Friday, September 27, 2013

Natural Mama Outpost Etsy Shop Debut!

So, the Natural Mama Outpost Etsy shop is finally up and running! You can visit us by clicking on our logo below!

"Lovingly Handmade in Wisconsin"
Tonight we celebrate our grand opening by participating in the Bayview Gallery Night, just south of Milwaukee. If you're local, come see our booth at Puddler's Hall! Click on the picture below for more info.


This new business could not have started without the help and support of a lot of people. So, some thanks are in order!

The biggest thanks goes out to my husband, Jon, for all the moral support (and constant nudges!) to make me actually make this idea a reality! Oh, and thanks for making the posts for our booth!
Thanks to my brother-in-law, Nate, for all the hard work you did on our logo (and for letting me borrow your fancy camera for my Etsy photos!).
Thank you, Alison, for being an awesome business partner. I don't think I would have ever taken the plunge so happily without a buddy at my side. I'm so excited about our plans for the future!
Thanks, Joyce, for the business savvy advice to help us get started!
And thank you to all my friends that ordered products from me in the past few months, giving me valuable practice and feedback.

Stay tuned for new products in the coming weeks!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cloth Wipes: New and Improved!

I've been cloth diapering for over a year now, and my first set of cloth wipes are looking pretty shabby. In particular, the serged edges are fraying, especially on the corners. I was so excited about the serged edges originally, but now I think french seams are the way to go for cloth wipes.

French seam picture taken from tutorial found here.
I've also found that my original terry cloth layer (just old towels) makes my current cloth wipes unnecessarily bulky. I thought I would need a lot of texture to clean up those really messy newborn poops, but the flannel layer really is more than adequate for the job.

Needless to say, I'm replacing my old wipes with new ones. In order to make these new and improved cloth wipes, the beginning is the same: cut out your fabric. I decided to use two layers of flannel this time, cut eight inches by eight inches.


With two squares of flannel facing each other, I sewed a single seam around three edges of the square. Next, I trimmed the two corners at the bottom of the "pocket" I created. *Important note: DON'T do any back-stitching at the beginning or end of your seam; you need these threads to be nice and loose later!*


Then, I turned the "pocket" inside-out, revealing the "right" sides of the fabric. Now I began the second step of the french seam. After carefully rolling out the outermost edge of the seam with my fingers, I placed my fabric under the sewing machine needle. Notice that I started my second seam about 1.5 inches away from the opening of my "pocket."


Before I reached the end of my third edge, I stopped the machine and sunk the needle into the fabric to hold my place. Next, I carefully pulled apart the end threads. I folded the flannel fabrics in on themselves, and then flattened them against each other. Going SLOWLY, I continued my seam until I had a few stitches through all four layers of folded flannel.


Leaving my needle in the fabric again, I lifted the pressure foot, and turned the fabric so that I was ready for my final seam. It was time to close the "pocket." I continued to fold in the edges of the flannel and sew through all four layers until I was close to the other end. Then, I repeated the folding and flattening, just as I had done for the other corner.


After turning the fabric one more time, I finally reached my starting point. I finished by back-stitching and forward-stitching several times.


These wipes are so much more durable than my serged ones!  I love playing around with the color and pattern combinations of all my flannel fabrics. They would also make great reusable napkins for home or lunchboxes. I think I might make some for my little kitchen messes. They are so cute and functional, I just can't stop making them...what, did somebody say upcoming Etsy shop?

*wink wink*

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Jadon's First Birthday!

Jadon turned one this week! I can't believe that our homebirth-turned-c-section story happened a whole year ago. He has grown up so much, and Jon and I couldn't be prouder parents. We celebrated with friends and family on Labor Day, but Jadon was pretty oblivious to the milestone he reached.

My favorite part of the party was sharing a video I made of Jadon's first year of life. I can't believe how much he's grown and changed in just one year. You can watch the video below!


Though it was not a "Pinterest-perfect" party by any means, I decided to theme his party around one of his favorite books from this year, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I asked the guests to bring a food item from the book, and my decorations were littered with book references. Of course, I had been anticipating this special day with a few homemade projects for Jadon's party.

Because I managed to find some "hungry caterpillar" stickers at a thrift store (score!), I looked for ways to use them. The stickers ended up on party cups, a sign for our front door, and a homemade garland.


In order to make this garland, I first cut out circles from extra scrapbook paper I had saved from another project. Then, I ran them through my sewing machine. I knew you could sew paper because of my cloth bags project from a few months ago. Finally, I stuck the stickers on the non-colored side of the paper (okay, a friend helped with all the stickers...thank you, Kelly!).

I also made a mini garland to decorate Jadon's chocolate cake. All I did was trace small circles onto patterned cardstock paper to cut them out. Then, I sandwiched a piece of string between two of the circles, and glued them to each other. In retrospect, I would have also sewn these, but I wanted to try another method of making the garland. Sewing is faster and cleaner. I also like how the thin threads seem to disappear when you step back.


Of course, a red circle, followed by several green circles, resembles the caterpillar from the book. I tied the ends of my string to a couple of chopsticks and stuck them in my brownie cake. Done and done. I love that this decoration saved me the hassle of icing the cake. I just wasn't up to the pressure of trying to make frosting look good for this party!

"On Saturday, he ate through...a piece of chocolate cake..."
I also decided to make something special for Jadon to wear. I created a simple hungry caterpillar shirt with buttons and fabric.


I started by ironing some scrap interfacing to the back of some extra green fabric from my "leftovers" stash. Then, I drew a leaf onto the interfacing to cut out. Next, I picked out my combination of red and green (and tiny yellow!) buttons for my caterpillar. After hand sewing the buttons to my leaf, I pinned the leaf to my grey onesie (it had a hideous design underneath that I simply had to cover up!). Then, while carefully holding the rest of the onesie out of the way, I zig-zag stitched around the edge of my leaf with green thread to anchor it to the shirt.

"Jadon, when are you gonna grow hair?"
This is one of the only pictures I took during the party, and the best shot of Jadon in his shirt. The end result was exactly what I envisioned. Jadon was very curious about the new feature of buttons on his shirt. He eventually managed to rip one off! I have to sew that one back on and figure out how to keep the yellow eyes laying flat (you can see how they can shift and overlap in the picture above).

I'm glad the onesie is a size too big for now so that he can wear it for a few more months. He's growing too fast for me to keep up these days!