October 29, 2013

My DIY Baby Project: Felt Bird Mobile

While some moms make toys, blankets, and even clothes for their babies, I didn't want to spend a lot of time absorbed in projects during my pregnancy. However, I really wanted to make one project for my baby.

I've seen a lot of really cool felt creations around the internet, and I decided to make some felt birds and put them together in a mobile. This was probably not the best project to select because 1) I had never done anything like it before and can't sew well enough to hold a button on securely and 2) I'm a perfectionist. But whether it's because I majored in art in college or because of the do-it-yourself attitude I inherited from my father, I tend to think I can create things using any medium.

My mom is a bird watcher who can identify just about any local bird by sight or sound. As a toddler I learned not what a bird says but what a cardinal says and what a chickadee says. I've taught Nathan to identify the birds we see most commonly around here and look forward to teaching Evan to do the same.

I wanted the birds to be colorful while keeping true to the natural colors of local birds. I also wanted to include black and white patterns to interest a newborn.The birds I selected were the downy woodpecker, chickadee, bluebird, goldfinch, and cardinal. Nathan's favorite bird is the chickadee because of their jubilant "party in the air" way of flying, which I never even noticed until he made the observation. Bluebirds are my mom's favorite birds, and my grandma loved cardinals. It's a family tree of sorts.

I found the patterns for the woodpecker, goldfinch, and chickadee on Downeast Thunder Farm. Their bluebird and cardinal patterns are older and the body shapes didn't seem quite right, so I made my own. (Like I said, perfectionist.)

It wasn't until after Evan was born that I finally put them together as a mobile. I'd never made a mobile before either and I wasn't sure how best to do it until I saw the bird mobile Carmen of Life Blessons made for her daughter using a photoclip mobile. Evan was five weeks old at that point, so I decided there's a time to DIY and a time to just get it done and ordered one for my felt birds.

It took a lot of time, effort, and frustration but a lot of love went into it as well. And most importantly, Evan loves it! It hung over the changing table until we moved him into his own room, and then Nathan put it above Evan's bed. Sometimes all I have to do is spin the mobile and he drifts off to take a nap.

Did you do any crafting for your baby? Anyone else have a do-it-yourself problem like I do?

October 25, 2013

The Importance of Together as a Mom

I'm spending another 5 minutes of nap time writing for Five Minute Friday this week on the prompt of Together.


It took me awhile to realize the importance of togetherness as a mom, of spending time with other moms. If you're a new mom or future mom, I encourage you to come together with other moms.

I didn't go to a La Leche League (breastfeeding support group) meeting until Evan was almost six months old. We weren't having any problems with nursing, so I didn't think I needed to go. But I need together. I need to be around other moms choosing to nurse past a year or even two because there are people who think nursing a baby who can walk is disgusting. I need to be reminded that I'm not alone. I go to a moms' group to remember that I'm not the only mom who's accidentally whacked her baby's head while walking through a doorway or who doesn't have a perfectly clean house.

As an introvert I'm happy being along most of the time, but I still need the togetherness.

October 23, 2013

Life as a Work at Home Mom

It's now been over five months since I left my job. Five months ago Evan wasn't yet mobile, and now he's crawling like a pro and has taken his first steps. It flies by so fast, and I'm thankful I've been able to stay home with him to watch him grow and develop.

While working full-time outside the home as a new mom just wasn't for me, I wanted to keep working. Graphic design is part of who I am, and while I may be more selective about clients and projects down the road, I don't plan to ever completely stop. I cringed when someone listed my occupation as "homemaker." There's nothing wrong with that job title, but it's just not me. However, I did give myself two months to focus on being a wife and mom, a redo of my maternity leave if you will. I bought a domain for my freelance business and made a Facebook page, but I didn't do much with either. Once I reached my July 1 deadline of when I needed to get serious about my freelance business, I realized I really had no idea how to find clients. I invited all my friends to like my Facebook page, offered my services in a couple places, and that was about it. I submitted a logo design for a contest and browsed around Elance, but nothing really came of it.

Then, three weeks into July, something really crazy happened: someone contacted me through my website about doing design work for them. And a few weeks after that someone else contacted me. A week later, someone from a local organization contacted me about working for them on a retainer. This local client has given me so much work that I haven't even made much of an effort to find new clients, and I'm able to offer my services to others at a lower rate. And just like that, I was a work at home mom. 

Balancing the work, home, and mom parts of my job has been an interesting challenge. I've found that on any given day, it's usually a choice of 2 out of the 3. If I have a lot of freelance work, I might completely forget about dinner or run the washer through an entire cycle without putting any clothes in it (hypothetically, of course). If the house is clean, I probably didn't do any freelance work that day. On the rare occasion I manage to spend a few hours working and get a lot done around the house, I don't spend much quality time with my son, which defeats the entire purpose of why I'm at home. If I find a true balance between the three, I feel like I accomplished nothing at all. I'm still working out the kinks, but overall, I'm very happy. 

Nathan has been wonderfully supportive. When I told him I ruined dinner (it turns out mixing eggs with shredded potatoes will NOT keep them from immediately turning brown), he brought home Fazoli's. One night recently I was lying in bed reading from the book we're reading for the moms' group I go to on Tuesday mornings. This particular chapter of No Perfect Moms was entitled "No Perfect Marriages." When I saw the title, I thought, "Yeah, that's for sure," yet as I was reading, Nathan was doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. Our marriage might not be perfect, but my husband is pretty awesome. I never would have been able to handle working at home, let alone working outside the home, without a husband who cooks, cleans, and does whatever else he needs to do to take care of our family and home. I'm thankful he was never set on having a wife who stays home or a wife that works, and supports me no matter what I choose to do.

As for my main client, I think Evan likes that I'm home. He is very happy and healthy and growing well. We're still going strong with breastfeeding with no plans to stop anytime soon. We go to a moms' group, La Leche League meetings, and other places where he can be around other kids (and I can be around other adults). Sometimes I think I'm not providing him with enough stimulation or activities, but whenever I get down on the floor to play with him, he just climbs over me or cruises around me. It's pretty fun being his favorite toy. 

So, when will I be going back to work? I don't know. Some have misunderstood the fact that I actually resigned from my job and am not still on maternity leave. Depending on where the company is if and when I want to go back to work, they could rehire me, but there isn't a job waiting for me. At this point I don't have a set date or age of my child(ren) for when I'll go back to work. I look at this not as "taking a year off" but rather taking the next step in my career. I might want to go back to working full-time at some point, but at this point I'm happy being just a work at home mom.

October 4, 2013


I'm taking part in Lisa Jo's Five Minute Friday today. Kayla's doing it for the first time today too, and when I saw the prompt on her blog for this week, I thought it would be a good one for me to do. So here we go...


I don't write much anymore. I'm not sure why. Writing used to be a pretty big deal for me. I started my first journal 19 years ago, when I was 7. I filled notebook after notebook by the time I was 18. For most of elementary school, my dream was to become a published author. In middle school I wrote for the school newspaper. And then at 15 I decided rather than sit around and write books and hope someone would publish them one day, I would become a graphic designer.

Writing kind of sat on the back burner during college. It's hard to keep writing for yourself when you're writing so much for others. 

I started my first blog 8 years ago, on MSN spaces, then moved to LiveJournal, to Xanga, and to Blogger. Now I don't blog. And I don't write for me. And I don't know why. I think part of it is what blogging has become. At first I loved blogging because I was such an advocate of keeping journals and now other people were doing it too! But now blogs aren't journals. Words like SEO and monetizing came in and made blogs into business. If blogging is just about making money, I'll stick with making money with graphic design.

Five Minute Friday