Monday, November 25, 2013

weekly wishes #10

as much as id really like to have an exciting upbeat inspirational weekly wishes post for you guys, unfortunately i dont. because as of right now i feel like this:



which is to say, really, REALLY tired and overwhelmed and stressed and burnt out and im pretty sure im sick but i have to just ignore it because i have too much to take care of and no time to rest. 

but most of all, im discouraged.

im discouraged because after an entire year of ruthlessly slashing our budget of all unnecessary expenses and doing without the kinds of things that even the most budget-savvy mom bloggers take for granted (im not kidding, this was the last time we went out for coffee, the last time i went thrifting for no reason was about a year ago, we havent hit up the target clearance rack since last september) we have only gotten poorer

im discouraged because i finally had to admit that were not making ends meet with our current arrangement and take an extra shift at work. as little as that sounds that one shift has taken a huge physical, emotional, and mental toll on me and to be completely honest the extra money barely puts a dent in our bills. 

im discouraged because im not even excited about thanksgiving because this week i have to work at least three (but more likely four) days this week, including closing on black friday.

im discouraged because i hardly get any time at home anymore and when i have some, i feel like crap and i cant keep the house clean or be patient with alice and i feel like everythings falling apart. 

im discouraged because if im going to make it through this coming week, something  has to go for a while and unfortunately, it has to be this. 

so, im more or less unplugging for the week, with the exception of a little bit of sponsor related work i need to do. i really dont want to do this, working on this blog is something really important to me, and something that i really love doing, but i just cant keep this many plates in the air for much longer without collapsing.

so ill see you next week, and hopefully this little break means that next week ill be in better shape and have something more fun to share. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

weekend update #9

hey everyone! hope youre all having a fantastic weekend! 

were crazy busy these days, and working late every friday night is definitely starting to take its toll on our weekend festivities (seriously, i dont think theres ever been a time in my life that ive been more excited about mondays, and i was a pretty big fan of mondays to begin with), but despite all the chaos and messiness and general busy-ness of this week, i still managed to finish this:



my very first downloadable crochet pattern! i am so, SO excited to be sharing this pattern with the world, because it is one of my favorite projects probably ever. it only uses about 100 yards of worsted weight yarn (and you have tons of that, right?), looks awesome in every color, AND works up super fast in just 14 rounds. this hat is pretty much the perfect handmade gift, if i do say so myself. 

and for just $5, you can make as many as your little heart desires, check it out here

ill see you monday for weekly wishes!

Friday, November 22, 2013

pumpkin spice merengue cookie recipe.

note: this recipe was originally posted on xoxo rebecca, but i thought id share it with you guys just in case anyone missed it.

hello everyone, hope youre having a great week! today im going to show you how to make merengue cookies. 

but first, a little background: in the meyers house, we eat a lot of hollandaise sauce. its probably my favorite thing ever and who doesnt love a dinner that involves an entire stick of butter? but the problem with hollandaise sauce is it requires three egg yolks, leaving you with three egg whites to try and not let go to waste. 

merengue cookies are FANTASTIC. why? because not only do they conveniently use up three otherwise wasted egg whites and some other ingredients im sure you already have in your pantry, theyre also gluten free and pretty healthy as far as cookies are concerned. also, theyre delicious. also also, its super easy to customize the flavor to your liking. 

since fall baking season is in full swing, i thought id give the basic merengue recipe a holiday spin by making these pumpkin spice merengue cookies:                                             



pumpkin spice merengue cookies:

ingredients:
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

start by preheating your oven to 300 degrees and lining a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper (this is VERY important because the merengue is VERY sticky). next beat the egg whites  until theyre foamy (note: this is a VERY helpful time to own a kitchenaid), add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. now turn your mixer to its highest setting and add the sugar VERY SLOWLY (a tablespoon or two at a time), and beat until stiff peaks form. lastly beat in the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice (or whatever flavorings you prefer, just remember to keep it light because the merengues dont have much flavor of their own and whatever you add will be REALLY strong). youll know youre done when the merengue is stiff and white and glossy. next carefully spoon your finished merengue into a gallon bag with the corner clipped off (or a pastry bag with a large round tip if youre fancy), and pipe small (less than two inch) dots of merengue onto your lined baking sheet. bake for approximately two hours until the outsides start to crack, and let them cool completely before removing them from the cookie sheet (trust me, they wont come off).

and thats it! hope you like it! also, please, PLEASE let me know if you try out any exciting new flavors in your merengues!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

that time i spent $8 at h&m.

hey everyone! today im linking up with penniless socialite for the look what i got link up!

you may have noticed that i dont really talk about clothes shopping much on the blog. and theres a couple reasons for that, 1. we have zero disposable income and clothes shopping is generally a birthday-and-christmas type of thing, and 2. the past few years have been pretty unstable for me both lifestyle-wise and size-wise, so my wardrobe is a complete disaster and ive been trying my hardest to avoid dealing with it. 

but its really gotten to the point where i can not continue to ignore that 75% of my clothes either dont fit me or dont match each other or both. so for my birthday james gave me some spending money specifically for new clothes and i spent it on dresses, skirts, and shorts. which was great because i really needed those things and everything i got was super practical and versatile, except... now i dont have any shirts to go with them. 

thankfully my super sweet grandma selma gave me BOTH a super cute top AND a $25 h&m gift card for my birthday. so id been waiting and waiting for a good sale/coupon so that i could maximize the amount of tops i could get with my giftcard (rule #1 of being poor: ALWAYS work giftcards to the bone. always.) and finally a wrapp offer for a free $10 gift card came up and now i had $35 dollars to spend on new tops. problem solved, right?

well, ive noticed lately that i kind of hate shopping for shirts. i dont know why exactly but if and when i have money for clothes i ALWAYS gravitate towards skirts, dresses, and sweaters, which has only made the i-dont-have-any-shirts-that-fit-anymore problem even worse. so i asked my friend shannon to come with me and FORCE me to spend ALL THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS on shirts. 

and she did, it took a bit of tough love on her part to keep me on track (and not buying dresses), but i was able to leave the store with three tops, one for fall/winter (which here is basically december through february):


and two for spring/summer (which is basically the entire rest of the year):




PLUS two bras (which was technically against the rules but clearance lingerie was an extra 50% off and i did really need them), for about $7.50 after my giftcards. 

so now im feeling really good about my current wardrobe options, which is totally great, but now i guess i dont really have an excuse to not ruthelessly rid my closet of everything that doesnt fit....



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

gluten free mac and cheese recipe.

so a few months ago i wrote this post about finally getting to make a decent gluten free mac and cheese, and since its now become a staple meal in our rotation ive figured out a few little tweaks to make the gluten free version as delicious as possible. also i found these at the 99 cent store:


so now i can make it with a bread crumb topping:



but seriously, i am SO excited to share this recipe with you, because being gluten free is terrible, but this macaroni and cheese will make you forget about that. at least, until its gone and you think about how nice it would be to have a sandwich...

anyway, heres the gluten free version of my worlds best mac and cheese recipe (which btw, is probably my most popular recipe on pinterest)

mac and cheese
ingredients:
1/2 pound of gluten free noodles in the shape of your choice (im a big fan of brown rice noodles because theyre cheapest and im allergic to corn)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour (NOT white rice flour, you can get it here for a pretty decent price)
1 cup milk
approx. 2 cups shredded cheese, cheddar or jack work best (this is totally a guess, i never measure how much cheese i use and its really up to your preference)
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
gluten free seasoned breadcrumbs (optional, i used ians gluten free panko, you can get them here)
truffle oil (entirely optional)

start by preparing your noodles according to the package directions, drain and put them in a large casserole dish (note: watch your noodles VERY closely and drain them while theyre still a bit firm, gluten free noodles get mushy FAST). next, melt the butter in a small pot over medium/high heat, once its melted add the rice flour and stir until a smooth paste is formed, this will only take a minute or so as the rice flour is VERY absorbent. now slowly whisk in the milk, and stir in some salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to your preference (i like a pinch of salt, and kind of a lot of pepper and garlic, but thats just me). keep stirring the sauce until it thickens and starts to boil (again, watch it carefully as the rice flour thickens the sauce much faster than wheat flour), then remove from heat and stir in your shredded cheese until it stops melting and what you have looks like nacho cheese (actually, if you take this sauce and add some salsa it makes a GREAT healthy nacho dip). 
now that your sauce is done, pour it over the noodles and mix until everythings evenly coated. next, lightly sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the saucy noodles in the casserole dish, and top the breadcrumbs with a thin layer of shredded cheese, and add a drizzle of truffle oil if youre feeling fancy. bake at 350 until the cheese on top browns. 

and thats it! this is one of very, very few recipes that leaves me actually feeling full and satisfied for more than half an hour, i hope you like it as much as we do!

Monday, November 18, 2013

weekly wishes #9

happy monday everyone! i hope you all had a great weekend, ours was crazy busy, but the fun kind of busy. saturday we watched my sisters very exciting volleyball game:


which was, despite the fact that i dont even know the rules of volleyball, SO exciting that i didnt even get a chance to fine-tune my camera settings for indoor sports (p.s. my sisters team won). then sunday was booked solid with church, potluck (thanksgiving themed, meaning that i could eat almost everything that people brought, it was AWESOME), naps, and a VERY productive trip to h&m (ill post more about that one later this week). 

and now its monday again so that means time for weekly wishes!

so lets start with last weeks wishes:

1. spend some quality time with this book and making some solid plans for the upcoming year:

i sort of did this one, just, not as much as i would have liked. i still need to work on the big goals portion of the beginning of the book, but i have at least started getting into the habit of making a weekly work plan. 


2. re-do my sponsor options. done and DONE! you can read more about my new sponsorship program (and if you read closely theres a code for half off ads, just saying) here.  ive already had SUCH a huge response to the free small ads, so im really excited to see where this new sponsorship program goes!

3. take alice to the park. yep! twice actually! 

4. fix the horribly botched crochet pattern that confused the heck out of my dear friend that was testing it. it took all the way till saturday morning, but its finished, so hopefully i can have the pattern up in the shop later this week!

5. be consistent with both scheduling tweets and not eating junk food all the time. i feel like i did MUCH better with both of these than i had been lately, though theres always room for improvement. 

in addition to making MAJOR progress in getting last weeks wishes done, ive also FINALLY gotten back into my normal chores/errands/outings routine and alice is mostly sleeping/napping on her regular schedule, so im really excited for next weeks wishes:

1. update my etsy shop profile/shop announcement/etc. just like my blog sponsorships, i kind of jumped back into selling on etsy without really putting the finishing touches on my shop, so id like to get that done this week. 

2. finish and publish this crochet hat pattern. now that ive finished testing/editing, all i need to do is make the pdf and list it in the shop! im so excited to get my first crochet pattern up!

3. design our christmas cards. normally i cant even begin to think about christmas anything until after thanksgiving, but EVERY YEAR it gets us into trouble when it comes to christmas cards, so i want to get a head start (plus i may have found a fantastic deal on photo cards so hopefully that will work out and theyll be cheap too!)

4. start our christmas gift list. this relates to the previous wish, since i am SO not in christmas mode yet. i managed to get alices gifts taken care of a while ago, and james and i agreed to forgo gifts for each other in favor of renewing our disneyland passes, so on one hand i feel pretty accomplished as far as were concerned, but on the other hand, ive still got a HUGE list of people left to get gifts for, and no money, so im going to need to start early and be really creative. 

those are my wishes for the week, what are yours?

The Nectar Collective




Saturday, November 16, 2013

weekend update #7


so, i was really hoping to have a new crochet pattern up in the shop for you guys today, but unfortunately that pattern was a much bigger mess than i had originally thought. as of right now, im really close to fixing it, so maybe i can have it up next week. 

and while this little stumbling block has left me without a proper shop update this week, i DO have a very exciting blog update today!

see, i actually made good on my weekly wish to update my sponsorship options, and im REALLY excited that 1. i actually did it when i said i was going to do it and 2. i think ive really, really improved what i have to offer. 

so heres whats new:

1. ive changed my large feature ad (the bestie) to an in-post ad. this means that for the low, low price of eight dollars (thats what, two lattes?), you can have a 700 x 100 pixel banner proudly displayed at the bottom of EVERY POST for the entire month. i post 5 days a week most weeks so this is a LOT of exposure. but wait, theres more! youll also get a solo sponsor spotlight post, optional guest post/product feature AND social media love!

2. large ad now includes a spot in a monthly group sponsor highlight post. this means that in addition to a 250 x 250 pixel banner on my sidebar for the month, you also get to take part in a super fun (and currently super secret) group sponsor highlight post! i thought this would be way more fun than just an introduction at the bottom of a (and completely unrelated) post, dont you? AND you still get plenty of social media love, not a bad deal for $5, right? but snag one while you can, because theres only five available each month!

3. small ads are now COMPLETELY FREE. yes, you read this correctly. for absolutely nothing, you can get a 250 x 100 pixel banner on my sidebar AND social media shout outs for an entire month. but youll have to act quick! there are only ten spots available each month, and theyre already selling like hotcakes!

now if you arent excited about this yet, you should be in just a second, because to celebrate the launch of my new, better, MUCH more well thought out sponsor program i am offering 50% off for the first five wonderful people to use the promo code NEWFRIENDS.

so what are you waiting for, check out my passionfruit shop here:


Friday, November 15, 2013

the completely normal persons guide to coupons.


im going to take a wild guess here and say that you probably dont use coupons. because its too time consuming. too complicated. to inconvenient. the money you save wont pay for the newspapers/printer ink youre using. there arent coupons for the things you use most. it tricks you into buying things you dont need, making you spend more money than you would have without them. 

and for the most part, youre entirely right. yes, you read that correctly. couponing, at least in the way that most people think of it, IS time complicated AND time consuming AND inconvenient AND expensive (you know there are people who buy coupons from other people? im not kidding, just search #couponsofinstagram). and it doesnt work for most people. 

it certainly didnt work for me. 

see, for the past year or so (mainly due to continually decreasing incomes for both of us) ive worked my butt off trying to trim off any and all unnecessary expenses so that we can at least occasionally enjoy the finer things in life like disneyland and fancy dinners. naturally i started with groceries, because, like most moms, i was sure we were spending way to much in that department. 

and what was the first thing i did? i subscribed to the la times and read some blogs and joined couponmom.com and figured that if i learned how to use coupons it would fix all of our grocery budget problems and life would be so much easier. and boy was i wrong. for the first couple months, our grocery/target spending actually went UP, by a lot. 

it was really disappointing. but over the course of the next few months i slowly figured out what works for us, and these days id say were probably spending about half of what we were spending on groceries/household consumables at this time last year. and thats saying something because im on a MUCH more restricted diet now than i was then. 

and honestly coupons are a very small part of that equation. one day ill write a more detailed post about all the ways ive been able to trim down our grocery spending, but since a lot of people have asked me how i make coupons work for me, i thought id share a few (completely normal) tips on how to make coupons work for you:

1. forget everything youve seen on tlc or read on a couponing site. everybody claims to have a proven method to couponing, and if you do exactly what they do than youll save money too. but it wont work. why? first of the majority of these people treat couponing like a full time job. spending 40 + hours a week just planning their grocery trips. second, these people are not you. they do not have your lifestyle, your kids, your pets, your dietary preferences/restrictions, your job, your hobbies or live in your town (just an fyi, prices and promotions vary GREATLY geographically,  for example, NOWHERE in southern california doubles coupons). and what works for them PROBABLY wont work for you. you have, have, HAVE to figure it out on your own terms, in your own life. 

2. it takes patience. if you think youre going to start seeing massive results right away, i hate to break it to you, but stores have these super secret "price cycles" throughout the year so that any given item is only at its cheapest every three or four months, and unless youre somehow able to get the inside scoop, its going to take a while to figure it out (heck, i still dont completely understand it). 

3. its all about stacking. just using manufacturers coupons, or just buying whats on sale or just a store coupon is probably not going to make a very exciting difference in your overall spending. you need to learn the stores coupon policy and "stack" as many discounts as possible onto each item. for example, i LOVE method laundry soap, but its pretty expensive, so what do i do? i wait till its on sale at target (where its already the cheapest), and then ALSO use a manufacturers coupon, PLUS a store coupon if one is available (target has fantastic printable coupons), AND a cartwheel discount, AND THEN pay with my redcard to get an extra 5% off. and when you can get a $17 bottle of laundry soap for $11 (real thing that actually happened), well, thats pretty dang exciting. 

4. your best coupon deals are probably not going to be on food. you may have noticed that my example for awesome coupon stacking was for laundry soap and not say, cereal. and theres a couple reasons for this, one, food products generally have a pretty low retail markup and grocery stores operate on a very low profit margin, so food products generally dont get discounted as much as non-food products. two, manufacturers coupons are, like the name implies, only for manufactured products, so for folks like us that dont eat much processed food, there arent a whole lot of food coupons that are all that useful. 

5. heck, your best coupon deals may not even be on groceries. there are so, SO many other places that put out coupons that you probably never even thought of, restaurants (restaurant.com is a great place to get deals on eating out), fast food places, clothing stores, hardware stores, and when youre shopping online, a two-second google search will result in a discount nine times out of ten. so if you keep an open mind about coupons, youd be surprised at how useful they can be outside of the grocery store. 

6. if you werent already going to buy an item at full price, then buying it with a coupon is actually costing you money. seriously. coupons are actually designed to trick you into spending more money while thinking youre spending less. heres a really extreme example: last christmas my mother in law came to visit and was SO excited and COULD NOT stop talking about how at thanksgiving she really needed new work pants and her favorite store was having a giant sale and she had a coupon for an extra 30% off and if she used her store credit card she got a $20 giftcard for every $50 she spent so she was able to get about $2000 of clothes for $400, PLUS got $80 in giftcards and she saved SO MUCH MONEY. and on the surface this is a really exciting story. except if you were paying attention to the very beginning of the story you would know that she originally went to the store for work pants and thats it. so really she should have walked out of the store for like $100 (or less, given the coupon and giftcard promotion), but instead spent FOUR TIMES as much on clothes she probably wont even wear (since she was only there for pants and all the rest was impulse shopping) because of the perceived savings. so my number one golden rule of coupons is that if i dont need something badly enough to buy it at full price, then im not going to buy it at all, no matter how cheap it is (the only exception to this rule is when things are completely free and im at that store anyway). 

so long story short, you can use coupons productively without crazy extreme couponing antics, IF you take the time to carefully stack deals on the items that you already buy. but if youre looking for a magic bullet to "cut your grocery bill in half" (like the coupon mom method claims to do), then coupons are probably going to leave you disappointed.  

stay tuned for tomorrow when i update you about my new sponsorship options!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

that friday blog hop.

hello everyone! today i am honored to have the opportunity to co-host that friday blog hop with rebecca of xoxo rebecca! i have been so glad to have rebecca as a blogging mentor of sorts this month and am SO excited to have the opportunity to co-hose this week!

so please, take a minute to join the blog hop and meet some new blog friends!

This blog hop is meant for anyone and everyone to join in and find other great blogs to read. 
You are welcome to link up anything from your blog, any & all social media {and everything in-between}

Please follow each host via ♥Bloglovin' by clicking on the buttons below

          

Also, take a moment to check out this week's co-host as well.

That Friday Blog Hop

Grab the button if you would like and tweet about the blog hop.
If you are interested in being a co-host for an upcoming week, please let one of us know.

Our co-host this week is Victoria from Poverty Luxe.
Stop by her blog and say hello.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

a very special giveaway with s & s ink!

hello everyone! i have two very exciting announcements for you guys today! first off, to kick off this weeks weekly wishes, ive changed up my sponsorship options, check em out here.

but more importantly, id like to introduce you to my newest sponsor, s & s ink. s & s ink is an etsy shop run by two of my very close friends, shannon and stacie, who have built an insanely clever line of hand-silkscreened shirts, bags and scarves featuring all your favorite sci-fi and fantasy and all around geeky goodness. 

heres an example:


thats pretty awesome, right? i mean, id wear this shirt practically every day. but wait, it gets WAY better, because their best shirts are their brilliant combinations of multiple fandoms, like this:


and this one:




when i asked shannon and stacie to "tell me a little more about the line" so i could write a little introduction, they sent me this write up, that you just have to read in its pure, unadulterated form to get a grasp at just how awesome these ladies are:

Since we didn't get our acceptance letters to Hogwarts, we had a crazy idea. "Let's learn to silk screen." It was an easy trip to Michaels to get the bottom-of-the-line kit. 

It was easy. Too easy. Like as easy as losing a Hobbit in a field of tall grass. We had a few items up, but S&S ink just wasn't anything special (yet). 

Then a stroke of genius struck as sure as Luke's Proton torpedo into the heart of the Death Star. We called it Sci-Fi Collide and it sold faster than Han Solo's record breaking Kessel run in the Millennium Falcon.

In one night we had over 2,000 posts, likes, and reposts for our Sci-Fi Collide print. Now, the orders multiply like Tribbles in the Star Trek Space Station. 

S&S ink has taken us many places, like Italy, Mt Doom, District 12, Mount Whitney, 

and 
Tatooine.

We are excited to be making t-shirts, scarves and totes that capture the nerdy-ness we have grown up with and loved our whole lives. We will be here for a while with more to come.
ok, so youre totally in love, right? well get this, because shannon and stacie are just about the nicest people on earth, theyve offered to give one lucky reader a $16 dollar shop credit! how rad is that? and to make the deal even sweeter, im throwing in THREE months of large ad space on poverty luxe to celebrate finally updating my sponsor program. but obviously thats nowhere near as awesome as a shop credit to s & s ink. 

so what are you waiting for, enter to win here: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway




winner will be chosen at random in two weeks and notified by email within 48 hours. good luck!

oh! and if you just CANT wait to see if youve won, s & s ink is offering a whopping TWENTY PERCENT OFF anything in the shop with code: BLOGLUXE

Monday, November 11, 2013

weekly wishes #8

once again i almost skipped out on weekly wishes. ive had yet another really tough, really difficult, really discouraging week. 

i was already having a hard time keeping all the household business together, and then on top of school week (which means spending 5 hours a day in the car dropping james off in whittier at 6 am and picking him up at 3) i started my new friday night closing shift at joanns. immediately after school week. because im a genius like that. 

so to say im burnt out would be an understatement. and on top of that i totally blew last weeks wish of not having a massive school week related meltdown by spending the entire week having emotional meltdowns and stress-eating. also alice is having a mega growth spurt and only sort of potty training. 

lately ive been really missing the days just a couple months ago when i had my chore and errand rotation down to a science and was super productive and took alice to the beach twice a week and STILL had time to play video games. try as i might i just can not seem to get back into that routine, even simple little things like not completely running out of diapers at 10 pm have proven to be too much of a challenge, and it is really frustrating. 

 but its a new week. i gave myself the entire three day weekend off from everything and james and i worked very hard on catching up on chores and maybe things are starting to shape up a bit. i mean, i FINALLY finished alices thank you notes:


(p.s. i made the image with the a beautiful mess app, printed them through shutterfly, and made  the envelopes from an old thomas guide, tutorial here)

and finishing that seemingly endless project, even if it was a few weeks later than i would have liked, really motivated me to actually do weekly wishes this week. i have a few more than normal but thats because this week is all about trying to stay motivated. so here they are:

1. spend some quality time with this book and making some solid plans for the upcoming year:

Click here to view more details

obviously if i ever want to quit my job at joanns, poverty luxe needs to start operating more like a business, which is going to require a heck of a lot more productivity and planning than ive got going on right now. which is perfect because both those words are right there in the title. (also so far the workbook portion is really fun and stay tuned for a more thorough review later).

2. re-do my sponsor options. i totally jumped into offering sponsorships unprepared when i won my free year of passionfruit, and now that ive gotten some time to figure out what i can and cant offer, i think i can make some productive changes in this department. 

3. take alice to the park. i dont even remember the last time we went to the park, which obviously means im a horrible mother. 

4. fix the horribly botched crochet pattern that confused the heck out of my dear friend that was testing it. i feel like that ones pretty self-explanitory. 

5. be consistent with both scheduling tweets and not eating junk food all the time. i realize those two things are completely unrelated but what they have in common is that theyre both things that i alternate between doing really well and completely ignoring. 

so heres to hoping for a better week this time around, what have you got planned for this week?

The Nectar Collective


Friday, November 8, 2013

my favorite sewing book.


last weekend i went to the baby shower of my childhood friends. even though i am not a big fan of baby showers (or any all-women social gathering, really), i was REALLY excited because for the first time since i was pregnant with alice, i got to make something from my favorite book! and not just any something, the very best ever baby swaddler that was an absolute lifesaver when alice was a newborn. 

and while i was making it i was reminded how absolutely wonderful this book is and just HAD to take a minute to tell you guys about how much i love it. you see, when i was pregnant with alice i spent a LOT of time in bookstores looking for sewing projects that were: 1. practical, i wasnt going to waste my time making anything that i wasnt going to actually use on a daily basis, 2. plain, i hate hate HATE foofy ruffly tacky "baby" looking things, and wanted projects that reflect my personal style, 3. unisex, because i didnt know alices gender before she was born, and 4. affordable, we didnt have any money for elaborate sewing projects, and i had TONS of super cute vintage fabrics, so i needed projects that didnt require tons of supplies. 

obviously this set the bar really high, but this one book fit all four of my (generally socially unacceptable) criteria for baby projects. 

the book is called simple sewing for baby by lotta jansdotter. you can find it on amazon here, or barnes & noble here for about $18 (i got mine at joanns with a coupon and it came out to around $13, but i dont know if they sill carry it) and it is worth every penny

why? well first off lotta jansdotter is from sweden, and you know how the swedish are the best at designing everything? well every single project in this book is super simple, streamlined construction, perfect for showing off awesome fabric prints. shes also a mom in real life, so every project works up super quick (most take less than 2 hours start-to-finish) AND is actually practical for real life babies. with real life moms who dont want to walk around with teddy bears and ruffles on everything. 

one of the best things about this book is that the projects cover a lot of different baby-type needs (clothes, toys, bedding, and travel accessories), so with just this one book, you can basically furnish an entire nursery. 

i mean, i did. ive made almost every project in it, and they are all fantastic. the bloomers, nursing pillow (saved TONS of money by not having to buy a boppy), crib bumper, changing pad, and of course, the swaddlers. my only complaint is that some of the project instructions are a little vague, so i wouldnt recommend the book to a complete sewing novice, and she doesnt include very detailed sizing information for the clothing projects, but those are really small flaws when you consider how great the projects are. 

so if you or anyone you know are about to have (or just had, most of these projects can easily be completed in a naptime, and this is coming from a mom with a terrible napper) a new baby and only want to by one sewing book, i would HIGHLY suggest this one. 

because really, its the only baby sewing book ive ever bought, and ive used it TONS in the past two and a half years. 

p.s. i did not receive any compensation for this post, i just wanted to talk about how much i like it, however, the shopping links are affiliate-linked and i do receive a portion of all purchases made through them.