Wednesday, November 16, 2011

just like a bought one

So, I finally gathered together all the bits I've been collecting for a little while. Sweet vintage fabrics. Bamboo PUL fabric. Swimwear elastic. Bamboo french terry. Plastic snaps and my new beast of a snap press. My trusty sewing machine.

And I made this.
My first home-made fitted cloth nappy.
I am well chuffed. I wanted to create the most gentle nappy I could, both for my girl, and the planet. So I upcycled some vintage sheet fabrics (thanks, Vintage Sheet Swap folk!), and used bamboo PUL rather than cotton or polyester. I did use polyester microfleece to line the nappy, for a comfy bum. Bamboo french terry forms the snap-in, absorbent layer.  I followed the Fattycakes nappy pattern, which I splurged a whole six bucks on (worth it, too). I have altered the pattern to suit my needs, and my girl's skinny legs. I got overexcited by the opportunity to sew today and forgot to take pics, but will do a photo tutorial if any one's keen?

Looking at creative outer space over here...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

meaningful gift: freezer paper printed tee

A little boy we know turned three recently, so I had a go at the bloggy classic/cliche t-shirt printing using freezer paper stencil technique. And it's really easy. Check me out.
Gather the things you will need.
  • freezer paper (I bought mine from an online craft store a couple of years ago)
  • t-shirt
  • paint (I just used acrylic)
  • a stencil brush, or a brush with hard, flat bristles
  • a cutting implement- some tutes say exacto knife, I don't know what that is. I bought a nifty Friskars scalpel thing, with a swivel blade and a handle you stick your finger in.
1. Create your image. I used photo shop, opening an A4 page, and drawing a custom shape on it. Print the image out. You can print directly onto the paper side of the freezer paper if you want to, but I ran out of ink after I did a test print. You could also just draw your image (derr).

2. Cut out the part of the image that you want to end up seeing on your shirt.

3. Iron your stencil onto the shirt. No steam, relatively hot- I used the cotton setting. Plasticy side down, and remember to remove any bits of sticky tape you used when cutting. Don't forget the little pieces!

4. Paint away! But before you start, make sure you have a piece of paper or fabric inside the shirt to stop any paint going through to the other side. Dab a bit of paint onto the end of your brush, then dab off the excess. Use a light, up-and-down motion to apply the paint through the stencil. Go as heavy or light as you like. Lots of paint creates a nice, clean solid block, a little paint for a more grungy look. I mixed up a grey using my black and white acyclic, but left the mix a bit marbled for a patchier finish.
5. Peel away your stencil. See how nice and clean the edge is? No bleed, because the stencil was stuck down!

6. Let the paint dry, then give it an iron on the reverse side to set the paint. Sweet!
All in all, I was very happy with how this turned out. It is fiddly to have to cut a new stencil every time you want to print something, but I guess that makes it a pretty special gift, no? Will definitely be doing more of these. Oh, and I saw the little guy wearing it the day after we gave it to him, that's ace.

Checking out more creativity over here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

a star (and a mum) is born

As I sat in the humid school hall, arms folded across my chest, I huffed annoyance. Crappy seat right at the back. It's too hot. The baby will be getting hungry. Sitting next to people I don't know. Looking around at the rapidly-filling seats, I came to the conclusion that there are two kinds of mums at these school performance things. The kind who sit and roll their eyes. And the kind who stand up and wave at their precious poppet, insisting that the child notice them in the audience. I firmly put myself in the first category.

And then it happened.

My boy, my first baby, took to the stage and performed his number with the grace of Gene Kelly and engaged the audience with his comedic expression and commitment to the dance moves. Sure, there were thirty other kids on the stage, but surely none of the audience could see them, what with the star of my child shining so brightly.

And I stood up, and waved to my precious poppet. See me! I willed.  See me watching you and thinking you are the most wonderful thing in the world!

And it got worse. I clapped, loudly. I took a photo or two. And I whooped. I was alone, in an audience of folks I don't know, and I whooped. And I may have even shed a tear.

Looks like I've switched camps.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

having a go: baby-led feeding

A quick google search yesterday uncovered a lovely article in the Sydney Morning Herald about baby-led feeding, or baby-led weaning. It talked to a lovely mum with cool art on her wall who had introduced solids to her little boy via soft, hand-held pieces, rather than the traditional rice cereal-purees-mash route.

I had a conversation with my awesome early childhood nurse about a month ago, about baby-led feeding. I had seen little mentions of it around the interwebs, and I was surprised to hear her response in support of it. I had fully expected Well, dear, that's fine, but your baby will probably choke. Instead I got a wealth of information about suitable foods to use, why this method is beneficial, and how to tell if bub is ready to eat food.

So, we are having a crack at it. This is why:
1. She's ready. She can sit up in the highchair. She can pick things up in her hands and bring them to her mouth. Her tongue thrust reflex is gone. She is interested in what is happening at mealtimes.
2. I am, essentially, lazy. I remember a strong feeling of satisfaction at cooking up lovely purees of fruit and vegetables for my sons. But busyness is taking over this time 'round. The thought of sitting and spoon feeding during the morning rush sends my brain into meltdown.
3. Despite my amazing ability to over complicate anything, logic wins. It just seems to make more sense to start the way you intend to finish. I can't see a good reason to teach a baby to accept food from a spoon when she can learn to put food in her own mouth. Surely this will aid in her co-ordination and her eventual ability to spoon feed herself? Also, I never really 'got' the rice cereal thing. It smells and tastes awful, and made my babies constipated.

4. Eating is a lovely social behaviour. I want our family to enjoy sitting around the table and sharing a meal, and the little one should be included in that! I only have to see how the toddler follows his big brother's lead if he is offered some food he isn't sure about, to know that so much that we learn about food comes from those around us.

So, there you go. We have been having a go for about three weeks now, no pressure, just little bits. Here are some links to more information about baby-led feeding:
Baby Knows Best SMH article
Baby Led Weaning- The Mush Stops Here fab website with blog, forum and recipes. First stop, really!
Baby-Led Weaning an Aussie mum's blog about her little girl learning to eat
Starting Solid Foods by Gill Rapley, on the Australian Breastfeeding Association website

Remember to talk to your Early Childhood nurse, this is just an account of my experience, not expert advice! How are you going/ did you go about supporting your children learning to eat?

Friday, November 4, 2011

this is happiness

About an hour ago, I was overwhelmed by the urge to hold her as she slept. So I did. And stoked her fluffy chick hair. And counted her fingers. And kissed her dimpled hands. I just realised it's six months ago, tonight, that I first encountered that dark hair, those perfect fingers, those tiny hands.

And I thought, how lucky am I?

Being grateful with others here

hey, thanks!

A beautifully-wrapped package arrived...

...was quickly unwrapped by eager hands...

...and devoured by hungry eyes. Hilarious jokes for a big boy, the little boy searching the back for familiar characters. Aren't Little Golden Books just the best? And all thanks to my lovely new friend from Seaweed and Raine. Also thanks to Catherine at SquiggleMum for the Octonauts DVD. My boy was beside himself at receiving a package in the mail!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

gift for a new arrival

Things have gone quiet next door. I don't know if that means a baby has arrived, or if they are just avoiding us and our sick tummies. Either way, I have finished a gift for the impending arrival.
A little bonnet, like my girl's golden one, but a little tweaked. The design still needs a little tweaking, but I'm nearly there I think. A pair of ruffly butt bloomers. A singlet with a rosette-button-pouffy thingo. All from upcycled materials. I so love that vintage floral. And navy, mint and lilac for a girl, waddyathink?

I found myself watching two docos last night, one on birth in the UK, and one on breastfeeding. The birth one was really graphic- no pixely bits like an American show. As I was watching the women push through their various birthing journeys, I shamefully had an internal tanty of jealousy. I want to do that again. And I want video and photos of it so I remember it better.

But do I really? Not the babies thing, I am deliriously happy with our little family. But do I have regret about not inviting a photographer in to the births? Maybe. I wonder what I looked like. I would like to have a few of those moments frozen in time. They are etched on my brain forever though. And I can always ask my darling, who was there holding my hand, and laughing with me, every moment.

What is your take on birth photography? I am linking up with other creative labours here (see what I did there?)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

found: old-fashioned fashion

Since making my little girl's bonnet, I've been contemplating old-fashioned designs, and what made us move away from some of those classic baby- and children's-wear designs. I guess stretch fabric took clothing in a very different direction, but there is something really special about lovely soft, fine cotton made up into sweet little suits with a little embellishment on them. Much like these little ones I found last week.
At two dollars a piece, I could have cried that no-one else wanted them! Linking up with other found things over at Sophie's, in a tardy kind of way.


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