Easy DIY Side Tie Pillow

Hi friends! I posted a photo of this easy DIY pillow with side ties on Instagram and had so many requests for a tutorial, so I'm excited to finally share it with you today!

Its been a hot minute since I had time to share a DIY project, which was always one of my favorite posts here on the blog, so its fun to finally get back to it! Bear with my meager Photoshop skills though because I didn't take photos of each step since I wasn't sure if I'd be able to pull it off!

All you need is a sewing machine and basic knowledge of how to use it, a pillow case (preferably that has an envelope closure), and about 30 minutes to spare.

This black seersucker pillowcase was a standard size pillowcase that came with a twin duvet set I ordered for Rowan's big boy room. I was lucky that it already had a flap to hide the pillow on the open end, which is basically an envelope closure, so I didn't have to add it myself.

If you can't find a pillowcase like this, its not totally necessary because you'll still be tying it closed, but I personally like having the extra fabric there to hide the pillow insert completely.

What you need:
- (1) Standard size pillowcase (preferably with an envelope closure)
- Sewing machine (You can also use hem tape for a no-sew version, but the ties probably won't hold up as well if the pillow takes some abuse)
- Scissors or rotary fabric cutter
- Ruler or measuring tape

First lay your pillow case out and measure the short side. Mine was about 19.5" which was perfect to make a 20" square pillow.

Measure the same distance along the long side, in the opposite direction of the opening. So basically you want to leave the opening the way it is and create another opening on the other side (we will sew this end shut though, so stay with me). In my case it was 19.5" + an inch for seam allowance, so mine was 21.5" in length.

Cut and then put the larger section aside.

This is by far the most time consuming part of this project - making the ties.

Take the smaller section of fabric you have left, turn it inside out, and measure roughly 4 inches across. Make two vertical cuts as shown below, then one horizontal cut.

This will give you 8 pieces of fabric, but you only need 6 for the ties.

Fold one piece in half lengthwise and sew along three sides. After folding and sewing, your finished tie will be roughly 1.5" wide depending on how much seam allowance you gave yourself.

Once you've sewn three sides of each strip and flipped them right-side out, its time to attach them to the original opening of the pillow case.

I wasn't very analytical about attaching them to the pillow case because I knew my littlest was about to wake up. So I just stitched each of them on after carefully measuring and pinning them in place so they don't move.

Finally, sew the pillow case closed where you made the initial cut.

And you're done!

I promise its not complicated, the ties just take a few minutes and you can watch Netflix while you flip them right side out!

Let me know if anyone has questions, hopefully this was helpful!

Our Easter in Charleston

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend!

It's been a hot minute since I jumped on here and shared a little life update, life just seems to be moving at warp speed these days. This really is the best time of year here in Charleston, and the Easter egg hunt at Magnolia Plantation is one of my favorite Spring traditions here.

I took about a thousand photos at Magnolia, but y'all know I've scaled back sharing the boys' faces so I'm sorry there aren't more to share! 

Living far from family is always a challenge, but especially when holidays come around and we aren't able to celebrate with them, we lean on our amazing group of friends who have become our family here. They are all Charleston transplants with kids of similar ages and we just love them to pieces. 

After the fun of Magnolia Plantation, we had them all over the next day for an Easter potluck and egg hunt in our back yard. We dyed eggs (R's attention span for this lasted about as long as it takes to dye 5 eggs.. ha!), made Easter bunny footprints on the front porch (those were a big hit), and just soaked up our 3-day weekend as much as we could. 

Finn got his first taste of oatmeal cereal over the weekend while we hoped it would help him sleep better... spoiler... it did not. Ha! But R had fun feeding him (pretty sure this was just so he could have more of the attention but regardless, it was a sweet sight!) and its hard to believe we're at that point already!

I've had a ton of requests for posts and have a full blog calendar ready for y'all so I can't wait to share! Now if only my coffee would kick in and I can get my ideas on this virtual paper! :)

5 Tips for Introducing a Bottle to a Breastfed Baby

This post was sponsored by Philips Avent as part of an Influencer Activation for 
Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Just like that my maternity leave is over and I had to send another little piece of my heart to daycare this week. We kept Finn at home with the help of family through the flu season (so thankful for that!) which gave us additional time to prep for the transition. I'm not sure how ready anyone can be when handing off the care of your child while they're so little (I was a hot mess in case you're wondering, it wasn't pretty) but nailing the bottle for our little breastfed babe definitely helped to reduce the stress level.

I could go on and on about how important it is to introduce a bottle even if you're breastfeeding, it honestly saved my sanity with both boys after weeks of being the sole source of food for our babes. Between the cracked nipples, dreaded pump sessions, stress over keeping up your supply, and trudging half asleep through cluster feeds, giving up at least one feeding a day to your significant other can do wonders for everyone.

If you're like me and need some solo time strolling through Target aisles or your husband wants to be involved and share some of that bonding time, get out that pump and try these tips for introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby!

ONE. Wait until breastfeeding has been well established between mama and baby

I highly recommend pumping about 2 weeks postpartum to build up a freezer supply. Then by the end of the first month, when breastfeeding has been firmly established and baby is gaining weight, start to introduce a bottle for one feed. My Lactation Consultant was fully supportive of this!

Save your pumped milk in small (1-2 ounce) increments at first. Then as the baby eats more at each feed, save in both 1 ounce and 3-5 ounce increments.

TWO. Use a bottle that mimics breastfeeding 

We used Philips Avent Natural bottles with both of our boys. I love that the shape and feel of the nipple closely mimics breastfeeding (this was the main reason I chose to register for Philips Avent Natural bottles three years ago!) and we were so successful using them with our oldest, that it was an obvious choice for baby brother!

We never had any nipple confusion with either of the boys and I credit that to the breast-shaped nipple of these bottles. They also have fewer parts to clean than other bottles on the market... bonus!

THREE. Have someone else do the bottle feed at first

To avoid confusion, have someone else do bottle feedings for the first week or so. This is the perfect time to let your husband get that quality time with baby (my husband loves it!) or let Grandma get involved.

Remember, you'll need to pump anytime the baby takes a bottle to keep up your supply.

We do a bottle feed every night during the last feed before bed. This way we know how much the baby is getting and they will often eat the most at this time as they gear up for a longer stretch of sleep (hallelujah!). I then pump around 9:30 PM, because that gives me a break to relax after the boys' bedtimes and have a glass of wine after the previous feed!

FOUR. Use the slowest flow nipple baby will tolerate

Even if you think you have a fast flow when nursing, start with the beginner nipple level to reduce the risk of choking and make sure the baby still has to do some work. The Philips Avent Natural bottles come with a level one nipple which has worked perfectly with Finn at 2 months old. Their design helps to vent the air to help reduce discomfort and colic for babies, which has been great with his reflux.

FIVE. Expect it to take a couple of weeks

This is so important! Don't expect your sweet babe to get the hang of a bottle overnight. We always start with just an ounce or two for the first few bottles so we don't waste any of that liquid gold!

Lactation Consultant tip: Use the 'Rule of 5' for storing breast milk.. 5 hours at room temperature, 5 days in the refrigerator, and 5 months in the freezer.

If you're starting to introduce a bottle and have any questions please don't hesitate to ask!
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