An energy efficient home can cut your utility bills drastically. And you don’t have to sacrifice comfort or aesthetics to a make your home more energy conscious! Here are some easy ideas on how to save money while reducing your home’s energy consumption.Continue reading
This last week was spent getting ready for Little C’s second year at playschool (which came with a barrage of meetings and shopping trips), setting up our September calendar (it’s PACKED) and sleeping. There are so, so many projects I want and need to do (like finishing off our house), but all my body wants to do is sleep and grow a baby. Usually, I succumb to the fatigue and sneak a nap in when Baby A goes down for hers and C is content to watch a movie. Sleep has trumped DIY’s this week!Continue reading
Yesterday was a very, very cold day. It was -44 C with the windchill, Little C’s playschool was cancelled, and we were stuck inside (unless we wanted to lose all of our appendages outside)!
I had seen this wonderful idea on Pinterest (from Spotted Pony’s blog) to upcycle a large wipes container into a simple baby toy. I thought it was such a fantastic way to reuse an old container and to introduce some tactile play to my 14 month old. Babies have so much fun experiencing new colours and textures. It’s also a neat way to introduce problem solving (“how do I get this stuff in and out of this box”?).
old, large wipes container
fabric scraps (look for lots of different textures and colours and, if you desire, find a fabric scrap large enough to decoupage to the sides of the container)
If you want to decoupage the container, cut out a strip of fabric that is as tall and about 2″ longer than the circumference of the wipes container.
Put a thin layer of Mod Podge on the sides of the container, stick the fabric to it, and then add another thin layer on top of the fabric. Make sure all of the edges are pasted down and sealed.
Cut squares out of your different fabric scraps (I used pinking shears so that the edges wouldn’t fray as easily). I cut out different, random sizes.
Stuff the squares into the container. You could also put other sorts of baby-friendly items in the container for Baby to discover (like toys, teethers etc.).
Watch your baby play!Show her how to take the fabric pieces out of the box and how to put them back in. Rub her hands over the fabrics and introduce texture words to her like “shiny”, “soft” and “rough”.
Baby A loved playing with her little toy! It cost me no money to make, and it was a great way to spend some of our “inside time” today.
We had the most fun Strawberry Shortcake birthday party a little over a week ago that I made a simple scrap fabric banner for. It was so very easy to make, and I constructed it with an idea in mind. I wanted to re-use it as a fun dress-up tutu for my daughter!
This is a really simple, quick DIY project that requires no sewing and little material. You could use the banner as party decor, and then upcycle it into a scrappy fabric tutu when the party’s over. It will be Little C’s Valentine’s tutu!
scrap fabric – enough to make about 30 strips that are about 2″ wide and 30″ long
scraps of ribbon or lace (optional)
60″ length of 1/4 elastic
rotary cutter or scissors
Cut about 30 strips of fabric that measure 15″ – 30″ long. I liked the look of different lengths of strips, but you could also make them all the same length. You can also cut some lengths of ribbon or lace to add some texture to the banner / tutu. Cut a piece of 1/4″ elastic that’s about 60″ long.
Starting about 2″ from one end, tie the strips to the elastic piece as shown above. Fold them in half with wrong sides together, and then turn the folded end over the elastic. Pull the other end through the loop created.
Continue tying strips onto the elastic in this manner, leaving about 2″ between each strip as shown. Tie bits of lace or ribbon between the fabric strips if desired.
Your scrap fabric party banner is done and ready to hang! This would also make a fun decorative banner for a baby or child’s room.
To “upcycle” the banner into a tutu, push all of the strips together as much as needed to match the circumference of your child’s waist (my daughter’s measurement was 20″).
Cut the elastic to size. If you have a sewing machine, you can sew the ends together. If not, tie the elastic tightly together.
Now you have an adorable scrap fabric tutu that’s perfect to twirl in!
My eldest daughter really wanted to be Strawberry Shortcake for Halloween (and also apparently for her birthday in January). She was very adamant that she wanted to be “that Strawberry Shortcake” (the “new” one with the sassy little simple dress) and not “the old one” (the one I liked better, of course, with the prairie styled pinafore and bloomers).
Because I’m not a fan of copying something exactly nor could I find the “perfect” Strawberry Shortcake fabric to use (that exactly matched the new Strawberry Shortcake’s outfit), my daughter and I came up with a unique spin on the costume. It’s very boutique inspired, and it’s even something that she could wear day-to-day (minus the wig… or not!).
The costume consists of an easy dress that starts with a plain white tee, some ruffled leggings and a newsboy hat. Little C had some red shoes that still fit her from last Christmas to finish the look and we found an inexpensive red wig at the drugstore in their Halloween display.
The entire project cost less than $30 and it was about two day’s worth of sewing for me. My daughter loves it and won’t take it off now, which means “success” to me!
I’m going to share with you how I made the little boutique dress with the apron front and applique, the ruffled leggings and the little newsboy (or conductor) hat. It was a lot of fun and these are some basic pieces that could be made into other costume or non-costume looks as well!
1 long or short sleeved white t-shirt in your child’s size
Try the tee on your child, and measure where you want to cut it to make the dress bodice (I wanted an empire waist dress, so I cut it so that it was at the bottom of my daughter’s chest, and then added one inch for the seam allowance to the skirt + a little extra just in case). Cut in a straight line with a ruler and a rotary cutter (or mark the line with a ruler and cut with scissors). To make the strawberry applique, iron about a 3″ square of the berry ta dot fabric and a 1″ square of the lime ta dot fabric onto some applique adhesive paper (followig the directions). Cut out a strawberry shape and a strawberry stem shape from the fabrics as shown above (I free-handed the shapes, but you could also find a strawberry image online and use it as a pattern).
Iron the main strawberry shape onto the centre front of the tee and satin stitch around it. Iron the stem on in place, and satin stitch around it as above.
To make the skirt of the dress, measure your child from the point where the bottom of the bodice will be to where you want the hem of the dress to be (my measurement for my 3 year old was 13″). Add 2″ for the top and bottom seam allowance and hem and cut a piece of the berry Ta Dot that is the width of the fabric (about 45″) by the measurement. Cut a piece of the Strawberry Tea Party fabric that is 2″ shorter than the skirt piece and approximately 18″ wide for the apron. Cut the skirt piece in half width-wise, lay the two halves right-sides together and sew the side seams. Hem the bottom of the skirt piece by folding up 1/2″, then another 1/2″ and stitching. Hem three sides of the apron in the same manner, then lay the apron piece over the skirt piece as shown above and stay-stitch them together (centering the apron on the front of the skirt). Seam finish the top edge of the skirt/apron piece (I used a serger, but you could also use a regular machine’s zig-zag stitch).
Cut a piece of elastic that is the length of your child’s waist circumference plus 1 inch. Sew the ends strongly together (I sew a box shape). Pin the elastic circle to the top of the skirt/apron, placing the side seams on opposite sides of the elastic circle. The elastic should be about 1/2″ over the upper raw edge of the skirt so that it covers the raw edge. Sew the elastic to the skirt from the wrong side – you’ll be pulling the elastic very tightly as you sew it to the skirt. This gathers the skirt as you go.
Now, turn the tee bodice inside out and pin it to the elastic in the same manner (with the top 1/2″ of the elastic covering the raw edge of the tee on the right side. Pin it and sew it from the wrong side. You might have to stretch the elastic a little bit to fit, but not much. Now the dress is done!
Place the narrower strip of fabric over the wider strip and gather the top edge as you stitch them together (I adjust the tension on my serger and do it quickly this way). Sew the ruffles to the bottom of the leggings, then sew the inseams together, and then the crotch seam. Seam-finish the top of the leggings, fold them down 1 1/4″ and stitch to form a casing (with a 2″ opening). Measure your child’s waist and add 1″ – cut a piece of the elastic with this measurement. Thread it through the casing, stitch the ends together and then stitch the opening closed. The leggings are complete!
The Newsboy Hat
Measure the circumference of your child’s head and add 2 inches (for a little “give” and a seam). Cut out a piece of Berry Ta Dot and one of Strawberry Tea Party fabric that is as long as your measurement and 4″ wide. Cut a circle out of the Berry Ta Dot that has a circumference of your child’s head – I managed to find a lid that had the right measurement, or you can make your own circle (on your computer or by hand old-school style with a pencil and string!). Cut a larger circle out of the Strawberry Tea Party fabric that has a circumference of at least twice your first circle – I found a frying pan that was a nice size and used that!
For the brim, draw a half-moon shape that has the same curve on the inside and outside as your smaller circle – see the shape in the photo above. I free-handed my shape, but you could find a hat you have on hand with a brim you like and trace that. Cut out two pieces of Lime Ta Dot in this shape, and then cut the shape out of the old ice cream pail lid (I like to recycle ice cream pails, apparently). Lay the fabric pieces right sides together, and then the plastic piece on top. Sew a 1/4″ seam on the front curve only, then trim back the ice cream pail lid piece as close as you can to the stitching line, as above (sew very slowly through the plastic and use a strong needle!). Flip on piece of fabric over the plastic, to its right side, and you’ll have a nice brim shape like the picture above. Stay-stitch the opposite raw edges together.
To create the hat lining, sew the short ends of the Berry Ta Dot strip right sides together to form a loop. Pin the loop right sides together to the matching circle and sew with a 1/2″ seam as pictured above. Cut a 3″ piece of elastic, and center it over the back seam of the hat lining as above. Stretch it a little to create a small gather at the back of the hat and sew it in place with a straight stitch down the middle (this gives the hat a little stretch and helps it stay on the head). For the right side of the hat, sew the short ends of the Strawberry Tea Party fabric strip right sides together to form a loop. Gather the large circle of Strawberry Tea Party fabric so that the circumference measures the same as the loop’s circumference. Pin and sew the pieces together as shown above.
Pin the brim of the hat to the outside of the hat, centering the brim and pinning right sides together. Stay-stitch in place. Place the hat lining into the outside of the hat, with their right sides together and the brim of the hat tucked inside. Pin them in place with their raw edges matching up, lining up the back seam and the front centers. Stitch together using a 1/2″ seam allowance and leaving a 3″ hole to turn the hat. Trim the seam just around the brim part as close to the stitch line as possible so that the plastic piece doesn’t stick out. Turn the hat right-side out and stitch the hole together with a small stitch line close to the seam. The hat is complete!
This little ensemble is super cute and my daughter is just loving it! The bonus? She can wear the dress and leggings out as a fun little outfit.
Have you ever sewn any costumes for your kids? Please share them in the comments below – I’d love to see your handiwork!
My good friend asked me to help her make a Tinkerbell fairy costume for her little girl’s fourth birthday. We started with a gorgeous little green tutu made by Whimsical Elements, picked up some bright green satin from a local fabric shop, and she also snagged a $6 extra small women’s tank top in green. I ended up altering the top and making a little leaf apron skirt to tie over the tutu. I was happy with the results, and my little girlie was more than happy to model the outfit! Here’s how I did it and how you can too:
1 yard satin (for leaves on top and for leaf apron skirt)
child’s or women’s small tank top
From the satin, cut out a front and back for 4 large petal shapes (mine were 8″ by 7″ and I eyeballed the shape) and 3 smaller petal shapes (mine were 8″ by 7″). Cut out a 6″ wide strip across the entire width of the fabric (your fabric will probably be 54″ to 60″ wide) for the sash.
Put the petal pieces right sides together, and sew around the two sides. Turn over & press.
Press the 6″ wide strip in half lengthwise wrong sides together, and then press the two raw, long edges in 1/2″.
Arrange the larger leaves side-by-side with the top raw edges aligned. Place the smaller leaves on top, over where the larger leaves meet, as pictured above. Pin in place and sew together about 1/4″ from the raw edge.
Measure your child’s waist to find out how long you want the waistband of the leaf apron to be, and then gather the tops of the leaves to fit. In this case, I wanted the skirt to measure 21″ long.
Tuck the leaves about 1/2″ into the waistband you’ve previously folded and pressed. Pin (a lot) because satin is slippery!
Press the short ends of the waistband inwards and press (so there are no raw edges showing on the ends of what will be the tie). Sew the layers together with a topstitch about 1/4″ from the open fold of the waistband, sew the tie ends shut at the same time (as shown below).
For a matching top, find a green tank top that’s your child’s size (if not, you can do what I did and alter a women’s small tank top by taking in the shoulders and sides). Make small leaves in the same manner as the large leaves made for the skirt (mine measured about 2″ by 3″). Pin them together side-by-side, gather them, and then turn the raw edges in, pin, and stitch to the neckline as pictured above.
To wear, simply have your girlie slip on the tank top and a tutu and tie the leaf apron over top. Cuteness!
I’m loving all things chevron lately (the retro-inspired zig-zag pattern) and my 3 year old daughter has a big thing for dresses. I thought I’d combine our two current loves and make a simple little girl’s dress for the summer! I purchased one yard of fabric and used almost every bit with hardly any waste (only the few inches I chopped off the straps). One yard of fabric could make a dress for a young baby (there would be extra fabric, then) all the way up to a size 5T (the dress would be shorter, then). This is a very easy project with tied shoulder straps, an elastic waist and sweet ruffle detailing on the hem – perfect for a summer picnic!
1/2″ ribbon or bias tape (for elastic waist casing)
Fold your fabric in half lengthwise and then cut (I used a rotary cutter, ruler and mat since they’re all squares):
two 2 1/2 strips all the way down the lengthwise edge of your fabric for dress straps
using remaining width, cut four 5″ rectangles widthwise for ruffles (on folded edge)
the remaining rectangle will be for the main dress piece (I used it exactly as-is for my 3 year old, but you could cut it shorter if required for a younger child – just measure your child from her underarm to where you want the hem of the dress to fall and subtract 2.5 inches to account for the ruffle minus the seam allowances & elastic casing)
Cut the main dress ruffle in half lengthwise, along the fold, so that you have a front and a back. Gather the tops of two of your ruffle pieces (I adjust the tension on my serger and gather that way, but you can also use a long running stitch on a regular machine and then pull a thread to gather). Adjust the gather so that the ruffles are the same length as the bottom of each dress piece. Sew one ruffle to the bottom of one dress piece, right sides together. Repeat with second dress piece.
With right sides together, sew the dress pieces together at the side seams from top of the dress to the bottom of the ruffle.
To make a casing for your upper elastic, seam finish the upper edge of the dress with a serger or fold it over 1/4″ from right side to wrong side. Fold it over 1 1/4″, press and pin in place, and then stitch to form a casing. Leave a 1″ opening to thread your elastic through. To make a casing for the waist elastic, measure your child from their underarm to their waistline (my 3 year old was about 5″) and then mark the wrong side of your fabric with this measurement using a straight edge. Sew a piece of ribbon or bias tape along this marking, stitching it at the top and bottom and leaving enough space to thread the 1/4″ elastic through. Leave a 1″ opening.
Measure your child’s chest circumference and cut the 1″ elastic 1/2″ longer than this measurement. Thread the 1″ elastic through the upper casing. Stitch the ends together, and then stitch the opening closed. To keep the elastic from rolling, stitch another line about 1/4″ from the top of the casing, though the casing and elastic. Measure your child’s waist circumference and cut the 1/4″ elastic 1/2″ longer than this measurement.Thread the 1/4″ elastic through the waist casing. Stitch the ends together; stitch the opening closed.
Finish the bottom edge of the ruffled hem by using a rolled hem on your serger as I did, or folding the hem over twice at 1/4″ and sewing with a regular sewing machine.
Sew the remaining two ruffle pieces together, right sides together at the short ends to form a bit loop. Seam finish the long edges using a rolled hem on your serger, or folding over twice at 1/4″ and stitching. Using a long running stitch, sew a basting stitch about 1/2″ from one edge of the ruffle all around the loop. Slide the loop over the bottom of the dress and position it as pictured above (so that it overlaps the lower ruffle by about an inch). Gather the ruffle by pulling on a thread, ensuring that it is gathered to the same width as the dress. Pin in place and then sew over your gathered stitch line to attach to the dress.
To make the tied straps, cut both strap pieces in half widthwise. You may want to trim the straps a few inches if you don’t want a long tie/big bow (I trimmed mine about 4″ each). Fold both short ends of each piece under about 1/4″ from right to wrong side and press. Fold each piece in half lengthwise and press. Open them up again, and fold each side in to meet the crease you made in the middle. Fold in half again and press, as pictured above. Sew around each strap about 1/4″ from the edge.
Pin the straps to the upper elastic casing of the dress, about 1/2″ from the top (straps on the inside). I pinned mine about 4″ from the sideseam, as pictured above. Sew in place, sewing over the stitch line you made previously on the elastic casing (this hides the stitches). Tie the straps together at the shoulders.
You’re already finished! Have your little girl try it on and have a tea party on the lawn!
Christina Dennis is the creator and designer behind Golly Gee Baby, a collection of unique and colourful baby clothing and accessories that are ethically manufactured.
One of the hottest trends for this year is coloured jeans – specifically mint-coloured ones! Jeans are a prefect mommy style essential, and finding the perfect shade of mint jeans can be tricky. Why not buy some inexpensive white ones and dye your own? My good friend Cheryl of Bella’s Boudoir of Jewelry and I did it this spring and it was surprisingly easy. (Those gorgeous legs pictured below are hers!)
white jeans (we bought ours for under $25 at Winners)
turquoise blue fabric dye
emerald green fabric dye
Prepare your fabric dye according to the package directions. I bought two of each colour of fabric dye, but I only ended up using one of each for two pairs of pants since we wanted such a light mint colour! We followed the package directions for the dye, bringing some water to boil and adding the dye and a little bit of salt. We used a full package of turquoise and half a package of green to make a soft, warm mint green colour.
Mix the dye in a basin of warm water (again, following the directions according to the dye’s manufacturer), and dip your pants in. Make sure you’re wearing gloves for this (my poor friend ended up with nicely dyed green hands!) and that the jeans are submerged fully in the water as quickly as possible. I swirled the pants around in the dye with my gloved hand the entire time (mostly because I was nervous that the dye wasn’t evenly touching all parts of the pants). Our dyes said to submerge the clothing for up to 10 minutes, but I took my jeans out after only 3 minutes and Cheryl only had hers dipped in the dye for less than 15 seconds! We wanted a nice light minty colour, so if your dyes were darker like ours you’ll need to be quick too.
After dying the pants, rinse them really well with warm water. Let them dry completely before wearing them or machine washing them so that the dye will set. My jeans dyed a lot lighter than the shade they appeared in the picture above when wet, and Cheryl’s were lighter still because she didn’t dye them as long. We both washed ours later on the cool cycle in our machine washers and the dye did not fade.
There you have it – a fun project to do with a mommy friend that results in some trendy new jeans for you at a great price!
Christina Dennis is the creator and designer behind Golly Gee Baby, a collection of unique and colourful baby clothing and accessories that are ethically manufactured.