Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Things NEVER to say (or do) to a pregnant woman

Photo from this webpage

Ah, the joys of pregnancy.  There are many ups and downs that come with the territory that you can't control, but probably the most annoying one is - other people.  I've been pregnant a lot (or so people seem to think and remind me all the time).  This is my fourth pregnancy is 6 years.  But I've heard some of the same comments over and OVER and I'm pretty much done.  I've also heard a lot of my preggo friends get upset because of the things that people say and do to them that are simply inappropriate.  So if you are unsure of what not to do around a pregnant woman, here's a brief list in no particular order to help you avoid any bad situations:

  1. Don't reach out and touch someone's pregnant belly if you don't know them.  Would I go up to a random stranger and touch their belly if they weren't pregnant?  Um, I'd probably get arrested if I did.
  2. If you do know the person, it's nice to ask if you can touch.  I personally don't mind people patting my belly if they ask first, but some people really REALLY do mind, so be careful and check first.  And don't be offended if they say "no" - it's not a personal thing, it's more of a personal space thing.
  3. If you're allowed to touch the preggo belly, don't stand there and rub for any creepy length of time.  I had someone rub my belly for our entire conversation until I couldn't stand it anymore and came up with an excuse to get away.  She was a friend and I didn't want to offend her - but really, I'm not a Buddha - you won't get any sort of good luck from continually rubbing my belly. 
  4. Don't say anything to a pregnant woman that you wouldn't say to a non-pregnant woman.  This includes the following.
    • "WOW!  You've gotten BIG!"  (Or any variation of this one - even though you may be referring only to their belly, no woman wants to hear the word "big" or "large" or "humongous", etc. in reference to her body.)
    • "Man, you look like you're about to pop!  How much longer do you have??"  (I got this one at the Dollar Tree and I still had 12 weeks left to go - nothing makes you feel worse than thinking you're THAT monstrous and you still have 3 months to go...)  Instead, keep your question simple and ask "When's your due date?" or "When are you due?"
    • "Are you sure there's only one baby in there?" or any variation thereupon - Again, this will just make the pregnant woman hate you.  Avoid it at all costs.  As an example, I was in the bathroom at IHOP and this woman looked at me and said "When are you due?"  I told her November (this was in July), and she got this shocked look, then relaxed and said "Oh, so you've got two in there!".  No, no, I don't, but thank you for insulting me.  I officially hate you now.
I've also learned there is a progression of comments with each child.  

  • With your first, it's "Oh yay!!  You're having a baby!!!!" with lots of enthusiasm
  • With your second, it's "Oh, good for you, another baby :)"  with slightly less enthusiasm
  • With your third (at least in our case because it was a boy and our first 2 were girls) "Oh good!  You finally got your boy, now your family is complete!"  (Really?  I didn't realize you were the determiner of the perfect size of my family...)
  • And with your fourth (again, at least in our case) - "Wow, you know how that happens, right?" or "There are things you can do about that, you know.  It's called birth control."  Seriously - so offensive.  I'd like to stand on my soap box for a minute and say that even if you have an opinion on what size someone's family should be, don't express that out loud to anyone - really, it just makes you sound like a jerk.  My responses have gotten more blunt with this pregnancy, mainly because I can't tell you HOW MANY TIMES I've gotten the exact question "You know how that happens, right??", usually with a grin because they're trying (unsuccessfully) to be funny.  I was at church and flat out looked at one woman and said "Yes, I had sex with my husband, thank you."  What I wanted to say was "No, I'm completely ignorant about human biology, physiology and sexuality - I never learned about them in school, even though I have my bachelor's degree and graduated Summa Cum Laude.  Please, enlighten me as to how I got pregnant for the FOURTH FLIPPING TIME!!!!"  Whooo, sorry.  I like my friend's response best: "Oh gee, no, I have no idea how that happened!  I was just walking through the room, tripped over a laundry basket and landed on my husband - it was the weirdest thing!"  Ha ha!!  I love her ;)

Now, to not sound so completely negative, here's a list of things you CAN/SHOULD say and do for a pregnant woman - I have received some of these compliments as well, and it made my day more than the people who gave them could ever know.

  1. DO say "You look so beautiful!" or "You are absolutely glowing" or something similar.  Say that to any woman, whether she's pregnant or not - you'll have a lot more friends, I'll tell you what!
  2. Typically, I'd say stay away from size compliments altogether, like "You're so tiny!", but I love hearing it, so I'm gonna give the go ahead on that one.  You might disagree - just use your judgment.
  3. Do hold doors for them, offer them a seat, do what you can to help them get comfortable.  By the end, pregnant women feel like the marshmallow man if he had swallowed a human being that was kicking and screaming to get out of him, so any kind word or act is always appreciated.
I know that all of these tips are tainted by my personal experience, so I'd love to hear any comments or feedback from y'all out there in cyberspace!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DIY Bulletin Board Refashion Tutorial #2

Yesterday, I showed you how to redo an old, boring bulletin board and make it something fun for you to hang on your wall.  Unfortunately, the first one I made didn't match my kitchen...at all.  (Click here to see the DIY Bulletin Board Refashion Tutorial #1)  So, I went back to the drawing board.

After seeing this at Hobby Lobby,

the wheels started turning.  I loved the shape, though I wanted it wider, and I loved the idea of a pattern on it, so I came up with this version.

Here's how I did it:

Bulletin board (MDF backing is fine, but no hard wood or you'll need to get a band saw or something similar)
Box cutter
Sharpie marker
Paper and tape
Fabric (I used an oatmeal colored linen-type fabric that I found at Walmart for around $2.50/yard)
4 large tea bags (optional)
Bucket and hot water (optional)
Freezer paper
Iron/ironing board
Spray bottle of water

Step 1:

Find a shape that you like (I did a google search for frame outlines - you need it to be a jpg or gif file, no png's).  Upload your picture to Blockposters.com.  It's this AMAZING website that allows you to blow up pictures to any size you want and print it out - for free!  I blew the shape up to the size I wanted my bulletin board to be, printed it out, taped it together and cut out the shape.

Step 2:
Lay your shape on top of your bulletin board and trace around the edge with a Sharpie.

Step 3:
Using your box cutter, cut out your shape.  I was trying to do this in a way that I didn't have to buy any special (or expensive) cutting equipment.  It worked, but the edges weren't as crisp as if I had cut it with a band saw or whatever it's called.  (I obviously don't know tools very well...hence my desire to stay away from having to use them ;P)  But since you're covering this with fabric anyway, it doesn't really matter.

 Step 4 (Optional):
Tea-stain your fabric.  I poured hot water from the faucet into a bucket, added 4 large tea bags to it, threw my fabric in there and set it out in the hot Texas sun.  If you don't want your fabric to have any splotches of color, wait until your tea steeps sufficiently to add your fabric - I kind of liked the splotched look - gave it some personality.  Let your fabric sit for about 1 hour, then throw it in the dryer.  Iron it for crispness when it comes out.

Step 5:
Lay your fabric on the floor and place bulletin board on top.  Cut fabric around the board so that you have enough left to staple to the back.

Step 6:
Get your stapler, lay it out flat and start stapling like you would onto a bulletin board hanging on the wall.  For any corners or curves, cut the fabric and pull it tight before stapling to get the cleanest edges.

Step 7:
Cut off all excess fabric from the back and turn it over - you now have a beautifully covered bulletin board!

I did not get any pictures beyond this point because I honestly wanted to shoot myself during this stage.  My printer decided to hate me and jam about 20 million times, and there was weeping and gnashing of teeth on my part - not something I exactly wanted to photograph for posterity.  So, sorry - I'll have to paint you some word pictures.

Step 8:
Find a graphic that you like and print it in mirror image if it isn't there already.  I found some really pretty graphics for use at Free Vintage Digital Stamps and The Graphics Fairy.  The Graphics Fairy actually already has them in mirror image for you, so AWESOME!  If your printer doesn't have this option, or it's not easy to find this option, go to Befunky.com.  It's a free photo editing website and you can flip your image by uploading it and selecting: Edits - Rotate/Flip - Horizontal Flip.  Save it and you're good to go :D

I used this picture for mine: 

And flipped it at Befunky.com to this:

Step 9:
Upload your picture to Blockposters.com and figure out how big you need it to be.  Save the PDF.  Here's where it gets tricky and kind of time-consuming, because you're going to make your own transfers.

Step 10:
Cut freezer paper to the size of a piece of regular printer paper (8 1/2 x11), and tape around the edges to said piece of printer paper - this is for your sanity, so that the thin and annoying freezer paper doesn't jam your printer.  MAKE SURE THE SHINY SIDE IS UP!!!!  Print ONE page at a time just to avoid jams and such and to make sure that your image doesn't smudge (of course, this is a collage, and I totally smudged and messed it up many times, but you can't really tell - which is so great :D)

Step 11:
With your bulletin board on your ironing board, spray the section you are working on with water so it is damp - not soaking.  Have your iron set to medium low (around 4 on mine) without steam.  Line up your image where you want it to go and iron it down to the board.  The freezer paper will make it stick, helping to avoid smudges while you burnish the image.  Rub the back of a spoon all over the image, pushing firmly, so that the ink will really sink into the fabric (If fabric is too wet, the ink will run, hence the reason why you only want it damp - it'll actually sink into the fabric without running).

Step 12: 
Peel off the freezer paper and VOILA!  You have transferred a portion of your image!  

Step 13: 
Repeat steps 10-12 for the remainder of your picture, making sure you line things up carefully before ironing them down - once you do, it's a done deal.  

I actually ironed some different sections in different places because I wanted it to have more of a "collage" feel - and I had some blank spaces I didn't like.  Do whatever you think looks good.

Step 14: 
Spray the entire surface with aerosol hairspray to help image stay put.

Step 15: 
Hang that puppy up on the wall!!

Now - how to hang it...I totally jacked this part up.  The backing of the board was of such a material that it basically just peeled off whenever I put anything sticky on it - ruining the sticky stuff, I might add, because then there were bits all stuck to it.  

First I tried the wall velcro - fail
Then I tried duct tape with wall velcro on top - fail
Then I used push pins to hold the duct tape on with the wall velcro on top - that got it to stay on the wall, so I left it like that.  I'm sure there's a better way to do this, but I'm not clever enough to figure it out.  Any suggestions???

Thanks for stopping by!  

***I fully recognize that any amount of intelligence or creativity I have is a gift from God.  What I have been freely given, I freely give.  But if you choose to use these tutorials to sell items from, I would ask that you consider joining the Let Justice Flow Initiative, where you commit to donating either 10% of the total purchase price of each item, or designate a specific item for sale where the entire purchase price is donated to an organization that helps fight injustices around the world.  There are specific groups listed to give you an idea on the LJF page.  And feel free to snag the LJF button and put it on your page or etsy site.  Thanks!!***

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DIY Bulletin Board Refashion Tutorial #1

I've been trying to redo the everyday items we use in our kitchen - well, all around our house, actually - so that they don't look so...ugly.  There, I said it.  I'm tired of having things in my kitchen that are a decade or older and LOOK like it.  I don't mind old stuff, I just don't want it to look junky.  Here's a picture of what our bulletin board looked like before:


There was nothing inherently wrong with it, I was just tired of it, you know?  Then when I was at Hobby Lobby, I saw this and thought the stripes were adorable. 

So, I took that idea and started running.  Here's what I came up with and what you'll need to do it yourself:

Old bulletin board (without a wooden backing - MDF is fine, but solid or hard wood is not going to work with this method - you'll need to get a band saw or whatever they call it.)
Yard stick
Box cutter
Fabric - (Mine was called "Oatmeal" something or other and I got it at Walmart for $2.50/yard or something like that)
painters' or masking tape
foam brushes
Stapler and staples
Freezer paper
Iron and ironing board

Step 1:
Rip that sucker out of its frame!  I thought this would be a simple "pop-it-out-the-back-of-the-frame" procedure.  Ha ha ha!!!  WRONG!  The bulletin board actually fit inside a groove in the frame, so I went all ninja on it and starting ripping it out by hand - the hardest way possible.  I suggest you use your box cutter to cut it out as best you can or somehow manage to take the frame apart first so you can just pull the cork board portion out.

Step 2:
Measure and cut the board to the dimensions that you would like for your wall, or just even off the edges - I had to ;P

Step 3: Lay your fabric out (iron it first to get it really crisp) and lay your bulletin board on top of it and cut around with enough to staple to the back.

Step 4: 
Get your mod podge and slather that stuff on the front of your bulletin board, then smooth your fabric over the top of it. 

Step 5: Staple the extra fabric to the back, doing sides first and leaving corners for last (Open stapler so it lays flat and push onto the fabric, like you would on a bulletin board on the wall). 

 Here are some detailed pictures on how to get a crisp corner:

Step 6: Flip back over and carefully place your tape in even intervals.

(Fold edges of tape over for crisp edges on sides)

Step 7: Paint the part of fabric that is uncovered by the tape - this will take A LOT of paint, just be aware of that when purchasing)

Step 8: Carefully peel off the tape.

(You might need to resmooth the fabric out because the tape will probably pull the fabric up in certain places)

Step 9:  Here's the fun part - find a shape that you like.  I did a google image search and found an outline I liked.  Then go to Blockposters.com.  This is an A-MAZ-ING website.  You can upload any picture and it will blow it up for you to print off on a certain amount of paper - for FREE!!  So if you want the picture to be three pages wide, then it will figure it out, and you can print it out, assemble it (tape it together for sure!) and you have your very own large template!  I'm in LOVE :D

Step 10: Once you have your template cut out and ready, trace it onto freezer paper (with shiny side DOWN) and cut that out like a stencil.

Step 11: Iron freezer paper to board and paint in the middle.  The image is crispest if you paint from the freezer paper in so that paint doesn't leak under the edges.  Peel freezer paper off when done - be careful not to get any paint on the rest of your board.

Excuse my chubby preggo feet ;P

Step 12: Let dry and then hang on your wall :D  There are several ways to accomplish that, which I will cover in the Bulletin Board Refashion Tutorial #2 

You can also make really cute push pins by gluing rhinestones to thumb tacks (shown in picture) 

Enjoy your beautiful new bulletin board!  Unfortunately for me, this matched NOTHING in my kitchen, so I had to try again, coming soon!

***I fully recognize that any amount of intelligence or creativity I have is a gift from God.  What I have been freely given, I freely give.  But if you choose to use these tutorials to sell items from, I would ask that you consider joining the Let Justice Flow Initiative, where you commit to donating either 10% of the total purchase price of each item, or designate a specific item for sale where the entire purchase price is donated to an organization that helps fight injustices around the world.  There are specific groups listed to give you an idea on the LJF page.  And feel free to snag the LJF button and put it on your page or etsy site.  Thanks!!***

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Yeah, I know you can totally see my reflection.  By the time I got to the picture-taking phase, I was so done I didn't care.

Well, some of you may have noticed that I took a couple of days off - or maybe no one noticed.  Either way, totally fine.  I was busy making a gazillion prototype cookies for Halloween and Homecoming.  For those of you who don't know, I have a small business that I run out of my home - well, two actually - Happy Heartbreaker Boutique and Sweet-E Pie & Babycakes.  Happy Heartbreaker is my retro accessories line and Sweet-E Pie is a hodge-podge of kids' items, accessories, and hand-decorated sugar cookies.  The cookies are fun, but MAN they take a long time!  And I know I shouldn't be weird about it, but it really burns my butt when things don't work for me the first time I try them ;P  I know, I know - I shouldn't possibly expect perfection on the first try.  But honestly, I have this vision in my head, and then the reality reminds me of something I'd see on Pinstrosity or somewhere like that.  Crazy perfectionist alert.  But just to prove that I HAVE been busy, here are some pictures of the ones that didn't turn out TOO bad.  Let me know what you think :D  But be nice - I'm pregnant and hormonal and mean people make me cry ;P






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