Monday, November 17, 2008

The Power of a Stitch: An update

You do not know the power of a stitch until you have a kick-ass stitch to work with.

I am so blessed a woman to now have in my sewing room a serger of untold features and benefits.  I can't believe the creativity unleashed and the ease with which it's accomplished with one little piece of equipment (now that I've begun to figure out how to THREAD the darned thing...).  I made my first prototype with some new stitches today and I AM SEW IN LOVE!!!  (Ha!  Yes, I just said "sew in love.")

Everyone's been so patient in waiting to have a LolliDoo in hand, but the going to be SO worth it.  LolliDoo For You(R) and the LolliDoo Two(R) (traditional pocket and all-in-one) are not only ingenious in their functionality, they're truly works of art.

And you KNOW it!  That IS me tooting my own.  The LolliDoo diaper is a creation born of much in literal blood, sweat, and tears.  Never in my wildest dreams as a child, young woman, parent, did I imagine that I'd one day have this...whole experience.  The fruits of this journey have turned out to be so sweet and varied, a colloquial paradigm shift and personal growth akin to childbirth.  It's such a beautiful thing.

I am SO proud.  I can't wait for everyone to have one in their hands!

We're still on schedule to meet our January availability, too, so everyone be watching your mail or email boxes or come back here for updates and ordering instructions.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meet the ShankSisters! The Original LolliDoo Seamstresses

As a first-time cloth diaper/apparel designer, finding good folks to work with locally was difficult to do.  I selected a local manufacturing firm to help us create our original samples, those we'd display at the ABC Expo.  Multiple factors played into the diapers being less-than optimal to take to the show with us; I was distressed as we were just days from the show.

The answer came one day when my husband's life-long bestest friend in the Whole Wide World came over to help him work on our deck.  "Call my mom!" was his response to my disappointment.

I called Rose that afternoon and it was probably one of the smartest decisions I've made through the course of our journey so far.

Rose and her sister Joey have been lifesavers.  Not only did they create (and continue to create) the most MAGNIFICENT of diapers within mere DAYS of our departure for the Expo, they are beautiful women with amazing talent and creativity.  

And...we have the most fun business meetings *I've* ever been privy to!

Rose and Joey make the most imaginative creations from reclaimed materials, repurposing items in ways that are most remarkable.  A jazz hat made from found upholstery fabric swatchbooks; a pumpkin handbag with an old CD as a base with sumptuous fabric they'd received free from a wary yard-saler; a chicken pin-cushion fashioned from an old plaid flannel shirt and stuffed with birdseed.

I am truly blessed to have access to their extraordinary services, as well as their friendship, as they are, indeed, women of distinction.

See the ShankSisters blog and shop:

Many and most sincere thanks to Rose and Joey.  Welcome to LolliDoo!  I hope you stick around for a while. :)

They're almost ready!

Things are coming together.

I've been busy ordering up our bulk fabrics, preparing for the manufacturing process...writing sewing instructions for our seamstresses, preparing workspaces, yadda yadda.

Ali put together some initial sales projections and we're gearing up to meet them.

We've got moms out there, putting our samples through the literal wringer :).

It's happening!

The colors are GORGEOUS!  The fit is trim.  The butt is dry.  They're awesome!!!

Watch out!  LolliDoo(TM) is coming!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

LolliDoo for You(TM): It's all about choices(TM)

Coming soon...

YES!  It's a teaser post!  There are exciting things afoot!  

Stay tuned...


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

LolliDoo in Vegas: Simply WOW!!!

There are not enough adjectives in the thesaurus in my mind to adequately describe the emotion and energy I felt at the Expo.  Positively awe-inspiring.

My first time in Vegas, too.  For someone who's never so much as purchased a lottery ticket, WHOA.  Carl and Melody and I arrived Friday afternoon, picked up our rental car, and drove down the Strip to our hotel.  The Strip?  Again...whoa.  So much decadence!  My awe was further fed as we left the hotel after dark to pick Chuck, Ali, and Talia up from the airport.  Lights, activity, action, ENERGY anyone?

To add to the extraordinary surroundings, this was only the second time I've had the opportunity to wrap my arms around Ali in the warmest of embraces.  Can you imagine?  Starting a business with someone, legally committing yourself to a working relationship with someone you've never actually laid eyes on?  Ali and I have spent UNTOLD hours on the phone with each other, emailing each other...getting to spend an entire WEEK with her.  To actually be in each other's, surreal.  It was warm and comfortable, as if we'd known each other for YEARS (which, of course, we have...just not in person).  Ali's family (the ones we had the pleasure of sharing the week with), too, is particularly remarkable.  Talia is a charismatic little lady, to say the least, and Chuck has one of the most loving and caring hearts I've ever had the pleasure of being enveloped by.

You can see a photo montage of our week on Ali's blog here:

Then, of course, there was the Expo.  Our launch.  The single event we've been working toward for the past year.  WOW!  It was more than I'd ever imagined!  Success!

We left for Vegas, feeling confident in our diaper, hoping that others would love it, as well.  I had no idea how it would be received...LolliDoo is so different from the other cloth diaper options available.  Would the differences work in our favor?

The answer to that lingering doubt was a resounding YES!  I can't tell you the number of times someone told me how positively REFRESHING they found our product...something novel and fresh!  They LOVED it!  

They loved US,  What a relief!  I'd spent much energy, prior to the show, putting of MYSELF into LolliDoo and our business.  Of course, I am confident in who I am and what we're doing, but there was a nagging tug at the recesses of my psyche...  That tug?  LONG gone!  The positive energy flowing toward us during the Expo will feed my spirit for YEARS to come!  I've got goosebumps as I write this.  :)

We didn't win the JPMA 2008 Innovative Product Award, but I had opportunity to speak with one of the judges afterward, a chance to bend his ear and have mine bent, as well.  It was very much a learning experience...JPMA needs to WATCH OUT for what we have in store for them for next year's competition.  I plan to blow them AWAY!

We participated in some diaper industry meetings, as well.  The first meeting was for manufacturers, and we gleaned much in the way of product claims and will, as a result, be sending our product off for testing/certification.  It was a much-needed wake-up call, we totally got schooled, but we walked away from it feeling confident about the claims we WILL be able to make when all is said and done.

The second meeting was for diaper retailers, a group we plan to also join.  Prior to the show, we had been approached to deliver an already written presentation on press releases at the retailer's meeting.  We'd originally planned for Ali to give the presentation, but at the last minute, it was decided that I would present.  I pulled it off with only about 10 minutes prep time...I thought that was pretty cool.  :)  I totally get off on public speaking and it was the first time I'd had the opportunity since college!  It also gave us an opportunity to put our faces in front of the retailers, which proved to be invaluable as they recognized us when they came to visit our booth.

Speaking of our booth, it was positively VIBRANT!  (You can see it on the link above to Ali's blog.)

We had media folks visit us, we've been asked to write editorial content for a few of them (AWESOME!); we had other manufacturers come see us (SURREAL!); and potential customers...what an AMAZING group!  Each one of them with their own story to tell, their own passion and perspective for doing what they do.  Meeting everyone was one of the most fun experiences of my adult life!  

I can honestly say, too, that the enjoyment I felt in seeing each set of eyes light up when I flipped that laundry loop around is one of my fondest memories of the show.  By the end of that first day, my "schpeil" was perfected: "Recycled, recyclable, all domestic, laundry loop, yadda yadda..."  And I loved every minute of it!

Ah...I could go on and on!  So much happened!  But Daddy Morgan's about done at the barbeque...  :)  Suffice it to say, the show was a success!  We're home now with ever more work to do...but now we know.  We know folks are excited about what we're doing, they're excited about the way we're doing things...and they are WAITING IMPATIENTLY to get their hands on our goods...and I can't wait to put them there!  :)


Sunday, August 24, 2008

A World of Cloth - A Call to Action

Imagine a world in which all babies are diapered in reusable diapers.  Sounds lovely, doesn't it?  No more human waste being illegally disposed of in landfills, no forests being cut in the name of your baby, no male sterility being perpetuated by super-heated disposable diapers, no toxic chemicals being disposed of into our precious water supply, the list goes on and on.

Imagine all the babies in a product that's easy on them, easy on the environment.

Wow.  What a feat that would be.

As a citizen of the world, the wide-spread use of disposable diapers in our society concerns me greatly.  What harm are we doing to our babies?  To our Earth?  We know much about the dangers of disposables...but I'm sure there's still much we don't know about the impact on our children and our world.

Ali and I started LolliDoo diapers because of these very concerns.  The only thing we knew coming out of the gate with our project is that we wanted cloth diapers on as many babies as possible, if not all of them.  Obviously, we'd like ours to be on as many as we can reach, but we have had enough experience with the diapers in our own personal stashes to realize that diapers are not a one-size fits all.  Each cloth diapering mama has her own preference, each baby has a different body shape.  Some families don't even use diapers at all!

We feel that cloth diapers are better than disposable diaper products.  Bottom line.  Whether they're ours or someone else's, they're the best diapering option.

Somewhere in my academic career, I was introduced to the notion that competition is a good thing.  The more folks there are producing products to meet a consumer need, the more quality options are demanded.  The more quality options that exist, the more positive awareness is created in the collective mind of consumers.  The more awareness...the more products are sold and, in this case, less detrimental effects on babies and the Earth.

With this in mind, I feel that we are right now on the verge of what I like to refer to as, "The Diaper Revolution."  There are untold numbers of WAHMs across the country, putting out incredible products, and we aim to be one of them.

It's exciting to me to be a part of this Revolution.  Thanks to companies who mass-produce diapers, as well as the WAHMS using the internet to make and sell their diaper wares, the general public is becoming more and more aware of the hazards of disposable diapering and the alternatives that exist.  We hope to do our part to create an environmentally responsible product, one that will serve its purpose in a healthful way, one that will touch the lives of every butt it covers.

Obviously, I am greatly aware that there are many cloth diapering alternatives today.  I am excited to be entering in to this arena.  I am grateful to those who've paved the way and honored to be working amongst some phenomenal individuals who seek to meet the same goal as I: put my cloth diaper on as many babies as it's suited to, hoping our project will also put food on my family's table.

In the spirit of competition, awareness, and greater good, let's all do our part to put cloth on our babies...all of them.

Remember:  Be part of the solution, right from the beginning.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Evolution of LolliDoo(R)

When Ali first approached me about developing a diaper, I thought, "Sure, I can do that.  It'll be a piece of cake!"

HA!  That's fuu-nny.

Drawing the general shape of the diaper was quite simple.  I just put pencil to paper and drew a basic diaper outline.  Then I gathered measurements from various sources of baby bodies -- waistbands, rise, thighs, etc. -- and created the medium size diaper pattern (pattern grading came later, but at least I had a starting point).  Since MY baby was wearing a size medium, it made it easy to test various patterns.  This first pattern was an all-in-one, meaning it had absorbency AND a waterproof outer.  It was the only diaper component needed (no cover, etc.).

I sewed up a couple diapers, using materials I already had on hand.  This was a PUL (polyurethane laminate)-based diaper and had a bamboo velour inner.  It fit well, it worked well, but as Ali and I were exploring safe and environmentally sound fabric options, we learned that PUL is, duh, polyurethane.  Polyurethane comes with a whole host of issues: it's non-recyclable plastic, doesn't biodegrade, is oil-based, and has toxic by-products in its creation. 

Up to this point, I'd been using bamboo as an inner layer; bamboo is an incredibly sustainable fiber and we were excited about using it.  It's highly absorbent and grows quickly in abundance.  What we learned, however, is that in order to turn bamboo fibers into fabric, it must undergo a VERY heavy chemical process.  Oftentimes, the chemicals used in this process are disposed the water supply.  Given that water quality is one of my frequent soap box topics, that obviously wouldn't do.  Also, as our goal has been to keep our product local (meaning ALL domestic fabrics, manufacturing, etc.) sourcing domestic bamboo that's processed in either a mechanical or closed-loop chemical fashion is very difficult and very expensive.  So as hard as it was to do, we had to abandon bamboo (my husband, Carl, was particularly bummed by this abandonment...he really liked the bamboo and even still he tries to find ways to get me to go back to that).

So...there we were.  A trim-fitting diaper, with no inner OR outer fabric.  What now?

How about fleece for an outer?  My experience with outdoor adventures gave me the perspective that wet cotton next to the skin is a big no-no, and fleece as an outer offers fantastic water repellency.  Also at this point, I was inspired to create a one-size pattern.  So, off I went, sewing away with fleece and more bamboo (being that was the fabric I had on-hand for an inner).  The one-size worked well!  However, the fleece made for a more bulky fit on a one-size and I still had the problem with no inner fabric.

Below are Melody and Skyler wearing the same AIO OS diaper (I apologize for the poor quality, and Skyler, being rid of diapers altogether, only submitted to trying on the diaper IF he could keep his big-boy underwear on also):

So the fleece worked well as an outer.  Hurray! was still a virgin plastic resource.

Then one day, as I was looking at various natural fibers during an online search, I found EcoSpun(R), a fully recycled PET fiber.  SHAZAM!  It is created by recycling single-use polyethylene terephthalate water bottles (PET) into flakes and then, essentially, heating and stretching the flakes into fibers that can be knit together into textiles.  It uses no oil in its recycling process, keeps water bottles from a landfill fate, and is not a virgin resource.  We later discovered, too, that we could re-recycle it AGAIN at the end of it's diaper life.  Wow.  This was perfect.  I sourced some fabric and began tweaking the one-size pattern, using fleece as an outer, along with organic cotton as an inner (being that I still had yet to find "the answer" to the inner fabric component).

I should say, too, that up to this point, I hadn't been too stringent about "finishing" all of the diapers completely.  The main thing I'd left undone was adding a laundry feature to the diapers.  I was always in a hurry to create the diaper and test it out; I didn't consider the laundry feature as necessary during the prototyping process.  But as I used and laundered the prototypes as well as my existing cloth diaper stash, and repeatedly removed diaper chains from the washer of both prototype AND manufactured varieties, I began to noodle on some sort of fold-over flap that would keep hook tape from joining to anything it touches in the wash cycle.  This thought process also stemmed from the one-size diaper pattern, where the waistband tabs overlapped each other, leaving hook tape exposed on the outer waistband of the diaper at certain sizes, rubbing on clothing.  That wouldn't do, either, but it wasn't the highest priority, so I made a few drawings and went back to finding the right fabrics.

So in my stash of EcoSpun-based fabrics, I'd ordered some heavy-weight Power Dry (a trademark of Polartec) velour and some mid-weight Power Dry jersey.  During some initial tests of absorbency and water repellency, I discovered the velour worked REALLY well to keep baby's skin dry (hence, I suppose, the name Power Dry).  How EXCITING!  Did we have our answer?  Given the issue with the bulk of the fleece in the outer shell fabric of the one-size, I decided to test the velour in a regular sized all-in-one.

That first night after its creation, I let Melody sleep in it.  Oh my gosh.  She woke up with a wet diaper...and a DRY butt!  HURRAY!!!!

Next step: launder it.  I could not BELIEVE what I found when I removed the diaper from the washing machine.  It was almost COMPLETELY dry, without even spending a minute in the dryer or on the line.  WOW!!!!!  I was completely amazed.

Next, I wanted to test just HOW MUCH liquid the diaper would hold.  I got 14 ounces in there!  FOURTEEN OUNCES!  My research had indicated that the average six-month baby produces urine output at about FOUR ounces, I figured we were golden.  GOLDEN, I tell you.

I checked at the diaper a few hours later, after leaving it to sit on the counter...and was disappointed to see that the liquid was seeping onto the counter.  Frustrated, I added an additional sewn-in "doubler" to the outer fabric on the next version.  That helped, but it still wasn't perfect.

So the researcher in me went to read more about polyester fibers.  Mind you, I am (was) a total "greenhorn" about textiles.  I mean, my background is in healthcare administration; the whole field of textiles was new to me (I've since added many textile textbooks to my library).  I learned that polyester is great at grabbing hold of moisture and transporting it...but it's a smooth fiber that lacks the "hairs" that natural fibers, such as cotton, possess that make them so incredibly absorbent.

Hmmmm...what to do?

Well, I once again went back to my outdoor technical clothing layers and started thinking of the diaper in terms of an inner skin or base layer, a mid or absorbency layer, and an outer shell layer.  Once I started thinking in these terms, the diaper layer construction became obvious.  Clearly, polyester on its own, while it will fill up its knit spaces with water, will not actually HOLD onto the liquid when compressed or left to sit.  I had to go back to employing some natural fibers.  So NOW what we have is a layered diaper, utilizing polyester velour, jersey, and organic cotton in a moisture distribution system that actually moves baby's urine from the "deposit site," out among the outer recesses of the absorbency layers.

And, I have to say, it works INCREDIBLY well.  This new version still accepts fourteen ounces...only now, when I set it on the counter and return to it in a few hours, the liquid is STILL contained within the diaper...and the base/skin layer is DRY.

Certainly, it takes a little longer in the dryer or on the line now, with the addition of organic cotton.  But I'll give you a little hint that I've added a new component to the layering that combats that.  As soon as I have a prototype to share and dry time in the form of numbers to report, I'll share that here.

An issue I sought to address with the closure/laundry tab was chafing.  Ali had told me that many of the diapers she's used chafe on Talia's chunky little thighs.  Binding the outer edge of the tab would cover the hook tape edge and provide a little cushion of softness.  All I had on hand to test this was some double-fold binding purchased for the waistband of a skirt I was making for myself.  I made my first version of the closure tab.

So we now had the Gentle Edge(TM), but I was still pondering the flap on the closure tab to act as a laundry function.  Since I no longer had to worry about the exposed hook tape from the one-size diaper pattern (having gone back to sized diapers), the sole function of the laundry feature was to keep diaper chains from forming, as well as to keep the hook tape from gathering debris (hair, thread, fibers, etc., get all tangled up in the hook tape...and that affects the tape's ability to function, it becomes not as "grabby"). 

Late one night a few months ago (there were MANY late nights during this process), I put pencil to paper, yet again, and sans the one-size hook tape fold-over, the issue I had in my mind of how to attach the flap became a no brainer.  It just flowed: if I just sewed it in to the outside, it would flip over, no problem!  Duh!  At that point I thought I'd have to have a little extra fabric in the loop, just to make sure it had room to flip around the outside binding edge.  So I went about sewing the closure tab with the laundry loop (the name I've given to this laundry function), cutting the loop slightly larger than the base closure tab to which it would joined, and gathered the excess fabric so it would fit the base tab.  I also inserted a little elastic on the finished edge, so that it would lie flap while being worn.  This time, too, I changed the binding edge to be the same as the base fabric, as it's a little bulkier and softer.

After a conversation with the company that's manufacturing our samples, we decided that the laundry loop does NOT need to be larger than the base piece all the way around, and determined that a bell-shaped piece would alleviate the need to gather the fabric.

So what's left to share with you about LolliDoo(R)'s evolution?  Oh yeah, a picture of the final product.  Well, for that you're just going to have to wait.  I've been bombarded with projects pertaining to the launch of our diaper at the ABC Kids Expo and have not had time to sew all the components into one diaper.  Rest assured, however, that we WILL have one to show in a matter of days, when the manufacturer has put it all together for us.  They're busy sewing away, as I type...and I cannot WAIT until I get my hands on them.  I'll post pictures just as soon as I have them.

This blog entry is quite lengthy, but I can assure you that I've condensed it and left out many versions of the diaper I've created along the way.  I've spent the past year working on this diaper.  Literal blood, sweat, and tears have been poured into this project and to say I'm quite pleased with the results, wouldn't even BEGIN to touch on the emotion I experience when I look back at all the variations and the process.  At last count, I believe I've made close to 40 diapers in the past year, each just slightly different than the last.  What you see here is obviously only a small sampling of the road I've traveled.

I love LolliDoo(TM).  I love all that it represents, all the love and desire and passion to bring about change in diapering options.  I love that we have such a quality, functional, revolutionary product offering.  I'm EQUALLY enraptured with the add-on product lines we're about to introduce, as well, and I'm tossing around some more waterproof outer options, to boot.

If you feel one tenth of the emotion and excitement I do when looking at LolliDoo(TM), I'll further consider my efforts a success.

Remember:  Be part of the solution, right from the beginning.

Monday, August 18, 2008

LolliDoo diapers 2008 JPMA Innovative Product Award FINALIST!!!

This is AMAZING news!!!!  I'm shouting it from the rooftops.

The JPMA (Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association) is the trade association that represents about 95% of the $8.9 billion industry.  Each year they honor 10 new products with their Innovative Product Award.  Trade media representatives and industry retail buyers comprise a judging committee that evaluate submitted products based on innovation, marketability, trend-setting potential, appeal, and usefulness.


Ali and I have worked our TAILS off this past year, developing our all-in-one EcoSpun reusable cloth diaper, and to have a company and product launch that's accompanied with such a prestigious award, even just being allowed to enter the competition, become a finalist, let alone that we might actually stand a chance to win...WOW, just WOW!  What a way to come out of the gates!

We submit our all-in-one EcoSpun reusable cloth diaper to the judging committee on September 6, 2008, the day before our launching exhibition at the ABC Kids Expo.  They'll spend the day judging products and then announce the winners at the JPMA Press Conference the day the Expo begins.  Winning products have their product displayed in the lobby during the ABC Kids Expo, they're listed in the official announcement press release, posted on the JPMA website AND featured on!

Past winners have included the Medela Swing Breastpump, the Philips/Avent DECT Digital Baby Monitor, and the Glamourmom Built-In Nursing Bra tank, among many others.  We would be in great company to be standing side-by-side with these phenomenal products, should we win.

At any rate, I'm just so honored and excited to be selected as a finalist!

This is HUGE!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Meet LolliDoo

Originally written and published by Alison Manes, but I wanted to share, too, so I've copied it here with her permission. Please enjoy!

Melissa and I met in late 2004 on a parenting website called Pregnancy Weekly. We were both pregnant and due in May of 2005. Although not immediate friends, once we discovered that we a shared interest in attachment parenting, organic living, natural childbirth and breastfeeding, we became fast allies in a formula feeding/epidural/ fast food environment. Together with a few of our other online sisters, Melissa and I began to have video chats and phone conversations. Although we hadn't met in person yet, if felt like we had known each other for years.

In late 2006 I had a brainstorm about mainstreaming cloth diapers. As a dedicated cloth diapering mama, I was constantly asked by other mothers who saw my babies in cloth where I got my diapers. At that time, my only answer was, “you have to Google them”.

I began my quest for an easy-to-use, absorbent diaper that could easily be introduced to the general public. Possessing no sewing skills of my own, I hired a friend to sew some initial diapers with PUL and Micro fiber. Those and several subsequent patterns failed due to leakage.

Around October of 2007, I called Melissa and asked her to sew some diapers, explaining what I was trying to accomplish. Melissa was jazzed and wanted to be a part of it and after some talk with her husband, Melissa and I became partners.
We shared a vision of formulating a company where all aspects of our business will be run with respect to minimizing environmental impact - from the materials to the manufacturing to the final distribution. An educational non-profit component would be in the near future. We even found an environmentally friendly printer-Wizard Graphics-who not only printed on recycled paper but with vegetable based ink.

The diapers then called Go Green Baby! were to be made from organic bamboo and PUL. Melissa, quite the brainiac researcher, found out that PUL was TOXIC. The quest for an environmentally friendly fabric began. Investigating wool, alpaca wool, Gortex, wax and fleece all let to nothing. We even attempted to hire a chemist to create a sustainable formula for waterproofing. Additionally Melissa also discovered that it was impossible to get a truly organic bamboo in the US; because it is processed with harmful chemicals.

After reading an article about the success of gDiapers in Inc. Magazine in November 2007, we became really excited about the potential success of launching cloth diapers to the general public.

January 29, 2008, Go Green Sustainable Industries, LLC was legally formed. Mel and I still had no product but we did have a vision and weren’t giving up. Both of us felt strongly not only about cloth diapers, but on educating parents on the dangers of disposables, formula, vaccinations, being eco-friendly and nutrition. We decided that the diaper was going to be the first product that Go Green Sustainable Industries developed, but definitely not the last.

After talking to three patent lawyers, we realized that we could not call the diapers, Go Green Baby! As the search for a sustainable diapers continued, so did the search for a perfect name.

Melissa came for a visit to Arizona in March of 2008 and it was the first time that I met her face to face. After five minutes I felt like we had always been buddies. It was a whirlwind working visit and it cemented the partnership.

After spending at least eight hours on the computer together trying to name the diapers a few weeks later, we just about gave up. Melissa and I, friends first, were having a casual conversation. I mentioned that as a small child I dragged around a frayed old diaper and called it a Di Doo. Melissa said she had a blanket called a Lolly. I got all excited and began shouting, “LolliDiDoo, LolliDiDoo!” The next day we shortened it to LolliDoo® and trademarked the name and bought a website.

Melissa’s white water rafting expertise led her to our secret unnamed fabric which was an amazing find as it was water repellent and had never before been used in diapers and was made out of stuff that I will disclose as soon as the patent goes through. Woohoo, we are on our way. After months and months of tweaking the pattern, fabric weights and layers, Melissa developed a diaper that was sustainable, absorbent, cute as well as easy-to-use.

Melissa took the diaper to a manufacturer in Washington and we really thought that we were all set. That was until we found out that it was going to cost about $40 a diaper. YIKES!

Looking back at our original intentions of keeping it simple, respecting the Earth and “buying local”, we recognized that we needed an alternative to a large manufacturer.

The synchronicity of our entire business was flawless. Melissa’s friend told her that his mother was looking for work. It just so happened that his mother was a seamstress. Melissa met with her and another woman and formed an instant bond. The ladies began sewing LolliDoo® diapers at their homes.

We are convinced that they have the perfect cloth diaper to introduce to the baby industry, and we are so are excited for our September 7, 2008 launch.

Welcome to Morgan Acres!


How exciting to be putting together my first blog.  I like to fancy myself quite a wordsmith, so I'm actually quite surprised I've not created one before.  It's doubly exciting that the event spurring on this blog's creation is the launch of my own company, Go Green Sustainable Industries, LLC, along with my bosom friend and business partner, Alison Manes (click her name to be taken to *her* most beautiful and entertaining blog).  Ali and I have created our first product offering, LolliDoo(TM) diapers, and we're introducing it to the trade at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas beginning September 7, 2008.  Visit our website at

Given the birth of our company, our product, and this blog, I thought an introductory post in order.


Welcome to Morgan Acres!

My husband and I were ever-so-blessed (words cannot even begin to describe my gratitude) by a family member and given a small piece of unimproved land in as a wedding present in 2004.  We've given our little corner of the world many nicknames, but the ones that have stuck are "Morgan Acres" and "It'll Do."

We have a lofty vision for our little humble abode: to create a place where can be as self-sufficient as possible, living in such a way as to minimize our time apart from each other as a family, while minimizing our environmental footprint.  We'd like to live and work here, and we created accommodations to facilitate that.  My husband has a door/wood shop in a separate out building, I have a glass studio in the garage, my sewing room is over the garage, and we have an office area where we conduct business.  We are both self-employed and provide an income for our family in that manner.  We are whitewater raft guides, too, my husband and I, and during rafting season will pack the family and tent into the van and head off to the river.  We have a large-ish garden plot where we plan to grow whatever produce we can, preserving and storing as much as possible to meet our food needs throughout the hard winter months.  We are also exploring the possibility of adding solar panels to meet our electrical needs (I, personally, would love to be able to harvest wind energy, but we just don't have the space, personally, for a mill...but, who does?).

We built our house.  Literally, from the ground up.  Or rather, my husband built our house literally from the ground up.  I supervised (I'm gifted in that regard).  We used many re-claimed items in it's construction, mostly from Habitat for Humanity, and much of the trim-work came (or is yet to come) from the few trees we had to cut down for our building site, including the creation of siding from downed cedar trees.  Much of the "frosting" on the house was created (or is yet to be created) in my glass studio (the kids' bathroom is already tiled with my creations, the light fixtures, sinks, etc., are yet to come).   It took two years to get it livable, being that we also had to provide for our needs in conjunction with building and also took time-outs for birthing children; as such, it still isn't completely finished, but we've begun to create a life here that, quite honestly, I would have a really hard time leaving, if it ever came to it, and we're completing the project as we're able to find time.

We have a beautiful little chunk of land on a northern-facing slope in the Selkirk Mountain range, often referred to as the Foothills of the Rockies.  Smack in the middle of forested land, bordering on thousands of unimproved private acreage, we're surround by epic views and plentiful nature and wildlife.  On a walk up our driveway one day last fall, I witnessed a cougar munching down on a deer who was unfortunate enough to lose its life by untold means, I scared a black bear out of our garage who'd stopped by to check out the small bucket of compost waste (we've since moved the compost WAAAY away from the house), sat for untold hours watching the family of turkey vultures who've nested in our trees and fly in every night to provide soaring entertainment during the dinner-time hour, and had the privilege to provide a week's worth of temporary safety for a mother moose and the baby she birthed just feet from our front porch.  Additionally, we're surrounded by such extraordinary beauty provided by Mother Nature in the form of cedar, birch, fir, and tamarack, interspersed with wildflowers, wild raspberries, ivy, and much greenery, all of which we're using to maintain a landscape surrounding the house that's native, growing wildly and bountifully with minimal watering and care.

Our location is prime for recreation.  We need only don our shoes and head out the door for epic hikes or snowshoeing/snowboarding (depending on the season, of course), and we do so frequently, as a family.  I suppose you'd say, too, that we reside on a "secondary" lot that sits up the hill from a spring-fed lake, a lake on which we're fortunate enough to have family living.  So a short little walk yields much splishy-splashy fun.  Additionally, we've made our space home to a frisbee golf (or folf) course, and we spend untold hours chasing frisbees up and down the hillside.  Not to mention, the untold numbers of toys that exist naturally, as ALL of the forest's bounty is fair game for playing (see the teeter totter picture below).  Lucky for us, if we pile in the car, we're surrounded by the most prime whitewater rafting in the country.  Needless to say, we firmly live by the motto that "the family that plays together, stays together."

Now please allow me to introduce those of us who are fortunate to call Morgan Acres home.  There are eight souls residing here (beyond those with wild souls, aka aforementioned cougar, bear, deer, etc.) and I've affirmed time again that "Eight is enough."  The family members who walk on two legs are my husband, Carl, and myself, and our three children.  Deven, 9 at the time of this blog entry, Skyler, 3, and Melody, 1.  Our four-legged loves: Sir Walter von Morganstein (miniature schnauzer, currently laying on his well-worn plaid doggie bed at my feet under the desk, often called the "yuppie yuppy" or more simply, "Wally") and Monster Buck and Daisy Jane (frequently referred to as one word, "BuckerooandDaisytoo"), our black lab puppies.  You can see, now, why we have a need for a whole garden plot to meet our nutritional needs.

I suppose that's it, for now.  There's a little introduction to our home and way of life.  If you're into it, stick around and check out the photos I've attached below.  I hope you enjoy them!  I hope, too, that you'll come back around my blog to see whatever it is I'm going to blog about!  lol!

Thanks for visiting!

Peace and Love,





































Eh, that's probably enough, n'est pas? :)