Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby Love

Just when I thought I couldn't be happier, along comes Callum Stephen.

Welcome to our family, little man. We love you so much!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Today's Forecast: Sunny with No Sign of Baby

Well since Junior Mint is not showing up any time soon, I thought I'd finally show you the cradle we have waiting for him. Maybe he'll see it and be tempted to come try it out.

This beautiful cradle was made for my Aunty Shelly by a wonderful and talented family friend, Mr. Klemmer, who has since passed on.

She gave it to us to use for our baby boy. I hope to pass it on to other members of the family who will appreciate it for it's beauty and sentimental value.

After 30 years in storage it's still in beautiful condition. It needed a new mattress and a screw tightened but it's of such quality that other than a clean, it was in perfect shape.

I proceeded to make a mattress cover, sheets, bumper and baby quilt for it. All with the idea that they would get passed on with the cradle to the next baby in line.

I cried when she offered it to us, I cried when I finished putting it all together. I'm pretty sure I'll cry when I see him in it. It's that kind of love that goes into such an heirloom.

Happy Friday everyone, M

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Preserve University

This year has been a lot of learning for me. I don't expect it to slow down anytime soon, what with Baby Boy on the way. Oh, by the way, I'm still pregnant and today is the "official" due date.

My study for the day is about making jelly. This one is a Ginger Zucchini Marmalade.

By the time I got them in the canner on the stove, I also made Easy Marmalade with the leftover oranges, lemons, limes, apples and a little pineapple thrown in.

The yield for the day was six 500ml jars of amber deliciousness.

All this learning came from Bernardin "Complete Book of Home Preserving" , a book I picked up a couple of months ago. I'm hoping to have a bigger garden next year and I really wanted to learn how to preserve the produce. Today was a successful lesson!

Happy Tuesday, M

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Dish On Diapers

I'm an advocate of cloth diapering. Disposables are simply not an option for our house. It just fits in line with a lot of the other choices we've made around here - green cleaning products, high-efficiency appliances, composting, etc. And now cloth diapers.

With that in mind, the last time I put a cloth diaper on someone would have been around 1976 - my little brother. But in 1976, diapers were panels of flannel folded and pinned and covered with rubber pants. Surely something must have changed by 2009. But where to start?

An answer came to me in the form of a free information night at one of the local libraries, "Eco Baby." It's where I met my friend, Kim, of Clothology, she's the local cloth diapering guru. Not only does she carry all kinds of different brands/styles in her online store, she also gives parents support on how to clean and care for them, which ones will suit baby's body type, how to adjust for the different stages of baby's development, and on and on. In short, she's a cloth diapering wonder and the reason I feel so well prepared today.

After a few sessions with Kim and a visit to her local store, I selected several diapers that we felt would cover a lot of the issues that baby might encounter. (I also discovered many styles of baby carriers - but that's a post for another day!)

As a seamstress, I knew I also had the ability to add to my stash if I could find a pattern/style that I felt I could work with - both in making them and in using them. Kim's information and support started me on my search for what I needed in this area, too.

Some online research brought me to the pattern for Rita's Rump Pockets. Seriously cute name for a rather versatile but not complicated diaper.

I used white flannel inside (that I got on sale for $4.99 for 2 metres, Score!)

And I used colourful, fun flannel in boy themes on the outside.

I made twenty of these in total, to supplement my brand name diaper stash, and I now have about 50 cloth diapers altogether, in varying sizes. With the average newborn using 10-12 diapers a day, this means I don't have to wash daily but can stretch things out to every third day and still have room to breathe. Whew!

This style of diaper is called a pocket diaper, as you can see below, because you insert absorbant layers inside, depending on what you will need.

For a heavy overnight wetter, for example, a large microfibre insert might be the best thing to soak up all the urine. A tiny newborn might only need a small pad-shaped insert for daytime use. Like I said, versatile.

We have accumulated a pile of inserts of varying sizes and absorbancies, too, to make sure we can keep up with whatever the little guy is going to need. (Keep in mind that microfibre should not stay in direct contact with baby's skin for very long as it's so absorbant it will dry his skin out in a very short time. Much better as an insert in a pocket diaper!)

So that's my story on cloth diapers. Now if baby would just come on out, we could figure out if I actually remember how to install the things!

Happy Friday, M

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Home Made Baby Toiletries

Yes, I know I have some "extra" time on my hands to take on projects these days but this stuff is so, so easy, I simply had to share it. I know some mothers of toddlers are shaking their heads right now going "Huh?"

Baby Powder:

500g of cornstarch = $0.91

10 ml of lavender essential oil = $2.50

Protecting and soothing baby's bottom with non-toxic powder = priceless.

Put the cornstarch in a sealable bag, add lavender oil drop by drop, shake the bag whenever you pass it on the counter, let cure for four days.

Get a dollar store shaker with large openings and hey, presto! Non-toxic baby powder in a dispenser!

Diaper Creme

In a double boiler set up, melt a couple of tablespoons of beeswax in a 1/2 cup of sweet almond oil.

Add a capful of vitamin E (about two capsules if you're using those instead) and 10 drops of lavender oil.

Pour into a clean container that can take the heat.

Let cool and solidify (I put mine in the fridge for a day) and seal. Store it in a cool dry place until you need it.

Even if you do both of these things at once, the "cooking" takes less than 20 minutes. And there's enough of both to last quite a while. So why not give it a try? It's better than risking all the stuff they put into commercial products these days. (For more information on toxins in baby products, start here.)

These recipes are inspired by my time owning a book called Skin Deep. It's not in print anymore but you can still get it used. I've had mine for many years and pull it out when I'm feeling inspired. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew it was coming out again. :)

Other tips for preparation? If you're like our house, you'll find these recipes much easier to do if you have help in the kitchen, like I did.

Well, "help" might be a bit of a strong word. :)

Happy cooking, M

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Finishing Up Stuff

I've been in the mood for finishing things lately. Hmmm, wonder why that might be? The nesting instinct is way stronger than anybody tells you. lol

None the less, here are a couple of things that got finished lately.

A crib blanket with a Noah's Ark theme on one side and wild animals on the other. All free-motion quilted to make lots of bubbles on it.

I finally got the binding done on the pumpkin table runner I started last autumn. Guess I can dress the table for fall now.

Oh, and we got the stroller put together. Sailor Moon Kitten says "You aren't leaving me behind when this baby arrives!"

I suspect there will be more baby items posted this week as he doesn't feel like he's in any rush to come out and meet us. We're off to an ultrasound this afternoon to check his position. In the mean time, maybe I'll get some more things finished up!

Happy Wednesday, M

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Creation Comes In All Forms

Still here and still pregnant. But still puttering around the house.

Some of my freezer stock - pumpkin muffins and corn bread.

Another pretty baby blanket - came from a kit from the LQS - I think it's called Day At The Beach. (My apologies to the creators if it's something else!)

David pretending he's a Sears model to show off some of the back - which I pieced from leftovers.

And Stella saying "No pictures please. I'm too important to be captured!"

I seriously love my life!

Happy crafting! M

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Nope, No Baby Yet

Sorry to leave you all hanging like that. I'm sure everyone was starting to think we were in the midst of that new baby smell around here. But nothing yet.

He's due in another two weeks so we could be at this for another four if he decides to delay his entrance. But I'm okay with that now - since I read that it's good for brain development for them to stay in as long as they want. Within reason. :P

I have been very busy - baking bread, filling the freezer with all kinds of goodness so we don't have to cook for a while, learning to make jams and preserves, sewing up a gazillion diapers, and on and on. All stuff I thought would make pretty boring blog posts.

Also, I figured if I only have so much energy on any given day, which is true, then I'd rather be doing these things than snapping pix and posting about them. So the days have been scheduled thusly - bake bread and muffins, have two hour nap, sew two diapers, have one hour nap, make supper, sit on couch in stupor until bed time at 8pm. Lather, rinse, repeat. Such an exciting life. lol

Hope you're all having a craft October, maybe squeezing in a little Halloween prep.

Happy crafting, M