I’m not one to get super sappy on birthdays — I almost try to make myself more emotional about it, but that’s just not me. But this year – goodness, I made it that far without crying — this year four is hitting me hard.
As I put her to bed last night, I said to her, “can you believe that when you wake up you will be four years old?”
“This week? This week, mommy!?”
“Yes! Tomorrow of THIS week!”
I wish you could have seen her face light up. That conversation happened about 4 more times, each time her excitement was the same: super excitement.
That’s the thing about this girl, she radiates joy. She genuinely gets overjoyed about the tiniest things.
She loves hard, and she’s as stubborn as they come.
She practices crying in the mirror. No, I’m not kidding.
I’m jealous of her imagination — and her hair color.
She loves people. Everyone is her friend and her empathy for others blows me away.
She remembers so many details, I often ask her to remind me of important things because I know she won’t forget!
She picked out a book to read last night: it was an instagram photo book from blurb that I made for her when she was about 18 months old. It doesn’t have any text, so we looked through it and I told her about so many goofy things she did and said. We talked about how bald she was and how she had two teeth just like Jonesy does. It was so bittersweet seeing photos in our old apartment and our first house in Pittsburgh — strange how familiar yet foreign they looked.
Last night, I prayed with her and then thanked her for making me a mommy. She asked me if I was getting old — I assured her I was trying not to! She looked at me and said, “I won’t let you get old mommy.” Ha! I’ll remind you of this when you are 14, Harlow. ;)
I’ve always been thankful for her, but this year my thankfulness is in a way that caught me off guard. She’s been my confidant and even my shoulder to cry on during the move and transition. I hate to admit that she’s been the one to see my frustration and exhaustion too. I’ve asked for her forgiveness so many times over these past few months — and I know it won’t be the last! She teaches me so much, I often wonder why I’m the mom. ;)
You grow more beautiful by the day. I pray you never lose that sparkle in your eyes or your incredible giggle. Your personality draws people to you: I pray you draw people to Him.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously. – Micah 6:8b, The Message
Well this project might be my new favorite. I know. I know. I always have a new favorite…but that’s probably a good problem, right? I love pushing myself creatively, but I also love making something we would maybe otherwise buy. A mobile, coat hooks, snack bags, and now fleece socks for Harlow’s rainboots!
If you know anything about Pittsburgh, you know it rains a lot. It can be gorgeous and sunny, too, but I always joke that it’s why we pay Pittsburgh prices. If we had weather like San Diego? We’d be paying for it too! Well, it’s also been raining a good bit here in Boston…and we don’t pay Pittsburgh prices…so……. Anyways….I digress.
Rainboots. A must around these parts, but they always seem to eat the little socks Harlow wears when she takes them off. I knew I could buy a pair of fleece socks, but we decided to have fun making and customizing a pair together instead!
The PDF patterns for the actual sock is available at the end of this post, but to alter the pattern to fit your selected boots, you’ll need a few measurements of your own as well.
The first measurement we will need is the sole of the boot. The biggest thing here is the length — then determine how the boot fits/how wide you want the fleece sole piece to be cut. I used the outline of the boot as my sole piece — including seam allowances.
You can take the length of your sole measurement and modify my pattern. Using the .JPG available below, you will want to resize the sole to the correct length — depending on how much you are resizing it, you may need to change the aspect ratio or the width will be off. Be sure to modify all of the pieces at the same time — especially the “foot” and “sole” pieces.
The next modification you’ll have to make is for the leg of the boot. The best way to do this is simply place your boot on the pattern piece — the ankle of your boot should hit at the bottom of the pattern piece. Extend the piece with more height or change the width, etc. Just make sure it’s about 1/4″ taller than your boot leg and the opening is about 1/4″ wider as well.
When you’ve created your leg boot piece, you’ll need to alter the cuff of boot piece to match the opening width. I promise this will make sense as you do it. :) You can also change the height of the cuff piece if you want more or less folded over!
After you’ve created your pattern pieces, cut everything out of the fleece. Be sure to cut the pieces on the fold that need to be — the foot, leg of boot and cuff of boot.
If you are just creating the fleece boot, you can skip to the construction section of the project, but if you are embroidering the cuff like I did, then keep reading here! As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m still very new to embroidery, so between learning about all of the thread and stabilizers and designs and whatever else, I’m also figuring out what works for me. I’ve decided I’m approaching it like quilting: there is not just one “right” way of doing things.
Moving on! Goodness, I’m a bit rambl-y today — sorry!
Because we are embroidering on fleece, I’ve chosen to use 2 layers of a medium weight stabilizer and a layer of water soluble stabilizer on top. I love the water soluble product for materials like minky, fleece and velvet — it keeps the design from sinking into the fabric. A quick rinse and it’s gone.
Hooping — getting your sandwich taut within the embroidery ring — can be a little intimidating at first. Try to hoop your fabric as centered and straight as you can. I find loosening the outer ring, pulling the layers tight and then tightening the rings seems to work best for me.
After I’ve hooped my fabric, I use the plastic guide to line up where I want the embroidery image to go. I’ve purchased this image (Hallie the Hippo from Doc McStuffins) from iBroidery — there are thousands of images and text available.
Align your embroidery pattern using the PE770 screen. I always check the perimeter of the design — as shown in the video — so I can see exactly where it will stitch. When you are ready to begin, just follow the color instructions on your machine. This design took 20 passes to complete.
I always recommend watching the thread throughout the entire process. One catch of the thread can mess up an entire color, so you want to be sure it’s loosely feeding the thread, as the tension on the machine takes care of the rest.
When the design has been embroidered, you can begin the construction of the socks!
I used a serger for mine, but a zig-zag stitch would work great too. You don’t need to worry about the fleece fraying, but the zig-zag stitch will allow for stretch. First, mark the middle of your boot leg and foot pieces.
Using pins, line up the top of the foot piece with the bottom opening of the boot leg piece, as shown below.
Serge in place.
Next, pin the cuff piece to the boot leg piece as shown below.
Sew in place. Be sure to check the direction of your embroidery design, so it’s right side out and up when folded over the boot.
For this next part, you will be pinning the back of the sock and also pinning the sole to the foot piece. I like to do this in tandem, so you can remove any excess from the top of the foot piece. (No matter how many times I measure, I always end up with a little excess on this piece.)
Pin the back seam down to the top of the foot piece. Pin the sole to the foot piece, starting at the center of the toe.
When you get to the back, pin in place and cut the excess fabric either with a scissor prior to sewing or with your serger.
If serging, be sure to tack your threads in as shown above! After you’ve sewn down the back seam, sew around the sole.
One thing that terrifies me most about being Harlow’s mommy is making sure I cultivate and encourage her contagiously joyful spirit. Don’t get me wrong, girl can throw one heck of a tantrum….and she may or may not practice crying in the mirror….but she brings a smile to most everyone with her joy. Add in her sense of humor and goodness gracious she has me in stitches.
She’s witty and finds fun in the smallest things. She has the most incredible imagination and nurturing spirit.
One way I see her joy for small things is her naming or nicknaming people or things. She does it with such authority and intention that they usually tend to stick. She also just has a knack for rattling off something that makes sense and is cute to boot. Andy’s parents requested to be “Grandma” and “Grandpa,” but no matter how much we used those names, she would see them and declare, “MEMA!! POPPOP!”
The names stuck.
She’s named TeeTee (my sister, Kaitlyn), Cat Kate (Aunt Kate), Oranges (who she also named Jonesy, which has also totally stuck), and a handful of others, but the naming doesn’t stop with people. She names Andy’s work buildings (Red Work, Green Work, Grey Works and now Blue Work), stores (the “ball store” = Target), food (princess pasta among others) and lastly, shoes. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but we will move on to shoes — since that is kind of the entire point of this post. ;)
These boots have proven to be much more than just your average cowgirl boots, however. I honestly wasn’t sure how much wear these boots would get, as Harlow can tend to be a princess and the pea about how things fit, feel, etc. (The apple didn’t fall far from the tree in that regard.) These Chiara boots are made with leather, so they are breathable and durable. In the fall and winter, Cowgirl Boots were worn with leggings or jeans, but wearing them with skirts and dresses is her favorite look for spring.
Am I giving you the impression that Harlow is pretty opinionated when it comes to her clothes? ;) She is, and I honestly love it. The other day she was wearing pants, but decided as we were walking out the door that she needed to have a skirt as well. She left the house wearing a floral skirt over floral pants, and she sported that look for the rest of the day.
I guess what I’m saying is: Harlow has an opinion about what she wears, and if she hated these boots, she wouldn’t be wearing them. Comfort is her biggest hold up — every sweater get the itch test around here — and shoes go through a rigorous test as well. These Umi boots have been through the Harlow test and made the cut. I love that they are made so well, because it means they can be passed down to others still in great condition, even after being worn a ton! I’ve tried to shift into a buying less quantity, more quality mindset, but so far I’ve been extremely pleased with the result.
I’m loving bright and bold colors this spring! Here are a few in particular that I’m loving!
Thank you all for your encouraging comments, texts and emails over the past few weeks! I’m so behind on replying, but I promise I am trying — and I’ve read them all–crying usually!–and I’m beyond thankful for them.
It’s starting to feel like spring around here, well, a little bit. I’m ready for sunnier days, but early next week is forecasted to be in the low 70s! YES. PLEASE!
Tomorrow we are heading in on the train to spend time with this fabulous trio — can’t wait!
A few weeks ago, I had the absolute honor of photographing the beautiful birth of Sally Lyn. I wasn’t sure I would make it to the hospital in time, and I cut it pretty close: Sally was born pretty soon after I walked in the room!
I want to let these photos tell their story, so I’ll get a few things out of the way:
yes, Jacquie is the only person I know who brings a knitting project to her labor room.
The love between Brandon and Jacquie was absolutely beautiful. I was so thankful to be there during this gift of a birth — after some scary and difficult birth experiences, it was a beautiful gift.
Sally is so cute, and Jacquie is just stunning — as you will see!
Jacquie and Brandon, thank you for letting me document these beautiful moments. Words don’t describe the emotions that filled the room that evening, and I pray somehow these photos capture these moments and memories for you in a way that blesses you.
Love you both and your sweet family!
I will be booking a very limited number of birth photos in 2015. Please email me (kacia @ coconutrobot dot com) if you are interested. Thank you!
I have been so excited to share these photos with you — Rachel came over a few days after Jones was born to capture these moments. I just keep staring at them.
…especially now that my scrawny little baby just weighed in at 12 el-bees at his 6 week appointment.
I decided to break up these photos into a few posts, because I couldn’t post them all today. I honestly don’t think my hormonal postpartum self could take that. So I’ll apologize in advance for the new-baby-Jonesy you’ll be seeing in multiples posts. :)
This moment was so special, because Harlow couldn’t wait to feed Jones his first bottle. She asked about it all morning until Rachel arrived. It’s not like her face shows how proud she is or anything.
I know. Jones is the spitting image of his daddy in those glasses!
These necklaces don’t need much of a description — they speak for themselves. I wanted to wear them every day after receiving them, but Andy gave me strict orders to keep my Harlow and Jones chain hidden away until I went into labor. :) So I proudly wore my Andrew chain until the contractions made it clear that Jones was making his appearance soon — on the necklace went!
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