2013 Not Resolutions

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  1. Restart GTD Hipster Pocket Book
  2. Cook for leftovers
  3. Workout
  4. Go to bed < 12:30
  5. Dog healing and crisp response to known commands
  6. Bookkeeping up-to-date
  7. Track work activities
  8. Balance volunteer commitments— no laurel resting, skating
  9. Post to DIYnot weekly
  10. Send photos and interesting things to grandparents
  11. Write letters to entities that need to improve something
  12. Take a class
  13. Backup digital information

-Matt

Quick and dirty DIYs: sewing for baby edition

Lately I’ve been doing a little bit of sewing, which makes me happy.  I have a medium-sized sewing project to share with you when it’s finished, which will be soon I hope.  In the meantime, I’ve done a couple of super quick “sewing” projects.  I say “sewing” because technically I did very little sewing on one and no sewing on the other, but they involve fabric and sewing tools.  

I mentioned in a post about our diaper changing station that when we are at home, instead of disposable wipes, we use cloth ones wet with plain water and stored in our wipe warmer.  Trial and error showed us which materials we like best for wipes.  My favorite cloth wipes are ones I cut from an old pair of sweatpants, even though they roll up in the dryer.  Next best are terry cloth.  The worst are ones I cut from old T shirts; they’re just too thin.  I don’t have any more sweatpants lying around, but I do have more baby towels than we can possibly use, thanks to gifts, hand-me-downs, and freecycle.  There were a couple of towels received via freecycle bags-‘o-baby-stuff that had seen better days, so I cut one up into washcloths.  It only took a couple minutes using my rotary cutter and mat.  6 inches by about 4.5 inches fit nicely into the wipe warmer.  Bam, done.  Always nice to accomplish something so quickly.  We’ve been using these for over a month and the edges don’t fray, so there’s no need to finish them.

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Next up, some strap protectors for the Ergo carrier.  We really like the Ergo.  Emmett likes it too.  Like any baby, everything that comes near his mouth immediately goes in and gets all slobbery.  See the wet spot on the strap:

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The Ergo can be washed, but they recommend against washing it a lot.  Hence the existence of "sucking pads" on Amazon, "drool catchers" on Etsy, and a variety of similar products available to purchase online for around $20.  That seems a little expensive for something I could make in 5 minutes, albeit not as attractive, but still quite functional.  I have a whole pile of Bumkins prefold cloth diapers that I use for burp cloths and mainly to catch the milk that always seems to dribble out the corner of Emmett’s mouth when he nurses.  I thought one of these cut in half would be perfect.  So I cut it, sewed a zigzag along the cut edges, and used iron-on velcro patches.  Bam, done.  

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They work very well, except one of the velcro patches didn’t adhere completely so I’ll have to iron it on again.  The same thing could be done to make another set to use as strap covers for the car seat.  I don’t worry about it for short trips, but on longer trips I’m always trying to tuck the sides of Emmett’s bib between his neck and the straps so they don’t cut in too much.  Maybe I’ll go ahead and do that when I fix the other one.

Next up, I took a freecycled minky baby blanket with some ink stains on one corner, and made a quick cover for the diaper changing pad. I just draped the blanket over the pad, pinned corner darts where it seemed appropriate, and sewed it. It’s not perfect, but it took about 10 minutes and cost $0. It actually stays on the changing pad pretty well just with a few darts around the edges and no elastic.

I love mini projects that are quick and easy.  It’s nice to get the finished result right away and move on.  Sometimes when I’ve been feeling stuck or overwhelmed, just getting something - anything - DONE gives me enough momentum to tackle something bigger.  I’ll show you the bigger project soon!

-Kelly

Strawberry rhubarb crisp.  It was scrump-didly-umpcious and I had a fun time creating something I never had before.  I was short on butter so while I really enjoyed the crisp part I think the next time it will be better (though I might add a little extra brown sugar).  Anyway, the real highlight is the fruit and I&#8217;m looking forward to mixing in some different ones for future/alternate versions.  Definitely something I want to make again!
-Matt

Strawberry rhubarb crisp.  It was scrump-didly-umpcious and I had a fun time creating something I never had before.  I was short on butter so while I really enjoyed the crisp part I think the next time it will be better (though I might add a little extra brown sugar).  Anyway, the real highlight is the fruit and I’m looking forward to mixing in some different ones for future/alternate versions.  Definitely something I want to make again!

-Matt

Dog Mischief

This photo is actually from a few weeks back when I left a pillow we were getting rid of sitting on the back porch.  It pretty much sums up the past week of good dogs doing bad (or maybe just doggy) things. 

Maybe it’s the rain that seems to never go away as we here in Seattle endure one of the wettest Junes on record.  Maybe it’s the arrival of Emmett and the consequence that the two human parents’ top priority is no longer the dog babies but the actual baby? Maybe it all started with that damn pillow?  Who knows?  It’s been mostly comical so here’s the recount:

Just the other day I was sitting at my desk working away while Kelly and a friend were taking Emmett for a walk and the dogs were exiled to the back yard.  Fortunately I had the window open and heard a whine in the yard.  I darted back there thinking one of Sonny or Max were hurt or in danger. 

As I run outside I see Max, perched at the back gate, and Sonny, nowhere in sight.  Forgetting that just 30 minutes prior I had yelled out to Sonny to quit digging at the fence, I start towards the open back door to the garage thinking Sonny’s probably stuck under a pile of tools, ladders, and baby apparel in the disaster I call my garage.  Before I get there, I realize there’s a reason Max is at the back gate.  Sure enough, there’s a dog sized excavation underneath the fence not far from Max and exactly where Sonny was having such a great time digging shortly beforehand.  Long story short, I and Max run out the back gate and Sonny is nowhere in sight.  Thankfully, after shouting a query to my neighbor about whether he’d seen a Brittany, to which he promptly replied with something like “just the one right in front of you,” and I thought “geez, thanks buddy,” I fortunately turned around to see Sonny high-tailing it down the sidewalk about 200 yards down the street heading for “Who Knows Where.”  Somewhat amazingly, Sonny heard me and thankfully came sprinting back. 

After praising him for coming back, we made it back into our backyard and I promptly gave him a little bit of a “what for” while reacquainting him with his escape route.  Then I dropped a concrete block in the hole, covered it up, and figured this was an aberration and I wouldn’t be needing to dig a 300 ft trench around my fence line to fill with razor wire or concrete.  Well, sure enough, today I caught him digging around my concrete block (which was actually fortunate in that I could correct him while he was actually doing the misdeed).  Maybe this time the connection that digging at the fence brings dad’s ire?  If he isn’t getting the message then I’m going to have a heck of a time figuring out how to electrify a cedar fence given that razor wire and a concrete fence are out of the question :-)

And like a deal on a late night infommercial that includes much more than just the main “can’t live without” product, there is more to this story as well.

This afternoon, after taking the dogs to the dog park for some frolicking, ball fetching, swimming, and walking, we return home for dinner, baths, and for some R&R.  Not too much later I look out and see Max’s nose covered in dirt and see that he’s decided it might be fun to make a new crawl space access for our house!  Do ya think our dogs might need a little more work than they’ve been getting?

And now the cherry on top.  Tonight we were preparing for our first night out to go see one of Kelly’s favorite bands, Mates of State.  Her cousin had just arrived to babysit and the ladies (and me) are going through the Emmett Care Cookbook.  Probably five minutes in, we’re enjoying conversing in the living room and I hear the dog door (in the back door to the house/kitchen) open.  Max is already with us so I know our lead hunter, Sonny, is soon to round the corner from the kitchen into the living room since the baby gate that separates the two rooms isn’t closed.  That part, Sonny coming excitedly in, dancing about in the exhilaration of another unsuccessful hunt, has been replayed about 365 times in the last year and a half since we’ve had him.  Of course this has not been a typical week dog-wise. 

Tonight, he rounds the corner, like so many times, and I exclaim “STAY” to theoretically stop him from tracking mud into the living room.  But unlike the other 365 times, tonight he keeps coming.  And in 1/10 of a second my “stay” command turns to “oh hear it comes, $?^#!, #&((!” as I see the unmistakable 5 inch pencil sized floppy tail hanging from the side of his mouth (wherein the mouse is actually hidden) that he’s bringing me with the utmost urgency and pride.  Once I had the expletives out of my system and the mouse outside I congratulated him in all earnest for a job well done (sincere thanks to Kelly’s cousin for reminding me that he was simply bringing me his treasure he had worked so hard to claim).  

The week is not over so I think the boys will either be in their crates for the next two days or we’ll be going to the sporting goods store to purchase a treadmill for the dogs!  The former definitely won’t fly; and we’d have to DIY ourselves a new annex to the house to fit a treadmill; so in all likelihood, come tomorrow afternoon, I’ll actually be scratching my head trying to figure out how to redirect our mischief makers as I discover the next new behavior they’ve decided is perfect to unfurl during this “special” week.

-Matt

Bedding giveaway from Bedding Style ($250 value)

This giveaway is closed.  The winner, as chosen by random.org, is comment #2, Eva!  Congratulations Eva!  Please email me at diynotblog@gmail.com to redeem your prize!

Over the past few months, we’ve done a lot of work on our second bedroom, which functions as Matt’s office by day (he does most of his work from home) and the guest bedroom as needed.  Together we put in new electrical outlets and an ethernet jack, spruced up the ceiling fan, patched holes in the walls, and installed new window blinds.  Matt trimmed the window, replaced the baseboards, painted the walls and trim, built a desk, and created a shelf above two Ikea wardrobes closed with curtains.  But whenever guests came, we were stuck making up the bed with bedding that doesn’t quite go with the room.  That’s why we were excited when Bedding Style contacted us. 

Bedding Style is celebrating 7 years in business and wants to spread the love by giving one lucky blog reader a free designer bedding set. If you haven’t visited Bedding Style, you should take a look. They carry a large variety of high quality brand name bedding as well as bathroom accessories and they have great prices and customer service. Check out the bedding they sent to us for review:

We love this Asian Lily bedding by Perry Ellis and we think it looks great with the other colors in the room: light blue walls, white desk and trim, wood floor and blinds, and the curtains on the wardrobes. I also love that it’s 100% cotton, machine washable, and made to last.

To Enter: 1) Visit Bedding Style and pick a favorite item, then name it in a comment. If you are unable to leave a comment, send us an email at diynotblog@gmail.com. 2) For a second chance to win, Follow @BeddingStyle on Twitter or Like Bedding Style on Facebook with a link to this giveaway and mention @BeddingStyle or http://facebook.com/beddingstyle in your post. One random winner will win a bedding set worth up to $250 from Bedding Style. Contest ends Monday, June 25, 2012. Good luck!

-Kelly

Semi-built-in entertainment unit

Some of our projects are planned for a long time, while others happen spontaneously.  We’ve been thinking about how to better store our TV- and stereo-related electronics for months if not years.  When we finally got a flat screen TV last year and mounted it above the fireplace, we freecycled our old entertainment unit and temporarily placed the various boxes on a sewing table + wooden box combo right next to it.  Not attractive at all.  

About 6 weeks ago, we were doing some wiring work.  The outlet next to the fireplace was still on an old circuit that was not grounded, so we actually had all that stuff plugged in to a heavy duty extension cord.  We were upgrading the outlet to a new circuit, and since we were already messing around in that wall it seemed like possibly the time to cut a big hole in it and put in some recessed shelves.  Matt and I discussed the possibilities for a couple of hours, and we just couldn’t agree on the design.  I wanted a floor-to-ceiling set of shelves recessed into the wall with integrated electrical outlets and ethernet jacks, all made to look seamless with the mantel.  Matt wanted sort of a nook recessed into the wall, but not floor-to-ceiling, instead it would be smaller and at the height of the TV, with all the outlets and ethernet jacks on the other side of the wall and accessible through some holes.  I hope that makes sense.  Anyway, we wanted different things, either of which would have taken a lot of work to do.  We hadn’t budgeted the time to do it, and since one of us wouldn’t have been happy with either solution, we decided to do nothing at the time.  We just put in a new double outlet.  And we felt great about our decision.  Sometimes it’s best to wait and see how we feel later than to dive in when we’re not 100% sure it’s what we want.

Then last weekend, we were trying to clear some space in our bedroom for things like a crib and large bins full of baby gear.  We had this Ikea shelving unit that I guess we originally purchased for extra clothes storage, but we had just been keeping random things on it and decided this was not a good use of space in the bedroom.  Matt had the genius idea of making it our entertainment unit.  Luckily, the dimensions were just perfect.  He cut some holes in the back for easy access to cables, attached some 2x4s to anchor it to the wall (and again, give a little room to access the cables, and had all our stuff moved in a jiffy. 

He also got the big speakers up off the floor - and attached them to their shelves with screws so they can’t fall on us in an earthquake.  Here’s the “after” shot again so you don’t have to scroll up.

Doesn’t it look great?  (Yes everything is still awaiting a coat of paint, but for now I don’t care.)  I love it.  So much easier than our various ideas for recessed shelves.  We originally thought that recessing the shelves was necessary for traffic flow to the hallway, but this doesn’t block it at all.  In fact, there is more room now than there was before with our makeshift solution.  It’s functional and looks good.  

-Kelly

p.s. I freecycled the old sewing table, having never used it for its intended purpose and decided that we don’t have the room for it.

Brunch with friends, dogs went swimming, and the garden project rolled along without me— excellent Mother’s day.  If you’re reading mom(s), we love you and can’t wait to see ya!

—Matt (and Kelly)

Path progress at the P-Patch.

Path progress at the P-Patch.

Hoop house I built at dusk on a Friday a few weeks ago.  Great way to get the weekend mojo goin&#8217;.  It&#8217;s about 4&#8217;x8&#8217;.  I drilled the horizontal rails and arches where they intersect and zip-tied them together.  With some pretty rudimentary anchors (rocks) the plastic sheeting hasn&#8217;t been blown off, even though our tree blew over!  Basil and artichoke in the pots and some beets and parsnip that I haven&#8217;t cleared out.  I&#8217;ve been keeping our outdoor wireless thermometer inside to keep an eye on the temps.
&#8212;Matt

Hoop house I built at dusk on a Friday a few weeks ago.  Great way to get the weekend mojo goin’.  It’s about 4’x8’.  I drilled the horizontal rails and arches where they intersect and zip-tied them together.  With some pretty rudimentary anchors (rocks) the plastic sheeting hasn’t been blown off, even though our tree blew over!  Basil and artichoke in the pots and some beets and parsnip that I haven’t cleared out.  I’ve been keeping our outdoor wireless thermometer inside to keep an eye on the temps.

—Matt

36 weeks

Wow.  37 weeks is term, which means that that in less than a week, this baby could be ready to go!  I’m hoping we make it to 40 weeks (due date), because I got stuff to do.  And then let’s not dawdle after that.  OK, I know I can’t control it and whenever it happens will be fine, but I can hope for the timing I like best.  

The baby is getting very strong.  Occasionally he kicks or stretches a tiny foot out so far and so hard that it actually hurts a little.  Don’t try to burst out of my belly, little one, stay in there!

Meanwhile, we have finished all of the birth and baby classes on our agenda.  I’ve read the main books I wanted to (and there are others to keep me going until and past birth).  Matt needs to catch up on the reading.  I think we are as prepared as we need to be at this point, and anything additional is bonus.  

We’ve also made a lot of progress on the house lately.  A new electrical circuit and addition of some new outlets and fixtures to other circuits has allowed us to decommission all of the old (1950’s ungrounded) wiring in the house.  We also finally installed our front porch lights.  I love flipping the switches, having the lights come on, and saying we did that.  It’s enough to let me overlook the fact that we still have some ceiling lights to wire in the hallway and kitchen.  We’re so close though, I know we can get it done.

-Kelly