Dear Breasts

Dear Breasts,

Why? What happened to us, or more importantly what happened to you? I held up my end of the deal. I have loved you, held you, played with you, flaunted you, fondled you, put you a hypothetical pedestal for as long as I can remember. I have spent more money on providing you with a warm supportive embrace than on any other items in my wardrobe.

I have lathered you in coco butter to keep you smooth and supple. During that short clubbing phased, I even let you wear glitter! I have proudly exclaimed you as my favorite attribute, sacrificing the feelings of my eyes and smile. Pushing you high above the appropriate necklines, I allowed you to become my defining feature in the teen years.

Remember our first Mardi Gras? We had so much fun. I let you girls take center stage. I gave you both your moment in the spotlight and boy how you shined. Remember high school? I kept grimy perverse hands from you; reserving you for only those I thought worthy of your awe inspiring fullness…. at least it seemed that way at the time.

When you showed up overnight at the tender age of 12, I did not get angry. I welcomed you with open arms, and it took both of them to keep you up. I forgave you, left boob, when you decided to make a surprise appearance at my wedding reception. I forgave you both of growing so out of control that I can never own lingerie or a store bought bikini. I have always forgiven you!

We were best friends. You were my wing women, helping me to snag up my husband. You helped me to excel in tip earning jobs. You made up for all the things I didn’t like about myself. You gave me self esteem I so desperately needed. I have always loved you, but now….. why have you failed me?

I have pampered, primped, and primed you for the day you would fulfill your one true purpose, your destiny, your meaning in life. I have been the Merlin to you, my King Authurs. I have been preparing you for an important role, unbeknownst you. You know what though breast? Authur pulled the freaking sword out of the stone and united a whole freaking kingdom!

All you had to do?……. Produce milk.

Your one purpose! The one thing you were born, bred, built, created for… milk. Generations of biology and subconscious chemical attraction has led you to me. You had ONE job, ONE J-O-B! I poured my love and devotion into you. Even after every suggestion from others, I never once even considered having you reduced. I supported you and your overwhelming neediness knowing that one day you would return the favor. Lies!

You even let me believe my failure at breast feeding 4 years ago was MY fault! After massaging, supplementing, changing my diet, drinking herbal teas, trying every wives tale and doctor’s suggestion, I learned it was you all along. You made me look weak, embarrassed even, when pro-milk moms would ask why I didn’t breast feed, they would assume I was making excuses or just lazy.

So now I go, to prepare bottles for the $20 can of formula I had to go out and get after midnight. Preparing bottles for my son, OUR son, which you helped bring into this world with your seductive bouncing only to ignore him like a useless baby daddy once he arrived. This is your fault breasts. I did my part. I leave you with this, you deserve every inch of saggage coming your way, TRAITORS!

Sincerely,

One disappointed formula feeding mother with a useless rack.

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Beginner’s Cross Body Hip Bag Tutorial

While looking For a project to use my “cute ugly” fabric on, I decided I not only wanted but needed a shoulder bag for running in and out with my kids. I currently tote a big ole back pack full of everything I could possible need to survive a nuclear attack.

Problem was, I couldn’t find anything but pdf patterns, usually at a steep price also. My printer is currently on deaths door which means pdf is out of the question. So I looked at a few pictures and decided to wing it. I have outlines every detail and I assure you this is a beginner project! I am a beginner myself.

Cross-carry bag

You need: 1/2 yard Main Fabric

1/2 yard lining/complementing fabric

1/3 yard fusible interfacing

2 med-large metal rings

2 small metal rings (optional for adjustable strap)

THATS ONE YARD OF FABRIC!!! Hells yeah!

No pattern needed, just the following square and rectangle cuts:

Main Fabric

(2) 10″x 12″

(2) 12″x 3.5″

(2) 3.5″x 8″

(1) 10″x 10″

(1) 10″x 6.5″

(1) 10″x 3.5″

Lining Fabric

(2) 10″x 12″

(2) 12″x 3.5″

(2) 3.5″x 8″

(1) 10″x 10″

(1) 10″x 8.5″

(1) 10″ x 3.5″

Interfacing

(2) 10″x 12″

(1) 10″x 10″

I use old newspapers to draw and cut my squares and rectangles to use as patterns, much easier than retracing every shape.

Keep ALL scraps!!!

Should look something like this.

Satchel Tutorial

Firstly attach your fusible interfacing to the 10″x 10″ and both 12″x 10″ pieces of lining fabric

lining

 Round the corners of both your 10″x 10″ squares like so…

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You can do this by putting them together then folding in half. If you are not confident in your free cut, trace a cup or lid to get a perfect rounded guide line.

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Now, place both pieces right sides together. Sew along both sides and around curved ends, leaving the straight side opposite your curved edged open. snip notches into the curve of the fabric to prevent bunching. Be careful not to cut your seam.

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Flip right side out, press, and sew a 1/4″ seam along the edge. Should look similar this when finished. Set aside for now.

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Using both the 10″x 6.5″ main fabric and the 10″x 8.5″ lining fabric, fold one of the longest edges down 1/4″ and press. Turn again 1/4″ and press again creating a concealed edge. Sew along this edge to create the finished edge of your pockets.

(I used pockets 2″ shorter than what is suggested here, Mine were a tad more shallow than I had hoped for originally)

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Now stack your pockets onto you front right side of your panel (10″x 12″), the way you wish for them to be seen from the outside, hemmed sides on top. (Note: your pockets should look slightly taller. I added 2″ to this tutorial)

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Using your two 12″x 3.5″ Lining fabrics, place and pin them right sides together onto both sides of your front panel.

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Sew along the 12″ edges straight down, being sure to sew over the pocket edges also. Open and press open seam.

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using your 10″x 3.5″ Lining piece, place and pin it right sides together across the bottom front panel, Just like the two pieces before. Sew across, being sure to sew through the bottom of the pockets also. Open and press seam.

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Here it gets tricky. You are going to sew together the ends of the lining pieces to form a corner. I wish there were a better way to show you but really, just line them up, straight raw edge to straight raw edge.

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When both are done should look something like…

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Now, grab all your pins. Use the remaining 12″ x10″ main fabric piece and begin to pin it to all the lining fabric sides on the back (right sides together), creating a bag. Start at bottom corners for best results.

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Sew, press, and flip right side out. To save you time and frustration later, press the top raw edges down about 1/2″, do not sew them yet though.

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Repeat all these step (without pockets) to create your lining. When finished you should have 2 complimenting bag shapes. Fold and press raw edge of lining bag 1/2″ also. Do not sew.

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Locate your flap piece with the rounded corners. Now pin your flap to the back inside of your outer shell about 1/2″. Raw edge should be folded down so from the outside there will be no raw edge visible. Sew.

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Flip your lining bag inside out and insert into outer bag, so you have right sides visible looking in and out, set aside.

Using your 3.”x 8″ pieces, lay complimenting fabrics right sides together. Stitch completely down both long sides, flip right side out and press. Here is one sewn and one flipped right side out. You should have 2 when complete. These will be your hooks for your metal rings.

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loop each piece around one of your metal rings. Sandwich the ends in between the lining and outer shell of your bag along your 3″ sides, inserting ends at least 1″-2″ into the seam. Pin

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Continue pinning around the entire mouth of bag. With raw edges folded under. Sew a 1/4″ seam around the entire top. Be sure to sew a few extra stitches on both sides with the metal rings. They will be weight bearing seams so reinforce them.

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When finished should look something like…

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Now for straps. I did not manage to get pictures but there are several way to do this. I cut all my remaining scraps into 3″ strips. I then sewed them all together in a continuous strip, being sure to reinforce each seam with a zig-zag stitch. After I had one long strip of fabric (1.5 yards) I folded my strip in half, right sides together, and sewed straight down.

Then using a safety pin, fed one end through the looong tube pulling it right side out. Press.

You could also use one continuous strip of fabric if you have it, or use nylon strapping.

To attach to your metal rings you have 2 options. One being the most simple, by choosing a set strap length and sewing it directly around the loop on both sides. Be sure to fold your raw edge under.

MbC1

To make an adjustable strap, FIRST attach one end of the strap to your 2 smaller rings

MbC2

Then loop your raw end thru one big ring and into the smaller rings much like a belt. Pull all the way to the opposite larger ring and sew like in first drawing above. you should have double strap on one side like so…

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Attached to larger rings like so…

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Once That’s done, ENJOY YOUR BAG!

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Note: You can add snaps or velcro. I didn’t have any handy for this project but I prefer the flip and grab. My current bag has a magnetic snap and I want to chunk it every time I try to snap it while wrestling kids though a parking lot.. Like looking for a contact in a blizzard. Will probably go with velcro if I make another though.

Ignore all the Hype, Babies are Easy

Babies are easy

Note: Every pregnancy and every woman are different. This is written based off MY own personal experience.  I know a lot of women cannot relate, but I know a lot also can.

For your whole life, especially if you are a female, you have been drilled with the notion that babies are hard. Our mothers and aunts wanted to scare us into being sexually smart, and it usually works. Once we are married or out on our own it is still drilled into us so as to curb our desires for children until we are 100% for certain that we are ready. Nothing wrong with that thinking, but I’m glad to say babies are not hard.

Now before you read further keep in mind when I reference Baby, I am referencing a healthy infant. My first son had so many digestive issues that were not resolved until after his first 4 months of life. Believe me, baby was excruciatingly hard.

So… Now for the bombshell. Babies are not hard, motherhood is.

A healthy baby will sleep the majority of the first few months. They will eat and poop and just want your touch. The late-night feedings are the closest thing to hard they will be. You will be tired and groggy and wonder why that thing is still crying, you just held it for at least 20 minutes! During the day they will sleep, you will go about your chores, budget your bills, do the laundry, only now your stopping to feed, play, hold, and rock baby. I see that as you now have a mandatory sit down break every 2-4 hours.

So where is the negative? Why not just pop out kids to your hearts content?
Because motherhood is hard.

 Delivery.

I am sad to I was never able to deliver vaginally, I cannot speak on the behalf of those who have. I can only offer them an envious glare. Both my boys were cesarean sections. Maybe I am weak, though I have always had a good tolerance to pain or illness, but both surgeries where nearly unbearable.

I was fortunate enough the first go-round to pass out from the combination of an epidural (I was trying to go for vaginal.) and the surgery meds. My second delivery I was only given the spinal. I did not fully go numb and when the doctor began cutting, I screamed. I do not remember the majority of this, thank Yahweh! After my outburst on the table, I was given a sedative that sent my mind on a drug induced adventure that lead me from my home to a delivery table in a strange futuristic sci-fi laboratory. My mind really screwed with me there. I woke up 20 minutes later thinking I had been out for days.

Once the recovery room stopped spinning and I realized my husband was not reading my mind and that I was in fact actually using my mouth to talk, I started to worry. I thought I had been out for days, and I needed to know where my baby was. However, it would be nearly 24 hours before I ever laid my eyes on him.

I couldn’t feel my legs for the next hour and would not be allowed to walk till the next day. Standing up felt like my guts would fall out the hole in my lower abdomen. I vomited almost immediately after the feeling had come back and the pain… oh the pain! Surgery also causes trapped gasses to move around in you. I don’t mean “just fart it out” gas, I mean holding my shoulders because they are the only thing more painful than a toothache and earache combination.

You deal with the gas for a few days to a week then you deal with the incision another 6 weeks. The first 3-4 weeks I couldn’t laugh, cough, sneeze, gag, strain, yell, nothing! I am on week 5 as I write and still have to hold my incision to cough and brace myself for pain when I sneeze. Your doctor also forbids you to drive at least the first two weeks.

Delivery is hard.

Hormones.

From the moment you get off the delivery table those invisible chemicals of destruction set on fire. You think the pregnancy hormones were bad, HA! Now, if your bundle of joy comes out all pink and snuggly, these hormones will bring you tears of joy and elation. Those tears, however, can easily turn into worry, panic, and the realization of what you have just gotten yourself into.

If your bundle of joy comes out and is in distress or unprepared those hormones can send you into panic. As if having a sick child isn’t scary enough, they make your mind feel like it is suffocating under the overwhelming negative thoughts of “what if?” When I first saw my second son, hooked to wires and tubes, I had a brief moment of “I can finally lay eyes on my child” followed by a 2-week long worry of “Why is this happening to my innocent child?”

Our first encounter

Our first encounter

I began to think “What I had done wrong?” blaming myself for trying to induce labor by walking, having sex, getting a pedicure. Nurses and family assured me that nothing would have made him come unless he was ready, it didn’t help. I was discharged and sent home, while leaving my new baby at the hospital under the watchful and caring eyes of the NICU doctors and staff; leaving the hospital with a diaper bag where tiny outfits, blankets and socks, were all still neatly folded in the bottom.

After coming home, without the celebration of baby, I recall being so angry at myself and my body. My first pregnancy lead to me going into early labor at only 28 weeks. I was put on meds and full bed rest to wait out the rest of my weeks. The memory of that failed attempt at a healthy pregnancy and the premature baby laying at the hospital led me to hate my body for not being able to correctly do what a woman is supposed to do. I kept asking myself why, of all things on earth, the most natural of them, I could not do right. That kind of anger will eat away at you.

I began pumping my breast the first day in the hospital, though I could not feed my baby at the breast it did offer me pride and comfort in knowing I was providing for him with the best there was to offer. My supply came in early and plentiful. I continued to pump the entire 13 days of his stay. Driving 2-3 times a day to see my boy and deliver his milk. I remember the pride I felt when the nurses jokingly told me “Please, no more, we have plenty as we are running out of freezer space.” A few days before his discharge he performed a perfect latch. After a failed attempt at breast feeding my first, I just knew this time I had it.

This glory was short lived. After working with a lactation consultant doing pre and post feeding weigh-ins, we discovered he was what they refer to as a lazy sucker. He could latch but couldn’t suck enough out to constitute a meal. It was a downer, but I was okay; I had a great supply and could pump away. I figured I would continue to let him try at the breast, then offer a bottle of reserved milk, and finish off with pumping out another 3-6 ounces. This feeding process took well over an hour to accomplish, but the site of a freezer and fridge full of milk kept me going.

Less than 3 days after he came home things changed. I was pumping less and less each session. My abundance was dwindling. I switched pumps, let him latch more, took herbal supplements, drank herbal teas, even gave beer a try. I talked with multiple consultants and nurses and researched every breast-feeding site and forum I could find. His appetite was growing faster than I was pumping. It took a little over a week for him to burn through my reserves and catch up to my pumping. We had no choice but to drop the “F” bomb… formula.

Now I am not judging anybody who uses formula and there are many reasons why somebody would do so, but it is not for my liking. My first son’s constant digestive issues were only worsened with each formula we tried. I wanted to avoid it like the plague. Sure enough, within 2 days of supplementing with baby number two he went from happy and content to much more frequent crying and wanting to be held. Within the last 3 days I have all but completely run out. He has lost all interest in even latching on. Hormones saw this coming a week ago and crept back in.

That same hate I felt for my body only 2-3 weeks earlier hit me like a semi-truck. The 2 most natural things for a woman to do and provide, I had failed. I wondered why, if I couldn’t do the things that are required of a mother, God would allow me to be a mother. My mind imagined what if? What if he can’t stomach formula? What if a time came I could not access formula? What if? What if? What if? I continued to struggle with the pump in hopes that more sessions and longer session times would increase my supply. I continued to let him latch for as long as he could before becoming exhausted and wanting the bottle. It felt like I was always in my rocking chair with suction on my nipple. I convinced myself it was better for me to stress about providing for my healthy baby than stressing because he was sick without it.

I broke down. I sat in my bath tub, allowing my breast to soak in the hottest water I could stand, massaging and placing them directly in front of the water jets, anything to promote a better flow. All the while crying, beating myself up for failing, remembering the words of the nurse who told me “I really admire you, most give up.” I was feeling as though I would not only be failing my child, but I would be seen as a quitter by my fellow pro-milk moms.

Hormones, they made the worst of a bad situation. All the breast-feeding pages and groups I had joined online were now a constant reminder of my failure. One by one I removed each of them as the constant photos of smiling babies on the breast made me angry with envy. My nursing cover, that laid gently across the back of my glider rocker, now lies in a crumpled mess in the bedroom floor.

Hormones are hard.

Self-Esteem.

I have never considered myself Miss America, but I am instilled with a healthy level of confidence. I can embrace my tiny chin, large forehead, thin hair, pale complexion, and I love it all.

I wish I could say your body has settings like the personalized driver settings in a car. When baby comes out it doesn’t recognize the non-pregnant mom and adjust to her original setting. There is extra everywhere. That adorable belly is now a sagging piece of skin. In some cases, what was once silky smooth now looks like purple and pink claw marks. People will tell you they are battle scars and be proud of them. I’m no idiot; they make you feel ugly. Your hair, though fixable, will sit in a mess on your head because you are too tired to try, or your recovery makes reaching any higher than your nose painful. You haven’t been able to reach your legs, much less your crotch, for weeks and you will hate to see what they look like. After a C-section you will catch a glimpse of your no longer bandaged incision and feel like Frankenstein. The clothes you wore before you were pregnant are still much too small and your maternity clothes are much too large.

It’s one thing to know you look a hot mess, but it’s completely different to feel ugly. When you feel a hot mess, you can dress it up and paint it on. When you feel ugly, no amount of makeup or clothes will take it away. Those same hormones will only add to your already low tolerance for the mirror. The first time I stood up completely naked from my tub, I had no choice but to be face to face with a mirror with full view of the damage. Once again, I cried. Be prepared it happens a lot after baby.

All women want to feel wanted. They want to feel sexy. You see this often in “loose” women; we say they are seeking attention for their low self-esteem. Married women are no different. There have been days of recent I just wanted my husband to touch me. I have gotten internally angry with him after days have gone by with nothing more than a good-bye kiss in the morning. I painted my face, squeezed into the most decent clothes I could fit in. Why does he not want me?! Am I not sexy in his eyes anymore? What am I doing wrong?

Then he tried. He attempted to touch me in a sensual way, and I swatted him away. WHY! Here he was doing what I had been wanting all this time, and I swatted his advances away. In that moment, when his hand brushed against me, I suddenly felt every insecurity I had experienced in the past weeks. “I am gross”, is all I could think. I know I have stretch marks where he use to only feel smooth skin. I know I haven’t been able to take care of my nether regions. I know there is an overhanging belly hiding a crooked and red still healing scar. I know my breast will probably leak on him. I know if I allow him to study my skin and face closely, he’ll see the dry skin, the stress induced acne, the overgrown eye brows. I know I am still limited in my physical activity, and he will think he is hurting me by even the slightest movements.

It is a vicious cycle. Why would he even attempt to make advances if I only push him away? Why do I feel this overwhelming need for his attention to feel better about myself but feeling worse when I get it? Why am I crying to be held but disgusted to be touched?

Self-Esteem is hard.

 Pride and Paranoia.

Don’t lie. We have all judged that friend who asks for a weekend baby sitter more than once in a 2-month period. We say, “She needs to be home with her kids anyway!”. What do we know? She may be with her kids sun up to sun down Sunday through Friday, maybe her friends have finally asked her out again for a kid free night.

We say we don’t care what people think of us, but the moment a stranger compliments your parenting skills, you will change your mind. Nobody wants to be considered a bad parent. We are already paranoid that we aren’t good enough. To be called a bad mother would probably be the biggest injury to my pride. I am paranoid that any slip up will lead me to looking like that girl we are all silently and not-so-silently judging on our news feed.

We get prideful. We are scared to ask for help. The whole time you are pregnant you hear, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.” which should be true but isn’t. If you want to remain prideful, you have to suck it up and deal with it. It shouldn’t be this way. Every parent needs a break, maybe not every weekend but at least once a month would be nice. The minute people hear you’ve left your kids for the second time in 3 months with a relative you become considered a selfish parent.

Like I said, I am guilty too. I think my judgement comes from another place, however. I am jealous. I am jealous that I do not have family closer. I am jealous that I cannot leave my kids without a good cause without immense guilt. Jealous that I feel it is unfair to leave my kids with other people. Feeling these things doesn’t make them all true but you can’t help how you feel. My pride is often too scared to ask for help.

I am paranoid. Scared I will wear out my “help me” card. This fear left me in a quite an odd position recently. My step daughter had been staying with us to help with the new baby. I felt I was asking for her help much too often. I have every reason to need help. Telling somebody else to feed your baby while you cook supper for the family seems ok but still feels wrong. So, when she decided to sleep in one morning, I didn’t want to bother her. She had been helping enough already, and I was worried she would get tired of it. Then the urge to go to the bathroom hit me. After a C-section, straining is incredibly difficult, so when the need to go hits you, you take it and take it fast. It just so happened to come during feeding time. In my prideful and paranoid state, I let her sleep. 10 minutes later I found myself in the tiny alcove in my bathroom, only large enough to hold one toilet and one person. There I sat with an infant in my lap, holding a bottle in my only free hand, a toddler, in true toddler fashion, at my side shoving an empty sippy cup in my face and dangerously close to my infant’s head. With the toddler came his entourage of my small hairless dog and his dad’s 70lb American bully. There the 5 of us were in this tiny alcove when I realized, how am I going to wipe my own butt?

Don’t worry, I made it out with a clean butt and with the realization that I had to overcome my fear of asking for help and just wake the girl up next time.

Pride and paranoia are hard.

Leaving the House.

Baby, like I said, is easy. Eat. Sleep. Poop. Love. His things are not easy. Your infant will only weigh a few lbs., but those lbs. become tons when you are trying to pack him everywhere. So, you have to heave around the bulky complicated stroller or invest in a sling that will make you think you are killing your kid everytime you put them in it. The infant carrier, or car seat, will make your 7lb baby now feel like a awkwardly shaped 40lb burden. I relate hauling around a car seat to carrying a very wide bucket full of water while being sure not to spill a drop.

The diaper bag, you will always over pack it and yet always forget one important thing you need. If you leave it in the car, you will most definitely need it. If you pack it around with you, you won’t need it at all. You will eventually no longer carry a purse period because seriously, who has that many hands.

On long drives you will be ever so cautious constantly checking the back seat, of which you can’t see your child because he is turned backward. When driving alone without a fancy backseat mirror you will pull over just to check they are positioned ok. You will stop to feed your baby much like you stop to feed yourself, because baby is easy.

So this precious few lbs. of easy to maneuver human being is the least of the problem. It is the 800 lbs. of equipment that will make you wish to never leave home again.
Leaving the house is hard.

The Culmination of all this.

After the baby is home, the routine is set, and the new normal sets in, it can become anything but. I am sure if you have made it this far that it is no secret I am suffering from post-partum. There is no shame in it and recognizing it for what it is helps to understand that all these things I feel are not as real as they seem. They are only my hormones playing against me.

I consider myself blessed this go around. After my first pregnancy I spiraled completely out of control. I said things to my infant that a mother should never say to a child of any age. I wrongfully blamed him for all my problems. I did not abuse my child, but I can never take back the way I felt about him. I can never escape the guilt of my lack of affection for him. He was beautiful and precious and perfect, and I couldn’t see it. You never get that time back.
I have but one regret in my entire life; I regret not getting the help I needed sooner. When he was just crawling, I was so busy wrapped up in house work and errands that he wasn’t getting any attention. He started to cry and follow me around the house. In hindsight it was precious. He was crawling all over our big old house following me like a puppy just wanting love. I couldn’t see it. This was the day that I will never forget.

Had I been in a healthy frame of mind it still would have been stressful, but the culmination of all things listed above created the perfect storm. He was right at my heels, crying to be picked up and I snapped. I, an adult, standing feet above him, began yelling. Not just the yell an angry mom does, but the scream of a seriously sick individual. I just screamed, “What! What do you want?! Why can’t you leave me alone!” along with things I can’t even remember. Things I do not wish to ever remember. He stopped. He froze. The look of terror I put on his face will always haunt me. It was a look that caused me to freeze as well. I just stopped. I scooped him up and cried like a baby, apologizing to this tiny child for reasons he couldn’t even understand.

I called my mom as soon as I could catch my breath, “Come now, I am scared, and you need to get Paxton.” I just knew from that moment on that he would hate me, fear me, run from me. I cried for days after the incident. My husband couldn’t understand why, but I couldn’t and still will never be able to express how violently my words came out or how scared, a child that had never experienced fear before this point, looked.

My mom did come, right away. She knew exactly what I meant when I said I was scared. No, I wasn’t afraid I would physically assault my child by any means. I was afraid I would do permanent damage to our relationship. I was afraid I would hurt myself out of guilt. I was just all around scared of being a mother.

I am very happy to say that I did eventually get help. My son had been over a year old before we ever bonded. I have very few photos of us even together though I was with him every day. Now, you would never in a million years have ever thought any differently. He is my world and though he will always be a daddy’s boy he has mommy’s heart as well.

Even if you don’t suffer post-partum, the stress or excitement of baby alone can wear on your marriage. Be prepared. Prepared to be exhausted and snappy with your husband. He is only human and eventually he will snap back. You are both tired, while you suffer from those hormones, he is stressing about providing for a growing family. Dealing with a stressed-out husband can be as bad, if not worse than dealing with a crying baby. Men have needs too and men can become depressed just like women. Keep him in mind they carry their stress much differently.

The Culmination of all this is hard.

My firstborn

My firstborn

So, now you see why I say babies are easy. They are the least complicated piece of a very large and complicated puzzle. Dealing with yourself will be the hardest part of raising your baby. You are creating a person and a life, but you are creating a mother first.

Creating a mother is hard.

Both my boys now

Both my boys now

Easier, Cheaper, Quicker Photo to Canvas Transfer

I have seen lots and lots and lots of photo to canvas transfers. The majority of these transfers call for a gel medium which runs about $13…. NOPE! It also calls for 12 hours of drying. “Ain’t nobody got time for dat”

So here is my version that was muuuch cheaper! It also makes creating a more vivid picture easier without as much peeling and tearing.

Supplies:

Printed image from laser jet printer

Canvas to fit printed image

White acrylic paint

Modge Podge

Olive or vegetable oil.

Blow Dryer (optional)

Cost:

To print $0.10

Paint $0.30

Modge Podge $0.10

Vegetable oil $0.05

Canvas $1.00 (9 pack for $9)

Total: $1.55 per canvas photo

Now here is how you do it!

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Step 1: Print you image. Be sure to flip it the opposite of how you want it to look as you will be transferring it face down. Paint your entire canvas with one good coat of white acrylic paint. Be sure to paint the entire surface. Allow to dry. You can use a blow dryer to speed up this process or it will dry on it’s own within 15-30 minutes depending on how thick the paint is.

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Step 2: Cover entire surface in modge podge.

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Step 3: Place photo face down onto canvas and smooth out all bubbles. Try to create as little wrinkles and bubbles as possible. Allow to dry. This can be sped up with a blow dryer also. Without a dryer allow 20-40 minutes to dry.

(This is a great project to work on while cleaning the house or preparing supper)

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Step 4: Spray the now dried paper with water. This works best if you work in sections instead of soaking the entire canvas. I used a spritz bottle with water. You can also use a wet sponge or wet rag….

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…Begin rubbing with your finger. layers of paper will start to peel away. Be very careful in this process. Peel one layer at a time away. It will look vivid when wet but as the water dries it will look more white again. I will show you how to fix that.

The more layers you remove the more vivid the photo becomes but on the same hand the more layers you remove the more apt it is to tear and leave a hole in the photo. So one or 2 layers is plenty! Don’t over do your rubbing!

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Once completely peeled it will still have a hazy white over it, let it dry, only takes a few minutes or use the blow dryer. Then use a dry rag or paint brush to brush off loose pieces of paper lint.

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Step 5: Grab that vegetable or olive oil….

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… pour onto canvas and use a soft cloth or brush to spread the oil over the canvas.

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the oil will soak into the paper and make the colors stand out much like the water did. Only the oil will not dry up! Allow the oil about 1-2 minutes to saturate the thin layer of paper.

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Step 6: After oil has had a couple minutes to saturate go over the entire canvas with modge podge. The modge podge will mix with the oil but don’t worry. It will still dry and the oil will still stay within the paper/canvas.

You can use a paint brush to create paint strokes in the modge podge for a faux painting if you wish.

Then allow 30-40 minutes to dry. The surface my still have a slight greasy feeling after it dries but I have had my others on the walls for a few months and they are completely dry and touchable.

I have not hung This one yet but here is his sisters photo’s. A couple of them transferred so flawlessly I had to purposely rip pieces away for the raw look I was going for.

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I painted the edges of the canvases after transferring but that is a personal choice. Completely optional.

So there you have a easier way to create these beautiful pieces of art!

 

Copper Top Penny Coffee Table DIY

This table…(shakes head) … this table, it belonged to my husband’s Nana which translates into, “We are never getting rid of it” I’ve had tried numerous time to get a new coffee table and have been met with a “No” from Jerry. It was a regular brown coffee table when we got together. I thought it had met it’s demise a few years back when my husband and a friend crashed into it. Wrong!, Jerry screwed it right back together. So, since we can’t let it go, at least we can make it more unique.

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All you need for this project is:

a Surface (coffee table in this case)

Elmer’s Pro bond advanced or equivalent, must bond metal to wood

Martha Stewart Copper Metallic Glaze or equivalent, an acrylic copper will work as well.

Black spray paint your choice of gloss or flat

Polyurethane clear gloss

Pennies, pennies, pennies!!! 

Just to go ahead and warn you, you are going to need more pennies than you think. I chose this project because I assumed “Oh! pennies! how cheap this will be!” After my first visit to the bank for $5 in pennies I discovered I was wrong. In all, I estimate $15 in pennies. Not my cup of tea AT ALL!!!

This project in all including paint, pennies, and polyurethane I estimate at around $25. Still cheaper than a new table. I was given the Martha Stewart paint by my sister so FREE! Already had the Elmer’s on hand as well.

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This is what we started with. I painted the table a sherbet orange a year or so ago. This was after a slight sanding.

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Step 1: Paint entire piece your base color; I chose black. Let dry

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Step 2: using you glaze or equivalent, cover whatever surface your placing your pennies. This will make it look like a more cohesive piece. The gaps in between will not stand out as much. Also if your working with an odd shape like I was, this will make your edges look much more uniform.

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I used an old blush brush to make swirly patterns. Almost left it like this; was very pretty. I just wanted some texture in my life though, so I continued.

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Step 3: using the Elmer’s advanced bond start placing your pennies in a stagger pattern for maximum coverage. If you are working with a odd shape, like this table, it will be your call on how far to let pennies overhang. Some rows will line up perfectly with the edge while others will have a gap or leave your penny hanging over. Totally up to you what you do with it. This is the reason I applied the copper. The copper base makes these edge gaps less noticeable.

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My completely filled table. 15 stinking dollars later! Don’t fret, Gluing them down is much quicker than you think, even a little fun.

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Step 4: You want to apply this for numerous reasons. It will protect the pennies from turning colors, avoid them coming off the table from wear, and seal the cracks for easy cleaning. To apply, literally pour the contents of the can into the center of the table. Using a wide paint brush or sponge, work the coat outward to the edges. You may need more or less to completely fill the cracks for a smooth surface area. For a very smooth finish, buy 2 cans. Repeat this step again after table had completely dried with second can of polyurethane.

This will take anywhere from 24-48 hours to dry. I left mine outside for the first 36 hours. The nearly drowning humidity kept it from drying completely so I had to confine it to a bedroom away from toddler hands overnight to finish the drying process. Seriously though, the humidity here is so bad you almost need scuba gear to breathe in the yard.

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Step 5: Enjoy table! Mine will get an extra coat of polyurethane I’m sure eventually. I LOVE the wet look it gives it!

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Isn’t it lovely?

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Paxton saw the camera and waned to “cheese” for Mama.

BONUS!!!

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Add pennies in any pattern to a cheap piece of dollar store glass. I think they sell them for candle stands. Got this one for $0.25. It’s a new coaster for my fancy table.

Enjoy!

You’re Only in Your 20’s Once!

After our move I kept feeling like something was still not right. I finally figured it out looking through photos on facebook… I needed a new look for our new life here.  I was raised Pentecostal which meant I always had loooong hair. Which sound beautiful but I was unlucky enough to have super thin, super fine, stringy hair. Around puberty my hair developed a natural beautiful luscious curl. By time I was old enough to appreciate the natural curl it mysteriously vanished just as quickly as it had arrived.

Because of this upbringing, the idea of short hair was inconceivable. I would never!!! The shortest it had ever been was about shoulder length near the end of my pregnancy. I assumed it be easier to manage, it wasn’t. Other than that my hair has been pretty much the same with the occasional pop of red but always brown/black…

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My straight thin hair with my step daughters beautiful full thick naturally smooth hair. NOT FAIR!

Point is, I made the big and brave decision to not only cut it short, but to shave it! Well, shave part of it anyway.

Most people where aghast with the idea but here is my theory. I’m only in my 20’s once and if I’m going to do something extreme I better do it now! 

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This is the photo I sent from the chair to a few close friends and relative. Their reactions where priceless!!!

I was afraid I wouldn’t like the shape of my head or my face would look chubby. Turns out it makes my neck look more slender. Or as a friend of mine said, “like a majestic giraffe”

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My wonderful Hollyn (stylist) was sure to leave enough length on one side to not scare me. She also left me enough to hide my scalp if need be. Turns out I LOVE showing some skin… scalp skin that is. I feel like a total post-apocalyptic badass.

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I was scared shitless. I’m not going to lie, but I took a risk and it felt GREAT! My husband however took a minute to love it as much as myself. He told me I could not get angry if he woke up in the morning and assumed there was a guy in bed next to him resulting in an injury to myself.

So often we are made to feel like long hair is a sign of femininity and beauty. Never imagined I could feel so sexy and feminine with a lack of hair. It’s empowering. Amazing what one haircut can do.

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The girls say I remind them of Miley Cyrus, as many people have also said. We decided to do Miley impersonations the other night. Silver gum wrapper grill included.

What I’m hoping to say here is: if you always wanted to make a change, no matter how extreme, just do it. If your in your 20’s do it a LOT. For some reason people get much more judgmental the older we get. Not that really matters so just do it! Do it! do it! do it!

DIY American Flag Shorts

I recently got a deal on red white and blue Sperry style loafers. They cost me $8 which is still a little more than I like to spend on shoes. So I now have the obligation to make sure I have as many things to wear with them as possible. Got to get that $8 out of them… yes… I… am….that…CHEAP! So I decided to repeat a DIY I tried for the 4th of July. I got so many compliments on my shorts! So I  made a second pair, (technically a third, my first pair ended up being 2 sizes to small.) My pride was tarnished but I soldiered on with a larger pair.

Let me start by saying, American flag shorts have made a come back therefore they are expensive! I don’t like to spend more than $5 on shorts or $10 on jeans, so buying a pair was out of the question.

I pulled out a pair of shorts from the closet. Chances are, since the brand in the tutorial are American Eagle, that my friend gave them to me after she got knocked up. Love when friends get fat or skinny because I’m right in the middle; I get new clothes!!! Now to the how to…

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I’m saying $5.00 but technically I already had all the supplies. FREEEEE!!!! I’m estimating $5 for the following supplies

Supplies: Red and White acrylic paint, paint brushes, pair of old shorts, (optional: chalk or white paint pen)

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Step 1: Lay shorts flat. Starting at center seam paint a red line straight across to side seam. If you are not confident in your straight line skills you can mark it off with tape. As your paint dries it will darken. I personally think it looks more rugged, but if you’re looking for a bright pop of red, I would recommend going over each line again after they dry.

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Step 2: Fill the spaces in between with white paint. Pocket lining and waist band are completely optional. The orientation of your stripes are also completely optional.

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Step 3: To put on the stars you have a few options. a) freehand them on with paint and brush. b) using chalk or paint pen, draw on stars then fill in with paint. c) purchase a star stamp from hobby store. I personally found it easy to just draw a five point star using a paint pen (it goes on very faint) When they where placed where I wanted, I painted them in using white paint.

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Step 4: Repeat on the back. Getting into the crotch area will be tricky. You will have to hold you hand in the crotch and maneuver you lines around. Another style for the back I have seen is just painting the pockets stars and stripes. Up to you!

How to Care for your Shorts

I made another pair that where washed using regular washing powders and dried in my dryer several times with the rest of the laundry. That pair did fade but colors did not run.  They have that really rugged look, like the ones pictured in the collage for $70.  If you want to keep them as bright as possible you can try sealing with an acrylic sealer though it may cause extra stiffness. For washing, turn inside out. Wash on light cycle using a Tbsp of  baking soda. Baking soda will clean the shorts from regular wear without harsh chemicals that are in usual detergents. Lie flat to dry. For an in between bright and rugged look try washing like you would anything else then using the baking soda method.

Hope you give it a try and enjoy your new patriotic shorts!

DIY Old Book Dresser Makeover

Been a minute since I have posted. Been a pretty busy couple months. My computer had to spend some time in the shop as it was ATE UP with viruses. I haven’t been doing many projects but I have quite a few in the works and finally completed one last night. So I present you now with

Easy Dresser Makeover

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First let me start by saying, This is the second makeover this particular dresser has went through. I don’t have a picture of  it originally but the below photo is as close as I could find to its original state via Google

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It looked a lot like this. Even had a mirror. That mirror has since been removed, repainted, and hung on the wall.

The dresser went through its first makeover for the girls room a couple yeas ago. It looked fabulous, wish I could find a photo 😦 It still looked great before this project but I’m moving the dresser to our room and pink zebra and fashion magazine modge podge just wouldn’t cut it. After stripping off all I could this is what I ended up with.

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We had painted the dresser black already before the last makeover so we got to skip that step this go round.

Supplies: Modge Podge, Old book, Black acrylic paint, Brown acrylic paint (optional), box cutter or exacto knife,  Paint to paint your piece whatever color you choose.

Project cost me around $8 if I include acrylic paint and modge podge. Our local book store always has FREE books bins outside, YAY!!! So the book was even free!  The dresser was given to us a few years back FREE

Step 1: Remove Hardware (handles and knobs) then paint entire visible surface whatever color you choose. I actually used black spray paint when I redid it for the girls the first time. Was able to spot paint a few scratches using my black acrylic this go around.

step 2: Tear your book apart. I find it easier to remove the spine and cover. The pages will be much easier to peel away with minimal fraying.

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Step 3: Modge Podge paper onto each drawer. In my impatience I did not have actual modge podge. I used a elmers glue and water mix… I would not suggest that method as I had to go back and do a LOT of touch up gluing. Should have just went to the damn store for modge podge. Do not worry about over hang right now, we’ll get to that.

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Notice the bubble? Modge podge will help to avoid these and create a much cleaner look. I did not like the straight edge look so I tore paper randomly into rough edged shaped and covered part of the blank margin area.

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Step 4: You may like the slightly off white color. I wanted a more aged look however. Using the brown acrylic mix it with equal parts water. It will make a really runny brown stain (that sounded gross!). Brush this mix onto each drawer. I would suggest layering it as it tends to lighten as it dries.

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See the difference? The white was pretty but just not quite right for our bedroom.

Step 5: Once everything had dried, trim the edges of your excess paper using a box cutter or Exacto knife. Wait till all glue or stain is COMPLETELY dry. It will slice right off without tearing this way. As you are doing this check your edges and be sure they are securely glued to the drawer. constant sliding will cause any unattached pieces to began to tear over time.

You may want to seal it with a extra layer of modge podge once it is all done to completely seal all your pages together.

Step 6: Put it all back together. Pick a design or free hand a design onto drawers. Think of drawers as one complete piece.

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Here is each side of mine. I free handed a simple swirly line then just began adding elements to it. I originally wanted to do a deer silhouette but the spacing between drawers would have made it look deformed.

Last step: reattach all your hardware. (This dresser has been through the ringer so I will actually have to replace most the knobs) I was in such a hurry to get this posted though I’m showing it pre-new-knob. Don’t judge me!

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VOILA!!!! One of a kind Dresser!

Check out this beautiful dresser upcycle from Suburban Musing http://kathi.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/chalk-painting-an-awesome-vintage-dresser/

A Month of Toddler clothes in ONE Drawer!

I don’t hang my toddler’s clothes… ooooh how dare I?! I hate children’s hangers and I hate hanging clothes. He’s a toddler; I don’t think he cares if he has a wrinkle or 2 or 7. The only things we hang are bulky items such as coats, sweaters, hoodies, and dress or special occasion clothes. This does cause a clutter in the storage of other clothes but I have found a system I love and is pretty easy to stick to.

I saw a post at the dawn of Pinterest that suggested packing infant clothes in zip-lock bags when traveling. I thought “Hmm.. pretty simple yet effective, but how about all the time?” ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY!!! The husband can no longer say “but I cant put together outfits like you” when asked to dress the kid. They are all preplanned. Storage is sooooo easy because entire outfits will no longer take up nearly as much space.

Supplies: Box of SLIDER gallon zip-lock storage bags. That’s it!

Note: I usually slack on this in winter as pants and winter clothes are more bulky and a pain in the tit. PERFECT for summer however.

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All this in one dresser drawer! You can even switch to shelf storing with this easy trick.

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Start by trying to gather all you child’s clothes that they actually wear, wash them, and have all together.

Set aside about an hour, give or take depending on how much clothes your child has, to do this. It’s actually kind of fun and once you get it done the first time it will be a snap to keep it going.

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Start by sorting clothes accordingly. I like to separate mine into shorts, collared shirts, and t-shirts. If you have a daughter you may want to do dresses, shirts, skirts, leggings/stocking. I do not like to do pants because of the bulk so I usually store them all together to just grab whenever I need a pair. Here in Louisiana summer we won’t be needing them anytime soon.

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Start sorting into outfits. You will most likely have a LOT more shirts than shorts so I usually pair one collared shirt and one or 2 t-shirts with each pair of shorts. Kids are messy and having a backup shirt is always nice. This is also like having more than one outfit in one bag, saving space! Once you have all your outfits together get ready to bag

Note: I always end up with a couple of extra t-shirts that don’t match anything; these become sleep and play shirts.

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One pair of shorts & 2 shirts.

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Try to put into bag as flat as possible. This usually mean only folding shorts over once. Use slider bags because they make this step so much easier. Close bag leaving about a 3″ gap open and squeeze out excess air. Once you have done about 8 or 9 bags, stack them on one another, each being slightly opened, then sit on em or squish them. This will push out even more air making them even smaller to store. After pushing out air seal bag.

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Voila!

If you have a bow wearing daughter you can include bows that are exclusive to a certain outfit into it’s bag so you always have it together. You can also add socks to the bags so you always have a pair handy when getting your little one dressed.

The Math: I ended up with 17 bags. 14 of these bags had 2 or more shirt options in them. (We’ll say they all had 2 for maths sake) That’s 31 outfits in  a 7″x19″ space. Can’t beat that. Nothing better than walking into your child’s room and grabbing a bag and having an instant outfit with backup clothes to throw in the diaper bag. Even better when we’re going away for a few days. I grab a handful and throw them in the suitcase and he’s set.

To keep this up, keep a box of zip-lock bags in the drawer with their clothes or where-ever you sort laundry.

Hope this was helpful. I promise you this is super easy. I am…well… I wouldn’t call it lazy so much as “unmotivated” and even I keep this up.

Upcycle Old Windows

Old windows have made a real come back, only not on your house, but in it. People are picking these things up like the latest diet craze. Lucky lucky me I have an aunt who generously gave me a few while remodeling a house. Here is what I did.

Looking Glass Painting.

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These windows had a mossy like film over the glass that really made it looked age to I cleaned only the backside of the glass.

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Using looking Glass paint, paint the BACK of the window. This type of paint looks dull from the side you paint but shiny and reflective on the opposite side.

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This is the back side of the window where the paint was applied

Because I kept the front side of my window filmy it doesn’t look AS mirror like but instead a little more aged. If you are using a regular or clean window they will appear more mirrored.

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To get the image, allow paint to dry on back. Simply use acrylic paints to paint design on the front. If you are not confident in free hand you can use a dry erase marker to get it right or place a picture behind the glass BEFORE you use the Looking Glass spray paint and trace onto the front.

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Make husband hang it. DONE! Total cost: $12.00 (Looking Glass Paint)

I used acrylic on the front of the glass, instead of applying it on back side before Glass paint. This was because acrylic is easy to wash off so I can change the quote or image as often as I choose. Great for Christmas time or if I change my room decor.

BONUS: An Easy Window Idea

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Old book pages behind glass then mount! Easier than talking smack about that girl you hated in high school!

This project cost a total of $0.00