29 January 2008

Quick recipe for a changing mat


1 decorative layer
1 water-repellent, stain resistant layer
double fold bias tape, cut to the circumference of the mat
(optional batting layer)


I've used a pre-quilted vinyl fabric but you can make you own using iron-on vinyl with your favorite print. Or you can substitute fleece, whose synthetic fibers resist stains. As for the bias strip, you don't have to go to the trouble of making your own; it can be found inexpensively and in a huge variety of solid colors.


1. Assemble your layers by sandwiching them with the right sides facing out (and the optional batting in the center).


2. To keep the layers from shifting while you work, you can pin them, baste them (longest stitch and loosest tension your machine allows), serge them as shown, or just wing it as I usually do.


3. To attach your bias tape, first notice that it has a narrower side and a wider side so that you're sure to catch the wider side beneath.


4. Insert the mat's raw edges into the crease of the tape. With the narrower side up, topstitch all the way around and fold under to finish.



Voila! A completed project in less than 10 minutes!


If you're fortunate enough to have kids out of diapers, use it as a lap mat for meals in the carseat or a table mat at restaurants. Make it a little larger and it's a great splatter mat for on-to-go art projects.

23 January 2008

Baby leg warmers are 1-2-3 Easy!

Have an unused pair of knee highs and 5 minutes available? Make your baby some leg warmers!

1. Cut away and discard the heel and toe, keeping the instep and tube.

leg warmers 1

2. Make a cuff by cutting the instep lengthwise. Reattach at the cut by serging or using a zigzag stitch, right sides together, so that the overall circumference is smaller.

leg warmers 2

Fold wrong sides together to make the cuff.

leg warmers 3

3. Attach the cuff raw edges to the tube raw edge. Notice in the photo that the tube is inside out (don’t want the seam to show on the outside) and the cuff is on the inside (it’s smaller than the tube because of Step 2).

leg warmers 4

This is when your differential feed would come in handy.

leg warmers 5

Now baby is winter-warm with protected knees for crawling on cold surfaces, plus diaper changing is so much easier without all those pant snaps. This is also great for potty training toddlers who can't unbutton and unzip their own pants as well as girls who just love wearing dresses even when it's cold out. (Pardon our disastrous fashion sense!)

leg warmers 6

Note: Step 2 is optional. This is a pair that was made with steps 1 and 3 only.

leg warmers 7

(Sorry for the craptastic photos. The Nikon SLR was forgotten at a friend's place in LA and the Nikon point and shoot is nowhere to be found so I'm using our Canon G5.)

21 January 2008

Growing what we eat, eating what we grow

In 327 BCE, Alexander the Great "discovered" bananas in India. Since they grow on leaf stalks and not trees, bananas are considered the world's largest herb!

This is part of a surprise bunch that I didn't even see until they were totally ripe:

f/3.5, 1/60, ISO-200, 28mm

My mother prefers the flower in soups rather than the actual bananas.

banana flower
f/4.5, 1/60, ISO-200, 105mm

Our gauva tree is going nuts too. These red-centered ones are nice, but I can't wait until we're able to harvest the white-centered ones.

f/4.5, 1/125, ISO-400, 66mm

Guavas are a superfruit because they're extremely rich in vitamins A, B, and C, and strangely enough, calcium as well. In fact, the rind of an average guava contains 5 times as much vitamin C than an average citrus fruit!

20 January 2008

Hats and trees

Knifty Knitting is fast and gratifying for those who are hook and needle-challenged!

Knifty Knitted Hats
f/4, 1/60, ISO-200, 46 mm

And here we have a not-so-great photo of a liquidambar having dropped its leaves...looking fwd to capturing spring and summer for our lesson on seasons.

f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-100, 31 mm

I've added exposure info b/c it occurred to me that seeing the actual numbers might improve my photography.

06 January 2008

Why it sucks to have a HUGE 2-year-old

There are many reasons, but here are the top three, in no particular order.

  • People ask why your child doesn't speak very well and if you have considered speech therapy for his delays.
  • Your child's knees are just about tucked under his chin when he sits in his "age appropriate" push cars.
  • At places where admission is free for those 2 and under, people give you dirty looks like you're trying to cheat them by forcing your child to lie about his age.