On swollen fingers and a baby ring tradition

I’m at the 36 week mark, and I’ve been lucky to not have as much swelling with this third pregnancy as I have with my other two. I think, mostly, it’s because I’m so busy chasing little boys around that my blood is circulating constantly and fluid simply does not have the time to accumulate. There have a been a few days when my feet were painfully swollen, such as on a long car trip over Labor Day weekend. But, it has been a far cry from the pitting edema I experienced regularly, especially with my second pregnancy, and especially when I was sitting at my desk all day.

While my legs and feet (and face!) are not as swollen as before, if I get too warm, I have noticed my hands starting to swell and my rings feeling a little tight.

And while there is nothing comfortable or attractive about my newly puffy hands, I’ll be honest, I get a little excited…

You see, in addition to the engagement ring and wedding band I wear daily, I have a few other special rings that I don’t get to wear often. They are sized a little large, so pregnancy is the perfect time to pull them out and wear them in lieu of my wedding band and engagement ring.

Pregnancy rings | swollen fingers during pregnancy | Heirlooms | Cocktail rings | the Maypop

The first ring is a pear-shaped cocktail ring that belonged to my maternal grandmother, Madeline. We are so lucky to still have Grandma with us, and I often wonder why she parted with this gorgeous ring. Before I got married, I wore it almost every day on my left hand. Unfortunately, it does not fit a finger on my right hand perfectly, and it seems too gaudy to wear it on my left hand with my other rings, so I rarely wear it now. After I finish having children, I’ll definitely have this one permanently sized. But for now, I LOVE pulling out this gorgeous ring when my hands are a little swollen.

The other rings that I wear are from a diamond waterfall cocktail ring that belonged to my paternal grandmother, Grace. When the ring was passed to me, it was missing a few stones. So, I had the various-sized diamonds reset into two anniversary bands. I love wearing them together (and wouldn’t mind having a few more stackable rings to wear with them, but I digress). As with the cocktail ring, they are a little large for my right hand, so I also don’t wear them regularly. And again, once I’m finished having children, I plan to have them sized to wear more often.

Pregnancy rings | swollen fingers during pregnancy | Heirloom Opal Ring | Cocktail rings | the Maypop

Since this baby is due in October and will have an opal birthstone, I’ve been wearing one more special ring. My maternal grandfather made this fire opal ring, and it’s always been one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

Pregnancy rings | swollen fingers during pregnancy | Heirloom Opal Ring | Cocktail rings | the Maypop

In the meantime, and ever sentimental, I love pulling these special family heirloom rings out when I am pregnant. It’s comforting to know that they still fit when nothing else will, except maybe Eric’s t-shirts, one of which I wore embarrassingly in public yesterday.

How’s that for making lemons from lemonade?

Looking towards the future, and always thinking of my sweet boys, I also get excited about these rings, passed down from my grandparents, one day being on ring bearer pillows in their weddings.

I’m not sure if it’s a Southern tradition or a modern tradition or where it originated or anything else, but I’ve always heard that you use these “baby rings,” the rings you wore (real or faux real) when your hands were swollen during pregnancy to tie to the ring bearer’s pillow as a “stand in” during the wedding.

Nautilus shell ring bearer pillow | beach wedding inspiration | the Maypop

Nautilus shell ring bearer pillows via By the Seashore Decor

If you don’t have any family heirlooms, then I think pregnancy is the perfect time to invest in a ring to wear now and pass down later. Here are a few vintage rings with various birthstones that I found on Etsy. All would make beautiful, special, timeless heirlooms but are still statement-worthy for now.

Pregnancy Rings | Vintage Christian Dior Ring | the Maypop

For a September Baby – Vintage Christian Dior via Syrtis4

Pregnancy ring | vintage opal ring | the Maypop

For an October baby – a stunning mix of opals via Estate Deals

Pregnancy Ring | Vintage amethyst and jade ring | the Maypop

February – Amethyst and Jade via Crown Estate Jewelry

And if you’re not the sentimental sort, then buy the largest, best looking fake you can afford. Why not rock a crazy “diamond” for a little while?

Pregnancy ring | Nordstrom Ariella Cushion Cut Ring | the Maypop

Just $38 at Nordstrom!

Have you heard of this tradition? Were you able to wear your rings when you were pregnant, or did you get something else too?

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Heirlooms – Mom’s China

A few weeks ago, I had some rare time without my little boys. I ran several glorious, kid free errands. Truly, the amount of things I was able to do in just a few hours without kids was amazing.

In addition to running some practical errands, I also popped in a few shops on King Street just for fun. I brought a plate of my mother’s china with me, and I decided to see how I could mix it up. You know my penchant for heirlooms, for keeping them fresh and current in particular, and this is just another post in that series.

I had so much fun pairing mom’s classic Barclay 5103 china – brought back from Japan by her dad – with newer, contemporary dishes. Below are a couple of my favorite looks. I only had my iPhone with me that day, and I’m no photographer, so bear with me on the pictures.

Heirlooms: Mom's China meets Pottery Barn Zebra stripe and dark chargers | the Maypop


Stop one of two was at Pottery Barn. I started with these Black Inlay Chargers. I loved the masculine dark, inky contrast against the white, dainty floral plates. I layered my mom’s china on top of the charger, and I topped that with a Pottery Barn Zebra Plate.

I personally think that animal prints are classic patterns, but there is something about them that also always seems to feel very contemporary at the same time. Don’t you agree?

Heirlooms: Mom's China meets Pottery Barn Zebra stripe and dark chargers | the Maypop

After Pottery Barn, I still had some time before I had to pick up the boys. So, I walked a little farther down the street to C. Wonder.

I’m going to apologize again for the pictures. The store lighting was great, but it created severe shadows and glares. You’ll have to trust me that this combination was even better in person.

Here I mixed my mom’s china with a fabulous chevron-patterned plate in orange and deep pink melon shades.

Heirlooms: Mom's china paired with C Wonder plates | the Maypop

In person, the orange in the plates really brought out the orange details in my mom’s china – in the center of the flowers and around the band.

The plates were on clearance and are no longer available online, but C. Wonder does have several other sale items still in stock that would freshen up a classic table setting like this Navy Ikat Dinnerware or these Zebra Stampede Napkins.

C Wonder Navy Ikat Dinnerware | featured on the MaypopC Wonder Zebra Stampede Napkins | featured on the Maypop

Side note, if I ever have to pick just one store to shop in, it would be C. Wonder. They have a perfect mix of things that feel classic yet fresh. The store is eclectic, yet still well-edited. It’s not so large that I feel overwhelmed or paralyzed by options. I can buy shoes, clothes, and dishes under the same roof. And, they monogram! (See this post for my favorite monogrammed tote bags).

I only wish I’d had more time to shop a few other stores. Anthropologie – I’m coming for you next. I’m dying to see the Old Havana Side Plate and Doma Flatware in person, and I think both would pair well with vintage china.





Tell me, how are you mixing old with new?

Heirlooms: Tips on arranging and hanging plates and platters

I love heirlooms. I love their stories, their histories, and their patina. Some of my heirlooms are valuable, but mostly, they are just sentimental. I think it is important that heirlooms are used and that they are part of everyday life; at a minimum they should be visibly on display. I think using or displaying them ensures their sentimentality; my hope is that my children will remember using my grandmother’s carnival glass butter dish and that it will be even more special because we used it too. They will have their own memories to pass along with the dish. Displaying and using heirlooms not only keeps them relevant, but it also helps them seem current and fresh too.

That’s right, heirlooms do not have to equal “stuffy antiques that sit on a shelf and collect dust”. 

To prove it to you, I’m starting a series on heirlooms. I’ll feature a few of my favorite sentimental things and will tell you how I use them, and I’d love to feature some of your special treasures too.

First in the series: a few heirloom plates and platters.

This past weekend, I checked an item off of my Home To Do List: I hung a small collection of plates and platters in my dining room.

Arranging and Hanging Plates | the Maypop

This was not the arrangement of assorted metal platters I originally had in mind, but most of my vintage and heirloom brass, silver, and bronze platters were circle-shaped. And, instead of the stunning effect below, I was ending up with something that more or less resembled a large snowman.

Arranging and hanging plates and platters | the Maypop


Luckily, I don’t suffer from a shortage of platters and plates. I am forever finding them at thrift stores and garage sales and in my grandmas’ cabinets. So, I grabbed these oyster plates and a piece of blue willow to round out my silver. Every room needs a little blue willow, right?

In the end, I’m so pleased with this little arrangement. A few plates handed down from my grandmother, two I recently picked up thrifting, and one that was a thoughtful bridesmaid gift. It is a mix of old and new, of sentimental and heirloom pieces, and that’s the curated effect I am after.

Hanging and arranging plates | the Maypop

Tips for Hanging and Arranging Plates and Platters

If you decide to tackle an arrangement like this in your own home, here are a few tips.

1. Test your arrangement on the floor. Lay everything out on the floor before you put a nail in the wall.

2. Pick a focal plate/point. The focal plate does not have to be dead center, but it should be close to the middle of the arrangement. In my arrangement, the large silver platter is the focal point. I hung this platter first, and its placement anchored the others.

3. Work up/down and left/right from your focal point. I’m a traditionalist, so I tend to use symmetry as my guide. The images that inspire me are also balanced. That said, I’ve seen some great abstract and more asymmetrical arrangements. Either way, you’ll want to work out from your focal point.

4. Mix it up! Sure, a great collection of white plates artfully hung on a wall will always be tres chic. That said, don’t be afraid to mix styles and patterns of plates, or to mix pictures and other art with the arrangement. If you’re uncertain, take a look at the images below.

Inspirational Images

Whether they’re working together or apart, James Farmer and Maggie Griffin are experts and arranging plates and platters. (We all grew up in the same, small Georgia town. Maybe this is a local, Hawkinsville-bred talent, one that I’ve hopefully learned too?)


via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via Maggie Griffin

via Maggie Griffin

via Maggie Griffin

via Maggie Griffin

via Maggie Griffin

via Maggie Griffin

Here are a few more that inspire me too.

via AD

via AD

via Traditional Home

via Traditional Home

via Harrington House

via Harrington House