Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Burp Cloths!

When I had our first son, I would receive these very thin, very light weight burp cloths as gifts. I personally was looking at them thinking, "these would be great for the bath, but I doubt they will catch any spit up". So, then I did a little research online, and found a few different ideas. One was to take a cloth diaper by Gerber and add cute fabric to it, and then you use that. Well, its cute, but if you actually look at the Gerber cloth diapers, it only has batting in the center. So, your child better have awesome aim! Okay, so that was cute, but not practical enough for me.
     On to another idea.
Saw one that was a square with flannel on each side, and it was okay size, looked like it might work. However, when you put something square on your shoulder, it has a tendency to fall off, it just doesn't sit well. I also later found out (when I had my son) flannel does not catch much. I had spit up running OFF the flannel.
     So, that was a no go.
Then I saw this blog, where she made curved burp cloths, and it had TERRY CLOTH on one side!! Brilliant! Towels absorb heat, wetness, they clean up spills, and we use them in everyday life! Okay so I had to try this burp cloth.

The design was simple:

Pattern, that I designed from something I saw online.


I just modified the design I saw, by making it wider in the round area, and slightly longer in the center. This helped catch more, and also sit better on my shoulder. Now if you make this kind of burp cloth I suggest make a few different patterns, some long, some short, etc. Or you can even measure your shoulder and where you would want the most coverage.

The burp cloth on my shoulder, sitting perfectly in place!

They work well under the little ones while playing!

Also great for bottle fed babies! Tucks right under the chin!
Now, with my first like I said, I made a few, tried a few, and when he came along we were digging through the dryer everyday for the handful of burp cloths I had made with the terry cloth! We loved them! So, then I spent a full 2 nights, after our little guy was asleep; making a ton! I think in all I made somewhere between 30-40 burp cloths! Our first son was formula fed, and for some reason loved to spit up. We were constantly catching spit up multiple times a day, and we were using about 6-10 burp cloths a day. With 30-40 burps cloths we were doing laundry at least twice a week, just for the burp cloths! We had back up ones, that we could careless for, but they were our "crap we need to do laundry" ones!

I believe this was a 1/3 of the burp cloths we had!

I love the ones I made SO much, I began making them for gifts. Then I started getting requests from other people to make them! So, here my collection of burp cloths over the past few months and years!

Made these for my first son, have about 3 times this amount now!
I then made a few as gifts:

I up-cycled old receiving blankets that never got used, and made them into neutral burp cloths.

These were for a lovely little boy!

And these were for a very adorable baby girl!

I then had several requests from people in the area; however, only one person fell through and I got to make some seriously fun boy themed burp cloths:

Thomas the Train and Air Force fabric!

This was 16 burp cloths total!
Applique on burp cloths, polka dot green.

Turtle and flannel yellow.

Red and blue stars.

I love making burp cloths and the ones I make vs. the ones others make, I have found, mine absorb better! Now, the tutorial on this is super easy. Make sure to make your pattern (like I did), and then you can do it two different ways. You can fold the fabric at the center of the pattern or lay it flat. I am going to do the tutorial with it flat, as I am already making multiples in this tutorial. Heres the tutorial.

 Place your pattern on the WRONG side of the fabric, and trace it with a washable fabric marker.
 Then cut, with scissors (unless your a pro with a rotary cutter) along the edge of the marker.
 Now you have your main fabric cut out as the pattern... now continue with each layer!
 Next, trace the pattern onto you terry cloth.
 As you can see I was making several, and my terry cloth is folded so I was cutting two layers at a time.
 Cut out your terry cloth pattern.
 Continue again, tracing your pattern on to a batting. Now, I use a thin, cotton based batting. I prefer an organic, cotton batting as its thin, but still tends to absorb a lot. You DO NOT have to add batting to your burp cloth as I have a few (from those trial runs), that do not have batting and they work just fine! Terry cloth is very absorbent!
 Again, I'm cutting several out, so here are several of the pattern traced onto my batting (again folded, so I can cut two at a time).
 Here is the batting all cut out in the pattern.
 Now your going to layer the 3 fabrics/batting. First lay your cotton (or patterned) fabric down with the RIGHT side of the fabric facing UP! Then place the terry cloth RIGHT side down (so now the two right sides are facing each other). NOTE: my terry cloth doesn't have a right side, however; some cheaper kinds do! So, make sure you know which side you want to use. Lastly place the batting on top on the terry cloth.
 Go around the edge of the three layers of fabric and PIN then together.
 I have a serger, so I continue off to the serger, and serge the entire edge of the burp cloth, leaving about a one and a half inch to a two inch hole open. NOTE: if you do NOT have a serger don't worry you can do a straight stitch about 1/4 inch in from the edge, leaving a 1 1/2 - 2 inch hole. Then switch over to your zig-zag stitch and stitch on the right side of the straight stitch that you just did. The zig-zag stitch will help hold all three pieces of fabric together when you flip them inside out.
 Notice my serged edge and my hole that I am leaving.
 Here is my hole that I have left. This hole is closer to 1 1/2 inches.
 Now, flip the fabrics inside out. This is where you need to pay attention. When you flip the fabric, flip between the cotton/designed fabric and the terry cloth. The terry cloth and batting should flip together, pushing the batting to the inside and placing the cotton/design fabric and terry cloth to the outside of your pattern!
 TA-DA!!! Now you have your burp cloth inside-out! Head over to the ironing board, as you might see its kind of wrinkled and needs a nice press. I now iron the burp cloth, pushing those seams out and making a nice crisp curved edge.
 Now your going to need to push the cotton and terry cloth fabric to the inside of the burp cloth to make a nice flat edge. Just make sure that the terry cloth and cotton/design fabric line up with each other as well as the rest of the burp cloth around the edge. Try not to get any folding in the fabric. Once you have it tucked, I run my iron over the tucked fabric to help hold it in place.
 Grab 3 or 4 pins, and pin the hole closed.
 Head over to your regular sewing machine and now we are going to top stitch around the entire top of the burp cloth. NOTE: in the above photo, I am starting about a 1/2 inch from the hole. I begin with a lock in stitch, and then carefully top stitch over the hole, and make sure your catching both the terry cloth and cotton/design fabric to seal that hole shut! I typically top stitch about 1/8 of an inch from the edge of my burp cloth.
 When I am about to complete my top stitch I overlap where I started slightly (about an inch) and then do another lock stitch to seal the top stitch off.
 Heres what your edge should look like.
 This is what your finished product should look like! You have done it! Great job, now you have an awesome burp cloth to use, or give as an easy baby gift!
 Heres the folded up burp cloth, so dang cute.

Now you can make 3 or 4 or more, tie them up with ribbon and give them as baby shower gifts. If you have enough energy, you can always make bibs (from this tutorial) to add to your baby shower gift or for your personal use! You could always buy matching vinyl and add a splat mat as well, heres my informational sewing run down on how to make one (over here)!

I hope this tutorial is helpful, and feel free to comment or ask questions so I can edit it if need be!

Have fun burp cloth making,
Sarah

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pregnancy Post!!! My Gestational Diabetes (not so fun) Adventure!

Here I am sitting in my bed relaxing and thinking about my day. I spent about 2 hours at the Dr.'s office for a bunch of tests. What for you ask? Well, I have Gestation Diabetes (GD)! Let me give you a little background so you all can catch up!

When you are pregnant, at around 24 weeks you have to take whats called a glucose test. Its super easy; show up, drink a very sugary drink, wait an hour and get your blood drawn. When I did the test with my first child it tasted like orange sunkist on crack, and this time i got fruit punch on crack! I did what all the woman do, drank my drink, and got my blood drawn. I then proceeded to wait for the phone call from my Dr., but I never received one. So, I simply said to myself "I passed". However, something bothered me about it and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Oh well, move on, and thats what I did.

I went back 4 weeks later at 28 weeks and had a great appointment, and wasn't even told anything about my glucose test (again, I thought I passed). I met again at 30 weeks, and thats where the beans finally were spilled. I had GD! I was shocked when the Dr. came into my room and said "So, somehow you slipped through the cracks and you were not informed that you have GD. Well, now that we have caught it, you are now being told you have it." My eyes teared up, my face got hot, my body wanted to run, but my brain told me to sit there, and listen. I asked what happened, and she just simply replied that "I somehow was not caught, that someone forgot to call me, and that SOMEHOW at my last appointment even the Dr. didn't catch it."

30 Weeks Pregnant, now with GD

I calmed myself down as I knew there was a lot of information and questions about to go back and forth between the Dr. and I. I spent what felt like an hour in the room talking to her about; checking my blood glucose/sugar levels, about what to eat, when to eat, when to check my numbers, what were good, what were bad, and how to stay active and stay healthy. I was overwhelmed with anxiety, anger, frustration, confusion, sadness, and so many other emotions all at once. I set up my weekly appointment and proceeded to head home. I cried the entire way home.

I can remember saying "why me?", "they tell me now, after I dug a 6 week hole", "what do I have to change?" I was by far a tiny fish in a huge ocean of new information and challenges. I did not have GD with my first (although, I look back and wonder if I did). I just had to suck it up, and fight this fight. Like all moms, we adjust, learn, and eventually succeed!

The past 3 weeks my life has changed some, and hasn't changed in other areas. I try to walk as much as I can, even if it means to the mailbox and back! I try to stay away from sodas, as much as I crave those coke icees. I try to snack on 6 small meals, and not 3 large ones, but with a one year old that can be a challenge. I measure my blood sugar 5 times a day (which is just a prick of the finger). I recall the first time I did that test, and how I used 3 different test strips, just to get a reading! I even read the instructions, with little help! I eventually figured it out and now I am like an old pro at it.

My kit to test my blood sugar levels!

The Dr. appointments are now weekly instead of biweekly as they would be if I wasn't GD. I get an ultrasound to measure the baby and placenta once a month. I get an ultrasound the rest of the month to measure the fluid inside my uterus to make sure I don't have too much or too little. As both can be bad for the little one! I get a stress test, which is basically you are hooked up to a monitor thats connected to two straps that go around your giant belly, and it tracks the movement and heart beat. You simply push a button every time you feel the baby move, and then the information is reviewed by the doctor. Movement is great, the babies heart beat shouldn't drop or rise drastically, and the baby shouldn't stop moving for LONG periods of time. I do a stress test, as far as I can tell, every week now!

This past week, at my 32 week appointment I was told I needed medicine to help get my sugar levels under control. I was devastated. However, like all patience I take the medicine and hope for the best. I started the medicine, and by the first afternoon I was shaking, confused, sweating, faint feeling, and weak in the knees. I asked a friend what to do and she said eat something. Sure enough, after some peanut butter toast I felt normal again. The second day I took it, even though I was so scared to, I did anyways, and had an even worse spell. I had something to eat, but it seemed to take longer to get back to normal. Then I called the on call nurse and asked her what to do, she said give it another day. I tried, and it all happened again. I skipped the 4th day as I just couldn't handle it anymore. I then waited until the 5th day when my husband was home all day and could help me watch our son. This way I could watch what I was doing, and track my levels even better. I did great, no shaking, no weakness. The only symptom I had was slight dizziness. By my appointment (33 weeks) I felt decent on my medicine. I am not going to say I woke up jumping for joy to take the medicine, but I could manage myself during the day now. When I saw the Dr. for my 33 week appointment, she said the words I didn't want to hear. "I think you need to take the medicine twice a day!"

Oh no, this wasn't happening again was it. I can't go through even more ups and downs like I am some crack addict. I just couldn't. My husband has been against me taking the medicine from day one, so I simply said, "please, is there anything else we can do?" I just really didn't want the second round of medicine. She suggested a food log. Okay, I could attempt that. A food log with my testing, and once a day medicine. I can try this. At most, I do this for a week and she will let me know if I can continue with one pill or if I need to go to two. I will start my food logging tomorrow, and I will have to hold myself accountable for everything now! Lots of walking, lots of water, and lots of protein balanced with fruits and veggies.

So, thats my GD story so far. Ill be sure to keep you all up to date as I go along these next few weeks. I just hope I don't have to take any more medicine!


Ill keep you updated weekly if possible. I hope my story can help those that are dealing with this or just newly GD patience! Chin up, we all can survive this and do amazing things!

Stay Strong,
Sarah

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Splat Mat

My son is one of those kids that loves to feed himself, but really knows how to make a huge mess in the process. We started food around four months old, and now that he is almost 15 months he is loving the idea of a spoon, fork, bowl, etc. For the last few months, when he was done with something, he would toss it or throw it on the floor. A sippy cup I could deal with on the floor, but spaghetti, pasta, yogurt, fruit... not so much! I hated the end of the night when he was bathed, and put to bed and then I had to come back out and clean up everything on the floor. It required, wipes, sponges, and a vacuum (as he was on carpet). The occasional spot cleaner was on hand too! By the time I was heading to bed I smelled like everything from cleaning products to baby wipes, and old food! Now that, was NOT my ideal day!





Off to do research. What could I make to put under the high chair to catch the food. I did a little pinterest searching, a few baby site digging, and even a little facebooking. In the end I found splat mats! Oh yes, this is what I needed. I even had on hand for the time being, while i whipped one up, an old christmas table cloth! Perfect! I looked on different websites, and even etsy only to find them for purchase over $40! YIKES!!! You could buy a cheap table cloth for like $10 bucks at walmart or target, so why spend a penny more. I decided I would just make my own. I looked everywhere, and finally found vinyl. However, the back of vinyl when washed will start to seperate from its original fabric. So, i purchased some vinyl on sale, bought some cheap cotton, and sewed them together.

The cotton grey fabric with the grey vinyl chevron fabric.

Now I had vinyl, with a back, and all the vinyl was sealed! Now, I could wash it, scrub it, wipe it, and hang it up to dry! I purchased 3 yards of vinyl, which comes in very large lengths, and about 5 yards of the cotton. I did a little extra sewing with the cotton, because its shorter in length then the vinyl, but in the end I loved the finished product.

Finished splat mat.

Front view.

Front, vinyl, with back, cotton.

Side view.

To simply make one, I sewed the two fabrics right side together. I serged the edge, but if you dont have one you can straight stitch and then zig-zag around that. Make sure to use painters tape on the bottom of your sewing foot, and you might possibly need to place some on your sewing machine where the fabric will slide across it. Vinyl sticks to pretty much everything, so the painters tape will help keep it from doing so. I then left a small hole, where I flipped the entire thing inside out. My hole was about 4-5 inches. I then used my fingers, no iron, to press all the seams out (from the inside). I then top stitched the hole and then rest of the vinyl to the cotton! The finished product was perfect in size.

My son throws mostly left to right, so I didn't need to worry about the area behind him as he rarely throws in that direction. You may need to alter the size depending on your childs high chair size (as say graco, and other plastic high chairs which I know are a lot larger then my wooden one). You can purchase vinyl at most sewing stores, walmart in our area has some, as well as hobby lobby! You can find it online, but usually its more expensive and shipping is a lot these days. If you can purchase it on sale at a local store or use a % off coupon, then thats your best bet, as the vinyl can get expensive!

Now let your child splat away,
Sarah

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another New Adventure

You might be thinking that our new adventure is becoming parents of two boys, but in this case your wrong! New Mexico, Cannon AFB has been a VERY different experience from living in Okinawa, Japan at Kadena AB, to say the least. The lifestyle, the housing, the "friends", the co-workers, the neighbors and even the stores/purchases are all very different. I was excited, after four years of living in Japan, to finally be moving closer to home and family. New Mexico, how bad could it be? Not horrible right, I mean California was 16-18 hours away! We could plan a trip home every year, family could come see us, etc.

Our home in NM, July 2013


Well, we arrived in New Mexico in July 2012. Not too long ago I know. As we settled in and started to get use to NM, we planned a trip home to California, for our sons first Christmas (so we could be with family). We also were announcing our second baby, on the way, while we were out there. It was a big, exciting trip! When we came back to NM, we were sad to be back, away from our family, but also because the weather was freezing cold, the dirt and dry air were torture on myself and my son! My son got extremely sick, and started coughing a lot. After many weeks of dealing with myself and my son being sick, we decided a trip back to California for our sons 1st Birthday was in order!!

My mother, myself, and my son at Knob Hill, in San Marcos, California.

My son opening gifts!

Day 3 of opening presents!

Leaving California, and clicking family photos!

For the two months between Christmas and our sons 1st birthday I worked like crazy, to get everything ready for the little guys big day! I sewed daily, made packing lists, cleaned, and found someone to watch our cats! It was on, we were heading back to California, again! Another 16-18 hours in the car, but this time I was close to almost 20 weeks pregnant! The trip wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, as I knew I was going to struggle driving and what not, but we made it back. California, family, baking, setting up for the party, Brian turning 1, a Disneyland trip, and then back to NM. It was a quick two weeks, but worth every second. Also, while back in California, our son was so healthy, and so was I. My husband however, not so much! He toughed through it though, so that we all could enjoy our time!

The dessert table! I made the cake,the cupcakes, and the banner! (That will all be in another blog post!)

The Birthday boys 1st birthday cake and a few cupcakes! Our theme was monsters!!

Getting ready for the cake! I made the bib and the crown (again another blog post!)

Digging into his cake! YUM!

Our 3 day trip to Disneyland and California Adventure!


March, April and now May! Yep its been a crazy (almost) year here. I am now 33 weeks pregnant, expecting our second son any week now! We just got an email a few weeks ago, it simply said "check your military email, as you have an assignment waiting".... wait, what? Did that email just say what I thought it said? YEP! It said we had an assignment and we could either accept them or not. My husband and I jumped out of our chairs, ran to our desktop, where he logged onto his military account and we checked the information! There it was, in all its glory...

BEALE AFB, CALIFORNIA!!!!

The actual email, with the assignment!


Oh My Gosh! It says California! No freakin way. We just got one of our Base Of Preferences (BOP)! Now I should mention after our first trip home my husband was trying everything he could to get us orders out of NM, because of how sick, drained, and well everything else we didn't like about NM. My husband tried to cross train with no luck, he applied for every overseas job opening available to his job, and he applied for BOP! We were shocked our BOP got approved! We are over the moon excited to begin our new journey in California, and plan to have family and friends visiting often!

My husbands enlistment was ending this December in 2013, and because of that part of the assignment agreement was that he had to re-enlist! So, he re-enlisted, and we are staying in this crazy, exciting military life for another five years! I can not believe it! Our next journey, our next adventure is back to California! Oh how exciting.

Now that its May, and our bundle of joy, Jared (hopefully) will be here sometime in June, that only gives us July and August after Jared man is here, to pack up and head west! We have to be in Beale not a day before September 1st, and not a day later then September 30! We are excited to take some time off too and head out to see family and show off little Jared man! I can not wait to see what Beale will hold for us!


Photo taken around 32 weeks, by my wonderful husband!


So, thats our exciting news, and I can't wait to close this chapter of our lives, and move to our next! Ill do my best to keep up with my blog, and post pictures as we travel and move, so be sure to come back and stay connected!

Everyday is an adventure,
Sarah