Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Baby in a Box

Er, well, storage ottoman.

That is all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dare to... Entertain!

This week's Dare to DIY is all about making a beautiful table.  I have done a similar centerpiece on my table for a few years now, and my favorite part is a big gold glitter reindeer.  I also have gold chargers and other gold accents.  So, I knew I wanted to keep it gold and glittery.  Along these lines, I wanted to try a version of a project I've seen on Pinterest where you glitter a silloute of a deer head.  My version was on a plate. 

It was way easier than I thought it would be!  I found some basic glass plates at the thrift store for $2 apiece.  I then googled for a reindeer image, printed it out, and taped the paper underneath the plate so I could see the image through the glass.

Then I simply took a small paintbrush and Mod Podged the areas of the image onto the plate, and glittered with a fine gold glitter.  It worked really well and I love how it looks!  It made me want to glitter all kinds of glass items!

I love how it makes the plate look dimensional.  And it's perfect because we don't actually eat here (hellllo plate on our laps on the couch...) so nonfunctional plating works for me.  Also, it's hard to photograph, but the gold really shines when the sun filters through the window.

I love how they look with my little centerpiece - I used a giant cutting board I got at a thrift store a few years ago ($3!), some tinsel and mini ornaments, and paper stars.  So very woodlandy, right?  There are totally glitter deer and feather trees out there somewhere, right?  Right next to the unicorns and werewolves?

Check out these projects I did for Dare to DIY in year's past
2010's Fall Table

2011's Thanksgiving Table with ModPodged Leaves 

Go check out the other projects

All of the projects are also being linked up to these fun blogs - check them out there too!
Decor and the Dog
Maybe Matilda 
Two Twenty One

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Our Things

On a weekend dedicated to consumerism and a spend,spend,spend mentality, I was struck by the poignant contrast of loving the things you have... versus loving to have things.  

This morning I unloaded a box of treasures I brought home this past weekend from my Grammy's house.  About a year ago, my Grammy moved into an assisted living home where she is doing quite well.  She brought many of her beloved things from home with her, but the reduction in space simply didn't allow her to take everything she had curated over the years.  Like many older people, the things she had in her home were of a certain quality and style not found in homes of people of my age or means.  She had collected things over the years that meant something.  Antiques or gifts chosen for their quality, not just because they were a bargain.  Items well-loved and imbued with sentimentality.  Many things in her home had been passed down to her and carried with them memories of her childhood, in turn becoming part of my mom's memories, and mine as well.  

As we walked through her home, culled down to half-empty rooms and bare walls, I was brought back to the days I spent as a child, visiting Grammy in Virginia, coloring at an ornate marble table under strict instructions not to tip it over.  Of gazing in the giant painted mirror that hung on the wall and seemed fancier than anything I'd ever seen.  Of the cut-glass candy dish always filled with seasonal treats.  Of the bronze metal gong with a history I couldn't even remember, but knew was laced with importance.  The commissioned painting of my mom as a little girl, a luxury unknown in today's world of Instagram photos.

Sure, Grammy had moved from her home that I visited as a little girl many years ago, to be closer to our family in Tennessee.  Yet despite the new surroundings, these items still retained their memories, their spirit.  And as I walked around on the mission to find and take anything I wanted, lest it be soon donated, I felt the compulsion to take everything.  To save these items and my memories.  Certainly, my mom had already saved many of these pieces for herself and those with the most value were not going to be given away.  Yet still, I felt an acute sadness.

I always loved her books, so I was happy to find some to take home.  Despite the mold splotches and mildewed smell, I always feel that an old book should be saved.  The fact that items made of flimsy paper and thread can withstand years of use, lining a bookshelf, standing sturdily upright, is something to be celebrated.  And what happened to the days when books were considered prized possessions? - enough so to take the time to write your name in it...

In her attic, we went through treasured Christmas items, collected over the years and well-loved.  Many items were wrapped protectively in tissue, tucked away in boxes and meticulously labeled.  When she packed these up a few years ago on a cold January day, she didn't know she wouldn't be bringing them down again the following December. 

We spend so much effort and time and money buying things that make us happy.  We store things with care or display them with pride.  Yet just as often, we don't appreciate what we have.  We take for granted the abundance in our lives.  We lose interest and stop caring for the things that once made us happy.

So my message today isn't anti-shopping or anti-stuff - it's simply a reminder to remember why you buy.  There's a feeling beyond compare of finding an item that brings you true joy.  That makes you happy to spend the money you sacrificed to earn.  The things that make your house a home and the treasures you will infuse with memories for years to come.

[And to be sure this doesn't sound too sad, here's a funny picture of us visiting Grammy at her new home, where many of her treasures still surround her.  Now, there's simply a new generation to enjoy them. :)  ]

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dare to be ... Thankful!

Over the past few years, I have happily played along with Kim over at Newlywoodwards as she hosted her Dare to DIY series. 

It has always been serious motivation to get my craft on - at a time when nostalgia is brimming over and I feel the need to fill my home with sentimental decor.  This year, her series is even bigger! (check it out!)

 So this week - the challenge is to make something thankful-related - namely, Thanksgiving decor.  Here's what I've done in years past:

2010's Thankful blocks

2011's Thankful frame

Well, two years ago I made one of my favorite crafts - that Thankful block set - and I just don't really have much more room for Thanksgiving decorations.  So I cheated a bit and made something "thankful" that will last the whole year through.

I've wanted some DIY art for my laundry room for um, like a year now.  This was a good reason to get around to it.  The project was simple.  I knew I wanted a phrase, but also knew I have terrible handwriting.

So I gathered fancy watercolor paper and pencils given to me as a gift, some scrapbooking stickers I had around, a cup of water - and got to work.  I just stuck the stickers down and crossed my fingers that they wouldn't stick permanently to the paper (they didn't!). I think the American ones are a nice touch...

I then got to work with the watercolor pencils.  I have no idea how to use them properly.  The last time I watercolored was with the kid's little white strip with 5 colors thing. I think I did decently, all things considered.  I crossed my fingers again and peeled off the stickers, leaving the white words.  It worked!

I then popped it in a thrifted frame, and here it sits in our laundry room, an important reminder in a place where one might have a tendency to feel a little less than grateful, especially when scrubbing baby messes out of onesies.  

So no, not Thanksgivingy, but you could certainly do this method with seasonal colors too. :)

Go check out the other projects

All of the projects are also being linked up to these fun blogs - check them out there too!
Decor and the Dog
Maybe Matilda 
Two Twenty One

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Year's Difference

It was this time, one year ago, that we found out we were going to have a baby.

I took no fewer than 8 pregnancy tests - within two hours.  It was a mix of shock, excitement, and pure joy, and that night will stick in my mind forever.  

See the water bottle??  I was chugging them to take more tests!  I tried each brand that exists- just to be sure  :)

I don't think I've shared this video before, but wanted to now.  My parents and Grammy and Tony's parents were planning to spend Thanksgiving at our house - so it was the perfect time to tell them all in person - together.  We always do the traditional "everyone go around and say what you're thankful for" ritual before eating - and I set myself up to go last.  Tony stealthily filmed it on my phone - thus the terrible angle - I was literally nearly breathless, so nervous and excited to tell them and I wasn't even sure how I was going to say it until the words came out.  I was sure my mom saw it coming a mile away - but apparently she didn't (that's her screeching off camera) - they were all so surprised!  I just love this video.

So one year later, I'm holding my big girl close.  My little tiny baby who is growing up so fast already.  Our little love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Carseat Oops

When I heard the local police were doing a car seat inspection event at Target, we headed up, figuring I could get our seat checked out and some shopping (ie: ogling and being sad I can't buy anything) done at the same time.  Win win.

Since this is our first bambino, I figured it wouldn't hurt to make sure we were doing it all the right way, even though I'm crazy paranoid anyway and researched everything and tighten the straps down extra tight and etc.

Glad I went!  Turns out, I was wrong about where the handle of the infant seat goes.  I had read that it should be "all of the way forward" or something like that - and assumed that meant it needed to be pulled as far down as it could go, like when you are carrying it.  I had been nagging Tony every time he forgot to pull it down after putting her in it... But, apparently it's supposed to be all of the way back, like behind the baby's head.  The handle is for carrying only and shouldn't go anywhere in front of the baby while it's in the car.  News to me.  Thank you Mr. police officer in your fancy uniform!

Sure, it seems like it's not a big deal, but I guess babies can crack their heads on the bar if you were in an accident.  That would be no good.

So, surely none of you are stupid like me and always knew how to do it correctly - but just in case - this is your psa for the day.

{I should add that I just googled all of this - and there are many sites that say just the opposite - but I'm just going to trust my local police man anyway}

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Clubfoot Files: Baby Gear for 23/7 Brace Wear

1 - Hank and Jojo Retro Tube Socks
  2 - Halo Sleep Sacks
3 - Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker
  4 - Wide leg pants (Carters and Circo ones are great!)  
5 - Footless, Snapping PJs (or regular ones that you cut the feet off of!)  
6 - Luggage handle cover 
 7 - Cornstarch! 

One of my biggest sticking points when we found out Harper would have clubfoot (beyond the obvious concern for her well-being) was how having a cast/brace would impact clothes and baby gear.  When you are a first-time mom, things like that seem pretty important.  And true story - I was pretty bummed about her not being able to wear footed pjs.  (Spoiler alert: I got over it.)

So, life goes on during brace wear with remarkably few tweaks needed.  However, there are a few things that have helped, and I wanted to share those here.

1.  Hank and Jojo Retro Baby tube socks- 

These are quite pricey ($30 for 4 pairs! Plus shipping!), but I kept reading about how great they were, so I got some when they were sold through Mini Social (a Groupon type thing for little ones).  Well, it took FOREVER for them to ship, so we had to use other socks for a few weeks while we waited on them.  We bought socks from Old Navy, Target, BRU, and even tried some we had gotten at a consignment sale.  

None worked well - we just couldn't find ones that were small enough and that were thin enough.  You really want thin socks for the brace since the shoes have to be buckled down so tightly, and extra material just leaves harsh indentions and can irritate.  Once we finally got these socks, they worked the best.  We got the smallest size (infant), and they are still slightly large on her, but not too bad.  Of course, we had a relatively quick casting process and she was quite little still when we first got the brace, so if you have an older kiddo, the sock issue might not be such a big deal.  

So, yes, these are like $9 a pair, but I figured if she has to wear these shoes all of the time, the least we could do was get her fancy socks.  And they come in fun colors - like "key lime" as seen above.

{Edited later to add:  At 20 months old, we are STILL using these same pairs, size Infant!  Harper, and many cf babies, have small feet.  I have the next H&JJ size up, but they are still huge on her.  After 18 months of daily wear, some socks have small holes but they are still working well.  Great investment!!!}

2.  Halo Sleep Sacks - 

I would have probably put Harper in these anyway, but they are especially helpful now that she's in the brace.  It fits in just fine and it helps keep her feet warm.  It will also help cushion the blow of the brace hitting the crib sides, once she's a mover.  She wears the fleece swaddle one to bed (arms out, of course - can't hold her down!) and the regular cotton one during the day for naps.

{Edited later to add: At nearly two years old, we still use sleep sacks for sleeping.  It protects the crib from her brace at night and she's nice and cozy.  Now we are in the size Medium.}

3. Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker - 

This seemed excessive, but when we had a battery oozing issue with our older bouncy seat, we upgraded to this one (from Target).  It works out really well, since it's wider and flat at the bottom, fitting her brace perfectly, whereas the other bouncer curves in and puts her feet at an angle.  Again, not a requirement, but it works pretty well for us.  Bonus - good beach chair!

4. Wide leg pants- 

One hour of freedom!
I was worried about pants.  Especially since leggings are all the rage in wee fashion these days.  However, you can still find some wider legged pants, like these from Circo at Target and Carters basics.  Just look for a wide foot opening - those shoes are pretty bulky.  I have wrestled her into some skinnier pants, but it's just not worth the effort, especially when she poops through her pants at least once a day.

{Edited later to add:  We have the Dennis Browne bar that has the quick-release tabs.  I can just pop the bar off, leaving her shoes on, put on her pants, then snap the bar right back in place.  This makes it quite easy!}

5.  Footless Pjs and/or Footed Pjs that snap (and a pair of scissors) - 

It is amazing how elusive non-footed pjs are.  Like, they aren't made anywhere it seems.  But I quickly found out that you can just take the regular ones and cut off the feet.  If you have a guilty conscience about this like I did, find some at thrift stores or consignment stores so you don't feel like you're destroying nice clothes.  This method does leave her feet a bit exposed, which is why the sleep sack is good too.

{Edited later to add:  We are now HUGE fans of Carter's snapping, non-footed pjs, especially the microfleece ones for winter.  They fit really well and leave room for the shoes.  They are worth the investment for me!  The cotton ones are great for summer too.  The only problem is they only make them up to size 9m, so now at one year old we are on the hunt for big girl jammies that work.}

{Edited even later to add:  We use regular 2 piece cotton jammies now that she's older, even though she's wearing the brace at night.  Even with tighter-fitted ankles on the pants, I just put them on before putting her shoes on.  No big deal!}

6. Luggage handle cover - 

My mother in law found some of these at a local boutique store.  They are fabric and velcro and fit perfectly onto the brace.  It adds a cushion to the brace and makes it a little cuter.  That can never hurt, right?  Try finding these in stores that sell Vera Bradley and that kinda thing.

7.  Corn starch - 

Putting her shoes back on... with an audience
We were having a bit of an issue with red spots from the shoes rubbing, and that has significantly decreased since we started using corn starch.  I just rub some in on her feet before putting her socks on - it keeps them dry and provides a little buffer.  Many use baby powder but I'm a little wary of it and all of the chemicals, so this is a great alternative.  Also - super cheap.

*A note about babywearing: I should add that I haven't tried out a baby carrier like a Moby or Ergo.  I like the idea, and I've seen people make it work with the brace, but Harper is too wiggly and just doesn't really like to be held close.  Frankly it just seems like more trouble than it's worth for her. So I can't really recommend any that work, but give it a Google if you're interested.  I'm sure lots of other mamas have great tips to share! :)

See?  Not that different from any other baby.  Just a little tweaking needed!  If any other cf moms have any other tips on gear, let me know!

[please forgive the phone pics - not my finest work!]

{{Edited later to add:  If you are having any issues with sores, red spots, or blisters... I have a few recommendations that I didn't include here, simply because we didn't know about them yet at that time!  First, of course, talk to your doctor about any wearing issues with the brace.  However, if it seems minor, here are my suggestions:  
1.  Moleskin - the kind you buy to put in new shoes.  Try adhering the padding to the back of the shoe above the heel to displace the pressure.  Also try adding some to the top tongue of the shoes.  We have to modify every new pair of shoes we get in this way.  You can see some examples of this on this post
2. PRESSURE SADDLES! - I can't suggest this enough.  I finally (finally!) got some of these after dealing with months and months of major sores on the tops of her feet where the middle strap rubbed.  You can read this post to learn more about pressure saddles.  I highly suggest them!  
Even if you are just noticing a little redness - in any area of the foot - learn from my mistakes and be proactive about getting it under control.  A little redness can quickly turn into a sore that doesn't heal for months on end, making time in the brace (and out of it!) painful for your little one.  Talk to your doctor and find one of the many ways to modify the shoes so they can still do their job without hurting your little one!}}

Check out all of my other Clubfoot Files posts here!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


(i was much inspired to do this by this pin)

Throughout my crafting adventures (don't laugh!), I've come across many fonts I love.  I usually go for the very clean-lined ones, like Origin and Walkway, but in making some signage for a friend's wedding, I came across some vintagey and scriptey ones that I liked as well - like Riesling, Sverige Script, and Noir-et-Blanc.  Peach sundress is a new fave and making an appearance in my new blog header and in Harper's weekly pics.

I usually download from, mostly because I haven't yet gotten a virus by doing so (knock on wood).  Good reasoning, right?

My favorite font ever?  Opifico.  I will settle for Calibri when doing something official.

What's your fave?  A girl can never have too many good fonts.

[ps - Tony just read this over my shoulder and said, "You're writing about fonts???  Nerd." 

They just don't understand, do they?]

Monday, November 5, 2012

Do You Love Me, Do You Surfer Girl?

I know, I know.  Halloween was soooo last month.  But I would be remiss if I didn't share Harper's first Halloween.  It only happens once, right?

Since she's still wearing her brace 23 hours a day, I wanted to make it part of her costume.  We're all about embracing it and working with what we've got around here.  So, she was a surfer.

She already had the little rashguard shirt (Target clearance section, what what!) and I just used bloomers for the bottoms.  I was afraid she would freeze so I just cut holes in tights so they could slip over her shoes, since she can't really wear anything but socks under her shoes.  I'm usually not a huge headband fan, but she needed to accessorize, so I actually got the band and the flower separate at Walmart and glued them together.  Rocket science! 

The fun part was the surfboard.  I just made it out of cardboard, cutting little door-hanger type holes in the back so it could slip onto the brace.  I painted it and added some glitter, Mod Podging the final product so she could cut through the waves more easily.  

This little surfer girl's belly just can't be contained.

Girl, surfer girl, my little surfer girl.

Check out all of my other Clubfoot Files posts here!
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