Two weekends ago, a mix of my high-school and college girlfriends helped shower the baby girl with love in my friend's backyard. It was so fun to see the girls, of course, and celebrate this little lady - she's the first of the next generation.
I failed at getting a lot of great photos from my Sacramento shower (sad!) so I was so thrilled that my friend Katy had her rad camera on hand and was so snap happy. Katy, your photos are fantastic. Thank you for capturing the day. And to the rest of you girls - THANK YOU so much for the thoughtful party.
For the most part, we sat around and chatted. Three of my girlfriends are engaged with weddings in the next six months so there was a lot to discuss there. But we also ate great food, painted little onesies with fabric paint and played some "non-gross" baby games (nothing diapers and candy bar related).
One of the games was the "guess the belly size" with a piece of yarn. Too funny to see the variation. I haven't been to a baby shower in my adult life, so all of these games are new to me and so cute and fun.
Such a fun Saturday. I am so grateful for my girls.
I'd hoped to have a full nursery tour ready by this week but I think it's going to be a couple more before things totally feel "set" in there. And that's okay. We've got almost seven weeks until my due date (and, of course, the baby could care less about the decor that awaits her).
But I got the tissue paper flowers installed! I saw a few adorable nurseries on Pinterest (like this) and loved how festive and playful they felt.
Never in a million years would I have expected to go so girly in this room. Pink is not exactly my style, but somehow, for this baby, it's working. And once I share the whole room, you'll see I brought in black and white and other pieces that mellow the in-your-face-pink a bit.
I followed this tutorial from Martha Stewart to create the tissue pom-poms. Martha is for sure more of a perfectionist than I am, but I found these to be very easy and forgiving, especially once they are up on the ceiling. I used eight full sheets for the big ones and then eight half sheets for the smaller ones.
I bought all my tissue paper here because after some searching they had the best colors for the best price. The key was to get a variety of colors that were outside the traditional "red" or "pink" stuff that's sold at large craft stores.
We hung them from the ceiling with fishing line and clear push pins and really just played around until the clusters looked right. It's was a lot like trying to paint an abstract. Everything is going fine until you get an extra pom-pom up there and suddenly not only do you hate the installation, but you're questioning every home decor decision you've ever made. (Not really, but sort of.)
Patience was important for the hanging part but the result is so whimsical and cute. I stuck them in just two corners, one on the crib side and one on the bookshelf side behind the hanging lamp. (Not to worry - the outside of that ceiling light does not get hot after even hours of use, but just to be safe, I'll have my dad, a property insurance guy by trade, take a look to be sure this is not a fire hazard when he is in town in a few weeks.)
Baby girl's room does not have a theme, but the overall idea is : "Hooray!"
I had a wonderful baby shower this past weekend thrown by friends of my mom and Paul's mom. As a thank you to the women who came, I wanted to do something simple but thoughtful.
In general, I am not a big fan of party or wedding favors. Mostly because while of course it's the thought that counts, it's hard to think of an inexpensive gift for multiple people that will actually be appreciated and not just add clutter to their homes. Food is good because you enjoy it and it's gone, but given my recent GDM diagnosis, it seemed a little odd to give out boxes of chocolate or homemade cookies. I figured a small plant would be better (it can always live outside).
I bought 3" terracotta pots at Michael's and small succulents at Lowe's. Their selection varies, but this week is was amazing.
Some of the plants had clearly been watered recently, but others were bone dry. To hopefully extend their lives without over-watering, I let the super dry ones sit in standing water for a few minutes before re-potting them into (dry) cactus soil in their new terracotta homes. We left all the plants and the pots outside for the week before the shower and they all looked better by the time they were ready to be given out.
For a super simple decoration, I added little washi tape flags on plastic toothpick like skewers my parents had in the house. I just wrapped the tape around the stick and added a handwritten "thank you!" to the yellow tape with a white sharpie paint pen (also from Michael's).
The tape flags are the easiest part and you could totally change up the colors to make this fit nearly any event. Potted succulents favors are hardly a new idea, but it's a fun one. And tiny plants are too cute.
I am happy to be here. I am happy every day that we get a little bit closer to meeting our baby girl. I am happy every day that she stays put and my belly grows.
This pregnancy has not been as easy as I hoped. Nope. There was the CPC scare, which in the long run should be no big deal at all, but then on Monday I found out I have gestational diabetes. It's something I hadn't considered, but the one hour screening I took a few weeks ago came back elevated and my second 3 hour glucose test (I threw up on the first go around) confirmed that my blood sugar levels get totally out of whack when you throw a ton of glucose at them.
I am glad to know so I can hopefully just continue to control my sugar levels with diet and exercise. I met with a nutritionist yesterday morning to learn more about the food I should be eating and when I should be eating it ...and it turns out I already basically follow the recommended diet (minus a grilled cheese sandwich here or there). I was also instructed on how to monitor my blood sugar levels four times a day through finger sticks.
So far (with a day of finger sticks and the "new diet" plan) this seems pretty easy to manage, but I will be working on getting back into moderate exercise (like 30 minute walks) and diligent about tracking for the next week. Then I will meet with my provider on April 1st to see if this is something I have under control or something that I need medication to help maintain. The hope is that following a healthy diet (eating at certain times, upping protein and limiting carb/sugar intake) will be enough, but if I need medicine to stay healthy and keep the little one healthy then that's what we'll do. Regardless of outcome, I will be monitored pretty closely for the remainder of the pregnancy.
It's frustrating, of course. It sucks to get test results back with anything less than "yep, everything looks great." I don't want there to be one more thing to think about. I don't want to test my blood sugar four times a day for the next 12 weeks. And I don't want to give up nutella and cake at my showers. ;)
I was panicking on the phone with my parents a few nights back. These past few months have been filled with bumps (some that have been shared on the blog and others that have not) and I am tired of fighting the small battles alone. (Paul! I miss you!) My parents commiserated and then my dad reminded me tactfully,
"Leesee, I know it's hard. But none of these problems are things you can't bounce back from."
And yep. True story, Dadio. I am frustrated. But I am also blessed. There are about a zillion complications that can occur in the making of a human being and if this is mine, it's a relief that it's something relatively easy to manage.
And the reality is that I feel great. Now I am just more passionate about staying as healthy as possible. I love being pregnant. I am honored to carry our baby. Making it to 28 weeks feels like a big deal. Like we're in the home stretch. The Big Picture still looks pretty fantastic and my little one is as active and amazing as ever. AND OH MAN, was I doing something right when I choose brave for my one little word.
ps. dress from old navy (similar skirt here), tank from j.crew & nail polish is essie fiji. bookshelf is back in action and I am obsessed with the lighter feel. I will share more of the new house in a few weeks.
One of my great finds from these past few weeks was a "new" dresser for the baby girl. I was on the hunt for something in a small size with a bit of personality. I found this four drawer dresser at a local consignment store called Stuff and after a quick test of the drawers I was sold. I can always tell something is "right" when I have no doubt and can instantly buy it without needing to email Paul a photo and see what he thinks.
We are going to use it as normal storage (for onesies, socks, pants and diapers) and then the top surface will be a changing table. (We'll mount a changing pad safely on top.)
I completely love the outside as is. I am excited about bringing more wood color and texture into this house (no more paint on great wood!!) and think the original knobs are adorable in their simplicity.
But, while the inside drawers were clean, I decided to fancy them up a bit. I lined them with marbled paper that I had on hand for years (I think it was meant for another project that never took shape). The paper is light wrapping paper weight and I just trimmed it to drawer size and stuck it in with removable tape. Instant upgrade, but nothing permanent that I'll regret in a year.
The drawers are shallow, which is just perfect for tiny baby clothes, but might not be something that grows with her (in which case we'll transfer it to the next baby or re-purpose it in another area of our house).
So now, our little one has a dresser/changing table and a rocking chair. All we need is a crib (this is our front runner) and a bookshelf and we're pretty set in the necessities! I'll be able then to focus on decorations like a rug, art and curtains and we'll work our way up to a complete room.
This little quilt came together faster than expected. I guess when your husband deploys and your day job hits a lull, craft time goes through the roof. I was happy for the sewing distraction this past week and am so thrilled with the finished quilt. Really, this one is my favorite.
I ended up using three yards of patterned fabric for the top (1/4 yard of 12 different patterns - more information on the patterns can be found here). I had 16 rows of 21 triangles. The equilateral triangles were about 4.5 inches tall. The finished quilt is about 60x45 inches.
I lined the quilt with 100% cotton batting and backed it in gray. I machine-stitched all the pieces together along every diagonal line with pink thread. It took awhile, but this part is always my favorite. The stitches give it such definition. Every time I share a quilt on the blog, I get asked if I use a walking foot - I do not. I looked into one, but didn't find an attachment for my machine. I gather that a walking foot would help me manhandle the fabric through the machine and keep my lines straight, but after seven machine stitched quilts, I still see no need for it. I am happy with my imperfect lines. :)
I bound it all together with striped pink and white fabric (brand unknown - so sorry! I know it's a Japanese fabric). I love the striped binding so much.
This was the first time I tried machine stitching on my binding instead of hand stitching. I didn't do it to save time (though it was a HUGE time-saver). I did it because I think the machine stitching will hold up better. I imagine a baby quilt is going to need to get washed much more often than my other quilts and I want something I can throw in the machine and not worry about the stitches falling out.
I love the invisibility that comes with hand-stitching, but I hate that I can never seem to secure the binding perfectly. I don't want to have to "fix" a blanket that it meant to be used constantly.
I followed this tutorial for machine stitching the binding. I am totally happy with the look on top and 90% happy with the look on the back. On the top side, my stitching is pretty clean. On the backside, it goes off the border more than a few times. Not a deal breaker, but something I'll work to perfect on my next few quilts.
And, here's the sappy part... instead of signing my initials on the backside, I added a label with a note for baby girl. I used embroidery floss to "sign" on a piece of twill and then used a satin stitch on the machine to hold the twill in place on the front of the quilt. The satin stitching goes through to the backside because I added it last.
So that's it! A quilt for the little one to add to her two knit blankets. Annnnd, I am done(ish) on making stuff for baby. Creative energy for the next few months will be focused on setting up our new place and getting her nursery ready. At least, that is the plan.
Last week, I had a chance to wander my favorite fabric store in the world. It's local and called Superbuzzy. They have fabrics that I see online and dream about - except in real life so I can touch them, play with them and eventually buy them right there (feels like magic).
I went in with the intent to find fabrics for the baby girl quilt I have been excited to get started on. I didn't exactly have a color scheme in mind but knew I'd lean towards pinks and corals. Trouble was, I hadn't exactly decided on a pattern idea either. Triangles felt right for a baby, but I wanted something a bit different than all the triangle quilts I had made in the past.
I browsed their quilting books in the back of the store until I found an adorable equilateral triangle quilt (like this one)made up of small triangles of various kid-friendly patterned fabrics. Seeing it made me realize how cute it could look and I started to walk around the store to see what sort of patterns I could pull together.
I get a lot of questions about how I pick and match patterns for quilts. I don't know exactly how to answer that. The patterns make sense in my head in a way that I cannot describe, but here is what I will say about these specifically.
It just takes time. Time at home to cultivate your style and realize what you really like versus what is just trendy versus what you think you should like. And then time in the store, mulling over bolts of fabric and shifting things around.
In the end, I bought 1/4 yard of 12 different fabrics. This means I have three total yards for the top of my quilt. The fabrics averaged $10/yard so I got out of there for $33 with tax which felt like a total deal (for a personalized baby quilt.)
Fabric brands, from left to right : Riley Blake Willow - Herringbone, Moda Cross Weave - Red Yellow, Kei-fabric Honeycomb, unknown, Lotta Jansdotter, Riley Blake Willow - Leaves, no brand name but can be found here, Flea Market Fancy - Fizzy Dot, Riley Blake Willow - Dot, Kaffe Fasset Shot Cotton - Apricot, Japanese Fabric - unkown brand, Carolyn Friedlander Architextures - Hatch.
At home, I cut my fabrics into triangles that were about 4.5 inches (I got about 26-30 from each fabric pattern). My plan is to make this quilt about 45x60, like so many of the other quilts I have made. I don't have exact details yet on how many triangles this is going to take to get it that size. But I know I'll have enough fabric. I am excited to be working with slightly smaller triangles (though I know the sewing will be tedious).
After I started laying it all out and then stepped back to see it, I almost cried. Such a fan of this color mix.
ps. I'll be sharing more details on how I made this quilt when it's finished, but here's a quilt tutorial that includes details about all the tools I use to cut and sew fabric.
I've had this blanket on my mind for years. Ever since I saw the Super Easy Baby Blanket from the Purl Bee, I knew I'd be making my own for our little one. And once I knew she was a she it was fun to pick colors.
I ended up making mine bigger than the Purl Bee pattern. I struggled a bit to find the right size, but I knew that more than a swaddling blanket, I wanted something that I could lay on the ground and then stick her on top of when she can play but not move around too much. I also knew wanted something that will eventually be big enough for snuggling under and can be used for fort building. :)
In the end, mine turned out to be about 39x54 inches. I got to this size through a bit of trial and error (the finished blanket was the result of my third cast on).
I used Plymouth Yarn Encore worsted weight. I had purchased seven skeins, but ended up using just six. My yarn called for size 8 needles so that is what I went with. In order to be able to cast on 100 stitches (what I found to be the right size) I used circular needles (they hold a lot more stiches) but of course, did not knit in the round.
I knit the whole thing with the knit stitch (or garter stitch) and just keep going until I had about nine inches of each color. Once I knew the size was going to be right, this blanket was so easy. Knitting is by far my favorite television watching activity. The blanket is soft and cushion-y and I can't wait to see it with the baby girl on top.
Between this one and the gray and white striped, she's pretty set in the knit blanket department, but next up, I'll be making her a quilt. (Or two.)
Of course! ;)
What a total joy! Seriously. What a joy.
At our ultrasound yesterday we learned Baby Cripe is developing right on schedule with four heart chambers and four very active limbs. Baby looks healthy and she has the cutest profile ever. I had yet to cry at an ultrasound and this one brought tears. I really feel like I knew she'd be a she.
I am SO glad that the baby cooperated and Paul and I were able to find out together. It's still very up in the air that he'll be home for the birth and so sharing this small moment was so special for us.
We feel very blessed and are overjoyed to be welcoming a little girl into our home this June.
p.s. all the online gender predictors said boy, so pregnant friends, feel free to take all that with a grain of salt. :)
I contributed to an online workshop called the Phone Photography Project. Class starts on July 1 and focuses on taking rad photos AND projects that get your photos off your phone and into your life. Read more and sign up here.
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