Archive for April, 2011

The Zipper – Try # 1

There 3 things that scare me in sewing – putting on buttons so they all line up, sewing with knits and installing a zipper.

I decided that today was the day to tackle the zipper.  I found this tutorial for a zippered wristlet.  I thought it would be a good place to start.  I left the strap off because I knew I wouldn’t actually use it as a wristlet.

The outside

The inside

It looks pretty good for a first try.  There were a couple of mistakes in it though.  When I sewed up the pouch, it was a little hard to get close to the zipper (I think I took that zipper foot off too soon!).

Do you see the little opening?  I don’t think that’s supposed to be there!!

The zipper is also getting stuck on the lining fabric almost every time I open the bag.  Maybe I was too excited about using that zipper foot and stitched the fabric too close to the zipper?

All in all, I think it still turned out pretty good for a first try.  I will definitely need to practice more though.  Only next time it won’t be quite so scary.


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A friend of mine recently gave birth to her fourth beautiful daughter.   When a little girl is born, those of us who sew think – yay! What can I sew for this little cutie?!?

My friend happens to love owls.  I happened to have some owl fabric in the house.  I have also been wanting to try shirring (smocking) a sundress, and so baby’s gift was decided.

This was going to be an ‘easy, one-hour’ project and it started out okay.  Unfortunately, luck was not on my side (nor was patience due to the severe lack of sleep I have been suffering through).  First, the elastic thread on the bobbin ran out part way (and I couldn’t find instructions on what to do when that happens!).  Then the top thread ran out.  I know, it happens… but when you are tired it is a much bigger deal.  I put in some new thread and carried on.  I finished the dress and it looked lovely.  I turned the dress inside out to trim all the threads on the inside… and then it happened.  The worst thing ever!

Yes, the elastic thread had started to come out on a couple of the rows.  Oh no!  What do I do?!?!  How do I fix this?  I’ll be honest.  I was tired.  I couldn’t think straight.  I started to panic!  I remembered reading that you could run a line of stitching across the elastic thread to help hold it.  So I did this.  But then there were those pesky elastics that were coming out.  In desperation, I ran a line of stitching where the end of the elastic was sitting.  Oh dear.  It really looked horrible.  What do I do?  Do I throw it out?  I didn’t have enough fabric to do another one!  And so I decided to leave it.  I decided that most people won’t notice these horrible mistakes (except my friend who sews and also reads this blog!!!!!).   I decided that I would give it to her anyway.  Let her decide what she would like to do with it.  And plan on making the baby something else nicer in the near future.

Since I already had the little dress sewn though, and since I did have a bit more of the fabric, I decided to make a matching diaper cover.  I found the tutorial for this here.  This was actually pretty simple to do and it turned out really cute.

With a little more fabric left and still feeling the need to sew, I made a matching bonnet.  There was no pattern for this.  I very loosely used the tutorial here ; mostly just for a few measurements.

I hope the new mom likes it!  And hopefully there will be another outfit (but much more nicely made) coming her way soon.

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Hello Readers!  I hope everyone had a great Easter!  We are returning to our colour themed weeks with the colour blue.

We have not started our blue theme yet, due to the long weekend.  Today we went to the library to see if we could find any books with the colour blue as a theme in them.  Unfortunately, my toddler was all over the place, ripping the books off the shelves as fast as she could.  We came out with a few colour themed books, but none specific to the colour blue.

You might enjoy reading your toddler Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton.

The is a very simple story that teaches kids about colours.  It has great toddler humor in it and it would likely hold the interest of even the most wiggly toddler.

Another good book is Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert.

I think this is a great book for this time of year.  It talks about all the colours of the rainbow, but it also talks about planting – something we will be doing very soon around here.  It has bright beautiful pictures and, again, a fairly simple storyline.

We will be making some blue play dough this week.  It’s really easy to make and my little one loves helping me to measure the ingredients.  Here is a great recipe ~

1 cup white flour

1/4 cup of salt

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 cup water

1 tbsp oil

2 tsps food colouring

Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a medium pot. Add water, oil and food colouring. Cook and stir over medium heat. When your mixture forms a ball in the pot (it might almost seems like it is going to start burning!), turn out and knead on a lightly floured surface. Store play dough in an airtight container or plastic bag.

We also plan on doing string painting this week.  All you need is string (or yarn), paint, a clothes peg and a container to put the paint it.  Just clip the clothes peg onto the string, then using the peg as a handle, dip the string into the paint.  You then can drag the string across the paper, or wiggle it over the paper, or bounce the string up and down on the paper – it will all create great designs!

Our sensory (sand/water) table is coloured, but if you have a clear or white container, fill it with water and add a little blue food colouring.  Your little one will love splashing and will learn about the colour blue at the same time.

Have a great week everyone!

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I love sending Easter goodies to school with my girls.  This year, I decided to make Easter cupcakes that are supposed to resemble Easter eggs hiding in the grass.

These cupcakes are super easy to make and that is a very good thing when you are making 60 of them!

I made these from a store-bought mix and used store-bought icing too.  Just add a bit of green food colouring to the icing to make it green.  Ice as usual and then dip the iced tops into green coloured coconut.

To make the coconut green, I added a few drops of green food colouring at a time.  I used about 8 drops for a full bag of coconut.  You need to stir the coconut around for a bit to get the colour to spread.

To finish them, just pop a foil covered Easter egg (or whatever type of candy egg you wish) on the top and you are done!

Easy peasy and super cute!

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The Bake-Off

What do you do when your 9-year-old asks “Can I mix a whole bunch of baking things together and see what it makes?”   If you can’t think of single reason for her to not do this, then you have the first family bake-off.

I gave each of my older 2 daughters, who are 7 and 9,  a cereal bowl.  They found what they wanted in the baking cupboard and fridge and they invented their own recipes.   This was one of the most fun and exciting things we have ever done!  We enjoyed this so much and laughed so hard.  And when it was all done, we all sampled the creations.

This is what my 7-year-old made ~

The ingredients she used were cocoa, baking soda, flour, one egg, milk, chocolate chips, icing sugar, maple syrup, star sprinkles and rainbow sprinkles.  Those rose nicely and looked like nice little cupcakes.  The taste?  Umm.. not so good.  It seems instead of a pinch of baking soda, there was… well… a lot more than a pinch.   She is planning on decreasing the amount of baking soda she uses next time.

Here is what my 9-year-old made ~

The ingredients for these were cocoa, whole wheat and white flour, chocolate chips, brown sugar, corn syrup and milk.  These cooked well, despite my uncertainty, and came out looking firm like a fudge.  They actually tasted pretty good!  Nice and fudgy (she used a lot of chocolate chips), but a little bit heavy feeling in the belly.  She is planning to use baking soda and an egg in her next creation.

This would be a great activity to do on a rainy day when the kids are bored.  Not only is it a great boredom buster, but they are actually learning a bit of science too (like how baking soda makes the batter rise).   It was a blast and I look forward to the next bake-off!  I wonder what they will create next?!

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We are taking a break from our colour themes to celebrate Easter this week!

This week, we filled our sensory table with a bean mix and added some plastic Easter eggs.

I had never done this in the past and it really has been working out well for us (if you ignore all the beans that keep spilling on the floor!).  We have been putting some beans in the plastic eggs and I showed my little one how to shake them.  We then put a small amount of beans in one egg and a lot of beans in another egg and listened to how the sound was different.  Of course, we also talked about the colours of the eggs – Easter is such a great time to learn about colours!

I have also been teaching my daughter about Easter egg hunts.  I took a few of the eggs out of the sensory table, and as she watched me, I sang a little song and ‘hid’ the eggs.  I then encouraged her to find them and put them in a little basket I had given to her.  She loved this game and asked to play it again and again!  I think we will be playing this a lot this week!  The song we sang went like this –

Where, oh where are the eggs hiding?

Where, oh where are the eggs hiding?

Where, oh where are the eggs hiding?

Where could they be?

                                                                                                                                                                                         (photo via Kaboose)

There is one thing that always seems to make kids super happy – a special hat.   What better hat to make than bunny ears!  In all the years I have worked as a preschool teacher, there was never a time that this was not a hit.  Kids love bunny ears!  So, grab some construction paper and make your little one some cute bunny ears!  I’m pretty sure my big kids will want some too!

I’m keeping art easy this week and just printing up some Easter themed colouring pages.  There are some great colouring pages here, with both religious and non-religious Easter themed pictures.  I’m also hoping to make some Easter eggs with all 3 of my girls this Friday.  I’ll get them to colour on some hard-boiled eggs with a white (or coloured) crayon and then dip the eggs into some dye.  It’s nice that all 3 of my children can do this activity, even with the large age gap between them (they are 9, 7 and 21 months).

What is life without music?

And a favourite of every toddler and preschooler I know ~

For this song, you get your toddler to crouch down on the floor (like a sleeping bunny), then when you sing ‘wake up little bunny hop, hop, hop’, get your little bunny to stand up and start hopping!  My daughter loves it when I bring down a couch cushion for her to hop on.  It gives her a bit of extra spring to her hop.

I hope you all have a very Happy Easter!

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Have you ever held off on doing a pattern and then finally got around to trying it out and then wondered why you waited so long?  This happened to me this weekend!

I made my oldest daughter the Molly Peasant Dress by Sis Boom this weekend.  I was extremely reluctant to try this dress after my big fail at making a peasant top for myself (see here and here).

This is a PDF pattern.  I love PDF patterns.  Why?  Because once you cut out a store-bought pattern, it is cut to that size (unless you decide to trace it), but with a PDF pattern you can just print up the size you need (or print and cut the size you need) and then if you want to make it again in a different size, you just print that size.

This pattern came with very detailed instructions and diagrams.  I think the dress I made turned out so well because of these simple to follow instructions.  I would recommend this pattern to anyone, including beginners.  I am always so critical of my sewing and I have nothing to complain about with this dress.  It turned out great and I absolutely love it on my daughter!

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