Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wearable car seat blanket/poncho

Yes, I've used the word 'poncho'. Mental images of unflattering moo-moos abound. Bad plastic rain gear. But wait! There is a method behind my madness...

Winter is here. Yes its late, and the weather is still mild, but its here. And I know that means that any day now we could be hit with -30 weather. Which has some less than obvious inconveniences. Did you know that it is unsafe and unrecommended for a child to wear a coat in their carseat? The bulk of a coat can interfere with the performance of the safety straps. So when you are hit with the chill of a Canadian winter, that leaves you in a bit of a dilemma. What to do? We don't have the luxury of an attached garage. We must leave the warmth of our home, brave the wind and cold to the car, open the door, buckle the boys in and then finally close the door. This may only take a few minutes, but that's a very cold few minutes. And add to this that apparently we should take off their coat before buckeling them in? And then when we get where we're going, we're supposed to open the door, unbuckle them, then put their coats back on? Plus while driving, even with the heat on, often its chilly in the car. Ciaran is now big enough to cuddle under a blanket, but Roan kicks them off.

So I started thinking. And planning. And googling. And here is my solution! A wearable carseat blanket/poncho!

Basically its a poncho that fits over the lighter coat that Roan is wearing now in our autumn tempatures. Its two layers of soft soft soft fleece, sooo cozy and super warm. When I sit Roan in his carseat, the back of the poncho lays over the top of his car seat, and his straps are easily buckled under the front of the poncho. Then he's toasty and safe. And if he starts to overheat in the car, its easy to slip off. Its long enough that on the short trip from the door to the car and the car to the door, he's perfectly covered and warm even on what will soon be the coldest days of the year.

I'm really happy with this one. I might have to add some snaps or something for armholes as Roan doesn't like his hands getting lost under the folds of the fabric, but thats an easy fix. And of course now its too warm outside for me to actually test it, but here are some inside action shots. Forgive Roans grumpy look, he thought we were playing peek-a-boo and wasn't pleased when I wanted him to sit still for a few pictures lol!




A little bit of this and that...

So I have finished a few different items lately. I haven't however found time to post about them. Until now, ha!

I'll start with my jewellery mirror. I have just a few things, and I almost never wear jewellery, but half the reason is probably because its all tucked away in a box and I never remember I have anything. Well no longer! I took this cheapo Ikea mirror, added some hooks for necklaces and bracelets, plus some ribbons for my earrings (I have all studs, so needed something for them to go through) and voila. I like it, except for the ribbon. I don't have much in the way of ribbon, but as soon as I find something prettier, I'll switch it out. Now we just have to finish organizing our bedroom so I can figure out where this will be hung so I can get it off my craft desk!

Then I also made another shopping bag and a matching zipper pouch. This has a home it will be going to shortly. I found adding the zipper much easier this time. Practice makes, well, better!

Then as I'm sure everyone is well aware of, Christmas is coming! So I made a fun little toy for Ciaran's stocking. Its an I Spy Bag. As you can see, its a bag with a window, filled with beads and miscellaneous little trinkets. You squish the beads around trying to find all the trinkets inside. I managed to find this Thomas fabric that I'm sure he'll love, and hopefully he'll have as much fun with the bag as I do!

Here is a pic of all the items inside the bag. This picture will be printed and laminated and attatched to the loop so Ciaran will know what to look for.

I will be making another one for Ciarans little friend too :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Shopping bags and Roans shoes

So seeing as how my only reader is the one I made this set for (love you Vendetta!), I didn't want to post about it until she received it. And she did! So now here is my latest...

I made a great reusable shopping tote using this tutorial from good ole Craftster . It really messed with my mind when it came to joining the straps, I just could not for the life of me understand what I was supposed to do. So I read the whole thread (yes all 70+ pages), and many people mentioned stumbling at this step, but that they just followed the instructions and it worked. So going against everything that I felt logical, I just followed the instructions, and guess what. It worked! And to go with the tote, I made her some produce/bulk bags. They have elastic at the top so its easy to put fruits/veggies in, but they won't roll around your cart. And if you're putting in smaller items, its easy to use a twist tie. Also, they should hold very small things like beans, lentils, rice, etc. I'm not sure about powdery substances (spices, baking powder, etc), but hopefully she'll let me know :)

The Set

The tote with two boxes of cereal. Its gusseted, so there is actually still more room in there. And its slouched down, it does actually go over the boxes when being held.

The tote folds up into itself nicely so you can throw it in your bag

The produce bags, showing the elastic top

And then because my little bub has such fat little feet and I have such a hard time finding him shoes, I decided to make Roan some shoes/slippers. I followed the free pattern from Darling Diapers (my favorite diaper pattern btw) . While not a dismal failure, boy are they wonky. But it was a good learning experience, from start of cutting the pattern to having shoes in my hands was about 2hrs (and believe me, that was with me going slow), and I know what I did wrong and what I will change for next time. So Roan has been wearing them at home (he doesn't care that they're wonky) although they're too big so fall off a lot. But I will be making more!

Oh and while I was chatting with hubby tonight, I made a dozen-ish magnets. I love how easy these are, and they work awesome! I use Diamond Glaze that I bought off of a great lady on Etsy , magnets that I bought from the Dollar Store and stones that I got from Michaels. I also bought some rare earth magnets from the same lady at Etsy, but I'm saving those as the Dollar Store ones work so well. Crappy picture, but easy fun project.

And to keep it in the family, Ciaran and I have been working on some Halloween crafts. The first is a basic foam 'Spooky House' that came in a kit from Walmart. He liked it, although wasn't familiar with the creatures. Frankenstein turned into Frank, so he calls it Franks House.

Then a woman on a forum I frequent posted about a craft she did with her son. It looked like fun, so I did it with Ciaran today and I'm thrilled with how they turned out. Take clean glass jar. Paint the inside (I used acyrlic craft paint from the Dollar Store). Use a sharpie to draw on face. We used black yarn and black felt to embellish the witch. Use electric tealight for the Halloween glow.

Whew I think thats it! Hopefully this space will be busy in the near/constant future as winter and Christmas are coming and I have a ton of projects in mind!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mama's Better Than Mum Mum's

Roan is all over the whole solid foods deal. This kid would eat and eat and eat if I let him. And none of that pureed baby nonsense. He likes some texture and real food! Unfortunately his body hasn't been dealing as well with the change in diet, so after talking with a nutrionist, we came up with a diet plan for him. That includes no processed foods, jarred foods, etc. Not really a big deal, I like making baby food. I think it tastes better, its super easy, its cheaper, and for our needs its better (don't get me wrong, jarred is good too, just not as good for Roans tummy).

So now that Roan is aware what real food is, he's very aware of when we're eating it and he's not. Which makes things like giving Ciaran snacks in the shopping cart difficult if Roan doesn't get something too. So we've done the Mum Mums, Roan loved them (of course). But as I'm trying to avoid as much processing as possible, I decided to make my own! And they turned out great.

So thanks to I found a great easy recipe. Not as crispy and melty as a Mum Mum, but Roan still seemed to love it!

1c flour (I used whole wheat)

1c baby cereal (I used Milupa Oatmeal Stage 1)

1c juice (I used Banana Berry)

Mix together well. Dough will be sticky, not like regular dough. On a tip from the recipe page, I put the dough in a ziploc baggy (I don't have a fancy pastry bag), cut the corner off and squeezed out the cookies. Bake at 350 for 20-30min. Let cool. Apparently they freeze well. Store in an airtight container.

And I know that I haven't posted in ages, but it doesn't mean I haven't been busy. I have something to share, but I need to wait maybe one more week before I post about it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

DIY cleaners

So on one of the forums I'm a member of, there was a posting about homemade laundry soap. I've heard of doing this a number of times, but usually it involves grating bars of soap, and it just never appealed to me. But then there was this recipe that was apparently suggested by a bio-chemical engineer or something. Anyhoo I gave it a shot... review to follow!

6.5cups washing soda (apparently you can buy a 55oz box which is the exact amount, but I could only find a "30% more" box so had to measure it)
1/2cup Borax
2cups Oxyclean
1/2cup Calgon water softener
1/2cup Simple Green (I used Bio-Vert as thats what I could find)

Mix dry ingredients together, then add Simple Green. Mix well to avoid the clumps. Use 1/4cup per load (half that for diapers). Dissolve in hot water before using (I keep a cup beside my washing machine, fill with hot water from the machine, then switch to cold to actually wash my clothes). It is an extra step, but it hasn't been as much of a hassle as I expected.

So I have now used up the whole batch. It worked. My clothes and diapers were clean. I didn't experience some of the miracle stain removal others claimed, but it was fine. The pre-dissolving was a bit of a pain in the ass, but not too bad. My only complaint was I didn't like the smell. I think it was the all purpose I used. So I am back to my beloved Country Save for the diapers and Roan and Ciarans laundry, and Purex for the rest of the house.

BUT!!! I did discover that it is awesome as a scouring powder!! With our stinky sulphuric well water, the tiles/tub in our bathroom are stained orange. Even Comet could not remove the stains, and I am very reluctant to try anything stronger. But on a whim I gave this detergent a shot, and with a little elbow grease I was amazed to see some white tile again!!! I didn't have the time to do whole tub/surround, but as soon as I do I'm looking forward to a white bathroom again. I will be making another batch of detergent just for this purpose.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm a planner

I'm coming to the realization I'm a planner. I love to plan out my projects, I think about them, pick out my materials, rethink about them, maybe have a dream or two, read lots of tutorials about what I want to do, scour my forums for tips, etc. But when it actually comes time to make the project, I stall.

Poor Roan is wearing bikini bottom diapers now he's getting so big. I have all my materials, I have finally decided (after changing my mind many times) how I want to make them. Yet I'm so pooped by the time the boys are in bed that I just haven't gotten around to doing anything about them.

Tonight I finally cut out two. So its a start. But at this pace I'd better learn about ec'ing! Or just skip to making larges!

Anyways, I don't like to call myself a procrastinator (although I'm sure others don't have that issue), so I'm just going to go with I'm a 'planner'!

Friday, June 13, 2008

My New Diaper Bag!

I adore some of the diaper bags out on the market. I seriously considered getting a Jujube, but come on, $130 for a fricken diaper bag? I'm way too cheap, I mean frugal, for that. And like so many other times I think, I can make that! So I scoured the web for that perfect tutorial and found this.

(Please excuse the different font, I am c&p'ing this from a post I made on a sewing forum and I'm too damn lazy to change it)

About halfway through I realized the dimensions just weren't right for what I wanted, and some of the instructions I didn't like. But I finished it, I'm glad I did as it was a learning experience, and I will use it for now because its bigger than what I currently have, but I am already planning out my next one.

The outer is a brown corduroy and the inner is a lavender cotton (fully machine washable). There is a pocket on the front of the bag, and six pockets inside. There is also a divider inside, but following the instructions made it super narrow on one side and huge on the other. Also I don't like how all the seams are visible on the inside. Looking closer at the original bag I think maybe she did the seams on the outside and then used binding? I'm so novice I don't even know if thats what its called.

Anyways I think I technically did a pretty good job, so I'm happy for that. And I have a pretty good idea of what I want, so I'm planning out my next one. I just have to whip up a med stash for my son first (ha! that takes me forever!).

The Bag


The lined outside pocket


The inside showing the divider.


So I'm glad to have finished a project. It feels like ages since I've done anything worth posting about. But I actually have a few new things I'm about to start, I just have to do the diapers first. I got all ten yards of velour prewashed today, so will hopefully have my pattern ready to go tomorrow and should be cutting by Sunday. Poor little Roans tush is starting to creep out of the back of his smalls, so I really have no time to procrastinate any longer!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

There's always a first

Now that my newborn is no longer a newborn (almost 4mths!) and is sleeping better, and my toddler is at least in bed better (sleep, well thats another story), and my husband works crazy long hours, I find myself with a little time again to get back into the groove. Sewing is my current crafting choice, I can never find things made exactly how *I* want them and I'm too cheap to pay good money for something that isn't just right. Crochet has taken a bit of a back bench, but my hooks and yarn are just waiting for my return. And what better way to track my progress, hits and misses than with a blog. No promises for regular updates, but I do like to have a record of all my stuff. And hopefully there will be much more for me to post about!

So today Roan decided to take a blissful TWO hour nap!!! When I put him down, I had the fullest intentions of finishing the aplix on one of the final four diapers that I had left to finish. I figured that as he's now growing out of the smalls, and I will be starting to make his mediums this week (my 10yds of squishy beautiful velour are waiting for me at the post office!!) that I should at least finish the last diapers he's currently using. At this point its more for resale value than my convenience. So I set Ciaran up with puzzles in my room (my sewing area) and I got started. Can you believe it, but I managed to get ALL FOUR of them done!! I was a sewing machine! Only one hiccup when my top thread kept throwing up on a certain spot (still don't know what that was about), but otherwise they all turned out awesome. This may not seem like a big deal to many seamstresses, but between the rethreading, filling the of course empty bobbin, stopping to do a few puzzles, laundry, letting the cats and dog outside, letting the cats and dogs back inside because its raining, drying off all the mud from said cats and dogs, getting snacks, potty breaks, etc etc etc, I couldn't believe I finished it all!!

So with that behind me, I can now concentrate on finishing my diaper bag. I'm about 2/3rds done. Its okay. I'm not as thrilled with the size as I hoped, but I was just following a tutorial and have a horrible time envisioning things if they're not in front of me. But I'm learning lots, the bag technically looks really great I think, but I have a few personal likes/dislikes about the bag. I'm already planning out the next one...

And like I mentioned, my velour has arrived in Canada! I got it from a co-op, and I can't wait to get my hands on it. So soft and squishy. Its for Roan's med stash, as well I stocked up on the white for the miscellanous things you love to have white velour for.

And then some other 'On My List To-Do' items, I want to make some glass magnets. I'm tired of Ciarans crappy plastic magnets holding up all the loose crap on our fridge (not sure 'holding up' is the correct term when it takes four of them to hold up one piece of paper). And as I'm too cheap to actually buy some, I did some googling and I don't think they're all that difficult. So sometime this week I'm going to take the boys to Michaels and see what I can find. Oh, and I need some nighttime nursing pads. I'm thinking some of that white velour will be perfect!

So now I'm off to figure out how this whole 'Blogger' site works and try and get my old blog posted over here. Looking forward to my new 'home'!