Monday, December 31, 2012


The other day my Squish looked at himself in the mirror for the first time.

It happened to be a low mirror, and he was standing up (with my help, of course), so he didn't see his face - only that beautiful chubby little body, earnest strength under dimply softness. He took in his moving legs, the pudgy knees, the healthy round tummy, the stomping little feet. On his face was a look of awe, of wonder.

Not a trace of judgement.

I'm going to come out and say I love my body. This is not to say I don't judge myself - I have a few little hang ups (which twin pregnancy has drastically recast) as we all do, but overall I like what I see, how I feel, and what I can do. I love my body's capacity for change, for efficacy, for sensual grace and for frank expression. Bodies give us the distinct gift of an evolving, expanding concept of beauty throughout our lives. They force us to continually reckon with ourselves. Martha Graham famously said that "the body never lies." Yes, bodies are so honest it's almost brutal, but what's better than the truth? This is who you ARE, and it refuses to be cowed by the expectations of others.

There are, however, expectations of others.

Already, people ask us which twin is bigger, longer, heavier. They make predictions on future size and strength, on who will walk first and who will have a bigger head (this is an odd obsession in my family). Noses are compared to relatives and eye color speculated upon. Later, I know my boys will come under pressure to throw the furthest, run the fastest, maybe even be the thinnest or have the coolest hair.

A day will come when Squish looks in the mirror and sees, for the first time, himself through the lens of others' judgement. I only hope he can dismiss the voices that cause him harm, and hear echoes of the ones that deepen his acceptance of himself.

I will strive to be one of those positive voices.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

From the Nursing Chair: How to Hang Out While You're Hanging Out

This post is part of From the Nursing Chair, a series on the joys and challenges of breastfeeding twins.

If you come over to my house, you're probably going to see my boobs.

Tandem feeding means you feed two babies at the same time. I mean, the math works. But the logistics take time and patience (a natural proficiency for acrobatics doesn't hurt) to master. This isn't like the posters you see of serene (thin? well-rested??) mothers with one rosy-cheeked babe (and her hair is done?!), gazing down at him lovingly (holding him in one arm?? Her poor back...) while discretely hiding all of the food source except a tiny peep of bosom so smooth and milky white you might mistake it for a baby's cheek. No. Tandem feeding is full frontal nudity lunging over a giant nursing pillow, arms spread wide to collect your tiny brood to your bosom like a protective mama hen. Sure, the babies bellied up to the milk bar cover the X rated parts...until they are done, and decide to hide under the boob to sleep (Squeak), enjoy the softness of a boob pillow (who wouldn't?), or randomly startle backward, like a magician doing his big reveal!

What about a blanket tastefully drapped over the tender scene, you ask? Well, hormones make you hot. And double hormones make you feel like you've been roaming the savannah for 10 sun-baked days. Meanwhile, juggling the crying babies, fighting their tiny, razor-sharp claws, and stuffing two nipples different directions into two frantically grasping mouths is sweaty work, my friends. Add a large heavy cloth to the mixture? No thank you.

Now, I don't tandem feed in public. Much. I have done it in breastfeeding center (is that even considered 'public'?) and a couple times in a parking lot in the back of our car. But typically if I'm out and have to feed the boys, I do it one at a time under a blanket or hooter hider like everyone else. In my own home, however, I have no interest in hearing one hungry baby cry while I try to rush the other along just for the comfort of our guests. So I've spent a surprisingly lot of time chatting with friends while my top is completely exposed.

Here are some tips for making your guests feel, if not more comfortable, at least less horrified:

1. If you're eating while breastfeeding (and who are we kidding, of course you are), avoid wiping the crumbs out of your cleavage right away. I know they're itchy, but wait til you're in the bathroom. And while the guest is holding a baby and you're alone for one brief shining moment, catch up on flossing, nail trimming, ear-cleaning, and your mail.

2. Set up your throne in a room other than, but ideally adjacent to, the living room. This way people can select their own comfort level. Plus, you get to eavesdrop. Try to get your husband to get them to say something about you so you'll know what they really think.

3. Before handing off a baby, tuck that boob back into your bra. Nothing quite like realizing you've been wildly gesticulating for the past 10 minutes while your mammaries fly akimbo.

4. More reason to tuck the boob away immediately: the eager baby-holder might accidentally graze your nip with the back of their hand during transfer. The jury is still out on whom this is the most unpleasant for.

5. Interpret that wide-eyed, car-wreck-I-should-look-away-from stare thusly: wow! She's amazing! I could never do that! How impressive! And it's true: all those sweet little rolls and dimples your guests are admiring were made by you, times two, by your wonderful body. You are performing two miracles at once. Hang out with pride - and if someone has a problem, don't hang out with them :o)

From the Nursing Chair: Tandem Crying

This post is part of From the Nursing Chair, a series on the joys and challenges of breastfeeding twins.

Squish and Squeak at 6 weeks. It's blurry because I could never stop moving!

When the virtues of tandem nursing are extolled, you rarely hear about its worst side effect: tandem crying. When two babies are accustomed to eating at the same time, they become hungry at the same time, thus start crying at the same time. Occasionally they even poop at the same time, necessitating a tandem diaper get the idea.

Somehow, this doesn't carry over to sleeping at the same time, at least not at first. Go figure.

The key, I've discovered, is to get a jump on when they are likely to start crying and give them what they want before they start to panic. By 10 weeks old, we the boys started to get on an eat-wake-sleep rhythm, I could predict with greater certainty what need is next in the queue and act before all hell breaks loose.

Most of the time.

From the Nursing Chair: Breastfeeding Twins

There is a throne in my house these days.

Double-wide nursing pillow, iPad,'s the base of operations. This is where I feed my 12-week-old twins.

Breastfeeding twins has been a horrible, wonderful, sweet, uncomfortable, intimate challenge that I am finally enjoying. Most of the time.

As of 4.5 weeks old, I have exclusively breastfed my twins. Prior to that time, four days of extra hospitalization for me (due to an infection), 8% weight loss for Squeak, and general exhaustion necessitated some formula supplements and expressed breastmilk by cup and bottle, in addition to breastfeeding. Imagine feeding two babies on demand, at least every hour and a half, individually, round the clock, for at least 30 minutes per feeding, and one of them had a poor latch. While healing from emergency c-section/infection/twin pregnancy. Oh and then I had an allergic reaction to a vaccine and couldn't move my arm...followed by an absess on my tailbone that made sitting painful.

It. Was. Insane.

Maybe if I can remember more than a hazy blur of awfulness, I'll tell you about it sometime.

I had planned to breastfeed my children, but accepted that I might have to supplement with formula because there were two of them. I didn't think it was a big deal either way.

It turned out to be a huge deal. I was totally unprepared for how emotionally charged, how tied to a sense of self-worth, breastfeeding would be for me.

Breastfeeding is food, comfort, intimate communion with these people that have been growing inside you for almost a year. It's the center, home, the wellspring. After becoming accustomed to toting around two extra bodies 24/7, I find tandem feeding to be one of the only ways I can comfortably feel complete - that both my babies are close, safe, where they belong. So if it's not going well, or you're a new mother so you have no freaking clue how it's going, because it hurts and feels weird and you can't see the milk and your babies eat totally differently, well...let's just say there are many deep, primal emotions that rise up from the back of the reptilian brain and surge over the rational parts, drowning them out completely.

When I read up on breastfeeding prior to giving birth, I constantly had to wonder: does this apply to twins? How do you do that (feed on demand, get into position, get a full feeding) with twins? I also heard nothing but doomsday prophecies about supply shortage. This cuts to the core of a mother's fears: I can't feed my children. Yes, I have googled "signs of starvation in newborns" at midnight...and again at 2am, just to reassure myself. It's so easy to pass over that first teeny tiny sentence, "Most women will be fine," and skip right to, "but there can be complications," which are described in agonizing details over the next 300 pages or so. This is especially true for multiples.

Despite reading everything ever written on pregnancy, birth, and childcare, I never did find the book I was really looking for: a whole volume of the positive mantras designed to build the new mother's confidence and shore up her emotional fortitude, with a tiny chapter in the back for the few facts you need to know, like get nipple cream and football hold is king.

Meanwhile, we need more stories about variations of normal. So I offer you my normal.

This post is the first in a series of musings on breastfeeding twins. It's based totally on my experience. I have no expertise other than my own experience. I pass no judgement on families who decide to use formula, or expressed breastmilk, or any combination of loving healthy ways to nourish their children. And I readily admit, maybe double breastfeeding isn't a big deal to everyone. But it's a big deal to me, and if it is for you too, hopefully I can offer some encouragement. Or make you laugh a little. Or make you glad you never did it.

In any case, this is my truth about breastfeeding twins. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Professional Mother

Mr Awesome's relationship with Squeak has always come easy. They have a special bond that is sweet to witness. And I've felt a closeness with Squish that is probably a result of exclusively breastfeeding him earlier and for longer (Squeak had a poor latch and it was much more difficult getting started).

This weekend, my husband was able to spend more time with Squish, and even soothe him to sleep several times (not easy - he is a baby that needs a lot of motion, yet low stimulation, to fall asleep). This was a huge confidence booster for Mr Awesome, and a giant relief for me. Bouncing that child to sleep 5+ times per day is killing my back and seriously working on my patience, if I'm being honest.

But then something strange happened. During the last feeding of the day, when he normally drifts peacefully to sleep, Squish started fussing and pulling off. He has been eating less, in my estimation, this whole week, but fussing is very unusual for my little voracious eater. I suspect I have a recent oversupply of milk or forceful letdown as their eating pattern has shrunken to eight feedings per day; while Squeak seems to love not having to work so hard, Squish is overwhelmed by the flow and constantly pulls off/gasps for air/takes rests. Anyway, tonight Squish would not calm down. Attempts to burp were for naught; his fussiness escalated into full-scale wailing; finally I handed him over to Mr A so I could finish feeding Squeak in peace.

Luckily, Squish was able to calm down and settle into a deep sleep in his dad's arms.

I was glad. And upset.

I'm pretty sure there is an actual physical cause for my boy's distress - forceful letdown, too much foremilk, maybe even a touch of virus - and knowing my child is not feeling particularly well is upsetting to this new mother. I plan on calling the doctor in the morning just to check in.

But there is a little place in me that was shaken with surprising force when I couldn't soothe my little boy, and his dad could.

I'm not the one and only.

Don't get me wrong, this is great. I can rest my back, eat a little something, find relief in the knowledge that his stirring isn't the beginning of a(nother) long battle into slumber. And I did take the opportunity to practice self-care (snack, etc.). But what it comes down to is that I am devoting my whole self, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, into this task of motherhood day in and day out, and sometimes the whole of me is going to fall short. Mr A is no less devoted, but this is not his full-time job. I feel bruised as a professional.

I've been considering remaining a full-time mother next year as well. The idea that I could devote myself entirely to this vocation, could give my all 24/7 for years on end, and still be so replaceable is somewhat shattering. Does every professional mother feel like an empty shell sometimes - having given everything and still been found wanting?

There are too many reminders in my life that there is a way to ensure you are your child's sun, moon, and stars: be a single parent. I would never trade my relationship with Mr Awesome, or my sons' relationship with their dad, to put myself at the center of the boys' universe.

This is just my ego, hopped up on hormones, wondering, am I good enough at my job? If I am not the one and only, what is a mother and how am I going to define myself, to myself, in the coming year?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's a Small World After All

My world is small these days.

Besides tiny clothes and hunting for the forever-dropping tiny pacifier, the landscape of my day consists of the apartment and our neighboring streets. No longer do I think of my home as one place; each room is now its own destination.

We are in the nursery pretty much all morning. Around noon we make it to the play space in the living room. In the afternoon, we manage to get into the hallway, and then Outside. A short walk around the neighborhood brings us among neighbors, postmen, other parents and young children, trees, the occasional dog. Then we return home, to the nursery, where we settle into evening and finally to bed.

Is this normal? I don't know. Should I be getting out twice per day? The idea is exhausting. Squeak and Squish need their freedom of movement and play during the brief times they are awake. I don't want them strapped into a carseat all day long. And while I can feed them out and about, I prefer not to, since feeding one at a time kind of messes with the schedule (big post on that coming up). Meanwhile, it usually takes me til 1pm to get dressed and have a meal.

So. The world is small. And lonesome, if I'm being honest.

It's more than geography though. Community is what expands our horizons and makes us feel needed. When I go to a job outside my home, I enter a community where many people are counting on me, asking me questions, including me in news and plans. I'm a part of a larger effort.

The limited shape of my routine and interactions can make me forget that what I am doing is not small at all. For their first year of life, I am able to be a full-time mother to my children. What could be bigger than that? Yet, it is a private, solitary endeavor.

At home I'm the captain of a very small crew, sailing alone through strange seas.

Aw hell. I'm not even the captain.

I'm lucky to live in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. When elderly folks stop to admire Squeak and Squish, I let them coo for as long as they wish. I chat a little, hear their advice and stories if they offer them. I realize they must feel outside of society too. Usually it's a little awkward, because we both seem to want to linger, but have nothing to say. Perhaps I should be bold and engage folks with some questions and light conversation.

Perhaps that's where community starts - having the courage to stop and make a little connection.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

In It

I'm two months into motherhood and I'm in deep, my friends.

I have the good fortune to take a year off from my job to be with my little ones full time. While distancing myself from my professional life, I've sought out a new community of mothers (and some fathers), both in person and through blogs. I attend a local Parents of Multiples group, and regularly troll the Internet for funny, interesting blogs that make me feel, during a 3am feeding, that I'm joining the ranks of the many moms out there who are struggling to do it all correctly (on 2 hours of sleep).

I've been lurking so much and so often, I figure it's time to put my 2¢ out there. Maybe my words will help someone as others have helped me.

Or maybe I just need a place to put my many rantings. Probably the second one.

My brother-in-law (God love him) had enough of a sense of humor to ask me if I've been quilting lately. Uh, no. I haven't been sleeping, eating with two hands, or flossing daily. I will quilt again! But for a while, I'm going to be present to this once-in-a-lifetime (I assure you) adventure, and write some of it down here so I don't forget it and accidentally think I want more kids.

In the interest of maintaining a semblance of privacy, the babies will be known heretofore as Squish (the little snuggler) and Squeak (who was born making a whole barnyard of sounds). Maybe it will save them the embarrassment of being googled by a future employer and having the details of their newborn poops show up. Not that I'll write about poop exclusively, but you know.

When I started this blog a year and a half ago (what!?), it felt like a risk. Writing about something so personal as my adventures in motherhood is a risk too. But carpe diem and all that. If we don't tell our own stories, who will?

Monday, October 15, 2012

They're In the World


Rainer Daly
5 lbs, 15 oz, 18.5 inches
Michael Phineas
6 lbs, 5 oz, 18.75 inches
were born on September 20, 2012, at 2:12am

Michael (left) and Rainer (right) minutes after birth

I went in for the induction on Tuesday, Sept 18 at about 7:30pm. At first, things progressed quickly, but when I got to 6 cm dilated, there was no progress for hours. Around midnight on Sept 20 (yes, over 24 hours in labor), Rainer, our Baby A, started showing signs of distress. Whenever I had a contraction, his heart rate dipped. The doctors monitored him carefully, but the situation did not improve and suddenly my doctor rushed in, putting on scrubs as she said, "We need to do a c-section without delay," and she repeated pointedly to the nurse, "without delay." I think it was literally 12 minutes later that I heard Rainer's good strong cry, followed swiftly by Michael's. It was the best thing I ever heard.

The nurses wrote A and B on their hats so they could keep track.

I can't even begin to describe the 2 weeks that followed - it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Mr Awesome and I fell head over heels for our little guys, and had many beautiful moments of bonding and joyful loveyness. The same day we all came home from the hospital (no NICU time for my big healthy babies!), I had to be readmitted to the hospital for 3 days for a uterine lining infection. That was not fun. We wouldn't have survived without the help and kindness of our moms and close friends. Now, at 3.5 weeks into this journey, things are settling down and we are starting to find our routine.

We wanted each baby to have a family name and a literary name. Rainer Daly, our Baby A, is named after Rainer Maria Rilke, our favorite poet. "Rainer" means "wise warrior." Daly is my last name.

So far, Rainer is a champion nurser, loves sleeping, and screams bloody murder if you take too long changing his diaper.

He prefers to be swaddled and hates the pacifier.

Michael means "Who is like God?" and is Mr Awesome's late father's name. Phineas is his favorite literary character (from A Separate Peace). It means "oracle."

This little guy, our Baby B, loves his tummy time, especially rolling from side to side. He likes to be cuddled and enjoys watching his hands.

Michael snorts when agitated. He really enjoys looking at mobiles.

They are both completely amazing and I love getting to know them better every day. No worries about telling these two apart - they couldn't look more different! Rainer has black hair and olive skin, big full lips and pointy ears. Michael is fair and his hair looks more reddish every day, his nose is turned up like mine, and he makes this hilarious little pursed mouth.

As the poet Rilke writes, "Every angel is terror."As we start a new life as a family of four, I feel blessed every day. And I feel overwhelmed, terrified, exhausted, and uncertain. But over it all is a huge umbrella of LOVE.

Family life is rich indeed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pins, Needles, and 38 Weeks

Want to know the most boring thing in the world? Waiting around to go into labor. Everyone else in my life is excited. I'm bored, nervous, restless. Passive. It takes the patience of a saint to be so passive, and I am certainly not one.


I made a pin cushion for myself. Cute, huh? I've been needing one for my hand-sewing basket. Pin cushions are so fun and easy. I keep on squishing it, like a tiny pillow. Eeek! :o)

I've considering acupuncture to get labor started. But that would mean doing stuff, like calling for an appointment and leaving the house.

38 Weeks
51.5" around.
57.5 lbs gained.
1,000,000 items crossed off the list.
1 amazing journey.

I made it to my goal of 38 weeks (8.5 months) pregnant, and I feel DONE. I'm so glad I didn't have the frightening experience of pre-term labor and seeing struggling preemies in the hospital. But now I want nature to step it up already. Carrying twins past 38 weeks is considered just as risky as delivering early - not enough space to grow, placental break down, etc, etc. Plus, I'm uncomfortable and bored. Oh and whiny. And cranky. And, I'm sure, a real pleasure to be around.

Sigh. I'm trying to enjoy the moment - the end of pregnancy. The quiet house. Eating with two hands. But it's hard to relax when I feel so ready for this new beginning.

We are on induction stand-by today, so we call Labor and Delivery every few hours to see if there is space. If so, we dash right over and get things started. Meanwhile, I'm getting a pedicure and taking myself out to lunch on this beautiful September day.

Oh, and if we don't call you (immediate family) or post something online, and you are really, REALLY wondering if I went into labor, please visit this website for more info: :o)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

37 Weeks

Yep, still here. The boys seem pretty content for now, but an eviction notice was posted by my OB today - next Tuesday is induction day if they don't get going on their own. I am getting pretty eager to meet them (and to be able to roll over in bed without the help of a crane), but every day in the womb is another benefit to their development, so I'm trying not to complain too much.

But when they DO get here...

...there will be a little quilt for each of them!

I finished the second baby quilt/play mat today. Did the weather cooperate for photos? Why would it? Overcast and windy, as usual.

As with all quick projects, there are things I question. Maybe white satin binding would have looked better? Or a more thought-out plan for the quilting? Perhaps skipping the basting was a mistake? All things a newborn child will notice, I'm sure.

I pretty much machine- and hand-quilted vertical and horizontal lines until it looked done. I placed them randomly and didn't mark them (hence the "straightness"), though I did attempt to get 4-5 lines horizontally and 3-4 lines vertically for each patch.

The back is a big piece of Kona Medium Gray. My hand-quilting is picking up speed. I'm kind of impressing myself, especially since everything else in my life is so slow!

I hope the two quilts are different without one being "better." I like them both a lot. Got to pop the new one in the wash to make it nice and softy.

Since my considerate little guys have outlasted my WIP list, I have a couple more ideas to keep my hands busy until they are full of babies. One is another fabric book, this time with different textures.

Corduroy, satin, velveteen

Another is a little pink and white dolly quilt. I have these bits already pieced from a baby quilt I made a few years ago for a friend, and I want to use them up and get them out of my sewing stash. Luckily I have a couple of friends with little girls, so it will have no trouble finding a home.

Or maybe I'll just sit back and enjoy the quiet before the storm. Hmm.

What about all those WIPs that I haven't been mentioning...the ones I ambitiously set out to complete in May? the interest of transparency...

1. Quilt Bee  FINISHED
4. Scrappy Matching Pillows FINISHED
5. Spring Sampler - Sitting in a basket, neglected. Might become a dozen little items, or a full quilt if I regain steam. This was the last iteration I considered before becoming overwhelmed and shoving it back in the basket.

6. Emma's Trip Around the World - It's waited almost 70 years; it can wait longer.
7. Paisley Sunrise - I guess I will be tugging this out to soothe myself until the babies are 5 or so. Meh, what's the rush? I wanted it as a task more than a finished quilt anyway - something for my hands to do when they need it. So maybe the kids will actually be 10 20 before I experience that need again!

Proudly, I can say "the spool is half full" and I have finished more than half of the projects I set out to complete. Not too shabby.

I'll keep you updated on my progress, quilt friends, but it probably won't be for a couple of weeks. To tide you over, what does a 37-week twin-pregnant belly look like? Well, here it is, in all its glory:

And how do I feel about pregnancy coming to an end and getting to meet my sweet babies?

More stitches and fewer stretch marks over at Lee's:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

36 Weeks!

It's like crossing the finish line. 36 weeks is considered full term for twins, and we have made it to this critical milestone!

This means our little guys are less likely to have extended hospital time and the developmental problems of preemies. Yay! Fingers (legs?) crossed that we can make it to 38 weeks, which is the optimal time for twins to be born.

Maybe the babies are just waiting patiently for me to finish my WIPs ;o) The list is steadily dwindling.

I completed the little ball this week (pattern from I Love Patchwork: 21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew by Rashida Coleman-Hale). It is so cute! I love the feel of the linen, the interesting pictures in each hexagon, and the size, which is perfect for little hands. I also enjoyed making something totally by hand.

Right in the middle of taking pictures, Mr Awesome couldn't resist playing with the ball. What in the world am I in for with three boys in the house?

That book, White Butterfly by Walter Mosley, is pretty good, by the way.

Notice that my camera is "fixed"? Um yeah, I had it on the wrong setting. How pro.

I also finished up the Gobbi mobiles. What in the heck, you ask? They are part of the series of infant mobiles recommended by education pioneer Maria Montessori.

I've long been intrigued by Maria Montessori and her methods and philosophy. It resonates with my husband and me, and seems like a natural extension of the way we already live. While we'll probably not have a perfect adherence, it's been a wonderful inspiration as we choose purposeful ways to begin our parenting journey.

One thing I wanted to invest in from the start was the lovely infant Visual Mobile Series. I've bought two Montessori mobiles from the lovely bellascasa on Etsy, the Munari and the bell and ring. But I figured I could easily make the Gobbi and octahedron mobiles myself. Okay, so it wasn't actually easy...but they came out alright.

One of Montessori's key ideas is freedom of movement. Here is our babies' play space in the living room. It features a futon covered by a quilt (someday I'll do a post on that one), a low mirror, the Munari mobile, and a couple of low shelves with items that will interest the babies. The bookshelf is bolted to the wall, so it is earthquake-safe (a genuine California concern), and won't topple when tiny movers use it to pull themselves up.

The babies will have access to the toys on the low shelves (when they are able to creep and reach), and just out of their grasps are some beautiful picture books that we look forward to reading to them. Yes, including some of the Philosophy for Beginners series - Mr Awesome's picks :o)

My final WIP is the second baby quilt. I've started the quilting, some by hand with perle cotton thread, and some by machine. I need to make some choices about the quilting pattern - only horizontal like it's twin, or horizontal and vertical to match the piecing?

Celebrate more progress here:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tutorial for a Fabric Book

Have you ever wondered how to make a fabric book the most complicated, yet also most lovely, way possible? Are you looking for something awesome to do with your coveted Heather Ross prints that have storybook text and sweet pictures? Are you pregnant and compulsively channeling your nesting instincts into making baby items?

Then you have come to the right place!

I had another great weekend with my mom visiting. Two heads are certainly better than one, especially when one of them is hers. We brainstormed a couple different ideas for a fabric book, and finally came up with a method that seems to work beautifully. I truly couldn't have done this without a creative, sew smart thought partner (and, let's be real, someone to do the pressing, cutting, and pinning when pregnancy demanded I sit down for a while).

I'm happy to share our process with you here.

Disclaimer: This is the first tutorial I've written, so if something is confusing, please comment or message me. I am happy to try and clarify a step. We really did make this up on our own, without referencing any online patterns or tutorials; it's totally possible someone else has independently discovered something similar.

More disclaimer: The pictures aren't that great. My camera is having focusing issues.

How to Make a Fabric Book

1. Cut out the pages. Page 1 - 11x11". Page 2 - 11x10 3/4". Page 3 - 11x11". (You can cut them any size; this is what we used. Just make sure to cut the middle page(s) a quarter inch smaller in width than the 1st and last pages.) I used one print in 3 different colors from Heather Ross's Far Fay Away III, fussy cutting each one to showcase a different scene.

2. Cut out the cover - 11 1/4 x 11". Again, if you are making different size pages, the cover should be the same height as the pages, and a 1/4" wider than the 1st and last pages. I chose a natural linen for the cover.

3. Cut out the batting - 11 1/4 x 11", same size as the cover fabric. I picked Quilter's Dream Green - it's made from recycled bottles and the perfect loft to use in small projects.

4. Press each page in half length-wise so you have a nice sharp crease.

5. Place pages 1 and 2 right sides together, with page 2 on top. Line up the EDGES, not the pressed fold. Sew on the right-hand side from the fold of page 2 out to the edge, all the way down the side, and back to the fold along the bottom. Clip the corners.

6. Fold back half of page 1. Place page 3 right sides together with page 2.

You'll get a little tri-cornered tent looking thing. Sew from the fold, all along the edge, to the other fold. It's okay if you have a little gap (not bigger than a 1/4") between the folds, since you will be top stitching later. Clip the corners. (To add more pages, just keep repeating this step.)

7. Turn the pages right side out and press. Yay! The inside of the book is done!

8. Where all the pages meet, the 1st and 3rd pages have a little quarter inch fold, from where you sewed the pages together. Clip both the 1st and 3rd pages vertically a quarter of a inch. This will allow you to easily sew the cover to the pages.

9. Make a little sandwich with your pages (right side up), book cover (right side down), and batting. It's helpful to fold the pages in so they don't accidentally get caught in the seam.

10. Pin and sew all the way around, leaving about a 3" opening on the bottom right side. Clip the corners.

11. Turn the whole thing right side out, and press. Wow! You're amazing! You've almost made a book!

12. Now the fun part - pretty it up. I chose to do all of the top stitching by hand with linen thread, but you could easily do it by machine. First, make a nice line down the middle. I looped around the top and bottom where all the pages meet, for extra security.

13. Top stitch about 1/8" away from the edge around the cover pages. Be sure to seal up the 3" opening where you turned the book right side out.

14. Make a title placard. Cut out a piece of your cover fabric and use a darning foot to free-motion "write" the title. (This took A LOT of practice before I had a decent result.) Next cut out a scrap of contrasting fabric to frame the title. Stitched them together, leaving the edges raw. I used perle cotton thread. Then carefully hand-stitch the whole placard to the cover while avoiding going all the way through the quilt sandwich. I also added a little squirrel. He was too cute!

I also found this little apple in the selvedge and tacked it onto the back cover. :o)

15. Yay, you made an awesome book! Celebrate by finding a little friend to share it with!

Snow White
"She awoke in the woods, with new friends to greet her."
"Snow White found the cottage full of charm and laundry."
"They were a merry band of brothers, without a mother to mind them..."
The End!

As for my other works-in-progress:
1. Ball - Both halves are complete and sewn together, just need to stuff with fluff and close.
2. Gobbi mobile - Waiting on some perle cotton to arrive in the mail.
3. 2nd Baby Quilt - Yes, it's back! I couldn't bear the thought of having only one quilt to welcome both my sons. With mom's help, I picked out lovely complementary fabrics that I already had on hand, and chose a very simple 9-patch pattern. It's pieced and in the process of being quilted.

And the most important WIPs? The babies are still both head down, and growing rapidly. Last week, Baby A was about 5 lbs, 2 oz, and Baby B was about 4 lbs, 12 oz. We all seem to be doing well. In only 5 more days, I will have carried them for 36 weeks, and they are officially approved for birth! (Twins born at 36 weeks are considered full term.) My OB says it could be any day...but I hope they don't decide to make an appearance for another couple of weeks. Yeep!!

More WIPs here: