January 31, 2015

Making Way for the Capsule Wardrobe

Lately I've been so, so tired of my clothes. I'm sure it's just a phase, prompted perhaps by the fact that I can't fit into a lot of my stuff at the moment. Forget that I am tired of my clothes... my clothes also look tired. I held up a denim skirt that I must have had for over a decade (thrifted, I'm sure) and the Sailor took one look at it and said: 'That looks OLD. Give it away.'

It reminded me of when I first left Africa. I had a backpack full of tie-dye dresses and wrap skirts and even (shudder) capris. I thought they looked cute and then I returned to London en route back to America and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. 

Oh MY.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for people having their own style. Tie-dye skirts worked for me in the heat of West Africa, but they weren't doing a thing for me anywhere else. Someone else could maybe get away with them in London, but not me.

I knew I needed to do something about my current state of dress, so I started reading about capsule wardrobes. Don't ask me how I stumbled on it... lots of surfing on my iPhone and nook in the wee hours when feeding the little guy. 

Regardless of how I got there, I started looking at all of these images of capsule wardrobes and I thought: why doesn't my closet look this trim? Why do I have so many clothes? (Just Google 'capsule wardrobes' and look under images... you may go nuts, too.) I'm turning 40 this year and I'm now a mother. There were clothes in my wardrobe that were better suited for a college student. And the Sailor was right. I'm hard on my clothes, so a lot of stuff looked tired. 

I already look tired most days. I don't need clothing that validates this.

I grew up bargain hunting. Twenty dollars could buy a shirt at a department store (or half a shirt, depending on where you shopped), or a whole giant bag of clothing at Goodwill. I usually chose the latter. More was more, in my book. 

During my pregnancy I only had a few outfits that served as my maternity 'uniform' if you will. Laundry several times a week and I had a whole wardrobe. I didn't need eight pairs of jeans. One or two well-fitting ones, a few tops and two long cardigans did the trick just fine. 

I've talked about cleaning out closets here, and even though I started the process back in late 2014, I finally got serious about it more recently.

I meticulously went through EVERYTHING in my closet and got rid of the stuff that I didn't like anymore or just didn't feel great in. Even if I had my pre-pregnancy body back right now, there was a lot of stuff that I just kept, well because. It didn't look great, I didn't feel great wearing it, and it mainly sat there staring at me from a hanger, willing me to actually like it. 

I still didn't. 

Sometimes less is far more.
So I offloaded a trunk full of the stuff at a local thrift store (bonus, it's tax deductible). 

I'm not saying to get rid of all of your clothes. And of course my situation is vastly different from someone with an office job. I still have workout wear and goodness knows, enough lounge wear to choke a horse these days since I'm usually covered in something that came out of a baby. But as far as the clothes I wear in public? I don't need much. And that's really freeing. Because nowadays, it takes long enough to get out the door with a baby. I don't need those extra minutes staring at clothes in my closet trying to figure out what to wear. 

I have a ways to go... there are few items I'm on the hunt for (quality over quantity) and some days I feel like I'm still trying to find my style. But I'm getting there. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I think there's a load of laundry calling my name.

January 23, 2015

Matching Cardigans (well, almost)

Last week during our little getaway, I feverishly worked on a cardigan for the Peanut. I tend to get a little car sick when knitting, but since I hardly get any knitting in these days, and I knew this was my chance, I kept telling myself it was all in my head and I persevered. (And thankfully didn't feel sick!

I had one gray skein and a bit leftover from my own cardigan I started around this time last year, when I was pregnant. The Peanut never got to wear his Newborn Vertebrae sweater (August babies don't really need cozy cardies...) but lately he's been wearing his Ouma's white sweater nearly ever day to ward off the chill. 

And I know he's going to quickly outgrow that thing. 

So I'm making him a new gray cardigan. It will almost match mine, but not quite.

I'm thinking of keeping it in the car so that the next time we drive two miles up the road, I can get a few rows done. 

Oh and that granny square blanket? My own grandma made that many, many moons ago. I found it in my box of treasures this week and I decided it was useless sitting there under cover. Treasures should be used and loved — especially granny square crochet blankets. Not many kids can say that have something handmade from their great grandma, can they?

January 17, 2015

Mid-Week Getaway and Tips for Traveling with a Baby

This week, the Sailor whisked the Peanut and I off on a quick two-night getaway in the middle of the week. I love that our often unconventional 'schedule' is so flexible! (Of course it also sometimes means that I neglect the blog... apologies!)

Besides the first few days at the hospital, the Peanut has never slept anywhere overnight except in our apartment, so we decided it was now or never. Besides, I had been a little crabby lately. I blame the hormones and the lack of sleep. Deep down, I think I just wanted to get out of town. I realized last week I hadn't been outside the city since last March when the Sailor and I drove to the beach. March!

I used to collect stamps in my passport. Now I collect dirty diapers for the laundry. However, even though I haven't booked an international flight for a long time, we could at least drive a few hours away to see a new aquarium. 

As a teenager, I wanted to save the whales and become a marine biologist. Nowadays, I'm happy saving money on those cloth diapers. 

Nevertheless, I still love aquariums and sea life. Apparently, the Peanut does too. He's been to two different ones already and those fish usually put him right to sleep. 

We've only had one overnight outing so far with the Peanut, but I'm already storing up tips for the next trip. Maybe they'll work for you, too! 

* Start driving around your little one's nap-time. The Peanut usually nods back off about 9:30, so we set off on our little adventure right around then, and he managed to take an extended nap through most of the drive.

* Bring something for your baby to roll around with on the floor. We have one of those activity mats that someone gave us. The Peanut long outgrew the need to lay there and look up at the stuff dangling from the top, but he loves to look at the animals on the mat. I dismantled that thing months ago, so we just took the mat with us. Chances are, if your child is as mobile as the Peanut, he will end up on the hotel floor at some point, but at least the mat can serve as home base. 

* Remember a few books and toys. The Peanut loves books already, so I brought two small ones with me and we just kept reading those over and over. Other items that made it into the suitcase included Sophie la Giraffe and another teething toy. 

* It is possible to travel with cloth diapers! More on that (and cloth diapers in general) in a later post. 

* Splurge if you can, for a hotel within walking distance of attractions. We decided to forgo being cheap this trip and we decided to just book a nice hotel that was near enough to walk to the sites we wanted to see. This is especially helpful if you want to head back to your hotel for lunch, to nurse, or to change your baby. It also meant we were schlepping less stuff around with us all day. And, we saved on eating food we brought with us. 

* Consider room service if you want a meal out, but don't want to head back out with a bambino. After a full day of site-seeing, we didn't think any of us would last at a restaurant for dinner. Room service wasn't much more than a meal out would have been, and it saved our sanity. 

* Bring along a knitting or crochet project if that's your thing! I finished half a sweater for the Peanut in the car and at the hotel, thanks to the Sailor driving, and me not having to cook or do dishes for two days. 

I'm hoping this was just the first of many fun road trips to come. What tips do you have for traveling with little people? 

January 8, 2015

Wooly Hat Weather

Winter is here and a proper hat is a MUST in these frigid temps. I'm a huge 100% wool fan (pity the person allergic to it...) Wool socks are amazingly warm and a wooly hat is no different. 

Elizabeth Zimmerman, sage knitter of yesteryear, advised that people start clothing their babies in wool from the start so that they'd get used to the scratchiness and wouldn't be bothered by it later in life. I'm not sure if my mama bathed me in wooly goodness from the start, but it's never bothered me.

I've started small and crocheted the Peanut a wool hat. I still had a stash of wool yarn from these slippers — both the blue and grey pairs.

This pattern is super easy, straightforward, versatile and FREE! I love all of this site's designs though, and I know I'll be purchasing that safari helmet pattern for when the Peanut is older. 

The Sailor already thinks the Peanut looks like he's wearing an antique motorcycle helmet in this wooly hat, so I guess I managed to make even the baby look a little vintage-like. I can assure you, he looks cuter in it than the clock. 
Stay warm! And make somebody a hat.