Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cloth Diapers ROCK!

When I was pregnant with my daughter in 1999, I considered cloth diapering. I researched the matter and the only options I really came up involved plastic pants and expensive diaper services. When I got pregnant again last year, I checked into it again, and boy have things changed! You wouldn't believe the options out there! No more visions of gramma scrubbing bulky, rectangular poo-catchers on a's cloth is innovative, comfortable, and perfect for the environmentally concious and/or frugal parent.

I knew cloth diapering would save me money, but it wasn't until recently that I really sat down and totaled it up. If my diapers resell for what I think they will (what I'm SURE they will), I will have spent approximately $200 diapering Evren until he's potty trained. Compare that to an estimated $2,000 to diaper in disposables! My figures don't take into account the extra washing and laundry detergent, but even with that factored in, I'm still saving a bundle. And I like saving bundles.
Aside from the money issue, there are several more reasons why I love cloth:

- Diaper rash is just a memory. The only case we've had in six months was the result of using disposables on an out-of-town trip. I love the idea of soft fleece up against my baby's skin.
- The cloth has been virtually odor-free. Now, this may change once he begins eating solids, but for the moment, we're enjoying fresh air. I never liked the way that wet dispoables smelled kind of chemically.

- They're CUTE! Fluffy baby tushies are extra adorable. Plus, cloth diapers come in all sorts of beautiful prints.

- They're more absorbant. We've had very few poo-splosions.

- They're good for the environment. It's pretty self-explanatory. No diapers sitting in landfills for 500 meeellion years. Some may argue that the water and detergent use has just as much of a negative impact, but actually more water, chemicals, and resources are used in the manufacturing of disposables than in the washing of cloth.
- They're super easy to use. Most people think of pins and plastic pants when they think of cloth diapers, but those days are pretty much history. Today there are diapers that go on and fit almost exactly like disposables and are virtually fool-proof.

A small warning though: cloth diapers are so cute that many moms find themselves addicted. Never fear, I'm here to fueling the addiction! *evil laugh*

Here are my favorite cloth diapers found on Etsy. I defy anyone to find any cuter. Seriously.
These little cuties are from GreenWayBabywear ( OR I've never seen the tie-on style before now! I bet they look just adorable on. Greenway also offers some lucious handknit organic wool soakers.

This flashy little number is from The Eli Monster( This style is called and AIO (all-in-one) diaper. It's works just like disposable, only you throw it in the wash instead of the trash! This shop has
bunches of adorable prints...definitely check her out!

Next, here are some beautiful fitted diapers from Wee Ones By Jajoc ( These are made from lovely soft sherpa. She also makes them in organic cotton and bamboo! These look so soft and lovely for baby.

OK, how adorable is this?! This little diaper is made from cotton thermal knit, and inside it's hemp/cotton fleece. As an added bonus, it also has a snap-in soaker for the super heavy wetter *coughMY.SONcough*. You can find this little cutie at New York Diaper Company ( OR

I wish I had these when my daughter was a baby! Maybe I'll try for another girl...ok, no I won't. But anyway, these little AIO's are super sweet. It's made from waterproof PUL outside with micro chamois and microfleece on the inside. Katnappies has more cutie-patootie AIO's in her shop! (

Thinking about cloth diapering, but not sure where to start? Georganne to the rescue! ( She offers a cute-yet-practical starter set that includes both fitteds and covers, plus a free doubler! She's also very accomodating for customs orders and has lots of other baby and mama-minded products in her shop.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Help Christine's Family

A fellow Etsy'er, Christene, is dealing with a family tragedy. Her husband has been missing since February 13. Read more here:

In response, many fellow Esty shop owners and buyers are banding together to help her family financially through this hard time.

One generous heart is sewphisticate. Her shop is here: (Check out the Chinese Take Me Out Purse...Oh.mah.God. How gorgeous!). She has a section just for Christine and her family, whereby 100% of the sales will go directly to them:

Please consider purchasing someof these cute items and help this family in need!

Thanks for looking!

If anyone else is donating to Christine's family, contact me and I will include your information here!

Book Review - Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants
Sara Gruen
Algonquin Books
350 pages
April 2007

This'll be short and sweet because I really don't want to give anything away.

This story opens with a piece of masterful foreshadowing...the climax of the story is laid right out on the first three pages. However, just enough key details are left out so that you don't really know what happens until those three pages are repeated toward the end of the book. You think you do, but you don't. Bwahaha.

Having lost everything, young Jacob Jankowski leaves his studies at Cornell and mindlessly ends up on The Flying Squadron of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. The author weaves the history of the Depression Era traveling circus with a sweet yet murderous love story, all told through the eyes of the 93 year old Jacob whose failing mind could never forget. Oh, and I can't forget to mention the "trainwreck" sex know, the kind that will scar you for life if you keep looking, yet you can't tear yourself away. (This was a circus, remember.)

I admit that the book didn't get to "can't put it down" status until about 3/4 of the way in. It was good, but I could put it down and forget about it for a few days. Once I hit a certain point though, it could not be torn from my hands. I stayed up until 3 am that night just so I could finish it, and then I laid awake for another couple hours thinking about it.

This is a definite must-read...4 out of 5 stars from me!

Friday, February 8, 2008


So, whilst browsing the postings at SMs, I see one titled "Last Day to Sign Up!" Since I never want to miss signing up for stuff that I will probably not follow through with, I jumped on the thread and found a link to "Thing-A-Day". The basic concept is that you commit to doing one thing per day for the entire month of February...wether it's cooking, crafting, writing poetry, whatever. Then you post your creations for everyone to see.

Here are my postings so far...I have kept up with it pretty well, although I had to really be creative with some of my postings. :)

And here are the links to my SMs friends' pages...
and Merlot:

Let me know if you're doing Thing-A-Day so I can watch you too!!

Look at this baby!

I love him, I love him, I love him! He is seriously the sweetest, snugliest, most smiley baby you'll ever meet. I swear, he's already got flirting down to a science.

I want him to stop growing...he is perfect like this.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wire Wrapped Ring Tutorial

Whenever I show someone these rings, people thing I'm like a super-talented jewelry designer person or something. Which I'm not. I'm just good at making relatively simple things look really impressive...and now you can too! These rings are great for gifts!

I didn't remember to turn my macro on until I was almost finished. Sorry about the blurry photos!

Materials needed:

About 18 inches of 22 gauge wire (can be craft wire, sterling silver, gold-filled, whatever)
Bead or stone (8-12 mm is the best size)
Ring mandrel
wire cutters
chain nose pliers

Start by placing your bead onto the wire, about 2/3 of the way along.

Begin placing your wire on your mandrel. Start a full ring size bigger than what you intend your finished ring to be. I am starting at 8 because I want my finished ring to be a size 7.

Turn your mandrel over and position the bead in the channel. Now you're ready to start wrapping!

Holding the the bead in the channel, wrap each side of the wire aroubd the mandrel twice. Once you have done that, the front will look like this (3 loops of wire showing):

And the back will look like this (4 loops of wire showing):

Pinch your wires together and push them under your bead. Make sure the back wires don't get criss-crossed!

Check the short end of the wire. Is it coming up from the bottom or top? Either way is fine, but don't cross over when you start wrapping! Take the short end of the wire and wrap it around the bead once, crossing to the other side. Leave it there.

Take the long end of the wire and begin wrapping it. The first time around, just go slightly away from the bead. The second time around, go as close to the bead as possible. The third and subsequent times, wrap away from the bead. Keep going until you are satisfied with the look (or you run out of wire!)

Take the ring off the mandrel.

Take the loose ends of the wire on one side and wrap it around and around the band until you are satisfied with the look. (Some people go all the way arounf the band, but I'm not a fan of that look). Count the number of wraps. Now do the same amount of wraps on the other side.

Trim the ends of the wires as close to the band as possible.

Use the chain nose pliers to smoosh the end flat so that it won't stratch your can be sharp!

Check the size by placing the ring back on the mandrel, band across the numbers.

Straighten and smooth the band by beating it to death. You can use a tack hammer, but I like to use the soft-grip handle of my crimper because there's less of a chance of marring the wire.

Take it off the mandrel, check it, admire it, then put it on your finger and when people ask where you got it, you can say, "I made it!" and everyone will gasp in amazement!

Hints and tips:

Around 90% of people can wear a size 7 ring on at least one of their fingers, so when in doubt, make it size 7!

Craft wire and base metals are the easiest to work with. Fine metals, such as sterling and gold-filled, are more sproingy...if you loosen your grip at all before you wrap the sides, your ring will spring open and your beads will fly everywhere! Practice a bit with the craft wire before venturing on to fine metals.

Round beads are easiest to work with. Flat beads are the hardest because the wires won't stay under the bead when you pinch them together before wrapping.

You can use more than one bead! Experiment!

Don't get too frustrated. It does take practice!

If you find you're feeling like you don't have enough hands, feel free to place the mandrel between your knees. That's what I do! I like to think I'm working my thighs as I am squeezing the mandrel with my knees. :)

Feel free to comment or email with any questions.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Just a bit about me, in case you were wondering. Then we can get started with the good crafty stuff!

Hi, I'm Casey, and I'm a craftaholic. (this is where everyone says: Hi Casey!). I'm friends with all crafts, unfortunately for my husband, who frequently has to move a sewing machine to eat at the table, and constantly has to endure stepping on beads and headpins. My favorite crafts are scrapbooking, jewelry making, collage and decoupage, photography, and I'm just getting started with sewing, but I can tell it's a keeper. (Yay, fabric!)

On the personal side: I'm 29 years old, therefore I'm no longer celebrating my birthday. I'm married to the bestest guy in the world, Taykin, who I fell in love with in London and we'll soon be celebrating a decade together. I'm mom to Mehlynn, 8 years old, a sweet,smart, extremely creative and talented little girl who just lights up the room. And we recently welcomed a gorgeous little boy into our family, little baby Evren, who was born last August. There we all are up there in the corner. That was Christmas 2007.

I am an elementary school teacher with seven years teaching 4th grade in NC public schools. When I found out I was expecting Evren, we decided to have me stay at home with him for a few years. I'm enjoying being home, but for someone who's used to working VERY hard at her career, it's been quite a transition. In an effort to keep my brain from turning to mush, I'm on a crafting, blogging, Etsy-ing spree. I hope someone can use and enjoy what I put out there for you...tutorials, examples, thoughts and ideas, and handmade goodies for purchase.
Oh, I almost's my Etsy address:
Quiz: Can you tell why my blog and shop are titled "Across the Pond"? Think hard...a clue is in this post!