I was the first among my close friends to have a baby and I'm the oldest in my family, so I didn't have anyone to ask about baby gear when it came time to register for our first child. I kind of ended up getting things that were popular, without really doing too much research.
Because of that, a few things that were so kindly given to us at our showers just didn't end up fitting our lifestyle. I've recently done some baby gear purging, AKA: selling items on Craigslist at an incredible loss just to gain back precious storage space, and I've been mentally compiling lists of things that actually worked for us and that I'm happy to hold on to.
Most of these items are money and space savers...two of them are sleep savers...but a couple, the carrier and the car seat, just plain work even though they aren't much of a deal.
I feel like I need to start my list off with a little disclaimer, so here it is: A lot of these products are not the most hip or modern, nor are they necessarily the best in their category, but they worked for us! Every family and baby has different needs and these fit ours.
1. ERGObaby Performance Carrier: $134.95 Our Ergo was the third baby carrier that we owned and by far the most comfortable. The Performance is a little different from the regular Ergo in that it's a lot less bulky and more breathable. We used this on an airplane when Little Man was 8 months old and it was great!
2. Snug and Tug Swaddle Blanket: $17.99 This was the third kind of swaddle blanket that we used and it's fantastic. It's designed so well that Little Man could not break out of it. He slept wonderfully!
4. Cuisinart SmartStick Hand Blender: $59.99 Who needs to spend $120 on a baby food maker?! Ours was actually only $50 and you can find it at Costco for about $30. I can't say enough about how much I loved making baby food with this little gadget. It's also so small that it wasn't a hassle to get it in and out of our cabinets and it didn't take up much space. The best part is that I still use it!
5. Joovy Kooper Stroller: $129.99 I did a lot of research before I decided on this stroller. I wanted something small and light-weight, but substantial enough to take on walks. I can fold it and pick it up with one hand and it doesn't take up much space in the trunk of our car. Plus, it looks like it costs a lot more than it does.
6. bumGenius One-Size AIO Cloth Diaper: $24.95 Once again, I don't have experience with other cloth diapers. We got these and we were set. They're really easy to use because they're one piece so I just throw 'em the washer. I don't miss the cost of disposables and these are not much less convenient.
7. First Years Newborn to Toddler Feeding Seat: $30 We just don't have the space for a separate high chair so this one has been strapped to one of our dining chairs since Little Man was about five months old. It's not the prettiest thing, but it takes up so little space that I hardly notice it.
8. Munchkin Diaper Changing Kit: $17.79 I've never carried a diaper bag. I just loaded up this kit and threw it into my fairly large purse. So much better than carrying two bags or just one ugly diaper bag.
9. Fisher Price Take Along Swing: $49.99 This is a pretty bare bones swing and it's not much to look at, but it did the job for us. It's so small that we could move it all over the house, up and down our stairs with no problem. Little Man took great naps (2-3 hours, 2-3 times/day) in it for a long time.
Is it lame that my first giveaway ever is from my own Etsy Shop?! Maybe, but I don't care! Here's what I'm giving away: one print from my shop in any size. These make great baby gifts too, so I'd be happy to give away a gift certificate that you could pass along to a friend. Winner's choice!
Above are my birth stats prints, but I also have a few art prints in the shop now and all the colors are customizable to fit any nursery or kid's room decor and they're all available in 8x10, 11x14, and 16x20.
There are three ways to enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post with the words, "PRINT, PLEASE!"
2. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook and leave a comment to let me know that you did so.
3. Pin the picture above to one of your Pinterest boards with the description, "Lanie & Lola Birth Stats Prints" and leave a comment to let me know that you did so.
So that's up to three entries per person! The giveaway will close on Wednesday April, 25 and I'll pick a random winner.
Here are the tentative plans for my boys' playroom. Because we are having our second boy I didn't really see the need to switch up all of the decor completely, so I'm using the same color scheme that's in the nursery and I'll be re-using some old pieces. Some of the items above will also be DIY projects. For instance, the two pillows are available to buy, but I will probably be making my own. Same goes for the prints I'll be using in the room. The toddler bed and the children's table are also just ideas of what I'd like to have. The toddler bed is from Ikea and it's an odd size, so you have to buy one of their mattresses, plus the crib skirt I already own won't work on it. The children's table and chairs set is over $120 (that seems to be pretty standard as far as children's furniture goes), so I'd like to be able to find something on Craigslist.
In my search for the perfect, inexpensive, white chair for my bedroom I've come across a few gems that, for one reason or another just aren't quite right for my space, but still very reasonably priced and stylish.
Nope, that's not the same picture from yesterday's post. I made a little tweak to one of my pillows and even though it's not a huge change, I think it's worth sharing as I can now officially place a check mark next to "freshen up pillows" on my master bedroom to do list.
I came across this handy dandy bed pillow arrangements illustration done by Marissa at Roost a couple of days ago and it gave me just the inspiration I needed.
I decided that the top right arrangement was my fave (we have a queen bed so I have two euro shams instead of 3), which meant that I had one too many standard sized shams and I was in need of a bolster pillow.
Since my standard sham was 20x26 and the bolster pillow is 16x26 it was just a simple matter of a little cutting and hemming. I cut the extra 2 inches of fabric flap off of the sides of the pillow and flipped it inside out and made another seam on both sides so the raw edges wouldn't show when I turned it right side out. Then I just took two inches off of the top and bottom with the sewing machine. So easy and I think the slightly smaller bolster with clean edges instead of fabric flaps is a much cleaner look.
A while ago I listed "freshen up pillows" on my to-do list for our master bedroom. Well, since the other things on my to-do list require spending a bit of money and making a three hour trip to Ikea, I figured I could go ahead and knock the cheapest item off my list first.
There is a bit of sewing involved which made me put off this project for about two months, but I'm so glad I finally got it done! AND it only cost $23 to get these shams completed. Woo Hoo!
Here's a quick break down of what I used and what it cost:
- 4 yards of fabric from Jo-Ann: $12 (I had a really good coupon)
- 7 yards of white 7/8 inch grosgrain ribbon from Michael's: $2.50 (Yup, I used a coupon. Plus, I had a gift card, so technically it was free!)
- 1 26x26 euro pillow insert from Target: $11 (I already owned 1 insert.)
- 7 yards of Heat n' Bond: $3 (I already had it on hand)
And here's the process. First, if measuring and cutting and sewing make you break a sweat then grab an iced coffee and settle in. Just think of the results and remind yourself that it will all be worth it.
1. Spread your fabric out and trace (1) 30x30 square and (2) 20x30 rectangles. These will be the pieces of your pillow. I like to use poster board because it's nice and stiff and I don't have to worry about keeping my corners square.
The square will be the front of your pillow and the two rectangles will be the back flaps. Leave a good inch between the peices. You'll need some room to cut. The lines will be a guide and show you where to sew.
2. Cut out your square and rectangles.
3. Hem the edges of the 20x30 panels that will be the flaps on the back of the pillow. You need to hem one of the 30 inch raw edges on each of the panels. I fold the edges over twice then iron them so they stay down.
4. After both back panels are hemmed, attach the corners of one of the flaps to the front 30x30 panel of the pillow with a pin. Make sure the back sides of the fabric is facing out. Repeat with the other back flap.
5. Sew! Follow the lines drawn on the fabric and re-enforce the corners by double-backing on them. Make sure those pins are removed before the needle gets there.
So now you should have a 30x30 pillow sham. Ta da!
6. Turn your sham right side out and iron the edges and corners flat.
7. Lay your sham out and trace a 26x26 inch square onto your sham with chalk. Measure to make sure you have 2 inches all around the chalk square so you know it's centered.
8. Sew! Just follow the line of the chalk.
You should have a 26x 26 inch finished sham now. Time to add the ribbon.
9. Trace a 12x12 inch square onto the center of the sham with chalk then trace 4x4 inch squares onto the corners of the bigger square.
I used Debbie's tutorial at Visual Eye Candy to add my ribbon. She's got great pictures and I was so determined to get my shams finished that I pretty much forgot to take my own, so I'm happy to just link to her how-to.