Thursday, March 31, 2011

What makes a good blog?

As I'm new to this blogging business, I'm still working out my blogger identity. I have ideas about emulating experienced bloggers that I admire...but I read art blogs and gardening blogs, crafting blogs, cooking blogs...what is my niche?

Are you a blogger? How did you develop your blog personality? How do you decide what to blog about?

Do you have tips about content, design, etc that you feel make your blog a success? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Re-Purpose ~ diaper covers out of wool sweaters

Miles is growing so fast that his AppleCheeks diaper covers will soon be too small. Although I've knit some, this takes quite a while and I need many more covers pronto. I came across this how-to for making longies out of re-purposed wool sweaters. In order for them to be effective as diaper covers, the sweaters have to be %100 wool or a mostly wool blend. I didn't have any in the house, so a trip to a local second hand store resulted in three brightly coloured sweaters for a total less than $20.

I found the instructions easy to follow. I used a pair of pants that are just a little too big now to measure the length of the legs and inseam, marking the inseam with a pin. I cut the sleeves to the correct length and sliced along the seam to the inseam marker.

I cut away the extra material from the seam where I had sliced.


These are now legs. I put them together and folded them inside out like socks. Its really important that the good sides are facing towards each other (I made this mistake). Then stitch the two legs together along the edge. Turn the pants right way out and they now look just like pants minus the waist band. For that I measured Miles around the cut a piece of the stretchy sweater waist band. Sew on the waist band, good sides facing again.

For these yellow ones, I didn't stretch the waist band enough as I was attaching it so the pants are a little too big. I'm going to add an elastic in the back.

Tah-dah!


As suggested, I made some funny little hats too.

With all the extra fabric, I followed these instructions for wool shorty diaper covers. There is a printable pattern and a good step-by-step guide. If I make more, I will make the waist band tighter and the leg cuffs longer. I like the extra wetzone layer.

Everything is a little wonky ..let's say wabi sabi ...as this is my first big sewing project. Still, you can't beat a whole new wardrobe for less than $20! Miles seems pretty happy to have new duds.


Do you have any ideas about re-purposing old clothing to make new baby items?  Do you have a great pattern for diaper covers?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

family treasures

As of this weekend, I am the proud owner of a Singer sewing machine. My Grammy is almost 96 years old. I have a lot of memories of visiting in her house and this sewing machine with its red stool is always there in the background. I don't know its whole story, but I do know that my Grammy made a living sewing and mending. She doesn't use it any more as her eyes bother her too much. I am so appreciative to have this special piece in my home. I hope to put it to good use. Thank you Grammy!







Monday, March 28, 2011

Kings Landing Sugerbush

sheeWhat a cold, crisp weekend! But the sun was out so we were too! We bundled up and off we went to Kings Landing Historical Settlement. First to the pancake dinner to support York Sunbury Search and Rescue, then the annual Sugarbush. Pure sugar..Cole was in heaven!





Wonderful fresh air!




We had such a lovely family day. Cole really enjoyed visiting the farm animals...




...while Oliver and I drooled over all the beautiful old furniture. I feel that I could live in one of these houses...wonky and winding, warm wood stove in the kitchen.


Covet...


I'm hoping to take some edVentures workshops here this summer...Rug Hooking and Braiding, Herbs and Medicine, and Wool Processing.



Its such a great place to explore and take pictures. I think we'll get a family pass this season.



Thanks to Oliver who took a lot of these pictures!

Friday, March 25, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual from Soule Mama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

***********

Project Simplify ~ Hot Spot #1

I am so behind on this project, but better late than never right? The first hot spot is the master closet. Since Cole has the bigger bedroom, Oliver and I share a very squishy closet. Its jammed packed full of both of our clothes, including out of season stuff. Having spent the last year pregnant and now breastfeeding, I also have a lot of "this will fit me later clothes" shoved in there. We don't have a very large linen closet, so there are also extra blankets and sheets and who know what else!



I started by hauling everything out of there, and went through all the clothes item by item, ruthlessly purging. I got rid of everything that I haven't worn in over a year. I got rid of out-dated styles. I garbaged anything stained or with worn Although I did allowed myself a small pile of "to be mended" items. Between the closet and my dresser, we ended up with three garbage bags full of give-aways and a half-bag for the dump.



Some items found a new home. My wedding dress went to the basement. Cole's sheets went to his closet.

There were some clothes that I had a hard time making a decision about. I placed them in a medium sized box and dated it March 2012. If I don't open it before then, the whole box will be donated.

The closet was washed out and I added a moisture absorber as our house tends to be damp, especially in tight corners. Everything left was put back in, his clothes on the left, mine on the right. The shelves house Oliver's sweaters and extra pants.

Brand new hangers help the small space to look neat and organized. They are narrower too, so take up less room and the velvet means the clothes won't slip off and end up in a pile on the closet floor.








It feels really good to have unburdened myself of this mess and all the excess clothing, etc. I think maybe some mental clutter went with it. On to the next project! Spring cleaning time...out out cobwebs!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Report ~ Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

I have to admit that I am a bit of a bibliophile, and consequently we have quite a library in our house. From time to time I'll share some of our favorites. I really love children's books and today I'm presenting one that we are currently enjoying. This is the boardbook version of Eating the Alphabet in which Ehlert takes us on a fruit and veggie adventure from A-Z.


Kk kumquat, kiwifruit, kohlrabi

She leaves nothing out, from Apricot to Zucchini with a few funny ones in between (what is Jicama?)

The book is stunningly illustrated in a watercolour/collage combo. The images are bold, bright, and juicy on large pages (12.8 x 16.9cm), totally fascinating to little readers. Miles loves it!

I also like that all the text is in both upper and lower case.

This lovely book presents learning opportunities in many domains, including letters, vocabulary, nutrition, and colour. I find it suitable for infants and preschoolers.

Lois Elhert is a Caldecot Honour winning author of a number of children's books featuring nature. We really look forward to checking out her other books!




Monday, March 21, 2011

happy first day of spring!!

Vegetarian Challange

I was a vegetarian through my teenage years. Even now, we tend to use very little red meat. We eat mostly chicken and fish. We also buy organic and local whenever we can. In the back of my head, I've always considered a vegetarian diet, but I haven't felt strongly enough about it to make such a big change. After watching this video of Mark Bittman's TED talk, I've decided to think about this more consciously. I challenged Oliver to join me in a no-meat challenge for one month starting yesterday. After a little hemming and hawing (he really likes burgers,) he has graciously agreed. I'm looking forward to finding out if we feel a difference. I remember having more energy..but then again I was 17.


mmm..warm beet salad with baby spinach, candied walnuts, goat cheese and a citrus dressing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual from Soule Mama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

***********


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

baby Miles and the three diaper covers

I'm new to this knitting thing. I started teaching myself through trial and error in January. So far I've made these booties and these pants.

(This is before I finished the second one)



Both of these projects took a long time and I spent more time un-knitting than knitting. I think I'm starting to get the swing of things though. I decided to knit some wool diaper covers after reading about the benefits. They are breathable, water repellent, and moisture absorbent at the same time. The help reduce diaper rash and don't smell as long as you hang them to air out between wearings. Apparently, as long as they don't get poopy, you only have to wash them every two or three weeks. You do have to lanolize them, but I'll get in to that later.

I started with this pattern in the 0-8 month size. Let me tell you that if you have a good sized baby, this will not fit, which I discovered only after I was finished. I am not too fond of this pattern because of the seams. Maybe its because I'm new at this and wasn't able to finish them nicely enough. Either way, it doesn't fit, so its put away for a smaller baby.



I decided to try a different pattern, and I wanted something with a little more stretch. This Spare Ribs Soaker pattern was easy to read. I like this cover. Its stretchy and there's a pocket at the waist for an elastic. Alas, the one I made is definitely too big. At least it will fit him eventually. It just needs to be lanolized, blocked, and the elastic added.



Finally I tried this pattern for the Little Seedling Soaker. It is so cute! I really like that it functions more like a "regular" diaper so it will be easier for everyone to use. I added an extra set of button holes for more flexible sizing. I am pretty sure this one will fit too! I hope to have a number of these ready before the summer.




All of these projects are free patterns from ravelry.com

**Update** April 10, 2011

Ok, now that these coevrs have been put to the test, I'm forced to update this post. It runes out that the LIttle Seedling Soaker, although cute, is a very poor fit for my little guy. At first it was too wide around the waist and I was sure that he would grow in to it a bit. He must have had a growth spurt, because suddenly it fits him around, but not in the rise. It is way to short! It doesn't even cover up his diaper. I'm using these premium prefolds from Caterpillar baby with a Snappi. I am so disappointed because this cover is adorable and I was really looking forward to using it. Options: find a little girl who needs a diaper for her baby doll, felt it and cut it up to make something else.

The Spare Ribs Soaker turned out to be the better cover by far. The stretch makes is more comfortable and a better fit. My little guy can wear it now, but it should last for quite some time. I will probably make some more of these. I might double up the yarn in the soaker area to make it a little thicker/more absorbent.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

one week 'till spring

I'm feeling Spring-gy this weekend. The sun is out and snow is melting. The boys and I went to a seed sale at the Acorn Conference. We're signed up for the Jolly Farmer's box-a-week program this year, so I'm just focusing on growing those veggies we go through in bulk. We picked up a variety of tomato seeds. I'm very excited as my mind fills with visions of tomato salads, jarred salsa and spaghetti sauce.



I just can't wait to see this snowy landscape transformed into luscious green, red, and yellow.




We also went to a Meet A Chicken session put on by Fredericton City Chickens. Hazel Richardson is working hard to get backyard chickens in Fredericton. Fortunately, we are outside of the city limits and don't have all the hurdles to deal with. We plan on getting chickens this spring. The session was fun and informative. Who know that chickens are so cute and cuddly? One Polish hen snuggled up and fell asleep in Cole's lap.