Monday, January 31, 2011

Fitted nappy

Following on from my previous post, I also made a fitted nappy this week.  This one has a layer of green toweling, some toweling and flannelette inside it, and a layer of microfleece as a stay dry layer for next to baby's skin.  Its also from the wee weka pattern.  

There is no waterproof layer for fitted nappies; they need a cover to go over the top.  They are really absorbent, more so than pockets because there is absorbency all over, rather than just in the middle.  And because you use a fitted with a cover, there are also two layers of elastic to help stop any leaking.  On the downside they take quite a long time to dry because of the all the absorbency in them.
All of my absorbent materials came from re purposed fabric that I already had; the toweling from an old hand towel (don't tell DH), and the flannelette from an old sheet.

I also made a booster for the nappy.  It has the same microfleece on top, and then several layers of toweling underneath.  This booster isn't attached to the nappy.  This way the recipient can place it wherever in the nappy that needs the most absorbency without making drying time even longer.  Additionally she can also use it with other fitteds or even prefolds if she wants to.  

I zigzagged around the booster with a tight stitch to finish it.  Ordinarily I would do the same for the nappy - it makes them a bit bigger, but it is much easier than stitching and turning (remember to elasticate it first though).  

However, since this nappy was a gift, I stitched and turned it and then top stitched around the outside of the nappy.  It all went well until it came to the topstitching.  Despite my best efforts, I didn't manage to catch both sides of the nappy properly.  I should have sewn around the nappy so that all the outside was toweling, and all the inside was microfleece.  However what I actually managed to do was some pull the microfleece over too much so that now I have top stitched microfleece to microfleece rather than to the toweling (I feel like I'm not explaining myself very well).  I seriously contemplated unpicking this and trying it again, and I NEVER unpick.  In the end I decided not too, because I thought the finished product would look worse unpicked and then re sewn than it already did.  In addition to the terrible topstitching issue, the elasticated bits of the nappy are not very tight.  This is a combination of the elastic I used not being very thick and the nappy having several heavy layers.  The stitching over the top didn't help either.

So all in all, I wasn't that happy with the result.  I'm sure that the recipient will like it, and hopefully be able to get a reasonable amount of wear from it, but I am disappointed.  Fortunately there will be other presents for her as well.
Check out the cute little hands here at the bottom.  I often have an eager audience for photos.

Pocket nappy

It occurred to me after my post last week, that I should probably explain what I meant when I talk about pocket and fitted nappies.  A pocket nappy has a waterproof outer layer, and a stay dry inner layer.  You then stuff an absorbent layer in between them.  The wee weka nappy can be used as a pocket nappy, and I made this one using the wee weka small/medium pattern.  

It has yellow PUL on the outside, and a lovely print microfleece on the inside.

I have made a few modifications to the pattern.  I prefer to have an envelope opening rather than a back opening in the nappy.  To do this, I don't cut out the back casing that is part of the pattern.  Instead I cut two pieces of microfleece, the second piece overlapping the first a little bit.  I often turn the edge of the microfleece over to make a hem, but it isn't strictly necessary since microfleece doesn't fray.  Its a good idea to machine baste the two pieces of microfleece together before sewing the PUL and microfleece.  Because of the envelope opening, you can sew all the way around the nappy.  Just attach the back elastic in the same way as the leg elastic and turn it in the right way through the opening.  
The reason I use an envelope opening is that I find the inserts sit better in the nappy this way, and there is less risk of them poking out the back and leaking.  I find this especially handy when babies are very little and spending alot of time on their backs.  The downside is that you have to pull the wet/dirty insert out, whereas with a back opening it is possible to just shake the insert out of the nappy.

The other modification I have made to the wee weka pattern is to add a casing to the legs and back of the nappy.  After I have attached the elastic, I turn the nappy right way out and then sew a casing around the elasticated bits of the nappy.  I just like the way it looks, it has no other function.  The important thing is to make the casing wide enough so that it doesn't catch the elastic, and to stretch the nappy out as you sew.  I used a shiny yellow thread that DH gave me for Christmas, which looks really nice, although I am a little unsure about how it will wear.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nappies again

My project this week is nappies.  I have a sister in law, and a very good friend having babies soon, and both of them want to use cloth.  So I'm going to make a couple of nappies for them, some lovely little ones.  I'll be using the Wee Weka pattern, which I've blogged about before, because its just such a great small nappy in terms of fit and ease of use.  I also have to re elasticate a number of J's nappies.  They were P's nappies, and the elastic has gone on a number of them around the legs and back.  Given the constant washing and wearing, its not really a surprise so I hope to get onto that this week as well.  However, the girls are still a little under the weather so it may be a case of less, rather than more, sewing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A bit sick

Or as P said, "I a bit ick", with a kind of resigned fascination.  Often followed by "go back Doctors?" rather hopefully.

This week I had planned to finish off the presents for P's birthday.  However, P got very sick late last week, with fevers and being very tired, and then on Friday both girls had vomiting - they waited until bed time, its that inconvenience sense at work.

As a result of all the sickness going around in my household, I didn't actually achieve any of P's birthday presents this week.  However, I did start some, so that should count for something.  And I do have to confess that I spent quite a few evenings watching old episodes of Star Trek Voyager when I could have been crafting.  So my project last week was unfortunately unsuccessful.  Hopefully this week will be better.

Lyrical Sunday (yes I know its actually Monday)

My Bags are packed

I'm leaving
on a jetplane
or maybe in a car
I'm going uncountable distances
or perhaps, just around the corner
does it matter?
     How Long

I'm standing here outside your door
I hate to wake you up
                        to say goodbye

Check out Catching the Magic for the idea (and links in the next few hours)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Check out Seaside siblings for more seasons

Birthday presents

My project for this week is to finish making/buying P's birthday presents.  So far I've made a couple of items of clothing for her, and I'm going to make a little fishing game (if I can source some magnets).  But the big present idea is a sandpit.  However, this requires getting DH on board, and he's more than a little skeptical of the whole idea.  I think something easy with little assembly required is going to be the order of the day.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fabric numbers

One of the Montessori activities I created this week were Fabric numbers.  This was another of the activities from Counting Coconuts.  The tutorial for these can be found here.
This was a great way to use up some of my fabric scraps.  I had a wonderful red glittery fabric that I didn't know what to do with, and it was perfect for this project.  However, I didn't really think about the fact that the back and fronts of the numbers would be important, so all but one of the numbers has the red sparkly fabric on the front.  Its the 9 that has the wrong front, and P insists that it should be the other way around so that it matches the rest of the numbers.  I'm sure she'll end up writing 9s back to front because of it.

The tutorial calls for cotton batting or interfacing to make the numbers a bit sturdier.  I didn't have any of these on hand, so I decided to stuff the numbers instead.  I made the numbers over the course of a day with much help from P and J, but if you didn't have any children around, it could easily be done in an evening.  Because I had stuffed the numbers, I didn't wash them to make them all raggedy (and also because P insisted on playing with them as soon as I had made them).
I had an "I wish I had done this when the girls were in bed" moment while sewing these, both P and J wanted to sit on my lap while I sewed, so we went and stuffed the letters together.  J had great fun using the stuffing to stuff her teapot, and P was very helpful in passing the stuffing to me.  She also created a snow storm of stuffing.  The girls had a fantastic time making these numbers, and I was glad that we had done it all together.  (We solved the sitting on the knee while sewing issue by letting P sit on a chair right next to me, while J sat on the knee furtherest away from the sewing machine).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Montessori activities

I started my project this week by tidying P's room.  DH finally removed the desk from her room, and we rearranged the space to make it more play friendly.  It got quite messy.

But the finished product was worth the mess.  
I bought the shelves from the Hospice Shop for $5 and the baskets were 'fill a bag for $1', also from the Hospice Shop.  But once I got all the baskets, I got a bit lost.  After all there are so many different kinds of activities that I could include.  I really liked the idea of doing a 'theme' but then I realised that this would require rotating some baskets around, and I decided to leave this until P is a bit older, and might have more definite topic preferences.  I found this facebook note from Counting Coconuts, and I focussed on the areas she suggested there.

Practical Life - Threading
This is a mixture of cut up straws and penne pasta pieces, with some string.  The idea is for P to thread the pasta and straws onto the string.  I painted the ends of the string with nail polish to make it a bit easier for her to manage, and to stop the string from fraying.

Sensorial - Felt Shapes
These are some felt shapes that can be made into a house.

Sensorial - Colour basket
This activity is really for J rather than P.  A blue scoop, a teddy bear, two different pieces of material, and some blue yarn.  I chose blue because it is the largest teddy that I have, and J is sure to want to put it in her mouth.

Language - 'P' basket
This has a selection of objects that start with the sound 'p'.  A present, a peg, a pizza, a purple pair of pants, and a picture of P.  I've covered the pictures with some duraseal to help them last.  You can find some ideas about an Alphabet box here.
I thought really carefully about including the letter 'P', but I decided against it.  Partly because Montessori teaches phonics as the primary way to learn language, and I don't think this is the best way to learn a language like English, which is not very phonetical.  But the main reason I didn't include the letters is because I don't actually want to teach P to read.  In this respect I fall quite firmly into the Steiner ideas about learning to read.  I just don't think its necessary for her at this age.

Practical Life - Button snake
You can find how to make this here.  Buttoning is something that P has trouble with so this was a great activity to help her with it.

I filled all the baskets with things that I already had at home.  I was very surprised with how easy and quick everything was to make.  With the exception of the fabric numbers (which I will post about separately) all the baskets were pretty much 5 minute jobs.  Doesn't it look fantastic?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pay it forward 2011

I promise something handmade to the FIRST 5 people who leave a comment here. However, to be eligible, you must re-post this message, offering something handmade to 5 other people. The rules are that it must be handmade by you, and it must be sent to your 5 giftees sometime in 2011. Ready, set, GO! 
(via Late Night Creativity )

*remember to leave me your email address, if it's not linked from your comment profile 

Monday, January 10, 2011


I’ve been toying with the idea of having a Montessori structured environment at home for P and J for a little while now.  I follow a couple of Montessori  blogs, Chasing Cheerios and Counting Coconuts, and I am very drawn to the activities that these Mums post about.  However, after some very careful consideration, I have decided that Montessori style ECE (or Early Childhood Education) is not for me.
I thought I would set out my reasoning for you all to see.  There is a great comparison between Montessori, Steiner and Playcentre NZ styles of ECE here, and a short consideration of their differences here, and these really helped me to make up my mind.

  •  I really like the kinds of activities that Montessori provides
  •   I like the idea of using a whole lot of different senses and skills to teach a common theme
  •   I like that it would extend P and J’s learning
  •    P enjoys the Montessori style activities that I have so far provided

  •  The general idea of getting the girls to do one activity and then put it away is not something that comes naturally to me
  •  And even more significantly, that skill is not one that I value highly (don’t misunderstand, I like my house to be tidy, but I don’t really think being methodical and doing one thing at a time is all that important)
  •  It would make me really stressed out trying to ensure that all my thematic stuff was in the right place etc

The factors above would have been fatal to me wholeheartedly embracing Montessori on their own – because there is no point me starting something that I cannot do easily.  But more importantly than the above factors, I am philosophically in opposition to some of the fundamental tenants of Montessori ECE.

I firmly believe in letting children be children, letting them run around when they want to, and to a large extent do what they want.  I am also very interested in letting P and J exercise their imaginations, and I’m keen to encourage them to extend themselves in this way.

So ultimately, despite reading and enjoying several Montessori style blogs, its just not for me or my family.  I am, however, going to create some activity shelves and have some baskets for P and J to use, because there is value in some of these things.  So my project this week is to set these activity shelves up (I got there in the end, even if it was a bit long winded).
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