Be sure to read to the end to learn about our giveaway with True North Ring Slings.
When a new baby joins the family, the pace of life inevitably slows. The priorities shift to feedings, diapers, cuddles, and nap times. One thing that doesn’t go away is the daily routine of meals, errands, laundry, and tidying. Mom’s hands are full and her plate just got fuller.
I remember well how overwhelmed I felt as a first time mom four years ago! Simple tasks like folding laundry suddenly seemed impossible… they needed to be done, but not at the expense of sacrificing time with my baby.
Enter the time-honored, global tradition of babywearing. I loved that I could snuggle my baby and still stay on top of the daily happenings. With my second born, I discovered another plus: it made snuggles easier during those long, hard days of teething. Now, with my third baby, I’m loving that I can still keep up with my toddlers and keep my baby close by.
What carriers have I tried? What are the pros and cons?
Wrap Carriers. My wrap-style carrier (think Moby, Solly, etc.) was my initiation into babywearing. It gave me the courage I needed to go grocery shopping for the very first time alone with the baby.
Pros: Soft and stretchy. Readily available. (Even stores like Target and Walmart offer this style)
Cons: Hot. Difficult to use. (Unless you like feeling like a ninja all while juggling a baby)
Soft Structured Carriers. After becoming frustrated with the complicated wrap carrier, I purchased a soft structured carrier (such as a Boba, Ergo, Lillebaby, etc.). It was a great experience, but lacked a few conveniences I desired.
Pros: Supportive. Great for long carries and bigger babies.
Cons: Bulky (you can’t just toss it your diaper bag). Difficult to safely situate newer babies (who often want to be worn more frequently).
Ring Slings. My third baby has been much more picky about being worn. He’s had some pretty difficult tummy issues and needs a lot of Mommy snuggles, but my wrap and structured carriers were met with very low tolerance. At the suggestion of my midwife, I pulled the trigger and purchased a ring sling. He slept for two hours the very first time I wore him. I’ve tried a few different ring slings for fun since they’ve worked so well for us and can safely say, linen (from a company such as True North Ring Slings) is my favorite. The sling took babywearing from something I did for convenience to something I did because I truly loved wearing my baby.
Pros: Even picky babies seem happy in a sling. Easily adaptable from tiny newborns to toddlers. Quick to adjust (I love having an alternative to lugging around a heavy car seat). Strong supportive fabric that’s still soft enough for delicate babies. Compact (can easily fold and stash in your diaper bag for on-the-go days).
Cons: Slight learning curve (well worth it!). Needs a short breaking in period (there are lots of great short cuts and resources for this!)
I strongly believe that next to a quality car seat, my ring sling is the most worthwhile baby equipment purchase we have made. Hands down.
We are THRILLED to be partnering with Alberta-based True North Ring Slings to bring you a giveaway! I recently purchased a beautiful gray ring sling (with to-die-for rose gold rings) from this amazing company. I’ve been nothing short of impressed by their quality and their customer service. I’ve received almost instant responses from them when I’ve reached out with questions – and they’ve been so personable (even giving me the fun fact that I was their first Texas customer!).
Using high-quality linen sourced from Europe, they offer a wonderful range of colors from classic neutrals to vibrant hues. They are unique in that they offer several lengths to choose from (no worries if you’re tall or broad shouldered! They’ve got you covered!). Their slings meet all safety standards (both mandatory and voluntary), so you can rest easy knowing that your baby is safe. More than anything, I love that is company is mommy-owned!
True North is partnering with us to GIVEAWAY a $50 STORE CREDIT* to one lucky reader and a 10% OFF COUPON CODE to all the rest of you!
To enter the giveaway, head over to Instagram and follow us (@canvasandtable) and then (@truenorthringslings). Tag your friends on our Instagram about this baby wearing blog post (you’ll receive an entry for each tag). For a bonus entry, “regram” our post to your personal Instagram!**
To save 10% on your order, simple use this code when you check out: canvasandtable. Offer good through April 20th.
Do you “wear” your baby? Leave a comment below and tell us.
*$50 store credit is CAD (Canadian dollars) as True North is based in Canada.
**Find complete entry instructions on Instagram post
You’ve conquered the Black Friday shopping madness and now your closet is full of goodies for special people on your Christmas list. Ready to have that closet space back — and fill up the space under your Christmas tree? We’re here to help make it even easier! Wanting those picture-perfect, Instagram-worthy gifts under your tree? Wrapping gifts the old fashioned way – with paper and ribbon – doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated. Here are a few quick tips as well as a thorough step-by-step guide to wrapping your presents to perfection.
First, you’ll need to assemble a few simple supplies:
1. Some wrapping paper. I LOVE coordinating my wrap each year. We end up with something like 40 presents under our tree (large extended family that we enjoy exchanging with), so I buy several rolls. This year we have lots of classic red, plaid, and a couple of fun prints. I buy my gift wrap at the end of the previous season, catching the major Christmas clearance that many stores run. Storing in the garage or storage closet for a year is worth paying only $1-2 per roll of paper, in my book. If you prefer to shop from the convenience of your home, you can always find some great options here. 2. Ribbon. I have really fallen in love with the fancy touch that wire-edged ribbon gives to a wrapped gift. It can minimize extra costs for added touches, while giving a nice, classic finish. I buy my wire-edged ribbon at Sam’s (I’m guessing Costco carries it, too) for about $7 for a 100 yard spool. My favorite width is 1.5 inches. That seems to work well for larger or smaller boxes. (That’s a TON of ribbon.) If you don’t have Sam’s or Costco near you, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby run some really good sales around this time of year (and if they don’t happen to be running ribbon on sale, they both always offer a 40% off of one item coupon). An alternative to ribbon is baker’s twine. It works well for smaller packages. Prefer to shop online? This is similar to the burlap ribbon pictured. 3. Tape. Go cheap and simple on this one. What I have pictured is a jumbo size roll of transparent tape – the biggest and cheapest roll I could find at Walmart. The glossy transparent tape will hide easily on most gift wraps. You can grab some tape online here. 4. Sharp scissors. Forgive me, talented seamstress friends, for breaking a cardinal rule! I cut my paper with fabric sheers. 5. A good pen or marker for marking on gift tags. I prefer an ultra fine-tip Sharpie, as it shows up easily on most papers, writes well on even glossy finish tags, and doesn’t skip like a ball point pen might.
Now that you’ve gathered your supplies, choose which gift you’d like to wrap first. I chose one of the gifts that we’re giving my three year old, a 5 DVD set of the Theo series. (Which we LOVE, by the way! They are beautiful and phenomenal Christian Children’s shows, teaching Bible stories and theology at a level that they can understand.)
The first step is going to be to measure your wrapping paper. I highly recommend purchasing wrapping paper that has a grid printed on the back. It makes cutting accurate (and straight lines) a breeze. Lay your box on the paper and take a minute to measure using the grid. You want enough paper on each of the four sides to go just past the middle of each size. That will insure that you have enough paper to cover completely, without having to trim extra off as you go.
Now that your paper is the perfect size, take one long edge and fold it over towards the middle and secure it to the gift with a piece of tape, repeating with the other long edge. Take just a couple extra seconds to make sure that you pull the paper snuggly. I also recommend finger creasing each folded edge for a clean finished product.
Let’s move on the more complicated short edges. Place the package with the long edge seam side up. Now take that seam side and fold it down (image #1 above), securing with a piece of tape. That will create two angles of paper on the side. Crease those. Now, as image #2 shows, take one of those smaller edges and fold it towards the middle of the box side, securing with tape and repeating on the other side. Image #3 is the view you should have from overhead. Fold the remaining straight edge towards the middle and add tape.
You have one completed end and one raw edge end. To simplify finishing the raw edge edge, set your package on end (the completed end) to give you an easier edge to work with. Repeat the above steps for wrapping the ends of a package (folding seam side toward the middle, shorter edges toward the middle, and the final straight edge toward the middle) and you’ve got a completely wrapped gift.
It’s time to move on to the finishing step – tying a simple bow around your gift. As I mentioned in the section on supplies, I usually use a 1.5 inch wire-edged ribbon, but satin ribbon or baker’s twine will work for this simple method. Choose your ribbon and then pull a length out from the spool. Wrap the ribbon 2-3 times around your box in each direction to make sure you have enough for the bow.
Hold your cut ribbon and find both raw edges. Hold them together and straighten out the ribbon to find the exact middle. If you’re using wire-edged ribbon, make a little crease for reference.
Lay your ribbon on your wrapped gift – seam side down. Adjust the ribbon so that the exact center of the length is at the center of the package. Now flip the gift to seam side up, holding your ribbon in place. Take your ribbon tails – on in each hand and cross them at a 45* angle. You want it to look exactly like it does in Image #3. Tug gently on the ribbon tails to make sure the ribbon is taut, hold in place, and flip your gift back to seam side down.
Gather your ribbon tail and make a simple double knot. Don’t worry about squishing your ribbon. If it’s wire-edged, it’ll flatten and fluff easily.
You’re almost done! At this point, pretend that you’re trying your tennis shoes and you’re golden! Around the tree, through the hole, and pull the bunny ears. (Something like that… ha!) Adjust your ribbon, twisting until your bow is where you’d like it. Fluff the bow loops and straighten out the lengths around your package.
Trim the raw edges of your ribbon, add a gift tag, and you’re done!
Bonus step: Place your gift under your tree to wait for Christmas Day. 🙂
Leave a comment below and tell us what your favorite color or print of Christmas wrapping paper is!
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Decorating for Christmas has always been a serious business and this year is no exception. We’re breaking all of the good American rules of Christmas decorating and putting up our Christmas trees BEFORE Thanksgiving. Yes, I said trees- plural. We take Christmas decor seriously in our home.
While I don’t expect you to deck the halls to the tune of five Christmas trees, like we enjoy doing, I do expect you to check your Scrooge at the door and add some festive touches to your home. So, today I’m sharing with you a few simple strategies to get the maximum merry for the minimum humbug (effort).
Focus on your tree. If you’re looking to keep things on the minimal side this year, focus your efforts on your Christmas tree. Personally, I love my trees having themes. Our main Christmas tree looks deceptively like Valentine’s Day, with an abundance of hearts. We keep updated pictures of our sons in little ornament frames and a few special mementoes on the tree as well. Another one of our trees (it goes in our kitchen) is all food related, with simple popcorn and cranberry homemade garlands and cut out cinnamon ornaments (recipe here or here) and/or baking soda ornaments. It’s simple and incredibly cozy. Yet another one of our trees is covered in our favorite Instagram snaps from the year. You can read about that Year-in-Review tree here. The bottom line is this, you’ll get the best overall effect from your tree if you take a few minutes to plan which direction you want to go. Also, be sure to place your tree in a prominent spot in your house to feel all of the warmth and glow.
Eye-level impact. There’s nothing at all wrong with string lights on top of the cabinets or festive blankets and pillows nestled into baskets on the floor, but to get more bang for your Christmas-decorating buck, focus on putting trinkets at eye level. Think about it: all of the classic Christmas touches happen right in front of your eyes; the tree, stockings, fireplace mantel, and wreath all hit you right between the eyes. Take advantage of and focus your main efforts on those places.
Consistent style. I find it really helpful to stick with a basic style throughout the house when I decorate. This makes it easy to switch things up from year to year (for example, switching out the entryway table decorations with the mantle decorations) and helps to make the transition from one house to the next (if you foresee a move in the coming few years). A few ideas to get you started are: classic winter wonderland (blue and silver, snowflakes and icicles), glitz and glam (a dressier approach with lots of gold and silver accents), or woodland (plaid, more casual touches, and burlap, baby).
Gift Wrap. Personally, I think it’s hard to beat a wrapped box with a bow. (But don’t get me wrong… I’ll accept your gift if it’s in a bag with tissue paper, too. haha!) One thing I’ve enjoyed over the past few years is buying several rolls of coordinated Christmas gift wrap (I buy it a couple days after Christmas for the following year and save a lot of money). It gives such a nice, cozy effect to see that some thought has been put into the physical appearance of gift under the tree. It’s an inexpensive way to round out the look of your tree.
When in doubt, light the place up. I really think I could be totally content by decorating for the holidays ONLY with white string lights. Take advantage of doorways, arches, cabinets, mantles, ledges, etc. and light the place up with the warm, festive glow of Christmas lights! Also keep in mind that Target has the CUTEST string lights in their Dollar Spot section… Peppermints, woodland moose, mercury glass style spheres, and jingle bell shaped lights are all styles I’ve seen in the past year or two. Most of them are battery operated, which means they can go just about anywhere in your house.
One mandatory rule. There is one rule for Christmas decorating that I encourage you to adhere to: match your Christmas decor plan with your life and schedule. Maybe you have a slower-paced season ahead and can enjoy an extensive decking of the halls. Perhaps you’re in a very busy or stressful season and need to scale way back. Or maybe you have young children and need to really dial it down and keep things baby proof. That’s okay! Do what allows you to keep proper perspective during Christmas and what will allow your family to have the most memorable and relaxing season! For our family, we’re bending a few rules this year…. We’re putting our decorations up before Thanksgiving (I know, I know!) and we’re going lighter on our decor (we won’t put up all 5 trees this time). We have a baby due 10 days into the new year – which means we need decor to come down quickly and easily after Christmas.
Leave a comment below and tell us your favorite Christmas decorating tip!