I think I saw a Pukeko – New Zealand Picture Book about birds, words, arguing and not always having to be right

I wrote a book and then I illustrated it and here it is!

This is a fun and funny little story about the words we use to describe things (in this case birds), about how to tell things apart and about fantasy versus reality but it’s also about how to give up when an argument is not really going anywhere…

I published this book with the help of The Copy Press in Nelson, New Zealand. It’s a fully local production – it’s New Zealand made, New Zealand inspired AND it’s about an iconic New Zealand bird, the Pukeko.

Here I am with my daughter reading it via a quick video shot by Reuben from Shoot-Edit-Video in Piha.

I have learned so much going through the publishing process and I am so pleased to share ‘I think I saw a Pukeko’ with you.

You can purchase a copy here and I can ship anywhere in the world.

Thanks for reading and thanks for watching. X

P.S. I would love your comments too, so please feel free to add some words below and/or click ‘follow’ before you go.

Mwah!

OMG! The Best Organic Cotton Baby Blankets Ever!

The title for this post comes from a customer’s review. It’s pretty nice of her. Thanks Katy.x

So what is it about Outie’s organic cotton baby blankets that makes them the best?

1) Designed in New Zealand

I studied Fine Arts at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and I have always loved drawing. Prior to opening Outie, I taught English, Art History and Art (painting) in secondary schools so it makes me happy to still be drawing every day. My inspiration is often locally sourced (Kowhai hearts, NZ native flora) because a good day for me starts with a bush walk and I use my walking time as thinking time of ‘what could be cool’ for someone’s baby.

Kowhai Native NZ designer organic cotton blanket

Native New Zealand Kowhai heart patterned organic cotton baby blanket by Outie

2) Original Illustrations

I am also an illustrator (have you seen my first published book? Squee! It’s a fun practise run for my button baby coming soon.) and I like to keep a hand-drawn vibrant feel to all of my designs. Some imperfections in my drawings are left in as part of the process (sometimes I have a toddler on my knee or I am feeding my baby late at night (we do not talk about sleep club) – and, for instance, now I am writing one-handed with my 11 month old wriggling on my knee). Some drawings start out as scribbles on the back of bills and then I digitise them whenever I can find the time. I love how each drawing has a story that is so much a part of my life at home with my kids. The popular Saurus. Raurus. print, for example, happened because of the way my son learned to say ‘dinosaur’ as ‘saurus ‘ and then called ‘lion’ a ‘roarus’.

aleep aid mini organic cotton baby blanket comforter

Dinosaurs and lions are called ‘saurus’ or ‘roarus’ by our two year old and so this fun little design happened for this organic cotton baby blanket comforter or sleep aid.

saurus mini blanket

3) Made to order

There is a three week wait time for most orders because I don’t like to keep stock stored for a long period of time. I also find it hard to predict what will be popular because I have my own quirky sense of style that might not be to everyone’s taste. Philosophically I also love how each blanket is actually printed with purpose so it is made for the right reasons from the get go. I am also aware of babies and dust allergies so keeping storage time down at every part of the process is important to me.

organic cotton custom baby blanket hippos

A custom organic cotton blanket design featuring hippos for a nz customer . “Hippo Dreams” for Kristin.

4) Certified organic cotton

Fabric is sourced from the United States and it is a natural white organic cotton interlock knit. I love how it is not pristine ‘Persil white’ and that is has more of an unbleached colour to it. They are certified organic cotton baby blankets as the fabric is certified in the USA by Global Organic Textile Standards.

5) Water based inks

Outie organic cotton baby blankets are printed using eco-friendly water based inks. No additional chemicals are used in the printing process so they are a safe solution to swaddling your baby traditionally.

organic cotton kids bedding cot sheets

Custom cot sheet sets and single bed sets available by request.

6) Sewn in my home studio

Outie is currently just me. That means you can imagine your blanket being cut by me and sewn by me and it won’t just happen in your imagination. This is a weird additional detail, but I also never sew when I am in a bad mood because I believe that projects can absorb the energy that was around when they were born. That might be a bit hippy dippy but I can happily say that every single Outie thing is made with love and happiness.

7) Little blankets too

We use all of our fabric and this means that we also offer soother blankets, cuddlies, snugglies or mini comforter blankets to help older children sleep. My organic cotton baby blanket mini blankets can be a great comfort for babies with separation anxiety or to help them to feel secure in general. Mum or Dad can tuck the smaller blanket inside their shirt so that the blankies absorb their smell and this makes the comforter blanket more comforting because it smells like a parent. Some people like their teddies or dolls to have matching blankets rather than using them as a comforter blanket. They are 45cm square.

organic cotton comforter soother woogie cuddly sleep aid

Mini organic cotton comforter blanket or teddy/doll blanket featuring my ‘Little Hunter’ print.

8) Inspired by my children

I never planned to open a ‘baby’ business… but it is all falling into place because my two children are my constant inspiration and I love being at home with them. Everything I make/have made for Outie is because I wanted to make it for them (or me as their mum) first.

comfort blanket sleep aid attachment prop

We call our daughter’s dinosaur organic cotton comfort blanket her ‘woogie’ but they are called all kinds of other things traditionally.

 

9) Custom designs

I can match nursery colours, add names, use symbols or family motifs that are important to you to make your blanket extra special. I love coming up with designs that are special for my customers.

10) Thick cotton

The thickness of our organic cotton baby blankets is like a ‘thick T-shirt cotton’. The organic cotton we use for our baby blankets is soft and foldy and delicious. “I can vouch for how soft this fabric is. It is amazing.” – Melanie

11) Breathable/absorbs smell

As a natural fiber, cotton absorbs smell which is why cotton (and merino) are such staples for babies. Our blankets are also breathable so that babies who like to put their comforter over their face (why do they do that?!) can still breathe. It is best to remove it all the same…

13) Generously sized and suitable for swaddling

The organic cotton fabric we use has a crosswise stretch of about 25% making it a nice soft stretch for swaddling purposes. The size of the big blankets (90cm square) is also a nice swaddling size to give a nice sense of security right from the newborn stage.

14) Matching reusable wipes

I make sets of 6 reusable wipes up out of smaller off cuts of our organic cotton and these make an amazing money saving extra. You can just wet them with water and use them for all things baby. Because they are thick, you will find that you will use one wipe (maybe two) per change. They can be rinsed and washed just like cloth nappies and are a real money saver long term. We have only ever bought TWO packs of wet wipes in nearly three years…

organic cotton reusable wipes by Outie

Organic cotton designer print reusable wipes come in a set of 6.

15) NZ Made and Local

Although we get our organic cotton fabric from the United States (no cotton fields in NZ!), everything else is done right here in our home studio in the Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland, New Zealand. It’s all done by me (Katrina) from design through to packaging… so you can feel good about supporting a local business and a stay at home mummy (me) doing her thing too.

 Get your designer organic cotton blanket here.

Be a mean mummy – the best advice my mother gave me

Last night we watched a documentary by Nigel Latta about the perils of sugar. It’s called, ‘Is Sugar the new fat?’ You can watch it here if you like.

But the gist of it is this: sugar is bad for you and it is in everything. One of the most hard-hitting case studies in this doco was a two year old child whose front teeth had completely dissolved due to being fed Coca Cola in a bottle. Another child had several teeth extracted due to sugar rotting several of her baby teeth.

Before you get all hot headed and think, “how could a mother do such a thing?!” we need to take a quick look at the price of formula vs the price of Cola. One is exorbitant and the other is cheaper than water. Cheaper than water.

Good food is expensive. Foods that are affordable for a large part of New Zealand are very high in sugar. Soft drink, purely on a calories for cash basis, is great bang for your buck and will fill a hungry tummy.

But the coke thing is horrific and it made me want to brush my kids’ teeth (again) and it made me feel bad for sneaking some peanut M&Ms in as a mummy treat once they had gone to bed… but it also made me want to thank my Mum.

It’s her fault in a good way.

When I was growing up, my Mum was ‘mean’. We weren’t allowed treats from the cupboards without asking. (Mum I know you are not mean – it is just what kids think when they don’t get what they want). She was mean because she wouldn’t let us have sugar ‘just because’.

If we came to her with a whining tone of, “I’m huuungry” we would be told, “It is only X long before dinner. If you are hungry, you can have some fruit.”

And so, miserably, we would eat fruit.

Here are a couple of case studies of non-mean-mummies.

Case Study One: A friend from primary school had a ‘cool’ Mum. She was allowed to eat whatever she wanted whenever she wanted and her Mum even sweetened the veges with sugar to make them taste nice.

I loved sleep overs at her house and I ate a lot more peas than I ever would have at home… but she was learning that in order for things to be good, they needed to be sweet. As an adult now, sugar is her crutch and ‘obese’ is an ugly descriptor she has to live with.

Case Study Two: As a secondary school teacher I also watched a mother love her child with baking. In year 7 (11 years old) her child thrived on tasty treats in her lunch box and seemed to have a high metabolism. By year 13 (18 years old), this same child was obese and too big to comfortably play many of the sports they used to play.

Case Study Three: Similarly in my role as a teacher, I have watched teenage boys unpack their school lunch with a 2 Litre bottle of Coke in their bag. They also have a family sized pack of chips/crisps and they buy hot chips and a pie at lunch to round their meal out. They are hungry growing boys after all but come period five, these boys were lethargic and grumpy and difficult to teach. Some even had a second bottle of coke to help them to concentrate for the last hour of the school day.

These case studies were not like me. They didn’t have mean mummies.

I understand that sugar is entrenched in our lives and consequently in our diets. I also get that it is in everything and that it is cheap; but I also think that we all have to try to be a bit meaner about how we dish it out.

Many years later and I am actually thankful for all of the sugar restrictions my ‘mean mummy’ made. I can monitor my own sweet treats, I can think of sweet things as treats, I have a voice in the back of my head that says, ‘It is nearly dinner time’, I have a conscience that asks, ‘Do you really need it?’ and I have even taught my kids that fruit is a yummy treat because sugar (unless it’s in home baking) is rarely on offer.

When I was thirteen I started drinking coffee. (Is that young?) When I went to put a heaped teaspoon of sugar in my coffee, my mother played mean mum again. She said, “If you want to drink coffee that’s OK but you can only have it if you have it without sugar.”

I argued with her as I was wont to do at that age. She reasoned, ‘You don’t need it and if you start now it will become a habit you can’t break later.”

She was right.

If I think of all the coffee I have consumed in the last 20 ish years (coffee is my crutch) and all of the teaspoons of sugar I have avoided; once again I am thankful.

My Mum also never allowed us to mix up drink concentrate the way it said on the packet. We always had to add half water.

Now I am thankful for this because I never crave sweet drinks and I even like watery juice.

But now it’s my turn to continue the tradition. I will be a mean mummy because, like my mummy, I want my kids to live long lives and to prosper and to be fit and healthy. I want my daughter (who was born with two teeth!) to still have those two teeth until they are ready to fall out in their own time.

I want nature to be the provider of treats.

I want my kids to not need fillings. (I am 34 and I still don’t have any!)

Am I deluded?

I hope that my children will avoid obesity and diabetes and I hope that they will be mean mummies and daddies for their children too.

I am a mean mummy because my son wasn’t allowed sugar until his first birthday and then we treated him with his first cake. (Thanks Jorgia! One of my ex-students made us a fantastic puppy cake!)

Beau's First Birthday 009

We call grapes, ‘nature’s lollies’ and he thinks of them as sweets.

My son will bizarrely choose fruit over chocolate. He has even refused ice cream when we thought we were giving him a reward.

We have not (yet) had too many meltdowns over him wanting treats in the supermarket because he likes things like rice crackers and raisins.

And that’s why my Mum gave me the best advice – to be a mean mummy, because being a mean mummy and restricting your child’s sugar intake is actually really sweet.

 

Top tips for reducing sugar consumption:

  • Reduce sugar in baking by ¼
  • Replace sugar in baking with pureed dates or mashed banana
  • Use honey instead (if your child is over one)
  • Put sweet treats in a hard to reach place so that you think twice before getting them out
  • Bake your own treats so that you can see what goes in them
  • Read the labels on consumer goods
  • Eat fruit instead for natural sugars
  • Water down juice
  • Take water with you in the car so that you don’t need to buy cheap sugary drinks when out
  • Teach your children that sweet treats are for special occasions

What do you think? Could you be mean mummy/daddy too?

 

This post was brought to you by the Outie Adventure Bag. It’s possibly the coolest product we’ve made yet…

Outie Adventure Bag

Like this post? Make sure you click Follow (on the right) before you go.

Want to win something cool too? Click this link for a limited edition silver Outie Heartstacked Tiki print. X

Happy Birthday Outie!

Happy Birthday Outie!

Today Outie turns two and it feels like a really big deal. We are officially up and running and our logo is now an up and running toddler we have modeled on our son running along our local Piha beach.

New Outie logo small

August 353

Birthdays are a good time to celebrate and we want you to join in. For the whole month of September we are offering FREE SHIPPING with the code ‘happybirthday’. We would also love you to nominate a friend with a prize you think they would love each time you make a purchase. You never know whose day might be made just a little bit brighter…

We’ve also printed a limited edition collector’s print of our Heart-stacked Tiki design in gold and silver. These will come signed and numbered to celebrate.

tiki print gold framed tiki print silver framed

Turning two also means there are some changes going on. Our belly bump tees started this whole thing off and we feel we have outgrown them a bit. Fundamentally they are all about the drawings on the bump and these prints will all be available as greeting cards to congratulate a special someone or welcome an extra-special new someone soon. All maternity tees have more than 50% off as they are reduced to clear.

Drawing and design is the heart of Outie. Whether it is drawing a new pattern to help you to DIY, selecting the best bits of advertising to upcycle into Outie Splat Mats or drawing something sweet for your wall, Katrina is embracing her roots as an artist. The latest NEW and exciting range includes Outie organic cotton blankets, pillowcases and duvets with images that are all designed by Katrina with you in mind. It’s all Fun with a capital F.

Also at the heart is an interest in problem solving. The maternity tees solved the problem of ‘boring maternity fashion’. The Everything Batwing dresses solve the problem of feeding on the go, the Splat Mats solve the problem of babies making so much mess… We solve the niggly annoying things and make life easier so that you can focus on what life should be about – play.

That sums up our new logo and slogan. Outie: Design. Adventure. Play.

What can you look forward to now? Stay tuned for greeting cards, more fun nursery prints, custom designed organic cotton blankets, a GIANT OUTDOOR CHANGE BAG (speaking of adventure…) and more. You can tell us what you want to have on the perfect blanket (and even choose your colours) and Katrina will design it for you.

A custom blanket design. "Hippo Dreams" for Kristin.

A custom blanket design. “Hippo Dreams” for Kristin.

This little update comes with a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who have helped Outie begin and take our first baby steps. We are so pleased you can celebrate our second birthday with us.

Love Outie

Katrina and the Outie bandits.

P.S. Thanks for reading and please click ‘follow’ on the right before you go. X

profile pic

 

Free Nursery Printables – So much cuteness!

I have always loved drawing and lately I seem to have found more time for it.

So I have decided to share the love by creating a little collection of free printable drawings for your nursery.

The current collection includes:

1) Baby Bear

2) Newbornicorn

3) Dinosaur Love

4) Buttons (I love you to the moon)

5) Crown of Butterflies

6) Baby Elephant

baby bear

newbornicorndinosaurbaby

I love you to the moon print

crown of butterflies  baby elephant 

 

You can order your free nursery printables here.

Which one is your favourite?

With much love,

Katrina

(Outie)

P.S – We are now on Instagram! Please follow me on @outie_nz

The Anger Bug

I was bitten by the Anger Bug last night.

It snuck in when my baby was unsettled and I was trying to burp her and ssh her and soothe her. I had lost track of how many times she had needed me and I was running out of energy.

The Anger Bug saw an opening.

It sank its devilish teeth in for a good, deep bite.

Suddenly infected, I was angry with everyone and with everything and for every reason.

The dark was red. The night was red.

The moment was cooked.

 

With my daughter safely in her cot, I raged at the Bug.

How dare you bite me and make me lose it! How dare you steal my patience! How dare you take advantage of me just because I am tired!

I confronted it with a verbal parade in my head.

I filled the room with silent curses, with woe is me’s, with how dare you’s, with swear words, with resentment, with dishes battles, with cooking scorn, with general housewifery I’ve had enoughness, with undone to-do lists, with drudgery and with stolen sleep. I made a list of anger-making things that marched and tripped and clapped like thunder in the dark.

And this! And that! And this! I fumed.

But the Anger Bug scurried off just as my baby burped.

She farted and the crying stopped.

The night was black again. I rolled over, forgot my rage and went back to sleep.

 

Love Katrina (Outie)

 

 

PS. It was fun to write a little story that ends with a fart.

I find that it helps to write things down.

It also helps to know that every parent loses it sometimes. Never put your baby in danger and always put them down safely (so that you can go away and enjoy an adult sized tantrum without harming them). X

 

Ten Reasons Why You Want To Trade Places With Your Baby

Babies seem to get an awesome deal...

Babies seem to get an awesome deal…

 

Ten Reasons Why You Want To Trade Places With Your Baby

1)      You are covered in kisses all day

2)      Everyone adores you even when you have messed your pants

3)      You are put on a pedestal at least three times a day

4)      Your food is cut up for you

5)      A personalised snack pack picnic is never far from reach

6)      People bring you activities that they know you like

7)      You are wrapped up tightly to sleep

8)      You are read bedtime stories

9)      Your day is organised for you

10)   You have your own personal fan club

 

More Than Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t

 

1)      You don’t have any personal space

2)      You mess your pants and sometimes draw with it

3)      You can’t get down from your pedestal

4)      Your food is dictated to you

5)      Snack packs are never far from reach but you can’t reach them

6)      People think that they know what you want and you can’t communicate well enough to convince them otherwise

7)      You wear a straight jacket to bed (but you know you are not crazy)

8)      You want to stay up late but you are never allowed to

9)      You want to do what you want, but can’t

10)   You are followed by a weird paparazzi who take photos of you even when you are naked/sleeping/on the toilet

11)   Boobs are thrust in your face every time you cry (or should that be in the ‘reasons why you want to trade places’ guys?)

12)   You sleep in a ‘cage’

13)   You are easily overstimulated

14)   You have to wear bear costumes in public

15)   You cannot last a whole day without crying

16) … Can you add more reasons? Please leave a comment below.

 

Love Katrina (Outie)

This post is brought to you by the Outie Snuggle Shrug – it’s like a straightjacket for Houdini babies – even though we know they are not crazy. 😉