Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sew Happy!

I am going to make this a short one, although I have plenty to say. I NEED to get to bed but I just swallowed my nightly 7 pills and therefore if I lay down right away I feel like I my pills are trying to float back up my throat, so I might as well pass the time pleasantly.

I have been very busily sewing today!

Last night while Evan was gone at the Hank Williams III Concert, I was really restless and uneasy. I just had a bad vibe. It made me pretty nervous. The kids and I dove into the front porch with a vengeance. I removed ALL the furniture from the west side off the porch (Wicker loveseat, two wicker chairs, wicker coffee table, wicker trunk, white wood side table, etc) and vacuumed and mopped the floor. Then I put down the alphabet foam play mat that had been in my sewing room in the basement (which I am currently not using to sew, because it's too hard to get both kids up and down the stairs all the time for potty breaks, meals, toys, diaper changes, and still get anything DONE!) Then I took the Little Tykes Activity Garden out to the porch. Marek is just now getting to the ideal age to start using it, but if it's in Ardyn's room, there's not a chance she will let him play in it. We also moved out all the little people toys, which we did last winter, and they are a BIG hit out there, and safe for both kids. I put the Pack n Play across the room so that Marek could see my sewing area really well from inside it, and moved Ardyn's desk closer to my work area. I moved my fabric and notions closer to my sewing table. I cleaned a BUNCH and got everything a little safer for little bodies. I am really loving it! We still have to move the slide and playcube inside, and probably the teeter totter. After Christmas we will have a mini-trampoline to add to the mix. I love that the kids can play out there and I can see them, plus because my sewing area faces the window to the living room, if they are in the living room watching TV or playing, I can see them because they are RIGHT in front of me. How cool is that?

Porch in Progress (West Side)

I don't mind if Ardyn plays in her room because everything is safe in there, but I don't want Marek in there with her because he is a crawling maniac and he is putting electrical cords, dog food, and everything he finds EVERYWHERE into his mouth now. I can't believe how much he has changed in just the last WEEK even. I have video of him crawling that I took today, and i hope to get that on Facebook before the end of the week!

This week is about to get REALLY Crazy! I am ordering our new family photos and our Christmas Cards at the photographer tomorrow. I have Library Books due back and errands to run. I have a shopping trip with my friend Angela O. this week, because I just fixed a computer and got some cash and I NEED some new shirts for the holidays. Everything I own has a bunch of stains on it. No good I say! I also have a scrapbook night at the church this week, AND the kids are going to BOTH stay overnight at Grandma's! This will be the first time that Marek has ever been away from me overnight! I am excited because Evan and I are going on our first "Date" since he was born.... 8 months seems long enough, right? Next week I have a fun mom's night to look forward to, and then my BIRTHDAY! We also have WIC appointment, Evan has an acoustic gig at Kelly's Place, and we are Hosting Thanksgiving.... and then we have family to meet for cocktails later next week, and ANOTHER date night as the kids are staying overnight at the OTHER grandparent's the next weekend! AND another Thanksgiving celebration, AND taking Ardyn to the Polar Express night. We have watched the Polar Express to prepare for our pajama train ride and also to see Santa! She wants Hungry Hungry Hippos and has been telling me for a couple of weeks now that when she sits on Santa's lap she is going to tell him that she wants it. The Hungry Hungry Hippo thing was not prompted by us... she kept seeing the commercial and one day I asked her what she was going to ask Santa for and she said "HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS!" She also says that she is going to get a Polka Dot Present from Santa. She loves Polka Dots. LOL.

Marek moved up into size Medium Fleece, so I made him four pair of Fleece Longies today (and one pair last night.) Ocean/Pirate Theme, Insect Theme, Car/Travel Theme, and a Tree/Bird Theme... and then a pair of "boyish" Polka dot pants too! I use the Little Comet Tails Crescent Moon Yoga Pant Pattern and I ADORE it. They are so easy and fit so nicely! I have modified the pattern to add my own contrasting leg cuffs, an inner sling style soaker, OR an inner Shorts style soaker, AND for board shorties in the summertime. I have, several times, considered trying to get licensed instead of just being a home seamstress (which means that I would be able to sell items that I make with Little Comet Tails Patterns.) But I am not sure if the market is really there, and on top of that with the new CPSIA laws, it's really too much hassle. So I will just stick to making them for my own kids.



I also made two pair of shoes for Marek today, with the pattern that my friend Leslie made back when our girls were little. I never made any for Ardyn, but I got inspired recently and the pattern is for a size 2-3 so I started this evening and made two pair tonight. They are just so CUTE and are really simple to make. I altered the pattern to do some serging, because they seem so clean and simple and well made if serged.... and I also skipped stitching the elastic and decided to KNOT it instead because it's quicker, simpler, and just as secure. Then I modified it again to use wider elastic and a wider casing, because they weren't staying on his feet as well as I would have liked. They are sweet! He always has cold feet, and they are two layers of flannel with an inner padding of fleece in the sole, which will help! Now if I could figure out a way to keep his HANDS warm!

Insect Shoesies

Space Shoesies

I have bunches of fabric in the dryer right now. My mom wants me to make her some new kitchen curtains and tie backs.... so I have her fabric ready to go now, and then I have David and Goliath fabric that I am going to make car blankets for the kids with. I am just waiting for the Minky fabric to arrive for the backing (soooooft!) and then I can make them to keep in the van. I have been tempted to make them each a car seat poncho.... but I think if I do that I will have to get more fleece. I might have enough in my stash for Ardyn's, but I don't have any boyish fleece to make one for Marek. Maybe I will make Ardyn's first and see how much I like it.

Okay, I really need to go to sleep. It's been like 45 minutes. I started uploading photos, and then somehow I was geo-tagging my pics in Flickr, and then I remembered that I had entered Scenic Drive photos in the photo contest and so I started to look at their websites to see if they had announced the winners yet.... it's never-ending!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Parents Magazine is really Pissing me off.

Well, I just have to get this off my chest. It's my blog, and it's what I do. If it bugs me, I talk about it (to a degree :)

I got my newest issue of Parent's magazine. Tonight I decided to flip through it after the kids went to bed. I can say that usually I like the craft ideas, and their information on new children's products. This issue, unfortunately, was not only disappointing, but frustrating, and to the point of making me question WHY I have a subscription (Oh yeah, cuz it's free. That's why.)

The first thing that made me angry was the special "cover" that unfolded to show you the "Health Pledge" that included ten items that I am supposed to "make a priority" in order to keep my kids healthy. If I write them all here, they will probably sue me or something..... but let me just briefly mention a few. #7 "Handwashing will be a house rule- before eating, after using the bathroom, or sneezing without a tissue- and I'll make sure kids can reach the sink, and soap.

*sigh* I agree with handwashing. Especially after using the bathroom. Or doing something "germy." I try to remeber to have Ardyn wash her hands before eating, but honestly, I don't always remember. And if you have a potty training toddler, and she goes pee EVERY 30-60 minutes, and you wash her hands after every potty break, that's an average of 12-24 handwashings in an 8 hour period. Add in before three meals and two snacks, and that's 17-29 times in 8 hours. Add in EVERY TIME SHE SNEEZES WITHOUT A KLEENEX? Seriously? She's two, not thirty-two. Her hands will have no SKIN on them if we wash them anymore. And I still say, there is SOMETHING to be said for germs that are beneficial. The overuse of antibacterial hand soaps is a major issue and I am frustrated by this whole handwashing every time you sneeze scenario. Not to mention, that just because she SNEEZES doesn't mean that I am there to see it. I might be, in the bathroom myself! Folding laundry in an adjoining room! Changing her brother's diaper! *gasp!* What a horrid mom I am! Grrrrrr. Why couldn't they just say "practice good handwashing." PERIOD. And then there's the whole "keep the soap and sink accessible." Right. Because every mother of a two year old wants them to be able to get handsoap out themselves. In case the Dora Doll needs a bath. or the walls need washed. Or for any other given "toddler" reasoning. Do they WRITE these things for REAL parents?

#9. "We'll play outside EVERY DAY, even if it means stomping in puddles." Again. For real? Do these people live in Florida? California? Every day? Like windchills of -15 and snowdrifts as high as my waist? Like "It took me 49 minutes to get the kids dressed and then one was hysterical and the other one had to pee."??? I am all for playing outside, and for getting fresh air. But what they are saying here is NOT realistic. We do NOT play outside every day. We don't. And they are still healthy. If it's nice outside, we try to play, or even go for a walk. But what about climates that don't allow for every day? How about encouraging exercise in general? Indoor activities? Yoga for kids? mini-trampoline? Hide and Seek? REALISTIC! How about an article that gives advice on exercise ideas for children when you CAN'T go outside. Now THAT is realistic! Something a real family could USE!

Last but not least, #10. "No matter how much they beg, I will not allow my children to have a TV in their bedroom." Okay, this I can understand. But it still makes me angry. If a child has TV in their room, they aren't healthy? Really? So if I put a TV in my child's room, and regulate what they can watch and when they can watch it, I'm a bad parent? It's not like my two year old has Pay-per-view. But if she wants to watch Dora or Sesame Street or Little Einsteins.... why can't she watch it in her room, where all her toys are, instead of dragging everything out to the living room and making EVERYONE in the house watch whatever show she wants to watch, even if it's the same episode of Dora that she's seen over and over but she LOVES to count to ten in Spanish? *EVIL!* Do not allow your children to speak spanish! No! Don't allow them to learn ANYTHING from a television! It's EVIL! I think that the majority of parents are adults and are able to make healthy decisions about what their kids watch and how much they watch. I know there is all this advice about how kids under 3 years of age shouldn't EVER watch TV. It stunts their growth or makes their head spin or something, I'm sure. But when my 2 year old can count to 10 in spanish, and very fluently says "Vamanos, Gracias, Delicioso, De Nada, Brinca, Ayudame, buenos noches" in perfect context and pronunciation.... I am proud! These are not things that I could have taught her myself, at least not CORRECTLY, but now we both know more Spanish!

Okay. Off that little soapbox, but about to take a step higher and delve deeper into this issue. Which, by the way, is so full of ADVERTISEMENTS it might as well be a TV Show. They talk of new products, and the new MAM Training toothbrush caught my eye. $4 at thesoftlanding.com - but when I got to the website it's $5.99, and it retails everywhere else for like $9-12.00 plus shippping. That's accurate information.

An article about how much Bribing is going to hurt my child in the long run. It's going to make her expect rewards for regular behavior. But I pottty trained her for a long time and didn't get "finished" until I offered her skittles and smarties for #1 and Dum-Dum suckers for #2. Less than 2 weeks later, fully potty trained. But I am pretty worried she is scarred for life. When she's 14 she won't go poop in the potty without a reward. WHAT have I DONE?!?!?!

An article on finding the right birth control for you, which gives the same generic information that we've been given since Freshman Year HEALTH CLASS. No information on side effects or lasting issues that can come with birth control options, especially with hormonal types. Nothing new. Nothing that most women don't already KNOW. Something tells me that every person who has HAD a baby, has had plenty of chance to learn about birth control. Assuming, that is, that they are having sex.... since having children is the best birth control method that I know. (Why didn't they put THAT in the article?)

After that is a very frightening and eye catching article about choking hazards. It is introduced with a very bright and in your face two-page spread, that really got my attention: a photograph that looks much like an "I Spy" Book, and shows colorful things like Jelly Beans, toothpicks, pushpins, nails, screws, dimes, balloons, rings, plastic army men, jacks, gummy bears, life savers, paperclips, and legos. We know about choking hazards. We are PARENTS. (hence the name "Parents" Magazine, eh?) I like that they talk about first aid, and trying to determine if your child has swallowed something. It makes sense. But I have to say that in life, the whole "choking hazard" thing can seriously give you a complex. EVERYTHING is a choking hazard. Everything must be LABELED a choking hazard. If my 6 month old got ahold of a screwdriver, he could disassemble the TV Remote that he likes to chew on and everything inside would be a CHOKING HAZARD! If he could just figure out how to get the keys off my key ring.... CHOKING HAZARD! Everything in my HOUSE is a choking hazard. This whole universe is a choking hazard. The best I can do, is try to keep small things out of their reach, away from my floors, and supervise them. I can try to teach them that we don't put things in our mouths, and try to teach Ardyn not to put anything in Marek's mouth. What bothers me, is that despite my best efforts, there is a chance that one of my kids could stick something up their nose, or choke on something. But an ACCIDENT does not make me a bad mom. But constantly hearing about how the whole world is laden with choking hazards might just put me in a padded room with some Xanax. Is it no wonder that as mother's we have So much Anxiety? Every toy that is marked to me is a "choking hazard." "Small Parts, Not for Children under 3 Years of Age" might as well be an acronym. SPNFCU3YOA - It's EVERYWHERE. It's overwhelming. (But, I must admit, this is at no fault of Parent's Magazine :)

But right AFTER this huge scary article about Choking Hazards, was a big article about moms "not sweating the small stuff" with their little kids. It talks about not worrying about whether your child is eating enough, sleeping properly, crying too much, etc. So in one place they are trying to scare the crap out of mom's with choking hazards, and in another, they are telling moms not to be anxious or worry over small stuff. Ha. Ha ha hahaha!

BUT the last article that really made me ANGRY. "Playdates with Cocktails." Yeah. you know, we are all drunks. Playdates are really just an excuse for us Mom's to get all sloshed and misplace our offspring. Let it be known, for the record, that I do not drink. I have never been *drunk* (legally or otherwise) in my entire life. I have never had more than 3 drinks in a 24 hour period in my entire life. I hate the taste of beer and only like a few wines and a few mixed drinks. I don't like to be out of control. That's just my choice, and my personal preference. Last weekend I had the first drink (an Amaretto and Coke) that I have had in.... hmmm..... 1 year and 11 months exactly. Yep. I had my first ever drink since Thanksgiving Evening of 2007, when I had 1/2 of a glass of white wine with my dinner. And before that 1/2 glass of wine, I hadn't had a drink since.... August of 2006. So that means that in the past 3 years and almost 3 months, I have had exactly 1.5 drinks. Yep. Dead Serious.

The reason that I point this out, is because the "statistic" that they used in this article is as follows "A 2009 Survey by The US Dept of Health and Human Services found that 55% of women with a child as young as 15 months old had at least ONE Drink in the past month, while 63% of those without children did." Okay. What. The. F*&@$%)! does that have to do with mom's drinking on playdates? By this statistic, I (who has had 1 drink this month, and has a 7 month old child) am a statistic, that is supposed to be supporting an article about moms drinking at playdates? Seriously? I, the mom who has had 1.5 drinks in the past 3+ years, am a bad mommy!

This article pissed me off so badly. Where are all the statistics in this article about the FATHERS of children? Where are all the statistics about Fathers who can drink whatever, whenever, and leave their wives or partners to be the responsible ones? Where are the statistics that show that thousands and millions of moms all over the world are getting DRUNK and that their judgement is impaired and that children are being injured and neglected as a result? The fact is, there ARE NOT ANY. And then there is the quote from an article in a Texas newspaper "If you're the primary caregiver, I don't think you should be drinking." Um. If I am the primary caregiver, I should NEVER Drink? If I am the primary caregiver I should not drink while I am responsible for the kids? I don't know what she means. The article says "for every mom who is affronted by the accusation that she can't care for her kids after a single, legal, adult beverage, there's one who's aghast at the notion of sipping a martini while her kids are slurping juice boxes." Um Yeah. So what. Just because I don't drink, doesn't mean that I would be judging a mom who has A DRINK when around her children. Now being drunk, or driving when drinking, are different instances altogether, But we aren't talking about being DRUNK. We aren't talking about DRUNK DRIVING either. We are talking about having "A Drink."

The article pointedly mentions the GROWTH of the Facebook group "OMG I So need a glass of wine or I am going to sell my kids!" and I actually laughed out loud and thought that I should join that group. that is comical! Seriously people, it's a JOKE. it's a joke about how HARD it is to take care of small children! It's a joke that I often say out loud and to my husband "Now I know why mom's DRINK!" I'm not an alcoholic! I'm not an unfit parent. If I DID Choose to have a glass of wine, I would still be able to care for my kids. In that same Texas newspaper article, the author talks about having seen a group of moms have wine with their lunch and then go pick up their kids. Seriously-- If they had a glass of wine with their lunch.... then they are now "bad moms?" I tell you, if I had lunch at Olive Garden, I would LOVE to have a glass of wine and a delicious indulgent dessert. I could still DRIVE (both legally AND Safely) and I could certainly be responsible for my children if that was my choice. I am not condoning drinking and driving with children (or at all) but seriously, this sounds like an accusation being thrown from a high horse! The article also talks about how if you do an online search you will find a recipe for Coffee and Kahlua that will "cut the edge after a long day of chores." SO. WHAT.

The part that I thought was interesting, was the statement "Are today's mothers really heavier drinkers- or are they just more open about it?" Um.... have you heard of the 70's? LOL. When no one "knew" that you shouldn't smoke and drink while pregnant? (at least that's what the drunk and smoking moms say in their defense, LOL.)

Seriously, I think that this issue of Parents is a little disgusting. It's a little too preachy, judgmental and mainstream. And seriously, does it take a rocket scientist or a magazine article to tell a parent that if your 4 year old wants to buckle their own booster seat, it's a good idea to check and make sure they have done it correctly?

What is this world coming to?

Sunday, November 08, 2009


I'm getting (okay, I've already got) that itch again. It comes and goes, but it's been "coming" a lot more these days. I just want things to be simpler. I want things to be streamlined. I want to focus on spending times doing things that I like to do, instead of all the crap that I don't want to do. I want to dress like this all day every day... I want to collect fresh eggs, make soap, make yogurt, fold diapers, and watch the kids play in the yard. I want to sew. I love fall, but I am feeling like I would just like to fast forward through winter and head right for spring.

I think that part of this continued desire for "simple" is emphasized by a two year old with an attitude, and spending yet ANOTHER two hours on the phone with Sears about the dishwasher that they can't seem to repair. It's difficult to think straight when Ardyn is screaming that she wants CHEESE or SUCKERS or BARNYARD (on TV) or that she wants CUPCAKES (Play-doh, because we make cupcakes from the doh.) It's difficult to think straight when there is so much CRAP in your house that you can't keep up with it, can't keep it picked up, and don't even get to use or enjoy half of it because you are too busy stain treating poopy toddler underwear. I didn't say it was glamorous. But it's life and it's real.

Part of the problem is the SIZE of our house. Yes, many people, in many prior and current generations raised giant families in much smaller houses. But it's tough when you can't get a moment's peace and there is nowhere to get AWAY from each other. If you want to take a nap, you are exactly 10 feet and one old wooden door away from the zoo that goes on in the next room. There is no "second story" in which to hide. I love our house, but we have rapidly rapidly outgrown it. We are not done having children, but I can't see exactly how we are going to stay in this house and have more. I have an office in the middle of my dining room. I have to walk through Ardyn's room to get to Marek's, which means that when he wakes up early and wants to eat, she wakes up early too, and even though she is still tired and cranky, refuses to go back to sleep. It also makes naptime difficult.

Another part of the problem is the fact that I have not been on ANY vacation (with our without kids) since I went to visit my friend Carrie in Utah after she had Cara. This was in 2006. So it's been more than 3 years since my last trip ANYWHERE. The last time I went anywhere WITH my husband was when I was pregnant with Ardyn and we went to Milwaukee for the weekend (which we hated)... and that was late 2006/Early 2007. The last time we went on a true "vacation" was our honeymoon in 2005. The last time we went on a date.... well, let's just say we've been out ONCE together since Marek was born. And I have been out to see his band play maybe twice since Marek was born. One date in 7 months.

And then I get cranky because when we DO go somewhere, I own two shirts that are not stained or defiled in some way by my children. I reserve these shirts for occasions when I leave the house, and therefore feel like people see me in the same two shirts whenever they see my in public. And with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, I realize that I am going to need a couple of new shirts. Grrr. I can't even write a blog post without being kicked or pinched or screamed at. Oh well. I know I shouldn't complain, because there are plenty of people who don't have two beautiful children. But it can sure be frustrating to belong to everyone else but yourself.

I find that it's sad when I look forward to grocery shopping because I no longer take the kids with if I can help it. Right no, I am starving for me time. I am starving for simple. I miss growing up on the farm. I miss the quiet.... the lack of "traffic" going by the house... the ability to get your mail in your underwear if you damn well please. I miss having livestock around me and tall grass and wildflowers. I miss the country. And if I feel this way with a cornfield in my backyard, I know that I wouldn't last a second in the city. Not one second. Sometimes I wish I could just take my hand across the desk and sweep everything into the garbage. Every paper, every folder, every thing I have to read or file or pay.... garbage. Just light a giant match and watch it burn.

How's that for a pleasant Sunday attitude? Well, time to go. Ardyn is climbing the loveseat and Marek is kicking my arms as I type. *sigh*

Saturday, November 07, 2009

What IS Swagbucks and WHY did I wait so long to join?

Seriously, I feel like an idiot. I have known about swagbucks for about a year and never joined. And now, I am totally kicking myself. Swagbucks are defined as "the web's premiere digital dollar" and there are absolutely free "virtual bucks" that you easily earn and then can trade in for REAL Merchandise, and REAL paypal money, and REAL Gift cards to places like Amazon.com

Seriously people, this is not a scam. if you are a coupon cutter, or you like a good deal, I have to tell you to stop stalling and join.

I am not trying to lure you into something evil here. It's the real deal. What I did was install the swagbucks toolbar and instead of using google for all my searches, I use swagbucks to search. It pulls search results FROM google, and from other search engines. BUT every few times you search, you randomly win swagbucks that are automatically added to your account. If I want to win MORE swagbucks, instead of typing half-assed addresses into the address bar of firefox (or IE) I type then into the swagbucks search and I get chances to win. They give out single swagbucks, and even 3 and 5 swagbucks randomly.

Then there awa swagcodes, which are posted here and there, like on the swagbucks twitter page, facebook feed, blog, and flickr page. You simply find and enter those (usually daily) codes and you win MORE Swagbucks.

Then there's shopping. If you buy online, if you buy from retailers by clicking on their link from Swagbucks, you get one swagbuck for every $5 you spend at their store. So tonight when I was looking for snowpants, I searched all over the web, and found the ones that I wanted at Dick's Sporting Goods. After I knew that I was going to buy them there, I checked swagbucks site and sure enough, there was Dick's as a participating swagbucks retailer. SO I clicked through to my shopping cart and for spending $30 on something I needed and was going to buy already, I earned $5 in swagbucks. I have only been on swagbucks for a week and I have already earned more than half the bucks I need for $5 at Amazon. Maybe that seems like just a tad bit of cash, but if you do the math, let's say that I get better at this as time goes by, and I could EASILY earn enough swagbucks to get $5 at Amazon per week. That's $20 a month, or a grand total of $240 a year, which I did NOT have before, and I got for doing NOTHING except what I am already doing online, searching, researching, shopping! Seriously?! How cool is that?

I haven't even scratched the tip of the iceberg on prizes... MP3's, airline miles, clothing, gift certificates... It's insane!

So swagger on over and sign up. Just follow my referral link and be my swagbuddy! http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/dazed81

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Can't wait to get my new Kamsnaps!

Well, the BGOS Conversion was successful. The diaper that I converted is WONDERFUL and I am so pleased. I don't have enough snaps to get too much further, so I knew I would have to order more. This is when I discovered that kamsnaps.com carries snaps in ALL the BGOS Colors! Even the new ones! Whoooo! So tonight I placed my order for the remaining snaps that I will need. I can replace the velcro on 13 BGOS 3.0's for less than $30 in snaps. And this is having lots of snaps leftover too. I could do it even cheaper if I used plain white ones, but I'm kinda funny like that and I really want to have them match, not just for my own happiness, but for resale value.

For those of you who are curious (I know you are out there and have already heard from some of you) I apply a total of 32 caps per BGOS. This includes two rows of 12 on the front of the diaper, and 4 per wing for a total of 8 on the wings. I prefer to use sockets across the front as they are flatter than studs, and therefore one diaper conversion requires 32 caps, 24 sockets (female) and 8 studs (male). I used size 20 industrial snaps on the Blossom diaper, and will use size 20 standard glossy snaps in the BG Colors for the remaining 13 diapers. I have two of each color remaining (minus blossom, which I already converted, and minus zinnia, which I don't own since DS is a boy) and I have three Grasshopper diapers.

So I ordered 100 of each color cap ($1.90 per 100 caps) and then I ordered variety packs of the other pieces in each color, which amounted to 50 sockets and 50 snaps in each color. I did order a pack of 100 Grasshopper sockets because I have three of those diapers to convert, and that will take more than the 50 sockets that comes in a variety pack. Kamsnaps.com sells a variety pack which allows you to get 50 pieces (any piece you want) in any of 4 colors, for a total of 200 pieces for $5. This is awesome if you don't need 100 of one color. :)

And, if you go place an order with kamsnaps, please do let them know that I sent you. They have a cool referral program and also a point system that allows you to accumulate points towards money off orders. When you place your order, create a login and it asks who referred you.... Please put Meagan Johnson for your referrer's name and dazed(at)dazed81(dot)com for my email address. And they do accept paypal from buyers in the USA. Yay!

I can't wait for them to get here so I can proceed with my conversions!

Another REALLY cool thing that Judy does at kamsnaps, is engraved caps, with cool things like butterflies, dinosaurs, monkeys, love bugs, airplanes, trains, and OOGA BOOGA'S! She even has really cool photos of caps matched up to Ooga Booga fabrics, Fabrite PUL, and the Bum Genius PUL Colors (scroll down after following this link to see those photos).... so you can SEE how they match and pick the right color. How AWESOME is that?

Soapmaking and Creative Karma!

Tonight I was entirely thrilled by the Soapmaking Class that I took at the Community College. Our Instructor was at first very quiet, but as the class began, I really started to enjoy her knowledge, and sense of humor. I feel that if she were not my "class instructor" and if she didn't live a ways away from me, we might have a lot in common and could become friends, or at least two women who share some ideas about crafts, farming, family, and green lifestyles. I am excited to visit her blog tomorrow, as I just won't have enough time tonight because it is already midnight and I am TRYING to make it to bed before my recent 3-4am time. (seriously. I have literally been going to bed between 3-4am for a couple of weeks now. How ridiculous is that?!) So, if it didn't sound creepy-stalkerish, I would say, out loud, that I feel a friendship could be had, between the instructor and myself.

There is just so much to do, and it seems like there are NOT enough hours in the day to do them. But seriously, I can go to sleep around 1-2am and somewhat function, but 3-4am.... can't happen. It just can't.

So, back to soapmaking. When I first decided (a year ago!) that I wanted to make my own soap, I started reading online and was put-off by the complication, mathematics, and danger associated with "true" soapmaking (lye, saponification, etc.) I decided to start with melt and pour glycerin soaps. I thought it would give me a feel for soapmaking and decide if it really was for me. It was simple. It was fun. The end result smelled great, but honestly, it wasn't the soap I was looking for. I was looking for Goat's Milk, Oatmeal, Honey, or patchouli orange soap. I was looking for sensitive skin soap. I was looking for eczema friendly soap. Allergy friendly soap. BABY Friendly soap. Paraben and SLS-free soap. I just felt that there was SO much more than glycerin melt and pour soap. But I didn't know where to begin, how to begin, or if I even WANTED to begin. I wanted to save money and buy my own soap. I wanted to control the ingredients in my soap. I wanted to soothe the itchy, dry, allergy and eczema prone skin that I had also passed on to Ardyn.

Then.... I had Marek. And my life became enswirled by my toddler tornado and bombarded by breastfeeding, double diaper duty, and eventually potty training and baby-food making. I was doing good to keep my head "above water"... let alone investigate soapmaking, PAY for the supplies, teach myself to do it, and actually find CHILD-FREE time to do so. After all, it isn't wise to involve children in lye mixing activities. Not to mention that I couldn't focus on one task long enough to even get it started, let alone accomplish anything.

Along came the fall continuing education flier at my local community college. Filled with Wire Jewelry, RAW Beading, Sewing, and yes, Soapmaking. These things, I believe, come to me as destiny. Some may call it an act of God. I don't care what YOU call it, but I know that things happen to me for a reason. I know that sometimes, when I start thinking of things in my brain, and I roll them over in there, sometimes in complete silence.... it is ironic how many times something will appear before me and just call out to me "this is your sign! Do this now! It IS possible." People may think I am nuts, but I share this sentiment with my mom.... Things happen for a reason. There is a reason that you may have never heard of something before, in all your 30 years, and then, one day, you hear about it, it interests you, and after that you are suddenly bombarded with information and random snippets about that exact thing. To myself, I call it "Creative Karma." I put it out there, and somehow, it comes back to me.

So, creative karma was screaming "soapmaking." And while I wanted to take a class a week at the college, in varying crafty endeavors, money just wasn't on my side. But I VOWED that I would take soapmaking. Well, by the time I had raised myself the money, I called, and the class was full. AND I was SO Disappointed. And by that time, a SECOND Class was sceduled, but was ALSO Full. Oh Creative Karma... Why do you taunt me so? But I was told that my name would be placed on a waiting list and that I would be contacted when they could fill another class. Well.... here comes that karma again. It really is kind of evil that I am calling it Karma at all this time, because it really was a series of unfortunate events. Namely, the instructor had her first ever "soapmaking" accident in her 6 year history of soapmaking. While preparing soap to take to that second class, she was pouring soap into her molds and there was a "volcanic" eruption of sorts which splashed hot lye soap directly into her eye.

Not everyone knows that lye is really Sodium Hydroxide... which can cause very serious chemical burns, and is used as a drain line opener. I know this because I personally have a sulfuric acid burn, sustained from 99% Sulfuric Acid in drain line opener. I received it when I was working at a Hardware Store Warehouse and was a "Loss Prevention" (Security) Officer. I was involved in security, and another part of our job responsibility was to clean up chemical and material spills. I actually had quite the background in safety at that time, and was the person who taught safety classes and things of the sort at the warehouse. And ironically I was the officer on duty when a forklift operator speared a pallet of drain line opener. Of course, hindsight being 20/20.... we should have immediately pulled the MSDS Sheet and known that it was much more serious and toxic than the average person probably knows, and that in addition to our neoprene gloves and neutralizing lime, we should have had Neoprene Boots, Goggles, and PERHAPS Neoprene suits. At the time I was working with a wonderful Maintenance Team Member, who was older than I (I was just like 19 at the time) and I trusted him and thought his knowledge on these chemicals was all we needed. Looking back, we both made mistakes.... but that's how it goes. So anyway, while picking up a 50 POUND bag of Lime to "sprinkle" over the spill to neutralize the acid, I slipped in "splashes" of acid that we didn't see, and fell INTO the acid. Yep. Slick (no pun intended.) on my part. Well, the driver of the forklift had speared the pallet and didn't know that he had missed his "fork slots" until he had gone a whole aisle over.... so he had a nice dripping trail down the aisle, and then a giant puddle where he had removed his forks and set down the pallet. this caused some type of splashing. To add to the issue, there were a couple of lightbulbs out in the aisle where the spill had landed (a safety issue and a neglect issue of sorts) and therefore it was darker than usual and difficult to SEE the full spill, which is how we missed the "sprinkles and splashes" and how I stepped into some and slipped. And the fact that I was carrying a 50 pound bag of lime didn't help my steady cause any. So, anyway, hands landed in the lime, butt landed in the lime, and legs.... and my FOOT landed IN the large spill area, and the acid immediately ate my pantleg from the knee down, and ate my leather oxford shoe AND my sock right off my foot. So right at the area where the tongue of your shoe meets your ankle, I had a severe acid burn. Immediately it started eating through my skin. Unless you have felt that sensation, it is difficult if not impossible to explain what it feels like to have acid eating your skin away. So the maintenance member who was working with me got onto our cart and we sped away towards the showers, where I stripped off what was left of my pants and started rinsing. He clocked the rinse from outside the shower room, and although I kept telling him "come here and look at this!" he was all modest and shy and wouldn't enter the room. He found me a blanket and by the time my "required rinsing" was complete, I was wrapped up and escorted to the cart again and whisked off to the exit where a company van was waiting, filled with MANAGEMENT and I was whisked off to the Emergency Room where I received saline flushes and sulfadine cream. I followed up with daily, bi-weekly, and weekly visits to the ER for flushes, cleanings, and wraps to my ankle. For a while I was told it was severe enough to require skin grafts. It freaked me out seriously. And then I found that it would heal, although I had a "forever" scar aout 2-2.5 inches in diameter. So. That was my acid experience. And after that my employer did a huge revamping of their spill cart, placing the 50lb bags into smaller flip top totes with scoops and buckets to make the spill cleanup safer and more efficient.

So, sorry.... back to the teacher. She was unfortunately injured (although not permenantly, thank goodness) by the lye in her eye, and had to cancel the class and undergo treatments and medical care to heal her eye. And she now wears safety goggles.

But because that class had to be "canceled," they rescheduled it and I was able to take the next class. So, in a Karmic way (not that I am suggesting the teacher was INJURED so that I could take the class.... but it is interesting how things come together sometimes) the very afternoon that I called about getting IN to the class, I was told it was full, and later that evening was called back and told that there would be a rescheduling. (Now you all think I am a witch who hexed my teacher, don't you? I really belong on Eastwick, it's true. My powers are unprecedented. I'm kidding. Seriously.)

So, tonight was the class. And it was wonderful. And I brought home a pringles can of soap (yep, that's her clever mold for round soaps!) and now I need EVERYONE I know to start saving me their pringles cans and lids. LOL. In 24 hours I can slice the soap into bars. Then It will cure for 1 month, and then I can use it. I am so super excited, because via Facebook, I learned that my friend Kristen also makes soap. It is sometimes very very eerie how much Kristen and I have in common. The breastfeeding, the cloth diapering, the love of animals and farm life. I covet her garden and her fresh eggs (I really really miss my garden and have ALWAYS wanted my own chickens for eggs!) and now, she pops up with soapmaking? Will it ever end? (that's mamma karma!) So now, I am hoping *disclaimer, Kristen does not know this yet* that she will agree to entertain me with soapmaking discussions and that I can invite myself to her farm sometime soon and see how and where she makes her soap. My goal is to have my first batch of soap made before Thanksgiving. I want to make Patchouli Orange soap, because I LOVE Patchouli Orange, and my father-in-law also uses Patchouli soap.... and so I would like to make a batch that I can split between us and surprise him with some for Christmas. *hopefully.*

So before Thanksgiving, I have some supplies to gather. I want Evan to make me a mold, or have enough pringles cans gathered to make a batch. I need a couple of silicone spatulas (heat safe) that I can designate for soap making. I am considering knocking down some of my Pampered Chef spatulas for the cause, because I have owned them since I started selling in 2002, and now the silicone is sticky and I don't like using them in the kitchen. I also need to dig out an enameled stock pot (I think I have one or two in the garage that I had set aside for canning and can also use for soapmaking) and I need to get a cheap stick blender and a digital scale. In a pinch I can use a handmixer (I have an antique Hamilton Beach Chrome one) or my blender (which i NEVER use anyway, so good use for it) I need some goggles. I need a large pyrex measuring cup (8 cup) and lye, oils, and essential oils. I can't use the expensive Young Living Essential Oils that I use for aromatherapy, because one recipe calls for as much as 4 ounces of oil.... and that would be NOT cost effective to use that much expensive oil in soaps! I would like to use some ground oatmeal in my soap, and also honey, as I have a couple of jars of raw honey harvested from the Outlaws' Timber this summer (the family has bee hives located there, how cool is that!?) So. I have things to gather, and things to pay for. I am really not sure that is even remotely possible before Thanksgiving, as the bills this month are IMMENSE with the addition of two License Plate renewals to our regular bills, and Evan and I have birthdays (AND Our first official date since Marek has been born 7 months ago, and the FIRST time Marek will stay away from me overnight!!!)

So I may be overly optimistic. Especially considering the calendar is filling up INCREDIBLY fast, and the house is a wreck. I really need someone to take these kids for like TWO DAYS so that I can clean. I can't even keep this house picked up, let alone CLEAN. It's really affecting my brain. I have piles of things to do, piles of things to organize. The sewing area is a DISASTER (post emergency Halloween costume sewing) and I have so much that I need and want to sew, it's insane. but I can't seem to get away from the daily tasks of FEEDING kids, washing laundry and dishes, and the like, to both CLEAN the sewing area AND sew something. Baby steps. I am trying to not let my head spin around. It's getting a little hectic.

After soapmaking class tonight, my head was just reeling with thoughts, ideas, plans off action.... It was too much. I called my own cell phone three times on the way home to leave MYSELF messages of things to do and lists to make. That's how nuts it's getting.

And then I have all these brilliant ideas, like "I'll make my own crackers from scratch" and tear out articles from my magazines on making my own organic yogurt (we eat a LOT of yogurt, especially mixed with fresh fruit, in these parts!) and I have Christmas Stockings to sew, and Pajama "dresses" to make for Ardyn, and Fleece diaper covers for Marek, and an iSpy bag for Michele's Allison (which is on my list forever now!) and then my MOM wants me to make her kitchen curtains next week... and I have all my Bum genius OS diapers torn up and waiting for new snaps and the correct die size (which I have to order tomorrow online) and then I have to set about 1400 snaps (seriously) to get those finished. I am hoping for a diaper a day once the snaps arrive. The computer desk is a landslide of papers. I have bills to pay. I can't even reach my closet or my makeup table in our room. We desperately need to go through Ardyn's toys and put up small "choking hazards" because she doesn't understand that she can't leave them lying on the floor, and Marek has really started to step up his army crawling this week and I almost broke my leg trying to get out of the bathtub fast enough to pry a choking hazard out of his drooling mouth this afternoon. I have magazines to read. I have a guest list to make for my Usborne book party. I have Thanksgiving invites to send out to family. The kitchen needs cleaned. The floors need mopped. The diaper pail is full again and if it's nice this week still, I need to get some out in the sun before there isn't any sun anymore. I have a defective Baby Bouncer to ship back to Fisher Price and a broken humidifier to get rid of. I need to get a few groceries, clean out two freezers, and finish y husband's to-do list so that he can change lightbulbs, replace smoke detector batteries, switch the door on my dryer to the other side, and pump out the pond and cover it for the winter. It's hard enough to remember what I need to do, let alone remember what I need to remind OTHER people to do. Ugh.

So, let's talk about MOPS now. I am really enjoying MOPS. I missed the October meeting, but this month was great. We did "freezer meals" and we all broke up into groups. Each group had a station in the kitchen and each station was in charge of a specific freezer meal. There was Chili, Italian Beef Hoagies, Sloppy Joe's, Beef Stroganoff, Tacos, etc. Our $5 "meeting fee" for the month allowed us each to take home 2 freezer meals, and for another $6, we could make another 3. I just did two, and chose Italian beef Hoagies and Beef Stroganoff. We also brought home a neat little freezer meal cookbook with contributions from our fellow MOPS and also with tips and ideas on how to freeze and prep various meals.

So, this has me motivated to do more frozen meals, but this also reminds me that I NEED to get the freezers cleaned out. But this is not a one person job.... especially when that one person is myself who is in charge of two children who can't be left alone. Naptime is getting shorter and shorter these days... and so it's barely enough time for me to take a shower or bath.... let alone accomplish anything. Marek is my good napper right now. Ardyn is the nap resistor. She is really starting to give us a hard time about sleeping in general. She can go to her room and still be awake two hours later. Her new thing is that she wants us to leave the door open when she goes to sleep. Otherwise she is pitter pattering and opening the door and standing behind it and being all goofy and awake. I have learned that if I let the dog into her room with her and shut the door to keep him in, it's okay to keep her door shut and she will fall asleep, and then we can let the dog out later. He isn't thrilled with this prospect, but it works.

Well, I am feeling pressured to make lists now, and I still need to go to bed, and it's almost 2am. Jeez. More later, and if you are still with me, holy cow. Thanks.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Bum Genius One-Size 3.0's- Snap Conversion with Photos

Well, I finally got around to doing "something" with my BGOS 3.0's. Some of these I have had since Ardyn was a baby, as we use them as our overnight diaper. I have had Bum Genius replace all 6 of my original ones with new diapers, because just like everyone else, the aplix and holdback (laundry) tabs just get destroyed so easily. That is their one downfall. For the longest time, I have been wondering why they don't make a snap version of the BGOS pocket diaper, especially now that they are making snapping BGOS Organic AIO's. But, I have heard that because someone else owns the patent on the One-Size snap diaper, and because Fuzzi Buns owns the patent on the snapping pocket, they don't want to pay the money to use the patent. I don't know if that's true, but it did spur me to stop waiting for action on the part of Bum Genius. Not to mention that even if they DO come out with them, I will still have these 8 older ones, and the 6 new ones, that would be aplix and need to be converted.

I initially thought that I would need to tear the diaper apart to get snaps "inside" the pocket, and therefore I was cranky, because the principle was that if I have to tear apart a diaper and put it back together to make it function, then I should just make my own diapers. So I just purchased the diaper aplix and was preparing to do that today, when I thought I would just do a little more research on converting. Come to find out, with an industrial snap press, I would NOT need to take the diaper apart to get it converted... So tonight I converted the oldest of my batch... the blossom pink one. I hadn't used it since Marek was born, because it had such bad aplix, I had removed the tabs to see how difficult that was going to be (months ago!) and had then ordered the aplix.... and so it just never got used. And since it was the oldest, was torn apart, and was Pink, I figured that if I botched it, I wouldn't be so upset. So tonight I converted it to snaps.... and I LOVE it! Now Marek is wearing it to bed and we will test my snap placement, and if all is well in the morning, I will continue replacing the aplix with that snap placement. Tonight as I watch the recent episode of Eastwick on the laptop, I am removing the front Aplix strip on the other 7. Once I get all those done, I think I will also convert my new 6.... because I have heard that if you convert them when they are "new" they never wear like those with aplix do.... and they last much longer. Yay!

So here are a few pics.

Here are my first 8 with the laundry tabs removed

Here is the blossom diaper with the front aplix strip removed, getting ready to convert!

I made myself a template. I have two rows of snaps on the front, all placed .75 inches apart, 12 snaps per row. Then I decided to go ahead and do 4 snaps on the wings, .75 inches apart, so that they are harder for an older toddler to remove, and are sturdier.

I traced the diaper front onto a piece of tracing paper, then lay the paper over a quilters ruler to make my grid for the snaps. Then I lay a snap on top of my markers to make sure i liked the placement. Once I had my template, I poked or punched the holes in my "pattern" and used a fabric marking pen (you can use a pencil) to mark my snap locations. Here's my marked diaper ready for conversion.

Then I reached inside the pocket and poked the snap cap up through the PUL (there are two layers in a BGOS 3.0 because of the OS snaps in the front) and then I attach the stud or socket with my industrial snap press. The cool thing, that I never really realized or thought about, was that I didn't have to try to feed the snap press into the pocket in order to set the snaps. I could set the snaps right through the bottom fabric layer (PUL and Suedecloth) without having any issues. It worked so smoothly!

I use size 20 Industrial Polyacetal snaps. I just used white on my older diapers, because I am having a hard time finding matching snaps, and I have a TON of white ones that I should really just use up. I may use colored ones on the newer 6, as I have some snaps that are pretty close to matching.

Here are a couple of photos of the finished product:

And here is one on my model, an 18lb 6 month old.

I am testing it as we speak. Can't wait to convert the rest if I am happy with this conversion. I will test how long it takes to apply snaps once I have gotten through the first one and around the learning curve and the process of making my template, etc. :)

Questions let me know!

Read ON for Part Two of this post: How many snaps, caps, sockets, studs per diaper and where to order snaps that match BGOS, and also how much it will COST you to do the conversion.
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