Home     Salsa Store     Referral     Lifebooks     Videos     Recipes     Blog Headers

Monday, October 02, 2006

Nursery furniture

Have received lots of questions about the nursery, so here's the scoop on what and where:

Fabric: The curtain/bedskirt fabric is from Hancock Fabrics. It's really sturdy indoor/outdoor fabric that comes on huge rolls in the furniture upholstery section. Ungodly expensive (particularly if you're sewing-challenged and buy 15 yards, which is about 10 yards too much). We loved how the wavy lines looked like waves and the multicolored circles looked like bubbles.

Low blue and green chairs: They're funky faux-fur chairs from Linens and Things. Incredibly comfortable for adults, and low enough for kids (and apparently cats). Plus, the colors make us grin.

Storage units: They're Cameron Bookrack Wall Systems from Pottery Barn Kids. We got the Espresso color for the playroom and the Sun Valley Honey color for the nursery. Great quality, and just the right height for kids. The lower "toss bins" are my favorite part. We drilled right through each piece to bolt each component into a wall stud. One warning: these units come unassembled, in about 10 huge boxes filled with rigid styrofoam. We called around and found a local recycling place where we could just dump the boxes. Whew.

Green & blue dolphin bureau: The kid-sized bureau is from a funky little furniture store in San Luis Obispo called Bali Designs. Our piece came from Indonesia.

Black baby gate

Our ginormous playroom gate is a Kidco Hearthgate, just Google those words and you'll find a whole bunch of online stores selling it. It fits all the way across our room to divide the playroom (shown here in progress) from the living room.

What we love about this gate:
- It's black!
- Made of solid, sturdy, coated, smooth metal
- Spans a HUGE opening and you can also buy extensions (we bought one)
- Has a little baby-proof door in it so we can easily step through
- Can set it up in a straight line, curved line, or any zig-zagged or any bent configuration
- Comes with a kit to bolt it directly to the wall on both sides

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Flickr collage/thumbnails hack job

I keep getting asked "how do you get Flickr to do that little photo collage/thumbnail thing on your blog?" Well unfortunately the answer is "I don't really." It's a total hack job I made up because I couldn't get Flickr to do what I wanted and I didn't want to have to cut and paste the Flickr code for every single picture when I uploaded a whole bunch of them. Here's an example:
Australia Day 5 Pictures:

(View thumbnails, detail, or slideshow)

And here's how I do it:

1. Upload your new pictures to Flickr and put them in a "set"
2. While you're viewing the new set take a screenshot of the page (I hold down the "alt" and "PrtScn" keys on my pc, not sure how you do it on a Mac)
3. Open Photoshop, create a new document, paste in the screenshot, crop it so only the tiny thumbnail pics are showing, then Save As a jpg
4. Create a new Blogger post and upload the jpg you just made into that post
5. Once that jpg is loaded into your blog post, you can click on the picture then click on the Blogger "link icon" (kind of looks like a little chain link) and put in the url for your Flickr set (either the url of the Flickr thumbnail page, the detail page, or the slideshow page, your choice)
6. As an additional option, you can type in "thumbnail, detail, slideshow" below the picture and link those words up to the appropriate Flickr urls
7. Publish your post, wipe the sweat off your brow, and relax with a nice, cold drink...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Stroller reviews & advice

The best/most informative site I've found for stroller info is Baby-Gaga. They've combined field research with parents' reviews to come up with a thorough discussion of each type of stroller. Go direct to their comprehensive single stroller reviews or double stroller reviews and start browsing (each name is clickable to an easy-to-read, multi-page review), or narrow the list by a variety of criteria on the left side.

We're going with the Graco DuoRider for quick daily trips like groceries, mall rat visits, trips to grandmas, etc. Then we're going with the Baby Jogger City Double for anything where we'll be covering a lot of territory or outside. I'm in love with this Baby Jogger City Double after test driving it yesterday, and would use it for my daily stroller, but it's way too heavy for me to lift in and out of the car on a regular basis.

This online info isn't a substitute for test driving the strollers yourself, by the way. TubaDad and I went to a baby store and drove every single double stroller. You find out real fast what you can't stand and what makes your eyes light up. In my case, most of the standard side-by-side double strollers have a third set of wheels in the back that I kick as I walk. Very annoying with tennis shoes on, and probably painful with sandals on. (I'm 5'7", so not an amazon or anything.) We also took the strollers out to the parking lot and I practiced folding them up and getting them into the back of the car. Huh - it's wayyy harder than just collapsing them and opening them back up in the quiet, clean, air-conditioned store aisle.

Final note: if you have a little time you can get some great deals! Your local stores will always offer seasonal sales and can tell you when they're coming up, or you can find any stroller online with free shipping, or (for the big-ticket items like the Baby Jogger) hop on over to Ebay and look for some incredibly-competitive pricing from sellers with sterling reputations.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Maps of China provinces (showing orphanages)

Hendrika at Red Thread Maps is a talented artist who just happens to have twin daughters from China!. She has produced beautiful hand-drawn maps of the Chinese provinces that "are intended to show the general locations of orphanages that participate in international adoptions."

These maps are perfect for wall hangings, scrapbooks, keepsakes, or just general information.

Check out the maps here. (Click on any map to see a larger version.) Thanks to Gyll for sending me this great link.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Orphanage addresses - Chinese & English mailing labels

Adele over at Blessed Kids (a translation, child history, and care package company) has assembled a wonderful list of orphanage names and addresses in Chinese and English. You can use these for mailing labels, photo albums, etc.

Click here to go to the orphanage names and addresses page. what a great resource!

Medical recommendations from Dr. Jane

Dr. Jane Liedtke (the famous "orphan doctor" and founder and CEO of Our Chinese Daughters Foundation) has written a very helpful letter that you can print out and take to your pre-travel medical consultation. It clearly explains to your doctor what you need and why. To print the full 3-page letter, click on each of the 3 images below and choose "File" then "Print" from the top of your browser window.

Thanks to Christi for sending me this great letter!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pediatrician interview questions

This is a list of questions that you can use to grill (uh, I mean interview, haha) potential pediatricians, including questions focused on international adoption. To print the full 4-page questionaire, click on each of the 4 images below and choose "File" then "Print" from the top of your browser window.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Camera instructions in Chinese (for care package)

These instuctions are written in Chinese and English. To print a copy, just click on the image at left, then choose "File" and "Print" from the top of your browser window. Include this printout along with a disposable camera in the care package you send to the orphanage so they can take pictures of your angel for you. Thanks to Donna and Doris for sending me these instructions.

Stacey Teague had 2 more great suggestions for the disposable camera that I wouldn't have thought of:
1. Take the camera out of its packaging and tape a photocopy of your child's name right onto the back of the camera.
2. Use the first shot of the disposable camera to take a picture of a sheet of paper with your name and address. Just in case your camera is sent back to the wrong family, they'll mail it to you.

Customizing your sidebar links in Blogger

When you start a new Blogger blog, one of the first things you'll want to do is to customize your links in the sidebar. Log into Blogger, go into the Template section, and scroll until you see this:

That's the code you'll need to change. Now you can copy and paste your own web sites over top of their Google News, Edit-Me, and Edit-Me bullets.

When you're done, you should have something like this instead (changes in red):

You can click "Preview" at the bottom of the little code box to see if everything looks alright. Then click "Save" then "Publish".

Here's a link to a really basic html code explanation if you want to know more.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Photo album labels in Chinese

For photo albums or orphanage care packages, here are some handy translated labels that Rhonda sent me. (I added a bunch of "custom" labels to the second page.) To print the 2 pages of labels, click on each image below and choose "File" then "Print" from the top of your browser window. Cut them up and tape your favorite ones to photos, cards, or letters.

Packing list for China

Our China packing list is now a masterpiece (haha). To print out a copy just click on each of the 4 pages below and print them (file/print from the top of your browser window).

Who's talking about you in their blog

To find out who's linking to you in their blog posts, go to http://blogsearch.google.com. Then type your url into the box and click "search blogs." You'll see a search page that lists all recent blog posts that link to you.

If you want regular updates/notifications on who's linking to you, you can subscribe to the RSS feed of this search page just like you would subscribe to any other web page. I use Bloglines, so I just right-click anywhere in the page and choose "subscribe," but if you use another type of RSS reader you can get the url of the RSS feed in the left margin of the search page.

One tip for blogspot users, you should actually do 2 subscriptions, one with "www" and one without, because people frequently use the unnecessary "www" when linking to you. For example, I search for people linking to http://www.salsainchina.blogspot.com as well as http://salsainchina.blogspot.com.