Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Identity

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[The view from my backyard last night]

This isn’t really like a lot of the other posts that I write here in this blog. I’m not writing about sewing, sharing multiple pics of my kids or reviewing/giving anything away here … I just feel like having a deep and meaningful ramble about something that I just can’t get out of my head.

As this blog grows, morphs and changes – I sometimes wonder if it’s having a bit of an identity crisis … is it a sewing/parenting blog that does a few reviews and giveaways? Or perhaps it best comes under the old catch-all ‘a lifestyle blog’ (whatever that means.) At any rate it’s a bit of a mix, a bit like me and that’s just the way I like it. One thing that doesn’t come into the mix as much as it probably should is my Christian faith – being the most important thing in my life, I hope that it shines through everything I do, (although this is perhaps a bit of a cop out); but it seems that I don’t talk about it explicitly that much here in this place. To be honest I think because a lot of times it’s just easier to post pictures and words take a bit more thought and effort.

For that reason this post is a bit different.

Like my blog, I have had times of feeling like I’m having a bit an identity crisis too. As a child at school there seem to be a few main ‘identities’ we are aligned with – we’re either the smart kid, the sporty kid or the popular kid. Of course there are the opposites of this too (the kids that consider themselves ‘dumb’, un-sporty etc and of course lots of other things like musical etc.) Sadly, in NZ as it’s been much publicised in the media recently we still also have a bit of a distinction between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Anyway you get the picture, the list could go on.

When we leave school our identities seem to be dominated by what we are studying/ where we are travelling/ our relationship status. Then of course after that it’s all about the career. and for some of us babies. It seems to be a pretty common theme for woman to find the career to babies transition a moment of identity crisis.

For me, while I know I definitely wasn’t one of the smartest kids in school, I worked pretty hard and did pretty well. I continued on to University and then definitely would have to say that I felt that a lot of my identity was wrapped up in what I did for a job. I didn’t mind letting go of this though, because despite never being that clucky; the joy I found in Motherhood took me by surprise and I felt pretty fulfilled. It was unexpected then, that I’d feel another pang of identity crisis though soon after moving cities a couple of years ago. I made new friends most of whom only knew me as ‘just a Mum.’ 

I sometimes wonder if this is part of the reason I’ve become so obsessed with sewing since I’ve become a Mum. ‘I’m crafty AND I’m a Mum.’

I read this article the other day, and while I had a bit of a different experience and in many ways a different perspective than her; the author Deborah Hill Cone makes some interesting points and shows that this loss of identity is not an uncommon feeling amongst new mothers. She says: “Before I had the baby, I'd been a successful journalist. I'd worn high heels, covered High Court trials, been in control of my life. Afterwards, I didn't know who I was. Worst of all, whatever being a mother involved, I felt I was not doing it nearly well enough.” 

So as a Mum, particularly a stay at home one we try to emphasise the value and identity of Motherhood. This seems to be truer still within Christian circles. Says Luma Simms in an article of the Desiring God Website;

“There is value in motherhood. I think many of us can intellectually assent to the fact that what we are doing has infinite consequence.” [And she goes on to say:] “…there are many books and blog posts out there telling women every day that being a stay-at-home mom is “a high calling” or “a valuable vocation.” …

But this "encouragement” falls short and can actually leave mothers even more discouraged and guilty in the end. These types of “exhortations” are based on a sandy premise. While holding up motherhood as a worthy vocation (which it is) it points mothers back to ourselves to get us to feel good about what we are doing. It builds on sand because it tells us to look at ourselves and find worth, honor and value in motherhood. Even saying that motherhood is a high calling because God says so can be unfulfilling.

I know because I used to be like a mouse on a treadmill thinking the next book may just do the trick in releasing me from discouragement, and the guilt and the joyless service of motherhood.

Instead Luma says we should not look within ourselves, but to Christ for our identity. This is something I think I have to remind myself everyday. But when I do I find comfort despite my own failings and inadequacies, because as Luma says: “We look to Christ because He is infinitely worthy, infinitely valuable, infinitely lovely. A Christian mother is in Christ, and so when God the Father sees me, He sees me through and in him. Follow the logic here. My worth and value is found in Christ.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV /

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

And just because I’ve had this song rolling around in my head too… (I think hope and identity are interchangeable here, don’t you think?)

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Thanks for listening. x

NZ Kid’s Clothing Review Series {Gummies} Plus a GIVEAWAY!

gaga for gummies

How cool are these Gummies? – a gorgeous range of kids’ and Ladies’ gumboots (also known as ‘Wellingtons’ for those of you not from NZ) “featuring designs by New Zealand artists which celebrate our identity, life and culture.” What could be more Kiwi than that?

Noah was extremely lucky to be sent this pair of Pukeko kid's gummies and he LOVES them!

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He was so excited when the courier arrived with them!

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They are perfect for pottering around the back yard, trips to the park, playing in the sandpit at kindy and cuddling your baby sister (of course!) They would also make an awesome gift, especially for little Kiwis living overseas, perhaps?

These cute little Gummies make playing outside/ helping in the garden even more fun. In the kid’s range there are 6 different designs to choose from: My Little Kiwi, Hobby Farm, Farm Scene, Clean Green, Kiwiana and the ones Noah is rocking: the Kid's Pukeko Style. All the kids’ styles are designed by Mark O’Brien, you can read a bit more about him and the other artists here.

The ladies’ range is gorgeous too – if I had to pick a favourite I’d probably go with Pohutukawa. What’s your favourite?

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And as well as gumboots they also make the most adorable little kid’s gardening tools for your little helper! So cute!

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So you heard me mention a GIVEAWAY???

Yes, the lovely people behind Gummies have TWO pairs of Kid’s Gummies for me to giveaway, one pair each for two of you lovely readers!

gummies giveaway

This is how you can enter:

For your first (and mandatory) entry you just need to visit the Gummies Website, then comment here with the style of Kids’ Gummies and size you would pick if you won (subject to availability of course.)

You can also earn bonus entries as follows (please leave a separate comment for each):

Bonus entry 1# Follow this blog (GFC/ Bloglovin'/ Facebook)

Bonus entry 2# Like Gummies on Facebook

Bonus entry 3#  Share this giveaway on your choice of social media (FB/ twitter/ blog)

That’s a total of 4 possible entries each!

[The T’s & C’s: Please leave separate comments per entry and include your email address if it’s not linked in your profile. The winner will be drawn on 13 August 2013 at 8pm (NZ time). This giveaway is open to NZ residents only and if the winner(s) can not be reached after 1 week new winner(s) will be drawn. Gummies will post out the prizes.]

Thanks so much the lovely Margot at Gummies for this amazing opportunity!

Jen x

Read more:

Monday, 29 July 2013

Weebits Giveaway Winner

So …. I drew the winner  for the Weebits Chunky Hat last night.  (pssst … ‘Hello’ to all my new followers who have popped over from Weebits on Facebook!)

Mr random.org spat out lucky #17 - A Little Bit Country, congratulations! Please send me an email with your postage address, desired colour and size and I will forward it onto Debbie at Weebits.

And to everyone else – make sure you’re following along with Weebits on Facebook to keep abreast of all sales and competitions – there always seem to be giveaways running there!

Thanks again Debbie for making this giveaway possible!

Jen x

Want to read more?

P.S. I’ll be back with another review, including ANOTHER EXCITING GIVEAWAY later today!

Stills (catch up edition)

Life has been happening faster than I can blog at the moment. In the last few weeks the kids have got bunks, and there’s been teething (Pipi and Isabelle), rolling (Pipi), mini-holidaying (fun), vomiting (not so fun), family visiting and 80th birthday celebrating. So this is my attempt to catch up on some of these happenings through a few pics (though none of the vomiting, thank goodeness!)

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1-2: We headed away on a wee mini holiday last Friday to Rotorua and grabbed some Pipi Pizza on the way – such delicious pizza and such a great name!

3-5: While on holiday the kids got to ride ponies and do a couple of carnival-type activities on the lakefront.

6: Out to it on the way home.

7-8: The first roll, and feeling pretty pleased with herself.

9: Top bunk tea-partying

10: Baby wearing – Thanks to my sister-in-law, Danica for the awesome Hug-a-bub

11: Is it just me or do Auntie Lecy and Isabelle look alike? Fun times at Nana’s 80th.

12: An awesome verse and some new wall art.

Joining in with the lovely Em

Jen x

Sunday, 28 July 2013

30/52

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Pipi: (At Andrew’s Nana’s 80th birthday in the weekend.)  Pipi is teething at the moment (I know!), the dribble from which resulted in her name badge disintegrating.

I just love her eyes in this photo.

Isabelle: On Daddy’s shoulders at the farmer’s market this morning. Andrew loves this photo because he says it reminds him how she gently tugs at his hair when up there.

Noah: 9 out of 10 photos I take of this boy are like this. This boy just LOVES his baby sister.

Xx

Joining in over here

To see more of my weekly portraits go here.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

NZ Kid’s Clothing Review Series {KILT Baby}

I’m sure you are already familiar with KILT,  specialists in NZ made designer clothing; but did you know that they also make gorgeous baby and kid's clothes?

Noah loves KILT

Here Noah is wearing an Electric K Cotton Baby Hoodie in size 4 and as you can tell he’s pretty excited about it. With good reason too – it is as soft and snuggly as a cloud and the colour is as bright and cheerful as his personality. I particularly like the generously sized waist band and how it is so lovely and thick and luxurious.

KILT make these hoodies are few other designs and colours and also in lovely warm merino! I really like the original and quirky designs and especially love how pretty much all of the designs and colours are unisex – this makes them versatile and perfect for handing down to younger siblings. The workmanship is impeccable and you can just tell that they will last and last. The prices are very reasonable too, for such well made garments.

Here are few of the other hoodie designs …

KILT hoodies

Grey Birds Cotton Baby Hoodie / 53 Sky Merino Baby Hoodie 

Melon Chair Merino Baby Hoodie / Black Clock Merino Baby Hoodie

Khaki Reeds Cotton Baby Hoodie / Kermit K Cotton Baby Hoodie

There are a few other designs and colours available too – you will have to check them out for yourself!

As well as these gorgeous hoodies I have recently discovered that KILT make some gorgeous little pinnies and rompers too… (I’m going to have to hide the credit card come Summer, because I can only imagine how cute Pipi would look in some of these…)

KILT pinnies and rompers

Garden Baby Pinny / Summer Baby Pinny

Purple Retro Baby Romper / Brown Paisley Baby Romper

…Just a few of my favourites – I think the Garden Baby Pinny (top left) is my ultimate fave, how about you?

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So next time you’re in the market for some original, colourful and fun loving, quality, NZ MADE baby/kid’s clothing make sure you check out KILT Baby!

Or do you need a few new pieces in YOUR wardrobe? Check out the rest of KILT's range or pop into one of their lovely stores around the Country.

You can also stay connected with KILT on Facebook or Twitter

Jen Xx

Want to read more?

Do you sell NZ designed and/or made baby/kids wear, and want to be featured in my review series? Please drop me a line at noahandisy@gmail.com

Monday, 22 July 2013

How to recycle an old top (Kid’s Clothes Week Round-up)

For me, joining in with Kid's Clothes Week became a bit of an unofficial challenge of how I could use this old op shop top.

I didn’t start out with that challenge in mind, it just kind of happened. But it was fun to find a different way to use it each day.

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DAY ONE: 2 merino tees for Noah

DAY TWO: A top for Isabelle and some leggings for Pipi

DAY THREE: A little dress for Isabelle

DAY FOUR: Noah's houndstooth hoodie

Of course, as I mentioned before I didn’t say for the last couple of day because we went away on a little holiday, it was probably a good thing too because as much as I loved my self-made challenge, I have to admit that I was getting a little over the houndstooth pattern (I’m sure you probably were too!)

Besides, I did manage to achieve the goals I made going into this which was to take it easy and to try and sew at least one item for each of my 3 kids. (Noah got 3 items, Isy: 2 and Pipi: 1).

Oh … and there was the other minor detail that Noah’s hoodie got featured on the KCW blog! Whaaat? Yup, I was more than a little bit excited and honoured to get a mention amongst so much sewing talent!

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I really enjoy the challenge of recycling old clothes, for 2 main reasons really. One, in NZ we are really lacking in good patterned knit (stretchy fabric) – I’m sure I’ve moaned about that here before. Because of this old stretchy tops are often the best option. Secondly, it’s part of the whole Mend and Make New philosophy about recycling, being inventive and thrifty,  and using things in new and different ways. In many ways I felt a bit like a butcher when cutting up this top (in a good way) in that I try and use different parts of the meat top for maximum benefit. (eg: I try and re-use any existing hems where I can – as I did in the pocket above; or how I re-used the waist tie and sleeves in Isabelle's dress.)

Anyway, I think I’ve probably ranted enough, here are a few ‘out-takes’ of my kids being goofy!

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…And a couple of over-used photos of my littliest one, who just can’t help being cute!

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Did you join in … or sew some clothes for your kid’s recently? Or have you recycled any old clothes when sewing?

I hope to be posting the next instalment in my NZ Kid's Clothing Review Series tomorrow.

Jenny x

Joining in with Show and Tell  and Sew and Tell Saturday

Sunday, 21 July 2013

29/52

In case you didn’t read the comment in my last post or thought I’d fallen off the Kid's Clothes Week bandwagon; we have just returned from bit of an impromptu getaway to the metropolis that is Roto-vegas.

So instead of sewing for the last couple of days we’ve enjoyed a well needed break and some great family time. I plan to post later this coming week a KCW round-up post plus another with a few more pics of our mini-holiday.

Anyway, here are my 52 photos for the week…

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“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Isabelle: Enjoying a pony ride during our time away in Rotorua. Despite being advised to put 2 hands on the saddle, that thumb of hers did not leave her mouth (as per usual).

Noah + Pipi: Awww these two – sorry to overuse this photo for both KCW and this, but how gorgeous is this mutual sibling admiration?

Xx

Joining in over here

For the rest of my 52 project (so far) see here

Thursday, 18 July 2013

KCW: Day 4

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Last night I put out this question on my Facebook page :

“The Kid's Clothes Week is kinda turning into a challenge for me to see how many ways I can use this old op shopped top ... have you got any ideas of how I could use it next?”

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You all commented with some great and some very interesting responses, (Tamara, Andrew sadly declined to model houndstooth undies.)

In the end I decided to make this hoodie for Noah using the Somerset Hoodie pattern which I’ve used before here. Because it has a crossover neckline I was able to reuse the feature of the original top saving myself about 4 steps. Winning! I also adapted the pattern a bit given this shortcut and I also lined the hood with a bit of neon knit fabric. For the back and sleeves I used some black rib knit and I repurposed another old top for the back of the hood and the bands/cuffs.

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I may not sew for the final couple of days of Kids Clothes Week, because we are planning on taking a bit of a much needed impromptu holiday/ mini-break.

But I’ve much enjoyed the sewing I’ve managed to get done over the week.

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For the rest of my KCW sewing from this week go here.

And to see other people’s projects go here, or check the flickr group. So much prettiness!

Joining in with …

Jen x