Sewing our Sanity

Thursday, May 31, 2012

felt hair clip tutorial

I have tried many, many different kinds of hair clips for Natalie's hair.  They are too big, too small, or they annoy her and she rips it out after about 10 minutes.  GRRR!  The clips that work the best and that she keeps in for the longest and seem to be the most comfortable are snap clips.  You can buy some cute colorful ones but they are usually babyish and I wanted something cuter.  She has a few that I bought from SunDrop Clips that stay well in her hair and are adorable. I was going to order her some more but then decided I would try to make my own.  They are really fun to make and can be customized in all sorts of ways.  The possibilities are endless.

I used a wool blend felt that I purchased from this etsy store.  There are many store on etsy that sell 100% wool like here and here.  The blend I use doesn't pill or stretch and is a nice alternative to the 100% wool, which can be pricey.  You do not want to use the polyester felt found at craft supply stores.  It will pill and stretch and you won't be happy with your finished product.

I traced around my snap clip (I used Goody's) and then added about and 1/8" seam allowance.

Then cut 2 pieces of felt. On one piece mark 2 dots and clip a between the dots.  Then slid the back of the clip into the slit.  This will be your bottom piece.  Lay it aside for now.

Next I decided how I wanted to embellish the top piece.  I cut my pieces out of felt and then sewed them to my top piece of felt. I used a simple straight stitch to attach the flower and a french knot to attach the flowers center.

Then I placed my top and bottom pieces together and sewed the two pieces together with a straight stitch.  A blanket stitch would also work and be just as cute.


Here are some of the other ones that I made her. I think the peach layered flower with the bead center is my favorite.  For the brown one, I embroidered a flower design onto the top piece and then sewed the top and bottom together.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nursing shawl

I have always used a Hooter Hider when I nurse in public.  I have made some of my own but mostly use the one I bought when Liam was a baby.  But my sister-in-law has the most beautiful, simple nursing shawl to nurse my beautiful new nephew, Silas.  It was very modest and covered your back and sides.  When I commented on it, she handed it to me and said if she had known what it was she would have asked Monica or I to make one for her.  So, when I got home after our weekend away, I made one.  It seriously took me all of 5 minutes to cut and sew it!

I used a sheer knit that I had on hand, but any light weight knit will do.  I cut a piece that was the 66"x30" and trimmed the selvage.  This particular knit happened to be very wide as most knits are 60" wide.  Then I folded the piece in half width wise to give me a piece that was 33"x30".  Then I sewed the top edge starting about 7.5" in and sewed a diagonal line that was 8" long.  I really didn't measure, I just eyeballed it.  

And that was it!  Super simple! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Family Summer Bucket List

When summer starts, there always seem to be so many things we would like to do but before we know it, the summer is gone. Last summer when I first started persuing Pinterest, I saw several summer bucket lists. Like this one on the blog Home Stories A 2 Z. And this one from the Happy Family Movement. We were probably already halfway through the summer at that point so I tucked the idea into the back of my mind - and pinned them on one of my Pinterest boards. So before summer starts this year, we put our family summer bucket list together. I borrowed the idea for ours from Delia Creates since I already had both the bucket and clothespins. We sat down and thought of some things we would like to do and wrote them on clothespins. We need to get some more clothespins because we ran out of clothespins before we ran out of ideas! The clothespins are clipped to the rim of a metal bucket I found a while ago in that fabulous dollar isle at the entrance of Target. 

Over the summer, as we complete each activity, we will put the clothespin in the bucket. 

Come on summer!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Pirates. Again.

Well, one pirate actually. We had a good old-fashioned Memorial Day parade this weekend and Anthony's cub scout troup was in the parade - he has been waiting to be in the parade since we moved here five years ago. He was finally old enough to be in scouts this year so he was able to be in the parade. The theme for their float was pirates and I do think it was the best float in the parade.

[bad shot, I know, don't blame me, blame my camera]

Those scouts dressed as pirates would get to ride the float so Anthony "needed" a costume. He already had enough pirate accesories but he got it in his head that he needed red and white striped pants. I suggested something like the shirts Emily made but he insisted on the red and white pants. Not that I always do what he says, but I figured I would at least look at Joann's for the right fabric. Would you believe that at the end of May, in a very small section of Halloween fabric, they actually had the material?

I made a quick and easy pair of elastic waist pants from this pattern. I have made these pants a bunch, mostly for pajama pants.

(Emily's and my kids when there were just four, not the seven we have now)

Several times recently I have seen directions for an easy waistband that eliminates having to thread the elastic through a casing (not a favorite step in sewing for me). I used my serger for this and I am not sure how well it would work without a serger. After stretching the elastic, I cut a piece of waistband elastic to fit Anthony's waist, adding about an inch for overlapping and sewing the ends together. I divided the elastic loop into four even sections, marking each with a pin. And I marked the center front, the center back and sides on the pants. I pinned the elastic inside the waist a quarter of an inch below the top of the pants. I then serged the elastic to the pants stretching the elastic to fit the pants as I sewed.

Once the elastic has been served onto the waist, simply fold over to the inside and stitch in place, stretching again as you sew. Super fast waistband! The pants had raggedy edges on the bottoms of the legs so to make it even easier, I didn't have to hem them.
He was quite pleased with himself, especially after I put a charcoal beard on him.
He had a ball, even though this was all anyone could see of him
Caroline and Gabe enjoyed the parade, too.
Gabe loved the fire trucks but was terrified of the guys in kilts carrying bagpipes and this
I get the fear of this in the picture above. And the Texas Roadhouse armadillo. And the Chick Fil A cow. But kilts??

Edited to add: Yes, Gabe needs a haircut. The last one, at the barber Anthony goes to, did not I am waiting until I can take him to my favorite hairdresser who does a great job with kids. Actually she is just all around fantastic.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spring Market at Lucketts and more chairs

Saturday I met my parents at the Spring Market at Lucketts. It was amazing. I wish Emily could have been there. (And two other friends who would have loved it.) There were so many things to see and the prices were very reasonable. I came home with some Graphite Annie Sloan Chalk paint and one of her wax brushes. And lots of ideas. This was one of my mother's favorite's:

Weathered logs as planters.

I have absolutely nowhere to use this but wouldn't this wine bottle chandelier look great on a porch with a high ceiling?
The panels on this old door have been replaced with chicken wire. I would love to have several hinged together to make a backdrop on the big blank wall on my front porch. Maybe painted red.
And we both loved this fabulous bench from the Stylish Patina tent.

Not a great display but my mother saw it 20 minutes before I got there and when she took me to see it, it was gone. She described it - a queen size bed refashioned into a bench. We had both seen this done with twin beds but never a queen. Later we saw it with the sold items waiting to be picked up and snapped a couple of pictures.
The highlight of my day was meeting Marian from Miss Mustard Seed. Her work is gorgeous and there is smoothness to her furniture like none other. She has a new line of milk paint coming out in June and I am anxious to try it. She gave both my mother and me one of her tags:
I hung it on my cabinet painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Very appropriate because I first saw the paint on Miss Mustard Seeds blog.
We had a good time and delicious crab cakes. I brought the two-year-old with me and he was terrific. The weather couldn't have been better either.
In the meantime, I was still scouting things out on Craigslist.
Remember these chairs? After seeing them, Emily said she needed some like it. She had been collecting miss-matched chairs of similar size, painting them black, and using oil cloth to upholster the seats. They looked great and so far she had two. Her husband did not like them and after seeing my chairs, she decided she needed something more like what I found. The day after I picked seven up, I found an ad on Craigslist for 10 Hitchcock chairs for $125.

Amazing price again but these need some work. Not much more than some elbow grease and fresh paint though.
Emily, Paul wants to know when you are coming to get your chairs?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kool-Aid playdough

I had just sat down at the sewing machine and was getting ready to start sewing the cutest little pair of shoes for Mikey when Jack asked ,"Mom can you make me some playdough?"  I finally had a few minutes with the two little ones asleep and I really wanted to get some sewing done and I really didn't want to make playdough.  But, Jack will spend long amounts of time sitting at the kitchen table playing with playdough that I decided what the heck, why not?

This is our favorite playdough recipe.  It is really easy to make and I bet you already have everything in your pantry.  So, gather up those ingredients and make your kids some playdough.

You will need flour, salt, 2 packages of Kool-Aid, vegetable oil, and boiling water.

Mix together your flour, salt, and Kool-Aid.  This is a great step to get your kids involved.  

Add the boiling water and vegetable oil.  

And mix until the ingredients are incorporated.  

Turn the dough out onto the table and knead the dough until it is well mixed and the color is blended.  I do this step because the dough is pretty hot and it is quite therapeutic.  

Once the dough is all mixed and cooled a bit it is ready for your kiddos.  Jack played with it for an hour before Natalie woke up and then they both played with it for another half hour and I finally got my sewing done!

Kool-Aid Playdough

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2 packages Kool-Aid drink mix
2 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons oil

Mix together dry ingredients until blended. Add boiling water and oil until cool enough to knead.  Continue kneading until color is blended. Store in an air tight container.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Patio furniture redo

Last summer my parents gave me this patio set for my birthday. 

It really wasn't much to look at but is had a lot of potential and it is very solid.  It had been white at some point and then painted green, and not very well.  Somewhere along the way, the glass top had been broken and replaced with a piece of plywood painted green to match the chairs and table.  The chair seats and back were covered with some awful decorator fabric that was not meant for the outdoors.  

To start the transformation I removed all the seats and seat backs.  Then, I knocked off some of the pealing paint with a sander and washed the table and chairs.  When it was dry I painted it with this:

It gave the set the look of black hammered metal.  It went on very thick with a foam brush, so I only needed one coat and it dried very quickly.  It also comes in a spray and several different colors.  

Then, I covered the seats and seat backs with oil cloth.  I wanted something that could be cleaned easily and hold up well in the outdoors.  I debated a long time about what to do with the table top.  I thought about tiling it or getting a piece of glass cut.  But then I decided that the easiest, cheapest thing to do would be to cover the plywood top with oil cloth.

I am very happy with the finished results and it adds a lot of cheeriness to our deck. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Great chairs from Craigslist

I browse Craigslist from time to time, usually the antiques. I go for weeks without looking at anything and then go through a phase looking every day. I have been looking for chairs for the kitchen but not looking that hard, figuring I would eventually find something. Yesterday I hit the jackpot. 

These chairs were advertised on Craigslist for $100. I was a little wary of the price because sometimes sellers will post a price for multiple items but really mean that price is for just one. I emailed the seller and asked if the price was $100 for one or all seven. Amazingly it was for all seven. They need a paint job and a few repairs.

The seats are in good condition. The paint and the repairs are easy fixes compared to fixing a rush seat. 

I will need to enlist some help to fix this:

Dad are you reading this? It is supposed to look like this 

All of my adult life, probably even earlier, I have been coveting the chairs from Clores. My parents have a lot of their furniture, including more than few of the chairs. They have had them for years and they are still in terrific condition. These are pretty darn close. 

Plus, they have great legs.

I can't wait to get started!

They will get a good scrubbing with this

while I decide what color to paint them. They will go in my yellow kitchen with this cabinet and white kitchen cabinets. I will probably use chalk paint but I will wait until after going to the Spring Market at Luckett's this weekend before I decide and choose a color. (Or maybe colors?) Can't wait to see what kind of stuff they have! I am sure I will come back with too many great ideas. In the meantime I still have to finish planting all those plants. And then there is all that housework. And, oh yeah, that little boy to potty train. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven. Seriously.

Have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest? If you don't know what it is - it is like a virtual bulletin board for "pinning" recipes, pictures, tutorials, etc. of ideas you see on the 'net that you would like to have, try, or make. It is like bookmarking a site but tons easier. Or clipping things from magazines or newspapers without  cluttering up the counter or having to file them away somewhere. I have pinned so many things that I do not think I will ever get around to trying all of them - there are so many amazing ideas out there. And recipes. And tutorials. And things I must have. So today I decided I would try out one of my "pins."

Yesterday while browsing Pinterest, I saw someone had pinned instructions on how to make hard boiled eggs in the oven. Hard boiled eggs really are a no-brainer but there are several steps involved - boil, cover, let sit for 15 minutes or so, then cool. This new-to-me method just requires putting the eggs in the oven and forgetting about them for 30 minutes.  We have a ton of eggs in the fridge because I bought two cartons of 18 at Costco the other day not remembering that my husband had also bought two cartons of 18 at BJs. If this experiment didn't work, we'd be OK loosing a few eggs. 

Place the eggs in a muffin tin - I used a mini muffin tin, but the regular size works fine, too. The recommended temperature is 325 or 350, depending on your oven, and the post I read suggested doing a test egg. I really didn't have the time and I certainly had the eggs so I baked a dozen at 340. The recommended time is 25 - 30 minutes and I think I left mine in for about 27. The whole things was totally unscientific on my part.

The above picture was taken just before I took them out. I checked on them halfway fearing I would find the eggs had popped open and dripped all over the oven. I don't know why I was afraid that would happen, its not like I stuck them in the microwave. 

One egg cracked but that also happens sometimes when boiling eggs.

I removed them with tongs and left them in ice water for 10 minutes.

I read that the brown spots would come off in the ice water bath. They didn't. I also read that the eggs would be easier to peel. They weren't. And where the brown spots were on the shell, there were also brown spots on the egg itself. And some were tinged brown. Not pretty for deviled eggs. I did make deviled eggs with some and egg salad with the rest. On the plus side, the yolks were nice and creamy.

I am not sure I would do this again. Maybe I'll try with a couple at 325 for 25 minutes and see if I still get brown spots. For now, I'll stick to using my muffin tins for muffins, cupcakes, and this:

Toddler lunch.

Note the cheese curls are the first thing he ate.