Cloth Diapers… What we Think… Before Babe…

As you may be able to tell by the name of this post there will be a followup to come, once babe is here and we’ve actually used cloth diapers. This is a pre-post about what we think now… I’m curious how our thoughts may change once we’ve spent time using cloth diapers.  Now I’m not here to say what you should do… I’ve done my own research – spoke to mommas, cloth diaper companies, found how to and multitudes of cloth diapering review videos, and sought out mommy bloggers posts on the subject to come to my conclusion to go the cloth diaper route. There is a lot of information out there and it’s ultimately up to you to decide what works best for you and your fam! …and let me say that I’m not about judging anyone for going or not going the cloth diaper route – what works for you works for you and that’s your bisnass 🙂

disclaimer: my independent research has lead me to cloth diapering and my research and discussion with the available service providers has lead me to the service provider mentioned below. All opinions express are my own based on my digging mentioned above. The service provider is providing me with a discount on our diapering service for mentioning them here in this blog post… but you’re in luck because down below they have a little something for YOU as well 😉 

Now, I’m not sure if I would be as keen to cloth diaper IF we had to launder said cloth diapers… we have trouble keeping on top of the laundry for just the two of us!… but I would still give it a try because after some digging it doesn’t appear as frightening as the first thoughts in my head about laundering dirty diapers. BUT we are fortunate to live in an area where Cloth Diaper Services are available… Cloth Diaper Service? Yes Cloth Diaper Service… they come to you and pickup your dirties and drop you a batch of fresh every week… Here in Calgary we chose Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery as our service provider.

One of the main reasons we are choosing to go the cloth diaper route, for our family, is comfort for our babe and not unnecessarily exposing him to chemicals unnecessarily – less chance of rashes I’ve read and have been told. It feels like a good choice to use a reusable fabric product that isn’t put through a heavy chemical cleaning process. Disposables typically have gone through heavy chemical processing during the manufacturing process and have been found to release a multitude of chemicals that I would prefer to avoid… Seeing as diapers are on the babe for the first two years (two years? its not much longer than that is it?) a less harsh option wins out for us. There is the environmental impact side of things as well with disposables filling landfills, and the use of resources required to make them, but honestly it is the comfort and reduced chemical exposure that are top of the list for us.

There are different types of cloth diapers – I found this awesome video that explained a lot about cloth diapering which is great if you’re looking to go the cloth diaper route and you’ll be laundering them yourself!… but again do a few google searches and you’ll turn up a ton of info and of course lots of opinions on the topic and lots of varying experiences. But try not to get overwhelmed… once you go through it the first time there is a lot of info but it all starts to make sense pretty quickly. Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery has what are known as fitted diapers, along with additional soaker inserts if you need.

Fitted Cloth Diaper

Fitted Cloth Diaper Snapped

Now fitted cloth diapers do require diaper covers…  I’ve purchased newborn covers with double leg gussets – double the protection for leaks at the legs!  The slightly larger one size covers are known to be a little large on new babes, and knowing that our babe is a little on the small side he’ll rock out in his newborn covers until he’s hefty enough to fill out the once sizers. Even though the one size diapers have a multitude of snaps for size adjustment they’re just too big for little babes. Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery rents covers for all sizes but with so many adorable patterned and coloured diaper covers out there I’ve already started to build our one size diaper cover stash, in addition to the newborn stash of covers.

Patterned One Size Diapers

Patterned One Size Diaper

Seriously – the cuteness kills me! And there are a bunch of great companies making cloth diaper covers! It appears that covers typically don’t get dirty too frequently as they’re just the cover, so they don’t need washing with every diaper change… just when they get dirty… which of course happens… but I’m not entirely sure how often until the babe gets to work on that. After a few searches “how many cloth diaper covers do I need” the general consensus is 6 is minimum if you’re going to wash them every other day (newborns being changed frequently… every 2-3 hours there is more chance for the covers getting dirty, 8 is a good average number, and 12 should give you plenty extra to work with. I’ve got 10 newborn and 10 one size covers…

Newborn Cloth Diaper Cover

Diaper Cover Over Cloth Diaper

I imagine that diapers are stinky {just call me captain obvious}… but the diaper service delivers a diaper pail with their first delivery of diapers… the pail has a charcoal filter, which once the diapers are placed in should lock away diaper odour… at least thats my hope that any odour gets locked away… we’ll see how that one goes. There is also a bag inside the pail which the diapers go into – this is the bag that get dropped on our front step for weekly pickup… and they bring us a new bag full of clean diapers.

Cloth Diaper Pail

Cloth Diaper Pail Charcoal Filter

Our first delivery also came with two sizes of newborn diaper… as we won’t know what’s going to fit him best until he’s here and getting diapered up, though we suspect he’ll be in the smaller size… we also received a number of soakers that can be added into the diaper if he’s making lots of liquid.

Soaker and Cloth Diaper

What if we’re out and about and we need to do a couple diaper changes… where do the dirty cloth diapers go then?… I found out that diapers go into a wet bag – typically a sewn fabric bag with a laminated interior that seals in the moisture/smell. Pop in your dirty diaper, zip it up, toss it in your diaper bag, and when you get home drop the dirty diaper(s) into the pail… the diaper should contain the mess and the wet bag, if it gets soiled, just needs a wash and a hang up to dry… I’ve picked up two wet bags so that there is always one ready to go if one has just been washed after a trip out and about. I do prefer a sewn fabric zipped pouch over a tied up shopping bag, which would also work I’m sure.

Wet Bag

What if we’re travelling and we won’t have the ability to have our cloth diapers cleaned? I don’t want to tote around a week’s wroth of dirty diapers in a suitcase… Well if its just one week we could switch to disposables for a week, or well we could just wash the cloth diapers for that one week we would be travelling if we’re somewhere with washer/dryer access… either one isn’t the end of the world.

Cloth Wipes too!?… again in an attempt to avoid harsh chemicals that can also be found in baby wipes… a little warm soapy water, or some pre moistened cloth wipes in a holder and bam clean baby!… lol it’s that easy… right?… right!? We’re going the cloth diaper route so we might as well go cloth wipe route too as the wipes can just be tossed into the diaper pail to be laundered with the diapers! Pumpkin’s offers unlimited bamboo/cotton wipes… sounds good to me!  I was excited that they have non microfibre wipes as microfibre can be drying and rough on skin over time… think about if you’ve ever been cleaning house with a microfibre cloth and sometimes it seems to stick to your fingers… ew doesn’t feel good. I also picked up the Prince Lionhearted cloth diaper warmer, after my sister in law highly recommended having a wipe warmer… why not have the comfort of warm wipes… kinda makes me want to get myself a wipe warmer… too much?! well its true!…

Prince Lionheart Wipe Warmer

I think it’ll be great to have a constant stash of wipes moist and warm and ready to do… and the rest of the wipes have been pre-rolled and stored in his dresser.

Diaper Stash

Now… why Pumpkin’s? I learned through speaking with the new owners of the business that they took over Pumpkin’s just a year ago! They are eager and passionate about the business, proud that they’re doing it well, and full of helpful information. Cayley even met up at a local coffee shop with me so that she could show me the diapers in person and how they work… seriously folks I’ve never changed a diaper in my life so it was helpful to get the low down on their product in person. The owners have had their own babies and laundered their own cloth diapers and they’re dedicated to their customers and making improvements as they learn and grow their business that has enabled them to move back to Calgary.  I love local, and this local business loves to give back to the community and support local. Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery plants a tree for every child on their service, and they support Babies in Cloth which helps families in financial need diaper their children. They also support not just local but other Canadian businesses themselves! Their diapers are made in Alberta, and their pails, creams, and covers are made within Canada!

Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery uses phosphate and LAS free detergents, and they do not use chlorine bleach for cleaning and sanitization. Their washing process is followed with a pH balancing rinse, so that the diapers and babe’s skin are the same pH, before drying with commercial grade dryers that wipe out any bacteria that may have made it through the laundering process. And although not required, but for peace of mind, they do frequent testing to ensure that the pH is right where it should be. Pumpkin’s also has a great deal of information available about their product and process throughout their website. A cleaning process not heavily laden with chemicals sounds good to us… check!

Money… yes money… isn’t using cloth diapers expensive? I thought it would be but you can make cloth diapering as expensive as you like or you can do it for the cost or even less than going the disposable route! Many others have already done the math so I’m not going to redo it here, the internet is full of cloth diapering math… My math {lacey math} shows we’re going to be about the same or save some than if we went the disposable route… even if it were to cost a little more I would feel okay with it to go the cloth route. And think about this tidbit… is $25 a week worth not having to spend every couple of days laundering cloth diapers at home, or going out to pick up disposables? The diaper service picks up your dirties and bring you clean diapers for about $25 a week!  Time AND money saver!

Now here’s a little treat for you!… when I was speaking with Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery I also asked about something special to offer to YOU parents in their delivery area… If you are interested in service for cloth diapers from Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery they’re offering 10% off your cloth diapering service when you sign up and mention the Feathering My Nest Discount, from now until December 2017! Yup who doesn’t love to save a little wherever they can!?

Pumpkin's Diaper Delivery Logo

Now tell me what have you learned about cloth diapering in your research so far and what were or are your assumptions about it going into it?… what do you think about cloth diapers? Have you used cloth diapers? How has it gone for you if you are cloth diapering already? Did you have a service or did you launder yourself? Lay it on me… I’m all ears to learn more!

And stay tuned after our baby bear arrives to see how this all plays out in reality! *wish us luck!*

xo

Lacey

Matcha Lattes at Home…

Love a Matcha Latte but have no love for dropping stacks of cash each week on getting them from your local coffee shop?… I’d fallen in love with the Starbucks Matcha Latte a couple years back… now I’ve not been drinking much tea as I’ve been pregnant the last 8 months as I am far too nervous about caffeine intake, but as my pregnancy is nearing the end I’ve learned how to make a matcha latte at home with the help of the darling Shelley from Totalitea… seriously for the price of a couple coffee shop matcha lattes you can get all of the supplies you need to make plenty a matcha latte at home!

Matcha Powder

disclaimer: I received product in exchange for this DIY post collaboration with Totalitea… but guess what!? I love matcha lattes and have been wanting to create a do it yourself post on how to make a matcha latte at home to share with you for some time now… who doesn’t like to save money and still have a tasty cuppa every morning!? When Shelley approached me to talk tea I was onboard to learn and share about matcha lattes, and to also share a really great LOCAL company with you all!

I visited Shelley at the Calgary Farmer’s Market and she gave me the low down on making a proper cuppa matcha and a matcha latte… we also talked about everything she’s got going on there… about 200 looseleaf teas and blends as the blends fluctuate with the seasons… I admitted to Shelley early on that that I’m pretty boring when it comes to tea… like I’m talking I like a cuppa black tea or an earl grey with milk and sugar… I’m not fancy… and I’ve never really found a herbal that gives me as much comfort as a nice black tea with milk and sugar… perhaps thats the Newfoundlander in me 🙂 On the advice of my Doula I’ve started drinking raspberry leaf tea… which Totalitea also stocks… and on my next trip to the Farmer’s Market I’m going to be picking up some of their Earle grey cream tea to try out…

Matcha Latte Flower Bowl

Totalitea also has a great selection of tea accessories… like this beautiful flower matcha bowl, matcha whisks, tea travel mugs… all great things tea!

Okay lets get to the Matcha Latte!

Matcha Latte Supplies

Ingredients

  • Matcha Powder – I’m a purist… lol… Totalitea offers a variety of flavored matcha powders but I love a plain ol Matcha latte so I’m working with their straight matcha powder for this recipe. Their Matcha is the real deal… it’s Chinese origin, First Flush (meaning that it is picked first in the Spring) Grade A, and certified organic by Pro-Cert! Then there are 10-12  different flavoured Matchas to chose from, some of the flavours vary with the seasons… so you have many tasty options to choose from!
  • Almond Milk – I’ve been avoiding too much dairy intake now for quite some time, and I’m not super keen on soy, so unsweetened almond milk it is… but whatever milk you like will work juuuuust fine. I also make an iced latte below with coconut milk… mmm… whatever milk floats your boat!
  • Honey – if you want your latte a little sweet try adding some honey… or another sweetener of your choice… agave perhaps? if you are using a flavoured matcha from Totalitea you may not need any sweetener as the flavoured Matcha powder have a little cane sugar in them already… only 4 grams per serving.  I recommend making your Matcha latte without additional sweetener at first… then add your sweetener of choice to taste if you like your drinks a little sweeter!
  • Water

Matcha Latte Milk Options

Tools

  • Matcha Bowl / Small Mixing Bowl / Mug
  • Matcha Whisk / Small Metal Whisk
  • Tea Kettle
  • Mug
  • Microwave / Pot on Stove / Fancy steaming attachment on a fancy coffee maker / Milk warmer and brother – whichever you have that you can use to steam your choice of milk will work

Instructions

Matcha Latte

Matcha Powder and Whisk

Start by combining 1 tsp of matcha powder and 0.5 oz of hot water together in a small bowl or you can even do this right in your mug, and then whisk with your bamboo matcha whisk to mix the match powder and the water to create your base…

Making Matcha Base

Whisking Matcha Base

…fun fact!… the matcha powder doesn’t fully dissolve, rather the powder becomes suspended in the water with your vigorous whisking.

Whisked Matcha Base

This is your matcha base! If you are working with a flavoured Matcha powder from Totalitea check the packaging to find out how much powder to use… with the flavoured Matchas you usually use a little more powder than just the straight Matcha.

Whisked Matcha Base

Now fire up the kettle and boil the until it reaches 80 degrees C… if you don’t have a temp controlled kettle, just boil the kettle and let the water sit for 3-4 minutes to cool a little before you use it

Pour your matcha latte base into your mug
Pouring Matcha Base
Add 1/2 cup of your 80 degree boiled water to your mug with the matcha base mixture that you’ve whisked together and give it a good stirring
Water into Matcha Base
Heat/Froth 1/2 cup of milk (of your choice) – I’m going to make an almond milk version and a coconut milk version. If you are using the pure matcha powder you may want to add a little sweetener to your milk when you’re steaming it.
Milk Frother
I use unsweetened almond milk so I like to add a little honey to my lattes to sweeten them a little. If you are using one of the Totalitea flavoured Matchas you use a little more powder and you can omit a sweetener as their flavoured Matchas have some organic sugar can in there.
Frothed Milk into Matcha
If you don’t have a steamer/frother you can heat your milk on the stove top or microwave. If you want to get your milk frothy you can give it a whip with a small metal whisk, a whizz with a stick blender, or pickup a small stick frother… frothy isn’t necessary but I do love a nice frothy matcha latte. I found a great little milk heater and frother at Home Sense and scooped it up as it will also froth up milk cold!
Matcha Latte
Once the milk is ready pour it into your cup and you are good to go!
Matcha Latte and Package
Enjoy that matcha latte!
Enjoying a Cuppa

Now if it’s too warm for you right now you can just as easily whip yourself up a nice Iced Matcha Latte…

Iced Matcha Latte

Iced Matcha Latte

The iced version is very similar to the hot… Get your glass out and fill it with ice

Glass of Ice for Iced Matcha Latte

Mix your matcha base… combine 1 tsp Matcha powder and 0.5oz of hot water and whisk until the Matcha is suspended in the water

Matcha Base into Ice

Add the Matcha base to your iced glass…

Matcha Iced Tea

…then add 1/2 cup of cold water, instead of hot…

Froth your cold milk and add your frothy cold milk to your glass… if you’re adding sweetener toss it into the frother with the milk for it to get whizzed into your milk

Frothed Milk into Matcha Iced Tea

Now that we’re here follow the words of Bob Marley… stir it up.

Stir Up the Iced Matcha Latte

Iced Matcha Latte

Now… if you like your lattes more milky drop the 1/2 cup of water addition to your matcha base and go on and throw in 1 full cup of your milk… for either the hot or cold version!… mmmm… milky Matcha!…

Iced Matcha Latte and Matcha Bowl

…have fun!… play and tweak!… then come back and let me know how you’ve tweaked this recipe to make it your own!  I’m looking forward to trying out your modifications!

Iced Matcha Latte

xx

Lacey

DIY Designer Belly Basket…

I’ve been seeing these designer baskets all over social media lately… after some research I discovered this basket that I’m loving is called a belly basket… but I’m not just talking about the plain janes like in the photo below, though they are great the way they are… I’m talking about the kicked up a notch ones… the ones where the price is also kicked up a few notches… They look incredible with plants placed into them, as blanket storage, or toy storage in a nursery…

Belly Basket

Well babes have I got a DIY for you!… a dipped belly basket, and a tassel and pompom adorned belly baskets… ALL for a fraction of the cost of buying from a designer shop!… and these come along with the satisfaction of having made it yourself!

Now are you ready for this?! It’s easy! a total breeze… a quick and satisfying evening or weekend project!

If you don’t have an IKEA in your home town then check them out online – these baskets fold down and are light so even with shipping it will cost you less and you’ll get more baskets for your buck!

These various versions can be done separately or combined on one basket… its totally up to you!… hit up Pinterst for some great belly basket inspiration and get creating!… These would even make great Christmas, Get Well Soon, New Baby, Housewarming packaging… filled up with treats for the recipient!

Tassel or PomPom Belly Basket Supplies:

  • Ikea belly basket FLÅDIS $12.99
  • Yarns of various colours
  • Yarn needle
  • Scissors

Designer Belly Basket Supplies

Pick as many colours and types of yarns as you like… colours to match or contrast your space… whatever you like…

Let me show you how to make a pompom:

Belly Basket Yarn Pompom Step 1

Using a medium weight wool I wrapped it around my four fingers 100 times… then cut a long string to tie the loops together at the middle…

Belly Basket Yarn Pompom Step 2

Working the cut string between the middle and ring finger, around the back of the yarn at the back of my hand and back through the middle and ring fingers at the top and around to the front to be tied into a tight knot…

Belly Basket Yarn Pompom Step 3

Tie a tight knot, leaving the tails of the string long… these tails will come in handy when we secure the pompom to the basket!

Belly Basket Yarn Pompom Step 4

Once the loops are tied together in the middle you end up with loops on both sides of the tied string… take your scissors and cut the loops freeing all the pompom strings!…

Belly Basket Yarn Pompom Step 5

Now… you even have choice in how your pompoms will look… you can leave the strings long and willy nilly for a more free and whimsical looking pom, or give that pompom a haircut… trimming it all around in a ball to create a neat tight pompom… I’ve got photos of belly baskets with both to show you 🙂

{Remember to leave the long strings long for attaching your pompoms to your baskets!}

Now how to make a yarn tassel:

Belly Basket Yarn Tassel Step 1

Using a medium weight yarn I used my four fingers again… but this time only 50 wraps around my hand… and then with a string tie one end of the loops together as you can see at the top of my hand…

Belly Basket Yarn Tassel Step 2

Slip the loop off your hand and then tie a second string just down slightly from the string that you tied to capture one end of the loops to create the little tassel top ball…

Belly Basket Yarn Tassel Step 3

Then you can free the strings at the bottom by cutting the loops at the bottom of your tassel!…

{Remember to leave the long strings long for attaching your tassels to your baskets!}

Belly Basket Yarn Tassels

I like to prep all my pompoms to the tied up loops point… then cut them all and trim them all in a batch…

Belly Basket Pompom Prep

Here are my tight and tidy poms…

Belly Basket Tidy Pompoms

Here are my whimsical poms…

Belly Basket Willy Nilly Pompoms

Now lets get to work with these pompoms to adorn the belly basket!

Belly Basket Pompom Attachment 1

Now remember that we left the string that tied the pompoms together long to attach them to the basket!?… get out your large yarn needle… and work the ends in between the belly basket weave and tie in a knot on the inside of the basket… That’s it! first pom on!… work as many pompoms onto the basket as you like… around the middle… at the bottom… at the top edge… all over at random… whatever floats your boat!

Belly Basket Pompom Attachment 2

I worked a line of my tidy pompoms around half of the belly basket right in the the middle…

Belly Basket Pompoms Being Attached

Belly Basket Pompoms Attached

You can alternate the colours… or mix them up randomly… have fun… if you want to test out the location just tie them onto the basket with bows until you’re happy with the pompom location… then undo the bows, tie knots and cut away any extra string from the inside.

Belly Basket Pompoms Attached Full

Here is a pompom belly basket for the nursery… stuffed with those adorable JellyCat rabbits… they’re soooo soft!…

Belly Basket Pompoms Attached Basket Filled

Now for the messy pompoms… because these pompoms are bigger I chose to use less of them on the basket… and I spaced them out

Belly Basket Messy Pompoms

As with the tighter pompoms… the tie strings were left long and used to tie the pompoms to the basket through the basket weave…

Belly Basket Messy Pompoms Full

I do find that these willy nilly pompoms are definitely more whimsical and fun…

Belly Basket Messy Pompoms Action

AAAAAND the tassel look:

Belly Basket Tassels

Belly Basket Tassels and Blankie
Now for the Painted, or “Dipped” Belly Basket Supplies:

  • Ikea belly basket FLÅDIS $12.99
  • Chalk Paint – I love FAT so am working with their paint product
  • Paint brush
  • Gold leaf or gold paint (optional)
  • Gold leaf sizing and small paint brush if you are working with gold leaf (optional)

Dipped Belly Basket Supplies

I have a couple painters canvasses on hand for when I want to paint furniture in the house… in the winter or a cold or rainy day… they’re a great reusable way to protect your work surfaces.

Dipped Belly Basket Start Painting

This one is just as it looks… crack open that can of paint and get to work painting the bottom half of the belly basket… for the dipped look… if you want a full colour basket go to town and paint the whole thing!

Dipped Belly Basket Painting Under the Edge

I wanted the dipped look so I painted as neatly as I could freehand just under the edge of where the basket folds down.

Dipped Belly Basket Clean Edge

To make this part a little easier put the basket top down on your work surface and work around the underside of the fold first to give yourself a painted border to work within.

Dipped Belly Basket First Coat of Paint

Now after the first coat it the paint might not be as solid as you would like… don’t get the first coat blues… if you want the colour to be solid give the basket a second coat once the first coat dries… see! easy peasy!

Dipped Belly Basket Second Coat

Dipped Belly Basket Second Coat Drying

I didn’t even “get fancy” and paint the bottom of the basket… it will be sitting on the floor and I just didn’t feel the need to spend the paint on the underside… if you want to paint the bottom, paint the bottom!… there is nothing saying that you shouldn’t or should!… its up to you!

Dipped Belly Basket Unpainted Bottom

BAM!… once that bad boy is dry you’re good to fill it with goodies and set it up in your home… make sure you let it dry though… some paint will likely seep through the basket weave to the inside of the basket and you wouldn’t want to put things in there before the paint has dried!

Dipped Belly Basket Navy

Bunnies and blankies in a dipped belly basket!…

Dipped Belly Basket Filled Up

Now you know I couldn’t just do a dipped basket and NOT kick it up even another notch!… yep… gold leaf dots!…

Because of the basket weave getting the perfect round dot is not easily… so I went with a freehanded dot, not a measured out dot… and I love the results! There is something special about the freehanded dots!

Dipped Belly Basket Gold Leaf Prep

Now if you’re using gold paint you could get a round sponge brush and just apply dots of paint… and any colour you choose… it doesn’t just have to be gold… Where the gold gets exciting is if you are using gold leaf to create a true metallic polka dot pattern!

To get the gold leaf to adhere to the basket you have to use a product called adhesive size… for a full gold leaf tutorial you  checkout my how to gold leaf blogpost… but you don’t need that much detail to do these quick and dirty dots… this is just if you want to know more about the gold leafing process than what I’m telling you right here 🙂

Using a small paint brush paint on the adhesive size dots being careful not to apply too much… we don’t want the adhesive size to run outside of the painted dot shape… The size does go on milky but will become glossy and tacky… once it is glossy and tacky it is ready for you to apply the gold leaf!

Dipped Belly Basket Sizing Setting

Because these are small dots I didn’t get too fussy with the leaf… Make sure your hands are good and dry and tear small pieces of gold leaf to cover the dots. Press and rub the leaf pieces onto the glossy size dots on the basket… use a soft cloth to gently press/rub the gold leaf pieces to make sure they’re good and adhered!

Dipped Belly Basket Gold Leaf On

Once they’ve all been rubbed into place use a clean brush to bush away the excess leaf to reveal your darling dots…

Dipped Belly Basket Brushing Off Excess Leaf

VOILA! darling little gilded dot!…

Dipped Belly Basket Gold Leaf Dot

…now get to brushing and remove all of the excess leaf… Working on a towel will help to catch the leaf bits that you’ll be brushing off… and try not to work near a fan or an open window if it is breezy out… those little loose bits of leaf will go flying!

Dipped Belly Basket Gold Leaf Dots

EEEK! Look at that gold just pop in the light!… at first I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to get a small perfect dot on the belly basket weave but once I saw how they turned out, by free handing the adhesive size dots, I was quite pleased at how natural and “just right” they looked!

Dipped Belly Basket Gold Leaf Dots Complete

Dipped Belly Basket Gold Leaf Dots Filled

Here’s a little reminder of the belly basket before…

Belly Basket Before

and after:

Belly Basket After 1

Belly Basket After 2

Belly Basket After 3

Belly Basket After 4

Belly Basket After 5

Belly Basket After 6

I can’t wait to see what colour/pompom combos you come up with for your home!… Here are some pin options for you to save this project for later!

 

Be sure to come on over to the Feathering My Nest Facebook page to share photos of your belly baskets in progress and finished! Or tag @featheringmynest on Instagram posts of your baskets so that I can see and share with everyone there!

Now go! get to work on your designer belly baskets!

xx

Lacey

Great Crate Challenge… what I created with two crates and a $50 budget

Back in January I took part in the Calgary Renovation Show Great Crate Challenge… five local influencers were given two wood crates and a $50 budget to come up with something fun to be displayed at the show!… being as practical as I am I wanted to make something that was really functional and good looking… Seeing the crates I instantly knew what I wanted to create… a rolling crate storage ottoman that could be used as additional seating…

crates and planks

I applied glue to one side of each of the crates, pressed the glue sides together, and secured them with a clamp until they had dried… I cut down a wood plank to the exact size of the bottoms of the two crates once they were together… this would give much needed stability to the thin sided crates and create a solid base for screwing in the little casters.

You can see in the above shot I also cut a plank for the base of the top cushion that would becoming the ottoman cover and seat.  I used the solid wood plank for the top, as well, for stability for the overall ottoman… it needed to hold an adult sitting on it, in my mind, for it to be really functional. Now this top plank I cut down just a little smaller than the full size of the top as I planned to upholster it and didn’t want the top cushion hanging out all over the top like a giant mushroom cap BUT I ensured it was large enough that it wouldn’t fall inside of the crate edges.

crate challenge supplies

I was unable to turn up a thicker foam for the top, on my supply shopping adventure, so I purchased a roll of thinner foam and planned to layer it to build up an aesthetically pleasing thickness for the ottoman cushion top… I used the top plank as the measurement guide for the the foam rectangles and traced out the shape… then with a large sharp exact-o knife and cutting mat I cut the foam pieces out.

batting for crate ottoman top

Now to make sure it was really comfy I also used some quilt batting over top of the foam… this batting was also used to help hold the foam on the top of the top plank into place… Once the two pieces of foam were lined up on the top plank of wood I wrapped the batting over top, down the sides, and then under my top plank, where I secured it into place with staples… cutting away excess bulk at the corners – essentially miter joint at each corner with the batting 🙂 The batting is very forgiving here… staple it down then cut away… or cut and staple… whichever you way you can manipulate the material more easily.

crate ottoman top, foam, and ruler

For the fabric I chose to work with burlap… it would help me to achieve the overall look I was going for… when working with burlap I like to line all of the pieces with fabric to keep the seams and burlap stable as burlap can get a little out of control at times… I also always iron the burlap pieces like you should with any fabric when sewing… but not with the iron we use for our clothes – depending on the burlap you pickup it can be a little stinky (fabric store burlap is much nicer than hardware store burlap 😉 but it all depends on how rustic a look you are going for)

I cut the following pieces 1″ + my seam allowance, larger than the actual size required to create a tight cushion that would fit snugly on the foam and plank top, as I wanted to create a pinched edge around all sides and corners of the upholstered top:

1 top in burlap/1 top in liner fabric (I used an old bed sheet for the liner fabric)

2 long sides burlap / 2 long sides in liner fabric

2 short sides in burlap / 2 short sides in liner fabric

2 long sides 6″ wide in  burlap / 2 long side 6″ wide in liner fabric – for the bottom of the cushion

2 short sides 6″ wide in burlap / 2 short side 6″ wide in liner fabric – for the bottom of the cushion

crate ottoman cushion fabric

 

As I wanted a clean top cushion and to be able to pull the cover that I was sewing down over the top of the batting, cushion, and board I didn’t have a solid bottom – just four strips that were sewn along the long sides…  this turned into some finicky hand sewing and cutting away excess fabric at the bottom to mitre the fabric in at the corners to keep the bulk down and to create a nice finished look… Once the cover had the top and sides sewn together I sewed the 6″ wide strips to the bottom edges – along the sides only leaving them hanging from the bottom to be pulled under, mitred and those mitred seams in from the corners on the underside sewn down by hand.

Before attaching the cushion cover to the bottom off the plank I placed the cover over top, pinched the edges of the fabric around the top and hand stitched a seam on the outside of the fabric at 1″ in from the edge all the way around the top of the cushion and also at the four corners… to create the flange you see around the cushion… then I did the same all the way around the bottom edge… it’s a little finicky with the underside pieces being loose but I was achieving the look I was after.

Once I created the 1″ pinched seams around all the edges the cover was snug to the padded cushion… now the bottom mitred seams could be done and the cover would stay put on the cushion… once the mitres were sorted, excess fabric snipped away, and all sewn down I stapled the edge of the fabric to additionally secure the fabric cover to the cushion… if you want to get super tight here you could cut a rectangle to cover the opening… hand sewing the edge down to the underside of the cushion.

underside of crate cushion

I’m sure there are other ways to achieve this same look by leaving open other edges and hand sewing those closed after getting the plank/foam/batting stuffed in but for me, at midnight, this is what my brain turned up 😉 and the ottoman cushion top was complete!

PAINT!… As shown up above… the little can of FAT… I did my paint wash style of painting for this crate to give it a greyed old weathered wood look… I watered down my chosen colour and applied it all over the crate… it does go on darker and lighten as it dries… when doing paint washes I always recommend doing a test piece to ensure you’ve created a wash that will give you the results you want even as far as applying any finish that you plan to use over top as finishes like waxes or clear coats over a paint wash can change the look of the dried paint wash… for this rustic crate I did not seal the finish once it had dired… no wax and no clear… the wood was slightly rough which played perfect in with the old weathered crate look 🙂

Here are two posts where I show various paint washing techniques: Weathered Wood Feet & Shiplap Wall

crate challenge rolling storage ottoman

The colour of the wood worked perfectly with the burlap. The weight of the top seat/cover combined with the roughness of fabric and wood, and the little 1″ handsewn flange around the edge holds the cushion perfectly in place… it is easily lifts off as the cover is snug on the cushion, and sturdy, yet comfy for an adult to sit upon!…

And of course it was Oliver tested and approved before going on display at the Home Renovation Show! 😉

kitty approved crate ottoman

After the Home Renovation Show one lucky attendee won this ottoman! I have to admit I was sad to have to let her go… I’ll have to whip up one for our nest!

Have you created anything fun with crates? I want to hear all about it! Leave me a comment below… and a link to your website with your project! Can’t wait to see!… Sharing this one over at Costal Charm – who doesn’t like a fun link party!?

xo

Lacey

Our Rocky Start…

Burning out at the end of September, after the home show, and breaking my hand at the end of October were just the signs I needed from the universe {lol} to slow me down… I had plans for November to instruct in home Christmas decor FAT Paint workshops, and to refinish all of the furniture that was filling the basement to sell at a pop up shop at the house in early December… By the time early December rolled around my right hand was just coming out of the splint… no November workshops were held and no furniture had been refinished for a December Pop Up Shop…

Instead Pickle and I began to gut the basement, after being in the house for 10 years it was time to finish the basement {OMG why didn’t we finish it years ago!?}  The majority of the to be refinished pieces of furniture were sold off, or donated for others to find on their own treasure hunting adventures… I’ll collect more pieces to relove. The forced rest of burn out and broken hand, and broken hand recovery, was really great… and oddly enough came at a great time… it slowed me down for a smidgen of time before finding out mid November that I was pregnant!

I am now 24 weeks and 6 days and I have only been feeling at ease since week 22… There were just so many weeks of ups and downs until week 22. I found out pretty much as early as you can find out that you’re pregnant and we were ecstatic, but the next day my doctor seemed overly cautious and frankly scared me into thinking that something wasn’t right – that it might just be a chemical pregnancy. I found out on day 28 of my clockwork cycle with an at home test… I was literally just pregnant. My doc sent me for a run of blood tests the following week to track my hcg levels. On the Friday they were 100, on the Monday 261, on the Wednesday 4hundredsomething and on the Friday over 1000… the number was more than doubling every 24 hours so all was progressing as it should!… I sat on the floor in the kitchen and cried when the nurse called with the results on the Friday… relief.

On about Day 6 of Week 6 I was still feeling very cautious but very hopeful. The initial anxiety caused by what seemed to be an overly cautious doctor was still hanging on but I tried not to dwell on it.

I was still quite slowed down throughout much of December as my recently freed right hand wasn’t completely back in action… my body just felt so very tired and I’d been falling asleep on the couch early in the evenings – basically I napped every evening before going to bed.  I hadn’t been hit with wicked morning sickness though, so I felt lucky. I found I would get generally queasy off an on… if my stomach gets overhungry (which it does very quickly now) then I find that it can be hard to eat… I’ve discovered a trick though when I wakeup in the morning… eat a couple dry crackers and it cuts the edge off the hunger queasiness while I get ready for the day…

I didn’t seem to ever have full blown morning sickness… The smell of cold food has always grossed me out and I’ve always had a very keen sense of smell… I mostly found that the first trimester brought with it a general light, all the time, queasiness and fatigue…  After I would get home from work in December I would grab a snack and snuggle under the big duvet comforter on the couch with my Pickle nearby… all is right with the world when I’m snuggled with my love…. I could just be still, chill, nap, and the queasiness would get lighter.

The dating ultrasound…  with the unnecessarily rocky start that I had due to the doctor being overly cautions with my initial hcg level I felt nervous going into this appointment. I just want everything to be okay. I hoped that with each test I would be able to let go of some of the doubt… I will always be in a state of waiting to confirm that everything is okay at the next test and the next. So for the test I worked on focusing on our weekend trip to Banff, for Chris’s Christmas Party, that we would be leaving for right after the appointment!

The dating ultrasound went great – all looked well and put my EDD at July 31 – four days later than initial calculations indicated… Banff was beautiful! A winter wonderland.

I ended up getting a stomach flu after we got back from Banff and was knocked out hard for a couple days… after this stomach bug beat me up “Morning Sickness” seemed to have kicked in a little harder but in all honesty it wasn’t that bad… I just felt more queasy all of the time.

On December 23rd the day of our annual Christmas Party I ended up in Emergency for some bleeding – we were scared to death… I got in and saw the OB that I’d seen two years previous when I had a cyst rupture… she was really great.  She said that things looked okay and that I was to come back the following day for an ultrasound and to enjoy our party that evening. The bleeding had stopped.  It was hard to relax and enjoy the party but I tried. We went back to the hospital on Christmas Eve for the ultrasound and it was confirmed that all was well… everything looked okay! Christmas was lovely and quiet, just the two of us…well three of us..  we were a little emotionally exhausted so we used the down time to rest as much as possible.

Just over 11 weeks… regular checkup with my dr… She said I could hear the heartbeat! I thought this would just be a quick checkup appointment!… I was so excited.. I recorded the heartbeat to send to Chris… he didn’t come to the appointment because I thought it was just a quick check in.  I was so excited after hearing babes little ticker that when I was out running some errands I popped into GAP and found some adorable babe clothes to put away for next fall and Christmas 🙂 And Michaels had a smoking deal on baskets so I picked some up for the nursery.

12 weeks 3 days screening ultrasound… everything on the ultrasound looked great but a protein in the bloodwork portion of the screen put babe as high risk… This wasn’t diagnostic but still we were devastated… worried… anxious… The delivery of the information was very grave and came along with apologies… and they didn’t charge us for our disk of images from the ultrasound which made it all seem just that much worse.  We booked the CVS appointment immediately, to follow up with a diagnostic test, and began the wait for the appointment the following week. We did stop in to see our family Dr to talk about the screen results and what it all meant… and then we took the afternoon after the screening ultrasound off from work and laid on the couch and tried our best to turn off our brains, check out, and watch movies… I went to work the next day but I wasn’t fit to be there. I spent the next number of weeks at work welled up fighting back tears.

13 weeks 3 days CVS appointment… ultrasound check complete… heartbeat good, everything looks good… Dr arrives to do the procedure and double checks everything himself via ultrasound then starts to get things underway… only they couldn’t complete the CVS procedure through the abdomen as the placenta is posterior, and then they couldn’t complete the test internally as I have a fibroid that had grown and misaligned the route… they just couldn’t make the angle to get the sample required. The next test would be the amniocentesis and it couldn’t be done for two weeks.

We booked the amniocentesis immediately… the two week wait began… The days following the CVS appointment I was bluer than blue. I was too nervous again and fearful to be excited about being pregnant…  Chris constantly worked at cheering me up with his hopeful attitude, reassurance, and love.

Early February at 15 weeks 3 days: Amnio appointment… this was nerve wracking… but it was the day. Chris held my hand and kept me calm. The Dr was incredibly nice and the procedure, surprisingly, went quickly with little to no side effects (other than frazzled nerves). The Dr described the procedure as he was doing it… starting with “you’ll feel a light scratch” which produced in my mind a much better mental image that I had developed independently…  we had the tech turn off the large ultrasound screen on the wall as seeing a needle enter into my uterus through my abdomen wasn’t something I was sure that I could handle… “halfway through”… “we’re done”… The Dr even showed us the tube of amniotic fluid that he had obtained… neat but ew but neat… I rested all weekend.

16 weeks… Monday, all day, I was on edge just waiting for the phone to ring… nothing all day. I could hardly focus at work… Pickle and I were sitting on the couch watching whatever we could find to distract our frazzled brains after the work day… then the phone rang… it was almost 6pm and it was the Family Dr calling… She received the results before the clinic who had done the procedure had called… she mentioned that she knows these things are hard to wait for so wanted to call me as soon as she could with the results.  The results came back and everything was okay with the babe! I made her confirm what she said… and then she let us know that we’re having a BOY!  Pickle hopped up from the couch, danced a jig, and teared up… I just sat there… I couldn’t cry… I was all cried out from the anxiety since week 12… but I could breath again. I felt lighter. And I also finally felt like making our official announcement with a little gentle nudge and reassurance from Pickle.

I did still have a concern past this test… the low pregnancy associated plasma protein detected in screen has been linked to issues in pregnancy such as growth restriction of the babe and high blood pressure for the mama… For the love of all that is sacred don’t google low papp-a if you have it… just talk to your Dr. because they know you, they know your case, and they will likely ease your mind about the whole situation. I made the mistake of googling and sent myself into a panic… a couple times… so we chatted with our family Doc and she made me feel much less panicky, but the general concern was still there in my mind.

Early in March we started looking around for the serious things… stroller and car seat… and we picked them up!… I still felt nervous about jumping in and getting these things (so early? but really was it early?) but Chris’s reassurance that everything would be fine calmed the ol nerves.

Week 22 doppler scan at the end of March to check the uterine artery… Waiting until 22 weeks was recommended as everything would be bigger and easier to see… The MFM Clinic had a new machine which helped to distract me from my nerves and gave us an incredible look at our sweet babes face! MIND BLOWN! It looks like a photograph of his darling little face… check out that sweet itty bitty button nose!

The uterine artery doppler checks the flow of blood between mother and babe… I was concerned that the placenta wasn’t functioning properly as potentially indicated by the low papp-a. After the scan they put us in a room where the Dr would come and chat with us about the results… He had good and reassuring news for us! The uterine artery doppler looked great! The placenta was functioning as it should, though we do have marginal insertion of the umbilical cord (meaning its attached near the edge of the placenta and not at the centre as is the typical connection point)… so we are relieve that it is functioning well, but with a small size of nerves though the Dr’s have not shown concern about the connection as things look to be functioning as they should… Babe was still measuring a little small but he had grown consistently since the last scan, which is good but it was recommended that we return in 3-4 weeks for another ultrasound to monitor the babes growth.  Our Family Dr had given us the heads up that we may be up for monthly scans as a result of the low papp-a… Monthly ultrasounds!? I don’t mind one bit… that just means we get to see our baby bear’s progress every couple of weeks!

Now I’m finally feeling like I can be excited, without fear, and we’ve been picking up some darling things for babe!

Just before I hit 27 weeks I’ll be switching over from our Family Doc to the incredible OB Dr. LeJour! I never did receive a call in regards to a mid wife after applying, though I hounded the nearest practice for weeks after I’d applied… BUT I have an incredible OB, and now we also have an incredible Doula that will be supporting us… Sacred Nest. We’ve signed up for our Birth and Babies class and I’m ferociously working my way through The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and Sweet Sleep, two great books from a dear friend.

Looking back now over the past 24 weeks I do feel sad about the rocky start and I wish I could have let go and enjoyed that early time more… but I was just so afraid. Until I had results saying all was going well I just couldn’t relax. I am so grateful that we’re past what has been one of the scariest chunks of time in our lives back to the most exciting!… Now I’ll be making up for that lost time savouring every little kick and new experience, and sharing about it along the way.

xx

Lacey

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