mei tai

To Size up or down, that is the question!

The absolute number one, most frequent question we hear from customers is this: what size should I buy? I originally developed this sizing system in order to deliver versatility and a personalized fit. But, it can be overwhelming to select from all the options when planning your conversion. Sizing is, without a doubt, the biggest question mark in the custom carrier planning process. In response we have compiled the following information and suggestions.

Chop Chop

2016 was a hell of a year, and I know I'm not alone in feeling like 2017 needs to be shown in with style, and maybe a little bit of pomp and circumstance, a dose of gratitude, and change! These thoughts were swirling in my head right around the end of December when it hit me: cut off your hair. 

Gentle reader, first let me tell you how attached (literally and figuratively) I am to my hair. I've worn it long for a decade: a hip length, thick, wavy, undyed, well-maintained wealth of hair. I wear it in a bun, a top knot, figure-8s, boxer braids, milkmaid braids, braided crowns, converging braids, I even had to sleep in a braid. For years. 

When all was said and done, the decision was an easy one. Cut off the length, donate it to a non-profit that will use it to make a wig for a child who is suffering hair loss due to any number of ailments. Tell the family, make the appointment, bide the time. Do this in honor of a beloved local elementary school teacher who is battling breast cancer. And then I got another great idea! What if I could get my community involved in supporting this donation? So just as quickly I connected January's custom slots with making a donation--I'll get to those details at the bottom of this post. 

I was blown away, though, when Pure Barre Roanoke wanted to get involved too. One of our receptionists survived cancer as a child, and it was her idea to have a donation-only class on Monday 1/2/17 to support Wigs for Kids. The PRB community, amazing as always, raised close to $200 in one morning! A heartfelt thank you to all the wonderful women who were a part of that day!

 

Pure Barre Roanoke Family

Pure Barre Roanoke Family

On the day of the big chop, Robyn (front row, second from left) came with me to take a couple photos. Or, anyway, I thought it was going to be a couple of photos. There she was, manning my nikon, her cell camera, my cell camera, updating my instagram (@jen_obimama), the Pure Barre Roanoke snapchat, a group text, maybe a facebook post or two, all the while keeping me and the stylist superbly entertained. If you have never had a pampering, luxurious, you-are-the-center-of-attention haircut, please do! You won't regret it.

Me and Cory, talking about angled bobs in detail. Oliver's Twist Salon in Roanoke is amazing!!

Me and Cory, talking about angled bobs in detail. Oliver's Twist Salon in Roanoke is amazing!!

The first cut.

The first cut.

Donating 5 foot-long braids. Hooray!!

Donating 5 foot-long braids. Hooray!!

Whaddaya think the market value is on these?

Whaddaya think the market value is on these?

Angled bob, beveled in the back, some texturizing on the ends. What do you think? Should I have gone for bangs?

Angled bob, beveled in the back, some texturizing on the ends. What do you think? Should I have gone for bangs?

Let's see how it looks with some curl.

Let's see how it looks with some curl.

Love this guy! Thanks for giving me your ENTIRE MORNING for a haircut.

Love this guy! Thanks for giving me your ENTIRE MORNING for a haircut.

Everyone deserved a haircut that makes them feel fab! My new motto.

Everyone deserved a haircut that makes them feel fab! My new motto.

Thank you for slogging through my photos. Now I will finally tell you how to get a custom slot this month--you earned it. To enter the drawing for random slots in the month of January, either make a donation to Wigs for Kids (suggested donation of $10 is worth 1 entry), *OR* donate your 12" ponytails to Wigs for Kids (their length minimum), your 8" ponytails to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, or loose hair of any length (including pet fur) to Matter of Trust's Clean Wave program that uses hair to clean up spilled oil. Donations made anytime in the past 6 months through 1/8 will count as an entry. Yep! 

IMPORTANT: if you donate your ponytail between the dates of 12/23 and 1/8 you will automatically win a custom slot--but please make sure to take some photos to verify the date of your cut and donation. They will be scrutinized, I assure you!

After making your donation, fill out the form below to enter. The deadline for entries is Sunday night, 1/8/17. Winners will be notified the following day. At that time selected winners will be asked to provide valid proof of donation via e-mail. Honesty is the best policy, folks, please don't be tricky. 

By completing this form you assert that you have made your donation as described in the message box, that you will pay your deposit within 24 hours of notification, and that you would never ever ever write and say, "I didn't actually think I would win, I don't want a custom at this time." Cuz that kills me. 

Name *
Name

ObiKalia Semi-Custom WCMT Drawing

DRAWING NOW CLOSED

Ankalia and ObiMama go together like peas and carrots. I love to partner with this super cool Australian wrap company because the people are great, the designs are amazing, the wraps are gorgeous and flattering, and the Ankalia fans are fun, enthusiastic people! I am excited beyond words about these upcoming semi-custom carriers. There are two semi-customs available in this drawing, so read on to see which one suits you best.....

Etch Atlanta

This wrap was Ankalia's first US exclusive, it made its debut at the International Babywearing Conference in Atlanta, GA in the summer of 2016. This was where Alex and I first met, I got to hand deliver her custom ObiMama made from the same wrap! Alex ordered a premium conversion, with zen straps, tie waist, plus feathers, pintucks, and a few other wizpoppers. She was so excited to receive it, she put it on straight away, and for the rest of the conference it stayed in a prominent place. I was honored! If you have any photos of this from the conference, please share them in the comments!

The wrap is a gorgeous smooth, glossy Tencel and cotton blend. Turquoise pops against navy; this wrap looks good on everyone. The design is random and geometric, and I know you have a favorite element from these fun doodles: if you let me know what yours is I'll try to get it in a prominent place.

Gosling Chambray

This wrap has never been converted into an ObiMama before, but I am so, so excited about it after reading the description from Ankalia. Here it is: Sleek and stylish, Gosling is a sophisticated and somewhat softer take on the geometric designs we know and expect from Ankalia. ......
Medium to medium-thin in hand and with distinct duality Gosling Chambray is like two wraps in one. Featuring a soft navy cotton warp the darker of the two sides is minimalist, with a low amount of texture and grip. Passes glide over one another and are easily tightened. The Chambray side will have texture lovers united. .......
Extra fine merino wool provides a touchable softness while a blended silk/linen yarn adds strength, sheen, grip and that gorgeous texture. Natural slubs, characteristic of silk and linen means that each wrap has its distinct personality. With enough grip to hold passes in place in single layer carries, but thin enough that multilayer carries aren't overwhelming Gosling offers a huge amount of versatility.........
In loom state Gosling Chambray is dry, crisp and beautifully earthy, but upon first wash and wear his softer side starts to show. With minimal wear he softens, and yields. You'll find yourself reaching for Gosling time and time again.

photo courtesy Ankalia

photo courtesy Ankalia

photo courtesy Ankalia

photo courtesy Ankalia

For this semi-custom drawing please fill out the form at the bottom of this post. You may enter for either carrier, but not both. The drawing closes at 11/10 at 9 am ET. One entry per person. The winner will be notified via e-mail, and will have 24 hours to claim the win by paying a non-refundable deposit, and at the same time submit the Size 6 Premium Order Form -OR- the Size 7 Premium Order Form to me via e-mail (PDF or JPEG are suitable formats). This win is transferable to a friend, please notify me ahead of deposit payment. Allow 4-6 weeks to process your order. A premium conversion is normally valued at $600, but a discount is applied to you because it's a SEMI-custom, and I know what I'm working with. When the carrier is complete you will be notified via e-mail, and once the $450 balance (plus any upgrades if applicable) is paid your carrier will ship immediately to you!

With my apologies, these conversions are not available within the US.

Babywearing for all weather

The seasons are changing and the weather is getting warmer, or cooler - depending on what corner of this beautiful planet you call Home.  So what's a babywearing Mama or Papa to do with these changes, whilst maintaining comfort we enjoy with our ObiMama carriers?  Chill! (I can't resist a good pun!) We have compiled a list of tried and true tips and recommendations applicable for all.

Hot Weather Wearing:

-Dress light, in as few layers as possible.
-Use some form of sun protection. Don’t forget the top of your child’s knees and feet.
-Alternative to sunblock lotions: dress your child in single layer of UV clothing.
-Put a hat on your child. Tip: It can be really tricky to put a hat on during a back carry, so try opt for one with a chin strap so your child cannot remove it.
-If your child struggles with a hat you can wear a very wide brimmed hat yourself, to cast some shade on your child.
-If your carrier has a lighter side, wear that one out. Lighter colors are cooler than darker colors in the sunlight.
-Be attentive to your child. If the weather is severely hot, wear for short periods only.
-Stay hydrated, both of you!
-Expect to be sweaty! It comes with the territory.
-If you have choices, choose a lighter weight carrier. An ObiMama Welter Weight mei tai carrier is fantastic in high heat with its airy linen straps! ObiMamas were purposefully designed with an hourglass body shape, which allows for more airflow and evaporation through the sides.

Cold Weather Wearing:

-Don’t over dress your child. Remember the carrier counts as a layer!
-Keep a warm hat on your child. Again, a chin strap is ideal to keep it from being thrown.
-A child's pant legs often pull up when worn, so having leggings or leg warmers on will keep your child's skin from being exposed to the cold.
- It can be tempting to dress your child in pajamas with feet. If you do, please be aware of the pressure this can place on your child's toes. If you go this route, sizing up pj's can eliminate this issue. 
- For a hands-out child, consider some mittens.
-To reiterate: focus on dressing the parts of your child that will be exposed (head/lower legs/hands).
-Babywearing sweaters and coats are a great investment, they work great at sharing body heat with optimal comfort.
-If a babywearing sweater or coat is not in the picture, then an oversized sweater or coat can work well too, with minimal adjustment.
-Sometimes it's not practical to babywear under your coat (for example: from the parking lot to the store, etc). If you are babywearing over top of your winter coat, take extra super care with the bulky and often slippery nature of winter gear.

Follow these tips and you can keep them close, comfortably, all year round!
Show us your hot or cold weather babywearing photos by tagging @jen_obimama on Instagram or #obimama on Facebook.
Stay warm, or cool!

 

Colour with ObiMama

With the trend of adult colouring books being at the height of its popularity, I thought it would be fun to create an ObiMama colouring page for you guys. I've been hearing all about adult colouring and the benefits of it: decreasing stress, helping evoke emotions you felt at a simpler time in your life (like childhood),  focusing the brain and calming anxiety. I really wanted to do something for the wonderful community that ObiMama encompasses.

When you’ve printed it out and coloured it (or perhaps your littles did), please tag us on Instagram using #TeamObiMama. We’d love to see your creations!

The preview is below and you can download the PDF ready for printing here. Happy coloring!
- Melissa

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How Can I Tie my ObiMama Mei Tai? Let Me Count the Ways!

I have for you today, 7 of the many different ways to tie your shoulder straps in a back carry.  If these carries are new to you, please attempt these carries with caution. Use a spotter or work over a soft surface.  Also, remember all body types are different and so some carries might not work or feel comfortable for you, that is ok! That is why there are so many ways!  Featured in this post is the beautiful Ankalia wrap, Mako.  This delicious ObiMama is a SS1 with medium waist and medium kombi straps.  Wearer is size M/L and 5’10”, for reference.  Please forgive any untidy tightening, this conversion is brand new and still slightly crispy. 

Back Pack Carry Tied at Waist

Back Pack Carry Tied at Waist

Standard Back Pack Carry Tied at Waist


This is your standard way to use a mei tai.  Once baby is settled in, one strap at a time, bring the shoulder strap straight down, over baby’s leg and then under the other.  Once you have both straps in front, simply tie at the waist. I have the shoulder spread, but you do not need to spread them if you prefer not to. There is beauty in simplicity, never forget!

 
Knotless (with passes spread)

Knotless (with passes spread)

Knotless With Passes Spread


This is another commonly used, comfortable carry.  Once baby is settled in, one strap at a time, take the strap straight down, over baby’s leg and then under the other.  When you have the strap in front, cross it to the opposite side of your body.  Pull the strap up to your shoulder and put it OVER the ruck strap and pull it under.  Repeat with opposite strap.  Once the passes are secure, spread them out over your chest to your liking.  Use your best judgement with this one. If you are constantly tightening, then your wrap straps may be too slippery for this and there are better carries to use.

 
Knotless (unspread, under chest)

Knotless (unspread, under chest)

Knotless Unspread, Under Chest


This can be a comfortable option if you like knotless finish but don’t want the passes over your chest.  Once baby is settled in, one strap at a time, take the strap straight down, over baby’s leg and then under the other.  When you have the strap in front, cross it to the opposite side of your body.  Pull the strap to the ruck strap under your chest, put it OVER the ruck strap and pull it under. Repeat with the other strap.  Again, use your best judgement with this one. If you are constantly tightening, then your wrap straps may be too slippery for this and there are better carries to use.

 
Tibetan (passes spread)

Tibetan (passes spread)

Tibetan Passes Spread


This is another secure comfortable carry. Once baby is settled in, one strap at a time, take the strap straight down, over baby’s leg and then under the other.  When you have the strap in front, cross it to the opposite side of your body.  Pull the strap up to your shoulder and put it UNDER the ruck strap and pull it through.  Be sure to maintain tension, pinning it under your chin while you do the other side. Once both straps are through the ruck straps, bring them in front and tie in a double knot.  If desired, spread the passes.

 
Mermaid 

Mermaid 

Mermaid


This is not my favourite carry, simply because it doesn’t suit my body type.  As you can see, I do not recommend this carry for small busted women, as it may ride down.  But if you’ve got the goods, it is a very pretty and fun carry, I encourage you to try and decide how you like it!  You will need a sling ring for this carry. A medium ring works well with most straps, but I have used a large in this picture.  Always use authentic rings with no weld spots, as they could break!  Once baby is settled in, one strap at a time, take the strap straight down, over baby’s leg and then under the other.  When you have both straps in front, pin one strap between your knees.  Run the other strap through the ring, then place the ring in the center of your chest where you would like it to be when you are finished. Hold the ring in place while pulling the strap into a knotless finish (OVER the ruck strap, and then under).  Take the other strap from between your knees, bring it to the ring, thread it under and over and tie in knotless finish.  Now that your straps are secure you can spread the passes until you have achieved the look you desire!

 
Chest Belt

Chest Belt

Chest Belt


This carry avoids the chest all together.  If you are sore from nursing, this is a good, secure option.  And even if you are not sore, this is still a wonderful carry! Once baby is settled in, take both shoulder straps over your shoulders and tie one knot (make sure it is not too snug, so that it rides up your neck). Then bring the straps down, one at a time, over baby’s leg and under the other.  When the straps are both in front, simply tie at the waist.

 
Sternum Strap

Sternum Strap

Sternum Strap


I like this carry, it suits my body type.  If I am feeling fancy, this is my go to.  Once baby is settled in, take both shoulder straps over your shoulders and bring them in front of you.  Start twisting the straps together, but do not start too close to your neck, as it will become uncomfortable.  Twists downwards until you have reached the length you like, ideally right under your bust line.  Then, one at a time, take the strap over baby’s leg and under the other.  When you have both straps in front, simply tie in a knot at the waist.


These are a sampling of the many ways to tie your shoulder straps. 

A pinnacle of the mei tai is it’s versatility, as you can see here.  Many ways, to suit many needs.  This may seem overwhelming, but if your child is happy on your back, you do not need to take him/her down to try new carries.  Just undo the straps and re-tie them in a new way!  Stay tuned for more fun ways to play with your ObiMama Mei Tai!  Follow the ObiMama YouTube channel for future tutorial updates!

Until then Mama’s (and Papa’s), stay gorgeous in your ObiMama and snuggle those babies fiercely.

Special thanks to Marley @prairie.rebel  for the photography!



ObiMama: A Story of Our First Date

So I've been a wrapper for the entirety of my son's life. I've lurked on the buy/sell/trade pages, casually asking people to take pictures of themselves wrapped in fabric and complimenting their chest passes... That looks a lot weirder when written down...

Through my travels from group to group, I stumbled across a hybrid creature- part wrap, part hug. I purchased my first ObiMama after searching for the perfect one made from the perfect wrap. It traveled across the United States from a friend I made through the babywearing world. I stalked and tracked like a crazed woman. It arrived in an abnormally large box, but considering it came from a friend, I figured she probably smuggled some goodies as she usually does. After shredding the box, I find the surprise gift: a bag of southern biscuits. *Whispers* "yassssss." She knows me well!

Now, onto the gold. I pulled out the goods and was immediately in awe of the craftsmanship. It's flawless. Every seam. Every pleat. Every line. I'm convinced Jen is not human. Anywho, moving on! The waistband and neck rest are wonderfully padded for comfort. The wrap used for the conversion, Kokoro Mon Cheri Disco, is swarming with chubby little kawaii cherries. My favorite part? The Kombi straps: Padded to perfection. Accordion style fabric tucked behind. Reminds me of little bat wings to hug your shoulders. I strapped it around my waist and captured my little snowflake. He gave me a slight side eye because... This is different... Holy comfort!

He reached up giggling and stroked my face. He approves of mommy's new contraption. Nestling his head under my chin, I feel him start to breath heavier while twiddling my necklace between his tiny fingers.

This moment is everything.
This moment is brought to you by: ObiMama
- Jessica @jesskawaii

D.A. and You

Dumbledore's Army. What started as a underground rebellious club for kids turned into an unstoppable force that returned balance to the battle between good and evil. Be a part of that force. Every handmade mei tai baby carrier shown here is one of a kind and will be for sale in our online store on at random times Friday, February 20, 2015.

Each mei tai has super-wide linen wrapping straps with kombi-folded shoulder padding, a padded and quilted waistband, knee pads, and an adjustable sleep hood. The body is made entirely from Irish linen. The sleep hoods are tailored to resemble official Hogwarts school uniforms with duo-toned robe lapels, white collared shirt with felt buttons, and striped 100% silk house neck tie.

Harry Potter | Inspired Mei Tai SS2 $350

The boy who lived. A short stage 2 is a versatile toddler-sized body. Comes complete with school crest on the lapel.

Hermione Granger | Inspired Mei Tai SS2 $350

Not only was Hermione pretty much the best character in the entire series, she also had style! A short stage 2 is a versatile toddler-sized body. Comes complete with school crest on the lapel and a frog-closure button.

Ron Weasley | Inspired Mei Tai SS1 $350

That Ron, he's a keeper. A short stage 1 is perfect for babies 3-month-old and up.  Comes complete with school crest on the lapel, and plenty of gingery comic relief.

Luna Lovegood | Inspired Mei Tai SS2 $350

She was distinctly dotty, but also smart, loyal, essential, and surprising! A short stage 2 is a long-lasting and versatile body size. No mythical creatures here, this is the real deal.

Neville Longbottom | Inspired Mei Tai SS2 $350

There was more to Neville than we suspected at first, and in the end we wouldn't have gotten far without him. A short stage 2 is versatile, durable, and always grows into something quite handsome.

Griffindor Inspired | ObiMini $50

If you don't teach them, then where are they going to learn it? Raise your children the right way: by giving them attachment parenting toys with over-the-top handmade geekery motifs. Yes, that is a real silk house tie. No, I will not get out.

Dr. Who #4 and #11 Handmade Mei Tais

Regeneration

The Doctor. Who? THE Doctor. If you are a fan, a real fan, a true fan, then these carriers need no introduction. For all the rest of you humans, just enjoy the eye candy.

Everything you see here will be fore sale in our store on Friday, 2/6/2015. If you are able to use the TARDIS at any point, don't worry about stalking the stocking. Normal people will need to be a bit more on point.

Number Four, arguably the best Doctor ever (and please, let's do have this argument), memorialized in baby carrier form. Because Dr. Who.
His signature scarf (the best souvenir ever, created here entirely in wrap scraps), CHECK. Jaunty cravat? CHECK. The rest is all done in natural, un-dyed linen.

On the reverse: Number Eleven. Notice the details, please. Real woolen bow tie. Real woolen tweeds. Braces. For heaven's sake, this baby carrier has braces (that's suspenders for you Yanks--believe me, I've made that mistake!). Oxford cloth shirting, with buttons done in soft felt.

Regeneration | SS2 $350

short stage 2, the toddler size. Medium linen wrapping straps with padded shoulders. Medium tie waist. Reversible Irish linen body. Knee pads. Adjustable hood with double character treatment. Hand wash only.

Regeneration | SS1 $350

short stage 1, the baby size. Medium linen wrapping straps with padded shoulders. Medium tie waist. Reversible Irish linen body. Knee pads. Adjustable hood with double character treatment. Hand wash only.

Dr. Who ObiMini | $45

If you don't teach them, then where are they going to learn it? Raise your children the right way: by giving them attachment parenting toys with over-the-top handmade geekery motifs.