Third annual Handmade Gifts for Boys is on the way!

For the past two years, Stacey of Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts and I have teamed up to bring you tutorials to help you have a handmade Christmas for the boys in your life. And we’re back again next week with more boy gifting goodness!

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Since both Stacey and I are boy mamas, we like to give a little help to all the other moms of boys who sometimes get the short end of the crafting stick. We’re super excited to get YOU excited for handmade Christmas gifts!

You can see Year One here

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And you can find Year Two here.

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So December 1st – 5th, be prepared for tutorials and giveaways that you and your boys will love (and yes, even the girls could love them too ;)

Marigold Dress for the Blank Slate Sewing Team

Today I’m over at Melly Sews, sharing my Marigold Dress as part of the Blank Slate Sewing Team. Pop over and check out all the pictures of this fantastic dress (and this amazing cotton + steel fabric!)Marigold Dress

10 screen-free ways to keep kids entertained inside… without going crazy

The past week has been freeeeeezing here in Wisconsin. Below freezing, actually. When it gets so cold (or rainy, or hot, or whatever it is that keeps you stuck inside), it can be tricky to keep kids entertained – and keep mama from going pulling her hair out. So here are 10 screen-free ways to keep kids entertained inside (without going crazy in the process).

10 scree free ways to keep kids entertained inside without going crazy

1. Reading – okay, this one might be obvious, but it needs to be said. Find the books that your kids haven’t read in awhile. Stock up on new books at the library. Download audio books, lay blankets out on the floor, and let your kids listen to someone else read one of their favorites. A recent new family fave is God Made Light (affiliate link)

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2. Have a popcorn party – pop a giant bowl of popcorn (my personal favorite way is popped on the stove with a few tablespoons of coconut oil) and snuggle up together.

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3. Jump on the bed. Really! Do it! Stay in your jammies and robes, grab the pillows, and let them get out some of that pent up energy. But if you really can’t handle bed jumping, get these foam pogo jumpers (affiliate link). They are super compact and the kids can jump, jump, jump their jiggles out.

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4. Homemade play dough – let the kids help you mix the ingredients and then watch them wow you with their creativity.

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5. Cloud Dough – I posted this one on Instagram, and some other mamas thought I was a little bit crazy. So this one is maybe for those of you who a) don’t mind a little mess and b) don’t have wall-to-wall carpeting. Use about a cup of baby oil to eight cups of flour and mix together. Make your kiddos wear paint shirts or just their underwear if you want to avoid a lot of post-cloud dough laundry. Fill a shallow basin with spoons and cars that can be easily washed and let them go to town. This has kept my kids entertained for three days straight, so all the sweeping (and there has been a LOT of sweeping) is worth it.

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6. Indoor picnic – throw a blanket or table cloth on the floor and eat your lunch on the living room floor.

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7. Indoor ball pit – I made one for the baby last year, but you could also throw a bunch of balls into a pack n play or a kiddie pool for the same level of fun.

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8. Legos – again, probably a given, but really… how can I not mention the number one source of indoor entertainment at our house? Make these Lego lunch boxes to give your kids their own building station that they can carry from room to room (hopefully without trailing pieces behind them). Wooden blocks or Duplos are great for the younger crowd.

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9. Unstructured art time – when my kids have free reign over the art supplies, they are more creative and entertain themselves much longer than if we try to do a “craft” together. Cover the table with paper and pull out paint, glue, scissors, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners and watch the magic happen. Maybe leave the glitter in the cabinet if you’ve recently cleaned up all that cloud dough and are feeling a little mess-sensitive. ;)

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10. Hot chocolate – Cozy up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa. Look at books or just snuggle up – bonus mom points if you do this under the glow of the Christmas tree. Add a few marshmallows or homemade whipped cream and you just might make them forget that you wouldn’t let them pull out the glitter.

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In our house, throwing in the occasional out-of-the-ordinary activity makes a long day inside a little more bearable.

What are your best ways to keep kids entertained during the long winter months?

 

DIY: Turn a blanket into a wearable sleeping bag for baby

In late September, my family decided we were going to take a camping trip. The weather forecast was predicting amazing fall weather – in the 70s – but being that we live in Wisconsin, it was still going to fall into the 50s at night. Since we were tent camping, I started thinking about how to keep the kids warm at night. This was pretty easy for the big kids – fleece jammies and sleeping bags, maybe an extra layer underneath. But the baby? That wasn’t going to work. He doesn’t use a blanket in his bed, and the sleep sack he had been using (affiliate link – seriously my favorite not handmade sleep sack ever) was definitely not warm enough. Then I remembered this blanket that we had that would be perfect to turn into a wearable sleeping bag!

Turn a blanket into a wearable sleeping bag

The blanket I used is not super fluffy. It has a layer of batting inside, so it’s warm, but doesn’t have a lot of fluff or feathers or anything that would make it too difficult to sew.

DSC_0341I also made it reversible, because I like options. ;)

It’s really simple to make your own – all you need is:

  • a blanket (fabric/batting that you quilt yourself)
  • thread/sewing machine/etc.
  • double fold bias tape
  • KAM snaps (affiliate link)

DSC_05321. Trace and cut out the shape of your sleep sack. I used the bodice piece of the Kudzu Coveralls to start, since the back straps are longer than the front ones. I traced a sleep sack I had on hand to get the approximate shape. I added a little width and length, since I want it to last all winter. If you don’t have a sleep sack on hand, use a pair of pajamas to help you determine the length. You will want the back straps to be slightly longer than the front.

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2. Place the two pieces wrong sides together – or whichever fabric you’d like to be on the inside should be facing each other. Sew the two pieces together, starting at one armpit to the other. You can do this with a serger, zig-zag stitch or even a straight stitch, as these seams will be hidden.

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3. Now take your bias tape and pin it over the seam you just sewed. Open the bias tape and pin one side along the first fold line. Sew along that fold line.

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4. Now fold the bias tape over to the other side. Pin and sew it down. The top of your bias tape (at the armpit) will be hidden, so don’t worry about finishing it.

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5. Repeat step three along the armhole and the neckline – open the bias tape, pin, and sew down along the first fold line.

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6. I used the edge of the blanket for the top of the straps. If you didn’t, you will also need to enclose that in bias tape. Fold the end of the bias tape under.

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7. Fold over the bias tape edge over to enclose the seam (making sure the end of the bias tape is tucked under), pin, and sew it down. Remember to do this for both the armhole and the neckline.

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8. Add snaps to both sides of the straps. I added two sets of snaps on the back strap, so that if he grows I can adjust to a longer length.

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Now your baby will be warm and cozy all through the winter!

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This wearable sleeping bag worked perfectly for camping, and now that the weather has turned cold, we’re using it at home too. I don’t have to worry about having blankets in the crib, and I know that he’s super toasty warm.

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And we can flip it over when we feel the need to change it up.

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And flip it back again. Because that’s how we roll.

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Happy (warm!) sewing, friends!

Match With Me: coordinating mother-son looks!

I’ve always been one of those moms who coordinates her kids’ outfits. I love putting my boys all in plaid button downs or blazers. But I’ve never done any coordinating with them myself. Well this officially ends that! Enter Stacey at Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts and her super fun Match With Me series – all about making coordinating outfits for mamas and their sons!
DSC_0509I decided pretty early on that I wanted to sew outfits with a coordinating color palette. And I am in loooove with how it turned out!

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My three-year-old and I each got a cardigan, plus a shirt for him and a knit dress for me.

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I’m obsessed with this mustard color, and I adore how it looks with my little guy’s hair. He loved that we got to match with our “new clothes.” He insisted on wearing this outfit two days in a row and was pretty put off that I didn’t want to join him the second day. ;)

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Here are some outfit details for me: Cambridge Cardigan from Peek-a-boo Patterns (affiliate link) in a lacey stripe knit from JoAnn’s. I let the ends of the knit curl, rather than adding the cuffs to the sleeves and the body. With this dress, though, I wish I had made the cardigan longer. But it will be a good length for wearing with jeans.

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This dress… Sigh. Oh, THIS DRESS. I love it so, so much. It’s made out of this absolutely amazing Anna Maria Horner knit that I bought from a local shop, Bungalow Quilting and Yarn. I used the Union St. Tee pattern from Hey June and lengthened it to make a dress. I want to live in this dress.

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The details on my little guy’s look: a simple mustard knit Vintage V-Neck from Blank Slate Patterns (affiliate link), which is always a good choice.

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This cardigan… well, I wish I had made it for me. This Robert Kauffman Laguna knit is so fantastic (also from Bungalow Quilting). The pattern is the Cool Cardigan from Blank Slate Patterns (affiliate link), which I’ve made before and adore. The pants are these hand-me-downs that I’m so glad have lasted long enough to hand down (these knees have withstood lots of rough play!)

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Matching with mama is so fun!

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Head over to Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts and see the rest of the mama-son outfits!

Happy sewing, friends :)

Super Saturday! Win $50 in fabric and patterns!

Today I get to giveaway two of my fabric things: fabric and patterns!

win 50 fabric and patternsOver at The Daily Sew, we’re celebrating Super Saturday! Every hour there’s a new giveaway posted, so you have lots of opportunities to win big today. :)

Today’s giveaway is sponsored by the incredible Rachel at Imagine Gnats. Rachel has a fantastic fabric shop (her double gauze is AHHmayzing!), plus she designs patterns for men, women, and kids, as well as embroidery designs. Today’s winner will get $50 to the Imagine Gnats shop. Buy yourself a pattern and then the fabric to sew it up!imagine gnats logo

You can enter the giveaway here

Good luck and happy sewing, friends!

Wool Berkshire Blazer

I’ve already shared about the pants I made for my dear sister-in-law’s wedding last weekend. But I spent most of my time sewing up this amazing wool Berkshire Blazer for my oldest, who was one of two ring bearers in the wedding.
Berkshire BlazerI’ve sewn the Berkshire Blazer (affiliate link) from Blank Slate Patterns once before, in sweatshirt fleece, so I knew that it was the perfect choice.

DSC_0093The wool came from a rummage sale in the neighborhood two years ago, and everything else was in my stash as well.

DSC_0113If you’re going to make a wool blazer, leather elbow patches are a must.

DSC_0110And when you’re sewing for a seven-year-old boy, you need to throw in a little surprise lining. Wedding appropriate on the outside, party on the inside.

DSC_0105There’s so much to love about this pattern. Pretty much the only thing I don’t like is that we’ve reached the highest size! I’ll have to size it up, because the design is exceptional and I’m in love with the final product.

DSC_0081And what boy doesn’t look adorable in a wool blazer? I’ll tell you.. none.

DSC_0072Case in point.

DSC_0119I’m not going to lie, this is one of my favorite things I’ve ever sewn. Bonus: he loves it too!

Happy sewing, friends!

 

Ballard Top

When I posted recently about how I’m not holding back and waiting for the perfect circumstances to sew more for myself anymore, I was overwhelmed by the amazing response. I’m obviously not alone in this. Too many of us are waiting until things are “just right” before we jump in and sew for ourselves.

So when my new friend Kimberly of Straight Stitch Designs asked if I would join the blog tour for her newest pattern release, the Ballard, how could I say no?

Ballard Top

The Ballard top is a comfy knit top that is easily dressed up or down. It’s all “hey, I’m a super cute shirt!” in the front, and then “well heeeeeyyyy, I’m super sassy!” in the back.

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The front has a sweet gathered, scoop neckline that I am loving. It hits in the perfect spot – not too low, not too high. And it adds a nice detail when you’re using a solid colored fabric.

DSC_0194I’m on the petite side (under 5’4), so this top is more like a tunic on me. I could maybe get away with wearing it with leggings as is, but I’d prefer to lengthen it just a teeny bit (because I’m in the leggings are not pants camp, and I like to keep the booty covered) It would also be very easy to shorten it, but I actually like the length as is.

DSC_0188The open back detail is so fun! It adds something really unique, but you could easily make the opening smaller if you’re not crazy about it being so open. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the open back at first, but after wearing it a bit (and getting quite a few compliments ;) I decided it’s too fun not to like, and I think it’s a great way to show a pop of color with a tank underneath.

DSC_0210From cut to sew, it probably came together in an hour or so. The pattern is super straightforward, though you should know going into it that this pattern has the fantastic feature of being able to print only the size you want to use. I really recommend this, because I completely missed this (because I didn’t read through the pattern until after I printed), and it would have been nice, as there were a lot of size lines crossing and it got a bit confusing which line to cut. So print only your size, and you won’t have this problem (and read the directions before you print… also a good lesson learned ;)

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I wish you could see this fabric in person. I picked it up at JoAnn’s, it has a great weight… and it’s sparkly. We all know I love a good glitter fabric, in my land of boys over here. :)

I’ll definitely be sewing more Ballards! The pattern is being sold exclusively on Indie Sew for the next week, but will be sold at Straight Stitch Designs after that. You can check out all the other lovely versions of the Ballard being sewn up for the tour!ballard-tourgraphic

And just to keep it real… this is how photo shoots really look:

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Happy sewing, friends!

Disclosure: I received this pattern as part of the blog tour, but all opinions are my own.

Wedding pants for the baby (and my first TESTER call!)

We are headed to my lovely sister-in-law’s wedding this weekend. As I was gathering clothing for the boys and putting together outfits, I quickly realized that the baby had NO pants that didn’t have holes in the knees (hello, fourth child) or that were wedding appropriate. Bonus: it’s Kids Clothes Week and I actually sewed something!
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So I whipped up a quick pair of pants out of some grey twill I had in my stash. These pants are (eeek!) my first pattern that I’m in the process of working on releasing!

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They are flat front, elastic back and designed to fit over the fluffy cloth diaper booty. If you’ve been around the blog for awhile, you’ve seen me sew them many, many times for my boys. (You can see my most recent ones here)

DSC_0441I had originally added pockets, but as cute as I thought they were when I sewed them up, they were a little low. Plus, the blazer I had planned for him to wear with the pants was a bit too short, making the pockets look even lower. Then I decided the pockets didn’t match the sweater as nicely. So I ripped them off… they’re a work in progress, these pockets. ;)

DSC_0546If you’d like to be picked (heh… see what I did there) for testing this unisex pattern, apply to be a tester by entering your information here. The pattern won’t be ready for testing for a couple more weeks, and since it’s my first pattern, I expect my timeline to go a little slower than designers who’ve done this before. But the pattern is coming!!

Happy sewing, friends!

P.S. This pattern has no name yet… any ideas??

Why I’m not waiting for perfect anymore

Life is too short to wear clothes I don't like

I find myself buying fewer and fewer pieces of clothing for myself, because I look at them and think “surely I can just make this for myself instead!” But the thing is, I’ve been saying that for a long time. And I keep holding back, waiting…

To find the perfect pattern.

To be done breastfeeding.

To not be pregnant.

To finally lose the baby weight.

To find the perfect fabric… And then never cutting into it, because there’s no pattern good enough for this amazing fabric.

To have perfected all my sewing skills (ha!)

The past few days, I’ve been taping patterns and choosing fabric for dresses and shirts that I’ve been wanting to sew for awhile. But I keep getting hung up on my fabric choices, hesitating to cut into fabrics that I love, because what if I suddenly lose ten pounds and it doesn’t fit anymore (that’s a lovely dream, isn’t it?) Or what if I decide I don’t like it, and then I’ve used this expensive or hard to find fabric on something I’m never going to wear?

There will always be excuses to keep me from sewing for myself. But really, now is the perfect time. Because there is no perfect time. If I keep waiting for the stars to align and for life’s circumstances to be exactly what I hope they will be, I’m never going to do it. Today I’ve decided that I’m not going to hold out for perfect. I’m going to embrace the imperfections of my life and my circumstances. I’m not going to save my favorite fabrics for someday. I’m going to sew for myself, even if I haven’t met my “ideal weight.” I’m going to sew garments that aren’t perfect, but that I feel good about wearing, because they were made by me. And I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to “waste fabric” as I try new things.

Because life is too short to wear clothes that I don’t like and to spend my days waiting around for someday. If (when?) I lose that baby weight, I may have to make myself some new clothes.. but then I get to make myself new clothes. And they’ll probably be better, because with each garment I sew, my skills improve and I learn how to fit my body. And goodness, there will always be pretty fabric. I do love buying new fabrics.. :)

So over the next few months, you’ll be seeing more sewing for me. And if you don’t, you have permission to yell at me. Well, gently remind me of this post anyway.

Will you join me?

Happy sewing, friends!