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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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Time for Mom Tuesdays

Well the Monday Mommy Blog Hop is now Time for Mom Tuesdays!!!  I have been really bad about posting on my blog and even worse about linking up, so be sure to check out the other mommy bloggers that are linked up today.

Cant Google Everything

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Why Do I Cloth Diaper?

As I have stated in previous posts I used disposable diapers on my daughter until she was 17 months old.  I have a few friends that cloth diaper their kids but when I did the math it just never seemed like I would save enough money to make up for the hassle
About a month before my due date with my second daughter, my doula offered a little class about cloth diapers.  I didn't think I was interested but after the presentation I was hooked.  There are so many considerations other than the cost savings that I didn't even know about or consider.
All across the Internet you can find information about why to cloth diaper.  I think some people (but not all) get turned off because they think only "tree huggers" cloth diaper or it doesn't make sense because they can afford disposable diapers so why buy reusable diapers.  Both my husband and I are accountants, I drive an SUV (that even takes premium), we would both describe ourselves as conservative so I definitely don't think that we fall into any of the stereotypical cloth diapering categories.  So...

I would say that the number one reason that I cloth diaper is because of all of the chemicals in disposable diapers.  My daughters both have very sensitive skin and we constantly fought diaper rash when they were in disposables.  My older daughter would get bright red, cracked and bleeding diaper rash constantly.  We would have to keep her constantly slathered in diaper cream just to keep the rashes at bay.  I went through numerous tubs and brands of creams while we used disposables.  For my younger daughter, we used disposable for her first month of life (and I was OK with this).  It wasn't until she had diaper rash so bad that we had to buy prescription (read $35!) rash cream to get it to clear up.  After it was clear, I switched her to cloth and she hasn't had a single instance of diaper rash since then. 

The second reason that I cloth diaper is because I hate waste.  My doula told me that the average child will go through 7,500 disposable diapers before they potty train and this was such a shock to me.  We have always recycled, but other than that we don't have a lot of green practices (did I mention the big SUV?) and I would not consider myself super conscientious about the environment. So if I don't consider myself very green, why is this a contributing factor for me?  Well, because I HATE wasting.  Wasting anything (money, food, gas, time) drives me crazy.  The thought of 7,500 diapers (that is per child, if we have 3-4 children that is between 21,500 and 29,000 diapers) sitting in a landfill just makes me sick.  Plus if you go back to the cost, it's also just a wast of money! I think that the picture below of the store front at The Giggling Green Bean says it all. 

The last reason I cloth diaper is the cute factor.  I put this as #3 on my list because it isn't the main driver for why I cloth diaper but it is the main driver for my cloth diaper buying obsession.  For my girls I have always had little diaper covers for when they wear dresses because disposable diapers are ugly.  Now I don't have to worry about any covers, because half of the time the diapers are cuter than they covers.  Plus I have one in each color any possible pattern to match any possible outfit.  I am a sucker for when new prints or colors come out, but thankfully I have gotten my spending under control (my very generous husband did give me a monthly diaper budget though).  My next project just might have to be starting a local chapter of Diaper Buying Anonymous (DBA).

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