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On the “things you have to decide about when you have a baby” list, after “Home birth?” “Circumcision?” “Keep it or allow it to be raised by wolves?” is “Diapers: disposable or cloth?”

We decided to use cloth diapers, because if we’re going to bring another human into the world it might as well not spend the first 3 years of its life filling up a landfill. So rather than pay $20-30/week for a diaper service, I decided to make cloth diapers and wash them at home. I know, the baby is still 6 1/2-ish months away, but I have free time now, so I did a little research (cloth diaper websites, UPDATE YOUR LAYOUTS) and following the instructions here (scroll down to “Stuffable Prefolds) with some variations (more edge finishing and no backing fabric, because why?), I made 25 diapers and 10 diaper inserts out of a double-sized flannel sheet set, which I got from Goodwill for $10.

25 diapers and 10 diaper inserts. Not pictured: the original flannel sheet set.

Note: These are not real prefolds. Real prefolds are, apparently, a single large piece of fabric folded many times and sewn down. This is a more fabric-efficient, easier home alternative.

To begin!

If you’re using old sheets, wash and dry them thoroughly before you begin. Cut the folded-over top bit off the flat sheet (you can use this to make diaper inserts later) and the elastic off the fitted sheet. Figure out the most efficient way to get 18″ X 18″ squares out of your sheets. If the numbers work out better if they’re 17″ or 17.5″ x 18, that’s OK too, just make sure you use the same sized squares together. How you cut will depend on what size sheets you’re starting with.

If you have any left over, cut it into strips ranging anywhere from 2.5″-4.5″ in width and 14″-17″ in lenth. These will also make diaper inserts.

To make the diapers, take two of your 18″ x 18″ (or whatever) squares:

Fold each in half, wrong sides together, and overlap the folded sides by about 5″.

If the fabric you’re using has stripes or a pattern, line them up if you can, but don’t worry if they don’t match. Remember, they’ll be covered by a waterproof diaper cover or bum sweater (yes, there is such an object as a “bum sweater” and YOU CAN KNIT THEM), so we’re going function over fashion here. Pin the two layers together along the folds, leaving about an inch below the top. This is so you can finish the edge without sewing the top together.

Folding the other layer down, overlock stitch/serge across the right side top. Repeat with the left side top. (You can omit this step if your pieces are taken from the finished edges of the top sheet. Just use that edge as the top and skip to the next step.)

These pictures are terrible, but you'll figure it out.

Straight stitch along the right side fold as close to the edge as you can.

Flip the diaper over and repeat on the other fold. When you get to the bottom, turn and stitch along the bottom to meet your other line of stitching.

You’ve just made the insert pocket. Now all that’s really left is to finish the edges. Insert the needle on the top right side of the insert pocket and straight stitch across the top. Turn and overlock stitch around the right side, bottom, and left side of the diaper. At the top left corner, turn and straight stitch to the left side of the insert pocket. I didn’t successfully take any pictures of this, so I can’t illustrate it, but I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. If you want to reinforce it further, you can straight stitch all the way around (leaving the insert pocket open, of course), but I didn’t think this was necessary. I figure the only part that will be under any pressure will be the top, by the insert being inserted in the pocket. If after much use and washing, the edges start to come apart, I will repost this with a correction.

The finished product:

To make the diaper inserts, take the strips you’ve cut, put two or three of them together, and overlock around the raw edges.

A warning: This is not a particularly exciting sewing project. It is extremely easy but, once you’ve gotten the hang of it (about the 4th one), kind of dull. And while sewing each diaper takes 10 minutes max, the cutting out and folding takes about an hour for each sheet. BUT if you have the free time and you want to diaper your baby for around $10, it is a simple and environmentally friendly way to do so. I have a third flat sheet which I will also make into diapers…later, because I am totally bored with making diapers, but I plan to end up with around 35 and an equal number of inserts. I’m hoping that will be enough even accounting for air-drying.

If you really, really, really want me to, I will make you 12 recycled prefold diapers/inserts for…let’s say $35 CDN, but trust me, even if you’ve never sewn anything more complicated than a throw pillow, you can make these yourself. And it’ll be one extra thing to guilt-trip your child about when they’re 12 and starting to talk back. Priceless!

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Inspired by this ninja cat, I made a ninja squid doll for some friends for Christmas.

If your sewing skills are a bit lacking, email me and I’ll make you one for $20 CAD + shipping and handling.

If your sewing skills are just dandy, here are the pattern and instructions for making your very own Cute-thulhu.

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In case you’d like to participate, a vegan bagel recipe!

Dissolve

– 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (or 2 packages if you buy it that way)

in

– 2 c water, heated to 110F (it’s very important that you get the temperature right! Use a latte thermometer or something).

Then stir in

– 3 tbsp sugar
– 1 tbsp salt

and mix well.  Gradually beat in

– 4 c all-purpose flour
– 2 tbsp ground flax seeds

Mix in another

– 1 – 1 1/4 c flour

to make a stiff dough.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead well, incorporating as you do so:

– 1/2 a small onion, finely chopped.

Knead 5-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and only a little sticky.  Put in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise 40-ish minutes.

Punch down and knead the dough again, then divide into 18 pieces. Shape each piece into a bagel by shaping it into a smooth ball, sticking your thumb through the middle, then shaping as you turn it around your thumb. (Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out.)  Let rise another 20 minutes.

Bring

– 6 c water
– 1 tbsp sugar

to a boil in a large pot.  Boil the bagels, 5 or 6 at a time, turning often, for 5 minutes. This is to create the chewy bagel crust and is an indispensable step.  Take them out of the boiling sugar water with a slotted spatula, then brush with a flour glaze made of

– 2 tbsp flour mixed with
– 2 tbsp water

and sprinkle with

– Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, whole flax seeds, whatever you like, or no seeds at all.

Bake the bagels for 20-25 minutes at 400F.  Let cool on racks.

These bagels are so good Ben is on his 3rd.

Note: This recipe is adapted from one found in a cookbook entitled “Sunset Breads: Step-by-step techniques”, published in 1991.  If you are the author of this recipe and would like to be credited/linked/thanked profusely please contact me and I’ll be happy to do so.

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Continuing in yesterday’s culinary vein, this morning I made soy milk.

Soy milk isn’t all that expensive or anything, but making your own is almost unbelievably cheap.  All you need is about 30 cents worth of soy beans, a blender or food processor, a kettle, and 45 minutes to spare:
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After a weekend of baking disasters (a loaf of bread whose yeast died, turning it into glue, and the most disgusting muffins I’ve ever tasted), I was in need of a culinary ego boost.  So I made some crispbread.

I have to confess that I really, really like Ryvita.  I know, it’s the nerdiest food ever, but when our local grocery store started carrying it I actually clapped my hands in glee right there in the aisle.  I’ve never figured out how to duplicate it at home – they must use some special industrial process to achieve that texture – but this recipe is a good home-made substitute.

– 1 cup hard wheat kernels
– 2 cups boiling water
– 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1/2 cup oat bran
– 2 1/2 – 3 cups flour (I used only regular flour because I’m out of rye, but using at least half rye flour is best)

Soak the hard wheat kernels in the boiling water for at least 4 hours (overnight is fine).  Pour the kernels and water into a food processor and process on high for a few minutes until the kernels are shredded.  Pour into a bowl.  Stir in salt and oil.  Stir in oat bran.  Add flour 1/2 a cup at a time until you have a sticky but kneadable dough.  Knead for two or three minutes, adding more flour if needed.  Let stand at least 10 minutes; roll out thinly (1/4″-1/3″) and cut into 3” x 2” sections.  Bake at 375 F for 20-ish minutes, or until crispy and lightly browned, turning the baking trays once if like me you have an uneven oven.  Cool completely on racks before eating.  Good with hummus and other spreads.

You can throw in some caraway seeds, poppy seeds, or other grains if you like – I imagine some wheat berries or amaranth might be nice.  Also I usually use more sesame seeds.  Today I ran out.

My crispbread.  In the back right, the dreaded Glue Loaf.

My crispbread. In the back right, the dreaded Glue Loaf.

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We’re going away for the weekend towards the end of the month – without the dogs.  One of my friends is going to stay in our place to look after them, so I’ve written her a little manual on their habits and routine.  Mostly it’s basic information about feeding and walking and preventing aggression, and not at all interesting to a general audience, but I thought this section might entertain:

8. Weird things
Phobias

  • Madeline is afraid of chairs.
  • Gus is afraid of sidewalk grates and running water.
  • If she’s spooked, Madeline will hide under the bed. This is not safe because the bed is not very stable – if she goes under the bed, try to get her out.

Likes/dislikes
Gus enjoys it when you sing his song (to the tune of “Bill”):
He’s just my Gus, an ordinary hound
He hasn’t got a thing that I can brag about
Yet for him to be upon my knees
So lazy and snorey, it does something for me
And I can’t explain, it’s surely not his brain
That makes him such a good pup
I love him because he’s wonderful,
Because he’s just my Gus.

  • Gus also likes to be hugged.
  • Madeline likes to sit in your lap.
  • Her song is “My Funny Madeline”.
  • Both like beer, but don’t give them more than about a tablespoon each.

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I have been busy.  Not just with my usual round of exciting and glamourous activities, but with making socks and hats and things for Streetknit.  Here is the men’s sock pattern I created from this excellent pattern.  I have used it to make many socks, including the pair pictured here.  If you don’t like using DPNs but still feel like knitting socks, here you go.  If you don’t like to knit, or if knitting gives you a rash, please do not click.

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