Saturday, July 27, 2013

DIY No Sew Bags!

These are so fun and easy to make! They are great for pretty much anything!
 School, groceries, day trips, beach days, diaper bag, etc.
I love to make them as gifts also.

Here is what you need:

*2- 18x21 inch pieces of the fabric.
OR one 21x36. Sometimes you can find squares of 18x21 inch
 fabric bundles at places like JoAnn Fabric. Cotton like material
works with the duct tape so no silky, lacy, bulky, or felt like material.
*2- 24 inch pieces of belting rope
*duct tape in coordinating colors
*measuring tape
Start by ironing both pieces of fabric to get any kinks out. Iron both sides.
Next, lay tape across one of the 21" sides of fabric.
Over lap each piece a little bit and continue down the fabric until you reach the end. Do this to both pieces. (Or the entire piece if you are working with a 36" piece of fabric like me)

 Once both pieces are finished, take the 21" side and fold it down about 2". Measure 7" in from the side and staple down one side of the belt. Don't go all the way to the top of the fold, only staple about half way up.

Lay a piece of duct tape across both pieces of belt to cover up the staples.
Use two pieces of tape for an extra hold especially
 if you plan to carry a lot in your bag.
Put both pieces on top of each other, having the front sides face each other, and staple the pieces together all around the edges. In my case, I just stapled two sides since the bottom is one piece. Try keeping your staples in a fairly straight line so your seams will be nice and even. Also, if you feel the need to trim up the sides or any part of the bag before stapling, now is the time.
This is a great way to ensure that everything lines up.
 Once you have stapled up the sides, seal them with duct tape.
I uses two layers for mine.
To make the bottom of your bag square, put your hand in the bag and poke out one corner so the triangle is nice and flat on the table. Use your measuring tape to act like the bottom of the triangle and measure across 7". Staple across the bag and seal the staples with duct tape on both sides. Do this to both sides of the bag.

 Turn your bag inside out and use your hands and fingers to press open
the bag to its potential. Use the duct tape and secure the
triangle flaps to the bottom of your bag.

(I wanted the bottom of my bag to be extra sturdy, so I cut a piece of cardboard to fit the bottom and covered it with tape. You can also tape the cardboard to the bag or leave it free. This way, you can take it out for days that you want your bag to be more floppy.)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tropical Watermelon Sorbet

 This Tropical Watermelon Sorbet is one of my favorite things to make in the Summertime! This sweet and tangy dessert is perfect during a hot day or after a dinner party. It will take your taste buds to a tropical paradise!

What you'll need:
-An ice cream maker. Our ice cream machine is the Cuisinart Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker.


-1 (2-pound) piece of seedless watermelon, rind removed ad flesh cut into 1-inch pieces to yield about 3 1/2 cups 1 (6 ounce) can of pineapple juice, chilled
-3/4 cup canned ginger ale, chilled
-1/3 cup fresh lime juice, about 3 large limes
-1/3 cup grenadine (I recommend Rose's) 
I recommend that all of the ingredients are chilled before you use them.

In a blender, blend the watermelon, pineapple juice, ginger ale, lime juice, and grenadine until smooth. Pour into your ice cream maker and turn on your machine for about 35 minutes. If you have never used an ice cream maker before, be sure to follow the instructions on how to prep your machine before use (freezing the inner core).


10 minutes

20 minutes
30 minutes

Friday, July 5, 2013

Cloth Diaper Detergent/Booster

A cloth diaper safe detergent is a must when using cloth diapers. It is important that your diapers are clean, stink-free, and stain free. While I can't guarantee that all of your diapers will be stain free (check out my post on diaper stains), I can promise an easy wash routine! It's also important to avoid softeners, fragrances, enzymes, and any additive when washing cloth. Any of the things I listed will  mess with the performance of your diaper.
Since we started to use cloth diapers, we have gone through a few different cloth diaper safe detergents. We realized what works for our diapers, and we worked through any bumps along the way.  A year later, I can safety say that I have found the perfect wash routine that works for us. Every baby is different. You might have issues that need resolving (stink, repelling, leaks), and this detergent is easy, simple, and does the trick. If you are having issues with your diapers, its important to go back to basics and simplify your wash routine. Get rid of any "extras" that you might think are helping...they might actually be the problem. For example, any product that is suppose to freshen, or help cloth diapers might not be rinsed out fully and be lingering in the diaper, causing stick issues. Even if the product is "cloth diaper safe"' if may be causing an issue. Don't stay away from CD safe products all together! Just remember to use very little in your wash routine and only use CD safe creams and bum products on your baby so as to not ruin or mess up your diapers. If you find that your diapers are not performing well, (stinky, repelling, leaking), it may be time to strip them. (Stay tuned for my post on stripping diapers) 

Here is my detergent "recipe":

Equal party Oxygen cleaner (I use Oxiclean Free), baking soda, and washing soda. Scoop them in a jar or container and mix! Use one to three scoop depending on your water or machine. I have a front loading HE machine and soft water. I use about two tablespoons.

I have found that this detergent does great on its own,
but I also like to use it as a booster with these detergents:

 Country Save
because the Oxiclean, baking soda, and washing soda are not necessarily "detergents," I like to have these two detergents on hand to spice up my laundry loads by switching it up every other load or two. Do what works best for you! Just don't feel intimidated! When in doubt, do an extra rinse ;-)

Cloth Diaper Wash Routine

An effective wash routine is a priority when using cloth diapers! After one year of using cloth, I have found a perfect wash routine that leaves our diapers fresh, clean, and stink-free.

Here is our routine step-by-step using a front loading HE machine:

1. Load all of the soiled diapers into your machine. Toss in your wet bag or pail liner too.

2. Do one COLD "rinse & spin" with and "extra rinse" and "no spin". This will allow the diapers to be double rinsed and extra wet and "heavy" so your washer fills up extra on the next load. NO detergent. (should be about 20 min long) If you do not have a "rinse & spin" option, do one "quick wash" with "no spin".

3. Scoop your CD safe detergent (<--check out what we use) into the compartment and do a normal HOT wash with EXTRA water. (Our machine has a button to increase the water load.)

4. (Optional) Sometimes, I like to do one more HOT "quick wash" to get the diaper extra gunk-free, but this is totally optional!

5. Do another COLD "rinse & spin" cycle (ours is 19 min) with or without a CD safe fabric softener. Vinegar is a popular CD fabric softener, but I found one that I really like. I use it every other diaper load, and it leaves prefolds, flats, and inserts soft! Ecover Fabric Softener. If you are not going to use fabric softener, I would still recommended this last rinse cycle.

5. Once the diaper are spun dry, take out all diapers that have PUL (polyurethane laminate), or water resistant material (plastic like). Load all of the inserts, fitted diapers, cotton, bamboo, and/or hemp into the dryer and do one delicate cycle and set your dryer to the longest dry time. This way, the diaper dry on low for a while. Super hot dryer heat=crunchy prefolds and flats.

6. While the inserts and fitted are drying, hang the diaper shells on a drying rack and stick them outside

7. Once the dryer beeps, hang the rest of the diaper load onto racks and let the sun do its magic!

The sun is a curtail part to our wash routine! The sun naturally bleaches, disinfects, and freshens diapers. The outside fresh air is so wonderful for diapers and makes a huge difference in performance and overall feel, look, smell.

Every few washes, I toss a cloth wipe in the load that has a few drops of Melaleuca oil (tea tree) and Lavender essential oil. These essential oils are great for disinfecting and a fresh smell.

Another thing I do to ensure no stick issues is sink rinse extra wet diapers, nap diapers, and overnight diapers. Giving those diaper a quick rinse in the sink before tossing them in the pail is a great way to get rid of extra pee and stink before your main wash.

This routine works for us. Don't worry or feel bad if something in this routine is not working for you or if you are having issues after washing/ drying this way. I can help you troubleshoot! Please let me know if you have questions!

Gettng Rid of Diaper Stains

Cloth diaper stains are a bust! Fortunately,
 there are a few remedies to help remove stains.
My number one stain remover remedy is the SUN!
The sun is such a wonderful addition to your cloth diaper
wash routine and provides essential power to diapers.
The sun naturally:
*removes stink
*removes/fades stains
ALL FOR FREE! I like free...

I consider sunning our diapers absolutely essential. If you are unable to place your diapers outside or have wacky weather, even laying diapers by an opened or closed window does a great job. Any sort of natural light or fresh air will help cloth diapers. Sometimes I will put the drying rack buy an open window over night and let the fresh breeze do it's thing! 
In order to make the most of the stain removing
power of the sun, follow these steps:
After your diapers are finished in the washer (wash routine), use a clothes line or drying rack hang diapers with stains facing up. I like to lay any diaper that is stained on the top rack. Also, be sure that the stained area is slightly damp because that will help the sun "evaporate" the stain. If you are pulling diapers right out of the washer they should be damp enough, but use a spray bottle of water to concentrate a stain if you want. (I like to lightly spritz the whole rack right before they go outside, especially if they've been waiting over night to go outside.) Breastfed poo stains are like magic to get rid of! Once solid foods are introduced, stains are slightly harder to completely erase, but they do fade!
I do not have an exclusively breastfed baby anymore,
but I will add before and after pictures as so as I do!

When my fist set of drying racks needed to be replaced (since we use them EVERY day, they eventually fell apart), I have come up with alternative ways to get the diapers out in the sun. This was during our in between stage when I was getting new racks:

Other ways to help remove stains are certain laundry products and soaks.
These are helpful especially when you do not have a lot of sunlight to work with.
But remember that any of these remedies will
work even better when paired with the SUN!

*Treat the stained area with Babyganics Stain Remover before washing
*Soak stained diapers in a sink full of hot water and a scoop of Oxiclean Free. Rinse the diaper and ring out before adding to your other diapers in the wash.
*Spot clean the stain with baking soda, Bac-Out, or Oxiclean Free. Spray or sprinkle your spot cleaner onto the stain and let it sit or scrub with a toothbrush or small scrubber. Let is soak in hot water and rinse before adding to your wash.