Projects I’ve Been Working On

I just wanted to share a few of the projects I’ve been working on. I’m slowly working on a few in stock Mei Tais, as well, but customs have been taking up most of my time these days.

Wrap Conversion

Wrap Conversion

Custom Mei Tai   Custom Mei Tai

 

Weighted Blanket

Wallypop Tenth Anniversary Celebration – SALES and GIVEAWAYS

I’ve never really known when to celebrate Wallypop’s anniversary. In truth, our “grand opening” was more of a gradual progression. Do I celebrate the date I sold my first diapers over the internet to some friends? That would have been some time in December 2003 or January 2004. Do I celebrate the day that my boss at my full time job finally told me that the stodgy company I worked for was absolutely never going to consider allowing me to work from home, even part-time, forcing me to come up with alternative income streams? That would be some time in March or early April 2004. Sometimes I think I should celebrate the day that a family member declared loudly that I’d never stick with cloth diapering, thus cementing the absolute certainty that not only would I stick with cloth diapers (and why wouldn’t I?) but that I’d do everything in my power to turn it into a successful business. :) That was in March 2004. Do I celebrate the day the website finally went live and I made my first officially-named Wallypop sales? That was in October 2004. I’ve also generally felt like Wally’s birthday in April 2004 is a significant one in Wallypop history, as his name obviously contributed to the name of the company, his pending arrival prompted me to start sewing diapers and carriers, and it is for him that I left full-time out-of-the-house employment.

So, as we approach the birthday of my eldest, the one who is really to blame for Wallypop’s existence, I think we should celebrate. It’s been TEN YEARS, my friends. Ten.

Ten fun and sometimes frustrating years. Ten years of doing what I love for a living. Ten years of trying to both work and parent. Ten years of singing to babies while I stitch. Ten years of helping kids with LeapFrog Preschool on the computer while I cut diapers. Ten years of packing orders and printing mailing labels and excitedly setting each package out for the mailman. Ten years of still being so happy every time someone buys my stuff. Ten years of feel like I’m mailing out little pieces of myself with each order. Ten years of late late nights and early early mornings. Ten years of getting to know my local sewing machine repair shop very very well.

Only 1/3 of businesses survive to their 10th year, according to the Small Business Administration. In the last 10 years, we’ve had to overcome a lot: a TON of new regulations being thrown at us, upheaval in our personal lives, changing tax codes, skyrocketing cotton and wool prices. We’ve watched as parents moved from relying on Yahoo Groups to relying on Facebook groups. We’ve helped establish local babywearing and cloth diapering groups, and watched with pride as those groups have grown and helped turn Des Moines into one of the most supportive places in the nation to cloth diaper or babywear. And those 10 years have also seen an entirely new generation of parents – very very few of my customers from my first year in business are still in the market for baby things now.

It’s been an awesome journey, and we’re so grateful for our customers for both making it possible and taking it right along with us.

BUT, you didn’t come here to read me wax poetic about the last decade. You came here to find out about sales and giveaways.

 

SALE

To celebrate TEN YEARS in business, you can use code TENYEARS for 10% off your entire order at Wallypop and all of our sister companies (DiaperFAB, LemonDrops, and Boulevard Designs through the end of the month (midnight central time April 30).

Coupon terms: Coupon is good on currently in stock items only (including clearance items). Not good for custom items, made to order items, items previously purchased, or items to be purchased in the future. No rain checks. Good while supplies last. Sometimes things oversell and we feel super bad about that but we don’t have a replicator.

 

GIVEAWAY

We’re giving away ten gift certificates! To enter our giveaway, jet on over to our Facebook page and participate in the giveaway thread over there.  The thread will go live April 10.

 

The current situation at Wallypop

It’s been a while since I updated what’s going on around here.

First, a bit of background. Our 2 year old, Teddy, was born with kidney failure. On July 18, 2013, he received a kidney transplant. Though we had some initial bumps, the last two or three months have been remarkably smooth, and we’re hopeful that we might be able to have a few years of healthy, normal life. However, kidney transplant kids tend to have a remarkably high rate of hospital admissions, and these admissions can come out of nowhere. I can’t predict these admissions, and we will continue to work under the caveat that I may have to close things down briefly with very little notice.

Please order with confidence! As always, I have contingency plans in place for sudden hospitalizations, and I’m not going to run off with your money. I try my best to stay in contact with customers whose orders end up in limbo, and I have friends who can come in and complete your orders if needed. All custom work, as explained at the time a customer originally requests a custom spot, is simply put on hold for the duration of any admission.

Teddy’s medical needs are still such that a considerable part of my day is spent doing things with him that “regular” toddlers just don’t need – on top of all the regular toddler stuff. We also still have a considerable number of doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments, etc. I’m still working reduced hours compared to my “pre Teddy” schedule, and keeping slightly lower inventory levels.

I process and mail orders once a week (usually over the weekend). I try to answer emails and phone calls two or three times a week. I am not in my office every day. Generally speaking, I can’t promise to respond to your emails within 24 hours. Even beyond Teddy’s needs, we are a family of five. A family of five who sometimes get sick, leave town, have a few remarkably busy days, etc. I work in my basement, not in an office. I work around my family, not apart from them. If it is really important to you to order from a business that will respond to any communication immediately, then I would respectfully suggest that we are not the right place for you. If it’s really important to you to order from a business that is run by a human who works really hard to provide you with amazingly awesome products at reasonable prices, then I’d suggest you’re in exactly the right place!

Please do not ever feel bad about emailing, calling, asking me to make something for you, placing a special order, or emailing to check on status of your order. That’s why I’m open! If it’s taking longer than you think it should to receive a response, by all means, contact us again – things do get overlooked from time to time. But also please remember that I’m just simply not available to Wallypop 24 hours a day.

TARDIS Mei Tai (custom, already has an owner!)

I’ve been working on this custom MT for an overseas customer. I love it and I hope she does, too. FYI, though this MT already has an owner, I’m working on adding to my MT inventory, and a MT using this same Starry Night fabric is in the works. It will not have the POLICE BOX hood, but will be more basic. That said, if you like this carrier and want something similar – I’m always happy to make custom items.

 
TARDIS Mei Tai

TARDIS Mei Tai

TARDIS Mei Tai
Patch pocket on the front

TARDIS Mei Tai
Slash pocket at the top to stuff the hood into.

I love it.

Finished Projects: Knitting

Just thought I’d share some of the knitting I’ve finished up this year.

Ender's Game socks
Ender’s Game socks

pants
Leftover Yarn Pants

Pants
Leftover Yarn Pants

(PS, still have lots of leftover yarn, so will likely be making felted bowls. So if you’re in need of small felted bowls, watch Etsy!)

LOTR Socks
Lord of the Rings socks

A few wrap conversions I’ve finished recently

Waves2
Waves – this carrier has a pocket and hood that all line up with the design on the body. It’s got wrap straps, a padded waist belt, and padding at the leg openings.

WCMT Cracken
The Kraken carrier is a toddler-size contoured body with seat darts, wrap straps, leg padding, and a padded waist belt.

Wrapsody price increase Feb 1

Hey, just a heads-up, Wrapsody’s putting in a price increase starting February 1. The Stretch-Hybrid will go from $86 to $89, the Breeze will go from $79 to $83, and the Wrap DuO will go from $68 to $69. Thinking about a Wrapsody? Might as well buy it now and save yourself a few bucks!

http://babywearing.wallypop.net/wrap

Alternatives to Buying New

One way to avoid bringing so much waste into your home is to buy fewer things new. Used items have generally already had all the packaging (waste) removed. Not to mention that by buying used, you are preventing one more item from being tossed in the landfill, and that’s one fewer item that will need to be replaced on the store shelves with a fresh one from the factory.

So where does one go to get used items? This might seem like the most obvious list ever, but here goes:

  • Garage Sales. Garage sales CAN be tough, because they’re kind of a crap shoot and you could end up wasting a lot of gas. When we decide to hit garage sales, I like to make a list of the ones that sound promising, then mapquest them all. I then select just one area of town to visit, and plot out the most efficient route. We also, of course, visit all garage sales within walking distance.
  • Consignment stores. We’ve found Once Upon A Child to be a great source for clothes for Wally when we don’t have what we need in the box of previously-purchased clothing. I usually buy ahead at garage sales and end of season clearance, so the clothes at Once Upon A Child are actually more expensive that we usually buy, but they are nice, and if he needs, say, a black shirt for some particular reason, it’s a good place to go. Consignment stores are also good places to buy good-quality used toys with a minimum of packaging.
  • Half Price Books. They are pretty stingy on what they pay you for books you bring in, but getting something is still better than getting nothing, and you can buy used books for cheap.
  • Half.com, Ebay, and other auction and used-items stores online. Half.com has been a standby for me for years. The packaging is usually pretty minimal, and almost always previously used, since the items are being shipped by regular people, not stores.
  • Swap websites like Paperback Swap.
  • Freecycle, ReUseIt, CraigsList, etc.
  • Looking for things for your home? Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, as well as local architectural salvage stores (such as West End Architectural Salvage and Found Things), are good spots to try.
  • And, don’t forget that family and friends can be great resources for getting used items. We picked up a nice pasta machine from my sister in law a few years back. She wasn’t using it, and I really really wanted it!

How do I care for wool diaper covers?

Shorts

Wool does need special care, but it’s not as difficult as many people are afraid it will be!

You don’t need to wash wool with every wearing – hang it up to dry after each use, and wash once it starts to smell bad or if you notice it’s not performing up to par.

You may wash your wool by hand or in the machine on the delicate or handwash cycle (do this at your own risk – there’s a slight chance that your machine’s delicate cycle will have enough agitation to shrink your wool).

Use a wool wash, and follow the directions on your bottle of wash. Wash in warm water, and avoid extreme temperature changes.

Squeeze out as much water as you can, then wrap your wool in a towel and press to remove even more water.

You may hang your wool to dry, or dry flat. I like to lay my wool on our radiators during the winter!

After several washes, if you notice your covers aren’t performing as they should, you may need to re-lanolize. (If you use a high lanolin content wool wash, you may not need to lanolize your covers separately.) To do this, melt some lanolin in a small cup of hot water. Fill the sink with warm water, add the (clean) covers, and add the lanolin. Agitate just a bit, let soak for a bit, then remove and dry as above!

Ways to reduce waste in your home

Reduce the Garbage you bring in:

  • Pay attention to packaging.
    • Buy products that are packaged minimally, or that use packaging that can be reused or recycled.
    • Buy larger packages when possible. Buying one giant bottle of laundry detergent, for example, creates less waste than buying three small bottles.
    • Buy concentrated products if you can. For example, we use one particular cleaner that we dilute 1:10 in a separate (reusable) bottle before we use it.
    • Buy used (garage sales, Craig’s List, Freecycle, Secondhand Stores)
    • Don’t buy single-serving foods. Instead of small bottles of juice for lunchboxes, for example, purchase a larger bottle and then divide it among smaller, reusable bottles.
  • Reduce the number of things you bring into your house:
    • Borrow, rent, or share things you don’t use often. (For example, Randy’s family all shares a carpet shampooer. That means they only threw away the box/packaging from ONE carpet shampooer instead of four.) Saves money, too!
    • Resist consumerism! Do you really need it?
    • Make your own food at home instead of eating take-out in all those disposable packages.
    • Buy milk in glass bottles that can be washed and reused by the dairy.
  • Buy and use reusable goods.
    • Use reusable shopping bags.
    • Purchase reusable products (cloth diapers, cloth napkins, reusable water bottles).
    • Buy rechargeable batteries.
  • Fight Junk Mail!
    • This site has good suggestions.
    • Call the 800 numbers for catalogs you no longer wish to receive.

Reduce the Garbage you put out:

  • Recycle as much as you can.
  • Choose Durability:
    • Buy quality products.
    • Maintain your things. Take good care of your clothes, your appliances, everything.
    • Repair items that can be repaired, rather than replacing them.
  • Sell, donate, give away, or freecycle things you don’t want. (I freecycle my fabric scraps to quilters who make charity quilts.)
  • Compost yard waste and food scraps, instead of putting them in the garbage. (In Des Moines, you can also choose to use the Compost It! program.)
  • Plan meals wisely to cut down on food waste.
  • Reuse:
    • Reuse disposable shopping bags.
    • Reuse other things. Turn old clothes into new clothes, let your kids make art projects from old cardboard, etc.
    • Reuse paper – print on both sides of office paper, or let your kids draw on the back of used paper.

Other things that are Good to do:

  • Purchase items that are recycled or made from recycled products.
  • Purchase items that are recyclable, or packaged in recyclable packaging.
  • Talk to others about reducing their waste.

Use Less Stuff has a fun survey at their website to help you see if you’re a waste-wise wonder or a waste-wise wuss.

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