Saving Money With Easy Cloth Diapers

I’ve been sewing away making larger diapers for baby J. He’s 25 pounds and five months old so squeezing his bottom into the medium diapers just isn’t working. The ones I’m making are double lined with a soaker in the middle. I use two layers of printed flannel and one layer of terry (I used one of my older towels).

This time around, I used a size 4 disposable diaper as the template for my pattern. I pinned the diaper to a piece of scrap fabric with the tabs out so that I could get a better fit. Once I cut the diaper pattern out, I had a really nice sized diaper. I really could only get about two or three per yard of fabric. Three was really pushing it but I was able to work it out. The most important thing for me was getting the diapers sized so that there would be room for growth. So as long as I could do that, I was prepared to live with two diapers per yard.

I lined up the diaper template with two layered pieces of flannel fabric so that my leftover fabric wasn’t so oddly shaped that it couldn’t be used for something. I wish I had remembered to do that on my first cut but I certainly learned from my mistake. So I was able to use my scraps for soaker pads that I’ll insert during baby’s heavy wet periods (like when he’s sleeping).

I used PUL for my outer layer. Pul is a polyurethane laminated fabric that is waterproof, stretchable and washable. All three of these are very important because I wash my diapers in hot water. So I cut-out the PUL (again, about three to a yard for my large sized diapers) to keep the diapers from leaking through.

The inside of my diapers is where I sewed the soaker pad to my two piece (layered) flannel diaper shaped cut-out. I did this by placing my soaker in the middle of my flannel diaper cut-outs and then sewing the soaker completely around the flannel diaper cut-outs (pinned together so they wouldn’t separate). It sort of looked like I had a pad in the center of it. My soaker pad was the length of the diaper cut out from front to back and it was just about a half inch short of the leg area of my cut-out because I wanted to have complete absorbency through the entire diaper and not just the front. After I sewed in my diaper soaker, I sewed a quarter inch piece of elastic around the outside edge of the diaper, pulling the elastic as I sewed so that my finished diaper would fit nicely around the legs and I won’t have many leaks.

Once I finished that, I sewed on front latch part of some velcro (also purchased from my local fabric store). Then I took the elastic sewn flannel with my soaker attached and sewed it to my PUL diaper cut out around three sides of the diaper. I did have to gently pull the elastic flannel piece to line up with the PUL. I sewed this together with the non soaker side facing the shiny side of the PUL.

Once I was done, I turned the diaper inside out so that the shiny PUL was on the outside and the inside of my diaper showed the flannel. The soaker was unseen and between the dull part of the PUL and the other side of the flannel. Then I folded the PUL around the upper edge and sewed the diaper closed. I did stitch around the outer side of the diaper with a final stitching. I feel for the elastic as I sew and stitch to the left on the outside. It looks a lot neater when I do this final touch but it’s not necessary. That completed my diaper.

On the note of soaker pads, soaker pads have saved me many a day, and they’re so easy to make. You can make them from a cut up old towel or you can use a washcloth and place it right in the middle of two cute pieces of flannel. (It really doesn’t matter if the flannel is cute since they’ll be under baby’s buns but I like to use the cutesy baby prints when I make them.) You sew them around the seams and you’re done. If you have a serger, that makes things even easier or you can opt to use bias tape around the edges for a more professional finish. You can use soaker pads separately as diaper inserts for extra absorbency when baby’s sleeping or when you’re out.

I’ve saved a lot of money using cloth diapers and soakers. I’ve never really had a problem with leakage or smell or anything using these diapers and I wash them once daily.

One resource for diaper sewing is verybaby.com. They even sell pre-made diapers. They can be a little costly compared to some of my local places so I, personally, don’t buy there; however, the selection is wonderful. They also sell hemp and birds eye, which provide beautiful absorption if you wanted to use that in place of the terry for the soakers.

I’ll need an estimated 25 diapers to last me (and so I can feel less burden to quickly wash and dry my diapies). However, I’m only on my second set of three so I have a long way to go (about 5 hours of sewing). In between, I”m hoping to get some of my Valentine’s Day crafts done for the store (not included in my five hour estimate). Aye! Well, no stress.

I’d be interested in hearing any experiences with Very Baby, or if there are any other preferred diaper supply vendors out there.

Apron Fever

I love a cute apron. I’ve come up with a few patterns on my own and they’ve ranged from the “country cottage apron” to the “you just look too cute while you’re doing housework” apron. I wear them based on how I’m feeling for the day. Today I’m feeling as though the “walk around the house and look cute” apron may just help me flutter through my morning chores a wee bit quicker. I just love how an apron can express a mood.

I have to admit that I have my days when I feel pretty frumpy and throw on something just to get through the day. However, when I pull out my aprons, I’m inspired just a bit. I don’t own one apron that says, “Complain and murmur” so I generally have to check my attitude when I go the the apron station.

There are aprons for so many purpose. For example, there are hostess aprons, cleaning aprons, cookery aprons, and the list goes on. Once you combine style with purpose, an apron can go quite a long way. Custom made aprons give a really personal feel to your apron and can even create memories. I’m planning a hope chest for my girls and will most certainly have a couple of wonderful aprons in there for them.

Aprons can say so many things about how I feel. In fact’m off to begin my venture of creating some new patterns as this blog as just inspired my creative juices. If you’re a bit of a seamstress, try some of the cute patterns in the book, “Sew, So Cute!” It has the cutest things to try in there. I just got a copy for my girls to pick some sewing projects (since they’re pretty fond of aprons also).

Well — I’m off. Walk in your blessings!

Pick Me Up Instant Gingerbread Latte Recipe

I’m so behind on my Christmas preparation schedule that it doesn’t make sense. Three days til Christmas and my decorations are pretty bare.  Not to mention, I’m supposed to be spending today preparing my special cookie doughs for our family tradition of Christmas Eve cookie baking and decorating.

With that in mind, I’m going to have quite a bit to do  over the next couple of days.  Today, while my twelve year old does laundry, I’ll be putting some time into making the family room a Christmas room. It’s the room where we have our main Christmas tree. (We also have a tree in the foyer surrounded by red poinsettias.) However, the family room is where our family will spend the most time doing Christmas activities so I’ll be really putting my efforts into that room today.

I’m looking at it now and it’s got a grim look to it. Christmas tree is nice but it’s just so dull in that room. I’ll be adding some fresh garland around the fireplace, hanging stockings, and putting up more poinsettias. Then I’m going to place a few soy candles in the room. I like a blend of Christmas fragrances so I’m going to do a blue spruce, a cranberry, and a sugar cookie.  Since our tree is artificial, the blue spruce will give that wonderful pine fragrance that brings in the fragrance of winter. The cranberries will offset the sweetness of the sugar cookie fragrance that will travel throughout the house. I think that will get everyone’s senses ready for Christmas!

While I’m doing my last minute preparations, I’m going to share a wonderful instant latte that I make during this time of the year and keep on hand for guests. I call it Dawn’s Gingerbread Latte. Here it is:

Dawn’s Gingerbread Latte Recipe

Mix together in a blender:

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon powdered vanilla (optional)

1/2 cup sucanat (my choice) or brown sugar (*note that the taste will vary with brown sugar)

1/2 cup raw sugar

1 cup instant coffee

1/2 cup powdered creamer or milk

This makes enough for a crowd because you only use two heaping teaspoons per 8 oz cup of water. It has really good gingerbread flavor with the sucanat because of the molasses in it. You could also add about a half teaspoon of molasses in the mix after you blend all of the dry ingredients first. The molasses is the key ingredient in gingerbread (besides ginger) so you don’t want to overlook it. The other thing is I love a sweeter coffee. This one; however, is not as “sweet” as I like my coffee but I make it lighter on the sugar so that others can adjust it as they see fit.

Off to begin my mission of Operation Family Room. All the best in your day!

Goodbye KitchenAid – Hello Bosch!

After a year and a half of dealing with the quirks of the KitchenAid “Professional” mixer, I’ve finally decided to let it go. The relief feels similar to realizing, after hearing a loud continuous booming sound coming down the stairs, that it wasn’t your toddler falling. It’s been a total nightmare with that machine and, worse, the company is not helpful at all when there’s a failing product.

My dear heart bought a KitchenAid mixer for me around October 2008. I needed a larger one because I had a KitchenAid standard and it just wasn’t working for a family of nine. However, after about six months of having the “Professional”, I noticed that there were times the machine would completely cut off. Now KitchenAid said that this was due to a mechanical feature that kept the motor from burning out. So essentially, the machine cuts off to protect itself. That was great; however, it was cutting off EVERY time I used it. I called again and they told me that it wasn’t a malfunction and that they couldn’t replace the machine. So I ended up using the thing until it would stop and then continuing the process manually after that.

This went on for about nine more months until I started paying attention to the raving reviews from Bosch mixer owners. I was a little discouraged to say the least. Then, in such great timing, my mixer apparently wore out one of the spurs. So I called KitchenAid again with hope that they would at least replace the machine (so I could avoid the hefty expense of purchasing another) and they confirmed that a spur may have gone bad, only this time, my mixer was already past the warranty period. So, of course, KitchenAid told me that there was nothing they could do but give me a list of places I could pay to get it fixed or give me a coupon worth $30 towards a refurbished one. Okay – are you kidding? I had to solely focus on the grace of God here. I paid $400 for that mixer so KitchenAid’s response to my problem was a bit annoying (to say the least). Obviously I didn’t want anything refurbished, and at that point, I was willing to just “give” them the machine back so they could refurbish that one.

Long story short, I’m expecting my new Bosch mixer to come in today. It may not seem like much to be excited about but I have to tell you that it’s quite exciting to me considering I’ve been kneading and mixing by hand for months. (What a glimpse of life without modern technology!) So although it hasn’t arrived yet, I sort of feel like an expectant mother (well — I’m also, literally, in that category). I’ve already put my mixer on eBay and I’m looking forward to 800 watts of mixing and kneading! Plus, did I mention there’s a 3 year warranty on the Bosch as opposed to the 1 year on the KitchenAid. That’s one great way to have one up on the competition.

Well that’s today’s story. I hope to have great reviews on the Bosch Universal Mixer. I’ve heard many testimonials from people I know who own one and have had the same one for over a decade! Hopefully, I’ll also have one of those testimonials. God bless!

 Goodbye Kitchen Aid…Hello Bosch!

When Order Fails

Yesterday was not one of my better laundry days. I had a few children hold hostage some clothing and dump it all on me at one time. So whereas I thought my job was light, I was attacked, once again, by that dreadful laundry monster. So today I’ll be dealing with laundry again today. I’d better put on my iPod and listen to Nancy Cambell for some inspiration.

Since today, technically, is kitchen day. I’ll have the girls get in on the action and shred some carrots. We have a couple boxes of baby carrots that we have to put to use. So the oldest asked to make a carrot cake and we’ll be having some carrot raisin salad. I’ll also throw in some carrot muffins to freeze. There are so many of them! What a busy day today will be.

Speaking of kitchen day, here’s another blurb from The Complete Home by Clara Laughlin. This one is specifically about order in the home, scheduling days of the week to get things done, and what happens if you don’t get it all done (like me). This is a short excerpt as the entire section was pretty lengthy so if you’d like to read beyond what I have here, please go to the link “The Complete Home. Hope you like it.


Thankfulness For Laundry Day

I seem to let laundry day slip by me without getting everything done. Today’s the day I’ve promised myself a true commitment to my laundry. I’m going to tackle the ironing, make the laundry detergent (which lasts me about three months at a time and only costs about 5 cents per load), and tackle some of the mending I have in my mending box. I have to say, without complaining, that I am encouraged about my laundry tasks, though this type of thing may be considered done by quite the maverick. I suppose a maverick I will be!

Today I’m sharing some of the blessings of the housewife of the early 1900’s. This is from a book called, “The Complete Home” by Clara Elizabeth Laughlin, Oliver R. Williamson, and Sarah Cory Rippey. Reading this excerpt made me really thankful that although laundry day (for nine) certainly is a job, it looks like a walk in the park compared to the woman of yesteryear. There were so many steps and requirements. I’m only including the first few steps of this wonderful task. However, there are many more that follow, which I will include next week. Enjoy!





Third Place in the Bake Off!

Teaming up my daughters for the bake off turned out great! All four of them felt the sense of accomplishment for having chosen their projects and seeing them through. It was a lot of hard effort but they did it and two of them won the third place prize for “Apple Cinnamon Buns.” What joy to experience the fruit of such labor (and trust me, for the two that did this project, it was labor).

After a crazy day of baking, my girls gathered their finished “masterpieces” and carried them to the homeschool picnic. There was lots of food and fellowship and we all had a great time. After stuffing ourselves with all of the wonderful variety of foods came the “daddy dessert judging.” Kids made so many tasty treats. There were cookies and cakes, cobblers and puddings. The first place winner made a Twix pudding cake. Although I didn’t taste it (watching my figure a bit as I get closer to birthing day), I heard the dads talking about it.

The second place winner made a strawberry cake. I heard one dad taste testing the cakes and, although the cakes were apparently all quite tasty, my eldest and younger daughter won him over with the moistness of their blueberry frosted yellow cake (which they named “the lavender”). That was a great sense of accomplishment for my very insecure eldest baker. She’s always self conscious of her skills in the kitchen. However, she was really pleased to come home with only two slices of cake (that Daddy demolished as soon as he got home). I was pleased to hear that she’s going to do something more creative next year.

I promised that I’d get some pictures up of them slinging flour all over the place. As soon as I can get to them, I’ll certainly do that. Meanwhile, I want so share with this little poem:

Like Mother Made

(Hariett Ford)
Of all things said about the cake
Unkindest were the words,
“It’s not like Mother used to make.”
I wish I hadn’t heard.
Like Mother used to make indeed.
Of course not, you forget,
Mixes, Teflon, microwaves were not
invented yet!
But just to please my gourmet groom,
I baked a cake from scratch.
No mixes, nothing artificial
Went into the gooey batch.
It had the strangest sunken place,
The center was a pool of runny
frosting poured thereon
Before the cake was cool.
I stood with rolling pin in hand and
dared him to criticize my cake.
“Why, Darling,” said he, “this is grand.”
“It’s just like Mother used to make!”

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