10.28.2013

What I Made Monday: Tutus

Ever since I found out we were having a girl, I've been dreaming and scheming about what I want her newborn pictures to look like (priorities, right?). I fell in love with pictures that had little girl babies almost overwhelmed by fluffy tulle tutus. I looked at a few boutiques but never really found exactly what I wanted. Then, I remembered a few tutorials for making tutus I'd seen on this blog I follow and thought, "I could totally do that!"

After a quick trip to Hobby Lobby and some repurposing of a few items I already had lying around, I got pretty much exactly what I wanted.

 
For this first tutu, I used a stretchy crocheted hat that I already had for the upper part. I just snipped the thread that held the top gathered together and it opened up nicely for me to use. I also already had the purple ribbon that I used for the neck tie.
 
For the tutu part, I used one 25-yard roll (yes, the entire thing!) of lavender tulle from Hobby Lobby. I wanted to make the tutu part 10 inches long, so I cut 20-inch pieces of tulle and folded them in half. I tied the tulle to one side of the crocheted piece using that simple knot that probably has a name, but I don't know what it is. You know, the one where you wrap your folded-in-half string, thread, yarn, tulle, etc. around another object, then thread it through the loop formed at the other end? Anyway, I'm sure everyone in the world knows how to make this knot, and if you think about it, it's exactly the one you'd think of using for a project like this. I continued around the crocheted piece until the tulle went all the way around. Pretty simple, right? I tied the ribbon on the other side of the crocheted piece using the same knot to form the neck tie, and voila! All finished. I have a pink headband and a pair of pink lace-up ballet flats to accessorize this tutu.
 
The second tutu was a little bit trickier. I didn't want to use elastic for the waistband (because it required .05 seconds of sewing, and I don't even sew THAT much), so I bought some cream-colored satin ribbon to use instead. I cut my ivory tulle in 20-inch pieces, folded it in half, and tied it to the ribbon using the same easy knot as above. I used an entire 25-yard roll of tulle for this tutu as well. I had a bit of coral/pinkish satin ribbon left over from a gift I received that I loved, and it paired nicely with the ivory tulle. I folded it in half width-wise and hot-glued it over the top of the knots to create the waist and give it a more finished look. The cream and coral satin ribbon make a really pretty bow when tied at the back.
 
front

back
I have a coral flower on a cream headband and a string of tiny ivory pearls to accessorize this tutu.

I'm really happy with how they turned out! They're super fluffy and overwhelming, so they'll be perfect for newborn pictures.


10.23.2013

Pregnancy Update: Full Term!

 

The only reason I have clothes on is because I had a doctor's appointment.
Usually I live in cookie pants.
So, I'm officially considered "full term" with this pregnancy: 37 weeks. Of course, my kids generally have a different idea of what full term means, so I'm not expecting anything to happen anytime soon. I scheduled an induction for November 5, so there is officially an end in sight! I just can't believe in less than two weeks I'll be the mother of FOUR. I'm only freaking out just a tiny bit.
 
I have to say, my brain has done a really good job forgetting that I have to do some actual work to get this baby here. It's interesting, especially when you consider that it wasn't even 2 years ago that I gave birth to Matthew--you'd think I'd remember the whole process better. Maybe "forgetting" isn't exactly the right word. It's more like my mind won't settle long enough on the idea of labor and delivery for me to actually have any complete thoughts about it. It's easily distracted to other, more pleasant topics. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. It means that I haven't really done much thinking about a "birth plan." I'm pretty confident that I can do it without an epidural again since I've been successful the last two times. But, I'm not opposed to having one if I feel the need. I've been checking books out of the library about different ways to help manage pain during labor. I've never really used any specific method, mostly because I never really think about it until it's too late to take a class, but also because my pain during labor is totally manageable up until the 30-45 minutes that I'm in transition, and by then I'm almost done. I have realized that HypnoBirthing as a whole is definitely too "out there" for me. I'm sure it's very helpful for people, but it just seems too drug-trippy for me. I did like many of the relaxation suggestions though, and I'll probably try to incorporate some of them into my labor if I remember.
 
I've already had a handful of people at church tell me (meaning well, I'm sure) that there's "no way" I'm going to make it to my due date--that I'll go into labor sooner. I think this is something else that should go on the ever-expanding list of "what not to say to a pregnant woman because she is hormonal and mostly crazy and will probably fly off the handle if she hears it." First of all, does it mean that I'm huge? No one wants to hear that, even if it's true. Second of all, my experiences (which, to be fair, they know little to nothing about) have proven otherwise. The only reason I haven't gotten to my due date with my last two pregnancies is elective induction. Otherwise, I'm fairly confident my babies would stay camped out in my uterus until the age of 3. I wouldn't want to get my hopes up for an early delivery just to have those hopes shattered when things go exactly as they always have. 
 
Anyway, if you asked me two weeks ago I would have told you that this last trimester has totally DRAGGED on forever. Now that I'm 13 days (!) away from having a baby, I realize just how wrong I was.

10.04.2013

What Having a Daughter REALLY Means to Me

Having three boys has made a lot of parenting issues pretty straight-forward for us. For example, we've never really had to have a talk about how boys and girls are made differently, if you get my drift. I imagine we're going to have to have the "no, her penis didn't fall off; she doesn't have one" conversation with the boys a few times before the idea really sticks (yes, I just said "penis" on the blog. It's real up in here, guys).

Seriously though, I've never really had to think about how to approach the issue of modesty with my sons, since, for boys, it's a universal standard. I've never had to worry about what to tell them if someone else objectifies them or stereotypes them solely because of their gender, because, by and large, it will not happen to them. There are plenty of other issues by which I've been absorbed, but lately, one has jumped to the forefront:

SELF-ESTEEM.

As long as I remember, I've struggled with more self-esteem issues than I'd like to admit. They've come from just about every direction and can be classified in just about every category, but the one thing they have in common is when they strike they can be crippling and debilitating.

I thought about chronicling my self-esteem journey step-by-step from my youth to the present (and I might or might not have actually started typing it out) until I realized, "ain't nobody got time for that." No one wants or needs to hear about the specifics; suffice it to say, my issues have varied from intelligence to appearance to acceptance and everywhere in-between. It's also important to note that I covered up my insecurities du jour by being overconfident or, at times, bitchy (yes, I just said "bitchy" on the blog. Told you--real). I'd like to think that I've made some progress, but I know at times I still come off as overconfident and, yes, even bitchy at times.

Anyway, as I've thought about all of the ways I've felt "less-than" over the years, I realized that I absolutely don't want that for my daughter. She is already going to be surrounded by people and things that tell her she needs to be someone other than who she is. I'm already going to have to fight every day to get her to realize she is special and unique and important. She doesn't need to see me agonizing over my flaws. She doesn't need to see me being my own worst critic. I can't teach her to be a confident, self-assured woman if I am not practicing what I preach.

I've always cared too much about what other people think of me. But, as I've thought about my daughter and how I want her to see herself, I'm finally realizing that the only opinions that matter are those that belong to the people who know me best--my family. To my husband and sons, I'm the most beautiful, important, intelligent woman they know, and that's finally starting to be enough.

I've thought a lot about this little girl and everything that she can and will be in this world. The one thing I didn't count on was her being a balm to my troubled soul.
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