Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Mar 11, 2013

DIY Family Tree Pillow

Hi All,

I'd like to share my DIY family tree pillow that I did 2 Christmases ago for my mother, mother in law, and grandmother.  I was reminded of this project recently by mother because she wanted me to "update" it.  Let me explain....



As you may already know, I like to do homemade gifts.  Not only are they from the heart but they also suit Dan and I's budget and frugal lifestyle better.  Don't get me wrong, we spend money on gifts too!  (I would hope that no one ever called us "cheap" when it comes to gift giving).  However, I just really enjoying crafting things with my hands.  I'm sure you other crafters would agree with me when I say there is just something immensely gratifying and happy about creating something beautiful yourself.  So I make my presents homemade when I can mostly for this reason and because I love seeing the reaction the gift receivers give when they open up my gift from the heart.

So enough of the back story, let me get back to the actual post.  Two Christmases ago I wanted to make something really special and unique for the aforementioned people.  I don't quite remember how I came up with the idea to do a family tree, but I did.  At the time I was just starting to experiment alot with my sewing machine and was making pillows.  Slowly the idea for a "family tree" pillow came together.  Now because this was a year and half ago, unfortunately I don't have the step by step pictures, but hopefully you'll get the gist of it.

I started off with a trip to JoAnn Fabrics to get me some material.  I bought a bunch of those cotton fabric squares in different patterns.  I also made sure I had some green fabric and brown fabric for the "tree."  For the pillow material, I went with a neutral linen color. 

The family members would each be represented with different size birds.  The template for these I did find somewhere online from google images.  The largest bird would be the first generation, the medium the second generation, and the smallest the third.  

To denote birds that were related to each other vs. married, I used the same color fabrics.  For instance, this is Dan, Noah, and I.  My yellow fabric matches that of my mothers.  Dan has an entirely different fabric from  my Dad's (see picture above, my dad's is black), but Noah's fabric matches Dan's.  
OK so first I started out with my tree shape, which I first free handed onto a piece of craft paper.  Once I had the shape I liked, I traced it onto my fabric and cut it out.  To attach the tree to the linen pillow material, I used hand stitching with silvery embroidery thread. I wasn't too concerned with fraying edges, because I knew this pillow was more decorative than useful.  I didn't think it would be seeing much wear and tear to agitate the fabric edges.  

I attached the birds in the same fashion, hand stitching a simple straight stitch around their borders.  Under each bird I also added two "leaves" cut from glittery green felt fabric.  These I hot glued onto the pillow along with the decorative white buttons.  

  For some extra decoration, I added these cute little felt flowers.  I also hot glued them to the material.


To finish, I sewed my other pillow piece of fabric to the decorative one and got a nice pillow case.

 Which I then stuffed with this pillow foam shape from JoAnn's for less than 5 dollars (with a coupon!)

Lastly, I added the name of the family at the bottom of the pillow.  I used iron on paper and printed out each family's name, cut it, and ironed it onto my fabric.
 
And there you have it!  A finished family tree pillow!  My Gram's looked really awesome since she's the mother of three, with 4 grandchildren (all married) and 5 great grandchildren.  The birds on her pillow are crazy!  All three women loved their gift, and I'm so glad it worked out so well.  


What homemade gifts have you made that you are really proud of?!





Mar 6, 2013

HONEST Diapers. Part II

In my last post I talked about how cloth diapers sadly did not work for us or for Noah.  As sad as I was over this failure, my discovery of an awesome alternative diaper lessened the disappointment.  If I couldn't have all the benefits of the cloth diaper, I was determined to find an equal that offered almost as many.
Luckily I was flipping through my free Parenting magazine in the mail (before Noah was born) and stumbled across an ad/article for Jessica Alba's brand new company called "Honest Co Diapers."  The article tooted the horn of her all-natural, biodegradable,and stylish baby diapers.  I was curious, plus the designs were too cute to ignore.  So I went to her site and took a gander.  What I saw was impressive...monthly diaper bundles delivered right to your front door tailored to the size and needs of your baby.  (Sidebar: The site now offers a lot more than it did when I originally took a look after the company launched a year ago).

As impressed as I was, I was still determined (at the time) to make the cloth diapers work out.  So, I kept this alternative tucked away in the back of my brain just in case.  In the meantime I ordered myself one package of size 1 diapers to have on hand.  My curiosity got the better of me and I just had to see what the fuss was about.



So after Noah was born, we used newborn diapers that I'd received from my baby shower. Because my mom made me an awesome diaper cake, we had a TON.  There was a mixture of Pampers and Huggies.  Out of the two I preferred the Huggies, but to be honest, they both had an awful chemical smell after Noah peed in them.  I wasn't being neurotic either, Dan could smell it too. Noah's growth out of the newborn size diapers coincided with our brief stint initially trying out the cloth diapers. Well you know how that ended if you read the last post.  If not, check that out (cloth diapers) here. So finally the time came to test the Honest Diapers package I had in the back of the closet.  I secretly had high hopes for J.Alba's stylish, earth friendly, baby bootie huggers, and they did not disappoint! Short verdict....we LOVED these diapers. Yup the hubby liked them too.  And so does Noah!  He seems very comfortable in them, doesn't fuss over dirty diapers as often, moves around well, and stays dry overnight....So here's my breakdown on these dipes.


1.  They didn't stink! like the other disposables. I don't know about you people, but every time Noah wet his other disposable diapers, there was a distinct smell they carried.  The smell just reminded me of all the nasty chemicals that go into those things to make them so dang absorbent.  The HONEST diapers have never emitted a smell as far as Dan and I can tell.
2.  They fit Noah nicely.  We've only had one or two leaky overnight diapers in 7 months!One of the other problems with the cloth diapers was that they bunched in weird places and created gaps in others.  The Honest diapers have a double flap on the bottom for extra coverage and they have a nice shape when tucked around Noah's itty bitty waist.
How stinkin cute is that bum?  This is the lumber-jack pattern, my personal favorite!
3.  They are super cute and fun.  (You can pick which patterns you would like delivered and they are always designing new ones)  If you haven't been able to tell, I'm all about fun and style when it comes to the little things.  Call me silly but slapping on one of these cute thangs makes diaper changes a little more enjoyable to me!
4.  Noah has had ZERO problems with diaper rash.  He has never (knock on wood) had any break down on his bum or any other sort of irritation. 
5.  They are delivered right to our door, so we don't ever have to run to the grocery store real quick when we run out of diapers. Man, you got to love the little conveniences in life where you can get them.  And not having to cart diapers out of the Target or Kmart is one of those little conveniences.
My February Supply of Diapers =)
6.  They are friendly to earth.  Seriously we love earth.  Don't believe me? Take a gander at the beautiful receipt I get to look at every month.  This paper is so pretty and fun it takes a little extra effort for me to toss it out.  I think I have the last few in a drawer just because they are so pretty to look at.  (I know, that's weird). 
Look closer...
SEEEEEE.  Look at all of those multi-syllabic words that no one can pronounce.  Eeck.

7.  They are reasonably priced (approx $80/mo) considering the convenience, healthiness,  stylishness, and environmentally friendliness they offer. Their website lists a market price comparison and they do pretty well when matched up against other popular disposable brands. 

8.They practice what they preach.  Look closely people.  See that little logo in the bottom right hand corner of the sheet.
100% recycled paper.  Boy do they make recycling look chic.


Behold this gem.  What mom wouldn't love opening up this pretty box every month?
So do I have you interested yet?  I promise I'm not getting anything from the Honest company to endorse their diapers, I just love them so much, I want to share them with the world!  Plus their company is barely a year old, so people are still unaware it exists!  So, at least go take a looksie at the site!  J. Alba has really outdone herself....if diapers aren't your thing, you'll be able to find something else to try out.  Her site is now complete with a "green" version of (almost) every household and self care item under the sun. From laundry detergent to all purpose cleaning spray to shampoo and conditioner.  They have it.  The only other products I've personally tried are the dryer sheets (highly recommend!)  And hand sanitizer (jury's still out).

So head on over there now!  And let me know what you think.

Feb 14, 2013

An impromptu photo shoot

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

So I wanted to share a quick post with you all about my handmade impromptu photo shoot with Noah bear today. As I was browsing Facebook earlier, I was inspired but everyone's Valentines Day spirit. I don't know about your news feed, but mine was littered (in a nice sense of the word) with people's posts of flowers, gifts, cards, candies, loved ones, etc. Dan and I usually don't make too much of a fuss about this holiday. A nice little card and a kiss is about as far as we go, but I had a change of heart thinking this was Noah's very first V-day and also the very first time I had two special valentines :-).

Plus I hadn't sent any cards to the grandparents or anything, so I thought something needed to be done. These thoughts took me up to my craft room and I went to work with materials I had on hand. As I cut and crafted away, Noah played happily on the floor with my scraps of paper.

True to my motto, everything was DIY/Homemade. I grabbed some felt I had lying around and cut out some hearts. Then I cut out XOXO letters from red craft paper. Next I found some heart ribbon that's been sitting around waiting for a purpose and I put it all together on an old ribbon memo board from my college dorm room days.

Because Noah needed to look the part, I pinned felt hearts to a plain white onesie. For the back drop, I simply draped a white blanket over his crib and used a boppy to help him sit up straight. Lastly, my only other prop was a white valentines bear grammie bought Noah a couple days earlier. After all was set up, the photo op began! I got a lot of priceless pics of the buddy and was able to send them out to family and friends. And now we will have photo memories of Noah's first Valentines Day!

Not bad for an hour of our day and $0 out of our pockets!

What Valentines crafts did you all come up with?





Feb 12, 2013

5 Totally Awesome Must-Have Books According to This Momma

Hey all!

Good news... not only is my blog going to be about DIY tutorials, but I'm also going to sprinkle in a little mommy stuff here and there, along with family posts, budget-y posts, and healthy eating goodies!   

So straying from the sewing posts a little, I wanted to share with you my totally unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinions on the best baby books around. Ok...here we go.

Not unlike a lot of mommies I know, I love to read.  Seriously, I LOOOVE to read.  I have always been a "bookworm",known to devour one book after another.  My poor hubby knows that when I start a book, there will be very little bonding time or even talking time till it's finished.  But let's go back to the beginning.  The story of my learning to read is actually quite comical.  So comical in fact, that I feel it necessary to share with you all.

Rewind to 1990ish. According to my parents, when I was a little tot, I would memorize my favorite books after hearing  them over and over again.  Once I had them memorized, I would sit by myself in my room and "read" my books  aloud.  Funny part is, I was genuinely convinced that I was indeed "reading".  I'm sure you can picture that scene..., me sitting there, probably holding the book upside down, babbling off all sort of nonsense, feeling self-important and awesome. I was "reading" and I loved it.

Then kindergarten rolled around and part of the curriculum  was actually learning to read...go figure!  The irony of this was, I couldn't learn it!  No matter how hard I tried to learn to read, I had A LOT of trouble.  My parents think that as per my personality, I was just too impatient to get to the reading part to hunker down and learn my basics.  In other words, I didn't feel it necessary to bother with the alphabet and learning what letters made what sounds.  That was a waste of time,  I just wanted to look at a page and well….read it!  If you know me, this is hilarious.  Because 21 years later, my personality is EXACTLY the same.  Little to no patience, focused on the end result, and blatant disregard for the basics!  These days though, I really try to step back and take my time to do things the right way.  The saying "haste makes waste" rings true to me.  But no matter, I digress.  Back to little ole illiterate Mary. 

So after nights and nights of working on my reading with no improvement, my parents caved.  What I'm about to reveal to you all is outstandingly embarrasing...but it must be said.  I know all of you 90s kids will know what I mean when I say…. I Mary Grace ..... was hooked on phonics.    There it is, I said it! Hooked-On-Phonics...... The combination of that and my two patient parents finally got the reading thing to happen for me.  Thank the lord because I was almost a lost cause.  So to wrap up my long, seemingly irrelevant story, I eventually mastered the whole reading thing and the rest is history.  Since kindergarten, I've read hundreds and hundreds of books, and I wish I had more time in my days now to read more! 

But fret not!  Since having Noah, I've entered a whole new genre of reading material….baby books!  And let me tell you what the secret to the baby books is, the baby doesn't care what you are reading.  Well, not yet at least.  So since the baby doesn't care what you are reading, be a little selfish and pick something you want to read. Seriously, why bother with those dull 2 word sentences books that are supposed to be developmentally appropriate.  Or those black n white books with one word per page.  Not only are books like those tremendously uninteresting to you, but they are also a complete waste of energy (in my unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinion) Let me explain...to read one of those one-sentence-a-page books,  it'll take you all of 20 seconds.  Twenty seconds of frantic, pointless page flipping while your baby flails around restlessly in your arms waiting for something more interesting to happen.  Now don't get me wrong!!!  I'm sure those books will be great and educational at some point in Noah's young life, but for a 0-6 month old, I believe not so much. 
So this brings me to the types of books that are AWESOME to read (in my unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinion).  Number 1, I like books with rhyme and Noah does too.  He enjoys the inflections I create with my voice while reading them and the musical quality of the reading grabs his attention more easily.  Number 2, I also like books with some colorful illustrations.  I've seen more than a few baby books with black and white pages and weird sketchy drawings.  Now I'm sure that some genius somewhere has a perfectly good reason for why these books are developmentally appropriate and preferred, but I'm not buying that my 6month old son would rather look at a stick figure then a page full of wonderful, colorful, woodland creatures.  And lastly, isn't early reading supposed to be familiarizing baby with different sounding words, sentence structure, emotion, conversation, etc?  How are you supposed to get all that from the aforementioned one-sentence-a-page books? 
So that brings me to what I believe are the most awesome (to date) baby books for you and your bambino.  But before I get to my list, I must reflect on what I've written and say that it's entirely possible that I'm just encouraging you to be selfish and read what YOU like with complete disregard for what may or may not be developmentally appropriate for the reading age of your child.  But to that thought I say pshhhh, ANY reading is good! (within reason people)

Number 5!  Moo Baa La La La 


This book was recommended to me by one of my fellow mommies.  I love the simple noises, rhymes, and animal sounds in this book.  I'm sure as Noah gets older, he'll love it more too.  It is a little short for my tastes, but it makes the list nevertheless.

Number 4! Ten Tiny Toes


Now this book is just priceless.  Noah and I found it one day at Barnes N Nobles.  I was immediately drawn to the sing/songy rhyming words.  Plus it was just too freaken adorable to pass up.  "And nothing on earth you could even suppose, can ever be loved quite like Ten tiny toes!?"  How stinkin cute. SOLD.

Number 3! Little Blue Truck

I got this book from one of my childhood neighbors.  Love. love. love!  There are a lot of things I love about the Little Blue Truck book.  The illustrations are fantastic, the rhyming and sentence structure are so fun, and the animal noises are a blast to sound out for Noah.  He almost always starts shouting and babbling along with me when I read this book.  When I found out that it had a companion sequel...we bought it instantly.  Not quite as great as the original, but still a fun read.

Number 2! Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You

Ok now this book is just a must-have for every mommy out there.  The first time I read it, I had tears in my eyes.  This author so beautifully describes the love a mother/father/whoever feels for their "baby".  And she does it in beautiful rhyme.  What I love most about this book is the truth and meaning behind the words. As Noah gets older I want him to remember that "My love can find him, my love can fly".  Insert tears.

Number 1! Bear Snores On


Oh gosh, this book is a gem.  Dan and I found it on date night at Barnes N Noble.  Another fun rhyming book with great illustrations.  The book is complete with fun rhymes, different voices, sound effects, suspense, fun, and a fantastic ending!  Imagine our elation when we went to Barnes N Nobles just the other day and found that there are more diamonds like this one! (Yes, we bought them all) Hallelujah!  Fun, exciting, reading ahead!


There you go people.  Let me know if you know of any books I should reconsider ranking into my top 5.  I'm always on the lookout for the next great book to read to my Noah bear!


But in all seriousness, you are bombarded with advice to read to your child daily, so why not make this a fun time for both of you by finding exciting books that you look forward to reading.  I'm hoping that as the experts say, daily reading will set the child up for success in their future learning.  Because I for one, do not want Noah to be hooked on phonics.  =)

Disclaimer:  As I said, this is (in my unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinion) and mostly meant to offer some mommy suggestions for wonderful reading material.  I am not in any way educated in early childhood learning, nor do I pretend to be.  So  Please do not be offended by my sarcasm =)












Jan 31, 2013

Morning Sunshine

After what has seemed like days of dreary, overcast skies here in Lancaster County, the sun has finally decided to grace us again with its presence.  What a relief too, I for one was beginning to miss it.

So today, amongst many things, I am thankful for the sun.


And I am thankful for the daily reminder of why going part time was the best decision Dan and I  could have made for our family....

Look at the face that I woke up to this morning!  Now if that's not enough recharge you and prepare you for whatever the day has in store,  I don't know what is. 

Good morning everyone!  How did you wake up today?