August 10, 2014

Sharpie Tie Dye Shirts

Ever since the baby was born, I've been making a deliberate effort to carve out some one on one time with my older daughter. We call it Mommy-Daughter Dates. Sometimes its simple, like going to the grocery store while Daddy stays home with baby. Sometimes we go to the pool or do a craft. This week we made sharpie tie dye shirts.

 
The idea for this shirt came from Butterfly Jungle's Fireworks t-shirt who shares a great tutorial on the subject. Basically, you take a Sharpie or other permanent marker and make dots and lines in a small circular pattern. Then you use a medicine dropper to drop rubbing alcohol onto the center of each circle. The rubbing alcohol makes the colors bleed, resembling a tie dyed shirt.

This was a fun and simple craft that my four year old and I enjoyed doing together. And the results were quite impressive. Even better than I had hoped. Look how pretty her shirt is!

Although a word to the wise .... don't skimp on the heat setting part! Butterfly Jungle recommends 4 min of ironing followed by 20 mins tumbling in a hot dryer. I only did a quick ironing and skipped the dryer. Results? The colors bled just a smidge during the first washing. My daughter hasn't notice the difference, but next time I will follow the directions a bit more thoroughly :-)

August 3, 2014

Was it Worth It? The Five Sewing Projects I Made for Baby

During the last trimester of my pregnancy I had an overwhelming desire to make stuff - specifically to sew stuff. Now that I've had a few months to put my hand crafted items to test, I am thought I'd share which projects were worth the time and effort and which items were not.

Car Seat Canopy
Skill Level: Easy
Time: Under an hour
Tutorial Used? Not really, but heavily inspired from tutorials like this one and this one
Tips/Suggestions: Don't make it too long (or it will touch the ground and get wet/dirty)
Would I make it again? YES. I almost didn't make this project because I got along just fine without it the first time around, but let me tell you - second babies are different. When you only have one child you can choose to stay indoors if it's raining buckets. But your second baby gets trekked all over town- rain or shine - taking big sister to preschool, story time, playdates, etc.

Burp Cloths
Skill Level: Easy
Time: About an hour start to finish
Tutorial Used? Yes, this tutorial by Dana Made It
Would I make it again? Maybe. Great tutorial (especially her tips on packaging burp cloths for gifting and selling) and they look super cute, but I've found that I actually prefer using the boring white trifold cloth diapers over fabric lined burp cloths. Just personal preference. Except for in public. Then I use the cute ones :)

Fitted Crib Sheet
Skill Level: Moderate
Time: One evening
Tutorial Used? Yes, but I wouldn't recommend the one I tried
Tips/Suggestions: Use elastic all the way around, not just in the corners
Would I make it again? No. It was kind of a lot of effort and I wasn't pleased with the results. It didn't fit as snug as I would have liked. So my recommendation is to buy some cute crib sheets at Target. It's a lot easier.


Crib Skirt
Skill Level: Easy
Time: Under an hour
Tutorial Used? Here is the tutorial I wrote on how to make an easy flat panel crib skirt from a $5 Walmart Bed Sheet.   
Tips/Suggestions: Using a bed sheet for you fabric source saves time compared to buying material at a fabric store because you can utilize pre-sewn hem lines.
Would I make it again? Yes. Easy, cheap and now I can use the under crib space for hidden storage.

Equilateral Triangle Quilt
Skill Level: Difficult
Time: About a month working a few hours at a time here and there.
Tutorial Used? No, but you can read about my quilt here.
Tips/Suggestions: Don't iron/press the dimensional minky fabric. The little raised circles will flatten out.
Would I make it again? Yes. This project required the most effort, but it was also the most fulfilling to make. The colors and fabrics totally fit my style and I love that my daughter has something handmade by mommy.

Bonus, it makes a good photo backdrop.

July 24, 2014

Life Lately- Summer '14

I'm not sure if it's the relatively mild weather we've been having, or the fact that we have a baby, but this summer seems to be flying by. I can't believe that August (and back to school) is just around the corner!

Here's a peek into my life lately....

As you might expect, most of our focus this summer has been "Baby Ray Ray," who is now three months old. I kind of thought that having a second child would be a repeat of our first experience, but I could not have been more wrong. Maybe it's because we are seasoned parents, or maybe we just got lucky, but this baby is sooooo much easier than our first.

In fact, she's been such an easy baby that I sometimes find myself entertaining crazy thoughts that nobody in their right mind should be considering with a newborn. Things like,
"Maybe I should open an Etsy shop."
"Is she too young to bring to Disney World?"
"Lets buy a house and move across town before school starts!"
"Do we really need birth control? A third child 12 months apart wouldn't be THAT difficult."
...you get the idea...craziness....
 
The four year old is still adjusting to her new roll as big sis. Some days she adores her sis and other days... not so much. She talks a lot about "eating the baby," which I finally figured out is her way of asking to put the baby back in my tummy.

I tried to explain that food goes into your stomach, but "babies grow in a separate part of your tummy", yada yada, "babies come from a special seed", yada yada, "only God can put a baby in your tummy" yada yada yada.

I mean how much anatomy/biology do you really share with a preschooler? It didn't matter because she didn't believe me anyways. She still asks me to eat the baby.
 
This year's VBS theme was Weird Animals. The kids enjoyed learning how, we're all a little different, but God loves us the same. I typically don't like children's music, but the corresponding CD for this theme is really good. Anyone else enjoy the music as much as I did?
 
All of the VBS decoarations were great, but one idea really caught my attention - 
Spiral cut pool noodles! 
They're big, bold, and looks easy enough to replicate. Just think of all the possibilities!

 
I also chopped off all my hair this summer. Nine months of pregnancy hormones left my hair longer and thicker than ever before. But I rarely had time to dry and straighten that long of hair, so I traded my long locks for a shorter 'do and sent my eight inch ponytail off to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths hair donation program. Did you know it takes more than eight hair donations to make a single wig?

 

That's about all for now. Take care!

June 22, 2014

11 Updates to My Blogger Blog

 
I've made a few updates recently to this little blog's layout and appearance. I'm going for a simpler and more streamlined look. Do you like it?
 
Here's the complete rundown of the new changes....

  1. Switch to a simple layout with a plain white background.
  2. New About Me Page - Want to know which TV shows are on my DVR? Check it out!
  3. Create a new welcome headshot photo - the standard blogger intro photo I had been using was smaller than I wanted. I replaced it with an "image" gadget from the Google layout page and used picmonkey's new circle cutout feature to create an updated welcome photo of myself.
  4. Update Pinterest and Blogger profile photos to match welcome photo. 
  5. Move the sidebar from the right to the left side.
  6. Use a Pinterest Board Widget in place of an image gallery to display previous post under the craft index tab.
  7. Clean up old posts - Some of my early posts were a little rough. I deleted a handful of old posts.
  8. Uninstall LinkWithin - A decision I made after reading this post, "Why I stopped using LinkWithin"
  9. Install nRelate - still on my to do list
  10. Adjust sidebar and overall blog widths. My previous overall blog width was narrow, resulting in a title header that appeared centered on the page (rather than left aligned). A larger sidebar also accommodates the preferred ad sizes on Google AdSense.
  11. Consolidate ads and optimize ad sizes - I realized that if I ever want to reach the magical $50 AdSense payout, I needed to optimize my ad sizes and switch to one of the recommended ad dimensions. Also, instead of splitting my earning between one Share-A-Sale ad and one Google AdSense ad, I consolidated, making both ad spaces through Google AdSense.
What do you think? How does the new layout appear on your web browser? Any sugggestions