Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Stockings from Upcycled Clothes.....Finally!

The Christmas stockings I started working on the summer of 2010 are finally complete and ready for Santa!  A pregnancy, lost job and relocation across the country kept me away from them for several months but I am so happy with the finished results.  (Please ignore the empty was decorated with ornaments for sale in my Etsy shop but they all sold!)

I have seen many handmade stockings on Etsy that I absolutely love (especially these) but I really wanted to make my own.  I gathered up old shirts, socks, sweaters, hats and buttons, leftover fabric from other projects and remnant fleece and got to work.

I used one of our old stockings as a guide to cut out 12 stocking shapes from a large piece of red fleece.  These would be the back and front lining of each stocking (enough for 6 total stockings).  I also cut the sleeves off an old sweater and a fleece shirt, took apart 2 wool beanies that were full of moth holes and cut strips from the rest of the fabric and clothes.

Since all my pieces and strips were different lengths and sizes I simply played with the layout of each stocking until I was satisfied (usually a few pieces at a time), pinned and sewed them together and then repeated the steps.  Also pictured is my little helper at 20 months.....she just turned 3!

After I had sewn all the pieces for one stocking together I then laid it on top of the red fleece lining and trimmed the edges.  Then, I trimmed about 1/2" from the top of the red fleece piece and folded over the top of the front for a nice finished hem.  After sewing the two pieces together the front was complete.


Next, I took another of the red fleece stocking pieces and lined it up on the face of the finished front, sewed them together (all but a few inches along the top much like making a pillow), turned it right side out and finished sewing.

I made loops from the leftover red fleece and hand sewed them onto the stockings along with some decorative buttons I found in my stash.  I ended up using fabric glue to attach glittered cardstock letters meant for scrapbooking to put our names on them.  I could not find iron on letters that I liked (and that had all the letters we needed in one package) and had all the stockings sewn together before I thought of having them embroidered.  Maybe someday I will come up with a washable solution but for now I really like the font and glitter of these.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Update: DIY Reusable Baby Wipes

I thought it was time to review my homemade baby wipes.  So far we are not crazy about them.  Using plain water to moisten them does not seem to get little baby bottoms as clean as we like and I am too scared to try to the various recipes of essential oils and soaps since little Alice has eczema.  The fragrance free store bought wipes for sensitive skin work well and do not irritate her skin. Lucy is potty trained now (yay!) so we really only need them for one kid anyway.  Maybe we are just lazy and used to the convenience of disposable wipes!

Even though they do not work as intended for my family I would still recommend the project because they can be used all over the house, are reusable and affordable. They came in very handy as hankies when Alice came down with a cold in September and again this month.  The flannel is thick and super soft so no sore nose for her and no yucky hands for me.  They could also replace baby washcloths or paper towels.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Potty Training, Baby Eczema & Sleepless Nights

Usually I post about DIY projects, Etsy or my Etsy shop but I feel I should explain why I have been absent from the blogging world the past few months.  The above title says it all!  Our toddler took forever to poop in her potty seat, our 5 month old suffers from eczema and both create sleepless nights.

Lucy will turn three soon but the terrible twos still dominate.  She is finally potty trained (still in Easy Ups at night) and is becoming a fantastic artist.  I'm not sure what is considered normal for three year olds but this kid is drawing people and dandelions very well!  She still wakes up several times a night and calls for us to fix her blanket or some other random reason.  We try to take turns but usually my hubby deals with it since I am STILL nursing the little one at night.

That's right, our five month old is not sleeping through the night yet.  In fact she slept better the first month of her life than she does now, naps included.  She has eczema and the poor thing is constantly itchy.  Our pediatrician told us all about which laundry detergents, lotions, soaps to use and recommended hydro cortisone cream for the itching.  She is constantly itching (and losing hair from it)!  I cannot imagine using this stuff every time she scratches....she would be covered in the stuff!

I am considering jumping on the slippery slope of elimination diets after reading about eczema and breastfeeding.  The hope is that the offending food will stop irritating her skin and she will sleep more than 30 minutes at a time.  Cow's milk seems to be the most obvious food to eliminate.  Unfortunately the holiday season is upon us and I will have to miss out on all the fabulous foods.  If it helps my poor little girl's skin just a little it will be worth it!

With all of this going on I can barely keep up with the laundry around here.  I manage to keep my Etsy shop stocked but cannot manage my Facebook, Twitter or this blog with much continuity.  Hopefully as these crazy kids grow out of these funks or we learn to mange I can post more frequently.

If anyone has any advice on managing baby eczema or food elimination please comment!  I know this won't last forever, but it sure feels like it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Anniversary Giveaway!!

I knew it had been a long time since my last post but I didn't realize it was over a month ago!  I completely missed the one year anniversary of my very first post!  Alas, September was a very busy month with a spontaneous road trip to Missouri (10 hour drive with 2 kiddos under 3), two family gatherings closer to home and two weeks of sickness.  During all that craziness I refurbished dining room chairs I found on craigslist, made Indianapolis Colts shirts and a cape for Lucy (my first crack at appliques).  Maybe these projects will be the next post.  Now for the exciting stuff!

The winner will receive this ornament available in my Etsy shop:

Recycled Paper and Paperboard Ornament $12
The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and ends Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 10pm EST.  The winner will be picked randomly out of a hat by Lucy (she will love this!) and announced in another blog post. 

To enter leave a comment about how you repurpose or reuse items in your own home.

Good Luck!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Recycled Cardboard Tube Play Binoculars

This is a super simple project that honestly took about fifteen minutes and cost pennies to make.  The binoculars have kept my two year old busy for several days. 

You need two sturdy cardboard tubes about 5 inches long, clear packaging tape, cord or ribbon, markers, stickers and whatever else you want to decorate them with.  The tubes I used are very thick and sturdy.  Thinner tubes from toilet paper rolls could be used but will not last as long in the hands of a toddler.  You may want to tape them together using colored or patterned duct tape for extra strength.

First, I gave Lucy markers and let her go crazy on the tubes.

She went a little too crazy with the markers (thank goodness they were washable)!  Next, I let her decorate them with whatever stickers we had around.

After Lucy was satisfied with her decorating job I taped the two tubes together with lots of clear packaging tape.  Tape them until they are very tight and completely covered (keeps little fingers from peeling off the stickers and putting them all over the house!).

For the neck strap I raided my ribbon stash and found a green, cotton cord about a yard long that ended up being the perfect length for Lucy to get over her head.  I looped the cord through each side and tied it tightly and then taped over it to hold it in place. 

Now my little explorer can go bird watching, on safari, or just pretend to spy on her baby sister!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Etsy Finds: Repurposed Back to School

Arm your kids or yourself with reusable supplies made from repurposed materials!  Some of these may last through their entire academic career.

I love this bag by Urchin Bags!  It's made from recycled seat belts, air bags and a used bike inner tube.

The 'keep safe' bag made from recycled seat belts $105

Pencils handmade from recycled newspapers also come with a carrying case by beladonna.

Recycled Newspaper Pencils (set of 12) $11.50

 Perfect decor for a dorm room!  A planter made from recycled books to make you look smarter than you already are by Recycled Novels.

Book Planter - "Murderous Plan" $25"

This reusable sandwich "envelope" by lkd Designs is made from recycled fabric and can be used along with her reusable lunch and snack bags for a complete eco-friendly, handmade kit.

Reusable Sandwich Envelope Made from RECYCLED fabric $12

Have several kids to buy for?  Or just a collector of vintage staplers?  Find a set of 5 along with lots of other vintage goodies at Leaping Lemming.  I am loving the aqua and chrome one!

5 USA Made Vintage Staplers $24.95

Thursday, August 4, 2011

DIY Reusable Baby Wipes

We are almost out of baby wipes once again!  It is hard to keep up with the demand when we are still wiping two butts (stubborn Lucy still isn't completely potty trained!).  Time to make the reusable baby wipes I intended to make when Lucy was a baby.

We started using cloth diapers once Lucy was a few months old.  It took me awhile to decide which brand to go with plus newborn poo is just so runny and almost impossible to contain in disposables so imagine the mess in cloth!  I always intended to make cloth wipes and even purchased remnant flannel whenever I saw it, but never got around to making them.  Now that Alice is almost ready for cloth diapers we need the wipes to go with them.

It makes perfect sense.  Just toss the wipes in the wash with the diapers.  They are small and therefore do not add any extra laundry and will help save even more money.  I found several tutorials online but they really are not needed for such a simple sewing project.  I will share this one because it also has links on general cloth diapering info, how to make homemade nursing pads and cloth napkins.

I used flannel remnants from the bargain bin at the craft store for my wipes and the link above used an old baby receiving blanket.  Others have used old t-shirts, blankets or fleece to make theirs.  Repurposing is the best and cheapest option, I just did not have anything old to reuse at the time.

Stack of remnant flannel ready to cut
8 x 8 squares ready to be edged

I cut most of my fabric into 8 x 8 inch squares.  A few of the remnants would yield more wipes with less waste if cut into 7 x 8 so that is what I did.

After edging
Ready for the container

Squares measuring 8 x 8 do not fit perfectly in the Huggies wipes container I have but it still works.  However, if I had thought about that I would have made all my wipes 7 inches instead.  I plan to use plain water on the wipes at first and see how it works.  Lots of recipes can be found for various mixtures including some with soap, baby oil, tea tree oil and/or essential oils.  These are completely customizable for you and your baby's skin so it may take a few tries to see what works for your family. 

Once I have Alice in cloth diapers and have used the wipes through several washing cycles I will post an update!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bake Cookies in Your Car

Today we had an Air Quality Alert in Columbus so instead of driving the car we baked cookie in it!  I have seen it demonstrated on the local news before but got the idea to try it myself from one my favorite blogs: Baking Bites.  I have been following this blog for several years and all of Nicole's recipes that I have tried are great (try the Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins).

Every detail on how to bake cookies in a car on a very hot day can be found here so there is no need for me to outline the process.  These  are not the best tasting or looking cookies you will ever eat (they do not brown because of the low temperature at which they bake) but they are pretty yummy considering they were baked on the dashboard of a car!

Lucy approves!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Christmas in July Sale!

Cruise on over to my Etsy shop for a Christmas in July sale.  Enter coupon code "CHRISTMASINJULY" at checkout and receive 10% off your entire purchase.  I only have two sales a year (next one will be Black Friday) so take advantage while you can and do some early Christmas shopping or a little something for yourself.  Coupon code expires 6/25/2011.

Need inspiration?

Repurposed Industrial Brass Star Hoop Earrings $15

Recycled Paper and Paperboard Ornament $12

Repurposed Vintage Necklace Black Flowers with Turquoise $26

Crystal Clear Vintage Bead Hair Pins 6 $23

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Welcoming Alice

New posts will be rare the next couple of weeks while my family adjusts to the arrival of Alice.  So far things are going well and I hope to be back in the swing of things soon.  I have a few projects in mind for Lucy and lots of new items to add to my Etsy shop as soon as I have time.  I am also very excited to pick up where I left off last fall with resin.  I was just getting started when I got pregnant and decided to spare Alice the toxic fumes while in utero.

I will update when I can!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Etsy Finds: Repurposed for Baby

With about two weeks until Baby Sister's due date I have babies on the brain.  We did not have to buy much or do much to prepare her room since we still have all of Lucy's baby stuff.  However, I still like to check out all the cute baby things we all "need."  At least we will feel better if we buy them handmade from repurposed materials!

Soft & Cozy hand sews a wide variety of earth friendly items from repurposed and vintage fabrics including these soft baby cubes.  Check out her shop for dryer sachets, quilts, felt garlands and patchwork cuffs.

Patchwork Baby Cube Toy $18.95

LilyGiggle's shop is full of PDF patterns to help everyone repurpose their own unused clothing into adorable outfits for little girls.  She has a few finished clothing items available in the shop too in case you are not the sewing type.  This hair bow is a great eco-friendly alternative to the plastic and cheap looking artificial flower headbands and bows that are so popular now.

Winter Jewels Recycled T Shirt Cotton Flower $7

I just love these shoes by madgem designs.  They are washable, reversible, made from a repurposed t-shirt and would look so cute on pudgy little baby feet!

Spring Flowers Reversible Baby Shoes 0-6 Months $15

This has to be the ultimate baby blanket!  I would love a throw made of repurposed cashmere for myself!  Voladora also makes scarves, hats and pincushions from upcycled cashmere sweaters.

Guava Pink Cashmere Baby Blanket $90

I used cloth diapers with Lucy and plan to do the same with Baby Sister.  I may have to purchase wraps and soakers from a few of the many Etsy sellers making them from repurposed wool like ClothDiaperClub.

Nice N' Stripey Wool Diaper Wrap SMALL $18

Shopping for babies is too much fun!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Recycled Toilet Paper Roll Paintings

My master bedroom was dreadfully dull until yesterday.  I finally finished my version of recycled toilet paper roll art and placed it above our bed.  Our sage green bedding, blue curtains, chocolate brown carpet and mixture of white and wood furniture all seem to make sense together.

I will not go into all the specifics of this project since there are so many similar tutorials using toilet paper rolls.  For my variation of this project I used blue painter's tape to create the stripes on the canvas and a hot glue gun to attach the roll loops together and to the completed canvas.  I believe I used 6 or 7 toilet paper rolls and a partial paper towel roll to create the flowers.