Category Archives: DIY project

Coming out of a blogging fog

I haven’t blogged in a long time. Usually I’ve noticed my peaks and valleys of blogging correlate with the seasons. In the spring/summer I have more to say because I’m inspired by the ingredients on hand. This time, though, my absence was more related to an extended period of constant nausea, sleeping poorly and generally having a much less energy than usual.
What do all those things add up to? If all continues to go well, it means a new little person is going to be joining our family in early October! We’re thrilled! Even little man seems excited about it.
Meanwhile, you can see that I have my energy back. And with it came my crazy ideas, back with a vengeance. After watching a movie about lasagna-style gardening (Back to Eden, if you’re interested in watching), we decided to forego the idea of removing our sod before planting a vegetable garden. Instead, we laid newspaper, compost and wood chips directly over the grass. Here was the truckload of free wood chips from a tree trimming company. Thank goodness I said we only needed one truckload!
Memorial day weekend, with the help of many friends, we completed the project wheelbarrow-full by wheelbarrow-full. It was quite a weekend, but so far the veggies seem to be doing well. I will do a more in depth post about the process soon. For now, thank you thank you thank you to the friends who gave us their time and efforts to help us!!
Whew….having that first post after a long absence feels good. Now I can jump back in with everything going on at our crazy house. It’s feeling more and more like the urban homestead I’ve been dreaming of. I love it and can’t wait to share it with you!

Double Bump Dishcloth

Sorry for disappearing on you guys again. I’m not promising regular updates in the very near future, but I do hope to come around more often than I have been. 

Here’s a quick project that I finished a little while ago and forgot to post. I found the pattern for this Double Bump Dishcloth on Ravelry and decided to give it a try. As a fairly novice knitter, I liked the idea of trying something new to me (the double bump), but still pretty simple. And I’m always a fan of making something utilitarian, so this fit the bill nicely. I finished it in a couple of hours, so for knitting this is as close to instant gratification as you’re going to get.

So there you have it! The double bump dishcloth, complete with a bar of my homemade soap. Unfortunately, I’ve confirmed that I’m really more of a sponge person, so this has been relegated to a bath/shower wash cloth. I prefer the idea of dishcloths, since you wash and reuse them, but I never feel like they get my dishes as clean. This is all in my head. I’m sure of it. But I like squeaky clean dishes so sponges it is. For now.

DIY Sleep Sack

I lost a lot of sewing momentum after Christmas. I was sewing sewing knitting knitting knitting sewing so much that I needed a break. I’m starting to get back in the swing of things though and I finally have something to share with you today.
We bought little man a really warm and cozy sleep sack when we were in France last May/June. We were there during a cold spell and weren’t prepared. Luckily, just because it was June didn’t mean there were no warm sleep sacks available. The French have a thing about making sure their babies are warm. I mean REALLY warm. We’re talking bundled up in wool socks and a a heavy blanket while outside in 80 degree summer weather. It’s a bit over the top. But in this case, the sleep sack was well needed and appreciated. So much so that I decided he needed a second one, but these types of sleep sacks are no where to be found here. I’ve only been able to find fleece, which is fine, but less breathable than cotton with batting.
What I made is basically a quilted sleep sack. I used a stretchy main fabric, stretchy lining fabric, and cotton batting in the middle. For the neck and arm holes, I used strips of cotton ribbing that I folded into bias tape. The only difference between this sleep sack and the French one is that the zipper on mine opens downward and the French one opens upward. I tried to figure out how to do that, but I just didn’t have the right tools to make a zipper long enough for the sleep sack that opened upward. Oh well. I know sleep sacks have to be sold that way for safety reasons, but this is not being sold and I have deemed it safe enough for my level of comfort. I do still need to make a little fold that covers the zipper, but it’s pretty much ready.

Also, notice the very cool personalized label on the sleep sack. My sweet husband got them for me for Christmas this year. Such a thoughtful gift for a maker of handmake things. Thank you honey!

So there’s my latest creation. Hopefully I’ll get enough motivation together to work on some more projects to share with you soon.

Scrap Wood Blocks Part 1

I did end up getting to most of my Christmas gift projects from my queue this year, but sometimes you need to admit defeat. I wanted to make little man a set of blocks from the scrap wood we had left over after building the chicken coop. I did pretty well. Cut out the pieces and sanded…oh about 8 of them. I managed to get some of them done while he and I were playing outside but the weather has been so rainy that there hasn’t been much outside playtime recently. So the blocks will have to wait for his birthday. Or maybe he’ll get to have them before his birthday if I finish them months ahead of time and don’t want to wait to give them to him (more likely scenario).

Here he was “helping” me trace out the shapes for his blocks on the larger pieces of wood.

There he is! Peek a boo!

Do you ever have to admit defeat on well-intentioned projects? Or at least postpone them for another time. I sure hope I’m not the only one!

Felt Farm Animals

I’m finally declaring myself finished with my Christmas present queue. (At least until after Christmas, when I have a few that I need to retroactively complete).  I thought I was done last week, until yesterday when I decided that little man *had* to have some farm animals to go in his toy barn. He’s been playing with the barn for a while (I bought it at a garage sale and used it with my preschoolers when I was working), but with no farm animals to go inside, it was definitely lonely. One time, I got all the farm animal blocks in his Uncle Goose block set and put them inside, but it didn’t really feel right. it needed “real” animals. I had visions of putting his barn under the Christmas tree and having him discover new animals inside. But it was already December 22nd. I figured I should just give up the Christmas morning idea and make them later on. I even considered going out and buying some farm animals but I couldn’t do it. And I’m stubborn.

So I found some patterns for stuffed farm animals. The pig, hen and lamb come from Martha Stewart, and the horse I found through some mad google searching skills. I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth (since all the patterns were free), but Martha’s directions were really terrible. I guess I’ve been spoiled by crafty bloggers who do awesome tutorials with step by step directions. Anyway, there were some frustrating moments, but if there’s one thing I’ve gotten better at through sewing and knitting, it’s patience. So I powered through, figured it out and finished. By the time I got to the horse (which has no directions at all), it was easy and I finished it in about 45 minutes. They’re not perfect, but I doubt he will care. I can’t wait for him to open his present!

The hen has a bean bag sewed to the bottom so that she doesn’t tip over. It also makes it very easy to have her peck a the ground. 
Here’s the gang. Soon I hope to add a black cat, a cow, a chick, a duck, a goose….*sigh*
There’s a pipe cleaner in Mr. Pig’s tail to keep it curled.
I couldn’t get him to stand straight up, so he’s a jumping horse.

So to those of you who celebrate Christmas, happy day before Christmas Eve! I don’t know if I’ll post again before the actual day so Merry Christmas!

DIY Toddler Slippers

There’s nothing cozier to me than a pair of slippers when you’re home on a cool day. (Well, maybe a pair of slippers, good book and a fire would be even cozier, but you get the point).
Little man didn’t have any slippers, only socks. But most of his socks aren’t non-slip, so when wearing socks he’d just slip and slide around the house- falling even more than he normally would without any socks on. Something needed to be done so that he could have warm feet without all the falls. So, I set out to make him some slippers. I used some non-slip fabric that I found at Jo-Ann. I believe I spent $3 on enough of this stuff to make slippers for years to come (and I only bought 1/4 yard). For the rest of it, I used scraps of fleece and some 1/4 inch elastic that I already had. For the pattern, I adapted it from a pair of soft soled shoes that currently fit him. I was able to get these done start to finish (making the pattern and all) in a couple hours. Now I’m going to make him a few more pairs in different colors for when these ones are in the wash.
If there’s enough interest, I can do a tutorial for how to make these. Let me know in the comments if you’d like that.
Front and back
Slippers in action

Felt Chicken Ornament

When I was young, my parents started a lovely tradition of giving me a new ornament every year to commemorate something special or memorable about that year. One year, it was a ballerina another year a piano. When I turned 16 it was a car and when I turned 21 it was a bottle of wine and so on a so forth. I think it’s such a sweet tradition and I plan to continue it for our family. So, one of the big things that happened this year for us was getting our chickens. Raising chickens for eggs is something I’ve wanted to do for years and I’m so so excited to have them! What better way to commemorate this year than with a chicken ornament?
I found the pattern over at Down East Thunder Farm. The pattern is free, along with many other patterns for felt bird ornaments. They’re beautiful and I plan on making some more felt birds to decorate our tree and to give as gifts. Be sure to check out this blog if you’re into making felt ornaments.

Jacket adapted from the Urban Hoodie pattern by Heidi and Finn

So at this point you might be getting tired of seeing my creations sewn with the Heidi and Finn Urban Hoodie pattern (I swear, I don’t get paid to promote her pattern here). This time, though, I adapted it and made a jacket for little man.
Normally, the pattern should be made with knit fabric. I used woven fabric for this jacket, so I made it bigger because there’s no stretch in the fabric (size 5T instead of 2T). I also extended the bottom, since in the sweatshirt version, there’s normally a bottom panel of fabric that adds to the length. Here’s a picture to make it clear what I mean by bottom panel:
For the sleeves, I used a smaller seam allowance than the pattern recommends. I’ve found the sleeves on this pattern to be very tight, so I think I’ll be doing this for the sleeves from here on out when I use this pattern.
I also added pockets to the front. And finally, to make sure it’s nice and warm for the winter, I put cotton batting in between the main fabric and the lining.
Oh, one more thing- normally the neck curves up a bit. Can you see what I mean in the picture below?

I don’t really like that. It seems to get in the way and annoy little man, so I just cut it off and made it go straight across. Like in the picture below:
So here is the finished jacket:

I love how it turned out! He gets lots of compliments on his jacket when we’re out and about running errands.


Perfect for playing outside on a cool day.

DIY Fleece Sleep Sack

The weather has officially cooled down here (and by that I mean it’s in the 50s during the day and 40s at night). Little man has a nice and warm lined jersey and cotton batting sleep sack that we use for nighttime, but he needed an upgrade from his single layer jersey sleep sack for naps. Plus, he was definitely getting too tall for the size we had. I decided that a sleep sack looked easy enough to replicate and I didn’t really want to buy another one. So, I used one of the sleep sacks we had to make a pattern, extended the length and used some fleece I got from a freecycler. The only thing I had to buy was some zipper by the yard, which I found on Etsy (and later discovered I could get at a local fabric store without paying shipping…next time).

The zipper goes from top to bottom, unlike commercial sleep sacks, so I put a little tag of fabric over the zipper closure to keep little man from being able to mess with it and to avoid it irritating his skin.

It turned out great and for about $3.50 (the price of the zipper with shipping), definitely saved me money to make it myself. I have another yard of zipper, and I’m planning on making another sleep sack soon. If there’s enough interest, I’ll take pictures while I’m making the second one and post a tutorial.