A Baby…

Zoe and alphabet blocks

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller,

clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.”

~Pablo Picasso

sleeping baby Zoe

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Letter to Zoe, 3 1/2 Months

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Dear Zoe,

This is my first letter to you, I hope the first of many. I write them as a way to preserve memories of your early days which you won’t be able to remember for yourself. As such, they are as much for me as they are for you, as these are the things one can’t imagine ever forgetting but then later on can’t seem to quite remember. They are also for the benefit of loved ones who live far away, who haven’t met you yet, and who may only see you sporadically as you grow. But most of all they are so that you will know how very much you are loved and cherished…and have been since the very beginning.

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Developmentally your most recent accomplishments are grabbing onto small toys and holding onto them, bringing your two hands together to clasp, and laughing (your father nodding his head is particularly hysterical). You’ve been standing up on our laps supporting your own weight while we balance you for many weeks now – you have freakishly strong legs. Your track people walking from one side of the room to the other, especially if that person is your Daddy.

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At a three months of age your personality is becoming more and more apparent as the days progress. You really are a happy baby, ready to reward anyone who talks to you with smiles. You are beginning to laugh more now as well. It’s not the laugh I would have predicted you’d have. It sound a bit like a squawking crow with laryngitis. 🙂 And while there are plenty of fussy moments as you deal with both teething (already!) and reflux, you really seem to be pretty laid back for the most part. I take you to Bible study and you sit on my lap quietly the whole time. It amuses the other ladies there because you fold your hands at your chest and look intently at whoever is speaking nodding your head from time to time, seeming wise way beyond your years.

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We have the ability to capture you at this stage, both visually and audially, but I really wish we were able to somehow record what you feel like to hold. You are so soft, round, squishy and altogether cuddly. You have a way of melting into my arms and then looking at me and smiling, and its just about all I can do to keep from melting myself right then and there. You are growing so quickly that I know soon it will be a whole lot more work to hold you for so long. Already my arms are often quite sore by evening (and almost as often still are the next morning too, as you really like to be held a LOT.)  So I wish I could record this sensation now to enjoy over and over again as the years progress, but since I can’t, I remind myself often to enjoy it now while I can and to try not to worry so much about all that I am not getting done because my hands are full with a baby.

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Your brother is really crazy about you. To be honest, I was worried he’d be jealous and resentful of you after you were born. But although it has been a hard adjustment going from being an only child to having to wait his turn to have his needs met so often these days, he has only good things to say about you. He calls you his cutie baby or his sweetie baby. He says you are so pretty and that you are HIS baby. He takes care of you every way he knows how and is SO gentle.

You two already look like you're in cahoots.

You two already look like you’re in cahoots.

This past weekend when you were crying in the car your father and I heard him say to you there in the back seat, “Awww, bessie, bessie, it’s going to be okay. It’s gonna be okay, bessie, bessie.” He gets very concerned when you cry and informs me that you are crying right away (even when I’m already holding you and trying to comfort you.) Eli really looks forward to the time when you will be old enough to play with him, but please, don’t go start growing up all in a rush or anything. The rest of us need to enjoy your sweet baby-ness a while longer!

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With all the love you could ever possibly imagine and more,

Mama

Big Butt Baby Pants

IMG_8784 In preparing for little Zoe’s arrival I’ve sewn up some of Made by Rae’s Big Butt Baby Pants. They are hopefully roomier and will make fitting the fluffy-bummed cloth diapered baby into clothing a little bit easier. I’ve liked this pattern for a long time and have enjoyed seeing the many versions of the pants made up by other people. I’ll warn you that a person could conceivably die of cuteness seeing Inder Love Folk Art’s owl version of these pants seen here, or these here (especially the red ones with the mushrooms and woodland animals on the butt). These pants look so much better with an adorable baby wearing them!

Green and Blue Big Butt Baby Pants

I tried to take the lazy woman’s approach by using sleeves off of old shirts and I think I actually created more difficulties for myself than if I had just followed the pattern exactly like a good girl. Live and learn… I know I’ll be making more of these (and at least I didn’t have to hem.) I actually even bought a few fat quarters of fabric that I thought would be cute for these pants. (If you follow this blog you know that I almost always use only reclaimed fabric. I’m cheap frugal like that.) The blue above is one of them and the rest still are waiting to be sewn up.

Striped Big Butt Baby Pants I plan on embellishing some onesies to go with these pants, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’d better not wait much longer as I’m now at 31 weeks and I know the rest of the pregnancy will go by quickly as I try to get everything done!

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toesjembellish clothes upcycling page,

Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Skip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can DoKeeping It Simple An Original Belle,

I Should be Mopping the FloorThe Dedicated House ,

A Round Tuit,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot GiraffeKammy’s Korner,

Home Stories A to Z,  Crafty Confessions, Homemade Tuesday,  Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination TuesdayTake-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Naptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding FabulousDiana Rambles,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My HandsHello Weekend,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Getting Ready for Baby: Cloth Diapers

This week I decided it was time to take stock of my cloth diaper stash to see what all I will be needing before the new baby comes in a little over 4 months.

Eli wearing a gDiaper.

Initially with Eli I had planned to cloth diaper all the way through until potty training. Then I began to use disposables when we were traveling because keeping a big old musty bag of used diapers in the car for a few days on end just seemed to be a bit much (and the 10 day trip via airplane when he was 5 months old… UNFATHOMABLE!). Once the ‘sposies were in the house I found just how much more convenient they were in certain situations… like being out of the house for more than just a couple of hours. Since we often didn’t use a stroller, and I was already wearing Eli in a carrier I didn’t want to bring along a lot of bulky cloth diapers as unless I was out with my husband I was carrying both baby and diaper bag.

Then Eli hit the crawling stage at 6 months. He was already a very big baby for his age and squeezing the cloth diapers on him under his pants made for a rather mobiley-compromized baby. I was also finding it hard to fit him into his car seat for some reason. Perhaps it was just his personal body shape because I’ve never read anyone else discuss that issue on the cloth diapering blogs. So slowly, but surely cloth was used less and less, really only when we were going to be at home and then only during the day. (With all of the night waking issues we had, as soon as I discovered overnight disposables I was very happy to leave that little bit of early hour baby stimulation behind.) Eventually I found I was not accumulating enough to justify running the washer for a diapers-only load before they would begin to reek on day 3. So (feeling a bit like a crunchy-mama failure) when Eli was about 18 months old I packed all of the cloth diapers away to await our next child.

I had read often enough about the laborious process of stripping diapers when the ammonia smell begins to remain even after washing, but I had never actually done it. My diapers never got smelly. Maybe that’s due to the Charlie’s Soap Powder I use, the fact we have a top loading washer, or because I rarely used the clothes drier for them but let the Southern California sun work it’s wonders instead. What ever the case may be it wasn’t something I wanted to take on if it didn’t seem necessary. But seeing as the diapers had now spent a year in boxes in the garage, and they would be used by a different person it seemed like maybe now was the time.

So I waited until Eli was at preschool, cranked up the temperature on the water heater,

We usually keep this set around 120 degrees, but for diaper-stripping purposes I turned it up as high as it would go.

began filling the tub with diapers,

and as the water filled the tub went online to double check the amount of Dawn dishwashing detergent that I should use. That’s when I found that, unlike the sites I had read before describing boiling diapers on the stove or soaking them in near-boiling water in the tub, I could just do the stripping in my washing machine!

The dreaded day of drudgery turned out to be ever-so-easy as far as the diapers were concerned, allowing me time to sew another baby nightgown before Eli returned from preschool.

For anyone needing to know how to strip cloth diapers here’s a link to the site that saved my day. You’re welcome. 🙂

Now with all of the diapers super clean, I’ve been sorting them by size and trying to figure out if I have all that we will need. Even though these diapers were used by Eli first, I do have a fair amount of girly diapers as when I made these I didn’t know who would be coming our way to use them yet. (Actually for a good portion of my pregnancy we thought that Eli was going to be Elianna 😉 )Between prefolds and the homemade fitted diapers I have about 30 in the smallest size. Figuring about 10 diapers a day and no more than 3 days between washes I should just have enough, but I will probably make a couple more to have on hand just in case.

My complete stash of small handmade fitted cloth diapers.

So little and so cute!

These represent one of my very first sewing ventures away from the realm of quilting. I remember Eli outgrew them so quickly as I made the majority of them with woven flannel receiving blankets repurposed for the outer fabrics. Fuzzy and adorable but they don’t stretch at all!

As for sticking with the whole cloth diapering thing this time around, I have a few ideas that will make things go a bit more smoothly. I will still use disposable (Earth’s Best or Seventh Generation) when traveling and probably for the first couple of weeks home from the hospital, especially if I end up needing another C-section. I am laying in a store of Mama-made pants created specifically for the fluffy-bummed baby. (Posts on those will follow!) Perhaps a better designed diaper bag would help with the schlepping of cloth diapers when we are out and about as once again I plan on wearing this baby.

(I am also becoming interested in Elimination Communication, but haven’t made any decisions about that either way at this point. Who knows? Perhaps in the end we might go diaper-free all together?! Not too sure about that one… But intrigued. Definitely intrigued.)

Knit Baby Pants: Guest Post from Growing Slower

I couldn’t be more pleased than I am to introduce you to Shannon of Growing Slower! I love her blog which is full of information on green and natural living, especially as it applies to the parenting of wee ones! She graciously offered to do a guest post to help me out during my early-pregnancy-induced break from blogging. While it was hard for me to choose from among the post ideas she offered, in the end I had to go with this adorable knit baby pants. A guest post is really the only way I am ever going to get any knitting on my blog in the foreseeable future, and few things feed baby fever for me as much as seeing knit baby clothing. One day I will learn to knit… in the meantime please join me in drooling over Shannon’s creation! Of course, if you are a knitter, you can do more than drool as she includes links to a free pattern. When you’re done here I highly recommend you head on over to Growing Slower… you’ll be glad you did!

If there is anyone else who might be interested in having a guest post on Folk Haven, please contact me. My schedule’s wide open. 😉
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I’m so thrilled to be guest posting here at Folk Haven! I always love sharing my favorite free knitting patterns, both original designs and those by others, so I knew this guest post would be the perfect opportunity for a little show and tell. 


 
 

I had been eyeing this adorable pattern for knit baby pants long before I ever became pregnant. Of course between pregnancy and then becoming a mom, there wasn’t much time for knitting. I’ve finally started getting some yarn back into my hands and it feels so wonderful! At last I have finished this little project! I knitted the 18-24 month size for my one year old BabyE, so hopefully he will still be able to wear them this fall. 


 
 

The free pattern is available from the ymymmytm blog. If you can make a hat, you can knit these pants.  I used three skeins (615 yards) of Berroco Weekend Yarn in Steel Blue #5930. It is almost a perfect match to Baby’s eyes.  As usual I needed to size down (to US size 4) to get the right gauge. As I was working the pattern, I matched it up to some of Baby’s store-bought 18 month pants to make sure I was getting the right size. I ended up needing to add quite a few rows to match the leg length. I added one more 2-row repetition to the moss stitch on the legs. Then I added 35 extra knit rows to the lower legs. 




This was such a fun project. I’m really enjoying these warm summer days, but these cozy pants are making me look longingly toward fall. 

Shannon is a stay at home mom and architect. She’s passionate about  green, natural, and healthy living; recycling; natural birth; knitting; cloth diapering; and of course her own lovely little family. She blogs about it all at GrowingSlower. For more free knitting and sewing patterns, click to subscribe to GrowingSlower.

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Thank you so much, Shannon! Love, love, love the pants… and your handsome model! It has been so much fun watching him grow over the past year! 🙂

Eli’s Birth Story

Today I have the honor of guest posting over at The Grant Life. Kelley is running a Labor of Love series on Wednesdays featuring labor and delivery stories. Today it is all about Eli’s grand entrance into this world just a little over two years ago!

It’s a good thing I got it written now as so much of that long day is now quite a murky haze in my memory. Luckily my husband is a writer who takes detailed notes on just about everything, especially the birth of his first child. (He said it seemed like he made people attending the birth a bit nervous when he would pick up his journal and jot stuff down from time to time. Sorry about that, but I’m still glad he did it!) But now it’s all written down with many photographs (don’t worry- nothing that would make the squeamish squirm or the modest blush) so Eli will always have his story regardless of the state of my recall as the years progress.

Please follow the link to meet up with us there.

Quilted Baby Pants

Last week I used an old quilt to make a Baby Sleep Sack. After completing that project I still had a lot of quilt left over.

I decided to make some toasty, snuggly baby pants! I had a pattern piece left over from the days when Eli wore 0-3 months size. I think I probably made it by tracing some of his pants, but I don’t really remember for sure. I like that this pattern is only 2 pieces. There are a lot of baby pant tutorials out there so I am just going to explain the parts where I had to do something different because I was using a quilt instead of single ply material.

As you can see in the photos below, I cut out the pieces, but removed the top portion that would have been folded over to create the elastic casing.

 

I sewed up the legs. The inside seam was too thick to be left to rub against the baby’s legs, and couldn’t just be sewn down flat. I cut strips of knit material from a t-shirt and hand stitched them over the seam. After sewing the two legs together I gave the crotch seam the same treatment.

  

Now I trimmed the top of the pants so both sides were even. I measured the across the top and cut a 2″ strip of t-shirt material the same measurement plus seam allowance. After sewing the two ends of the strip together I folded it in half lengthwise and pinned it raw edges up around the waist of the pants.

  

After sewing around I trimmed away as much of the quilt from the raw edge as I could without weakening the seam. I then sewed the raw edge of the knit waist band down all the way around trapping the raw edge of the quilt underneath. I apologize for the fuzzy picture.

  

Now I opened the inside of the waistband with a seam ripper to insert the elastic and hand stitched the seam closed again. The bottom of the pant legs were still raw edged. Again, to fold them up to hem them would make for a very thick and bulky hem, so instead I used a 1″ width piece of t-shirt material to bind the bottoms of the pant legs. Sew the binding fabric onto the front. Clip away any excess quilt. Turn the pants inside out and flip the material around to the other side. Sew it down around the pant leg.

 

There was a small hole in the quilt. I patched it with a small t-shirt heart shape and embroidery floss.

 

Front and back views of the quilted baby pants!

 

We live in Southern CA, so the amount of time during the year when pants this warm are really needed is short. The chances of our next child being a little girl and wearing 0-3 month size clothing during that window of time is small so I would like to give these away. If you would like me to send you these pants leave me a comment saying so. I will choose a recipient at random on Saturday, December 10, 2011.

Thanks for reading!

Karen

Here’s where I’m linking up. Please see my Linky List page for active links.

Sunday:

LambAround,  Homemaker on a Dime,  I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toes,

Petite Hermine

Monday:

{aka}/ design, Get Outta My Head Please, Mad in Crafts, Skip to My Lou,

The Gunny Sack, Sew Can Do, Singing Three Little Birds, Etcetorize, Dittle Dattle,

C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home, Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Artful Rising,

Sarahndipities 

Tuesday:

At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope Studios,

Funky Polkadot Giraffe,  Kammy’s Korner,

The Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip JunkieRaising 4 Princesses,

The Creative Itch Boutique

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally SustainableThe Shady PorchTea Rose HomeLil’ Luna,

Sweet Peas & Bumble BeesMom On TimeoutSomeday CraftsPassionately Artistic

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutSomewhat SimpleThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit Bear,

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageFun to CraftHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful Order, Saved by Love Creations

PhotobucketPhotobucket

Eli’s First Haircut

Eli has been looking more and more shaggy as of late.

I wasn’t sure how we were going to get his hair cut as he is always on the move and he is very wary of people he doesn’t know. He completely freaks out when he has to have his head circumference measured during his well child check ups, so I thought having a stranger go after his head with a pair of scissors might be more than he could take. This past week I snuck up on him from behind while he was otherwise distracted and manage to cut off the curls forming at the back of his neck. Not very straight or even but at least they wouldn’t be causing the tangles when his hair is washed any longer. The front however… not so easy to sneak up on him when it’s the bangs that need trimming.

Today I saw that the Supercuts was empty when we had finished our grocery shopping. On a whim, since there would be no waiting involved, I decided to give it a go and see how he’d do.

It went pretty well! He looked like he was about to cry the whole time and whimpered a bit, but no actual crying. I held him on my lap all the while and held his hands so he wouldn’t try to grab the scissors. I wish I had a picture of the experience but with no camera and hands otherwise occupied it wasn’t to be. He squirmed a fair amount as one would expect, so the bangs are rather uneven, but they look so much better than they did hanging in his eyes.

Next up? We really need to attempt the first visit to the dentist.

Wish us luck!

Baby Sleep Sack from Quilt

This was one of the first quilts I attempted to make. It contains a mixture of new cloth (some bought in thrift stores) and cloth from worn out clothing. I had been making it for a young cousin, but it contained so many flaws that in the end I could not bring myself to give it. I stopped working on it just shy of finished  and packed it away in a box where it has sat forgotten for the last  seven or eight years. I pulled it out over Thanksgiving and decided I should either bind it or get rid of it. The flaws that bothered me before bother me even more now, but I hate to waste something potentially useful so I decided to make a baby sleep sack.

Here are directions if you would like to make a sleep sack of your own. If you find any of the instructions unclear, feel free to contact me for clarification.

Get a sleep sack  and fold it in half. Trace onto freezer paper. You could use a shirt and freehand draw the sack part but I wasn’t sure how large to make the sack part. Add seam allowance to the shoulder the side edge and the bottom. I added 1/4″ out of habit. I would suggest at least 1/2″ due to the thickness of the quilt. This is the back piece. The edge going down the center will be placed on the fold when cutting the quilt fabric.

Now for the front pieces. Use a new piece of freezer paper. Trace the shoulder and arm hole. Make a mark where the front neckline falls. Remove the sleep sack from the paper and draw a slightly curved line from that mark up to the shoulder.  Put this paper on top of the back pattern piece and trace the sack line. Add a seam allowance to the center line this time.

Place your back pattern piece on the fold of  the quilt you are repurposing. Iron it down so it won’t slide while you cut. Pin it to keep the folded layers together. Cut it out. Repeat for the front piece, but this time place it a little bit off the edge of the fold and cut all the way around. You will now have 3 pieces.

This jacket was fairly new, but the sleeve had an unfortunate encounter with adhesive that couldn’t be remedied. Originally I was going to use the zipper, but I’ve never done a zipper before and feel a bit intimidated. I found this strip of snaps around the collar to use instead.

I cut it out,  put it alongside the middle edge of one of the front pieces and marked the point to which to sew the seam from the bottom up the front.

Sew the center seam to that point. Here is where I wished I had larger seam allowances. I wanted to sew the seam open on each side and continue sewing the fabric folded over all the way to the top. This wasn’t possible so I trapped the raw edge under a strand of ribbon on each side of the front of the sleep sack and stitched down both sides of the ribbon.

 

On the front side attach one side of the snap strip. One edge was already finished so I turned it over and sewed the cut edge down. I also folded down and sewed the raw edges of the top and bottom of the strip.

 

The black snap strip looks rather ugly on this pink and purple sleeper so I wanted to cover the top snap strip with matching fabric. I took some cloth from one of the side borders of the quilt.  Trim the top and the bottom of the snap strip so that they line up perfectly with the other side. Put the snap strip and fabric right sides together and stitch up one edge. Fold the fabric around the back side of the snap strip. Fold over the fabric on the top and bottom of the snap strip and pin. Sew all the way around all 4 edges of the snap strip using a zipper foot to ease by the snaps.

 

Fold over the remaining raw edge twice and press. Snap the snap strips together. Sew down the long edge of the snap strip flap to attach it to the front to the sleep sack.

Pin the front and back pieces of the sleep sack right sides together at the shoulders. The photo shows pins all the way around, but I ended up having to remove pins from the sides to be able to work on the shoulders.

After sewing the shoulders cover the seam on the inside with a strip of knit material. I sewed on a piece cut from an old sweatshirt then trimmed off the excess.

 

Now pin the sides and bottom and sew all the way around from the bottom of one arm hole to the bottom of the other. Use a walking foot as there are many layers of fabric and batting here. I found I needed to go slow, remove pins before the walking foot reached them, and tug the material gently to release any little tucks beginning to form.

Turn it right side out. Almost done!

Now cut a strip of knit material to bind the edges around the sleep sack’s arm and neck openings. A 1″ width strip cut from the bottom of a large t-shirt worked well for me. It was just long enough to bind all three openings with the one strip. I sewed it around the arm opening and then cut the excess instead of measuring lengths. Lay it alongside the edge of the sleep sack arm opening and stitch it down with 1/4″ seam allowance. Once you cut off the excess length fold in the end. Turn the sleep sack inside out. Fold the fabric in through the arm opening, fold the edge under and pin all the way around. Sew it down on the inside. Follow the same process for the neck opening.

   

Here is the finished binding.

While sewing up this sleep sack I found a couple small tears in the quilt. I cut out two heart shapes from the white t-shirt and sewed a patch with embroidery floss to cover each hole.

   

Finally, the finished sleep sack from a repurposed quilt!

Yay! I’ve been featured!

Confessions of a Stay At Home Mommywww.thegrantlife.com

Here’s where I’m linking up. (Please see my Linky List page for active links):

{nifty button}Sunday's Best Linky Party!http://www.thegrantlife.com/search/label/financial%20fridaySix Sister's StuffEverything Under the MoonLink PartyClothes Upcycling Projectsshabby creek cottageyou are talking too much

SortaCrunchyNet

IhookedupwithHoHlamespice

Confessions of a Stay At Home MommyHope StudiosPhotobucketall crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {11/22}I'm topsy turvy tuesdays

linkingpartybadge copymad skills buttonSomewhat SimplebuttonCatch a Glimpse Button

Elfin Hat for Newborn

Here is another Elfin Hat… this time in newborn size!

I made it from a discarded sweater. A larger hat from this same sweater can be seen here. The tassel is made of strips of thin knit fabric, each strand knotted at the end.

It would work great for that newborn photography session!

Unfortunately, I don’t have a tiny one to model it. (But if I did I’m sure there would be no new Elfin Hat at the moment!) Eli’s white bear was willing to lend a helpful noggin.

  

If interested you can find this hat in my Etsy shop, FolkHavenCreations.

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