Thursday, January 31, 2013

BS Thursday: Gerald the Juxtaposed Duck

They say he doesn't belong. But he doesn't care; he still goes where no rubber ducky has gone before. His is a long journey, and it will end when he meets the bathtub and his true owner, a babe with brown hair and blue eyes. And at the end of his journey, he will meet his soulmate, a princess duck that has been calling out for him and pining for a ducky dude of her own.  They had met once before, long ago, but he had forgotten, and now he wanders the world where duckies are not welcome.

Meet Gerald, the Juxtaposed Duck.

Gerald the Juxtaposed Duck sitting in snow

His long journey begins today.

(for info on the "BS" in the title, visit my post here)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DIY: An Adventure in Re-Upholstering a Dining Room Chair

Soon after Jordan and I got married, I decided that our dining room set needed a look that was about 20 years newer. The cushions were very worn, frayed, and outdated. I didn't have the money to have it done professionally (of course! I was a newlywed!), so I decided to DIY. After accomplishing incredible feats of math, beating away precision monkeys, and using about 4 different tools in about 6 different ways to unscrew a single screw, I finished re-upholstering the chairs. I also decided to document it in case I (or anyone else) wanted to try it again.

What you'll need:
-Measuring tape
-Sturdy fabric (indoor-outdoor is a good choice for kitchen chairs)
-Strong scissors
-Staple gun and staples (I borrowed mine from a friend)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

BS Tuesday: Washing Cloth Dipes in an HE Machine

Don't worry - the BS stands for Bite-Sized! ;)

Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to be my Bite-Sized days since they tend to be busier. By Bite-Sized, I mean a post written in under 10 minutes and that only takes a minute or two to read.

So for today's topic, a few quick hints about washing cloth diapers in an HE washing machine:

  • Use as much water as you can set on the machine.
  •  If you can't set the water level, you either need to add more water by pouring it into the detergent slot or make the machine think there are more clothes in there by putting a wet towel in with the diapers. 
  • Not adding extra water or tricking the machine with more weight can still result in clean diapers, but you may need to run it a few times extra than normal or wash the diapers more often - as in every other day - to prevent them from getting ammonia build-up.
  • It takes forever. Make sure your diaper-washing day doesn't have any other immediate clothes washing concerns, since the HE cycles take forever.
  • Remember to use HE-friendly detergent, and still use only a fraction of the amount.
I much prefer washing with a standard washer but have used HE in the past. It's not so efficient when it comes to washing diapers, but has its perks with regular clothes.

Hope your Tuesday is much less foggy and rainy out than mine!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Painful, Glorious Discipline

Discipline. Oh, how I have always hated that word. From it meaning some form of punishment when I was little to it meaning exercising and managing money and getting homework done without procrastination and cleaning up after myself when I got older, it's always held a negative connotation.  But I love the results of the pain of discipline: from the discipline of practicing the piano diligently, I can now easily play for my own and others' pleasure.  From the discipline of learning to control my anger, I now get angry very rarely.

But discipline is still hard to come by in my life, and I have decided this week to change that. I'm tired of being messy, not being even close to fit, not spending quality time with my Lord every day.  I'm tired of being unorganized and not following through right away on things.  Here is how I'm going to change that:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mini Photoshoot

 Who says that a photoshoot has to take a long time?  I really wanted to get pictures of my daughter out in the freshly-fallen snow, but I wanted her to be in certain (not-very-snow-friendly) clothes and actually sitting IN the snow, not on something on top of the snow.  So I decided to make it very quick, and it went even quicker than I had anticipated since she started grabbing at the snow with her bare hand and I did not want her to get frostbitten. I dressed her in all white with a red piece of fabric and a piece of lace to use as a cloak; I wanted her to be Red Riding Hood as well as a little snow baby.

The total length was 3 minutes, and I got 32 pictures and 2 "outfits" in that time.  Here are two of the best pictures (after editing in Photoshop):

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.

-from "Winter Time" by Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How To Create Your Own Cloth Diaper Wash Routine

The biggest fear for me when entering the world of cloth diapering was not washing the diapers correctly. I heard horror stories of ammonia build-up searing the nostrils and leaving terrible rashes on baby's behind, of diaper smell that permeated the washing machine, of diapers melting and tearing and becoming useless.  I read all sorts of articles on the best way to wash the diapers, and the tips were overwhelming (use only detergent made for cloth diapers - don't leave the diaper sitting in the pail/bag for more than X amount of days - you'll have to strip them every couple months - only dry in the sun - use cold water - use hot water - separate the diapers by covers and inserts - and on).

Now that I have several months of cloth diapering behind me, using about 5 different brands, 2 different categories of diaper, and 3 different washing machines, I realized something.

There is NOT a set way to wash cloth diapers.  It really depends on you, your diapers, and your washing machine settings.

Here are the main things to keep in mind when setting your routine:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bye-bye, Secret Blog!

Blogger Beware.

If you are going to keep a secret blog equivalent to an online journal, make sure to write down the name of the blog, log-in, and password SOMEWHERE so that a few years down the road after you have stopped writing in it, you can read those entries.

I made this mistake and lost the journal entries to what I intimately felt on my 21st birthday, as a newlywed, at a job I wasn't sure about, on a beautiful Texan day, and other moments. I remember some of the images passing through my imagination as I wrote, and I remember how I was feeling as I wrote some of the entries (for instance, my 21st birthday was not the greatest day...imagine wet laundry scattered across the entire apartment because the complex's dryer didn't completely dry the clothes), but I don't remember *any* phrases or words or titles used to describe those days.

I have e-mailed Google with a possible e-mail I could have used that said the account was disabled, but I don't know if that is the right e-mail, considering I think I remember creating a new e-mail specifically to make the (public) blog completely anonymous.

Good going, KJ.

Pretty sure I'm going to just keep a paper journal from now on.  (I'm really not sure what possessed me to create an anonymous public one, other than I must have been feeling something that I really wanted to scream to the world but didn't want anyone other than hubby to know!)