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What I think every mother needs

Aside from a live-in maid or a clothes dryer that folds and puts away laundry or a self-cleaning kitchen, the most useful thing for a mom that actually exists is a comfy baby carrier. My preference, hands-down, is for a good quality baby ring sling. They are so versatile you can use them to carry your baby from the time they’re a newborn all the way up to a big toddler. You can carry them lying down, upright, facing in or out, legs tucked in or out, semi-sitting, on mom’s front, back or hip depending on the baby’s age, all with the same sling.

For mom, the sling supports your back and distributes baby’s weight evenly when worn properly. Ring slings are adjustable to any body shape and size. Best of all, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a good one if you have the slightest sewing ability. All you need is a length of sturdy material, a pair of solid rings and a sewing machine. There are so many good tutorials online for making your own, I’m not going to do my own here. One that I found very helpful for making slings, complete with info on choosing fabric and where to buy rings can be found here: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/index.html.

Without my first sling, I don’t think I could have done much of anything when Finn was little. I loved my original sling so much I’ve made two more for myself. One stays in the car, one I use around the house and the third is back up for when the others need washed. I can grocery shop, clean, do some cooking, even feed Beckett, all almost hands-free while. They are much more portable than a bulky stroller. The constant movement and closeness of being carried in the sling also seems to be comforting to my babies. Finn frequently fell asleep in the sling, and he was normally very hard to get to sleep.

My slings are so indispensable to me that I always tell new mom’s about them. Slings have gotten some bad press lately due to some popular but poorly designed “bag” styles and improper usage. When used properly, though, a well constructed ring sling is perfectly safe. This link gives safety guidelines and tips for how to use them: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/wearing/bwsling_booklet.pdf

And, of course, a baby Beckett sling picture:

My newest sling with Beckett in a tummy to tummy position. He prefers to have his legs sticking out while he sits on the bottom “rail” of the sling. Please ignore the lovely bathroom backdrop.

Want to be featured?

Want to be featured?

In the past, I often featured handmade or vintage shops on Fridays. Over the years, the world of crafting and blogging has changed dramatically. I would love to resume Feature Fridays, but with a broader scope.

Handmade shop and websites are still welcome. I also want to feature guest writers sharing tutorials, tips, advice, recipes, etc. Categories that I feel are a good fit for this blog are crafting, sewing, sustainability, refashioning, healthy living, parenting, hair and beauty tips for busy moms, homeschooling and homesteading. I am open to other topics as well, so if you are interested but don’t quite fit into one of the above categories, please contact me anyway with your idea.

Guest posts will be promoted across my social media sites frequently throughout the week they are published and then periodically after.

Handmade shop/website features

For handmade shop/website features, answer the questions in the following list and email them to csloan@subearthancottage.com. I will contact you before your shop is featured and if any clarification is needed. You can give as much or a little info for each section as you are comfortable with sharing. Be sure to include links to your shop, web page and blog, if you have them. If you sell your products in a brick and mortar store and would like to include that info, you may include that as well.

I also choose a favorite item from your shop on the week that you’re featured and briefly tell why I like it. The first image from your shop for both your favorite item and my favorite item will be included in the blog.

  • Name and Business Name
  • Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
  • What made you get started in your business?
  • Anything else you’d like to share?
  • Tell us about your favorite item listed in your shop.
  • Links to your shop, website, blog, etc.
  • Email address (This will NOT be published)

Guest posts, tutorials and everything else

Please contact me at csloan@subearthancottage.com with your idea. If you already blog, a link to your blog or site where your writings are published is also helpful. Newbies are welcome, too. I’m also not opposed to reposts if they are a good fit and your own work.

If I think your idea is a good fit for SubEarthan Cottage, I will let you know and we will work out the details from there.

Matisse Creativity Mug Mugs featured
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New Apron


As I was browsing the net earlier, I came across this cute apron tutorial: http://stilldottie.blogspot.com/2007/08/apron-for-divya.html

Now, the only apron I own for cooking is a standard styled apron from my days working at Burger King ten years ago. I decided to finally retire the old BK apron and give the tutorial a shot.

Here’s a few pics of the final product. Please excuse the currently-under-construction bathroom. Other than Finn, there’s no one around to take photos now, and it’s the only room with a full mirror.

I double layered it for added protection and used bias tape so all seams are neatly hidden.

All the materials were things I already had lying around. If I had white bias tape, I probably would have used it, but now that it’s done I’m glad I used the red.

I may go back and add a couple of patch pockets on the front. I haven’t decided if I would like the look better with or without pockets yet.

The whole project, including drawing the pattern out full scale took about three hours, with the help of Finnian. (That translates to 1.5 hours to 2 hours without “assistance”.) There’s a few areas that I think could be improved on, but for my first attempt at something like this I’m pretty happy with it. If I make others, I do think I’ll make the neckline a little deeper. It’s not tight, but I think it would lay a little smoother if it was bigger.

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Plastic bags

I just saw this slideshow (http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080506/MULTIMEDIA02/80505016) on what happens to plastic bags after they carry home groceries. If it’s all true, it’s very disturbing.

I do use reusable bags when I have them with me and refuse a bag if I can carry my purchase. Aside from the environmental impact, I love that I can fit at least twice as much in my cloth bags as I can in a plastic bag. With a two year old to manage while carrying the groceries, that alone makes reusable bags great.

I do still get plastic bags on occasion. There are some great ways to reuse plastic bags. You can iron them together to make a durable sheet of plastic material that can then be sewn into bags, wallets, or just about anything else.

Here’s a few tutorials on how to fuse bags. Googling “fusing plastic bags” will get you many other tutorials as well.
http://etsylabs.blogspot.com/2007/05/long-overdue-fusing-plastic-bag.html
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/06/diy_plastic_bag.php

You can also cut the bag into strips and link them together to make plastic yarn and knit or crochet with the yarn. Here’s a few tutorials for knitting with plastic bags:
http://www.pieandcoffee.org/2005/11/17/how-to-knit-a-plastic-bag/
http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/cr_needle_arts/article/0,,DIY_13768_3059465,00.html
http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2007/08/plastic_bag_crafts.html

Reusing the bags in this manner keeps them out of the landfills without the high cost of recycling.

I’d love to hear your ideas on how you reuse plastic bags when you get them.