Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hooded Bath Towel

I came across these oh-so-adorable and 0h-so-girly towels at HomeGoods the other day (you know how much I love that store!). As soon as I saw them, I knew they were the perfect towels to use for the hooded towel I've been wanting to make for Taylor. She's got a serious infatuation with all things polka-dot right now. So I scooped 'em up, brought 'em home, followed this tutorial, and Taylor had a handmade hooded towel in no time! It was such a quick and easy project!

Tip: I highly recommend you use a walking foot aka even feed foot, if you choose to use plush, thick towels for this project. At one point I was sewing through 5 layers of the towel and it would have been quite a challenge (if not impossible) to sew through that thickness of fabric without a walking foot.

The best part of finishing this project is no more tears and shivers when my girl gets out of the tub! She's bundled all nice and cozy and loves her new "jacket".

Another Tip: This would be a great gift for a summer birthday. Wrap it in a beach bag with some beach toys and you've got a simple, inexpensive and FUN gift!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Handprint Plaque

This is what Taylor and I made Daddy and Grandpa for Father's Day (distant Grandpas, don't worry you'll get one, too!). We made the clay and then simply pressed Taylor's hand in it to get the impression. This clay is really cool! You can store it in an airtight container and keep it as soft clay or make sculptures with it and let it air dry and it will harden. Very inexpensive gift idea. And...Grandpa said the magic words that a handmade gift is the best kind of gift!

I got the recipe from Preschool Art, but there is a very similar recipe here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Flannel Fabric Love

I'd been eyeing this floral flannel for awhile on my trips to JoAnn's. I just wasn't sure what I would make with it. Um...silly me!!! I live in flannel pajama pants in the winter! Once I made my lounge pants, it dawned on me that I just had to have a pair of lounge pants made with this floral flannel! The polkadot flannel is for the trim of the pants! Again, I refuse to pay full price for fabric, so I continued to admire the fabric as I walked the aisles at JoAnn's. Then, when the latest JoAnn's flyer came in the mail, I saw the flannel was on sale for $2.49/yd!!! That's 58% off the regular price! It was finally time for me to make the big purchase!!! So, the flannel now has a cozy home in my fabric stash until the weather cools and it will be lovingly sewn into a cozy pair of jammie pants for me!!! And yes, I got enough to make my girl a matching pair! :)

And, speaking of girls...I took advantage of the flannel sale and picked up this baby girl flannel. One of my very dear friends is pregnant with a baby girl and I plan to use this fabric to make some burp cloths and soft baby blocks, as a baby gift for her.

Monday, June 22, 2009

More Fabric Love

This fabric is from a local quilting store. I'm in love with their selection of designer fabrics and gorgeous patterns. But, with an abundance of JoAnn's coupons, and limited funds, I really can't justify paying full price for the designer fabric's they offer. BUT...I went in the other day just to torture myself...I mean to browse the fabric selection and I came across a clearance bin..and I couldn't resist this bundle of 10 - 1/2 yards of fabrics. The prints are just adorable and the color combos are right up my alley!! These fabrics are perfect for some projects I plan to do for Taylor.

The fabric below is probably my favorite of the stash. Although, really, do I have to pick a favorite? I'm in love with them all!

Ya'll know how much I love flowers and butterflies. Geez...when I did I become so girly? I think my girly-girl brings out my own girly-ness.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Canvas Flowers - A Mini Tutorial

I was inspired by this post by my friend Jen, and wanted to create a flower bouquet for my craft room (as though I need one more thing in my craft room, but that's another post for another day!). I started by cutting felt flowers but quickly decided I wasn't achieving the look I was going for. I decided canvas was the perfect medium. So here's how I made these:


  • Cricut and George & Basic Shapes Cartridge (optional)
  • a piece of raw canvas - I used a piece about 12x12 (also known as duck cloth - available from a fabric store)
  • acrylic paint in your choice of colors
  • coordinating buttons
  • embroidery needle and embroidery thread
  • wooden skewers
  • floral moss (from the dollar store)
  • a flower pot, vase or other container to hold the bouquet
  • floral foam (also from the dollar store)

- I used my Cricut and my George and Basic Shapes cartridge to cut flower shapes out of cardstock in various sizes and 2 different styles of flowers. I used 1.5" and 2" flowers. The cardstock flowers became my template. If you don't have a Cricut, you can use a stencil or cut flower shapes freehand.

- I then set the template on raw canvas (also known as duck cloth) and cut out the flower shapes. You could trace them to make it easier.

- Once I had all my flowers cut (I used three flowers per stem), I arranged them in a way that was pleasing to me. Graduated sizes, and different styles and laid them in rows on cardboard. I wish I had taken a pic! Basically, I have 5 stems, so I had 5 flowers laid out and then 2 other flowers below them so that I wouldn't end up with one stem that had all pink flowers, does that make sense?

- I also cut out small leaves from the canvas (I just did this freehand but, again, you could cut a template and trace it if you find that easier).

- Then I used acryclic paint in my chosen color palette and started painting! In addition to the pink, purple, green and turquoise, I also used white to get varying shades of color on each flower. Be warned...this part is seriously addictive!

- Then I added a bit of glitter by simply smearing some glitter glue on the flowers and leaves.

- I then sewed buttons to the center of the flowers. (Getting the needle through the 3 layers of painted canvas took some effort!)

- To make the stems, I painted wooden skewers green and hot glued some pieces of green wire to the leaves. I then wrapped the wire around the skewer to attach the leaves.

- I filled the pot with floral foam from the dollar store (way cheaper than the craft store), stuck the stems into the foam, and topped it off with the moss...

I think this project is a great gift idea! I made them in just a few hours, and I could make more in less time, now that I know the process. Also, it's such a versatile project because it can be customized to match any decor or color scheme, you can use other fabrics, and any container!

Tip: The flowers alone can be used as embellishments for scrapbook pages and other projects!

Fabric Love - Thrift Store Fabric!!!

I'm loving my latest fabric fact, I've gotten such great deals on fabric lately that this is the first of 3 posts showing my latest fabric loves. So, these first ones are thrift store finds! Yep. This adorable butterflies and flowers fabric that is oh-so-me, was a treasure I stumbled upon at a thrift store last weekend. They are a set of sheets (twin, I think) and I got each sheet for $3.00!!! I have great plans to make more lounge pants out of these! Although, I still need to figure out how to adjust the waist :( or I could learn how to insert an elastic waistband which may prove to be more simple...Below is another shot of this absolutely cute fabric...

Here is another great thrift store find...This was a shower curtain but it will soon be sewn into an ironing board cover. This bold floral print in the bright, cheerful colors is also oh-so-me! I have a soft spot in my heart for anything turquoise! I picked it up for $5.00 (with the shower rings, too!) and it is a very large piece of fabric. They'll be plenty left over for other projects.

Stay tuned for another Fabric Love post tomorrow!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Learning to sew

This project was inspired by Mary Ann Kohl and Amanda Soule. I want to get Taylor more involved in sewing and she likes to "play" with my sewing supplies. So, we tried this simple art project the other day...

Start with the materials in the photo above: paint, paintbrush, cardboard shapes, and a piece of burlap. You'll also need an embroidery needle and yarn or embroidery thread. They make plastic needles that are perfect for little sewers! I got mine at JoAnn's.

Paint the shapes. Take a break while they dry :)

Once they're painted and dried, use a hole punch and punch 2 or 4 holes in the center of the shapes to make cardboard "buttons"

Guide your little one and start sewing by bringing the needle through the back of the fabric and through the hole in the shape.

Be very proud of how quickly your little one catches on!

Taylor was content to sew just one button, but I've got a mindful of ideas now for simple handsewing projects we can do together. This is just the beginning!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Budding Artist

Taylor's been very into drawing, lately. This drawing is similar to many that she's been creating in the last few weeks. About a month ago her circles turned into happy faces and before long, her faces grew arms and legs. I have no idea if this is a typical drawing for a child her age, or not, but Daddy and I were pretty impressed the day she drew a person for the first time!!! In fact, we have the first one in a frame!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Taylor's Apron

I was on an apron kick the weekend I made this apron. I started by making a similar version of the apron above for myself, using the same fabric. But, mine is a little more complex I got the body sewn together and it's been sitting on my dining table ever since. It's waitign patiently for me to add the neck straps, waist ties, pockets, and rick rack trim. In the meantime, I decided I wanted to make a simple apron for Taylor, too with matching fabric. I picked up the fabric on clearance at Kohl's after Christmas. It's actually a tablecloth and I absolutely love it!!!! What d'ya think?I could do a tutorial if you want me to...(I know you're still waiting for the tutorial for my 1/2 apron. I'm sorry. I'm planning to make another one soon and I promise I will post a tutorial!).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Stay tuned...

Sorry I've been a little scarce with my crafty posts...but stay tuned I've got lots to share this week.
I'll be posting about:

- the adorable craft Taylor and I made tonight.
- the sensory project we did yesterday
- the thrift store treasures I picked up today
- the amazing things I found at the dollar store today and my plans for them
- and a fantastic bundle of new fabric

So...stay tuned! I also pledge to actually craft this week! I have soooo many ideas, I need to spend my time crafting, not on the computer getting more ideas! I can't help myself, though...there are just soooo many wonderful blogs out there that I get sucked into! Check out my blog roll to see what I'm reading. What are you're favorites?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Enjoying the silence...

I should be in bed. It's barely 5:00 a.m. I should be sleeping soundly, wrapped in my cozy duvet, oblivious to the pending dawn. But, instead, I awoke and found myself thinking of all kinds of things I wanted to do. Catch up on blogging, tidy my craft space, gather some supplies for soem porjects, order photos on-line, make a few lists...

Weeknights are filled with chatter and getting dinner on the table, bedtime routines and unwinding from the day. Blocks of time, at home, with no one to bother me are rare. So, I decided, I'd get up and make coffee, take advantage of hubby and the monkey still sleeping and start my day. Crazy. I'm not exactly a morning person and I can't remember the last time I was up this early by choice. But, it's kind of nice. Granted, my eyes are still a little droopy and I'm surprised I can string my thoughts together and coordinate my brain with my fingers to actually type this post, but soon I will have a hot cup of coffee in my hands, and I'll be sipping it and simply enjoying the silence and stealing some me time.

What do you do for "me time"? What are the peaceful moments you enjoy?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Preschool Art Storage

If you have a preschooler, you know the masses of artwork they bring home each week. We started storing Taylor's art in a large box when she started preschool a year ago. This week, she moved up to another class, so I decided to compile our favorite pieces into a binder that we will keep. I simply purchased a 2" binder and a pack of 100 page protectors at Target. I also got the adorable Crayola embellishments! I just love the scissors and glue! The coordinating ribbon that looks like a Crayola crayon is adorable! I then used my Cricut and my Base Camp cartridge to cut the letters for the cover. The spine is printed on yellow cardstock with the same title. I cut most of her artwork to fit into the page protectors. I might frame a few other pieces and we will keep some displayed in our "gallery" (I'll post about that sometime soon...).

So, there ya have it! An easy, simple, affordable way to store and cherish your children's artwork.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sensory Activities

I have recently discovered that I have a sensory seeking child. I mean, I've always known that she loves to cuddle, run, spin, jump and dance (constantly). I've always known she's waaaaay more energetic than most kids her age. I've always known that if I put her in water when she's cranky, she transforms into a different person (just like her mama!). I've always known that she will dive right into any messy activity I set up for her. I noticed very early on that as soon as we open a book she has to climb into my lap and be held as I read to her and she has to touch the pictures and turn the pages. I've always known that when we go shopping she wants to touch everything. When we're at home, she loves rough-housing with Daddy and always wants him to toss her in the air. She often pulling at my shirt just for fun and wants to sit in my la as soon as I sit down. She loves bear hugs! Yes, I've always known these things about her personality. What I didn't know, was that all of this combined means that she is a sensory seeker.

What does this all mean? Why am I excited about this discovery? Because....I have realized that when my sweet, adorable, fun-loving 3 year-old becomes an argumentative, aggressive, bratty child who is depleting all my energy, if I engage her in a sensory activity then a calm comes over her, the balance in the universe is restored, birds sing beautiful tunes in my head and I can once again, hear myself think. I gather supplies and introduce her to more sensory activities, I'll be posting them, so if you have a child who is also a sensory seeker you can add these activities to your toolbox and regain your child's sense of inner peace and maintain your sanity! Sensory activities are also good for children who are not sensory seekers, but rather the opposite, and aversions to sensory stimulation. Every day we are exposed to different textures, sounds, sights, and smells. Exposing young children to different sensory experiences can make them more comfortable when faced with different sensory stimulation out in the world.

This realization was sparked by the book Raising Your Spirited Child, but it became clear what a sensory seeker, Taylor is when I read this checklist and read the section on sensory seeking behavior and hyposensitivity to movement. Don't get me wrong, I'm not labeling my child with Sensory Integration Disorder. Her sensory seeking behavior doesn't impair her learning or her daily functioning. This is simply useful for me to see her behavior in this light because it helps me curb her tantrums, give her opportunities to regain her composure and comfort herself.

Taylor loves the sandbox but summer temps can get into the triple digits where we live, so sitting out in the heat watching her play in the sand isn't always ideal. So, the other day I poured some almost empty bags of rice and alphabet pasta into a plastic shoebox. Then I buried some "treasures" for her to find. I buried a pom-pom, a jumbo paperclip, a few large buttons, a safety pin, a crayon, a scrap of ribbon, a plastic ring and an eraser. I then gave her some tongs to use to dig for the treasures and picked them up with.

The next day, I pulled it out and gave her some kitchen utensils to play with. I set up the rice on the floor with a kitchen mat underneath, because it seemed too awkward for her to play at her table and dig into the bucket. Daddy was not too excited about her need to scoop the rice out of the bucket on to the mat. I think that's part of the fun and exploration. We came to a compromise and he used a binder clip to clip 2 tubs together so she could move the rice from one tub to the other. Brilliant!

As you can see, she was enthralled in the activity! I'm keeping the rice tub ready to go in her craft cabinet for easy access.

Do you have a child who is a sensory seeker? One with sensory aversions? What sensory activites do you do with your kids? I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Amy Butler Wide Leg Lounge Pants

These pants were a labor of love. And frustration. I'll call these my lounge pants, but I've been working on them for 3 days!!! OK, not 3 full days, but I started them mid-day Sunday and have been working on them in my free time since then. Probably a total of 12-14hrs. Maybe more? I've been calling them my never-ending pants. I felt like I'd never finish them. These pants were one of the first projects I wanted to do when I started sewing. I was soooo intimidated by the pattern, though. It's from Amy Butler's In stitches. A very beautiful, inspiring book. Had I followed the pattern in the book, my pants wouldn't have trim at the waistband or the cuffs. As for the strip of contrasting fabric down the side, well I am blessed with childbearing hips and a narrow waist, so when I selected the size medium based on my hip measurements, somehow, the pants seemed too snug around the hips so I added the extra fabric at the sides. Fortunately, I realized this before I had sewn them together, thanks to my friend, Jen, who guided me through the project and held the pieces together as I tired to figure out sizing.

So, I'll be honest and say that had I followed the pattern it may have been easier. I'm not the best at following patterns though. I pretty much figure things out as I go along. In general, I often do things the hard way! So, in making this project I learned many lessons that I'll share with you as well as a few tidbits about my process:

1) Read the pattern and instructions thoroughly before starting a project.

2) If I want my project to look like the picture, it helps to know if the pattern reflects the picture! (in this case, the picture in the book has contrasting fabric trim on the waistband and on the trim - like mine do - but the pattern is not written to include trim at the waist and cuffs. So, I had the joys of teaching myself how to add the trim.

3) I learned to use the buttonhole feature on my sewing machine!!!!!

4) The divine designer, Amy Butler, notes a seam ripper in the list of materials. She instructs to use it to open the buttonholes once they are sewn. I used it to rip more than just the buttonholes. I think I ripped open half the seams I stitched. As I said, I'm not so good at following patterns.

5) I ran out of top thread for the first time on a sewing project. I didn't have anymore of the pale pink, so half of my pants are sewn with white thread. (I didn't use all the pink thread on this project, I've used that thread on several projects).

6) I can finally sew in Taylor's presence!!!! This is the first project that she's let me work on without getting all up in my business!

7) I need to learn how to adjust patterns to accommodate my narrow waist but not so narrow hips.

And, finally... as frustrating as this project was at times (again, only because I insisted I wanted the to be like the picture!), they were worth all the effort. I absolutely LOVE them! As for the fabric, it's from a 400 thread King size sheet set I got on clearance from Marshall's for about $14. They are so incredibly comfy!

When I put them on after they were finished, Taylor lit up and said "I want to wear those!". That's great because I'm making her a matching pair!