Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I really like navy.  I don't know why.  It seems like such a boring color.  But I like it anyway.  When my sister got married, she wanted all of her bridesmaids to wear a different shade of blue.  I chose navy.

I recently finished two new tops for Natasha, and they are both ... navy.  I should probably move on to other colors now.  But I'm pretty pleased with how these turned out.

The first one is a Sadie Shirt from Craftiness is Not Optional.  The main fabric is a cotton I picked up at a store here in Moscow; the trim is this fun yellow lemon print I have a ton of, since I was planning, at some point, to make dresses for the girls out of it.  I have since decided that maybe it's too lemony for a dress.  But for trim, it's awesome.

Hi, I'm 2-and-a-half.
Zoned out to cartoons.

Better with white tights.

She got more cooperative when it was time to go to music class.  Yes, in the snow.  Yes, without a coat.  Yes, without boots. (Also, she fell on the way home).  But in my defense, we literally just have to cross a very small little street to get there.

Then tonight I finished this little number from Make It and Love It.  Do you remember that shirt I made myself last summer?  The one that did nothing for me, but I blogged about it as though I were a finalist on Project Runway?  Yeah.  I cut that up and made this.  Much better.

Again with the garish tights.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Frost City

Last Thursday was Defenders of the Motherland Day here in Russia, and the Embassy had the day off.  We celebrated by heading out to Sokolniki Park to see their much-hyped "Frost City."  It was billed as an ice city designed and constructed by renowned architects.  We were underwhelmed, but I think that's probably because this was not our first Russian winter, and it's harder to impress us now.  This would have been pretty cool in Washington.

Anyway, as you may be able to tell from the above photo, Natasha was also unimpressed.  She was having a very "no" day that day. 

Zoia enjoyed herself, though.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Oliver + S: My new love

I am late to the party here.  I just discovered Oliver + S sewing patterns for little kids.  I ordered one of their digital pattern packages, the Sailboat Top, Skirt and Pants, last week.  I have now completed two tops (one sleeveless), pants and a skirt for Natasha. Since she is so skinny, both the pants and skirt are falling off her, but that just gives me an excuse to sew another of each.  I also now have four more Oliver + S patterns on the way, in addition to like 15 yards of fabric.  How much children's clothes can I sew before having to pack up the sewing machine and fly it to Georgia?  Lent is coming up next week for us, and with the TV silent in the evenings, I imagine I'll be spending more time in the craft room.  Stay tuned ...

The halter top was made using another pattern.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Date night

We had one Monday night.  We don't do it nearly often enough, mostly because 1) I'm always exhausted, 2) I have guilt about calling our nanny to watch the kids at night (I know, I'm weird), and while I would not feel guilty asking a teenager to stay up late watching my kids, 3) I'm just not at the point where I am comfortable leaving them with a teenager.  I know, we all babysat tiny kids at the age of 13 and 14 and what have you.  I will be honest - I was a good babysitter, but I still look back at those mothers who hired me and wonder what on earth they were thinking.  Yeah, I'm that mom.

Anyway.  Monday night a friend played at a local blues club, and we went to see him.  First we went out for Thai food.  They were out of the berry juice I wanted, and when the waitress proposed "Thai coconut" in its place, I said "ok," without asking for details.  You know, like price.  Twelve dollars later, I had this:

Coconut water.  In a coconut.  In Moscow.  In February.  It was good, but not $12 good.  Oh well.

Then we went to the bar.  It was fun. We need to do this more often. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Valentine's Day redux

We had a nice Valentine's Day.  I delivered a box of homemade Tagalongs to Jeremy's desk at work.

 He came home with a beautiful bouquet of long-stemmed roses which I was unable to photograph properly due to a smudge on the camera lens (likely deposited by little munchkin hands)

Zoia spilled milk on the floor, but promptly fetched a rag to clean up.  Natasha helped her.

Our neighbors made a Valentine for the girls.

And after the girls went to bed, Jeremy and I celebrated with a homemade Papa-John's-esque meat lovers' pizza, complete with garlic dipping sauce, and a bottle of wine.  And a movie.  I'm not telling you which one, because it is embarrassing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Atelier Mama

We've hit that point of winter during which the cold (-18F yesterday), just really gets old and you start dreaming of spring and summer, or at the very least, temperatures in which you can step outside without the snot literally freezing in your nose.

Since I know we've got a couple months of winter remaining, I am dealing with the mid-season funk by sewing a summer wardrobe for Natasha.  Z will get a couple new things too, but as the younger one, she's cursed with abundant hand-me-downs and doesn't need as much. 

In the last 10 days, I've sewn two dresses for Natasha.  There are tons of free patterns for 2T and 3T toddler dresses floating around on the Internet, and I'm taking full advantage.  I sewed the pink and black one using the Beginner Jersey Dress tutorial from prudentbaby.com.  I added a sash since I was using woven fabric for the bottom, and the join is a bit bunchy. 

My favorite thing about this dress, besides the fact that it is ah-dorable, is that the top is made out of an old shirt of mine.  I loved this shirt, but I recently had to come to terms with the likely fact that it will never fit me again.  Back when I was pregnant with Natasha and Jeremy was in Afghanistan, I used to put on this shirt every Tuesday morning and take a picture of my belly to send to him.  Here I am at 11 weeks pregnant, smiling because I thought I was showing.  Silly girl.

And here is the finished dress.

Next, I made this dress using the Ella Dress tutorial from livingwithpunks.com.  The matryoshka doll fabric (a Japanese import ordered from Etsy.com) is pretty sheer, so I lined the bodice with pieces of one of Jeremy's old dress shirts.  I had to play with the tutorial since I was adding lining, and I ended up not using bias tape for the neckline.  I think it turned out fine.  The arm holes were still unfinished when I photographed Natasha in the dress, but then I made my own bias tape out of more matryoshka fabric (my first time - success!) and you can see the finished dress below.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Life in fast motion

The blog has not been silent for lack of things to blog about.  I just haven't had the time.  I lost three pounds last week because I was obsessively sewing and skipped lunch most days in order to spend those few minutes at my machine (stay tuned for pictures of the finished product).  I'm not even exaggerating.  Between baking and cooking, refereeing arguments - who knew they would start before Z could even really talk? - changing what seems like so many more diapers than ever and fitting in time to go to the gym, choir and band practice and toddler music class, I feel like there is no time left.

I've been accumulating photos for what should have been a series of blog posts, but as I don't know when I will next be able to blog, I am just going to dump them all in this post.

It's been really cold.  We hit a new daytime low for this winter today: 13F.  There is ice on the inside of our bedroom windows.

Before it got super duper ridiculously cold, Natasha learned to make snow angels.  She doesn't quite get the "snow" part of the equation, though, and will sometimes show me the angels she has made on the living room carpet. They are kind of like the emperor's new clothes.

We've been doing lots of crafts.  I made puffy paint with flour, salt and tempera paints, and Natasha used squeeze bottles to paint with it.

Zoia experienced the joy that is the ice cube game.

We attempted macaroni necklaces.  We will try again in a few months.

We made stained glass windows (clear contact paper + torn tissue).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Night out

Friday night (two Fridays ago, now ... that is how long it has taken me to write this post) we went out.  It's worth noting, as it doesn't happen that often. One of Jeremy's colleagues had a birthday and invited a bunch of folks to a newly opened Mexican restaurant to celebrate.  This particular celebration happened to coincide with a huge private party run by a local club promoter (or something like that).  The place was jammed.  There was live music and dancing, and the food smelled great.  I didn't actually get to try any.  Forty minutes after we ordered, the waitress informed us that our food would take at least another hour.  We ended up next door at a burger joint for dinner instead.  Afterwards, we went back to the Mexican place and danced a little bit.  It reminded me of single days in Yerevan, and I was mostly happy that they were over.

When I got home, I hung up the wool sweater I had worn (can you tell I'm old and married?).  Three days later, it still reeked of smoke.  I do not miss that.

Sadly, this was the only photo we got of the two of us that night.