Friday, April 22, 2011

Felt Hair Clip Tutorial

I fell in love with felt hairclips by paying $10 each for them on the internet... until I figured out how it was done! I will still buy clips if I see something that really grabs me, but with my quirky style sometimes flowers and butterflies just don't float my boat...

So if you would like to make your own felt hairclips you will need:


Coloured cotton or fabric glue

Plain hairclips

My supplies for making Butterfly a special character themed clip... her hair is growing in her eyes and she only lets me put clips/ribbons in if she REALLY likes them so this is designed especially for her.

So step one: make a stencil and cut out your felt in the desired shape. You will need two of the same shapes to hide the internal clip.

Step two: Sew or glue on the embellishments and align the clip taking into consideration the orientation you want it in your hair

Step three: make a small slit where the bottom part of the clip will emerge (see picture below)

Step four: insert the clip into the slit so that the largest part will be hidden within the felt

Step five: sew or glue your clip together!

These are some of the clips I have made in the past. The ladybug was made using glue, and I think I prefer that to the hand stitched character clip. Hand stitching can be a lovely feature on a flower clip, though! The Australian Flag clip was made with a store bought embroidered patch... same principle, I just cut some felt to match and glued it to the patch!

If you have a daughter that loves cars or dinosaurs, I'm betting you don't see such "masculine" things in hairclips too often! Which sucks. So make your own! Its super easy. The clip above took me around half and hour and that was with me handstitching... if I'd have used glue it would have been ten minutes!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Adelle's Sleep Deprivation Tips!

Butterfly began chronic night waking at 6 months old. She will be 2 in June. So I know a thing or two about sleep deprivation! Some of these tips I learned early on, others occurred to me THIS morning! I hope some of them can help you in some way!

TIP #1: Go to bed early (I NEVER follow this tip. And EVERY morning I wish I had!)

TIP #2: Sleep when your baby sleeps. IF they have a decent nap! I know some kids will catnap and this isn't helpful. BUT my point is, the washing can wait, have a nanna nap during the day if you can!

TIP #3: Sleep in on your partner's days off. I mean, I get up with her every night, the least he can do is take the morning shift so I can catch up on some sleep!

TIP #4: Plan your morning the night before. It is SO much easier to get out of bed if you have some kind of plan of action for the day... waking up EXHAUSTED and thinking "what am I going to do for 6 hours until nap time?" is enough to make you wanna cry.

TIP #5: Treat yourself. If you are having a particularly bad night, you can get through it by saying to yourself, "RIGHT! I am going to be extremely tired tomorrow. So I am going to take Butterfly to the coffee shop for an iced chocolate!" is a way of accepting it and giving you something to look forward to. OR I plan to make pancakes for breakfast. They delicious, and it keeps Butterfly happy (she loves to make them and eat them, too!)... can anyone say, emotional eater? LOL

TIP #6: Remember WHY you are doing this. It is what is best for her. A few years of hard work will pay off for the rest of your life!

TIP #7: IF you are planning on napping when she does, don't get too attached to the idea UNTIL she is asleep! What I mean is, I often lie down to feed her to sleep for a nap, get all dozy and glad I can finally get some sleep, and she will decide she doesn't want a nap! I have been known to cry, or scream into my pillow, when this happens! So say to yourself "she probably won't sleep just now. So when she's had enough milk we will and try again later". This one I came up with like, half an hour ago! Luckily eventually she DID go to sleep! Woohoo time to get my blog on!

TIP #8: chuck a positive spin on the situation. I read once that night waking babies have a higher IQ. If this isn't true, I don't care, it makes me feel better at 2am! (and 3am and 4am and 5am LOL)

TIP #9: positive affirmations! Repeat some in your head to keep you in the right headspace... "I accept you, just as you are" "I will be here as often as you need me" etc

TIP #10: COSLEEP! How can I forget this one! I would get NO sleep if I actually had to haul ass out of bed to feed Butterfly! Now, I know some people (and babies) hate to share the same bedspace. Actually, thats us! Butterfly sleeps in her cot, with one side removed, pushed up against our bed. Its exactly the same level. So we sleep on the same level but each have our own space. This is also a great option for those petrified of rolling onto your child.

TIP #11: Its ok to get mad, to get upset, and to need help. We are only human, and even the best of us will crack after a night of literally NO sleep (I've had nights where B has woken so often that I hadn't even gotten back to sleep between feeds!) It can be hard to drag yourself out of a funk. Try some of the tips above, and if all else fails, consult a block of chocolate! Recently I was having a terrible day, Butterfly woke up early after a horrendous night. I said, much to my own disappointment "Joss, this isn't just about you! Mummy needs sleep, OK? Go back to sleep!" she replied with, "no, no seep, mummy"... so I started to cry. Her bottom lip fell, she hates to see me upset. She said, "No, no sad mummy" and grabbed my face, planting a big kiss on my lips, "Happy?" she asked? How could I not be! What an angel! I felt much better after that.

On a really bad day I will take Butterfly somewhere where she will have fun with minimal effort from me. Like, an indoor play area at a shopping centre. OR I'll resort to sticking in a DVD and lying on the couch. We don't watch a lot of TV so the occasional day won't hurt!

Seriously, I have just gotten used to sleep deprivation over time. I hardly notice it anymore! When Butterfly was younger and woke only once during the night, I'd wake in the morning like a zombie! We didn't cosleep back then so I had to get up! Nowadays I can function fine on little sleep.

My heart goes out to all the other tired Mummas around! You aren't alone!

If you have any sleep deprivation tips, I would love to hear them. What do you do on your worst days?



Let them crawl before they walk...

I was deeply saddened by some responses I saw on a status update recently. An 8 month old was waking twice during the night (NORMAL) so the mother was asking for advice. Most of which was to switch to formula to "stuff em full" (NOOOO!!!) or to let them cry it out (NOT NORMAL). Hearing mothers say, "He's old enough not to need feeds during the night!" At 8 months? FACEPALM.

As a society these days we expect too much of our babies. People "like me" (aka attached parents, hippies, whatever) are seen as "mollycoddlers" who are raising a bunch of sooks. Teaching your child to "self settle" by letting them scream is supposed to teach them independance. I disagree.

Imagine this.

You start your first job. You walk through the front door, and your boss says, "OK, here is your workstation. Have a good day, I'll see you at 5pm!" and walks out. No training, no one showing you what to do. You call out to him because you have a question but he ignores you. Eventually you realise you have to figure this out on your own so you start jabbing at the keyboard uncertainly, no clue as to what to do. Having never been shown the way, you are never confidant in what you are doing, always nervous that you are making mistakes.

Now what if, on that first day, your boss stayed with you, showed you around, told you what you were expected to do. He stays with you for the first week, answering your questions, often doing the job for you so you can see how its done. Soon enough you don't need him there anymore, you are confidant that you know what to do. You continue with your work quite happily from then on, knowing that should you have a question or need some help, you need only ask him and he'll come back and point you in the right direction.

I know which boss I'd prefer!

As a follow on from my last blog, about the reasons I continue with AP in the face of sleepless nights...

I believe that aiding your child to sleep, by rocking, patting, breastfeeding or just BEING there... is NORMAL. Most babies desperately need their parents close at night time, its a scary time for a small child, who is so new to this world that the first poo that slid outta their butt must have scared the HELL out of them! I believe that by feeding my child to sleep, sleeping with her in my bed, and attending to her at night is helping her onto the road to independance. One day she won't need (or want) me there when she goes to sleep. That day will come. She will tell ME when she is ready for that.

And you know what? It might take YEARS to get to that point. YES, YEARS! Who CARES that the baby next door has been sleeping through from 3 months old. His mother might have forced that upon him OR he may just be that type of kid naturally. There is always too much comparison going on between mothers. "HER baby is sleeping through, why not MINE?"

Parenting your children is a long, hard road. Yes, the CIO method might seem like an awesome "quick fix", which I don't doubt it is. However I have seen evidence to indicate that children such as these tend to be MORE insecure and dependant than a child who is parented at night time. In the long run. I'm putting in the hard yards now for, what I believe to be, a fantastic end result!

I would dearly love to see less emphasis on making babies "grow up" prematurely, and more on accepting their needs and MEETING them.

How many times do we hear, "Enjoy it! They grow up SO fast!". I'm in no hurry for Butterfly to grow up. She will, and all too soon! I'ma enjoy her babydom, thankyou very much :)


Sunday, April 17, 2011

No one said motherhood was easy...

I am not the type of person you will see with a status update like, "Butterfly is SO annoying! Give me 5 minutes of peace kid!" Its not my bag, baby. I'm a big believer in not slagging your kids out, especially not on the net where they could potentially see it one day. And ESPECIALLY not in front of them. I'm also a believer in putting out positive energy to recieve it in return.

So I rarely blog about the times that motherhood is really tough. I'm pretty private in that regard. I feel like, I advocate attachment parenting because I strongly believe it is the best way to raise a child, so its hard to turn around and admit that sometimes its really hard. Advocates of CIO, for example, have an advantage in that they can say, "Let your child cry themselves to sleep, it'll be a tough few nights but then you'll be able to sleep through the night!" Its so appealing to a yet-to-be parent or a new mother struggling with a crying newborn.

I get to say, "Attachment parenting is great! I breastfeed to sleep, and whenever Butterfly wants it through the night! Which is, like, hourly..." Its not very appealing, huh. BUT I have friends who do the same and their babies sleep through (or wake ONCE) from a few months old. If you end up in the same situation as me, it IS hard, but I totally believe it is worth it. I've committed to putting in the hard yards for an amazing end result. I'm not after a quick fix.

Much of the time Butterfly and I coexist happily, each content with the situation. Not lately. I've been having a rough time. My period returned, which saw a week of REALLY painful breastfeeding. Funnily enough although that was painful I managed OK. What has really gotten me down is Butterfly's new feeding habits. Now, I know full well that she is both teething and sick. It still doesn't prevent my blood from boiling when she asks for milk, has LITERALLY two sucks, asks, "Other?" has two sucks from that one, asks "Other?" and wants to feed like that for ten minutes. I try to keep a reasonably happy face on, when inside my head I am screaming obscenities and getting more and more frustrated. Which is totally counterproductive, I know, and I really should get onto reading "Buddhism for Mothers" by Napthali again!

I guess I'm still trying on my new hormones and having a small person in my personal space all the time is frustrating.

Also, nightweaning was a big fat FAIL. We did excellently, then she got sick, so we went back to night feeding. When we picked it back up it went OK for a few days, but then she started sobbing for milk during the night. I've consulted with my AP Obi Wan who says its OK that she isn't ready, and to try again later. Thats a MAJOR load off, because sticking it out would have meant far too much crying for my liking. However... it has taken its toll on me, having had a few decent nights sleep and then going back to sleep deprivation town. I'm acclimatising all over again!

My frustration levels have caused a slip in my peaceful parenting, and I've been snapping a lot more. I never scream at Butterfly (OK, so it might have happened once or twice), but lately I have been using a tone of voice that I know hurts her and makes me disappointed in myself. Cue feelings of inadequacy, and guilt.

And the kicker is, that NONE of this is Butterfly's fault. She's a freakin angel child! This week we took her on a long car trip to Dalby, not knowing she was coming down with a cold. She never complained once. AND we arrived and drove around town ALL day looking at boring houses etc, and drove back the next day. I think I was grumpier than her!

So why am I blogging this now? To let Mummas know that its OK to have bad days... to let myself know as well! Sometimes its easy to look into people's "blog lives" and see nothing but rainbows and puppy dogs. It can easily make one feel inadequate.

So to you, myself, and a future Butterly who will one day be a mother herself...

Its OK to have bad days

Its OK to swing from "I never need a break from motherhood! I LOVE sharing my showers with a small person!" to "OMG someone PLEASE take her for the morning so I can chill OUT!"

Its OK to blog about the bad times, in fact it is therapeutic

Its OK for motherhood to be hard at times. No one said it would be easy!

See, I'm already feeling much better! I can't take back days where I've felt like a bad mother. All I can do is wake up tomorrow and be the best mother I possibly can!

Peace xx

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Felt Egg Tutorial... for Scarlett!

To minimise the urge to splurge on chocolate for Butterfly this Easter, I made some felt eggs to include in our Easter hunt! I was pretty proud of them, although they do look home made. But they like, ARE. I usually don't watch craft tutorials myself, I'm more of a "just give it a go" kind of crafter. My good friend Scarlett Green wanted to know how I made the eggs. "I sewed two peices of egg shaped felt together" was apparently not explanation enough. So here is EXACTLY what I did!

What you need:

Felt rectangles in chosen colour/s (I just got mine from Spotlight)

Coloured thread


A needle

An upcycled egg carton

About 10 spare minutes per egg!

I made a stencil by, wait for it... tracing around an egg! Then I added about half a centimeter extra to compensate for the size you lose when you stuff it

Trace egg onto felt...

If you're lazy like me, you fold up the felt so you only have to cut once to make 4 shapes (hence two eggs) Choose thread the same colour as your egg
Hand stitched (my sewing machine is packed away for moving) as close to the edge as I dared. I think you could machine sew then turn the egg inside out to make it look nicer.

Leave a hole so you can stuff it. I stuff em pretty full!

Sew up hole. The egg will look round until you shape it up a bit

Ta daaaaa! Reeeeal technical.

I hope this answers all your unanswered questions Scarlett! If anyone can think of a way to improve my dodgy design, do tell! I've already made a dozen for this year, and another dozen for a friend who bribed me!

Happy crafting dudettes xx

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Green Trolley Smugness

I actually went food shopping today by MYSELF! SUCH a treat! Usually I send my husband or snail along the isles at a rate of 2m an hour as Butterfly runs ahead and grabs packets of powdered muscle building shakes (that's wonderful darling! But we don't need those. Can you put them back for Mummy? Yeah, how about back where they came from. See the ones that are the same?, not there, next one. Arr... close enough sweetheart)

So anyway as I was about to head to the checkout, I looked in my trolley and I was VERY proud of myself. The majority of the contents was fresh, organic produce. Everything else was either organic, or at least natural (ie free from artificial colours and flavours). Organic: bread, free range eggs, muesli, jam. Eco toilet paper. Nature Babycare nappies (I KNOW! I am a MCN fan, but we use one sposie for night time or else a certain Butterfly won't sleep a wink). There was NO: cleaning products. Plastic bags. Chemical laden personal care products. Cling wrap. Of course, I also had my green bags and onya weigh bags (for fruit and veges)

OK so there WAS one tub of hokey pokey ice cream. But shit, I'm only HUMAN!

I have come a long way since starting my eco journey. I never used to "get" the hype surrounding organic food. I was like, "yeah, would be better not to eat pesticides, but whatever, I rinse my fruit" Now, if I put something in my mouth that isn't organic, it makes me cringe. Yes, non organic fruits and veges can be "washed". However, being grown in pesticide ridden surroundings, I feel like there is no WAY there isn't toxins in the very heart of that apple. And what about the bread you are eating? You can't wash THAT. Every ingredient has been sprayed. YUCK!

I have also learned recently, that it isn't JUST the pesticide factor with non-organic food. The farming methods used to grow such food aren't sustainable, and with every new crop the soil is being stripped of more and more essential nutrients that aren't replaced. So that apple? Ain't as healthy as you think. Its literally less nutritious than the organic one next to it.

Supporting organic farmers also helps the environment, as all those pesticides aren't neatly confined to non-organic farms. They spread to surrounding bushland, into rivers and the ocean. We are treating this earth like absolute CRAP! We HAVE to make better choices for our children NOW! Can't afford organic? Can you afford NOT to?

I don't accept toxins in my shampoo these days, so I'm certainly going to do my best not to ingest them!

On a different topic... cleaning products. I recently bought a bunch of Norwex cleaning cloths, and now I clean my whole house with only a cloth, some water, and the occasional bit of white vinegar for my toilet bowl. I found myself walking down the chemical isle today and my heart sank. People still USE this stuff? Its a little disheartening when I try SO hard to tread lightly on this earth and people are using harsh chemicals. SIGH.

All I can do is keep on truckin, and posting links on my page in the hope that people start to get the message. I know there are plenty of areas I can still improve. I'm getting there. How are YOU going? Seek alternatives. They are out there! Don't shun earth friendly alternatives because you ASSUME they aren't as good. I'm finding my life LESS of a hassle these days, and I wash my clothes with berries!

Remember: EVERY small change makes a HUGE difference!