Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pants with piping-in progress

A kids' boutique is opening in my area, and they were advertising for crafters to consign their wares. I started working on a few ideas, and am currently trying a pair of boy's pants with piping. I've never worked extensively with piping before, and while it is a bit of a pain to make sure the original stitches are hidden, it's a lot easier than I expected.

The problem I'm having is that since I'm not working from a pattern, I'm unsure what measurements to use! I usually make everything customized for my children (my son has a big belly and butt, and is short; my daughter is very tall, with a ridiculously skinny waist) I hope it ends up being ok. I am only making things for this boutique that my children can wear if it doesn't sell, so I don't waste materials or time.

My waistband ended up being very uneven, and so to keep the integrity of the pockets, I'm going to have to make an attached waistband (PITA! especially on kid clothes)

Here's a sneak peek of the pants. So far, they're not really worth making to sell-it's taking me way too much time to figure out! But my hope is that it becomes easier and quicker with practice, because these are looking really cute so far.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Making hot process soap in the crock pot

getting to trace

Thanks to a friend, I was able to make soap this weekend. Two things you'll really want to buy or borrow to make soap-an immersion blender and a kitchen scale. The scale is a necessity-recipes are listed by weight, not volume. The blender isn't a necessity, but unless you want to stir by hand until soap reaches trace (which could take an hour!), you'll want this. It takes less than 10 minutes to reach trace.

There are a ton of recipes online, and if you want to make your own, you HAVE to run it through a lye calculator. This makes sure there won't be any active lye in your soap to burn your skin.

I didn't bother taking steps of the whole process, because there are a ton of sites with tutorials on them.

My recipe was a mix of mostly olive oil, coconut oil, and vegetable shortening (because I ended up not having as much coconut oil as I thought). I added some cocoa butter, honey, and fragrance after cooking it. It was originally going to be frankincense and myrrh, but I forgot I needed to melt the cocoa butter and that cooked off the fragrance, so instead these are plum spice.

Hot process is so easy. The soap will be ready to use as soon as it is cooled, although the longer you let it sit (with air flow around the bars), the harder and more cured it will be. It's not as fine or pretty as cold process, but not having to let it sit for six weeks or longer before use is better for me.

These will be nice to have on hand for holiday gifts. Who doesn't like a nice scented bar of homemade soap?

Cooked soap

In the mold cooling off
Saturday, October 15, 2011

KCWC Days 4, 5 and 6-mistakes and adding long sleeves

Days 4 and 5 were spent making pj pants for the Zboy. I had lost my pattern that I used to make his rocket pants, so I retraced...and made an error somewhere. Of course, I had thought I would get fancy and make 2 pairs at once. So they are both too small. I'm in the middle of remeasuring and cutting them down for Zgirl.
Day 6, I cheated a little and made a shirt for Zboy's Halloween costume. He's going as Harry (from the book Harry and Horsie-Zgirl is going as an adaptation of Horsie) I took a plain white T, added black long sleeves underneath, and an H applique. I love upcycling-the black knit is from an old tanktop of mine that no longer fits. Even better, I used the existing hem so I didn't have to hem the sleeves. This is a fantastic way to lengthen the use of kid clothes! Take a short sleeve shirt you love, add some long sleeves, and new shirt! I even saw a tutorial online where they added the same fabric used for the sleeves as a band at the bottom of the shirt.

Just trace a sleeve shape, sew it along the seam, and pin inside the existing sleeve. Pin it wrong side to wrong side. Here I didn't, and didn't realize until I sewed it. Ripping out seams from knits sucks.

Here is the right way.

I used the stretch elastic seam (looks like a lightning bolt) to sew it in place. It's not very obvious. I could have made it less obvious by using a double needle and sewing over the existing hem, but I was feeling lazy.
Thursday, October 13, 2011

KCWC Day 2 and 3 results-men's dress shirt to girl's dress

The before shot (well, after removing collar before shot)

I have as yet to get Zgirl in this, so forgive the not great pics. I used the tutorial at Girl. Inspired.
I lost the pocket that was on the shirt, which I was planning to put back on in a different spot, so now I'm not sure what to do. The dress needs something more, so I'm trying to think of a fun applique or ribbon or something I can add to it. Ideas welcome!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

KCWC Day 1 results-adult T to baby dress

I procrastinated a lot, played on Pinterest way too much, but finally was inspired to make this quickie adult T to baby dress.

I traced a shirt of Zgirl's to get the basic shape, and then cut apart my adult T. I decided to save the sleeves and just cut them a bit smaller. I cut my pieces out, and left them the length of the shirt (because I really liked the original hem) Somehow, things got wonky and the front was way shorter than the back, so I just trimmed off the back. This was a short sleeve shirt-I just cut out pieces of a knit (don't you love that print?) and attached them under the hem of the short sleeve to make it long sleeve.

It's not perfect by any means, but I was pretty impressed that I went from idea to finished product in about an hour. Having a serger helps.

Monday, October 10, 2011

KCWC 2011

Today is the first day of the KCWC! Unfortunately, I didn't prepare ahead of time like I had planned, so I'm just going to wing it.
Which doesn't work when your fabric hides from you! Where are you, ribbing? All the projects I want to do need you!
I have a tshirt cut out for Zgirl, and some flannel to maybe make some pjs for Zboy, and perhaps a dress for Zgirl. If I can find my ribbing, I wanted to make each of them a sweatshirt/matching pants combo.
Are you sewing for KCWC? What do you have planned?
Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sensory table-first of the season!

Well, it's getting cooler outside, which means the sand/water table is turning over to the winter use as a sensory table.

Our fall tub includes-scratch grain (from our chicken supply, and they will get it when we're done), hickory nuts, black walnuts, some felt fall stickers, and some sunflower seeds. I had a metal container sitting around, so that went in, along with a berry picking basket, a scoop, and some other things for them to sift and sort.

Both kids were very into it-this is Zgirl's first time really interacting with a sensory tub as she was too young last year. It gave me a peaceful half hour to fold laundry =)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Felt face board

I've seen this idea all over Pinterest- a felt board that is for faces! A little boy I know is turning 1, and while this is a bit ahead for a 1 year old, I think he'll still enjoy it (and so will his older brother)

I had DaddyG cut a thin piece of plywood, which I covered with a big piece of felt. I used tacky glue for the surface and hot glue around the edges and back. The back...doesn't look so great, but no one will look at that (hopefully!) I suggest you leave the pieces much larger on the back than I did, so you can fold them and glue them easier.

I cut out a face piece, and hot glued that on. Then I just thought of different things to make. I made several pairs of eyes, and many hairstyles, noses, lips, mustaches and other things. The hardest part was trying to come up with those, so I have included lots of pictures of all of them.

Zboy had great fun testing this for me, so I'm planning to make one for him and one for his sister. I made this small enough that it would be a great travel toy as well.

I sewed the pouch (I should have lined it, but I ran out of time, so it was a quickie) so there would be a place to store all the pieces. I need a good way to keep the pouch and board together. I didn't think hotgluing it to the back was a good option, so I'm still thinking.
Monday, October 3, 2011


Since Harry and Horsie has been such a hit in our household (so much so that Zboy is getting that and Cookiebot for his birthday), I decided to have those be the inspiration for our Halloween costumes as well. I was trying to work with what I had on hand, rather than run out and buy a lot of fabric, so these are, as I said, inspired by the book (ie I am just calling them Harry and Horsie and they probably won't look anything like it!)
I used the woodland animal costume from Running with scissors. Remember Zboy's wolf? This pattern is so customizable and easy to follow. I did an even better job with it this time (especially the zipper!) Horsie is so far missing her ears, but I had a few mishaps trying to use some pink broadcloth cotton for the inner ear, and am waiting until I can get some felt to sew those suckers on. Zgirl isn't a fan of the hood-I think it's a bit heavy with all the yarn.
Cute, though, anyway. And warm, which is important, as it's starting to get chilly out there. Next up is turning Zboy into Horsie, and their red wagon into a rocket (I've enlisted DaddyG's help for that)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

one of the handiest things about sewing...

is being able to tailor your clothes to fit! Specifically, Zboy's clothes, for the most part. He is a very chunky little boy, and pretty short. He needs 4T pants, but they are about 5" too long for him! So I either make his pants, or just fix ones we buy.
The biggest thing to remember is to leave extra so you can let it down later. I hemmed his pants last year, and left at least 1/2" extra (tucked into the hem) to let down for this year. It's perfect! (At least for the ones that still fit in the waist!)

This is something our grandparents and their parents (etc. etc.) used to do-make things last, and I think as a whole, we've really gotten away from that. It obviously won't work if your kid shoots up like a weed, but with the buttonhole elastic in pants now, you can always buy a size up, tighten them as much as they go, hem the bottoms-and you should have pants that will last a couple of years.

It's very easy, and even a beginner sewer is capable of doing this. You just need to measure carefully, cut straight, iron using a seam gauge, and sew a straight line.
Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wolf costume

I was lucky enough to be selected as a pattern tester for the new woodland animals pattern that was made by Jess of Running with scissors. I have followed her blog for a while on my RSS feed, and I always love the creative things she posts. If you don't already follow her, you definitely should!

The pattern will be on sale Monday (9/19) and even if you're a beginner sewer, this is a great pattern. The zipper, gusset, and hood are the parts that might give you issues if you're a beginner, but her photos and instructions are very clear. I love PDF patterns because with 2 little ones, it's hard to get to the store and have time to look at all the patterns. I also love supporting other people, rather than a huge corporation.

It took me 2 nights of working to finish this (from printing the pattern to finishing the sewing) This one was for Zboy. I was pleased with how it turned out, only I need to finish the top of the zipper in a better way, and I used the wrong kind of zipper. I wasn't looking at the type, only size and I grabbed a "sport" zipper, which comes completely off (like for a jacket) Oh well, I wasn't going back!

I've got the fabric to make one for Zgirl as well, with some changes. For her, I'll make the gusset bigger for her cloth diaper booty, and I'll make the tail smaller and shorter and not as weighted.

He's a ferocious wolf.
See those claws?

Running away into the wild
Sunday, August 28, 2011

Two heads are better than one...finally finished and hung

A while back, I made the "two heads are better than one" wall hanging quilt from Whip up! Mini quilts. Having issues with my machine led it to sit gathering dust, until I got my new machine and quilted it. After finishing the art quilt for the swap, I realized binding wasn't that hard (ha!) and proceeded to finish this quilt. The binding did not go so well this time! First, I used my bias tape foot for 1/2" binding. That ended up being too small, so I made 3/4" binding by hand (just pressing it with my iron). It ended up being a bit wonky, but I stitched it on anyway. It ended up being way small on the front (I didn't adjust my seam allowance for the larger binding) and so then is huge on the back. Oh well, you don't see that! A solid color binding may have been a better choice as well.
I sewed on a sleeve, and my handy husband cut a dowel rod to fit and nailed it to the wall (the rod, not the quilt)
Another bummer, I realized the 2 different whites I used in the skull are actually 2 different shades. Good thing my son is only 2 and doesn't care =)

Currently, I'm working on compiling resources to start a very loose type of play based homeschooling with my 2 year old (soon to be 3). Pinterest is so amazing for this. I have found so many good resources.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First art quilt

I belong to a wonderful swap group, where we swap items for nature tables, made from natural materials (ie no acrylic felt or yarn, instead cotton or wool is used). Recently, they deviated and had a 1 on 1 swap (usually it's a group thing) for wall hangings. I was paired with a mama who does felted wool things, so I'm really excited to see what I get.
I've been working (for a lot longer than I expected, actually) on this quilt and it's finally done, with the exception of adding a hanging sleeve. I didn't know you were supposed to add them before the binding. Whoops!
It was my first attempt at free motion quilting, which is a lot, lot harder than I thought it would be. Since my skills were not so great, I used matching thread in the needle and bobbin, instead of using thread in the bobbin that matched the backing fabric. This way, mistakes on the front would be less noticeable. As it's intended to be a wall hanging, I think it's ok that all my stitches are obvious on the back.

I really hope she likes it-and if she doesn't, I'm asking her to return it to me, because I LOVE it.

What do you think? Too plain? Not sewn well enough? AMAZING? (Please pick the last! LOL)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Get a Swiffer duster!

I signed up for mine today! Get a free Swiffer 360 duster at Vocalpoint today!

I always love to get free things that I might actually use. I could really use a decent duster that doesn't just knock dust in your face. I'll let you know how it works once I get it.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011


completely inspired by Prudent Baby's fiesta

We were working with a tight budget, and made most of the things for Zgirl's first birthday fiesta.

For food, we had all the ingredients to make your own burrito, bean dip, Spanish yellow rice, fruit salsa with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips, and guacamole. The cake was tres leches with a dulce de leche "frosting".
I made some quickie papel picados from construction paper.
Coffee filter flowers-we used the leftover dye from the cascarones to dye most of these. There are a lot of tutorials online, but we just kind of winged it. Dyed the filters, folded them into quarters and cut random shapes from the edges, and twisted them around pipe cleaners.
Birthday and name bunting, along with a pic from each month.
My mom made a quickie papel picado banner from sheets of tissue paper.
After cascarones. I didn't get any pics of them before we busted them, but they're just dyed eggs filled with confetti, and the hole is sealed with matching tissue paper. We made our own confetti using magazine pages, and the pieces we cut from the dyed coffee filters.

An after shot of the cascarone insides.

She didn't care for the cake, but she loved the ice cream!
Zboy loved the cake and ice cream.

I didn't get any great pics of Zgirl in her party dress, but it was based off this mini boden dress tutorial. The sugar skull fabric was perfect for the theme. I sized it down, added a few more rows of shirring than the tutorial asked for and some hot pink rick rack. Not my best work, but it was very fast.

We played pin the tail on the donkey, which went surprisingly well, considering it was mostly 2 and 3 year olds. Zgirl got some Gymboree bubbles (have you tried these? SO worth the $$, I found them hours later!) and everyone had fun with that.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Since we had all of 2 people enter the giveaway, you had a 50/50 chance of winning! I used random.org and got #8, which was KC! I've contacted you and will get the water bottle adapter in the mail tomorrow (as long as the PO is open-some Sat. they aren't open for some reason!)
Thanks for entering!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On goodie bags

I know that goodie bags are falling out of favor, but as long as they don't have candy and are age appropriate, I like them! I'm trying to come up with something to give away for Zgirl's birthday party. I'm working with a limited (read=practically no) budget, so I'm looking for something I either have the materials for, or are inexpensive (no OTC, I don't have time to order)
Some ideas I've had include-
homemade finger paints (but I have nothing to put them in. I've seen them in baby food jars, but I don't know anyone who has any and I won't buy the food just for the jars)
homemade playdough (again, how do I present? I don't want to use Ziplocs)
melted crayons made into new ones in a mold (I'd have to buy a mold, because the only small one I have is skulls, and again, what to present them in?)
silly putty-this would be perfect if I had kept any of our Easter eggs around

Help? What have you made for goodie bags? What would you like to get? Would it be better to get nothing? It's a party for kids that are 3 and younger, and there will only be a few.
Friday, July 22, 2011

Harry and Horsie book review

Harry and Horsie by Katie Van Camp and Lincoln Agnew

This is the current favorite book at our house. It was featured at story time at the library (with a theme of bubbles) and Zboy was entranced. It has a horse, rockets, and bubbles-all things he loves. It has fantastic illustrations, and a wonderful story. When researching it, I saw they have also done another book, "Cookiebot-A Harry and Horsie adventure". That will be going on our wish list as well.
This is a book I would definitely recommend buying if your child like any of those things, and if you're a fan of vintage comic-type illustrations. Zboy will love getting it for his birthday.
Thursday, July 21, 2011

Green sprouts/ I play babywear product reviews +my first giveaway

I was invited to a focus group for a business that is based out of Asheville. The business is Green Sprouts/ I play babywear. It was a fun time-we brought our kids, talked about our favorite baby products, and got to weigh in on different ideas the company is contemplating. The company makes eco-friendly items that are perfect for parents looking for natural items.
The best part is that we got a goodie bag full of Green Sprouts products! I'm not much for disposable products, but if I was, these would be my choice. They're petroleum free, and free of other harsh chemicals, and are made from plants. The only negative is that they're made in China. If they were made in the US, they'd get full approval from me!
(I wasn't told to do a review or offer a giveaway-this is all on my own merit :) I wouldn't positively review anything that I didn't like even if I did get it free!)
Some of the products I was given include:
the aqua bottle

I actually already had one of these bottles, and I was really happy to get another, because my kids fight over the one we have. We have Kleen Kanteens with sippy lids, but they much prefer this one with a straw.
"New interchangeable design! BPA free! Bright colored polypropylene bottle with fun print and straw top with sliding lid. Contour shape makes bottle easy to hold. Dishwasher safe. 12 oz. Size: Stage 4/5 (24 mo-2 yr+)"
For the price ($7.99), you can't beat it. I definitely recommend this bottle for younger children (Zgirl is almost 1, and Zboy is almost 3, but they both love it.)

We got some disposable (but can be reused up to 10 times if washed in the dishwasher, more if washed by hand) snack cups, plates/bowls, and silverware.

Again, I don't like disposable products, but I DO like the price ($5.99) for each set, and that they are still reusable. I wouldn't fret if I left these somewhere. They are all made from plants, which is really neat. I especially liked the plate/bowl set, as they screw together, so you can keep things contained while traveling!

Next up is a pack of disposable placemats. We don't eat out much, and I am not much of a germaphobe, so I probably wouldn't use these much. However, they're much better than the plastic options (these are tree-free!) available at big box stores. They even come with soy crayons so the kids can color while they wait. Again, the price is right ($5.99)

This is a product I really like, and can see myself using a lot-a disposable compressed wipe, with a container that can be hooked onto your keychain. It's only $2.99 and a pack of 30 refill wipes is available for $5.99.

You just slowly pour water onto the wipe, and it expands. I hate carrying around a big thing of wipes for messes, so this seems really handy, and compact. The only downside is you need water to use it. Antibacterial and hypoallergenic!

We got a set of sea friends bath toys. I don't like most bath toys because they seem full of gross chemicals and are cheaply made. These are very nice quality, and there's enough for two to share. My one year old did try to eat them (as she does with everything) but they're fairly sturdy and just show teethmarks. $8.99

I got this bottle cap adapter.

Personally, I'll probably never use this, because I don't buy bottled water. We always use reusable bottles, and on the off chance we buy bottled water, my kids can just drink from it as is. That's why I want to pass it to someone who will use it!

Overall, I really like what the company stands for-safe toys for children. They sell a lot of clothing items too, but I can't review those as I didn't receive any and haven't bought any. If you live in Asheville, they have sample sales once in a while (that always seem to happen when I'm broke!) that offer the opportunity to try products at a great discount. These products are sold in Greenlife and Earth Fare locally.

What do you think? Do you already own any of their products? Are they something you would use?
How about a giveaway for the bottle cap adapter?(fyi, it's not apparent because the picture shows 2 tips. This is the toddler cap-it turns it into a sippy top-it's not a nipple) I'll cover shipping if you live out of state. Just leave a comment telling me your favorite iplay/Greensprouts product.
Get an extra entry if you follow me on Google! (leave an extra comment)
Get another entry if you send it to friends or share on FB/Google+/whatever. (leave an extra comment)
Get another entry if you +1 this page! (leave an extra comment)
Contest ends July 28th at 9 pm. We're using the honor system here, people! If you enter extra times, I'll trust that you're doing what I've asked. =) I don't want to check up on people. I think we're all basically honest.

Blog Template by YummyLolly.com