Mother's Day Card & Keepsake

Maybe it’s the weather we’ve been having… the cold, dreary weather, but it’s May already. Although, it still feels like early April and Mother’s Day is this Sunday! I had hoped to post this little project sooner, but I’ve been working on a really big project that’s draining me and taking most of my time. So, hopefully if you’re still looking for an easy project to do with your little one, this can give you some inspiration.

When Myla was a little over 5 months old, I wanted to do my first craft project with her. Well, maybe not our first. We DID try one of those handprint Christmas ornament kits when she was a month old - sooo not successful. But the following year we DID find a fun way to create handprint ornaments that were MUCH more successful.

Anyways, I wanted to create Mother’s Day cards for each Grandmother with Myla’s very first finger painting (with Mommy’s help, of course) that would become a special keepsake.

I started by creating these cards using black construction paper, origami paper, ribbon, watercolor paper and paints, and my printer. Origami paper is one of my favorite fun craft  supplies to have on hand. They are the perfect little size, with fun colors and patterns, that make beautiful little backgrounds for homemade cards and gift tags. After assembling the cards, it was time to “paint” with Myla. I cut small squares of heavy card stock, dipped Myla’s tiny little fingers in some pink, pearly paint, and “painted” little hearts. What I love about this little painting, is seeing how tiny her finger tips were. I added a little tag reading “Painted with Love by Myla” and glued it on the back of the card. 

In order to make this homemade card and painting into a special keepsake, I searched high and low for the perfect size frame. After giving the cards to each grandmother, we gave them the frame so they could display Myla’s very first painting. Only thing I wish I did was make one for myself as a remembrance of my very first Mother’s Day. (So make sure you remember to do that for yourself.) 

Happy Mother’s Day to every Mom and Mom-to-be, every Step-Mom, Grandmother and Great Grandmother, to each Adoptive Mother, to the Mom who has lost, and those women who may not be mothers by blood or on paper, but are truly Moms in every sense of the word. Enjoy your special day - you deserve it as it’s you who have the biggest hearts and share the most amazing love. 

Metamorphosis

This project is somewhat of a repeat but I wanted to share it for two reasons: 1. I used different materials and 2. The design is a fun idea for a height chart - so please steal it for your little one. 

When a friend was having her third child and the girls threw her a mini-shower, one thing she requested was artwork for the baby's room. I figured I could paint something but also make it multipurpose - like a height chart.

The Height Chart I made for Myla was made using a thick piece of pine with rounded edges that we hung with simple metal brackets. Since this new height chart was a gift, I was hoping to make it not as heavy and hopefully allow it to be hung easily with mirror clips (that’s how my mommy friend hung hers  - she is who I originally got the idea for the project from). 

I went to Home Depot and talked to an employee about how big I wanted to make it. We finally decided on a certain type of ply wood that would work with mirror clips. Since it came in huge sheets, he was able to cut several pieces out for me (I foresee giving more height charts as gifts in the future). Having them cut it at the store also made it much easier to get the pieces home. And since I had to pay for the full sheet anyways - might as well get some craft supplies going.

After a bit of sanding it was ready for painting. I didn’t know what the theme of Baby Rachel’s room was, so I thought a general girly design would work. I went to Michaels to buy the name letters along with the flower and butterfly shapes - which would add some fun dimension to the piece. Then it hit me… the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly would perfectly represent growth and change. Unlike Myla’s height chart, I actually painted in measurements, every 6 inches, so a simple tick mark with age would most likely work well. They just needed to get the height correct when fastening it to the wall.

A Little Project to Celebrate a Birth

Here's a little project that's quick and easy enough for anyone, even the not-so-crafty momma. Although, I swear there's something about becoming a mother (or other exciting, life changing event like planning a wedding) that brings out the creative side in people who thought they never had a creative bone in their body. 

This simple shadow box displays a few of the items from Myla's birth: the hospital bracelets, the little hat she wore for those first few days and a small picture of her in the warming blanket and hat, with her cheeks still pink. This shadow box sits on her bookshelf and is a constant reminder of that amazing day and a reminder of how tiny she was. Sure, it may not be as "creative" as many of my other projects for her, but it's special and sentimental and something to be cherished.

In the beginning, I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do with these items but I knew that I didn't want a huge shadow box on her wall with many items, or to make a scrap book that would be put away and out of sight, or to pack them away in her Memory Box where I keep cards, her homecoming outfit, her pavlik harness and the Balloon Bloomers I made her, among other items. I wanted these few items to have their own place and to be easily displayed in her room, or other rooms in the future, without becoming a focal point. By keeping it small, it sits perfectly on a shelf and acts as a little surprise among the books, radio, toys and dolls.

Look Whoo's Turning One (errr, Two) (Part 2 of 2)

As I promised in last week's post, here are the last party items I created for Myla's First Birthday: Cake and Cupcakes!

I had to save these for their own post because who doesn't love Dessert?!?

I had so much fun creating cupcakes for my baby shower, that I wanted to make cupcakes for Myla's First Birthday - and I felt enough time had passed that I wouldn't remember how time consuming and tiring it was to actually make them. And, especially after creating the invitations and owl lanterns - round owl cupcakes seemed like the perfect match to the theme. I used a round biscuit cutter and pre-made pink fondant for the base. Then I overlapped the cuts with the biscuit cutter to create the wings to which I applied the sparkly fondant powder to add some dimension. I used small round cutters for the eyes and black fondant powder to create the pupils. And finally, I hand cut the beaks from chocolate fondant. Ta-da! Oh, and I stuffed these with icing as well - you just have to!

Lastly, every baby needs a smash cake. So why not a huge round owl smash cake? I found a ball cake mold made by Wilton. I did make a practice cake to see how much the cake would collapse down after the two halves were put together. I learned a bit from that and had better luck with my second cake. I used strawberry frosting to cover it and fondant for the wings, eyes, feather ears and party hat!

All the delicious goodies on display.  Yummers!!!

Look Whoo's Turning One (errr, Two) (Part 1 of 2)

Many of Myla's friends have just turned 2 or are about to. Myla has a little less than 4 months to go which is starting to get my brain spinning about party themes (and honestly making me freak out a little - how, oh how, did two years go by, let alone one!?!?) Last year for Myla's First Birthday I chose Owls for the theme… what else, right? I figured it might be the last time Myla would be OK with me going a little owl crazy and this time I could make them PINK! 

The first party item I made was her birthday hat. I originally made this hat for a group birthday party when Myla was about 9 months old (pictured below). I have 17 other mommy friends that I met in a Mother/Baby Talk group for new moms - we all had our babies within about 5 months of one another, Myla being one of the younger ones. Last August, we had a 1st birthday party for all 18 babies. As part of the party prep, each mother made their little one a party hat (I still can't believe how amazing they all turned out - it's awesome being surrounded by other creative moms). Anyways, I picked up some various scrapbooking paper, large google-y eyes, and feathers and got a little carried away. I can't tell if it looks more like an owl, or a headpiece for one of those show girls in Las Vegas. Ha! But I love it and I think Myla looked adorable regardless. This turned out to be the perfect launching pad to create Myla's First Birthday theme.

Second party item: Invitations! I used some more of that scrapbooking paper to create them (seriously, the prints and textures of these papers are so amazing, and make doing any paper craft that much more fun). I bought some square envelopes and made sure to create them so they would fit inside. I used a rubber stamp on the back for all the party "info" and hand wrote the rest. Although these are definitely not the most professional looking invitations - I think they came out super cute which sparked my idea for her cake (you'll have to wait until next week's post to see that).

Third party item: Decorations! I created Owl Lanterns to hang up around the house. Four large ones and a string of tiny ones. A fellow mommy friend of mine found this idea on Pinterest and used big lanterns to create fish for her little ones 1st birthday. After seeing those, I knew I could make owls out of them too. I used felt to create the wings, eyes and feather ears.

Check back next week to see the last party items: Cake and Cupcakes!!!

 

M - Y - L - A

All parents have their own methods for choosing baby names… post-it notes, white boards, apps, family names, etc. We had a very difficult time with names. I constantly searched through apps and websites, and even movie credits, reading names to Justin - but nothing ever came of that. We chose Myla's name sitting at dinner one night listening to music. "A Song for Myla Goldberg" by The Decemberists came on and immediately, we both looked at each other and said - that's it! We had already discussed middle names knowing we wanted to honor a grandparent - but didn't want to use their actual legal name. My grandmother, Loretta, used to go by Lottie in her early years. Therefore, we decided on Myla Lottie for a girl. We never fully decided on a boy's name - good thing we had a girl. 

It was Thanksgiving Night after I went to bed, and after a big meal and a glass of wine, that I went into labor (before my scheduled c-section a few days away). After denying that I was actually having contractions, we made our way to the hospital in the middle of the night. Once there and they confirmed my contractions - I was told I'd be having this baby in about 45 mins. My parents came by the hospital to see me briefly before I went into the OR. I remember turning to my mother and saying "this day is the day that gramma past - 4 years ago". She turned with a smile, and a tear in her eye, and said, "yes it is". Justin turned to my mom and said, "if that's the case, it's gonna be a girl." Neither Justin nor my Mom knew that I had once asked my grandmother before she passed to give me a sign after she goes that she was still with me. I said it couldn't be just any sign - I wanted her to slap me up side the face with a sign. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter or more amazing and blatant sign than Lil' Miss Myla Lottie herself who arrived exactly 4 years after my grandmother had passed, just about to the minute.

After we brought Myla home, I wanted to take her gender neutral bedroom, and girly it up a bit. I always wanted to decorate the letters of her name for her wall. At first, I was going to do some funky patterns or continue the owl theme, but then decided that I wanted this to be something to grow with her beyond her nursery. I bought the letters at Michaels and used Martha Stewart pearl paints. I kept the brush strokes even in a diagonal direction to keep them uniform and dotted light pink around the edges. I simply glued the light pink ribbons to the back and hung the letters on nails. To keep those pink dotted bows at top looking good - I cheated and hot glued them to the nails once the letters were hung. M to the Y to the L to the A… Yay!!!

 

My Little "Hip" Baby

There are so many things I never knew were possible, during pregnancy, birth and with newborns in general. Myla was a breech baby - and I'm pretty sure she was that way from 20 weeks on. Her little bottom was wedged into place and she refused to turn and flip - despite the amount of headstands I was doing - and was born by cesarean. Due to her breech presentation, the doctors ordered an ultrasound on her hips at 6 weeks old to check for Hip Dysplasia. (Isn't that something only dogs get?) On the spot, she was diagnosed with DDH, Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip. In short, what this meant was that she had to wear a pavlik harness for the next 6 months. For most of those six months, she had to be in this harness for 23 hours a day, which left one hour per day for a bath, tummy time or the most delicious little infant cuddles a new mom could ever imagine.

Clothing her, let alone diapering, carrying, and playing, was quite difficult with velcro and fabric straps tied all around her little 7 pound body. She was diagnosed mid-winter and I needed a way to dress her warmly as only a onesie was allowed beneath this harness. (Say good-bye to all those brand new, super cute, little newborn clothes - that I already clipped tags off of and washed). I decided to embrace this experience and sew her some balloon bloomers. I made these outfits out of soft cotton fleece in funky patterns (easily paired with solid-colored, long sleeve onesies) and added snaps for easier diaper changes. Besides her being super cute - the best part was that they kept her warm and allowed her freedom of movement. At a little over 7 months, we declared freedom from the pavlik harness - what a glorious day for both mommy and baby.

Details of the bloomers and the "fancy" patterns I made... with paper bags. I didn't have any pattern paper and these actually worked out great! And because of the style of these bloomers, they didn't need to be sewn with precision and grew with Myla as she put on weight and lengthened.

UPDATE (February 2015): Since receiving several requests for the pattern/measurements, I'm SO happy to say that I finally got some time to clean up the pattern and turn it into a PDF to share with fellow 'hip' babies (although it may still not be perfect - it was 3 years ago that I originally made it). So, you can now download the Balloon Bloomer Pattern. I hope to work on the directions and helpful tips page soon. In the meantime, please make sure to print the pages at 100% scaling. 

Some images of Myla rockin' her balloon bloomers. 

Two images of Myla in her Pavlik Harness. The first is when we brought her home from her first orthopedist appointment, and the second is right before we put her to bed on her last night before saying Good-bye to the harness. As of today, her hips are still looking really good and her next appointment is a year and a half away!!!

Whoo Loves Their Mom

I do! She's one crafty lady always finding some of the best little projects around. And what I love even more is that she inspires me and gets crafty with me. She isn't the type of person to buy a lot of generic or store bought decorations and invitations when it comes to parties and showers. She either finds something unique or makes it. When it came to my baby shower, she was looking for something fun to make as a centerpiece that also fit with the season... and that wasn't overly "baby". As you can probably tell, I'm not into the whole light pink or light blue scheme - and if the entire shower was decorated in Pepto pink, you could be sure that I certainly wasn't feeling myself - or it was definitely not my idea.  

My mom had been searching for owl related crafts and came across these clay owls. Super easy to make and super cute - we just added a hole at top in which we threaded some ribbon through (and added some pretty eyelashes to about half of them). My baby shower was held in October when leaves were beginning to change. We collected some branches outside and glued some artificial maple leaves in red, orange and yellow to them. I arranged them in a flower pot with some raffia (one of my favorite craft materials when making anything "natural"), and hung the little owls with some ribbons. There are Mommy and Daddy owls along with girl and boy owls all perched around the branches. Since this centerpiece doesn't scream "baby", it also makes a cute decoration during the fall season - a nice little reminder of the birth of my baby girl.

 

Owl Cupcake Binge

The theme for Baby K's shower: Owls! What else? I had always wanted to try working with fondant and I love cupcakes. Figured I would help out my mother and sister with my baby shower by making owl themed cupcakes. I bought the ingredients, wrappers, white and chocolate fondant, color fondant powder, various cookie cutters, little candy eyes and decided to just wing it the day before the shower. It should be just like play-doh, right? After baking the cupcakes, and filling with frosting, I got to work on the fun, but extremely time-consuming, task of decorating. I used a round biscuit cutter to make the white circles to cover the tops of the cupcakes. Next, I used a tulip shaped cutter for the owls, and later removed the middle pedal with a knife. Turned out it made the perfect size owl to which I applied the candy eyes. I used a knife to cut out all the branches and beaks, and a small leaf cookie cutter. Then using the powdered fondant color, mixed with a tiny bit of vodka, I painted the beaks and the leaves. The brush strokes gave a bit of dimension to the leaves. I absolutely loved how they turned out, but also couldn't believe how long it took to make and decorate two dozen cupcakes. Let's just say when this momma-to-be was done decorating, she couldn't wait for bed.

Cupcake_Tools.png

The Story of Baby K

For as long as I've known my mother, she has always shied away from the camera... including when she was pregnant with me. Growing up and looking through albums, I always wished I had seen more pictures of my mom with her baby bump. I wanted to make sure to document my bump for Baby K and decided to create my own album using Blurb. With the help of a friend and Justin, I was able to get some nice pictures along the way during those 9 months. I also used the owls and birds I illustrated for the wall decor in the nursery in the album and added in some ultrasound and delivery day images. I finished the book off by pasting in Myla's footprints.

View the contents in the Baby Bump Book gallery.

Onesies for Baby K

While looking up all sorts of baby stuff, I came across pictures of handmade appliqué onesies, which inspired me to make some for Baby K. I found fusible webbing called Steam-a-Seam that was perfect for doing just this and it didn't require any sewing! I used the "Lite" version - the softer the better for baby. And, I finished the edges with Fray Block. It was really easy and fun and would make a great baby shower activity for a creative group of ladies. After making the bird and fish onesies below, I wanted to appliqué everything like this. Oh the possibilities! After Myla was born, I made the additional two onesies with flowers and a butterfly.  

Having a Baby

(Rewind a few years) Boy? Girl? I know, we'll just say Baby K. With the unknown ahead and my obsessive nature to have the nursery complete before baby arrives (or at least nearly complete), I needed to pick a theme that could be swayed toward girl or boy. I knew I wanted bright, happy colors. I had seen the Skip Hop Treetop Friends bedding collection and had to have it.  Based around Owls it soon turned into a slight obsession in the nursery.

At the time, Skip Hop did not offer a crib mobile - a nursery must-have. I decided I needed one that matched the owl/bird theme. I found a very simple and inexpensive plastic mobile (with music and wind-up motion). I bought fabric squares in different patterns that matched the colors of the bedding set. I disassembled the mobile and sewed covers for the plastic pieces, made stuffed owls and birds, added some ric rac trim for strings and "Ta-Da"… the perfect mobile. Surprisingly, this mobile hypnotized and calmed Myla for a long time and still hangs, out of reach, high above her crib.

With the extra fabric I made curtains to match (another accessory not available for that bedding collection). I took some old Ikea drapes, which just so happened to match the crib dust ruffle, and I cut some fabric from them. I used the extra fabric remnants from the mobile to make the tabs at top. 

I still had extra fabric so I decided to make some custom wall decor. I found some simple and inexpensive wood frames. Then I sewed the fabric to fit around the frames and glued the backs. I used Adobe Illustrator, and the bedding theme as inspiration, to create these silly images.

With those last remaining remnants, I decided to add some ABC shadow boxes next to the bookshelf.