Thursday, May 26

Rainy Day

It's terribly chilly outside, and raining. My youngest is fighting off a fever and needing lots of momma cuddles. I'll be back tomorrow with more crafty goodness. Wishing you a warm, sunny, and healthy day.

Wednesday, May 25

Handmade Nursing Pillow

The amount of items on my "can't do without" list when it comes to babies is not very large. In fact, after raising my first, I was shocked at how little a baby really needs as far as material things go. Something that I most definitely used on a daily basis for both of my children was a nursing pillow.

My first two shared the same one, but my youngest still uses it. She sleeps with it at night, and actually stays asleep. I couldn't possibly ask her to give it up for the new baby, but I really didn't want to spend money on a new one either.

So, naturally, I decided to make my own. It was sooo easy - almost too easy. Of course, it was easier because I had one to measure from. I do think it would be pretty simple to draft your own pattern for this, as long as you know the shape and size that you want.

To make my pattern template, I just put the old pillow on a large sheet of freezer paper and traced it by holding a pencil between my thumb and index finger. I used my first three fingers to provide a consistent width while tracing (my pinkie was in the air, while the outside of my ring finger followed the shape of the pillow).

I used a pretty thick fabric - think upholstery fabric for the actual pillow. I'm not worried about the drab color because I plan on making a bunch of covers for the pillow out of flannel and cotton, using the same pattern template (I'll post more on that once I can find fabric I love). The fabric I used was actually from a thrift store and it only set me back about a dollar.

I used a half inch seam allowance, and left a four inch opening at the top for the stuffing. These have to be stuffed pretty full in order supply decent support for you and the baby. I already had a 5lb bag , and used maybe a little over a quarter of that to fill it. Just stuff it tight and push down on it as you go along to get a good feel for how thick you want it. Once it was filled, I closed up the seam by sewing along the outside (it's not the most attractive finish, but will be sturdy and the pillow will have covers on it anyway) like the store bought version had.

So, all in all, the project cost me about $4 and took about 20 minutes start to finish. Can't beat that!

Tuesday, May 24

Violet Jam!

I have to admit, I was a little sceptical when I came across this recipe a while back. But given the thousands of violets that where growing all over my grandma's lawn, how could I not at least try?

The first attempt didn't work out so well, and I ended up with a syrup, rather than a jam. And of course, didn't think about using it for teas or pancakes until after it was poured down the drain - oops. The second time around, I used similar ingredients listed in the recipe link above, but changed the way it was processed quite a bit. So, here is what I did...

Violet Jam

1 Cup of packed violets (stems removed)
1 Cup of filtered water
1/2 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Lemon juice (make sure to remove any seeds)
1 pkg of low-sugar pectin (small batch)

1. Rinse the violets well and place in blender.

2. Add 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup lemon juice to the blender and pulse until well blended.

3. Pour blender mixture into a small pot, mix in the pectin and bring to a strong rolling boil that can not be stirred down. Make sure to skim off any foam that rises to the top.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the honey. Bring back to boiling for 1 minute.

5. Pour mixture into hot prepared jam jars, cover with lids and let cool for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator.

I stored these in our freezer after cooling to preserve. If you want to get a correct seal (which will allow you to store these at room temp for up to 2 years), you would need to follow canning instructions. You can find some helpful info on that here, and the Ball Blue Book of Canning is a great resource as well.

**After posting this, I realized I never followed up with how it tasted. Wonderful! And so sweet.**

Monday, May 23

Ordinary Monday

**A Monday ritual. A single photo of something ordinary and small in our days, but still filled with happiness and moments worth remembering**

Friday, May 20

Wool Soakers

With all that cloth diapering talk yesterday, how could I not follow up with my soakers? Wanting to stay away from synthetics, I chose to knit my own wool soakers to go over the newborn size fitted diapers. They are so expensive to buy, ranging from around $35-$65 each. Considering you need at least 3 for each size (or so I've been told), I had to make my own. I used two different patterns, as well as two different brands and textures of 100% wool (it has to be 100% to work correctly). Since again, I really have no way of knowing what will fit and work for this baby, I am playing it safe and potentially saving myself from hours of wasted time. Whichever style works best, I'll just make more as I need them. Both patterns were free, but I'm having a difficult time locating the pattern for the style above. As soon as I do, I will update this post with a direct link.

You can find the pattern for this one here. I used the suggested yarn/roving for each pattern. Each skein was around $7 dollars, and I only needed one for each soaker. That's a whole lot of savings.

Have a great day everyone!


Thursday, May 19

Going Cloth - Diapers That Is

After not too much debating, Chris and I decided to cloth diaper this next baby of ours. Between the cost savings, garbage reduction (which we pay for the removal of), and lack of chemicals on the babes bum, it was kind of hard to not at least give it a try. I had thought about it a lot when I was pregnant with Hannah. The overwhelming amount of information left me too scared and intimidated to give it a go. Thankfully, this time when I started my research, it was a little bit easier. The big difference this time was finding an online community of cloth diapering momma's to take my hand and walk me threw the process.

Once we finally made a decision to do it, it seemed silly to keep spending money on disposables. So, for the last three weeks, Hannah has been in cloth. With the exception of one slightly crazy, eh 'hem - gross, experience (I'll spare you the details - just use your imagination) it's been great.

Even though the diapers I bought are one size fits all, they will most likely be too big for the baby for the first few weeks. So I decided to make a few of my own from materials we had around the house. I obviously have no way of knowing if they will work well until the baby comes, but they are just too darn cute to not share. You can find a ton of diaper tutorials all over the web, and the materials you choose are a personal preference. I didn't want synthetics on my newborn's bottom, so I used flannel and cotton for these. Based on the recommendations of some more experienced momma's, I followed this free pattern and tutorial.

I love this one! It's amazing how small it is too. I forget how tiny baby's are in the beginning.

Take care and have a great day!


Wednesday, May 18

Tiny Tea Leaves for Hannah

Can I just say, I am sooo excited to be sharing this sweater with all of you. For a few reasons actually. First, I'm just thrilled my crafty/creating motivation finally came back to me a few weeks ago. I was really starting to get worried about that.

Well, the small hiatus created a huge NEED to make things. And make things I did. Over the next week or so, I'm going to share some of my latest creations. I'm excited about all of them. But this one, this is my favorite, so I just had to start here.

Not too long ago, in reference to gift giving (we have quite a few birthday's approaching), I found this saying: "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read". I love it, in all it's simplicity and ease. This may just be our new motto, especially considering we're about to become a family of five. Well, this was supposed to be Hannah's "something to wear" gift. She, however, couldn't keep her hands off this yarn (neither could I, I absolutely love it!). Every time she saw me working on it, she insisted on trying it on, asking when it would be finished and when she could wear it. How could possibly tell the little girl she needed to wait till August?

Here she is modeling it. And truthfully, it was really difficult to get a picture of it because she kept trying to grab it and put it on. Once it was on, she had to dance and twirl in it, because after all, it is a "dancing sweater".

The pattern is Tiny Tea Leaves and the yarn is Malabrigo worsted in Molly. It was such an easy and quick knit, that as soon as the ends were woven in, I wanted to make another, just like it. I really thought it would take at least a month for me to finish it. I had it completed in just under 10 days - I'm not sure what that says about me, lol.

There is an adult version of this pattern, and I can almost promise that you will be seeing that finished project on here before the year's end.

Thanks for letting me share with you all!