Saturday, June 28, 2008

Greening Mommyhood - Part 3

(If you're just joining us, see Part 1 here and Part 2 here)

Okay, time to finally review all the stuff I've gotten, now that I've actually TRIED them all!

After 4 pre-hot-washes and dryer loads I got impatient and wanted to try out my cloth diapers. I know the Chinese unbleached pre-folds need to be washed 7-10 times to reach maximum absorbancy, but they still seemed pretty absorbent, soft, and fluffy! I figure I'm going to have to wash them a zillion times going forward so they'd get all their washes in. I know, I know, I'm bad at following directions.

So here is how I went about my cloth diapering experimentation, in order of appearance, with my thoughts!


There was not much for instructions with this kit as far as how to actually fold and fit the huge cloth diapers into the wrap. The Bummis wrap had a little illustration here below...they just say
"simply fold the diaper and place it inside the diaper cover."

Granted, when you've never even seen someone do this before, nothing really seems that "simple." But, the illustration shows a cloth diaper just folded lengthwise into thirds (above). Okay, this baby looks I tried that and here's what I got:

Then I read how to prevent leakage, you have to make sure the whole diaper is covered by the outer diaper cover. Hmm... how do I do that with this huge diaper? Yeah, I know, I'm a totally clueless beginner. So, I went to Bummis website and found a nice page that shows HOW to fold the cloth diapers. Oooh, okay, now I got it. Here is their "boy fold:"

Sortof like you're folding a burrito that you want to leave open on one end. Just don't picture it as a burrito if your baby fills it with poop, or you will never want to eat burritos again. (Check out the link to see the "girl fold" and "liquid poo" folds!) So, once I got that whole "step 1" added in there, I could get it to the size of the diaper wrap and fit it all in. I tried putting on the Snappi with the first one, just to see how it worked. Then I promptly took it isn't really necessary because the wrap holds the diaper on just fine. And, I thought if I could avoid putting something with sharp teeth in my baby's diaper, great. Here is my little man sporting his first cloth diaper, inside the wrap (frog print):

It sure did seem to be huge and bulky...I could barely fit his shorts back on over it, and forget about snapping the onesie back on. It looked like he had a basketball in his pants. Poor guy...It seemed near impossible for him to bend at his middle without squishing his tummy. I wondered if he'd even be able to learn to sit when he can hardly bend. I realize I have gotten used to the thin disposables over the past 6 months. So, I may be overreacting. He's also on the lowest end of the weight range for this size wrap, so it may fit better as he grows. For now, I think I'll use this combination at bedtime when he doesn't need to bend at his middle!

In the spirit of making cloth diapers work for us, I just got out his next size up of onesies (from 6 month to 9 month), and they fit over the Bummis just fine. The first cloth diaper I tried was one of the unbleached Chinese pre-folds. It seemed to hold the pee just fine! I used my home made cloth wipes (old security blankets cut into squares & zig-zag stitched around the edges) with a peri bottle of water to wet them, as suggested by some moms on another message board I visited:

This worked out much easier than I had pictured problem. I may try storing some already wet down the road too just to see if it's that much more convenient. But doing cloth wipes makes sense when doing cloth're already used to tossing them in the pail with the dirty diapers.


Next diaper change I filled the Bummis wrap with one of the Gerber cloth diapers that I already poorly reviewed in "part 2". That one got completely soaked through in a couple hours and I had to put the wrap in the bin to be washed as well. It was slimmer, but definitely not as absorbant. I think it'll be worth spending the 50 cents more per diaper for the other premium ones! I'd like to find a happy medium though, some better quality but slimmer.


Bedtime came, and I had been saving the Thirsties Fab Fitted for bed (above). Oooh, so soft... I put on the Thirsties and covered it with another Bummis wrap, and put him to bed around 8:00 as usual. About 12:00 am he was awake...the wrap was still keeping him dry and leak-free, but the entire Thirsties was soaked through. This is probably not too bad for 4 hours, which is when he should probably be changed anyway, but he usually makes it until much later. No leaks, so no complaints. Normally he'd be awake to eat and be changed at 3 or 4 am, but I'm guessing that with the cloth, he could feel the wetness sooner. So, we re-stuffed the Bummis wrap with the first one again, an unbleached Chinese pre-fold, which lasted him until morning just fine. I thought the fitted diaper was pretty cool folding to do and it seemed much less bulky between his legs. Not to mention how soft, did I mention that yet? And, very easy to put on with velcro just like a disposable. Definitely would be Daddy and babysitter-friendly.

So far, no leakage with anything yet in my first "starter kit" shipment!


After much run-around from FedEx, my g Diapers shipment finally arrived! First impression: How cool! The packaging and branding was great, which I appreciate as a designer.

The wraps were so nice and light, and the inner snap-in liner is pretty cool. It's kindof like the old rubber pants, but just inside the diaper instead of outside.

This kit came with the disposable liners that are part of the g Diaper "system," and you have to tear off the sides, drop the absorbent stuff in the toilet, swish it around until it breaks apart with the little swisher stick they give you, then flush. (see their site for videos) I tried it once since the kit comes with 10 liners, and that was pretty slick. If you are really looking for the convenience of disposables without the environmentally un-friendliness of them, this is SO the way to go!!! Plus, as I'm finding, with all the pre-washing, and the instructions to do a cold wash, then hot wash, then additional rinse every time you wash cloth diapers, while they may be friendlier for the landfills, cloth still uses a lot of water and energy. And you can't just toss 'em in with your regular laundry...they need special detergent and 1/2 the normal amount. But, if you are cheap like me and don't want to have to keep buying liners, try this with cloth instead. This was what a friend of mine has been doing for months so that's where I got the idea. (They never mention anywhere on their website the option of stuffing these with cloth.)

First I tried out the cheap-o Gerber Birdseye Prefolds with these (above). I did my little open burrito "boy fold" and stuffed it in the plastic liner. The design of the wraps on these goes against what you are used to...the flaps are on the front and are pulled around to the back, which is opposite from disposables and pretty much any other wrap I've seen. (Just remember the little "g" goes on the butt!)

Now this experiment made me think the thin, cheap ones aren't quite SO bad. If I could get these in better quality fabric & stitching, and can just change a little more often, this may be my favorite so far. While the cheap cloth diapers got soaked through sooner, the cute outer wrap never got a drop of anything on it. I've been using them for 2 days without having to wash the wraps yet. That plastic liner keeps all the wet stuff away from the wrap just beautifully, even overnight. And these wraps are so thin & stretchy, my little guy can finally bend at the hips again. Here he is, looking so thrilled that he can finally move again:

The plastic liner also holds the cloth diaper in there well, so you can "pre-stuff" the wraps and always have one ready. You can pick up the whole thing as one without having to put on one layer and then the other. My husband even put one of these on successfully (after I pre-stuffed and left it for him) while I was getting a haircut yesterday, no problem! One of the thicker, nicer, Premium Chinese Prefold lasted him from 8 pm until 4:30 am last night before he woke up with the first poopy cloth diaper! Luckily it wasn't too liquid-y...I have yet to experience a really messy, juicy poop cloth diaper... But, I think I will purchase another one of these kits so I can put a wrap in each diaper bag as well. It's cheaper to get the whole kit than to just buy two more wraps. (The only downside is you can't pick another color)


Next up, I will be trying out a few more options out there. I am going to order a couple of the inserts they sell for pocket diapers (above left) to try out in the g Diapers, as well as some contour cloth diapers (above center), to see if I can get them even simpler and thinner with no folding. But, the g Diaper "pant" or "cover" is by far my favorite. I will keep the Bummis around for overnight and for covering non-waterproof fitted diapers as they still are a good solution as well.

I also just might invest in a diaper sprayer (above right), as they have so many good reviews online, and whatever will help get the poop in the toliet and not on me sounds great!

My investment so far:
- CottonBabies "Try-It Kit" (6 cloth diapers, 1 snappi & 2 Bummis wraps) $30 + shipping
- Thirsties Fab Fitted (1) $14.00 + shipping (ordered with above)
- Gerber Birdseye Prefolds (12) from my local Babies-r-us $12.99
- g Diapers Starter Kit (2 pants/wraps, 10 refills, 2 extra liners, swish stick) $26.99 + shipping
TOTAL: $83.98 (plus shipping)

Overall impression of cloth diapering so far:
- Not as hard as I thought! Cloth diapers have come SO far since I was wearing them.
- The more you're willing to invest, the easier you can make it. Of course there's a balance to strike there if you are doing cloth to save money.
- It's more wasteful of water & energy to wash than I thought it would be. But, like I said, g Diapers are the solution to that! Otherwise, having more around and doing loads less often can help too.
- They are not messy and leak-y like I thought they would be. I still have yet to experience one leak.
- It felt really good to replace the disposables in my diaper bag with I was finally free from the expense and not adding more crap (pun intended) to the landfills.
- My baby's bum looks so cute in them!
- I have a super sensitive nose, and it does not stink up your house...I think it is actually less stinky than keeping disposables full of poop in my Diaper Genie II.
- All babies are different, and the best way to do it is to try a few options like I did.
- g Diapers + cloth is the best combination, at least for my baby!

From BBQ Grill to Herb Garden in under 15 minutes!

Here is a happy tale of the cycle of re-used and re-purposed garage sale items for your Saturday afternoon!

My husband is well known within our family and circle of friends as a master griller. 9 years ago when we got married, I got this used grill (left) at a garage sale for $10. It has been used for SO many meals, fed hundreds of people over the years at our parties, and has traveled across the country with us. But, this year it's time had come...too many parts broken and rusting off. My husband told me to watch for another one at garage sales this year.

So, this past Wednesday I found the one on the right, brand new, still sealed in the box, at a garage sale for $20! Here you see them...old and new...getting acquainted (above).

I thought that was cool that we got someone's discarded grill and it lasted us this long, but didn't want to send it to the curb just yet. So, I thought I'd turn it into a planter to grow fresh herbs that my husband could pick right there and use in his grilling. Here's what I did...this little project took maybe 10-15 minutes...

Step 1: Remove the grills and hose out the base. Here I am hose'in away in the back yard:

Step 2: I added a handfull of rocks to the bottom for extra drainage. The grill itself is really perfect for this because it has holes in the bottom already:

Step 3: Add dirt! "Otis" is very curious as to why I am filling the grill with dirt, as you can see:

Step 4: Get plants! Here "Amos" is inspecting the herbs we bought just this morning at our local farmer's market for just $1 each!

Step 5: Plant, water, and enjoy!

And, so, the garage sale grill that served at least two families so well for so many years, has been reincarnated into a lovely herb garden. The grill adds to the whole backyard bbq theme of our back patio, and is the perfect height for the cook to snip off fresh herbs! Now I'm thinking about the lid...use it to cover the planter in the winter? Protect plants from frost? Or, turn it into something else...perhaps a birdbath? Hmm...the wheels just never stop turning...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Greening Mommyhood - Part 2

(see: Greening Mommyhood - Part 1 Here)

Well, my cloth diapering adventures are off to a rough start so far. I have yet to put one on my baby, but will share my first impressions!

Before my diaper orders arrived in the mail, I decided to pick up an extra pack of cloth ones at Babies-r-Us since my starter kit only comes with 6 and I wanted at least a day's worth. I got a 12 pack of the 100% cotton Gerber Birdseye pre-folds...there was not much else to choose from there. Granted, they were only $1 each, but I am SO disappointed in these diapers! I have not even put one on my baby yet...just did 4 of the hot wash and dry cycles you're supposed to do to make cloth diapers ready to use the first time, and they didn't even survive THAT! Out of 12, all but 4 of them came apart...fabric fraying and the stitching coming un-done. They came out VERY pill-y, and rough. I am NOT impressed with these so far. Terrible! NOT recommended. They are like cheesecloth. Here's the first one I pulled out of the dryer:

I also started making a little pile of cloth wipes, because it only makes sense to drop the wipes into the dirty diaper in the pail. I chopped up a couple extra receiving blankets and did a zig-zag stitch around the edges with my sewing machine. I think they should work fine, we'll see...

I received my first package yesterday from CottonBabies, which contained their starter "Try It Kit," and one of the "Thirsties Fab Fitted" diapers. They were out of the color I wanted in the Thirsties diaper, so I had to switch it to aqua. Other than that, I was pretty happy with what arrived. The Thirsties fitted diaper is SOOOO soft! I wish I could curl up in a pile of them and take a nap. I washed it once and ran it through the dryer but it is still a little damp. Once it dries I'll try it out. Maybe overnight tonight...

The Bummis Whisper Wraps are cute! The cloth diapers in the kit felt and seemed to be of WAY better quality than the Gerbers. I specifically ordered the Chinese pre-folds because it said they were made with heavier duty stitching and last longer. They washed better, although the stitching did already start coming off one of them:

Normally I would have been disappointed with this, but after seeing how horrible the Gerber ones came out, these seemed so much better. I'll probably still buy more of these since they are better...although, they need to be pre-washed 7-10 times according to the Cottonbabies website before using, being that they are Chinese Prefolds and unbleached. Someday I'll finish all these pre-washes, and then I can actually try them and let you know how they work!

The red Snappi I got with the kit looks really interesting...looks like a fantastic solution to the old diaper pins. Can't wait to try that out, when all the pre-washing and drying is done!

Now the G Diapers I also can't wait to try...however, they seem to be lost in shipping limbo right now. According to FedEx, they were delivered yesterday afternoon. However, I was here and they did not arrive. They say the driver said he "left them at the office." Hmm, that's strange, because this is a HOME, not an office. Sothe FedEx folks are trying to track down the package at it's wrong location and hopefully re-route it back to me! :-( Boo! Stay tuned for first impressions and reviews on them!

So, today my baby boy's little bum still waits in disposables, until all the cloth diapers are washed enough, thoroughly dried, and re-routed back to my house! I am still confident that this whole cloth diapering thing will be great, once I get all my stuff and get them on him...Stay tuned for part 3...hopefully some reviews of them after actually being used!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

This Jewelry is No Junk!

This stuff is fantastic! Be sure to check out Junk Jewelry for some beautiful jewelry made out of all the little things we so often overlook or toss in the trash without thinking about it. I think I've found another great link to add to my favorites! Gives me some inspiration and motivation to keep my collection going of little non-junk-mail odds & ends to someday turn into something cool...

Here are some more really great examples of recycled jewelry, found via the Junk Jewelry list of more cool links...

"Have a Heart" pendant by Margaux Lange Jewelry is made from Barbie busts, and for every piece sold, $5 will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation to fund breast cancer research. Be sure to check out the site, as there are many more awesome pieces made from various Barbie "parts!!"

Also, check out Ann-Made, who sells some really beautiful bracelets made out of recycled soda ("Pop" if you're here in Minnesota) can tabs. Each one is hand selected, washed, polished, and woven together with colorful beads and stones:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Handbags Made From Recycled Film Negatives

Check out these cool handbags made out of recycled film negatives! What a perfect gift for a photographer in your life. (or anyone who appreciates eco-friendly products!) These are now available via one of my distributors, Eco Gender. You can call (787) 409-7889 or email ecogender[at] for orders. (replace "at" with "@")

Greening Mommyhood

Disposable Diaper Facts from Cottonbabies website:
One baby in disposable diapers can contribute 1 ton of waste to the landfill!
Disposable diapers are the 3rd most common consumer product found in landfills today!
Disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose!
You can expect to pay $1,500-$2,000 on disposable diapers on one child!

I am embarrassed that it has taken me this long, but I am finally about to embark on the adventures of cloth diapering!! For now I'll blame it on my lack of time, trying to juggle 3 businesses and being a full time mom. I had heard that they don't work very well for very small newborns, so I was waiting until my little guy got a bit bigger. But, I have one big boy and there are no more excuses. I have done so much research online over the past months, since before my baby was born, but finally decided to just take the plunge, buy a few kinds, and see what works best for me/him.

I was pretty overwhelmed by all the options out there. Just try Google-ing "cloth diapers" and you'll see what I mean. There are so many kinds with mostly good reviews, some mixed. But, it's pretty obvious that cloth diapers have come a LONG way since the days of complex cloth origami, sharp diaper pins, and rubber pants! You can even get cloth diapers that are basically a cloth, re-useable version of disposable designs:

These ones (above) are made by Bum Genius. The all in one's can get pretty pricey for one diaper, but there are a lot of similar ones out there, and also just the outer "wraps" that go over the cloth diapers which will save a little $. It seems like many moms use a combination of these.

The folks at G Diapers have come up with a pretty cool "hybrid" diaper system, which features a re-useable cloth wrap over a disposable insert. These are not the disposables you're thinking of though...their inserts have no plastic and completely decompose. They encourage you to toss or flush the inserts...even compost them! While the kit I ordered comes with some of these, I would like to try filling them with cloth diapers like a friend who recommended them does. They are just plain cute besides!

Anyway, I have my first few kinds of diapers on the way in the mail now, so I'll keep you posted on how it goes! In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on cloth diapering if you've done it, as I am a total newbie! :-)

Friday, June 13, 2008

DIY Recycled Projects from Family Fun

I received a subscription to Family Fun magazine as a gift, and this latest issue had a couple great recycled projects.

The first one is a great father's day gift idea, turning an old tie into a sling for sunglasses. If Dad can't part with one of his ties (and don't use one without asking!), take a trip to the thrift store and you're sure to find a whole rack full!

Another cool recycled project in the issue is a tote bag made out of recycled plastic shopping bags:

Check out the links for step-by-step instructions!
Related Posts with Thumbnails

What's going on in the world of Junk Mail Gems, along with other cool, hand-made "green" products, DIY projects, and more!