Friday, July 29, 2011

Pretend Stuff...

My girlie was invited to a Princess birthday party a few months ago, so we made a few princess things for her to wear. Unfortunately she got sick and wasn’t able to go, but was still excited about the new things, like her Cinderella dress!

I used this tutorial, though hers is perfectly done and much more detailed. (If you sew your own children's clothes, you should definitely check out her site!  Awesome tutorials!) There are a few details I wish would have come out better, but for a first try, I’m pretty happy, and of course my daughter is thrilled. We also did a hooded cape (every princess needs a hooded cape right?!).

For my nephew’s birthday we made him a superhero cape. 
For some reason i didn't get a picture of the birthday boy... but here's Eli modeling it!

So simple!  I tried my hand at freezer paper stenciling and love it! I’ll be trying more of that! Who knew freezer paper could be so handy! 

There are several tutorials out there if you need better instructions, but for simple directions see below. If you don't sew, i've also seen tutorials for making them from an extra large tee shirt: you could just cut a big panel out of the back and cut so you leave the collar intact- tee shirt knit doesn't fray so no sew!
Don't mind the crazy mess...

I also made one for my girlie, more fabric but almost simpler since its reversible and i didn't have to do all the ironing to double roll the hems around the whole thing.
mmm. yeah ditto on the mess...

To Sew your own...
Basically I just hemmed a large rectangle on the sides and bottom, sewed a gathering stitch across the top (set your machine to the longest stitch and don’t backstitch to set the first or last stitches). Pull on one of the threads to gather it, and then sew on a neckstrap. I made mine about an inch wide, so I cut my fabric 4 inches wide by the length I needed to go around a child’s neck (add seam allowance for both ends). I ironed it like bias tape, ironing the long sides into the middle and then in half again, ending up with a piece 1 inch wide by the length you needed. Tuck the raw edge of your cape into the middle and then sew the sides of the neckstrap to catch it in the fold. Add Velcro or a snap or whatever to close. You could use ribbon for ties, or a button and loop if you are wary of snaps and Velcro.  I used Velcro for easy off/on.

For the reversible one, just cut two pieces the same size, sew the sides and bottom together (right sides together) then turn it right side out and top stitch (sew around the edge about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from edge. Follow above to add the neck strap. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pillowcase Dresses

I made a pillowcase dress for my girlie using this pattern from Little Big Girl Studio. There are tons of tutorials though, using an actual pillowcase, or just cutting a rectangle shape from your fabric.
Ignore the crazy hair... she wasn't into being the model and I only got 1 shot! and if you don't look too close, you won't notice that I had the fabric upside down when i cut it out... Doh!

There is a printable pattern to make things really easy (though you can just cut a rectangle as well). It is actually a little big for my L, and if I were to make it again, i'd take a few inches of the width probably, but she wears it and it doesn't look too oversize! I'd guess the pattern would be a better fit for a 5t plus.

I also made my own pattern off an old outfit of L's; the goal is for it to fit 12-18 months, but I didn't have anything but a romper to test length off of (I didn't feel like digging forever in those bins in the attic!) I'm not sure on how the length will work...
Got to wait for new baby neice to grow up a bit to see how it fits! These are sooooo simple to do, you can make yourself a dress for so little $$! L's was made out of a half yard, and the little one was a remnant I found at walmart. I don't even know how much fabric it was but I know it wasn't much!  So if you sew even a little, and want an easy dress to start on, this is the one! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Recovered Kid's Chair

When the temps in my house were over 90 DOWNSTAIRS, the kids and I fled to central air at Grammy and Pappy's!  Trying to make the best use of my time, I took a few projects along... and actually got to check one off my list!
The new and improved! I didn't even take a pic of the old one; trust me, it was all ripped up from the dog and getting moldy... ew.

I haven't actually seen anyone online doing this, and I'm not sure if the bigtime crafty girls think its a waste of time, or if I'm the only one stupid enough to give it a try, but it actually wasn't too difficult and cost me about $3!  I bought about 3/4 yard of fabric from Walmart (I can't remember if its actually outdoor fabric... i think its home decor) but I could have gotten away with a 1/2 yard for sure. I actually only needed about 15 inches i think! 

I also used some heavy fabric from my Grandma-supplied stash- they were cut to be a huge pair of pants, which was JUST wide enough to give my chair some support. (I couldn't figure out who would want to wear pants made of such heavy stiff material anyway...) and reused the plastic... grommets? from the old chair.
There's the grommet!  I also sewed a bit of ribbon on to hold the arm down onto the chair, otherwise they slid off too easily.

I also added two in the back of the chair, so that you can lift the chair by the back without it sliding off.

Bonus of the little ties:  the whole thing can be easily removed and thrown in the washer! 
And it still folds up nicely!  I did have to retie the ties when in the above position, otherwise it was a bit tight.  They still work well in the open position as well.

I used the old peices i took off the yicky old dog eaten moldy chair fabric to use as a pattern for my new one, but instead of binding edges, i turned and topstitched. Love the way it looks, and now my girlie has a new and unique chair, and for about $2.50!  Might have to attack the red faded Cars "found" chair for one of the boys next...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baby Gifts: Carseat Canopy

Another baby gift, also on my list for the upcoming babe is a carseat cover!  
Double duty: hopefully will be enough to keep away wind and chill for winter babes as mine will be, and light enough to throw over and avoid all the touchy strangers with germy hands wanting to pinch your baby's cheeks!
It has a handy little peek-a-boo window! No waking up the baby to check on him!
And you can just throw it back when you're in the car or wherever you are going.
Those handy loops keep it attached to your carseat so it doesn't slip. I'm excited to try one when my new baby boy arrives, I've always just thrown a blanket over the top, but love that this one style should stay where its supposed to! Crossing my fingers that the recipient ends up with her baby girl or I might have a girly carseat cover (and chenille blanket) to get rid of...

Almost forgot to give credit to the author!  I used this tutorial from Wannabe Crafty (though the tutorial was guest posted on Sew Dang Cute). Great tutorial and fairly simple project for any level sewist! You could buy one at a store for about $20-25 or buy one from another crafster on etsy for anywhere from $25-45 (most tend toward that upper end..). Or just buy 2 yards or so of fabric (depending on width) and make your own!  you could easily do this for $10-15 dollars, or even cheaper if you get super sale fabric!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Baby Gifts: Faux Chenille blankets

I've been sewing up some baby gifts recently... I used this tutorial to make 2 baby blankets, including this one.
Soft flannel on the outside, yummy satin binding (don't look at my iffy binding job though) and three layers of fabric on the back that will fluff up to be nice and soft!
They are definitely a labor of love, with lots of sewing (best to think of it as quilting as the tutorial author says!) and cutting (definitely an eek!!!! moment when you cut into your newly sewn, brand new blanket!). But soft and yummy and not too heavy! 

These pictures were taken after just one wash and dry; the more they are washed and dried, the softer and fluffier they should get!

I've got two more of these on my list for my boys (my girlie already has a really super soft minky one that the recipient of the above blanket actually gifted her at her birth!), and plan to try the next one with layers of flannel on the back.

This tutorial is great, though I actually ignored the part about using the adhesive spray, I just pinned a bit and it worked alright! There's also another tutorial here where the author uses flannel.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Yummy Drinks!

Need a really refreshing and super easy summer drink? (well, I’ll be making this year round but…). I found this recipe for Brazilian Lemonade on this site, though it was originally posted on here on  It is so easy- no tedious squeezing of limes to get out every last drop of the precious juice. You just toss it all in the blender and then strain out the large chunks of lime. I may actually try straining them out and then pressing out a bit more of the juice, but it worked perfectly well as written. Also, several people on both sites mentioned liking their limeade a bit more sour so changed the amounts of water/sugar/sweetened condensed milk (Yes, that’s all you need!) but for me it was perfect as written, but you can change to your liking.  I used fat free condensed milk, and probably will skip adding ice to the blender (not sure what the point of that was as it strains out anyway!).  I very much recommend this recipe though, super easy and refreshing!

I also was anxious to try the recipe for Cold Brewed iced Coffee from this site.  So easy to do, just grinding beans, adding cold water and putting in the fridge overnight. See her blog though for tips. It was good, but I had not so much patience for figuring out what I like mixed with it... I went back to my cousin's awesome recipe: (hopefully she doesn't mind me sharing here...) 

Brew a pot of coffee using 1 cup coffee, 3-4 tablespoons of cocoa and a dash of cinnamon and 8 cups of water. mix in 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk and then add it to a pitcher with ice, milk, water, whatever your preference!  its just as written, but if you want to experiment by adding a bit of coffee syrup or flavored creamer, all the better! I mixed in the condensed milk and then kept that in the fridge as concentrate, adding it to milk and ice in my cup.  Delicious... Love that I can easily use decaf so the baby's not bouncing off the walls of my womb...

Don't forget about my watermelon lime licuados and slushies from The Idea Attic!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Casserole Carrier and Potholders!

I’d been wanting a reason to try out this tutorial for a casserole carrier, and have plans to replace my mess of hand-me-down potholders with pretty new ones, so when my cousin recently was married, I took the chance to make both! Both were fairly simple.
The simplicity of the casserole carrier makes it flexible for various types of pans, and so easy to take your dish to a potluck or anywhere it needs to travel!

 I used batting instead of insulbright (just using what’s available locally), so it won’t keep heat or cold in quite as well, but should definitely do the trick! I can’t wait to do one for myself (unfortunately my list of things to sew is a little too long…).

The potholders were kind of meshed together from various tutorials in blogland. This one mainly. There’s a nice little pocket to tuck your hand into when grabbing things.

Also fairly simple (I winged the bias tape rather than taking the time to look for this tutorial which gives great directions on mitering the corners). Definitely on my list for myself so I can get my potholders out of my drawer space and up on the wall as d├ęcor!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book review The Alarmists

Alarmists, TheAlarmists, The by Don Hoesel

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I loved the premise of this book, and really enjoy this type of book in general.  Basically, a wealthy business man is trying to realize a childhood goal of surpassing the wealth of Solomon and goes about it by planning a world disaster that will cause his business to make loads of money.  I really enjoyed most of the book and the characters, but felt like the end was a bit of a let down, rather anti-climactic.  It seemed to me that there was no real peak to the action, it just all tied up very (too?) neatly and really was not very satisfying.  It's an ok read if you can get it at your library or borrow it but i wouldn't bother buying it, unfortunately, unless you want just a quick easy action read.

I recieved a copy of this book for review by Bethany House Publishers.

View all my reviews