Friday, January 6, 2012

My Backpack Design!

I found this post in my drafts, appears i never posted as I was waiting for some pictures of my neices backpack that I sewed from  this free pattern... ahem.  I forgot to take them before I gave it to her so I guess I can't complain too much... Anyway, here's the one I made for my nephew: 

I'm a wee bit proud of the fact that I designed this one on my own! (I'm too cheap to pay for patterns when i can avoid it...)  It actually was not as difficult as one might think, especially cause I added my zippers in a super simple way I found in this book, Made for Travel (I found it at our library if you‘re local-lots of great projects in it!). 
See how the zippers are done "exposed"?  Sooo easy! And i think pretty cool looking on this one!
I did a smaller pencil pocket on top and a larger one below. Even tried using piping for the first time... see it there around the front?

I would definitely use home d├ęcor weight fabric when making another one ( I let my daughter pick out fabric AGES ago for one...), but I think it will work fine, and it turned out to be a good size I think for a youngster's bag. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Handmade Christmas Winner and a Grown-up Gift

And the winner of the Handmade Christmas Most Favorite Gift Award goes to....

Photo from via Google

Yep. It's a bunch of PVC.  About $6 from Lowe's. Which the two boys (and several grown men) turned into these...

Which when comined with some of these:

Equals HOURS of marshmallow shooting fun!

Grammy's porch was covered in marshmallows, her fish in the pond probably swam in a sugar fed frenzy for a while, and she may be finding them around the house for a while thanks to the indoor test run, but even she got in on the fun before the night ended!  All the kids loved them (a few loved eating marshmallows rather than shooting them... "oops, that one fell into my mouth!"  But it was hands down the most popular (and cheapest and easiest!) gift of the night!  

You can print the directions and pvc list here.  

Another of my personal favorites (and hopefully my brother's as he was the lucky recipient!) was this chalkboard painted shelf/memo board!
My dad threw this together from scraps in his shop, and my husband painted it up quick. We used the measurements from this plan at Instead of using pocket screws though, he actually routered in a slot for the shelf and then screwed it in from the back of the shelf, which I believe makes for a sturdier shelf.  We made our own chalkboard paint from Martha Stewart's recipe which I'd recommend!  We spent the same amount on black paint and grout as we would of spent on the same size container of chalboard paint, and now I have a lovely box of grout sitting on my shelf that can make gallons and gallons of any color I want!  Oh, the possibilities... I really want one of these for my kitchen now... Depending on how sturdily you hang it, it could be used for anything... a candle, jackets, keys, etc!

My parents' and sister's gifts will have to wait for another post... I forgot to get out the camera before packaging... oops.  Til next time...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Handmade Christmas Part II

On to part II of my handmade Christmas gifts...
My niece has an American Girl doll so her gift was easy this year!  

This little pillowcase dress from Liberty Jane...

and a belt.... a girl needs options!
I also made her a t-shirt and jumper and a pair of little jeans from this book which i got through our library.

 For my nephew I found this great tutorial for a fleece hat at From an Igloo. What boy wouldn't love a dinosaur hat!
 I followed her direction for an older child and it worked great: a smaller adult could probably wear it this way.
My lovely daughter modeling....

The boys also each got a quick little superhero cape like these with their initials stenciled on them, but those pictures seem to have disappeared... maybe someone will share some pictures with me...
 More coming...

Monday, January 2, 2012

This year's Christmas gifts, Part I: the littles

Being the penny-pincher... um, awesome aunt that I am, I handmade most of our gifts again this year. Here's Part I: the two and under crowd...

First up, the newest niece in the family:
 For her, we have a pretty little lovey blanket, ruffled on the front, with a ruffle around the edge, perfect for chewing and drooling on and dragging around...
 and snuggling up to, thanks to that luscious chocolate brown minky...

I used this tutorial from 2 Little Hooligans.

She also recieved a cute little tutu skirt (tutorial from Simple Simon and Co.)

Can't wait to see her wear it!

On to the boys....
 The two year old nephew got this cute little backpack (tutorial from indietutes). This tutorial has a free printable pattern, so don't be afraid to try it! It is really SO simple, especially because there is no zipper closure. The main piece is formed from two pieces that overlap so its very easy for littles to get into.
 I put some velcro on this one- I made one previously for a friend's little guy and as he used it we realized it really could use a snap or velcro if they'll be carrying "heavier" things like matchbox cars. They tend to make it gape open...
Simple little straps for the cutie pie to strap it on, and Viola! Your toddler can help carry his own toys, diaper, cup, snack, whatever!  Would make a cute little toddler "daycare bag" or just let him pretend to be all grown up with his own backpack like the big kids!

For my boys...

the plan was to have finished Faux Chenille blankets for both...but being the procrastinator that I am...They each got one of these cute little taggie animals from Make It and Love It's tutorial.  I made one as a gift for my nephew last year and thought my boys would like to slobber on one as well.
The Elephant is made of flannel and cotton quilting fabric, and the giraffe of cotton quilting fabric and minky... so soft and snuggly! 

And they have lots of little ribbon taggies to chew on!
Tune in next time for more of my Handmade Christmas!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Christmas Gift!!! Storage Coffee Table

My amazing husband attempted his first furniture build in order to give me exactly what I asked for this Christmas: this awesome coffee table with 10 drawers!  

We are hoping to finally have a little more order in the living room as we can designate certain drawers for certain items.  He used this plan from It did need a few tweaks- the price was way off as half our wood was given to us. The author of the plan (not Ana White by the way!) state it would be about $50-100- the drawer slides alone cost $40. He also found a problem with the drawer size, fixed with shims to help the drawers and slides fit correctly.

All those drawers!  the other side looks the same: TEN drawers in all!  
LOVE my gift and can't wait to see what's next as we add to and upgrade our furniture!