My crafty friend Jenni posted some photos of an absolutely gorgeous DIY Christmas tree skirt that she had made this week, and I knew the instant that I saw it that I needed to share it with all of you here! Isn’t it so pretty and country-shabby-chic-y wonderful? Here’s what Jenni had to say about this project:
Years ago I bought a bright green felt tree skirt from Canadian Tire, with tacky Santa Claus appliques all over it. I have pretty much hated it ever since. The past few years I have been collecting rustic, country-style decor to outfit my home for Christmas, and I was so inspired by this burlap and plaid ruffled tree skirt (http://doneoverdecor.blogspot.ca/2011/12/ruffle-tree-skirt.html) that I had to give it a try! The best thing about it is that there is no sewing required at all, which is great because no matter how often I say I’m going to get better at sewing, I just cannot motivate myself. All this tree skirt requires is an old tree skirt, a glue gun, and 2 meters each of burlap and a Christmas print of your choice.
My mother-in-law, who turns everything she touches to gold with her craftiness, provided the blue tree skirt and the burlap. We cut the two fabrics into strips 2 inches wide, sat on her kitchen floor with a glue gun each, and spent the afternoon gluing the fabric down in rows until my two daughters woke from their naps. Basically, all you are doing is starting at the outside, gluing down the top edge and folding it over every few inches to create ruffles (see the link for the full tutorial). We also put a dot of glue under the ruffle and pressed against the fabric beneath to ensure the ruffles stuck instead of standing straight up. Once you’ve done one row, just layer the next piece of fabric a few inches above so it overlaps a bit and continue gluing. From start to finish, it took me about three hours with a bit of help. I love the contrast between the shimmery gold strands in the cranberry plaid fabric and the stray bits of burlap coming loose at the edges, giving it a cozy rustic feel!
After Christmas, I am going to spend some time gluing down the bottoms of the rows, as you can see the original tree skirt underneath. Regardless of whether I ever get around to that, though, I now have a gorgeous tree skirt that matches the rest of my decor and that I am proud of – so long, Santa!
If you’re looking for a fun little Christmas holiday craft for your toddler or preschooler, these candy cane mice are really easy and cute!
My Little C (she’s 3 going on 4 in January) made these today and they were quick. She picked out the colours of felt that each mouse needed to be, I cut out the pieces and did the gluing (but if you had regular white glue, a child could easily do that part too) and then she inserted the candy cane.
She gave them all names and played with them for a while – I believe the purple one is “Desmerella”.
Tomorrow is December 1st and I’ve finally had a chance to put up our little Christmas tree. I didn’t think we’d fit it in our 800 square foot house this year with now two children (and so many baby and preschooler toys and crafts in every nook and cranny), but I made it work. We’re in the process of building a new home on our acreage (our current one that we’ve been living in for over 6 years will become a garage) and I’m calling to action every patient bone in my body as I do my best to wait for it to be done!
I was so proud of my little 3 year old. She was incredibly excited to decorate the tree, and she did most of it except for the very top and the garland. She spaced out the ornaments ever so precisely and alternated between the silver, gold, red and turquoise colours so well. She’s an artistic little one, wouldn’t you say?
I think it’s country-cute and fun and I’m not going to change it one little bit.
I truly cherish the Christmas season, and it’s fun to start new traditions with our little family (and hang on to the old traditions I loved as a child). We can’t do tons of decorating this year because of limited space, but I’m glad we’ve found room for our tree. I’ve also made some 8×10″ artwork from one of my favourite Bible verses that I’ll put in a frame on our living room side table. If you’d like to use it to, please feel free to print it out from this PDF link: The DIY Mommy Christmas Bible Verse Printable (It’s shabby chic in burlap & red – one of my favourite colour and texture combos for Christmas decor!)
It’s Isaiah 9:6:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
I truly hope you have a blessed first week of advent, friends!
One of my friends needed an apron for a costume this month. It had to be red gingham with a white ruffle and heart applique, so I set to designing it from scratch. I absolutely loved the result and I think this feminine little apron would make an adorable Christmas gift for a friend (or make a smaller version for a toddler’s dress-up collection)!
This is a simple project, and a great one for beginner seamstresses. It requires little fabric and can be whipped up in about an hour.
2 yards gingham fabric (I used red & white gingham – you could order only a yard, but then you will have to cut the apron tie in two pieces and stitch them together making a visible seam)
1/2 yard white eyelet fabric
applique adhesive paper
I purchased my fabric for this project from fabric.com:
Cut 3 strips from the white eyelet fabric that are 3 inches wide and 44″ long (or whatever the width of your fabric is – mine was 44″) for the ruffle. Cut a 5″ square out of the white eyelet fabric and the applique adhesive paper, fuse them together (according to the directions on the applique paper’s packaging), and then cut out a heart shape (I free-handed mine, but you could also print out a 5″ wide heart and use that as a pattern). Cut a piece of the gingham fabric that is 4″ wide by 70″ long (for the apron tie – use the full length of the 2 yards for this so that it is one continuous piece) and one that is 16″ long by 35″ wide (for the main apron piece).
The ruffle: Sew the three ruffle strips together, and then fold the entire strip in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together. Gather the raw edge (I use a serger and adjust the tension, but you could also use a regular machine basting stitch and pull the threads to gather).
Round the two bottom corners of the main apron piece (I use an ice cream pail lid as a guide) and then pin the ruffle to the sides and bottom of the main apron piece, raw edges together. Stitch together, fold the ruffle down and then top-stitch about 1/4″ away from the seam as shown above. This helps the ruffle stay flat!
Apply the heart applique to the lower right corner of the apron (about 3 or 4 inches from the edge) and satin stitch it to the apron.
Gather the top of the apron so that it measures approximately 17″ wide.
Find the center of the apron and the center of the apron tie piece (by folding each in half). Pin them together, right sides together and raw edges aligned, with the centers matching. Sew together using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Fold the apron tie in half lengthwise, right sides together, and pin. Sew the ends together using a 1/2″ seam. Then, sew the strap together on either side of the main apron piece, ending the seam about 1/2″ from the apron (as shown above).
Finally, fold the remaining raw edge of the tie under 1/2″, pin it to the apron, and sew it about 1/4″ from the folded edge to the apron.
Your pretty little ruffled apron is done! Now, go bake some cinnamon buns or give the apron to your bestie as a cute Christmas gift.
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!
Wow, it’s been one of “those” weeks. Er, couple of weeks. I have a baby that is an angel-girl by day and Frankenbaby by night. There have been some things that have happened to close friends and family recently that have been very heartbreaking to see.
Sometimes a mommy has to slip into “survival mode” and do the best she can amidst lack of sleep and difficult circumstances.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I rely on three things when I have days like these: God’s grace, love for my family, and coffee. Good, strong coffee. If you’re like me, you might enjoy this free printable artwork that I am going to hang in my kitchen.
This week, my oldest daughter and I swam through our greenhouse (I say “swam” because I’m the worst weeder in the entire world, most likely) and picked buckets and buckets of these little tomatoes! I was so proud of them, I geekily took dozens of photos and posted them on Facebook. I have to admit – I’m not the green thumb in our house. My dear Hubby is!
We simply can’t eat all of the tomatoes we’ve harvested and are still going to harvest, so I’ve found some great ways to preserve them so that we can enjoy them for most of the winter.
Freeze them. This is by far the easiest way to preserve little tomatoes. You can wash them and freeze them whole by laying them on a cookie sheet until they harden, and then transferring them to bags or jars. You can also crush the tomatoes or puree them first for sauces. You can then defrost these later and use them for soups/stews, roasts and breakfasts. Easy!
Slow roast them. This sounds absolutely delicious to me and it’s what I want to do with our larger tomatoes (I froze our small ones). You roast tomatoes with garlic and herbs and then you can freeze them. Here’s an amazing-looking recipe for slow roasted tomatoes for the freezer.
This sweet little knitted maternity tank top was a pattern I designed pre-children – back when I had time to fiddle with knitting! It’s from my old knitting blog, and I’d like to offer it now to you free. I love the little flower embellishment on the neckline – this would be a cute little embellishment for just about anything!
The “Glam Bump Top” is an easy-to-knit, chic maternity knitted top. It’s knit in the round from top to bottom with no seaming and minimal shaping. Short rows in the front allow extra room for a growing Baby Bump. The simple stockinette stitch is accented by garter stitch detailing in the neck piece, the center panel and the bottom hem. The look is completed with an elegant knit flower accented with a button center. Knit in a light silk/mohair/wool blend, this piece is a perfect transitional top from summer to fall. A great gift for a mom-to-be or for yourself!
Materials • Yarn: 1000 (1000, 1500) Yards ArtFibers Sylph in colour #14 (or a similar sport weight yarn) • Needles: Size 5 US (3.75 mm) circular needles (or size needed to obtain gauge) • 1/2” button to coordinate with yarn • Sewing needle & coordinating thread
Sizes Woman’s Sizes Small (32-34” bust), Medium (36-38” bust), and Large (40-42” bust) Top is designed to be fitted in the yoke and then very loose in bust & waist.
Gauge 22 s and 35 rows = 4”
Abbreviations & Explanations:
K = knit k2tog = knit 2 stitches together k3tog = knit 3 stitches together M1 = make a new stitch by knitting into the stitch below KF&B = make one stitch by knitting in front & back of stitch KF&B&F = make two stitches by knitting in front, back & again in the front of the stitch P = purl St st = stockinette stitch Garter stitch = in the round, alternating K and P rows PM = place marker Wrapping a stitch in a short row = Work to turn point, slip next stitch to R needle and bring yarn to front. Slip same stitch back to L needle. Turn work & bring yarn in position for next stitch, wrapping the stitch. Hide wraps in a K st when RS of top is worked in a K st as follows: on RS work to st before wrapped st. Insert R needle from front, under the wrap stitch and then into the wrapped stitch. K them together.
Directions are for Women’s Size Small. Stitch count for Medium & Large are in parenthesis.
Neck Piece: CO 120 st (132 st, 144 st) onto circular needles, join in round being careful not to twist stitches. PM at join. Work 8 rows in garter stitch (4 ridges) Next Row: K4, *K1, KF&B. Repeat from * to last 4 stitches. K4. 168 st (186 st, 204 st) Work 7 rows garter stitch (4 ridges) Next Row: K4, *K2, KF&B. Repeat from * to last 5 stitches. K4. 212 st (236 st, 260 st) Work 7 rows garter stitch (4 ridges)
Arm Holes: Next Row: Continuing in garter stitch pattern, work 24 st (28 st, 32 st), BO loosely 59 st (64 st, 69 st), work 48 st (56 st, 64 st), BO loosely 59 st (64 st, 69 st), work 24 st (28 st, 32 st). 96 st (112 st, 128 st) Next Row: In garter stitch, work 24 st (28 st, 32 st), CO 38 st (44 st, 50 st) using backwards loop method, work 48 st (56 st, 64 st), CO 38 st (44 st, 50 st) using backwards loop method, work 24 st (28 st, 32 st). 172 st (200 st, 228 st) Work 4 ridges garter stitch, ending with a knit row
Body: Make Ruffle: [KF&B&F, KF&B] 12X (14X, 16X), K 38 st (44 st, 50 st), [KF&B&F, KF&B] 24X (28X, 32X), K 38 st (44 st, 50 st), [KF&B&F, KF&B] 12X (14X, 16X). 316 st (368 st, 420 st) Next Row (beginning of St st body pattern with garter stitch panel in center front): K 60 (70, 80) back st, K 38 (44, 50) sleeve st, K 45 (55, 65), PM, P30, PM, K 45 (55, 65), K 38 (44, 50) sleeve st,K 60 (70, 80) back st Next Row: Knit Next Row: K to marker, P to marker (St st panel detail), K to end of round Work in pattern (St st with garter stitch panel in center front) until piece measures 10” from front neck top **Making baby bump: Next Row: K 60 (70, 80), K 38 (44, 50), PM, K 45 (55, 65), work 30 st garter st panel, K 45 (55, 65), wrap stitch and turn Next Row: P 45 (55, 65), work 30 st garter panel, P 45 (55, 65), wrap stitch (see explanation, top of page) and turn Next Row: K 45 (55, 65), work 30 st garter panel, K 45 (55, 65), K 38 (44, 50), K 60 (70, 80) Work 3 rows as per normal pattern** Repeat from ** to ** until front piece measures 19” from front neck top or desired length Next Row: Purl Next Row: Knit Repeat last 2 rows 6X BO loosely
Weave in loose ends & steam or wet block all petals. Position the 5 large petals evenly in a flower shape on the left side of the neckpiece of the garment (or on side preferred). Tack down petals with sewing needle & thread in center as well as outer edges so that petals will not fold. Position the 5 small petals evenly in a flower shape on top of the 5 larger petals. Tack down small petals with sewing needle & thread in center. Position button in center of flower and sew.
Finishing: Weave in all loose ends of garment. Steam or wet block if desired.