Monday, December 22, 2014

Things I Didn't Do This Christmas

Last year when Deacon was a baby I found this great way of crossing things off of my crazy-long to-do list....

I just didn't do them!

So here's my list of "didn't" so far this year:

I didn't send out Christmas cards.
I have some photo cards for close family that I'll be using as gift tags and the rest will be thank-you notes for gifts.

I didn't make tins full of cookies and treats.
I'm usually really into the baking but this year my list was so long that it just didn't sound fun so I whipped up three bid batches of simple cookies and gave everyone little baggies with one of each kind. Realistically everyone gets so many cookies this time of year that no one minded.

I didn't make even half of the homemade presents I'd planned to.
And I'm ok with that. I mostly did the kids presents because those are the ones I enjoy the most.

Half of my Decorations stayed in the box.
The tree is the part that the kids are really into, they don't really notice the rest. Besides, less to put away next week!

Deacon may not get his stocking made again this year...
I'll admit to not being super thrilled about this one but it's not worth not sleeping some night over. I'm telling myself I'll whip it up in the days after Christmas to be put away for next year, but I said that last time and once Christmas was over I wanted nothing to do with seasonal crafts so we'll see.

You know what though? My kids made cookies, picked presents, decorated the tree, read Christmas books and have been breathlessly counting down the days.  A longer list would have meant less time for those things, or doing them myself without them slowing me down. So I'm ok with my list.
 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy Birthday Dad!

The BIG surprise at our family birthday party last week, was that we made a coffee table for our Dad. Why a coffee table, you ask? Because DJ and Sophie thought it would be fun to bash his current table with mini hockey sticks. Paappa didn't much like the new modification. Our plan was for our family to build it, then bring it to Guelph while our parents were in Sudbury, so that Kathryn's family could finish it and SURPRISE!!! but no, the date of the party was moved around four times until it was finalised. Instead, we (Elijah) built the table, and covered it with a table cloth and candy. We were so sneaky, until a beer was knocked over on it. Off came the table cloth, since the wood wasn't finished and we didn't want beer on the untreated wood... "uhhhh HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!" In the end, it guess it worked out for the best, since he wants it stained a different colour than what we had intended.


 
Plans courtesy on ana white

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Easy DIY's For Baby

 A whole list of them in fact! I put this together for the Sweet Baby Starter Kits site, but thought you might like to see it too. There's a little bit of everything, and nothing's too complicated so it's a good place to start if you're not a confident crafter. I hope you find something you like!


Here's a place to start if you're looking to save some money with diy baby things. Be creative finding materials; old clothes, scrap yarn, thrift stores, you'd be amazed what you can come up with!

Diapering

Sewing your own cloth diapers
http://www.diapersewing.com/

One size cloth diaper tutorial
http://www.adreamcrafter.com/2013/06/how-to-sew-your-own-cloth-diapers-free.html

Make your own pre-folds
http://ifonlytheywouldnap.net/2011/06/23/prefold-cloth-diapers-a-tutorial/

Pre-folds from t-shirts
http://dumbsainthood.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/tutorial-turn-a-mens-t-shirt-into-a-newborn-cloth-diaper/

Or tie dye them, just for fun
http://www.adventuresinfluff.com/2012/05/day-5-ddl-flats-handwashing-challenge.html

Sewn wool diaper covers
http://scrimplythrifty.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/diy-wool-diaper-soakers/

Sewn longies pattern, multiple sizes
http://katrinassqs.blogspot.ca/2008/09/longies-pattern.html

Crochet diaper covers
http://withatangledskein.blogspot.ca/2008/02/little-fire-crochet-soaker-pattern.html

Knit diaper covers
http://diaperpages.com/soaker.php

Cloth wipes tutorial
http://family.thinkingoutsidethesandbox.ca/cloth-diapering-tips-how-to-make-cloth-wipes/

Sew a swim diaper, many sizes
http://www.sewmamasew.com/2011/06/aquarius-swimmer-swim-diaper-tutorial/


Accessories  for baby

Toms inspired baby shoes
http://www.homemadetoast.com/2012/12/toms-inspired-baby-and-toddler-shoes.html

Crochet boy boat shoes
http://www.whistleandivy.com/2013/05/baby-boat-bootie.html

Baby shoes from an old purse
http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2012/02/making-baby-shoes-from-thrifted-purses.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+MakeItAndLoveIt+%28Make+It+and+Love+It%29

Colour block crochet baby mitts, 0-3m
http://www.tangledhappy.com/2013/12/two-tone-baby-mittens-crochet-pattern.html?showComment=1387284723634#c1037469782319195219

Crochet baby mitts 3 sizes
http://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2014/09/warm-baby-mittens.html

Crochet baby socks
http://www.patternsforcrochet.co.uk/baby-socks-usa.html

 Knit crossover booties
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/chaussons-mignons

 T-shirt baby hats, 3 kinds
http://zaaberry.blogspot.ca/2012/08/baby-hats-tutorial-and-pattern.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/qvPvy+%28Zaaberry%29&utm_content=Google+Reader


Accessories for Mama

Reusable breast pads
http://thehealthyhoneys.com/diy-reusable-cloth-breast-pads/

Crochet nursing necklace
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/teething-nursing-necklace

 Diy breastfeeding infinity scarf
http://diaryofamadcrafter.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/diy-breastfeeding-infinity-scarf/?crlt.pid=camp.VOwPGQXJgjY6

Nursing cover
http://prudentbaby.com/2010/01/baby-kid/diy-nursing-cover-2/

 Turn your regular bra into a nursing bra
http://quietudeblog.blogspot.ca/2012/10/new-and-improved-diy-nursing-bra.html

Easy comfy maternity skirt
http://www.craftinessisnotoptional.com/2012/09/comfy-diy-maternity-skirts.html

Maternity support belt
http://sggmom.blogspot.ca/2012/11/diy-maternity-support-belt.html


Sewn baby clothes

Sleep gown from an adult t-shirt
http://www.domesticblisssquared.com/2014/02/diy-baby-gown-from-adult-tee-shirt.html

Newborn sleeper
http://www.touchinglittlelives.org/nbsleeper.html

Knit jammies out of cardigans
http://www.soyouthinkyourecrafty.com/knit-jammies-tutorial/

Easy baby pants
http://ifonlytheywouldnap.net/2013/03/07/easy-diy-baby-pants-tutorial/

Baby leggings pattern in three sizes
http://gotosew.com/2014/02/free-baby-go-to-leggings-pattern/

Sweater leggings
http://belandbeau.com/2012/11/23/diy-target-sweater-turned-baby-pnts/

Baby dresses out of shirts
http://coffeeandbananasblog.blogspot.ca/2011/11/refashion-mens-polo-shirt-to-baby-dress.html?m=1

Turn a girl's stained top into a ruffled shrug
http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2010/06/re-purposing-stained-tshirt-into-shrug.html

Newborn size kimono shirt
http://www.purlbee.com/2012/06/21/mollys-sketchbook-newborn-kimono-shirt/

Baby shorts
http://blog.peekaboopatternshop.com/2012/07/Baby-Shorts-from-Sleeves!.html

0-3 month size sweatshirt pattern
http://leafytreetopspot.blogspot.be/2012/10/lapped-front-infant-hoodie-tutorial-and.html

Fleece jumpsuit, 0-9m
http://www.purlbee.com/2014/01/19/corinnes-thread-fleece-baby-jumpsuit/

 Tiny tunic, 3-6 m
http://icandy-handmade.com/2014/05/diy-tiny-tunic.html


Knit and crochet baby clothes

Crochet newborn sweater
http://ktandthesquid.com/2014/09/01/the-bailey-easy-top-down-free-crochet-pattern/

Crochet newborn dress
http://rhythmofthehome.com/2011/02/newborn-baby-crocheted-dress/

Crochet bear hat pattern, all sizes
http://allicrafts.blogspot.ca/2011/04/free-pattern-fuzzy-bear-hat-with-ears-3.html

Crochet sweater, several sizes
http://panpancrafts.blogspot.ca/2012/06/tutorial-simple-crochet-striped-hooded.html

Knit overalls, several sizes
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/on-the-go-veralls

Knit dress, several sizes
http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring04/PATTanouk.html

Knit sweater, several sizes
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-kimono-9


Baby blankets

Knit 10 stitch blanket, good scrap buster
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ten-stitch-blanket

Crochet granny square blanket
http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/summer-garden-granny-square.html

Diy crib sheet
http://www.danamadeit.com/2008/07/tutorial-crib-and-toddler-bed-sheets.html

No sew fleece blanket
http://craptastickatie.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/hi-my-name-is-katie-im-blanket-aholic.html


 Baby wearing

X-back baby carrier
http://www.lobolita.com/2009/08/x-back-baby-carrier-tutorial/

Water sling
http://www.mamasaywhat.com/diy-mesh-water-ring-sling/

Whole list of baby carrier tutorials
http://tothemoonandbackblog.net/2014/04/the-ultimate-guide-to-free-diy-baby-carrier-tutorials.html


Baby gear

Super absorbent baby bib
http://blog.peekaboopatternshop.com/2012/07/Baby-Shorts-from-Sleeves!.html

Travel chair
http://thismamamakesstuff.com/tutorial-this-mamas-fab-travel-chair/

 Sling bag
http://morningbymorningproductions.blogspot.ca/2012/05/sling-bag-tutorial-part-1.html

bustle backpack
http://www.mesewcrazy.com/2011/04/bustle-backpack-from-chloes-spring.html

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Polar Express

Our family December birthday party was on Sunday. Since our household has been fighting a cold for almost a month, and we were hosting the party, we had to clean the house, and it was a mess. Not gonna lie, it took two ENTIRE days to clean it. By clean, I mean that there is a laundry basket overflowing with stuff that needs to find homes plus unfinished Christmas projects, sitting in my laundry room.

Since there are four birthdays in December, and we didn't want to leave anyone out, we made three 'cakes'. The first was gingerbread made by my wonderful sister, for me <3. the second was cheesecake for my hubby. and the third was a Train cake, for our Dad and my son. I googled a carrot cake recipe and winged the cream cheese icing. it was pretty darn tasty. Using the train cake tutorial from the Kraft website, The kids and I created The Polar Express!!!! ( Christmas Train....)




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Warm Pirate PJ's with Tutorial

This photo tells you exactly how much she loves these pj's <3


So Sophie had a streak of waking up in the middle of the night and we finally figured out that the problem was that she was cold. This is because she only wants to sleep under her blankie, which is sized for a baby and leaves more of her sticking out every week. On the bright side this has FINALLY convinced her to sleep under the beautiful quilt Jess made for her first birthday!


So clearly warm jammies were in order. This pair was made from an over sized sweatshirt, plus contrasting pirate fabric for the arms. This version balloons out at the waist and tapers again at the legs, but I'll explain how to make it normally as well.

First start with a sweatshirt. Make sure the sweatshirt from shoulder to above the hem is as long or longer than your child's body (from shoulder to crotch for regular jammies, or plus a few inches for the balloon version.) Same for the sweatshirt arms. These will be your pj legs so they need to be long enough, or a bit longer for the balloon version. The sizes you can make are only limited by how big of a sweatshirt you can find!

Optional: If your sweatshirt is wide enough you can cut your sleeves out of the sides of the sweatshirt body. You will want to decide this before you start cutting as you would leave the waistband on to serve as the sleeve cuffs. This will probably only work for the regular pj's though, unless you are doing the balloon version out of a very large sweatshirt in a very small size.

So, lay your sweatshirt out flat. cut off and save the waistband. Cut straight across the sleeves. Optional: cut the sleeve seams off so they are not in your way later. Cut straight down the front from collar to hem. For the regular version cut off the side seams to the desired width+seam allowances+whatever you need to attach buttons, zipper, snaps etc.


Next, measure how long your child's shoulder seam is. A well fitting shirt is good got this. For the balloon version cut from this measurement on an angle until you meet the side seam at about the waist. For the regular version cut on the same angle (shoulder width to side seam) but only as deep as your sleeve will be.

 I didn't round the armholes on the project, I wanted it to be as simple as possible.


If you have not made your sleeves yet, now's the time. That well fitting shirt you used for the shoulder measurement would make a good template. No curves again, match the angle of the armhole. Using the cut off waistband as a cuff ties things in nicely. Remember to cut the cuff a bit smaller than the wrist opening and to stretch it to fit!

Sew on cuff (if necessary). I sewed my pj's with a very narrow zigzag stitch but use whatever works best for your machine.  Attach arms and sew side seams in favorite manner.Honestly I prefer sewing the arm to the body while the side seam on the body and the seam the length of the sleeve are still open, then sewing in an L from cuff to hem, but that's just me. As long as everything is attached when you're done who cares?


Legs next. Put the wide ends of your sleeves side by side and measure across. Is this wider than your body width measurement (regular pj's)?  Take the sleeves in until they match. If it's wider for the balloon version you're good to go. If they aren't wide enough for either version leave a small space between then as a crotch when you attach to the body.

To attach the legs to the body:
Place a pin in the hem at the center back of your sweatshirt. Starting there (or over a bit if you're adding a crotch space) put the leg and body pieces right sides together and pin around. You should have extra material when you're done, where you cut the slit down the front of the shirt. This  is important because you will use it for your fasteners. Repeat on other side and sew.  This seam will look terrible, especially on the balloon version because it's so wide and sticks out all flat and weird.


Don't panic though, the baggy way they fit makes it hardly noticeable. If it's really obvious on the regular ones you could try covering it with lace or ribbon, adding strips to other parts of the jammies too to make it blend in. I wouldn't worry too much though, they're just for sleeping in.


Now, all that's left are those extra flaps of material down the front. I'm not the sort to dictate how you should close the front. I know everyone has their favorite, For the buttons I folded the flaps in half underneath and sewed them down, then overlapped the sewn flaps for a few inches at the bottom and sewed those together. I then made four buttonholes and sewed the buttons on.  Feel free to modify for a zipper or snaps though, or to change how high or low your opening is.  (Make sure the crotch area is sewn closed if necessary).

In no universe are you getting a closer view of those buttonholes. 
And there you have it! Jammies upcycled from a sweatshirt! If you try it out and need any of the steps explained further feel free to ask in the comments.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Gingerbread Three Ways

Mmm... Cookies....



Sorry to tempt you, but if you're on my Christmas cookie list you may just get some. If you're not (or just want more than I gave you) then you need to head over to MADE for the gingerbread softies recipe. This is the recipe that I get asked for every year, it's that good!

As fun as decorating gingerbread is, I'm not usually a huge fan of the cookie itself. These are soft and chewy with a bit of extra sweet outside... mmm...


Frozen is still a thing in our house, so as Sophie was  rolling the dough she decided that she was making sugar trolls :)

I did sacrifice about a third of the dough for more traditional gingerbread making. Jess usually makes herself a gingerbread house for her birthday, but this year we are doing a four way December birthday bash and she's making two other cakes.


I will freely admit that gingerbread house building is not one of my skills so I borrowed this neat looking star cookie cutter tree set Mom had picked up.  Isn't that cute?


Kind of a cookie pyramid from this angle... I will freely admit to skipping the bottom two cookies though. The largest cookie cutter is the size of a salad plate and this is cake number three for the same afternoon.


This is gingerbread number three. It's gingerbread play-dough! Smells soooo good. So good in fact that I skipped making the second batch for my kids (this is part of DJ's birthday present) because it smelled so much like the cookie dough we've been playing with the last few days.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The "I Can't Read Russian" Dress

I think I did pretty well, considering I winged it from a picture.


Here is a closeup of the print, since it's fairly subtle. I have no idea what sort of material this is. I've never seen anything like it before. The outside is soft, almost like a flannel but it has a fair bit of stretch to it. Fabricland was clearing it out at something crazy like 2$ a meter so this was definitely coming home with me, planned or not!


The link to the pattern is here. It's a diagram with measurements. It's actually quite clear even if you can't read what I'm guessing is Russian.  The numbers are presumably centimeters, but since I'm clearly larger than the (drawn) model and like my dresses to have more length, I approximated the basic shapes using a t-shirt as a starting point.


This is the front and back pieces cut out and laid on top of each other. If you look crazy close at the bottom you can see the higher hem of the top piece.


This is how that same curve looks stuck out instead of draped. Occasionally it will pop out instead of draping nicely so I'm thinking of taking it in a bit so I don't feel silly.


Here is a mistake I made before even starting the dress. When I don't have pattern in mind when buying fabric, I always buy either one or two meters depending on the price and what I'm guessing I'll want it for. Problem is, most dresses need at least 2 1/4 meters so that your sleeves can be on the fold and not have a seam through the middle. Oh well.


Here it is on, isn't the drape lovely? It's a bit tighter through the chest and arms than I was going for because the fabric has less stretch than the t-shirt I used to draft it. I like how it turned out though.


Keep your eye out for more dresses this month. Dressember (a fundraiser to help stop the trafficking of women) starts today and I'll be in dresses from now until new years! 

You can take a look at my page here: https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraise?is_new=1&fcid=382265