Thursday, October 13, 2011

three good reasons to have a fluffy bum

yesterday i talked about how we're potty-training and why my friends object to cloth diapering. if you're still not convinced to make the big switch, here's a couple more reasons:

1. cloth diapers are better for the environment. the cost example i used yesterday assumes 7,280 disposable diapers used over 2.5 years, the diapering life of MY child. that's a lot of diapers. according to the epa, it takes 450 years for a conventional disposable diaper to decompose... but that's just a guess, because disposable diapers have only been around for about 80 years. those 80-year-old diapers are still around, unfortunately. cloth diapers don't fill up landfills.

cloth diapers also don't leach contaminants into the ground. in addition to unflushed (and untreated) feces, disposable diapers are full of synthetic chemicals and materials. if/when those disposable diapers ever do decompose, those chemicals will be in our ground. the same ground that your water comes from, the same ground used to grow your food. ewwww.

2. cloth diapering supports responsible consumer practices. when you purchase cloth diapers, you are choosing to support a company committed to environmentally friendly practices. additionally, the choices for cloth diapers are pactically endless... whereas the choices for disposable diapers are largely limited to big corporations. you can support work-at-home mothers like myself, small businesses, or purchase your diapers from a local creator.

3. cloth diapering is cute. how can you resist this little bottom?

(see more cuteness at!)

*please note, this is not an advertisement for gdiapers, nor am i affiliated with them in any way other than as an exceptionally satisfied customer. i haven't been compensated in any way by gdiapers... i just love them. there are tons of adorable cloth diapers on the market - choose your own cuteness!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

four misconceptions about cloth diapering

we're potty-training at my house, which strangely has me thinking about diapers and how i'm (oddly) going to miss them. probably because hannah's are so ridiculously cute, because we cloth diaper (CD). we're only one of a very few of our local friends who have CD'd "hardcore" for almost all of hannah's life - since she was 3 months old. our friends have many objections to cloth diapering, but they pretty much all boil down to these four.

1. i don't want to have to deal with poop. i don't either, but it's pretty much part of parenting. if you have a baby you are practically guaranteed to get pooped on and/or peed on at least once. it's pretty much a given that your baby will poop in the bathwater, and you'll have to fish it out. dealing with poop is part of parenting.

yes, i know that what parents are really saying is, i don't want to have to deal with poopy diapers. what they don't realize is, they still have to deal with poopy diapers. feces should not be disposed of into a landfill - it contaminates groundwater that way. a baby's poop should be disposed of in the toilet just like an adult's. and it's not like i'm grabbing poop off of my daughter's diapers with my bare hands. i have a diaper sprayer with which to spray off poop, so i don't ever have to "deal" with it. those poor disposable diaper parents, they don't have that tool.

2. cloth diapering is too much work. i've never understood this. when a disposable mama changes her baby, she takes off the old diaper, wipes the baby, puts on a fresh diaper, and drops the soiled diaper in the pail. my changing routine is exactly the same. the only difference is that my diapers get washed and re-used.

3. i don't want to do extra laundry. i don't want poop in my washing machine. cloth diapering is dirty. yes, cloth diapering does create additional laundry. at my house it's one additional load per week. and as i mentioned above, poop gets sprayed off the diapers and into the toilet... so i don't have any poop in my washing machine.

and by the way, because of all the rinse cycles and enzyme detergents and hothothot water, hannah's diapers are probably the cleanest things in our house. underwear doesn't get thrown away every time it's worn, but i guarantee your panties are not as clean as my daughter's diapers.

4. cloth diapering is too expensive. yes, cloth diapering is expensive... but disposables are more so. consider a sample diapering outlay over the past two and a half years, assuming 8 diaper changes per day:

- 6 small gdiapers at $17 each (new) - $102
- 10 medium gdiapers at $17 each (new) - $170
- 10 large gdiapers at $17 each (new) - $170
- 40 homemade soakers at $1.79 each - $72
- 30 cloth wipes at $12 per set of 10 - $36
- 2 diaper pail liners at $12 each - $24
- 2 wet bags at $12 per set of 2 - $12
- detergent, electricity, gas, and water usage for one additional load per week for 2.5 years - $75
total diapering cost - $661

this can be greatly reduced even by buying diapers used, if you're so inclined. for example, if you purchased all your gdiapers used at $10 each (instead of $17), your total diapering cost would drop to $479.

compare that to disposable diapers for 2.5 years, averaging 32 diapers per package (smaller size diapers have up to 40 per package, larger sizes around 27) and 70 wipes per package:

- 91 packages of diapers per year (8 changes per day = one package used every 4 days) at $9 per package (times 2.5 years) - $2,050
- 45 packages of wipes per year (one package used every 8 days) at $4.49 per package (times 2.5 years) - $505
- 10 boxes of diaper pail refill liners at $14.99 per box - $150
- waste disposal service increase at $5 per month for 2.5 years - $150
total diapering cost - $2,855

when we have a second child, our total diapering cost for that second child will be... $75. all we will have to pay to diaper our second child will be to run our washer and dryer, because we don't have to buy diapers, wipes, or diaper pail liners. if we had a second child in disposables, we would have to pay $2,855 again over the diapering life of the child.

additionally, i can resell my cloth diapers when we are finished with them. if i resold them all for only $8 each (half of the cost new), i'd make back $260. my total diapering cost for two children would have been my $661 initial outlay + $75 for my second child - $208 resale value recouped = $528.

you can't resell a used disposable diaper.

is all this enough to convince you to use cloth diapers? if cleanliness, ease of use, sanitary-ness, and cost savings aren't enough to convince you, i'll give you a few more reasons tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

garden lessons

what i have learned in this summer of gardening:

- gardening is supremely frustrating. i have harvested exactly two tiny zucchinis and had to replant my indeterminate tomatoes twice before giving up and buying transplants that (finally) actually grew.
- one square of basil from seed (last year) is too little. four squares from transplants is an overabundance. next year: two squares, from transplants.
- also, four squares of lettuce is an overabundance. this fall: two.
- but there's nothing like fresh arugula.
- peas don't like heat. or something. mine all died.
- strawberries send out a lot of runners and take over. i think i'm going to build this.
- on that note, cucumbers also grow a.ton. next year, this.
- don't forget to label your garden, lest you forget what you planted. what i assumed was broccoli i discovered (too late) was actually cabbage.
- two squares of swiss chard is WAY too much. pulling up the second square was totally worth it.
- no need for two kinds of parsley. definite need for marjoram and tarragon.
- beans need to be trellised like crazy. WOW those suckers can grow. also, "pole" beans is a misnomer.
- corn was pretty much a waste of time.
- onions were totally worth it. so much so that they may get a (new) dedicated bed.
- tomato hornworms are pretty much the.most.vile.bug.ever. like, ever. (fortunately, they can be organically controlled with Btk. ON MY SHOPPING LIST.)
- sage pesto? amazing.
- also amazing: fresh tomatoes macerated in fresh chopped basil, chopped garlic, a spinkle of salt, and a dizzle of olive oil.
- best memories ever: working in the garden with my daughter, teaching her about plants, hunting for strawberries with her, and watching her savor a tomato fresh off the vine while juice and seeds run down her chin.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

how to recover a g waistband

we love gdiapers here at our house. hannah has been in them for well over two years, since she was 3 months old. they're a wonderfully versatile, an amazing company, and ridiculously cute. one of the things i love the most is how well they lend themselves to customization. one fun way to customize a gdiaper is to recover the waistband. this is also a great way to revitalize an otherwise sad, faded little gpant.

disclaimer: there are probably seven different methods to arrive at the same result (a covered waistband), so i apologize if mine is a bit roundabout and tricky. if you know of a faster, easier way to do this please let me know!

you will need one little gpant in whatever size your little one is wearing at the moment. you will also need ¼ to ½ yard of quilter's cotton in your choice of prints to match your little gpant. the amount of fabric you will need depends on the direction of you print (if any) and whether you need to center it or not. prewash your fabric, then cut two strips 3½" wide. one strip will be as long as the front elastic waistband plus ½"; the other will be as long as the back elastic waistband plus ½". using a seam ripper, remove the velcro and snap tabs from the waistband and set them aside. (i didn't keep the hook part of my velcro because it was in bad shape and i was replacing it with new, but normally you would keep the hook side as well.) you will be using ¼" seam allowances.

fold your diaper in half, and fold your fabric strips in half the short way. line up the folds and mark with a pin the point at which the diaper body ends.

fold the fabric strip in half the long way and pin; you will sew the fabric strip together, leaving open between the pins (where the body of the diaper will be).

sew the strip, then clip corners and turn it right-side out and press.

turn it back inside-out and pin in place along the inside of the diaper, with the ¼" seam allowance along the waistband. on the back of the diaper, slip two of the snap tabs between the fabric and the diaper. sew the fabric in place along the bottom of the waistband, stitching over the end of the snap tabs (make sure the snap tabs stay free so you can snap in your gpouch). turn it back right-side out, tucking the waistband elastic into the fabric tube, and press the seam flat.

smooth the fabric flat against the waistband so there is no excess on either side of the elastic, then pin in place along the outside of the diaper.

carefully topstitch the fabric opening closed along the body of the diaper, making sure the edge of the waistband is covered.

you're done! oh wait, you're not. sew the velcro back on, and your other two (front) snap tabs. if you're like me and forgot to sew the back snap tabs on when you did the fabric waistband, sew them on now. the hook side of the velcro goes toward the edge of the waistband, and the loop side goes toward the middle.

NOW you're done!

on this one, i actually wasn't done... i appliqued a monster face (copied from hobbymamma) onto the bum of the diaper also. (please excuse the teeth... i need to make love to my seam ripper and redo them, but i don't have the energy right now.)

happy halloween!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

project roundup, or where in the world have i been?

...which is kind of like playing where in the world is carmen sandiego?, only not nearly as fun.

i have a toddler now [holy moly, she is a toddler!] which means i'm basically working 24/7 and just not getting paid for it - except in kisses and cuddles, which makes up for it emotionally but does not buy groceries. my etsy shop is also not really buying groceries, because i'm not getting nearly that many sales - but i'm getting enough to keep me busy in the meantime. i've also become addicted to pinterest, which is becoming my new source of inspiration. one of my favorite pins is a blurb that says MORE IDEAS THAN TIME which has always been my life but is even more so now that i have pinterest. i built a second garden bed and planted it all up and now my kiddo steals strawberries whenever she has a chance. i'm also an occasional guest blogger over at public service beauty.

i made a quilt last fall for a friend's wedding, another log cabin quilt. this time i set it in a chevron pattern that i thought *i* would not really like (but hey, it's not about me) but surprisingly, i loved it.

then we came into a king-size box spring for free, so i found a bedframe on freecycle and rebuilt our bed. we had always had a slat-frame bed from ikea (no box spring needed), but i realized a year or so ago that ikea only sells eastern king-size beds... and we have a cal king mattress. no wonder the mattress was always tight and didn't quite fit perfectly. we didn't want to ditch the footboard and the mattress was 14 inches higher than it had been thanks to the extra-deep box spring... so i took it apart and "salvaged" what i could. i needed to mount the footboard onto the mounting brackets on the bedframe, which meant the headboard had to stand alone somehow - so i mounted it to the wall, with a couple 2x4s behind it so it wouldn't be set right up against the wall and look hotel-y. then, because we no longer had siderails on the bed, the comforter didn't come down far enough to conceal the sheets, so i made a new quilt.

hannah's gotten some new clothes, although i haven't done much sewing for myself lately. it's just so fun to sew kiddo things. i did make my dress for my sister's wedding last fall - i was the maid of honor and we wore dresses in the same color but all got to choose our own style. i couldn't find a dress i liked, so i designed one myself, drafted the pattern, and sewed it up... only to be told that it was slightly the wrong color (natural/ecru instead of champagne/blush). i was set to make another dress in fabric the correct color (i could have sworn i had the right color the first time, but i guess not) but thought i'd make a last-ditch effort and dye it. i'd never dyed anything before - but thank the good Lord, it worked beautifully and perfectly.

i used a polyester shantung, which i was concerned about being too sticky and hot so i lined it with unbleached muslin. i love muslin for just about everything, especially lining - it just washes up so soft and light and comfortable and is so inexpensive. [if i had known in the first place that i was getting the wrong color fabric, i would have gone with a silk duipioni, but oh well.] the muslin gave the shantung some needed body - without it, it would have just hung unflatteringly and shown every little lump and bump, and even two years post-baby there are still quite a few, unfortunately. the muslin provided a little bit of structure, and the empire waist and a-line skirt camoflaged other imperfections. i ended up making my own piping for under the bodice as well - ridiculously simple and such a nice touch. the neckline came out a bit low for my taste, but ohh well - i didn't feel like redoing it and it wasn't scandalous, SO.

i promise to be better about blogging from here on out! i have a fun tutorial up my sleeve too, courtesy of clothkeeper fabrics - you should definitely check out her shop! (rachel happens to be married to a high school friend, but still - gorgeous designer fabrics!) i'm pretty excited because i don't know that i've actually ever sewn with designer fabric, and what i'll be making will be SUPER cute, easy, and perfect for summer. AND, it's a big-girl thing - not for kiddos (unless your kiddos are big, of course) - so i can be a little selfish! yay!