Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ottobre 5/2011

I received my Ottobre magazine today. It's ... interesting. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I sort of feel like I have to make a few things to determine if I like it and want to keep the subscription. My pictures are a little blurry as the paper in the magazine is much more slick and glossy than the Burda magazine so I had to forgo the flash.

Here are the technical drawings.

I kind of like this one. I don't know how it would look on me, but I know I would wear it happily, and it does have princess seams so it should be easy to adjust.

The high waisted shorts remind me of Burda 08-2011-130 and I'm tempted to make them both to see which ones I like better.

Ottobre 5/2011/10

Burda 08/2011/130

These two dresses have a similar silouette and I'm not sure I like the position of the dart. I also sort of wonder what it would look like when I did a FBA if it was one dart or if the other dart was placed in the normal spot. I might end up with a triangle on the side of my chest. It would probably be a bad idea to make that triangle in a contrasting color ending up with big arrows pointing to the breasts, huh?

I also would definitely bring that bow down in size.

I do want to make these pajamas. I'll have to put a shelf bra inside at the very least, but it will be a nice change from the basic Ts (with attached shelf bra) that I currently use.

I really don't know when I'm going to get to sew soon though. The bear cub is now walking pretty much all the time and her potty training is going fairly well, though we still haven't had a completely dry day. Darth Baby is also now crawling. So in a little over a month, I went from one walker, one crawler, and one immobile to two walkers and a crawler and that crawler seems to have very few self-preservation skills. The end result being that what little free time I had has just gone up in smoke.

English Muffin Breakfast Sandwiches and Laundry Questions

So I joined pinterest mostly to see other people's sewing and quilting links, but I've been getting caught on all the recipe links.

One of the links that I saw on a bunch of friend's boards is for breakfast sandwiches. It's simple enough to do and you probably don't need a recipe.

I used cheddar and colby jack for the cheese, whole wheat muffins, and eggs. I also added turkey sausage to half of them.

Here are the finished sandwiches. I will be freezing these for Q to grab in the morning for work.

I've gotten a few questions about the laundry soap:
Can I use it in a high efficiency washer?
Yes, I think so. I googled a number of things to determine the difference between HE detergent and regular detergent and also the differences in the machines themselves and how they handle the detergent. I also found a couple of quotes from the manuals of HE washers and letters from the manufacturers of the machines in response to this question. The general consensus is that HE detergent does not create as many suds as regular detergent, and the laundry detergent I made makes very few suds. Chemically they should act the same for cleaning. The recommendation from others using this same detergent in their HE machines is to use only 1/4 cup of detergent for each load. Also, I've read the recommendation to occasionally run a hot wash in your HE washer with just vinegar to clean the system regardless of whether you use this recipe or a store-bought detergent and that seems like a really good idea.

Aren't you worried about it causing rashes on your babies?
Well, I really didn't consider this at all. I didn't consider it when I used regular detergent when I first had the nerdlet and everyone was recommending to make sure I got a really gentle soap either, but this soap is going to be more gentle than store bought detergents on both your baby and the environment. However, the diapers have all been through the wash using the new detergents and Darth Baby actually seems to have less pinkness than before even when I use the plastic diaper covers that usually cause it.

How long did it take to make?
It took me about an hour, but that is because at every step I had to go searching for something. Where is that bucket? What in the world did I do with my immersion blender? How am I going to stir the five gallon bucket? Nerdlet, can you go get the funnel from your toys in the bathtub? Anyway, you get the idea.

Well, that is way better than making lye soap.
I think my MIL thinks I'm too nutty crunchy. She thinks I'm a bit weird for breastfeeding and making my own baby food. I get the impression that she isn't entirely comfortable with my using cloth diapers (and when she has had them they have been in disposables for the most part - or at least they come home in disposables). When she heard I was making my own laundry soap, she obviously was picturing the old way her mother used to make soap. Just for the record, I will never be doing that.

I was actually surprised at how much interest there has been in the laundry soap, but the way I figure it is that if it doesn't work for you, you have wasted $7.00 and an hour of your time. If it does work, then you have a product that is much cheaper (even accounting for your time) and that is better for the environment.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Laundry Detergent Update and Making Crayons

I used the laundry detergent on the load of diapers which included some quite nasty ones. After the first wash, instead of just starting the wash again like I normally do, I pulled out the diapers one by one and examined them and smelled them. This isn't really a fair test as I have never done this, not even once, with my regular detergents (Tide or Wisk). Most of the diapers were spotless and completely odorless. One of the diapers was obviously a poopy diaper and still had a very faint coloring and a few of them still smelled when I put my nose very close. After the second wash, they were all clean when I pulled them out. I went ahead and ran them again since that is what I am comfortable with. After going through the dryer, I put my nose to every diaper and none had a scent. I'm also going to mention that my nose is extremely sensitive and Q says that my pregnancy nose hasn't gone away. So I would say that it looks like the detergent is definitely good. There is absolutely no trace of the scent of the essential oil I added and I used 1/4 teaspoon, so I'm not sure if I would even add it at all in the future or quadruple the amount.

The nerdlet asked what we were going to make today when she got up. I was already planning on melting crayons so that is what we did, but when she asked I wondered if I shouldn't pull back a little on all the things I've been trying to do lately so she didn't come to expect it and get upset if I didn't have a major activity planned.

I've been saving the broken crayons since the nerdlet was a baby. Most of them were crayons from restaurants or that were stepped on by either me or Q. My girls tend to be very gentle with their crayons so I can't really blame them. You can see the fancy storage container I use for the broken crayons here. The brown silicon pan is for brownie pops. The other two are for regular muffins.

These are the broken crayons distributed in the pans. I used very little in the brownie pop pan on purpose and distributed the rest as evenly as I could in the smaller of the regular muffin pans.

This is what they looked like straight out of the oven that was set at 375 degrees F. I left them in just until they looked pretty melted, but I didn't time it so I can't really tell how long. If I had to guess I would say about 10-15 minutes.

You should wait until they are completely cooled. If you don't this is what happens.

No problem though because I just remelted them. This time I used the microwave. Did you know silicone pans are microwaveable?

Here are the smaller ones from the brownie pop pan, which I did wait until they cooled completely. I don't know if the clear wax that separated out was because of the large variety of crayons I used or if they were overheated from being such as small amount and cooked at the same temp and for the same time as the much larger muffin pan. I suspect the latter. It is wax though so easy enough to remove.

Here is the reason why I chose the brownie pop pan and why I made them so small. They are perfect for little hands and also perfect for teaching the correct grasp for holding a writing utensil. They are so perfect that if crayons are still on sale for school starting I will buy some specifically for making into these shapes.

If you have a little one that is starting to write, especially one that has special needs and will need to develop the right finger and hand positions, I cannot recommend this enough. Both the nerdlet and the bear cub showed that they can and will hold these the correct way and didn't have to be shown. Even the muffin tin crayons make them hold it between their fingers, but the brownie pop crayons were definitely better at getting the exact finger position.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Laundry Soap

I made laundry soap. We do a lot of laundry. Besides cloth diapers (I typically wash the cloth diapers three times, once with vinegar) and currently lots of training pants and outfits for the bear cub, I also end up washing a ton of rag towels because we use them to clean up messes by the kids and animals, water spills, and whatever else, and all that is in addition to the normal laundry that accumulates by a family of five.

I found the recipe here. It's pretty simple to do. All the ingredients cost me less than $7.00 and should make 192 loads, and that will leave a lot of extra Borax and Washing Soda so each additional 192 loads will cost about $1.00 until I run out of those.

The ingredients. I also added sage citrus essential oil, but I think that was a waste since the Fels Naptha Soap has such a strong scent.

This is the grated Fels Naptha Soap being dissolved in water on medium low heat. The Fels Naptha Soap has a really strong odor and gave me a headache. I might try a blend of Ivory and Fels Naptha in the future. The nerdlet kept telling me I was the best mom the whole time I was making soap. I'm not sure if this is because I let her help or that she thought that making laundry soap was so cool.

Before pouring it into the gallon container. I lost a bit of it because I wasn't patient enough to let it completely drain from the funnel before adding more.

After using the two gallon containers we had in the recycling bin, I had to scavenge for another container to put the remainder in. So I used this bottle that was waiting it's turn in the kiln.

The total amount for 1/3 bar of soap and 1/2 cup each of Borax and Washing Soda was 62 loads (1/2 cup each), plus a few extra in the grape juice bottle. I'll let you know how the soap works after trying it on the next load of diapers.

FYI: For those wondering, before potty training we used around 2000 gallons of water a month. Our neighborhood average is about 6 times that. So the washing of diapers doesn't take that much water, even when running the loads 3 times. I have heard the argument that the water waste is worse than throwing away diapers and I just wanted to dispel that horrendous myth. I also think that likely three times isn't necessary, but I'm just more comfortable with that.

Sesame Street Playhouse

Do you ever buy your kids toys because your nostalgic about them? Apparently I do. One of the first toys I remember playing with besides blocks was an old Sesame Street playhouse.

We either got it used or the pieces were lost fairly quickly as we didn't have all the pieces shown. We had Big Bird and Mr. Hooper and the two beds, but I don't remember many more pieces. While googling it I discovered that it was a 1974 toy and so it could have been used or it might have been purchased for my older sister and been through the ringer by the time I was really old enough to play with it.

Last night I spent some of the girls' Christmas money on my new toy.

I also bought Ernie and Bert to go with it. I would have bought Big Bird, but I didn't see him available.

Monday, August 22, 2011

BurdaStyle Magazine 09-2011

I received my September edition of the Burda Style magazine today. Apparently every September is the Folk-style Special and there is tradition German Folk attire in it every year. The preview looked really bad and the posts I've seen on other blogs had me thinking the whole magazine would be awful. I found it not to be the case really. While I wouldn't make the patterns with the ribbon trim so that it looks so much like festival clothing, there are a lot of the patterns that I think are somewhat wearable and I know that the nerdlet would wear the kids clothing if I get around to making it.

Anyway, here are the schematics:

Here are the pictures of the outfits at a glance from the table of contents. Q really likes 104 which is also on the cover. I'm not adding anything to my list right now, but I actually can see making some of the folk costume blouses in the future.

That's all

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Burda Plus Autumn/Winter 2011

I got the new Burda Plus magazine today. I've read that the Burda Plus patterns are all duplicates, but I only recognized a few of the patterns from the magazines I've received and the pictures are different. For a pattern to be plus sized the size is at least size 44, which is size 14 in the US.

First a picture of the technical drawings.

My mom would love the coat 405. She had me make her a similar coat in 2002.

I really like dress 426. Too bad I can't think of an occasion that I would ever wear it.

I can certainly see myself making and wearing 429.

Another dress I like is 427. If I make the shorter version and use a less fancy fabric, I might be able to make it a dress I would have an opportunity to wear.

I think 435 looks ridiculous. Click on it to blow it up so that you can really appreciate it.

I really like jacket 419, which I would want in a brick red or terra cotta, though I think it looks vaguely Star Trekish. I could totally see one of the female Klingons wearing it as they faced off with Picard or harassed Quark.

Q really likes jacket 420, and he even likes the studs, which really surprised me.

I didn't take any pictures of the pants or skirts as the photos didn't really show much of the design, but I can see making any of them, though maybe not in the suggested faux leather they have for the leggings.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Selfish Seamstress is Back!

The Selfish Seamstress is Back! If you follow sewing blogs, then you know who I mean. If you don't, you can ignore this post.

The Bear Cub's Signs

I made a list of the signs that I've seen the bear cub use. I may have forgotten some.

all done
fold clothes
ice cream
I love you
thank you
wash hands

Potty training was going fairly well after almost three weeks and we were having two or fewer accidents a day and most of those were pee accidents. Then I decided to take her to the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention on Saturday and after four accidents, I put her in a cloth diaper. I didn't take her on Sunday, but my husband and mom had her in a diaper that day, too. If I had known, I would have just put her in a diaper and taken her with me. She's been back in panties since Monday, but is obviously having a hard time with going back to using the potty. We're not having any poop accidents, which I'm really glad about, but I'm a little frustrated with how many pee accidents we're having. I may have to go back to taking her every 10 minutes, but right now I'm resisting the idea as I don't want to feel like I'm spending the day in the bathroom again. Also, even though she uses the sign potty, she doesn't use it to tell me she has to go. She's still doing fairly well, but I hate that we've back stepped a bit.

She does have the routine down though. She will get up after she is done and play with the toilet paper if I don't have some handy. She can't get it off by herself so she'll just unroll it a bit. Then she'll climb the steps to wash her hands. She'll stretch to turn the water, but she's a bit short and will actually scrub her hands once I put soap on them. The hand washing is the best reward for her actually going and she gets upset when she hasn't gone and I don't let her wash her hands.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Liam again

I spent the weekend at the National Down Syndrome Congress Conference. It was wonderful seeing so many people with a direct connection to someone with Down syndrome. If you don't have someone with Down syndrome in your intimate circle of family and friends, then you are definitely missing something. We like to say that our kids have something extra, but we could also say the rest of us have less, less hugs, less love, less acceptance, less peace, less understanding of what is important.

Amy understands this so much that she is adopting her fourth son with Down syndrome, Liam. She still needs $8K to be able to rescue him and bring him home. My younger sister is a Tastefully Simple representative and she is donating 100% of the profits of an online catalog party to Liam's adoption. Just go to the Tastefully Simple website and order delicious gourmet food products to help with Liam's adoption. Just list me 'Kimberly Hughes' as the host and my sister will make sure the profits are directed to Liam's adoption. This is the last week of the party will end on August 15th.

I saw a package of beer bread mix at my local grocery story and I couldn't help but have a bake off.

Both asked for 12 oz of beer and I used Corona light.

Although the package of Firenza makes an almost insignificantly smaller loaf and has slightly less dry ingredients, somehow it was a much drier loaf.

The Tastefully Simple bread mix was about the same price after shipping (cheaper without shipping), but it was much, much tastier. So if you like beer bread, buy it now through the catalog party. The spinach and artichoke dip and the Fiesta dip have been a hit at the two parties I have served them at. I also am very fond of the Almond pound cake.

As always you can skip the party food and donate directly to his adoption here, and donations are tax deductible.