Saturday, June 30, 2012

Reversible buttonless pinafore top



I made this one a few weeks ago, but I don't think I've blogged about it yet... It's been one of our go-to shirts this summer. I probably put it on her about once a week. It's a reversible pinafore top, but what makes this one special in my mind is that there are no buttons. So it makes up really fast -- maybe 60-90 minutes. It does sometimes take me a second to figure out how to get it on right, but as I may have mentioned before, my spatial reasoning skills are rather poor.

The pattern is from AliyahsHopeChest on Etsy. Only $2 for a one-size pattern! I will definitely buy it again in different sizes. I top-stitched all around, which wasn't called for in the pattern, but which helps keep it from needing a ton of ironing.

Fabric is from Timeless Treasures' Elephant Showers line.

Side 1 

Side 2

And the crossed straps make a good safety handle!





Friday, June 29, 2012

Snappy Toddler Top and matching knickers

Well, for some reason, I put it off for quite a while, but I finally got around to the Snappy Toddler Top from Prudent Baby.  I think I was intimidated by the round yoke neckline, even though the pattern and directions are simple enough.  But I have to say, I did have a little bit of trouble.  Not because there was anything wrong with the pattern, but because I am just not very good at sewing around curves.  Seriously, I've done it a lot by now, but I have just never really gotten good at it.  I guess I should sew up a few more Snappy Toddler Tops for practice.

Anyway, as you can see, I decided to make it as a Buttony Toddler Top instead. ;-)  Just because I didn't have any pretty snaps I would want to show.  I think I positioned but buttons and holes too far back, because the armholes are a little tight, and it doesn't seem like anyone else has had this problem, so it's obviously something I did.  I'm going to try to move the buttons as far as I can to make it just a bit roomier.

I went with yellow buttons because the centers of the pinwheels are yellow.  Unsurprisingly, I chose fabrics from my all-time favorite line.  I probably need to quit going back to the same well, but it's such a large line, there are still lots I haven't tried!  (Also lots in my stash; you will be seeing it again.) I also added a little pocket, which I think turned out pretty cute.



I'm not going to share the source of the pattern/tutorial for the little knickers here, because I don't have anything nice to say, I'm afraid.  That's not true.  They turned out cute.  But I had way, way more trouble with them than I think I should have, and I'm not going to blame myself for this one.  The directions and tutorial pictures were just really bad.  Still... it was free, so I guess beggars can't be choosers.  I might even use it again someday, now that I've figured out the mystery method!




Anyway, all told, I struggled with this outfit more than most I make, but I'm glad I made it.  I mean, how cute is that!  I think it's perfect for Independence Day week!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Make this nap mat for under $20 and under 2 hours!



Like pretty much every other crafty mom on Pinterest (like one in every three people in the world), I have seen and fallen in love with this nap mat for sale (for the equivalent of $148!) on a British website and thought, "I could make that!" I have seen a bunch of different takes on it on Pinterest, but none of them had both of the qualities I was looking for: really cheap and really easy (in addition to being cute, of course!)

So I started noodling on it and came up with the following take, which cost me just about exactly $20 and an hour and twenty minutes of my time.  (The cost is FIVE DOLLARS if you already have a queen sheet you're willing to part with.)

Here's how I did it.

I started with the pillows.  Since this uses five standard bed pillows, you could easily spend a ton of money here.  I went to Ikea and picked up five "Gosa Slan" pillows for $0.99 each.  Yeah, I wouldn't want to sleep on them every night, but they're more than adequate for this project, and they're washable as well.

99-cent pillow, all rolled up.
Here's the other thing that makes this project so great: A row of five standard pillows laid out in a line is the exact same length as a queen sheet!  (This does make a really long mat.  You might want to use only four pillows, for instance.  But I wanted to keep things really simple, and if you use five, you only have to make one cut.)  No lining up yards of fabric and stitching them together -- just get a queen sheet, wash it, and dry it.

I probably could have gone even cheaper with the sheet purchase if I wanted to (Ikea again maybe -- didn't even think of that, actually) but I wanted to get one that was pretty and 100% cotton.  I found just what I was looking for at a great price by buying a clearance sheet from The Company Store.  $14.99 for a queen. And I found a coupon code for free shipping -- score!



First I laid out my sheet and pillows, and fold it over so that it overlaps, envelope style, quite a bit (say, 2/3 the width of the pillow in each direction).  I hope that makes sense.  Then cut off the excess.  I found it REALLY helpful to have the polka-dot pattern to work with (stripes or plaid would also be great), because you're working with such a large piece of continuous material that the challenge lies in keeping it lined up fairly straight.

Next I pressed and sewed a normal, folded-over-twice hem down the side.  Because of the length, I found it easier to do this in three shorter segments instead of all at once.  It is also necessary to pin so you don't lose your crease before you can stitch it down.


Then I laid the sheet back out on the floor and folded it back to the correct width.  I got my husband to help me with the pinning, and if you have an extra set of hands around, I'd really recommend roping in some help.

(This is the point where we put the kiddo in front of Sesame Street because we were afraid she'd step on a pin.  I was completely done by the end of Elmo's World.  Seriously, this is a fast project! Even without help, I'm sure it wouldn't take more than two hours.  Yippee!)

We quickly pinned things in place, especially where there were three layers.

Straightened it up all the way down.
Once we had it all lined up, we made rows of pins where the lines of stitching were to go.



I (we) folded the edges to the inside about 1/2 inch and pinned down.  I was much less precise than I would be for a garment or something (no pressing).  It just doesn't need to be that perfect.

From the ends, we made a row of pins every 20 inches.  The sheet is 100 inches long, so there were a total of six lines of pins/eventual stitches -- two at the ends and four in the middle at 20-inch intervals.


Because you're working with so much fabric, you can't follow your handy stitching guidelines on your sewing machine, so you will need to stitch following your pins.  So pin as if the point of your pin will be pointing at your machine's needle, and make them pretty close together so you have a nice line to follow.  This will make it easy to stitch following your pins and pull them out as you go.



Roll up your fabric so it fits under the arm of your sewing machine and stitch your six lines of stitching.  Make sure you get all those pins out.


Stuff your pillows in.  Honestly, this may have been the hardest part, given how much overlap I put in.  If I were doing this again, I would probably overlap the back flaps less.

Dunzo!
with one pillow folded under

Fold one or two of the pillows under to make a headrest, ad let your kiddo relax
and finish up that episode of Sesame Street!
I still have the long strip of fabric from the side, and I might eventually make some kind of tie or loop so the mat can be rolled tightly and secured for travel or storage.  You could, of course, add ties to the ends before you seam the ends, but I decided not to do this so I didn't have to worry about the strangulation hazard.  My little one is only 1, and I have caught her trying to wrap long, skinny things around her neck before.  Scary!

Anyway, there it is: my cheap, easy, cute, and totally washable nap mat. Although the technique is super-simple, I have found it a little hard to explain, so please let me know if anything is unclear and I'll try to explain it better!

Mini Apple Pies



I made egg rolls this week and had a bunch of wrappers left over, so today I used some up by making mini apple pies. They were easy to make and they taste great!

I peeled and chopped five small apples (probably the equivalent of four medium-sized ones) and added to a nonstick saucepan with just enough water to cover the apples.  Brought them to a boil, then reduced heat and simmered for around 10 minutes.  Toward the end of the simmering time, I added 1.5 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup sugar,  around 1 tbsp vanilla, and 1 or 2 tbsp cinnamon (didn't measure those last two).  Then I used a mug to scoop out some of the liquid and stirred in around 3 tbsp of cornstarch.  (Probably could have gotten away with 2), then added the starch liquid back in.  When the apples were soft and the liquid was nice and thick, I divided it among 8 egg roll wrappers, rolled 'em up, put them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, hit them with just a teensy spray of Pam Organic Olive Oil, and baked at 400 for about 20 minutes, until they were starting to turn brown and the kitchen smelled oh-so-good.

You could cut back on the calories by using Splenda, of course (and maybe losing the butter or substituting something else?) but I am trying to use more "real" food in my cooking and just focus on eating less of it, rather than relying quite so much on stuff like Splenda.  (Yeah, I still put it in my coffee, though, and drink Coke Zero.  Baby steps.)

These are seriously yummy.  And everybody knows mini-pies are the new cupcakes.


Ingredients
(per serving)
Cals
Gr.
5
small
48
A
1/4
cup
24
D+
3
tablespoons
13
1 1/2
tablespoons
19
F
2
tbsp
4
A-
1
tbsp
5
B
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 141 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories
207
Calories from Fat
25
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
2.8g
4%
Saturated Fat
1.5g
7%
Trans Fat
0.0g
Cholesterol
9mg
3%
Sodium
200mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates
42.6g
14%
Dietary Fiber
3.7g
15%
Sugars
16.2g
Protein
3.5g
Vitamin A 3%Vitamin C 7%
Calcium 4%Iron 7%
Nutrition Grade C+
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Little Boy's Reversible Vest

This handsome little boy's vest is for a very handsome little boy I know (his mom is one of my oldest friends).  I had SO much fun making it!  It has thrown me into the mood to do some projects for the other small boys I know, so I've been pinning little boy fabrics like crazy.  I'm sure all my Pinterest friends think I'm pregnant again! (Nope.)



Anyway, I was a little worried about matching up the stripes and checks, but I actually think they ended up being a help rather than a hindrance.  They made it easy to make sure I was lining things up (like the buttonholes).  And don't you love a reversible garment for a small child?  If he spills chocolate milk at lunch, whip it to the other side and nobody's the wiser!



The pattern is from Hadley Grace and the fabric is (no surprises here) from Michael Miller's Sarah Jane Children at Play line.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Domino Sundress Preview

So, I had planned to offer this as my first downloadable pattern, but my inner perfectionist tells me it's just not quiiiite ready yet.  Like, it's pretty good, but it could be a lot better with a few minor adjustments.  So it's back to the drawing board.  In the meantime, here's a preview.



Saturday, June 30, 2012

Reversible buttonless pinafore top



I made this one a few weeks ago, but I don't think I've blogged about it yet... It's been one of our go-to shirts this summer. I probably put it on her about once a week. It's a reversible pinafore top, but what makes this one special in my mind is that there are no buttons. So it makes up really fast -- maybe 60-90 minutes. It does sometimes take me a second to figure out how to get it on right, but as I may have mentioned before, my spatial reasoning skills are rather poor.

The pattern is from AliyahsHopeChest on Etsy. Only $2 for a one-size pattern! I will definitely buy it again in different sizes. I top-stitched all around, which wasn't called for in the pattern, but which helps keep it from needing a ton of ironing.

Fabric is from Timeless Treasures' Elephant Showers line.

Side 1 

Side 2

And the crossed straps make a good safety handle!





Friday, June 29, 2012

Snappy Toddler Top and matching knickers

Well, for some reason, I put it off for quite a while, but I finally got around to the Snappy Toddler Top from Prudent Baby.  I think I was intimidated by the round yoke neckline, even though the pattern and directions are simple enough.  But I have to say, I did have a little bit of trouble.  Not because there was anything wrong with the pattern, but because I am just not very good at sewing around curves.  Seriously, I've done it a lot by now, but I have just never really gotten good at it.  I guess I should sew up a few more Snappy Toddler Tops for practice.

Anyway, as you can see, I decided to make it as a Buttony Toddler Top instead. ;-)  Just because I didn't have any pretty snaps I would want to show.  I think I positioned but buttons and holes too far back, because the armholes are a little tight, and it doesn't seem like anyone else has had this problem, so it's obviously something I did.  I'm going to try to move the buttons as far as I can to make it just a bit roomier.

I went with yellow buttons because the centers of the pinwheels are yellow.  Unsurprisingly, I chose fabrics from my all-time favorite line.  I probably need to quit going back to the same well, but it's such a large line, there are still lots I haven't tried!  (Also lots in my stash; you will be seeing it again.) I also added a little pocket, which I think turned out pretty cute.



I'm not going to share the source of the pattern/tutorial for the little knickers here, because I don't have anything nice to say, I'm afraid.  That's not true.  They turned out cute.  But I had way, way more trouble with them than I think I should have, and I'm not going to blame myself for this one.  The directions and tutorial pictures were just really bad.  Still... it was free, so I guess beggars can't be choosers.  I might even use it again someday, now that I've figured out the mystery method!




Anyway, all told, I struggled with this outfit more than most I make, but I'm glad I made it.  I mean, how cute is that!  I think it's perfect for Independence Day week!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Make this nap mat for under $20 and under 2 hours!



Like pretty much every other crafty mom on Pinterest (like one in every three people in the world), I have seen and fallen in love with this nap mat for sale (for the equivalent of $148!) on a British website and thought, "I could make that!" I have seen a bunch of different takes on it on Pinterest, but none of them had both of the qualities I was looking for: really cheap and really easy (in addition to being cute, of course!)

So I started noodling on it and came up with the following take, which cost me just about exactly $20 and an hour and twenty minutes of my time.  (The cost is FIVE DOLLARS if you already have a queen sheet you're willing to part with.)

Here's how I did it.

I started with the pillows.  Since this uses five standard bed pillows, you could easily spend a ton of money here.  I went to Ikea and picked up five "Gosa Slan" pillows for $0.99 each.  Yeah, I wouldn't want to sleep on them every night, but they're more than adequate for this project, and they're washable as well.

99-cent pillow, all rolled up.
Here's the other thing that makes this project so great: A row of five standard pillows laid out in a line is the exact same length as a queen sheet!  (This does make a really long mat.  You might want to use only four pillows, for instance.  But I wanted to keep things really simple, and if you use five, you only have to make one cut.)  No lining up yards of fabric and stitching them together -- just get a queen sheet, wash it, and dry it.

I probably could have gone even cheaper with the sheet purchase if I wanted to (Ikea again maybe -- didn't even think of that, actually) but I wanted to get one that was pretty and 100% cotton.  I found just what I was looking for at a great price by buying a clearance sheet from The Company Store.  $14.99 for a queen. And I found a coupon code for free shipping -- score!



First I laid out my sheet and pillows, and fold it over so that it overlaps, envelope style, quite a bit (say, 2/3 the width of the pillow in each direction).  I hope that makes sense.  Then cut off the excess.  I found it REALLY helpful to have the polka-dot pattern to work with (stripes or plaid would also be great), because you're working with such a large piece of continuous material that the challenge lies in keeping it lined up fairly straight.

Next I pressed and sewed a normal, folded-over-twice hem down the side.  Because of the length, I found it easier to do this in three shorter segments instead of all at once.  It is also necessary to pin so you don't lose your crease before you can stitch it down.


Then I laid the sheet back out on the floor and folded it back to the correct width.  I got my husband to help me with the pinning, and if you have an extra set of hands around, I'd really recommend roping in some help.

(This is the point where we put the kiddo in front of Sesame Street because we were afraid she'd step on a pin.  I was completely done by the end of Elmo's World.  Seriously, this is a fast project! Even without help, I'm sure it wouldn't take more than two hours.  Yippee!)

We quickly pinned things in place, especially where there were three layers.

Straightened it up all the way down.
Once we had it all lined up, we made rows of pins where the lines of stitching were to go.



I (we) folded the edges to the inside about 1/2 inch and pinned down.  I was much less precise than I would be for a garment or something (no pressing).  It just doesn't need to be that perfect.

From the ends, we made a row of pins every 20 inches.  The sheet is 100 inches long, so there were a total of six lines of pins/eventual stitches -- two at the ends and four in the middle at 20-inch intervals.


Because you're working with so much fabric, you can't follow your handy stitching guidelines on your sewing machine, so you will need to stitch following your pins.  So pin as if the point of your pin will be pointing at your machine's needle, and make them pretty close together so you have a nice line to follow.  This will make it easy to stitch following your pins and pull them out as you go.



Roll up your fabric so it fits under the arm of your sewing machine and stitch your six lines of stitching.  Make sure you get all those pins out.


Stuff your pillows in.  Honestly, this may have been the hardest part, given how much overlap I put in.  If I were doing this again, I would probably overlap the back flaps less.

Dunzo!
with one pillow folded under

Fold one or two of the pillows under to make a headrest, ad let your kiddo relax
and finish up that episode of Sesame Street!
I still have the long strip of fabric from the side, and I might eventually make some kind of tie or loop so the mat can be rolled tightly and secured for travel or storage.  You could, of course, add ties to the ends before you seam the ends, but I decided not to do this so I didn't have to worry about the strangulation hazard.  My little one is only 1, and I have caught her trying to wrap long, skinny things around her neck before.  Scary!

Anyway, there it is: my cheap, easy, cute, and totally washable nap mat. Although the technique is super-simple, I have found it a little hard to explain, so please let me know if anything is unclear and I'll try to explain it better!

Mini Apple Pies



I made egg rolls this week and had a bunch of wrappers left over, so today I used some up by making mini apple pies. They were easy to make and they taste great!

I peeled and chopped five small apples (probably the equivalent of four medium-sized ones) and added to a nonstick saucepan with just enough water to cover the apples.  Brought them to a boil, then reduced heat and simmered for around 10 minutes.  Toward the end of the simmering time, I added 1.5 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup sugar,  around 1 tbsp vanilla, and 1 or 2 tbsp cinnamon (didn't measure those last two).  Then I used a mug to scoop out some of the liquid and stirred in around 3 tbsp of cornstarch.  (Probably could have gotten away with 2), then added the starch liquid back in.  When the apples were soft and the liquid was nice and thick, I divided it among 8 egg roll wrappers, rolled 'em up, put them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, hit them with just a teensy spray of Pam Organic Olive Oil, and baked at 400 for about 20 minutes, until they were starting to turn brown and the kitchen smelled oh-so-good.

You could cut back on the calories by using Splenda, of course (and maybe losing the butter or substituting something else?) but I am trying to use more "real" food in my cooking and just focus on eating less of it, rather than relying quite so much on stuff like Splenda.  (Yeah, I still put it in my coffee, though, and drink Coke Zero.  Baby steps.)

These are seriously yummy.  And everybody knows mini-pies are the new cupcakes.


Ingredients
(per serving)
Cals
Gr.
5
small
48
A
1/4
cup
24
D+
3
tablespoons
13
1 1/2
tablespoons
19
F
2
tbsp
4
A-
1
tbsp
5
B
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 141 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories
207
Calories from Fat
25
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
2.8g
4%
Saturated Fat
1.5g
7%
Trans Fat
0.0g
Cholesterol
9mg
3%
Sodium
200mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates
42.6g
14%
Dietary Fiber
3.7g
15%
Sugars
16.2g
Protein
3.5g
Vitamin A 3%Vitamin C 7%
Calcium 4%Iron 7%
Nutrition Grade C+
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Little Boy's Reversible Vest

This handsome little boy's vest is for a very handsome little boy I know (his mom is one of my oldest friends).  I had SO much fun making it!  It has thrown me into the mood to do some projects for the other small boys I know, so I've been pinning little boy fabrics like crazy.  I'm sure all my Pinterest friends think I'm pregnant again! (Nope.)



Anyway, I was a little worried about matching up the stripes and checks, but I actually think they ended up being a help rather than a hindrance.  They made it easy to make sure I was lining things up (like the buttonholes).  And don't you love a reversible garment for a small child?  If he spills chocolate milk at lunch, whip it to the other side and nobody's the wiser!



The pattern is from Hadley Grace and the fabric is (no surprises here) from Michael Miller's Sarah Jane Children at Play line.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Domino Sundress Preview

So, I had planned to offer this as my first downloadable pattern, but my inner perfectionist tells me it's just not quiiiite ready yet.  Like, it's pretty good, but it could be a lot better with a few minor adjustments.  So it's back to the drawing board.  In the meantime, here's a preview.