January 2011

Warmth and Color

January 26, 2011

My posting may be a bit spotty here this week, as it is submission time at Rhythm of The Home, and we are sifting through so many amazing contributions: reading, editing and laying out. Bernadette, Julia and I are working double time to try and get the magazine as near to completion as possible as soon as we can, since the wee one is due just two days prior to the launch date.

I am just stopping in quickly today to share my late night project from yesterday. After staring at my computer for hours on end, I needed something creative for my hands before bed. I had my heating pad under me while working (you all know how I love to use my bed as my office), and I noticed the cover was dingy, grey and in serious need of replacement.

I love winter, I really do, but I hate being cold. I am one of those people who can jog in 117 degree weather in Arizona, and feel awesome. Cold weather, however, can leave me with constant neck pain and tight muscles. I suppose that is why you see so many posts here on warm bath and foot soak recipes throughout these months.

My heating pad, or rice packs, go every where with me, and one place for sure I know it will be is in the birthing room in just a few short weeks. Like I said, it was time for an update, and I gave it the quickest  one I could think of.

I measured the existing cover, and added what I needed for seam allowances. I then cut my strips of flannel 16×5″ and sewed them together.

From there I sewed the case together, and with right sides facing, I placed the new cover inside the old (the old cover is made of a great sturdy flannel, and it seemed unnecessary to throw it out). Leaving a 3″ opening, I stitched them together at the very edge, pulled the new outer cover through the inner layer, and then topstiched around.

In less than an hour I had a brand new pretty cover, and was snuggled up and ready for bed. I am learning that re-purposing kind of rocks, and that there can be endless ways to take something old and icky and give it new life.

Now back to work.

Please note: Heating pads do emit EMF’s, and while I love my heating pad, it is not something that I would recommend for excessive use during pregnancy or with small children. This is where Rice Packs would come in handy, and can be just as healing and beneficial. 

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Snack Bags and Lunch Totes

January 24, 2011

As I am sure that many of you can relate to, I am now fully immersed in the nesting instincts of my pregnancy. I find myself scrubbing floors at all hours of the day, walking behind my children with a vacuum, and becoming rather irritable at any discovery of clothing out of place.

I will say that my family, especially my husband, seem to be taking all of this in great stride, especially since the other two pregnancies yielded disastrous nesting projects that he is still cursing me over (think an entire English garden in our backyard that I planted at 7 months pregnant, and he now maintains).

I feel a great need to be organized and “ready” for this new life coming into our world, perhaps more so than with the other two, because as much as I may want it to be so, life will not be able to stop fully once the wee one arrives. There will still be home school lessons, chess club, art class, and life in general to tend to. Everything will of course slow down, and especially in those first few weeks we will all be together taking in this new life, but 7 and 5 year old brothers will only goo goo over an infant for so long before they want their rhythm to return.

While organization has become a focus, reusing what we already have and buying as little as possible is also becoming a strong trend in our lives. With this child, and with my family in general, I am moving as far away from disposable products as is possible, and am trying to look at all aspects of our day to see where we can reduce waste. More than that, I am attempting to save as many dimes as possible by using up what we already have available to us. A few weeks back I came across this amazing video tutorial by Amy Karol, and it set in motion a fury of sewing projects that have left me feeling a bit more secure that we can live with little waste and still be organized.

Amy’s snack bag tutorial is so fast and easy, and it has yielded not only a stash of snack bags for our family, but a set for many of our family and friends (I figure the more gifts I can get made and put away, the easier the holidays will be with a babe on the hip). While I do own a serger, I have to admit that I despise the darn thing, and so I have modified Amy’s pattern to meet my needs with a sewing machine. I have been using fat quarters from my stash, and each one produces three snack bags, while leaving me enough fabric to whip up some quick lunch/grain bags as well.

A few yards of muslin found on my sewing shelves and one strip of fabric left over from each of the snack bags, and I have a quick set of bags for those take away lunches to the museums, park, etc. Or reusable bags to head to the grocery store or co-op for bulk rice and grains.

The more I put it into practice, the better I feel about our ability to use what we have, and reduce the waste that we create. Sometimes that feels overwhelming to me, but other moments, like these, make it feel a little bit more possible to make a small change that has a big impact.

While so far these little bags have only held food, I can see them being the perfect way to carry around wipes, cloths, and general supplies for the little one. I will say that for my family, I sewed up 20 of these small bags to make sure that we had an ample stash, as well as 10 grain/lunch bags. It seems to be a good amount for an active family of four, but I imagine we will be adding to it as we get closer to picnic and outdoor time in the coming warm months ahead. I simply turn them inside out and put them in my delicate wash cycle with other clothing. They have held up well, and can take a good amount of abuse.

There is nothing earth shattering that we are taking on, but making these small changes feels like a positive step, both in family budgeting, as well as our impact on the earth. To learn more about other small changes that families are making around the globe, head on over to the One Small Change project.

Wishing you all a very Happy Monday.

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