Monday, December 23, 2013

Borusia Dortmund Scarf

Are you a soccer fan?  I couldn't care less, but my husband (and probably my sons) and my nephew are soccer or fussball fans of the highest caliber although they don't like the same team.

My husband is a Borussia Mönchengladbach fan, while my nephew is a Borussia Dortmond fan.  Apparently these things are very different.  Something I don't quite understand.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Felt Ornaments Tutorial - Sewing with Kids

Since my oldest was 4 he has liked making Christmas ornaments and decorations with me, and to be honest, he is the reason I have come up with more ideas in this area.  Last year it was bells and beads.  This year, I saw Delia's post about her felt ornaments (requires a sewing machine), and I thought I could do something kid friendly and get my son into sewing by doing something he enjoyed.

I had plenty of ribbon for the hanging part, but I needed some felt with corresponding colored floss (the sewing part).

Off I went to Walmart to raid the craft section.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Plant Stand with Casters Tutorial

I happen to love plants, gardens and growing things.  Sadly, I am not good at growing all things and have managed to lovingly kill some of my house plants, usually flowers of some sort, but bizarrely, I always manage to kill ivy when it is a pot, but I can't kill it in my yard without digging it up. 

Who knew?

I have 3 very large house plants that are a pain to move, say when you want to put your Christmas tree up in your largest window, which is usually where they sit.  Two of them are so large that I cannot move them without fear of hurting myself or my house, so I decided to build my own flower pot stands with casters.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Flannel Jammie Pants

One of my favorite bloggers - and boy is she talented - is Dana at  She has tons of tutorials and loves to make things for both boys and girls.  The boy part is important, since I have 2 of them.  If you go looking for sewing ideas for girls, it is like opening that stuffed closet where everything falls on top of you.

Not so for boys. 

Well, I found her, and I am sharing.

One of my favorite tutorials is how to make your own pants pattern for your child, boy or girl.  She even offers her own pdf version for 2T/3T-ish for free.  She also has a tutorial on how to make your own pants pattern based on clothing that you already have for you kids that you like.  I was already not super afraid of trying new stuff, but this has opened my world to so many new possibilities.

I feel free.  I feel inspired.  I know I can do anything.  That's right, I'm dangerously crafty.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Flannel Infinity Scarf

As so often happens, I found someone else's version of a sewn infinity scarf, and for once, except fabric choice, I planned on doing this project almost exactly like the one that inspired me.

If you haven't already clicked on the link above, you may be wondering who inspired me this time.  Made by Rae.  When it comes to sewing and sewing cool stuff for boys and girls she has fabulous ideas.  She is on my top 10 blogs to visit list when I get a chance to surf.  She has really made a business doing this (blogging), selling patterns and she even has her own fabric lines.  Um, a little envious here! 

Anywho, on to my version.  I totally loved this scarf.  Going loosely on her dimensions, I decided to cut mine 11-12in. wide and 2 yards long.  (I did say loosely, right?) 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yoda Cowl/Head Piece

Now, I know that it is after Halloween, but I am proud of this, so I am going to post it anyway.  My son wanted to be Yoda from Star Wars for Halloween.  Good thing I had already created the Jedi robe and vest for his Star Wars birthday party.

But how do you create a Yoda look?

First, I needed to purchase some Yoda green fleece.

What is Yoda green anyway?

Basically, I picked 2 different light colored green fleece fabrics that I thought would suit.  I had a week to go, and I was not going back to the store for more fabric.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ribbon Christmas Tree - Kelley Style

I found this lovely Ribbon Christmas Tree on Beyond the Picket Fence.  As so many things do, it got my creative juices flowing, and I created my own version, and yes, it looks different, because, naturally, I had to do mine just a little differently.

Okay, you might be asking yourself where is the ribbon?  It is coming, just hold your horses.

A number one I had this hunk of 2x10 cut to 14 3/4in. for another project (which I obviously didn't do) a few months ago.  It has literally been hanging around my family room getting beaten up by my kids and moved here and there, and when I saw Becky's post, I just knew what I was going to do with it.  I also thought that this would be a quick (relative) result project that my son would enjoy helping me with.  He always wants to 'work' with me, but sanding and gluing, and having nothing to show for it within a 20 minute period doesn't really float his boat.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Plastic Bag Upgrade

Whoops!  Was that your head, Little Man?  Can Mama kiss it?

Some of you may still use a diaper pail, but with our second we didn't even break it out.  Firstly, we cloth diapered our second until 18 months, at which point he could pee through the most absorbent bamboo or hemp inserts with ease, and I was unwilling to stuff his pants so full that he would walk like he was sitting in a saddle.  So, now we use those pesky plastic bags that you get anywhere you buy something for our disposables.  The pee diapers get thrown once a day, while the stinkers get pitched right away.
In that vein we had this plastic bag holder which you can see leaning precariously over the changing pad in our change table topper.  Grandpa DIY'd our change table topper to fit our dresser, but the plastic bag holder was somehow not taken into account.  The older my son got, the more of a pain it became, sometimes literally.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Almost Never Infinity Scarf

This is my almost never infinity scarf.  I started this almost 3 years ago.  It is amazing to think that I was working for a different employer, my youngest son (2-years-old now) had not been born then, and the friend that I was making it for has moved from NYC to Virginia.  It is still cold enough in Virginia for this guy, don't you think?

It has sat in a canvas bag, in my craft closet, almost completed for over 2 years.

With this project, I had decided to make a true infinity scarf.  Since I collect patterns and images of knits that I like, I started scouring through them, and found this scarf from a knitting pattern calendar I was given circa 2006.  As is my  M.O. with patterns, I modified this sucker. Who wants to follow the pattern exactly anyway?  Am I right?  Well, sometimes I'm in over my head.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Crocheted Necklace/Scarf

Last Christmas my cousin and his wife (I love them!) gave me something from my Amazon wish list, which I have wanted but didn't feel like I could justify the purchase:  a teach yourself to crochet book and a set of crochet hooks.  Super expensive, right?  But I guess, since I didn't really have a vision of what I wanted to create, I felt like it would be a waste of money. 

Then I saw Delia's super fun scarf.

It took me a few minutes to locate the book, which I had placed with all my other crafty books.  Then I went to look for my new crochet hooks to break them in, and I could not find them.  I was so sure that I had placed them with my knitting needles but no dice.  The fact that I couldn't find them was driving me nuts for several days.  I kept delving into my craft closet (and it really is a closet, which I share with DVDs, a filing cabinet - not craft related, toys, and computer stuff) looking and looking and looking, until... I swung by Walmart and picked up a set of 3 for $3.47.  Problem solved, for now anyway. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thomas the Train Bridge Tutorial

Look familiar?  It sure is a common occurrence in our house.  Those pesky wooden block track elevators that allow your child to build higher are also those very things that bring it all crashing down when shifted during play.  They are the bain of my existence, especially when my youngest plays with our Thomas trains and track.  He is 2 and a few months and doesn't have the ability yet to get 3 different pieces to stand together with the precision it requires.  There is a lot of 'Need help.  Need HELP!  HEELP!!' while Mama and Daddy are cooking or have soapy hands or who knows what.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

DIY Industrial Toilet Paper Holder

When we moved into our 1957 home, we had our Catholic wedding bearing down on us, and our quasi fixer-upper needed some love.  Some rooms required more than others.  We replaced the old, rusty, wall-mounted sinks that were in both bathrooms.  Our 'master' bathroom received a cute pedestal sink.  It was the smallest one we could purchase in the store - 19 inches wide, and our master bath offers the distinct luxury of allowing one to use the toilet and brush one's teeth at the same time when getting ready for bed.  In our other slightly larger bathroom, we were able to fit a 30 inch vanity, but we needed a new toilet paper holder to attach to the vanity's side, since the porcelain one was getting covered up by the vanity.  It was similar in design and style to the holder in the picture, which I plucked from Amazon because ours is already in the hands of the Goodwill.

I have no idea how this particular product actually attaches, but OURS (again not this product or manufacturer) always rocked back and forth where it was mounted to the vanity, so that it was never level.  This became more noticeable when my oldest started potty training.  You are not going to make a potty training kid straighten the toilet paper roll holder.  You are simply glad his business is going in the toilet and not his pants!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Star Wars Birthday T-shirts

This summer my oldest son, my first baby, had his 6th birthday.  This was going to be our first kid party that didn't just involve friends' and family's kids.  I wanted it to be a birthday to remember, and because he likes Star Wars, I thought I would do a Star Wars party.

I had a ton of great ideas to make this the most fantastical Star Wars B-day Party EVER!

Now I suspect that I am not the only Mama who wants to make their first child's first birthday party perfect.  But most of my ideas were just not feasible as a working mother.  They probably aren't even feasible for a stay at home mother (I am not stupid.  I know you don't sit at home eating chocolate and watching Jerry Springer.  You work hard too.), but it didn't stop me from trying.  Ha, ha!  One of these great ideas was to provide non-candy related, hand-made party favors.

At first I wanted to make all the kids Jedi robes based on this tutorial, but after the prototype took an entire weekend, I decided that just was not gonna happen. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sunshine Art

Images of the sun and sun shine always makes me feel happy.  So when I saw this beautiful piece of sunshine art that Cheri made at, I added it to a monstrous list of things I want to do...someday.  She in turn was inspired by this post by  I loved both pieces.  Simple, sweet, and heart-warming.

Now, again this was on my list-o-things I would love to do, but not particularly on my radar, until my son who started kindergarten this year wanted to make something for his old preschool teacher, Miss LaTonya.

We found Miss LaTonya at our second preschool experience.  She was/is a Godsend.  Our son didn't care to learn his letters or numbers until he met Miss LaTonya.  After he joined her class, he wanted to go to school.  He didn't cry when he had to go to school.  He made friends.  He grew exponentially both mentally and socially.

Union Jack Jeans

Union Jack Gap Jeans
One of my favorite bloggers, Ashley at, who is very talented with her sewing machine, found these fabulous jeans at Gap (that's her picture to the left) with a Union Jack patch made out of jean material.  She also provides a tutorial on how she duplicated this look.

Now I loved this look so much, that I did my own.  The only difference, is that I didn't cut a hole in perfectly good pair of jeans to sew my union jack patch on.  I used it as a patch on a knee that my son had blown out.  So another pair of pants saved!  Give him a few weeks (sometimes days) on a pair of pants and the knees are shot.

Lucky me, my husband was ready to toss 2 pairs of jeans that he had worn holes in awkward places that just weren't repairable anymore.  Score for upcycling!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Coat Rack with a Cubby

Our mud room/laundry room is very busy with 2 boys and 2 adults.  Scarves, gloves and hats are generally tossed here or there, usually far and wide when it comes to my boys. 

"Where is my hat, Mama?" is a very common question at my house when the cold winter wind is blowing. 

Also common is me thinking to myself, "How should I know?!  You wore it/them/whatever last." but responding with the calmest tone I can produce in whatever our situation is at the time, "I don't know.  Where did you put it?" 

Those of you with children will likely know the response that many younger children produce when faced with this question.  "I don't know," or "I don't remember." 

So, what do I do?  A hat (or whatever) hunt ensues with my child following behind and asking me where their lost item is, and "What did you do with it, Mama?"  If I am stressed, this usually results in me sternly reminding him that I didn't do anything with it because if I did, I would know where it is.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Shoe Crates and the Shoe Problem

While I have always been crafty and despite the fact that my own father, Grandpa, makes furniture, I have always been afraid of woodworking myself.  I have helped sand wood, glue wood, clamp pieces together, screw things, nail things, saw things.  You would think I can't be afraid of wood working.  I guess I was afraid of failure, afraid that I didn't have the necessary tools to actually accomplish my ideas or that I would not be able to do it without my Dad's help.  And let me tell you, we have fairly different ascetics and ideas on how things should be done.

Well, thanks to Ana White I am no longer afraid.  Around Christmas time last year I found this brag post on Ana's site based on her step by step plans.  It was an answer to a prayer: what to do with all the shoes? I have 2 boys and a husband.  I am the girl, so I should have more shoes, right?  Not so.

My husband is German.  So like most Germans we leave our shoes at the door to minimize the dirt that is tracked into the house. (We do a lot of things like the Germans...) We used to have 2 of these very useful shoe wracks from IKEA, but we just had too many shoes.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Score! 80s Cool Vintage Fabric

Is the 80s vintage yet?  It makes me feel old, but that is what I am going to call it.

My family and I ate dinner last night with my parents, a.k.a. Grandma and Grandpa.  While they are still settling into their house coming up on a year now in November, Grandma discovered some fabric that she wanted to give to Good Will.  Lucky me, she asked me if to take a look at it first.

This blue knit with matching crazy mesh pattern fabric is the real prize!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bucket List

Here is my DIY Bucket List: a list of all the crafts and projects that I want to complete.  I expect it to grow exponentially, but I will link to all my posts when I accomplish one.  Many of my projects will be an attempt to solve storage space in our shrinking home (~1600sq/ft).

  • Flat bookcase inspired by Ana Whites wall rack to go behind my kid 1 bedroom door.
  • Flat bookcase inspired by Ana Whites wall rack to go behind my kid 2 bedroom door.
  • Bunk beds for my boys.  I am going for a combo of these 2 ideas:
  • Daybed for our living room.
  • Over door storage basket in bathroom that is actually small.
  • Gut master bathroom
  • Gut second bathroom
  • Craft cart on wheels that I can roll out of the way - imagine this only smaller
  • Cool upcycled denim potholders
  • Cool upcycled denim floor mat - image this on your floor