Tuesday, 8 July 2014

A Few Snap Conversions and Some Baking

Been busy recently - here are some snap conversions I've done. These were all very sad looking velcro Bumgenius pockets, I used my Kam Snap Pliers to bring them back to life. If you're interested in having your nappies converted, let me know over at my new Facebook page for Little Jar Of Buttons.

Four artist prints.

Ribbit and Moonbeam looking very refreshed!

Grasshopper and Clementine.

Noodle with pastel snaps (one of my favourites!) and Bubble, using offical BG Bubble snaps.

Blossom and Zininia.

Butternut and Sassy, both done with offical BG snaps.

I've also been busy baking, a little passion of mine. I'm slowly getting better at decorating too. This is my first attempt at making and using royal icing, and it turned out really well.

Aren't these the prettiest cupcakes?

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Adventures with Squid - Sunshine in Scotland

Scotland is such a beautiful place in the summer time - it's also pretty damn good in the winter too. But nothing beats a simple picnic with a toddler in the warm sunshine.

Getting ready to set off - followed by the ever obedient Car the dog. Yes, his pull along dog is called Car...

We crossed bridges...

We ate homemade ginger cake and cheese sandwiches...

We paddled in the little stream...

We threw pinecones for the dog to fetch...

And we threw pinecones and rocks in the water...

We do an awful lot of TLW (that's Toddler Led Walking if you don't know). This involves letting Squid set the pace, the destination and the direction of the walk. When he is tired, we sit. When he is hungry, we eat. Sometimes we end up crouched under trees, or driving the buggy through puddles, or counting cars in the car park. It's slow (and sometimes boring for me, I won't lie!), but he really loves our little simple walks.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Making My Own Bumgenius Baseball....

One of the harder to find Bumgenius nappies is the Baseball - these nappies were done as two seperate small runs of 300 pocket nappies each, to celebrate the Cardinals (favourite baseball team of the Cotton Babies founder) reaching the World Series finals in 2011 and 2013.

They are VERY hard to get hold of, and even if you do manage to find one, you're looking at paying at least £30. Being the top seamstress that I am, I figured I would have a go at making my own. I started out with a cheap pre-loved white pocket nappy.

Great stuff. I then got some red embroidery thread, a good needle, and stitched a basic Blanket Stitch around the entire nappy. I also changed the tab snaps to red to match. 

I also replaced the elastic - now if you're planning on doing this to a nappy, please replace the elastic BEFORE you begin doing the Blanket Stitch. Doing it after is a right pain in the bum. Trust me...

I was worried that there would be wicking through the stitch holes, and also that the red thread may 'bleed' through onto the nappy during washing. Shouldn't have worried. No wicking at all (and Squid has had it OTB many times in the past couple of weeks), and no bleeding of the red dye either. I'm pleased with the result, even if The Bloke did look at me strangely while I was doing it.

A Side Note - Because of the ease of converting your nappy into a 'Baseball', there are a lot of fakes floating around. The original Baseball ONLY came in v4 pockets with snaps, and retains the white snaps (this is part of the reason I chose to switch snap colour, so it could easily be spotted as a replica should I ever sell it).

Review - Little Bloom Nappy Wraps

If you're on the lookout for cheap nappy wraps, then Little Bloom is the place to go. I bought mine, via eBay, from the Yellow Bloom Shop.

They're very simple, BTP wraps, made from PUL. They come in snaps only, and can be used with fitted nappies, pad shaped inserts and prefolds/terry nappies held together with pins or a Nappi Nippa.

There are two different types - on the left is one without white edging, and on the right is one with edging. The type without the edging has two 'flaps' inside, at the back and front, to help hold a pad type insert into place. The type with edging has just one flap at the front.

I have found these to be a reliable nappy wrap, and had a lot of success using them overnight (14 hours!) in combination with A Mama Knows bamboo nappies with an extra bamboo insert. They wash and wear well, and for only £3.19 each (less if you buy a multipack), they're a bargain.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Bleaching Cloth Nappies

Bleaching cloth nappies is something I often heard about on American forums and chat boards. It's even recommended by Cotton Babies to add bleach to your nappy wash once a month to help keep any smell at bay.... "Use 1/4 cup or 60 mL bleach in the hot wash once per month" (quote taken from Cottonbabies.com).

 There's a lot of confusion about what bleach to use, whether US bleach is different to UK bleach etc... I figured the only way to find out, was to try it! So, I armed myself with some toilet bleach - yes, toilet bleach - and went for it. After a lot of searching, it seems that the bleach Cotton Babies is referring to is exactly the same as what goes down your toilet bowl.
The brand I used was Daisy Original Thick Bleach - ingredients listed were : Less than 5% Non-Ionic Surfactant,Anionic Surfactant Also contains: Disinfectant ,Perfume and Limonene.

I should also point out that my son does not have particularly sensitive skin. Although, of course, he is a baby and has been wearing these bleached nappies for the last couple of months against his most intimate area. In fact, he was suffering from a mild red bottom before the bleach wash, and spending just one day in bleached nappies cleared it up.

Bleach Soaking
The first thing I did was rinse out all the things I wanted to be soaked. I did a couple of quick rinses and a super fast spin in the machine to get rid of as much water as possible. I soaked microfibre inserts, terry cloth wipes and jersey/cotton wipes. (NOTE - I did not soak anything with PUL, elastic, bamboo or hemp)

Safety first - open the extractor fan in the bathroom and put on rubber gloves. I filled the bathtub with 20 litres of cold water. It was boring, measuring it out, but it must be done. I then added 100ml of Daisy's bleach to the water, and swirled it around to mix it up. I then immersed all the inserts and wipes, made sure they were fully under the water and left them to soak. Occasionally I went it and prodded them again to make sure they were all getting some lovely bleach solution. They were left overnight (around 10 hours). I don't think they really need 10 hours, but it's easier to do it overnight when no one is needing the bath! In the morning, I drained the bath and used a bucket to transfer them to the machine, where I added 50ml of bleach (in the drawer) to 60 degree wash, then rinsed three times, then hung to dry.

Before - old MF insert on the left, used once insert on the right.
After - old, newly bleached, MF on the left, used once insert on the right.

Granted, these aren't the best pictures. But, trust me, there was a BIG difference. The old was almost, almost as white as the new one. It felt much better too, and no old musty smell like it had before. I wish I had taken snaps of the terry wipes, the difference was amazing.
I would totally do this again for microfibre inserts and wipes.

Bleach Washing
While my inserts were soaking in the bath, I washed out my Bumgenius pocket shells. I washed them at 40 degrees with nothing (as some had already been used, but not soiled). Then I ran a 60 degree wash with 50ml of bleach added to the drawer, rinse twice and hung to dry.

Before - stained nappy on the left, used once nappy on the right

After- stained nappy on the left, used once nappy on the right

 The white inners did go whiter, and they smelt better. It didn't appear to have any big effect on one particular stain, but the fact that the musty smell had gone was enough for me.

So...would I do it again? YES - the smell of the musty old nappies was vastly improved, they did whiten, stains on the terry wipes disappeared completely after the soaking, and it made my son's red bottom much better. He hasn't had a nappy rash since I bleached them (even through teething!) about two months ago. It appears to have had no ill effect on the nappies either.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Review - Close Pop-In New Gen Nappy (v2)

As a member of the Clean Green Nappy Machine's 'SmartArse' Club, I was offered an extra £5 off any purchase I made during the two weeks over Squid's birthday. Fabulous! I thought....until I realised they had no Bumgenius nappies.
What's a girl to do? After deliberating over whether to buy a Blueberry or a Close Pop In, I went with the latter. Don't ask me why, it may have been the cute robots that swayed me. I do love a cute robot.

So here is the nappy, all fresh out of it's parcel packaging. I actually went for two prints, Grey/Yellow Robot and Orange/Blue Hippo. I really like that it comes with only cardboard packaging, great for recycling! Before I put it on Squid, I rinsed it once in the machine and hung to dry indoors. It took a good 24 hours to dry indoors.

Straight away, I noticed how soft both the inner bamboo fabric and the outer PUL were. I like that it has an absorbent core in the PUL layer, helping to draw wee to the centre of the nappy.

As part of the move from v1 to v2, Close have added these snazzy little pop out tabs to hold the velcro in place when it's in the washing machine. Very nice, but I do wonder how fiddly they would be if your baby did a proper poo-nami, and whether I would bother pulling them out and risk getting my hands covered in poo.

There's one main insert which snaps in place, and another smaller one which you can use as a booster if needed. The rise snaps have four settings, one more than my usual OS Bumgenius nappies. There's also a double gusset, as well as the main insert have elastic - so technically three barriers to help keep leaks at bay. The hook and loop tape is soft, and with the stretchy tabs you can get a great fit. Squid is two years old and weighs about 26lb, and had it on the third rise setting, so plenty of growing room.

Comparison of Pop In and Bumgenius v4 pocket on largest setting

Smallest setting

Side by side.

I would say that in comparison to my BG v4, it's very similar. A little narrower in the crotch, and when used with both inserts, the Pop-In is just a tiny bit trimmer than the v4 with both inserts.

I have to say, for only £16.99, I feel like I get a lot more 'bang for my buck' with these than I do with Bumgenius pockets. We tested it through an hour's car journey, plus another couple of hours of lunch (where Squid managed to drink not only a whole carton of juice, but most of his dad's too). No leaks.

I will certainly be buying more of these, the other prints are just gorgeous! It's a shame that they don't come in poppers too, but I'm sure I can convert if I really want to.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Nappy Stash!

Current Stash...

Bumgenius v4:
  • Blossom
  • White
  • Noodle
  • Effiel Tower
  • Jet Setter
  • Jules
  • Carroll
  • Top Hat
  • Piccadilly Circus
  • Zininia
  • Moonbean
  • Twilight
  • Ribbit
  • Grasshopper
  • Sassy
  • Clementine
  • Butternut
  • Concrete Jungle
  • Free Spirit
  • Retail Therapy
  • Mirror
  • Oops
  • Sweet
  • Bubble
A Mama Knows :
  • Lilac
  • Purple
  • Dark Blue
  • Lime Green
  • Jade
  • Bright Pink
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
Little Bloom Wraps
  • Pink Owls
  • Blue Owls
  • Cow 
  • Red with black spots
  • White with black spots
  • Flower Power
  • 70's Circles
  • Arty Wildlife
  • Blue pattern
  • Safari 

Close Pop-Ins
  • Grey/Yellow Robot
  • Blue/Orange Hippo

  • 10 Little Bloom bamboo inserts
  • 2 Red Kangacare wetbags