Tag Archives: diy

Almost in the 3rd trimester…where has time gone?

I’ll be 26 weeks this weekend. And then I’ll be in the third trimester the following week. It’s scary how fast this pregnancy is flying by! I always remembered my pregnancy with Caleb dragging by and feeling like it was forever before he was here. But, I guess things are different when I’m chasing around a toddler and doing things like planning his 3rd birthday party :)

Things have been slowing down and I’ve been taking some time to do some crafty things which I have missed so much. I recently made my own lip balm which has been great since they always seem to be in short supply in this house. A few simple ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax along with some essential oils and you’ve got yourself some lip balm! I bought some lip balm tubes on Amazon and made several kinds, but my fav are the chocolate mint ones I made!

At 24 weeks, we made it to viability! It’s a milestone I’m glad we made…one little step at a time. I read in my pregnancy book that the youngest micro-preemie ever to survive was 21 weeks old. That is just so amazing!


24 weeks

I also treated myself to a hair cut. First one during the pregnancy! The overgrown a-line was kind of driving me nuts so I had the stylist even it all out. I actually think one side is longer than the other which kind of annoys me and it’s at an awkward length. I just hope it grows (come on, prenatals) and then I can get one more cut before Jenna makes her arrival.


belly kisses 20 weeks difference…Caleb grew 1 1/2″

Last week, we had two snow days so Steve got to stay home with us and play! Early on during the storm, we went sledding down a small hill in front of our house. Caleb has so much fun and apparently, so did Steve. It was his second time sledding EVER!


That night we roasted marshmallows in the fire place and made s’mores…nom nom! And speaking of food, I’ve been eating a second dinner or snacking before bed almost daily. Jenna must be going through a growth spurt because I nearly doubled my weight gain (4 lb gain to an 8 lb gain in 2 weeks). We have an ultrasound on Tuesday to check her growth since she’s a bit on the small side so I can’t wait to hear if she’s gotten any bigger!

Caleb and I are in MA at the moment–just in time for Chinese New Year! Originally, Steve had planned to fly to TX and help his mom pack up the last of her house and drive back to MD during the first weekend of February so I told my mom I’d come up with Caleb. Well, Steve ended up making that trip two weeks earlier during MLK weekend so I told my mom we’d still come up. It’d give Caleb a chance to see everyone for his 3rd birthday (a few weeks early) before Jenna makes her debut. At least Steve can watch the Super Bowl in peace even if the Patriots aren’t in it.

I made the drive up here with Caleb yesterday is pretty decent time despite not one, but two accidents with overturned vehicles (one SUV and 2 semi trucks). I was able to drive 6 1/2 hours straight before stopping for gas and a small dinner and then an hour later, Caleb told me he had to poop (best timing, I was 3/4 mile from a rest area) so that added some more time, but it took 8 1/2 hours total.

My mom has already taken Caleb to Toys R Us so Caleb could pick out his birthday present and also got Miss Jenna a few outfits and her first bathing suit! I could die from the cuteness.

Anyway, off to bed soon. Hope everyone is staying warm!

felt food – I wish I had known about this stuff earlier

With Caleb being my first kiddo, there were certain things I knew for sure that I wanted to do with him–breastfeed, cloth diaper and babywear. There were also a lot of things that I never heard of until having a kid including felt food!

My baby month group is still very active and a few ladies got together and created a felt food exchange. I thought it’d be fun for Caleb so I joined two of them. I was kind of handy with a sewing machine and I could sew by hand so I figured why not?

For the first exchange, I decided to make watermelons because it was summer, they looked adorable and seemed easy enough to make on my own without having to buy a pattern. There were 23 people in the exchange so I had to make 23 watermelons. I managed to pull everything off in about five days, but mostly because I could work kid-free after Caleb went to bed and because he stayed with Steve’s mom for the weekend while we went to relax at a B&B by the Chesapeake Canal. I cut all the felt the first night, sewed the seeds and did all the machine sewing the next night and spent the weekend and following Monday handsewing and stuffing them.

For the second exchange, there were less people involved so I decided to make two items. I decided to make oranges since they’re somewhat similar to the watermelon in construction and an avocado because when I saw it, I thought it was the CUTEST thing ever with the removable pit and everything! I bought a pattern for the avocado off Etsy and it took me about two hours to make it because I had to hand-sew everything (machine was NOT going to work here) and because it had so many pieces! But, as I get working, things  usually move faster so I’m hoping to be a whiz and sew these things with my eyes closed by the time I’m done.

For anyone interested in making their own kiddo some felt food, there are lots of tutorials out there! Some are even no sew, but you can hand-sew a lot of them with a simple whip stitch.

I’m really excited to start getting the goodies from the other moms for the felt exchanges! Caleb is going to flip when he sees everything :) And I think I found a new fun craft to do on my down time.

Project 365, Days 23-24: cooking without recipes, DIY laundry detergent & liquid hand soap

With it being so cold these past few days, Caleb and I stayed indoors yesterday, but made up for it today! Steve’s been working super long days at work and today Caleb and I ate dinner without him and I put Caleb to bed already. Not a fan.

Anyway, for dinner yesterday, I made sticky drumsticks which was a recipe my mom used to make. You can do this for ribs, chicken wings, etc. My mom would use soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar and white wine and you basically cook everything until the sauce becomes thick and sticky. No written recipes were used and it’s all based on taste. Steve would HATE that because he needs precise measurements if he’s cooking. A dash of this or a pinch of that does not cut it with him.

The other day, I made a pineapple fried rice with Chinese sausage and I had a few people asking for the recipe. To be honest, this was kind of thrown together with what I had in my fridge, but it turned out great! The savory flavors and the sweetness from the pineapple and sausage are a great compliment!

These are approximations, but you can adjust the amounts to your liking:

1 cup of long grain rice (I used brown jasmine)
1 1/4 cup of water (for the rice)
1 cup of carrots, diced
1 cup of spinach chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup of pineapple, diced
4 links of Chinese sausage, sliced
1/4 cup of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of an oil of your choice (I used bacon fat)

Mix the water and rice together and cook. I put mine in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes. Add oil to a pan and cook the sausage. Remove the sausage and scramble the egg. Once it’s done cooking, add back the sausage as well as the rice and carrots until the carrots begin to soften. Then add the spinach until it wilts. Add the soy sauce and then the pineapple last. Then, enjoy! Super easy one pot meal.

I think the only thing that could have made it better is if I had some Thai basil!  Yum!

Today during Caleb’s nap time, I made my own laundry detergent! My BFF, Smecky, had made her own liquid version before. I looked into making a powdered concoction instead because it seemed less tedious since it didn’t require any boiling/melting of soap and I didn’t have to keep it in a 5 gallon bucket.

After some Googling, I decided on a recipe that would include the Purex Crystal fabric softener. Reasons being that I already had 2 bottles of it at home, and I like my laundry to smell nice (and I think Fels-Naptha smells a lil’ too much like a Pine-Sol cleaner). It’s purely optional though.

So this is the recipe I used:

1. 77 oz. box of 20 Mule Team borax – $3.38
2. 55 oz box of Arm & Hammer washing soda – $4.95
3. 1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap – $0.97
4. 1 bar of Ivory soap – $0.40
5.  55 oz. Purex Crystals – $3.50 (I found it on clearance and I had a coupon. I think regularly, it’s around $9).
Total: $9.70 (without Purex Crystals)

And I’ve read this amount will last around a year. Use 1 tablespoon for regular loads, 2 for super dirty loads. Recipe is HE washer safe (which is what I have).

 I found a few recipes that varied in the amount of soap used. Some had just one bar of Ivory, some had just one bar of Fels-Naptha, some had two bars. I decided to do one of each, but you can do what you feel will work best.  Caleb is a messy eater so I figured I could use another bar. Other recipes included baking soda or OxiClean. I decided to keep it simple and stick with what all recipes had–the basics.

So, first thing is to grate your soap. I’m all for technology helping me out so I put the grater option on my food processor and let it go to town! It grated both bars of soap in about 10 seconds. The soap seemed a bit soft so the grated pieces were long–a bit long for my liking so I ended up swapping in the food processor blade and let it break down a bit further.

Then, put everything else together in a big bowl or container. Mix well and then place your laundry detergent in clean containers.

DIY powder laundry detergent
I decided to test out my batch so the first thing I did was wash a load of Caleb’s things. That’s the true test to see if this recipe would clean! After taking everything out of the dryer, here are my thoughts:

1. Everything is CLEAN! Food stains are all gone.
2. It’s clean smelling–something along the lines of what laundry should smell like. Only a trace of the Purex (lavender) was detected, but I do an extra rinse on my washes. No “Pine-Sol” smell from the Fels-Naptha.

So, the verdict so far is that I’m a believer! I still have about a month’s worth of Tide pods (we are BIG fans of Tide) and a HUGE box of powdered Tide from Costco, but I’ll save that for Caleb’s cloth diapers (can’t use my homemade batch since it has fabric softener).

And along the lines of making laundry detergent, I also had made my own liquid hand soap. We have a TON of bar soap that was just sitting in our garage so I was Googling to see if there was anything we could do with it (Steve wanted to just throw them out) and I came across making your own liquid hand soap.

Here’s what you need:

1. 1 bar of soap (glycerin soap not advised)
2. 10 cups of water
3. 1 tablespoon of glycerin (I bought mine at Michaels for $3)

Heat the water in a large pot. As you wait for the water to heat up, grate the soap. Again, I used my handy dandy food processor that can grate an entire bar in seconds. Add the soap to the water and as soon as the soap melts (should take a minute or so), add the glycerin and remove from the heat. It’s going to look like soapy water, but let it cool for several hours and it was congeal and harden. Mix everything together with an immersion blender or hand mixer and there you have it–your DIY liquid hand soap!

My thoughts on the DIY hand soap:

1. It doesn’t lather up very well, but it does foam up.  But, it does the job and my hands feel clean afterwards.
2. Smells nice! One of the bars of soap I used was from Bath & Body Works.
3. Soap kind of has a slimy consistency. Some people may be bothered by it.

I might make my own liquid hand soap from scratch since I’ve had experience making my own soap with sodium hydroxide already. From what I understand, the process is very similar, but you use potassium hydroxide instead. We’ll see though–I used up all the soap we had and made a CRAP load of liquid hand soap for the time being!

Project 366, Day 22

Day 22
I was crafty today! I sewed & filled my own newborn posing pillow for $30 (vs. buying one for $100+)

Today was a super busy day for me! I woke up and Steve dropped me at the metro station where I took it solo for the first time. Usually, I would just drive to my sessions in DC because I usually have one right afterwards, but on occasion, Steve has driven me when I’m short on time because parking can take forever. But since my session was at Union Station, it made sense to just take the metro there.

After my shoot, I took the metro back where Steve picked me up and I ate a quick lunch before heading out the door to Algonkian Regional Park where I took some head shots of an author. She had rented a cabin to write so when I got there, I snapped some pics and then I was on my way back. I had some time to kill before the next session so I stopped by Kmart to buy bean bag filler for my newborn posing pillow. I went to my last session of the day which was a maternity one–those are always fun especially with first time parents :o)

I got home around 5:30pm and was starving. Steve and Brian were watching the football game on TV so I scooped up Caleb, fed him dinner, fed myself dinner and gave him a bath. We laid on the couch together and he lifted my shirt to blow raspberries on my stomach again–it must be his new thing!

At 8pm, I put Caleb to bed and Brian headed home. I started working on my newborn posing pillow which is just “leatherette” vinyl (great for cleaning pee/poop off of) that I cut 2 circles and one long strip. It looked so basic and I wasn’t about to pay $100+ for one when I have decent sewing skills so I just kind of winged it and it all worked out. I even sewed a handle to carry it around. Filling it was the hardest part, but Steve was a great assistant. I used one 100L bag of fill, opened up the current bean bag that I had and transferred the fill and then stuffed it with plastic bags I had laying around. I think I want it to be a bit firmer, but it will do for now. From start to finish, it too just over 2 hours. I’ll get to try it out on Wednesday!

I am exhausted so I’m going to hit the sack. Tomorrow is Chinese New Year!

Project 366, Day 8

Day 8
I made a no sew fleece blanket for Caleb today :o)

When I went to Hancock Fabrics a few days ago (it’s small, I so miss having a HUGE JoAnn Fabrics), this was the only non-girly print with an owl on it so I bought 3 yards of it for Caleb’s monthly background (he turned 10 months on Christmas day–I’m just running 2 weeks behind).

10 month collage
my baby boy!

After breakfast, Steve helped me take pictures of Caleb by making goofy faces :o) When I put him down for his first nap, I got to work and made a no sew fleece blanket. It’s basically taking two layers of fleece, cutting off the corners, cutting the fringe and knotting it up–easy peasy. I was up for a craft project that wouldn’t take forever to do so this was perfect.

Steve’s parked on front of the TV watching football and Caleb is down for his second nap of the day. Tonight, we’re meeting Mellie beyond_my_smile, her husband J and their son baby J for dinner tonight :oD

DIY fabric wreath

I made a fabric wreath for our door this past weekend and it only took 45 minutes! You only need two items to do this project–a wire hanger and about a yard of fabric cut into 1″x8″ strips. You bend the wire hanger into a circle and then tie the fabric strips all around it. Fluff it up and you’re ready to hang! I made this wreath with extra scrap fabric I had laying around from various projects in the past year. If you want a fuller look to your wreath, you can get a wreath frame at any craft store. Cheap and cute!

fabric wreath
my DIY fabric wreath–cost to me was $0

My mom thought my wreath was super cute and requested a Christmas colored one. I didn’t have a lot of green fabric left, but I think it still worked out well :o) I cut up an pillowcase that was primarily red and it turned out cute! I kind of wanted to keep it for myself, but she won’t let me…lol. She’s worried that someone might actually steal it (I’m so flattered) so she wants to nail it to her door…ha!

fabric wreath
The wreath I made for my mom to take back

baby stuff – stroller & Boppy

A few weeks ago, one of the managers I work with asked me where I was registered. I don’t really want to advertise at work, but if they ask, I will provide so I told him. Then yesterday, he stopped by my cube and lets me know that the guys got me and lil’ Caleb a gift that we’ll have a party for me in a few weeks. When, I found out what they got me, I WAS FLOORED! They bought me the BOB Revolution AW stroller!

our stroller!

I thought maybe they’d get a gift that was $100 at the most, but that stroller is not cheap and was above and beyond what they needed to get me. I am SO lucky to work with such generous people that words can’t even express it. I’m REALLY excited to use it because I do want to start running again once he’s here and the doc gives me the ok. Austin has LOTS of stroller friendly races and I would love to push him in one. The trails that I used to run on are at park near our subdivision so I see lots of walks together in the future. I ran 5 races the year Steve was deployed and then we ran a half marathon together upon his return. One of my goals is to run a full marathon one day!

It seems that most people who have one use it at their main stroller–it’s lightweight, has a zero degree turning radius, has the car seat adapter and everyone seems to love it. I’m now on the fence about getting the Uppababy Vista–though we may still spring for it once we move to DC. It may be better if we plan to do a lot of commuting via the metro, but we’ll re-assess once we get there. Plus, when we do go for kiddo #2, the Uppababy Vista has a rumble seat option so it converts to a double and *IF* there is ever a kiddo #3, you can buy the skate accessory so they can stand and glide (though I doubt there will be a #3). Decisions, decisions.

Last week, I scored a green Bumbo w/ a tray for $15. This week, I got a Boppy with the sweet pea cover for $15 as well! When I got home, I knew that I wanted to sew a slipcover for it so that’s what I did last night. I found a template for it so I printed it out, traced my fabric and away we go! I’m getting more and more confident working with zippers, too.

DIY boppy cover template
my baby score and the Boppy template

DIY boppy cover - front & back
the Boppy w/ my slipcover! One side has owls/apples and the other is a soft green minky w/ the zipper

Did I mention that I finished clearing out Caleb’s room? The desk that was there has been moved to the loft and that’s where I do my sewing now. The nursery does look kind of empty without a crib in there, but that’s ok. There’s lots of floor space so that’s good for tummy time or an inflatable bed for a 2nd guest room (which will be needed in January and March next year).

I also sewed a wet bag with an owl canvas and lined with clear vinyl–wet bags are good for storing yuck-o cloth diapers, any soiled clothing from leaky diapers or poo-splosions, or even for grown ups like when we change out of our swim suits after an afternoon of tubing.

DIY owl wet bag
babies and grown ups can find uses for a wet bag

I’m glad to have my sewing space back. It kind of got crazy for a while sewing on our formal dining room, but we’re good now!

doc appointment & fat tie onesies

I totally forgot to write about my doc appointment last week. It was the first appointment that I went to that didn’t involve an ultrasound. It was also the first appointment that Steve didn’t come with me to, but that’s ok because now appointments will be more frequent. So, I went in and they did the usual weight, blood pressure and me peeing on a stick. I met with a midwife and we listened to the heartbeat with a doppler and Caleb had the hiccups :o) Heartbeat was in the 140’s and then she measured my fundal height. I am right on track–24cm at 24 weeks.

We talked about my upcoming trip to Hawaii and she had actually lived there at one point! We’re staying on Maui and we pretty much did everything there during our honeymoon 5 years ago EXCEPT the road to Hana. While looking at tours, some of them had warnings for pregnant ladies so I asked her if it’d be ok if I went on a tour. It’s basically a 12 hour tour in a van through a rainforest. She said her only concern would be car sickness since the road is very curvy. She said as long as took some precautions like motion sickness pills, she would see no problem. Whoot!

As soon as I got to work, I spoke with the tour company to make sure it was ok for pregnant ladies to go on the tour. I was told that many expecting ladies had been on the tour and he had mentioned the car sickness thing. I think I should be ok though so I’m really excited!

Speaking of baby appointments, I made one today for the 3d/4d ultrasound in less than 3 weeks. By then, lil’ Caleb should be getting some fat under his skin so he should look more like a baby with a chubby face :o) I can’t wait! I invited a few friends and my MIL to see if they wanted to sit in during the ultrasound to see the lil’ guy. Steve and I also have our 2nd 5 hour childbirthing class that day…fun times.

Today was great because Steve cooked dinner while I worked on another arts & crafts project for our baby–fat tie onesies! Steve made beef ribs with rotini and baby bok choy. So yummy!

I’m not sure if you guys remember, but about a year and a half ago, I screenprinted some onesies for friends who were expecting kiddos :o) I had seen ones where people sewed the ties with fabric, but I was not so well versed with the sewing machine then…

self screenprinted onesies
this was then…July 2009

Now, I am finally able to make them! I drew and cut out a tie template from poster board and used that to cut out some fat ties from fabric scraps I had. Then, I used heat bond to glue the tie to the onesie before sewing a straight stitch around it–which was a pain! But, I did it and they came out super cute! Now, Caleb has more ties than Steve–he will be stylin’!

DIY fat tie onesies
this is now!

DIY fat tie onesies
I can’t wait to see him wear all these outfits!

a few more crafty items…I did bake, too!

Remember a few days ago when I made my own butter? Well, I decided that I needed to do something with it–and that something was to bake cookies! I made a batch of M&M cookies since I already had everything in the house and didn’t need to venture out for anything extra. This may sound strange, but I could smell the sweetness of the butter when I pulled them out of the oven. They were SO good! And, they’re all gone :o)

M&M cookies
yummy goodness!

I looked into making fabric rosettes which I guess are a bit different from the rolled fabric flowers I made a few days ago, too. They require ironing, but look less “fat” so I decided to give it a whirl. It turned out really cute so I made another headband:
fabric rosette headband
Another pretty headband–I will probably give this one away. Nori nori, do you want?

Steve came home from exams at school right when I was finishing up with my arts & crafts so I had him model my headband. As you can tell, he was not pleased. He only allowed me to take one picture and said that it could not be posted on Facebook–he didn’t say Flickr or LJ sooooo, here he is :oD

my model is back in town!
I’m so glad my model is home

Today, I am 25 weeks! I finally took the time to edit my weekly progression pics from the day I found out I was pregnant until now. And to think, I used to think I was “sooo big” when I was 14-16 weeks. HA! It’s neat to look back at this though. I look like I’m carrying lower now–lil’ C likes to hang out low because that’s where he’s kickin’ and is also making get up to pee in the middle of the night again!

belly progression!
me from 3w3d to 25w!

I finally finished sewing another mei tai baby carrier for a friend from college who’s pregnant and also due in March! I used a much thicker and stronger type of twill for the straps and broke 2 sewing needles in the process. The last needle couldn’t handle 9 layers of fabric and broke–a piece of it hit me in the eye! It irritated it for a while, but I’m just glad it didn’t STAB my eyeball–that would have been really, really bad. Plus, with all of the padding, it was really hard to sew straight lines because it would barely fit under the sewing foot! I hope she still likes it regardless…

blue dots mei tai for another mommy friend :o)
another hood-to-headrest mei tai for a fellow March mom :o)

Anyway, tonight we’re going out for a Chinese hot pot dinner with some friends! Though it’s not quite as cold as some other places, it’s still “cool” enough here in TX to enjoy a hot, soupy meal. Then, it’s off to bed early since I’ve got an early drive out to Dallas to see some special people!

I had a pretty crafty night

This weekend, I’m seeing one of my BFFs who moved away from TX Angela canadagirl & her son, Tyler, so I was really kickin’ it into high gear with sewing. I plan on giving them their Christmas gifts while they’re here so I really wanted to finish the blanket for her son (shhh, don’t tell him). He had a jungle theme for his 1st birthday so I figured I’d do the same thing for his blanket. I had all my quilt squares cut out and quilted–all I was waiting for the designer jungle print that I ordered from Etsy and it finally arrived. I got down to business. I finished sewing that night and parked my butt in front of the TV watching The Biggest Loser so rag all the squares before popping it into the washer/dryer. This morning, they were completed!

jungle animal rag quilt
My “Vanna White” aka Steve isn’t here to hold it up for me so it’s on a chair–should be great for cold, winter days.

I also made something for myself…a rolled fabric flower headband :o) It’s been on my DIY to-do list and since I had some scrap fabric (can you tell they had owl prints on it??) so I decided to spent $5 on a glue gun and buy a pack of skinny headbands. I used a tutorial that I found on Prudent Baby (one of my fav go-to places for DIY projects). I wore it today and I got a number of comments and compliments on it :o)

DIY rolled slower headband
Me today! Oh, the shirt is maternity, but it barely covers the panel on the pants…eeps.

DIY rolled fabric flower headband
A close up of the headband…cute, right?

Tonight, I made some wash cloths since I had to figure out what to do with some oddly cut terry cloth. Right now, I have some fabric, terry cloth and pre-folds being washed/dried so I can make a few more items :o)

Lil’ C has been kickin’ SO much lately! Especially after I eat breakfast–it makes it hard to concentrate at work since I just want to watch my belly move :o) The vid is about a minute long, but the mini-kicks are at the 36, 20, 16, 10 and 1 sec mark.