Two Months!

Today is our little nugget’s 2 month birthday! I cannot believe how fast these two months have flown by! The husband and I were looking back through her pictures last night and were just amazed at how much she has changed in such a short amount of time!  Two months is sort of bittersweet for me since it means I go back to work full time and she goes to daycare.  I have absolutely loved the time at home with just her and me, but I also feel like its the right amount of time for me to go back to work.

But she also gets to celebrate this milestone by getting her shots today and I hear that can be quite traumatic (for mothers and babies alike!).

I love this precious little smocked onesie, Taylor however prefers soft and comfy clothes… so no shock there, she is going to be like her mother! But since she looks so dang cute in these dresses and uncomfortable clothes, I’m going to keep dressing her in them!  weekfive

And this little black and white number was a hand me down from our good friends, but I think she looks precious and it might be one of my favorite outfits on her! Plus I love her little smile in this picture and that she is looking at the camera!

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And this little Navy outfit was the first thing I really bought for her and I think it is really cute! I know these pictures are going to get harder and harder to take as she gets more and more active, but I love watching her little legs kick around as she figures out how to use them!

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And Mom brought Taylor little onesie from her trip to Krakow this spring! And baby jeans might be the most impractical but cutest thing EVER.  I am kind of in love with them. Seriously, how cute is she?!
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And this isn’t one of her ‘weekly photos’ but I couldn’t resist posting it… I just love her! Look at that face! But you know… I’m biased and so in love with her little expressions!
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This stage of her life is so fun, she learns new things every day! She has started smiling a whole lot and following us around with her eyes.  You get to start to see a personality which makes those middle of the night feedings WAY more bearable!!

Milestones: She can smile spontaneously, lift and hold her head up (mostly), and she follows objects with her eyes and has started batting at the objects on her play mat. She has also started sleeping a 5-6 hour stretch at the beginning of the night.  We went on our first road trip and had our first hotel stay!

Reese was in a wedding outside of San Antonio last weekend, so we took the 5 hour road trip to San Antonio.  My dad was kind enough to fly down to San Antonio to babysit during all the wedding festivities.  But while her daddy was doing wedding things with the groomsmen, my dad and I took her to visit the Alamo like every good Texan should! I was a little worried about how she would do in the car, but she was a champion and slept almost the entire way down and back.  And she even had good nights of sleep in her pack n play in the hotel!

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Likes: She still really loves eating, but she also loves reading books… she lays with us every night and watches as we read them, very attentively! Her favorites are Farmyard Beat and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. She loves talking walks and being outside.

We also got a hand me down Mommaroo which is AWESOME.  When she is fussy it is one of things that calms her down most often. Its a little rocker thing that simulates different movements and you can change the speed and direction and all that… it is MAGIC.

She has started sleeping longer stretches at night, so I’m really only waking up once in the middle of the night to feed her and she usually goes to bed without much of a fuss.  So I’m crossing all of my fingers and toes that this lasts and that she will always be a good sleeper!

Dislikes: tummy time, being alone in a room (even for a second), bedtime, changing clothes, and 7pm.  I’m not sure what it is about that time, but she gets fussy and grumpy and nothing will console her.  We’ve started moving her bedtime up and that has helped.

Mom loves: her smiles, how she looks at me from a little ways away even if someone else is holding her, and how when I stick out my tongue at her she will mimics it back to me.  I’m sure I’ll regret teaching her that when she is 3, but it is pretty precious now.  And she thinks it is really funny, so I get great smiles while we do that.  She also loves when we say ‘how big is Taylor’ and put her hands up to say SOOOO Big. And really, these days I’ll do just about anything for a smile.

 

 

Things I Want for You

As I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, all I could think about was Taylor and what she would be like… what kind of personality she would have, what she would look like, what her likes and dislikes would be.  So I did what I always do when I can’t get something out of my head… I wrote it down.  And as I went back to reread it, I realized that these are the same things I want for my own life and for all of the people I love, so I thought I would share! Happy Friday, I hope you all have fabulous weekends!

www.amusingmj.com

Baby Girl- What I want for you:

I want you to grow to be healthy and strong.

I want you to feel loved.

I want you to know God in a deeply personal way.

I want you to be smart, hardworking and driven,

But also to know how to have fun and let your hair down.

I want you to skin your knee, and then get up and brush it off.

I want you to have lifelong friends- and new friends- and friends that you would do anything for.

I want you to feel beautiful, inside and out.

I want you to know that pain is inevitable, but persevering through the pain and heartache of life will lead to a richer existence.

I want you to know and love and treasure the feeling of home,

But also to explore the world with unceasing abandon.

I want you to love others and treasure what they have to teach you.

I want you to find your passions in life, to try out new hobbies and find things you love to do

I want you to try new things, but also to be bold in defending what you love.

I want you to stand with conviction for the things that are important to you.

I want you to celebrate things… big and small.

I want all the things in the world for you, but I also really want you to know that the things that matter most require hard work and perseverance.

I want you to be YOU.

 

 

How I Machine Applique

Alright, I promised last week when I showed off some of my crafty projects that I have done during maternity leave that I would write up a post on how I use my embroidery machine to applique. ANDDDDD I really meant to have this post done and up on Monday or Tuesday, but here it is on Thursday and I’m just posting… but that’s new motherhood for you!  And I will start this post out by saying I am a total novice at this, but after having the machine for 8 months, I’ve learned a few things and thought I would share for those of you who want to buy a machine or have one and want to know some of my tricks.  Here is the final product:

How to Machine Applique | www.amusingmj.com

First of all, lets talk about equipment.

How to Machine Applique | www.amusingmj.com

Here’s what you need:

  • An embroidery machine: I have a Brother PE 770 Embroidery Machine.
  • An embroidery hoop: my machine came with a 5×7 inch hoop (its the two piece gray thing in the picture above), but I also purchased a 4×4 hoop so that I can do smaller pieces as well
  • Stabilizer- I have two types: above is a roll of cut away medium duty stabilizer that is great for t-shirts and other lighter weight fabrics; I also have some tear away stabilizer (I actually bought mine at JoAnns, but the amazon link is something similar) that I use for things like embroidering the names on my burp cloths.
  • An applique embroidery design (I buy mine off of Etsy for $2-$5 a piece–see below for some of my favorite shops so far)
  • Fabric for the design–I am a hoarder so I typically save my fabric scraps, and applique is a great way to use up some of those smaller pieces!
  • Embroidery Thread– I bought this box of 100 colors when I first started and so far haven’t really needed to buy any additional thread.  There are definitely some ugly colors in the bunch, but I’ve been happy with the quality and it is nice to not have to think about which threads I need to buy for each project.
  • Basting spray or heat n’ bond– read below for more details on this
  • for embroidering t-shirts or onesies– medium binder clips
  • (optional) embroidery software– more details below

Finding a design: Etsy has been my go to place for buying designs/fonts etc.  If I’m looking for a particular thing, I just search Etsy as a whole, so for this project I wanted to find a design with a cat on it, so I searched around until I found this one that I liked.  But if I’m just looking for something fun to applique (or I’m just bored) I go to one of my favorite shops and search their designs.  Here are some of my favorite shops

  • Rivermill Embroidery— So far their fonts, monograms and designs have all been very high quality– on this shirts I showed you in this post I used the chachi font, their turtle and their lady bug.
  • Applique Cafe Designs— I’ve used their Dinosaur design, but I have plans to use several more of their super cute designs!
  • Monogram Font Store–I love the fonts they have and have used several on lots of projects!
  • Ballerina Script by Hoop Mama Embroidery–This is the font I used for this project to add Stella’s name.

And that brings me to my next point.  Software: If all you ever want to do is pre-made designs, you don’t need any software. BUT, the whole point for me of getting an embroidery machine was to be able to add monograms and personalized things to my projects, so I wanted to be able to add letters, names, etc.  Software is the easiest way to do that.  I searched around for a while and settled on Embird software, mostly because it was cheap.  I think it was about $150 (some embroidery software programs are in the 1,000s of dollars… no thank you.) Again, I’m not creating my own files or doing anything fancy… I just wanted to be able to lay out my designs with letters.  So for every project that I want to personalize, I open up my software and lay it out. So for this project I downloaded the cat file that I picked out from Etsy, and then in Embird I merged it with the Ballerina font 1″ letters that spelled out Stella.  From there I saved the file to a USB drive and loaded it into my machine.  Each machine is different… but read your instructions on how to import a file from USB.

The first step in applique is then to hoop your fabric and stabilizer.  I cut out a piece of stabilizer larger than my hoop:

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Then I center the hoop and stabilizer onto my fabric.  In this case I put it onto a Playtime Favorites T-shirt from Gap Kids (bought at 40% off).

I find centering and hooping my fabric to be the hardest part of machine applique: you want to make sure that your fabric is smooth and tight and that your hoop is straight and centered on the shirt. (a very hard task for a non-perfectionist like me!)  applique8

Because you obviously don’t want the machine to stitch through both the back and the front of the shirt, I use a trick I found on this video on YouTube— I use binder clips to clip the rest of the shirt to the outside of my hoop.  You have to be careful that they won’t get in the way of the needle, but it works really well to keep your fabric bunched on the outside.

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Most applique designs come with an order list of stitches so that you know which part comes next, so I print this if it came with one.

Usually each different part has 3 steps: the first is the outline so you know where to put your fabric:

How to Machine Applique | www.amusingmj.com

Then you lay your fabric down on top.  This is the step where you should use either basting spray or heat ‘n bond lite.  I typically use basting spray because I’m lazy and it is faster. But if you are doing a large section that won’t have any detailing and you don’t want it bubbling up at all from your t-shirt– you should use the heat ‘n bond lite  (if you want details on how to do that google or search for that on pinterest and you’ll get some good tutorials).

So I spray my fabric that is larger than the stitched area with basting spray (its the purple and white can in the photo below) and then stick my fabric over the design.

How to Machine Applique | www.amusingmj.com

Next put the hoop back into the machine and let it do the ‘tackdown stitch’ (not all of them are zigzags… this design just happened to be).

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Now cut around the design as close as possible to the stitching.  I HIGHLY recommend a pair of embroidery scissors because you can get a LOT closer to the design and they are easier to use.  These are the ones I have. I find it easiest to pull up on the loose fabric to make it tight enough to get in closer to the stitching.

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So here is what mine looks like with all the fabric on, but before the satin stitches.

How to Machine Applique | www.amusingmj.com

And then you just follow the stitch order, swapping out your thread colors in between each step. So here is my final product before I take it off the hoop and trim all of my threads.

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The last step is to trim the stabilizer from the back.  It will soften after a few washes, but I try to trim as much as I can away without cutting the shirt or my design!

Tips & Tricks for Machine Applique | www.amusingmj.com

And then you are done! A super cute, personalized gift!