Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Holiday Shipping Dates...

Oh thank you, thank you for your kind comments on my last post. It can be a hard one to talk about can't it? The fact that our lives are not all perfect and that being someone's mama is really really hard, but in the best kind of way? It's amazing and it's hard all at the same time. Words can't really describe it (and I can't find those darn words today anyway. I asked David where they lived and he turned to me and said 'That's a good question...". He has a PhD in words - I kinda feel like he is one of those magical people who should know where they live...).

So, er, moving on - today I was actually just popping in to let you know that if you think you might be wanting a paper Bronte Top Pattern in time for Christmas, I would recommend placing your orders by the end of November (that's in less than a week - WHAT?!?).

Patterns are shipped to you via Airmail which takes approximately 3-10 days to arrive at your door (according to the post shop). However, I personally would take that time frame with a grain of salt, especially around this time of year, so allowing more time is probably better. If you'd like a faster shipping option though, please feel free to email me for a quote - jenniferlauren.it@gmail.com

Oh, and I finally gave in and am now on Facebook, in case you're interested :)

Talk soon,


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Friday, November 20, 2015

Six Months...

As of yesterday, it's been six whole months since little Oscar-bug was born, 11 days early and after a somewhat long labour.

I do still find it a bit surreal sometimes to think that David and I are this little person's parents. That he looks to us always if he's upset, sad, uncomfortable and hungry, and just as much when he's happy and smiling. Sometimes we've only left the room for a minute, and as soon as we walk back in, his little face lights up like he hasn't seen us in days. It doesn't take much for those happy little faces to appear, along with a burst of giggles, and it's in those little moments that we realise how lucky we are. All he needs right now is us, our time and attention, and we will give him as much of that as we possibly can.

Yesterday, we gave him his first bit of solid food - a chunk of cooked pumpkin. I have to say, it was a little bit more uneventful than I thought it would be. He put it to his lips, gagged, screwed up his face, squished it twice and then dropped it down the side of his chair before completely losing all interest.

I've read enough about baby-led weaning to know that the first few (or many...) attempts at offering food are more of a time to play and explore for babies of Oscar's age and that for the next few months he'll still be getting the bulk of his nutrition from me, but I was still expecting... a little bit more?

Maybe I've just watched too many videos on YouTube of babies eating for the first time (so that I can make sure I know what the difference between a baby gagging and a baby choking looks like) and seeing those little fingers grab their food and shove it in made me think that Oscar might be the same. But all babies are different, and while we'll keep offering him food, I know that he'll take it when he's ready (which, you know, is kinda the whole point of baby-led weaning).

The last six months has been a rollercoaster ride though - it's definitely not been all pinterest-worthy photos and bunches of roses. There have been amazing moments and there have really really hard moments. 

Our breastfeeding journey was not (and still isn't) the idyllic zen-mother-earth-goddess journey it's all so often made out to be. Instead, I got stuck with low supply, blocked ducts, milk blisters and a regular date with a milking machine (that's the best name I could come up with to describe it, that's basically what it is.)

There are so many images floating around of blissed out mothers feeding their babies, and not a lot of talk about how darn hard it is, that I really just thought it would happen like they say it's supposed to. Instead, I think I had more tears than Oscar did - there was an awful lot of me crying over the top of the whirr of the pump asking David and my midwife why it wasn't working? Because it's supposed to work!

From about 2 weeks old and every day since, I've hooked myself up to a pump roughly every 3-4 hours, and yes, I can definitely think of much more glamorous things I could be doing with that time. But while it's been a time-consuming process, we've made it to six months on exclusive breastmilk and I have to be honest, I'm just a little bit proud of that. Oscar is turning into a cute, chubby and happy little boy and putting on weight like a champ.

So, to all the Mums and Moms out there, if you're struggling, breastfeeding or otherwise, just know that you're not alone. For as many people that I know who have had an easy breastfeeding journey, I know just as many (if not more!) who have had a tough time of it, myself included.

And as a very good friend said to me, something that I've repeated a lot to myself throughout these past months is that 'it doesn't matter how you feed your baby, as long as you feed your baby'. It's so true and has taken the pressure off me during many a difficult moment. And out of all the very well-meaning (but sometimes very unhelpful) advice, this has been what has stuck with me the most.

If you need a friendly ear to talk to, please feel free to email me, I'm more than happy to talk or just listen to you - jenniferlauren.is@gmail.com

Phew! That turned into a much longer post than I had initially planned, and it's our 5 year wedding anniversary today to boot. Talk about compounding major life events, huh?


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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Final Felicity Dress

Hello all!

Well, first of all, thank you so much for all of your comments on my last post. I did try to make it light hearted, but it's still a serious thing and I'm glad I've either reminded many of you to go and have a check up, or have alerted you to take a closer look at that little skin thing you've had for a while that hasn't gone away yet. It could be as harmless as contact dermatitis, or it could be a little more cause for concern. Either way, go get 'em checked!

Now, let's move onto some harmless fun, here is my final Felicity Dress from the Sew Along! I took these the day before my BCC was taken out.

I really do love this dress and the colour combination, it just feels fresh and summery and like I should be eating a massive ice cream on the beach (I wish...).

The only issue is that it's really not very breast feeding friendly, and since I cut it in my usual size, it's a wee bit tight around the bust and waist at the moment (and my boobs are such different sizes right now too! Really, I had no idea this was a thing until it happened to me. It's so much tighter on one side than the other! But I've been assured by many people that they will go back to normal, here's hoping...). This means I probably won't get much wear from it for a little while at least, but I can still look at it and pretend...

There's not really much to write about the dress itself, since I think everything was petty well documented in the Sew Along (?), but if you have any questions, feel free to sing out in the comments :)

Have you sewn up a Felicity Dress? I'd love to see it, I'm hoping to do a little blog round up soon, so leave a link in the comments to yours if you'd like to be included.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

The Case of the Little Red Dot (aka The Naughty Little Skin Cancer)

We're going a little off topic today, but I think it's something that's really important, especially if you have fair/easily sun burnt skin.

If you follow me on instagram, you may already know that I had a little basal cell carcinoma (BCC) taken out of my hairline a few weeks ago. What is that? Well, it's a skin cancer.

One week after my stitches came out - cover the wound in flesh covered tape, and it almost looks 
like there's nothing there! I have to wear the tape for 6 weeks to help the scar tissue heal flat.

Now, let's not get all dramatic here. If you're going to have skin cancer, this is probably the best kind to have. They are very rarely life threatening, especially when caught early, and catching them early is easy enough since they tend to grow very slowly (as in, I've had mine for at least 5 years, and it was still only a surface level cancer).

However, it's still best to catch them and get them out sooner rather than later.

I know this has nothing to do with sewing (except that if you do have one taken out, make sure to tell the doctor you're a seamstress. My surgeon mentioned he was being extra careful to make sure he made the neatest stitches possible!), but I really wanted to tell you about it because I only accidentally found out mine was a skin cancer at all!

Can you see that red dot on the left (my right) in my hairline? That's what was taken out. These photos were taken after I'd had a biopsy done to find out if it was anything to worry about.

Sporting a 'hairline dot' after the biopsy was done in August. So inconspicuous!

Like I mentioned above, I've had it for at least 5 years now, since well before we left Sydney. It started out as a little pimple in my hair line that just never really went away. Every now and then, it would flare up, but then it would heal again and just stay pinky/red.

It wasn't until I was sitting in a waiting room at the beginning of the year, reading a magazine while patiently waiting for someone to take my blood (I had no idea how many blood tests were required during pregnancy you guys!!) that I just happened to read an article about someone who had the very same thing, except on her chin.

She was a nurse and it was a colleague who pointed it out to her one day and mentioned that she should get it checked. She too had had it for several years, and it had also started as a pimple that just never went away. It didn't bother her and so she ignored it, much like me, but it turned out to be a BCC.

"Hmmmm, that sounds familiar..." I thought to myself, and made the decision to have mine checked out asap.

The day it came out - 15 stitches later, and a bit oozy and numb.
I was totally feeling the 'Bride of Frankenstein" vibe with real stitches and real trickles of blood. 
Now if only NZ did halloween, and I actually had somewhere to go (and could be bothered)... 

Now, I'm well aware of the fact that I have very fair and sensitive skin. I don't know if you noticed, but I'm covered in freckles and moles. I wear sunscreen everyday and regularly check my moles and freckles for changes. But it had just never occurred to me to monitor other areas of change in my skin that weren't moles or freckles.

We're often reminded that skin cancer generally pops up from/around a mole - I'm very aware of what an aggressive melanoma looks like - but we're less frequently told that skin cancers can pop up randomly, anywhere, and not necessarily take the form of a mole or freckle. If I hadn't been sitting in that waiting room reading that article, I'd more than likely still not have any clue that this little red dot in my hair line was actually a skin cancer.

I've still not had the results to let me know that they got it all out, but even if they didn't, it's easy enough to go back in and take a bit more out. It's not the worst thing in the world.

So, my friends, check your skin, wear your sunscreen and hats and be wary of any skin lesions that don't completely go away or heal. Then go and get them checked by your doctor, just in case.


~ End of Public Service Announcement ~

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bronte Top Paper Patterns are HERE!

Good morning,

This is just a quick wee note to let you know that Bronte Tops are now available in paper! Yay!

If my first newsletter already landed in your inbox and you placed an order, I'll be posting them away this afternoon.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend,


PS) If you want to know about future pattern releases, special sales and other wee bits and pieces before anyone else, why not sign up to my newsletter?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Spring Things...

The days are officially longer, warmer and sunnier. The air is sweet with the smell of blossoms, and I don't think I've ever looked forward to spring and summer as much as I am this year. I desperately need some sunshine and fresh air after months of inside couch-time with a new born (who is now 5 and a half months old - where on earth did that time go?!!).

I'm ready to tend to my newly planted summer vege crops, so I can skip on down to pick some tasty leaves (and tomatoes) for dinner, or my sandwich, any time I feel like it - caterpillars allowing of course. We've planted some kale again for them this year, since they loved it so much last year that they left everything else for us... accidental sacrificial crops are definitely fine by me.

And let's be honest, I don't actually like kale that much any way. I only planted it last year because I felt like I should. It made me feel healthier even though I only ate it once, eep! Do any of you do that?

Oh summer, c'mon, I'm ready!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Paper Patterns - They're a Comin' (SOON!)

I've been a wee bit of a busy spring bee lately...

In between Oscar-time, I've been working away on turning the Bronte Top digital pattern into a paper pattern, just in time for Christmas. And oh my, what a lot of work!

I know this is something many of you have been waiting on, and so as a little heads up, at this stage it's only a trial run with limited copies available.

So... erm, perhaps don't wait too long to order once they arrive in my shop.

If you would like me to let you know when the Bronte Paper Patterns will be available, before anyone else (which is really really soon), why not sign up to my newsletter?

I promise you'll only hear the occasional flutter of news from me, landing in your inbox, containing only the best snippets about new pattern releases, sales and other (hopefully interesting) tidbits, all before anyone else hears about it.

Talk soon,


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