Saturday, October 20, 2012

Anyone for Jumprope?

While in the U.S., I bought some purple corduroy with the intention of making Natasha a Jumprope Dress from Oliver+S patterns.  When I got to cutting it out, however, I found that I had somehow bought too small a quantity of the fabric for a 3T dress.  So it ended up being 2T and went to Zoia, who was thrilled to get a new dress (poor kid, hand-me-downs are particularly tough when your sister wore them just last year).  I really wanted to make Natasha a dress too, and the only cord I had in the right amount was charcoal gray.  I was excited about the dress, because the gray goes perfectly with some beautiful ribbon from my late grandmother's stash, which I have been dying to use ever since I acquired it.  I knew it would be a risk, though, since the dress wouldn't be pink, purple, flowery or sparkly.  I decided to forge ahead.

I really love both dresses.  Natasha, predictably, protested putting hers on, and declared it "for a boy." We'll see whether I can ever get it on her again.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gondola over old town

The last few Sundays after church, we have been going to a little French cafe in Tbilisi's old town.  The cafe sits directly under the cable car line that leads to the hill behind the old town. Natasha asks every week to ride on the gondola, and last week we finally did it. She was thrilled.  Zoia took a little more getting used to, but by the time we rode back down, she enjoyed it. Mother Georgia, a large silver-colored statue, also stands on the hill. I told Natasha she was a princess (!) and so the girls gladly agreed to take a walk over to her.

Nariqala Fortress.

The glass-bottomed car is a bit scratched up ...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Morning at Ananuri

One great thing about being in Georgia with princess-obsessed toddlers is that castles, or things that look like castles, are pretty easy to come by.  On Saturday we decided to drive to Ananuri, which is a legitimate castle at the edge of a normally lovely reservoir (on this particular day the water was pretty low and it was less lovely than usual).  The girls had a blast exploring the many little passages and caverns within the fortress.  We found a lizard crawling around on the outer wall. We had a tailgate picnic afterwards, and were home in time for naps. A good time had by all.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

KCWC Days 6 and 7

Continuing with the Oliver + S theme, I finished off this KCWC with two Sunday Brunch skirts and a Hopscotch top.  The skirts (burgundy corduroy) turned out so cute, but I could not get a good photo of the girls together in them. Also, funny to note, Z's skirt is actually two sizes larger than N's. They actually have almost the same measurements, but Z needed a bigger size because of her cloth-diapered rear, whereas N is potty-trained (hooray!).  I really really wanted N to wear her black knit boots with this outfit (because, how cute would that have been?), but the kid officially has a fashion sense and it had to be the blue sparkly shoes.

The Hopscotch top was super-exciting because it is my first knit item on a serger, and the first knit item I've sewn that didn't make me want to tear all my hair out. Only some. But I'm still figuring the serger out. I made a straight 3T rather than worry about fiddling with the pattern. It's a little roomy on N, but then, so are all her store-bought shirts.  Excuse the filthy tights - this was after several spills off her bike. Also, I guess we're doing funny poses now :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

KCWC Days 3, 4 & 5

It's been busy around here.  Last night I finally finished my second Playdate dress.  I really love this dress. I also love that Natasha was super-excited to wear it, despite its definite lack of pink, purple, and flowers.  It is a little snug around the armholes, though, so when I finally sew the velveteen for her Christmas dress, I will go up a size. No more mock-ups, though, this is it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

KCWC Day 2

I asked for ideas on how to salvage the Playdate Dress over at the Oliver+S forums and one lady had the brilliant idea to add a flutter sleeve. Mine turned out more like a cap sleeve, but I think it actually distracts the eye away from the super-deep armholes. I'm surprised at how much I like the end result. And N likes it, even though it isn't pink, purple or flowery. (I did point out it's the same color as Princess Tiana's dress, so maybe that helped).

I'm still not entirely certain how to do the Christmas dress - I may start another "wearable muslin" tonight and see how it goes. We'll see.

And here it is, styled for fall:

Monday, October 8, 2012

KCWC Day 1

So I ended up not being away from the machine, as I had thought, today. I spent several hours (aided by my husband's Columbus Day holiday) working on a Playdate Dress.  It was a practice-run for Natasha's Christmas dress, for which I bought some lovely lilac velveteen. I almost thought to just dive into the velveteen from the get-go ... and now I am so glad I did not do that. 

My girl is so skinny that her chest measurement corresponds with the 6-12 mo size on the pattern. However, she is a tall 3T, almost a 4. So I had to do some rejiggering of the pattern. I jiggered a bit too far, though, and now I have armholes too deep for the sleeves. I'm trying to decide now whether to cut new sleeves (which might look a little strange and off-kilter in the new proportion), or just to bind the too-big armholes and call the dress a jumper.  Perhaps I'll decide tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's a dress I sewed last week with my new serger (yay!). It is a sleeveless version of the Junebug dress (see two posts ago), but it is a little too tight on both my girls. Also, I managed to slice a small hole into the skirt while serging the last seam. I patched and zigzagged it and it's not too noticeable, but it did make me very upset at the time.

Here's a photo of Z wearing it today. 

The styling is her own. You can't quite see it but she is wearing a shirred tank top under the dress, and then the jeans and boots. No amount of cajoling could convince her that the jeans and boots were a bit of an overkill for the 80-degree afternoon. I could almost hear her sighing over my out-of-style-ness. I guess that's coming ...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Davit Gareja

Yesterday we drove out to the St. David Lavra, one of the 20 or so cave monasteries in the area known as Davit Gareja. The complex of monasteries is right on the Georgia/Azerbaijan border, and about a 90-minute drive from Tbilisi (though it took us closer to 2 hours, as we were caravaning and both cars had kids in them). The drive there is breathtakingly lovely. We drove through picturesque villages ...

... and desolate plains.

... Past soaring mountains ...

... and around various livestock ...

... and into a windswept desert.

Which contained this basketball hoop.

We picnicked, then toured the Lavra, which is the only one of the monasteries currently working.

The monks live in these cave-cells.

St. David Garejeli, who founded the monastery, is buried in the complex's Transfiguration Church. Jeremy proclaimed the church, with its vibrant Georgian-style icons, "the prettiest Orthodox church [he had] ever seen."

Then we embarked on a hike that would take us up to the ridge dividing Georgia and Azerbaijan, and past the deserted Udabno cave monastery, then back down to the lavra. I did not make it all the way to the top, but Jeremy decided to persevere with both kids and our traveling companions.

Natasha didn't like the wind and opted to wear my head scarf.

The ridge they crossed (partially into Azerbaijan, apparently, and past several soldiers of unknown nationality) is to the right. If you look hard in the middle of the photo, you will see our intrepid hikers making their way back down. Natasha apparently hiked almost the whole way by herself.

After they returned we set off home. Here you can see some of the other cave monasteries in the area.

And then a few random sights from the road that we deemed photo-worthy.