Apr 29, 2014

curtains and sweater balls

it's tuesday and derby week.  which, if you don't know, means not a lot gets accomplished at the office.  i take that back - i'm actually getting a lot done in preparation for month end - but there's fun activities scheduled all week at work (run for the rose, a "boat" race, "balloon" race and so on) so it's more laid back around here.

i've actually felt very on top of things outside of work as well - i called and ordered my breast pump, all of my new mom classes are scheduled, i am registered at the hospital, and bill and i got around to hanging the nursery room curtains last night!

in real life i've gone on and on about these curtains.  they are from pottery barn kids - fully lined, blackout curtains.  i stroked them many a time in store.  the price tag ON SALE was about $60 a panel.  the window in the nursery is extra wide (two window panels are hidden by the curtains in this picture) which means i needed 4 panels to get a nice full look.  so $240 for curtains? 

no.  i'm cheap.

i was at a kids' consignment sale in e-town a few months ago and found 4 (!!!!) panels - for $50 total.  they look brand new - no wear, tears, stains, or smells - were probably in a kid's room for a short period of time.

i thought the green was fun - i probably wouldn't have originally picked it for the nursery, but at that price for that quality i said i could make them work.  which is the primary reason i went with navy walls - i love green and navy.

the room is slowly coming together - bill has called the cable company to activate the internet in the other bedroom so we can move his desk out of the nursery (we tried 2 weekends ago and realized the cable wasn't activated in that room)

so once he's out of there we can lay the quarter round and move the furniture in place.  above is the room looking in from the living room.  eventually we will have the same floors carry over into the living space...patience i tell myself.

i keep saying i just have the fun stuff to shop for now - a lamp, artwork, a cushy chair - OH! and also because i'm a cheapskate i thought i could get away with 2 packages of ring clips on the curtain rod. womp womp.  i clearly need one more package (check out the extra wide, droopy pleats on those curtains) - and weather permitting, i will head out at lunch to grab them (rod, clips, finials, and mounts all from home depot martha stewart collection).

my other "task" i gave myself as of last week was to visit the diaper fairy on bardstown road.  i HIGHLY recommend checking out emily's shop if you are interested, curious, or even doubtful of cloth diapering.  first and foremost, emily offers a laundering service and provides diapers - she is the only service that i know of in the kentuckiana area to offer the diaper service.  most recently she opened an actual store - or "cottage" that sells basically everything you could want - from all the well known cloth diapering brands and styles, to natural laundry detergent, baby wraps, environmentally safe baby toys, AND expert advice.

bill and i stopped in on saturday and once we were asked if we needed any help i basically said i was overwhelmed and didn't know what i wanted.  the sales lady was so nice and offered her help but also suggested the intro to cloth diapering class that was being held on sunday.  we signed up without hesitation and came back again the next day.

i learned so much and i think it helped bill to see and hear the process. i won't lie - he's still pretty weary of the washing process, which with our immediate budget to buy cloth diapers, we will be doing diaper laundry every 2-3 days (which is actually pretty typical - if you can afford it, you can definitely buy a huge stash and wash closer to once a week - but doing huge loads of dirty diapers sounds just as bad as doing smaller loads every 2-3 days in my opinion OR you could use the diapering service, but that kind of negates the money saving).

i'm planning a return trip in a couple of weeks to get a beginner stash going.  i think if i buy a few at a time it will make me feel better than dropping $200 at once on diapers.  that's my plan anyways.  and i hope to fill you in on what my stash will be made up of and get into the details of cloth diapering then.

as for now, one of the tips given at the class was to use wool/felt dryer balls (natural with zero dyes and chemicals - chemicals which could ruin or affect the absorbancy of cloth diapers) - which they sell, and i've seen sold online.  but seriously, for anyone who has ever knitted or crocheted or even accidentally washed an all wool sweater - paying someone else to make WOOL BALLS for you, is just ridiculous.

i came home last night and dug out some thrift store sweaters i once upon a time bought for felting.

if you don't have old sweaters or a yarn stash - head to your local goodwill or michaels craft store and look for 100% natural fibers.

(seriously, when was the last time you think old navy sold 100% natural anything...)

sweaters and yarn will tell you what percentage of fibers it is made from - we don't want anything that isn't natural

wool, lambs wool, merino, etc - all good - stay away from anything that says acrylic.  if there's a small percentage of acrylic (less that 30%) you might have some luck with felting - it just may take longer to achieve.

anyways, you can try and unravel the sweater in one continuous thread OR

employee someone else to cut strips of fabric while they watch the nba playoffs.  thanks bill.

i wound the strips tightly into softball sized balls.  i tried to keep the balls tight, and tuck in loose ends when i could.

i then cut up an old pair of panty hose and made a caterpillar with my sweater balls - tying knots between each.

dropped it in the wash with a couple of towels on warm.  washing with towels or a load of jeans really helps agitate the fibers.  and just a public service announcement - if you were ever curious as to why you ruined a sweater in the wash and not the dryer - it is because the actual washing NOT the drying causes natural fibers to felt. which is why wool sweaters and scarves say to hand wash - less agitation!

i then threw them in the dryer for 30ish minutes and cut them loose.

most of mine came out looking solid

but two had some loose ends that didn't quite felt all the way (i think i had got lazy and used too big of strips)

i'm planning to rewash those to get better felting.

so now - for cloth diaper drying - and all other drying - i can throw a couple in the dryer (or 3-4 for large loads) for chemical free, static free, all natural dryer sheets.  these will also help cut drying times (same concept if you've ever heard of throwing a tennis ball in the dryer).  if you really like your dryer sheets to be scented, you can add a few drops of essential oils to your sweater balls.

happy felting!


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