Monday, June 24, 2013

DIY Mason Jar Soap Pump Tutorial

Two-ish years ago when I first unearthed the wonderful world of Pinterest, I very quickly became obsessed with the plethora of DIY ideas it laid out before me. For those who haven't heard of this website, it is an online pinboard where you are able to 'pin' pictures with links to webpages. Essentially it is a clever, more user-friendly way to bookmark sites that you don't want to forget. And not only that - in this world that is beginning to revolve around social media - it allows you to see the pictures and pages that other people have found. I have spent many a late night just randomly looking through other peoples pins. In no time at all, I had fallen in love with bunting, door wreaths, succulents, doily's, spray paint, pin cushions and mason jars. My goodness, the amount of awesome things you can do with a mason jar will totally blow your mind.
Making a mason jar liquid soap dispenser has been right at the top of my crafting to-do-list since I discovered Pinterest all those years ago. It was this Mother's Day 2013 that my intentions to make one (or five) became a reality.
It was actually my first ever Mother's Day as a real live Mum! I woke to presents and cuddles from my gorgeous little boy and darling husband. The gifts were random, but perfect. Coldplay's latest album on vinyl - we are the lucky owners of a vintage record player. A voucher for a massage - that's a true Mother's Day gift. A bunch of fantastic yellow flowers - someone please tell me what they are called because they were inexpensive, looked amazing on my table and lasted a whole month. Seriously! Zero exaggeration. And last but not least, some graph paper. Which may seem odd but I had been wanting it for another dream DIY project that's in the works. I was offered breakfast in bed, but opted to get out and have it at the dinner table.

After breakfast we headed over to my Mum's house where Adam was quickly integrated into the Nintendo 64 Mario Kart Tournament my brothers were having.
Vincent spent some quality time with his Nana and Great Nana (thats Lady Mausey to you), whilst Vin's Pop (Rossco) and I got to work on turning my mason jars into fabulous holders and squirters of liquid soap.
Ok, so moving properly on to the How-To part of this post. First off you need two things... A jar with a lid, and a soap pump. 
A couple of Christmases ago, I spoilt myself and my friend Chloe (also an avid crafting and Pinterest fan) with a big bunch of brand name Ball mason jars. They are a classic brand and have been around for 100 years. If you are looking for a cheaper, more readily available option most discount variety stores stock preserving jars, or I have even seen them at the major supermarkets. It's possible that you may even be able to pick some up from second hand stores.
I ordered my soap pumps online, as there was a certain look I wanted and I also needed quite a few. Some for me, some for Chloe, some for gifts. Spreading the bulk-buying hoarder-holic love around. Once again, there is always a thrifty option of utilising a pump from an already used bottle of lotion or hand-soap.

How-to Make It!
Common sense of course tells you that you need a hole in the lid!

Step One - Make a hole.
The hole needs to be just wide enough to fit the under-shaft of the pump snugly through.  How you do that depends on what tools you have at your disposal. The metal in the lids is really very thin.
One option is to use a hammer and a punch that is the same size as the shaft. Another alternative is to create a small hole using a hammer and a nail, and then make the hole wider using fine pliers to stretch and pull back the metal, or cut a wider hole using wire-cutters.
Rossco is a carpenter by trade, and hence we had every size of drill bit available to us. We decided to make our hole by drilling it - but not everyone would have a drill bit as large as we required to be able to fit our pump through. Use what you've got - it's up to you!

Mark the centre of your lid.
Hold your lid firmly on top of a piece of wood (one that you don't mind drilling a hole in).
Start with a small drill-bit/hole and work your way up in sizes. Be careful to hold the lid firmly as the thin metal can catch and your hole may not end up the round circle that you require.
Once you've made the hole big enough for the soap pump to fit snugly into, it's time to move on to the next step.

Step Two - Seal the hole
It's important to seal the hole so that the pump is able to get adequate suction. Once again use what is available to you. Thanks to an Aldi 'specials' buy of Rossco's -  we chose to use o rings as there were plenty at our disposal.
We put one above the lid -
...and one (or two if our hole was a little dodge) below the lid. This held the soap pump firmly in the lid and sealed the hole.
Another option to seal is to use hot glue or similar on the under side of the lid and around the shaft to hold it tight and sufficiently seal the hole. The cool thing about o rings is that there was no need to wait for the glue to dry!

Step Three - Cut the tube to length.
Cut the tube on an angle so that the tip is just touching the bottom of your jar. This is important so that length-wise you are able to use all the soap thats in the jar and the angle stops it from suctioning the glass at the bottom.
Fill it with hand soap and voila! Dream mason jar project is complete.

I made five. One for our kitchen sink, one for our bathroom and three as gifts for my Mum, Nana and Lisa. When I returned upstairs, mason jar soap pump gifts under my wings - I found Vincent coo-ing and talking beautifully to his Great Nana Mausey. It was gorgeous, we were all entranced and then he did a massive pop-off. Actually you couldn't really call it that, because it certainly wasn't as a short as the word pop describes. Truth be told, he farts like a man. Such a charming little lad ;)

Lucky his mother loves him!

You can see my original mason jar pin here, and the site that it is from is here. I purchased my mason jars from here and my soap pumps from here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Difference a Month Can Make!

Watch the boy grow...
When Vincent came flying into this world on the 20th of February 2013, he was 53cm long and weighed in at 2.785kg (6 pounds 2 ounces!). That is quite a considerable length for such a tiny weight and the result was one very skinny little old man. Apparently high blood pressure Mum's are not only known for ridiculously quick labours but also skinny babies. Vincent and his entry into the world, most definitely fit that profile.
Ehhhhhh...xcellent! Vincent regularly channeled Mr Burns from the day he was born. His big expressive hands very quickly became one of our favourite features of our little man. And those feet! So long! They never had a chance of fitting into the 00000 outfits that his skinny little body required.

Hehehe. I LOVE that photo. Makes me giggle every-time. Even as a brand new little bub he had a lot of personality. I have fond memories in the first month of little Vinnie waking me up for a feed in the middle of the night, having successfully wriggled out of his muslin wrap, and half way up the bassinet basket - skinny arms and legs riding an invisible bike to the sound of his funny little grunting noises. Eh-eh, eh-eh, eh-eh.
Looking back through these photo's is really confronting. At the time I knew he was thin. Normally a fan of chubby babies, I was surprised to find myself completely in love with his skinny-ness. I even found myself wishing that he wouldn't lose those thin limbs. I loved him just the way he was. Fast-forward 3 months and it turns out that I think he is gorgeous in any size. Like any Mum (I'm a Mum!) - I might be biased, but he is just so beautiful 100% of the time. I even love his poop. But I have to admit, he looks scary skinny in these photo's, but beautiful none-the-less.

Whilst I'm on the topic of fond memories and favourite things, above is photographic evidence of Vincent stretching. What might look like a poor choice of photo, is actually a moment caught in time that I wanted documented. I said before, that he is a grunter. The boy is also a stretcher. Combine the two and you have one of the cutest things this boy is capable of (other than simply existing). Pick him up out of bed - stretch. Out of his bouncer - stretch. Out of his car seat - stretch. Pick him up full stop - stretch. Makes Adam and I melt every time. It's hard to catch it on camera, because it's always when he is in my arms - so I was stoked when I caught it on film digital file to keep forever. Stretching seems like such a grown up thing to do, I couldn't help but find myself saying 'oh, he thinks he is human'... oh wait he is. Old habits die hard, I used to say that about my fur baby Leo!

Fast forward one month, and Mini Vinnie was no more. Even with the challenge of throwing up constantly, he was still managing to pack on the pounds at an impressive rate of 500 grams a week. Easter was pretty full on for us. Our previously content little boy, was struggling big time with proper acid reflux, throwing up all day, every day and what was hardest to handle was how much pain he was in. We were supposed to have a baby that was becoming more engaged and interactive, but instead it was a constant run of brief sleeps, spew, feeds, and distressed crying. We weren't getting any chance to enjoy each other. By the end of Easter Saturday I was pretty strung out and on the phone to 13HEALTH desperate for medical advice. Vincent is now properly medicated for his reflux, and when it kicked in - it was like we had a totally different baby. Back to the boy we had at the start, he was happy, sleeping well and feeding better - a much more content little man.

Cracking it. Taking these photo's was somewhat traumatic, so the photo session didn't last long. As can be expected, there were some unflattering photo's of Vincent vomiting mid-shoot, and from then on he was unhappy. Needless to say, it didn't last long. And there was zero happy wash basket photo's. 

At two months old Vincent was much happier in his basket this time around. He was also sleeping through the night, which makes for a very happy Mum. I didn't teach him... he did it himself. We now have a steady routine of feeding anywhere between 930pm-11pm (usually whatever time I am going to bed) and he will sleep through til 630-7am. You don't have to tell me - I know I am spoilt.

Vincent discovered his tongue this month, during the photo shoot it seemed all he wanted to do was stick his tongue out and lick his arm muscle. Doesn't make for great photo's, but I did my best - and let's face it, it is him, as he was - right at that moment.

 At three months Vin is becoming very skilled at rolling from his back to his side, bringing his hands together and eating anything that he can get those now chubby little hands on. Even his owl puppet was not safe.
 Body Slam! Trying out his moves as a pro-wrestler.

 My muscly chubby bunny. So deliciously edible. Kinda looks like he is pulling dance moves in these photo's.

 We are enjoying getting to know our boy as he grows and develops more and more of a personality. Another of my motherly dreams came true the other day when I blew a raspberry on his bare belly and he cackled. I remember seeing my Mum doing it to my brothers, and now I was able to have that experience with my own son. I would LOVE a big family, I always planned to have four kids. The older I got, and when the need for IVF threw a spanner in the works, I could see that it possibly wasn't going to happen for us and I mourned that potential loss. With each embryo transfer that didn't take, I began to wish and beg fate for just one. Please, give me one. And now I have my one! And I am so grateful. Whilst I know I'll be sad if I can't have any more, I feel complete because I have Vincent. I have my one that made me a Mum :)