Those Who Cloth Diaper Should Teach

With the rising advocacy for cloth diapers connected to green concerns, it's great to see a free community event is available to people in that area who want to learn more. Even if parents ultimately decide not to go cloth, that the opportunity is there for learning the ease of use and economical benefits gives me hope that perhaps other communities will take a cue from Spokane and offer similar classes.

Where I am, catalogs are mailed periodically with information on adult community classes, everything from yoga to learning sign language. I've yet to see any public events involving cloth diapering and green parenting swimming diapers, and it leads me to wonder that if one genuinely has a passion for using cloth, wouldn't it make sense to take the lead and organize a class? Who better to show expectant parents and moms looking for an alternative to disposables how to use cloth than somebody who uses them regularly?

Those who teach anything do so because they have a passion for what they love. We joke often about teachers must really love what they do, otherwise they would work toward something more financially stable (I can talk: my parents were both teachers and my husband is a teacher; we aren't exactly rolling in dough). To organize the occasional community class on cloth diapers isn't as difficult as you think. You just need the drive and the commitment to see it through.

A few tips to get you started, if ever you decide to put your passion for cloth into action:

1) Decide how to proceed with a class. Gather your materials and work out an itinerary of topics to cover and possible troubleshooting questions you'll be asked. Have information on costs, because parents new to cloth will definitely want to know how they'll save money. If you have help organizing, decide who will speak and demonstrate use.

2) Decide on a date and venue. Where will everybody meet? When? You may wish to organize a class through your church or library (most libraries have meeting rooms for such community events). Weekends may prove a better time, assuming some parents work during the weekdays and have after school activities.

3) Promote! Contact your local paper and work with the venue to reach their established audience. Contact all your Facebook friends and set up an event page there. Find local mom blogs and forums and spread the word. Get RSVPs so you'll have a good idea of what size audience to expect.

4) Distribute information. Have takeaways on hand to give out on the day of the event. If you're able to get samples of cloth diapers, consider giving them away as prizes (people love free stuff, be sure to tease that when you promote). Send people away with purchase information and brand names so they can do their own research, too.

5) Get feedback. Collect e-mail information from people who come and get a follow-up report. Was the class helpful? Did it make parents decide to give cloth a try? Learn what you can from your experience in the event you want to do more to serve the community.

Above all else, enjoy yourself! As an enthusiastic parent, let your love for cloth diapering and green parenting Cloth Nappies shine and spread.

What to look for pearl jewelry

No matter which style you choose, or whether you buy pearls from a local jewelry store, large retail chain or Internet jewelry store (which should offer adequate descriptions of what you're buying along with a money-back guarantee), keep in mind these tips when you're shopping for pearls and you won't go wrong:

You'll pay more for larger pearls jewelry. In general, a larger pearl takes longer to form, and the chances of finding a perfectly round, large pearl are slim. After the 7.5-8mm mark for freshwater cultured pearls and akoya cultured pearls, the most popular pearl types, prices rise dramatically. A 6.5mm strand is both lovely and affordable and perfect for young women.

Pay attention to luster and surface. Pearls should have a high luster, or surface sheen, meaning they reflect light well. They should also be free from large blemishes such as chips and pits, although small blemishes are acceptable. An absolutely perfect strand is likely faux. Pearls are, after all, a natural product, and small variations are to be expected and do not detract from the pearls?value.

Round is the hands-down favorite shape. While baroque pearls are gorgeous, and button and coin pearls are modern and affordable, when it comes to classic pearls, round is still in. To check that pearls are uniformly round, ask the jeweler or read the Internet description. If you can handle the strand, roll it on a table. Matched pearls will roll smoothly.

Thickness is important. Most statement pearls jewelry sold today are cultured pearls, and the best ones are formed in oysters or mussels that have been implanted with small, mother-of-pearl beads and mantle tissue or mantle tissue only and left in the water long enough for a sufficient coating of nacre to form. Avoid pearls that have been implanted with large plastic or glass beads or harvested prematurely; they will flake and peel easily.

Pay attention to uniformity. Make sure that pearls in a piece of jewelry are the same size, color, shape and luster.

Beware: Some jewelry makers try to hide smaller or imperfect pearls near the clasp.

Choose color carefully. Pearls look best if they flatter the skin tone of the wearer.

Follow these pearl-buying tips, choose wisely, and your graduate will have a jewelry staple she'll treasure forever.

A graduate of the Gemological Institute of American Graduate Pearls program, Amy Drescher is a fashion writer and accessories buyer for She welcomes your questions. Reach her at