Friday, August 21, 2009

There's a certain irony in the fact that Glass Repair Guys drive panel vans.....

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Today was a very busy, and WONDERFUL Day. This afternoon we had Marek's 4 month appointment. My MIL was supposed to take Ardyn so that I could concentrate on Marek at the appointment, but FIL called first thing in the morning and said that she wasn't feeling well, so Evan stayed home and took her. Whew!

Marek and I headed to the pediatrician after lunch. Even though we had the second appointment after lunch, we waited quite a while both before getting into the exam room, and for the doctor to arrive. This is typical, and I don't mind when it's a well baby visit, and when I only have one child with me. To give you an idea, our appt was at 1:20 and we left the Dr office at 3pm. But that's what you get when you have such a great pediatrician who is in high demand. And they have never once acted even the least bit inconvenienced when you need to fit a sick child in. And I like knowing that when it's my turn to take a sick child to the doctor, I will get in without problems. SO while waiting, I was reading an article in Cookie magazine (which I stopped subscribing to because it was RIDICULOUS for the average mom.) about Jenny McCarthy and her stance on Autism and vaccines. It was interesting. And her position is one that is much different than I thought it was. She is not anti-vaccine.

So Marek's visit went well, he grew from 23 to 26 inches long, and from 13lbs to 15lbs. He was weighed a month or so ago at WIC and they told me he was 16 ounces, and I weighed him Tuesday night (clothed) and got 15lbs 9oz.... but all scales are different!

He got two shots in the left thigh and one in the right, and did fairly well. He cried of course, but not as much as I ever remember Ardyn crying. he did cry afterwards for a while, but it was more of a dramatic demonstration for my benefit than anything. Once we LEFT the office, he was fine. He took a nap and then we met Evan and Ardyn for a LATE lunch at the Chinese Buffet, where the waitresses ADORE kids. Ardyn got pony rides on the giant bronze horses and they were so excited to give her a sucker. They just loved hearing her talk, and her blonde curly hair enthralled them. They loved Marek too. Ardyn ate like a champ, devouring sweet and sour chicken, lo mein noodles, shrimp, bananas in jello, hard boiled eggs, garlic bread, white rice, and pigs in a blanket. She was in heaven. She was using the lo mein noodles like "jump ropes" which cracked me up.

After eating, we changed diapers in the parking lot and then went our seperate ways. Evan and Ardyn had been to the Canal parkway earlier in the day, and she had already napped, so they went to another park to play and then out to Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's. Marek and I spent 2 hours roaming Hobby Lobby and choosing just WHAT to use our 40% off coupon on. That is always a tough decision! I have decided to make a stocking cap and scarf for Ardyn this winter to match her snowsuit, and a hat and mittens (I hope) for Marek. I can crochet. I tried to knit but I just did everything so tight that the yarn broke. I was frustrated and it felt so awkward that I quit. So as I was standing there soaking in all the FABULOUS yarn, I decided that I have one craft goal this winter. I WILL learn to knit and I WILL Learn to crochet after a pattern and knit after a pattern. I am a little worried about how I will do that, because I couldn't concentrate well enough BEFORE I had kids to follow a pattern and count, but I figure that I will have to learn, and be patient, and spend time without the kids screaming at me to figure it all out. While I was there, I saw the book "Knit and Crochet for Dummies" that talks about how to do each with plain english instead of all the codes for each stitch. They ease you into it, and start with some simple patterns, including a crochet stocking cap, which I intend to start with. So I used my 40% off coupon to buy that book, and then I got enough yarn to make Ardyn and Marek each something. I have this perfect vision of myself curled up on the couch with snow falling and wind howling outside, and children playing ~*quietly*~ on the floor, and a mug of tea or hot cocoa on the side table, yarn in my lap, fluffy socks on my feet, nice music on the iPod.... ahhhh.... Yes, I know it's a fantasy. Leave me alone.

Marek and I also went to the "new" Goodwill store in our area. I was most impressed. There was a nice selection of adult clothes, even better than the one in Peoria. I got a couple of pair of athletic (read:stretchy) pants, both were (oddly) green. LOL. Marek got a pair of 99 cent old navy tennis shoes and Ardyn got a really funky woven hat that she can wear in the sun or for dress-up. I would wear it but it's too small. It's kinda hippy-ish... all rainbow and woven and floppy. I also got a REALLY nice shopping cart cover for $6. It's freaking adorable. I have a pink floral one from Ardyn, but haven't used it for Marek. This one "appears" to have better support for smaller infants, but I need to get online and figure it all out, because I don't know how to work it, there are so many pieces. I get the feeling that it also converts to a high chair cover (for eating out) and also to a changing mat.... but I need to google the brand and see what I can discover. I have been searching for a little wooden "coat rack/hat tree" that is free-standing, so that I can put it into Ardyn's room to hang all these fabulous purses, hats, scarves, tu-tu's, etc. on for easy access and storage. Something she can reach and hang things up herself. No dice yet.

After Goodwill and Hobby Lobby, we meandered through Target for another 2 hours. While there, I finalized the sale of my Rainforest Swing, Stroller, Car Seat, 3 Bases, and Diaper Genie, all via cell phone. Marek and I tested out the newest model of the McClaren Volo with the intention of picking one up, but of course they were out of stock. SO I decided to just see how much more they were online and if I could just order it at amazon and get free shipping... and that's when I discovered the UPPAbabu G-Luxe. And Started reading reviews, and decided it has MORE features, with almost NO more weight, and that it would have a cupholder, reclining seat, and bigger wheels.... all for just a little more. Hmmm. Now I have to decide over green or black? Oy. LOL.

At Target I also got a few shirts for Marek for this fall, long sleeved t's for $4 each, and a pair of slippers that are super cute and practical as they are like socks with slipper bottoms (much like my beloved Hanna Mocs, but for only $5) I also got the infant life-jacket that we had been eyeballing, for SEVEN DOLLARS! It was like $25 to start with and it kept going down in price, and it goes up to 30 pounds, so at this point BOTH kids could wear it. We want to take Ardyn on the paddle boats at a local park, and $7 is SUPER cheap and I thought she could even wear it in the pool if we wanted her to get the feel of floating on her own. So. Great day. Came home and put both kids in bed after reading them a bunch of books I grabbed at Goodwill. The books there are 49 cents for paperbacks and 99 cents for hardbacks! I got some Caldecot's, and some Dora books, and a few other REALLY cute kids books. Ardyn loved them all, and Marek giggled hysterically alongside her in the toddler bed as I read to them. Now it's after midnight and I need to go to bed because tomorrow is a BUSY day and I have to take Ardyn to school, then go to the resale shop, the cleaners (to pick up and drop off rugs since we picked them all up off the floor when Ardyn started potty training and leaked all over them) and then to load up and deliver the baby gear that I just sold. Whew!

Hope you are all having a great end to your week. I am looking forward to a nice weekend, it was BEAUTIFUL here today! Marek appears to be having no issues with his shots (AGAIN!) and no fever or pain at the injection sites.... what a good baby! Good night!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hangin In there!

Things are pretty crazy around here. To say the least.The past weekend was really nice and QUIET. Ardyn went to school on Friday, and when I picked her up from school, she went to Grandma Deb's, and was gone for over 24 hours. It was marvelous! Soooooo quiet here, and peaceful, and I could actually HEAR MYSELF THINK! My brain DOES Still work under there! Unbelievable. Friday Marek and I had to run to Peru, because I needed some boning (sewing notion, not sex) and a few fasteners to make a nursing cover. We wandered around JoAnn's pretty heavily, choosing what to spend the few dollars that we had... and the 40% off coupon, on. I got two books, one about organizing your life, that actually has a PLAN OF ACTION for each week. I also got a book about Wool Animals (needlefelting) and I am excited to have some money again soon so that I can buy a few supplies. I figure I can get started for about $20-$30. I have. Then I ate lunch at Jimmy John's and I went home and we napped in the afternoon, and then packed up Ardyn's bag for grandma's house before we picked her up from school.

Saturday I spent the day cleaning and organizing. All I really got accomplished was picking up the living room, working on the dining room table, and completely cleaning the Computer Desk, which took the majority of the day. But instead of just making piles of things I needed to do, I actually DID those things. I found my Christmas Cards from 2008 and wrote down who sent them in my Christmas Card Book. Then I was able to throw them out (whew!) I filed. I purged, I filled an entire garbage can just off the desk! (yeah.) Then I organized all the electronics that we owned, pairing them with their chargers, cables, books, and software, and putting them in labeled ziploc bags. I cleaned out the ONLY drawer on the desk, and put all those electronics in there. Accesible, organized, but OUT of my sight (and Ardyn's!)

I have a stack of CD's (in their cases, out of their cases mostly, and some that I don't know if they are blank or used) that is literally a foot tall. I haven't synched my iPod since right after Ardyn was born, so nearly two years.... and so I installed iTunes on the home computer, and set everything up, and linked it to the music library on my portable hard drive. Then I started checking all the CD's and throwing out old ones. I moved all the pictures on the computer and on the CD's into organized folders by month and year on the portable hard drive. Then I started importing music CD's from the stack into iTunes. I synched my iPod! Yay!

Pardon me, I just had to take a break and feed and rock Marek for his nap, during which time Ardyn was supposed to be pottying with daddy and ended up pooping ON her bedroom floor, stepping in it, tracking it all over her shaggy rug, and all over the bedroom floor, bathroom floor, and bathroom rug. All of which floors and rugs ,are WERE all freshly vacuumed, mopped, and/or laundred. UGH!

Okay, where was I? Oh yes, peace, quiet, and actual accomplished thinking. A thing of the past. To sum it all up, I bascially feel like I am living in a house with fifty untrained animals. Sticky food, dirty floors, spilled juice, and animal waste.... everywhere. It boggles my mind how others can live in the same house as I do and NOT EVEN NOTICE how disgusting their habits are. Like, how can you BE 29 years old and not put your gum or your garbage IN the garbage? Seriously? How can you be 29 years old and think it's cool to put a BANANA PEEL in the living room garbage, which doesn't get regularly emptied and doesn't even have a BAG inside it, because we usually just use it for waste paper. Seriously? Oh. Boy.

So, I also got my new cell phone setup to sync to the computer also. Yay! I was able to lookup my Nikon Lens online (it's in the shop for repair under warranty and I can check the status online) and I was also able to check EVERY pen and marker in our three pen cups and throw out every single one that doesn't work. That was an accomplishment in itself. Evan picked up Ardyn's room at my request, and vacuumed it on his own (yay!) and thgen he offered to clean the bathroom and mop it also. That was wonderful. I am keeping my mouth shut (to him at least) about the fact that the icky spot behind the toilet seat brackets never got cleaned, and about the fact that the toilet bowl itself is not respectable. But I think I will just do those myself and be happy that there was something nicely accomplished that I didn't have to do.

Ardyn came home late Saturday night after lots of fun with grandma and grandpa. She enjoyed her time there, and we SERIOUSLY enjoyed a bit of quiet time while she was gone. Evan, Marek, and I also met the outlaws and great great grandma at the Mexican restraunt for supper on Friday night, which was really nice, and we ran into lots of people that we know, including Ryan, Emy, and Presleigh... Amy Jo and Jackson... Uncle Sean and Jimmy... and Rich. Then I went to the County Fair Queen pageant for a tiny bit with Marek, and we watched Susan Brummel compete for a while, until he got tired and I realized that I needed to get ice cream before DQ closed up shop. I think I need to make my own ice cream. I love ice cream. On a daily basis. And I think I would be happy if I could just make it on a whim. I guess I should put that on my list of things to research! It sucks that I have to make a list!

Right now I can't even FIND the notebook where I have all my lists... and I am trying not to stress about that.

Another thing that I have learned, is that surivival of the fittest has taken over here. If I keep taking care of everyone else and ignoring myself, I am going to go bat-shit crazy. So I have been ignoring things as best I can, and trying to consider my own needs and sanity as best I can. It's working a little bit. But just when I am feeling good, and things are going well, I get a call from Evan that says "look out the window" and I see that someone came and mowed all the prairie grass and wildflowers in our ditch. Without permission. And they are all gone. It took years of establishment and the seed was very expensive, and before it was planted we were given clearance by the county (who owns the ditch) and we turned it into an established native prairie. and then this morning someone took it upon themselves (at about 6:30 or 7am) to mow it all off, which likely has done some serious damage and won't allow it to reseed. People piss me off. I could just cry looking at it. But it has now been relayed to me that we will be putting up prairie signs now and that we will work harder to see that it is protected next year.

Well, it's afternoon now, lunch has been had (chicken breasts, sweet corn on the cob, italian pasta salad) and both kids have been napping for a bit. I unloaded the dishwasher, reloaded it, cleaned up in the kitchen.... putting things in the garbage, recycle, and also washing all the stoneware and such. I have a new deal now, I operate by the mentality that if it doesn't make it through the dishwasher, it wasn't welcome in this house to begin with. I have only TWO Exceptions to this rule. 1. The Pampered Chef Ice Cream Scoop 2. Wooden Cutting boards. I don't use wooden cutting boards to cut food on, but there is NOTHING better to knead and rise bread dough on. I adore my wooden cutting board and antique wooden peel just for those reasons. I have a bamboo cutting board that someone gave me as a wedding gift, and it is beautiful, but I have only used it a couple of times because it is SO pretty It's like I am afraid of it. LOL.

I have a dozen freshly hard-boiled eggs cooling on the counter, and if i can get this done I assure myself that the next steps are to prepare and start the squash. I have a bunch of Zucchini that Mrs. Wiggim brought me today, and also 6 Yellow Crook-Neck Squash that I picked at the Timber Garden yesterday. I will have to beg Kyle to plant Butternut Squash next year. I love butternut Squash and so do babies! It makes a fabulous puree to hide in food, and Ardyn loved it as baby food. I think that and sweet potatoes were here favorites, hands down. I found a cool glossary for Squash online, which I really like. I wish that in addition to naming each type of squash and giving it's charachteristics and photo, it also discussed the best way to prepare and serve each one. These crooknecks have me confused, because while they are a soft squash, which I can use the skin on if I choose, I really don't think I WANT to, and so I am not sure how you could possibly peel a crookneck squash. I think I am going to have to halve them, bake them, and scoop out the insides to puree. With any other smooth skinned summer squash, I would peel them, chunk them, put them through the big-mouth food processor and slice them, and then steam them in my food steamer and puree them in the processor again. Sounds like a lot of work, but not once you get going. It all happens quickly. But with these bumpy ones, I am going to have to bake and scoop, I fear. Mom says you can leave the skin on the zukes and shred them as is for bars and cakes, but I don't think I can bring myself to do it that way. I think I will have to peel them. It just makes me feel better and I can't explain that.

Oh here's the webpage that I adored with squash identification info.... I even facebooked the lovely thing I was so pleased with it.

Speaking of which, if you haven't connected with me on facebook, now's the time. Just remind me who you are and where you came from, and if I determine that you are not a stalker and aren't after my children or my sexy body (ha!) then I will add you as a friend. I do much better with quick updates over there these days. I feel like I have betrayed bloggers everywhere, but I can't HELP it because I find myself either braindead or weighed down by two tinies every time I want to blog.

Right now I am really working on what I can do for ME. Evan says that he thinks it's a good idea if he watches the kids for a night a week so that I can get out and get some ME time. I agree wholeheartedly, but I also need a night a week where they all just GO AWAY and I can work in the house to get things done. When this place overwhelms me, it's all I can do to not have a nervous breakdown. And the answer to that (temporarily) is to get away from it, but it's always there when you come back... therefore you never can get away.

My "ultimate goal" for this fall is to register myself for classes at the local community college. And I don't mean "I'm not happy/unemployable/having a mid-life crisis/want to make more money and need to go back to school" classes. I mean "I'm going to go crazy if I don't get some me time and so I am going to take some FUN and creative classes." I researched and there are several that I am looking forward to, one on RAW Bead weaving, Peyote Cuffs, Silver Clay-Making Jewelry, A cooking class on Sauces, a SOAPMAKING CLASS (which I could just pee my pants over I am so excited) and there are a few more jewelry classes, but I have them written in the notebook that I can't find right now (the one that I am TRYING not to panic about) and so I can't recall them all. They basically boil down to a $25 class that is one session long. So I would get to go about once a week and each week I will take a class that will teach me a new technique, and bring home a new piece of jewelry, or loaf of soap, etc. I think it will be fun. I am also thinking I will take more time to scrapbook, which I haven't done in about a month. It's been hard, because I just can't scrapbook and watch both kids (especially Ardyn) while I am doing it. Its too much. I am ALMOST done with her invitations for her mermaid birthday party...

Oh shit the loud one is awake, that means that Marek is not far behind!

But the issue is that I have just a few things left to do, and haven't had time to go finish the invites. Now I am behind schedule (I wanted to have them out by the 1st of August) and so I am kinda cranky about that. Then I heard that a good portion of Evan's family is planning to be out of state that weekend.... which makes me a little cranky, but at the same time, I'm like, aw, she's two, who cares. If they come, they come, if they can't, they can't! I considered pushing it back, but I don't think at this point that is the best decision to make. They all know when her birthday is. If they think that there is something else they would rather be doing, then that is their decision and I am fine with that.

Oh now Marek is up. Geez!

So I cut the stupid bumpy yellow crooked neck squash. Those damn things were hard as a rock and the insides were mostly seeds. Now I am baking them. And they stink. They smelled kinda like pumpkins, but as soon as they started to bake.... ack. This had better be worth it. I am gonna bake three, and if they are crap, I will just give the last three away. LOL. I will definitely have to recommend (ask nicely) that next year there is Butternut Squash. Or I can probably plant them there myself? Then later friends on facebook told me that once they get bumpy, they are past their prime and way too woody and hard. Ha. All that work for nothing.

Wow, if THIS Isn't the blog post that took all day? The clock is telling me it's 7:45pm and I started this at 1pm. Holy CRAP. I guess that in order to blog nowadays I will have to start a post in the AM and just keep adding to it. But I am afraid that nothing I am saying makes sense, because I keep getting interrupted! ha.

Well, I am almost through the 1 foot stack of CD's. There's literally a few inches left. This is good. I have imported all of them into iTunes, and only have a few more to go. I found an old CD that wasn't labeled, and when I played it, it had Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw songs on it, mostly from the early 90's that I didn't have on any other CD. Not sure if someone had made it for me or what, so I searched out all the information and entered it in, and imported it. I probably won't ever listen to them, but they just reminded me of things, and I knew every word.... except to Set This Circus Down.... I forgot about that song! Sweet. What good is having a husband who plays guitar and writes songs if he never writes a song for his wife. Ack. I must have gave it up too quickly. LOL.

Okay, well... now it's 10:15 and I have things to do now, since Ardyn is asleep and Marek needs to get woke up, changed, in PJ's, and into HIS bed. Take Care.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Stain Me

Okay, seriously? How is it possible that I have spent 2 years getting poo stains out of cloth diapers but I CAN NOT get dirt stains off the butt of a toddler's pants? Or food stains off her shirt? What am I doing WRONG!? Stain stick, Shout, Oxyboost, Oxycxlean, Tide, Liquid Color-Safe Bleach, Different water temps. Presoaks. Double washes. Soaking overnight. Sunning. Grandma's Spot Remover. Vinegar and Water. Straight Vinegar. Seriously? What am I missing here?

Spam me. I want your secrets.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Driftwood Photo Shoot

I took pictures of my husband's band tonight, and here is a slideshow of the turnout! Enjoy!

Wednesday Craft of the Day: Make your Own Steam Mop Replacement Pads!

Okay, so let me start out by saying that I love my steam mop. I did a full review of the Monster Steam Mop on my blog previously.... but one of the things that I do find annoying is that the replacement pads aren't cheap. They run about $24 for two, from Amazon or Ginny's. The mop came with two, and I THOUGHT that would be plenty Forever and ever, but at the same time, I didn't realize how STICKY two kids would make my floors, and I didn't realize that they would wear out a bit with time. Not so much seams and construction, but the microfiber itself seems to be a little icky. I wash them in cold water and line dry as they recommend, but that just leaves them looking dingy, and they STILL aren't very fluffy. I had considered buying a nother set but I was disappointed in the price tag. I searched Amazon and found that a second company sold replacement pads for $24 for about 4-6 of them, which is better.... but I thought to myself "They are only microfiber and velcro, and what' (wait a minute) about.... (sewing?) that?

Um, Hello? Dummy. Make your own? I have a whole BIN of microfiber towels that I keep around for absorbency in diapers and trainers. I bought a HUGE PACK at Wal-Mart for like $10-12... or something (it's been a while, check the automotive department)

So since they are supposed to be washed all alone and all special-like (which I long ago gave up on, who has TIME For that with two kids and cloth diapers?) I always find that it's time to mop (like YESTERDAY) and the pads are both dirty. Argh. So today, faced with that exact situation, I decided was THE DAY to sew one. Why not? Let's see what happens. And this time I actually took pictures as I went along. Now, these could be made many ways. I am far from perfect, and I could already see millions of ways to get more fancy with them. But seriously, I'm going to drag it across a filthy floor. I just want it to work. It doens't have to be PERFECT. This took me less than 10 minutes to make, and I used things that I already had around, the thread that was already on my sewing machine and serger (don't be afraid, you don't need a serger, but it makes it much quicker.) and there I have it. A microfiber pad that probably cost me less than $1.

Here goes.
Take two microfiber towels and lay them on top of each other. Serge one end. I purposely made a blue and a white together, with the plan of putting the velcro on the white side and putting the blue side down to the floor.... because the pack comes with both blue and white and I thought it made more sense to have the blue side filthy. Whatever....

Trace around your current microfiber pad and make yourself a template. I use tracing paper, scrap paper, brown grocery bags, recycled cardboard, whatever you have around. I gave it an extra 1/2" on all sides, because they tend to shrink with more washings and because I wanted seam allowances. Okay, so you have two towels serged together on one side, like so. (it's hard to see in the pic, but mine are serged together on the left)
Make your Own Microfiber Steam Mop Pads

Then lay your template over the top of the pads, and use your straight edge and rotary cutter, or your scissors, and trim the towel down to match the template.

Make your Own Microfiber Steam Mop Pads

The serged edge that you have already sewn will be the "top" or the longer edge of the microfiber pad.

Make your Own Microfiber Steam Mop Pads

Roughly, there you have it. Do not discard the piece of microfiber that was cut off, because we are going to use it as extra absorbency in the core of the pad (ohhhhh yeah!)

Make your Own Microfiber Steam Mop Pads

Now Serge each angled side of the pad, like so. Then take the "extra pieces" and cut them so that they are angled on the sides, just a tad bit shorter in width than the pad itself. The goal here is to put the smaller pieces INSIDE the pad itself, and "quilt" it for extra absorbency. Once you have those two small pieces trimmed so that they will fit inside, serge or sew each angled edge together so that they won't shift. No need to do the longer sides.

Here are the pieces before I trimmed them:
Make your Own Microfiber Steam Mop Pads

Here they are serged:
Make your Own Microfiber Steam Mop Pads

At this point in time I decided to Turn the original pad so the serging was inside. Not sure why. Not sure if I would do that again or just leave it, but, whatever. So I inserted the smaller absorbent pads into the bigger pad and centered them. Then I used my sewing machine and just straight stitched the length of the oad, catching the outer edges of the extra absorbency, and once down the center of those two stitches, much like quilting. Then I serged the open end of the pad shut. Now you could also topstitch the whole thing, but that's kinda a waste of time and resources, if I could have just left the serged edges out. So now I just took a couple pieces of Diaper velcro (I had 1" on hand) and sewed two strips of velcro on the white side. And, I have, microfiber steam mop pad. Voila!

Make your Own Microfiber Steam Mop Pads

Eat your heart out Monster!

Tuesday Craft of the Day: Embroidered Handprints!

Completed: Embroidered handprints, originally uploaded by Dazed81.

Completed: Embroidered handprints

Decided to do this today. Still have to get a double frame so I can hang them. The kids were so cute when I traced their hands. Marek sat on my lap like a little man and watched very curiously as I traced his hand with my pencil. He's so big! Ardyn was so excited as she watched me turn her fingers into an embroidered hand! They are so cute.... it will be great to remember this moment!

Another cool thing is that their names and ages are in my own handwriting (although it's embroidered) so they will always have them as keepsakes, with my handwriting on them!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mini Mei-Tai / Babyhawk "Picture-less" Tutorial

Mom made Mei Tai for Ardyn to wear her dolls/animals in

Ardyn with her babies

Ardyn with her babies

This tutorial is for sewing goddesses who will be able to piece this together in their mind if I give them a brief description of my measurements and steps. I meant to take pictures while sewing, but since I was throwing it together from scratch myself, and had no pattern or tutorial to follow, I was (stupidly) too worried that I would make mistakes and not have the steps correct to make a full picture tutorial.

Ardyn models her newly made Mei Tai

Ardyn models her newly made Mei Tai


I wanted to make a baby carrier for Ardyn, so that she could carry her dolls and animals around like I carried her, and like I wear Marek. I didn't like the idea of a doll sling because I don't think it's secure enough for the babies to stay in with all the wild and crazy Diego-inspired adventures she partakes in on a daily basis.... plus I thought the Mei-Tai would be so stinkin cute. The Babyhawk is by far my favorite baby carrier, and at $119 for a custom reversible babyhawk, it had better be. I also have 2 hotslings, a Mayan Ring Sling, and aMoby (which I also really like, except it's HOT to wear) and an evenflo carrier. I wanted to mimic the functionality and pretty design of my babyhawk.

So, Ardyn is a 2T, with a 19" chest. I decided to just start measuring her and use my instincts to create my size. This is what I did. YOU will need to measure your child and alter the pattern accordingly if you think this size is not going to work for you. I did find that Ardyn prefers to wear her dolls in the back, so she can stuff Oreos in her mouth without getting crumbs on the doll (I struggle with that myself, LOL) and also because she has poor depth perception and seems to trip on things that she can't see when she is wearing her baby in front. (She IS my child!)

I started with the following:
1 Waist Strap- measuring 44" long x 4.5" wide
2 Shoulder straps measuring 44" long x 4.5" wide
Outer Bodice (Body of the carrier, not including headrest) 10 x 10" square
Bodice Lining (I used a pretty flannel) 10 10" square
Outer Headrest- 9" wide by 4.5" tall
Headrest Lining (same flannel) - 9" wide by 4.5" tall
PADDING for inside headrest (optional. See info in directions)

Now. I also used contrasting fabrics for the straps and the body. You Could use contrasting fabrics for the headrest and lining, or just coordinating.... whatever suits you. You could also put a pocket on it, like the babyhawk, but I have found that even though I paid a BUNCH extra to have TWO pockets (one on each side) of my reversible babyhawk, I really don't use them because we don't use disposable diapers, and because I like to tie the shoulder straps around baby's back instead of under his butt, to give me more mobility and support a younger OR heavier baby. Tying the straps around the back pretty much limits the pocket access.

I could have made the shoulder straps longer in proportion to the waist strap, but I didn't want her to pee on dangling straps (potty training, ugh) or trip on them.... also, having exactly 1/2 yard of fabric at 44" wide, it worked out perfectly to use my fabric at maximum efficiency. Because my fabric is not used for draping, or weight bearing (this is a TOY carrier) I didn't pay any attention to the selvages or grain of the fabric, I just maximized it's use because I was using Michael Miller Fabrics that are pricey and I ration them as it is.

I wanted a "padded headrest" because I like that it will mimic the babyhawk style mei-tai, and so I grabbed a microfiber automotive towel that I had laying around (get a whole bag cheap at Wal-Mart) because I use them as absorbency in my cloth diapers and trainers. I just cut TWO rectangles the size of the headrest and used it to sandwich between. I will get to that later....

My "finished" Bodice is 8.5" wide x 9" tall without the headrest. I expected it to be 9x9 but I had a sewing error and had to trim and re-do, so it actually works just fine either way.

Step 1. STRAPS:
Fold each Strap in half lengthwise, with right sides together. Serge (or sew, your preference) the long edges. on the SHOULDER STRAPS (2 of them) serge or sew ONE END closed at an angle, forming a point (looks nice and pretty, professional, etc.) If you serged, put some Fray Check on the 2 corners where the serging meets and at the "point". I suggest leaving both ends of the waist strap open so that you can close them as the final step, after you have attached to the bodice. This allows you to try it on the child and take off any excess length to prevent tripping!

Turn the straps rightside out. I then press with an iron, and topstitch each shoulder strap.... so that they look finished and lay flat, like so:
Tutorial Pics

This is designed to be flipped up or down depending on the age of your baby and their head control, or depending on their status (awake or asleep!)

This was my favorite part. You could leave it out altogether as it is purely eye candy for a doll carrier. But I love it just the same. Okay, so I started by angling the ends of the headrest layers, so they looked just like the headrest on my babyhawk (which was in the van, so I couldn't even LOOK at it! Just from memory...) I just used my rotary cutter and a olipfa ruler (strightedge) and my cutting mat. I eyeballed it. I don't know the measurements. Use your judgement (I know some of you hate me for saying that. Sorry!)

Then I put the lining and outer fabric together (good sides of the fabric facing) and serged (or sew) the top and sides together. I put fray check on the corners. I turned it rightside to. I pressed with my iron. Then I cut the Microfiber layers for my stuffing, identically to the headrest pieces, but 1" shorter on length and width, so that I could "stuff it" inside the headrest pieces. Once I had it all inside, I topstitched the headrest with the microfiber inside, and stitched at 3/4 inch-ISH intervals to mimic quilting (as in my real carrier) Voila- Finished Headrest. Nice and cushy!

Step 3. HARD STUFF!- attaching the headrest!
This is where things start to come together. Very gratifying, but confusing and not sure how I will describe this without pictures. Oy. Okay I lay out the two bodice pieces wrong sides together so it looks just as it will when finished... and I put the lining piece face down on the table. Then I lay the headrest piece on top (meaning ABOVE the bodice on the table, like it will look when assembled), with the lining facing down against the table, like my bodice pieces. Now I use my common sense and sewing experience to determine that I need the headrest to be sandwiched between the bodice outer fabric and the lining, with the narrowest "top" edge of the headrest down INSIDE (between) the bodice layers. This is so that when I SERGE the top seam of the bodice, I sew the headrest inside it, and then when I turn the bodice right side out, the headrest "pops out beautifully" and is all inside the top seam of the bodice.

This is something that you either know how to do, or you don't. I learned all about it in high school home-ec when I put the arm on my teddy bear, backwards, about 4 times in a row until I wanted to cry. Now, I finally get it. LOL.

So, basically before sewing, the widest "open" end of the headrest will be facing UP and matching right along the top seam of the bodice. The headrest will be (right sides to, with microfiber quilted between) down inside (between) the 2 layers of your bodice. The bodice layers should be RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER and if you pin the two layers of the bodice and the open end of the headrest together, you can peek inside from the BOTTOM of the bodice and see that the right side of the OUTER bodice is touching the right side of the OUTER headrest... and the right side of the INNER LINING of the bodice is touching the right side of the INNER LINING Of the quilted headrest. If that is the way it is, you should come out allright in the end. Whew. Serge across the top seam (or sew.) TURN the bodice right side to. The headrest will pop up beautifully, attached! If it doesn't, then rethink your process!

Tutorial Pics


Attaching the shoulder straps is also a bit complicated. Getting the angle correct on them is the tricky part. But if you accomplished the headrest, no fear.... you can do this part too!

Just like before, the OPEN end of the shoulder straps is going to get sewn into the side seams of the bodice. The best I can do for showing placement is to show you my finished product. I lay the straps out on the table. I paid close attention to the POINTS on the straps. I wanted the softest edge of the straps to lie against my DD's skin, so I put the folded edge (not the sewn edge) towards the headrest. I lay them onto the bodice piece- right sides together-and put them at the angle that I desired. Then I TURNED THE STRAPS INSIDE so that the straps were sandwiched between my bodice pieces. The bodice pieces rightsides together, the straps sandwiched between (just like the headrest was!) and then I pinned the straps in place before sewing/serging. I suggest you do one, then turn it rightside to, then check to see if it's where and how you want it before sewing the second. I also suggest that if you are worried, you BASTE the straps in between the bodice pieces, turn rightside to, and then turn it back and sew or serge it once you are confident. :)

Once you have both sides sewn and the shoulder straps in place, you are almost done! The hard stuff is over!! YAY! All that is left is the bottom of the bodice and waist strap!

I turn the bodice right sides facing out. Then I fold the raw edges under and inside so that the bottom looks finished, and pin. Then I TOPSTITCH the entire bodice, below the headrest and in a perfect square. Bodice FINISHED! hooray!

Next for the bottom waist strap. At this point I tried this on DD to make sure that it wasn't too long. you could do this before closing up the bottom, if you are worried about length. I determined how I wanted to attach my waist strap based on how much length I needed. I decided to attach the waist strap OVER the bodice bottom, making the bottom bodice hem and the botton of the waistband fluch with each other. This meant that when I topstitched the bottom waistband strap, I was also attaching the bodice to the waistband in one easy step. (see pic!)

Tutorial Pics

Then I tried it on DD and checked the length of the waist straps. They ended up being perfect, so I just folded the edges inside and topstitched each strap end. I did not do these to a point. Just my preference. there you have it! Feel free to reinforce any stitching that you feel might need to be stronger!

Hope this helps someone who wants to make one, and if I make another in the future, I will take pics and update this tutorial!
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