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When it's Time to Rebrand

Almost 7 years ago I started a blog and called it "Crafted Love". THIS blog. It was the perfect name at the time for my love of crafting and DIY. And I wanted to share that love with the world.

For years it fit my brand perfectly. But since then, I've branched out and added even more to this blog like lifestyle posts, interior decor ideas, as well as blogging and design tips. I've graduated college, and I've started my career in the design and marketing world.

And as I changed, so did this blog.

I contemplated coming up with a new brand name. I sat with pen and paper and tried to write out all the things that I liked in hopes I could come up with a new business name for this blog and my shop.

It had to be good. It had to be as perfect as "Crafted Love" was all those years.

Weeks went by and I still had nothing. Just a blank pad of paper with "Biz Names" scribbled across the top.

What did I want to be known for? What one word or phrase really screamed "Allison"? And then it dawned on me. Why try to be anything other that ME.

And with that realization, I decided to rebrand Crafted Love. To SELF-brand Crafted Love.

The decision was bittersweet. That name has been my pride and joy for years. Not to mention the logo. I mean how much more perfect can a logo be? It's still one of my favorites I've ever designed. So simple, yet so spot on. But I really felt like it was starting to hold me back. I was experiencing a major case of writers block every time I sat down to the computer. I went back and forth but but I really feel like a weight was lifted off me when I finally decided to retire the Crafted Love name.

But don't worry. This blog will still be filled with all the things that made it Crafted Love. Same DIY posts. Same blogging and marketing tips. Same home decor tricks that won't break the bank. All mixed with adventures of my family and life as a graphic designer. I even have some new hand lettering tutorials in the works.

The only thing that's changing is the name. 

So I hope you'll stick around. I promise it will be rad. I'm really excited about what's to come with this blog and I hope you are too.

Dear Sloane [Two Months]

Dear Sloane,

Seriously, kiddo... time needs to slow down. I blinked and you are now two months old. I try not to let that make me sad and remind myself that every day you are learning new things and growing into such a smart little human.

You've officially outgrown your newborn clothes, and while it killed me to do it, we've packed them away and brought out the 3 month clothes. I know it's a great thing you're growing, but I can't help but get a little teary eyed when I look back at that first photo we took of you in the hospital. You've grown so much in just two months and have shed that newborn look. You are a little baby now and learning so much every day.

This month, you mastered Dad's "ahhh gooo". You're chatting up a storm and love when we talk back. You're smiling more than ever and we even caught a laugh! Though we haven't been successful in getting you to do it since. It would probably help if you weren't sucking on your hand 24-7, silly girl. It was the cutest sound I've ever heard and I can't wait to hear it again

You've started focusing in on things a lot better, including Harvey. I'll catch you staring at him with a little smile on your face. While you don't interest him or Quinn much these days, I know in a few months you'll become the best of friends. You love to lie on your play mat and kick the toys that hang down. Your fur-siblings have been so good about not eating your toys (knock on wood). We're quite surprised to have only had one minor fatality with the duckie bath thermometer. We'll see how long that lasts.

You love to be worn in a wrap and will pass out in seconds when the vacuum is running. Even when you're being fussy, all I have to do is put you in the Baby K'tan and vacuum a room in the house... I don't think it has never been cleaner. We've gone to several festivals with you in the Baby K'Tan and you always fall asleep listening to the music. I think you're going to end up like me and need white noise to fall asleep. Thank goodness for smart phones.

I can't believe how big you're getting and how big of a personality you have. Fall has officially begun (though you wouldn't know it by the unseasonable warm weather we're having) which is my favorite season of all and I can't wait to share it with you. Happy two month "birthday" my little nugget!

Dear Sloane [One Month]

Dear Sloane,

Holy cow. You have officially been in the world a whole month now and I can't believe how fast time has flown. You are the most precious thing I've ever seen and I don't think I've ever met a happier baby. You are just perfection.

My phone keeps telling me I'm running out of space because I take so many photos and videos of you. My Instagram and Snapchat follows are getting spammed everyday with your cute face. But I just can't help it. You're my favorite thing in the entire world.

You're already sleeping 4 hour stretches at night which has been such a blessing. You sleep in your bassinet in our room and only wake to eat. Except for a few nights, once you're full you go right back to sleep--it's been amazing. Daytime is another story and we're still working on getting your naps to be longer. You have quite the internal clock and it tells you it's time to wake up right at 30 minutes.

At only 3 weeks old you were already smiling at us. Mornings are your favorite and I always look forward to our little chats on the changing table as we get you ready for the day. Your wiggly charm is just too much for me to handle sometimes. You've started making little noises and it's quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever heard. Dad's working really hard on getting you to say "Ahhh gooo". I'm not completely sure why this is his chosen phrase, but you are hard at work learning it :)

You have quite the personality already and I can't wait to watch it grow. Some of the faces you make are the funniest things I've seen. Dad and I joke that you have "Resting Bitch Face". Sorry, little one... you got that from your Momma.

Other than our morning chats, your favorite things include licking your play mat instead of doing Tummy Time, Stevie Nicks, sitting upright (with help) so you can see the world, and taking naps on Dad's chest. You HATE waiting for food and make sure the whole house (or restaurant) knows it. And if you never had to be strapped into your car seat again it would be too soon. You hate that thing.

You are quite independent and very determined. You keep checking off developmental leaps left and right. Before I know it you'll be crawling around chasing your furry siblings. But we're in no rush, little one. Don't grow up too fast, please. For now, I'm going to soak up every minute I get with your cute, snuggly, little one-month-old self.

To be honest, I never really thought I'd be a good mom. You see, I've never really been comfortable around babies. But I have to say, I cannot imagine my life without you now. I have slid right into motherhood and truly enjoy caring for you each and every day. You make my life such an adventure and I didn't think it was possible to love something as much as I love you. So, Sloane, here's to one month down and many, many more to come.

Sloane Eloise: A Birth Story

Well friends, she's here! And in true Allison fashion, I'm only a month late in announcing. Miss Sloane Eloise graced us with her presence, and no big deal, but tomorrow is her one-month "birthday". Whoops. Better late than never, am I right???

Bright and early on July 25th (2:59 in the morning to be exact), a little beauty weighing in at a tiny 7 pounds, 5 ounces, and a whopping 21 inches long decided it was finally time to break free of the womb. This is her story.

When it got to the end of my pregnancy, I could tell Sloane was going to be stubborn and not want to come anywhere near her due date. So when 40 weeks came and went, I tried to keep my cool and gracefully reacted to the "STILL PREGNANT?" remarks. At my 40 week appointment I was only 1cm dilated and up until that point hadn't had a single contraction. Kiddo seemed quite comfy in there with no plans to come out on her own. Hook her up with some Netflix and I think I would have been pregnant forever.

We ended up scheduling an induction for 41 weeks + 1 day. I was to come in on Sunday night, July 23rd, and start meds to get me dilating. Awesome. We'd start meds and I'd have a baby by lunchtime the next day--right? Nope. What no one told me prior to all this is that inductions for a first time mom can take up to FOUR DAYS.

We started Pitocin on a really low level because the dilation meds didn't really work for me the night prior and I was only at 2cm by Monday morning. So the hope was the contractions from Pitocin would jump start me dilating. Also a big NOPE. You guys, either my body really likes being pregnant or it just doesn't know how to function under pressure. I was having 5 minute long contractions with only about 30 seconds break in between and they still weren't dilating me any further. Even with my high pain tolerance, 5 minute long contractions that close together were sending me up a wall, but it was too soon to get an epidural. Also another misconception I had--I thought you could just waltz in to Labor & Delivery and say "Alright! hook me up that epidural!" right off the bat. Pain-free labor, my butt. So I took a hot shower to ease the pain of contractions and they ended up having to use a foley bulb to get me to 4cm.

After that point they decided maybe an epidural would help me relax. The nurses joked that they were worried how I would do with an epidural because redheads don't do well with anesthesia. But I lucked out and apparently my epidural was "perfect". I could still feel my legs completely and could even put some weight on them to move my body on the bed. But my contraction pain was completely gone. Hallelujah!

I finally started dilating on my own after that but still really slowly. We were getting to the point where my OB was talking about possibly needing a c-section. Kiddo was being quite stubborn. So as a final try, the nurses brought in a "peanut yoga ball" and had me do some weird positions to help move things along. They even had me get on my knees and hug the back of the hospital bed (because my legs were jello from the epidural). It was like some weird version of Cirque du Soleil in that room. I think getting off my back was what did it because at around 1:00 in the morning I felt like I needed to push. So the nurse checked me and I had jumped to 9cm dilated. Time to push!

Now, before we got to the hospital Mike and I discussed whether he wanted to see "everything" or if he wanted to just stay up at my shoulders. I joked that I didn't care either way but if he chose to watch he had to promise it wouldn't flip out. Mike decided he would stay up at my shoulders and just see kiddo when they put her on my chest. Fine by me... actually I preferred it that way. I didn't even want to see what was going on down there. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, friends... they say not to make a birth plan because it will all go to shit. And that happened to be the only plan we made. I should have seen it coming.

My nurse said, "Dad, grab her other leg". At which point I had a huge "oh, shit" moment thinking about how Mike was now going to see everything. That's it. I might as well go join a nunnery. Our love life was over. But guys, I was so, so wrong. It was the most perfect delivery and I don't think it would have been as special with Mike just standing at the head of the bed.

When it came time to push, Mike held a leg and, with his other arm, held me behind my back to help me push. He cheered and coached me on through every push. And after about an hour of pushing our little one graced us with her presence. And she was perfect.

It was the most perfect delivery I could have ever imagined. And honestly, I had no clue what I was going into because I chose not to go to any labor classes. I've always been someone who flew by the seat of their pants, so why did I think pregnancy would change that? But guys, while the pregnancy was SO rough and I can't say I ever really want to go through that again... I would go through the labor and delivery part again in a heart beat. Even the pain of contractions. It was just magical. And talk about that prize at the end...

Like I said, I'm late in writing this. As I type, I have a 4 week old in the other room being rocked to sleep by her Daddy. It seriously goes by SO fast and it makes me a bit sad. But, as someone who was afraid of motherhood, I have to say--it's the greatest adventure I've ever embarked on. And I can't wait to share it with you!

Bumpdate: 28 Weeks

Hellooooo third trimester!!! We are officially in the final stretch with this little nugget of ours and I couldn't be more excited for all the adventures to come! I've even noticed a change in the dogs recently, too. They follow me around like hawks and are more cuddly. Harvey will even push his way into the bathroom and lie right on the bath mat while I'm in the shower. I can't wait to introduce them to our little lady and add in a stroller to our walks :)