Monday, December 30, 2013

American Girl Doll Clothes and Sewing with the 7 Year Old

We got our 4-year old a Julie American Girl doll for Christmas. We had a 6" Julie, but she somehow she got lost in a pile of laundry and went through the dryer, which melted part of her hair together. The 4 year old had been so good to little Julie - except for the dryer - that we thought we'd get her a big Julie. Big Julies don't get lost in the laundry pile, right?

So, of course, the first thing Julie needed was some PJs, and I had an old T-shirt that was the perfect color. We couldn't find butterfly ribbon, but picked something the 4-year old liked.

I used and modified a PJ pattern from All Things with Purpose.

As we went through fabric scraps, we found an old bandana from a cowgirl birthday, and thought it would make a great cowgirl dress. After debating, I used a peasant dress pattern from Call Me Crafty Momma (I found the instructions to be overly confusing, but the shape/size is right). The little dress needed a belt, so we made one out of felt. It still needs a belt buckle.

Then, I was just messing around with scraps and made some little Christmas skirts, 2 for my girls and 2 for our little friends and their dolls.

As we were sewing along, our 7 y.o. wanted to sew, too. Calling her crafty is an understatement, so I thought we'd give it a try. She really liked it. (Wow my chin looks really pointy in that picture!)

I thought it would be easiest to start with a tube skirt.

Then we moved on to an a-line skirt, but I goofed up my measurements and it didn't work out.

Then we moved on to a pillowcase dress.

She wanted to make one for her friend, but I was helping her pick out some stitches, pulled the fabric and it just fell apart. I think the fabric was pretty old (or else I'm really strong, ha).

Instead, she just made her friend a skirt from a leftover Christmas goody-bag we had, just like the red one up above.

Her next project is a peasant shirt, but I think she's a bit bored of sewing for now.

My next project is a corduroy A-line skirt and then a sailor dress.  And maybe to clean up the sewing room.

I've been keeping a Pinterest board of the patterns I'm finding, so check it out!  There are lots of great links (including free patterns) out there!

And P.S. I read somewhere out there that if you use a little bit of water on the doll's curly hair, it helps, and it TOTALLY does!  Then if you curl the damp hair around some sort of tube/dowel it will curl it (10-15 seconds) - and that works too!  Looks great!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ruby's Christmas Stocking

The poor baby didn't even get a stocking last year because I was too beat to make one.  Things are better this year so she gets one.  I've tried to have a Christian theme (not Santa theme) for the stockings, so after making 3 other stockings, I was searching for ideas.  The eldest has a baby Jesus on his; our 2nd has some lambs, and the 3rd has an angel.

Since this one's name is Ruby, and a ruby is precious, I thought, hmm, maybe I could do something with the gifts from the wise men.  So I put three "gifts" on her stocking to represent the three wise men and their gifts.  I'm not sure I'm loving the colors, but I'm not going to change it now.

The more I think about this, though, the sillier the whole thing is to me.  Why am I putting these Christian symbols on these pagan stockings?  Stockings really have NOTHING to do with Christ, so why am I trying to tie them in?  Anyway, I surely don't have time to make 6 new fully-pagan stockings, so I'll just continue my already established theme for now.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Stroller seat, hat, & nightgown

I've had a few little projects lately.

Our oldest daughter got a bag of clothes from a neighbor, and it included a nightgown, so naturally our next daughter also wanted a "new" nightgown. Lucky for me, I had a shirt that was a hair too small lying around, so I cut it down for a nightgown for her.  It turned out great.  Even better, the shirt was only $2.50 in the first place!  I just took one of her t-shirts and copied it's shape onto my shape and cut it down and sewed it back together.  Funny thing was, my shirt was only about 2" wider than hers!  Yeah, that could explain why it's a little tight on me!

The seat for this stroller has needed a makeover for some time now.  I had this leftover fabric that worked great!  Again, I just copied the basic shape of the original for my pattern and re-used the straps.

This hat isn't perfect, but this girl will be 4 soon.  She wants a "beat bug" party.  If you don't know what beat bugs are, they're little critters that help kids learn the beat of music in Kinder Bach.  For some reason, she really, really likes the beat bugs.  I wasn't sure how we'd have a beat bug party, but thought I could at least make army hats for her and her friends so they could look sort of like the beat bugs.  I found this pattern/tutorial online from Sisters of the Wild West.  OK, so it looks a little weird in the picture.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Family Match!

With the pictures (and others) I found for this display, I made a Family Match game.  It is so much fun to play with the kids, and makes a great Sunday activity.  You can match picture to picture, like normal Memory, or you can match husband to wife, or for even some of the people we can mathch an old picture to a young picture.

I want to have a pedigree chart on hand so we can also test our skill at creating a picture pedigree with our cards.  Someday I plan to create an info card for each individual so that when we make a match we can review a few details about our ancestors.

I have the ancestors' names divided into 4 different colors for my mom's side, my dad's side, my husband's mom's side, and my husband's dad's side, so that if we want to focus on a specific line, it's easy to divide the cards.

I created a grid in my word processor (MS Word), then imported the pictures and added names.  I used that same template to make my backs which say "Family Match!"

No Sew (Baby) Poncho

Our baby LOVES fleece anything.  She was even at our neighbor's and wanted to snuggle a fleece robe!  Around Christmastime, I had this little fleece scrap and decided it would be really easy to slit a hole in the middle of it to turn it into a poncho for her to wear.  Sometimes it's so hard to put a jacket on a baby, but a poncho is easy!  I also found it wonderful to put on her when we're out in the stroller because it doesn't fall off like a regular blanket!  Now this may be considered a strangulation hazard, but I am always around her and she can take it off when it bugs her.  What's funny is she has one poncho out of this fabric and also one mini-blanket.  She's always trying to put the blanket on like her poncho!  I should probably just cut a hole it it, too!

After a few tries, I found I like a circle in the middle of the fabric, rather than a slit.  When I cut it, I quartered the fabric, cut a curve to create a hole a little bigger than her neck, then cut a slit down in front to provide enough room for her head to fit through. 

As for size, with the fabric folded in half, if you place a sweatshirt over it and make your fabric the width and height of the sweatshirt, and then cut your fringe, it's just right.

The kids also had some fleece blankets that we put holes in so they could have ponchos, too.  Now they can sleep with them, or wear them!  (But I wouldn't recommend sleeping in them).

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Picture Pedigree Display

Several years ago I wanted to gather and display pictures of our ancestors in our home.  I wanted to put the pictures close to the t.v. and entitle the entire display, "The Stuff I'm Made of."  I wanted our kids to become familiar with their ancestors' faces and remember what they're made of when they're tempted to watch something they shouldn't.

I wanted pictures of our ancestors when they were young, not old, so that we could remember them in their vibrancy.  I also wanted to be able to see the family resemblances, which is easier to do with young pictures.

I wanted to include details of our ancestors' lives such as their education, where they were married, their hobbies, eye color, hair color, height, where they lived, what their profession was, where they served a mission, etc.

I thought it would be fun to include pictures of things that remind us of them such as their school logo or a ball for the sport they liked most.  You can see that this last one didn't get included because those little extras would have just taken up too much space and caused too much clutter.

I tried to use background paper that would represent the people/person in the pictures.  For instance, if she was a teacher, I used paper with letters on it.  If he liked the outdoors, I used paper with grass.  For those who lived during the typewriter, I found a font that looked like a typewriter.  For those of us who lived during the Times New Roman phase, we got that.

I showed this during one of my RS lessons recently and several women were in awe over it.  The stake RS president is in our ward and she asked if I could bring it to share at a stake RS event.  It seemed to me to be a big hit there, too.  I've always thought it was cool, but I've always liked history stuff.  I didn't realize others would also like it, which is why I am writing this post.

The whole thing took 40+ hours.  Most of the time was spent gathering the information about the ancestors.  This project includes 4 generations.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Build Your Own Quilt Frame

My dad also has plans for building your own quilting frames.  Here they are, too!

Build Your Own Food Storage Shelves

Many years ago, my dad designed and built several food storage shelves out of wood for small canned goods (soups, fruits, veggies, tuna, etc.).  I just realized he has the plans online.  If you're in the market for food storage shelves and want to try and make them yourself, they are very sturdy!  In the picture, mine are stacked 3 1/2 high (I have a 1/2 shelf in there, too!).

Friday, March 1, 2013

Which Batteries Are Best?

Our son researched which batteries gave you the best bang for your buck for his science fair project. A few of you wanted to see the results. Here they are!

I purchased different kinds of batteries and connected them to a motor and timed how long they lasted.

Some of the least expensive batteries had the best value.

My Hypothesis was that the battery that cost the most would go the longest because companies make us think that if we pay more we will have a better product.

1. Buy batteries at the dollar store.
2. Buy batteries in large packs.
3. Buy batteries on sale.

Best value per hour
1. Sunbeam Alkaline (Dollar Tree)
2. Kirkland Signature (Costco)
3. Sunbeam Super Heavy Duty (Dollar Tree)
4. Panasonic Carbon Zinc
(Dollar Tree)
5. Panasonic Alkaline Plus
(Dollar Tree)
6. Duracell Coppertop (Smith’s)
7. Energizer Max (Smith’s)
8. Enercell Alkaline (Radio Shack)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Retaining Heat During an Emergency

I've been wanting to be better prepared in keeping the house warm in case of an emergency.  Our main floor is pretty open with a lot of open doorways, so I've wanted to section off the family room with the fireplace and the kitchen.

I thought it might be smart to buy some foam board and cut it to fit in the doorways.  Shortly after purchasing the foam board, I went to a neighborhood class on emergency light and heat.  The instructors suggested taping those space blankets in your doorways. Duh!  That would have been a lot easier and cheaper than foam board!  Oh well, but I do think these will do a better job.

We had enough for solid pieces in some of the doorways.

But others I had to piece together.  It was easiest to cut with a utility knife like you're cutting sheetrock.

We're storing them in our garage suspended against the wall near the ceiling.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

American Girl Doll Clothes

We broke down and got our 6 year old daughter an American Girl doll for Christmas.  It's so not like me to get all faddish, but we did go all out and got her the NEW Caroline from 1812.  She has pretty blond ringlets and Regency clothes, so how could I resist? Of course I wanted to sew her some clothes, so I, of course again, searched for some FREE patterns online and found a few.  I also thought the fantastic Sense & Sensibility e-pattern was a deal ($6.95 and I love Jennie Chancey), but haven't made anything from it yet!

I got this FREE pattern from My Cup Overflows and modified the neckline.  Also, instead of making a bodice and a skirt for a dress like the pattern says, I just carried down the bodice lines into the skirt to make this nightgown.  It was really fast.  I made it on Christmas.

I also used the above pattern to make this little dress.  I need a ribbon for a sash and wish I'd made the dress a bit longer, but now I know!  I don't really like the shape of the skirt for the bodice either and wish I'd made it fuller and gathered.  The neck is also a little big.  I used piping left over from one of my pioneer dresses.  Glad I didn't throw that away.  I made the entire dress by hand while I watched shows on Netflix (The Artist & From Time to Time).

My mom also made the below dress from a pattern she had from when my sister was a little girl.  I'm afraid we might just have too much fun sewing.  We'd better save any new dresses for birthday presents!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

12 Days of Christmas

This year we thought it would be fun to do the 12 Days of Christmas for some neighbors.  Growing up we did it quite often, but it was the first time with our little family.  Our 9-year old was great at ditching the stuff at the doorsteps.  I didn't get pictures of everything, but here's what we did.  It's a little silly, and we didn't leave any notes, but it was fun.

1.  Stuck a bird from the dollar store on a can of pears.

2.  A plastic bath turtle on 2 Dove chocolate bars.  (Well, one family got the turtle.  I thought I bought two, but one ended up being an alligator, and I thought an alligator on the Dove bars would be especially confusing.)

3.  2 cans of chickHEN noodle soup and some homemade FRENCH bread total of 3 things, right?

4.  4 notepads with bird stickers on them.

5. Gold pineapple rings.

6. Half dozen eggs.

7.  An assortment on bath things (shower cap, bath gel, scrubbies, etc.).  The receiver is the swan.

8. Boxes of milk.

9. We numbered 9 ladies on the princess things.

10. Things that leap/bounce.  We thought of the Grasshopper cookies later.

11. Things that look like pipes/that you could blow.

12. Drums from the Dollar Store.

Plus an 8x10 of this 12 Days Tree with a message from us on the back.  We delivered the drums and the picture and sang "The 12 Days of Christmas" from 12 down, NOT the whole song!

Little Christmas Tablecloths

I made these little tablecloths for my MIL for her b-day in early December; although, she didn't get them until Christmas!  One is for a 2 x 4 table, the other for a card table.  I should have made them just a little longer.