Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hopscotch Top

Summer is not here yet (Spring barely started), but it feels like it already here in Houston! I love living here in Houston, but muggy days that hit 85+ when it is still 60s-70s back in Cali, I have to admit I get a bit sad. But then thinking of ice cream and pool parties makes me happy.

This fabric makes me happy. I love the colors and the popsicles. I thought it would make for a cute summer dress or top. Since God has not given me a daughter, yet (I say "yet" husband thinks I'm crazy...since we are pregnant with our 3rd boy...he's done, but I'm not quite closing that door. Ask me again in a couple months...I'll probably be begging to get my tubes tied.), I will make it for my beautiful niece Cally. My sister doesn't know this yet, but I will be taking her back to Houston with me after my next trip to CA. ;)

I searched for a fairly easy pattern that had lots of good pictures and descriptions. For you beginners like me, try these patterns here at Owly Baby's etsy store...they are great! I used this one. Here is the Hopscotch top~

I plan on making simple shorts with the same seersucker material I used for the bias tape. Do you all have any suggestions  for simple shorts patterns?

Hope Cally likes it~ Happy Sewing!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Activity Book (aka Quiet Book): Garden, Barn, & Apple Tree Pages

A couple months ago, I finished making a Quiet Book for C-bub (I will post about that at a later time). I definitely needed a break from making something so time-consuming. But when I was brainstorming what to make for my niece Cally's 3rd birthday present, I couldn't resist the idea of making a book for her as well. She is in love with all things food-related these days. My sister said she tried hiding her kitchen and food toys because that's all she would play with. She gave her some blocks to play with instead, and guess what little sweet Cally did, she pretended the blocks were food items.

Sorry, sister, I have decided to do a food-themed Activity Book. :)

It is again consuming my time, but I love it! Hoping to finish it before I go to LA at the end of April. Here is what I have so far...

I love the Vegetable Garden page here. I think it's adorable and so creative! I made a few minor adjustments, but need to give Leafy Treetop Spot all the credit.

I thought it would be perfect to have the garden next to the barn page. For the barn, I used these great templates from Homemade by Jill. A couple of the finger puppets were also templates from there, but I also came up with a few myself.

Rather than having a felt pocket for the puppets to go in, I sewed elastic to the inside of the barn so that I could fit more puppets. It works well to hold them in place.

I still have to sew on some buttons like the ones here on my son's page so that the doors will stay closed.

Now back to the cute garden~

I used "fuschia" felt for the beets. My husband thought they were radishes.
I didn't know this, but here are the differences between beets and case you were curious.

Carrot detail

Beet detail

I used velcro to keep the bottom closed (I did find it necessary to have an opening
to adjust the veggies back in place. I sewed a piece of green felt on top for grass.

I was inspired by the apple tree/strawberry picking page in the quiet book made by Mama Duck (click here for her awesome book).

It's all in the details...I found the fabric for the basket at Joann's. Hot glue gunned a cute bow onto the basket. I added a ladybug, because ladybugs are so adorable...and this book is going to be about all things cute...and food. I sewed snaps for the apples. I also plan on having strawberries like the ones on Mama Duck's page, but they haven't come yet (ordered them on ebay here). 

Cricut "Create a Critter" deer (used a black brad for the eye)

I love that these four pages tie so well together. Cally can pick all her vegetables and fruit and put them in her basket. Looking at this reminds me of Easter. Yay for Easter egg hunts...and of course yay for Jesus! :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tutorial: How to make a Dinosaur (Stegosaurus) Taggie Doll

Here is a fun taggie toy that you can make for a baby boy (or girl~). I used soft minky fabric that I got from Joann's, but you can use whatever fabric you have on hand.

Materials needed:

-fabric (2 rectangular pieces approximately 6.5" x 11" each)
-ribbon pieces
-fabric pen
-embroidery floss, button (optional for embellishments)


1) Print and cut out template. (Click HERE to retrieve the pdf)

2) (Note: We will be mainly working with one of the pieces of fabric first.) Trace the "hump" part of the dinosaur onto right side of one of your rectangles (from "start" to "end" on the pattern). This way, you will be able to see where to pin and sew your ribbon pieces.

3) Pin your ribbon pieces in place. Make sure the loops are facing inward. Trace the "hump" part again so that you can see where you will be sewing.

4) Sew the ribbons in place, from "start" to "end".

 5) Trace the outline of the dinosaur on the wrong side of fabric. Use the curve that you sewed in previous step as a guide to line up the hump of the dinosaur.

6) Add embellishments if you so desire (i.e. eyes, mouth, initial on the back). I used a brad for the eye and embroidery floss for the mouth. 

7) (Now we will be needing that second piece of fabric.) Now with right sides of fabric facing each other, pin the two layers together. Sew from "start" to "end" (backstitch at the beginning and end). Make sure to leave an opening where you will be flipping the dinosaur right side out. (Note that I do not cut out the outline and then sew a 1/4" seam allowance, but rather I sew along the traced outline itself.)

8) Trim off excess fabric and clip around curves (especially if you are using bulky fabric). Make sure to leave enough fabric where the opening is so that you will be able to sew it closed. Flip right side out very carefully. It might be a bit tight, but as C-bub would say "don't get fustrated, mommy". 

9) Stuff with polyfill. Use a slip stitch to close the opening. Here is a good tutorial on slip stitching. 

I was going to give Stego to my friend's baby, but C-bub loves it and has made it his own. I guess these taggie toys are great for kids of all ages! :) Happy Sewing!

Ribbon Hanger

I love discovering ways to repurpose common household items. I have been using an old shoebox to hold my ribbon spools, but I wanted them to be more accessible. So I stole one of my husband's trouser hangers to use as my new ribbon organizer. :)

Note: To keep the ribbon from unraveling, I push in a straight pin at an angle.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Magnetic Pom Pom Activity

Recently, seven friends and I decided to do a busy bag swap. (For more on what a "busy bag swap" is, go here). It seemed like a great idea, and I'm always looking for ways to keep C-bub entertained. As I was browsing, I came upon this, and thought it would be fairly easy to make 8 sets. Well, this "easy" project became much more involved than I had expected!

First I wanted to give my friends a complete set that they could take in their diaper bags/purses when they were on the go, so no cookie sheets or baking pans. I thought, I'll just go to Home Depot and buy some metal sheets. How simple would that be. After much looking around, I decided to go with something like this sheet metal that is used for roofing. However instead of buying individual sheets, I got a roll that was 8" by like 20 ft long. Needless to say I have a lot leftover. But it was much cheaper to go this route.

Since you need special metal cutting scissors (which I wasn't about to spend $13 on), one of the sweet employees at Home Depot spent the next 15 minutes with me cutting 8 sheets that were 8"x10".

The edges were very sharp, so I wrapped the border with silver duct tape.

I wanted them cut to 8"x10" since I was going to put them in sheet protectors. I also wanted room to put an adhesive magnetic strip (leftover from what I had used for the pom poms) at the opening so the metal sheet and the worksheets would not fall out.

This is the first one I made. For the rest I didn't use a long strip across the top, but rather just a little piece of magnet (about 1.5 inches in length). I found that to be better since the long strip kept closing when I would take the worksheets in and out.
Okay, now to how I assembled the kits...

Supplies needed:

-metal sheets
-sheet protectors (I got these at
-flexible adhesive magnetic strip (something like this)
-pom poms (got a several bags like this one from Hobby Lobby, but others have scored some for cheap at the dollar store)
-hot glue gun
-worksheets* (see below for free templates)

1. Go through the drama of buying a huge heavy roll of metal from Home Depot and cut individual sheets. Or just use a metal cookie sheet that you have in your baking drawer. :)
2. Cut the magnetic strip into pieces that are about 1"x1".
3. Use hot glue gun to glue the magnetic pieces to the pom poms.

4. Print out the worksheets*.
5. Put the metal sheet into sheet protector (if going this route) and put one worksheet in front of it and the rest behind it. Rotate worksheets for endless fun! ;)

*Here are the templates I made. I got inspiration from here, but I also came up with a few other fun ones. Please note that they have faint lines where you are to cut them so they can be 8"x10" since I wanted them to be the same size as the metal sheet.

Click on captions to retrieve the pdf.

Click HERE for PDF

Click HERE for PDF

Click HERE for PDF

Click HERE for PDF

My friend used this activity to keep her 3 year-old entertained on a plane ride recently, and she said he played with it for 30 minutes. That's a success to me!

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Activity Car Mat

I saw this On-The-Go Car Activity Mat here. My boys love cars, so I knew I had to make it for them. It's great because C-bub can fit 6 little cars (Matchbox and Hot Wheels fit perfectly) in the mat, roll it up and take it wherever he goes.

Here is my version:

I wished I had used iron-on interfacing in between the layers to make sure it didn't get all wrinkly.

Market & Gas: We frequent H-E-B (a supermarket here in Houston) and Costco often, so I included those.

Since I didn't have any black shoelaces on hand,  I used an old cell phone charger for the gas pump.

Church: For the flowers I used brads I got at Michaels.

Our house: C-bub loves to park his car in the driveway.

School: The swings actually move because they are just attached by the strings.

I sewed Velcro onto the ribbon so that I could wrap it up and close it quickly without having to tie it.

All wrapped up and ready to go!

This project was fun to make, and my boys have fun playing with it. The most time consuming part was cutting out all the little felt pieces. (By the way, I suggest using hot glue for the small felt pieces instead of sewing them on.)

Happy Crafting!