Friday, February 26, 2010

Lil Bees

Sooner or later I had to do a treasury of lil bees, and when I saw the first item below I knew this was the time. Every bee item today is either little, or it is for a little one (or both!)

As usual, all item's are linked to the item listings.

(msbinks is a brand new shop--no sales yet--go check it out!)

Friday, February 19, 2010

SublimeThreads boxer briefs

Last spring I bought my oldest son a trio of boxer briefs from SublimeThreads. As many etsians do, she offers custom listings--so I bought a generic "3 boxer briefs sz 18m-8yrs" listing, then selected my fabrics from her flickr page...or rather, I let my 8yo son select the fabrics...guess what he likes?!

Oh yeah, let's hear it for camo!
I can see that they are well made, with non-irritating professionally finished edges. He tells me that these are very comfortable, and based on how often they go through the wash, he seems to be inclined to grab them first if they are in his drawer.
So here are two thumbs up for SublimeThreads' custom boxer briefs!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Etsy Pricing Calculator

I posted some time ago with a list of tips about setting prices. One important thing to take into account is that your prices need to cover not just your supplies and profit margin, but also your fees for etsy and paypal. I was just introduced to this Etsy Fee Calculator recently. It works two ways--on one side you can enter the profit you want to make, and it will tell you how much you'll need to charge to make that profit (the fee percentages are already built in). On the other side you can enter what you are paying for materials and shipping, as well as what you are charging for your items (both item price and shipping charge) and it will figure in the other fees and tell you how much you are actually making.
I thought it was very helpful (I was also pleased to find that I have been setting my prices right where they should be to make the profit that I feel is fair for my products!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blueberry stuffable all-in-one diapers

When my first cloth diapered child was a toddler he discovered something cool about velcro--it's easy to undo. As many cloth diapering mothers have learned, snapping diapers are nice for smart toddlers, because it's the only way to keep the diapers ON the kids. Some precocious children figure out how to open snaps too, so some precocious mommy out there figured out to put the snaps on the side of the diaper, where they were harder for the child to see or reach.
As my toddler was learning how to open velcro, I decided that I needed some snapping diapers, but I didn't yet own a snap press, so I decided to buy some. I bought some WAHM diapers on etsy of course, but then I heard about a one-day sale from one of the bigger websites where I could get some side-snapping diapers on sale and with free shipping. Since I live in Alaska and shipping often costs as much as the item itself, I decided to jump on it.
So I bought 4 Blueberry side-snapping stuffable-AIOs.

Here are my thoughts on these diapers:
  • They are super cute
  • They are very trim (see photo below)
  • They are well made--none of the stitching came undone in a year of regular use
  • They have the convenience of an AIO (all-in-one) diaper, but with the opening in the back so that one can add extra stuffing as well. In my experience, the included stuffing was not a whole lot--especially for a toddler just one pee would fill it up, and a second would make it leak. This might have been different for a younger baby of course, but my experience was with a toddler. (If I added an extra insert then they lasted longer, but having to add the extra insert made them basically like pockets...yet they still had the longer dry time of AIOs...) I felt that they were fine for around the house but I didn't like to use one when going out because I didn't know how long it would last.
  • I really liked them for potty-learning because they were easy to get on and off, and their 'one-wet' capacity was fine because we were getting to the toilet most of the time anyway. So ironically my favorite way to use these diapers was as training pants.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Solarveil Hats

Introducing another new product, this time at BrightBlack: Solarveil Sun Hats for babies and children (click link to see the hat section in the shop, click icon at left to go to shop home)
Solarveil is a lightweight, breathable fabric that provides UV protection, so you get the ease of a hat and the protection of sunscreen, but without sweaty heads, messy lotions, or allergic reactions!

Each hat is made with a double layer of solarveil on the crown and brim, and has a decorative cotton band (a variety of band fabrics are available). I have just stocked a couple so far, but I'll be adding more as the weather warms up!

(baby not included with hat purchase ☺)

Tests on the double layer of solarveil have shown that it blocks 92-95% of harmful UV rays (approximately equal to using SPF 30 sunscreen). Learn more about solarveil and it's unique properties here.

Hat Size Chart:
XXS - up to 17" (43cm) head (about 0-6m)
XS - up to 18.5" (47cm) head (about 6-12m)
Small - up to 20" (51cm) head (usually toddler/preschool age)
I can also make hats to fit a 21" or 22" head via custom order--just convo me!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

BundlesOfJoy product review

I've decided that I need to start doing something new on this blog--in addition to talking about shops and sellers that I love, I will be posting some reviews of fine etsy products that I've purchased!

Today I'm starting with BundlesOfJoy's fitted diapers and longies. It seems fitting to start with Joy, because my very first etsy purchase was a pair of longies from her three years ago for my last baby! She went on to start the EtsyClothDiapers Team, and so I started to get to know her. Then I moved to Alaska (she's Alaskan as well) and I even got to meet her! We have negotiated a couple of trades and additional sales, and I now have a nice stock of wool longies from her. In addition, we have become good friends, and when my baby was born this fall she sent me a pair of fitted diapers as a gift (really, don't I have the best friends?!)
SO, without further ado, here are my reviews.

Recyled Wool Longies

(Can you see, these brown ones on the right have pockets!!) 
These are sooo soft. Joy says right in her listings that she will "bypass the scratchy wool sweaters and use only the soft ones," and that's exactly right. If she feels the sweater isn't quite soft enough, she lines the longies with lambswool or cashmere! I have felt longies from several other sellers, but honestly I'm not inclined to buy them because nobody has longies as soft as Joy's. They are nice and roomy through the toosh, and built with a crotch gusset to allow free movement. I find that the legs are sometimes a little long on my kiddos, but my kids tend to be all torso with short legs. I just roll over the cuffs for a walker, or leave them down over their toes for a baby (I figure it keeps him toastier than falling-off socks!)

The one thing I have noticed is that the sizing (S/M/L) runs a little different than my diapers--so while my baby is currently moving into medium diapers he still fits the small longies. There is often sizing variance from one diaper maker to another though, so most cloth diaperers are used to checking that. Joy has good sizing information in her listings, so as long as you pay attention you shouldn't have any trouble getting something that fits properly. And you can always convo her with your kiddo's measurements and she will help you figure out which size will be best.☺

Velour Pocket Fitted Diapers

 As with any velour diaper, this is marvelously soft, and since it's a pocket the absorbability can be customized. It looks the same size as the towel diaper (below), but I found that it didn't fit quite the same way--probably because it's a stretchy fabric whereas the other is not. My baby didn't grow into this small until he was probably 11lbs. It would have fit him in the waist before that, but he has really skinny legs and this diaper has a roomier leg opening than the other (you can see in the photo that they're still not super snug at 13lbs). If I were to order one in the future I would have it customized with snugger legs for my chicken-legged baby, but otherwise it's a darling diaper. For a chunkier kid, it would be perfect.

Towel Diapers (Fitteds)
In a fit of genius, Joy started making diapers out of soft old towels. (She's a master of upcycling things.) In her own words she is "allergic to long dry times" so she makes it with double snap-in soakers so that it washes thoroughly and dries quickly. (Forgive me, I forgot to rotate these photos, but you can still see how it works!)

Here again, she is very picky about softness--some towels are rough, but if it's one of Joy's towel diapers you can bet that it's a soft one. This diaper is terry but it feels almost like velour, and it has become one of my very favorite diapers. Actually I'm seriously contemplating buying a few more even though I don't really need more diapers! I love the sustainability and affordability of recycling old towels and bathrobes as well as the old sweaters. Plus, if there is anything a towel is good for, it's absorbing! This diaper holds up great for naps (especially when combined with some nice wool longies *wink* ) If you don't need as much absorbancy it's easy to leave one of the doublers off (I did that when my baby was still tiny), but with both of them in it would probably be great at night too.
These diapers have a separate casing which 1--keeps the bulky part of the diaper narrow and trim and 2--serves like a gusset to keep messes in. I've never had a leak with this diaper. Here is my baby in the small towel diaper when he was about 2 weeks old (9lbs). I love that it's so trim (especially for a baby that size). He's 13lbs now and it still fits him well, and I estimate it will last at least a couple more pounds before he outgrows it.

a postscript...
as I was writing I found that I kept using exclamation points...not just a few, but everywhere. Even as I tried to edit them into control, I still just seemed to need a lot of them. I guess that alone says something about how I feel about these diapers and longies, doesn't it?!

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