Thursday, April 7, 2016

DIY African JUJU Hat Tutorial

I have been holding onto this project for quite sometime and finally got motivated enough to begin over the weekend. I don't know what I was waiting for because it was super easy (with the right supplies) and only took about an hour to finish. My kind of project!! Anyway, I had searched high and low for the perfect tutorial online, but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. The most helpful tutorial was from Hollie at Vintage Farm. Like Hollie's tutorial, most tutorials used poster board as the support material. I will go ahead and put this disclaimer in: this is a cheaper version of an authentic juju hat, but not a CHEAP project. The feathers are quite expensive (if you are frugal like me), so I did not want to glue to poster board that could fail over time. I found the perfect support piece at Target and happened to get it discounted because it was broken (that part didn't matter because I was going to cut it down to size anyway). 

Here are some of my inspiration juju hats I found online:

Source: Houzz

Source: White Cabana

Authentic juju hats run anywhere from $235-$400. This project cost less than $120. Like I said, not a cheap DIY, but a cheaper version of an authentic hat. 


  • Support piece (about 18" in diameter. Mine is from Target).
  • Feathers: I used Rooster Coque Tails from the Feather Place (7-10 inches, Type: CCNSD, color: beige, quantity: 2) for $99.40
  • Tools to cut your support piece. (I used a handheld grinder and snips)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors

This is my support piece I got from Target. It is 30" diameter. You can see the damaged section, but I cut that part off. The original price was $39.99, but I got it for $20 due to the damage.

I cut most all of the woven pieces with the snips, but found it had wire supports as well. Drew used the handheld grinder to cut those pieces for me. 

My diameter was about 18" after it was cut. This will create about a 30" finished juju hat. 

Before I got started, I laid out my feathers to make sure of the length and placement. I did not want to be short! 

Once you determine the best placement for your feathers, begin securing with hot glue. I glued my feathers to curve inwards. I felt this gave it the most authentic look. 

I measured and cut the section that was lacking. I did not want to overlap the feathers. 

Before gluing your next row, lay out feathers to get the correct spacing you desire. Again, you do not want to run out of feathers!

Once you determine the placement, glue your feathers as you did for the first row. *It is better to have left over sections of feathers. You can go back and add where needed.*

I cut small sections to fill the center. They didn't curve well as a connected strip. 

Filling the middle was the most difficult part to me. I trimmed the long feathers to make shorter, fuller feathers. Glue them around to fill any voids. 

There you have it! A finished faux African juju hat. There was already a hanging loop on the back of my support piece from Target. 

It is currently hanging above Ada Morgan's crib, but it will soon find a new home over our bed to make room for her wooden monogram. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Our infertility journey has ended!!

We are nearing the final touch ups so renovation updates will be posted soon. We have a bit more motivation now that we found out our family is growing by two feet in April 2016! Holy smokes, we were shocked. I had just posted a blog entry in May about our infertility struggle (here). Our journey is one that is definitely extra-ordinary. After years (YEARS!!) of trying, several tests, monthly bloodwork (which I pass out nearly every time I get poked), surgery in December of 2014, rounds of Clomid, failed IUIs...whew. Finally, when we had an overwhelming sense of peace after my blog entry in May, we decided to not further our infertility journey. By that, I mean, we would not proceed to in vitro fertilization (test tube babies). We had strong convictions about taking things from God's hands into our own. While I know that is extreme, and He gives doctors the knowledge to perform life's little miracle, we felt a personal conviction to decline in vitro at this time. We still took the vitamins and Clomid, but we were taking a break from the bloodwork and doctor's visits. While we had always prayed for a child, that had become our focus. This time, our prayer was different. It was a greatfulness and thankfulness for the togetherness that our God had created for Drew and I.

...Fast forward to August 26, 2015. I was sitting at work and felt a stinging sensation on my right side. I went to the bathroom to find a large red area with what appeared to be bite marks. I went to the walk-in clinic after work only because I feared it was a spider bite and it was rapidly getting darker in the center of the redness. As I was waiting in the exam room, I pulled open my Fertility Friend app (the app I still used to chart my cycles) because I knew the nurse would be asking me the all too familiar "when was your last cycle" question before administering any medications. As I sat there looking at my app, I noticed I was almost two weeks late. You have to understand, at this point in our infertility journey, two weeks late no longer stirs any sort of hopeful or excited emotion.  Anyway, the nurse asked the question and immediately asked if there was a chance I was pregnant when I told her I was late. I genuinely laughed and replied, "no ma'am, unfortunately not." The nurse practitioner did prescribe pregnancy-safe medications in the event I "could" be. Again, still no hope or excitement.

As I waited at the pharmacy for my medications, I decided to pick up yet another box of pregnancy tests. No biggy... I've only used about 1,000,000,000 tests in the 6 years we have been married. I was merely out of my stock. I got home and decided to go ahead and test. I am so used to using these HPT that I laid it down and went to the kitchen to take my prescription for the spider bite. I went back to check the test about 10 minutes later to find... two pink lines!!!!

I burst into hysterical laughter and uncontrollable sobbing. I am pretty sure I displayed all of the symptoms of a looney person! I mean, who knew pregnancy tests actually displayed two lines?! I immediately ran and got the other test (bottom pictured) and used it. TMI, but I literally had no "tinkle" left. I only got a few drops and thought, "oh well, maybe I can reuse it tomorrow." I ran to the kitchen to get my phone to text Drew. Since it was Wednesday night he was at church (where I should've been but missed because of the earlier doctor's visit). Of course, he wouldn't answer!! My text simply said "What are you doing?" I told you...looney person. I knew what he was doing, but I just needed to talk to him!! I went back to the bathroom to find my second test with only a few drops was ALSO positive..... Insert mass hysteria again. 

At this point my hysterical laughter combined with racking sobs was overcome with only the racking sobs. I hit my knees in prayer and prayed the most fervent prayer I have ever spoken. I cried and spoke my prayer aloud talking to my Father as if He was standing right in front of me. I have never been so overwhelmed by a simple emotion in my life. I ended my prayer of thanksgiving by laughing and telling God "you have one sense of humor." I knew that a two positive tests were only the beginning, but the fact that it said pregnant instilled a hope and joy I have never felt.  

Drew had finally texted me back and replied that he was at church...duh. HAHA. I asked him when he would be home. Again, dumb question, but I was crazy. I ran to my closet and grabbed a onesie that I had purchased a while back that says "Worth the Wait." I threw it in a gift bag with the two tests and waited.... 

I couldn't sit still, so I ran outside. Just pacing, waiting on Drew to text back. I almost stepped on a snake walking around like a crazy person and determined it needed to die as it was in my way. I know, crazy person. So at this point I have cried, laughed, prayed, random texted...and killed a snake. I finally sat on the porch with my gift bag and cell phone, waiting on Drew. I texted him that I needed him to come home as soon as church is out. Of course, he thinks something is wrong and replies "why, is everything ok?" I laugh and think just wait!! :) He pulls into the yard, and I run to him and give him the gift bag through his truck window. He looked at me as if I were crazy because all of this urgent texting was for...a gift. He pulls out the onesie first but doesn't yet read it. He says "this is NOT going to fit me." He realizes what it is and immediately looks further into the bag to see the two tests. He says "this is not it?" I just smile and start to cry again. With joyful tears in his eyes, he wraps his arms around me and says "what now?" I told him we have to go see our It is almost 7:30pm, and I knew it was getting late, but I couldn't contain myself. He asked all of the normal questions, "are you sure," "is it too early to tell people," "can this be real?" 

Since Drew's mom's birthday was the day before, I asked her could we come bring her her birthday present. She said "yes" and never got suspicious. I re-wrapped the "gift" and we headed to the in-laws' house 4 miles away. We give his mom her gift and she thinks we got her Mary Kay eye cream. Um no Mom, don't put those under your eyes!! haha. She then realized it was HPTs, NOT eye cream. She cried and clapped which caused Drew's dad to come see the commotion. He said "Well, looks like we are getting another bambino." A good man of few words. :)

I ask his mom if I can kindly take back "her gift" because I need to go re-gift it to my parents. She gladly obliged, and couldn't wait to get started scrap-booking. 

I texted my mom and dad and said I needed to meet them in Dothan, which is about an hour from me and 30 minutes from them. They immediately think something is up, but I tell them that we got a new puppy, and I needed them to see it (they don't buy it but oh well). Anyway, we meet up and my mom screamed and laughed and cried (I guess I get my crazy emotions from her), and I was pretty sure that the hospital's security team (where we met up) would be dispatched thinking someone was getting mugged. 

(I failed at doing the weekly picture thing, but at least I got one for the beginning) haha

Anyway, we are now 27 weeks and get to see the 4D picture of our little girl, Ada Morgan, this coming Friday. Time has flown and not only are we in the process of our home renovation, but we also had to design/decorate a nursery. We have made great progress so those pictures will be up soon. Here is a great ending to this LOOONG entry: