Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nearing the End of Summer...

It's hard to believe that the end of August is upon us, isn't it? A year ago at this time, I had just started this blog. I was still pregnant, waiting excitedly for Jadon's arrival.

Our friend Laura did a fantastic job on Jadon's one year pictures! Check out her website!
These days, my baby is a baby no longer! Jadon RUNS everywhere, climbs couches, and loves to find me when I hide. He signs "more," "please," "milk," and "all done,"  and eats anything I put in front of him. He waves to everyone we pass in stores, and often adds an enthusiastic "Hi!" at the end. Jadon likes to imitate me by pretending to water my tomato plants, stir empty bowls, or sweep under his highchair. He still sleeps in our room, but on a small mattress on the floor next to our bed. His favorite things include baths, books, walks, books, kids, and did I say books? He will sit on my lap and listen to me read for as long as I'll stay on the floor (often crying dramatically when I stop).

Life with a one-year old keeps me busy, but I always find time for other tasks. Here's just a few summer project updates:

New and improved cloth wipes. I'm working on several sets of cloth wipes and a new tutorial to go along with them. My original tutorial has been one of my most popular posts this year (thanks to Pinterest!).

Kombucha. My original scoby has multiplied itself several times over by now. Halfway though the summer, I even had enough of a culture to have two jars of kombucha brewing at once! If you want to make kombucha for yourself, check out my tutorial.


Chevron Crocheted Blanket. My little sister got married this month! I snooped on her Pinterest boards for some homemade gift ideas, and got a lot of inspiration from some of her favorite color combinations, and the many chevron patterned items. I finally decided upon crocheting a chevron blanket for their new living room. I figured out the pattern all on my own, so I'm pretty proud of the way it turned out.

Cloth Diapering, etc. I couldn't resist adding another meme! I know that this isn't really a project, but cloth diapers continue to need washing every couple of days! I also started drying them on a line this summer since sunning diapers helps get stains out. I'm actually in the process of stripping my diapers right now since they were starting to have a lingering smell. Stripping gets out any lingering detergent that might not get rinsed out in the regular wash routine. Click here for more cloth diaper laughs.

And finally...

Jadon's birthday video. We're celebrating Jadon's birthday with family and friends in just a few days. I wanted to put together a 10-15 minute video of clips from the past year for everyone to watch. I figured I would average about a minute per month. However, this goal was a lot harder than expected due to the hours of video we've taken of Jadon in the past year! All the clips I ended up including are mostly between 5 and 10 seconds in length, but the video is still about 17 minutes long! I need to finalize it this weekend, and hope to share it soon!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cloth Diapers for Mama? Mama Cloth!

Once you start cloth diapering, it's not long before you are exposed to all sorts of cloth replacements for disposable items. For example, some people start using cloth "paper" towels that are washed and reused. Others use "family cloth" instead of toilet paper. Reusable snack bags are becoming popular in favor of plastic baggies. And of course, cloth wipes are an obvious accessory to cloth diapering.


Click any of the three pictures above for links to their original sites!
Months ago, a friend asked me if I make "mama cloth." I hadn't heard of them yet, so I looked it up and couldn't believe all the styles (just look at this google image search). As it turns out, some women ditch their disposable monthly feminine products for cloth pads, affectionately known as "mama cloth." I was intrigued, not only because they were really cute, but because it reminded me that women of the past must have used some cloth version of pads before the disposable ones were around.

Imagine trying to use one of these beauties!

I looked at a few online tutorials and came up with my own version of mama cloth for my friend. Then, I made a whole stash for myself. I couldn't resist. Is it weird that I actually looked forward to my next visit from Aunt Flo so I could try them out?

Making your own mama cloth is easy and inexpensive, especially if you repurpose fabric that you already own. To start, you have to design a simple pattern. I made mine with a disposable pad as a model.

First, I traced the pad onto a simple paper grocery bag (my favorite choice for pattern material). Then, I held the pad perpendicular to the tracing, and marked where the ends of the pads landed. After setting the pad aside, I drew concave curved lines to connect the tracings. This pattern will be used to cut the outer layers of the mama cloth. You will also need a pattern for the inner absorbent layers, which is just an outline of the model pad.

Use your pattern to cut out two pieces of flannel (I used old receiving blankets). I recommend having two different colors/patterns on your flannel so you can remember which side is the absorbent side. With the "right" side of the flannels facing in, sew a seam around the edge of the two pieces, remembering to leave a small gap (about 3 inches) for inserting your inner layers. Flip this "pocket" you created inside-out.

Next, cut out your inner layers. You have a LOT of fabric options for this part. You can use t-shirts, towels, washcloths, flannel, or combinations of these fabrics to create your absorbent layer. I also like to include a waterproof layer so I don't have to worry about any leaking. Some people use fleece or wool for waterproofing their cloth diapers, but I don't know how they would work for mama cloth. I chose an unused super-shammy (why not?) as my absorbent material, with a backing of PUL (same material used for cloth diaper covers) to make my mama cloth waterproof.

Whatever materials you choose, sew them to each other so that they stay together. I ran a seam around the middle of my oval. Then, insert your inner layers into your outer "pocket."

Now you have to close the gap you left open. Tuck in the edges of the two flannel fabrics and pin them to each other. Before sewing the gap closed, I like to sew all the way through my inner and outer layers. Since you can't really see what you're sewing, you have to feel for the edges inside to make sure your seams actually go through the fabrics.

Next, sew a seam around the outermost edge of your flannel fabrics. This seam not only closes the gap, but keeps your flannel fabrics from shifting too much when they are worn and washed.

Finally, add your closures of choice. I like snaps, but some people prefer Velcro.

I LOVE my new mama cloth stash for several reasons:
1. They are much more comfortable than disposable pads. I don't feel like I'm wearing a mini diaper.
2. They are WAY more cute than disposable pads.
3. They don't shift around at all because the flannel is not a slippery fabric against cotton underwear.
4. They fold up nice and small for travel and storage.
5. They have the same wash routine as my cloth diapers, so I just toss them in the same load with my diapers!
6. I don't have to buy pads month after month...or worry about running out!

Needless to say, I don't think I'm ever going back.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Breastfeeding According to the Facebook

I'm frequently on my smart phone while nursing, so I get a lot of time to browse Pinterest and Facebook. I often save pictures and sayings that I find amusing, most of which center around motherhood. In honor of World Breastfeeding week, I thought I'd share some of the hilarious breastfeeding memes I've collected over the past few months. Enjoy!