Thursday, November 26, 2009

gobble gobble

i am thankful for so much more than just three things this year, but right off the top of my head i can think that i am thankful for:

1. my family, especially my fabulous husband who works so hard to provide for us (especially now that i am a sahm), and especially my beautiful daughter, even after she was up twice last night and took two hours to go back to sleep the second time. i am also thankful for my extended family whom i do not get to see as often as i would like, especially my grandfather who has lymphoma but is still here to celebrate another holiday with us.

2. our home, our beautiful home. i am acutely aware of money now that i am unemployed, and cringe a little inwardly every time i see the mortgage statement come in the mail, even though i know that brian manages our money responsibly and well and that we are not in danger of losing our home. i love this house and everything about it and i love making it a home for my family.

3. not having to cook thanksgiving dinner this year! i am so very uninspired this year and i think the kiddo is partly to blame for that and was not looking forward to the idea of cooking a big meal. brian has to work today (unfortunately) so that he can be off for christmas, so our thanksgiving dinner guests will consist of: me, him, and hannah. hannah has a little jar of baby turkey to try for the first time and brian is bringing home a plate of turkey dinner from his chef for each of us, so we can at least have a little celebration together. so no cooking and we don't even have to spend the grocery money either. win win.

have a happy and safe thanksgiving! what are you thankful for this year?

Thursday, November 19, 2009


for some reason i am inordinately proud of these:

that's my soaping cabinet. it's next to my refrigerator in the kitchen, a lower cabinet. it contains all the soaping supplies i use on a regular basis - herbs, colorants, oils, soap scraps. tools that could hurt The Kiddo. glass bottles that could break. essential oils and fragrance oils that could be fatal if ingested. sodium hydroxide - LYE - that will destroy her skin if she touches it. we have latches for all our cabinet drawers and lower doors, but i wanted something sturdier for the soaping cabinet. something with a key.

those are just cabinet locks that i picked up in the latches section of home depot, the same area where you would find those little locks that go on window frames. they have a flat or offset piece in the back that swings across the cabinet frame, blocking the door, and they are pretty darn strong. the same kind of thing you'd find on a filing cabinet in your office. for some reason i was a bit put off by this project but decided to just dive in and do it, and it ended up being very simple. i traced the frame on the back of the door (so i knew where the frame hit the door) and then marked where i wanted the lock. i drilled a hole the size of the lock completely through the door, then diassembled the lock, fit it into the hole, and reassembled it in the hole. the concept is the same as installing a new door handle.

also, i should have checked but ended up completely lucking out - the locks are sold individually but the two i grabbed off the rack ended up taking the same key. the package does note on the back which key they use (ours was something like # 21233). i don't know why i didn't think to make sure when i bought them because it would have been a massive pain in the butt if i had to use one key to get into the left side and a different key to get into the right side.

cross-posted at baby stenz

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

diaper sprayer tutorial

it seems the new thing for me to learn these days is plumbing repairs. first the toilet in the upstairs bathroom was leaking. i discovered a huge puddle of water and it turned out that the connector that attaches the toilet supply line (the tube that runs from the water pipe in the wall to the toilet tank) was broken. for some reason this repair seemed awfully daunting at first, but it was simply a matter of picking up a new supply line ($6) from home depot, unscrewing the old one, and screwing the new one on.

my latest project was actually not a repair. i built myself a diaper sprayer! it was insanely easy, and i am so ridiculously proud of myself. we started tk on solids two weeks ago and her diapers have become a bit more solid as well. since she is in cloth diapers, we don't get to just throw away her mess and swooshing her soakers in the toilet bowl was just not working for me. a friend had suggested i could make my own very inexpensively. it cost me about $25 to make; apparently you can buy them for about twice the price and i'm thinking the only difference is that those might look a little more streamlined.

this one is from it retails for $34 plus $6 s&h and you still have to do some assembly/installation. mine was cheaper and required minimal additional effort.

i actually did not use jaimey's instructions, i just could not understand them. sorry jaimey! the general idea is about the same though (i think) and there is a great video tutorial here. first, shut off the water at the main valve behind the toilet, and flush the toilet once or twice to drain the tank. then disconnect the supply line from the tank and the water pipe. you will need a flexible supply line to install your diaper sprayer; you might have to look for a toilet in your home that has a flexible line. i put ours in the upstairs bathroom closest to hannah's room.

you will need two 3/8" barb adapters; one 3/8" x 3/8" x 3/8" tee barb connector; five 1/4" - 5/8" hose clamps; one kitchen sprayer assembly; and one ball valve. the ball valve should be either 1/4" or 3/8", depending on the size of the threaded end (MIP) of the barb adapters. i got 1/4" because the 3/8" valve looked bulkier. also, you may want to measure your toilet supply line to be sure that you don't need a 1/2" tee barb connector, but apparently only about 5% of homes in america have 1/2" connectors.

you will also need a hacksaw or a small hand saw, a couple monkey wrenches or a set of crescent wrenches, a screwdriver for the hose clamps (usually flathead), and some teflon tape. you might also want a hook to hang the sprayer on the wall; i just used a large cup hook that i bent a bit more open with a pair of pliers. i thought about taking pictures while i was making this, but i was so excited to get it done that i just did it.

using a hacksaw, cut the supply line in half. cut the fitting end off the kitchen sprayer assembly as close as possible to the fitting (you want as much tubing as possible), and then cut the tubing again about six inches down from the spray nozzle. you will end up with a spray nozzle with a short bit of tubing attached, and a long piece of tubing with nothing on either end.

slide a loosened hose clamp onto one of the supply line pieces, then work one end of the tee barb into the hose. do the same for the other side of the supply line and tighten the clamps with the screwdriver.

wrap the threaded ends of the barb adapters with teflon tape, then slide a loosened hose clamp onto the tubing attached to the spray nozzle. work the barb end of one adapter into the tubing, then tighten the clamp. do the same for one end of the rest of the tubing, then slide a hose clamp onto the other end, work it onto the third end of the tee barb, and tighten the clamp.

screw one end of the ball valve onto one of the threaded ends of the barb adapters in the sprayer tubing and tighten with the wrenches. you will need two wrenches, one to hold the tubing and one to tighten the valve. do the same to connect the other end of the ball valve to the sprayer tubing.

now your assembly is complete and you just need to reinstall your jury-rigged supply line back onto the water line and the toilet tank.

turn the water back on a little and open the valve, then spray the sprayer. you will probably need to play with the valve to see how much water pressure you need to spray your diapers.

the purpose of the ball valve is to prevent constant water pressue on the kitchen sprayer. the sprayer is just plastic and i did not want anything in the sprayer to fail and cause a flood. when the red lever is sticking out, the valve is closed; i just line up the lever with the tubing to open the valve and "turn on" the sprayer.

you can see i just screwed that mug hook into the wall to hold the sprayer. apparently this is also good for rinsing kiddos while they are taking a bath, though the water is not heated so i don't see why you'd want to spray your kids with freezing cold water. personally i think this will also be awesome for spraying down the tub/shower when i'm cleaning it.

all total this project took me about twenty minutes from start to finish.

i know it isn't a huge thing, building and installing this sprayer, but if you would like to come to my house and marvel at my handiwork you're more than welcome to!!

update: i used it for the first time today and it works GREAT!! yay! also, i was thinking - this is a very easy thing to take with you if you move. just shut off the water to the toilet, take off the jury-rigged supply line/sprayer assembly, and reinstall a new (uncut) supply line. you could also easily install one in an apartment, just like you would your favorite showerhead.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

still here.

it's been a busy month, and i keep meaning to post, and it's not that i don't have anything to post about, i just keep forgetting. i guess this is what happens when your plate is maybe a bit too full?

i made our halloween costumes this year which i generally do though i have not made any in a couple years, just recycled the old ones. i have a stash of stuff that can make a pirate wench, a princess, or a gypsy. this year we wanted to do family costumes so there was much discussion regarding what we were going to be. someone in our family is not very creative and kept shooting down all the creative ideas from someone else, who granted is not as clever as this girl. in the end the kiddo ended up being a pumpkin.

of course, after i had purchased the pumpkin costume for hannah, kerry suggested a bunch of cute things. like, brian could be a polar bear, and i could be a penguin, and hannah could be a fish. the food chain! she also suggested that brian and i could be some sort of insects and hannah could be a grub. MY BABY IS NOT A GRUB thank you very much. i thought it would be clever if hannah was a pumpkin, brian was a frog, and i was a witch, but no one else seemed to think that was as amusing as i did. in the end we were just a jack-o-family.

i was not in love with our costumes though i guess they turned out cute. brian said he looked gay in his costume even though he got to be the scary pumpkin. i used felt for everything and after much ribbing from my sister, gave up looking for a pattern and made up one myself. basically they are just pullovers that i copied from old tee shirts, lined with tulle and stuffed with fiberfill with an elastic casing at the bottom. this was also my first attempt at applique-ing anything and i'm happy with the way the faces turned out. i used wonder-under first, i don't know if that is how appliques are usually done but that is how i did it. after i fused the felt face pieces on i zigzagged the edges. i used my walking foot for these costumes and really, i don't know how i've lived my life without it. i use it for so many things now.

i realized too late that we should have dressed hannah up like this (costume borrowed from a friend for a photo):

and brian could have been a gorilla and i could have been a monkey. HANNAH BANANA!! my good ideas always come a day late.

we also had a huge storm a couple weeks ago, the first of the season. it was hugely rainy and impossibly windy and almost all of the trees around here still had their leaves, including the beautiful japanese maple that was in our front yard. (it actually looks rather pathetic in that picture, which must be insanely old too, because the tree was quite a bit bigger than that.) i came home from work that afternoon to find this:

of course, it didn't even touch the pathetic, ugly tree that is also in our front yard, in a strange spot way too close to the rosebushes. i would have been happy to lose that tree. my husband was a champ and cut up the tree into pieces and even dug out the stump, which left us with a giant hole in the yard, two weeks before halloween when tons of children ignore the walkway and tramp up our lawn.

lawsuit, begone!

i don't know what we will do now that halloween is over. probably fill in the hole with some turf builder on top, though there has been talk of putting a pumpkin in it for thanksgiving and a snowman for christmas and making it a theme hole. we are also those people who take their baby to a rock concert. don't you wish we could be YOUR neighbors?

i am now a sahm officially - i quit my job because half of my income was going right back out the door to daycare, which sucks. technically i was let go as my boss changed my quit into a discharge the week before my last day, which is technically legal but in my humble opinion kind of jerk-ish of him, so i'm glad to be out of there.

i have also been working like a crazy girl on the etsy shop. there is a ton of cool stuff up if i do say so myself, go check it out! i am still ridiculously excited about it, and i even made a couple custom halloween costumes. also, i am going to be a vendor! how exciting is that! it's a super-tiny event - mil is a legal secretary, and they always have a couple vendors at their local annual dinner, and she got me a table. there will only be around 30 people in attendance, but the table was free (no vendor fee), and i don't have to share a percentage of my sales, so anything i make from this is gravy. it's in two weeks, and i am ridiculously excited, and we will even have tee shirts, if i can get some iron-on transfer paper that actually works!