Project Dining Room: The Chairs

Welcome back to Project Dining Room!! When we last left off I had just finished painting a thrifted pedestal table for our dining room. It’s turquoise blue. My favorite color.

But with the gorgeous pop of color in the middle of our dining room the dirty trashed hideous sad chairs needed an update.

After the Great House Flood of 2011 we picked up a sweet midcentury dining set for $150 on Craigslist. It was love at first sight with these chairs (not so much with the table).

The only problem? They were covered in god-awful burgundy polyester. And polyester? Not kid-friendly. They were stained up the second we brought them into the house.

Then while up on vacation in Oscoda earlier in the summer I found these lovely little armchairs at our thrift shop.$35 total. They’re sturdier and comfy and provide a nice contrast to the straight-lined midcentury chairs. But they were covered in hideous gold fabric. In desperate need of a makeover!!

So one day, while casually chatting, we picked some upholstery fabric via committee on Facebook. We being me, Mom and Tracey. Making decisions via Facebook happens to work great for us.

From many many many exhaustive hours of watching HGTV research, I knew that indoor/outdoor upholstery fabric was what we needed. Particularly one that said “NO Drycleaning”. Cause at this point in our lives we don’t buy anything that requires dry cleaning.

All told it took about 20 minutes to pick out and order 4 yds of fabric from Fabric.com. Grand total? $36.

Once the fabric came we had an excuse to finally use the staple gun that’s been collecting dust in Mom’s garage for a while now. And on a Sunday afternoon visit, I put the whole family to work.

First things first, Michael was in charge of taking off the seat covers.

While he did that Mom washed down the chairs.

And Tre and I removed the one million staples holding several layers of yucky old fabric on. (*Side note: Try to pick up all the old rusty staples off the floor before you step on them or your baby puts one in her mouth. Cause tetanus is gross.)

Next, we used one of the discarded pieces of fabric as a pattern to cut out all the new chair covers. We had 4 yards of fabric for 6 chairs and still had plenty leftover in case there are any major stains or whatnot.

Then we put the fabric down, put the seat on top of it and stapled. It would be silly for me to try and describe our technique for this cause we really didn’t have one. We definitely stapled the sides down first, cause they’re straight and easy.

The corners and curves were a serious pain in the ass, and required pulling the fabric tight across the seat and making all these little folds to get it flat. And about another million staples holds all the little folds together.

Then you pop the seats back on. And curse yourself (and maybe your husband a little bit) when two of the 24 screws turn up missing.

And voila. Freshly upholstered dining room chairs.

Turns out, that reupholstering chairs? Isn’t so bad. 6 totally fresh and updated chairs for a grand total of $66 and some sweat equity. Not bad at all…

Next up on Project Dining Room? Styling. Cause without style, it’s just a table and chairs. Styling gives the room it’s own unique personality. Can’t wait to show you what we did there. Pinterest (and Tracey) to the rescue yet again.

Also, I just wanted to give a special shout-out to one of my biggest fans, Mrs. Gartin. Thanks for reading every single post and for being my very first and most dedicated subscriber. Sorry this took so long, as I know you were super curious as to how it all turned out. Hope it lived up to all that anticipation :)

 

 

 

Review & Giveaway: green.made.simple

*UPDATE – Giveaway is closed for entries. And the winner is? Click HERE to find out…

To those who were wondering about the radio silence for a week or more well…we’re back! And not only are we back from our travels to the beautiful beaches of Lake Huron or ‘Up North’ as us Michiganders call it, but we’re back with a little something from one of you lovely readers!!

When I moved to Lansing nearly three years ago it was really hard. All my family and friends were in Detroit, and though it’s only an hour away I felt so incredibly alone being pregnant and then bringing Cedella into the world without my usual support system.

So when I stumbled bleary-eyed and nervous into my first Lansing Babywearers meeting I was just treading water in the Lake of Mommy Despair. Everyone was so nice and welcoming and they didn’t think my parenting or lifestyle choices were weird and they just made everything ok.

But Lansing Babywearers was only the gateway drug. We only meet once a month. And I needed more. So next came the La Leche League meetings at Delta-Waverly. Where all my Babywearing friends (and more lovely pro-boobie mamas) met up a couple more times a month.

It’s at one of the LLL meetings that I met my lovely friend Cindy and her beautiful daughter Vada. Her warm smile and the soft and constant clicking of knitting needles are instantly friendly and comforting. She is a master sewer and all-around crafty gal. It was just so easy to become friends with Cindy, especially when she’s willing to hold your baby as you stuff yet another brownie into your postpartum pie-hole 😉

So when she started her new Etsy shop green.made.simple many of us were drooling over the possibilities of what she would come up with for her store.

Though many more earth-friendly housewares are on the way to her shop (like Un-Paper Towels) her first big project were making several dozen wipes for family cloth/cloth wipes. She still has several sets of wipes available like these adorable little heart ones.

Or these fun little froggies.

But she doesn’t just make cool, green, functional housewares. She makes these beautiful teething necklaces too.

How cute are those polka dots? These necklaces are all made with cotton fabric over untreated wooden beads. Babies love to suck on and chew on these things.

And the best part? You don’t have to be a mom of a teething baby to wear one of these lovely items…no one needs to know it doubles as a baby soother!

Sadly I have no pictures to prove how much Izzie loves to chew on this thing (because she’s usually buried in the Ergo carrier while chewing on it or I’ve got my hands full with dinner, or the ipad or while talking on the phone) but trust me when I say, it’s getting a lot of use!

Here’s me and my thumb-sucking, hand-chewing, put-something-in-my-mouth-already 3 month old.

And this is the gorgeous turquoise necklace Cindy made just for me…

So, now that I’ve tempted you…don’t you want one for yourself?

One lucky reader is going to win one of these lovely necklaces. And it could be you.

Now for the nitty gritty details: 
Go to green.made.simple at Etsy.com and pick out which necklace you’d like to win. Next go to Facebook and like green.made.simple and Babies & Bacon (if you already have ‘liked’ us then by all means tell me so!). Then come back here and tell me you ‘like’ us and leave your necklace choice in the comment section. The giveaway starts today and runs until this Friday 6.29.2012 at midnight. A winner will be chosen using Random.org and notified via facebook and email that they’re the big winner!!
But if you just can’t wait and really need to have one of those necklaces right now, or want to buy one for a shower gift (cause it would be such a cool and unique present to give) or you need some more wipes for your stash, Cindy is giving Babies & Bacon readers 15% off of their orders using the code ‘bbgiveaway’ for the duration of the giveaway.
So what are you waiting for? Somebody’s going to win! And wouldn’t it be great if it was you? 😉
I was given a beautiful turquoise necklace to facilitate my review. But these opinions are mine and mine only darlings.

 

Newborn Cloth Diapering 101

So what’s the latest and greatest rage in parenting these days? Well it seems like all the cool moms are in the cloth diaper crew. I should know…I’m one of ’em.

But seriously, cloth diapers do seem to be all the rage right now (see how cool I’m not? I just wrote “all the rage” like MY Mom would do…so NOT cool).

And why shouldn’t they be? There are a million and one diaper brands and a zillion cute patterns and colors to chose from. There are so many options you can find a diaper that not only exactly fits your child (no more one-size-fits-most guess work with disposables) but you can find a brand that fits your lifestyle and color palette (I WISH I was joking about that last part).

I’ve talked before about why we chose to cloth diaper with Cedella, though we were way too scared to start from birth with her. But we weighed the benefits, like the overall cost savings, the environmental impact and the health impact and it just made sense to us to give it a try. And we loved it. Yes, even Michael too. It worked great for us.

And the added bonus? It completely remedied the dreaded poop blow-out.

So we knew that the second Isora was born we knew we’d be covering her booty with some soft fluffy cloth instead of disposables.

And we almost did.

Except that we forget about the god-awful first poops, the meconium. That shit doesn’t come out of anything (pun intended). And that damn umbilical cord stump that needs the special little notch cut out to heal properly.

So we bought one pack of little Huggies Naturals that lasted approximately a day and a half. And another. At which point I put my foot down and ordered some newborn diaper covers with the little notch cut-out for about the same price as two packs of diapers. She’s been in cloth ever since. And has never had a single blowout. It’s lovely.

Here’s what our newborn stash consists of:

24 Kissaluv Fitted in Newborn – size 0 (newborn) (so lovely and soft and easy to use)

3 Prowrap Classic Covers (all velcro) – size newborn (perfect for the first month but she’s already out of them)

3 Prowrap Classic Covers (all velcro) – size small (generously sized and very easy to use)

3 Rumparooz Diaper Covers (2 velcro & 1 snap) – size newborn (Love love love these, and they’re adjustable and will work for a while)

6 Imse Vimse Diaper Covers – size newborn (though I am NOT a big fan of these at all, hence the other covers in the stash)

1 Bum Genuis Pocket Diaper (discontinued style) – size small (it’s alright, but not a favorite)

1 GroBaby All in One (discontinued style) – size small (great diaper but the newer style is better)

1 FuzziBum Elite One Size Diaper (would be a great diaper if stuffing the pocket was easier, it’s such a pain in the ass I don’t use it much)

Totaled up this is 27 diapers, most of which will only work for another month or so. She’s already too big for the Prowrap newborn size covers. The newborn sized fitteds are supposed to last up to 15 lbs. which Zorie will certainly hit within a month or so, since she’s already around 12.5 lbs. At that point she will go right into the GroVia All in 2 system that we use with Ella. Sure they’ll be sharing diapers (cutting down on our stash and increasing our laundry) but those diapers work best for us and are one-sized so they’re fully adjustable per child.

There are a couple of major drawbacks people see when debating whether cloth diapering will work for them. One of which is the laundry factor.

I know most people HATE doing laundry. I don’t happen to hate it, cause once you throw all the stuff in the machine your work is done until you have to switch it to the other machine. My hatred comes in the folding and putting away part. I LOATHE folding clothes. Seriously.

But I have a system that works pretty well. At least that is if I actually get around to pulling them out of the dryer.

I throw all the dirties into the wash (having rinsed off poop into the toilet with the sprayer we’ve installed on our toilet BEFORE putting it in the diaper pail) and throw the machine on a cold soak/rinse cycle. Once that’s done I turn on full whites cycle with hot water and some laundry detergent. Finally it goes for one more (half length) white cycle without any soap as a rinse. When that’s done I hang all the covers to dry and toss all the fitteds and inserts into the dryer on medium for about 90 minutes.

It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. But if I had our old beautiful HE front loader I could do the pre-soak, white cycle and second rinse all in one step. But we have a pretty bare bones top loader at this place. Hence the multiple cycles.

With the amount of diapers we have for both kids I end up doing a load of diapers every two days (or so). So if I washed them Monday night I’ll wash again on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. It’s really not that bad.

The second drawback people think of? The cost. And I will be the first to admit cloth diapers cost a lot up front. At least for the methods we use. We decided to purchase the entire lot of fitteds and Imse Vimse covers used from a friend and paid $200. That’s around $6.70 per diaper/cover. And that’s pretty cheap. Buying them new would cost about double that. But keeping in mind they will be used for four months (approx) and can be used on another child (or sold for what we paid for them), they will definitely cost less than buying disposables.

There’s a great site called Diaperswappers.com that I used when starting with Cedella to buy a bunch of used stuff to try different brands cheaply if you want to go the frugal route like we did.

Or you can go with a different type of diaper, the prefold, which cost $2 each for new ones and can go as low as $1 each for used. This is definitely a more cost-effective option but we didn’t love them and switched Cedella to a different kind as soon as possible. Just too much work for us. But lots of families LOVE them.

And there are tons of great sale sites and online shops that offer discounts. My favorites are Babysteals.com (sales start at 11am but the stuff goes fast so you have to log on early) and Ecobabybuys.com. I’ve bought new diapers on these sites for 40 to 65% off retail.

There are also a ton of great online diaper stores that offer point systems (that allow you to build up credit towards store rewards) and that offer gently used diapers at great prices. My favorite for their point system is The Green Nursery. It’s very straight forward and easy to use and they have great sales. And my favorite used diaper spot (and they have incredibly super duper fast shipping) is Jillian’s Drawers and their customer service reps are ridiculously helpful and sweet.

All told you will spend money up front but not buying diapers every week or two of your kids diapering days? Will save a LOT more in the long run.

In case you’re a visual person and need to see how they work I couldn’t let you go without some fluffy booty cuteness.

Kissaluv Fitted with the notch snapped down to let the cord stump heal.

Without the notch snapped down.

Cutest little Rumparooz Kangaroo patterned cover.

Our little Zorie in her Owl print Rumprooz cover. 

If you’re interested in cloth and want some help getting started by all means email me at aliwayout(at)yahoo(dot)com. Or if you want some hands on time and live in Michigan I highly recommend stopping by Modern Natural Baby in Ferndale. The ladies there are super knowledgeable and they have a million different options to chose from. And there’s Z Bear Diapers just south of Lansing which is moving to a new location in East Lansing this summer, Stephanie and her crew are very helpful and I can’t wait to visit their new store (next to Play. which is kind of dangerous for my wallet).