Monday, September 29, 2014

Living Intentionally : Minimalism-ish

RE: Blog Break

Dear, Dear Reader,

I am stepping back and taking a moment to evaluate my life. It's not that deep, really...I just want to make sure that if this is the only life I live, that I am living it intentionally - exactly how I want to. That being said, I feel I'm being a bit selfish writing about only what is affecting me at a specific point in time (ie: breastfeeding clothing), and I want to take this time to figure out what is most important to me and make sure I am spending my life in the best way possible. I am also making the change from maximalism to minimalism...let's see if I can turn my Victorian, pack-rat ways in to a much more deliberate life.

For now I do know my new mantra is as follows :
"Family . Design . Adventure : enjoy + respect the world."

Please forgive my haphazard blog posting...I do love to blog, but I'm not sure it's as important as some other things at this point in my life.

See you on the other side!  ...maybe... In the meantime, enjoy my new Pinterest Board regarding this "change" in lifestyle.

Love, Alex


 
"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
Annie Dillard

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
William Morris

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sucking Style at Two Months Old : Postpartum Body + Breastfeeding

What I've really been wearing :
(Pinterest is wonderful, but not realistic!)
Black Diesil Jumpsuit :
...if I were still a Fashion Week Intern...
(I wear it to the park to play, now.)
 Running errands or day at home - slightly preppy, very casual :
 Date night :
More errands + a lunch date or meeting friends for drinks :
And that's Suckling Style, personal edition!

Love, Alex

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Suckling Style: Are You Brave Enough?

Crop Tops
:
Wear over a nursing tank and voila! Instantly covered tummy and easy nipple access. (Make sure you try pulling-up the crop top when you try it on to make sure it is easy. Cropped tees will be the easiest, but other types will work as well. Knits are better than wovens, so try it out first!)

All black, all the time :
http://us.asos.com/ASOS/ASOS-Pleat-and-Wrap-Shell-Top/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=4242304&cid=4169&sh=0&pge=1&pgesize=36&sort=-1&clr=Blue&r=2
  (Asos)

A little more bohemian, or even Parisian :
https://www.etsy.com/shop/HarrietsHaberdashery?ref=unav_listing-r
 (HarrietsHaberdashery on Etsy)

 Funky Mama's and Zoo-lovers :
http://www.nastygal.com/clothes-tops-cropped
(Nasty Gal)

Hippies, festival-goers, and loungers :
https://www.etsy.com/listing/74612869/reverie-crop-top-cropped-tshirt-in-mossy
 (SimkaSol on Etsy)

And my favorite; a little tribal :
http://us.topshop.com/en/tsus/category/clothing-70483/tops-70498?pageSize=200#pageSize=20&catalogId=33060&viewAllFlag=false&sort_field=Relevance&langId=-1&beginIndex=1&storeId=13052&parent_categoryId=208580&categoryId=208637&refinements=category~[715504|208637]&noOfRefinements=1
(Topshop)

Have a Stylish Breastfeeding Day!
Love, Alex

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Suckling Style : Summer Lasts

http://angelrox.com/collections/thewrap/products/thewrap
(Versatile, sustainable, brilliant, easy-to-travel-in designs.)

https://www.etsy.com/listing/117779166/organic-indigo-handwoven-scarf-shawl
(Not just for your neck, but your boobs too! And this one is handwoven and dyed with indigo.)

http://www.revolveclothing.com/style-stalker-love-on-top-romper-in-blue-floral/dp/SSTA-WR7/?AID=10568535&PID=4441350&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=cj&utm_content=10568535&utm_campaign=4441350&cvosrc=affiliate.cj.4441350
+
http://www.allyandashley.com/jumpsuits.html
(You can go trendy or classic with these, but follow your own style.)

Happy Stylish Summer Breastfeeding!
Love, Alex


**All images (and sources/purchasing) through the "Suckling Style" Pinterest Page or by clicking on the images.**

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Suckling Style : a New Adventure in Breastfeeding + Fashion

I'm going to keep this simple : I'm in the midst of trying to keep my style message (+ branding) clear, but also having fun...so I'm changing Gyspy Theories (because I can, because it's the perfect name to continue evolving, constantly), and here we go down the rabbit hole!

Suckling Style is about finding great fashion to successfully (and hopefully easily) breastfeed our children in.  I'm in the midst of starting my breastfeeding relationship with my second child (he's three weeks old), and I'm sick of looking like a tired, breastfeeding mother in pajamas, with clips on her bras and shirts.  Let's see if we can conquer and fix this issue together!

I've started a Pinterest Board; "Suckling Style" to collect ideas.  So here's a few inspiration images that I pinned first:

Wrap Top
A wrap-styled top: just wear over your favorite nursing tank.
 (Pinned from ShopHeist.com)

Wrap Dress
Nearly any wrap dress works (just try it on to make sure you can get your nipple fully in to baby's mouth without any fabric getting in the way. This usually means you'll need to wear some sort of nursing tank / bra underneath, but sometimes with dark patterned tops, you can get away without one. (Of course, you may need nursing pads anyway, in which case you will have to wear a tank or bra!)
(Pinned from WhoWhatWear.com)

Button-up / Button-down
And another go-to, especially if you don't mind undoing a few buttons each time, is a button-up (or is it button-down?) shirt over a nursing tank / bra.  I also have a soft spot for chambray.
(Pinned from Madewell.com)

I'm so thrilled to get this started!  Here's to hoping this journey is fun and maybe helps a few Moms out (and especially, myself - I certainly need some style inspiration each day!).

Love, Alex

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Owen L. : a Birth Story

On Thursday, July 10th, I went to my 39 week Doctors appointment.  My Doctor checked how far I was dilated and effaced (1.5/2 cm and 50%)...and said "remember, this doesn't mean anything about when you will go in to labor!" (I had Benj on his due date in 2012 that I calculated when we charted, but I was 1 cm for about 3 weeks.) On Thursday, I was 39 weeks, 2 days based on their estimations (I couldn't chart this time).

Well, that was at 11am and by 3:30pm, I texted my husband and my parents and said "I'm having some really strong contractions, will keep you posted." To which my husband responded immediately and I did ask him to come home, just in case. My sister Regina called right after and said "are you in labor?" (What, do you have a sixth sense - that is so weird that you knew before I did!!!) I said "I might be!"

When Benj woke-up from his nap at 4pm or so, I was super motivated to keep the contractions going.  They weren't painful, just radiated further around my belly than my normal Braxton Hicks, so I was hopeful. We went out on the front stoop to watch the neighbor's retaining wall going up (ie: diggers, mini loaders, cement mixer...and I have a 2 year old boy who wanted to name Owen "Bobby Truck." Enough said.) and I walked up and down the stairs as fast as I could.  We did that until James got home and I said "I really have no idea - they don't hurt, but I think they are pretty regular."

James set up his new record player that my parents got him for his birthday and I posted online "I'm ready to dance this baby out!" Then while James got dinner sorted, I chased Benj around the backyard.  After bath and bedtime stories (where I danced through all the songs) and lullabies, we all tried to go to sleep.  At 8:30 I talked to my Dad who asked what my Doctor said.  So, haha, I called my Doctor at 9:30 and said that they are every 5-7 minutes and about 45 seconds long.  She said that I had better call her before I leave for the hospital so that she has time to get to there and not to wait too long! (My first labor was pretty quick - just four hours in the hospital.) I tried to get some sleep.

At 10:30pm, I decided to take a bath while James tried to get some rest.  I told him "the thigh contractions (for some reason, where I get pain, and delivered Benj after about 1.5-2 hours of that pain in 2012) have just started, I think we have time."  He said "are you sure? Maybe we should just go now..."  But I wanted a bath (especially since I knew I couldn't have one for 6-8 weeks after), so I got in and called my Mom. They had gotten in their car at about 10:15 and were driving the two hours to our house or the hospital - whichever came first!  My Mom started timing my contractions and said "you better get out of the tub. You are 3-4 minutes apart and about a minute long!" So, even though I didn't think I was in that much pain yet, I took her advice.  Well, when I stood up and had my first contraction out of the tub, I knew she was right - ouch!  "JAMES!! TIME TO GO!"

He packed up the car and Benj and I managed to waddle out to the passenger seat.  That 10 minutes to the hospital felt long because every NJ pot hole made my contractions hurt SO much more! But as any soon-to-be-Mama knows, I was also VERY excited!

We got to the hospital at 11:40pm and while James went to park the car, I was wheeled-up to L&D by a hospital employee. I signed the paperwork and was told that triage (where they check you to see if you should be admitted) was full - all four rooms - and to take a seat.  I sat next to a couple (the woman was throwing up, so I was hesitant, but after two contractions standing, I had to sit).  My Doctor walked in and said to the Nurses Station "Get her in a room - she delivers fast!" Then James walked through the door with Benj, a baby carrier (the Onya Outback), and his diaper bag and came over with a nurse to help me stand up.  I said "wait, contraction!" Then moaned so loudly that James said I scared the husband/boyfriend/whatever that was sitting next to me - haha, sorry!

We walked to the room, I went towards the bed, looked around, took off my shorts and underwear, tried to throw my leg up on the bed and POP - my water broke.  I got my other leg up on the bed and my Doctor said "he's crowning - get me a table! Break down the bed.  This baby is coming!"  The young nurse looked shocked.  A few more nurses came running in and then the next ten minutes is a blur of pushing and breathing.

At 12:03am Owen was on my chest and James said "wait, what time is it, when was he born?!" So they say "12:02am" and we realize he made July 11th - my Moms birthday by two minutes - she will be (and is) thrilled! I cut the umbilical cord (I cut Benj's too), and he latched in the next 15 minutes or so - while I was being stitched-up. (At this point, I cracked the joke that I felt like a "Conehead" and my Doctor laughed and said "honey, these nurses are too young to know that reference!" I laughed too, when did I get too old for pop-culture references?!?!) Also, my parents arrived at about 12:15am and couldn't believe they had just missed it!  (Thank you Mom for telling me to go in - we JUST made it!) It was wonderful that they did, because they took our first family photo:


I feel really lucky.  I didn't have to have an IV this time, no epidural again, and even no pitocin afterwards because my Doctor said that she didn't think I would need it - I'm so thankful for that...she is amazing!  I am so lucky that my body handles the labor pain the way it does and that I have been able to have two pretty great deliveries with my boys.  I am also thankful that Benj got to be in the delivery room (as tired as he was) and witness his brother being born (thank you Onya Outback baby carrier!!).  I love being a Mom of two and while sometimes crazy, hectic, frustrating, and tiring, I am the happiest and most fulfilled I have ever been!  (At least, if I have gotten enough sleep, I feel that way.)

Now, back to blogging...let's change this all to what's happening to me now. Maybe then, I can keep up with it.

Benj + Owen

Love, Alex

PS: apologies for any grammatical and spelling errors.  I tend to write and post very quickly, because I usually only have a moment!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

From Busy to Happy, an Online Productivity Mission!

"Declaration of MY goal : I hereby declare that I will put FAMILY + ART first + foremost by 7.22.14 (and not even Facebook or Instagram will stand in my way)!" #connectingthegaps I want to win the scholarship to @blacksburgbelle + @mayicarles "From Busy to Happy: a 21-day productivity mission" class in July! (For more information on the class: CLICK ME) I have a lot of goals, but with baby boy #2 due on July 15th and my blogs and art on a bit of a baby hiatus until he is born, it would be the perfect thing to keep me on track! Wish me luck! Eeeeee!!!

<3 alex="" p="">

Again, that link to their course is:
http://www.connectingthegaps.com/shop/from-busy-to-happy-1


PS: Still here? I'm about to share all my goals...

Packable: get 5 wholesale accounts + run a Kickstarter campaign in 2015
Wine Art Wednesdays: set-up kits to sell that share the message of WAW
Etsy: list weekly, fix tags, keep-up with SEO and general changes
Blogs: at least 1/week
Etsy / Social Media: make a how-to video and PDF for Artsplace Teachers
Family: get outside and on adventures over buying "stuff"
Sketchbook: daily + experiment often
TRAVEL MORE
Have more kids (shhh, don't tell my husband ,yet!! ;)
Fly a helicopter
Pack the perfect picnic
Show my kids the NaPali Coast in Kauai, Firenze, + Breckenridge skiing
Paddleboard weekly, if not daily
Never stop making goals

Think this course might help me streamline a bit? Haha!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Snow Dyeing and Hand-making Ring Slings for Babywearing

I had a little fun this winter experimenting with Snow Dyeing (you can also use ice and call it "Ice Dyeing").  (I used this tutorial on the Dharma Trading Company Webpage, for the most part.

My first two finished Ring Slings:
 
Let's get to the photos and process:

1. I bought 5 yards of a 55% Linen / 45% Cotton blend and cut it in half (to 2.5 yards long, each). Wash + Dry Fabric as you will after you finish your project.
 2. I soaked the fabric in about 3-4 gallons of water (in a utility sink - you could use a bucket or storage bin) with 3/4 cup of Super Washing Soda (you can use Soda Ash, instead)
 and 1/4 cup of Salt for 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, I got my dyes...
 ...and my equipment ready. And fully set-up my dye area in a shower. (That's a black garbage bag underneath with a hole cut-out where the drain is, to help prevent the plastic shower base from getting dyed. Then I have a dish-drying rack upside down and a sweater-drying rack on top for more support.)
 (I cut the corners off all the packages - I used 4 packets for each 2.5 yard piece. And I'm currently pregnant, so while I wear a mask anytime I use powder dyes, I made sure it was ready this time!)
 4. I scrunched-up the fabrics randomly along their 2.5 yard length and separated them slightly so dyes wouldn't cross-contaminate.
 Even in a tiny basement bathroom, you can make great things! ;)
(That's snow in the bucket on the floor, with a spoon I use just for dyeing.)
 5. Place the snow on top - I did as much as I could and tried to cover all of the fabric completely.
 6. (I sprinkled about another tablespoon of salt on to each pile of snow here because I am using Dylon Dyes.) Pour out your dyes directly on to the snow. 
(Remember I used 4 packets of Dylon Dye on EACH piece, so that's 8 packets total. And I did have some clumps of dye, but I love how my color turned out.)
 7. Now you wait for 24-48 hours.
(I closed our shower doors because we have cats...and a toddler!)
 The first round of snow has melted almost completely and now the dye is resting on the fabric and soaking through even more.
 8. This is about 6 hours after I put the first batch of snow on, so I added more snow on top (again, as much as I could get to stay on top) and another tablespoon of salt on each pile (again, for Dylon Dyes) right before going to bed. And then (this was definitely overkill), but about 8 hours after that (the next morning), I added more snow on top of that and let that completely melt!
 9. This was exactly 24 hours after I put the first batch of snow and dye on. (I could have left it for 48, but I was impatient! I don't know that 48 hours would have made a difference, but I should try it one time to find out.)
 10. Rinse the fabric until the water runs clear (or as I did, close enough).
11. Wash and dry as you normally would or will, depending on what you're making. (I washed on cold and then ran it through the dryer on Regular since I was making Ring Slings for babywearing.)
~
Here's the one I used Dylon Flamingo Pink + Ocean Blue on:
 And lying flat:
 And the one I used Dylon Bahama Blue + Sunflower Yellow on:
 And lying flat (I love how it looks like a map!):
 ~
Here's a third one I did using Dylon Bahama Blue + Flamingo Pink (same fabric):
 Then I cut, ironed, hemmed, and sewed them in to Ring Slings using Jan's directions from Sleeping Baby Productions HERE and HERE (I used the Eesti Shoulder - developed by Karen Hoppis and licensed to Sleeping Baby Productions):
http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/sling.html
But I used my own fun stitching on my sturdy Kenmore for the hems:
 (And, of course, I ordered my rings from Sling Rings!)
Here's my finished Ring Sling for my second little Prince due in mid-July:
 And here's the RS I made for my brother and sister-in-law's first baby (a girl) due in May:

I had SO much fun making these. Next on my list is certainly a Galaxy Dye...try googling that! And I certainly want to try using some of Dharma Trading Company's Fiber Reactive Procion Dyes as well as some natural dyes (I just self-birthday-gifted these two beauties to myself:

Happy crafting!!
<3 alex="" br="">

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Doodle Addict Giveaway

I recently learned about Zentangle, and ever since then I have been a Doodle Addict! I'm also hosting a little giveaway on Instagram :
 Here's another photo with all the writing implements that went in to creating it :
(If you do not have an instagram account, but want to be included on this giveaway, just comment on this post before 3:30 pm EST today! (Thursday, 4.10.14)

Here are some of the other pieces I have done :

Have a lovely, doodling, day!
<3 alex="" br="">