People often ask me if I’ve had any cravings in pregnancy and, knowing they are referring to food cravings, my response has always been, “Actually…not really.”  Although this is true when it comes to food, what I don’t mention is that I have had many cravings, just not culinary ones.

I’ve tried to listen to these cravings, nonetheless.  Some are new and some are not surprising, but I trust them inherently and have tried to hold a sense of curiosity about where they will lead.

I have craved…

...water.  I hardly ever swim, but I went to the pool a couple times a week in my second trimester.  There was something about immersing myself in water that felt natural and soothing and I couldn’t ignore it.  Sometimes I wouldn’t even swim.  I would just float, look up at the sky, and appreciate the water encompassing me.  Staying in my family's cabin on our pond has been a major bonus.

…books.  I spend some time in the mornings and evenings reading, and usually some stolen moments throughout the day.  Although this isn’t so unusual, I have sped through more books than normal and can’t help but buying more!

…pottery.  I haven’t thrown pottery since high school and even then, I took only a couple of classes.  But for some reason, I’ve badly wanted to get my hands on some clay and mold it into a form.  I finally found a pottery class at a local high school and although the teacher isn’t very enthusiastic about helping a newbie and I’m the ultimate novice, my craving is being fulfilled.  The first class left me frustrated and I thought twice about going back, but this week I tried to let go of expectation and just focus on the feel of the clay, the spinning of the wheel, and how the form changes under the pressure of my hands.  Being present in it was somewhat hypnotizing and it was just what I wanted.

…breath.  I catch myself wanting to breathe deeply.  The best way I can explain it is I have wanted to drink in air, even to chug it!

…knitting.  I finally picked up knitting again for the first time in years and I carry my projects with me nearly everywhere I go, sneaking in a few stitches or rows in car rides, during coffee house chats with friends,  and while watching TV or listening to a podcast.


Call me crazy, but I find these cravings as strong as I’ve heard other women explain their food cravings during pregnancy.  I’m as ravenous about finishing a book as some women are about a peanut butter sandwich with pickles.  Instead of sending my husband out at midnight to pick me up something from Taco Bell, I stay up half the night just to complete part of a knitting project.

I’m not sure what will happen to these impulses once the baby comes, but I have appreciated the opportunity for the creativity and health they have brought into my life during this season.

My Creations This Week

I believe that creativity has very little to do with artistic ability and craftiness.  Creativity, pure and simple, is the expression of who we are, no matter how that is expressed.  We are all creating, all the time; we're usually just not conscious of it.  But the more conscious I've become of my own creative acts, the more of them I bring into my life.  And the more I bring creativity into my life, the more I express myself.  And in expressing myself, I find myself.  So creativity, to me, has become a strongly spiritual exercise.

Here are a few things I created this week:

1) This temporary home for my new air plants
...and why am I just finding out about air plants?

2) This baby hat, joining the booties and mittens I knit from leftover yarn after making myself a poncho.

3) A digital copy of this picture - because looking at my grandparents in a water gun fight will always bring a smile to my face. 

4) The decoration and script on these note cards

5) A swaddle for a fake baby in my newborn care class

6) Shadow puppets, made with a small playmate

7) Scribbles in my daily gratitude journal

I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.
— Helena Bonham Carter

Fashion Passion

For the first few years in Uganda, I would wait until my trips to the US to stock up on clothes, as I thought there were no options in Uganda to get quality, affordable clothing that suited my fashion.  I would buy a garment here and there from the market, but most of my wardrobe was brought back in suitcases from America.

This year, I've found a lot of pleasure in exploring the options in Uganda for buying and making clothes that I not only love, but allow me to exercise creativity while I stock my closet.  I've also come to be more conscious of my responsibility as a consumer within the clothing industry and I want to be sure my fashion reflects my values as well as my sense of expression.

Ideally, I'd love to check all these boxes while buying clothes in Uganda: expression of creativity, affordability, pieces I love, and responsibly-sourced garments.  Here are a few ways I've been able to do so:

1) Buy off the rack at a local designer's shop

I bought both of these shirts at OP Clothing's store at Prunes in Kololo, right off the rack.  Although most of the stock are clothes made of the very bold kitenge fabric, they also have some great basics.  These are both among my most comfortable and therefore most-worn shirts.

2) Choose your fabric, choose your design - use a tailor

I do my fair share of Pinterest browsing and, like so many other women, I have my style board that I wish mirrored my actual closet.  Earlier this year, I ran across Lemlem, an awesome brand that makes beautiful clothes with textiles from Ethiopia.  The only problem can't afford anything on their website.  But I went ahead and "pinned" a few things, then took the pictures and some fabric I found in Kampala to OP Clothing.  Check out the results:

Original Lemlem design

African kikoy scarf found downtown Kampala


Final product!


Original Lemlem "Didi Poncho Dress" priced at $300

My version, make from Afican kikoy material found at the farmers' market


Lemlem design

My version


Found on Pinterest

3) Let someone else do the work

Do yourself a favor and follow FashionCorps on Facebook.  They scour the second-hard markets in Kampala and pick out all the goodies, then re-sell them and donate part of the profits to great charities.  Did you catch that?  This means you get to source your clothes ethically, support worthy charities, and find some great pieces.  I attended their sale last Saturday and snatched up some goodies for my belly to grow into over the next several months. (I had to rush and write this blog post or else I soon wouldn't be able to fit into some of these featured clothes.  I really had to suck it in for some of the pictures!)

4) Dive into the markets

Yes, Owino market might be a pain to get to and you will get grabbed and yelled at and you will have to bargain and search through lots of crappy options, BUT you really can find some gems in Kampala's markets!  And CHEAP gems at that.  I don't hesitate to buy a fixer-upper and take it to a tailor to alter or patch up for me (Or, in one case, buy a curtain and turn it into a kimono - see below!)  Sometimes you just have to see the potential that others could never see!  My suggestion: avoid Owino and head to Nakawa market.  I always seem to find something good there and it is much less hectic.  Here are a few of my finds, each for 2,000 shillings (less than $1):


This was originally a floor-length mumu/robe found in a pile at the market.  I had the sleeves cut off, and had it hemmed into a shirt and taken in at the sides.

Phase 1: Curtain from Owino market

Phase 1: Curtain from Owino market

Phase 2: Kimono

Here's an outfit bought completely in Uganda - the leather shoes were bought for $4 on the side of the road, the jeans from Nakawa market, and the shirt from Fashioncorps.

How much do you want to go clothes hunting now?


DIY wire photo display

There may be no major craft stores in Uganda and there are very few stores with reasonably-priced home wares, but that doesn't mean that you can't decorate your home nicely. 

I was brainstorming ideas on how I could display several of my photos in our home, when Eric came up with the idea of making a wire mesh photo display

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