Archive | House & Home

Join The Reusable Revolution: My Collaboration with Bee Eco Wraps!

Did you know that “littering” wasn’t a thing until corporations started blaming consumers for the messes they created? I know. When I first heard about this, it blew my mind.

Why do we package our most perishable items with materials that take centuries to biodegrade? It’s not enough to rinse and sort and recycle our garbage. We are still making so much waste that the countries who used to process it for us have started turning us away.

So what can we do? (more…)

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Winnowing

The dishwasher was the first thing to break. I told myself that I’d rip it out of the wall, use the nook for muddy boots and yard supplies. The truth was I couldn’t afford to replace it or fix it.

I saw an ad on craigslist where a handyman would exchange household work for women’s panties, preferably unwashed ones. How desperate would someone be to make that choice? I never want to be in that position. I realize I need to make more money, find a reliable handyman. Money is freedom. (more…)

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Refill your Method foaming soap for less!


DID YOU KNOW?…You can refill your foaming soap bottles with a diluted solution of regular soap and water. Use a soap-to-water ratio of about 1:3 or 1:4 (but I always just eyeball it). ^_^ It’s a heckuva lot cheaper to use Method’s regular soap refills because they cost the same as the foaming soap ones! You could also use Dr. Bronner’s or another soap refill of your choice…and still enjoy the trendy design of Orla Kiely on your kitchen or bathroom counter!

Erin
4/8/2013
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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The joy of my heart

I find myself caught up in adorable moments, full of laughter and silliness; suddenly I realize my mind isn’t deep enough to bottle up each nuance of glee. Oh. There is so much happiness. And it passes through my fingers like water. And I know I shouldn’t try to capture it…I should embrace it and set it free. But that’s hard to do, because sometimes I’m so happy it makes me sad…sad because I wonder if I’ll ever be this happy again. ^_^ The Greater Truth is that we experience slices of heaven on earth, and there is fullness of joy to be found in God. My heart opens and closes, like a baby’s eyes open and close while waking from a dream. I still have fears to overcome, and my faith muscle still has growing to do. But…in the meantime…I’m grateful for these moments. My day is punctuated by smiles. And in this I find peace.By Erin
2/11/2013

Posted using Tinydesk blog app

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Shop Phoebe’s Closet, an Instagram Boutique of Thrifted Baby Clothes and Things

I love thrifting. I LOVE it. When I stumble upon an amazing vintage dress or an designer sweater for $5, I feel like I found a true treasure, something unique and beautiful, and something that I can also afford to buy and own on our tight budget.

As Phoebe gets older and grows out of her clothes, I’ve given many away as hand-me-downs and donated a ton to those in need. But there were still some items I couldn’t bear to part with, my favorite pieces from her wardrobe. I knew I’d only get about 25 cents for them if I sold them at my local consignment shop, so I decided to hang onto them. “Just in case I had another girl.”

And then my friend, Emily, opened up an Instagram account to sell some of her daughter, Poppy’s, unused items: shop_poppys_closet. And I was inspired. This is what I should do with those cute clothes that are getting no use in the garage! This was a much better answer than buying storage totes and hoarding all the unused clothes! I could pass the clothes along to my online friends, and maybe even make a few buck in the process. And, so, Phoebe’s Closet was born.

I quickly sold, packaged and mailed out 10 listings. And then my friends started doing the same. I think that this is such a cool way for us to “cut out the middle man” and sell clothes directly to each other, so I wanted to include a shout out to all my other Instagram Mamas who are selling their unused baby wares online. If you’re on Instagram, you should totally check these shops out. Each picture will link directly to pictures of the shop’s wares on statigram (a way to view instagram pictures through your web browser):

WHERE DO I HOPE TO GO FROM HERE???

My goal is to visit my local thrift/consignment stores each week and look for good bargains on cute baby clothes. I’ve really enjoyed selling Phoebe’s things, and even though I typically only make about $1-2 per item, I hope to be able to turn this into a little business for our family. It’s something I can do with Phoebes in tow, and it’s something I’m good at! I’ve already done some “personal shopping” for half a dozen online friends who don’t live near good thrift stores. And while I’ve never charged anyone to shop for them in the past, I think this would be a neat way to help support our little family.

I’m going to start THRIFTY THURSDAYS on my Instagram shop, Phoebe’ Closet. Each week I’ll go looking for new finds, and then I’ll post them to the shop each Thursday. The clothes will be available for one week, at which point I’ll take down the listings, return them to the store (if they don’t sell), and buy new items.

How can you support Phoebe’s Closet? If you’re on instagram, tell your friends about the shop! If you’re on twitter, I’d appreciate a shout out as well. My username in both places is @phoebes_closet. If enough people follow the shop and buy my wares, I’ll make enough to keep it going and to keep sharing these cute clothes and great buys with all of you.

Thanks for your support!

^_^ Erin Wetzel
2012-08-28

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Phoebe’s Room Tour: A Toddler’s Montessori Bedroom

The first year of Phoebe’s life, we tried to change her nursery as little as possible (Here is my post with a tour of her nursery). It’s important to have a calm and consistent environment for our little ones as they grow and learn about the world. Keeping the nursery the same helps create a safe and reliable place for them to come back to in the midst of all the chaos of growing up and learning how to do everything for the first time, be it rolling over, laughing, or crawling and standing.

Now, at nearly 16 months, Phoebe is climbing, running, opening, and dispersing things all over the house, as well as in her own bedroom. Our needs for her room have changed. Now we need a room where we can teach her how to master her skills. We need an environment that helps teach her how to put things away and be a responsible caretaker of her belongings.

One thing that helps a lot with this is having a lot less stuff available to her, overall.  We moved her dresser drawers into the garage (next to the laundry machines); instead, we are keeping a few days worth of clothes and diapers in baskets in her closet. We also have some things hanging up at her level. She can access all of her clothes, and she loves practicing dressing herself, and when she is done, there are few enough clothes that I can help teach her how to put her clothes back in their baskets without either of us getting overwhelmed. And, yes: she does help put things away! She loves it (most of the time) when I ask her to help me; we work together to gather the clothes and put them in the baskets; however, if she is too tired or simply unwilling to help, I am able to pick up her mess in under a minute. If we ever run out of clothes, the stash is in the garage, a few rooms away, and it is easy to grab a few extra shirts or socks for her baskets. It’s a win-win situation all around.

We want to teach Phoebe life skills as she gets old enough to manage them, and as she expresses interest in the. So, we have a dirty laundry basket in her closet, as well as her coconut oil jar (which we use as a moisturizer), hair accessories (in a basket), and homeopathic teething medicine. I like giving her access to the things she uses on a regularly basis. She likes exploring these items, as well. I keep meaning to buy her a hairbrush to add to the mix.

In the closet, above Phoebe’s reach, I still have storage for items that are not appropriate for her at the moment, either because they are too big or too small. I will likely clear out space in the garage and move these bins closer to the rest of her clothes, but for the time being, they aren’t interfering right where they are.
We moved the shelves for Phoebe’s toys to create a barrier in Phoebe’s room, dividing it into to sections: a play area and a sleep area. To be honest, setting the room up like this was completely unmediated. I was sliding the shelf against an opposite wall, when I realized Phoebe would have a lot of fun learning how to crawl into, through and around the shelves. So I set them up as is. And she thinks they are terrific. She goes up to them, looks at us through them, and just giggles. Or, she’ll jaunt into her room and squeal, then take a toy down out of the shelf and play with it. She finds the new set-up engaging and loads of fun. 

Things I still want to do:

– Lower the pictures to her eye sight and secure them to the wall
– Set her mirror back up in the new “play” area
– Get a few more baskets, so that I have a basket for books and maybe even one for puzzle pieces (when she leaves a puzzle unfinished)
– Set up a small table and chair in the room, so that she has a place to sit and work on projects or coloring

^_^ Erin

2012-08-13

Posted using Tinydesk Writer iPhone app

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Phoebe’s Play Kitchen – Cute, Easy & Cheap

These days Phoebe loves exploring the cabinets and drawers whenever she’s in the kitchen, so I thought I’d make a little kitchen spot of her own. Last night I threw it together out of toys and supplies we had lying around the house, and this morning she discovered it right as I was starting to wash the breakfast dishes. Perfect timing!


I snapped this photo from around the corner, so as not to disturb her.

Since the kitchen set was so easy and cheap to put together, I thought I’d share it with you. My main thoughts going into it were:
– Include different materials & textures
– Include real kitchen items that she already likes taking out to play with
– Set up the items so she can explore putting things inside other things and taking them out again (she’s really enjoyed this concept lately)

So, here’s a tour of my little DIY kitchen for Phoebe:


This wooden range, a gift from a friend who found it while thrifting, has been sitting in the garage waiting for Phoebe to get old enough to play with it.


A Clementines box is repurposed as the main “drawer” or container for her “kitchen supplies.”


The kitchen supplies are mostly repurposed empty containers. I like putting real objects in the empty containers to create more interest, as well as a pleasing “rattle” sound. From the left: a yogurt container with orange peels, baking powder tin with popcorn kernels, a mason jar with loose tea leaves, glass bottle with barley, empty tea box, spice jar filled with red lentils.


Phoebe loves putting the lid on this pot as well as switching up the contents. Mostly she dumps them out, but lately she’s started putting things back inside, as well.


Some fabric food from IKEA and a couple kitchen containers.


A small bag, an ice tray and an old wooden spoon.


Lastly, a little art to give the kitchen a homey feel.


Enjoy your play, my little buddy!

By ekwetzel
2012-01-25

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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Flies Begone! (aka: a couple non-toxic tips on fly death & deterrence)

I. Hate. Flies.

No, seriously. I hate flies. I’d rather deal with bees. Or spiders. Or small dark places. Or even toilets.

So, when I heard I could put a bag of water in my doorway and the flies would keep out of my kitchen, I thought, “Hey. Why not!”

flies bag water doorway doorjamb ziplockThe idea behind this simple “fly repellent” is such: as the fly approaches the bag of water, they will see the reflection of light in it. Because of the way a fly’s eyes work, they interpret that changing reflection as movement, and will turn away, thinking there is a predator or hostile beast (like my cat, Scooter). And flies are tiny, defenseless bugs. They don’t want to be squished. So they flee.

Does it work? I put the bag up in my kitchen doorway and left the light on in the kitchen as dusk approached. Typically a slew of flies come in when I do this. So far: none.

Score.

Worse than common household flies, however, are fruit flies. They are disgusting. And tiny. And exist in droves. And impossible to kill.

But…you can trap them!

fruit flies green cleaning vinegar death

Put some apple cider vinegar in a bowl. You don’t want distilled vinegar; get the raw stuff. Put saran wrap or a plastic baggie over the top of the bowl & secure it in place with an elastic. Then poke a few holes in the plastic. The fruit flies will be attracted to the aroma of the vinegar and crawl into the holes to access it, but they won’t be able to find their way out, so they’ll drown.

After 2 days of having our fruit fly trap out, there are NO fruit flies left in our kitchen. I know. Ah-may-zing. This is the closest thing to magic I know how to do.

Do you know any tips for killing off flies or other bugs while maintaining a green, chemical free, non-toxic home?

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Nursery Room Tour

I have been meaning to blog a tour of Phoebe’s nursery for months, and now, at long last, here you have it! The tour of Phoebe’s baby room has arrived!

First, a quick spin around the room. As you enter from the hallway, you see the wall with the window, and the others as you turn counter-clockwise:

nursury room curtains joel dewberry
nursury room danish modern rocking chair shirae

nursury room montessori floorbed
nursury room closet babywearing

We spend a lot of time hanging out in the nursery. I like that the room is big enough to have multiple kids and moms comfortably sprawled around it. It is definitively a “daytime room.” Phoebe sleeps with us (we co-sleep, i.e. Phoebe sleeps in our bed with us), and the more that we use this room, the more it feels like a place for activity, not sleeping. I hope to hone it in this direction as Phoebe grows up and has different abilities and interests.

nursury room babywearing ring sling

Behind the door, we have our babywearing gear hung up: a ring sling from my mom and a moby wrap (and Phoebe’s little sun hat). It’s helpful to have these items handy.The ring sling has become my favorite baby carrier. My mom used this tutorial to make it. The rings were purchased from ringslings.com (link here) and and she used dupioni silk as the fabric.

We took the closet doors out of the room to open it up. You can see the diaper bag and a basket on the floor. We’ll often have a laundry basket down there, as well.
nursury room baby dressesPhoebe’s dresses hang in the closet. Most of these dresses were bought from thrift store or consignment shops. Baby clothing is so easy to find secondhand for reasonable prices; it floors me how much these items cost new in retail stores. On the shelf above the dresses are more baskets for storage (often, as she outgrows items, I’ll toss them up there until I have a chance to sort through them), as well as a collection of books that are currently too old for her. We keep the Ergo baby carrier on the shelf; it’s a little too bulky for the hooks behind the door.

One of the most challenging things for me in the room was sewing the curtains. I am not a sewer. At all. But, I figured, how hard could curtains be? Right?

baby nursery joel dewberry modern magestic meadow sunglow

I bought this amazing fabric off etsy (Modern Meadow – Majestic Oak in Sunglow, by Joel Dewberry ) and planned on making my own curtains for the room. First problem: I didn’t buy enough fabric. Second problem: I cut wrong. Third problem: I sewed it in such a way that I closed off the section where the curtain rod should go. Seriously. I’m a talented fool.

baby nursery joel dewberry modern magestic meadow sunglow
So, I gave up. Then I gave birth. And when my amazing seamstress mother came to visit, she magically fixed my errors and whipped up these curtains. (Yes, one of the curtains looks a little different from the others. Remember: I cut the fabric wrong. But I hardly notice. My mom is amazing.)

baby nursery ikea drawers dresser
Instead of buying a lot of nursery-specific furniture, we wanted items that could be used as furniture long after diaper changes and baby naps were a thing of the past. These drawers house Phoebe’s clothes, linens and diaper supplies, and the top is used as a changing station.

baby nursery diaer changing station
Our diaper changes are very simple. We are using cloth diapers and cloth wipes. There is a bowl for warm water and a tube of almond oil for her bum. In the basket, we store diaper supplies, typically a stack of fresh cloth wipes, a few cloth inserts, and perhaps a pre-stuffed diaper or two. The lamp is nice and dim for nighttime changes; I sewed a little cover out of scrap fabric to slide over an IKEA lamp.

As we are starting to do more Elimination Communication, we’ve been keeping bloomers from her dresses in the basket as a stash up-cycled of “baby underwear.”  The first place I heard about Elimination Communication was the book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J Buckley; you can read an except about Elimination Communication here. I’ll write more on Elimination Communication is a future blog post.

baby nursery wetbag hamper

baby nursery  wetbags

Dirty clothes and linens go into the hamper in the open closet. Dirty diapers and wipes go into the wetbag hanging above it. We have 2 large wetbags to rotate for at home, and 2 smaller ones for the diaper bag. And I love them. I think the fabrics are really cute. (We bought these on etsy, as well).
baby nursery needlepoint
Above the changing station is a needlepoint that was in my room as a child: it reads “Somebunny loves you.”
baby nursery  fish mobile chime
There is also a fish mobile with bells on it that I found at a consignment shop. Honestly, I wish I’d placed this above the changing pad instead so that Phoebe had a better view of it.
baby nursery  danish modern rocking chair

To date, this is where I spend most of my time while in the nursery: sitting in the rocking chair. I love this rocking chair. It is a Danish-modern design and we bought it off a Seattle seller we found on craigslist. My Mom the Amazing Seamstress made new cushion covers for it, and the whole thing was reborn. I love that the chair is so simple and comfortable, yet stylish.

We re-purposed the orange side table from another room of the house. It quickly became apparent how handy it is to have tables on both sides of me while nursing or letting Phoebe sleep on me. I have 1 basket with mom necessities: trail mix, tissues, a journal. The other basket has baby washcloths and supplies, like a baby brush & nail clippers. The yellow crate has books and a magazine or two tucked away for my reading pleasure. Within easy reach, the first drawer is for our burp cloths, and Phoebe’s books are also close at hand.

baby nursery wee gallery art cards
I love the black and white artwork from the Wee Gallery. These are three of their art cards in a simple frame. I thought it’d be neat to switch them out from time to time. Sitting on the frame are little wooden dolls, a gift from GG (Phoebe’s Great-Grandmother).

baby nursery shirae artworkbaby nursery shirae artwork
Mr. Wetzel and I have loved the artwork of etsy seller shirae since we discovered her, around the time we found out we were pregnant. We bought this series of pictures from her for the nursery. I like how they show a child going on an adventure: first she starts down an unknown path; then she experiences a wonderful ocean; finally she rests, dreaming, while a zebra walks the through the forest. Shirae even through the last picture of the girl collecting flowers in for free. We have these hung up above the rocking chair, and I hope all our children come to love them in the coming years.

baby nursery TULIPS target lamp
When we first gave birth, it was mid-April, and tulips were in bloom everywhere. I took this picture back in the first weeks on Phoebe’s life; the tulips were a gift from someone who’d brought us a meal. I loved looking at them whenever I was sitting in the rocking chair with the new little blossom of joy that we’d just welcomed in to the world.

The lamp is from Target. I admit, we bought it on an impulse buy when we were at Target right after we found out we were pregnant. But I love it, and Phoebe often stops nursing to look up at it, as well. Frivolous purchase? Perhaps. Am I glad we have it? Absolutely.

baby nursery ikea shelf
This shelf runs the length of one wall in the room. We have the drawers for storing different supplies: burp cloths, toys, blankets. The bottom area is meant to hold things that Phoebe can access and use once she starts crawling. When designing the room, we took a page out of Montessori’s handbook: we wanted this to be a place where Phoebe could explore and grow. Everything that we have out is something she’s allowed to take, use, touch or teeth on.

The room is meant to be very simple: each open compartment in these shelves holds a purpose: books, a rattle in a basket, a potty for Elimination Communication. It’s very difficult to reduce clutter, and even more difficult to keep the room tidy, but we try. We believe that having a consistent, simple environment will help reduce stress for Phoebe and help her feel safe in her surroundings. By keeping the room simple and constant, she can come to understand her experiences in it as she changes, gains new abilities and perceives the world in different ways.

baby nursery chinese lanterns floorbed
There is a cubby in the room that is the perfect size for a bed. Originally, we thought Phoebe would sleep in here some of the time, so we bought a mattress for the floor where she and I could nap. As it turns out, we aren’t doing any naps in this room, and we’re thinking of storing this mattress for guests (or for a future bed) and getting a shorter play mat that Phoebe can easily crawl off of once she starts moving around.

Why don’t we have a crib? Instead of fencing Phoebe into a crib or playpen, our idea is that the entire room is her crib. She can explore the whole thing, and we’ll make sure it’s all baby-proofed and safe by the time she’s crawling. Add a babygate to the door, and presto: one big room-sized crib ready to go!

baby nursery mobile wee gallery art cards
This corner of the room is the main activity center. Hanging from the ceiling is the Pom Pom Mobile that I made for her. There is a mirror leaning up again the wall (we keep meaning to secure it to the wall and keep procrastinating). Phoebe loves both of these things; she particularly loves looking at her mobile in the mirror. We also have a few extra toys available: some wrist rattles and art cards in a basket. We’re trying to only have a few toys out at a time so that the area isn’t too overwhelming.

floorbed baby nursery
There is a tiny shelf (repurposed from an IKEA spice rack) that we’ll fasten to the wall. It’s currently leaning up against the bed with some art cards & a beany baby in it. As Phoebe learns to stand, she can use the little bar to pull herself up. We can rotate what items we put in the shelf to add interest and give her incentive to reach up to them.

baby nursery messages
Strung up above the bed are messages that friends and family wrote to Phoebe, before she was born, welcoming her into the world. One day, perhaps, we’ll rotate these out for artwork or paper craft projects. For now, I like having the symbols of love hanging over her as she plays.

baby nursery chinese lanterns
I imagine that think the Chinese lanterns strung above the activity area are reminiscent of clouds.

baby nursery chinese lanterns cloud lamp
Speaking of clouds…the cloud light fixture is from IKEA.

baby nursery papa chair
Perhaps my favorite addition to the room is the Papa chair. I love it that Mr. Wetzel has a place to sit and visit with me while I’m nursing. Before she was born, we’d often come in here, sit in our respective chairs, and dream about the days to come. These days, after Phoebe is asleep, we’ll often do the same. Or, when we have company, there is a place for grandparents or other moms to sit while we chat or show off our little one. Under the seat is a floor cushion (holla, World Market!) which also comes in handy while playing on the floor.

I took a lot of inspiration from the following nurseries:
–    Nearly Finished Nest by Megan Boley
–    Finnian’s Montessori Room by Meg McElwee
–    Baby Room Tour – Hanford, CA Home by Emily from JoyfulAbode.com

By ekwetzel
2011-06-27

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