Those Beautiful Feet

I am very proud of Daphne's feet. Those feet mean so much to me.

We found out I was pregnant with Daphne in September '09. I just knew from the very beginning that we were having a girl. I'm not sure why or how I was so sure, I just was. Our 18 week detailed anatomy ultrasound was scheduled for mid-January. I waited on pins and needles up until then. This ultrasound, to me, was all about finding out if my maternal instincts were right.

I think every soon-to-be parent assumes that their child is going to be perfectly healthy. Brian and I are young -- it never crossed my mind that something could be 'wrong' with our baby. Until something was. As we waited for the final verdict on the sex, it seemed that the ultrasound was taking longer than normal. When the technician finally asked us if we wanted to know the sex, my heart jumped. This was what I had been looking forward to for months! She told us and I yelped, "I knew it!" and she excused herself to go and review the ultrasound results with the doctor.

I was elated as we sat waiting for the doctor to come in. Then things get a little cloudy. The doctor came in and I remember hearing "there was a finding", and "clubfoot", and "could be indicative of other problems". I felt devastated as the doctor explained what clubfoot was to us. To me, it was the end of the world. All I could hear is "something is wrong with your baby, something is wrong with your baby". The exciting news that we were having a girl was tainted. We were handed pamphlets on clubfoot treatments and an appointment was booked with the genetic counselor.

I was supposed to go into work that day, but I just couldn't. This was not the news I was expecting to share when I came in. I cried a lot that day, off and on. I tried to keep it all in perspective -- I knew this wasn't the worse thing that could have happened. I knew that there were parents out there that had it much worse than us. I still wished that this wasn't going to be our reality. I didn't know much about the treatment for clubfoot just yet -- but I did know that my baby would probably have to be in a cast from birth to a few months old. And then she'd have to wear special shoes. I thought about what people would think when they saw me carrying a baby with a cast on her leg. I thought about all the questions and sideways glances I'd get when I brought my baby girl out with me and she had these shoes on. With time, those worries faded and I began to realize that Daphne would be fine and we would be fine. When I thought about her, I didn't default to thinking about her foot. Sometimes, I even forgot. We had frequent ultrasounds to check up on her and make sure nothing else popped up as a red flag. Each time, I hoped just a little that maybe they had been wrong about her foot. It became more obvious with each ultrasound that it was really there.

I went into labor the evening of June 16th -- a week after my due date. After 9 hours of labor, she was here. And the last thing on my mind was her foot. I was just happy she was here. We had one week of a cast-free newborn. Daphne was put in her first cast at the Rubin Institute at Sinai on June 25th. I sat next to her on the car ride home and couldn't help but cry a little. She was so tiny and that cast was so HUGE. I knew it didn't hurt her, but it looked like it should. It just looked sad. She had a total of 7 casts. One a week until the 7th cast. Before her 7th cast was put on, a tenotomy (which is the clipping of the Achilles tendon) was performed. That was awful for us to watch. It was a simple procedure -- but to watch Daphne scream like that was really painful. Like a stab to the heart. Once it was over and the cast was put on, she was fine. She wore that last cast for 2 weeks and then it was into her special shoes. Her foot was fixed, but to prevent relapse, the shoes would be necessary up until age 4 or 5.

The casts and special shoes definitely created challenges for us that new parents don't usually have to deal with. Those days seem like ages ago now. Daphne wore the special shoes for 23 hours a day up until she was 5 months old. Since her 5 month appointment, she was given the go-ahead to wear them only for sleeping. I was careful to keep photos of her in the casts and shoes off Facebook. Not because I was embarrassed, but because I didn't want to have to answer questions about them in such a public space. Every night we strap her up in her special shoes. Some nights, I think about how lucky we are to have the money and insurance to have her foot treated. How she would be handicap if we didn't have coverage and couldn't afford treatment. Other nights, the shoes are just part of the bedtime routine and I have to remind myself that other people don't put these shoes on their babies before bedtime. So far, Daphne doesn't know any different and the shoes are just as normal to her as her bath is. Things could get interesting in the next couple years though.

I'm always going to remember what we went through to have her foot fixed. What she went through. I remember a Target cashier asking me what happened to her leg. I looked at her matter-of-factly and said "Nothing. She was born with a foot defect." I know what people assume when they see a baby in a cast. And why wouldn't they? Casts are for broken bones. It didn't bother me like I thought it would. I told them about her foot and that was it. As she grows up, her feet will always be very special to me. Probably a lot more special than they will ever be to her. I can't wait to see what she does with them!

Daphne's left clubfoot the day before she was put in her 1st cast.

Daphne's 1st cast. Each cast was dated and numbered. I liked putting a sock on it to keep her exposed piggies warm.


Displaying Photos

My family gave me this book as part of my birthday present this year. I love it. It has a lot of unique ideas for displaying photos. I'm planning to pose off a lot more of the arrangements in the book --  I'll be sure to share.

I really liked the horizontal arrangement of photos in the spread I've included here. Do you see how the series is all in B&W?! Every single one of the frames shown is a different size with different sized mats -- and all the photos come together perfectly.

Because I liked the horizontal arrangement, I decided to try something of my own on our (newly painted!!!) dresser. The frames are all from Ikea. I painted 2 of them white, and 3 of them the same green as our bedroom walls. I'd like to say the decision to paint them green was purely a design decision -- but it was largely influenced by the fact that we have almost a whole gallon of bedroom paint leftover. Good thing I'm a huge fan of green.

I could have kept the photos all B&W, but I wanted a little more variety. Besides, our house is getting a little heavy on the B&Ws. I've proclaimed my love for them -- and I will forever -- but I wanted to keep things fresh and live on the edge. I'm such a risk-taker.


Our Bathroom Makeover

Vines. Dirty white walls. Vines. Vines. Vines.

As soon as I set foot in this bathroom when we were looking at the house as potential buyers -- I knew this bathroom would HAVE to be changed. Our first priority, however, was making all the needed updates/repairs on the main floor. For weeks, I spent as little time as I could in this bathroom. I didn't want anything to do with it. I closed the door that leads into our bedroom so I didn't have to look at it. It wasn't just the vines that bothered me -- it was the dirty handprint smudges on the walls that the previous owners left behind. Those smudges not only disgusted me -- they were a constant reminder that this house didn't feel like ours yet.

Unfortunately, I didn't snap a photo before we removed the two medicine cabinets that hung there. One over the sink and the other over the toilet. They were both the same finish as the vanity. They were bulky and old. And dusty. Like 10 years worth of dust on the top. I think I gagged when I saw it.

So here's the list of things we did:

1) painted
2) hung a new mirror and light fixture
3) painted the vanity white
4) replaced old faucet with new one
5) hung new shower rod and curtain YHL style

It almost feels spa-like in here now. I still remember the vines. I still remember the handprints. But with time, I'll forget :)


Drama, Drama, Drama

You are probably thinking I need to step away from the B&W photos. I can't. I love how they instantly unite with other B&W's like they've been friends forever. Old photos can mesh with new ones and they can look great in a series of frames all in close proximity to one another. You just can't mess it up.

I took these photos of Daphne late late in the afternoon when the light was harsh in our bedroom. The shadows were kind of crazy and I thought for sure that this little photoshoot would be a bust. For the majority of photos, it was -- but for a select few, it was a complete success!

When converted to B&W, these photos really took on a dramatic effect. I used the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop to lighten up the areas I wanted brighter and darken those I wanted darker. The more contrast in the photo, the better. I love how the design on the duvet cover almost points to Daphne. Definitely unintentional. Luck.

As her Momma, I am wired to believe that Daphne is the most perfectly beautiful being in the entire universe. With that said, I joked with Brian that she kind of looked like Eddie Munster in the first photo. Brian's response, "Who is Eddie Munster?". And his next response? "Shocker, it's an old TV show probably from the 50s." In case you didn't know, I watched a lot of Nick-at-Nite as a kid and enjoyed old sitcoms like Bewitched, Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie...and my all-time favorite, I Love Lucy. The Munsters was a good one too. As I tried to argue that The Munsters wasn't THAT old (after I googled the theme song and began giddily humming along)...I had to bite my tongue when I realized that its last episode aired 17 years before I was born. In my defense, I wasn't allowed to watch a lot of the shows other kids were --The Simpsons and 90210 were off limits. Even the 6 year old down the street was allowed to watch 90210. She had a Dylan pillow. Man, was I jealous.

So, dramatic B&W photos. Yeah...


Shameless Plug

Here's an invitation set I worked on almost a year ago. The bride wanted something current and classy. Fuchsia was her main color and after I showed her my card stock swatchbook, she was sold on the paisley accents. One thing that threw me for a loop -- my paper manufacturer discontinued the paisley while I was designing these invites. Luckily, they were able to scrape together the last of what they had to accommodate my order. I was definitely sweating.

This set is sans-RSVP envelope. The reverse side of the RSVP card was set up like a postcard. This can help cut costs. I also designed a tabbed directions card so that it wouldn't get lost behind the RSVP card. The invitations were packaged up in a white linen envelope (all custom addressed) with a fuchsia envelope liner.

So here's my shameless plug -- know anyone needing wedding invitations? Send them my way! Contact me at info@blueseptemberdesign.com.


Teary-Eyed Faceplant

Now that we live in a house, we have easy access to the outdoors (duh). With the most recent snow, I decided it was time to finally let Daphne discover what this stuff is all about.

I bundled her up and took her out to the backyard. I plopped her down in the snow and started to turn on my camera and got into shooting position. As I was making my adjustments, I started to see her tip. I wasn't fast enough. When I got to her (I was seriously only a foot away), she was face down in the snow. Only the snow wasn't so soft anymore. In fact, it wasn't soft at all. It had hardened over night. It was icy. And it hurt. Her poor little face was a tiny bit red where it came in contact with the ice and her eyes were glazed with tears.

When I finally got her to calm down, we switched locations. I trekked up to the deck and this time, learning from her teary-eyed faceplant, I dug a little hole for her to sit in. I'm not sure why I didn't think of that in the first place. I managed to get a few good photos of her and we quickly got back inside. We were outside for less than 10 minutes.

The original photo was dark. I never realize just how dark a photo is until I compare it to the one that I've just adjusted. I lightened it up and de-saturated the color in her fuzzy hat and coat. Nothing wrong with the original colors -- I just wanted something a little softer. I also took some of the shadows out of her eyes to bring out the hazel that I just KNOW is there.

I could have left it at that. And don't worry, I kept all three versions. I thought I may want a B&W version also. I still wanted some color to show through though. I used layer masks in Photoshop to bring through a bit of color in her hat, cheeks, eyes, and lips. I just love the contrast of the B&W mixed with the subtle color showing through. I am running out of frames in this house...


Don't Be Skerd of Pattern

I picked up this book on Patterns at Tuesday Morning the other day. I was on the hunt for some fun coffee table books. Bonus points to any coffee table book I find that I actually think is interesting.

Patterns can be scary. At least, I think so. When paired together correctly, seemingly very different patterns can look amazing together (what I learned from this book). Sometimes pattern pairing can also turn out to be a disaster. I tend to keep colors simple and often avoid any type of risk associated with patterns.  I like to live in the safe lane.

I've started to take more pattern risks since we've moved. I've done some of my own successful pattern pairings with throw pillows (maybe to be shown at a later date?). Yesterday, after being inspired by my new coffee table book -- I finally decided to fill the empty shabby-chicesque photo frame that we picked up from the trusty ol' thrift store. And what did I fill it with? Pattern! I had leftover fabric from the curtains we hung in our master bedroom. I measured the size of the frame and cut the fabric accordingly, leaving an extra inch around each side. I folded the fabric over a piece of heavy card stock and hot glued the excess fabric onto the backside and DONE. Took about 5 minutes.

I'm already thinking of ways to evolve this project -- maybe I'll add photo corners to the fabric and insert a photo? I'm not skerd.



This post isn't very designish of me. I just had to share the awesomeness that was my thrift store find yesterday.

I had popped into one of best local thrift stores to look for frames and white ceramic items. While I was paying for my items, I peeked over into the glass case. I probably did a double take. I pointed over to the handbag and asked the cashier how much it was to which she replied $35.

I examined it really well. I had a clutch by the same designer and won't say how much I paid for it. I knew this bag was worth a LOT more than $35. I scooped it up, repeating over and over to the cashier that I couldn't believe I just found it and that it is probably the best find I will ever have in my life.

It was a Gustto handbag. Dark wine color -- tags tucked into the pocket and seems like it was never used. Soft, supple leather. I checked the style number online and was not surprised to find that it retails for $595!

I realize this is the only time something like this will happen to me. I'm okay with that!