It Began With a Belief

 

When you were pregnant with your first child did you imagine a nursery for them set out perfectly?  If you are thinking of having children, do you spend hours on Pinterest collecting ideas to create a room with a specific theme or colour scheme for your wee one?

There is a reason for this – we are strongly influenced by our surroundings.  This is why being in nature has a calming effect.  This is also the reason we have so many decorating and diy shows and websites and blogs.  And you can quickly #interiordecor on Instagram to find inspiration and ideas.

When it comes to having children, we are no different.  We dream of a comfortable, safe haven for our littlies.   In those early days when we first come home with our precious bundle of joy, we know that a lot of our life will be out of our control.  We can,  however, create a lovely interior for those sometimes long and endless days at home.

When I was pregnant with my first child 8 years ago, I knew I wanted him to have a special blanket as his ‘transitional object’ and attachment item (oh yes, I read all about this when I was pregnant!  You can read about it too here).  I wanted it to be beautiful and soft.  I also wanted it to be durable and last forever.

The thing is, I also believe that these two can go together.  I believe we can have stylish, elegant, functional and long lasting home decor.  I believe everyone should have nice things, and these things shouldn’t cost the earth.

Back then, I decided to make a one of a kind quilt for my son.  I painstakingly measured the fabric, coordinated the colours and made it fit to the theme I was going for in his nursery.  It was such a wonderful experience to create something from scratch and imagine my baby using it for years to come.

This is how I make each blanket here at Jo-Anna’s Attic – with you and your baby in mind.  I love to imagine them snuggled up in your arms wrapped in a blanket made especially for them.  Whether it is your own baby, your grandchild, neice, nephew or baby of a close friend.

 

I believe our home is an extension of who we are.  I believe that beautiful items can be both stylish and functional.  I believe everyone deserves a safe haven escape from the rest of the wold; a comfortable place to recharge and relax..  Because I am so passionate about this,  I’ve created Jo-Anna’s Attic  Handmade Decor for Littlies.

When shopping with Jo-Anna’s Attic you can chose from my ready made range of the blankets and quilts or we can work together to create a blanket or quilt that will suit your decor perfectly!  Please feel free to contact me for no obligation details or quote on info@joannasattic.co.nz

Tell me – how did you decorate your nursery?  Please comment below – as always, I would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Pretty Way to Stay Organised

Before having kids, were you aware of the plethora of things that come along with them? From the toys that scatter your lounge floor to the multitude of items that go in your nappy bag… do you sometimes feel like your house is being overrun by your children’s belongings? Looking for a way to help contain the clutter? Well you are not alone!

Kid Clutter edited

Let me tell you a little story about my own personal experience with this very thing. When my first little guy was 3 years old, he LOVED cars. And I mean he loved them like every little boy loves cars. They were everywhere in our house, no matter how hard I tried to contain them. To make matters worse, he wanted to take them with him every time we left the house. But he couldn’t just take one or two. Oh no! He had to take the whole collection and regardless of how much I tried to reason with him, he was adamant that all 10 cars come along with him….

Julius cars edited

So there he was, with his little 3 year old hands full of cars in an attempt to get from the house to the car with all of them. As you can imagine, it caused a bit of frustration for us both as he dropped car after car along they way, stopping to scoop them up. Looking back now, I can have a laugh at how cute it was, but at the time when I was trying to get from the house to the supermarket before his baby brother needed another feed, it was an exercise in pure patience!!

I needed something for him to use to carry all these cars. Something that would increase his independence so that he’d be able to pack them himself and carry it to the car. It had to be durable so that it wouldn’t rip or tear when toys went in. It also had to withstand a 3 year old’s bashing it around. It had to be something he could open and close on his own and it had to be big enough to hold the toys but not too big that it would drag on the ground. And from my perspective, it had to be something that was easy to care for (ie washable) and that would last.

There was nothing currently on the market that ticked all these boxes so that’s when I came up with the Thingy Bag! A high-quality, reusable bag that is functional as well as pretty. I chose a fun fabric for the outer layer that my child would love (and therefore want to use) and a durable lining for the inside. It was the perfect combination of practical and cute.

Car themed bag and bib2As my kids started getting older, we found all kinds of new uses for these bags. My children put their ‘news’ in them and brought them to kindy ; when they started school they held pencils, rubbers, and any other bits they wanted to take back and forth. It is the perfect size to control their ever growing collection of lego at home as well as loom bands and marbles… it really is perfect for all of your child’s ‘things’.


Over the years, I have made and sold hundreds of these bags and I’ve heard of all sorts of clutter controlling uses for them – and not just for children. Loom bands, barbie clothes, hair ties, toiletries overnight bag, craft supplies, knitting and crochet projects and endless other suggestions. I use one to put nappies and wipes in and throw it in my handbag for those quick trips to save me from having to lug around a nappy bag.

They are also a great eco-friendly way to give gifts – pop the gift inside the bag and the recipient can re-use it time and again. And the best part – no waste! Our children’s teachers always get a thingy bag with their favourite home-made jam or chutney inside.

Pink, Turq, Blue and Lavender Thingy BagsThingy bags are so easy to care for, which is a necessity for us Mums! They can go in the washing machine with your regular load and then hung to dry, or tossed in the dryer for when your child has to have it immediately! Thingy bags are the perfect child-friendly/ handbag-friendly size of measure 28cm across by 18 cm down (7 inches by 11 inches) and they come in a variety of colours and designs.

Thingy bags are listed on my Etsy Shop. To purchase yours, click here.

 

Thingy Bag Collectoin 2

Jo-Anna’s Attic is a home-based company operating in Wellington, New Zealand by stay at home Mum to three Jo-Anna Hohua. Jo-Anna focuses on designing one of a kind items for babies and children where style meets function. All items are high-quality eco-friendly products hand made in New Zealand by Jo-Anna herself in her home sewing studio.

You can visit Jo-Anna’s online shop here.

And then there were three….

I started this blog thinking I would have a good couple of months of writing under my belt before baby number three arrived but as they say the best laid plans….   See I went past my due date with both of my boys and expected the same this time around, but it seems my wee girl was in a bit more of a rush to join our world.  She arrived 11 days early on Saturday morning the 7th of March 2015.  So things have been a bit… disorganised since then!  In fact, I was still packing a few last minute items in my hospital bag on Friday evening while I was in labour!

All went well with the birth and my lovely husband had 3 weeks off work so I haven’t been on line much.  I’ve been cuddling my sweet bundle of joy, spending time with my husband and boys, sleeping when I could and eating all the things I couldn’t eat when I was pregnant!!

Now it’s day two of hubby being back and work and while baby is having an ultra long nap, I’m rejoining the cyber world!  I reckon it’s a very fun place for us stay at home mums to be in between naps and feeds and dishes and laundry!  Anyway I just wanted to say a quick hello and introduce you to our new little ray of sunshine!  It’s so funny now going from a family of 4 to a family of 5… but more on that later.  I’ll just leave you with a little photo of our bundle of pink joy 🙂

Baby Announcemnet for Business Page

More about Me

I’ve just written my quick little ‘about me’ page which you can read here.  I thougth I’d spend a bit more time talking about myself and what brought me to the wonderful world of blogging….  after all, I suppose that’s what are blogs for!

I am very passionate about what I do and the things I make for my business and I really want to share this passion with others.  Before I turned my hobby in to a business, I started making things purely out of necessity.  Being from Canada but living in Australia, I found that a lot of things I took for granted around baby products just weren’t available.  I think we all have images in our head of what we want/ need for our babies (at least I do!) and because I couldn’t readily find them, I started making them.

One of the first things I started making were burp cloths and wash cloths.  I asked other new mums if they used these but most were just using large muslin wraps or reusable nappies thrown over their shoulders when burping their baby.  I found these took up so much space in the washing machine though and I knew had to find something smaller.  Plus there was always a drought where I lived so I tried to keep washing to a minimum (a feat in itself when you have a little one!!).

So I started making little flannel burp cloths like theseBurp ClothsWhich are the perfect size for throwing over your shoulder after feeding bubs.  They are also great to wipe up any spills.  Because they are made from flannel, they are super absorbent as well as easily washable and long lasting … all things I found very important when having a little baby!!

I also made heaps and heaps of wash cloths.  I used these ALL the time.  For the bath (of course!) but I also kept a stash in the kitchen to wipe hands and faces… and to wipe spills off the floor and the high chair and the plethora of other places food gets thrown and spilled in the process of feeding.  They are so small that you could literally fill up your washing machine with them and still have room for lots of clothes and all the other things that constantly need washing!

Wash Cloth Stack

I also loved how they are reusable.  I was really hesitant to use packaged wipes, paper towels, napkins and things like that.  I was environmentally conscious before having kids, but find I’m much more so now that they will one day inherit the planet and it’d be nice to reduce the waste!

The third baby product I wanted to make were flannel wraps. I found in Aussie there were heaps of muslin wraps which I absolutely loved, however it did still get a bit chilly in the winter and there didn’t seem to be a lot of options for warmer blankets.  I wanted something that was big enough for my growing bubs, still breathable and also warm.  So I started making these guys:

Single Flannel Wraps

There were so many gorgeous flannel fabrics available, how could I not??    As with all my products, I wanted them to be beautiful as well as functional.

I now sell these in little packs as I find they are a great starting place for new mums.  The packs include one flannelette baby wrap, one burp cloth and three wash cloths.  They are great for a new mum starting out who wants to buy something cute but still practical.  They also make a lovely baby shower gift for a new mum – whether it’s her first or fifth!

You can find the packs available in my shop here.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do 🙂

Signature name Jo-Anna

At 37 Weeks Pregnant

Today I hit 37 weeks pregnant and although I realise I can have baby at any time, I’m trying not to rush it.  I am balancing that fine line between ‘I’ve had enough of this pregnancy!’ and ‘I’m not quite ready for baby to come yet!’.  Have you been there?  I’m sure I’m not the only one.

It’s not just the few things I have left to do like finish packing my hospital bag… which in itself I see as a bit of a feat since the only clothes I can pack for myself for the hospital stay are the very few clothes that still fit me…. and other, bigger things like oh yeah the nursery isn’t quite ready yet!  It’s also the having to go through the labour part that has me a bit unsettled.  I think the hardest part about that is that I just don’t know when it’s going to happen.  And as someone who likes to have at least a bit of a plan, it’s difficult to figure out all the possible contingencies and plan for them all.  What if it happens at 3 am?  That will be just fine, my friend will pop over to watch my boys.  At noon?  Well my kids are both at school and kindy so that’s a different story.  On a weekend?  Different again.

So I sit here playing the waiting game and tell myself not to worry about the details.  I mean in the end I do know it will all work out.  I know my boys will be looked after.  I know the baby will come when ready.  I know (hope!) we will make it to the hospital on time.  It will all work out.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned since becoming a parent, it is that there are a LOT of things we can’t control.  This is definitely one of them!   So I’ve been focusing on the things I can control, and the things that make me happy.  Like making these cute little things for baby to have at the hospital – an adorable minky and flannel blanket and 3 set of burp cloths.

Our baby blanket and burp cloths

Trying my hand at crocheting this blanket:

Trying my hand at crocheting a blanket for bubs. I love chevron! #babyblanket #gettingreadyforbaby #joannasattic

A post shared by Jo-Anna's Attic (@joannasattic) on

Trying my hand at crocheting a blanket for bubs. I love chevron! #babyblanket #gettingreadyforbaby #joannasattic

A post shared by Jo-Anna's Attic (@joannasattic) on

And decorating the nursery and making reusable breast pads and all kinds of fun things like that.  I’m sure my time could be spent on more productive things, but as always, creating beautiful things and decorating my home gives me a sense of calm and relaxes me during this otherwise nail-biting time.

I’m interested to know.. how did you get through the last few weeks of pregnancy?  What did you do to fill the time and pass the days?

calander countdown

How it all began

Before having children I worked in the corporate world and I intended fully to return to work once I had our first child.  While I was pregnant with number one, I was already worried about his transition from being at home with me to being somewhere else.  I read a lot about ‘transitional objects’ and how they helped to ease the separation for children in that they are able to take this little piece of home with them where ever they go.

I thought about how lots of children have a special blanket so I was determined to find one for my baby.  I went to the Baby Factory and saw that they had cute fleece blankets, however they were selling them for around $70 each.  Aside from the fact that I thought that was a bit pricey for a basic fleece blanket, they didn’t really hit that ‘special’ mark for me.  I thought surely I could make something nice for my child that had a bit more heart in it.

So off I went to Spotlight with my husband and painstakingly chose the fabric after about 2 or 3 trips.  I remember being about 7 months pregnant and laying the fabric out and measuring it over my huge belly!  My husband helped mark it all out and cut it and then I hand sewed the whole blanket together.  This was my very first quilt!  I absolutely loved it and it meant so much for me that my baby would have a blanket that I lovingly made with my own hands.

Soon friends and family started having babies and I began to make blankets for each of their bubs.  Eventually I had so many ideas that I started selling a few on line and at local craft markets.  In between I also started making things that I used to be able to find easily back in Canada but couldn’t find where I lived at the time – burp cloths, small wash cloths and things like that.  I began making them for myself and sold the surplus.

I now make a wide range of products at Jo-Anna’s Attic but I have to say that making baby quilts is still my all time favourite.  I still put the same amount of love and care in to choosing fabric and creating the design.  I now use a machine to sew them up, but I’m always envisioning how a cute wee bub will enjoy being wrapped up in the lovely blanket and how his or her Mum and Dad will cuddle them close while they are sleeping peacefully.

Handmade Decor and Accessories for Children

I want to share with you what exactly it is I do at Jo-Anna’s Attic.  As it says above, I make children’s decor and accessories, all from fabric and all to brighten and make a child’s space more personal, inviting and cozy.

I’d say one of my favourite things to make are blankets and I make all different types.  I do quilts for babies, baby wraps, reversible flannel blankets, knit blankets.. and have just started crocheting blankets.

Blanket and Quilt Collage

I also make decorative cushions and bunting to add pops of colour.

Cushion, Bunting and Thingy Bag
Decorative Cushion, Bunting and Thingy Bag by Jo-Anna’s Attic

On the ‘accessories’ side of things, I make drawstring bags, homework bags, reusable napkins, tooth fairy pillows as well as a range of baby must have items such as burp cloths, wash cloths and dribble bibs.

Green with white spots kit 2
Baby Essentials Starter Pack by Jo-Anna’s Attic Includes Baby wrap, burp cloth and 3 wash cloths

I also absolutely love Christmas as well and have a range of handmade Christmas decorations including stockings, bunting, napkins and table runners.

DSC_0495DSC_0524

To view my entire range, please check out my shop Jo-Anna’s Attic here.

Cushion and bib
Cushion and Dribble Bibs by Jo-Anna’s Attic
Tooth Fairy Pillows watermarked
Tooth Fairy Pillows by Jo-Anna’s Attic

Hello world!

Hello and welcome to my blog.  My name is Jo-Anna and I am the owner and creator behind Jo-Anna’s Attic.  I am writing this blog so that I can share my creations with you.  But more than that, I’d like to share my life experiences with you as well.  As a mom of two young boys and a third baby on the way I would love to help out other Moms who are becoming a first time (or second, third etc) parent and need a bit of help.  I remember how difficult it was in those first few days, weeks and years and I was constantly on the internet hoping to find someone just like me who could tell me it will all be all right.  If I met myself then, I wouldn’t have believed that I became so confident in parenting because back at day one, I had seriously no idea what I was doing.

I went through a lot of ups and downs, and really I started my business as ‘something for me’, an outlet when things got really bad.  I found the process of creating beautiful things really healing and soul satisfying.  As time went on I began to turn this in to something that can help contribute to our family as well.

So stick around, have a look at my pretty little creations, enjoy a recipe or two and feel some positive reinforcement for the job you are doing every day.  My goal is for all Moms to feel like we are doing a great job every day and to let go of the guilt and worry.  After all, we are all doing the best we can in every moment!