November 1st marked the beginning of National Adoption Month; probably the most significant "National anything" to our family, and thus, Hemmed In. I thought this year it'd be a fun way to blog through the month with a 3-part series of our Adoption Story; giving an opportunity for you; our community, to get to know the humans behind Hemmed In a little more, and to celebrate Motherhood from one of its more unique angles.
Ask my friends and they'll tell you: I'm the one who doesn't mind hurting your feelings (only temporarily!) when I tell you there's way too much junk in your house & it all needs to go. And I'm usually the friend called upon when a good purge is needed or a system overhauled.
Ask my poor family who knows that if they can't find some misplaced, but needed, paper or toy or slightly tattered shirt, there's a good chance 'Mom got rid of it' in another (typically weekly) trip to Goodwill.
This year, Grandparent's Day falls on Sunday September 11th, just days from now. While our country will also be remembering the great loss of 9/11 this weekend, it seems to me that taking time to honor Grandparents is a fitting way to remember what our country has been through and the legacy being imprinted on young hearts through the love of generations.
Whether by birth or adoption, Grandparents are treasures deserving of recognition and respect. With young children, disposable time or money isn't exactly within the scope of daily reality, but fear not! Here's a simple, sweet gift you can make in time for Grandparent's Day this Sunday to say Thank You in a meaningful way.
You know I love to brag on the strengths & giftedness of others. Well Father's Day is no exception! That's why I jumped at the chance to brag on my Husband and his amazing parenting skills when this parenting reporter asked for entries on "What Dads Do Best". (Click on the picture to read the whole article.) And I'm more than happy to fight the over-generalized cultural joke/stigma that Dads don't know what they're doing!
It was such a great opportunity for me to sit and think about exactly what Jason does that I simply can't (or don't) do as a parent to Little Lady. The list just kept on growing. She is one blessed girl to have a Father like him. Now that list is going to make a really personal, special addition to an otherwise standard Hallmark Card this weekend!
So I challenge you: before Sunday, sit and think a couple minutes about what your kids love about their Dad. What he does that you don't. How he influences them and what he teaches them that are unique to his personality or strengths. Then write it down and encourage him!!
Dads in our day and age are not very highly valued, and we as moms don't always look beyond our controlling ways to value them ourselves. We ought to celebrate each and every Father who is leading their family and standing against the current of the increasingly-common culture of passive & uninvolved, or even absent, fathers. So now's your chance! But don't let it stop there, make it a habit to point out how great he is, to him and your kiddos. In the daunting task of parenting, we can all use a little 'atta boy every now and then!
And if you're last minute in getting something put together with young kids, this FREE Printable is perfect! It's fast, fun and totally personal. Kids say the darndest things, so this might just be the best present he gets all day! (Click on the picture to be taken to the Free Printable from the original source: Kinzie's Kreations)
"One of the greatest gifts adults can give—to their offspring and to their society—is to read to children." —Carl Sagan
A Hemmed In 3-In-1 Canopy used as a playmat at the local library!
Babies are drawn to books instinctively: the colorful images and the captivating sounds when adults read them aloud. Sure, it's fun to rip out the pages and bite the bindings too, but that's a small price to pay in raising a child to have a love of books.
We all know the benefits of reading to children from infancy on; every parenting book on the planet will actually agree on that particular baby-raising tip: read to your child from the very beginning! The benefits are endless: Reading promotes healthy attachment and bonding as the child hears your voice and feels your closeness, it's linked to increased brain function and a larger vocabulary, and on and on and on the list goes....
So, hopefully your little one is well equipped with books of all sorts to read for years to come. But I think it's (almost!) as important to have a special little place just for them to experience the captivating experience of reading. A Book Nook is like a little getaway within your home that helps transport them to far away places because of it's inspiring nature. You can do it as simply or extravagantly as you like: we've got plenty of examples to get your wheels spinning on our Pinterest Board. For me, simplicity is the name of the game (duh!). So for our book nook, we took what we already had (=an unused, finished closet under the stairs) and created a little space just for Little Lady and her books, where her imagination can run wild...
To be fair, this was all Little Lady's idea. During the first walkthrough of the house, she saw this closet in the basement and claimed it for her own use; requesting a book nook immediately. Before moving day was over, the door was already taken off, and the bookshelf inside. Within a few more days, we unboxed the netting canopy and my old body pillow from pregnancy days. She added her IKEA leaf, a canvas she painted, her preschool diorama and a few little butterflies that used to adorn her bedroom. We used a wall lamp for lighting, tucked into the corner with a switch she can reach to turn off and on. The space was dreamed up and decorated by her, and used by her almost daily!
For your own space, here's the necessities and a few suggestions
to get you going:
Check out BabyLit for all things 'childhood literacy'; and Follow them @Babylit on Instagram: You'll look no further for a curated collection of children's classics.
Plus: Phyllis Harris is a phenomenal children's illustrator who captures the essence of childhood in a whimsical, beautiful way. She's got artwork (see below) and a few books to her credit.
[Phyllis Harris Designs]
These will take any area from ho-hum to impeccably styled. All handmade by a Mama just like you!
Spark their imagination with children's illustrator Phyllis Harris' captivating wall art.
[Phyllis Harris Designs]
For the cutest little book bags that little readers can carry all by themselves--check out Swankaroo's Packs! Adorable and perfect for little hands (you can see ours hanging on the antique desk next to our book nook)
Take a T'Pee anywhere for an instant getaway! Just add books & cushions and that's one easy Book Nook. Done.
Here's to reading to babies--in beautiful spaces!
Almost exactly one year after relaunching Hemmed In with an exclusive Infant Carseat Canopy focus, we're completely revamping it. This past year I've heard from our customers, fans and friends loud & clear: You loved the soft touch of our Minky lining, but wanted a lighter weight option suitable for all climates and all 4 seasons.
After months of experimenting with various fabrics, sourcing all new tags, trims and packaging, and polling every mama I know (plus you lovely Instagram followers!), I am so, SO excited to introduce the All New 3-In-1!!!
The fabric comes to you all the way from Japan, and is heavenly soft. In fact, it only gets softer with every wash!
The double-woven design combines 2 layers of lightweight, breathable fabric that gives it a double-sided look, while also decreasing sheerness. For our Winter Collection, I chose 4 subdued, gender-neutral colorways for a modern, chic look.
Also new this year, I've given over ALL production to a local Sewing factory here in Colorado. I'm very pleased to be able to help support another local business and assure that you are still getting a handmade-in-the-USA product constructed with top quality craftsmanship.
Used as a playmat or blanket, baby will love the soft texture; used as a Nursing Cover, Mama will love the cooler coverage. And of course, as a Carseat Canopy, baby will still be protected from sun, wind, rain, snow or the overly-eager on-lookers ;)
Probably my very favorite part of the new design is the "secret message" just for Mom on the inside of the side tag:
Because every Mama needs to hear (or read!) those words on a regular basis.
I CANNOT wait to get these into your hands!! With the same shape and our unique design, these canopies will still accomplish our mission to help Moms simplify. They still replace 3-4 separate, bulky items with one lightweight, easy-to-use, multi-tasking product that not only does a ton, but looks good too. And they still make the best baby shower gift!
Stay tuned this coming week for some pre-release fun; we've got giveaways planned with some of the top Mama-rated brands-all hosted on our Instagram feed (so follow now if haven't already!)
And to get all the release news first, plus Exclusive offers, make sure you're on our VIP List: you can sign up through the link in the menu or through the bar at the top of our website.
To be released in early February!!
With today being National Adoption Day, a cause very near and dear to my heart, I thought I'd take a minute to share about the big Orphan Care Benefit Event we organized & held at our church a few weeks ago.
Fundraising for an Adoption can seem really daunting, exhausting and make you a bit self-conscious if I can be so honest. And yet, it's a privilege to so many to take part in adoption in that way; helping support others who are actually adopting. People have ASKED to be involved in our adoption, and want to give towards it! So with the help of some really close friends, we came up with this event packed with entertainment, education and FUN all the while benefitting not only our adoption, but a future family's as well.
It was an evening of education & inspiration on the topic of Adoption & Orphan Care in general, with a full meal, Silent Auction and Professional photos for families. All proceeds went towards the last needs of our family's adoption funds and the establishment of an Adoption Grant that our church will be able to give to the next family that pursues adoption.
SO: if you are adopting yourself, or know of a family who is, this is an easily reproducible event that you can do too! It's fun for the whole family, and not only raises much-needed funds for adoption, but also educates and inspires others who may not have yet been introduced to the Orphan Care/Adoption world. Here's how it all came together...
The Informational Flyer & Event Program...
We used these as invitations, promotional flyers and information for accompany our official Donation Request for our Silent Auction vendors. The flyers were printed double-sided and folded. (Click on the gallery to enlarge)
You can't see the set-up too well, but we had friends and family cook 1-2 dishes each, for a total of 10 dishes and a complete holiday-inspired meal. They served it from catering trays, with a table along the back wall of drinks & dessert. Every dish had a beautiful hand-lettered chalkboard easel identifying it and the quality was top-notch. (TIP: Serving is a good idea to ration portions--we had no idea how many people to expect, and that way we didn't run out of food. We had to set up an extra table in a hurry, by the way. It was a PACKED house!!
The Silent Auction...
We had ~25-30 donated items from businesses around our community, and set it up like a traditional silent auction. Bid sheets for each item with minimum starts and $2 incremental bids. This was open until the last 1/2 hour of the event, at which time we collected all the bid sheets and found the winners who were still mingling, picture-taking and nibbling on dessert. With a cashier still on duty, check out was quick and simple, and we didn't have any leftover items to hunt down winners afterwards!
The Professional Photo-Opp...
My Graphic Designer for Hemmed In is also a professional photographer, so we thought--let's set up a fun photo-op for families to get their holiday photos taken! At $15 for one or $30 for three, this was a slam dunk, home run, super popular item of the evening. And so easy!! She just emailed them their high resolution digital file a week later and they can do with it what they want (like ordering Christmas cards early for once!!)
The Orphan Care / Adoption Presentation...
This was really the heart of the entire evening. We wanted to clearly share God's heart for the Fatherless, as He is the author of Adoption. And we wanted to make known His call to His people to "Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." (Isaiah 1:17)
Our Emcee for the evening did a wonderful job communicating our desire to build a community of people who answer that call, and to be a support to families pursuing Orphan Care in any of its myriad opportunities. We also had a family share their recent adoption story, and showed this 8-minute video to start the program off in a powerful way...
Our Community Coming Around Orphan Care...
As we've said from the beginning of our long & winding adoption journey--we do this because every child on the planet is worth the greatest effort.
Orphan Sunday was started as a catalyst to get the family of Christ involved in what is so near to the heart of God: caring for "the least of these." The hope is that as churches, small groups, and ministries take one Sunday to learn about and pray for children in need here and abroad, that many would hear the call and respond in willingness to take part. Any part!
"Orphan Care" doesn't exclusively mean adopting a child or serving in an orphanage in Africa. Of course, it can, and I believe God specifically calls those He desires to act in that way. But truly, Orphan Care is so much more; there's room for everyone to take part in a myriad of ways. The hope is simply that we would take seriously our own Adoption into the family of God through His Son Jesus, and the subsequent call for us to "Defend the cause of the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." ~Isaiah 1:17
Check out the list below of ways to take part, whether in your hometown or abroad.
(*some of these ideas are specific to our local area of Northern Colorado, but hopefully they spur you on to check for similar programs in your area! Click the image to enlarge)
"Simplify Life With Baby." Sounds appealing, doesn't it? That's Hemmed In's tagline, and our mission as a business in offering a multi-use infant accessory. I truly want to help make your life as Mama simpler!!
So when you read "Handmade baby wipes", that may not sound simple to you. True, it is pretty simple to just buy wipes at the store and stick 'em in your diaper bag. I get that. And agree. If that's the simplest for your family, do it. (One woman's simple is not necessarily another's!)
But If I may, I assure you that these DIY baby wipes are not only super simple to make, they're completely natural and gentle on baby's skin. They're money-saving too. $15 worth of premium quality, all natural supplies will last at least 6 months, and the prep takes literally 5 minutes. We used these throughout Little Lady's diaper days, and keep them on hand even now for wiping messy hands quickly. To take them on-the-go, just transfer to a ziplock bag and you're good to go. They made our life simpler, so I'm passing on the recipe to those so inclined :)
PS--this makes a really great baby shower gift! Write up the recipe and give all the ingredients along with a container for a helpful, inexpensive gift.
Now that my Little Lady is 5, she’s starting to learn the basics of the sewing trade on her adorable little machine (from IKEA) and I’m sure she’ll will outpace me any day now. So, fittingly, she wanted to sew something for her Daddy this year for Father’s Day. We'll start small. Maybe next year we'll make him a custom tie or work shirt... ;)
Before you say “that’s not for me, I can’t sew”, stay with me! ANYone can do this if a 5 year old can! (Even younger kiddos and their non-seamstress Mama’s!) Hand stitching is great for developing hand-eye coordination, so don't think it's just for girls either! It took us 30 minutes (with stopping to take pictures) and about $1.50 in supplies easily found at Joann, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby or any other craft store. And our computer & printer. That’s it. So, will you give it a try? Here we go…and just to lure you in, here’s the finished product:
Cut out 2 hearts, about 2.5” tall, 2” wide, from felt (I free-handed it for her, she cut)