Thursday, August 30, 2012

Toddler Toy- Travel Dry Erase Pad Set

My project du jour was a case for the little man's dry erase pad and crayons.  It was inspired in part by this image on Pinterest. You could also use this design for an eReader, tablet, or other device, skipping the crayon pocket and adding a layer of batting for extra protection if desired.

1/3 yd cotton print for outer cover
1/3 yd cotton print for liner
1" velcro
1/3 yd fusible interfacing

1. Measure the size of your pad, accounting for width and add 3/4" on the top, bottom and one side for seam allowances.

2. Cut out a rectangle from your liner fabric large enough to fold over the pad like a book, again accounting for width and 3/4"  seam allowances all the way around. (You'll see in the picture that I only did 1/2" seam allowance. You'll need the extra 1/4" at the end when you top stitch. I fudged by pulling up the stitching over the corners so I can still fit in the pad, but it doesn't look quite as nice.)

3. Cut out a rectangle from your outer fabric the same size and the inner. Set aside.

4. Cut out 5 squares with 3" sides. Fold 4 of them in half diagonally and iron. Set aside.

5. Figure out how big your crayon pocket needs to be by laying your crayons side by side and measuring the width, depth, and how tall you want it. I'm using chunky dry erase crayons that are 1/2" diameter and all of them together were 4" across. So for the width, I took the 4", added an inch for the diameter on each side, then another inch and a 1/4 for seam allowances. For the height, I wanted it about 3" tall. I added 1" for seam allowances (though I think 1/2" would have worked better here) so my slip pocket rectangles came out to 6 1/4"x4". (I didn't allow enough width the first time. The picture shows my smaller version before I re-did it.)

6. Cut out a piece of interfacing the same size as your pocket rectangles and iron it on to the wrong side of either one.

7. With right sides together, stitch around the edges of the pocket with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving just enough open to turn.

8. Clip the corners so they'll turn out nicely.

9. Turn the pocket right side out, turning in the open edges and iron. Place it about an inch from the right side of the liner, and sew it down as close the the edge of the pocket as you can. Mine was about a 1/4".

10. Fold the pocket back on the seam, iron, then fan fold it forward again. Fold the other side of the pocket to match and stitch into place.

11. Sew along the bottom of the pocket.

12. Add interfacing and Velcro to your outer fabric. Set aside.

(Center the Velcro on a short side, 1" in from the edge.)

13. Retrieve 4 of your 3" triangles and fold one side under slightly, tucking in the corner on two on them.

14.  Place your triangles, on your cover, using your pad to measure placement. Your turned ends should end up in the middle of your cover liner. Remember I fudged and only left a 1/2" seam when there should have been 3/4" all the way around the pad.

15. Remove the pad, pin the corners in place, and place your outer fabric, right sides together on top of the liner, making sure the Velcro will be on the front, not the back like I did...

16. Starting at the end opposite the Velcro, sew all the way around with a 1/2" seam allowance, leaving just enough to turn and to insert a tab that will fold over to Velcro your cover closed.

17. Take your last 3" square and sew two sides, right sides together with a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn right side out and iron flat with the seam in the center.

18. Fold one end in about 1/2". Tuck the raw end into the opening on your cover and top stitch all the way around with a 1/4" seam allowance. (This is where I had to remove the top-stitching over the corner triangles because I couldn't fit the pad into the cover.)

19. Sew on the soft half of the Velcro to the tab, lining it up with the rough side on the cover.

20. Watch two year old immediately take everything apart while you are trying to photograph the finished product...

This post has been included in Teach me TuesdayAnti-Procrastination TuesdayMorristribe's Homesteader Blog Carnival and The Homestead Barn Hop.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Make a sheet saver for FREE

I have a two year old co-sleeper who is a very, very heavy night time wetter. I am sick of washing the sheets on our king size bed so I started looking into a sheet saver. This is the only one I could find that comes in a king size and it's over $50. Here's how I made one out of my worn mattress protector, for about 30 minutes.

Old mattress protector
Sewing machine with a walking foot

1. Lay out the mattress protector and cut off all of the side fabric, leaving the seams intact to avoid extra binding.

2. Fold it in half, head to foot and cut along the fold.

3. Fold one half in half, side to side and layer it on top of the other half with the folded end even with the end underneath then unfold so you have one long piece with the middle third overlapping.

4. Sew a big square all the way around the middle third to connect the two pieces. (If you want it completely water proof, you can add a layer of PUL, a baby lap pad or crib mattress cover.) Make sure you are using a quilting/walking foot on your machine because you are essentially sewing together 2 quilts. It's very thick but with a little guidance my old Kenmore handled it just fine. Broke the needle on the last stitch. How's that for timing? Ha!)

5. You should be left with one long raw edge. Bind it. And done!

Lay it across your bed and tuck in the ends. Now if you get a leaky diaper, just whip if off, throw it in the wash and tuck it back in. No removing sheets at all! Unless your little one has managed to squirm his way all the way to the foot of the bed, which is likely to happen at least occasionally... so make sure that the old worn mattress protector gets replaced with a nice new one sooner rather than later. Ask me how I know...

This post has been included on Teach me TuesdayAnti-procrastination TuesdayMorristribe's Homesteader Blog Carnival and The Homestead Barnhop

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Simple Skirt for a Moses Basket

I have this great, very sturdy corn husk Moses basket that we picked up in Guatemala for $10, then added a mattress, stand, sheets...the whole deal was much more than $10 by the time it was all said and done, but it's such a sweet place to lay a new little one. I had made a skirt for it when little man was born but never was very happy with how it turned out. The hemmed edges rolled out in places and I had to add little Velcro sticky dots to get the whole thing to stay in place. Of course those don't work well with fabric so it just never hung quite right.


Soooo, now that we're having one more little guy, I decided to re-do the basket. Here's what it looks like now...


I decided to do it in pieces to make it more manageable. First, the skirt. (Sorry I didn't take any pictures of the process. I was too excited to complete it and I was a little nervous as to just how it would turn out.)

about 1 yard of any fabric of your choice
6 yards of 1/2 inch double fold binding tape to match your fabric
3 yards of 1/4 inch elastic
1/4 inch wide ribbon

1. Measure the circumference of the basket.

2. Take that measure and multiply times at least 1.5. Take a yard of 45" fabric of your choice (I used a cheap cotton.) and cut enough 10" wide strips to equal your new length.

3. Sew the pieces together on the short ends using a french seam, or serger if you have one, so that you have one very long 10" wide strip.

4. Fold over 4" along a long side and iron all the way across. You'll use this crease later as a guide to sew on the elastic.

5. Bind both raw edges.

6. Sew elastic along the inside of the crease, stretching as you go to create a ruffle.

7. Fold the skirt over the elastic and tack on an approximately 8-10 inch piece of ribbon on one end.

8. Wrap the skirt around the basket to check the length. I ended up using exactly 3 yards of finished ruffle for my 84 inch circumference basket. (I know because I didn't buy enough binding for the whole length, but it ended up just right!)

9. Sew together the ends, again using the french seam. And you're done! If your elastic is tight enough it should sit in place just fine. If you want, you can add lengths of ribbon at what ever intervals suit you to tie it on.

Next, the bonnet...

I used enough of my extra ruffle from the skirt to cover the arch of the bonnet, cut a couple inches short so the elastic will stretch and hold it in place.

Add: Another 12" or so of your fabric
        A length of elastic for around the back
        More binding. I used just a little over another 3 yards.
        3 lengths of 1/4" wide ribbon for ties

1. Sew the wider side of your existing ruffle to your extra fabric, again using a french seam.

2. Hang the ruffle in place over the arch and cut the hanging fabric where you want the bonnet to end. I cut mine around the middle of the top ruffle on the skirt.

Here's a good shot of the bonnet in process. You can see where I sewed the ruffle to the rest of the fabric right before I cut off the extra.
3. Cut a piece of elastic to wrap around the back and pin in place. Then remove the bonnet and sew on the elastic, again stretching it to create a ruffle. This part's tricky and honestly I just winged it and luckily it turned out pretty close to just right with no seam ripping involved.

4. Sew a length of 1/4" ribbon on at both sides where the bonnet will be tied on and in the center top where the elastic runs.

5. Bind the rough edges all the way around. Then tie on your finished piece.

Now the hard part is done. Congratulations! Next, let's make a bumper.

About 3/4 yd of minky dot or another soft fabric of your choice times 2. (I made mine reversible using the                minky on one side and fabric from the old cover on the other.)

Plus: 3/4 yd. batting
        about 2 yds of 1/4 in. satin ribbon for ties

1. I kept using my outside measurement to do the bumper. This perfectly allowed for seam allowances. Take your measurement and divide by 4. Then measure your height from the mattress to where you want the top of your bumper. Mine came out to 4 rectangles that were 21"x8" each.

2. Lay one rectangle on your batting and cut out 4 rectangles of batting to match.

3. Cut out 8 approximately 10" pieces of ribbon. Fold them in half and pin at the half way mark along the long sides at the top and bottom of one of the fabrics.

4. Layer the fabric with the wrong sides together and batting on the bottom. Using the sandwich method, sew with a 1/2" seam allowance around 3 sides, leaving room on a short side to turn in right side out. Make sure while you're sewing that the ribbons are inside the sandwich and out of the seam.

5. After turning, top-stitch all the way around again with a half inch seam and turning in your opening. (I ended up whip stitching the opening too)

6. Lay the 4 finished rectangles end to end, overlapping by about 1/2". Cut 4 more 10" lengths of ribbon and sandwich them in the overlaps. Then tack them together by hand. (My machine couldn't handle the thickness.)

7. Put the bumper in the basket and double check your length. Cut off some if needed, then sew together the ends of the whole thing the same way as step 6.

8. Tie your finished bumper to the basket.

The last piece is optional but I think it adds so much to the overall look and functionality, especially if you plan to spend any time using the basket outside with your baby. It's the netting that can be pulled over the top.

About a yard of a soft, gauzy, transparent material.
An 8"x45" (Depending on the width of your netting fabric) of the fabric used for the rest of the skirt.
A yard and a half of 1/2" double fold binding tape to match
A yard of 1/4" satin ribbon

1. Make sure you have enough length to go from the top of the bonnet to hang over the foot of the basket.

2. Take your 8" strip of fabric, fold in half length wise and iron all the way along. (We're making a wide binding for the top of the net.)

3. Again with the 8" strip, fold each long side up to the fold and iron. Making a double fold binding.

4. Sew the wide binding what will be the top of the netting.

5. Use your 1/2" binding to bind the bottom.

6. String your 1/4" satin ribbon through the wide binding at the top and tighten it like a draw string, knotting it and leaving ends long enough to tie it to the basket.

7. Tie the netting on the top of the bonnet, underneath the cover.

8. Wait patiently for your beautiful new baby to put in your gorgeous one of a kind bassinet.

And just because I can, here's a couple more pictures of my "helper".


This post has been included in: Teach me Tuesday and The Homestead Barnhop

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sewing Blitz Weekend

Muscle Man has been on his annual guys trip for five days so I got to spend lots of time sewing things for the upcoming arrival of the new baby. Just nine weeks to go! As most of you know we are anticipating a move to Texas so in lieu of  readying a nursery or indulging in other nesting tendencies, I have spent every waking moment I can in front of my sewing machine, which I have a love hate relationship with. Lately, it's been mostly love since things have been turning out so well, but I have had my share of problems with the darn thing working correctly- threads bunching and breaking galore. It's a 13 year old machine, maybe it's time to get it serviced...

Here's a quick review of everything I've made thus far with direct links to the tutorials:

My little camera fits perfectly in the other front pocket, but I was using it to take the picture ;)

It went from this...
Purse Organizer I use a large Guatemalan purse as a diaper bag. There are no pockets on the inside and it's been driving me nuts lately because everything gets all mixed around inside. I love the bag though with its beautiful embroidery and didn't want to purchase another one. This took me about 3 evenings to complete and turned out great. The instructions are very clear. I did have to hand-stitch the Velcro on the dividers because it was just too thick for my machine to handle. It adds some weight to the bag but it's very sturdy and so far I love it! I added the slip pockets as suggested in the tutorial to the outside to further organize a couple of smaller items. Cost: about $8 for binding,Velcro and interfacing. I already had all the fabric and batting. Now to see if I can fit new born gear in here in addition to Little Man's stuff...I travel light so all I need to add to the current diapers, wipes, wet bag, and extra light blanket/nursing cover is a changing pad, burp cloth, extra outfit, and a sling.

To this!

Car Seat Slip Cover Little Man's old car seat was looking a little sad even after washing the cover. I decided to brighten it up a bit and finished it in an afternoon. Cost: about $15 for a half yard of minky and a yard of calico plus binding. There's plenty of extra minky to use on another project.

Hooded Car Seat Blankie I think this woman is a genius. Safety concerns aside, I think that for a winter baby this a great solution for keeping him warm. The car seat buckles run through the back of the blanket and fasten securely around baby then you swaddle him over the buckles. The only change I made was to quilt the blanket following something similar to this because I was worried that the batting would bunch and be ruined with the first wash. I finished it in one evening. Cost: about $15 for batting and a yard of dino print cotton. I already had the flannel.

4-in-one Car Seat and Nursing Cover I would like to say I made three of these in one day but my machine was acting up. I couldn't sew more than an inch without the top thread snapping. These (should) take about a half hour start to finish and sell for over $30 at One Step Ahead and Amazon. I just used a straight yard of fabric, cut about a 12 inch slit in the center, hung it on the seat and curved the corners so they won't drag, then bound the neck and edges. Easy peasy and so versatile! This can be a nursing poncho, stroller or bassinet cover too! Cost: A yard of fabric of your choice (I had coupons for JoAnnes and got this gorgeous brocade for $5. So I got 2. The other is a more neutral but very pretty light blue and beige.) plus 2 packages of binding ($4-$6).

Changing Pad Made similarly to the one in the link, but using some monkey print minky that I had with a flannel back. I only had a 12 inch piece of the minky, so I cut the flannel big enough so that I could bring it around and widen the top.  Sew the long sides first, then adjust it so it lays flat and sew the short sides, leaving enough open to turn right side out. Top stitch around the edges and voila, a 20 minute project. Cost: free.

Toy Sack/Play Mat I saw these while browsing etsy and thought it looked like such a great idea. I'm all for supporting small business but I made this for $8. It would have been $5 if I already owned a grommet tool. I already had the canvas for the back and just used a very cheap muslin for the top. I'm going to have Muscle Man draw roads and a city-scape on the muslin (I'm concerned with marker going all the way through the thin fabric so I haven't sewn it together yet) and have the older boys color it in. This one's for little man to keep his cars in. I'm going to use some of the leftover fabrics from all of the above plus some stuff in my stash to make this next for the baby. I plan to add a similar draw string so it too can be pulled together into a toy sack.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for more. I have a very long to do list. Of course while working on all of this I have completely neglected my garden for the last 5 days. I've fought the good fight well into August but at 31 weeks pregnant I just do not have the energy to chase my two year old, clean house, cook dinner, make baby stuff, and kill squash bugs. Something had to give and it was an obvious choice. Actually from the house things are still looking ok. I'm scared to go give it a closer inspection though...

This post is linked up at: The Morristribe's Homesteader Blog Carnival, and Monday's Homestead Barnhop

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Homemade "Mitata" Style Co-Sleeper/Crib

I ran across this on Amazon and thought, "Wow, what an overpriced, easy to make and very, very useful baby item!" It's billed as a co-sleeper and portable crib. I think it will be perfect to lay baby anywhere that you need protection from falling (couch, dresser for changing) or a little extra padding (floor).

Right now I'm in a situation where I'm due with baby #4 in ten weeks. Muscle man is trying to get a job transfer that would take us to Dallas which would mean living temporarily with my in-laws, teenage nephew, sister-in-law and her hubby and their newborn due in January plus my other 3 kids and 3 dogs total until we can sell our house in KC and find a new one in D. town. That's twelve people and 3 dogs in a 3 bedroom house, oh, and a cat, livin' like real Mexicans, hehe. Any who, that doesn't exactly allow much room for a crib for baby #4 so we need something small and portable to keep the baby safe. We have a bassinet too but this just seems so, appropriate, and I think would come in handy even at home. So, here's how I made my own, in one afternoon, for free since I already had everything I needed. (Even if you had to buy everything it could be done for well under $20.)

Disclaimer: Although the original product has met both US and European safety standards, my version has of course not been tested. Please use with extreme caution and as with any baby product, check frequently for any wear that could make the product dangerous to use.

2 yds woven cotton or other non-stretchy fabric on a 50-54" bolt
heavy weight thread
30"x25" piece of batting
stuffing or fiberfill (I used almost all of a 16oz bag)
walking/quilting foot for sewing machine
needles, scissors, etc
opt: sew on Velcro
opt: water-proof insert for top sheet

When we had baby #3 I had made a woven wrap style carrier from a gorgeous batik print that I found at Hancock fabric. To make that all I did was take a 4 yard long piece and cut it in half length wise, hem the long sides then fray the ends. I used the other half for this project. Any sturdy cotton or other non-stretchy fabric would work. The dimensions given for the original were 28"x22" The width of my fabric was about 25" so accounting for 1/2" seam allowances and width changes after stuffing the side bolsters, I figured that was just about right. I measured down 30" from the end, folded it over then cut across so I had a piece about 25"x60". Then I cut 2 more 5" strips off the short end for the handles so you have two 5x25" pieces. If you're starting with a new piece of fabric, first cut it in half length wise along the fold that it comes with off the bolt. Then measure down 30", fold it over and cut just like I did, trimming off any extra from the edge to give you the 25"x60" piece. (You'll need a second 60" piece later for the top piece.) You should have just enough and a little extra off the end to cut the handles.

The next step is to fold the handle pieces in half length wise, right sides out, and press flat.

Then flip it and sew along one short side and the long side with a 1/2" seam allowance, right sides together. Turn it right side out and press, turning under the open seam so that when you sew the handle to the co-sleeper it will close the seam.

Lay out the main body of the sleeper and place the handles along the long, 30" side. You'll sew them on the outside of the bottom piece. Place them about 2 1/2" down from the long side and 4 1/2" in from the short sides on the right.

Pin down then sew securely leaving a 1/2" seam allowance under the handle for sewing the top piece onto the bottom piece of the main sleeper.

Now turn the handles down on the right side of the fabric and fold the large 25"x60" piece in half with the right sides together. Pin sides and make sure the handles are out of the seam allowance. Lay the whole thing on a piece of batting and cut around it so the batting is the same size as the sleeper.

I also straightened out that left side when I cut the batting ;-) Next, sew around 3 of the edges starting on the corner of a long side, around the folded side and the other long side. Then measure in 5" in from from each corner (from the seam) and sew along the last short open side leaving a 5" opening on each end to stuff the bolsters.

Turn the whole thing right side out and sew a vertical seam from the inside of each opening all the way to the other end, leaving a 5" slot on each side to stuff. Firmly stuff the bolsters then whip stitch them closed. If you don't know how to close a seam, here's a very simple video tutorial to follow.

Next, you need to make the top part that adds smaller bolsters along the top and bottom of the sleeper. Cut out two pieces from your remaining fabric that are about 17x30". Sew along both short sides and one long side, again with a 1/2" seam allowance. Along the open side, measure in 2" from the seam and sew along the last side, leaving a 2" opening on either end to stuff the bolsters, similar the how you did the main sleeper. Turn your piece right side out, stuff firmly and whip stitch closed.

Attach velcro if you're using it either as tabs at the corners or as strips along the short ends, whatever you prefer to hold the top piece to the bottom.

I had thought about adding a waterproof layer inside the top piece but decided to skip it and just use a regular lap pad on top. Feel free to get creative and let me know how it works for you! I'll try to remember to come back and post some action shots of our sleeper in use and let y'all know just how well it worked for us.

This post is included in the Homestead Barnhop and Growing Home's Teach me Tuesday