Tag

quick

DIY Family Food, DIY Recipes

Make Broccoli Mac & Cheese from Scratch

When chatting with a friend the other day about what kinds of foods we ate, I had a realization.

It’s been at least 6 months (maybe almost a year?!) since I’ve purchased macaroni & cheese from a box!

I’ve been making it from scratch as a quick lunch for my kids. Before you brand me with an Extremist Suzy Homemaker stamp and shake your head, let me tell you: I make it an easy cheater’s way and it’s fast!

I even add in broccoli or frozen veggies sometimes to give me and my kiddos some extra nutrients. They’re fooled by cheese covered broccoli!Continue reading

DIY Sewing

Sew A Simple Change Mat Cover

Sew a Simple Change Mat Cover by The DIY Mommy

Sometimes I like to spend a lot of time on DIY projects, and sometimes I just want to make them as simple as possible and get them done.

This easy minky change mat cover was one of the latter kinds of projects. I made it before Baby A was born, and I completely forgot to share it until now (almost a year and a half later)! I still use this DIY change pad cover daily. It’s washable, it’s comfortable, and it didn’t take me long at all to sew. It’s basically a small fitted sheet – without mitered corners. Here’s how I did it:

Materials:

Directions:

  1. Measure your change pad from side to side, making sure to add the height of the outside and inside edges. Add 2″. This will be the width of the piece of fabric you’ll need to cut.
  2. Repeat with the length of the changepad, using this measurement as the length of fabric that needs to be cut.
  3. Cut a piece of minkee to this measurement, and then round the corners (I use an ice cream pail lid).
  4. Fold the edges from right side to wrong side about 1/2″ and pin. You can pleat the corners a little to make this work. Sew the edges down, ensuring that there’s at least a 1/4″ casing for the elastic. Leave a 1″ hole.
  5. Cut a piece of elastic that’s appoximately 2/3 the circumference of your changemat. Thread it through the casing, sew its ends together, and then sew the casing hole shut.
  6. Your done! It’s a simple cover, but it’s quick and it’s easy to remove when it needs to be washed. You can make a couple so that you’ll always have one on hand.

Sew a Simple Change Mat Cover by The DIY Mommy

Sidenote: Here’s darling Baby A at only two days old. How small is she?! Is is just me, or does the second baby seem to grow up at lightening speed?

Sew a Simple Change Mat Cover by The DIY Mommy

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase products via these links, a small percentage of the sale will be given to me at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win – thanks for helping support thediymommy.com!)

DIY Home Decor, Knitting & Crochet

Crochet a Mini Hearts Bunting Banner

Crochet a Mini Hearts Bunting Banner by The DIY Mommy

There’s something about hearts that just get me (and no, I’m not talking about anatomical hearts – though I think they’re great too). I like heart printed fabrics, heart doodles, heart-shaped candy, hearts on clothes, and heart-themed crafts.

Valentine’s Day gives me an excuse to bust out the heart crafts with no holding back. This adorable, oh-so-cute heart banner is no exception.

I’ve seen crocheted heart banners around the web, but I wanted to make something teeny and cute that wouldn’t take me too much time. This bunting is really simple to crochet – I did it in a couple of evenings. Little C helped pick the colours, and she chose where to hang it at the end. It’s a fun Valentine’s Day decoration, and I also think it would be the sweetest thing to hang in a baby’s nursery all year round!

Crochet a Mini Hearts Bunting Banner by The DIY Mommy

Materials:

  • scraps of yarn in different colours (I made 5 hearts each in 6 different colours with an off-white cord)
  • size J crochet hook

Directions:

Crochet 5 hearts each in 6 different colours using the simple directions found here.

Then, with a contrasting yarn, chain 10, [SC in the top middle of the right side one heart, chain 3, SC in the top middle of the left side of the same heart, chain 5], repeat pattern in brackets until you’ve crocheted all of the hearts together. Chain 5. Your simple heart bunting is complete!

Crochet a Mini Hearts Bunting Banner by The DIY Mommy

Little C had to “model” the banner before we hung it by our front door.

Crochet a Mini Hearts Bunting Banner by The DIY Mommy

Oh, the cuteness. Don’t you just love her? (I do!)

Linked to: Made by You Monday @ Skip to My Lou, Sundae Scoop Link Party @ I Heart Nap Time, That DIY Party @ DIY Show Off

DIY Home Decor, DIY Sewing

Sew a Throw Pillow Cover – The Easy Way!

by Christina Dennis

Sew Throw Pillow Covers the Easy Way by The DIY Mommy

When I’m in need of a very quick decor change in my home, I buy a little bit of new fabric and whip up a couple of throw pillow covers. Basic throw pillow covers are so easy to sew, and let me tell you – they can change the look of a room completely! My mom even has seasonal throw pillows – aqua blue for summer and deep red for winter.

This method of sewing pillows is a great beginner’s project. It only requires sewing straight lines and there’s a little bit of hand stitching at the end. Since there is no zipper or buttons, the case is stitched shut after the pillow form is inserted. Most pillows can be thrown into the wash all together (pillow form and all). Here’s how to make these easy cases:

Materials:

For the pictured pillow, I used 1/2 yard each of two different fabrics to make two pillows – one fabric for the front and one for the back. It was my friend’s idea and I thought it was great! You could flip the pillows over dependent on what sort of mood you are in.

Directions:

Sew Throw Pillow Covers the Easy Way by The DIY Mommy

For an 18″ wide pillow, cut two squares of fabric measuring 18 x 18 inches. I don’t cut them larger for a seam allowance. I find making the pillow covers slightly smaller than the pillow forms makes the pillows nice and full looking.

Sew Throw Pillows the Easy Way by The DIY Mommy

Lay one piece over the other piece, right sides together & pin. Machine stitch around the edge, leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance and an opening on one side of at least 10 inches (don’t make it too small – I’ve made that mistake so many times). Trim the corners as above (so that there isn’t excess fabric in the corners when the cover is flipped to the right side).

Sew Throw Pillows the Easy Way by The DIY Mommy

Flip the cover to the right side. Stuff the pillow form in. Stitch the opening closed by hand.

Sew Throw Pillows the Easy Way by The DIY Mommy

That’s it! Seriously! It’s such a simple method and this little project can pack a huge punch in your home decor scheme.

Sew Throw Pillows the Easy Way by The DIY Mommy

Here’s one of my current favourite throw pillows made using this method. It looks extra fancy because I used some of this impressive-looking rosette fabric instead of regular cotton decor fabric: Splenda Satin Ribbon Rosette Yellow. Isn’t it neat how different a pillow can look with a change in colour, pattern or texture?

If you could make some new throw pillows in a jiffy for your home, what fabric is on your “must use” list? (Check out my favourite place to buy fabric online, fabric.com, if you need some inspiration!)

DIY Family Food, DIY Recipes

Make Homemade Gnocchi Bake

by Christina Dennis

Life is crazy, busy and more crazy with toddlers and babies in the house. While I love experimenting every so often with more complicated & exotic dinner recipes, I have a few that aren’t so exotic or complicated that I love to make for my family. This Homemade Gnocchi Bake that I’ve concocted is the ultimate comfort food! While it’s made from “scratch”, I find it pretty quick to put together and it’s something that both my husband – and even my toddler! – loves. Gnocchi is a type of pasta that is really easily and inexpensively made by hand; you don’t need a pasta machine to make it because it’s rolled and cut into pieces. Chopped chicken is optional in this meal, and the addition of tomatoes and spinach add some tasty veggie goodness!

Homemade Gnocchi Bake by The DIY Mommy

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (I use the “light”) version
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

 

  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped OR 1/2 cup canned halved tomatoes
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (optional)
  • 1 cup mozarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

To make the gnocchi pasta, whisk the ricotta cheese, egg, olive oil and salt together in a medium bowl. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of flour into the ricotta cheese mixture gradually, using your hands when it gets thick. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and then cut it into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a cylinder about 1″ in diameter, and then chop each piece into approximately 1″ long pieces.

Homemade Gnocchi Bake by The DIY Mommy

Bring a large, salted pot of water to boil. Add the gnocchi and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Once the gnocchi has cooled a little, mix it in a large bowl with the chopped spinach, pasta sauce and tomatoes (and cubed chicken breast, optional). Put half of this mixture in the bottom of a medium-sized casserole dish. Sprinkle half of the grated mozarella cheese on top. Layer the rest of the gnocchi mixture on top of that and sprinkle with the remaining mozarella cheese and parmesan.

Homemade Gnocchi Bake by The DIY Mommy

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes and enjoy!

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.

DIY Business & Blogging, DIY Crafts

Make DIY Photo Backdrops with Fabric or Paper

by Christina Dennis

DIY Photo Backdrops by The DIY Mommy

I love taking photos of my two girls! They’re just so darn cute and I want to capture every stage of their little lives with images that I can treasure forever. While I like to take photos with natural backgrounds (like the beautiful outdoors), I also like to experiment with creating interesting backdrops with easy and inexpensive materials that I have in my crafty arsenal. My favourite materials to use as backdrops are simple fabrics and white banner paper – both of which also work really well ask backdrops for product photography if you’re a DIY mommy that sells her creations!

DIY Photo Backrops by The DIY Mommy

For a simple white backdrop for photos, I use banner paper. It comes in very long rolls and you can buy it at most stationery or office supply stores. My favourite setting to take photos in is outside at the middle of the day when it’s cloudy (it’s daylight, but the sun can’t cause shadows). I roll out a long piece of banner paper, and tape it up to the side of my house with packing tape as high as I need it to be. Then, I let it roll gently onto the ground at least 5 feet and secure the bottom with whatever heavy things I can find. In this case, stumps! I then set my subject (here, it’s a bag for my Golly Gee! Baby line) on the paper, about 6″ from the side of the house and I shoot away. I always take many, many pictures so that I have lots to choose from when I’m editing them.

DIY Photo Backrops by The DIY Mommy

If I’m looking for a photo backdrop with a little more pizazz, I use some brightly coloured fabric! Here, I’ve used a bolt of quilter’s cotton in a lovely aqua shade with small polka dots. The dots are cute, but they’re not busy enough to distract from my subjects which are my dear girls for this picture!

And, as the photo above shows you all, here’s my secret to crafting with two children in the house: RARELY CLEAN YOUR HOME. *wink*

Here, I’ve placed the end of the fabric on top of my (messy) kitchen island (iron out the fabric first if it’s wrinkly or has a crease down the middle) and secured it with heavy objects. Let the fabric drape down to the floor, and continue it a few feet on the floor in front of your island, counter, table, desk or whatever high object works! Place your subjects a few inches from the back of the fabric and snap away!

DIY Photo Backrops by The DIY Mommy

In both cases, I open up my favourite shots in Photoshop and edit them a little. First, I’ll crop the image so that I take out any secret things I don’t want in it (like tree stumps or messy kitchens). If there’s only one other edit I do, it’s open up the “curves” window and lighten the image (as shown above). Sometimes I’ll adjust the colour balance and other things, but my Photoshopping skills are minimal so I usually keep it pretty simple.

Here’s the finished product using a fabric backdrop and my darling girls (I took at least 50 shots, cropped the photo and lightened it):

DIY Photo Backdrops by The DIY Mommy

And here is one using banner paper outside with one of my products (I cropped the photo, lightened the background, and then ended up erasing the background completely using the eraser tool):

DIY Photo Backdrops by The DIY Mommy

While they’re no substitute for professional photos, DIY photos of children and DIY products are so much fun to experiment with! Try playing with paper and fabric next time you take some photos and see what you can come up with that’s interesting and unique.

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.

DIY Sewing

Sew a One Yard Chevron Dress

by Christina Dennis

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!

One Yard Chevron Dress Tutorial by The DIY Mommy

Materials:

Directions:

One Yard Chevron Dress Tutorial by The DIY Mommy

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)

One Yard Chevron Dress Tutorial by The DIY Mommy

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.

One Yard Chevron Dress Tutorial by The DIY Mommy

With right sides together, sew the dress pieces together at the side seams from top of the dress to the bottom of the ruffle.

One Yard Chevron Dress Tutorial by The DIY Mommy

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 usingĀ  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.

One Yard Chevron Dress Tutorial by The DIY Mommy

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.

One Yard Chevron Dress Tutorial by The DIY Mommy

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.

One Yard Chevron Dress Tutorial by The DIY Mommy

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.

One Yard Chevron Dress Tutorial by The DIY Mommy

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.

One Yard Chevron Dress Tutorial by The DIY Mommy

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.

One Yard Chevron Dress Tutorial by The DIY Mommy

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.

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