Handmade Gifts for a New Mama

My sister-in-law just gave birth to her seventh son and she pretty much has everything she needs, but I still wanted to give her something special.  I asked her what she wanted and apparently she gave away her nursing cover (maybe she thought she was done having kids??), so that was her request.

Her last cover was the typical apron-style nursing cover that, in my opinion, doesn’t offer the best coverage and tends to scream “I’m nursing a baby!”  And while nursing a baby is nothing to be ashamed of, I for one prefer a bit more subtlety and style.

While pregnant with Adeline I purchased a bamboo nursing poncho and fell in love with it.  If I had known how simple the construction was I would have made it myself!  I have the mauve color, which I think goes with lots of things, and while I don’t wear it as well as the model, it’s very versatile and stylish.

I wanted to try something similar and purchased a silky jersey/rayon blend material in a pretty light blue.  I basically followed the tutorial for this DIY Modern Nursing Shawl, adding a bit of an allowance for seams on all sides and buttons along half of one side.

Since I wanted my sis-in-law to have options, I also made an infinity scarf that can double as a nursing cover.

Another of her requests was a set of clips that can turn any blanket into a nursing cover, used later to turn a towel into a bib, whatever.  Similar to these, I turned a set of mitten clips, D-rings, and some fabric into this little contraption:

These, in addition to a fabric nursing necklace I gave her at her gender reveal party, make some fabulous gifts for nursing mamas (in my humble opinion, of course).  A great go-along resource and the only nursing book I have is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

Wanting to add something just for baby, I tried my hand at some baby shoes.  A pair for her little guy, then I kept on going with a larger pair for Addy.  See the little buttons on Addy’s floral pair?  She ate two of them while I was going through my button stash.  Oops.  I know at least one made it out the other end!

I love how they turned out!  On my to-do list, another pair in leather.

To top it off a wooden teether toy:

I love making things for babies!

What’s your favorite gift to buy, make, or receive for babies?


People are always asking me of Adeline, “Is she always this easy-going?”  And the truth is, yes – she’s a very easy-going, smiley baby.  I do give them the fine print that, being a baby, she is known to cry on occasion; don’t want them to be surprised that she’s not a perfect angel like my other two children (riiiiight).

We had just come back from camping in CT when Adeline turned four months and I totally forgot to take the Official Photos – I was so bummed!  But I’ve been getting enough pictures in-between.

Adeline smiling (we call her “Smiley Addy” and other permutations on a regular basis), with Aunt Jenn in the kiddie pool, oh look – smiling again (while strawberry picking at Schartner’s), Daddy and Addy, sucking on fruit (we’re basically doing baby led weaning; I’m not gonna go crazy with homemade baby food), Adeline smiling with Pepe, smiling in her crib (now in Gwen’s room!), playing with Josiah.

I’ve really enjoyed having a baby in the house again.  My baby.  I’ve told a number of people I wish I could always have a baby but not have more kids!  Mama friends especially like to ask me how it’s going, how I’m handling being the Mother of Three.  Of course, ask me on a different day and you might get a different answer!  But the short of it is – Adeline seems to be the easiest baby, but going from two kids to three has probably been the most challenging.

As Phil likes to say, even when Adeline was still a twinkle in our eyes, “I only have two hands – what would I do with three?”  We are outnumbered.  It takes a bit more time to do things – errands, meals, starting our day, ending our day, everything inbetween.

There are so many moments when I have to keep it in perspective, if only to remind myself that I prayed for these children.  They beat the odds and I know God has wonderful things on store for them.

We (finally) finished up our homeschool year with Mirette on the High Wire and a trip the Big Apple Circus with friends.  What fun!

I still have a lot on my to-do list, but not having to plan weekly lessons has taken some of the pressure off.  Now I can focus on sewing projects and rocking Adeline just a little bit longer before putting her in her crib.  They grow so fast…

Adeline Is Three Months or Where Has The Time Gone?

Dude, I feel like only yesterday I finally gave birth after being pregnant for an eternity.  It’s amazing, this relativity thing.  Adeline has been growing by leaps and bounds, upping her nightly feedings to prove it. *sigh*

It’s so much fun to watch her personality develop, to see how fascinated she is with the world around her, to discover how much of her hand she can actually fit in her mouth.  She’s at that stage where she’s drooling like a mini Saint Bernard at the mere sight of something that has the potential for being grabbed by her baby fist (if she has the dexterity to grab it in the first place… we’re working on that).

1 month

2 months

3 months

Of course, people always wonder who she looks like, and it’s fun to notice the resemblances for ourselves (for the record, I think the top half of her face is me and the bottom half is Phil)… but she’s definitely her own person!

Despite some of the not-so-fun things that come along with having a baby – sleepless nights, countless wardrobe changes on the account of spit-up and other bodily fluids, inconsolable cries when you’re trying to go to the bathroom or get dinner started or just get something done – I love having a baby in the house again.  Time, please slow down just a little!

Sweet Adeline

My mother-in-law was all excited that there was a song with our baby girl’s name in it, “Sweet Adeline.”  Phil and I insisted that she must be mistaken – It’s Sweet Caroline, we told her.  And I do find myself singing that song to her every now and then!  A bit of googling, however, uncovered the fact that there is indeed a barbershop song by that name from the early 1900s.  A number of people have sung the song since then; here’s a version sung by Phish in the 90s.

Anyhoo, today I’m without the big kiddos and decided to set up some props and take some pics of Adeline. Man, those professional portraits make it look so easy!  Babies are so floppy, and while they’re relatively easy to position, mine kept clenching her fists and I couldn’t keep her upright.  I got some cute shots, though.  Here are some favorites:

I can’t believe she’s already one week old! I’m not sure if I’ll write a birth story this time around, but suffice to say that while the labor and delivery went smoothly, I had a bad experience during my hospital stay.

Though Adeline was alert, nursed well and had excellent color, we discovered she had jaundice – just like Josiah did when he was born.  We were led to believe her condition was serious and had some follow-up blood tests after leaving the hospital, but she’s just fine – thank goodness!

Trying to decide how I want to document her first year’s growth.  I have a couple ideas pinned, like using the same pair of pjs or using a laundry basket as a prop.  I’m also thinking of propping her up with the woodland bunny I bought just for her.  Any ideas?

Coming to a store near you…

Well, as long as you live in RI, that is. 

I’m so excited that my handmade items will be in a brick and motar building by the end of the year!  A lovely lady saw my shop on Etsy and contacted me about making some things for a local, handmade boutique that will be opening in Providence this November.  She gave me an idea of what kind of inventory they’d be looking for so I’ve started whipping up things here and there.

Before I made some of the bigger items I wanted to get some sew-in labels.  I finally placed an order on Etsy and am anxiously awaiting for them to arrive in the mail.  I have some lovely fabric picked out for crayon rolls, clothespin aprons and therapy bags and can’t wait to start sewing them up.

For the smaller things – like cup cozies, headbands and sachets – I decided to make some hang tags.  I browsed around to get some ideas before getting supplies and finally settled on the end result, which I love – cardstock, fabric scraps and pear-shaped safety pins.  My sister – who has her own web design company – helped me with the unique, funky logo and I love it.

And though it wasn’t on my official project list, one of the sewing projects I pinned on Pinterest recently was this changing pad with pocket.  It will be great to tuck in my bag when #3 comes along!  The original tutorial is here, but I liked the version with quilting and wrist strap. 

I used up the last of my cotton chenille, gorgeous bold flower fabric and some vintage ribbon on the wrist strap.  Honestly, the quilting was a pain – for some reason I can’t figure the tension out on my machine; sometimes the bobbin thread shows through, but if I adjust it the tiniest bit the opposite happens. *sigh*  I did get to practice mitered corners with the binding, but the biggest pain was binding around the rounded the edges and having enough to cover the back.  After sewing it all up there were a few spots where the binding wasn’t sewn down, so I just went back over it and actually like the effect because it adds more quilting contrast to the front.  I chose a funky plastic button for the closure; I had been saving it for something special! 

Feeling Sick…

You never want to hear from your doctor – “You’re feeling sick?  That’s great!”  But when it’s because you’ve got a little baby growing in your belly, it is a good thing. 

For Father’s Day, I had an extra present for Phil…

We had been praying and praying about whether or not to try for another baby.  Since I contracted rH disease with Gwendolyn, all my pregnancies are high-risk, and suffice to say there’s a lot to worry about.  Both of my babies were perfect, though – apparently a rarity with the disease – and I took it as a positive sign from God to continue growing our family. 

We never put a number on how many children we want; it’s more of a learn-as-you-go thing.  Three kids driving me absolutely insane?  Well, I guess it’s time to stop!  In all seriousness, though, we believe children are a blessing from God, and even though we have some extra concerns, I feel we should welcome as many as He’s willing to give us.  I myself am one of five kids and – even though there were definitely moments when I did not like my siblings – I enjoyed the companionship and comraderie growing up and even more so now that we’re adults.

This time around I started feeling exhausted early on and it was all I could do to stay awake during the day.  I find myself counting down the hours till nap- or bedtime so I can sleep, too!  I’ve also been nibbling to keep the nausea at bay, and that – combined with the fact that I have no desire to exercise lately – means I’m already in the next size up. *sigh*  I envy those women who only get cute little pregnant bellies when they’re, oh, six or seven months along; I seem to get pregnant all over.   

I’m so glad I can sew this time around.  Even though I have a bunch of maternity clothes it’s nice to think I can whip up something myself or alter something I already have.  Of course, I’ve already pinned some maternity inspiration…

Aura Joon has some great ideas for making the most out of your non-maternity clothes for as long as possible.  Granted, she’s skinny and beautiful and could make anything look good.

Especially when pregnant, I love long tops that cover my hips.  I love Craft Snob‘s t-shirt-to-maternity top makeover. 

This one from DIY Maternity is cute, too – it leaves some room for the belly to breathe but doesn’t float around your middle like a misshapen tent.

There are lots of tutorials for turning regular jeans into maternity pants and each one has its own spin.  Maternity clothes are ridiculously expensive, even when they go on sale; the idea of finding a cheap pair of jeans at a consignment store and tweaking them to fit a pregger belly sounds great to me.  Here are some of my fave tutes, courtesy of Crafty Cousins, Natty by Design &  Boz Baby, respectively:

And let’s not forget those flowy skirts! 

A Small Snippet made this skirt from a sheet!

This foldover maxi skirt from Elle Apparel looks super-comfy.

And don’t get me started on all that cute baby stuff!  I’ll leave that for another time.  Check out  my Pregger Style board for some more Pinspiration.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord… Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!”
Psalm 127:3-5