Wednesday, June 7, 2017

My Birth Story

I It occurs to me the other day that I've not blogged about the birth of my son. I know when I was pregnant I spent countless baths reading blogs about birth stories trying to get an idea of what to expect. Here is the journey of how Brayden Tyler came into this world.

38 weeks pregnant:
It was a rainy week and Lyle works outdoors so he had that particular day off work. It was about 8am and i popped up out of bed because it felt like a balloon had popped in my uterus.

Lyle told me my water probably broke so I ran to the bathroom. Tons of liquid came out so I called my mom immediately. She told me to go to the hospital, so we packed up a few bags and headed out the door.

I had contractions all the way to the hospital (about 20 mins away). When we arrived they set me up in a room and Lyle went to check me in. The reality that the baby was actually coming hadn't set in yet.

At this point my mom and dad were 5 hours away so they quickly left work and we're on their way to the hospital. I also called my grandma who arrived around 11am.

We got checked and I was dialated to I think a 2. They got me hooked up and the contractions kept coming. By the time my parents were arriving I was full on in labor.

We decided to go for a natural waterbirth. So with no pain medicine I was definitely trying everything to stay comfortable. I think the worst part was not being able to eat or drink anything. I kept throwing it all up. Even sips of sprite wouldn't stay down.

We continued to labor all through the day and into the evening. Snow stsrted to come down pretty hard. The first snow of the season. It was beautiful.

14 hours into labor:
We were dialated to an 8, so my midwife finally let me get in the birthing tub and try pushing. Hubby got in with me and my midwife explained what would happen and the sensations I would feel. I pushed for about 2 hours in that tub. At this point it was midnight going on 2am.

We tried everything but it just wasn't working. My midwife said I should get out and try to get some rest. Once I was out and they'd dried me off, she said I needed an epidural. I cried. And cried. And cried. I felt like a failure, that I couldn't do it.

They assured me that I did so good but it just needed to be this way. I was under too much stress. So, no happily, I got the epidural. And I have to say, after 19 hours with no pain medicine, it was a huge releif.

The epidural came at about 4am. At that point my dad went home to let our dog out and get some rest himself. Everyone else got some rest at the hospital. Including me.

24 hours of labor:
The Dr came in, my midwife was in another town, and explained to us that we could wait for Brayden to come out (which could be another day) or we could opt for a c section. The very last thing I wanted to happpen.

After talking it through with hubby and everyone, we decided a c section was best for me and baby. 24 hours of labor couldn't have been easy on him either. So we scheduled it for noon that morning.

Around 12:30, they came to get me and Lyle prepped. It was the scariest thing  because I've never had surgery before and they strapped my arms down.

They let Lyle take the GoPro in so he got the birth I'm film, which is pretty awesome to look back on!

I remember feeling a ton of pressure on my bwlly, then hearing him cry. I got years and said, "Is that him? Is he here?" They plopped him over the curtain and showed me that it was a boy.

Once he was bundled they let me snuggle him for a bit and then Lyle went with him to get weighed and swaddled while they stitched me up.

Once I was all stitched we all went to the room and we were now a family of 3. My life was forever changed and the amazing journey began.

Although, it didn't go the way we'd planned, Brayden is happy and healthy.

Brayden weighed 7.8 and measured 21.5

Friday, June 2, 2017

My letter to new moms

This is my letter to all my lovely expecting mom's and newbie moms. Please note that I am not a physician or expert. Just a new mom myself with some hopefully encouraging words and advice.

No amount of research will prepare you for giving birth. All you can do is be confident and open to anything that comes along. Accept the fact that this baby will come on its own terms and doesn't take into consideration that you are planning a peaceful natural Waterbirth. Don't be disappointed if the birth doesn't go as planned. When that little baby comes out of you, nothing else matters.

Get as much skin to skin time as you possibly can. Daddy too! I can't even preach that enough. Lay with that little baby on your chest for hours on end when you're in the hospital. Let the nurses pamper you. Because when you go home, it's a whole new ball game.

On that note, accept help from those who offer. It may come few and far between, but that little bit of help will make a world of difference. Ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. Even if you just need someone to talk to, reach out.

Every single one of us raises our children differently, and that's okay. However you chose to raise your children, stick to your choices. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Do your research, whether it be in breastfeeding, vaccinations, pacifiers, diapers, potty training... everyone has different views and opinions. My answer is, "you raise your kids, I'll raise mine. Don't judge me, I won't judge you."

The first week or two will be rough. If your husband finds you curled up in a ball in the shower crying  (yes, guilty) you're not a failure. You are doing everything right. You just grew a human out of thin air and then pushed it out of you, I think you're allowed to break down. On the note of showers, milk them. Take extra long showers and enjoy the time to yourself for a few minutes.

For my breastfeeding mama's, you can do it! Don't let the pressure of social media get to you. If you chose to breastfeed, you can. Your body came equipped with a set of glands that will produce everything your baby needs to grow. Don't doubt your body. Hang in there because your nipples are in for a ride. When you think you want to give up, push through.

Enjoy the time spent breastfeeding, because one day they won't need your boob anymore. Soak up every minute of it.

Breastfeeding is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. You will get through all the hurdles. You just will. You're supermom now, you have those powers.

Tale away all expectations. Don't worry if you don't get tummy time in today. It's okay to not do a bedtime story every single night. It's okay to get overwhelmed and want a break. It's okay to take time to yourself. It's all okay.

You are beautiful every single day. Yes, you're probably going to rock the mom bun and plan your outfits on how accessible your boobs are for feeding time.  You are gorgeous. You now nuture a little tiny human. They don't care if you have makeup on or not. The world will understand.

Expect to feel like a zombie 95% of the time. Get acquainted with the  bags under your eyes. It really helps if you have a hubby that takes turns with you on the night shifts. Work out a routine that works for you and work together as a team. Even when your silently cursing him for sleeping so soundly while your up even though you told him to get some rest. Haha, totally guilty! 

My last tip I can offer is, always have water and a snack nearby; and always make sure your phone is within reach before sitting down for a feeding!

Always remember that this is such a wonderful amazing journey you are so lucky to be on. There are so many people that wish they were up at night with their children. So many women who wish their boobs we're engorged from breastfeeding. So many women who wish they had little babies to cuddle, and you've been blessed to have that opportunity. With every dirty diaper there is a smile that looks up to you. A new little soul who, to them, you are their world.

Make memories, laugh, be amazing.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Dreadlock Journey

"Both Eastern and Western traditions hold that bodily, mental and spiritual energies mainly exit the body through the top of the head and the hair. If the hair is knotted, they believe the energy remains within the hair and body, keeping a person more strong and healthy."

I started on my lock journey 2 years ago, just after I got married. Obviously, that journey ended fairly short. My locks were super tight and I felt a lot of chaos around them. I think I started to tear them out around the 1 month mark. This journey is much different and I'm so excited to tell you guys all about it!

My first set of locks, like I said, felt very chaotic. They were very tight, and physically hurt. I was told that with patience and time, they would loosen up and become more natural. At that time, I had an office job, working the typical work flow of 9-5.
When they say that locks will bring out all your insecurities . . . so true! I wore headbands every day to cover up the frizzies that were once my roots. I bunned my hair as much as possible in a subtle attempt to 'hide' my dreads. I was so worried about what the office though of me and who thought I had become an overnight 'hobo'.
Eventually, i think around the 1 month mark, if not sooner, I started to end my journey and spent numerous hours combing out my locks. (Ever want your hair thinned, just get locks and then brush them out)
So, once upon a time, this was my first journey...

My second journey has been totally amazing! First off, I told my hairstylist that I wanted looser locks this time. Which, because I made myself familiar with the crochet method, I can upkeep these on my own. They don't hurt my head at all, and I can still run my fingers through my hair. We also left some of my hair out so it all blends together and not 100% locked.

I got a spiral lock off Etsy so I don't have to use a hair tie and rip at my locks. (totally recommend one of these if you have locks) I love styling my locks now, and it's only been a month! I can't wait until they grow and mature.

This time around, I embrace my locks. Each and every one of them! I find myself proud to go out in public and show them off, and I have this attitude like 'This is me, this is my journey, watch me embrace it'. I no longer have to do the work flow. Hubby and I work from home and spend every minute together with our 3 month old son. I have actually found myself being nicer to strangers in public. Smiling and making eye contact more. Like i'm beaming my good vibes to strangers.

I feel more all around grounded and we've started up our Yoga practice again. I find myself more interested in hobbies, like I can tackle anything. BRING ON THE ADVENTURE!

I am convinced that the first journey wasn't the right time at all, because this journey is so amazing I don't know how I missed it the first time. Everything happens for a reason and I am beyond grateful for my locks.

I also want to add one more thing. If you notice, I've been calling them locks and not dreadlocks. The proper name is in fact locks. They started referring to them as 'dreadlocks' because people thought they looked dreadful. Locks is the proper term for them.

So, what do my locks look like now. . . . Let's take a look!

This is one amazing journey!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Making Pumpkin Soap

Fall is approaching fast and I am guilty that I am one of those Fall Fanatics! I've already went through a whole Pumpkin Spice Scentsy wax! So, let't go through our first tutorial on how to make Pumpkin Soap!

    What You'll Need:
  • 3.2 oz. Lye
  • 1 Cup Distilled Water
  • 6.5 oz. Coconut Oil
  • 6.5 oz. Palm Oil
  • 7.5 oz. Olive Oil
  • 1.3 oz. Castor Oil
  • 1 ml. Vitamin E
  • Pumpkin Essential oil or Fragrance Oil
  • 1 tsp. Tumeric
  • Stick Blender
  • Seperate mixing bowl just for soap
  • Measuring cups
  • Seperate rubber spatula just for soap

First you'll want to mix up your lye solution and set it aside. I do ours outside in a well ventilated area and since I don't want any of those fumes to go to my growing baby, I cover my face with a towel.
Your lye will get to about 200 degrees, so be careful! Once this is mixed well, make sure you have a thermometer in there and find the easiest way for you to cool this lye solution down. We put ours in the fridge and freezer until it gets to temperature. You'll want it between 100 & 110 degrees.
While that's cooling down, go mix up your oils.

To mix your oils, this is the super easiest part. Just start measuring and put into a large mixing bowl. We use a scale to make sure measurements are correct. You always want to measure soap in weight, not volume.
Once you have all the oils (minus the essential oils, vitamin e, & colorant), you can gently stir to mix them all together.

Go ahead and set your oils aside and check on your lye solution. This will be your only down time in making soap.

Once your lye has reached temperature you'll get your stick blender ready and go ahead and carefully add the lye solution to your oil mixture.

Now comes the most crucial part in soapmaking (in my opinion). Use your stick blender and start blending in short bursts. You'll want to stop just as it starts getting pudding-like. You still need to hand mix in the fragrance and colorant so you want to leave room for that action. Ultimately you'll want to end up with just under pudding texture. Smooth enough to pour into molds, not scoop.

Once you have the desired consistency, you can add in your Vitamin E and your essential oils or fragrance oils. How much you add is totally up to you.
Hand stir these in gently and once you have that finished you can add in your colorant. For the pumpkin I used tumeric as a natural colorant. Not to mention now wonderful tumeric is for your skin! If you don't know how great it is. . google it!
For my colorant, I just mixed the tumeric with a little bit of water, just enough to get it to a liquid consistency. Then gently hand stir into your soap and you've got beautiful orange pumpkin soap!

Once you have your desired color, desired fragrance, and desired texture .. you are ready to pour into molds and let cure.
Once in molds, you'll want to set in a dark cool place and cover with a piece of cardboard and then towels to keep it insulated. The soap will stay with way basically until you feel comfortable unmolding it. Usually takes about 4 - 7 days.
When you have gained enough confidence to take your lovely bars of soap out of their temporary homes, you'll want to keep them stored on a rack so that they can breathe all the way around the soap. They will need flipped at least once a week and they will stay here for about 4 - 6 weeks until curing is done. Yes, it's a lengthy process, but oh so fun!

Good luck! If you have any questions please feel free to email us or leave comments.
And if you find this interesting, but don't have the time or money to attempt homemade soap on your own. Just visit our
shop and pick yourself up a few bars!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Etsy Shop Announcement

For those of you who follow me, you already know my passion of making soaps. But did you know we have an Etsy shop!? Also, did you know we not only specialize in soaps, but we also love, love, love to dabble in pallet projects. Like anything you can think of! See something on Pinterest, we can make it for you! So let's use this space to feature some of my favorite items and talk more about the shop!

Let's start with a little about us.

Our Etsy shop has been open for a little over a year now. We have spent that year perfecting our soap recipes and branding our label. We are always learning and experimenting with new recipes though. We are taking this 2nd year of being open on Etsy, and we're considering it as our first real year knowing what we are doing. So, we've partnered with a local photographer to help us get really good pictures of our products, and we are expanding our line based off requests that we've gotten in the last year. We are very excited about year 2 and we cannot wait to share all the products with everyone.

Hippie Times Bar Soap.

Isn't that one pretty picture!? Thanks to my wonderful photographer for making our soaps totally come to life! You can view some of her work on her facebook page, here
Our Hippie Times bar soap is made with a Patchouli essential oil so you get that clean hippie smell all day long. We also use organic dried Sage as a natural exfoliate in this bar. This is one of my favorite bars because the exfoliate is not harsh on the skin. Sage is naturally a softer herb so it has a smooth feeling while still getting dirt and grime off. This bar is really a great all year round bar of soap. Summer is always good because it helps keep the bugs away, but there's something about Patchouli in Fall that I just love. Like I said, this is one of my favorite bars and one of our best sellers!

Lemongrass Bar Soap.

Lemongrass Bar Soap is our best seller. We came out with this bar just this summer to help keep the bugs away. This bar works great in the kitchen too, as it has organic lemongrass in the bar as another gentle exfoliate. This bar is made with lemongrass essential oil and organic lemongrass. I really can't say enough good things about the Lemongrass bar. Everyone that picks it up walks home with at least 1 bar. Guess you'll just have to try for yourself.

What our Soaps are Made of.

Obviously, all of our soaps are Organic, and Vegan. We do make lye based soaps, and I know Lye scares alot of people. But did you know that when the soap properly cures, there will be no traces of lye in the soap!? This is why soap takes about a month to cure.
We also do use palm oil. But i make sure to order the CSPO Certified palm oil. This means that no rainforests were harmed in the harvesting of the palm.
We use the cold process method in small batches. Our batches are average 8 bars a batch.
We use the very best essential oils and herbs and love to experiment with new scents and combinations. We are always creating something new whether it be a new scented soap or a whole new product. We also do have body mists and tinctures. We will be adding to these this winter, hopefully.
So as you can see, we take the very best pride in our soapmaking. It's always been a 'want' for me to accomplish but was never in reach. Finally my husband and I decided to venture on this journey and here we are a year later totally loving life and all that is soapmaking.

The Very Best News!

Our soaps are carried in a shop in Florida! This is huge for us because we are currently located in Illinois! We are also carried in a local coffee shop for our coffee soap, but that's another day. This is so good for us because more people all over the US will get to experience our soaps! So if you ever find yourself in Florida, track down Magpie Arts Studio and get yourself a bar of Studio 108 Soap!
If you aren't able to snag some soaps in person, please visit our Etsy shop we are working so hard at building and making wonderful! Just click on the Etsy icon to the right underneath our picture and you'll be directed to the correct place. Thanks so much for showing an interest in our soaps! If you've gotten our bars before please leave us a review on our Etsy shop! And if you have any questions about our products, feel free to email us!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Preserving Aloe Vera

Last weekend I was visiting my parents in Kentucky, and I stumbled across the largest Aloe leaf I've ever seen. I know there are plenty of areas that have Aloe this big, but coming from the cornfields in a small town, this doesn't come around often. Naturally, i bought a leaf bigger than my arm. I got it home safely and then it dawned on me that I had more Aloe than I knew what to do with. I did some research and I decided my best option would be to preserve it. This way I have it on hand so I can start using it in . . . well, everything! So, here is how i preserved my Aloe.

    Saving Your Aloe
  • As much Aloe as you can find
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Jar for storage

First I cut my leaf. You can google how to do this if you've never cut a leaf before. This was my first time and it was super fun and pretty simple. Once you have all of the aloe meat out, chop it up into small squares. Just small enough to fit into the Ninja or food processor. For every 1/4 cup of Aloe, you'll want to add 500 mg of Vitamin C & 400 IU of Vitamin E. I had 1 1/4 Cup of Aloe in my leaf.

Blend this all up into a puree and store in an airtight jar. This will keep for up to 8 months in the fridge. And imagine how good this is for you. If you don't know the benefits of Aloe, I recommend that you do a quick search, because the list goes on and on.

Now you can start harvesting all the Aloe you can find. Or start growing your very own plant!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

There is nothing more refreshing than ice cold lemonade on a hot day. Why not take it up a notch? This hydrating drink only takes a minute to stir up and will keep you hydrated all day long.

  • Homemade Lemonade to taste
  • 3 Frozen Organic Strawberries
  • 3 Small Basil Sprigs
  • 1/2 Lemon, Frozen

This is a pretty simple recipe. All you need to do is pour your lemonade into a Mason Jar, no ice. Then go pick and wash your Basil sprigs (hopefully from your garden). your ice will be the frozen strawberries and the lemon. Throughout the day, the strawberries will infuse into the lemonade while keeping it cold and delicious.

I've also previously posted the Basil Lemonade recipe so if you'd like to use that and just add in your strawberries and lemon, you can find that recipe HERE.