How to host a destash on Instagram

I recently hosted a destash on Instagram. While doing some research in preparation for the destash, I was surprised at how little information was out there despite how popular destashing is these days. That said, I’m hoping this post will be helpful to others!

This post is heavily based on hosting a sewing supply/fabric destash because that is my craft of choice. However, most of these tips are universal.

Steps to hosting a destash

 1. Do your research

Here are some places to start: this is a list of great tips for a successful destash, here’s a post with destashing tips that go beyond hosting a sale on Instagram, and this step-by-step guide is from a paper crafter but her tips are super useful.

Ask for advice

I have a friend who hosts regular destashes that I reached out to immediately when I decided to host one of my own. She gave me lots of good advice and was there to answer questions as they arose. If you’ve got a friend who’s hosted a destash before, ask for their advice! If you don’t, find someone on Instagram – I received a private message from someone I have never met asking a question because she was in the process of doing some research to host her own destash. I happily shared what I learned in real-time–and, to be honest, she is the inspiration for this post!

 2. Gather the items for your destash & determine a schedule

Limit on maximum posts per day

I was not able to find an official statement from Instagram, but according to others you are limited to 100 posts per day on the platform.

Take this into consideration when planning your sale – you may need multiple days.

Separate into categories

When the declutter bug bit me, I started gathering items I was ready to part with and quickly realized that everything fit neatly into 4 categories: Books, Fabric, Patterns, and Supplies.

On that note, I decided to break my destash into 4 parts to post across 4 days:

Alternatively [if you have fewer than 100 items], you could post them all in one day, but separate them into categories by creating “divider posts” announcing that one section is done and you are posting the next (similar to how I posted at the end of each day – example).

Post across multiple days

I highly recommend considering it if you have a lot to post. It creates some additional anticipation for your followers and also gives you time to catch up so you’re not too overwhelmed.

 3. Develop a shipping plan

First, decide whether you want to offer international shipping.

Due to my limited experience shipping overseas, I decided against offering international shipping for my first destash. If you are comfortable shipping overseas, go for it – it’ll immediately expand your pool of potential customers!

Second, decide WHO will ship the packages.

This goes back to your shipping experience. I have had great success using my local USPS for shipping packages so I knew they were the carrier I would use.

Third, decide HOW you will ship the packages.

Options:

  1. Purchase your own shipping supplies. You can do this on Amazon or reuse boxes/folders/envelopes you already have (just be sure to remove any labels from the previous contents or wrap in Kraft paper to avoid confusion).
  2. Use flat rate envelopes/boxes. You can have the USPS ship flat rate shipping supplies directly to your home for free (so convenient!). Then you just pay the postage when you ship the package(s).

I chose to use flat rate shipping. The legal flat rate envelope was my most-used size. It was great for fabric and patterns. If you will be shipping items more delicate items, you may want to get some padded envelopes and/or boxes (medium, size 2 worked best for me).

If you have a scale to weigh your packages, you can calculate the shipping online pretty easily. Honestly, if I were savvier, I would have done that. The cost of shipping deterred at least 2 purchases that I was made aware of. 😦

Flat rate shipping is more costly for the buyer but more convenient for the seller – there are pros & cons for each option.

Fourth, determine shipping costs.

Once you have decided on your carrier, search their site for a shipping cost calculator. Here are links to a few: USPS, UPS, and FedEx.

For reference if you are using USPS Flat Rate shipping:

     ** shipping costs noted are current as of the time of this post (October 2018).

Other options to consider:

  1. You could include shipping in the price you list for the item.
  2. You could add shipping estimates to each item individually (this sounds really time consuming, but you do you).
  3. You could provide shipping estimates based on the amount purchased (based on yardage if you are just selling fabric or number of items if you want to encourage larger quantity purchases, etc.).
  4. You could calculate shipping after the order has been placed (so you can combine all items the buyer requests then have one shipping estimate for everything they choose).

Whatever you decide, specify clearly either in each individual post, your profile bio, and/or in a separate shipping post – make the information easy to find and understand.

Fifth, decide WHEN you will ship packages.

If you are hosting a multi-day destash (like I did), I would recommend shipping after the final day. So, my destash was Monday through Thursday with posts each night. To give enough time for customers to shop and for me to sort/package orders, I shipped the Monday after my destash began.

If you are posting your destash all at once, you may want to ship within a certain time-frame (example: within 3-5 days of payment received).

Last, draft your shipping “rules” to post.

Options:

  1. Include brief shipping information in your bio.
  2. Draft a separate post only about shipping (if you have a lot of shipping details you want to provide, this is a good option).
  3. Include your shipping information in your general rules post (this is good if you want to keep the important/pertinent information condensed to one post).

If you have an iPhone, use the “Notes” app on your phone to draft your shipping rules. Alternatively, you could use Canva or a similar program to create an image with your shipping rules listed (like this one).

 4. Create your RULES

Every destash needs rules so customers know what to do to claim the goods.

Take a look at destash accounts you already follow and/or find some to check out – examples:

  • MINE (pictured below)
  • @whatkatiesews_destash – she posted multiple images to flip through for the rules. I really like this idea – it’s so creative and really great for visual people/people who refuse to read long posts 😉
  • @kelbysews_destash
  • You can list your rules entirely in one image like @iamlunasol_destash.

This needs to be THE FIRST post so be sure you have it drafted and ready-to-go as soon as you create your account.

Create an image that stands out so that when followers visit your profile, they can tell immediately that it’s not a post of something for sale. I created a graphic in Canva and included “READ ME” in the image so it was obvious.

 5. Organize and track your inventory

Create a method that works for you to track your inventory/destash items. I created a Google Sheet for ease and accessibility, but an Excel spreadsheet or even a paper notebook (just don’t lose it) would work just fine.

Below is a screenshot of my “inventory” spreadsheet:

I created columns for the category, item for sale, description, price, buyer’s info, and dates.

If you have receipts from your original purchase of the item, reference those for pricing. While you hope to generate money from your destash, do not expect to profit. You are reselling items not selling brand-new inventory. Price your items to reflect that.

If you are not sure about how to price an item, do a quick google search to see what it’s selling for online. For fabric, you can find information about the designer and collection on the selvage so use that information in your search and again in your post (i.e. listing for the customer).

 6. Take photos of your inventory

Try to use natural light – if you have a table or clean space outdoors, that’s a great option. You could put a white sheet on some grass or your driveway to protect the item and provide a neutral backdrop. Or if you have a well-lit room/clean space by a window, that’s a good indoor option. Just do your best to accurately capture the color of the material and condition of the item (take close-up/detail shots of any “blemishes” and convey in the listing).

Include identifying information in the photo (optional)

Not only does this help the customer, but it will help YOU when you start drafting your posts.

I used pieces of scrap paper – below is an example:

the note beside the fabric includes the dimensions for reference

Take detail shots

If you have an item with a special detail (or flaw), take a close-up photo and include it as an additional image (Click here to learn how to share multiple photos in one post on Instagram).

A “detail shot” to show off the metallic print

PS: You don’t need a fancy camera for photos – I used my iPhone. While you want to take the best possible pictures, you are not opening a professional store. This is a DESTASH – think of it as a sophisticated garage sale 😉

 7. Create your account

Choose your handle

Most people just add “destash” to their current Instagram profile name so that it’s easily identified with them. Add a period (.) or underscore (_) before “destash” to separate visually.

My personal account has a somewhat long handle (@jordanslicemet) so I condensed it a little for my destash handle and just used my first name: @jordans.destash.

Write your bio

Information to include in your bio:

  • Who you are (name/personal IG handle) – You can link your personal account so people can click over and get an idea for your aesthetic.
  • What you will be destashing (i.e. “sewing supply & fabric destash”)
  • Basic rules and shipping information (there’s a character limit so keep it short)

 8. Promote your destash!

Share about your destash on your personal Instagram account and with all of your sewing friends. You may even want to share on Facebook or other social media platforms.

Unless you have a large following on your destash account already, I would recommend sharing and promoting your destash for a few days before you launch the sale (I wouldn’t wait any longer than a week because people will lose interest/forget).

Share about your destash AFTER you have 1) created your account so you can link to it, 2) posted your RULES, 3) posted your shipping “policy.” I would also add a photo after your rules & shipping with information about WHEN the sale will start or include the dates/times in your bio. (I recommend separating your rules post and your sale dates so that when the sale is over you have the option to delete the post with your dates but keep the rules posted.)
Share sneak peeks

Leading up to the start of your destash, try to share sneak peek photos (example: I shared the photo below of my daughter with some of the fabric we were measuring in preparation for the detash).

To stay “relevant” (aka: active/in your feed), you could post related quotes, memes, etc. Just make sure they are relevant and [obviously] not offensive (stick to your topic at hand – no politics or opinions about things other than how great your destash items are).

Example: I shared this post in the days leading up to my sale.

 9. Load your posts as DRAFTS before your sale

Mega-time saver!

After you have your photos, start loading them into your Instagram account as drafts.

Click here for the official instructions, but below is the jist:

  1. While logged into your account, click on the + icon in the middle of your screen to start a post.
  2. Select your photos and proceed.
  3. Enter your caption then click the backward arrow in the upper left corner of the screen.
  4. Click the arrow again and click “Save Draft”

As you navigate backwards, you will get the option to: Save Draft (which saves the post as a draft), Discard (which deletes the draft), or Cancel.

I have not been able to find a limit for the number of drafts you can have loaded at one time. However, I’ve had over 20 at a time with no issue. To note, only 4 drafts will show when you click the “+” button to post. If you click “Manage” (see image below), you can then access all of your drafts – this is helpful if you are trying to post in a certain order.

Include relevant hashtags in your posts!

When drafting your posts, be sure to include destash-related hashtags. Below are a few I used:

 10. Post your items

The moment you’ve been waiting for!

I advertised that I’d be posting at 8:00pm EST (I picked this time because I could guarantee my hands would be free since it’s after Andy goes to sleep 😉 ). I set a reminder on my phone to go off at 8:00pm to remind me to post for that day (I also set one to remind me to construct the draft posts).

Because I already had my posts saved as drafts, I had everything posted within minutes (no staying up late for me!). HERE are official instructions on how to share posts saved as drafts.

I highly recommend creating a post to notify followers when you are done (so they’re not waiting around to see what’s coming next).

Because my destash spread across multiple days, I posted an “end” photo each evening (example). This was also good as a visual separation since the days were chosen by the type of item – so, followers could go to my profile and scroll between each of the “end” images (they were consistent visually) to see a particular group of items.

Include information in your “end post” relating to when buyers will receive invoices (or if they already have) and when to pay, when to expect packages to ship, or any other remaining information (you could even offer a discount on anything that is still available).

Click the image to view my “Thank You” (end post) in Instagram

 11. Track purchases.

I created a second spreadsheet within the same workbook I used to track inventory called “invoices” where I tracked information for items that sold.

In this worksheet I tracked the buyer’s name, items for their invoice, costs (I built formulas in some of these cells to sum/total for me), PayPal email address, dates, address, and tracking number for the package. I have blanked identifying information in the screenshot below. The yellow cells indicate information that I needed/did not have.

At minimum, I highly recommend tracking purchases including all information for the buyer that you need for invoicing and shipping. This is good to have on hand if you ever need it for reference (at least until the package has been confirmed as delivered).

 12. Send invoices & collect payments.

PayPal is the most popular method for destash payments. It’s very easy to “request money” from someone as long as you have their email address.

I sent the invoices as requests for payment and included a list of the items they purchased in the notes area for reference. Alternatively, you could create a more formal invoice.

PayPal does charge a small fee so take that into account with your pricing. Despite the fee, I think it’s well worth it for convenience.

 13. Provide high quality customer service.

You are technically running a shop of sorts so treat your potential buyers/customers how you like to be treated when shopping.

  1. Respond promptly to comments and DM’s. Your efficiency at answering customer questions can impact your sales. {PS: Be sure to check your message requests in case you are not following the sender – here’s how to}
  2. Provide updates to buyers via DM. Keep your buyers updated throughout the process (i.e. let them know when you send the invoice, when you receive their payment, when you ship the package, etc.).
  3. Upsell, but don’t be pushy. Because I was using flat rate shipping, I was motivated to stuff the packages as full as possible (I always want to get my “money’s worth” 😉 ). So, I messaged customers after they chose their initial items to ask if they wanted to add anything without increasing their shipping – particularly for orders that had a lot of extra space in the package. This was helpful both for me (it helped me “move more inventory”) and for them (spreading shipping costs across multiple items is more economical). Be careful with this: Try to present this offer softly with an easy way for them to decline kindly and respect their choice.
  4. Include a hand-written note. I used to do this when I had an Etsy shop. It’s always a nice personal touch to receive a hand-written note when you order something online.

I used my pinking sheers to cut strips of fabric scraps and an old needle to stitch them onto scrap card stock. I included the buyer’s name on the front and a note on the back. {similar to this tutorial}

 14. Remove posts as you ship them.

Nothing is worse than opening a destash account, falling head-over-heels for something they have posted only to find that it has already been snagged by someone else in the comments.

This isn’t so bad if the item hasn’t shipped yet (i.e. your sale is still open/has just begun) because a person could comment to be a back-up in case the original buyer passes on the item).

Once the payment has been received and the package has been shipped, ARCHIVE the post. Archiving the post (rather than actually deleting the post), will remove the post from your feed (i.e. it will no longer be visible to potential customers as they view your profile and posts). You can do this by clicking the 3 dots in the upper right corner then choosing “Archive”:

Archiving a post is handy because you don’t lose the original post information – including comments. So, if you ever need to reference that information in the future, you have it!

To view a post after it has been archived and/or to add it back to your feed: click on your profile then click the clock circle icon in the upper left corner. When I did this, I was confused because I didn’t see the posts. If you click on the arrow at the top of the screen, you will be given the option to switch to archived posts (it appears to default on stories):

HERE is more information about archiving a post on Instagram.

Phew! I know that was a lengthy guide, but I hope you found it helpful.

If you are hosting a destash, leave a link to your account where others can shop in the comments below!

 

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My 2018 Sewing Goals

I realize we are now 2/3 of the way through the year so I’m just a weeeee bit late setting annual goals, but I have been feeling a real pull to set goals lately. This was sparked by a combination of binge listening to the Love to Sew podcast (specifically the episode on Planningand feeling very scattered (both emotionally as well as physically in regards to the fact that I have many works-in-progress collecting dust).

It’s also Libra “season” so naturally (as a Libra) I’m seeking balance 😉

 1. Sew my stash

I heard about this on Episode 30 of the Love to Sew podcast, but I have had this idea (to some degree) for a while.

Over the years I have really decreased my fabric-purchasing-sprees and tried to focus on buying only when I didn’t have the right substrate for the project. However, I was inspired to push this goal further after hearing about #makeyourstash.

Goal: For the remainder of 2018, I will sew only with fabric already in my stash – no new fabric will be purchased.

2. Finish sewing my current works-in-progress

I have several projects that I’ve started and abandoned (temporarily). I would like to save these WIP’s from dying a slow, quiet death in the dusty oblivion of forgotten fabric. Even if they are never worn (but they will be), they deserve to be complete.

Embarrassingly, I have more than the 2 listed below, but these are the 2 I’m forcing myself to finish.

Arenite Pants

At first I wasn’t sure this pattern was for me.. until I saw Meg’s version!

Arenite pants inspiration from Meg

I made it as far as sewing the leg panels together before realizing I cut the front seam incorrectly after sewing (I trimmed both seams preventing me from creating the felled seam in the instructions. I have a French-seam-ish idea + sewing a smaller seam allowance to finish the sides of the pants that will hopefully allow the pants to still fit #fingerscrossed). That said, I was frustrated with my irreversible mistake so they have been sitting in time-out.

Harrington Shorts

These shorts have been on my to-make list for years (literally. I promised them to Jeremy for his birthday 3+ years ago). I pulled the pattern out after Andy was born and cut into some Essex Linen I’d been hoarding. Sewing is my love language and my husband was incredible during those first few weeks having a newborn – I really wanted to make something special for him. He’s still wonderful so he still deserves these 😉

I’ve only found one completed pair of Harrington shorts in the blogosphere, but the review sounds like they’re worth powering through. I’ve got some minor adjustments to make before I hem them (they’re really close to being done!).

Goal: By the end of 2018, I will finish sewing my black Arenite Pants and the Harrington shorts for Jeremy.

 3. Purge my closet

I recently checked out a copy of The Curated Closet from my local library and have been reading through it…making notes and doing most of the activities.

Jenny posted a really great review of the book on The Curvy Sewing Collective if you’re wondering how this book relates to sewing.

Goal: Condense closet into 3 categories outlined in The Curated Closet: Basics, Key Pieces, Statement Pieces to identify gaps in wardrobe. Purge pieces that no longer fit my style.

 4. Make a PLAN for sewing in 2019

Sometimes I feel a little lost when I finish a project. I have so many ideas of what I want to sew next running through my head at all times that once I finally reach the point of being able to start the next project, I feel too overwhelmed to make a choice. Then I get stuck in the planning phase trying to decide what to make next.

Developing a sewing PLAN will help my indecisiveness and hopefully help me stay on track with my goals (and maybe even be more efficient!). Basing this plan off of what I discover based on Goal #3 above will be helpful to keep me focused on pieces I need and will undoubtedly wear and enjoy for years to come.

Goal: Use my Colette Sewing Planner to map out 6 garments to make in 2019.

Do you set goals? Do you stick to them? Share your tips with me!

What I’m Lovin’ in September

Random Things I’m Lovin’ this Month

1. Flow Space Fitness’ Blog & Embracing moments of FLOW

Some friends of ours have opened a pop-up fitness studio and through the process they have both been sharing incredible posts on the blog.

Earlier this month, Zach shared about the state of FLOW. This can often be a buzz word, but if you dig into the science it is so neat.

Photo credit: Flow Space Fitness

I also loved this post from Erica about how she lost weight.

2. These 5 ways to stop comparing yourself to others

I recently set up a Flipboard account (which I totally recommend – it’s like Pinterest for news/blogs). A post called How I Finally Stopped Comparing Myself to Others – And 5 Ways You Can Do It Too came up on my feed and I immediately clicked over.

My favorite quote from the post:

Be more of who you are, rather than trying to be more of someone else. The former is exhilarating; the latter, impossible.

3. A Mediocre Life

I am really feeling Libra season approaching – seeking balance and harmony. I ran across this article shared by becoming minimalist on Facebook and it was just what I needed to hear.

4. Hearing how others incorporate self-care into their lives

love hearing how others are incorporating self-care into their lives. Not only is it refreshing to hear others talk about prioritizing their own happiness (you can’t pour from an empty vessel), but it sparks new ideas for my own life!

Sharnice from The Garden of She recently posted some ideas for Self-Care September.

PS: If you’re interested, you can read about how I balance creativity, self-care, & motherhood in this post.

5. Reading

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. Right now I’m reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown – I’m also on my library’s waiting list for Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection (I think I’m mistakenly reading these out-of-order, but hopefully that won’t matter). I’ve heard really great things about her books and am excited to dig into these.

I’m also reading and implementing the activities from The Curated Closet. This book is incredible if you are craving a simpler wardrobe and/or honing in on what “your style” really is.

Andy helping me read.

If you have any book recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

Motherhood

6. Public Restrooms with a Coat Hanger Beside the Changing Table

RANDOM I KNOW, but any parent who has held their dirty-diaper-wearing-baby while debating on a clean spot to set the diaper bag that will be within reach once the wiggly baby is naked on the changing table is clapping right now.

When Hurricane Florence looked like a monster barreling in to eat the Carolina coast, we debated using it as an excuse to visit the in-laws in Atlanta. Finally, we decided to go. The Hubs had to work and was going to bring the dogs so Andy & I were on our own for the 4-ish hour drive.

We stopped often and not once did any of the bathrooms have a hook beside the changing table (if they had one at all) and I kept thinking how great that would be. The next day we were at Zoe’s Kitchen for lunch and guess what I found beside the changing table?! So handy. And such an easy, cheap solution.

7. Reminders to soak up the littleness while I can

Andy is changing so fast. The cliche saying that “babies don’t keep” is totally true. What’s also true: time moves at lightning speed once you have a baby. From the beginning I have tried so hard to soak in the little moments and not wish any of this time away. But I’m human. And I find myself wondering and wishing for future milestones. Reading this beautiful post about soaking in the littleness was a real perspective-changer.

Share the article with your mama-friends. It might be just what they needed to hear.

Sewing / Creativity

8. Love to Sew Podcast

I saw a spike in blog traffic at the end of last month and realized Helen’s Closet was to credit (thank you, Helen!). Then I fell down the rabbit hole of the podcast she hosts with Caroline of Blackbird Fabrics called Love to Sew.

So far I have loved every episode I have listened to! My very favorite so far was Episode 34: Intentional Making with Aidan Owen.

9. Jess’ honesty about sewing & body positivity

I really appreciated Jess’ honesty in this post. She admits that sewing your own garments does not equate to high body-positivity which I think is a really good point.

Photo credit: Jess Sews Clothes

10. Kicking Libra Season off with a Destash

Libra Season has me feeling motivated so I purged my sewing stash! Starting on Monday (10/1), I’ll be posting sewing books, patterns, fabric, supplies and other sewing-related goodies that are looking for a new home on my destash account on Instagram: @jordans.destash.

Follow along for some stellar deals!

PS: Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts for your warm embrace and responses to my last post. Sharing my family’s story was scary, but I am so very glad we did. I can’t thank everyone enough for all of your heartfelt comments, messages, and thoughts – you are amazing.

What have you been lovin’ this month? Let me know in the comments so I can jump on your bandwagon!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

Andy’s Journey

I have been holding onto this story for a while – guarding it with my Mama Bear paws. This innate desire to protect my child is not unique to me. However, through this parenthood journey I have found that my most vulnerable moments have lead to my most powerful connections. I have decided to lean into this discomfort and embrace what comes out of it.

Today is International Children’s Growth Awareness Day which feels like just the push I needed.

I have been struggling with what and how much to share since this not entirely my story – it’s really Andy’s story. And she’s not of an age yet to voice her opinions about what she is comfortable with sharing publicly.

I’ve discussed this hesitation with my husband who shrugged it off and made a very valid point: This is not something we want Andy to ever be embarrassed of. It is who she is.

So, I share with you today: the story of our family.

Enjoying our local public library, August 2018 (Andy at 7-months-old).

Jeremy and I were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed as we went into our 12-week gestational appointment. This was the appointment where we’d be able to opt into genetic testing – testing that would reveal to us the gender of our growing baby.

I had tossed the idea of keeping the gender a surprise (opting out of the genetic testing), but Jeremy quickly objected and we agreed that finding out was best for both of our personalities. 🙂

Our giddiness deflated pretty fast as the Nurse Practitioner who performed the ultrasound explained to us that the amount of fluid at the back of our baby’s neck was just at the minimum measurement for concern (i.e. it may be nothing, but it could be something).

My world started spinning.

As my mind raced through what this may mean, I looked over at my husband and saw the joy disappear from his eyes. He was no longer listening. He, too, was spiraling.

I don’t remember much of what was said after that point, but I remember trying really hard to be strong for our little family – there were three of us depending on that right now.

It’s been so long I barely remember how the moments after this played out, but I know I cried hysterically by myself at some point. And I know Jeremy definitely had his own intense moments of processing the news.

A few days later I got a call. I stepped out of my office and started walking the block around our building. The same thoughtful Nurse Practitioner who had performed the ultrasound was making this fateful call to me.

She handed me the news gently like the unknown gift it was: Our daughter (it was a girl!) had Turner syndrome.

Immediately I felt dumbfounded – what on Earth was this?! I’d never heard of it (which is no surprise: it is pretty rare – affecting about 1 in every 2,500 girls – source: Kids Health).

My only response was “What’s the quality of life for a girl with Turner syndrome?”

She let out the faintest hint of a chuckle and exclaimed “it’s usually good! They can live completely normal lives.” She described complications our baby may have or issues she may face (that would be lifelong), but all-in-all, this diagnosis was fine – we would be fine.

Andy at 1.5-months-old {Fun fact: I made this hooded towel from a towel wrap I never used}

So, what is Turner syndrome?

Generally speaking, females have two complete X chromosomes in each cell. Females with Turner syndrome are missing a complete or partial X chromosome.

The most consistent features of TS are short stature and lack of ovarian development, however, there are other symptoms and characteristics that can appear in varying degrees, depending on each person’s unique genetic makeup. – source: Turner Syndrome Society

While Turner syndrome is a genetic condition, it is not inherited (despite the fact that I am also very short 😉 ).

I am oversimplifying my description of Turner syndrome because (frankly): I’m no expert. There are amazing resources out there if you are interested in learning more about it: The Turner Syndrome Society & the Turner Syndrome Foundation are two personal favorites.

  • THIS is a really good video about what it’s like for youth living with TS.

Andy at almost 3-months-old {yep, asleep in the yard}

I have said it a few times and I know it is very blunt, but this is the best worst-case-scenario after an appointment like that. My heart breaks for the families who go through such an experience only to receive devastating news. I may not know your struggle, but I know the fear you felt. I know the decisions you faced. My husband and I stared them in the face. It was a dark place to find yourself during one of the “happiest times of your lives.”

A few weeks later we met with a Genetic Counselor. She was amazing. Not only did she explain Turner syndrome to us in a very-technical-but-easy-to-understand way, but she was so warm and understanding.

She also explained the lab results in more detail: At this point, the chances of Andy actually having Turner syndrome was closer to 50% – really a flip of the coin. The only way to know for sure was amniocentesis (testing the amniotic fluid during pregnancy) or waiting until Andy was born (to test her blood).

Because of the risks associated with amniocentesis (which are still very low, btw) and the fact that the results wouldn’t change our decision to continue with the pregnancy or impact the path of care we were/would be receiving, we decided to wait until Andy was born to have her cord blood tested for TS.

Andy at almost 4-months-old.

The Genetic Counselor and her group followed my pregnancy until we were released around the beginning of the third trimester. Their ultrasound technician was the happiest person I think I have ever met and every time she found Andy’s heartbeat and confirmed her organs were functioning as they should she cheered.

Her contagious, uncontrolled excitement could have been because she knew the statistics.

My sister and Jeremy had found them too. They ran across the stats when we first found out.

Approximately 98% of fetuses conceived that have Turner syndrome will spontaneously miscarry early in pregnancy. – source: Turner Syndrome Society

During pregnancy, I refused to google anything. I wanted to put my head down and do.the.work. I knew we were fine – I was going to do all that I could to ensure a healthy pregnancy for both souls sharing my body.

Plus, as a researcher by trade, I couldn’t bring myself to believe that was a real statistic, but apparently it is (I’m not going to go into the research I finally did after Andy was born, but it’s a real stat).

Andy’s first 4th of July {almost 6-months-old}

The potential of losing Andy held me back emotionally. Subconsciously knowing the odds were stacked against her forced me to retreat into myself. My therapist once told me that I do a pretty good job of putting myself in a protective bubble when I need to. I definitely did this during pregnancy.

BUT…

Andy arrived.

Safe and healthy.

And a post-birth echocardiogram confirmed what the ultrasounds had indicated: she did not have any cardiac issues (this is at the top of the list of concerns for TS babies).

However, it would be a few days before we would hear the results from testing Andy’s cord blood for TS.

Andy around 7-months-old {Her great-Aunt & great-Grandma sent this dress from England. I made the bow!}

As anyone’s first few days with a newborn are, they were a fog. One evening, my friend (and Andy’s pediatrician) called. It was a little late for office hours so I wasn’t sure she was calling with the results. But she was.

She told us that Andy did, in fact, have Turner syndrome, but she has what is called “mosaicism.” Only about 50% of her cells are affected.

Mosaicism is when some cells in the body have two complete copies of the X chromosome. Other cells have only one copy of the X chromosome. – source: Mayo Clinic

At this point, we had done enough research to have an idea of what living with Turner syndrome might be like. We knew Andy would have lots of doctor’s appointments (yep) and she may be low on her growth curve (yep, but as her pediatrician says “she’s following the curve which is all we ask” and “Jordan, you’re short. She was always going to be small.”).

Andy at 7-months-old {also, mama-made bow}

So, what now?

Right now, Andy is doing amazing. She is 8-months-old and following her milestones. She’s small, but so am I. I know how to function in a world built for tall people. I will teach her all of my tricks (like having her Dad reach everything) and buy her own folding step stool so she can carry it around the house like I have to 😉 (…and hem all of her pants).

We feel so incredibly lucky to not only have Andy here, but to have her diagnosis so early. We didn’t have to wait until she had a handful of issues pointing to TS. Andy is being followed by a wonderful medical team. We have the luxury of prevention and early intervention. We are so grateful for this.

Andy at 7-months-old.

Life is so incredible.

One of my coworkers has a daughter who lost her hearing as a baby. She has cochlear implants and is doing amazing. Whenever we discuss the girls she always tells me “God gives us our special babies for a reason.”

Andy was always meant to be ours. This was always supposed to be our journey. Life was always going to play out like this for us. We are not in control. The universe has a plan for us and we are trusting in that – because so far we have not been let down.

Andy at 6.5-months-old.

Finding our community

The desire to share this story more widely has been pulling on my heart. Close friends and family were following our journey all along. They prayed for us, held our hands, and didn’t question us relentlessly about it but gave us the space to share what we wanted to when we wanted to (to all of you: you mean more to our family than you will ever know).

When we first found out Andy had TS, someone said to me “I know you have tons of support, but you need to find your community. We will support you in any way you need, but none of us will know what you are going through. You need to find other parents with daughters who have TS. They will be able to relate to you.”

For the past few months I have been on a journey to find that community.

In the spring, I ran across information for the Turner Syndrome National Conference. I told my husband about it as a “tuck this in our back pocket as something we can take Andy to one day,” but in true Jeremy fashion he immediately insisted that I go. He knows I hate to trust the internet with medical concerns and I want to hear about TS straight from the doctors, physicians, researchers, and women living with TS. We weren’t quite ready to travel with Andy so he suggested I take my sister for a girls weekend.

I told my sister and before we could even make plans, she had already emailed the conference hosts for information about sessions. {She is literally the most amazing person on the planet. I wish everyone could have a Katie.}

In July, my sister and I attended the conference. The best part was seeing all the women and girls – of all ages – living and thriving with Turner syndrome. They were (& are!) amazing. They embraced each other in the most heart-warming ways. We met other families and connected with parents of daughters with TS that I am still in contact with.

While I am absolutely thrilled about the connections we made, I have been struggling to find and connect with families of girls with TS around Andy’s age (she’s 8 months old now!) in or around our area (South Carolina). As someone who is absolutely relentless in my pursuits of just about anything, if I am having a hard time finding this community, I KNOW there are others out there having the same struggle.

Our lives are much messier now, but so very fulfilled. {Andy at 7.5-months-old}

If you know someone affected by Turner syndrome, please share this post with them. If you are that person, reach out! Let’s connect – you can find all my information here.

What I’m Lovin’ in August

Does August always feel like summer’s Sunday? It’s still summer-level-hot where I’m at, but that doesn’t mean I’m not giddy that fall is just around the corner!

Ch-ch-ch-chaaaannnnggeess

Did that make you start singing?! 

I realized while constructing this month’s post that most all of “what I’m lovin’” fall into one of two buckets: Sewing/Creativity or Motherhood. In true Type A fashion, I’ve decided to start organizing my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts into sections. Because some things I’m lovin’ may not fit into either of those 2 categories, I’ll start the list with my un-categorized loves (aka: the random things I’m lovin’). After I share those, I’ll separate the things into 2 sections: Sewing/Creativity & Motherhood.

As a follower of many blogs (and many blogs whose content evolves along with the blogger…like this one), I was hoping this would help you – as the reader. Whether you are following this blog for sewing content or my ramblings about parenthood, now you can hop-skip-jump right to the section you’re interested in when it comes to reading all about what I’ve been lovin’ that month.

This will be the first post organized into the sections so please share your feedback!

Random Things I’m Lovin’ this Month

1. Adopting Zero Waste Habits

Photo Credit: Jess With Less

I ran across these 10 Zero Waste Habits that will save you money a few weeks ago and found them really helpful! There are several I’m working to adopt – like storing my leftovers in glass jars (and reusing glass jars more often instead of tossing them carelessly into the recycling bin) and using a safety blade razor.

2. This friend and all the work he is doing around body positivity

Kelvin {aka Notoriously Dapper} and I attended the same high school. Following his blog over the past few years and watching his status in the male-modeling-world grow has been really refreshing. He is doing some really incredible work around body positivity and I love reading the messages he shares on Instagram.

{Click the image to read an article from The State about his latest work}

3. This diffuser

I’ve had this diffuser for three years (still love it!), but I have found myself recommending it a lot recently so I thought I’d share it here 🙂

Dare I say: I like it better than the super expensive version that came with my oil subscription. I admit that I haven’t been using essential oils as much as I used to, but I have a ton and reach for them often. Diffusing is definitely my preferred use.

If you are looking for diffuser-blend-inspiration, my sister & I have some idea saved on our Pinterest board. My favorite is lavender – plain and simple. It’s my very favorite oil for everything.

Motherhood

4. No longer saying or listening to someone say “oh, you just wait”

Earlier this month I shared a post (rant?) about why I will not be saying “you just wait” to anyone. Shortly after, a friend shared this article with me – apparently I’m not the only one who finds this saying annoying.

And whether you are running a marathon, doing yoga or taking a walk down the street – I can assure you you’ll have zero regrets you ignored the nay-sayers of the world and did your thing.

Live in the moment… in YOUR experience (don’t let someone else’s experience cloud your view).

{Click the image if you want to read my post 😉 }

5. These reasons why no mother should ever feel guilty about having a Cesarean Birth

This was my favorite quote from the article:

C-section mothers should be extra proud of themselves. When offered the choice between risk to their unborn baby and risk to themselves, they chose taking on the risk in an effort to protect the baby. If that isn’t the essence of motherhood, I don’t know what is.

Photo Credit {because I did not look anywhere close to this poised after birth}

I do not feel guilt about how Andy was born. The shame and stigma around C-sections / Cesarean births / Belly births needs to go.the.fluff.away.

No matter how I got there, I’d made it to the finish line of my pregnancy, and won the real prize: A healthy baby.

6. This article about rebranding motherhood

I found so.much.truth. in this article! Like the author, I have found myself in quiet moments confessing to myself that I am enjoying this journey. Parenthood is so different than what I expected (and different in the best way).

Sewing / Creativity

7. This post about doing something [sew / knit / quilt / eat eggs] for the joy of it

Without space and time and joyous freedom, my work as a human, not just as a mother, is substandard.

I felt like I could really relate to Felicia’s message in this post. We are so often stretched thin with tasks we “must” do.

Over the past few weeks I have felt a little shift. One Sunday I found myself sewing into the evening finishing a quick little project to be gifted to a coworker. I should’ve been getting Andy ready for her nightly routine, but instead she was rolling around under her baby gym – having a great time entertaining herself. My husband was upstairs cooking dinner. My dogs were taking their thirtieth nap of the day somewhere in the house. And I was downstairs lost in the process of sewing – feeling pure joy in the process.

I had to stay up a little late to get my things ready for the week, but it was worth it.

Sometimes we need a little reminder that being lost in our own moments of joy is worth the sacrifice of all the “shoulds.”

What have you been lovin’ this month? Let me know in the comments so I can jump on your bandwagon!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

5 Ways to Make Your Sewing More Eco-Friendly

After stumbling upon #plasticfreejuly, I’ve been feeling super inspired to decrease my family’s wasteful behaviors. {Easier said than done when you have a baby in diapers.}

Since I can’t control how often my husband buys bottled water at the gas station, I started reflecting on things that are in my control – what can I do to decrease my impact on the planet?

Because sewing is my self-care and something that I do a lot of, I felt like it was the perfect area to focus on improving.

“Zero waste” feels completely un-achievable (for me), but I am a firm believer that small steps add up to a big impact. So, today I’m sharing 5 totally-manageable, realistic ideas to help you become a more environmentally-friendly sewist.

FIRST, what do I mean by “eco-friendly”?

According to Dictionary.com, ecofriendly is…

having a beneficial effect on the environment or at least not causing environmental damage

I like this! It feels achievable – don’t we all want to live a life that benefits the environment?! (If you answered No, this may not be the post for you! 😉 )

Like with just about anything, there is always room for improvement – sewing is no exception.

Below are 5 environmentally-friendly ideas to influence your sewing habits.

1. Sew reusable items

Is there something disposable that you use regularly? Is there a way you could make a reusable version?

Example: I pack my lunch/snacks everyday for work. I like to wrap my silverware so they stay clean. For a brief time, I was using paper towels for this. Then it occurred to me that I could (DUH) make some reusable napkins to wrap my silverware. So I did. They were super easy to make and opening my lunch box to find fun fabric peaking out at me makes me so happy. Win-win.

There are loads of tutorials out there for sewing napkins – this is the one I used.

The utensil holder below by @greenindyblog is way fancier than mine – the flap can be used to set your food on! Genius.

{Click the image to read how this can be made!}

More ideas of reusable items to sew:

  • My friend Shanika recently shared a tutorial for making your own produce bags.

2. Alter and repair your existing garments

I can’t tell you how many garments I have made (or purchased) that just don’t fit right. I love the fabric or the style, but there’s just a little something off that’s preventing me from enjoying wearing the item.

I have a bad habit of finishing sewing a garment and being done with it forever. Rather than taking the time to take apart the garment and/or alter it so that it fits better, I either try to make it work/get used to the imperfection or hang it carelessly in the back of my closet to collect dust.

A better idea would be to take the time to alter it. And if the finished product is too small to alter to fit, you could wrap it up and gift it to a friend or rip it up and make something new (like an outfit for your little one, a bag, some coasters or any other small project) with the scraps.

Just a wee bit obsessed with how fun these mended leggings look {source}

Additionally, as garments become well-worn, take the time to repair them. I’m guilty of wearing garments with holes in them or with buttons missing because I’m lazy. I’m on a mission to love my clothes more and I need to pour the investment of time into a few of them so that they will serve me longer.

Inspiration for repairing garments:

  • This slideshow from Martha Stewart has some really great tips for how to mend knit sweaters.
  • If you have a garment with a grease-stain that has already been through the dryer, try this to remove the stain so it’s wearable again.
  • To make mending more fun, you could use fabric scraps to DIY this mending kit!
  • This mended butt.
  • Cover a hole with an embroidered patch – like this.
  • This post has some great resources to get started.
  • Visible mending is less desirable in the crotch area, but let’s be honest: if your thighs touch (hello, everyone), it’s the first place to go. Here’s some inspiration.

3. Upcycle with material you already have

I love the challenge to refashion existing garments! As proof (& hopefully inspiration): check out my Thrifted Thursday posts!

One of my very favorite upcycled sewing projects was an old t-shirt from my Grandpa that I turned into a Montlake Tee. You can read more about it in this post from Me-Made-May 2017.

Top right: My Grandpa’s original shirt | Bottom right: My freshly sewn Montlake Tee.

Taking apart a garment to then reconstruct it into something new is so much fun! It’s a challenge to fit pattern pieces into a limited amount of space, but what results is a re-purpose of something that would have become trash and very little fabric waste/scraps {look at the video in Trish Stitched’s recent post to see what I mean!}.

Need some inspiration? I got you covered:

Another idea: The other day I bought new sheets for our bed. I saved our old worn-out sheets to use to make muslins for new garment patterns I’m trying. When I create a bodice muslin, I save the fabric to reuse for a smaller project to keep reuse of the material going.

Speaking of bed sheets, if you have cool printed sheets, here’s a tutorial on how to turn them into a dress. Or if you’re like me and have boring white sheets, you could try dyeing them!

4. Make use of your scrap fabric

It’s very tempting to toss your scrap fabric because at some point you’ll run out of storage {and if you’re a neat freak like yours truly, storing scraps is a bit annoying}.

BUT Meg of @sewliberated recently shared a Metamorphic Dress that Jen made from scraps of rayon fabric that blew.my.mind.! I’m already working on a Metamorphic dress, but I may be incorporating patchwork into a future version!

This makes my heart go pitter-patter! {more photos here, here, here}

Below are more ideas for using your scrap fabric:

  • Make fabric twine – a member of one of my quilt guild’s showed us how to do this and it’s super easy! The twine is great to have on-hand for gift wrapping embellishment.
  • Use knit scraps to make a headband & woven scraps to make a neck scarf.
  • Find someone willing to use your scraps. Maybe you have a friend who sews or is learning to sew and could use scraps. Maybe you know a teacher or childcare center worker, etc. who could use scrap fabric for art projects. I have a friend who is crazy creative with scrap fabric so I pass mine on to her and at some point I will see a bag, fabric planter, shirt, etc. that she has made with fabric I recognize from my stash.
  • Make a scrunchie. {I heard they’re coming back in style so pack up your judgement and leave it at the door}
  • Make a mug rug – these are great for gifting with a coffee mug, some tea, etc. {You can download my free printable tags in this post}

Mug Rugs are perfect for fabric scraps & make great gifts!

5. Pre-wash new fabric with sheets or towels

It’s tempting to toss your new fabric by itself in the washing machine to pre-wash, but try washing it with sheets or towels that you wouldn’t mind if the new fabric bleeds/stains them. This will cut down on water waste and be more efficient overall (plus, we all love a lower water bill, right?!).

Photo borrowed from my recent purchase of the Metamorphic Dress Kit from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics

For the safety of your fibers, try to wash your new fabric with similar material (i.e. try washing light weight / delicate fabric with bed sheets instead of towels).

What are some ways you make your sewing practice more eco-friendly? I’d love to gather more tips!

What I’m Lovin’ in July

July’s saving grace (because #WayTooHot) is that it’s my sister’s birthday month – in fact, TODAY is my sister’s birthday!! Happy Birthday to my very best friend and favorite person in the whole world.

My sister during our trip to DC this month – enjoying the hotel jacuzzi to its fullest.

This year we took a trip to Washington, DC together! It wasn’t specifically for her birthday, but it was close enough that it was the perfect excuse 🙂

1. These 10 Asheville Airbnbs worthy of a getaway from Cola Today

Asheville is one of my favorite places to visit! It’s not too far of a drive and the weather is always a little cooler which is a nice escape from the relentlessness heat of Columbia. It’s also a vegetarian foodie’s dream destination 😉

The Hubs is going to Asheville this month for a lacrosse tournament, but unfortunately I didn’t see this list until after we’d already booked his Airbnb. Hopefully next year Andy & I can tag along (or else we’ll have to make an excuse to visit soon!).

How gorgeous is the inside of this BUS?! Click on the image to go to the Airbnb listing – this one’s really neat!

2. This Weekender bag pattern

I’ve been following Trish Stitched for a long time now and absolutely love her blog! I really like her style and rely a lot on her garment sewing posts to see what kind of alterations she made to the patterns she shares (she’s also petite!). She’s really talented and I was excited to see her Weekender Bag Tutorial on fabric.com! I wish I had found time to make one of these bags before my trip to DC this month – it would’ve been perfect!

I’m definitely adding it to my queue – I’m trying to work on traveling light & this bag would be the perfect motivation 😉

3. This Peach Pie Scone recipe

Earlier this month, a friend brought me a bag of beautiful, fresh peaches!

I wanted to do more than just cut-and-freeze (my usual go-to for fresh fruit so I can toss it into smoothies). I jumped on Pinterest and searched for peach recipes and ran across this recipe for Peach Pie Scones with Vanilla Glaze. It sounded easy enough so I gave it a shot!

They were delicious! I will definitely whip up a batch of these again.

4. Sewing Baby Bows

I’m on a baby-bow-sewing kick lately. They are super easy to whip up with scrap fabric and of course Andy always needs more bows. This quick fabric bow tutorial is our favorite lately. It’s the perfect scrap buster.

Andy is wearing the 4-inch bow from this tutorial. I made hers from a Lilly Pulitzer dress I found while thrifting!

She seems fascinated with the sewing machine lately so she helped me sew a few bows for one of her friends!

Andy helping me sew a bow for her friend.

5. Our Local Library

I renewed my library card earlier this month and Andy and I have been loving visiting our local library!

Andy dressed festively for our first library visit 😉 This was during our stop in the Parent Lounge.

They recently renovated and the interior is so great. There is a lovely play area for kids and a Parent Lounge with a big, comfy chair for feeding, a changing table and a sink. I love that addition – it makes it so easy for parents to come and explore with little ones without the worry of where to feed or change them. Being that Andy is not a huge fan of the heat & humidity (who is?!), we may be spending many summer days at the library.

6. Ideas sparked from #plasticfreejuly

I recently discovered #plasticfreejuly and enjoyed browsing the hashtag for inspiration. I really love the plastic storage alternatives @ecowithem_ shared in this graphic!

Other awesome #plasticfreejuly posts:

7. Plants

I went to a Plant Swap last month {read my friend Shanika’s recap of the event here}. Andy & I were way late so we missed some of the fun, but it worked out so Andy could get lots of cuddles from one of our favorite friends (you can see pictures here).

Before | After – the plants & seeds I adopted at the Plant Swap

I took some leaves from our office succulents and propagated them a few weeks before the event. I planted them in teacups from the thrift store and gave them names and backstories (yes, I’m THAT nerdy).

Before | After – my succulent trimmings propagating in the teacups I thrifted for the Plant Swap.

If you’re a plant lover, check out these neat DIY planters from upcycled items!

8. The idea of Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

Ok, so this is not something that I am actually doing, but I am really intrigued by the idea! These Practical Tips and Ideas for Zero Waste Grocery Shopping from Green Indy are really great.

Click the image for 7 Ways to Make Zero-Waste Shopping Second Nature

In addition to the obvious (bringing reusable bags to the grocery store which I already do because they hold so much!), I plan to start attempting to shop in bulk. There are a few stores nearby that have bulk sections. I’m planning to take my own jars too! Wish me luck.

What have you been lovin’ this month? Let me know in the comments so I can jump on your bandwagon!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}