Modern Day Pilgrims

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Would You Like Some Pepper Spray with That?

Well today is not just Valentine's Day here in Bahrain.  It's also marks the one year anniversary of the protesting that has rattled this country for the past year...protests that eventually demolished the Pearl Roundabout after an overkill move by government, where a popular monument and symbol of Bahrain once stood.  Don't get me wrong - the pearl is still a symbol in Bahrain, but the area where the monument once stood now symbolizes protestors rather than the historic pearl industry of Bahrain, which was its original intent.  Everyone in this country has been on high alert and hoping for the best but expecting the worst as this anniversary day approached.

The Pearl Roundabout/Monument Last Year

The Protestors were planning and hoping to secure large numbers of people to try and "reclaim" the Pearl Roundabout, or at least the land where it once stood in all its glory.  The police have been ready for this for months and have done a great job keeping protestors at bay now that the day has arrived.  Unfortunately, the side effect is that tear gas is literally all over this country right now.  We had to deal with it at the park today and I still feel like I have the taste of it in my mouth a few hours later.  I won't complain, though.  I was hoping against the worst case scenario that the protests would keep us from leaving this weekend.  It looks like that won't happen since the police are much more organized this time around and are dispersing the crowds with quicker and greater success.  For this I am thankful.  If I have to put up with a peppery taste in my mouth if it means I'll be on a plane this weekend out of here, then I'll deal with it.

Tear Gas During the One Year Anniversary Protests



Monday, February 13, 2012

Something for Charlotte and the Boy

Before our pack-out last week, I was able to get one more dress sewn for Charlotte and just after the pack-out was completed, I was able to finish a knit blanket for The Boy.  

I'll start with the dress I made for Charlotte.  It is another Oliver + S pattern called the Birthday Party Dress.  For those who aren't familiar with Oliver + S patterns, they use a scissor system to inform sewers how difficult the pattern will be to sew.  1 scissors = beginner, 2 scissors =  advanced beginner, 3 scissors = intermediate sewer, and 4 scissors = advanced sewer.  I would say most Oliver + S patterns are 1 or 2 scissors, but this particular pattern was 3 scissors.  To the best of my knowledge, they haven't yet come out with any 4 scissor patterns.  I wasn't really sure why it was 3 scissors from looking at the pattern. It looked like a very simple dress.  I liked that it used buttons up the back instead of a zipper, which is my preference.  Once I started sewing it, I learned why it was 3 scissors.  There are some more advanced techniques used for this dress, but as usual, Oliver + S did a great job explaining how to do everything so that it didn't seem as complicated.  There was also a lot of hand work with this dress from having to blind stitch different sections.  I am so horrible at hand work, but I watched a few tutorials on blind stitching on the Oliver + S blog, and I can confidently say that my handwork on this dress is the best I've done yet.  I will say this, though.  The dress went perfectly until I got to the straps.  They don't look awful, but it's bad enough that I don't think this dress will be a contender for State Fair entry.  :-)  


 It's hard to see how detailed this dress is from the picture, but there are 3 box pleats that run the length of the dress.  The fabric I used is Michael Miller.

 The dress had 2 options: a tab front closure or a tie closure.  I thought the tie closure looked more cute and would help the contrast fabric stand out more.

 Here's the back.  Instead of buttons (my buttonholer isn't working properly), I tried out my brand name Babyville Boutique snap pliers and red snaps.  I think I actually prefer snaps over buttons even though you can't get as "fancy" with the type of snaps you use as you can with buttons.

 I remember the day when Charlotte loved to smile for the camera.  Now I'll just take what I can get.


 Thanks to Daddy's help, we got one decent one!


Okay, so now on to the blanket I knitted for The Boy.  I found a free knitted Chevron Baby Blanket pattern from the Purl Bee's blog.  Most chevron patterns are for crocheted blankets.  I don't know how to crochet, so I was very excited to find a free pattern for knitting the chevron design!  My original plan was to follow the color scheme the Purl Bee used but without using the super expensive yarn the pattern called for:


I was able to find a GREAT yarn through WEBS called Valley Goshen.  It is a 48% cotton, 46% modal, and 6% silk yarn.  It feels ultra soft and luxurious, and I love that the bit of silk adds strength to the yarn. Goshen Valley doesn't offer the exact same colors used in the Purl Bee blanket, but I was able to get close and WEBS offers a 20% discount on orders over $60 and 25% on orders over $100.  However, I did encounter one problem ordering from WEBS and it has to do with backordered products.  The lemon drop yarn was backordered and WEBS didn't tell me when it would be shipped.  Usually when things are backordered, the website tells you when it will be shipped and it's usually no more than a month or two.  WEBS didn't give any indication of when it would be shipped.  I ordered this yarn back in October and it is still backordered.  I think that if something is going to be backordered for more than 2 months, they should just list it as "unavailable" and not allow people to backorder it.  I'm moving in less than a week and now I have to figure out how to tell WEBS to either cancel my backorder or forward it to a new address.  

When I came to the point in the blanket where I was ready for the lemon drop color, I had to figure out what to do next.  I didn't want to skip to the green apple shade because that would completely throw the color spectrum off, so I decided to go ahead and look at other colors in the Goshen Valley line (that were IN STOCK) and create a new color spectrum for the blanket.  I came up with a butter yellow shade, orange, and red.  This color scheme was not what I originally had planned but I think it turned out okay for having to adjust the color spectrum in the middle of the project:


I also made some changes to the Purl Bee's pattern.  I made a test blanket before the real blanket with cotton yarn I had lying around, and I decided the blanket was too small.  Instead of casting on 100 stitches, I cast on 128 and I used a few more colors than the original blanket pattern called for.  I figured out that with the Goshen Valley yarn, I could sew 18 rows per color and nearly finish the yarn.  Little waste!  So instead of a 26" x 33" blanket, the blanket I knitted is a more generous 32" x 40" baby blanket.  I plan to make several more of these bad boys.  It is a great blanket to knit while you watch TV or when you really have nothing else to do and don't feel like sewing or reading.  Since I won't have my sewing machine while I'm staying in a hotel for maternity leave, I bought some more yarn to start on two more blankets - one for a girl and one for a boy.  Here are the color schemes I picked out, and yes, all of the colors were in stock this time.  The girl blanket is on the left and the boy blanket is on the right:


I can't wait to see how they turn out!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Going to the Park

We leave Bahrain in one week!  Wow!  We're trying to take the time to do things we haven't yet done or want to do again before we leave.  Today, we took Charlotte to a new park that was fantastic.  It easily compared to nice parks in the states and even had a large pool for paddle boating.  It was right on the coast so you even got a nice view of the Arabian Gulf.  The only downside was that it was VERY windy.  I'm not sure if that was just today's weather or if it's always that windy since it's right off the coast.  Even so, Charlotte had a great time today.  Below are some photos of our day and a video of Charlotte climbing up a wall and going down a spiral slide.  

video

 an observation deck at the park

 the playground for children under 5

 a view of the Hidd bridge from the park

 Chris at the top of the rope climb in the 6-12 year old playground....  ;-)

 Charlotte enjoying a crawl through tunnel


 going down a really tall spiral slide

 Mommy pushing Charlotte on the swing

the "pool" where you can go paddle boating...we're not sure if this is open yet but boy does it look fun


Friday, February 10, 2012

Videos and Photos

Charlotte loves looking at pictures and videos on our computer and I thought today, Why don't I post some of these on my blog?  So here you go.  Here's some videos we've recorded over the past month or so...two of them as recently as yesterday when we went to Wahoo! Waterpark again.  I've also posted some pictures of the Wahoo! Waterpark trip below the videos.  Enjoy!

video
Here is a video of Charlotte going down the kids slide at Wahoo! Waterpark yesterday.  She went down much bigger slides than this, but we didn't think to take video of her going down a slide until we got to the kiddie area right before we left.

video
I'm surprised at myself for posting this, but some people have been asking to see my preggo belly.  Here is a video that will show you how huge I am.  I'm definitely not a cute pregnant woman this time around and I'm going to have a lot of weight to lose in 2 months!  Part of this is my own fault.  I haven't exactly been eating healthy!

video
Here is a video taken when we went to Dubai with my brother Matt at the end of January.  The video was filmed at our hotel's pool.  Charlotte loves playing "1, 2, 3", which means being thrown from one person to another.  Uncle Matt was nice enough to take my place since it's too much pressure on my stomach to lift and throw Charlotte right now!  

video
This video was recorded late January at a birthday party Charlotte went to.  Charlotte loves to climb and jump and she was more entertained doing this at the party than she was playing with the other kids or doing the party games.

And here are some more Wahoo! Waterpark pictures from yesterday:

















For those who might freak out at this picture, this is not a hot tub!  It's just regular temperature pool water with bubbles.  :-)  Middle Easterners don't really do hot tubs since it's usually so hot here.  This type of jet pool is what you'll usually find over here.



Monday, February 6, 2012

Promised Pictures

Here are the promised pictures of Charlotte in her dress.  It JUST fit so I think this past Friday was the last time she'll wear it.  It was difficult to get on but even harder to get off.  Poor Charlotte was not real happy with me when we tried to get it off her.  I'm just glad I didn't have to cut the dress to get it off.  It fit great once I forced it on her.  All of her 4T clothes are a bit big on her still, so either the pattern runs pretty small for a 4T or Modkid needs to revise the Addison dress pattern to have an invisible side zipper to make it easier to get on and off.  Oh well.  It's still a cute dress!  I just hate putting in all that money and work on a dress she was only able to wear once.  I'll just have to remember to make a size larger than needed or add an invisible zipper when I make this pattern again.    



And here's a bonus picture of Charlotte, my brother, and I at the Bahrain fort.  Matt was here the last 2 weeks of January and wanted to see the fort again.  My preggo belly is about 28 weeks in this picture.