Wool Patches

I am fighting off another breast infection. To remind myself that I will eventually get back to something fun, I am showing you these cute patches I just hand stitched the other day:
handstitched wool patches to go on some wool diaper covers!
They are going to be on two cute wool diaper covers in my shop soon.
I have been watching some very interesting food documentaries on Netflix lately. I saw Food, Inc. a while ago, but recently have watched To Market, To Market To Buy a Fat Pig, Fed Up, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Food Matters, What's On Your Plate?, Ingredients, and now Food Beware, The French Organic Revolution,. I recommend them all!


Around Our Home

I'm really enjoying summer this year. If you read my blog last summer, this is the complete opposite of my sentiments from back then! Here are a few photos of what we've been doing lately:

Mama getting a head massage from middle daughter!! Actually very relaxing!

Baby loves to climb. He got all the way up there by himself (mostly). Then he ripped the curtains down. Then he danced!! Oh, it's nice to just ENJOY the third child!!

We are trying to figure out what to do for school this fall. My oldest is enrolled in public Philadelphia kindergarten (yikes), and middle girl is enrolled in Head Start. I went to an information meeting for Classical Conversations last night, and I'm pretty sure we are going to do it! I'm excited!!!


DIY thread stand for industrial thread spools

I shop at a local store that sells fabric, notions, trims, etc. Much of their inventory is bolt ends from factories or warehouses that didn't sell. I could write a book about all the amazing finds that I've bought, but for now let's focus on thread.
I bought some huge rolls of industrial spun polyester for $2/cone. It's probably $20/cone retail! However, my home serger is not equipped for such large cones, and I couldn't rig them to feed into my machine without getting caught. I was going to buy a thread stand, but I'm cheap. I googled instructions for how to make your own, and found this Instructables. I had to alter his design to accommodate my larger cones, but I had everything I needed in my house already! I saved probably $30.
I used 2 wire clothes hangers, an old woodcut from art school for the base, and scraps from dowels from my Roman blinds. It was quite fun to use lots of tools, but hubby's drill was low on batteries =(.

DIY industrial thread stand for my serger
We'll see how it works the next time I serge a bunch of wool!


DIY lavender sachets

A few weeks ago, I got it into my head that I wanted to make some lavender sachets to keep my rebourne wool pads and wool diaper covers smelling fresh. Lavender is also an anti-moth herb. I thought it'd be nice to send a sachet with big wool orders from my shop, or possibly make them available for sale in my shop. I knew I wanted to buy supplies on Etsy, buy organic lavender, and have my logo on them.
I found this shop on Etsy, and ordered 1/2 pound of their organic lavender. I designed a tag in Photoshop and printed it onto printable fabric that had been given to me by a friend. I cut each tag out with pinking shears, and cut out rectangles for the sachets.
DIY handmade custom lavender sachets
I sewed the labels onto each one, then sewed up the sides of the sachets, leaving a small hole for my funnel. I then added the lavender with a funnel, and finished by stitching up the hole.
DIY handmade custom lavender sachets
I chose to pink the edges so they won't fray too much. Simple and easy, and super cute and delicious!
Homemade custom organic lavender sachets


Urban Container Garden

I have two black thumbs. At least until this point in my life. I know that the following are in my future: a vegetable garden, a mini fruit orchard (berries!), chickens, and a few goats. For now, I am working through the toils of container gardening in the city, with a 10x10' slab of concrete enclosed in 10' walls for a backyard! Most attempts have failed, because the plants and worms (sorry guys) just get burned alive. This year we are trying again, and it's nice to have my girls at a helpful age. It is one of their jobs to water our plants everyday: vegetables in the back 'yard', and the decorative plants and tree in the hole in the sidewalk in the front. Because we are home so much, it's easy to keep track of the plants and water them more than once daily if needed.
Here is the boy playing amidst the dirt and green:
my garden gnome
We have cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. We'll see what has enough dirt to grow veggies, probably not much.


Wool Dryer balls finished

I finally finished these handmade wool dryer balls. To make them, I wrapped wool yarn around itself tightly, as you would make small balls of yarn for knitting. I then took a large plastic needle and fed the end of the yarn through the ball a few times. Once secured, I felted the ball by placing it inside a pair of pantyhose and washed it on hot with my regular laundry. After that had felted for a few dozen washes, I took the balls out and wrapped them again until they were the desired size. Then I repeated the felting process inside the pantyhose.
handmade Wool Dryer Balls
Baby loves "his" set of play balls (!). I should have put a jingle bell inside. Wool dryer balls are a natural alternative to dryer sheets that help dry clothes and diapers quicker, and they also cut down on static. They aren't made from plastic, don't contain synthetic scents, and don't release chemicals into the air at high temperatures! And of course, they aren't a paper product that you throw away.
handmade Wool Dryer Balls



I greatly value the skill of swimming. I was taught how to swim at a very young age, and being in the water is one of my favorite places to be. Lakes, pools, streams, the ocean, hot tubs, birthing pools (!) you name it. I remember wearing my bathing suit under my clothes as a small child, just in case the opportunity to swim came up!
Now I am teaching my littles how to swim, and encouraging a love and respect for water. I draw from my mom's guidance (from her years as an instructor, stroke and turn judge, pool manager, etc.), and my own experience teaching swimming lessons. This book is a HUGE help in my approach to swimming:

I just read it a few days ago, but my mom's philosophy all came from this book. It emphasizes a love of water and fun, as well as water safety. The author's goal is to teach mothers how to teach their babies and toddlers how to swim. She believes that this is because it is fun, but also because it could save their lives if they fell or jumped into water. Many of the lessons can be done in a bathtub, and the author encourages reiterating lessons in the bathtub on a daily basis.
Here is a page out of the book that I love:

Just the other day, while I was at our local public pool with my kids, the lifeguard asked me how I teach our kids to swim. She is an instructor! I guess I emphasize comfort, FUN, relaxation, and then I also get the babies underwater at least once while we are at the pool. The book above teaches you how to train your baby to close their eyes and hold their breath, simply by following a few steps. I want to teach Ryder how to get himself onto his back. The book says that babies can't lift their heads out of the water to get a breath until they are about 2 1/2 years old, but you can teach them to get themselves onto their back and float. They can also learn how to bob (go up and down) and get breaths until they reach the wall.
Do you take your kids swimming? Do they love it? Do you get in and hold them closely and teach them how to be independent swimmers? Do you worry about water safety? I worry about it!!


Matryoshka Complete!

I printed the illustration onto printable paper (twice), rinsed and dried it, cut her out with a small seam allowance, and sewed her up. I left a hole to stuff her, and then blindstitched (I think) her hole shut! She is super cute and I can't wait for my girls to get home from Grandma's house tonight to see her. Oops, I think I should have made two, now that I think about it! If I make another one, I will have the dark pink bleed out beyond the border, and remove the black line around her body, so that stitching her up is easier and better looking.
Matryoshka doll.

In local news, I just dropped off some toddler skirts to Lodge 215. It is about 1/4 mile from my house, and is the coolest little shop. I hope that if you're local you can check them out! I hope to bring more kids' and baby clothes there in the near future.


Free Giveaway

I am offering a free giveaway of one of my organic bamboo and organic cotton cloth diapers. Go like me on Facebook here, and leave a comment below the post. I will draw a winner tomorrow (Friday, July 8th) morning, around 9 AM, via Random.org.
I was severely sleep deprived when applying the snaps to this diaper, and put a purple and a red snap on the back of the diap. My mistake is your (hopeful) win!!


I am kind of obsessed with matryoshka dolls right now. Today, my daughter saw me looking at some cute plush matroyshkas on Etsy, and asked me to make her one. She was being a bit pushy, "Mom, how long is it going to take? Will you have it made by today? Mom, why aren't you sewing it yet?"
So we sat and sketched for a while, and she told me what she wanted on it. I scanned in the sketch, and finished it in Illustrator. Here she is, awaiting approval from the 5 year old task master:
*thank you, art school education, for the ability to jump into Illustrator and somewhat know my ropes!
Now I am going to print her onto some fabric, leave a little seam allowance, and stitch her up. I'll leave a little hole to stuff her with poly fill, and the hand stitch the hole. I'll post finished photos later!
I'm having an urge to do some hand sewing. I am not sure where that will manifest itself, hmmm!?


Haley Tricycles

A year and a half ago, I got it into my head that I wanted to have a cargo bicycle that could carry my kids and groceries. My husband works in a bicycle shop, so he was able to buy a bike and build it up to our specs. We bought a Surly Big Dummy and handcrafted some seats for our kids:
Unfortunately, I fell with the kids on the bike, and it spooked me. The bike was super top-heavy, incredibly hard to step through (even without the weight, and I am 5'9" tall). Getting the bike moving was difficult, and I just was not confident on it. We sold it a few months ago. I have had my eyes on these locally built cargo tricycles that have two wheels in front, like ice cream bikes!
I want to have one custom built for our family. My biggest concern now is just becoming another statistic of an accident. That is a whole different post. I want to be the change that I want to see in our city (more cargo bikes, moving more kids and stuff via bike, less cars, etc.), but I worry about the safety of myself and my family.