Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Our First Garden

This year we planted our first garden. We planted almost two weeks ago, and we have some seedlings poking up. I'll take pictures of the whole garden when things are obviously growing. The one thing growing very well is crab grass. I believe that sticker weeds/goat heads and crab grass are the most noxious of all noxious weeds. Here is a picture of my lettuce. I plan to harvest baby lettuce for salads. That's why they are so close together. I don't think I'll grow heads this year.

Recent Sewing Projects

I saw a quote the other day, "Once I learned how to sew I forgot how to cook" That's how I feel sometimes. This week Joe has been working over time (like 15 hours every day), so I have put in a lot of hours at my sewing machine.

This is an apron that I made for the lady who is teaching a bread class for Enrichment. She used to own a Bosch store, so she is doing her great demos for Enrichment for 6 weeks! After 3 years of making "brick bread" out of 100% whole wheat, I made soft nice 100% whole wheat bread after attending her class. I thought an apron would be a nice thank you. This is kind of a hokey picture... I am not taking a picture of it on me, and I don't have a mannequin or model. But I think you get the idea. I loved the vintage fabric, and it is reversible. The other side is made of the polka dot fabric you see on the pockets. The pattern is called "Church Ladies Apron." I had visions of all-day relief society that you hear about in legends. (Ha ha ha... yes, I am young enough that I have never done anything but the block schedule.)

These are two more of my favorite baby blankets made of the "Little man and me too" line of fabric. I just love these! They will work for boy or girl, right?

The other project I am working on right now is comforters for the girls new bunk beds. I found some great sheets on clearance at Shopko and Wal-mart, and I am just going to make tied comforters out of them. With all the materials, they cost less than $20 each, and will be better than the $40 that I found. I'll let you know how they turn out!

Crochet madness!

Last year my crochet freak was dishcloths. They taught me a lot about different stitches, but there is only so much you can do with a dishcloth. Here are some of my latest projects:

These are two baby afghans that I made for the new baby. They work for either a boy or girl... I love the granny square one. I made it out of Caron Simply Soft, and it is silky soft. The fuzzy one is great too. Although I am sure that the baby will just be irritated by all the Fun Fur, I would love to get a picture of a little naked baby cuddled in it. Otherwise, I can just wrap the baby in a nice soft receiving blanket, and use the fuzzy on the outside. (: (Both of these patterns came from Lion brand yarn. I downloaded them from

This is my newest crochet freak: Homemade Facial Scrubbies! I found the pattern on Etsy. They are simple and quick. They are adorable, and they work great! Plus, they are machine washable. They look great all strung on the clothesline too! (:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cloth Diapers

I just finished making a set of newborn diapers last week. I must say that making cloth diapers has been so fun! It is something that I make that I use regularly, and I can honestly say that it saves tons of money!

The basic pattern that I use I found here I have changed it a little bit, but that is the basic. These diapers are amazing! I tried the Gerber pre-folds, LAME! I couldn't ever get them to stop leaking, and I kept going for almost a year, but... it got really old. These are very absorbent, and they have elastic to stop leaks. I am interested to see how they do with newborn poop (gross, I know, but all you moms know what I mean). Zenna was about 8 months old when I started using these for the first time, so she was past the "blow-out" stage. I will let you know! I have read that they work well, though.

For these newborn diapers, I used the fancier fabrics. I used white microfleece for the inner layer. It is supposed to wick the moisture right away from baby's skin. The outer layer is red stretch terry. I use the microfiber towels from Costco for the soaker layer inside. Even with the fancy fabrics inside, the materials cost about $1.50 per diaper. That would increase to probably $2.50 or so for a large size diaper, but still beats $15-$20 for designer diapers.

Folded newborn diaper

When I made my first batch of diapers for Zenna, I used regular Wal-Mart flannel for both inner and outer layers, and the Costco microfiber towels for the soaker. They work great! Those cost about 50-70 cents per diaper. You have to use pins for closure, but after trying a Snappi fastener, I like the pins better. I have never stabbed a baby, and I have cloth diapered all three of them through the stage where they are fighting and kicking and screaming to get off the changing table. They can't get the pins off.

Newborn diaper cover made of waterproof fleece

So, that is how you make the diaper, and they absorb great, but you have to have a waterproof cover in order to keep them from leaking all over. To make waterproof covers, I have two fabrics I love. PUL is great during the day. I just make a simple cover with fold-over elastic around the edges. This last time, I made covers with one layer of PUL and a layer of jersey knit in a cute pattern. They are great! The other fabric I like is waterproof fleece. These are great because they breathe well, so at night my baby doesn't get diaper rash. You can get either Velcro to fasten them, or snaps. I just invested in a snap press, and must say that I like the snaps WAY better, but the velcro works well for a lot of people. These fabrics, snaps or velcro, and the elastic I buy online. 1 yard of PUL or fleece (since they are 60 wide) makes about 10 covers (give or take depending on your size).The fabrics are more spendy ($9-12 a yard) but I only have 2 PUL covers and 2 fleece covers. If you make the diapers separate, you can use just a few covers. I have a set of 16 diapers and 4 covers at any time. I wash Zenna's diapers every 3 days or so.

Even Joe loves the cloth! The only time I use disposables now is on vacation. We take an extra cloth diaper in a Ziploc bag to church or when we go out, and we have a few cloth diapers stored at Grandma's house.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My new favorite baby blankets

I have a new favorite baby gift to make. This is one I made for a friend recently. The top is quilters cotton, the bottom is fleece. They are lightweight, but warm. This one is big, 36"x44" so it fits in a crib nicely, and would make a great soft "tummy time" blanket. Plus, they are adorable!

I found the pattern here: I just made mine as big as I could using 1 yard cuts of fabric. I found 1 yard fleece remnants frequently at JoAnn's, so I just tried to find cute fabric to match.

I will have to let you know how well they work after the baby is born, and I try out my own!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Simple Joys

The other day I had a few moments of joy and satisfaction that I wanted to share.

I decided that the two most satisfying things in my life right now are:
  1. Hanging a load of homemade cloth diapers on the line to dry in the sun.
  2. Feeding my kids a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and apple sauce. Homemade whole wheat bread, homemade jam, and home canned applesauce. It's their favorite lunch!
So simple, but to me... that's what life is all about!

Things I have made

To start off this blog, I would like to list some of the things that I have made. I've tried a lot of things, it's my hobby.

Things that are way better homemade:
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Jam (especially strawberry freezer jam... it's like a taste of summer all year)
  • Canned fruit
  • All-purpose cleaner (the non-toxic kind)
  • Herbal tea
  • Cloth Diapers
  • Easter Dresses
  • Dish cloths
  • Facial Scrubbies
  • Scarves
  • Lip Balm
Things that are not better homemade:
  • Laundry Soap (you just can't beat Tide!)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Yogurt (from powdered milk... I could never get it smooth)
  • Dishwasher Detergent
If I think of others, I'll post them later. I am going to use this blog to document our efforts to become self-reliant. Yes, we are crazy, but we love it!