Tag Archives: baby

Graphic t-shirt dress

Now that Summer has officially left town (this morning’s snow showers should confirm it), I guess I should show you how I made this cute summery dress.  You might make one with long sleeves for your little sweetie and then pair it with some cute leggings, or maybe you can plan ahead for the next warm season.

First, grab a graphic tee you want to convert.

I wanted to make this an envelope shoulder style dress, since Bambina still hates having tight tops pulled over her head.  See the pic below for how I cut the main bodice piece (front and back) and skirt section.

You’ll need some facing along the neckline.  Use the top of the bodice as a guide to cut two pieces that are each about an inch tall.   Fold them in half, and cut one of them more deeply at the center.

Harvest the sleeves from the shirt.  Fold over the shoulder overlap at your desired height.  Lay a sleeve with its top fold aligned with the shoulder fold, under the bodice by at least half an inch.  Trace the edge of the bodice armhole onto the sleeve, including a quarter inch down the side (this little line is critical – it will tell you where to align the bodice when you’re attaching them).  Cut the sleeve leaving a quarter inch seam allowance along the curve of the armhole and then going straight from there.  Copy the curve and the little line to the other side of the sleeve.  Use the first sleeve as a template to make the second.  Make sure you copy your markings as well!

Attach the facing to the bodice.  The more deeply cut piece will be attached to the front.  Turn them right sides together.  Match the top of the shoulders and smooth the facing piece down and towards the center.  Pin in place, and stitch with an 1/8″ seam allowance along the top of the facing.  Trim the excess of the bodice off from above the facing.  Turn the seam right sides out and topstitch the facing down using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Repeat on the back, except without any trimming (the facing should line up with the top of the back exactly).

Sleeves.  Yeah, attaching sleeves to overlap/envelope shoulders is a pain.  But you can do it.  First we do the back bodice piece.  Right sides together, line up the corner of the armhole  with the end of your mark on one side of the sleeve.  Pin it along the edge until you reach the top edge of the bodice piece.  Now, line up the corner of the armhole of the front bodice piece with the other end of the mark on the sleeve and pin it together.  The overlap will appear as you pin, creating a sleeve – back bodice – front bodice sandwich.  Stitch between the marks.

Close the bodice, front to back.  Fold the bodice right sides together and pin along the sides and the underpart of the sleeves.  Stitch the sides and sleeves in one long seam on each side.  Clip the inner corners of the underarms.

Putting it all together.  Measure across the bottom of the bodice.  Double this measurement and cut this length of 1/4″  elastic.  Pin the ends of the elastic to one side seam of the skirt, and then pin the elastic equally around the top of the skirt in several places.  Attach the elastic to the skirt using a long zigzag stitch, and pulling the elastic taut as you run it and the skirt through your machine.  (Don’t stretch the skirt – just pull the elastic so its length matches the fabric of the skirt.)   Insert the bodice (right side out) into the skirt (inside out) – they will be turned right sides together with the waist of the bodice meeting the elastic edged waist of the skirt.  Pin them together at the waist and stitch around, again using a long zigzag, and making sure they are even as they go through the machine.

Turn it all right side out.  Done!  Admire your work!

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Snarky Mamma talks about her baby’s sensitive tummy

4 ways to use up the rice left in your pantry when you go grain-free

I’ve recently discovered how much better I feel when I don’t eat grain.  But what to do with all that rice that was left in the pantry?   Glad you asked!  Here are the four uses I’ve found so far…

1.  For the 6mo+ crowd…  Shakers.  Dye rice different colors and put it in clean, dry water/juice/pop bottles.   You might want to superglue the lids on.

 

2.  For the 2+ crowd… I Spy tube.  Dye rice different colors and put it in clean, dry water/juice/pop bottle with beads and other small trinkets.  Again, you might want to superglue the lid on.  If you’re really ambitious, you can lay out all the trinkets and take a picture of them first so your bambina will have a reference card to check off all the bits as she finds them.

 

3.  For the preschooler+ crowd…  Sensory tub.  Dump it in a tub with other fun items such as small cups or measuring spoons.

 

4.  For the kindergarten+ crowd… Practice with letter formation or spelling practice.  Pour some rice out onto a sheet pan and let the bambina use a finger to practice making letters. (Though, I’ve heard this works better with salt or flour – of which you might also have some leftovers in your pantry if you’re going grain-free.)

 

(Since I used up all my rice in the shakers and I Spy tube, I had to smurf some images from other blogs.  Please give them some love for me!)

 

And now, how to dye rice (the easy way)…

Pour some rice into a big bowl.  Squirt some liquid food coloring on it.  Stir it around with a spatula until it’s all coated.  Pour the rice into a flat layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Stick it in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour.  Let it cool.  Done!

I can’t vouch for the colorfastness of this rice if you’re going to be using it for hands-on activities with older bambini, but it works just fine if you’re locking it up in a plastic bottle.

 

Latch on, Indy!

What baby item could be more homemade than breastmilk?  Pure and simple, it’s the easiest way to give your bambina something homemade, organic, and cheap!

If you’re a breastfeeding mama, or thinking about becoming one, or you want to show your support to breastfeeding mamas, and you live in the greater Indianapolis area (or will be in the area), please consider joining us for the Big Latch On Indy.

On-site registration, refreshments, and socializing will begin at 9:00 am, as well as the chance to check out some mama- and baby-friendly vendors.  The actual latch will be from 10:30-10:31, and will be followed immediately by a drawing for some fabulous door prizes!  You can pre-register to participate or volunteer at Eventbrite.

You might want more info… Here you go:

Learn more about Big Latch On.

Learn more about Breastfeeding USA.

Learn more about Indy Breastfeeding Moms.

Repurpose! T-shirt into bubble romper


Turn a Goodwill find into a cute little outfit!

Start by harvesting the main part of the shirt.

Shape the crotch/inseam.

We’ll create a solid foundation to attach snaps to later.

Now attach those pieces to the crotch.

Next, use elastic thread to cinch up the legs and create that bubble effect.

This next step will create the stretch around the top.

Now, add some straps to hold it up on her shoulders.

Finally, attach snaps to the crotch.

Tip:  I’d recommend that you switch where the snaps are attached – to the “inside” of the front and the “outside” of the back.  That way, when it’s closed, you don’t see the overlap from the front.  

Aside:  Of course, if I were going to make this again, I’d leave off the snaps entirely and just sew a panel in the crotch.  Why?  Because I HATE snaps.  Actively loathe them.  With my whole heart. Fortunately, with the top being so stretchy, it’s just as easy to pull the romper down from her shoulders for diaper changing.

And now my favorite part!  Put it on your bambina!

She’ll never learn to walk that way…

Chompable Mamma-Jewelry

We recently reached a momentous milestone in the bambina’s short life:  6 months old!  That’s half a year!  How did that happen?

She’s been showing more and more signs of teething lately – drooling through multiple shirts a day, chomping hard on her fingers and my own, putting everything within reach into her gummy little mouth, and responding positively to iced pacifiers and clove oil on her gums.  She’s also been more and more grabby (which is only a problem when I don’t want her grabbing anything that’s actually in reach, like my hair, or breakable and probably germy products on a store shelf), so I decided it was time to find something for her to play with and chomp on while I’m holding her.

I found some beautiful necklaces on Etsy that I absolutely love, like this…

And this…

And this…

But in the spirit of homemade, I headed out to my local craft store and found some supplies to make my own. Boy, was that a mistake.  It turns out I am a terrible jewelry designer, especially when it comes to practical necklaces that are baby-mouth safe.   My first two attempts were not even worthy of photographing – they ended up being disassembled to harvest the beads and then the cord got trashed.

Take two.  I ordered two wooden teething rings from Life Circles Necklaces on Etsy, one of which became a necklace when I strung a silk cord through it (the other went  in the bambina’s toy basket).

Too bad she enjoys sucking on the cord more than anything else.  It’s also slightly uncomfortable to have hanging around my neck when she’s not actively playing with it, so I went back to my original plan of knotting some beads onto cord.  Here are the two necklaces I ended up with.

The first one uses cotton cord knotted in a friendship bracelet style with small red and orange glass beads spaced evenly along the cord.

The second one is made of narrow ribbon and blue glass beads, also assembled via the friendship bracelet style of knotting.

(Thank goodness for all of those years of making bracelets at summer camp!)

“But, Jacelyn,” I hear you exclaiming, “you’re letting her chew on glass beads?!”  Yep, I sure am.  But a) she still has no teeth, so technically she’s just gumming them, and b) I double-check them every time I grab a necklace to make sure they’re all still fully intact, and c) I supervise her when she’s playing with them.  And to be perfectly honest, she pretty much spends all her time sucking on the cord or ribbon; any bead-mouthing is just collateral damage.  When she gets to the point that I’m actually worried about her having those beads in her mouth, I’ll make another necklace that’s just knots, possibly embellished with wooden beads.

So, the bottom line…  In the end, it would have been more cost- and time-efficient to order a finished product.  But I enjoyed challenging myself to create something that I would enjoy wearing and that the bambina would enjoy playing with.  And she does enjoy playing with them.  Mostly I wear them when I’m carrying her in a sling or other carrier – they keep her entertained and busy when we’re just standing around, and they distract her from needing to grab at everything else.  Mission accomplished.

Repurpose! Pants to dress and diaper cover

Hey, bambina, how about a new dress and diaper cover for our trip to the beach?

Apparently I owned the winner of the “Least Flattering Pants in the World” Award.  They looked like this.  Even when they were pressed, these linen pants were pretty gnarly.  I mean that in the negative way.  Yep, these pants were not my friend.  Nor were they my figure’s friend.

But they were so soft and lightweight, and just look at the gorgeous texture of the warp and weave!

I couldn’t possibly toss them!  So what could I do?  Harvest the fabric and use them for something else, of course! Harvesting fabric is always the toughest part of a project.  I’m not sure exactly how long they laid around (first on the “Am I really going to wear this again?” shelf in the closest, then in the project basket, then on the kitchen table), just waiting for me to start.  But I’m sure glad I did…

…because look how it turned out!

And the back view…  (Goodness, it’s tough to get a clear photo when holding a squirmy 6 month old!)

I followed this tutorial for the dress (modified it to suit my tastes, of course) and this one for the diaper cover.  I referred to this tutorial a lot for working with the elastic thread.

The brown fabric is from the linen pants, and the red bows are twill tape.

I left the back open for easier on/off, and added three vintage buttons at the top to close it.  I also made it shorter than the tutorial, since the bambina is still a sitter and I didn’t want it to get tangled up under her bum when we’re scooting her around.

Somebody’s excited about her new outfit!

How long will I exclusively breastfeed?

Cloth diapers a la bambina

Even before we found out that the bambina was on her way, we knew we were going to use cloth diapers.  I did a lot of research about the different kinds of cloth diapers and all variety of wet pail/dry pail laundry systems for them.  In the end, this is what we came up with.

All of the bambina’s diapering supplies are organized in the top drawer of her dresser.  (I had to snap a picture – it’s so rare for so many of her diapers to be clean at once!)

We have 12 one-size pocket diapers (BumGenius 4.0 and Swaddlebees, with microfiber inserts), 4 shells (sized Thirsties and one-size Best Bottom and GroVia), 20 prefolds (Gerber), and 20 flatfolds (Gerber).  Our pockets and shells are a mix of snap closure and Velcro closure.  I definitely prefer the Velcro as it gives a more customized fit around bambina’s waist.  Velcro is also much easier to fasten at 3:00 in the morning when I’m bleary-eyed and the bambina just wants to eat and fall back asleep.  I realize that the Velcro will get fuzz and other crud stuck in it over time, but I’m ok with that.  For now, I just pick out the bits of fluff when I see them.

As for wipes, we have 20 washcloths (the super-soft baby ones, all white for cleaning purposes).   I store them pre-moistened in a tub that previously held disposable wipes.  Cleaning the tushie occasionally requires a little more than just the water that’s already in the wipes, so a spray bottle of California Baby Diaper Area Wash also lives close by.

Finally, a small toy serves to distract the bambina during longer changes.  Right now, it’s a little stuffed duck, which inspires a couple of different songs that we sing during diaper changes.  The drawer also holds her one swim diaper, a spare changing pad cover, and a couple of gallon-size zippie bags (because you just never know).

At changing time, anything that is microfiber or PUL (the pocket diapers and shells) goes in the big blue tub, while anything cotton (wipes, prefolds, flatfolds, and changing pad cover) goes in the small tub.  (This makes for a double dry pail system, I suppose.)  They get sorted like this because that’s how I do laundry.  Keeping the cotton separate limits the amount of lint that ends up in the Velcro as well as keeps the microsuede inner lining of the pocket diapers smooth.

I do one or two loads of diaper laundry a day.  The PUL pockets/shells and microfiber inserts get washed every day,  following this routine:  cold rinse, hot wash on either regular or heavy-duty cycle (depending on how poopy they are) with BumGenius detergent, double cold rinse.  At the beginning of the month, I do a super wash with the intention of de-staining and de-stinking:  cold rinse, hot wash on regular with BumGenius detergent and 1/2 cup of bleach, cold rinse, hot wash on regular with BumGenius detergent, double cold rinse.  Microfiber stuffers go in the dryer on hot, while anything with PUL gets hung to dry or laid out in the sun.  The cotton load goes through the laundry every other day, generally getting a hot wash with double cold rinse using BumGenius detergent, then into the dryer for a hot spin.