Monday, December 30, 2013

Nursing Cover and Burp Pad

Breastfeeding your child in public in the beginning can be very intimidating especially with an inadequate nursing cover.  For my first daughter I purchased a nursing cover and I was just not happy with it so I set out to make my own.  What I love about the ones I have made is that they are wider so cover more easily and also that the stiff part along the top is longer so that it is easier to see my baby.
My sister in law is due with her third boy (!) in about a month and I really wanted to make her something she could use.  I had previously found a yard of University of North Carolina material that I wanted to use for her since she has not only a Bachelors degree but also a Masters and Doctorate from UNC.  I can't believe that she has made it through 2 kids without a nursing cover, so hopefully she finds this one very useful.

Materials Needed:
Cotton Fabric of choice - If you would like just the nursing cover then you need 3/4 yard of 44 inch wide cotton fabric (make sure it isn't see through).  I like to buy a yard of the fabric and then I have enough to make a corresponding burp cloth so that you can coordinate while nursing in public ;).
Set of D- Rings
1/2 yard of boning

To make the Nursing Cover cut your fabric at the 3/4 yard mark if it isn't already cut to this length.  Along the length of the fabric cut off two - 4 inch strips.  If you fabric is 44 inches wide this will leave you with the body of the cover that measures 36x27 and two 4 inch wide strips.

Start with the strips that will be come your straps.  One of the strips you will leave 27 inches long and the other strip you can cut off a 6 inch long piece (so your piece will be 6x4). Fold both pieces lengthwise, right sides together and pin in place.  For the longer (27 inch) piece you will sew along one short side, and then down the length of the strap.  Leave the bottom end open and turn it right side out (this is a tedious process). For the shorter strap you only need to sew along the long side and can leave both ends open, turn right side out.  Once you have both right side out, I like to sew along both sides, this gives it a little bit more body and is a nice decorative feature.  Place to the side for later.

The body of your nursing cover will be 36 inches wide by 27 inches long.  I have a serger, so I like to just serge the edges and then fold over once to create a half inch seam.  If you do not have a serger, you can easily just turn your raw edges under twice creating a half inch seam.  Once you have all edges pinned (you can press them at this point if you want to) determine which end is the top of the cover so that you can place your straps and boning.  
You will want to insert your boning under the seam so that it is centered in the cover, and so that it curves up towards you, pin underneath the boning to keep it in place.  You will then insert the raw edge of the long strap to the left of the boning (with the wrong side of the fabric up) and pin it in place.  

Take your two D rings and thread the short strap piece through the rings, matching up the two raw edges.  Place both raw edges underneath the pinned seam to the right of the boning.  
At this point I like to go ahead and sew my seam all the way around the cover making sure to capture both straps.  Once you have sewn all the way around, turn both straps up so that they stick out of the top of the cover.  You don't want to pull so that the edge of the seam pulls up, just turn it up and pin in place.  Once you have it pinned, sew a square around the pin to keep the strap turned up and in place. You may also want to sew along the top of the boning with a zipper foot so that you casing for the boning is night and tight, this will depend on how wide your boning is but you just don't want it to flip around on you.

 Finally to secure the D-rings in place, use your zipper foot and add a seam right under the D-rings, this will keep them from slipping around and the straps coming undone.

 Your nursing cover is now ready to be used in public!!!  I like to use the scrap from my yard of material to make a burp pad.  I use the cotton on one side and I really like to use terry cloth on the other side as it is very absorbent.  I also make my slightly 8 shaped so that it curves in by your neck, but you can make it however works best for you.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix in Santa Jars

Today I am blogging over at Tampa Bay Moms Blog and sharing my homemade hot chocolate mix as well as a fun Santa jar to put it in.  If you need a last minute gift, this is delicious and is quick and easy (no sewing required)!!!

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Review and Giveaway: GlowBug Cloth Diapers

I am very excited to finally post my review and giveaway for GlowBug Cloth Diapers.  I received a diaper from GlowBug Cloth Diapers for my trial and review and I have spent the past month putting it to the test. 
When I first started cloth diapering I did a trial of all of the different diapers I bought and I conducted this trial in a very similar fashion.  The only differences are that this time I used the diaper on both girls (Claire is about 23 pounds and 2 years old and Hadley is 8 months and about 18 pounds).  I also really pushed the diaper to see how long it could really be worn before it leaked.  This means that the overall leak count was higher than before but that's because I had my daughters wear it until it leaked.

Number times of uses: 12
Number of leaks: 5
Longest wear without a leak (one insert): 3 hours, 15 minutes
Big Booty factor – One Insert: 3.5
Big Booty factor – Two Inserts: 5
Best Use: Exclusively breastfed babies, Travel, Naps and Night time
Favorite Features: 360 degree gussets, inserts that snap into the diaper and to each other, openings at the front and back of pocket

Inexpensive (A pack of 12 diapers and 18 inserts is $150)
360 degree gussets work great
Snap in inserts and double openings make changing a breeze
Can only be bought in packs of 12, no individual diapers
Two inserts are very bulky

When I was looking at GlowBug Cloth Diapers I was really excited to try one, the 360 degree gussets had me very intrigued as I have never seen this feature before.  Upon receiving the diaper I was also pleasantly surprised that the microfiber inserts snap not only into the diaper but also to each other so that you can snap in multiple inserts.  I immediately prepped the diaper but realized that when I was playing with the rise snaps that I had inadvertently pulled one of the snaps through the fabric.  Although I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to put it on my baby immediately I did recognize this as a great opportunity to comment on GlowBug's customer service.  I contacted Customer Service immediately and in no time they had provided me instructions on returning the diaper (they reimburse for shipping) and getting it fixed.  Within a weeks time the diaper was back in my possession and on my oldest daughter, so overall I was very impressed with their Customer Service.

Claire - One Insert
Hadley - One Insert

I don't like my diaper to be bulky, so I started with just one insert and would change my girls around the 2-2.5 hour mark, never with any leaks.  Then I started really putting the diaper to the test and would leave it on them until I noticed a leak.  With this approach the average time until a leak was approximately 3 hours.  On the last day of my trial I put my older daughter in the diaper with both inserts and let her go.  She actually went 6 hours without a leak and I only had to change her because she pooped in the diaper, pretty impressive!!!

Claire - Two Inserts

Hadley - Two Inserts
Other than the lack of leaks, I really enjoyed the other features of the diaper as well.  I love the 360 degree gussets.  I "got lucky" that my younger daughter got a cold, and so for about 5 days I didn't feed her any solids but only breastfed her.  Since I essentially had a exclusively breastfed baby again, I really got to appreciate the 360 degree gussets and never had a leak (and I had some serious dirty diapers!).  I also really like that there are openings in the front and back of the diaper.  Not nearly enough pocket diapers have this feature, but I love that I can just unsnap the insert and throw it in the wash.  I don't have to worry about pulling out the insert as it will just agitate out in the wash. 
After a month of trials, the only potential downside for me would be that they can not be bought individually and that you don't get to pick your colors.  I really like to sample all sorts of diapers and a huge reason I cloth diaper is the cuteness factor so this would be a big concession for me.  Thankfully all of the diapers I have seen that they make are really cute and I appreciate that they use coordinating snaps (some diaper companies just throw white snaps on everything) so I would probably take a chance and order a dozen or split a pack with a friend.

Overall this is a very solid diaper.  It has a lot of unique features that make it feel very well thought out, and it seems to be really well made. 

Win a GlowBug Cloth Diaper ($12.50 value) of your own!!  Give away is open to US and Canadian Residents and the winner will have a choice of boy, girl or a gender neutral color.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: GlowBug Cloth Diapers provided a diaper for me to try free of charge.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own. 
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Elf on the Shelf Accessories

My daughter is 2 years old now, so I figured that she is now old enough that we can have a little fun with the Elf on the Shelf.  She still doesn't completely understand how it works but she has fun finding the elf each morning and showing other people and I had fun dressing our elf up.

To start with, I followed the instructions laid out at Dirty Diaper Laundry to make you elf bendable and grippy.  The instructions are very easy to follow and it maybe took me 30 minutes total to do.

Next because I have a girl elf, and I didn't want to buy a skirt, I decided to make her a skirt.  I made her a circle skirt similar to how I did it for my girls for Halloween.  I cut a piece of white felt 9 inches square so that when it was folded down it was 4.5 inches square.  The cut for the waist I did 1 inch from the center point and then rounded the bottom of the square to get my doughnut.   Measure your elf's waist to determine how long of a piece of elastic you need for the waist and then stretch the elastic to fit the skirt opening and sew it on.  I decorated my skirt with red snowflakes, but you can decorate however you want (super glue is your friend). 

I used braided yarn for the scarf, a friend braided it for another purpose last year and I thought it was perfect for my elf this year.  Lastly I attached a piece of Velcro on the white band of her hat so that I could make changeable bows and head pieces.  Next I will be working on accessories for a boy elf, stay tuned!

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

School of Cloth: Cloth Diapering Two Children

This week (the final week) bloggers that are participating in the School of Cloth are writing about using cloth diapers in special circumstances.  I love this topic because there are so many different things that people can write about and I can't wait to read what others have to say (see links at the bottom of this post where you can check out the other entries as well).  I have two daughters that are just over 17 months apart and both still in diapers (oldest is 2 years, 2 months and baby is 8 months) so today I will be writing about cloth diapering two children. 

In the Beginning...
I started cloth diapering my oldest daughter when she was 17 month, just 2 weeks before my second daughter was born.  At the time I only had enough diapers to get me through a few days and would have to wash and dry immediately for use the next day (check out my week #2 post about how to build your stash).  So when my second was born I did not have enough diapers to cover both kids and because I was so new to cloth diapering I also didn't know anything about newborn diapers so the baby used disposables for about the first month. Over time I was able to build up enough diapers through sales, buying used and making some of my own to be able to cloth diaper both girls now and only have to wash every 3-4 days (although I wash every 2 days because there are so many diapers). 

But my Children are Different Sizes!
Thankfully I am at the point where my girls use diapers on the same size setting (my 2 year old is tiny for her age and my baby is average, so they almost weight the same amount!), so I can use their diapers interchangeably.  In the beginning though, the baby was on the smallest rise and my old daughter was on the middle rise for most diapers (or just wore sized diapers in Medium).  To keep from having to adjust all of my diapers each time one child wears them or each time I do laundry, I assigned each child specific brands.  My older daughter wears: Peachy Green, Swaddlebees, Bottombumpers, Alvas, Kawaii, and Sunbaby diapers.  The new baby was assigned: Charlie Banana, FuzziBunz and Softbums.  I split up the pocket diapers between the girls and designated those the nanny/other sitter diapers (because you know I can't let someone else use my favorites!) and then also divided the AIO/AI2s between them for me to use when I am home.  Another way to divide your diapers would be by color or I have also seen people write their child's initials in certain diapers so that they can tell which ones are set for the younger and older child (although this might hurt the resale value).

Everyday Challenges
One of the biggest challenges for me was remembering when each child got a new diaper.  Because it is recommended that you change cloth diapers every 2 hours, it can get really confusing when you have two kids to keep track of.  To combat this problem, I generally just change them both at the same time so I only have one time to remember.  We all start the day around the same time so they both get a new diaper when they get up, and then I just continue to change them every 2 hours one after the other.  The only kink in my plan is when one needs a new diaper before the 2 hours mark (soiled or leaking) when that happens then I still just go ahead and change both girls and start the clock again.

The second biggest challenge is the extra laundry.  When I was new to cloth diapering and I had enough diapers that I would only wash every 3 days.  After a few months I noticed that they didn't seem to be getting as clean and would require an extra wash cycle.  After some research I decided to wash every 2 days (or about 20 diapers) although I will let one load of diapers sit in the basked or on the drying rack until the next load is done and then fold them all at once.

After almost 7 months now of cloth diapering two children I think I finally have the hang of it :).  Having 2 in diapers isn't as bad as I thought it would be and for me its really just an excuse to buy more diapers!!
What are some of the special circumstances you have faced while cloth diapering?

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Hand Print Crafts and Decorations

Today I am blogging over at Tampa Bay Moms Blog with some ideas on how to turn your little one's hand print into cute decorations for Thanksgiving.  Check it out!

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

How to Make a Cloth Diaper Cake

My little sister is pregnant with her first baby and I couldn't be more excited.  Almost as exciting as having a new niece/nephew is that she has decided that they want to use cloth diapers, yeah!!  This of course is a perfect opportunity for me to buy more diapers and not incur the wrath of my husband.  Once I had all of these cloth diapers, of course the perfect presentation was a diaper cake.  Traditionally you only see diaper cakes using disposable diapers or prefold but because I got her a variety of diapers, this really made for a very colorful "cake".

The Contents:

Here is a picture of all of the diapers included in the "cake" with the exception of the snappis.
This includes:
   8 TXH Newborn AIOs
   6 Prefitteds
   1 Bummis Cover
   2 Snappis
   4 Charlie Bananas
   4 Sunbaby Diapers
   2 SoftBums Echo shells with 2 one size bamboo pods
   2 AI2 shells made by me with 6 snap in inserts
   24 Cloth wipes
   2 small Alva wetbags
   1 Alva pail liner
   1 CJs BUTTer in Monkey Farts
   100 Alva biodegradable liners

The Cake Tiers:

For the bottom tier I included the inserts and liners as the center and then placed all of the newborn diapers and the wetbags around the outside so that it would be fun and colorful.  I just rolled everything up and secured with rubber bands.

For the Second Tier I included the prefitteds in the center and then placed the shells of the Sunbaby and Charlie Banana diapers around the outside (on their side so they didn't stand up too high).

The top tier has the cloth wipes I made rolled up in the center and the SoftBums, AI2s I made and the Bummis cover on the outside.

I did not secure each of the layers to each other, I just placed one on top of the other.  Once I had it all together I tied Orange and Blue ribbon (go Gators!) around all of the layers to bring it all together.  Overall I was really happy with how it turned out and I think she will be really happy with the diapers!
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

School of Cloth Week #2 - Investing in Cloth Diapers

This week the school of cloth is focusing on the financial investment for cloth diapers.  While saving money is not one of my main reasons for cloth diapering, I will say that the thought of spending $400 all at once did deter me from switching from disposable to cloth diapers for a while. 

Transitioning to Cloth Diapers
If you are still pregnant:
If you are still pregnant then this will be even easier for you than those switching from disposables.  I think the best way to build a "stash" while pregnant is to start buying 1-2 diapers (or saving the money for them) a month.  If you have 8-9 months to space out your buying then you can also make sure to take advantage of good deals or sign up for give aways.  Most online cloth diaper retailers have a newsletter that providers subscribers with discount codes and deals.  Additionally, there are tons of give aways all the time for cloth diapers (Padded Tush Stats and Change-Diapers both have a good roundup of all the current give aways).  Even better than buying them yourself is asking friends and family to buy you 1 (or more!) cloth diapers as a baby gift (some site even have registries), cloth diapers are truly the gift that keeps on giving!

If you are currently using disposables:
Because I didn't switch my first daughter until she was about 17 months old, I fell into this category.  Its definitely harder to spend money on both cloth diapers as well as disposable diapers while you build up your stash.  I did a lot of calculating before deciding to switch and the break even point (the point where your initial investment in cloth equals what you would have spent in disposables, I went simple and didn't adjust for inflation, interest, etc.) is at about 13 months assuming you spent about $400 on your cloth.  I think if you are making a transition like this and don't have a large budget then you have a few options to make it work: slowly integrate cloth into your life based on the RDA's suggestions, use cheaper options such as flats/covers or less expensive diapers or buy used diapers

What if You Can't Afford Diapers?
There are multiple amazing diaper lending not for profits (that will be covered next week on the School of Cloth) that you can contact and that will work with you and help if possible.  Additionally, I am really impressed by the free downloads offered over at Dirty Diaper Laundry about cloth diapering on the cheap using t-shirts and home made no-sew fleece covers.

How Much Money Can You Expect to Save?
My husband has probably read this prompt and wants to laugh.  While in the long run we will actually save money cloth diapering, I do have quite a spending habit and diaper collection (thankfully my wonderful husband gives me a monthly diaper "allowance").  How much you will save depends on how much you spend on your diapers and how much use you get out of them.  Although a lot of sites say that it will cost you about $2,500 to use disposable diapers for one child, I think that is not a realistic number.  Most people that I know that use disposable diapers will use a mainstream brand and on average probably spend about $40 a month on diapers.  I have also read that the average girl potty trains at 30 months and the average boy at 36 months.  Based on my calculations the cost to wash your diapers each year is approximately $100 in extra water, electric and detergent.  Therefore if you are just diapering one child, who potty trains at 30 months ($1,200 in disposables or $250 in water/electric/detergent) and you spend $400 on your cloth diapers you can expect to save about $550 on that child.  This number of course goes up based on the number of kids who use your diapers and also if you are able to sell your diapers after you are done.
My husband wants a lot of kids and I want a lot of diapers, so somewhere along the line we will hit our own break even point!

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Choose Your Charity Event

Thinking about cloth Diapers is doing a give away for a good cause with the Choose Your Charity Event.  You can enter to win not only for yourself but for your selected charity.  I don't normally share give aways, but this one is so generous I wanted to spread the word!

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

School of Cloth Week #1 - Getting Started with Cloth Diapers

I am excited for the first post for the School of Cloth blog hop hosted by the Read Diaper Association and The Eco Chic!  This week we are talking about getting started with cloth diapers, specifically selecting what diapers you want in your stash and washing your diapers.

Choose Which Cloth Diapers to Buy

When I started cloth diapering I wanted to try one of everything I could get my hands on.  I asked friends what they liked, researched online and just made some random selections.  Within the first few months that I used cloth diapers I had tried out 13 different diapers.  After trying out mostly pockets, all in ones, and all in twos, I also tried out prefolds, covers and even made some fitteds for my new baby.  After all  of my personal trials and research I have decided that I really like to have a variety but for ease I definitely prefer all in one diapers (if you want it narrowed down a bit, check out my suggestions for if you have a $200, $400 and $600 budget.)

Washing Cloth Diapers

After choosing what diapers to buy, washing diapers is probably one of the most searched, asked and questioned part of cloth diapers.  Behind waste disposal, the wash routine is probably one of the most frightening and overwhelming part of starting to cloth diaper.  I did a lot of research before starting and was overwhelmed by the amount of information and misinformation presented.

I have been cloth diapering my girls now for 8 months and I think that has been long enough to trouble shoot any washing problems that have come up.  Back in July I posted my washing routine and since then I would say that for the most part the core components have remained the same. 

Some of the things that I have learned since then include:

1.  I have two girls in cloth and plenty of diapers so I was washing every three days.  I noticed that my diapers were not getting as clean and I think the biggest problem was that I was washing too many diapers at once.  I switched to washing every other day (making it so that I am washing about 18 diapers a load) and noticed a significant improvement.  I will admit though that I don't always fold them after each wash, but sometimes combine two washes when I fold my diapers.
2. For my first two cycles (the one to wet them and the warm rinse cycle) I now turn off the spin for both cycles to be able to maximize the weight and trick my machine into using more water for the wash.

I think my biggest lesson though is that if you follow the general structure of the guidelines and basic principles of washing diapers and are able to be flexible and experiment with what works with your machine, water and detergent, then you can develop a successful wash routine.

Buying and washing diapers can be overwhelming in the beginning, but once you get started it is very easy, I actually look forward to doing my diaper laundry  now and seeing the rainbow of fun diapers we have :).

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Poodle Skirts

This year for Halloween I decided that the girls would be 50s sock hop girls with poodle skirts.  We have had a very busy month and I knew that these would be easy and cute. 

I just put each girl in a onesie and cardigan and then tied a piece of pink gingham fabric around their head for a headband.  A lot of pictures show a scarf around the neck also but I was too paranoid to tie anything around a 7 month old and 2 year old's neck. 

The poodle skirts were really easy, I knew that it is just a simple circle skirt made out of felt but I used the tutorials by obSEUSSed and Dana Made It to help with the measurements.  First I measured each girls waist as well as the length that I wanted the skirt (generally a little below their knees).  To determine how much fabric I needed to cut I used the calculation at obSEUSSed and took the desired length times 2 and added 8 to that (so for my oldest I wanted it to be 12 inches long (12x2+8=32).  I cut a piece of felt 32x32 and then folded it in half twice so that the resulting square was 16x16 (make sure you know which corner is the inner most corner).

Once you have your square, use the calculations done for you at Dana Made It to determine how to cut out the center of your skirt.  The calculation is the waist measurement plus 2 divided by 6.28 (for my oldest her waist is 17 inches so (17+2)/6.28=3.03).  Measure from the center corner identified above and then cut in an arch for the waist hole (see red lines in picture below).  Once you have the center hole cut, just measure from the cut line the length you want the skirt to be (for me this was 12 inches) and cut along that line to make the outer circle (see blue lines in picture below), the final product should look like a donut.

Once you have your donut, its time to add the elastic.  I took each girls waist measurement and stretched 1.5 inch elastic along my measuring tape and cut at the measurement that matched their waist.  I didn't pull too much but made sure that it would be tight enough to keep the skirt up.  I sewed the elastic together into a loop and tacked down the ends.  I lined up the front, back and sides of the elastic with the front, back and sides of the skirt and then pinned it in those 4 places (note that the elastic will be smaller than the skirt opening).  To sew the elastic on I started at the back pin and using a zig zag stitch sewed a few stitches.  I then found the next pin in line (the side pin) and stretched the elastic until it laid flat along the material.  I continued to sew with the elastic stretched until I met the pin and repeated until I got all the way around.  Note that the elastic should be sew on top of the felt so that it lays nicely.  Once the elastic is on you are done with the sewing.  Because felt won't fray and because it is so heavy, I just made sure that the bottom of the skirt was cut nicely and did not sew the bottom.  I embellished with a poodle that I bought from my local material store as well as trim for the poodle's leash.  I just laid them out on the skirt and attached them with hot glue.

All in all I think I made both skirts within an hour and half or 2 hours, so not bad for a DIY Halloween costume, and they look pretty cute if I do say so myself :).

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Time for Mom Tuesday

I got a little excited and posted my entry last night but I do love participating the Time for Mom Tuesday blog hop.  Be sure to check out all of the mommy bloggers that link up!

Cant Google Everything

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Bows and Bloomers

This coming weekend we will travel with our 2 girls to North Carolina for my sister-in-law's wedding (stay tuned for the longer term travel with cloth post).  I spent the weekend making sure I had or made the girls accessories for the weekend.  I am considering putting the girls in disposable diapers for the actual wedding, as I am a bridesmaid and I won't have as much time to make sure they are changed frequently and I don't want to have any leak problems on their pretty dresses so I made them diaper covers.  I also wanted to make sure that they have cute hair bows for all of their outfits for the weekend (Rehearsal dinner and wedding).  Recently a friend and I ordered the flower grab bag from Shabby Rose Trim (you can find them on Etsy or where you get one of each flower they have in stock for a set price.  I love this shop and buy all of the flowers that I don't make myself from them.  I already had elastic on hand so we had a little crafting party and made a few clips and headbands.  I loved the grab bag and it was so much fun laying out all of the flowers and pairing them to make pretty hair pieces (I unfortunately didn't get a picture of when I had them organized by color and type, OCD much?)
To make the headbands, I measured my girls head and subtracted about an inch from the measurement and cut the elastic at that length.  You can then either use hot glue or sew the ends together, it doesn't have to look perfect because the flower will go over where the seam is.  I then selected flowers to go together and tried out different lay outs to see how they looked best.  Before gluing flowers together trim off any extra mesh backing to make the flower look cleaner.  Once they are clean and in the configuration that you want, use hot glue to secure them together.  Then glue your flower configuration to the headband and glue felt behind that (the elastic should be sandwiched between the flower and the felt).  That's all there is to it to make beautiful headbands!!!
Here are the headbands and clips that I made this weekend:

For the bloomers/diaper covers I used the pattern by Dana Made It and added ruffles to the butt (because who doesn't like a baby with ruffles on their butt).  The pattern is very easy to follow and fits pretty true to size, but it is a little bulky in the front for my little girls. 
Although for the wedding they will have actual dresses on, here are my girls in their adorable bloomers and headbands :).  I think these will be great accessories for the wedding.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Facebook page

I am excited to say that I have finally created a Facebook fan page for Naturally Crafty Mom.  I think that receiving updates via Facebook is frequently easier for people and I am hoping that you will "like" my page and follow along with me there.  As you know, I am not very technologically savvy, so stick with me while I work out the social media aspect of having a blog :). 

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

All About Cloth Wipes

Using cloth wipes is probably more debated in cloth diaper circles than most diapering situations, so I wanted to provide my thoughts on the topic.  As a previous disposable diaper and disposable wipe user, getting used to the "poop situation" was a hard enough transition with diapers that originally I just used disposable wipes.  For the first few weeks of using cloth I would end up picking dirty wipes out of a diaper so that I could dispose of them or see them come out of the dryer when doing my laundry.  At the time I was only using cloth on my 18 month old and was using disposable diapers/wipes on my newborn.  After my newborn got a horrible diaper rash that required a prescription (read: expensive) medication, my Pediatrician actually recommended that we switch to cloth wipes because she said that the chemicals in wipes are actually harder on baby's skin than the diapers.  So the health benefits paired with the convenience had me sold to at least try cloth wipes.

Making Wipes

Since I have a serger and some sewing knowledge I decided to make my own.  I did a lot of research on the best materials to use for cloth wipes and I decided that I would use flannel on one side and terry cloth on the other side.  The flannel is nice and soft, but the terry cloth is the real workhorse of the wipe when it comes to dirty diapers.  I cut my wipes to be approximately 8x7 (I honestly just cut them to maximize the piece of fabric, since it doesn't really matter, but I try to get close to 8x7), put them wrong sides together and then serge around them.  Easy. As. That!  I estimate that they cost me about $1 for 3 wipes and only take a few minutes to put together.

Storing wipes

The first question people have when using cloth wipes is how to store and wet them.  We already had wipes warmers for our disposable wipes, so I decided to just use them for the cloth wipes.  I was pleasantly surprised that the warmer works even better for the cloth wipes!!!  Disposable wipes cool very quickly and are practically cold by the time they hit baby's bottom but cloth wipes stay nice and warm...mmmm.  I just put my wet wipes in the warmer and they are all ready for when my girls need a new diaper.
Other common solutions are to keep a spray bottle or peri bottle with your solution next to your changing station and wet wipes as you go or keep moistened wipes in an old disposable container.  There are even YouTube videos that can show you how to fold them to pop up. 

Wipe Solutions

There are many different options for what you can use to moisten you wipes, there are a lot of different recipes online and 1000 different combinations, see some popular ones here.  Because we were trying to stay away from any unnecessary chemicals I decided to use just water for our wipes.  I buy gallons of distilled water as it will help keep your wipes fresher.  I did try out just using tab water for a few weeks and even with being changed every other day they still smelled musty, so I went back to distilled.  I also was really interested in trying out soap bits for my wipes and ordered some.  After 2 weeks of use I can definitely say that I am not as excited as I thought I would be.  I honestly don't feel like they get my daughters any cleaner and while the smell is nice I have noticed more instances of diaper rash while using wipe bits than with just plain water. 

Using Wipes

Using your wipes may seem like a simple process, but if you are like me than you probably over think the whole process.  For wet diapers I just use the wipe and throw it in with the diaper and stick it all in my pail.  For dirty diapers I only use the terry cloth side of the wipe and then fold them in half with the terry and mess on the inside.  I lay these on top of my diaper (not inside) and then put the diaper and wipes in a plastic pan to take to the bathroom to be sprayed off.  Because the flannel side is clean, I can easily grab the wipe, open it up and spray it off.  Once every thing has been sprayed, I just dump everything into my pail.

So after all of this I would say that I LOVE my cloth wipes.  My husband, who was very skeptical about cloth diapers in general, loves them even more than I do.  Because I made about 60 wipes, I also keep some in the kitchen to clean faces and hands after meals, wipe up spit up with them, use them as washcloths, etc.  Once you use a cloth wipe you will never want to use a disposable wipe or paper towel again!

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

National Babywearing Week

October 6-12 marks National Babywearing week.  I don't babywear exclusively (I do have a single and double stroller that I love as well) but it can be so convenient to wear your baby especially when they want to be held all the time and you have a toddler.
We have a couple of different (4 actually) different baby carriers that we like to use.  They all have different uses but I definitely have a most and least favorite.

The first baby carrier I had was the Moby wrap, this is a great carrier for when your baby is small and perfect to cuddle a newborn.  For me, it is not support enough (for mom or the baby) when the baby gets bigger.

The second carrier we had is a Snuggli (a lot like a baby bjorn).  I received this from a friend and we used it for a short period but I really don't like the style.  This type of carrier has the baby hanging from their crotch and is not good for their hip and leg development.  It also doesn't seem very comfortable to be dangling like this and Claire would not tolerate being in this carrier for very long (we never used it for Hadley).  

To replace the Snuggli we bought an Ergo carrier and this is hands down my favorite!!  As you can see the baby (or toddler) sits in the carrier thus supporting their hips and making it much more comfortable.  This carrier also has a hip strap that makes it really comfortable for mom.  As seen below, I will carry my 20 pound toddler around the zoo for hours in this carrier without it ever hurting my back because of the hip support.  

For baby #2 i decided to make a ring sling.  I like this carrier a lot also and it was perfect for when Hadley was little.  I think its comfortable to wear a ring sling a little longer than the Moby, but I still prefer the Ergo once they get a little older.  

If I didn't already have the Moby then having just the ring sling for a newborn would be perfect.  Since I have all three, I like the Moby for the first month, the ring sling until they are about 15 pounds or have good head control and then the Ergo after that.  I love being able to wear my babies and I encourage everyone to give it a try.  Be sure to follow all manufacture warnings though, and research safe babywearing before you begin!

It's Tuesday so that means linking up with other Mommy Bloggers, be sure to check out those linked up at the link below.
Cant Google Everything

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