Saturday, April 19, 2014

DIY No-Pin Skirt Hem

I recently made a LOT of new jean skirts. Most of them have been for myself, but I made some for my little sister, and some for a few other people. One day I was really getting frustrated with pinning the hem of a skirt so I decided to try something new. And it worked so well that I made the rest of the skirt hems the same way!

Step 1: Make your skirt! If you're doing a denim skirt from jeans, go ahead and do all the steps up to making the hem line. If you need a tutorial I have several to choose from:

Step 2: Once your skirt is made up to the point of being hemmed, go ahead and check the bottom to see that the inserted pieces are fairly even with the leg part of the pants. I know the bottom of the skirt in this photo doesn't really look even, but it is.

Step 3: Take the skirt to the sewing machine. Start on either one of the side seams and fold it over just as wide as the presser foot of your sewing machine. **Hint: You don't start in the front or back because it will be more obvious when you're finished.

This is the edge of the skirt where you should start sewing. I used a pin to hold flat the flaps so you could see what it should look like before you sew. I only used the pin so I could take the photo.

Step 4: Sew around the bottom of the skirt, keeping the fabric folded so that it is just as wide as the presser foot all the way around the bottom. Once this is done continue on.

Step 5: Now, fold the hem part that you just worked so that the folded edge is even with the left side of the presser foot and the bottom edge is even with the 3 mark on your sewing machine. Start on one of the side seams (see hit in step 3) and work all the way around, keeping the fabric even as you go.

The underside of the skirt will have two lines of stitching, but the top or outside of it will only have one.

Step 6: Remove any excess threads, and you're done!

Here are some photos of the finished skirt hem:

And here is a photo of my sister and I rocking some of our other skirts where I used this same no-pin skirt hem:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cloth Diapering | Getting The Stains Out

Since we've been cloth diapering I hadn't figured out how to get the stains out of the diapers. Being the forgetful person that I am, I didn't put bleach in the diapers when they were being washed in the washer for the first two months. I kept meaning to do that, but every time I went to wash diapers it wouldn't even cross my mind to add bleach to them. Well, one day I finally did remember to use bleach in the diapers and my stain problems are  now resolved!!!

Little Man has yellow poop. It can be quite gross, and the worst part was when there were poop-explosion-diapers with it everywhere! Ugh. I hate changing those, but it's even worse to clean them out! Yuck. Anyway, because of these PED's almost all of the cloth diapers and their covers had yucky yellow stains on them. It was quite annoying. I will say that with one wash almost all of the diapers came out sparkling white again (there were a few that had light hints of stain, but after being washed the next round with bleach they look fine too). I've taken a comparison photo so you can see the diapers as they were before I did one bleach washing and after that wash cycle:

Even our cat, Demi, prefers the bleached diapers! I picked him up and moved him several times, and each time
he went right back to the bleached diaper!

Bleach will now be a regular part of the wash cycle! I have been using just a little bleach in every load of diapers that I wash. So far I have no bad things to say about doing this. The diapers almost always look great (occasionally when there's a really bad PED diaper they have a little hint of stain...they are clean, but a little stained. The next time I wash them with the little bit of bleach the stain goes out the rest of the way).

I just wanted to share with you that bleach does really make a difference in how white the diapers are. I just used off-brand bleach from Walmart. Nothing fancy. I wash the diapers on a small load, add in 1 cup of my Homemade Laundry Soap and I add in about 1/4 cup of bleach now. Those first two times when the diapers hadn't been bleached at all I did about 1 cup of bleach for the whole load.

I'm happy to report that things are going well with cloth diapering and I'm really glad I started using bleach regularly. That makes a huge difference in their appearance... Not that anyone besides me really sees the diapers, but I didn't like them being stained so it's nice to see them all fresh and clean!

Note: I use Econobum Cloth Dipaers which are sold online through Walmart.

Related Posts
Cloth Diapering | 10 Diapers Researched

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Candy Filled Easter Eggs

Over 400 hundred eggs and almost as much candy!
Notice our cat, Demi, in the background sniffing all the eggs. I swear he thinks he's a dog!

As this Sunday is Easter I thought I would share with you a few photos from stuffing our eggs with candy for the hunt we will be having at our house this year. I am really excited and do hope the nieces and nephews are able to come to find all these eggs!

I bought the 'good' candy as well all call it. I got one bag of chocolate candy and the rest is all tootise roll stuff. I didn't realize until later that the dots & suckers don't fit in even the giant eggs so I just put an empty egg in the mix for each of those items and will let the kids pick out what they want if they get empty eggs when hunting.

The peach egg is a 'giant' egg and holds most of the bigger stuff like the big tootsie roll logs. The yellow egg is the medium size and holds almost everything except the big stuff. The green egg is a miniature egg and holds most of the small tootsie rolls and nothing else.

Hubby wanted the eggs counted so we wouldn't end up with eggs in the yard for months to come. As I filled them I set them to one side until I had a new set of ten and then I'd add them to the box below:

As I filled the eggs I would put them in the big box I had for them. As you can see, it was quite empty to start with, but it filled up fast!

It's probably gonna take awhile to get all these eggs hidden, but I'm sure the kids are going to have a blast!! We have one 'secret egg' which is a giant egg with a miniature egg and medium egg inside it (like those Russian dolls). The person who finds that will get a giant 2lb. Chocolate Easter Bunny. I can't wait to see who ends up with that!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

First Week of Working Out Consistently In Over A Year

9 or 10 weeks after giving birth. Around 200 pounds, maybe?

Okay so I know that's a really long title for this post, but that's what this particular post is all about! I'm thinking that the first six months before I got pregnant I didn't work out at all. It might've been longer than that, but I really can't remember so we'll just assume I didn't work out for six months before pregnancy. Then, since I hadn't been doing anything before I got pregnant, when I found out I was pregnant I didn't want to start doing anything new. I probably could have, but didn't. On rare occasions I'd go for walks around the apartment complex, and then we moved to the country and all physical exercise stopped completely.

I think it's safe to say I haven't worked out in well over a year. Most of this is due to pure laziness. During pregnancy I gained almost 50 pounds. My midwife told me this was normal, but now that we're three months after giving birth I'm not feeling so great about my body and all this extra weight makes most of my pre-pregnancy clothes not fit properly.

I wanted to give myself plenty of time to recover from giving birth. For me, it was a hard birth and I had a lot of tearing which took it's sweet time in healing. Having fibromyalgia didn't help with that either. Nerve pain was horribly uncomfortable in those areas so any kind of movement for the first two months after birth was awful! During the third month I was starting to feel a lot better, and that's when I decided I needed to start working out.

I knew right away what I wanted to do, but getting there presented a little bit of a hurdle. Not only was my favorite Jane Fonda Aerobics workout on a VHS tape, but I didn't have a VHS player to hook up to our tv. On top of that? The bulb in our main tv decided to go out so I really didn't have a way to plug in a VHS player if I had found one! (We have a tv in the basement, but it weighs like 300 pounds-so it wasn't coming upstairs any time soon-and until recently I've avoided the stairs because they usually promoted that uncomfortable nerve pain again.)

One day, when I was starting to feel desperate I decided that the next time I was online I'd try and see if I could find the Jane Fonda workout on youtube. I didn't write this down, so the next week or so went by and those few times I was online I forgot to look. Finally I did remember to look and I FOUND IT!!! The next problem? Figuring out how to download the video so I could use it at home where I don't have internet. This took some work, but I did get it figured out. The quality of the video isn't fantastic, but it's good enough that I can follow along without any problems and that's all I needed!

So... On the last week of March I decided I would start working out with the video. Little Man was 11 weeks old and I figured it was time to start moving. Hubby had brought my ab lounge up from the basement the weekend before, but I had been busy with the major master bedroom redo project (see Part 1 here) so I didn't use it right away. Years ago one of my best friends and I would say, "we need to start working out again... let's start on Monday." Then we'd discover that that day was Monday and we'd say, "let's start next Monday!" We did this so many times. I think we eventually did start working out, but the point is: Monday and I do not get along well for starting new things! I decided Wednesday would be my first workout day instead. I hate middle of the week start-ups, but I had to do something I knew I wouldn't talk myself out of (such as the starting on Monday thing).

My current goal in working out: Complete the 40 minute Jane Fonda Aerobics Workout video and do 3 sets of 10 on the ab lounge. I want to do this 5 days a week. I chose Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. If I want I will have Friday & Saturday off (those are the days hubby is home and I'd rather spend time with him), but I could also workout if I was feeling up to it. I want to keep with this routine for four weeks and then I want to up the amount of reps I do on the ab lounge.

This is 9 or 10 weeks after giving birth. My 'before' photo.

Workout Info for Week 1
Wednesday, March 26th: JF Workout, 3 sets of 10 on ab lounge.
Thursday, March 27th: JF Workout, 3 sets of 10 on ab lounge.
Friday, March 28th: Did major grocery shopping = lots of walking and lifting.
Saturday, March 29th: nothing! day of rest.
Sunday, March 30th: JF Aerobics Workout, 3 sets of 10 on ab lounge.
Monday, March 31st: 3 sets of 10 on ab lounge, JF Aerobics Workout.
Tuesday, April 1st: nothing.
Wednesday, April 2nd: nothing. Weight: 196 lbs.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why I Love Using Swaddle Sleep Sacks

Before Little Man was born I was given two sleep sacks by one of my friends. When they were given to me I was really sceptical about them. I thought they were dumb and I wasn't thrilled to have them. I left them in their packaging and put them in the top of LM's closet.

About two months after LM was born I found the sleep sacks in his closet. I decided, what the heck, I already have them so I might as well try one out. I took it out of it's packaging, washed it, and then it hung on the edge of his crib for awhile. I would see it, but still hadn't used it.

He's worked his hand up so he can suck his fingers... a new trick of his.

One day I was getting annoyed with moving the sleep sack out of my way all the time so I decided I would give it a shot and if I didn't like it I'd get rid of it. At least then it wouldn't be laying around Little Man's room all the time. I put LM in the swaddle sleep sack for his nap that afternoon and to my surprise: he loved it! He went right to sleep. Usually he would fight sleep during nap time, but not that day. I was so impressed that I decided to give it another shot that night...and the same thing happened! He went right to sleep.

Needless to say, he used that sleep sack night time and nap time until it got too little for him. I got online to see where I could find another one in the next size up and discovered that the Halo Sleep Sack Sawddle's (which is what I had in the newborn size and it fit him until he was about 10 weeks old) were sold at JCPenny. Fortunately that is one big store the next big town over has so the next time I went to town I had to stop by and see if I could find any. They had several on clearance for about $8. The regular price was $24! I cannot imagine spending that much on one of those, but I was really glad to find them at the sale price. I bought two and we still use them all the time.

I love the look on his face here! He knows I'm about to get him up from nap time.

I love swaddle sleep sacks because it helps keep Little Man's arms and hands from getting cold. When he was really little I would swaddle him with a blanket, but eventually he started kicking out of it and then his arms would be uncovered and he would get really cold (this was January/February which are cold months here in Missouri). I was getting frustrated with the blanket because I couldn't ever get it to stay on, but the swaddle sleep sacks have velcro which helps hold the wrap in place. Yes, he still will work his hand(s) out on occasion, but most of the time he stays in it and stays warm.

I use the sleep sack (or straight jacket as hubby calls it) with Little Man only when it's time for him to be sleeping. I don't keep him in it if he's awake (and supposed to be awake) or if he is cold. I will hold him with another blanket over him if he's cold, but the sleep sack is only for sleeping time. He is on a schedule so nap times and night time are usually around the same hours every day. Using the sleep sack only for sleeping times really makes a difference in how fast he will fall asleep. Yes, he sometimes fights sleep, but when its bed time and I have him all wrapped up he will usually fall asleep in five minutes of being put in his sleep sack. I love it!

One happy boy after his nap!

I absolutely love swaddle sleep sacks and am a little disappointed they only come in newborn and small. There are sleep sacks/wearable blankets in medium and large, but they don't have the swaddle feature. I'm thinking that is because by the time a baby gets to those sizes he would probably be able to roll over and might suffocate. That's the only reason I can think of that they don't come any larger. I have a sleep sack/wearable blanket in size large. I might look for one in medium, but right now Little Man is still wearing the small swaddle sleep sack so we're good for the moment. I really do love the sleep sack and I totally plan to use them with future children!

A hint if you do use these: when it's time to wash them, put the velcro swaddle pieces on the side as if you were swaddling the blanket together so that they don't catch on other clothes in the washer. I didn't do this before and the velcro ruined one of LM's silky baby blankets.