Two Crafty Book Reviews

I recently received two fun book as gifts, so I thought I would share.

My brother and sister-in-law gave me Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee for my birthday and I’m so excited about it. I still have yet to make anything from it, but there are some very creative projects. I love how most of the projects are for the beginner level sewer.  I also discovered the author, Meg’s super fun blog.

I received One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker from my mom for Mothers Day.  This book really is awesome. The photography and illustrations are superb and who doesn’t love 101 projects that only require one yard of fabric? I already have a huge list going of ones I want to start on!

So now there are no excuses, you have two great books to get your creative juices flowing!

Etsy Wishlist

I love love love Etsy and am always finding things I’d love for my home.  Here are a few things I’ve been eyeing for awhile now.

This simple paper bird mobile is so adorable and would look perfect in the nursery.  Who knows if I will ever get it, but I’ve been looking at this one for a good 6 months now!  This Etsy seller has some other great paper products for sale! I also love the bird wall decals.

We’ve been looking for something to go above our couch in our living room since we moved in a year ago. The huge wall still sits blank. I would love to get this for the room, but I’m afraid it may be too small.  I love how airy and magical it is.  Check it out here.

I think this might just be the perfect pattern for the perfect diaper bag-or just giant purse for that matter. It’s super affordable as well! Most patterns in the fabric store are twice this price.

I also recently discovered The Needle Shop on Etsy.  They carry some hard to find fabrics like the Japanese import Kokka fabric above. Maybe this would be cute with that diaper bag pattern? Kinda random, but I love it!

These hand stamped necklaces are so precious. There are many options, but I just think they are so simple and beautiful.  I would love to have one with my soon to be 2 children’s names on them..hint hint.  :)

So, if you had extra money laying around that you didn’t know what to do with, now you have some ideas!!

Four Fun Tutorials

Here are some fun tutorials I have come across online that I’d love to do this summer!

I’m loving those flower headbands that you see everywhere, but wondering if I can pull it off. Here is a very simple way to make one myself! Maybe I will be brave and try it.

You can find it here.
I’m definitely going to make this carseat cover for the new one. I wish I had this when Lula was a newborn! Those blankets never stay on when draped over the carseat and I was too paranoid to take her anywhere without covering her up when she was so tiny.
you can find the tutorial here.
I love this adorable and sunny pillow.
I’m loving drum pendant lights lately, but they are super expensive. However, I have found some great tutorials on how to make one! I am planning on making a few to replace our awful light fixtures.
Check out how to make it here!
Let me know if you find any good projects out there or if you try any of these! Of course I will keep you updated on all my projects!

Weekend Projects

This past weekend, we have started the process of moving our “office” into the front living room since Lula will be moving into the office to make room for baby.  All this shifting around requires quite a few little projects.  In addition to getting all of the trim painted (finally) in the dining and living room, I did a few other painting projects. Since I already had the paint out, I decided to go ahead and paint our black chest that the TV sits on white. I had a great idea to use the fun paper I bought last week at paper source. This is what it looked like:
After painting the chest white, I just used a little ModPodge and adhered the paper. It’s a cool look, but I actually did NOT like how it turned out. The paper is just too girly and pastel for the room.  It would be really cute in a little girl’s room, but not our living room. So, I was mildly annoyed as I had to rip off all the paper, much like ripping off wallpaper and then repaint those sections. So, this is the final product:
Nothing too impressive, just brightens the room a little bit. Someday we will be come real adults and buy real furniture, like a nice TV stand. But for now, we will keep with our record of never ever buying a new piece of furniture and just paint stuff we already have. 
The next project is setting up a little computer nook in our front living room. The first step was to paint an old desk we had. This is before:
And after adding some new handles (except I can’t seem to find one) and some glossy white paint, it looks much better in our living room!
And the paper source paper wasn’t a total loss… I had enough leftover to put in the top drawer:
Pretty cute. I have more leftover that I will hopefully do something fun with someday! 
I will keep everyone updated on the office nook, much more projects need to happen to make it cute and functional since it will be out in the open for everyone to see!

How to Make Curtain Tie Backs

This is one of the first things I started sewing for my home. It’s so simple, only takes a few minutes and really adds interest to your curtains! Our living room curtains needed some tie backs, so I thought I would document how I made them!
2 pieces of 5 X 22 inch fabric
Scissors or rotary cutter
Small plastic circles (I can’t remember the technical name-they are at the fabric store)
Wall hooks
Fold the strips in half, right sides together and pin.  Sew along two edges, leaving one edge open.
Turn right side out and pin open edge as shown. Top stitch 1/4″ around entire strip, closing the open pinned edge.
In two opposite corners of each strip, hand sew on a plastic ring. 

This is what your final product will look back after top stitching and sewing on the rings.
Put the wall hooks in the walls next to the curtains where you’d like them to go, and you are done! 
Here is another example of the tiebacks I made for our bedroom!
For more of my tutorials, go here!

Planting a Vegetable Garden

I am not a gifted gardener. I have only recently become interested in it and it’s not something I excel at. Reid and I have no idea what we are doing, but we both really want a vegetable garden.  The previous owner of our house was an avid gardner, so we have two huge beds in the backyard that have been empty.  
So, we tilled up half of one of the beds and planted tons of seeds.  This was probably a really dumb idea since we don’t know how to plant them, how far apart, how many seeds to put down…etc. Oh well, maybe something will grow! We planted peppers, jalpenos, chilis, zuchinni, squash, pumpkins, red onions, lettuce, spinach and three tomato plants. We will keep you posted on what actually grows-if anything!
Unlike her parents, Lula is a very serious gardner-as you can see!

How To Make a Personalized Tote Bag

Lula needed a bag that was just hers to take to the nursery at church. I was always switching bags and never had them labeled with her name.  The kind nursery workers were always asking me if her bag was labeled, and of course it never was.  Anyway, I decided to make a super simple bag with her name permanently on it. It can also be a little library bag. The pocket in front is perfect for stashing a little library card. It really is so simple,  I just came up with the pattern to fit our needs.  Here is the tutorial:
Here’s what you’ll need to make one bag:
  1/2 yard canvas-type fabric for bag
  1/2 yard cotton fabric for lining, handles and pocket
  1 8in. X 12in. piece of felt
Sewing Machine
Scissors or Rotary Cutter
1. From the Fabric, Cut the Following:
2  14in. X 16in. pieces of canvas fabric (for bag)
2  14in. X 16in. pieces of cotton fabric (for lining)
1  8in X 12in. piece of cotton fabric (for pocket)
2  5in. X 22in. pieces of cotton fabric (for handles)
2. Make The Felt Letters: Draw out your child’s name on a piece of paper in block style. Use this as a pattern to cut your child’s name out of the felt. Make the letters about 2 inches tall. Pin the name towards the top of one of the pieces of canvas. Sew the letters onto the canvas, using a coordinating thread. Since felt does not unravel, you can just sew one seam down the middle of each letter to make it super simple!
3. Make the Pocket: Fold the 8 X 12 piece of cotton in half, right sides together, and pin. Sew all sides (except for the folded edge), leaving a space about 2 inches open on one edge. Turn pocket right side out and pin directly onto the front of the bag under the felt name. Sew around the pocket, about 1/8 inch from the edge. In doing this, you will be attaching it to the bag as well as sewing the 2 inch opening closed.
Sew the Outside of the Bag: Pin right sides of both pieces of canvas together. Do the same with the pieces of lining.  Stitch around 3 sides of the canvas, leaving the top open, turn right side out.
5. Sew the Lining: Stitch around 3 sides of the lining, leaving the top open. In the same manner as the pocket, leave an opening at the bottom of the lining a few inches wide.
6. Attach the Straps:  Fold the cotton strap fabric in half  lengthwise, right sides together and pin. Sew along edge.  Turn straps right side out and pin one to the front, and one to the back of the top of the canvas. The straps should form a “u” when hanging down on the canvas.
7. Assemble Bag: With straps pinned to the canvas bag, place it inside the lining, right sides together and stitch along top edge. Pull canvas through opening in lining, then stitch opening closed.
8. Add the Finishing Touches: Put lining down inside of the bag, and press with a hot iron. Then, top stitch 1/8 inch around top of the bag to secure all the layers. You are finished! 

Another Reason to Use Cloth Diapers

In about 3 months, I will have two children in cloth diapers. Although it’s becoming more popular,  I’m sure there are people think I am absolutely crazy.  In fact, when I was pregnant with Lula, I did not choose to share the fact that we were doing cloth diapers with many people because I didn’t want to constantly defend myself.  However, even 2 years later,  it is so much more common. I probably hang out with more of a “granola” crowd than most people, but I would say a good 30% of my friends who have children use cloth diapers. That is pretty good!

If you are not familiar with cloth diapering, you are probably wondering why anyone would choose them, especially for 2 kids. I can’t get into all the reasons, but here are a few:

First off, I just found this new article that proves another reason to choose cloth. 

I was going to write a few huge paragraphs about why you should consider cloth diapers, but this article and this article pretty much say it all.

The basic reasons are:
1. It saves money.
2. It’s healthier for your child
3. It’s better for the environment.
4. They are really cute!!

Now, if I was a full time working mom, I would not do cloth diapers. I also never expect anyone else to change Lula’s cloth diaper. She wears a disposable when someone else watches her. She also wears one at night. So I am not here to judge anyone who uses disposables on their child . It’s not morally wrong. And I don’t even think about it for a second when I see a kid in a disposable diaper.  To each their own! 

Which diapers do we use you might ask?

We have the Fuzzi Bunz perfect fit diapers and love them.  They work great for us. We bought set of size smalls and a set of size mediums. Lula is in the mediums and our size smalls are all set for baby #2.  We love them because they are slim, not terribly bulky like some other cloth diapers. Lula is really skinny, so this is a must for her! Also, we love that they have snaps as opposed to velcro which might not hold up as well and also snags easily.

We will be registering for some more size small diapers for the new baby because we only have 12, and would like to have about 6 more to make life a little easier.  And, I’m so excited that Fuzzi Bunz has come out with some new colors!! Woohooo!! Here are the new ones as well as the oldies

There are tons of other great diapers out there besides Fuzzi Bunz. Just to name a few:
Happy Heinys
Pre-Folds  (these are like the ones I wore as a baby and are the cheapest option!)
gDiaper (a hybrid between cloth and disposable)

I also use cloth wipes which is actually easier than doing disposable wipes.  Here is a little tutorial I posted a while back for making your own!

If you are from the KC area, here are two great local reasources for cloth diapers:

Teeny Greeny  My friend, Heather owns this business and I will be registering online here for more diapers for baby #2.
Happybottomus  A great cloth diaper store in Lee’s Summit. It’s so important to go and see all your diaper options in person before deciding on which one works for you!