jDUCT: The Koi is not only a beautiful fish, but is also a powerful Chinese symbol. It represents perseverance in the face of adversity and strength of character or purpose. It can also represent wisdom, knowledge, longevity, and loyalty.
This classic billfold wallet has a large pocket for your cash, 4 card slots, and 2 “behind the scenes” pockets.
Each of our wallets is hand-made with 100% duct tape. That’s right, no cloth, cardboard or animals were harmed during the construction of these products. These are not your “hey look at this duct tape wallet that my 12-year-old brother threw together!” Oh no, jDUCT combines meticulous engineering, high style and detailed craftmanship to create pieces with fashion and function. Designed for the maximum amount of storage with minimum “bulge”. Each seam is reinforced to eliminate sticky stuff associated with other duct tape wallets.
“Summer Picnic” fine art print by Photo Atelier.
It never fails – as soon as we hit the open highway, I’m hungry. It could have something (or everything) to do with the countless convenience stores, drive-ins, and diners at every exit; not to mention the billboards that line the roadside, enticing people to take the next exit for a meal or a quick snack. These little fast-food diversions don’t come without a cost, however. They are both expensive AND usually rather environmentally un-friendly. A little pre-planning is all that it takes to stay green and healthy away from home.
Bulk up! – stop at your favourite bulk foods store for dried fruits, nuts, and organic snacks, and then repackage them at home in reusable containers and bags, like the lined ones pictured above, by Bells and Unicorns. (Tip: set out several bowls of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, candy and pretzels and let everyone create their own trail mix. Colour-code or label bags for easy identification on the road.)
It’s a wrap! – we are all sandwich artists at heart. Wraps, sandwiches, and subs can be made at home for a fraction of what you’ll pay on the road. Get creative with fillings and condiments, and be sure to pack high-moisture ingredients (like cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce) in separate containers to keep them from sogging up your bread. When choosing reusable sandwich bags, be sure to pick ones that are generously sized, like these (above) by http://www.etsy.com/shop/bellsandunicorns, to allow for healthy, hearty breads and fillings.
Keep your cool! – perishables, drinks, and fruit can be kept fresh in a cooler even on the hottest of days. Make your own ice packs by freezing recyclable tetra-packs of juice or by filling zipper-bags with crushed ice, which you can refill with fresh ice at stops along the way. And don’t let me catch you buying bottled water! Steel bottles, like the ones above by Pretty n Preppy, can be refilled over and over and keep your water fresh and cool. Eco-savvy coffee drinkers never leave home without their trusty travel mugs. Not only do they cut down on litter, they’ll usually save you a few cents per refill, too. Caffeine-heads and fabric-holics alike will love these colourful travel mugs (above), also by Pretty n Preppy.
…and if you do have to stop for snacks, instead of loading up on sketchy pre-wrapped sandwiches, chips and candy at the gas station, seek out roadside fruit/vegetable stands, local grocery stores, bakeries, and farmer’s markets (if you are lucky to be traveling on market days). Some of the best meals I have had on the road have consisted of fresh-off-the-vine fruit, local artisan cheeses, and freshly baked breads purchased right from the people who picked/made them. Be prepared by making sure you have cutlery included with your picnic essentials*. The handy Urban Picnic Roll-up, pictured above, by Nstar Studio includes two three-piece utensil sets & two napkins. The utensils are made from durable, sustainable bamboo and can be simply hand washed and air dried after use.
Lastly, take the time to stop and enjoy your meals and snacks. Pre-plan your stops or keep an eye out for picnic spots and parks along the way. Not only is it a chance to stretch your legs and let the kids run off some energy, it’s often the little stops along the way that make for the best memories. Pack an oversized vintage quilt for the whole family, or give everyone their own place to cop a squat. These organic travel blankets by Crzy Bag Lady can function as mini-picnic pads, change mats, stroller blankets and sleep-mats. Compact in size, but super-comfy, they’re ideal travel companions for the green family-on-the-go.
*Packable picnic essentials: blanket and/or tablecloth, reusable plates/bowls/cups, reusable cutlery, salt & pepper, bottle opener, can opener, cloth napkins, sharp knife, cutting board, bags for collecting garbage/recyclables (when containers are not available on-site), small container of dish-soap for clean-ups.
I would love to hear about your summer road trip adventures. Comment below and share your stories and advice!
Please let me introduce you to Mika and her line of children’s clothing and accessories.
What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
I primarily make childrens clothing, but I also tend to have a bit of crafters ADD so I sew anything that catches my eye-key fobs, rice bags, cloth diapers and wipes, unpaper towels, mama cloth and so much more!
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
When I was a child my grandmother sewed, and tried to teach me but I wasn’t really interested. After she passed, I found the passion and taught myself to sew. I’ve never worked in another creative arena other than music which is a whole different realm.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I make 100% of the items I offer. My husband is the “muscle” behind the Froggy Girl-he lugs boxes, show setup equipment, machines, etc. for me and he is my #1 cheerleader. I frequently ask for opinions and critiques from my family and friends-constructive criticism is the key to moving forward.
I like to say that my fabric speaks to me. I see a piece of fabric, and it tells me what it wants to be. I then build around that piece.
Finding a work/life balance is hard for anyone, but I think most especially work at home moms. I find myself all to frequently pulled in 100 directions, and making sure that my husband and children are the first direction I go to is definitely a challenge, and something I’m working on doing better in 2010.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
Right now you can find my work primarily at www.froggygirldesigns.etsy.com, although I also maintain a storefront at www.hyenacart.com/froggygirldesigns and I’m starting to explore Store Envy as well. From about March or April onward, I try to do at least one show or fair per month. The only brick and mortar store carrying my items so far is Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, Indiana. They carry a selection of my monogrammed badge reels.
What do you wish I had asked you?
I wish you had asked how you (I) overcome fears and get out of your comfort zone to get your work out there. I think that’s something that everyone faces starting out, and it’s something that I’m definitely tackling in 2010.
You have to take a deep breath, and go outside of your comfort zone. Submit your work to blogs to be reviewed, take your things to local stores and talk to the owners/buyers. Have faith in yourself and your product.
Fantastic advice, Mika, thank you! And if you would like to be interviewed next, just fill out the application.
It was by the sixth month of my baby boy’s life that I picked up the leaflet on “Real Nappies (Diapers)” I’d been handed when I was pregnant and went through it with a fine tooth comb.
It made promises that I would save fortunes using cloth nappies versus disposables – approximately £500/$812 by the time my son was out of his nappies. This seemed like a no-brainer once I had weighed up all the pros and cons of reusable or “real” nappies. (Image: Zany Zebra Designs.)
So to a newbie user what are the pros and cons to consider?
Washing the nappies/diapers.
(Image: Three Yellow Star Fish.)
All modern cloth nappies will need to be pre-washed to increase absorbency. As a Cloth Mama I would suggest pre-washing all nappies three times (this can vary depending on which nappy brand you choose as I have found with different materials and brands they didn’t need to be washed as much as three times.)
As well as pre-washing nappies you will need to have a strong stomach to deal with poop in nappies – once a baby has soiled a nappy you will need to shake the contents of the nappy into the toilet and flush. On top of this you will need to wipe down the booster pad inside the nappy and if you’re using them – the washable liner as well. If you’re using a disposable liner then it would be smart to invest in liners that are biodegradable and therefore can be flushed down with the usual waste.
You’ll have to factor in drying times when washing with different cloth materials. With bamboo nappies they generally take about 2-3 days to dry when on a drying rack (and can’t be put straight onto the radiator as they scorch, which creates little holes in the nappy.) Microfibre or fleece dries up very well and if placed on a radiator can dry within 1-2 hours. I haven’t owned a drier in the whole time I have been married or had my baby and haven’t found we need one. They are a waste of resources and money!
Having a plentiful supply.
It can be difficult to judge how many nappies you will need in your cloth supply and of course lots of different companies will recommend having inordinate amounts. In reality if you do a wash every two to three days you can get away with a decent supply of around 25 nappies and 6 “wraps” (the outer shell that covers the inside) for a newborn and around 20 nappies for a baby of four months plus.
Again, this depends on the individual baby as all newborns and babies are different! I was told more often than I’d like to hear that my baby would be like a ticking poop bomb – ready to explode at every hour of the day. In reality this wasn’t the case at all, although he did require lots of changes as he hated being wet – and this is more so the case for clothed new born’s as it’s reported that babies in cloth feel the moisture quicker than being in a disposable.
It Won’t Cost the Earth.
(Image: Three Yellow Star Fish.)
When I used disposables I found that my domestic waste was phenomenally different compared to using cloth. We just didn’t have as much waste! We’d have fewer trips outside with the rubbish/trash on a daily basis and our home smelled sweeter without the added waste hanging around somewhere in the house. On top of the domestic waste decrease I considered the impact on landfill – all of the nappies I wasn’t using wouldn’t be clogging up a landfill site somewhere.
They can be used for other children.
Depending on the brand you opt for, cloth nappies can be used for a second – or even third and fourth – child. The outer shell or “wrap” may not be as hard-wearing as it generally goes through more usage than the inside (the nappy section) but can easily be replaced. Buy the non-biological detergent – even if you are using it solely for washing nappies. This will be less hard wearing on the materials and will increase their life span. If at all possible (and if you have the stamina required) you can hand wash the wraps and nappies to prolong their lifespan. Wraps are easily hand washed as they are waterproof and don’t absorb any urine, but can get hit by poop.
Disposables contain many chemicals, in particular they contain Sodium Polyacrylate. This is the chemical put into nappies to make them absorbent. I have now spotted a few times that my son has little “crystals” on his body after being in a disposable and it’s the leaked Sodium Polyacrylate crystals on his skin. TriButylTin – otherwise known as TBT has also been found in disposable nappies and is “considered as toxic chemicals which have negative effects on human and environment.” (source: TBT). A little bit of research into the brand you decide to buy from will be essential. Opt for non-bleached and friendly cottons and chemicals where possible as these materials will sit right next to your baby’s skin.
Bearing all these snippets in mind, what will you need once you decide to use reusable nappies?
These are especially brilliant as modern nappies/diapers don’t need to be soaked in buckets before they are washed. If you are using cloth full time then you will want to have a wetbag (like this one by Snuggy Baby) you can take out with you. This looks like a diaper/nappy bag on the outside but inside will have a waterproof lining. They can also be multi-purpose for wet clothes/swim and gym gear. For my own personal use I have two wet bags for inside the house. These are just small sized laundry bags that hang on the back of a door handle and will dry speedily – so I’ve only ever ended up using one!
Somewhere to wash your nappies/diapers.
An automatic washing machine is the ideal grounds for washing nappies/diapers. (Image by Slight Clutter.) I know of people who hand wash all their cloth nappies/diapers but this is a drain on energy and time and might put many people off using cloth. Once you have emptied out a nappy that is soiled you simply stick it into a wet bag where it will be stored before it goes into the washing machine – picture yourself scrubbing and soaking over night these same nappies/diapers and ask yourself if that would be a possible task.
Somewhere to keep nappies (out of reach from grabby little hands.)
Once your baby becomes mobile they also want to reach for everything – and “play” with nappies/diapers, especially so if these nappies/diapers feature velcro tabs. Or perhaps you have a “helpful” older sibling. I put my nappies on top of any high surface – but more specifically I have allocated a space on top of our dresser drawer for them. This way I always know where they are and if we’re running low on our clean supply.
A Good Supply.
Depending on when you start with cloth (e.g newborn) this will reflect on how much you will need in your supply. Starting with 25 nappies/diapers and 6 wraps for a newborn should be adequate enough supply wise, depending on when you wash your nappies and allowing for drying time. An older baby will probably only need 16 nappies/diapers and 5 or 6 wraps – again, consider the washing and drying times.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree has antibacterial properties and a dash of tea tree into the wetbag will keep your nappies/diapers smelling fresh as well as sanitising it to some extent.
Once you have these things in order you’re good to go!