Saturday, October 27, 2012

Save your used coffee grounds!

We are a household of coffee drinkers. With 2 incredibly active kids under 4 who don't want to sleep/nap, I need all the help I can get. I always save the used coffee grounds for the compost. The grounds are relatively rich in nitrogen, providing bacteria the energy they need to turn organic matter into compost. We have a small fruit garden in the back yard and I don't really have time to take care of it. So good compost really helps it grow.

Yesterday, I read somewhere on the web that you can use old coffee grounds as an exfoliant for the skin. Well, I had to try it! My skin on my hands are very rough from childcare and house chores. I just scoop a small amount of used coffee grounds and rubbed them vigorously between my hands for a few seconds and rinse. My hands felt incredibly soft! Wow! I actually saved the grounds that I used for exfoliating and now that are in the compost heap. I didn't know coffee grounds could be used 3 ways - Awesome!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

ECing a 18 month old toddler

I don`t know if I should still call it Elimination Communication anymore. I think most people would call it Potty Training at her age. Anyways, I`m still taking her to the big toilet (with reducer) after every meal, or when we come home after an outing. About 90% of the time she would poo/pee or both. I think I got her schedule down now. She usually poos 2 a day after a main meal. But if she had corn on the cob she would poo more. She pees about 5-10 min after drinking a large quantity of liquids, and then about 30 min after that. She still wouldn't tell me if she needed to go to the toilet. It's all down to me to check the time and take her. She would only tell me 'pee pee' if she had pooed after her nap in her diaper.

I'm catching almost all her poos and a lot of her pees. But I want to know how do I train her to tell me she has to pee/poo? I had put underwear on her and she would pee in it and not be bothered by the wet pants/legs. I guess I need to do some research on that one.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pattern Review: The 90's strike back! McCalls 5273 pants

Everything goes around - nothing is ever new. That's so true for fashion! The current fashion trends seem to point back to the early 90's. And the current craze for the red jeans? Well, I had a pair of red jeans in 1991! The difference is that my 1991 jeans were high rise and loose-fitting, whereas the current red jeans are low rise and skin tight.

Since red is my favourite colour, I thought I would make a pair of red skinny pants too. I chose McCalls 5273 from my pattern stash and a stretch red cotton twill in my fabric stash. I chose a pant pattern instead of a jeans pattern because I thought it would be faster to sew, easier to alter the muslin and that pants may be more versatile than jeans.

First I measured the crotch length on the pattern and found that the back crotch was too short. I added 8cm to the back crotch - first adding about 3cm to the side of the front piece, then add the rest of the 5cm to the back piece. I have a short front waist and a high back hip so I always have to do this for any pants sewing patterns.

I then cut and sewed the pants as it was. I tried them on and found that the butt and legs were way too baggy to be skinny pants. I put the pants on inside out and pinned out the excess and then resewed the pants. Now the pants are truly skinny pants!

I also added 2 back pockets to the pants since any mom with 2 young kids would want lots of pockets in their clothing!

When I compared the fabric that I had to pin out back to the sewing pattern, I found that now the width of the pants resembled the leggings pieces in the same pattern envelope. Perhaps next time I want a pair of skinny pants, I'll just use the leggings pattern pieces instead.

All in all a very easy to sew pattern - but beware that they are not actually very close fitting pants as the envelope claims. My legs are average size and not super skinny. I cut a size 12 which is my usual size for the mainstream sewing patterns. So I have to conclude that the legs part of the pattern is just cut larger.

I'm quite happy with my wearable muslin. I love red and the pants are actually very versatile. They go with what I already have in my wardrobe - black, brown, camel, grey, white. Bring on the 90's again!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Losing the excess baggage: the baby weight

I have finally dropped down to my pre-kids weight and I have been able to keep it off for the last couple of months. The last 4 years I had been either pregnant or trying to get pregnant. After having 2 kids, the excess baby weight was really difficult to lose. I'm still nursing so I don't want to cut my food intake drastically. I am so busy with the kids that I hardly have time to exercise. When they are finally in bed, I'm exhausted mentally and physically that I don't feel like exercising at all! I thought I just had to accept the excess weight as part of being a mom.

The only thing that seems to have worked for me was to listen to my body: eat when hungry. I know it sounds simple but because I had been ignoring my hunger signals for so long that I really couldn't tell when I was really hungry or just thirsty or restless. So I pause to think and feel my hunger before I put any food in my mouth. For example, I have always heard that one should eat a big breakfast to be healthy. I followed that advice for a long time until I realized that I wasn't actually hungry when I woke up. My hunger only kicks in about 3 hours later. So I would eat a decent breakfast then instead of having 2 breakfasts (one when I wake up and one 3 hours later).

As for the rest of the day's meals, I would eat a generously portioned lunch and a good size dinner. Because the meals are of good portions, I don't need to snack in between except to drink some water or coffee (with milk and no sugar). After dinner and after I put the kids to bed, I would stay away from the kitchen in case I get tempted to snack as a relaxing activity. I would busy myself with chores, sewing, bills, doing stuff on the computer and then go straight to bed.

Just by cutting out the after dinner snacks and eating breakfast when hungry, I dropped about 7 lbs, which was a lot for me because I'm short. My clothes fit better and I feel less bloated. I'm still not exercising as much as I would like. I really should add weight training and aerobic activities back into my weekly routines, even if it's just for 15 minutes here and there. My birthday is in a month's time so I'm hoping that I would drop a few more pounds by then Wish me luck!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Refashion/Upcycling: when should one say stop?

I have been wearing these black leather driving mocs for a good 8 years. They served me well when I had to run to the train station from the office, when I feet were very bloated during the 2 pregnancies, and when I need to run after 2 active kids. In fact, I think the cost per wear must be about $0.06. So when this pair of well worn, well loved loafers fell apart, I tried to glue the split leather back together. Then I filled in the scuffed area with black marker and polished them with shoe polish.

My husband saw all the effort I put into restoring the shoes and he asked me why I did all that considering that they still looked pretty worn out and mishapened. He actually said, 'why don't you be a woman and buy a new pair of shoes?'

I don't know the answer to that question. But it got me thinking: when should one stop rescuing old well worn items that might have passed their due dates, when one is able to buy new ones that can serve a long time in the future? Can one go too far with this refashioning thing?

I look forward to your comments!