Needles and a Pen » Knitting, Sewing, and Nursing School

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  • Welcome to my blog!

    Hi! I'm Traci. I'm a nursing student and CNA who loves quilting, knitting, cross stitch, Project Life scrapbooking, and the great outdoors. In my pre-scrubs life, I owned Real Photography, and you can still see my old wedding and portrait photography site here .

    I great big puffy heart *love* comments, so please let me know you visited! I try to always reply!

Children at Play coordinating dresses

I wanted to make my nieces dresses for their birthday this summer, and decided that I wanted to make a matching dress for Ellie, too.  I decided on my all time favorite fabric lines, Children at Play by Sarah Jane.  For Ellie I knew I’d make another geranium dress.  For the girls I settled on the open back baby dress pattern, because I had loved it when Ellie was a toddler for easy comfortable dressing on hot days.  Since I knew the girls are often just in diapers on hot days, I figured a diaper cover and barely-there dress would be perfect!


I had not planned to make Ellie’s dress a patchwork skirt, but when I opened the piece of fabric I had planned for the skirt, it turned out that I had already used half of it.  I didn’t have any single pieces of Children at Play fabric large enough for the skirt, and the twins’ dresses were already made so it was too late to change fabric lines, so I improvised with a patchwork skirt!


I kept putting off taking pictures of all of the kids together because I knew it would be hard, but I left it too late and we had to cram in this portrait session on our last day in the wind when everyone was tired after a great hike.  So I’m not thrilled with the pics.  That will teach me to procrastinate!



Speattle - Hmmm….. I have 4 granddaughters ages 5 and under. Perhaps I need to invest in this pattern!

I love the patchwork of Ellie’s dress. Looks like it was planned that way from the start.

I often have a loose idea on projects I make, but they almost always evolve as I go along.

Nursing school summer recap

People of the internet, weep for me.  Tomorrow I go back to nursing school.

It’s basically like when Piper voluntarily surrendered herself to jail.

Except there’s a lot less free time.


I’m really good at putting my head down and getting through rough times.  It’s like a super power that rubs off on you when you grow up in England.  But taking breaks is harder for me.  The stopping and restarting does a number on my morale and makes the finish line feel farther away.  Psych is coming up for me next, and my coworkers all cringe when I tell them I’m in psych this semester.  It is not confidence building.

In better news, I did complete my second (and final for my RN) pharmacology class this summer.  It was a nail biter, and I was getting a very high B up until the last two weeks of class.  Then I was getting a very low A, which was terrifying in its own right, and it all came down to the final.  I figured that would be fine.  Finals generally seem to be grade bumpers/status-quoers, not grade droppers.  Not this final.  This final…well, here is a picture I took of our professor as she proctored the exam:


(Note to lawyers: I clearly did not violate anyone’s copyright here since this is an actual picture from the classroom.  Similarities between my classroom and a Game of Thrones battlefield are purely coincidental.)

You know how they always say that if you are taking a test and it doesn’t feel like it’s going so well that you should flip to the back and tackle it backwards?  Well, I opened the exam.  I did the first few questions.  I felt less great about those questions than I would like.  I was like “no big deal, it’s just a backwards test day.  that’s what I’ll do.”  So I flipped to the back.  Nothing is quite as confidence boosting as the few brainless medication calculations that close out each exam.  Calculator and pencil ready, I read the first math question.  Huh.  We’ve never had a question worded like THAT before.  Okay, that’s a fluke.  Second math question will be like the ones we’re used to.  Oh.  It’s not.  Well, that’s fun.  Let’s leave that for later.  Move on to the first CONTENT question at the back of the exam.  That will do the trick.  Oh.  Okay.  So that’s how you’re gonna play it.  I understand now.

I walked out of the room thinking that I would be very satisfied with a B.  I laid it all out on the field, and, if Simone Biles could be happy with her bronze on the balance beam, I could take a B in pharmacology.  Maybe it would be great in the long run, 4.0 ruined, I could stress a little less.  I thought back to a wonderful conversation with a classmate in the first few weeks of the course, when I couldn’t seem to dig myself out of that high B.   “B stands for ‘you could have done BETTER’ ” I told her.  “No, B means you have a LIFE,” she said.  “You went camping and on vacation and have kids and a job.”  “Uhhhh, that doesn’t even start with a ‘B’ ” I countered.  And then it was like the baby Jesus himself gave her the next line, it was so inspired. “A B stands for BALANCE!” she announced.  And it was so perfect that we had to stop arguing to bask in her genius.

In the end, though, my lucky earrings that have come through for me for over 15 years, worked their magic once again.  I can only assume that my soul now belongs to some sort of deviant underlord, because I did surprisingly well on the final and kept my 4.0.

(And you thought watching the Olympic games was exciting.)

Speattle - Ah yes….nursing school! I have a BSN from the UW (yes, that UW, go Huskies!)class of 1978. It was a tough curriculum back then too and quite competitive to get into.

I have to say that Psych nursing was my least favorite of all. We were using text books that were copyrighted in the 1950s (this in 1977). Perhaps you will be lucky enough to get a text book from 1990?

When I graduated, the psych nurse dept was practically begging members of my class to enter their Masters program. I think anyone with a pulse was offered a slot if they wanted it, no formal application needed. I declined and went to work instead.

Oh, and I think that professor you have in the picture above also taught at UW decades ago too.

First day of school dress


It’s probably safe to say that I’m a little obsessed about the geranium dress pattern from Made by Rae.  This is my third geranium dress, and maybe my favorite.  I love this gardening fabric line from Dinara Mirtalipova! I think that adding piping to the dress is the most important step.  I use this tutorial. It has you use a 1 3/8″ wide strip.  If I need to put a seam in the fabric for the trim, I make sure the seams match up with the side seams of the dress.

gardenia dress gardening dinara

Benjamin’s Birth

Benjamin is a very accommodating baby.  His mother and I both hoped that I’d be able to photograph his birth, but between my schedule at the hospital, my school schedule, our camping trips, weekend at Comic Con, and plans to leave for Seattle just before his due date, it was looking a little dicey.  He chose an absolutely perfect night to be born, confined his birth activities to hours in which I didn’t even need childcare, and then patiently waited over three weeks for me to process the birth pictures.  Best baby ever?  Yep.

A few bits of commentary on the photos to follow:

  • I love this first shot of Clint watching the monitor.  Bernadette had an amazing epidural, and so really everyone was just sitting around watching my personal favorite movie, the fetal heartrate monitoring strip.
  • When Bernadette heard that she was completely dilated and it would be time to push soon, her response was to apply makeup so she would look good when she met her baby.
  • Her baby also felt the need to look good, but peering around his amniotic sac he noticed that there was absolutely nothing for him to adorn himself with.  So he took what he did have, his umbilical cord, and made himself a tie with it.  Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
  • Did I mention that Bernadette had an amazing epidural?  At one point as the baby was crowning, we were all talking about how much hair the baby had.  Our friend Heather leaned around Bernadette’s leg to take a look and said “Wow–that’s a lot of hair.”  A beat of silence, and then Bernadette started laughing so hard she couldn’t finish pushing for the rest of the contraction.  It was hilarious.
  • I still absolutely ridiculously love getting to watch older siblings meet their baby brother or sister.  How often do you get to watch lifelong friends meet?


birth photography 1

birth photography 2