New recipe

Miso soup is very easy, perfect for a (pregnant) mother of a toddler! Boil water ‘lightly’ so it’s steaming but not bubbling hot, which would kill the live friendly bacteria in the miso. Put some miso in a bowl, and here my lazy way is to add a splash of the hot water to blend the mixture with the back of a spoon till smooth. Then add the rest of the water till it’s the taste and concentration you like. Traditional miso is made with water boiled with flaked bonito fish and/or kombu sea(weed/vegetable), which give it a lovely depth of flavour but are too much effort with my baby tugging at my trouser leg.
I was happy because this involved 1) cracking open a cookbook and trying a new recipe–this one called for udon noodles, which I’ve never had in miso soup; and 2) opening a package of organic whole wheat udon noodles which had been in Deep Storage for an undetermined period. Needless to say, they were in real risk of never being used. Ha!

From Dol Sot Bibimbap Tutorial


Chic Vegetarian Cuisine’s mushroom kinpira
inspired this recipe too. I boiled the noodles seperately, rinsed off excess starch, then prepared the veg à la kinpira, finally adding the veg and noodles to the miso. Good stuff.

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Bath milk review

DH is ‘le chef du bain’ and he gave our LO her first milk bath last night, using the recipe from Rookie Moms: organic baby wash. OK, said this before but I’m not sure why they call it ‘organic’ as there is no organic ingredient called for. Semantics, people! Perhaps they call it ‘organic’ as a search term.

Not wanting to waste a lot of ingredients if the cleanser didn’t turn out right, I just mixed a little by eyeballing the proportions in a glass shaker. The oats are organically grown quick oatmeal, but I didn’t whizz the half tablespoon I used in the blender to make them even more fine. I sprinkled in a little until the bathwater was slightly cloudy. I didn’t add any essential oils, of course.

Thanks to Olivier (‘Pipeau’) and Laureline for giving us an upright baby bath! It had its maiden voyage foray into cleaning babies last night. Wonderful pressie. Plus it’s chartruese green, what could be better?

Plus: Madeline smells fantastic. The best she has ever smelled.
Minus: DH said the mixture clumped. That was probably the cornstarch. Still, I prefer a clumpy bath cleanser to using anti-caking chemicals, and a good mechanical de-clump (sifting!) could help. This morning there are traces on her cheeks like dry skin, but a drop of water showed it was just dried milk cleanser. Huh! Must use less next time. Bruno will figure it out.

Conclusion: going to use it again! Use less to avoid the milk traces effect–use oat flour instead of finely ground oatmeal (blender) & sift together to make the mixture very fine.

Enabler alert: big pattern sale!

McCall’s, Vogue and Butterick are all on sale, all for $3.99, and the sale goes from the 30th to the 1st.  Like, they hardly ever do that!   Scoot on over there!  I am loading up my cart and this time might actually press ‘buy’ since all the brands are all on sale, the shipping costs are so worth it.  Plus maternity leave starts in 16 days and I’ll have so much energy to sew, right?  LOL

Say wha…? I cannot believe I am on such a short count-down to maternity leave (hair stands on end).  Excuse me, I gotta finish correcting exams… go sew… fret needlessly…  something!

Before I buy, just remind me not to buy knit dresses because a one-piece dress?  Breastfeeding?  (eyes rolling)

Podcast: sleepsack tutorial with photos

Hi everyone, I made a podcast on how to convert a pattern for a baby sleeping gown into a sleepsack, but!  I haven’t figured out yet how to make it appear on this blog.  It’s temporarily on my podbean blog site.  Here’s the link to listen

It would be cool if I could get a clickable icon to show up here, you know, like embedding a YouTube video into a post.  Any idea how to do that?  I’ve been trawling the WordPress help and public support forums for answers.

DIY natural baby care

Here are some links to make your own natural baby care products.  Know of any more?

And does anyone know what is this apparent trend from sites Stateside to call everything ‘organic’ when I don’t see any requirement that at least one ingredient be organically grown?  Looks more like ‘natural’, ‘DIY’ or ‘homemade’ to me, but the organic label was slapped on to make it sexier.  What is up with that?

My favourite–all the natural baby product recipes from one site! MomFuse blog: Make your own natural baby products including wipe solution, baby shampoo, baby powder, baby bath milk & baby oil.  Great place to start, the other sites offer more variations.

Big ol’ list of baby wipes solutions for cloth wipes: Zany Zebra Cloth Wipes Solution Recipes

Make Baby Stuff: Baby Wipe Solution for Cloth Wipes or Disposable 2 recipes for cloth or disposable wipes (think cut-up paper towels)

A lot of those recipes call for baby shampoo or baby cleanser, which is one of the two baby care things in the research article identified as a possible source of potentially harmful chemicals for babies.  Two birds with one stone!

eHow: Baby shampoo recipe

Soapmakers might start with the real basics (if you will), like oil and lye, but I’m not so crafty.  I’m gonna buy.  A pity that liquid Castille soap like Dr Bronner’s isn’t sold here in Belgium, but it is easy to find French Marseille soap, which is a solid, handcrafted soap from natural, traditional ingredients.

Report: Homemade baby & cleaning products best

How about some motivation to make your own baby care and household cleaning products? Like baby shampoo and baby powder, or lemon-juice based glass cleaners. You’ll know exactly what’s in them, the ingredients are usually food-grade or traditional artisanal products like olive oil and lye soap. Hey, I need some encouragement, because shaking watery shampoo that doesn’t foam well at every bath time and trawling all over town for ingredients and containers are turn-offs. Like I need more work with less payoff. But baby stuff is right there on the shelf at the grocery store! And my changing table won’t be full of a wonky collection of spice jars. It’ll look classic and tranquil, right out of a catalogue with matching Johnson & Johnson containers lined up in an orderly row.

So how about this to convince you, or give a loving nudge to a skeptical caregiver? The American Journal of Pediatrics, February 2008 Baby Care Products: Possible Sources of Infant Phthalate Exposure. Check it out, the full article is free to download as a PDF.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting alarmist. I’m just glad to find this article to nudge me and keep my partner motivated in making and using natural products.

Ottobre playclothes & more diaper wipes

Here’s the Ottobre 6/07 # 6 wraparound jacket & Ottobre 3/09 #7 Lola leggings, both in size 62, which will be worn over a RTW tee shirt or onesie. The stash has just feminine colours, but if it’s a boy he will wear this just at home. (Re-dying? Ha!) I fussed with the tab fasteners for the first version, in periwinkle jersey. It was my first snap-sewing experience. It’s okay, but a good thing that TLO will grow out of it quickly because my lining-up skills leave something to be desired. But no way was I going to rip out snaps and re-sew just for an outfit whose lifespan will probably be 3 weeks. TLO is blorping around in my belly to show her or his agreement 🙂
Unfortunately sew-in and hammer-in snaps are pretty expensive here. Sure, one could rip out snaps and recycle, but let’s not exaggerate, shall we? It’s why I got interested in two-piece playclothes in the first place, because one-piece rompers need lots of snaps and they add up. It’s cheaper to buy RTW made in sweatshops than to DIY with snaps, now what kind of Faustian bargain is that? So I love this legging pattern, and in theory wrap-style kimono tops are supposed to be good for the early days with an umbilical cord.

Made too many? Nope! Green Mountain Diapers recommends 50 reusable cloth diaper wipes, so I can stop feeling like I’ve made too many from remnants of diaper sewing. I was just hemming up fringed edge burp cloths (tutorial) this morning and found a small pile of 4 wipes, waiting to be serged. There are 30 in the diaper stash already. Oh, guilt for using up flannel like that? Should I be saving the remnants for making flannel baby shoes (pattern & tutorial)? Nope! In fact, as the prefold stash is just 24 in the Newborn – 6 months size, and almost everyone on the Net recommends 36 diapers for a basic stash, I should cut some more diapers, and make more wipes. If that isn’t enough to encourage me, GMD says that fathers tend to use more wipes than mothers do, so plan for extra if Dad is going to take part in changing. Oh yeah! So I rounded out the night by making more and now there are 40 diaper wipes and 30 prefolds on stand-by for January. Flannel’s out of stock in my stash, so next week, incredible as it seems to me, I have to buy more.

Baby laundry bag

We interrupt this sewing fest of weensy Ottobre baby duds with a simple, non-annoying, no complicated steps laundry bag. I just folded a piece of vichy check/gingham until it looked the right size, tore, sewed, and ran the drawstring through. Simple. Plans are to make another one in a visibly darker colour to separate any darkish things.
TLO’s clothing is going to be washed with the best baby-safe detergent we can find here, which in fact isn’t detergent, it’s old-fashioned shaved French Marseille laundry soap and glycerin. Just ‘prima’ as we’d say in Dutch. The drawstring top is to toss over a corner of the changing table. BTW, cloth diapers are washed in detergent, because soap can cause a waxy build-up in the cotton fibers and make wetness bead up on the surface and not be absorbed into the diaper.

Baby’s wardrobe so far


* 4 pairs of pants from Burda magazine, in size 68 so they are for a little down the road

* 4 KS 3090 sleeping gowns: two completed in yellow, two in salmon pink on the cutting board. All are size ‘S’ for 0-3 months, for around 13lbs/6kg. Calming pastels would be ideal, but I just used the stash.

* 3 white long-sleeve onesies from HEMA, in that 60-ish size range. James at work strongly advised buying long socks to prevent them being kicked off, so I got 3 of the tiniest shoe size and 3 more of the second-smallest from the Cora, as well as a polarfleece romper with feet, Newborn size. It snaps down the center and over both legs.

* On the cutting board: jersey leggings and a raglan-sleeve wrap jacket in yellow in size 62, both patterns from Ottobre. Cora yieled the same style wrap jacket, size 54, but had a *duh* little change to facilitate construction: hemmed at the bottom, but the front edges and sleeves were bound with ribbing. Ottobre has the entire thing bound, including a curved front corner–duh! It would be so much easier to square it off and just hem! Going to do that for the next one, which should by rights be in salmon pink so I only have to thread the machine once. I’m dabbling with the idea of making a KS wrap top in matching salmon pink for my first post-maternity project. Yippee! But I will have to retrace, make a giant FBA to allow for what will hopefully be a breastfeeding figure… I dunno. Don’t hold your breath!

Any advice on whether I really need to make lots of one-piece rompers, or can I get away with a RTW onesie and a layer of pants and a jacket (knit for play, woven for going out) over it? Snaps are a bit expensive here.

TLO is projected to weigh 3.4kg or just about of 7.5lbs at birth. Therefore either TLO needs a few sleepers and 2 sleep sacks for the tiny newborn size. About.com advised to always buy big except for sleepwear. Too-big sleepwear can creep up and pose a SIDS or low-oxygen risk for sleeping babies. I bought two side-snap kimono onesies last night at Cora, but alas, fell victim to the confusing range of sizes and bought for a slightly small baby or a large preemie. Return!

Two neighbours in the building have very young children! One has a toddler and the other is under a year old. IThe toddler’s father already offered to pass along some baby clothes, the other couple might be game too. It’s sunny and -13C here at 10:30 in Brussels, which is frigid. But if I get brave enough, I’ll gingerly get on my bike–yes I still bike very short distances, for 15 minutes max–and head out to the nearby second-hand shop, Les Petitis Riens/Spullenhulp, 2.8km or less than a mile away. Will be on the lookout for baby clothes, and more importantly, wool sweaters to transform into wool diaper covers. Diaper covers are still a missing key ingredient in the cloth diapering journey.

Kristine, I’m using ‘TLO’ as Baby’s internet handle too, for ‘the little one’; but I capitalize all the letters so it Baby won’t be confused with TLo on your blog 🙂