Sunday, April 27, 2008

Butterfly Wash Cloths for diaper cakes and gift baskets

I was trying to think up a cute way to put decorative accents on my new boutique butterfly diaper cake using wash cloths and burp cloths. I came up with these cute butterfly wash cloths that are really easy to make.

You need baby wash cloths and pipe cleaners to make these. The wash cloths I used measured 10 1/2" x 11".

  • Fold the sides of the wash cloth in to meet in the middle.

  • Fold the other ends in to meet in the middle.

  • Tuck one end inside the other.

  • Scrunch the wash cloth together with your fingers.

  • Twist a pipe cleaner around the wash cloth and bend the ends up to look like antennas.

I did a butterfly with a onesie and a burp cloth. The onesie is a little harder. You just have to play with the folds until you get it the size you want. These would look really cute if you use a wash cloth with a design on the fabric.

Here is my finished 4 tier boutique butterfly cake, front & back:

Perfect for a butterfly themed baby shower centerpiece!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Diaper Cake Instructions: How to make a boutique style diaper cake

A boutique style diaper cake is easy and fun to make. Diaper cakes make a beautiful gift and centerpiece for a baby shower. Follow the easy, detailed instructions below to make a beautiful baby gift that will definitely be the new mommy's favorite present!

The first step is to decide what size diaper cake you would like to make. It can be a mini, two, three, or even four tier. Next decide what is the diaper cake theme. Are you using the diaper cake as a baby shower centerpiece? If so follow the theme of the baby shower. Are you giving it as a gift? Do the parents have a nursery theme? If so you could decorate the cake with accessories that match the nursery theme. Once you have decided on the theme and size it's time to go shopping for all of your supplies.

It's not necessary to spend a lot of money to make a cute and practical diaper cake. Wal-Mart and Target have a great selection of baby products at very reasonable prices, and Wal-Mart has a great selection of ribbon in the craft supplies department. Your cake can be decorated with ribbons, flowers, and a cute plush toy or layette items such as receiving blankets, onesies, bibs, etc. To keep it simple you can buy a layette set that includes all the basic layette necessities in a matching set.

Supplies you will need for a three tier boutique diaper cake:

  • 55 good quality diapers - I like to use either Huggies or Pampers Swaddlers Size 1 and/or 2

  • 1 receiving blanket (if needed) - don't buy the thick ones, it makes the cake look too bulky.

  • Layette items (if needed) - 1 bib, 2 burp cloths, 2 washcloths, booties, hat

  • Bottles, rattles, pacifiers (1 or 2 of each if needed).

  • Colorful wide ribbon - about 3 yards, 1" to 1-1/2" wide. You will also need decorative ribbon that coordinates with the wide ribbon to use for tying items to the cake. I like to use a 1" sheer ribbon to tie pacifiers, onesies, etc. to the diaper cake.

  • Rubber bands (make sure they are large enough to fit around the tiers) or thin white ribbon (1/8" will work).

  • 12 inch cake board (you can find these in most craft stores in the cake decorating section) or a sturdy piece of cardboard cut into a circle. If you would like a decorative edge to show around the base of the cake use a 14" round and decorate the edges with ribbon or lace. You can also buy them decorated at some craft stores.

  • Hot glue gun or double-sided tape, and packaging tape.

  • 2 Cardboard tubes from paper towels, or mailing tubes about the same diameter as the paper towel tube, or 2 8 oz. bottles. One you will attach to the cardboard round to make a sturdy base and hold the cake together, the other is to roll the diapers.

  • A 12" cake pan, hat box, or any round item you can use to build your tiers. If you don't have anything that is 12" in diameter, you can make a mold out of a large piece of construction or project paper. Cut it lengthwise and at least 2/3 the width of the diaper. Then form it into a 12" circle and secure with staples or tape. This mold has its advantages and disadvantages but it works in a pinch. You will also need a 9" cake pan if you are going to use the fanned style for the middle tier. The middle tier can be done in two different styles as you will see in the instructions.

  • Decorative accents such as little bows, flowers, scrap booking embellishments, safety pins, etc. (if needed)

  • Tulle or a cellophane bag to wrap the diaper cake, and a gift tag if necessary

First make the base:

  • Center your cardboard tube on the cake board. Use the hot glue gun or double-sided tape to attach the tube to the cake board.

  • Once the tube is attached use the packaging tape to make it stronger taping it around the tube. Press it down firmly.

Now you have a sturdy base for your boutique diaper cake.

Make the bottom tier - you will need 34 diapers:

  • Place your 12" mold in front of you.

  • Take a few diapers and place them in the pan. Make sure to place the printed design of the diaper in facing the center of the pan.

  • Fan the diapers out, with about a 1/2" space between each diaper, around the edge of the pan. Continue to add the diapers in this manner turning the starting edge of diapers in toward the center as needed. Use your hand in the center of the diapers to round out the diapers and make a hole in the center as you add them. Continue like this until you have added all but 2 or 3 of the 34 diapers.

  • Take the last diapers and fit them into the center hole of the diaper round you made. Make sure to place them with the design going in the same direction as the rest for a flawless look.

  • Take a large rubber band and place it around the diapers. Adjust the diapers as necessary so they look uniformly spaced.

  • Turn the pan over and remove the pan. If necessary, adjust the rubber band so that it is in the middle of the diaper round.
  • .
  • Place your base in front of you. Place the best side of the tier up. Lift the diaper round from the bottom and place the center over the cardboard tube and slide it down to the base. Adjust the diaper round so that it is centered on the base.

You now have completed your bottom tier.

Make the middle tier - you will need 16 diapers:

The middle tier can be made two different ways. You can do another layer just like the bottom but use an 9" pan instead. The other alternative is to roll the diapers into a round layer.

  • Using a cardboard tube or a baby bottle, take a diaper, the printed side against the tube, and roll it tightly around the tube about 2" from one end. Do not open the first diaper.

  • Make sure to keep the diaper rolled tightly around the tube with one hand. With the other hand open the next diaper and roll it around the first diaper. Pull the diaper taut as you roll it making sure to keep it even with the edge of the first diaper, and at the same time keep the first diaper rolled tightly with your other hand. Continue like this until you have added all 16 diapers.

  • Use a rubber band to secure the diapers. Line the cardboard tube up with the base tube and slide the tier down.

You now have completed your middle tier.

Make the top tier - you will need 5 diapers:

  • Using the method above, roll the remaining four diapers around a cardboard tube

  • Use a rubber band to secure the diapers. Line the cardboard tube up with the base tube and slide the tier down.

At this point you can use thin white ribbon to tie around each tier and cut off the rubber band if you want a professional look. Make sure to tie the ribbon tightly.

Now that you have all the tiers completed, it's time to decorate the diaper cake.

To attach clothing or layette items, I use a wide piece of ribbon tied around the item in a decorative bow, then tie this to the ribbon that is around the cake.

  • Measure the ribbon around the tiers leaving about 1" overlapping (leave a little extra if you will be tying the ribbon into a bow to attach it). If you will be using a receiving blanket, burp cloths, and/or washcloths to cover any of the tiers you will put the ribbon on last. Otherwise, attach the ribbon using a glue gun, safety pins, or you can tie the ribbon into a bow.

  • If you want to keep it simple and elegant, use artificial flowers and ribbon. Use a wire cutter to cut the stems off of the flowers leaving about 2" of stem. You can place the flowers in small bunches on each tier of the cake and one bunch in the middle of the top tier. Stick the stem of the flowers in-between the diapers to hold them in place. For the topper, I use floral tape or package tape to secure a bunch together and then just place it on top.

  • If you are using a receiving blanket lay the blanket down on a table. Lay a closed diaper lengthwise on the blanket to measure where you will fold the blanket. Make the first fold so that it is the same width as the diaper then continue to fold the blanket. When finished the blanket should be the same width as the diaper. Wrap the receiving blanket around either the bottom or middle tier. Attach the blanket with a safety pin or wrap a length of ribbon around the tier and tie it in a bow. If you use a wide ribbon you can use the glue gun to secure the ribbon.

  • To wrap a tier in burp cloths or washcloths you will need 2 each of these items for the middle tier or one for the top (depending on the size of the items). Use the technique above to attach these items.

  • Now apply any decorations such as little bows, scrap booking embellishments, or small flowers. You can use the glue gun on the low setting and attach the items to the ribbon around the tiers. For rattles, teething rings, and pacifiers, you can tie a ribbon into a bow around them and then tie this to the ribbon around the cake.

  • To add a plush toy, position the item where you want it, then put a rubber band around the plush toy and over the tier tucking it under the tier. You can also use a thin ribbon tied around the neck and under the arms and then looped over the tier in the same manner.

  • For the hole in the top tier - you can use a small plush toy rattle, a bottle or some flowers. To add a little surprise inside, you can roll up a onesie, socks, or washcloths and stuff them into the top hole.

Now your boutique diaper cake is complete. You can wrap it in tulle or a cellophane bag. Tie it with decorative ribbon and a gift tag if needed.

If you are making a mini one tier diaper cake you can cut the cardboard tube down or use a toilet tissue tube or bottle. The bottle can be secured to the base with some double-sided tape. If you are making four tiers or larger you can tape a toilet tissue tube to the base tube. You will have to increase the size of the cake board according to how many diapers you are using for a larger cake.

There are unlimited combinations of boutique style diaper cakes you can make. If you can imagine it you can make it!

If you want to shop for ready-made diaper cakes, look here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Natural Baby Safe Cleaners

Alexander loves to help me when I am cleaning the house. I was concerned about the household cleaners I used and the effects they had on his health. Conventional cleaners are full of toxic ingredients that release noxious gases into the air and leave behind harsh chemical residues. These toxic chemicals are easily absorbed into the skin and can cause skin and respiratory irritations, circulatory, and cardiac damage.

Believe it or not, your kitchen probably contains all the baby safe cleaners necessary to keep your home clean, safe, and healthy.

I remember my mother cleaning windows, mirrors, and any other glass in our home with vinegar and water. Vinegar is not only a great all natural glass cleaner, it can deodorize and disinfect most surfaces in your home. Use a solution of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water in a clean spray bottle on most areas of your home. Make sure to dilute it properly, undiluted vinegar can damage grout and is not safe to use on marble. I use it to clean all surfaces in my kitchen and bathroom. Don't worry about the smell, it disappears after the surface dries.

Another great natural cleaner is baking soda. It makes an effective odor absorber in the refrigerator, freezer, or anywhere that needs deodorizing. It can also be used as a scrub for sinks, pans, etc. Mix with a little bit of lemon juice to make a paste and you have an effective abrasive cleaner.

Lemon juice is a great natural cleaner for most surfaces. It leaves a pleasant smell and has several uses. Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice with a cup of olive oil to make furniture polish that will leave your hardwood furniture shining and smelling great. Use undiluted lemon juice or a solution of lemon juice and water or vinegar in the bathroom to dissolve soap scum and hard water stains. If you have shower doors lemon juice works great to keep them clean. First remove any soap scum and hard water stains with a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice. Dry the doors thoroughly. With a dry, soft towel apply a thin coating of the lemon oil furniture polish to the doors and rub into surface. Then just maintain it once a week by applying the oil. It repels the water and keeps hard water stains from building up.

Salt is a great alternative natural cleaner for spills in your oven then conventional oven cleaners that are extremely toxic. If you take care of spills as they happen it is easier to maintain a clean oven. Pour salt on the spill and let the oven cool, then scrape up the dried salt and spill.

Most household cleaning needs can be taken care of with a good scrubbing sponge, water, and the ingredients listed above. If you still prefer to use commercial cleaners that state exactly what they clean use non-toxic, natural cleaners that won't harm your environment. Several companies such as Seventh-Generation, Bio-Kleen, and BabyGanics offer baby safe cleaners in most health food stores, major grocery stores, and specialized department stores such as Babies "R" Us, and several Internet retailers.

I was very skeptical at first, but I know if you try natural, organic cleaners just once you won't want to go back to conventional cleaners again.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Another Great Baby Product & Parenting Info Site

I have had no time to blog for awhile - things have been crazy! Alexander has been sick for almost the whole month of March, my old back problem has flared up (ouch!!), and the website has finally been starting to get a little busy (yeah!!).

I just came across Popular Baby Products website. I just wanted to share it with anyone that is looking for a great site with informative reviews on new baby products. Not only do they offer great product reviews, they also have parenting advice, detailed lists of baby names, printable baby shower games, birthday party ideas, a directory of WAHM baby product stores, and a blog directory.

Best of all they have "Freebie Friday" - every Friday they have a random drawing giving away great baby products from participating sponsors. All you have to do is make a post on the product giveaway to enter. It couldn't be easier!

Not only is this a great site for parents looking for reviews on popular baby products but it has a lot to offer to WAHM's (or dad's). You can add your shop to the list of stores, and to the blog directory. And of course, if you have a great product you want to promote, you can offer it in the Freebie Friday giveaway, or request a review of your product.

Hmmm....I think I will offer one of my new boutique style baby diaper cakes as a giveaway!