Reversible Bubble Pants

I’ve been doing so much sewing lately to get ready for the little girl we expect next March.   Since a second, very in depth ultrasound (thanks to my “advanced maternal age”, such a lovely phrase, don’t yo think? no? me neither) confirmed that indeed she is a she, I’ve begun sewing girly stuff! (Thankfully all of the important stuff they were looking at in the ultrasound seem just fine!) She does seem to be a modest one though and really made the doctor work to determine her gender, first crossing her legs and later by covering her privates with her hand. But back to the sewing…

I posted that I’d be focusing on cloth diaper accommodating pants, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. These first couple I’m going to show you I just love. They are Reversible Bubble Pants from the book Growing Up Sew Liberated. (This is the same book that gave me the pattern for the baby nightgowns.)If these won’t cover a fluffy bottom and still leave room for mobility I don’t know what would!

On the left are the 6 – 12 month side, 0 – 6 months on the right. Right now they seem huge, but babies grow so quickly. I plan to make at least one more pair in the 12 – 18 month size, and then may make second pairs in each size as well after that.

Both pairs of pants  were made from cast-off knit clothing. This pair is in especially pre-loved fabric. I had a wonderful art teacher in high school who made a big difference in my life. My senior year she had a shirt that was made from fabric almost identical to the outer fabric on this pair of pants. A couple of years after graduation I found a dress in a thrift store that reminded me of her and I couldn’t help buying it. I’ve never been one to wear dresses often, but on the fairly rare occasions that I did this was my go to dress for about 6 years after that. When I pulled it out of my closet a week ago I could see it was really hopelessly out of date in style (I’ve worn it perhaps twice in the past 10 years) and had picked up a stain or two along the way. I just had never gotten rid of it due to the sentimental nature of the dress. Cutting it up to make pants for my baby though was easy! I can’t wait to see my daughter in this fabric, and have some more left over that will doubtless become other things for her to wear. (The lining fabric was from a t-shirt. I couldn’t avoid a bit of the printing on the front of the shirt which you may notice at the top of the waist band in the photo. It won’t be visible when worn though, and although these are reversible pants with all seams hidden between the two layers, I’d always want the special fabric on the outside anyway!)

And here is the rear view… Yep, plenty of room for a well padded little tookis!

Thanks for reading!

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

jembellish clothes upcycling page

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little BirdsC.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Tasteful TuesdayNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkie,

Raising 4 PrincessesThe Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and Schwin,

Jembellish Clothes Upcycling Project, Tuesday Baby Link Up

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally SustainableSomeday CraftsLil’ Luna,

Whimsy Wednesday, Whatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour ProjectsThreading My Way,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama2805,

Just Winging It

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

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Salsa Verde!

My husband loves salsa verde… on just about everything. I used to use it just every once in a while, but with this pregnancy has come a craving for the stuff. We’ve lately going through it to the tune of about a jar a week it seems. Time to start making it myself, methinks.

I had made this in the past but with a difficult pregnancy followed by two years of extreme sleep deprivation and off into the land of prego again I’ve lost a lot of my DIY habits in favor of convenience. But really, this is not all that hard, tastes better and is SO much cheaper. After almost 3 1/3 years though, I found I had to look up the recipe.

I used this one from Eating Richly with only a few minor adjustments. I omitted the sugar, ground pepper and used only 1/2 of the jalapeño.

Combine all of the following ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Tomatillo

Tomatillo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are unfamiliar with tomatillos, they look like green tomatoes with a papery husk. The recipe calls for 4 medium to large. I found only mostly small ones at the store so I used 8.

Remove and discard the husk and wash the tomatillos.

Slice in half and place on a lined a baking tray.

Place tray under the broiler until the skins are nicely charred.

Chop 1/2 an onion.

1/2 cup of loosely packed cilantro. I used more; I really like cilantro.

I  don’t like things really spicy so I only used half of the jalapeño, discarding the seeds of course.  Always taste test your individual pepper as levels of hotness from one jalapeño to the next can vary significantly.

Add the juice of one lime,

and salt to taste.

Ready. Set.

Go!

One recipe makes enough to fill two smallish jars. This was the second day in a row I made some as I saw that my initial batch wasn’t going to last long at all. This stuff is addictive! I think the next time I make it I will double or triple the recipe at the outset as it is basically the same amount of work, and then I have some to squirrel away in the freezer.

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Sunday:

Homemaker on a Dime,  I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

What I Wore Sundayjembellish clothes upcycling page

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkie,

Raising 4 PrincessesThe Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and Schwin,

Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projectskojodesigns,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Art Mama2805,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

E is for Eli!

Due to Eli’s recent growth spurt most of his Mama-mades have been packed away or soon will be. Of course this would be when Eli decides that Mama-made clothing is the BEST.THING.EVER. As in “Don’t even think I will get dressed for pre-school without having a meltdown if there isn’t a handmade shirt to wear today!” Luckily on that morning I was able to dig out one last candidate from the shirt drawer that still fit… but barely.

So between the many pairs of baby pants, nightgowns, fitted cloth diapers and diaper covers on my baby-prep sewing list it has been imperative that I sew a few new items for Eli as well.

Here is his latest shirt.

E is for Eli Shirt

I got the idea a long time ago from Dana’s Sprinkle Shirt, which she published way back in 2008. I’ve loved this idea for a long time and it was one of the first kids’ clothing tutorials I ever pinned. Now that Eli is getting really enthused about letter learning it was the perfect time to give it a go!

The shirt itself is part of my ongoing process of learning to sew from patterns. This pattern is a simple t-shirt pattern from Kwik Sew’s Sewing for Toddlers by Kerstin Martensson that Kelly at ReStitch Me recommended to me a while back. The photos are very dated (1980’s) but the clothing is so basic it still works with more modern fabric and embellishment choices. Eli is already using the largest size in the book though so I will soon be looking for a new t-shirt pattern. If anyone can recommend a particular Ottobre edition for a very basic gender neutral t-shirt pattern I’d be most interested.

I don’t know why I find it so challenging to use patterns, but I do. It seems that I had to rip out and redo almost every part of this shirt at least once. So many stupid mistakes were made, and perhaps part of that can be blamed on pregnancy brain. (Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.) I couldn’t very well just give up and trash the project though because Eli had watched me embroider the E with much delight and was following the construction of the shirt with focused attention. I actually cut the tan pieces so short as a mistake and then didn’t have enough fabric left in that repurposed t-shirt to fix my mistake. Color blocking seems to be in these days though, so we’ll just pretend I did it on purpose!

I also used the making of this shirt as the occasion to finally try out the twin needle I bought, oh, probably about a year ago. I found it such an intimidating idea, but everyone else that has used one and blogged about it always seems to say that is is actually rather simple to use and quite satisfying as well. Now that I’ve finally taken the plunge I’d have to say that I agree.

Wearing his E shirt and playing with his train. Please excuse the bed head. 🙂

Since I’ve made this shirt Eli wears it almost constantly. The first time I put it on him he immediately wrapped his arms around my neck in a big hug and then spent the rest of the evening periodically giving my arm little love pats. It requires prolonged negotiations to get it off of him to be able to wash it. He also tells anyone who comments on his big E shirt “Mama made it!” Nope, it just doesn’t get much better than that! I need to make a few more shirts and pronto though so that he isn’t always wearing the same soon-to-be grungy shirt!

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Sunday:

Homemaker on a Dime,  I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

What I Wore Sundayjembellish clothes upcycling page, A Round Tuit

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little BirdsC.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkie,

Raising 4 PrincessesThe Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and Schwin

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally SustainableThe Shady PorchLil’ Luna,

Someday CraftsPassionately ArtisticWhatever WednesdayTrendy Tots,

Whimsy Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour ProjectsThreading My Way,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Art Mama2805,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Getting Ready for Baby: Cloth Diapers

This week I decided it was time to take stock of my cloth diaper stash to see what all I will be needing before the new baby comes in a little over 4 months.

Eli wearing a gDiaper.

Initially with Eli I had planned to cloth diaper all the way through until potty training. Then I began to use disposables when we were traveling because keeping a big old musty bag of used diapers in the car for a few days on end just seemed to be a bit much (and the 10 day trip via airplane when he was 5 months old… UNFATHOMABLE!). Once the ‘sposies were in the house I found just how much more convenient they were in certain situations… like being out of the house for more than just a couple of hours. Since we often didn’t use a stroller, and I was already wearing Eli in a carrier I didn’t want to bring along a lot of bulky cloth diapers as unless I was out with my husband I was carrying both baby and diaper bag.

Then Eli hit the crawling stage at 6 months. He was already a very big baby for his age and squeezing the cloth diapers on him under his pants made for a rather mobiley-compromized baby. I was also finding it hard to fit him into his car seat for some reason. Perhaps it was just his personal body shape because I’ve never read anyone else discuss that issue on the cloth diapering blogs. So slowly, but surely cloth was used less and less, really only when we were going to be at home and then only during the day. (With all of the night waking issues we had, as soon as I discovered overnight disposables I was very happy to leave that little bit of early hour baby stimulation behind.) Eventually I found I was not accumulating enough to justify running the washer for a diapers-only load before they would begin to reek on day 3. So (feeling a bit like a crunchy-mama failure) when Eli was about 18 months old I packed all of the cloth diapers away to await our next child.

I had read often enough about the laborious process of stripping diapers when the ammonia smell begins to remain even after washing, but I had never actually done it. My diapers never got smelly. Maybe that’s due to the Charlie’s Soap Powder I use, the fact we have a top loading washer, or because I rarely used the clothes drier for them but let the Southern California sun work it’s wonders instead. What ever the case may be it wasn’t something I wanted to take on if it didn’t seem necessary. But seeing as the diapers had now spent a year in boxes in the garage, and they would be used by a different person it seemed like maybe now was the time.

So I waited until Eli was at preschool, cranked up the temperature on the water heater,

We usually keep this set around 120 degrees, but for diaper-stripping purposes I turned it up as high as it would go.

began filling the tub with diapers,

and as the water filled the tub went online to double check the amount of Dawn dishwashing detergent that I should use. That’s when I found that, unlike the sites I had read before describing boiling diapers on the stove or soaking them in near-boiling water in the tub, I could just do the stripping in my washing machine!

The dreaded day of drudgery turned out to be ever-so-easy as far as the diapers were concerned, allowing me time to sew another baby nightgown before Eli returned from preschool.

For anyone needing to know how to strip cloth diapers here’s a link to the site that saved my day. You’re welcome. 🙂

Now with all of the diapers super clean, I’ve been sorting them by size and trying to figure out if I have all that we will need. Even though these diapers were used by Eli first, I do have a fair amount of girly diapers as when I made these I didn’t know who would be coming our way to use them yet. (Actually for a good portion of my pregnancy we thought that Eli was going to be Elianna 😉 )Between prefolds and the homemade fitted diapers I have about 30 in the smallest size. Figuring about 10 diapers a day and no more than 3 days between washes I should just have enough, but I will probably make a couple more to have on hand just in case.

My complete stash of small handmade fitted cloth diapers.

So little and so cute!

These represent one of my very first sewing ventures away from the realm of quilting. I remember Eli outgrew them so quickly as I made the majority of them with woven flannel receiving blankets repurposed for the outer fabrics. Fuzzy and adorable but they don’t stretch at all!

As for sticking with the whole cloth diapering thing this time around, I have a few ideas that will make things go a bit more smoothly. I will still use disposable (Earth’s Best or Seventh Generation) when traveling and probably for the first couple of weeks home from the hospital, especially if I end up needing another C-section. I am laying in a store of Mama-made pants created specifically for the fluffy-bummed baby. (Posts on those will follow!) Perhaps a better designed diaper bag would help with the schlepping of cloth diapers when we are out and about as once again I plan on wearing this baby.

(I am also becoming interested in Elimination Communication, but haven’t made any decisions about that either way at this point. Who knows? Perhaps in the end we might go diaper-free all together?! Not too sure about that one… But intrigued. Definitely intrigued.)

Letter to Eli, 29 and 30 Months

Dear Eli,

I have fallen behind in my letters to you, and just at the time when you seem to be changing most rapidly. Now I feel like I don’t even know where to begin in trying to give you a bit of a recap of your life over the past couple of months!

You have changed from attending the toddler group speech and occupational therapy group to going to the developmental preschool program twice a week. You love it there! It’s in the same building as the other program and there is some overlap of the teachers and therapists that you adore so much. One main difference is that the day is three hours instead of two and you go BY YOURSELF! Last March I would never have guessed that you would have become this independent so quickly.

You are so proud of the things you make at school! We are going to have to figure out some strategy for storage as they are beginning to take over the house, yet I don’t dare throw much of anything out. You love to go and fish a project out of the pile and declare “I made this!” Even something made weeks ago will be revisited with equal amounts of pride and satisfaction as the paper that came home just the day before. Anything I tape to the fridge is soon in tatters as you feel the need to remove it to show it to me again.

And speaking of your declarations… in the area of speech you have really taken off. You now use complete sentences more often than not. And you talk all. the. time. (unless we are with other people)! And know what? I’m loving every minute of it! Just nine months ago you’re expressive language was evaluated to be at the level of a nine month old baby, now you are pretty much right on track. You still have trouble with pronouns and some pronunciation problems, but nothing that is very out of place for a two and a half year old.

One thing that you say constantly, as in at least 100 times a day, is “Oh My!” I was unaware that is was something I said on occasion (or perhaps often) until you picked it up. You say it anytime one might say “Look!” or “Wow!” or “Uh oh.”  It’s actually quite cute, if somewhat repetitious.

Your father and I have been marveling at what an easy child you are to manage these days. At the store you will find things you want, bring them to us (“I need this!”), but if we ask you to put it back on the shelf you cheerfully do. We can generally reason with you, and verbally prepare you for those stickier situations that have caused behavioral problems in the past, and you do alright. Maybe it’s the recent surge in your language ability, or perhaps just a new level of maturity. You have always been a delightful child, but easy has never been a word I would have applied to you. I gotta tell ya, I’m enjoying this stage immensely! We’ll see how long it lasts. 🙂

You now joke often and seem to always find the humor in things. The people who work with you at school comment about this as well. They say they love having you around because your laugh is so contagious! Your first verbal joke appeared right around the time you turned 2 1/2. You said you wanted to eat, so I asked you what you would like to eat. Your reply? “Eat pee pee? Eat poo poo?”  Yep, you are definitely a boy. Now one of your favorite jokes is to try to convince me that Dan Zanes on the concert video is playing a guitar even though you know it’s a mandolin; for some reason you find this endlessly entertaining.

The pictures in this letter were taken during our family’s recent vacation to Washington State. It turns out that traveling is pretty hard on you at this stage in your development, more so than it has been in the past. You begged multiple times each day “Go home?” But even so you were a wonderful travel companion. Our flight out was delayed an hour in the terminal and then an additional two hours in the plane just sitting on the tarmac. This for a late afternoon flight that should have gotten us into Seattle for a in time slightly late bed time. But my boy… such a trooper! You were cooperative and meltdown free the entire time, even though we didn’t end up in bed in our hotel until 2:30 a.m. I’m still shocked, it’s more than I would expect from any 2 year old, much less from one who has had  sensory processing and excess energy issues.

Now every time you see a plane overhead you say “Eli do that. Eli do that again!”

Even though you pined for home and your beloved guitars you enjoyed our time playing in the forest and at the beach, climbing on a stationary train, and playing with children in the families we visited. Since getting home though you haven’t been liking to spend much time out and about. You last for one activity, such as a visit to grandma, school, or going to church, but then it’s “Go home!” even if the next activity is something that is generally toddler approved, like going to the park. I think (hope) as we settle back into a routine you’ll become more comfortable being out in the community again.

Your fascination with music and instruments has grown beyond guitars and drums. You now pretend to play the trombone, the trumpet, the bass and the violin. You can identify the saxophone, french horn, tuba, piano, harp, bass, banjo, mandolin, accordion, harmonica, and I’m sure others that I just don’t recall right now. When we pass a music store with real instruments in the window you will stay there transfixed for 15 minutes or more. Once I read to you the sign on the door saying that they give music lessons so that people can learn to play instruments. You began tugging on the door with all of your might begging to go inside. Luckily the store was closed, because  you are still a pretty much walking death sentence to any instrument you get your hands on (other than the drums). When you learn to treat things a little more gently and you have a bit longer of an attention span I am sure music lessons will be in your future.

And finally, our days of babywearing have come to a definite end. We had pretty much stopped the practice with the onset of this pregnancy, but the Ergo made it’s appearance once more to help us navigate the airports on our trip. I’m glad I had this last opportunity to enjoy you this way, and that you were in a sleepy, snuggly mood for a portion of it. I’m so thankful that the morning sickness has pretty much faded and that I had the energy to do it. It really felt so nice and I needed that opportunity to say goodbye in a gentle way to this part of our relationship. But the day after we got back from our trip the doctor told me that I should now not be lifting any more than 20 pounds. Oops!.. you are somewhere between 38 and 40 lbs. at this point.

I hope you want to still hold my hand for a long time to come.

I love you so very, very, very much!

Mama

Easy Fix for Toddler Pants That Won’t Stay Up

I’ve been doing a lot of mending lately, most of it makes for pretty dull blog fodder, but it has to be done. I’ll share this particular fix though, because for how very simple and seemingly uninspired it is I actually spent a couple of days trying to figure out how to attack the problem of toddler pants that constantly migrate south.Eli received this pair of pants as a gift over a year ago and I have been awaiting the day when he would finally grow into them. Lengthwise they are now perfect, but they are just a smidge too wide to actually stay up. Even the best looking pair of pants fail to look their best when slipping below the derriere in public.

I had found this excellent and easy tutorial for fixing this problem, but since these pants unbutton I couldn’t run a complete circle of elastic all the way around the inside of the  waist.

Instead I just attached a small length of elastic to each side. It is whipstitched on each end by hand and will be super easy to remove when Eli grows a bit wider.

Simple, huh? So why did it take me a few days to figure it out?? Sigh… But now he’s wearing the pants, and actually objects to removing them, so it’s all good.

Baby Nightgown

As much as I was going to hold off on sewing for a little girl until we received confirmation at the 20 week ultrasound, I just couldn’t resist. I remember when Eli was an infant we couldn’t have enough of these baby nightgowns. They make those middle of the night diaper changes go so much more smoothly as you just have to hoist them up, and don’t have to completely undress the little one. I recycled fabric for this nightgown from an adult night shirt and the ribbing from an old tank top, so other than the elastic at the bottom it was pretty much cost free.

Growing Up Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee

The pattern is the Baby Sleep Sack from the book Growing Up Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee. There are so many projects in this book that I want to make, and I know I’ll be making more of these baby nightgowns!

Have you made anything from this book? If so I’d love to hear about it in the comment section. Any links to relevant posts you’ve written are encouraged.