Archive for the ‘adventure’ Category

Welcoming: Juniper Inês!

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It’s been quite silent around  here, and with good reason. I’ve been snorting the newborn smell like a crack addict. Miss Juniper Inês finally made her way here last Tuesday at a whopping 9 pounds 9 ounces. My biggest monster yet. We were all surprised at her girth and the speed with which she arrived.

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Tuesday morning I started feeling quite achey. Felix woke up two hours before his usual and came upstairs to cuddle me. It was like he knew I was in pain and needed someone to hold. Not minutes after he climbed into bed with us, my water broke. It was 4:30 am. There was an audible pop. I sprang to action, saving the sheets. Chris was more than pleased. I was pretty proud I was able to get out of bed that fast at 40 weeks pregnant. No small miracle there.

I had a feeling I didn’t have much time. Yet I still took a shower. I needed a shower.

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Chris got the kids dressed and fed. I grabbed the last-minute items like our bluetooth speaker and iPad. We dropped the kids off at the neighbors and drove off to the hospital at about 5:30. Driving to the hospital seemed like an eternity. The contractions were about a minute apart at this point. They were hurting at this point. I was in pain, but I knew every contraction was my body doing what it was born to and one step closer to meeting my little girl. To be honest, I was getting excited.

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I decided before I got pregnant that I would deliver Juniper naturally in a hospital. I’ll admit I didn’t do much of any reading or practicing on the subject. I mostly talked to friends about their experiences and listened to what worked for them and I came up with a plan that worked for me. More than anything, the mental preparation got me excited to labor rather than dread it. Each contraction was a painful celebration.  Strange, I know.

We arrived at the hospital and were admitted just before 6am. I was in pain and I wanted to get the show on the road. The nurses had no idea how far into labor I was. One insisted to make sure that my water had in fact broken. I’m thinking, “DUH. I’m in pain and this isn’t my first rodeo, can we get a move on?!?” She checked. To her surprise I was dilated just past an 8. She literally ran out of the room and didn’t stop running after that. They rushed to action. Nurses asked me if I was okay with the attending doc delivering the baby. I was fine with it, but deep down inside I wanted my midwife to be there. Just before I started pushing, there she came. She was ready. I was ready. So was June.

June clawed her way into the world about 4 minutes after my midwife showed up, 36 minutes after I was admitted into the hospital. In June’s haste she snagged on my femoral artery and I started bleeding out. Chris could see what was going on, but everyone kept their cool and eventually a suture kit was located and the bleeding was under control.

I’m glad I had planned on having her naturally. By the time I got to the hospital, there wouldn’t have been enough time to get an epidural and I would have been clueless and likely afraid of doing it all on my own. Instead I was under control and afterward I had the most amazing high. I was on top of the world, my body had done something so hard and I survived!

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I had a hard time visualizing myself using hypnobirthing CDs; so before I delivered, I compiled a playlist of my favorite dance-y songs. If I were to visualize myself doing anything, I wanted to visualize dancing and rocking out through the pain. The nurses and midwives got a kick out of it. The midwife told me something along the lines that it was one of the happiest, upbeat deliveries she’s experienced. And it was a happy experience! If you’re on Spotify, you can listen to the playlist right here.

Chris was the best cheerleader I could have asked for. The fact that the entire labor was under 2 hours probably made the experience that much better, but I’m so glad I went natural with this one. Throughout this week I’ve kept thinking how our bodies are such amazing things. We can do some seriously hard stuff.

Juniper is an amazing little babe so far. She’s eating and sleeping like a champ and she’s already given us huge smiles. She looks just like a darker-haired version of Penelope. It’ll be so fun to see how they’re similar and different in the coming years.

I can’t believe I’m already a mother of 3. I still feel like college graduation was just weeks ago. It’s unreal. I’m so grateful to have these kiddos in my family!

From a work standpoint, her timing couldn’t have been better. I hired a calligrapher to help me manage the coaching aspect of I Still Love Calligraphy. Erika has been instrumental to my mental health these last few months. She’s taken on enough of the workload that I’ve been able to create new content for the course while still staying involved in the teaching process.

Each Monday and Friday we sit at the computer and attack the uploads from students. She’ll go through the work and leave feedback. I’ll review Erika’s feedback and leave additional comments if any are needed. Instead of sitting at the computer for 12-14 hours on these days like I was previously, I’m spending around 4-5 hours at the computer these days. But last week, Erika was out of town on a much-deserved vacation with her husband. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up if I were to have Juniper. The little Miss was so thoughtful and arrived on Tuesday, leaving me plenty of time to rest before Friday’s workload came along.

Maintaining work hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Chris is at home helping me with business and family, so making sure I get sleep before these big days isn’t so much of an issue. Juniper has been a very well-behaved baby, so I can just snuggle with her if she’s fussy and finish my work just fine. It’s been a huge blessing to be able to work while growing this family of ours. Taking time off would have been a necessity if I didn’t work from home and at a desk. It’s been nice to take it easy while still be productive. That newborn phase can be so joyous, but frustrating when you have the energy to get a million things done but can’t because you’re ‘stuck’ feeding a baby.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a fabulous thing to be ‘stuck’ doing. But it’s nice to feel productive while giving her the attention that she needs.

 

Summer Adventures

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It’s been pretty quiet around the blog this summer. We’ve been busy and I’ve been tired. All of the plans I had made have shifted drastically to accommodate for my energy levels. I wanted to re-landscape my backyard, finish decorating my front room, organize all kids clothes, clean out the garage, sew a swimsuit, sew a bunch of maternity clothes and sew clothes for Penelope. A teeny tiny fraction of that actually happened. Sad, but true.

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I had a lot of fun working with Bing at Alt Summit to provide attendees a fun little DIY distraction during their sessions. We made hand-lettered cards and tees. It was a blast!

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Photo by Brooke Dennis

I even got a shout out from Martha Stewart on her blog (see image #34). Ummmm….. WHAAAA? Super cool. 

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Photo by Izzy Hudgins

While at Alt, I also taught a group discussion on landing pages and their importance for conversions. I may blog about it, but I might not. Give me a shout out if you’re interested in the hand out and I’ll send it your way.

Since this Alt Summit was less than 6 months after the January session, I kept things simple. No new handmade wardrobe, no new business cards (just a repeat of January’s). I tried to keep it simple. As simple as I can make things, which is inevitably complicated.

Seeing old friends and making new ones was the highlight of the event. And being able to sit behind a desk for most of the conference, practicing my letters was pretty awesome, too. I love an excuse to sit and practice my letters.

Outfit details:

“Adult” Cyberbullying

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So. . . I was on TV last night. Not for the fun crafty stuff that I do on occasion. But for something far more severe. I’ve always known that cyberbullying is serious, but now more than ever after becoming a target of a particularly awful flavor: revenge porn.

Full Article Here

Two weeks ago I woke up to several messages and new friend requests on my phone. I’m not a terribly popular person so this struck me as strange. I ignored the friend requests, then looked at messages on facebook. Then on twitter. Then in my email. A few of these messages were from “friendly” strangers informing me about some awful post about me.

What is going on?

After I replied to an email with, “I’m not clicking on some random link.” One stranger spelled it out for me.

He replied: “Someone posted nude photos of you online. . . I wanted to alert you ASAP so you could have them removed ASAP.”

Now I’m thinking, WHAT THE WHAAT?!? I know for a fact I’ve never been in front of a camera naked, so this was very strange. I finally clicked. I was horrified.

Someone stole photos (real photos) from this blog and posted them next to gobs of particularly disgusting naked photos of someone else. If someone didn’t know me personally, they would have easily thought it was me before doing a double-take. And then. . . they wrote about things that I would “do” and linked to my personal Facebook profile.

This site had a clickable button offering to remove the post, however they wanted hundreds of dollars to do so. Extortion much? They should be the ones paying me for slander and stealing my copyrighted images. This one page alone got over 60,000 hits in less than two weeks.

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There were tears. Sobs, even. It felt personal and the violation was real. Like the creepy slime from perverted individuals was closing in on me. In my own home.

More awful than the piles of messages with gross solicitations or any threat to sully my online reputation these disgusting creeps managed to steal my time. They ruffled enough of my feathers that I lost out on precious family and work time. NOT COOL.

Progress is stalled on getting the post removed as the site seems to be registered from an “unfriendly” country that doesn’t recognize internet policing. Frustrating. It’s unfortunate how common this particular abuse is becoming. So what to do to prevent it? Basically nothing. Although, I’m sure sexting/snap chatting is probably not a good idea.

What to do if cyberbullying happens to you?

  • Make sure your social media is on lock down. There are loads of configurations for privacy on facebook. I’ve got mine just about as private as one can get.
  • Contact authorities. The FBI handles this kind of issue. Submit a complaint to IC3.gov, it’s actually pretty quick and convenient.
  • If you’re getting emails from creeps, anonymous jerks or friendly strangers; get their IP addresses. You can find that out by searching “view long headers in your email client“. Pass those along to the FBI.
  • If you’re being targeted by an extortion site, NEVER pay. If no one buys into the filth, perhaps we can starve these disgusting sites together.
  • Do what you can, but then move on. Don’t let it ruin your day or they’ve essentially won.

Who knows if this issue will get completely resolved. Maybe that post will get filtered down by all the other disgusting porn out there. It’ll be a tiny speck inside a drop in the large bucket of the gross underbelly of the internet and I’ll never think of it again.

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My hope is that anyone who has been victimized by cyberbullying in the past, present or future will know they’re not alone. There are things we can do about it (although I wish DDOS-ing the website in question were an option). Speak up and don’t take crap from bullies!

To end on a more inspirational note, I love this antibullying campaign published by the LDS church. It goes beyond religion – in my opinion – and strikes a chord that I think we can all relate to.

All images by Sarah Wilkes.

UPDATE: I’ve found a few great resources online talking about this very thing. Read how this woman basically dropped everything to take down an evil sitemaster running several revenge porn sites. Even comedy sites take these kinds of attacks seriously. Utah legislation passed a revenge porn bill, now it’s up to the governor to sign off on it. There’s not a whole lot government can do about this kind of thing, but raising awareness is a good start. If you want to get legislation to pass a revenge porn bill in your state, speak up about it here.

Watch the segment on Good Morning America for more tips from experts.

Photography for Sewers at Sewing Summit

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I had a fabulous time at Sewing Summit this year.

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Can we all just geek out together right now? I met Heather Bailey (like the Heather Bailey)! She’s just as beautiful, inspirational and genuine as she is creative. I love her even more after spending time with her.

Of all of the keynote speakers of all of the conferences I’ve been to, she’s the first to actually participate in the conference. It shows how invested she is in the sewing community. I love that.

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Photo by Merrick

 

Friday night we had an impromptu baby shower for Miranda and her soon-to-be baby girl. I made my classic poopy clutch (diaper & wipes case) in nude patent leather and some itty bitty pleated harem pants out of a vintage knit. I made up the pattern as I went, so I’ll be sharing more details on how to make your own later.

Next time I get pregnant (this is no announcement, but I am baby hungry) I’m going to invite a bunch of sewing bloggers to give me gifts. He he.

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What would a conference/baby shower be without a photo booth? I hadn’t planned on this, but since I was teaching a workshop on photography, I had lights, remote, tripod and camera. All we needed was some kind of backdrop!

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Merrick, Miranda, Leanne

 

A heck of a lot of silliness ensued as the hours waxed later and later.

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Miranda, Miriam, Erin, Katie, Me

 

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Baby hungry much?

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Sylvia, me, Miranda

 

Silliness aside I had a great time gleaning a few tips on sewing with leather, finding that balance lives where the unicorns live and learning to adopt centimeters in pattern drafting (and sewing).

My presentation went well. I had slides with notes, but of course I misplaced my notes right before the class so there were a few key tips that I forgot to touch on (always happens).

Here’s a re-cap of the slide portion of my 2-hour presentation at Sewing Summit. Sewing-summit-photography-01 I may be many things, but there’s one hat I don’t wear. I’m not a professional photographer. When asked if I’m a photographer, I correct and say, “I’m a photography enthusiast.”

Sewing-summit-photography-02 That said, I do know how to use my camera in manual mode. It never leaves manual mode unless someone else is shooting my camera for me. I’m going to share with you some things that I’ve learned about photography that I picked up in my college photography class and with nearly 7 years of blogging.

(more…)

San Francisco Recap + Silhouette

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I feel like I’m always recovering from some big adventure. This time it’s San Francisco.

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I can’t describe the joy that overcame Chris and me when we drove over the Bay Bridge on our way into the city Monday morning. We both had a serious moment. I started to get all choked up.

Last time we drove that stretch (west-bound), we were just coming up on our one-year anniversary. No kids, no cares. We were all starry-eyed at the prospect of living in an urban area and starting a new chapter with so many prospects.

Then the economic crisis hit (it’s still in full force, is it not?) and we left with our heads hung low. We vowed to come back. While we only came back for a short visit, it still felt like home.

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The lovely folks at Seesaw graciously opened up their office space for me to hold a calligraphy workshop. We had a full house! I’ve acquired some new equipment that made teaching so much easier. I’m looking forward to teaching more workshops in the future.

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Kaela, Me, Meghan

We had such a great time! I think the class went over by an hour or so. I just can’t help myself when I get to meet such neat, creative people.

I also got to meet for the first time some long-time blog friends (Katie and Kristin). I had too much fun, I forgot to take pictures.

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This is a quick snap I took on the way to dropping Chris off at the starting point for his 30 mile run with friends. The countryside in La Honda is not to be missed. Chris and friends only made it 19 miles. Only. 

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We did our fair share of eating tasty treats (creme brulee cart on Market and Sansome was one of my favorites). Unfortunately we didn’t make the stop to Sprinkles Cupcakes or Tartine. Serious bummer, if you ask me.

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But we did plenty of goofing and walking around the city. I found myself saying, “Don’t touch that!” “Stay by me!” “Get out of there!” Way too much. Penelope isn’t our little city companion like when she was an immobile baby. We still had so much fun.

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Now it’s back to real life again! I’m always feeling so behind. I wanted to give this a proper post, but the below promotion ends on the 31st. All of Silhouette’s add-on/extras are 40% off! Even if you don’t have a machine, their products are really fun to use. Use code: MELISSA for the discount.

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My favorite goodies are the printable tattoo paper, adhesive vinyl, and iron-on heat transfer. The machine is ideal, but no need! Scissors or a sharp exacto work well, too.

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