Friday, September 28, 2007

I finally finished the first of my newborn stash. It took forever. But it was definatly a learning experience. For example, stretch should go wing to wing, not top to bottom. And when doing a fitted with back elastic, you should leave a spot to turn the dipe in the front of the dipe, not the back (i have a great relationship with my seam ripper, so not a huge deal). And when using a pattern that is made for serging and snaps, you may want to lengthen the wings if you don't want to have aplix tabs. But in case you don't think of this before you T&T, all is not lost. You can just fake something up!

So here it is! Two body layers of stretch terry and a hidden soaker of a trifolded facecloth. I came up with my own aplix tabs by using my smallest zigzag to 'serge' hook to loop. It looks okay, but up close you can tell its not perfect. And I'm not loving the topstitching around the leg elastic. With my next one I think I'll leave that and see if I like it better. But all in all its soft and squishy and size wise is very close to a sample newborn diaper I have (that is serged and snapped). I don't think it will be super absorbent, but enough for a newborn that you change so often.

So hopefully these start going quicker, its been a long day!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ok, I'm not making this, but with the new baby on the way, my stepdad is building an addition to our house for the nursery! So here is the before picture and the first step of digging out the area. The nursery will be right behind our living room and in between Ciaran's room and the laundry room. It will be great to close off the space behind there, help alot in the chilly winters. This will warm up Ciarans room and the nursery room will be super cozy. I have no idea what the time line is on this project, but I'll update as things progress.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ok, its been ages since I've posted, but I haven't had anything to show. But that's changed tonight! I made another diaper :) This is from the free RRP pattern . Its a one-size pocket kind-of fitted (no closures, need one pin). I used some M&M fleece that my mom gave me and recycled an old flannel sheet. I'm hoping that it will be good for using at home without a cover. I haven't tried it on Ciaran yet (I don't have a diaper pin), but I think its the first diaper I've made where the flaps are long enough to go around his belly. I may make more of these! I hope to be posting some more completed projects soon!

Update - today he asked to wear it (which never happens), and it fits great! Its very soft, fairly trim and best of all he likes it :)

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

'm not sure why when I'm up to my eyeballs in housework and in this case packing for our trip that I'm very excited about, that I get so distracted by little projects.

I decided that Ciaran needed some play pants for playing outside on the farm. I try to keep his farm clothes seperate from his going out clothes because they get so dirty. But I cringe at the thought of buying a pair of pants for $10 thats sole purpose is to get trashed. So after scouring the consignment and thrift stores and not seeing anything I liked, I decided to make Ciaran some pants myself. How hard could it be right? RIGHT!!! Holy crap these were so easy! I used a pair of Gareth's old pajama pants, and this tutorial ( ) and whipped them up in no time at all. They're lightweight and should be great for summer, a little big so he has room to grow into them, they fit perfectly over his big cloth butt, and they were FREE!! I can't wait to make him some more, oh wait, yes I can, I have a vacation tomorrow!!

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And here they are in action...

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Monday, May 7, 2007

I finished it! And I'm really happy with it. At first I tried doing a three layer terry hourglass shaped soaker, but that was so thick I couldn't even get it under my needle. And it was very bulky, especially in the back. Ciaran pees in the front, he does't need five total layers in the back.

So instead I made the soaker from one layer terry, and then added a second layer on half of it forming a pocket. That way there is four total layers of terry in the pee zone and a pocket to easily add an extra hemp oval/folded washcloth/whatever if I need extra absorbency. It was a bit fiddly zigzagging around the edge of the single ply terry to prevent the fraying, I'll have to try and come up with something better. But its soooo soft, I love it! And I tried it on Ciaran this morning (without the soaker) and it fit very well. I can't wait to make more!

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

So this is still a work in progress, but tonight I made a contour diaper! I was frustrated with how finicky the sizing is making a fitted diaper, especially when it comes to adding the elastic. And I do like the simplicity of a prefold diaper, but hate fiddling around trying to fold it when Ciaran is doing a crocodile roll. So this is a contour diaper which is simple like a prefold (no fasteners, just lay in the cover), but I don't have to fold at all. Its still a work in progress because I want to add a foldout style soaker, but want to make sure it fits okay and works before I use up more fabric for the soaker. Right now its only two layers of terry (oh so soft!). So when I test it tomorrow morning I'll just lay in one of my other soakers. And if this works as well as I hope, I'll make more for Ciaran, but also when we have another baby I'll use these instead of baby prefolds (although the majority of our stash will still be fitteds, my current favorite style). Did I mention this took almost no time to make? From cut to finish maybe 20min? Which for this newbie is pretty damn great!

I used this pattern

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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Well, this isn't crochet or even sewing related, but as I started from scratch, I think this is appropriate. Here is my jungle that is currently living in my utility room.

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I have tomatoes that are thriving, mints, basils, eggplant, marigolds, chives, marjoram, thyme, parsley, cilantro, and I'm sure I'm forgeting some, but I love them all! I can't wait until I can plant them outside.

Also, just cause I think this is cute, here is Ciaran reading a book in his new big boy bed. We're taking our time with the transition, he's not sleeping in it yet, but he loves reading in it!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ok its been a long time since I posted, but I have been busy. I've been working on a couple designs for mama pads. I'm liking how they're turning out, but the more I look into things, the more I don't think its worth the start up costs. Items such as a rotary cutter and board would be nice, but things like a snap press would be needed, and wooh those are pricey! So I'm still going to keep working on them, and I have a few testers ready, but if I ever actually do try to sell them I don't know.

But today as I was enjoying the peace and quiet of naptime, I came across a post on one of my forums where a lady was complaining about the little plastic produce bags you get at the grocery store. I use cloth and recycable grocery bags all the time, but I still put my apples and yams and whatever in those little plastic bags. They often get a little wet and sticky depending on what kind of produce you're buying, and then they're useless for reusing. And while I like being more earth friendly, there's no way I'm fussing around with rinsing out a little baggy! So I made my own!

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Its not super pretty, but its holding four apples quite successfully, and really usually its lays in the cart or shopping bag, not hanging from somewhere. I crocheted a drawstring so the entire bag is 100% cotton that can be thrown in the washer and dryer again and again. Also they're super light (its a guaze type fabric) so shouldn't affect the cost at the till. I'm thinking of trying my hand at dying them cool colours and matching drawstrings. Now I will be shopping with all cloth, no more plastic bags!!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

So I have made many pantyliners now, I ~LOVE~ them!! And I was having some trouble with my Diva cup last time (really put the liners to the test!), so I have made a couple of actual pads. I used a tutorial I found online and made two pocket pads. These would be for a 'regular' day, not heavy or overnight. But because of the pocket, I could add an extra insert to make it more absorbent for those heavier times. I haven't yet made any extra inserts, but I found some really cool waterproof burp pads I was given when C was born, and I think they would be perfect. So I will be making some soon...

Also, I'm not a fan of the curves. Way to much trouble for what its worth. So I will be squaring them off for next time. I also made a pad for heavy or overnight days by making a square of two layers of terry cloth (aka old towel)covered with flannel. You then fold it into thirds for maximum absorbency. This makes it fairly bulky, I don't think I would want to wear this out and about. But it should be pretty good for nighttime and around the house.

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So as I'm getting more into this whole sewing thing, I'm finding it difficult to actually find time to do it. I've been putting my machine on the kitchen table, which is less than ideal because then I have to put it away at every meal, and I can only really sew during C's naptime. In the evening when G is home, its really disruptive. So G rearranged the furniture in the bedroom, taking a shelf/table that we were using as a headboard and turning that into a space for each of us. I have my sewing stuff and he has his laptop. I love love love it. The table is slightly higher than average, so I don't have to slouch as much if I'm watching my needle closely. And its plenty big enough for my sewing needs. And its right next to my yarn cabinet, so I feel like it is truly *my* space. Most of my pattern tracing, cutting, etc will still be done either on the kitchen table or the coffee table, but I couldn't be happier with this set up! And surprisingly when he moved our furniture around, we ended up with way more room even with this new workspace added!

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Here is my latest creation. My MIL requested that I make a dog coat for her neice (G's cousin). This was an easy project, one that I totally designed myself! I made it for a Dachsund, and while I did not have a dog of that breed to work with, its too small for my Emily, so I think it will be fine. I'm hoping the recipient will send me a pic of her doggy wearing it so I can see how it fits. If and when I receive such photo, I will post it here. I will definatly be making another one for Emily, even though coat season is almost over.

I used two strands of scrap WW and my 10mm. Also, the dogs head will go out the space on the right (hard to tell from this pic!).

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Friday, February 16, 2007

I did it!!! I made my first cloth diaper. I am so excited, Ciaran is napping, but I can't wait until he wakes up so I can try it on him. I used the free Mamabird pattern, and altered the Pocket AIO pattern to a fitted pocket. It was my first time having to think about proper seam allowances, ELASTIC!!!, attaching velcro, sizing, etc. In fact the only other thing I have sewn are panty liners. So I'm pretty proud of myself.

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I used two of Gareth's old tshirts for the body of the diaper (so will need to use a cover with it). Then I took a Gerber flatfold, folded it in half, then straight stitched it into thirds for easy folding for the stuffer. I don't think its super absorbent, but it will do for now. I also have an old fleece blanket that I will be cutting up to use as a stay dry liner inside the diaper.

Overall I'm very happy with how it turned out. I used white thread and its a blue diaper, so I don't love how that looks, but oh well. And I don't know if I'll do another pocket style. I really like how the Kushies I got have a soaker sewn on externally as a flap for easy drying and then you don't have to worry about pulling out a yucky soaker. The Kushies soaker also has a pocket so you can stuff even more in it if you need a little extra absorbency for a nap or something. I really like that style and the next one I will try that way. I can't wait to get my Motherease diapers next week and see what they're like. I have some nice flannel and even some fleece, but want to perfect the pattern I use before using either. Until then I still have a few old tshirts and my sister even gave me two great flannel pillowcases that are the perfect size for a diaper.

All in all this probably took me 2-3 hours of cutting/sewing time. But it was slow as I had to keep refering to the instructions with every step. I'm sure I'll be much quicker soon. I hear of women who can crank these out in about 30-45min.

If I decide that making these is a good way to go (in lieu of buying them), I'm going to have to start ordering some proper fabric from online. The local Fabricland SUCKS!!! The women who work there always seem put out if you have a question or need some fabric cut. Its like its a store for women who already sew, not people learning to sew. And the inventory is dismal. They didn't have a clue what PUL was (although I have discovered online is about the only place to buy it) and couldn't even tell me the difference between the fleece stock. So time to start scouting Canadian online fabric stores!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Well I have almost no crochet-related stuff to talk about. I've been working on something for sooo long now, but was missing a very important part. Finally bought what I thought I needed, but nope, I was wrong. But I think I've finally got it! So now I can hopefully finish this project (which is my first own design and I'm very happy with so far!).

But the last two weeks have been pretty crappy. Ciaran got croup, so he was out of commission for about a week. Poor little guy, I've never seen him this sick (even when he got croup at this exact time last year). He spent three days sitting in my lap watching Teletubbies and LazyTown. I don't think he's been still for more than a few minutes since he was born! And certainly never cuddled for more than a few seconds. But the meds kicked in and he started to get better. I, on the other hand, got worse. From what I understand adults don't get croup, instead they just get a bad cold. So I've been useless for a week too.

But by not being able to do much of anything, I've been surfing alot. I'm switching Ciaran to cloth diapers. There's several reasons I'm doing this even though he's 21mths. The biggest one is environmental. As we no longer have the luxury of a garbage service here on the farm, we have to incinerate everything ourselves. We had no idea just how many dirty diapers we go through. It is overwhelming! Then I started to crunch some numbers. Sposies are expensive, even though we prefer the cheapie Walmart brand. While we probably don't even have a year of diapering left until Ciaran is potty trained, there are some major savings involved by switching to cloth. Plus he has very sensitive skin (my little red-head!) so having natural fabrics that breathe sounds so much nicer than plastic disposables that have weird absorbent gels and chemicals. Plus as I've switched to cloth fem products, I can attest to how soft they are and how nice they feel! Why wouldn't I want that for him?

So I've orded a few dipes from Sears, cheap Kushies that I've heard good and bad things about. They're cheap enough that even if they're not great, its ok, but if they turn out to be great, then we're ahead of the game. I've also ordered a few Mother-Ease Sandy's. Again I've heard mostly good things, so we'll see how we like them. And because I'm just a crafty crafter who has a new sewing machine, I'm making some too! I've scrounged up some old t-shirts, have some el-cheapo flatfolds, even bought some flannel and some fleece. I have a free online pattern, and will hopefully have a finished product to show off in the next week or so. Buying some is great because I'll be able to see the different designs and what we like best, and hopefully translate it into something I can make. And then when the next baby comes, I'll know whether I can make them myself, or if its just worth it to order some (and of course we can reuse any we already have!). Win win win!

I've already switched to cloth wipes for Ciaran using baby washcloths (16/$5 at Walmart) and a solution I found online (1c water/1/2T canola oil/1/2T babywash). I'm just so mad I didn't do this sooner, they're fabulous!!! So soft on his skin, non-irritating, and I really feel like he's clean. I use a plastic container from some storebought wipes, and the solution makes enough for a couple days worth of wipes. Any mom out there who reads this, I highly recommend giving it a shot, they work so much better, so much cheaper and alot more earth friendly!

Oh, and with all this info about cloth, and trying my cloth pads and Ciarans new cloth wipes, I'm going to try my own cloth 'bathroom wipes'. Yes, cloth t.p. When I first read about it, I thought I could never go that far, but oh my goodness cloth just feels so much nicer! Forget about the environment, cost, etc. It just feels so nice. My hoo-hoo deserves to be pampered! And its no extra work with the cloth pads, dipes and babywipes. So I have some extra flannel I'm going to try. And if it doesn't work out, I'm no further behind. Alright, enough about all that.

The next thing that's on my mind is the garden. As I look out my window to what seems like several feet of snow, with more falling as I type, and a balmy -20c, I can't wait until spring comes and I can start digging. My mom and I went through her seed catalouges, and I've ordered all my veggies and herbs! Tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, zucchinni, beets, garlic and more! I also ordered a set of three ferns, a purple one, an orange one and a green one. And a whack of sweetpeas. We haven't done too much about flowers yet, its still early, but I'm thinking about it lots. I'm digging out a bunch of delfeniums that cover a side wall of my house and replacing them with honeysuckle. And there's a big row of lily's along the front of my house that will go to be replaced maybe by coneflowers. I transplanted some of the lily's last year and I'm much happier with them moved. The rest look great for a short time while in bloom, and look like scraggly crap the rest of the season. So perinnials that bloom from June-Sept I'm searching for. I also have a beautiful fence line of white yarrow (that is considered a weed in the city!), and I'm thinking of mixing it up with some different coloured yarrow I've seen in books. Helps to disguise the ugly page wire.

I just set up an indoor grow shelf. My mom gave me one of her old grow lights, and I have now been successful at starting some cilantro, basil, chives and peppermint from seed myself! Its so exciting to go into the room everyday and see how they've grown. Within four days I had a little field of basil, and in a week and a half my cilantro outgrew the little plastic cover. Ciaran loves it too and we check the plants all the time.

Well Ciaran has just finished napping (convenient!). Alessandra I hope you're feeling better!!!

Monday, January 29, 2007

They're here!! Finally my crochet hooks arrived today. They're beautiful. Really light and smooth. I can't wait to use them! I've decided on doing a round rainbow ripple for my friend who is preggers right now. I also want to do something for her daughter who is the same age as Ciaran (never leave out the eldest!), maybe a little cardigan or something? I can't wait to start! I guess this means I should finish up the several projects I have on the go right now.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

finally finished my stepmoms Fat Bottom purse. It was for her birthday back in December, but I had issues with getting handles, so I didn't get it done until today. Its an offwhite acrylic with a gold strand running through, and I lined it with a cream satin. I think she'll like it as she's a gold/shimmery kind of woman!

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Oh and last week I ordered these bamboo crochet hooks (the small and large set!). Apparently they were to be mailed on the 10th, so I am anxiously awaiting them. My friend is having a baby that is due beginning of June, and I am going to make a rainbow round ripple for them. I want that to be my first project for my new hooks. I'm so excited, they better get here soon!!

ChiaoGoo Bamboo Hooks

ChaioGoo Bamboo Hooks are a pleasure to use. The bamboo is lightweight and warm to the touch compared to aluminum hooks.
These hooks are very strong and smooth. They are made from Chinese Moso bamboo, one of the largest and strongest bamboo species.
The hook size is permanently laser-marked, and on the other side is a Chinese symbol and word. The small hook set is incribed with the words Wisdom, Freedom, Peace, Love and Faith. The large hook set has Bless, Fortune, Longlive, and Joy.

Well we have put the disappointment of China behind us. Another baby is in our future, when and how are details to be worked out.

So in moving on we have adopted a new kitty! His name is Grissom and he is a 6mth old fluffy orange cat.

We adopted him from the Animal Health Technology program at the college my stepdad works at. They take in strays, or overflow from the Humane Society, and the students do all their bloodwork, deworm/deflea, vaccinate, tattoo and assist in the spay/neutering. Once the kitties are in tip top shape, they are then adopted out. I think its a wonderful program, the students are very loving to these poor kitties and nurse very sick ones back to health. When we went to look, there were two kitties available for adoption, three who weren't and six in quarentine. Our kitty had a stuffy toy in his pen, and I asked if we could have it to bring home with him so that he had something familiar. They hesitated and only agreed when I quickly followed up that I would replace it with more. That's when I noticed not all the kitties had a toy. While they are in very nice new pens, and there is a great play area for them, there is obviously no room in the budget for the little things like toys. So I decided to make some!

I used a pattern for the mouse and fish from the Crochet Pattern-A-Day 2007 Calendar, this pattern for the curly toys ( sorry I don't know how to link properly), and I just made up the other toys. They're all made with scrap ww and stuffed with catnip marinated cotton balls. My mom joined in and made a couple, and as she is adopting a cat from there as well, will be donating a bag of toys too. These toys work up super fast, and my current cat Willow thinks the couple we made for her are fantastic! Our plan is to continually make these toys for the AHT program so that every kitty they get has a new toy that can go home with them when they're adopted. Of course that's only if they accept these toys, but I can't see why they wouldn't. We pick up Grissom tomorrow, so I'll find out then!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Well, our grand plan to adopt from China has been shut down even before it began. China announced new stricter criteria for couples wanting to adopt, and there is a minimum financial limit that we don't qualify for. The new changes don't go into effect until May 1st, so if we get all our paperwork submitted today, and everything goes perfectly smoothly and quickly, there is a chance that we could squeak in under the wire. But there are alot of non-refundable fees, and all it would take is an employee to be sick for a few days and have our file sit unworked for a week and we wouldn't make it. We were crushed to hear of the changes, I can't imagine what we would go through if we got so close only to miss the deadline. So we have decided China is no longer an option.

Which leaves us in a conumdrum. There were many reasons we wanted to adopt from China specifically. Reputation, stability of the process, alot of the babies come from healthy women (due to the one child policy, although I recently heard they're now allowing two children). We don't qualify for most of the rest of Asia for different reasons (some don't allow adoptions to Albertans, some the costs are just too high, some require very lengthy in-country stays, etc). So now we're going to start looking at other places. Africa, Eastern Europe and South America.

But I have to say the wind was knocked out of our sails by this. We're really back at square one, re-evaluating what we want and why. We're going to compare as many countries as we can to see what are real options for us. We know we want another baby, we need to figure out what's the best way for us to do it.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

This isn't really exciting, but I'm proud of it because I needed something, and was able to make something up to fill that need, and I'm really happy with it!

I don't carry a regular diaper bag, just a big purse that doesn't have sections. It was a pain in the neck digging through it to find a diaper, wipes, mat, etc when it was all just loose. So I made this pouch that is just the right size to carry all diaper related items so that when I'm out and about with Ciaran and I need to change him, I just have to pull out this pouch and everything is at my fingertips!

And as a small update, it doesn't look like G's new car is in yet. We were supposed to pick it up today, then we were told tomorrow, but as of 6pm tonight the car still hadn't arrived. Grrrrr!!! And now that G's old car isn't running anymore, we're down to one which is hard when we live on the farm. I hope we can pick it up on Saturday!!!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Well I really fell behind on my projects this Christmas. I'm quite disappointed. I think the pressure made it not fun anymore. Now that Christmas is over, I'm hooking away again. And I think that the issues I ran into with my SIL's wrap and clutch really put me behind. But I did get a couple more things done. Here is an afghan I made for my BIL and his girlfriend. They just bought their first house in a ski resort town, so I thought this would keep them cozy when their lounging at home. Its wonderfully thick being two strands, and I used 8skeins of Bernat Super Value and a 10mm. I used a HDC seed stitch and it worked up much faster than I expected.

And here's what I made for my kitty Willow. A cute little catnip toy fish, and a bed that fits the back arm of our couch. She has happily been playing with the fish, however has chosen to sleep beside, not in, her bed. Oh well, if she doesn't take to it soon I'll donate it.

I have also mostly finished another Fat Bottom for my stepmom's birthday, but had some problems getting handles. So I just have to put those on and then I can finally get it to her (only a month late!).

And I'm working on another secret project that was also held up by supply issues but should be done that this week or next as well. Its something that was inspired by something else I saw, but I did it myself with no pattern or instruction, so I'm very proud of it. Pics will be posted soon of both of these projects.

Now that the Christmas rush is over, I have a nice list of projects to do. I have promised myself that I will finish three Christmas stockings and a tree skirt by the summer. I figure this way I know for sure that they'll be done by next Xmas. Gareth was so disappointed that I didn't make any this year.

And I got a few good crochet related gifts this year. "Not Your Mama's Crochet" book. There aren't a ton of patterns that appeal to me, but its great to have another reference book. And I also got the 2007 Crochet Pattern-A-Day calendar. Again most patterns aren't my taste, but there are a few I want to try. So I'm very happy with both of those.

And I'm about to buy a set of bamboo hooks off the internet! I'm nervous as I haven't really bought much online, but this site was recommended on C'ville, so I hope it'll be fine. I just have to look into their policy on shipping to Canada.

And for non-crochet related news, we're adopting a baby from China!! We're at the very early stages, but spilled the beans to our families this Christmas. Everyone is really happy and supportive. I have started a blog related specifically to this, but its on blogger, which I'm not sure I like yet.

Bye for now!