Thursday, April 28, 2011

Homemade Toothpaste!

Homemade toothpaste has been on my "Things to Try" list for a while, so I'm glad I finally did it!

I used this recipe, except that I omitted the stevia. I really like it, although you do have to get used to having no foam. I used the smaller amount of essential oils, and think it has a nice mild flavor. The recipe fit perfectly in a 3 oz. travel squirt bottle, which makes applying it to your toothbrush easy and mess-free!

I liked that the only special thing I had to buy for it was the xylitol, and I now have enough to make quite a bit more. I think that the cost probably works out to be cheaper than the toothpaste I was buying.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Tree!

A tree isn't really what you think of when you think of container gardening on an apartment balcony, but when I saw that Lowe's was giving away free trees, I thought it sounded like fun! I suppose it's not really free when you have to buy a pot to put it in, but I'm justifying it since I wanted another wooden container for the balcony anyway! =)

We made a family morning of it by picking up the tree and supplies, then going out for doughnuts!

When we came home Benjamin and Joanna helped me plant it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Some Crocheting...

As much as I love handmade items, somehow I've never really liked handmade dish clothes (even though I wanted to). I have always felt they were too bulky to use very effectively. My inexpensive store-bought ones worked much better for me. After nearly five years of use, though, they were starting to get quite worn out and several of them have found their way to my rag pile. I needed some new ones, but hated to have to go buy more. I had some cotton yarn on hand, so I decided to give crocheted dish clothes another chance. I decided to make them smaller than usual, hoping that would cut down on the bulkiness.

They turned out about 6" square, made with a double crochet so they were a looser weave and not too thick.

When I tested the first one...I was pleasantly surprised - I really like it! The smaller size was perfect! Since it was quick to make (perfect for doing while watching a movie), I made a few more, and my dish cloth stash is back to normal size!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Diaper Covers!

I'm a cheap cloth-diaperer. Although there are lots of fancy (and expensive) cloth diapers out there, I stick with the very inexpensive prefolds - and love them! I also use the most inexpensive diaper covers - Gerber plastic pants. They work really well and I really like them, but the plastic they use nowadays is not what it used to be. The large size I purchased for Benjamin barely lasted a year. I managed to patch them together enough to last until he started potty training, but I was going to need to get new ones for Joanna. Because they didn't last as long as I would have liked, I looked into some other options, but I didn't find anything that fit my needs. Then I discovered that my local fabric store carried PUL fabric - so I decided to try making my own! I first tried this pattern, which worked fine, but wasn't quite the fit I wanted. So I ended up cutting open a pair of the Gerber pants and using that for my pattern, which worked beautifully! I purchased the material with a coupon, and made eight covers for about the same cost as the Gerber ones.

I am loving these covers! They fit well, work wonderfully and the fabric feels really nice and soft compared to plastic (and they don't crinkle)! Now I'll just have to wait and see how long they last! =)

More Projects!

I've come to realize over the past few days that sewing has lately been my version of "nesting". Some women feel the urge to deep clean their home as time for baby draws near; as for me, I've been sewing with a vengence. Despite having plenty that I could (and probably should) be doing, it seems that almost everyday I think of a new little project I just "have" to do! I think it must have something to do with the feeling that I won't have much time for sewing for a while after the baby is born. So, I've managed to squeeze in lots of little projects here and there in my days.

Here's a peek at some of the other projects I've finished:

A large, lightweight swaddling blanket for baby.

A new tote bag; I've been wanting one of these since making one for my sister-in-law last summer!

Two of these changing pads, one for a gift and one to possibly sell....?

Two baby toys/teethers.

And I keep feeling like I need to make something else! =)

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Carrier!

Although I love the idea having a baby in a carrier, I didn't do it much with either Benjamin or Joanna. I have an older Snugli carrier that hurts my back and neck after about 15 minutes of use, so although I used it some, I often avoided it. I made a sling, which was somewhat useful for a very new baby, or an older baby that could sit up, but it too wasn't comfortable for long, so that didn't see a whole lot of use, either. I typically have just used a stroller with Benjamin and Joanna, which has been fine since we have a double. But I can see myself needing a carrier a lot more with this new baby, as I'm sure much of the time it will still be helpful to have Benjamin in the stroller. But for that to work I needed something that was better at distributing some of the weight off my neck and shoulders.

Everyone raves about Ergo carriers, but the high price tag was prohibitive. When Tammy of Tammy's Recipes mentioned that she liked her handmade Mei Tai carrier just as well as her Ergo, I was instantly intrigued! I did a little research, found a variety of patterns, and tried my hand at it! I ended up using this pattern, which was more involved than some, but I liked the very finished, professional look it had.

For the most part I liked how it turned out. I did think the straps turned out too wide - almost a little overwhelming on me. But I like that it can be used a variety of ways, including on your back, which is how I tested it with Joanna. I haven't really had an opportunity to use it for very long, but I left Joanna in it for a little while, and was pleased with how comfortable it seemed. I do think it will work better than either of the carriers I have now and am looking forward to trying it out more. If I do really like it, I may try making another one, with thinner straps and perhaps with no hood.