Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Learning lessons

One of Grady's first big smiles that was just for me.

If you need a lesson in learning to be selfless, just have a baby. You don’t really realize just how much you think about yourself until you’re forced to think about someone else and put their needs before your own. It’s been a tough pill to swallow at times. I started learning this lesson when I first got married. My selfishness came to light a lot in our first year of marriage, but it got easier to manage. As Josh and I grew together in our marriage, we started to put each other’s needs first. It felt easy to give and put Josh’s needs before mine, because he was giving back and meeting my needs. It’s not so hard to be unselfish then. Not so with my Grady boy. It’s unconditional giving, expecting nothing in return. True selflessness. 

The last message I heard at church before I had Grady was about paradoxes and how we are often fed lines that tell us to think of ourselves, and put 'me' first. I scribbled down the bottom line of the message that day and have been thinking about it ever since, If we choose unselfishness over selfishness, then we will always gain more than we lose. 

Honestly, breastfeeding feels like the most unselfish thing I’ve ever done. I know it feels easy and convenient for a lot of women, but not for me. It often feels like a sacrifice. Giving up the freedom to places without him. Tucking away cute clothes that don’t provide easy access for feeding. Being the one who needs to get up at night to feed him. Turning down that glass of wine because it’s about time for him to eat again. Hooking up to a machine at work to maintain milk supply. Cutting out dairy because it makes him gassy (goodbye pizza and ice cream). Often, my selfish attitude will whisper, This sucks, why are you doing this?

Because it's not about you, Shelby. It's about Grady.

And just when I was feeling completely drained and I had nothing left to give, Grady smiled at me. That first smile that was just for me was enough to fill me back up. Talking to Grady one morning after feeding him, he looked right at me and smiled a huge, gummy smile. At that moment, I would have swum the deepest ocean for him…and I can’t even swim. It was the best thank you gift I’ve ever gotten. He was six weeks old.

That same week, he started sleeping 10+ hours at night. And it made those days that felt like all I did was breastfeed feel worth it.

If we choose unselfishness over selfishness, then we will always gain more than we lose. 

There are many aspects of motherhood that require selflessness, this I know. And I'm sure to be learning this lesson over and over again. Breastfeeding is just a challenging one for me.

But I'm gaining a healthy, happy, well-slept baby and I'm losing pizza and the ability to go thrifting whenever I want. 

I'd say I'm gaining more than I'm losing.

Monday, September 24, 2012

thrifting bucket list

A couple years ago when I really got into thrifting - I created a thrifting bucket list. A list filled with things that I would love to find but are pretty hard to come by for a thrifty price. It's not necessarily all vintage things, either. I remember one of the first things I put on my list was Sperry's. It was around the time that Sperry's were becoming popular and I didn't have $70 to spend on shoes. And wouldn't you know I found a pair of gently used Sperry's in my size at Goodwill.
I often add to my list, and I absolutely love when I get to check things off.

Recently, I got to check two big things off my list.

Vintage Turquoise Typewriter - Check.

Old Folding Theater Seats - Check.
(Technically, this is an old folding church pew but it's close enough for me)

It's the thrill of the hunt for me - that's why I love it.
So, I put a price limit on my bucket list. Every item on my list has to be less than $10. (Typewriter was $3, Folding bench was $8)
Because it's not really a hunt if I know I can walk into an antique store and pick up what I'm looking for and pay $50 for it.

Anyone else have a thrifting bucket list? What's on yours?

Friday, September 21, 2012

fall decor

I don't like to totally redecorate for fall, but I do like to spruce up my mantle and tabletops.
I also like to limit my seasonal decor to one plastic storage bin or else it can get outta control.
When I pulled out my bin this year, I realized I had a bunch of little collections going.
Pumpkins. Acorns. Squirrels. Owls. Candles. Frames.
Instead of dispersing them, I decided to keep them together in little collections.

p.s. If you don't eat candy corn mixed with nuts, you're missing out.

Here's what fall in my house looked like last year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I have a crappy Target-five-years-ago kitchen table. But one thing I like about it is that it is the perfect size for vintage tablecloths. And I love a good vintage tablecloth. I snagged a couple of them at an estate sale a few weeks ago and I was so excited.
Until I put them in the wash and this happened to one of them.

But did I throw it out? Nay.
I set out to salvage it with my handy sewing partner.

He's not the greatest sewing partner, he pretty much just sits there, but he's cute so I keep him around.

I rummaged though my fabric bin and found a light blue and white striped fabric that I could use to cover the middle where the holes are.

A few stitches later, I had a salvaged tablecloth.
And stripes and floral together are in, didn't you hear?

This isn't the first time I've saved a dying vintage tablecloth - check out what else you can do.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Grady's first real date

Meet Grady and Cadence. They're on their first real date and are nervous about holding hands.

As a true gentleman, Grady brought Cadence a flower for their date.

Then he took her to get yellow balloons. Yellow is her favorite.

When Cadence got tired, Grady offered to pull her in his wagon. She told him that he was the sweetest boy she'd ever met.

Hearing this, Grady jumped for joy. He knew Cadence was the girl for him.
It was a great first date.

Photos inspired by Mila's Daydreams.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Today I'm guest posting over at Fresh Mommy blog. I was so excited when they asked me to be a part of #PROJECTdecor. 

It's a month filled with all things decor, so I know you'll wanna stay tuned.

Check out Tabitha's (the author of Fresh Mommy blog) first project - DIY pallet beds. Amazing.

I'll be sharing several posts, the first of which is The Art of Styling where I share my tips for a well-styled bookshelf.

And if facebook is your jam - head on over and join the group -we'd love to see what projects you've been up to!

Grady's birth announcement

I remember the first week Grady was born, my friend Kerry was over and I looked at her with tears in my eyes and said "I don't even want to make his birth announcements."
As a graphic designer, and one who loves to design, this was a sad statement. But that's just a testament of how far we've come. 
It was just a few short weeks later that I couldn't wait to design his birth announcements and show him off to the world.

So, here's what we sent to family and friends announcing our sweet boy.

I took a picture of G in his crib all stretched out and then graphically designed it using photoshop.
I love his sweet little face looking up at me in this picture.
Design inspired by this one.

 And just to keep it real, here's my favorite outtake.
Look at that wrinkly little leg.

We truly are proud parents of our sweet Grady boy.

Need a photo edited or graphically designed? Email me for a quote.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

the gift of dinner + free printable

Before you have a baby, you're kind of oblivious to some of the things that go on in the baby world.
I know I was.
But then my friends started having babies and I started receiving meal train requests.
Before you have a baby, it might not naturally occur to you how difficult it can be to actually prepare a dinner with a newborn around. It wasn't until I had a baby of my own that I realized how truly helpful it is to receive meals after your baby arrives.
My sweet friend Kerry set up a meal train for me and for the whole month after Grady was born we received a meal every other day.
This was SUCH a huge blessing for this overwhelmed and overtired mama.
Just knowing there was one less thing I needed to worry about while we adjusted to our new life with Grady helped ease my mind. Cause the Lord knows we would have eaten fast food for those first weeks for sure.
We received absolutely delicious meals and really appreciated the time and effort that went into prepare them for us.
I always struggle with what to make when I'm bring someone a meal - so here are a few of the meals we received (not the actual recipes) and loved. 

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Pulled Pork Barbecue


Chicken Parmesan
chicken parmesan

Chicken Salad
chicken salad. chicken salad. chicken salad!!!

Pesto Pasta
Pesto pasta (love pesto!)

White Chicken Chili
White chicken chili.

I want to thank everyone who brought us meals that first month - it was such a blessing and we are grateful to have such good friends.
Because I know how much it meant to me, I want to encourage you to bless your new mama friends with a meal! I've created a free printable that you can use to attach to your meal so you a) don't forget to give instructions, b) in case you just need to drop the meal off, or c) if you just want to make it a little bit cuter.

The file is designed to print out on a regular piece of cardstock. I've designed it so you can print it in grayscale and save that colored ink (yeah, I'm frugal like that.) There are two on a page, so just cut the page in half and you have one to save for later!

You can download it and print it for yourself right here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

brightening my day

I really believe in little details that help make a day a little happier.
Something as simple as a pretty pattern can brighten my day.

Since I've gone back to work, I make myself a cup of coffee in my to-go mug every morning.
In an effort to make my mornings a little prettier, I upgraded the plastic coffee cozy that came on my mug with a cozy made from a piece of fabulous vintage fabric that my friend Kerry gave me.

You might remember that I upgraded a to-go mug as a gift last Christmas using the same method.
You can read more about the process here.
A sweater sleeve, a piece of fabric and a sewing machine is all you need.
(I think hot glue would work too if  you don't have a sewing machine.)

It was so quick and simple, I made a summer and a winter version. :)

I recently saw these white plastic to-go mugs at the dollar store - so this could make a very inexpensive gift!

And now I sip my coffee on my way to work in a little bit better mood.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fall jump-start

In my book, Fall offically starts the day after Labor Day. Not September 22.
Kids go back to school. Sweaters show up in the stores. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are available.
Now if only the Virginia weather would get on board.

It won't officially hit me until I feel that crisp in the air, but I like to jump start that fall feeling by decorating!

In honor of jump starting fall this year - I'm offering 15% off in my shop until September 22!
Use code: FALL15
I've got some great fall finds:

A great vintage leaf serving tray
Add a few candles and you have an instant centerpiece.
Vintage Fall Serving/Display Tray

A vintage nut bowl
Throw in a bag of nuts and you have an easy appetizer for dinner guests.
Vintage Nut Bowl - Acorn Shaped

Vintage fireplace matches
Add them to your mantle - practical and cute!
Fall Fireplace Matches

Set of 5 mustard yellow lace-trimmed napkins
Perfect color for a fall tablescape.
Set of 5 Vintage Mustard Yellow Lace-Trimmed Handkerchiefs/Napkins

Set of 3 milkglass planters
Plant some mums and line these up on your table!
Set of 3 Vintage Milk Glass Scalloped Planters/ Flower pots

Vintage owl pendant
Add this to a long necklace and add flair to your fall outfits.
Vintage Articulated Owl Pendant - 1970s

Vintage Brass apple
Classic fall decorating piece.
Vintage Brass Apple

Vintage thermoses
Fall picnic anyone?
Vintage Aqua Thermos

Vintage Chevron Afghan
Perfect for getting cozy at home.
Vintage Chevron Afghan Blanket - Mint, Yellow, Burnt Orange, Olive Green Pattern

Vintage Pyrex bowl
Imagine mixing up a fall treat in this.
Vintage Flower Pattern Fire King Mixing Bowl

Vintage Fall Harvest Tablecloth
Easy way to bring fall into your dining room!
SALE - Vintage Fall/Harvest/Garden Tablecloth

Vintage Owl Wall Hanging
Mix up your collage wall for fall or add him to the mantle!
SALE - Vintage Owl Wall Hanging

Bring on Fall!