LIFE EDITING

Why I breastfeed and other advantages of breastfeeding

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Hello everyone!

Today’s post is very special to me because breastfeeding has been my life since baby Mateo arrived to this world 6 months ago. So as I way of celebration I want to explain why I chose to breastfeed and how my experience has been so far.

There is one thing I never expected when I had my baby 6 months ago: somehow, my breasts became kind of a public affair on which everyone seemed to have an opinion. If I had got a pound for each person that asked me something related to my breasts we would be covered for nappies for life. Questions such as: why do you breastfeed? How long are you going to breastfeed for? Does he have enough with your milk? Does he put on enough weight by just breasfeeding? Why don’t you give him formula? When are you going to stop breastfeeding? Why don’t you give him “normal” milk? (meaning formula) Do you express your milk? Why don’t you express your milk? Don’t you get tired of breastfeeding?… I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture, right?

I don’t really mind these kind of questions, but I never go into the real reasons of my choice to breastfeed my baby and I usually just give a short pleasing answer because at the end of the day that’s all people are after. But to celebrate 6 months of exclusively breastfeeding Mateo, I want explain why I really do it.

I breastfeed because…

… I feel that not only I nourish you with my milk but I also nourish you with my love.

… I love the complicity I feel between us when you are in my arms eating from my breast.

… your food is always ready, at the perfect temperature and it never runs out.

… I can sooth you instantly.

… I love how you look at me with your beautiful eyes and make me feel like I’m the most important person in the world.

… I’ve got one free hand to caress your soft skin and hair (or to tickle you on your chubby legs!)

… I love hearing your impatient laugh when you are about to eat.

… I know I’m giving you the best I can.

… I don’t want to be away from you, I want to be there for when you need me.

… I feel more in tune with my own nature, knowing that women thousands of years ago did the same, and that women from every race do the same, no matter where they’re from.

… I don’t count lines on a bottle, I trust you and I know you’ll eat what you need.

… it just feels right.

These reasons are enough for me to carrying breastfeeding as long as he and me want, but there are plenty of more proven scientific reasons that show further benefits of breastfeeding. These are just some:

… because breastfed babies have less risk of suffering digestive and breathing illnesses in the long term apart from being less likely to catch flus and other viruses.

… because it reduces the risk of developing breast and/or uterus cancer as well as diminishes the effects of osteoporosis.

… because it helps you regain your pre-pregnancy figure.

… because it’s better for the environment because formula is made of de-fattened cow’s milk.

… because it is free and better quality than any other milk. The average expenditure on formula per year is about €2,500.

… because it’s empowering for the new mum, preventing post-natal depression.

… because the milk nutrients change depending on your baby’s needs, one milk definitely does not fit all.

… because breast milk is “vaccinating” your baby from everyday viruses and therefore he’ll be ill less often.

… because it helps you to know your baby better.

… because it helps to develop a stronger sense of confidence in your baby as well as a better development of their brain.

There are plenty more reasons that could go on this list but I think these are enough for now.

I could say that breastfeeding has given me a new vision of my self and has made me discovered love at another level. Having said that, the start was not easy and I’m just glad I had the courage and the patience to stick to it and overcome whatever difficulties I found. I am just so happy I didn’t give up because now it’s my favourite time of the day (it’s just lucky that happens so often!).

As I said above, this is MY experience and MY reasons, and I do acknowledge that every mummy and baby tandem is different and different choices may work for them. At the end of the day, happy mummy equals happy baby, and that’s what really matters. I’d just thought I owed it to me and my baby to be finally answer all those questions honestly. I don’t expect my breasts to stop being a public affair any time soon, but maybe next time I will go into more detail and hopefully I’ll be able to help other mums to enjoy their breastfeeding time.

Hope you enjoyed the post and I’d love to hear about your reasons for breastfeeding (or not!).

Happy Tuesday!

Pilar & Mateo

 

 

IN THE KITCHEN · STASH BUSTING

Vintage linen napkins

Blue napkins

Hello everybody!

Today I bring you another stash busting project with vintage linens, in this case, a blue and white table cloth that I picked form a charity shop a few years back. Yes, that’s right… it’s been sitting on my stash for years!!

I wouldn’t normally pick linens from a charity shop because usually they tend to be quite worn out and have a funny smell, but this old tablecloth was tip-top and it seemed like it had been used sparingly.

This project is as simple as it gets and you can even do it without a sewing machine, so it is going to be like the shortest tutorial ever.

You will need:

Vintage (or not) tablecloth

Needle

Thread

Sewing machine (optional)

How to make the napkins:

  1. Decide what size you want your napkin to be. In this case, since the tablecloth has a check pattern, I’ve cut my napkins following the grid on the fabric. As a guidance, meal napkins then to be about 22″ square and dessert napkins about 12″ square but my suggestion is to be creative and make them the size that works better for you, we all know about extra messy children!
  2. Now you just need to hem the edges and you are done!

I love this napkins because they are extra strong and they wash great. They also have a great rustic/country-kitchen feel to them and since you are making them from a tablecloth, odds are that you’ve got plenty more fabric to make many more. I think they make a lovely pressie!

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Napkins ready to gift 🙂

Here you can appreciate the pattern of the cloth

Blue napkins 03

Blue napkins 02

That’s all for today folks! Hope you enjoyed my stash busting project #4. I have to say I am still not noticing a major decrease of my fabric stash but hopefully by May-June time I will be able to see the bottom of my drawers!

Have a lovely everyone and thanks for reading!

Pilar

HANDMADE WARDROBE · STASH BUSTING

Reusable fold-away bags

You can never have too many :)
You can never have too many 🙂

Hi there!

Welcome to project #3 of my Stash Busting challenge 2016: the super useful, super hardy and super cute reusable fold-away bags.

When I moved back to Spain about a year and a half a go I was quite surprised at how very few places gave you a bag with your purchases so I was always caught off guard and I always had to end up buying a bag. I know it’s only a few cents, but when you see the volume of plastics bags accumulated in your kitchen after a weeks worth of shopping, then you realise that it is about time to start taking your own bags with you and do your bit for the planet.

As it happens, I had a look for a fold-away bag that I could carry always with me but, surprise surprise… I didn’t like any of the ones that were available in shops so I decided to make my own. At this point I decided to take my project a step further and make them from recycled vintage linens, just so they were fully “green” bags.

To make the bags, you will need:

1/2 metre of fabric of your choice (ideally washable and resistant)

Button

15cm cotton tape

Needle, thread and sewing machine

How to make it:

(all measurements include 1cm seam allowance)

  1. Cut two pieces of fabric measuring 42 by 45cm each (bag body)
  2. Cut two stripes of fabric measuring 8cm by 47 cm (bag straps)
  3. With right sides together, sew both long sides and one of the shorter sides of your bag body. At this point you can serge or zigzag stitch the raw edges to avoid fraying when washed.
  4. Still with right sides together, fold out 1cm all around the open top of your bag. Press. Then fold 3cm around the top of the bag and press.
  5. To make the straps, fold the strap fabric in half  lengthwise and press. Then fold in 1cm from each side and topstitch all along the edge of the strap.
  6. Place the straps on the bag before you topstitch it. Leave 10cm at both ends of the bag and place the straps. You should have a gap of about 16cm between both ends of the strap.
  7. Now place the cotton tape right in the middle of the bag, catching it under the top seam that we are going to stitch now.
  8. Topstitch all around the bottom edge of the bag’s top seam top of the bag, catching both straps and the cotton tape.  Now topstitch around the top edge of the bag, catching both straps and leaving the cotton tape free.
  9. If you wish, you can square the bottom stitch across the bottom corners. I’ve boxed mine by 11cm.
  10. Sew the button in the middle of the bag… and you are done!

I’ve haven’t had the time to sketched a diagram explaining how best to fold the bag, but I’ll upload it in the next few days so please bear with me!

This bag is super handy and since it folds so small, it is great to carry in your bag all the time. As you can see in the picture, I’ve made quite a few and so many never seem to be too many. The make wonderful gifts too because they are pretty and useful (and you can make them last minute!). The only risk is that if you lend them to someone you’ll probably never see them back…

Here there are some more pics of foldaway gorgeousness:

 

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Untitled designHope you enjoyed project #3 of my stash busting project! I’d love to hear about your makes, I’m always looking for inspiration for future projects!

Have a lovely day!

Pilar

HANDMADE WARDROBE

Erin Maternity Skirt #2

Erin skirt nail varnish

Good morning everyone!

About 6 months late, but I am finally writing about my second Erin Maternity Skirt. It is quite unfair that it’s taken me so long to write about this skirt because it has been the best maternity outfit I’ve had, one of those rare (at least in my case) when pattern, fabric and function just come together like a dream.

There are several reasons why this skirt was my staple garment during my pregnancy. Since I don’t want to forget about any of its wonders, I am going to make a list:

  1. It is a super quick, super easy make. Thank you Megan Nielsen for such great pattern.
  2. I used silky jersey, which has an amazing stretch and recovery, adapting to my growing figure to the very end and keeping its shape at the same time.
  3. This jersey sews, washes and dries like a dream, qualities that are great when you don’t have many outfits.
  4. This material is super breathable, so not heat rushes apart from the 40 degrees outside..
  5. Cool, funky pattern. I just don’t do florals and takes me ages to find fabrics with other prints. It is actually kind of mad… it’s got nail varnish pots dripping!

    Fabric detail
    Maddest pattern I’ve ever worn!
  6. It is perfect for windy weather, it doesn’t fly away and stays where it should. This may seem like a weird reason, but where I live it’s very windy so it is definitely a plus for me.
  7. It made me feel like a cool, young mum. One of my maternity fears was to look like I didn’t take care of myself, wearing an outfit “just because I can still fit in this”. This skirt definitely made me feel great in it every single day I wore it, and therefore made me happy 🙂

I definitely recommend this skirt to anyone that is pregnant or that has a friend that is (what a wonderful present this makes!) and I will be making more should I be pregnant again. In fact, I’d like to make a non-maternity version of it for next summer.

Anyway, until here my Erin skirt love. I never thought I would say this but, I miss my maternity wardrobe!

Erin skirt front
The crazy print really slims the figure (just to the eye, I was mahoosive!)

Have a lovely day everybody!

Pilar

 

STASH BUSTING

Easiest patchwork baby play mat ever

 

Playmat
Make your own baby play mat (baby not included)

Hello everyone!

Continuing with my Stash Busting Challenge 2016, today I’m writing about one of my first sews after Mateo’s arrival: his baby play mat. Just the fact that I managed to make it when he was 2 months old puts to show how quick this make is.

But, what led me to make this blanket? Probably most of you will think “because she likes sewing”. Well, it wasn’t that obvious. As parents do, me and my husband started looking for some early age toys for our baby boy and we thought that a baby play mat would be a good start. When I thought of a baby play mat, it came to my mind images of softness, comfort, candied colours… you get the picture, right? But when we started looking around for mats, none met my expectations. For a start, the fabrics… all polyestery and cheap-looking, then the colours, the patterns, the sizes… they were all just wrong, a real fabric eyesore. I know babies are appealed to bright colours and that these encourage their senses, but those can be in other things, for example, their actual toys. I wanted a play mat where he could play and relax, and that felt soft and lovely on his skin. Amid all this search, then I remembered: I can sew!! And THAT’S when I realised that I could make Mateo the play mat he deserved (and that I wanted to see in my home too).

After all this introduction, I get into the nitty gritty…

You will need:

Several scraps of fabric

One large piece of fabric for the backing (depending on the size of your mat)

Wadding of your choice (depending on the size of your mat)

A piece of cotton tape or ribbon

Needle and thread

How to make it:

  1. Cut 25 squares of different fabrics measuring each 23×23 cm. I’d suggest you arrange them on the floor first so you can see how the final composition will look. In this case I picked a fabric that I’ve had in different positions in every row to give some unity to the final design.
  2. 20151027_182111Start sewing row by row until you’ve got 5 long bits of fabric (with 5 squares each)
  3. Sew the strips to one another.
  4. Right sides together, sew the sides leaving a gap of about the size of three of the squares. Turn inside out and press.
  5. Insert the wadding as if it was a duvet cover. If you intend to hang the mat from the wall whilst not in use (spot the one that lives in a small flat…) place the cotton tape making a loop. Then, sew the gap catching the loops with the machine.
  6. Finally, to avoid the wadding moving, stitch through all the layers at the corners of each square. This way, your wadding will always stay in place, even in the washing machine. Also it makes a lovely padded pattern.Play mat -back

Done!

Mat detail
I love my play mat 🙂

Since it is all cotton, it can be washed in the washing machine no problem. I love this play mat, we use it every day and Mateo loves it. I’ve used a rather thick wadding so it is comfy to lye on (for both baby and parents) and also keep him warm from the chilly floorboards. Also, since we live in a one bed and floor space is precious, we hang it on the wall and it looks beautiful, just like a piece of art! I am just so glad I “remembered” I could sew before we got any of those other play mats 🙂

I’d love to see your stash busting projects, I am always looking for inspiration so do leave a comment!

Hope you liked it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Have a lovely day!

Pilar

 

STASH BUSTING

Lavender-scented rice heat bag

Hot pouch

Hello everybody!

So here there is my first project for the Stash Busting Challenge 2016: a reusable rice heat bag.

This was one of the Christmas presents I made for my mum this year. She had been complaining about some muscle ache for a while and despite my suggestions of using a hot water bottle to relieve tensions, she never quite tried it. So I decided to make her something along those lines hoping she would use it because I had made it for her. I’m glad to say I was right, and she is loving it now, yay!

This project is very simple, and it is perfect for any left over bits of fabrics. In this case, I used a fat quarter that I had bought a while back and that was sitting doing nothing on my stash. For the inside, I used a thin cotton just to give it a bit more support and make it a bit more stable.

For this project I used:

1 fat quarter of quilting cotton (outside fabric)

Lightweight plain cotton (lining fabric)

Thread matching outer fabric

Lavender essential oil (or any of your choice) optional

1/2kg of rice

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How to make it:

  1.  Put the rice and a few drops of essential oil in a plastic bag and leave it to absorbe the essence. The longer the better, but even if you leave it for just a couple of hours it will be lovely and fragrant.
  2. Cut the lightweight cotton (lining) to the same size as your main fabric, in this case a fat quarter.
  3. Fold both fabrics in half right sides together and sew around the two long sides and one of the shorter sides, leaving one side open.
  4. Turn it inside out, you should have like a long narrow bag. Now we’ll start filling it.
  5. Fill the bag with a third of the scented rice. Then sew across the bag to create a compartment. Repeat this step until you’ve used all the rice.
  6. Sew close the open side.

Done! It’s ready to use!

In this case I’ve opted for a rectangular shape just so it can be used across the shoulders and/or the lower back. Since it is scented, it can be used in bed before going to sleep and warm up your bed as well as relaxing your mind. Uuuummm… how lovely 🙂 Also, I’ve only used 1/2 kg of rice because I wanted it quite flat, but you can fill it as much as you like, always leaving some room for movement though, as otherwise may not adapt to the body.

You can heat it to your own preference, I like putting it in the microwaves for a couple of minutes, but that may be too hot if you intend to put it directly on your skin. Oh, and you can also put it in the freezer and use it cold!

The best thing about this project is that it is so simple and versatile, you can make any shape or size you want, and if you use beautiful fabrics (which I’m sure you would) I think they make a beautiful gift. (I think I’m totally going to gift myself one of those… )

Have a lovely week and thanks for reading!

Pilar

STASH BUSTING

Stash busting challenge 2016

2016

Hello everyone!

Last post inspired me to take action on something that has been troubling me more and more lately, my fabric stash. Let’s be honest, us sewers have an incredible ability to justify keep buying metres upon metres of fabric because we are “definitely going to use it for this or that project” and then it just gets put away in a drawer and never sewn into anything. If you followed the #sewphotohop by houseofpinheiro, then you will have also realised the amount of gorgeous and unused fabrics that lay around all sewers shelves, cupboards, drawers, or even worse, just piled on the floor. It makes me so sad to see all those wonderful fabrics so unloved. This is because I’ve come up with the Stash Busting Challenge 2016.

So, if you feel you could swap the name Alice with yours…

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… then this challenge is for you!

What I propose is to turn our stashes into beautiful items and fall in love with the fabrics we already own again. So over the next 12 months I will be posting simple projects using my fabric stash. This initiative will hopefully help us to make the most of what we already own, be more creative with what we’ve got, reduce our ever-growing fabric stashes and also reduce waste (yes, it’s hard to hear but hoards of fabric is just pure waste).

You can share your projects on Instagram with the hashtag #stashbusting2016 and if you’d like me to post one of your stash-busting tutorials, do get in touch!

Hope you join the challenge, it promises to be very exciting and full of creative inspiration. And please share with your fellow sewing friends!

See you there!

Pilar

LIFE EDITING

About a New Year, friendship and some goals for 2016

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Happy times in Barcelona with my dearest friend Lidia 8 years ago, and still going

Hello everybody!

A few days late but… Happy New Year! Hope you’ve all entered the year well and merry 🙂

I don’t know what it is about the New Year, but everyone seems to be happier, maybe it is the clean-slate feeling that inundates each and every one of us around these dates. Making the most of this momentum of renewed energy, I want to publicly set my goals for this year. So, in 2016 I’d like to achieve the following:

  1. First and most importantly, keep taking care of my baby boy and make him as happy as I possibly can.
  2. Be better at keeping in touch with my friends in other cities/countries.
  3. Go handmade for as many things as I can (wardrobe, gifts, housewares…)
  4. Carry out a stash busting before I buy any more fabric (does this sound like a challenge to you too?)
  5. Learn pattern drafting
  6. Create my first sewing pattern (and launching it?)

In order to succeed in these (especially in the sewing related), I’ve joined efforts with one of my best friends, Lidia. She also has a creative project that she wants to take forward over this year, and since we live in different cities, we thought it would be a nice way to be in touch more frequently and also cheer each other up in our respective projects. She creates beautiful illustrations that encourage your little ones to learn and develop their imagination. You can check out her work here.  Just the prospect of doing this over 2016 excites me much more than if it was just me. It just feels like a great combo.

Have you ever joined efforts with your friends in order to achieve something? How did it go? I’d love to here your stories!

That’s all for today folks, but I’ll be back soon with a something something that this post has inspired me to do. Have a lovely afternoon and if you are in Spain… Happy Reyes!!

Thanks for reading!

Pilar

 

LIFE EDITING

10 things no one told me about motherhood

10 thingsno one told me about motherhood
Hello everyone!
Today my baby boy is 4 months old and to celebrate, I thought it’d be nice to share with you some of the learnings I’ve gathered as a new mum over this time. Here we go!
  1.  Trust your baby, he knows exactly what he needs. You’ll probably find that most people have an opinion or advice ready to give you, but no one knows better than your own baby what he needs in each moment. Just make sure you learn to read his signs, that’s all you need to listen to.
  2. You will be the best mum for your baby, so don’t worry if your experience does not match with other people’s. Listen to you heart and instinct and do what feels right for you and your little bundle of love. The mummy and baby tandem is a very special one, and probably unique to each of us.
  3. Lower your expectations about what you will and won’t be able to do once the baby is here, otherwise you’ll end up frustrated with yourself. If there is anything that you absolutely want to do, make sure you do it before the D-Day. Having said that, there is one thing that you’ll absolutely need to do for your self’s sake: find the time to have a nice longish shower every day, your baby needs a happy, healthy (good-smelling) mamma.
  4. You will be pretty much back into your pre-pregnancy body in about 4 weeks. I was gladly surprised to see how quickly my belly went down and I could wear “normal” clothes again.  Also, breastfeeding speeds up this process since each time your baby feeds you produce the hormone in charge of reducing your uterus to its pre-pregnancy size, so it is definitely a win-win situation for both you and your baby.
  5. Breastfeeding is the least straight forward human instinct. I used to think that it couldn’t be that difficult since humans have been doing it for thousands of years…. well, I was wrong. It is more of a learnt process rather than an instinct. In the past, an especially before formula came into the picture, breastfeeding was the norm and most women were familiar with it through observing others. But now we don’t get the chance to see other mums and learn from them, which leaves us, new mums, completely lacking a rather important skill when the baby finally arrives.
  6. Don’t asume that any mum that has breastfed knows everything about it. If you ask a 1000 mums about their breastfeeding experience, you’ll get a 1000 different stories, and unluckily many of them rather traumatic. I feel sad that so many mums did not enjoy this part of their lives (probably due to lack of information and advice) but it doesn’t have to be like that for you. I stuck with it and it was the best decision I could have ever made. For me, it is the ultimate mummy-and-baby bonding time.
  7. You are allowed not to have visitors at the hospital. Actually, I did know this before I had Mateo and I am extremely thankful to the person who told me about it. Don’t get me wrong, I was dying to show my friends and family our little beautiful baby, but we just felt we needed time on our own, me, my husband and the baby, getting used to each other, resting together, looking at him for hours, learning to take care of him. Some people may not understand it, but the people that really care for you definitely will.
  8. Weight is not the only indicator of your baby’s health. There seems to be a kind of unwritten fact: your baby is only as good and healthy as his weight. Well, that is not the case. There are so many other indicators that your baby is healthy and happy apart from the scales. Trust your instincts, if your baby looks healthy, he probably is, even if he is on the lower half of the average weight charts.
  9. When your baby cries it will be like if someone tore your heart apart. The only reason for that is just pure mummy love, and you just can’t help it.
  10. As hard as it can be at first, don’t wish the days away. I’ll be honest, I found the first few weeks of motherhood quite hard, probably because I had the wrong expectations and breastfeeding was way harder and demanding than I could have ever imagined, but I tried to tell myself: “This will pass and won’t come back, so enjoy every moment of it”. Of course, this is easier to see hindsight but I always try to remember it when I’m feeling a bit tired.

Bonus:

11. You will love your baby a 1000 times more than you could ever imagine!

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Thanks for reading!

Pilar

IN THE KITCHEN

Banana and Walnut Tea Loaf

nutty loaf

Hello everyone!

After three months of total baby dedication, I finally found 20 minutes to prepare a cake for my birthday/Christmas crafternoon, yay! And… if I managed to bake it whilst taking care of a baby, it means that is is mega easy and pretty impossible for it to go wrong. So… here we go with the recipe:

You will need:

100gr. of butter, softened

140gr. of muscovado sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

100gr. of walnuts, chopped

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 tbsp milk

225gr self-raising flour

How to bake it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180/Gas 4/fan 160. Butter and line a 1kg loaf tin. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs. Set aside 25gr. of walnuts, then fold the rest into the creamed mixture with the bananas and milk. Fold in the flour. Spoon into the tin and sprinkle over the reserved walnuts.
  2. Bake for 55-60 minutes until risen. Stand for 10 minutes, then turn out, remove the lining paper and cool.
  3. Enjoy with friends and a cup of tea (or champagne!)

That’s it! As you can see, it is super easy and it was very successful amongst my friends and family so I will be making it again soon. The recipe says it serves 12, but it just depends how much you and your guests like cake 🙂

I got the recipe from my baking go-to book, the 101 Cakes and Bakes, by the BBC Good Food books. All the recipes in that book are amazing and fool-proof.

Do let me know if you give it a go!

Thanks for reading!

Pilar