Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Recycled Cardboard Tube Play Binoculars

This is a super simple project that honestly took about fifteen minutes and cost pennies to make.  The binoculars have kept my two year old busy for several days. 

You need two sturdy cardboard tubes about 5 inches long, clear packaging tape, cord or ribbon, markers, stickers and whatever else you want to decorate them with.  The tubes I used are very thick and sturdy.  Thinner tubes from toilet paper rolls could be used but will not last as long in the hands of a toddler.  You may want to tape them together using colored or patterned duct tape for extra strength.

First, I gave Lucy markers and let her go crazy on the tubes.

She went a little too crazy with the markers (thank goodness they were washable)!  Next, I let her decorate them with whatever stickers we had around.

After Lucy was satisfied with her decorating job I taped the two tubes together with lots of clear packaging tape.  Tape them until they are very tight and completely covered (keeps little fingers from peeling off the stickers and putting them all over the house!).

For the neck strap I raided my ribbon stash and found a green, cotton cord about a yard long that ended up being the perfect length for Lucy to get over her head.  I looped the cord through each side and tied it tightly and then taped over it to hold it in place. 

Now my little explorer can go bird watching, on safari, or just pretend to spy on her baby sister!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Etsy Finds: Repurposed Back to School

Arm your kids or yourself with reusable supplies made from repurposed materials!  Some of these may last through their entire academic career.

I love this bag by Urchin Bags!  It's made from recycled seat belts, air bags and a used bike inner tube.

The 'keep safe' bag made from recycled seat belts $105

Pencils handmade from recycled newspapers also come with a carrying case by beladonna.

Recycled Newspaper Pencils (set of 12) $11.50

 Perfect decor for a dorm room!  A planter made from recycled books to make you look smarter than you already are by Recycled Novels.

Book Planter - "Murderous Plan" $25"

This reusable sandwich "envelope" by lkd Designs is made from recycled fabric and can be used along with her reusable lunch and snack bags for a complete eco-friendly, handmade kit.

Reusable Sandwich Envelope Made from RECYCLED fabric $12

Have several kids to buy for?  Or just a collector of vintage staplers?  Find a set of 5 along with lots of other vintage goodies at Leaping Lemming.  I am loving the aqua and chrome one!

5 USA Made Vintage Staplers $24.95

Thursday, August 4, 2011

DIY Reusable Baby Wipes

We are almost out of baby wipes once again!  It is hard to keep up with the demand when we are still wiping two butts (stubborn Lucy still isn't completely potty trained!).  Time to make the reusable baby wipes I intended to make when Lucy was a baby.

We started using cloth diapers once Lucy was a few months old.  It took me awhile to decide which brand to go with plus newborn poo is just so runny and almost impossible to contain in disposables so imagine the mess in cloth!  I always intended to make cloth wipes and even purchased remnant flannel whenever I saw it, but never got around to making them.  Now that Alice is almost ready for cloth diapers we need the wipes to go with them.

It makes perfect sense.  Just toss the wipes in the wash with the diapers.  They are small and therefore do not add any extra laundry and will help save even more money.  I found several tutorials online but they really are not needed for such a simple sewing project.  I will share this one because it also has links on general cloth diapering info, how to make homemade nursing pads and cloth napkins.

I used flannel remnants from the bargain bin at the craft store for my wipes and the link above used an old baby receiving blanket.  Others have used old t-shirts, blankets or fleece to make theirs.  Repurposing is the best and cheapest option, I just did not have anything old to reuse at the time.

Stack of remnant flannel ready to cut
8 x 8 squares ready to be edged

I cut most of my fabric into 8 x 8 inch squares.  A few of the remnants would yield more wipes with less waste if cut into 7 x 8 so that is what I did.

After edging
Ready for the container

Squares measuring 8 x 8 do not fit perfectly in the Huggies wipes container I have but it still works.  However, if I had thought about that I would have made all my wipes 7 inches instead.  I plan to use plain water on the wipes at first and see how it works.  Lots of recipes can be found for various mixtures including some with soap, baby oil, tea tree oil and/or essential oils.  These are completely customizable for you and your baby's skin so it may take a few tries to see what works for your family. 

Once I have Alice in cloth diapers and have used the wipes through several washing cycles I will post an update!