Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ribbon Skirt and Applique Shirt

I was looking around for pumpkin decorating ideas this morning and stumbled across this adorable ribbon skirt and applique shirt by Melissa over at The Polkadot Chair. It got rave reviews from both of my girls. Looks like I will be making at least one of these very soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Free Motion Quilting

This is my first attempt at free motion quilting. Well, if you don't count the first tiny bit on one corner of a baby doll quilt that I ripped out. I didn't want to risk ruining the whole quilt doing it so I switched over to the walking foot.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Pillows

I decided to do a Jack-O-Lantern pillow project with the girls over the weekend. First of all, I want to appologize for my ironing board cover. I just want to clarify that it is rust from all the steam ironing I do and not dirt. I guess I have a new project to tackle, making a cute new cover.

You will need:
Orange Fabric- pillow front and back
Black Fabric- for eyes, nose, and mouth
Brown- felt, ribbon, or bias tape for stem
Fusible Web

Iron fusible web to the wrong side of the black fabric.

Cut 2 pumpkin shapes out of the orange fabric. Ours were pretty much an oval with a little dip in the top, nothing too technical or special. Then the girls drew their eyes, nose, and mouth on the paper backing of the fusible web on the black fabric. I cut it out for them since it was kind of hard to cut through the layers and the pieces were so small. I let the girls place them on the pumpkins and I ironed them on.

I had planned to sew around the black pieces, but after ironing them on, didn't think it was necessary. Put the pumpkins right sides together, don't forget to put your stem in the middle, and stitch around them leaving an opeining to turn.
The girls stuffed the pumpkins and I hand stitched them closed. Sorry Aly's pumpkin is the only one shown completely finished. Abby's has already gone missing after only 3 days. It will probably turn up at Christmas or Valentines Day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My First Quilt

My first quilt is finally done! Started in February 2007 finished October 18, 2009. Yes, that is a long time, but in my defense I am making two identical quilts for the girls. I have Abby's completely finished.

I decided to string tie it instead of quilting it. I figured since it took me 2 1/2 years to get the tops pieced it would probably take me another 2 1/2 to get it quilted. And in my opinion quilts are made to be loved and used not works of perfection.

I let the girls each choose the fabric for their back strip and binding so they would be a little different from each other. Abby chose my favorite one, pastel purple with a lacy print.


I read somewhere that detergents could possibly be a trigger for eczema. One website said detergent molecules as long and skinny and soap molecules are more rounded. Abby's skin is thin, irritated, and damaged in the areas where the flare-ups happen the most. The cream the doctor gave us to put on it when it flares up actually has a warning to not use it too often b/c it can make the skin extremely skin. She referred to it as "onion skin". I think the sharp detergent spikes poke into and irritate her tender skin, but the rounded soap molecules tend to sort of float on top of it. Think about it this way, which is easier to accidentally stab yourself in the finger with, a sharpened pencil or a ball point pen?

I found these microscopic pictures of laundry detergent and soap.

Laundry Detergent


All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Well, so far the chemical elimination is going well. It really seems to be helping Abby's eczema clear up. At least we haven't had as many flare-ups in the past week. I am sure there are still all kinds of chemical irritants in our house, but it will just take time to get everything washed and cleaned to remove old residues that are hanging around. Aly is constantly on the attack when she sees me cleaning. I made up my own cleaner but didn't tell her. She saw me spraying it on the bathroom sink to clean it and said "What are you doing?!? That is a CHEMICAL and will make my little sister itch!" I told her I couldn't just NOT clean so I made a homemade cleaner and I didn't put anything in it that would make Abby itch. Here is what I have been using.

All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

1 teaspoon Washing Soda
1 teaspoon Borax
2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar

Washing Soda is generally the hardest ingredient to find, but I know you can get it at Ingles and I think Publix has it also. I have seen Borax at Bi-Lo, Wal-Mart, Ingles, possibly Publix also.

Put in a spray bottle and fill with water. I think my bottle holds around 34 oz. Yes, I guess these are still technically chemicals, but, theses do not irritate my baby girl's skin like commercial cleaners do. This works great as a general purpose cleaner. It actually cleans better than the Lysol 4 in 1 spray that I always used before. It worked wonders on the textured handle of the refrigerator that never seemed to get completely white before no matter what I used. I use it to clean bathroom sinks, toilets, kitchen sinks, cabinet doors, countertops, etc.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Eczema Endeavors

Abby has had eczema since she was a few months old. All the doctors have been able to do is give us prescription creams to slather on her when it flares up. One of them was making her skin really thin. I have tried things at random from switching laundry detergents, soaps, going with flouride free toothpaste, etc. I even tried making my own homemade laundry detergent. Nothing has really seemed to make a difference. Well, about a week ago, I read an article in a magazine about using more eco friendly cleaning supplies. It had a brief 2 sentence blurb about one woman who had eliminated all "detergents" from her home and was only using true "soap" and other natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda to clean and it had really helped to almost completely cure her son's eczema. So began my week of research.

Aparently with a lot of eczema situations, there isn't one particular trigger, but more a buildup and exposure to lots of different household cleaners and then that one extra dose sends it into flare up mode. So, for right now, I am switching to homemade laundry detergent and trying to eliminate anything with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in it since that is on of the big iritants. I finally found a toothpaste sold locally that doesn't contain it: ProNamel Kids. Aparently they put SLS in just about anything that needs to bubble from dish detergent, to shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, and a whole miriad of other things. Hopefully eliminating as many chemicals from our home as possible will help now that I know it is a combination of things, not one particular cleaner.

So far, our favorite bath product is Johnson's Buddies bar soap b/c it is real soap or to use one of my handmade soaps for her. I make my soap from scratch using the cold process method. This is great b/c I can hand pick the oils that have the best benefit for eczema. Avocado, Evening Primrose, and Sweet Almond Oil are all great for eczema relief and dry skin in general.