Feb 6, 2013

DIY Monster Onesie

So I like to sew but am by no means an expert.  I sew burp cloths, blankets, little things....you get the picture.  I get by and have learned pretty much everything I know by teaching myself and the trial and error method.  It is also important to note that I have a love/hate relationship with the sewing machine.  Often times we find ourselves head to head, me yelling at it,  and it sitting there mocking me by refusing to work.  My complaint is if it's not one thing causing me undue stress, it's another.  For example, the bobbin runs out in the middle of a stitch, or the needle randomly unthreads itself, or the machine skips a stitch, or the pressor foot falls off,  or the needle breaks, and of course, there's my all time favorite, the thread decides  to jam...  Anyway, you name it and it's probably happened to me.  

This particular project, all of the above misfortunes transpired.   Needless to say, there was screaming, there was shouting, and there was profanity.  Good thing Noah doesn't repeat what we say yet.  Hopefully by the time that age comes around, the sewing machine and I will be on friendly speaking terms. 

Anyway, because Noah grows like a weed, we are now entering the 9 month clothes stage.  While sorting through his drawers the other day, I came across a 4pk of Carter's long sleeved white onesies.  Dan happened to be in the room at the time, and when I showed him the onesies excitedly, he judged them "plain and boring".  Hmm, the familar voice again, "you can do something with these!"  So later that night, I browsed my ipad for some ideas.  I came across the really cute blog The Homes I have Made and was inspired by her monster onesie.  I really liked the picture she used as her inspiration from etsy, (Monster), and decided I'd use that as my inspiration.  So I rummaged through my scrap fabric and came up with some blue and yellow pieces.  Then I found some off white canvas for the eyes and black felt for the eyeballs.  I pretty much free-handed the cutting of the various shapes using the onesie as a size reference.  The "winging it" portion turned out pretty well, and I did take pictures of the shapes for you, but my camera decided to format it's memory card without my permission and alas, they are all gone.

But anyway, I've never appliqued anything before, so there were quite a few challenges I uncovered.  Numero uno, finding the right stitch to use on the machine.  I needed one that would prevent the edges from fraying.  After looking online, it appeared that the "blanket stitch" was recommended.  However, my machine didn't have that, so I opted instead for a zig-zag stitch and adjusted the size and spacing of the zigzag.  The next challenge was not sewing the front of the onesie to the back of the onesie all while keeping the pieces of fabric in place.  This was by far the biggest challenge.  There was a lot of sewing and reripping of stitches until everything was semi straight and organized.  The last challenge was hiding all of the back (reverse stitching) I did to secure the thread. 

So my take on the whole thing.  I guess I am overall pleased with it.  There was alot of start/stopping which shows in the stitched pattern, so in hindsight I wish I would have used a lighter colored thread.  I think the black makes it look a litle sloppy, but it's not bad for my first experience with appliquing. Maybe I'll try to redeem myself with another attempt sometime soon, but for now, behold Noah's truly scary monster onesie ;-)

And the cute model himself!

What projects have you all been working on lately?!

Feb 4, 2013

Mommy "Lesson" Plans

Like I've mentioned to you all, my hubby and I decided after Noah was born that I would return to work part-time.  (I plan on writing a post later to detail all of the thoughts that went into that decision making process, so stay tuned) Anyway, since I work as a nurse, "part-time" for me consists of two 12 hour night shifts per week.  This entails me leaving for work around 6:00pm and getting home around 8:10 the next morning.  I am fortunate enough to have my mother in law nearby to watch Noah one day a week so that I can sleep in between my night shifts, but all of the other days I have him to myself =).  Although finding time to sleep can be a challenge, we are making it work!
I know that alot of moms use daycare.  In fact, I was in daycare (part-time) as a child!  So I have nothing against putting my child there.  Quite the contrary, I was nervous that by not putting Noah in daycare he might miss out on all the cool, neat lesson plans they have for their children everyday!  Let's face it, daycares have really come along way since you and I were little....they really are more like "baby schools"! 

So my type A personality kicked in and I decided that if I was going to be (essentially) a stay at a home mom, I would need to do my part in keeping Noah up to the standards of his peers.  Like alot of us busy young moms, I like lists and organization.  So I took to Microsoft Publisher again and made what I think is a nifty little grid for planning out Noah's week.   Take a gander...

After making my little chart, I filled it in with details and ideas that I found from babycenter.com, thebump.com and other related baby info sites.  Now please remember, I am NOT a teacher, but I do believe that as Noah's mom I "teach" him everyday.  This little guide will help me structure out some fun activities for us and remind me what stage of development Noah is working on =) 

Here is my filled out chart...

So there you have it.  For all of you other stay at home moms out there, browsing the Internet does turn up some really useful mommy information.  Here are some of the subject areas I found for infants:

Sign Language

And learning areas...
Fine Motor Skills
Gross Motor Skills

Initially I was trying to find a way to incorporate all of these areas into one schedule chart, but it was becoming just too confusing.  I like the simplicity of the chart above.  But I will be mindful to try and include all of these areas in Noah's daily activities week to week.  Hope you enjoyed and let me know if you found this helpful!

Feb 3, 2013

DIY Nursery w/ Homemade Decor: Part 2 DIY Yarn Letters

Have you all seen those alphabet letters or name decals that a lot of cute nurseries have hanging on the wall?  Usually they are found somewhere above or around the crib...well when i was decorating Noah's nursey, I decided I needed wanted them. So I set out in a hot pursuit of four wooden block letters. First place on the tour was Michaels of course!  Fast forward to me standing in Michaels looking at their wooden block letters while mentally tallying up the price of Noah's name at a steep $5-6  per wooden letter block.  And that price wasn't even for the large sized blocks.  Now 'Noah' is a short name, so the letters would have only set me back $25-30, but that even seemed like more than I wanted to spend on this particular decoration. Additionally, they were unfinished and would need a coat of paint or something to help them out.  So that was a quick elimination for me. Next I thought I'd check out Joann fabrics, which actually turned out to be a little more espensive than Michaels. Humph I thought, what now?

Then the familiar little voice I often have came creeping into my head..."pshhh you can make these". My conscious mind wasn't as confident, but  I was up for the challenge.   So I came up with a home-made alternative that involved some cardboard, ribbon, yarn, hot glue gun, and a lot of patience.  Since I originally posted this project Here the same idea has popped up on Pinterest and other crafty homemade blogs. Seems like crafty minds think alike!  So here's what happened.
DIY Yarn Letters:

Yarn, a color of your choice
Scissors or Exacto Knife
Hot Glue Gun

Step 1: 
I took my cardboard and free handed large block letters for N-O-A-H.  Then I used an exacto knife to cut my letters out through the cardboard.
(Tip- Keep your letter edges as straight and smooth as possible.  It makes for easier yarn application)

Step 2:
Glue one end of your yarn on the back edge of your first letter.  When the yarn and glue are set, you can begin wrapping your letter, laying each strand of yarn tightly next to the other.  Be careful not to wind too tightly or your cardboard letter may bow. 
(Tip:  Be creative wit your yarn if you need to.  It's ok to overlap sections and wrap multiple times to make sure that your cardboard is covered)

Step 3: 
I had some green ribbon lying around, so I doubled my ribbon and glued it to the back of my letters for easy hanging. 

And there you have it.  DIY Yarn Letters for baby.  If I did this project again in the future, I think it may be neat to use multiple colors of yarn.  The fun part is, this project is so easy and inexpensive, and it adds a great custom/*homemade* touch to your nursery.  I like it...and I hope Noah will like reaching up and touching his soft letters too...he's definitely getting close to that stage!  =)

So....the breakdown
Total cost of this project.
$2.99  (for the yarn)