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Why I DIY

I DIY not because I'm some sort of perfect homemaker, but because I love the imperfect beauty of this homemade life.

Why I DIY

I'm a maker. I DIY. I pin project ideas on Pinterest. I adore gorgeous custom-made creations on Instagram. I sell homemade clothing on Etsy. I admit it: I love to craft and create.


I should introduce myself: I’m English, a mother of two girls, and wife to the ever-patient Mr ‘O’. We live in a bright happy-mess of an apartment in Manhattan along with 47 tubes of glitter glue, an upholsterers staple gun and hundreds of yards of brightly printed fabrics I’ve amassed over many years. I studied fashion design at Central Saint Martins in London, apprenticed in Paris before designing in Milan and then New York. Whilst my children are young I’m lucky to be home with them and I’m currently working on launching my label Little O Clothing.

Why do I DIY? The truth is I enjoy it –I enjoy the process of daydreaming and creating. I find it incredibly relaxing to knit or sew and it’s the perfect antidote to the fast paced world outside. It’s my therapeutic moment of calm. Raised by parents who had the attitude that anything worth having is worth trying to make ourselves, I’ve always been creative and now that I have children I’ve found many new avenues to explore – knitting baby clothes, designing items for their nursery, sewing clothes, crib sheets and tutus for my older daughters 3rd birthday. (DIY to follow!)

Knitting, for example, forces me to think not only about the rhythm of movement but also reflect on my day, things I’ve read, information I’ve absorbed.

Crafting gives me precious time with my eldest daughter. We often make cards, create dresses for her doll or simply chop up yarn and colored paper, whatever she fancies doing. Often the point is to realize a specific vision she’s had but other times its just about being present. I find I’m able to have sweet, honest conversations with her if we’re occupied doing something crafty – she can talk freely and openly (sometimes) where she might be evasive or distracted otherwise.

My finest DIY moment came when I moved to the States, a single girl with only a small suitcase of clothes and a box of an apartment in Brooklyn. I did a patchy job of putting up simple floating shelving in my kitchen –using my favorite YSL mascara (Faux Cils, black – a splurge but so good) as a spirit level. The thrill of doing something so out of my comfort zone – all by myself – was addictive.

But like many mamas, I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest and Instagram. While they are both inspiring resources and pragmatic for my business I am also aware of the pitfalls. How on earth does one keep a monochrome Scandinavian nursery looking minimalist and stylish when a cacophony of clashing, colorful toys takes over the room? My guilty secret: I’ve lost sleep over this. Definitely.

Here's the truth: Yes, there are homes that are somehow (miraculously!) able to maintain a high level of order that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional (not mine) – but I suspect they are few and far between. The second and more damning truth is that these pictures are often styled and edited to within an inch of their Pinterest-lives. To wit--If you look at photos from nearly any home tour featured in a magazine, the editors will often tell you who the stylist was at the end, in small print. Read: they hid a ton of stuff in cupboards before the photographer turned up and bought some stylish ranunculus to add a pop of color.

Its not to say that these images and articles aren’t worth their weight in inspiration-gold; I love nothing more than to pour over interior blogs and social media for DIY inspiration, but I just have to keep reminding myself to limit my expectations in my own home and to repeat my mantra: Keep it real. There is so much seemingly "perfect" content available to us at the click of a button that it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed and inadequate.

Here's what I try to remember when I'm feeling insecure in the face of those Pinterest-perfect lives, and instead find myself feeling overwhelmed by the broken toys, the piles of glitter, the endless to-do lists: A messy home can be a sign of a full, happy life. Of lives well-lived, together.

I DIY because I love the ritual of creating. I love to hold meaning in my hands. I love the moments with my child as we craft and color, paint and create. I DIY not because I'm some sort of perfect homemaker, but because I love the imperfect beauty of this homemade life.

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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