The Story of a Mom, a Wife a Small-Business-Owner-Hopeful (Happy Baby Designs) and a Craft Lover, trying to be present (not just exist) in my life with my children, my husband and myself. Follow along with me as I chronicle my crafting and business endeavors, my true life and some mommy moments along the way .

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Yoga as Food for My Soul

We all need things in our lives that feed our soul. For me, one of those things is yoga. I wish I could practice it every day, but time (or lack thereof), money (again, lack thereof) and children don't always fit in to the yoga equation. I don't know if I qualify as a "yogi" or not, but I practice yoga twice a week and am even Level 2 certified to teach it. But sometimes the responsibilities of being a wife, mother, small-business-owner-hopeful, woman, sister, daughter, social worker, and crafter leave little room for those "extras" in life.

My yoga instructor at home often says that those days when you don't feel like coming to class are the days that you probably need it the most. I would argue that we as women often do this to ourselves in life in general. That which we brush aside as being unnecessary are probably those things that we really need to feel good about ourselves. It may be a small thing like getting our nails done or buying a new pair of jeans or going to a yoga class, but it's important to us and it makes us feel happy. We tell ourselves that we can do without. But I say we shouldn't do without. Because when we are happy with ourselves we are better mothers, better wives, better women. I am not suggesting that you blow the family budget on a new pair of Lucky jeans, but maybe a nice pair of Levi's.

While out of town visiting my family, I have decided to make this my own little yoga retreat. My parents are here to watch the kids and my mom has graciously given me several passes to attend classes at a nearby yoga studio. In just over a week I've been to 3 different classes and am hoping to attend several more this week. I decided that I needed to feed my own soul in order to be better able to feed the souls of those around me.

Find what it is that feeds your soul and make room for it in your life! Your family will thank you for it ;)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reversible Baby Doll Bib

As you may remember from a previous post, I made some baby doll diapers for a 3 year old little girl's birthday. According to her mom, she LOVES the diapers! Every night her dolls must put on their "pull-ups" (she's potty training) before they go to bed.

I decided that her dolls needed a matching bib to go along with their stylish new bloomers.

I used one of my daughter's bibs as the base for my pattern. I found the smallest one she had and traced around it. I then brought it in about 1/4" on all sides. Here's what my pattern looked like:

I decided that I would make the bib reversible so it would match either of the diapers I had made for the birthday girl.

I traced my pattern on each of my 2 fabrics, cut them out and then sewed them, wrong sides together. Be sure to leave an opening at the bottom so you can turn your fabric.

I used a wooden skewer to get the edges turned nicely.

After I turned the bib, I ironed it then sewed the opening closed. Next I sewed on my velcro. I sewed one piece on each side of the bib so it would be reversible.

And voila! A reversible baby doll (or teddy bear) bib to match the cute doll diapers.

This project was really easy and fast. I think it only took me about 30 minutes from start to finish. If you've already got your fabric washed and ironed for the doll diapers, why not make a quick bib to match! I think the next set I make I'm going to make the diaper reversible too!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Baby Name Banner

About a week before leaving town (solo with both kids), my husband brought home a baby shower invitation for one of the women he works with. As you may recall, my New Year's Resolution was to MAKE every gift I give this year. So at a time when I should have been doing laundry and packing, I was instead trying to figure out what I was going to make for the mommy and baby-to-be.

Once I found out the theme of the nursery was "Rocket Ship/Space" I was very excited. Why? Because I had the perfect gift already made from my Etsy shop. Every nursery needs a Binky Bag to house extra pacifiers and this one matches perfectly with the "space" theme.

But what else to make to match it? I had seen pennant banners before and thought it would be fun to make one to match the Binky Bag using the baby's name. I couldn't really find a good tutorial for one so I decided to make up my own. It turned out really cute (at least I think it did) so I decided to share it with you all.

I started with felt, fabric and some ribbon. I also needed thread (for the sewing machine and embroidery floss for hand stitching) and Heat N Bond Lite iron-on adhesive.

The next thing I did was figure out how big I wanted my pennants. I based this on the size of my felt. I could get 2 pennants out of one sheet of felt. Since I couldn't remember my high school geometry principles, I came up with an easy way to make a triangle. I decided how wide I wanted the top (6" in my case). I cut my piece of paper so that the width was 6" and the length was about what I wanted. I then folded it in half and drew a line from each of the top corners to the fold. Ta Da! A perfect triangle.

I then cut out my triangle, and using my rotary cutter, I cut out all of my felt pennants.

Next, I found a font on Microsoft Word that I liked and that fit with the "space" theme. I enlarged the letters of the baby's name so that they fit on the pennant. A couple of tips here: try to pick a font that is kind of simple, otherwise you will be doing a lot of exacto knife cutting (you will have to cut the letters out twice - once on the paper and again on the fabric). Also, you can find all kinds of free fonts on the internet if you don't see one you like on Microsoft. Just do a search for "free fonts" and you will come up with all kinds of stuff.

Then you want to iron your adhesive to the wrong side of your fabric, following the manufacturer's instructions.

Next trace your letters on to the paper backing of your adhesive. Remember you are working on the backside of your fabric so don't forget to reverse your letters when tracing them so they will be facing the right way from the front side of your fabric. (I remembered this for the "L" but forgot for the "G" and had to redo it; but not before I'd already cut it out, of course).

After you've traced all of your letter, carefully cut them out. It's best to use a pair of fabric scissors and an exacto knife for this.

Now you will peel off the paper backing, place the letters where you want them on your pennants and iron them on (again according to your manufacturer's instructions).

I haven't worked with felt too much before and I discovered that when I ironed my letters on to the felt, it shrunk a tiny bit and changed the texture slightly. It was not a big deal, I just made sure to iron the whole pennant (rather than just where the letter was going) so it would be consistent.

I decided to hand stitch around each of my letters using 2 strands of embroidery floss. You could applique your letters or just machine stitch around them, but I liked the look of the hand stitching. You don't even have to stitch around the letters if you don't want to. I'd just be sure to use a Heavy Heat N Bond for that though, just in case.

Then I cut each of the sides of the triangle with my pinking shears just to give it some added decoration.

Finally I spaced out my pennants about 1/2" apart and pinned my ribbon to the top of each pennant. I heat sealed each end of my ribbon to make sure it won't fray. I left about 7" of slack on either end for it to be hung.

Then I ran in to a dilemma. I wasn't sure how Logan's mommy was going to hang this pennant. I wanted her to be able to hang it on the crib or on the wall (or anywhere else for that matter) so I didn't want to just leave the ends of the ribbon as they were. Sure, she could knot them around the crib wrungs, but I didn't think that would be very cute. I certainly didn't want her to have to put a nail through the ribbon if she wanted it to hang on the wall. So I came up with a genius idea (patting myself on the back now). I pinned a second piece of ribbon to the backside of the pennant, equal to the 7" of slack from the front side ribbon. This way, she can tie it in a cute bow!

Here's what it looks like from the back.

Then I sewed the whole thing together on my sewing machine and Voila! A cute pennant banner with baby's name on it.

This project was super easy and super fast. I acutally had everything I needed to make it already in my craft closet (ok, so I don't really have a craft closet, more like craft piles that have taken over my dining room, but maybe someday I'll get organized!). This was also a very affordable project. You can buy felt for $.25 a sheet (remember I got 2 triangles out of 1 sheet of felt). It doesn't use much fabric (it would even be cute to use different scraps for each letter!). And most of us have ribbon laying around the house (if not, you can pick up a whole spool at Michael's for $1-$2). That's it! I really love this project and think it would be cute for a birthday party or other holiday. You could even spell out "Happy Birthday" or "Welcome Home" rather than just using a name. (I see many more pennants in my future!)

I hope Logan's mommy enjoys it as much as I enjoyed making it for her! Let me know if you give it a try!

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Breast is Best!

So I just joined the group "If breastfeeding offends you, put a blanket over YOUR head!" on Facebook. I am a firm believer that the breast is best. I breastfed both of my children past their first birthday. Apparently Facebook does not allow pictures of women breastfeeding their babies. It just seems so absurd to me that since the beginning of TIME, women have been breastfeeding their babies; yet still, in 2010, people still think it's inappropriate, sexual, whatever. I think it's beautiful and wonderful and miraculous and I think we should continue to celebrate it.

Ok, I'm climbing down off my soapbox now!

Our Safari

In our house, the play area is affectionately referred to as "Diegoland" (named after my son who first inhabited the area). Unfortunately, it's in a part of the house that was an add on so the walls are actually the original exterior walls...making it difficult to hang anything on them as they are brick. So when it came time to decorate Diegoland, I had to get creative. We'd already been calling it Diegoland so I decided on a safari theme.

I already had a large canvas that I had previously wrapped in fabric and hung in our living room, but since our move, I no longer had the room to hang it, so it wasn't being used.

I went to my local Joann's (my home away from home!) and found some animal print fabric. This is actually fleece which is a little more expensive, but it really had the look I wanted so I splurged! I also bought some green felt, and Heat N Bond Ultra Hold iron-on adhesive. Then I picked up some really cute wooden animals (already painted!) at Michael's (I think they were like $.50 each).

I found a font that matched my theme (there are all kinds of free fonts on the internet, or just use one from Microsoft) and some free clip art paw prints (again, from the internet). I enlarged my letters and clip art and printed them off on the computer. Then I ironed my Heat N Bond onto my felt, traced my letters and paw prints and cut them out.

Next, I ironed my letters and paw prints onto my animal print fabric. Then, I stapled the whole thing to the back of my canvas, making sure to stretch it tightly across the canvas. I trimmed the excess once it was stapled on.

Finally, I hot glued my wooden animals to the fabric.

And voila! An inexpensive, personalized sign for Diegoland! This would also look cute in a kid's room. Canvas comes in all different sizes, so it would really fit in any size room. You can personalize it and embellish it any way you'd like. The only limit is your imagination!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Plates or Art?

So I'm working on a few projects right now, but none are complete and ready to post about yet. So I thought I'd post some tips/ideas from projects around the house that I have completed.

When I was decorating my daughter's room, I wanted something to hang over the twin bed in her room that would make a big statement. Sure, I could've found a picture to hang, but that seemed a little boring. I decorated her room in a "shabby chic" style so I wanted it to be something that appeared vintage.

I had been collecting blue and white plates for a long time, with the intention of hanging them in my yellow and blue bedroom (we've since moved and no longer have a yellow and blue bedroom so the plates were collecting dust in a box in the garage). I decided they would be the perfect accessory for my daughter's wall. They are colorful, high impact, I could design the shape I wanted and best of all, it's a pretty inexpensive "art" piece. I found most of my plates at garage sales, flea markets, antique malls. I bought a bunch of plate hangers (for just a dollar or so each), layed out my design and finally got to hang my blue and white plates (or rather my mom did since I was about 9 months pregnant at the time!). And here it is...

Just because they're plates, doesn't mean you have to hang them in the kitchen. They look great in a bedroom or even a living room. I'll bet if you check your cabinets, you've probably got some stray plates that would love to hang on the wall, rather than be banished to the back of the kitchen cabinet! Happy decorating!

"Drinkable" yogurt

So here is your random tip for the day. You can turn regular (messy) yogurt into drinkable (mess-free) yogurt by simply adding a straw to it!

This may not seem like a big deal to you, but trust me, if you have a toddler that wants to be Mr. Independent yet isn't super-skilled at using a spoon and ends up wearing most of said yogurt, this will revolutionize meal time (as it has done for me)!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

DIY Treasure Basket


Although the weather hasn't exactly warmed up yet (we just had record snowfall!), I've already begun thinking about the fun adventures my children and I will have when we can actually play outside again! Children love to be outside and mine are no exception. They love to explore, listen to the sounds of nature, spot birds and squirrels in the trees and at my house, my son loves to pick up treasures from outside. These treasures range from dandelions, to leaves, to nuts, to feathers, to snail shells. I am happy to encourage his adventurous, inquisitive spirit, but I'm not happy to collect all of his treasures on the kitchen counter.

So I decided to make him a Treasure Basket. I needed something that wouldn't get ruined by all things outdoors (ie, no fabric). As luck would have it, I had just finished this Costco-sized vinegar jug (BTW, vinegar is my new best friend when it comes to cleaning! Check out these great tips for using vinegar at home). You could use any plastic jug that you have at home, just try to find one that's a little sturdier than say a milk jug.

I peeled off the label with a little help from some Goo Gone (only up to the point where you'll be cutting the jug). I taped around my jug to mark the line where I would be cutting.

Then I used a box cutter to cut my "basket".

I wanted to decorate the basket to reflect it's purpose, so I cut out a bunch of outdoors-inspired pictures from some magazines. You could really get the kids involved with this part. They could choose their pictures and decorate their box anyway they'd like.

Next, I simply picked out the pictures I'd be using (I cut way more than I could actually use, but that gave me a lot of choices to get the right fit. It's kind of like putting together a puzzle.) and decoupaged them on the jug. My son even gave me a hand!

It's looking good!

Next, I finished off the top edge by hot gluing some double-folded binding tape around it, just in case there were any sharp plastic edges.

Then I made the handle. Using some fabric scraps that matched, I cut a piece about 14" by 3" (yours may be different depending on the size of your jug). I sewed down the middle (wrong side out) and then turned it. I used some boning (from my local Joann's, used for corsets and wedding dresses) to slide in the handle so it would keep it's shape. Then I cut a small "x" in each side of the jug, fed each end of the handle through the "x" and tied them off inside the jug. I did have a little slack on the inside, but I just cut it off. And voila! a Treasure Basket to house all of those wonderful treasures my son will surely be finding this Spring!

Despite the cold weather, we had to take it for a test drive. And I am happy to report that it was a great success!


I have been traveling with my children since they were both only a few months old. They have always done great on airplanes, even amidst long delays, late nights, early mornings, full flights and all of the security inconveniences (Really, I have to take my 2-month-old's shoes off?). However, now that my son is almost 3, I have to admit that I have begun to rely on the power of the almighty DVD player. Sure, I still bring toys, books, markers, snacks, etc...but I can't deny that the DVD player holds some magical power of distraction.

I'm taking the children (solo) to see their grandparents and Tia in Arizona soon. I decided to see if I could find some new ideas for toys, games, and distractions of the non-battery-operated kind. I found these wonderful ideas from Obsessively Stitching's blog

My first project was an I Spy Book. I grouped the kids' toys together and took pictures of them. Some I just piled together,

others I lined up.

Then, I bought some $1 photo albums from the Dollar Tree...

printed off my photos...

and voila! An I Spy book that will hopefully provide some new and exciting entertainment on the airplane.

This project was great because it was almost free! All I spent was $2 for the photo albums, and I printed the pictures right here at home. If I had more time, I'm sure I could find more things to take pictures of to add to the book, but for now I have about 13 different I Spy pictures. Maybe for our next trip!

My second project was an I Spy Bag. I got the idea from Obsessively Stitching's blog, but then I found this tutorial and pretty much followed it. I had never seen these before, but I can see how kids must LOVE them! I didn't have a lot of time to collect small objects, so I actually just went to the Dollar Tree (gotta love that place!) and bought a bunch of little toys and party favors. And I still have a ton of toys leftover to make more bags! I added a few other items from around the house (paper clips, coins, buttons). I made sure to take pictures of everything before I put them in the bag so my children will know what they're looking for.

I cut my fabric in a 10" x 10" square so that the finished project would be 5" x 10".

I cut a 3" x 3" opening in my fabric so that once I folded back the fabric as the tutorial suggests, my "window" is about 3.5" x 3.5". I could not find the Poly Pellets but I found this Vase Filler instead and it works great (they're like little acrylic beads).

As Obsessively Stitching did, I used a plastic bag from a set of sheets (you know the zippered bags that new sheets, blankets, etc... come it) since it's pretty heavy duty plastic.

Then, I sewed my bag, filled it with about half the bag of "beads" and all of the toys. Then I sewed the opening closed and voila! an I Spy Bag that I hope will rival the DVD player in entertainment value.

Although I will still bring the DVD player on our trip, I hope that it will remain packed safely in my carry-on. I am now armed with a whole new arsenal of distractions...I mean games!

If you have any suggestions for kid-tested travel games, I'd love to hear them! Leave me a comment!