Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pregnancy support belt - make a sewing pattern?

Lately I've been wondering about pregnancy support belts. I've looked for sewing patterns online and I can't find any...so I think I should make a pregnancy support belt pattern!
As my comfort in this pregnancy decreases, I am finding that I would LOVE to have an 'extra set of hands' holding my belly up. I think a pregnancy support belt is my ticket to comfort. Maybe.
I've looked at some versions online that are for sale and they look like more of a CONTRAPTION then a support....not to mention they are EXPENSIVE! Holy moly!
I think that a pregnancy support belt might be the only way I could stay on my feet for longer periods of time, and I also think it would be a great way to help hold up the maternity pants (I can't keep them up no matter what I do!).
Any thoughts on this?

It's SNOWING sale

I realize that my Michigan snow is coming from hurricane Sandy....however it still gets me all excited!
I wanted to share my excitement with my readers -
From October 31-November 4th, Use coupon code ITSSNOWING and get 35% off of your entire order at www.mammacandoit.com

woot!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to make a Pregnancy Pillow

Making a pregnancy pillow is easy when you have a pregnancy pillow pattern!
Get comfortable regardless of how far along in the pregnancy you are. Support your head, neck, upper back, lower back, hips, chest and growing tummy with ONE pillow instead of 5.
When I was designing this pregnancy pillow pattern, I researched the most popular pregnancy pillows on the market. I saw what was great about the best pregnancy pillows and I also read about what the 'best' ones were lacking. 
What I came up with: the "Snoogle" was the top pregnancy pillow. There were down sides to the snoogle pillow though. Here's the downsides of the snoogle and similar shapes:

1. Even from the pictures of the snoogle and comparative pregnancy pillows, I could see that there wasn't enough tummy support. 

2. I love knowing my that my Superman is sleeping next to me...but I could see from the width of some of the most popular pillows on the market that he would be banished to the couch. Not okay with me. I needed something that was supportive but compact enough to stay on my half of my queen size bed.

3. An end to snuggling? I wanted to come up with a design that would allow hubs and I the ability to snuggle even WHILE I was wrapped up in comfort. 

4. Head support. This was the biggest issue that I saw with the snoogle reviews: mama's were mentioning how uncomfortable the 'headrest' of the pregnancy pillow was. My design isn't too wide or high. I stuffed it to my liking and recommend that my customers stuff it to their comfort as well!

Here is the finished product.......(drum roll)......
Pregnancy Pillow Pattern


This pregnancy pillow does EVERYTHING that I want! 
It is supportive on the head, neck, upper back, lower back, hips, CHEST and tummy. The pillow isn't too wide so it allows a partner to still cuddle next to you without feeling a huge barrier. The width of the finished pillow is slimmer and less space taking then the snoogle and similar pregnancy pillows. 
The BEST part of this pillow though is the tummy support. Adjust the "leg loop" on your body to fit your comfort level perfectly and support that growing tummy like nothing else you could imagine.



Cost wise, you can't go wrong using this pregnancy pillow pattern. Costing under $20 to make, this pregnancy pillow will not only be worth it to make so that you can have everything you could ever want in a pregnancy pillow, but it will save you a ton of $ then if you bought one premade.

All in all, this is one happy mamma and I can't wait to share this pregnancy pillow pattern with you!


There is a new, updated version of this pregnancy pillow. 
http://www.mammacandoit.com/Pregnancy-Pillow-Pattern.html





Thursday, October 25, 2012

Best and easiest hummus receipe ever

With cold and flu season ready to take over my household, I try to add garlic to everything I cook...but the best cold fighter is RAW garlic. I don't know about you, but raw garlic tastes TERRIBLE to me...that is unless it is in hummus! Hummus is a wonderful snack. Packed with protein and germ killing garlic, it is the perfect fall snack.
Until the past few months however, I have had a hard time getting my hummus consistency right. Here is how I make my hummus now - perfect, easy, great consistency and delish!


The first step is to put one garlic clove in the blender. I chop it into a few pieces. I like my hummus to be very garlicy so I use a gigantic clove if I have one. If you prefer less garlic, use a small clove.


Add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Blend thoroughly until all of the garlic chunks are gone.



Add one can of rinsed garbanzo beans (chick peas). Also add about 1/4 of the can full of water. I add the water slowly while blending to be sure it's a smooth and creamy, but thick consistency.

Once beans are blended, I like to add a bit of parsley and salt. This step you can add whatever you like...even jalapenos are excellent in hummus for a spicy batch!

Next step is to add 3 Tablespoons of tahini. I have read that you can and have tried using peanut butter in it's place....it's just not the same. Tahini is ground sesame seeds that have the consistency of peanut butter, but TOTALLY different taste.
The tahini will thicken the hummus slightly. yummy!



Once mixed, grab a handful of homemade crackers and eat! mmmm!
I'll post the homemade cracker recipe sometime. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to add length to jeans

Today I spent some time mending in my sewing room. One of the things I had to do was add length to a pair of my daughters jeans. I had previously hemmed them, but when her legs finally grew into them she had ruined the chance of removing the hem by wearing down the back of the jeans. You can see that the bottoms are very worn and I couldn't save the hemmed edge.
I wanted something fun and different for her wardrobe, so here is a quick tutorial on how I did it!


Lucky for me, anytime someone blows a hole in their jeans or if they become too big or too small I ALWAYS save them. This lighter pair of jeans is an adult pair next to my daughters (the dark ones). You can see that the bottom hem of the lighter pair is quite a bit wider then my daughters. I am going to use that for a bit of a flair at the bottom of her pants.



The first step is to remove the hem on the jeans you want to add length to. 
Then cut then cut the hem off of the recycled jeans that will become the hem. 
I wanted to add an extra 2 inches to my daughters jeans, so I cut 1" off of her current pair to remove the nasty hem, and cut 3 1/2" from the pair that I am recycling into her new hem. 
The extra 1/2" is for the seam allowance.



Because the new hem is wider then her current leg width I turned both pieces inside out. I lined up the raw edges of the pieces and drew a line from the edge of the current leg width to the new hem. 
I wanted to keep the new hem in tact. Had I not cared about this, I could have drawn a line straight down or at a slight angle to match the current pair of pants.


Sew on the line using a straight stitch. Cut off the excess.


Turn the leg of jean right side out. Keep the new hem inside out. 
Line up the seams on the 'outside' of the leg. 
Pin and sew together leaving 1/2" seam allowance. 
I chose to keep the flair on the outside of the leg.



Here is a close up of the jeans being sewn together.


Turn entire leg of jeans inside out. Sew the seam allowance down to keep it in place and to make it lay flat.



Turn right side out.


Voila, a new and improved pair of jeans with a bit of flair. Adding length can be lots of fun - you can add length above the knee for a fantastic pair of bell bottoms or just a unique touch.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Uses for vinegar

A couple nights ago my daughter woke up in a pile of puke. Yuck. For many moms this would be the start of an incredibly YUCKY experience that will stain sheets or carpeting (smell and visual stain). After I quickly cleaned it up and put her back to bed, I laid in my own bed thinking about how I should share my cleaning experience as well as a few other great tips.

VINEGAR - God's gift to Mommy 
Below you will find a few uses of vinegar. I'd love to hear more...these are just the ways that I use it myself.
Unless otherwise specified, all of these uses are white vinegar. I keep a spray bottle of straight vinegar in my bathroom. I use it everywhere, but mostly in the bathroom, so it makes sense to keep it there.

1. Add vinegar to carpet cleaner to remove pet stains and smell, vomit stains and smell, Pee or Poop stains and smell.

2. Use vinegar as a fabric softener.

3. Add vinegar to laundry water - helps to remove soap/fabric softener build up on clothes, towels and cloth diapers. This is especially useful if you use a 'soap based' instead of 'detergent based' laundry soap.

4. Use straight vinegar to wash windows and mirrors

5. Use straight vinegar to wash the tub and shower. Removes soap scum in a snap.

6. Use vinegar to clean water stains from sinks/tub/faucets

7. Soak shower heads in vinegar to restore the life in them from water stain build up.

8. Disinfect counter tops/chairs, door handles with vinegar

9. Clean power equipment with wash cloth that has vinegar on it. It will remove dust, stains, splatter etc.

10. use vinegar how you would goo gone with sticky stuff like stickers, gum, etc

11. remove candle wax residue.

12. Clean leather furniture.

13. Clean bathroom counter-tops  toilet, floor, walls by toilet, shower/tub and cabinets with a spray bottle filled with vinegar. Kids can help do this too without you worrying about bleach stained clothes, chemicals or fumes.

14. I have read that you can use vinegar on windsheilds and car windows to keep frost from forming. Can't wait to try this one. Apparently one spray dose will last up to a few weeks?!

15. Scrub the fridge with vinegar

16. Scrub the microwave with vinegar

17. Put a few tablespoons of vinegar in a tea pot and boil for a few minutes to completely remove water stains and build up.

18. Pour 2 cups of vinegar in the water compartment of a coffee maker. Run. I like to run the vinegar through it 2 or 3 times, then I run water through it another 2 times to completly restore my coffee maker.

19. Add a few drops of vinegar to dishes rinse water to keep glasses spot free. also can be used in a dishwasher.

20. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to dishsoap to make the grease cutting ability amazing!

21. Add a couple tablespoons of vinegar to soup bones or a poultry carcass next time you are making broth. It will help the calcium to liquify and will make your broth even more packed with goodness.

22. Heartburn - try taking 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. I know it sounds crazy - but it works!

23. remove ink stains by soaking the ink stained clothing in straight vinegar until it dries. Wash as normal.

24. remove blood stains from clothing the same way (although, the best way to remove blood stains is peroxide)

25. Keeping dogs off of carpet, spray vinegar on it. Even the dried smell should keep them off - just recently tried this...not sure if it's working yet. However, my carpet smells fresh!

26. use vinegar instead of pledge while dusting. Works great!

There are so many more uses for vinegar - but these ones give you a great idea on how to use it around the home. It really is my go-to cleaner and I keep many bottles available. Pick them up when they're on sale and you have a good thing.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies - Stash away recipe

Yesterday I wanted some cookies. I kept putting it off because it's a pain to make them...I only have two cookie sheets and my favorite recipe uses 4. Then I started to think...what if I could only make one cookie sheet full of cookies at a time - like the Pillsbury cookie logs? That would be convenient. I wouldn't ever dream of using Pillsbury cookie logs for cookies - have you looked at the ingredients? Not only are there probably 50 ingredients on the label, but most of them I cannot pronounce. If I don't know what it is, it doesn't belong in my family's tummies.
What I did was make a whole batch of cookies with my favorite recipe, then I portioned off the dough into 4 equal parts. One of the parts I made into cookies. Then I made the other 3/4 of the recipe into 3 logs and stuck them in the freezer! I realize that many people probably do this already, but I was so excited that I had thought about it! I think it will save me time and money when the 'urge' to have some cookies. I can simply pull out a log and make just ONE sheet full. One cookie sheet of this recipe makes about 12 cookies - this is perfect for my family of 6 for a one meal batch.
making cookie dough for freezing

The below cookie recipe is my family's favorite (it's only THIS or No Bakes). I always use butter -never shortening. It's better for your body to digest and frankly...it tastes amazing!
Before you make them all into cookies, be sure to eat a few chunks of dough. OMGosh the dough is amazing. They won't flatten much because of the whole oats. I'm not sure if the quick oats would flatten more. I only use whole oats because that's what we eat for breakfast at least once a week.

The original recipe comes from my mom, who got it from an old cookbook from a local church. She adapted it to suit her and I have adapted it for my family and now for you!

making cookie dough for freezing

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe.
1 1/2 C Butter
2 1/2 C Sugar
1 T. Molasses
2 tsp. Vanilla
4 eggs (my homegrown eggs are between medium-large, but any size will do I think)
3 C White flour (unbleached is best)
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 C uncooked old fashioned whole oats (original recipe is 4 rounded cups quick oats)
12 oz chocolate chips
Optional nuts or dried fruit - mmm

Beat butter, sugar, molasses and vanilla until creamy. Beat in eggs. Mix flour, soda and salt in a bowl and add to creamed mixture (I don't do this...I just throw it all in after I have creamed the sugar and butter). Mix well. Stir in oats and and chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls (I use a small ice cream scoop that holds about 2 T at a time - works perfect) onto a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes or just until set.
This recipe makes a very large batch. My Kitchenaid is completely full when I am mixing it up.
Makes 48-50 cookies or 4 cookie logs. I put 12 cookies on each cookie sheet and that is approximately what is in each log.

To make a cookie log, simply shape the dough into about an 8" long log shape. Wrap a piece of plastic wrap around the log. Place the wrapped log into a gallon size freezer bag. You could fit 4-6 logs in a freezer bag. Remove air from bag and label. Put in the freezer. Voila! You have healthy, delish & homemade cookie logs.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How to skin a chicken

This week has been chicken butchering week for me. Unlike most people who leave the skin on and pluck feathers, I skin the chickens that I butcher. It is so much less messy in my opinion. I also tend to remove the skin before cooking, so it saves an extra step in the kitchen by processing this way.
how to butcher a chicken
Time for the freezer Mr Cluck!
If there had been another adult around that could have taken pictures for me, I would have done it for my readers, but unfortunately there was just me and my youngest (3 yrs). However, please read and imagine. :) You can butcher a chicken in 10 minutes this way with very little clean up.
I think many people can benefit from a step by step tutorial on how to skin a chicken. Here goes.

Supplies:
A trash can
Two 'nooses' hung in different locations
A very sharp knife
A dunking bucket (for wetting chicken feathers after killing)
A clean bucket (for putting processed chickens in)
A hose with clean running water.

Step 1.
I have tried taking the chicken food away at least 12 hours before butchering. I DO find that it makes a difference. I prefer to take the food away early so that I do not have to deal with food in the chicken's crop.

Step 2.
Hang chicken by the feet in one of the 'nooses'. I like to use a slip knot as I find less chickens wriggle free this way.

Step 3.
Cut the head off of the chicken. Leave most of the neck in tact. You'll want to step back for this or you'll have blood all over you. It's important when hanging the chicken noose that you put it in a location that is where the chicken can flap it's wings without hitting something (like a tree trunk) - the wings will break otherwise.

Step 4.
Once the nerves are done moving and the chicken is done bleeding, remove the feet from the noose and dunk in a bucket full of water. Wetting the feathers makes the skinning process much easier as the feathers won't stick to your hands.
Step 5.
Tear the skin away from the neck of the chicken and hang the neck by a slip knot noose. Make sure the noose is very tight as the neck is usually pretty slippery. By hanging it by the neck instead of feet, you'll have much less of a change of contamination.
Step 6. 
Place the garbage can directly underneath the chicken you are about to process.
Step 7. 
Cut off chicken feet and wing tips. 

Step 8. 
Using the knife, start at the shoulder area and gently peel or tear the skin away from the shoulders. The crop is attached to the right breast, so be careful not to puncture or there will be a bit of a mess. Once crop and skin are detached, you can safely pull and tear skin right off of chicken. I pull it all away until it is all hanging at the 'butt' end of the chicken. 
Step 9.
Very carefully slit the cavity open at the bottom. Reach in side and pull everything out. Don't forget to scrape out lungs (easily done with a fingernail). When this is finished, there should only be the bowels attached at the base of the chicken.

Step 10. 
Turn the chicken with the back facing you and cut the entire 'butt' end off. Including the tail. 
Step 11.
Use hose to spray off the chicken inside and out.
Step 12. 
Cut off chicken's neck if desired. Then place inside the clean bucket. Fill with water.
Repeat!
When we are finished with all of the chickens, I take them into the house to bag and freeze. you can fit about 4-5 chickens in a clean 5 gallon bucket. If you have someone to take them inside for you while you butcher, then only one or two buckets are necessary. Otherwise, get enough buckets to finish your flock so you don't have to stop.

Someday I hope to get pictures for this chicken skinning and butchering process, but unfortunately, this year's butchering is done. Hopefully you will have learned something!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Best Pregnancy Pillow Pattern - Coming up!

As I was looking at my blog traffic today, I came across a search of how to make a pregnancy pillow. I've heard about these strange looking contraptions, so I did a little research to find out more about them. WOW! I NEED ONE! As I'm in my 30th week of pregnancy right now, getting comfortable seems like a thing of the past, but this pregnancy pillow thing sure makes it look easy!

To see how my pregnancy pillow turned out, check out my Pregnancy Pillow Pattern Post or The Pregnancy Pillow Pattern itself!

snoogle pregnancy pillow


Unfortunately though, with a price tag of $60 plus shipping, it is not something that I would just go out and buy without much research....if I even ended up buying one at all.
After looking into them a bit, I discovered that there are a few different brands of pregnancy pillows. Which is the best pregnancy pillow? I searched google, forums, ebay, amazon shopping and reviews from previous buyers. From what I can see, here is top 3 list of pregnancy pillows. #1 is the most popular.







best pregnancy pillow
best pregnancy pillow
#1. This is the leachco snoogle pregnancy pillow. 
This is rated the best pregnancy pillow.
It has an odd shape to it that bends and turns with the pregnant mamma to get into a comfortable sleeping position. This pregnancy pillow is by far the most purchased pillow in the usa. My favorite features: It won't take up the whole bed, and it is long enough that many sleeping positions can be comfortable with it.







best pregnancy pillow
#2. This is the Boppy prenatal pillow.
I can see that it would be comfortable when facing it, but it wouldn't be comfortable to sleep with your back to it (compared to #1), I also don't think this pregnancy pillow looks like it has as much length to it as #1, which could make it less less likely to be more comfortable. It is a bit more bulky in the leg area which could be more comfortable depending on the user's body shape.



best pregnancy pillow
#3. This is the leachco back n belly contoured body pillow.
My first thought when I saw this was, "HOLY CRAP! I have to have this!" Could you imaging how incredibly comfortable this pregnancy pillow would be?! I love being snuggled and this would not only provide the 'snuggling' but also the much needed pregnancy support! 
Then when I started to think about it more, I realized that my husband would be sleeping on the couch if I had this as it would take up our entire queen size bed.

This pregnancy pillow may also make a pregnant mama feel a bit claustrophobic and may actually cause her to wake up more during the night because of it. I can't image that rolling over would be easy at ALL using this pillow.
After careful consideration, I have changed my initial view and agree with the market, this would be pillow #3 to me as well.... definitely not the best pregnancy pillow.


All in all, this was good research for me to decide what type of pregnancy pillow I wanted. However, I still can't justify spending $60 on something that I "think" might make me feel more comfortable. What if it didn't? What if my uncomfortableness is simply due to the pregnancy in general?
After carefully thinking it through a bit more, I've decided that I need to make a pregnancy pillow pattern and make one of these maternity pillows myself. I think that a pregnancy pillow pattern would be an excellent addition to mammacandoit.com as there isn't any other patterns available on the market. I'm sure people would love to be able to learn how to make a pregnancy pillow. 
I think I will make a pattern to be similar to the snoogle. Not only is that the most popular, but it seems to be what I want for myself as well! Of course I will have the option of a pregnancy pillow cover as well.
Judging from the size of the pillow, I think the cost to make a snoogle pregnancy pillow will be around $20 or a tad bit less. Of course in the pregnancy pillow pattern I will include directions on where to purchase fabrics and supplies so that you don't have to worry about overspending. 
I can handle spending $20 on a snoogle pregnancy pillow. 
What about the pregnancy pillow cover? I looked them up too - they cost anywhere from $20-$30 a piece + shipping costs. I think we can probably make a snoogle pregnancy pillow cover for about $10. $15 should be enough to give you a designer look!

This will be my next project! I'd love to hear thoughts on the pregnancy pillow pattern idea. If you think you'd like to see a pattern that isn't a 'snoogle' type of shape, link to the ones that you do like. I'd love to know what people are using or what they'd like to sew!

http://www.mammacandoit.com/Pregnancy-Pillow-Pattern.html

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Nursing Sling

   As I am pregnant and due with our 6th child in December, I can't stop thinking about what else I need to make or get before baby gets here. We aren't sure if we're having a boy or a girl yet, so many of my projects are going to have to wait.
One thing that doesn't have to wait though is a new baby sling. I have a million of them, but my tastes change from time to time, so it's nice to add to my stash. Right now, I can't stop thinking that I need a new ring sling.
   In case you didn't know, a ring sling is an adjustable baby sling that has rings next to the shoulder of the wearer. These rings help the wearer to adjust the fit of the baby sling. As I plan on losing a few pounds around the middle after this baby comes, the ring sling is an excellent option for me because the ring sling grows/shrinks with the wearer as they need it to. My husband thinks he might try to 'wear the baby' too this time around...so if I make a ring sling that isn't incredibly feminine, he won't mind sharing it with me. Because the ring sling is so easily adjustable, he can adjust it to completely form to his body shape.
   Another reason I have decided to make a new ring sling, is because I love how they look! If I can find a fabric that matches my winter attire, it is almost like I am wearing an accessory like a scarf! Wearing my baby in style? Yes please. Depending on the sewing pattern that people use, you can most often add quite a bit of flair and/or contrast to the ring sling with some super cute fabric prints. I choose to NEVER wear baby prints on any ring sling or baby sling. I'm not fond of baby printed fabrics to begin with, but when they are being worn by me, I don't care what the baby's gender is - I choose to wear something that I LIKE.
   The largest and most important reason that I'm choosing to make a ring sling instead of a pouch sling, mei tai or wrap sling is simply because I nurse my babies exclusively. You can technically nurse in all of the other types of baby slings. Technically only. The best baby sling for nursing in is the ring sling. In fact, I'm just going to call it the nursing sling from now on! Not only is it the best because it's adjustable to fit the baby into a comfortable nursing position, but it's "tail" is amazing with grabby, hungry babies. Simply cover them up (and the exposed mama skin). Typically the ring sling is wider then other types of slings as well, so I feel more secure in adjusting my baby into a hands free nursing position. I can nurse my baby in the nursing sling discretely while I am walking in the grocery store, in a church meeting, while I'm walking my kids to their school classrooms, or while I'm cooking Christmas dinner with extended family. Yes, the nursing sling is the best choice for full time nursing mommies.
nursing in a ring sling

Check out this picture! I'd say that is discrete.

If you are like me, you are wondering how you can make your own nursing sling? With a nursing sling pattern of course! Sewing your own nursing sling is fast and easy with a nursing sling pattern! Make one that has a couple pockets in it for storage while you are on the go. The pockets double up as a storage bag for the ring sling itself!
I have a list on where I purchase fabric and sling rings here.

Make your own Nursing Sling today and start nursing easily, discretely and adorably while you are going about your every day tasks!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to sew adult diapers

How to sew Adult diapers

If you or anyone you know has to wear disposable protection for incontinence (depends, tranquility, poise...etc), then you realize how expensive of an endeavor it can be to control the problem. Of course it is an apparent need, so why not “go green” and sew your own reusable adult cloth diapers?

The first step of 'how to sew an adult diaper' is going to be to decide what type of protection the wearer needs.

Assuming it is you who needs the protection, ask yourself the following questions: Do you need an adult diaper that you simply throw in the wash and has the 'soaker' built in? Do you need something that you can adjust the soaking capability? Do you need a diaper that is 'waterproof' or do you need a diaper that is for very light protection?
Lets talk about your options.
1. If you want to know how to sew an adult diaper that you never have to mess with, sew an All In One (AIO) style adult diaper. This style of diaper has the soaker sewn into it so you'll never have to worry about stuffing it when it comes out of the wash. This is the most like disposables.
2. If you want to know how to sew an adult diaper that you can adjust the soaking capability, choose to sew a 'pocket' style. This is an adult cloth diaper that has an opening for putting in as much or as little soaker as your individual needs are. This is the most commonly sought after style of cloth adult diapers.
3. If you want to know how to sew an adult diaper an adult diaper that doesn't need to be 'waterproof', choose to sew an All In Two (AI2) style adult diaper. This style simply does not have a waterproof barrier. Many times incontinence issues are so minor that the wearer doesn't need any more bulk then necessary, so they choose to go with an AI2. Another reason to choose an AI2 is if you already have a leak proof barrier cover.

The second step of 'how to sew an adult diaper' is going to be to find an adult diaper pattern.

I prefer to do all of my pattern shopping online. A good sewing pattern is going to have the following things:
1. An adult diaper pattern should have a detailed “Supply List”. The supply list is very important because it tells the 'sewer/maker' what fabrics and supplies they will need to make the cloth diaper.
2. An adult diaper pattern should have “helpful hints”. When you are making anything for the first time, or even the 100th time, it is nice to have good instructions from people who make them more then you. Budget friendly hints can help you design your own adult diaper from cheaper fabrics and supplies. Hints on how to choose various fabrics depending on individual needs are worth every bit of reading. Hints on how to sew certain types of fabric should also be included in the pattern.
3. An adult diaper pattern should have a size chart. This allows the 'sewer/maker' to correctly choose the proper size for the wearer.
3. An adult diaper pattern should have printable pattern pieces. Do not purchase or try to follow a pattern that has you draft your own pattern. This takes time that you could be sewing a stash of reusable adult diapers for yourself.
Lets face it: you are going to purchase the sewing pattern online...so why not have pieces that you can print from your home printer? Not only that, but with printable pattern pieces, you can print over and over so you never have to worry about the 'first cut' being the wrong one.
4. An adult diaper pattern should have a step by step tutorial with images for each step. This is the BEST part about purchasing a sewing pattern online. Pictures should be clear and have descriptions that accurately describe the step.
5. The most important thing: The best adult diaper pattern is going to have OPTIONS. If you read through the first step in this article, you have probably decided which type of adult diaper you want...but wouldn't it be better if you could have all the options in the same purchase? Choose an adult diaper pattern that has the options of being an AIO, Pocket or AI2!

The third step of 'how to sew an adult cloth diaper' is going to be shopping for fabrics and supplies.

Once you purchase the adult diaper pattern, you'll need to buy the stuff to get it done. Most diaper making supply stores online are the best priced and easiest to find. You may be able to find some supplies at a local fabric store, but save the headache and order online.

The fourth step of 'how to sew an adult diaper' is going to be making your own adult diaper stash.

Follow the adult diaper pattern directions and step by step images to sew the cloth diapers. Sew some with fun printed fabric for the days when you are feeling lively. This is your body and you deserve to have some adorable incontinence underpants that make you feel protected and secure about yourself.

There are very limited adult diaper patterns available. The adult diaper pattern that gives you all of options listed is made by Mamma Can Do It. Simply download and get your adult cloth diaper stash started!  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Nursing Pillow - Do you need one?

Do I need a nursing pillow? What type should I buy?

This is often a question that people ask when they are getting ready to have a baby. If you have never nursed before, you might wonder if you will even be able to....and spending an extra $50 on a nursing pillow doesn't sound likely. So what is the point of having one anyway?
When I had my first baby, I didn't have a nursing pillow right away - and within a week I had to have one! Many women nurse exclusively, as I have with all of my children. When you are holding a baby in your arms for a few minutes at a time, you might not think about having a 'helper' to hold up your baby....but When your baby has been nursing for 30-50 minutes, you quickly realize how badly your back, shoulders and arms hurt!
The point of a nursing pillow is to help you hold your baby. It eases pressure on your back and shoulders and allows you to sit straighter and more comfortably. Your baby can rest in your arms at a height that is comfortable for you to hold him while he is breastfeeding.
If you decide not to breastfeed, a nursing pillow is still a great way to be comfortable while snuggling your baby. You will be holding your baby day in and day out for the first couple months...do It comfortably with good posture - use a nursing pillow.
There are other great ways to use a nursing pillow as well. One way to use a nursing pillow is to lay it on the floor. Then place your swaddled baby in a semi-upright position. This allows your baby to see around the room (and see you) while you are doing all the things new parents have to do. Another way to use the nursing pillow is when your baby starts to sit. Simply place the pillow on the floor around your sitting baby. This will help them stay upright as well as be a soft place to land when they inevitably topple over.
If you are looking into purchasing a nursing pillow, there are a number of brands available. Through experience however, we have come to see that they are all very similar. The generic pillows are identical in functionality as the big brand names yet offer a lesser cost.
The brand name pillows have some pretty cute covers though - for the solution to this, I recommend either sewing a nursing pillow cover yourself, or going to Etsy.com and buying a handmade, great quality cover that will fit your pillow.
If you are at all crafty, you can easily sew a nursing pillow for free or for just a couple dollars. I bet you have all the necessary tools/supplies needed in your home to sew one of these yourself by re-purposing a couple things that you don't use anymore (old pillows, stuffed animals, sheets...etc).
When shopping for or sewing new baby items, you can do without a lot of things. However, make a nursing pillow a priority. You'll be glad you did.

What type of baby sling to choose

When choosing a baby sling carrier, many people can only afford one...so it makes them have to choose between a wide variety of options.
  • On a side note, if you are able to sew, we have a Baby sling sewing pattern package that includes the main 4 types of baby carriers so you won't have to choose...Make them all!
When people start researching baby carriers, they usually come across Ring Slings first.

About the Ring Sling Baby Carrier

A Ring sling is a baby carrier that is very adjustable. The ring sling is the best sling for nursing in and is what midwives globally recommend the most. A ring sling is different then other types of baby carriers and is well known for the double 'rings' at the shoulder area. These rings adjust the carrier to be fitted to the wearer. There is a 'tail' that usually has a pocket in it and is an excellent conceiler for extra nursing privacy as well as a bit of storage space (for a phone or wallet). The Ring sling does take a bit more getting used to then the pouch or mei tai, but it's worth it if you are out and about during feeding time.
Sometimes the ring sling can be called an 'adjustable sling', or 'mayan sling'. 

About the Mei Tai Baby Carrier

A Mei Tai Baby sling is an Asian inspired baby carrier. They can be worn on the front, back or hips. Mei Tai Slings are well known for their ease of use whenever and wherever you need a baby carrier. Use a Mei tai in the house while cooking & cleaning, at church, or the grocery store! The Mei Tai carries newborn babies up to 35 lbs comfortably! Although it's not as supportive as a wrap, it is very easy to tie. This is the type of carrier that most resembles a structured carrier.
Don't waste your time or money shopping for expensive baby slings, sew a mei tai baby sling in about 30 minutes for as little as $5! 

About the Pouch Sling

A Pouch Baby sling is a baby carrier that was inspired by a ring sling. It is sometimes called a 'native' sling. It is a fitted baby sling that is made to fit your size. There are no rings or tails to worry about and the native sling has the easiest learning curve to use. They are easy to nurse in discretely. Most designs have pockets in the front for little things like keys or a phone.
The Native Pouch Sling can be worn in a plethera of ways - on the back, hips, front AND your baby can sit in it a variety of ways! Use comfortably from a newborn up to 35 lbs. The best place to keep a native sling is in your purse so you'll always have it with you! Use it in the store, church, during chores, walks, or whenever you would be holding your baby.
Our Native Baby Sling sewing pattern includes directions how to make a reversible sling, a one layer sling and a matching doll sling for your toddler! 

About a Wrap Baby Sling

A wrap sling is a baby carrier that is incredibly adjustable. The basic wrap consists of a very long strip of stretchy fabric that is wrapped specifically around the body to be completely supportive. The wrap sling is by far the most comfortable baby carrier that is available in most people's opinion. The wrap sling is the most difficult to nurse in and it takes the longest to get used to tying, it is VERY worth it. 
Sometimes the baby wrap sling can be called a Wraparound or Wrap around sling. It can also be called a Strip Sling. Regardless of the name, this is a sling you HAVE to try.
Our sewing pattern to make your own Baby Wrap Sling is going to be your favorite. There are 3 styles. Make one that you don't even have to sew, or have 1 or 2 seams. Add an additional decorative panel as shown very easily and you will have the best looking baby carrier in town. 

Cloth vs Disposable diapers - Cost break down

Looking at the differences of Cloth vs disposable can be a daunting task. Here, you have information regarding cost differences that might blow your mind. Feel free to spend as much time staring at the screen as you need. :) We've all had that "Oh my gosh" moment.

Cloth Diapers -Cost Approx $120 One Time

Depending on the style of diaper you decide on, it could be as little as $120 or as much as $740 if you sew them yourself.
Purchasing cloth diapers premade will cost anywhere from $350-$3256.
Lets go from a money saving standpoint and look at the cheapest option.
Please also understand that this is per child. If you use cloth on a 2nd and 3rd child, you have just dropped the price down to $40-$246 per child if you sew them yourself.

One Size Fits All Pocket Diaper (Best on Budget)

  • 108 weeks approx in the same size
  • 6-12 changes a day
  • 24 diapers & inserts - Cost approx $4-5 per set to sew = $120
  • Approx 6197 diaper changes
  • $.02 per change
  • Total $120 

What about washing costs?

  • 108 weeks approx of diaper washing
  • 6-12 changes a day
  • Approx 20 diapers & inserts per load
  • Approx 378 loads (every other day)
  • Laundry Detergent, approx $.20 per load
  • Washing Machine (inc. water) approx $.30-$.69 per load
  • Hang dry or Dryer approx 0-.$50 per load
  • Total approx $.50-$1.39 per load
  • Total Cost Per Child from birth to toilet $189-$525 

Disposable Diapers Cost Approx $2120 Per Child

The cost of these were the popular brand price at the local supermarket.
This does not include disposable wipes or gas to the store.

Newborn diapers - Your Cost $62.50

  • 2 weeks approx in size
  • 12-16 changes a day
  • 48 diapers in package for $15
  • Approximately 200 diapers used
  • $.31 per change
  • $62.50 total

Size 1 - Your Cost $165.50

  • 10 weeks approx in size
  • 10-12 changes a day
  • 104 diapers in package for $21
  • Approximately 820 diapers used
  • $.20 per change
  • $165.50 total

Size 2 - Your Cost $216

  • 12 weeks approx in size
  • 10-12 changes a day
  • 88 diapers in package for $21
  • Approximately 900 diapers used
  • $.24 per change
  • $216 total

Size 3 - Your Cost $217.50

  • 12 weeks approx in size
  • 8-10 changes a day
  • 96 diapers in package for $28
  • Approx 750 diapers used
  • $.29 per change
  • $217.50 total

 Size 4 - Your Cost $200

  • 12 weeks approx in size
  • 6-8 changes a day
  • 64 diapers in a package for $22
  • Approx 588 diapers used
  • $.34 per change
  • $200 total

Size 5 - Your Cost $446.50

  • 24 weeks approx in size
  • 6-8 changes a day
  • 58 diapers in a package for $22
  • Approx 1175 diapers used
  • $.38 per change
  • $446.50 total

Size 6 - 36 weeks

  • 36 weeks approx in size
  • 6-8 changes a day
  • 48 diapers in a package for $22
  • Approx 1764 diapers used
  • $.46 per change
  • $811.44 
Of course cloth doesn't make sense for everyone...and sewing your own won't either. But if you can manage it, I recommend saving yourself thousands of dollars per child and get sewing using our one size cloth diaper pattern!

How to clean dish covers

Caring for Dish Covers is easy peasy 

If you haven't yet, you are getting ready to sew a stash of adorable dish covers...and you're starting to wonder if it'll be worth it because you have to wash them...and how do you wash PUL anyway?

Routine

  • Put a cover on a dish & it gets dirty
  • Wipe it off with a wash cloth if you can and put it back in the drawer
     
  • If you cannot wash it off, put it in the coordinating colors of your every day wash.
  • Dry either on the clothesline or in the dryer...whichever is your everyday routine
  • Use again and again and again

Pretty easy huh? Don't worry about the PUL. It's perfectly safe to wash and dry as many times as you possibly could.
I always try to wipe mine out. I use the covers every day and I hate running out.

How to wash cloth diapers


Caring For Cloth Diapers Is Easy

If you've researched cloth diapers at all, you've probably run across dozens if not hundreds of suggested washing "routines."  Some are simple, and some are so complex it seems like you'll be spending an entire day washing!

SOILED DIAPERS

1. Rinse solids off in the toilet. I use a sprayer that my husband made from a kitchen sink sprayer. You could easily use a peri bottle, or just swish.
2. Put into either a 'dry' or 'wet' pail.
  • Wet Pail
    This is a bucket (with a locking lid) that you soak dirty diapers in until washing day. Some people add a pinch of baking soda. This requires a spin before washing to get all the extra nasty water out. This can be heavy and nasty to carry to the wash though. If you find that you HAVE to wait 3-4 days before washing (NOT recommended), use the wet pail method.
  • Dry Pail
    This is what most people do. They simply have a dry container for putting the soiled diapers in. 

 

WASH DAY

1.  Hopefully you have already removed the solids-  Whether you choose to swish, shake, or spray, remove as much solid matter as possible and dispose of this in the toilet. 

2.  Cold Prewash-  Cold water will remove any remaining solid material without setting in stains. With front loading HE machines, run a standard cold/cold wash, with an extra rinse. If your machine will let you program to do a cold soak, do it.

3.  Hot Wash-  Hot water is required to sterilize the diapers and remove germs.  Use a hot wash with cold rinse. Add detergent.

4.  Dry- Line drying will prolong the life of your cotton, hemp, or bamboo diapers.  Many people use the dryer on high heat. Some people recommend high heat for PUL fabric. This is up for debate though as it still breaks down faster using a dryer. Should you choose to line dry, the sun is an excellent bleaching agent and should help remove any stains.

5.  Put Away- Or leave in a pile, in the laundry basket, or shove in a drawer.  Whatever "method" works best at your house.

 DO'S AND DON'TS

DO'S
Cold prerinse & spin
Use store bought UNSCENTED liquid detergent
Hang in the sun to remove stains
Always include hot water and detergent in your wash routine


DON'TS
 DO NOT Use any fabric softener
DO NOT Use bleach of anything made with PUL fabric
DO NOT Use Sportswash, Charlie's Soap or Bac-Out.  These products can cause allergic reactions when used improperly.
DO NOT Iron you diapers (really, how much time do you have!?)
DO NOT Overfill your washing machine.  Your diapers needs good water circulation to get clean.
DO NOT Soak in a wet pail without a LOCKING lid (this is a drowning risk!)
DO NOT Let your diapers sit unwashed for more than 3-4 days. They will develop mildew stains and will become incredibly hard to get clean.
DO NOT NOT NOT use a homemade laundry soap with felsnaptha. I learned the hard way not to do this. It actually puts quite a barrier on the diaper making it hold in stink, not get stains clean AND unabsorbent.

How to make a "no sew" diaper cover


 In my passion for cloth diapering, I have conjured up another idea. If your baby isn't a heavy wetter, why couldn't you make a fleece cover for daytime use? Try it! It hardly costs a thing and you don't even have to sew it. 
Supplies needed:
20x20" piece of fleece. The thicker the better. If you were going to sew or serge the edges, I might even suggest using two pieces.
Cut the cover like this:
free diaper cover tutorial

And that's it. You could serge the edges or even serge two pieces together to make a thicker cover. The idea here is that the moisture wicking properties of the fleece keeps the messes INSIDE. Of course you need to use a diaper underneith for soaking and catching abilities. 
This would totally work for premies...but it might be a bit bulky.
Here are some pictures to help you fold it for smaller babies...
fold one for smaller babies
diaper fold small babies 2
folding for smaller babies 3
folding for newborn
final fold for newborn

Use a Snappi or pins to close it
no sew diaper on 15 lb baby

no sew cover on toddler

In the future I might put together a pattern piece for this. Let me know if you are interested! :

Puppets, quite possibly the best toy for children

It is hard to find a good toy for your kids to play with these days. It almost seems like with technology, kids forget how to be creative in their playtime. I had researched the best and most cost effective toys to have on hand for my children. They, like most children tend to tire easily and go from game to game or toy to toy without much thought, so I wanted to improve my ‘toy stash’ to make it more interesting, educational and fun for them. After researching many informational sites, I discovered that the best toys for my family (5 children under 5 years old), was puppets!
With such a wide range of ages and learning curves, they are the perfect match! Once I decided that I wanted to add puppets to my arsenal of things for my kids, I soon discovered that I can’t afford them! Puppets are very expensive to purchase outright. To get a set of 5 puppets you are looking to spend anywhere from $30-$100.
I love to sew, so I thought that I would look for free puppets sewing patterns. That was a joke – there were tons of paper bag puppets, and even ideas on how to make sock puppets….but as far as to sew anything, there was nothing that I could find.
Discouraged, I went shopping and purchased one measly puppet for my kids. Soon after, I thought, “if I am looking for puppet patterns, then there has to be someone else out there who is looking for them too!” So I decided to put my brain on turbo mode and create something amazing. What I ended up with were 5 puppets that are super easy to make and they are the most loved toys in the house.

Why would you want to choose puppets as a significant toy in your house?

  1.  They are exceptional toys for all ages! From infants to 8, they are loved and played with FREQUENTLY!
  2. They are excellent for teaching social conversational skills.
  3.  They are perfect for children with conditions such as autism to really work through various issues.
  4. They are a great way to reach out to your children and learn more about who they are and what they are thinking! *Think about it – if you want to know what your child is interested in, start a ‘puppet conversation’ and you will soon find out exactly what peaks their interest!
  5. Puppets are excellent for getting children who might have concentrating conditions such as A.D.D. to pay more attention to learning. Example: Book reading – It may be easier for a child to sit through a short story that is animated with puppets then to sit and look at pages in a book.
  6. They are fun! A kid can be as creative or as silly as they want while playing with puppets! Get those imaginations moving and make some puppets!
 Get puppet patterns now and get sewing!

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