Monday, August 29, 2011

By the time he learns to talk, my babe will be able to tell people he's had work done.

So, my sweet little babe has the most darling grin, and this is partly because he was born with a mild cleft lip. Fortunately, his palate is completely normal, so it hasn't been a problem. However, we want to make sure we do all in our power to give him the best shot at life that we can, so this week he is going in for surgery.

I'm going to miss that crooked little grin!

Reporting on the cloth diapers

All right . . . so it's been more than a week. But I have been true to my promise to give the cloth diapers a fair shake. And the verdict is . . .

Now if I told you that already, you wouldn't read the rest of this post.

My main concerns about cloth diapering before actually using them were as follows:

  • Cloth diapers are bulkier. Would my baby's bottom look as cute and still fit in his clothes with cloth diapers?
  • The smell--would my neighbors start complaining?
  • Doubling my laundry duty
  • The time involved in putting on and taking off cloth diapers
So, here is what I found:

Bulk. Yes, Isaac has a bigger booty with the cloth, but surprisingly, he still fits into his clothes--even the ones he is growing out of. I suppose baby clothes are built for expansion.

Smell. The wet diapers don't smell funny to me or Sam (and Sam has a much better sniffer than do I). When I have a soiled diaper, I just throw them all into the washing machine and wash a load. This works well for me, since Isaac poops about once every 2-3 days. If you have a frequent pooper on your hands, you may want to reconsider before using cloth diapers.

Laundry. We have the most amazing washer and dryer. They are so good that I actually look forward to doing laundry. Also, Isaac's bedroom (which is also our bathroom) is literally two steps away from our washer/dryer. This makes diaper laundry VERY convenient. I run a cold rinse, then wash the diapers with detergent in the sanitize cycle, and throw them in the dryer. When done, I just stack them in piles and toss them into my plastic diaper box. It probably takes about 10 minutes total. If you are considering cloth diapering, I recommend a high-efficiency machine. We have a Samsung washer/dryer, and we LOVE it.

Extra time changing diapers. It takes 30-60 seconds longer to change a cloth diaper because you've got to pull out the absorbent lining, put the used diaper in the wetbag, pull out a fresh diaper and lining, insert the lining, and snap the diaper into place. However, I discovered that I'm not generally in a big hurry when changing diapers, so I don't mind the extra time singing and talking to my baby while changing him. Isaac doesn't mind the extra attention, either.

Here are a few things I wasn't expecting that I found when using cloth diapers:
  • Not as absorbent. So, I'd be lying if I didn't say that more than once, I have realized I waited too long to change a diaper when I felt my lap getting wet. I'd say he needs a change every 3 hours. For this reason, I put the babe in a disposable diaper at night.
  • Soiled diapers. I'm going to be honest: they aren't my favorite. And in the process of removing the diaper lining, I may have gotten a little poop on my fingers from time to time . . . fortunately, Isaac's changing table doubles as the bathroom countertop/sink.
So, the conclusion? Well, I have to admit that they aren't as convenient as disposables. But they're really not that much more inconvenient either. I would say that I have a mild preference for disposables. But, since I have already invested in the cloth diapers, I may as well get my money's worth out of them and do the planet a favor while I'm at it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My first tutorial: Sew a Quiet Book Cover

I LOVE tutorials!! I can't tell you how many amazing tutorials I've found on other blogs and benefited from. So, I suppose it was a matter of time before I would actually do one.

There are some ladies in my ward (congregation) who are making quiet books, so this one is a quiet book cover for them. Here's an example of a cover I've done:

If you're up to the challenge, keep reading!


  • 13 inches of cotton print fabric. If you are ambitious, you can piece your own fabric together to make a cute, pieced-quilt look, but we will not cover that in today's blog.

  • Matching thread

  • 36 inches matching ribbon

  • Quilt batting, such as warm & natural or Pellon (I have always used Warm & Natural, but in this tutorial, we used some sold by Pellon (in the interfacing section by the cutting tables) and it worked great. You need two 9" by 11" rectangles of this stuff--not much!
1. Square up your fabric. This makes sure your edges are clean and the fabric doesn't get sewn crooked.

2. Cut four 10" by 12" rectangles of fabric. If you cut every ten inches, you will be able to fit four along your strip of fabric.

So you cut every ten inches here . .

And then cut at twelve inches here.

3. Next, take two pieces of fabric and put them right sides together. Now comes the tricky part (especially tricky because I don't have great pictures of this. Sorry!) Take your ribbon and cut it into two 18" pieces. Lay your ribbon across your quiet book, between your two layers of fabric, with one end of the ribbon just poking out of one side and the other end curled up inside between the two layers. I like to put my ribbon about 1/3 of the way down the page, and this also conveniently avoids any complications with the hole you will later punch through your quiet book, but you can put the ribbon smack halfway down the page (as shown in these photos) if you want to.

Now you are going to sew around the edge of the fabric, using a 1/2" seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning and end, leaving a gap in one of the longer sides of about 2.5 inches. Do the same with your other two pieces of fabric.

Here is what it should look like when you finish sewing. Note the little ribbon sticking out of the right side and the other end of the ribbon sticking through the gap.

4. Trim the corners on the diagonal, as shown. You want to get close to your stitching, but don't cut into the stitch. This is going to make your finished corners lay much nicer when you pop everything right-side out.

5. Lay your batting on top of your fabric.

6. Next, you are going to squeeze everything through your little gap and pop it all right-side out. You can reach into the gap to smooth out your batting inside.

You can also reach inside with a scissors and use the tip of the scissors to push the corners out so you get them nice and pointy. A small scissors works best.

7. Now iron everything down. Make sure when you iron that you've pushed the fabric all the way out to the seams; not sure if that makes sense, but maybe it will when you try ironing? In the spot where you have your gap, you will just try to make the edges as even as possible. Pin the edges where the gap is into place before you start the next step.

8. Next, you want to pull your ribbon across the front of your quiet book cover and pin it in place at the other edge, then sew across the page on the ribbon. This will make sure your ribbon holds strong during the many times your book gets tied and untied.

In case you forgot how to sew, here is a photo of sewing the ribbon on. It's easier to aim if you center your needle in the middle of the presser foot.

9. Get excited, because you are nearly finished!!

10. Finish your quiet book cover by topstitching around the edge of the cover, using a 1/4" seam allowance. Again, if you're ambitious, you could sew some fun patterns onto the cover to give it a cute, quilted look, but it's not necessary.

And now you have a lovely quiet book cover to go with your quiet book!

PS--You will use the same technique to sew the pages in your quiet book together. Before you sew the pages, just take off all of the removable parts and use pins to pin anything down that might get in the way. Then sew around your pages, leaving a 1/2" seam allowance and a gap on the side. Trim the corners, pop the pages right side out, and topstitch with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Next, you will want to do will be to put reinforced holes along the edges of your quiet book pages. You can do this by purchasing a little metal eyelet kit and punching eyelets in your page. Or, another alternative is to sew the eyelets in if your sewing machine has an eyelet function. OR you could sew small button holes into your pages. To figure out where to put the holes, I just used a sheet of paper punched with a three-hole punch as a template.

You can buy the little rings that hold your book together at an office supplies store. I could never find them in packages smaller than 15, so you might want to share with a friend, since you really only need three.

That's it. Now go and enjoy your quiet books (or at least enjoy watching your kids enjoy them)!

Homemade Baby Food and Cloth Diapers--just like Mom

I don't remember my mother ever having store-bought baby food in the house. I'm not saying she NEVER used a jar of baby food, but . . . I'm not saying she ever did either. What I do remember is that she had a little food grinder that she used to grind up green peas and feed them to my little sister. Maybe that's why I just can't imagine buying baby food in a jar at the store.

So, my sweet babe is four months old, and I'm anticipating the adventure of solid food (although the adventure won't begin for another six weeks or so). Here is a photo of him, simply because every post needs a photo:

Anyway, I got started reading all of the do's and don'ts of baby feeding, and I'll admit it: I got overwhelmed! I started looking for a good resource and some good recipes for the ambitious cook-it-yourself babyfood mom, and I came across this great website: and found a wealth of information, as well as some simple recipes to make for your wee one (I just saw 17 Miracles last weekend, and now I want to call him my wee one!). So check it out!

But back to Mom . . . Yes, she used disposable diapers on my two younger sisters, but the first three kids (including me) wore nothing but the finest birdseye prefolds. (Maybe this explains why I was toilet trained at 18 months?) So, when I was expecting, I'm not sure what came over me; but I had the desire to go out and buy some cloth diapers. Not the same ones I wore as a baby, but some fancy schmancy Fuzzibunz diapers. . .

And there they sat nicely in the cupboard . . . UNTIL NOW!

Today I broke out the Fuzzibunz. I'm determined to give them my best shot for a week, and then report on my trial run. Cloth diapers, here we come!