Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

Thankful Tuesday resumes. Maternity leave is quickly coming to an end, which means orders are increasing and the blog awakens from hiatus.  For those readers who are new to my blog, I try every week to document what I am thankful for.  This gives me the chance to reflect on my week and to be grateful for the good things in my life.
I am THANKFUL for...
  • Lights, heat, TV and Internet.  With the recent historic Nor'easter that came up the coast a couple weeks ago, we were without power for 8 days!  I do love my technology, and without it, my life would be terribly hard. Try running an online business without power...and try making jewelry with ice cold hands due to no heat! Thanks to all my patient customers for understanding the extended production time.
  • The opportunity for Evy to meet her Great Grandpop and Great Pop-Pop.  How special!

  • My hubby and FIL for spending hours cleaning up fallen limbs and branches from the storm.  Our property looked like a bomb hit it.

  •  My parents who took Evy and I in for a week while we were in the black in CT.  Home cooked meals, heat and extra arms to hold Evy were a godsend.  

    • Those extra arms held Evy while I could have some craft time. I pulled out my glue gun, fabric, elastic and felt to make some headbands for my little girl.

    • A hardworking husband, who works extremely hard so that I can stay home with Evy.
    •  A clean refrigerator.  One of the downsides of the storm was all of the wasted food that we had to throw away.  My freezer and fridge were emptied into 8 garbage bags.  With that came a good clean wipe down. Why does a clean and organized fridge make me so happy? It's a sickness.

    That's it for now, although I could go on and on. What are you thankful for today?

    November 20th is the last day for guaranteed Holiday delivery. Orders placed after this date will not arrive in time. Please plan accordingly friends! 

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    My Favorite Things {Mommy Edition}

    As I prepared for baby Evy to come along, I spent hours of research on the best products out there.  I was one of those crazy preggo mamas that went to Babies R' Us every week to tweak and add items to my registry.  I even changed my car seat a day before she came, talk about cutting it close!

    A favorite blog of mine wrote about their 'Top Five Lifesavers' when they had their first bambino.  I'm not a follower, but in this case, I thought I would share my own version of my favorite things, because who knows, it may help a new mama out there get through those first few months of mommyhood. Don't get too excited,  I'm not Oprah, so there isn't a fantastic giveaway at the end of this post. I couldn't do just five lifesavers like YHL, just because there have been so many items that have helped keep me sane for these past four months. 
     Top Ten Favorite things for this mommy:

    1.  Summer Infant Swaddle seen here.  Yeah yeah, you've all heard of swaddling, it's not a new concept. The old fashioned way of swaddling by using the hospital blanket doesn't work all that great if you have a little one that likes to get their limbs free.  The velcro on this swaddle is key!  This blanket was my saving grace when it came to getting her to sleep in 2-3 hour stretches.

    2. The iPhone app called Baby Brain. This app was a godsend when it came to keeping track of those diapers and feedings in the early weeks.  My sleep deprived and drugged up mind could not even remember the name of my brand new child, yet alone the important details of nursing :)  The rubber band switch-a-roo on the wrist trick wasn't cutting it.  For $2.99, this baby log gave me a sense of organization amongst the chaos.

    3. Gas drops and Gripe water.  Gripe water is a natural herbal digestive aid for babies to ease the discomfort due to colic, gas, hiccups and teething. Evy tends to be extra gassy and having these two items have been a lifesaver for us.  The gas drops are wonderful for the typical upset tummy, but the gripe water work wonders for a fussy, constipated, and reflux baby.  It seems to soothe her right away, sometimes putting her to sleep in minutes. Both are perfectly safe and healthy for babies.  

     4. This video monitor.  I know that it is a luxury item and definitely not needed if the budget is tight.  We splurged on this monitor and are so glad we did.  For this first time paranoid mother, the fact that I can just sneak a peak at my baby in her crib gives me a sense of peace.  This way I don't have to get up every 5 minutes to peak in her room, taking a risk of waking her up with our creaky doors.  It will come in handy when shes a toddler too, that way I can spy on her as she gets into trouble during her "nap-time".

    *this video captures her afters she rolls over in her crib for the first time.  I wouldn't of witnessed this cuteness if I didn't have the video monitor.  Have I sold you yet?

    5. Moby Wrap. Oh how I love you Moby.  You have allowed me to eat, vacuum, cook and even sleep with my baby attached to me.  I heard mixed reviews about the Moby Wrap when I was doing my months of research- the consensus was that you either love it or hate it.  I absolutely LOVE it.  Yes, it was difficult at first to get the hang of wrapping yourself with 6 feet of jersey fabric, but after a few times you get the hang of it.  Evy loves being snuggled up with me and I love having her close, mostly so I can smell her sweet head.  It gave her the sense of being in the womb for the first couple of months, which was a great comfort for her.  Now at four months, I use it with her facing out so she can explore her surroundings a bit. 

    6. Sound Machine.  This machine is wonderful!  My goal for the first couple of months was to make Evy's surroundings as womb-like as possible, hence babywearing with the Moby Wrap and this sound machine.  It has a womb-like sound that is very similar to what she heard for 9 months.  I was hesitate about getting her attached to a "prop" as many baby books warn you of, but I went with my gut on this one and am so glad I did.  The sounds soothe her to sleep and give her a sense of comfort if she wakes up in the night.  And let's face it, when you live in a home that's 100 years old, you need something to drown out the creaky wood floors and squeaky doors.  Oh and it also has a MP3 feature so we can hook up our ipod in the future when the meatball wants to listen to music or a book on tape as she falls asleep.

    7.  While we are on the topic of noise, this dog tag silencer is a must have for any dog owner who has a pup that likes to obnoxiously shake it's head to get your attention.  It's not the most attractive thing I've ever seen, but who cares.  She can shake all she wants now.  Go ahead Maisey, I dare you.

    8. Sheet savers.  Whoever invented these is a genius in my book. Instead of changing the crib sheets every other day due to spit up, all I do is change these suckers.  They are soft and cozy for her head to rest on too. 

    9. Travel Diaper Changing Pad.  Many of you moms have these, so it's nothing new or terribly exciting but I didn't think of it when registering. Good thing I have a sister who knows what I needed after raising three kiddos.  There are tons of prints and styles to choose from out there!  These are handy when changing in the car or on your friends guestroom bed, especially when the babe decides to relieve herself mid diaper change.

    10. For all you cloth diapering mommas out there, this diaper sprayer is my BFF.  Since the poo's aren't exactly solid yet, using the sprayer is a quick and efficient way to get off all the yuckiness before washing.  It takes some practice in the beginning to get the poo in the pot.  I have switched out our tooth brushes and washed the shower curtain several times after a few bad experiences.  

    So there you have it, my TOP TEN favorite things for this new mommy.  I'm sure life would've gone on if I didn't have any of these "gadgets", but they certainly made my life much easier. And we all know that mommy's need a little help once and awhile :)

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Life as I knew it...

    ...is different, but it's a good different.

    Ya'll read while I was pregnant about my fears and anxieties about having a baby.  I couldn't imagine what a baby would do to our cozy lives.  My hubby and I were content, happy, peaking in our careers, social butterflies...and so on.  However, now I look forward to trying new crock pot recipes and choosing which cute nighty my little Evy Spaghetti will wear to bed.  Pathetic, right?  Yes, I miss the care free lifestyle we had, but I would never go back. I say that now, although ask me when she starts throwing a tantrum in the middle of Target or takes a sharpie marker and practices spelling her name on my brand new "off white" sofa.  (More on that bold purchase later.)

     I am enjoying motherhood more then I thought. The first two months were rough due to a slow recovery from a long and ridiculously torturous labor. After three months, I finally feel like myself again and can start focusing on other things besides how to get that yellow mustard poo off of my pants.

    I've been a mom for three months now.  In those three months, I have learned a few things about myself:
      That when I have NO sleep, I chatter on about bunnies, 
    jalepenos and hot Fox News anchors.
    That I am more of a germaphobe then I thought. 

    That I love my baby more then I ever imagined.
    That I'm more patient then I thought.

    That a smile from the babe will make everything better and nothing else matter.

    Some have asked about Evy's birth story.  I will sum it up for you:
    Induced on Friday night, had her early Sunday morning at 4 am.  Yep, it was long, painful and emotionally draining.  Three months later, I can finally look back at the experience and not cry.  Speaking of crying, the litle bean is bored in her boucey seat and needs some snuggles, kisses and some more kisses.

    Be back soon my friends!

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Meet Evy

    After 30 hours of labor, our little girl Evelyn ("Evy") Jane arrived on Father's Day June 19th at 4:05 in the morning.  As many of you know, my husband and I chose to wait to find out the gender of the little one. I am so glad we did, it was amazing to pull her up onto my chest and wait with anticipation on the sex.  I was convinced, I mean, CONVINCED it was a boy.  So you must know, I am still in shock that I have a little girl.  We are smitten and think she is pretty darn cute.  
    Meet Evy my friends.

    I will share more of Evy's birth story at a later time, but now those frozen bags of corn are more important.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    the lazy post

    I am feeling especially lazy, tired, moody, emotional, anxious and excited as the days wind down until this little babe comes.  So in honor of my laziness, I bring you a lovely post that my friend Alexi wrote about my baby shower.  Lexi, along with many other great friends threw me a "surprise" baby shower last month.  It was so thoughtfully done, with my favorite pregnancy foods, handmade shower scrub as favors, an amazing invitation that Alexi designed herself and a pinata. Yes, a pinata.  I haven't had an Airhead candy strip in so many years :)

    So go check out Alexi's awesome blog where she talks about her newly married life, a new puppy and other random ramblings and while you're there, enjoy some baby shower goodness.

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Thankful Wednesday

    Oops, I'm a day behind, so we'll make this post Thankful Wednesday.
    • I am certainly thankful that I have TWO WEEKS left!  Come baby come!
    • A sweet midwife who delivered her delicious spring rolls to my house today.  They hit the spot!

    • A hubby who is committed to making me comfortable these days. He comes home from work and picks up the slack here in the house right away (well... after he opens that beer) 
    • Jersey skirts!  I've had these skirts for years and just pulled them out, hoping they would work with this belly.  Buying maternity summer clothes right now is NOT going to happen.
    •  We are thankful for having a state cop (hub's brother) in the family who is crazy OCD about installing car seats.  He gave us a tutorial, however, I don't think we will ever get it in as tight as he did!

    •  A feeling of peace as we wait for this little one to come.
    • Feeling thankful AGAIN for all of our generous friends and family who have supplied our every material need and more for this baby.  We only had to buy a few things, which blows me away when I think about it. 

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    "maternity leave" {whatever it may mean}

    I put it in quotes because it's not really maternity leave. Shop remains open, orders can/will come in, and I still stamp away your "shiny objects".  I still have to work BUT I have extended the production time to 4-6 weeks.  I have tried to make it VERY obvious of this extension on my website, so hopefully I won't get bombarded with status updates while I transition into my new routine. I can't promise my response to those emails won't be grumpy. I hear you don't sleep much when a new baby comes ;)  

    My maternity leave in quotes doesn't mean I will be sniffing my 'just about to pop' peonies in my garden.

    It also doesn't mean I will be going to the beach to collect more heart rocks.

    Or even lounging in my favorite porch swing...

    Well, it kinda means I will be taking it a tad bit easy, trying to soak up these last three weeks of a quiet life.  So, take it as you want, but I like saying " I'm on "maternity leave"", whatever it may mean.

    I do know I will be taking in more of this precious face before her life is completely turned upside down.  Signing off for some belly rubs.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    Chalkboard window project revealed!

    My chalkboard window project ended up taking longer then I expected but I'm in LOVE with the result!  It was fairly easy but the weather didn't coorperate with me, which delayed the project a bit. 
    Note: Don't start this project if you have a projected forecast of rain for two weeks straight.

    As mentioned here, I went to a local salvage yard and picked up some old windows: one which is painted white and another in a stained wood finish.  Make sure to pick a window with no panes to insure you have a large chalkboard surface to write on.

    I found the chalkboard paint at Home Depot, and chose to go with the tintable version which was about $13ish.  After much debate, I decided to tint the paint in the Schoolhouse Green color, to continue the vintage vibe of the project.  

    I practiced on the white window first, experimenting with different techniques. I made sure to throughly clean the window so debris wouldn't effect the smooth finish.  Even though I did this step, I still have a few bumps here and there, but it doesn't bother me too much.  I started to apply the paint and realized it goes on pretty thin, which means many coats to follow. 

    I let it dry about 20 minutes, felt the paint and thought it was ready for a second coat. OH but I was so wrong. I realized this very quickly when the first coat started peeling off when I went painted over it.  This is what I ended up with: 

    I sanded the spot in attempt to smooth it out and maybe, just maybe you wouldn't see my mess up.  In the end, you can definitely see the imperfection, BUT when it's against the wall with no light shining through, it's hardly visible, even when I write over the spot with chalk.  After the hiccup, I had to wait the full 24 hours it instructed on the box. I'm not a patient person when it comes to drying times when I'm in the middle of a project but I obeyed the rules and since then, I had no further uh-oh's. I guess it helps to read the directions and actually abide by them sometimes. Boo.

    After about a week and half later, I was finally done applying the paint, about 5-6 coats in the end.  If I was to do it again, I would make sure to brush the paint on the surface in one direction every time.  My chalkboard has a cross hatched effect which is fine with me, but if I went in one direction the chalkboard finish would be smoother and more consistent. Also, I believe if I primed the window first, the paint would of adhered better, and possibly lessened the amount of coats I had to do.

    I had the hubby pre-drill holes in the back to thread two screw eyes on each side, about 1/3 of the way down.

    Then I attached some picture hanging wire, making sure it was sturdy enough to hang on the wall.

    FINALLY it was time to hang it up!  As I said before, I chose the wood frame for the nursery, since the hubs thought there was too much "white" in the nursery. He's worried that the nursery is too "girly" and maybe the wood frame would make it more "boyish".   Here it is, written with 36 weeks which was the backdrop for my recent belly picture. (My dear mother demanded an updated picture)

    I chose to put the white window in our screened in porch.  We celebrated my hubby's 30th birthday a few weekends ago and this is what I wrote on it for his party:

    I also decided to paint the backside of our medicine cabinet with the same paint.  Much better then the yucky gray color it was before.

    So there you have it, my chalkboard window project is complete and I LOVE it.  Try it for yourself and I'm warning you now that you will find anything and everything around your house to turn into a chalkboard. I promise.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Since when....

    did Payless get so expensive?  I love this new ankle strap, but $49.99?  Really Payless?

    However, I can handle these peep toe flats at $22.99. Cute, huh?
    They come in red too!

    But I think I'll be heading in for these woven wedges on sale for $16.99!

    Just sharing some online shopping fun will ya'll.  How's that for avoiding work this morning?

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    It's time to answer your questions...

    As most of you know, I am having my first baby around June 22nd.  I can't even imagine how life will change once baby comes, I have a small idea, but I am not putting any crazy superwoman expectations on myself.  So you ask....what does this mean for Magpie Designz?

    Answers to your common questions:
    • I plan on leaving my shop open during my "maternity leave".  Yes, I know....pretty insane, BUT, I have hired help for the studio.  
    • However, even with this help, the production time will go from 2-3 weeks to 4-6 weeks.  This extended time will give me the flexibility to adjust to my new life while juggling a thriving business.  
    • The extended production time will start at the beginning of June.  I do not have a specific date in mind yet. It all depends on my comfort level as I get closer and closer to my due date.  You will see an announcement on my home page letting you know of the extension.  You will also have a 'terms and conditions' to check before you submit your order, agreeing that you understand the new terms.
    • This means that YOU need to plan ahead and order your jewelry now!
    • This also means that if you order in June, you need to be patient.  Do not expect your jewelry right away.  It may get there fast, it may not.  Pretty PLEASE do not ask for a rush on your jewelry or to have it by a certain date. I cannot make any promises.
    • The quality and standards of Magpie jewelry will remain the same.  I take great pride in my work and will not send out anything that does not reflect my high standards.
    • I should be up and running at full speed in the Fall, just in time for the Holiday rush.  I will be back to 2-3 week production at this time.

    Did I miss anything? Leave me a comment if you have a question about Magpie Designz during this transition.  Thank you for supporting my business.  You all give me the opportunity to work from home, create jewelry that is special and meaningful for you while being a new mom.  I am forever grateful for your support and patience as I adjust to this new life.  Five weeks to go!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Thankful Tuesday

    I've been slacking on blogging lately.  Too much to do as the weeks wind down until baby time!  However, amidst the craziness, I will always find time to be thankful.

    • Peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  Peanut butter has been my BFF though out this pregnancy.

    •  A weekend to celebrate my hubby's big 3-0 birthday.  I took ZERO pictures at his party, boo. We have known each other for half our lives now. That's pretty insane.

    • The chalkboard window project is finally done! (as you see in the picture above)  I will tell you all about this project later this week.  I love my last minute idea to paint the back of the medicine cabinet door with the same application because the hubs likes to leave sweet notes to surprise me.  No pictures of those sweet notes though, I'll save him the embarrassment.

    • We are so thankful for all the baby gear we've received as gifts.  I know you're probably sick of hearing me mention this, but I just feel so overwhelmed with the generosity. 
    Swing assembly: CHECK.

    So much to be thankful for.  How about you?