Swaddle Love for Balloon

In the last couple of weeks there has been all kinds of controversy over whether or not to swaddle your baby. At least I think there has been … I refuse to click on the headlines and read the articles. Not because I don’t want to be informed, but rather because I don’t want to be scared. I’m planning on asking my pediatrician their opinion and doing my best to ignore the opinions of the internets. The internets are unreliable, y’all. And they basically always convince me that I have cancer. Even if I’m just looking for the answer to a really important question like “how do I style little girl hair?”

Anyway, I love a swaddle. I have a tiny bit of third-time-mom guilt that I haven’t made as much for this baby as I did for my first two. So I paid a visit to the utterly delightful Owl & Drum and purchased some dreamy fabrics to make swaddles for my Baby Balloon.

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Swaddles are not difficult to create (they’re just a square, y’all), but they do require a little patience. I made two, using two different hemming methods.

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First up, this lovely painted-gingham fabric by Michael Miller. It is a loose-weave that is linen-esque. But also soft like gauze. {Maybe it’s a double gauze?} It’s lovely and I love it.

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Thank you, trusty elephant, for being my swaddle model.

I used Grainline Studio’s tutorial for a cheater rolled hem on this one. The end result is lovely, although it does take some patience. Or an episode of Bones, in my case.

The next swaddle is a lovely gauze that is so dreamy soft and thin that I wish I could sleep under it. (Those would be really expensive sheets).

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Elephants are harder to swaddle than you might think.
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So thin. So lovely.

For this one, I simply serged all four edges. Then I turned under the serged edges and stitched with a small zig-zag stitch.

Cozy, sweet, cuddly … all what I want in a homemade swaddle. If Balloon’s a girl, I might add a pale peach monogram to the grey and white swaddle. Or baby pom pom trim. Or leave it as-is because she would be a newborn and I’ll be tired. We’ll see.

If you have the time (or a tv episode to watch), these make excellent baby gifts, too. Even if someone’s not a swaddler, a large, breezy blanket is a necessity in any mom’s diaper bag.

A Room for Baby Balloon

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We are into surprise babies around here. By that I mean that we are on the don’t-find-out-the-gender bandwagon. I’m not going to argue that everyone should do it … I get that for emotional sanity, not everyone can! I’m also not going to argue that it’s one of life’s last true surprises as many folks do. It’s just FUN for us.

The first question I get from people is, “How do you decorate the nursery without knowing the gender?” I’m not really a stereotypical decorator anyway, so I just kind of go for it. For my first two, that meant lots of COLOR (those who know me best were not surprised at all). But Balloon’s room already had blue-on-blue striped wallpaper. It’s really pretty wallpaper, and we did NOT want to take down wallpaper. So I went with it. What has resulted is a sweet room that any baby would love. (As much as a baby gives a flip about their room, amiright?)

Before I give you a tour, let me just go ahead and say a few things: 1-I don’t know how to take and edit indoor pictures. The walls look a different color in every picture here. 2-Yes, there is stuff under the dresser and under the bed. I am not aiming to ever be a home-style blogger. Obviously. What I am is a real-life blogger. And for real … we store stuff under our beds.

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This sign hung over the doorway to Kenny’s nursery as a baby. What a sweet way to welcome people into our kiddo’s room.
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Woops … forgot to move the baby gate. Seriously … not a home-style blogger.

For the most part, I was okay with re-purposing items or buying things already made this time around. But I did craft/create a few things myself. For the video monitor, we needed a little more height. So I took a stack of books that we don’t really read but don’t want to get rid of (things like a Calculus text-book, some theology books on youth ministry, and a couple of classic novels) and covered them in pretty fabrics.

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The panda head and the laundry basket are both from Target. The diaper bag that is randomly stashed under the dresser is my favorite. Ask if you’re interested in details.

I had a dream of making these beautiful curtains that are white with a large-scale modern floral print in grey. Something very Marimekko in style. I did find the fabric I liked … and it was $60/yard. SO … I bought basic Ikea curtains and added grey fringe trim I got for $1/yard on my Fabricut run to Pryor. Then we hung them from the ceiling for a more dramatic effect. And you know what? I think I totally love them.

We decided to leave the bed in the room. It’s a big room, so space wasn’t an issue. And it’s nice to have a spare bed for guests. The quilt across the bottom of the bed matches nothing else in the room, and I don’t care. It was made by my grandmother, and we used it on Elsie’s bed for two years. It will stay and I do not need a perfectly matching room!

I also really wanted to recover our glider rocker. But that wasn’t in the budget. So I bought a slipcover. It looked awful. SO, I accepted that a baby’s going to be spitting up on it anyway. I hung some grey fabric across the back, decorated with my beautiful African marriage blanket (is that what it’s called, Em?), and threw some sherpa I’ve been hoarding on the ottoman. It’s not perfect, but it will do. I’ll keep you updated if Balloon has strong opinions on his/her non-recovered glider.

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Once the baby arrives, I plan to hang either their monogram (if a girl) or first initial (if a boy) on the wall here over the glider. 

The one item I was most excited about creating was the wall-hanging over the changing table. My sister-in-law Laura had sent me a snap of a really cool wall hanging made with yarn and a limb. So I took the idea and ran. I collected various grey, white, and patterned fabrics from my stash and cut strips from them. Then I simply looped them around a limb from the redbud tree we recently cut down. After hanging the strips, I trimmed them up to look evenly uneven. I used some scraps of black leather to hang my “art” on the wall. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

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My favorite part of the room just got completed this weekend, though. As a nod to his/her in-utero nickname, I had Elsie and Caroline paint balloon pictures to go over the crib. They are messy and imperfect and don’t match anything in the room. AND I LOVE THEM.

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It’s baby week, y’all. We will meet our kiddo THIS WEEK. And I am so excited. I enjoyed creating this space for him or her. And it has been more fun than I ever imagined to see how excited my big girls have been by this process. I’ll be back tomorrow with another make for Balloon.

 

No affiliate links here. I still don’t know how to do that. I just wanted to be informative in case you liked any of my stuff.

A Friend for Baby Balloon

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*Early in my pregnancy, Elsie decided she was going to call the baby “Balloon.” We laughed and thought it would be the first of many baby nicknames. It was not … it has stuck. We can’t wait to meet Balloon and start calling him or her by their real name. But I suspect we’ll always refer to the sweet kiddo as Balloon sometimes.*

With each of my pregnancies, I have been so lucky to have a dear friend who was pregnant alongside me. Two months before Elsie was born, my friend Kat had Bo. [They still talk about each other even though they haven’t seen each other in over a year.] A week before Caroline was born, my friend Amanda had Tommy. [We’re working on an arranged marriage for these two.]

And exactly one month after Balloon’s due date, my dear friend Hailey is due to have a baby girl. Hailey and her family have been a GIFT to us since moving to Tulsa. While they have been a part of our church community group, they have become friends way beyond that over the last year. And we have had the privilege to celebrate their coming daughter with so much joy.

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Pregnant girls trying to hug. Pitiful, isn’t it?

Two weeks ago I got to attend the sweetest baby shower tea for Hailey and her girl. And I got to put together the most fun gift for Baby Sis. Hailey and I laugh a lot at how different our style is. Namely, she likes neutrals and greys above all else, and I love pattern and color. So when picking out fabrics for tiny baby things for Hailey’s daughter, I had to show some major restraint!

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This is a perfect example of us: Hailey in a chic black dress. Me in as much color and pattern as a girl could possibly squeeze into one outfit. Both of us talking and laughing and gesturing.

When I first started dreaming about what I wanted to make for Baby Sis, I felt like it would be so hard to tone down my natural inclination towards all the pattern and all the color. But then, as I dug through my stash of fabric, I realized that it was so fun to pick fabrics just for Hailey and her girl … things that she would completely delight in putting on her sweet, prayed for babe.

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I couldn’t resist some color in the gift wrap though.

I have had this adorable Baby Sunbonnet pattern from Purl Soho bookmarked for months. It is just so sweet, and so fun to put together!

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Chambray from my stash. Kona white cotton lining.

I’ll be happy with Balloon no matter who he/she is … but if she’s a girl, I will be THRILLED to make one of these lined in a floral for her! But for Hailey … a simple chambray with white lining was just perfect!

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Made-by-Rae’s Just Hatched Leggings tutorial is also right up Hailey’s alley. So I turned to my favorite grey knit (with sparkle!) for some bitty baby leggings.

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Sparkle knit is from Joann. I wish I had bought a whole bolt.

That tag in the back is both a pop of color for me and a little help for Ryan when he’s doing the changing.:)

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I have gotten into the habit of keeping a stash of Baby Lit books in my gift closet. They are the perfect addition to any baby gift.

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Come on, Baby Balloon; and come on Baby Sis Myers. We can’t WAIT to meet you! Thanks for being Balloon’s first friend.

Ode to the White Sofa

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Once upon a time, in 2001, four girls went on a search for furniture for their apartment. These girls were starry-eyed and silly. Luckily for all of us, I don’t have a picture from that day. (It was not a pretty time in fashion, guys.) We came upon a yard sale where the folks were selling two sofas. One was a normal upholstered sofa with arms and cushions. The other was a white, vinyl, armless sofa on wheels that was priced at $5. Guess which one we picked.

After college, my dear Mary Beth so generously GAVE me the white sofa to help furnish my apartment in good ol’ Statesville, NC.

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One time, during my tenure in Statesville, I went out of town. These two hilariously awesome friends of mine staged a Christmas photo shoot in my house while I was gone. Luckily, the White Sofa was captured in this shoot.

 

And while the wheels are history, I have yet to part with the sofa. What was once a joke has become a beloved part of our family decor.

In our current home, #thewhitesofa is now in its third location … and I think this one’s a winner.

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Mother’s Day 2016

Please keep in mind that all of these pictures were taken with my iPhone, AND I have no clue what I’m doing with photography in general and indoor photography specifically.

Our bedroom is delightfully large, with a lounge area. I have dreams of recovering the white sofa. Not just dreams … I actually have the fabric, the piping, and the pattern all made. But there’s an addition coming to our family soon (please come soon, Balloon!), so I had to accept my humanity and admit that it would be best to make do with the white sofa (repaired for now with white duct tape) and just style that beast to death.

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If you peer closely, you can see the fabric for re-covering on the bottom shelf of the table on the left.

So I took a trip to the Fabricut Outlet in Pryor, OK this summer and bought yardage to recover the sofa (one day) as well as two yards of upholstery weight faux fur. Because OF COURSE, y’all.

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I also found this gorgeous remnant of color that I knew needed to become curtains for the random window over the sofa.

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Yay for color! The watercolor painting is of the valley at Frontier Ranch … painted by a friend on assignment with me the summer that Kenny and I met.

The pillow inserts are actually quite vintage. They are squared down from bed pillows hand-stuffed by my grandmother. One of these was the pillow I slept on every night as a girl.

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The trouble with an armless (vinyl) sofa is that it’s hard to lounge on. So I knew we needed an ottoman. My favorite furniture source to the rescue … the Midtown Flea Market. What’s the Midtown Flea Market, you ask? Well … it’s a little hard to explain. It’s a store front here in Tulsa filled quite literally floor to ceiling with furniture. Most of it needs minor repair. Some of it needs major repair. (Ask me if I’ve accidentally brought home some major repair furniture  before. Oops.) All of it is super affordable. So I popped in, talked to the awesomely prickly lady who owns the Market and bought this ottoman for $10. Just popped some fur on top and AWESOME.

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The rest is just rearranged. And the White Sofa lives to see another day. This time as a cozy setting for middle of the night feedings. I know it’s weird to say I’m looking forward to those, but right now I’m just so ready to meet our new person.

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We love you, White Sofa.

Maggie Mae is My Girl

So while most of my sewing is very very selfish, I do occasionally make the effort to sew for my nuggets. YES, kids’ sewing is quick, and YES it’s cute, and YES it’s nice to be able to control what they wear rather than being at the mercy of the children’s clothing makers. But y’all … they grow so dang fast, it just kind of makes me batty when I spend all my time on something and then POOF … it no longer fits.

HOWEVER, the creating of something beautiful for my little people just never disappoints. Especially when you find a winner of a pattern. Enter the Maggie Mae Tunic/Dress by Shwin Designs. I have now made five total of these dresses, and I’m not sure that I see an end in sight. For one thing, the pattern comes in a large range of sizes, and it’s neither babyish nor too tween-y.

My first Maggie Mae was for Elsie … an adorable matching ensemble with her sister (who is wearing a Little Geranium dress). Caroline was only a month old here, and I was in a crazy post-partum sewing frenzy. Don’t question the hormones … just check out how cute they are.

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My second Maggie Mae was again for our Elsie … this time to go to the Daddy/Daughter Dance when she was 2.5 years old. She still refers to this as her Daddy Dance dress, even when her sister wore it last summer. I used an old Lilly Pulitzer dress of mine for the top and bottom, and a white linen for the middle of the dress.

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My last three, though, were the most special. Kenny’s brother married his sweet love, Laura, in November. We all got to celebrate as a part of the wedding party. I immediately volunteered to make the dresses for my girls and my niece. I just knew that Maggie Mae would be the perfect base for a sweet flower girl dress.

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Laura wanted something with lots of fluffy tulle … I think I managed that quite nicely, don’t you?

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With their adorable flower headbands, they looked like dreamy little fairies.

Then, there was also this groomsman I had my eye on …😉

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Wedding photos all are taken by the fabulously talented Ellie Be. If you have photo needs, you should definitely check her out.

 

Maternity Montlake

I’m guest posting over at Straight Stitch Designs today with more details on how I modified the fabulous Montlake Tee to work for my maternity needs.

Hop on over and check it out. And while you’re there, you should DEFINITELY pick up your copy of the Montlake Tee pattern. It’s only $10 and worth every penny. (I should know … I’ve already made four! And I’m thinking that I probably need a cheesy Valentine’s version for number five.)

Go check out my tutorial!

Montlake testing FOR THE WIN

DISCLAIMER: I actually used my real camera for these pictures; yet they are the worst pictures I’ve posted on this blog yet. I waited until Kenny got home from work, and it turns out that it was too dark and cloudy then, but this is just my real life. And isn’t that one of the things I swore I would do with this blog? Be real? Not just give you the pretty version of everything? Well, here it is: my real grainy photos. Please have patience with me.:)

Since I was a little girl, I would get ideas in my head and need things to be that way. It sounds all great, like, “wow, Holly, you’re so decisive.” Except that no one else lives in my head, so making these things a reality is not so easy. Mostly this applies to clothing, shoes, and textiles issues. You should have seen my search for the perfect fabric to recover the seats of my dining chairs. I spent a good five years searching for the perfect riding boots (I think I just liked this idea a little too early because now you can’t walk into a store without tripping over like five pairs of awesome riding boots).

But this is one of the reasons I love sewing: the creating of something unique. I have the ability to dream up something awesome and crazy, and then MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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Last weekend I had the incredible privilege to be a tester for the new Montlake Tee pattern from Straight Stitch Designs. I don’t sew just to make my own clothes. Y’all, I sew to customize my own clothes … to make them reflect who I am. And this pattern is the perfect base for this.

The Montlake tee is truly simple fashion.

It’s simple because there aren’t any unnecessary bells and whistles. It’s not gimmicky; there are no funky parts to it. It’s basic and simple in the most complimentary senses of those words.

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But with just a little creativity, it can be turned into fashion. Add a contrast fabric. Change the sleeve length. Make it in a color that POPS. Create something beautiful.

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It was a pleasure to get to work with Kimberly on the final tweaks of this pattern. Her attention to detail to make sure this was a perfect product was incredible. I am so grateful for talented people like her who make it possible for me to create.

At its base, the Montlake Tee is a scoop-neck t-shirt with four potential arm lengths and a swing hem. Swing hems are my favorite because, well, I’ve had two babies already. I made pattern alterations for mine to fit over my baby bump as it grows. I will do a more detailed tutorial on how I did this soon.

Outfit Details (If you’re interested in that kind of thing)

Outfit #1: Top – pattern: Montlake Tee by Straight Stitch Designs; fabric bought on clearance at Hobby Lobby / Pants – J Brand Mama J maternity jeans bought on ebay; similar cut here … less expensive here / Shoes – bought off Zulily; similar here or here / Necklace – Stella+Dot Engraveable Bar in Gold / Earrings – Stella+Dot Mondrian Ear Jacket

Outfit #2: Top – pattern: Montlake Tee by Straight Stitch Designs; fabric bought at Chic Fabrics in NYC / Pants – Hue jeggings  / Boots – Ariat Heritage Western X Toe / Necklace – Stella+Dot Essential Fringe in Silver / Necklace – Stella+Dot Wanderer Necklace in Silver / Earrings – Stella+Dot Deja Vu Stone Studs in Howlite

 

All links to Straight Stitch Designs and Stella+Dot are affiliate links. The rest are just to make your shopping easier if you like that kind of thing. You’re welcome.