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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ditch shaving cream!


After my husband's robe and our towels started getting bleach spots, we finally discovered the culprit - Nivea Sensitive skin shave gel! Thinking to myself, "if its bleaching our things, what's it doing to our bodies??" I looked at the Cosmetics Database (which breaks down each ingredient and its known hazards) and we decided on the spot to stop using it. Now, what to use instead, you ask??

We had just started switching to more handmade cleaning products, so natural soaps seemed easy enough. I found an all natural shampoo/shave bar from Blue House Soaps and convinced my husband (who will try anything once in the name of "green") to give it a go. I ordered a badger bristle brush (from Amazon for $14), the soap (check out Etsy, too), and off we went! He just wets his face, runs the soap bar over it a few times, then lathers it in with the brush. You can also lather the brush and put it on that way, but this uses less soap - by airing it out each time rather than storing it in a cup, it doesn't dissolve as fast.

The conclusion: a WAY better shave, much nicer smelling, all natural, no can to throw away, no propellant, blades seem to last longer, and no bleaching of our towels!

Also, I've switched over to shampoo bars instead of bottled shampoo. They are all natural (no SLS!), smell great, work well, and don't have any packaging to throw away. There are great sellers on Etsy that make some wonderful shampoo bars and soaps!
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Enter to win a custom fleece soaker!

I've partnered with Sarah from the Rambles and Shambles blog for our first cloth diaper cover giveaway! Drawing to be held Sept 30, 2009.
See her blog for details and to enter!

Don't shy away from customs!

It may seem intimidating to sign up for a "custom" item from a seller. But really, this is the best way to get exactly what you want! For a lot of sellers (myself included), it is hard to anticipate what people will want (colors, sizes, etc.), so we put a small selection of pre-made items in the shop to give an example, and then allow people to order what they want via a "custom" listing.

In my shop, custom means: you pick the size and color from a gallery of fabrics a standard size chart (I don't normally do custom measurements, or made to fit).
I LOVE to do customs. They are no more work than a regular listing, and I can be sure to spend time on what people want rather than stocking the shop with things that will just sit. Don't shy away from them; use them and get exactly what you want! Don't be afraid to contact me to ask about special requests (like longer leg cuffs, higher rises, different front and back panels, or appliques). Unfortunately, I don't take custom orders/requests for wool - sorry!

I generally have a fast turnaround time (1-5 days, depending on number of items ordered and how many customs currently in queue), so its not too much different than ordering in stock items. And besides, I have a closet full of fleece waiting for a new home! :) See:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wool or Fleece? Which soaker to choose?

I sell both fleece and wool soakers at my Etsy shop, Winkydinks, and get quite a few questions about which is better. In my opinion, neither are better, they both are SUPER! Each has its pros and cons. I thought I’d share my opinions, in the hopes it helps someone else!

The way a soaker works is that it absorbs/repels liquid from the prefold/fitted/flat diaper before it leaks to the outer garment. This is compared to a PUL cover which is waterproof with elastic to hold it tight to the body/legs to prevent leaks.

Wool can hold wetness up to 30% of its dry weight, while still remaining dry to the touch. It contains natural lanolin, which acts as a moisture repellant and has anti-bacterial properties (which is why you want to wash it with a wash containing lanolin). It is also completely breathable, helping keep baby’s skin healthy while not getting too warm. Fleece is a synthetic material that has water repellant properties. Unlike wool, it does not absorb any moisture, but acts more as a barrier between the diaper and the outer clothing. A double layer of fleece in the wetzone (i.e. crotch) of the soaker is popular with fleece because it adds another layer for moisture to seep through.

The success of a soaker depends on how heavy your wetter is, how often you change, how absorbent your diaper is, the cover itself, etc. Fleece and wool will both compression wick. That means that the outer garment may feel damp to the touch, especially if the child is sitting or laying in one spot for long periods (car seat, crib). This is something you get used to, especially after having used waterPROOF covers. I personally have never had leaks to the point where the clothes are wet puddles.

The Comparison:

  • Wool will absorb extra liquid, fleece repels.
  • Both are breathable (some people argue wool is more so).
  • Wool is a natural fiber.
  • Fleece is inexpensive compared to wool.
  • Fleece can be machine laundered with diapers or regular laundry, wool has to be hand washed with special wash containing lanolin and laid flat to dry (which can take 2-3 days). On the flip side, fleece has to be washed often (I use mine a day or two, however some people wash them after each use) whereas you can air wool out and re-use it for several weeks between washings.
  • Wool is generally more stretchy than fleece (good for night time diapers). The bonus here is that it might last longer before you need the next size.
  • Depending on the thickness, wool is sometimes bulkier under clothing.
  • Fleece comes in many prints and colors, wool is available in many yarn shades and can be knit or crocheted. Recycled wool (i.e. sweaters) offers some nice patterns/prints as well.

My personal choice:
I love wool for night time. A heavy weight wool will have no leaks (in my experience). I also like wool at night because its more stretchy than fleece and I can get it over a huge night time bum more easily. I personally like fleece covers for daytime because they are so easy to care for. I use prefolds or fitteds under a single layer fleece cover and have no leaks. To me, fleece is more "grab and go" and I don't worry about ruining it, but I also love the properties of wool – therefore my stash is about 50% wool AND 50% fleece!

(This article was originally published here back in March on the Etsy Cloth Diaper team blog.)

Make your own laundry detergent!

I came across these recipes on diaperswappers, in the Green Families Forum. The author (Melissa) also has a shop on Etsy! Sew Fine Baby Boutique. There are lots of tips/advice within the thread if you want more information:

Super Gentle Homemade Laundry Soap

1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 (4 oz) bar Kirks Castile Soap

1. Slice soap into strips/chunks and run through food processor to make "soap beads". (Do NOT use your blender, you'll break it!)

2. Combine soap beads, Borax, and washing soda.

3. If desired, add 20+ drops of essential oil and stir with a fork to evenly distribute.

4. Store in a covered container. (I use an old OxiClean tub)

5. Use 1-2 tablespoon for small loads, 3-4 tablespoons for large loads.
(more or less depending on your water quality) Works well with any temperature water.

Another option:
Homemade Diaper Detergent

1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 cup Oxyclean Free

Combine all ingredients.

use 2 tablespoons for a small load, 1/4 cup for a large load.
(again, more or less depending on your water quality)

--This was originally posted here for Team EcoEtsy

Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm about to embark on a new blogging journey! Winkydinks is now on blogger, facebook, twitter, and Etsy!
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