Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Fotos: Laundry List

All in a day AND night's work. I'm sure ya'll can relate to this...let's all join hands and wish the end of flu season to arrive SOON.
Happy Friday and weekend everyone!

from Designing Mom Shinmin :
After a night of continuous vomiting (Mila threw up every 20 mins last night all night), this is the laundry pile.

She went through:
1 mattress cover
1 bed sheet
4 pajamas
1 sleep sack
5 onesies
5 burp clothes
17 baby blankets (basically all that we own)
1 Shin nightgown
1 Shin bra

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Story: A Greener Life

by Designing Mom Contributor Erin

One of the questions I was asked to explore as the "green" mom on this blog is how to get your kids involved. From my experience, it is often our children who are coming home demanding more of us and motivating us parents to recycle more, think about the earth, consider composting. But before that, there has to be something within the child that causes them to care in the first place. Before any of us commit to changing the way we do things there has to be something inside of us that causes us to care, otherwise no matter how much statistical data on carbon emissions or consumer consumption is thrown our way, we won't have any real impetus to act.

So what is it that thing, that motivation, and where does it come from? I've thought about this a lot and the only real conclusion I've been able to draw, is that the motivation can only come from a true love of what we are protecting and that for most of us, this love is developed when we are children. I think growing up on the West Coast makes it easy to feel connected to nature. In Seattle where I grew up, I woke every morning to trees, Lake Washington and the mountains beyond. The geography became a part of who I am to such a degree that I don't feel at ease when I am far from the water for too long. Our family vacations were often centered around experiencing nature-trips to the rain forest in Costa Rica, Glacier Bay in Alaska, the Great Barrier Reef, Bandhavgrah National Park to see the tigers in India and many trips around the Pacific Northwest to the beaches, rain forests and mountains within a couple hours' drive. So rather than these locations being nebulous ideas, they were tangible places that I became attached to through experience. Because of the world we live in, I have also seen first hand the effects of clear cutting, over development, poverty, pollution and exploitation on these places. Without these memories, I don't know if I would care as much.

It doesn't take trips around the world to make this message personal, though. At least I hope not, since I doubt I will be able to provide my children with those same vacations. For us, now living in the Bay Area, it means day trips to Muir woods, a weekend at Lake Tahoe and lots of time spent at many of the beaches on the bay and up and down the coasts. Hopefully, our talks about bugs and birds and fish will turn into conversations about finite resources, conservation and protecting what we love. I thought this would be a good topic to begin our "green" postings because this is really the start to any "green" discussion: How do we make decisions, in our daily lives, that express the value we place in our environment and our health, as individuals, as a family, as a planet?

I'd love to read about what some of your favorite memories in nature are and how your attitude towards the environment was effected by the way you were raised, either positively or negatively.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Make: Photo Alphabet

Author and blogger Shona sent this creative photo exercise you can accomplish with your kids. Click here to visit her blog and get the tutorial!

Make: Camera Lens Vignette

More photo fun... Maryanne at sent this tutorial for creating your own camera lens vignette with scrap felt.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Balance: Working at Home

by Designing Mom Ryan of Tin Parade

Take a sneak at our work “meeting” this past week……..

Hi Mama’s.

Kristen and I at Tin Parade often get asked by other mom’s, how we do it. We have met so many mothers who love the idea of starting a business and they aren’t sure how that fits into their every day life. Well first, it doesn’t fit into EVERY day life. There have been WEEKS actually that we find it hard to even return an email. For us, we decided at the beginning, and together, that the kids (the short people as I call them) come first. And second, its ever changing really. As their ages and schedules change, we change the time and way that we work. Right now, Kristen has one in elementary school, one in preschool and one at home. I have one in preschool and one at home. So…during preschool hours we many times have a “playdate” for the little ones…they don’t understand we are “working”…they are having a great time playing with each other's toys and we use the opportunity to get some things done together. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect…and some days it works better than other days…of course we need quiet time to work as well…we find 45 minutes to an hour and a half here and there throughout the week…during a nap…a few shared babysitting hours…in the evening…on the weekend when our husbands are home…and outside of that..we split tasks and responsibilities so that each of us can work at home in other found moments on our own. Some of our best “meetings” have been during our morning runs.

Above: Here is Kristen's old school (vintage?) toRyan'sBlackberry... Yes Kristen, the Day-Runner grew up! Notice the kids' breakfast?

Some business’s do require more focused time and you’ll have to weigh how much help you need…you may need a few hours of babysitting and you may need a full time nanny. Even then, how wonderful to get to be home with them. You may remember I have another business (Savoir Flair Weddings) and I do have a part time nanny for the time I put to that business as I need to be able to make quiet phone calls and such. It all depends on the kind of work you are doing…I guess what I’m saying is that it’s doable…it always is…you just have to FIND the way that it will work for you. And it IS worth it. It is rewarding to do something for yourself and it’s important. If you just start chipping away at your idea stolen moment by moment…it WILL take form and you’ll find your way…I really believe that….The hardest thing is to START. There’s never a better moment than the present. Go for it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Creative Life: Carrie Howell

Tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Carrie I am a stay-at-home mother of a 2 year old girl (Lily) and I am currently pregnant with our next. I have been crafting most of my life and currently I run my own small business on, Lily & LOU, where I sell my handmade goods. I have a Fine Arts degree from Kent State University, where I studied Ceramics. It was a wonderful experience studying what I love. Looking back a bit it probably would have been more practical for me to follow a different line of study now that we are facing today's economy, but I am making it work none the less. Balancing motherhood and working on my own line of goods from home has it's challenges at times, but it is very fulfilling to me. I get the opportunity to watch my little one's grow up and I get to fill whatever time I can slice out making things, which definitely feeds my soul.

What inspired your Gown-2-Go and Swaddle Pod?

I started my business after motherhood, mostly by accident. I was always crafting things for my little girl and posting pics of my creations the social networking sites I belong to... building up a reputation among my small group of internet mom friends for craftiness. Last year my friend Kristen, asked me if I would design her something to wear for the birth of her third and final child, the girl they had been waiting for. So I got to sketching and working on a mock up for my first "hospital gown". She told me she wanted something with all the function of a traditional hospital gown but she wanted it to be more tailored to her like a dress, in beautiful fabric.
When I was finished I posted pictures of the hospital gown I made on my social networking sites as I did after any project. I got such a response from other mothers-to-be that I quickly had other orders for more. So I opened up shop on etsy and my little business was born. My hospital gown design has had several evolutions over the last year but that was the day that The Gown-2-Go came to be.

Over the last year I have added other things to my shop, I have a growing line of children's toys which started with my "Heirloom alphabet puzzle blocks". I am expanding my toy line this holiday season with a new set of environmentally friendly building blocks, stained with non-toxic soy based stains as well as a line of hand sewn toys for baby.
My latest creation is the "Swaddle Pod". It is a swaddling wrap blanket that takes the guess work out of swaddling. Necessity is as always the mother of invention and as I nest and prepare for the birth of our second child I have begun creating things I know we will need for her. My first child loved to be swaddled but the art of the perfect swaddle alluded my husband our baby daughter would get so upset if it wasn't done correctly so the swaddling fell into solely my hands. To combat this problem I thought I would just go out and buy some of the many brands of swaddle wraps available... but I just wasn't happy with any of them. So I decided to make my own. I wanted cute, trendy fabric and most of the ones available at the store were plain, solid, pastels. I also wanted something a bit warmer that I was finding, my baby will be born in the winter and our house is rather old and drafty. So I decided to line it with a soft plush "minky" microfiber material. I added large strips of Velcro to keep the swaddle snug and secure and so became the Swaddle Pod. I will be adding a lighter weight version, lined with organic cotton flannel called of course, the Swaddle Pod lite.

What inspires your creations?

Most of my inspiration comes from my daily life, my children, my husband, my friends, my home. As I said before necessity is the mother of invention most of my designs have been answers to the the needs of all of those listed above. I am just answering to the problem solver and little inventor I have inside myself.

What's a day-in-your-life like?

Most days I get up around 5 am to answer emails, and get started making orders. I like to try to get as much work in the small amount of time have to myself before my daughter wakes up. It is very difficult for me to split focus between working in my studio and rearing my daughter. I am always trying to find the perfect balance, but perfect does not exist in my home. Once my daughter is up, most days I am in my full-time-mom-hat until nap time when I go back and work on orders in my studio. Then it is back to singing and dancing and coloring with my daughter until my husband gets home. Some days I get a bit more time to myself in the sewing room to work, but other days the exhaustion of keeping up with a year old and this pregnancy sets in and I collapse on the couch with my husband.
It is a continuing struggle to do it all, not to mention a lot of hard work, but everyday is a new one and a new start to do it better.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Fotos: Wintertime Blues

From Designing Mom Tori :

Last Saturday, on a particularly cold day, my friend and I took our boys to an interactive art/education museum at the Frist Center in Nashville. The kids had a great time, but I'm sure that I had the most fun just watching my little guy create to his heart's content. It was the perfect solution for the wintertime blues.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fitness: Twisted Muscle, New Rules for Stretching

You may think stretching is stretching...but thanks to Jeremy, he's giving us the lowdown today on what types are helpful and harmful. As much as I love working out, I have always hated every one of those ten minutes of stretching on the floor and am glad I can nix those and go right into more dynamic stretches. Read on about the "New Rules of Stretching..."

photo: Richard Shock/Getty Images

by Designing Moms Fitness Contributor : Jeremy of Twisted Twilight

Due to the more sedentary lifestyle we lead today, we have become more and more prone to injury and postural imbalances due to our lack of flexibility; long hours in the office sitting with legs bent and shoulders rounded over a keyboard are recipes for muscle tightness and dysfunctions to occur.

During movement, our muscles work in what are called synergistic groups; you can think of these groups as a first string, or main muscle, and a second string or the backup muscle that supports the main muscle. If these ‘groupings’ of muscles are inhibited by tightness, one group either has to work twice as hard or less efficient to complete the movement. Obviously our goal is total muscle balance so a stretching routine is important whether you need it for sports specific activities or if you need to just feel better throughout the day.

Much has been debated lately about the different types of stretching and when to do them. To clarify, there are two major types of stretching: static and dynamic. Most of us are more familiar with the former. Static stretching is finding the point of tension and holding it for 10-30 seconds. Although it’s often been taught as an injury prevention measure, static stretching prior to a workout might contribute to less efficient movement in preparation for that activity. When you stretch, it forces that muscle to relax temporarily making it weaker and causing a strength imbalance.

Static stretching also reduces blood flow to your muscles, decreasing activity to your central nervous system—which inhibits your brain’s ability to communicate with your muscles, decreasing your capacity to generate force. Bottom line: avoid static stretching prior to your workout or sports specific events. Save it for more non-athletic types of activities.


When: Any time with the exception of before a workout. Static stretching after a workout is a good cool down and brings the muscle back to its normal length tension

Why: To improve general flexibility for everyday activities

How: Try to stretch twice a day, everyday for permanent lengthening of muscles. If you work in an office environment, it is doubly important for you to stretch multiple times everyday

Tools: AIS stretching rope, a towel or a foam roller are your best tools for getting those knots out

Dynamic stretching on the other hand is stretching the muscle in a repetition format at a controlled, slow tempo. I often give my clients this analogy: think of your muscle as a rubber band, take that rubber band and leave it in the icebox overnight. The next morning, take that rubber band and stretch it to the point of tension and hold. Doing this creates a higher percentage that it might snap. Now, everything being equal, take the same rubber band and in a slow and controlled manner, pull and relax. You may have already guessed that this will warm up that muscle by increasing blood flow making it more elastic, decreasing the chance of a pull or injury.


When: Before a workout or a physically strenuous activity

Why: To improve performance, increase blood flow to the muscle and reduce your risk of injury

How: Generally, I have my clients warm up on the rower, treadmill, etc…for several minutes, then they perform 4-8 dynamic stretches, 10 reps each stretch, covering all the major muscle groups and joint areas of the body.

Shop: Noonie

Just wanted to add to Jenn's post about the ultimate swaddle. I love any baby in any pod shape and these "Noonies" by Lalas Pequenos look so snug to warm the babies in after a bath or while hanging out with the family.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shop: Dreaming of the DreamSwaddle

by Designing Mom Jenn of 13 Creative

As a new mom for the second time (and self-proclaimed product junkie), I keep finding baby products that I'm absolutely in love with for our newborn daughter Hazel. It's hard to justify buying new things for her, considering that this is our second girl - and there's nothing more functional and/or affordable than the ol' Hand-Me-Down! However, product design hasn't stopped in the last two years, since Grace was born. Just the opposite... there are a plethora of "NEW & IMPROVED" items that were created just for ME, to make MY life easier!

Last week, a gift arrived in the mail from a very good friend of mine, who had her first baby two months ago. The gift was a swaddle blanket I'd never heard of, or seen before, with a note card attached that said "I can't live without this". I was skeptical. I am skeptical by nature, in fact, and thought that nothing was better than the Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe blankets that I discovered when we had Grace two years ago. How could there be something better that I'd never even heard of!

It turns out that this swaddle blanket, called the DreamSwaddle, comes from New Zealand and is made by a company called Mum2Mum. It also turns out, that I was completely wrong, and there IS in fact a better swaddle blanket than the SwaddleMe by Kiddopotamus!! With a lot of hesitation, I decided to try this new oh-so-amazing swaddle blanket one night while we were still in the hospital and Hazel slept like a champ... for HOURS! What's a new mom to do, but fall in love immediately with anything that facilitates sleep! Not to mention, I could also change her diaper, while she was sleeping, without having to remove or open the swaddle blanket. It also helped that all of the nurses in the hospital nursery kept "ooohing" and "aaaaahing" over this incredible swaddle blanket. It seemed that this product might be, dare I say it, "perfect"! So, of course, one was not enough... and now I needed two!

Once home from the hospital, I started to google this swaddle blanket that I had convinced myself was worthy of "Ripley's Believe It or Not"... but it was seeming like this DreamSwaddle might be a figment of my imagination because it was NOWHERE to be found (unless, of course I lived in New Zealand). The company's website directed me to the International online retailer for the US, however, after I selected the size and the color I wanted, there was no purchase button! I must have refreshed that screen 70 times! There were YouTube videos about this incredible product, but just about nowhere to purchase the damn thing online. I even tried to find the blanket on Canadian websites, thinking the shipping costs wouldn't be that bad!! I NEEDED this product. I WANTED this product. I even convinced my husband that this was worthy of breaking the "we don't need anything for this baby" rule and splurging on a new item, and yet I couldn't get it!

After a long while on the internet last night I found a website I'd never heard of ( that seems to carry the DreamSwaddle. While normally I like to know the online company I'm giving all my personal and credit card information to, it didn't matter - and I found myself entering my billing info, shipping address, and credit card's 3-digit code without hesitation, all in less than 3 minutes. I have NO idea whether or not this DreamSwaddle is going to show up. I'm expecting the worst, but hoping for the best! If all else fails, I'm going to call the boutique in New Jersey where my friend got hers from, and see if they can send one to me. Just in case any of you are as intrigued, here is the store's info:
The Birth Boutique (973) 627-8850.

Here's a link to this "must-have" item, along with the youtube video. Hopefully this can bring the same magic to your baby's sleepless nights, as it did mine -- if you can get it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Make: Octo-Dogs

by designing mom lori of fin and roe

i made a very special treat for the boys last night. i need to preface this by saying it wasn't my idea. i saw it on a blog or a magazine recently, but have no idea where. if you know, please let me know so i can give credit where credit is due.

ok. so we don't really eat hot dogs in our house very often. i might buy them once a year for the boys, but when i saw these i knew they'd get a kick out of them. i bought some turkey dogs to try to keep it a little healthier and got to work

i cut each dog into 4 pieces and then threaded 4 pieces of spaghetti through each one (so they'd have 8 legs when done).

just throw them in a pot of boiling water and boil like normal until the noodles are done. OCTO-DOGS! i served them up and the boys were in heaven. they thought they were the coolest things on the planet. the little dude even had a second helping which never happens. he was stoked when he found out there were left overs for today.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Creative Life: Wiley Valentine

I absolutely love the gals of Wiley Valentine. They are so talented and sweet and I always have fun seeing them and their team at the NY show. They design a heavenly letterpress line that brides always swoon over. When I found out that Rachelle was expecting, I couldn't wait to ask her to give us a little slice of her life as designer and now mom-to-be! Click here to see their work and read on about their Creative Life...

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background
I am a graphic designer by trade, lover of all things paper at heart. I love all things pretty, pink, fairy land, enchanted forest like.

How did Wiley Valentine Start?
Emily (the Wiley half) and I were working at the same boutique graphic design firm. We began to design invitations for our friends and family on the side together, and one day we said "wouldn't it be so great if we could do this full time!?". So planned for about a year and then decided to start our own business specializing in paper delights.

What inspires you?
All things vintage, nature, travel, fashion, dreams.

What are the biggest rewards/challenges to your biz?
Biggest rewards would be working with cilents one on one and creating something totally custom that reflects their personal vision. When we get sweet cards or notes from happy clients saying how much we impacted their lives it really makes it all worth while! Challenges: trying to constantly stay ahead of the game, stay current, constantly trying to think of ways to set us apart.

What's a typical "day in your life like"?
Respond to LOTS of emails. I take care of most of the custom inquiries, so I begin my day with those, and doing any quotes necessary. Then I move on to proofing any jobs that have come in, then revisions on any active jobs, then I move on to any custom projects I may be working on. I end each day by creating my blog post for the next day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Make: Gift Buckets

Hello everyone... I am literally sneaking this one in right before Valentine's Day...enjoy!
xxoo, Cat

to print a free downloadable recipe page, click here!

by Designing Mom Erika G of Gleaux

Happy Valentine's Day Designing Moms! I put together some gift buckets last week to thank a few of my clients and thought these would be fun to share with the group. I baked a few batches of Five Layer Cookies and Hidden Chocolate Cookies, and packed them into these adorable plastic "paint buckets" I found at Michael's Art & Craft Store. Pink confetti, heart-lined ribbon and pink heart-shaped cookie cutters topped things off.

Something I love to do for holiday gatherings, showers, dinners with friends etc., is to share the recipes I used printed out within a nostalgic, old world kitchen themed template, categorized by color for each seasonal event. The templates allow for lots of notes, reminders, and customization. Sort of a fun way to record, collect and archive your favorite culinary creations! I've uploaded one of the templates, as well as the cookie recipes I used for download (courtesy of my favorite kitchen diva goddess, Paula Deen). I hope you all had a wonderful day with your loved ones, filled with lots of sweets and kisses : ).
Sincerely, Erika at Gleaux

Friday, February 12, 2010

Make: Thumbs Up Valentine

I just had to sneak in just one more Valentine project before we wrap up for the week...
This one is from Louise at Bubbles and Boo. My favorite part: if you look closely those little hearts are made from fingerprints.

Hope all of you give your little Valentines a big smoocheroo. Happy Friday and weekend everyone!

Make: Valentine's Day Vases

Victoria at The City Cradle always has such clever, recycled craft ideas and I'm so glad she sent this one over. These love vases are perfect for Valentine's day and are created out of old wine bottles and some chalkboard paint. To see the full tutorial click here!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Make: Moomah

by Designing Mom Carina of Nonchalant Mom

If you have not already heard about moomah (yes there could be some of you out there!) it's a cafe/meeting place that we all wish we had in our own towns :: a place to bring your kids have great organic tea and a snack and... best of all... sit down and do some art projects with your kids! No need to go out and get all of the necessary accessories, moomah has taken care of that for you! They have also taken care of coming up with the most wonderful creative projects... that.. you could not have come up with unless you were Martha Stewart (or Moomah) they are just simply great, not elaborate, crazy and certainly not plastic!

My favorite are the shadow boxes! but there are many more, and for Valentines day they have come up with some very special little projects that will ensure your kids make something you will save and cherish! Visit their website to see all of the project that are going on for each month, OR take a 'gloga' class!

... and if you don't live in the vicinity of NYC I think that the moomah projects are inspiring for things to make at home and if you happen to live in the woods or at least have a yard where you can pick up sticks, branches and rocks.. you are just about as well off as if you waltzed into moomah! (just add a bit of organic tea and make yourself some treats and voila!).

moomah is located in Tribeca - 161 hudson street

Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday: 7:30 am to 6 pm

Saturday: 8 am to 6 pm

Sunday: Closed for private events

DIT Table: Monday-Saturday from 9am-5pm

Make: Stamped Valentines

More DIY Valentine Love from the Designing Moms at February 13 Creative!
For the full tutorial on how to make these cutie stamped creations click here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Make: Dollar Time

by Designing Mom Jackie of Avocado and Papaya
I'm a sucker for a
dollar store. One of my favorite neighborhood spots is called Dollar Time (though the name is misleading because everything is actually 99 cents, not a dollar, but whose checking). Amazing what you can score for a buck; from socks to spices, they've got you covered.

My DT visits usually involve stocking our ever growing craft supply. It always amazes me how people can spend so much on toys when simple items like popsicle sticks and wooden spoons can entertain the littles for hours. No frills, no bling bling, no batteries required. Just that amazing thing called imagination.

Example #1: The popsicle stick

You can scour the web for a zillion things to do with popsicle sticks. Graham had no problem coming up with his own agenda when I brought home a 100-pack last week. He immediately used them to work on his letters and numbers. This, I am pleased to report, entertained him for nearly an hour.Next up: architecture. I was itching to use my newly rediscovered glue gun, so I suggested we next use the sticks to build a house. He wanted to make sure it was a "pig house" not a dog house like the one he made at school earlier in the week. He told me where to put the sticks, straws, toothpicks and buttons (all purchased from DT) and I gladly obliged with glue gun in hand. Next he painted it, made some pigs out of playdo (not pictured) and we decided to glue the little goat down since that's his favorite animal at Little Farm.Example #2: Wooden spoonsEvery infant/toddler loves wooden spoons. They're fun to hold, can be used to whack stuff, and of course, fit perfectly in their little mouths. All favorite things for the under 2 set. I punched some holes in a shoe box and turned Simon's love of the wooden spoon into a Montessori-like game. He was very adept at getting the spoons into the holes, pulling them out, and starting all over again. I was just sorry that I only bought a set of three spoons and not more.

Graham and I used the spoons to make hand-painted puppets inspired by this book by the ever fabulous
Todd Oldham. We're still working on them as I type this, but I thought I'd share a few of our favorites so far.Next week we're going to decorate the shoebox to make it into a stage for the puppets. I've also got my eye on cork trivets, pink pearl erasers, and blue painter's tape at dollar time...who knows what we'll whip up next
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