A Diaper Article . . . for those interested . . .

I am posting this due to a question I came across from someone planning to use cloth diapers for the first time. I wrote it probably close to four years ago and sent it to Mothering Magazine. I was so excited when they first reported they were saving it to see if it would fit in an up coming issue. Unfortunately they ended up publishing someone else’s cloth diaper article, and mine just stayed in the file. The article published was just a bit more in depth, and perhaps a fair amount more professional. Oh well, here it is now for anyone who is considering cloth diapering:
Cloth Diapers, Don’t Be Scared
                                  Marica Natali Thompson
It all began when I was pregnant with my first baby. As a concerned person about the environment I wanted to use cloth diapers, but the idea of dipping my baby’s poopy diapers into the toilet bowl before washing and rewashing them just seemed a little too much. So we got diaper service. How perfect, environmentally friendly, no work diapering! But as it turned out I never seemed to have enough diapers, and since we couldn’t really afford it anyway, after about four months we stopped.
So straight onto plastic wrapped plastic diapering we went. I felt really guilty, but as a new mother, new to baby care and house keeping ~ I was only eighteen ~ I just felt I couldn’t handle the alternative. Three years passed, my son was finally toilet trained and I was pregnant with my second child. This time I felt a peaceful calm about cloth diapering and knew I could undertake the work involved. I searched far and wide through all sorts of catalogues eyeing everything from all-in-one fancy shmancy to pre-folds and flat diapers. I ended up with twelve pre-folds and about three Polar Baby covers. We were living in Eugene, Oregon at the time and I was so excited when I came across the guy who owned the Polar Baby business selling covers at Saturday Market. I eventually made a lot of polar fleece covers of my own, because it was so much more economical. I was a big advocate of cloth diapering by the time my second child was potty trained, which was around eighteen months. I couldn’t believe she had stopped so nonchalantly all on her own, and in some ways almost missed the diapers ~ Sort of. 
As I waited for baby number three to be born, I had no questions as to whether or not I was going to cloth diaper. I couldn’t wait. It was with great care that I folded the beautiful cream flannel diapers with rainbow stitching a friend of mine had made. What a pleasant feeling it was to pin each diaper on; the soft texture on my hands, knowing this was what would be against my baby’s bottom.
It was only about a month into diapering my new baby that a friend of mine gave me a wool cover she had made. She swore by them, but I was a little skeptical of the itchiness of wool and couldn’t quite bring myself to use it. Then one afternoon when I was at her house, in her bedroom, where she was changing her baby boy, I couldn’t help but look at the beautiful cover she was pulling on him. I said maybe it was time I make my own son one.  And to my new, desiring, lucky, surprise she said she had actually made one for me. So I went home with this beautiful cover and an excited feeling inside. One night was all it took, I was hooked. Never before had a whole night been so dry, the soft wool so cozy, the baby so cute. I quickly went out and bought my own wool yarn and lanolin wash. The simple pattern to knit was so tangible even I could knit this cover without fear.
As for washing, I throw the diapers into the washing machine with no pre-washing or scraping*. I do one warm soapy wash, and then rewash on a hot cycle. After line drying them, they are so fresh you feel the sun’s clean warmth kissing your baby’s bottom. I remember rationalizing when I used to use throwaway diapers that the waste of water must be equally bad for the plant as tossing a diaper in the trash. But deep down I new I was wishful thinking.
It wasn’t until my third baby that I started religiously line drying, but it makes such a difference. With cloth, wool and line drying, there is no diaper rash, no garbage, and no guilt. Only soft, cuddly, cozy baby and something soft and cozy for him to wear.
*Once they are older I do scrape solids into the toilet.
Here is the link to the knitted wool diaper patter:
Down under diaper cover pattern: http://www.borntolove.com/pattern.html
Polar babies link: diapercovers.com
I also highly recommend fuzzybunz: fuzzibunz.com
For all of these, pinning the diaper first helps with leaks. During summer, just a pinned on flat diaper is great, so long as you’re prepared for leaks.
Here is how I made my own polar fleece covers:

Diaper Pattern

  1. Start with cutting a rectangle out of soft polar fleece.

  1. Measure your baby’s waist, add 8 inches, this will be the length of A and B.
  2. For the length of C and D, divide your baby’s waist length and add 8 inches.
  3. Cut 2 pieces of 3/4-inch elastic, half the length of your baby’s waist plus 1-inch. Remember not to stretch it when you measure. Fold the edge of C over to sew a tunnel a little wider than the elastic. Slip the elastic through and sew up the ends. Do the same for side D. (This will be the waist)
  4. Cut two pieces of 1/4 inch elastic that are the circumference of your baby’s thy plus 1-inch.
  5. Sew these elastic pieces into tunnels on both the sides A and B, leaving 2 – 3 inches at each end of the fabric. Make sure the elastic is tacked at each end so it doesn’t get loose in the tunnel, but keep the rest of the elastic free from the stitching so it can stretch easily.
  6. Turn the diaper cover inside out folding it in half so it looks finished. Sew your last seams up the sides. I usually sew a regular straight stitch and than go over it as close to the edge as possible with zigzag stitch to make the seams durable and pretty.
 Making tunnels . . . 
 Waist done . . . 
All elastic in . . . 
 Finished . . . 
                                                                                                  ~ Marica

This is my "I love you camera" post . . .

To make no understatement, I looove my camera! Having a real camera that is meant to take quality pictures has in many ways changed my life. I am not over embellishing the difference between a top notch camera and a standard snap-shot-mobile. It’s like diner syrup v.s. maple syrup. Don’t put them in the same tool box because they are working at totally different sites. Point being, its worth every bit that you can squeeze out to get one. 
I always thought I would like to take pictures, and I’d try, but the outcome discouraged me due to the fact that the pictures were never very great. After my dad more than generously gave me my “baby” for christmas a little over a year ago, I am compelled and propelled to take pictures on and on until the break of dawn baby . . . Just being silly . . . I am working on a project where less then fabulous photos won’t due and with this camera I find I can enter a zone where I start to take pictures that I actually like. Now that feels as satisfying as making a perfect batch of biscuits (for the cooks out there), or when you run two fabrics under the foot of your sewing machine, and when you open them out, the colors tightly stitched together make your heart melt (that is for those who sew)
All in all, I am just stating to the general world out there that I love my camera and  you can’t know the difference until you try it. 
On a more serious note, the whole Japan deal is heavy as heavy can be. Keeping good thoughts in their direction. My heart is so full for them . . .
Anyway, my best to all ~ Marica

Little Bits of Around Here . . .

Picked up this book yesterday . . . I wanted some light hearted reading. Last book I was getting through contained too much harsh reality. I like to be put in my place, realizing my fortune in having a roof, dinner, water for heaven sakes . . . the things I don’t count when I roll out of bed and pull my jeans on. But sometimes it’s mellow enjoyment that needs to be attained.
Was given a 1992 copy of Architectural Digest featuring the ultimate David Bowie at his home in a place where, as the article stated, “the rich go to be rich together . . .”
This part of his house was truly awesome though . . . imported from Indonesia none the  less, but hey Bowie deserves the best, right? 
Still holding my breath . . . while breathing of course . . . hoping, not counting, on a plan that will fill my days with work, but such a fun sort of project . . . elbow grease anyone?
Ending the day with yet another tart . . . don’t worry I’ll stop posting tarts soon . . . it’s just that I had extra crust in the freezer begging to be used . . .
                                          Hope all is well ~Marica

Yesterday . . . tart . . . and a few keys to lentil soup . . .

I started this post yesterday and didn’t quite make it over the hump of finishing it . . .
It’s funny, I am actually feeling stumped as what to write today. Usually I like to indulge myself in a short, visually satisfying blip . . . a squeak of a moment . . . a recipe I was happy with. In reference to today though, I feel like my life has been moving so fast, the dust is settling just a bit, yet I haven’t quite settled with it. I was excited, I am excited, but I’m not engaged with myself. I feel off track by a fifth of a centimeter. I guess that’s enough to make the wheels squeak. 
                                                                     MARICA  NATALI  THOMPSON  2008
On the simple pleasures side, I found some keys factors in making a delicious lentil soup:
A dash of dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, and a squeeze of lemon juice . . .
the following photo is of my visit to Blueberry Lemon Tart Heaven . . .  This amazing tart was made by my mother in law. Superb, perfect, and simply so delicious. 
Hope all is well out in the world all over everywhere ~ Marica

This lovely Sunday before the clock struck noon . . .

Early morning at the piano . . .
And then breakfast . . .
Well enjoyed . . .
Out the window, hello Augustus . . . my dear doggy . . .
And then, I finally hemmed the bottom of this sweet dress my sister gave me  . . .
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Good Saturday Morning . . .

Good morning all . . . I am still over coming the tiredness from being sick several weeks ago. Everyone I talk to has gone through the same thing . . . this darn thing lingers and lingers making everyday stuff more effort to complete. Lots has been happening around here . . . LOTS, but I don’t want to jinks anything. Cross your fingers, kiss a flower, good things will come, cause now is the hour.The boots below have been one of my prize possessions since I was fifteen. I remember telling my mom, I want brown boots like docks but with no yellow stitching and I want them to have a rounded toe. Well the first store we went to had this pair . . . They were docks but with no yellow stitching and a rounded toe! A couple years after I got them I was living in a garden shed with my boyfriend and a girl actually came to that “room” and stole a few things. I couldn’t find my boots for about a week after that.  I was so upset, they were my perfect boots ~ It was the only time in my life that I ever was ready to beat someone up. I told God, “If she stole those boots I am going to beat her up, and if she didn’t I’ll forgive and forget about the other stuff.” I found the boots a couple days later and was entirely satisfied. The funny part is, I barely reach the height of 5′ 2″ and she was a fair amount bigger than that. Anyway, I don’t bring up that story in total random, I recently put another perfect thought out there and found a good piece of what I am looking for. We’ll see, as I said: cross your fingers, kiss a flower, good things will come, cause now is the hour. 

P.S. I apologize if this post is weird, I have been is a flurry of lack of sleep, so many things brewing, and not feeling well all at the same time. 

Pizza Pizza

Nothing beats homemade pizza . . . 
Not even from the best restaurant . . .
This is a recipe for a soft, tender crust. Eggs are the secret ingredient in softening the dough.
Pizza Crust:

Combine in a large bowl and let sit until the yeast foams:
2 cups warm water
2 packages active dry yeast (4 + 1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup sugar
Add and mix in an electric mixer until very elastic:
4 cups unbleached white flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Add and continue to knead:
1 more cup flour 

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubles, about an hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Divide dough into four equal pieces. Form into pizza circles. 
Place on an oiled cookie sheet (pizza stones are great, but follow their directions then).
Cover in sauce, cheese your ultimate dream of pizza . . .
Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, it will depend on thickness of crust.