Jan 12, 2012

Potentially my last year of CD'ing..

It dawned on me last night that 2012 could potentially be my last year using cloth diapers, and that makes me a little sad!  Gaby was toilet trained by the time she was 2 1/2, and if that is the same for Emersyn, that would mean she'll be out of cloth by the end of the year.  Well - minus the one night time diaper.  The thought of going from numerous diapers a day to SEVEN a week makes me sad...

At least Mums and Bums will be there for me to get my cloth fix - and even if I'm not using cloth diapers myself, I can always help other women choose which cloth diapers are right for them and their baby, and (I hope!) look at lots of babies showing off their cloth butts!

I know I haven't posted a lot lately, but I'm going to try to fix that :) 2012 is going to be a very exciting year for me as far as cloth diapering goes, and I cannot wait to share it with you all!

While I'm at it - happy 2012 to all my followers!  I hope this year is a good one for each and every one of you!

Nov 28, 2011

Want to win a Sunbaby 4.0???

If you would like the chance to win a Sunbaby 4.0 (which for you New Zealanders, means being among the FIRST IN THE COUNTRY TO HAVE ONE!) then all you need to do is 'like' the Mums And Bums Facebook page, and stay tuned for our competition announcement - which will be happening VERY soon!

Our website is almost ready to go live, so we feel it's about time to get Mums and Bums out there!

Good luck to all of you who enter!

Nov 13, 2011

introducing.. Mums and Bums!

I've mentioned a few times that my sister and I are going into the cloth nappy business, well now that our website is close to ready, and all our stock is arriving, I thought I'd share the general premise of the business!

Mums and Bums.  Our aim is to demistify the often daunting world of cloth diapering, and make cloth diapering easier and more enjoyable!  Upon start up we'll be stocking five brands of diapers - Little Lamb, Bummis, Real Nappies, Ecobubs and Sunbaby, and we will hire out trial packs, containing all those brands (or more customised, depending on the customers needs/wants) so that parents can get an idea of what they like about certain brands, and dislike about others - and hopefully work out which cloth diapers are going to be the best option for them & their little ones.  We are also going to be the distributors of Boingo's for New Zealand.  Along with our trial packs, we will also be selling the various brands I mentioned, it won't be necessary to do a trial pack, in order to buy from us.

We are also going to be making and selling cloth products for Mum's - cloth breastpads and cloth sanitary pads, but these will probably be a bit further down the line.  I am also going to be making and selling fleece and PUL covers to sell.  Really the sky is the limit!

We aren't 100% sure when we'll be 'going live', but we are certainly getting ready for that - and we have a fabulous graphic designer working on our website, which is going to look amazing when it's finished!  

It's a very exciting time for myself, my sister and my brother-in-law, and I can't wait to share the journey with all of you!!!!

If you want proof that we really are in existance, just check out our website so far... is it rather sad that I cried *just a little* when my sister gave me the link to this? Mums and Bums

Oct 16, 2011

I have learnt 2 things today!

I've had a very rewarding day!

look at that floaty-less golden liquid!
First off I decided to make some more liquid soapnuts, but I needed to strain the mixture to try to stop little bits of soapnut getting into the liquid... being that I need a new sieve, I really had nothing to use - but in a moment of genius, decided to try a couple of disposable diaper liners - and it worked!  I put the two liners on the top of the jar, and kind of poked them inside a little, then with one hand around the neck of the jar, I poured the mixture into the jar with the other..... and it was a great success!  After I'd strained all the liquid, I put the soapnuts inside the liners and then squeezed out the excess saponin into my liquid soapnuts...  it stopped my hands from smelling quite so much like soapnuts, and was also a lot less messy.  Upon further inspection, I was unable to really see any floaties in the liquid - and then patted myself on the back, for a job well done.

my cute little model
Freshly converted prefold-fitted!
Another thing I learnt today, is that I'm quite clever.  Really.  With Emersyn's blister issue, I have been using prefolds - and because of my newfound love of fitteds, I decided to have a look online and see how easy it would be to convert some prefolds into fitteds.  Not too hard, so it seemed.  I armed myself with a prefold, my pattern, my scissors, elastic and my sewing machine, and after not too long (an hour?) I finished and held the completed diaper in my hand.  And it looked pretty good!  The sewing on it was pretty rushed - because I made it while Emersyn was asleep, but it's definitely something that'll be easy to make look tidier, with a little extra time.  I followed this tutorial, and found that making it was actually easier than I had thought it'd be after reading the tutorial, I think anyone who can sew a straight line, would be fine with attempting this particular tutorial - and I can't imagine that others would be overly different.  I used toddler size Real Nappies prefolds, because I find the size down aren't able to be snappi'ed comfortably now, but at the same time the toddler size is ENORMOUS...  I think the size is pretty good for Emersyn - it'll allow for growth, but at the same time the rise is somewhat adjustable, so it fits - as a fitted - perfectly. 

Oct 15, 2011

New problem... blisters

No way to put it nicely - Emersyn has blisters on her vagina and bottom...  This happened awhile ago when I switched to new detergent - I switched back and the issue went away, however over the past few days I've noticed the blisters have come back, and no amount of cream seems to make them go away....

I have come to two possible conclusions - after months of no reaction whatsoever, she is now developing an irritation/reaction to microfleece, OR we are finally getting detergent build up in the staydry layer of the diapers I'm using (most of which are microfleece).  I'm not sure where to start trying to fix the problem - for fixing the build up I just need to strip the diapers, but am a little apprehensive about putting my pockets in a hot wash, because last time I did that all but 1 of the diapers delaminated...  For fixing an irritation to microfleece - well, I just cut out the microfleece!

I think my little plan of attack may be to put her in prefolds for the next couple of days, and during that time strip the diapers I've been using lately (because there seems to be a core group that I reach for at the moment)...  My thinking is that her bum SHOULD clear up in prefolds, and then I am going to introduce microfleece LINERS into the mix - if her bum starts getting horrible again, I can pretty much come to the conclusion that it's the microfleece causing the issue.  If her bum stays normal - I can put her back in the diapers I have been using - and if her bum stays normal still, I can determine that it was build up that was causing her bum to go all nasty.  If it gets rashy again, I guess I strip those diapers again and cross fingers that after 2 strips it's all back to normal.

Beyond that - well, I hope there IS no beyond that.  I love cloth so much & hate when I'm having issues...  If I end up needing to keep her in prefolds, then so be it... I like prefolds... and I like ANY cloth diaper 50,000,000x more than a disposable!

Stay tuned...

Oct 5, 2011

Having SEW much fun!

I got a sewing machine for my birthday and have been giving it a whirl...  I have to say that even though I HATED sewing at high school, I'm having a LOT of fun sewing now!  I've pretty much mastered the art of fleece soakers, and have even made a pair of fleece longies - which were really easy, probably easier than the soakers.  My sister and I are starting a cloth-related business, so I've been practicing making some items we are hoping to sell - and it keeps me occupied for hours on end.

My latest fleece soaker.... I call this 'watermelon'!
There is something so... rewarding... about sewing - because within a matter of minutes you have a product developing right in front of your eyes, and with items like soakers it is literally minutes until you've got a finished product RIGHT there, ready to use.  I enjoy knitting, but hate that it takes so long to see major results - well, when it comes to me it does anyway.  Sewing hasn't really cost me a lot to date - most of the fabric I've been using has been fabric I've already had at home - old fleece blankets, tops etc...  Can't complain when you have a store quality item, that hasn't cost you anything - or has cost you verrrry little.

I have to give big ups to 'Katrina' who has put her soaker pattern on her blog for anyone to use - it's the soaker pattern that I use (and LOVE), she has various sizes, and also patterns for making larger soakers (up to XXXL I believe), and for longies/shorties.  You can find the blog & pattern here Katrina's Free Soaker Pattern, the patterns themselves are on the right hand tool bar, if you scroll down a bit (in line with the 'Just a Soaker' blog post).  What I really really love is that she has given permission for the pattern to be used for commercial use - so long as you donate to particular organisations, or make one to give away for the price of postage.

I am attempting to make breastpads and mama cloth at the moment too, and while nothing I've made is FABULOUS, it's all very functional, and I am learning as I go.  It's nice to experiment with fabric and with various stitches...  After almost 5 years of feeling like I'm 'just a Mum', it is nice to be doing something that makes me feel like I'm contributing in some way - I'm doing something that is completely seperate from 'just being a Mum'.. and it makes me feel really good about myself.

I wish I could share more about our business plans - but that will all come out soon!

Until then, I'm armed with my sewing machine, PUL, bamboo, hemp, microfleece, suede cloth, flanelette, aplix, FOE... and many glorious sewing related bits and pieces...

Oct 3, 2011

Creativity has its price...

My first ever PUL cover...
I got a fancy new sewing machine for my birthday, so have been getting a bit out of my comfort zone and attempting to sew all manner of cloth diaper related items.  I have generally had success - which is a lovely feeling, and I'm feeling quite proud of myself.  I made my hardest thing yet on Saturday night - a PUL diaper cover/wrap... I used velcro/aplix for the first time, and FOE (fold over elastic), and was amazed when the wrap was finished and actually looked half decent.

Action shot...
I was confident enough that it was functional enough to use, so put it on Emersyn on Sunday morning - we did a little photo shop, and I assessed my work, noticed a few areas that needed some tweaking etc.  Generally I just looked at the wrap and felt rather pleased with myself.  A functional PUL cover, made by ME - who would have thunk it?

Nap time rolled around and Emersyn was in the wrap, with a trifolded prefold underneath.  I noticed a little of the cotton that was holding one of the velcro tabs on had come a bit loose, but made the executive decision that it was still able to be used.  I'd just sew it on a bit better after her nap.

Lesson one - NEVER send a product out (even if it's just to your daughter) if you aren't 100% happy with the workmanship.

Emersyn went to sleep - and ended up having a rather hefty nap.  I decided  after 2 hours that I should go in and check on her, just incase she was awake and was up to mischief.  Not that she could get up to a lot of mischief in her cot.  Right?

Upon opening the door I was met with a wall of STENCH...  "Oh my - she must have done a might big poo", I thought to myself - suddenly wishing that I had actually Snappi'ed the prefold...  Oh well - she had a cover on - the mess would be limited to that.  Right?


Uh oh.
Looking at my daughter the first thing that struck me was that she had a bare bum.  The second thing that struck me?  Poos.  Everywhere.  Sheets, blankets, quilt, blankie, arms, legs, tummy, face, in between toes, on bottoms of feet, dummy/pacifier...  She was SOUND asleep - and all I could do was look at the scene in front of me in dismay, while compiling a 'to do' list in my head.  Run bath, bath child, strip cot, wash ALL bedding, wash the cot down, make bed....  I rang my Mum to share the news with her, and it was then that Emersyn woke up - in a rather festive mood...

I knew that I had to either see the funny side in the situation, or cry cry cry.. being that I was in a good mood, I saw the funny side.  Being upset about it wasn't going to clean the mess up!

I ran a bath, then put Emersyn in it.. and after two changes of bath water she was sufficiently clean.  Got her dried and dressed, then attacked the bedding - which I threw outside, because my washing machine had recently finished a hot wash, and after a hot wash it takes a couple of hours to work again.  Yea, perfect timing for THAT to happen!

Eventually the bedding got washed, and the cot got re-made... and we all lived happily ever after - and I learnt a few little lessons along the way, one of the most important?? REINFORCE REINFORCE REINFORCE TABS!

Sep 21, 2011

Who knew it could be so easy?

After all my night time diapering dramas, I have suddenly found the perfect night time diapering solution for Emersyn.  I'm using a fitted - or a pocket, with a pad folded flat as a booster, then putting a fleece cover or a woolen cover over top... and bobs your uncle!  No leaks, no wet clothes, no wet bedding - and not a lot of bulk either!  I forgot how absorbent a simple pad folded flat can be.  I think all I need now is to get my A into G & make some fleece liners, so that they can have a staydry layer, and it'll be perfect.

I don't even really care which fitted or pocket I use, because I know that the addition of the pad folded flat will give me enough absorbency (me/her) - and with the wool or fleece cover over top, it's pretty much a bullet proof solution!  When I use a pocket diaper, I use two microfiber inserts as well, but I could probably get away with just using one.

I think the ONE thing I have learnt from all this night time drama, is that the COVER you use is the most important factor, and that pocket diapers often leak if they are by themselves, no matter how perfect the fit is.  Obviously with wool and fleece you do need a reasonable amount of absorbency in the actual diaper, but if you do have enough, the wool/fleece is essentially bullet proof (well, wee proof!).

It makes me laugh to think that for SOOOOOOOOOO many months I refused to use fitteds overnight (and to be honest, I have no idea why...) - and in the end it was FITTEDS that were part of the solution.

Now to get my hands on more woolen soakers, and to make some more fleece soakers - the perfect task for my new sewing machine I'm getting tomorrow! (happy birthday to MEEEEEE)...

Have any of my readers fallen in love with wool or fleece for night time?

Sep 7, 2011

Night time is just Snazzi!

I've posted a lot about my issues with overnight cloth diapering, and leaks - but in June-ish I finally found something that worked for me, and started using prefolds and covers overnight.  I got a little bored with that and started using pockets at night time again, and using woolen or fleece covers - because they NEVER leak, and well, sometimes it's nice to just throw a diaper on, and not worry about if you have 50,000 natural fiber boosters and the like.  I was qutie happy using FuzziBunz petite overnight, with 2 microfiber inserts and 1 bamboo or hemp booster, but I still didn't feel 100% successful, because often around the legs would be a bit damp (take into mind she often sleeps for 14 hours at night)...  BUT with the wool/fleece soakers - leaks that made it to the clothes or bedding were never an issue, so I let it slide.

A fabulous friend of mine gave me a whole bunch of fitteds and covers she'd used with her kiddos, including some size 2 Snazzipants - I had used size 1 Snazzi's when Emersyn was younger, but after she grew out of them never got around to upsizing - for once I couldn't justify buying MORE diapers, when I already have a bunch sitting in the diaper chest, waiting to be used.  My friend told me that she'd loved using Snazzipants overnight - something I'd not really tried, because as a whole I'm not too fond of fitteds, because of how wet they get, however I decided to give it a go one night....

I took a Snazzipants fitted, and then used a trifolded infant prefold and put it inside, along with a hemp booster, which has a staydry layer on it, and I finished it all off with a lovely woolen soaker.  I expected a soaking diaper the next morning - and that the wool would be damp - but was amazed when I got her up, took her pj's off and found that the soaker felt perfectly dry - and what is more, the Snazzi fitted wasn't even FULLY wet - there were still some dry patches on the outside!!!!  It hasn't been intentional really, but since then I've been using the Snazzi's at night, and haven't had ONE leak.  Even with the woolen cover on, the diaper isn't too bulky - and it seems to fit perfectly, because there are no gapes between her tummy and the top of the diaper, which is something that I seem to find happens with all other diapers I've used at night (except the Ecobubs woolen pockets).

I know a lot of my readers are from outside of New Zealand, and aren't able to get Snazzipants - but if you EVER find one somewhere, buy it!!!  They're a great little fitted, and they are nice and gentle around the legs.. and also nice and soft and fluffy...  The brand new Snazzi's are DIVINE, I have never felt material so soft, and to be honest I'm quite jealous that babies get to have such softness on their tushies!

I'm writing this from my parents computer and have no photos on hand, but in the next couple of days I'll post some photos of Emmy in her Snazzi's!

Sep 6, 2011

Nuts about Soapnuts

I will start by simply saying Soapnuts are AWESOME.. and they are by far my favourite 'detergent' for washing cloth diapers.

Soapnuts in their dried shell form
Most of you probably haven't heard of them before - basically they are a fruit that is grown on trees, and when they are wet they release Saponin - natures own soap.  Unlike manufactured detergents, the suds are very mild - which makes it perfect for use on cloth diapers.  Soapnuts can be purchased as the dried shells, powder and liquid... and can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
- in the dishwasher
- liquid soap
- body wash
- shampoo
- cleaning and detoxyifying food
- cleaning jewellery
- natural pesticide
- dandruff control
- window cleaning
- general cleaning

I was very wary before I used them the first time, I didn't really understand how something so... natural.. could clean anything well enough - especially cloth diapers, which obviously have the potential to get very stinky.  My first use was just using the shells in the machine - and I was blown away when I took out a microfiber insert out of the machine, put it up to my nose and couldn't smell anything.  AT ALL.  There was no ammonia smell, no poo smell, just no smell at all.  They smelt FRESH. I put them to a second test with a load of clothes, and again the clothes came out smelling nice and fresh, and were clean.

up close an personal with a Soapnut shell
I was quite happy using Soapnuts this way for some time - then read that you could make your own liquid detergent, so decided to give that ago.  I was never too sure with my Soapnut shells, whether or not they could go through another use or not, so figured that with liquid I wouldn't have that problem.  I boiled up about 15 shells in 4 cups of water for half an hour, and at the end I had a murky brown coloured liquid, which I allowed to cool and then bottled.  Again I was a bit wary before trying the liquid - but afterward the results were the same as with the shells - if not a little better.

From then on I've been using Soapnuts liquid on my diapers, and occasionally on our clothes - for some reason I prefer to use manufactured detergent on the clothes, I think because of the scent.  That said, you can easily add scent to soap nuts, by using a few drops of essential oils with the wash.  Another reason for the manufactured detergent with our clothes, is that while Soapnuts CLEAN really well, they aren't really able to cope with stains - and with two children at daycare/preschool, their clothes come home covered in all matter of dirt, paint and other messes associated with fun.  As with the scent though, you CAN use various natural agents to remedy stains - I find lemon juice is really good for helping with minor stains, and to give clothes/diapers a bit of a brightness boost.

Last week I needed to make another batch of liquid soapnuts - and got to thinking that it'd be SO handy if I didn't need to add extra things to the wash to help with stain removal and softening fabrics, and on a whim decided I would ADD lemon juice and white vinegar to my liquid I had finished making.  While the liquid was cooling I added to the glass jar/bottle the juice of 2 lemons, and also 1 cup of white vinegar.  I had no idea if it would ACTUALLY work - but I figured if it didn't, I could tip it all out and just make another batch of the liquid.  The liquid cooled, and I poured it into my bottle with the vinegar/lemon juice mix, and we were good to go.
Soapnuts liquid - shaken up so you can see the suds that form

Because some of my diapers were getting a bit 'crunchy' from drying them inside on the clothes airer, I decided to use my liquid on the diapers first... they came out of the machine smelling nice and fresh, and I then put them in the drier - and much to my delight, when I took them out my prefolds and inserts all felt LOVELY and soft... and just a little crisper [ie white].  I figured my mixture had been a success, but wanted to know if it would last for more than a couple of days [particularly the lemon juice element] - but am happy to report that a week on, the diapers are coming out exactly the same as they did in that first wash.  Usually I keep my detergent under the washing basin, where it is cool and dark, but decided to keep it in the fridge in hopes that that would prevent the lemon juice spoiling.  So far so good.  I'm also wondering NOW if adding a certain amount of lemon juice will leave the diapers smelling lightly of lemon, but I have no idea if that's even possible.  I may experiment at some point...

As a little side note - in the 4-ish months I've been using Soapnuts on my diapers, I've not once had to strip my inserts, which prior to Soapnuts, was something I had to do once a month.  I have absolutely NO issue with stinky microfiber now.