Thursday, March 13, 2008

More on cloth diapers

Someone asked what kind of diapers I liked best. That's hard for me to answer because I've tried so many kinds and loved quite a few of them. Right now what I like best is a 14x14" square of sherpa serged to a square of flannel, with or without something in the middle (old towels make great diaper inners, because they're still nice and absorbent, even if they are old and sad looking).

I fold that in thirds and lay it in the diaper cover (I still love those Chloe Toes diapers I've made - I'm not using the pocket, though) and then snap the cover on. No pins, no pain. My wipes are squares of flannel cut from the leftovers from the diapers with the edges serged. I finally looked at the serger manual and the latest batch of wipes has really nice edges with a very balanced overlock seam. Not all my wipes have such a pretty edge, but they work for their intended purpose. I keep them in an old disposable wipies box with no lid, then wet them with plain water when I'm ready to use them. Easy peasy, and no chemicals or soap to worry about. Plain water and a nice flannel clean a little bottom just fine.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cloth diapering the modern way

So many people ask me about cloth diapering, like it was something just recently invented. Trust me, I'm not the early adopter of new technology - that would be my hubby, who is still trying to talk me into using text messaging and a laptop!

Anyway, I just wanted to share the mechanics of what works for us and hope that you may either gain some insight into WHY we do this or see that it may be something that can work for your family as well.

First off, I will welcome you to the "cloth diapering place of happiness and peace", also known to our household as the "laundry room" or also as the "blue bathroom". (What you can't see any blue? Well, there used to be blue walls, which I am still in the process of covering over with white paint. It's taken 3 layers of Kilz and two of the white so far, and I still see that bright country blue color. Fortunately it comes across as pretty nice via these internet pictures!)

Come on in (and notice my hubby's amazing carpentry skills as you enter and pass the cabinets on the right that he built from formerly unusable empty space!)
Ok, here's the big deal - I put the changing pad on top of my dryer. I don't like those little changing pad sheets, so I just use a clean blanket. Right now it's got a sweet little 4 patch quilt made for Maggie by our neighbor where we used to live. They were amazing. The mom encouraged me to look at homebirthing and was a homeschooler too, and had 6 children. Her daughter made this when she was 13. Thanks again, Olivia! Anyway, it's soft and pretty and makes me think happy thoughts, so here it is right now.

You can see that the washer and dryer don't sit side by side, which is weird to me, but our house is about 80 years old and I love it, so it'll do. At least it's not in our kitchen, which is where it used to be before we got here. I don't think that the dirty diapers and the kitchen would work out for me. Just saying. You may have figured a way around it! Anyway, our dirty clothes basket is right between them, which works and is convenient for baths. You can see the bathtub to the right of the washer, which has it's own special purpose. Ideally, there is a basket in the bathtub (just a regular mini laundry basket) that I toss the dirty/wet diapers into. No swishing in the toilet, no diaper pail, just pop them in the basket. Really, I wash them at least every other day, usually every day, so there isn't any odor build up. And if they make it to the basket whoever needs to use the bath or shower can just move the basket instead of a pile of diapers. I said there was ideally a basket in there, right?

Let me say I wasn't too keen on the cabinets above the dryer when we moved here. I don't use that many cleaning supplies, and they didn't seem to be in the right place for the bath linens. But now those cabinets have found their special purpose above the changing pad/dryer. They hold all my cloth diapers. Actually, since I'm pretty short, I have the current diapers on the bottom shelf, and the next batch to grow into are on the top shelf. Actually, there are even more cloth diapers in that pretty set of cabinets I showed you earlier, ones the baby just recently grew out of and yet another size after we grow into the top shelf ones. So on the bottom shelf, from left to right, there are the diapers, a box of flannel squares for wipes, a bin of pocket diaper covers, and then a pile of wool covers.

See, the big bonus about those cabinets, and diapering in the laundry room, is that the dirty diapers don't have to travel about the house for changing and cleaning and putting away. They come off, shortly go into the laundry, and then I can put them away as soon as they are dry up into the cabinet above the dryer. Oh, and another big bonus, for wipes I used flannel squares that I serged the edges of, then I just use plain warm water on them for wiping. The sink is about 3 feet behind me when I am standing at the washer, so I can keep a hand on the baby and get a wipe wet in the sink. I can't show you the sink because I piled all the extra laundry clutter on it so I could take these pictures for you! But it's very nice!

And since I'm not a big chemical cleaner user I keep all the chemicals I usually use for cleaning in the cabinet next to it, laundry soap, fabric softener for regular laundry, not diapers, bleach, borax, and baking soda. I keep vinegar for cleaning in the kitchen because the giganto bottle I get at Sam's is too tall for this cabinet!

Anyway, there you go. And you know that my laundry room is always this tidy, right? And I never ever have to move a pile of laundry off the changing pad so that I can change a diaper, right? Yeah, well. Most days it works great! Now I need a roomba-type thing that puts up all the laundry! Like Rosie from the Jetsons! Wasn't the 21st century supposed to come with fancy robots like that?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mama's got a crafty girl!

My oldest dd, Maggie, who is 7, got a singer knitting machine toy and spool knitter for Christmas and has had a blast making tubes of yarn! Just about everyone we know has received a bookmark or necklace made from the i-cord that the spool knitter makes, and her very special friends (or favorite siblings) have received a muffler made from fuzzy pink or purple yarn. I shared some yarn that would fit (it only takes lightweight yarn, which is increasingly hard to find at Hobby Lobby here and non-existent at the local JoAnn's) and she surprised me Friday night with this incredible scarflet! She even sewed on butterfly jewels that mama had tucked into her sewing-kit-Christmas-present! Don't you know I was showing that scarf off? Of course I wore it for my big date while my in-laws babysat for us. Crafty mama's got a crafty girl!

Now I need to set up that extra sewing machine for her!! Watch out fabric stash - Maggie's going to sew you up!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pretty stuff

On the sidebar of my blog you can see a heading called "when inspiration strikes" and I have a list of some of my favorite places to get patterns and find inspiration for sewing and crafting. One of those places is I have a little pattern over there for sale and I am working on another one, but I'm also a pretty big fan of the other pattern authors. So this week I got another pattern from them, the wrap skirt for toddlers and made this:

The little birthday girl who received it just loved it and the big sisters want one, too. Good thing I got a bunch of this fabric for them. Hmmm - wondering if the boys would wear ties for Easter made out of it? Wait - there's a pattern for ties over there on YCMT too!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

How does your garden grow?

This year we are planning on putting in a garden. I've been gathering information long enough, and we just need to jump in and do it! You don't see many gardens in our city, and I think it's because the city water is so full of junk it kills the plants. At least, that's my excuse for the houseplants. But I've heard that from other people as well. And our dirt is just crummy. Nothing grows in our backyard except poison ivy, which is a yearly clean-out project so that the kids don't get too badly affected by it. So we're attempting to circumvent both those problems by 1) building raised beds and filling them with purchased good soil (I can't believe I'm going to spend money on DIRT!), and 2) collecting rainwater to use for watering the garden. I went to Lowe's today and did some research on the guttering that we'll need to divert the rainwater off our roof, and learned that by having some guttering up in the area we need to collect from it may even have the added benefit of keeping water out of our basement. Bonus! So, all (ALL?) we need to do now is purchase and build the beds - planning 2 4ft by 12ft areas, 12 inches deep, fill them with dirt, get that rainwater system started (ohh, and all the rain that fell today!), order seeds (got a fat juicy Burpee catalog in the mail today!) and plant them! Sounds easy enough, right?

Ideally this is going to give the kids something productive to do, as well as encourage a little more veggie eating around here and saving the budget (if we were buying tomatoes every week at the store [which we don't usually because the tomatoes are all nasty at the grocery stores here because they have to come from so far away] and paying 4.50 per pound [actual price last week] we could save [not spend] 45.00 per month)! We plan to have some tomatoes, basil, loofahs, mesclun greens, carrots, potatoes, onions, sunflowers and maybe some peppers, if we can squeeze them in. I can't quite convince the kids that we really don't have room to grow pumpkins and watermelons!

Monday, February 04, 2008

I won!

I didn't actually expect to win anything, although it was fun typing my email address nearly 300 times! No, I don't think I entered most of the giveaways, especially if it was something that I already make or know how to make. But I won 2 hours of time from Christina at The Virtual Cubicle and a pair of custom lampworked earrings from Amy at Formfire Glassworks. I think I'll ask Christina to help me organize and format a pattern I am working on for You Can Make This. I need a kick in the pants to get this done (it's been sitting on my documents folder for so long it doesn't even come up as a "recent" document anymore in Word). Anyway, the faster this gets done the faster I can have it sent to them and get it out in the world.

I can't wait to see what the earrings come out like! Amy has an etsy store, so you want to go and check out her work as well.

Yay! (or as my 2 year old says, "yay me!")

Friday, February 01, 2008

And the winner is.......

Post #18, which is knittinchick!

I'll post to your blog to let you know and ask for you to email me with your address!

Thanks again to everyone who entered!
This was fun and I hope you'll stop by next time on the bloggy giveaways!

Don't forget to stop by my etsy store to see more necklaces that match everything and other things for mama and children! I have free shipping for orders over $20 for the rest of the winter, and I love to trade as well!

In the meantime, pop over here now to see the master list of all the winners.

And thanks, again, for playing!

Bloggy Giveaways Contest Closed!

Thanks for all the comments! I'm closing the contest now so that I can get dinner done and feed my kids!

I'll post again and notify the winner who was arbitrarily picked by the Random Number Picker thingy.