Batman

Turbo as the Dark KnightHalloween is nearly here!  I’ve managed to create a costume which transforms my son into Batman, the Dark Knight.  We used a freezer paper stencil to paint the Dark Knight emblem on a black long sleeve t-shirt.  For the color I mixed black with a little silver paint so the design would show.  My son painted his shirt and I helped smooth out the inconsistencies.  I made him felt gauntlets.  The black gloves he picked out from REI this summer are the perfect touch.  I used Simplicity pattern 5927 as a guide to sew the cape.  I wanted larger scallops at the bottom of his cape so I used a large dinner plate to draw them out with a white crayon.  I used 4 yards of costume weight satin and sewed the shiny sides to the inside.  There was no way I was going to hem that much satin. I had to improvise on the cape collar.  Turbo let me know velcro was not his desired closure method so I got to use my new KAMsnaps pliers and snaps.  For the utility belt, I used a large 2″ buckle from JoAnn’s with 2″ black nylon webbing.  We used Blackberry cases to hold his gear.  I know Batman’s utility belt is a sort of gold color.  I tried to come up with something sort of gold and debated about spray painting it, but I think in the end it works just fine being black.  To finish the look we bought a Batman mask that came with a batarang.  The mask set a little too deep on my son.  I glued old bike helmet pads in the mask  to keep the plastic around the eye sockets from leaving marks.  Turbo loves his costume.  As soon as it’s on him his demeanor changes, and he becomes the Dark Knight.

Dark Knight on the move

Why I started cloth diapering

I can’t remember when I started thinking I would like to try cloth diapers.  I have a marvelous way of over thinking and never doing.  My friend added me to a cloth diaper group on Facebook in April.  In early June I was visiting my sister and we were hanging out one night.  I was doing a fantastic job talking about cloth diapers.  We covered prefolds, fitteds, all in ones, and why I thought pockets would work best for my baby who doesn’t lay still for diaper changes.  (I still hadn’t tried cloth yet.)  I started musing and crunching numbers while we were talking.  We go through 10 diapers a day.  My daughter is a pee machine, she likes to poop as soon as I change her, and I have an OCD like tendency to change her diapers as soon as they are wet.  Everyday I was taking a plastic grocery sack full of diapers out to the garbage can.  It is $0.25 for each size 5 Kirkland diaper.  That is $2.50 a day, $75 a month, $912.5 a year that we spend on diapers.

My first cloth diaper purchase, 2 Just Simply Baby Pocket diapers!Later that week, Buckwheat Bottoms, a local mom run cloth diaper store, ran a special on Just Simply Baby pocket diapers.  I bought two.  If I used one cloth diaper a day it would be paid for in 40 days.  And I figured if I only used one a day then I could avoid washing poopy diapers.  Even though I flush the solid poop from paper diapers, I don’t put any effort to scraping the smooshed stuff out.  I was confident I could do my experiment and pay for my two diapers.  I challenged myself to put Lil’ in at least one cloth diaper a day for a month.

Then something unexpected happened.  Well, not totally unexpected, but it caught me off guard.  After I changed my daughter into her first clean cloth diaper, she pooped; right away.  Remember what I said?  Yes, she prefers to poop in a clean diaper.  Figures!  As I cleaned that poopy diaper in the toilette, sometimes thinking ‘I am going to be sick’ and other times thinking ‘this isn’t so bad,’ it occurred to me that ‘I can do this.’

I went back to Buckwheat Bottoms and bought two more pocket diapers.  I was nervous about my long term commitment, but excited and confident that I would continue my month long challenge of using at least one cloth diaper a day.  I found something to wash everyday so I could clean my diapers and have them ready for the next day of use.

I started this crazy endeavor on June 18.  I passed my monthly challenge with flying colors.  I celebrated by purchasing 6 gently used Rumparooz and two Kissa Pocket Trainers.  I even splurged on a Flip Trainer.  A friend brought over some of her stash for me to use until her little grows into it which has given me a chance to try different pockets, covers, and fitteds.  At the beginning of this month, JSB ran an overstock special and I picked up 3 more diapers with inserts for a super deal.  August 5th Lil’ spent the whole day in cloth.  I used one paper diaper as her second night time diaper.  I’ve continued using cloth all day with one paper diaper at night.  Last night I put her in cloth as her second night time diaper.  It’s been over 24 hours since I put her in a paper diaper.  I wonder how long I can keep her going in cloth.

I have spent $200 on cloth diapers.  If I can go two and a half months without using paper, I’ll have paid for my current cloth diaper purchases.  My daughter will be in diapers for at least that much longer.  (I should have kept better track of how often I have used the diapers since I started.)  When Lil’ is potty trained, I can sell my diapers or donate them to a mom who cannot afford to buy diapers.

Why did I start cloth diapering?  It’s something I wanted to try.  They are super cute.  I feel good not throwing away a bag of diapers everyday.  I’m going to save money.  But most of all, I can do this!

Fabric Bunting!

I was wondering if I would have the energy to make fabric bunting for my Little’s first birthday.  I started cruising through Etsy to see if I could find some that I wanted to buy.  I found several floral, vintage themed ones I wanted to buy.  The more I looked, the more I wanted, the more I knew I had to make some.  For the price of two I could make 5 longer banners with larger flags.  I was blessed with a friend who brought her bunting by.  I immediately hung them in my living room for inspiration.  They made me smile every time I looked at them.  Thank you friend!

I remembered reading on Joy’s Hope about her vintage sheet supplier.  I fell in love with the beautiful vintage floral prints.  My Grandmother had several of the sheets listed.  Desire got the best of me and I ordered more than I needed to make 5 banners plus a flat floral sheet to use for a table cloth!

Vintage sheet fat quarters

After cutting several pieces of paper in different dimensions, mulling it over with my sister, and staring at the bunting hanging in my front window, I finally cut 80 triangles, 9″ tall with a base of 8″.  The stack was beautiful and impressive!

80 8" wide 9" tall triangles from vintage sheets

Sewing them right side together in pairs went quickly.  When it came time to turn them I began to doubt myself.  They were not looking right.  Should I have sewn them wrong sides together and been done with it like this tutorial?  I turned a couple and was frustrated trying to iron them flat.  I made sure I was clipping my acute corner correctly.  I thought about it for at least a day.  Then the answer hit me.  I needed something to shove inside my sewn triangles so I could iron them well.  I cut a cardboard triangle from a cereal box to use.  It worked like a dream.  I could press forward with my creation.

cardboard triangle

I stitched around the edge of my triangles to add a special finished touch.

finished flags, ready for banner

All the fabric bunting I saw used double fold biased tape, like this one.  I’ve always loved grosgrain so I bought some when it was 50% off at Hobby Lobby and used it.  I only had enough to finish 4 banners.  I might try the biased tape on my last one and see how that looks.

my finished bunting

My sister hung the bunting for the party.  I wish I had taken pictures of her climbing the tree and up on her husband’s shoulders!

The party

Happy Birthday Little Girl.  I can’t believe you are one.  We love you!

Lil in front of the bunting

Fabric Party Hats

Fabric Party HatsLil’s first birthday is quickly approaching.  She puts everything in her mouth.  I wanted her to have a party hat she could chew on and I wouldn’t have to fish pieces of it from her mouth. I found a few tutorials for sewing fabric party hats.  One used interfacing, and the other used a serger.  I have a lowly Minimatic that is as old as I am.  I used the pattern from Jane of all Trades, and made my own mash of directions.

  1. I made a cereal box template from the Jane of all Trades pattern so I could sew these for everyone at the party if I acquire more Wonder Under and get some crazy burst of energy.
  2. Using the template, cut Wonder Under & reclaimed blue jeans to the pattern size.
  3. After ironing the Wonder Under to the wrong side of your top fabric, cut it out.
  4. You should only have 2 pieces now.  Put the right sides together.
  5. Pin the elastic where it was marked on the pattern.
    Pin Elastic
  6. Stitch nearly 1/2″ around the curved edge.  Back stitch over the elastic to make sure it’s secure.
  7. Remove the paper from the Wonder Under.  Otherwise you will be cursing as you try and pull the little papers from along the seam you snipped.
  8. Snip along the curved edge.  Every 1/2″ will do.  I tend to get a little carried away and snip more frequently.
  9. Turn your wrong sides together.
  10. Press according to the Wonder Under directions.  Damp cloth, 10 seconds, iron to dry it a bit.  Try not to iron the elastic.
  11. Make a cute ribbon pom for the top.
    ribbon pom
  12. Fold the hat in half with the outside fabric facing in.
  13. Place the pom in the tip of the hat, pointing toward the curved edge, upside down, pin.
    pom placement
  14. Stitch up the straight side.  Make sure to sew the pom in well.
    stitching up the hat, secure pom
  15. Turn the hat right side out and admire your handy work.  Press the seam to one side.  Give yourself lots of praise for how cute it turned out.
  16. Find your little and try it on them.  Tie a knot in the elastic because even though you measured it, it’s still too long.
    Lil in fabric party hat

These could be embellished and made super cute for an older crowd; think fuzzy boa stuff!  I’m keeping it simple for the 1 year old.  I’m still keeping my eye out for some cute ribbon to add detail along the bottom of the hat, but it’s pretty darn cute even without it.

V-day is coming

molded crayon heartsred crayon hearts in moldmolded crayon heartsI’ve been reading about making old crayons new and the cute valentines you can make with them. I finally picked up a heart shaped candy mold at JoAnn’s and knew I was close to actually melting crayons.  I followed the molded crayon tutorial at Homemade by Jill.  I’m super excited about how easy and fast this craft was.  I have a few notes to add.

  1. Use a sharp knife to cut through the length of the crayon wrapper.
    A commenter on the above post suggested this.  Do it! Do not wait until you’ve ripped the quick from under your nail trying to scrape the paper away from all the crayons.
  2. Keep the wax hot.
    I wasn’t pouring fast enough to fill the whole candy sheet before the wax started cooling.  Half way through I put my wax back in the water to heat it up again.  If you don’t keep the wax hot your crayons won’t be smooth and pretty.
  3. It’s Hot!
    Use a good hot pad or glove.
  4. Don’t worry about filling the molds completely to the top.
  5. If you go from light colors to dark, you really only need one, maybe 2 cans.
  6. When pouring, use your stirrer as a guide; like in chem lab.
  7. Let the crayons cool a bit, until they are not shiny, before you stick them in the freezer to speed cool them.  I did this so I wouldn’t slosh hot crayon wax everywhere.

molded crayon heartsWith the small heart mold I was using, the crayons were done fast.  After I stuck them in the freezer, it was less than 5 minutes.  By the time I was done unwrapping a few more crayons and melting them, I pulled the tray out of the freezer and the crayons fell out of the mold.  Then I was ready for the next batch.  My four year old didn’t loose interest until the 3rd batch.  He had fun breaking the crayons and was excited to tell his dad what he’d been up to. They make me so happy to look at.

My plan is to make square cards with an earth outline on one side and the words “you color my world.”  On the other some “happy valentine’s day from your friend.”  Or maybe I’ll incorporate Secret Agent Josephine’s B&W valentines. Combine that with tying them in tulle and I hope everyone will understand that they are born again crayons and not candy.

Water for Christmas

This morning when I got up, I took a quick, for me,  15 minute shower in clean drinkable water.  The USGS estimates that showers use 2.5 gallons of water a minute.  What a blessing it is to live where I can luxuriate* every morning in 40 gallons of clean drinkable water.

Water has been on my mind.  Joy’s Hope reminds me.  Whatever reminds me, and my facebook friends remind me.  I’ve been thinking a lot about water.

Water for Christmas.

Living Water International.

charity: water.

I cannot imagine having to walk more than a mile to collect 5 gallons of dirty water for my family to use for the whole day.  I cannot imagine.

Cannot fathom.

 

 

I have water, physical and living water. Thank you God.

Getting in the Holiday Spirit with Operation Christmas Child

shoebox goodnessI’m excited I got my shoebox packed for Operation Christmas Child.  I usually pack a shoebox, but this year I’ve been planning my shoebox for a long time.  I wanted to pack a shoebox full of embroidery floss for a 10-14 year old girl to make friendship bracelets.  I’ve been cleaning out my pack ratted away stuff and I used the shoebox from my wedding shoes.  I can’t even remember what used to be in there, but now it’s wrapped pretty and full of goodness for my girl.  It’s an extra special box.  All year long I’ve been collecting goods to donate to my church when they have their packing night.  I’ve got two paper boxes full of school supplies, clothing items, games, and toys I find on super sale through out the year.   I used a %40 off coupon to score my large package of embroidery floss.

Last weekend I started packing my box. I wanted to include some instructions on how to make various friendship bracelets.  I found several good instructions on the web; including a loom based friendship bracelet.  I really wanted to find how to make a box braid bracelet.  When I was young I had some friends who were whizzes at making them.  I had never figured it out before.  I was determined to figure it out and send my girl a bracelet that I had made.

finger loom box braid friendship braceletErin was able to clear up my confusion and set me straight on making my box braid bracelet.  The one photo that was missing from her tutorial was in the video she linked too, but I can’t really put an online video in my shoebox so I set about taking the critical shot.   It was an entertaining process and I used my gorilla pod to it’s full potential.  It’s not very exciting and you should have seen the look my husband gave me when I showed him.

I wanted my son to pack a box too.  Being 4 he was convinced he needed a shoebox.  I asked him if he’d like to trade his room for a shoebox.  He didn’t think that was a good idea but he still wasn’t ready to give away all those brand new toys to someone else.  He finally filled a box after watching me pack mine.  Hopefully he understands that some other little boy is going to love getting his shoebox full of cool cars.

Now that I have some boxes packed I’m lingering over the videos on the Samaritan’s Purse site.  I even reread Meg’s post on Whatever about her box packing to get in the spirit.  Shoe boxes full of goodness, spreading the gospel, doing God’s work.  It makes me smile and fills my heart with happy thoughts.  I can’t wait to pack more boxes at my church on Wednesday night.

This year in addition to paying for our boxes online so I can follow them, I’m going to write a letter to my girl.  It will be the first time I’ve actually written to my shoebox kid.  I pray when my box reaches my girl she loves it and it opens her heart to being saved by God’s grace.

blackout curtains

Nearly a year ago when it started getting nice out it was getting harder and harder to get our son to sleep.  We went on a search for kid’s blackout curtains.  We found some at Target, but they were not exactly what we were looking for.  I shopped JoAnn’s for fabric and didn’t find anything I liked until near the end of the summer.  I purchased the fabric and then found the perfect tutorial for making blackout tab top curtains!  The fabric has set in my closet in a bag since then; until today.  I’m washing the fabric, measuring the windows, and reading the instructions over and over again so I can finally get the curtains ready for this summer.

I purchased the fabric before I had a pattern, measured the windows, or knew exactly what I wanted to do.  I bought plenty of the cute leaf pattern for the curtains, but I only bought 2 yards of the cute contrasting owls.  I thought the owls would be too much as curtains.  My son loved the owls as soon as he saw them.  He was much more interested in them than the leaves.  I can’t blame him, they really are cute.  I figured JoAnn would be all sold out since nearly a year has past since I first purchased the fabric.  I called the store before I drove out there.  They still had the owl fabric, enough for me to make curtains and have some to play with!

scissors cutting fabricI was intimidated by the many long straight cuts I’d have to make to piece together the panels.  I found a technique that worked great for me.  We have laminate flooring so I cleared and cleaned a large area to work on.  I folded the fabric where I would need to cut.  I carefully measured the length of the fold and pinned it in place.  Then I pulled my scissors through keeping everything as even as possible.  It worked great!

I still need to finish the panel for the other window.  All the pieces are cut and the right color thread is in the machine.  I keep hoping I’ll get an energy boost before baby sister gets here.

Comfortable Pants

My little man has the scrawniest waist.  He’s three, 40 inches tall, and his waist is only 18 inches.  Finding pants that fit him is hard.  I snagged two shirts my husband was going to get rid of to turn into some soft pants for him.  I thought I could make a pattern from an existing pair of pants, but I had trouble with that.

Pattern on shirt fabricI used Butterick pattern B5510 Large and modified the pattern for pant D.  I cut out the large size, leaving extra length to the bottom of the pattern paper.  Then I took in the width, 1.5″ at the waist and 1.25″ at the cuff.  I was able to fit the pattern in the body of the shirt and use the existing hem for the cuffs; yea for less sewing!  Since I didn’t need to hem the pants, I lined up the bottom of the XL length on the pattern with the shirt hem.  Then I mostly followed the pattern directions.  I left out the elastic around the cuffs and the stripes down the side.

My son was excited to try on his new soft pants.  I am excited to move several pair of 24 month pants out of rotation; they were much too short!