Tag Archive | "cloth diapers"

My Chickadee Diaper Bag for Cloth Diapers {Review and Giveaway}

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As I slip further and further into the third trimester of this pregnancy, I focus more and more on what I can do to make life with two babies easier. Harper has always been a very hands on child, wanting to be involved in whatever I am doing every moment of the day, making even simple tasks like eating or showering a luxury requiring strategic planning and creative thinking. When I have a two year old running around and a newborn in my arms, I know life will become even more complicated. Leaving the house will become much more of an adventure, and I’ll need even more tricks up my sleeve.

My Chickadee recognizes how important it is to be prepared when you’re on the go, and they offer a line of beautiful generously sized diaper bags to carry all the essentials. The genius behind My Chickadee wasn’t satisfied with the diaper bags currently on the market and set out to create something better. I noticed the same problem with many mass produced diaper bags, the patterns and designs are often juvenile or boring, the materials rough, the storage inside not nearly enough if you cloth diaper or have more than one child, and they are often so heavy you end up leaving them in the car hoping you won’t need to run back to retrieve anything on each trip.

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The My Chickadee divided carryall is extremely lightweight. It is made of a soft heavyweight cotton and lined with a light peachskin. There is a variety of charming modern prints to choose from, the kind of prints adult women actually want to be seen with (no cartoon characters or boring black around here!) that reflect your personal style. The carryall even comes equipped with a matching changing pad lined with a buttery leatherette that wipes clean to make diaper changes more comfortable and pleasant for everyone. The interior has two roomy compartments, separated via a zippered pouch perfect for non-baby related essentials (the zipper is very effective at deterring little hands that love to explore). There are even pockets perfect for wipes and a wet bag (did I mention the matching wet bag? No more scrambling to find a wet bag to bring with you, and definitely no forgetting and having to twist up a plastic shopping bag and hope nothing leaks). The interior of the bag measures 12 x 14” so there really is room for everything, but the soft material and generously sized straps make carrying it all a breeze.

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I’m really looking forward to utilizing the dual compartments when Harper’s sister is born, as I can keep her tiny newborn diapers on “her” side with the rest of her itty bitty essentials while Harper’s one size diapers and various distractions can be kept in the second pocket, and I’ll easily be able to find exactly what I’m looking for.

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One issue I noticed a lot at MommyCon last week is that many parents struggle to babywear and carry their diaper bags without feeling unbalanced or overloaded. My Chickadee offers the perfect solution for this with their most popular product, a changing clutch sized to hold exactly what you need for a quick trip to the store. The straps are easily adjustable to sling over your shoulder and keep tucked under your arm if you are wearing a ring sling or similar, or expanded the bag can be worn crossbody to ensure it stays with you no matter how you wrap or wear your baby.

The clutch unrolls to reveal a cleverly built in changing pad as well as two roomy pockets big enough to accommodate even the fluffiest cloth diapers as well as your wipes and a small wet bag (and maybe an extra outfit, just in case). The wide pocket on the exterior of the clutch holds your phone, keys, and credit card, so you can run errands without struggling to juggle multiple bags and carriers.

Discount for you!  10% off with coupon code on My Chickadee: dirtydiaperlaundry.  The Winter line is in production and will be available to ship in November.  Chickadee is offering 15% off presale orders placed before 10/31 with the code: presale15.  New stock includes a mini wet bag that fits inside of the Chickadee Changing Clutch and holds an extra outfit or cloth diaper.  

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Enter to win a Carry all or the clutch right here!  Lara reviewed the Carry All.  Use the rafflecopter to enter below, open to US only and ends 9/23.  Winner has 48 hours to claim or a new one will be drawn.

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Milk or Cereal? Cloth Diapers Then vs Now

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During my time in the “cloth diaper industry” I’ve been witness to an explosion in new brands, new styles, new prints, new everything!  I came onto the scene just as this explosion was happening and things have only grown from there (something I can’t take any credit for).  I’ve often wondered if this growth and the limitless options parents face today has been a good thing or if it makes it harder.  Explaining the different types of diapers to my sister who just gave birth a few days ago I again realized how confusing it really is to a brand new cloth diapering parent.

It’s kind of like Milk or Cereal…

In the earliest days of cloth diapering up to about the 1990′s there were very few choices.  Looking at your milk section you can find just a handful of options- Whole Milk, 2%, 1%, Skim.  And in those “styles” of milk you only get to choose from 2-3 brands.  Do you want the organic or the generic?  Hmmm… it doesn’t take very long for you to make that choice and usually you know already what you want before you get there.

Milk by Teakwood on Flickr

Milk by Teakwood on Flickr, cc

Similarly before the renaissance of modern cloth diapers you had one option- flats.  Later prefolds came into the mix.  As for covers you either went without, used wool soakers, or sparingly used a boater or rubber pants but only for special outfits or car rides.  If you went to a larger store/catalogue you may even get to choose the brand, otherwise you just have the one option or you make you own if you’re handy.  Having fewer options made diapering simple though I’m sure parents then were hopeful that there would be an easier and more convenient way.

1915 baby layette catalogue

W&H . Walker Co. 1915 catalogue

The milk era is gone… now we are in the “cereal” era.  Today at any grocery or convenience store you will enter the cereal aisle thinking “I just need one box…” and wind up standing there for 10 minutes making a decision.  Even ss an adult I wind up weighing my choices based on the cost, any sales they may be having, what I think is best for me, or maybe that day I’m really going to ignore the sugar and go right for the good stuff even it costs twice as much as other options.

Cereal Aisle byFlickr User Jeepers Media, cc

Cereal Aisle byFlickr User Jeepers Media, cc

Online or shopping in store for cloth diapers today is the same way.  You know what the diapers DO- they catch pee and poop.  Just like you know cereal will stop your hunger.  But the variety, the choices, the range of prices… why is one diaper $5 and another that looks the same $35?  Is it just the “name brand” like the $5 “Lucky Charms” and the $2.50 “Marshmallow Stars?”  You can shop the bottom row for the “good for you” cereals… with cloth diapers you can also shop the bottom “healthy” row of organic prefolds that are cheap and work great but lack the pizazz of the higher up items.

Shelves of cloth diapers at Diaper Junction

Shelves of cloth diapers at Diaper Junction

 

Keep looking higher and suddenly you’re overwhelmed with even more options- there are so many styles of diapers that you aren’t even sure how one simple item could have so many different names.  Yes- they all do the same thing but how they go about it is slightly different depending on the brand you choose.  And the colors!  One glace at a well stocked diaper store and you are struck by how many colors and designs diapers come in now.  Even if you know the style or brand you want, how can you possibly pick a color?  You kind of want to try one of each.

So… with all of these choices do parents have it better or worse than their grandparents did?  I think that depends on who you ask.

Would you rather choose diapers from a milk-sized selection or cereal-sized selection?

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7 Ways Cloth Diapering Changed My Life

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Without being dramatic I can absolutely say with confidence that cloth diapering changed my life!  That one decision I made while pregnant over 5 years ago has paid dividends for my family and not just because we saved a few thousand dollars over the course of diapering two children.  You’ll be surprised at how drastically my life has changed simply due to cloth diapering.

Cloth diapers changed my life

1. The most obvious change was the money savings from diapering two children.  I would estimate that after the cost of my diapers and accessories I saved $2,740 dollars!  And since my youngest still needs diapers on occasion at night we are still raking in the savings by him wearing reusable trainers instead of disposable pull-ups.  When our family was brand new we needed all the money savings we could get.  The money saved was able to go to our rent and other expenses, making it easier to have a baby and be young parents fresh out of college.

2. I started cutting down waste in other areas and became more conscious of household wasters like napkins and paper towels.  I ordered unpaper towels and a reusable kitchen wet bag to store the dirty ones in.  It hasn’t made us cut them out completely but every little bit helps.  It also helped me think before buying certain products.  Buying items that use less packaging cuts down on our household waste overall and buying products sold in glass is something I prefer to do.

3.  I became aware of the chemicals in disposable hygiene products for babies AND women.  That propelled me to switch from tampons to the reusable menstrual cup.  That one decision has changed my quality of life tremendously!  I can get through one menstrual cycle with only changing a cup 4-6 times versus changing a tampon that many times in ONE day!  I stopped having strange cramps and I haven’t had to buy any more boxes of tampons in over a year since using the Lunette!

4. Babywearing was suddenly a word I knew the meaning of!  Cloth diapering moms also liked babywearing so I saw the term, learned what it was all about, and tried it myself.  It made parenting my needy baby boys much easier.  Truthfully, I don’t know what I would have done with my velcro babies without my Ergo, my wraps, and my Maya Wrap Sling!

5.  I gave birth- at HOME!  Again, being involved in the cloth diapering community introduced me to the concept of homebirth.  It was not love at first sight but as my second pregnancy progressed the idea was more and more appealing to me.  Late in my pregnancy I made the switch to a homebirth midwife and at 41.5 weeks my second baby boy was born in my bedroom into an inflatable pool.  That moment is one I will never forget- it healed me from my first bad birth experience and my son was born healthier, more alert, and better at breastfeeding.

6.  Extended breastfeeding was normal in my circle of support, not gross.  I had the support I needed to make it through tough times and the inspiration to pull through in order to do what I felt was best for my sons.  With my second we made it to almost 3 years and I wouldn’t have even known this was acceptable and NORMAL without my new circle of friends and acquaintances.

7. I have a surprising career thanks to cloth diapering.  While the 1-5 are probably common among all of you, I loved cloth diapering so much it also became my job.  At first it was just a hobby blog, then it started earning ad revenue, then I started being hired by other companies for various jobs (like video editing/filming, social media or twitter parties, or consulting) and it allowed me to stay at home for with my young children and supplement our income.  Cloth diapering led me to learn how to edit videos, how to use social media, and do it all from home (or Starbucks.)  Instead of going back into the workforce when the boys are both in school I plan to keep working from home.

How has cloth diapering changed your life?

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Opulent Monsters Diaper Video and Review

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Harper loves animals so much, I really lucked out in how gentle she is with them. We’ve practiced since she was a baby, teaching her to softly touch toys and blankets long before she could really comprehend what “gentle” means. Our dog and cat are a tremendous joy to her, and she gets so happy to see them and to touch their soft coats. She’s recently become obsessed with playing fetch, throwing one of Valentine’s small plush toys and squealing with delight when he picks it up and returns it to her. I love that we can have a pet friendly household that is also baby friendly.

Harper in Opulent Monster

This week I’m reviewing an Opulent Monsters Magnum Opus. The design is different than any of the other diapers we use. The designer/creator was asked to produce an all-in-one diaper, but she was dissatisfied with the options currently being produced. She wanted something that could easily be sprayed off, but still separate in the wash so it would wash and dry quickly and thoroughly. I’m very pleased to say this is indeed her magnum opus as she has accomplished exactly that in a well made and aesthetically pleasing diaper.

Ease of Use✩✩✩✩✩ If you’re familiar with the style of a bumGenius Freetime, you’ll see some similarities in the design of a petal sewn to either end which can be folded to cover the diaper area but will open freely in the wash. The magnificence of this diaper, however, is that it takes the design a step further, providing a sleeve of lining that the petals can be tucked into, securing them for wearing and for rinsing. One issue I have every time I use the more traditional style of dual petal all-in-one is that I dread the idea of Harper soiling it because they are so messy to rinse off with the sprayer. Inevitably both soakers will have solids on them that need to be sprayed but it is nearly impossible to get each side of the soaker without overspraying and having a mess to clean up after. By tucking the petals into the sleeve they remain in place and you have just one small and easily reachable surface to clean. I then am happy to manually withdraw the now wet but unsoiled soakers from the sleeve before throwing them in the wash (my machine is an HE front loader and is not reliable enough to always agitate soakers free on its own, but it’s probable your washer may do this for you).

opulent

Bang for the Buck ✩✩✩✩ Priced at 30.95, you can choose snaps or hook & loop, and the lining is available in either natural bamboo fleece or “dry” which offers an athletic wicking jersey to keep moisture away from baby’s skin. The price point is a little higher than some of the big name companies with similar styles, but the design is so unique and convenient I find it to be a good value. Also, this diaper is made here in the USA.

Performance ✩✩✩✩✩ The materials are an excellent quality, and I found the three layers of heavyweight bamboo fleece that make up the petals to be absorbent enough to stay leak free for hours when an unplanned errand resulted in some car trouble without any backup diapers on hand.

Fit ✩✩✩✩ Opulent Monsters offers a three step rise snap system, with a generous cut to cover larger babies. It doesn’t get as small as some one-size diapers we use, so very small babies may have a while to wait before they can try them. Having a petite child, I’m more aware of that possibility than most, and you may not find it to be a concern at all.

Overall: I love the design of this diaper so much, to the point I actually try to plan on Harper wearing it when I can expect she may soil it, because it is so very easy to rinse off. There are no annoying small crevices or unwieldy attachments to wrestle with, and it makes my laundry day so much easier. The prints offered are colorful and fun, and the material is soft and absorbent. This is an excellent diaper for anyone looking for an easy to use all-in-one style who has concerns about the wash/dry time associated with many AIO styles. I would recommend everyone have at least one or two of these in their stash if they have a babysitter or caregiver who is less comfortable with cloth diapers, as it is so user friendly and foolproof.

Where to Buy: OpulentMonsters.com

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4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Survey Results {Infographic}

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It has taken a while but I do have the results from the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  Unsurprisingly, the data is nearly identical which shows the viability of using flat diapers in general and of handwashing.  You can refer to the results of last year here: 3rd Annual Results.

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Results 2014

There were less participants this year, though not by a huge margin.  Across the board the thing I noticed when looking at the data was that again pad folding was the favorite method of folding, unbleached flats were the most popular (2nd place were flour sack towels), and that the bucket and plunger method was the most popular but it fell slightly in percentage of how many used it this year.

One change was in the average drying time, possibly just due to that pesky polar vortex that challenged those who had hoped to dry outside.  The average time increased slightly.  Half of participants dried their diapers inside and half dried outside.  The average time it took to wash the diapers increased by 9 minutes this year.

Other constants included the number of flats and covers used per day- 8 flats a day and 3 covers per day.  This is extremely good information to have and helps us know how many diapers to suggest families should buy.   Some babies were using as few as 3 diapers who may have been using the potty too, and some had stomach illnesses causing them to go through a dozen in one day.  This information means that for most families they should buy at least 2 dozen diapers in order to go 2.5days until washing, and 4-6 covers.

The most astounding change  this year was the average cost of materials used for the week.  I asked participants to calculate values even of the items used were already things in their stash and not just purchased for the challenge.  Last year the average was $86 dollars but this year it was a mere $56 dollars!   Both values are supremely minimal but $56 is a good, affordable amount that is even more attainable for families on a tight budget.

Once again the numbers aligned when it came down to the viability of handwashing flats- this year there was a 3% increase of people who said it was absolutely possible, up to 86.6%.

I’m so grateful to the hundreds of families who joined again this year to show how affordable cloth diapering can be and how handwashing is an option for families without washing machines.  By showing the extremes with no room to “cheat” it makes reality a little easier.  Part-time handwashing, part-time cloth diapering, using flats mixed with more “convenient” diapers for caregivers- these are small steps that make a big dent in finances.

Because things were so similar across the board from this year and last I didn’t go into the rest of the data and show each result, but if you love that nerdy stuff you can look at those from last year.

 

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New Limited GroVia Prints Available Now!

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Did you see the newest prints from GroVia?  They’re a collaboration with WeeGallery, a brand I was familiar with since I used their cards with my youngest son!

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Up and Away and Wild Thing! are high contrast prints that will not only be fashionable, but will capture the attention of your little one!  Up and Away has adorable clouds and hot air balloons while Wild Thing! has black and white animals drawn stylistically.  The new prints are available in the shells and also in the pail liners.

You can order them now at retailers!  Consider ordering at a DDL affiliate such as Kelly’s Closet and Diaper Junction.
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Harper (Lara’s daughter) modeling the new Up and Away print

I have an Up and Away shell and Wild Thing! wet bag to give away too, check Facebook later today for a flash giveaway!

 

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The 5 Phases of Cloth Diapering

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For most of us cloth diapering started out as a little idea that would save money and maybe look cute too.  Little did we know what a roller coaster it would become!

Phase 1:  Bright-Eyed and Fluttering with Optimism

 

Saving the world, saving money, and cute diapers! What isn’t there to LOVE about cloth diapering? When is the baby getting here? I’m READY to get this thing started and prove to all the naysayers that I’m gonna rock this!

excitement

Phase 2: Am I in Over My Head? There is SO MUCH POOP!

 

Started out strong with a basket full of beautifully prepped diapers but now the baby is here and things are getting REAL! Not sure if I can do this- my nipples are working overtime and the baby is playing a cruel game called “poop whenever I start a load of diaper laundry.”

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Phase 3: Buy ALL THE DIAPERS!

 

The Internet has become my social outlet and I’ve found new friends in cloth diapering groups.  I learned about “limited edition” prints and this thing called “bum placement.”  At first I thought it was dumb but now all I want is a Jules and I’d do anything to get it (for less than $50).

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Phase 4:  I’ve GOT THIS!

 

Not only am I fluent in “cloth-ese” but I’m now a recruiter.  I carry my prettiest AIO in my diaper bag and share it with unsuspecting moms I be-friend in the park.  I’m no longer just a “cloth diapering mom,” I’m now trying to #makeclothmainstream.  I’m even starting to enjoy the extra laundry and have a “the poop is solid today” dance.

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Phase 5: Bittersweet Ending

 

As cliché as it sounds, the days are long but the years are short. Just as I was figuring it all out it is time to say good bye to my precious diapers.  Now I’m looking forward to my toddler earning the “wipes own butt” merit badge in the game of life.  The struggle is real.

sadkitty

Did I miss a phase? What were YOUR cloth diaper phases?

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Cloth Diaper Info Cards {Free Download}

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If you’ve ever considered teaching a class locally about cloth diapering or you are currently teaching one, this post may be of help!  For an event I attended recently I made up some handy cards, one for each type of cloth diaper, that could be handed out with that diaper so each person could see and touch it while getting information about that style.

I left the printed cards at home (of course I did) so I didn’t get the chance to use them, but so many people wanted to know where to get them after posting an image to Instagram that I knew posting them to the blog would be a good idea! Each card has the type of diaper and the pros/cons of each. At the bottom of the post are links to download, there are 2 sheets to print with 3 cards on each. You’ll have to chop the paper to get the three cards and should print them on card stock for best results.

cloth diaper pros vs cons allintwoprosconswm pocketsprosconswmFittedsprosconswm prefoldsprosconswm flatsprosconswm

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Click the sheets above for a printer friendly version. Each image click will begin the download. You will want to print these on cardstock paper and cut on the lines.
Download Cloth Diaper Info Card 1 Download Cloth Diaper Info Card 2

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Side Snapping Cloth Diapers- Where are they now?

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Are side snapping diapers slowly going extinct?

 

sidesnaps

When I first started cloth diapering there were a lot of side snapping options and they were quite popular!  GAD Baby, Knickernappies, and GEN-Y were all hot topics on the forums.  People liked side snapping diapers because they could pull up and down easily and they had a cleaner look on the front since many were also sized.

This leads me to my next point- with sized diapers on the decline now that one size options have the largest following, side snapping diapers are following suit.  Why?  Because most side snapping diapers were sized.

Yes, you can still buy side snapping diapers!  I’m not trying to alarm you just yet.  Bottombumpers are still going strong, so are Knickernappies, and GEN-Y.  There are still WAHM’s making side snapping diapers, including side snapping fitteds.  Alas, I’m seeing less and less retailers carrying the Blueberry Basix, one of my favorites..  And GAD (Green Acre Designs) were just on super mega clearance for $5 each and they are rarer than a unicorn sighting on retail websites.

blueberrybasix

In this cloth diaper world there are trends that happen.  Remember when  Goodmama was the hardest diaper to find?  Remember when embellished prefolds with batik or tie dye was all the rage?  There are trends within this small community that come and go.  As the diapers improve, or as the fad dies, a new one comes to take its place.  I don’t see any new brands releasing side snapping options either, so for now the only current choices are the established brands that have been around for many years.

It is harder and harder to find stores that stock side snapping diapers.  I won’t call them extinct yet, but I will say they just aren’t as favored among cloth diapering parents as they used to be.  Could it be because they’re one more step away from being like disposables?  Is the concept too foreign for the parent who just wants to use cloth diapers without having to attend a seminar and consult a book?  Easy is best when it comes to winning over a new to cloth parent.

shooksWell… at least side snaps are easier to find than the now completely extinct “S” hook diapers.  If you remember those then you really are an old school cloth diapering mom.

Any other trends dying off?  Tell me in the comments!  Or, what trend do you see rising?  I think it is hybrid fitteds!

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Win a cloth diaper art poster from Sandhill Press

I love my Cloth Diaper Art by Sandhill Press {Giveaway}

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cloth diaper art posters

I’m not a patron of the fine arts and most of the things on my walls are from thrift shops or estate sales.   I do, however, love to hang art on the walls that actually means something to me beyond just being pretty when I find it. When I was approached by Erin, the artist behind SandHill Press, about her screen-printed cloth diaper posters I fell in love! In case you didn’t already know, I collect vintage cloth diaper related ephemera (photos, advertisements, articles, even vintage cloth diapers and accessories) and I have some in my laundry room. I was already picturing these hanging in the same room, even though my diaper washing days are just about done for forever.  Erin sent me one of each for a review.

Image credit SandHill Press

Image credit SandHill Press

There are three different posters available, shown above.

Professionally screen-printed on 100% recycled paper with water-based inks. These prints are sized at 11×14 for easy framing!

My favorites were the two blue versions because I loved the message and also the coloring, very soothing. They all would look darling together over a changing station in a nursery framed and matted! Because these are screenprinted onto a nice, thick paper they look like quality pieces of art rather than something downloaded as a free printable. There is depth and richness to them that wouldn’t be possible from a printer.

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I found tiny little hangers by Umbra from Target to hang mine from since I don’t have a lot of real estate for frames in the laundry room, plus I don’t want to add any more holes to my walls because they took forever to paint. The posters do come shipped in a roll so if you want to hang them up without framing you might have to let them sit under some books to flatten them out. I did that but was too impatient so I used a tiny bit of double sided tape on the bottom for now, and will release in a while to see if it is straight. I like it either way, even taped.

clothdiaperart2

If you need these in your life (you do, you need them in your life) SandHill Press has an etsy shop and the posters are on sale for $10.00 each plus shipping!!! If I had a nursery I would do just as she did and hang a pretty cord and have all three pinned up over the changing table for an even cheaper way of displaying them without adding the cost of frames. Or if you have a retail cloth diaper store this is about as perfect as it gets for decorating your space!  You might want to decide soon because these are limited and she only has what has been printed.  After this she will do a new set of prints, yet to be determined.

There are car decals, fridge magnets, t-shirts, and buttons, but I’ve yet to see cloth diaper art. It makes me a little giddy to see that someone with this much talent used her powers for my favorite cause.
Win a cloth diaper art poster from Sandhill Press

Oh, did I forget to mention I have one to giveaway?! The winner can choose the print of their choice from the three! I would have a very hard time deciding but for a nursery I’d pick “Same Diaper, Different Day” or for a laundry room the “Wash, Dry, Fold.”  Enter using the Rafflecopter below, open to US only and ends 3/14.  Make sure you read the rules of entering and leave a comment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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