September 28, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
Happy Monday, friends! I hope you had a great weekend. I spent some time over the last few days continuing to think about and plan for holiday season content. I feel like I’m constantly saying “there’s so much happening behind the scenes” or some variation thereof, but I am truly working really hard to double down right now so that I can try to take a couple of weeks off and then have a lighter workload for a little bit after the baby comes, without skimping on the usual holiday fanfare. At the same time, I have really big aspirations for what I’d like to bring to you over the holidays, so there’s a bit of a balancing act going on. All of that said, I thought maybe a quick holiday survey was in order! The survey is just 10 questions (you can take it right now) and to show my appreciation, one lucky recipient will be chosen at random to win a $50 J.Crew gift card. No strings attached! Just give me a little insight so I can best plan for the holiday season and you’re entered to win. Click here to get started!
[Photo from our DIY Sugarplum Garland tutorial | Photo by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
The fine print: You will need to provide a valid email address in order to be eligible to win the gift card drawing. Your email address will be used for no other purpose and will remain private. If the winner has not responded within 2 business days, an alternate winner will be selected.
September 25, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
Now that it’s officially fall, I am quickly getting into the spirit of the season. Do you live in a climate with changing seasons? While our winters here are incredibly long and brutal, I find the change of seasons seriously energizing and I can’t imagine living somewhere without distinct changes in weather. Fall to me is the season of nesting and it always kicks my urge to cook, bake and craft into overdrive. With that in mind, today I’ve rounded up five fun fall DIY ideas and recipes to help jumpstart the first weekend of fall! I’ve also got a whole bunch of Friday Link Love to set your weekend up right. Here’s wishing you a fabulous Friday and an even better weekend! xoxo
[DIY Cafe Apron | Jelly Donut Waffles | DIY Tailgate Party Decor | Cinnamon Sugar Popovers with Nutella | Ginger Peach Moscow Mules.]
September 23, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
An alternate title to this post would absolutely have to be, “10 Diaper Bags that Don’t Suck.” Because, honestly, diaper bags in general definitely seem to suck. Most of them seem to be made of plastic-like nylon and even more of them are plastered with juvenile cartoon and floral prints that just don’t cut it for me. Over the last week or so I’ve been on the hunt for a great bag. I’m not too concerned with it being a diaper bag by name so long as it’s functional and also looks like something I would carry even if I weren’t toting a cute little baby around with me. Now if you happen to be in the $400 – 500 price range and up, there are quite a few super stylish diaper bags, but that’s just not going to work for me. All of these are under $300, which I realize is still a stretch for a lot of us (so there are a few here that are under $100), but for me I’m comfortable paying a bit more for a bag that is going to be heavily used for a couple of years at least. Especially if it checks all the boxes of being functional, durable and gorgeous. Ok, spill the beans! Any diaper bag recommendations? (Or great bags that can easily double as a diaper bag?)
[SHOP | 1: Millie Black and White Stripe Tote, $59.95 | 2: Madewell Transport Tote, $168 | 3: Lo & Sons OMG Bag, $275 | 4: Juju Be Anchor Bag, $180 | 5: Mia Bossi Emma Bag, $210 | 6: JJ Cole Backpack Diaper Bag, $77.95 | 7: Storksak Noa Canvas Diaper Bag, $142 | 8: Timi & Leslie Metro Messenger Bag, $99.99 | 9: Storksak Diaper Tote, $142 | 10: Timi & Leslie Charlie Bag, $159.99]
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September 22, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
Remember a few months ago when I dyed some shibori onesies and then made the world’s prettiest dip dyed tote bags? (Um, even if I do say so myself.) Well, I wasn’t lying when I promised that I was quickly becoming obsessed with dyeing things. As in, every thing. Today I’m sharing these pretty DIY ombre flour sack towels, transforming basic white flour sack towels into something really pretty. We try really hard to limit our paper product consumption around the house, so we operate entirely sans paper towels. I’ve realized that some people find this somewhat mind boggling, but it’s actually really simple. In lieu of tossing out dozens of paper towels a day, we just rely on kitchen towels and hand towels to get the job done. Needless to say, I’ve bought oodles of them over the years, but flour sack towels remain my favorite. Make them pretty with a wash of ombre color and I’m sold!
- Basic white flour sack towels
- Rubber gloves
- Fabric dye (I used Dylon brand in Bahama Blue, Sunflower Yellow and Amazon Green)
- Bucket or pail
To get started, review all of the instructions for your particular brand of dye and prepare the dye bath accordingly. You’ll want to use some kind of bucket or pail that won’t be missed if it gets discolored. Then it’s time to start dunking! This process is so simple it’s scary. Dip one end of the towel into the dye bath, allow it to set for a few minutes and then lower it a bit further into the dye. Keep doing so until you’ve dyed at least 3/4 of the fabric, leaving the end white. To get the smooth, gradual ombre effect (versus the starker lines of the dip dye totes we dyed before), you should gently raise and lower the fabric, back and forth by about an inch or so as you’re working. Then, ring out the excess, rinse thoroughly and wash as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Your dye bath will easily make enough dye to make several towels, making it a cinch to stock up your own kitchen drawers and to make a few as gifts, too. Wouldn’t these be so sweet bundled up with a few really nice pantry staples (like your favorite sea salt and a great olive oil) as a hostess gift? I love that idea! As always, I’d love if you’d share what you’re crafting up with me! Whether it be these, another of my DIY projects or something else entirely, share it with me over on Instagram using the hashtag #thesweetestDIY!
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
The fine print: Please link with love! As with all of our posts, DIY projects featured on The Sweetest Occasion may not be copied, distributed or reproduced without express written permission. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share a maximum of 1 – 2 images from this post, please link to this post directly for the DIY tutorial and do not include the instructions in your own post. Thanks so much! xoxo
September 18, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
Happy Friday, sweet friends! Now that we’re getting closer, I thought I’d bump up the frequency of my baby updates. No worries, I still have zero intention of inundating you with baby stuff all the time, but I know how many questions I’ve had about, well, everything (and how much I’ve been researching and how many YouTube videos I’ve been watching), so I’m hoping that sharing my experience and planning process will be useful for some of you. So, the invitations for my baby shower were mailed this week! Most people should be receiving them in the mail today or tomorrow, so in advance of that I made sure to really research and plan out our baby registry. Today I am sharing some of the baby registry essentials that we settled on after compiling B’s experience being a dad (which is honestly so helpful) and consulting with friends who are already pros at baby-rearing themselves. Is there anything you would add to the list? I’d love to know what baby essentials you could not live without! Enlighten me. Please!
[For information and shopping links, be sure to click through to check out all the details after the jump!]
I’m not sure what it is about the number 30, but this week definitely feels like the start of the home stretch! I’m starting to get a bit more anxious overall, especially surrounding when and how our little one will make their arrival. The inability to really plan or know what is going to happen or when is admittedly starting to drive me a bit batty. For now I’m content to have the little nugget stay right in place for a bit longer, but I am definitely feeling the [self-afflicted] pressure to get a lot done over the next month. 30 weeks! I swear that happened in a flash.
It’s a Girl!
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll likely have seen that last week we were finally able to confirm gender. It’s a girl! We’ve pretty much known since 20 weeks, but had a hard time confirming it due to a sleepy baby at 20 weeks and a cross-legged baby at 24 weeks, so we decided to keep it under wraps until we knew for sure. Honestly, I pretty much knew immediately after we found out we were expecting. Even when we would toss around baby names, there was always a voice in the back of my head telling me we were wasting our time even talking about boy names. Speaking of, we do have a name picked out (although we’re still settling on her middle name), but we won’t be sharing that with anyone until after she’s here. (I am crazy superstitious about that kind of thing!)
To C-Section or Not to C-Section?
Following full ultrasounds at 20, 24 and 29 weeks, we’re still looking at a c-section. My placenta has shifted some but as of yet not enough to clear me for vaginal delivery, plus the baby is breech at the moment. (Breech babies are pretty common with placenta previa, so that wasn’t entirely unexpected.) My next OB appointment will be next week, just shy of 31 weeks, at which time we’ll be starting to put together a more firmed up plan of action with our doctor. At this point, I am trying to double down on work so I can prepare to be laid up for a couple of weeks while I’m recovering. Any tips or advice?
And, of course, this is the part where I annoy all of you moms who have come before me by reporting that I still have had about zero symptoms. The continued issues with sleeping and discomfort in my hips (especially when I’m horizontal for longer than an hour or two) persist, but otherwise I feel great. No swelling, no aches or pains, no heartburn, no nada. The heat gets to me now that I’m getting further along, so I’ve been enjoying our occasional bursts of more temperate weather as fall sneaks into the picture. And I am definitely having more days where I feel more tired in general again, but by and large, other than one very stubborn placenta, I am kind of having a dream pregnancy so far. Knock on wood!
My baby shower is just under a month away and I’ve also seriously kicked the planning and organizing into high gear when it comes to the nursery. Several pieces have been selected and ordered, and we’re actually going to start clearing the room and putting the crib together this weekend. You can expect to see full details about both the shower and the nursery in the next month or two! I am sure I’ll be sharing sneak peeks on Instagram in the meantime, but you can rest assured that I will be documenting and posting about all the details. Stay tuned!