etsy love

Just wanted to link to some seriously gorgeous things I've seen recently, like this necklace from MDsparks.

And also this honeytree print, which is so serene and beautiful that it makes me sort of sleepy.

I am missing crafting! But don't worry, I have a plan.


On vulnerability

This is not the post it should be, or could be. None of them are, due to my having a baby, a full-time job, and a procrastination/perfectionism problem. If this were the post it could be, it would somehow relate to something happening in the world, or some global issue, or perhaps even Earth Day.

Instead, it's just about the fact that I'm feeling vulnerable after emailing an ex-friend, asking her to be my friend again. It's also about how difficult it is to make myself vulnerable, despite (let's face it) my being quite vulnerable in many different ways, every day.



Helpful stuff: labor & beyond

How's that for an exciting title? But really, it is. Here are a bunch of handy tips and products I've found.

Water birth

Our hospital made us attend a waterbirth class (which I was annoyed about beforehand because I thought it would suck & it cost $40). But it turned out to be really informative, and my husband & I both wanted to ask the nurse who taught it for her beeper number so she could be our L&D nurse. We chickened out, though. Anyway, she recommended bringing some tiny floats for the tub so mama has somewhere to rest her head. Brilliant! I found a package of two little inner tubes at Big Lots for $3, and we bought a Spongebob Squarepants kickboard at Target for $5. (Don't buy the inner tubes at Target -- we made that mistake, and they're way too big to fit into the pool our hospital uses.) She also recommended bringing a fish tank scooper for any, ummm, detritus in the water.


Organic, chlorine- and plastic-free maternity pads for new mamas! I bought these at Whole Foods for $10, and they're available for about the same price (including shipping) on Amazon.


I just finished reading this post on breast-feeding and found it ridiculously full of helpful information. I love Peaceful Parenting in general, but this article cemented it as a daily go-to. Yay! And while we're on the subject of breasfeeding, I've read Dr. Sears's book and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. The latter was better and much more thorough, though both cover the basics of latching on and all that good stuff. I haven't checked out Ina May Gaskin's new book on BF, however, and would love to hear from anyone who has.

(On a side note, has anyone noticed how incredibly repetitive all the pregnancy and childbirth books are? I feel like one good book on each subject would have been enough, but of course I went overboard [as those savvy book publishers knew I would] and now I pretty much own a small library on the subjects. Ah, well, they will be passed along to a lucky friend or relative one day.)


Super-simple embroidered dishwasher magnet

After a couple "ack, you put dirty dishes in with the clean dishes!" episodes in our house, I decided to make a clean/dirty magnet for the dishwasher. My first attempt involved felt, a Sharpie, and magnet tape. Well, Sharpie ink bleeds all over felt, and the magnet tape wasn't strong enough to grip through a layer of felt, soooo onto attempt #2, which thankfully has been working quite well.

Get it:
Disappearing-ink pen
Embroidery needle
Embroidery thread
Strong magnet
Regular needle & thread

Do it:
I cut a rectangle out of yellow felt. (I would suggest using a darker-color felt, though, to eliminate show-through, which you can kind of see on my "dirty" magnet, above. Black felt with white thread would be cute, and you could use chalk to write your words.) On one side I wrote the word "clean," and on the other I wrote "dirty," using the disappearing-ink pen. Then I embroidered over the ink, using a very simple backstitch. This was my first embroidery attempt, and it was surprisingly easy!

After finishing the words and rinsing off the ink, I used some regular thread to stitch the magnet into place, basically making a little thread "net" attached to the back of my embroidery. I probably should have taken a photo of that, but rest assured, any method (no matter how ugly) of getting that magnet in there will work. You could also glue it in, if you're into that (gluing was my original plan, until I opened up my brand-new glue gun and read the tiny print that the lead contained in its cord can cause birth defects...wow, thanks, idiot glue gun makers! Grrr...).

Once the magnet is securely in place, hand-stitch or machine-sew the edges of the rectangle closed. I used white thread, but you could use a contrasting color or even embroider around the edges if you're feeling it. Other cute options include embroidering little pictures (angel/devil, sun/moon) or attaching ribbons, etc. to your sides. I skipped the fancy stuff in the interest of actually finishing the project.

And there you have it—successful embroidery and household harmony in one blog post. Don't say I never gave you anything, people. ;)

American Pregnancy Association: Induction "at the doctor's discretion"??

Here's what my most recent pregnancy newsletter from the American Pregnancy Association had to say under the heading "What should you plan for this week?":

Your healthcare provider will discuss the following possibilities:
The possibility of going past your due date
Induction (at the doctor's discretion)
Cesarean Birth

Ick. Here's what I wrote back to the APA (though I think my email is hanging out somewhere in cyberspace—anybody know a valid email for the APA?):

Hello, Your newsletter contains misinformation. Induction is not "at the doctor's discretion." Induction, like all medical decisions, is the decision of the patient, who gives or does not give her consent to all procedures after being adequately informed by her medical care-giver. This is informed consent, and it is the law. You should correct this information in your future mailings.

The language surrounding childbirth continues to exhaust me. A coworker asked me a couple months ago, "When will your doctor make you induce?" Ummm. What? No one makes me do anything. I am an adult, and I make all of my own decisions, and that certainly includes decisions about my health care. I continue to get inundated with the I word, the further past my (estimated, guesstimate) due date we go.

Personally, I consider even "natural" induction methods a form of intervention, and I'm not interested. (I just happened upon this great article on the subject—I love the peaceful parenting blog!) The baby will be born when he's physically ready to be born—that is how it has worked for, oh, eternity after all. So no, I don't want to push on my ankles or drink castor oil or whatever else supposedly gets labor going, thank you very much.

Grow, baby, and don't come out till you're big & strong. You are lucky to have patient parents, and we're ready whenever you are. :)


Dear Ina May,

I love you. If all I had done to get ready for childbirth was read your amazing book on the subject, I would have been the most prepared, positive, calm future mama the world has ever known. Instead, I made the mistake of talking to people, taking a childbirth class, and reading other books. Not that those were bad, but they have tended to feature a bit too much Cesearan/episiotomy/pain talk and nowhere near enough discussion of orgasmic birth. Your book, in contrast, gives all these wonderful firsthand stories of positive (even if not 100% positive), realistic experiences from women who trust their bodies and the process. It was inspiring and confidence-building, and I've read it twice so far. Thank you.


Oh, vinyl

Why do you haunt me? In other words, why does everything I buy smell like chemical death & have to be returned? Most recently: this cute, polkadot Kushies changing pad. Not that you would know from the online product descriptions (including the one on the Kushies website), or the packaging, that this is backed with vinyl. That little gem of information is contained only in tiny type on the pad's tag. Ah, well. Thank goodness for diaper.com's friendly return policy, eh?

In case you missed it, vinyl flooring has been linked to autism, phthalates (contained in PVC/vinyl) have been linked to reduced mental development and softened bones, and phthalate exposure is linked to male reproductive system problems, including feminization of baby boys, altered hormone levels in baby boys and men, reduced sperm concentration and motility, and increased sperm DNA damage in men.

So, needless to say, I've been trying to avoid vinyl/PVC in my home and workplace, as well as in the baby stuff we're buying. It ain't easy, but it's worth it.

Oh, and I finally found a waterproof but scary-chemical-free changing pad:

I heart the Internet & eco-conscious companies!


Cutesy daisy magnets

So our friends Kate & Don threw us an amazing baby shower here in Atlanta recently. Fabulous food (including basil lemonade and a fruit salad with pomegranate seeds, both of which I am still obsessing about), good friends, and even a couple of adorable babies. What more can a pregnant lady ask for? (Comfortable shoes? Portable air-conditioner? But I digress.) They decorated with adorable little daisies and tiny green mums.* So, as my little thank-you gift to our guests, I whipped up some daisy magnets.

Get it:
White felt
Yellow felt
Yellow thread (optional)
Needle (optional)
Magnets (or magnet tape, which I found at Hancock Fabrics)

Do it:
Make a template for the white petals. I just freehanded a drawing on a piece of thin cardboard. Cut out the required number of flowers from the white felt. Cut out the same number of circles from the yellow felt (I freehanded all of these because I wanted the magnets to be sort of unique and homemade-looking).

I sewed each yellow circle to the white flower, but you could just as easily glue them together. Also, I realllly wanted to use bright-green thread for the sewing, but settled for yellow because I didn't have any green. Boo. Orange would be cute, too.

After that's all done, glue a magnet to the back of each flower. I used the magnet tape, and then a few days after I made it, my prototype flower fell right off of the magnet. So then I reinforced them with extra glue.

Voila! Enjoy, people!

* On a random side note, we had two showers & neither was blue-themed! (We're expecting a boy.) Hallelujah! We did get a lot of blue clothes, though, so I guess you can't win 'em all. Not that I'm anti-blue, I just never wanted to dress my boy all in blue & my girl all in pink. In fact, I'm wearing a blue dress right now and I'm not even a man! See how that works, baby product people?


Hello, world.

Okay, so I'm pregnant and on a mission to make the healthiest baby ever. So I've spent the past 38.5 weeks researching baby (and mama) health and well-being. And herein, I will share the results of my borderline-OCD search. I will also try to reduce the number of manila folders floating around my house. Promise.

For a combination of reasons (saving $$, health/environmental concerns, fun), I am also making a million things for the baby and will be sharing some of my work. I am pretty much untrained, not counting high school home ec, so I gravitate toward really easy projects or projects that don't necessarily require a ton of specialized skill to be attractive and/or functional (think glue + felt). I will do my best to provide lots o' step-by-step instructions and photos for others with crafty leanings/longings and a similar lack of expertise. I also will be linking to an occasional higher-level project that I love in hopes that some kind soul will (a) make it for me or (b) tell me how to do it.

I have been so, so, soo inspired by all of the amazing crafty women out there who are making and blogging! (I'm sure there are some men, too, but I haven't really come across them yet.) Many of my projects come from their patterns or are my own takes on their work, and I will be sure to provide links to their sites.

So welcome, and enjoy.