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baby seylah.

I got the lovely opportunity to photograph beautiful Baby Seylah.  She’s the daughter of my good friends Sophy + Vince — here’s a photo shoot I did with them a few years back during my Good Elephant days when neither of us had children. So amazing what can happen in a short span of 3 years.  Sophy and I grew up together — we’ve known each other for over 20 years, so you could call us super close friends, but the relationship feels more like family.  Kinda like we’re cousins, or even sisters.  It’s so heartwarming to see her with children now — the latest being little Seylah.

a super sweet baby girl

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eastern market.

My girlfriends and I decided to take my best friend to Capitol Hill for some good eats and a stroll around Eastern Market.  We ate at Good Stuff Eatery, which by the way, has the most amazing burgers ever.  It’s hands down better than Five Guys — which would probably be my second favorite burger.  I ordered the handcrafted Collette Burger with mushrooms and handcut french fries topped with rosemary and thyme — AMAZING.

The restaurant is a family operated business — one of the family members being Chef Spike from a past season of Top Chef.  Chef Spike is the head Chef, and he’s there everyday, so we got to see him in action as he cooked burgers.  We even got to see a tiff between him and his mom — Chef Spike ran off, he was definitely heated.  Not sure what it was about, but don’t let that stop you from trying Good Stuff.  You won’t regret it.

At Eastern Market, I stopped by my favorite stall, The Red Persimmon, and picked up a hand block printed nightie for my girl.  Lately I’ve been coming up with designs for baby/toddler nightgowns for the Susie Mey shop.  When I saw this one at Eastern Market, it just confirmed that there’s a niche of people looking for the old world style and comfort that a simple nightie brings.  These days women, and especially girls, don’t wear them much, but I will forever be a fan of vintage inspired cotton nightgowns.  They are feminine and beautiful, and what girl wouldn’t want to feel like that?

hand block printed nightie from eastern market

folklife festival.

Dhara, myself, and my mom went to the Folklife Festival this past weekend in DC — this year the main focus being the country of Columbia, the Peace Corp, and Rhythm + Blues.  The demonstrations were super interesting.  It’s always fascinating to learn about age old traditions of various cultures, and be inspired to begin our own traditions.

We stopped at DC’s farmer’s market, which was adjacent to the festival, for a loaf of tasty bread and some local honey.  [I SO wish we lived within walking distance to a farmer’s market!]  For lunch we had authentic Thai and West African food — yum.  We listened to amazing folk music.  Dhara loved running free and partaking in the neat children’s activities.  Although she did freak out when we put her on the old carousel located on the mall — I guess she’s still too small for it.  The only drawback to the day was the heat — they really should have the festival in the fall when it’s cool outside so people can be out all day.  All in all, can’t wait for next year’s festival!

my little folk girl

bread making is such an art — an art I want to perfect

tongan woman

spinning using a drop spindle

learned some neat homespun farming techniques

munching on some freshly baked bread

if only I had the right figure, you would find a version of this dress on me

teaching kids the age old art of basket weaving

she needed some time to herself

nebo, north carolina. part I.

It’s where we spent our family vacation this summer.  My little family, including my immediate family, my uncle + his family, and grandparents [13 total] took our first summer vacation together as a group in late May.  We’ve been wanting to take a trip together for as long as we can remember [mostly to India] — but somehow, it never panned out.  So we did some research on VRBO, and found a lovely, lovely spot in the mountains of Nebo, NC, right on Lake James.

We stayed in a beautiful home made of timber.  It was full of the neatest little details.  We fished, swam, kayaked, canoed, cooked!, charged up the pontoon for boat rides at dusk, went zip lining, knit [me!], visited the impressive Biltmore Estate in Asheville, prayed + worshipped, and just laughed together. Laughing is something we love to do.  And not just any kinda laugh, but rather the kind that erupts from one’s belly. We had a grand ol’ time just laughing and being with one another.  [These photos are long overdue.  I took quite a few, so it was hard to narrow them down.  I’ll be doing a part II tomorrow.]

praising Jesus as a family

our woodsy, yet top of the notch home away from home

cruisin’ on a 15 passenger pontoon

our view everyday

[End of Part I.]

circles.

Project 5: Circles.

Now that things are slowing down in our household, I’m trying to catch up on my Home Ec projects.  This next project is actually a bunting project, as pictured below from the Home Ec class:

However, I personally didn’t like the idea of round bunting.  The main skill that was meant to be learned from this project was fabric circles, so I went ahead and made 1 circle and framed it in an embroidery hoop to hang on the wall as a simple piece of ethnic art.  I’m hoping to use the skill of making fabric circles for a future quilt or blanket project.

I made my fabric circle with some vegetable dyed fabric from India.  I then sewed the circle onto a piece of sheery blue cotton voile.  My past Home Ec projects can be found here (pin cushioncloth napkins, drawstring gift pouch, reusable grocery bag).

hung with family photos

cloth diapering: my daily system.

One of the biggest drawbacks of cloth diapering [CD] is going into it without a system.  Trust me, you’ll give up in no time because it can become too much.

Some recommendations:

After the constantly-changing-a-diaper-newborn stage [which prefolds + covers are probably best for], I think it’s safe to say that 18 diapers is a good number to start off with for babies 3 months and older.  I personally like the pocket diapers or the all-in-one’s [AIO’s] over the prefolds and fitteds for after the newborn stage.  They are so easy, and are the most similar to the way disposable diapers work.

Here’s what my daily system looks like:

1.  Let’s assume we’re beginning with a brand new lot of cloth diapers.  After following the directions for washing and prepping your new diapers with a CD safe detergent, I usually hang them up to dry outside as long as it’s not raining or too cold.  Otherwise, I just toss them into the dryer.

2.  After they are fully dry, I assemble all my diapers and fold them the way I want them for when I change Dhara.  I then stack all my diapers nicely on the shelves of the changing table.

3.  I usually change Dhara’s diaper around 5 – 6 times a day, about every 3 hours. Before putting the diaper on her, I lay a disposable liner over the diaper in case she decides to poop.  I don’t always do this, but it does help in the clean-up of a poopy diaper.

Nighttime: For nighttime, I put Dhara in what I’d like to call “our nighttime diaper.”  There isn’t a specific diaper for nighttime out on the market, but we use the Bum Genius 3.0 One Size Pocket Diaper, or the 4.0 One Size AIO with an added sherpa AND hemp doubler for extra absorbency — this usually lasts the whole night without a diaper change.  This is what works for us.  I have a total of 3 “nighttime diapers.”

4.  Here is what I do with a pee or poo diaper:

For a “pee diaper change”, I take the diaper off and stick it in the pail liner hanging right next to the changing table, and clean her up with some wipes and a spray of Mama Rose’s Sunshine Spray.  Please note that if the diaper is a pocket diaper, I take the insert out first and then toss them both into the pail liner.  Another thing to take note is that if the diaper has a hook and loop closure, it’s important that you attach the washer tabs so that the velcro doesn’t go crazy in the washer and dryer.  This will help with the life of your diapers.  If your diaper has snaps instead, put it in the pail liner without worry.

For a “poo diaper change”, I take the diaper off and put it aside on the changing table while I clean Dhara up with wipes or a wash at the sink.  Once she’s all cleaned up and changed, I go back to the poo diaper.  I take the poo diaper to the bathroom and pick up the disposable liner (now filled with poo), and chuck it into the toilet.  Most of the time, the poo is all contained in the disposable liner — in this case, I just spray a couple sprays of Bac-Out spray and toss the diaper into the pail liner — making sure to take out the inserts and attaching the washer tabs like with the pee diaper above.  If there’s poo on the diaper, I wash it out with cold water at the bathroom sink, and then spray it with Bac-Out, and then stick it in the pail liner. I’ve decided to wait on a diaper sprayer for when we have our next child — the sprayer helps to spray and wash down the diaper in the toilet versus the bathroom sink.

5.  Washing + Drying: I wash diapers every 3 days — that’s why it’s helpful to have at least 18 diapers on hand.  It is not recommended to go longer than 3 days before washing.  When washing day comes, I grab the pail liner that contains all the dirty diapers for the past 3 days, and empty it into the washer along with the pail liner which is also washable.  I wash the diapers on a cold rinse without any detergent. The cold rinse takes care of taking most stains out.  I then wash it on a hot rinse with 2 cloth diaper scoops of Country Save detergent. After the hot rinse the diapers are clean. I then hang them to dry outside or stick them in the dryer. Letting them dry in the sun helps take out stains that didn’t come out in the wash because the sun acts as a bleach of sorts.  Allowing them to air dry also helps with the life of your diapers.

And there you have it!  This system may sound long and drawn out, but it actually plays out rather quickly.  Once I began sticking to this system, life was so much easier, and my love for cloth diapering began.  I loved how cute the diapers were, and as silly as this sounds I love that I was in control of what went on my daughter’s bum.  And a chemical free bum at that!

easy peasy