Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Baptism Attire

When this baby arrives, he or she will be the most stylish one at his or her baptism! 

We have resurrected the baptism outfits that Dillon and I were baptised in, and they are ready for action at any time!!!  The gown was worn by myself and my sister, along with my cousins.  And it's very slippery and silky and I'm sure I'll be one nervous mama when that day comes. 

The little suit was worn by Dillon and a few of his cousins.  There's a little vest to go with it!

Jacket with bow tie

I had a few repairs to do on each of these; it seems that they get more wear and tear on them than one would think given that they've only been worn a few days in the past nearly three decades.

On the gown, a bit of ruching had come apart and needed a few quick stitches to close up the hole. 

The elastic on the bottom right leg opening was broken

On the suit, the elastic in one of the legs was broken and a button on the vest was missing.  I ripped out the stitches on either side of the casing for the elastic and removed the old elastic.  It looks like there have been no improvements in elastic in the past 27 years, since I could use the same length of elastic left over from my crib sheet project.  I slipped on a safety pin to one end and threaded it through the casing, using more safety pins to hold each end so the elastic wouldn't come back out, like this:

Using a safety pin to hold elastic in place while stitching
Old on the left, new on the right

Then I hand stitched a few stitches along the edge and it was done!  I also found a very similar (but not perfect matching) button in my stash and rearranged some of the buttons on the jacket to hide the fact that it was different (I put the non-matching button under the bow tie and used that matching one to replace the missing one on the vest). 

It's amazing how adorable these are and I can't wait to see our little baby in one of them!  Hopefully I'll be able to find a somewhat cute outfit for myself to wear to this baptism, too!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Get outta here!

It's been beautiful so I thought I'd update you with a few of the things going on outside our house right now.  Another time I'll do a full tour of our yard, but right now, there are way too many plants that are unrecognizable (as we didn't pay enough attention to them last fall) so it'll be a surprise in a few weeks!

For today, I guess we'll start with the fact that I'm super pregnant. Our due date is on Friday, and I'm trying to keep in mind that most first time babies come late.  I am getting pretty impatient, though.  I think it's partly due to the fact that I stopped working last week Wednesday, so I've been sitting around waiting.  Ugh.  Last week wasn't so bad because it was holy week and we had lots of church and family to distract me, but this week has been brutal.  All I seem to want to do is things I can't do, like stain things, rearrange furniture in the basement, and weed the flower beds (I just can't physically bend like that for long). 

Not going to lie, yesterday was a rough day for me.  We got yet another email from our birthing class group telling us about another little one who was born, we had TV troubles (so I couldn't watch the SVU marathon I had been looking forward to), and Dillon went out with colleagues after work so I was home alone for a long time.  Also, just about everything from our to do list is done.  So there I sat. 

But today is a new day, I'm feeling much more optimistic, and the weather looks great for a nice long walk this morning (and if I happen to go into labor while walking, I wouldn't complain!). 

The weather has been looking great for the past couple weeks, actually.  Here we are 2 weeks ago:

Check out that barely-started grass!

And this is our lush lawn this morning. 

Whoa when did the lawn get so green? and just look at that lovely edging keeping the rocks contained!  OOH.  AAH.

It's a good thing we bought a lawnmower last weekend, I think we'll be using it soon!  We got a used Toro push mower (it surprises me how many people suggest that we wouldn't DARE to use a push mower and that we need a riding mower for our spacious-for-the-city-i-guess 1/3 acre.  Much different attitude from what my family did growing up!!!) for $175 and were delighted that it fit in the Buick.  That buick can handle anything, I tell ya. 

Last weekend we (meaning I directed while Dillon worked) installed a bit of garden edging that you can see in that second picture.  We have one tiny area of rock groundcover in our yard but there was no border so the rocks made their way into the grass frequently and it drove me insane!  So we dug some out, freeing some of the stone pavers from overgrown grass, and installed the edging to hopefully keep the rocks in and the weeds out. It looks much better, but you'll have to take my word for it as I forgot to take a "BEFORE" picture.

Another reason why I'm much happier today is that we have some fresh flowers in our house right now:

Straight from the backyard, they make me so happy and they smell so wonderful to my still-pregnant nose!  Our lilac bushes in the backyard are starting to get leaves and I know it's only a matter of time before they are beautiful and smell lovely too!  I'm sure I'll make a post about those, since LILAC=SPRING in my book.

Sorry, old friend on the left.  You lived a good life.

Inside, we have one plant that isn't faring so well.  Or maybe it is, we still haven't decided.  Remember when I asked you all about what was happening with this?  Well a new plant has sprouted up and the old one is in it's last stages of life, I think.  So should we remove the old one? We're thinking we'll just re-pot the new one and get rid of the old.  Sorry, plant.  You made a lovely dinosaur home.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cloth Diapers...the plan

We plan on cloth diapering our child.  We plan on it, we're excited about it, we know it'll be work, we know we'll encounter poop, we know it uses more water, we know, we know, we know.  So if you're going to rain on our parade, I'm not interested in hearing your comments.  You guys should have heard some of the comments we've gotten!!!  A bunch of Debbie Downer's out there, I tell ya! 

Today, I thought I would give you all a rundown of our cloth diaper plan and basics about cloth diapering so that you can stop imagining me with giant safety pins and buckets of sloshing poop water.  No more misconceptions!

The reality of the situation is this: I am very used to poop, and no one has ever died from exposure.  Also, they're so much cheaper (especially if they are re-sold or used for future kiddos) than disposables.  Plus, it makes me sad that 2+% of the garbage created in the US is disposable diapers.  Finally, I won't have a job for at least awhile after we have this kiddo, so I will have more time than a working mama to care for our cloth diaper stash.

Speaking of stash...wanna see? 
Chevron rumparoos, white Imagine, and Green patterned Bummi's alongside a prefold

This is the newborn stage stash.  I'm not so enthusiastic as to claim that we'll exclusively cloth diaper our child from the very beginning, but we're hoping to do a 50/50 mix once our baby's tummy is past it's first few nasty sticky days.  We have 3 covers, a used Bummi's superbrite, an Imagine, and a rumparoos.  These are used with any small/newborn size prefold insert (the white square with orange edges, ours are Nicki's Diapers brand). 

So the diaper-er just folds up the prefold (there are about a million ways of folding them depending on skill level and your kiddo) and then treats the waterproof cover like a disposable and Velcro's it on over the prefold.  If kiddo peed (and no poopy mess), we just change out the prefold insert.  If there is a mess or it's been awhile, we change out the insert and the cover. 

With most of our bigger cloth diapers, we chose snaps instead of aplix (velcro) because it's said to wear longer and not get so stuck to everything in the wash.  But with the relatively short newborn stage, we weren't picky and got what we thought was cute.  The Rumparoos and Imagine diapers came from Nicki's Diapers, and the the used Bummis cover came from the most wonderful consignment sale in the world (although Dillon thinks the whole place smelled like pee a little bit.  There was something funky in that building).

The other 50% of the time with our newborn, we'll use disposables.  We were generously given a bunch as gifts so we'll see how long those last us!

Now, for the other stash: the "big kid" stash, if you will.  These were mostly a gift (THANKS, MOM!) so all we had to supplement were the newborn size since these all-in-ones would be too big for any baby for awhile.

Stack of white flip inserts, blue flip cover, yellow used bumgenius elemental, and teal bumgenius freestyle

We have 3 used flip covers with 8 used flip inserts, 2 used bumgenius elemental All-In-Ones, and 8 new bumgenius freestyle All-In-Ones.  This means we have 18 total diapers which will hopefully last us for one entire child!  We can always supplement a few if we need to, but doing a load of diapers every other day is my goal so we'll see how many we truly need.

The flip diapers are pretty easy, just fold the insert to the small/medium/large size you need & slide it into the little pocket in the front and back of the cover (all of our "big kid" diapers can be sized up or down using all those snaps you see on that blue one!).  Like the newborn prefolds/covers, the flips can be reused until the cover is dirty.

The All-In-Ones are super simple, you just put it on the baby like any disposable diaper.  Once we figure out the sizing with all those snaps, it should be a breeze.  Later, we can add another layer of prefold inserts to the center if needed for absorbancy overnight.

Now the part that has the most people concerned: "what do you do with the dirty diapers????"
This depends on when we are talking about.  We're hoping to do exclusive breastfeeding for a nice long time, so hopefully that will make it easier for us.  Yup, runny breastfeeding poopies are supposed to be easier.  That's because exclusive breastfeeing poop is completely water soluble so you can just throw the whole shebang in the washing machine without so much as looking at your toilet.  You do have to use fancy cloth diapering approved detergent; we got Bumgenius brand.  It should last quite awhile because you use a pretty small amount. 

Diaper pail with pail liner, Ikea bin, and (iforgetthebrand) zippered polka dot wetbag

We got this cute pail liner to put in our ikea recycling bin (can't find it online anymore!) to use in the nursery.  Hopefully the lid will contain any odors.  We'll just dump in our cloth diapers and when it's time to wash, we will take the whole liner downstairs and turn it inside out in the washer, and throw the liner in the wash right along with the diapers.  Easy peasy.  We got the small zippered polka dot wet bag for when we're out and about because it can fit a few used diapers in the diaper bag.  The newborn diaper covers and flip covers should be line-dried, but the prefolds go in the dryer.  The All-in-ones should be line dried if possible, just to save the wear and tear on them.  We've also heard that high efficiency washers (like ours) don't work as well for cloth diapers because they don't use enough water, so we'll have to experiment with our washer settings to see what works best.

Once we stop exclusively breastfeeding, things get slightly more complicated.  We'll still do the same things with pee diapers, but poop diapers will need to be dumped/scraped/sprayed into the toilet before going into our pail liner.  We don't know what we'll do yet.  A lot of people have success with a spatula dedicated to poop scraping.  Yup.  Or we can spend around $50 for a diaper sprayer that hooks up to the water lines in the back of your toilet so that we can spray any poop into the toilet before putting in the pail.  We'll see how much money we have when the time comes, I guess!  I vote for poop sprayer, but that's just because the idea of a spatula grosses me out a bit. 

 These are some of our accessories we've collected for our cloth diapering:

Yellow/Blue cloth wipes, California Baby diaper rash cream, Bummi's liners, and Target spray bottle

We are planning on using cloth wipes along with our diapers.  Once we're already doing the laundry anyway, it doesn't seem like much more work.  Actually, separating the garbage diaposable wipes from cloth diapers sounds like MORE work, to me!  I made our cloth wipes out of flannel I picked up from JoAnn's. The size doesn't really matter unless you are planning on putting them in an old plastic wipes container (like most tutorials online will show you to do).  We aren't planning on fooling around with pre-moistened wipes; instead, we'll mix up a bit of solution and spray it with our little spray bottle on the wipe just prior to wiping the bum.  If we did pre-moistened, I would be concerned with mold if I ever don't use the wipes fast enough!  This website has a ton of recipes for solution: The "Castille Wipes" is the basic recipe we're planning on using for wipes.  It'll have to be changed out weekly. 

We also got a pack of bummis diaper liners.  I like the idea of these rather than carrying around a poopy diaper or figuring out how to dump the poo when we're out and about; I'm planning on putting a liner in the diaper whenever we are planning on going out and that way, if poop happens, it's more dump-able into whatever toilet we are nearest and the liner is flushable, too.  I've heard good things about these and they were only $6, so why not try, right?

The last thing I'll mention is that we have to use specific "cloth diaper approved" diaper rash cream if the opportunity ever arises.  Otherwise, the not-approved stuff can build up on the diapers and make them much less absorbent. 

Are you less scared of cloth diapers yet?  Did you enjoy my first attempt at creating a .gif?  Are you completely grossed out by the amount of times I mentioned poop?  Did I confuse you, or give you confidence to do it yourself?  Do tell!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The making of a footstool

I've been on the hunt for a footstool for the nursery for quite awhile now.  We received a family rocking chair from my Grandma, so there was no cozy footstool to go with it.  Origionally, I had planned on finding a small table at a thrift store, shortening the legs, upholstering the top, and calling it perfect; but the hunt for the perfect size table was pretty fruitless.

Instead, I found these poufs from Kohls that I really liked.  But they were $80 a pop.  Ain't nobody got money for that, Kohls!  So I decided to make my own instead.  It was surprisingly difficult to find bean bag filler at any store, so I ordered it from *gasp* Walmart.  It totaled $13.50 for a huge bag; 3.5 cubic feet was just about perfect..  (After I ordered it, I discovered that they sell this stuff for cheaper at Shopko).

I modeled my pouf after the ones at Kohls, so I was aiming for about 12" high and 23" across.  My greatest fear with this pouf was that someone will "plop" down on it hard and it will explode in a snowstorm of static filled polystyrene beads.  So I decided to make two layers just to give it extra durability.  The first layer I made was with an old white bedsheet that I've been cutting up and using for projects for a long long time (thanks, Grandma Z!). I also used a very short zig zag stitch on my machine (I don't have a surger but that would have worked better) to give it as much strength as possible. 
Making a circle with a pin in the center and pen on the end.  Fabric is wrinkly.

I made a circle on my fabric by tying the perfect length string to a pin and a pen, and then making a circle.  Do not follow my example: be a good seamstress and IRON YOUR FABRIC.  My circles were 23.5", so 11 3/4" long string. I also made a long rectangle that was 12.5" high and 72.75" long.  Don't follow my example because this is what happened:

Weirdly crooked seam and patch.  Oh well, at least it's not visible!
The long rectangle was too short.  And oddly crooked, too.  I don't know what happened.  So I just sewed on another little piece to fill in the gap.  Then came the stuffing.  I used a pitcher and slowly filled up the whole thing as full as I could get it.  I was worried that the beads will compress over time, so I added as much filling as I possibly could before hand sewing it up.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat for the outer covering, except that I made the rectangle 12.5" x 90+".  That way, it would be long enough and just cut the excess off at the end.  I had been hoping to find a tablecloth or curtain or equally durable fabric for the outside, but was unsuccessful at thrifting for that.  So I got another old sheet from St. Vinny's in town and used that instead.  Someday when it starts to look dirty and gross I can continue the hunt for more durable fabric and make another quick cover (this time with a zipper so it can be washed).
The end of my handle, the box with the square in the center similar to how someone would sew on velcro

I also made a handle by using iron on stabilizer on a 10"x6" piece and sewing it securely (with a square and an X in the middle of it) over the top of the seam.  I love that it has a handle even though it's very lightweight.

It turned out beautifully, the height is perfect and it has a great amount of stuffing in it.  Very comfy.  Doesn't it look lovely in the nursery?  and the grand total was $15 even.  (count on more if you need a white sheet and basic sewing supplies like thread).  Much more comfortable than the $80 price tag at Kohls.