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Make Shift Baby Pool

22 Jun

Look at that face. He's having a blast!

 As many of you know our air conditioning broke a few weeks ago.  It was really hot!  Especially being at home all day with a little one.  I thought about buying one but was feeling lazy.  (It’s so hard to go to go to the store for just one item.)  Instead I found a storage box, emptied it out, and filled it with water.  It was perfect!  He loved it!  The first day he wouldn’t actually get in it.  Elijah prefered just splashing and playing.  The next day was a different story as the pictures will tell.  (Oh and yes that is a cloth swim diaper in the photos.) 🙂 

Oh this is cold! What a great sensory tool! 🙂

 

 

It was such a delight to watch Eli explore the water.

 

The great thing about the make shift baby pool is that it cost nothing since we already had the storage container on hand and the fact that it has a lid.  The lid also locks.  🙂  We are really liking our make shift pool not sure if we will ever go buy that kiddie pool.

Sew a Pack-N-Play Sheet

16 Jun

Eli's new pack-n-play sheet.

 

Sewing your own pack-n-play sheets is a cinch!  They are very similar to sewing crib sheets so please check out this tutorial for detailed instructions.  I have actually made 2 sheets so far: one out of woven material and one out of knit fabric.  The knit is by far my favorite!  It stays on much better.  To make a knit sheet purchase 1 yard of 60″ wide knit fabric.  You will also need to purchase 2 yards of elastic either 3/8″ or 1/2″. 

  1. Measure your pack-n-play as they vary a little in sizing.  Mine measured 27X40.  Since the mattress is so thin (merely an inch) I disregarded it.  Then I added 7 inches to both measurements.  My cutting measurements were then: 34X47.  If using a woven fabric I would add an additional inch since your fabric has no stretch to it.  You will also need to purchase more than 1 yard of fabric-purchase your final longer measurement.  Here that would be 47″. 
  2. Lay your fabric out and at each corner cut out a 5X5 square. 
  3. To make the pockets take the sides that were just cut (the square sides) and place right sides together.  Sew them together using 1/2″ seam allowance.  Repeat for each of the 4 corners.  If this is confusing see here. 
  4. Finish the edges using a serger, pinking sheers, or simply fold the fabric over twice and sew.  (This is to prevent fraying.) 
  5. Use a zig zag stitch to sew your elastic to the edge of the sheet stretching as you go.  (This is different from the crib sheet tutorial.  For the crib sheets I only used elastic on the pockets. I found that it works better for the pack and play to have elastic around the entire thing.)  You could also make a casing and insert elastic.  I find that it is much simpler to just stretch the elastic as I sew. 

 

Put sheet on pack-n-play mattress and admire your handiwork. 🙂 Or place child inside for a nap.

 

G Diaper Review

15 Mar

My favorite part of g diapers is their utter cuteness!

As a lady who loves cloth diapers I am always intrigued when I find out about new diapers or cloth diapering systems.  A couple weeks ago I picked up a couple of G Diapers at Lexington’s Mother Nurture’s cloth diaper consignment sale.   G diapers are a hybrid cloth diaper meaning that they are kind of a mix between disposable diapers and cloth diapers.  They consist of 3 parts an outer cover (shown in orange in the photo above), a vinyl liner and an insert.  Inserts can either be disposable or cloth.  I have not used the disposable inserts. 

I have found G diapers to be the trimmest cloth diapers I have used yet.

Pros:

  • Super cute design available in a variety of colors.
  • Trim design which does not add bulk to clothing.
  • Diapers fasten in the back so little hands can’t take them off.  🙂 
  • Disposable inserts can be flushed or composted.  They wil biodegrade in less than a month rather than years! 
  • Can be used with prefolds, regular inserts (what I do) or you can purchase G Diaper Cloth inserts. 

Cons:

  • these diapers seem to leak more than my faithful Bummis or Bumgenius.  I would not recomm     end them for overnight use.
  • Disposable inserts cost about 2x as much as a disposable diaper would.

I still prefer my Bumgenius or Bummis wraps/prefolds any day over the g diapers but these work well as spare diapers.  I got an excellent deal on my little gpants and have found them to work well in my rotation.  I usually

My favorite diaper bag essential: the wet bag

4 Mar

Our favorite wet bag wasn't near as hard to sew as I thought it would be. 🙂

For years I have been scared to death of sewing anything that involved a zipper.  Last week I finally conquered that fear and made a wet bag.  With swim suit season just around the corner and the weather warming up I know we will be using these more and more.  I followed this tutorial which was okay.  (I did use PUL instead of vinyl since that’s what I had on hand.)  I”ll probably make a better tutorial in the future.  (I only had to rip out stitches twice but I did finish it.)  What do you think?  

We always keep a wet bag in our diaper bag to throw in dirty diapers, yucky bibs, or even wet swimsuits.

We went swimming today and it was great to have a wet bag with us.  I can throw in swim suits and towels zip it up and throw it into my swim bag.  No worrying about everything else in my bag getting soaked.  🙂  I also highly recommend having a couple of these if you are a cloth diapering mamma or plan to be.  It is soooooo much nicer and greener than using plastic bags.  I always have one in our diaper bag.  🙂

Baby Gear Essentials (or not)

27 Feb
  • Fisher-Price papasan swing

Walk into any baby specialty store and no doubt within 5 minutes you will be overwhelmed with the crazy amount of things experts say you must have for your baby.  Thankfully having grown up as the oldest of six children and having babysat/nannyed regularly for 13 years before I had Elijah I knew that not everything was essential.  Still I often found myself tempted by different gadgets wondering if they would in fact “make life easier.”  On the other side I wondered if I really wanted to raise a child who always needed to be entertained with different gadgets.  Wouldn’t it be great if a child could learn to entertain himself from time to time?  We also wanted to be good stewards of the resources that God has given us and quite frankly I didn’t want a house over flowing with baby gear. 🙂

Since many of my friends are expecting this year (and my sweet sister in law) I thought it might be fun to share some recommendations. The following is a list of what gear we found to be great during Eli’s first year. (You can easily not purchase all of these.  All a baby really needs is lots of love, a few clothes, some diapers, and food.)  Remember each family is different and will have different needs and priorities. Since we travel a lot to visit family and friends gear that travels easily was important for us. 

Emerson Family Recommendations:

  • Baby Swing: We first purchased the Fisher-Price Nature Papasan Swing and found it to be very helpful especially during the first couple of weeks.  It’s a nice gender neutral swing with different speeds and direction.  It also has nice relaxing nature sounds which didn’t drive me crazy.  🙂 If you are looking for a regular sized swing I highly recommend this one.   
  • Product Image Fisher-Price Take Along Swing- Woodlands

     

    Travel Swing: Last year we were in a season of our lives where we traveled a lot.  Besides visiting family, attending conferences, and youth trips we attended 7 weddings. 🙂  This swing folds up very small and worked great for us while traveling and at home.  We attended a conference when Eli was just a few months old and found it very nice to have this with us in our hotel room.  After holding or wearing Eli most of the day it was a nice break to let him swing for a little while back at the hotel.  I also kept the regular swing in our kitchen and the travel swing in our living room.  I have fond memories of sitting right on the floor next to Eli folding clothes and writing papers while he watched.  🙂  This could also easily take the place of a bouncer seat as they really provide the same function. 

  • Car Seats: We love our Graco Snugride Infant Seat and also have 2 bases for each car.  (The bases are optional but incredibly handy.) This can only be used for about the first year (we actually used our less than that).  You can skip the infant car seat and use a convertible car seat instead.  Now that Eli is bigger we have a Britax Marathon car seat that we love.  They are incredibly safe, very adjustable, and look comfy. 
  • Carriers and Strollers: If I had to choose between owning a stroller and a baby carrier I would choose a baby carrier.  They are wonderful!  My two favorites are the Ergo and the Moby (best for little babies).  Check out my post here about baby carriers. We also own a regular Graco Snugride stroller that came with our car seat which we like a lot and an older Baby Trend jogging stroller that we keep out for our strolls around the neighborhood.  One stroller is fine.  Since my car is so little the jogging stroller won’t fit in it! 
  • Johnny Jump Up: Eli absolutely loved this!  He would jump up and down while I cleaned the house or cooked dinner.  It is also nice and portable and doesn’t take up much room. 
  • Pack-N-Play: We have a very snazzy one: the Nature’s Comfort with a bassinnett and changing table attachments.  Ours includes a changing table (not really necessary) and a bassinett option (very nice when recovering from having a c-section).  I think a pack and play is pretty much a necessity. If you are limited on space your baby could sleep in it as his crib.  We have taken ours everywhere!  I also keep ours set up at our house.  Eli has an alone time each day where he plays and reads books in his. 
  • The Bumbo

  • Bumbo: one of our favorite baby gear items.  We also took this everywhere with us.  We often took it with us to restaurants before Eli was able to sit in a high chair.  Babies can use the bumbo at 4 months.  We loved the optional tray and used it to feed Eli and attach toys.  
  • Baby Bath Tub: you don’t actually need one and can easily bath your baby in the sink.  However I like to have one as it saves water and I also think it is hard to bath a newborn.
  • Other items that we wouldn’t purchase again or never did purchase include: a Jumperoo, exersaucer, toy play mat, large high chair, and walker. 

Cloth Wipes How To

24 Feb

Would you ever believe cloth wipes could be so cute?

If you have already entered the exciting world of cloth diapering or are planning on doing so in the near future you must try cloth wipes.  Honestly they are not any more trouble at all.  The savings are quite substantial! No more running out to the store late at night because you are all out of wipes!  Instead you will have a plentiful supply on hand.  I have also found that cloth wipes work MUCH better than disposable wipes.  With disposable wipes I often found myself using 3-4 but with the cloth wipes I rarely have to reach for a second.  They also work wonderful for cleaning up messy faces. 🙂  We keep a handful of them in the kitchen for that purpose.

You can sew your wipes in any size you like. I like to make two different sizes 8X8 and 4X8.

I like to sew my wipes from an old baby towel and soft flannel (either use an old receiving blanket or purchase 1/2 yard of flannel).  The flannel will eventually fade but it is soft.  I don’t know about you but I really like soft stuff when it comes to babies.  I like the softness of the baby towel and it is much cheaper to use even a new baby towel than to purchase terry cloth at the fabric store.  I love having the two different sides especially when the baby gets bigger. 😉 

For regular wipes: I cut a piece of flannel and a piece of the baby towel in an 8″ square. Then I place them wrong sides together (so that the pretty sides are on the outside).  Pin the side seams if you are new to sewing and then stitch all the way around using a zig zag stitch or serger.  (I used a serger.)  That’s it!  How simple!  I also think it’s pretty fun to whip out a super cute wipe when changing a diaper. 

I also like to make travel size wipes which fit nicely into a travel wipes container. These measure 4X8 (1/2 the size of a regular wipe.

I have also found that I love making travel size wipes for the diaper bag.  I sew these just like regular wipes with 1 side of flannel, 1 side of baby towel but instead I sew them 4 inches X 8 inches.  I like that I can store about 8 of these in a wipes container rather than 4.  They are also the perfect size for when you are out and about and just need to wipe off a dirty mouth, hands, or change a diaper.  I like to keep my wipes pre-moistened in a travel wipes container or carry a small spray bottle of water in the diaper bag.

For those of you who aren’t into sewing at all you can purchase them online (I love to purchase cloth diapers supplies from Cotton Babies) or locally at Mother Nurture.  This is also a great project to use up old scraps of fabric.  It works especially well when making Flannel crib sheets.  As for how many wipes to make it depends on how often you do laundry.  I would probably recommend somewhere between 2 and 3 dozen.

Travel High Chair Take 2

12 Feb

This portable high chair works great for chairs that do not have slats.

After taking Elijah with us to our first small group I realized that our old style portable high chair was not going to work.  It was a high chair that was wrapped around slats in a chair.  See picture below:

The first portable high chair-my favorite.

The reason the above high chair didn’t work is because the chairs  at our friend’s house do not have slats.  Since we are at their house regularly for small group (a couple times a month) I decided to make something that would work on their chairs.   We eat dinner at their house so this was important to me.  🙂  

They have these super cool new chairs that are just solid in the back (meaning there are new slats).  They do have a slat along the back so I came up with this with the help of this tutorial.  I did make some changes.  Instead of using ribbon as suggested I made 4 straps.  Two for the back of the chair to make it fit securely to any chair and two to wrap around the child to secure him to the chair.

Cut 2 pieces of fabric 28" X 3 1/4". Fold each in half lengthwise. With right sides together sew along long side and 1 short side. Turn inside out and press.

The ties made above are used on the back of the chair instead of the ribbon.  To make ties to go around the child’s body cut a piece of fabric 80″ X 3″.  It might be cheaper to buy the ribbon if you are using all new material.  Since I was using an old sheet I had plenty of fabric to make the ties.  With my wiggly son I was a little nervous about the ribbon.  If he were older (and I had ribbon on hand) I probably would have used that. 

Between the two portable high chairs I have made I prefer the first portable high chair .  It is much simpler in design, easier to sew, and a little quicker to use.  It also takes up a little less room in a diaper bag.  We have found the first one to work on every occasion except one.  Start noticing the next time you are at a family or friend’s house to see what type of high chair would work best for your situation.  🙂

Elijah loved his bumbo seat!

If you have a new baby (or expecting) you might want to look into the Bumbo seat (pictured below).  You can purchase an optional tray to go with it which I highly recommend.  Not only did we find it to be a great portable high chair and seat when Elijah was younger, but we used it daily at our house.  We took it on vacation, out to eat in restaurants, to a week at youth camp, and to Wed. night church suppers among other things.  Babies can sit in it at 4 months old which is great since they can’t sit in a regular high chair until they can sit up.  For Elijah this took a while. The only bad part about the seat was that Elijah outgrew it by about 9 months because his thighs were too big!  I would say it would work even longer for skinny babies.  🙂

Sew A Shopping Cart Cover

29 Jan
The first cart cover I made using McCall 5721 for my cousin Anna.

Have you been to the grocery store recently and seen a baby riding around in style in a shopping cart cover?  If not keep your eyes out and I am sure that you will.  When I first heard of the idea of a shopping cart cover I thought it was the most ridiculous thing ever but later had a change of heart.  🙂  I love the fact that my baby is not slobbering all over the shopping cart sharing germs with who knows who.  Another great thing is that they also work on high chairs!  Restaurant high chairs have to be one of the dirtiest things ever in my opinion.  I love the cover especially since Elijah thinks there is nothing better than eating the sides of grocery carts and high chairs. 

I made this cover for Elijah the summer before he was born using the McCall pattern I used before. At about six months (when Elijah could sit up well) we started using it. If you can't see in the picture there are also 3 strips of webbing sewn onto it. These contain velcro loops to attach toys! This is especially great since Eli loves throwing things right now! 🙂

After having one cart cover for the past year I decided that I would really like to have another one.  (The reason being that I was always leaving the cover in Brandon’s car and then not having it with me in my car when I went to the store or if we were at a restaurant.)  Although this might sound frivolous I did make the second one out of an old flat twin sheet.  The total cost to make the second one including the new pattern was only 3.50.  🙂  Now I have one to keep in each car.  

The most recent cart cover made from a flat twin sheet.

For the blue dot cover I used a new pattern: Simplicity 3561.  The reason I chose a different pattern was that the Simplicity pattern only called for 3 yards of fabric vs. the 4 1/4 yds it took to make the McCalls.  I was able to make it entirely from a twin flat sheet.  I don’t think I would have had enough fabric in the sheet to make the McCalls pattern.  Between the two patterns I really like the design of the McCalls pattern a little better but I also love the fact that I can buy one less yard of fabric (thereby saving money) if I make the Simplicity pattern.  I think Kwik Sew also makes a pattern for a cart cover.  They are my favorite patterns to use but are very expensive.  Unlike McCalls and Simplicity patterns they never go on sale and retail around $10.00!  Way too much for me! 

I’m sure I’ll be making another one of these sometime soon as I have 2 close friends having babies this summer.  I”m also going to be an aunt sometime this fall!  Yeah!!! 🙂    The hardest part for me when sewing something for a friend is deciding exactly what to make.  I love making baby gifts. 🙂

Sew a Cozy Fleece Car Seat Cover

21 Jan

A cozy car seat cover for baby Rosie.

This past weekend I attended a baby shower for a good friend of mine.  I thought long and hard about what to get her.  I finally settled on a Fleece Car Seat Cover.  You can buy them at the store but they are kind of plain.  They also have a zipper which would make me kind of nervous with a baby.  So of course I decided to make one.  It was so fun! 

6 day old Eli warm and snuggled up under his Cozy Cover. 🙂

I actually used a pattern to make this although it is probably not necessary.  If you can find one on sale I would recommend purchasing Butterick 4416.  This is the pattern that I used and found it pretty easy.  The hardest part is probably picking out the fabric! 🙂  I thought this fabric looked like something my friend would pick out.  Hope she thinks so too! 🙂  The pattern does not contain a flap for the face but you could easily make one.  (Cut a piece of scrap fabric 3 inches longer.  Finish edges and sew one side onto the cover.  Attach velcro tabs to underside of flap and top of cover.) I chose not to include a flap since I thought the baby could breathe better. Overall this was a great project!   

The cover is quick and easy to take on and off. I usually just flipped up the bottom and removed Eli. You can also flip down the top if you want to uncover the baby just a little bit.

Elijah at almost 3 months still enjoying the cozy.

Sew a Stroller Snuggly Bunting

30 Dec

Eli is already for a walk and won't get cold now.

When the cold weather hits we don’t stop taking walks we just wear more clothing.  🙂  Even though Eli owns a nice warm bunting some days that just doesn’t quite feel like enough so yesterday afternoon I sewed this up during Eli’s second nap.  No doubt Eli will be warmer and cozier from here on out.  No more kicking off the stroller blanket.  As an added bonus I am pretty sure that when Eli drops something it will end up in the bottom of the snuggly.  I’ve been wanting to make one for a while and just finally got around to it.  Here is how I made Eli’s in case you want to make one too.  I did make it pretty big on purpose as I wanted it to fit next year when he is 2.

Sew a Stroller Snuggly

First I looked around online to see what kind of inspiration I could find.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find any type of directions for sewing one so instead I checked out a couple of stroller snuggly that you could buy.  My favorite was from One Step Ahead.  They were nice and listed the finished measurements as: 36″H X 22″W X 9″D.  I added 1/2″ seam allowances.  Then I decided to add a couple of inches around so that this would fit a 2-year-old (we’ll see next year).  (On the One Step Ahead website many parents noted that this would no longer fit even a 15 month old).  My final cutting measurements were: 42X28X 10. 

I also lined my stroller snuggly for added warmth.  Cut: a rectangle 42″ X 28″ you will need 4 total pieces if you are lining it.  Cut a foot panel 10″ X 28″.  If you would like to simplify the project simply skip the foot panel.  

After you have made your pattern place it inside your stroller. Then mark where the stroller harness needs to come through. (You will be making buttonholes.)

1) Sew the side seams of each lining piece to the other lining piece along each long side. 2) Sew the side seams of the outside fabric along each long side. 3) Sew the foot panel onto the bottom of the fabric.

On the FRONT SIDE ONLY of the lining piece make a mark 10 inches down. Then cut a semi circle. (I used a roasting pan to help me get a better shape). BE CAREFUL NOT TO CUT THROUGH THE BACK. You should cut through only ONE layer of fabric.

Use the portion you cut off from the previous step as a pattern. Cut around it on the outside fabric being careful to ONLY CUT THROUGH ONE LAYER.

Place the pieces wrong sides together.  Fold down the edges and sew together.  (This was the easiest way to sew it together for me.  I had a hard time trying to figure out how to sew them together and then inside it out.)

Using your pattern as a guide. Mark where the buttonholes should go. Then sew buttonholes making sure they are large enough to insert the straps.

Insert baby and enjoy your walk! 🙂

I think he likes it.

 

If you are looking for a car seat snuggly to make I highly recommend Butterick 4416.  I had such fun making this for Eli before he was born.  It was a great way to keep Eli nice and warm as a newborn. 

6 day old Elijah