Wednesday, December 11, 2013

new quick, easy pattern - cocoa cowl

Finally, I have a new knitting pattern! This easy cowl knits up so quickly that you still have time to make a few before Christmas! It is made with only 1 skein of Malabrigo Worsted yarn, held double throughout. The front has a nice garter lace pattern and the back is ribbing for a comfortable width in the back. It's knit flat and seamed together. It will keep your neck and chin SO cozy!

Purchase here on Ravelry

Purchase here on Etsy

Enjoy! Please send pictures if you make it :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The First Steps of Hand-Lettering class on Skillshare

I've recently been having a blast with a class I'm taking on Skillshare. It's on hand-lettering and is taught by the lovely Mary Kate McDevitt. It's brilliant, y'all! Lots of videos and great information start you off, you can go at your own pace, you can upload images for other students to critique, and you will always have access to the class material. Wonderful. I've always loved hand-lettering and have wanted to incorporate more of it into my graphic design. This class shows how preparation and practice really do make for a better finished design.

For the class you had to choose a favorite quote to letter. The top image is my current progress on the project. I think it's coming right along. I will make an inked copy for the final, then, there is a 2nd class on The Final Steps of Hand-Lettering where you learn to digitize and colorize your project. I'm really looking forward to learning more tips on scanning in hand-drawn items to Illustrator.

Here are some images of my beginning sketches and preparations for this project:

If you have any interest in hand-lettering, I highly recommend the class. If you click through my blog post, I think we both save some $ :) Enjoy and please let me know if you take the class!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gift Ideas - What To Get New Moms, 0-6 months

The holidays are upon us! I thought I would write down some of my favorite mom and baby items before my mom-brain fuzzes everything up and I forget what they are. I know there are a ton of these lists, but this is the stuff that I really really found good/awesome/helpful/amazing.

There are SO many babies due next year in my circle of friends and family and I thought you might be dealing with the same. It would be great to give some of these as Christmas gifts for parents to have later when baby arrives! I'm giving away all of my secrets when it comes to buying for mom and baby, but I like to think I will dissuade some of you from buying things like this.



This thing is amazing. We didn't sleep a night without it after the first couple of weeks. It makes swaddling a non-issue and keeps baby snug without being too hot. This one with convertible sleeves looks perfect (wish we had known to get this version!) because at some point they will want their arms free. 

They actually stay on. There are little velcro strips on the back that go around the heel. Amazing. And you can velcro them together for washings. They thought of everything.

Como Tomo Bottle
This was the first bottle we used with Sienna and it worked great. Someone gave us this one and I love it. It has a very natural shape and is easy to clean.


A gift certificate to her favorite salon. Yes. Do it. At around 1 month postpartum it is amazing to get your hair done. Trust me. (This picture is me when S was 3 months. Yes, I got my hair done then, too.)

Best Leggings Ever
If you're close enough to the mom-to-be to buy her leggings, these from American Apparel are the best, for pregnancy and after. And really just for anybody. I'm on my 4th pair of these. They are just the right thickness (not too thick, not too thin) and they hold in the belly. They are perfect. And it's SO nice to have a better alternative to yoga pants.

A fun new pair of shoes for walking
Mama won't feel like it right at first, but soon she will be ready to get out with baby and hit the sidewalk/park/trail, etc. In my opinion, shoes always help you feel better/cooler/less blobby. I suggest a gift certificate to or something, because then she won't have to leave the house to order them, but, I'm also all about buying local when you can, so a GC to a cool shoe store nearby would also be good. If you know her size, buy something fun that coordinates with the time of year she will be out and about. For me, bright sneakers were in order for the early summertime here in Portland, but if S had been born around now, some great Tretorn rain boots would have been great!

2 - 4 months


Footed PJ's
These are great at any age, but having plenty for the transition out of the swaddle is essential. When babies are tiny most of them love being swaddled or wrapped up most of the time. When they get a little bigger and start playing on a play mat, etc. it's so nice to have plenty of footed PJs. You don't have to keep up with socks and you can let them stay in them all day long around (or out of) the house :)

Carter's makes GREAT footed PJs in a variety of fabrics, patterns, and designs. This is our favorite pair right now.

Thigh-high socks
So, because they won't always be in footie pj's, here are some socks that work. Sienna's little legs weren't fat enough until around 3-4+ months to hold these up, but they are amazing socks that stay on and, with a onesie, don't require pants if it's warm enough. They make diaper changing a breeze and come in super cute patterns. is where you can purchase them (not a great website) and they also have a store locator to find somewhere locally that stocks them. I just ordered these in River for Sienna :)


Gift certificate to a workshop, store, or 1 day class, something to foster/encourage one of her hobbies
Mamas get lost in the diaper changing, feeding, laundry, house cleaning, going back to work, grocery shopping...and they don't get much time for their hobbies. Give her a reason to get back to something she loves to do. Buy a pass to a postpartum yoga class, send her to the local knit shop with a gift certificate, coordinate a special/quick book club meeting at a time that is convenient for her, whatever it is you can do to give her a little special time to be creative, active or engaged in something other than folding tiny baby laundry. It's so true that a happy mama makes everybody else happy.

4 - 6 months


We just started using one of these and it's great. Not only can baby feed herself with this, but when you put frozen or cold fruits/veggies in it it helps with teething pain. It's shown here with a little food mill, a great alternative if you don't want to invest in one of these, but I can definitely vouch for the awesomeness of the baby food maker.

Sleep Sacks
These are so wonderful when baby isn't in the swaddle/Woombie, etc. anymore. It's still unsafe to put them to sleep with a blanket, but these take care of the need for an extra layer. Be sure to consider time of year and the size baby will be when you purchase one of these. 

This one is great for warmer weather.

A version in a bit heavier fabric is great for cooler climates. And this one is super cute :) Halo also makes a variety of sleep sacks, some even have velcro swaddle panels for when you are transitioning out of the swaddle.

Stable Floor Seat (Bumbo or otherwise)
When S was super little, I worried that I had gotten sucked into buying another needless item, but by the time she was around 5 months old, she started LOVING her seat. We have one made by Mama and Papas with a tray. Bumbo, of course, makes a great seat as well. These seats help them develop important stomach muscles for being able to sit up on their own. We keep ours in the kitchen and Sienna loves to play with Mattie and watch me make dinner from hers. It's also great to feed her in because it's all wipeable. Perfect.


Clothing store gift cards
Unless they are an exercise fanatic, your mama may still be feeling a little blobby 4-6 months postpartum. It is a hard time for fashion, people. It's seriously rough. So, provide the mama in your life a gift card to her favorite store, better one that has reasonable prices because she probably hopefully won't be in this size for too long. I know I keep saying gift certificates, but in these cases they really are thoughtful and welcomed. Even better, babysit for her, too, so she can go try a few things on without baby crying and she will come home feeling refreshed and like a hottie again! Have her check out the fabulous blog Ain't No Mom Jeans for wonderful mama fashion inspiration, provided by the amazing Shana. LOVE her.

House cleaning services
These are nice for ANY time after having a kid and early-on is wonderful, but depending on what time of year baby is born, it might be great to think of saving this gift for later (ie. we are in the holiday season right now and it'd be amazing to have someone clean the house before or after we are gone. Coming back to a clean house is SO nice, but packing and planning seem to take up most of mama's time when baby is sleeping!) You might also think about giving this for a time when the weather is bad. Once rainy season hits here in Portland it's mud/leaf/rain craziness and it sure would be nice to have someone else do the floors for once. :)

Again, these things were very very helpful to Sienna and I and were not gimmicky items. I hope you find this list unique and that it helps you provide essentials to your friends and family! Happy giving! xo

Monday, December 2, 2013

December Daily 25 Days of Christmas Album

Sienna's first Christmas! This will be a fun year where she can't pull all of the decorations down yet :) I decided to make Little Bit an album for the 25 days leading up to her first Christmas. I found this project idea through Elsie over at A Beautiful Mess. I ordered the Studio Calico kit and have gotten a decent start on the project. Here are a few photos of what I've done so far.

I found the deer and the Oregon wooden cutouts at Collage, an amazing local craft shop on NE Alberta. I gold embossed them with some Zing gold embossing powder. The rest of the items came from the Studio Calico kit.

I'm excited to get started! I've already taken a few photos to put in the album, but am deciding on a plan of attack to print the photos. I think I will use an Instagram printing service, like Prinstagram. I might order photos weekly or something. I'm not sure yet. Ink for a home photo printer is just so expensive.

Please share if you are doing something similar. I don't scrapbook much, but I thought this was a great time to make something for Sienna. If you have tips on printing photos for this, please share that, too!

Happy Christmas Season!