Monday, April 18, 2011

Baby Shower Gift

I found out that one of the girls I had hired to watch my kids is expecting her first child. This weekend was her baby shower and I was excited to make her gift. I'll be honest I was kind of unsure how the gift I gave would be received, not only because it was home made but also because I had no idea what was on the registry, I didn't even look, I knew what I wanted to give her. You can see everything packed up in a box. Only one thing was store bought and it is the No-cry Sleep Solution book. I've heard more mothers swear by this book than any other book. I only wish I had known about it while my kids would have been young enough to employ the techniques.

The box includes a couple things I could have purchased but rather chose to sew myself so that there was that extra care and love that went into making them. The first item I made was the little purple bunny you see peeking out of the corner of the box. It is made with purple and blue fleecy, the eyes and nose are stitched on with embroidery floss, I finished it with a blue tulle tail and a blue tulle ribbon around the neck. The second gift I worked on was the two pink and white swaddling blankets. After a run through the washing machine I cut the fabric so it was 45"x45". I took care to hem the edges so they wouldn't fray and looked like it was professionally finished. The last step was dyeing the fabric. One of the blankets has a swirl in three shades of pink, the other has more of a splattered dye job.

There is also a jumper style dress hiding in the box. The dress was by far the most fun to make. I was able to make it out of less than a quarter of a yard of each fabric. Of course making clothes for a baby you never need a lot of fabric. The dress unfortunately was being hidden by the tutu. Now normally I wouldn't make a tutu as a gift for an infant. It's not like they would get much use out of it. However when I mentioned making tutus to the mom-to-be her eyes lit up. I just couldn't resist making one for her. The final thing in the box was 4 embellished burp cloths, they were made from Gerber prefolds.

Monday, April 4, 2011

So busy lately

I feel like I have abandoned this blog so shortly after I started it and it makes me sad. Life has been so hectic by the end of the day I just don't have the energy to sit at the sewing machine and crank stuff out like I did just a few months ago. The kids have had so much going on with sports, school, and the youngest with his recent Apraxia diagnosis. I have a feeling things will be getting much more hectic soon once his therapy starts.

I recently obtained a this book. It was my grandmothers she only ever made one of the animals in it for an auction. My goal is to make several this spring to give to the numerous babies that are about to become part of our extended family. I plan to make them all baby/young child friendly by using embroidery floss to create eyes rather than buttons.

My daughter has already been begging me to get started on her summer wardrobe. She was browsing patterns online and begging me to bring her fabric shopping. I only hope that I can do as much as I did last year her entire summer wardrobe was either clothes that still fit from the year before or stuff that I had made. Thankfully she will gladly wear nothing but dresses and I can whip them together rather quickly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Easy as 1 2 3

Last week I sat in the kitchen/Dining room and looked at our chairs. Being a thrifty family we picked up our dining set at a rummage sale. It was ugly but we couldn't afford new and our current chairs were quite literally falling apart. The chairs had a faux leather cushioned seat and while it was mostly comfortable it was hidious. There were holes and cuts and spots that were rubbed thin. The frame was sturdy and there was still a lot of cushion left to the seat. I figured I would try my hand at reupholstering the chairs. Now I've never reupholstered anything in my life but I watched a lot of home improvement shows so surely it couldn't be that hard. It wasn't!

Step one was figuring how to take the seat off. Thankfully that was simple it was being held on by four screws on the underside of the chair.

Step two was removing the faux leather. It seemed like each chair had about 40-50 staples holding that awful fabric on. Thankfully they pulled out easily and a pair of needle-nose pliers came in handy for removing any staples which were left behind.

Step three was cutting the new fabric. I used some indoor/outdoor canvas we had picked up with every intention of making a lean-to storage for behind our garage. I cut the fabric with about an additional four inches on each side.

Step four attach the fabric. I used my $4 staple gun that I picked up when our home depot went out of business. I started with the front and than pulled it tight and attached the back. Corners were a bit tricky but once those were done the sides were simple. Just had to make sure the fabric was pulled tight. I used only about 30 staples per chair.

Step five was to put the chairs back together. I simply put the four screws back in the bottom and called it good. Now my chairs look much nicer and are much more my style.

Now if you were careful you may not need step six. Unfortunately I got a bit careless during step two and had several cuts on my hands from when staples mange to fight back during the removal process.

Step six is bandage your hands while sitting on your newly reupholstered chairs.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

All Tied Up

Friday was spring break for my kids and my daughter and I had plans to hit up the thrift stores. There seems to be an increasing number of thrift stores in our area and I was sure we could find something to upcycle. Due to a not so wonderful snow/rain storm this that resulted in the highways being closed and decreased visibility we only got to hit up three of the thrift stores. That was apparently enough as it didn’t take long before something caught her eye…ties. She was in heaven she found an abundance of ties with pink and purple in them, her two favorite colors. She wanted bout 20 of them, we compromised and she got to pick ten. I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to do with them but I was sure we could figure something out.

We made the trek home a drive that in normal weather should have only taken 5 minutes took nearly 30. Traffic was at a standstill due to the layer of ice forming on the roads. Once we got home she ran inside with her bag of ties, to show dad her treasure, he just looked confused. She dumped the bag grabbed two fistful of ties and twirled around and that is when it hit me. I could make a skirt. I knew I would even have enough to make her doll a matching skirt. That night I went about pulling the ties apart and sewing them together. It made a wonderful skirt and with the length and the elastic waist it is sure to fit her for a long time. If I ever decide to undertake this task again there are a few things I’ve learned that would improve the skirt.

  • Use ties that are of a similar material and weight
  • Use ties that are similar sizes
  • Use a tie or coordinating fabric for the waistband rather than folding down the top to create a waistband
What matters most is that for only five dollars I was able to sew my daughter a skirt which she loves, that she helped design, and that is completely unique. Next up a second skirt her doll can wear that will match.

Monday, February 28, 2011

And the winner is..... picked our winner for the tutu giveaway

Congrats to Joella! Please contact me so I can get the tutu and surprise accessory mailed out to you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Project Dump

Everything has been so busy at home. We’ve been getting ready for our first family vacation that doesn’t involve a wedding or a funeral. A lot of this getting ready involved sewing and finishing other projects I had started. I still have one that I need to finish a swim diaper for the youngest. So far my completed projects include my own homemade version of g-cloth, a messenger style diaper bag that is gender neutral enough for even dad to carry. We also finished the puzzle storage with the final coat of paint going on today (minus a few touch ups). By the time our vacation gets here I feel like I will have really deserved it.

The messenger style diaper bag is made from a cotton outer and suede-cloth inner. I attached the strap with d-rings. I tested it and I can fit a spare outfit and 2 diapers in the bag with room for my small wetbag and a couple of small toys.

Here are two of my homemade version of g-cloth. The youngest picked out the Cars themed flannel, he has a bit of an obsession with Lightning McQueen. The absorbant layers are 2 layers flannel, 2 layers of cotton birdseye, a heavy-weight cotton french terry, and a layer of microfiber. I topped it with a dark chocolate brown suede-cloth to keep his lil bum dry. I also made some without a feel dry layer which seem to work great for laying in fitted diapers for overnight.

Last but not least is the puzzle storage box we made. It will hold 27 wooden peg puzzles. Initially I painted the inside of the box orange and the outside with chalkboard paint. It really reminded me of Halloween so I decided that the entire thing will be painted with chalkboard paint. Added bonus of painting it with chalkboard paint is that it takes it from just a puzzle box to something that he can draw on as well.

Don't forget about the OH MY TUTU! A Giveaway

Friday, February 11, 2011

Zip it!

Zippers are a wonderful thing, just not to sew. Now I’m sure many people would disagree and my guess is that they’ve sewn more than two or three zippers. This summer I made a dress for my daughter that required a zipper. Believe me as soon as I saw that step I was on the phone with the one person I knew could sew a zipper…my mom. I think the first words out of my mouth panicked my mother, I likely sounded more panicked than I need to for help with a zipper. She offered to help and I grabbed the dress and the zipper and headed to her house. She was able to walk me through sewing in a zipper. I’m not going to lie it wasn’t pretty or even or anything else it should be besides functional.

Recently I decided to make my own extra large wetbag for our family vacation next weekend and knew I would have to tackle the zipper for a second time. I could do it cheap after all I already had PUL that I bought to make diapers and covers, I had 100% poly thread, and I had plenty of fabric. I headed to the store knowing I only “needed” a zipper. As always I was quickly distracted by fabric and bought an adorable yellow Peace Love Recycle Snoopy cotton print. I also remembered a zipper.

I found two tutorials helpful but really didn’t follow either one completely. I think I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I dislike following patterns and directions. I liked the easiness of the sandwiched zipper from Oh, nuh-uh but I also liked the handle option from Dilley Dally Diapers. So with a little bit of work on my part I came up with a wetbag that would work for me. Following the steps for the sandwiched zipper made attaching a zipper super simple. Sadly I don’t think it will work for most other zipper applications. Although, maybe with more practice zippers will no longer be my sewing nemesis, I could master it like I did with sewing stretchy material.

Don't forget about the OH MY TUTU! A Giveaway

Monday, February 7, 2011

Woodworking is Crafting Right?

In elementary, junior high and high school I had mandatory wood shop classes. I loved them and thrived in that environment. We were given free rein to make anything we wanted the only stipulation is it had to be at least 90% wood products. I still love working with wood, maybe it’s the fact that I come from a long line of loggers. We recently figured that we needed a storage unit for the youngest child’s wooden puzzles. We could find one that had enough slots to hold all his puzzles and buying multiples seemed expensive.

So remembering those classes I broke out the pen and paper and sketched out a design, and figured out the dimensions. It was than off to the lumber store. I’ll be honest it isn’t a store I visit often, I didn’t know what I was looking for but I figured when I found it I would know. I did find “it”; two 2x2 oak plywood and a handful square poplar dowels and some small brads to attach the dowels. Unfortunately I am kind of rusty when it comes to using power tools so I handed the next step off to my significant other, well after I drew out where the cuts should be.

The next step was tedious gluing down the dowels to the board, waiting for it to dry and hammering in the brads to make sure they stayed in place. This project still has several more steps to go. I find it’s not as easy to whip together a project made of wood as it is to whip together one made of fabric. In the time the boards were cut I managed to make a wet bag and several diaper inserts. Tomorrow I have plans to paint it; pumpkin orange on the inside and chalkboard on the outside. For now I leave you with a picture of the puzzle box in process.

Friday, February 4, 2011

To Sew or Not to Sew

Fabric flowers are a great way to use up those scraps of fabric. I on the other hand needed a way to use up all the two and three inch strips of tulle I have left over from making tutus. I figured that once I mastered that I could find a way to affix them to hats, hair ties, headbands, or even to pins. One thing I knew is that I didn’t want to have to be stuck at my sewing machine to make them. With that idea in mind I used the hour I was sitting at the pediatric walk-in clinic waiting for my youngest to be seen to brainstorm ideas on how I could accomplish this.

I came up with one idea and upon coming home and trying it, I was successful. I was quite happy with the results, although I still needed a needle and thread. I still wanted a new sew flower as well. I was sure that I could come up with something. After playing around with tulle for a bit I figured that one out as well. I’ve outlined the basic steps I took to create the two types of flowers.

To start on the no-sew flower you need at least one strip of tulle 2-3 inches wide by 48+inches long.

  1. Wrap the tulle around your fingers in a figure eight by going between your second and third finger leaving about 2” of tail on each end. If using more than one color layer them and wrap them all at the same time.
  2. Wrap the ends of the tulle around the center and tie in a knot
  3. Wrap the ends through the center of the tulle and tie in a knot
  4. Separate and spread out the tulle this will create the petals
  5. Your no-sew tulle flower is now done

To make the second tulle flower you need 2 strips of tulle in different colors, a small button, and needle and thread.

  1. Similar to the first flower you wrap the first color tulle around your fingers in a figure eight leaving 2 inches on each end.
  2. Wrap the ends around the center of the tulle and tie in a knot.
  3. Repeat above steps for second piece of tulle.
  4. Spread and separate the tulle to create petals.
  5. Flatten flowers so you can see the knot in the center
  6. Put one tulle flower on top of the other and sew a couple of stitches to hold them together.
  7. Place button over the knot and sew it down.
  8. Your flower is done!
So now what should I do with these tulle flowers?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Just Roll with It

Our family has an upcoming vacation which involves over 10 hours on the road with three kids. When going over what keeps the three kids entertained we came to crayons and coloring books. In hopes of keeping things neat and tidy I decided to make some crayon rolls using the tutorial over at The Pleated Poppy . As always my first step is a trip to the fabric store. I brought the oldest with because I know he can be picky about patterns. I also picked up a bit of rick rack to try and trim it, and over-sized buttons to wrap the elastic around.

The first was for my daughter I of course the one time I needed it I was unable to find fabric ruler. I took out one of the kids school rulers and attempted to use that. Sadly my cuts were not squared like they should have been, however the crayon roll is functional and still cute. The second attempt I tried to use the rick rack along the outside edge of the crayon roll. The rick rack created a bit of a challenge, it looks cute but isn’t even. I have one more to make to house the oldest colored pencils. For that one I’ll be trying the tutorial over at You Go Girl. As always here are the obligatory pictures of the first two I made.