Sunday, December 23, 2012

Low Cost Do-It-Yourself Gifts

I don't know about you but Christmas time always brings with it a sort of stress.  It's overwhelming to look a list of loved ones (that seems to never end!) and not only hope that they truly enjoy whatever it is that I want get them, but more importantly, that I can afford it.  This year was especially tough with the new baby, but I didn't want to completely give up all hope of meaningful gift giving. 

So I decided to just do-it-myself!

I'm especially crafty so, I began with some pins that I had been collecting of do-it-yourself tutorials on my Pintrest boards. If you are feeling crafty, check these out. Some you may need to know how to wield a sewing machine (or feel comfortable hand sewing), but not all. Try out some of these quick projects that will mean a whole lot more - for a whole lot less money - than a gift card.  Now I have lots of things to make within my budget. Now all I need is time!

Personalized Cards

Get creative and take the time to put some love into cards. This works great for those people on your list who you want to gift but can't otherwise afford to get them one.  These are always appreciated more than a store bought card (sorry Hallmark, it's nothing personal).

Make a collage card from magazine and photo clippings. If your not afraid to get out the clippers and papers, spread yourself out and make cards that your loved ones will never want to throw away.  I have been making these for years, and they are a hit.  Just browse some magazines (I recommend National Geographic, Better Home and Gardens, etc), and clip whatever suits your fancy, trim and glue them down on a blank card, cut out magazine individual letters and spell out or hand write your message, and ta-da. Beautiful and meaningful.

Make your own collage card as a great way to share all those new pictures you've been hoarding! 

Memorable handmade envelopes to spice up an otherwise ordinary wrapping job. Also, you can put a sweet message inside aside from "to" and "from".

Useful and Decorative Gifts for the Everyday

Perfect for the coffee or tea drinker you know. I think it's fun to think up messages, nicknames or phrases that make them smile every time they use it.

Simple project with a beautiful outcome: balloon candle lumiers. 

Unique template for teacup bookmark with the teabag hanging out of the book.

Source: via Debora on Pinterest

Turn a Men's Necktie into a 2-Pocket Wristlet. Thrift store ties and cute for going out or as gifts to friends

The "Zip-itself Coin Purse" is an easy and fun gift for just about anyone on your list.

20 Sewing projects to browse, all great gift ideas. :D

For Parents and Little Ones - Baby/Toddler Tutorials

Especially great for new or to-be parents!

The one and only "Bapron" (baby apron). I made one not long ago for my 5 month old and this withstood the test of some major spit up. Very impressive. I personally endorse this tutorial ;)

Make any T-shirt into a onesie! What about that shirt that you love so much that doesn't quite fit anymore?

Absolutely adorable felt baby slippers that look like fortune cookies. Perfect if gifted inside a chinese take out container. I can't wait to make these.

Source: via Debora on Pinterest

More great stuffed animals from socks.  So quick and so lovable. 

"Baby on the way" batch of sewing tutorials for baby.  I especially like the lil stuffed toys. Easy to personalize and great for all ages!

Make sure to take a look at my Pintrest boards for your further browsing pleasure.
Here are some more sources for DIY project ideas and tutorials that I often visit:

The New Home Ec

Craftiness is Not Optional

Made By Marzipan

Prudent Baby


Of course you can gift these kinds of things anytime - whether it is for a baby shower, birthday, etc. - and they always mean a lot. I feel like I'm giving a bit of my heart whenever I do something like this, and I think that's how gift giving should be, rather than store surfing and guessing games.

So go get your craft on, good luck and happy holidays!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

42 Funny, Touching and Wise Quotes about Parenthood

It can be easy to get caught up with the realities and stress of mother- and parenthood, so take a moment to relax, remenisce, and have a laugh with these priceless quotes!

1. "I want my children to have all the things I couldn't afford. Then I want to move in with them."
- Phyllis Diller

2. "Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials."
-Meryl Streep

3. “Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease.”
- Lisa Alther

4. "The phrase 'working mother' is redundant."
-Jane Sellman

5. "The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is because they have a common enemy." 
-  Author Unknown 

6. "The truth is that parents are not really interested in justice. They just want quiet." 
- Bill Cosby 
7. "Mothers are all slightly insane."
- J.D. Salinger

8.  “My mother’s menu consisted of two choices: Take it or leave it.” 
- Buddy Hackett

9. "No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement." 
- Florida Scott-Maxwell

10. "Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that suppose to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing." 
-Toni Morrison, Beloved

11.  "When your mother asks, 'Do you want a piece of advice?' it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway."
- Erma Bombeck 

12.  “If evolution really works, how come mothers have only two hands?"
- Milton Berle

13. "There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one." 
- Jill Churchill

14.   "Like all parents, my husband and I just do the best we can, and hold our breath, and hope we've set aside enough money to pay for our kids' therapy."
- Michelle Pfeiffer

15. "A truly appreciative child will break, lose, spoil, or fondle to death any really successful gift within a matter of minutes."
- Russell Lynes

16. "I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life." -Abraham Lincoln

17.  "When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice safe playpen. When they're finished, I climb out."
- Erma Bombeck

18. "She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along."
-Margaret Culkin Banning

19. "The quickest way for a parent to get a child's attention is to sit down and look comfortable."
- Lane Olinhouse

20. "There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

21. "I know how to do anything—I'm a mom."
- Roseanne Barr

22.  "Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly."
- Ambrose Bierce

23. "Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother."
- Oprah Winfrey

24.  "There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it." 
- Chinese Proverb

25. "The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found." 
- Calvin Trillin

26. "If you were to open up a baby's head―and I am not for a moment suggesting that you should―you would find nothing but an enormous drool gland." 
- Dave Barry 

27.  "People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one."
- Leo J. Burke

28. "When I stopped seeing my mother with the eyes of a child, I saw the woman who helped me give birth to myself." 
- Nancy Friday 

29. "Think of stretch marks as pregnancy service stripes."
- Joyce Armor

30. "A three year old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm."
- Bill Vaughan

31. "Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to 'jump at de sun.' We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground." 
- Zora Neale Hurston 

32. "You will always be your child's favorite toy."
- Vicki Lansky  

33. "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

34.  "Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope."
- Bill Cosby

35. "Motherhood is neither a duty nor a privilege, but simply the way that humanity can satisfy the desire for physical immortality and triumph over the fear of death."
- Rebecca West

36. "I had to get back to work. NBC has me under contract. The baby and I only have a verbal agreement."
- Tina Fey 

37. "By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class." 
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

38. "Raising a kid is part joy and part guerrilla warfare."
- Ed Asner 

39. "Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love." -Mildred B. Vermont

40.  "Working mothers are guinea pigs in a scientific experiment to show that sleep is not necessary to human life."
- Author Unknown

41. "The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom."
- H.W. Beecher

42. "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world."
- W. R. Wallace

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Finding Myself in Motherhood

To all who are joining me as I set out to relay to you my experiences as a young single mother in Los Angeles, there is one thing I will promise you. I'm going to be honest. You may like it or hate it. Preferably you will enjoy it, and hopefully you will get some benefit from it. I will speak my truths and beg of you to speak yours.  Take this with a grain of salt and in moderation - as you probably should do for just about anything - and be nice.

My Story 
Now that that's out of the way, I want to begin by saying I never actually meant for this to happen (being a mother that is).  In fact, I was one of those who vowed to never have children for fear of screwing them up.  I guess I felt like I had been screwed up myself, so invariably, I would do the same for any offspring, heaven forbid.

But as they say, one thing led to another, and on July 8, 2012 my daughter, Iris, showed up for me in more ways than one. I'm pretty sure she saved my life. I felt as though not only had she been born, but so had I.  Don't get me wrong, I know that people do not change their stripes in one day, but how else do you explain the healing metamorphosis that I experienced? I would have to say it was a spiritual awakening of sorts.

Now I can understand why people would attend births; not because they actually like to see all the horrible pain associated with child birthing, but of the metamorphosis that happens in a person afterwords. Though the mom does not know it - especially for the first born - you are never the same. For better or for worse.  It is sacred.

This is how I found myself in motherhood. In ways I feel like I am just as young as she is in this new life. The learning curve is so steep, but I am determined. I hope I will be better because of it, have mercy at my worst, and learn to let go and laugh somewhere in between.

Much Love,