Monday, May 22, 2017

DIY Breastfeeding Pillow

When I was pregnant I wasn't sure if I wanted or needed a breastfeeding pillow. I mean, before you give birth to your first baby you really have no idea what you will actually use. There are so many things for babies and mommas, and it's like "I have no idea if this is essential or useless". Hint, a lot of it is useless.

So what I did was buy what I thought bare essentials (a bed, clothes, stroller...) and bought all the rest after we had the baby as it became apparent that we did need things (baby monitor, bottles, swaddler...)

But despite not knowing if I actually needed a breastfeeding pillow I did decide to make myself one. These things can be pretty pricey and it seemed fairly easy and cheap to make one. And with uncharacteristic foresight I thought I'd not get anything done once the baby was born. Yup.

The materials cost only about 4€ and I figured I could just take it apart if I didn't end up using it.

This is based on the popular Boppy pillow. I found the pattern for a slipcover from blog called vanilla joy

I used the pattern to make an insert pillow from an old sheet, stuffed it with poly-fill from an old pillow and sewed it shut.
I then made a removable (read washable) cover with a zipper from an old bed spread I found at a thrift store. The pattern had the zipper on the underside, but I put mine on the back edge.
So was it worth it? Yep! I used this a ton when Zelda was a newborn and I was just learning to breastfeed. Because my episiotomy I mostly fed her lying down for the first few weeks, but after that this was great. 

Where it really shined was when you are exhausted and hangry and the baby wants to feed. I'd just sit at the table, plop this on my lap, support the baby with one hand and proceed to eat with the other. During those first few months when it felt like the baby was feeding constantly, this allowed me to eat as well.
Totally recommended. You can also use it later on for tummy time or to help support the kid when she is sitting.

Only thing I'd do differently is to make TWO slipcovers. Things got a bit, ahem, messy at times.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Basket Tune Up

It feels a bit ridiculous to include this as a DIY, so I'll call this a "tune up". 

This isn't exactly something you can replicate either, since it relies on finding a basket like this. It's more like: if you find something fun, but it isn't the color you'd like just paint it!
What this means is: I found this interesting basket with an elephant on it from the Red Cross flea market for 4.90€. I thought it was cool, but you know, bright pink
Well, luckily  that's easy to fix. Enter a can of white spray paint. I removed the eyes and just sprayed away.
Only it was kind of tricky to get all the nooks and crannies. The pink kept showing from underneath and in the ended up taking the whole can of paint. Not the cheapest thrift store project, but I think it was worth it. 

I replaced the eyes a bit wider, because I thought it looked cuter that way. Then I left it outside for a few days to remove the paint smell. (Side note, I'm not giving this for the baby to play with.)
I think it'll look really cute in the kiddos room. Once we get that set up, for now she just has a nursery corner which I've tried to keep very calm and minimal as she pretty much just sleeps there.
But someday!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Daisy Flower Crown

Happy Mother's Day! It's my first Mother's Day as a mother. Kind of weird to be on this side of the equation.
I'm really into flower crowns at the moment, but unfortunately they are a bit hard to pull off... Luckily I have a baby and babies can totally pull off anything!
I've really wanted to make crocheted flower crown for some time and when I came across this Daisy Chain pattern by Frankie Brown I was like "YES! That is genius!"  Because like a crown made from real flowers all the flowers are separate and to quote "The flowers have a hole in the stem so they can be threaded together just like the real thing."
I've never seen anything similar. Obviously I had to make one. I was a bit skeptical whether the chain would hold up, but once you've chained them together into a ring it's in fact really sturdy.
I wouldn't give this to a baby to play with, but it would make a great photo prop. And once the baby is a bit older it will make a great addition to dress-up clothes.

I already have plans to make more with different kinds of flowers and leaves! Seriously, I'm so exited.
I can't explain how much fun it is to have a baby and get to make this kind of stuff without shame.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

One little word

My word for 2016 was FLOURISH"to grow luxuriantly". And I got pregnant and had a baby. That alone was some major flourishing for me. 

This year I chose as my word


defined as "to provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition".

Having a baby is rough. And amazing. This year I have no grand plans. I just want to take the best possible care I can of us. This means I'm not going to push myself at all. That sounds like quitting, but really isn't. I just want to concentrate on the moment, this only time my baby girl is tiny, to enjoy things as they unfold, without hurry and stress. 

Some things I have in mind

No dieting. I give myself this year to recuperate from pregnancy and giving birth, gently. I'm breastfeeding so I want to eat the best possible food for my baby, and myself. And that includes eating plenty of it.

Making traditions. I think family traditions are so important for a child. I have very fond memories of different holidays and want to offer her the same. Obviously she wont remember this first year, but it's something to build on, and there will be photographs.

Making home. There are still a lot of things I'd like to do in our house after two years of living here. I want get them done. I don't want to look around and feel annoyed about unfinished things. I want things finished, so I don't have to expend anymore energy thinking about them. Also, de-cluttering. Still so much stuff just sitting in the closets.

Taking better care of myself. I've neglected myself lately. I feel like I've woken up from a six month long sleep to find myself in old, worn out clothes covered in spit-up, my hair in a messy bun (and not the good kind) and bags under the bags under my eyes and my body stiff and achy. And my posture, my posture is horrendous. I'd like some new clothes, figure out how to do my hair, develop a skincare routine that works, and maybe even wear some makeup every once in a while. And while I don't have any hurry to get in shape (whatever that means), I'd like to not maybe slump so much.

So that's it. I'm not going to push myself to learn new things, but will follow my interests. Do things for fun, not because I have to. Obviously there is stuff I need to do, but you know, not to develop myself extra projects and unnecessary stress. There will be no list of new years resolutions, I'm just going to do things as I feel good. Hopefully there will be less stress and hurry.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Recent Favorites

Here are nine things I've been enjoying recently.

1. Bamboo knitting needles. I mentioned these recently, but I'll say it again, these are great. Unlike with metal needles, dropping stitches is almost impossible with these. I've been crazy into knitting since getting these.

2. Luonto+ yogurt. After emerging from the seriously sleep derived newborn phase to discover that I really should take better care of myself, and not just relay on sugar and coffee to keep me standing, I've tried to reduce my sugar consumption to a minimum. I just feel so much better when I don't eat sugar. So instead of reaching for a chocolate bar (Jake keeps hoarding candy, and it's so hard not to eat any) I've been eating these yogurts as a sweet treat. They have no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners either. Just fruit and fruit juice. My favorite is the weird sounding raspberry and beetroot. It is actually  really good.

3. Organic Shop beauty products. Natural beauty products that work and are affordable. What. But it's true. I'm now using their Moroccan princess shampoo, avocado & honey hair mask (my hair is very tangly and dry, so I just use the mask as a conditioner) and the pink lychee body cream. Love.

4. Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. I recently got back into listening to podcasts. They are great to listen to while the baby is napping and I'm pottering around. Happier is one of my all time favorites. I really like Gretchen and Elizabeth's personalities and voices (very important on a podcast) and they have such interesting actionable topics.

5. Pokémon Go. Jake and I started playing this last summer when it came out, and we played for hours. I do't care what anyone says, I think it's great exercise and bonding time. Now, I play it a lot more casually by myself. I go for a walk with the baby everyday (lest I go insane), and have organized our walk so that it passes four Pokéstops... But it's fun, and something for me to do while she naps in the stroller.

6. Weather warming up. I'm so done with winter. Winter is my least favorite season anyway, and this winter being cooped up inside with a newborn was just... NOT fun. I'm so looking forward to spending time outside, without having to bundle up a million layers.

7. Blackout curtains. With spring, here up north, come the white nights. We've had blackout curtains in our bedroom forever, because I can't sleep without them, but now with a baby we have them in every room. Our room, the baby's room, living room, kitchen. The house is dark at night.

8. Robot vacuum. This has been such a game changer. Jake was in charge of vacuuming in our house and he wasn't vacuuming as often as I'd liked, especially now that we have a baby that spends a fair amount of her time on the floor. So, rather than listen to me nagging, he bought a robot vacuum. I run it almost everyday while we are on our daily walk, and it still gathers so much dirt and dust, I don't know how we managed without it before. You have to be very diligent about picking up everything that the vacuum could get stuck to, because if it does get stuck it'll beep there until you come and move it, but other than that it's great. I could also tell about my love for our mop, but I'll save that for another time.

9. Grandparents! Jake's parents live on the other side of a small park from us, and for the last few months have taken M. for a few hours almost every Sunday. That's where she is now. This has enabled Jake and I to do such things as go out to eat, watch a movie uninterrupted, have a conversation. It's been pretty amazing. M's grandparents adore and spoil her, so win-win all around!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Baby Cardigan

I've never actually liked knitting, mainly because I keep dropping stitches. When crocheting you only have that one loop to worry about, knitting there are usually dozens. But recently I decided to give bamboo needles a go, and they are a total game changer! They are a lot stickier than metal needles (but not in a bad way), so the stitches don't fall off. So weirdly, I've actually enjoyed knitting! Huh. So much so, that I've knitted Em three cardigans.

I'm by no means an expert or even that good, but it's been really nice to craft something after a long break, so I've just enjoyed the process.

And it's fun to learn new skills! First thing I learned was that I knit very loosely. I've since invested in another set of needles in a smaller size.

The pattern is Little Petunia by Drops Design. Yes, all three cardigans are the same, just in three different sizes.  Patterns on their site are so great because they are available in many languages, including Finnish. They also have videos demonstrating different parts of the pattern, such as how to pick stitches from the edge, great for a knitting novice such as myself.

I used Novita Nalle yarn which is 75% wool 25% polyamide. It only took about one skein per cardigan. For buttons I picked wooden ones.

I've since amassed a huge collection of knitting patterns to try next. Pinterest is great for this. I've also rediscovered Ravelry. Mainly patterns for baby clothes and toys. Baby clothes are a great beginner project since they are so small, they are fast to make, even if you have to stop to look a video every once in a while.

Here are all three. I think they are pretty cute in all they wonky glory. To think I learned to like knitting!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Toy Thrift Haul

Long time, no thrift haul. But I have one now! It's a bit of different one, because, yes, we had a baby.

A few words about this haul.

Firstly, most of these are toys that my kid doesn't play with yet. For the first three months she wasn't interested in toys at all, and now at six months she mostly likes soft crinkly toys. But baby toys are expensive, so I've been picking up toys I think will be interesting to her down the line, because you never know if you'll find them again second hand.

Secondly, I personally like wooden toys and hope she will, too...

Thirdly, there is a lot of BRIO here. I feel like it's a good brand with quality toys that will stand time.

Polar bear soft toy 2€. This is one of the first toys I bought her before she was born. I was pretty adamant not to buy her any. Firstly, because I was sure something would go wrong and secondly, newborns don't really play with any toys. But I liked the neutral coloring and the semi-realistic look so it came home with me. It said to hand-wash, but I just threw it in the machine, because I wanted to get it thoroughly clean and it came out fine. Jake named it Johannes and M. loves it.

Wooden BRIO sorting box 3,50€. It's missing one block, but whatever. I think this will be a good pedagogic toy, when she's a bit older.

Wooden BRIO pounding bench 1,80€. The hammer looks like it's taken a beating (har, har), but it seems sturdy still. I'm sure it would look like this pretty soon even if bought new. I've heard kids love these, and and I'd rather she pounded this than something breakable.

Wooden BRIO train set 20€. Ok, so, this was a bit expensive to my taste, but when I did a bit od research just that locomotive costs around 8€. I remember playing with a set like this when I was a kid and loving it. I'm keeping an eye out for additional pieces.

Wooden IKEA stacking lighthouse 2€. I think this will be fun to play with and to learn the colors too.

A huge pile of wooden blocks 11,50€. I bought these in three separate occasions.

Wooden BRIO bell rattle 3€. This she just started to play with. She loves crabbing it and hitting it against the floor. She's on the verge of starting to crawl and this will probably bee more fun then, because it rolls away.

That's all for now. I do always try to keep an eye out for toys and clothes when thrifting. Babies grow so fast.
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