Monday, November 19, 2012

Gifting Alternatives

The holidays are upon us and everyone is wondering what to purchase for the littlest members of the family.  If your kids are anything like mine, they have a list a mile long of things they want and they add to it every day.  AND if your kids are like mine, there is very little (if anything) they truly need. 

We are so fortunate to have what we need and then some.  Family and friends have been very generous and showered us with gifts and trinkets year round and our home is plentiful.  We are so blessed to be in this position, however it does cause a bit of a dilemma for me.

During this time of year, I get concerned that we are perpetuating a culture of greed.  And I worry that my children are ungrateful for what they have and that they are in the spirit of GETTING, not giving.  Not to mention that I worry for the environmental impact of consumerism.  The wrapping paper, the tape, the packaging, and even the toy itself eventually all wind up in a landfill.  I try my best to recycle, donate, and resell what I can, but at this time of year, the excess can be overwhelming and all that good practice tends to go by the wayside in favor of my sanity and easier travels. 

So this year, for all the families like mine, who are all stocked up on toys and clothes, I am offering this list of gifting alternatives this holiday season.  These are things that family and friends can chose in lieu of toys/clothes/etc that will truly benefit the family without contributing to the growing pile of forgotten toys and clutter in your home.

1. Contribute to a savings account.  In several years, any child will appreciate having money toward a car and/or college vs having had the joy of a new plastic toy for 2 weeks.  This would also provide a great opportunity to teach the family about saving money and the value of planning ahead for higher education.

2.  Purchase a class or lesson.  The gift of knowledge keeps on giving.  Classes and lessons are expensive these days and any family would appreciate a contribution toward swimming, music, gymnastics, or soccer lessons. 

3.  Offer a coupon for a special day together, including a fun outing.  Giving your time to your family is really what the holidays are about, right?  Busy schedules often prevent us from being able to take a trip to the museum during holiday break, but don't let that stop you from giving that experience anyhow.  Make a promise to do it another time and set a date!

4.  Buy tickets to a show or play.  Whether its Disney on Ice or The Wiggles Live, every town has live performances for families happening year round.  Investigate what options are available for you to gift! 

5.  Consider a gift card to the family's favorite restaurant.  Kids love a meal out as much as adults!  This gift will please the whole family and will be sure not to go to waste.

6.  Give a subscription or membership.  Magazines, museums, community pools, the local YMCA... all of these are great for families/kids.  This is a gift that will keep giving all year!

7.  Passports!  An offer to purchase passports for the family may result in an international vacation with you! :)

8.  Make something special.  A handmade gift is truly from the heart and provides a one of a kind keepsake.  In addition, it sets a good example and encourages kids to do the same!

9.  Participate in a toy swap.  This is a concept that is gaining popularity.  Many schools, churches, and community organizations plan these events for families and it is a great way to get new things without contributing to consumerism. 

10.  If you really want to indulge and get a traditional gift, arts & craft supplies and books are always great options that most families can make use of any time of the year.  Crayons, markers, stickers, paint, glue, scissors, and the like are usually in high demand in family homes.  And, if they are not, they are easily donated to schools where the little ones will make good use of them anyhow.

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you're inspired to try one of these gifting alternatives this holiday season!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Diaper Conversion and Custom Longies

Among this week's projects are a BumGenius diaper conversion and a pair of custom longies for baby H.

 I'll be honest: snap conversions are not my favorite project, but I did really enjoy this particular experience.  Like everything in life: the more you practice something, the easier it becomes.  I must have finally hit my groove with the snap pliers because this conversion went flawlessly.  These diapers are 5 years old according to the owner and I expect they'll last another 5 now that the aplix has been removed.

The instructions for the custom longies included only measurements, so I was free to choose which wool would be best.  (Squee!)  I selected a beautiful 100% virgin lambswool sweater from Scotland.  This sweater is a beautiful color, feels soft and luxurious, and smells like sheep heaven!  I cannot rave enough about this wool and I am very jealous of baby H who is lucky enough to be wearing it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Have Prefold Will Diaper

A friend of mine recently gave birth to her first child and (much to my delight) has decided to cloth diaper.  She purchased Flip covers and prefolds, but found the Flips to be too large for her newborn.  The only option available locally is lil g pants, so she bought a few of these to get by until her daughter was big enough for the Flips.  However, the g pants did not accommodate her prefolds very comfortably, so she asked me to perform a conversion of sorts: She asked me to cut about 4 inches off of the prefolds and stitch the end.  This would allow the prefold to sit in the 'hammock' of the lil g pants easily and comfortably.  

I'll admit, at first, I was taken aback by the request.  Cut up your brand new prefolds?! But her reasoning made sense: the prefolds only cost $1, they are prepped, and she has them now.  Ordering premie prefolds or other inserts would take time and (once they arrived) more prepping/washing/drying/etc.  On second thought, it made perfect sense.  Prefolds are an amazingly versatile diaper.  AND, if they don't fit your needs, they are easily altered!  

So, I gladly fixed up her stash for her.  Shortening and stitching the diapers was quick and easy.  I even found a use for those extra 4 inches I cut off.  I stitched 2 together to make what can be doublers, inserts, or even mama cloth.

Used Fluff for Sale

 I have the following diapers/covers/etc for sale from my own personal stash.  Everything listed is in used condition and has been laundered according to manufacturers directions.  Please comment below or tweet me (@laybebelay) if you are interested in any of these items. Prices listed do not include shipping.

4 large microfiber inserts (and 2 complimentary cotton doublers.)  Some staining, no stink.  Hardly used.  Price: $4



One Size Kawaii Baby yellow pocket diaper.  Some staining to inner fleece, but overall great condition.  Comes with 2 microfiber inserts.  Price: $8

 6 BumGenius 3.0 one size pocket diapers.  3 green, 3 white.  Each comes with adjustable microfiber insert and newborn insert.  Some staining, no stink.  Originally purchased with aplix and converted to snaps.  This was my first attempt at snap conversion and there are issues with some of the snaps, (but these issues do not prevent proper closure of the diapers.)  Price: all 6 for $30

** $35 if purchased with Kawaii Baby pocket diaper **


 2 Happy Heinys Pull Up Trainer shells, blue with bear print.  Size XS.  Barely used.  These work great as a swim diaper, trainer, or side snap diaper.  Price: $12 for both. 

** $15 total if purchased with microfiber inserts **

Kushies pull up training pant, size S/P.  Some staining to inner lining, but in good condition.  Price: $6


Stacinator  Fleece cover, white.  Size large with adjustable side snap closure.  Great condition.  Price: $6

NappyShoppe Fleece soaker with pink ooga booga print, size XL.  Super cute.  Barely used.  Price $10

** $15 if purchasing both fleece covers **


Apx 18m sized wool longies, made from boiled wool.  These are very effective as a diaper cover and are freshly lanolized.  Because I made them for personal use, you'll notice the contrasting color of thread (from the inside of the pants only.)  Also, these were originally white and my son (obviously!) got into some dirt, so I dyed them blue in an attempt to pretty them up.  True color can be noted at the left pic (in natural light.)  Price: $8

 ** $70 buys the whole lot **

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Potty Learning in Cloth

If you've braved the world of cloth diapering for about 2 years now and your little one is showing signs of potty readiness, then this post is for you.  My 2 yo and I have been starting the process of transitioning to the potty and I'd love to share with you some tips and tricks I have learned along the way.  We are still new to the process, so these tips apply to early learners.

Being ready to give the potty a try meant needing a way to quickly get pants & diaper off and my preferred diapering style (prefold with fastener & wool soaker) just wasn't working.  I researched all of the various cloth trainer options, but found many to be too expensive and contain PUL (which I would rather not use.)  After scouring sites and reading reviews, I found a method that works really well for us.  I simply use padded underwear when we are at home.  (I linked an Etsy shop, but you can find cheaper versions at most department stores for a very low price.) If we are going out for a short trip (and we're having a good potty day) I add a doubler to the training pants and use a wool soaker/shorties/longies.  This works really well to absorb any accidents and protect against leaks.

Another training pants option is a prefold to trainer conversion.  I love this idea and have started converting a few of my prefolds.  It's a simple process, you just need a little time (and patience) and some fold over elastic (which I can find at my local JoAnns.)  I will post a tutorial on this later in the week.  Again, this trainer preforms beautifully with a wool covering: soaker, shorties, or longies.  Utilizing the wool and diapers you already have is an economical and environmentally friendly way to enter this next phase of parenting.

Reusing diapers and wool isn't the only useful way to work with what you've got.  I have found that BabyLegs make a great potty learning tool when the weather is cooler, as well.  

  After establishing the proper undergarment, potty using success depends on 2 things: getting to the potty and staying on the potty.  The solutions to these issues are quite easy.  First, have lots of access to the potty.  I have 3 potties:  1 stays in the nursery, 1 in the bathroom, and 1 in the hatch of the car.  Our emergency car potty has been a life saver.  Maybe it's not for everyone, but it works really well for us.  To manage the waste after use, I simply bring extra prefolds and doggy waste bags to clean the mess.  I use the diaper to soak up urine and bag to contain and discard of poo. 

Lastly, if your 2 yo is anything like mine, he is busy! And sitting on the potty isn't always the most appealing option.  To keep my son's interest, I have a tote bag filled with books and toys beside the potty.  He is able to explore the contents without standing up and I can even leave the room for clean pants if need be.

Lastly, my biggest potty learning tip is to do whatever works! I have resorted to standing my kiddo in the shower to pee because that's what he asked to do.  Also, my 5yo often takes him to the potty because he prefers it that way and we have more success when big sister helps out. If  you're in the midst of potty learning or have survived to tell the tale, please comment below with any ideas that worked for you.

Remember: Patience and versatility are your biggest weapons in this potty game.  Good luck!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

No Diaper Sprayer?

Upon purchasing my first cloth diapers, I included a diaper sprayer in my order. To be honest, it was a fear based decision: I was diapering a toddler, who eats real food, and has real poops. EW!!

When the diapers came, I loved them! The sprayer, on the other hand, left much to be desired. Maybe my technique was off or maybe I didn't give it a fair shake, but I used it a total of 3 times to clean my diapers. The thing seemed to spray poop and water So, I concocted plan B.

As you can see, I have a double sided mud sink. (It's huge!!) In lieu of a diaper sprayer, I place a bucket on one side of the sink and rinse poo off of the soiled dipes into the bucket.When all the diapers are rinsed, I simply dump the bucket into the toilet. This method seriously reduces eliminates the poopy water being splashed all over every corner of my bathroom.  It also was no cost to me: I already had a sink and bucket.

When the diaper is reasonably clean, I switch the water to the other side of the sink and presoak the diapers in cold water overnight. I usually add vinegar to the soak.

Then, every other day I wash diapers. I do a short, light cold cycle with detergent and a long hot cycle with vinegar only and an extra rinse. We have very hard water here and this combo is working quite well for us.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I'm offering a ***free pair of wool longies*** to 1 lucky reader! Information here: LayBabyLay Blog

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Striped Earth Tone Custom Project

This was a custom order for 1 pair of longies and 1 pair of shorties apx 6-12 mon size made from a 100% lambswool sweater.  The cuffs of the shorties are from a green argyle 100% lambswool sweater from a previous project.




Friday, January 27, 2012

Argyle Custom


100% wool sweater, argyle print


1 soaker, 1 longies (with argyle waistband) sized apx 18 mon

Red Sweater Custom Work

A new addition to my shop is the custom listing. Rather than guessing what sizes, designs, and colors my customers need, I have decided to offer a DIY option in which you tell me what you'd like made. I have been enjoying these projects greatly as they require creativity and the end result is truly one of a kind.  I will be posting before and after pictures as blog posts for my customers to see my work.

Recently I worked on a red sweater. The request was 2 pairs of longies, apx size 9-12 months. It was one of my most challenging projects and I am very proud of how it turned out :)


this is a 100% felted wool jacket


2 custom longies: pieced together oh-so-meticulously