Ten Minute Tutu: A Timely Tutorial

It was Thursday.  The day of my daughter’s second birthday.  I have no money to spend on a lavish birthday girl and a daughter who doesn’t really “need” anything, but likes a lot of things.  I had a party to prepare for and a nap to take and a bunch of other things on my plate.  I had an idea of what I wanted to get for her, and was planning to make it, but ran out of time (another little tutorial coming, perhaps?).  My daughter loves dress-up.  I mean, LOVES dress-up.  Also, she likes to dance and be girly, so, I went to my scrap fabric cupboard and found some things that would work to make a quick tu-tu.

The ingredients:

1)about 1.5m of tulle (I just happened to have two colours)

2)enough elastic to fit around her waist (about 30cm)

3) scissors

4) my sewing machine (but you could totally sew the elastic by hand)

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

1) I sewed the elastic into a circle.

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2) I cut the tulle into strips that were about 10 cm wide and the length of the whole fabric (so about 1m)dsc_1235

Continue reading Ten Minute Tutu: A Timely Tutorial

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"Snuggle Bags": A Tutorial

Do you like snuggling up to read a book or watch a movie? Do your kids? I love having cozy blankets around the house and I usually wrap them around myself to get even more cozy. Here’s a cool little project to make a really useful blanket and sleeping bag all in one!! Also, it would make a fantastic baby or birthday gift!!I picked two kinds of fleece that had corresponding colours and had them cut to the same length. I ended up with a bag that was about 1.5 m long and 1m wide. Because you buy fabric that is double wide, you should have loads and loads to use for straps if you go with this length (or more, if you want a longer bag).Step 1: Cut both pieces of fleece to the right size for your creation (Note, the photos shows were taken to create a tutorial for a blanket. The only difference is the size of the fabric and that all four sides were closed in the blanket project.)dsc_6086Step 2: Cut lots of strips *from your extra fabric* to use as tags. The strips should be cut with the stretch of the fabric (I liked it better like that) and should be about 6 inches long by 3/4 inches wide. I used both the fabrics that I had because I liked the look of alternating them.dsc_6089Step 3: Punch or cut small slits about 1/2 inch from the edge of the fabric. These holes should be about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches apart. After trying both methods numerous times (I made two blankets and two snuggle bags) I prefer cutting each hole after having tied the knot at the previous hole, even though it felt more repetitive.dsc_6087dsc_6088Step 4: Fold the fabric strip in half and push it through the hole. You may need to use a narrow tip to help poke the fabric through. A bigger hole helps, but doesn’t always look better.dsc_6090Step 5: Put the two ends of the strip, up, through the loop.dsc_6091Step 6: And pull tight.dsc_6092Voila!Now, you just need to keep doing that aaaaall the way around the fabric. If you are making a bag, keep one of the narrow ends open to snuggle into, if you are making a taggie blanket, close ’em all. There are loads of ways that you can modify this project to suit your skills and your taste. You can make a pillow case, a seat cover, a poncho thing… It’s super quick and easy and your kids can join in, too, or even make their own! H helped me out by pulling the knots tight and S did too tried to climbed all over me while I knotted. The finished snuggle bag:dsc_60561The finished taggie blanket:dsc_6094

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A Super Hero in 5 minutes

My kids are almost four and one-and-a-half. They love capes. We have quite a few of them in our dress-up bin. Whenever they have friends over, the capes come out and the kids rip around in them, inventing whatever super-hero fits the cape. The capes I’ve made are pretty much the easiest costume ever, and you can make them, too. All you need is an old shirt. I’ve used biiiiig shirts, that way there’s lots of neck room and fabric to flow behind you when running. You take the shirt and pick whatever side you want to use – front or back. I used shirts that came with logos… just because they were offered to me. Also, for the latest batch of capes I made, I used the shirt-front, because that’s where the logo was. Here are the steps you can follow to make your own super-easy, for-any-occasion, cape.

Step 1) Lay out the shirt, with the side up that you are going to use as your cape.dsc_6761Step 2) Cut around the edges (I took the serged edge off as my kids don’t like seams and tags). At the top, I curved the cut into a soft curve, instead of following the sleeves.dsc_6763 Continue reading A Super Hero in 5 minutes

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My journey back to cloth: it's Genius!

I have a nineteen-month-old, daughter. I have cloth diapered Susannah since she was about three months old. In March, she got quite a rash on her privates and my husband and I decided to ditch the cloth diapers and go with disposables. I was sad about it for a bit, but quickly got over it; there were other circumstances (like severe morning sickness) that were a little consuming. Over the past month, my nausea has somewhat subsided (*knocking on wood*) and Susannah’s tush has cleared up. I’ve hummed and hawed about pulling out the cloth diapers again but we had a big box of disposables to go through and I didn’t want to just ditch them. logo

At the Kids’ Stuff Swap that I organized on April 4th, there was a new local vendor selling cloth diapers, as well as my dearly beloved dimplecheeks diaper-sewing friend. I’d heard good things about BumGenius diapers, at the diapering seminar I organized in November, but had yet to see one and actually try one out. In the past, I’ve shied away from them because I felt like they were a little bit on the expensive side (roughly 23$ per diaper).I ended up being given the door prize diaper (won by a friend who passed it on) from Lizzie Bits Baby Co.

I was so excited to try it out on Susannah. It’s so SOFT and the inserts are so CUSHY. It looked to good and felt so good. The most exciting part about the diaper, for me, is that it is a one-size diaper. This means that it has snaps and can adjust in height, depending on the size of the baby. Yay! I can use it for “Mambo” (you know, #5). I washed it, tried it, washed it and was hooked. bg_rise_settings

The diaper come with two inserts (it’s a “pocket” diaper, which means that you shove a liner/insert into a pocket in the body of the diaper and that absorbs any wetness) and I started out using only one. The body of the diaper sent all the wetness into the insert so I even used it with a fresh insert right after Susannah got it wet! I was thrilled. My baby girl’s bum wasn’t wet at all! I feel confident that I’m not going to have any rashing problems with this diaper. Susannah uses a BumGenius at night, with both inserts and it’s the best! I know she’s dry and not sleeping in a wet load. I can feel so good about her tush.

I was so excited about it that I called Lizzie Bits right away, to get some more! I was also intrigued by the laundry detergent that she was selling. My detergent’s smell makes me gag (yes, still with the pregnancy sickness – awesome, let’s just hope it’s less than seven months long this time) and as Susannah had rashed up with it, I wanted to try something new. Charlie’s Soap Laundry Detergent. It’s made with biodegradable coconut-based detergents, which I find intriguing… I love it! I’m so impressed with how little I have to use in a load and how it cleans up the diapers to white!! I love it so much, and it’s non-making-me-sick smell (it doesn’t actually have any distinct odour), that I’ve been using it for all my laundry, when my initial plan was to use it only for the diaper loads. Also, it’s hypoallergenic, which is great for my sensitive-skinned husband, too.

All in all, we are thrilled to be back to cloth diapering. Susannah has outgrown many of her other diapers, so we are operating with a smaller stock, than I was a few months ago. I’m truly excited to have gotten onto BumGenius diapers and I know that I will be picking up some more when “Mambo” arrives. I’ve also purchased a potty training set from Lizzie Baby. The Potty Praisers Starter Kit. As the girl is telling us whenever she needs a “dapo-change”, I think that she’s getting ready to be out of diapers altogether. I’m excited to give this a try, when the time comes. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.If you are thinking about getting into cloth diapering I would highly recommend that you consider trying out a BumGenius diaper, just to know what a one-size diaper looks/feels like and how it cleans. Try Lizzie Baby!! The service was fantastic and I’m thoroughly pleased. I’ve become a huge fan and I’m so excited about my new diapers. You can tell, right? Because I’m blogging about it! Also, try out the laundry soap!!!

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It Takes a Village to Raise a Child
Helping the Neighborhood “Bully”

As parents often make difficult decisions when it comes to the behavior of not only our own children but that of their peers as well. What do we do when we are put in a tough spot by other peoples children? It can be a challenge to create a safe enough space where you can feel comfortable approaching the parents of said child.

Here are some thoughtful words from Maggie Reigh a childhood author, speaker and storyteller:

In order to create that safe space it requires that you come from curiosity rather than judgment with them… and that is an enormous step to take for most of us when we are still in protection mode with our child. Can you appreciate the strength and skills that your child is developing in learning to respond to this aggression, and then can you forgive the aggressive child for what he has done?

To me forgive means internally thanking someone “for giving” me the opportunity to… teach my child how to handle aggression, for example. Once you can forgive the child protection mode usually fades away and true curiosity about what life must be like for that child and his family can take center stage.

Listen to them and be sure to let them know that you are concerned for them and their children as well. “It’s important to me that we create together a safe and peaceful neighborhood for our children to grow up – for ALL of the children’s sake.”

If you are in a position to interact with the child directly use curiosity and your empathic listening with them when they are acting out. You can talk with the bully at a time when he is not acting out and remain curious about the emotions that are driving the behavior.

Keep your intention on coaching them to handle their frustration. (Frustration drives violence) Next time they strikes out at your child, step between the two and in a calm and soothing voice acknowledge that BOTH of them must be hurting. Your child, because he now has a sore arm, but also _______ (use their name) because you know something must be hurting them inside that they want to hurt others.

Your example creates a safe space for both parties where they can stop and express themselves if they want or they can go away and have something to think about. Perhaps you may even have created a model for the child to question not only their own behavior but that of their peers. To give a child the gift of perspective is truly one of great value.

One of the greatest things we can be afforded in life is to see through another’s eyes. It is where we learn empathy and begin to understand some of the larger things in the world. Today while talking with my step daughter about an incident on the playground she questioned why justice was not served. If so and so started it why is my brother getting in trouble? Our answer to her was a profound one… because someone has to stop and make the right choice.

I would like to teach my children that it can be them, that they can affect positive change in their world and hope that it will spread.

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