When we bought our house, I knew I wanted to change the half-drywall railing into a real bannister, but unfortunately that meant having look at this unfinished project for almost a year. The old nasty carpet from the previous owners remained and no bannister.
Once Philip had time to do this project, we found an old beat up newel post that he was able to make sturdier, but still had old character to it. We got it from an architectural salvage shop in NH for $99. I feel like that's robbery, but we had looked for a long time and that was cheap compared to most.
I can't really tell you what Philip did. He could if you want to know, but here is our new old newel post and beautiful stair treads and bannister...
Still a lot to do, but check one thing off the list!
we are finally about half-way through this pregnancy! holler.
Here I am in the lovely target dressing room...
maternity clothes? just for pants mostly, but tops are needing to be long or maternity or my belly will hang out. i'll avoiding buying too many maternity clothes, but need the weather to warm up because i only have warm weather maternity clothes.
symptoms? dry heaving, gagging frequently if anything grosses me out (milk, coffee, eggs to name a few), tired (low energy in general), hungry...moody? i think i can attribute that to pregnancy...
sleep? still so sleepy. conk out around 9:30 and wake around 6:30
movement? flutters and spins and kicks occasionally, but my anterior placenta makes it harder to feel movement
cravings? hmm still have more aversions. i did crave chocolate chip cookies last night, but we did not have supplies to make them.
gender? baby girl!
belly button? um, can you see it in that picture? i have belly button issues. it hurts if i get full.
pretty much just itching to get through the winter. new england living is no joke. there is icy cold snow on the ground, which will probably remain until the weather gets a little warmer than freezing. hoping march is kind to us!
I have been thinking about sharing this for awhile. I thought I should share what's been going on with Jude's health because there might be others out there who could relate, but I just had not gotten to writing it down yet.
Last May, Jude had a low-grade fever for a week with no other symptoms. We were checking his temperature daily, but he seemed fine besides the fever. He had seen the ENT for his ears, but he wasn't a shoo in for tubes so we did not do them. He did have a lot of ear infections so I assumed maybe this was the same. We went into the doctors a few times that week from what I remember, but they just weren't sure what it was that was causing the fever. After a week with the fever, our pediatrician recommended having his blood checked to see if that gave us more of an idea of what might be going on.
So the blood drawing started. Let me tell you, blood drawing with a less than two year old is not a fun procedure, especially with sometimes impatient nurses and tiny veins that tend to be missed requiring multiple tries. The first blood draw indicated his neutrophils were low. Neutrophils are the part of the white blood cell that fights infection and my understanding is that can fluctuate when you are sick and your body is using the neutrophils to fight the infection.
Test again a few a days later...still low. All of the specific blood drawings are a little bit blurry to me because we did it so many times. After two or three drawings, many tears, our doctor expressed her concerns about his neutrophils and recommended we see a hematologist at the Boston's Children's Hospital. Low neutrophils can be a sign of leukemia so naturally, I assumed the worst and cried and worried all week. The Children's Hospital is wonderful and world-renown and we are lucky to be so nearby.
We had Jude's blood drawn again there and met with a hematologist. He quickly dispelled any concerns I had with leukemia knowing that would be on my radar. His suspicion was that it was a condition that children randomly have and spontaneously outgrow called "pediatric neutropenia." Many kids have it and just do not realize it.
So this was and has been our treatment of it for the last 6 plus months:
Good hand washing (by Jude and people around him) - harder than you think. It surprises me how many people will feed my child without asking.
If he has a temperature above 101, we typically have to have his blood drawn and neutrophils checked.
If he has low neutrophils, he has to have an antibiotic shot coverage, which is a terrible painful two day series of shots in his legs to compensate for his low neutrophils possibly not being able to fight off an infection. We have only had to do this once.
Check in with the hematologist in Boston every three months to check his neutrophil count. I imagine it will have to be up for a few visits for our doctor to believe he has outgrown the disorder.
We are really grateful that hand washing, a little caution and a trip into Boston every few months is our treatment. I just thought I'd share in case anyone has had similar experiences. We are so grateful that our doctor does not yet suspect that he has Cyclic Neutropenia, which would affect Jude throughout his life, but are still praying that he grows out of it soon.
He really has acted like himself through this whole ordeal and has given us confidence that it is a temporary condition that we will hopefully see the end to soon.
Sorry for such a wordy post - but maybe you learned something new today ;)
on this series: I have thought for a little while that it might be fun for me to share some things I have learned from owning my own small business. There is certainly a lot I do not know, but I have been running one delightful button for over four years now (hard to believe!). And I feel like there are a lot of tips and tricks and lessons I have learned along the way.
This is one of my hills to die on for small craft businesses. If I am going to buy some thing from someone that makes items themselves, I still I want it to look like I bought it from someone else and did not just make it myself. If I wanted to make something for a friend, I would make something. And sometimes the packaging itself sells the product more than the product itself.
My first cards were scrapbook paper cut in small squares and then with hand-stamped letters spelling my website. They weren't terrible, but my main beef is it took too much time. I was stamping each letter myself. I used dollar store jewelry boxes and printed clear labels with my business name on it. It worked, but I knew it was a temporary solution.
Next I started to order kraft jewelry boxes, embellished them with washi tape and then put a clear label on again.
I was still not super satisfied by that, even though I do love wash tape and a reason to buy it. I now do a simple kraft box with my logo hand-stamped. My logo is stamped on a shipping tag. I have stuck with that same simple look for a few years now because I like the shipping tag and I like the extra touch of all the hand-stamping.
I have done all the logo design myself. I used to have photoshop, but now use pixelmator, which is a knock-off version that works fine for me. However, I took a class in high school where I learned photoshop - otherwise, I don't know if I'd invest in it. It is not the most intuitive thing. Picmonkey is a great site if you are not super familiar with graphic design and is free!
Include promotional materials such as business cards...My new business card...
You could do a handwritten note...
Embellish the package cute stickers...
Tie it up with baker's twine or fabric...
Just a few ideas...so many ideas on pinterest that I am sure you have pinned. My point is going the extra mile with packaging will make your item more memorable and giftable.
We had our first much-anticipated ultrasound last Thursday. I didn't hype it up because honestly, I get a little nervous about it and didn't want the world to know. I feel like a lot of times people focus on the fact that you can find out the sex of the baby and ignore the fact that they are also checking on the baby's well-being and development thus far. Because of that, I was a little nervous. We had heard a good heartbeat before, but this was our first look at the little babe!
Before going in to the hospital, I reviewed some of my favorite blog posts I have read on having boys since I was pretty sure I was going to have another boy (a cup of joe: on having a boy, danielle burkleo: third times the charm?) There is a part of me that has always wanted to a girl and I asked the Lord for a girl, but I also know that doesn't mean that is what is best for me and that God is some sort of genie granting wishes or withholding blessings from me. I also reminded myself of Psalm 127
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
I feel like I went in with a grateful heart that was just grateful for the gift of getting to be a mother and that boy or girl, sick or healthy it is a wonderful gift to get to have children, but nervous still.
We went in Thursday afternoon to the hospital because our midwives do not have an ultrasound tech in the office. Everything checked out great. It did take a long time for the tech to see everything because I have an anterior placenta (again...boo). This means my placenta is on the front of stomach rather than behind the uterus. It is inconsequential and random, but the bummer is that it is harder to feel the baby move.
We did not have her tell us the gender while we were in the office because with Judah we found out just the two of us and it has sort of become our tradition. Anyways, all was well with the baby and we came home and promptly opened the envelope from the nurse. We were both shocked to find "GIRL" written on the card. I feel like once you have had a boy (or girl for that matter) it just feels like most likely you will have the same again. People assumed that and mostly predicted boy and I also think old wives tales are garbage...but that's another post probably.
We called family and some friends and then decided to share it on Facebook, instagram, etc to let people know. Jude was not excited to be a part of impromptu photoshoot...
first he wanted to sit in the Young Life Crazy Creek chair rather than stand by the sign I made...
So I tried again...but he was way more interested in juice in a mug.
some how I got him to hold up the sign and even part with his pacifier. it had been a long day...we were at the hospital for over an hour doing the ultrasound...(I, of course, had some light pink fringe that I had purchased just in case...)
then we finally got one worth sharing...
I am still in somewhat of disbelief and may not believe it until I see her, but we are excited to start dreaming about little girl names, walls with gold polka dots and little dresses.
I have thought for a little while that it might be fun for me to share some things I have learned from owning my own small business. There is certainly a lot I do not know, but I have been running one delightful button for over four years now (hard to believe!). And I feel like there are a lot of tips and tricks and lessons I have learned along the way.
One of my first lessons was to take take good photos of my products. I can say in no way that I have mastered this, but I have improved. On my first post I shared a picture of my first etsy sale. I thought I needed a white background so I used a clean bed sheet. I frequently took pictures at night. Early on, I went into an etsy forum and asked someone to review my site because I was starting to feel good about it. I remember she commented on a pictures mentioning that they needed to be taken during the day in natural light. I was somewhat offended, but this was really great advice.
Here's a few things I have learned about taking good photos of your products....
If you are selling online all someone has to go off of is your description of your item and your pictures. Clearly, the pictures are really important because someone may not read your description in detail.
Take pictures during the day, but in indirect sunlight. This is one of my night photos. Its hard to see the product well.
This was taken during the day...indirect sunlight and on a book page, nice and simple.
Use consistent background for your photos. Also, do not take a photo of your product on something unappealing or that overpowers attention to your product. The background can help to define what the vibe you want your products to give off. For example....the doily was a nice idea below, but I think that the earrings would have looked better with a simple background instead of the linen and doily.
Take a picture of your packaging. This is huge for me. If I am buying handmade, I do not want someone to think that I made it. I want a nice tag on the earrings I purchased and potentially a cute box, too.
If there are important features to your product, make sure they are can be seen in the photo. (i.e. I just upgrade my earring backs to nicer posts and try to make sure every listing has a picture of the new posts)
I really like this resource: fotofuze for editing the background out of photos. However....it is not always perfect.
Lastly, if you are selling something unique for $3 and have to photograph and edit it every time, it may not be worth the trouble. I like that I can reuse my photos because I sell several of the same style of earrings. The photographing and editing and uploading and listing process is not always a quick one so reuse photos when you can.
Hope this helps! Any thoughts or tips you would add?