A Baby to Snuggle

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve heard the news, but I’ve neglected to share it here. Baby five has arrived!dsc_8962-copy

Little Ezra joined us about two months ago, though it feels like he’s always been a part of our family.

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He spends his days being adored by his big brothers. And I spend my days keeping his big brothers from smothering him with their love and affection. ;)

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Now I have an adorable model for my baby pants and baby hat patterns (which are both free, if you haven’t snagged them yet!)

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The hat has gone from wide cuff to narrow cuff as he’s grown, but he’s been wearing it since he came home from the hospital.

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The pants were a little big on him when he was first born, but they fit him perfectly now. He’s on the smaller side for his age, so he’s getting a little extra wear out of his itty bitty sizes, compared to some of his brothers.

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I haven’t been doing quite as much sewing as of late, but I’m squeezing it in when he lets me.

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These baby days will be gone before I know it, though, so I’m going to soak them up a little bit longer.

Real Mom Confessions: How to End the Toothbrushing Battle

                                  

I think it’s fair to say that parents everywhere have experienced the same struggle at least a time or two: the dreaded tooth brushing battle! Whether it be a toddler who refuses to open her mouth or a preschooler who hates the taste of toothpaste or an older child who just can’t remember to brush, the struggle IS real. With four tooth-bearing kiddos, we’ve gone through our fair share of brushing battles. If you’re nodding your head, saying “Yes! This is me!” I have some toothbrushing tips to make brush time a little easier.

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Some of my kiddos have fought tooth brushing more than others, so I’ve used my fair share of tricks to try to get them to brush. I’m sure you parents can relate to this video:


(Click here if you’re having trouble viewing the video)

Here’s how we ended the tooth brushing battle in our house:

1. Make it silly

When you make a silly face, act like a monkey, or bring out the goofy voices, your toddler will have a hard time holding back his smiles. This relaxes you both and makes it more of a game, less of a battle.

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2. Don’t push it 

It’s important to brush your kiddos’ teeth,  but sometimes we just need to back off for awhile. If your little one is suddenly refusing to brush, take a few days off (her teeth won’t fall out!) and come back to it with a fresh approach.

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3. Give them control 

Kids love to be in control! Let your preschooler squeeze the toothpaste himself. Ask your elementary aged child to be the tooth brush monitor. Give your toddler a choice of toothpaste flavors.

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4. Buy a really yummy toothpaste

This kind of seems like a no-brainer, but honestly? Some kids’ toothpastes don’t taste good! Many have a fake taste that I wouldn’t enjoy using, so why would they?  Some of my boys are really picky about food, and they don’t care for traditional toothpaste flavors. I’ve truly never seen my kids like a toothpaste as much as they like this hello toothpaste. Sometimes they brush their teeth three times a day, without me even asking. What?!

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The unique flavors (watermelon and bubble gum are the kid favorites here) really get them excited to brush. And the toothpaste is naturally friendly, which makes this mama excited! I love when our personal care products say no: no dyes, parabens, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, triclosan, or microbeads. I’m super conscious of what we put in our bodies, so that’s all really important to me.

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Something else I love? These toothpastes have fluoride and fluoride free options. Personally, I love the natural sweet mint flavor (fluoride free!)

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I love anything that can make my mom life a little bit easier (can I get an Amen, mamas??), and eliminating brush time battles with hello toothpaste has made a huge difference in our house.

So time for your own real mom confessions… what crazy things have you done to get your kids to brush their teeth? What tips do you have to share??

Embroidery Hoop Snowman for Crazy Christmas Event

Today I’m guest posting over at I Heart Naptime, and I’m sharing this adorable embroidery hoop snowman. This little guy is already adorning my wall, and you can make one too! Head on over to check out the tutorial!

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Buffalo Plaid Pillow for Bake Craft Sew 2016

Hi, friends! Today I’m guest posting over at Skip to my Lou, sharing this adorable and whimsical buffalo plaid sweater pillow as part of her Holiday series!

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Click over to Skip to my Lou to see the full tutorial!

Happy sewing :)

10 Things to Sew for Baby from a Flannel Sheet

We’re in full-on baby prep mode over here, and I always have a few projects I want to sew before baby arrives. So when Dana of Sew Thrifty invited me to be a part of her Thrifty Baby Celebration, it made perfect sense to participate! I love to upcycle, and baby clothes and accessories are PERFECT for this, because they’re so small.  So I’ve collected a list of 10 things you can sew from a flannel sheet.
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Flannel is great for fall and winter babies, and flannel sheets are excellent for getting lots of yardage for little cost. Between thrift stores and clearance sales (and your linen closet!), you don’t have to spend a lot of money on flannel. Sewing for baby can be super inexpensive!

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1. Prefold diapers – this is one of my most popular tutorials and one of my most-used baby items. Because babies use a lot of diapers. ;) I’ve sewn quite a few from flannel sheets as well as flannel remnants.

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2. Bandana drool bib – some babies are super drooly or spit up all the time, and these little drool bibs are so cute and perfect to catch the mess before it gets on their clothes.

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3. Cloth wipes and burp rags – if you’re cloth diapering, cloth wipes make total sense and are super cost-effective. If you aren’t using cloth diapers, these are the perfect size for wiping little baby noses or cleaning up after a meal. And of course, burp rags are a must-have for every household with a newborn!

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4. Changing pad cover – the vinyl changing pads (affiliate link to the one I personally own!) are great places to change baby’s diaper, but they aren’t super comfy. Especially with a fall/winter baby, I hate to put baby down on a chilly surface. This same concept could also be used to make flannel crib sheets!

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5. Easy baby blanket – of course, every baby needs blankets! The yardage that you get in a flannel sheet is perfect for making extra blankets for gifts or for when your baby spits up all over his blanket and you need a clean one.

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6. Baby blanket with piping – the piping adds an adorable accent to a flannel baby blanket!

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7. Ragged baby blanket – how great would this blanket be to lay on the floor for baby to play on? Or to throw over the carseat when the weather is cold? It’s also perfect for the scraps leftover from all your flannel projects. ;)

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8. Flannel pants – While itty bitty babies probably aren’t going to use flannel pants as jammies, they’re still so cozy to wear on chilly fall and winter days. Plus, baby pants take so little time and fabric to sew!

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9. Seatbelt covers – since flannel is absorbent, these would do a great job at soaking up baby’s drool in the carseat. Not to mention how soft they are! Make sure these don’t interfere with the use of the chest clip, and use your own judgment as to whether or not adding this to your carseat is safe or not.

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10. Baby bibs – whether you’re soaking up drool or baby is venturing into the world of solid foods, bibs are a must-have. I’m pretty sure we have zero cloth bibs left in our house (because after four kids, they’ve all long since bitten the dust!), and I will be making a bunch of these from this free pattern.

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There are SEW many things you can make from a flannel sheet! Happy baby sewing. :)

Free Newborn Baby Hat Pattern

If you’ve been around the blog lately or following me on Instagram, you know that we’re just weeks (days??) away from welcoming baby boy number five. So I’ve been cooking easy meals and making last minute baby items. Baby pants are among my absolute favorite things to sew for babies, and I decided baby also needs some matching hats! I have a free hat pattern to share with you, so all the babies in your life can be covered from head to toe. :)free-newborn-baby-hat-pattern

Baby hats are a necessity for a fall or winter baby, and knit hats are just so cute and cozy.

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This pattern is super quick and easy to sew! It takes less than 1/4 yard of knit fabric, so you can use up some scraps.

Supplies:

  • less than 1/4yd knit fabric
  • thread
  • serger or sewing machine that can zig-zag
  • scissors or rotary cutter

Download your FREE Newborn Baby Hat Pattern

1. After you’ve taped the pattern together, cut out your fabric. This is how the fabric looks opened up:

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2. Fold the fabric right sides together and sew along the long curved side, leaving about 3 inches open on each end.

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3. Fold the fabric in half, wrong sides together – this will put your seam on the inside. Fold the hat as shown in the photo below, matching up the points. You will have four layers of fabric together. Sew all four layers together from one point to the side, using either a serger or a zig-zag stitch. If you are using a serger, leave the tails long. If you are using a zig-zag stitch, be sure to back-stitch at the ends.

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4. Turn the hat and sew together the next four layers of fabric. Again, leave the tails long if you’re using a serger.

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5. Continue to turn the hat, matching up the four layers of fabric, and sewing them together. All the seams should be coming together at a point at the top.

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7. When you’re finished with all the seams, it should look like the photo below. If you used a serger, tie all the tails so they don’t unravel before cutting them.

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Now turn your hat right side out and cuff!

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Since I don’t have a baby to model this hat yet, this old baby doll of mine will have to do. ;)

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It’s obviously a little big for the doll, but will be perfect for baby!

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This baby hat pattern goes perfectly with my free newborn baby pants pattern!

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I mean seriously… how cute is this??!! I think baby might be coming in home in one of these outfits!

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The brown striped pants were upcycled (which is also why they’re longer… since my babies tend to grow longer instead of chubbier, I didn’t bother to cut the pattern shorter to account for re-using the hem). The arrows came from Raspberry Creek Fabrics, and the plaid from Girl Charlee.dsc_8291-copy

Don’t forget to download your FREE Newborn Baby Hat Pattern!

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Happy baby sewing!

Delicious and Easy Veggie-Packed Spaghetti your Kids Will Love!

With baby on his way in the next few weeks, I’m all about keeping meals as easy as possible. But I don’t want to rely on chicken nuggets and tater tots, because eating real foods and lots of veggies is important to me! This delicious and veggie-packed spaghetti recipe is perfect for nights when I want to feed them something healthy, but I don’t have the time or energy to spend in the kitchen.delicious-easy-and-veggie-packed-spaghetti

 

Spaghetti doesn’t have to be from a jar to be easy! In the amount of time it takes you to boil noodles, you can give your family a nutritious meal that everyone will love. My kids GOBBLE this up. And these frozen herbs from Dorot help to make this meal seriously easy!

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The ingredients you use can vary based on what you have on-hand. Here’s what I used:

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  • whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • two carrots
  • one onion
  • one green pepper
  • about three cups of kale, chopped
  • 5-6 mushrooms
  • ground beef (optional, of course, if your family goes meatless)
  • 2tsp oregano
  • 2tsp thyme
  • frozen garlic and basil from Dorot
  • two cans of tomato sauce
  • one can of tomato paste (DON’T skip the tomato paste! It’s key to thickening up the sauce!)

Other veggies you could use:

  • zucchini
  • spinach
  • parsnip
  • swiss chard
  • diced tomatoes

Before I get into the recipe, I have to tell you about these frozen herbs from Dorot. We found them at Trader Joe’s (you can find all locations to purchase here), and I have to tell you that they are SO convenient.

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I’ll admit, I was a little bit skeptical about them. Why buy frozen herbs when you can just get them fresh? The kids were so intrigued by them as well!

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But as I used them, I realized – this.is.GENIUS. I almost never keep fresh basil in the house. So when I want to use it, I have to buy it especially for a recipe. And that requires a little planning and forethought… and in this season of my life, both of those things are lacking. ;) It’s so perfect to have these teaspoon sized squares to pop into a dish and get the flavor of fresh without having to go out and buy it!

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1. While your noodles are boiling, brown your ground beef. When it’s nearly cooked, toss in your green peppers, onions, and kale.

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2. Shred your carrots and toss them in, along with three cubes of Dorot garlic (equal to three tsp of garlic) – you can add less if you’re not quite the garlic fans we are. ;)

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3. Let those cook for a few minutes before adding the cans of tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, and two cubes of basil from Dorot (equal to two tsp of basil). Cook until the sauce is hot.

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Serve the sauce over noodles and eat.it.up!

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This recipe makes a generous amount – it’s perfect for my family of six, with a little bit leftover. If you have a smaller family, divide the recipe in half or make the whole thing and freeze some for later!

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These are super reasonably priced, but you can get a $1.00 off coupon to sweeten the deal.

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I can’t wait to try out some of the other herbs! Having them on-hand to make yummy, nutritious dinners easier before and after baby is something I can get on board with. A few less things to chop = dinner comes a few minutes faster. And in my busy house, every minute counts!

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Happy healthy eating!

15 Minute Pencil or Make-Up Pouch Tutorial

With school starting again, your kiddos are probably in need of a place to keep all their school supplies. Even homeschoolers like us need a spot to stash our pencils and markers. Don’t have kids in school? This zipper pouch is perfect for make-up, your secret chocolate stash, or even carrying a couple diapers and wipes! And the best thing is that it only takes about 15 minutes to make!15 Minute Pencil or Make up Pouch

This project is so simple, all you need is a small scrap of fabric and a zipper. What size zipper? This depends on what you want to put in your pouch! If you want to put school supplies in it, make sure it’s long enough to fit your pencils. Just make-up? Use a shorter zipper!

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While you can make this with regular quilting cotton, I recommend a heavier weight fabric to give the pouch some stability. I used a home dec weight fabric (I’ve had both of these in my stash for awhile, so I’m not exactly sure what they are).

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The longer (blue/green) pouch: 12 x 14in. fabric, 11in. zipper (cut from a longer zipper)

The shorter (grey/white) pouch: 9 x 14in. fabric, 7in. zipper

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Ready to get started?

1. Cut the fabric to your desired size. Serge or zig-zag the edges to prevent fraying.

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2. If needed, cut your zipper to fit your pouch. Zig-zag a short stitch where you’d like the zipper to end.

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3. Press the short ends of the fabric over (wrong sides together).

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4. Pin one folded edge to one side of the zipper. Using your zipper foot, stitch the two together.

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5. Open the zipper and repeat with the other side.

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6. Turn the pouch inside out and fold it so the zipper is in the center.

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7. Push the zipper down a small amount. Beginning at the folded edge, zig-zag across the entire end of the pouch (making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end). Be sure to keep to the right of the metal zipper stop.

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8. Reinforce the zipper by sewing back and forth several times across the zipper.

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9. Open the zipper halfway and repeat step eight to sew the other end of the pouch closed.

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Turn the pouch right side out and fill with your favorite pens (affiliate link… because seriously, these are my favorite pens!)

Simple Pencil Bag Tutorial

How much would your kiddo love to take his or her school supplies in a custom made pencil bag? Plus, you can make this faster than you can drive to the store to buy one. ;)

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The possibilities for these pouches are endless! These would be perfect for a teacher gift, don’t you think?

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I’m going to fill one with our art supplies for when the kiddos and I go on nature walks. We can keep it with our art journals for a quick grab-and-go! And that grey one has already been claimed as my new make-up bag. ;)

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What will you fill your pouches with??

Happy sewing!!

Wrap Around Gallery Wall {a how-to}

We moved a few months ago, and with moving comes the much-anticipated decorating. A house doesn’t really have that homey feel until you have pictures on the walls, but sometimes that can be the hardest part! Deciding where everything should go in a new space can be an exciting challenge. In our previous home, I made a gallery wall in our living room that I absolutely loved. In our new home, however, there isn’t a wall large enough to re-create a similar wall. So I wrapped it around the corner to create this wrap around gallery wall – it’s perfect for the space!
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The goal of my gallery wall is to fill the space with photos and art that reflect our family and the creative spirit of our home.

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Some people like to cut pieces of paper the same size as the frames, tape them on the walls, and see how it works. That’s a little too Type A for my personality. ;) Instead, I lay everything out on the floor and rearrange it until it has a good feel.

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I take a picture of the layout on my phone so that I can reference it as I’m hanging everything up on the walls.

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I don’t measure, though that might work best for you. I just hang them up one by one and move if necessary. Don’t be afraid of nail holes! As Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) says in her book The Nesting Place, “Is there anything in life less risky than creating a one-millimeter hole in a wall that can be filled with your finger and some putty in two seconds?” I ended up with extra nail holes in the wall due to a few minor adjustments, but no one knows they’re there but me.

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My wall has a mixture of fabric, art, Scripture, and photos. That’s a pretty clear representation of our home and our family. You can find the tutorial for the bunting here.

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Not everything has to match or be the same color! Over the years, I’ve collected about 14,000 picture frames of various sizes and colors, and when thrown together in a gallery wall, they create a great eclectic vibe.

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Have an extra space to fill in your wall? Grab a small embroidery hoop and a scrap of fabric to add some texture and color.

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I love how this wrap around gallery wall turned out! Decorating isn’t about following rules or spending lots of money on coordinating items, but taking risks and having fun with what you have.

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Have you made a gallery wall? I’d love to see it!

Happy decorating!

Preparing for Baby: Portable Diaper Changing Mat Tutorial

We’re preparing for baby number five over here, and while we have most of the big things, there are a few things I’ve had on my to-make list. Somewhere along the line, I lost our portable diaper changing mat, and I really missed it with my fourth baby! And since you spend about thirty trillion hours changing a baby’s diapers, I had to make a new one.
Portable Changing Mat Tutorial

 

I just hit my third trimester, and I’m in full baby prep. I still have a ways to go before baby arrives, but you just never know when he will arrive! So I’m stocking up on everything we might need: clean onesies, pacifiers, nursing pads, and of course, DIAPERS! Walmart Neighborhood Market has everything we need for baby and more.

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When it comes to a portable changing pad, I wanted to have something that I could grab from my diaper bag and have everything I need. I don’t always like to take the diaper bag everywhere, so having a pocket for diapers and wipes was very important to me.

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One side of the changing mat is waterproof PUL (I also used that when making this wet bag), the other is cotton, with a layer of fleece in between.

Supplies:

  • 1 piece of cotton, fleece, and PUL fabric, each cut about 29x12in. (You can change this to suit your needs, of course)
  • 1/2in wide double fold bias tape, approx. 66in.
  • 1 small lingerie bag
  • KAM snaps
  • 1 button
  • 1 small piece of 1/8in. elastic
  • pins or Wonder Clips

1. Cut your three pieces of fabric to about 29x12in. My PUL was not long enough, so I pieced it together to get my desired length.

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2. Stack all three layers together. The fleece should be sandwiched between the cotton and PUL. The wrong sides of the PUL and cotton should be facing the fleece. Fold the fabrics in thirds as shown:

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3. Decide where you want your snaps to go – these will hold your mat closed. Unfold one third and mark where you’ll place your snaps.

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4. Apply your snaps. The snap in the PUL layer should ONLY go through the PUL. The snap on the cotton should ONLY go through cotton and fleece.

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5. Round out the four corners of ALL layers.

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6. Clip or pin the layers together.

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7. Take your lingerie bag and cut a few inches off the bottom (this will depend on how long your bag is and how large you’d like your pocket – you want it to be no bigger than 1/3 of your changing mat)

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8. Lay the lingerie bag down on top of the cotton side of your mat – the end WITHOUT the snap. Cut around the edges to round it to the same shape. You will cut off a small bit of the zipper on each side, so make sure your zipper is open slightly.

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9. Sew a small loop of elastic to the center of your lingerie bag (don’t sew onto your changing mat fabric, though!!)

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10. Hand sew one button onto the cotton/fleece fabrics. Do NOT sew through to the PUL.

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11. Now begin sewing on the bias tape around the edges. The bias tape and the mat should be right sides together. Fold 1/4in of your bias tape back as shown, and begin stitching it down along the first fold.

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12. Sew all the way around, taking care to sew the edges of the lingerie bag too, until the ends of the bias tape overlap 1/4-1/2in.

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13. Now fold the bias tape over the raw edge of the mat, clipping or pinning it together. Stitch it down carefully.

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Now you have a changing mat with two pockets, ready to be stuffed!

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Here it is, folded up and stuffed to the max with Huggies diapers, Huggies wipes, and anything else we might need.

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Over the years, we’ve used just about every type of Huggies diaper there is – we currently have kids wearing Good Nites to bed and one nearly-completely-but-not-entirely potty trained kiddo using the occasional Pull-Ups. And in a few months, we’ll be adding a newborn to the mix. Goodness…. so. many. diapers. I’m so thankful for diaper coupons!!

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Your Walmart Neighborhood Market has coupons for Huggies Diapers and Wipes, because with as many diapers as these babies use, we could all use a few coupons! But Walmart Neighborhood Markets have great prices to begin with, so the coupons are a bonus.

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I forgot how teeny baby diapers are! Eek!!

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Is it weird to be excited about changing diapers again?? Probably. ;)

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I’m so glad I have a portable changing mat again! It will be perfect for throwing in the diaper bag or stroller and giving me a nice clean, soft surface to change baby wherever we are.

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I love that I can stock up on all our baby diapering needs at Walmart Neighborhood Market, grab GoodNites for our bigger boys, and find whatever else we might need for all the kiddos – all at the same spot. One stop shopping is a busy mama’s dream!

Portable Diaper Changing Mat Tutorial

Before I know it, there will be a real baby lying on that mat!