Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baby Bibs

I made a few bibs this past week using the “Myrtle the Turtle” bib tutorial I posted forever ago. IMG_4406 Though these bibs do not have Myrtle on them, I think they turned out really well. I used some super cute fabric I had sitting around. IMG_4414
I have listed them for sale in my Etsy Shop. Check them out. I listed more foam stamps, too. IMG_4412
This is an example of my packaging and business card. IMG_4415
I have two more bibs I’ll share later this week. Or sometime.

Monday, February 27, 2012

DIY Hat Tutorial

Hats for young babies are very straight forward to cut and stitch. They just require two pieces of fabric and a brim. I’ve made a lot of those with this tutorial.
However, I’ve always struggled when trying to make hats for older children and adults. Using the same method as the baby hats yields an ill-fitting product, in my opinion.
The hats I’ve bought seem to have this extra seam to keep them from looking too tight or loose around the seam.
I cracked the code for making seamed adult hats. Here’s how I made this cute fleece hat for myself.
Disclaimer: My pictures for this tutorial were taken in waning afternoon light. So they aren’t my best.
I started by taking a hat that fit me and folding it into quarters. I folded my fabric into quarters, too. (Kind of like you’re making a chain of paper dolls.)
This is a picture of the fabric folded into quarters:
I traced and then cut around the hat quarter. Here’s a visual of how your fabric should look. Kind of like a crown. Don’t worry. It’ll turn out a-ok!
Next, fold the fabric together, right sides together, matching up the points.
Sew up the side. Pivot your machine’s foot and then continue up the ‘triangle’ and stop when you get within 1/2” of the tip.
Then you’ll sew the opposite triangle. And finally, finish the last two triangular sides. Sew over the peak of the hat to close the tip.
Next, I added some blue fabric inside the brim. I did this so I wouldn’t have to hem the hat and also to add some warmth around the ears. I used the hem of a t-shirt so it would have a factory finished edge. I cut two 4” pieces to the width needed and sewed them with wrong sides together at the edges. (This way the seams will be on the inside of the hat and not touching your ears!)
I then pinned the blue inner brim to the base of the outer hat fabric with right sides together. I sewed it into place.
After it is sewn on, this is what the outside of the hat will look like. IMG_3881
Turn the hat wrong-side out. Fold the blue brim up toward the hat’s crown. Sew into place.
This is what the right side of the hat will look like. If you use fleece, it will help to hide the seam.
Here’s what the inside looks like:
I added a cute little flower. I love yellow and gray together, so I cut a few pieces of grey knit scraps into irregular shapes.
I stacked the shapes and sewed them together in the middle with embroidery floss.
IMG_3891 IMG_3897
That’s it! You can make a hat of any size using this tutorial. (All you need is a hat that already fits.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Displaying & Organizing Greeting Cards

I love getting cards in the mail. However, they can be a disaster to display if you have too many. A display dilemma we experienced this year at Christmas was that many of then cards we received were picture cards that didn’t stand up.

This was my solution: IMG_3653I hung a length of t-shirt yarn (I used that because I didn’t have any regular string!) and used clothespins to secure each card to the length of yarn. I secured the t-shirt yarn to the bottom of my cabinets using tumb tacks. IMG_3652

After a holiday/birthday is over, what do you do with your cards? I used to put them into a shoebox. But this year, I decided to punch holes into all our cards and make a book. IMG_4203 My little boy loves looking at his birthday cards. IMG_4204This allows us to enjoy them more easily than we would if they’re in a shoe box! I’ve also started saving birth announcements from friends this way.

My son especially loves looking at Elmo.IMG_4205

Monday, February 20, 2012

Running. Time. Life.

I ran a 5k this weekend. It wasn’t just any old 5k. This 5k was inside a limestone mine! It isn’t a working mine, but it is use for storage. (It was very structurally sound. No worries there.) I actually got a PR (personal record, meaning I ran my fastest time ever.) 24 minutes, 44 seconds. But that’s not why I’m writing about it.

The course began in a huge cement room echoing with lots of noise from 530+ people. A garage door opened and we started running into a narrower, more dimly-lit hallway with limestone-looking walls and ceilings. The course started changing elevation and we started descending down into the mine. The lighting changed to sporadic bulbs and the floor quickly turned to gravel. It got chilly. (I soon regretted my last-minute choice to shed my outer layer and run in a tank top and shorts and would’ve gladly accepted a pair of gloves!)

Anyway, as we snaked through the mine’s cavern and past various boats and RVs stored there, the walls were open, save a few sizable limestone pillars holding up the mine’s ceiling. As I ran, through the open walls, I could see fellow runners ahead or behind. Seeing these other runners ahead or behind served as a great analogy for me.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could go back to a different point in your life? Conversely, have you ever wanted to fast forward your life so you could reach a different life stage right now? Obviously, I would never trade my current life (my husband & boys) but sometimes I wonder if I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, could I have a more meaningful presence in my high school? Could I have been kinder, harder working, not have quit band, learned more?

If I could go back to my college years, could I have chosen a different school? A different major? Different activities? Been a better tennis player? Would any of these things make me a better person? Give me a better life?

Now, I never struggle with having a toddler. (Heavy sarcasm.) Actually, I’ve been struggling for a few weeks with my two year old…I think he’s going through a difficult stage since his little brother garners much of the attention. In fact, I am COMPLETELY tired of my two-year old demanding things from me all day long (despite being hard at work all day long on developing manners).

I have heard some moms say they can’t wait until their baby can talk. Or walk. Or crawl. Or their kid goes to pre-school. Or kindergarten. Yet, there are tons of other moms with grown kids who come up to me in the grocery store or the library and tell me they wish they could go back to when their kids were young!

So what is the point to all of this? Running through the mine, I thought about how I can’t skip ahead in the race to meet up with the people ahead of me. I can’t fast-forward my life to skip potty training my kiddos. I can’t rewind my life to pick a new major in college, a different prom date, or enjoy and benefit my mom cooking and cleaning up the kitchen every night (that I vastly under appreciated at the time. Thanks, mom. It’s a lot of work.)

All I can do is run hard. Now. As well as I can. Because life goes fast. It’s ok to look at the other people running ahead or behind. But if I wish I were at a different point in the race, I’ll lose focus on where I am now. And if I lose focus, I might become distracted, or worse, dismayed, at how I performed during a past part of my race. I’m not saying it’s never ok to reflect. But the only thing I can control is how I spend my time today.

So, how are you spending your time? In a month, a year, a decade, if you reflect on this part of your life, will you be satisfied that you ran well?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cream of ‘_______’ Soup Mix

I’m on Pintererst. I like having a place to save good ideas. I don’t always get a chance to do all my ideas I save. But I found this idea for making a mix to use for cream of chicken, mushroom, or celery soup. Make a batch of this “Cream of _____” powdered soup and you’ll be able to use it every time you want to make a recipe that calls for a can of cream soup. IMG_4191IMG_4189

1 cup non-fat dried milk

3/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup bouillon

4 Tablespoons freeze dried minced onions

1 T Italian Seasoning

1 teaspoon pepper

For the equivalent of one can of condensed cream soup, mix 1/3 cup dry mix with 1 1/4 cup water. Cook until thick.

IMG_4190 IMG_4192

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Etsy Shop

Check out my newly renovated Etsy site. I love making crafts for my boys and I had this idea to make some simple boy-themed stamps. They'd be fun to use for stamping clothing (like I've done for projects seen here, here, and here) or for cards and scrapbooking.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Desk Chair Reupholstery: Before & After

This project is one I began a few months ago (in November!?!) We garbage-picked this desk chair way back when we lived in Ohio. (See my prior post on garbage-picking.) We lived in a neighborhood where people would often put items out on their lawn that they no longer wanted but were in good shape. But I still call it garbage-picking because it seems funny.
There wasn’t really anything wrong with the chair before I recovered it…but I wanted it to be something special and add some interest to our kitchen.
desk chair before and after
I did use quilting-weight cotton. I ironed some fusible fleece to the back of the fabric to make it [hopefully] more durable.
To get started, I detached the back and seat from the chair using a drill. Then I removed the plastic pieces covering the staples securing the fabric. After that, I removed the staples and the fabric to get to the chair’s foam padding.
This project would’ve been super simple if I hadn’t cracked the plastic seat bottom and seat back when I was taking the original black fabric off of the chair. The plastic was what hid the staples securing the fabric to the chair. To do the top of the seat and front of the back rest, I just stapled the fabric to each wood piece (similar to what I did for the first steps of this rocking chair). IMG_4141IMG_4121
However, as you can see, I had to cover the back of the chair with fabric and blue trim/piping. This required getting out my ply-grip and doing the same process I used for the rocking chair reupholstery. However, I have a better stapler this time (it is just a manual stapler) but I didn’t have to use upholstery tacks this time like I did for prior projects!
IMG_4138IMG_4136I also used the ply-grip for the bottom. IMG_4142 IMG_4122 I won the fabric from Sew, Mama, Sew about 2 years ago! I am so glad to finally have used [some] of it. My wonderful husband and dad made this desk. Our house has a little alcove in the kitchen and so they just built in this super cute desk. [They would want me to note that it still needs some trim around the edges. But I’m using and enjoying it as is!]
IMG_4137 IMG_4140 I am so glad the chair is done. It took me forever, but turned out well! Looking back, using a quilting-weight light colored cotton print wasn’t the smartest choice for the kitchen!
I did use two coats of Scotch Guard in an attempt to protect my hard work.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Transforming Short Sleeved Onesies into Long Sleeves

It has been really hard to find long sleeve onesies for my littlest guy. He has lots of outfits with long sleeves and hoods, but I don't like putting him down for naps in a hooded outfit. I transformed some of his short sleeved onesies into long sleeved ones.

I started by measuring one of his existing long sleeved outfits. (He's in 9 or 12 month sized clothing.) The sleeve length needs to be about 9". The short sleeved onesies have about a 2" sleeve; so I needed a 7" sleeve extension.

I used some old t-shirt scraps. I wanted to use the factory hems for the hem of the sleeve. I cut two 7" x 7" squares.

This is what they look like:

Before sewing up the sleeve, I checked the seam allowance and marked it with a pin. I didn't want it to be too narrow or wide for the original sleeve.

After stitching it up, I pressed the seam open. Don't skip this step. Then I turned it right side out and pressed it flat again.

To pin the sleeve into the onesie, roll up the new long sleeve a few times. It's narrow, so this part is difficult. Pin the new sleeve under the seam of the old sleeve. I wanted to sew right along the existing stitching so my new stitches wouldn't be very noticeable.

Sewing the sleeve to the onesie was a tricky step because the opening is extremely small. It didn't fit around the arm of my sewing machine. I was able to scoot the foot and needle through the neck side of the onesie. Be careful not to sew through any other part of the shirt.

Here's the seam. Steam the seam with an iron to flatten it out and you're all finished!