open so it would lie flat.  It took several weeks, but that was mostly because I did it in fits and starts.  If I had worked on it every day it probably would have only taken about a week, I think.

My next project is a duvet cover for our bed.  My plan is to replicate a cover that we got at World Market several years ago, which comprises squares of various Asian-style prints, but to use upcycled materials from items that we picked up during our last tour.  We have a tablecloth that doesn’t fit any of our tables here, and I have a few tunics that are unwearable because they’re ripped or stained or something but that have really pretty embroidered sleeves or such that I think would make very cool squares.  I think if I get creative and make squares for both sides of the cover instead of trying to do one big solid piece of fabric for the back, I could make the cover entirely out of repurposed things that all mean something to us.

Yeah, I know the title is a rather terrible pun.  Forgive me, it’s still early and I haven’t yet finished my coffee.

A couple of months ago, I read this awesome post over at Just Tutes (a fantastic blog!), and it’s been in my mind ever since.  I don’t know that I share the author’s specific issue with regulating the proper use of crayons, but I’ve come to realize that I have a similar problem with puzzles.  You know, those little designed-for-toddler puzzles with the big knobs so they can lift out the bugs or farm animals or shapes or whatever.  Stephen loves picking them up and putting them back down, but he hasn’t yet mastered fitting them back in perfectly, so sometimes they end up rotated several degrees from their proper orientation, sitting on top of their spot.  Or, worse yet, sitting on top of some other spot.

I say worse yet because I’ve come to realize that this bothers me much more than it should.  I mean, he’s 13 months old.  And yet I feel a compulsion to “help” him get the pieces back into their correct slots, to keep him from trying to put the horse where the cow goes, and it drives me crazy that one of the pieces for his four-piece bug puzzle has been missing for weeks.  The empty spot mocks me when I’m putting the rest of his toys back in their baskets.

The last thing in the world I want to do is to teach him that he needs to do things perfectly or not do them at all (something I’ve always struggled with personally) or that he should get an adult to do things for him that he’s capable of doing himself.  So I’m trying not to intervene when the puzzle ends up looking like a pile of mismatched pieces, because he’s having fun whether or not he’s “doing it right.”  I encourage him when he moves the correct piece over its spot, mostly because I do want him to learn to visually identify the difference between a blue circle and a brown rectangle, but I’m resisting the urge to guide his chubby little hand and put the piece in properly.  Of course, come naptime and bedtime I do reassemble the puzzles, and try to shut out the mocking voice of the ant puzzle piece who is surely buried under a piece of furniture somewhere in the house…