Sunday, February 28, 2010

I am a Kreativ Blogger!

This announcement is a long time coming, but Darcel over at The Mahogany Way nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger award!

Thank you, Darcel! I'm so honored to be in the group of phenomenal bloggers you put together.

Kreativ Blogger award

See, you know it's kreativ because of the spelling. Get it? Makes me want to change the "blogger" part to "blogeür." And maybe I will.

Darcel is a wonderful blogger (blogeür) I've been enjoying getting to know through the Carnival of Natural Parenting, so yea for carnivals! The Mahogany Way covers topics like home birth (great birth story up right now!), unschooling (5-year-old, 2.5-year-old, and baby on the way!), breastfeeding, cosleeping, pregnancy, and all those other sorts of things I know you all love!

Here's what Darcel said about her reward recipients:
Each one of these ladies has a beautiful blog, and I don't mean just the looks. I love visiting their blogs. They inspire, are thought provoking, and beautiful women to know.
The instructions are to nominate five other bloggers to pass on the award to. I don't see anything more complicated to it than that. Being the kreativ blogger that I am, though, and due to the fact that I failed to follow the rules last time I was nominated for an award and missed the chance to publicly appreciate a ton o' blogs, I'm passing this baby on to eight bloggers.

That's right, you heard me. Breakin' the law, breakin' the law. Heh heh... It occurs to me that it's a little sad I can quote Beavis and Butt-head. I blame my high-school boyfriend.

All right, my super-duper nominees for the Kreativ Blogger award (in alphabetical order, because apparently I'm not that kreativ):
  • Blacktating — Because of all the intriguing and engaging breastfeeding news, and Elita's unique perspectives and the way she engages lactivist issues.
  • Geeks in Rome — Expats are always fabulous, aren't they? Eurydice is no exception. "Witty and wise" seems like a cliché, but hey, if the shoe fits!
  • Look left of the pleiades — For all Ruth's fresh and honest approaches to parenting, including a fierce advocacy for breastfeeding and a flashy array of haircolors!
  • Molly's Place —Molly decided to take her blog public, and I'm so glad for it, because she has such intuitive ways of looking at parenting and the experiences of being a working mother.
  • Musings of a Milk Maker — I heard through the grapevine (or Twitter, one or the other) that the blog name may change since Sybil herself is transitioning from being the mother of nurslings to being the mother of school-age kids. I'm enjoying riding along, because she tackles even tough issues with openness and intuition, like dealing with one daughter's anxiety.
  • Rachel's Ramblings — She calls it rambling; I call it insight. Rachel always has something interesting to capture your attention and your thoughts.
  • —Who doesn't like Amber Strocel? I mean, seriously. Go read some of her anecdotes into life with two towheaded cuties, and see if you're not won over by her unconceited, level-headed charm.
  • This Is Worthwhile — Jessica is a no-holds-barred creative (or kreativ) whirlwind of edge-of-your-seat writing and nod-along insights. She's not afraid to hold an unflickering light up to (stay-at-home) motherhood and tell it like it is, which makes her a rare breed in mommy-bloggerdom.
I also found these alternate images for the award, so I figure all you kreativ types can choose whichever image floats your template's boat:

Kreativ Blogger award Kreativ Blogger award

For any award recipients of mine: I will not be checking on you to make sure you follow the rulez, since I cannot be trusted to do the same, so just enjoy that other people (me) are thinking of you and are thinking, specifically, that you are awesome. Thank you for what you share with the bloggy world! Keep on kreating!

Carnival of Natural Parenting submissions due Tuesday!

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaDid the end of February surprise you as much as it did me? Submissions for the March Carnival of Natural ParentingVintage green — are due this Tuesday, Mar. 2.

Tell us about something green your parents did with you as a kid — or that you're doing now with your own kids! If you have more dreams than realities, let us know those instead so we can dream along with you.

Fill out our webform here, and then email your submissions to codenamemama {at} and mail {at}

Mama Knows Breast winner announced

Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to BreastfeedingHead on over to Hobo Mama Reviews to see who won a copy of Mama Knows Breast, a breastfeeding guide by Andi Silverman!

I also currently have a Mini Mei Tai up for grabs, if you're into that whole babywearing scene...

You'll be proud to know I have given away two regular-size mei tais this weekend, and I found out I was the one who inspired a friend to go for a home birth! You never know what seeds you'll plant, right? I have a good story of my own to tell about that someday...

If anyone has copyright citations
for the images in the awards, 
let me know and I'll be sure to add them!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bilingual carnival and last day for a giveaway!

The bilingual blog carnival is now up at Spanglish Baby — We're Not Alone.

Home Butterfield First Words Tab BookThis month includes my post on Bilingual children's books: A cheater's guide. I hope to write a later post about non-cheating ways to get cheap(ish) bilingual children's books, so do let me know of any resources you find particularly helpful! I remembered one more simple English book that can be translated easily enough into another language that I'd intended to include in that post, so I'll mention it here in case you can find it: Home. It was hard to find because it has the most generic name ever.

Besides my dubious advice (hee hee), the bilingual carnival features articles on managing bilingualism with pre-teens, using music to reinforce a minority language, parallel literacy, raising siblings bilingually, working through struggles and discouragement, being a non-native speaker (I've gotta read that one!), and more! So head on over to recognize that we're in this together.

To participate in future bilingual carnivals, get the carnival schedule and sign up for the newsletter at Bilingual for Fun!

I have a giveaway ending today at Hobo Mama Reviews! Go to, tell me a sentence or two about something interesting you read, and be entered to win a copy of a breastfeeding book by the author. So easy, such a reward! Enter by 11:59 PST, or be square. Or something that rhymes.

I'm ready to be done with the sickness around here. Anyone with me?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Babywearing dad

Ergo dad and baby newborn

Aren't men who babywear hot? Here's one of my favorites of Sam back when Mikko was a tiny (relatively) newborn in the Ergo.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How to make a doll sling: A tutorial in pictures

All right, full credit for this idea goes to Missy of A Work in Progress, who suggested in an aside that I should use the scraps from my normal-size mei tai baby carrier to make a mini mei tai for little babywearing kids and their dolls.

So read on — a 41-step process to craft a no-sew (or minimal-sew: your choice) doll carrier mei tai out of fleece scraps. Skip a step at your peril.

(Editor's note: Slightly abridged version with pattern is at the end, as well as a chance to WIN YOUR OWN mini mei tai!)

Take your existing mei tai and drape it around your willing dressform to eyeball how much smaller your new version has to be.
Confirm that room is as messy as possible for the pictures.

Make sure he's holding two baby dolls to allow for tandem babywearing.

Sorta kinda measure your child and mark the results on your scrap fabric, using a precise scientific method.

Admit that perhaps pins might be more helpful, so mark the overall length you want.

Cut nowhere near your mark because you have an obsession to make everything too big.

Have your cat get in the way of your picture taking.

Decide to take a picture of her instead, but have trouble with the focus. Watermark the pictures so no one can deny the proof of your genius.

Ah, there we go.

Have your sick child get mad at you that he's not sitting on your lap as he has for the past four days straight.

Ask his father to please take the cranky guy on a walk.

Go back to taking pictures and find the cat's tail in the way.

Distract her with the box of pins.

Muse on the awesomeness of the name Prym Dritz.

Measure out the strap widths because you forget the trick of folding fabric in half. Every time you sew.

Mark how tall the apron part should be so you don't cut the straps too far.

With all your pins marked, get ready to cut.

Be interrupted by hysterical baby who won't leave for a walk until he has nummies first.

Have husband carry over the invalid.

Look into your child's look of reproach for not paying absolute attention to him.

Check out how long this sucker is.

Start those scissors, and appreciate how nice and sharp your new pair are.

Look up to see what's going on with ice skating.

Cut over across the top of the apron.

Witness it all cut out! Consider stopping here, because honestly — dolls aren't that heavy. You could just kind of wrap the shoulder straps around the doll's bum tightly enough to hold it in.

But realize people might think you're a slacker for not doing a proper mei tai. Resign yourself to sewing on a waist strap.

Cut the remaining scrap in half lengthwise.

Fold it in half and pin it onto the bottom of the apron, matching up centers.

Check out the underside view.

Congratulate yourself that you were able to find your sewing machine. Then note that the power cord is not with it. Sigh loudly.

Grudgingly bring down your hand-sewing box. Hope that thread and needles are inside the jumble.

Dark green? Sure, you can work with that.

And it's done! Pat yourself on the back and wait impatiently for your kid to get back from his walk with dad.

In the meantime, make sure the (naked, always) doll will fit. Yup.

Keep one eye on the Olympics.

Compare the size of the mini mei tai to the regular one. Yup, it's smaller.

They're back! Get help trying it on your son.

Admire how cute it is even from the back.

Coo over the sweet cuddliness of a babywearing baby.

Take the mini mei tai off because your two-year-old refuses to keep it on.

Oh, well, it was cute while it lasted. Give yourself an A for babywearing effort.

Here is the real tutorial:

Mini Mei Tai doll baby carrier pattern from Hobo MamaYou can click to see the pattern larger.

I've adapted the mini mei tai pattern from my regular mei tai pattern, which was in turn adapted from a pattern at (but the links to that site don't appear to be currently working).

The idea is that this pattern should fit within the scraps you had left over from making the adult mei tai out of a heavy fleece fabric. If you look at the pattern for the large size version here, you'll see that three large pink areas are discards. There should be something in there that would give you enough fabric to create a mini mei tai for a baby doll.

Otherwise, just look for some other big fleece scraps you have around! Fleece is preferable because you don't have to hem it since it won't unravel. Yea! Plus, it will be plenty sturdy enough to hold a doll or two or three.

The measurements I used in the photographs above turned out to be a wee bit large. I've tried to adjust the finished size down for the pattern. That said, compare your own child's size. I have a 2-year-old who weighs 35-ish pounds and wears 4T, and his biggest doll is 14 inches long; if your child (or doll) is much smaller or much larger, you might want to do a specific waist and torso (and doll) measurement to see what would be best. Keep in mind that big dolls might be able to have their legs outside of the fabric apron as with carrying a larger baby in a real mei tai.

In this pattern, the apron covering the child's chest will be 12 inches wide and 14 inches tall. The straps will be about 45 inches long.

To use the pattern: fold fabric over into a big rectangle and mark and cut out, along the folded side, the smaller pink rectangle of approximately 3 inches by 45 inches. You'll probably have excess to cut off the other side and the top or bottom as well, unless you want an oversized mini mei tai like mine. I mean, hey, mine works, so whatever you want to do! You know, it's scraps anyway, so if you want to just sort of eyeball it, feel free.

And that's it, if you want to stick with not sewing. The leftover scraps weren't enough to do a legitimate no-sew mei tai with waist straps, but I think the shoulder straps alone should be sufficient to hold a doll's weight.

But, if you don't mind sewing a straight line or two, you can add a waist strap from the small pink rectangle you cut out.

Cut the leftover rectangle in half lengthwise and then line it up along the bottom of the apron, as in the pictures. (Those captions were serious.) I folded mine in half lengthwise and tucked the bottom of the apron inside so that the mei tai would be reversible and look the same from either side.

Then just sew the waist strap on! I imagine you could use some sort of hemming tape or glue if you really want a waist strap and really don't want to sew.

Does that all make sense?

Then you tie it on your child like a normal mei tai:
  • If you have a waist strap, tie that on first.
  • Have your kid hold her doll against her chest while you pull the apron up over the doll's back and smooth the shoulder straps over your child's shoulders.
  • Cross the shoulder straps over her back.
  • Bring the shoulder straps around front and tie. You can do a knot or a bow.
  • If you don't have a waist strap, tie the shoulder straps under the doll's bum to keep it hoisted!

This should be ever so clear, but let me be explicit: This is a doll carrier. It is not meant for human babies. It is not designed to support an infant's weight, only a doll's. Supervise your kid if he's likely to try to wear his baby sister when you're not looking! Also just supervise your kid in general, because these are some long straps on this carrier that could be a hazard if your child becomes tangled. Keep an eye out when the carrier is in use, and put the carrier away when not in use. Ok?

So what do you think? Is this cute or what? Passing on babywearing to the next generation!

Send me your photos if you make one, and I will die from the adorableness. I also welcome any feedback or suggestions, because I am not, and I think there is no doubt here, advanced at doing sewing tutorials and/or sewing. Oh, and did I mention the pattern's not to scale? It so isn't.

For a chance to WIN YOUR OWN Mini Mei Tai, check out my giveaway post on Hobo Mama Reviews! Winner chooses from these four sweet fabrics. Contest closes March 18, which should give you lots of time to pick.

Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to BreastfeedingWhile you're there, check out my giveaways page, where you can currently also win a copy of Mama Knows Breast, a wonderful breastfeeding guide by Andi Silverman.

Just think what a great combo pack this would be for a new sibling gift: a mini mei tai for the older sib, and the breastfeeding book for the mama!

In fact, get an extra entry into the mini mei tai giveaway by entering the Mama Knows Breast giveaway! But hurry — the Mama Knows Breast giveaway ends this Thursday, Feb. 25!

Read more about different baby carriers and babywearing, complete with pictorial how-tos, in my Natural Parent's Guide to Babywearing!