Five Bucks and a Thrift Shop

Happy Halloween!
I was going to have Halloween pictures to post, but given the snowstorm and the power outages, I didn't get a chance to upload.  Soon!

Two cloth diaper covers,
Wooden ball pound,
New Eric Carle book pack,
DK tractor book,
Teddy Mix and Match Game,
Melissa and Doug Wooden Animal Train

Cost:  $5.00.  Exactly.

Also, I bought a complete wardrobe the next size up for my growing boy.  Most were name brand stuff and in great condition...except for the jammies.  Which I think worn in jammies are more cozy anyway.

I got:
2 t shirts
1 collared long sleeved shirt
2 turtle necks
6 long sleeved shirts
3 sweatshirts
1 button up shirt
2 sweaters (one homemade)
3 sweat pants, 1 wind pants
2 snow pants
5 jammies
winter coat
pair of shoes
pair of slippers
pair of rain boots
pair of winter boots
2 winter hats

That's 34 items...all for $30.50 total.

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Wheels on the Bus Softie and FREE PATTERN!

Remember that Naptime Bag project I was working on?  Well, here's the latest softie.  It's the Wheels on the bus. We have 4 Wheels on the Bus books that it goes perfectly with.

It joins:
The Puppy Crinkle Toy for "How Much Is that Doggie in the Window" and 

The wheels on the bus go round and round....
 Complete with a license plate for another little guy...

Okay, so here's where it all gets crazy.  I am attempting at publishing my very first free pattern.  It has been very challenging for me to try to document what I do, as I'm so used to just pulling things together and creating without a plan.  But recording and describing...that's a whole new bear. And to try to figure out how to upload the pattern I wrote to be printables?  My brain hurts.

Now, I am most happy to make more patterns of my stuff if anyone is interested.  I rarely ask for feedback...but if you could please let me know if the patterns are appreciated or if just seeing my wacky ideas is enough?  If no one cares for a pattern, I'll go about my business creating and posting.  But if you think you will ever be inspired to try a pattern, please let me know and I will create patterns for the other softies I have made (penguin mama and baby, owl, dog, spider...and more to come).  I don't mind doing the work if someone is interested in using it.

Also, like I said, this is the first time I've done a pattern.  I hope the conversion from my piece of paper to the computer to your printer to your cutting table works.  Feedback (in a nice way) would be appreciated.

Okay, well here goes...

Wheels on the Bus Softie- an original by Jackie

1) Cut all pieces according to the patterns below:

Pattern (2 pages)

You should have 4 yellow pieces and 12 blue pieces.
*Note, all seam allowances are included in pattern.

2) Pin side windows on bus sides.  Applique using zig zag stitch on machine.  Determine where you'd like the front and back windows on the longest yellow piece.  Pin in place and applique.

3) The piece that says 'Bus sides/top' is the piece that attaches the two bus sides together.  It runs from the front of the bus, to the top and along back. With right sides together, pin that piece to one of the bus sides, starting and ending at the X. With pins, ease the fabric in around the curves.  Stitch very carefully.  Repeat same step with other bus side.  Now the upper portion of the bus is complete.

4) Pin right sides together of bus bottom to upper portion of the bus.  Stitch, leaving a ~3 inch opening.

5) Turn bus right side out. Press. Fill with stuffing.  Hand stitch to close.

6) (See pictures). With each wheel, baste 1/4 of an inch from edge, do not backstitch at either end.  Leave long threads loose.  If you want, you can stitch an 1/8 inch as well (just in case your thread breaks, you won't need to go back to square one).  Holding one end of the thread, pull the opposite side to gather the seam.  Hold the other end of the string and do the same.  You may need to pinch and pull fabric to ease the seam in gathering.  It should gather into a circle.  Hand stitch the wheels in place.  Add an hand applique license, if desired.

Don't forget to let me know if you think you will try this and how it goes if you do!  Like I said, if there's interest, I'll keep my patterns coming.  Thanks for reading!

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Who doesn't love a baby in a basket?  Well, my baby was playing peekaboo in the house with this basket.  I brought it outside to see if I could capture the fun we were having.  These pictures make me smile and I hope you enjoy them too!
(Don't worry, he didn't eat these!)
Wishing you all a spectacular weekend!

Cloth Diaper Detergent and Upcycled Canister

I've been asked what I use to wash our cloth diapers, so I decided to blog about it.  I got this recipe from the eco friendly family blog.  Decided to give it a try.  It works, it's cheap and super easy to make.
Here's what's in it:
And I wrote the washing instructions for daddy...who claims he can never remember how to wash them, so he leaves it for me to do.  Right.  Love that man anyway!!!  If you're interested in why we don't have poppy diapers, see below *.

And the canister?  It's a formula container (see explanation below**).  I just washed it out, decoupaged paper on it, wrote on the canister and then decoupaged a top layer to protect it.   I must say, it looks pretty snazzy!

Onto the explanations....  This is probably sharing too much information, so skip if you don't want to be too well informed. 
* We don't have poppy diapers hardly at all.  Because our little one poops in the potty and has since he was 5 months old.  You think I'm crazy, but he does.  Since I'm a speech-language pathologist, I specialize in reading communication.  At 2 weeks of age, I always knew when my little one was pooping.  I thought again and again about why I was waiting for him to poop and then cleaning it up?  Besides, isn't going on the potty what 3rd world countries who don't have diapers have to do? Finally, I decided to put him on the potty when I knew.  And it worked.  By 5 months, he was pooping on the potty all the time.  I looked it up on the internet to see if anyone else was doing this.  What do you know?  It's called Elimination Communication.  I read this book and learned that I can train him to pee on the potty too.  Most days, he pees on the potty at least half the time.  Sometimes he makes it through a whole day without any misses.  Sometimes he gets up in the night to potty.  He often makes it though naps dry and goes potty when he wakes up.  He often goes 8 hours at night dry and he always goes potty when he first wakes up.  He likes dry diapers, so when we're out and about, he often appreciates a chance to pee.  We don't make him go...we follow his lead (daddy's fully on board too).  It was the first way we really communicated with each other.  I think it's helped us read him better and taught him the value of his communication earlier on.  It's been awesome for us.

** I'm finally ready to talk a little about my breastfeeding challenges and why I had to use formula.  (Disclaimer...I'm certainly not judging anyone's choices/reasons for formula feeding. This is just a reflection of me...and what was important to me.  I support any which way a mama cares for her little one, without judgment.)   It's been quite the road for me, but hopefully I can inspire someone to continue. I was set on being an exclusive breast feeder.  Committed.  Excited.  But, we had a sick little boy a few days after he was born.  I wasn't making anything but a drop or two at a time.  He was losing weight, a lot.  I was in denial.  I sobbed big sobs when I had to start formula.  I mourned a death when I had to go get more bottles.  I was told that I could breastfeed for 'fun', but it wouldn't be to feed my baby.  More big sobs.  But, I didn't give up.  I still kept breastfeeding him around the clock for 'fun'.  I began researching and taking oodles of homeopathic remedies...up to 14 various all natural supplements a day (More Milk Plus, Mother's Milk Tea, Fenugreek, Oatmeal, Brewer's Yeast).  And guess what?!  My milk came in when he was 4 weeks old!  Not much, but none the less, it was some.  I made about an ounce every three hours at my peak.  I was elated.  And re-committed to giving my baby every ounce I could.  I joyfully got up in the middle of the night.  I pumped when I was at work, until he was 6 months old.  I surprised even the lactation consultations.  He's 13 months and still nurses 2-3 times a day.  Although I never gave him much in one feeding, I'm so proud of myself and so thankful that the amount I have given him over time is quite a bit.  Tears of joy are streaming down my face at this moment because I am so darn happy that I was able to do what I did. Thank you, God.  My dad, a veterinarian, told me that this problem happens a lot with cows-sometimes the milk doesn't come in with the first calf, but you wait around until the 2nd calf before sending her to slaughter.  Always an interesting perspective being compared to livestock, but that's my dad.  Fingers crossed that my milk will come in for my next calf, so I don't have to be slaughtered.  There's hope. :)

Cinnamon Swirl Cake

Okay so there's a problem with this recipe. 
The problem is I go to bed with a full circle cake. 
The husband comes home.
I wake up, and the cake looks like this:

 So you'd think that's not really a problem.  I'll send him over to your house to eat all of your favorite treats.  It's all in good fun...I really do appreciate how he really enjoys what I make. 

I must say, this cake is pretty darn good.

Cinnamon Swirl Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
2 cups buttermilk

Mix butter, sugar.  Add eggs.  Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla.  Alternate flour and buttermilk. Set aside.

Cinnamon Sugar Layer
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix in bowl.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar in the bottom of a greased bunt pan.  Pour 1/3 of the cake batter on top.  Sprinkle the rest of cinnamon sugar on top.  Pour and spread remaining batter on top of cinnamon sugar.

Bake 350 until toothpick comes out clean.  About 40-50 minutes.

Drizzle Topping
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 T. milk
2 (ish) cups powdered sugar
Whip all above ingredients.
Let cool.  Sprinkle with drizzle topping.

Enjoy.  And hide from your husband if possible.


I tried knitting once before.  Hated it. Although totally functional and I still wear it, the scarf I made was a bit wider on one side compared to the other.  I decided knitting wasn't my thing, gave up and donated the supplies. I'd much prefer the sewing machine. I even refused all of the knitting/crocheting stuff from both of my grandmothers' houses when we cleaned them out, for I declared I'm not a knitter.  
Well, I decided I wanted to try again. Sometimes my little one plays by himself happily.  Sometimes he insists that I sit on the floor with him.  He likes me close by.  Sometimes he likes to play with me, sometimes he just likes to do his own thing with his mama in sight.  He checks in with a hug, kiss and a pat on my back (he's turned into a super love bug). I can't really do big sewing projects on the floor in the playroom.  Right now I am working on a project that I will reveal in upcoming months...hopefully.  When that's done, I'm going to give knitting a try, again.  Wish me luck!  I'll post my failures....and hopefully some successes too.
Instead of grumbling that I am again purchasing supplies I had a while back, I set out to the thrift shops, in search of something that would get me started.

I was in luck!!!  I found the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework, needles, two scans of yarn, and a knitted hat....just in case my ambition turns into failure. All for $6.00.

And I have a rave for you.  That book, Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework is AWESOME!!!  The copyright is 1979...but who cares?!  If you do embriodery, do needlepoint, quilt, knit, crochet, make rugs, etc etc might want this. If you don't know what you're doing and want to learn, you want this.  Even if you are super duper skilled, you will still learn something.  
I also have a rave about the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, copyright 1976.  I've had this book for years.  My mom got it from her mom as a Christmas gift in 1978.  It teaches you how do so anything and everything with a sewing machine.  I used this in particular to teach myself how to make clothes. 

Fantastic books.  I highly recommend getting them.  You can get them used on amazon for just a few bucks. Do it!  Some books are just timeless.

Oh, and here's the scarf I made. At least I think this is the one. 


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