baby

SSS + SAY

cloud tee and wallpaper by sarah sherman samuelThere’s a new (and adorable) kids clothing brand in town and I’m thrilled to have designed one of the T-shirts for their launch. It’s called SAY. You may recognize the pattern from the wallpaper I designed for Archer’s nursery and I have to say it is SO fun seeing it 3 dimensional, on clothing. For years my full-time job was creating patterns for 3 dimensional product (notebooks, journals, stationery, binders, bags etc.) for Target and my favorite part was seeing the pattern come to life on the product but now I’m thinking there is something extra special when you see the movement and fluidity it takes on as clothing. Makes me want to do more! Archer might be upping the cuteness factor for me a bit too.

SAY-TEESCLOUD TEE BY SARAH-SHERMAN-SAMUEL + SAYBOWIE-TEE-SAYThey’ve also teamed up with other designers like Amanda Jane Jones and Jennifer Hagler of A Merry Mishap to create the edited selection. And the good news is… in lieu of investing in advertising they are giving away 1 MILLION shirts (!) so head on over and pick yourself out a cloud Tee. Or one of the other designs, I guess. ;) I must admit I want the Bowie Tee too.

artist spotlight: Kate Akatombo

woodland-tale-sarahshermansamuel-sI’ve been trying to carve out more time to highlight more makers and artists I love because little finds like Woodland Tale make me so happy! I remember when I had just graduated from college with my graphic design degree and I thought my only option to make money was to go corporate and be a studio designer at an ad agency (which I inevitably did until I woke up and realized there is so much more out there). One evening I fell into an online rabbit hole discovering makers, artists, and designers all making a living doing what they love, creating their own work. I grew up in a non-internet world so this was the first time I really discovered what it can do for creatives.

Now the internetz are over saturated with everyone and their mother making something, etsy has a whole lotta incredible shops and a whole lotta not so incredible but when I stumbled upon these critters, I had to make them mine, I mean Archer’s of course (but really mine).

woodland-tale-sarahshermansamuel-2sarchandwoodlandtalewoodland-tale-sarahshermansamuel-3sKate Akatombo hand stitches these little plushies under the name Woodland Tale out of her studio in Ukraine. The detail is incredible and how adorable are those little faces? I reached out to her to answer a few questions about how she came about making the adorable guys so without further ado…

SSS: Tell me about your creative journey. (background, schooling, previous work etc.)

KA: I always was somehow connected with handmade. My mother was a terrific knitter (and so was her mom and her sisters), my other GrandMa taught me crocheting, sewing and, of course, embroidery of all kinds. Later I was lucky to work in a small retail hobby shop, where I had to learn a lot of various decorative techniques – and this was the very time when I finally understood that working with threads and fabrics is my thing.

SSS: How would you describe your aesthetic? Is your work inspired by anything in particular?

KA: I’m very bound to everything natural and all things inspired by nature. I rarely use flashy, bright colors, prefer cotton and linen textiles and have a dream about naturally dyed fabrics, made by myself. In the world full of machine-made things, in the life of high pace I really strive to something real and thoughtful. This is also true for my little critters. They take time to be made, but every stitch on their small bodies is laid with pleasure of slow life.

SSS: Please share some insight into your design process. How do you come up with the animal shapes, color selections etc.

KA: I have to confess that the very first critters made were significantly inspired by illustrations for children’s books, mostly by Japanese and Spanish artists. I was really amazed how they come up to creating images – very close to the child’s doodles, but still with so much character and feel for color. So I tried to just draw simple as well – but on fabrics.

Most of my softies are 2D, they are flat – as if a drawing turned into a plushie. At the moment, I’m trying to go on with it and make more complicated patterns, vary the embroidery stitches, play with shapes too.

I also have a creative escape – my series of blooming friends, bunnies, hedgehogs and moose deers, embroidered with flowers on their bodies. They have basic shapes, but the embroidery is always different and unique. I really loved stitching them this winter, when starving for spring time, I was designing gentle blooms and leaves.

See all the goodies in her shop here: Woodland Tale

Images by Sarah Sherman Samuel

Rug is from Frances Loom

sanity in a sock with owlet

owlet baby monitor // sarah sherman samuelOnce in awhile you come across a new product that is life changing and you want to shout about it from the rooftops, “HELLO HELLO LOOK AT THIS!”, and the new Owlet Monitor is one of those goodies, in a major way. In short, it is a smart sock for your baby, which sends an alert to a base station, as well as your mobile phone, if your infant’s heart rate is out of the ordinary or if their oxygen level dips too low. The technology is actually nothing new, it’s that same idea behind that thing that clips onto your finger when you are in the hospital, but made in a tiny (adorable) cordless sock for babies and for everyday use at home.

owlet baby monitor // sarah sherman samuelowlet baby monitor // sarah sherman samuelI wish we had the sock from the very beginning, as I don’t know how many hours we spent obsessively staring at the video monitor to check for breathing and around 6 months, before Archer was really able to roll over easily (with his giant head), he started getting into the habit of falling asleep literally face planted right into the mattress. It drove us crazy! It used to feel like A LOT of work getting this kiddo to nap so the last thing we wanted to do was go in and wake him up. More often than not, we would end up heading in there and just pray he wouldn’t wake up as we turned his head to the side or flipped him. We had about a 50/50 success rate, which just added to the frustration. And if that wasn’t enough, around the same age, we figured he was old enough to give a “lovie” so we introduced him to a small knitted blanket that my mom made and he loved it. We were so happy he attached himself to it so quickly and it really did seem to help him sleep better. BUT then… he began to completely wrap it around his head like tiny turban, covering his entire face. WHY ARE BABIES SO WEIRD?! Again, we would wake up a million times a night checking to see if he had his face covered and sometimes moving the blanket aside. We ended up getting my mom to knit an even tinier blanket (about the size of a washcloth) so there was no longer a possible wrapping face situation, but we never stopped obsessing.

AND THEN, along came Owlet and with it, better sleep for us. Now, I know I will be alerted if his blankie is hindering his breathing, or if that face-plant actually needs to be rectified or not. Really, I am excited technology like this exists and I am so happy to have this platform to be able to pass it along. It is something that has given me a little more peace of mind, a lot less hours spent obsessing and staring at a video monitor (of course I still do here and there but only to relish in the adorable-ness not to look for the rise and fall of a tiny chest), and an extra watchful eye, because babies do weird things and new mamas (and papas) tend to worry.

Owlet is offering SSS readers $10 off a monitor by clicking here – the price is automatically updated to reflect the promotion.

Images by Sarah Sherman Samuel // Archer’s pajamas from Old Navy

real talk, real moms: sleep

REAL-TALK-SLEEPI rarely get too personal on the blog, writing is not my forte, nor is speaking for that matter and I usually can’t find the right words to express myself. I kind of always assume everyone is like Rupert and can read my mind or that they just know me. I now know this to be untrue as I’ve read some not so lovely things about myself lately. Clearly those people can NOT know me, right? Motherhood, of course, adds an extra level of judgement (moms scare me) but I am excited to be a part of a conversation that will hopefully build other mamas up and show that there is no one “right” way of doing things. Jen Pinkston recently rounded up a handful of mothers to share their personal experiences on a topic as part of a 3 post series. It will be once a month so don’t worry, I won’t be filling the blog with all mommy ramblings. The first post is on sleep (or lack thereof), so here we go…

I have learned three things about sleep.

1. I prefer a lot of it. Like  a  l o t. I’m talking 8 hours is the absolute bare minimum. Any less and I turn into a cranky 5 year old beast that should not be out in public.

2. I lucked out with a baby that likes to sleep as well (or at least did until we broke him with a three week trip to another time zone during the 4 month sleep regression. More on that in a min). Well, some might say luck, some might say I worked for it. It is probably a little of both. A few things we did that I think help were… 1. I made sure to nurse just after a nap so I wasn’t feeding him to sleep. 2. I am considered the sleep nazi around the house making for darn sure Archer never skipped a nap and never stayed awake for more than what is recommended for his age. Sleep really does beget sleep! and 3. I always put him down drowsy but awake (again until our Michigan trip). From the beginning Archer didn’t have much of a day/night confusion. He started sleeping in two 4 hour chunks at night from the first week (our pediatrician said it was fine to let him sleep that much as long as I was still feeding every two hours in the day since he had already gained his birthweight + 6 ounces by his first checkup at 5 days old). This was a God send and we made up our own weird sleeping arrangement to capitalize on it, which leads to #3.

3. You gotta do what you gotta do to GET SOME SLEEP. Those first few month were a total blur, I had some extra recovering to do, more than most with a traditional birth, and sleep is so important for the healing process. The first couple nights after we got home from the hospital, Archer slept in our room and that is when the sleep deprivation starting realllly setting in. We were already going on about 72 hours with only a few cat naps here and there and any peep Archie would make, or if he didn’t make a peep for too long, we would both shoot awake just after dozing, checking to see if everything was ok. We realized this was not going to work.
Luckily my sister came to help out which is how we were able to start getting some Z’s. We ended up moving Archie into his bedroom on night 3! And before you think I am already a terrible mother… this is how it went down and how we became relatively well-rested very early on. First a little side-note… I had a catheter the first two weeks so I wasn’t going anywhere in the night. That pee bag, tubes, and me were strapped in for the long haul so Rupert and my sister took turns sleeping in the nursery with Archie. Rupert took the first half of the night, bringing Archer in to me to nurse and then my sister took the second half of the night doing the same. This meant I could sleep knowing he was being taken care of and only had to wake up to feed.
When my sister left, Rupe continued to sleep in the nursery until I got my catheter out. Then instead of moving Arch back into our room we ended up taking turns sleeping in the nursery with him. Rupe would take the first half of the night and I would take the second, switching when Archie fed around 1 or 2 am. Again this meant that for at least half of the night each one of us got a stretch of uninterrupted sleep. We carried on like this for about three months, which seems like a long time not to be able to sleep with your partner but in the grand scheme of things it isn’t that long and it led to a happier healthier household.

baby-sleepSo, back to the sleep regression I mentioned in #2. Things were going along swimmingly… at about 7 weeks old Archie made his first stretch of 8 hours of sleep (haaaallleluja) and that continued on, and then that 8 hours turned into 10 hours and there we were, sailing along when we flew to Michigan for three weeks, (three hour time change), Archie turned 4 months old (babies brains change and they start sleeping more like an adult, aka lighter sleep), he was in a whole new sleeping environment, AND he was teething. All of this at once meant one or two or three wake-ups in the night and it threw us for a real loop. I ended up bouncing him to sleep more often then not and guess what?… When we got home he didn’t suddenly think oh I am home, now I will go back to falling asleep on my own and staying asleep. Nope, he decided he realllly liked getting bounced to sleep and while I am at it I am going to take only 40 minute naps. Thankfully he did go back to sleeping through the night 10+ hours but that is where I am now…  trying to get back to him being able to fall asleep on his own and trying to get him to nap longer then a hot second.

I don’t know how to end this other than… I need to got to sleep, seriously… it is 10 pm and that is 2 hours past my bedtime. kidding/not kidding. I’d love to hear how any of you mama’s or daddy’s got through the 4 month sleep regression or if you have any tricks to getting in some extra z’s (or maybe you fell asleep reading this insanely long post? definitely a record breaker for me).

Make sure to check out the other mama’s of the series, chatting about sleep today:
Apartment 34
Could I Have That
The Effortless Chic
Ave Styles
The Refined Woman
Parker Etc
A Daily Something

Photo by Connie of The Great Romance 

Meet Archer!

Archer newborn photosIf you haven’t noticed yet, I have been a bit MIA around here lately, but if you follow me on Instagram,  you will know it is for good reason. :) Baby Archer Lee Fox Samuel finally arrived and guess what… on my birthday! He came barreling into the world on February 26th, weighing in at 8 pounds 2 ounces. They had estimated him at 9 and a half pounds so I was quite happy he was closer to 8, for my V’s sake (insert monkey with his eyes covered emoji).

Archer newborn photosWe have fallen down a rabbit hole of newborn cuddles, mushy gushy love and SO much staring at the little guy. While we are trying to navigate this insane period of time as new parents, I hope you will forgive any nonsensical posts that might make their way up here between sleep deprived typing and half open eyes. xo

These photos were snapped by the same photo power couple that took my maternity shots, Katherine and Luke of Max and Friends.

from the weekend: nursery beginnings

nursery items // sneak peek // sarah sherman samuelThis weekend our crib got delivered and, holy crap, things started to feel really real. I started gathering the few special pieces that I have picked up here and there for the nursery and finally got a chance to work on the design (woot woot!). I will share the plan in a few, but for now here is a sneak peek of some of the pieces and the color palette I am planning to work with. Baby Samuel is due exactly 1 month from today. Ah!

Product Sources: Crib by Kalon Studios // The white plush giraffe and elephant and the triangle garland was made by my talented friend Lauren, as part of the decor for my baby shower // Lauren also sneakily had my dad make the wooden blocks which she painted (also for my baby shower) // Green Ottoman from another DIY genius, Modernhaus // White Sheepskin Rug // Peach Vintage Rug from Frances Loom // Baby Minnetonka Moccasins // Arrow Wall Flag by Ferm Living

Image by me via iPhone & instagram (I’m @sarahshermansamuel)