Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pine Cone Bird Feeders

On an October afternoon walk around the neighborhood, big brother and I spotted some lovely pine cones. I instantly knew we should grab a few for a fun project - bird feeders! So into baby sister's stroller basket they went.

A few days later we just happened to be stuck indoors due to rain. I found some spare ribbon in my craft stash and tied loops to the tops of our pine cone treasures. Then I newspapered the dining room table and filled a shallow bowl with bird food. After grabbing the jar of peanut butter for the shot above, I decided to spoon out a glob of it into a separate dish to avoid double dipping the spatula back in the jar. (Good thinking mommie!) Once the sticky layer was complete, it was time for big brother to cover the cones in bird seed.
Once he got over the initial prickles of the pine cones, he had tons of fun smashing lots of seeds into the peanut butter. He was so tickled and excited to make these for the birds that frequent our yard.
Once our feeders were complete, I stored them in a resealable bag. A few days later once the sun returned, we headed out to hang our creations and spy on our birdie friends.
We watched our pine code feeders often, but I wasn't able to capture an action shot. Oh well, such is the life of this busy mommie bird! We have proof that our efforts were enjoyed tho - the backyard feeder was knocked down and devoured by pesky squirrels, and the front one is still hanging just as bare as the now leafless tree!

 Since this easy project was such a hit, I plan to do it again and again. If we don't have the good fortune of accessible pine cones, there are tons of ideas online (pinterest anyone?!), including stacked cheerios on pipe cleaner stems or this adorable inverted sugar cone - genius!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Taggie Blanket

 Here's a little something I recently whipped up for baby sister - a mommie made taggie blanket!

I found the pre-quilted fabric at Hancock, which matched up to the coordinating gingham already in my stash. The tags are trims and ribbons in a mix of new and stash also. I found a nice reference here and it came together SO quickly!

This spur-of-the-moment project was immediately put to good use. I love that she loves it! 

I'm starting to find creative moments again, but lack the additional time (and sometime motivation) to post all about the fun. I'll share and catch up the best I can tho! Thanks for taking the time to check out my space and Happy Fall to all!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Baby's First Embroidery

Summer may be coming to a close, but my crafty endeavors are just beginning for baby sister. I finally found some extra time to whip up a personalized burp cloth. I mentioned before on my Facebook page, I've got them all over the house, just never in the exact spot I end up needing one. So here's another to add to the laundry load!


I started by sewing polka dot grosgrain ribbon to the bottom hem of a Gerber organic diaper cloth. After browsing all of my Monogram Wizard Plus fonts, I decided to use 3 different fonts to spell her name...yes, I'm a nut, lean towards obsessive compulsive, and always seem to make things harder than need be. But isn't that why we crafters create? - to make exactly what we want and uniquely so to boot!
- E is Exact, LL is Fletch and A is Curly Q -

Big brother's first embroidery was the same (but with his name in a more masculine font of course), so now I have a pair of baby keepsakes. Good thing they are absorbent because I am sure they will wipe my tears when I fondly reminisce of baby days.

For now we are enjoying our precious chubby bundle's sweet smiles and coos. She's pictured above on a blanket made by her great-grandmother, and is wearing her mommie's very own vintage bubble suit!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Reads

Hello there! Our summer continues to be filled with caring for my two most precious creations - big brother and baby sister. However, I've got a few small projects waiting for me on the dining room table along with my sewing machine. I'm ready to get back to it!

Today we braved the heat (which doesn't happen often unless necessary...hello fall? we're ready!) and made our way out to pick up some library books. I often come across blog posts that share favorite reads of preschoolers. I check the story lines out online, add them to our hold request list if they look appealing and hope we'll find exciting new stories. We've tried LOTS, and sadly most don't hold big brother's (or my) attention. However, today we hit the jackpot so I thought I'd share. 

Our local nature museum has the sweetest, cutest pair of owls. We've visited the mommy and baby owl more times than I can count, so I had high hopes this book would be a hit and it is!

This one was spotted first on our holds stack and met with "Mommie look - bunnies!" Adorable animals are an instant attraction at our house!

Both books have well told, sweet stories. The illustrations are beautiful, and really hold my 3 year old's attention. We read them as soon as we got home, and Daddy was requested to read them again at bedtime. Ahhh, sweet summer reading satisfaction with worthiness of future purchases!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Girly Burp Cloths

I whipped up these two fancy burp cloths a few weeks pre-baby. One for us and one for a friend who welcomed a baby girl just 2 weeks after baby sister's arrival. The floral fabric is a Circo (Target) soft flannel blanket that I thrifted. I loved the colors, it was brand new and a total fabric bargain at only 75 cents! The coordinating rick rack just happened to be in my stash left over from big brother's nursery curtains

Due to my nesting frenzy, I didn't think to take pictures of the (very few and basic) steps involved. So here's a text style tutorial. I promise they are super easy to make!

 1. Prewash + dry your fabric and plain burp cloths
2. Measure the middle, thick panel of the burp cloth. They're often uneven, so be your own judge and make the best rectangle you can.
3. Add a quarter to a half inch to the rectangular measurement for a seam allowance and cut fabric accordingly
4. Fold and iron under the seam allowance of cut fabric panel
5. Measure and cut desired lengths of rick rack
6. Place fabric panel over rick rack, turning under rick rack ends and pin in place over the burp cloth mid panel
7. Sew around the panel. Quick tip: I usually keep white thread in my bobbin and use a matching color on top. 
8. You're done - burp away baby!

And just for kicks, here's a few more I've made along the way:
personalized embroidered burp cloths
more fabric burp cloths

We're still without a schedule around here, but I've got a few embroidery projects lined up for baby sister. I'll share once they're complete!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another Birthday Beach Towel

My go-to gift this late spring / summer for kiddos has become a personalized beach towel. In case you missed the others, check 'em out here. I love the color combo of this handsome towel for Garrett, our neighborhood buddy who just joined the big brother club this week. Baby sisters are popping up everywhere!

Curvy Font in Monogram Wizard Plus

I hope everyone is keeping cool and enjoying summer!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Baby Sister is here!

So the reason for the big pause in posts is baby sister's arrival! She graced us with her presence on her exact due date. Go figure! Big brother's arrival was several days before his due date, so we were thinking a May baby was in the works. But not for our girl - she wanted June!

I'll do my best to post when I can during this new chapter of mommiehood. I'm not sure when I'll be breaking out the sewing and embroidery machines next...sleep is the first priority for a bit! So for now I'll leave you with the shirt I made Big Brother. He is so proud, loving and being such a helpful sibling!

Chachie Font from 8 Claws & a Paw
 Blue & white gingham appliqued letters with matching blue embroidery

Friday, May 27, 2011

Choo Choo BBQ

We are anxiously awaiting the birth of baby sister. Big brother arrived several days before his due date, but it seems our girl is snuggled up and has her own agenda. So as we kick off a Memorial Day weekend of waiting, I thought I'd share one of my husband's favorite go-to crock pot recipes. It's on right now for dinner, planned to go alongside some ears of fresh corn. (And for those that don't know, I'm a vegetarian, but the ease of preparation allows me to put this on for the hubs and move on to my own version of chicken!)

My brother is responsible for sharing the super simple recipe, found here. Thanks Esteban! We make a half batch most times which still yields plenty. And a great tip of my bro's is to use half of the BBQ sauce initially, shred the meat about 30 minutes before time to eat, then add it back to the crock with the remaining sauce.


 I served this dish as Choo Choo BBQ for big brother's 2nd birthday party and it was a hit in the Dining Car...get it?! We also offered Chugga Chugga Punch. This mommie loves a good theme! For more on the Train Party, head here and here.
Happy holiday weekend everyone! Hopefully I'll have baby news to share soon...or lots more nesting projects!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Birthday Beach Towels

We celebrated a couple of birthdays this week, so here's a peek at our friends' personalized beach towel gifts!

A mermaid towel for Julia:
Easy Font in Monogram Wizard Plus

And a handsome striped towel for James:
High Pockets Font in Monogram Wizard Plus

Now to ponder when our May baby will arrive...could be any day now! :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nursery Artwork

The clock is ticking and my nesting instincts are raging. If only I could bottle this creative energy - I would love to take a sip during the upcoming newborn sleepless nights we are about to encounter!

In our baby boy nursery, we had a sweet collection of turtle prints:
For baby girl, we decided to keep the same frames, but paint them white. My sweet husband handled the priming and painting, so I was free to create the new art work. Our yard is full of nesting birds, so it seemed perfect to use them in our nest!
This adorable birdie is from Planet Applique.  At first we contemplated using 4 different birds, but in the end we decided to go with 4 of the same, all made out of different coordinating fabrics from my stash. One is even made with a swatch of nursery curtains from big brother's nursery!

The following "after" pictures aren't nearly as bright and crisp as I'd prefer, but I'm up against the clock and wanted to share a peek. I'm really pleased with the results and look forward to introducing our girl to her home any day now!
Even if you don't own an embroidery machine, there are a couple of cute bird templates here and here. Fabric is such a fun canvas!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My DIY Nursery Curtains

In case you happened to miss my decorating train of thought for baby girl's room, you can get caught up here.
Now for a quick look back at what was hanging before in the baby boy nursery:
These were mommie made by my mommie, also known affectionately as "Mi" by big brother. It was bittersweet taking them down, but I've tucked them away, and hope to put the material to good sentimental use someday.

I'm a girl that likes to have a pattern to start with, so I did some online research to see if anything existed along the lines of my vision. The closest pattern I found was view A of McCalls 6093. It's a box valance meant to be board mounted, but the paper pattern was perfect for my fabric and lining. All I needed to add was a rod pocket - easy!
I can't help but giggle at the "Home Dec in a Sec" tagline they use on the envelope. Is DIY home decor truly possible in one second?! Not at my house.

After selecting and preparing my fabric, I measured both rod sections over the connecting windows to determine my custom panel widths. Turns out they were not exactly equal...gotta love older homes! Each panel was cut on a fold, so I made sure to carefully line up my stripes which is always a bit daunting. Luckily the pattern repeats easily, and the lining is solid. Next I lined up the pattern fold line at the appropriate half-width (including seam allowances) and got to pinning. To create the a-line on each side of the treatment, I used a fabric marker to draw a slant edge from pattern top to bottom, shown here:
I first extended the bottom cut line
and connected to the top cut line with a straight edge.

I always feel so accomplished once a project is cut out, don't you? Most of the logistics are finally figured out, and it seems at least half, if not more, of the battle is over. Finally time to get sewing!

Right before my first stitch, I draped the cut striped panels over the rods to determine matched placement of the inner middle seams. Even though I cut both panels with a-lines on each side (due to the fold), I wanted them to look continuous despite the small middle rod brace. Hopefully I'm making sense here! I marked each panel at a desired stripe near the brace, placed right sides together with my lining, and followed the mark sewing up a straight seam. Then I figured out exactly how much of a seam allowance I needed to carefully take on the a-line side. The goal was for the panel to hang perfectly flat across the rod. After ensuring I had sewn both side seams correctly, I cut the inner straight seam's a-line excess off. Unturned edges shown below:
I hemmed each panel thereafter, turned them right side out and pressed. Almost done!

Lastly I needed to create the rod pocket. I folded the open top down 1/4", pressed, and then folded and pressed down another 2". I sewed a straight seam across the lower pressed edge. Done! Time for their debut!

I'm really pleased with the results of the these simple, classic curtains. They even inspired me to deep clean the blinds, windows, trim and sills. If only I could bottle this nesting energy! I hope my how-to ramblings made sense - thanks for following along or at least trying to!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Making Over The Nursery

As soon as we found out baby #2 is a girl, I immediately started looking around for nursery inspiration. Luckily we already have big brother's essentials...crib, dresser / changing table, and glider. All are white to match the room's trim, and the walls are a neutral tan. Gotta love the practical (yet stylish!) minds of crafty, frugal parents!

My first find for the updated room was crib bedding. I landed an amazing Dwell Studio boutique set (now discontinued) from Craigslist of all places! I was immediately drawn to the modern and fresh alternating patterns:
 Next I began to think about curtains. With the bedding so strong on print, I wanted to keep the window treatment style clean and simple. Below are two of my favorite inspiration photos. Both showcase basic toppers that are classic and feminine: 
via Cheap & Chic Nursery and Me and Wee
via Celebrity Babies

Then it was time to find a fabric that would tie in the bedding with our glider cushions and various other accesories. Light green was a main color in baby boy's nursery, so my mother and I selected this print at Mary Jos to tie the new room together:
Down the Road by Waverly

I've been working on the curtains in stages over the past couple of months, so I'm excited to finally reveal baby sister's mommie made creations. A simple a-line look - LOVE!
Freshly pressed and hung today!
I'm tickled pink with the results (couldn't help myself with that one!), and look forward to sharing the curtain how-to soon. Stay tuned for more on the nursery transformation as this mommie bird nests away!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Boppy Cover

Boppy Covers are a super easy and fun nesting project. I purposely bought a Naked Boppy back before my son was born just so I could sew my own unique covers. Naturally on top of my project list for baby girl was a new mommie-made cover just for her!
Isn't the pale pink, gray and white sweet?!

Inspired to make your own?! This printable pattern via Scribd (which no longer appears to link to a current blog) includes instructions and is a fantastic reference for all sewing levels:

Once assembled, I found the pattern to be a bit large, so I made my own that falls somewhere between it and my actual pillow. Then I cut my fabric, placed the zipper and got stitching. It comes together SO quickly!

I also suggest adding some top stitching to reinforce the zipper ends once you've turned the cover right side out:

And there you go - a personalized cover!
Soft, sweet and simple. 

The countdown is on with less than 30 days to go until we meet our girl. Wow! Guess I need to pack my bag and stack this necessity right on top. But for now, back to nesting with more crafty posts to follow!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Thrill of Thrift

 I am still reeling over my thrift store find this morning - a gorgeous smocked baby bonnet! It appears to be unworn and brand new. One of the ribbon ties needs reinforcement, but otherwise it is flawless.

Wanna guess how much I paid for this beauty?!
Nope, not $50...not $5 or even 50 cents. It was half-price day and I landed this gem for A QUARTER!!!

When baby #2 was in the works, I came across this post over at Prudent Baby. My heart melted when I saw the Janie and Jack bonnet, so I added their tutorial to my project list. I've also had my eye out for something special like it and had no idea I'd land it for such a steal!
My mother hand smocked many a dress for me back in the day, and I have been obsessed with the craft ever since. I've taken classes (pre-babies if you can believe!), and can't wait to share the stash my mom has saved. But first my girl will wear this darling baby bonnet this summer - perfection!

What treasures have you found thrifting lately? Don't you find it thrilling?!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Decorated Sugar Cookies

Last week was Spring Break around here, so making Easter cookies was high on my list of fun activities. Big brother loves cooking, so we whipped up a fantastic sugar cookie recipe. It's delicious, easy and instantly ready to roll out if you have an impatient baker as do I! It even held up nicely in the fridge between cutting sessions...someone lost his steam once we got to the cut outs and wasn't the most gentle. Even so, I think our final shapes turned out nicely!
I let the cookies cool and packed them in airtight containers overnight. Soon we were ready to decorate! 

After having such success with my cupcake frosting, I was excited to make my first batch of Royal Icing. Once again, I turned to Prudent Baby's wisdom to get started.  I made a large batch of white icing and then divided it into small bowls for coloring. Once the color was mixed, I spooned the frosting into my handy squirt bottles. I kept things basic by starting with outlines, and then filling them in for big brother to happily sprinkle.
I've got a long ways to go to match some of the gorgeous cookies I've seen in blogland, but our first go at it was fun! Figuring out the correct consistency of the icing is key, and having a little helper always produces homegrown results. And that's what makes them extra special!

As you can see, the cookies were well loved, shared excitedly and eaten quickly.

Here's to the next batch and I hope everyone's Easter was great!


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