Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to The B's Booties hop spot for the Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop hosted by Mommy's Favorite Things. Over 50 blogs are having giveaway prizes that relate to cloth diapering and have a value of $25 or more. This hop spot has a prize package worth $115!

This sweet prize package will include 1 fold fitted and fleece cover set from 3 Sweet Peas, a set of cloth wipes and $25 gift certificate to AdriannaKnits, an overnight pocket diaper from Colin's Cloth Collection, $25 towards a custom embroidered pocket diaper at The Fluffy Elephant, and a zipper wet bag from Mommy Loves Maddy. This amazing prize is worth a retail value of $105! Enter below for your chance to win.

Visit these other blogs for more prize packages to win.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Getting a new washing machine

Our current washing machine, the one that was already here when we bought the house, had been giving us error messages randomly for a month. We were limping on by restarting the cycle and shutting off the water to the whole house temporarily. Like most families with young children, we don't have disposable income to spend on things like a new washer when you can make do with the one you have. Finally, several days ago, the washer wouldn't stop running water. Even after shutting off the water to the whole house and restarting the washer, it just wouldn't run. I use the washer not only for clothes and cloth diapers but also to wash and preshrink fabrics for my cloth diaper business. You can imagine how hard it would be on our family to not have access to a washing machine. With 3 youngins under 4 years old, going to a laundromat is not an option. With clean clothes running low and my cloth diapered baby in disposables, we needed a washer and fast. After price comparing and researching ratings online, we visited several local "outlet" appliance shops. More expensive than online?? D'oh! We visited a shop literally around the corner from our house. Luckily, they had one model left of an old GE style; high efficiency, top loader, 3.9 cu ft, with 16 wash cycles and rated 4 out of 5 stars. Not only was it available to be delivered and installed 3 days later, but it was $100 cheaper than anything we found online. Score!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

WAHM Wares: Bunzuke Cloth Convertabunz 2.0 review

Picture from Bunzuke Hyena Shop
Bunzuke is a home based business that makes mostly cloth diapers. The specialty is all-in-two (AI2) diapers and an inventive, multi-use diaper called a Convertabunz. This WAHM business stocks on Hyena Cart the first of the month and is usually sold out within minutes. I had been wanting to try the convertabunz for a few months and could never get my hands on one during a stocking until this last one. Even being a diaper maker myself, I was so excited to get these diapers in the mail. The elephant print is so cute and soft.

Picture from Bunzuke Hyena Shop
Let's review the features:
-uses; insert for pocket diaper, stay dry soaker, snapping prefold, elasticized lay in soaker, and "fitted" elasticized prefold
-one layer of cotton interlock, one layer of bamboo fleece, zorb in the wet zone, stay dry fleece in wet zone
- snap closure for prefold form
-snaps in the pocket to connect to AI2 shells
-encased elastic with multiple settings for adjustable leg elastic

When I took the diapers out of the package, I will admit that I was intimidated. Even as an experienced cloth diaper user, I couldn't figure out how to use it. I had quickly watched the instructional video on the listing before purchasing, but thank goodness I could go back and watch it again more closely once I had the diaper in my hands. I mimicked what she did in the video and got the hang of all the different uses. This diaper is very versatile. I tried using it all its forms to give a thorough review.

I love that the materials are so soft and stretchy. I did the trifold with angel wing to put it on my daughter as a snapping prefold and an elasticized snapping prefold. Even with a size large, I had a hard time snapping both the wing snaps. She's on the last setting in front without having the second one rub her belly, which I didn't want to let happen. I was surprised at the snugness considering that my daughter has an average waist measurement for her age and this diaper is listed as a large. I would have liked an extended tab prefold shape for this use or a wider measurement overall. It got a snugger fit with the elastic, which I like. Overall, both the snapping prefold and the "fitted" forms were both absorbent, soft, and trim. I can't use it overnight on my heavy wetter, but for how trim it is, you can't beat the absorbency.

I tried it as an insert in a pocket and a soaker for an AI2. She describes pulling it inside out to get this insert shape. When I did that, I found that the pocket made the wings of the prefold pucker a bit and not lay completely flat, but it did fit nicely into my pocket diaper, made by Norries Nappies. It was slightly less absorbent than the prefold forms and I'm not sure exactly why. Because I didn't have a shell from Bunzuke, I used the shell from AdriannaKnits. I do like the fleece top liner for the stay dry effect. I did have to add a bamboo booster for extra absorbency in this form. I also tried this form with the elastic tightened which created the double gusset effect. While my daughter doesn't particularly need this feature in her diapers, I can imagine how it would be great to contain newborn messes or for older babies that have more frequent stools.

As for washing, I think this was the only *real* problem area. It washed and dried easily in the prefold form, but when the elastic was tightened, it took much longer to dry. I had a hard time relaxing the elastic on a wet diaper and would NOT do this if it was dirty before washing it. In the inserts and soaker forms, it took a super long time to dry and I had to pull it inside out to get it to dry more quickly. Again, I would NEVER do this before putting it in the wash. I'd have to stick my hand through a pee and possibly poop cover diaper to turn it inside out.

Despite the washing issues, I really like this diaper and reach for it often. It is very affordable, soft, and absorbent. It is creative and unique. This diaper plays many roles, which I think is a positive as well as a negative attribute. When something does too many things, it may not be excellent at any one particular thing. I believe that's the same with this diaper. It does a lot of things well, but doesn't do any one thing extremely well. After trying all forms, I use it mostly as a snapping prefold or elastic prefold, just for ease of laundering. I do love it though and would recommend it to anyone that needs a few extra changes in their stash, even if I don't recommend a full stash of this one type of diaper.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sponsor Highlight: AdriannaKnits

AdriannaKnits is a great WAHM business that offers handmade items, like cloth diapers, hats, booties, and other children's items. This lifelong crafter and self-taught sewer, Adrianna, started the business in 2010 and now offers unique, custom patterns for crochet and knit items. I recently reviewed one of her AI2 diapers here. The mama behind the business is really nice and willing to work with you to get an order you will truly love. Her products are adorable and affordable.

AdriannaKnits is graciously offering a set of cloth wipes and a $25 gift certificate to her Etsy store for the Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop at the end of this month.

Check out her Facebook fanpage and Etsy storefront before the Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop.

Sponsor Highlight: Mommy Loves Maddy

Mommy Loves Maddy (MLM) is a WAHM business that specializes in cloth diapers, wet bags, and adorable embellished bibs. The cloth diapers are mostly one size pocket diapers with bamboo inserts. While I haven't had the pleasure of using a MLM pocket diaper, the reviews have been good.

The pockets are made from print PUL exterior and organic bamboo french terry inner. The insert included is microfiber terry between two layers of bamboo french terry.

Mommy Loves Maddy is generously offering a zipper pocket wet bag for the winner of the Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop here at The B's Booties. This bag, 9"x10.5", fits about 2-3 cloth diapers and has a handle for hanging on a wall or door. You can use this bag for anything wet; clothes, diapers, wipes, or toiletries.

Check out the Mommy Loves Maddy Etsy shop and Facebook fanpage before the hop starts.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

WAHM Wares: AdriannaKnits AI2 review

AdriannaKnits is a small home based business. Adrianna is the mama behind the name. She knits and crochets hats, booties, sandals, and other items. She's recently branched out into the cloth diaper arena. Her style of choice is an all-in-two (AI2). Typically, this type of diaper has a shell cover and absorbent inserts that are directly against baby's skin. There's no pocket to stuff or unstuff in an AI2.

Let's review the features:
-all-in-two diaper
-one row of snap closure with cross over wings (cross over snap on both sides)
-one size diaper with rise snaps (3 snaps on each setting)
-cotton woven exterior
-hidden PUL
-microfleece inner
-two snap in soakers, snake style
-inserts made from cotton flannel, bamboo terry, and bamboo stretch fleece

The diaper she sent me is an adorable ladybug print from the Eric Carle collection of The Angry Ladybug. The front is the ladybug dots. The back is the ladybug and leaf print that wraps around on the tabs. She color coordinated the snaps and the red fleece interior, which I love. It's super cute and I'm glad I get to use it during summer when I can just throw a t-shirt on my daughter and show off the cute print.

This diaper has 3 snaps at each rise setting instead of the usual two. While my daughter is currently on the largest setting, I imagine that 3 snaps would help keep it snapped while it's on a smaller baby. The wings on this one size diaper are quite long. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to use the cross over wings on my daughter. I tend to close diapers fairly snuggly around my daughter's waist which made these squared-off wings tend to pop out at the corners. I believe Adrianna is in the process of tweaking the wing shape to address this issue.

Overall, I really like the fit. I don't usually like one size diapers that only have one row of closure snaps or a fold over rise, as my daughter has larger than average thigh measurements and normally average waist measurement. If it's snug at the waist, it's too tight at the thighs. If it's loose enough at the thighs, it's too loose around the waist. However, this diaper is a perfect fit. The rise snaps are perfect for the right fit on any baby.  It is fairly trim for being a cloth diaper and fits well under clothes. At first, I thought that having the cross over snap on both wings was unnecessary, but I actually love it. You can choose which side to close first whether you are right or left handed. My only suggestion on the fit is to add a second cross over snap on one wing so that smaller babies can get a snug waist fit.

The first time she wore it, she had a messy dirty diaper immediately. I don't know how babies know it's a new diaper, but they do and they poop in it right away. It contained the mess perfectly. As I used it more, I was slightly disappointed with the absorbency. My daughter is a heavy wetter so it's hard to get enough absorbency without using bamboo. She wet it so much that it wicked to the exterior cotton print and got her clothes wet. To address the issue, I added a bamboo booster (from another diaper). That was enough to get the absorbency that she needs. Adrianna is now offering an additional booster with this diaper. I think it will make the diaper slightly bulkier, but I personally don't mind the bulk, especially when I am leaving the print uncovered.

AdriannaKnits is graciously offering a $20 gift certificate to the winner of the Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop for The B's Booties. Check out her Etsy shop and Facebook page in the meantime to see her work portfolio.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sponsor Highlight: 3 Sweet Peas

3 Sweet Peas is another sponsor for the Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop. This WAHM business offers cloth diapers and canvas baby carriers. The diaper selection mainly consists of fitteds, contour snap flats and prefolds, and a new hybrid diaper called a Snap Pea. The Snap Pea diaper is a contour flat or prefold with wings that fold around baby and snap. Leg elastic snugs the fit better than a flat or prefold so the diaper works more like a fitted. It is an affordable alternative to more expensive diapers. It's a great stash filler and dries super quickly. I personally have more than half my daughters stash as snap flats or Snap Peas. Don't love it until you try it!

Along with diapers, 3 Sweet Peas offers affordable canvas baby carriers.

Here are a couple instructional videos for the hip carrier and mei tai:

3 Sweet Peas hip carrier instructional video

3 Sweet Peas mei tai instructional video

I've written plenty about my own business, 3 Sweet Peas, so here is some independent reviews from other moms who have used my products.

First Time Mom review of a bamboo fitted and fleece skirtie

Crochet Knitting and Cloth bamboo fitted and PUL cover review

Winnie the Mom bamboo fitted diaper review

3 Sweet Peas is moving to Hyena Cart on July 8th. There is currently a clearance of Etsy stock to make room for the Hyena Cart grand opening stock. Take advantage of 30-50% off while it lasts.

Sponsor Highlight: Colin's Cloth

Colin's Cloth Collection is a relatively new cloth diaper and children's boutique on Etsy. This work at home mom makes cloth diapers and children's clothing. The most unique item available in her shop is the Pookie Pocket diaper. It is a pocket diaper with two layers of fleece on the outside and a layer of cotton fleece lining. It has been reviewed for use as an overnight pocket diaper.

Polyester fleece is a synthetic material that repels liquid. It is breathable and soft, which makes it a great option as a diaper cover. Cotton fleece is thick, absorbent material. When this pocket diaper is stuffed with inserts, it is a good overnight option for your little one. While I haven't had the pleasure of reviewing this diaper personally, other testers have said it is great for overnight use on heavy wetters.

Colin's Cloth Collection is offer a Pookie Pocket overnight diaper, without inserts, for the winner of the Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop spot at the B's Booties. Check out the CC facebook page and Etsy shop before the giveaway to view previous products. Be sure to come back at the end of June for your chance to win the prize package worth over $100!

Sponsor Highlight: The Fluffy Elephant

One of our sponsors for the Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop is The Fluffy Elephant. This work at home mom (WAHM) business creates embroidered clothing and diapers. This mama is so easy to work with. She will get an embroidery design that you love, pick out custom fabrics, and write whatever you want on the item.

She currently has a Sesame Street collection in the works, complete with Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch. This set will be a must have for Sesame Street loving toddlers. The minky exterior has the design and custom text. She usually does a hidden layer of PUL and a microfleece or suede interior for her pocket diapers, or just PUL for a cover. The diaper I bought for my daughter is a cover. You can read the review here.

For the Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop, The Fluffy Elephant is generously donating a custom embroidered, pocket diaper (without inserts) that normally retails for $24-$28. In honor of the name of her shop, the design will be the mother and baby elephant. The winner gets to choose the colors for the minky outer of the diaper, along with the embroidery thread, background prints, and custom words under the picture. If you are the winner, you can make it boyish, girly, or gender neutral. Embroider your baby elephant's name or keep it general with a nickname.

Visit The Fluffy Elephant on Facebook to view her portfolio of work or on Hyena to shop her in stock items. Don't forget to come back at the end of the month to enter the Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop for a chance to win the prize package worth over $100!