Custom Cloth Diapers

Custom Cloth DiapersIf you’re new to the cloth diaper world, you are probably amazed at all the prints and colors offered by cloth diaper companies.  There are of course classic white diapers, but you also get a wide rainbow of colors and oodles of prints.

Cloth diaper moms love to incorporate a diaper’s design into their child’s outfit.  And, why wouldn’t they?  They’re adorable in photo shoots and just plain cute in person.  What’s a mom to do when she can’t find a diaper to match a birthday or photo shoot theme?  Why, she orders a custom diaper of course!  If she sews, she might even make it herself.

There are many WAHMs (work-at-home-moms) who offer custom diapers in just about any design, print, theme, or color that you choose.  The only limitation is your imagination and finding the proper fabric.  Some of the smaller cloth diaper companies are still run by WAHMs who still offer customization as well.  When choosing a WAHM, make sure that they are CPSIA compliant and check their reviews to make sure you are truly going to get a diaper worth a custom fee.  There are loads out there who are all too happy to give you their certificates if you ask.

If you’re looking for custom embroidery, check out Bottombumpers.  I love the quality of Buttombumpers and how trim they are.  If you’re ordering a custom diaper you get to choose from over fifty embroidery designs, thirteen PUL colors, and over twenty snap colors.  You also get to choose whether you want sized or one-size and snaps or aplix in the sized.  You can order directly online or through one of their retailers.  They also have a great Facebook Group where you can chat with other Bottombumpers mamas and one of their owners Stacy.  That is truly personal service!

Bottombumpers even offered up twenty custom ‘surprise’ diaper spots to Kelly’s Closet a few months ago where you gave them your likes and dislikes and you got a surprise diaper.  How cool is that?  If you exclusive diapers, they are doing a Safari of Love Collection that will include four diapers with designs exclusively for Kelly’s Closet.  The first month is a Love Elephant and it is A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!

Chelory is a WAHM company with a reputation for high-performance diapers.  If you swing by their Facebook page, you’ll find that “Create Your Own Listings” are often offered with options to customize a diaper.  The diapers are adorable and come in a wide array of designs, colors, and prints.  Even better, they get very high marks over at Padded Tush Stats out-performing many diapers in their category.

Bunzuke Cloth is a page I often scroll through because I am amazed at the creativity of these diapers!  They are truly custom diapers and I am convinced there is no limit to Sara’s creativity.

Robin Diapers also offers customs in some adorable fabrics and design choices.  I hear rave reviews for her diapers on the cloth diaper boards I frequent as well.

There really are a plethora of companies who offer custom cloth diapers.  Just do your research and make sure you’re working with someone who offers a quality product and honest business practices.  Working with someone to create a unique diaper just for your little one can be a really fun experience and the WAHMs (and some WAHDs) who offer the experience typically enjoy it just as much as you do!

*The Kelly’s Closet links provided are affiliate links.

Sewing Tutorial: Felt Milkshake

Felt Milkshake TutorialWelcome!  This is the fourth and final sewing tutorial where we will make a felt “We’re Grillin’” set.  This week we’re making a tasty treat to beat the summertime heat.

Play food is a great beginner’s sewing project and can be altered to make food as simple or as fancy as you’d like.

This tutorial will focus on creating the set with a sewing machine, but you could also hand sew the items.  If you don’t sew, you could use felt fabric glue to glue the pieces together.  When making felt foods please keep the age of the child you’re making the project for in mind.  Children who still put things in their mouth should never be given small objects as these would pose a choking hazard.

When making felt food you can use whatever type of felt you desire.  Craft felt is easy to work with, cheap and easily obtainable but it will not wear as well as wool felt.  Craft felt may get pilly over time, but you can wash it with warm soapy water and use a lint shaver to get rid of pills.  If the item doesn’t contain a pipe cleaner or glue, you could even run it through the washing machine.
Wool felt will wear better and last longer.  If you’re creating something that you’d like to pass down from child to child, wool felt is best.  If you plan to use wool felt, you may want to first practice on craft felt so you don’t waste money on the more expensive stuff.  I typically use eco-fi felt which is made of recycled plastic bottles.

Let’s get started!  You will need the following to create your Felt Milkshake:

  • Felt in your color choice with white and red for the whipped cream and cherry
  • Polyfil to stuff the milkshake
  • Weighted beads to help the milkshake stand(optional)
  • Scissors
  • Monofilament thread or coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine AND hand sewing needle
  • The milkshake template and fully illustrated PDF:  Felt Milkshake Tutorial. Do not scale the file to fit, print as actual size.

You can grab the burger and bun, fixin’s, and hot dog bun pdfs to complete your set.

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Ten Reasons To Grow A Garden

This year, my children and I grew our first garden.  While not all of our crops turned out great, we got a lot of enjoyment out of the experience.  It is something we definitely plan to do every year now and hopefully it’ll only get better as we go.  Here are some of the reasons we enjoyed the experience so much.

  1. It teaches you patience.  You plant the seed, water, nurture, and wait.  There’s really no rushing it, you just have to learn to wait.
  2. It helps keep you fit.  Gardening is work…hard work.  Digging, cultivating, hoeing…  You can’t do all that and not be physically active.
  3. It gets you outdoors.  Every single day you’ll be checking on your plants to see what they need.  This means fresh air and putting yourself back in nature.
  4. It saves you money.  While you need to put some money in, growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs can save you BIG in the long run.  If you grow enough, you could even sell (or gift) your surplus.
  5. It can be very relaxing.  Though gardening is hard work, there is something very soothing about sinking your hands into the earth and creating something out of a tiny seed or small plant.  There are no complicated pieces – just you, the dirt, and the seed.
  6. It teaches your children the value of hard work.  If you let your children help, they learn that it takes hard work to produce good results.  A garden won’t grow if you don’t water, weed, and nurture it.
  7. It can add beauty to your landscape.  I’m always amazed at how just a few pretty flowers can liven up our front yard.  And it’s nice to look out and see nature’s beauty.
  8. It tastes good!  Home grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs are the freshest you can get.
  9. It teaches you to roll with the punches.  Not every crop will turn out every time.  You can do everything right and have your crop not turn out.  You learn to enjoy the experience and learn from your mistakes.
  10. It reduces your carbon footprint.  When you buy food at the grocery store it has often traveled many, many miles to get to you.  If you pick it out of your backyard, there wasn’t much traveling involved.

Drink For The Soul: Gregory Alan Isakov

Enchanting LyricsI’m a music nerd. If you know me well, you know I’d take discovering a new song that touches my inner being over having a five course dinner any day.  Music feeds my soul in a way nothing else in this world ever has. I can be torn down, broken, and left feeling hopeless, alone – and music will revive me. When the world has left me bitter and unfeeling the right chord and proper lyrics speak to me.  I can often be unmoved by things others find inspiring, touching…and yet break down over a song.

I’ve written lyrics since I was eleven.  It was a discovery of something buried deep within myself that showed me freedom.  While often shy and unwilling to reveal my true self to strangers through spoken words, I can write emotions and songs that speak far more about my true self than I’ll ever be able to reveal through simple conversation.  I’ve never done much with these songs, mainly because I probably don’t have the prettiest singing voice.  Perhaps since it’s been a part of me for so long I should put it to good use.  There are those out there with beautiful voices who can’t write…just as moved by written word as I.

Early this morning I was listening to music as I did mundane chores and poured over budget spreadsheets.  Then the little song playing below came on my Pandora and stopped me in my tracks.  There’s something so enchanting about simple lyrics paired with a beautiful melody.  It moves me – stirs up the peace that my soul so often longs for.  I’ve said it before, but I will repeat that musicians – true musicians – deserve so much gratitude for all that they bring to our worlds.  It doesn’t matter what your race, religion, or language – music is loved and so often brings happiness to our lives.

So, Mr. Isakov, thank you.  Thank you for being driven to write and for putting a piece of yourself into your work.  There are those of us out there you need artists like you to find our own happiness, our own peace.  After a week that was trying, I needed an hour of solitude to soak in your music this morning.  It was the lifeblood I needed to lift my spirits and refill my soul…

The Stable Song
Gregory Alan Isakov

remember when our songs where just like prayers.
like gospel hymns that you called in the air.
come down come down sweet reverence,
unto my simple house and ring…
and ring.

ring like silver, ring like gold
ring out those ghosts on the ohio
ring like clear day wedding bells
were we the belly of the beast or the sword that fell…we’ll never tell.

come to me clear and cold on some sea
watch the world spinning waves..like some machine

now i’ve been crazy couldn’t you tell
i threw stones at the stars, but the whole sky fell
now i’m covered up in straw, belly up on the table
well and sang and drank, and passed in the stable.

that tall grass grows high and brown,
well i dragged you straight in the muddy ground
and you sent me back to where i roam
well i cursed and i cried, but now i know…now i know

and i ran back to that hollow again
the moon was just a sliver back then
and i ached for my heart like some tin man
when it came oh it beat and it boiled and it rang..its ringing

ring like crazy, ring like hell
turn me back into that wild haired gale
ring like silver, ring like gold
turn these diamonds straight back into coal.

Butterscotch Cinnamon Rolls

Butterscotch Cinnamon RollsA big bag of butterscotch chips has eyed me for about a month from our pantry.  I didn’t want butterscotch cookies or haystacks, not pudding.  I did want cinnamon rolls, and thus, butterscotch cinnamon rolls begged to be made.  And they were good…so good they were worthy of the extra cardio I had to put in ;)

Roll Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast (you can substitute bread machine yeast as I did, just follow the conversion on your bottle of bread machine yeast)
  • 1/4c warm water
  • 1 1/2c buttermilk
  • 1/2c unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 1/2c all-purpose flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4c butterscotch chips

Roll Filling Ingredients

  • 1c butterscotch chips
  • 3 or 4tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/2c brown sugar
  • cinnamon to sprinkle

Roll Dough Directions – Bread Machine

  1. Dissolve the yeast and water in your bread machine pan.  Let it get nice and creamy, this takes about ten minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat your buttermilk on low/medium heat until it is warm to the touch.  Stir constantly.
  3. Pour the buttermilk and applesauce into the yeast and water mixture.
  4. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and butterscotch chips.
  5. Turn the bread machine on its dough setting and let it mix.  If the dough seems too sticky, add flour 1tbs at a time until the dough starts pulling away from the sides.  The butterscotch chips will melt into the dough.
  6. When the bread machine completes its dough cycle, dump your dough on a floured surface and knead just a couple of times.
  7. Roll the dough out into a rectangle.
  8. Butterscotch Cinnamon Roll DoughMelt your butterscotch chips with the vanilla extract.  I just pop mine in the microwave for ten seconds at a time and stir.  DO NOT overheat the chips or they’ll be ruined.  Just patiently stir, stir, stir, and they will melt easily.
  9. Once your chips and extract mixture are melted, spread them out over your dough.  Get almost all the way to the edge, leaving just a bit to seal your ends.
  10. After the butterscotch mixture is spread, sprinkle on brown sugar.  You can really use as little or as much as you want here, I used far less than 1/4c and the rolls were still sweet and gooey.  Then sprinkle cinnamon over the butterscotch and brown sugar.  However much you prefer. I used freshly ground cinnamon which was pretty potent so I only lightly sprinkled.
  11. Roll your dough up into a long log.  Pinch the seams tightly to seal all that gooey goodness inside.  Slice your log into 1″ rolls and place on a greased baking sheet.
  12. Cover the rolls and let them rise for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight.
  13. If you’re baking immediately, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Let stand to cool slightly before serving.  You can serve as is or with your favorite icing.

Roll Dough Directions – By Hand

  1. Dissolve the yeast and water in a large bowl.  Let it get nice and creamy, this takes about ten minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat your buttermilk on low/medium heat until it is warm to the touch.  Stir constantly.
  3. Pour the buttermilk and applesauce into the yeast and water mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and butterscotch chips.
  5. Stir the flour mixture into the yeast mixture 1 cup at a time until a soft dough forms.
  6. Turn the dough on a floured surface and knead about twenty times until the dough is no longer sticky.  If you find the dough is still sticky, knead in more flour 1tbs at a time.
  7. Roll the dough out into a rectangle.
  8. Melt your butterscotch chips with the vanilla extract.  I just pop mine in the microwave for ten seconds at a time and stir.  DO NOT overheat the chips or they’ll be ruined.  Just patiently stir, stir, stir, and they will melt easily.
  9. Once your chips and extract mixture are melted, spread them out over your dough.  Get almost all the way to the edge, leaving just a bit to seal your ends.
  10. After the butterscotch mixture is spread, sprinkle on brown sugar.  You can really use as little or as much as you want here, I used far less than 1/4c and the rolls were still sweet and gooey.  Then sprinkle cinnamon over the butterscotch and brown sugar.  However much you prefer. I used freshly ground cinnamon which was pretty potent so I only lightly sprinkled.
  11. Roll your dough up into a long log.  Pinch the seams tightly to seal all that gooey goodness inside.  Slice your log into 1″ rolls and place on a greased baking sheet.
  12. Cover the rolls and let them rise for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight.
  13. If you’re baking immediately, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Let stand to cool slightly before serving.  You can serve as is or with your favorite icing.

When The Heart Speaks…Listen

Let the heart speak...I’ve always described myself as a romantic…  Driven by emotion, an eccentric, whimsical human-being.  Those are the qualities I’m enamored by, but they aren’t always the most accurate descriptors for who I am.  Perhaps better suited for the girl I long to be.

I second guess myself often.  I worry over details that no one else will notice.  I remember snippets of conversations that I found vitally important, yet quickly forgotten by my fellow converser.  What I easily forget is the moments and decisions that left me truly happy were often made on a whim.  They were not meticulously thought out or planned.  They were leaps of faith on what my heart deemed perfection and necessary for happiness.

I fell in love with my husband without giving my heart consent to do so.  I fought it hard, the circumstances were not ideal.  And yet, here we are.  Nearly nine years later and I do believe I love that man more and more each day.  I love the way my body falls into his open arms and his warmth and embrace melts away my troubles every day.  I have memorized the curls in his hair, the crinkle at the corner of his eyes when he smiles and how he knows to whisper into just the right spot on my neck to send shivers down my spine.  He knows when I need to laugh or cry.  The beginning of our romance was a leap of faith that all would work out and fall into place.  Few believed it would, but we listened to what our hearts whispered and we were rewarded richly.

I took a leap of faith to leave behind a career and stay home with my oldest son.  Filled with doubt, fighting tears through each step of the decision.  Coming up on four years, another son added to the mix, I’m still home soaking up their childhoods.  Our second son was planned as our first, but only whimsically and without the heartbreak and trials of infertility.  He added more light and laughter to our lives.  We’re still making it.  Though it hasn’t been the easiest four years, each time I pray for guidance and will my heart to show me what to do next, I discover answers and reassurance.  Guided by my heart, muting my doubts and casting aside my worry.  I am where I was always meant to be.

I’ve fought my heart over the next step in our lives.  Thinking of how hard this move or that move would make things.  My heart screams at me to stop fighting, to stop turning my life into a battle of wills.  It leaves my being in chaos and makes me feel uneasy.  It keeps placing reminders of how following my heart has brought me the best pieces of my life.

So once again, I will my mind to be quiet and still so that my heart may speak.  I ask for guidance, and the courage to follow where I am being lead.  There are few coincidences in this life.  When the world (and your heart) are trying to tell you something, be still and listen.  Go where your intuition leads….