Archive for the Fiber Friday Category

Fiber Friday: End of An Era

Posted in Cloth Diapering, Fiber Friday, Motherhood with tags , , , , , , on May 22, 2009 by Ms. Ex

I have been purging lately.  Not the good kind, wherein you lose a lot of weight but still get to enjoy the foods you love.  The other, messier kind.  The house purge.

We have so much stuff, and I have been so crazy (no, really – like bats in the belfry, toys in the attic, though in our house it’s rats in the attic and toys all over the damn place), that there is nothing but chaos all around us.

I might have mentioned my little pet OCD project.  I stumbled into it quite by accident, but we love each other and I think it’s for keeps.  Coupled with my ADD it’s like a torrid romance, without the sex, though sex is in the running for the next object of my affection.  I jump from obssession to obssession, and before I know it I have enough supplies to keep an army in yarn, fabric, paper crafting, recycled sweaters, rock climbing gear or cigarrettes for at least a decade.  

My major hesitation is the baby stuff.  I’m parting with the clothes in a fairly light-hearted manner, with only a few tears and gut-wrenching sob sessions,  and a mere two huge boxes of  “must keep” items.  Because, you know, they’ll never make such adorable clothing for babies again and I might someday have grandchildren.

No, the real problem is cloth diapers.

As I said in an earlier post, I love them.  I covet, crave, and fondle them.  I have truckloads of fabric out of which I sew them.  My last five years has been spent accumulating, experimenting and creating.  Most of my knitting has been longies and shorties for – you guessed it – diaper covers.

As I pack away the rarely-used items and try to figure out what to do with all the raw material, I find myself wondering who I will be when we move out of this stage.  Since no more babies are in the works (do you HEAR ME UTERUS??) what will I do with the fabric?  Will I continue to make and sell on Etsy for other people’s babies?  Or is it really time to find some other obssession?

I am so sad to be done.  So sad that some day my baby boys will not kiss me squishily on the mouth.  Sad that the snuggles in bed in the morning will pass away.  Sad that there will be no more toothless smiles in my future, except perhaps my own.  I want to want to be done – but I will always ache just a little in my heart that who I am, what I do, is constantly being redefined.  Soon, I will no longer be the mother of toddlers.  In no time at all, I will be the mother of men and a woman.

For whatever reason, this cloth diapering thing has been the symbol of this season of my life.  As I fold them and decide where they should go, I think of all the work, all the washing and care that goes into parenting.  The drudgery, the cuteness,  the raw need a baby has for his mother.

Part of me feel ready for whatever is ahead, ready to let the babies grow up and not need me quite so much, or at least not in the same ways.

And part of me wants to always have a baby to love and to love me right back, in that simple, sweet way babies have.

P.S.  Wanna buy some diaper fabric?


Elimination Communication Breakdown

Posted in Embarrassing Moments, Going Green, Homemaking Made Easy, Motherhood with tags , , , , on May 18, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Made by Mommy.  The "Flaming Wreckage" diaper.

Made by Mommy. The "Flaming Wreckage" diaper.

I love cloth diapers.

I know.  What a ridiculous thing to love, right?  But if you ask any mama who does it nowadays, she’ll probably tell you the same thing. 

Not only are they easy to use (no, really – they are), but they are ridiculously cute!  Crazy cute.  And who can resist an already adorable tushie that is covered with soft goodness in your favorite colors?  Makes the Charmin look unappealing at best.

Yes, the cult of the cloth is firmly entrenched in even the mildest of crunchy families.  But a new cult is forming.

It’s called “Elimination Communication,” or EC for short.

Basically, it means that you pay attention to your baby’s signals and learn when they need to eliminate, then you take them to the potty and let the potty begin.  There are also cues you develop to let baby know it’s okay to shake the dew from her lily or let loose the bowels of hell.

I’m all for being close to your babies, listening to them and trying to understand what they need.  I think it’s absolutely necessary in fact.

But maybe there are just too many distractions in modern life for this to be really workable for me.

I ask my friends who do this if there are accidents, and the answer is always, “Sometimes,” but she will sort of look at the floor, or her eyes will suddenly start darting around as if the woman is contemplating chewing her arm off to get away. 

Because she doesn’t want you to know the truth.

In my house, within seconds of taking off the diaper, there is poop on my floor, or I get urinated on, and not in a good way.*  I just figure some airing out does a body good now and again, but dammit, every time I let him go commando I have a mess to clean up.

There.  If I can admit it, anyone can.  Except I guess not everyone has that whole  “lack of shame” thing going on like I do.  So unless I can get some serious help up in here and have time to do absolutely nothing but stare into my baby’s eyes all day…well.  I know not what others may choose but, as for me, give me diapers…

or give me a maid.



*I’m kidding! About there being a good way to be peed on, I mean.  Like I really had to tell you. 

Wordless Wednesday: What’s For Dinner

Posted in Going Green, Wordless Wednesday with tags , , , , , , on May 6, 2009 by Ms. Ex
Charentais Melon: A French heirloom

Charentais Melon: A French heirloom

Organic Local Strawberry Plants For My Garden: Not quite edible yet.

Organic Local Strawberry Plants For My Garden: Not quite edible yet.

Arugula Mosh Pit: These need thinning, obviously.

Arugula Mosh Pit: These need thinning, obviously.

Fiber Friday: Creative Conspiracy Artisan Event in Montclair, NJ

Posted in Fiber Friday with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2009 by Ms. Ex

I know it is Saturday.  Let’s call it solipsism Saturday and I’m telling myself it’s Friday.  Since I’m the only one who counts, I can do whatever I want.

While visiting my mother this week, I set off to my favorite LYS, which is not really my local yarn store, but it is semi-local to my mother.  I punched in the address on the new Garmin Nuvi (might be my favorite toy ever, but only if you don’t count the Kindle) and flounced all the way over to Montclair to buy some stash at Modern Yarn.

And they were closed.

But while puttering around this awesome little town (nothing up here should ever be referred to as “little”) I walked by a storefront that had a bunch of folks selling their indie-crafted wares during an event called “Creative Conspiracy.”

I was smitten, I tell you!  It was everything I have wanted to do with a local art market in Lynchburg, and it was put together by Bridgett Artise, who recently had her book Born-Again Vintage published.  She gathered together talented folks from NY and NJ to show their work, sell some things, network, and enjoy a four day extravaganza featuring a book signing, fashion and hair shows, light food, mocktails, free makeovers and free chair massages.  She obviously knows how to draw a crowd.

She also knows how to make unique items from thrift store finds.  She takes interesting elements from vintage clothing and assembles them into something fresh.  Remember those old afghans crocheted from a rainbow of yarn?  She made one into a vest.  Did I mention amazing?  She’s saving landfills everywhere.

I bought a couple of goodies while I was there, but not nearly as much as I would have liked.  I scored a great notebook/journal from Vernakular, and some gift tags that I will never give up from The Tagonista.  She does not have a website yet, but she can be reached at thetagonista [AT] aol [DOT] com.  Her tags feature clever wordplay definitions like: twitterhea – too many twitters per hour, or chairdrobe – the chair that acts as a collection spot for all your clothes (not to be confused with the Floordrobe).  I bought those two designs, but I don’t really know anything about stuff like that.  Ahem.

I also got to chat with Makeba Lloyd, the owner of Butter by Keba, a line of intoxicatingly scented, natural body products.  She actually asked me if I’m a journalist.  I almost kissed her, but then informed her that I’m just a lunatic blogger who likes to write about crafty stuff once a week.

Finally, I spoke a bit with Nancy Redisch who makes handmade headpieces that are intricately woven from precious metal wire and beads and wow!  Beautiful, and a lot of work.  She was helpful, and had a variety of items to fit any budget.  She also gave me a new perspective on what will draw vendors to participate in these events.

This happening brings together some established shop-owners, as well as more novice artisans.  The displays were gorgeous; this is something I’d like to get better at.  The space, at 10 South Park St. in Montclair, NJ, was open and lofty and spare.  Perfect for an art market or craft fair.  I walked away with some goodies, and some fresh ideas for the next Lynchburg event.

Creative Conspiracy continues this weekend, beginning at noon today.  Each day brings new events and different luxury treatments.  Go try a henna tattoo, get your kids’ faces painted or caricatures drawn, or sit for a chair massage and hair styling.  Then go ahead and get your holiday shopping out of the way.

You’ll be so relaxed, you won’t even realize you spent all your money supporting indie crafters.

End of Week Mashup

Posted in Fiber Friday, Mental Stability with tags , , on April 4, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Over-committed.  What a telling choice of words for signing up to do too much: “committed.”

I am working on two guest blog posts, and will link to them as soon as they are up.  One is for PhD in Parenting’s Carnival of Play, which is a summary of and links to blog posts during the month of April about playing with your kids.  The other is for a nice mama from Lilgreenbaby who I’m sure will probably not even accept it anymore since I’ve taken so long!  It’s a post on cloth diapering, specifically sewing your own, written in my typical not-as-serious-as-I-possibly-could-or-should-be style.

I’ve had two complaints regarding my lack of Therapy Thursday and Fiber Friday posts, which I have appropriately directed to the complaints department.  I’m sure they will be handled with the courtesy and immediacy they deserve.

In the mean time, here they are, late and wrapped up into one short post on home therapy and cotton fiber:

Do you remember what it’s like to put fresh, cotton sheets on your bed?  You know, the 400 thread count ones that you’ve had so long they’re like an old friend?

Know what it feels like to take a long, hot shower with no children standing and crying at the shower door?  And to shave your legs unhurriedly (or at all)?

Last night, I took that shower, and put my refreshed, relaxed body into a bed with crisp sheets that I sprayed with stuff called “Beach Days Sheet and Clothing Spray” that I swear smells just like the beach house I went to with my family as a kid.  The room was cool and fresh from the wind blowing in my open window all day.

I snuggled down into those sheets and propped myself up to read The New Yorker on my Kindle.

Talk about decadent.

My mother is very good at some things, and not stellar at others, but boy, does she know how to pamper someone by making their surroundings comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

When I go to visit, I sleep in beds that belong in a B&B somewhere, with a dozen blankets to choose from and down pillows and softness everywhere.  And the first morning I’m there, she brings me a cup of coffee in bed.  It’s the one time someone serves me anything, and it only happens a couple of times a year.  I think I appreciate it more because it is so rare.

So last night, I tried to recreate a little of that feeling of decadence.  It worked.  I slept well, I feel refreshed this morning, and almost ready to tackle the ever-looming to-do list.

Almost.  Give me just one more minute in this bed.

Fiber Friday Giveaway: The Dark Side Has Cookies. And T-Shirts.

Posted in Fiber Friday, Giveaway with tags , , , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Welcome to another Fiber Friday giveaway here in the nuthouse.   On Facebook recently, I came across  an old friend

an acquaintance

a guy I used to play baseball with when I was a tomboy kid but I really just did cartwheels in the outfield so I shouldn’t remind him but see, his dad was the coach and what six year old can hit a ball into the outfield?  so I was totally bored out there

someone I went to school with.  When you grow up where we did, you apparently either stay here forever and become one of them or you get a wicked case of ‘weird sense of humor.’  When you are lucky like me, you get to stay and you get the humor, and it all  just serves to alienate you from your community.  Thank goodness for the influx of people from Charlottesville and such or I wouldn’t have any friends.  Except Melissa, of course, but our town is big enough for more than one eccentric.

Anyhows, I should first warn you that this guy’s sense of humor is just a wee bit naughty, or possibly very naughty, so if you have delicate sensibilities, you should just go read someone else’s blog today.  Seriously.  I don’t need you hatin’ on the Barely Knit.

Here is what Ken has to say about his shirts:

NakedGringo is a new and exciting brand of tropically-inspired t-shirts. Established just one mile from the blue-green waters of the Atlantic ocean in Fort Lauderdale, Gringo draws his inspiration from the characters he sees at the beach, the conversations he overhears at local brew houses and coffee shops, and of course from his own twisted imagination.
Every design featured on is a limited edition, wearable conversation piece.  Only 100 shirts are printed of each design. Divide that by the various sizes and chances are likely that no one is going to have the same shirt as you.
Gringo also produces original designs and prints for local restaurants, bars, events, sports teams,and charities. These designs are not offered for sale via the website, but you can always spot the fashionably uninhibited when you see the trademarked “original PalmPrint by Gringo” logo.
I hope you have as much fun wearing your NakedGringo t-shirt as you do when you take it off!

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Ahem.

Ken let me know that he has a cool new design for women coming out, as well as a breast cancer awareness shirt in the works.  He has sizes small, medium, large and extra large, and if you win, I’m sure he can work with you on what you want.  Or maybe, just maybe – you can wait long enough to see your own design on your shirt.

He let me know he is always on the lookout for new design ideas, so this is the giveaway dealy-o:  leave a comment with an idea for a t-shirt.  It can be anything, no holds barred (obviously, he’s not squeamish).  If he likes your idea, I will hook you guys up (in the old fashioned way, trust me) and maybe he can add your design to his collection.

His site is new still and he only has a few designs up, but you can see more at Naked Mafia.  Do you sense a theme here, folks?  It is mighty hot down there, you know.

Don’t worry if you can’t think of any design ideas.  Just leave a comment and I’ll add you to the drawing.  The winner of a t-shirt (your choice of style and size) will be chosen at random.  The contest ends at 8 PM EST on Tuesday, March 31, and I will post the winner the following day.

Reduce, Reuse, Reincarnate

Posted in Going Green, Homemaking Made Easy, The Soap Box with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2009 by Ms. Ex

I recycle!  Yes, I do.  In fact, you might say I have a bit of a problem.

I’ve have been asked, and answered with complete seriousness, the question, “Are you keeping this dryer lint for a project?”

I won’t tell you how I answered.

It all started with using wool as a cloth diaper cover.  It worked so well for my heavy wetter, I could hardly believe it.  It became my cover of choice, and with a little research I learned how to take discarded wool sweaters and turn them into rockin’ baby pants with almost no skill involved at all.

Gradually, I realized that I could make more than just pants – I could have matching sweaters!  Hats!  Wool appliques!

It’s easy to see now, in hindsight, how a person with my proclivities might get carried away.  A Goodwill sweater here, a silk shirt from a pile of junk on the side of the road there – you see where I’m going, right?

Before long, I had a stash of historic proportions.  The thing is, the more I bought, the more I realized I could do with them.  I started using the scraps to stuff toys (and knitted breasts, but that’s another post), I use the larger pieces to make little embellishments for hats.  I started buying clothes made from gorgeous fabric and making something I would actually wear.

It’s not that I don’t buy anything new.  My kids have regular clothes, in among the pants that I mended with fabric I rescued from the thrift store and the recycled sweater pants.

But I dress them in cashmere.  I have awesome diaper bags that I made from castoff place mats.  I have a baby bib I made from a Sublime tee shirt.  I have the coolest kids on the block, in my book.

When I walk into a clothing store and see row after row of all that fabric, I wonder where it will end up, and why we think we need so much.  It makes me nauseated, dizzy, the overwhelming choice of it all, when just down the road, if you can spend just a few minutes digging, are bargains waiting for new incarnations.

Even if you can’t sew, there are amazing things to be found in a thrift store.  And I’m not saying you have to buy your under drawers at the Salvation Army, honey. You can buy tee shirts from the dollar bin, cut them up and use them as cleaning cloths.  Make a reusable shopping bag from an old Sex Pistols shirt.  Fly your freak flag with pride.  Or buy that designer skirt you’d never be able to afford in real life and don’t ever tell a soul where you got it.

Buying thrifty is just one way to make a dent in the crazy amount of waste that happens in this country.  It cuts processing, which involves chemicals, as well as transportation and other environmentally damaging parts of the clothing industry.  And when you only spend  a few dollars on an item, you can afford to buy more!  It’s a win-win situation.

Another great way to reduce your impact on our earth is to use environmentally friendly cleaning products.  SC Johnson has developed a new line of cleaners that are designed to actually, you know, work while still retaining their eco-friendly personalities.  They are called Nature’s Source and I can’t wait to try them.  They, along with The Parent Bloggers Network weekly Blog Blast are the reason for this post.  So, uh – check them out.  Right after you send me your wool.