Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Natural Pacifiers

Our newest addition is quite a persnickety little fella' in comparison to our first child. We've never used pacifiers, in fact, my mother never used one with me. Considering what we know about plastics today I'm extra grateful to her for choosing against one, whatever her reason was.

Uninterested in adding any further plastics to our home, let alone putting it in our childs' mouth we planned on not bothering with pacifiers again. Pacifiers are a great place to find:
- polyvinylchloride (PVC), which creates dioxins which cause neurological, reproductive, developmental, and hormonal health problems
- latex, which many babies may have allergies or hypersensitivity towards
- phthalates, also found in teethers, have been linked to numerous health problems, including cancer, endocrine disruption, development delays, and reproductive system damage


You see, I am my sons current lovey and as wonderful as that is, being his natural pacifier as often as he wants me to be is very difficult. His fussiness over this matter even had my poor husband feeling like his little boy didn't even like him. The "use of a pacifier" talk was once again revisited.

Still uninterested in adding plastic to our home or our babies body I decided to search for a more natural alternative and found that my options were:
- natural rubber
- silicone
- pthalate-free PVC

I chose to go with natural rubber. The rubber is taken from a tree without causing any harm to it and is made into a totally biodegradable pacifier. On Amazon.com you can get a 2-pack of Natursutten natural rubber pacifiers for your little person for $16.50.
As much as I'm disinterested in having to break my son of the use of his "paci" down the line and fighting my daughter all the way to not steal or adopt his as her own, it looks like this is journey we'll be embarking on as a family.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Farm Sensory Playscape

I don't own one of your typical water tables to create sensory playscapes for my daughter but I DO own (thanks to her godmother) a water park! (You'll see in a moment)

Having sat outside all winter it had gotten a bit dirty so the other day I had my husband pull it out (you never know, there could be spiders back there) and the two of us cleaned it up.

Filled with this wonderful idea of a miniature sensory world for my little lamb I headed off to the store where I bought bags of beans

and some pop corn kernels.

Knowing that this was going to end in a HUGE mess I set out the charm quilt her great-granny made for her and set out the now clean water park on top.

We also have a little portable farm box toy that was purchased for our newest addition so I made sure to include that was well.
I set up a nice farm scape of beans in the table
and then began adding animal toys.
Around this time my husband came out to peek at my progress.

Remembering the woodland theme of our sons nursery I grabbed a few more toys and set them out on the farm mat
and one off to the side.
I was ready for the morning!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Making Mama Cloth

Around the time I chose to begin using mama cloth, or reusable cloth menstrual pads - I got a refund from an Etsyian that left me with enough money to buy some from . . . more Etsyians. Knowing I planned to have at least two more children I also made sure to buy a couple of post-partum pads. Along with the many things I felt I didn't have enough of to be fully prepared for the new baby was post-partum pads. Only this time I didn't have a sizable refund hanging out in my Paypal account. I was going to have to make them myself.

Find a free pattern for these that made great sense wasn't as easy as I'd hoped for.

I found a template via this pin and this page.
Had the hubs print out the pattern and then I cut out a template.
I pulled out some flannel, most of which was in 1/4 yard cuts, folded it over so that I shouldn't be cutting in the center of the fabric and would also end up with 4 layers.
Then placed the template on top of the fabric making sure to position the template in a way that would allow me to still use even less of the fabric
 and cut them to match the template.
When I revisited the source site from which I'd gotten my template I realized that the directions weren't as detailed as I felt I was going to need.

I made sure to take a good look at the picture of that source posters finished pads but still was feeling I'd need more guidance.
Then I remembered that a week earlier I'd printed out this pattern, that I'd found on Pintrest, at grandma's house.

As it turned out I really needed two templates. One that included the wings and one for the center piece.

With a bit of trial and error I figured out what I felt was the best way for me to do this.

I'd already cut the portions with the wings. I still needed to cut the centers
and the PUL layer.
Once that was done I was ready to get sewing.

Sew your winged pieces together with right sides facing
 - make sure to leave a gap someplace that you can flip the piece inside out.

Once you've flipped the piece inside out, top stitch all along the edges and close up the hole you left by folding under the pieces and top stitching over that as well.

I felt that to get the better result out of how you made the center was a matter of layering.

I got my uppermost layer ready first.

Fold it over

and cut a slit in the center so that you will be able to flip the entire piece around in a few minutes.
Now the layering can begin:


the fabric you intend to have showing,
and the fabric for your base.
Top stitch all around the edges of this stack.
As always I like to stitch as close to the edge as I dare.
Then pull the layers with the PUL and the fabric you intended to have showing through the hole you cut in what will be your base layer.

This is what the part you will have showing should look like.
This is what the bottom of that same piece should look like.
Now center this piece onto your winged piece and zig zag stitch it into place.
The above photo was try number three.
This is try number two.
And try number one.

You can see that with a little practice you can learn a lot and make some noticeable improvements.

All  you really have left to do is to add your snaps and then go wash these before you use them!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Sling

The rooms in our house aren't as spacious as I sometimes wish the were so there's a need for creative uses of space. My son was going to need a place for his books and I wasn't seeing a lot of room for your standard options.

We just keep the books in my daughters room on top of her closet.

With the top and inside of his closet spoken for early on I was going to need to get creative.

I'd seen book slings on Pinterest and with a bare spot on one of his walls beckoning to me I felt the solution to my problem-to-be was obvious.

Because I had a woodland/farm type theme in his room I really wanted to keep to that. I found a gnome fabric I loved but at $38 before shipping for 2 yards I just couldn't swing it.
I stumbled upon this fabric at Outback Toys and it seemed perfect . . . until I kept searching the site and saw this

a brown haired boy like my brown haired boy? Yes please!

I ordered 2 yards but they only had one and were no longer going to be carrying that fabric. I ended up with the original fabric I'd found and liked on the site. That's the kind of "lose" I can handle.

During the first two weeks of my recovery from my C-section I had helpers staying with me. So during week two I went to Lowes with my husband to buy the hardware I would need to make this.

We had to ask where we could find the dowels.
I didn't see any dowels that I thought were thick or long enough so having seen pins where people used curtain rods we went to that aisle.

To make the sling I folded the fabric with the right sides together and sewed along the long side that wasn't connected. Then I sewed the entire way along one of short sides and a portion of the way of the remaining  short side making sure to leave a hole large enough for me to pull everything through.

Once you've pulled the entire piece through the hole and have the right side now on the outside, fold over the little bit that isn't yet sewn and top stitch all the way around.

Now you're ready to add the "pockets" to fit the curtain rods into. I took the curtain rod and folded over a piece of the fabric large enough to leave just a bit of extra space. Sew this into place all the way down one long side.

Set  this all aside for a moment.
Unwrap the curtain rods - ours had shrunk wrapped plastic on them.

Fix the curtain brackets onto the wall.

Slip your sling onto the curtain rods.

Place your curtain rods into the double brackets you've mounted onto the wall.

Et voila - you have yourself a hanging bookshelf and the same amount of floor space you had before. Or, you will - right now we don't because we're having bracket issues. The rods won't/aren't fitting the brackets we bought for them.

Now where is that receipt? . . . .

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Big Girl Panties

My little lamb has grown up so fast. Potty training had been going on for quite a while. I started to slowly introduce her to the potty around 18 months old. Some people seem to take a much harder nosed approach to potty training than I did. I really didn't want to discourage or rush her so we just started very slowly.

Very slowly got even slower when in the very very beginning of my pregnancy I was in a four-wheeling accident where I was thrown off the bike and hurt my wrist. My in-laws, of course, banned me from four-wheeling, but I already knew there would have to be no more of that until I'd had our next little lamb.

I did what I could to keep taking her to the potty despite the extreme pain in my wrist and urged my husband to sprint with her to the potty whenever he was around and I saw her make the poop face.

When she decided that she was ready to go whole hog on potty training it seemed to happen at once. She began taking off her diapers and occasionally would pee in the floor. This progressed to frequently telling me, "poop."

Now seems like a good time to let you all know the motivator we've been using in potty training, Anna's cookies. My father brought her some quite some time ago and she fell in love with them. He now sends us semi-regular shipments or brings copious amounts of them with him to make sure she has a stash of what we call, "grandpa cookies."

As soon as we saw we were getting someplace with potty training we told our little one that in the event she tells us that she needs to poop, we take her to the bathroom, and she actually poops - she could have three cookies. When she tells us, "poop", and only pees (she doesn't yet realize to tell us "pee-pee") she gets two cookies. When we take her ourselves and she pees or poops she gets one cookie.

This system generally works out really well. She did, of course, pick up that frequently after being in the bathroom she'd get cookies so occasionally she would say she needed to go, sit on the toilet for a bit, not do anything, and then tell you she should get a cookie. Sorry kiddo, that's not our deal.

Months before she decided she was "all in" on potty training I picked up some flannel to work on some training pants for her. She was really excited about the fabric I'd picked out. Big girl underpants seemed like a great motivator for potty training and the time was now upon me to finally make them.

First I found myself a tutorial - of course it came from Pintrest. I actually contacted the girl who wrote the tutorial asking if I sent her all of teh items needed to make these if she would make some at a discounted rate - her first response was that obviously it sounded like I could sew and she showed me the tutorial.

I accidentally bought the wrong sort of training pants as my base (they were plastic) so it took a while longer for me to get around to getting the correct ones. I was 30 weeks pregnant and panicking so I asked once more if she could help me but got no response.

Amazon had the second best price for a three pack of plain white Gerber training pants but sadly they were beat out by WalMart. Not in any real position to spend extra money I bought three packs of the underpants from WalMart.
Much like you will need to do with a lot of projects you need a template and this is one of those instances where you're going to need to create it yourself. In the source post for the info I was using she used wax paper, which I don't tend to keep around the house.

Trace the seams of the section of underpants that are reinforced.

Here is the template I ended up with.
Much like the original poster, I wanted to make certain I didn't mix up the front with the back of the template so I chose to label it.

Now use your template

to cut 4 layers of flannel and 1 layer of PUL.
The original poster said that the next step was to pin flannel in place inside the underpants

and sew them down. She used a zig zag stitch much like I like to do with this sort of thing. But it never said how many layers of your flannel to use. I did two layers of PUL inside and on the outside from bottom to top was PUL, flannel, and then flannel.

My first template, as you can see, ended up not really being dead on with the seams. Which proved to be a big deal after I sewed everything down.

If this happens to you just do what I did and force yourself to put on your own big kid pants, remove the wonky seams,

redo your template, and begin again.

Mine aren't 100% perfect but they still came out pretty well.

Now I just have to wait until the little lamb is really ready for these.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Must Dash For Girls

After watching me work on her brothers Must Dash quilt I watched my little lamb spend the next few days running around holding my mustache template up to her face and talking about mustaches.

It seemed only fair to make her one too.
This pattern is too too much fun!