Sunday, February 28, 2010

More Monograms

I recently embroidered a few items for a friend at church. She wanted a personalized burp cloth to give as a gift and her daughter's initial monogrammed on a dress.

There's not too much to it, but I wanted to post them here as I often forget to post pictures of things others request.

p.s. The dress is from Walmart! What a find!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Craft Favorites Friday

It's time for the last February installment of Craft Favorites Friday! :) I hope you find something you'd like to try (I know I have!).

This project stood out to me because my niece LOVES Scotch tape. I hear about it because it's not one of those things parents are going to let you use for no reason, but when she's at my parents' house my mom (her G-Ma) will let her tape and create to her heart's content. So naturally I thought C might enjoy this craft. :) I love The Crafty Crow for creative and unusual ideas like this.

This project makes me wish I was still teaching in the classroom. Oh how my students would have LOVED this. Awesome book report project or science chapter wrap up... even for math vocabulary or story publishing. Seriously. I will definitely be filing this away for when Asa gets a bit older. In the meantime, maybe Asa can "help" me use Rosy~Posy's tutorial to create a little special something for his grandparents or cuzzies. :)

M.U.S.T. M.A.K.E. In case you don't know, Asa's nursery is decorated in a woodland forest animal theme... with lots of birds... and he sleeps with a little owl. The Rubber Punkin's tutorial looks very easy to follow. Now to choose the fabric for Asa's little hoot. :)

My brain about explodes from going into overdrive when I see these patterns. If only there were more hours in a day. :) Be sure to check out Bit of Whimsy's Boo Bear Pay it Forward deal also (free pattern in exchange for making 2 bears)!

I have less than a month until I try dairy again (I've been dairy free for Asa's benefit.... and ours because we get more sleep and have a much happier baby without it). I tried at 3 months and 6 months, and I'm trying one last time at 9 months. If Asa is still too sensitive, then I'm staying dairy free until he's weaned. All that to say, Matt and I joke at times about an imaginary list of things I have not had that I am really looking forward to indulging in when I can have dairy again. I've never eaten these before, but I sure think I will give them a try! They look delicious! Making the World Cuter's cupcakey-oreo-caramel-brownie-goodness, I hope I can eat you soon!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Personalized and Holiday Onesie

When Valentine's Day was approaching I wanted to make a special Valentine's outfit for Asa. His G-Pa and G-Ma sent us an outfit for the actual day, but I wanted something for Saturday as well. And I hadn't made him any clothes in awhile.

I decided to make him an "A" shirt that would work for Valentine's Day and still be wearable at other times. I had the idea to cut an A out of red fabric and cut a heart out of the top for the "hole."

I sorted through several red fabrics and settled on red with white polka dots. I ironed steam a seam to my little swatch of fabric, drew my A on the back (hooray for mirror-image letters!), and cut it out. Finishing the onesie was as simple as placing the A on my onesie and ironing it in place. I plan to go back and sew the edges of the applique to help it last as long as possible, but it's just fine without any sewing as well.

I wanted to share because this is such a simple, easy way to make something special, themed, or personalized, and you do not even have to sew to do it! I had not used steam a seam until recently, and now I am finding SO many uses for it! I am a fan!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Craft Favorites Friday

Oh my, where do I begin?!?

These cookie were made for Valentine's Day, but you could personalize them or "decorate" them for whatever occasion you like! There are lots of pictures and even a tutorial over at Pamela Susan. Check it out--they definitely look good enough to eat!

I am all about monograms. I love the idea of using fabric--so many pretty patterns, weaves, and textures to choose from! Make it and Love it tells you exactly how to make a framed fabric monogram.

3. Floor Blanket

I do not have a tutorial typed up for this (yet)... but it could NOT be easier! My grandmother, Asa's Mimi, made him a floor blanket that we received at one of our baby showers. It has sweet teddy bears on the front, a thin layer of batting in the middle, and it is backed in flannel. She hand tied it to "quilt" the layers together and top stitched it with a decorative scallop stitch. A while back I ordered some fabric online. It had adorable animals driving cars and I thought it would be perfect for Asa or my nephew. When it arrived, the design was a MUCH larger scale than I anticipated. No little shirts or library bags to be made from it as I had been considering. Eventually I decided it would be a perfectly adorable floor blanket. What little boy wouldn't look scrumptious playing atop a mouse driving a cupcake liner and other critters driving strawberry, carrot, and shoe-mobiles?? This week I purchased my batting and found a bright, fun car-themed flannel for the back (I like having flannel on the back because it really helps the blanket stay in place when it's on top of carpet). I made my fabric sandwich, stitched it together (leaving a hole, clip corners, turn), and top stitched it (I did just a regular straight stitch). Then I found some bright red yarn to coordinate with the bold colors in the fabric and hand tied it. Now I am just deciding if I want to put silky blanket binding around it too. But Asa has already been playing on it (it helps protect the carpet from drool and the occasional spit up), and he looks MIGHTY cute on it too, I must add. :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Craft Favorites Friday: Completed Projects

For a slightly different spin on Craft Favorites Friday, I decided to post about a few projects that are complete or almost complete around our house. :)

1. Laundry Room sign

I saw this cute laundry room pun on a blog awhile back and thought I would love to make one for my home. I LOVE fun puns. It stayed on my list of "craft ideas" for several months. But I decided January was THE month. I bought the piece of wood at Michael's and already had the craft paint. I played around with different fonts on my computer and used them as a guide. My favorite part may have been drilling the holes for the ribbon. I love power tool projects. :) [I was so excited when Matt received a drill at one of our wedding showers!] In no time at all, the sign was ready to hang. I'm not certain I will leave the ribbon the way it is, but I like it for now. :)

2. Guest Room Headboard

We have a double bed in our guest room without a headboard. I knew I wanted something as flush with the wall as possible to maximize floor space around the bed. I thought I would keep an eye out for a simple iron scroll headboard or something. But in the back of my mind I wondered about making a headboard or faux headboard. I saved pictures here and there I found online of faux headboards, but the idea of using fabric always stuck with me (imagine that!). While my mom was hear visiting last weekend, we stopped at JoAnn's, pillow sham in hand in order to match colors. I looked at some stripes, but the quilt on the bed is striped. I considered polka dots, but they didn't lend a grown up feel to the guest room, happy though polka dots may be. Then we came across a pattern that had the perfect colors and would compliment the quilt. I couldn't believe it! They had just enough yardage on the bolt to cover the 6 canvases I had bought weeks earlier MAJORLY discounted and even have enough left over for pillow to go on the bed. :) For this project, I got to use another tool! The staple gun was perfect for covering the canvases. I even learned how to reload the staple gun. :) All the canvases are covered now and just waiting for a time Matt is home when Asa is also awake long enough for us to hang them (the wall they will go on is a shared wall with Asa's room). I'll post an updated picture when they are actually in place.

3. Valentine's Decor

I had these beads in this hurricane for the Christmas season. When I was packing up Christmas decorations, I decided to leave the beads out for Valentine's Day. I think they add a sweet, catchy splash of color to the den. :)

4. Asa's photos

We recently got to pick up Asa's most recent portraits. Our "first year" package with the photographer includes an 8x10 from each session. We are slowly building a collage of sorts in the hallway. I hung the photo from his last shoot this past week. I love seeing his bright, shining face grinning at me as I walk down the hall. And I marvel how that little baby boy has already turned into the 7 month old Asa. Time is flying.

5. Christmas Cards

In my parents' home, my mom always did one of two things with Christmas cards. She either taped them to the inside of the front door in a cross pattern or she hung them from ribbon off the stairs. When we moved into our home, I looked around wondering where I would display our Christmas cards. I considered and tried a couple of different things, but I settled on covering our laundry room door. We are in the kitchen all the time, so we get to see the cards all the time. :) It is a fun treat to see our family and friends smiling at us while we cook, eat, and play. I am especially excited to start a new tradition I have heard about from several families. When we take our pictures down (very soon, it just makes the door look so bare when they come down), we will be placing them in a basket. Each night before dinner, we will draw a card from the basket and pray for that family. We can keep cycling through them as the year progresses. I am so excited to start this with Matt and Asa!!

6. Silly Sammy Sign

We have a sweet dog, Samantha, who is a 3 year old mutt (Rhodesian/lab mix) and very much a "people puppy." She LOOOOVES her people. She has transitioned to life with Asa amazingly well. One thing she does NOT do well is keep her tongue to herself. She is rather notorious for this (we always work on it and it improves during the summer.... then everyone's legs and feet are covered during the winter and we retrain all over again in the spring when skin comes out of hiding ready to be licked), as evidenced by the hilarious sign my parents gave Matt for Christmas. It now hangs over our back door (the door we use to let Sammy out into the backyard). It cracks me up. :) And it's true. So very true.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Great is Thy Faithfulness!

The past couple weeks have been a time with many questions and wondering and plenty of opportunities for worrying and anxiety. God has been so faithful though, and we are rejoicing that we have hopefully closed in on the answers.

Asa had his 6 month check up (a month late due to the holidays) about 2 weeks ago. He's always been on his own little growth curve, but there are plenty of boys he is related to who are tall and skinny. Since he has reached all his milestones on time (and most of them early!) and he was growing consistently, our pediatrician decided to just watch and see what happened. At his latest appointment he showed a decrease in the rate of his weight gain for the 2nd visit in a row (and pretty significantly) and his height increase was tapering also. Without her coming right out yet and labeling it as such, I knew we were entering "failure to thrive" territory (which sounds ridiculous--the boy is the picture of happy, engaging, thriving except for this growth factor) and we began the process of bloodwork to see if it was a fluke or his growth stemmed from an underlying problem.

We went to our our insurance-covered lab several times, and that was frustrating several times. He's a sweet little baby with tiny baby veins. They had a lot of difficulty getting a line in. They had employees who were not always particularly professional. But even in the midst of that, God showed me He was near. The least professional of them all actually said out of the BLUE [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS], "My baby boy was always so little. Complete strangers would act like I must starve him for him to be that size. Now he could eat me out of house and home!" It blessed me so much because I have been there--I have received dirty looks from complete strangers when they've asked how old Asa is. Yes, I know he's skinny. He nurses whenever he's hungry. He has tall, skinny uncles. All the while I'm thinking, "Why am I defending myself to you??" They eventually got blood for some tests, but they collected it in such a way (pricked his finger and squeezed out a few drops) that it nullified the results. But those results had come back with abnormalities and now we didn't know if the abnormalities were real or because of the collection method. So we went back to try again for an actual line into his vein. We went twice. They suggested "hydrating" him. We tried water--the instant he realized it was not mommy's milk he pitched a fit. :) We worked with a wonderful employee [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS] who was determined NOT to stick Asa again unless she was sure she had found a good line. She did not feel confident about any of his veins and sent us back home. She was wonderful--shout out to Erma! :) I also KNEW we were being prayed for. When Erma tried earlier that morning, Asa became completely still and calm right as they got the needle in (but the blood stopped flowing into the vial). It was GOD'S FAITHFULNESS.

At that point it felt like we were stuck and would not get any answers. How were we going to draw his blood? We were sending out emails to friends, Bible study, etc. to pray--that we could get a good blood draw and for good results. Our pediatrician stepped in and gave us a couple options. We went to a lab at one of the hospitals in town where they have a bit more experience with babies and children. They loved on Asa so sweetly. They got a line the first try [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS]. The most troubling abnormality came back normal [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS], but there were still a few results that were off. On to the next round of testing and follow up appointments. All the while, we have been praying praying praying for Asa's health--it is his liver? Kidneys? Intake? Thyroid?

Yesterday I took Asa for a follow up with our ped (I am thankful all over again we changed pediatricians when Asa was first born. She has been WONDERFUL. She is thorough, responsive, but not alarmist. Just what this mommy needs!)[GOD'S FAITHFULNESS] and to meet with a lactation consultant. There were several blessings that came out of this appointment.

  • the LC guessed by name--without me saying it--who it was at our old ped's office who was so discouraging and unsupportive of nursing and a major reason we left that practice. I felt so validated to know I was not the only one (+ Matt + my mom) who thought she had terrible bedside manner!
  • Before she even watched Asa eat, she checked his mouth and immediately noticed that he had a posterior tongue tie. He can stick his tongue out far enough, but the frenulum was too tight to let him get the middle of his tongue up to the roof of his mouth. That was making it so he was working his little heart out to nurse but tiring out before he got enough. It explains everything!
  • Before correcting the tongue tie, she watched Asa eat. She marveled over how well he was doing--latch, positioning, etc. She said to me, "You never could have known there was a problem. He looks perfect from the outside when he's eating." Balm to my mommy heart!!
  • As soon as they clipped the frenulum, I scooped Asa up and he stopped crying. He nursed right away without problems.
  • The solids we have ramped up, per our ped's orders, have brought Asa back to his previous weight gain pattern.
  • Everyone agrees nursing is #1 priority. I feel very supported.
  • Asa has been eating less at some feedings if he recently had solids (twice/day), so I added in some extra times I'm offering him a chance to nurse even though he shows no cues. :) When they did a pre/post feeding weigh it showed he's still getting plenty from me. My supply had not dwindled too much from this change in feeding habits.
And now, after less than 24 hours I can already tell Asa is nursing more effectively [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS]. I can already tell I am making more milk (adding extra feedings, pumpings, and soon herbs to ramp up my production now that he'll be able to eat more efficiently and effectively) when I've been doing my "extra" routines less than 24 hours [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS] and haven't even started the herbs yet (which worked for me very quickly when I was worrying about my supply needlessly with a newborn). I am so encouraged!! [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS] Our doctor thinks THIS is the factor that caused his funky bloodwork and that it will address and answer all the issues. In other words: no liver problem. No kidney problem. No supply issue on my part. In other words: GOD'S FAITHFULNESS. As we ran down the possible scenarios, I didn't think of any that left room for Asa to be healthy (i.e. no liver disease, etc.) AND me to be healthy (i.e. plentiful supply). I was just amazed when this discovery came forth that is the easy problem and simple solution we prayed for. [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS]

I wanted to record this summary of our past few weeks to remind MYSELF now and later of GOD'S FAITHFULNESS to us. He would be JUST as faithful if something were wrong with Asa's liver or if I just couldn't produce enough milk. But we are rejoicing in His mercy in allowing us such a simple issue to address. I have been amazed at the friends with medical background who have stepped in to encourage and assure us of signs of great health in Asa. Of friends who've dealt with tongue tie to encourage us that it should make a tremendous difference to have corrected it. Of people to remind us that God has a plan for Asa. HE is the author and giver of Asa's life, and we stand in awe of the blessing of being a part of it. We pray that the three of us continue to be molded and shaped by His FAITHFULNESS. I hope GOD'S FAITHFULNESS is an encouragement to you as well.