Friday, February 27, 2015

7 steps to recover from a rough baby night

I'm trying to transition Everly from co sleeping to sleeping in her crib, and she does not like it at all. I mean, I understand; I'm making her go from on demand boob access to sleeping alone in a big box. She may or may not be teething too, so she's in pain in addition to being lonely. This leads to all night marathons of crying--being picked up--calming down--being put back--crying and so on. Since I'm completely in the thick of it right now, I don't have any advice for getting your baby to sleep through the night. I do, however, know how to live life as a semi-functional human being on little to no sleep, and that's something for which I had a hard time finding advice. That's why today I'm going to share with you my foolproof method for not being a zombie!

so cute. so loud. so not sleepy.

7 Steps to Recover from a Baby All-Nighter

1. Acknowledge that it happened.

You didn't get any sleep. Don't suck it up and try to be normal. But remember, you only get 5 chances to say, "Well I was up all night." This will keep you from entering martyr-land.

2. Shower.

VERY IMPORTANT. Hand the baby to your husband or put her in a bouncy seat. Get in the shower and take your time. Wash your hair and shave. When you're done, put on deodorant and perfume.

3. Picture day.

This one is from my mom. Get ready like you are going to have your picture made. Do your hair. Blush and mascara are a must. This is not so you can fit into some societal construct of beauty, but so that when you catch glimpses of yourself in the mirror you see some color in your cheeks and brightness in your eyes.

4. Reserve a treat for days like this.

Maybe you are off caffeine or on a budget, but today is the day for an iced latte. Keep something off limits except for days after all nighters, and treat yourself when the time comes.

5. Call someone. 

Social interaction will keep you from wallowing. Talk to a friend about something unrelated to the all nighter.

6. Walk.

Walk in the sunshine or around the mall, whatever the weather permits. The exercise and change of scenery will help.

7. Get a break.

Call your mom to take the baby, spend a little money on a babysitter, whatever, but get away for just a minute. You don't have to drive anywhere, you can just take a nap or read a book. The point is to take a minute to focus on self care.

Watch more than 2 Netflix episodes.
Eat lots of fatty/sugary foods. (One treat should do the trick!)

These steps can be woven around a full-time job or multiple children if you just ask for help. Don't try to do this alone. Don't be a martyr. You can do this, but no one was meant to be totally independent. Reach out. Shoot me an email if you feel like you have no one to talk to, I'd love to connect!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015


I post a lot on here about how I love to beautify my surroundings, and how important my home is to me in my quest for beauty. However, I've never given you a detailed look at how I do the little things with the little money I have budgeted for home decor, and I think it's about time I did.

My home is the place where my creativity is bound by my budget and square footage, but freed by my privacy and flexibility. 

I feel nervous about taking risks here or in my music because those arts are in the public eye, and I am terrified of making big mistakes. My home, on the other hand, is a place where people have to ask permission to enter and take a look at the decisions I've made. Today I am inviting you to take a small peek at some of my recent projects and triumphs, and maybe you'll find some ideas for your own home!

living rooms are for living

Our living room is where we spend the vast majority of our time. The space is connected to the kitchen in an open floor plan, so we do our eating in the living room. I also run all of our business from the couch so that I can watch Everly play and have easy access to all the things I need. The project I've been working on for the past few months is our gallery wall. For a long time, I just had one picture or none at all hanging about our couch, and as the only open wall space in this room, I felt it needed a little more attention. I did not have the budget for a decor overhaul, so I shopped around my house, refurbished some thrift store finds, and spent a little on some trendy items.

Here's the cost breakdown:

  • DIY painted abstract, egret, and quote: $10 worth of black canvases found on sale at Michaels
  • Clipboards: $1 each, printed graphic to go on brown one. 
  • Gazelle clock: $15 at an antique store, $1 worth of white gloss spray paint, $3 clock hands. (Needs batteries but I still love it)
  • Ship painting, framed photo, framed raccoon, letter H, mirror: shopped the house for things I already used in other rooms.  (I repainted the frame of the ship painting to match the wall.)
  • "Love" chalkboard: on sale at Michaels for $1

That's a total of $30 for the entire wall! I kept a black, white, and wood theme throughout, with a few pops of the blue color that's on the wall. It makes me so happy every time I see it, and makes our wall look a little taller (in an 833 square foot house, you maximize every inch!). 

The black and grey-blue canvas was a result of this post by The Nester, when I was inspired to just throw some paint onto a canvas with no expectations of what it should look like. I don't usually paint abstract (see egret above) but I had so much fun. I'll be doing a how-to post soon.

The clipboard holds one of my favorite prints, and all I did to get it was to search for public domain drawing tutorials. I found this tutorial on how to draw trains, and love that it has "A lesson in perspective" as the title. I need constant reminders to keep the right perspective, and this little print helps.

This little corner is another budget triumph. It's a lesson in "if you like it, keep it even if you don't know what to do with it", as well as "say yes when people want to give you stuff." Here's the breakdown:
  • Painting: inherited ($0)
  • Nesting dolls: gifts ($0)
  • Salt lamp: gift ($0)
  • Photo book under dolls: gift ($0)
  • Black table: hand-me-down ($0)
  • Gold basket: $0.80 on Christmas clearance at Michaels.
  • Glass and silver pitcher: $3 at Goodwill.
  • Flowers: $1 each ($2) at The Dollar Tree. 
Grand total: $5.80. This makes me want to jump up and down tallying this up. I love to look around my home and know that I did not spend that much money to surround myself with this much beauty. 

Note: I love to find faux flowers at the Dollar Tree. I have found several trendy blooms and branches there over the past few months, and for $1 each, it's hard to mess up.

Next is my favorite vignette in this room. Vignettes are little setups of beautiful things just to bring you joy. They don't have to have a function, they are simply there for beauty.

Here we go again!:
  • Flowers: Valentine's present.
  • Blue milk bottle: $1 at Goodwill.
  • Clear bottle: $1 at Ikea.
  • Wooden toy: gift.
  • & sign: $6 at TJ Maxx three years ago.
  • Shelf: $7 at Ikea. 
  • Globe lamp (yes, it lights up. Did I mention it's a TOUCH LAMP? Dreams really do come true.): gift. 
  • Framed Picasso print: $6 at a local thrift store.
  • Books: relocated from my (color-coded) bookshelf: $0
Grand total: $21 (including the shelf!). The more I do this calculating, the more excited I get. 

I can't do all this bragging without bringing myself back to real life, so here's what you would really see if I invited you into my house.

Don't hate, appreciate. It's a work in progress and I'm making the decision not to apologize for it! Welcome to my real life, hard working office. It's seen better days, and will see better days in the future, but today is a real life Tuesday and that's just how it goes.

-- Caroline

I hope you've enjoyed this little peek at the projects I've been working on! Are there any that you'd like to see instructions or tutorials for? What are you working on at your own home? Leave a comment below and I'll get back to you!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

take a step

I love creating art. I love the entire process of it. My favorite thing to do when I have a moment to myself is to play around with watercolors. I taught myself how to mix and blend and direct the colors where I want them to go. Watercolors seem to have a mind of their own, which is what I love about them. I spend so much time trying to control everything around me that approaching an art form and knowing I have less control over the outcomes than I would using markers or pens is incredibly relaxing.

Photography, however, is something that I have little to no experience or knowledge in. It's been a long-held dream of mine to be able to take photos of my family and home like I see on my favorite blogs, and to be able to capture memories with my daughter and husband. I decided it was time to take an e-course on the subject so that I could move forward with my dream. I'm learning about exposure, aperture, shutter speed, all these things that I heard photographers talk about but never knew what they meant. I'm making slow progress but my creative fire has been lit, and I feel kick started into this discipline since I've invested time and energy in myself to learn more.

I feel kick started into this discipline since I've invested time and energy in myself to learn more. 

I use a website called Craftsy to find tutorials and classes for various skills that I want to learn, and I've partnered with them today to give you access to a few free e-guides to help you feel inspired and invested in the art that you want to move forward in. Check out these links and pick out as many as you'd like, they're all free!

eGuide: Understanding Exposure for Better Photos Now: Beginner Photography Tutorials
Cake Decorating
eGuide: Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas
Food & Cooking
eGuide: Delicious Doughnut Recipes You Can Make at Home
Paper Crafts
eGuide: 6+ Stash-Busting Paper Craft Projects
eGuide: Drawing the Human Face: A Primer
eGuide: Beginner's Guide to the World of Watercolor
eGuide: Success With Container Gardening
eGuide: Woodturning Basics for Beginners

*this post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

a beautifier

I'm having a sort of quiet crisis.

It's not one of those desperate moments where you need emotional triage; it's more of a slow and muffled cry for purpose in my day to day life.

I love being a mother. It's the life I was created for. I love waking up to her smiling face and being the one she reaches for in her need. I love every part of it.

Being a mother takes up 30 hours of my day, every day. That's right. I don't seem to have time to take a daily shower, let alone be creative and prosper from that creativity. What I've realized, though, is that the time that I am busy is not brain time, it's hand time. For example, I will spend hours every day just holding my baby girl because I'm taking advantage of her need for me and getting my cuddles in while I can. These hours have so far been used for Netflix and Pinterest (aka time suckers). I wish I could say I've been exclusively watching documentaries, browsing baby tips, pinning workouts and healthy recipes, but the truth is that I've been daydreaming.

Being recognized for creating beauty. Isn't that the ultimate dream?

Daydreaming about the perfect house where I have the right color walls, the right kind of flooring, the most beautiful art on the walls.

About sewing custom and organic baby clothes for my little girl, and keeping her dressed to the max no matter what the circumstance.

About having thousands of blog followers who hang on my every insight-filled word.

About creating beauty and being recognized for it.

Being recognized for creating beauty. Isn't that the ultimate dream? No matter what the industry, we as women have echoes of the creator's heart in us, and we want to add to the glorious symphony of the earth from our own hearts. That's why Instagram and Pinterest are so addictive-- it's easy to get sucked into the chasm of wanting to be more and believing that others have it locked in.

The truth is, I believe that I am created in the image of the Great Beautifier, and that I have the ability and prerogative to create beauty that permeates my world. 

I have a lot of outlets, as I was recently reminded in a conversation with my husband. I draw, paint, record music, decorate our house, etc. I love to create art and share it with others. What my heart longs for is a way to corral my brooks and creeks of inspiration into a powerful river of art and beauty.

Perhaps this blog is the place that I will find connections between my different forms of art. I will be pouring into it over the next season, so look forward to seeing more frequent posts about being a creatively motivated stay-at-home-mom.

Friday, February 13, 2015

bring in the brightness

This season has been so damp and cold and grey. It is so difficult to stay motivated and happy in this weather, especially doing everything with a tiny human that needs my attention 24/7. I think if it was snowy and I was stuck at home I might have an easier time of it, but I've been able to do all my errands and chores without getting to go outside and have fun. I'm being a toddler, I know, but here in the mountains you learn to love the sunshine as a source of energy and happiness. This Sunday was 60 degrees, and the entire town seemed to be at the park. We were outside for hours playing in the grass and on the swings and going on walks.

Now it's a different story. It is cold enough for wiper fluid to freeze on contact with the windshield. I'm burning a fire at 2 pm in the afternoon just to keep our house at a warm status quo through the evening. We are wearing sweatshirts while cuddled under blankets for naptime. It's hard to continue my postpartum depression and PTSD recovery when the weather outside is the same as it is inside my head.

We chose this area because we love the cool summers and the sparkling winters, so we have to find ways to brighten our home in the grey season. Here are 5 ways to bring sunshine indoors and feel better!

1. Take a good vitamin D supplement.
I take one every day along with a whole host of other vitamins. I've done research for what I need for my own body so I won't be sharing those, but vitamin D is one of those that pretty much everyone needs. You can get a high dosage bottle here.

2. Get some chlorophyll!
Wheatgrass has one of the highest concentrations of chlorophyll, which helps your energy levels and reduces your free radicals. You can read more about it here. You can get chlorophyll from leafy greens, algae (like spirulina), wheatgrass, etc. Growing your own wheatgrass is easy and cheap, and I love the color and life it brings to my kitchen. We throw it in our smoothies and barely notice it.

3. Eat some citrus.
In addition to the great vitamin C, I find that eating citrus in the winter just makes me feel brighter and warmer. I think God knew we would need that little bit of edible sunshine when he made them a winter fruit.

4. Wake up earlier.
Counter-intuitive when you feel so sleepy, but waking up earlier lets you take advantage of the front half of the day (which naturally contains more sunshine when the sun sets at 5:30!). You are more likely to feel better and be more productive if you wake up just 30 minutes before you usually do and take the time to do something good for yourself (like numbers 1-3!)

5. Text or call someone you love.
Winter isolates us, but with modern technology friendship is just a few clicks away. Text someone a silly picture or a quick encouragement, and your heart will be automatically lifted.

I hope these tips help you as you are stuck running from your house to your car for every outing!

-- Caroline

*this post contains affiliate links.

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