Thursday, October 17, 2013

DIY: Repurposed Flannel Receiving Blanket

When my first two boys were babies I always ran to the bathroom before diaper changes and waited forever for the tap to warm up to warm a soft cloth to wipe up the little bum.  Of course by that time the baby had usually escaped or was really mad.  This time I decided to splurge and buy a wipes warmer (BEST thing EVER!!).  So handy to always have a moist warm cloth on hand to wipe a tush or hands or face.  I also knew I didn't want to use disposable wipes.  My warmer came with some terry cloth wipes that I really didn't like so I set out to make some of my own.

When I dug out the remaining baby items from my first two boys I found a few flannel receiving blankets that quite frankly weren't useable as blankets.  However, being the thrifty mom I am, I didn't want to throw them out either. And now I'm glad I didn't, because those used flannel blankets are the softest thing ever to use on bottoms.

A not so new flannel blanket.

Here's how I turned a flannel baby blanket into a burp cloth and a small stack of reusable baby wipes.

 Re-purposing a blanket into a burp cloth
1. With right sides together, fold blanket half the long way.  Cut from folded edge approximately 14" wide x 18" long.  Set aside the remaining blanket.

2. Stitch the long side together using a 1/2" seam allowance. 

3. Turn right side out placing seam approximately 4" from the folded edge (see image above).  Press.

4. Top stitch along the seam.  Turn your work and top stitch 4" from the other folded edge.  Tip: I use a sticky note as my stitch guide so I don't have to mark on my fabric.  Then I can remove it or reposition it for other widths.

5. Using a over-lock machine, finish the raw ends, trim threads, and DONE! If you don't have a serger you can turn the raw edges inside and top stitch before step 4.

Re-purposing a blanket into reusable baby wipes.
1. Using remaining blanket, cut rectangles measuring 8" x 6 1/2".  I was able to get eight cuts from what was left.  Of course, feel free to alter the size to your needs.  This is just what happens to fit into my warmer the best.

2. Optional rounded edge: If you like nice round edges, you can use a bowl, cup, plastic lid to mark the corners and trim down. Or you can easily leave the corners squared.  I've done it both ways.

3. For double layered wipes layer two cuts with wrong sides together and finish edges with over-lock machine.  For single layer wipes, over-lock a single layer.  With this blanket I made 4 double sided, for those extra messy jobs.

Finished product!

I can't wait to put these wipes in the warmer with my homemade wipes solution (more on that next time) and turn this super thick, double-sided Good Will $1 find into some changing pads using the same methods as above.

Good Will $1 Find

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tutorial: Herb Infused Baby Balm

Now that there is a baby in the house again, I've been working mostly on being a mom again, but have enjoyed creating things for the little guy. I've been making baby food for him to enjoy, doing a little sewing for him (you know the cute hats, little ties, and decorated onesies), and cloth diapering.  Of course, I am making and using natural bath wash, soap, oils, and baby powders all made by Mom.  

Happy Cloth Bottom

From time to time my little guy gets a little rashy on the bottom end (usually to sampling a new food) and it needs taking care of.  I wanted something that was natural and mostly safe for cloth diapers and safe for baby bottoms.

With a little ingredient research, I concocted this little balm that takes care of rash pretty quickly to keep baby bottoms happy.  The ingredients are few and simple, but each has purpose.   Coconut oil and shea butter both have anti-fungal properties and are great all around skin soothers and softeners.  The herbs are both anti-bacterial, which in turn helps with rashes.  I've added  Bee's Wax to help make the soft oils a little more firm. Zinc oxide is used as a drying agent.  I made some with and without the Zinc oxide.  I like to have some on hand for non-rash purposes.


·         Dried Chamomile 2 heaping Tbsp
·         Dried Calendula 2 heaping Tbsp
·         Coconut Oil 1 cup
·         Shea Butter 1/2 cup
·         Bee's Wax 1/4 cup
·         Vitamin E 1/4 tsp
·         Zinc Oxide (optional) 1 tsp


·         Measuring cups and spoons
·         Heat Seal Bath Tea Bag
·         Hot Iron
·         Double boiler
·         Balm Pots

Herbal Infused Baby Balm

Measure your Chamomile and Calendula flowers into the heat seal bag.  Using your home iron on the hot setting, seal the bag.  You can add your herbs directly to the oil, but trust me when I say this will save you the time and mess of straining later.

Add an inch or two of water into the bottom pan of your double boiler and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, measure out your oils and bee's wax into the top double boiler pan.  Turn your heat down to simmer and place pan of oils over, toss in your herbal tea bag, cover, and let simmer 1-2 hours.  As the oils heat you should smell the sweet aroma of the herbs infusing into the oils.  Be sure to check your water level so it doesn't boil dry.  Do not allow the oils to boil.

After the two hours, turn off heat and let oils cool to room temperature.  Don't let the oils start to solidify.  Carefully remove the tea bag and gentle squeeze oils from bag.  Add in the vitamin E and stir.  Here is where you add the Zinc oxide.  I split my batch, putting zinc oxide in only half of the batch.  Zinc oxide helps keep the rash dry and thickens your balm at the same time.  I like to have some on hand for minor rashes or just to soften skin without the oxide.  Pour into small pots.  I used a thick walled cosmetic jar and two recycled/sanitized baby food jars (for the zinc oxide portion).  Small canning jars would work nice too.

Let cool.  Put a lid on your balms and store near your diapering station or in your diaper bag.

Use liner with cloth diapers

**NOTE:  If cloth diapering, you will want to use a liner when using this balm as the oils can cause build-up that will render your diapers ineffective.  I use a scrap of flannel or an old t-shirt cut, but you can also purchase disposable diaper liners.  Also be sure to wash the liners separately from your diapers.