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Maxi-Lock Serger Thread Sample Cards

A whole bunch of sample cards

Ever get a crazy idea, and then do it? 🤦‍♀️

I was tired of ordering (and returning) Maxi-Lock serger thread (Tex-27 and Maxi-Lock stretch) because it wasn’t anywhere close to the color pictured on the website. Wawak was kind enough to send me a printed sample card, which was closer than online, but it still wasn’t accurate enough. I was tired enough of it that I ordered one cone of every color so that I could make my own sample card, and sell enough of them to get my money back for buying all of those cones.

Turns out – it totally works! My initial method used my embroidery machine on Kona cotton to embroider the names and numbers of the different threads. But unfortunately, it took an hour and a half just to machine embroider the text on one card, and then another couple hours to stitch out the actual color samples. Nope. So I ordered some canvas from Spoonflower with the text printed on there for me, and so all I had to do was add some stabilizer and stitch the color samples on. To do 76 color changes, I timed it would take me about one hour (without any stitching; just threading my machine 76 times.) So, I could work on these cards in batches to eliminate how many times I needed to rethread. I had 45 cards printed, and so I decided to do them in batches of 15. It takes me about 10 minutes to stitch one color across 15 cards. Multiply that by 76… plus the prep time with stabilizer and ironing, etc…. yeah I’d rather not do the math either. It’s still a LOT of time that went into these cards, and at $35 each I am definitely not making up for my time. But, I like to think that I’m doing a favor for 44 other stitchers plus myself to have an awesome reference card and never need to return their thread again 🙌

Prototype card. Took too long, and didn’t look that great. Totally functional, though.

I am currently working on my second batch of 15; after that, I have one more set, and then I will be DONE forever making these (sorry; my charity only goes so far 😅) If you’re lucky, you can find them listed on Etsy here. If there aren’t any more listed and you want one, feel free to message me on Etsy to see if I have any more in the works. In the meantime, and after I’m sold out for good, below are reference photos taken in natural light to be as accurate as possible for you. Good luck!

Reaching inbox zero a little (or a lot) at a time

If you’re like me, you have a LOT of emails in your inbox. Like, thousands. If you’re also like me, this bothers you, but scrolling through and selectively deleting every email is something you don’t have the time or patience for.

Well, I’ve found a process that helps speed this up, whether you’re trying to sit down and knock it all out at once, or want to just do a little bit each day and make big strides at reducing the clutter.

1. Unsubscribe from mailing lists you don’t care about

This seems obvious enough. (Mostly) gone are the days of being afraid to unsubscribe, because you will be “letting them know” they’ve found a real address. Most companies/individuals use marketing software that will legitimately remove you from the list if you bother to ask.

But what if the emailing lists you are on you do want to receive, so you’re aware of sales, news, updates, etc? Then move on to step 2.

2. Instead of deleting a single email, search your inbox for that term/sender and delete all of the results

The thought is like roaches; if you have one, you probably have a bunch. Now you can save time by deleting things in batches. The trick is to include the in:inbox term to your search phrase. This will make sure you’re only clearing out your inbox; and not your archives or other things you have filed in other folders/labels. It helps to copy “in:inbox” so you can paste it after whatever you type for your next search.

Here I’ve searched for “Kickstarter” (specifically, kickstarter in:inbox). Sometimes I care about these updates when they arrive; usually not. Select all, scroll through the list and de-select anything that you don’t want to delete, and hit that satisfying “delete” button.

LOTS of emails to delete at once. Hooray!

Sometimes this process works perfectly, and you want to delete everything that comes up. Sometimes, your search term turns up some other results. This is actually a good thing, if they happen to be other junk I care to delete. But if the term was too vague and is taking too long to scan for “do I delete it or not?”, the you can also add from: in your search term (like from:kickstarter in:inbox) to narrow it down specifically to that sender. I generally like casting a wide net though, because then i’m clearing out bigger chunks at once than necessarily searching for each sender individually. This can also give you a hint of what term to search for next (definitely going to try Biden in:inbox).

Example of a search term that happened to returned several unexpected results

Then, once you’ve deleted everything appropriate for that term, if there are still any items hanging on that you did want to keep, select all and hit archive. Now everything related to that term is gone from your inbox.

3. It’s ok to let it go 😅

This one, if you’re like me, is sometimes the hardest. I’ll admit, I do archive receipts, order tracking, account creation, etc., because occasionally I do need to search “when did I buy that thing?” or “why hasn’t X shown up yet”. But the confirmation of a Zoom meeting I had once? Yeah let that go. Once you start deleting, it feels pretty good.

And that’s really all there is to it! This process is simple and addictive once you see your inbox number dropping hundreds at a time. If you just want to add this habit into your daily routine to clear it out a little at a time, then instead of deleting today’s single junk emails, search your inbox and delete all related junk emails. You can set a daily target inbox number if you want; like today I want to get it below 4500. Then tomorrow, 4000. And without specifically investing a huge chunk of time, you, too, can reach inbox zero.

Or, you may be hooked to the process and knock it all out at once. It goes surprisingly quickly once you get the hang of it! Good luck conquering your towering inboxes.

Scream Inside Your Heart cross-stitch pattern

Download the pdf pattern: one page version for digital use or a 3 page version for printing. Pattern for personal use only; please do not redistribute.

This pattern was inspired by the beautiful work posted by Rachel Burgoon on Facebook, showing a delicately stitched message on a miniature scroll. It translates to “Scream Inside Your Heart,” as posted by a Japanese amusement park to prevent the spread of Covid.

I created this using her recommended technique, creating the calligraphy using the site https://www.kenjisugimoto.com/shuji/  and then used my pattern editor of choice (PCStitch) to turn the image into a pattern.

This pattern area is 31 x 240 stitches, and she stitched it over one on 28 ct fabric, which would give it the final stitched area of ~ 1 inch by 8.5 inches.

Enjoy! Comment if you make this; I would love to see more finished versions!


Gabriel’s Oboe updated parts

I found this blog that has a great arrangement of Gabriel’s Oboe for euphonium ensemble, but some of the parts for bass clef were in the wrong key.

Jack posted the Sibelius file and Midi, so I put them into Finale to generate correct bass clef parts.

Thank you Jack for posting the arrangement! Below are the updated score and parts to download.

Gabriel’s Oboe.musx (Finale File)

Gabriel’s Oboe – Score.pdf
Gabriel’s Oboe – Solo Euphonium.pdf
Gabriel’s Oboe – Euphonium 1.pdf
Gabriel’s Oboe – Euphonium 2.pdf
Gabriel’s Oboe – Euphonium 3.pdf
Gabriel’s Oboe – Euphonium 4.pdf
Gabriel’s Oboe – Euphonium 5.pdf

Having a baby? What I wish I had known the first time.

Some of this info I did know; some of it I heard but didn’t really understand, and some of it I didn’t even know was a thing until after it happened. Anyway, if you aren’t about to have a baby or interested in some real talk about it, you might want to leave while you still can. Otherwise, please read on! I know some mamas who are due with their first soon, and my head was spinning with all of these suggestions today so I figured I’d write them down to help a sister or two out.

1. If you can, get a doula

I am not a crunchy, birthing center kind of mom. I am a hospital, give me an epidural ASAP kind of mom. But after a really rough recovery from my first baby, I knew the second time that I wanted to have someone (besides my husband) there to advocate for me, aware of my medical history, and to help this one go as smoothly as it could. It was so helpful to have someone I could text random questions to, get comfort and advice the night my labor started, and literally have someone to hold my hand and coach me through my contractions; reminding me to breathe and not freak out. First-time-mom me would have probably thought my husband could do those things if I asked him to. But it’s really different to have a professional in charge when the rubber meets the road, and I don’t have to worry about his potentially who-knows-what emotional state to be my rock. It was so helpful. Doulas get booked out pretty far in advance, so the earlier you can find one, the better. If you aren’t sure where to look, ask your OB if they have any recommendations of people they have liked working with. That way you can be sure to find one that meshes well with their philosophies and won’t be butting heads.

2. Drink water. Take your stool softeners.

Ok. You’re still reading? Now we’re getting real. Hooray! You pushed out a baby! You think the hard work is done? Well, hopefully it is. But if you don’t continue drinking water, and taking stool softeners, you could find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation in a few… or five… days later. I am not a thirsty person, so this one was super hard for me. Drink. Drink drink. Make yourself drink even if you aren’t thirsty. Thankfully, the second time around I got my first BM out of the way while I was still at the hospital. First time around, I nearly had to get an enema, and it tore my stitches out. Sooo…. just saying. Not messing around with this one. I would have put it first on this list, but I wanted to weed out the audience a bit before jumping out with the stool softener tips. Also, now this one is #2. #poojoke

3. Clots can be huge

You’re in for the long haul if you’re still reading at this point. Luckily I didn’t have to deal with any mega clots; after both of my deliveries I basically had a normal-to-heavy period for 3-4 weeks. Getting all of that extra tissue out is why the nurses give you the oh-so-unpleasant belly squashing massages while you’re in the hospital. But I heard that these clots could be giant, like baseball-sized. I expect you’d want to call your OB to be safe if you see anything like that, but just even knowing that it’s in the realm of possibility was a good thing to know ahead of time.

4. You will probably need a physical therapist

After having a baby, there is so much with your body that can be thrown out of whack. With my first, I realized 6 months later that I couldn’t run at all; my pelvis was all jacked up. With my second, I had diastasis recti while I was pregnant (that thankfully recovered on its own postpartum), but I do still need some lower ab work to get back to normal. Even the typical “mommy bladder” symptoms, like stress incontinence (peeing when you cough or sneeze), or even urgency incontinence (having to go all of a sudden) can be caused from pregnancy, and may not go away on their own. But you don’t have to just live with it!! Just because they’re common doesn’t mean it is “normal”. I started seeing a maternal specialist chiropractor around halfway through my pregnancy because I was having major pubic bone symphysis pain. She helped keep me in line, and I definitely think helped contribute to my smooth labor this time around. So maybe a chiropractor should be it’s own bullet point here, but I’ll lump it together with the PT. Seeing a pelvic floor specialist, especially after your “fourth trimester” to get everything back where it should be is super helpful. Again, I should not have waited until something was a painful/debilitating problem. Get the help early, don’t suffer/grumble/complain. It’s worth it to feel normal again! It could even be just muscle tension that you don’t even realize you have that needs to be loosened up – you’ll feel so much better after.

5. Nursing shouldn’t hurt

With my first, I nursed her for 3 weeks before being at my breaking point with painful, sore nipples, and finally getting a lactation consultant for a second opinion. The one that I saw in the hospital didn’t catch my daughter’s tongue and lip ties, which made it impossible for her to get a deep enough latch, and so she was hungry all time, nursing all the time, and hurting me ALL the time. I waited way, way too long. If you find yourself clenching your teeth when they latch, see someone. Nursing isn’t intuitive; I had literally never seen a baby nurse before I was nursing my own baby. So, there’s no shame in getting some help. I think my biggest problem the first time was not knowing what the threshold of “hurting too much” was; I thought maybe that’s just what nursing feels like. Wrong!

6. There’s no shame in supplementing

I don’t want to get into a moral “fed is best” campaign here. I just know with this world of Pinterest-worthy social media lives, there’s a lot of pressure on moms to breastfeed. Some moms are blessed with a healthy milk supply and can feed their babies for years. Some moms have an oversupply, and are able to donate and feed OTHER people’s babies. Unfortunately, especially as a working mom, sometimes you just can’t pump as much as they need to eat. Sometimes you have to pump from the beginning due to an unexpected situation in the hospital and never get a chance to get nursing established. I stressed again, way too long with my first trying to make pumping work. Finally I was frustrated with pumping an ounce at a time, and started supplementing with formula. I could finally sleep again without worrying if my baby was hungry. I could stop worrying about the empty freezer stash. My husband could wake up and feed the baby and I didn’t have to feel guilty or need to wake up and pump to make up for it. One of the frustrating truths of motherhood is you will always feel like you’re doing it wrong. Grass is always greener, etc. If your baby is fed, they’ll be ok. You’ll be ok. You may even be better off. So, be sure to balance your own human needs with the reality of how your body responds. Also, did I already say to drink water? Drink water.

7. “Colic” can be improved

I had heard and seen several babies who cried every minute they were awake. For months. It’s awful; again, demoralizing because as a parent you feel like you’re useless, and it’s just draining. My son started off happy as a clam; possibly even too chill; but around about 3 weeks old, he started showing classic signs of colic; painful crying “for no reason”. It got worse in the evenings, but really would happen all day. Gas drops helped some. And he was having tons of dirty/poopy diapers, like 5 a day. Saw his doctor several times; nothing was wrong with him. My friend suggested I should try eliminating dairy that I was eating. Babies aren’t lactose intolerant; there’s actually more lactose in breast milk than in cow’s milk (that’s why it’s so sweet, if you are brave enough to try some of yours), but they can be intolerant to the protein in cow’s milk, and the proteins you eat end up in your breast milk. In my case, I also had to eliminate soy from my diet, and find a dairy- and soy-free formula to supplement with. Once I got my diet straightened out, he was like a new baby and finally started smiling and laughing basically the same day. All I know is there’s not a ton of research and your pediatrician, unless they’re a nutrition/lactation specialist, may not even know the latest research on this. So, if your baby is unreasonably fussy, trust your mom gut and see what you can try to make them more comfortable. I can’t say that this works for all cases of colic, but it was so clearly the cause of my son’s that it’s worth your time to keep a food journal and look into it if you’re concerned.

8. Sleep is really important

This one seems obvious. Currently my second is 5 months old, and I haven’t slept more than 3-4 hours at a time since he was born. I’m not dead. Haha. I’m even a mostly functioning human. So in that respect, your body will adjust to a very, very different pattern of sleep than you’re accustomed to. My real point here is about the first few weeks, when you’re adjusting to this new reality. If you have family or a close friend you can get to cover night duty for a night, and let you even get ONE nap or stretch of sleep that you wouldn’t otherwise have, do it do it do it. You can certainly also pay for a night nanny to do this if you’re in a pinch. I’m not the type to want to impose, so it’s really hard to ask for favors until I’m already crying and desperate because I waited too long to ask. So, if you can picture what being hangry feels like, imagine that but also being delirious from being too tired for weeks. We’re talking put your keys in the fridge levels. It makes you angry at your baby, angry at yourself, angry at your partner; it’s just really a defeating feeling. But it’s seriously nothing that a nap and a hot shower won’t significantly improve. Be sure to find the time to take care of yourself.

9. Help is out there

I was lucky enough to not suffer from PPD, but I did have some amount of postpartum anxiety (something I didn’t even know was a thing the first time). I thought that I was fine because I wasn’t having bad thoughts about hurting myself or my baby; I was crying, but not an unreasonable amount; I thought if I’m not depressed, everything’s fine, right? I finally saw a therapist after having a panic attack after watching a particularly triggering episode of House involving baby death. My friend’s website: https://everyoneshouldgototherapy.com/ has it right. Again, (noticing a theme here?) there’s no shame in getting some help. This shit is hard; not only mentally and physically, but your hormones are also whack. Find someone to talk to about it. I’ve heard really good things about this book, Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts, and I’d recommend it to anyone about to have their first.

Hmm… I’m tired now so I’ll call it a night. But I may add some more to this when I wake up in a couple hours to feed my son.

Oh lastly; some shout-outs to my favorite parenting Instagram accounts to follow: @pregnantchicken for some funnies (they have a great email newsletter, too); @betterpostpartum to remind you what’s real; @the.n3rd.dad for more funnies; @busytoddler once your little one gets old enough to need activities.