Showing posts with label awesome. Show all posts
Showing posts with label awesome. 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.

Mar 3, 2013

"Twitter" Me Message Board

Hey People,

So this Sunday has become a cleaning and reorganizing day.  Poor little Noah has an ear infection.  We took him to the weekend clinic this morning to get him antibiotics and the rest of the day he's been pretty low key.  Poor little bugger has just wanted to sleep and cuddle (which this mommy doesn't mind at all!).  Because he hasn't required too much attention, I was able to organize his clothes into 0mos, 3mos, and 6mos boxes.  Boy did that kid acquire quite the collection of clothing.  If we have another boy, he'll be set! 

After that was done, I decided it was time to tackle my craft room, which looks like a warzone.  Without going into too many details, let's just say that it was long overdue.  That place was a health hazard.  (2 minutes in there and Noah would probably come out with a pin in his eyeball and something covered with glue in his mouth)  In cleaning out my craft room, I stumbled upon an unused 11x14 picture frame....which got my mind a churnin.  The frame was silver, so I knew that I wouldn't be using it in any of my picture wall hangings (because all of the pictures around my house are framed with brown, white, or cream frames).  But it seemed like such a shame to let it sit there unused.  At the same time I stumbled across this frame, I happened to be sorting through my marker collection.  As I bundled my dry erase markers with a gumband, I remembered an idea I saw on Pinterest using a picture frame as a makeshift dry erase board. So naturally, I dropped everything that I was doing and set about to crafting one for myself.  (Got to love my ADD).

So basically I used some scrapbook paper I had lying around, cut it to the shape and size of the frame, and drew little red lines to mock that elementary school paper I remember practicing my cursive letters on as a child.  Voila...

The message "Twitter Me" was completely impulsive.  I've never used twitter in my life, nor do I have any imminent plans too.  But it seemed like a cute phrase to caption my thought..."Hey write on me, I'm fun!"  The dry erase marker is attached to the frame by a piece of yarn.  (it is tied to the horizontal wall hook on the back of the frame)

Not sure yet where I'll put our little message board.  I'm thinking it may serve some good in the kitchen to jot down quick notes to the hubby or make reminders of things I need at the grocery store.  Best part about that is, no paper, no waste, no mess!  Gotta love that=)

Hope you enjoyed my impromptu craft of the day.

Mar 2, 2013

DIY important dates wall decor



So this next post I am actually really excited to share with you all.  As many people are these days, I am a huge fan of Pinterest.  The last two Christmases I used Pinterest as inspiration for ideas on homemade Christmas gifts.  If you don't know my opinion on homemade gifts, it is simply that I love them.  I love making them and I love giving them even more.  ( I only hope that the receivers like them as much as I do!). Anyway, while browsing Pinterest last year I found the idea for something called "important dates framed". Looking back now I can't find the pin so I'm not sure if I actually pinned it.  But you may have heard of the concept or even seen a similar pin yourself.   The basic idea is a framed piece of  "art" that has important dates printed on it in a semi-subway art fashion.  The majority of the pins I saw had birthdays of important people/family members on them with some kind of cute caption that read "what a difference a day can make."  

So I was determined to complete this DIY gift for my mom and mother-in-law who both became grandmothers for the first time last year. I wasn't sure if they would think it was as a cool as I gift as I did, but I was willing to take the risk!  

So to do the project, I basically winged it on my own instincts.  I decided to go with the anniversary of my parents and follow with the birthdays of all of their children&grandchildren.  To make the art I went into word publisher and played with different fonts, sizes, orientations and layouts until i found a design I liked.  The finished product looked like this...


It was a success, my mom loved it!  And my mother in law seemed to really appreciate hers as well.  So I thought I'd make one for Dan and I, but with a little twist to it.  So here's the tutorial if you'd like to make one yourself. 

Supplies:
You'll need 1/4 yard of canvas fabric in a light color
Steam A Seam fusible paper or Adhesive spray
8.5x11 craft paper or sturdier printer paper
your design in word publisher or another similar publishing program
an 11x14 picture frame

 

Step 1:  Using your adhesive paper web, attach the craft paper to the canvas fabric.  The first photo below is just me sizing the paper against the fabric.  As you can see there is a margin of fabric around the edges of the paper which I'll remove later.


The adhesive paper needs to be sandwiched inbetween the layers of fabric and paper.


This is what it looks like once the protective paper is removed.  One side of the paper will be sticky and the other side will become adhesive once ironed.

Step 2:  Activate the bond from the other side by ironing the fabric. 

Step 3:  Trim fabric edges.
Step 4:  Load your paper into your printer


Step 5: Print! (As you can see, the twist on mine was making it into "A Love Story".  I chose to highlight what I felt were the important dates/times in Dan and I's relationship.  I also used graphics I found through google images. 
Step 6:  Set into frame


Step 7: Admire =)




And there you have it.  Make one for yourself or as a gift for someone you care about!

Feb 26, 2013

DIY reusable shopping bag

Just as I promised, I attempted to make my own reusable shopping bag.  The experience took me a few hours and was a little frustrating (because I've never sewn this type of material before), but I think that with a little more practice, I could get one of these puppies done in no time. 

So if you missed my last post, I was rambling on about how awesome it was to be green in your kitchen.  Not only does it save you money but it is also kind to earth.  And I mean, who doesn't love earth?  So if you don't have any reusable shopping bags or you do and are up for a fun sewing project, read on!

So this little tutorial is a mini adaptation of the one I found here at pieandcoffee.org.  If any of my directions are unclear, I urge you to check out this website as they have much more detail and better pictures in their tutorial.

STEP 1:  Get some fabric! And have fun people!  I went a little crazy with my fabric choice, but when else can I use outstandingly colorful fabric such as this piece below?  Plus, I am 100% positive this will make my grocery shopping experience a little more fun & bright (pun intended---hawwwink) I bought 3/4 yard of a stretchy denim/canvas combo.  I thought this choice would be a little more durable.


STEP 2:  Fold your fabric in half and cut your fabric 23 in wide (as per the tutorial above)  This is  what I ended up doing, but I think in the future I'm going to leave the width of my fabric as it comes from the store (27ish inches) and cut the height to 23 inches.  This may or may not have been what the tutorial above actually wanted me to do, since they never mentioned a height measurement.  If so, I was confused, but either way works. 

STEP 3:  To form the pattern for the bottom of the bag you need to cut two squares 5.5 inches wide by 4 inches high out of each corner of your fabric.  Make sure you are cutting your fabric on the FOLDED side. 


STEP 4:  Sew the left and right side of your bag.  Leave the top and bottom squares UN-SEWN.   Now the stitch I used.  This was the most difficult part for me.  I couldn't figure out what stitch would hold this fabric without bunching it, coming undone, or just plain not working.  I experimented with different tensions of my thread, spacing, and stitches, and ended up using a ridiculously complicated stitch that was really unnecessary.  After I finished I found out the best method to use is actually the flat felled seem.  Definitely use this.  It takes a little longer on your machine, since it is multiple steps, but it really will save you time and effort in the long run.  This is my go to stitch for future projects with this sort of material. 

STEP 5:  Pin the corners of the bottom of your bag together and sew.  Now the tutorial at pieandcoffee.org has you first sew the bottom shut with the bag right side out and then has you resew the seems with the bag flipped inside out.  This is the method I used as well, and it turned out alright. 

STEP 6:  Hem that puppy.  This is the hem on the top half of my bag.  And yes, I cheated.  The stitch you see was the original hem I created. But I wasn't happy with how my bag appeared to be too tall for it's width.  (which goes back to the whole 23 inch measurement thing)  So i folded my hem down further and used hem tape the second go around.  Honestly at this point, I was so tired of fighting my sewing machine, plus it was late, that I cheated and used my hem tape I've had sitting around for a year.  Hey that's what it's for anyway right?  So if you feel like cheating too, go ahead, I won't tell.

STEP 7:  With your scrap fabrics, cut pieces that are 4 inches wide and however long you would like your handles to be.  My handles ended up a little shorter than I would like, so make sure you presize them with your bag.  Fold them in half (hot dog style) with the print sides inward. Stitch along the edge, but leave the ends open.  When you've got them stitched, flip them inside out so the fabric print is on the outside again. 


STEP 8:  Attach straps to bag.  So I folded that unfinished edge into the tube about 1/4-1/2 inch and then used a straight stitch to sew around the border of the handle.  As you can see below, I made an "X"  to add extra strength to the hold. 

The upside down view from the other side of the bag.  Sorry, blogger won't let me flip my pictures around for some reason!


STEP 9:  Admire your finished product.  There you go folks.  A finished reusable shopping bag.  I bet this thing will hold at least 4 plastic bags worth of groceries.  I have to go grocery shopping later today, so I'll let you know ;-)





Update:
Look at this beaut! She worked and held more groceries than I coulda hoped for.

Feb 18, 2013

DIY fabric journal

I have another cool tutorial-ish post for you all.  A fabric covered DIY journal.  But let's go back to the origination of this idea.  It all started last Wednesday.  Noah bear had his 6 month old well baby check up.  Emphasis on the well.  Well, he came out of the appointment severely pissed off after waiting 2 hours to be poked and prodded by two different doctors and stabbed 3 times by a not-so-friendly nurse.  Needless to say, the rest of the day I had a pretty grumpy baby on my hands.  By that evening, it was evident that the trip gave him more than a sour attitude, he had developed a lovely hacking cough, waterfall-ish runny nose, low grade fever, and generalized malaise.  Yay.  To boot, I hadn't been left unscathed either, sporting a rather stuffy nose and sexy nasally voice myself.

Thank goodness for the hubby.  He has nursed us back to a semi-healthiesh state the last few days.  I am almost recovered, but poor Noah is still miserable.  I really hope his little body kicks this thing soon.  But anyway, yesterday Dan and I decided we needed to get out of the house.  Even though it was like -40 degrees outside, we thought some fresh air would do the family good.  So we took a trip to one of our favorite go to hangouts, Barnes N Noble.  This brings us to the idea for a journal.  While perusing the store, I stumbled across the journals section.  Nostalgia hit as I remembered this portion of the store being my favorite place to hang out as a little girl.  As a pre-teen and teenage girl, I had more journals than I knew what to do with.  There was just something so enticing about writing down my secret thoughts on fresh, clean, stylish pages I couldn't get enough of.  To top off my trip down memory lane, there was a young girl scouring the shelves for the perfect diary/journal right next to Noah and I.  This prompted my own search for a journal.  "Maybe I'll take up writing one again"  I thought to myself.  Cue searching for the perfect match.  Five minutes in, I abandoned my hunt.  Paying anywhere from $10-$30 for a book I may not even use was becoming unattractive.  And then that voice...."You can make one!"

So I came home, determined to conquer another DIY project. So here's what happened.


I gathered some supplies (all of which I had on hand)
1. cardboard
2. iron-on adhesive sheets (adhesive spray would probably work too)
3. scrap fabric
4. notebook paper
5. ribbon
6. needle
7. thread
8. button
9. rubber band

Step 1:  I cut out the "bones" of my journal.  Using the cardboard (it was of the thinner more paper-like variety), I sized and cut out the front, back, and spine of my journal.


Step 2:  I placed iron on adhesive strips all round the edges of my cardboard.





Step 3:  I ironed the cardboard onto the fabric.  
I'm sorry I don't have any pictures documenting this.  I was doing it as I was watching Noah, so I didn't have a lot of time.  But essentially I had a piece of fabric large enough to fold completely in half and cover both sides of my "layout".  (By layout I mean the three places as I have them placed in the pictures above)  After ironing on each of those pieces separately in that layout, I folded the fabric down over top of them all so that the bottom edges aligned, and I ironed that.  

Step 4:  I prepared my notebook pages.  
I used a standard-ruled notebook and cut the pages to the size I needed for the journal, being careful to leave the little round circles from the spiral wire intact.  I then placed these into the journal so that the circles lined up above the little space of fabric to the right of the spine and to the left of the back cover.

Step 5:  Using a craft needle and some sparkly embroidery thread I carefully sewed my pages to the binding of the book.  (I came up through the back of the book first, through the hole, across the spine, and into the space to the left of the spine and the right of the cover).  

This long, rather arduous process yielded this.
Pretty right?!

Step 6:  I bedazzled.  Using the adhesive paper, I attached two yellow ribbons onto the front cover of my journal.


Step 7:  I attached a big white button.  This was a little more tricky.  First I marked where my holes needed to be with a permanent marker.
Next I took a pin and poked through the cardboard to get a pathway started for my big fat craft needle.  Then I threaded my needle through and attached said button in no particular fashion.  I just made sure I criss-crossed, zig-zagged, and all sorts of things to keep that puppy on there tight.


Step 8:  I used a yellow rubber band to make a "tie" for my button.  First I poked a hole through the back cover using the pin and craft needle again.  Next I knotted my rubber band on one end so that it would hold onto the inside of my back cover.  Next I forced the end with the loop through the hole and out the back of my journal.

inside back cover
outside back cover
And looped around to fit the front. (I originally wanted to use a hairband, but couldn't get it to go through the hole, so I gave up when I saw the yellow rubber band).

Well there you have it.  A homemade journal for $0.  Although, it did take a few hours to come together.  Anyway, it's amazing what you can do with the things you have lying around your house.  I love "tinkering" and finding ways to make old or unused items new!

Let me know if this tutorial helped you at all and if the directions were unclear in any part, let me know!
Happy Crafting =)