Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fabric Toy Bin and Other Handmade Baby Gifts

Last summer a close friend had her third baby.   I had gone out of town to see my Grandpa before he died and I did not have anything made up for her before I left town and then the summer was crazy busy after we got back.  So it was late summer by the time I sewed up some things for her.

Burp Cloths
I made her some burp cloths that I've been making for many years now.  They are really simple.  It just takes 1/4 yd flannel sewn right sides together, then turn right side out, and sew around the edge again closing the hole as it's sewn.  (I often use a decorative stitch for a fun touch.)  Rounding the edges before sewing makes them much easier to sew and turn out.  These are always a big hit!  After I started to sew these, I began getting many requests for them.  They are easy, but time consuming as I try to make 8-12 for the new moms.   It's hard to tell how many they might go through in a day. 

Fleece Blanket
I also made her a fleece blanket with a satin ribbon binding sewn around all edges of the fleece with a zig-zag stitch since babies love soft and silky things to touch.  These are the first baby gifts I ever started to make, with my niece being the first ever to receive one.  (She's now 9yrs. old.)  It became the blanket she latched onto which made be happy.  It's nice to know things I make are loved sometimes.  (The blanket has held up well despite the fact that I kept having to redo stitches, using my seam ripper a lot.  It turns out my bobbin holder tension needed adjusting.)  My friends first baby boy also latched onto the fleece blanket. 

 Fleece blanket with ribbon binding

I made a   taggy as well,   a 12" square of fleece with loops of ribbon all around it. 
Taggy-bear side
Taggy-moose side

Taggy Critter
I also made a taggy "critter" because I was in such a creative mood.  I tried to stitch eyes on the critter using a tight zig-zag stitch, but it shrunk the fabric, so I cut the eyes out, cut another side to the critter, sewed the eyes on to the new piece, added ribbon and stitched the whole thing together.  Because it got so late the night I made it and I was meeting my friend the next day, I brought it with me unfinished to show her and get her opinion.  She really liked it and decided to take it with her on the upcoming car trip and finish it on the road.   She added the mouth and then stuffed it and sewed it together.  It's very cute and definitely hand-made with all of it's "rough-ness".  As you can see by the picture, it's also been well-loved as it's already missing a ribbon. 

My friend gave me a great suggestion to melt the ends of the ribbon before sewing them to the projects.  It will add a step and make the project take a little longer, but if it keeps the ribbons from coming out, it'll be worth it and make the toy safer.

Fabric Bin
I had seen some fabric bins on other blogs and decided to try my hand at one of these for her also.  I had a good idea of how I was going to do it, but no real instructions to follow.  It did not go together exactly how I thought it would, but it still worked out and is holding up great!  It also was bigger than I thought it would be, but believe it or not, the thing is full of toys!!!  Here is a pic:

Click on photos to enlarge
   Full height
(filled to capacity today)

 Top folded down

 Close up

Bottom quilted

Close up of bottom

I used the thickest stiff pellon that is like stiff felt.  I had wanted to adhere the fabric together before sewing, but I bought the wrong stuff, (an iron on interfacing), but it still worked out, plus made the bin a little bit stiffer.  I sewed all of the layers of the bottom together using a stipple quilting stitch, before sewing to the tube.  I used binding on the inside to hide the raw edges on the bottom inside of the bin.  I also had enough binding left over to add some to the top of the bin.  It gave it a very finished look.  The bag is as high as the pellon comes, about 20" and the width is maybe 14" or more.  I used a large round cardboard cake base as my template. 

I also think it would make a good clothes hamper.   I had intended to add handles to the sides, but my friend said she liked it as is so I left it alone.

Here are some sites I refered to when I made this:

I think this one is the one I referred to when sewing mine.


I don't always get pics of the things I make, but here are some of the pics I've found of past projects.

More past projects
Fleece blanket with two fringed ends and two sewn sides.  I really like this pattern and color combo.  This was very easy and the sewn edges give it a very finished look even though fleece will not unravel.
Another taggy

I don't have a tutorial yet, but maybe one day I'll remember to take pics as I go.

I hope I've inspired you and given you plenty of ideas to make some of your own projects.


I Linked to these


Todays Creative Blog

Creative Itch

Junkie handmade projects

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dye Your Reusable Shopping Bags

OK,  so this is one of those things that started out as something bad and turned into something great.   I discovered that some of my reusable shopping bags were stained.  It was quite disappointing because I really like them since they are made out of organic cotton and a lot more washable than the other reusable bags out there, (recycled plastic kind).  Oh, they'll probably withstand a few washings, but will eventually break down.   So, now what do I do with my stained bags?  I tried soaking them in Oxy Clean, but that didn't work real well, maybe if I had washed them right away, but they sat a couple days without being tended to.  I'm a really good procrastinator!  I was busy!  So then I soaked them in bleach, which took away most of the organic cotton color, no big loss for me.  Now what do I do?  How about dyeing them a nice coral pink?  Of course I did not find exactly the shade of pink dye I had pictured in my head, so I bought 2 boxes of pink and one box of red and filled my washer half full of hot water along with the dye.  The bags immediately turned a light red color.  I still wanted them more of a pink, so I finished filling the washer to full capacity, (hoping they'd lighten up) and then went out to my car in search of more bags to dye.  (I can't waste a good dye bath!)  I found a few more in my trunk.  Those bags did not get pre-washed like the others, so they dyed more of the color I was after.  I really like this happy "accident" of sorts.  How fun is shopping gonna be with my more "personalized" shopping bags?  I would so do this again!  Except that they did require lots of ironing after they came out of the washer and dryer.  So, what do you think?


After (Salmon Red)

After (Salmon Pink)

Another idea I have rolling around in my head, is to sew a panel of cute fabric down the middle of the bag, covering up the writing and therefore personalizing them (I thought of this before they were dyed).  This panel could also be a pocket if left un-sewn at the top.  But I'll stick with these for now.  Way cheaper and easier too.  I'm sure I'll definitely use them more now that they are cute and girly.  Oh, and by the way.  Most of the bags I bought were $1.00.  The first couple of bags I bought were about $3.00, but a year or so later, they were only $1.00, so much easier and cheaper than buying fabric to make my own.  And now they are cute too!



Friday, April 29, 2011

National Infertility Awareness Week-Bust A Myth!

 April 24th-30th is National Infertility Awareness week.  If you have suffered from, are suffering with, or know someone who is going through it now, let them know you are there for them and just listen to them.  Don't give them ideas on how they can fix the problem.  You'll only cause more hurt.  Just be there for them, pray for them, and if they want to talk, they'll talk, but if they don't, that's okay too.

  We are one of the millions of couples who are suffering through infertility.  We don't share this with many people, because although they mean well, they cut us deep when they try to give us unwanted advice, some have even been family members.  Some don't think we are trying very hard.   Many of these very "helpful people" have no clue what it is like to walk in our shoes.  We have been married now for 13 years.  We have been TTC or "trying to conceive" for 11 of those years.  It gets very lonely at times, even though we have each other,  seeing families enjoy each other,  major holidays filled with family get-togethers,  and every time friends and family members celebrate the birth of a new baby.  Some people even "suggest" we take their kids home for a week and then ask ourselves if we really want kids.  "Ouch"!   Below I've gathered a bunch of information from the web with links to some great sites.  This post may be long, but so is the journey. 

 This was written by a fellow member of Hannah's Hope Prayer Ministries, Karen Gory.  It so well written that I've left it intact.  I couldn't have written this any better myself.

April is Infertility Awareness month. You may have seen one of the cutesy messages floating around on Facebook, implying that infertility is a temporary condition, and that we will all get our happy-ever-after if we wait patiently for long enough, either though IVF or adoption or a miracle of God. The facts aren't anything like that, but Facebook messages rarely traffic in fact.  ~ Karen Gory, April 17 2011

Infertility is a silent disease. You can't look at us and see at a glance that we're any different from our neighbors. But we are.

We are the women who cannot have children. There are far more of us than you might think. One out of six couples will deal with infertility. For every unplanned pregnancy in the world, there is another woman who will not be able to conceive without expensive medical assistance, if at all. There are women who have always known about their health issues; there are women who never even imagined it could be them; there are women who were able to bear one child, but never became pregnant again; there are women who have had 10, 12, 20 miscarriages in a row; women who have drained their bank balances in pursuit of advanced medical treatments, and women who have never conceived at all.

Infertility isn't just a woman's problem - 30% of infertility is male-factor, and another 30% of couples have a joint issue, so it's split evenly down the middle. But it's the woman who will have an empty womb for the rest of her life, who will never know what breast-feeding feels like, who will never have a dramatic birth story to share in the coffee circle when the conversation inevitably comes around to what it was like 'for you'. What it's really like for us isn't something that's easy to talk about past the initial 'we can't have children'. It's one of the great conversation-stoppers of the world, about on a par with 'I have cancer' or 'my mother was an axe-murderer'.

So what does it really mean? It is a grief that strikes when you least expect it. For some, it's a monthly punch in the gut. For others of us, it's just a hidden emptiness, a wound long healed over until something pries the scab off and brings it back again anew. It means never holding a new life in your arms and knowing it will grow up with your eyes. It means never eagerly shopping eagerly for a layette... or if you already did, then it means the anguish of an empty room and a closed door, and the final grief of packing it all away and giving it to someone who will actually be able to use it. It means putting down your book or turning off the movie five minutes before the end, because Hollywood's idea of a happy ever after ALWAYS includes 2.5 children and a dog. It means that baby showers and Mother's Day celebrations will forever be for other people and not for you. And sometimes you won't be able to face another room (or church) full of happy smiling people for a million dollars.

But as great a grief as it is to know that we are infertile, it is not the end of the world. The number of children you have (or don't have) is not a measure of how much you matter. Sure it hurts. Sometimes it hurts so much I want to hide under the covers and never come out again. Sometimes I want to yell at the top of my lungs that it's NOT FAIR!!!! Wouldn't my husband be a good father? Wouldn't I be a good mother? Don't we have all the love in the world to give a child? Sure we do... but it's not going to make a difference to the outcome for us. And being angry and bitter about it won't change anything, or make my life any better. It'll just keep me from seeing the blessings that God has bestowed on me.

Life is precious. ALL life. Whether you have no children or sixteen makes no difference in the long run. You are just as precious and valuable to God as the next person. God doesn't want us to spend our lives in misery. We are doing it to ourselves. The longer you hang onto the old griefs, the worse they become. Let them go... let your tears wash away the anger and the pain and the guilt and the fear for good... feel God's loving arms around you. He loves you just the way you are. You are perfect in His sight.

We are all on a journey together. And there is something that He wants to use you for just the way you are...   ~ Karen Gory,  April 17 2011


Infertility is a heart-wrenching, faith-questioning, relationship-testing, life-altering experience. April is Infertility Awareness Month. Whether a friend, a family member, a colleague or yourself has fought through this difficult fate that MILLIONS of women are fighting day in and day this as your status if you or someone you know has walked to hell and back for the chance to be a MOM.


Here is some information from their site:

Myths About Infertility Diagnosis

by Alice D. Domar, Ph.D.
The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health

Myth: If you just relax, you will get pregnant.
Busted!:  If only it were that easy! The fact is, the vast majority of individuals who have infertility have a medical reason, not a stress-related one. Upwards of 90% of all infertility cases are caused by physical problems.  In the female partner, the major causes of infertility are absent or irregular ovulation, blocked fallopian tubes, abnormalities in the uterus, and endometriosis (a chronic painful condition where tissue from the lining of the uterus migrates into the pelvis and attaches to the reproductive organs).  The male partner can have issues with sperm production which can lead to too few sperm, sperm which can’t swim correctly, and abnormally shaped sperm.
 More Myths – Busted!
Where the stress/infertility connection may come in tends to be after one has been trying for a while, and the stress of not conceiving easily may then contribute to the problem. But there has never been a study which shows that simply relaxing increases pregnancy rates. Research does show that infertility patients who learn and practice a wide variety of stress reduction techniques can have higher pregnancy rates than patients who don’t learn those techniques.
Myth:  You waited too long to have kids.
Busted!:  While it is true that fertility decreases with age, youth does not guarantee fertility. Many men and women in their 20’s have infertility. And women in their early 40’s can get pregnant and deliver healthy babies. However, if you know that you want to have children, the earlier you try, the less likely it is that you will have trouble.
Myth: It’s the woman’s fault.
Busted!:  Sometimes the fertility diagnosis lies with the woman, but it is just as likely to be an issue with her male partner. In order for a man to be fertile, he needs to have enough sperm (count or concentration), they need to be able to swim properly (motility) and they need to have normal shapes (morphology).  Other contributory causes can be erectile dysfunction or lack of libido.
Myth:  Something you did caused your infertility (you are too fit, too fat, ate the wrong food, had a STD…).
Busted!:  There are few lifestyle factors which permanently impact fertility. Smoking can be one of them, but many people have stopped smoking and been able to conceive within months. Obesity, and being underweight, are both associated with an increased risk of infertility, but losing or gaining weight can relatively quickly bring you back to the fertile zone. Eating unhealthy food can put you at risk for diseases such as heart disease and cancer, but switching to a more healthful diet- focusing on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy products are associated not only with a lower risk of disease but may increase one’s chance of ovulating normally. Once again, if you know that you want to have children, it is indeed a good idea to look at your health habits and if you have any which might hamper fertility, such as smoking, excess alcohol intake, being over or underweight, extremely vigorous exercise habits, or a big caffeine habit, adapting healthier habits can decrease your risk of experiencing infertility.
Myth:  Infertility isn’t a disease.
Busted!:  Yes, it is. According to the dictionary, a disease is a “disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body”. Infertility in either the male or female partner is in fact directly due to some malfunction in the body, whether it be hormonal or structural.


Here is a touching video:

(Keep the Kleenex nearby)


 Helping a Loved One with Infertility
SAIL Ministry
    •    Unless you are a very close friend, don’t ask specifics such as, “What day do you have the pregnancy test?,” or “What day will you do the artificial insemination?” Simply saying, “I’m praying for you,” “We’re thinking of you,” or “Please let us know if there’s anything we can do,” are all appropriate ways to show your interest without putting her on the spot.
    •    If possible, do not surprise her by making a big announcement that you’re pregnant. While it is appropriate for you to be excited and want to share your news in a big way, consider telling her privately first and letting her know when you plan to share your news.
    •    Do not ask her any questions about infertility around other people.
    •    The childless couple may feel “out of place” at child-centered family events like family vacations, Easter egg hunts, children’s birthday parties, etc. Absolutely invite them, but don’t make them explain why they declined the invitation.
    •    Offering to ride with her or drive her to appointments would be appreciated. People often have to drive over an hour to the nearest infertility clinic.
    •    If you say something to her and think later that maybe you shouldn’t have said it, call her and apologize. It will mean al lot to her.
    •    Definitely invite her to baby showers and let her know when a baby has been born, but don’t expect her to attend those events. Besides feeling very uncomfortable herself, she may feel that her presence will make others uncomfortable.
    •    Sometimes a woman going through infertility will not want to talk about it. But she still needs to know people care. Calling and leaving a message saying, “I hope you’re doing OK. We love you and are praying for you. Call if you want to talk,” is very considerate because there’s no pressure for her to call back yet she knows she hasn’t been forgotten.
    •    Sending “Thinking of You” cards are nice. Here is an example of a note: “I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you and praying today and especially over the next three weeks. As I was thinking of you this verse kept coming to my mind and I think it is meant for you. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope an a future!” Jeremiah 29:11. God’s plan is to give you hope and not harm. Know that you are loved and cared for deeply!
    •    Acknowledging that Christmas and Mother’s Day are difficult days is appreciated - but this is a tricky one. An example follows: at a family Christmas, my sister-in-law privately walked over to me and handed me a gift bag. It contained a children’s book with a written note on the inside cover: “This is a bedtime favorite of our girls. We hope it will be for your little one very soon! We love you and keep your baby-to-be in our prayers!” It meant so much that she took such a bold step to acknowledge our pain, but did it very privately so we were not put on the spot. She realized that while everyone else was happy and excited, we were struggling.
    •    There are lots of books on infertility and miscarriage that can be helpful. Buying one and mailing it, along with a simple note, to someone you love who is experiencing infertility would be a very nice gesture.
    •    If you know she has just had a negative pregnancy test or is having an especially difficult time, sending flowers with a note saying, “We love you, “or “We’re thinking of you,” is always a good idea.
Things to Avoid Saying:
    •    “Just don’t think about it so much and it’ll happen.”
    •    “You’re lucky. We would love to have some time without our kids!”
    •    “If you wouldn’t get so stressed out about it, maybe...”
    •    “I know exactly how you feel, it took us two months to conceive.”
    •    “You can have a couple of my kids!”
    •    “I’m having another boy. I was hoping for a girl.”
    •    “This was an accident. I didn’t want to be pregnant in the summertime.”
    •    “I can just lay in the same bed with my husband and get pregnant!”
    •    “Maybe God doesn’t want you to have children for some reason.”
    •    “Do you just not want kids?”
    •    “Have you tried....”
    •    “You’re Lucky, you don’t have to take the pill.”
    •    “How much does it cost to do......(in-vitro, artificial insemination, etc.)”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cricut Expression 2

On  April 26th at 12:00A.M., HSN and Ginger from ProvoCraft will be releasing their latest creation which is the Cricut Expression 2.  It has all of the same features as the Cricut Expression but it also has a touchscreen and it will cut images from the Cricut Imagine catridges, (but it does not print like the Imagine does).  To learn more, tune in to HSN to see what else it can do. 

My Pink Stamper is giving away one Cricut Expression 2 on Monday night.  Click HERE to find out all of the details and how to win!

Good Luck!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lighted Easter Basket

I saw these Easter Egg Lights at Walgreens a couple of weeks ago and I thought they would look really cute hanging around the house somewhere.  They also had some really cute Easter baskets.  An idea struck me!  What would it look like if I put the lights in the basket with some Easter grass?  So I put one together and it looks so cute!  These would be great on the entry table, hall table, or as a centerpiece-if you had access to a plug in and could hide the cord.

(Caution:  These should not be left unattended just like they were candle.  I've let mine stay plugged in for hours with no problems, but caution should be said.  Don't leave the house without unplugging!)

I think these could also be created using plastic eggs and a light set.  Create a small hole in the end, big enough to insert light, then using clear tape, tape down wire to keep the light from coming back out the hole.

Arrange as desired.  First put some Easter grass into basket, then put the lights in.  Add more grass, covering up the cords as you go,  tucking and rearranging as works for the lights.  Plug them in, stand back and admire your new display.

When you want to use this as an actual Easter basket, simply remove the grass and lights, fill with new grass and treats and enjoy!

What I used:

1 string of lights
1 Easter basket
1-2 Bags of grass

All for a cost of about $12.00 with the lights being on sale!

Here it is in the daylight, isn't this basket cute!  And only $5.00!

A close-up
I like how it glows!

So, what do you think?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Magnetic Jewelry Holder

I made this for my sister as her birthday was last week.  Well I just finished it.  I've had all of these great ideas swimming around in my head lately, inspired by all of the different projects I've seen on the web and on other blogs.  I finally came up with this project and I have to say I really like it.  So much so that I don't want to give it away, even though it does not match my decor.  But I will.  So here is what I used:

8" X 8" Shadow Box
8" X 8" Roof Flashing
Scrapbook Paper
Modge Podge (Matte Finish)
Gorilla Super Glue
Metallic (push-pin type) Magnets
Buttons (from my stash)

Here's how I did it:

I removed the glass from the frame by first removing the inserts from the just behind the glass.  They are attached to the frame with sticky adhesive, so this part was not very difficult.  Then I reinserted the inserts so that everything would stay to the back of the frame when complete.  I then took my scrapbook paper and cut it down to 8" X 8".  I cleaned the flashing with rubbing alcohol to remove any grease or residue that may have been on the surface.  Following the manufacturers instructions I applied a thin coat of Modge Podge to the flashing.  I laid the paper on top and applied a thin coat on top of the paper.  I let it dry and applied 2-3 more coats, drying in between each one.  After it was all dry, I inserted the modged podged flashing into the frame and then put the back of the frame on.  To make the magnets I sanded the tops of them evenly so that the glue would have something to hold on to.  I also sanded down the bottom part of the buttons.  After cleaning the dust off, I glued the button to the magnetic push pin with Gorilla super glue.  These seem very strong once they dried over-night.  So here is the finished project.  I hope my sister likes it!

As always, just click on the photo to enlarge it.

These buttons are perfect since she likes Parisian decor!
Close up of the magnets
I wish I had two of these buttons!  This would have made a fun BLING ring!

Another close-up

This would also make a great memo board!

I had wanted to use something that would hold rings, but I never found anything that would work like I had it in my head.  A place to hold earrings would have been great also.  Maybe a wire strung across the top would work for earrings.  So that's all for now.  Happy crafting and Enjoy!

Most of my supplies came from Walmart.  The roof flashing came from Home Depot.  Different designer paper can be added to change the look as needed.  I decided to Modge Podge just so the paper would last wear and tear and so it had at least one permanent feature.

Tip Junkie handmade projects

A Law Student's Journey

Saturday, April 16, 2011

An Awesome Giveaway!!! The Sewing Box

The Original Scrapbox is giving away their newest creation called the Sewing Box.  I so want to win this, but having the WorkBox would be even better since it has the most storage, I have a lot of supplies and a small house!  Check them out for yourself: